aldenham works routemaster london transport

Published by Darron Toy on

by 1954 there were nearly 7,000 members of the RT and RTL classes and that number bosses had to be repaired and maintained somehow and that job was undertaken here at Alden emboss overhaul works developed in 1956 in a 67 acre site in Harvard sure the site was originally built as a tube train depot for the never completed extension of the Northern Line and before being converted into the boss plant was used for aircraft production in the Second World War the works over hold 50 buses each week and all of London transports 12,000 buses paid a visit every three to four years once the boss has arrived in the workshop the first job is to remove all the seat cushions being collected in a rather speedy fashion and the vehicle is then trailered to the trim shop after a thorough inspection all over all items needing attention boy placement are marked and of course noted and recorded a keen eye inspected the exterior paneling while the upper deck seek flames our check for stability with all the body repairs noted and logged the boss is moved into the next stage with this rather nifty device the boss is lifted by the front axle removed with electric powered trolley all necessary items are disconnected from the boss and bolt moved the overhead crane is steadily moved into position and the body is slowly and carefully if that chassis he's then moved along almost all the length of the workshop the massive works at Aldean employed nearly 2,000 staff and as known as the biggest undercover works repair shop anywhere in the world the whole idea of all denim was based on the artis and later the room masters having separate bodies and chassés as the bodies often took longer to repair than the chassis the original body and chassis on a vehicle will like to be reunited and instead will match drug to the next of the airline once above its allocated pit the body is carefully lowered into the place ready for further inspections oh the worn or damaged parts are removed starting with the body side panels worn tread boards removed after probably a million feet has stood a wartime and then it's the turn of the side windows that cab door can't be any good so off it comes but the main body frame is good well for another couple years at least all the worn parts are taken to the workshop and new ones made most of the workers at Alden ham was skilled craftsmen internal roof and corner panels have been affected for dents and scrapes Oh and the selection of new parts are ready to be ferried back to the boss you the chassis is overhauled in a similar systematic way to the bodies they are lined up on a production line in its line they are one Leyland and to AEC shutters the steering box is being separated into its basic components and the oil drained the column is removed and put to one side followed by the main gears from the steering box each part is then checked we worked if necessary and then we assembled the front axle is the next for inspection first it is cleaned to remove any traces of a paint rust and dirt then it's moved again this time to be checked for cracks a magnetic liquid is poured over the axle which one put on removal act will show up any cracks in the unit it is then taken back to the production line and reassembled the hub's are refitted with new king pins together with new brake shoes and drums and then take him back to the production line back on the production line this Leyland chassis is receiving a degree of detailed attention the overhauled chassis is then taken away to the paint shop the chassis is put onto a ramp which tilts to 45 degrees enabling the chassis to be sprayed silver all over all of immovable body sanctions such as the engine cover are spray painted separately back to the refurbished body which is now back on the tilting machine showing the extent of the work undertaken a new panel below the driver's cab window and two new front wheel arches can be seen then the body is lowered carefully back onto the chassis a job which calls for precise alignment in the pit underneath the balls the bolts which hold the body to the chassis are quickly fitted before any further work is undertaken the boss is taken for tests jaunt around the ordinal this is to ensure everything is working as it should and also gives the opportunity to test the brakes once the fitter has achieved a good speed the brake test meter is reset and the cue is given for a hasty stop a reading of 40 isn't bad for the brakes will probably undergo some attention later and then it's back off inside and after a look at the brakes using the pit the boss is towed to the paint preparation area here the body is washed down from top to bottom and has its advertising posters removed as the work progresses outside the inside starts to be painted the side windows are blanked off using specially made locking boards and the cab window is masked off using whitewash the completely masked boss is steadily moved through the works to the spray-painting chamber buses arrive to the Spay painting chamber on a conveyor belt which could accommodate 16 vehicles to be simultaneously given their two coats of paint once the paint has dried the many transfers which need to be honorable of applied here the distance from the beading is measured to get the transfer exactly in the right place the transfers are fitted and then the attached paper is moistened to allow it to peel off the same method is used for all the other transfers with the transfer as applied the conveyor is started and the 16 buses are taken to the next stage allowing another 16 to take their place the buses then enter the final stage of the overhaul the number plates on the RTS were actually transfers the newly refurbished seats are refitted and the now unmasked windows are cleaned to perfection next the remainder of the fixtures and fittings are attached with varnish applied and the new advertisements positioned the bosses are nearly ready again for public service they're just the final tests to on there's only the destination blinds to fit before the overhaul is complete and the boss rejoins the many thousands ant on the streets of London in October 1985 the decision was made to end the practice of overhauling bosses every four years which meant the end the old Nimbus works and its activities were transferred to the older and smaller maintenance Depot a Chyzyk the site was sold off redevelopment and is now a business park you


Bubbles DeVille · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The good old days before our country was brutalised by selfish wankers with calculators and zero empathy or pride. Look how bad things are now. Young people have been robbed of a secure future. I’m 41 and I fear for my kids being able to get a decent job and a house. Things are pretty grim thanks to dreadful politicians and greedy bankers.

Michael David · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The Routemaster is British icon and 50% of them are still on the road.

William Redfern · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

From 62 to 98,,,, in the garage Oil changeing,, then clutch engineer,, then Breakdown and recovery local and long distance (we did local service express services and road cruise )
also I did emergency and part time PSV driving,, the buses used to be old,, then we got a new fleet,, when it was easy it was easy,,but when it was hard it was rough,, the BartoN family were good,,and we were loyal,,
Thatchers changes ruined a decent company,,May she roast down below,,

Paul Coates · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

What happened to all these RTLs ..I remember the London Country ones in particular the 321 between Luton and St Albans..would i b right in saying RTLs were not to easy to maintain compared to the Routemasters?

Jack Sainthill · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Where in present day Aldenham were these works?

Jean-Marc Audirac · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Ce n' est pas un RM en "action", mais un RT(L)…
Du temps où le London Transport était une grande maison, qui maîtrisait ses produits de la table à dessin jusqu' à la réforme… Sic transit…

Nicolas Girls · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Back when factory workers spoke English.

Michael O'Keefe · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm


Alan Jefferies · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Where were the Routemasters all I saw were RTs not an RM in sight.

Robert Hewson · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Great film,thanks for posting. I much preferred the old London buses, the new ones rattle so much!
What did 25 people dislike about that?

unions100 · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

What ever happened to team work I just don’t know. This video is amazing 👍👍👍

gary09 lane · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

This and the only one other works that existed that could do work to the same standard and at the same speed as Aldenham was the Edge Lane bus Works owned by MPTE and later Merseybus. Sadly it too has met the same ending being closed in the 1990's and sold off for demolition. Its now an open space with a road running at the side. What a complete waste and so much for protecting buildings, it was a grade 2 but that meant nothing.

Aphonopelma · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Great video shows

Dangerous Dan · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Seems like a better time. Great video

derek dumbrell · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Where are the ROUTEMASTERS ??? this is just a reworked film !!!

Westcountry Yokel - Numbtie Free TV · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for the read it was really interesting cheers.

Bill Taylor · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The pride the workers took in their jobs is amazing….whichever politicians allowed Aldenham works to be closed should hang their heads in shame. Oh for a time when public service was seen as a good thing and not a drain on the rich (in this case the wealthy who would never dream of going by bus!

andicog · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

What a shame that the government don't realise that this is the most efficient and environmental way to run a vehicle, it's repaired or overhauled rather than being replaced. A new car takes more energy and causes more pollution to build initially than it will use and produce in its life. Mini turn out 1000 cars a day, if we all kept the cars we had, upgraded the engine to the latest spec every few years (as LT did with Routemasters) we would do far less harm to this planet than buying new all the time.

Michael David · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

There are no busworks in the UK that would put that amount of effort into refurbishing buses now.

Michael David · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The RT and the Routemaster were buses that were really built to last. There are quite a few in preservation.

John Doyle · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

When England was England. This site is now a business park and hotel overrun with Eastern Europeans and Pakistanis. Diabolical.

John Doyle · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Public transport should never have been privatised. We could run all these buses without immigration. The need for immigrants to run public services is a fallacy.

itcfan · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Great nostalgic film. The bus featured is NOT the Routemaster [RM], but the RT type [Regent three]. Over seven thousand were made. The privatisation of LONDON TRANSPORT buses in the 1990's was an act of vandalism and greed by the Tories.

Ivan Anderson · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

colin mutter · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

What a fabulous documentary,this should be compulsory viewing for children in all schools.Then they could see how their great and grandparents worked.

iwona jakubowska · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

rip aldenham

12 Volts · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

new -new hybrid route masters are due to be replaced by fully electric now. what a fake eco bull. where's the recharge happening on a knackered main grid? from France? ok that's nuclear then. no choice. fools.

Matthew Stamp · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Triggers broom

221120 · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

I have subbed pls sub

Phil Rudd · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The blokes that do the least work, are the ones with clipboards. And are paid a lot more. So nothing has changed, its the same now

Philip Croft · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

I've got this vid—I bet they don't employ all those skilled men today. I doubt that they still have servicing like anymore.

john jephcote · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

RT is Regent Three. (Journalists call every red bus a Routemaster)

Steve Parsons · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Shame about the music, a good informative film though : )

Ian Thompson · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Wow what a great video and insight into routemaster maintenance. I would have loved to have worked there. I have never been on a routemaster but would so love to own one. Thanks for sharing the video it was very very interesting to see how much work went into maintaining these lovely buses.

John Whittle · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Would loved to have worked there

John Whittle · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

would loved to have worked there

Land Rovings · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Makes me feel good to be British to see the pride and care the older generation took in their work and the quality of the finished busses. They looked as good as they day they were built. You never seen such dedication anymore to such things, its all slapdash and done as quick as possible. Im always seeing modern busses with their engine covers open beside a road with smoke or steam coming out. Such a shame. The RT,s and RM,s could have gone on forever if this works still existed, it actually SAVED MONEY for LT. Todays methods are, "oh just rip it out and buy a new one!"

Mehul Patel · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

plz ban muslims to yr country i never visit to there and my dream to visit there as u upbringing yr city/country i like the most

Alan Caine · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

As a kid i recall seeing the chassis's built at Park Royal (AEC) being driven to Aldenham , The driver perched on a seat, hunched over the steering wheel , totally open to the elements, wearing goggles, scarves, lagging etc etc

Alan Caine · May 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

NO ROUTEMASTERS , these are RTs or similar. Routemasters weren't introduced till 1961

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