Webpage created: June 11, 2018
Webpage updated: June 11, 2018
3 - THE 19
Keyham Barton had its own bus service, the 19, which ran from the junction with Warleigh Avenue past all the shops in Station Road, then Moor View, Kent Road, Henderson Place, Wolseley Road and Milehouse to North Road Plymouth Station and the City Centre. It was operated by Plymouth City Council's Transport Department, as part of the Plymouth Joint Services agreement.
The 19 had had a chequered history since the days when it had been one of Plymouth's first motor bus routes. The 18 and 19 were circular routes that ran through Milehouse and Devonport to the Centre. When Goschen Street was closed off by the Admiralty that put an end to the through services and Keyham was left with a very truncated route 19, running for only part of the day. Several times during the 1950s there were moves to close it down and on one occasion it was actually replaced by another Keyham route, the Number 5 to Admiralty Street.
The strange thing about the 19 was that it always left somewhere at a minute to something. For instance the first bus from Station Road was a minute to eight in the morning (7.59am). The first bus from the City Centre was likewise at 8.19am rather than 8.20am. This returned from Station Road at 8.39am, which was due to arrive in the Centre at 8.59. It immediately left Royal Parade and returned again from Ford at 9.19am. The crew then took a break in the Bus Station canteen.
The lunchtime series of runs started at 12.19am off Royal Parade, returning at 12.39pm from Station Road, and continued every 40 minutes until the service arrived in Royal Parade at 2.59pm, when the crew took an afternoon break.
Services resumed at 3.39pm off Town and a minute to four off Ford. The 4.19pm from the Centre was the homeward run from school, which finished at 4.10pm. I used to dash along Regent Street, across Tavistock Road and down Pound Street to catch it at Cobourg Street. Alternatively, I could go around the shops, inevitably Lawson's toy department, upstairs in the New George Street premises, and catch the minute to five bus home. The last buses of the day left Town at 5.39pm and Station Road at a minute to six.
Fortunately, this spartan service required only one crew, driver Les Marshall, and conductor Trevor Pease, who worked five days. The rest-day crew worked the remaining weekday. There was no Sunday service. There was a regular rest-day crew but I did not have their names, although, one day the Roy Sambourne, Plymouth's transport historian, turned up as conductor.
Sadly, they are all dead now. Mr Roy Charles Sambourne died on November 26th 1977 at the young age of 58 years. Mr Walter Leslie Marshall, as his real name turned out to be, died on November 11th 1980. Mr Trevor Pease died in October 1995. Both were aged 72 when they died.
The service also required only one bus, and that was normally fleet number 400, HJY 300, a Leyland Titan PD2/12, with Leyland 56-seater body, which trundled over the route day in, day out for many years. If it had to be relieved, for maintenance, then a similar vehicle was used. During the late 1950s the service was augmented by football specials, which ran only as far as Milehouse. One Saturday I witnessed two parked in Station Road in front of the proper service bus. Often on a Saturday the queue would be snake up around Warleigh Avenue as far as the Fielder's house at number 27. Very few residents had a car in those days.