Monday 6th October 2003
next update week ending 18th October 2003
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The last week has been a notable one in our area. First was the initial deliveries of new buses for the Brookes contract by Stagecoach and of course there was notable last, that of the last Oxford Bus Olympian. Last Sunday saw the annual running day at Amersham. The days leading up to Sunday were largely fine and Sunday was a very good day in our area with amazingly deep blue skies. This seemed to add to the photos of a really wonderful collection of preserved buses.
Brookes University now provides an excellent bus services for its students and the new Stagecoach deliveries will certainly add a new quality to travel for Brookes people.
Rob Williams sent this picture as a foretaste of things to come.
18051 - KX53VNB -gives a glimpse of the Brookes livery.
Full details can be found below under the Brookes Bus heading.
Amersham 2003, as has come to be expected, provided an excellent variety of buses for everyone's pleasure. Although there was an inevitable predominance of London buses a number of other interests were represented, not the least being THREE buses from Carousel. Woottens had provided an ex Oxford Olympian and there was even an ex Blackpool Transport Atlantean.
Brian Matthews provided me with a number of photos and I rather liked this general view taken from the Car Park.
There were a number of GS buses including GS33. When this little bus departed the exhaust noise was a delight, crackling very loudly. For those who can remember there is a distinct Ford lorry sound to the gearbox. Each departure was well loaded.
GS33 waits time for its next service from Amersham.
There were two RLHs and I don't remember RLH32 before. Both buses carried almost full loads on every trip and seemed to be the most popular during the few hours I spent at Amersham.
Here we see RLH32 loading for a run on the 336.
Although the RT was represented there were seemingly fewer than in previous years. However a prime example was RT3228 appearing in full Green Line livery
Surely one of the most appealing designs ever to take to our roads, the RT design always seemed
so perfect in proportion and timless apearance.
Michael Wootten has built up an enviable business using quality coaches. For schools work he also has a small fleet of older double deck buses. Two of these originated with Oxford Bus (COMS). Michael always ensures a superb presentation and his offering on Sunday was no exception.
BBW214Y had a busy life with Oxford, seeing service in that city and High Wycombe.
The badging on this bus was notable the lower nearside badging being Bristol Olympian.
One rather successful operator in the Wycombe is Carousel Buses. One of the most notable routes to be secured in recent weeks has been the A40 from High Wycombe. This route will shortly see the delivery of a fleet of three brand new Mercedes Benz Citaros. They will be in the now standard Heathrow silver livery with red branding.
L564 is seen here at Heathrow alongside an Airline Scania Irizar, nr 35, bound for Oxford.
The last service of the long serving fleet of Olympians is covered under the Oxford heading below. Entering service in 1981 and 1982, over 20 years service has been given by these fine buses.
Finally an unfortunate incident took place in High Wycombe last Monday, when staff at the Arriva depot in High Wycombe took unofficial industrial action resulting from a dispute over new duty rosters. Only very few services ran before lunch time and newspaper reports state that many workers and schoolchildren were left stranded. I do not profess to be in possession of the full facts but suffice to say such action cannot have helped the general public's opinion of an already less than happy service delivery.
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 some of which will be used next week.
Malcolm Crowe, October 6th 2003.
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News of the local companies – 6th October 2003
Correspondents advise the following with Neil Gow saying
Today (Fri 3rd) Arriva Olympian 5130 F747XCS was parked outside the bus station. Its blind said 74 Castlefield (the 74 goes nowhere near Castlefield!) and the adverts on it were for places in the Hertford area. Months ago Steve Warwick listed those that he was told were coming to Wycombe depot. We had all the 51xxs listed - the others were supposed to be from Arriva London. Perhaps we are going to get some more of the 51xx series instead, to replace the remaining five ex Oxford Olympians.
Volvo B6 3127 was parked in one of the bays with blind not working but displaying 353 on the side (the 353 doesn't come to Wycombe!). The driver had to get out and call "Mickefield, anyone for Micklefield?". It didn't even have a scrap of paper displaying 326 in the front window.
Michael Chadwick writes
Tuesday 30th Sep.: Arriva
F747XCS parked in bus station, showing 74 [Slough service] on all blinds. By
Friday 3rd Oct., moved outside, still displaying 74, but with destination
Castlefield! Also on Friday, LUCKETTS (ex-Greater Manchester) Titan
GNF10(?)V (in livery which closely matched Arriva shade) showing 963 School
Service and parked in the normal spot for the regular Arriva B271LPH(?) which
was at rear of garage.
By lunchtime, the Titan had gone, and its space occupied by a D-prefix Arriva Olympian with no blinds and some missing seats, but smartly painted (another "new"! arrival for Wycombe?)
Ed Maun wrote saying "I have just picked up a Bucks County Council leaflet titled “Changes to Bucks CC/EasyBus services from September 1st” “. The morning and evening peak Risborough town service 177 has been withdrawn as has the Stokenchurch to Marlow leg of service 160. The 126 service between Haddenham, Longwick and Princes Risborough has also been withdrawn. There is a new service 157 between Stokenchurch and Henley running on Henley College days only. There is also a new service 158 between Marlow, Marlow Bottom and High Wycombe - one journey each way, Monday to Friday. The Thursdays only 125 service (Princes Risborough – Wendover – Aston Clinton – Halton – Wendover – Princes Risborough) is now operated by Z&S and hence does not enjoy the benefits of an EasyBus vehicle! The leaflet also states that the EasyBus network will be relaunched as the County Rider network on October 6th."
"I was in High Wycombe again today (11/9) and hence had a chance to explore the Western end of Red Route 33. Some of the stops have the new stop signs with integral timetable cases, some are part complete and there are others where work has not yet started. I have noticed that all the Red Route stops are named (this includes Red Route 9 in Aylesbury). As an interim on Red Route 33 the old stop flags had a “Red Route” vinyl strap and a stop name vinyl strap attached. Most of the stops in the London Road in High Wycombe have also been named – straps on the standard flags. As a post script to my previous notes on Red Route 33, the red strap branding line on the buses declares the destination west bound to be Castlefield – use of Desborough on the front destination blind seems even more bizarre!"
Metrobus M57 attended Amersham last Sunday bearing A40 destination displays.
I was told that it had worked one trip to Heathrow during the last week.
FAREWELL TO THE OLYMPIAN
The last Olympian in service with Oxford was the penultimate ECW bodied version, 223.
It is seen here last Friday afternoon, complete with National Bus "Oxford-South Midland" sticker.
(seen below the front windscreen in this picture)
Last Friday saw the very last Olympian working by OBC in the City of Oxford. 223 worked the 0715 to Didcot and return and the 0945 to Abingdon adn return. It then returned to the depot for a last minute spruce up before going out in the evening peak on service 2A.
The trip nearly didn't run with 223 as the throttle slave cylinder developed a fault which meant the driver only had half throttle and 223 sometimes refusing to go into the next gear as the speed wasn't high enough. Not wishing to disappoint the numerous enthusiasts who had come on the last trip coaxed it along and although running a few minutes late at each end the elderly Olympian managed to complete the duty and pleased everybody that had made the effort to attend. (Maybe 223 didn't want to leave Oxford. Ed)
the last day in service 223, this morning the bus performed very well with a few
photographers on the way. This evening, with a lot more photographers around,
the engine sometimes refused to change gear automatically and our top speed was
20 mph. Then just as suddenly, the gear change would connect and we would be
able to maintain normal speed. The front of the bus had Oxford South Midland
fleet name, its original on delivery. The legal operator, Thames Travel was also
still just visible on the side from its days on hire.
221 sold to Confidence of Leicester
222 Sold to Ford of Althorne
223 Going to Hedingham & District next Tuesday
224 Already sold to Hedingham & District
The Citaros are due late November, early December
208, sold to Thames Travel a while ago, is having a new engine fitted at the present time.
I visited Thames Travel on Sunday and John Wright told me that the new engine had arrived and would be fitted as soon as possible.
Neil Gow sent this picture of Olympian 223 (CUD 223Y) at Abingdon Road/Chatham Road
on the 0935 arrival from Didcot, the last day in service of a COMS Leyland Olympian.
Grahame Wareham of Oxford Bus sent this picture of 223 on its last run to Kidlington.
Grahame Wareham of Oxford Bus sent this picture of 223 on its final departure from Kidlington Airport.
As mentioned last week several older coaches have returned to service.
Here Volvo/Plaxton nr 3 leaves fro a run to London last Saturday.
First Berkshire EC2016 laods for a 75 duty to Slough from Heathrow Central Bus Station last Saturday.
Stagecoach have brought in several loaned Olympians from other parts of the South Midland empire
to cover for the awaited Tridents. Here 16032 rests up at Horspath depot last Sunday morning.
Neil Gow writes "Parked at BRS today were Dennis Tridents 18051-3 (VX53VNB/C/D), in BrookesBus livery, plus M.A.N. VX53VNH in standard livery and M.A.N. VX53VNJ in black livery".
Rob Williams writes "31333 has been exchanged for 20205 from Nuneaton which arrived on Friday (it had appeared before the Tridents, but with all the excitement I guess no one else paid much attention!). 31330 and 31331 are also going to be similarly swapped for B10s, removing the B6 from Oxford to a location where there are plenty. The swap will allow Nuneaton to fully convert their services 10/50 to Camp Hill to low floor (currently there is a mix of B10M and B6).
20205 features an advert for Nuneaton MegaRiders on the offside, so it will be interesting to see if it appears in service with this!
I've been told, but can't confirm that in addition to 16616, 16614 went back to Leamington during the week".
Ralph Adams writes "The
3 Tridents received so far are 18051-53, KX53VNB/C/D, H47/31F. They are all 13ft
8 in high (is this the normal height of a President.
31333 left Oxford at noon yesterday - destination unknown. So the fleet is reduced in number before the new buses are ready for service."
The MAN still have no national fleet numbers. The Black bus is normal Stagecoach interior, and will go away to have BMW logos / advertising. With the launch of the cabriolet MINI next spring, visits around the factory have been suspended, so the bus is now not needed.
Under this heading I can bring you photos of the new deliveries mentioned above.Some details of buses used on Brookes may be found under the Stagecoach heading above.
Trident 18053 shows off the Brookes Bus branding.
The line up of new deliveries at the BRS site near Blackbird Leys.
Loadings certainly seem to be improving according to our readers reports.
A Sunday visit to Wallingford caught a large proportion of the fllet "at Home".
I had expected to see one of their newly expected Solos but these are still a week away.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Pictured in High Wycombe I came across this Plaxton owned by Sodexho which appears to be something to do with the MOD?
A surprise coach on the 757 at Oxford was ex Speedlink T205AUA complete with club type facing seats
giving passengers on this route a new experience.
Go-Ahead group company, Go Northern provides this Plaxton Paragon for its contribution to the 304.
Note its cherished registration JCN822. Wonder what that came off.
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inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
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