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  VICTORIA COACH STATION  - VCS90 -  A YEAR OF CELEBRATION  
     
 

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 and we are delighted to be working with the TfL team in 2022 to help celebrate the 90th anniversary since this national hub of coaching activity first opened.

The anniversary is significant not just for the heritage, but also for investment and future growth as a modern transport interchange.  It matters to staff, passengers and enthusiasts alike and the celebrations will mirror this with a range of complementary activities.

It is intended that these static and running day events and displays will give the wider public opportunities to share in the excitement – more information will appear here in due course. Scroll or click to jump to: 17 June / 24 July / 24 September / VCS book.

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.
         
   
 
   
     
 

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) will recreate a once familiar summer scene for passengers, staff, enthusiasts, and photographers alike to enjoy.  

Details of participating coaches will be listed in due course.

 

 
   

Royal Blue coaches preparing to depart on the 2016 run. © Peter Delaney

Sunday 24 July - VCS90 – Bus Running Day    
     
A multi-faceted bus running day with three principal routes is being planned.  With a West London terminus, around 8 vintage coaches (brought together by TV&GWOT) will take the route from VCS along the Embankment, while coaches used on Airbus services will travel to the same destination via High Street Kensington. Being in London, RT and RM buses will provide the third source of free rides.
If you are interested in entering a vintage coach, please contact TV&GWOT.
   
 
     
     
     
 
Saturday 24 September - VCS90 – Static Display of Coaches at VCS  
   

Serried ranks of vintage coaches will occupy the principal running bays at VCS – for one day only.  This spectacle will be open to the public to enjoy with endless opportunities for photographers, enthusiasts and the wider public.

If you are interested in entering a vintage coach, please contact TV&GWOT.

Please note that entries are warmly invited from coaches across the country.  The date is intentionally alongside the 50th Showbus (on 25 September) so coaches travelling a distance will have the opportunity to participate in two relatively close events in the same weekend.

 
   

Vintage coaches on display alongside the operational services during the 3-day VCS85 Coach Festival. © Colin Billington

VCS90 Book    
     

TV&GWOT, in collaboration with The Bus Archive, is preparing an update to its sell-out 85th Anniversary publication looking at further aspects of the coach station heritage.  In particular, the strong connections with the Thames Valley are highlighted alongside illustrations of coaches serving the whole country.

This will be on sale at the various events and via this website with further details in due course

 

   
     
TV&WOT’s  85th anniversary publication, now being updated and expanded, in collaboration with The Bus Archive who hold the LCC photographic collection    
 
 

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