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Blue Star

Blue Star
Locations:4 motorway sites (partially)
Successors:Trusthouse Forte, Alan Pond
Blue Star branding was initially used at Newport Pagnell.

Blue Star were a nationwide firm of petrol stations, who operated several garages at motorway services.

In 1958 they took an interest in the new M1 motorway, and worked with Fortes to form a new company, Motorway Services Ltd, who went on to successfully win the contracts for Newport Pagnell, Keele and Charnock Richard, and put in a very competitive bid for Knutsford, as well as less-good bids for Farthing Corner and Toddington. At these sites, Fortes operated the catering and Blue Star the garage, each under their own names.

Possibly let down by issues opening the last two of those services, directors of the combined company decided not to bid for any more sites. Blue Star instead bid themselves for Leicester Forest East, and proposed some good design work, but inexperience showed in their catering proposal and it wasn't approved.

During this era, Blue Star owned three large garages and hotels for lorry drivers. One was on the A1 Blyth Bypass (close to today's Blyth services), another was at Rainton, and the third was near Symonds Yat.

Highway Restaurants

After trying to go it alone, Blue Star partnered with Trust Houses and Burmah to form Highway Restaurants Ltd, who put in a much better-designed bid for Heston and Aust but were let down by financial issues. They also bid unsuccessfully for Corley and Woodall.

While they weren't successful, the Ministry of Transport remarked that Highway Restaurants Ltd were the only developer who seemed to have any interest in the industry.

They were much more successful in Scotland. They won the bid for Harthill (albeit without competition), as well as Hamilton and Bothwell. Soon after that success, the partnership reported problems, and Blue Star took full control.

Blue Star then reported their own severe financial difficulties in August 1969, causing them to pull out of building Hamilton and Bothwell but they were, just about, able to open Harthill. Harthill's low patronage caused even more issues and was soon sold.


Blue Star was sold to Texaco in the 1990s. The three sites managed by Motorway Services Ltd are now branded Welcome Break, but they continue to have some fuel pumps branded Texaco, as a nod to Blue Star's 8% ownership.