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 149

Sunday 16th October 2005
next update week ending 28th October 2005

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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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This last week has seen the publication of details of the works to take place at Junction 4 of the M40 - Handy Cross. Work will start in a the next weeks and take us through to the end of 2006. Details are given below and will doubtless cause some delay in this area in the coming months. It is also revealed that the go ahead for a Motorway Service Area at Junction 2 Beaconsfield has been given by the Government. This has caused considerable concern from local interests who had fought against such a development.

Work on the Cowley Road changes are drawing to a close which will have an effect on the make up of the Oxford Bus Company fleet details of which may be found under that company's heading. Stagecoach will increase fares from today and these appear more or less in line with those previously implemented by The Oxford Bus Company. Details may be found at the following link

Fares on the Oxford Tube are to be increased from Sunday 16th October. The adult single, return and period return fares will increase by £1 to £11, £13 and £16 respectively. Tube passes, Tube-12 and Group tickets will also be increased. Full details will be available on the Oxford Tube website shortly.

Arriva have now moved out of Newlands Bus Station in terms of maintenance and garaging. All buses are now based at the new depot in Lincoln road, Cressex.

Lincoln road, Cressex yesterday Saturday showing one of the recently transferred Tridents from Luton.

Rural bus cash 'nearing an end' - extract from The Oxford Times 14th October 2005

Bus users in Oxfordshire villages have been warned that the era of heavily subsidised services is fast coming to the end of the road. Over the last five years, subsidies have risen by 157 per cent merely to keep bus services at the same level, county councillors have been told.

Cabinet member for transport David Robertson said such heavy spending could no longer be continued with the council bent on holding down council tax increases.

He said: "We have thrown a lot of money at bus subsidies for a long time. But there is a limit. We cannot afford to keep up with the escalating cost. We must strike a balance between asking council taxpayers to pay and providing services for people in rural communities."

Mr Robertson said 90 per cent of the subsidies had been concentrated on rural services with the aim of reducing "social exclusion" in rural areas. He added that the county council would be concentrating its efforts on improving premium routes. A one-off capital allocation was available to boost the most popular routes, such as Kidlington to Oxford services, with real time bus information.

The financial drain of bus subsidies was set out in a report from the county's head of transport, Steve Howell, who called for a 25 per cent reduction in spending on some services. An overall drop in passengers using local buses has added to the pressure on the county council's bus strategy to combat road congestion.

The county council had committed itself to increasing bus use by 10 per cent over three years.

In the summer there were fears that County Hall could have to pay a heavy financial price for a three per cent drop in bus use, with the council losing out on £500,000 in Government payments and an earlier report warned: "We were aware that our ambitious target was not going to be achieved, but to have suffered an actual drop in patronage was unexpected and we are now considering fresh approaches to encourage greater public transport use."

Spending on bus subsidies is now costing County Hall in the region of £4.5m a year.

Ann Tomline, who represents Garsington and the Baldons on South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Reducing subsidies and withdrawing services means elderly people in particular cannot get around. People are being forced to move back into towns because they cannot get about anymore. The simple truth is that you have to incentives to get people onto the buses. You are not going to get people out of their cars if buses are made more expensive and less frequent."

She also added "Bus companies also need to do a better job getting their timetables right."

Bus services affected by the changes include 20 - Oxford-Chipping Norton, Bicester 22 and 23 Town services, 25/25A Bicester- Oxford, 37 Bicester-Brackley, 81 Bicester-Banbury, 83 Duns Tew to Oxford, 94 Piddington-Oxford, 107 Didcot-Oxford, 159/259 The Connection and 201/202/203/204 The Woodstock Wanderer.

Real time information system for buses now up and running

A satellite tracking system which tells passengers how long they will have to wait for a bus is finally up and running. The 20 real-time information boards, currently operating in Banbury Road and Oxford city centre, successfully passed a three month trial in September.

The system, which allows passengers to see how long they are expected to wait for the next bus, is already used successfully on the London Underground however early technical glitches meant the screens were not accurately recording buses leaving stops.

Chris Spry, senior transport planner at Oxford County Council, said: "The real-time information system is now operational. It gives out largely accurate information to bus users at bus stops and via the website. There are, however, some technical problems that we still want to see resolved to ensure that the system meets the high standards specified in our contract. "In particular we are working with our supplier, ACIS, and the bus companies to ensure that the estimated times at the street displays are even more reliable than they are now."

Both Stagecoach and the Oxford Bus Company are now using ACIS tracking technology to establish the location of buses fitted with the equipment. Information boards in Banbury Road and Magdalen Street were installed following a £90,000 deal between the bus firms and the council.

A spokesman for Oxford Bus Company said: "We've installed the equipment at the bus depot and on all of our buses and are already reaping the benefits. We are looking forward to the launch of the real-time displays."

All 160 buses run by Oxford Bus Company have been fitted with automatic vehicle location equipment at a cost of £500,000. It means buses can be diverted to busy routes.

The information boards will be rolled out to major bus lines across the city.

Junction improvements at Handy Cross on the M40.

Last Friday an exhibition was staged at The Holiday Inn, Handy Cross revealing the plans behind the improvements to the large gyratory system at Junction 4. There has been a lot of discussion about how this would be completed and there was even talk of rerouting the M40 and also the provision of a bus/coach interchange facility. It now seems that these two options are dead and buried and below I have given some pictures and copy of the work to be done.

This leaflet was handed out at the exhibition and I have provided same at a large size so that the map can be studied.

Before and after, the second picture showing the new link road.

More information can be found at the following links:

Coach & Bus Live 2005

Following the report from Chris Maxfield on last week's page I received a small addendum from Martyn Banham who wrote "Great stuff this week - except one thing - the Plaxton Primo is 7.9m long, not  8.8m. At least so I'm told by various other sources..."

One of the first Primos destined for lease company Mistral.

Report from Luton by Mike Penn.

Further news from Luton is that "A further new Scania for Arriva the Shires at Luton is 3605 (KE55 CTO).  On Tuesday 3603/4 were working on the 38 with 3603 appearing on the 27 the following day.  Older Scanias and Volvo Olympians are still helping out on the 27 at times.  One of the VRs (5033) and the three oldest Olympians (5165/70/381) were also still in use during the week, as were at least 8 of the 12 Tridents.

Moving slightly afield the following former Sovereign buses are now in Arriva livery: 3086 (KE53 KBP), 3240 (P601 RGS), 3241/5/8/9/98 (R602-4/6/7 WMJ), 3299 (R608 CNM), 3301/7 (W128/34 XRO), 3840/5-8 (M101-5 UKX).  3301/7 are in the "express" livery with dark blue skirt and cream "cow's horns" with route branding for "Centraline" routes 300/1."

A response on cyclists in Oxford by Fred Spresser 

Fred writes "I have read your comments on Oxford Cyclists and fully agree and endorse your views.  I have had a similar situation recently when standing at a red light in The High Street, a cyclist overtook me on the near side ignoring the lights.  A thought passed through my mind that if someone with a buggy had been crossing in front of me just as this maniac passed me, he could have collided with the buggy, and not only caused severe injury to the child, but also to himself.  You have to be continually on the lookout for these people as not only do they overtake you on the off-side and near-side;  emerge from side streets without stopping, and sometimes, I am sure without even looking;  riding the wrong way down One-Way streets;  ride without any lights or reflective clothing to enable them to be seen: and also ride on pavements expecting pedestrians to give way to them.

I know that you have previously commented on the abuse of Bus Lanes in Oxford, and the lack of enforcement.  This also applies in other parts of the County, in particular in Didcot at the recently opened Orchard Centre, where the Bus Lanes in both directions are universally ignored, although this in part may be due to poor signage

Inconsiderate/Illegally parked vehicles is also a problem throughout County for drivers of large vehicles, where little or no enforcement seems to be carried out.  Wallingford and Watlington that I know of  are particular black spots for this behaviour, followed very closely by the Iffley Road.

It would be interesting to know what the official Police view on the above is, and how many violations have been recorded, and how many, if any, prosecutions have resulted? " 

OCBP helps travellers in the area

Noam Bleicher writes "the plight of your correspondent from Long Wittenham illustrates the difficulty of getting hold of bus information in the County. Happily this year the County have published the County guide which you feature on your page - this does not happen every year. Oxford Tourist Information Centre on Broad St stock this leaflet if you ask for it. Due to possible changes however it is always wise to check with the operator before travelling.

It is possible in future that this will be replaced by area travel guides which cover smaller areas but have full timetable information. They have been published for the Witney and Banbury areas so far - if readers want one producing or their area, they should write to the County or their County councillor to ask for it.

For up-to-date information with a journey planning facility there is the Dft's Transport Direct site:

This is working much better now than at launch and is streets ahead of its predecessor Traveline. Even so it is wise to check with the operator before travelling as a "belt and braces" measure.

In the particular case of the Long Wittenham-Hanney journey, Transport Direct suggests using the 107 and 31/X31 which you suggest, but also a quicker route via Didcot and Wantage using the 107, 32 and 31/X31. (I read in this week's Oxford times of changes to the 107 in the near future and also there are three buses to use in the routing suggested by Noam Ed.)

Rob Williams wrote following my report last week saying "Sometimes it seems surprising how so many people still don't know about Traveline and Transport Direct for journey planning purposes.

I also receive enquiries through my site, despite prominent links to Traveline and text in big bold letters directing timetable enquiries to it. 

Also did you know that the Oxfordshire County map is also available on-line via their website? 

Stagecoach improves the X5 Cross County service between Cambridge and Oxford

From 23rd October 2005 Stagecoach will improve the X5 service by increasing the Sunday frequency to every 30 minutes and with an Adult explorer ticket for just £7 - OAP or child for £5.50 valid on all SC services (except London) this makes a great day out for many who enjoy a day out on the buses.

Full details about the changes to the X5 can be found here:

There are even more improvements in addition to those that you have mentioned, including later coaches on a Friday night and changes to the routing within Oxford.

Also a correction - the Explorer is valid on all Stagecoach services in Southern Britain, except to/from/within London and Devon.

Reading - Streetcar 

A full report of the visit can of course be found on my website, and was posted the same day.

Thanks to rob Williams for those points. 

A letter from Gordon Brown on various matters.

Thank you for another excellent news page. With regard to the airport specification bus at the NEC show, you've commented that it might be for Aviance, however the lettering on the windscreen appears to mention Meteor Parking, which of course is also a Go-Ahead company. Looks like it'll spend its life trundling round various airport car parks.

On the subject of the X5 Cambridge - Oxford service, they go past the end of my road here in St Neots, so I'll try to get a few shots for you. Not strictly in the Chilterns I know, but I hope they might be of interest.

The Alexander Dennis bus "Spirit of London" has, according to The Mayor of London's web site, an experimental air cooling system on the top deck. I can't find the link to the press release and pictures on the
Mayor's web site
(, but Stagecoach Group have a very similar release on their own site:

Finally, you make comments about the kamikaze cyclists in Oxford, and the Police in London issuing tickets to errant cyclists. I can confirm that this is the case. On my walk to and from work I often see the
Police 'booking' a cyclist who has made an illegal turn or jumped red lights. Of course, City of London Police have more resources than most for this sort of thing.

Kind regards,  Gordon Brown

Historical pictures

In May 1991 COMS purchased four Olympians from Harwell AERE. Two are seen above
awaiting preparation for service with City of Oxford. These buses are now with Hedingham - see item below.

One of the Olympian coaches, 823, purchased by Alder Valley for the London-Bracknell service
which when seen above was in Bee Line Bus colours, still working the X6 at Victoria Coach Station in the early '90s

Thames Transit have always been at Horspath garage and above is a picture of
buses in use by the company in the early '90s.

Neil Gow sent this picture of the ex Portsmouth PD2 when used in Oxford.

Pictures from Wayne of buses from our area now with Hedingham.

I received a couple of pictures from Wayne who has an interesting photo site at the following address.

Wayne says "Here are the photos of FWL778Y,VJO206X,WWL212X as promised."

An ex alder Valley VR (143) and an ex Oxford Bus Olympian (212) flank a further VR.

Ex Oxford Bus 206 now at Hedingham

Seen in the pictures above having just arrived at Oxford from the AERE at Harwell, this bus is still hard at work with Hedingham.

A request for historical information from Paul Goodwin.

We have had a request for information from Beaconsfield and District Historical Society, for bus services in the Beaconsfield/Penn areas when the Railway came to Beaconsfield in 1906. Could you put the following request from the society for information on the Bus Page.

" I would like to know when a bus service started to run from Beaconsfield Station to Penn and Back, and when it ceased to run. If it started in 1906 were the buses horse drawn? Did they run from Beaconsfield old town and how often? Whereabouts in Penn did they stop? -Perhaps the Crown Inn. One of our photographs shows our station with the name "Beaconsfield for Penn" "

I believe that the society are trying to get a book together to celebrate the centenary of the railway, so any information or even photos would be appreciated

If you would not like to receive hundreds of e-mails in reply ...............!! I am happy for you to use my e-mail address on the site

Alan in Cornwall asks a question and Trevor Wilson advises of an interesting find.

I have just got this bus and found a picture of it on a website and your name and I was hoping that you could give me some more info on it seeing as I know little of its history.


Trevor Wilson writes "You may wish to call by Mill End on your way in/out of Wycombe.  Some new deckers seem to have appeared at the film support unit site opposite the Adult Education Centre."



I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this page and look forward to your continued support in the future.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 16th October 2005

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

News of the local companies – 16th October 2005

Nigel Peach writes "I mentioned last week that I thought that only one ex London Olympian survives at Wycombe, but in fact there are two. 5851 (C36 CHM) & 5853 (D166 FYM), both of which were working on Wednesday 12th. 

I walked through the bus station which seemed quite quiet now that maintenance has gone to Cressex. I looked at the list of the buses running for the day and was surprised to see two numbers I did not recognise. 5422 and 5432. I checked these out and discovered they are Dennis Tridents  (W422/32 XKX). I have not yet seen either bus, but it's quite a boost for the depot to have double deckers built in 2000! Until last year when two N regs came (1996), the newest have been H reg buses built in 1991. 

I note that both have come from Luton as have the two Olympians (5094 and 5106) which arrived last week. But as you reported last week, Luton have received a number of new buses thus allowing many to be displaced.

5094 leaves Newlands last Saturday but upon which route I and I guess a number of others do not know.

The Tridents at Wycombe caught in the lens of Gavin Francis.

5422 sets off for Reading on the 328 last Saturday but yet again the blinds don't work properly.

Binders Yard

Ed Maun writes "Many thanks for an interesting issue 148. Referring to the Binders Yard picture showing the White National Express coach FDV 803V, this is partly hiding a red painted Bristol/ECW bus. Do you know the identity of this bus?  I assume the picture was taken in Ward Jones’ yard. There is an article on Ward Jones’ activities in the latest (November 2005 issue) Bus & coach Preservation magazine.  There is also an update on a preserved COMS Regent at the Oxford Bus Museum and a picture of preserved Thames Valley Bristol KSW 748 at the Alton rally.

The Bristol mentioned above by Ed Maun, ULO524R

The ex Arriva Olympian G530VBB entered service last Friday and on Saturday was on rail replacement work for the Northern Line Tube at Edgware. G534VBB is presently being repainted.

DW153 is still in Arriva London colours

Recently acquired Olympian L530 G530VBB is now resplendent in company livery
and has an electronic blind. Photos by Gavin Francis.

Betraying its Arriva origins M283 is seen from Newlands Car Park last Saturday


Interesting developments are  imminent with the completion  of the roadwork's on Cowley Road. As a result the PVR on 5 road (peak vehicle requirement) will reduce by2 buses and thus two Volvo B10Bs will join their sister at Wilts and Dorset/Damory. 602 went some months ago now and shortly 606 and 628 will join this bus. It is interesting to note that 606 is the last bus to be repainted by OBC and the red used is of a different tone to the normal fleet colour. 628 is the last a small batch of NRG registered buses which were seemingly diverted from the North East when new. 628 also spent many months in an X90 advertising livery. The remaining NRG batch were transferred to Wycombe Bus shortly before that company was sold to Arriva. They are all still in service at Wycombe.

Late news today is that W&D may well have collected both 606 and 628 this afternoon and taken them to their new home.

More interesting news emerged from another source this week when an email landed on my desk from Andy Gilmour - plus comments from Phil Stockley - who wrote "To get us back to SBL matters, has anyone else seen the latest Ian Allan 'Buses Focus' magazine, which features the Go-Ahead group and reveals in an interview with Phil Stockley on various items. Phil's plan is to replace the W&D Metroriders at Blue Line with 6 of the K-BUD batch of Northern Counties B10Bs from Oxford"

Phil is quoted re the article as saying "Ah well, that's what happens when you try to be too clever.  At the time I did the interview with Stephen Morris, the plan to take the B10Bs from Oxford wasn't in the public domain but I told Stephen about it gambling that by the time the magazine came out the world would have moved on and I would have announced their impending arrival and readers of this group could read Buses Focus smug in the knowledge that they were already party to this world exclusive!

Anyway, after all that, the plan is to take 6 x K-BUD Volvo B10Bs with Northern Counties bodies, some time in November, to replace 4 x Metroriders and 2 x Thamesdown Darts.  Hopefully they will come with
centre door removed and repainted in Bluestar blue.  The plan then (and anything could change) is to allocate them to Bluestars 1 and 3 alongside refurb Olympians, along with the three L-reg B10Bs already
here which will be similarly repainted. Although not the newest vehicles in the world, the ones we have seen are very presentable inside, so should be good for a few years."

Indeed the interiors of the K-BUD Volvos are indeed very tidy and OBC/COMS spent quite a lot of money on refurbishing these before they entered service.

I hasten to add that the information above is not official from OBC but it is indeed mentioned in the latest Buses Focus.

Someone mentioned to me last week that several OBC buses had been seen without destinations, a most unusual occurrence, except for the 14 road for which a number of buses do not have the correct blinds. I was looking through my recent photos and lo and behold they are right. I append two pictures below which are indeed most surprising for OBC.

Volvo B10Bs 637 and 641 operate with white screens. 637 has unusual fleet numbers in addition.

Two of the very smart Citaros, 826 and 838, work the 15 on Morrell Avenue last week.

First in Berkshire

The 74 still runs to Slough if you use First. Here a Citaro, ES64016, normally found on the 75 or 76 to Heathrow
puts in an appearance last Saturday on the lunchtime 74 working.


Another ex Stagecoach Volvo L585JSA, now based at High Wycombe and seen above working a Private hire last Saturday.

As mentioned in the Editorial, Stagecoach are increasing fares from today. Also of interest is the fact that the county are withdrawing a number of subsidised services in the coming months stating that funding is no longer available. I understand that in fact some 80% of county services are commercial services and as such the impact of the losses will not be that great.

The 7 continues to run through the city centre and carries good loads. Here 22924 is seen running up New Road.

22941 works a route 3 services to Rose Hill and is seen leaving Carfax on the 7th October.

The 7C only runs to the City Centre from Barton and on the 7th was being operated by 22052.

Withdrawal of Service 107

Thames Travel have informed the County Council of their intention to withdraw Service 107 between Didcot and Oxford from Sunday 11 December. The County are currently negotiating for a replacement and further details will be published nearer the time.

Michael Wootten writes to add to last week's comments "Thanks for your kind words and for including our news in your excellent web page. In answer to your question, the new coaches will be built to DDA specification with provision for wheelchair access."."


If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on

If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at

The WA Shearings feeder service to High Wycombe always provides an interesting coach.
Here an "ex Wallace Arnold" coach nr 566 YJ03VND operates last Saturday's morning feeder.
The VND ending registration is interesting as ND was a Manchester registration under the old system.

Dews of Somersham, near Cambridge, often visit Oxford and last Friday
this very nice Mercedes brought visitors to the city. I was rather delighted
to find that the interior scheme included the use of a vintage moquette which maybe
also be used on their Bedford OB.

I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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


If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on

If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at

These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend

Bus Zone Logo (2421 bytes)

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


Bus Services in Buckinghamshire

Bus services in Oxfordshire

Where are the Chilterns?

Visit this informative site through the link below.

back to home page
Map showing the Chilterns Hills beginning in Oxfordshire in the Thames Valley and stretching north-east through Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire to Hitchin in Hertfordshire. The highest points are over 250m. There are various water courses running from the Chilterns to the South East.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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