The latest technology has been retrofitted to a 1962 double decker Routemaster to make it the oldest vehicle to gain low emission bus certification in the UK.

A Cummins ISB 4.50-litre Euro VI compliant engine has been mated with Allison’s fully automated T2100 with the latest fuel saving technology in the Routemaster bearing the chassis number RM1005.

Owner Sir Peter Hendy, CBE is the current chairman of Network Rail and former commissioner of Transport for London. He says the conversion of his privately owned bus is a demonstration of the viability of updating hardware.

“This conversion demonstrates that it is a viable economic proposition to update old buses and goods vehicles with modern engines and transmissions to keep them meeting the demands for better pollution control and better air quality,” said Sir Hendy.

“Since fitting the Allison transmission, it’s been a huge success. We got good fuel consumption after first changing the engine, but not as good as we’d hoped considering how light the Routemaster is.

“That’s when I realised we could get a much better result with a modern transmission that matches the engine. Now, as well as giving good fuel consumption, it’s an absolute dream to drive. It’s really smooth, changes gear easily, and has a high speed range the original never had. It shows how far modern engine and transmission technologies have progressed.”

With London bringing in Ultra-Low Emission Zone standards from April 2019, the conversion will make the Routemaster exempt from the $AUD17 surcharge for failing to meet the strict new standards.

Nearly 2,900 Routemasters were built beween 1954 and 1968 with the final one pulled from general service in 2005. It is considered one of the top 10 British designs alongside Concorde, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Mini, the London tube map, and the K2 telephone box.

Approximately 1,200 of the iconic buses still exist, with 10 currently uses as a tourist attraction on London Buses’ ‘heritage route’ between Tower Hill and Trafalgar Square.

The low emission bus standard was introduced in 2015 by the Department of Transport as a key part of the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UK bus fleets and to improve local air quality.

To gain the certification, a bus must achieve a reduction of more than 15 percent in well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions (methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) compared with a Euro 5 diesel bus and must meet the Euro 6 engine standard in other emissions.