South Lincolnshire’s Delaine Buses is one of the most recognisable and respected independent bus operators in the UK. It has also been the local operator of Buses editor JAMES DAY for the last decade, and he speaks to managing director Anthony Delaine Smith about the company’s recent history and his views on the state of the bus industry.

The Delaine Buses Museum includes an incredible amount of detail on the operator’s history, alongside the heritage fleet and many historical artefacts from the company’s long years of operation.
DTL 489D, a 1966 Leyland Atlantean new to Delaine, at 2022’s Buses Festival. Leyland was the vehicle of choice for Delaine until the company’s acquisition by Volvo.

Despite its relatively small size, Delaine Buses is a familiar name to many in the bus industry. With a history stretching back well over a century, immaculately presented vehicles and a keen interest in preserving its heritage, the operator is a fine example to many.

The company is based in my isolated south-Lincolnshire hometown of Bourne. A 15-mile journey south on the A15 takes you into Peterborough. Ten miles of undulating country roads to the southwest lead to the market town of Stamford. Both routes have few viable alternatives; usually a long diversion on poorly maintained fen roads. The surrounding hinterland is obvious to the east – an extremely bumpy ride to Spalding.

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