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1957 E-Type Jaguar Brecon to Carmarthen trip recreated

A fleet of about 24 classic Jaguars will drive from Brecon to Carmarthen and Pendine on Saturday to recreate a trip first made in 1957.

It marks 60 years since the prototype of the Jaguar E-Type was test driven in Wales before going into production.

The car was described by motor racing driver Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car ever made”.

It has been credited with “defining the spirit of the 1960s” and was driven by Frank Sinatra and Princess Grace.

The fleet will be flagged off from the Castle Hotel in Brecon by the mayor, Ieuan Williams, and school children.

It will stop in Carmarthen and the Pendine Museum of Speed before travelling back to Brecon.

It is estimated about 72,000 E-Types were built between 1961 and 1975.

In January 2017, a rare example sold for almost £6m.

Free weekend bus travel pilot launched across Wales

A pilot bus service offering free weekend travel to passengers across Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.

It covers buses using the TrawsCymru network across Wales. Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates called it a “ground-breaking” project designed to boost visitors.

It begins on Saturday and will run every weekend until May 2018.

A budget of up to £1m has been set aside for the initiative.

“From Bangor to Cardiff, Fishguard to Wrexham, I hope to see this scheme provide the perfect excuse for people from across Wales and beyond to jump on the bus and spend their weekends enjoying the diverse beauty of Wales,” Mr Skates said.

“The free service is subject to availability, but we have also provided additional funding to local authorities to ensure operators are able to deploy more buses to meet increased demand if necessary,” Mr Skates added.

Which services are included?

The pilot applies to all buses on the TrawsCymru network:

  • TrawsCymru T1 Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen (operates seven days per week)
  • TrawsCymru T1C Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen – Swansea – Cardiff (daily except Sundays)
  • TrawsCymru T2 Bangor – Porthmadog – Dolgellau – Abersytwyth (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T3 Wrexham – Llangollen – Dolgellau – Barmouth (operates daily
  • TrawsCymru T4 Newtown – Brecon – Merthyr Tydfil – Pontypridd – Cardiff (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T5 Aberystwyth – New Quay – Cardigan – Fishguard – Haverfordwest (operates daily – Sundays during summer only)
  • TrawsCymru T6 Brecon – Ystradgynlais – Neath – Swansea (operates daily)
  • Cardiff Airport Express T9 services (operates throughout the day – seven days a week)

Arrangements are also in place to reimburse operators of other bus services if they experience any reduction of passengers as a result of the pilot, although the Welsh Government is “optimistic” it will have the opposite effect.

It is hoped the scheme will act as a “catalyst for bus travel in Wales”, boosting passenger numbers and the wider use of TrawsCymru routes.

The Welsh Government said it would use the pilot to get a better understanding of how such reductions affect wider demand for public transport before deciding on its future beyond May 2018.


Vintage 1950s Bedford coach to return to Shetland

A vintage coach used in the Shetland Isles from 1950 until 1979 is about to begin its 1,000-mile journey home.

The 1950s Bedford coach was bought by Nick Taylor in 2011, and he completed its restoration at his home at Weybread in Suffolk.

A visit from its Shetland-based former driver in 2013 persuaded Mr Taylor the coach belonged back on the island.

It will leave from outside Norwich Cathedral on Monday, after a blessing from the bishop.

The coach was used by islanders to get to the shops and to go to school.

Mr Taylor said he realised it was a “lifeline to the islanders” after a visit to Suffolk from its former driver, James Watt, in 2013.

He said: “It was his life – he’d drive it every day across the island. He took children to school and relatives to weddings and funerals. He even did impromptu deliveries across the island.”

Mr Watt, from Reawick, Shetland, drove the Duple Vista coach from 1968

Mr Taylor has donated it to the Shetland Commercial Vehicle Preservation Trust.

He and a support team of 10, including Mr Watt, a vicar and a chef will depart from outside Norwich Cathedral.

The Bedford, which has a top speed of 40mph (64kph), will be driven to the Shetland Isles via Lincolnshire, across to the Lake District and up the west coast of Scotland.

Mr Taylor hopes they will reach Shetland on 22 June.

1938/9 Cape Record Wolseley – help needed

I’m researching the London to Cape Town trans Africa record that was set up in 1938/9 by Humphrey Symons and Bertie Browning, in a Wolseley 18/85. I am trying to find newspaper articles and photos from the journey. I have noticed while researching that Bill Burnell photographed the Wolseley – I am wanting to use some of the photos in my blog about the journey and the car on it’s return to England. Would you be able to help me in attaining the photos?

I have Bertie Browning’s 600 page hand written diary which I have typed and currently posting chapters on my blog

You may want to follow the blog as I post the chapters.

Many thanks

Claire Wilkinson 
South Africa 

Traveling Back in Time With Colorful Isochrone Maps

Journey-based charts from the past can help us track the progression of transportation technology.

In the early 1880s, the mapmaker Francis Galton began to imagine a series of ideal trips. Each started in his home city, London, but from there they ranged far afield—to Greenland, or Morocco, or the distant reaches of the Pacific. By figuring out how long each of these trips would take, and drawing lines grouping those destinations that could be reached in an equal amount of time, he figured he could provide a service to travelers, sailors, and those who simply wanted to know how long it would take their mail to get someplace … isochrone maps

Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain
– full article and many illustrations. Note that the Kickstarter target is over-subscribed three times!

Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain
The United Kingdom built hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes—and promptly forgot about them. BY SARAH LASKOW MAY 11, 2017

In the 1930s, Britain’s Ministry of Transport built an extensive network of bike highways around the country—at least 280 miles of paved, protected infrastructure dedicated to cyclists alone. For decades, it was entirely forgotten—overgrown and overlooked—so much so that no one seems to remember that these lanes had existed at all.

“There’s all this infrastructure, it’s been there for 80 years, and nobody knows what it was,” says Carlton Reid, author of the forthcoming book Bike Boom. Reid, who’s been a cycling journalist and historian for 30 years, rediscovered the network while researching his book. Now he’s teaming up with an urban planner to reveal the full extent of Britain’s historic cycleways.

Before starting research on the book, Reid knew of the existence of a handful of ‘30s-era bike lanes. But when he started studying the decade’s road-building policies, he found archival maps showing that as new arterial roads were built, they all had cycleways installed beside them. “Every one I looked at showed that there were cycleways built,” he said. “It was clear that there were far more than anyone had understood.”

These bike highways were nine feet wide and surfaced in concrete, and they ran along major roads for miles. According to Reid’s research, the Ministry of Transport was inspired by newspaper reports of similar lanes in the Netherlands and contacted the Rijkswaterstaat, its Dutch counterpart. The head engineer of the Rijkswaterstaat sent the Brits “these incredible exploded diagrams of how they built cycleways next to the road and the railways and how they separated the traffic,” says Reid. “The Brits, in effect, were ‘going Dutch,’” decades before that phrase became a mantra among cycling enthusiasts who long for infrastructure as good as Amsterdam’s.

In the 1930s, cycling in Britain was at its peak, and cyclists far outnumbered motorists. As in America, it was British cyclists who first pushed the government to build smoothly paved roads between cities. Those roads, though, were catnip to motorists, too, and “motorists, if they wanted to use their cars and go fast … clearly had to get cyclists off the road.” These bike highways were intended in part to separate cyclists from the main rush of traffic and clear the way for drivers.

As more people bought cars, politicians grew increasingly concerned about cyclist and pedestrian safety. “The government was saying, ‘Yes, we want to get cyclists off the road so we can drive’—because the politicians were motorists—but also we have to save our citizens,” says Reid. “There was a definite idea of keeping people safe. It was both.” But plenty of cyclists at the time didn’t want to be siphoned off onto these bike-specific lanes. “There were all sorts of major campaigns against this infrastructure from hardcore club cyclists,” Reid says. But those who just wanted to commute to work or ride out of the city on weekends on two wheels were happy to use them.

In the years that followed the construction of the cycleways, though, cars became the predominant form of transportation, and the bike lanes fell out of use. Even the Ministry of Transport forgot that it had built them. “Within 40 years, it had been lost in their own department that they were doing this,” says Reid. He read the ministry’s minutes going through the 1960s and found records of ministers saying that they’d never built anything like a bike highway before.

“You did do it! I’m just willing them—look, look in your own minutes!” says Reid. “You’ll see that you did do it.”

After Reid discovered the extent of the network, he went looking for the paths themselves. It happened that there were two examples within cycling distance of his home in Newcastle. When he first saw them, he couldn’t believe his eyes. They were unused but pristine. “You look at archive photos from the 1930s, and they just haven’t changed,” he says. “It’s the original surface, even.”

The knowledge that these paths were meant for bicycles, though, had been thoroughly lost. When he was exploring, Reid says, he saw cyclists come riding by on the skinny sidewalk, when the 1930s cycleway was right there. “They didn’t think it was theirs,” he says.

Not all of the original 1930s network remains. Some lanes have been resurfaced, and most of what was built in London has fallen to development. Reid estimates that about 10 to 15 percent of the original cycleways have been buried. And there are places where the original work is at least partially concealed. Reid heard about a major route from London to the coast, for instance, that was very popular for weekend getaways in the 1930s. On Google Street View, he saw slivers of concrete, a couple of feet wide, that run by the road for a while, then disappear, only to reappear farther up the road. “I know what that is,” he says. “I know what’s under there. You’ve got this five-to-ten -mile stretch that people had forgotten was there.”

Reid and his collaborator, urban planner John Dales, are raising money on Kickstarter to continue their research, with the goal of restoring some of the network to use. (With two weeks to go, they’ve doubled their original fundraising goal.) They’ve already heard from cities on the network with money to spend. “Some of these cities look as though they’d be excited to work with us,” Reid says. “We’re going to work with the willing first.” Soon, it’s possible that these decades-old cycling highways could once again be part of Britain’s transportation network.

BBC research – historic bus routes

I am writing to you from IWC Media where we are developing a series for the BBC on historic UK bus routes. We are interested in routes that may or may not still exist and are looking for people to talk to who may have an interest in this area (both historical and contemporary). The idea is that we will travel along the routes, discovering stories and meeting people along the way.

If you know of any historians or enthusiasts who might be able to help us in our research – in particular identifying some of the most important routes – I’d be really delighted to hear from you.

Thanks so much in advance for your time

All the very best

Charlie Sever | Development Producer (Production)
IWC Media | Gloucester Building | Kensington Village | Avonmore Road | London | W14 8RF
t. +44 (0) 7507 684 888 | |

2017 John Scholes Prize call for nominations

The John Scholes Prize Competition for 2017 is open, with a deadline for submissions of 31 July 2017.

2017 John Scholes Prize call for nominations

The prize, which carries kudos and a cash recognition (275 Euros), is awarded annually to the writer of a publishable paper based on original research into any aspect of the history of transport and mobility. The prize is intended to recognise budding transport historians. It may be awarded to the writer of one outstanding article, or be divided between two or more entrants. Typically, the prize is awarded for research completed as part of a PhD.

Publication in the Journal of Transport History will be at the discretion of the Editor and subject to the normal refereeing process.

The prize is funded by the Transport History Research Trust in memory of John Scholes. John was the first Curator of Historical Relics at the British Transport Commission. The prize is administered by the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M –

Entry is limited to researchers who, at the time of submission, are not yet in or have just commenced a permanent / tenured academic (or equivalent) position, and who are just starting to publish research.

Essays (in English, double-spaced) should not exceed 8,000 words (including footnotes). Sources must be documented fully. Entries must be submitted electronically, to arrive no later than Monday 31 July 2017.

 They must not bear any reference to the author or institutional affiliation. Senior scholars will judge entries against criteria of originality, thoroughness and excellence of argument, source use, composition and illustration. The process is ‘double-blind’. The judges will not enter into correspondence.

 A cover letter and a one-page CV must demonstrate eligibility for the prize.

 Entries for the prize should be sent to the JTH Editor at The subject line of the message must read ‘John Scholes Prize entry 2017’.

I’ve attached the call for submissions to this email – please distribute to those you feel may be interested.

Best wishes,

Dr Mike Esbester
Senior Lecturer in History and Level 4 Year Tutor (overall administration)

Please note that I am only employed part-time and there will therefore be a delay before I am able to reply to your email. Thank you for your patience.
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Road
Deputy Editor, Journal of Transport History

Co-Editor, Governing Risks in Modern Britain. Danger, Safety and Accidents, c.1800-2000 (Palgrave, 2016)

Co-Editor, special issue of Technology & Culture (April 2015), on global histories of road safety

Co-leader, ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project:

Curator, ‘Caution! Railway safety since 1913’ online exhibition with the National Railway Museum

Co-Principal Investigator on The Changing Legitimacy of Health and Safety at Work, 1960-2015 project, funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

Amy Graham on the R&RTHA

Committee member Amy Graham has written an entry on the Association, with a report on the 2016 Autumn Conference, in her excellent blog –

It is well worth following Amy’s blog for a contemporary view on road transport, especially buses.

All aboard the Portland bus (in pictures)

Photographer Geoffrey Hiller and writer Tom Vandel have spent the past year travelling on the number 75 bus in Portland, Oregon, stopping off along the way to explore and capture parts of the town usually only glimpsed thorough the window.

The route runs for nearly 20 miles and comprises 131 stops, from upper St Johns to downtown Milwaukie.

Their pictures depict the wide range of communities spread along the way as well as capturing something of the gentrification in parts of the town.

Here is a selection of images from the project.

BBC 29 December 2016