Monday 12th June 2006
next update week ending 24th June 2006
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Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute
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Saturday saw the beginning of England's path to glory in our hoped for success in the 2006 World Cup. Derek Dawson caught this Scania Irizar in the previous week heading along the M40 and I felt that it made a very suitable start to this week's page. Like very many others I watched our first game last Saturday having fended off several efforts to persuade me to work so that others could have time off to watch. Indeed the weekend was so very hot that I have waited until this morning, Monday, to prepare this week's page which has a number of very interesting items. In fact I have a week's holiday from my labours on the Oxford Tube some of which may be spent in Bournemouth providing the weather holds.
Work on the Eden development in High Wycombe
Last week I incorrectly referred to Temple Street when I should have said Union Street which is shown correctly in the picture below. I was amazed that the VW car parked on the roundabout causing the approaching Volvo on the 31 to have great difficulty in entering Temple Street as there were buses waiting to get into Union Street. The car stayed for some five minutes, seemingly oblivious to the difficulties it was causing.
I was assured by one of the site workers that the bus station in the new development would be ready by the middle of July and it does seem that Multiplex are working flat out to make this happen. Already work is starting in the old Newlands Bus station as can be seen from the picture below.
I also include a picture taken of the loading bays in Newlands as this will not be possible for very much longer. However I think that from the plans photography in the new bus station will be much easier.
Updated report on delays to traffic and services resulting from work at Thornhill Park & Ride junction on the A40.
Saturday saw the worst possible scenario develop when the London bound traffic lights at the 4 way stop street at Thornhill got out of sync and for a long period only 5 or 6 vehicles were able to get through before the lights changed against the London flow. This resulted in enormous problems for the coach services to London and as it was Saturday things took a long time to resolve.
The Oxford Tube suffered and in the end a Brookes Trident was summoned to help maintain service. This is covered under the Tube heading below and was repeated on Sunday again.
The base of the east bound carriageway is now completed and final completion work on this section should commence shortly.
Most inbound coach services now stop in the lay-by at Sandhills rather than coaches going into Thornhill as the exit delays are sometimes over 10 minutes. This will not be possible when work starts on the westbound carriageway as the eastbound is only two lanes which will additionally add to delays Oxford bound for a period of time.
Roadworks in High Street, Oxford cause long delays
At long last someone has seen sense and the northbound side of High Street has seen parking suspended between Carfax and the pedestrian crossing near the east of the covered market. This has eased traffic but from time to time delays still occur.
Parking charges in Oxford set to rise
The local press reports that peak on street parking charges in Oxford are set to rise by up to 170%. This is because Oxfordshire County Council ants to put the one-hour parking charge for 600 parking spaces across the city from £1.50 to £4 between 8am and 10am Monday to Saturday. The final decision has yet to be reached but will doubtless cause a lot of criticism from users.
New Park & Ride facilities proposed for county towns
Park & Ride sites in Abingdon, Bicester and Witney are being considered as part of a multi million pound investment by Oxfordshire's public transport chiefs. OCC has commissioned a study to look into the problem of congestion on the county's roads and to study three new Park & Ride sites in the towns mentioned to ease the problems.
On a personal note I have long felt that it is not possible for the country to sustain a continual growth in car usage into the next and subsequent decades and that the creation of additional park and ride facilities is an absolute must.
Developments will be followed with interest but it is essential that any facilities offer an incentive to get car users out of their cars and onto public transport. The problem will always be where to put the sites which will always be subject to the NIMBY brigade wherever is chosen.
Sightseeing tour buses
Wadman writes "With rather belated reference to the item on open-top
sightseeing tours in the 21st May issue, I'm afraid that the information on Bath
is slightly out of date. Regency Tours and Ryans have both left the market.
Classic City Tour was, I think, an alternative fleet name for one of these. The
Guide Friday tour was operated on their behalf by Badgerline, later First Group.
When Ensign took over Guide Friday the contract was transferred to Bath Bus Co
and First tried operating a tour on their own account, but have now also left
the market. The Guide Friday fleet name has been discontinued, and all that is
left is Bath Bus Co who operate the City Sightseeing tour and now have a
monopoly of the business. No more shopping around.
We're all utterly amazed that the council should have started interfering at precisely the time when there are fewer tour buses than there have been for many years, and there have been a number of less than complimentary comments about B&NES Council on the uk-bus-southwest Yahoo group.
Personally I'm not impressed by this alleged "national interest" which as usual seems to be totally ignorant of the issues, nor do I understand what you mean by people realising "how poor matters are". The business seems to run quite well: the tourists - upon whom the economies of many of the places in question depend - enjoy the rides and the operators make profits out of them (or did before the tourism downturn after 9/11). Unfortunately these are two activities - having a good time and making money - which are certain to outrage the puritan tendencies of the Guardian-readers of Middle England. It's a pity that they've got nothing better to do."
Aldershot Running Day 4th June 2006
I received a number of nice pictures from this event but feel that it is rather out of our area. However one particular picture of this event was sent by Terry Wong which I include for interests sake.
Both Arriva and Stagecoach celebrated the anniversary of Aldershot & District with this display of modern buses in the old livery.
Woody also contributed two pictures of the Stagecoach offering.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 12th June 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 12th June 2006
Several items of interest have occurred in the past week and are recorded below.
Nigel Peach writes "The latest issue of The Thames Valley and Aldershot Bus Interest Circle newsletter reports that the Wycombe depot has recently been critically short of buses following a number of breakdowns and accidents. This is therefore why we have seen a few oddities running in Wycombe lately.
On Friday 9th I saw 3361 (K411 FHJ) on the 74. This is a Plaxton bodied step entrance Dart which, according to my book, is/was based at Garston."
Michael Chadwick writes "Seen on 33 on Friday 9th: L200BUS, another loan from somewhere?"
Volvo B6 3115 seen in Union Street last week, not the black fleet number.
Dart 3181 shows off its large side advert for the Octagon Shopping Centre last week.
Ex Oxford Volvo B10B 3855 has been repainted in the new Wycombe Connexion livery and is seen here in Desborough Road last week
Olympian 5146 works a 362 service and is seen passing along Church Street in the centre of town last week.
Aylesbury based BCC Solo is seen in Banbury last week in this picture taken by Richard Sharman.
John Podgorski writes to say "I have been a regular visitor to your website since 10/05.
Re the latest (4/6/06) page, I have a couple extra bits of information regarding the Arriva The Shires notes.
1. If Dart/Wright 3365 (L415 NHJ) was originally at Ware, the bus it could well have replaced was fire loss Dart/Wright 3351 (J401 XVX).
2. Re former Merseyside 811D 2417 (N177 DWM) currently at HW, its allocations over the past year have been WE and SV.
It appeared at WE after the closure of the ex Sovereign Hatfield base in 8/05, but by 10/05 had gone to SV where it was used mostly from Babbage Road, mainly on crew ferry and schools work. It was at AY before going to WE.
Keep up an excellent site."
Thanks to John for those notes and his kind comments.
The company were much involved this weekend in Rail Replacement work for the Northern Line following a derailment on Friday. The new Dennis Trident 402 was in use on this work.
AL2 is seen here entering Oxford Street displaying the display for Line 4, a nice touch.
The second picture is of the interior of one of the new Agoraline buses.
DAF 981 loads for Heathrow in Oxford Street where the background has changed out of all recognition with the construction of the new Eden development.
In a competition with a local radio station Mix 107 Carousel have been using "fleet numbers" which people are asked to identify
in the stations "Red Bus Roulette" game.
The picture above shows a number of Metrobuses with the advert on.
This picture shows the close up detail of the advert.
Trident T403SMV is still in Metrobus livery of blue and yellow and the third bus has yet to appear. This should be T412SMV.
Volvo B10B 612 is to be returned to service after repairs following minor fire damage.
Philip Kirk the Managing Director replied to a question regarding the current situation following the loss of several routes in the recent county tendering process.
Philip writes "I'm a bit surprised to hear you say that there is less work for OBC! Between what we have added to the 13 and the X3, we will be using the same number of buses as before. Note that we are having to put yet more resource into the X3 from this week as the number of passengers is now exceeding that when both X3 and X4 were running."
I also asked if and when the Dart SLFs were to be refurbished and Philip responded that as yet no firm decision had been taken.
Dart 406 is seen arriving at the JR on a 13 working in this picture taken last week by Gavin Francis.
Dart 407 is seen on its way to the rail station and then returning on route to the JR in these two pictures I took last Monday.
The blinds on the Darts have had to be amended to give a Rail Station destination.
Volvo coach nr 17 heads back to the depot after a morning peak hour working to London and back last Monday.
Gavin Francis caught Trident 105 working the 15 last week. This is not a normal allocation for this route.
Another "off normal route" working last week was Citaro 822 on the 400. These buses are normally confined to the 500.
It was also showing City Centre which may mean that it was an extra bus to cover for Thornhill delays?
This company has been in the news for using a midibus converted to run on vegetable oil. Chirrs Maxfield was on hand to catch the bus concerned on a working in Didcot last week.
This company took over operation of the 44 last Monday.
The current bus in use on the 44 is this Mercedes taken by Gavin Francis.
Oxford International Coaches - Weavaway
Last Monday, 5th June saw a "new operator" Oxford International take the road. This company is an offshoot of Weavaway and is based at Culham near Abingdon.
Fleet details, with thanks to Richard Sharman, are as follows:
4 DAF/Van Hools Ox Int livery, two are C7 and C8 OXF
2 PB's Weavaway YN55 PZT/YN55 PZS
1 Futura Top Travel WA05 DFG
1 Maqic Weavaway WA06 GSV
2 B9/EL deckers in Silver- OU05 KLA, KKB
Richard also took a number pictures which provide a flavour of this new company.
The fleet name displayed on some coaches.
The new depot from a distance
One of the Volvo deckers transferred to Culham
Four of the coaches at Culham last week.
National Express are also celebrating the World Cup with this Irizar suitably adorned. Picture by Ben Morroll.
Once the pride of Cambridge Coaches and a regular performer on the 75 between Cambridge and Oxford
P313 CVE now is a National Express coach based at Heathrow and is seen here on a 737 working last Monday.
Red Rose, Aylesbury.
Following last week's comments I received a detailed reply from Dr Martin Isles saying "I noticed your bit about the 275 and thought you would like to know that the service is to become daily shortly with the 9.50 departure from Wycombe running every day (not sure about Sat) - plus a daily return - I guess the 1410.
Of course the service IS daily now (Mon to Sat) with the 7.11 (7.27 Sat) from Wycombe and 1740 from Oxford.
The bus to be used will work off the HC1/330 services. The former is a Wycombe - Henley route serving the Henley College and the 330 a Henley - Marlow service serving Sir William Borlase's Grammar. The latter is a commercial route started when Arriva changed their timetables earlier this year resulting in the children arriving late every day or having to get up a lot earlier.
The usual Solo for the 275 is off for accident repairs.
The new 275 workings are a commercial venture as are several runs between Stokenchurch & Wycombe. When the route was tendered Bucks and Oxon could not agree on subsidy which resulted in the 275 often terminating at Stokenchurch and through passengers expected to transfer to the 340. There were so many missed connections that Red Rose acted to serve passenger interests better.
The Darts are for contracts in Herts - 2 new Caetanos and a second hand Alexander ALX200, I believe (not seen it yet)
Red Rose has a second Solo for Tring town service - both have been hugely unreliable. The 275 one was partly funded by Oxon CC so I guess they are stuck with it!"
Gavin Francis noted on the 06 Darts working the 275 last Monday.
R H Transport
R H Transport took over the 600 last Monday and are awaiting delivery of two Solos in fleet colours for the service. For the time being they are using some hired Solos and a blue and cream Solo.
Pictures by Gavin Francis
Richard Sharman visited their depot and took this interesting shot of two fleet members.
Monday 5th June saw further first workings on recently gained or amended services.
Solo 47316 is seen loading at Cowley Centre last week. Picture - Gavin Francis
Another working on the 12, this time with 33822 in Bonn Square. Picture - Gavin Francis
Dart 34470 in Park End Street en route to the JR last Monday.
Dart 34466 heading for the rail station last week. - Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Dart 34470 at the rail station last week. Picture - Gavin Francis.
Dart 33822 again, this time in Cowley on a 16 working. Picture - Gavin Francis
Gavin Francis caught Solo 47315 on a 16A working last Monday at Cowley Centre.
The 17 featured last week is normally the haunt of the Slimline Solo and we have two pictures of it in service this last week.
Here Gavin Francis catches 47106 heading into the city centre last Thursday.
Richard Sharman caught this shot of 47106 heading towards Cutteslowe via Jericho.
Last Friday Witney depot found themselves short of drivers and two Tube drivers were used on Y5 working in the late afternoon and early evening.
I had just arrived in Witney on the 2050 departure from Oxford Gloucester Green in Trident 18135.
Having put 18135 to bed for the night I was able to take this picture of Witney depot with 18134 posing in the late evening sunshine.
Despite efforts to eradicate the old COMS name it is yet again reappearing over the doorway !!!
Chris Maxfield took this shot of 20012 working a 33 service at Didcot Parkway last week.
Another picture from Gavin Francis showing the new super rear ads appearing on 22940 and 22941.
Stagecoach in Swindon had a problem with one of their buses last week and the delightful little tender appeared from Swindon to resolve the problem.
Normally there is a Volvo B10M on the 66 but last week Dart 33909 appeared. Picture - Gavin Francis.
Problems with availability due to traffic congestion as mentioned in the editorial above, resulted in Tridents working to London on both Saturday and Sunday. Chris Maxfield was on hand to record events.
Saturday saw Brookes Trident 18197 work the 1440 departure to London and the 2030 return.
Sunday saw 18198 working to London on the 1305 and 1717 return and it is seen here in company with a Tube.
Also passing by was ex Tube M A N 50055 which must have been surprised to see the Trident.
It seems that 18197 stood in for a sick Volvo coach on the Birmingham Megabus service last night, Sunday, when 52619 failed on the M40. The Trident went to Coventry and Birmingham and then to Rugby to drop the driver off.
Neoplan 50114 leaves Gloucester Green last Monday still looking good after two years in service.
Chris Maxfield visited the depot at Didcot last week and took a number of pictures. I have selected two for publication this week.
The ex AERE National 2 is still in service.
This Volvo is ex Weavaway and is a 70 seater. It is also Tappins newest coach.
One of my eagle eyed readers noted that the fleet number on "ENO" was 106. I checked and below is the correction from the company. They were given fleet numbers in order of delivery.
Scania N94 UB
C59301 31 seats
Scania N94 UB
C59302 31 seats
Scania N94 UB
C59303 31 seats
Scania N94 UB
C59304 31 seats
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Local operator Blunsdons N8HMC seen on the M40. Picture by Derek Dawson
Another Blunsdons coach, again on the M40 - picture by Derek Dawson
Now working for Brighton & hove after transfer from Stagecoach South, this ex Thames Transit Dart is seen on learner duties.
Picture by Mike Penn.
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
The London via High Wycombe service
Ed Maun writes "Thanks for issue 180 – interesting as always. Liked the shot of United Counties Bristol JO5G on the Oxford to London service. Brought back boyhood memories of these coaches travelling through Stokenchurch and sometimes stopping outside Palmer’s Stores which was the local booking agent.
Re your question regarding what UCOC used on the Oxford to London service; I have no records as I didn’t get serious about buses until about 1950 so it is all memory. I believe it was a mix of Bristols and Leylands pre-war and early post-war. It was certainly a Leyland Tiger with Burlingham body that restarted the service post-war which I believe was in 1946."
Does anyone have any other recollections of the UCOC service and pictures of the coaches used. I have never seen a Burlingham coach for the service????
Ed also asks re Princes Risborough Dormy Shed
It has been suggested that when the ex Princes Risborough dormy shed was replaced by a new building some years back the original was removed for preservation. Can this be confirmed and where is it now?
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October – Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
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
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