Wednesday 21 February 2024

Life With The Lyons / Lions (2)

No Mystery In The History

But how come Reading (Corporation) Transport is running to Wokingham and Bracknell, surely not a traditional city route? If we step back a little beyond life with the Lions, we meet this selection of buses from Reading to Bracknell.
That is because Reading had just taken over route 90. First Bus, always ready to contract and withdraw, had closed their Bracknell depot, cancelled their registrations for Bracknell town services and sold the 90 to Reading who took over immediately operating (technically) "On Hire to First Bus".

The seasoned observer of all things omnibological would not be surprised. First did not seem to have any enthusiasm for this route, certainly if the buses used on it were anything to go by.
First had already renumbered the route from 190 ...
... but the limited route branding on the 90 (who wants to see out of the front, anyway?) didn't seem to to inspire the travelling public.

But here is another picture from the 190 group of services.
The bus, branded Beeline, is reported as moving to First Eastern Counties..
fbb can find no record of the timetable for this group of services but on-line photographs give some insight.
Beeline had been Alder Valley North ...
... which split from Alder Valley South for privatisation purposes. There again Alder Valley was a fake name given to the merged NBC companies of Thames Valley and Aldershot and District.

Pay attention at the back.

So Alder Valley North, now Beeline,p was running buses between Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell per this timetable cover.
In the relatively short time in which this blog was assembled, fbb could find no detail of BeeLine route numbers but there is no reason to suppose that they were not either 90 or, more likely 190 and associated workings as per the pictures above.

Because; here are some Thames Valley (predecessors to Alder Valley and Alder Valley North) buses showing the 190 number.
Furthermore there is a collection of timetables on-lin which includes buses between Reading and Bracknell.
In this case the numbers are back to 90 with variations and the route extends to Windsor; perhaps because Heathrow was less of  good business prospect than it is today.

It has been a tortuous history starting with the Thames Valley Traction Compound (part on the Tilling Group) ...
... via various National Bus Company re-jigs the even more complex privatisation operations and thus into the dubious hand of First Group.

It now ends up with an arms length Council owned company at Reading and, possibly for the first time in its history, has brand new high quality buses.
And a correction.
The pictures of the interior of these buses in yesterday's blog were incorrect. They were from another new bus. Here is the correct picture.
But you can still enjoy the strip of wood-effect flooring!

Tomorrow, a few P.S. items including ...

 Back to Thamesmead blog : Wednesday 21st Feb 


  1. Thames Valley and Aldershot & District were merged to form Alder Valley in January 1972; NBC poppy red (and leaf green) liveries were introduced during the summer/autumn of 1972, so that the photograph of two Bristol VRTs in NBC red clearly dates from the Alder Valley era.