Old Bus Tickets

Midland General Omnibus and Notts and Derby Traction – Setright Speed

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Here are a couple of standard Setright Speeds from Midland General Omnibus and Notts and Derby Traction. The 10d ticket was almost certainly issued on one of my several trips in the early 1960s, when I was around 13, to travel on MGO’s surviving AEC Regent IIs. Living in Long Eaton, I would set off about 10 o’ clock on a Saturday morning by train from the old Long Eaton station up the Erewash Valley line to Pye Bridge. About 5 minutes after the arrival of the train one of the Regents would appear heading from Underwood depot to Alfreton – a short working of route B3. If the train was a little late, no worry, a second Regent heading for Alfreton came along 10 minutes later. Pye Bridge was the start of a long steady slog up Somercotes hill, with two or three stops along the way, which provided a delightful rendition as the Regent was wound right up to the top of the scale in each gear.
On arrival at Alfreton, the blinds were reset to "C5 Nottingham, via Eastwood, Jacksdale, Riddings" (which was actually back to front for this direction). The second Regent returned the way it had come as "B3 Nottingham, via Eastwood, Brinsley, Selston" (also back to front). By either route, it was a 70 minute run to Nottingham, and what better way to spend one’s pocket money and a sunny Saturday morning than in such an orchestral performance. The normal weekday service was operated by Bristol Lodekkas, operating on a 40 minute headway by each of the two routes. On Saturdays this was doubled, giving a 10 minute interval between Alfreton to Nottingham, or 20 minutes on each of the two routes, hence the need for the veterans. I recall one occasion when the Regent broke down near Jacksdale, and the conductor telephoned for a replacement (yet another Regent II). While awaiting its arrival driven by a fitter, the crew sat at the back discussing the relative merits of the AEC’s and Lodekkas with a local. There was a strong preference for the former, the driver commenting, "Put one of these in first, and it’ll go up a house side."
It will be noted that the second ticket was a Notts and Derby Traction issue, probably from one of the Nottingham – Wollaton local routes (D9, E1 or F5) which were often operated with representatives from the small fleet of 15 NDT Bristol KSW6Gs – the only Ks owned by the group, apart from a couple of elderly second-hand Hants and Dorset examples. The ticket stock is the same as Midland General, but presumably the group arranged for the rolls to be supplied wound in either direction, so as to supply both companies. (I have seen other operators’ tickets printed upside down, but I assume that either these were rogue rolls, or possibly that Setright produced mirror image left-handed machines which required reverse-wound ticket rolls. I even have a Coventry Corporation ticket printed on the blank reverse side which suggests that Setright Speed was a pretty forgiving system. Maybe experienced conductors can comment on these points.)

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Ford