Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
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Most of us awoke to a surprise yesterday morning, Sunday, when quite heavy snow had fallen over the South East of England. We have, I think, got used to not having snow and having planned to visit Cobham 2008, I was wondering how the roads would be. I need not have worried as the M40 and M25 were clear and I had a pleasant journey down to Cobham but my, was it cold when I emerged from my nice warm car. It has snowed lightly all the way down and was still snowing for the first few hours. I have made a report of the day that I "enjoyed" but I was not alone as some thousands attended this annual event.
My first view of Wisely Airfield site after I had parked the car.
RML 3 is seen loading for Cobham on the 477.
New buses and coaches are the theme of this latest news page, with further Scania tri-axles entering service with National Express, including a batch of five for contractor, burtons of Haverhill. These are being used on the 787 between Cambridge and Heathrow. Terravision has also received a third Scania tri-axle and this has an 08 plate.
Road works in Oxford on New Road and Park End Street have caused major problems at the junction with Worcester Street which has had its traffic lights taken out of service and a mini roundabout installed. I have to say that as a coach driver, these mini roundabouts are not such a good idea, since it is almost impossible to take a coach round the centre and one ends up cutting across. This is of course against the other traffic which is going round. Long delays resulted on several occasions last week and one only hopes the works can be finished as soon as possible.
The 1st April was a landmark date for concessionary travel as passes for the over 60s and disabled allowed free travel over the whole of England on locally registered services. Already there have been several newspaper articles about the best routes to travel and various readers have already used their passes to make some interesting trips. Planning for my trip to Lands End is in an advanced stage and I hope to make this in the week of 12th May. To give the opportunity for eligible readers to record their journeys we have a new heading from this week, Travel on a Concessionary Pass 2008.
This issue sees an all time record of content and pictures, those being over 130. I hope readers enjoy the content and that the high level of support will continue.
Due to the size of this page, some items have had to be held over until the next issue.Tellings Golden Miller buys Excel
Stansted-based Excel Passenger Logistics Ltd, and its associated businesses, Flight Delay Services Ltd in Manchester and Excel Gatwick Ltd, have been bought by Heathrow-based coach, bus and airport logistics company Tellings Golden Miller Group – now part of Arriva – for an undisclosed sum, the company announced this afternoon (Monday 7th April).
The three Excel companies primarily provide transport and accommodation services to the airline industry for passengers from cancelled, delayed or diverted flights.
With a fleet of 50 passenger vehicles and 90 employees, the companies also operate contracted and commercial bus services to the British Airports Authority and local councils, as well as private coach hire and airside crew transport.
I mentioned elsewhere the snow which covered the Chilterns yesterday and many other parts of South East England. I received a number of interesting pictures which I think are worth including on this page.
Taken at Stagecoach's Horspath depot early on Sunday morning.
From Edgar Tiburcio
Taken at Gatwick on Sunday morning.
From Richard Sharman
Again on Sunday morning.
As mentioned above, on looking out of the window when I got up, I did wonder about going to Cobham. My enthusiasm was not a little dented by the thought of cold damp weather, which makes photography not easy. however with my trusty red jacket, green cords, welly boots and flat cap, I carried an umbrella for most of the morning and kept reasonably dry and warm. The airfield was quite busy when I arrived and on parting with £10 in return for programme number 2482 and orange wrist band, I was on my way. The stalls were only just setting up and the British Bus Fleets man told me he has been there since 05:30 and only been allowed to erect his stand at 10:00 such were the concerns for health and safety. I purchased my copy of the 2008 Stagecoach handbook, just published and then looked to see what was going to take me to the museum site. A green and white Olympian had just departed and I was told the next bus would be a Metrobus. Now I don't like these buses and having driven some examples I am still not enchanted by them as so many other fellows are. I took a walk around the now growing number of stalls and noted an RT model for sale at £120. I think this is £30 off list price.
Keeping my eye on the departure stand I saw that the Metrobus has gone and so made my way to the queue to see what would be next. First RM 2389 came on stand and I stood back when I heard that after this Volvo Ailsa V3 would be the next to go. I managed to get a seat near the front downstairs and prepared to enjoy a new experience having never been on an Ailsa before. Taking on a good load we set off across the airfield at a sedate pace accompanied by some quite musical engine and gearbox noises. I did think they were quite old fashioned. Reaching the local roads we headed towards Cobham, again at quite sedate pace, never seeming to get out of third gear.
A group of youngsters were standing by the side of the road in a nearby village and as we went by proceeded to hurl large chunk of snow at the bus. Sad people I thought, why oh why can't they let the world go by?
We joined the main road towards Cobham and seemed to get out of third gear, keeping up what I think was a steady 30 mph towards out destination. The bus is well cared for and in immaculate condition which can be seen from the photos below. It does seem odd to have a drivers cab door on such a seemingly modern bus.
Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.
Other buses in service were of equal interest and I found out that RM1933 was having its first day in service in its special livery.
The other buses included RML3, which I rode to and from Weybridge Station on, RP90, also on 499, a Transdev yellow double deck, an Ensign DAF Spectra and a variety of London buses including repatriated RTL139.
RTL139 and RM1562 with RP 90 in pictures by Malcolm Crowe.
RML 2389 by Peter Edgar.
RML 3 at Weybridge Station by Malcolm Crowe.
Now I rather enjoyed the ride on RML3 and noticed that it had a later steering wheel than when new. I guess its centre boss was mid 60s. It performed very well and was rattle free, oh why do modern buses have to rattle so much?
The organisers had put on a nice display of their working buses outside and I took a few shots for the record.
By now the sun was trying to shine and I thought I would make my way back to Wisley. At these events it is always nice to wonder what bus would turn up and I got to the queue to find an RML and decided to wait. I noticed RTW75 seemed to be the next out and determined to take this old friend. The clippie was a rather trim brunette, things were looking up and I was not disappointed by the driver who gave us a speedy run back to Wisley. We were followed by RMC 1469 and I hopped off hoping to get a picture of the RTW. However the driver was not hanging around and shot off to the parking area. My picture, such as it was lack half the roof, sad but .... what a ride. I was luckier with RMC 1469 and then another surprise being a Stagecoach South Trident, whose driver seemed less than patient with a car in his way.
I then looked at the crowded display area on the airfield and though shall I but the cold and the thought of my warm car got the better of me and so it was off home. I enjoyed what I did and saw but oh for a warm and sunny day like last weekend at Reading.
Richard Sharman took Solo 409 along and was parked next to a similar aged example from Centrebus. Picture from Richard.
For those who want to see more of the Cobham 2008, Terry Wong Min was on hand and there is an excellent photo page on his site at : http://londonbuspics.fotopic.net/c1484553.html
I was delighted to accept an invitation to join this well known society on a trip to Reading a week or so ago. It was especially interesting since the bus to be used for the leg from London was one of the old BEA Routemasters which used to run from The West London Air Terminal on the Cromwell Road to Heathrow back in the mid 60s. Indeed I had travelled several times on these buses complete with their trailers and my bag. One then went quickly through what is now Terminal 2 to your waiting aircraft and your bag already on board. The trailers were taken by Land Rover to the aircraft side for baggage loading. This didn't last too long as it proved costly to run a bus for each flight. There is also a story that one driver on arriving at Heathrow said "someone's lost their trailer on the M4 - it's just passed me". Guess what, it was his trailer!!!
I joined the party at Victoria having travelled down to London on the Oxford Tube which conveniently terminates just near where the RMA was to pick up. The RMA arrived shortly after I did and the group assembled for an on time departure at 1030. Several off us elected to take pictures as it came round from the back of VCS and then leg it along to a convenient spot for boarding towards Grosvenor Gardens. The resulting pictures are shown below. We all were somewhat annoyed at the appearance of the modern taxi which marred the classic shot of VCS.
We then proceeded towards our next photo stop which was to be The West London Air Terminal or at least what is there in 2008, a Sainsbury's store.
There was some debate as to what the location and entrance and exit arrangements were but the RMA was somehow back home for a moment in time.
Leaving our photo stop we headed off towards Heathrow along the M4 and then our problems started. The RMA seemed to loose power and eventually gave up the ghost just short of a petrol station. A decision was made to refuel the bus as it seemed it might have run out of fuel. This was not the case as it did not take even half a tank of fuel. We struggled on and finally our driver pulled in to the service road by Fullers Brewery at The Hogarth Roundabout. Now this was not at all a bad place to stop, since not only was there a pub to hand but also a steady flow of buses and coaches passing by for photographs.
We had a two hour wait whilst a relief bus and fitter were sent from Purfleet and finally we were on our way once again, by now on board RM54. This bus performed faultlessly and kept up a steady 50 mph towards Reading. Sadly we were short of time for a stop at Heathrow and so pressed onwards to our destination at Reading Buses. Arriving at Great Knollys Street we were greeted with an amazing sight of much of the Reading fleet lined up for our pleasure. James Freeman, the Chief Executive of Reading Buses introduced himself and two colleagues who were on hand to move buses for photographs and generally look after us.
An impressive line up of part of the Reading fleet which greeted us on our arrival.
After taking as many photos as anyone could wish for we boarded an ex Reading Mainline Routemaster (RM999) ably driven by Mike Russell on routes A & B and again there was much opportunity for pictures.
I have to say that the day was very well organised and even the breakdown turned out well for most. I must thank Bob Stanger and Trevor Hawes for their kind invitation and to say how much I enjoyed the day out, a welcome change from the keyboard and an OCBP update. Also to James Freeman and his team at Reading who put on a remarkable display of their fleet. If only all operators were like this.
Our perfect host at Reading was James Freeman.
We passed by, on our way into Reading, the old home of Thackray's, still standing having been built to front their coach station in 1930.
For those who want to see more of the visit, Terry Wong Min was on hand and there is an excellent photo page on his site at : http://londonbuspics.fotopic.net/c1484553.html
A man from the Cotswolds travels to London - being a story of The Oxford Tube
One of my readers, Geoff Cunliffe, often visits the Cotswolds and sent me this lovely piece out of a local paper in Stow-on-the-Wold. Geoff writes "Occasionally it is nice to read about our pet subject when it is written by someone not so close to the topic. Whilst we were at Stow-on-the-Wold recently, I picked up a copy of The Stow Times and it contained a very complementary article about the Oxford Tube."
Alternative Transport - with acknowledgement to Ben Eddols of The Stow Times.
I recently had a strange experience. There was a need to get into Central London for 10.30 in the morning, loaf around for a few hours and return.
No problem; Instigate plan A ;
1. Jump in car
2. Allow enough time for journey, say 2 hours
3. Drive as near to destination as possible and park 4. Remember to pay the congestion charge
Easy then - Not when you have two female passengers who are (sometimes) not the best of female passengers - its not 100% clear where you are going, whether you will be able to park and what it will cost. Not forgetting the congestion charge. Mmm, the problems seem to be outweighing the solutions at present.
Ok, plan B, the train.
Have you seen those trains from Moreton? The few carriages which happen by are usually full of people herded in like Herefords off to slaughter. Invariably you stand all the way and unless the trip was planned 3 months in advance, charges are on a par with the cost of a prime cut from one of the beasts. Apparently they can also be unreliable.
Plan C ? Drive to a station on the outskirts of London and get on the underground. That sounds ok but we must be at our destination on time. I'm not sure which station to go to and surely parking won't be easy or cheap there either.
Phew, I'm glad I don't commute because plan D is so bizarre to a car-frenzied traveller as to look beyond belief. A bus! Ok, I know many of you are still recoiling from the suggestion of using public transport anyway and the thought of a bus is going just too far but bear me out.
We drove to Oxford, a pleasurable experience with surprisingly little traffic at 7.45 on a sunny morning, and easily found the Oxford Tube Bus station somewhere beyond Headington.
Surprise number one, free parking.
Surprise number two, a completely new terminus with an architecturally designed (this means it's all shiny and new now, but will have fallen down in 10 years time) bus station.
Picture by Gavin Francis
Surprise number three, a cheery helpful bus conductor who sells us tickets, tells us where to stand and that the buses run every 15 minutes.
A big red twin-decked six-wheeled coach arrives and we hop on. The media take great delight in publicising these vehicles, usually scaremongering when one flops on its side at the entrance or exit to the motorway. We sit upstairs and are wafted along in total comfort. WIFI connection is available throughout and I could plug my laptop (or toaster?) into the electrical socket by my knee. An unknown fellow traveller who regularly uses the service tells me its reliable, clean, inexpensive and unlike the poor Herefords, seating is freely available.
Into the London Rush hour, no stress, sit back, relax, read the free newspaper and look down on the traffic.
outside. That Porsche can easily top 175 MPH, but it keeps losing out to the concrete mixer as they tussle for lane position at 3mph. Time ticks by and I wonder if the train would have been quicker; just lay back and think of England, the bus will get you there.
10.00 am. Marble Arch. We decant, into the tube station, £6.00 each for a day ticket in central London and were soon speeding to our destination, change here, mind the gap, up the elevator, stand and look stupid (it usually works) a pleasant lady takes pity and directs us to our destination.
A few quality hours in London, early lunch in a small restaurant with excellent service from the attentive Polish staff, then we split up. I head for the Museums. The tube whisks me to South Kensington station in no time, a bit of a walk and I enter the Science Museum. Instantly I'm aged twelve again, gawping at the wonders therein. If like me you haven't been for years, it's an absolute must!
Home time comes and we re-group at Marble Arch. I ask the helpful driver, Polish of course, to pose by the coach for a snap and we’re off again on the pleasurable trip home.
So what about this public transport thing, does it have a future? As a petrol head I should be condemning it out of hand - I don't want to be a Hereford unless I get a free field thrown in - I don't want to be held up by buses taking valuable road space. But in all honesty it's just bonkers to have ever increasing numbers of vehicles milling around our crowded roads... .. there's pollution, the waste of resources, the waste of time!
Public transport is here to stay. It's surely the only way forward to get millions of people from place to place. Until we come to our senses and start working where we live, there needs to be huge investment - more buses, more trains. .. and more Herefords in fields.
They still run, even when it snows!
Gavin Francis took this picture early on Sunday morning which shows that The Oxford Tube will always get through.
Routemasters on the 139 again by Peter Edgar
Peter writes that "March 27th 1998 was the last day that RM's ran on route 139 from Trafalgar Square to West Hampstead (West End Green)
Two vehicles that operated on the route RM 29, and RML 2310, both now owned by Timebus operated several journeys on Sunday March 30th 2008 to commemorate this event.
RM 29 in fact performed the very last journey in 1998,RML2310 had operated on the route several years earlier.
Two pictures from the event are included."
RM 29 under the arch at Scotland Yard Place.
RML 2310 at West Hampstead.
Marcus Lapthorn writes regarding some Government changes saying "Below is what could be a significant change to the existing Competition Law, which currently limits true consultation between bus companies."
Rosie Winterton (Minister of State, Department for Transport) Link to this | Hansard source
Let me move on to voluntary partnership arrangements. Clause 41 and schedule 2 make some important changes to competition law as it applies to the bus market. The aim is to ensure that competition law does not prevent local authorities and bus operators from coming together at the partnership table. At the moment, if bus operators come together with local authorities under a voluntary partnership to discuss, for example, times when they might run complementary services, they risk falling foul of competition law. The Bill will mean that operators can sit down with local authorities and plan services more effectively.
Interesting times ahead.
Old diesel engines
From Trevor WilsonI have some questions on diesels engines which I did think of asking your contributors but though I should contact you first.
Terminal 5 opens for business
Gavin Francis and I visited Terminal 5 on the 27th March, the first day of being open for service. We took the X70 down and below are a few pictures taken during our visit. It seems that it was only after we left that things began to go wrong !!!
Luton Airport Car Park buses
Photo by Matt Robinson - see his comments below.
From Matt Taylor
Further to the photo by Gavin Francis on your 24th March page, I have collected
photos of three buses which have returned to NCP at Luton Airport having worked
there some years ago.
When I began working at the Airport in the summer of 2000 NCP had just taken delivery of six East Lancs bodied DAF SB220s, registered W261-6CDN. They randomly operated all of the Car Park and Parkway Station routes, before being replaced in 2003 by the batch of Transbus Darts purchased for the Parkway Station shuttle. The buses were similar to those used for the Millennium Dome Shuttle services, but registered and delivered well after the turn of the Millennium itself.
Imagine my surprise last week to see both W263CDN and W265CDN both back at the Airport in their original unbranded white livery, 265 even still with its original Luton destination blinds fitted!
Also reappearing was older Plaxton bodied DAF R973FNW. This has worked at Luton Airport on several occasions in the past.
Only two Caetano Nimbus bodied Darts remain, MV54EEM and FJ05HYM, the latter has had its destination blinds removed over the weekend but was in service today. FJ05HYL has returned to work at East Midlands Airport.
From Adam Floyd
The NCP East Lancs Myllennium seen by Gavin Francis at Luton Airport is not an
ex-Millennium Dome bus. It is one of six (W261-6 CDN) delivered new when the car
park services were operated in house by the airport and passed with the contract
to Central Parking and later NCP. They were replaced by the new SPDs in 2003 and
most moved to NCP operations at other airports. This one went to Paisley but it
looks like it has now returned to Luton.
I hope you don't mind me providing this information, and keep up the good work on the site as I always enjoy reading your weekly updates!
PSV Circle sub-editor - Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire other operators
Thought you might like to know that the Watlington - Lewknor Chinnor connection is back up and running.
A community group run by Watlington CIC is now delivering the service www.watlingtoncic.co.uk
Sourcing drivers is a real struggle. Any mention you could make in your pages would be welcome. Were paying £7.50 per hour.
David - Director Watlington CIC
The advertising is certainly very prominent - perhaps a little too much?! I'm not sure why they went for the red repaint - the bus is still a regular on 'blue' line 4!
More traditional branding for the 758 is displayed on the coaches themselves. 4053 (R453SKX) and 4047 (R447SKX) carry slightly different styles
3175 isn't Arriva's only Hemel bus in red livery. Dart 3234 (V234HBH) has just appeared in that colour too. Sister 3236 contrasts nicely!
3234 hasn't received any adverts or branding yet. Together with the 'route 9' Darts at Aylesbury, there are now quite a few red ones around!
These days there are more red vehicles around in Hemel during the week, as Red Rose now operate several routes, including the H10 (and, I think, the 352). Their Optare Metrorider V108LVH was at the bus station on 3 April.
On 31 March, Red Rose Dart VU02TPZ, also at the bus station.
3 April. Having seen a red-liveried bus with Green Line branding, by way of balance Red Kite's green-liveried Solo (SL52BFU) was operating their (infrequent) service 175.
It also seemed a little odd to see a Bucks CC liveried vehicle in Hertfordshire, on a service running to Bedfordshire! (Though it does run through Bucks on the way)
Finally, a shot of Olympian 5116 (G286UMJ) on route 6.
From Graham Monk.
First of all I totally agree with Derek's letter. I couldn't have put it better myself. Your page is in my favourites list. (this relates to some criticism that the page is not always weekly. Ed.)
Being disabled I qualify for a National Bus pass and have also been using Traveline to plan some trips.
I was surprised how far you can travel on a day out. It is possible to get from Wycombe (and Stokenchurch) to Trowbridge and back in a day simply by changing at Oxford and Swindon using the 275 to Oxford then the 66 and finally the 49. This only works on Mons - Fris.
I have also planned a trip from HW - Slough - Staines- Guildford - Aldershot - Camberley - Bracknell - Maidenhead - HW as well as a trip to Stansted via the Green Line Route 724.
A word of warning about Traveline. It sometimes picks odd bus stops in towns and doesn't always choose Bus stations in towns even if the bus route quoted calls in. In the above example it didn't use Staines or Aldershot Bus stations even though if was easy to change buses in them. I always double check with the Bus company's own website.
An excellent website to use is www.barrydoe.plus.com as this lists every UK council public transport website and phone number as well as details of virtually every bus company including phone numbers, web details and the latest known timetable books they publish.
Lastly, re your comment about start times for the bus pass. My understanding is it is valid between 0930 and 2300 Mons - Fris and any time at weekends and public holidays. In addition local authorities can enhance this but as a general rule it only applies to their residents. In Bucks it is valid after 0900 to Bucks residents but 0930 to anyone else. I imagine the same applies in Devon so that we could only use our pass after 0930 there.
Good luck with your trip to Cornwall. Most councils on your route publish excellent comprehensive timetable books for their area. Cornwall's timetable is one of the best in the country.
From Stephen Le Bras
Stephen travels from Windsor for a day out with his CP.
On Saturday 5th April I ditched the trains in favour of the bus. So clutching my concessionary pass and temporary pass card, I caught the first 77 of the day from Windsor to T5 64015.
T5 bus station is like a cave so finding your way around is a bit difficult. I looked around and found a 441 (8004) going to the Central Bus Station. There a 105 came in first so it was off to Southall.
Here I walked around the corner to the main road for a 607 to Shepherds Bush Green. The 607 is a limited stop bus and should proceed faster than the articulated 207 route.
At Shepherds Bush Green I transferred to a 148 to Victoria.
Time taken around 2½ hours.
Now on to my journey from London (Green Line) where the Green Line travel office confirmed the fact that their coach services may be used- after 9.30am M-F and at any time on weekends.
I walked outside and caught white Van Hool 0412 on the 757 to Luton Airport, returning on a regular Volvo/Plaxton coach through heavy traffic on the M1. Interesting to report that the driver on the return coach did check my card first with his inspector who pronounced it OK ( as a freebie!).
After that I spent some time roving around the Park Lane area looking for interesting coaches of which there are always a few.
Finally, back home on 23008 along a congested M4 and the road into Slough and a whole day out for free, wonderful !!!
So far I have not heard of anyone having problems. It is however not always easy to find out which services are eligible and there are in fact a number of sections on National Express services to which concession passes apply.
Buses in cityscape and landscape
Again contributions continue to arrive on my desk and I am delighted to publish these below.
From Daniel Stone
I'd just like to say what an excellent website you have. I frequently try & set
some time aside to have a look through your website & I always look forward to
I would also like to take this opportunity to make a contribution to the site, for the 'Buses in the Landscape' feature. The attached photo is of G.J. Holmes Optare Solo MX57 CDY which was kindly posed for me at Bonsall Fountain (just outside Matlock) back in January. Keep up the good work
From John Marsh
Thought you might be interested in this shot of Delaine 143, a brand new Olympus, which entered service this morning (27/3/08)
Named "Emma Jane Smith" after the spouse of Thomas Arthur Smith co-founder of the motorbus business.
The old lady looks a bit tricky on balance!
Burrell of Richmond, Yorkshire whose ex Flights W2FTG is seen in this March 26th picture.
John then adds "I've been out and about using my national bus pass so thought you might like this view of Boston's famous Stump."
From Adam Williams
"I don't think I've ever submitted a bus photo anywhere - I rarely do any, preferring to do other photography instead. However, while in Cambridge this weekend I managed the attached - a Stagecoach in Cambridge MAN/ALX300 crossing Magdalene Bridge."
Well, its a nice picture and full of interest, thank you Adam.
From Gez of Stagecoach Lancaster
"Thought you might like yet another Lakeland advert bus which has just been done this one (18357) and is seen on its first visit to Lancaster on Saturday,
You may notice that the majority of the windows are now uncovered after a lot of complaints about not being able to view the Lakeland scenery!!!.
So the others I sent are now rare as they have had the contravision removed from the windows, except the back couple and front. It has quite spoilt the effect."
From Tim West
"I've been meaning for some time to say how much I enjoy reading the OCBP each week (or as often as your "other life" will allow).
Although I now live in Devon, I lived in High Wycombe for 4 years (where I first became interested in buses), and have always found the Thames Valley and City of Oxford companies fascinating. It's great to see bang-up-to date news of the area's operators.
This seemed a good opportunity to write as I came across this photo of a "Bus in the Landscape" yesterday. It is from a webcam of Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina, and I presume the bus runs tours in conjunction with visiting cruise ships."
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me have your contributions
Marcus Lapthorn has been scanning some of his old pictures which I now include as they are most interesting.
Southdown Motor Services
SMS 382 Leyland PD2/1 built in 1948 with 54 seat highbridge body by Leyland, seen at Chichester depot on 19 June 1966. This depot is now operated by Stagecoach.
Harrington bodied 30 seat originally centre entrance 1939 Dennis Falcon, formerly SMS 81 at a railway yard in Sussex. Withdrawn by SMS circa 1956.
Routes in COMS days?
From Aaron Borbora
As an avid reader of the OCBP and someone with an interest in the history of Oxford’s buses I’m looking for some information about routes that were operated by the company but are no more. I understand that following a bus price war in the 1990s with Thames Transit/ Stagecoach, that the COMS/OBC abandoned some (unprofitable) routes. While I’ve tried to get information on what numbers these routes were and where they ran I have had no luck on the internet. I was wondering if you might be so kind as to point me the right direction? I’d also be interested in any resources about re-numbering of routes (e.g. I understand that at one time the route to Wood Farm was the number 7!).
And so the answer is received
From Roger Thompson re COMS routes
I can help with information on routes in the late 1950s/early 1960s ,when I was at school in Oxford. Long before the days of any sort of bus competition, of course, the red and duck egg blue AECs ruled supreme!
The City and Country services were strictly segregated in those days, with all country services running form the old "cattle market" style bus station in Gloucester Green.
City routes were as follows: (as far as my memory serves me)
! - Station(s) to various destinations in Cowley - Blackbird Lees, Minchery Farm, in earlier days Florence Park and Temple Cowley
2 - Cutteslowe (Summertown) to Sandhills and Risinghurst ( both Headington)
3 - Rose Hill to Walton Street
4 - Wolvercote to Westbury Crescent (Rose Hill)
5 - North Hinksey Turn - now on the busy A34 - to Green Road, Headington, via Cowley Road and Hollow Way
6- Cumnor Hill Foot to Headington Quarry via Morrell Avenue
7 - Third Acre Rise (Eynsham Road) to Wood Farm via Morrell Avenue. There was a 7A variant as well.
8 - Abingdon Road - at the City boundary - to Marston Road.
Every one of these routes passed over Carfax, of course.
Routes 5, 6 and 7 , which operated under the Station bridge - were the home of the lowbridge AECs - all the others were operated by highbridge style buses.
This pattern was little changed for many years - certainly not much from 1954 to 1962, when I was at school. In later years, when integration of the City and closer Country routes began, the 2 service was extended to Kidlington - replacing the Country 93 - and the 8 service went right through to Abingdon - replacing the Country 13.
Regarding fares - as a schoolboy I travelled twice daily on either the 3 or 4 from Magdalen Street (having walked up Friars Entry from Gloucester Green, where the 44 from Enstone and Chipping Norton had terminated) to the Plain, and as far as I recall the (child's) fare was a penny/halfpenny in the mid fifties.- one and a half old pennies to you younger ones! Later on, my family moved to Abingdon, and I used to come in to Oxford on the 13 - via the A34 - or the 14 - via Kennington and Radley - and get out either at the top of St Aldates, (illegally, there was no Country Bus stop there, but with an open platform, traffic lights and a friendly conductor, that was no problem!) - and take the 3 or 4 to school, or on a nice day, get off at the bottom of St Aldates, by Morris Garages - now the Court building - and walk through Christ Church Meadow, thereby saving the bus fare to be spent in the sweetshop just at the bottom of the Cowley Road!
Its high time that someone with a little more knowledge than me wrote a history of COMS. I believe that the Oxford Bus Museum did publish a book many years ago, but I understand it is long out of print.
Keep up the good work, Malcolm, your page is always an interesting read.
From Matt Robinson – ex COMS Metroriders in Jersey.I finally got round to scanning the two photos I had of the former Oxford Electric Metroriders in Jersey. These photos were taken at Jersey's La Collette Power Station in St. Helier in December 2000, well over a year after 'Hoppa' route 88 had finished. The route ran for the 1999 summer season offering a hop-on hop-off circuit of St. Helier with a 20p flat fare, and a 10 minute frequency between 08.00 and 18.00 hours. These buses were found to be incredibly unreliable during the season they were used and as such JMT ended up commonly using its own 33 seater diesel powered MCW Metroriders on the route.
L803HJO was never used in service in Jersey, but was purchased by former Pioneer Coaches manager Mick Eden, who converted the bus to full diesel power using parts from former Sovereign Metrorider E978DGS which he acquired at the same time.
You may know that there are some alterations planned for 10 March with Carousel becoming the operator serving Flackwell Heath. I am still waiting for all the details.
Amersham & District Running Days for 2008 are:
4th Slough/Windsor Running Day Sunday 11 May based on Slough Bus Station with a number of alterations this year.
Uxbridge/Northwood Running Day Sunday 1 June which, it is intended, will cover routes 309 309A 347 158 220 223 & 225. Details are still to be finalised.
3rd Hemel Hempstead Running Day Sunday 22 June based on Hemel Bus Station. Marking 60 years since the first Country RTs came into service. These were allocated to Tring and Hemel Hempstead (Two Waters) garages for the 301 and 302 routes. It is hoped that a number of RTs will be operating on these routes on 22 June.
20th Amersham Running Day Sunday 5 October based on car park adjoining Amersham MET Station. This has become a very popular event and no doubt it will still attract many after 20 years when again there will be some alteration to routes operated.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 7th April 2008
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 7th April 2008
Quite a lot of news on the subject of Arriva this week. Perhaps the highlight is the news that Arriva's Aylesbury depot is expecting six Citaros for Line 300. These will come around September time and represent quite an investment for this route. They are of course joined by seven Volvo/ADL Enviro 400 deckers for Line 280. James from Aylesbury sent this news. He also advised that Olympians 5121 and 5836 are expected to move to Wycombe anytime now.
James also sent this excellent picture of DAF 3447 in Line 100 livery.
From Dave Stewart
Dave writes "You state twice, in your 24March update, that Arriva Solos 2491 and 2492 moved from Wycombe to Aylesbury after that had been replaced on 'line 40' by newer Solos 2496 and 2497. That is not the case. 2491 went via Garston, where it was repainted into a rather lurid lime green livery, to Milton Keynes, where it is now in service. 2492 went to Garston as well, ostensibly for similar treatment but in practice has gone into service in Watford to cover a home-based Solo (2481) that suffered fire damage a couple of weeks ago."
Seen in Bedford Bus Stn on the MK42 1/4/08 - Picture by Glenn Knight
From Glenn Knight
"5098 G648UPP has been fitted with LED destination at Luton, the first for Luton Olympians."
More detail pictures of the red and cream Dart advertising the 758. Glenn Knight
I visited Harlow and Hemel Hempstead today 29th March, of which I have a couple of photos I thought may be of interest to you.
Former Wycombe B6 3116 (L316HPP) is now based at Harlow.
Leyland Olympian 5098 (G648UPP) has become the first Luton based decker to
receive an LED destination display. When I saw this bus last weekend the power
blind it previously carried had failed for the umpteenth time and so they
finally admitted defeat with it.
Further to your reports of Hemel based Dart 3175 appearing in red, Dart 3234 (V234HBH) has been resprayed in this way too - minus any vinyls. I only photographed 3234 on 1st March when it was carrying unbranded turquoise livery.
Earlier this week former COMS Olympian 5835 (G235VWL) suffered mechanical failure whilst working a rare turn on route 24. The driver lost all power and the lower saloon began to fill with smoke. There was no fire but the bus had to be towed back to base and is languishing in a corner untouched at Luton depot. I hope this is not the end for this bus.
I also visited several places and include various pictures taken.
3216 on the 353, a Wycombe duty.
3853 on the 362 to Chesham.
From Matt Robinson
Green Line Citaros for the 724 have all had their destinations amended to
include Terminal 5. In a further amendment to the timetable the 724 no longer
serves St. Peter's Street in St. Albans. Instead buses serve London Road and
still call at the Rail Station.
An unusual working noted was the use of SB1 branded Volvo B10BLE 3322 (PN02HVR) on route 300 in Welwyn Garden City. Later on that day I also saw one of the Darts Arriva used on the 383/4 Stevenage - Hertford route, 3807 (KC03PGF) on the 301.
Other unusual workings included seeing Stevenage based ALX-300 bodied Volvo
B10BLE 3457 (W457XKX) on the 301 in Hemel Hempstead. I'd like to see an VS-based
Scania get on there just once, but I've never witnessed it happen so far (I know
Hemel do use them from time to time on the 300).
Blue route (4 & 5) Dart 3171 (P671OPP) was working route 46, which had led to Line 500 branded DAF 3442 (R202VPU) operating the 4, and Dart 3173 operating the 500!
At Luton Green Line 758 coaches from Hemel Hempstead have been appearing a lot recently. On Good Friday I noted 4049 and 4050 parked in the front of Luton depot - however I'd been told before that certain maintenance requirements are carried out there and so thought nothing of it. However today I photographed 4047 (R447SKX) working the 757 in Luton complete with 758 branding! Luton-based driver Aaron Tibbett then noted 4051 (R451SKX) leaving Luton depot to take up a 757 this evening in similar circumstances. What's happening?!
(Incidentally I remember when this batch of coaches were new to Luton depot back in 1997).
Both Line 100 branded DAFs (3446 & 3447) were operating Line 500 today.
Photo by Matt Robinson.
I also forgot to mention that on Friday ex Sovereign Volvo R524TWR (carrying the
green 'plus bus' ad) was operating the 101 into Luton - another very rare
I asked about 5835 today and it's not been moved since being towed back to the depot on Tuesday. Similarly Scania 3193 is also parked to one side for the moment. It looked like it may have donated a window or two to sister members of the batch. Repairs to fire-damaged Volvo B10BLE 3267 are also still some way from completion.
One further update... this photograph from Aaron Tibbett showing the current state of Volvo B6 3105 (L305HPP) now heavily cannibalised at Luton. A sad end to L&D's first Volvo B6.
Watford based Volvo Olympian 5146 (S146KNK) has lost its overall advertisement
for TGI Friday's in favour of standard Arriva livery. It has, however (along
with sister 5149) received an LED destination display
From Nigel Peach
Merc Vario 2197 can't seem to stay away from Wycombe. After a long stint as one of the dedicated buses for TfL route U9, and then on general Wycombe routes, it was repainted into MK Metro livery - but it has recently been back at Wycombe depot (I wonder why!), where this picture was taken on Sunday 30th.
A quick snippet I meant to put yesterday 31/3 is that DAF 4491 (T494 KGB) is back in service after being off the road for about three months, but I notice it has a problem with its destination display - a bit in the middle is "missing". I wish I had my camera yesterday when I saw it on "74 S UGH"!
From Ian Brown in Hemel Hempstead.
A news item:
Arriva`s Luton-bound Green Line 757 ex London Victoria at 2300 will now call at Hemel (Mon-Fri). Usually Hemel services are operated by Hemel Green Line vehicles and Luton running there own. Now the Luton 2300 will call into Hemel.
The Solos of Arriva are quite a mixed bag and comprise varying lengths and types. This is highlighted by the M780 above, 2482 based at Hemel.
Picture by your Editor.
Citaro MB51 at Heathrow Central bus Stn ready for its run back to High Wycombe.
This service does not go to Terminal 5. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Rather a lot of information this issue with corrections to some comments made previously.
Andrew Huggon, Commercial Assistant, Centrebus Ltd writes "Having read some of your recent updates on the Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page there appears to be some confusion over the recent sale of operations by Centrebus and Uno. To clarify Centrebus have only sold the St Albans based fleet and services, Luton and Stevenage remain an integral part of Centrebus Ltd & there are no plans for any further sales of any part of the rest of the operation by Centrebus."
The vehicles that transferred are as follows:
144 K434OKH Dart - Pointer
352 FM52GFA MPD
353 FM52GEY MPD
380 YK05CCY Solo SlimLine
381 YJ05XNB Solo SlimLine
429 Y129TBF Vario
451 L951MBH 811D - Beaver
458 M458UUR 811D - Beaver
563 V563JBH Dart SLF Pointer 2
564 V564JBH Dart SLF Pointer 2
565 V565JBH Dart SLF Pointer 2
567 W567XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
568 W568XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
569 W569XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
571 W571XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
572 W572XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
573 W573XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
574 W574XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
575 W575XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
576 W576XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
577 W577XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
578 W578XRO Dart SLF Pointer 2
582 KC03PGK MPD
583 KC03PGU MPD
704 L104SDY Javelin Premiere Interurban
The routes passed to Uno Buses are as follows
304 Welham Green - St Albans - Hitchin
320 Watford - St Albans - Harpenden - Hemel Hempstead (though not the previously 881 which runs as a 320)
200/1/3/15/312 Hatfield Shopper Buses
359 St Albans - London Colney
820 Hemel Hempstead school service
PB1 Potters Bar local service
S1-5 St Albans city services
S7-9 St Albans city services
H4/5 - Hemel Town service on Sundays
H2/3 - Hemel Town service on Sunday evening journeys operated under contract to HCC
34 - St Albans - Dunstable - evening journeys operated under contract to HCC
There is currently interworking on the Hemel Sunday contracts H2/3/4/5 whereby Uno St Albans buses are working certain journeys registered to Centrebus and Centrebus Luton vehicles are operating journeys registered to Uno with vehicles displaying on hire notices for the day due to the previous joint working not being cost effective to end just yet.
Centrebus are currently investing in our Luton and Stevenage operations - 4 new Solos have been delivered 301 FJ08MBU, 302 FJ08MBV, 303 FJ08MBO all at Luton and M950 33-seaters plus 304 FJ08MBF and M880 29-seater (there are further Solos due for Stevenage over the Summer) plus 3 ex Nottingham M920 Solo 33-seaters 363 S258NRB, 364 T297BNN, 365 T298BNN. The Luton Solos are to upgrade the 231 Dunstable - Caddington - Luton - Bushmead and were purchased with financial support from Beds CC. The Stevenage Solos have been sourced to cover new services gained from Herts CC - the 90/91 Letchworth - Royston & 383/384 Stevenage - Hertford which start on 31st March.
I hope this clarifies the situation with these operations and I would like to say how useful I find your news page for keeping up with the news of what is happening with other operators around the area.
Thanks to Andrew for that very useful clarification.
Glenn Knight has provided a useful update on the latest allocations for the remaining Centrebus operations.
Fleet list commencing 1st April 2008.
UNIT 34, HUMPHRYS ROAD, WOODSIDE IND ESTATE, DUNSTABLE LU5 4TP
103 J103 DUV Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR103
110 L710 JUD Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3035 Plaxton Pointer B37D Ex-MK Metro 710
110 M210 EGF Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer B35F Ex-London General DPL10
112 L712 JUD Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3035 Plaxton Pointer B40D Ex-M K Metro 712
113 L713 JUD Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3035 Plaxton Pointer B38D Ex-M K Metro 713
114 M214 EGF Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer B35F Ex-London General DPL14
181 XIL 6081 Ex-K860 LGN Dennis Dart 929HMN1080 Plaxton B34F Ex-London Buses Ltd DRL60
118 XIL 8418 Ex-K866 LGN Dennis Dart 9SDL3016 Plaxton Pointer B34F Ex-London General
121 M821 RCP Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3040 Plaxton Pointer B40F Ex-Centrebus Leicester
124 J374 GKH Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR74
125 J125 DUV Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR125
126 J126 DUV Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR126
128 K828 NKH Dennis Dart 9SDL3016 Plaxton B34F Ex-London Buses Ltd CRL28
129 M829 RCP Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3054 Northern Counties B39F Ex-Country Hopper, Ibstock
130 K863 PCN Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3017 Wright Handybus B40F Ex-Sunderland & District 8063
131 Y131 TBF Mercedes-Benz 814D Plaxton Beaver B31F (new)
134 J134 DUV Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR134
148 KUI 8148 Ex-H118 THE Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3003 Reeve Burgess B28F Ex-Roberts, Coalville
158 P158 MLE Dennis Dart Plaxton B37F Ex-Centrebus Leicester & Armchair, Brentford
160 P160 MLE Dennis Dart Plaxton B37F Ex-Centrebus Leicester & Armchair, Brentford
170 J370 GKH Dennis Dart 8.5SDL3010 Plaxton Pointer B24F Ex-London Buses Ltd DR70
189 M389 KVR Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3054 Northern Counties B37F Ex-Country Hopper, Ibstock
228 K628 YPL Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3025 Plaxton Pointer B40F Ex-Safeguard,Guildford
248 J648 XHL Dennis Dart 9.8SDL3004 Plaxton B40F Ex-Plaxton,Scarborough
301 FJ08 MBU Optare Solo M950 B33F (New 2008)
302 FJ08 MBV Optare Solo M880 B29F (New 2008)
303 FJ08 MBO Optare Solo M950 B33F (New 2008)
410 K510 FYN Mercedes Benz 811D Wright Nimbus B28F Ex-MK Metro
412 L812 CJF Mercedes Benz 709D Marshall B27F Ex-South Lancs Transport
444 R244 XDA Mercedes Benz 814D Alexander B27F Ex-West Midlands 244
448 R248 XDA Mercedes Benz 814D Alexander B27F Ex-West Midlands 248
454 L954 MBH Mercedes Benz 811D Plaxton B31F Ex-Sovereign 454
502 S502 APP Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B39F Ex-Sovereign 502
503 KUI 6564 Ex-S782 RNE & 98-D-70567 Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton B38F Ex-K~Line,Huddersfield
511 T411 LGP Dennis Dart SLF SCC B30D Ex-Independent Way,Battersea
519 T419 LGP Dennis Dart SLF SCC B30D Ex-Independent Way,Battersea
521 Y451 TBF Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B29F (new)
522 W922 JNF Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B29F Ex-Connex DP22
566 W566 XRO Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B40F Ex-Sovereign 566
601 FH06 KGK VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
602 KE06 NZW VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
603 KE06 NZX VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
604 KE06 RXL VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
670 L170 EKG Scania N113CRB Alexander B48F Ex-Newport Transport 70
On Loan from Dealer
Gone away for repair
On-Loan to oppersite garage
Gone to Centrebus North (Manchester etc.)
Pin Green Depot
UNIT 6, SENATE PLACE, WHITWORTH ROAD, STEVENAGE SG1 4QS
120 P27 MLE Dennis Dart Plaxton B37F Ex-Centrebus Leicester & Armchair, Brentford
132 N132 XND Dennis Dart Plaxton B27F Ex-Stuart,Dunkinfield 132
304 FJ08 MBF Optare Solo M880 B29F (New 2008)
323 R823 MJU Mercedes Benz 814D B32F Ex-Kinch,Barrow
362 S462 LGN Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B29F Ex-Centrebus Leicester
363 S285 NRB Optare Solo M920 B33F Ex-Nottingham 285
364 T297 BNN Optare Solo M920 B33F Ex-Nottingham 297
365 T298 BNN Optare Solo M920 B33F Ex-Nottingham 298
366 S466 LGN Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B29F Ex-Centrebus, Leicester
382 MX53 FEG Optare Solo M850 B29F Ex-Winson,Leicester 91
383 MX53 FEH Optare Solo M850 B29F Ex-Winson,Leicester 92
387 MX03 YCM Optare Solo B29F Ex-Cumfybus,Churchtown
388 Y38 HBT Optare Solo M850 B29F Ex-First Somerset & Avon 53039
389 Y39 HBT Optare Solo M850 B29F Ex-First Somerset & Avon 53038
390 MX03 YDA Optare Solo M850 B26F Ex-Ex-Even,Birkenhead
391 VU02 TSV Optare Solo M920 B29F Ex-Ex-Irvine,Law
392 VU02 TSX Optare Solo M920 B29F Ex-Ex-Irvine,Law
393 MX07 JNL Optare Solo M780SL B23F (new)
394 MX07 JNN Optare Solo M780SL B23F (new)
395 MX07 BCF Optare Solo M920 B33F (new)
501 P501 VRO Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B39F Ex-Sovereign 501
605 FJ56 YBV VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
606 FJ56 YBW VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
607 FJ56 ZWC VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
608 YJ56 JYB VDL SB120 Plaxton B40F (new)
Photos by Glenn Knight
The first of the Siroccos for EB3 to Gatwick are now in service.
Picture taken by Glenn Knight.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
A number of interesting items include the appearance of one of the South Wales Volvos in a livery which is a close repeat of the RF and RP liveries of the 60s.
Picture by Stephen Le Bras
Other pictures from Stephen include this one of a repainted blue Citaro.
I notice that in the latest Lots London fleet book that First Berkshire are to get three Volvo B9TL double deck coaches in the VNX class.
Glenn Knight records that Volvo B7 Wright Eclipse Y185/6 HNH are in service on the Luton Airport - Luton Airport Parkway Station.
Luton B C
Glenn Knight writes "Luton Borough Council have a 08-reg Plaxton Primo demonstrator with the new Hybrid engine. Possibly to be used on the 3,30 & 35 route when Grant Palmer pull out."
From Ian Brown in Hemel Hempstead.
Some news items:
The Hertfordshire County Council `INTALINK` publication distributed free of charge in public libraries etc reports that the Arriva operated Green Line service 724 Harlow to Heathrow is now extended from Heathrow Central Bus Station to Heathrow Terminals 4 and 5. It is re-routed in St Albans, coming in to the city centre from Harlow direction, it arrives via Victoria St, Alma Road and London Road. It now misses out the city centre stop in St Peters St. Arriva uses Mercedes Citaros on this route.
NEx services to Heathrow no longer call at Terminal 4, stopping now at the new T5. These are:
707 from Northampton, via Luton and Hemel.
717 from Cambridge to Brighton
787 from Cambridge via Luton and Hemel. (This service is now worked by brand new tri-axle Scanias.)
Other NEx changes are:
777 Wolverhampton to Stansted now calls at Luton Galaxy Centre rather than Luton Railway Station.
As mentioned above Burtons of Haverhill (Arriva) have placed in service five new Scania/Caetano Levante tri-axles. They are Tri 53-57 and registrations seen or reported so far are FJ57 KGK NS FJ08 KMA and KMF. These seem to be the first 08 Levantes.
Pictures by Glenn Knight and your Editor.
Another tri-axle, this time a National Express operated one, SC46 on r 420, taken by Gavin Francis.
Not all the tri-axles have good luck as seen by one being towed out of VCS - picture by Gavin Francis.
This Levante is one of the original on the Volvo ones, VC6 based at Sibson Road. Picture by Gavin Francis.
An usual working for a Van Hool on the 540 - picture by Gavin Francis.
Finally a big surprise, ex OBC 67(237) Y27OXF now with First Wessex, on NEx services, seen in Bristol in this picture from Glenn Knight.
The introduction of the new coaches continued, 97 being one of the last enter service and below are a number of pictures showing the livery, especially the colour super rears on these coaches. Pictures by Gavin Francis and myself.
96 on its normal route and last Saturday it appeared on the X90 but I think someone was having me on?
Still a few to catch up with.
My all time favourite was V - nice. I am told that two Scanias will remain on Airports. The first ones have already received X90 livery.
Picture by Gavin Francis showing Trident 103 which has appeared in the latest livery.
Picture by Gavin Francis of 116 was has gained a new super rear ad in the last week or so.
Citaro 832, recently repainted, on 2 road in the city centre. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Gavin Francis took this picture of publicity van 983 showing an appropriate registration number R12OXF.
Gavin Francis has been busy with his camera recording the appearance of livery on two buses.
One of the two Enviro 200s has been given full fleet livery.
One of the two ex East Yorkshire Darts has also gained full livery and is seen in Wycombe on the 275.
All of the Enviro 400 s appear to be in service now and some of the Olympians will be leaving shortly.
Pictures of the new Enviro 400s by Gavin Francis.
One in Bicester from Ben Morroll.
Now transferred to Banbury and seen here on the 59. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Unusually an Alexander PS on the nr 3. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Trident variety by Gavin Francis. 18393 has now moved to Witney.
Ben Morroll sent this interesting study in backends.
I should be able to clarify the registrations of the new Enviro 400s by the next issue.
An interesting variety of Megabus vehicles in London taken by Gavin Francis. The Neoplans still make it down to London, generally on the overnight service. The Volvo tri-axles are more often seen on the longer Megabus routes. The weekend is a good time to see non Megabus coaches on their routes.
Confirmation that the bus pictured in the last issue has indeed become 108 - picture by Gavin Francis.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a bus driver in Oxford but considering the fact that the photographs are taken of the vehicle not any person,
I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
I am sorry to have to mention such a matter but we now live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.
New Trident model with an Oxford flavour
ukbus 1036 Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
Creative Master Northcord is proud to release a brand new livery on its well-known casting – the Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident. This is ukbus 1036 carrying standard Stagecoach livery but with special route branding livery.
This model represents Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 (KX55 TLN). This is the second Stagecoach in Oxfordshire ADL ALX400-bodied Trident model that CMNL produced. The previous one is ukbus 1026 with Brookes bus colours.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 is one of a fleet of seven Tridents introduced onto route 27 in March 2006 to replace Volvo B10M single deckers. Route 27 operates between Oxford and Bicester up to every 15 minutes at busy times with three main route variants around Bicester – 27A to Glory Farm and Launton, 27B to Glory Farm and Langford and 27C to Ambrosden and Arncott.
18394 is one of three vehicles which carry supplementary branding for the Bicester Duo ticket which was introduced during 2007. The ticket allows two people to travel from Bicester to Oxford for the price of one.
The replica features excellent detailing, inside and out, including an opening engine door, engine detail and the representation of LED lights at the rear. This is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the windows and livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. The model has no unnecessary metal poles to hold it together.
It will be a good opportunity to make a twin Stagecoach in Oxfordshire bus model set with ukbus 1036 and ukbus 1025 representing the common street scene in Oxford.
PSV Circle publishes latest issue of the fleet list for Berkshire and Oxfordshire
Ken MacKenzie writes to note that the new PSV Circle fleet list for Berkshire/Oxfordshire (G432) is now available.
Those readers wishing to buy a copy should write to: PSV Circle, 59 Palmer Avenue, Cheam SM3 8EF - Cost id £7.00 plus 50p P & P and it will also be available at the PSV Circle sales stand at Showbus 2007.
This will be a most useful reference for all those interested in the local scene.
Editors review - I have now had chance to review this book and it is indeed very useful, giving details of all known fleets in Berks and Oxon. Whilst some information is not totally up to date it allows the readers to have a comprehensive view of the local fleets and up dates can be gained by joining the PSV Circle. At £7.00 this represents value for money as it also includes a number of good photographs.
A new casting with a local flavour has been released by Britbus as a picture from Mark Lyons shows. It is a nice model but as Mark says, a little pricey at £33.
Model News of an Oxford bus
Guy writes to send a picture of the latest offering on the model front related to Oxford.
A photo disc for your collection
This week I can bring details of a really super new photo disc from Vics cliix. The disc contains pictures taken in the early 1970s by Vic Zealey and copies can be obtained through Malcolm Hyland's web site http://www.cliix.co.uk.
Here are some samples of the 158 pictures on this disc.
The quality is good and they are all at high resolution.
Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book
In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.
The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.
The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.
Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours.
Robin sent me a copy of his latest DVD to review. "Today's buses - Oxfordshire" is the compelling title which includes Henley, Wallingford and Didcot before the viewer is taken onto Wantage, Witney, Banbury and finally Bicester. Each of these locations is covered in2 to 5 minutes and each shows the current selection of buses and coaches to be found. Finally over 37 minutes is devoted to Oxford with filming in a variety of locations in the city.
On another subject the road sense and behaviour of cyclists in Oxford has to be seen to be believed!!!!
The quality of the DVD is excellent and one can really see clearly the details of each vehicle, something which older video always seemed unable to do. All the latest developments are shown in this September 2007 DVD, including workings from Broad Street during the St Giles Fair weekend.
The DVD provides a unique record of events in Oxfordshire during this period and at £10 is not a very large outlay.
74 Polruan Place, Fishermead,
Milton Keynes MK6 2EA
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
Dave Rogers sent the following press release.
CREATIVE MASTER NORTHCORD - PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester - ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus
Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads.
ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks.
Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre.
ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions.
ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.
The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are nine most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
John Marsh's pictures with a difference
The Oxford Bus Museum
A web site which has paintings of buses.
Arriva Handbook for 2007-2008
The latest handbooks are now
on sale, the ever
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Bus services in Hertfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002