14 May 2013

Western Greyhound

It wont have escaped your attention that Western Greyhound suffered a massive set back to  their business in the early hours of yesterday morning with a large fire at the main Summercourt base which has destroyed 37 buses – a third of the whole fleet.

The fire in Summercourt, near Newquay, broke out at about 01:00 BST. The blaze - the cause is not yet known - is expected to cause "significant disruption" to services in mid-Cornwall, including school buses. Mark Howarth from Western Greyhound said: "A lot of hard work has gone into Western Greyhound and it's awful to see it going up in smoke." The burnt-out buses included two brand new vehicles which cost more than £100,000 each, and four of Truro's six park-and-ride buses. BBC

Incident Commander Guy Herrington, from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Because of the flammable liquids and materials in the buses, the fire took hold very quickly. "It takes very little for fire to spread from one vehicle to another but to tackle this number of vehicles in one go is rare." Western Greyhound has been operating buses in both counties since 1998. It describes itself as a "locally based, family-run business". There was no damage to the depot's offices or workshops and there were no reports of any injuries.

At 02:37 hrs assistance for "Make Pumps eight" was made and further appliances from Truro and Mevagissey were mobilised. The incident was divided into two areas and five main jets, one hose reel jet are being supplied by one hydrant and an open water source. Along side the major appliances two landrovers attended and specialised equipment - command support vehicle from Launceston, an operational support vehicle from St Austell, and water carrier from Wadebridge and a welfare wagon from St Dennis. Falmouth Packet

As for the vehicles lost it seems a large number of the double decker fleet have been lost including some of the Enviro 400s along with some of the Mercedes Citaros used on Truro Park & Ride duties. Several Optare Solos have also been lost including it seems two brand new ones which had yet to enter service. One bus which has been confirmed as lost is the heritage fleet Bristol VRT JVW259W pictured below way back in 2008.

Western Greyhound JVW259W

Mercifully most of the heritage fleet were based elsewhere in Cornwall so were safe. Indeed at least one, a Routemaster is operating in normal service as everything that is available is pushed out.

There have been a lot of messages of support for the company in Cornwall from passengers and also from within the industry.


A particularly kind gesture comes from First Devon & Cornwall who posted this message on their Facebook pages

Due to the terrible incident at the Western Greyhound depot, First will be accepting WG season tickets for travel on our services for the next few days to enable passengers to travel by bus in the county. We have only just announced this and are in the process of communicating it to our drivers across Cornwall (therefore please be patient with any drivers who may not yet be aware). Further updates on how long this arrangement will be in place will follow in the next day or so. Facebook

I will leave the final words for now to Western Greyhound

First will be temporarily accepting Western Greyhound seasons from our passengers having difficulty in getting to their destination at no extra charge. We would like to thank First for their kind offer to assist.

We would like to pay tribute to the fire crews who tackled the enormous blaze at our Summercourt base this morning. They acted with great professionalism and saved the offices and workshops from being destroyed as well as saving some of the buses. I would also like to thank all our staff that, despite their shock and stunned disbelief at what had happened, worked to do everything they could to keep the wheels turning under the most difficult circumstances. They are all true stars! Well done! Thank you also to our customers who are currently facing inconvenience, we are all working long hours to try and get everything back up and running normally as quickly as the situation allows.


  1. my thoughts go out to mark and his team, was a shame to hear so many buses were destroyed as well as the vr. I wish u all the best for the future and that wgl rises like a phoenix from the ashes.

  2. Peter Murnaghan14 May 2013 at 20:50

    I agree with Michael's comment. Good operators are thin on the ground and this is really rough for Western Greyhound - Mark and the team have our sympathies and we're quietly rooting for them to come out of this with heads held high. And great to see the cooperation of competitors when tough times arise.

    It brings out the best in our industry.

  3. I echo Michael's comments wholeheartedly.

  4. Same as all the comments above.
    I wish Western Greyhound all the best and hope to see the company come out of it even stronger and am truly shocked with what has happened a really shame to see the VR and some of the newer buses go, I hope what ever caused it is found soon!

    I wish WG all the best.
    P.s Western Greyhound drivers I cannot applaud you enough for all the hard work,long hours of driving you do but still manage a positve,friendly attitude and always have time to help! you are a credit to the industry


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