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.......preserving our commercial road transport history for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations..........
  The Royal Blue run was held to celebrate 125th Anniversary of Royal Blue coaches  
Coaches assembled at Battersea Park Coaches assembled at Victoria Coach Station

The 125th Anniversary of the inauguration of Royal Blue was marked by an historic journey from London Victoria to Bournemouth on Friday 24th June and from Bournemouth to Exeter on Saturday 25th June 2005. This was the largest gathering of Royal Blue vehicles since the Royal Blue Centenary Run which was over the same route in 1980 . 

Royal Blue vehicles assembled in Battersea Park on the morning of the 24th, whilst 5 vehicles crossed the Thames via Chelsea Bridge to enter Victoria Coach Station. The vehicles left Battersea Park and Victoria at approx. 10:15 on Service X1 and followed the original route, as near as possible from London to Bournemouth, via Staines, Egham, Camberley, Bagshot, Hook, Winchester (former Coach Station in Worthy Lane), Southampton, Lyndhurst, New Milton, Christchurch.

. On the evening of the 24th 25 ex Royal Blue employees joined the vehicles for a tour around Bournemouth including Rutland Road (site of the former Royal Blue depot) and Mallard Road.

The following morning additional vehicles joined at Terrace Mount Car Park, which overlooked the former Royal Blue Coach Station in The Square. The vehicles departed on Service X10 and followed the route to Exeter via Parkstone, Poole, Bere Regis, Tolpuddle, Dorchester, Bridport, Axminster, Honiton and finally into Exeter Coach Station

Examples of the various of Bristol vehicles that were operated on Royal Blue Services. Bristol LL6B, L6A, LS6G, MW6G & RELH6G Right to Left - HOD30, OTT 43, EDV 502D & HDV 624E
Examples of the various of Bristol vehicles that were operated on Royal Blue Services. Bristol LL6B, L6A, LS6G, MW6G & RELH6G Right to Left - HOD30, OTT 43, EDV 502D & HDV 624E

Royal Blue vehicles assembled at Bournemouth's Terrace Mount Car Park prior to the departure for Exeter

(Left to Right - HOD 30 (RB 1228), LTA 729 (RB 1250), LDV 847F (RB 2375), HDV 624E (RB 2365), EDV 502D (WN 1420), 837 SUO (RB 2351) & OTT 98 (RB 1299)

Right to Left - HOD30, OTT 43, EDV 502D & HDV 624E
Ex Greenslades 033 - YNW 33X leaving Terrace Mount Car Park Royal Blue 1250 - LTA 729 climbing out of Charnmouth

Royal Blue History

Founded in the horse drawn era of wagonettes, lanaus, brakes and stagecoaches, Thomas Elliott obtained his hackney-carriage driver's licence in September 1880 and established his business in Avenue Road, Bournemouth. The business expanded rapidly and Royal Blue gained a reputation for attention to detail and the turnout of its coaches and teams of horses. Royal Blue converted from horsedrawn carriages to motorised char-a-bancs before the First World War and was a pioneer in the development of long distance express services in competition with the railways.

Continued by Thomas Elliott’s sons, the business was eventually sold, on 1 January 1935, to Thomas Tilling Ltd and merged with the express services of subsidiaries Western and Southern National who continued to use the Royal Blue name.  The Tilling Group was nationalised in 1948 and formed a major constituent of the National Bus Company from January 1969.  Royal Blue routes were absorbed into the National Express Network in the 1970s but the Royal Blue name continued to be used on Western and Southern National coaches even after de-nationalisation, the final Royal Blue liveried vehicle being withdrawn in 1994


A 1920's charabanc excursion in Royal Blue No. 5. At the time the livery was pale blue. The vehicle carried the company emblem and motto: Pulchritudo et Salubritas (beauty and health).
Yes, they did use the roof luggage racks! Duple bodied Bristol LL6B 1271 (LTA900) at St Austell with the driver aloft being assisted by a Western National Conductor.
Western National 425 approaching Honiton Vehicles assembled on completion of the run at Exeter Coach Station  
Bristol RELH at Exeter Coach Station Royal Blue vehicles at Exeter Coach Station

Royal Blue Vehicles


HOD 30 1948 Bristol L6A Royal Blue 1228
LTA 729 1951 Bristol LL6B Royal Blue 1250
OTT 98 1953 Bristol LS6G Royal Blue 1299
OTT 43 1953 Bristol LS6G Royal Blue 2200
XUO 722 1958 Bristol MW6G Western National 2239
275 KTA 1962 Bristol SUL4A Western National 425
759 MDV 1963 Bristol MW6G Southern National 1410
837 SUO 1964 Bristol RELH6G Royal Blue 2351
EDV 502D 1966 Bristol MW6G Western National 1420
HDV 624E 1967 Bristol RELH6G Royal Blue 2364
LDV 847F 1968 Bristol RELH6G Royal Blue 2375
FDV 803V 1980 Leyland Leopard Royal Blue 3547
Other West Country vehicles 'On Hire' to Royal Blue
EMW 284 1947 Bristol L6B Wilts & Dorset 279
1 RDV 1963 AEC Reliance Grey Cars 1
BHU 92C 1962 Bristol MW6G Bristol Greyhound 2138
SDD 146R 1977 Leyland Leopard National Travel Southwest 146
AFH 186T 1978 Leyland Leopard National Travel Southwest 186
YNW 33X 1980 Leyland Leopard Greenslades 033


The Royal Blue Anniversary booklet contains details of history of Royal Blue coaches and contains many unseen photographs. Price £4.00

To purchase this booklet visit WHOTT Sales


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