A new peek into the National Express archives has revealed a hidden wealth of classic images and marketing material from almost five decades of history.
To celebrate 45 years of service and 3.5 BILLION miles of coach travel, National Express is lifting the lid on its archives with the release of rare and unseen archive material from as far back as 1966.
National Express, which turns 45 this year, has already clocked up 25 MILLION road miles around the UK since the start of 2017 – a distance equating more than a thousand times around the world.
The famous intercity coach operator traces its origins to 1972 when scheduled coach services run by the National Bus Company were united under one brand known as ‘National’.
Managing Director Chris Hardy said: “National Express is turning 45 and like any good birthday we thought it would be fun to ‘open the family album’ and lift the lid on our archive – including some previously unseen material – in a bid to make people smile.
“People have grown up with National Express and we’ve made memories by connecting people all over the country with their friends and families. We’re proud to be a fixture of the UK’s roads and play our part in the journey of people’s lives.
“It’s happy birthday to National Express and thank you to the millions of people who’ve come along for the ride”.
Today National Express has over 900 stops across the UK and operates 19 million journeys a year.
Fuelled by the explosion of low-cost flights, around a third of all journeys are now to airports. Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds are now the most popular cities to visit by National Express outside of London.
National Express coach driver Mike Davies covers the company’s longest direct service route from Edinburgh to Plymouth, and is believed to be Britain’s most-travelled driver with over 40 years and three million miles to his name.
Mike added: "National Express is a British institution and it’s impossible to travel any distance on the UK’s motorways without spotting one.
“Everyone has a memory of a National Express and there aren’t many companies you can say that about. I've seen it all over the years and coaches have really changed – scratchy velvet seats went out years ago – it's all leather now and technology has been a real game changer.
"It’s amazing to think the company is 45 and exciting to think about what the coming years will bring."
Eleven things you DIDN’T KNOW about National Express:
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.