Sunday 17th April 2005
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What a busy week this one has been and so many photos that I was spoilt for choice. The main event of the week was the Slough & Windsor Running Day organised by The Amersham & District Motor Bus Society led by Peter Cartwright. Over 30 vehicles attended and the only no show was the old Thames Valley Bristol K 748.
The 1st Slough & Windsor Running Day - 17th April 2005
The weather was very kind and when I arrived at Slough around 1015 there seemed to be hundreds of enthusiasts, some of whom seemed intent upon suicide in the efforts to get the pictures they wanted.
.......some of whom seemed intent upon suicide. When I say passing motorists were not impressed I am being kind.
RML2330 pauses in the morning sunshine on a 457 to Windsor and is seen outside Brunel Bus Station in Slough.
There was a steady flow of buses leaving and arriving ar the bus station in Slough and I can imagine that there was something to please everyone. I include below shots taken by a number of contributors plus those taken by me.
If you pass your cursor over each thumbnail you will get a title for the picture in question. I have tried to give views which maybe others did not get and feel sure they give a flavour of the day.
I enjoyed a trip on freshly repainted RML2440 now owned by Peter Cartwright. The route was the 441 and a short working to Beaconsfield and return to Windsor. I stayed on for the return to Slough from Beaconsfield and enjoyed the run very much indeed. A fine job had been made of 2440 and she performed faultlessly. We only had a light loading but had to make speed to maintain the schedule. The bus can be seen in Beaconsfield with Peter and ticket machine.
On our way to Beaconsfield we passed a red RM on its way back to Slough and Windsor.
Other companies contributed to the event including Woottens and Michael could be seen driving the ex WM/OBC Lynx he has so lovingly restored and presented in his livery.
Michael Wootten is seen at the wheel of C64HOM leaving Slough Bus Station.
Colin Cooke sent this lovely shot of RLH48 at Gerrards Cross saying
"Meanwhile at Gerrards Cross the original LT turning circle and sign can be found."
Colin writes "Windsor was like a 'zoo' traffic and people every where, with most buses picking up a 20 min delay etc."
The RC and RLH arrive at the bottom of Castle Hill by Colin Cooke.
Nigel Peach also visited Slough and writes "I paid a visit to the Slough/Windsor Running Day this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to find that car parking was free in the multi-storey car park today.
There was a good turnout and all 500 timetable/booklets were sold out. A number of old routes were re-created using all sorts of different types of vehicles ranging from Routemasters, RTs, RFs, an RLH and even an old T (T504 ELP228). Among the non London Transport buses running were Woottens (ex Oxford) Lynx C64HOM, Simmonds ex Arriva Olympian EWW 546Y and Alder Valley Leyland National KCG 627L. I enclose a picture of this about to depart on the 20A to Bourne End. The 20 and 20A used to run between Aylesbury and Windsor via Princes Risborough, High Wycombe, Bourne End and Maidenhead. (so it didn't actually go through Slough but never mind!!)
I particularly remember this vehicle as being one of the very first Leyland Nationals at Wycombe depot. 27 were delivered to Alder Valley and we received 101-3 LMO 223-5L and 127 KCG 627L when they were brand new. That must have been 1972 or 1973. Other Nationals joined the depot of course over the years. This particular batch though were all withdrawn prematurely (not sure why) in the mid to late 1980s I think. (The next vehicle, 128 NRD128M, survived to become the oldest National transferred to Wycombe Bus in 1991).
So having passed an afternoon of nostalgia, I got back to my car to find that all four wheel trims had been stolen! So it turned out to be expensive parking after all!!
I chatted to some people about which buses have departed from Wycombe following entry into service of the Volvos. There is some confusion. Certainly ex London Olympian 5854 did go, but it has returned - probably replacing ex London Olympian 5132 which I am told is an accident victim. I'll try and obtain a definitive list!"
I am indeed sorry to hear about the loss of Nigel's wheel trims. What a sad world we live in when ones car is not safe on a Sunday afternoon.
Wantage by Gavin Francis and your Editor.
Wantage is at the most south westerly extremity of the Stagecoach in Oxfordshire operating area. It also produces a most unusual working each weekday when one of the new Neoplan Tubes operates the 0625 deparute from Oxford to Wantage on service 31. The coach then returns to Oxford at 0720 and on this journey operates an X31 service. The use of an 81 seat Neoplan on a local "country" stage carriage route is somewhat unusual and I wonder if there is anywhere else in the UK where one can ride on such a vehicle on a stage carriage service?
Last week, on different days Gavin and I both "route learnt" this service in order that we should know where we going and what we are doing when this comes up on our rosters. quite by coincidence we both found we were travelling on coach 50117.
Departure from Horspath garage is scheduled for 0600hrs in order to allow time to get down to St Aldates for the 0625hrs deparute. There are a number of regular passengers on this service which also operated in the days of the old M A N Tubes. The route for the 31 follows the Abingdon Road before joining the eastern ring road and making the climb over Hinksey Hill. Passing Sugworth Lane it then runs down into Abingdon via Lodge Hill and Peachcroft running into Abingdon High St. Leaving Abingdon the service calls at Ock Street, then Tesco before its calls at Marcham Village, East Hanney - a very beautiful place with thatched cottages ( I feel a photo coming on !) - and then Grove. Leaving Grove we rejoin the main road for the final stretch into Wantage Market place and the statue of King Alfred.
Now I seem to remember that COMS ran a Grove-London service many years ago, was it the 391? So it is slightly ironical that Stagecoach now use a Londson coach on a route through this place.
Our arrival in Wantage was preceded by a Heyfordian Solo which scuttled off before I could get a picture but good old Gavin got the elusive bus a few days earlier on its Wantage town working and I include his picture below.
As last week was a school holiday in Oxfordshire our return journey to Oxford at 0720 was expected to be lighter than usual. I have included a picture of 50117 in Wantage watched over by Alfred. I wonder if he really did burn those cakes?
When the schools are back I am told that this 0720 service can load quite heavily for the fast run back to Oxford. We left on time and picked up a good few passengers in the various villages en route. They are Grove, East Hanney and Marcham. After leaving Marcham the routes takes the coach on to the A34 and a fast run to Oxford following the eastern by-pass and the Abingdon Road. Arrival in Oxford is set for 0820 or 1 hour running time. Our actual arrival time at the terminus in Castle Street was 0805 or 45 mins after leaving Wantage. As those who use the A34 and Abingdon road will know there can be some very long delays and the A34 between Abingdon and Oxford is the subject of heated debate as I write this though there seems little hope of any improvements in the near future.
50117 pauses at Grove on its X31 run back to Oxford on 15th April 2005.
.....and so on to the A34 and a fast run towards Oxford. 150405
The roadworks on the Abingdon Road cause many delays throughout the day.
Our arrival in Castle Street at 0805 means our passengers have time for coffee before work.
Chaos in the High Street
The traffic congestion commented on by Geoff Cunliffe.
Geoff Cunliffe writes "I spent a couple of hours in Oxford last Monday, 11th. April. The following notes and photograph may be of interest to you:-
As usual, there was much congestion on the High Street. Around 11.40am it was caused by a white van parked opposite numerous other (illegally) parked vehicles on the other side. This caused absolute havoc which needed the attention of a Stagecoach Inspector to sort it. He persuaded the driver to move to the other side of the street, but I bet it was a colourful exchange. Why is it that White Van Man is immune from access and parking restrictions, and most have no regard for anybody else’s convenience?
Shortly after 2pm, there was an accident on the Banbury Road outside the Summertown shops. 2 road and 500s were diverted inbound by turning right at Kidlington Roundabout towards Pear Tree, left down the Woodstock Road, left into Moreton Road, to the end of there and right back onto the Banbury Road. Saw a 500 Citaro doing this as we returned to Pear Tree.
Oxford Bus Company:
Question - why have at least some of the Scania Irizars got THREE radio aerials?
103 back in green was on the 400.
They no longer operate the Arle Court Park & Ride, and Excel R300 PAR (note the appropriate registration) is now used on a town service."
From Peter Kay Secretary Colchester Bus Users Group.
Can you assist with info ? our council want to close the present Colchester bus station and have a new one built by their pet developers in the basement of a shopping centre. They have cited Aylesbury as an example of how this can be done. I have never been to Aylesbury Bus Stn but am told by others that it is a horrible concrete hole that everybody hates, and also that it is now intended to shut it because of that ! We would particularly like some quotable quote from your Local Authority on this i.e. stating that the present bus stn isn't nice and why they think it needs replacing. Thanks
Reading to London with Thackray's Way with an interesting reply to last week's question
Reading – London Express service by Ed Maun
In answer to your question in issue 123, the history of express services between Reading and London would make interesting reading. The successor to Thakrays Way was Thames Valley’s B service which often utilised double-deckers. The service was given a boost in 1950 with the delivery of double deck Bristol KS6Bs with platform doors and coach seats. These were followed in later years by similarly equipped KSW6Bs, LD6Bs FLF6Bs and FLF6Gs. As new vehicles were delivered for the London service the earlier examples were cascaded onto the longer bus routes (e.g. Newbury – Reading - Maidenhead). In the later years of Thames Valley and early years of Alder Valley ordinary buses were used – usually the newest REs and VRTs. In the mid 1970s Alder Valley did re-introduce coach seated double-deckers with the delivery of a batch of new VRTs. With express service deregulation in 1980 Alder Valley (and Reading Transport) introduced a whole new set of express services using the M4 motorway. These included the X2, X3 and X5 (Plus other variations later) from Reading to London. Around about this time the original B service (I believe Alder Valley numbered it 300 for a while) became the X12 with its London terminus altered to Baker Street instead of Victoria Coach Station. The X12 used “DP” Leyland Nationals but ceased altogether not long afterwards.
The 1980s were golden years for Alder Valley express services via the M3 and M4 motorways. However I believe the increasing traffic congestion in London with its inevitable affect on journey times coupled with British Rail getting its act together and providing a good rail service between Reading and London sounded the death knell for the coach services and they dwindled away to nothing over the ensuing years. The Bee Line had of course taken over from Alder Valley at Reading, and even that company selling out to Reading Transport thus ending the competition, couldn’t save them!
I believe the Oxford to London express services do so well as they are far more attractive than the rather poor rail service between these two places.
New bus stops on the Botley Road
Mention has been made elsewhere about the new bus stops which have been installed on the Botley Road. They certainly are impressive and I include a few pictures to show the finished product.
More old Wycombe pictures by Gavin Francis
Gavin Francis sent the picture below remembering the influx of red buses to High Wycombe in 1974 when there were problems with the green buses allocated.
MB123 on route 326 in Micklefield Road 23rd June 1974.
A blast from the past - Crosville rides again
Following the picture shown last week of an RE in Oxford I received the following from Merfyn Jones "....The Crosville RE coach shown in your latest news page was on a reconstruction of two former Crosville routes from pre Nat.Ex. days.
X1 Liverpoo-London via Oxford, and X61 Liverpool-London via M1 & M6 motorways. Organised by the Crosville Enthusiasts Club and the coach owner Steve Graham. I believe a good time was had by those participating, although I missed it myself.
Best wishes Merfyn Jones, Membership CEC.
The Christie-Miller write regarding their Wonderbus saying "I’m contacting you on behalf of my wife, Jessica Christie-Miller, who for the last 5 years has been running a successful play bus operation from a converted 1970’s Bristol VRT3. For the last few months, it’s been stored in a secure location just outside Oxford.
Now that we’ve got two kids, she would really like to sell the bus, and I was wondering if you may be able to help us by placing a note in your newsletter, or forwarding details of the sale to local enthusiasts. The bus is in good working order and has had no mechanical issues during her ownership.
I’ve attached a photo and brief description.
I’m contactable on this e-mail, or on 07957 639 016, Jessica is on 07957 639 015 or home: 0208 968 0818.
The one thing I neglected to mention is the price. This may appear higher than expected, but Jessica’s invested a lot in the re-furb and full re-spray of the bus, and it is fully equipped with expensive play equipment, so she would be looking for around £10,000. Naturally this is open to negotiation – we recognise that a quick sale would be beneficial, as our storage options are running out. So, we’re happy to discuss options with any interested buyers."
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. I have not received so much news this week and so the operator reports are predominantly photographic in nature. I do however realise that many of you enjoy the photos more than the text.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 17th April 2005
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News of the local companies – 17th April 2005
Not so much news from Arriva this week but a couple of photos of interest.
Volvo 3115 having just had its M O T is seen working a 33 service last Wednesday.
One of the latest Volvos 3862 has acquired Green route lettering in its front smile.
today, Sunday, an A40 route branded Citaro was working the 74 to Slough.
Last Wednesday the little DAf was working a school service to Stokenchurch and is seen here in New Road in Stokenchurch.
Nigel Eggleton wrote with some explanation as
to why there are some unusual vehicle allocations saying "Comments
on your web page recently re incorrect allocation I thought were worthy of some
The roadworks on Abingdon road and Cowley Road have brought about a need for additional resource, to enable extra running time to be given, and hence maintain as far as possible the existing frequency. In particular P+R 300 has an extra 2 vehicles.
As a result we are running very tight for vehicles, with green tridents requiring 100% availability - often not possible.
In such circumstances incorrect allocation is the inevitable result."
John Bristow writes "I attach a picture which I took on 26 September 1970 of a Brighton, Hove and District Bristol VRT at Watlington. According to my records it carried a notice saying that it was on hire to City of Oxford, and I am wondering if you or one of the COMS experts who visit your website can shed any light on this vehicle, which seems a strange choice for COMS at that time?"
Something for the rail and bus enthusiast. A Virgin Voyager passes over a Trident.
Bus Monkey writes
827 on 500
837 on 2
Martyn Banham writes that Trident 104 is now back in green after a long absence.
M K Metro
have attached a couple of pics of our recently acquired Solos from various
sources! The Wevaway pair came painted white, and as you can see our very
smartly turned out. The only mark on the exterior to trace its origin was the
crest by the entrance doors. Both are currently away being re-painted purple
for use on new branded service 8 and will look a little different when they
return. The Choice Travel Solos will need little painting to get them to our
We have also received ex Grey Green (Arriva London) (F116 PHM) painted o/a yellow for schools work, still complete with centre doors."
Once the pride and indeed last coach delivered to Cambridge Coach Services Volvo 325 is seen in Oxford last week on service 757.
A Selwyn's DAF leaves Gloucester Green last week on the long haul to Birkenhead.
A veteran Volvo coach 52124 appeared on the X5 last week and is seen here in the Rail Station forecourt.
Another unusual visitor to Gloucester Green last week was this NCME Palatine 1, 16685 on the long X6 route to Northampton.
Chris Lowe sent this picture of a Trident once used on Brookes late last year. 18179 is seen in Stockport.
Chris says "I have attached a photo below for you which was taken in Stockport this afternoon.
It shows Stagecoach Manchester 18179 (MX54LPA) one of the Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents
which was on loan to Stagecoach Oxford for Brookes Bus duties until their new vehicles were delivered.
It is seen operating the 197 (Manchester - Stockport, via Burnage) service which along
with the 192 (Manchester - Hazel Grove, via Stockport) forms part of its regular duties."
Trident 18128 is seen in GG after working the X1 from Witney. This bus then spend the rest of the day on the 20.
Martyn Banham grabbed this quick, and therefore not too clear shot, of 34466 on the U1 last week.
Geoff Cunliffe scored an ace last week when he visited Oxford, capturing Dart 34470 on the 3 at Carfax.
More of the Varios are being repainted and here 42380 must have been out on its first day after repaint
the smell of fresh paint was so strong. Also of note is the change in fleet number style.
Peter Hale writes "I've got a query for consideration for the Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page, if you don't mind going slightly northwards to Banbury.
Stagecoach's Banbury garage has had one or two double decks for quite a few years now, but the last contract requiring a DD has now ended. Is the Olympian at Banbury - 16525, I believe - going to move to another Oxfordshire garage?
The last DD service there was 210 to Stratford-upon-Avon schools, along with a morning-only run from Stratford to a college campus at Henley-in-Arden. These are now run by Warwickshire County Council's own School Links coaches.
Many thanks - and regardless of whether you use this or not, the Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page is an excellent website. I always look forward to reading it."
An ealry effort with my telephoto lens of 50105 on the M40 near Stokenchurch.
Geoff Cunliffe also sent this shot of 13648 in Cheltenham.
Kevin Stevens writes "I haven't seen them mentioned yet but a week last Friday (8th April 2005) Weavaway received their 5 new deckers which were going to replace their x Hong Kong deckers, however it would seem that for the moment at least the old yellow ones will remain.
No branding has yet been applied to the buses and the legal lettering is on a sign inside the front left hand window forward of the door. I saw this one at Oxford rail station today on rail replacement and was allowed to climb over it by the driver. It is of particular interest to me as City Sightseeing will be getting their new bus in June (all being well) and that is also an East Lancs bodied Volvo.
The example shown is a 12.4Metre model with 102 seats and equipped to take a wheelchair by removing 2 sets of seats and a table, it kneels to assist boarding. There is no rear wheel steering but apparently the weight can be moved off the rear axle to assist in reversing.
Photos by Kevin Stevens.
Whites of Abingdon
I visited Henley last Monday and Whites are now predominant on the local services.
Here FX51BSO works the local town service once the home of Chiltern Queens.
Another Whites bus, this time a Solo YK04KWE works another local service.
Gavin Francis caught this Whites Solo T645HBF on a service in Wantage last week.
Z & S Aylesbury
Ed Maun writes "I went into Risborough this morning (Tuesday) and discovered the off peak Risborough Town Service 321 operated by Z & S has been withdrawn with effect from yesterday, 11th April. It is replaced in part on Tuesdays to Fridays by diverting services 12 and 15 which are operated by Motts. The off peak 321 between Risborough and H. Wycombe operated by Z & S has also been withdrawn and is replaced in part by the Bledlow Rider. The 322 service is now a contracted schoolday service. The peak time service 321 journeys operated by Carousel Buses still operate."
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Chris Lowe writes "Further to my message a few weeks ago about the refurbished Plaxton Paramount 3200 (UJI 1761) which was on your site, and me mentioning that Goodwin's of Eccles has an example.
Well this afternoon about half an hour ago I managed to get a photo of the vehicle, this being Goodwin's (WSV553) although I had to stop the car and take the photo through the passenger window as it was on a road running alongside me.
I have attached the photo below, you can just make out the style of the vehicle"
your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me
These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend
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