As I said in my previous article, the £302.5 million Wrightbus New Routemaster buses are to have new window openings installed at the cost of £2 million due to TFL having had 4 years of complaints and scrutiny over ventilation and air cooling issues.
From LOTS news:
“Following four years of passenger complaints, all LTs in current service are to be fitted with some opening windows, six on upper deck, two on lower deck. The retro-fit programme should be completed by Summer 2016. Meanwhile, those still to be built will be fitted from new, although the breakpoint in fleet numbering is not yet known. Production of the last 200 LTs is now due to be complete by the end of July 2016 rather than April as was initially stated.”
So this will mean the route conversions will be delayed and some of the New Routemaster buses may be withdrawn in order to fit new window openings to the buses. Hence the reason why the remaining route conversions are taking so long. We are still expecting to see Routes 16, 149, 159 & 91 converting to New Routemasters.
The correction should have been done way back in 2012 when the 8 prototypes were in service on Route 38. Then there wouldn’t have been so many complaints as the existing fleet of New Routemasters would have had window openings for ventilation.
Compare this to the more 'futuristic looking' Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC which has a minimal amount of window openings because it has an air cooling system which keeps the interior temperature to a circa of 17-18C. I have video footage of the Enviro400 MMC in action on route 498 which you can see here.
History repeats itself with the AEC Routemaster project
Way back in 1966, the rare 'rear engine' Front door Routemaster (FRM1), the only prototype built was built with no window openings because AEC wanted to experiment with the air cooling system from the front vents in an attempt to reduce the overheating problems.
The incident with the FRM happened on August 31st 1967 where oil from the leaking flywheel caught fire whilst it was in service in the City. Luckily no one was hurt as the bus was filled with black smoke which resulted in firemen having to smash the un-openable windows to let people escape. The following month during its repairs in Chiswick, it was fitted with window openings. The FRM1 is currently preserved at Acton Depot. If you want to read more about the Front Door Routemaster, you can read it here.
As time progresses we are seeing new bus types, the new Wrightbus Gemini 3 for example has a feature design based on the NRM which is the glazed staircase; Lothian Buses currently operates their new bus type incorporating that design.
I am really excited at the prospect of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 City which also has features based on the New Routemaster, such as the glazed staircase. The bus will be unveiled at Coach & Bus, live at the NEC on 30th September and has also been ordered by Arriva London for their new contract on Route 78 (which goes from Shoreditch to Nunhead via Tower Bridge) which will commence service on 14th November 2015.
What I enjoy about my website is documenting history by collecting and gathering information together and publishing articles here. The main thing I want to do here is to show the world the news about the London Transport system, and also other other systems from around Britain and the wider world. I've been a fan of London Transport since my childhood (back in the 1990’s) and I still remember seeing ‘non red’ London Buses as different private bus operating companies had the right to their own livery which matched their company brand. For example, Capital Citybus operated buses in London with their yellow livery. I have fond memories of those years and I think it’s a shame that all London Buses have to be 100% red now for operational purposes and in order for people in London to know it’s a London Bus Service.
What will the future hold for London Buses?
Well personally, I'd like to see a switch of orders from the New Routemaster buses to more zero emission electric buses because the emissions from diesel engines are contributing to climate change and pollution which are serious issues that everyone needs to help combat. As the years pass we see new people running London Transport which means new plans, events and operational changes. I do not oppose the Wrightbus New Routemaster, it is part of London Transport’s history and at least we've seen loads of new innovations because of evolving technology. The New Routemaster is simply a 3 door and 2 staircase hybrid bus.
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My previous New Routemaster articles: