Family coach firm thanks local steam railway for crucial support

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has helped out Marchants, the 70-year-old Cheltenham-based family coach firm, as the Covid crisis set in. The railway offered storage space for some of the firm’s 40 vehicles – and in exchange, it offered some free ‘bus back’ advertising.

The dramatic adverts, which are on five buses in daily use, show one of the railway’s trains forging through the Cotswold countryside in a photograph taken by volunteer John Lewis and will be in place for the next 12 months.
Explains Craig Robb, Marchants Transport Manager: “Earlier this year, at a time when the Covid crisis started to really bite, we had to take several of our vehicles off the road as business dried up. At the same time, the rent for our Cheltenham depot was doubled to a figure that we simply couldn’t afford.

“We needed to move out quickly but the GWSR – with whom we have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship – stepped in and offered secure space on the former garden centre site at their Toddington station.

“It was a really kind gesture which has made a big difference to our business. For the coach travel industry, two lockdowns and the continuing crisis has led many firms to go under but the GWSR is helping us through. Providing some free advertising space is the least we can do!”

The striking advertisements can be seen on Marchants vehicles on school and public services in and around Cheltenham and Winchcombe. GWSR