Thames Valley Traction Company, Reading

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History

Named the Thames Valley Traction Company (TV) in 1920, the company can trace its origin to 1915, a subsidiary within the BAT empire, the founders of which lived in Maidenhead. Thomas Tilling invested an early interest and this was to have an influence throughout TV’s existence. During the 1920s and 1930s TV acquired many smaller operators, the most notable being Ledbury Transport (Thackray’s Way) whose express coach licences TV continued to operate until 1950. In 1948 the Tilling group sold out to the British Transport Commission (nationalisation) as a result of which, during 1950, Newbury & District (N&D) and South Midland (SM) were placed under TVs control. In 1952 that part of United Counties that operated in Oxford was transferred to TV and integrated into SM. In appearance SM remained independent retaining their own livery and initially, fleet numbering sequence.

1 Jan 1969 saw the formation of the National Bus Company with the intention of integrating BET and Tilling into larger companies to provide economies in management and maintenance. Until then SM had been based in a heavily BET represented area although under Tilling control. It was therefore natural that it be absorbed into a company within that area and on 1 Jan 1971, control passed to City of Oxford Motor Services (COMS). Just one year later TV merged with Aldershot & District to become ‘Alder Valley’.

With garages at Reading, Newbury, Maidenhead and Newbury, areas of operation extended out to outposts such as Oxford, Aylesbury, Slough, Windsor, Camberley, Aldershot, Odiham, Basingstoke, Hungerford and Swindon, with express coach services continuing outside this area. A number of outlaying districts had ‘dormy’ sheds at which vehicles were out-stationed overnight.

Initial vehicle deliveries were Thorneycroft Js, Tilling-Stevens and Leyland TD and TS, with the first Bristol arriving August 1939. Following an intake of utility Guys during and after WWII, subsequent orders would see most classes of Bristol vehicles represented in the fleet, although TV turned to Bedford for some coaches from 1961. Vehicle transfers/loans/exchanges frequently took place between TV and SM.

Fleet numbering was consecutive until 1963, when a system for new arrivals saw double-deckers numbered Dx upwards, singe-deckers S2xx and coaches C3xx but by 1969 this system was out of favour, when many of the earlier blank numbers were re-used under a new system, built round the class of vehicle, that was never to be completed.

Livery was red and cream or white, the amount varying over the years; SM maintaining maroon and cream. During 1964 TV’s express vehicles too received this maroon and cream livery. TV vehicles were among the first in the country to carry reflective registration plates requiring the driver to carry special authorisation for production when stopped by the police!

New LS's Operated 

bullet 24 Coaches (12 coaches operated under South Midland)
bullet 31 Buses
For full details click here.

Note: Some vehicles were operated with the 'South Midland' Fleetname after control was transferred to Thames Valley. 

Secondhand LS's Operated

Fleet No Reg No In service Out Service Original Op Remarks
119 PNN 769 Feb 71 Jan 72 MD 200  
123 XNU 415 1971 Jan 72 MG 234  
124 XNU 416 1971 Jan 72 MG 235  
125 964 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 250  
126 966 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 252  
132 967 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 253  
144 959 ARA 1970 Jan 72 MG 245  
145 956 ARA 1970 Jan 72 MG 242  
150 961 ARA 1970 Jan 72 MG 247  
151 957 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 243  
152 958 ARA 1970 Jan 72 MG 244  
155 960 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 246  
156 962 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 248  
157 963 ARA 1971 Jan 72 MG 249
S321 KWN 794 1966 Jan 72 UW 1263  
S322 KWN 795 1966 Jan 72 UW 1264  
S323 KWN 796 1966 1970 UW 1265  
S324 KWN 797 1966 1970 UW 1266
S325 MCY 39 1966 1970 UW 1267  
S326 JCY 997 1966 1971 UW 1250  
S327 OCY 947 1966 Jan 72 UW 107
S328 OCY 948 1966 Jan 72 UW 108  
S329 JCY 995 1966 Jan 72 UW 1248  
S330 JCY 996 1966 Jan 72 UW 1249  
S339 SHN 728 1968 Jan 72 UAS BU38  
S340 SHN 729 Feb 68 1971 UAS BU39  
S341 SNH 730 Feb 68 1971 UAS BU40  
S342 PHW 929 Apr 68 Mar 69 BT 2839  
S343 PHW 930 Apr 68 Jan 72 BT 2840  
S344 PHW 931 Apr 68 Sep 71 BT 2841  
S345 PHW 932 Apr 68 1970 BT 2842  
346 MAX 116 1968 Jan 72 R&W U1654  
347 MAX 117 1968 Jan 72 R&W U1754  
348 MAX 118 1968 Jan 72 R&W U1854  
349 MAX 119 1968 Jan 72 R&W U1954  
350 MAX 122 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2254  
351 MAX 123 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2354  
352 MAX 126 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2654  
353 MAX 127 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2754  
354 MAX 121 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2154  
355 MAX 125 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2554  
356 MAX 128 1968 Jan 72 R&W U2854  
C432 613 JPU Mar 69 Jan 71 EN 428  
C433 614 JPU Mar 69 Jan 71 EN 429  

Fleetnames Used

bullet South Midland
bullet Thames Valley

Operating Depots

bullet Market Street, Bracknell
bullet Desborough Road, High Wycombe
bullet Bridge Street, Maidenhead
bullet Mill Lane, Newbury
bullet Botley Road, Oxford (ex United Counties)
bullet Iffley Road, Oxford (ex South Midland)
bullet Lower Thorn Street, Reading (Depot and Head Office)