A.E.C Routemaster

編號 Class:1-3

巴士租賃是城巴其中一個主要經營業務,當中雙層開蓬巴士更是最受歡迎。在城巴租賃巴士車隊中,以來自倫敦的A.E.C Routemaster最為特別。

城巴共購入四架Routemaster,全數是標準長度,長27呎(八點四米)的RM型號。早於八十年代初,倫敦運輸局看準國內對公共交通需求,為這批即將退役的巴士尋找出路,於是安排兩架Routemaster(RM1288及1873)於一九八四年到達香港,準備轉運到中國大陸試行。當中RM1288由城巴管理,雖然原有Park Royal車身被保留,來港前已經作出改裝,以迎合內地交通環境,至於RM1873則由中巴管理及保養,而到港時仍然維持在英國服役時模樣,兩車隨後被安排一同參與一個「英國展覽會」。

在這個展覽會之後,RM1288先被安排北上深圳及廣州作試驗行走,而RM1873則待在中巴車廠內。當RM1288完成試驗返港之後,RM1873亦被安排一併由城巴管理,並作出被改裝以適合國內行走,包括尾門改設於右邊,相應樓梯由右邊改放於左邊,以及開放式上下車平台,改成一前一後的閘門,而這個改動亦追加到RM1288上,在作出這些改動之後,兩車原裝的Park Royal車身外貌仍然得以保留。一九八五年年尾兩架Routemaster被安排於深圳及廣州行走,而RM1873更以一身城巴車隊色彩由香港開往北京去,雖然路途遙遠,但兩車於旅途中未有遇到任何麻煩。兩車完成向國內推介雙層巴士任務後,到一九八六年年初返回香港,並正式被城巴購入。

RM1288於返港後,於一九八九年被城巴改裝成一架古典開蓬巴士,除了成為城巴1號車之外,並獲得一個古老車牌HK1931。1有著重要意義,RM1288是城巴車隊中車齡最大,稱得上是城巴中的大阿哥,所以說它是城巴一哥絕對是當之無愧。在改裝成開蓬巴士同時,1號車伴以深藍色為主的車身顏色,同時被冠上一個特別的名字,「Auntie Nora」,直到早年,HK1931才改為披上城巴標準色彩 。在被鬆上城巴標準色彩初期,1號車曾被安排行走於尖沙咀碼頭及半島酒店之間,為酒店住客提供接駁天星小輪之服務,城巴於二零零九年再被鬆上以紅色為主,襯以忌廉色的車身色彩,到目前為止1號車雖然仍有用於出租服務,但相對其他租貸車隊成員,它在路面的曝光率是最少。

至於RM1873, 則於稍後時間,大約在一九九零年秋季於城巴荃灣車廠完成改裝,成為2號車,並獲配ES4007之車牌。2號車初期是以三十年代英國巴士款式出現,仍然保留有車頂,但上層兩邊車窗均被拆除,但兩年後,車頂被移去,成為開蓬巴士。跟1號車一樣,初期2號車披上紅色為主的色彩,但隨後亦被翻鬆成標準色彩。2號車於二零零一年退役之後一直保留於車廠,成為了1號車的零件供應來源。由於城巴位於火炭新竹街車場用地,因被政府收回而需搬遷至西九龍,2號車相信已經被出售,並已經拆毀。

至於3號車(EZ8347)則是城巴在一九九一年由蘇格蘭 Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd 購入,在倫敦服役時編號為RM1703,骨子裡是一架一九六三年製造的Routemaster。在到港初期,不但其原裝Park Royal車身保持完好, 連它於蘇格蘭服役時色彩也被保留下來。直到九二年年中與2號車一併改裝作開蓬巴士,但不同是,除了上層,整個車身仍然保留原有設計,而在披上山頂纜車接駁服務色彩之後,便服務於接駁花園道纜車站及天星碼頭路線,直到被另一架利蘭奧林比安開蓬巴士(17)取代為止,而3號車最終於一九九九年退役及拆毀,是三台載客Routemaster中服役時間最短。最後的一台城巴Routemaste同樣來自蘇格蘭Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd ,倫敦服役時編號為RM870,亦是四架Routemaster中最舊,於一九六一年出廠,可惜由於到港時車齡太高,未能通過運輸處要求出牌,最後被停放於火炭車場作為零件車,最後於一九九三年被拆毀。

最後,如果大家有幸看過1號車的行車証,會發現這台當年編號RM1288的Routemaster製造年份是一九六四年,而非網上或其他書藉所說的一九六二年,這是源於當年倫敦運輸局的修車制度,車身及底盤是分開各自進行大修,故當車身及底盤各自完成維修程序,有機會裝到另一個車身或底盤後繼續服役,而相關編號亦因而會移到另一架巴士身上。

One of the important business sector in City Bus is the bus hiring service especially the open-top double decker. Those A.E.C Routemasters are the most outstanding in the fleet. Totally, there are four standard length (27 ft.. long and LT-class, RM) A.E.C. Routemaster bodied by Park Royal acquired between 1986 and 1991.

Fleet no. 1 and 2 , RM1288 and 1873 respectively, both initially as demonstrator for double decker served in the mainland in early 80s. They were as an exhibit in "UK exhibition" in 1984 after delivered to Hong Kong with RM1873 under the care of CMB with it original bodywork retained as served in London. While RM1288, already undergone conversion with relocation of the platform and staircase for suitable running in the mainland China and kept by City Bus. RM1288 started it trial run in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and RM1873 kept at CMB depot after the exhibition.

When RM1288 backed from China, both of them were managed by City Bus and further conversion works were carried out. Instead of the the staircase on RM1873 was converted for left-hand side driving operation in China, the open-platform on both Routemaster were fitted with door and an additional door was place at the front. In the end of 1985, this pair of Routemaster was trial run in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and RM1873 even running from Hong Kong to the capital Beijing with City Bus livery. They performed well during the promotion and finally went back to Hong Kong in early 1986 and bought by City Bus.

RM1288 was converted into open-top in 1989. The original bodywork was changed into 1930s designed and painted with deep blue colour livery. RM1288 was classed as No.1 in City Bus after registered as HK1931 and named as "Auntie Nora". In fact, RM1873 is the oldest bus in City Bus and No.1 can be represented the meaning of the oldest in Chinese. No. 1 was repainted with the standard City Bus livery and once as a resident shuttle bus between Peninsula Hotel and Star Ferry, Tsim Sha Tsui. City Bus repainted No. 1 with red and creamy livery in 2009. At present, though is a rare sight for observing No.1 on the road as other members in bus hiring fleet, it still use on the bus hiring service.

In 1990, City Bus completed the conversion works on RM1873, with a 1930s vintage look, at Tsuen Wan depot and numbered as No. 2 with registration number ES4007. The roof of No. 2 was first retained painted with livery mainly in red colour. The roof of No. 2 was finally removed in 1992 to become a fully open-top double decker as No. 1. It was then repainted with standard City Bus livery and finally withdrawn in 2001 as parts reserve for No.1. No.2 was kept in Fo Tan depot until the closure of the depot and was believed to be scrapped.

City Bus introduced two more Routemasters in 1991 from Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. RM1703, later become No.3 in City Bus, was manufactured in 1963 and registered as EZ8347 with it original Park Royal bodywork together with the livery of Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. It was converted to open-top with it roof removed only in 1992. No. 3 was deployed on the feeder service between Peak Tram Station in Garden Road and Star Ferry, Central before replaced by a Leyland Olympian open-top (No.17) later. No.3 was finally scrapped after withdrawal in 1999 and it was the most short-lived Routemaster among the three serving in City Bus. Another Routemaster from Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, RM870 in London Transport and entered service in 1961, is the oldest Routemaster City Bus acquired. It was never registered as failed to pass the examination imposed by the Transport Department and used as parts reserve until demolished in 1993.

Finally, you may find that the manufactured year of No.1 is 1964 as written on it license, unmatched with the record that it was manufactured in 1962 as other record stated in the internet or written materials. This is related to a past practice of London Transport with their fleet can be overhauled separately. Different bodyworks and chassis can be combined together once overhaul completed with another fleet number when backed to service.

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車隊編號/車牌 Fleet No./Registration No.: 1/HK1931

 


車隊編號/車牌 Fleet No./Registration No.: 2/ES4007

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