What is RT3316?

RT3316 is an AEC Regent III (RT) old London double deck bus. It rolled off the production line in September 1951 with a Weymann body (no 7153) designated type 3RT8 (it gained its current Park Royal body at overhaul in March 1968, body no 5887, which was built in July 1951 as RT2620[now scrapped]). The practice of switching bodies was common; there were actually more RT bodies and the overhaul of bodies took longer than that of chassis (which would mainly just have parts switched out). Thus, no RT is actually genuine*; even RT1 is not an 'original' bus. However, even though it is like "Trigger's broom", it is still a broom and this one is known as 3316. To confuse matters more, new buses were not registered until they were needed and to save unnecessary licensing costs, they would be registered in batches at the beginning of the month that they were first entering service. Hence, RT3316 was built 9/51, the body it now carries dates from 7/51 (probably built in 6/51) but the bus is first registered as at 01/10/1951. Three birthdays?

The bus was the last of a batch of 44 new red RTs delivered in October 1951 to Palmers Green. Coincidentally, a few survive from that batch. It spent the next 21 years almost in constant service (always as a red bus), although it was homed at garages all across London (see the History page), at some for years and at others for less than a month (another common practice). The final garage (before being sold), was Sidcup, Kent. In use regularly until 1972, it is listed as having an expiry of Coif (Certificate of Initial Fitness) in March 1973.

Following public service, the bus was purchased by Vent Axia in Crawley and used as an equipment store, was sold via an export company in Hull to a coach company in Scotland (intended to ferry farm workers, but was deemed too good to do so and was consequently just used as 'a play thing'). It was sold into preservation in Kent, received a restoration and was exhibited at shows in Kent. It changed hands following the owner's passing in 2009 moving to Bolebroke Castle near Hartfield, East Sussex where it was used for a bus driving experience. Following the owner's sudden passing, the bus went to auction in 2012, moving to Orpington in Kent. Current ownership started in March 2014 and the bus moved across town to a new home in Hertfordshire, on the North West outskirts of London. The bus appeared at London Bus Museum, Brooklands at RT 75 in April 2014 to show prior to work commencing and a complete and thorough restoration commenced in May 2015.

The bus appeared in public again at Barking Garage on 30th March 2019 to commemorate 40 years since RTs came out of regular London Transport service (40 years in service, 40 years out of service). The following week it was taken to London Bus Museum, Brooklands at RT 80 in April 2019, five years after being originally shown. An incomplete restoration, the bus showed visitors what is involved in such a restoration and shared experiences.

The restoration is continuing and progress can be followed on the RT3316 Facebook page and on the blog.

* There were a very few exceptions to the practice of splitting bodies and chassis - the RT buses that went overseas as ambassadors