The Warminster & West Wilts Vintage Bus Running Day provides the opportunity for transport enthusiasts and the general public to re-live bus operation in West Wiltshire as it was in the 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s, mostly using preserved buses and coaches, many of which are typical of those used in the area during that period.
Prior to 1970, West Wiltshire was the meeting place for three major bus operators – Western National, Bristol Omnibus and Wilts & Dorset who together provided a comprehensive network of services in the area. As Western National’s Wiltshire operations were rather out on a limb, (with only one service linking in to the rest of its network) these were transferred to Bristol Omnibus in 1970 along with the Western National depot in Trowbridge (click here to read a more detailed history).
During this period, a small number of services were also provided by independent operators such as Leathers Coaches of Maiden Bradley, J.O Withers of Chitterne and Cruse Coaches of Warminster, and these increased as Bristol Omnibus rationalised its Wiltshire network in the late 70’s / early 80’s. Our running day recreates this era by operating regular services from Warminster to surrounding towns & villages using a variety of interesting vehicles, some of which are over 50 years old.
ABOUT THE ROUTES
Buses operate on 16 routes which used to be operated by Western National, Bristol Omnibus, Wilts & Dorset and local independents. Most services start and finish near Warminster Rail Station and in addition to serving neighbouring towns such as Frome, Westbury and Mere, buses pass through numerous picturesque villages including Codford, Sutton Veny, Horningsham and Chitterne as shown on this map. Each journey is normally scheduled to connect with a different bus at the end of the route and where possible, time is also allowed for passengers to photograph the vehicle at a suitable location.
To assist visitors travelling from further afield, connections are made where possible, with trains at Salisbury, Westbury, Frome & Gillingham stations and feeder bus services are usually provided from nearby towns including Bath, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Mere and Salisbury.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST ?
All rides on the vintage buses are completely free of charge, with buses being loaded on a first come – first served basis. However, to enable visitors to make the most of their day, they are able to purchase a programme which includes details of all the routes and timetables, plus information on the participating vehicles.
A donation from the sale of the timetable programmes is also made to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
WHEN IS THE NEXT RUNNING DAY?
Our next Running Day will be held on Sunday 1st October 2017 and further details will appear on this website during the summer. If you would like to be kept informed about what we have planned for this year’s event, please click on the black “+ follow” tab at the bottom of the page or go to the front page of this website and enter your email address into the “Keep up to date” box on the right hand side of the page.
In the meantime, to find out more about some of our previous Running Days, please click HERE.