Our beginnings date back to 1931 when brothers Edward and Thomas Eaves set up a partnership together in Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan in Lancashire. Originally working in the local mine they transported coal from the pit and also undertook removals for local people. They soon started carrying passengers to local markets and towns at the weekends and this quickly developed into the major part of the business. During the war years contracts were operated for the MOD carrying German POWs; aircrew shot down over nearby Liverpool.
In the post-war years and early 1950s they developed the coaching business with the addition of day excursions to an expanding number of destinations and an increasing volume of private hire business providing, amongst many other things, schools transport for the local education authorities. During this period the garage site on Wigan Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, which was to become the Companies base for many years, was purchased. The site incorporated both car and petrol sales in addition to the coach operation.
The partnership was incorporated as a Limited Company in 1965 and two ABTA travel agencies were opened, selling both the Companies own tours and those of other major tour operators.
During the 1970s the coach business was developed, with the introduction of our own British and Continental Tours programme. It was also during this period that specialist executive coach hire commenced when we were approached by Everton FC to undertake their team transport, a relationship that continued unbroken for 37 years.
In the 1980s, with the third generation of family now involved, this upgrading of the coach operation continued with increasingly high quality and specialised work being undertaken to complement our normal coaching operations.
By the early 1990s the Company began to outgrow the Wigan Road site as the fleet grew to 14 Van Hool executive coaches, built in Belgium to cater for our clients' specific requirements, and the number of employees increased accordingly. The site was eventually sold in 1995 prior to the move to our new location; a half-acre office and service complex at Bryn Side, Ashton-in-Makerfield, where all our operations are now based.
It was during this period that we first started operating cruise transfers to Southampton to connect with P&O Cruise departures; first of all as private hires for local travel agents and shortly afterwards as a network of services from the North West of England, recommended by the cruise line to their clients. This proved so successful that the services were expanded to cover Yorkshire and the North East, Scotland, both North and South Wales. From 2014, our services connect with P&O, Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise ship departures from Southampton, and in April 2014 we also became the official UK supplier of services to Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines; offering connections to Dover and Newcastle in addition to Southampton.
In 1999 we were honoured to be asked by Manchester United Football Club to become their official coach supplier, a relationship still in place today. The specialised coaches required for this, and our other sports related contracts, led to the development of our Exclusive branded coaches, which operate within the fleet offering the ultimate in passenger comfort and facilities.
During 2004 we were the first company in the UK to operate the newly legal 14 metre tri-axle coaches available from Van Hool - the T917 Astron - providing the ideal combination of passenger seating, comfort and luggage capacity for our Cruiselink services.
In 2006 we embarked on an investment programme to ensure that, in time, all coaches in our fleet would provide accessible transport for disabled passengers with wheelchair access available when required. The first of these vehicles, a Van Hool T915 Alicron, entered service in 2007 with the capability of carrying up to 4 wheelchair passengers, plus a further 36 passengers. This programme was developed further, with the assistance of the Van Hool factory, and in 2008 the first of the Van Hool TD921 Altano tri-axle coaches entered service with us and now provide the backbone of our fleet which, from Spring 2014, will be 100% accessible. These coaches provide seating for 52 passengers in the upper seating area and space for a further 5, or 3 plus a wheelchair, in the lower area. Onboard facilities on these state-of-the-art vehicles include WC and washroom, climate control, refrigerators, three point seat belts and Isofix child seat capability. From 2010 onwards these coaches have full leather seating, and from 2013 onwards coaches free WiFi access is provided on board.
Today we operate a fleet of around 40 Van Hool Executive coaches and provide employment for over 50 people including reservations and accounts staff, operations and maintenance staff, and of course our drivers. Our Bryn Side complex is equipped with state-of-the-art computer systems, GPS tracking on all our coaches, vehicle diagnostic software and our own in-house maintenance facility to ensure that the best possible levels of service and reliability are delivered to clients.
Whilst an incredible amount of change has taken place during the 80-plus years since the two brothers founded the business we are still (although now a Limited Company) privately owned, under the direction of the third generation of the family to be involved, with the same values as those instilled by Edward and Thomas all those years ago.
Eavesway Travel Ltd, Bryn Side, Bryn Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, England, WN4 8BT
+44 (0)1942 727985
Offices open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-1pm (excl. Bank Holidays)
+44 (0)1942 271234