Monday 22 October 2012

'New Book Honours Bus Anniversary' (Article about my book in South Wales Guardian)

New Book Honours Bus Anniversary

THE history and sad demise of a legendary Ammanford bus company, which disappeared 50 years ago, is the subject of a fascinating new book by a Llanelli bus driver.
Vernon Morgan spent eight years researching the story of J James and Sons Ltd, Ammanford, and the fruits of his labours can be seen in his self-published work.

Illustrated with 112 photographs, the book is a limited edition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the company’s demise and the 100th anniversary of their first vehicle.
Founded by John James, the company was not only the first bus operator in Ammanford, but also held the distinction of putting the first double-decker on the roads of Carmarthenshire.

“The name was synonymous with a high-quality, reputable omnibus service in the Amman, Gwendraeth and Swansea Valleys,” Mr Morgan, 68, told the Guardian. “It was a muchloved company whose name became a household word in the west Wales mining communities.

“At one time it was the county’s largest public service vehicle operator, running 54 buses on 21 services to Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Burry Port, Lampeter and Aberystwyth.

“When it was absorbed by The South Wales Transport Company on September 1, 1962, a lot of Ammanford people were very sad to witness its passing.”
John James first became involved with public transport in 1900, when he bought a mews at Ammanford, diversifying from his grocery business in Wind Street.

Operating horse-drawn traps and brakes, he became a posting master – his clientele being the best-known commercial travellers in South Wales. Goods were also carried and the James family also ran a successful funeral business.

Switching to motor vehicles in 1912, James launched a service to Pantyffynnon and Brynaman which successfully competed against a passenger railway and fought off numerous competitors.

The book covers the historic six-week Ammanford bus strike, which led to a riot on Ammanford Square, bus windows being smashed and no fewer than 18 arrests.

● James of Ammanford, is available from Vernon Morgan, or ring 07751260069, priced at £18 (£2 p & p).

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