Bridgnorth steam bus service

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A steam bus at Bridgnorth in November 1904. (Sellick Collection)

The GWRGreat Western Railway began a steam bus service between Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton on 7 November 1904 using three Clarkson steam omnibuses.[1] The service was introduced in response to number of failed proposals by other railway companies to build a direct railway between Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth.


The journey took 1½ hours, with the buses travelling at around 8mph. The steam buses gave considerable trouble from the beginning of operation, in particular on Hermitage Hill out of Bridgnorth, which involved climbing 260 feet (80m) in little over half a mile in order to leave the river valley, and this led to several minor accidents. At the end of March 1905, after less than 5 months service, they were transferred to Somerset for use between Cheddar and Burnham. On 1 April 1905 they were replaced by Milnes-Daimler petrol buses. Mileage per vehicle amounted to 20,000 a year.[2] These saw service until January 1920, at which time they were in turn replaced by AEC buses[3].

When the bus service was introduced in 1904, the GWRGreat Western Railway were in the process of making plans for their own railway between Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth, which was later made possible by an Act of Parliament, the GWRGreat Western Railway Additional Powers Act (July 1905). However having already introduced the bus service, the GWRGreat Western Railway then took no steps to build this railway. They continued to operate the bus service until 2 June 1923, when it was taken over by Wolverhampton Corporation[3].

Bridgnorth bus garage

One of the buses was housed in a small garage next to the station building. The garage, with its arched roof and black corrugated iron cladding, can be seen behind the pannier tank in the Sellick photograph below and behind 46443 in David Cooke’s 1968 photograph. It has since been taken down and restored at Kidderminster. The site of the former bus garage is now part of the new refreshment room opened in January 2019.


See also


  1. NRM archive
  2. GWRGreat Western Railway Magazine May 1910
  3. 3.0 3.1 Marshall (1989) p118-119