Nothing encapsulates the essence of London quite like the red double-decker Routemaster bus. Its iconic design, since its 1956 inception, has become as much a symbol of the capital as St Paul's or Tower Bridge. The design was revolutionary, drawing largely on the many innovative technological advances brought about by the development of aircraft during the Second World War. Boasting a lightweight, two-part sub frame assembly, independent front suspension, an automatic gearbox, power-hydraulic braking and power-steering, this truly modern machine was like nothing seen before in public transport. The Routemaster was specifically designed and constructed for service in the tough operating conditions of London and its suburbs. It served this vast area for nearly half a century and its utility and mechanical reliability made it a dependable workhorse for London Transport, leading to several refurbishments and life extensions before it was finally withdrawn from general service in 2005.
Cherished by the public and tourists alike, it is a genuine classic and many heritage examples remain in working order - indeed, you can still hop on a Routemaster on parts of London's number 9 and 15 routes. This book is a delightful celebration of the Routemaster, using authentic material covering its exterior and interior design, technical aspects and operation, and illustrated with diagrams and line drawings throughout. There are sections on learning to be a bus driver (circa 1960), behind the scenes in a bus garage, reports and press releases on the first Routemasters, timetables and bus maps from 1956, instructions for drivers and conductors, and even a user's guide to the Gibson bus ticket machine for all aspiring 'clippies'. As Mayor of London Boris Johnson's 'new' Routemaster takes to the road it is a timely reminder of just how great the original was.