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.......preserving our commercial road transport history for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations..........
  WEB NEWS 36  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief look at holidays in the West Country in the 1950s, a look back at the first Bedfords operated by the Western and Southern National companies, and record the details of the Royal Blue timetable booklets.

  Happy Holidays  - Allan Bedford recalls his memories of holidays in Devon. In the early 1950s, Exeter was reached by coach from the London area on Timpsons’ South Devon Summer Service. The City of Exeter green Leylands and Daimlers with their lettered routes, the lovely maroon and cream Regents and the Greenslades fleet and depot were a short walk from his Aunt’s house close to Heavitree Road, and trips to the seaside by Devon General became a daily occurrence during his stays. By the mid 1950s, the family holidays were to north Devon, travel then being by Royal Blue, followed by one to the Bude area of north Cornwall. He soon acquired an interesting collection of tickets, and pictures of these, together with period illustrations of buses and coaches seen in the area, accompany his reminiscences. If you want to read the full story, and see all the pictures, then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.  
Greenslades ex Grey Cars AEC Regal lll/Duple on Royal Blue relief duty. Exeter Corporation Leyland PD2 No.  9 (HFJ136) in the 1960’s, seen outside the Duke of York, where a pint of Tivvy could be enjoyed. A selection of Plymouth bus tickets - retrieved from the pavement!
  The first Bedfords in the Western and Southern National fleets - Mention a Bedford / Duple coach and one will immediately conjure up the impression of a typical west country independent operator running a few examples in a variety of colour schemes well suited to the body panelling.  However, the larger companies also bought this model and both Western and Southern National found them ideally suited to the narrow country roads leading to those idyllic beauty spots regularly advertised in brochures and booking office windows.  The company had largely grown up on the heavier weight Guy, Leyland Tiger and AEC chassis, but small batches of lightweight coaches were occasionally purchased in small numbers. When smaller operators were acquired during the ’thirties, various of other makes entered the fleet, including some early Bedford coaches, mainly on the WLB chassis. The first arrived with Southern National in November 1931, when the Pennell-King business of Crewkerne was taken over. Not all of the SNOC / WNOC Bedfords had Duple bodies, nor were they in the familiar green and cream livery - if you want to read the full story and find out why - then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.  

An impressive line up of WTBs with their neatly turned out drivers at Minehead.  [S Lewis]

  403 (CTA541) of the first batch of Western National WTBs was new in 1937. The KD body’s stepped waist is clear in this view at St Ives on 1st August 1952.
  Royal Blue Timetables - as WHOTT’s News is now able to print illustrations in colour, we record details of the Royal Blue timetable booklets that were sold to the travelling public. -  The Royal Blue express services began with a single route, Bournemouth - London.  The publicity needs therefore were met by a single sheet handbill that gave the times of departure and fares, and when - in 1929 - the network expanded, further leaflets (by now a folded single sheet) were added for each new route.  After the war, Royal Blue services resumed in April 1946, and a booklet containing the timetables was produced for the use of passengers, staff and agents.  There were normally 2 issues (Summer and Winter) each year.  The first post war issues had a relatively plain cover, in keeping with the austerity of the period, but from the Summer 1947 issue, a coloured cover was introduced. Clem Preece, the Traffic Manager (Commercial) responsible for Royal Blue services, had long seen the possibilities of using photographs of Royal Blue coaches in picturesque West Country settings for publicity purposes, and so from Summer 1959 a variety of such pictures graced the fromt of the timetable booklet. Information has been recorded for each of the booklets, and their covers - to see the complete set of details and illustrations then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.

Royal Blue timetable booklet for Summer 1954.


Book Review - The Bristol H single decks of Western National

Sell-off of Plymouth Citybus

Pangs of Nostalgia as Bert Looks Back

Future Activities



Plymouth Citybus Pointer Dart SLF 71 (WA03BJE), entering Royal Parade on July 30th 2007 on its way to Derriford.


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Web News 35

Web News Index

Web News 37


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