Sunday 16th March 2003
week commencing 24th March 2003
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This weekend the weather was superb with deep blue skies and much warmer weather than in recent weeks. A break from Saturday driving allowed me the chance to visit a number of operators in our area, including Tappins, now fully established in their garage near Tesco's distribution warehouse in Didcot and then to Bicester and Heyfordian. The trees are just beginning to bud and the daffodils are blooming giving a very spring like feel to the days. Operators such as Tappins are getting ready for the new season and I was delighted to find two ex Dublin Bus Olympians being prepared for service in Oxford on the tour route.
One nice surprise was the work going on in Newlands Bus Station, High Wycombe. The whole station is receiving a coat of paint and spruced up yellow lines are appearing everywhere. A new travel office has been established and the controllers have their office in what was the enquiry office. It all looks so much better. It seems the only problem are the public toilets which attract a rather unsavoury crowd in the evenings and at weekends. Rumours of drug parties in the ladies were circulating bringing into question the advisability of keeping such facilities open in the evenings and at weekends.
One correspondent expressed concern about the graffiti which may now appear but one must applaud the work being done which makes the whole place look a lot better. During the work this Sunday the station was closed and buses used the stop by the side of Tesco's.
On the subject of stops I must comment on the very poor state of stops in the Wycombe area, many of which still proclaim service by The Wycombe Bus company, dead since the end of 1999, or over three years now.
The stop, Henley bound, at Danesfield, still showing Wycombe Bus. Many stops are barely legible
with the passing years of weather and dirt making the whole area look in deep decline.
Someone in the county or companies should do something about this matter.
I look forward to your comments on the matter, which whilst I appreciate the need for manpower to resolve the problem, does not create an image of encouraging the public to use the bus, so beloved of our government.
Oxford seems to have got the matter in hand and the new signs at Water Eaton Park & Ride are a credit to the councils.
The new sign at the entrance to Water Eaton and the work in hand including a fine new waiting room
is, to my mind, how things should be developing. Tree planting is in hand as well.
Gloucester Green was in the news again this week when one of the companies employees got trapped between a reversing coach and a departing coach, gaining a broken arm and shock in the process. I am sure Health and Safety people will now be looking at the matter of this currently inadequate facility. I just can't wait to see the first 15metre coach trying to reverse off a stand and depart. Maybe we will see notices banning such vehicles from using the station?
On the subject of bus operations in Oxford, Thursday saw many school children skipping school to protest against the Gulf War. It is said the some 800 youngsters blocked Queen Street on Thursday afternoon, causing severe disruption to bus services in that area. The police withdrew saying that the matter was the responsibility of the parents and the schools and I understand some buses were attacked when trying to operate services. This episode was expected to be repeated on Friday but I don't think matters were as bad and the police seemed involved with horses etc.
I have yet to see a National Express coach in the new livery but hope one of my correspondents can rectify the matter with a picture or two. I understand that Tellings golden miller operated through Gloucester Green last week with LB52UYK on the 310 service. Thanks to Tracey Wright for the piece of information.
I have received the following information from Andy Gilmour who saw the attached in a recent Notices & Proceedings. It seems we may have a second tour operators in Oxford this summer after all.
TOURS LTD T/A FULL CIRCLE
Director(s): HELEN ELIZABETH WALLACE, PAUL RILEY WALLACE,
CLOSE, UPPER QUINTON ,
Operating Centre: S 12 RECTORY LANE IND PARK, KINGSTON BAGPUIZE , ABINGDON, OXON, OX135AS
Transport Manager(s): PAUL RILEY WALLACE
I will be interested to hear of further developments, if anyone can add to this information.
I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page. The many very positive comments make it all worth while.
Malcolm Crowe, March 16th 2003.
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News of the local companies - 16th March 2003
Michael Wadman sent this picture of L486HOE
Michael says "Another new-ish bus operator in the area is Abingdon Minicoaches who have tendered service 141 between Didcot and Aston Tirrold. Their Iveco 49-10 Mellor L486 HOE is route-branded for the service "The Moretons & Aston Shuttle", seen at Didcot Parkway station.
Arriva serving The Shires
Nigel Peach writes "I've not reported much recently as other people spot things before I do!
Arriva 3822 waits time on a 323 service whilst other buses try to load at the bus stop but are blocked
by numerous parked cars which seem to think they have a right to the bus lay by instead of the buses.
taken during the closure of Newlands Bus Station this Sunday.
Bucks county Council Solo 0448 is the spare bus and was borrowed by Wycombe yesterday, Saturday.
It was used on the 303 and is seen here waiting collection and return to Aylesbury. It had been filling
for accident damaged 0442 but these buses are not used on county services on Saturdays.
Arriva 3139 and 3144 rest up on Sunday. 3139 now at least carries a decent temporary route number
needed as its display, like so many others is u/s.
My Arriva correspondents have been more active this week and I am pleased that Graeme sent the following information.
I have a few things to report, regarding Saturday 15th
1. Olympian 5085 (still in Shires blue & yellow) swept out of the bus station this morning, displaying, '500 Watford' on destination blinds.
2. Olympians 5114 (G284UMJ) and 5071 (A151FPG) worked 54's to Halton Camp all day.
3. Ex-Wycombe Dart 3823 has been at work on route 2.
Steve Warwick writes
Wed 12th March
Leyland Olympian 5114 has arrived at Aylesbury from H/W.
So it seems that 5114 has at last gone to Aylesbury but I am advised that due to work on Wycombe's Olympian fleet it may well be back.
Thur 13th March
Unusal workings today, Oxford Olympian 5156 was on 54 Halton Camp's all day.
X15 Scania 3205 worked the 10.15 & 11.15, 16 service Quainton.
Fri 14th March
X15 Scania 3204 worked the 17.25, 260 service to Thame.
Sat 15th March
Optare Solo 0448 has been on 303's Desborough Castle-Totteridge.
writes, "With reference to the allocation for Wycombe on this week's page, a
few gremlins appear to have crept in. I reproduce your list here & have
Mercedes 2410 has been omitted
Lynx 3062 went some time ago, but 3068 & 3069 are still around
Volvo B6 3116, 3138 & 3139 have been omitted
3242,3 & 4 described as Darts are Volvo B6
Scania 3158 has been omitted
Olympian 5106 & 5107 should read 5109 & 5110
also Olympian 5114 was still around last Thursday (6th)
I think the correct allocation should therefore read:
Optare Solo 0442
Mercedes 2196, 2197, 2198, 2410 and 2171
Lynx 3068, 3069, 3070, 3345
Volvo B6 3110, 3115, 3116, 3126, 3127, 3138, 3139, 3242, 3243, 3244
Scania 3144, 3145, 3146, 3158, 3163, 3169
Dart 3101, 3365, 3811, 3812, 3813, 3814, 3815, 3816, 3817, 3818
Dart SLF 3821, 3822, 3824, 3825, 3826, 3827
B10B 3841, 3842, 3843, 3844, 3853, 3854, 3855
Olympian 5108, 5109, 5110, 5134, 5135, 5825, 5826, 5827, 5828, 5829, 5830, 5831, 5832, 5833, 5834, 5835
Thanks to Nigel for that correction.
Ralph Adams writes "On Monday, I passed the 280 from Aylesbury at Green Road at 1605. Instead of the usual Olympian, the ex Oxford Dart 3833, M503VJO was in use with a full standing load".
James Cusworth writes to send a photo shown below. He says "An unusual visitor to Reading today was Arriva Shires & Essex 4023 on rail replacement. It is a Plaxton Paramount registered E323DMG. Don't know where its from?" (I think its from Luton or Hemel. Ed)
This nice picture from James Cusworth shows 4023 in Reading. when new this was based at
Amersham in Green Line livery and worked the 290 Oxford-London service.
Ben Wilson writes with news from Hemel. This is nice because we don't hear much from that garage.
He says "Hi my name is Ben I was in Hemel Hempstead's garage today and saw and interesting buses in there were 5127 and 5128 (H197GRO) (H128GRO), 5152(S152KNK) and 3414 (P334HVX). 5127, 5128, 5152 are normally at Watford. 5127 had a Watford blind 5128 had school bus sign on it. I don't if 5128 has been transferred for school contracts because it had a school contract blind but I saw 5127 on the 6 to Maple Cross on Saturday and 3414 had a Hemel blind. It had been on 352 to Hemel with 3413 (P833HVX) next to it.
Nice to hear from a new correspondent, please keep the news coming from Hemel, Ben.
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Owing to the need for a changeover with Olympian 221, I took 602 to St Clements stop on the Cowley Road
where a swop with 221 took place. It is however possible to get a 2 down the Cowley Road in the early
morning when certain Kidlington journeys start from the Garage as a 2E.
Citaro 825 leaves Water Eaton under a deep blue sky last Saturday.
Pear Tree at disk last Friday evening, new livery Trident 110 shares the picture with the daffodils.
Reaction to Michael Chadwick's comments on the Oxford Citaros has been strong and fast. many of you disagree with him and say that the Citaros give one of the best rides around.
Indeed the last week has seen Citaros appearing on the X3, 4 and 5 roads at various times. The buses concerned were 826 on 5 road and 827 on 4 and then X3 roads. I wonder if anyone got photos of that, I certainly got a call in Amsterdam to let me know but was of course too far away to catch the event. On Saturday Dart 505 put in a spell on the X3 after the more normal Volvo was involved in an incident.
The new Scania coaches are expected in the next week or so and the first one has seemingly arrived at the dealers in Worksop. One coach will be retained by Scania to appear at The Brighton Coach Rally.
Volvo 620 has lost its overall advertising livery and now sports standard bus livery. B10BLE was on 2 road yesterday, Saturday. A red Trident is now allocated to 13 road releasing a Dart SLF for 16 road to ensure low floor operation on that route. 6xx Volvos still appear on 5 road from time to time caused by B10BLE 821 still having work done in the body shop.
Trident 118 is still away at Transbus for rectification work.
Stephen le Bras writes re the
Mercedes Benz Citaros "The
Citaros duly entered service on Monday 10th March and I went for a quick journey
from Slough to Heathrow just after lunch. Although two incoming vehicles were
substituted ( one from High Wycombe and one from Maidenhead), I made it to the
airport and back without difficulty.
For those who photograph buses, please remember that the front displays on these vehicles refresh every few seconds and you should snap them at 1/60sec or less. Otherwise, you have orange lines where the display should be!
Arriva are still using their old single deckers on the 74."
Nigel Peach writes "I saw my first First Citaro on the 74 in High Wycombe at 8:55 this morning. It was 2016 LT52WXN.
I agree with you entirely about the new 03 reg Nos. I saw my first 03 on Friday (7th). Also, there doesn't seem to be the media hype about the forthcoming
new letter/number any more.
Citaro EC2015 LK03LNE was in the bus station today on the 74. It looked fairly anonymous in its silver livery. I was surprised to see that this has an 03 registration whereas 2016 which I saw yesterday is a 52.
Any idea what EC stands for in the fleet number?"
I understand from an inside source that there have been a few teething troubles with the Citaros and one broke down outside Wycombe last week. This is not how Oxford found theirs which have been most reliable.
First 211 works the T4-T3 shuttle on the X25 complete with correct blinds.
A visit to the depots in Bicester and West Wycombe revealed more re-registrations. Can anyone provide an up to date fleet list?
Several Wycombe based Duple coaches have been re-registered, this one E171OMU.
A line up of re-registered Olympians at Murdoch Road, Bicester
A re-registered Metrorider FBZ7356, at Bure Place, Bicester.
Neoplan 6596KV parked in West Wycombe on Sunday
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
David Whitley, Marketing Manager of the company has asked for the attached fleet list to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click on the Stagecoach logo to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)
Several ex London Olympians appear to carry the wrong fleet numbers. however they do seem now to be operating on the Bicester routes as forecast some weeks ago.
Double deck on the Bicester service and here 16172/16072 is seen at Bure Place last Saturday.
Seen last Saturday in Bicester, this Olympian carrying fleet numbers 16176 with the deep blue sky
adding a nice touch to this fine bus. They also carry Stagecoach in Oxfordshire fleet names.
writes "Stagecoach Warwickshire have set up a training school at Rugby to
cater for the Warwickshire depots. Three vehicles and a number of staff will be
located there. Two coaches are currently used. Some of the Dodges may be
transferred as a result of this ?
Another B10M, Leamington's 20560(232) has received new livery. Today must be it's first day as it is in sparkling condition. That means just four B10M's retain stripes.
Two more Volvo B10M's have been repainted.
20809(239) ex Stripes / Rear Advert at Nuneaton
20823(247) ex Stripes at Rugby.
Nuneaton's B10M allocation is now completely repainted whilst the only others left are
Rugby - 20813(243) Stripes / Rear Advert
Leamington - 20201(201),20401,20402(261/262) and 20560(232) all in Stripes.
Ralph Adams writes "The Cheltenham festival required 4 of the new Olympians of Stagecoach Oxford being on temporary use. 32164 at least has been back in service from reserve with the above loans."
A visit to the depot in Didcot on Saturday proved very interesting. This recently constructed depot has every facility and is very well laid out. It is also ideal for photography and I was able to get some excellent pictures.
This veteran Volvo with Plaxton Viewmaster IV body carries a cherished registration.
It must be a worthy preservation candidate one day, possibly for the Oxford Bus Museum.
Now registered 500EFC is started life as NBL905X in 1982
Earlier on my trip I came across this Neoplan at Henley Station.
IIL1832 started life as E480YWJ and was I think a National Express coach?
This view shows part of the workshops where I found an ex Dublin Bus open top conversion
recently arrived from Ensignbus and being prepared for the Oxford Tour.
It is registered G907FVX and was Dublin's RH13.
This rear view shows the latest livery flanked by older liveries.
Didcot Power Station dominates the skyline.
Ex Dublin Bus RH14, now G919FVX under preparation for the Oxford Tour.
The upper deck of RH14, still complete with fleet number plate from Dublin Bus
but showing off the new all weather seats.
I was most impressed by the depot facility. Base 1 as the
old depot was called in Station Road has now closed.
Thames Travel Wallingford.
I appears that Thames Travel are making ready to move to their new premises just across the road from their present depot.
384 heads out of Wallingford towards Nettlebed.
New Dart 452 leaves Didcot Station on its long journey to Oxford on route 107.
Shortly after leaving the centre of Didcot it will pass the new Tappins Depot.
This photo clearly shows the registration KU52RXS which conflicts with fleet news given
by The Thames Valley & Aldershot Bus Interest Circle Newsletter 108 for March 2003.
They claim this bus is KU52RGF
Dart MPD 651 on the 105 ready to leave the St Aldates stop.
Weavaway park this ex Hong Kong Condor at the Tappins facility in Didcot. It is B10M WC
Michael Wootten writes "Leyland Olympian ONLXB/1R/ECW BBW214Y B47/28D has been acquired from Oxford Bus. The vehicle was painted by Oxford Bus prior to release to Woottens last Wednesday.
Leyland Olympian Coach ONTL11/2RSp/ECW B782FOG (B111WAT, B107LPH) is now in service. The attached photograph was taken before the Leyland wheel trims were fitted (I know you like wheel trims!). (This coach is pictured below and yes I do especially like Leyland wheel trims. Ed)
Further information and photographs available at http://www.woottens.co.uk/fleet.htm
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
I welcome your photos for
inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
For the national renumbering of The Stagecoach Fleet, I have been speaking to Bill Potter of British Bus Publishing. This company has produced a handbook with the full listing and details.
A special offer has been negotiated with Bill and he is prepared to let my readers have a copy of the new handbook for a reduced price of £15.25 (£1 less than the cover price) if you call him on 01952 255669 or visit the web site mentioning:
The Oxford Chiltern Bus Page.
The main site address is http://www.britishbuspublishing.co.uk/index.html I am sure many of you will want to take advantage of this offer.
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