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  VICTORIA COACH STATION  - VCS90 -  A YEAR OF CELEBRATION  
     
 

TV&GWOT has a strong focus on coach services not least because the West Country was such a popular destination.  For many the adventure began at Victoria Coach Station in London and we are delighted to be working with the TfL team in 2022 to help celebrate the 90th anniversary since this national hub of coaching activity first opened.

The anniversary is significant not just for the heritage, but also for investment and future growth as a modern transport interchange.  It matters to staff, passengers and enthusiasts alike and the celebrations will mirror this with a range of complementary activities.

These static and running day events and displays give the wider public opportunities to share in the excitement. Scroll or click to jump to: 17 June / 24 July / 24 September / VCS book to find out more.

Sunday 24 July - VCS90 – Bus Running Day

Victoria Coach Station will be the hub for the running day activities.  Vintage and modern vehicles will give public rides from 09:30 to 17:00 so passengers can sample different aspects of coach and bus travel.

 

Route 090 - Vintage coaches from the 1940s to 1980s and a modern Flixbus coach will travel to and from Hammersmith Bus Station via the Embankment from VCS - non-stop half-hourly service.

  Route A1 - Buses and coaches providing Airbus services over the years will use the Hammersmith terminus travelling to and from VCS via Hyde Park Corner and Knightbridge - half-houly.
 

Route 11 - RT and RM buses will take visitors between VCS (Buckingham Palace Road stops) and Aldwych for the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden - 10-15 minute frequency.

TV&GWOT is coordinating the vintage coaches for the first of these services. Pairs of coaches will depart every 30 minutes and each will make three or four return trips as shown below. A new book has been produced by TV&GWOT to mark the 90th Anniversary and will be on sale on the day. Coaches planned to be taking part 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

 

FFN446

Leyland

TD5

Beadle

C35F

1951

East Kent

1286

MOD973

Bristol

LS6G

ECW

C39F

1952

Royal Blue

3547

FDV803V

Leyland

PLSC3/4E

Plaxton

C45FT

1980

Royal Blue

2240

E206BOD

Dennis

 

Duple 425

C53F

1988

Western National


The provisional duties for vintage coaches are as follows:

 

For the full running day timetables click here and see the London Bus Museum website.

 

 TV&GWOT's new VCS90 book available for purchase at the VCS90 events or online here

Coaches from over the decades expected to give passenger trips on Sunday 24 July
  Wilts & Dorset EMW284 – the oldest coach running in service on 24 July. © Carl Berry Royal Blue 1250 – 50 years in preservation with its current owner © Chris Heaps
Royal Blue 1286 on long-term loan to TV&GWOT whose volunteers completed the restoration. NHY947 from Bristol, one of the participants in the coach run which departed from VCS on 17 June 2022. East Kent Road Car Co. FFN446 which also featured in the 10 March 2022 VCS90 event
FDV803V new in 1980 Royal Blue’s Centenary year.  © Chris Drew Western National’s 2240 – remarkably modern for a coach nearly 35 years old. A FLiXBUS will also operate on the VCS-Hammersmith service.

Thursday 10 March – The 90th Anniversary of the Grand Opening of Victoria Coach Station

Transport for London (TfL) officials and VCS staff gathered 90 years to the day after the coach station was opened (on 10 March 1932) to commemorate that momentous occasion.  It was a time for reflection on the hundreds of millions of people who have passed through the nation’s coaching hub over the decades, whether as passengers, coach drivers or staff keeping VCS operational day and night, 365 days a year.  Fittingly, a celebration of the people was rewarded with a magnificent cake.  To acknowledge the heritage, three vintage coaches from the 1950s were cast in the modern coach station setting:

 

  1951 East Kent Beadle-bodied Leyland FFN446
  1951 Royal Blue Duple-bodied Bristol LL6B with Duple body LTA729 (Fleet No. 1250)
  1958 Maidstone & District Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance 390DKK
   
         
     

TfL officials assembled on 10 March 2022 to acknowledge the significance of VCS and its 90th anniversary. TfL Commissioner Andy Byford addressed the assembled crowd, accompanied by (L to R) Andy Lord (Chief Operating Officer), Liam Wilson (Coach Station Manager) and Louise Cheeseman (Director of Buses).

 

A recent addition to the National Express fleet, a Scania K410EB6 Caetano Levante 3 (BF21CZA) was flanked by vintage coaches, some 60-70 years older, with a Royal Blue behind as part of the thought-provoking display on 10 March. Decades have passed and design and engineering have changed but the principles of good passenger service at VCS continue.

   

The VCS 50th anniversary cake in photographs of the 1982 celebration.  © The Bus Archive – London Coastal Coaches Collection.

 

 

The magnificent VCS90 cake (above) and (right) ceremonial cutting on 10 March.

 
         
   
         
    The departures into Elizabeth Street at the end of the VCS90 birthday party on 10 March provide a silent commentary on the evolution of coaches over 70 of VCS’s 90 years from 1951 to 2021. All pictures © Helen Billington uno.
         
   
 
   
     
 

Friday 17 June – Royal Blue & Associated Motorways Coach Run – VCS mass departure

 
 
   

The mass departure of coaches on TV&GWOT’s Royal Blue and Associated Motorways run on Friday 17th June (9.30-10.30) recreated a once familiar summer scene for passengers, staff, enthusiasts, and photographers alike to enjoy.  

Details of participating coaches and the route they followed cam be found here.

 
   

Royal Blue coaches preparing to depart on the 2016 run. © Peter Delaney

 
     
 
Saturday 24 September - VCS90 – Static Display of Coaches at VCS  
   

Serried ranks of vintage coaches will occupy the principal running bays at VCS – for one day only.  This spectacle will be open to the public to enjoy with endless opportunities for photographers, enthusiasts and the wider public.

If you are interested in entering a vintage coach, please contact TV&GWOT.

Please note that entries are warmly invited from coaches across the country.  The date is intentionally alongside the 50th Showbus (on 25 September) so coaches travelling a distance will have the opportunity to participate in two relatively close events in the same weekend.

 
   

Vintage coaches on display alongside the operational services during the 3-day VCS85 Coach Festival. © Colin Billington

VCS90 Book    
     

TV&GWOT, has prepared a new book to celebrate the VCS 90th anniversary.  It is a significant expansion and update to its sell-out 85th Anniversary booklet, and looks at different aspects of the coach station development and operational heritage, drawing in part on the London Coastal Coaches collection held by the Bus Archive.  In addition, the express services between the Thames Valley and VCS have been documented for the first time based on new research.  Wheels to the West are another aspect relevant to the TV&GWOT areas of interest and the record of vehicles serving the West Country has been brought up to date.  Readers are transported back to see life at VCS at different points through the last 90 years –a busy summer’s day in 1962 and the rail strike of 1982 are examples, with pictures of coaches serving the whole country.

The book is B5 format (between A4 and A5), 96 pages, soft bound with extensive illustrations, many previously unseen.  It can be purchased exclusively from TV&GWOT for £15 with the addition of £3 post & packing.   

The book will be on sale at the various VCS90 events or to order by post for £18 including p&p either:

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

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

PayPal button – The safer, easier way to pay online!

A contribution from the proceeds of sales will be donated to the Bus Archive.

 
 
 

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