The Transport Act of 1980 ushered in deregulation of long distance coach services and gave
Southend an opportunity to break out of its traditional operating area. Thus in October 1980
X1 was born - initially as a two hourly service to Reading, joint with Reading Transport.
After a fairly slow start, two rail strikes in 1982 gave a major impetus to the service.
The partnership with Reading broke up and X1 was curtailed at Heathrow, but Southend Transport's
operation grew exponentially so that by 1986 the service and its commuter variants employed a
fleet that peaked at 66 coaches. But the bubble burst and major cutbacks took place in 1987/88
and the service was effectively in decline throughout much of the intervening period, until
final withdrawal in February 2002.
These pages present a brief look at the fascinating
history of X1 and Southend's coach fleet.