Stagecoach, in conjunction with the Omnibus Society, has honoured the heritage of Stratford-upon-Avon’s bus transport network by unveiling an Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied Scania N230UD painted in historic Stratford Blue livery.
Stratford Blue started operations as Stratford-upon-Avon Motor Services on 1 April 1927 using a blue Chevrolet LM with 14-seat Allen body, licence plate UE 3403, bearing the name Stratford-on-Avon. The service linked the town with Shottery and Alveston, with the first journey leaving at 08.15 to Shottery, driven by Frank Hirons. The company grew over the years, developing services to the likes of Redditch and Chipping Norton, as well as many other locations. 1 April 2017 was therefore the 90th anniversary of the inauguration of Stratford Blue.
The company ran for 44 years and 9 months, ending its operation on 31 December 1970, after two years as a National Bus Company subsidiary. The following day it was absorbed into Midland Red, whose successor today in this area is Stagecoach Midlands.
To mark the occasion, and also to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Omnibus Society’s Midland Branch, Stagecoach has painted Scania Enviro 400 15675 in traditional Stratford Blue livery, which will also wear a special plaque in recognition of the Omnibus Society’s achievements over this time.
Geoff Lusher, director and Midland Branch chairman of The Omnibus Society says: “The Omnibus Society thanks Stagecoach for reminding us all of the Stratford Blue livery of yesteryear, and for promoting interest in the society by naming its bus to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Midland Branch.
Steve Burd, managing director of Stagecoach Midlands, says: “We are pleased to honour the history of Stratford Blue, and to mark our special relationship with the Midland Branch of the Omnibus Society by painting our bus in this special livery. We look forward to seeing it in service on all our routes radiating from Stratford upon Avon and hope that it evokes many happy memories for local people, as well as encouraging an interest in transport in younger generations.”