BUS SERVICES IN GLOUCESTER
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:
|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]|
|Fleet no||Reg no||Chassis||Body||seating||Date|
16/7 have E suffix
|RS1-2167||LAX101E, etc.||Bristol RESL6L||ECW||B46F||1967|
|R1-567||LAX122F, etc.||Bristol RELL6L||ECW||DP50F||1967|
|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|
|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|
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]|
|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|