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GHA Story so far

The GHA Story (so far)

The origins of GHA is centred on the village of Betws Gwerfil Goch near Corwen where John Lloyd Davies (grandfather of the current Directors) first owned a bus mainly used to transport local people to and from work. His son Eifion Lloyd Davies first involved himself with buses in about 1983 when he purchased a minibus to work a school contract. This contract did not last too long so he returned to concentrate on his scrap business but in 1988 he purchased his first full size bus - DBX548W - a Bedford YMQ with Duple bodywork. This bus is still owned by the company and is kept in store - hopefully to be preserved. This coach and another were then used on a contract travelling to Wrexham. Eifion Lloyd Davies and his wife Rhianon undertook the work and used a car to travel back home to Betws GG until the afternoon when they returned to Wrexham to complete the contract.

By 1991 the fleet had grown to 6 and land in Rhostyllen was being used to store the expanding fleet.

Eifion and Rhianon have three sons Gareth, Hefin and Arwyn and their initial letters is the origin of the name GHA Coaches. Hefin is a civil engineer and has not joined the family business but Gareth and Arwyn joined the business in 1995 having been involved in the car trade. They are today the principal directors and very much the driving force of the 'Group'.

Another aspect of the name GHA is that in welsh 'gwasanaeth heb ei al' means 'service second to none' which is a motto the company has adopted.

By 1996 a depot had been established in Wrexham near the former Gatewen colliery and the fleet had grown to over 20 vehicles and included various double deckers, coaches and minibuses.

The first of two new minibuses were purchased that year and given the personalised registrations of N2GHA and N3GHA. These two Mercedes-Benz 709D with Marshall 29 seat bodies are still in the current fleet.  N3 has been withdrawn but N2 is mainly used as a spare bus in favour of the more modern low floor vehicles.

Also that year came the first takeover when the firm T R Coaches of Wrexham was acquired . This firm was run by Terry Ross who himself had previously been a professional soldier reaching the rank of sergeant major. Before commencing the business in 1979 he had been a transport manager in a local haulage company and as is common started the business with a minibus. The main work of the operation was contracts and private hire. Five vehicles transferred - 4 coaches and a minibus.

By the end of 1997 the fleet amounted to just over 30 vehicles.

1998 saw the purchase of another two new Mercedes-Benz Vario vehicles which joined an array of other second hand vehicles. The first to join in the earlier part of the year was R5GHA which had a 33 coach body. The second was S6GHA which came in the latter part of the year and it had a 27 bus body.

The following year in 1999 saw the arrival of two new Dennis Dart Pointer 26 seat service buses. V7 and V8GHA were given the livery for the 111 Traxx livery for the route going from Mold to Hooton Interchange.

In August 2000 saw the takeover of the well established business of W J Hanmer and Son of Southsea. Some seven vehicles were transferred together with the depot at Southsea. A large part of the Hanmer business was private hire work which enabled GHA to expand in this area. The distinguished livery of Hanmers was retained for some time and some of these acquired vehicles were subsequently given this red, white and gold livery. Although a few coaches acquired are still in the fleet they no longer retain the Hanmers livery having been given the silver GHA coach livery.

Also in September 2000 the first Solo entered the fleet. X9GHA was the first vehicle to be given the now familiar low floor silver, maroon and burgundy livery.  In 2012 it was given a green based livery  - 'Into the Port'.  The second Solo to join the fleet W677DDN initially arrived as a demonstrator in December of that year but did not join the fleet permanently until the next year in 2001 when it again arrived as a demonstrator before it was eventually purchased. This Solo was the longer wheelbase version with 34 seats. It was given the GHA (low floor) livery but it later wore the Llangollen Express livery. It was not given its current cherished number A15GHA until November 2014.

February 2003 saw the arrival of the virtually new double decker PO51WNN which soon got the cherished number DA51GHA. The Dennis Trident with Plaxton President 76 seater body was given a 'Bws y Dyffryn – Vale Rider' livery and was used on a Denbighshire County Council contracted route involving Llangollen to Denbigh via Corwen and Ruthin. This contract ended in 2006 and the President was sold reverting to its original number before it joined the fleet of Kimes of Folkingham.

A further Wrexham area acquisition came in April 2003 and comprised of the vehicle and the one service of Chaloner of Moss. This business dated back to 1920 when Tim Chaloner started running taxis from Moss to Wrexham. In 1929 a bus was employed. The firm was mainly a one bus operation except during the war and for a brief period post-war it rose to 3 vehicles. Tim died in 1946 (at the age of 46) and the business continued with Doris, Tim's wife, employing a driver and she acted as conductress. Tim's son Edward joined the business and the name of the firm became D Chaloner and Son. Edward was the principal driver with his sister Iris being the conductress. Doris died in 1978. The business continued to operate the same service to Moss and Summerhill from Wrexham until April 2003 when the bus and service was taken over by GHA Coaches. The vehicle transferred was:- H738 TWB Mecedes Benz / Reeve Burgess Beaver which had been purchased new by Chaloner in 1990. This vehicle was kept by GHA and operated the same service but was given a slightly revised livery still carrying the Chaloner name. Another vehicle R3GHA [R110TKO] (Vario / Plaxton Beaver) was also given this livery. However the livery did not continue after both of these vehicles were scrapped in 2011.

ED03GHA a Volvo B12M with a Berkhof Axial 50 body was purchased new in April 2003 and was given the David Urquhart livery for which it worked on contract until April 2009 when it was given the standard GHA (silver) livery.

The beginning of 2004 saw the arrival of a number of new vehicles. One of these was a Volvo B7R with a Plaxton Prima 70 seater body. DA04GHA was the first of a number of high capacity coach
es that has become the backbone of the school contract operations.

The other new buses obtained in 2004 were four Volvo SB120 with Wright Merit 39 seater service bodies. These vehicles are essentially DAF but are badged as Volvo which is the firm that marketed this particular model at the time in the U.K. These four new buses were given cherished numbers AA04GHA, BA04GHA, CA04GHA and GA04GHA. AA04 and GA04 were given a livery for the Wrexham Council contracted service of the 146 Wrexham to Whitchurch. BA04 and CA04 were given the black and gold livery connected with Line 9 which was a high profile service initially running between Mold and Chester Royal Infirmary via Connahs Quay. Ironically AA04GHA and CA04GHA carried the wrong registration plates which was not corrected until their first MoT.


In 2004 the 'Group' strengthened their operations in the Vale of Clwyd and took over the services and depot of Cloion Coaches in Ruthin from where GHA Coaches continue to operate. Only one vehicle transferred. This was Dennis Dart / UVG - P17FUG but it left the fleet within one year of arrival. The takeover did establish a strong foothold in the area and the acquired depot is now the operating centre for a number of Vale of Clwyd services.

The floods which occurred in Cumbria during January 2005 affected numerous Stagecoach buses at their Carlisle depot. Some of these were obtained by GHA and over a period of time they were fully restored and have been valuable servants to the fleet over a number of years. Two of these included Alexander bodied Volvo B10M-55 - K772DAO and K781DAO. There was also five double deckers – K129DAO, K130DAO and K131DAO which are 70 seater Alexander Bodied Leyland Olympians as is F811FAO but it has a long wheelbase chassis enabling 87 seats. The newest vehicle was P274VPN - a Volvo Olympian which was given the cherished number P4GHA.


Notable arrivals in 2006 were two new Volvo B7R with 70 seater Plaxton Profile coach bodies given cherished numbers BA06GHA and CA06GHA. Also arriving was AA06GHA a new Mercedes Benz Autobus Nouvelle 33 coach body which assisted with enhancing the executive private hire element of the business. Three Alexander ALX200 Dennis Darts were acquired from the rental fleet of Mistral. VX51PZM and VX51RBO were given a Traxx 111 route branding for the Mold to Ellesmere Port service and Y201KNB was given the Denbighshire sponsored Vale Rider livery.

The Bryn Melyn company joined the 'Group' in 2007. The History of Bryn Melyn goes back to the 1920's where there is a story that an Anthony 'Laddie' Jones worked hard in the town of Llangollen hiring himself and a hand cart to convey goods for the purpose of raising funds to buy a bus. He and Richard Noel Jones entered a partnership and in 1923 started a service of conveying passengers from their home village of Rhewl to Llangollen.  Elsie Marjorie Jones later joined the partnership. However in 1936 the partnerships were dissolved and 'Laddie' became a sole trader. By this time further routes had been established from Llangollen to Glyn Ceiriog and Oswestry.

In 1964 the business was sold to Londoner 'Ted' Broadhurst who decided to sell off the coaching side of the business to a neighbouring business in Cefn Mawr operated at that time by Theo Roberts. This coaching business became 'Vale of Llangollen Tours' and became associated with GHA at a future date. Ted Broadhurst ran the bus business of Bryn Melyn for nearly 20 years but in 1983 he sold it to two of his employees Terry Bluck and Clive Wilson.

The bus fleet expanded when in 1989 the company started the Llangollen to Wrexham service. In 2005 the business left Llangollen and moved to the Gardden Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Ruabon.  

In addition to the depot at Gardden Industrial Estate, Tatham Road, Ruabon - 15 vehicles transferred to GHA. Included in these vehicles were five BMC Falcon 60 seater school buses, (BX54VTM/VUB/C/D/F), which were purchased two years before the takeover. Until April 2015 Bryn Melyn operated as a distinct business under its own management but under the general direction of the two principal directors of GHA. This continued even after the Bryn Melyn depot was moved to its next location next door to the main GHA Ruabon depot in June 2012. In April 2015 a full merger began.

In 2007 the company moved to the much needed larger current base at Unit 11, Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon.   The company moved to this location from its previous main base at Gatewen. The former depot at Gatewen was situated nearer Wrexham but whilst it was adequate when it was first opened it had become too small for the ever expanding company. This base in Ruabon is the nerve centre and head office of GHA It is situated some 5 miles to the south west of Wrexham. Sometimes the depot is referred to as the 'Wrexham' depot. Located here are the offices for the senior managers of the company, the main engineering facilities and the base for a substantial part of the fleet.

A significant aspect of the Ruabon depot is the engineering facilities which comprises of various components. These include a massive workshop with some 13 bays each with a ramp which can handle any type of vehicle. There is also a double bay fully authorised MoT testing facility utilised by VOSA. In addition to a fully functional bodyshop to undertake various accident repairs there is a modern spray booth capable of painting all types of vehicles including double deckers. There are also various specialist stores for such things as tyres, glazing and seating.

During 2007 new vehicles entering the fleet included VDL SB120 / Plaxton Centros AA56GHA and BA56GHA which were put to work on the 146 Whitchurch service and given a new all over route branding. GA07GHA was a Volvo B12B with Jonckheere Mistral 50 bodywork which became the second vehicle to be given the David Urquhart livery. This vehicle was sold in August 2009 after the contract with David Urquhart ended. Two Plaxton Centro bodied vehicles were purchased. BA07GHA is a VDL SB120 with 40 seats and CA07GHA is a Volvo B7BLE with 45 seats. 


Also purchased that year were three ex Chesterbus step Dennis Darts J52EDM, L62PDM and M166XMA. The former one of these was sold in January 2013 and is being preserved.

The next significant acquisition came in 2008 when the vehicles, services and work of Vale of Llangollen Travel Limited joined the group. The history of the business can be traced back to the family of Roberts (father Alexander and sons Theophilus and Herbert Richard) and their coal haulage business which expanded to convey workers to the local collieries. The firm initially traded as T & H R Roberts (being the initials of the two brothers). In addition to the workers and schools services the business developed a number of excursion ventures.  These were undertaken in their own name and also in conjunction with a holiday company from Liverpool  - 'Sunniways'.  Brother Herbert Richard died in the early 1960's and shortly afterwards Theo bought the coaching business of Bryn Melyn of Llangollen.  Theo was later joined in the business by three of his children, Russell, Ralph and Gillian, who later took over the business when Theo retired.  The coaching side of the business expanded with many of the vehicles working for a number of holiday companies including Cosmos and Globus.  For a year or so after acquisition by GHA, Gillian Roberts continued as General Manager until she finally withdrew from the company and retired to Spain.  However Ralph and Russell continued to work within the new organisation as school bus drivers. Again this company retained its identity operating as a separate company within the Group until April 2015 when the full merger began. The former Vale of Llangollen Travel company had established a working base in the Cheshire area at Waverton with a number of local school contracts. GHA have very much expanded on this initial foothold. 15 vehicles transferred.


New vehicles bought in 2008 included three Volvo B7RLEs with Wrightbus Eclipse Urban bodies . These three vehicles
(AA/BA/CA58GHA) were given black and gold Line 9 livery.

Two interesting vehicles joining the fleet in 2008 were two Wright Handybus bodied Dennis Darts. K129LGO was given a GHA (White) livery whilst NDZ3161 was given a similar Vale Travel version of the livery. Initially the vinyls used were blue and pink but this was later changed to more conventional silver, red and burgundy.

17 new vehicles entered into the fleet in 2009.  January saw the arrival of two new Optare Versas MX58KZE/F. They were purchased to operate the newly won Cheshire East Connect 88 Altrincham to Knutsford service. Initially this entailed a considerable amount of dead mileage from Ruabon to commence the service. In May five Volvo B7RLE / Wrightbus Eclipse UrbanA joined the fleet. DK09DZD/E/F/G/H were given a branding for the Denbighshire X50/X52 service which operated from Wrexham to Rhyl via Ruthin and Denbigh. In July two new Optare Solos arrived to operate the Denbighshire County Council Ruthin Flecsi services. Then in September two further Solos arrived. YJ59GFX/Y had a new DeeBee livery to operate newly won Chester and Cheshire West contracts. In November five further Solos joined the fleet. YJ59GHA/B/D/G were put into Cheshire East Connections livery and were put to work to operate newly won contracts and services around Nantwich. YJ59GHF was given the GHA (low floor) livery.


By 2009 a sub depot was established in Macclesfield. It was located in Heapy Street within the premises of H Whittaker and Sons Ltd. It was used mainly as a base for double deckers of the Vale fleet which were being used on a number of school and college contracts won by the company in the north east of Cheshire. Over the years the vehicles located in Macclesfield gradually grew. In 2010 it was recorded that 4 deckers were based at the depot and by the beginning of the autumn term in 2012 the number had risen to 7. This location became unsuitable by 2015 and a new premises was found in Moss Lane.

Heapy Street Depot seen in 2009 with Vale Deckers being used on school contracts.

In the summer of 2010 the company introduced a fleet numbering system. This was a four digit system with the first two digits indicating a classification of the vehicle. The classifications were ;-

CA – Coaches                    01 - 40
SB – Service Buses             01 - 61
DD – Double Deckers        01 - 27
SL – Solos                          01 - 21
MB – Minibuses                  01 - 29
MC – Minicoaches              01 - 06

Vehicles were allocated a two digit number for each classification allocated by alphabetic order of the registration numbers. GHA Coaches and Vale Travel fleets were allocated numbers but the Bryn Melyn fleet was not. The fleet numbers were displayed on the vehicles by means of vinyls. Vehicles subsequently arriving in 2010 were given numbers at the end of the series but after 2010 no further vehicles were allocated a fleet number. When vehicles were repainted the fleet numbers were not re-applied. The system was never used for operational purposes. However quite a number of the fleet still carry these numbers.

In August 2010 after visiting an auction in the Midlands the Directors purchased 7 ex Travel West Midlands Optare Solos S280AOX, T289/308/313/314/316/317UOX. Over a period of time the vehicles were refurbished and entered service. One exception was T316UOX which did receive a new livery but every time it was near ready for service it appeared to be used for essential spares for its siblings.  Two (T313/314UOX) went into DeeBee livery while the others received the GHA (Low floor) livery. T313UOX has subsequently been given the new GHA Service Bus livery.

Four Optare Versas and two Solos owned by the Flintshire and Wrexham local authorities joined the fleet in August 2010. The Versas (YJ09OTN/P/R/S) were in Shuttle Plus livery and operated the SP1/2 routes from Mold to Ellesmere Port services which also served the Deeside Industrial Estate. The Solos (YJ09EZH/K) were used to operate the Wrexham Council supported Ceiriog valley services. YJ09EZH was allocated to the Bryn Melyn fleet.

During 2010 the Cheshire operations (with the exception of the Macclesfield area) were moved to the current depot at Tarvin. This is located at Unit 11 Pool Bank Business Park just on the outskirts of the village. The depot is in an industrial unit with a small building for offices and a small provision for indoor storage but the depot has no significant engineering facilities. This depot replaced the temporary depot at a transport yard on the A56 in Dunham on the Hill which had itself replaced the base within Morrey Oils at Waverton which had been inherited from Vale Travel.

Tarvin depot is characterised by the number of deckers found here. This scene is quite recent.

Further acquisitions occurred in 2011 -  Ifor Jones traded as J O Travel and he started his business in Ponciau, Wrexham when the well established business of T Williams and Son ceased trading in 2005. The depot was not transferred but a number of school contracts and some private hire work together with six coaches were transferred. The vehicles involved were: - R20STR  -  (Iveco EuroRider / Beulas),  K2AMEK3AME  & K487BCY - (DAF SB3000 / Co Algarve II), Y144HWE (later Y5GHA)- (MAN  / Tourliner),  N253NNR  -  Toyota HZB50R / Caetano Optimo III,   N253NNR and K487BCY were not operated by GHA.  R20STR, K2AME and Y5GHA were retained in the fleet for some time and were given fleet livery.

In the same month of June 2011 a further significant acquisition occurred.  R S Travel Limited was a company formed in 1999 by Raymond Stockton and Linda Handley. They traded initially in Nantwich but later on in Brooks Lane, Middlewich. In addition to the bus and coach business they also operated a travel business selling various coach holidays which they then ran with their own coaches.   In addition to the depot in Brooks Lane and the substantial school and college contracts seven vehicles were transferred. The holiday tours part of the company was not taken up by GHA. The vehicles transferred were: - HIB967( Bova),  IIB7460 - (Scania / Van Hool), J271UDW  (Leyland Lynx), M905/14OVR (Dennis Javelin / Transliner),   RIL9160/1 (Dennis Javelin / Duple 320),  N219VRC (Optare MetroRider).

Whilst not a takeover as such a significant purchase made in July 2011 were four of the service vehicles of Pats Coaches which were acquired with the services they operated involving Wrexham – Brymbo (15 and 15A), King Street - Barker Lane (44) and some evening services. Pats Coaches continued to work a Wrexham local service (Townlynx) for a period and have still a significant coach fleet. The vehicles transferred to GHA were :- H7WXM & N109LCK - Dennis Dart / East Lancs, N7WXM & V896DNB (Dennis Dart/ Plaxton). These buses were not retained.


A further Cheshire acquisition occurred in December 2012 when Dobsons Buses Limited was purchased. This company was based in Lostock Gralam near Northwich. This company was formed by Ronald Edward Dobson in 1991 although his bus and coach business started before this date. The company had numerous school contracts and these and 9 vehicles were transferred. No property was involved. The transferred vehicles were:- Deckers E916KYR, G627EKA, K656UNH, NJZ9086 – high capacity school buses H620RAH, J935CYK, M416UNW and minibuses M561SRE and N263FMA. E916KYR, E916KYR, M561SRE and N263FMA were never used.

From January 2013 GHA extended their operations into Manchester when they started running the Sunday 130 Macclesfield to Manchester service.

In April 2013 the contracts and drivers of the family business Rogers of Graigfechan were acquired together with one vehicle. The business was started by Cecil Rogers in the 1950's when mainly one coach was operated. In the early 70's Cecil's son Eric Edwards took over the company and the fleet then grew to some 10 vehicles. However in April 2011 Eric died at the young age of 60 and the business passed to his son Kevin and Eric's wife Margaret. Kevin ran the business for a couple of years but decided to cease trading and develop an alternative career. There were a number of school contracts and the business had a number of regular customers for their private hire work. No premises were involved in the transfer and Kevin sold the remainder of his fleet of six vehicles privately. The vehicle transferred was S490UAK (Mercedes Vario / Plaxton Cheetah). The coach was used by GHA for a while in the livery of Rogers but has since been given the GHA (silver) livery and it has recently been re-registered to TIL 7583.

A new depot was opened in Winsford in August 2013 and the operations from the former R S Travel depot in Middlewich transferred to this new depot. It is situated within the Warehouse One complex in Smoke Hall Lane Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Winsford. The site has excellent security and all visitors must be signed in and obey strict safety instructions before embarking on the long walk to the rear of the premises where the depot is situated. In addition to the area of outside parking there is a purpose built building with a two bay maintenance facility, a staff room and an office for the depot manager and administrative support staff.

A new element of work commenced in September 2013 involved a fleet of some 4-5 minibuses with wheelchair facilities conveying children to and from the specialist Springfield school in Crewe. In addition to a driver, an attendant is also provided. A small fleet of suitable vehicles was acquired for this contract.

Following the withdrawal of Arriva Cymru running the X94 Wrexham to Barmouth service GHA were awarded the emergency contract to operate the service from 23rd December 2013. The service was not new to the company as they had operated the evening and Sunday service for some considerable time. During 2014 the company won the full contract and a new revised timetable was put into operation from November 2014 when the service was renamed the T3 to bring it line with other Traws Cymru Welsh Government funded services. New vehicles were obtained in 2015 for the route. Scania OmniCity YR14HLU was acquired new in July 2014 and whilst entering service initially in its dealer white livery it was the first vehicle in the fleet to be given the TrawsCymru livery.

On an emergency basis in June 2014 GHA began working two Snowdon Sherpa services in the Llanberis and Llanrwst area. This involved two vehicles normally a decker and a single deck vehicle which were out-stationed at Llanrwst. This service was not operated by GHA after October of that year.

August 2014 GHA began operating the commercial 45 Northwich to Warrington service entering into direct competition with Warrington Borough Transport. Two vehicles were initially utilised on this service. Over a period of time changes were made to the operations on this route. A further commercial Warrington area service to Dallam was also later commenced and the buses involved, now three, interwork. Two new Optare MetroCity buses were acquired in early 2015 to operate the service.

GHA retained the contract to run the East Cheshire 88 Connect service from Altrincham to Knutsford in October 2014 . The frequency of the route was doubled to 30 minutes and 4 new high specification Enviro 200's were purchased for this high profiled service. YX64VRF/G/J/K had leather seats, a table and free Wi-Fi and were given a new 'Gold' livery.

A number of other contracts were won and retained in the East Cheshire area in the autumn of 2014. Retained with some changes were the contracts for the Nantwich area work.  Contracts were won to operate services previously operated by D & G Bus involving the 90/91/92 Congleton town service, the 42 Crewe to Congleton service together with some evening services in the Crewe area. Some 9 Solos owned by the local authority were initially transferred from their previous operators and loaned to GHA to assist with operating these new contracts. These Solos YJ54ZYA-F, YM52TPV/Y and YJ54UBD were eventually purchased from the local authority.

Other vehicles acquired in 2014 included 5 Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLEs - R217/19/26/20/34HCD. After being used for a while in their previous Brighton and Hove Red and Cream livery they were - over a period of time - given the GHA (low floor) livery. The exception was R234HCD which was given the X50/X52 livery and was also given the cherished number R13GHA. Three other similar vehicles R838/39/48PRG arrived from Go North East in red. These were used with this livery for quite a while and were given GHA Coaches vinyls. R848PRG was probably the last vehicle to receive the GHA (Low Floor) livery. Two ex Metroline London Northern President bodied Volvo B7TL were acquired (Y166/88NLK). Y188NLK has been used in its plain red livery for a while but Y166NLK has received the X50/X52 livery. 


The coach fleet was added to during 2014 with R979PRD, M688KVU, FN03DXM, CN08TKV, YN07LDV, R12GHA, CNZ3819 and BP52XAE joining.

During 2015 a new GHA Coaches logo began to be used and started to appear on buses, tickets and the web site.

In 2015 - 15 new vehicles joined the fleet. Two ADL Enviro 200's YY15CMX/Z were branded with a very interesting 'Beartown' livery and were commissioned to work the Congleton town service. A further three similar vehicles YY15CNA/C/E were given the high specification GHA Gold interior and livery and were branded and used on the East Cheshire contracted service from Crewe to Congleton. Four Optare Solo SR's YJ15AYE/F/G/H were the first vehicles to be given a new GHA (Service Bus) livery. These Solos are used on the Nantwich area services. YJ15AWN/O are two Optare MetroCitys which also joined the fleet in April and have been used on the commercial service running from Warrington to Northwich which also interfaces with the 16 Warrington to Dallam service. Later in the year three Scanias with Enviro 400 high specification double deckers SN15ETD/E/F joined the fleet in the TrawsCymru livery. Also arriving at the same time in the same TrawsCymru livery was a ADL Enviro 200  YY15FZF. These four vehicles were soon put to work on their intended route the T3 Wrexham to Barmouth.


The Macclesfield depot that had been situated in Heapy Street moved in April 2015 to a much larger site in Moss Lane, Macclesfield.

A new fleet numbering system was introduced in 2015.  Mention has already been made of the abandoned system of 2010 but which still appears on some vehicles. This latest system is a 4 digit numerical system with the first digit indicating the type of vehciles - the second digit the make of vehicle and the 3rd and 4th digit is the numerical number within the series.

 1XXX   Mini/Midibus
10XX     Mercedes Benz
11XX     Optare Versa &                              MetroCity
12XX     Optare Solo SR
13XX     Optare Solo
14XX     Enviro 200
15XX     Dart
16XX     DAF SB120
 2XXX   Full Size Saloons
21XX     Scania
22XX     Volvo B10BLE
23XX     Volvo B7RLE
 3XXX  Double Deckers
30XX     Scania Enviro 400
31XX     Scania N113
32XX     Dennis Trident
34XX     Volvo B7TL
36XX     Olympian
 4XXX  Coaches
40XX     Volvo
41XX     Scania
42XX     Others
44XX     Dennis Javelin

April 2015 saw the acquisition of the companies trading as Shropshire Bus and Coach. Four full size buses, six minibuses some with wheelchair lifts and some cars were transferred together with the depot situated off Castle Foregate in Shrewsbury. This depot has now become the operational centre for the number of services that had previously been run by the Bryn Melyn part of the Group and also for the 436 Shrewsbury to Bridgnorth service that was won from Arriva Midlands North and commenced on 1st September 2015.

During 2015 there began a major merge of the GHA subsidiary companies of Bryn Melyn Limited and Vale of Llangollen Travel Limited into the principal company of the group - GHA (Coaches) Limited. These companies had remained as separate operating companies within the group since their purchase in 2007 and 2008. They had their own managers and staff and the fleets had retained their own identity and liveries. The Bryn Melyn company even maintained its own fleet at its own depot. This was originally in the Gardden Industrial Estate in Ruabon but in June 2012 had moved to Unit next door to the main GHA depot. Shortly after the start of the financial year in 2015 the Bryn Melyn fleet joined the parent company fleet and the former depot was altered and became an annexe to the main depot. Route registrations began the change to the parent company and the long term task of changing some of the vehicles liveries commenced.

In April 2015 a major change occurred on the Wrexham to Llangollen and Cefn Mawr corridor with Bryn Melyn and Vale Travel no longer operating services. Previous to this change the GHA element of the 5 service had previously operated from Wrexham to Llangollen and then on an hourly basis it was extended to work a service through to Ruthin via Corwen. The bus would then work a service through to Rhyl via Denbigh and then work a return service back through Ruthin and Corwen to Wrexham. From April 2015 the 5 service now terminates at Llangollen and operates 3 times an hour. The Cefn Mawr service has been re-designated the 5C and has an increased frequency of 3 times an hour giving a 10 minute service frequency between Wrexham, Johnstown and Ruabon. The service is in direct competition with Arriva Midlands who operate a similar frequency on the same route. Apart from an occasional service (re-designated the 94) only the T3 service now operates from Llangollen to Corwen. The Corwen to Ruthin service is now designated the 55 and vehicles continue to Rhyl as the intermediate service between Ruthin and Rhyl making the frequency on that corridor 30 minutes alongside the Wrexham – Rhyl service.

By the autumn of 2015 the company were operating almost all of the Reaseheath college contracted student service conveying over 1000 students per day using some 20 vehicles from 4 of their depots. These routes range from a wide variety of locations such as Broughton, Chester, Liscard, Upton, Port Sunlight, Ellesmere Port, Warrington, Stockport, Poynton, Congleton, Knustford, Middlewich, Uttoxeter, Telford, Shrewsbury and Oswestry.

Some of the other vehicles joining the fleet in 2015 included :-

Two Scania OmniCity's YR10AZO/V which were given the new service Bus livery and normally work the 436 Shrewsbury to Bridgnorth service.

Also joining the fleet were three Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL yellow liveried deckers X635/39/57LLX . These vehicles are often seen working the Reaseheath College contracts.

(to be continued.........)

© Ron Hughes - No reproduction without permission 

I would wish to thank Richard Turner and Charlie Williams for allowing me to use some of their fantastic photos

In researching this history reference has been to a couple of publications to which I thoroughly recommend - Wrexham Bus Companies by Mike Edge and Independent Buses in North Wales by Neville Mercer