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Trent Motor Traction Company Ltd., Barton Buses Ltd.
Trentbarton Wright Solar in Bingham, 2017.jpg
Sloganthe really good bus company
ParentWellglade Group
FoundedOctober 1913; 106 years ago (1913-10)
Service areaDerbyshire
Service typeBus services
HubsNottingham and Derby
Chief executiveJeff Counsell

Trent Barton, stylised as trentbarton, is a bus operator based in Heanor, Derbyshire. A combination of the Trent Motor Traction Company and Barton Buses Limited,[1] it is the major operating division of the Wellglade Group.


Preserved Leyland National in Trent Motor Traction Company livery
Barton Plaxton Supreme bodied Leyland Leopard in 1993
Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UB in September 2004

In October 1913, Trent Motor Traction Company[2] was founded and commenced operating a bus service between Derby and Ashbourne. In November 1913, a second service commenced to Stapleford. By 1925 services were operating from Derby, Loughborough and Nottingham. As services expanded the business grew to seven depots.[3]

During the 1930s some 52 smaller operators were bought out. In August 1949 Trent Motor Traction Company began to operate some services in partnership with Derby Corporation. In 1958 following the opening of the A52 an express service commenced between Derby and Nottingham. In 1969 the company became part of the National Bus Company.[3]

As part of the privatisation of the bus industry Trent was sold in a management buyout. In 1989 the business of neighbouring Barton Transport was purchased and placed into a separate legal entity[4] even though both subsidiaries combined their operations on a day-to-day basis. The separate Trent and Barton brands were brought together as 'Trent Barton' in 2005.[3]

Trent Barton maintains a 6% shareholding in First Leicester.[5][6]

Services and brands[edit]

Trentbarton operate services from Loughborough, Ashbourne, Burton upon Trent, Chesterfield, Derby, Ilkeston, Mansfield, and Nottingham.

On 24 July 2011, 'indigo' became one of a few to operate a '24 hours a day, 7 days a week' commercial bus service[7] and up until March 2012 it operated between East Midlands Airport and Loughborough when that section of the route was replaced by a revised 'skylink Nottingham' service which runs between Nottingham and East Midlands Airport but at a faster time than the old indigo route.[citation needed]

The company operates services from Nottingham to the suburbs of Calverton, Cotgrave and Keyworth while the 'mainline' and 'rushcliffe villager' run along the A52 to Bingham and Radcliffe-on-Trent.

In Derby, Trent Barton run some urban services, such as the non-stop 'spondon flyer' service, and 'the mickleover' and 'the allestree'. There are also a number of longer distance services for example 'swift' to Uttoxeter and 'the sixes' to Belper and Matlock with their unusual numbering system: 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 6X. 'the villager' services run south to Burton on Trent with the numbering system V1 and V3 plus a number of services run north towards Ilkeston and Heanor such as the 'black cat' and 'H1'.

Trent Barton also operates a number of express services around the East Midlands. These include:

  • 'red arrow' service from Nottingham to Derby.
  • 'pronto' (operated jointly with Stagecoach) from Nottingham to Mansfield and Chesterfield
  • X38 (operated jointly with Arriva Derby) from Derby to Burton on Trent
  • the comet from Chesterfield to Derby via Clay Cross and Alfreton and Ripley

Many of the more popular services within the network operate through to around 03:00 on Saturday and Sunday mornings.[citation needed]

Most of the routes are branded with their own bus livery and name, with the route brand name registered as the service number. Each brand is unique for the service they operate. In the 1990s and 2000s Trent Barton ran a large number of 'rainbow routes', with frequent services running from Nottingham and Derby under route numbers such as 'R11, R12 and R13' from Nottingham to Eastwood and into Derbyshire, now known as 'rainbow one' or 'Rainbow Allestree' running from Derby to the village just outside town, now known as 'the allestree'. Most of the Rainbow routes were rebranded in the early 2000s leaving just 'Rainbow 1 to 5', running from 7 to 12 minutes from Nottingham to various suburban towns. These were then rebranded leaving just 'Rainbow One' as the remaining Rainbow brand. Trent Barton also operates a number of 'spare buses', in a red livery, advertising their products such as the 'Mango' smartcard or the Zigzag day ticket. These buses can operate any service if one of the usual vehicles are unavailable.[citation needed]

High Peak Buses[edit]

In April 2012 Trent Barton entered a 50/50 joint venture with Centrebus. This saw Trent Barton's Buxton operation combined with Bowers Coaches to form High Peak Buses.[8][9][10]

The new company operates all services previously run by Bowers Coaches and the Buxton division of Trent Barton, including the Skyline 199 service from Buxton to Stockport and Manchester Airport, and Transpeak from Derby, Belper, Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton and Stockport to Manchester. The service no longer serves Nottingham, this portion of the route being removed in late 2012. The Buxton to Manchester section was later withdrawn from 23 July 2018.

Ticketing schemes[edit]

In June 2008 Trent Barton introduced 'Mango', a prepaid touchless smartcard system developed in partnership with Init. The system works by having an RFID smartcard with the user 'touching on' at the start of their journey and 'touching off' at the end. This allows for exact fare pricing as the price is calculated by the GPS position of the bus.[citation needed] Users of the 'Mango' card pay a discount over the normal cash single fare.[citation needed]

The 'Mango' system was initially tested on the company's Rainbow 4 (now i4) and Indigo routes. After this proved successful, Trent Barton proceeded to extend the scheme to all of its services.[11][12]

In October 2019 the company will move their ticketing scheme on to the Ticketer system in order to adopt contactless payments. Initially running in parallel with Init in order to continue support of their Mango product and facilitate a smooth transition to the new ticketing system. The Init ticketing system will be phased out as the new ticketer system is fully adopted for all ticketing transactions.


Trent Barton operates from depots in Derby, Langley Mill, Nottingham and Sutton in Ashfield with outstations in Ashbourne, Belper, Matlock and Uttoxeter.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Terms and conditions: general conditions of carriage". Heanor: Trent Motor Traction Company. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 131912 Traction Motor Traction Company Limited
  3. ^ a b c History Trent Barton
  4. ^ Companies House extract company no 2347412 Barton Buses Limited
  5. ^ Government Approves 19th Bus Sale of Leicester Citybus Ltd Local Government Chronicle 15 November 1993
  6. ^ FirstGroup Annual Report March 2013 FirstGroup
  7. ^ Indigo buses to run right through the night
  8. ^ Companies House extract company no 7623806 High Peak Buses Limited
  9. ^ Wellglade/Centrebus join up in Buxton Archived 22 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine 24 May 2011
  10. ^ New bus operator hits the road Trentbarton
  11. ^ Trent Barton starts rollout with integrated solution Init June 2008
  12. ^ Bus heartbeats Archived 23 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine 12 December 2012

External links[edit]