One of my stated aims of the New Year was to sort out some transport for my various factions. My first instinct was to go for a fleet of trucks, but after being outbid a few times on eBay I hit on another idea - if you can’t get a lift in a truck, why not take the bus?
Luckily I managed to get hold of a couple of cracking Corgi models on eBay and even better they were for bus companies that would have plied the highways of Herefordshire during the 1930s – Red & White Services and Midland Red.
I was going to follow my usual plan for vehicles – apply a coat of shade, ‘distress’ with drybrushed mud and/or rust and then give them a coat of matt varnish.
However upon taking them out of their boxes, I found them to be such lovely models that I couldn’t bring myself to mess with them, and so they will grace the tabletop as nature intended (cue sighs of relief from Corgi model collectors!)
First up is a Leyland Tiger from Red & White Services Ltd., which was formed in 1929 from an amalgam of local bus companies owned or acquired by John Watts of Lydney, Gloucestershire.
Operating from its headquarters in Chepstow, the company operated buses between Gloucester, Stroud, Hereford and South Wales whilst also running long-range services, initially from Gloucester and between London and South Wales, but expanding into services between London, Liverpool and Glasgow and between Cardiff and Blackpool.
Next up is a Midland ‘Red’ Guy Arab Utility double decker. Midland Red has its origins in the British Electric Traction company which acquired the assets of horse bus operators the Birmingham General Omnibus Company in 1899. Three years later the City of Birmingham Tramways Company Ltd was also acquired.
Moving from horse buses and trams to motor buses, the company expanded outside Birmingham to avoid direct competition with Birmingham Corporation Tramways, and established headquarters at Bearwood in Smethwick. During and after WWI the company opened depots in Worcester, Walsall, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Hereford, Stafford, Banbury, Bromsgrove, Shrewsbury, Nuneaton, Leamington and Leicester, and started coach services to Weston-super-Mare and Llandudno in 1921.
Placing a Guy Arab Utility in VBCW Herefordshire is actually historically inaccurate (like that’s ever stopped me!) as Midland Red was only allocated these during WWII (having previously manufactured their own vehicles).
Both companies were nationalised in the post-war years, before being broken up and privatised in the 1980’s.
Dingding! Room for one more on top!