Topic: Budget Bus 1974 Part 1

Overland from London to Dehli 1974 (Budget Bus)

This is dedicated to all those who made the journey from London to Dehli at the height of when the overland route was a myriad of colourful characters travelling from west to east or vice-versa.

The basis of this is of course, my memory of all that happened, and the dates are taken from my diary.

The original was written on the twentieth anniversary in 1994. Thirty years has now passed since I made this trip and its November 2004. 

The overland road from London to Delhi not possible any more the era of the hippies is no more and we now live a world, which has changed since the free and easy years of the seventies.

There was civil war in Yugoslavia in the mid nineties with the split of the country into independent states.

The Ayatollah Khumani took over the rule of Iran in 1980 and the Shah died in exile in France in 1980.

Afghanistan has gone through two wars, been ruled by the Tali ban and is now ruled by a puppet American backed government.


London to Istanbul

Every child at sometime or other in their childhood spends a proportion of their time day-dreaming about adventure, whether it be sailing on the sea, climbing mountains, sky diving or even some other subject that has captured their imagination. Most of the time they are just dreams and forever remain so. Sometimes dreams do turn into reality, which undoubtedly leaves a marked impression upon the mind, and to whose destiny it will effect later in life.

My earliest recollections are of daydreams about India, I don't know why this was so? Maybe in my past life I was an Indian, or a soldier serving during the time of the Raj. It was as though the smells, culture and cuisine were deep in my blood. The map of the subcontinent seemed engraved on my forehead and this was to become a magnet drawing me closer and closer to this land of contrasts.

Such magical names appear in its history. The Khyber Pass of the North West Frontier, and the fierce Pathans. Clive of India, the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Mahatma Ghandi and the struggle for Independence. Bombay gateway to India, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras. Cities whose names were famous throughout the world but seemed to hold that eastern attachment. Other names also synonymous with the subcontinent, the "Taj Mahal" and the mighty Himalayas.     

It is impossible of course to provide any satisfactory explanation of why I should want to go to India. The predominant motive seemed above all in my view to be
"Because it's there".

It was in the summer of 1974 when I was working as a chef just outside London that I saw in the paper an advertisement of a bus going to Delhi, in November of that year. The cost was

2 (edited by JCH 18-Jul-2008 19:54:44)

Re: Budget Bus 1974 Part 1

Hi, that's a really interesting article and am looking forward to the next installment . As an ex Budget Bus subcontractor it certainly brings back memories though to be fair to Budget Bus most of their trips were not shall we say 'quite as eventful' as seems to be the case in the one you were on ! Like your description of being met by a new bus at Totteridge and then being transferred to an elderly coach at Dover Docks.This was generally the norm with us subcontractors because of license problems in the UK .When I was running a trip I just used to hope that my passengers would be too shocked when they boarded my old Bedford at Dover to say anything until the trip was well under way .What one didn't want to happen was for any problems to crop up in the first few days or horror of horrors a serious breakdown ...However usually I found that if the trip was going well my passengers would get quite attached to the 'old bus' and treat other more modern Overland coaches with contempt !
     Incidentally it may be a surprise to know that the rather elderly Bedford coaches that we tended to use were in many ways best suited to the Overland trip to India. The reason for this was simple in that spare parts for 'Bedford' could be bought in most places on route and so if necessary buses could be repaired.In the 1970's the India Overland route was strewn with the abandoned wrecks of Overland buses that never made it. Usually they were parked up in Customs at borders and made a good topic for discussion for other Overlanders. Even more expensive companies had problems and it was not uncommon to hear of well known companies being stuck sometimes for weeks waiting for spare parts to arrive from the UK.It still happens even today-a few months ago a bus was marooned in Tehran and was on the news and in the papers.Mind you in the 70's one just had to 'tough' it out or abandon 'ship' and head off on your own ! Many Overland Companies ran into financial problems and went bust including, if I have the facts right, Safaris Overland,P.B.K.,Capricorn,Indigo and others.
    As a matter of interest the coaches that Budget Bus used may have looked old but were in fact in very good shape mechanically. Emil who ran Budget Bus and the drivers
had their own yard and before a trip to India on most occasions the mechanics of the coaches would be checked out thoroughly.The engine would be overhauled, fuel pumps exchanged, springs built up, and the boot strengthened etc.In addition spares were carried on board-we would do this by buying a scrapped engine, stripping it down and storing the parts for spares on the relevant bus.As far as I know most of the 5 week Budget Bus trips made it to India more or less on time which compares pretty well with some other Overland Companies.
   In 1974 I was taking a break from the Overland Game in South Africa but started operating subcontracts for Budget Bus 1975/1976 till round about 1980 when the route became too much of a problem with wars, revolutions and the like.Some of the subcontractors for Budget Bus during the period,apart from myself were Rodney Rosindell,Ernie Farebee, John Farebee and Andy,'Angelo', George,Dave and of course Emil and Wende Bryden and other drivers included,Steve (Still doing Overland trips), Laurie, Dave, and Derek.
   I've included a photo underneath with a photo of the inside of my bus circa 1978/9. The photo was taken by two of my passengers Nicky and Tim.Note the washing hanging from the skylights and that the rear window is missing, replaced by what looks like plywood! The second photo was taken in 1971 in Eastern Turkey and you will probably recognise Mt.Ararat - think it might remind you of some of your experiences ! However, re your trip,do you have any Overland photos ?

Inside of my Tour East 41 Seater Bedford SB8 under subcontract to Budget Bus circa 1978/79
Photo from Tim and Nicky, passengers on the trip

Mt. Ararat in Deep Winter circa 1971/72

Re: Budget Bus 1974 Part 1

I have some photos of Budget bus...Nov 1974...I just need to work out how to put them on the computer!...Jude

Re: Budget Bus 1974 Part 1

Try this Jude. . .

Dave wrote:

. . . a basic Image Posting Guide:

The picture must reside on the Internet, on an image hosting website. The easiest is probably It's free and allows large numbers of images to be stored. It's very easy to sign-up and create a free account, then simply start uploading your pictures, from your computer.

Once the images have been uploaded to Photobucket they will be in your personal Album. Inside this album will be seen thumbnail sized versions of each picture, and underneath each one there are four separate, small boxes of code. The bottom one contains the Image Code that you copy (all of it) and paste into the (Overland Forum) post. This code is the URL (the unique internet address of each image) and to make sure that it's going to work, use the Preview button - before finally Submitting your post. Even then, you can Edit it later if your're not happy with it.

Should all that be totally confusing, then I'll do a stepwise instruction guide. This is enough to get started, there are a lot of other things that can be done, but this is the first step. The picture itself isn't actually pasted into the post - just its location address - so that when the post is read (opened) by someone, a link is also opened to the Photobucket website, enabling the image data to be sent to that person's computer. Some forums provide their own image hosting service, but most don't. So I store all mine on Photobucket, then they're all in one place - and can be used on other forums. I also email pictures by sending the image URL, rather than the clumsy and slow 'Attachment' method.

Sorry about the jargon; URL really means "Universal Resource Locator"... and "thumbnail" is a miniature version of the picture.

Re: Budget Bus 1974 Part 1

Well, after all these years (37 to be precise!) I have stumbled across this account. I was remarking to my daughter that my memories were fading of the trip and I ought to write down what I could remember - and there on the web is an account of the very trip I was on! Didn't get a mention in the text, (was I really there?) but as on these kinds of adventures people formed into sub-groups. Looking back, that time in my life was a pivotal moment, although I was 22, I did a lot of maturing on that trip. Like I said the memories have faded; the characters are not forgotten, Kiwi, Russ, Helen and co...... I recall spending the night on the floor of the room Helen was sharing, somewhere east of Istanbul; I had one of the overland stomach bugs at the time and they took pity on me. Jamie and his mate, Patricia asking for the bathroom in Afganistan and George's reply, the list goes on.... There were a couple of Americans named Dana and Mitch travelling together, as I recall; got a photo somewhere of us messing around in Kavalla. Who remembers the tripe soup for breakfast in Greece and going to see 'The Exorcist' only to find it had been dubbed into Greek?
I was travelling with a guy I had met while hitch-hiking to Morocco the year before, named Marshall Jarman. He was from Macclesfield and we had decided to try to get round the world. we moved on from Dehli to Kathmandu where we stayed for a month or so before the great exodus in preparation for the King's coronation. On the way back we had to go to a place named Dinapore near Patna to get our student discount from the railway office; later when researching the family history I discovered my great-grandfather married in the church there in 1890 - maybe I was drawn to India as it is in the blood...
Does anyone remember a couple of army guys we picked up on the road? They were trying to get to New Zealand on