Welcome to the South Wales and West (SWW) Branch of the Omnibus Society.
Numerically we are not the largest of the OS branches but we cover an enormous area roughly aligning with the South Wales and the Western Traffic Areas, or from Aberystwyth to Lands End and across to Bournemouth. Such a wide and varied area does mean that our Bulletin, which is published 6 times a year, is always packed. Our editorial team have their fingers on the pulse, recording changes from operators large and small and often explaining why these changes took place. But the bulletin doesn't stop there: each issue contains articles on current and historical operations in our area, reports on our days out, and the chance for members to give their slant on what's going on. To view a recent bulletin click here.
The Bulletin is available to all members and is a great way to keep in touch, but it is sometimes difficult to organise events that can be accessible from all over our area. Our annual AGM takes place in Bristol, being more or less the centre of our area, in mid-March, and is followed by a talk by an invited speaker. This and other meetings, tours, talks, and the pre-Christmas Cardiff Quiz (where we compete against teams from other enthusiast groups) are all listed on our calendar page.
If you would like some idea of what the committee members get up to in their spare time have a look at this diary of a bus trip, but not just any old bus trip.
The Branch is very fortunate in having among its members Derek Persson, who in 2016 achieved the remarkable milestone of 50 years as the Route Recorder for the South West area. Much of his research has entailed his own exploration of the routes to keep abreast of changes. Derek's work was recognised at the March 2016 Branch meeting, when OS President Leon Daniels presented Derek with a framed period Westyern National route map of Cornwall, and members shared a celebratory cake in the form of a Western National double-decker. Please see Branch Bulletin 188 for pictures and more detail.
Members' photographs illustrate some recent events in our area.
From 5th December, Stagecoach in South Wales service 132 between Cardiff and Maerdy has been relaunched as a Stagecoach Gold service. On 7th December Alexander Dennis Enviro200MMC 26093: YX66 WHZ, yet to acquire its brand lettering, loads at the St Mary Street stop used since the closure of Cardiff Bus Station.
Cardiff City Transport has marked the 30th anniversary of becoming a council-owned arms-length company by repainting Scania N270UD / East Lancs Olympus 472: CN57 FGD into the ‘Pick an Orange’ livery of that period. On 7th December it is parked in Lower St Mary Street, Cardiff, one of the layover locations used since the bus station closed.
Cardiff City Transport 188: CE02 UUG crosses Cardiff Bridge on 20th October in an all-blue livery. (It remains immortalised in its original livery as an EFE model!)
First West of England has the first twenty dual-door long-wheelbase Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMCs, of which twelve operate in Bristol. Loading in Broad Quay on 19th October, 33940: YX66 WEH is in a blue livery for the Brislington Park & Ride service taken over from CT Plus in September.
Eight of First West of England’s new dual-door Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMCs are in claret livery for Bath UniBus service U1, such as 33943: YX66 WEO queuing in Manvers Street, Bath on 19th October.
UNVI Urbis double-deckers are commonly seen on sightseeing work in other countries but are still rare in the UK, Bath Bus Company being the first operator here. 703: WX15 OFT is in Dorchester Street, Bath on 19th October.
As significant numbers of the Egyptian-built MCV EvoSeti appear around the country, Bath Bus Company has acquired the original Volvo B5TL-based demonstrator for its Air Decker service. With fleet number A509, BF65 WHZ turns into Broad Quay, Bath at the start of its journey to Bristol Airport on 19th October.
Phil Anslow has applied Wye Valley Explorer branding to buses used on services 63 Cwmbran – Chepstow and 69 Monmouth – Chepstow, as shown by Alexander Dennis Enviro200 YX 16 OGA at Chepstow Bus Station on 19th October.
During the 6 week closure of the Severn Tunnel in September and October, buses used on rail replacement services between Newport and Bristol Parkway have included Wrightbus StreetDecks from First Leicester. Here 35188: SK16 GVL arrives in Queensway, Newport.
Stagecoach in South Wales’s new ‘studentlink’ livery for school and college services is illustrated by Volvo B10M-62 / Jonckheere Modulo 52631: S671 RWJ at Blackwood Bus Station on 12th October.
New 66-registered buses entering service in September include two Optare SoloSRs with Harris Coaches. 38: YJ66 ARX is parked at Blackwood Bus Station on 12th October.
From September, Stagecoach West took over operation of service 35 between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth via Coleford. Optare Versa 25232: PX08 FNE arrives in Agincourt Square, Monmouth on 11th October. At the bus station it will become a 36 to continue to Hereford.
Thomas of Rhondda put two 66-registered short Alexander Dennis Enviro200s into service in September. YX66 WDR pauses at Tonypandy bus station on service 173 on 21st September.
Extending route branding to its registration mark, Easyway’s ST58 FAG is a VDL SB200 / Plaxton Centro (originally registered YJ58 FFD) that plies service 32A from central Cardiff to St Fagans National History Museum. Displaced by the closure of Cardiff Bus Station, here it loads in Westgate Street on 8th September.
On 10th September, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the SevernBridge, OS members travelled in this Bristol MW (part-owned by the Branch Chairman) from Marlborough Street, Bristol across the bridge to the Red & White gathering at Beachley.
Cardiff Bus subsidiary Vale Busline Ltd started operating services 51, 53, 56, 86 and X91 on 4th September, trading as Capital Links. Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton Pointer2 374 shows the new livery.
First’s ‘Buses of Somerset’ has just taken delivery of five ADL Enviro 300s from Glasgow. Previously used on the GlasgowAirport shuttle their new ‘Somerset’ livery suites them very well. The first day of operation in their new home was 7th September 2016 and here 67707 is seen departing Taunton Bus Station for Minehead. They retain their ‘Shuttle’ internal layout with luggage racks at the front of the vehicles – just visible in the picture - as they were acquired specifically for the Minehead service where luggage capacity is a problem with large numbers of holidaymakers.
Our postal address - 100 Sandwell Street, Walsall, WS1 3EB