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KINGSBRIDGE VINTAGE BUS RUNNING DAY - 18 September 2021
Returning for our 14th year (the 13th having been a Covid compliant trip shared virtually via Facebook), the Kingsbridge Running Day on Saturday 18th September once again operated a range of routes with a variety of vintage buses and coaches for the public to enjoy.
Special features were:
SU60+1 A celebration (delayed a year due to Covid) of the Bristol SU, 60 years after the first vehicles entered service
Just 7’6” wide the marque was ideally suited to the narrow lanes of the South Hams – at the peak 9 were based at Western National’s Kingsbridge garage in Rack Park (in 1968 and then again just as the depot was being closed in September 1971) – remarkably that total was almost matched at the running day with a special display by the former depot and an SU cavalcade at the end of the day
Rail-Bus Connections: Totnes-Kingsbridge-Salcombe with opportunities to sample the whole or part of the route
As of summer 2021, this is once again a through bus route now operated by Tally Ho connecting the rural South Hams to the mainline railway, part funded by Devon County Council and GWR. It was GWR who introduced a Kingsbridge-Salcombe motor bus service on 21 July 1909 (when Kingsbridge was served by rail by the branch line from South Brent) and a Totnes-Kingsbridge bus service on 12 July 1927. These became Western National (WN) services in 1929 when the GWR and National Omnibus & Transport Company (NOTC) formed this joint venture as part of the wider rail/bus consolidation. Western National created the through service but it split again into Kingsbridge-Totnes (Service 164) and Kingsbridge-Salcombe (Service 105) portions on 1 November 1971. So history repeats in 2021 as they are joined once again as a through service – the new 164.
The Running Day was centred on Kingsbridge Bus Station on the Quay, operating services from 11.00 until 18.00.
The extensive network and full timetable gave visitors the opportunity to ride on a range of vehicles to spectacular coast and country destinations all around Kingsbridge and the South Hams. The routes were formerly operated by the Great Western Railway Road Motors, the Western National Omnibus Company and/or other local operators such as Noyce, Tally Ho Coaches and the Coleridge Community Bus.
Features of Kingsbridge 2021 included:
● Services and short workings to sample the Totnes-Kingsbridge-Salcombe connection ● Services to Slapton, Totnes, East Portlemouth, South Pool & Sherford, Goveton, Frogmore, Salcombe, Hope Cove, Soar, Thurlestone, Loddiswell (Station), Modbury, and Moreleigh ● Circular services including Kingsbridge to Goveton via Buckland-tout-Saints and Kingsbridge to Blackawton back through Strete and along the coast. ● A special service to coastal villages East of the Kingsbridge Estuary courtesy of the Coleridge Community Bus (low floor access). ● Additional short workings on popular routes including a circular to Churchstow and another to Aveton Gifford so a greater number of vehicles can be experienced in the course of the day. ● Coach tours to Blackpool Sands and services to Bigbury-on-Sea giving a break to enjoy the seaside. ● Refreshments and an opportunity to enjoy the grounds at Loddiswell Station courtesy of the owners with proceeds going to Loddiswell PTFA to benefit the Pre-and Primary Schools (103). ● Revised timetables, routes and operations reflecting direct and indirect effects of Covid:
Feeder services (free) for the Kingsbridge Running Day operated to and from Totnes Railway Station, co-ordinated with connecting train and bus services.
A frequent Tally Ho service 164 also served the route – normal fares apply.Stagecoach service 3 to and from Plymouth operated through the day to the normal Saturday timetable – normal fares apply
Vehicle entries are now closed.
A fully illustrated 52-page A5 colour programme accompanied the event. In addition to timetables and details of the vehicles attending, the programme celebrates the subtleties of the Bristol SU and its role in Kingsbridge services, and charts the evolution of the Totnes-Kingsbridge-Salcombe rail-bus connection from 1904 origins as it once again became a through service in 2021. These original illustrated articles, together running to 23 pages, ensure this is a Souvenir Programme for local and transport historians and vehicle enthusiasts alike.
A few copies remain and can be purchased at the discounted price of £6.00 including p&p by either:
- Sending a cheque payable to ‘TV&GWOT’ to Ledger Farm, Forest Green Road, Fifield, Maidenhead SL6 2NR, or
- Paying by Paypal (including any postal / delivery instructions in the notes)
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Throughout the day SUs parked up outside Western National’s former Kingsbridge depot. They then took the stand in the bus station alongside Tally Ho’s newly branded 164 service bus Supporters’ magazine To and fro’ 026 includes a ‘View from the driver’s cab’ reflecting on the Kingsbridge event plus an article on Thames Valley SUs, complementing the West Country SUs article in the programme.
Anthony Mangnall MP and councillors launched the 164 service arriving at the running day in Bristol H 137. Coach tours to Blackpool Sands included an impromptu stop for Kingsbridge’s 333. © Dave Growns Bristol SUs glinted in the sunshine, appropriately for the marque’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. James Freeman, Driver of Beadle Bedford 2015 penned reflections in To & fro’ 026. © Simon Gill CBPS supported in force with 401 and 1121 up from Cornwall for the day Southern National 1324 made a Kingsbridge debut, pursued to the stand by CBPS’s 1254. © Simon Gill Emerging from the Dartmoor mist, 1056 made a welcome return to Kingsbridge. This elegant Tiger PS1, a foil to the Transit 300 behind, was a popular ride. Newly restored, Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group’s 201 was a stunning participant.
Vehicles attending included:
279 EMW284 Bl L6B Be C32R 1947 Wilts & Dorset EAS956 Ld Tiger PS1 Crossley B32F 1948 Blackburn Corporation
Warrens of Alton
Southern National / Guernseybus
1324 LTA958 Bl LL6B Du C37F 1951 Southern National
Park Royal RT8
Ld An PDR1/1
Plymouth City Transport
Information about previous events and programme articles can be found here.
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