A Saunders RT

The body of RT1396 was one of a batch built by Saunders in 1949-50 at their premises on Anglesey.

It is a roof-box RT. These were prone to damage from low branches, so London Transport later changed their minds, and later RTs did not have roof-boxes.

Compared to other body types such as Weymann and Park-Royall, RTs with Saunders bodies are not common, and RT1396 is therefore well worth preserving.

The engine is made by AEC, and is 9.6 litre, 6-cylinder diesel.

In-service History

[to be provided]


In 2000 I suddenly started to have fuel blockage problems - the bus would start fine, go for several miles, then suddenly the engine would cut out. I suspected a blockage in the diesel supply; A mechanic friend of mine was called in to assist and examined the fuel pump - apparently nothing wrong there. The problem appeared to be in picking up the fuel from the tank.

Since I had already decided the time had come to remove some of the side panels and inspect the state of the timber in the frame, I removed the beading and panels round the fuel tank, drained the tank of diesel and (with some difficulty) removed it from the bus. I then took it to the local village blacksmith (yes, we still have one), and left it with him.

After 2 weeks and some chasing from me, he removed the covers from the tank, and inspected the inside. Later he showed me what he had found - a coke tin, pebbles, a disintegrating paper bag and several sweet wrappers! It was clearly these latter that had caused the problem, wrapping themselves round the fuel intake. He charged me a modest £15.

I took the opportunity to repaint the tank with a red oxide paint, then refitted it to the bus. Fuel problem completely solved! I then continued with the removal of nearside panels, cleaning and priming the frame and replacing timber which was mostly decayed. This gave me a good opportunity to study the Saunders frame which is very different from Weymann, Park-Royal construction (photos below).



Click on any photo for a full-size version

On route 92 Hammersmith Wards
  In service on route 92 In service on route 71 At Wards of Epping
  with stable-mate Under the covers Panel closeup
  With stablemate A first look under the covers Frame re-painted
  Grandson Oscar takes the wheel    

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Material Copyright © 2002 John Braga