Monday 17th April 2006
next update week ending 28th April 2006
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Well, another Easter is nearly over and we march on into spring and summer days. This will be much better for photography and less than sharp pictures of winter days. Whilst attending the Cobham event I could not help but notice the number of digital cameras and wondered just how many pictures were taken on the day. Judging by the number of photographers I estimate that maybe the total was around one million. I also wonder how many of those pictures were repeated hundreds of times over and also how many may never see the light of day.
Work on the new development in High Wycombe proceeds and it is now possible to see the shape of the new bus station which will front on to Bridge Street off the Oxford Road. One point which is now obvious is that it will be a much longer walk to the present centre for those arriving by bus unless they alight in Oxford Street or High Street. This would not, of course, apply to those services arriving from the west of the town.
The new development at Wycombe with 3482 on route 31. Picture by Nigel Peach
Considerable delays and congestion are forecast for the upcoming roadworks in connection with improvements to the Green Road roundabout on the A40, east of Oxford. Full details can be found at this link:
Green Road roundabout road improvements
The planners have advised that delays of up to 45 minutes may be experienced at this point during the completion of the planned works. It will be most interesting to see how the various bus and coach companies affected by these works, react to these delays which threaten significant disruptions to schedules and passengers alike. Work is expected to start in earnest after the Easter break. National Express had already advised that their 737 Stansted service would be rerouted via junction 9 of the M40 and the A34 into Oxford. however one driver recently told me that they , the drivers, had found an alternative inbound route via Stadhampton and Cowley. I wonder if other operators may try this route as well. It does however leave the vexed problem of serving the Thornhill and Green Road stops. Any significant delays and inconvenience may lead to some travellers choosing the train. Other than National Express no other company has yet revealed its plans.
A "veggie" bus in Maidenhead
Ian Williamson writes "Having discovered your website recently, firstly let me congratulate you on consistently producing interesting and informative newsletters.
Secondly the enclosed extract from last week's Maidenhead Express may be of interest.
'The arrival in Maidenhead of the nation's first local public service "veggie" bus which runs on waste vegetable oil may mean that the diesel has had its chips. When it goes operational on April 10th it will be the first of its kind in the country to be in local public passenger service. The bus, part of the Courtney's Fleet (based in Bracknell) will cover the Sainsbury's sponsored park and ride shuttle route from Stafferton Way car park to the town centre and has a unique livery sympathetic to the colours of the royal borough.
The bus was converted by Regenatec of Abingdon, who also supply the fuel, and was fitted with an additional smaller fuel tank for diesel, to start the vehicle in the normal way. After a couple of minutes the system automatically switches over to the vegetable oil housed in the original fuel tank.'
Courtney's run most of the local services under contract to the council with vehicles (mainly Optare) branded Borough Bus. As part of the redevelopment of the town centre Sainsbury store, the retailer is sponsoring the park and ride scheme mentioned above and a 'Shoppers Bus' running from the town centre to their nearby store on the A4 close to M4 J7. This also carries a unique livery, sympathetic to Sainsbury's corporate orange!"
An interesting scheme indeed and I wonder how many other companies will follow suit. In fact I seem to have read elsewhere that this is not the only example being launched?
Cyclists in Oxford
I read with interest a letter in The Oxford Times from a cyclist who challenges the local bus operators regarding incidents with cyclists. The writer asks why it is that companies make placating responses to complaints from cyclists and why the allude to disciplinary action against employees without stating what the actions are.
I have referred to cyclists on a number of occasions in these pages and was not surprised to read the letter published in the paper. However their does seem now to be an ethos of one way complaints against the bus driving fraternity which has little or no chance of redress. Bus companies do take a very strong view on complaints against employees and disciplinary action is taken in cases where cases are proven. Most buses now have cameras which record the actions of drivers and other road users alike and thus proof, if required, is available to managers when taking action. It is often not appreciated by other people how much is on record and as such corrective action may be taken.
However in this writers letter he asked why the complainant may not be advised what discipline has been taken. I think one must realise that the freedom of information act places everyone in a difficult position if such information were to be passed on. An employee would be justified in taking grievance action if internal disciplinary procedures were to be made public. The law today is a most complicated matter in such things.
Peter Cartwright tells us that "the timetables/programmes for Slough/Windsor Running Day are now available." Click on this link TheRoutemasterreturnstoSlough.doc
Scroll to the bottom of this page for more information and events.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new. Keep the historical info and older pictures coming but don't forget the modern stuff.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 17th April 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 17th April 2006
Arriva in High Wycombe have been busy ensuring their buses have improved destination displays and the introduction of the new Connexion livery is in had with two further buses being outshopped for service in the area.
Trident 5432 en route to Aylesbury on the 280 service from Oxford still shows X15 and the rear of the AYLESBURY board
has Milton Keynes on. There was no reference to the 280 or Oxford anywhere on the bus. This picture was taken on 13th April 2006.
Arriva Fox use this Van Hool coach very often on the 440 to London. It is seen at VCS last week.
Ed Maun also writes "I’ve just received the April LOTS magazine The London Bus and it advises that a new route 8 starts in Aylesbury on 8th May to run from the bus station to the bus garage at Brunel Park via Gatehouse Road and Griffin Lane on Mondays to Fridays, approx every 15 minutes between 0900 and 1730. TLB suggests that these are all new bus roads. This is true for a regular bus service but these roads were used for Oxford Road bound services a few years back as a diversion when the Oxford Road was closed for the replacement of the Oxford Road Railway bridge."
The latest fleet details may be found on the company web site at the following link: http://www.oxfordbus.co.uk/cgi-bin/cms-pull.cgi?/oasis-ims/img/oxfordbus/live/20060324_Fleetlist.pdf
The details show the three "espress" Volvo B10M coaches 9, 10 and 12 as on loan to BCC for National Express services. I am delighted that Ben Morroll has sent pictures of two of the three in service last week.
The first picture shows coach 10 and the second coach 12. I am unaware of any fleet numbers for the coaches
now that they are in Birmingham. They have not yet had their destination screens reprogrammed for this work.
Ross, one of my long time correspondents returned to Oxford last week and sent the following notes.
While I've been back in Oxford this week I've made the following observations. May or may not have been seen by others but here goes:
OBC - 818 was back in service by Thursday, branded for the 15.
Volvo B10BLE 818 back in service after refurbishment with a further variation on the rear vinyl. Nice girl huh?
Pictures from Gavin Francis.
104 has obtained a Mercedes wheel embellisher? on the offside rear wheel at least. Noticed whilst it was on the 400 today (Sat). Not sure it suits the bus but that's may own opinion. 101/2 at least do not have this addition at the moment.
640 was out on the 10D on Friday evening. First B10B (not BLE) I've seen on the route in service (can appear on route learning duties but that's it)"
Curly writes regarding sightings on Easter Saturday.
101, 103 or 105 on 300
102 and 104 on 400.
Unbranded Citaro on 500.
There also seems to have been a very regular use of red Tridents on Park and Ride services in recent weeks.
I liked this advert on the rear of 825 seen working 2 road in the city centre last Thursday.
Trident 103 was out on 13 road last Thursday and is seen here loading in St Aldates for Northway.
Paul Dudfield from Exeter was reminded of low bridges saying "Glenn Knight's comments on the low bridge on Arriva route X15 reminds me that you shouldn't always believe everything you read on bridges. See the enclosed photo of the old railway bridge at Oxford station. There are 2 signs on the bridge showing its height to be 13' 0" but the Fleetline (TFC 407K) passing safely beneath must be at least 13' 5".
First from Slough are now using double decks on the route 74 to High Wycombe. Various readers have reported this event and the fact that some publicity in the form of vinyls have been applied to the buses involved.
Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor writes "A new Ayats Bravo 1 has arrived with Heyfordian - Reg No: WX 06 SLV - it has 82 seats and at present in white awaiting Heyfordian's livery to be applied.
VIN will be appreciated if anyone can obtain it. Details can be found on Ayats web page under 'news' - a picture is included. Thanks to Roland Cox for spotting this arrival in Oxfordshire."
I'm not sure if I have remarked on the change of coaches used on the 737 service from Oxford to Stansted. It seems that the new Irizars have been moved elsewhere and we now have some older coaches, seemingly cascaded from Scotland. Pictures of two examples are shown below.
Originally delivered to Tayside as their TC9, this and three similar coaches are now in use on the 737.
NEXP2, SP04HRM is seen here in High Wycombe last week. It is a Volvo B12M with Plaxton bodywork.
Gavin Francis took this picture of a Go-Ahead NE coach on NEx work at Gloucester Green on Sunday 16th April.
This is one of two new Volvo B12B/Plaxton coaches, 7092/3 K2/3VOY recently delivered.
The cherished registration is of interest.
Last week I reported that a brand new Alexander Dennis Dart with Caetano Nimbus bodywork, registered FJ06 URS was seen on the R21 near Rickmansworth. I wrongly attributed this bus to Sullivan's. In fact the R21 has just changed operator from Sullivans to Red Rose whose bus is pictured. The service was originally with First at Uxbridge. Several readers wrote to correct my report.
Matthew wrote "the R21 photo is of a Red Rose bus - they were awarded the contract from 27 March. No blinds - no surprise there then!"
Dave Stewart also wrote saying "On the 10th April O&C news page you had a pic. of a white Dart at Rickmansworth but wrongly attributed it to Sullivan Buses. It is actually with Red Rose. Red Rose took over the R21 route on 27th March, together with the new W50 in Watford (replacing part of Arriva 350). They have two Caetano Nimbus short Darts FJ06 URR and URS, and these are the regular vehicles on the two services. Both so far white with minimal blinds.
Sorry everyone, maybe someone has better pictures of these two buses in service?
Ross writes to say "B10Ms seem to be appearing on city services pretty regularly this week (compared to when I was last in Oxford over Christmas). Observed the following
20009 - 1
20007, 20228 - 1
20009 - 7 or 7C
20009 - 1
42376 also made an appearance on the 10 on Friday evening.
B10M 20007 in use on the 1 last Thursday. At the same time an M A N was on the 32 !!!
Also B10M 20008 was in use on the 32 and is seen here at Carfax last Thursday.
Once in the Oxford fleet this Dart is now in Exeter. Picture by Michael Wadman.
Marcus Lapthorn writes "at the Swindon garage on Wednesday 12 April were three brand new double deckers all without transfers on them yet. They are registered: VU 06 JDJ; VU 06 JDX; VU 06 JUL. They appear to have 'coach style' seating."
Dave Rogers adds "Two entered service today, but are intended for route 55, which has received 'Kick start' funding, but they are likely to be used on anything at present."
Four of the new Tridents for Swindon awaiting entry into service.
Steve White of Blue Yonder took a picture of further new buses for Swindon, this time Darts.
A few editions ago I published a picture of 20683 in the process of refurbishment.
It appeared in Oxford last Thursday on the 66.
Two pictures of ex Hong Kong Olympians heading for opposite ends of the U.K.
13626 is based at Liverpool and 13627 at Cwmbran.
Three Neoplan coaches are now based at Barnsley and bear the Yorkshire Traction as legal owner.
50055 based at Inverness, is seen at Meadowhall Interchange in this picture from Ben Morroll.
Used last year as a relief on Oxford Tube services but now based at Walkergate, 50046 is seen in London last Wednesday.
Steve White writes "Visited Swindon today and found all 10 of the new Scanias on the road."
501 in Fleming Way by Steve White
Steve has an excellent web site at : http://www.spw24.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
Questions are still coming in as to the disposal or not of the Mercedes bus 305. Can anyone shed any light on this matter?
The new buses for the X39 are still not delivered and here 152 is on an X39 working last Thursday.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Buzz Lines, who provided the Neoplan for test in Oxford before delivery of the Oxford Tube coaches
have taken delivery of the beautiful Setra seen on National Express relief work last Wednesday.
Another operator has appeared on the London-Stansted route using this small coach and a normal sized coach.
A new open top tour operator has appeared in London using this fairly new open top Scania. Pictures by Gavin Francis.
Peter Edgar sent these pictures of RML2481 ready for export to Canada. Taken at Leyton on Sunday 16th April 2006.
Wycombe Dial a Ride minibus taken last week at Newlands Bus Station.
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at
I was interested to read further Paul Lacey's excellent history on Thames Valley 1931-1945. Paul describes how the delivery of some rather nice Leyland coaches in 1939 led the company take some care in where the coaches were stored. When the requisition officer came looking for suitable coaches in 1940, most operators had to give up coaches to the army, these coaches were stored at the ex Chiltern Lane End garage out of harms way and the eye of the Requisition Officers, and thus survived the war with Thames Valley.
Thames Valley 388 at Gloucester Green on hire to South Midland in the summer of 1952. Picture by A N Porter.
This book is really excellent and can be recommended.
Paul can be contacted at 17, Sparrow Close, Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire RG41 3HT where he should have copies of this book for sale.
The date for this year's Spring event is April 2nd.
Wycombe - Other events in 2006:
Special trip over route 347 from Hemel Hempstead to Uxbridge on 19 March marking the 40th anniversary of RML type vehicles starting on that route from Garston & Hemel Hempstead garages.
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 14 May - Slough/Windsor
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October – Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Day in Aldershot with details from Andrew Dyer.
I wonder if you could put a piece in your "forthcoming events" section about all the excitement that will be in Aldershot (not often you see the words "excitement" and "Aldershot" in the same sentence!!) over the weekend of 3 & 4 June this year.
Stagecoach is organising an event jointly with the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group to celebrate 100 years since the first bus service operated from Aldershot to Farnborough in June 1906. There will be a running day and on Sunday 4 June we will be holding an Open Day at our depot in Halimote Road, Aldershot. As with the Portsmouth event last year, we hope to attract local families as well as enthusiasts and all proceeds raised will go to local charities.
As Aldershot has such a strong history of Dennis operation, we are hoping to get as many different types of Dennis bus on site as we can. Do you have a contact at the Oxford Bus Museum who might be persuaded to bring a KFC Loline 2? Sadly, I don't think any of the Loline 1's or 3's that were on loan from A&D to COMS in 1969/70 have survived to enable them to make an appearance, although there will certainly be sister vehicles in the SOU xxx and AAA xxxC batches there.
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
At last I'm able to officially notify everyone of the Running Days for 2006.
Sunday 14 May 2006 is the date for the second Slough/Windsor Running Day based on Slough Bus Station. Since last year a huge new Tesco store has been built adjacent and is now fully operational. Due to traffic delays experienced last year in Windsor an extra 5 minutes each way is being added to running times between Slough and Windsor.
There is no St George's Day parade to hold us up this year and the Queen's official birthday is 2 weeks plus later when her 80th birthday is marked. I know of no Royal Wedding planned for Windsor this year and, hopefully, timekeeping will be better on the Windsor routes.
An enhancement to the Burnham Beeches service is envisaged with the opposite way round the loop. There is also the chance to have double deck workings but terminating on the eastern fringe of the Beeches.
Another new route for this year will be a service through Windsor Great Park. Crown Estates are happy with this and I have a meeting arranged with them on Tuesday 10 January. White Bus Services currently operate a restricted service here but not on Sundays & on only certain days of the week. Operation is likely to be by non-LT single-deck vehicles. A large number of vehicles is required including at least 16 double-deckers.
Some 40 years earlier on 15 May 1966 RMLs were allocated to Windsor Garage to work several routes in the area. RMC coaches had already been there for some time.
WR Garage operated many other types of vehicle including RT,RF,RC,RCL,RB,RS,GS,SMA,SNB,STL, T and of course some of these only operated in the London Country period. Additionally in the summer months Central area red vehicles were commonplace as green vehicles were reassigned to Green Line relief duties so any red-liveried vehicle would be welcome. At least 30 vehicles (including 5 non-LT/LCBS vehicles will be needed to maintain the schedules.
As 1966 is the 40th anniversary of route 724 it is hoped to have a feeder to/from the Northern areas and to run the route from Slough through Windsor, Old Windsor, Runnymede to Staines. Via Runnymede, by the river Thames was the original routeing when it was extended from Staines to Windsor Castle. It did not serve Windsor Garage nor will it in 2006. The coach link to Staines will therefore be 724 this year in place of 718.
Anyone offering to operate a 725 from at least Kingston will be welcomed. Please let me know.
At the moment there is not an area for display vehicles but every effort will be made to find one. Can I please ask anyone who came last year and was allocated blinds and who will/cannot come this year, to contact me urgently so I can collect them for re-issue to others. These are expensive and will be needed on the day.
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
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
James Smith writes "I'm reopening my Bus Model store (its being hosted at www.arriva-shires.co.uk/shop for the time being) and as an opening offer I'd like to give your readers the opportunity to buy a couple of local models at a reduced price.. Anybody wishing to purchase these items should contact me directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) instead of through the store...Details Below:
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 1014 - DENNIS TRIDENT - OXFORD PARK & RIDE
Normal Selling Price £19.99 - Oxford Page Readers £13.99
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 2012 - DENNIS TRIDENT - STAGECOACH BROOKES BUS
Normal Selling Price £20.99 - Oxford Page Readers £14.99
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002