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Blue Star

Blue Star
Locations:4 motorway sites (partially)
Successors:Trusthouse Forte
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 (less-so Medway 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 Aust, and proposed some good design work, but inexperience showed in their catering proposals and neither were approved.

Amongst many non-motorway services, Blue Star owned a large garage on the A1 Blyth Bypass, close to today's Blyth services.

Highway Restaurants

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

The new combined firm won the contracts for Hamilton and Bothwell but had to pull out as they couldn't finance them. They then successfully won and built Harthill. Harthill's low patronage saw it begin a downward spiral, and Highway Restaurants soon sold it to another garage operator.

At Harthill, the Blue Star name was used on the main amenity building.


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.