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Operators over the years

In this section:

Crosville, Crosville Wales & Arriva| GHA Coaches | Townlynx | First & Stagecoach | M & H Coaches 

Peter’s | George Edwards & Son | Pied Bull | Oare’s | Royce Hire | Four Girls | Eagles & Crawford

Crosville, Crosville Wales and Arriva

For nearly 80 years, the service between Ruthin and Mold was operated under the Crosville name.

In 1906, George Crosland-Taylor (known as Crosland) rented a warehouse in Chester with the plan

of assembling and selling French-designed motor cars. Georges de Ville became his partner and in-

vested money into the business. They formed a new company called the Crosville Motor

Company Ltd, the name being a portmanteau of Crosland and de Ville. Car making activities

ceased in 1908 and the company concentrated on vehicle repairs and, shortly afterwards in 1911,

on running bus services. The first such service was in Cheshire and the company was based at

Crane Wharf in Chester.

By 1929, 10 years after the start of the Ruthin to Mold service, Crosville was operating on the

Wirral, in Cheshire and parts of Lancashire, together with parts of North Wales. Also in 1929, the

London Midland & Scottish Railway Company bought the interests in Crosville and a new company

trading as LMS (Crosville) emerged. This company subsequently became Crosville Motor

Services Ltd.

 Remarkably, the Crosland-Taylor family remained in senior positions within the

new company, directing and managing operations till December 1959.

One of the ways Crosville grew was by taking over numerous smaller bus firms all over Crosville’s

operating area, including in 1930 Brookes Brothers of Rhyl & Denbigh (also operating in Ruthin) (in-

volving 87 vehicles); Edwards of Denbigh t/a Red Dragon (also operating in Ruthin); and Western

Transport of Wrexham (reaching Ruthin from Wrexham) (133 vehicles). Crosville was soon the

major operator for the whole of North Wales and West Cheshire, together with significant work on

Merseyside and parts of Mid Wales.

In 1948, the company had come under total State ownership and was the third largest provincial

bus company in Wales and England.

In 1971, changes under the Transport Act 1968 empowered local authorities to subsidise rural bus

services and it is from 1971 that Denbighshire & Flintshire County Councils began to support the

Ruthin - Mold service financially. It remains a supported service to this day.

The Transport Act 1985 brought about significant changes. From 1986, Crosville was split into

English and Welsh companies prior to privatisation. Crosville Wales Ltd was born and the State

sold it to its managers in December 1987.

Crosville Wales Ltd then operated services on the Ruthin to Mold corridor at deregulation D-day on

Monday October 27th and did so under a contract with the former Clwyd County Council and then

Denbighshire County Council till 1998. Over the following years, the ownership of the company

changed in a complex manner which included a sale in 1989 to National Express and in 1991 to

Drawlane which later became British Bus. British Bus sold to the Cowie Group which then

rebranded as Arriva. In April 1998, shortly before Crosville Wales relinquished its contract on the

Ruthin - Mold corridor, Crosville Wales Ltd was renamed Arriva Cymru Ltd. Arriva did, however,

continue with a schooldays-only service that was also available to the general public for the vil-

lages, till 2001.

GHA Coaches

GHA Coaches operated the Ruthin to Mold service from April 1998 till July 2016, a period of 18

years.

The origin of GHA is centred on the village of Betws Gwerfil Goch near Corwen, where John Lloyd

Davies first owned a bus, mainly used to transport local people to and from work. His son, Eifion,

became involved with buses in about 1983 when he purchased a minibus to work a Clwyd County

Council school contract. This did not last long, so he returned to concentrate on his vehicle break-

ing business but, in 1988, he purchased two coaches that he used on a further Clwyd contract tak-

ing students to the North East Wales Institute of Further Education at Wrexham.

Eifion and his wife Rhiannon had three sons, Gareth, Hefin and Arwyn and their initial letters be-

came the origin of the name GHA Coaches. Hefin pursued interests outside the family bus & coach

business.

In 1991, GHA had established a base in Wrexham, then in 1996 a garage  there and, by 2004, they

had acquired the business interests of L E Roberts & Son t/a Cloion Coaches of Clawddnewydd, in-

cluding premises in Ruthin.

GHA acquired a number of other operators and by 2015 the company had depots in Ruthin,

Ruabon, Tarvin, Winsford, Macclesfield and Shrewsbury and operated a fleet of some 300 vehicles.

For most of the 18 years of GHA’s contracts on the Ruthin to Mold corridor, it was its Wrexham or

Ruabon rather than Ruthin garage that served the route.

In July 2016, the business ceased trading and the company went into administration.

Further details of GHA Coaches at RonsBusesAndCoaches 

From 2003 until early 2008, Townlynx extended its Mold to Pantymwyn service to Llanferres for

one journey on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. This operated under service number 6.  

In July 2016, following the collapse of GHA Coaches, for a brief eight day interim period and on an

emergency basis, Townlynx operated the Ruthin to Mold service.

Townlynx is a company based in Greenfield near Holywell and was founded in 1996 by Stephen Lee

and his wife Carol. The firm currently has a fleet of about 30 vehicles, most of which are used on

school and college contracts. Townlynx continues to operate service 28 from Mold to Flint, which

was the operator’s first ever bus service. 

Further details of Townlynx at RonsBusesAndCoaches

First and Stagecoach

In 2001, First Group’s Chester garage provided Sunday bus journeys on

the X10 between Ruthin and Mold.

First Chester & Wirral operated in the Cheshire and Merseyside area

between February 1990 and January 2013. Following the split of

Crosville in 1986, the Chester and Wirral operations, including the Chester and Rock Ferry garages,

came under the ownership of a number of companies including Drawlane and then Potteries

Motor Traction before becoming part of First Group when the branding of “First” was adopted. In

June 2007, First purchased the Chester municipal bus company which had operated under the

name of Chester City Transport since 1930. The municipal operations in Chester were then integ-

rated into one based at the former Crosville depot known as “The Rink” at Liverpool Road. In

January 2013, Stagecoach purchased the First Chester & Wirral operations including The Rink at

Chester.

Immediately after GHA finished on July 13th 2016, for two days, First’s Chester successor,

Stagecoach, operated one return journey between Ruthin and Mold on the 1. Stagecoach then ran

all journeys on the 1/X1/2 from the end of July 2016 to March 2018.

The Stagecoach Group plc is an international transport group operating buses and most other

forms of transport, including trains. The group was founded in 1980 and originated in Perth,

Scotland, where it still has its headquarters. It has various subsidiaries throughout the UK and also

in the United States and Canada. While there are numerous companies within the group, they have

a common UK corporate identity, livery and fleet numbering system.

The local company is Glenvale Transport Ltd of Gilmoss, Liverpool, which trades as Stagecoach

Merseyside & South Lancashire. In November 2012, Stagecoach purchased the operations of

First Chester and the Wirral which saw them operated from the garages in Chester and Rock Ferry.

The current operator is M & H Coaches of Trefnant. Established in 1984 by Hugh Hefin Owen and

his wife Margaret, M & H currently has a fleet of some 20 buses and coaches. The first vehicle used

was a Ford Transit and a second Transit joined three years later. The initial business name was M &

H Mini Coach. The first large bus joined the fleet in 1988. The business then changed its name to M

& H Travel. In 1998, Hefin died and Margaret took charge of the business. In 2012, the business

was formed as a limited company.

Since 1994, M & H has a long and successful record of operating local bus services and, in addition

to that between Ruthin and Mold, M & H operates another six routes as well as school and college

services.

In 2018, M & H Coaches purchased brand new Wright Streetlite buses for the Ruthin - Mold service,

this being the first time the entire route had seen brand new vehicles since 1919. Passengers trav-

elling on the Streetlites benefited from next bus stop announcements and the next stop appearing

on a video screen, air suspension, seat belts and free Wi-fi. The engines were to Euro 6 standards,

which means they are to the highest possible environmental standards.

Further details at RonsBusesAndCoaches

Peters of Llanarmon yn Iâl

Robert E Peters of Llanarmon started a motor bus business in the late

1920s and his first service was a market day service from Llanarmon yn

Iâl to Mold, which ran in competition with George Edwards and

Crosville. In 1931, Peters was given a licence to run the service to Mold

but other attempts to compete with George Edwards to Wrexham were

thwarted. He did, however, run a workers’ service from the village to

the colliery at Llay Main near Wrexham.

In 1945, the business passed to his son Edward Garnett Peters, whose

name the business traded under until the 1970s when the services

ceased. After that, Crosville diverted most of its Ruthin to Mold jour-

neys via

Llanarmon.

Of the 20 or so buses and coaches

the Peters business owned over

nearly 50 years of operation, there

were a number of interest.  In partic-

ular was a Crossley SD42/9 which

had a 35-seat Whitson “observation

coach” bodywork, left.  It was new to

the United States Air Force in 1951

and ran under its USAF military plate

of N975 until purchased by Peters in 1959, when it was given the local registration number of TCA

309. It was used until 1962 and thereafter scrapped.

Further details of Peters at Ron’sBusesAndCoaches

George Edwards and Son

George Edwards was possibly the first bus firm to operate to the village of Llanarmon yn Iâl, from

the village to Wrexham via Edwards’ home village of Bwlchgwyn.  This service operated on

Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and continued till about 2001. Edwards also operated a

Wednesday service from Coedpoeth through Llanarmon yn Iâl to Mold.  This service was later also

operated in competition by Peters and Crosville.  In the early 1930s, the Traffic Commissioners is-

sued the licence for the Mold service to Peters but George Edwards retained the right to operate

the Wrexham service.

In the 1950s, George’s son Fred joined the firm and the name of the business changed to George

Edwards and Son and it still trades under this name today.  The business today is run by the

founder’s grandchildren Gareth and Ceris. In 2008, the business sold its local bus services to D

Jones & Son and George Edwards & Son concentrates on holiday tours, private hire and school

contracts.

Further details of George Edwards & Son at RonsBusesAndCoaches

Pied Bull Coaches

Crosville Wales has again operated the B37 Mold to

Graianrhyd service via Maeshafn & Eryrys, between 1990

and 1993. From September 1993 to 2002, Pied Bull

Coaches took it over. The exception was a period in 1996,

when Crosville Wales briefly won the B37 back. 

During 1995 to 1998, the firm also operated one return

journey on the B5 between Mold, Llanarmon and Ruthin,

supplementing Crosville Wales’ service.

Ronald Williams of Mold traded as Pied Bull and started his business as a taxi firm. In 1973, he pur-

chased his first coach which was mainly used for private hire. The bus and coach business ceased

in October 2003 when he and then his daughter reverted to running taxis and private hire vehicles.

Oare’s of Holywell

Oare’s operated the B37 Mold to Maeshafn, Eryrys and  Graianrhyd service in late 1992 and early

1993.

George Arnold Oare was originally a funeral director who also operated taxis. In 1978, he acquired

a minibus and soon a school contract. The numbers of pupils being conveyed grew and he there-

fore purchased a full size coach in 1980. From then, the coach and bus side continued to expand.

At one time, Oare’s operated a number of services, including the Cymru Coastliner on Sundays,

running from Caernarfon to Chester. In 1992, Oare’s acquired the business and fleet of Reynolds,

Gwespyr, involving four vehicles and, in 2003, the buses & coaches of Pied Bull were taken over. 

George Oare died in  2015 at the age of 78. The company is now run by his son who has some 12

coaches mainly used on school and college contracts, together with private hire work.

Further details of Oare’s of Holywell at RonsBusesAndCoaches

Royce Hire, Wrexham

Between December 1988 and early 1990, Royce Hire of Wrexham briefly ran a Saturday-only B37

return journey from Llanarmon village to Mold, via Graianrhyd, Eryrys and Maeshafn.

Roy Chard began his business with a taxi and progressed to minibuses and coaches. His first coach

was purchased in 1977 and by then he was trading as Royce Coaches. Further buses were pur-

chased and some stage carriage services were operated as well as private hire and contract work.

The services were mainly in the Wrexham area. Roy was joined in the business by his two sons

Andrew and Wayne. The sons took a major part in the operation of the firm during Roy’s illness

and took over when he died in 1990. At one stage, the business traded as Royce Economy Travel

and later as Economy Coach Hire. Andrew left the business and Wayne continued as a sole trader.

He himself ceased trading in June 1991. Wayne later worked for Bryn Melyn and for a number of

years managed the Bryn Melyn operations after it became part of the GHA Group.

Further details of Royce Hire at RonsBusesAndCoaches

Four Girls, Pontybodkin

In October 1986, Four Girls Coaches of Pontybodkin near Mold won the contract for the B37

between Llanarmon, Graianrhyd, Eryrys, Maeshafn and Mold, initially on Wednesdays only. By

1990, the service had returned to Crosville Wales and in 1993 was taken over by Pied Bull Coaches.

The business was started by Llewelyn and Barbara Davies, who had four daughters, hence the

firm’s name. They purchased their first full size coach in 1978, initially to convey workers to the

Shotton steelworks. By 1984, some 10 vehicles were in the fleet and local bus service work was es-

tablished between Mold, Wrexham and Chester. After the 1997 death of Llewelyn, the business

was very much in the hands of the two daughters who had joined the firm and their husbands. The

main work was private hire and school contracts and the fleet had a distinctive smart blue livery.

The business ceased trading May 2016.

Further details of Four Girls Coaches at RonsBusesAndCoaches

Eagles and Crawford, Mold

While the firm’s garages were on the Ruthin to Mold route (on Ruthin Road, Mold and at the

Rainbow, Gwernymynydd), its involvement with the service has been minimal. They ran a college

journey direct from Ruthin to Mold for connections to NEWI Deeside College which operated only

in 1993/4 academic year.

The partnership between William Crawford and his stepson John Frederick Eagles was formed in

the 1960s and the initial business was to operate taxis. They obtained their first minibus in 1962

and by 1970 the business developed into operating full-size vehicles. Unusually for a family firm, in

1992, the fleet included half-a-dozen double deckers, used mainly on school contracts. Today, the

work is mainly school contracts and private hire.

Further details of Eagles & Crawford at RonsBusesAndCoaches

RonsBusesAndCoaches.com

© 1919-2019 Denbighshire County Council
2000s Today Operators
Bristol MW6G is a typical Crosville bus used on the Ruthin to Mold corridor during the 1960s and 70s, seen heading to Llanarmon on the B34, which were short workings of the B33,  between Mold and Llanarmon only
A typical Optare Solo as used on the 1/X1/2 from the mid-1990s. This sports a version of GHA’s livery unique to services in Denbighshire
Townlynx’s brief visit to Ruthin, on a journey seen outside County Hall
Townlynx
Seen at Ruthin leisure centre on the second day after GHA finished is this Stagecoach Merseyside Dart. Note the destination indicator which includes the garage from whence this vehicle came—Gilmoss
M & H Coaches
George Edwards & Son’s DAF SB200 with unusual Hungarian Ikarus 480 body at Llanarmon yn Iâl
A Pied Bull minibus having arrived from Mold on the B5