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ROYAL BLUE RUN – 17-19 June 2022

 
     
 

Now coming of age, this will be the 21st Royal Blue & Associated Motorways coach run to see preserved coaches retracing original routes they plied when in service. The 2021 Royal Blue Run was a five-day epic but this year we are returning to the traditional three-day format within compass points from Birmingham in the North, Portsmouth in the South, Gloucester in the West, and London in the East.


We are privileged, and grateful to TfL, to be setting out from Victoria Coach Station at 10.30am on Friday 17th June. This mass departure of vintage coaches will form one of the spectacles in the year-long VCS90 celebrations marking 90 years since this important coaching hub was opened.


The run is an intricate combination of joint Royal Blue/ Greyhound, Associated Motorways, Elliott Bros era, and Tourist (later Royal Blue) routes. Remarkably only short stretches have been covered in previous runs (further details of which can be found here) underlining just how extensive the coaching network once was. On Friday the run will end in the Birmingham area, travelling west and south towards Salisbury on Saturday, continuing to Henley-on-Thames (via Portsmouth!) on Sunday.

 

Victoria Coach Station - Royal Blue coaches preparing to depart on the 2016 run.
© Peter Delaney

 

 
 

Detailed planning is underway to check the suitability of traditional roads (with modern-day traffic management features) for the vintage coaches, so details of the principal routing and approximate timings will be included here in due course.


The purpose of the Royal Blue & Associated Motorways runs is to showcase these fine coaches in authentic settings offering an opportunity for the public and photographers across the country to enjoy the bygone scene.


The vehicles are privately owned and, regrettably, it is not practicable to offer public rides along the way. Real-time coverage via our Facebook page gives a convenient way for virtual travellers to sample the experience. Highlights from the 2021 Royal Blue Run give a flavour:

 
     
 

 

 
     
 

COACH ENTRIES

Coach entries for the Royal Blue Run are warmly invited to participate in all or parts of the run.  The entry form (Word or pdf formats) should be completed as soon as possible, please, and returned to rbrun@tvagwot.org.uk. The deadline for entries is 31st May 2022.  Entrants will be provided with a full set of route instructions and timings for the proposed run but are at liberty to vary these.

 
     
 

COACHES PARTICIPATING

Some of the coaches entered to participate in some or all of the run are:

Fleet no

Reg No

Chassis

Type

Body

Body code

Year

Operator

279

EMW284

Bristol

L6B

Beadle

C32R

1947

Wilts & Dorset

1250

LTA729

Bristol

LL6B

Duple

C37F

1951

Royal Blue

2815

NHY947

Bristol

LWL6B

ECW

FC35F

1951

Bristol Tramways / Greyhound

1286

MOD973

Bristol

LS6G

ECW

C39F

1952

Royal Blue

2200

OTT43

Bristol

LS6G

ECW

C39F

1953

Royal Blue

2267

56GUO

Bristol

MW6G

ECW

C39F

1961

Royal Blue

2270

253KTA

Bristol

MW6G

ECW

C39F

1962

Royal Blue

424

274KTA

Bristol

SUL4A

ECW

C35F

1962

Western National

1457

LDV467F

Bristol

RELH

ECW

C45F

1967

Western National / Royal Blue

RC.968

OAX9F

Bristol

RELH-6L

ECW

C41F

1968

Red & White

2380

OTA640G

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

C45F

1969

Royal Blue

278

TBD278G

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

DP49F

1969

United Counties

1482

RDV433H

Bristol

RELH6G

ECW

C45F

1970

Royal Blue

3547

FDV803V

Leyland

PLSC3/4E

Plaxton

C45FT

1980

Royal Blue

2240

E206BOD

Dennis

 

Duple 425

C53F

1988

Western National

 
     
 

PREVIOUS ROYAL BLUE RUNS

Information about previous events can be found here

You can take a virtual trip on our 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 runs on our Blog and our Facebook page has video coverage from the 2018 and subsequent runs.

 

 
 
 
 

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.

From the earliest days of Elliott Brothers’ Royal Blue luxury services, coaches frequented Cheddar Gorge

as this c. 1928 photograph recording a visit to

Gough’s Caves shows.

Part of the authentic re-creation of TV&GWOT’s

Royal Blue Runs saw 1951-vintage Bristol LL6B

(Fleet No. 1250) descending Cheddar Gorge in 2012.

© Colin Billington

 

Spectacular scenery on the 2018 Royal Blue Run with MW6G 253KTA (2270) on of the 12 participating coaches © Chris Drew

 

 

 

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

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