Issue 16
(OBP-232)

Sunday 12th January 2003

next update week commencing 20th January 2003

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
malcolmhc@aol.com

The past week has , in the early part of the week, been a hectic one for local operators. The floods which beset many parts of our area towards the end of the previous week, left Oxford especially with some major problems. On Monday morning the Abingdon and Botley roads were closed to traffic. This mean't a number of diversions, some major. The railway between Oxford and Didcot was flooded at Kennington and there were some major coaching moves to replace the missing trains. Add to that a bus fire in Drayton and one can appreciate life was not at all happy.

BBC Radio Oxford covered matters very well on Monday morning with regular updates on what was going on. Phil Clarke of Oxford Bus was heard on several occasions explaining what was being done to cope with the problems and in the end I think all those involved made an excellent job of a difficult situation.

Where roads were closed diversions were made. X3 and 35 services for example routed in via Botley Road. 300 services from Redbridge were split as per Saturdays and from Redbridge routed in via the by-pass and Iffley Road.


Chris Maxfield got down to the station on Tuesday to secure some record of what was going on.
The station forecourt was full of coaches and buses all helping out in the crises.

On last week's page I made a few errors in stating locations. Readers, Vic Gackowski and Richard Griffin pointed out two which are mentioned below and the photo captions corrected. Sorry folks.


The Abingdon Road had its share of problems as can be seen by this photo from Ralph Adams.
The water was up to the lower platform step of passing buses and one can only feel heartfelt sympathy
for residents so obviously affected by the flood waters. A 16 road service is seen turning out of
Donnington Bridge Road, heading for the City.
Ralph Adams
(correction to last week's page)


T3 runs through Kennington on its way to Templeton College.
Ralph Adams
(correction to last week's page)


The upper station parking area hosts several coaches from local operators last Tuesday.
Photo by Chris Maxfield.


One of the coaches being used for rail replacement is this Van Hool of R&W coaches.
The registration is one, I am sure, graced an ex COMS Tiger which worked for Bennett's.
Photo by Brian Matthews.

The coaches in use during this time were from many companies but included Worth's, Tappins, Pearce's and Plaistow's to name but a few.


Another Brian Matthews contribution was this shot of Tappins waiting to enter the station
and in the background, regardless of any problems, the open top tour bus plying its trade.

Following my comments at this point last week but I am sure not because of those comments, Oxford City Council is to install cameras at High Street in March this year. From that time motorists will be fined for abusing the signs and entry to the upper High Street from Magdalen Bridge will be banned to all but buses and taxis. However of note was the fact that police opened up high Street to all traffic last Monday as a result of the many road closures elsewhere.

I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page.

Malcolm Crowe, January 12th 2003.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies - 12th January 2003

Abbey Coaches, High Wycombe.

Martyn writes "Abbey Coaches has acquired XIB2679 Leyland Tiger/Plaxton Paramount 3200 Mk1 C50F. Latterly with Beckwith Coaches, it was collected from their former operating centre in High Wycombe last Tuesday. G726CEM - 26 seat Mercedes 814d Minicoach - is at Bob Vale Coach Sales, looking for a buyer!"

Airlinks

All the Airlinks coaches have acquired National Express stickers in their front near and offside windows.

Unusually on of the Y req Plaxtons was on the A6 service into London last Friday.

Arriva serving The Shires

Steve Warwick writes with various news items saying:-

Tues 7th Jan
 

Oxford Volvo 5160 worked the 17.10 and 18.10, 54 Halton Camp service. Greenway 3044 broke down outside the Blue Lenie in Walton Street, Dart 3375 also broke down today and had to be towed from the Bus Station to the Garage.  Also off the road today Mercedes 2176 with alternator trouble.

Next month Route 9, Bus Stn to Stoke Mandeville Hospital is going to a 10 minute service and is being promoted as Red Route 9. Four MPD Darts are to be route branded for this service, 3487 is already done and I think the photo shoot was done today.

I see Oxford made the news yesterday with cars being allowed to use the centre of Oxford for the first time in three years.

Red Rose have got an ex London United Dennis Dart (J126 DUV) it was on route 17 today.

Thurs 9th Jan

MPD 3487 (photo's attached) is having it's route branding removed until Feb when the Route Route come into operation so it can be used for the time being.

Olympian 5101 has been on 500 Watford for the last couple of days as Scania 3165 is away for repair following it's accident a couple of weeks ago at Hunton Bridge.

Scania 3165 is now back with a repaint it has now lost it's 500 route branding.

 

 
Steve Warwick's pictures of 3487

Carousel Buses, High Wycombe.

The second ex Armchair Olympian, H554GKX has arrived and is awaiting preparation for service with Carousel. The VR pictured last week has been returned off loan.


Whilst Carousel are awaiting delivery of the three remaining Olympians, FDV818V is on hire.

H564 was operating the 401 on Sunday, today.

City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.

Chris Maxfield provided photos of the recent diversions caused by the flooding.


Trident 106 works along the Iffley Road, inbound from Redbridge last Tuesday. Photo Chris Maxfield.


Another Chris Maxfield shot, this time of Volvo 616 on the X3 running into Oxford along the Botley Road.


Volvo 617, now in standard livery, operates a 35 service nearing town again on the Botley Road.
Photo by Chris Maxfield.

Various of you wrote in following last week's page and also with news for this week's page.

Vic Gackowski wrote "Good content this week , Couple of points - The majority of buses ran Oxford to DIDCOT every 15 minutes with many many vehicles used from various local operators. VT ran some direct to Reading but far less. TT use local operators but VT use Frazer Eagle . 

T3 Photos are captioned  as in Radley but the locations are Kennington as far as my knowledge goes. On the one turning round you can read the road , St Swithins Road , in Kennington. The rear view one is on the straight , again in Kennington , towards the flood with the warning triangles in the picture. 35 road ran as booked from the south end of Kennington , after diversion , out to Radley and Abingdon.

Thanks to Vic for the input and corrections. 

Richard Griffin writes "One request, and a variety of corrections and a Very Favourable Comment on the latest news page. On the current news page -- for which congratulations -- the second photograph looks to me as if it actually shows the Abingdon Road, with a *16*-road bus turning right out of (Donnington Bridge Road) Weirs Lane into Abingdon Road, on its way to Chatham Road, Lake Street and Oxford City.

I'm a bit confused by the caption to the third photograph -- the location appears to me to be Kennington Rd, shortly before the flooded section (with its warning signs visible) at Templeton; T3 wouldn't have been anywhere near Radley, surely?  Presumably you meant "*towards*
Templeton College"?  Likewise the final photo of the COMS section is captioned as "Turning round in Radley", but the road-sign saying "St Swithun's Road" is visible -- proving beyond doubt that this is Kennington at The Avenue.

Sorry to be a pain. "A sunny Saturday....", 803 is rounding The Plain, not St Giles.  I know you knew that!"

Thanks Richard, it is nice to set the record straight. And now onto a report from Newman Morgan. 

"Just a quick note - had to pop into Summertown late Friday afternoon and on P&R 500 I noted Trident 101 along with Citaro 824, 826, 827 and one other. Also noted an unidentified Wright Volvo on 2 road.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford 

Newman Morgan writes "Friday's Oxford Mail carried an story and photo of a SiO vehicle that caught fire Thursday around 1pm at Drayton whilst on the 32A. It seems the fire started
in the engine compartment, couldn't be extinguished by the driver and was put out by the Fire Service but only after the rear half of the vehicle was gutted.

The bus involved is, I am advised, Dart 759, which had been due to go to Devon. It is however a write off.


Saturday was a really fine, if cold day and the Power Station chimneys at Didcot make a fine backdrop
fro Volvo/Paladin 912 as it works a 32A service to Wantage.


Dart 764 works a Didcot service along the Iffley Road outbound last Tuesday.
Photo by Chris Maxfield.

Richard Sharman writes "former Oxford Tube B896YYD is now allmost ready for use and is now in Ensign livery at Stratford Blue, now registered B167XBU. Hope to be rallying it this summer." 

Andrew Dyer writes "Just a quick note on Brian Matthews comment alongside his photo this week "When VRs ruled the world". 

Just to let you know that in Stagecoach they now only rule in Hampshire. Following the withdrawal of the last couple in Lancaster this week our (Stagecoach South East's) four at Basingstoke are the only ones left in the group and the oldest JOU160P is the oldest non-Routemaster vehicle in Stagecoach daily service. 

We are having a rally and open day at our Winchester depot on Sunday 27 April in conjunction with the Friends of King Alfred Buses to commemorate the 30 years since the demise of King Alfred and no doubt the VRs will be in evidence.

All Oxford visitors welcome!"

Keith Wood says "Nuneaton depot has started re-numbering as of yesterday but Leamington and Rugby have not.

I'm updating my fleetlist with new Stagecoach numbers as I see them. A complete list does exist but I'm waiting until I see them before I change my list. I appreciate that the complete lists save time but I prefer to see the vehicles for myself ! Nuneaton is currently re-numbering although it is slow.
The following have been treated so far:-

152-33652
154-33654
155-33655
207-20207
209-20209
211-20211
239-20809

The complete list is useful although as the numbering scheme seems to follow the old numbers my fears of confusion have receded.

Paul Dudfield  writes "
The following appeared on the South West Buses Yahoo Group last night:

"Today's new arrivals at Exeter were two of the expected Darts from
Oxford, namely 32079 (779) M79VJO, and 32163 (793) R63VFC, both Plaxton B37D's. Both arrived in their two door form to be modified at Exeter
."

Neil Gow writes "Saw reported on UK Bus Fleetnews yesterday that R179VPU has been converted to single door and is at Bedford for repainting."

Indeed 16179, as it will be, has gone off to Bedford. It arrived from Mainline, Rotherham, after conversion but unpainted with a number of bare panels last week. It then left on Friday for Bedford. It is expected to enter service on the Bicester route.

Thames Travel

Four new Dart MPDs have arrived and two have entered service. They are KU52RXF  RXR  RGF  plus ? Note the use of digital destination displays.

Olympian 208 has returned from reapint by Oxford Bus but retains their fleet numbers and their legal lettering. I wonder why?


A big company image is portrayed by this Dart with super rear ad seen in Wallingford.

Whites of Abingdon.


Whites were using this Mercedes on the 98 to Berinsfield from Didcot last Saturday.

Rail Replacement and other reports.

Stef Soanes writes "I liked the page this week, nice to see the pictures of 101 on the motorway.

There is a little story behind the Longs coach parked at Gloucester Green. The second driver had seen the vehicle off the bay at G Green, as is the custom he boarded the bus using the offside continental exit. However, the emergency door could not be closed properly and it jammed shut. The coach had a full load of passengers and various attempts to 'kick' the door open from the inside failed - not sure how the passengers were feeling at this point!!!

Not sure what happened to it after that though.

Steve Annells wrote "Very pleased to be credited with the photograph of Silver Star 1012MW leaving Winchester Bus Station, but it's someone else's!  (It was by Brian Matthews, so sorry to both of you. Ed.) I had already left on Titan POU494 for Sutton Scotney, and rode back on 1012MW.  By then my camera had had an attack of temperament, and I couldn't take any photographs.  The interchange point at Sutton Scotney is close to the garage of Taylors of Sutton Scotney, although in the event there wasn't time to have a look.

Newman Morgan writes "I also noticed some Stagecoach in London Tridents bearing new fleet numbers under the national numbering scheme. The vehicles noted were in the TA4xx series that had become 174xx with all mention of their former TA numbers eradicated. In practice the letters TA are replaced with the numerals 17. These particular vehicles were working SiL's ultra frequent 55 road to Hackney. Thus, the 3 TAs that ran in Oxford, TA429/431/433 will become 17429/17431 and 17433. The re-numbering was certainly being done at random on the batch of vehicles noted.

I was in
Oxford
on Saturday and attempted to park at the Rail Station short term car park for a short period of time. This was of course closed as it was being used as a coach park. Coaches noted came from Jeffs, Pearce's, Tappins and several more. Also noted was a coach wearing Duchy Travel livery. As I left the station forecourt two of Weavaway of Newbury's 3-axle ex-Hong Kong deckers left the station empty. I followed the vehicles round to, and down, the Abingdon Road. It took around 30 mins to get from the river bridge at the bottom of St Aldates to Redbridge P&R. I hadn't realised that the road was flooded until it was too late. Still, I had my low slung Astra GSi with me which had in any event been damaged the previous day by floods in Thame. The Astra has a 9 mm clearance as standard on the model from road to base of car. The Thame flood was deep enough to allow the water to get above the engine's splash tray and forces ripped the damned thing off. And that was at less than 5mph. I have been quoted 400 for a new splash tray! I also have a Renault Scenic which would have been much more appropriate for the water.

Anyway, I met up again with the Weavaways at Didcot Parkway Station. 3 ex-HK examples (I think they are Metrobuses but don't quote me!) were on duty for rail replacement, reg nos. B10M KC, B10M KF and B10M SE. I've quoted the reg nos. as they appear on the buses but they are definitely not Volvos as they would have to have the Ailsa grill for their generation.

First Great Western was in a pickle on Saturday. Apart from the closure of the
Oxford line, the Chipping Sodbury tunnel was closed and there were problems in the Bristol and Newport areas. The Severn Tunnel was supposedly closed for engineering works. Consequently many cancelled or delayed West Country trains. "

Brian Matthews writes "Decided to visit Oxford today  -  by bus for a change.    Had an excellent ride in from Witney on the SiO  X2 - it took just 25 minutes to reach St Giles, and then a further 5 minutes to travel the last two hundred yards or so to its stop in George Street, due to the awful bottleneck of preceding buses and coaches in narrow Magdalen Street !

The main object was to have a look at the rail replacement activity around Oxford Station.   Although dry it was overcast for much of the time but I have enclosed some shots.       Whilst this was mid-morning, and a quieter time from the 'rail travel' aspect there was considerable coach activity.   There were about 15 coaches parked in readiness at various locations, in addition to the normal bus operations in the station area.   Many fluorescent jacketed staff with clipboards were evident and all seemed to be well organised.   The only missing element whilst I was there was a lack of passengers ! (or customers as the railway prefers to call them).   However there were quite a few arrivals from Didcot and the local coach firms have been supplemented by many other companies from outside the area.   All the coaches are paper badged, bearing references to 'Rail replacement service' and 'Oxford' and 'Didcot'.     I returned to Witney on the SiO  100, via the Botley Road which was back to normal."

HISTORICAL REFERENCES.

We have had a request from john Walker who asks "Has anybody got a source of photos, monochrome or colour, of COMS Bridgemasters and Renowns in service with COMS? (not scrapped or sold on). 

Any info would be very much appreciated, John Walker (margo10@btopenworld.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


Arriva 4049 works Rail Replacement services at Oxford Rail Station last Tuesday
Photo by Chris Maxfield.


European Coachways also lend a hand. Photo by Brian Matthews.


Seen heading towards Henley this Ferguson coach has a nice livery.

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

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