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The London MB and SM Buses - A London Bus Disappointment (Hardback)

Photographic Books Transport > Buses

By Jim Blake
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 184
Illustrations: 250 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399034791
Published: 30th May 2024

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PURCHASED to replace London Transport's ageing RT-type fleet, and also to ease staff shortages by extending one-man operation, the MB-types were not only a disappointment, but an unmitigated disaster! Their successors, the SM-types, were if anything worse, being underpowered as well as equally unsuitable for London operation.

In this new volume of his photos, Jim Blake takes a critical look at what were therefore some of the most unsuccessful buses ever operated by London Transport, operating only between 1966 and 1981, most of them however achieving only six or seven years' service - if that.

Most of the pictures featured have never been published before and many show rare and unusual scenes, several inside LT's garages and Aldenham Works, now themselves no longer in existence. In addition to the buses themselves, Jim also catches glimpses of London life spanning the period from the "swinging 'sixties" to the harsh first years of the Thatcher regime.

The MB and SM family of vehicles also saw service with London Country, the latter being delivered new to them - but they fared just as badly in the outlying countryside around London as in Central London. They brought to a sad end London Transport's long association with A.E.C. buses, and could not have been more different from the legendary, long-lived RT, RF and Routemaster classes produced by that manufacturer!

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 Jim Blake

About Jim Blake

JIM BLAKE was born in December 1947 and brought up in Islington, North London. As did most young lads then, he soon developed an interest in railways, but also London's trams, trolleybuses and buses since North London's last two tram routes ran near his home, at the heart of London Transport's trolleybus system. His interest developed into transport photography in 1961 and he took over 100,000 photos before retiring his cameras in 2015. He still lives in North London today.

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