Friday 1 April 2016

Galloway Take Over

It was announced today that Mendlesham based Galloway has been sold to Eastern Transport Holdings Ltd, who also own Stephensons of Essex. The full press release reads as follows.


The directors of Galloway Travel Group ("GTG") are delighted to announce that it is intended that Eastern Transport Holdings Limited ("ETH") will acquire the business operations of GTG on 30th November 2016.

This announcement follows a period of close communication and discussion with the directors of ETH, whereby the retiring directors of GTG have been keen to ensure that the long term business plans of the new owners are aligned to the Galloway model.

David Cattermole, Galloway M.D. said, "I and my fellow directors look forward to working with the ETH directors and management team in the future development of Galloway".

GTG provide an extensive range of adult and school tours, coach hire and services on behalf of National Express, as well as local bus services within Suffolk.

 ETH shares common ownership with Stephensons of Essex Limited, a successful independent business providing local bus, school and rail replacement services across Essex and West Suffolk.

The directors and Management Team of GTG will work closely with the directors of ETH to ensure that the new owners are able to develop an in depth knowledge and awareness of all aspects of the trading style of GTG before completion of their acquisition at the end of November 2016.

With the delivery of this announcement, the directors of GTG intend to delegate day to day involvement in the business with immediate effect, handing over operational management to the existing Management Team of Richard Smith, Dan Rogers and Charles Pratt who have been working with the GTG directors over the last few years to support the intended retirement of the executive directors this year.

ETH have confirmed that their acquisition of GTG represents a logical extension to the existing business, and is commensurate with their vision to diversify both their geographic footprint and range of income streams within the Eastern region.

GTG will continue to trade as a standalone business, distinct from other subsidiary operations of ETH, and to operate from the existing Head Office located at Mendlesham. The existing Management Team of Galloway will be instrumental in assisting the directors of ETH in planning and developing an exciting future for Galloway over the coming years.


I'm sure  further details will emerge over the coming months, but on top of the sale of Carters and demise of Soames, the number of Suffolk independents is diminishing at an alarming rate.

You may have seen in this space a report that a new Finance Director had been appointed to every Go-Ahead operator except Anglian. I am grateful to "J" for contacting me alerting me to the fact that Simon Butcher has indeed been appointed as Finance Director of Anglian too, but there was a delay in the publication from Companys House. Either that or someone stitched me up like a kipper on April 1st!!

On its own this is insignificant but could be part of a bigger picture. A Konect driver told me today that the new uniform due soon does not have any Konect branding, simply the Go-Ahead logo. Could this be the beginning of the end to individual operator identity, and a movement towards a national identity? Time will tell.

The weekend will be devoted to the outstanding Diesel Gala on the Mid Norfolk Railway, with some truly outstanding locos in use, including the world's only Class 41. I was at Kimberly today taking photos and videos and toomorrow with a couple of others I'll be riding the trains too.

Then on Monday a special post courtesy of  North Suffolk's newest anorak, who sent me a great selection of pictures from Dublin, including a very flash tour coach for a very popular band.


  1. Thomas Browne) Good and interesting post Steve. Something is definitely happening with go ahead. If Go Ahead did rebrand Konect and Anglian to just go ahead it will be a lot of work involved and a lot of getting use to for passengers alike. That is if any thing like that ever happens.

  2. Hi Steve I will try to keep you updated on what's going on in the coming months at the moment business as usual

  3. I am still reading the blog Steve, just rather busy to reply. Brilliant as usual, keep it up. Look forward to upcoming posts as ever. John D.

  4. Hi Steve question to ask you as you know eastern transport group has aquire the Galloway group apart from stevensons is there other bus/coach companies part of the eastern transport group many thanks David

    1. Hi David. Eastern Transport Holdings Limited is owned by Bill Hiron, who is the sole director. He is also a director of Stephensons and Uno Buses in Northampton, and also rather intriguingly of Eastern National Omnibus Company Ltd. Information sourced from

    2. I think Bill has always been a bit of a bus enthusiast, and seems to collect shell company registrations of now-defunct operators. No doubt have their uses though! I thought ETH was a new registration, though? I think he was recently chairman or something of the Bus and Coach Council so will no doubt have got a very useful contacts list! The consolidation will continue, and he's still young (compared to many of us), but Stephensons will be a very eligible partner, sooner or later. I like their QoS, and they way they cleverly work around the dinosaurs in the park. Don't see why anything should change for Galloway, unless economics dictate eventually. That's the advantage! Better than just "take the money and run".

    3. I know Uno source vehicles from Stephensons, and suspect that coming out of the University of Herts operation, having a dedicated bus man on their Board is a good thing. Bill is a busy bee.

  5. Thanks Steve I wonder what they have plan for Galloway as eastern transport group is set up for buses then coaches as Galloway is 70/30 coach /bus

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