THEY’VE been named by Adver readers, they’ve been to the Olympic Games and they speak with the voice of Shirley Ludford.
They’re Thamesdown Transport’s latest buses, and they’re starting regular duties after a summer at the greatest show on earth.
In July we invited readers to help name the six Wrightbus StreetLites, choosing from a shortlist of royal names originally given to Swindon-built Star Class locomotives in the early years of the 20th Century.
The six buses were then sent to London, helping a mass transport effort to ferry VIPs between venues during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Following their return to Swindon and a thorough sprucing-up, they were ready for an official naming ceremony at Steam.
Thamesdown Transport managing director Paul Jenkins said: “We were delighted to involve Adver readers in the naming of these buses because they’re for the benefit of the community.
“They ran very well in London, and we have seen some great photographs of them by landmarks such as Big Ben, which is something you don’t often see – Thamesdown buses that far from home.”
Each 41-seater bus comes with state-of-the-art features including nine CCTV cameras and passenger announcements voiced by veteran broadcaster Shirley Ludford.
The names chosen by our readers are: l Queen Berengaria – wife of King Richard I.
l Queen Boadicea – vengeful early English heroine who wrought havoc among the Roman occupiers.
l Prince of Wales – later King Edward VIII, who gave up the throne rather than be kept from the love of his life.
l Prince Albert – later King George VI, who restored faith in the monarchy after the abdication crisis and inspired the nation during the horrors of World War Two.
l Princess Mary – Daughter of King George V and much-loved provider of gifts to British forces during World War One.
l Princess Patricia – a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
The buses have been assigned to the 15 and 15A routes between North Swindon and the town centre. One of the drivers, Paul Robinson, said: “Compared to when I first started driving 15 years ago, these are a lot easier. There are low floors, which are good for people with buggies, and they’re also air conditioned, which is better for drivers and better for passengers.”