Tanat Valley Coaches & Motors The Garage, Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant,
Nr Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 0AD

HISTORY 1960 - 1970

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Garage Services

Garage in Kerry, near Newtown.

Located in Kerry, near Newtown, we offer MOT testing for classes 4, 5L & 7; servicing and repairs on retail, trade and commercial vehicles. Our high vaulted garage enables us to MOT motor homes and carry out inspections and repairs on large vehicles.

A History of Tanat Valley Coaches & Motors - a family business.

Through the 1960s the business continued to trade with Elvin having to bring in help to ease his work load. One of the first employees was Edwin Lane. Very soon Edwin gained his psv license. The single practical test involved taking the examiner on a short trip down the valley turning round and coming back. As long as the examiner felt safe the driver passed his test. So now Elvin had a second driver who could and thus both 29 seater Bedfords could be used to their full potential.

Private hire had now developed with clubs, groups, chapels and church members all requiring coach travel services.

Elvin was tasked with providing transport for the Llanrhaeadr Chapels day trip. This usually involved taking most of Llanrhaeadr village residents on a day to the seaside; Llandudno, Rhyl. New Brighton, Colwyn Bay being among the more popular destinations. The most common size of coach was still the 29seater with the favourite choice of the operator being the Bedford OB. The numbers requiring a seat could often be seven or eight hundred this meant that Elvin needed to hire as much support as possible from neighbouring operators. The resulting sight of a fleet of these iconic mid twentieth century little coaches travelling down the Tanat Valley was a delight. Laughter and song is the enduring memory of those wonderful day trips for many of the participants.

By the early 1960s road improvements and greater customer demand saw increasing numbers of 35 and 41 seater coaches coming into service with the local operators. Petrol engined Bedfords being the popular choice.

However Elvin decided to break with tradition and bought his first diesel engined coach a Duple Commer 39seater with a 5 speed gearbox. The powerful three cylinder engine had a distinctive roar which could be heard approaching from some distance away. Elvin was noted for his careful driving and never really could see the need for the fifth gear having been used to three and four gear gearboxes, so the fifth gear never got used. His over gentle handling of this coach would result in the engine exhaust system getting coked up, performance would deteriorate and hill climbing started to be a problem. Thankfully global warming and carbon footprints were terms for a distant future, for Elvin’s cure for this problem was to continue putting up with the deteriorating performance knowing that the coach would right it self. After a while great sparks and flames would burst out of the exhaust as the engine did right itself. Many a concerned passenger would come to Elvin at these times (particularly on a dark night when the event could be quite spectacular) with a fear that the coach was on fire. His calm assurance that the engine was simply having a ‘clear out’ brought laughter to all. This alarming phenomenon would occur every four or five months.

Within a mere three years the decision was made to go back to the old and trusted combination of a petrol powered Bedford and so the Ex Worthington Tours 1961 Bedford SB 40 seater Duple Super Vega registration 721 DOB was acquired from Don Everalls of Woverhampton. This luxurious coach (affectionately known as Dob) had come out of the Worthington Tours Continental fleet of high specification vehicles.

1962 Roger, Elvin and May’s eldest son left home to go to college to train as a teacher. Five years later Michael followed suit. Peter was by then at the beginning of his apprenticeship to become a mechanic which he completed in 1972. Throughout this period Elvin continued developing the business always alert to new opportunities. One of which presented it self in the autumn of 1964. He had just completed his afternoon school run to Llanrhaeadr and noticed a strange group of school children waiting in the village square. Their teacher came across to Elvin and explained that they were from The Harold Malley School of Solihull in the West Midlands and wanted to get back there that evening having spent a few days in the schools outdoor centre up at Maengwynedd. Their coach had failed to turn up to collect them. It was later discovered that it had gone to the wrong Llanrhaeadr. Elvin said give me half an hour and I’ll be back for you. True to his word he was and the group got back safely.

This act of rescue earned the unstinting gratitude of Mr. Roland Collins the Headmaster, resulting in a life long friendship and a contract to transport pupils from Solihull to Llanrhaeadr until that Centre closed in 2006. We continue to serve many of the Solihull schools taking them to other centres and occasionally over to the continent. The Harold Malley Centre later became the Alderbrook Centre with the change of name and status of the parent school; and its link to the Llanrhaeadr area proved extremely beneficial to both communities providing jobs and trade for our locals and a good experience of a rural Welsh community for the youngsters of Solihull.

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