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Gloucestershire’s buses in Stroud since the 1900s
Large crowds and an ever increasing variety of vintage vehicles have once again ensured that the 2009 Stroud Running Day was acknowledged as probably the West’s premier bus event. Enthusiasts and members of the public alike enjoyed nostalgic bus rides along a variety of Stroud’s valleys, its sprawling narrow country lanes... and those famously challenging ascents. As the smell of hot engines pervaded the air, the added bonus this year was the weather. In spite of the heat, recent rain had cleared the air for pin-sharp clarity, adding even more to the fine views across the Cotswold scarp. What better way to enjoy those views than from a panoramic window of a vintage bus? We’ve again tried to illustrate the breadth of vehicles on the day by mixing record shots with something as unusual as possible. On a summer Sunday, what could be finer? A revolutionary bus chassis with probably the world’s most attractive bus body clothed in a classically understated and balanced livery to denote its operation as a Bristol Omnibus one man operated bus, here we have Bristol RELL6L/ECW B50F 1257. Originally a 44 seat dual door Bristol city bus, BOC rebuilt 1257 in the very early 1980s for Country duties at and from Marlborough Street. Popular in Stroud, the RELL took a foothold from the late 1960s, replacing crew-operated double deck LDs, FSFs and FLFs. A rather exited woman encouraging a friend to go into Stroud Campus was overheard saying, “They’ve got a London bus and everything”. In fact, there were two London interlopers, whose only connection with Stroud—apart from the colour red on vehicles till 1950—was the use of older London buses during the Second World War. The RM Routemaster did prove quite popular when out on the road, though. Making its second appearance in Tilling green & cream was this “Smart” Bristol RELH6L/ECW DP49F dual purpose vehicle, no. 2073, new to Stroud and operating there for most of its active life. Organisers controlled the campus exit at this year’s event, the second at Stroud College, by ensuring vehicles swung out wide thus avoiding grounding at this somewhat awkward camber. For those vehicles with a long front overhang, it was still close, though... This shot rather typifies all that is best about Stroud. Steadily climbing the steep Butterrow Hill with views behind to Bowbridge and open countryside is an ex-Southern Vectis Bristol RESL6G/ECW with original “wrap-around” bodywork of a service bus type never actually seen at Bristol Omnibus, though Red & White used this style in Gloucester. BOC’s first REs were also E-reg but came with starker flat fronts. This journey was the 1500 430 to Minchinhampton and, by way of an historical note, the 1500 430 on Mondays to Saturdays was the only scheduled 430/1 journey up to the mid-1970s from Stroud Bus Station covered by an RE (always an RESL6L). All other journeys at that point were MW operated. Just visible on this Cotswold stone bus shelter at Amberley Memorial is a fine original weather vane atop its traditionally slated roof. With over 50 entrants, ‘twas a tight squeeze on the college campus this year. Former Stroud Valleys vehicle 3024, a Leyland National once of the Gloucester city fleet, negotiates its way to the dropping off & loading area without kerbing on the island to the vehicle's offside rear.
Stroud Running Days
Cotswold Green RED & WHITE RED BUS _____
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