History of Coach Services
Coach Services Ltd was founded in 1948 by D E Doran and Jack Mulley. It was sold to Robert (Bob) Crawford in 1969 and had a fleet size of 8 vehicles. Robert was a successful farmer in the Watton area and was informed of the sale as a good investment. Don Barber ran the company for Robert up until his retirement in the late 1970s. Don had almost doubled the size of the company under Robert’s ownership.
Robert’s son Allen joined the company in 1978. Allen started out his working career as a lorry mechanic for Crawford Transport; a haulage company based at Rash’s Green in Dereham. The two companies were ran side by side until 1992 when Allen sold Crawford Transport to Turners of Soham. The coaching business proved to be the most profitable and so the decision was made to expand the company.
The 1980s saw significant growth at Coach Services. Allen brought Carters Coaches of Foulden in 1985 from Lucy Carter. The fleet was transferred to the Croxton Road depot, which consisted of Fords and Bedfords. One rural market day service is still operated; CS12 Foulden to Kings Lynn on a Tuesday.
In 1990 Allen brought Hopton-based Petches from Penny Baker, adding a mix of work including holidays, excursions, private hire and some more local bus services. One market day service is still operated; CS66 Stanton to Norwich on a Thursday. Petches used to buy a new coach at regular intervals and in 1989 it was a BOVA FHD 12-290 and ran with Coach Services up until 2005. This was one of the first heavyweight vehicles to join the fleet and with its quiet and powerful rear engine it was the flagship for many years.
During the 1990s the industry trend towards heavyweight coaches was adopted by Coach Services. The last Bedford, a YNV Duple Laser was brought new in 1986. Leyland Tigers, DAF SB3000 and Volvo B10M became the mainstay as the fleet grew to over 30 vehicles, consisting mainly of Jonckheere Deauville and Van Hool T8.
The most significant change to Coach Services was in 2006 when Allen brought a piece of land on an industrial estate in Thetford and designed a purpose built transport depot. The old site at the Croxton Road was sold to Bloor Homes and was developed into 22 houses. The new premises consist of a fully equipped 4 bay workshop, two-storey office block, automatic vehicle wash and concrete hard standing for the fleet.
In 2007 Allen bought Dereham-based Euroview Coaching from Dennis Reeve who established the company in 1987, focusing on British and Continental tours. Euroview is still operated at Rash’s Green in Dereham with a fleet of 4 vehicles.
Today Coach Services operates a fleet of 43 vehicles dominated by Volvo and Scania. A preserved RML Routemaster (JJD 401D) is also used for wedding and proms in the summer months. Allen is joined by his two sons, Robert and Thomas.