Reading Transport Centenary Page
This page celebrates Reading Buses' 100th birthday -- 31st October 1901.
Reading Transport, or Reading Corporation Tramways as it was then, came into being on 31st October 1901. The town council bought the town's horse tram network from the Reading Tramways company (which itself was formed in 1878) with a view to electrifying and extending the system. The new electrified system was opened on 22nd July 1903.
A Brill 21E Tramcar, number 22 on Broad Street heading for Wokingham Road. It is outside the Midland and Lloyd's Banks, two institutions that are still there today. Thanks to Andy Crump for supplying this photo.
On 6th December 1909 the company stating operating it's first petrol motorbuses to areas of the town not covered by the tramways. Consequently the company soon altered its name to become Reading Corporation Transport. The tramways were later replaced on a route by route basis using trackless Trolleybuses, the first line being converted from 18th July 1936.
This is preserved AEC 661T / Park Royal, number 113 seen in October 1998 on a newly pedestrianised Broad Street, near to where it would have waited at the time when it was used in service.
Then the Trolleybuses were replaced, again route by route with motorbuses with the last Trolleybus running on 3rd November 1968. From this time on the company expanded it's network of routes to cover the whole of the town.
This is preserved Dennis Loline 76 seen in July 2001 at the present Wokingham Road terminus - the trams only every went as far as Palmer Park. This bus was used by the company between 1967 and 1977.
This is preserved MCW Metropolitan 101 at St. Mary's Butts with a preserved Reading Trolleybus behind at some point after 101 was withdrawn. This bus was used by the company between 1975 and 1992 and the photograph was originally from the W. Ball collection.
In the the mid 1980s changes to competitive legislation in the transport industry led the company to make a big image change to become the modern day Reading Buses. The operation remained under the Reading Transport flag, whilst a new coaching and private hire division was set up - Goldline Travel.
Below is VanHool Alizee 235 in February 1998 outside the old Mill Lane depot, showing the Goldline livery used for a while after the Reading Transport name stopped being used on vehicles.
The next big development came in 1991/2 when the company took over the BeeLine's Reading and Newbury operations, for the first time giving the company bus routes that went quite a distance outside the Reading area.
This is former 202, an Optare StarRider that was acquired with The BeeLine's Newbury operations. A variation on the Reading Buses brand was introduced for these services, and this bus is seen waiting at Reading Station in May 1998 waiting time on the Reading-Newbury route 102.
In 1998 the company took over Reading Mainline which brought crew operation back to the company for a couple of years.
No.8 seen on Mainline's first route, line A in October 1996 a couple of years before acquisition by Reading Transport.
Now it's 2001, the company is 100, and it is a very different company to the one it was. More details on all this can be found in the Company History section.
This is former MCW Metrobus MkII which had special vinyls applied to celebrate the company's 90th birthday.
MCW Metrobus MkI 193 was repainted into Reading Corporation Transport colours to celebrate the company's 100th birthday. It is seen here at Rivermead on 25th November 2001 whilst a number of drivers were there at a special family day in celebration of the event.
Reading Transport now consists of several trading names; Reading Buses, Newbury Buses, Goldline Travel, and Reading Transport Engineering. The basic fleet livery is of cream and burgundy, a tradition which goes all the way back to the introduction of electric trams.
A modern day bus, Optare Spectra 701 near the former Kenavon Drive Engineering works in September 1997. Although this bus is 9 years old now, some brand new low floor buses, which will look very much like this, are due to enter service in November 2001 on the town's new night bus network.
A recent innovation has been low floor technology which has eliminated the need for steps in the entrance of bus, greatly improving access. Reading have invested heavily in this new technology with 85 low floor buses having been put into service since 1997 - they make up almost half of the entire Reading Transport fleet. This is Optare Excel 934 on Friar Street in August 1999.