RT 1702 Festival of Britain Bus

RT 1702. KYY 529 The last remaining of the four Festival buses.
On private hire in Bexleyheath, on the occasion of  Stagecoach taking over running the 96 route. The route number 696 harks back to the trollybus service which preceded the 96 bus. February 1999
Photo. Martyn  Nicholls
This is the last of the four Festival of Britain Buses which toured Europe for several months in 1950. The purpose to promote the festival. 

The buses left on 28 July 1950 and arrived back on 30 October. After covering 4,000 miles, touring Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and France. Three of the vehicles had been turned into exhibition centres. One had an information centre laid out in the lower deck. The fourth bus was used to carry spares and staff. Whilst on tour the buses received 122,000 visitors. 

After the festival closed the buses were converted back to working buses with notable exceptions. On the upper and lower saloons a plaque was affixed as a reminder of their journey, and at the rear of the vehicles was a GB plate. 


One by one the buses were withdrawn and disposed of. When it came to RT 1702s turn in 1972 a group of enthusiasts from Catford Garage bought the bus and fully restored her to keep for posterity. it has been used for many events and rallies up and down the country, including a static display outside the V & A musuem during the duration of the 'A Tonic to the Nation Exhibition there in 1976-77. It was on display in the 'Dome' for the year 2000. 

Photo. Martyn  Nicholls

For more on the special services introduced for the Festival of Britain South Bank Exhibition in 1951,

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