History & Fleet Numbering

2T. Wesley to

R.G. 6 T. Wesley to Wesley's Coach Service Blue Bell Garage, Stoke Goldington

R.G., W.T. 6 T. Wesley 4/50 to R. Wesley and Sons

Wesley's Tours (Northampton) Limited c.1/79 to Short Lane. Cogenhoe 4/84

T. Wesley commenced operations in 1925 with a Ford T bus, and in 1930 he applied to continue the operation of two stage services under the terms of the Road Traffic Act. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, he ran a service from Emberton, Olney, Weston and Stoke Goldington to Northampton and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a Stoke Goldington to Newport Pagnell service was operated. Hayfield Brothers, of Newport Pagnell, served many of the same villages, their business passing to Wesley's in 1968. A Monday to Saturday Northampton to Newport Pagnell service was developed, with a number of variations to serve certain villages, and this operation was later extended to the new city of Milton Keynes. R.W. Collier, of North Crawley, was taken over in 1965, with a stage service between North Crawley amd Bedford.

Very few vehicles are recorded for pre-war days and it seems that the fleet was only a small one until the post-war boom in demand for public transport. Large numbers of second-hand vehicles were purchased, of many makes, but most notable was the fleet of Crossley and Commers. The latter was favoured for new coaches from 1949 to 1963, after which Ford vehicles were chosen.

A good business of extended tours was developed, and this made the purchase of the business by York Brothers an attractive proposition when the Wesley family wished to retire. Control passed to York Brothers in 5/79; initially, after 1979, the Wesley name, livery and premises were maintained; a new company - Wesley's Tours (Northampton) Limited was set up in 1979 and currently operates all tours.

The livery was light blue and cream.

Wesley’s Fleet Numbers

Records of their early vehicles owned and their daily endeavours are scarce.

Their fleet numbering system used was unique to Wesley’s in that only even numbers were used e.g. 2, 4, 6, 8. etc. Whether it was because they were superstitious and wanted to avoid the number 13 or that to the casual observer the fleet would appear to be twice the size that it really was, we will never know.

Typical examples of aberrations in the numbering system are as follow.. The eleventh vehicle owned, acquired in 1944 was a (Leyland bus with unknown B52F) body was numbered 4. The seventh a (Dennis Lancet with Dennis body) acquired in January 1944 was numbered 6 and the eighth a (Leyland with unknown body B32R) acquired in August 1941 was numbered 12.

Many vehicles had no fleet numbers, whilst other numbers were used twice, three times and in one case four times. The following fleet numbers were used twice 12-14-16-20-26-58-114-132. Three times 18. Four times 22.

Whilst one a Crossley (with a Mann Egerton HD24/24F body registration KHO178) was given the fleet number HD 1 (It had been new in May 1952 to Creamline of Borden in Hampshire.)

From records to hand the total of bus and coaches owned by Wesley’s over the years, totals 154 Using the Wesley numbering system the last vehicle should have been 308 in actual fact it was 184 BBD485S a (Ford R114 with Plaxton Supreme C53F body new in July 1958 (along with its sister BBD485S and numbered 182

So beware of the numbers used in the Fleet Lists, they could lead you astray.

During the prime years of the 1960’s and 1970’s the fleet strength averaged between 25 and 30 vehicles. On occasions vehicles had to be hired from other operators (but not from local rivals) for standby duty, in case a Wesley vehicle broke down or be involved in an accident. Considering the millions of miles travelled both lines of events were very, very infrequent.

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