Monday 10th April 2006
next update week ending 21st April 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
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.
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The big surprise of the week was probably last night when some quite heavy snow fell over the Chilterns and I daresay other areas, which came as a complete contrast to the day which was quite warm and sunny. I understand that several readers have come to regard my weekly picture of Stokenchurch as one of my eccentricities and so as not to disappoint this week I moved location to the Old Oxford Road in Piddington. The subject is yet again our Sunday bus on the 342 which seems to have improving load factors. This road would make an ideal location for pictures of preserved buses in "original" locations.
Arriva's Vario 2196 works the 1015 342 service from Stokenchurch to High Wycombe on Sunday 9th April 2006.
Note the lack of road markings with only the cars and newer bus stops to bring matters into the 21st century.
Reminding us of Gloucester Green nearly 20 years ago is the picture below taken by me from a position now covered by buildings. The days of the Bristol VR were at a peak and the Oxford Tube was still in its infancy.
Swanbrook service renumbered
Swanbrook's Cheltenham-Oxford service is renumbered with effect 10th April and becomes the 853.
Reading - a report by James Cusworth
At Reading Buses, the next eight Omnidekkas have now entered service, they are:
These are in the light pink, also called rose pink, livery for the 25/26. Interestingly, the front displays are able to show the route number in pink.
Their arrival has meant that 2000-2 have left the fleet after around 10 days here.
A bright Wednesday morning in Reading.
Woody writes "One of a pair of Optare Spectra coaches owned, I believe the only two coach specification ones built, originally for Reading. The PSV Circle party were travelling on this and a Barry's Scania/Irizar."
PSV Circle trip - Poole 080406 - photo by Woody.
With apologies to Robert Jowitt and his book "The Girl in the Street or The Bedside Bus Book"
John Marsh writes "If readers liked the young lady at Carfax included on last week's page, they might equally enjoy this one at Gloucester Green taken on the same afternoon."
Boarding the bus for Chipping Norton by John Marsh
John has an interesting web site at www.photoboxgallery.com/317490 which readers may like to browse.
Another angle on the photography of buses
Ian Pinnell writes "I thought I would send you a couple of photos that may interest you, these were taken on Wednesday 5th April 2006...
I was trying out my new phone and its camera qualities, when I noticed it can take 'negative' pictures, so I thought it would be interesting to take a few 'negatives' of buses in Oxford.
One of the pictures attached is of Oxford Bus 838 parked up the other side of the trees near Sainsbury's and out of both the pictures, I think its the best. The 'Ox' logo which you cant normally see from a distance is highlighted and with the shadowy effect on the buildings behind, especially the windows, it makes it seem like its a dark place (but it was actually really sunny at the time!)
The final picture I enclose was taken inside of a Stagecoach bus en route to Oxford City Centre, and I like this picture too because the backdrop behind the writing looks spooky and the writing is more highlighted, I'm detecting a hint of Stagecoach Halloween?!"
I look forward to more of readers different views on our chosen subject.
Peter Cartwright tells us that "the timetables/programmes for Slough/Windsor Running Day are now available." Click on this link TheRoutemasterreturnstoSlough.doc
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new. Keep the historical info and older pictures coming but don't forget the modern stuff.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 10th April 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies 10th April 2006
Arriva's depot at Cressex is now fully operational and on Sunday's there are a large selection of buses to see.
Nigel Peach writes "I notice that ex Oxford Volvo B10M 3855 (N415 NRG) now has an electronic destination display. It's the first of those buses that I've noticed to be so treated."
Now I wonder if this display was removed from Trident 5432 before it was transferred to Aylesbury?
Glenn Knight writes "Here is the low bridge on the X15 Aylesbury - Milton Keynes that the Dennis Tridents cannot fit under this bridge which is 13ft 9ins and the tridents are 13ft 10ins"
Dennis Trident 5432 - W432 XKX on the X15 to MK Rail station.
Rob Williams contributed this picture of an X15 branded Scania in Reading. It is nearly not in service !!!!
Agoraline AL1 at Amersham, pictured by Frazer Peddle. Looks long doesn't it?
Steve Bunce thought readers would be interested in the changes made to this Carousel Olympian since acquisition.
Carousel last Sunday - always an interesting line up of varied buses.
The new livery is gaining a hold on the fleet.
Nigel Eggleton, presently Commercial Director of The Oxford Bus Company has been appointed to the role of Operations Director for Birmingham Coach Company, recently acquired by The Go-Ahead group. During his four and half years with OBC Nigel has headed the rebranding of the fleet and leaves a very different scene than that which was in place when he joined. I am sure all readers of this page will wish Nigel well in his new role and the challenge before him.
Volvo B10M "espress" coaches 9, 10 and 12 have moved to Birmingham and are presently used on National Express rosters. They have been painted in National Express livery. Nigel has promised pictures and more information as time permits.
Another milestone at OBC was reached at the end of March when TGX150 tickets machines were fitted to the city and park and ride fleet.
The Oxford Bus Company is one of the first, if not the first bus companies to introduce its very own "speed gun" to enable a check to be kept on the speed of its buses and coaches in Oxford. There is a 20mph speed limit in the city centre and this tool enables the company to not only check speeds but also to support its claims that its buses do not break speed limits in the city centre.
Vikki Lee writes to note that last week she rode home to Kidlington on Volvo B10BLE 811 which she comments is now most unusual. This follows the introduction of Citaros on the 2 group of routes.
There also seems to have been a very regular use of red Tridents on Park and Ride services in recent weeks.
Trident 102 works the 300 service on the 7th April 2006. Photo by Gavin Francis.
Gavin also caught older Mercedes 838 on the 15, a not so regular occurrence these days with the Volvo B10BLE s returning from refurbishment.
Rob Williams writes to say "Brookesbus 18198 has gone on loan to Nuneaton for a few days from today (Saturday - the first day of the Easter vacation). It is there to carry out type training in readiness for four new Tridents that Nuneaton are expecting from next week for service changes commencing 23rd April. The Tridents will primarily be used on route 157 Nuneaton - Leicester. In turn, the displaced vehicles will allow route 48 to be increased in frequency between Nuneaton and Coventry."
Glenn Knight writes regarding new Tridents in Northants saying "Here is a picture of the new Dennis Tridents from Stagecoach In Northants 18410 - KX06 JIB taken in Bedford bus station on the X2 Northampton - Bedford the 4th of April."
Glenn's picture of the new Trident - http://glennsbusandcoachphotos.fotopic.net
Oxford's new u8nbranded Trident 18393 puts in time on the 27B in this picture by Gavin Francis.
Vikki Lee writes to say "18393, the unbranded one, was noted on a lunchtime 33 yesterday coming up St. Aldates. 34470 seems to have the route branding along the roof, but no big 'X' sticker."
Volvo 20543, now based at Witney and seen here on a 20 working - photo by Gavin Francis
Boat Race Sunday, 2nd April, was a very busy day on The Oxford Tube hence the appearance of Olympian 16524
in London. This bus is one of two Olympians 16523 inc, which can be used on such services.
The last time this bus was used to London was in 2004 when it worked Megabus services for a few weekends.
Two pictures of a Volvo artic coach working Megabus routes out of Victoria Green Line pictured by Gavin Francis.
51070 was down from Scotland on 7th April when pictured.
Neoplan 50134 has just arrived from Cardiff and is presently based at Cwmbran. The use of dual language destination is interesting.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
Sullivan's of South Mimms
Seen this week in Rickmansworth, operating the R21, was this brand new Alexander Dennis Dart with Caetano Nimbus bodywork.
Registered FJ06 URS it didn't have blinds fitted, and as can be seen was in overall white livery
with no vinyls, although a carcheck website has it down as being red! Was it a demonstrator / loan or a new purchase?
Michael Wootten has written to advise of the latest deliveries to his fleet. He has also provided some excellent pictures.
Michael says "I
am pleased to offer our latest Fleet News as follows:
Woottens latest new coaches took to the road this week. The vehicles were collected by Woottens own staff from Plaxton's Scarborough factory and have been extremely well received by customers old and new.
The coaches were ordered last July and built to Woottens own detailed specification. The order called for seven Volvo B12B / Plaxton Panthers and was later increased to include a Volvo B7R / Plaxton Profile with 57 seats and air conditioning.
Both the Panthers and Profile have been built to incorporate a number of DDA requirements with the Panthers featuring a new wide entrance door recently introduced by Plaxton. Also included in the specification are 49/53 reclining seats with integral headrests, courier seat, inertia reel seat belts, arm rests, foot rests, WC / washroom, climate controlled air conditioning, double glazed panoramic windows, cruise control, ABS brakes, reversing cameras, stereo radio / PA / CD player, refrigerator, large luggage capacity, DVD / monitor, hot drinks dispenser and carpets.
The Volvo B12Bs are powered by the 420bhp engine with Volvo 12-speed I-Shift transmission - a first for Woottens who previously standardised on the ZF Ecomat automatic gearbox for all new vehicles.
Registered YN06 MXR-Y, these vehicles look set to become a common sight in the local area and beyond!"
The very excellent pictures of the new fleet provided by Michael Wootten.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Stockwell Garage with London General's open top RML 2318 - picture submitted by Peter Edgar..
Armstrong Galley took this picture of the latest addition to the Yellow Bus fleet
for National Express workings from Bournemouth and Poole.
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
Ed Maun writes following last week's newspaper cutting saying "Thanks for the newspaper clipping of Kingsbury Aylesbury in issue 172 which I would think dates from the late 1950s. I have attached another clipping of Kingsbury taken in the late 1960s which was published in the Bucks Herald dated 29/10/92. To the left is an FLF of Thames Valley next to an FLF of United Counties. The single-decker is a City of Oxford Reliance and I would guess the double-decker peeking over the top of the Reliance is a Red Rover either a Bridgemaster or a Renown, as it looks no taller than the FLFs. Kingsbury is the correct name for the area as displayed on the street nameplates! it isnt a square any way, but a triangle."
More Thames Valley - South Midland pictures from the past courtesy Derek Doling
Two second hand TV Bristol Ks pictured in Reading Garage on 4th June 1961.
Another slice of history with Bristol SC4LK 778 normally used on the Marlow service from Maidenhead.
The date is 3rd May 1959.
TV 835, one of the front entrance Lodekkas used on the London service seen here at Maidenhead Bus Station on 30th April 1961.
Finally a South Midland coach nr 93 loading for a tour a Gloucester Green. This coach served SM from July 1953 until it was
transferred to Thames Valley and converted into a bus in February 1966.
The passenger entrance door would seem very out of place in modern times.
Pictures from my collection.
Last week I pictured ex GM Buses GNF6V now owned by Dave Rogers.
Before this and some similar buses moved to Swindon, they were used by South Midland, often on Bicester services.
Here South Midland fleet number 702 leaves Gloucester Green on a 20 service to Chippy.
Another little gem is this one showing Snoopy 115 with three brand new Darts inc L711 and L713 JUD,
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