Our branch area roughly aligns with the South Wales and the Western Traffic Areas, or from Aberystwyth to Land's End and across to Bournemouth. Such a wide and varied area does mean that our Bulletin, which is published 5 or 6 times a year, is always packed. Our editorial team records changes from operators large and small, often explaining why these changes took place. But the Bulletin doesn't stop there: each issue contains articles on current and historical operations in our area, reports on our days out, and the chance for members to give their slant on what's going on. To view a recent bulletin click here.
Forthcoming events are listed on our calendar page.
From Dr Mike Walker: The death has been announced of Roy Anderson, a very well-known figure in the Industry particularly here in the south west. Roy’s career in the National Bus Company was notable for being the champion of the National Express “Rapide” network, perhaps the major “ammunition” of National Express in the “battle” of deregulation of long distance coach services in 1980, and a forerunner of the major motorway network that exists today.
In his retirement, like many in the industry, Roy did not take it easy, as for some time he was the south west Regional Manager of the industry’s Trade Association, now the Confederation of Passenger Transport, as well as authoring a number of books, not least on Western National and Royal Blue.
Always an enthusiast, starting I believe as a boy at Crosville, Roy was good enough to entertain OS Branch members with his anecdotes from the industry at Stagecoach Exeter Transport Club in 2008, in a presentation entitled “60 years involvement in the bus and coach industry”.
Members' photographs illustrate various recent events in our area. Further contributions are welcomed by the web-page administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was announced early in February that New Adventure Travel (NAT Group) has been purchased by ComfortDelGro, the Singapore-based corporation that owns London operator Metroline. The newest buses in the NAT fleet are 6 Mercedes-Benz Citaros for the X1 ‘crosscity’ service. BF67 WHA is in Westgate Street, Cardiff, on 12th February. [DM]
Less obviously a member of the NAT fleet, and a rare vehicle type too, is MAN 14.240 / Caetano CitySmart CN13EHB, leaving Pontypridd Bus Station on 13th February on service 111 to Ty Rhiw. [DM].
On 12th December, Stagecoach Red & White relaunched as Gold services the 120 and 130 from Caerphilly and Pontypridd up the Rhondda Valley to Blaencwm (120) or Blaenrhondda (130), employing a new batch of 24 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMCs. Heading south on service 130 at Tonypandy Bus Station on 13th February is 26187: YX67 UZY. [DM]
On New Years Day 2018 only a few bus services were running in the branch area. The opportunity was taken by preservationists to arrange a small-scale running day which covered the Bristol - Wells part of First's 376 service which wasn't operating. In all 5 vehicles were used to run an hourly frequency during the day with extra trips interspersed. The event proved very popular with full loads on some trips despite the heavy rain in the morning. With the Branch Chairman at the wheel, Bristol RESL THU354G is pictured pausing at Pensford en route to Wells. [RAK]
Shortly before Christmas, First West of England received a further batch of new Scania double-deckers with Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC bodies. These are branded for the Bristol University U1 service. On 14th December YY67HBA headed through the remodelled Centre in Bristol on its way to Stoke Bishop. [RAK]
Cardiff Bus operates three routes, numbered M1 to M3 and branded METRIDER, principally for the benefit of CardiffMetropolitanUniversity students. This academic year the three buses dedicated to these services (Transbus Darts fleet numbers 501-503) have been painted into new overall liveries designed by the University's marketing department. The messages, which vary between the buses, are mostly in Welsh on the offside with the English language equivalent on the nearside. The marketing team were anxious to promote the University's global reach ('educating students from over 140 countries'), its entrepreneurial success ('53 graduate start-ups active after three years'), digital work ('collaboration between education and industry') and its ethical stance ('highest quality research') but reading such messages spaced out along the side of a passing bus is not easy. On 30th November, bus 501: CA03 VRD is at CMet Cyncoed to work the 13:05 service to Plas Gwyn but with its destination not yet changed. [GAG]
Stagecoach South Wales has transferred some 2004 Transbus Pointer Darts from Stagecoach South. At Merthyr Tydfil on 8th November is 34523: GN04 EXT. Also transferred are 34524 and 34529. [PJK]
Showing the new Newport Bus livery is one of several recently acquired double-deckers, 428: KV02 URL, a Dennis Trident with Alexander ALX400 bodywork which was new to Connex in London and latterly with Geldards Coaches of Leeds. Unusually it is working service X30 Newport -M4 Motorway - Cardiff when seen in Kingsway, Newport on 6th November. [PJK]
From 7th September, Phil Anslow’s service between Cwmbran and Newport, non-stop apart from one stop at Llanyrafon, was renumbered 24X. Alexander Dennis Enviro200 YX17 NYP is seen in Newport on 6th November. The service was subsequently withdrawn from 9th November. [PJK]
Stagecoach South Wales is now operating TrawsCymru service X4 between Cardiff and Newtown with Scania K230UB / Alexander Dennis Enviro300s. With appropriate branding, 28734: YN15 KGG is in Merthyr Tydfil bus station on 31st October. [PJK]
Among the double-deckers that Newport Bus has recently acquired to operate its regained schools services is 1001: KN52 NEO, a Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400 that was new to Armchair Passenger Transport, London, and latterly with Abellio London. Its London origins are still obvious as it leaves the Corporation Road depot on 25th October. [DM]
In recognition of the support given by the Bristol Vintage Bus Group (BVBG) to the OS Presidential Weekend in Bath, the OS SW&W Branch presented a donation cheque to the group at its end of season open day on Sunday 29th October. From left to right are: Phil Sposito, Dave Withers (both founding members of the BVBG), Paul Tovey (BVBG) and Dr Mike Walker, Chairman of the OS SW&W Branch. Behind is 1941 Bristol K5G GHT127, in the care of BVBG on loan from First Group. [MW]
Sporting a poppy for imminent Remembrance commemorations, First West of England 37324: WX57 HKE, a Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini is seen in Nelson Street, Bristol on 30th October. [MW]
Local services run by Stagecoach South Wales in the Aberdare area are operated with a batch of Optare Solo M8900SRs adorned with "Aberdare Connect" branding. On 23rd October 2017, 47848: CN13CYU is seen leaving Aberdare bus station working the 13:50 trip to Glynneath on service 8. [RAK]
The Coach & Bus UK17 exhibition at the NEC was more coach than bus, but the Mistral / Alexander Dennis stand did feature the first of the batch of 13 Enviro 200 MMC buses for Go South Coast’s Thamesdown fleet: 2772: HF67 ATN. This received significant publicity for its horseshoe arrangement of ‘social’ seating at the rear with glazed ceiling panel above. [DM]
Seen in the demonstration park at Coach & Bus UK17 on 4th October is RH17 ACH, a MAN 19.290 with MOBIpeople Explorer 330 73-seat body that was new in July to Alexcars of Cirencester. [DM]
In September 2017 CT Plus started operation of contracted services 505 and 506 in Bristol using new and second-hand Alexander Dennis Enviro 200s. The services are run under the Bristol Community Transport banner and YX17 SNK represents the new intake, pictured loading up at Southmead Hospital on 22nd September. [RAK]
In September 2017 the Department for Transport announced that a bid by Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and First for funding from the Low Emissions Bus Scheme had been successful. A total of £4.8m will enable 110 buses to run on biofuel on services in the Bristol urban area. A Scania N280UD double-decker with Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City bodywork, 39401: YN17 OHP, joined the First West of England fleet in August as a trial vehicle, and was used during the OS Presidential Weekend. Normally allocated to service 1 (Cribbs Causeway - Broomhill), it's pictured rounding the gyratory at Blackboy Hill top on 22nd September. [RAK]
Scania N280UD / Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC demonstrator YN16 CFU is seen operating for Cardiff Bus (numbered 783) on route 57 in Westgate Street, Cardiff on 20th September. [DM]
The first hybrid buses for any Welsh operator are 2 Optare Solo M890SRs acquired by New Adventure Travel in April 2017 from Reays of Wigton. Devoid of any publicity for its green credentials, YJ13 HHR is in Customhouse Street, Cardiff on 20th September. [DM]
On 4th September, New Adventure Travel started a new X5 ‘crosscity’ service, linking Ringland Centre, Newport to Cardiff City Centre (see SW&W Bulletin 196). On 14th September, Scania OmniCity 757: LX59 CRZ arrives in Westgate Street, Cardiff on service X5, although still branded for service N4 which had been withdrawn on 22nd July. [DM]
As reported in SW&W Bulletin 195, First West of England has since April 2017 marketed the X-prefixed services between Bristol and north Somerset as the ‘excel’ network. Transformed from its former ‘Express Yourself’ livery into the new ‘excel’ livery is Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 33829: SN63 MYM, arriving in Regent Street, Weston super Mare on 7th September. [DM]
A new A3 ‘Airport Flyer’ service was introduced in April 2017 between Weston super Mare and BristolAirport. It is operated under contract to the airport by First West of England, whose Wrightbus StreetLite 47558: SN14 FGM is seen in Weston super Mare on 7th September. [DM]
As reported in SW&W Bulletin 196, Severnside Transport has been closed down, and its local bus services have transferred to other operators. Service 626 from Wotton-under-Edge to Bristol passed to Eurotaxis from 4th September. On 6th September, Optare Solo MX58 KYU waits in Bond Street to start the return journey to Wotton-under-Edge. [DM]
Frome Minibuses operates local Trowbridge service 66, which from 30th May has been diverted in Longfield to serve new housing (see SW&W Bulletin 196). Optare Solo MX08 DGZ waits outside the Town Hall in Market Street, Trowbridge on 6th September. [DM]
As reported in SW&W Bulletin 196, Wessex Bus withdrew University of Bath services 18 and UoB at the end of the 2016/17 academic year in June, but then on 17th July started another ‘UoB’ service for the summer vacation. Its Volvo B7RLE / Plaxton Centro 30001, appropriately registered WX07 UOB, waits outside Bath Abbey on 3rd September. Subsequently, this service ceased from 22nd September. [DM]
Displaced by the roadworks for the Bristol MetroBus rapid transit scheme, the Bristol In-sight tour operated by Rubicon Classic has been starting from behind the Watershed in Anchor Road. Loading here on 2nd September is LK51 UYE, a Dennis Trident / Plaxton President converted to part open-top. [DM]
In recent years double-deck vehicles have been somewhat of a rarity in the fleet of First Cymru. However in August 2017 a batch of Volvo B9TLs with Wright Gemini2 bodywork arrived from Leeds to help provide capacity on the busy 8 service in Swansea which serves the two main campuses of the University. On 29th August 2017, 36210: BJ12 VWS is seen in West Way approaching Swansea bus station. [RAK]
This year’s Imberbus on 27th August was the largest and most successful so far, raising over £13,000 for charity. Among the visiting vehicles was much travelled prototype New Routemaster LT2: LTZ 1002, currently operated by Arriva London in green livery. Here it waits to take up duties at Warminster Station. [ACF]
In May 2017 Wessex made another attempt to make inroads into the commercial network in Bristol by introducing their service 90 (Broadmead - Inns Court) which competed on part of the route of First's own 90. Evidently the outcome for Wessex was less successful than planned and the service was deregistered to finish in August. However withdrawal was brought forward to 22 July. BX58AOV, a Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE is pictured in Three Queens Lane on the final day - on diversion because of road closures in the City Centre associated with the annual Harbour Festival. [RAK]
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