More than 40 vintage buses dating from as far back as 1933 will grace the roads of South Hams later this month for the Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day event.
Held this year on September 16, it will be the 16th Kingsbridge Running Day since the first one was organised in 2008. Vintage vehicles spanning seven decades - the newest dating from the 1990s - will be taking part on 20 different routes.
All services are free without limit to the number of bus rides people can take. Organisers have pointed out that passengers will be able to see sights normally hidden by the high banks and hedgerows along Devon’s lanes “and really appreciate the beauty of the South Hams first hand”.
Programmes can be purchased from Kingsbridge Information Centre as well as from the Trust’s gazebo in the bus station on the day, or on-line from www.tvagwot.org.uk.
The programme’s 52 pages contain full details of the routes, timetables, the buses expected to attend, and the journeys being carried out by each vehicle during the day.
Visitors are also encouraged to support the Trust by buying programmes as it will help to defray the organiser’s costs and provide much needed funds for its charitable activities.
The programme also contains a special feature covering the early history of Kingsbridge’s Tally Ho! coaches and its use of buses built by Bristol Commercial Vehicles between 1977 and 2006.
These buses were renowned for their ruggedness and reliability, and having been supplied new only to the nationalised bus companies such as Western National they were keenly sought after by companies such as Tally Ho! when they were sold off for further use.
The Coleridge Community Bus, a volunteer run service for the area to the east and north of Kingsbridge, has become a regular feature of the Running Day. They will be using a 16-seater EVM/Mercedes bus on a special route covering the coastal area to the east of the Kingsbridge Estuary. This will visit Beesands, Hallsands, Start Point, with spectacular views of Start Bay and Slapton Sands, East Prawle and East Portlemouth and include opportunities to walk to vantage points and photograph the bus in these stunning scenic surroundings. Described as a ‘must’ by the organisers, it will be the only service visiting this area.
In addition, luxury coach tours will run in both the morning and afternoon to the picturesque, sheltered bay at Blackpool Sands, courtesy of the owners, with a 40-minute break there to give passengers the opportunity to walk along the spectacular Sands and visit the café.
Other services will be reviving routes from the earliest days of motor buses and subsequent developments to Salcombe, Thurlestone, Soar, Hope, South Pool, Slapton, Totnes, Loddiswell Station, Goveton, Modbury, Moreleigh, Blackawton and Bigbury-on-Sea.
There will also be short circular routes visiting Churchstow and Aveton Gifford mainly operated by open top buses.
Organiser Colin Billington, who has a home near Loddiswell, commented: “We are really pleased to be able to put on our normal Running Day again this year after returning to our full programme last year.
“We have a record entry of 40 vehicles to choose from. We are again very grateful for the backing of our principal sponsor, Kingsbridge’s own Tally Ho Coaches, who are celebrating the Centenary of when their founder, Jimmy Clark of the Mounts, bought his first passenger vehicle.
“We are also grateful to the other bus companies and local businesses who have supported the event by advertising in our programme. All of the roads we are using are former or current bus routes, and we are grateful to other road users for respecting the age and speed of our vehicles and kindly accommodating them. The event is for one day only and gives enormous pleasure to many people and benefits local businesses. It also demonstrates the environmental benefits to many people who may have not travelled before by bus and are encouraged to make greater use as a result of their Running Day experience.”