TV&GWOT seeks to preserve the heritage of public road transport in the Thames Valley and has held events to celebrate significant milestones in the history of the companies and their operations.

Major events have been run from a central Reading hub operating on town and country routes relating to the specific commemoration:

· 2015The centenary of the inauguration of Motor Bus Services in the Thames Valley (on 31 July 1915) by British Automobile Traction, the fore-runner of Thames Valley Traction Co., was celebrated with ‘Thames Valley 100’ on 2 August 2015.  Free bus rides were given along the first service route, Maidenhead – Reading – Streatley, and were complemented by a heritage cavalcade and a display on Reading Station forecourt.  This included the sole survivor of the Leyland buses which operated the service 100 years ago.  For further information click here.

Display at Reading Station 2015. [© Ricky Sutcliffe]

· 2016The 70th birthday of Thames Valley Bristol K No. 446 (DBL154), acquired by the Trust in 2014 thanks to Supporters who funded an appeal.  Its inaugural run with TV&GWOT in 2015 taking in 446’s operational service in High Wycombe, Newbury and Reading, and participation in TV100, preceded the birthday excursion on 2 October 2016.  TV&GWOT’s blog has an account of the 2016 occasion.

TV&GWOT’s 1946 Thames Valley K6B No. 446 – 70 years on in 2016 [© C Billington]

· 2018The last trolleybus departed Reading 50 years ago (on 3 November 1968) and the anniversary was marked, in collaboration with the British Trolleybus Society, on 3 June 2018.  A vintage bus running day operated over former trolleybus routes from Reading Station to Tilehurst, Wokingham Road, Northumberland Avenue, Whitley Wood, Kentwood Circle and Liverpool Road.  Thames Valley and related vehicles also ran contemporary services to Maidenhead, Theale (& Thatcham), Peppard Common and Riseley.  See further information here.

The static trolley and motor bus display alongside the station 2018 [© Len Wright]

· 2019A century ago the first Reading Corporation motor bus service commenced public operation (on 6 December 1919) running from Tilehurst (Plough Inn) to Caversham Heights (Albert Road) via Caversham Bridge.  100 years on, on Sunday 8 December 2019, TV&GWOT operated Reading heritage vehicles over the route from St Mary’s Butts and the station.   Details of the event and book produced to commemorate the occasion are here.


2021- The Centenary (+1) Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd was recognised with a low-key COVID-compliant tour starting from the Maidenhead site where the company was first registered on 10 July 1920. TV&GWOT’s Thames Valley Bristol K No. 446 (DBL154) continued via the former bus station in Bridge Avenue meeting a modern day ‘Thames Valley’ branded service from the Reading Buses fleet. The tour continued to Windsor for photographs in striking heritage locations. Click on the links to find out more about the 2021 tour and arrangements for the Centenary Revival running day in July 2022.


1946 Thames Valley Bristol K 446 departs from the site of the original TVTCo. Ltd headquarters and depot for the Centenary+1 tour. © H Billington


Programmes produced for the events provide context and history with original articles and extensive illustrations.

Themes addressed in the pages of Reading and Thames Valley publications and programmes include:



2022 Thames Valley Traction Company Limited Centenary+2 years – A Celebration – 36 pages, A5 booklet
  TV’s Maidenhead HQ, Depot & Bus Station – then and now A comparison of archive and centenary views
  From the TV&GWOT Garage – Preserving the fleet An illustrated account of the engineering and restoration work undertaken by TV&GWOT since owning TV buses 152, 446 and 556
  Archive Ideas – then and now Photographs and drawing reproduced from the TV schedule to inspire modern photos of the locations
  From the TV&GWOT Archive Insight to the route network and presentation of the TV services in period guides held in the TV&GWOT archive.
  A Century Ago Paul Lacey describes the early status of TV routes, fleet and patronage and subsequent growth, and the people and companion companies involved.
  Summary of Route development from July 1920 to December 1971 The chronology of route and TV company developments is tabulated in detail over 20 pages by Paul Lacey with key illustrations from his collection.


100 Years of Reading Motorbuses – Book – B5 format, softbound, 84 pages


Reading Motorbus Centenary 1919-2019

The evolution of motorbus services and routes in Reading with a decade by decade account of the route changes, vehicles operating, ticketing and passenger numbers (52 pages).


Bus No. 47 – How the grand ‘old girl’ came to be preserved

An authoritative account of the service life of Reading Corporation’s oldest surviving bus No. 47 from 1935, her rescue, restoration and preservation (8 pages).


Vintage Bus Running Day 2018

Pictures recapturing the glorious running day with former Reading motorbuses in 2018 (2 pages).


38 – A Jumbo Restoration

Description of the service life of former Reading Transport 1976 VR No. 38, a so-called ‘Jumbo’, its restoration and preservation with TV&GWOT (6 pages).


What survives to tell the tale

A glimpse into the TV&GWOT museum collection and archives which reveal the Reading bus heritage. (7 pages).


Tilehurst to Caversham Heights by bus 2019

Tracing the original motorbus route with modern Reading Buses services – heritage to celebrate in another hundred years (2 pages).


Thames Valley & Vintage Bus Running Day – 50 years after the last Trolleybus departed


Trolleybuses in Reading to June 1968

The role of trolleybuses in the history of public transport in Reading until the motor buses took over in 1968 (by Dave Hall - 10 pages).


Horseman Coaches – an independent view

The role of a local independent coach operator from 1977 to the present day (by James Horseman - 2 pages).


Heritage connections

Images from TV100 and renewal of the Thames Valley brand in 2018 (3 pages).


Thames Valley at Reading June 1968

A description of Thames Valley Traction Co., its Reading-based vehicles and operations as of June 1968, the point at which trolleybus operations ceased (by Paul Lacey – 6 pages).


Thames Valley 446 – In safe hands leaflet


A review of Thames Valley Bristol K6A No. 446 (DBL 154) in TV&GWOT ownership leading up to its 70th birthday in 2016 (16 pages).


Thames Valley 100


Thames Valley – A brief history, origins to 1972

The origins of bus services in the Thames Valley and spread through the Thames Valley Traction Co. era (by Paul Lacey – 10 pages).


Route No. 1 Maidenhead – Reading Streatley

The development of Route 1 and the vehicles operating it from 1915 through to 2015 (13 pages).

  While stocks remain past event programmes are available to purchase at the discounted price of £3 each including p&p.    
  The Reading Heritage Travel 1993 booklet ‘Reading’s Historic Buses’ by Graham L Stone (32 pages describing the different vehicle types to have operated in the town and passed into preservation) can also be purchased as above (£5 each including p&p).

The book, ‘100 Years of Reading Motorbuses’, costs £11.95+p&p and can be purchased with programmes as above or individually here.

The Gallery below shows examples of the celebrations in the Thames Valley in and around Reading:

2019 – 1935 Reading Corporation AEC Regent No. 47 was the oldest vehicle re-tracing the original Tilehurst – Caversham Heights route. TV&GWOT’s 1976 Reading Transport Jumbo VR No. 38 represented more recent operations – still heritage against the modern fleet. Newly restored, 1992 DAF Optare Spectra No. 701 at the original St Andrew’s Church / Harrogate Road terminus in Caversham Heights.
2018 - BTS’s Reading Corporation Trolleybus No. 181 in the station display 2018. [© Len Wright] TV K 446 being passed by LL 556, now also in TV&GWOT ownership since 2020. [© Len Wright] Station Hill, Reading – the hub of vintage bus running day services. [© Geoff Hobbs]
2016 – 70th birthday of 1946 TV 446 having been acquired by TV&WOT in 2014. 446 touring original haunts in Windsor……. ….. and High Wycombe.
2015 - Leyland S3.30.T (HE12) at the original depot for the first Thames Valley bus service it operated from 1915. Station Hill, Reading – the hub of vintage bus running day services. Thames Valley participants in the 2015 running day.

Photos: © Colin Billington, TV&GWOT and as noted


(C) Copyright The Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust

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