A Happy New Year to all my readers
Sunday 16th January 2005
next update week ending 29th January 2005
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.
you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week
news please let me know
This past week has been a busy and interesting week. My first 4 days in Germany followed by a couple of duties on the Tube to London. As it was my first week at Heathrow since before Christmas I was interested to note that Menzies are running a rail replacement service for London Underground between Hatton Cross and Terminal 4. This is due to work taking place in connection with the new Terminal 5. The buses used by Menzies are some from their Heathrow fleet and are Scanias in silver and blue with appropriate lettering and destination displays.
I continue to note the considerable influx of new National Express coaches in and around London with many "54" deliveries now appearing. Indeed not long now until "05" deliveries start hitting the road.
A Volvo/Plaxton YN54WWF on National Express Service 027 which is nominally a London-Chichester operation.
I think this maybe a new delivery to National Express operations but I did not have chance to note the legal owner.
Under operator heading I have extracted a number of most interesting details from the NEx web site which shows some recent developments in service offers.
COMS - Cowley Road is no more
This last week saw the final demise of COMS Cowley Road garage when the Head Office building was finally demolished. nothing remains of that once famed site and houses will some erase any trace of the old garage. One must allow for progress but it does seem sad not to see the famed buildings anymore.
More roadworks in Oxford
This last week saw the announcement of more long term roadworks in Oxford. The Abingdon Road will once again be the subject of extended works during the coming summer. however this should be the final phase of works which have seen severe traffic congestion for the past two years already.
The Abingdon Road is probably the main route into Oxford for many people coming from the south and south east of Oxford and such work ultimately causes congestion on other routes such as the Iffley and Botley roads.
Work is also to take place on High Street - presently like a ploughed field and one which creates an extremely bad impression on arriving visitors, Cowley Road and also Iffley Road.
I also believe that work is to take place at Green Road roundabout on the eastern side of Oxford. This has already been mentioned in these pages.
One can only imagine what all this work will do to the bus schedules and one has to feel sympathy with those responsible for providing an adequate service. What price the 1 minute early 4 minute late rule when there are so many roadworks?
Requests & Replies
Ben Morroll writes asking "....a long shot, would you know who is running a Lynx in Harrogate Coach Services livery in Milton Keynes?"
I would certainly be interested in a picture of this bus for next week's page. Editor.
I received an interesting e-mail from someone whom it would appear, had surfed the bus scene in Oxford and arrived at my page. They asked was it legal for a coach travelling between Oxford and London to use the outside lane on the M40?
As a driver of coaches I can assure the correspondent that it most certainly is not permissible when there are three or four lanes in use. Ironically when one leaves the M40 and reaches the A40 on the way into London, it is allowed to use the outside lane on an A road where there are three lanes.
The correspondent went on to say that the driver of the coach in question had used the outside lane seemingly to save time.
I am sure that all the companies operating services along the M40 would take a very dim view of such practice.
I an White replied further to recent items on Stokenchurch saying "....the coaches at the Kings Arms looked good on the web site. I'm afraid that I haven't got anymore. I've had a good search but that's your lot.
I well remember the accident that Bet Hoskins gave you the photograph of. The bus involved was either 810 or 811. These LD6B's stationed at Stokenchurch Dormy Shed. The driver was Arthur Lee and his conductress was Sheila Wise, she was badly Injured and was off work for weeks.
The driver that Bet mentioned that she was going to ?High Wycombe with as passengers was my Father.
I remember the bus being brought into Wycombe Marsh garage on that afternoon with the damage covered over by a tarpaulin. It was then parked up until it was dark and then taken to Reading Colonnade where the rear end was rebuilt.
I don't know if it is possible and I can see that you are busy chap but I would really like a copy of that photograph to put with the rest of my large collection of Thames Valley photographs.
Request from the Editor - Does anyone else have any pictures of that bus?
A request from Epsom Coaches
David Oliver wrote
"I am writing this e-mail to you as I have seen on your
website information regarding two vehicles that operate in the area. These are
a Mercedes Benz Minibus H947JPA and a Carlyle Dart G47TGW.
We have an Open Day on the 23rd of April 2005, and we would like to know if you have any pictures of the above two buses in service with whoever it is
in Oxfordshire or in the Epsom Buses colours they arrived in. If you are able to help us, we would like to put them on display at the Open Day along with other prints of vehicles that we have sold to other operators.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Bus & Coach Administration
Epsom Coaches Group
Slough & Windsor Running Day
Keith Nason writes "Are you
aware there will be a Slough and Windsor Running Day on Sunday 17 April 2005
based on Slough Bus Station? It is organised by Amersham and District Motorbus
Society with the support and co-operation of First.
Milton Park - replacement diesel fuel
There was a most interesting item on BBC News South last Thursday about a company in Milton Park, Didcot who are now working on providing a conversion kit for diesel vehicles which will use old cooking oil as power. It was reported that initial tests were proving successful and there was even talk of converting the Solos which work the Milton Park shuttle service to this type of fuel.
Does anyone have anymore details?
I do remember reports from a year ago which said how effective this fuel was but that cars using this fuel emitted an odour of fish & chips as they perambulated along the Queen's highway!! Not good if one is hungry I guess.
There is an interesting web site run by Milton Park http://www.miltonpark.co.uk/
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 16th January 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 – 16th January 2005
Mike Penn writes "The saga of the Arriva Darts continues. 3091 and 3094 were both in service at Luton yesterday (Monday 10th) with full blinds! 3094's stay at High Wycombe must have been very brief. 3091 had been withdrawn but has been reprieved."
Scania 3164 at Oxford St Aldates pictured by Gavin Francis on 10th January.
The green DAFs appear almost ready for service as can be seen from this picture taken this morning, Sunday 16th January 2005.
I also received a note from Nigel Peach who says "Ex Armchair Olympian H563GKX has been off the road for months and months - in fact I assumed that it had been disposed of. The other three in the batch were incorporated into the new numbering system but this bus did not feature.
I was therefore surprised to see it at the overflow depot on Wednesday 12th. It has been repainted into the same red livery as the recently acquired DAFs."
Quite an interesting week on the OBC scene with several unusual workings which have been caught on camera.
Volvo 602 in Oxford Red livery and branded for the 35 service was on 4 road on Saturday last and is seen here
in Park End St on its way to Elms Rise in the late afternoon. It was on this route all day and one wonders if any
intending passengers were confused if it had, as I am sure would have been the case, worked through to Abingdon at
sometime during the day where the 4 and 35 almost share the same stop.
Another surprise on 4 road last Saturday was a Citaro, nr 835, which could well have caused the same confusion in Abingdon.
The Citaros are now venturing on to other routes such as the 2s.
825 was working on 14 road on Saturday and the picture above makes an interesting comparison between the single and dual door variety.
It is seen here late on Saturday afternoon in Park End Street.
I liked the new wording on the rear of 825 but to the casual observer
the message could well apply to ALL buses in Oxford. I am sure this was not intended,
Ross writes that he saw green Citaro 824 on the 602 football service last Saturday and says this is the first time he has seen one of this service. Does anyone know of another occasion?
I noted that one of airport Scanias now sports a Volvo rear wheel trim and on the subject of the airline fleet
Sorry but I could not resist this one, look at the sea and what do you see?
A sharks fin !!!!!
With all credit to National Express I quote from their web site a number of innovations now appearing. Many readers of my page are from overseas and may not have realised how much is changing.
New coach station for Birmingham
National Express has appointed Make architects, headed up by internationally-acclaimed, Birmingham born and bred architect Ken Shuttleworth, to start work on initial designs for the development of a world class coach station for Birmingham, on the site of the existing coach station at Digbeth. National Express hopes to complete the £7m regeneration project by 2007. It will involve the complete transformation of Digbeth coach station into Birmingham's newest landmark and gateway to the city. It will be a modern, attractive facility, providing outstanding service and comfort for customers.
News, Sport and Weather
With SKY news, you can now enjoy news and weather reports while on board with nxtv. Approximately every 90 minutes we'll feature 15 minutes of breaking news so that you can keep your finger on the pulse while you travel - not to mention knowing exactly what the weather will be like when you arrive at your chosen destination!
Keeping Up Appearances
Only Fools And Horses
...and many more.
Delia's How To Cook
A Touch of Frost
Watermelon (starring Anna Friel)
Princess of Thieves
Science and Nature
Toyota World of Wildlife
Wildlife on One
Born to be Wild
You can currently enjoy
nxtv on the following routes:
509 Cardiff - Newport - London
403 Bath - Chippenham - Swindon - London
201 Swansea - Cardiff - Newport - Heathrow - Gatwick
200 Bristol - Heathrow - Gatwick
030/031 Portsmouth - Guildford - London
From early 2005 we are looking to develop nxtv and roll it out across the entire National Express network. So - as they say on the box - stay tuned!
sure you don't miss any of the action on your next National Express journey by
buying yourself a set of our nxtv earphones.
You can buy nxtv earphones from:
what's more, because the earphones come with an adaptor, you can use them on
your personal audio equipment too!
*Please purchase when coach is stationary. Exact amount only (3x£1coins). Drivers do not sell earphones or carry change.
Introducing the NXL to London...
regularly travel between Birmingham and London, you'll love the new
NXL Shuttle service.
Running half hourly throughout the day, it takes you from Birmingham to Golders Green in just over two hours - and if you're heading to or from the capital, it also serves London Victoria.
The new NXL Shuttle coaches are not only equipped with extra legroom and leather seats, but with a new climate control system and - of course - toilet facilities.
Best of all, fares on the direct NXL Shuttle won't cost you any more than £20.50 return - which is just a fifth of the price of peak train services to and from London Euston - and with funfares available from £1 one-way, there's everything to gain
16523 had returned from Bedford last Saturday and is seen here at Horspath depot freshly repainted.
Your reports this week have some items of interest.
Phil Rogers writes "Just
a few notes for the Stagecoach South Midland fleet list are as follows :-
16525 is now a single door not dual
20203 arrived Banbury 5/1/05 replaced 32704 (stored at Banbury)
20204 arrived Banbury 6/1/05 replaced 32706 (stored at Banbury)
Ross writes that "the following were spotted by me while back to watch the football:
22931 and one other UID MAN (22941?) - 10
20008 - 44
40110 - 44 ( this is in blue 600 livery)
Many of you will know of the serious problems caused by the flooding in Carlisle during the past week. Report suggest that a large proportion of the Stagecoach fleet was damaged to varying degrees. It is said that the old Dennis Lances 20901-3, once Chippy buses are beyond economical repair and Rob Williams writes to note that Darts 32704-6 are now confirmed as having transferred to Carlisle. These were in store. Are there any pictures of these buses in Carlisle now or earlier?
Reports are also coming in of the Stagecoach Manchester Tridents being employed on routes other than Brookes during the holiday period.
The X4 and 27 routes have seen these buses being used and on Saturday I was able to catch one on the 20A.
Saturday's 1625 deparute on service 20A was worked by Manchester Trident 18181 seen here leaving Gloucester Green.
Earlier Witney Trident 18128 was also on the 20A. Note the different destination display
There are a couple of workings which many of you will not see. The blind setting are shown below.
50113 has worked the X31 from Wantage. This is a round trip Mondays to Friday which works out around 0630 as a 31
and returns to Oxford as an X31. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Does anyone have a picture of these working in Wantage?
50109 shows off the display for the 0925 from London Victoria which works as a Capital Select. This service is non-stop
from Marble Arch to Sandhills and is a balancing working from the three outbound services from Oxford each weekday morning.
Chris Maxfield was able to get this picture of one of the first four new Megabuses to arrive in the UK from Stuttgart, Germany where all 25 are being built.
I think this maybe nr 17 as shown on a card in the window but one cannot be sure.
Three are now in Scotland and keep your eyes open next week as you may see one around Oxford. Training is taking place prior to their entry into service.
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These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002