TV&GWOT has a strong focus on coach services not least because the West Country was such a popular destination.  For many the adventure began at Victoria Coach Station in London.  TV&GWOT has been privileged to work with TfL to mark key milestones – a flavour of the events is given below:

  - VCS90 - A year of celebration

  -  VCS 85th Anniversary coach festival                   

These occasions are significant not just for the heritage, but also for the investment and future growth of VCS as a modern transport interchange.  It matters to staff, passengers and enthusiasts alike and celebrations have mirrored this with a range of complementary activities.



In the heart of VCS under the heritage-listed glazed canopy, vintage coaches line up with one of the most modern vehicles in the National Express fleet to celebrate decades of passenger service operations.





Through 2022, heritage events with static vehicle displays and opportunities for passengers to take free trips re-created the experience of bygone coaching for current and former staff and the wider public.  Scroll or click to jump to: 17 June / 24 July / 24 September / VCS book to find out more.  

Saturday 24 September - VCS90 – Static Display of Coaches at VCS


Vintage coaches, arriving from across England, Scotland and Wales, occupied the principal running bays at VCS – for one special day only.  Visitors could look around the coaches which reflected a range of operators and different eras (dating from 1947 to 1988). The spectacle gave endless opportunities for photographers, enthusiasts and the wider public to take in the coach station atmosphere.

Close up in the display with 1950 Dennis Lancet II (HOU904) beautifully restored in Aldershot & District livery. The Strachan body from the rear which could be admired by visitors from all angles, inside and out.
35 years younger is Leyland Tiger B106JAB from Midland Red (West) in original Eurocruisng guise. At the end of the day National Welsh Leyland Tiger C262GUH in Rapide livery drove away under the VCS arch for the return home to Wales.
MSF750P, a 1976 Alexander bodied Seddon from the Eastern Scottish fleet was brought down from Scotland for the occasion. Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive Leyland Tiger EKA220Y departs VCS along Elizabeth Street in the wake of modern coach services.
VCS90 Book

TV&GWOT, has prepared a new book to celebrate the VCS 90th anniversary.  It is a significant expansion and update to its sell-out 85th Anniversary booklet, and looks at different aspects of the coach station development and operational heritage, drawing in part on the London Coastal Coaches collection held by the Bus Archive.  In addition, the express services between the Thames Valley and VCS have been documented for the first time based on new research.  Wheels to the West are another aspect relevant to the TV&GWOT areas of interest and the record of vehicles serving the West Country has been brought up to date.  Readers are transported back to see life at VCS at different points through the last 90 years –a busy summer’s day in 1962 and the rail strike of 1982 are examples, with pictures of coaches serving the whole country.

The book is B5 format (between A4 and A5), 96 pages, soft bound with extensive illustrations, many previously unseen.  It can be purchased exclusively from TV&GWOT for £15 with the addition of £3 post & packing.   

The book will be on sale at the TV&GWOT events or to order by post for £18 including p&p either:

 -  Send a cheque payable to ‘TV&GWOT’ to Ledger Farm, Forest Green Road, Fifield, Maidenhead SL6 2NR; or

 -  Pay by Paypal (including any postal / delivery instructions in the notes)

A contribution from the proceeds of sales will be donated to the Bus Archive.


A flavour of the variety within the VCS 90 covers:


Sunday 24 July - VCS90 – Bus Running Day

Victoria Coach Station was the hub for vintage and modern vehicles giving public rides throughout the day so passengers could sample different aspects of coach and bus travel.


Route 090 - Vintage coaches from the 1940s to 1980s and a modern Flixbus coach travelled to and from Hammersmith Bus Station via the Embankment from VCS - non-stop half-hourly service.

  Route A1 - Buses and coaches providing Airbus services over the years used the Hammersmith terminus travelling to and from VCS via Hyde Park Corner and Knightbridge - half-houly.

Route 11 - RT and RM buses took visitors between VCS (Buckingham Palace Road stops) and Aldwych for the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden - 10-15 minute frequency.

Staff at Hammersmith gave a warm welcome ensuring services ran smoothly. The authentic opportunity to unload passengers in ‘Sammy’s’ garage was a treat, again enabled by cheerful VCS staff. © Colin Billington Unlikely companions but TV&GWOT’s 1286 and the Flixbus coach demonstrated decades of change through VCS.


Coaches from over the decades which gave passenger trips on Sunday 24 July
  Wilts & Dorset EMW284 – the oldest coach running in service on 24 July. © Carl Berry Royal Blue 1250 – 50 years in preservation with its current owner © Chris Heaps
Royal Blue 1286 on long-term loan to TV&GWOT whose volunteers completed the restoration. NHY947 from Bristol, one of the participants in the coach run which departed from VCS on 17 June 2022. East Kent Road Car Co. FFN446 which also featured in the 10 March 2022 VCS90 event
FDV803V new in 1980 Royal Blue’s Centenary year.  © Chris Drew Western National’s 2240 – remarkably modern for a coach nearly 35 years old. A FLiXBUS also operated on the VCS-Hammersmith service.
Friday 17 June – Royal Blue & Associated Motorways Coach Run – VCS mass departure

The mass departure of coaches on TV&GWOT’s Royal Blue and Associated Motorways run on Friday 17th June (9.30-10.30) recreated a once familiar summer scene for passengers, staff, enthusiasts, and photographers alike to enjoy.  


Coaches assemble on the stands before setting off on the Royal Blue Run 2022. © Stephen Bigley

TV&GWOT’s Bristol LS coach Royal Blue 1286 turns for the exit…...

As does 2267 and MW 2270

Photos © Stephen Bigley

The coaches headed out into the traffic on Elizabeth Street. Here Wilts & Dorset 279 leads Bristol Greyhound 2815.


Thursday 10 March – The 90th Anniversary of the Grand Opening of Victoria Coach Station


Transport for London (TfL) officials and VCS staff gathered 90 years to the day after the coach station was opened (on 10 March 1932) to commemorate that momentous occasion.  It was a time for reflection on the hundreds of millions of people who have passed through the nation’s coaching hub over the decades, whether as passengers, coach drivers or staff keeping VCS operational day and night, 365 days a year.  Fittingly, a celebration of the people was rewarded with a magnificent cake.  To acknowledge the heritage, three vintage coaches from the 1950s were cast in the modern coach station setting:


  1951 East Kent Beadle-bodied Leyland FFN446
  1951 Royal Blue Duple-bodied Bristol LL6B with Duple body LTA729 (Fleet No. 1250)
  1958 Maidstone & District Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance 390DKK

TfL officials assembled on 10 March 2022 to acknowledge the significance of VCS and its 90th anniversary. TfL Commissioner Andy Byford addressed the assembled crowd, accompanied by (L to R) Andy Lord (Chief Operating Officer), Liam Wilson (Coach Station Manager) and Louise Cheeseman (Director of Buses).


A recent addition to the National Express fleet, a Scania K410EB6 Caetano Levante 3 (BF21CZA) was flanked by vintage coaches, some 60-70 years older, with a Royal Blue behind as part of the thought-provoking display on 10 March. Decades have passed and design and engineering have changed but the principles of good passenger service at VCS continue.


The VCS 50th anniversary cake in photographs of the 1982 celebration.  © The Bus Archive – London Coastal Coaches Collection.



The magnificent VCS90 cake (above) and (right) ceremonial cutting on 10 March.


The departures into Elizabeth Street at the end of the VCS90 birthday party on 10 March provide a silent commentary on the evolution of coaches over 70 of VCS’s 90 years from 1951 to 2021. All pictures © Helen Billington uno.


In March 2017, Victoria Coach Station celebrated its 85th birthday with a three-day Coach Festival. It featured vehicles from every decade since the grand opening on 10th March 1932, showcasing coaches, artefacts and presentations on the history of coach travel in Britain. Modern coaches were displayed alongside preserved vehicles dating from the late 1920s to the 1990s.

The coach station, originally conceived, constructed and operated by a consortium of coach operators coming together under the banner of London Coastal Coaches Ltd (LCC), is now owned and operated by Transport for London. The Festival celebrated the history of the coach station and demonstrated the continuing development of the facilities to meet the needs of the much larger and complex vehicles now using VCS and the people who travel within them.  The heart of the operation remains the imposing 1930s’ Art Deco building on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road and Elizabeth Street. It provides the main passenger entrance with areas containing public facilities for enquiries and booking, seated waiting areas and a range of cafes, shops and snack bars. This building and the canopy behind which covers a significant part of the coach departure area are Grade 2 listed by Historic England.

TV&GWOT assisted TfL in organising the event by encouraging owners of preserved coaches to bring their vehicles to this iconic and nostalgic setting to celebrate its 85th Anniversary. Coaches originally operated by one of the principal express coach companies as well as those which might have been ‘on-hire’ to one of these companies at peak holiday weekends recreated the nostalgic scene.

To mark the occasion, TV&GWOT, in collaboration with the Bus Archive, drew on the LCC records to compile a 32-page booklet celebrating the first 85 years of VCS in pictures.  It includes many previously unseen images spanning the early LCC operations; construction and opening of VCS; and operational views through subsequent decades covering vehicles, passenger facilities and activities ‘behind the scenes’.  A description of the VCS site expansion in the 1960s is followed by a section ‘Wheels to the West’ showing the subsequent design changes in coaches serving the West Country and brought the story up to date. 

The recreation of a bustling coach station with vehicles from across the decades was enjoyed by TfL, coach owners, visitors and the general public on their travels, alike.

The Gallery below shows the scene at VCS and examples of the coaches which joined the 85th anniversary celebrations:



85th Anniversary branding at Victoria Coach Station © Peter Delaney


Coaches assembled under the historic glazed canopy – © Peter Delaney (left) and © Colin Billington (centre &  right)


Preserved coaches assemble from fleets across the British Isles © Colin Billington

Coaches ventured to the international terminal © Colin Billington An overview contrasting old and new © Peter Delaney Leaving for home © Helen Billington

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