Issue 65

Sunday 1st February 2004
next update week ending 14th February 2004

Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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The last week saw some difficult conditions for operators nationally and especially in our area. Snow hit the Chilterns and surrounding areas on Tuesday night with more snow coming on Wednesday. services being severely disrupted that evening. Indeed Oxford was said to be gridlocked at one stage and one person commented that a journey to Bicester took over three hours. A good part of the time was taken in getting out of the centre of Oxford.

I was delighted to receive a number of photos of Oxford and conditions prevailing on the 28th and 29th January and a selection appear on this News Page.

Robert Williams caught Oxford Station forecourt on the evening of the 28th January. Although the snow
was not thick road conditions were not helped by freezing temperatures.

The 29th saw further freezing temperatures and very icy road surfaces.

Conditions were not helped by the fact that traffic was reduced to a crawl in many areas and the motorways were treacherous. One coach driver told a tale of crawling down the bank on the M40 from Stokenchurch, Oxford bound, when traffic was down to what seemed 1 mph. This of course did not help service reliability and Gloucester Green was often empty of coaches for long periods of time.

Neil Gow writes "The almost total standstill of the M40 traffic on Wednesday evening will have affected London and airport services.  One Oxford Tube even diverted through the village of Lane End at 11 p.m., arriving from the Marlow/Booker direction. (I was in a pub there having myself taken six hours to get that far on my journey home from Slough).  It probably did the same as me - came up the old road from Gerrards Cross, attempted to join the M40 at Handycross and gave up, turning on to the Booker - Lane End road instead"

This weekend saw temperatures rising and after heavy rain any traces of remaining snow had gone.

My own experiences of the problems were highlighted, when upon returning to Heathrow on Thursday evening, we waited over one and half hours before being able to deplane and be taken by bus from the aircraft to terminal four. Indeed earlier in the day people were waiting over three hours to get off their aircraft. One does have to wonder why we, in the U.K, seem to find it so difficult to

Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.

Malcolm Crowe, 1st February 2004.

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News of the local companies – 1st February 2004

Vario 2196 was operating the 315, today Sunday.



The snow mentioned above did not help the schedules last week and airport services to Gatwick and Heathrow were not helped.

Robert Williams sent this picture of 815 at the rail station during the evening of 28th January

Richard Griffin sent this one of Citaro 838 in New Road last week in the snow.

Coaches 69 and 70 have been withdrawn leaving only coach 71 with removed X90 branding. This coach occasionally sees service on the Airline routes. However coach 9 was on X70s on Friday last. It was replaced later in the day by nr 62.

John Brakewell writes that coach 18 still lacks a proper display and now coach 1 has some problems with its front display. He also wonders why a number the new Irizars and refurbished Excaliburs lack fleet numbers. Whilst the refurbs have corresponding fregistration numbers it is not so easy with the Irizars which have 53 style registrations.



A major revamp of a popular service will see Abingdon being served by brand new low floor buses on Stagecoach’s route X4 from 2nd February 2004.
The X4 which runs every 10 minutes during the day between Abingdon and the city, was launched in August last year giving the market town its best ever service into Oxford.

"This new investment will set new standards in quality and reliability", said Adam Rideout, Marketing Manager for Stagecoach in Oxfordshire.

"The new X4 vehicles have been specially built to give our passengers a more comfortable journey. The seats are a new design, and each passenger has more legroom to make the 20-minute trip as relaxing as possible. Each vehicle is of course buggy and wheelchair accessable.

“The new buses really do set a lot of firsts for our fleet” Mr. Rideout added “They have a new style of branding so that our passengers will recognise the service instantly; they have engines built in America that meet current environmental regulations and the interior has all the information anyone would need on how to save money using our services.
“We have also specially selected a team of drivers that will be dedicated to work on the new low floor route and nothing else”

The new batch of Darts are:
34466  KV53NHA
34467  KV53NHB
34468  KV53NHC
34469  KV53NHD
34470  KV53NHE
34471  KV53NHF
34472  KV53NHG

Richard Griffin sent this photo of nr 50034 on a snowy morning.

Neil Gow writes "One of the M reg Olympians was on the 1500 Megabus departure to London on Tuesday." and this was supported by a note from Trevor Wilson who says "Stagecoach 16402 - M302DGP bus seated Northern Counties Olympian seen at the Allsop Arms (near Baker St) Megabus stop at 17:50 on Tuesday 27 January 2004."

I also noted Olympian 16144 working a late afternoon service to London on Friday.

Other operators.

George Candelin writes "Seen in the Waitrose car park in Witney this week: 25 Jan 2004 

North Birmingham Busways Ltd 38 Wood Lane, Erdington, Birmingham B24 9QL


BNC 953T

Leyland AN68A/1R

Park Royal H17/32F



Stagecoach Manchester

Specifically used for NHS Recruitment 

The vehicle is white overall colour scheme with NHS Recruitment vinyls. It was here on 1 Nov 03 as well. Sorry I didn’t have a camera with me.

Also in Witney at the coach park on Downs Road were YSO33Y & YSO42Y. Both still have the old Stagecoach colours. 

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I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

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