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They had semi automatic gearboxes and AEC AV 590 engines, but were geared for 70 mph running with trailers on the M4 motorway, which would surely not be allowed today.Marshall constructed 88 luggage trailers so that the buses would not suffer luggage loading/unloading delays at the terminals.The BEA Routemasters were fitted with AV690 175 bhp engines. Joe, Regarding a van: I was working in Cork in 1975 when the hotel was invaded by by a C. As they all had about 5 large suitcases, the coach was accompanied by a C. The shorter version of the RM was chosen as BEA Tridents, Vanguards and 1-11s in service by the late 1960s had seating capacities between 100 and 135.In my opinion, these vehicles were the right ones for the job. One summer, I drove for a major London Operator – a cruise transfer from Central London to the Liner at the coast. Based on experience of the split between passengers checking in at the airport and those using Cromwell Rd, 56 seats was deemed to be the most viable option allowing room inside for hand baggage.A mechanic (and also an enthusiast) at Halifax Corporation with first hand experience of dealing with their five Lolines once wrote a piece in the local bus club’s newsletter (and I am taking the liberty of quoting him here): "The transmission was unusual in that there was a transfer box at the rear of the engine which altered the rotation of the propellor shaft and gearbox, but allowed the propellor shaft to run along the chassis side, thus permitting a low floor level.The Dennis mechanic from their Manchester service depot spent so much time at Skircoat Garage that it began to be said he was on the payroll.
In 1961 an evaluation of the practicability of employing double deckers for the job was undertaken, initially using AEC Regent V, 220 CXK fitted with a Park Royal H38/17F body, the limited lower deck capacity arising from its adaptation to accommodate luggage in the rear portion.
The Routemasters were delivered and initially operated in the traditional airline livery of blue and white, but, in 1969 the emerging distressing vogue for the use of orange in bus liveries gravely infected the BEA fleet.
Mercifully, the merger of BEA and BOAC into British Airways in September 1973 saw the consignment of the execrable orange to oblivion with the restoration of a blue /white livery.
Unlike BEA, operations were not subcontracted to London Transport.
We have to remember the vogue for these colours in the 70’s- bright and striking and definitely non-traditional- a reaction against formal "liveries". What does seem naff is the choice of vehicle- high floor with perhaps a noisy transmission and speeds for which it was not really designed- with trailer!