Thames Valley Traction Company, Reading

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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 L's Operated 

bullet 28 Coaches
bullet 85 Buses
For full details click here.

Secondhand L'a Operated

Fleet No Reg No In service Out Service Original Op Remarks
71 EDB 234 May 52 Oct 59 UC 807  
72 EBD 235 May 52 Nov 59 UC 808  
73 EBD 236 May 52 Oct 61 UC 809  
74 EBD 237 May 52 Nov 60 UC 810  
75 FRP 832 May 52 Dec 62 UC 832  
76 FRP 833 May 52 May 63 UC 833  
77 FRP 834 May 52 Aug 63 UC 834  
78 FRP 836 May 52 Mar 63 UC 836  
821 FRP 835 Jan 59 Oct 61 UC 835  
822 FRP 837 Jan 59 Mar 62 UC 837  
823 FRP 838 Jan 59 Jul 63 UC 838  
824 FRP 839 Jan 59 Mar 62 UC 839  
825 FRP 840 Jan 59 Jan 62 UC 840  
826 FRP 841 Jan 59 Oct 61 UC 841  
827 FRP 842 Jan 59 Mar 62 UC 842  
828 FRP 843 Jan 59 Oct 61 UC 843  
829 FRP 844 Jan 59 Oct 61 UC 844  
S301 GFM 881 May 63 <Nov 64 Cros KB72  
S302 GFM 882 May 63 <Jul 66 Cros KB73  
S303 GFM 884 May 63 <Nov 64 Cros KB75  
S304 GFM 887 May 63 Feb 65 Cros KB78  
S305 GFM 888 May 63 <Nov 66 Cros KB79  

Fleetnames Used

bullet Thames Valley
bullet South Midland

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)