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Original Text (Annotation: EPR000316 / 1377557)

' No 153 bus. Route: West Hampstead - Plumstead Common, LT style, 6-wheeler vehicle. In 1929 AEC introduced a new range of chassis, that the London General Omnibus Company adopted as its standards: the 27ft six-wheeled Renown (LT); the 25ft four-wheeled Regent (ST): and the 26ft single decker Regal (T) (all legal maximum lengths in the capital at that time.) The Renown in a longer form also became available for single deckers, the LTL class, that were numbered in the LT series. The use of a six-wheel chassis came from the London bus company's wish to pack in as many passengers as possible, within the legal constraints on length, weight and axle loading imposed by the Metropolitan Police and the Traffic Commissioner. That only 54 (or 60 in the production run) could be seated in a vehicle a foot longer than an RT or a Routemaster was a consequence of the severe weight limits then imposed. The Traffic Commissioner would not let such long vehicles go everywhere either, and imposed considerable restraints on the routes they were allowed on, so many routes were limited to the 50-seater STs. (It was a long time before deregulation and 36 foot buses!). At the start they had petrol engines, but experiments with diesel engines soon convinced London Transport that this was the way to go with the LT class. A conversion programme in 1934 saw many of the LTs converted, with their petrol engines going to new STL buses. Most of the remaining double-deckers were converted in 1939 and 1940 but a substantial number retained petrol engines to the end of their days, including nearly all the open staircase variety. These should have been replaced by new RTs in 1940, but the war delayed this programme. So it was still possible after the war to travel in central London on an open-staircase petrol-engined bus: but not for long! '