Archive for Bristol Omnibus Co

Positive Press

It rather reminds me of the positive stories of which you used to read in the Bristol Omnibus house journal, “Bristol OMNIBUS Magazine”. There were always a few pages dedicated to inspectors, drivers and conductors who’d offered good service.

In the December 2008/January 2009 edition of Nailsworth News, a correspondent applauds BOC successor Stagecoach for the way in which it operates the “outstation” service between Nailsworth & Minchinhampton. It’s a “pleasant social occasion” with the driver known well to passengers as he swings the bus through The W. Not too much swaying, we hope.

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Highwood Memories

These two interesting pictures come from the former Highwood School memories site.

Highwood was a secondary modern school located adjacent to the fast developing Forest Green, high above Nailsworth, and open from 1964 to 1991.

Highwood between 1973 and 1795

The site says the picture above was taken any time from 1972. Not far out. The number 564 was introduced in 1968, replacing the erstwhile 46. The block BRISTOL on the side of the partly obscured Bristol RE to the right was only introduced from 1972 but it was unlikely that both buses would’ve been repainted in the associated 1972 NBC leaf green in that year, as it took time to phase the new livery in.

On the other hand, the MW on the left was one of a number in Stroud, the last of which went as late as 1979. These remnants tended to be converted dual purpose MW6Gs though a couple of bus MW5Gs survived till late on. Since the MW is a 5G, I’d put the picture at 1973-1976, after which time the MWs were rarer.

The RE would be on the through Forest Green-Nailsworth-Stroud-Cheltenham, with the MW on a duplicate to Stroud only.

Cotswold coaching trip for Highwood School

This equally delightful picture of what is presumably an afternoon autumnal departure following a field trip shows what I think is a Leyland Leopard/Plaxton Supreme V coach. If so, the photo can be dated more precisely. Such vehicles were only at Stroud between May 1987 and May 1989.

I wonder what’s happened to all these people and, since the closure of Highwood, where do their own children attend?

(Pupils who live along the current 46 successor to the 564 tend now to attend Thomas Keeble, the former Manor School, Eastcombe).

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Bristol SU

The current edition of Nailsworth News features the photograph below, asking whether we “remember these?”.

It’s an interesting picture of the sort of Bristol SUSs once operating at Stroud between 1962 and, incredibly, 1978. A maximum of three operated at any one time and they tended to be confined to the Nailsworth Outstations (local servicesBristol SUS not quite what it appears to be) and the 563 Stroud-Miserden-Cheltenham, where narrow lanes and light loadings made these buses ideal.

But the slightly out-of-focus picture isn’t as genuine as Nailsworth people might think. It’s of a Western National SU (preserved locally in Stroud). Western National ceased in Stroud 12 years before the first SUSs arrived. The old Western National route number for the 430 to Minch was 428.

How many in Nailsworth would have picked any of this up?

Bristol SUS not quite what it appears to be

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Long Distance Affairs

I received an email last month from a gentleman received an email last month from a gentleman who in the early 1970s used to catch the bus once a week from Cirencester to Bristol. He clearly wanted to reminisce and asked whether I knew of the service number & route, and whether I had a timetable. He seemed delighted when I could answer his questions.

In spite of the number sitting uncomfortably within the Stroud series, the 432 was actually Cirencester – Bristol and was but one example of Bristol Omnibus’ penchant for long distance services. BOC was past master at such buses, many of which radiated to all points from Bristol itself. Like the others of its genre, the 432 was worked by crews from both ends. Again like its sister routes, it was something of a rural ramble, operating as it did via a string of villages and towns, eventually reaching its destination some 2hrs 19 mins after departure. And the route mileage was a little over 40!

432 Timetable c.1973

432 Timetable c.1973

It was also possible (though inadvisable?) to commute on such services. The 0620 ex-Cirencester (0700 ex-Tetbury) arrived at Bristol at 0834 (later if City Road etc was busy) and, in reverse, there was an 0635 ex-Marlborough Street, arriving Cirencester at 0850. There was a 1650 back and a 1735 Monday to Friday short to Hawkesbury Upton. Even in the early 1970s few, if any, regulars would ever travel end-to-end that early, though in those days shoppers would do so. As regional and then out of town shopping developed in Swindon and Cheltenham, so this market dried up.

In the early 1970s, there were six return journeys on the 432 (four of Sundays), including a daily 1915 ex-Bristol and 1935 ex-Ciren (1925 on Sundays).

Like other longer distance services, they began to thin and dwindle as the 1970s progressed. The 432 first lost its Sundays and then was cut back to Tetbury. They’d whittled down in number even before MAP saw the end to such services well before deregulation, as BOC saw decreasing numbers. Even had they lasted twenty years longer to 2006, the European hours regulations would’ve got them in the end invariably over 31 miles each.

The 432 number eventually was recycled as a variant of the 430/1 Stroud-Minchinhampton via Amberley.

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