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.......preserving our commercial road transport history for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations..........
  WEB NEWS 22  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief look at the WHOTT's Favourite Route and Points of View.

  WHOTT's FAVOURITE ROUTE - This was the question put to Friends on the 2006 renewal form and what a response!  128 Friends responded, casting their votes for a staggering 81 different routes, however given the world renowned outstanding natural beauty of the West County maybe this was to be expected.
A wide range of reasons for Friends choosing their favourite is also readily apparent; the school bus, holiday memories, and working life experiences both from driving and conducting perspectives are all among the factors mentioned.  Indeed some Friends went to considerable lengths to justify their views and David Bond’s (Friend 260) advocacy for Devon General Service 9 is reproduced on Page 7 beginning a wonderful series of favourite route articles.  Our thanks go to all contributors.
For the adjudicator, it was the ‘route’ or ‘section of the route’ rather ‘operator’ that was deemed to be the principal element so, for example, Exeter - Bournemouth included both the Royal Blue express coach journey and the current First X53 Jurassic Link.  So without keeping you waiting any further, the result:
1st: 7 votes : Plymouth - Kingsbridge - Dartmouth.  Route 93 now operated by First Devon & Cornwall Ltd is remarkably largely unchanged since its inception in the 1920s.
2nd: 6 votes : Newton Abbot - Torquay - Paignton - Brixham.  Now restored to double-deck operation the iconic flagship route 12 of both Devon General Omnibus & Touring Co. Ltd  and Stagecoach Devon Ltd.
3rd: 5 votes : Exeter - Dawlish - Teignmouth - Torquay/Newton Abbot.  There have been several variations of this route, now operated by Stagecoach Devon Ltd as its route 85/85A. Want to read the full story, then become a member and receive our quarterly newsletters





SR412 (DUO324) a 1938 AEC Regal/Harrington B35F rests at Paul Street bus station, Exeter in early post-war years. Note the unusual front wheel trims fitted.


Points of View - Every so often we gather together several letters from readers and publish thoughts, mystery photos or even, if we’re lucky, some conclusions and answers too.  In the last issue David Grimmett added a footnote to his story about Combwich & District Farmers and asked if we could have a dedicated Questions and Answers column.  We always welcome questions and will do our best, through archival support, to provide the answers.  David goes on to pose a question that has been bugging him about Western National’s service 260 between Minehead and Lynmouth and why it was registered as Express rather than a Stage Carriage.  The answer will be given in a sentence but the reasons behind it are so fascinating that space must be given to explaining the historical background.

Western National were successors on this route to one Ernest Edwin Porter who ran an elderly Leyland in conjunction with the Great Western Railway.  Porter’s colourful career is believed to have started in Glastonbury where he was a Jobmaster but by the turn of the century he was at Lynton and heavily involved in the movement of people by any means possible.  Thus he provided stables for horses, acted as booking agent for the railway companies and for tour proprietors working horse brakes and motorised charabancs in the Lynton/Lynmouth area.  It was a period of intense competition during which time the last vestiges of regular horse drawn stage coaches finally gave way to the primitive motor vehicle.  One of the reasons horses had remained so long in this area was due to difficulties encountered on the very steep gradients at Lynton, Countisbury and Porlock Hills where early motor vehicles had been unable to maintain sufficient adhesion to the road due to the appalling surface conditions.  This is where a multiplicity of horse hooves won over the few square inches of a revolving wheel in contact with the ground.  Both for tractive effort and braking on rear wheels only it seemed, for a time at least, that horses could never be replaced. Want to know the full story then why not become a member.



Chassisless Beadle Bedford 2008 (HOD59) waits at the Western National kiosk on the Esplanade, Lynmouth. The bus has arrived on service 260 from Minehead and discharged its passengers onto the cliff railway behind.


Delivering the Catch - 2

Pangs of Nostalgia as Bert Looks Back

Archive Update

WHOTT's for sale

New Accessions

The Future (events and activities for Trust Friends)



Some of a extra time needed for bus journeys during the days of the lucrative parcels service. Here Western National vehicle 208 (ADV114) waits at a road junction near Penzance in 1941 to pick up milk churns and several boxes of flowers. Note that the driver has left his cab and is aloft stacking the boxes


Would you like to see the full magazine?  If so, please consider becoming a Member and we’ll send current year copies right away.  Alternatively individual back numbers can be purchased at £2 each by request.  Our Shop postal rates apply.


Web News 21

Web News Index

Web News 23


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