Red&White font
Red&White line-up 3 comp

On 29 Sept 2012
a Red&White event was held at the Old Ferry Inn, Beachley
(near Chepstow).

Preserved vehicles present included (from L to R):

Bristol MW-6G
(JAX 117E)

Bristol RELH-6L
(OAX 9F)

Bristol MW-6G
(SWO 986)

Bristol RESL-6L
(LAX 101E)

RED & WHITE Services Ltd

RED & WHITE was a bus and coach operator (based in Chepstow) which provided services in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan valleys between 1929 & 1978. However, the companies influence spread much farther than its operating area suggests.

In 1922 John Watts of Lydney started two bus companies (Gloster Transport, in Lydney & The Valleys Motor Bus Services in Tredegar). Both companies expanded rapidly by acquiring nearby operators. In 1926 the Lydney business adopted the name Gloster (Red&White) Services. By 1928, the companies were operating buses between Gloucester, Hereford and South Wales.

In 1929 John Watts formed Red&White Services Ltd to bring together the various bus companies he had formed or acquired. In 1929 it entered the long distance coach market, initially from Gloucester and between London and South Wales. In the early 1930’s coach operators were acquired further afield, with services between London, Liverpool and Glasgow and between Cardiff and Blackpool.

Red&White expanded rapidly during the 1930s, by now from new headquarters in Bulwark, Chepstow. It acquired several bus companies in the Swansea area and elsewhere in South Wales. In 1933 ‘Red&White’ acquired the business of Red Bus Services of Stroud. A year later the Associated Motorways consortium was formed (see right hand panel).

By 1937 Red&White and its subsidiaries were running a fleet of over 400 vehicles. In that year Red&White United Transport Ltd was formed as a public company to hold the group's various interests. The group's operations in the Swansea area were brought together in 1939 in a new company, United Welsh Services Ltd. Later in 1939, the group bought Cheltenham & District.

Expansion continued even during World War II. In early 1944 the group bought Newbury & District and in 1945 it bought Venture Ltd, the main bus operator in Basingstoke. That year it also bought South Midland Motor Services of Oxford, which ran express coach services between London, Oxford and Worcester.

In 1950 Red&White sold its UK bus and coach operations to the British Transport Commission (BTC). Then in 1962 Red&White was transferred to the state-owned ‘Transport Holding Company’ (whose history is as part of the Thomas Tilling Company). When the National Bus Company (NBC) was created in 1969 Red&White became a subsidiary company. Red&White was finally dropped as a company name in April 1978 (when the company was merged with nearby Western Welsh) to become the National Welsh Omnibus Company Ltd.

The name Red&White was briefly used by Stagecoach during the 1990s and is still the legal name of their operations in South Wales!

A full history of RED&WHITE SERVICES LTD can be found here.

Associated Motorways logo

Associated Motorways’ was formed as a result of the Road Traffic Act 1930, which encouraged competing coach operators to co-ordinate their services. In 1934 six coach operators came together to form Associated Motorways’, to pool their services between the Midlands and the south and west of England and between London and South Wales. The founder members were: Black & White (Cheltenham), Red & White (Chepstow), Royal Blue, (Bournemouth), Greyhound (Bristol) Midland Red (Birmingham) and United Counties (Northampton).

Associated Motorways' was an early example of a travel brand. It did not own or run any coaches. Each member company committed itself to providing an agreed mileage of coach journeys for Associated Motorways’ and took an agreed share of the profits. The pool mainly operated the hub and spoke model, the hub being the art-deco Cheltenham Coach Station which Black & White opened in 1931.

The consortium had to suspend operations during World War II from 1942 to 1946, but prospered thereafter. New members joined: Lincolnshire and Eastern Counties in 1956, Crosville in 1965 and finally Southdown in 1972. All of the members (except Black & White) also operated their own bespoke express coach services outside of the consortium.

On a peak summer weekend the consortium could have over 800 coaches on the road. Every day, coaches from all over England and Wales converged on Cheltenham Coach Station and exchanged passengers with each other. At 2pm an inspector blew his whistle, and all the coaches departed on-mass for hundreds of towns and cities across Britain. It caused temporary traffic chaos in the centre of Cheltenham, especially on busy summer Saturdays!

Two things killed Associated Motorways'. First, the expansion of the motorway network during the 1960s and ‘70s made coach services faster and more direct. It made the Cheltenham services, which mainly only ran daily uncompetitive. Second, in 1973 the National Bus Company formed National Travel (later National Express) to run coach services with a greater emphasis on more frequent, direct and quicker routes. Travel trends had changed and interchanging at Cheltenham was no longer an attractive proposition.

Cheltenham Coach Station closed in 1984 and was finally demolished in the late-1990s. The plot on St Margaret’s Road, where it once stood, is now a temporary car park awaiting redevelopment.


The Red&White Head Office and engineeringfacility was at The Bulwark, Chepstow, Mon.

At their peak in the 1950s, the company had 16 operational depots, as follows:-
Aberdare, Abertillery, Abergavenny, Blackwood, Brynmawr, Cardiff (coaches), Cheltenham
(coaches), Chepstow, Cinderford, Coleford, Hereford, Lydney, Monmouh, Newport, Ross-on- Wye and Tredegar.

Click here to download a list of all the companies depots and travel office addresses.

AM 1960s poster
LAX 124F CBS 1969

Route 73 was one of the longer bus services operated by RED & WHITE.

It ran from Cardiff Central Bus Station to Gloucester Bus Station, mainly via the A48, through Rhymney, Newport, Caldicot, Chepstow, Lydney, Blakeney and Westbury-on-Severn.
In 1969 (when the picture above) was taken in Cardiff Central Bus Station, the service ran daily, every hour and took 2hours 45 minutes, to travel the 59 miles.

What a fantastic trip on a Bristol RELL powered by a Leyland O.600 diesel engine!

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