2015 - a hundred and twenty five years of service to south Lincolnshire

Delaine Atlantean
Please note this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information

For current travel information and timetables go to Traveline East Midlands

or the website of Delaine Buses

This well known operator is a long established family business based in the market town of Bourne in the south of the county of Lincolnshire.  Bourne was also an important part of the British racing car scene in days gone by, and part of the Delaine garage premises in Spalding Road incorporates the site of the former ERA (English Racing Automobiles) works. In the past there was also a subsidiary depot in Brook Street, Peterborough, long closed.

The business has origins that lie in the 19th century, back to 1890 when the horse and cart owned by William Smith was used to take Bourne folk to and from the market in Spalding.  William died in 1913 and his son Thomas acquired the first motor bus in 1919, PW1558, a 14-seat Ford model T.  Routes were established to Spalding, Grantham and Stamford, with the route to Peterborough following in 1923. Over the years the business developed substantially (despite two disastrous fires at the depot in 1907 and 1928) and has passed down through several generations of the Delaine-Smith family.  The first double-decked bus came in 1948; others were acquired through the 1950s. Delaine was to have experience of a rail replacement bus service in 1951 when the line closed between Bourne and Essendine. A daily bus was put on, running via Thurlby and Braceborough. However it incurred such losses that it was soon cut down to two round trips on Thursdays and Saturdays only, and those only between Bourne and Braceborough. The first low floor bus was acquired in 2000.

Principally a bus business (coaching activities ceased in 1996) the routes still radiate from Bourne to Stamford, Spalding and Peterborough, with the latter route the most important and operated at a half hour daytime frequency.  Double deck vehicles were introduced to the route in 1948 and are still operating the busy 101 and 102 services today, albeit now one person operated, the last conductress having retired in 1987.  The bus station in Bourne opened in 1974. An hourly frequency six days a week to Peterborough started in 1976, growing to half-hourly in 1996. Route numbers were introduced in 1992. The Peterborough route was extended northwards on an hourly basis from Bourne to Morton in 1999. An earlier route northwards from Bourne to Sleaford is now but a truncated market day type operation running as far as Rippingale (extended to Billingborough again in 2013 as Kimes withdrew from the road). From 1961 to 1981 the Bourne to Sleaford route was unusual in being jointly operated with Lincolnshire Road Car service 34, thought to have been one of the first - if not the first - joint operation between an independent and a state-owned company. Similarly atrophied is the previous route from Bourne westwards to Grantham, now just a school run to Corby Glen.  Another route (201) links Peterborough with Stamford and was introduced in 1988 when Barton Transport closed their local depot and withdrew from the Stamford area (Barton had in turn taken over Cream Buses of Stamford in 1961).  At that time Kimes of Folkingham introduced an alternative replacement service between Stamford and Peterborough via Wittering. Delaine route 202 links Bourne to Stamford via Essendine whilst the 203 runs from Bourne to Stamford via The Deepings.

The busy Delaine route from Peterborough to Bourne continues to this day and was enhanced to three times an hour between The Deepings and Peterborough when Stagecoach withdrew their long standing hourly service on that route in April 2011.  Minimum all day commitment for the principal services would appear to be 101 / 102 with five buses, with two needed for the 201 and two more for the 202 / 203. In 2006 the fleet size was recorded as twenty four, of which no less than eighteen were double-deckers. Under the fifth generation of the family, the fleet in summer 2012 numbers twenty one vehicles - of which sixteen are double-deckers, some of which are named - plus another three double-deckers in the heritage fleet. 

The timetable illustration below is for the Bourne to Peterborough route and is believed to date from the 1960s. At the time the business traded as Delaine Coaches with a mixed fleet of coaches and buses but since 1995 is now called Delaine Buses with an all bus fleet, and all of Volvo manufacture.

old timetable

Delaine routes in operation in 1977
Bourne - Thurlby - Market Deeping - Peterborough

(Bourne - Thurlby) - Market Deeping - Stamford Weekdays
started from Bourne on Friday and Saturday only
Bourne - Toft - Essendine - Stamford

Bourne - Twenty - Spalding
also on Thursday from Bourne to Twenty
Bourne - Dyke / Morton - Haconby
Tuesday and Thursday

Bourne - Corby Glen

Bourne - Thurlby / Wilsthorpe - Greatford
Thursday and Saturday

Bourne - Rippingale - Billingborough - Sleaford
joint service with Lincolnshire Road Car (route 34)
Bourne Town Service
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

bell punch tickets

On the occasion of the Delaine one hundredth anniversary in 1990 a book was published in celebration.  'The Delaine, history part two, 1983-1990', by Anthony Delaine-Smith.  This followed the earlier volume 'The Delaine, history 1890-1982', written by A L Baker.  Both include many photos and a full chronology of the company, its bus services and development.  A third book - 'Delaine, 120 years of service" - by Peter Moore brings the story up to 2010. A fourth book brings the story up to date with the 2015 Fleet Handbook from Steven Knight Media.

Setright tickets were introduced in 1961 to replace Bell Punch tickets above
A departure by 'The Delaine' from the old bus station in Bishops Road, Peterborough (replaced by Queensgate bus station in 1982)
setright ticket
the old bus station at Peterborough

Volvo P1OTL in Stamford in November 2007, fleet number 99
(photo with thanks from the johnmightycat1 collection)

Volvo AD56DBL in Market Deeping in May 2009, fleet number 141
(photo with thanks from the johnmightycat1 collection)
delaine P1OTL in Stamford 2007

delaine AD56DBL in Market Deeping 2009

The Delaine website is here - with timetables, history, fleet list and gallery.

With many thanks to John Brogden for the loan of timetables,

and incorporating information from articles and publications

by A L Baker and A Delaine-Smith found in the libraries of Lincolnshire.