Friday, 10 January 2014


After 99-years of operation the main bus station in the City of Salisbury closed on the 5th January 2014 after a special Vintage Bus Running Day. On Monday 4th January 1915, the Wilts & Dorset company was created and registered at addresses in Amesbury and Salisbury. A bus station was established in Salisbury between Rollestone Street and Endless Street from August 1939. However, the following month hostilities were declared and World War 2 began. This no doubt saw plans change for the next few years until the cessation of such hostilities.With the war over privately-owned Wilts & Dorset was taken into state ownership during 1948. Then 20-years later further change took place when the National Bus Company was created and the company was merged with the Hants & Dorset operation based at Bournemouth. In time the operation was taken over completely and the Wilts & Dorset name disappeared during 1972. But privatization returned when introduced by the Government of the day in the 1980s, the Wilts & Dorset name and company resurrected in 1983. The Salisbury operation was acquired in a management buyout during 1987, then later became part of the Go-Ahead Group in 2003, and is still operated as such today. Thus Salisbury has witnessed plenty of change over the years. However, the latest is that the bus station closed to bus traffic on the 5th January 2014, the site sold for re-development. Buses now arrive at and depart from various locations around the Market Place.

Now, Brian Bell has kindly provided the following comprehensive detail in respect of the Vintage Day held on the 5th as follows with photographic contributions from Mark Lyons of some of the buses operated. This was a well organised and advertised event, and thus attracted a large number of people, although getting on your chosen bus was not difficult unless you left it to the last minute. One of the two open toppers, Plymouth Leyland PD2 MCO 658 failed to appear (probably because of the floods), so the half hourly open top trips were reduced to hourly, and Western National Bristol K6A FTT 704 was substituted by a Bristol J. Brighton & Hove Routemaster CUV 317C also was not to be seen, and it looks like a couple of static exhibits also failed to turn up, or I just missed them.

Routes operated were

1    Salisbury Bus Station to Old Sarum via Stratford Bridge (outward only)
4    Old Sarum to Salisbury Endless Street direct (inward only)
7    Amesbury Bus Station to Salisbury Endless Street (inward only)
8    Salisbury Bus Station to Amesbury Bus Station direct (outward only)
37  Salisbury Bus Station to Whaddon direct, returning via Adderbury to Salisbury Endless Street

38  Bodenham to Salisbury Endless Street via Britford (inward only)
44  Salisbury Bus Station to Bodenham via Odstock and Nunton (outward only)

56  Salisbury Bus Station to Fugglestone via Hanham and Netherhampton, terminating at Endless Street on return
59  Devizes Road to Salisbury Endless Street direct (inward only)
60  Salisbury Bus Station to Devizes Road via Fugglestone and The Avenue (outward only)
All these ran half hourly providing 68 departures (plus some were duplicated) between 1000 and 1545

In addition 4 round trips were operated on
SS  Salisbury Bus Station to East Gomeldon Arch via Winterbourne Earls, terminating at Endless Street on return and at least 5 round trips operated on an OPEN TOP TOUR Salisbury Bus Station to Salisbury Endless Street via Railway Station, Mill Street, City Centre and Old Sarum

As far as could be observed the following vehicles were operated


Huddersfield Daimler CWA6 CCX777 of 1945 on routes 38, 44 and 56
Wilts & Dorset Bristol LD6G OHR919 of 1956 on routes 37, 38 and 44

Wilts & Dorset Bristol VR2 BFX666T of 1979 on routes 37, 38, 44, 59 and 60
Bath Services Bristol KSW6B OHY938 of 1952 on routes 59 and 60
Bath Services Bristol LD6G 969EHW of 1959 on routes 59 and 60
Southern Vectis Bristol LD6G SDL268 of 1959 on routes 7 and 8
Southern Vectis open top Bristol K5G CDL899 of 1939 on Open Top Tour

King Alfred Leyland PD2 POU494 of 1956 on routes 38, 44 and 56
Silver Star Leyland Atlantean PDR1 1013MW of 1962 on SS
AEC Routemaster VLT9 of 1959 on routes 1, 4, 38 and 44
AEC Routemaster 5CLT of 1961 on routes 1, 4, 38 and 44
Wrightbus New Bus For London LTZ1119 of 2013 on routes 38 and 44


Bristol Tramways Bristol J AHU803 of 1934 on route 56
Royal Blue Bristol MW6G 617DDV of 1960 on routes 7 and 8
Crosville Bristol RELH6G AFM103G of 1969 on routes 7 and 8
Wilts & Dorset Bristol RELL6G MMW354G of 1969 on routes 7, 8, 37

Wilts & Dorset Bristol RELL6G TRU947J of 1970 on routes 7, 8, 37, 38 and 44
Hants & Dorset Bristol RELL6G RLJ341H of 1969 on routes 7, 8 and 56
Hants & Dorset Bristol RELL6G XLJ7326K of 1972 as spare bus
Wilts & Dorset Leyland National GLJ681N of 1975 on routes 37, 59, 60

The very last in service departure was the 37 at 1545 and was operated by the 4 buses in Wilts & Dorset Livery, the LD, the VR and the two RELLs. The honour to being the last bus out of the bus station to carry passengers fell to the company owned Bristol VR. Although the day started dry, the ever present precipitation soon manifested itself.

On the same day the smaller Amesbury bus station also closed to traffic.

Wilts & Dorset ADL Enviro40D 1543 at Amesbury bus station


A selection from the archives of operations in and around the bus station.

The 1970s also in the wet!

The 1990s in drier conditions

The 2000s also in better weather conditions

And finally the Go-Ahead era beneath beaming blue skies

A further set of excellent images from the Vintage Bus event have now been provided by Phil G and can be viewed here

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