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Gloucestershire’s buses in Stroud since the 1900s
The 2008 Stroud Classic Bus Running Day again exceeded expectations. It’s now acknowledged as probably the west’s premier bus event. With a mix of vehicles almost all with some sort of connection with the area on routes and services covering a range of lanes, main roads and Stroud’s famous ascents, it’s little wonder. How do you do justice to an event such as this? Alongside the type of images you might expect, we’ve chosen some of the more unusual photographs to illustrate this report (given that there will be plenty of others shots to view on Flickr and elsewhere). The rural ramble that was the Stroud – Cheltenham 563 was a continual financial thorn in Bristol Omnibus’ side. The preserve of SUs, MWs, LHs and minibuses, 36 footers such as this would only usually ever be seen at school times. It would have been unusual indeed to see a dual door Bristol RELL6L in Cheltenham District colours on the 563, in spite of the town being the ultimate destination. Cheltenham garage did, however, operate a small part of this service with limited shorts from the spa town, albeit in green livery. In this shot, RELL6L 1003 is seen negotiating the lanes of Sheepscombe. At the wheel is retired long-serving Stroud driver Winston Cooper. The “new” Stroud College premises were a considerable improvement on the previous arrangements at that site in almost every particular, save one. Here, former long-term Stroud resident dual purpose Bristol RELH6L/ECW 2073, newly in Tilling green and cream, is seen exiting the site—in danger of grounding, owing to the adverse camber at the exit. Freshly painted 2073 also featured its authentic period- style seat trim and as such was an all-round winner on the day. Resplendent in their period-style Bristol Omnibus summer uniforms including seamed uniform trousers is this authentic trio of chaps. Of three period advertisements on Bristol MW5G 2939, two had connections with Stroud. One was for the erstwhile Hillier’s of Newmarket nr Nailsworth, a company once very familiar in Stroud and the west, with their blue Morris commercials, and indeed a firm that made the most of bus advertising; and the other was for Wicliffe Motors, by 2012 recently closed but once serving the area for, what, decades, when it held town centre and later Cainscross premises. Ex-Western National Bristol SUS no. 603 has been finished off inside by Thamesdown Transport. Three similar vehicles once operated at Stroud and all with the typical though unusual longitudinal seating at both the rear, seen here, and front. Former Stroud no. 301, the film star, is still believed to be in existence. We're not sure whether any National Express coaches ever ventured through Minchinhampton’s West End but this view of rebuilt Bristol RELH VHK 177L makes an excellent study of a Cotswold town and its architecture—and the narrowness of the streets. This vehicle is believed to carry the prototype ECW B51 body.
Stroud Running Days
Cotswold Green RED & WHITE RED BUS _____
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