Restoration of RLH 62 started in earnest in late August 2008.
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26 August 2008. After assessing the most urgent places to tackle first, I decided to begin at the weak point of the RLH body - the rear off side corner and rear. The corner panels were removed to see what was inside. Some of the wooden curved pieces were still in place but others had fallen out. The bottom of the steel frame uprights in this area were holed, the wooden inserts and frame pieces were either very poor or in quite good shape. I suspect that the poor wood was older material and the newer had been replaced by London Transport at the last overhaul in 1965.
Panelling was taken off at the rear exposing the inner metalwork and wooden framing. Most of the metal was in good order, slightly surface rusted but sound. The wooden ash inserts were mostly in poor condition, however some were in surprisingly good order. Note my finger in the way!!
The rear panels were removed exposing the mainly wooden frame beneath. Most of the 4x2 ash cross members had rotted out or were deteriorating. This was due to the glass and window rubber being missing from the window pan. Water had streamed down into the inside and had sat there during the winter months. The bottom panel had an American school bus type rear light and registration plate assembly fitted.
This light assembly was stripped out leaving the original fitting in place.The steel frame rail at the bottom is made of angle iron and in a very badly rusted state. The inner sheet steel panel was rusted at the bottom and holed at knee height.
27 August 2008. Having found slightly more steel frame rot than had originally been expected, I started to remove the near side corner capping at the platform. This was harder to remove than I thought it would be! The inner panel was worked on as well, but the screws had badly rusted and took some work to get out. A big hammer was found to be an invaluable help at this point!!
4 september 2008. With the rear now being open I could see what needed to be done. The rear frame piece was held on by a number of nuts and bolts, many of which had rusted out making them impossible to get a socket onto. The few that a socket would go onto either sheared off or the nuts came undone but the bolts were rusted in anyway.
A lot of grinding was needed to get this piece out. The triangular strengthener was removed from the frame upright as this had rusted out at the bottom. I fabricated a new one and it is ready to be fitted.
9 September 2008. With the rear frame removed I took a look at the curved angle iron that connected the rear offside. This too was corroded and I decided to remove this too rather than to repair it, which was a possibility as the bottom of the angle iron was still good and only the upper side had rusted through.. Some more grinding took place and the piece sucessfully removed. My next task was to remove the rotted out platform decking, using a combination of a circular saw, hammer and pry bar I got half of the platform out at the end of that work day. Whilst I was doing this the wife started to clean out the cab area, removing the last of the plastic steering wheel cover which had become badly weathered. The lugagge rack can be seen in this photograph. That was carefully removed and stored with all the other good bits. The riser can beed seen in the upper right hand corner of the photo. This unit is badly rusted inplaces and is a future replacement job. The platform grab pole was removed at this point too enabling the rest of the platform to be disassembled.
11 september 2008. The platform planks remaining were carefully photographed as these were the ones nearest to the saloon entrance and still had the hardwood floor laths screwed to them. The laths were numbered for future use as templates when new pieces are cut. With the platform removed the frame rails were exposed and were in very good condition, with only a slight surface rust on them. The riser was not in as good shape, showing another typical RLH problem.
21 september 2008. I managed to put in the new runs of angle irons along the rear and offside rear as I had hoped to do. This entailed making a new support piece at the rear end as the original one had rusted away quite badly. Once this piece was made and fitted it made the fitment of the rear angle iron quite easily and new bolts were installed and tightened up. The offside iron was fitted and secured in with a little bit of fiddling but nothing too great. The rear curve in the offside rear corner was a problem. Whether to just cut both pieces short and put in a straight angle to bridge them or try something different. I looked the the original piece of angle iron and found that the bottom surface was still good metal with only the upright piece having deterioratedd. I cut the back piece away and cleaned up the remainder. I then measured it out and jigged up this piece with the two new angle irons and welded it in. Then using a piece of strip steel I bent into shape I welded that onto the original and made a new curved upright. Once I finished it with the grinder and painted it I was pretty happy with the result. The rest of the plaform frame, uprights and chassis was then painted with red oxide paint.
New corner frame fitted and painted
The rear frame fitted and painted. compare that with the 4 September photo. Note the new triangular support fabricated using the original poor one as a template.
Platform framing cleaned, descaled and primed with red oxide paint. The riser marked with the chalk 'X's is to be removed in the coming months.
26 October 2008. Well not much in the way of updates for the last month, mainly due to me being in class at work. Though saying that I did remove one of the trafficator 'ears' and rebuilt it, cleaning all of the intenal elctrical contacts, installing new runner ball swivel and wiring. I got new 2BAx3/4 inch 'Cheesehead' screws from 'British Metrics' here in Westminster. They are just down the road and run by ex-pat Brits. So they know what I'm talking about when I bring in strange sized screws for them to size up and get me new ones.
I removed all of the seats squabs and cushions in the downstairs saloon also. So there are just bare seat frames in situ now. When I was taking out the cushions in the transverse bank seats (above the rear wheel arches) I looked in the voids below the bases and found a multitude of stuff. Mostly nasty but a few gems. This included a couple of Route 230 bus tickets. These are the first ones I can read as most I have found are too brittle as the paper has degraded due to the acid content or the ink has faded. I also found a toffee wrapper and part of a Sainsbury's receipt for 1 s -6 1/2 d, dated 15 October 1968 from the High Street, Wealdstone, store.
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Attached to the seats were more of the Cricklewood Requistion labels for the seat cushions and backs.
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