SWINDON SALUTED AT LAST

Swindon’s municipal transport undertaking was one of the longer lived of the breed, surviving from the introduction of the Wiltshire town’s first electric trams in 1904 until the sale of its arm’s length bus company, Thamesdown Transport, to Go South Coast in 2017. It introduced its first bus service in 1927 and withdrew the last of its two tram routes two years later.

The bus operation was noted for several unique characteristics. These included a dependence on single-deckers for busy routes restricted by low railway bridges, the purchase of Daimler designs for 40 years and postwar expansion at a time when most other municipal —and company — undertakings were coping with decline. For decades it also ran no Sunday service until 14:00.

Surprisingly, there is little permanent record of any of this. Only a two-part article in consecutive issues of Buses Extra in 1992 and brochures published to mark its 75th and 100th anniversaries. In this 45th of Venture’s Super Prestige Collection of modestly priced histories, Michael Yelton has sought to make good that void by drawing on the Wiltshire & Swindon Archives and The Bus Archive to piece together and illustrate the story of what happened when and (where these sources reveal it) why.

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