Reading Corporation Transport 1939-1950: War and Austerity
ANOTHER CALAMITY IN READING – FIRE AT THE BUS DEPOT
In January 1947, in the midst of some bitter weather and travel difficulties, Reading Corporation Transport took delivery of ten new long-awaited and urgently needed double-deck buses. Only five had arrived, when, at around 1.00pm on Saturday 18th January 1947, there was a serious fire in the depot.
In a matter of minutes the fire grew from a comparatively small outbreak to something of quite serious proportions but prompt action by staff and the quick arrival of the fire brigade localised the damage. Buses ready to depart as football specials remained where they were, while every available man concentrated on getting vehicles, including the newly-delivered buses away from danger. At the height of the fire, the machine shop roof collapsed and dense smoke spread over the town’s shopping centre. The fire was under control within an hour and completely out at 3.26pm. Only slight dislocation of services resulted but the football specials did not operate, causing a few grumbles and some fans missed the start of the match at Elm Park.
There was extensive damage to the building and machinery and secondary damage to the adjoining stores and to the Staff Social Club premises. More importantly, it completely destroyed the body of a brand new bus delivered only two days previously and not yet in service, together with a departmental van, which was totally destroyed and the body of an ambulance. In due course, the bus was given a replacement body.
Learn more about Reading’s Corporation Transport 1939-1950: War and Austerity by clicking here.