Part 9 here. Index to series top right here
The National Bus shackles came off as companies passed from public to private hands. It’s probably true that this brief period coincided with a renewed optimism not seen within the industry since the post war days. Yes, competition was never more than 42 days away (as then was) but on their own two feet, managements were free of both National Bus Company and the political control that came with network support.
A little more individual but still traditional...
It’s hardly surprising that the main outward expression of this new freedom was the adoption of new liveries. With a couple of notable exceptions, from 1972 NBC had divided its companies into Poppy Red or Leaf Green subsidiaries. Even the solitary white band vanished for a time from some fleet repaints, as an economy measure.
The new, post-deregulation liveries were either complete contrasts, or conservative and nostalgic applications simulating traditional styles.
Examples of more traditional styles were:
Wilts & Dorset – mason’s red with black window surrounds and skirt, and white bands
People’s Provincial – emerald green with dark green skirt, white (or cream) roof
Southern National – light green with cream roof and window surrounds
Crosville – Brunswick green with marigold (later cream) window surrounds
Badgerline – base yellow with broad green diagonal swathe midway along vehicle side, together with white band above lower deck windows with alternate black badgers and Badgerline names
North Western (ex-Ribble) – poppy red with royal blue front nearside & offside rear corners, with colours separated by silver-grey bands
Northumbria (ex-United Automobile) – base grey & white with red skirt with red & white roof, with broad red diagonal band from off- to near-side at front and rear
Midland Fox (Midland Red East) – yellow front and dark red rear, separated by yellow/red diagonal stripes
Eastern National – yellow front and green rear, separated by yellow/green diagonal stripes
... to the singular and preculiar
Such was the rapidity of change that, with groupings, sales and regroupings, few liveries lasted more than 10 years. One notable exception was Wilts & Dorset’s, only now disappearing beneath a thoroughly modern redesign.
To be continued…