Author Topic: New Routemaster  (Read 3950 times)

Offline Jeremy

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New Routemaster
« on: May 19, 2010, 12:06:34 PM »
For the last couple of years there has been a design competition running for a new Routemaster bus. The results were announced a couple of days ago - see this article for the winning design:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8685486.stm


I've just done some Googling and found some of the other entries in the competition:

















And finally....my favourite...









Jeremy
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Offline Iceni John

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 04:35:13 PM »
Oh dear!
H4 looks like a side character from Thomas the Tank Engine, or maybe from that Cars film full of cloying Disneyesque anthropomorphicization (how's that for a Scrabble-winning word?).
As soon as some yobbo throws a brick through Clapham 137's windshield it will be scrapped, because it will cost too much to replace that piece of glass.   Love those cool Iridium Blue headlights, just like on some chav's Ricer racer.
137 looks like some unholy alliance between Neoplan (sorry, Sean) and a Fiat Multipla.   Why the low-profile tires  -  methinks 30-series rubber on a bus may not be too smart.
And they get worse . . .   11 reminds me of the cow-catchers on old American steam locomotives.   Maybe it will gently scoop up errant pedestrians instead of splatting them.
19 is just too redolent of the old electric trolley buses.   What's up with the crushed-in upper window pillars  -  has it already hit a low overbridge?
12 is the only bus that looks like it would work.   Not least of all, it looks like a real Routemaster, not some adolescent's doodling.   Even the wheel hubs look like they're made by AEC.
What was 521's designer smoking?   Whatever it was, I want some too.   Citroen 2CV meets all-wheel-steering semi truck.   Wow!   It's nice that tall passengers have their own special area up front:  how thoughtful.   Is that a poster of Einstein on the right rear flank?   If so, is it any wonder he looks like he's puking, or at least sticking his tongue out at the world at large, because he knows he's associated with this automotive crime against nature.   Just imagine the failure mode of the steering  -   this bus could single-handedly take out an entire roadway of cars if it all went horribly wrong.   Also, if the outside mirrors are fixed to the bus's abdomen, how well do they work when going round corners, or crabbing, or however this strange contraption proceeds down the road?

The original Routemaster was (still is?) the ideal bus for London.   Simple, lightweight, easy to service, comfortable, good to drive, liked by everyone.   When an example of industrial design is simply so right, don't try to reinvent the wheel.   Let's hope that common sense prevails, and the eventual winner will be a real proven design and not an expensive leap backwards (such as every successor to the Routemaster has turned out to be).

John

Oops, I didn't read the BBC article first, saying that Aston-Martin has won.   Their design looks promising, even if somewhat self-consciously trendy.   How well will it age?   Will it look as timeless in fifty years as the RM looks now?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 07:29:10 PM by Iceni John »
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Offline Ed Hackenbruch

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 05:29:10 PM »
Biggest problem that i can see with all of them is that they put the steering wheel on the wrong side!   ;D
Used to own a 1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.

Offline Lee Bradley

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 05:32:56 PM »
No bendy buses? Top Gear guys thought highly of them.

Offline buswarrior

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 06:13:27 PM »
Top Gear guys don't have to maintain a bendy bus.

Maintenance costs per mile are high.

They only make sense if there is that kind of natural crushing need for capacity.

Services that fabricated the needed capacity by extending schedules pay dearly in higher costs per passenger mile, and risk the passenger goodwill as extended headways and a packed bus harm loyalty.

stacking them still makes sense.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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Online bevans6

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 07:18:17 PM »
I love the Routemasters.  I love the transport museum in Covent Garden.  I love Top Gear, it is my favourite TV show (on 6 days a week now, I watch 7 and 8 year old shows everyday at 5 pm with my first libation...)  Top gear hates bendy buses.  They had the Mayor of London on and made him promise to get rid of the bendy buses, then had him on again when he failed in his  promise (hence the famous bus test on the rally cross track, see YouTube for details).

One of my favourite days recently was in London, at Victoria Station, at the bus terminal watching the ultra modern intercity buses working the London traffic in and out.   Amazing. 

Brian



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Offline Lee Bradley

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 09:23:44 PM »
Brian,
Did you see the Sunday Dilbert?  It had a nod to TG.

Offline Jeremy

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 02:42:09 AM »
The original Routemaster was (still is?) the ideal bus for London.   Simple, lightweight, easy to service, comfortable, good to drive, liked by everyone.   When an example of industrial design is simply so right, don't try to reinvent the wheel.  

John


I think that's exactly right, and it is a fact that the Routemaster has survived far, far longer than originally intended; I saw a program once about how they had each been completely rebuilt several times, while supposeably newer and better designs were simply being scrapped when they began to wear out.

The world does move on, though, and as well as people getting bigger and speeds getting faster, buses now need to be safer, more accessible, cleaner and so on - so it's inevitable that attempts are made to introduce new designs. The design that's been chosen is certainly impressive and has some innovative features (eg three doors and two staircases) - it is a shame though that the styling is so 'modern' - it's hard to believe that it won't date quickly, and go the way of all those other modern buses which were scrapped rather than rebuilt. I know that the current trend for 'retro' car designs is often pilloried, but I can't help thinking that a bus with a 'retro Routemaster' appearance would have been a smarter and safer bet. Especially as that other iconic London design - the black cab - was replaced with a 'retro' design several years ago, apparently with great success - so doing the same with the Routemaster seems logical. I particularly like third design ('137 Oxford Circus') in this respect - ultra modern, but with enough styling clues for those Japanese and American tourists to instantly recognise what it's meant to be.

Shown below is the new London taxi / black cab (neither exclusive to London or exclusively black, incidentally). This design has been around for a while now - notice two generations of the 'new' design in the photo, with the newer one being three years old:




Jeremy
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Offline Jeremy

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2011, 06:23:32 AM »
Just thought I would update this topic with some photos of the new Routemaster. Have to admit that the styling has yet to grow on me:







Jeremy

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Offline belfert

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011, 08:21:36 AM »
Isn't there a huge liability issue with allowing bus riders to hop on and off a platform like that?

According to the article it appears one of the primary reasons the old Routemasters are not still on the road is lack of handicap accessibility.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline CrabbyMilton

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2011, 09:22:47 AM »
Looks like quite a handsome monster. Seems to me though that there have been a few generations of "Routemasters" since the one that came out in the 1960's. Here in America, the VAN HOOL T925 double decker is from what I can tell doing well with no problem about people riding upstairs.

Offline Jeremy

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2011, 09:54:21 AM »
I think the term 'Routemaster' has become genericized in many people's minds to refer to any red double-decker bus, whereas of course it was the name of a specific vehicle, and until now had not been used again. I expect the name is the property of London Transport themselves, rather than belonging to any bus manufacturer.

Irregardless of the styling, it will certainly be good if we see fleets of these new Routemasters scooting about London next year, ferrying people to and from the Olympic venues. They are hybrids, with a 4-cylinder Cummins diesel and a big Lithium-Ion battery pack driving Siemens electric motors. Apparently they mostly run on pure electric power in urban areas.

The liability issues of the open platform is a good point. I believe the original Routemaster was the only bus to ever use the open platform, and that more than anything else it was that feature which passengers wanted to see re-introduced. The operators have obviously decided that it is still viable in this litigious age, but I expect they gave it some serious thought.

Jeremy

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Online bevans6

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 11:06:14 AM »
England isn't nearly as litigious as the US is.  There is probably a firm principle in law there that if you use the platform you are deemed to have accepted the risk.  Nice looking bus, I thought.  I love watching buses over there.

Brian
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Offline Oonrahnjay

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 11:18:50 AM »
(snip)   I believe the original Routemaster was the only bus to ever use the open platform,  (snip)

Jeremy, didn't buses that were prior to the RM use the open platform -- buses like the AEC RT, contemporary Leylands, Guy Arabs, and at least some LoDekkas?  Not that it really matters -- the platform is certainly iconic of the RouteMasters -- but it was in use back to the horse-drawn omni-bus charabancs of the late 1800's. 
Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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Offline Jeremy

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Re: New Routemaster
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2011, 11:54:09 AM »
Jeremy, didn't buses that were prior to the RM use the open platform -- buses like the AEC RT, contemporary Leylands, Guy Arabs, and at least some LoDekkas?  Not that it really matters -- the platform is certainly iconic of the RouteMasters -- but it was in use back to the horse-drawn omni-bus charabancs of the late 1800's. 

Yes, you're quite right. Mr Google has plenty of pictures of non-Routemasters with the open platform.










Jeremy
A shameless plug for my business - visit www.magazineexchange.co.uk for back issue magazines - thousands of titles covering cars, motorbikes, aircraft, railways, boats, modelling etc. You'll find lots of interest, although not much covering American buses sadly.