The local heritage bus group based in Barry was involved with an event in Cwmbran and Barry at the weekend to mark the 90th Anniversary of Western Welsh. Western Welsh was the main bus firm in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s and covered southern Wales from Pembrokeshire to Monmouthshire and as far north as Aberystwyth and Brecon
At Cwmbran, Stagecoach held a Depot Open Day on Saturday which was well attended. Stagecoach organised running free trips and included a display of modern and heritage buses. The weekend events saw a surprise arrival to Wales of one of the Stagecoach modern Lakesider open top double decker buses, coming 300 miles from Cumbria. This bus normally operates services in the Lake District, operated giving free rides in Cwmbran much to the delight of the many families with children visiting the Open Day. Stagecoach allowed visitors a look behind the scenes at bus depot – the last operational depot building built by the old Western Welsh firm, one of 18 dotted across southern Wales in its heyday.
On Saturday, a 47-year old Western Welsh bus, number 1518, a Leyland Leopard 45-seat bus was on display for the first time having been restored with the help of Stagecoach engineering unit at Blackwood and taken to Cwmbran in time for the Open Day.
On Sunday, the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group held an Open Day at their restoration base at The Bus Depot, Barry. A display of preserved Western Welsh buses and coaches was on show at depot, and the preservationist ran regular free trips on various heritage buses during the day. In a surprise move, Stagecoach brought their Lakesider bus to Barry the first time this type of bus had visited the Vale of Glamorgan and it ran helping out with free trips to the groups second storage unit, known as Windward Depot on Barry Docks.
The Western Welsh is a well-known firm especially by the older generations at it we are very grateful to the added interest Stagecoach gave by holding their Open Day on Saturday. Speaking for our event we know several people visited both Cwmbran and our event at Barry, whilst we had visitors from west Wales such as Milford Haven, Pembroke and Tenby along with people from Manchester, London and Surry. Our frequent free trips every 15 minutes just coped and the addition of the modern Stagecoach Lakesider open top bus in Barry was much appreciated which meant we had three different open top buses running during the day. I want to thank the management of Stagecoach for their support for the Anniversary and especially the engineering team at their Blackwood depot, for helping out in the restoration of the 47 year old Leyland Leopard Western Welsh bus. In addition. I also want to thank R.T. Williams, the specialist hauliers, who brought it from Cwmbran to our base at Barry ready for Sunday.Mike Taylor (Chairman)
On Sunday the preservationist also put on display their biggest restoration project to date, a 72 year old Western Welsh Leyland Tiger PS1 half-cab 35 seat bus new in 1947.