Reliance Motor Services (Kindle)
The Story of a Family-Owned Independent Bus Company
Between the two world wars and in the years that followed, several generations relied on country buses. In the days when few could afford a car, the bus was the medium to move between homes in often remote villages and the places where they increasingly went to school, worked and enjoyed their leisure hours.
This is the story of one such chain of villages across the Berkshire Downs — and the family-owned business that grew up around satisfying their needs.
George Hedges came back from World War I to become a horse-drawn carrier, but with ambitions to motorise his business. With his family taking the wheel in the 50s and beyond, Reliance extended its reach nationwide and even internationally.
The small village where it all started, Brightwalton, woke in the mornings to the cough of diesel engines from both Reliance buses and a relative’s lorries. When both businesses departed, the village lost many of its jobs, its two pubs and very nearly its school.
This book is not just for bus lovers but for anyone who looks back with fondness on the era before the motor car choked free movement and changed life.
Article featuring Barrie Hedges, 'On the buses: Reliance rolls back into town', September 2021Newbury Weekly News
Great book to know the operation and vicissitudes of an independent and very well documented company.Miniaturas JM
Read the full Spanish review here
Barrie Hedges interview with Bill BuckleyBBC Radio Berkshire, 17th December 2020
Barrie Hedges article ‘Taking the wheel’ as featured byBerkshire Life, July 2020
This book will interest not only bus enthusiasts, but also those with a love of local history.PSV Circle, June 2020
In addition to the history of the firm and personalities linked to it, the authors also describe the character of the area served, notably Harwell as a rural village prior to the advent of AERE, and indicate that whilst Brightwalton has changed, it has a positive future.Peter White, Journal of the Road Transport History Association
Appendices include a fleet list, and copies of timetables; the one significant omission is a good scale map of the routes operated. The standard of production is very high, and is enhanced by illustrations in the style of woodcuts at start of each chapter.
Article feature: 'When life depended on a country bus' as featured byOut & About Magazine, Autumn 2020
Article: ‘History of a bus company you could rely on’ as featured byNewbury Weekly News, 23rd April 2020 - words by Geraldine Gardner