Sunday, 17 March 2019

The National Bus Company

It is now just over fifty years since the National Bus Company (NBC) was formed from the 1st January 1969, although much had transpired behind the scenes for a considerable time prior to the event. Indeed it was as a result of the Transport Act 1968 that trading commenced.

Ostensibly it was three major organisations who were brought together to prepare the way British Transport Commission (BTC) and successor from 1962 Transport Holdings Company (THC) along with British Electric Traction (BET), all with their respective bus companies.

Vehicles operated by the respective organisations were markedly different one which standardised on Eastern Coachworks bodies atop Bristol chassis, whilst the other had a wider variety of buses and coaches supplied by chassis makers and body builders. Livery was another area where there were differences, the BTC/THC majoring on red or green with cream relief. Although that said there were exceptions such as Brighton & Hove, Midland General and the Royal Blue operations of Southern & Western National. BET on the other was once again more relaxed in their operations with a wider variety of liveries and the application of bolder fleet names. A whole of companies operated under the umbrella of the NBC throughout England and Wales, from Cornwall to Northumberland as illustrated by the map below in the Mid-1970s.

By the end of the 1970s almost all the company’s original liveries had been superceded by the NBC’s nationwide livery of either leaf green or poppy red, generally with relief of a white stripe, between the windows on double-decks, and below the windows on single-decks. There was also standardisation of vehicle type being either the integral Leyland National single-deck or the Bristol VRT with Eastern Coachworks body for the double-decks. There was an alternative double-deck in shape of the Leyland Atlantean later replaced by the Leyland Olympian.
However, as that decade drew to a close, a change of government was looking towards deregulation of the bus and coach companies, and the decline and ultimate disappearance of the NBC by 1988, when the last company was sold off to privatisation.


The first of a set of albums to feature buses and coaches from the National Bus Company years. Subsequent sets will appear over the coming weeks, this one viewed by clicking  here

Additionally some earlier NBC albums on the Flickr site can be accessed by clicking  here
here   and  here