Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 22nd February 2024.

Regal Busways

Regal was a small independent bus company that mainly operated in Essex, especially around Chelmsford. Many of its services were Monday-Friday or Monday-Saturday. On Sundays it dipped its toes into the outer London area, with contracts in Harlow and Loughton.

201 was the first of tiny Optare Solo SEs - 7.1m long, slim-width, and with a single panel front door. Painted in smart maroon/cream, it plied its trade from August 2006. It may have been ordered to use on the 381 from Epping to Ongar, which traversed narrow roads, plus the 502 positioning journey from Ongar to Epping ( I don't know, just surmise)

202 and 203, to the same design, followed in November 2006. These may have found use on route 7 (Epping - Coopersale - North Weald - Ongar - Chelmsford) and the single X2 (Harlow-Ongar - Chelmsford).

The Solos took over on the Sunday services on the 250 and 251, and the 240. At other times they could be found on routes throughout Essex, especially around Chelmsford.

  • 250 (Sundays: Waltham Cross - Loughton - Debden
  • 251 (evenings & Suns): Waltham Cross - Upshire
  • 240 (evenings & Suns): Waltham Cross - Loughton - Debden

201 in service on 240 to Debden, Loughton Stn

201 at Loughton Station on a 240 to Debden, Sunday 13th September 2009.

202 in service on 250 to Debden, Loughton Stn 202 in service on 250 to Debden, Loughton Stn

202 at Loughton Station on a 250 to Debden, Sunday 20th September 2007.

203 in service Harlow Bus Station, Sunday May 5th 2013

203 at Harlow Bus Station on a local service, Sunday 5th May 2013.

204 and 205 arrived in September 2008. These were also short slim-line M710SEs, in maroon and cream. They joined the others on Regal's wide-flung network of routes in Essex, including routes in and around Harlow.

203 in service Harlow Bus Station, Sunday May 5th 2013

205, still in maroon/cream, at Harlow Bus Station on the 381 to Epping and Toothill, March 2014.

Longer Solos in new livery

In September 2010 bought three new Solos (206-208), this time 7.8m slimlines, for use on their Harlow services. They had recently hired demonstrators from Optare, two 9.5m 33-seater Solos. As well as the 211,212, 213 services thay were for the 381 and 382 services to Epping, Toot Hill and Coopersale (and possibly the supplementary schoolday journeys on 380 and 383). The new slimlines were in a very different livery: red with "space-age" written logos, and large designs partly obscuring the windows (Passengers don't want to look at where they are going, do they?) Three more slimlines (209-211) arrived in January 2011. The complete fleet of little Solos worked the Harlow longer routes, the Waltham Forest routes, sundry Harlow local routes and also routes around Chelmsford and Sudbury in Essex, including Southend and Colchester. Regal specialised in Essex-tendered Sunday and evening workings which stayed stable during the chaos of the Harlow Bus wars.

  • 211: Waltham Cross - Waltham Abbey - Breach Barns
  • 212: Waltham Cross - Waltham Abbey - Roundhills (- King Harolds School - Breach Barns)
  • 213: Waltham Cross - Waltham Abbey - Upshire - Epping
  • 381: Harlow Bus Stn - Epping - Coopersale - Toot Hill
  • 382: Harlow Bus Stn - Epping
  • 391: Harlow Bus Stn - Roydon - Bumbles Green
206 on service 12, Harlow Bus Station 206 on 381 Harlow Bus Station
Two views of 206 wearing the "modern" red/white livery, at Harlow Bus Station: on the local 12 to Staple Tye, May 2012, and on the 381 to Toothill in March 2013.

211 on service 11, Harlow Bus Stn 211 on service 11, Harlow Bus St

211 creeps into Harlow Bus Station below the massive towering walls of a town centre car-park, on a service 11 to Little Parndon, then rushes out a little later, May 2012.


The first batch, 201-205, were taken out of service in 2014 and 2015, and sold via Ensign's at Purfleet. 201-203 went to the West Country, soon appearing in nice green/green livery at First Kernow, for the narrow twisting route from Penzance to Mousehole. 204 followed to the West, but 205 went to McGill's in Paisley.

The younger batch, 206-211, worked on, mainly on the routes closer to Chelmsford, with just occasional appearances at Harlow. August 2017 saw the Essex contracted routes around Waltham Forest and Harlow lost - some to disappear altogether. So Regal lost the 47, 146 and 147, the 211, 212, 213 and 214, the 240, 250 and 251, the 380, 381, 382 and 384, plus Harlow locals such as 322, as well as withdrawing the 7 that linked Epping and Chelmsford. The writing was really on the wall for Regal Busways, which ceased bus operation in Essex in January 2018. Large chunks of Essex lost their early morning, evening and Sunday operations, and many local routes disappeared to be partly replaced by sporadic community bus liks.

Most of the surviving Solos were bought by the Rotala Group for Diamond North-West or Diamond West Midlands.

Ian's Bus Stop Solo Index. Regal Solos. Regal Solo histories. Regal Solo photos.