RT3236: the ravages of a harsh climate
After two years in the Australian sun, RT3236 looks decidedly sick and sorry, but in fact was (and still is) in sound condition. Only the paintwork suffered.
It was interesting and frightening to learn that paint formulations vary a great deal to cope with different climate conditions. In this case, the English paint "gave up the ghost" in a very determined fashion in a comparatively short period of time. Paint that had gripped the metal for many years, literally "let go" and left bare aluminium showing.
This bare metal phenomenon was also the experience of T499, recently discovered on a farm in Western Australia!
Another London Transport practice that doesn't suit hot climates is the applying of a coat of lacquer over panels containing the fleet logo. You can see in the above picture where the two panels concerned attracted extra heat from the sun which bubbled the lacquer coating, the coat of red paint, and left the old London Country transfer and Lincoln green paint exposed! Similarly degraded was the lower front side panel hosting the fleet owner transfer.
Another interesting result of change of climate is shrinkage of timber. Within six months of RT3236's arrival in inland Australia (with relative humidity readings around 20% or less for long periods of time) the beading at internal roof joins showed about an eighth of an inch shrinkage. Again, left in the open, a daily temperature change from, say, 10 degrees Celsius to whatever was the final "in sun" temperature reached by the roof metal (the air temperature would typically be around 35 degrees C) caused the bus to change height EVERY DAY by one and a quarter inches because of expansion of the roof dome! This was checked by looking at the extra (dirty) exposure of the top deck handrail where it entered its socket in the roof.
As you can imagine .. PANIC SET IN! Something had to be done!