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Taunton Bus & Coach Station

An archetypal 'hub' station, opened 1952, designed by Tilling Group architect HA Starkey for the Western National Omnibus Co.

Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

Tower Street,Taunton

Visitor Centre:

About Taunton Bus & Coach Station

The National Omnibus and Transport Company started a service from Taunton to Burnham-on-Sea on 21 July 1920. The following year it began to operate town services in Taunton when the town's single tram line closed due to increases in the cost of electricity. National's operations in Somerset were transferred to the new Western National Omnibus Company (WNOC) when it was set up in 1929.

In the 1950s the WNOC started to build town centre bus stations; the first to be approved were at Taunton and Truro in 1949. H.A. Starkey, the architect for the Tilling Group (of which the WNOC was part) designed the Taunton bus station and it was built by F. & E. Small, who tendered £23,041 for the contract.The station opened in 1953 at a site on Tower Street near Taunton Castle. This enabled services to terminate on a dedicated site with passenger facilities rather than at four bus stops around The Parade which was the focal point of the town. As the new bus station was WNOC property, independent operators continued to use their various terminal stops, such as outside the Kings Arms public house in Staplegrove Road beyond the Tone Bridge.

The WNOC and other Tilling Group companies became part of the National Bus Company in 1969 but continued to trade as Western National. In 1983 the bus operations at Taunton passed to a new Southern National (a name previously used by a Western National partner operation in Dorset and east Devon). This company was privatised in 1988, becoming part of FirstGroup in 1999. First Southern National was split up and operations around Taunton were transferred to First Somerset & Avon and rebranded as The Buses of Somerset in 2014 before being transferred to First South West based in Camborne, Cornwall.

The Transport Trust awarded Taunton station a Red Wheel plaque in 2015, describing it as "a rare survivor of a corporate style once common in towns and cities nationwide".
The bus station was closed after services on 27 March 2020. The Buses of Somerset stated it would not be economical to perform required upgrades. Later in the year it was sold to the local council for use as a car park, although The Buses of Somerset leased back the offices as they had not found a suitable alternative in the town centre.

Most bus services reverted to the stops on The Parade which had continued to be used by town services but some moved to the stop in Castle Way,[17] a street off Tower Street. Castle Way was used by many independent operators in later years, such as Dartline, Hatch Green, Quantock Motor Services, and South West Coaches, although Berrys Coaches' express service to London makes use of the stop at the King's Arms.

Text: Wikipedia - with thanks


Morris, Colin (2008). Western National Omnibus Company. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-7110-3174-6.

Anderson, R.C.; Frankis, G.G. (1979). A History of Western National. 0-7153-7771-X: David & Charles. p. 49.

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR