PENZANCE VINTAGE BUS DAY - Sunday 16 April 2023  

The Cornwall Bus Preservation Society (CBPS) and the Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust (TV&GWOT) collaborated to organise a 15th vintage bus day in Penzance on Sunday 16 April 2023.  Vehicle entrants and passengers alike enjoyed spectacular scenery while travelling authentic service routes across the West Cornwall peninsula on a variety of preserved buses and coaches.

The Bristol VR is a favourite marque as the first ‘VR Running Day’ on 9 December 2006 coincided with withdrawal of this once omnipresent vehicle in Cornwall. Its low gearing and sympathetic profile equipped it well for the steep terrain and wooded valleys encountered daily and remarkabley 7 were back in service for the event.

The free vintage bus services linked Penzance with Camborne, St Ives, St Just, Hayle, Helston, Marazion/Perranuthnoe, Goldsithney, Paul/Sheffield, Sennen Cove and Land’s End (and the airport), with small vehicles going into Mousehole - a highlight for many.

On 17 August 1903 Great Western Railway Road Motors operated the first service from Helston to The Lizard, not far up the Cornish coast.  120 years on, there is a resurgence of interest in such integrated transport and the souvenir programme explores this important heritage in terms of the changing vehicle styles and technologies, and lessons offered by past practices for operations today.

The lavishly illustrated colour programme not only explores the evolution of integrated public transport in Cornwall but also has a feature on the history of a Helston based Truronian Dart recently acquired and restored by CBPS which made its debut back in original guise at the event on 16 April.

A few copies of the souvenir programme are now available for the discounted price of £5 (inc p&p).

Having travelled from the South East for the event, Western National VR 1106 looked at home in the Cornish lanes. © Chris Drew

Departing for Cornwall – with VRs queued up behind

© Helen Billington

Cornwall Services for the essential stop en route

© Helen Billington

Royal Blue 1318, Bristol LH BDV318L nestles in the Cornish landscape. © Chris Drew

Squeezing into Mousehole under the conductor’s watchful eye is Western National Bristol LHS 1560

© Tom Curtis

At St Just, the conductor on Western National FLF 1969, takes a few turns to set the return destination.

© Cathy Craig

Newly restored Dart TT03TRU heads to Perranporth, resplendent in original Truronian livery.

© Chris Drew

TV&GWOT & CBPS stalls, buses, crews, families and dogs made for a great Penzance running day 2022, repeated in 2023. © Helen Billington

There were blue skies at Moushole for Service 9 operated by Bristol SUS 600 (672COD) on 17th April 2022.

© Colin Billington

Seen at the event in 2022, Bristol VR 1157 (AFJ764T) climbed steadily up from Sennen Cove en route to Land’s End. © Helen Billington



A limited number of the bumper 48-page Souvenir programmes with feature articles are still available by post for a discounted price of £5 (inc p&p) by either:

  -   Sending a cheque payable to ‘TV&GWOT’ to Ledger Farm, Forest Green Road, Fifield, Maidenhead SL6 2NR, or

  -   Paying by Paypal (including any postal / delivery instructions in the notes)

These programmes have lasting interest and a description of past events and the content of programmes can be seen here.    



Cover design based on the ‘Coronation Year’ Cornwall area timetable from 1953 (70 years ago).



TV&GWOT and CBPS are very grateful to vehicle owners and crews for making their carefully preserved buses and coaches available for public rides at Penzance.

Full details of vehicles which attended are listed below:

Fleet No Reg No Chassis Body Body Code Year Operator
279 EMW284 Bristol L6B Beadle C32R 1947 Wilts & Dorset
600 672COD Bristol SUS4A Eastern Coach Works B30F 1960 Western National
2485 OVL494 Bristol SCL4K Eastern Coach Works B35F 1960 Lincolnshire Road Car Co.
420 270KTA Bristol SUL4A Eastern Coach Works C33F 1962 Western National
1460 OTA 632G Bristol RELH6G Eastern Coach Works C45F 1969 Western National
- TUJ921J Bedford YRQ Willowbrook DP45F 1970 Salopia, Whitchurch
1254 VOD124K Bristol LHS6L Marshall B33F 1972 Western National
1318 BDV318L Bristol LH6L Marshall C39F 1973 Royal Blue
1557 FDV787V Bristol LHS6L Eastern Coach Works B35F 1979 Western National
1560 FDV790V Bristol LHS6L Eastern Coach Works B35F 1979 Western National
3131 AFJ 692T Bristol LH6L Plaxton Supreme Express DP41F 1978 Western National
- LUA255V Volvo B58 Plaxton Supreme - 1980 Wallace Arnold
- C193CYO Volvo B10M-46 Mk 1 Plaxton Paramount Mk 2 Eclipse C37F 1986 Glentons Tours
2601 D601GHY Volvo B10M Van Hool DP45F 1987 Badgerline
- F622RTC Leyland Lynx    Leyland B49F 1989 Bristol City Line
262 H262MFX Dennis Dominator East Lancs H47/33F 1991 Bournemouth Yellow Buses
105 K105SFJ Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer B40F 1992 Plymouth City Bus
628 L628VCV Mercedes Benz 709 Plaxton B23F 1994 Western National
357 L357VCV Mercedes 811D Plaxton Beaver B31F 1994 Western National
283 N283PDV Mercedes 709 Plaxton Beaver B25F 1995 Plymouth City Bus
180 HF03ODU Volvo Gemini Wright Eclipse  H45/31F 2003 Bournemouth Yellow Buses
401 L401 VCV Dennis Dart Plaxton B40F 1994 Western National
- TT03 TRU Dennis Dart SLF Transbus B37F 2003 Truronian
DL640 MTT640 Leyland Titan PD2/1 Leyland L27/26R 1951 Devon General
1 UWV614S Bristol VR Eastern Coach Works CO43/31F 1978 Southdown
358 MCO658 Leyland Titan PD2/12 Metro-Cammell O30/26R 1956 Plymouth Corporation
1969 468FTT Bristol FLF6G Eastern Coach Works H38/30F 1960 Western National
2019 824KDV Bristol FLF6G Eastern Coach Works H38/30F 1963 Western National
1056 OTA290G Bristol VRT/SL6G Eastern Coach Works H39/31F 1969 Western National
583 GNJ583N Bristol VRT/SL3/510 Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1975 Southdown
1106 SFJ106R Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB  Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1977 Western National
1121 VDV 121S Bristol VRT/SL3/6XLB Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1978 Western National
1141 AFJ 706T Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1978 Western National
  UDL673S Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1978 Southern Vectis
1157 AFJ764T Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB  Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1979 Western National
1203 LFJ847W Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1980 Western National
1226 LFJ 873W Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB Eastern Coach Works H43/31F 1981 Western National


Information about previous events and programme articles can be found here

TV&GWOT’s Blog also has an account of the 2016 Penzance event. 

In 2020 Covid lockdown prevented an event going ahead and in 2021 CBPS and TV&GWOT mounted the Penzance and West Cornwall #Busflyby where 22 local vehicles looped between Penzance, Hayle and St Just in succession through the day.  The spectacle was streamed via Facebook for spectators to enjoy from their homes across the country.  Highlights can be reprised here:


(C) Copyright The Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust

Company Registered in England No. 5035702.  Registered Charity No. 1125980