Sunday 5th June 2005
next update week ending 17th June 2005
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An interesting week with some reasonable weather. The Oxford Times carried a number of interesting items which are reviewed in this week's editorial.
The transfer, for the summer holidays, of two Brookes buses provides an interesting item under the Stagecoach heading this week and there are also a number of historic pictures from various sources.
Changes to services in Banbury occur on the same day as this News Letter is published and I shall be making a full report in the next News Page.
Sunday 12th June sees the Stagecoach event in Portsmouth and as your editor will be attending that function the next News Page will not be published until Monday 13th June 2005. This will give me the chance to include a report on Portsmouth where Stagecoach in Oxfordshire will be represented by a Brookes Bus Trident 18052.
The shape of things to come - Arriva London Sightseeing.
I did not have time to include this item in last week's page but felt that many of my readers, especially those not able to get into London, might be interested in the latest in sightseeing buses in London.
Indeed there is a link because the old Citylink Metroliners which have given such good service to Arriva and The Original London Sightseeing Tour are already being phased out. I was fortunate enough to catch one last Tuesday outside Victoria and it was in fact the flagship of the old Citylink fleet for a number of years, 901 B901XJO. A sister bus C906GUD has already been withdrawn. Now that would make a real preservation challenge for The Oxford Bus Museum.
ML10 originated from Dunn Line who re-registered the bus before selling it since it had a cherished plate for most of its time with them.
Since being converted to open top in 1994, it has served Arriva for 11 years but was new to COMS in 1986.
It now has bus seats down stairs and weatherproof seats on the upper deck.
The rear of the vehicle is also interesting as it still retains its original badging.
Now to the new and a vehicle which will doubtless replace these older buses in the near future. It is a Volvo BT7L with Ayats Bravo open top bodywork and it does look impressive. I am told that a total of 50 will be delivered over the next three years and I have so far seen three of the new buses. The first batch of ten are now entering service. More details may be found on the official company web site http://www.theoriginaltour.com
This offside view of VLY604 - LX05GEJ shows off the most attractive paint style and the use of the Arriva house style to great effect.
Single door configuration includes a wheel chair space and the buses are seemingly fully DDA compliant.
This bus was being used for driver training when I had the chance to view it.
The rear of the bus is also stylish and makers plates are proudly displayed.
A novel idea is that of being able to close off the upper deck, especially in poor weather.
The seating is in the now familiar bright colour scheme.
No date set for the OTS enforcement cameras to be effective in Oxford.
The Oxford Times reports, in last Friday's edition, that highways managers are continuing to press the Government for camera enforcement in the High Street at the bus gate.
Many car drivers are ignoring the ban, which operates during the day because there is no permanent enforcement. It had been hoped to introduce the enforcement as early as next month but seemingly there is no indication that the government would meet this target. A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the new legislation should come into force this summer but no date was given.
Seemingly up to 50% of the traffic using the High Street for through access at peak times is illegal.
Changes to the Abingdon-John Radcliffe Hospital services bring protest from users.
With the loss of the X13 direct to the JR, one wonders if this rear advert will have a very limited life now?
834 was working an X3 service a few weeks ago before services on that route reverted to the terminus at the rail station.
It is seen here in Queen Street in April 2005.
A number of people have protested at the loss of through services from Abingdon to The JR but The Oxford Bus Company states that usage was far from acceptable to continue the service.
An interesting link on this and other changes maybe found at:
Those recent diversions following the M40 closure on Thursday 26th May.
Fred Spresser wrote to say "....was operating the 18.42 service 139 Wallingford - Henley (due to staff shortage) last Thursday 26th May, when approaching Nettlebed encountered an X90 travelling North followed closely by a National Express (I think on Route 420 - but cannot be certain, as I was somewhat gob-smacked), they had presumably operated via M4, and left @ J8/9 then via A404(M), A4130 and Henley. A couple of miles later an Airline Coach (I think an X70), but again cannot be certain, was also heading North.
Presumably the crews had simply been told "find your own way home".
Indeed so Fred, I am sure there many and varied ways to get to Oxford in times of need and I like the National Express following the Oxford coach.
Buses recently sold by Stagecoach after the floods in Carlisle have appeared with other operators.
Chris Maxfield has sent these photos saying "...Some of the Lances lost in the Stagecoach Carlisle flood situation earlier this year haver turned up in the West Midlands and are being prepared for service by The Birmingham coach company. Seen above are 27901 and 27902."
Further pictures of these buses would be much appreciated.
A letter from Trevor Wilson about new bus stops in the Chalfont area.
Trevor writes "New bus stops have also been appearing around Chalfont St Peter - courtesy of Arriva. They have also been replacing the poles so goodbye to the LT concrete bus stop poles.
Talk about Carousel having 24/25 year old Metrobuses - Liverpool FC open top bus tour was on L reg open top Atlanteans!
Was in Ely on Friday 27 May - a major rail closure in place for 5-7 days affecting many routes. One of the replacement buses was a First Uxbridge Northern Counties Olympian which has now lost its 607 branding - so maybe it now an ex-First. Also a double deck coach from Hamiltons of Uxbridge in use."
Thanks to Trevor for that news and additional comments.
Historical reference in our area
Some pictures from my album of Thames Transit, South Midland and The Oxford Tube.
More than 10 years ago in and around Oxford.
As promised last week I am including in this week's page a number of pictures taken in the early '90s in and around Oxford. I hope you enjoy them and they rekindle some forgotten memories.
When Oxford and South Midland was split two of the Oxford Leyland Tigers with Duple Dominant 50 seat bodies
were transferred to South Midland and then on to Thames Transit and The Oxford Tube.
Coach 102 gained Tube livery but I am not sure that it ever operated on The Tube?
It is seen above in Gloucester Green in the early 90s on a 27 working.
Another interesting coach was an ex Wallace Arnold short Leopard with Plaxton bodywork which was painted blue and cream.
It was seen at Wantage and Witney but in my picture is seen working the Park & Ride route to Redbridge, service 9.
It gained the fleet number 927 and was registered EWW215T.
Interesting liveries were not confined to the large buses but also to the minibus fleet.
Here we see Fords 13 and 23 in Gloucester Green waiting their next service.
South Midland operated the Jericho service under the very nose of the resident city operator, COMS.
23 is on the Jericho service whilst 13 is a Blanket bus rather far from Witney where is was based.
The next picture is of an Iveco demonstrator which spent some months in Oxford on trial with Thames Transit.
No further examples were ordered and it seen here preceding a Bristol VR on the competing Blackbird Leys service of COMS.
Another mini of sorts was this Mercedes 20+ seater seen operating the 9, Park & Ride service and again
ahead of the competing COMS service using one of the 225-229 batch of Olympians specifically purchased for the 300 route.
Finally back in Thames Transit days one of the first batch of new coaches purchased for the Oxford Tube service were
Volvo B10M Ikarus Blue Danube vehicles and H917FTT is one shown above.
Those open top Fleetlines of long ago. Comments a pictures from Mike Penn.
Mike Penn writes "It
was nice to see some more vintage photos in this week's page, especially that of
South Midland 904 as that was the only one of the batch I never managed to
photograph in Oxford. There were four altogether, originally numbered OT1 (TGX886M),
OT2 (GHV121N), OT3 (THM538M) and OT4 (TGX840M).
They were all acquired from Ensign in open top form having been used as such in London, the last one having been used previously by London Pride Sightseeing. The dates acquired, respectively, were March 1985, March 1985, July 1985 and January 1986. They were in a brown livery for sightseeing tours of Oxford except for OT2 which was in a red livery for a tour to Blenheim Palace. They were renumbered 901-4 for the 1986 season. They passed to Thames Transit in December 1988 when that operator absorbed South Midland but were probably not used as they were resold to Ensign in April 1989. 902 and 903 were resold immediately to Ryan of Langridge for tours of Bath while the other two were once more used on sightseeing tours of London until sold to Apple Tours of New York in September 1995.
I am attaching photos of OT2 taken in June 1985 and 901 and 903 taken in June 1986." (see above Editor)
Banbury and Midland Red many years ago
John Bristow writes re Banbury saying "I was interested in the comments on Banbury in your latest newsletter and thought that you would like to see a couple of pics which I took there in 1964. The C1 was snapped on 4 July 1964 and the D5 on 28 July."
John continues "I would echo all the complimentary comments regarding the website. It has developed into what is actually a weekly magazine about local bus matters, and I have yet to find a better site on the internet. So many of the enthusiast sites appear to have lain dormant for some years, presumably because their webmasters have lost interest."
Thank you kind Sir. Your comments do make it all worthwhile.
COMS memories by Chris Lowe
Chris Lowe has come up with some very nice pictures of COMS coaches and buses from some years ago.
One of the small batch of ECW bodied Leopards nr 33, familiar on the London services is pictured
and then one of the Dominant 50 seat Tigers nr 109, which eventually was used on more touring work
in the Oxford Coach Company livery.
Two deckers now, the first Olympian 209 when fairly new and pictured in Gloucester Green
and Bristol VR 459 with Oxford South Midland fleet names.
Where did that Tube go? by Jim Lowe
Following last week's comments on early Oxford Tube coaches I received a lovely picture from Jim Lowe of AOD649Y when working for Pegasus in Scotland. Jim says "....just read this weeks new page, excellent as always.
After reading about AOD648/649Y moving to Scotland to Pegasus Travel, I remembered that I took one of the vehicles at Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow. The photograph was taken 4 October 1996, on one of the many occasions I went to visit my daughter, who was studying at Glasgow University at the time.
I could never find anything out about the vehicle at the time, so it was forgotten.
Rally on 30th May 2005 at Quainton Road.
I hope some of my readers attended this event and did anyone get any pictures for inclusion on this page?
A slight concern expressed by council staff over parking spaces in New Road.
At the risk of being challenged over commenting on matters "outside" the scope of this page, I cannot help but mention an article in last Friday's Oxford Times. This related to the fact that education staff with spaces in Macclesfield House car park, New Road are having to give up their spaces when there are full County Council meetings as County Councillors are finding it difficult to park when attending Council meetings.
Does it not beg the question, why are these people not using the excellent Park & Ride facilities so championed by the County and City Councils instead of bringing cars into the city centre?
I wonder if any of my readers have comments
on this matter?
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. Please note that next week's page will be published on Monday evening and not Sunday as usual.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 5th June 2005
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News of the local companies – 5th June 2005
Abbey Coaches - Prestwood Travel, High Wycombe
It appears that this company ceased trading last Friday, 3rd June 2005. Gavin Francis took a couple of pictures of the fleet today, Sunday to remember this company by.
Ex Arriva Yorkshire, 4064 P201RWR leaves Green Line, London on a 757 working to Luton Airport.
This coach also worked in Edinburgh and for Arriva Fox.
Five wheel-chair accessible VDL SB4000/Van Hool Alicrons are on order for the 757.
The company advised yesterday that it had purchased four Darts from various sources. These will be used to cover some of the work previously done by Abbey Coaches who ceased trading last Friday.
The Darts were being prepared for service, today Sunday, and will enter service in the previous operators livery until time permits otherwise.
The Darts concerned are
L109HHV Dennis Dart - Northern Counties (Time does not allow for research into where this bus came from ??)
K323CVX Dennis Dart - Plaxton Pointer B35F ex Arriva Southern Counties E3373 and last recorded as working in Southend.
L153WAG Dennis Dart - Plaxton Pointer B34F ex Arriva London DRL153 and carrying depot code CN. It is suggested it came from Croydon ??
J30?WHJ Dennis Dart - Plaxton Pointer ex Arriva but no further details known at this time - could be 307 or 310 from Medway or unallocated and transferred from Arriva London in 2004.
Further details and photos are welcome and will be published in next week's page.
I thought how smart this DAF looked, nr 981 had just had its wheel painted.
what a difference clean wheels can make to the appearance of a vehicle
and how many operators seem to fail to realise this fact.
Le Bras writes "Oxford
67 in blue was spotted by me around 11am on route X90 inbound at Victoria on
Coach 24 waits for the lights in Worcester Street last week showing the nearside destination
screen applied to 24, 25 and 26 but not to the rest of the batch, 23, 67 and 68.
The remainder of the changes mentioned last week to services in Oxford by the company are:
The whole of the 2 is being split up, with the 8/8A taking over to Barton/Risinghurst roughly as present. All five variations of the 2 to Kidlington continue to exist.
The X13 will be discontinued with all journeys to and from Abingdon reverting to X3s. Some peak journeys will terminate in St Aldates.
The 13C to Marston Village is withdrawn and replaced by a straight 13, giving a 10 minute frequency of 13 then 13A.
The 35 is being reduced to hourly between Abingdon and Didcot with a new routing 35C avoiding Steventon. The rest of 35 road remains every 15 minutes.
300 & 400 - all journeys after 2000hrs from the city withdrawn.
14 Section between City and JR is withdrawn Monday - Friday, leaving just the subsidised sections:
Monday - Friday: JR - Churchill
Saturday: City - JR
Bus Monkey sent in his usual report.
827 on 16
633 on 300
630 on 5
Ex London General Dart, 412 this time on 6 road in Worcester Street last week..
Volvo/Paladin 655 on a 4 road working passing Oxford Castle in New Road last week.
The June edition of Buses reports that Mass, North Anston has reverted the registration of ex Oxford 57 to N157BFC from N1MAS - fleet number 5001. Does anyone have a picture of this coach with MASS ?
Stephen Le Bras writes "...the local free paper mentions the fact that Courtney Coaches starts a new park and ride service in Maidenhead on June 13th. It will run from Hines meadow car park in Stafferton Way into town every 15/20 minutes, whilst a major supermarket rebuilds its premises. Presumably it will employ some of the Solos currently on order?"
Their web site is very interesting, giving their services and some fleet details.
Bras writes following the picture last week of the ex Airbus Olympian on the
702/X7 routes. He says "34194
appeared in service on Friday 20th May and is due to return to
First Devon and Cornwall, I am informed, sometime tomorrow. It has been used on route 702 principally during its stay. It was registered N113UHP as part of London United A1/2 London to Heathrow service.
plan is to discover whether double deck buses could be better suited to
Greenline 702/X7 than coaches and their ongoing DDA requirements. At the same
time, First will no doubt want to trial DDA compliant coaches as well to find
out how they cope before ordering some new vehicles.
Solo 53054 has appeared at least twice this week on route 41/43, making three such forays in all in recent months."
Following last week's appearance of an ex Airbus Olympian on the 702 and X7 last Tuesday
it was the turn of SB64817 in full Lakes advertising livery to provide the service on the 702.
Geoff Amos, Eydon
Richard Sharman writes that ex I.O.M Olympians BMN86/88G have arrived here last week via Ensign. A further MAN/MCV Evolution is on order, bringing the total to four. There is now a decker outstation at Brailes nr Shipston.
The M A N 14-220/MCV Evolutions so far delivered are 51 to 53 registered AM05 BFT, GAB and JAS.) A nice touch in the use of AM and 05 to produce the operators name.
Richard Sharman advises that Dart Pointer K623PGO in use on Local Link services in Bicester.
Has anyone got any pictures of same?
Richard Sharman advises that the fleet has undergone a major update of late with ALL Tigers gone, having been to all three depots.
Jonckheere B10M's are the vehicles of choice-
M634/9KVU, N722/6-8/31/33/4KVR and N802/8/9NHS where seen as well as those that have been in the fleet a while. B6/Pointer L409GPY is acquired and in coach livery rather than Heyfordian Bus livery. I now have a contact there and hope to get a up to date fleet list soon.
Ricahrd did not comment on the six ex Stagecoach Volvo B10Ms recently arrived and featured in recent editions of this page.
Richard Sharman advises having visited all depots last week that a decision has yet to made if the Bowens livery will be used in the future. The Bovas acquired have kept the livery adapted to included the Jeffs name and a green and red ribbon. But Premiere W607FUM is in a experimental livery, i.e. Bowens Silver with Green and Red ribbon with Jeffs name but no Sun in the middle.
M412BEY and N253PGO are loans from Nextbus.
VRP45S, H409CJF are being stripped at Helmdon along with F48CVV, 47 was scraped last year.
Additions are Bovas ECZ144, GLZ6557 and XIL5299.
Caetano N789SJU has rejoined the fleet from Bakers.
Van Hool SIL3924 and Olympians C649/660LJR are operating in Go North East livery from Buckingham
The last three Bedfords MPE772P,NBD 309V and PJF227R will be replaced by B10M's from Yorks in due course.
A B6 is also due to join the fleet soon. L408GPY.
Matt Cooper writes to include some pictures saying
recent photos from the MK area! I've managed to get a couple of ex Wevaway Solo
28 (YN03 NEF) which was branded for service 8 last week. The single deck is a
DAF / Wright Cadet acquired from Cumbrae Coaches early this year and is a very
pleasant bus to drive. It is taken at Hanslope on a Sunday only route 33,
operated by Stagecoach M-Sa and continues to Northampton on these days.
Keep up the good work, always a good read on a Monday (or any day really!)
The 757 now provides great variety in coaches operating the route.
Here we see DAF D25 waiting time in Gloucester Green last week.
The 304 can also provide interest though this Volvo/Plaxton Paragon of GoAhead North East is regular on the route.
7082 - Y782MFT is seen on 30th May 2005 on the 1600hrs departure to Liverpool from Oxford.
Loans in an out feature on the latest Stagecoach fleet list. The three M A N Megabuses already mentioned are now joined by two Brookes Tridents which have gone to Devon for their summer holidays. See under the Brookes heading for pictures and details.
Chris Lowe writes "I have taken another former Oxford Olympian photo, although it isn't of the two that have been transferred to Princess Road garage. This one is of Hyde Road based 16505 (R505UWL) which as you will see has its National fleet number applied incorrectly too.
The number on this is 505 but should read 16505, but as you will see the 505 has been centred over the upper deck screen. It isn't the previous pre-national fleet number which was 735.
For your information this photo was taken just inside the entrance to Hyde Road garage this evening, Monday 30th May."
Chris Lowe sent this picture of 16505 and ex Witney Olympian with a three figure fleet number 505.
Chris really does come up with some gems, this one being taken in Hyde road Depot, Manchester.
Witney Tridents do work the 20 to Chipping Norton and here 18127 is seen leaving GG on the 30th May.
Volvo 20007 has been prepared for repainting and should be back completed by next weekend.
M A N 22941 has lost its super rear ad following repaint.
Bus Monkey sent the following observations
18196 on 10
16522 on 1
20820 on 10
16522 on 1
20805 on 7/7C
16524 on 10
16680 on X6
The expected transfer of two Brookes Bus Tridents took place last weekend and 18055 and 18056 went to Devon for their holidays. They are working on the 12 between Paignton and Brixham or Newton Abbot and reader Ian Kirby sent me the first pictures on Tuesday and Wednesday last.
Martin Hazel wrote to say "I was on holiday in Devon last week and was surprised to 18056 in full BrookesBus livery operating Stagecoach Devon route 12. I have attached a photo of 18056 loading up at Paignton bus station."
Ian Kirby's picture of 18055 departing for Brixham from Paignton bus station last Wednesday.
Martin Hazel's picture of sister bus 18056 loading on stand at Paignton bus station for Newton Abbot.
Look out for 18052 at Portsmouth on Sunday 12th June when not to be outdone by its sisters, it will have a day at the seaside.
Instructions say that spare Brookes Tridents in Oxford may only be used on routes not served by the U1 or U5.
Here 18195 works at 20 service on 31st May 2005 and is seen leaving Gloucester Green
50121 has now returned from modification and now has a bar, in the same style as the new Megabus Neoplans, on the front passenger table.
Gavin Francis caught two of the three Megabus M A N s in Gloucester Green recalling times
last year before the arrival of the Neoplan fleet.
Neoplan 50115 departs from Buckingham Palace road on an Oxford working on 30th May.
All three loaned Megabus M A N s pose for the camera at the parking at Exel, Oxford.
Each one has the vinyls applied in a different way and so can be recognised from a distance.
London based 50137 departs from Green Line bound for Manchester and Glasgow.
It is followed by 50141 on a Birmingham working. The date the 31st May 2005.
A surprise visitor to London last week was this relief Megabus coach
52669 operated by Bluebird, Aberdeen. Maybe they are short of M A N coaches.
Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor - PSV Circle writes to say "...if you are around Tappins, Didcot take a look at F/No 153 - they have just completely overhaul the vehicle and it looks great - a twenty year old vehicle which could be around for many more years.
Also they have acquired three second-hand Volvo B10M-62 VH body - two ex Fraser Eagle and one from a North Wales operator "
Details are :
All Volvo B10M-62 with Van Hool bodywork.
T991JNW and T992JNW - both ex Fraser Eagle, Accrington.
S810MCC - ex Clynnog & Trefor, Trefor.
Richard Sharman reports that additions are Tiger/3200's 48, F700 ENE 47 G100VMN ?? 966MKE ?? C17OST ex Lewis, Greenwich B58/Supreme JWL322V, OL 45, C454GKE
Scrap are Supreme 26, ex 966MKE and spares only FFC322V
Fred Spresser sent the current fleet list and also advised that the MB Sprinter 610 has finally arrived. This is registered OU05LWP and has the fleet number 305
Fleet List as at 01-06-2005.
Reg. No. Type Body and Seats
M501VJO Dennis Dart Marshall B36D Ex City of Oxford 501
WWL208X Leyland Olympian E. C. W. H47/28D “ “ “ “ 208
R846JGD Mercedes O814D Plaxton Beaver B31F
R847JGD “ “ . “ “ B27F
R848JGD “ “ “ “ B31F
BD02HDV “ 411CDI Evo-Bus B13F
BX02CMF “ “ “ “
OU05LWP “ 616CDI “ B25F
X 49VVY Optare Solo Optare B27F
X383VVY “ “ “ “
KX53SGV “ “ “ B26F
KX53SGY “ “ “ “
KX53SGZ “ “ “ “
V270BNV Dennis Dart Plaxton MPD B29F Ex Armchair, Brentford
Y972GPN “ “ “ “ “
Y973GPN “ “ “ “ “
KP51UFB “ “ “ “ “
KP51UFC “ “ “ “ “
KP51UFG “ “ “ “ “
KP51UFH “ “ “ “ “
KP51UFK “ “ “ Pointer B36F
KP51UFL “ “ “ “ “
KP51SXU “ “ “ MPD B29F Ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
KU52RXF “ “ “ “ “
KU52RXG “ “ “ “ “
KU52RXR “ “ “ “ “
KU52RXS “ “ “ “ “
OU04FMV “ “ “ “ “ See Note (A)
V 67SVY Volvo B10BLE Alexander DP44F Ex Longstaff,
Y313KDP “ B6LE East Lancs B36F Ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
Y877KDP “ “ “ “ B31F “ “ “ “
OU54PGZ Scania N94 ELC O-Dekka CH47/33F
AE05EUX M.A.N. 14.220 M.C.V. B40F
AE05EUZ “ “ “ “
Notes (a) Delivered with Registration Number SN04EFW
Re-registered due to demise of Trans-Bus International
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These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
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