Photo © Richard Delahoy. Please do not re-post without permission.
In 1984 Southend Transport received two former Hants & Dorset Bristol RELLs on loan from Ensign. Allocated fleet numbers 301 and 302, 301, NLJ828G, seen here remained in NBC dual purpose livery but 302 was repainted into ST colours.
The 66 on which 301 was seen at Stonebridge was probably the most obscure coordination Area route at the time. Introduced in the early 1980s, it had a meandering route from Hullbridge, via the Dome Caravan Site, Plumberow Mount in Hockley, Stroud Green, Rochford, Shopland and Barling to Great Wakering. It was designed to take shoppers into Rochford from either end of the route, starting with a short working Hullbridge to Rochford, then a Wakering-Hullbridge-Wakering round trip. By 1985 the Monday to Friday service had been reduced to Tuesdays only. At deregulation it was split into 2 Essex CC contracts, Wakering to Rochford (66, Eastern National) and Hullbridge to Rochford (69, Kirbys Coaches). Later Southend Radio Cars took on both contracts but the service did not last long into the deregulation era.
Photo taken by Richard Delahoy, Tuesday 15 May 1984, Barling Road, Stonebridge, near Southend
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