AMPORT AND DISTRICT
Running where Hampshire blurs into Wiltshire
Please note - this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information
|The focus of these operations were the several villages of
Monxton, Amport, Grateley, Quarley and Cholderton - all in Hampshire
but with the latter hard against the boundary with Wiltshire.
Initially there were at least two operators on this
patch: Harry Razey of Cholderton linked the villages with Andover
to the east and Salisbury to the south west; and Edwin Piper of
Thruxton also covered similar routes to Andover and Salisbury too.
The Piper family were local carriers since horse drawn days, and with the arrival of motor buses in the 1920s the trading name of Amport & District was adopted by them. It appears unlikely that Piper's carrier service to Salisbury continued into the motorised era as no road service licence seems to have been issued; but their motor bus went on running to Andover. Razey was a dairy farmer as well as transport provider, and he was operating his bus services by 1920. His son A H (Bob) Razey took over from him in 1935.
Another operator relevant to this area was W W Gregory of Andover who was operating between Andover and Salisbury on Tuesdays and Fridays, with route taken via Amport, Thruxton, Cholderton and the Bourne Valley. He worked from Thruxton to Andover on Fridays too. Gregory was running by 1930 but his routes ceased during the war.
|Commer Avenger JHO917 of 1950 with lightweight Harrington body
Wilts & Dorset Motor Services also operated on the road out of Andover as far as Amport, starting in 1929, whilst the Bourne Valley road into Salisbury which Razey traversed also saw the buses of Wilts & Dorset, Silver Star and Armstead of Newton Toney over varying lengths of the route well into the post-war years. There had been other operators too over this valley road to Salisbury in the 1920s and 1930s; now it is the sole preserve of Wilts & Dorset.
Piper's bus during the second world war was a 29-seater Bedford registered AOT652. Wartime traffic generated heavy passenger loadings especially to and from the RAF facilities along the Andover route. By 1946 Edwin Piper was ready to retire, and the Amport & District business was acquired by Bob Razey, who was by then based nearby at Red House, Thruxton. There was scope for rationalisation and consolidation as there was much common mileage between the original Razey and Piper services. The business grew over the years with the acquisition of further buses and coaches and the Andover route grew into a daily operation. The Salisbury service last ran in the autumn of 1959.
To enable the various villages to be served, the Andover buses usually ran around the villages in a circular loop, with several permutations and variations. Originally Razey seemed to concentrate on Cholderton, Grateley and Quarley whilst Piper was focused on Thruxton, Amport and Monxton. Intriguingly, the 1954 timetable shows picking up and settting down restrictions on the Andover - Monxton section of the route. There were no such restrictions in the 1939 issue, nor subsequently in the 1960 and 1968 timetables. The service from Andover was curtailed at Grateley from March 1967, and the section thence west to Cholderton was no longer worked. Not untypically of rural independent operation the bus service was often provided by a coach, and less typically perhaps instances of two person crew operation lasted into the early 1970s.
Change was to come again when Bob Razey died in 1977 and the Amport business was sold to Phil Tedd of Eastfield House, Thruxton - close neighbours of the Razeys. Further development came as the years passed and a substantial coach private hire and touring business was built up which continues to this day. By 1992 there were eight vehicles in the fleet: five touring coaches, two school contract coaches and a bus for the Andover service. The Amport & District route to Andover lasted until 1996 and then passed on retendering to Hampshire Bus (Stagecoach) who ran it as their service number 1 on an hourly headway. More recently it has been renumbered service 5 and operates two-hourly Monday to Friday.
|November 1954 timetable Amport & District Motor Services (proprietor A H Razey, The Red House, Thruxton)
|1939 timetable, A H Razey of Cholderton, showing both the Salisbury and Andover routes
Both the Andover and the Salisbury routes could be operated by just one interworked vehicle, eg the 3.00 Saturday departure from Salisbury formed the 3.50 Cholderton to Andover service; and the 4.45 from Andover worked through to Salisbury as the 5.30 departure from Cholderton.
The handwritten comment, dated 28th September 1939, at the foot of this timetable, says that "more of the journeys may be discontinued at any time owing to petrol rationing etc."
|==== with thanks to Roger Grimley, Nick Webster for the photo and D R Strange for his article in Hampshire magazine, January 1992 ====