Other Operators

There were other interesting independent operators in the Gloucester area at that time. One of the most respected was Cotterell’s of Crooked End which ran a regular hourly service between Gloucester and Ruardean via Mitcheldean. For a while they were also responsible for what was nominally a railway replacement service between Blaisdon and Gloucester which was introduced on the withdrawal of the local train service between Gloucester and Hereford in 1964. Another regular service was run by SK Silvey from Arlingham to Gloucester.

Finally mention should be made of Midland Red. I had seen Midland Red buses on our early family trips aboard a Bristol Omnibus FLF on route no. 572 to Malvern and was fascinated by what looked to me like tin roofs on their single deckers. Their home-built double-deckers (D7s and D9s) emblazoned with BMMO on their radiators appeared much bulkier than the Bristol/ECW vehicles with which I was familiar. They worked the famous trunk route 144 from Great Malvern to Birmingham (this was truncated at Worcester from 2 October 1976). They were unlike anything we normally saw in Gloucester. The no. X72 service from Gloucester and Birmingham only ran about once every three hours and ran limited stop between Gloucester and Tewkesbury.


Red & White

Red & White, based at the Bulwark, Chepstow, continued to operate in their heartland, the Forest of Dean. They had acquired Red Buses of Stroud in 1933 and Cheltenham District Transport in 1939, along with their routes. However, in 1950 they sold out to the THC as nationalisation was imminent, and operation of their routes in Stroud, and their subsidiary, Cheltenham District were transferred to Bristol Tramways. In exchange, Red & White received Bristol Tramways routes based on their Coleford garage in the Forest of Dean.

The Red & White fleet was unusual in that buses did not display route numbers. Some of the most handsome buses built, Guy Arabs with lowbridge Duple bodies (in the HWO series) worked the main services from Gloucester to Cardiff, Cinderford and Monmouth. The buses were sophisticated for their time having saloon heaters and rear doors.

The ticketing was rather antiquated though, as the conductor effectively wrote out a ticket in indelible pencil, a copy being retained on the machine. Another feature of the Red & White that appealed to my father (contra Bristol Tramways), was the way in which you could hail a bus anywhere in the Forest and it would stop for you – in the country no official bus stops were indicated.

Red & White adopted an unusual fleet numbering system in which the first two letters indicated the type of chassis and body; followed by a sequential number, and finally two numbers indicating the year of manufacture. This system was later employed for the combined National Welsh (which included R&W subsidiary Jones of Aberbeeg), and Western Welsh fleets. In 1983 the joint fleet was yet again renumbered, this time by adopting a numerical sequence prefixed by a two-letter vehicle chassis/body indicator.

The table below gives the service levels, in terms of buses per day for trunk routes operating from Gloucester in 1968:

Route no From To M-F Sat Sun
24 (153) Gloucester Cinderford via Mitcheldean 8 9 4
31 Gloucester Coleford via Cinderford 21 21 9
63 Gloucester Monmouth via Newent 8 8 4
73 Gloucester Newport via Lydney 19 19 9
538 Gloucester Hereford via Ross 17 16 9


In 1969 Red & White, now part of the NBC acquired the business of Jones of Aberbeeg, and although the fleet name and livery were retained, the fleet was combined into the R&W numbering system. In 1970 the fleet comprised 393 buses.

A Red & White evening peak-hour line up at Gloucester Bus Station in 1969: two MWs, on route 63 to Monmouth (U2259) and 24 to Cinderford (U1759 VWO217) with an RE on route 73 just visible behind them.  Lodekka L359 is working on route 31 to Coleford.


Bristol RE R668 RAX6G heads out of Gloucester over the old Westgate Bridge on service 538 to Ross-on-Wye and Hereford, jointly operated with Bristol Omnibus. This photograph was taken in 1970 at the time of the widening of A40 Over Causeway and building of a new bridge over the east channel of the River Severn. This replaced the Bailey bridge, seen in the right background, erected during the Second World War.


Above: one of Red & White’s Guy Arabs with Duple bodywork, L351 HW0338 runs out of service along recently-constructed Bruton Way to the Bristol Omnibus depot in London Road after working a relief service from the Forest of Dean. The photo dates from 1968.

RED & WHITE incorporating JONES, Aberbeeg [J]
ref: BBF18
Fleet no Reg no Chassis Body seating Date

JAX101D, etc.

16/7 have E suffix

Bristol MW6G ECW B45F 1966
RS1-2167 LAX101E, etc. Bristol RESL6L ECW B46F 1967
R1-567 LAX122F, etc. Bristol RELL6L ECW DP50F 1967
RC10/166 GWO10/1D Bristol RELH6G ECW C47F 1966
RC1-1068 OAX1F,etc. Bristol RELH6G ECW C47F 1968
R1-2068 RAX1G, etc. Bristol RELL6G ECW B53F 1968
RC1-1169 SAX1G, etc. Bristol RELH6G ECW C47F 1969
UC170 [J] YTX324H Leyland PSU3A/4R Plaxton    
RD1-471 XWO171J, etc. Bristol RELH6L ECW DP49F 1971
RC1-471 XWO936J,etc. Bristol RELH6L Plaxton Elite II C51F 1971
R1-571 XWO450J, etc. Bristol RELL6L ECW B53F 1971
R6-871 YWO691K, etc. Bristol RELL6L ECW B53F 1971
R9-1171 BWO101K, etc. Bristol RELL6L ECW B53F 1972



Bristol RESL6L ECW B47F 1971
RS7-1071 CAX307K, etc. Bristol RESL6L ECW B47F 1972
RD1-1472 CWO284K, etc Bristol RELH6G ECW DP47F 1972
RD173 [J] HAX305L Bristol RELH6L ECW DP49F 1973
RD174 [J] OWO309M Bristol RELH6L ECW DP49F 1974
RC173 [J] NWO102M Bristol RELH6L Plaxton Elite Express C51F 1973
RC2-573 NAX3M, etc. Bristol RELH6L Plaxton Elite Express C47F 1973
RC1-674 [J] OWO303M, etc. Bristol RELH6L ECW C47F 1974
UC1-574 [WW] RBO191M, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4R Duple Dominant C53F 1974
UC6-874 [J] OWO310M, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4R Duple Dominant C53F 1974


National Welsh

In 1978, Red & White Services were combined with Western Welsh operations in Glamorgan to create a new company, National Welsh. A revised version of Red & White’s fleet numbering system was adopted for the new organisation. The combined business operated over 700 buses. Western Welsh, with 569 buses in 1970, itself had previously undergone a number of changes, taking over its sister company Rhondda, with 164 buses in December 1970, whilst losing its operations in the Swansea area to South Wales Transport (which itself had taken over United Welsh based in Neath), and in West Wales to Crosville.

Subsequently, several local authority operators in South Wales were acquired. In 1988 National Welsh bought Taff-Ely (formerly Pontypridd DC), and in 1989 Rhymney UDC (an amalgamation of Bedwas & Machen, Caerphilly and Gelligaer councils). Finally, in 1992 Cynon Valley (formerly Aberdare) Council sold its operations to Red & White.


WESTERN WELSH incorporating RHONDDA [Rh]
ref: BBF18
1w MBO1F Bristol LHS6L Weymann DP30F  
156-61 GKG156D, etc. AEC Reliance 2MU4A Plaxton Panorama C49F  
162-66 JBO162E, etc. Leyland Leopard Plaxton Panorama C49F  
167-72 LUH167F, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3/3RT Plaxton Panorama C49F  
173-78 OUH173G, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3 Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F  
179-84 SKG179H, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3A/4RT Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F  
185-90 VUH185K, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4 Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F  
367-76 PKG376H, etc. Leyland Atlantean PDR1/3 NCME H41/32F  
377-82 VUH377J, etc. Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/3 Alexander H42/31F  
491-495 [Rh] KNY491D, etc. Leyland PD2      
496-511 [Rh] VTG491G, etc. Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 NCME H41/32F  
512-520 [Rh] BTG511J, etc. Leyland Atlantean PDR1/3 NCME H41/32F  
619-38 PKG619G, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3A/4      
731-40 KKG731D, etc. AEC Renown      
1375-1394 HBO375D, etc. Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1 Marshall DP/B43F  
1395-1414 LUH395F, etc. Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1/12 Marshall    
1501-20 TKG501J, etc. Leyland Leopard      
1521-30 XBO521K, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4 Marshall DP47F  
1531-55 XBO531K, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4 Marshall B51F  
2316-21 [Rh] RTG316F,etc. Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1 Marshall DP43F  
2322-4 [Rh] YTX322H, etc. Leyland Leopard PSU3A/4 Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F  


From 1974 a new number series was introduced to a combined fleet with Red & White, called National Welsh
RW = ordered for Red & White, WW = for Western Welsh, Rh = for Rhondda
Fleet no Reg. no Chassis Body seating Date
N1-574 [WW] GHB787N, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland B52F 1974
N6-1274 [RW] GHB677N, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland B52F 1974
N1-675 [RW] GHB684N, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland B52F 1974
N7-875 [Rh] HTG467N, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland B52F 1974
N15-2875 KDW327P, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland B52F 1975
NS1-475 [RW] KDW323P, etc. Leyland National 10351/ 1R Leyland B44F 1975
ND9-1175 KDW355P, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R Leyland DP48F 1975
ND50-5475 KDW358P, etc. Leyland National 11351/1R/SC Leyland DP48F 1975