What’s the next step in my bus bar build?

The emergency exit window comes in handy

So, after a good few days pulling out all the seating for 72 people it was time to focus on how I was going to create my bar. I knew I wanted the whole of the downstairs to be the bar area. Some conversions have a spit feature downstairs but I was very focused on over engineering this bar so that I could be used for high volume and large events.

Good decision, it paid off!!

To serve to the outside would help me retain maximum space on the inside for a bar and stock. Easy! I’ll just stick this emergency exit window (that was already on my bus) over here, find 3 more and bob’s yer uncle…..

I was very wrong….

The following information has been taken from the internet and Is extremely geeky. Anoraks at the ready!?

  1. Only 2876 Routemasters were ever built.
  2. Only 524 of those were RMLs (the long one)
  3. Only RMLs (the long one) had emergency exit windows. One per bus.
  4. Today approximately 1000 buses in total survive

The likely hood of me locating another 3 windows was looking rather poor. I did try though and after a frantic internet search, a trip to London bus and truck (Horrid people) and some very lengthy phoncalls I actually found one on Ebay. Of course it was on ebay, what isn’t!? I did have to admit to myself that I was going to have to manage with 2 windows for now. How I opened the other two windows will be covered at a later date.

There were a lot of dents….

Replacing was easier than repairing!

To make my bus bar look nice I’d have to tackle the bodywork. Having been driven around cities and the country for 40 years you can imagine there were a few issues. RML2355 is actually one of the few buses in existence that still has the same chassis and body. Check out that story HERE. They used to swap them all the time during overhauls and when being serviced or repaired. This is a cool fact but it didn’t make my situation much easier when it came to the condition of my bus.

Originally I was going to teach myself how to prepare, fill, prime and paint an aluminum surface. Luckily I was advised by the Routemaster King/good mate Tim Barrington to just replace the panels. In total I replaced 13 of them and I should’ve done more. In the final paint process this would’ve saved me a lot of time. More on that later.

 A Routemaster bus is like an old airplane. It’s a frame work with panels covering it.

RM body construction

To remove a panel, you simply take off an outer strip that’s riveted in place and the panel pops out. So simple! Some of my friends thought I was some sort of aluminum bodywork guru when actually, I simply replaced a few bits of sheet metal. Don’t tell anybody ok? I’ll look silly otherwise! ;)  Of course the curved sections of my bus are a completely different matter. They were created by professional metal workers and I was warned to leave them well alone and I was a good boy and did so.