Sunday 14th December 2003
next update week ending 25th December 2003
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OBC Citaros enter service.
Saturday saw the entry into service of the long awaited Citaros on the X3/X13 corridor. Whilst the weather was dismal my valued correspondent and roving reporter Steve Annells braved the elements and cam up with some excellent photos. A full report appears under the OBC heading but here is a photo to wet your appetites.
Photo by Steve Annells with 829 seen passing our Lady's Convent in Oxford Rd, Abingdon.
Routemaster RML on Rail Replacement.
Another interesting event was recorded by Michael Wadman when a Routemaster appeared on rail replacement services a few weeks ago. Michael says "On Sunday 23rd November the Metropolitan and Chiltern Lines north of Rickmansworth were completely closed for engineering work, with a replacement bus service between Rickmansworth and Aylesbury via Chesham provided by Sullivan Buses assisted by Carousel. Arrangements were made for the former’s RML2272 to operate one round trip, and this photo shows it at Amersham, with more to come at Stoke Mandeville and Chesham.
Photos by Michael Wadman
As it happened signalling problems caused severe disruption to what was left of the Metropolitan Line later in the afternoon, which resulted in the Routemaster also doing a short to Chesham whilst other vehicles on the service ran ad hoc journeys to places such as West Ruislip where the Underground was working!"
Colin Richardson wrote following comments bout Stokenchurch saying "As you are probably aware Stokenchurch had a bus garage in the main road. The garage building is still standing. It closed for bus use in around 1980 - I think!
It housed five vehicles, Two double deckers of Thames Valley/Alder Valley North ( Bristol KSWs then Bristol Loddekkas for services 39, 40 & 41 - from High Wycombe to Watlington, Radnage and Ibstone. The services were provided daily.
Three vehicles of City of Oxford Motor Services. These were three single deckers. Two vehicles operated on service 75 - High Wycombe-Oxford - Daily-one vehicle on service 80 Stokenchurch-Thame (four days a week, including Sundays) and from 1968 through to Aylesbury on a four hourly cycle. COMS carried out its own review of all country services in 1967, with many new services and links then available."
There are further most interesting details of Stokenchurch in a recent history of Thames Valley written by Paul Lacey covering the period 1931 to 1945. It seems Stokenchurch was a storage facility as well and housed some of the Leyland TS8 coaches during their winter rest.
Road works in High Wycombe bring the town to a standstill.
An item of some note was the impact of road works on the London road in High Wycombe last week, when on two days, Monday and Tuesday, traffic was almost gridlocked in the area from Loudwater. I was told it was taking 90 minutes to travel 1 mile. Needless to say bus services were totally screwed up. Again what happens to the 5 minute rule I wonder?
Finally my apologies for the predominance of Oxford Bus pictures this week but the Citaro launch is most newsworthy.
Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.
Malcolm Crowe, 14th December 2003.
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News of the local companies – 14th December 2003
Nigel Peach wrote "All Leyland Olympian 5122 has at last entered service. It has been at the depot for some months, but last week was the first time I've seen it running. Unfortunately it has problems with its blinds though, so the obligatory piece of paper is required.
Meanwhile 5130, the Alexander bodied example which has also not yet seen service, has at least had its blinds changed from 74 Castlefield, to 310 Downley. So maybe it has seen service but today (Tues 9th) it was parked once again near the bus station exit.
I'm pleased to see that at last the ex London Olympians (5853 &5856) do now show route numbers - very clear they are too!"
and further .............. "Further
to yesterday's note, I saw 5130 on the 363 today (Wed)"
Michael Chadwick wrote "On Tuesday 9th, I observed Arriva F747XCS in service for the first time, on 307, with full blinds, but still showing 74 on side and rear displays!!
On Wed. 10th, at least 3 of the 33-branded low-floor Darts were off the road, with a Mercedes mini, and one of the high-floor single-deckers with a digital display (showing 303!) substituting.
You're presumable aware of the 12th January new services in Wycombe area? 2 DRTs for Bledlow and Hambleden Valley areas, Cressexlink in Wycombe, and evening/Sunday services to Stokenchurch using CressexLink vehicles. I can give more details if you're not aware.
No Michael, sadly I am not aware and would
appreciate details on these services for next week's page.
Steve Warwick writes "I am on holiday this week so don't really know what's been going on. Can tell you though that Greenway 3305 is back on the road (groan!!!) with new engine fitted, don't know if it actually in service yet or not."
Bucks County Council
Ed Maun writes "Further to my news item that appeared in Issue 56 re the new Silver rider service in Aylesbury; LOTS magazine TLB 472 reports that the new service will indeed be operated by Optare Aleros and BCC had purchased six. They are to be operated by Arriva under contract to BCC, presumably in the same manner as the Optare Solos on the re-branded County rider network. There were two Aleros in the Arriva Aylesbury depot yard yesterday (Thurs 11/12) but they were too far away to read registration numbers in the failing light! TLB 472 also reports that Solos 0446, 0448 and 0449 are all in the new green livery. 0447 is also now green, which I noted working on service 4 in Aylesbury today!"
Steve Warwick sent this picture of the two of the aforementioned Aleros.
Soper writes "Do you have any fleet details of Chiltern Queen in the early
1960's as I have at least 3 pictures of this fleet taken in the middle of a snow
storm but cannot identify them except for the vehicle types, AEC, Guy, and
Leyland Comet. Any vehicle details would be very welcome".
I wonder can any reader assist?
Citaro launch on services to Abingdon
The Citaro launch is the main feature this week when on Saturday all workings on the X3 and X13 were taken over by the new fleet.
As can be seen from the pictures above taken by Steve Annells, each bus has a different message on the rear panels and I especially like the "take the Merc to work" one.
Steve commented in his email that his observations show the following rear advertising.
Arrive in style designer interior extra legroom
829: air-con as standard
830: take the merc to work top quality buses with designer interior extra legroom aircon
831 and 835: something of the night back to Abingdon every 15 minutes all evening
833: we trap particulates they're the nasties that pollute our air oxford bus company the greenest red buses in Britain
834: hospital parking is a pain this bus brings instant relief every 20 minutes to JR Hospital
838: this bus is red (crossed out replaced with green) a sexy particulate trap thingy makes this exhaust cleaner than a vicar's sermon
Steve goes on to recount his photographic work. "An assortment of shorts from Friday/Saturday - most of them not terribly good; the light was awful.
Friday - B10B and the A34 sees a Volvo at speed on the A34 in the heavy rain of Friday. I had suggested it might be nice to get some last and first shots on the A34 from an over bridge. The result below is very atmospheric and I believe worth the effort."
The A34 sees 611 in heavy traffic on Stratton Way, Abingdon, Friday
616 northbound at the Boundary House in Oxford Road, Abingdon, Friday
619 and behind it 655 both on the 604 to the Kassam Stadium, in Abingdon High Street
619 pulls out round brand new 831, 619 having lost its X3 branding by Saturday.
The buses are equally impressive from the front, featuring a new front end type not seen on UK Mercedes Benz Citaros before.
First 835 on the Oxford road then a shot of 831 on its own and finally 828 loading at the Vinyard, Abingdon
All pictures by Steve Annells.
And now one of my own photos, this time 835 passes 828 in St Aldates on Saturday afternoon.
Some of the reregistered Darts.
As Steve says the weather was really bad and the light very poor for action shots so apologies for the usual lack of clarity.
Ralph Adams writes re some observations saying
The X3 /
X13 today (Saturday) were the following Citaros 828 /829 /830/831/833 /834 /835
In the early morning 832 was on 5 road (branded x3/x13) Also in early morning was 838 on 400 road (branded) 837 was left in the garage today.
Only 1 B10M still had X3 branding - 612, seen in Abingdon this morning, but on Route 35. This bus was later changed over to remove any confusion in Abingdon.
613 (ex x3 bus) was operating a relief on 300 Redbridge with 650 and 639 on 5 road
As mentioned by Ralph 513 was indeed on 300s and by Saturday devoid of any trace of X3/X13 route branding.
Ron Potter noted that 801 was on 10C/D and 803 on Bowlplex on Friday evening.
Saturday morning saw the following first day workings of the Citaros.
X3 A card
There is no H card working on a Saturday.
5 road was notable on Saturday in having 4 non low floor buses on the route, these being 630, 636, 641 and 650.
Oxford express and Airline services call in to Thornhill
From 0600 on Saturday 13th December all express coach services operated by the Oxford Bus Company started to use Thornhill Park & Ride for pick up and set down on the X70, X80 and X90 routes.
A visitor from north of the border, Hamish McTaggart, wrote to say how much he had enjoyed his return coach trip to Gatwick recently. He travelled on one of the new Scania/Irizars and appreciated the greater leg room given by the 46 seats. He remarked on how quiet the coach was on the motorways, only spoilt by the concrete road surface on the M25 south of Heathrow. Hamish was most enthusiastic about the performance of the Scania which easily maintained 100kph up the Stokenchurch bank on the M40. Indeed Heathrow was passed in just one hour and arrival was some 15 minutes early at Gatwick, giving him plenty of time to check in for his flight. His final comment was how relaxed he felt after his two hour coach journey.
David Whitley, until recently Marketing Manager of the company sent the latest attached fleet list (period 9 - December 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click here to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)
Carfax corner is always an excellent spot for spotting and here new M A N 22052 works a 7A duty to Barton
In contrast and lacking a route number, 16144 follows 22052 some 20 minutes later on the same route.
Keith Wood writes after along break on matters north of Oxford saying "A sad sight at Stagecoach in Warwickshire's Rugby depot this morning 12/12/03 as AR Hardwick's towtruck F641MPC towed away Leyland National 25421 PUK621R. The vehicle had it's front wheels removed before leaving.
25405 NOE605R has now left
depot presumably already collected by Hardwick whilst 25472 BVP772V awaits it
On a positive note Nuneaton still has 25402 NOE602R in service this is now the last South Midlands National !
Rugby was quite interesting this morning ! for a change. In addition to the removal of 25421 there were several other visitors. Both Rugby & Leamington training vehicles 52020 & 52031 were inside the depot.
Ex Nat Ex coach 52298 is parked up withdrawn.
Nat Ex coach 52308 is still overall white and with no fleetnumber that I can see !
Also present were Leamington's Olympian 16616 now with a Mega Rear for "Touchwood in Solihull"
Banbury's Olympian 14936 in it's new livery was also parked up.
Witney's Dart / Dash 32625 P625PGP in new livery. Is this a transfer to Rugby ? Still no sign of ex Oxford 32058 yet !"
Adrian Lancer notes "Just been on the 2108 U3 departure from city centre. This is unique as being the only U3 service to serve Tesco and Morrell Hall. Interestingly it should only run in term times - the term times are obviously still used at the moment (till 21st December - see below), even though term ended on Friday 5th December!
There was a notice on 22054, which completely surprised me. The U2 and U3 will be withdrawn between 22nd December and 7th January inclusive. It then goes on to say that in future, the U2 will run in University terms ONLY (makes no reference to U3, but I assume this will also not run as it isn't over Xmas).
However, the Unirider will now be valid on 10C and 10D in the evenings (no mention of Sundays), for the usual 50p excess. The notice also states that when the U2 is not running, Unipass holders will travel for free on 10 between Hollow Way and Headley Way - very useful for those of us who shop at Tesco's and I don't think. It says anyone who wants more info should e-mail email@example.com
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