Issue 10
(OBP-226)

Sunday 1st December 2002

next update week commencing 7th December 2002

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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news please
let me know on
malcolmhc@aol.com

Well, hopefully i am now back on track with my usual Sunday update. Due to the problems last week and the delay to the News Page, the content was somewhat less than usual. I had a few comments about the lack of photographs for which I apologise. I hope that this week's update has more for everyone, especially with developments in Oxford. I am also delighted to be able to give allocation details for Stagecoach South Midlands. This includes all the depots in the area from Rugby to Oxford.

A major event in Oxford this last week was the switching on of the Christmas lights. Thursday November 28th saw Tony Blackburn in town with the Simpsons. Oxford Bus provided a Free Park & Ride on the night from 5pm until 9pm and as a result ran some additional buses. Trident 106 was turned out for the event and had only that day had a new Hannover destination display fitted which looked very smart indeed.


Oxford Park & Ride Trident 106 with Tony Blackburn in Queen Street prior to the Christmas lights switch on

I will cover in more detail the new branding of route 1 by Stagecoach in Oxford but as an appetizer give you a glimpse of what they have done.

Also another appetizer is this Maltese bus and I wonder how many of you will guess why it is included on this page? To find out check under the fleet headings below.


You will have to move down the news page to see a full sized picture.
Photo courtesy Mike Penn

Football this last weekend was a result for Oxford United who beat Lincoln 1-0. As so often happens those driving the special buses on routes 601 and 602 had to leave 10 minutes before time to get the buses ready and so missed the penalty which gave the winning result. The weather was appalling and one can only but feel for all the players who were playing in a driving drizzle which is so very wet but the result was a good one for Oxford. The visitors had two coaches including the one shown below from a company called Wings.  I am sure it is an ex National Express Expressliner?

This last week I also picked up a little book entitled A History of the Penn Bus Company which is written and published by Paul Lacey. I found this work most interesting since it covers the operations in Wycombe by this company from 1920 to 1935. finally taken over by the two major operators LPTB and Thames Valley, The Penn Bus established a reputation for courteous and efficient  service is a tribute to the Sugg family who owned the business. I found the details of the routes and a map included fascinating and the establishment of The Carousel Bus Company in modern times brings back the intrusion on the "big company" once again to High Wycombe and the surrounding area.  The "Penn" ran to Speen, Beaconsfield, West Wycombe and Flackwell Heath but the map also shows service to Watlington by House Bros and Pioneer who ran to Turville, Fingest and Frieth. Indeed Thames Valley ran from Wycombe via Fingest to Henley in 1930. The book is now 12 years old but if you can get one it really is a good read.

Brian Matthews wrote to include an article on the Gloucester Green of days gone. I include it here and would like to acknowledge the writer, Martin Nimmo. As the writer says a lot of water has gone under the bridge but it was a period of strife for the old City of Oxford motor Services and things have changed dramatically since those difficult days. Indeed Oxford Bus now runs one of the best kept fleet's in the country. This article entitled "Return to Gloucester Green" is from a 1970 bus enthusiasts journal called "Platform"   -  the author is Martin Nimmo.

"Many of you will remember a series of articles which I wrote in "Platform" a few years ago, which were reflections of the bus scene in Oxford.  Now, a year after leaving Oxford, I find that a lot of water has passed under Magdalen Bridge, and Gloucester Green, Oxford's bus station, has also undergone some changes. 


Brighton Corporation Leyland (24 ACD)  -  interesting to note the stencilled temporary fleet no "B1"
under the Brighton fleet number, also the usual paper sticker
"On hire to City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd".   A sister vehicle (23 ACD)  was, I believe,
the first decker to be adapted (by Brighton) for OMO in the UK.     (photographer unknown)

The columns of "Buses" have told you that City of Oxford Motor Services have had a crisis period ever since Spring 1969 owing to shortages of serviceable vehicles, but it was not until Brighton Corporation 24 and Brighton, Hove and District 2095 became directly involved that most of us sat up and took notice.    In March 1969, I was staggered to find a mixture of East Kent Regent V's and Aldershot and District Loline lll's operating one Monday morning on Oxford routes 3 and 4.  Now, local enthusiasts can stomach almost anything without surprise.  The Aldershot and East Kent vehicles were only the beginning of a stream of buses and coaches from companies and corporations, in a multitude of liveries.  Beside the dozen and a half Loline l and lll's which have appeared at various times from Aldershot, Oxford have had a Leyland and a Daimler from Swindon, Regent V's from Rhondda, Titans from Stratford, coaches from Timpson's, Bristol, Southdown (27/28) and Eastern Counties, a Fleetline from M & D and four Reliance coaches from Aldershot which they have now bought;  all in addition to our local pair of buses.   Things have been happening in Oxford ever since I left the city!

Perhaps even more exciting is the composition of the Oxford fleet today. (remember this article refers to many years ago, not 2002 Ed.). When I wrote last, the only non-AEC. vehicles were five Lolines, with the prospect of some Fleetlines.  The urgent need for new buses was met in part by a priority order for a second batch of Northern Counties bodied Fleetlines, delivered last autumn.  These are unusual in being both low-height and dual doorway, and special permission had to be sought to obtain a Ministry grant.  Since then, no new vehicles originally ordered by C.O.M.S. have been delivered, but three Bristol VRT/SL double-deckers were diverted from Southern Vectis at the beginning of April, and these entered service in a new double-deck livery of maroon and duck-egg (one appeared in the H.C.V.C. rally in May).   Unfortunately, they are too tall to negotiate with ease the Oxford Station bridge, scene of many a "beheading" in the past, so that thay have been numbered in the 900 series, which is for high-bridge types.

Second-hand acquisitions have also featured in the stock intake for 1970;  and in addition to the four Aldershot Reliances (converted for O.M.O.) an ex-Daimler demonstrator Fleetline saloon has been given fleet number 639.  Latest dealings have involved the exchange of some Regent V's with Willowbrook high-bridge front-entrance bodywork for some South Wales (previously James of Ammanford) Atlanteans.


The Rhondda Regent, fleet no 421, stands at Oxford Station,
again with the "On Hire....." paper sticker.
(photo - R H G Simpson) 

I suppose that anything which happens from now on in the Oxford fleet will be something of an anti-climax, but then there could still be surprises in store, as we may find on our tour next month.  Remember that it has taken only a year for this fleet to become one of the most interesting in the South of England."

This was the end of the article mentioned. How things have changed with TWO majors operators in the city and several small independents. Of course Thames Travel are growing and are not really a small operator.

Steve Annells writes re Milton Park. He says "The Milton Park shuttle (Didcot-Milton Park) now has a silver route-branded Optare Solo, YE52KPP, replacing hired Dart/Plaxton W364ABD.  I'm assuming this is still operated by Courtney Coaches of Bracknell.

The Oxfordshire County Council web site on public transport notes the following changes.

Week commencing 1st December 2002

_________________________________________________

Week commencing 8th December 2002

_________________________________________________


Water Eaton developments showing the road works for the approach.

You can see more details on their site at:

 http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/index/environment_and_travel/travel/publictransport/changes-2.htm

I would like to acknowledge and thank all those at OCC for their support and help.

I shall be bringing you more news on the new Water Eaton site and vehicle news is included under the Oxford Bus Company heading below.

I would like to repeat the note on the upcoming tour of our area on Sunday 29th December using one of the new Park & Ride Mercedes Benz Citaros. The tour will include Oxford, Wallingford, High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Bicester. There will be a cost which is going to around 10. If you are interested please let me know by e-mail marked Christmas Tour. Send your mail to malcolmhc@aol.com as soon as possible.

I look forward to your continued support and contribution and welcome your comments.

Malcolm Crowe, December 1st 2002.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

The operator news from our area follows.................

News of the local companies - 1st December 2002

Arriva serving The Shires

Graeme writes "I was out in Wycombe today and have a few things to report:

1. National Greenway 3305 is still in operation; today it worked the 331 from Wycombe to Thame.
2. U9-branded Mercedes vario is in the workshop having work done- it appears to be an engine problem.
3. At one point, an Alexander-bodied Olympian operated the 303s to Desborough and Totteridge. Sadly I did not get the fleet number.
4. Another Greenway, 3048, made an appearance on the 323 today. However the vehicle only appeared once.
5. All vehicles on loan have returned to their normal places, including Olympian 5106 (was this not permanently moved?)."

Indeed, Graeme, I was told 5106 was a transfer to Wycombe not a loan but then 5829 has returned, so!


Sometime ago, 5379 was moved to Wycombe and entered service
in the condition seen above in the photo by Steve Warwick.
It was quite soon repainted into corporate livery but has now gone.


I recorded last year that 5829 went on a route learning session one Sunday to Reading.
Here the bus is seen in Reading and photographed by Steve Warwick.

Steve Warwick writes to say:

"Arriva news for yesterday 27th Nov, Dennis Dart 3834 worked the 11.30 280 to Oxford and a Dennis Dart SLF was on a pm 280 didn't catch the number though.

Re the query on this weeks news page on black Olympian 5071 it is indeed back at Aylesbury it operates the 947 contract to Wycombe am and then now returns to Aylesbury and does not stay in Wycombe."

Ex Motts Olympian 5108 was noted in Oxford on the 275 last Thursday.

City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.

The Mercedes Bernz Citaros are now in build and the first one may well be here for the launch of the new Park & Ride on December 10th, see above. Fleet numbers follow on from the Volvo B10BLEs, 822-827 and I think the registrations are to be MA-MF52OXF. This is not confirmed. Due to the late delivery of the new Citaros a number of buses are being loaned in time for the launch. So far three Darts have arrived in white and are, I think, from the Dawson Rental fleet. They are (411) S720KNV  Dart SLF/Marshall B43F, (412) S724KNV Dart SLF/Plaxton B36F and (413) T419MNH with a spec the same as 412. These buses will merely fill the gap until the new Citaros arrive. The three Darts are currently being prepared for service to OBC's high standards. 413 would appear to have most recently been with Connex in the Uckfield area.

Trident 106 has been fitted with a Hannover display as has Volvo B10BLE 802. These blinds are excellent as can be judged from the photos, quite the brightest around.


Trident 103 works 5 road last Friday afternoon. seen passing the Head Office of OBC.


106 pauses for the camera before going into Queen St and Tony Blackburn.


Olympian 224 has spent quite a lot of time with other operators.
most recently it went to Crawley and Metrobus. It still carries a previous
fleet number over the fuel filler, 884 as does 214 with 883..

Oxford United will play Swindon Town in the next round of the F A Cup on Sunday December 8th 2002. Services 601 and 602 will operate to a revised timetable, basically 2 hours earlier than  for a normal day match.

Friday evening saw a number of less than frequent allocations. 5 road had 608 and 637 in place of normal low floor 8xx. 15 road had 611 and 640 in place of low floor buses.

Trident 109 has returned from Alexanders in the new livery and with 107 now awaits vinyls. 110 has now gone away for treatment. Coach 17 is away at Plaxtons.

First Uxbridge

Trevor Wilson writes "Interesting to read that Wright Lance LLW31 uses on the 335 has now moved on.  This was the only bus of it's type at Uxbridge following the First Uxbridge loss about 1 year ago of London Buses contract 232 Uxbridge<>Hounslow which had been worked by about 10 similar Wright Lances but with dual doors. 

Re vehicles that are spare and holidays  I expect that during holidays a Marshall SLF Dart will be used - this is the regular vehicle on a Saturday and I have seen them being used before during holidays.  It is only the school journeys that load beyond the seated capacity of a Marshall SLF Dart - hence the use of the long Lance which on school journeys all seats and all standing room were taken.  I believe a Marshall SLF Dart was tried on school journeys a couple of times and may have resulted in overloading (risk of leaving children behind?) and possibly Bucks CC objecting as this route a Bucks CC contract (no doubt with school journey requirements).  So this only leaves double deck vehicles - and I think these were avoided in the past due to trees."

Motts, Aylesbury


Steve Warwick sent this evocative photo of Motts B12M MT at Wembley.

Red Rose, Aylesbury


Red Rose have this Dart MPD in Golden Jubilee livery.
Photo by Steve Warwick.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford 


The M A N s on route 1 - 940-949 are receiving route branding.
Here 945 shows off its new trimmings including various slogans on the rear off side corner panel.

The allocation of the fleet in "South Midlands" is given below. I would like to thank Mr David Whitley of Stagecoach for his help in providing this information.

This is correct to 11.11.02 and buses in the new livery are shown in bold.

BANBURY DEPOT, DD - 963  Midi  106, 107, 108, 457, 458, 461, 463, 852, 853, 854, 856, 857,  MB - 425, 362, 363, 588

LEAMINGTON DEPOT : DD - 823, 824, 825, 827, 828, 839, 842, 845, 925, 926, 927, 909, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919 920, 921, 922,
928, 929, 930, 931, 932, 933, 934, 935.
  SD 201, 202, 217, 218, 219, 220, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 238, 261, 262 
MB 
418, 421, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 586, 601-15.

NUNEATON DEPOT. DD  832, 836. SD 702, 205-12, 213, 214-16, 226, 227, 239, 244   MIDIBUS 101, 102, 104, 105, 109, 110, 111, 150-158, 459, 460, 462, 464-7, 469-75  MB  342, 343, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 352, 361, 365-72

OXFORD DEPOT : DD 500, 504, 524, 528-30, SD 203, 204, 228, 235, 242, 901-903, 904-912, 913-18, 919-30K, 931-49,
MIDIBUS
709-714, 751, 752, 753, 754, 756, 757, 758, 759, 761, 762, 763, 764, 779, 784, 793, 794, 795, 839, 840, 841 -
MB
 371, 372, 374, 376, 383, 453   TUBES 34-60, 66

The remainder of the allocations will be given next week.

Disposals of note are : 247,248 - L247-8FDV to the Oxford Bus Museum.

Leyland National 710 TOF710S & 722 PUK622R are sold.

Leyland National 772  BVP772V is awaiting disposal

There are only two remaining Nationals in service with 702 at Nuneaton and 705 at Rugby.

Oxford is the largest depot in the region with 91 vehicles plus the 28 Tubes. Oxford & Rugby are now the only depots with coaches..Rugby has a total coach allocation of 13.


Rob Williams recently reminded us that "There are now only 7 Volvo B10Ms / Alexander PSs in the whole Warwickshire fleet left in the old livery (Leamington - 201, 230 & 232, Nuneaton 213, 239 and Rugby 243, 247), plus Leamington's two older Volvo B10M / Alexander P's 261/2."

HISTORICAL REFERENCES.

The photos above were taken by Steve Warwick and show buses more familiar to the last century!!!!  The Lynx has now left Arriva - Wycombe but survives with Carousel. Who knows where the Olympian coach went to, D822UTF. The VRs were widely scattered, does anyone know where HJB457W is now?

The Dennis Loline is just lovely. What beautiful liveries some buses had all those years ago.

   

Mike Penn sent the two photos above which I much appreciate. He says "I thought you might be interested in the attached photos.

The first is of City of
Oxford 301 (OFC 901H), numerically speaking, at least, Oxford's first Bristol VR.  It was originally numbered 901 in the highbridge double deck series but was later renumbered to 301.  It was also converted to open top and repainted into traditional City of Oxford livery, and very smart it looked.  It was photographed at Woburn Abbey for the Showbus rally on September 2nd 1984.  The blue sky is noteworthy for Showbus - the sun has been known to shine!

The second photo, somewhat unrecognisable, is former City of Oxford
HFC413 new in 1939 as a Weymann bodied AEC Regal.  It has been in Malta since at least 1960 where it was fitted with a locally built Barbara body.  It was photographed at Valletta on October 12th 1998."

In a recent News Page I showed a picture of a VR in the USA, ex Oxford but with a UCOC registration. Paul McNamara seems to have the answer as to why.
 He says

Various vehicles that were exported to the US received the registration plates (and chassis numbers !) of older vehicles.  This was either because only Vintage vehicles could be imported, or older vehicles were the subject to a lower import tax - can't remember which.

Anyway, which ever it was, it lead to the collapse of several tour operators when the Authorities discovered what had been occurring.

Thanks Paul.
 

PHOTO CORNER
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at 
malcolmhc@aol.com

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

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