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  ROYAL BLUE - 15 June - 17 June 2018  
     
 

Background

 

Our Royal Blue Runs were established in 2002 so that owners and their passengers can relive the pleasures of long distance luxury coach travel for which their carefully preserved vehicles were originally intended.  The aim is to follow original Royal Blue routes as closely as possible and to travel at a leisurely pace redolent of the times.  The runs also create a wonderful spectacle for innocent bystanders and dedicated photographers alike, thanks to the hard work and resources the owners have devoted to restoring and maintaining their fine coaches.
A lot of work goes into planning the runs from selecting routes from the extensive Royal Blue network and researching the original drivers’ instructions and passenger timetables, preparing maps and outline routing, driving the routes to develop detailed instructions allowing for modern day features and constraints, organising refreshment stops, obtaining parking permissions, to identifying potential accommodation for a dozen or more coaches and their passengers.  Despite all the preparations, final timings are hard to judge whether due to roadworks or things that might pique the interest of crews along the way.   The coaches do not travel in close convoy so as not to inconvenience other road users.  Some drivers have also been known on occasion to deviate from the intended route (unintentionally!).   
Overall the focus is on education and enjoyment and we hope that however you take part you share in the pleasure.

 

2018 Route

 

An illustrative overview of the 2018 routes is given above.  The principal routing and probable stopping points are tabulated with indicative timings, below.  These may be subject to change and anyone wanting to see the run pass is advised to recheck the website on 14 June for the latest plan.  The website will not be updated in the course of the run but real-time updates may appear on Facebook.
The Day 1 route is following a Southdown route From London (Victoria Coach Station) to East Grinstead.  From there the run follows the joint Southdown and Royal Blue route to Bournemouth operated in the 1950s and ‘60s, going as far as Winchester on Day 1.  The run crosses the Thames at Vauxhall Bridge and on through Purley and Caterham.  From East Grinstead the route goes via Crawley, Horsham, Billingshurst and Petworth.  However, major roadworks completely closing the through route at Midhurst mean a diversion towards Haslemere then south again to Petersfield is required before continuing on to Winchester.
Day 2 begins with an early start and picks up the joint Southdown - Royal Blue route on from Winchester to Bournemouth via Ringwood. From there the Royal Blue service from Bournemouth to Barnstaple, dating from the Elliott Brothers era in the early 1930s, is followed as far as Tiverton.  Leaving Bournemouth the route crosses Poole Bridge and continues on through Lytchett Minster and Wareham to Dorchester (for lunch).  Traditional routing via Crewkerne, Chard, Ilminster, Taunton and Wellington continues on over the Blackdown Hills through Hemyock, Culmstock and Uffculme to Willand.  Our original intention was to complete the day at Tiverton but because it has recently been announced that Exeter Coach Station will be finally closed for redevelopment on the evening of 16th June we shall, by kind permission of Stagecoach South West, visit the Coach Station for the very last time to complete Day 2 of our Run.
Day 3 begins in Tiverton continuing the Royal Blue route to Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.  From there the Royal Blue Ilfracombe-Taunton service is picked up going through Combe Martin and across Exmoor to Wheddon Cross, Dunster and Minehead.  The route goes via Williton to Taunton where the full run will now terminate as access for group parking in Bristol has recently been restricted.  While some coaches will head south and west, others will nevertheless continue up the A38 towards Bristol and compass points beyond.

2018 Participating Coaches

Fleet no

Reg No

Type

Date

Company

279

EMW284

Bristol L6B/Be C32R

1947

Wilts & Dorset

1250

LTA729

Bristol LL6B/Duple C37F

1951

Royal Blue

 

GFN273

Leyland-Beadle/Be

1952

East Kent

1286

MOD973

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1952

Royal Blue

1299

OTT98

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1953

Royal Blue

2200

OTT43

Bristol LS6G/ECW C39F

1953

Royal Blue

1781

TUO497

Bristol LS6G/ECW B41F

1956

Southern National

2267

56GUO

Bristol MW6G/ECW C39F

1961

Royal Blue

2270

253KTA

Bristol MW6G/ECW C39F

1962

Royal Blue

425

275KTA

Bristol SUL4A/ECW C33F

1962

Western National

CRG530

AFM105B

Bristol RELH6G/ECW C47F

1964

Crosville

1460

OTA632G

Bristol RELH6G/ECW C45F

1969

Southern National

The above coaches are expected to join some or all the run but the owners may have to withdraw or substitute vehicles due to unforeseen illness or mechanical problems.  This is beyond the organisers’ control and any disappointment is regretted.
 

Day 1 – LONDON (VICTORIA COACH STATION) - WINCHESTER

Time

Location and routing

10.30

London (VCS)(dep)

Vauxhall Bridge

A202 past the Oval

A23 to Purley and A22 to Whyteleafe

A2208 into Caterham

11.45

Caterham

A22 to Godstone Interchange

B2235 into Godstone

A22 to East Grinstead

12.30

East Grinstead

B2110 To Turner’s Hill

B2036 for Crawley via Tulley’s Farm

13.00

Tulley’s Farm (arr)

13.45

Tulley’s Farm (dep)

B2036 to Crawley

A2220 and A2004 through Crawley

A264 for Horsham

B2195 into Horsham

A281 to Broadbridge Heath

14.30

Broadbridge Heath

A264 for Billingshurst

A29 into Billingshurst

A272 to Wisborough Green and Petworth

A283 through Petworth

15.45

Petworth

A272 to Easebourne

Through Easebourne onto A286 toward Haslemere

Onto A287 then B2131to Liphook

16.15

Liphook

B2070 to Petersfield

A272 for Winchester

Enter Winchester via A31 and B3330

17.30

Winchester Coach Park, Worthy Lane (arr)

Day 2 – WINCHESTER – TIVERTON (& EXETER)

Time

Location and routing

08.30

Winchester Coach Park

A3090 to Romsey

09.05

Romsey

A3090 to M27 junction 1

A31 to Ringwood

A347 into Ferndown and Bournemouth

A3060 and Wimborne Road to Queen’s Road Coach Park

10.15

Bournemouth Coach Park (arr)

10.30

Bournemouth Coach Park (dep)

A35 to Branksome

A3061 to Parkstone

A350 into Poole then over old Poole Bridge

11.00

Poole

B3068 to Upton

B3067 to Lytchett Minster

A351 to Wareham

B3075 into Wareham

11.40

Wareham

B3070 then A352 to Wool and Dorchester

B3144 / B3143 / B3147 into Dorchester

12.30

Dorchester (arr)

13.15

Dorchester (dep)

A37 toward Yeovil taking A352 through Charminster

A356 to Crewkerne

14.15

Crewkerne

A30 to Chard

B3162 into Chard

14.45

Chard

A358 to Peasmarsh and Ilminster

A358 at A303 junction to Taunton via Ashill and Hatch Beauchamp

15.30

Taunton

A38 into Taunton via Hamilton Road depot and East Reach to Taunton Bus Station

A38 / B3187 to Wellington

16.00

Wellington

Out via South Street onto the Blackdown Hills

Through Ford Street, Hemyock and on B3391 to Culmstock

B3440 to Uffculme and Willand

17.00

Willand

A3181 via Broadclyst to Exeter

17.45

Exeter Coach Station (arr)

18.15

Exeter Coach Station (dep

A377 and A396 to Tiverton via Rewe

Enter Tiverton via B3391 to hotels

19.00

Tiverton

Day 3 – TIVERTON – TAUNTON (via BARNSTAPLE)

Time

Location and routing

09.00

Tiverton Bus Station (dep)

A361 towards Braunton and Barnstaple

Via B3227 into South Molton

Continue on B3226 through Filleigh and Swimbridge into Barnstaple

10.30

Barnstaple Coach Park (arr by Tesco Superstore)

10.45

Barnstaple Coach Park (dep)

A3125 over bridge and along The Strand

B3149 then A361 for Braunton and Ilfracombe

11.30

Ilfracombe

A399 to Watermouth Bay

11.45

Watermouth Bay (arr)

12.30

Watermouth Bay (dep)

A399 to Combe Martin

A399 through Blackmoor Gate and onto Exmoor

B3558 to Challacombe and Simonsbath

B3223 through Simonsbath

13.30

Simonsbath

B3224 to Wheddon Cross

A396 to Dunster

A39 to Minehead

14.15

Minehead (arr)

Coach Park adjacent to West Somerset Railway

14.45

Minehead (dep)

A39 to Williton

A358 to Taunton

15.45

Taunton

 

This information can be downloaded in pdf format here

 

 
     
  Previous Royal Blue Runs  
     
  We have been organising vintage coach runs for Royal Blue and Associated Motorways ‘on-hire’ vehicles over traditional routes since 2002 and so far have covered:  
     
 
2002 Taunton – Ilfracombe – Tiverton
   
2003 Bournemouth – Weymouth – Exmouth
   
2005 125th Anniversary Run - London (Victoria) - Bournemouth - Exeter
   
2005 125th Anniversary Run - Exeter - Penzance - Exeter
   
2006 Cheltenham – Weston-super-Mare – Exeter
   
2007 Cheltenham – Bath – Trowbridge – Blandford Forum – Weymouth
   
2008 Cheltenham – Radstock – Taunton – Westward Ho! – Bude – Polzeath –   Tintagel – Exeter
   
2009 Cheltenham – Bath – Yeovil – Weymouth – Swanage – Bournemouth – Portsmouth
   
2009 National Centenary Run - Penzance – Plymouth – Taunton – Bristol – Cheltenham – Cannock – Newcastle-under-Lyme – Manchester – Glasgow – Dundee – Aberdeen
   
2010 Stevenage – Hitchin – Luton – Slough – Reading – Newbury – Andover – Salisbury – Yeovil – Taunton – Minehead – Bude – Newquay – Porthleven – Penzance – St Ives – Princetown – Exeter
   
2011 Oxford – Weston-super-Mare – Taunton – Exeter – Bude – Padstow – Newquay - Hannafore – Looe – Tavistock – Lewdown – Exeter
   
2012 High Wycombe - Reading - Hungerford - Salisbury - Wincanton - Exeter - Torbay - Salcombe - Plymouth - Bodmin - Exeter - Taunton - Wells - Bath
   
2013 London - Sidcup - Maidstone - Canterbury - Margate - Ramsgate - Dover - Folkestone - Rye - Hastings - Eastbourne - Brighton - Worthing - Arundel - Chichester - Portsmouth - Southampton - Salisbury - Marlborough - Swindon - Cirencester - Cheltenham
   
2014 London  (Victoria) - Esher - Guildford - Farnham - Alresford - Winchester - Romsey - Bournemouth - Wimborne Minster - Blandford Forum - Yeovil - Montacute - Langport - Bridgwater - Taunton - Exeter - Minehead - Wheddon Cross - Dunkery Beacon - Porlock Weir - Minehead - Watchet - Bridgwater
   
2015 Windsor – Bracknell – Wokingham – Hartley Wintney – Basingstoke – Andover – Salisbury – Yeovil – Exeter – Launceston – Davidstow – Wadebridge – Newquay – Portreath – Hayle – St Ives – Penzance – Camborne – Redruth – Bodmin – Launceston – Tavistock – Plymouth – Exeter
   
2016 London - Maidenhead - Reading - Newbury - Chippenham - Bath - Keynsham - Bristol - Bath - Shepton Mallet - Blandford Forum - Bournemouth - Wareham - Lulworth Cove - Christchurch - Milford - Brockenhurst - Lyndhurst
   
2017 Northampton - Bicester - Newbury - Andover - Winchester - Southampton - Bournemouth - Poole - Wareham - Weymouth - Bridport - Lyme Regis - Sidmouth - Exeter - Honiton - Yeovil - Sherborne - Shaftesbury - Salisbury - Stockbridge - Basingstoke - Windsor
 
     
 

 
 

Royal Blue coaches at Exeter Coach Station

 
 
The line up for the 2011 Royal Blue Run departure from Polperro – many of the same vehicles will take part in 2012. Stopping for a comfort break and photo opportunity in Callington later on 19th June 2011 The ascent and subsequent descent through Cheddar Gorge was spectacular for passengers and photographers alike, despite the rain.
  2012 Royal Blue Run  
Day 1, the coaches assemble prior to departure from Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe, courtesy of the National Trust. Coaches two rows deep park up in Teignmouth early in Day 2 Towards the end of Day 2, coaches draw in to the bus station at Kingsbridge
Day 3 began in Plymouth bus & coach station with another extensive line-up Day 3, en route The end of the Royal Blue Run 2012 in Bath coach station, although many had a hundred miles or more to travel home
 
 

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