KINGSBRIDGE Vintage Bus Running Day is back, giving you the opportunity to travel the South Hams on classic buses.
This year’s running day will take place on Saturday, September 17. All services are free and there is no limit to the number of journeys you can take during the day. From the buses you will be able to see sights not possible from a car as you drive down the Devon lanes with high banks and hedgerows.
Since the first Vintage Bus Running Day in 2008, the event has grown in popularity every year and has become established in the Kingsbridge calendar on the third Saturday in September. Last year more than 5,800 passenger journeys were made on the 38 buses in service on 22 different routes. This year a record 41 vintage buses are expected so that extra departures are being scheduled in response to the demand experienced last year. On the most popular routes there will be more duplicate vehicles giving the opportunity to change vehicles at the outer terminus.
Last year, a morning tour to Blackpool Sands was introduced using two luxury coaches with a short stay to enjoy the scenery which proved to be very popular so this year the tour will be repeated in the afternoon with a slightly longer stay to give time for refreshments or a walk along the beach.
To plan your day, programmes are available now from Kingsbridge Information Centre for £5, by post through the organisers’ website www.tvagwot.org.uk or can be purchased in the bus station on the day.
The programmes contain full details of the routes, timetables, the buses expected to attend and the journeys being carried out by each vehicle during the day together with illustrated features, this year on the horse-drawn stagecoach era including the Great Blizzard of 1891 and an 1892 description of the journey from Dartmouth to Kingsbridge.
The event will start at 10am and end at approximately 5.30pm with all services leaving from and returning to the bus station on the Quay. Early morning feeder services leaving Totnes at 8.40am, 9.20am and 9.40am will enable residents and visitors from there to travel by vintage bus to enjoy a full day out. Return services will run during the day and later in the afternoon, the last leaving Kingsbridge at 5.30pm for Totnes.
The event is being organised by the Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust, a charity devoted to bringing historic transport to the public which has a base near Loddiswell. Vehicles are provided from the TV&GWOT collection and by individual owners who have lovingly restored them to their former glory and who are making them available for the event at their own cost.
Services are free all day and programme sales will help to defray TV&GWOT’s costs in mounting the event and provide much needed funds for its charitable activities so please support the Trust by buying one.
Some of the routes date back to the earliest days of motor buses where services in the South Hams were started by the Great Western Railway in 1909, both for local travel and as feeders to the branch line from Kingsbridge to the main line at Brent.
Services will revive routes to Salcombe, Bantham, Thurlestone, Hope, Sherford and South Pool, Beesands and East Portlemouth, Slapton, Blackawton, East Allington, Totnes, Loddiswell and California Cross, Goveton, Modbury and Bigbury-on-Sea.
A special feature of this event is the use of small country buses designed to safely negotiate the narrow lanes of the South Hams. From the comfort of a seat on the bus passengers will be able to enjoy travel at the leisurely pace of days past and the beautiful scenery.
Plymouth Citybus’s popular vintage Leyland open top bus is returning this year and will be joined by a similar vehicle provided by Stagecoach Devon. Both will operate on services to Slapton and Salcombe.