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So it seems that I may have got my wires crossed with my previous suggestion.I confess to have not thought about this feature before, but I cannot recall ever noting a bus of the RF, RT or RM family in service without those smart rear wheel trims.The trims were a tight fit around the wheel rim so if the spring failed the disk would initially stay in place by centrifugal force.A change in speed or an uneven road surface would, eventually, dislodge the trim but with LT’s vehicles engines governed to low speeds and, even in the country areas, slow traffic, I just wonder what speeds could be attained to have the trim fly off so as to cause injury.I’ve just had a look through Ken Blacker’s book ‘RT’ (Capital Transport,1979) and he states that ‘in November 1971 the order went out to garages to remove the discs.and their retaining brackets from the rear wheels of all vehicles….reason given was economy…..Then came the new broom of NBC, like many other depots, vehicles were swapped between fleets, with some going from one end of the country to the other, to slightly misquote Oscar Wilde, the accountants "knew the price of everything and the value of nothing" corners were cut to try and save money, I.e.
Whilst it was a long while before wheel nut indicators etc., instances of loose wheels on large vehicles were not uncommon – I saw three trucks lose wheels on the M1 in a two month period in 1967 – and a stricter inspection regime than previously was put into place by many operators of large vehicles.From 1967 to 1975, I worked at NGT’s Percy Main Depot ‘Tynemouth & Wakefields’ like most depots within the group they set themselves very high standards, vehicles were meticulously maintained, and after their weekly checks they were thoroughly cleaned from top to toe, this was in addition to the nightly excursion through the wash and the overnight sweep out.Pride in the fleet was still something to be encouraged, and this was reflected in the vehicle turn out, minor damage was repaired quickly, and wheel trims were always replaced after maintenance checks.No doubt wheel trims were seen as a superfluous irrelevance.The Country Bus and Coach department, which was handed over to the National Bus Company, had no obligation to follow the same path.And – whilst on wheels – how different (and awful) are/were AECs and Leylands running without their nuts-rings on the front wheels! With the covers it was harder to see if the wheel(s) was falling off. I seem to remember reading somewhere (though please correct me if I’m wrong) that a rear wheel trim disc once came off an LT bus whilst at speed and caused someone a serious injury, resulting in their immediate removal from the entire fleet.