Who designed London’s classic red double-decker bus?
The famous Routemaster bus was developed by London Transport working with AEC Ltd and Park Royal Vehicles Ltd. It went into service in 1956. Bill Durrant, Eric Ottaway and a team of engineers aimed to produce a standardised design that could be easily maintained. The design was based on engineering principles developed during wartime aircraft production and represented a huge step forward from earlier vehicles. The lightweight aluminium body had no separate chassis and fully interchangeable parts for easy maintenance. Other features included independent front suspension, coil springs, power hydraulic brakes, an automatic gearbox and power-assisted steering.
Offering capacity with comfort in a vehicle designed for London’s streets, it was intended to last 15 years, but carried on for nearly 50. A total of 2,760 vehicles were produced from 1958–68 and they ran in regular services until 2005. You can still travel on a Routemaster in Central London on two Heritage services over parts of routes 9 and 15.