The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  

Issue 148
(OBP-363)

Sunday 9th October 2005
next update week ending 21st October 2005

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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

Oxford Bus Museum - Autumn Rally - Sunday 16th October 2005

Free bus rides during the day plus visiting vehicles

at
Station Yard, Long Hanborough, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 8LA

full details on
http://www.oxfordbusmuseum.org.uk/

I suppose the major item of news from last week was the Coach & Bus Show at the NEC in Birmingham and we have a report from Chris Maxfield who attended the show on Thursday. We also have reports from Mike Penn on Luton and James Cusworth on Reading, both with very interesting vehicle news.

Another item which I feel needs airing is the blatant ignorance of the rules of the road by so many cyclists in Oxford. I witnessed so many cyclists riding along Queen Street during Friday that I am moved to raise this issue on this page. I took some pictures but felt that due to current laws about showing people on public pages it was better to leave the pictures off. Nevertheless I have the evidence and wonder why so many cyclists ignore the rules. Add to this the way so many cyclists, even older riders ignore red traffic lights, especially at pedestrian crossings one has to marvel at the fact that there are not more accidents. A word to pedestrians in Oxford is never assume you are safe crossing the road at a crossing when the lights are in your favour. I read that in London the police are now issuing on the spot fines to cyclists who ignore red lights.

Coach & Bus Live 2005 http://www.coachandbusshow.com/

Chris Maxfield went along last Thursday and sent this report and pictures of what was on offer.

Report and pictures by Chris Maxfield.

Last Thursday I visited the NEC in Birmingham for Coach & Bus Live 2005 and it proved to be a very enjoyable day.

Unfortunately the main players, the likes of Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz and Wrightbus were not present.  Whether this is down to healthy order books or just them not being prepared to pay the high price associated with such events leaves one to wonder. I know Wrightbus for example have order books taking them up to this time next year.

Amongst the manufacturers who attended the event were Plaxton where we saw for the first time their new Primo Midibus, Alexander Dennis who had two different Enviro 400's on their stand, one to London specification and the other for Travel West Midlands and on the Caetanos stand a new Volvo B12B with new Levante bodywork for National Express the first to include the new wheelchair lift in the front entrance.

Outside in the test drive area Alexander Dennis had an Enviro 300 to school bus specification to B60F layout.


As can be seen in this picture ADL have played on the school bus name to read S COOL bus!



The Enviro 300 in school bus livery, picture shows the interior of the bus with seats to 3+2

Alexander Dennis used the event to showcase their new Enviro 400 double Decker.



 
On display they had one for Travel West Midlands and pictured above one for
Stagecoach London, this one to replace the bus destroyed by the 7th July bombings.
It also seems the one destined for London is from stock as it has a non standard Stagecoach interior.
 Of note on the rear of the London ones are the grills associated with the new cool air systems been introduced on London buses
to try and cool the upper decks down.

I have to say that after having a good look at both buses, to me they donít seem to have any wow factor. Others may disagree with me but I really donít think itís an attractive body at all.

The other notable new bus at the show was the new Primo Midibus from Plaxton. This is the latest 8.8 metre midi to be launched and seats 27 passengers, this new bus is aimed directly at the Optare Solo and Dart MPD market.

This new bus is a complete integral built by Enterprise bus & coach in Hungary and is then shipped to Scarborough for the interior to be fitted out.


One of the first Primos destined for lease company Mistral.
(This has a similarity to the Mercedes mini Citaro 520 which has now been withdrawn from the list.
None were ever operated in the U.K. Ed)

Outside on display Plaxton had a Mercedes-Benz with Beaver 2 bodywork incorporating the new rear side lift to get round latest DDA rules.

MVC took the opportunity of the event to show the basic plans of their new midi based on the front engined Irisbus, again this will be an 8.8 metre bus and again will be pitched at the Optare Solo and Dart MPD market.


MCV also had a number of Evolutions on show based on the MAN chassis.

Inside the hall one was displayed in the new low floor livery of Yorkshire Traction, whilst outside one was showed in the livery for Travel de Courcey and one to airport specification that had a thank you to the Go Ahead Group for them allowing it to be showed at the event.




The one for Travel de Courcey


The one to airport specification. (This maybe for Aviance owned by Go-Ahead and as such appear at Heathrow. Ed.)

BASE Group also had a MAN on display, this one having the new Marcopolo Viale body.

A new BMC midi was shown in the hall in which they claim it to be the best value midi bus in Europe, whilst outside they had a Falcon on display.

A number of new coaches were on display, the most notable for me was Caetanos new Levante body for National Express which features a slightly wider entrance door with a step mounted wheelchair lift.

This lift is quite ingenious, its completely automatic, the driver presses a button on a small controller and it comes out from the second step and unfolds piece by piece until the floor by the drivers seat lifts to create a flat entrance.


The first picture shows the entrance to the coach, there is a small black handle on the left, this is where the lift folds into.


The second shows the ramp in use with the floor raised from inside the coach.

I spoke to the National Express project manager at the show regarding the lifts and the reason for choosing Caetano. Basically this was all down to the fact that Irizar have yet to engineer coaches to carry wheelchairs.

I asked if the Caetano would be the standard through out National Express and if an arrangement similar to that of the first Expressliners whereby operators had to run them and buy/lease them from National Express. The answer to this was no operators are free to choose any body manufacturer they choose so long as they are capable of carrying wheelchairs.


The look of the new body from outside.

I spoke to a sales advisor on the Plaxton stand who told me the Paragon and Panther would be reengineered by the year end to carry wheelchairs, though the Profile is already available. He also added that it has been a quite year on the sales front largely due to the fact that so few stage carriage coaches have taken to the road due to the new legislation.

Other new coaches on display also included the relaunch of the Bova Majiq, the new Beulas Cgynus based on the Irisbus chassis. King Long of China and Autosan also used Birmingham to show of recently launched coaches.

Neoplan had on display a 13.7 metre Skyliner similar to those run by the Oxford Tube, however this one was to full touring specification and seated 83 passengers.

Surprisingly however despite the high specification which included two fridges, water boiler, sink full soft trim and an excellent sound system this coach was for sale for a mere £300,000 this been around £20,000 cheaper than those run by the Oxford Tube. I asked how this could be with such high specification, basically its down to the DDA rules and regulations. The fitting of destination equipment, DDA approved stairs and the wheelchair area.

A surprise was the arrival outside of a Scania with Irizar PB body that was around 13 metres long belonging to Classic Bus of Anfield Plain.


I donít think this was planned, the driver taking a wrong turn, however it was parked up outside amongst display vehicles.
Despite the length of this coach it seated a mere 32 passengers, the coach been to full executive specification
which included back to back leather seating with tables.

Inside the arena Optare launched its new Midi coach based on a Mercedes-Benz. The coach called the Toro is a direct replacement for the Nouvelle, however the Toro is to be built by Ferqui in Spain and not Rotherham where the Nouvelle was built.

All in all a great day was had and I recommend to anyone to visit the show in the forthcoming years.

Chris Maxfield, Oxford 8th October 2005

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As will be seen under the Wootten heading in fleet news below a significant order was placed by this operator at the show.

More filming in Oxford brings an ex Nottingham decker to our City.

Marcus Lapthorn writes "Parked up in Broad Street today was ex Nottingham d/d no. 659 serving now as a film crews' refreshment room! The bus also had another fleet no. on it which was 8, suggesting that it had been sold from Nottingham to another bus operator prior to becoming a film crew vehicle."

Later in the day both Chris Maxfield and I saw this bus heading back towards London. Did anyone get a picture?

Report from Luton by Mike Penn.

News from Luton is that the first of the new Wright bodied Scanias for Arriva The Shires entered service on the 27 to Marsh Farm on Monday. Those that I know of so far are 3601-4/6/7  (KE 55 CTV,CTU,FBY,FBX,CTK,CTF).  I understand that the vehicles to be replaced include some of the Tridents which are destined for Ware to join the ex Arriva Southend ones.  Also the VRs and some of the older Olympians may go.


A photo of 3607 taken on Saturday 8th by Mike Penn.

Report from Reading by James Cusworth 

Arriva have been putting a few deckers on the 328 recently, including G131YWC on Monday and F644LMJ on Thursday. F644LMJ was considerably late and is seen leaving with an on-time B10B on the 329 which should be around 30 minutes behind it. (see pictures below Ed.)

   

First's streetcar was presented to the public on Thursday after being presented to Reading Borough Council on Wednesday. In the morning it did a number of trips around the station area and from about mid-morning onwards it was parked up outside the town hall. (see pictures below Ed.)

 

Newbury Metrobus 456 seen at Reading Station preparing for a journey back home on the 102. The decker is needed as this journey will pass Theale Green School just after the bell. Notably, Newbury Metrobuses have tree deflectors fitted. (see pictures below Ed.)

The Reading Evening Post recently carried a story about parents complaining that on a number of occasions buses have been unable to get up Pierces Hill in Tilehurst whilst operating schools service 91, drivers having to unload passengers to get the bus up the hill. A spokesman confirmed that the buses in question were Olympians and I have experienced this on many occasions whilst using football service 75. Admittedly it is a steep hill and quite a challenge when full of a passengers but I never had a problem with older Metrobuses or Titans going up there. A few years ago, Reading Mainline were running Routemasters up there on line D!!

Particularly bad were the Olympians which once were coaches bought for the London motorway service, though only one of these now remains- number 82 seen here at the Station. The others have recently been sold to Shamrock Buses of Poole. 

The first four Omnidekkas wear the grey 'all-routes' livery and regularly work the 25 when not needed to cover for purple rte 17 buses as shown by 803. (see pictures below Ed.)


Excel 2 963 operates on it's usual haunt... 


whilst Excel 926 deputises for another.


Scania coach 212 in the new Goldline livery.

(Many thanks to James for that most informative report. Ed.)

UK Bus Industry Awards

Rob Williams writes to note "The shortlist info is now online at http://www.ukbusawards.co.uk/shortlist.htm"

Both The Oxford Tube and Brookesbus have been nominated for awards.


OCBP helps travellers in the area

From time to time I get e-mails from bus users or intending bus users asking for help in reaching their destinations. Last week I received the following request from a gentleman who was obviously reaching the end of his patience.

"Sorry, but I have no idea how to start. I need to get by bus from Long Wittenham to East Hanney every day at 10am and return at 3pm. Who do I need to ask? Sorry to bother you, but your urgent help is really appreciated. Itís 9.45 already!!!"

I had to stop and think and also realise that I was not reading his message until quite sometime after he wished to travel. I found however the information I need on the very excellent map produced by Oxfordshire County Council and pictured below. He needed to use the Thames Travel 107 to Oxford and then the Stagecoach 31/X31 service to his destination.

Stagecoach improves the X5 Cross County service between Cambridge and Oxford

From 23rd October 2005 Stagecoach will improve the X5 service by increasing the Sunday frequency to every 30 minutes and with an Adult explorer ticket for just £7 - OAP or child for £5.50 valid on all SC services (except London) this makes a great day out for many who enjoy a day out on the buses.

Full details can be found on the Stagecoach UK Bus website.

Historical pictures


A Leyland National preceeds an Oxford Citylink 290 out of Newlands bus Station in the early '90s - photo by Steve Warwick.
 


One of the Olympian coaches, 1822, purchased by Alder Valley for the London-Bracknell service
which ended up with Wycombe Bus and was painted in a coach livery for one season.
picture by Steve Warwick.

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I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this page and look forward to your continued support in the future.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 9th October 2005

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

News of the local companies Ė 9th October 2005

The new depot at Cressex is now being occupied by the company and the first buses moved to Cressex late last week. I am pleased to show a few photos of the site as it appeared last Saturday and hope to bring a full report on the new premises once they are fully operational.

Nigel Peach writes "Arriva have started to use the new depot in Lincoln Road and this morning (Sat 8th) I noticed some of the buses being transferred up there. 

One of them was Volvo B6 3126 (M726 OMJ) the bus banded for route 74.This bus has been at the back of the bus station parked next to its "twin" 3127 (the all-over advert for the gargae in Little Chalfont). Both have been there for some weeks. Today when I saw 3126 I realised why it is out of service. It has suffered severe fire damage at the rear -see picture attached.

Also attached is a general view of the depot with another B6, 3107 and Olympian 5202 in the picture.

   

Two more Olympians have appeared this week. 5094 (F644LMJ) and 5106 (G656UPP), both Alexander bodied. I wonder if they will replace the remaining ex London examples - 5851 was still running yesterday (Friday)."


Martyn Banham sent this picture of a "bouncy castle" on the 261 last week in Oxford.


Volvo 3863, the unbranded one at High Wycombe is seen on Saturday last working the 31.

Binders Yard

I went up to the yard on Saturday and got a number of interesting pictures, two of which are shown below. Others will be published next week.

 
Harris coaches Volvo Plaxton XGV911 at Binders Yard and in picture 2 the front of PRA113R and NEx FDV803V

The Arriva Olympians G530 & G534VBB which should enter service next Monday were still seemingly not ready for service with L533 still standing outside the works on Saturday morning untouched as yet.

City Sightseeing in Oxford

The new open top Volvo entered service last week and a number of pictures have been taken of it on the road.

Martyn Banham sent a couple which are shown below.

 

I then took some at Gloucester Green which shows the upper deck layout and the coach seats in the covered part.

   

 


Volvo B12B nr 53 shows the small stickers applied to company buses and coaches relating to the fares increase.


Citaro 833 works the X3, most appropriate to its registration. It is seen on Friday last by Carfax.


Scania coach nr 1 looks a little forlorn as it waits its next duty at Gloucester Green last Friday.
It is not the coaches fault, rather the sinking surface at the coach station which continues to cause problems.


Its all Oxford Bus at Carfax in this picture.


Another Citaro, this time ex green 825 working 15 road hotly pursued by Scania coach 1 last Friday.

 

In News Page 144 I said "Much has been made about the new "standard" National Express coach for 2005 and beyond. This is the Scania with Irizar PB bodywork which has been configured to National Express requirements."

Rob Williams wrote "These cannot be the standard vehicles for 2005 and beyond! Any new vehicle built after 1st January 2005 and used on scheduled services has by law to be wheelchair accessible. The current Scania / Irizars appear to have been built on stock chassis built before 1st Jan to get around this. For the future NatEx currently have a wheelchair accessible coach in development in partnership with Caetano which is due to be launched soon. It may be that the interior from the Scanias is to be replicated though."

This should be further clarified that coaches ordered before the end of 2004 need not be wheelchair compliant. It seems that 80 Scanias were ordered before the end of 2004. Thus another 50 or so are due to enter service.


With Corgi producing a Van Hool coach shortly it is appropriate that many services through Oxford are worked by this class of coach.


Whilst rear route number details are required by law on these coaches the quality of the displays is
very poor and though the photograph appears to show a missing number
on very close examination of the actual coach the display was there.

Brookesbus has continued to see Megabus M A N s working rush hour relief's. This last Friday saw 50046 in service on the U1.

 
It is first seen passing Carfax corner and the again Castle Street on its way to Harcourt Hill.

 
More on Brookesbus, nominated for an award - see in Editorial above - 18198 on the U5 and 18197 on the U1


P registered Darts feature in Witney's allocation and here 32626 is turning into Worcester St last Friday on an 11 working.


Talking of Witney, Chris Lowe sent this picture of 16509, once a regular on the 100 service
and now at Princess road, Manchester. It had just come off an 86N Night Service working.

Bus Monkey sent a few notes on sighting which arrived too late for inclusion on last week's page.

Mon 26th Sep
-------------
34466 on 3
20228 on 7/7C
22054 on X31
Various buses/coaches on Brookes extras, ironically including route 3 branded 22937 given the number of Brookesbuses that have appeared on the 3 over the summer!

Tue 27th Sep
-------------
20228 on X4


 


An Oxford Tube Skyliner negotiates the corner at Carfax which due to scaffolding makes it a very tight turn and
drivers need to take very special care as pedestrians walk into roadway as seen in this picture.


Vario 847 on the 17 last Friday, suggesting yet more problems with the Mercedes specially purchased for this route.

 

  http://www.woottens.co.uk/newspage.htm

Michael Wootten writes to say "Woottens have invested in seven new Volvo B12B / Plaxton Panthers for delivery in March 2006. The order was confirmed at Birmingham NEC during Coach & Bus Live.

"A number of factors influenced our choice of vehicle" explained Michael Wootten. "The Volvo chassis is well respected throughout the industry and the B12B has proved to be a very robust and reliable model in a number of small and large fleets. We have specified the 420bhp engine, which is the most powerful unit in the range. This will be coupled to the 12-speed automated Volvo I-shift transmission, which is gaining an excellent reputation both at home and abroad".

"Having looked at a number of bodywork options, we were particularly impressed by the quality and attention to detail demonstrated by the team at Plaxton. This coupled with the amazing comfort and spacious design of the Panther interior secured our business".

These vehicles will be 12.5 metres in length with 49 / 53 seats and demountable toilets. All will be built to an identical high specification making them by far the most impressive vehicles in the fleet."

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

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


Gavin Francis caught this coach in Oxford last week.
Is Chris Maxfield not telling us everything???

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend

Bus Zone Logo (2421 bytes)

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

Links

Bus Services in Buckinghamshire

Bus services in Oxfordshire

Where are the Chilterns?

Visit this informative site through the link below.

back to home page
Map showing the Chilterns Hills beginning in Oxfordshire in the Thames Valley and stretching north-east through Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire to Hitchin in Hertfordshire. The highest points are over 250m. There are various water courses running from the Chilterns to the South East.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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