How Western National (and others) adapted to change

Title: North Devon’s Buses from the 1960s 

Author/Publisher: Keith Shayshutt 

ISBN: 978-1-5272-6321-5 

Specification: 300mm x 210mm, 100pp, softback 

Price: £21.50 

Title: Western National A Journey in Colour 1983-2003 

Author: Andrew Bartlett 

Publisher: Pen & Sword Transport 

ISBN: 978-0-52675-506-3 

Specification: 285mm x 225mm, 190pp, hardback 

Price: £25

These illustrated books complement each other, with a small amount of overlapping content and a shared focus on the changing fortunes of the once mighty Western National. 

Keith Shayshutt’s study of the north Devon network spans a longer period, from 1961 — a few years before he first ventured there from home in Essex on a family holiday — to the present day, commendably including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on services operated this year. 

Andrew Bartlett also became aware of Western National on holidays, visiting parts of its territory in 1971, 1975 and 1981. Recognising that few books focus on its later two copiously years — indeed there are still too few books on that period about many operators — he has focused on the 20 years from the National Bus Company’s four-way break-up of the company in January 1983, with Western National left to serve Cornwall and southern Devon, until FirstGroup renamed it First Devon & Cornwall. 

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