Archive for Stroud Running Day

Vintage Running Day 2009

The Stroud RE Group’s announced its date for the 2009 running day, which is:

Sunday 28th June


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Guy Arab

We continue our look at the vehicles that will assemble for the 29 June 2008 Stroud Running Day.

One of the most buses at this year’s Running Day will be HWO 342, a 1949 Guy Arab with Duple bodywork, new to Red & White. Though it’s believed that Red & White didn’t operate these buses at Stroud, there remains a link with the town nonetheless.

For it was one year after this vehicle’s manufacture that Red & White sold to the State. This paved the way for a reorganisation that would see the end of Red & White Services in Stroud, in a logical tidying up exercise leaving the Bristol company dominant. Yet, in 1949 and indeed 1950, Red & White double decks (of Albion manufacture) still looked resplendent around the town. Red & White always tended to operate smartly turned out vehicles such as this.

Image of R&W Guy in service

Image of R&W Guy in service

Stroud is also known to be the first Red & White garage to operate double decks though, of course, the other pre-1950 operator Western National also did so, and from the very start.

The image of a Red & White Guy in service is from the book “Red & White Services 1919-1949” by Walter Dowding, published in 1950.

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Bristol MW

We continue our look at the vehicles that will assemble for the 29 June 2008 Stroud Running Day.

In one sense, the 43-45 seat Bristol MW bus was the bedrock of Stroud’s more rural services. It’s seating capacity was well suited to the number of peak time passengers carried throughout the 1960s. It came with the added bonus that all but the earliest deliveries were to a one man operation specification just at the time when Stroud, as elsewhere in the shire counties, operators needed to make necessary economies. Like the LS before it, that it could carry some 10 extra people tan the last of the Bristol Ls it replaced gave far more flexibility. Indeed, the MW saw off a number of crew-operated double decks.

MW Interior

The MW came with one distinct disadvantage. Many of Stroud’s buses (as opposed to downgraded coaches) came with a Gardner five cylinder engine. MWs may therefore be described as ‘steady’ at best and ‘sluggish’ at worst, on the more demanding of Stroud’s bus routes. And they were relatively ‘heavy’ to drive, too. Drivers didn’t particularly like then but, till the arrival of the RE many, this was the only single deck they tended to drive. The long climbs up Brimscombe Hill and Butterow, each towards Minchinhampton, tested the MW’s stamina to the limit. Yet, these routes were or a time almost exclusively MW operated. All these attributes gave the MW its character.

Three MWs are promised in service at Stroud on 29 June, with one static, giving nostalgia-seekers amble opportunity to witness at first hand what it was like travelling on full MWs up the steep Cotswold scarp. It remains quite a challenge for driver an bus.

More on the Bristol MW

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Bristol RE

We continue our look at the vehicles that will assemble for the 29 June 2008 Stroud Running Day.

If there was one bus that characterised the 1970s at Stroud, it was the Bristol RE. The first of these hard-working machines arrived in 1967 and the last new example in 1974 (being Bristol Omnibus’ last of all). They were withdrawn from Stroud as late as 1986 . In those 19 years, the RE completely changed the way BOC operated buses in the town.

Delightful reminder of the early 1970s at Stroud

They were large enough to see off the remaining crew-operated double decks. They were powerful enough to operate on just about any of Stroud’s arduous climbs. They made a fine contribution to Stroud’s trunk routes. More importantly, they offered passengers a new, bright interior and a comfortable ride. So what if they were a little noisy in the process.

Moreover, the high frame dual purpose RELHs were equally at home on stage carriage, limited stop services or tours & excursions, such was the type’s versatility.

It’s therefore not surprising that a number of these popular vehicles have found their way into preservation and 11 are promised at the 29 June 2008 running day.

More on Stroud’s REs may be found here.

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Leyland Leopards

We continue our look at the vehicles that will assemble for the 29 June 2008 Stroud Running Day.

Making a very welcome addition to this year’s event for the first time will be two preserved former Black & White Leyland Leopards. It’s easy to overlook the role Black & White and Associated Motorways have played in Stroud’s bus history, because the number of departures a day was always small.

Two fine Leopards

Black & White express coaches nevertheless served Stroud at various times to a variety of destinations, including London, Bournemouth, Weston-super-Mare, Burnham-on-Sea, Weymouth and Portsmouth.

The suitably heavyweight C53F Plaxton-bodied Leopard with native registration SDD 146R no. 146 represents standard National Travel purchases of the late 1970s. No. 359, similarly registered locally as KAD 359V has a more modern Plaxton front and 57 seats. It’s an example of National’s early 1980s purchases.

Black & White became variously National Travel West and South West before the short-lived rebirth of its name. Shortly after, it fell under Cheltenham & Gloucester control, just at the time C&G embarked upon its Cotswold coaching brand. Black & White nearly put paid to Cotswold but both eventually succumbed to the collapse in local coaching, as successor Stagecoach concentrated on local bus services from the early 1990s.

(UPDATE: Regret that these were both a no-show at the 2008 Running Day)

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Bedford OB

In the first of a number of posts about the vehicles at the forthcoming Stroud Running Day, we feature Dr Mike Walker’s Bedford OB.

You’ll have to be fairly senior in years to remember Stroud’s Bedford OBs but those who do have a very high regard for them. They are fondly remembered.

MHU 193 - Bedford OB

In all, 12 operated in Stroud by Bristol Tramways, at various times, from 1951, and they were something of the darlings of the depot. Their staple bus routes were the rural rambles along the Slad Valley and over Whiteway, on the back road to Cheltenham; and the so-called Nailsworth outstations, the small network of local routes radiating from the town of Nailsworth. The vehicles were never hard pressed on these routes: loadings were never of concern (even in the 1950s) and the narrow lanes upon which the diminutive Bedfords found themselves kept average speeds down. There was much hill climbing, though.

The Bedfords were ideal for the routes on which they tended to be allocated. They were progressively converted to on man operation, gaining a power-operated sliding door in the process.

Those in the know at Stroud have always tended to show affection for small buses like the OBs. They replaced similarly well regarded Dennises and, in turn, along came the equally tiny Bristol SUS to replace the OBs, another much loved type which, incidentally, will also be represented at the Running Day.

Dr Walker’s OB isn’t quite what it seems. In spite of the authentic looking registration number, it was actually owned by a school and refurbished by Walker to how it would’ve looked under BTCC.

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Stroud Running Days

Bristol Omnibus and Bristol Commercial Vehicles aficionados will be delighted to hear that Mike Ede’s Stroud RE Group is resurrecting the popular Stroud Running Day this year.

The Stroud RE Group has entertained us with the Running Days since 2000, though there was none in 2007 owing to building work at Stroud College.

This year’s takes place on Sunday 29th June.

There are running days and Running Days. Stroud’s is probably unique for all sorts of factors I haven’t the time to go into quite yet. It’s also a lot of work and one that we should all endeavour to support.

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