AEC Routemaster a long way from home

One of my blog readers sent me a couple of photos of a mystery bus, now operating in New Zealand.

Routemaster-in-New-Zealand-1

Ray Bounsall emigrated to Australia many years ago but originally hailed from Somerset. He and his wife were on holiday in New Zealand recently and were amazed to see this RML in Christchurch. Ray managed to fire off a couple of photos as the bus passed by and has given me permission to post them here. The bus retains its London blinds but has lost its UK registration number. Any fleet number it may have carried is also missing so, which bus is it?

Routemaster-in-New-Zealand-3

Some quick net research reveals that the mystery bus is in fact 1967-built RML2724 (originally registered SMK724F) and was exported to New Zealand in 2005. It is now operated by Hassle-Free Tours in Christchurch and is one of three ex-London Transport Routemasters in their fleet.

During their visit to Christchurch, Mr & Mrs Bounsall saw much evidence of the terrible earthquake that rocked the city a few years ago. “By the way, whatever you may have seen on the telly when Christchurch was hit by the massive earthquake in 2011 is only a shadow of the real damage done. The centre of this beautiful city has had its heart ripped out and 4 years on, there is still a lot of rebuilding to be undertaken. If the LT AEC had been driving around 4 years earlier it could have been mistaken for a post WW2 war era. It was like it had been blitzed.”

Ray also says that he thought he recognised the driver of the Routemaster. “Looks like you driving, were you having a busman’s holiday?”

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One comment on “AEC Routemaster a long way from home

  1. Ray says:

    Hi John,

    What a great tale you weave out of a couple of pics and a few words on my part. Very well done.

    We are from Bristol actually, but Zummerzet is close enough J

    Cheers

    Ray

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