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  WELCOME TO THE THAMES VALLEY & GREAT WESTERN OMNIBUS TRUST  
  A registered charity committed to keeping alive the rich history of road passenger transport "fro' Paddington to Penzance"  
 

Last Updated: 21 June 2022

 
 

CANCELLED - THAMES VALLEY CENTENARY REVIVAL 2022

Thames Valley buses in Bridge Avenue for the TV&GWOT event in 2015. © Mike Sutcliffe

With regret, the vintage bus running day planned for Maidenhead on Saturday 9 July (see here) has been CANCELLED.  TV&GWOT is sorry for any disappointment and inconvenience that may result. Pre-ordered running day programmes are being reimbursed in full.

The Supporters’ Tour of former Thames Valley sites on Sunday 10 July is GOING AHEAD.  Supporters are being contacted directly.

 

MIDSUMMER ROYAL BLUE RUN 17-19 June

17 June 2022 - LS 1286 passes LL 1250 outside the Kings Arms Stokenchurch, once the refreshment stop for Royal Blue coach services. © Colin Billington

Cameras were out for the 2022 Royal Blue & Associated Motorways Run, which began celebrating VCS90 with a mass departure from Victoria Coach Station on Friday 17th.   The run also marked 50 years since white National coaches emerged on the coaching scene by passing Birmingham (Digbeth) on Saturday 18th. Salisbury coach station was the traditional departure point for the final leg on Sunday 19th. Some 16 vintage coaches joined for some of all the authentic routes across the coaching network throughout the weekend. Click here for an outline of the route and to find out more.

 

Around Didcot on Great Western Road Motors routes

Vintage buses & coaches, classic cars and heritage trains made for a great day out at the TV&GWOT/Great Western Society Transport Rally at Didcot on 22nd May.  TV&GWOT’s Thames Valley based bus fleet was out in force showcasing the major restorations completed recently thanks to Trust Supporters.  A few copies of the souvenir programme are still available with an article illustrating the early GWR Road Motors fleet and links to Thames Valley, the National etc and thus TV&GWOT’s scope. Find out more
 

Cornwall at Easter for the Penzance Running Day

Locals, enthusiasts and holidaymakers alike enjoyed the TV&GWOT & CBPS VR Revival and Vintage Bus Running Day on 17th April. Souvenir programmes (with a cover based on the 1992 timetable from 30 years ago) are still available. Read about the CBPS restoration of the oldest remaining Bedford YRQ into Grenville guise; marvel at the local bus transport heritage captured in postcard images in the TV&GWOT feature article; and hum along to The Modern Cornish Bus Driver’s Song contributed by Gray Lightfoot. Find out more
 

Victoria Coach Station celebrates 90 Years

On 10 March 2022, 90 years to the day after the Grand Opening of Victoria Coach Station, TV&GWOT helped Transport for London mark this significant anniversary.  Royal Blue Bristol LL6B was joined by Maidstone & District AEC Reliance and East Kent Leyland Beadle, providing the backdrop to the official celebration.  A programme of events through 2022 will celebrate the people and vehicles at the heart of coach station operations in the past, present and future.  For more information about what’s on and how to get involved see here.

 
A busy TV&GWOT year beckons…… Entries now open…

Kicking off with Open Days for registered Supporters in March, TV&GWOT then joins CBPS in Penzance for the VR Revival and vintage bus running day on Sunday 17 April.

On 22 May we join forces with the Great Western Society to run buses on former Great Western Road Motors routes around Didcot

As part of the VCS 90th anniversary, the 3-day Royal Blue Run will depart from Victoria early on Friday 17 June.

The weekend of 9/10 July will belatedly mark the founding of Thames Valley Traction Co. in Maidenhead in 1920.

On Saturday 17 September, the Kingsbridge 7’6” vintage bus running day will return to the South Hams.

Find details and entry forms here

 

Puzzle time – have yourself some fun

Throughout 2021 TV&GWOT has been restoring Thames Valley LL 556.

Why not have some fun and have a go at piecing 556 together yourself? Click here

Supporters will be putting the final pieces of the real 556 jigsaw together in early 2022 – your support for our final push  appeal will enable the completed 556 to appear at events through the year.

 

Diamond SUs seemingly run forever

Just like in the 1960s, the (former) Western National depot in Kingsbridge was the backdrop for SUs of all shapes and sizes on 18 September 2021. Marking 60+1 years since Bristol first manufactured the SU, coach and bus variants, long and short, carried passengers around the South Hams demonstrating their physical (7’6” wide) and mechanical (gearing) suitability. Authoritative articles by SU aficionado David Sheppard in the running day programme and Supporters’ magazine To and fro’ 026 give technical insight and a richly illustrated record of SU operations in the West Country and Thames Valley.
© David Sheppard
 
Celebrating the introduction (!) of integrated transport
Before the Kingsbridge Running Day got underway on 18 September, TV&GWOT’s museum hosted Anthony Mangnall MP, Kingsbridge and Salcombe Councillors, Tally Ho Coaches’ MD Don McIntosh and colleagues, together with Devon Country Councillors and officials from GWR, to inaugurate their new through bus service numbered 164: Totnes-Kingsbridge-Salcombe. Service timings and frequency now make ‘days out’ connections to the national network practicable. Formative services on the route over the preceding century and more are chronicled in the running day programme.
© Colin Billington
 
Restoration gathers momentum
Despite the constraints of the pandemic, TV&GWOT Supporters have pulled together to fund the acquisition and transformational restoration of 1950 Thames Valley LL 556 (FMO938). Government restrictions twice delayed our celebration of the centenary of Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd’s formation but gave time to bring the internal refurbishment to original configuration within scope. The ‘Final Push’ appeal target is within reach and having returned 556 to Trust workshops (via Princes Risborough), Supporter working groups are refurbishing and fitting seat frames anticipating the first ride out. Find out more about this Final Push and support you can give.
© Colin Billington
 
TV&GWOT firing on all cylinders – in the archives too
TV&GWOT events, restoration working groups, and archive days are all back up and running with appropriate Covid-safe precautions. Archive teams meet monthly in Devon and every three weeks in Berkshire. TV&GWOT has been grateful to receive donations from collectors and the estates of notable photographers and researchers giving plenty of interest for archive teams to explore and record. This recently acquired map shows trolleybus proposals for Paignton and is stamped for return to the Chief Engineer, GWR, Paddington.
We are always eager to hear from people with enthusiasm or expertise wanting to get involved.
 
 

Previous News

TV&GWOT Events 2022

   
Thursday 10 March Victoria Coach Station - VCS90 Official launch of a year celebrating the past, present and future
   

Sunday 17 April

Penzance VR Revival & Vintage Bus Running Day – with the Cornwall Bus Preservation Society (CBPS)

   

Sunday 22 May

Didcot Transport Gala - with the Great Western Society

   

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 June

Royal Blue & Associated Motorways RunVCS90 – grand departure of coaches from Victoria Coach Station

   

Weekend of 9/10 July

Thames Valley Traction Co. Centenary Revival

- 9 July Maidenhead bus running day CANCELLED
- 10 July Supporters’ excursion GOING AHEAD

   
Sunday 24 July VCS90 – Bus Running Day – routes operated by heritage coaches, Airbus vehicles, and RT/RM fleets
   
Saturday 17 September Kingsbridge 7’6” Vintage Bus Running Day
   
Saturday 24 September VCS90 – Static display of coaches at VCS
   

Events TV&GWOT hopes to attend in 2022

 
Sunday 26 June Reading Buses charity Open Day
   
Sunday 17 July Alton Bus Rally & Running Day
 
Details of other events will be confirmed once third party dates become available.
 

 

 
 

 

 
     
 

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Company Registered in England No. 5035702.  Registered Charity No. 1125980