Friday, 17 March 2017

Victoria Coach Station ~ 85th Anniversary

A local resident of our area was very privileged in being invited to attend the recent 85th anniversary celebrations of London's Victoria Coach Station. Martyn Jarvis of Lowestoft could only attend on Friday last due to other commitments over the weekend so here is is his take on the day.

Wilts & Dorset EMW284 is a Bristol LB / Beadle C32R of 1947 vintage
'The event took up lanes 1-4 of the coach station being protected by Heras fencing on red/white blockers. There were photo opportunities to be had viewing the entrance for those want shots of modern coaches entering the coach station. Inside the parking area, coaches were parked in close fashion as they would be in a ‘real’ situation. Not so good for photography but recreating an ambience of coach travel of the 1950’s & 1960’s. On the Friday there was a good representative collection of Bristols, Leylands, AEC, Bedford SB and BMMO C5. Entry was not permitted except by invitation but a wonderfully supported event.

A 1932 English Electric bodied AEC Regal - FV4548 is currently available for sale.
A history of the vehicle can be seen at
Organised by the ‘Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust’ who had a stall inside the main concourse. They were selling various memorabilia including a commemorative booklet for a very reasonable £6. This was well illustrated showing the coach station history throughout its existence from 1932 to 2017. How many facilities in the UK can equal this record? Interestingly there is a photo of the underground coach park (which I didn’t know existed) but with numerous concrete support columns did not suit 36ft coaches of the latter 1960’s. Of local interest a photo of HAH892D loading for the East Anglian Express service to Yarmouth via Chelmsford & Bury St Edmunds.

A Duple bodied Bristol LL6B - LTA958 is preserved in the colours of Southern National

Other stalls present included one crewed by TfL/VCS staff who were giving away a souvenir programme showing the various coaches expected to be present over the three days. Colour photos and a brief description of each vehicle including present owner are included. For a small donation to the ‘Transport Benevolent Fund’ it was good value. Bachmann also had their roadshow stand and were selling some 2nd grade model buses at giveaway prices. Their display stand showed both 2017 model programme buses in 1:76 scale and some 1:148 ‘N’ gauge buses.
A Red & White 1968 Bristol RELH6L with an Eastern Coach Works C47F body
One thing caught my eye and that was the manufacturers sticker in the back window of OAX9F – namely for BCV and ECW. Very topical with this being the 30th anniversary of the ECW plant closure, very sad.

All in all a great day recreating the atmosphere of that golden age of coach travel in a very historic setting.'

Many thanks to Martyn for his contribution and his photos - it looks to have been a very enjoyable day.


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