THE END OF THE AMOS ERA

By Alan Osborne

 

The bus service of Amos, Belchamp St. Paul running into Sudbury ceased after Tuesday 31 December 2002 and here we pay tribute to this long established operator.

Mr. Daniel Amos, the grandfather of the present owner started the family carrier business in 1902 with a horse and cart. Later a convertible vehicle was acquired which could carry both goods and passengers, but not at the same time !

 

In the early 1920's, Mr. James Amos used a 14-seater Chevrolet on the bus service into Sudbury. A Saturday service to Halstead commenced in March 1938 as a summer only shopping facility. It was suspended in September 1938, but was reinstated during the war running on Tuesdays. In 1948 a third service to Bury St. Edmunds for the Wednesday market was started. In 1962 the Tuesday Halstead journey was revised to instead work into Sudbury.

 

The Market Hill terminal in the Suffolk town was changed to the new Bus Station in 1969. In the following year the Bury service was withdrawn leaving just the Ovington - Sudbury service running on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays along a different route each day. Around this time the ownership passed to W. G. Amos, trading

as J. Amos & Son. The bus timetable (see below) then remained the same for almost thirty years. Changes were eventually made from 8 August 2000, when the Tuesday service was cut back to start from Belchamp St. Paul and the route revised so as to omit Borley. In addition, the Saturday afternoon working then ceased. It remained

in this form to the end.

 

The Amos fleet usually numbered about four vehicles; in addition to the bus service, school contracts and local private hires and excursions were undertaken. Bedford vehicles were generally favoured with the most long lived and notable Amos vehicle being JVX 307, a Bedford OWB fitted with 32-seat utility style Duple bodywork. It joined the fleet in November 1944 and lasted for almost twenty years during which time it went through no less than three sets of seats. In later years a minibus sufficed for the Sudbury service. Bell punch tickets have always been used, suitably altered by hand when the fares increased. Sometimes sister-in-law Kathy Kemp would act as unpaid conductor, also collecting her own 3 return fare.

 

It was announced in the summer that the business would cease at the end of 2002. The school runs finished at the end of the school term in July, thus ending a contract that had been held since 1932. During August a start was made to dispose of the

coach fleet. Bus operations were then maintained with the sole remaining vehicle, Dodge minibus D457YPN.

 

The author was present in Sudbury on Saturday 28 December to witness the last ever departure to Ovington. Incidentally some of the timings on the inward run, Ovington dep. 9.30 a.m., passing Tilbury 9.35 a.m. and Great Yeldham 9.40 a.m. had remained

unchanged for over fifty four years.

 

The very last journey on 31 December 2002, proudly driven by Billy Amos, now 80 years old, was festooned with balloons to mark the business having completed its century. We all wish him a long, happy and well earned retirement.

 

I am most grateful to Nigel Turner for his valued help with this article.

 

Ovington Sudbury (timetable dated 1.4.74)

 

 

Tues

Thurs

Sat

Sat

 

 

Tues

Thurs

Sat

Sat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ovington, Green

09:40

13:00

09:30

13:30

 

Sudbury, Bus station

11:45

16:30

12:00

16:30

Tilbury court

09:45

 

09:35

13:35

 

Borley green

11:55

16:40

 

 

Great Yeldham

 

 

09:40

13:40

 

Foxearth School

12:05

 

12:15

16:45

Little yeldham church

 

 

09:45

13:45

 

Pentlow, Forge

12:15

 

12:25

16:55

Belchamp st paul, Green

09:55

13:05

10:00

14:00

 

Belchamp, Otten

 

16:50

 

 

Belchamp, Otten

 

13:10

 

 

 

Belchamp st paul, Green

12:20

16:55

12:30

17:00

Pentlow, Forge

10:00

 

10:05

14:05

 

Little yeldham church

 

 

12:45

17:15

Foxearth school

10:10

 

10:15

14:15

 

Great Yeldham

 

 

12:50

17:20

Borley green

10:20

13:20

 

 

 

Tilbury court

12:30

 

12:55

17:25

Sudbury, Bus station

10:30

13:30

10:30

14:30

 

Ovington, Green

12:35

17:00

13:00

17:30

 

 

2003 Alan Osborne/Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group

 

 

For earlier memories of this operator, by Alan Watkins, click here.