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Farewell to Southampton's Red Buses
     
 Saturday 18th February 2023 was the final day of ‘Red’ bus operation in the City of Southampton when First Bus ‘City Red’ closed operations and their Empress Road depot for the last time ending 144 years of transport history that began with trams and later buses in Southampton.  This momentous, sad occasion has been covered in our recent DVD production – ‘Southampton’s Red Buses – The End’.  This programme, filmed on the following day, Sunday 19th February was when the Southampton & District Transport Heritage Trust (S&DTHT) organised a Running Day to mark the occasion. 
   
The event was centred on Pound Tree Road in the city centre, a long time terminus for the ‘red’ buses over many years.  Three routes were operated, no.9 to Shirley, no.15 to Portswood and no.16 to Woolston & Weston.  Over ten buses attended the event giving free rides for enthusiasts and the general public – most buses carrying capacity loads!  Double-deckers included Guy Arab III, 222 (GTR 484), AEC Regent Vs 353 (373 FCR) and 366 (BOW 503C), Leyland Titan PD2A 335 (335 AOW) and Leyland Atlanteans 133 (TTR 167H) and 274 (KOW 274Y).  A former London Transport Routemaster, RM1654 (654 DYE) was also in service as it had operated with Southampton Citybus in 1987 with fleet number 418.  A Bristol VRT, 37 (NDL 637M) preserved in Solent Blue Line livery was also in service on the day.  Single-deckers included Dennis Darts 324 and 325 (N324/5 ECR), 324 currently in a white livery, awaiting painting and 325 in all-over red with City Bus logos.  Another Dennis Dart present was 42728 (T728 REU), a former First Bus vehicle that was in service in the Gosport and Fareham area, therefore representing a type used by First Southampton over the years. 
     
Our filming begins at the start of the event as the buses arrive to take up their duties.  We then ride on AEC Regent 353 (373 FCR) dating from 1963 for a journey along Shirley High Street on route 9 to observe the former site of the Corporation’s Shirley bus depot in Carlisle Road.  We have put a camera in the cab of 353 to get the driver’s eye view of the road, with two cameras inside the bus to capture the passenger’s experience.  Returning to Pound Tree Road we film the buses operating at this location and also along Above Bar Street reliving the days when ‘red’ buses commanded the streets in Southampton.  Our next ride in the cab and saloon of a Corporation bus is on Guy Arab III 222 (GTR 484), built in 1951 again on route 9 to Shirley.  On our return to Pound Tree Road we take a ride on Leyland Titan PD2A, 335 (335 AOW) on a short trip to St Denys Road, near to the Social Club used by Southampton bus drivers and conductors over the years.  On returning to the city centre we see the last buses bringing back their happy passengers before returning home to their respective depots. 
   
An excellent event organised by the S&DTHT that sent the red buses off in style.  We hope you enjoy this reminder of the day.



 
 Filmed :  2023
   
 Duration :  91 mins
   
 Price :  Within UK - 16
   Rest of world - 18
   
 Format :  DVD -R
   Picture Aspect 16:9
   
 Order Ref :  D424

 

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