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  ROYAL BLUE - 21 - 23 June 2019  
     
 

2019 Route

An illustrative overview of the 2019 routes is given here and outlined below (click on map to download in pdf format).  Further details of the principal routing and probable stopping points with indicative timings are tabulated at the end of this page and can be downloaded in pdf format here. Please note, these may be subject to change and may be revised in the days preceding the run.

The ‘positioning run’ on Thursday 20 June will see participating coaches converging on the Coventry / Birmingham area.  The journey for those vehicles travelling from Berkshire will link up at Henley on Thames with a former Associated Motorways route from Portsmouth to Birmingham which was operated jointly by Royal Blue and Midland Red (usually a Royal Blue northbound and Midland Red southbound one day and the reverse the following day).  The Royal Blue vehicle changed daily as the coach duty also worked to / from Bournemouth.  From Henley the route goes via Wallingford to Oxford then through Banbury and Southam to Coventry for Birmingham.

Day 1 (Friday 21 June) of the main Royal Blue Run departs from the National Express Coach Station, Digbeth at 0930 and follows part of the former Elliott Brothers Royal Blue route from Ilfracombe to Derby that operated in the early 1930s.  At the time the Elliott Bros coach stop was at the nearby Smithfield Garage.  The route is followed as far as Lichfield passing through Sutton Coldfield. 

The continuation to Liverpool was part of the route begun by Tourist Saloon Coaches from Southampton.  Tourist (including this service) was absorbed in the Royal Blue network in 1935 and the route was extended back to start from Bournemouth.  Although it was later integrated into Associated Motorways, it remained the preserve of Royal Blue vehicles into the 1970s.  From Lichfield the route goes via Rugeley, Newcastle under Lyme, Knutsford, Warrington and Prescot to Liverpool passing along Skelhorne Street near the Ribble coach station with a short stop at Mann Island.

Day 1 concludes in Chester and the route from Liverpool forms part of the Liverpool – Cardiff service operated jointly by Western Welsh and Crosville.  It started in 1965 and was included in Associated Motorways timetables, becoming part of the Traws-Cambria network.  It ran from Skelhorne Street coach station, sometimes calling there having started from the Crosville bus station in Edge Lane.  Coaches will use the Queensway/Birkenhead tunnel under the Mersey going via Ellesmere Port into Chester.

Day 2 (Saturday 22 June) continues the Liverpool – Cardiff route as far as Newtown going from Chester via Wrexham, Oswestry and Welshpool.  The service from Liverpool continued south via Llanidloes, Rhayader and Builth Wells to Brecon and Cardiff , originally going from Rhayader to Builth Wells via Newbridge-on-Wye, but from the summer of 1971 via Llandrindod Wells.  From June 1979, however, the first of the services marketed as Traws Cambria was introduced from Bangor to Cardiff, via Newtown.  On its 40th anniversary, therefore, it is appropriate that this route is followed south from Newtown (from Builth Wells onwards it is virtually the same as the route used by the service from Liverpool).  Interestingly, Service T4 continues today, deviating to serve some other villages albeit with very similar timings to 40 years ago.  From Newtown the 2019 Royal Blue Run continues to Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells, Bronllys and Brecon to Merthyr Tydfil.  Depending on overnight stop locations, timing and the status of congestion in the Cardiff, some coaches may complete the run into the city going via Abercynon, Pontypridd.

The starting point for Day 3 (Sunday 23 June) is near Treherbert which coaches may reach coming down from the Heads of the Valleys Road (A465) or up the valley from the Cardiff direction.  The Treherbert to Cheltenham route being followed was part of an Associated Motorways service that had its origins with Red & White and Royal Blue in the Elliott Brothers’ era in the early 1930s.  Royal Blue RE blinds from 1969 still included the Treherbert destination as, in the late 1960s, there was a through summer only service from there to Salisbury, via Pontypool, Cwmbran, and the old Severn Bridge, with connections to Bournemouth and Portsmouth. From Treherbert the route goes down the valley via Porth to Pontypridd and then via Nelson, Ystrad Mynach, Pontypool, Usk, Raglan, Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester for Cheltenham.

The authenticity can be seen from the map on this 1934/5 Associated Motorways’ timetable leaflet.  At stages in the history, Royal Blue services specifically operated to Liverpool and to Treherbert.

  The TrawsCymru services in 2019 continue the proud history from 40 years ago and will be seen as the run travels through Wales. TV&GWOT welcomes the interest taken by TrawsCymru in the Royal Blue Run which is intended to be a fitting celebration of their 40th anniversary.
 
 
  Route Details

Coaches/crews participating in the run are at liberty to take alternative routes, set off early and/or add in breaks as they wish.  The outline which follows the original routing as closely as practicably possible and approximate coach timings are given below and in pdf format here.  These may be updated before departure on 20th June.

Positioning Run, 20 June – HENLEY on THAMES – COVENTRY (for DIGBETH COACH STATION)

Time

Location and routing

 

A4/A321 to Henley on Thames

1240

Henley on Thames

A4130 to Wallingford and onto Shillingford Road

A4074 through Shillingford and into Dorchester

A4074 towards Oxford

B480 into Sandford for Oxford

A4158 Iffley Road and over Magdalen Bridge to Oxford City Centre

1345

Oxford

A4165 / A4260 to Kidlington

A4260 towards Banbury

A361 into Banbury

1445

Banbury

A423 towards Southam

A425 and into Southam

A423 / A45 / B4110 into Coventry

1600

Coventry

A4114 / A45 towards Birmingham

B4104 to Meriden

Day 1, 21 June BIRMINGHAM (DIGBETH COACH STATION) - CHESTER

Time

Location and routing

0900-0910

Birmingham (Digbeth Coach Station) (arr)

 

0930

Birmingham (Digbeth Coach Station) (dep)

B4100 to A38(M)

A5127 through Sutton Coldfield

A5127 to Lichfield and into City Centre

1015

Lichfield

A51 (off to Longdon Green) towards Rugeley

A51 /A460 via Brereton into Rugeley

1045

Rugeley

B5013 out of Rugeley

A51 (off through Colwich and Haywoods) towards Stone

B5027 through Stone

A34 to Newcastle under Lyme going round town on North East ring road

1145

Newcastle under Lyme

A34 to Coalpit Hill TL

A5011 / A50 to Holmes Chapel

A50 through Knutsford

A5034 to Tatton Park

1245

Tatton Park (arr)

1345

Tatton Park (dep)

Return to A50

A50 / A5061 to and through Warrington

1430

Warrington

A5061 passing south of Warrington (off through Sankey Bridges) – subject to roadworks

A57 to Prescot

A57 to Liverpool to Skelhorne Street (alongside Liverpool Lime Street Station)

A57 to Mann Island

1530

Liverpool Mann Island (arr via A57)

1600

Liverpool (Mann Island (dep)

A5036 / A5053 / A59 / A42 to Birkenhead Tunnel

A552 / A5029 / A554 to Birkenhead

1630

Arriva bus terminus

A41 / B5136 through Rock Ferry

A41 / B5137 through Bromborough

A41 / B5132 / A5052 through Ellesmere Port

A41 to Chester (Fountains Roundabout)

1730

Chester (Fountains Roundabout) (arr/disperse)

Day 2, 22 June – CHESTER – MERTHYR TYDFIL (& CARDIFF)

Time

Location and routing

0815-0830

Chester (Caldy Valley) (arr)

0830

Chester (Caldy Valley) (dep)

A41 to Moston

A5116 into Chester

0850

Chester (Fountains Roundabout)

A5116 into Chester (town circuit at Fountains rbt)

A5268 (W/S) / A483 (over A55)

A483 / B5445 / A5152 into Wrexham

0915

Wrexham

A5152 / B5605 to Rhosllanerchrugog, Ruabon and Newbridge

A5 (briefly) / B5070 to Chirk

A5 (briefly) / B5009 / B5069 to Gobowen and Oswestry

1000

Oswestry

B5069 / A483 to Welshpool

A458 / A483 / A4811 / B4568 to Newtown

1135

Newtown (arr) – Bus station / coach park

1230

Newtown (dep)

A483 to Llandrindod Wells (going through Llanddewi Ystradenni)

A483 / A4081(briefly) through Llandrindod Wells via station

1400

Llandrindod Wells

A4081 / A483 to Builth Wells

1420

Builth Wells

A470 / A479 through Erwood to Bronllys

A438 / A470 towards Brecon

B4602 into Brecon

1515

Brecon

A470 towards Merthyr Tydfil

Evening

A4054 through Merthyr Tydfil

 

Alternative route from Brecon and Merthyr

 

Merthyr Tydfil

A4054 through Abercynon and turn in to Pontypridd

A4054 to Coryton

A470 into Cardiff City Centre

 

Cardiff (arr)

Cardiff Central station Wood Street

Day 3, 23 June – TREHERBERT – CHELTENHAM

Time

Location and routing

 

Alternative routes at start of day including

0800

Merthyr Tydfil (dep)

A4054 (N) / A470 (express) / A465 (Heads of the Valleys)

A4061 to Treherbert via Bute Street

A4061 Ynyswn station / Treorchy coach parking

0900-0930

(Treherbert) / Ynswen (arr)

0930

(Treherbert) / Ynswen (dep)

A4061 to Treorchy

A4058 to Llwynpia

A4119 and into Tonypandy

B4278 / A4058 to Porth (into Porth)

1000

Porth

B4278 / A4058 to Pontypridd

1015

Pontypridd

B4273 / A4054 past Abercynon

A472 / B4255 into Nelson

A472 and into Ystrad Mynach

A472 / B4251 into Pontllanfraith / Blackwood

B4251 and into Newbridge and Crumlin

A467 (briefly) / A472 and turn into Pontypool

1130

Pontypool

A4042 / A472 to Usk

1200

Usk (arr)

1300

Usk (dep)

Fork left onto Monmouth Road (unclassified) to Raglan

Continue to Mitchel Troy (unclassified)

B4293 into Monmouth

1330

Monmouth

A466 / A40 to Ganarew towards Ross on Wye

Filter to unclassified road through Crocker’s Ash

B4164 to Whitchurch

A40/B4260 into Ross on Wye and town centre

1410

Ross on Wye

B4260 / A40 to Gloucester

1455

Gloucester

Through city centre

A430/B4063 through Churchdown

A40 towards Cheltenham

Into Cheltenham along Gloucester Road (unclassified) to St Margaret’s Road and North Place passing former coach station

1530

Cheltenham (arr)

 

 

 

 

 
 

Entry Form

Entries for the 2019 Royal Blue Run are now closed and packs have been despatched to participating crews.  Coaches that have not entered should not attempt to join the run, please, as the routing and stopping points have been specifically tailored to participating vehicles with a view to avoiding congestion for the general public.

 
     
 

2019 Participating Coaches include:

Fleet no

Reg No

Type

Date

Company

279

EMW284

Bristol L6B/Beadle C32R

1947

Wilts & Dorset

1250

LTA729

Bristol LL6B/Duple C37F

1951

Royal Blue

1286

MOD973

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1952

Royal Blue

1299

OTT98

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1953

Royal Blue

2200

OTT43

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1953

Royal Blue

26

MMR553

Leyland Tiger Cub/Harrington Wayfarer C41C

1955

Silver Star (WN)

2267

56GUO

Bristol MW6G/ECW C39F

1961

Royal Blue

2270

253KTA

Bristol MW6G/ECW C39F

1962

Royal Blue (WN)

425

275KTA

Bristol SUL4A/ECW C33F

1962

Western National

TCR960

960HTT

AEC Reliance / Willowbrook Viscount C41F

1962

Devon General (Grey Cars)

1423

EDV505D

Bristol MW6G/ECW C39F

1966

Royal Blue (WN)

U1766

JAX117E

Bristol MW/ECW B45F

1967

Red & White Services

830

PTX830F

AEC Reliance/Plaxton Panorama I C41F

1968

Neath & Cardiff Luxury Coaches

RC968

OAX9F

Bristol RELH/6L/ECW C41F

1968

Red & White Services

ERG52

UFM52F

Bristol RELL6G/ECW DP50F

1969

Crosville

CRG103

AFM103G

Bristol RE/ ECW C47F

1969

Crosville

CRG106

AFM106G

Bristol RE/ ECW C47F

1969

Crosville

CRG111

AFM111G

Bristol RE/ ECW C47F

1969

Crosville

1460

OTA632G

Bristol RE/ECW C45F

1969

Royal Blue

2380

OTA640G

Bristol RE/ECW C45F

1969

Royal Blue

1006

B106JAB

Leyland Tiger 245/Plaxton Paramount 3200 MkII C46Ft

1985

Midland Red West

XC262

C262GUH

Leyland Tiger / Plaxton C70F

1986

National Welsh

The above coaches are amongst those expected to join some or all the run but the owners may have to withdraw or substitute vehicles due to unforeseen illness or mechanical problems. This is beyond the organisers’ control and any disappointment is regretted.

 
     
 

Background

Our Royal Blue Runs were established in 2002 so that owners and their passengers can relive the pleasures of long distance luxury coach travel for which their carefully preserved vehicles were originally intended. The aim is to follow original Royal Blue routes as closely as possible and to travel at a leisurely pace redolent of the times. The runs also create a wonderful spectacle for innocent bystanders and dedicated photographers alike, thanks to the hard work and resources the owners have devoted to restoring and maintaining their fine coaches.

A lot of work goes into planning the runs from selecting routes from the extensive Royal Blue network and researching the original drivers’ instructions and passenger timetables, preparing maps and outline routing, driving the routes to develop detailed instructions allowing for modern day features and constraints, organising refreshment stops, obtaining parking permissions, to identifying potential accommodation for a dozen or more coaches and their passengers. Despite all the preparations, final timings are hard to judge whether due to roadworks or things that might pique the interest of crews along the way. The coaches do not travel in close convoy so as not to inconvenience other road users. Some drivers have also been known on occasion to deviate from the intended route (unintentionally!).

Overall the focus is on education and enjoyment and we hope that however you take part you share in the pleasure.

From the earliest days of Elliott Brothers’ Royal Blue luxury services, coaches frequented Cheddar Gorge

as this c. 1928 photograph recording a visit to

Gough’s Caves shows.

Part of the authentic re-creation of TV&GWOT’s

Royal Blue Runs saw 1951-vintage Bristol LL6B

(Fleet No. 1250) descending Cheddar Gorge in 2012.

© Colin Billington

 

Spectacular scenery on the 2018 Royal Blue Run with MW6G 253KTA (2270) on of the 12 participating coaches © Chris Drew

Information about previous events can be found here.   

You can take a virtual trip on our 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 runs on our Blog and our Facebook page has video coverage from the 2018 run. 

 

 

 

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

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