Welcome to the Archive

It’s roughly 50 years since my transport archive got off to a false start. My uncle brought me a bus timetable leaflet when he visited one day. I remember it was a free leaflet about the Liverpool – Huyton – Prescot services and it would have been in 1970 or 71.

These routes were operated by Crosville Motor services back at the turn of the 60s and 70s. I would have been only about six years old and though I treasured that leaflet it was eventually thrown out, probably by my mother after finding it torn and scribbled on by my brother.

Crosville Bristol VRT DVL410 in September 1985 on Mount Pleasant, Liverpool on one of those Huyton and Prescot routes. A couple of years later, after an eventful time in transport, I would be driving this very vehicle myself.

I had little idea of where Huyton and Prescot were. I had rarely been out of Runcorn where I grew up, apart from odd visits to neighbouring towns: mostly Widnes and Warrington, more rarely Chester, Liverpool and Northwich. I remember them mostly for the bus or train ride… Occasional trips and holiday breaks were taken in North Wales and what struck me at the time was that the Crosville buses that went past my house several times an hour could be found everywhere I went. There must have been hundreds! As I later confirmed, there were actually over a thousand.

As I got older I started taking note of bus numbers. It was the registration numbers I remembered. So when my family started to bring me more leaflets and even bought me a whole book of timetables I was pleased to find that there was a fleet list I could buy… mentioned in the list of company publications in the front pages of the timetable. Imagine that now!

The company publications page in my 1974 timetable book.

When I went to the local bus station with some pocket money, the kindly inspector explained that they didn’t stock the fleet list in his kiosk and that I would have to write a letter to the head office, whose address was conveniently in my timetable book. So the 10 year old me wrote off in his best handwriting and a large envelope came back stuffed with the fleet list and all kinds of publicity and operations information that had me riveted for hours. Pictures in the fleet list of buses going to unheard of places that I had to look up in the road atlas. And the key to Crosville’s cryptic fleet numbering codes! That lovely inspector, by the way, J Arthur Trevor, later gave me one of the prize exhibits in my collection [for another post…]

By the time I was 13 I had joined a club and flown solo on a Wanderbus ticket [if you don’t know what one of those was, I will explain another day]. I got an instamatic camera. Armed with a shoulder bag toting my timetables, maps, notebook… and a flask of weak lemon drink… I became a fully-fledged bus spotter. Aged 13 I travelled unaccompanied to Sydney. Did you know you could get to Sydney on a Crosville bus? I was home for me dinner too.

In the years that followed, I accumulated a lot of timetables, maps, flyers, photographs, notebooks, memories… I made many expeditions on buses and eventually got behind the wheel and worked as a driver for 13 years at my local depot. And, years after, came back to the industry for another seven-year stint that saw out the once venerable Halton Transport. I have had the pleasure of meeting and accompanying on days out many splendid people with similar interests some of whom may contribute to these reminiscences along the way. If any readers have any memories to add to my notes, please feel free to add your comments to the posts. And bring your friends.

Naturally a lot of my interests are focused on my local area and places I could easily travel to. But in later years I came to travel further afield in pursuit of transport interest so a lot of nostalgic material from the North West and Wales can be expected in these pages but there will be content from much further afield too.

If you think your friends and contacts would enjoy the reminiscence here, please share a link to this site. The photographs I upload are my copyright [unless used with permission and credited to someone else] and not yours to take and upload to the internet in your own right. Please send your friends here to see them instead.

That’s enough about me. I am enjoying rifling through my transport treasure trove and the posts that follow will be concentrating on the historical aspects of vehicles, operators, services and the people who made it happen. By subscribing to this blog in the little form on this page you will be notified of future uploads and receive occasional bonus material not available to the public on this site. Your support and feedback will encourage me to keep these posts coming. And I have plans to develop the site further, and a few related projects in progress so come back soon!

Welcome aboard… ding-ding, hold tight please.