RT1206 is a 56-seat double-deck London bus built by AEC for London Transport and she entered service with them in August 1949. The RT class based on the AEC Regent III chassis was conceived before the Second World War and production commenced in August 1939. However the outbreak of war meant that only 150 were delivered. The first post-war batch entered service in 1948. Over 7000 RTs were built for London Transport, 4825 by AEC, and the last being in 1954 when their successor, the AEC Routemaster, was already at prototype stage.
In service in the 1950s
When new, RT1206 was allocated to Elmers End Garage, and operated from there until January 1954 when she was given her first major overhaul. Following this she was allocated to Croydon Garage, then later New Cross Garage in November 1956. In February 1958 she had her second major overhaul, when she exchanged her original Saunders body for one built by Park Royal. After this overhaul she was given first to Peckham Garage, then Brixton almost immediately. In March 1962 RT1206 was sent for overhaul again, and although the Park Royal body was overhauled and re-used on another chassis straight away, RT1206’ chassis seems to have been left body-less as a works float for over a year. However in June 1963 she re-entered service with newly overhauled body built by Weymann, operating from Hanwell Garage, then a month later re-allocated to Edgware where she ran from for almost five years. In March 1968 RT1206 went for her fourth (and last) major overhaul in LT service, and was united with Weymann body 7033, which she still carries today. This body was new in July 1951, and was used on four RT chassis prior to RT1206.
RT1206 (on right) in LT Aldenham Works for overhaul, 1958
Following this latest overhaul RT1206 was sent to Wandsworth Garage, and subsequently operated out of Holloway, Upton Park and Harrow Weald Garages until she was finally withdrawn from service at the age of 27 in June 1976. Nevertheless she remained in LT ownership until February 1977 when she was sold.
As Lesney staff bus c. 1980
Her first new owner was Lesney Products of Hackney, East London, makers of Matchbox toys, who used RT1206 as a staff bus for over six years. Subsequently she has been in the hands of various private owners, until given to Ensignbus of Purfleet in part exchange for a Routemaster. In January 2006 she was purchased by the RT1206 Preservation Group, and a new chapter in her story begins.