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Reliance Motor Services (ePub)

The Story of a Family-Owned Independent Bus Company

Colour eBooks Photographic eBooks Transport > Buses

By Barrie Hedges, David Wilder
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 42.9 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 150 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526760357
Published: 27th March 2020


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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 2021

Newbury Weekly News

Great book to know the operation and vicissitudes of an independent and very well documented company.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Barrie Hedges interview with Bill Buckley

BBC Radio Berkshire, 17th December 2020

Barrie Hedges article ‘Taking the wheel’ as featured by

Berkshire 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.

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.

Peter White, Journal of the Road Transport History Association

Article feature: 'When life depended on a country bus' as featured by

Out & About Magazine, Autumn 2020

Article: ‘History of a bus company you could rely on’ as featured by

Newbury Weekly News, 23rd April 2020 - words by Geraldine Gardner

About Barrie Hedges

Barrie Hedges is the grandson of Reliance founder George Hedges and grew up in Brightwalton. He went on to become a reporter on the local newspaper and several others before moving into public relations. He has worked extensively for clients in the quarrying industry and specialised in community relations. While much of his working life has been devoted to writing – he has never until now written a book. Retired and living in East Devon with partner Jan, he has never lost his love for the simplicity of life in Brightwalton and goes back there regularly. He has two much-loved daughters and five granddaughters.

About David Wilder

David Wilder was born and raised in Chaddleworth, his roots in the Downland villages of West Berkshire stretching back over many generations. He and Barrie Hedges travelled to school together by bus for seven years, quickly establishing an enduring friendship. Fascinated by buses, coaches and their operation from a toddler, David fulfilled a dream by completing professional training in bus and coach management in the North West and Wales, subsequently occupying senior positions with various operators, latterly Newbury & District. Happily married and living with wife Jane back in West Berkshire, David is proud of his three children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

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