Monday 8th May 2006
next update week ending 19th May 2006
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The last week has been a momentous one since H M The Queen visited Oxford and sadly Oxford United departed from the football league. On the positive side Reading were promoted to the Premiership.
H M The Queen visited Oxford to open the new Castle development and a crowd of some hundreds of well wishers turned out for the happy event. Bus and Coach services were disrupted for a period of time but this did not cause too many problems. I took a selection of pictures which are included below.
The Queen's car is really a fantastic piece of automobile and her dress colours seemed to compliment the overall colour scheme. However Her Majesty turned away just as she drew level with my lens, sad really !!
I had already been passed by H M 's car on the M40 earlier as I was returning from London.
The crowds were starting to gather when this picture was taken.
Delays to traffic and services resulting from work at Green Road, Oxford.
The roadworks at Thornhill continue and each day seems to bring differing traffic conditions. On a few occasions some Tube services have been routed outbound via Stadhampton and on Friday last an accident on the M40 resulted in some inbound services on the Tube being routed via the old A40 from Lewknor.
Whilst on the subject of roads I feel obliged to comment on the road surfaces between Oxford and London.
Of course many will know just how bad the road surface is on High Street and Magdalen Bridge where a multitude of patches make it difficult to find a good piece of road. However one wonders what is going on at the top of Headington Hill on the A40 where both sides of the road outside Brookes are gradually crumbling into some quite bad wearing. Couple this to the condition of the London Road between Headington and Green Road, which is also patched up even after total resurfacing which took place not so long ago and one of the main routes into the city centre does not exactly exude a good image for a wonderful city.
If one then travels on the M40 between Wheatley and Hillingdon, the surface in many parts is to my layman's eyes totally worn out. There are various holes and surface wearing which give a very poor ride when travelling in the nearside lane. Again one wonders how long it will be before these surfaces are sorted out?
Report from Luton by Mike Penn
Mike Penn writes saying "Here, in Luton, there are savage cuts in the council supported Sunday services from May 7th. This is to fund free travel for over 60s, the Government grant for which was not sufficient. It seems that pensioners in Luton are the poor relations of others in the country. The free travel area only extends as far as Dunstable and, although half fare travel is available to other places such as Bedford and Stevenage, this makes it more expensive than it was under the old scheme. There will now be no Sunday service on routes 1, 4, 5, 9, 12A, 15, 24 and 29 and no Sunday evening service on routes 7, 12, 27 and 38."
Mike goes on to add "It's not Bedfordshire as a whole that's a problem with over 60's bus passes - it's just Luton being a comparatively small unitary authority. We, in Luton, have to pay half fare for 90% of the journey to, say, Bedford or Stevenage or Watford, while residents of those towns can go to Luton and back for nothing. I gather that to get to Aylesbury you get free travel as far as Dunstable, then half fare to Tring and from there pay full fare to Aylesbury. It must make it very difficult for drivers to know what tickets to issue. I saw an instruction sheet for drivers on a Centrebus vehicle at Cobham and they have different procedures depending on whether it is a Luton, Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire pass. Roll on 2008 (assuming that the Government doesn't change its mind before then)!"
There is certainly some considerable variation from county to county. In Buckinghamshire ones OAP pass entitles one to travel throughout the county with the exception of Milton Keynes. However I am told by one operator that the free travel is resulting in one route becoming unviable and in another case an operator is making reclaims on a monthly instead of a quarterly basis.
Routemasters in Oxford
Allan Field writes saying "I assume that you have seen the ex-London Routemasters parked in the car park at the old Bingo Hall on the Cowley Road?"
The answer is no as one so often avoids the Cowley Road. Does anyone have any details?
Reading celebrates promotion to the Premiership
James Cusworth sent these pictures of a Metrobus painted to celebrate a significant event in the history of Reading Football C lub.
Developments in London - the Enviro 400 comes on stream.
Peter Edgar writes "just in case you have room for a few pictures from London today, two of London Generals new Trident - Enviro 400's on route 196,and RML 2752,now RM 2752 at 'The Sultans Elephant' Parade."
Peter Cartwright tells us that "the timetables/programmes for Slough/Windsor Running Day are now available." Click on this link TheRoutemasterreturnstoSlough.doc
Scroll to the bottom of this page for more information and events.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new. This week's report is somewhat shorter than usual but I hope still with interest to everyone.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 8th May 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 8th May 2006
A quieter week for pictures from Arriva, however Nigel Peach caught up with one bus which had a problem saying ".....at Cressex depot this afternoon (Sunday 7th), I noticed that Olympian 5133 (H203 GRO) has suffered accident damage."
Nigel goes on to add "Also there was Plaxton Pointer bodied Volvo B6, L602 EKM which Buses magazine tells me is one of six B6s transferred from Arriva Southern Counties. I couldn't get close enough for a picture but I think it is numbered 3342. This might cause confusion with B6 3242 (M842 DDS) which is already based at Wycombe!"
I visited Carousel last week and spoke to Steve Burns. He told me that they have indeed purchased three Tridents formerly with Metrobus. They are T402, 403 and 414SMV and will be wokred on before they enter service. The windows need attention where, as ever, the little darlings have etched nearly every window on all three buses. Steve said they are still undecided if they will remove the centre doors which have a wheelchair ramp fitted. Ideally they need to be converted to seat 71. Presently they seat 69.
T402 had just returned from Binders Yard where it had been fitted with a tacho for Rail work.
They will be repainted into fleet livery and should look very good after Carousel engineers have worked on them. An example of how good their buses look after CB treatment can be seen from the Dart pictured below.
The third Agoraline is almost ready for delivery and is eagerly awaited.
Volvo B10BLE 802 entered service last week and was prominent to the crowds waiting to see the Queen last Friday. It looks very good indeed and introduces a nice touch on the front where a chrome strip has been added.
802 is seen in New Road last Friday.
Philip Kirk, the Managing Director advises that coaches 70 and 71 will return from Solent Blue Line in time to start work on the summer 20 minute frequency on the X70.
Indeed this last week has seen at least one espress branded Volvo on the X70 each day.
The ex Oxford Volvos are now in regular use on the 777 from Birmingham to Stansted as seen in the picture below sent to me by Mike Penn.
Rob Williams writes regarding the new buses which will be required to operate the tendered services gained from June 4th this year.
There have been many questions about what is going to be used on the revised services from 4th June, so here is a short summary.
Planned fleet changes from 4th June 2006
2x new Optare Solo
1x new Optare Solo Slimline
The standard Solos are expected to arrive at around the time the services commence. The Slimlines are further down the Stagecoach build queue, so an example from Devon will be used on loan until the new example is built. The loan from Devon will form a rather uneven swap for four Brookesbus Tridents that are going on loan to Devon for this years summer season! Two should go once the Brookes vacation starts at the end of May, and two more once the Brookes open day in June has taken place.
To be withdrawn
All Mercedes Varios at Oxford (42376/83, 42586/8)
Route 12/12A/12B/12C and Route 16/16A/16B
The two existing 5ABC Dart SLFs and two new standard Optare Solos will be used on these routes. In the daytime the Darts will operate the journeys through to the City Centre and the Solos will do the Cowley Centre short workings.
It is also worth noting that Stagecoach Darts are B37F and Solos are B27F, whilst the OBC Darts they replace are B30D.
Two ex-X4 Pointer Dart SLFs.
One new Optare Solo Slimline. One of the standard Solos will be used as a substitute when it is unavailable.
A Dart SLF will be used to replace one of the Solos on the 12A/16A should any one of the three Solos be off the road.
Rob - www.buszone.co.uk
Thanks to Rob for that useful information.
Several nice pictures have been submitted and these are published below.
Dart SLF 34467 is one of the buses branded for the X30 service to Wantage.
Unbranded Dart 34470 is seen working the 44 last Friday in the picture submitted by Gavin Francis.
A very nice shot of Neoplan 50118 on a London working last Friday taken by Gavin Francis.
A large party of students were conveyed on two Tridents to London last Saturday afternoon. The two buses involved were 18197 and 18199.
I had the chance to look over the MCW coach 50002 from Yorkshire Traction and include some pictures of the interior. This coach is in very good condition considering it is from 1988, nearly 20 years old. It is type MCW Metroliner DR140 with MCW 400Gt bodywork. Seating is CH53/18DT.
The coach is now fitted with a Scania 360 engine and is seen here in Green Line.
The interior has been retrimmed but the skylights remain and these can be opened.
The layout is very similar to the Neoplan with tables downstairs etc.
A nice picture of two South West trains liveried Olympians sent in by Dave Rogers.
Weavaway of Newbury
Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor for the PSV Circle writes "Weavaway have taken delivery of the two expected Bova Magiq's. WA 06 GSU (VIN: XL9158AK310320730) and WA 06 GSV."
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
The Irizar Century bodywork has been updated and the rear end altered as seen on this coach belonging to Excalibur-Golden Tours.
Dave Rogers wonders if this coach came from an Oxfordshire operator?
It is seen here in Winchester last week. Picture by Dave Rogers.
Marcus Lapthorn writes "I do not think that you ever published Brian's pic on your web site so here it is again!
The coach is still there in the layby on the Highworth to Swindon road and I feel very sure that many of your readers would be interested to hear about it."
Mike Penn sent this delightful pictures of an ex COMS Metrorider in service with Chester City Transport.
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
History from Marcus Lapthorn
Marcus writes from the pages of history.
Buses into caravans. The first of 8 buses converted into caravans by the City of Oxford Motor Company is now occupied. They are being offered to married couples who can work as a team. Four more are parked at the Woodlands Caravan site in Kennington and are awaiting tenants. If there is more demand, 3 more can be moved there from the Company's Cowley Road depot. The firm wants the service of a husband and wife team, with the husband as the bus driver and his wife as the conductress. (From the Oxford Times - 20 April 1956.)Things like equality and discrimination were clearly not considered at that time! Which buses were involved I wonder?
The date for this year's Spring event is April 2nd.
Wycombe - Other events in 2006:
Special trip over route 347 from Hemel Hempstead to Uxbridge on 19 March marking the 40th anniversary of RML type vehicles starting on that route from Garston & Hemel Hempstead garages.
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 14 May - Slough/Windsor
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October – Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Day in Aldershot with details from Andrew Dyer.
I wonder if you could put a piece in your "forthcoming events" section about all the excitement that will be in Aldershot (not often you see the words "excitement" and "Aldershot" in the same sentence!!) over the weekend of 3 & 4 June this year.
Stagecoach is organising an event jointly with the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group to celebrate 100 years since the first bus service operated from Aldershot to Farnborough in June 1906. There will be a running day and on Sunday 4 June we will be holding an Open Day at our depot in Halimote Road, Aldershot. As with the Portsmouth event last year, we hope to attract local families as well as enthusiasts and all proceeds raised will go to local charities.
As Aldershot has such a strong history of Dennis operation, we are hoping to get as many different types of Dennis bus on site as we can. Do you have a contact at the Oxford Bus Museum who might be persuaded to bring a KFC Loline 2? Sadly, I don't think any of the Loline 1's or 3's that were on loan from A&D to COMS in 1969/70 have survived to enable them to make an appearance, although there will certainly be sister vehicles in the SOU xxx and AAA xxxC batches there.
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
At last I'm able to officially notify everyone of the Running Days for 2006.
Sunday 14 May 2006 is the date for the second Slough/Windsor Running Day based on Slough Bus Station. Since last year a huge new Tesco store has been built adjacent and is now fully operational. Due to traffic delays experienced last year in Windsor an extra 5 minutes each way is being added to running times between Slough and Windsor.
There is no St George's Day parade to hold us up this year and the Queen's official birthday is 2 weeks plus later when her 80th birthday is marked. I know of no Royal Wedding planned for Windsor this year and, hopefully, timekeeping will be better on the Windsor routes.
An enhancement to the Burnham Beeches service is envisaged with the opposite way round the loop. There is also the chance to have double deck workings but terminating on the eastern fringe of the Beeches.
Another new route for this year will be a service through Windsor Great Park. Crown Estates are happy with this and I have a meeting arranged with them on Tuesday 10 January. White Bus Services currently operate a restricted service here but not on Sundays & on only certain days of the week. Operation is likely to be by non-LT single-deck vehicles. A large number of vehicles is required including at least 16 double-deckers.
Some 40 years earlier on 15 May 1966 RMLs were allocated to Windsor Garage to work several routes in the area. RMC coaches had already been there for some time.
WR Garage operated many other types of vehicle including RT,RF,RC,RCL,RB,RS,GS,SMA,SNB,STL, T and of course some of these only operated in the London Country period. Additionally in the summer months Central area red vehicles were commonplace as green vehicles were reassigned to Green Line relief duties so any red-liveried vehicle would be welcome. At least 30 vehicles (including 5 non-LT/LCBS vehicles will be needed to maintain the schedules.
As 1966 is the 40th anniversary of route 724 it is hoped to have a feeder to/from the Northern areas and to run the route from Slough through Windsor, Old Windsor, Runnymede to Staines. Via Runnymede, by the river Thames was the original routeing when it was extended from Staines to Windsor Castle. It did not serve Windsor Garage nor will it in 2006. The coach link to Staines will therefore be 724 this year in place of 718.
Anyone offering to operate a 725 from at least Kingston will be welcomed. Please let me know.
At the moment there is not an area for display vehicles but every effort will be made to find one. Can I please ask anyone who came last year and was allocated blinds and who will/cannot come this year, to contact me urgently so I can collect them for re-issue to others. These are expensive and will be needed on the day.
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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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 three 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
The Oxford Bus Museum
James Smith writes "I'm reopening my Bus Model store (its being hosted at www.arriva-shires.co.uk/shop for the time being) and as an opening offer I'd like to give your readers the opportunity to buy a couple of local models at a reduced price.. Anybody wishing to purchase these items should contact me directly by email (email@example.com) instead of through the store...Details Below:
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 1014 - DENNIS TRIDENT - OXFORD PARK & RIDE
Normal Selling Price £19.99 - Oxford Page Readers £13.99
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 2012 - DENNIS TRIDENT - STAGECOACH BROOKES BUS
Normal Selling Price £20.99 - Oxford Page Readers £14.99
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002