Issue 88
(original Oxford Bus Page included to nr 304)
Sunday 1st August 2004
next update week ending 12th August 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.

This week's News Page is two in one as a result of the missing page last weekend. I have received a lot of information and pictures and I hope this produces a most interesting page.

Perhaps the most significant news today is the start of a new era on The Oxford Tube with the entry into service tomorrow morning of the new Skyliner Tubes. From the first service tomorrow around 15 of these magnificent coaches will take over the service from the 5 year old M A N tri axle coaches which have maintained the service, not always without problems, since 1999. It was on Monday 29th March 1999 that the  M A N s were revealed to the press and public and my special News Page for this event can be found at this link. 1999 Tube launch & the entry into service report Entry into service 1 May 1999. The details of the new Skyliner launch will be found under the Oxford Tube heading below. Details will also be found of one of the older  M A N s operating a Glasgow-London Megabus service.

There is a lot more to report and this includes details of Stagecoach London Tridents working the Oxford Megabus service, a Citaro demonstrator being evaluated by Arriva at Aylesbury plus a report of a journey from London to Oxford on that Trident mentioned above.

I received a number of photos and a report from the RM50 event which I think was most interesting. Is it really 50 years since RM1 entered service and as a Northerner I remember travelling to London for a trip on one of these buses. I thought how smooth and smart they were, though I also remember the ride was rather bouncy, due to the suspension, when riding lightly loaded. I think RM8 appeared at the Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court, though the year eludes me, maybe 1956? I also have some nice memories of the RMCs on the Green Line routes and also the RMs used by BEA to Heathrow. I rode on those as well complete with their trailers. (I have still to see a Megabus with a trailer!!)

Colin Cooke sent some nice pictures of the event which I sadly missed due to being at Farnborough. Colin says it was an excellent event and the only early RM missing was RM2. He adds "Quite a few people I have spoken to forgot to attend the RM 50 event. So many of your readers may not have made it ! Just for the record I went with my son on Sunday 25th. The most striking thing was the venue. Finsbury Park was an ideal location for a Bus event, especially the RM, as this was real RM country. The long straight road for the line up and a inner road, way from any other traffic making for some outstanding tree line photos etc. The bus parking was perfection itself, all buses had to park inline with a marshal with a straight plank of wood to line up on, plus out came the spirit level to check the level. With 100 RM's lined up it was outstanding. The attached pictures give a flavour of the event


I was able to buy a model of RM1 in Automodels in Oxford, last Friday, complete with original front and very nice it is too.

My good friend Geoff Cunliffe paid a visit to Oxford recently and sent this interesting and newsy report. Geoff says "My wife and I paid another of our all-too infrequent visits to the area last week and spent a few hours in Oxford on Tuesday afternoon. Not having the detailed knowledge of many of your correspondents, I spotted less worthy of comment than usual.

By way of a change (because we were staying in Sandford-on-Thames), we came in on 114, 1.30pm from Redbridge (h-card). The Abingdon Road road works were not too bad – just one cycle of the lights.

I was astonished to see that Cornmarket Street is actually finished at last – how long before a Utility company digs it up?

Of the Oxford Bus Citaros, Abingdon-branded 831 was on the 2 road whilst plain red 835 & 836 were working to Abingdon. Green 823 was on the 400 (G-card) as was 826 (C-card). 

A very obliging Arriva driver paused whilst I took a photograph of much-admired 5159 in the High Street. 

VN53SVJ (I think), an Optare Solo demonstrator, was with Thames Travel but I just missed photographing it. 

Another snatched photograph was the flashy Setra coach of Stanley MacKay from Edinburgh, with its cherished registration number, seen outside Boswells at the junction of Magdalen Street East and  Broad Street.

Stagecoach’s new Trident, 18136 is still devoid of Low Floor banding.

We left on OBC 107 – another remarkably clear run down the Abingdon Road, as indeed we had when I drove in to the City on Thursday morning. 

Finally, we were slightly off our usual patch and in Marlow when I hurriedly took a photograph of ‘Thames Valley’ H556GKX. I know nothing about the vehicle, clearly an ECW-bodied Olympian, but the blinds suggest to me it may be a Carousel one ex. London.

(This is an ex Armchair one and is seen below under the Carousel heading. Ed.) 

On a local note (to us), this last week Blackpool learned that its bid for government money to upgrade its tramway system to a modern light rail operation has been refused. They were late getting their bid in, dilly-dallying as only local government can. The slow outcome, and the widely publicised government change of policy about not supporting light rail systems meant the outcome was of no surprise to anyone other than the Blackpool Council! They are talking about resubmitting a reduced bid and are saying that without support, the existing trams will be scrapped within ten years." (How sad to hear, surely they cannot let the Blackpool trams go? Ed)

Thank you for the many contributions including photographs and so on to local reports.

Malcolm Crowe
Sunday, 1st August 2004

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002

News of the local companies – 1st August 2004

Not all the Volvo B10Bs at Wycombe have Thames Valley Line branding as seen here
displayed by 3841 a week or so ago. Many of this batch also having differing fleet names.

Gavin Francis writes "Went into Wycombe this morning to get a photo of Arriva 3080, the Plaxton/Volvo. Typical Arriva transfer into Wycombe. 19 years old. Second-hand from Buffalo, Flitwick in 1995. Body panel damage. Mixed seats, and no ultimate destination blind. Just adds to what I said in my e-mail last week. I have attached a photo of it for reference.

The picture of 3080 from Gavin Francis.

Regular correspondent Tangy Tango writes re sightings of Arriva. Starting in Oxford he says "From Oxford I bought an Explorer ticket and went on the 280 to Aylesbury on 5099, there were two refurbished 280 buses out, either side of the journey I got!!! So I have not been on them, just seen them. When at Aylesbury Bus Station I  made some observations, but not many, not so many buses in Aylesbury as there is in Oxford! Anyway my obs are:

280: 5099, 5159, 5101, 5097 

2: 3820

4: 2417

9: 3497, 3823

61: 5102

64: 2240

65: 3117

261: 3101

324: 3104

500: 3162 (in Intalink Explorer livery) 

and 2108 was working the Crew Shuttle 

I then went to High Wycombe on the 324, did not do no observations at Newlands because the 300 to Uxbridge was due out so I jumped on it. The 300s number blind was blank, the number was written on a piece of paper in the windscreen, although it did have Uxbridge on the destination blind!

That's my bumper report from Oxford, more to come when I come up in the next few weeks!"

Wycombe three Sunday's ago with Olympian 5108 in the line up.

Olympian 5157 (S157KNK) at Oxford rail station back on the 280 following it's refurb and repaint ,
it has to receive it's 280 route branding as yet in this view seen on 24th July 2004.
Andy Churchill

Steve Warwick reports

Fri 23rd June 

The forth Volvo Olympian 5157 has arrived back from refurbishment and was working 1945, 280 to Oxford.

The demonstrator Citaro has departed today, I had the pleasure of it most of the day yesterday (Sat) it was on 500 Ayl-Watford and then 323s Saturday evening.. and what a pleasure it was too!. The Germans certainly know how to build a bus. Attached is a photo of it resting at Watford yesterday.

Steve adds today that "The last working Lynx at Wycombe 3345 was involved with an altercation with a bus shelter at Lane End on Thursday, I hear and was towed away on the back of tow truck. 

The last Volvo Olympians, 5158 and 5156 arrived back yesterday fromrefurb."

Picture by Steve Warwick. This bus has been with Carousel and First Slough.

Nigel Peach writes from High Wycombe saying "With the withdrawal of Lynxes 3069 & 3070, that means only one Lynx survives in Wycombe, 3345 (H255GEV). By coincidence 3067 (one of the same batch as 3069/70), now a trainer, was in the depot on Saturday 24th. Before its withdrawal from service this bus was based at Lincoln Road. 

It occurs to me that there are now a number of "single" buses in Wycombe, ie the only one of its type. As well as Lynx 3345 mentioned above, we also have Wright bodied Dart 3365 L415NHJ, recent newcomer 3080 F152 KGS, a Plaxton Derwent Volvo B10M and Northern Counties Olympian 5108 F506OYW (or has that returned to Aylesbury again?). (Well it working at NBS as per the photo above three weekends ago Ed.)

I've not seen ex Oxford Olympian 5826 recently. I wonder if that has gone with the recent "downsizing" of the Wycombe allocation. If so that would leave just 5825/31/34 of an original total of 11 of these."

Ross writes to report that on Mon 19/7 - 3104 (Marshall bodied Dart) was on the 280


Carousel Bus, High Wycombe

Carousel really are a Metrobus haven now with several ex trainer examples in their yards. M1200 is seen in company with M1272 below.

The picture was taken by Geoff Cunliffe on a recent visit reported in this week's Editorial



Philip Kirk, the Managing Director of Oxford Bus kindly sent the following fleet update for his company.

Enthusiast Update – July 2004 
Covering period from February to July 2004

Coaches refurbished: 

          oxford espress


Fleet no.

New code







































         the airline: 


Fleet no.


New code























Vehicles withdrawn: 512/5/7 (3/04, but subsequently reinstated and then withdrawn again, see below)

  8-10 (4/04), 11 (6/04), 12 (7/04)

                                      657/8 (4/04) to Wilts & Dorset

  T5, 517 (5/04, subsequently sold to Jeffs, Helmdon, 7/04)

  512 (6/04), 515 (4/04). 

Vehicles reinstated:         646/7/9 (3/04)

                              `      512/5/7, 644, T5 (24/3/04, see below for full story)

 Vehicles on loan (all entered service unless otherwise stated): 


VJO 204X

Leyland Olympian




WWL 207X

Leyland Olympian




WWL 209X

Leyland Olympian




WWL 211X

Leyland Olympian




SCK 226X

Leyland Olympian



From Jeffs, Helmdon




Scania K113


26/11/03 to 8/4/04

From Scania (UK). Renumbered from 60, 31/12/03



V929 VMS

Dennis Trident


19/6/01 to 8/4/04

From Transbus




Dennis Dart


2/6/04 to 16/6/04

From Eminox


Note that 929 had been with OBC for almost three years!

645 is being converted into a Driver Training Vehicle

On 24/3/04, the company, acting on the advice of Evobus (UK), withdrew all 17 Mercedes Citaro single deck buses pending safety checks. Five withdrawn buses were immediately reinstated (a mixture of Darts and B10Bs). On Saturday, 28/03/04, a further five vehicles were required for ‘Football Special’ duties and so Olympians were hired from Jeffs Coaches.

80 had been in use to cover for rectification work to the Scania coach fleet.

414 was used in service on two days (7-8/6/04) to test out Selective Catalyst Reduction equipment which is fitted to this vehicle; it also carries emissions measuring equipment which monitors performance in real time.

An up-to-date fleet list is always available in the ‘enthusiast’ section of our company website.

Other reports and notes

The X90 saw two very busy days this weekend with extra services operating to London. Supplementing the normal coaches, an extra journey to london was worked by Airline coach 61 as reported by Stephen Le Bras who says "Now following the demise of 12, I thought blue ones on the London VCS service would be a thing of the past but no! 61 was running beside 3 early this afternoon (sat 31/7). Unfortunately the traffic was heavy and my photo caught 61 but 3 was a few coaches behind so I may have lost the effect."  (I look forward to a picture in due course Stephen. Ed).

The Park & ride Tridents have begun to acquire various "super rear" ads and some look most appropriate in the tree lined thoroughfares of Oxford.

Trident 109 blends in with the trees in St Clements.

115 has gained a super rear for the London service.
Who will get the first picture of a coach and Trident with the same ad?

120 is also showing off a similar super rear. Most effective.

Several Volvo B10BLEs have been through workshops recently and in some cases have
lost the "
Low floor, easy access bus" branding as shown here on 815.
815 also carries a side ad for the "espress" to London.

819 of the later batch also looks fresh but now lacks front wheel trims which
gives it a different appearance.

Tangy Tango writes with the following observations from a day last week.

2: 603, 611, 639, 620, 629
640, 644, 648
816, 813, 801, 807, 803, 820, 103, 814, 804
649, 647
818, 802
110, 116, 118
823, 119, 824, 109, 115
836, 832
56, 51, 53, 63, 60, 69
5, 25, 16, 20, 10, 23, 19, 14

Ross writes with sightings as follows

Mon 19/7
640 - 5

Tue 20/7
634 - 5
820 - 10C
836 - 13

Fri 23/7
833 - 15

Sat 24/7
102 - 500
104 - 2A
811 - 6

Bus Monkey reports 

Mon 19th
641(?) on 5

Tue 20th
634 on 5

Thu 22nd
406 on 4A
650 on 5

Fri 23rd
117 MegaRear for Espress
831 on 13

First Group

Ross writes saying

Sun 18/7 

First Great Western

Various First coaches from the Cymru and Devon & Cornwall fleets on Swindon - Didcot - Reading rail replacement, including 20046, 20053, 21014, 21278 and 21284.  Also at least one branded for the Newquay rail link.

I thought you might be interested in this Volvo/Jonckheere operating the 873 early on Saturday.
It is somewhat similar to the OBC Jonckheeres as can be seen in the rear view

Red Rose, Aylesbury

Ross reports

Tue 20/7 

MetroRider V108LVH - 275 

Wed 21/7 

RR02BUS - 275  Still in Jubilee livery

(It would be nice to have a picture of RR02BUS on the 275 - anyone? Ed)

This last two weeks has seen a great deal of activity in the Stagecoach camp. Under the various headings are reports on the various sector happenings and a number of most interesting photos.

On the main SCiO fleet Ross reports

16144 - Megabus.  This still has brookesbus vinyls on the front and nearside.

One definite transfer into Oxfordshire is 40654 to Witney from Warwickshire.

Mon 19/7
22932 - 10

Tue 20/7
16522 - 1
22930 - 10
42371 - 600

Wed 21/7
16141, 16144 - 7C
22913 - 32
33822 - 7
42371 - 600
22054 - U1 (On the one jouney of the day which needed a Trident as well!)

Thu 22/7
22933 - 10 

Fri 23/7
20812 - X4

A couple of other notes regarding last weeks OCBP and the Silverstone P&R - 15401-5 are the Corby Omnidekkas while 18101-11 are I believe at Kettering and 18125/6 were from one of the East Midland depots (Chesterfield?).  18126 was the second 18127 for a while.

Mon 26/7
32630 - 18

Tue 27/7
22053/4 - U1 22053 was the replacement for 18056, which was hit from behind at the Headington Post Office stop by OBC637.  637 had to be towed back to Cowley Rd due to its front nearside damage. 

Thurs 29/7
16141, 22940 - 10

Fri 30/7
16141 - 10

Bus Monkey also sent a report on sightings saying

Mon 19th
22932 on 10
16522 & 16615 on Megabus

Wed 21st
16144 on 7A

Fri 23rd
22933 on 10
33822 on 7


An ex Oxford Dennis Dart 33807 in Exeter with Stagecoach Devon

Gavin Francis kindly supplied these two photos with night service destinations.

Andy Churchill sent this shot of 16526 still with centre doors in place.


The following Press Release has been made by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and sees a total replacement of the Oxford Tube fleet after just five and bit years.

All systems go for new £8m luxury coach fleet

28 July 2004
  • Oxford Tube makes UK’s biggest investment in a single route
  • State-of-the-art vehicles major boost for disabled passengers
  • Online booking with launch of new secure e-commerce website

A new £8million fleet of luxury state-of-the-art double-decker coaches is set to run from Oxford to London from Monday (2 August 2004), it was announced today.

Oxford Tube, which runs a 24-hour service every day of the year, is making what is believed to be the UK’s biggest investment in new vehicles on a single route with the introduction of 25 new coaches.

The introduction of the new vehicles on Europe’s most frequent express service is a major boost for wheelchair users, making them the only fleet of disability accessible coaches in the city.

A new secure e-commerce website,, is also being launched from Monday, allowing customers to book single, return and period tickets online as well as access timetable and service information.

The fully low-floor air-conditioned vehicles feature reclining seats, more legroom, seatbelts, power points for laptops and mobile phones, and toilets. They are also equipped with CCTV technology for additional passenger security.

Oxford Tube also confirmed today that the new vehicles have been given the go-ahead to use the main Gloucester Green Bus Station from Monday when the first of the coaches will start running.

Martin Sutton, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: “We believe this investment is the biggest one-off improvement in a single bus route anywhere in the UK. We are setting the standard for other bus operators and it shows Oxford is leading the way in high-quality public transport.

“Stagecoach has invested millions of pounds in accessible buses with wheelchair facilities on all our main services in Oxford. Now our luxury Oxford Tube service is set to get state-of-the-art coaches that are among the safest and most disability-friendly in the country.

“To match the investment in new coaches, we are also launching a new hi-tech website, which will give customers the added convenience of being able to book tickets from the comfort of their home or office.

“We are delighted our passengers will be able to catch the new vehicles from exactly the same familiar location in Gloucester Green Bus Station and we’re looking forward to launching our new improved coaches on Monday.”

The new 13.7metre Oxford Tube vehicles, manufactured by Neoplan in Germany, are replacing vehicles that are only five years old.

Each of the new coaches has 81 seats, instead of the existing 68, which means more than 6,000 passengers a day can travel on the service to London.

Oxford Tube runs services round the clock and up to every 10 minutes at peak times.

For further information, please contact:
Steve Stewart, Head of Media and Public Affairs, Stagecoach Group
Tel: 01738 442111


  • Oxford Tube was launched in 1987 with a 30-minute frequency and since 1993 has run 24-hours-a-day. It runs every day of the year, including Christmas Day.
  • The service runs up to every 10 minutes between Oxford and London – stopping at Lewknor, Hillingdon, Shepherds Bush, Notting Hill, Marble Arch and Victoria.
  • Annual passenger volumes have grown from 230,000 in 1987 to more than 1.6million today.
  • On average a passenger boards the Oxford Tube every 20 seconds.
  • The Oxford Tube fleet of coaches travels the equivalent of nearly three times around the globe every week!

One of the new Skyliners, 50107 fully decked out in its livery and ready for the road.
Photo by Gavin Francis.

Another new Tube showing the striking branding applied to these 81 seater coaches.

Gavin Francis took this picture of the coach above to show the rear branding

Ralph Adams sent the following fleet numbers for the new Tubes.

50101    KP04GJE
50102    KP04GJF
50103    KP04GJJ
50104    KP04GJK
50105    KP04GJU
50106    KP04GJV

I understand that approx 15 of the new coaches will be ready for service tomorrow, Monday 2nd August. I hope to have pictures of the launch for a special mid week News Page.

Rob Williams wrote to say "There have been some heavy loads on the Glasgow-London this weekend, so some duplicates were arranged. The spare bendy from Glasgow duplicated the early departure from London on Friday and 50057 duplicated the late one.

Some (or all?) of the M A N Jonckheeres will be transferring to Scotland once all of the Neoplans have entered service, so 50057 will not now return to Oxford. As it worked out, using it on the Megabus duplicate was quite a neat way to get one up there!"

Tangy Tango writes "I have a surprise for you! I was booked on the London-Glasgow Megabus service (the 2355 ex London on Friday night) with Adrian Lancer when we both saw Tube 57 working a duplicate working to the usual bendy coach 51062. So here is my picture of Tube 57 at Glasgow's North Hanover Street, having just arrived from London. 

Glasgow, Saturday 31st July.
You notice on this picture that the Operating licence is not in it's holder underneath the tax disc,
obviously waiting for a new operating licence to be put in by Stagecoach Glasgow.
Although Thames Transit legals remain in place
Photos by Tangy Tango

Tangy Tango during a run on Megabus to London reported the following  M A N s in use.

Oxford Tube: 43, 55, 36, 52, 56, 59, 49, 42, 37, 34, 54, 46, 35, 47, 66, 44

Bus Monkey reports

Tue 20th
17781 on Megabus

Fri 23rd
17781 on Megabus

Tangy Tango reports "On Wednesday 21st July I was booked up on the 0830 Megabus journey from Baker Street. Firstly I was surprised with the bus that turned up, Trident 17779 from Leyton garage, I overheard the driver saying that the scheduled blue livery Megabus was brought in the previous night on the back of a tow truck, so 17779 had to step in to fill the gap!! Secondly, the driver had to write all of our reference numbers on a sheet of paper because the computer system was playing up, so the driver had no loading sheet!! Thirdly, a passenger asked about the seating arrangements and the driver said "take your pick, we only have 21 passengers on this journey."

Anyway we departed Baker Street (a little traffic at on the A40 at Savoy Circus, so a relatively clear run. However traffic on the A40 London bound, was queuing from Gipsy Corner all the way out to Target Roundabout!). Played havoc was the timings of the X90 and OT, with no OTs seen between Savoy Circus and Hangar Lane, then I saw two one behind the other (Tubes 55 and 36). The other bus on the Megabus M40 service was Olympian "Magdalen" 

Tube 52 overtook 17779 at Perivale, we soon overtook it as Tube 52 diverted up to Hillingdon (which Megabus does not serve anymore). Tube 52 caught up with  us at Junction 2 on the M40 and overtook us again, after 5 minutes I could hardly see it in the distance. 17779 regained the lead at Lewknor as Tube 52 dived off the motorway to serve the Lewknor stop! Obviously the Tubes have better engines suited to motorways than the Trident does. 

At Oxford, at the Headington Roundabout we went up the By-Pass to the Cutteslowe Roundabout then down Banbury Road to St Giles, which I believe is faster than trying to plough through the traffic at Headington. I alighted at Oxpens because I wanted to get a photo of 17779 in Oxford, so here is that picture taken at Oxpens Coach Park (see attachment). Malcolm if you want this picture (for the OCBP) please contact me and I will send it to you. 

Two pictures by Tangy Tango of 17779 at The Oxpens

John Hammond kindly has sent an update on the operation of the Oxford Megabus service. He says "The Oxford - London Megabus service reduction has reduced the operation down to just one bus working a day from Oxford, with the rest of the bus workings being operated by Stagecoach in London's depot at Leyton. 

This has reduced the Oxford staff requirement down to two weekly roster lines, and just one shift a day which does two trips to London and back per day. 

The Oxford operated journeys are the 9am (9.10 Sat/Sun) and 15.00 (15.15 Sat Sun) from Oxford and the 11am & 17.45pm from London.

(Now I wonder which buses are now allocated to Oxford and which buses Leyton use on the Oxford service? Ed.)

Another item of interest is one wonders why the 0600 departure has been withdrawn since this seemed popular with commuters?

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on

If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at

I caught this on camera in High Wycombe three Sundays ago.STK125T. Don't know who it is with now.

My sojourn in Farnborough brought the opportunity to drive this most splendid DAF.

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

If you are a model fanatic check out this site
Mention the Oxford Chiltern bus Page and they will give you a further 5% discount.

Place your orders to or on the text orderline on 07941 095511, quoting the model they require and the offer code of "OXFORD BUS".

Also this is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002