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
when the horse and cart
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
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
substantially (despite two disastrous fires at the depot in 1907 and
1928) and has passed down through several generations of the
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.
a bus business (coaching activities ceased in
the routes still radiate
Bourne to Stamford, Spalding and Peterborough, with the latter route
important and operated at a half hour daytime frequency.
introduced to the route in 1948 and are still operating the busy 101
today, albeit now one person operated, the last conductress having
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
Bourne to Sleaford is now
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
atrophied is the previous route from Bourne westwards to Grantham, now
just a school run to Corby Glen. Another
links Peterborough with Stamford and was introduced in 1988 when
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
Stamford via Essendine whilst the 203 runs from Bourne to Stamford via
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.
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 date to 2010.
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.