It’s a wrap for Marchants

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From left: Glyn Cornish, GWRT Chairman; Richard Johnson, GWSR Chairman; Craig Robb and Marty Kent of Marchants; Roger Marchant, Managing Director; and Richard Winstanley Financial Director of GWSR. See this week’s Big Picture for a full view of the bus.
JACK BOSKETT

Cheltenham-based Marchants has unveiled a re-liveried double-decker bearing images of steam trains on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR). The 70-year-old family firm has vinyl wrapped one of its double-deck buses with images advertising the GWSR’s train services to mark the re-opening of the heritage railway after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and its expected return to normal operation from 20 July.

The bus wrap features a train crossing Stanway Viaduct on the sides, and an almost life-sized head-on image of a locomotive on the back, and will be seen in and around Cheltenham over the coming months.

Roger Marchant, Marchants Managing Director, commented: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us and for the railway. It’s the first time that we have featured a full ‘wrap’ on an entire bus – it’s certainly going to be a striking advertisement for the railway! It has been such a pleasure dealing with the GWSR. They were kind enough to help us out during the first lockdown when the Covid-19 crisis really began to bite and we had to relocate one of our depots at short notice. The railway kindly allowed us to store some of our vehicles at Toddington. We were delighted to offer some of our bus backs for GWSR advertisements and now the idea has developed into this ambitious bus wrap. I even managed to specially re-register the vehicle to V21 GWR.”

The bus is an ex-London Volvo B7 Alexander ALX 400. “It’s an excellent and reliable vehicle,” added Roger, who took over management of the 73-year old family business from his father. “We will be using it on a number of school routes as well as special contract work. The railway is at liberty to use the vehicle on special occasions, too.”

The pictures used for the wrap were taken by Jack Boskett, a Tewkesbury-based professional photographer and volunteer on the GWSR. He said: “My images have never been enlarged to this kind of size before – and have certainly never been on a bus! It’s a unique opportunity and I’m honoured to have been asked to supply pictures for the project. I can’t wait to see bystanders’ reactions when they see this huge mobile billboard running around the local streets.”

 

Richard Johnson, the volunteer Chairman of GWSR Plc, said: “To see the bus revealed with these huge images of our trains is breathtaking. It will be seen by thousands of local people as well as visitors to the area. It carries a very simple message: that we are operating and looking forward to welcoming people back to enjoy a steam train ride, as the railway at last returns to normal and especially as this year is our 40th anniversary.”