Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Windsor, UK

The town of Windsor lies a little way to the west of London.

With the exception of Greater London, bus services in Britain are deregulated.  Bus operators have the commercial freedom to operate whichever services they choose, charging whatever fares they choose. 

First operates several bus routes serving Windsor.

Route 191 currently links Windsor with Ascot and Bracknell.  A mix of double-deck and single-deck vehicles is used, these carry First's corporate livery.

Route 191 serves the nearby Legoland attraction.

A second service, the 200, provides a dedicated shuttle between Windsor and Legoland. 

Routes 71 and 77, linking Windsor with Slough and Heathrow Airport, are branded as "7 Series".  Buses carry a blue livery.



As well as standard diesel-powered buses, some hybrid diesel-electric vehicles are used on the "7 Series".

Although the blue buses are intended for the "7 Series" services, they don't always stay on their intended routes.

In this image, a "7 Series" bus was operating route 191.

The Green line brand name was once used for a network of longer-distance, limited stop services serving the towns which surround London.

First continue to use the Green Line brand, on route 702 running from Central London to Windsor, and onwards to Ascot and Bracknell.


First have announced some reductions to their network in Windsor and the surrounding area.  Route 191 will cease to operate in late September 2015.  Green Line 702 will continue to provide links between Windsor, Ascot and Bracknell.

First is not the only company operating buses into Windsor.

Courtney Buses operates three routes linking Windsor with Maidenhead.

Small-sized single-deck buses are used.  Some carry a white livery...

...while others are purple.

In 2015, Courtney were operating a service between Windsor and Legoland, in competition with First.  Both operators were offering return tickets, but these were not interchangeable between the two operators.

Local authorities can fund bus services where they deem the service fulfils a social need, but where no operator will run the service commercially.  Several services in Windsor receive funding support from local authorities.

White Bus Services operates an infrequent service linking Windsor with Ascot, through Windsor Great Park.

The service operates 6 to 8 times a day, but does not run on Sundays.

White Bus Services also operates a local service within Windsor during the middle of the day on Mondays to Fridays, also with financial support from the local authority.  Buses run hourly, but only between around 10:00 and 14:00.  There is no service at weekends.

White Bus Services also operates Park & Ride services into the centre of Windsor from car parks on the town's outskirts.  These operate on Mondays to Fridays all year round, and at weekends during July and August.

Once a week, on Saturdays, Carousel Buses operate a service into Windsor from villages to the north.  This service allows its passengers around 3½ hours in Windsor before it leaves on its return journey.

It receives financial support from a neighbouring local authority.

On one occasion I found a green single-deck bus in use...

... while on another occasion, I saw a red one. 

Each operator has its own fare scales.  As well as singles and returns, some offer day tickets for use on their own services.  There does not appear to be a day ticket valid on the services of all operators, however.

Although there is no single body coordinating Windsor's bus services, timetables for all of them can be found on the website of the local authority, the Royal Borough or Windsor & Maidenhead.

With its castle and royal connections, Windsor is a popular destination for coach tours.

There is a sizeable coach park a short distance from Windsor Castle.

Sightseeing tours of Windsor are provided under the City Sightseeing brand, with open-top double-deck buses.

The tour operates from the end of March to the end of November


The River Thames flows through Windsor.  Boat trips are operated by French Brothers and Salter's Steamers.



A combined road and river tour using amphibious vehicles is provided by Windsor Duck Tours.

Although many amphibious tours in other cities use older, former army vehicles converted for passenger use, those in Windsor were purpose-built for tours.

Across the River Thames from Windsor lies the small town of Eton, famous for its historic college.

First operate one service, the 60 from Heathrow Airport, into Eton.

Although I mostly found single-deckers in First corporate livery...


... I also found one bus which had previously operated in London, still carrying the London red livery.

The City Sightseeing tour also passes through Eton.


While in Eton, I was taken by surprise by a heritage bus.

Although it was displaying details for route 26A to High Wycombe, it was in fact operating a shuttle service between Eton and Slough, in connection with a railway heritage event.

This wasn't the only heritage bus I saw.  A number of London's iconic Routemaster buses, dating from the 1950 and 1960s, now earn their keep on special duties such as being hired out for weddings.

By chance, I saw one such vehicle passing Windsor Castle on a wedding hire.


In closing, I will mention Windsor and Eton's railway services.

There are two railway lines into Windsor, each with its own station.

Windsor & Eton Central was a grand station when it was built.  Much of the station has been converted into a shopping arcade.  Nevertheless, one platform survives in use.

A diesel train from here shuttles to and from Slough, with connections to and from London's Paddington station.  This service is operated by First Great Western.

A smaller station, Windsor & Eton Riverside, was built nearby.  This is the terminus for electric trains to and from London Waterloo.

This service is operated by South West Trains.

Although both stations are in Windsor, both are within a short walk of the bridge across the Thames to Eton.

Images in this post were taken during 2014.