This is our dedicated enthusiasts page, where you can learn about all things First Essex.

Our History

Established in 1929, the Eastern National Omnibus Company underwent a series of ownership changes. It was nationalised in 1949 and later privatised through a management buyout in October 1986. In 1990, Badgerline acquired Eastern National, which eventually became part of First Group in 1995. This acquisition resulted in a division between depots in North Essex which continued as Eastern National, and those in South Essex which formed a new entity known as Thamesway. Eventually, these two companies were amalgamated once more and re-branded as First Essex, as the business you see today.

Today, we remember our heritage by applying our former liveries to our current fleet, examples of which are seen below. Westcliff-on-Sea (left), and Eastern National (right).

Our Fleet

We operate a fleet of approximately 310 buses all across Essex, with depots in Chelmsford, Colchester, Basildon, and Hadleigh.

To download our current fleet list, click here or the picture below. List updated on 18th March 2024.

Local Enthusiast Sites

Ensignbus Hire