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 115

Sunday 13th February 2005
next update week ending 26th February 2005

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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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Apologies for the delay of one day but I wanted a couple of extra pictures and as I was off today there was opportunity to get them this morning.


More Fuel Cell Citaros, this time in China and Australia

Herman from Germany wrote regarding comments on last week's page saying "Your friend Paul McNamara speculated about the Perth Citaros being probably bodied locally. This is not the case. There are several pictures in the net that prove otherwise, e.g. on the following Mercedes Benz promotion side:,0-5-7145-49-454568-1-0-0-454523-0-0-135-7145-0-0-0-0-0-0-0,00.html

I am sure these are the only German bodied Mercedes buses of many hundred in Australia.

By the way: Beijing will be the next Citaro city receiving another three fuel cell trial buses next year. This fuel cell operation is one clever bus promotion!"

I have attached an extract from the Mercedes Benz web site which is most interesting.

Fuel Cell Buses on Beijing Streets as of 2005

DaimlerChrysler and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology Sign Agreement

Beijing, P.R. China, May 25, 2004

Commuters in Beijing will be able to ride in zero-emission fuel cell buses beginning next year after an agreement signed today between DaimlerChrysler and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), at the opening of an international conference on Hydrogen energy held here called Hyforum 2004.

DaimlerChrysler will provide three Hydrogen-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro fuel cell buses to the city of Beijing in 2005 as part of the Company’s worldwide roadmap to sustainable mobility. These buses are part of a fleet of 30 fuel cell buses DaimlerChrysler has in operation in ten European cities in order to gain real world experience in day-to-day operation in its pursuit of viable emission-free mobility solutions.

“Having hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses in operation on the streets of Beijing is a small but significant symbolic step in reducing pollution in this fascinating international metropolis,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Member of the Board of Management Responsible for Research and Technology. “As good corporate citizens, we want to make a contribution in the efforts of industry and government to make Beijing a better place to live and work. And while that might sound like a ‘blue sky’ idea, the whole idea is to have more blue skies, especially as Beijing prepares to host the world during the 2008 Olympic Games.”

DaimlerChrysler is a pioneer in fuel cell development, and since the early 90’s has produced 20 research vehicles and prototypes.

This year DaimlerChrysler will deliver 60 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, to customers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Singapore. The first vehicles are already in operation in Japan and the U.S.

By the end of the year, DaimlerChrysler will have more than 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road, more than any other vehicle manufacturer.

DaimlerChrysler’s SIM Technology research and development center in Shanghai is helping the Chinese Central Government with the electronics components of the first Chinese fuel cell vehicle.


Oxfordshire Bus development News - The Westgate Centre.

This week's Oxford Times carries much about the Westgate Shopping Centre development and comments from Oxford Bus, one of the local operators. Their Managing Director, Philip Kirk, expresses his concern as to how the city infrastructure is going to cope with getting people to an from the city and a development which will be three times its present size.

Queen Street which is currently always very busy with buses setting down and picking up passengers on a significant number of services is in the planning to be pedestrianised but this all hinges on a satisfactory outcome to plans for a new bus station in the Westgate Centre.

On street stops are limited in other areas of the city and could not hope to cope with all the services out of Queen Street. Also the alternative roads which would need to be used are also often very congested.

Mr Kirk says "...this is Oxford's last opportunity to get it right. There needs to be a strong strategic view which we can all buy into."

The original plan, reported on this page several years ago, included an all important bus station in Old Greyfriars, with 15 bus stops all in the heart of the development. now there is no new bus station in the revised plan with only a reference to providing alternative bus stops in Norfolk Street and Castle Street. That is, in itself a strange one, since Castle Street is already very busy and has several bus stops.

I do urge you to get a copy of the Oxford times and read the articles plus a letter from an individual who suggest making Queen Street a single lack bus track with no overtaking allowed and buses only allowed to stop or set down. I wonder what happens if a bus breaks down and cannot be moved?

I would also be interested to hear your comments on how to solve Oxford's bus problem but best read the articles first. Their web site may be able to help.


High Wycombe and problems with a bus lay by.

The Bucks Free Press reports the council chiefs have vowed to take action against motorists parking and even abandoning cars in Telford Way bus lay by. This has occurred since the then service was cut some 18 months ago. Now there are plans to have a new service which is part of the Quality Bus Route scheme and the lay by is once again required. Enforcement action is now due begin and wo and betide anyone who parks there from now onwards.


Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 13th February 2005

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies – 13th February 2005

Another quiet week for information from this company. Gain Francis visited Aylesbury and brought back a few interesting photos. However Martyn Banham reports that "Arriva 3118 (M718OMJ; Volvo B6-50 NC) on the 271 on Saturday."

Gavin Francis caught Solo 0447 preparing for a Friday journey on the Marlow Bottom service.

Gavin also caught Vario 2176 on Aylesbury service 2 when he made a short visit to the town last Friday.

Again from the lens of Gavin Francis, Dart 3354 is on the Bedgrove service last Friday

Olympian 5117 is seen waiting in Aylesbury Bus Station last Friday prior to a working on the 500
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Firstly I would like to clarify matters concerning a report of an accident to a Carousel Metrobus which I had received from a correspondent. The company wrote to decline any responsibility for the accident mentioned and notes that concerns had been expressed to Bucks County Council before the accident happened. I must apologise if any misconceptions were created by the report as published.

Still in service with Carousel despite the recent arrivals of a number of newer and new buses
this ex WMPTE Lynx was caught on camera by Gavin Francis on the 334 to Speen.

Metrobus M283 is also caught by Gain Francis this time on route 3 and awaiting time at Newlands Bus Station with two Olympians behind.

Charlton Services

Some weeks ago, in fact at Winchester at The king Alfred Running Day, I met Andrew Dyer who is a fund of knowledge concerning this company. He promised to send me copies of the 1970 Stage Carriage timetables and these duly arrived. I am pleased to publish scans of same which I am sure everyone will find most interesting. Many thanks to Andrew for this information.


Andrew says " will see that the timetable is all about Wednesday market day and Thursday early closing in Oxford. I think the Sunday and Wed/Sat late evening journeys went in the early '70s at about the same time as the Friday morning journeys were extended to Arncott, Fencott and Murcott.

No 1 camp (Now St Georges Barracks, I think) and No 2 camp are a lovely hangover from the wartime. They had long gone by 1970 but the timetable hadn't quite caught up!!"


Chris Maxfield sent this picture of a school bus in our area.
Claribel Scania YJ54CXL

Tim Jones wrote with a question saying "I've just been flicking through the archive pages on your website and seen that on Monday, February 22nd 1999 there is a picture of VUD30X and ex COMS ECW bodied Leyland Leopard, pictured in South Midland livery and a note saying it is now at the Oxford Bus Museum in Long Hanborough.  However, I've not yet visited the museum, and having looked on their website, I see no mention  of it in their fleet list.

Can you confirm whether it is still there or not?"

Whilst indeed this coach used to be at the Museum, following some changes at long Hanborough this coach was moved by its owner to alternative accommodation near Charlton-on-Otmoor and is no longer part of the OBM collection.

Martyn Banham couldn't resist this shot of a six on a six.

A quiet week with no news of any import from this company.

However I had an interesting letter from a reader who says "I was impressed by the links on your website for bus enthusiasts.  I am always very interested in what is happening with our local buses, and express coach links Particularly when I see other companies in other cities improving their fleets.  I have to say I have been very impressed with the progress the Oxford Bus Company has made in the last decade, against stiff competition.

I was initially surprised by the choice to switch to Scania Irizar Centuries after seeing the Volvo Jonckheere Mistrals launch the new Airline Livery. Now I am curious as to whether we will see the new Scania Irizar PBs becoming part of the Airline and Espress fleets in the future? Or what other coaches we are likely to see eventually replacing the gradually ageing Excaliburs? It interests me how over the years (particularly since the Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach takeovers) the Espress has taken over from the Tube as the "Luxury" service to London. It would be great to see this quality gap expanded further with newer coaches in the Espress fleet. If single decker coaches will continue to be used by OBCs Espress and Airline services, then Irizar PBs should DEFINITELY be the coach of choice over Irizar Centuries to make such a quality statement, even if they do cost more than the new model Century. Of course if the Espress is going to compete head-to-head with the Tube with double-deckers, (which I think is really necessary having been stuck at Marble Arch at peak times watching FIVE New Tubes pick up passengers before an Espress came along with seats available!!) Setra S431DTs would completely outshine them. Whilst the Neoplans of the "New Oxford Tube" fleet are impressively spacious, having ridden on them they certainly feel "cheaper", and less luxurious than expected given the hype about them.

I'm also very curious to know whether we will ever see the articulated Citaro "bendy-buses", which are now such a common site in London, as part of the OBC fleet.  I vaguely remember Oxford South Midland having "bendy-buses" (on loan perhaps?) for a short time when I was a kid. The low-floor OBC fleet is generally superior to the Stagecoach-Oxford fleet, (although the non low floor OBC buses could do with being replaced - some of them are ancient!)  I'm sure more of these high quality Citaro buses on a wider variety of routes than currently used would ensure that OBC claw back considerable market share on the busiest routes.

Call me an anorak - but I would love to see these models mentioned above on the streets of Oxford.  When it comes to local travel, I generally jump on whichever bus comes first, but quality is worth waiting a few extra minutes for. Whenever I travel to Abingdon I ALWAYS get on an X3/X13, even if the X4 comes first.

Lastly, whilst seeing some of OBC's older buses painted in the newer "Citaro-style" Oxford Red livery, (801 being a common sight) I'm sure I've seen others more recently re-painted back in the OLD red, white & blue livery - why is this?  After such great new liveries on all other services, why not transform the entire Oxford Bus fleet into this stunning new look rather than repainting older buses in the older style? If they aren't going to be replaced yet, they at least deserve the new look, surely? Does one paint job really cost that much more than another?"

I quote this because it describes the local scene at this time and puts forward one persons point of view. I am sure there are many others which may agree or disagree with the writer.

I have no knowledge of plans to replace the current "espress" fleet but maybe the Irizar PB could be a choice when the time comes.

What the writer must realise is that wheel chair accessibility is to be all important for new coaches on express routes from, I believe, next year. This means that the PB will not comply once the regulations are in force and new models will doubtless come to the market.

Whatever happens the local and national scene will always be full of interest.

My correspondent adds a P.S. saying "one final note - I am SO pleased to hear that BBW 21V has been preserved at the Oxford Bus museum, I MUST visit now!  The Duple Dominant Leyland Leopards will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart - taking me back to my childhood trips to London, and family excursions over summer holidays when 'Tourex' was a collaboration between Percival Coaches and Oxford South Midland.  It's a crying shame that one of the ECW bodied Leopards wasn't preserved - I clearly remember when they were new, and ULTRA modern looking at  the time. Despite the newer Duple and Plaxton Tigers, DAFs, and eventually Volvos; and now Scania Irizars that succeeded them being more comfortable and efficient, they will NEVER be as nostalgic. (I certainly feel no particular yearning to see A114 MUD, or L150 MUD, with so many of these coaches still on the road today)"


Martyn Banham sent this picture of Heyfordian's Metrorider at the stop for the 14 service to Aylesbury last week.
This service can indeed generate some interesting vehicles.

MK Metro

Robin Clare writes " employees were informed this Monday, 7th February, that from a date in April 2005 to be confirmed, M K Metro would commence operation of Service X6, Oxford - Northampton on behalf of Northants C.C.

I believe I remember this as the 338, and worked it on several occasions whilst working Rest Days in Oxford."

Robin Clare

One of the latest  M A N s on the number 1s. Photo by Chris Maxfield.

Martyn Banham caught an unusual performer on the 7s last week when 20008 was loading at Magdalen Street.

ight display.

Mark Westgarth writes "Thanks for providing me with a regular and informative update of the happenings in the Chilterns and Oxfordshire. 

I noticed a request regarding which vehicles have been lost at Carlisle.  This includes quite a few.  I don't have the exact details to hand, but I understand that most of the MANs and Dart SLFs are to be repaired, whereas everything else that was damaged will not, due to the costs involved. 

As well as the connection shown in John's photo of the Chippy Lances, Carlisle now have two B10M coaches (Jonckheere bodywork I think?) from Stagecoach Fife.  I think these were new to the Tube, not totally sure though.  I've attached a photo of one in Newcastle last week, about to head home to Carlisle on the 685 service. (See under Tube heading below for Mark's picture.  Editor)

Richard Sharman writes "....noted on X5 last week on one day were Expressliners R38/39AKV, R553JDF, P622ESO, R663/4TKU and the normal Interurbans." 

Marcus Lapthorn writes "The current allocation of vehicles for the 66 route from Swindon to Oxford is generally the famous coach (51527), one low floor Dennis and one of the formerly regular Volvos'. 

The reason for this change of allocations id that apparently the 9 Volvos' are to be given a complete refurbishment with new engine, new floor, new seating, new destination screen, new twin headlights."

Gavin Francis noted that on one day last week this Dart turned up on the 66 carrying Swindon local branding.
It is 33492 and was pictured on February 28th.

As mentioned above Mark Wesgarth took this picture above whilst an ex Tube passed his camera in Newcastle recently. The coach is indeed an ex Tube originally registered M107XBW but it has Berkhof Excellence 1000 bodywork.

To bring back memories for some of you I took the picture below on 1st May 1991 at Grosvenor Gardens, old stop. The coach H917FTT was brand new. The driver is I think a gentlemen who still drive the Tubes today?

Just beyond the NCP is the Oxford bound stop where 50123 is seen picking up last Saturday lunchtime.

Allocations for the remainder of the new Megabus Neoplans is as follows:

50126 Aberdeen
50127 "
50128 "
50129 "
50130 Perth
50131 "
50132 "
50133 Cwmbran
50134 "
50135 "
50136 Leyton
50137 "
50138 "
50139 "
50140 "
50141 Leamington
50142 "
50143 Walkergate
50144 "
50145 "
50146 "
50147 Manchester Princess Rd
50148 "
50149 "
50150 Unallocated


Ralph Adams writes "Tappins have acquired a replacement Neoplan from Kings Ferry coaches of Kent, previously R418AKJ. I had previously been informed it would replace  IIL1832. Can anyone report if the new Neoplan has been given the registration  number of the old Neoplan. The 2 have the same basic style, so the body and  chassis numbers would be useful.

On Saturday 5th IIL1832 was in Oxford High Street, but I did not notice any details (I was on a London coach at the time).

Thames Travel

The Pink Lady as I will call this bus, with fleet number but no other branding picks up in St Aldates on the 105.
Photo by Martyn Banham

Ken MacKenzie writes "On a visit to Lester Way yesterday there was a BMC without number plates in the yard along with the Scania await vinyl's for the X15 route. The reason for pink is Witney College picked it, so the young lady said. I went to reception to try and find out the reason for the BMC but without success - the lady didn't know. 

The new Mercedes is due for delivery today.

Fred Spresser advises me that there are currently three buses under evaluation for a new Park & Ride service in Reading. These are the BMC, now gone and not seemingly very well liked, an 11 metre M A N with NCV bodywork and arrived today for a demo is Enviro 300 SN54HXG.

It will be very interesting to see what happens in the future.

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These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend

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