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  December 2011
Small Cities
The UK has nearly 70 cities many of which have sizable populations.   However a handful have less than 30,000 residents making them the smallest cities in the country.   These range from Armagh and Newry in Northern Ireland which are very urban to more rural examples such as Wells and Ripon.   There are also a couple of unusual cases namely the City of London and St Davids which is barely a village in size.   As expected these small cities are served by big operators such as First, Stagecoach, Transdev and Ulsterbus so although the buildings may be idyllic and charming, the buses are nothing unusual.   The cathedrals though are impressive, several such as Ely and Truro absolutely dwarfing the towns themselves.   They are special spires.
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  • First 69225 (MX56AEP), a Wright bodied Volvo, in Truro in June 2010.   First became the major operator in the city when they bought Truronian a few years ago, although Western Greyhound also run several services there.
  • The 36 service from Ripon to Leeds is now served by branded Volvo Gemini's with leather seats from Transdev.   However in August 2003 when this shot was taken, their predecessors Harrogate & District ran the route with vehicles such as Wright bodied Volvo B10B, 367 (P367UUG).
  • Wells is a delightful little city in rural Somerset which has bus routes that fan out to Bristol, Yeovil, Bridgwater and Bath.   All are run by First using standard group Wright bodied Volvos such as 66936 (WX55UAC) seen in the city in a sweltering day in July 2006.
  • Stagecoach 18348 (AE55DKV), an Alexander boded Dennis, in Ely in a grim day in November 2011.
  • Clip: A Northern Counties bodied Olympian from First leaves Truro bus station in June 2010.
  • A streak of Ulsterbus Tigers in Armagh bus station in August 2006 -357 (DXI3357), 1168 (MXI3168) and 1030 (JXI1031).   Armagh is noteworthy for having not one but two cathedrals.
  • Two of the smallest cities in the UK are in Northern Ireland, the other one being Newry where Ulsterbus 3113 (JAZ3003), an articulated Van Hool/Volvo is seen heading for Belfast in July 2003.   This is one of four such vehicles delivered to Ulsterbus in the mid 1990's, three of which remarkably are still in service today.
  • Chichester has a cathedral with a majestic spire and was served for many years by equally majestic vehicles from Southdown.   Stagecoach bought the company in 1990 and now the depot reverberates to the sounds of new Volvos rather than vintage Leylands.   Seen in late evening sun in June 2006 is a collection of then current Stagecoach vehicles.
  • Recently Stagecoach has upgraded the trunk Coastliner service from Brighton to Southsea, and this year the 60 service from Bognor Regis to Midhurst has had an injection of new Enviro400s such as 19885 (GX11AKN) seen in unseasonably warm weather in October 2011.
 Armagh (Catholic)
 Armagh (Church of Ireland)
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Photo-Transport has been publishing themed articles about Public Transport for over 10 years.

If you enjoyed the above article you may be interested in these articles which were first published in August 2006 and October 2000.

  Coast to Coast
Buses operating in coastal locations
Scotland's Smallest Depots
Depots with only a handful of vehicles


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