In 1985, a new bus company, a subsidiary of the Scottish Bus Group, called Clydeside Scottish was formed in advance of the deregulation of the bus industry in Britain. Facing the challenge of competition in enfrewshire, Inverclyde and Glasgow, the company tested a number of strategies to deal with the changing environment.
This included trials with London Routemaster buses which we being withdrawn after over 20 years’ service in the capital. The first to come to Clydeside was RM652 which was tested across the network and was also present at an open day in Paisley garage.
The trials were a success and many more Routemasters moved north of the border. As part of a marketing campaign to promote the new company and the introduction of RMs, a booklet was published, aimed at children, called "Rodney the Routemaster Comes to Town". RM652 was formally named "Rodney" whilst later other RMs in the fleet were given names, usually starting with "R".
Subsequently Rodney had something of a charmed life becoming a training bus before passing to a breaker
in Barnsley. It was purchased by a farmer in Etwall, Derbyshire and it came to the notice of George Watson, the former General Manager of Clydeside Scottish, who purchased it and used it on occasional tours in the Peak District as well as transport for the Sheffield Student Games. Subsequently it moved from Sheffield back to Scotland, then Nottingham before returning to London via Marshalls of Cambridge where it received a major overhaul to the new TfL specification.
These days Rodney is part of the TfL heritage fleet, in the custody of Stagecoach East London Buses and works regularly on service 15 between Tower Hill and Trafalgar Square.
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