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ROYAL BLUE RUN - 17/18–21 JUNE 2021

 
     
 

This page will be refreshed, expanded and updated until 10am on Thursday 17 June 2021.  It will not be revised in the course of the run.  For updates and live coverage follow us on Facebook.

Background

The 2021 Royal Blue Run is the event postponed from 2020 designed to mark 140 years since the foundations for Royal Blue were set in 1880 and the Centenary of the registration of the National Omnibus & Transport Company (NOTC).  It is also the 20th such Royal Blue Run re-creating the experience of bygone coach travel using traditional vehicles on authentic routes.

The 2021 route is designed to connect together the constituent territories of NOTC’s successors, Eastern, Southern and Western National via Royal Blue’s HQ town of Bournemouth and the HQ towns of NOTC (Chelmsford) and the three National successor companies (ENOC Chelmsford, SNOC & WNOC Exeter) together with the Western and Southern National area depot towns of Weymouth (SNOC Somerset & Dorset area), Plymouth (South Devon & East Cornwall area and Central Repair Works), Newquay (a major joint WNOC Cornwall Area and SNOC North Devon & North Cornwall Depot), Bideford (SNOC North Devon & North Cornwall Area and Central Repair Works relocated during the Second World War blitzing of Plymouth), Taunton (WNOC Somerset & East Devon Area), Trowbridge and Stroud (WNOC Gloucestershire & Wiltshire Area).

It is an epic journey, best enjoyed by luxury coach, and is scheduled over four principal days Friday 18 June to Monday 21 June.  Some coaches will travel to Essex on Thursday 17th, taking the opportunity to trace routes that by necessity endured London’s North Circular albeit rewarded with a run through Epping Forest.

Thursday 17 June – Various routes, including North Circular, Epping, Harlow

Friday 18 June – Harlow, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea, Basildon, Grays, Dartford, Oxted, Redhill, Reigate, Dorking, Guildford, Farnham, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh, Southampton

Saturday 19 June – Southampton, Lyndhurst, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole, Wareham, Wool, Weymouth, Dorchester, Bridport, Axminster, Honiton, Exeter, Chudleigh, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh South Brent, Ivybridge, Plymouth.

Sunday 20 June – Plymouth, Liskeard, Lostwithiel, St Austell, Truro, Newquay, Wadebridge, Launceston, Holsworthy, Bideford, Barnstaple

Monday 21 June – Barnstaple, South Molton, Wiveliscombe, Taunton, Street, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Frome, Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Tetbury, Nailsworth, Stroud.

2021 Route Description

Details of the principal roads the run intends to follow with some indicative timings can be downloaded here

2021 participating vehicles for some or all of the run:

Fleet no

Reg No

Chassis

Type

Body

Body code

Year

Operator

279

EMW284

Bristol

L6B

Beadle

C32R

1947

Wilts & Dorset

46

JLJ403

Leyland

PS2/3

Burlingham

FDP35F

1949

Bournemouth

1250

LTA729

Bristol

LL6B

Duple

C37F

1951

Royal Blue

 

LYM732

AEC

Regal IV

ECW

C39F

1951

Tilling

1286

MOD973

Bristol

LS6G

ECW

C39F

1952

Royal Blue

2200

OTT43

Bristol

LS6G

ECW

C39F

1953

Royal Blue

458 7017HK Bristol MW6G ECW C39F 1958 Eastern National

2246

625DDV

Bristol

MW6G

ECW

C39F

1960

Royal Blue

2267

56GUO

Bristol

MW6G

ECW

C39F

1961

Royal Blue

2270

253KTA

Bristol

MW6G

ECW

C39F

1962

Royal Blue

424

274KTA

Bristol

SUL4A

ECW

C35F

1962

Western National

2351

837SUO

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

C45F

1964

Royal Blue

247

HLP10C

AEC

Reliance

Harrington

C47F

1965

Premier Travel

CRG103

AFM103G

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

C47F

1969

Crosville

278

TBD278G

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

DP49F

1969

United Counties

1516

FWC439H

Bristol

RELL6G

ECW

B53F

1969

Eastern National

1482

RDV433H

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

C45F

1970

Royal Blue

3547

FDV803V

Leyland

PLSC3/4E

Plaxton

C45FT

1980

Royal Blue

359

KAD359V

Leyland

PSU5C/4R

Plaxton

C57F

1980

Nat. Travel SW

72 YX70OHT Ar/Ds E20D Ar/Ds Env20 B40F 2020 White Bus

 COVID precautions

Regrettably formal restrictions and concerns to minimise the risk of virus transmission mean the Royal Blue Run 2021 cannot yet return to the informal social format of previous years.  Nevertheless, the generosity of vehicle owners and crews means that the public passed along the way will be treated to a spectacle of bygone travel – which we hope will bring some interest and joy.

Only vehicles formally entered may take part – the entry form requires confirmation of compliance with Government regulations and guidance in respect of passenger numbers, social distancing, face coverings etc.

Passengers, other than those associated with each vehicle party, cannot be carried - sorry.

Restrictions on gatherings mean there are no prescribed stopping points en route and breaks and refreshments taken by each vehicle will be ad hoc.  Similarly starting and ending points for each day cannot be announced as hubs for spectators.

Timings when vehicles will pass through each location are therefore uncertain, added to which a knock-on effect of covid-restrictions more generally is on the pattern and levels of road use, in turn affecting journey times.  On that basis times are not being predicted for fear of disappointment.

The route is varied and takes in interesting villages, towns and cities as well as stunning countryside so do consider taking some space in the fresh air to enjoy your local scenery and look out for the coaches – you’ll be assured of a Covid safe wave and will be certain to smile.

 

 
 
 
 

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