Bus Fleets of the Red & White Group; Liveries

Bus Fleets of the Red & White Group

History, Liveries, Vehicle Types and Fleet Lists

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It is not known if the early constituents of the company had a standard colour scheme for their vehicles. Contemporary records indicate that in 1926 Hereford Transport vehicles were painted yellow and Western Services Dennis buses were delivered either in allover blue or a mauve colour with cream window frames and white roof. Gloucestershire Transport, after acquiring Lydney & Forest of Dean Motor Services and Walkleys Motor Transport Services, adopted the trading name of Gloster (Red & White) Services and most of their vehicles were painted in a red and white livery. After the various fleets were amalgamated as Red and White Services in 1930 the company standardised on a red and white colour scheme the application of which varied over the years as detailed below.

The first emblem on the sides of the vehicles appears to have been a garter and buckle device surrounding a crown with the fleet name on the garter. Western Services and Glos Mon Hereford have appeared on the garter as well as the later Red & White Services.

Early coaches often had an illuminated oval plate up front which carried the initials R&W or sometimes Red & White in full.

After 1931 the garter device very soon gave way to the Red & White fleet name in large letters in the centre of the body sides in characteristic style.

The size of the lettering soon became smaller but of heavy character in gold with black shading.

In the 1950s a less heavy style with slimmer letters was adopted with no shading.

In the 1970s a modernised sloping block lettering fleet name was applied in place of the earlier style. In the newer coaches the lettering was applied to the front end of the broad red waist stripe and on the newer dual purpose vehicles it was applied just below the waist stripe.

The first Red & White livery appears to have been white up to waist level and red above for coaches and the reverse for buses.

However all red with white window frames soon became standard for both buses and coaches until nationalisation in 1950. Initially the white extended into a broad band below the window frames but this was soon reduced to just the window frames.

Double deckers were broadly similar, the white bands extending below the upper and lower deck windows and sometimes above the lower deck windows as well. The white area was soon reduced to just the window frames as with the single deckers.

Duple bodies often had a white flash along the sides. The size and shape of the flash varied over the years.

Surfleet Transport Photographs

After nationalisation most new Bristol single deck buses were delivered in the standard Tilling red with a broad black-edged cream stripe at waist level although a few continued with the red with white window frame livery.

Double deck buses were also allover red with a black-edged cream stripe above the lower deck windows and below the upper deck windows. From 1957 all existing double deck buses were repainted in the same style. However most of the older single deckers retained their red with white window frame livery until withdrawal.

Coaches continued to be painted in the old style red with white window frame livery until 1962 when a new coach livery of white with a horizontal red band was introduced. Many coaches were repainted in this livery.

In the 1970s some of the downgraded coaches and dual purpose vehicles were given red roofs.

Seven new vehicles were painted in the Liberty Motors colours of dark and light blue in 1936 but were repainted into Red & White livery in 1937. The revived Liberty livery in 1949 which was applied to 11 vehicles in total was in cream with a light green roof and flash. The fleet name was applied in two versions, a scroll version and a Red & White style version with larger first and last letters and underlining between them.

As for the Swansea area companies taken over in the 1930s, it was decided that a standard livery would be adopted which was two shades of blue and this was the first livery carried when the companies were brought together as United Welsh in 1938. Indeed the fleet name “Blue Fleet” was an option considered.

The livery changed to the standard Red & White livery with a similar style heavily-shaded United Welsh fleet name on the sides of the vehicle around 1945/6. A lighter style fleet name with no shading was later applied.

After nationalisation new coaches and many of the earlier coaches received an all-white livery relieved by either a red waist stripe or flash, or a more extensive area of red around the window frames. The mudguards and wheel skirts were also picked out in red.

Double deckers followed Red & White practice and after nationalisation received the standard Tilling livery of allover red with a cream stripe above the lower deck windows and below the upper deck windows.

Newbury & District, Venture and South Midland all received the standard Red & White livery of the post war period and were virtually indistinguishable from the main fleet except for the fleet name which was applied in the same Red & White style.

Alan B Cross

Mike Street

Andrew Porter

The fleet name on coaches moved towards the front of the sides later changing to the more modern sloping style, a red waist stripe often being added.

PM Photography

Buses were painted in the standard Tilling liveries of red with a cream waist stripe. The fleet name also later moved towards the front of the sides as with the coaches. A few coaches were downgraded and repainted in bus livery.

Andrew Porter

© Richard Smith 2012-16. All rights reserved.

Roy Marshall

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Early vehicles displayed the fleet name on the sides in various scripts.

Shading was reintroduced in 1965.

Coaches painted white had similar style fleet names.

The National Bus Company introduced its corporate image in 1972 and several of the coaches were branded as “National” in alternate red and blue letters with the fleet name Red & White in smaller red block letters towards the front of the sides. Other coaches and single deckers received the fleet name in block letters preceded by the National double N logo on the cant panel. The double N logo was initially the same colour as the fleet name but was later changed to red and blue letters on a white background.

Omnibus Society

In the early 1930s various livery experiments were tried including all-over white with a broad red waistband.

From 1972 onwards buses started to appear in the NBC poppy red livery with a single white stripe which no longer had the black edging.

S N J White

John Huddlestone

David Little

Mike Street

David Little

Coaches which were branded as “National” were in all-white livery and downgraded coaches were poppy red up to waist level and white above.

Martin Bott

David Little

Martin Bott

Eamonn Kentell

David Little

David Little

Alan B Cross

The Cheltenham District Traction vehicles acquired with the company in 1939 were maroon with extensive areas of cream around the windows and, unlike the vehicles of the other acquired companies, this livery was retained. However the broad areas of cream were gradually reduced and the use of lining out ceased.

John Huddlestone