Sunday 10th November 2002
week commencing 17th November 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 on email@example.com
Following the changes on the pictures on this page from last week, when I introduced thumbnails to improve download times, your comments have in the main been extremely positive. I include comments from many of you and am very pleased with the responses.
Pete Brown of Showbus wrote "After a few months absence I finally got round to looking at your news page again! The new site looks great and I like the new faster downloading version."
Ed Maun writes "Just a quick note to let you know that I am happy with picture thumbnails. My normal procedure is to save the page to an appropriate folder having down loaded it from the web site so that I can browse at leisure without being connected to the internet. I have discovered that if I enlarge the thumb nails before I save, I can see the full pictures at a later time without being connected to the internet although it appears as only the thumbnails are saved".
Brian Matthews says "The new format is excellent - the page now downloads text and images together, and quickly. I can now comfortably read the news items and articles without the page suddenly scrolling back to complete the download of the images. Hope that other readers support this revision so that you can continue in this format. I think the 'thumbnail' size that you have chosen is just right (perhaps 'bigtoenail' size is an appropriate description ! ) - sufficiently large enough to portray enough detail whilst the text is being read, with the personal option of calling up the full size image if required.".
Steve Annells adds "I think thumbnails in the context of the page you produce are a very good idea. I've personally had very few problems downloading the page over the years, but it does take a long time to complete. I've tended to read the text while waiting for the images that I want to see! Personally, I'm not so keen on the bevelled-edge thumbnail image - it's OK if you're planning to use it as a pushbutton hyperlink, but otherwise it's obtrusive".
Stef Soanes commented "I
have just finished surfing the page and I must say that in my opinion the
thumbnails are a vast improvement in terms of download speed. Please, do not go
back to the full picture format, I like the fact that I can pick and choose
which shots I wish to see in detail".
Regular contributor Ralph Adams says "I opened it today without difficulty. I could read it immediately and all pictures were loaded within 20 seconds. I have a low spec PC but have not had problems in the past with any pictures not opening or excessive time taken. My only problem has been trying to open in the first place, but all now OK".
With a rather different view Rob Williams writes "For a long time I have had to right click on some of the latter images on the longer news pages to get them to show because the download would time-out. Even so I think that I still prefer having the full-size photos. The larger pics help draw attention to the stories, breaking up the text with a splash of colour etc. I always feel that it is such a good thing having some new/recent shots every week, so I say keep them noticeable. It's one thing reporting the news, but a much bigger task getting photos too, so I appreciate your pics greatly and don't really want to be messing about clicking on them etc to be able to see them properly. However if you do decide to continue to use the thumbnails I also have a suggestion - have the pictures pop up in a new window when you click on them (although admittedly I can never be bothered to do this on my site). That way it saves clicking backwards and forwards so much.
Hope my comments are useful".
With a similar comment
Neil gow says "I
think the thumbnails work well. Just one thing though - could you set them to
open a new browser window (target=_blank on hyperlink property), then we can
carry on reading while the image loads".
Steve Warwick said "Once again a most interesting news page. Indeed using thumbnails is a big improvement my news page loaded in a matter of seconds.".
Finally on this subject
Paul Dudfield wrote "This
week's page loaded much more quickly so perhaps thumbnails are the answer. The
ones you have used are a sensible size which makes it easy to decide whether or
not to open the full size version".
So, very many thanks to all of you who took the time and trouble to write on this and so many other matters. It seems that thumbnails are the answer but I have taken account of those who asked for the hyperlink for the picture to pop up in a new window and I have removed the bevelled edges that some you did not like.
A major item of news this week is the addition of a further 135 spaces to the Park & ride facility at Thornhill. This site is very popular with commuters to London and the airports and so gets full very quickly in the mornings. Work continues to complete the additional spaces and these should be available in time for the Christmas rush.
A 400 service , well loaded, heads for town on a mid day service last Saturday.
The new spaces can be seen in the left of this picture of Thornhill..
Work is well underway on the new site at Water Eaton with completion due for December 9th, again in time for the Christmas rush. Both this site and Thornhill will have much improved facilities for passengers waiting for the buses and some of the building frames are already in place at Water Eaton. Work is also in hand on the road outside with appropriate traffic islands and ground work for traffic lights etc.
Friday saw a further Users Surgery for Oxford's bus users, held in Cornmarket by The National Federation of bus Users supported by Oxford Bus and Stagecoach in Oxford. Both companies provided a bus and officials of the two companies were on hand to answer questions and listen to comments from passengers and passers by. I understand that the operators found the day enlightening and profitable in the planning of service changes and future developments.
Both operators had made an excellent effort for the event, even to the point of having a suitable destination display on the two buses.
Oxford Bus Volvo 811 acts as an information centre for the NFBU surgery.
Stagecoach in Oxford provided M A N 945 as their contribution to the event.
On the matter of cyclists you gave several responses and these seemed to support my comments last week.
Ralph Adams writes "I am an active cyclist, with lights, bright blue crash helmet and day glow jacket. I do not worry about "street cred" so what I look like is low compared with visibility. I am very disappointed at cyclists who think traffic lights do not apply to them, or the need to be seen at night. On the same basis, cars and vans whose drivers cannot read road signs also annoy me".
Steve Warwick who drives for one of the operators serving Oxford says "I'm glad it's not only me having trouble with cyclists and ignorant car drivers in Oxford. Cyclists just ignore give way signs, traffic lights etc. Car drivers are not much better, as I left Oxford Rail Station on Saturday and turned left into the buses only bit (not sure what it's called) I was confronted by a car in my lane much to the amazement of the Oxford bus driver waiting at the lights. The driver of the car just looked at me as if it was I who shouldn't be there!".
Al Partington contributes saying "as a frequent cyclist and sometime bus driver, I generally agree with your 'live and let live attitude' particularly as the motorist [yes, guilty of that one too] is a much greater nuisance to bus and bike. However there's no excuse for not using lights (particularly buses!) and I feel here that the local authorities could devote a little more effort education wise, perhaps an advertising campaign on the rear of buses? - bright clothing and/or reflective coatings on bikes should also be encouraged - thanks for your efforts, greatly appreciated".
Some interesting view points and I like the campaign on the backs of buses. Maybe the local operators might be interested?
An employee of Oxford Bus provided the opportunity of, in my opinion, how cyclists should dress.
There can be no mistaking the fact that a person is there and this is often a problem
when a driver looks in his rear view mirror and finds it hard to see a cyclist in poor visibility or the dark.
Annells writes regarding Volvo in Didcot saying "Incidentally Volvo Truck and
Bus at Southmead Park, Didcot, continue to receive impressive-looking London
General Volvo B7/Wright double deckers, passing through on their way to London.
A weekend visit usually sees four parked up. This weekend it was WVL49
(LF52ZRK), WVL50 (LF52ZRL), WVL53 (LF52ZPO) and another unidentified."
Some readers whose memories go back a few years may be interested to learn of a one time manager at COMS. Steve Oxbrow writes "It might interest you to know David Beaman, once of COMS is now operating in Weymouth in competition with former employers, Southern National. He is running some L-AUT Mercedes/Alexanders, plus M116WJT.Sureline, which is the trading name runs a Dorchester-Weymouth-Portland service 6 days a week (on Saturdays the service runs Weymouth-Portland only) More Details are on www.countrybus.co.uk.
I was delighted to receive an emial from a reader in Canada. Ken Tyler writes "Just a note from Canada saying how much I enjoy your weekly news roundup. While I only visited Oxford once (June 2000) I can relate to a lot of the items. Visiting my grandparents in Walton-on-Thames in the 50s I would wend my way over to Staines, Windsor and High Wycombe. I never went any further West as H.W. was the end of my London Transport Green Rover.
As an aside I never experienced any downloading problems with your sight. On the other hand don't ask me about Microsoft ME. Keep up the good work. All the best. Ken Tyler "
I must say the support from so many makes the weekly effort to get this news page out all the more worthwhile. Thank you.
I look forward to your continued support and contribution and welcome your comments.
Malcolm Crowe, November 10th 2002.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
The operator news from our area follows.................
News of the local companies - 10th November 2002
The 757 service continues with somewhat improving reliability. however this morning, sunday, saw a heavy fog lying over the Chilterns and the M40 was thus running slowly. The 1015 service through Stokenchurch was not unexpectedly running some 5 minutes late and I must say how I always somewhat surprised with the very good load factors this service carries.
Volvo 325 pauses to pick up some half dozen passengers. The fog lies thick over the village.
One of the problems with super rear ads is the wear the vinyls get and the rather shabby
appearance thus created.
Angela's of Witney.
Richard Sharman writes to tell us that they "have purchased ex China Motor Bus DL28 for schools from Ensign"
Arriva serving The Shires
Due to reasons for which there no official reason forthcoming, a number of buses have been drafted in to ensure the smooth running of services. The changes also result in unexpected types on routes which generally get a particular type.
Quite a number of observations have been received this week and I am pleased to detail them in full.
A regular correspondent, Nigel Peach says
"Observations today - Wed 6th:
SLF Dart 3386 P256FPK running on the 317 both yesterday and today. I see from
the Arriva 2002 book that this is really in a batch of its own - I wonder if it
is a permanent transfer in?
2. Ex Arriva Olympian 5081 B271 LPH, which was sold together with 5076 and 5146 when the depots merged (but I can't remember the name of the company who now runs them), was pictured by you looking resplendent at the Amersham Running Day. Today it was parked in the bus station displaying route 308 and sporting its NBC badge! Have Arriva hired it back again?! These three buses often appear in the area, running schools contracts for their new owner.
3. I saw black Olympian 5071 go out of the bus station, but I didn't see what route it was on, to ascertain if it is still on loan to Wycombe, or whether it is back at Aylesbury.
4. The road by Marks & Spencer's is now clear but I didn't see any buses going through the town when I was there at lunchtime today.
Sat 9th Nov:
Aylesbury based Olympian 5100 G650UPP was on route 301 from Flackwell Heath. I
then saw Olympian 5092 F642LMJ on route 317 to Maidenhead. What's happening?!!
5092 is still in the old blue and yellow livery with Gade Valley decals.
According to the Arriva 2002 book this is based at
Nigel then added "I've received this yesterday evening from my friend Bernard Lewenden: Quote - I was in High Wycombe today and noted a number of strangers which might be of interest to you. Sorry I did not note which services they were on. As I don't go to Wycombe very often it was not until I got home and checked them against my lists that I realised that they were not ones I would have expected to see,
3161 N711EUR Scania/East Lancs European
3171 P671OPP Dart SLF/East Lancs Flyte
5033 SNV933W VR/ECW. That is the registration according to the B.P.P. book but I wrote it as SNV 933X - 5033 is in the old blue livery
5152 S152 KNK Olympian/ N.C. Palatine II
5376 MUH 286X Olympian/ECW
To cap it all when I got to Maidenhead I saw 5092 F642LMJ Olympian/Alexander still in blue livery with Gade Valley lettering on the 317. Of course with no route blind display and just a scruffy hand written 317 in the nearside window. - end quote
So, this sounds very interesting. I've got to go into Wycombe this afternoon so I'll pop in to the bus station after & advise you of anything else!
One of today's 315s is Olympian 5827 (Travelwise bus). Why a decker?"
Thanks to Nigel and on to a note from Matt
Cooper who says "Arriva
Lynx trainer 3067 (H407ERO) is no stranger to
Aylesbury depot used to use this bus on the X15 (Reading-Wycombe-Aylesbury-MK)
service soon after the vehicle was acquired from
Luton. The coach seats made the vehicle seem better suited then the Wycombe Bus
Lynxes. As well as regular coach seated Olympian 5104 (then 654) (G654UPP)
Leyland National 533 (VRP533S) was also a regular on the X15.
Keep up the good work, now that I'm back at University and attend on Mondays I still always find time to log on and read the weeks developments !"
Mike Penn writes saying "Some more photos for you illustrating the allocation changes between Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
Former Wycombe Bus vehicles now reach Aylesbury on the 323 and 324 routes.
3833 (M503VJO) is seen here in Aylesbury on September 11th.
More Aylesbury vehicles can now be seen in High Wycombe. 3305 (JIL 2195),
the only 11.3m Leyland National Greenway in the fleet, is seen here on the
332 to Thame on September 13th. This bus came from Arriva Colchester, whose
fleet name it still carries.
Aylesbury based 3374 (K761JVX) is one of a pair of ex Arriva East Herts &
Essex Wright bodied Dennis Darts that originated with West's of Woodford
Green whose bus services were taken over by County Bus & Coach in August
1997. It was originally registered K2 BUS. It is seen here at High Wycombe
starting the return journey to Aylesbury on September 11th.
You have mentioned the three Dennis Lances recently acquired by Arriva The Shires from Arriva East Herts & Essex. Yes, they were used on the 61 initially although they now seem to be used only on Luton local services with the 61 being covered by a mixture of Volvo B6s, Scanias and Leyland Olympians.
3376 (M266 VPU) taken in Aylesbury on September 11th last.
The changes in allocations this last weekend saw another surprise arrival with 5386, an ex Rhondda Olympian joining the High Wycombe allocation. It was displaying Hertford on its destination when photographed in Newlands Bus Station this morning.
The use of route allocated buses on other than intended routes saw one of the H11 Volvos on route 310 last week. The use of the "10" number on the number blind is of interest. The bus is 3259.
A surprise visitor to High Wycombe this morning was this
London branded coach, 4047. R447SKX.
This is a DAF SB3000 with Plaxton Prima 53 seat coachwork.
Finally Pete Brown writes "saw a NC Palatine II bodied olympian in Wycombe yesterday on the 300. Is this new to Wycombe?
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Last Wednesday saw the Worthington Cup match against Aston Villa bring a 12000 sell out crowd to the Kassam Stadium. Oxford Bus ran extra services and most buses were fully loaded. The increase in vehicles was achieved with good coordination and changing over buses on service routes late in the afternoon to maximise the use of double deckers on the 601 and 602 football specials.
The 22 road is due to be converted to double deck operation from this coming week and this will need three double decks to be available. It is expected that 214 and 224 will re-enter service with Oxford to enable this change. As a precursor to this change, Trident 103 was used last Saturday night on the 1935 from Gypsy Lane and the 2005 from Harcourt Hill. The council has most efficiently cleared the overhanging tree branches on the road up to Harcourt Hill which had previously prevented the use of double deck buses.
Trident 103 on the 22 to Harcourt Hill last Saturday.
Seen here in high St, Oxford.
The red Tridents are now normally used on 15 road but do appear from time to time on Park & Ride services when the need arises..
223 is back at Cowley Road but it is not clear if it is in for overhaul or is back off loan to Thames Travel.
As mentioned above 811 was used for the NFBU surgery last Friday in Cornmarket.
Last week I gave the quoted information "last week's question about a decker in a scrap yard, Grahame Wareham kindly supplied the following answer. Grahame says "The vehicle which your reader quite rightly identifies as ex. Oxford was a 1939 AEC Regent/Weymann No. D144 reg. no. HFC423. It was sold by COMS in 1952 to Deacon, Dorchester, after being converted to living accommodation at Cowley Road. It passed to Mains Motors for scrap (having no mechanical units) and was still there in 1977. It was scrapped on site during 1984. It was at one time considered as a preservation project but the problem of extracting it forced a U turn. "
Grahame has now provided a photo of the bus in question for which I thank him very much. He says "I have been digging through my slides and have found a photo of HFC423 in Mains scrapyard, taken in April 1975, and also some views of 17 TCP899 taken Gloucester Green bus station between July 1971 and April 1973, for Paul Dudfield. Doesn't it make you feel old as it only seems like yesterday!
Jeff Peck who asked about the Oxford AEC says "thank you for all your help, I am overwhelmed at finding out the identity of this vehicle after all these years, and would very much like to thank Grahame Wareham for his reply. I searched to see if he had an e-mail address in the membership list but cannot see it there. Could you please send him many thanks for his efforts from me
1939 AEC Regent/Weymann No. D144 reg. no. HFC423.
Photo courtesy Grahame Wareham
We were also asked for a picture of that ex Hebble coach with its door shut.
Again Grahame came to rescue.
Photo courtesy Grahame Wareham
Brian Matthews wrote saying "With the 'Park & Ride' theme current, here is one of the earlier participants in St. Aldates in 1979 - an ex-Midland Red Daimler Fleetline 5263 HA, f/n 914, with the front paintwork indicating the "Pear Tree - City Centre - Redbridge" service, the only two sites in operation at that time.
A further view of Trident 107 presently awaiting application of its vinyls.
Paul Bateson sent these pictures to the following Yahoo Group and I hope he will not mind my publishing these on this site.
He says that this VR is ex 480 - HUD480S now in Canada. HUD480S in Laurentides, Quebec The two other Bristol VR buses owned by Autobus Galland were parked in Laurentides, some 40 kms. north east of Laval on 30th. April, 2002 and the photographs attached is (c) Paul A. Bateson..
In this view, the third of a series of seven pictures, the Bristol VR now numbered 702 is former City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd. 480 ( HUD480S ) and seen in Laurentides. It still displays its old fleet number inside and the position of the staircase confirmed its original operator. It carries registration number VNV 759H.
Photos copyright - Paul A Bateson
Heyfordian, Bicester & High Wycombe.
Olympian 2110UK was formerly B255RAJ
Leyland Tiger HUI4566 was formerly FAV566Y
Motts of Aylesbury.
Pete Brown writes "Motts new decker bus is E153OMD and is an optare bodied version new to Maidstone Boro'line. Motts also have 2 new B10m/Plaxton premieres reg. T9HCT and S333S??. I think that these have been bought to replace M575RJM which was the only Dennis Javelin in the fleet"
Again Pete Brown says "The decker in Red Rose's yard is a Volvo B10M decker and is owned my KWK Travel who also own some Merc's and a Transit that share the depot with Red Rose. This company is owned by one of the joint owners of Red Rose.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
Vario 373 works the 18 which was gained in recent tendering.
It is seen at its terminus in Castle St, Oxford.
Tracey Wright sanes the following "News from Chippy...... 01/11/02. mercedes 426 L326YKV note at Whitney garage in the workshop being prepared for service. Electronic destination blinds have been updated to now include all Banbury routes.
Also the idea of making the pictures smaller on the weekly news page makes it a lot easier and quicker to down load, a good idea well done.
As mentioned earlier in the page, Stagecoach in Oxford supported the NFBU surgery in Cornmarket with M A N 945 last Friday.
Thames Travel, Wallingford.
Dart MPD 270 serves the retail park at Cowley en route to Watlington.
Company sources tell me that they now need a double decker for a schools contract and are presently using Oxford Bus 223 on loan.
They also advise that Darts 551 and 651 sport Oxford Science Park livery for services 105 and 106. Pictures please.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Go-Ahead group coach Go-Northern 7075, YSU875 works a 304 service from Liverpool to Weymouth.
It is seen in Castle Street, Oxford on its way south last Saturday.
I welcome your
photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002