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|Details: Part of the fun of getting to go around bus garages was finding unexpected vehicles lurking at the back. This photo taken in West Ham Garage on 12th June 1977 shows AEC Regent Instruction Bus 1037J parked beside staff bus RMA11. Starting with the latter, this was one of 65 AEC Routemasters built for services from central London to Heathrow Airport. They differed from normal Routemasters in having a foward entrance and staircase (note the plain panel behind the cab), and they lacked opening windscreens. Twin headlamps were fitted, as also seen on the Green Line Routemaster coaches. Following the ending of the airport coach service, all 65 buses were sold to London Transport. A handful were tried in passenger service, while a few were converted to trainers (which entailed the removal of the staircase so that the instructor could sit behind the driver). The majority were used as staff buses, running between Aldenham Works and various parts of London. The buses were kept near to their destinations and hence could be found at many different garages. After the closure of Aldenham (and Chiswick) Works, a couple of the RMAs passed to London Coaches, while at least one saw service with East London on routes 15 and X15.|
1037J was famous for having the body originally fitted to RT1, the first of about 7,000 broadly-similar vehicles to be built for LT. It was taken into service vehicle stock as a mobile instruction bus in 1956 and it is not clear how long it remained in this role. It certainly appeared to be out of use when seen, and it was sold for preservation the following year. Note also what appears to be a couple of complete bus chassis behind 1037J, perhaps also originally used for training purposes.
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