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Photographer / Copyright
Malcolm Millichip
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Twickenham Garage

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Details: Things were a lot simpler in the 1950s and 1960s, when everything was London Transport. But even then there was some abiguity about what constituted a service vehicle. Garage sweepers were given fleetnumbers but, with a few exceptions, were not road licensed, and the scarcity of photographs suggests they were of little interest to enthusiasts of the time. Fortunately there were exceptions, and Malcolm Millichip took this photo of RL82 at Twickenham Garage in either 1959 or 1960. He added some useful information: 'The livery is red, RL82 was painted in white on the other side. It was always kept in a corner of the garage by a set of doors which were not used operationally and only opened on hot sunny days to let the air flow through.'

LT's Twickenham Garage (code AB) was actually in East Twickenham, closer to Richmond in reality. It closed to buses in 1970 but was used by London Underground as a store, then by a coachpainters in 1991 and finally as a base for preserved buses from about 1992. Inevitably it was demolished to make way for flats later that decade. Two other bus garages have used the Twickenham name in more recent years, neither of which is much closer to the actual location of that name. Part of the old Fulwell trolleybus depot was used by Tellings-Golden Miller from 2000 onwards. TGM was taken over by Travel London in 2005, and they named this base Twickenham Depot, despite it being over a mile and a half from Twickenham. Travel London was later renamed Abellio and the garage remains in use. About a mile to the North of Twickenham, NCP opened a base on an industrial estate near to the rugby stadium in 2005. This operation was later rebranded as NSL, then taken over by Transdev, which renamed itself back to London United and the base is currently in use by their United Motorcoaches subsidiary although this is due to be wound up soon. I am not making this up! I suppose I should also mention that the AB garage code has also now been re-used, for a small base in Southall opened by Abellio in 2017.

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Clive GLT also seemed confused in how to treat the RLs, with the first few being given record cards, just like motor vehicles, before they were all redesignated as 'plant' and allocated asset numbers. Those bought for the buses were mostly painted red and became 80/****, whilst those bought for the trams and trolleybuses were 200/***, 210/***, and 220/****, and were painted green and not given RL numbers. This system required potentially confusing identity changes for some transfers so by 1946 they had all been given RL numbers, and it appears the asset numbers may have been discontinued soon afterwards. Evidence shows overhauls taking place alongside other service vehicles at Chiswick and Aldenham, though by 1969 they were all concentrated on the Chiswick Plant workshops, where some identities were again changed, possibly whilst swapping parts as some were withdrawn. RL82 was new to Twickenham in 1951, spotted by LTSV fans at Bexleyheath garage in the mid 1960s and at Chiswick Plant workshops in 1969. Next sighting was at Staines garage in 1974, with the last being there in September 1978. Sat 22/12/2018, 21:08