The History of Reading Transport Limited

Reading's public transport started with stagecoaches that ran along the London - Bath - Bristol road in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then in 1840 the Great Western Railway reached the town, meaning that people had to be able to get to the station in order to use the train. The buttons below can be followed to provide a full story of history of the council's public transport operations - their company, now called Reading Transport Ltd (but initially Reading Corporation Tramways) has been the main provider of public transport in Reading since 1901:

Horse Tramways

Electric Tramways



The first petrol driven buses took to the roads on 6th December 1919 and were an immediate success.

From 4th November 1968 the entire network became motorbus operated.


Reading Buses

Newbury Buses

Reading Mainline



Reading Transport (7767 bytes)

Reading Transport now consists of several trading names; Reading Buses, Newbury Buses, Goldline Travel, and Reading Transport Engineering. The company's operating area expanded to serve the surrounding country areas and also into Newbury following the acquisition in 1991/2 of the Reading and Newbury operations of The Bee Line. Town services were strengthened on 1st June 1998 with the take-over of Reading Mainline, an independent company that started to compete against Reading Transport in 1994. Goldline Travel was set up in the 1980s as Reading Transport's private hire and coaching fleet.

The basic fleet livery is of cream and burgundy, a tradition which goes all the way back to the introduction of electric trams to the town.

Reading Transport has it's headquarters in Great Knollys Street, Reading, a new state-of-the-art depot. The company moved there in 1998 from a depot in Mill Lane which was nearly 100 years old, originally being built to house the town's fleet of trams, and latterly housing trolleybuses and then motorbuses. The Mill Lane depot has been demolished, and in it's place a large shopping mall and cinema has been built. Newbury Buses operates from the former Bee Line premises in Newbury's Mill Lane, a funny co-incidence. When the Reading operations moved to Great Knollys Street, two other depots were also in use, one at Kenavon Drive which came into the company's ownership with the takeover of The Bee Line's routes, and the other the base of Reading Mainline. Kenavon Drive became a second engineering works for the company alongside Mill Lane, whilst the Reading Mainline operations were kept separate. Both depots were moved to the Great Knollys Street site once their leases had run out.

The newest buses in Reading's fleet are among the best specified vehicles available in the UK. In contrast to this, the vehicles inherited from The Bee Line created an influx of strange rolling stock, most of it elderly. Another influx of interesting vehicles came in 1998 with the take-over of Reading Mainline, Reading received a fleet of over 40 Routemasters - the largest fleet outside London. It took Reading only two years to replace the whole lot.

The operator is committed to fuel technology and bus priority technology development. Currently the operator is experimenting with electronic tagging of buses to give priority at traffic lights. In 1992/3 four vehicles operated experimentally on BioDiesel, a fuel made from Oil Seed Rape, and in 1993/4 it experimented with low sulphur diesel, a fuel that all the companies buses now use.

3 on 4 July 2003 (41969 bytes)

Preserved AEC Regent 3 at the Bear Inn in Reading 4th July 2003 on the British Trolleybus Society's annual tour of Reading by preserved bus. Preserved MCW Metropolitan 1 can just be seen behind.

98 on 28 July 2002 (56375 bytes)

Preserved AEC Regent 98 on display at the Sandtoft gathering on 28th July 2002.

76 in July 2001 (35305 bytes)

This is former Dennis Loline 76 in July 2001 on the British Trolleybus Society's annual tour of Reading by preserved bus. This was it's first outing for a number of years, and is seen here at Wokingham Road (Three Tuns), the terminus of route 17. Thanks to Tim Wale for this photo.

248 on 28 July 2002 (56049 bytes)

Former Reliance 248 was converted into a mobile kitchen when withdrawn from service. It is now parked up at the back of the Sandtoft Transport Centre and is used by people who help preserve the other vehicles there. It is seen here on 28th July 2002.

147 in January 1998 (24412 bytes)

This is former MCW Metrobus MkII with special vinyls celebrating the company's 90th birthday.

Reading Buses Logo (2304 bytes) Reading Buses Logo 2010 Reading Buses Logo 2014

Newbury Buses


If you would like any further information about this company, please contact me and I will be happy to help if I can.