Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
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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A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a bus driver in Oxford but considering the fact that the photographs are taken of the vehicle not any person,
I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
I am sorry to have to mention such a matter but we now live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.
This week has been a busy one and contributions continue with excellent quality and content. The weather has been appalling in some areas with a torrential downpour on the side of the Chilterns late last week.
This morning as I write the page, the weather looks very nice but I will have little chance to sample same as I have to finish the page.
Thought for the day !
I was thinking about photographs and the fact that many of you have written to say how much you enjoy "buses in the landscape". So often one wants to capture a bus or coach in all its glory and we taken some close up pictures to be sure to have all the detail. However now that we have the digital revolution and high quality resolution this need not be such a high demand in our work. How nice it is to capture the buses and coaches in the settings in which they work. I hope that contributors will send more scenic shots which may be as simple as a town street or countryside shot but which give flavour to the area in which they were taken.
As an example I thought the picture of the recently repainted Scania belonging to Thames Travel highlighted what I am writing about. The picture was taken by David Tole and submitted by Ralph Adams.
I think it captures the atmosphere of Wallingford and the narrow streets of that town plus the architecture of the buildings on the street.
How comments on the planned improvements to traffic flows in Headington can produce surprising results
Last week I reported on plans for London Road, Headington little expecting that this would produce the following from Paul Dudfield who remembers the building of the subway mentioned in the article.
The news that the pedestrian subway in Headington may be filled in reminds me of the time it was built at the end of 1969. Even then, the work caused traffic disruption. London Road was made one way outbound with inbound traffic diverted via Windmill Road, Old Road and Lime Walk. Enclosed are some photos I took at the time with a very basic camera. These show a selection of Renowns, Bridgemasters and a Regent following the diversion.
As you can imagine, the diversion did little to help timekeeping so, after a while, inbound buses were allowed through the roadworks. Traffic lights were installed operated by a switch on a pole set in an oil drum. The switch was at such a height that it could be operated from a bus cab but not from a car. This must be one of the earliest examples of a bus priority in Oxford. Mind you, there was the odd car that ignored the diversion signs and sat at the traffic lights patiently waiting for them to change...
Thanks for that Paul, most interesting.
"Open Doors" at Oxford Bus Saturday 23rd June
Phil Ashworth, on behalf of the Oxford Bus Company, writes to say "You may have seen that the OBC is taking part in the Opening Doors, Opening Minds weekend, when various parts of Oxford, not normally open to the public , “Open Doors”."
Phil goes on to say "We are opening Cowley House for the day on Saturday 23rd June 2007, in conjunction with our friends at the Oxford Bus Museum who will be providing tours of Oxford and a shuttle service to Cowley House for the open day. Can I ask you to stress through your excellent website that there is no direct admission to Cowley House. All visitors must enter the site on one of the special shuttles that leave from Queens Lane. As we are a working bus depot we can only cope with limited numbers and using the shuttles, limited to 30 passengers per bus, is the best way of handling the visitors. If anyone arrives directly at Cowley House we will, sadly, have to turn them away."
I hope many of my readers will be able to take this opportunity and I look forward to your reports and pictures.
Having spent some hours driving for this fleet when I was with Go Ahead I found this piece from Terry Wong Min rather interesting. Note the coach seats fitted to the bus in the picture.
Terry writes "I thought I would send you this hot off the press from London General Commercial fleet. It's an advert for the Madame Tussauds people ( http://www.madame-tussauds.co.uk/ ) which was placed on PVL 251 recently refurbished and which started life at Bexleyheath (BX) with London Central. The bus is intended to stay on the daily 718 and London By Night but of course with Wimbledon coming up will make an appearance there. I caught a picture of the PVL as it left on it's morning run from Hampton Court heading back home to Merton Garage (AL), illustrating the blind for it's afternoon trip."
Terry goes on to say "A couple of pictures for you Malcolm. The much talked about Ethanol bus for Transdev London has arrived after months of speculating and waiting. It arrived at London United's Fulwell Bus garage on Thursday night. I had an email to advise on it's arrival so took a peek."
I also enclose some vehicles from your area out on rail replacement this weekend on acting as a sub contractor to Sullivan's this weekend between Hammersmith and Acton via Gunnersbury. Busy weekend down here with the Biggin Hill air show and Epsom Derby. More pictures of Scotland and my outings here and there on http://londonbuspics.fotopic.net/
Martin Isles wrote about First's school buses saying "Expect someone may have sent you pics of these already but as I headed out on Saturday morning (June 9th) I was diverted to follow a Bluebird First Student bus to find it parking up in the lower car park at Handy Cross Sports Centre, where it joined several others. A driver informed me 15 were due. Paper window bills suggested departures to or from most points in Bucks. Unfortunately as my day was planned seeking accommodation for the Showbus team near Duxford (the place we used last year has burnt down) I had to depart before they all turned up. I guess they were supplied by more than one first subsidiary."
Alan Drake writes to say "I was at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon over the weekend working on the Classic Commercial Show (lorries). Thought you might kike these two shots.
The Stagecoach calls there on a regular route but the Leyland National has been tucked away in a storage area there for years, just rotting away."
I think this bus was used as a special office demonstrator by Leyland?
It is nice to have some variety on the page and Marcus sent this picture from a recent trip he made to Peru saying "......taken in May 2007 in Lima"
Roger Spence has been out and about and writes "A few more pictures for you. First a couple in Aylesbury on 2 June."
Optare Solo 0447 on 'green route' 1
Dart 3295 on 'blue route' 2
Roger then moved on to Hemel Hempstead on June 5th.
On 5 June, another Dart on another route 2 - but this time it's at Hemel so it's 'red line' 2
Still at Hemel Bus Station, on 8 June Volvo 3852 was immaculate awaiting a turn on the 'Centraline' 301
At one point the bus station was completely blocked up with vehicles four-abreast as seen in the picture below.
Green Line 758 branded DAF 4052 is about to depart on the 768 variant of the Hemel to Victoria service, which runs via Maylands Avenue
Back to Aylesbury and at the garage on June 10th there was this line-up of smaller vehicles, including all five of its Optare Solos
Whereas 0448 and 0449 are in 'silver rider' livery and 0446 and 0447 are in 'green route' livery, 0442 is now branded 'rainbow routes network' - and carries a green and grey livery.
Note the revised front end on these sister buses.
Newly arrived 5144 (with the kitchen doors!) was parked between 'Mix 96' Trident 5431 and ex-Wycombe Bus Olympian 5826.
Finally, two more archive scans from my schooldays.
Bristol LH, BL13, outside St Albans garage (circa 1980?)
And inside Windsor garage
I was talking with Rob the other day about the difficulties of taking pictures of buses and coaches with the modern digital displays and how some are impossible to take. Rob promised a discourse on the matter which I am delighted to publish below.
Bus photographers are now familiar with the problems associated with getting good pictures of modern LED destination displays. Very often you can take a picture of a bus only to find that the display appears blank even though it was working.
The problem is all down to the refresh rate of the display compared to the camera's shutter speed. What the displays actually do is continually update themselves at a frequency that is too fast for our eyes to detect. The same story applies to televisions and computer monitors, neither of which photograph easily (with the exception of modern flat screen displays which work slightly differently). Sometimes you can see TVs flickering when viewing them out of the corner of your eye.
The various different makes of display have different refresh rates, with some at lower frequencies than others. Happily the most common make of display (Hanover, used by OBC and Stagecoach) seems to have quite a high frequency and is therefore the easiest to photograph, whilst those from other manufacturers aren't so easy. Given the frequency of the display and your camera's shutter speed it is actually possible to calculate the exact odds that you will get a decent picture!
A new dimension has been added to the problem with the advent of multi-coloured LED displays. Every colour in the rainbow has a different wavelength, and frequency. This means that you can get photographs of displays where one colour is showing, but the other is not!
I attach some photographs to help illustrate things.
Photo 1 Most of the route number 33 is missing in this photo. This is the most common problem.
Photo 2 Even colours which are almost the same shade as the standard orange behave differently.
The coloured LEDs may themselves have a different (or independent) refresh rate compared to the normal orange ones.
Photo 3 More unusually in this example the destination information has disappeared but you can just about make out the route number.
Good job because this was an unusual working!
Many thanks to Rob for an excellent piece on this tricky subject.
Northolt air show and Routemasters by Colin Cooke
Providing transportation at RAF Northolt Photocall on Sunday 10th June for the photographers was RML3 and RMC 1461,
with the latter displaying a familiar route.......
Pictures by Colin Cooke.
Daniel Stazicker finds an Oxfordshire registered bus in the North East
Daniel writes "Still running in Hartlepool with Families First Charity."
Daniel mentions his website which is of interest. I am not sure why this bus carries an Oxfordshire registration as I have no recollections of it running in this area?
Buses in cityscape and landscape
Again contributions continue to arrive on my desk and I have used these below plus one from my lens.
Buses in the landscape - A DAF on 'line' 500 made in interesting window through to 59213 on the 737 by Roger Spence
Buses in the landscape - A Norwegian Fjord picture taken in June 2007 by John Marsh.
Wiltax on the Isle of Wight
Dave Sanders caught this ex Reading Titan in service for the IOW Festival, seen climbing out of Ryde with the Solent as a backdrop.
Amersham & District Running days 2007 - dates for your diary
Amersham & District Running Days for 2007 are as follows:
Sun 24 June 2007 - 2nd Hemel Hempstead Running Day based on Hemel Hempstead Bus Station
Sun 30 September 2007 - 19th Amersham Running Day based on Amersham but commemorating the 30th anniversary of the closure of HE Garage (30/09/1977) so there will be a reconstruction of certain routes in the High Wycombe area.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 17th June 2007
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 17th June 2007
Quite a few reports this week plus a number of pictures.
News of the week is the arrival at High Wycombe of two Olympians with NCME Palatine II bodies from the same batch as those used on the 280. The two buses in question, 5150 and 5153 have come from Watford - Garston and 5153 is the one which hit a low bridge in Staines two years ago.
I am told that 5153 is still undergoing repairs at Wycombe depot and is not in service yet.
Matt Robinson writes"If I'm not mistaken; if Dart 3099 (K447XPA) is being cannibalised as it looked on the photo, then that leaves only 2 ex Buffalo buses still active in service. Dart 3100 (K448XPA) and Volvo B10B 3089 (L133HVS) both at Watford.
Regarding the attention the move of 5144 to Aylesbury seems to have created, I
have been told that 5145 has joined it at Aylesbury. Replacements for them at
Wycombe come in the shape of Watford Olympians 5150 and 5153 (S150/3KNK). 5153
has been undergoing extensive repairs to the top deck following a low bridge
accident whilst on a private hire in Staines two years ago. Interestingly it is
now in Arriva livery for the first time in its life, having worn 3-4 various
styles of advert for Watford Football Club.
The latter transfer continues the trend of the batch of 9 originally allocated to Watford (5146-54) moving out to other garages. This trend is likely to continue when the new VDLs arrive. With the exception of TfL routes and Contracts/Schools work, Garston is set to become single-deck operated. 5146 currently carries an overall advertisement for TGI Friday's restaurant, which is almost directly opposite Garston depot.
I've just noted a couple of strange runs noted from today (Friday). 38-branded Scania 3604 on route 12. Ex-Sovereign Alexander-PS Volvo B10M 3330 (M234TBV) was on route 100. It was on the 13.20 departure from Luton, normally worked by Scania 3143. Scania 3157, branded for the 300, was on the 61 into Luton.
Also noted today Olympian 5381 (MUH281X) did one afternoon run on the 24, before moving on to the afternoon school/college special 24 journey. 5835 (G235VWL) was working the 24 all day on Wednesday.
A little spot the difference test for you. Attached above are photos of Arriva Volvo B10B 3847 (M104UKX) in Hemel Hempstead and similar B10BLE 3263 (V263HBH) in Luton. The lack of obvious cosmetic difference between the two buses disguises the fact that 3847 is in fact a step-entrance bus whereas newer examples (such as 3263) are low floor. A mixture of B10Bs and B10BLEs appear on the 300/301 routes.
My next question was actually to ask about the current state of 5153, I believe the top deck required re-seating due to the damage caused in the bridge collision. All of the 15 S-reg ones had coach style seating. Without tempting fate I wondered if any surpluses from Watford may be pushed to Aylesbury as spares for the 280 route. Maybe I'd better keep that opinion to myself so that they stay in Wycombe for a while at least.
The Tridents certainly didn't last there very long, however I wondered if they
struggled with the hills. When accelerating they make a lot of noise but don't
seem to be able to convert it into speed, comparing (in my opinion) unfavourably
I'll have a look through my pics at home to see if I can find any of 5153. The first livery was red-yellow-black (each colour block taking up two bays of the bus back to front) for Watford FC. In 2001 this was altered to a version still with a red back, and a sweeping yellow arc at the front, with WATFORD'S DRIVING FORCE in large letters along the sides (coincided with Watford's sponsorship with Total Fuels). The third livery I remember included a lot more yellow, but by then the bus was spending less and less time on the 321s so I didn't spot it going past the office as much. Photographing a bus advertising Watford FC is understandably difficult for a part 'Hatter'. A moustache and hat was required !!
I had a rather frustrating day today bus wise, confined to Luton Town Centre due to family commitments in the afternoon. I nearly didn't get any pictures at all as the weather has been absolutely abysmal all day. However I braved the heavy rain just to snap these five pictures on my way down Church Street.
You'll notice from the B6 photo that 3131 has caught the midlife crisis destination display bug. I've been told it is currently awaiting a new circuit board. 3132 is still suffering with a similar fault, but 3130 now has no display at all pending roller blinds being fitted. 3135 has been at work displaying 11 TOWN CENTRE. Route 11 was withdrawn some time ago, and worked latterly with minis and Darts, you have to go back a few years to the days of regular B6 operation on the 11.
On the subject of destination displays, Merc 2128 (N908ETM) has been on routes
13 & 14 all week displaying WELCOME ABOARD! instead of a destination.
Finally the Virgin media side advert on Dart 3292 has now been removed. Prior to this ad this bus had a super-rear advert for the ITV Anglia News. Their Luton newsroom actually overlooks the 1 & 4 bus stop, where most Darts can usually be found.
ARRIVA Shires Mercedes 2133, N913ETM on 27s Marsh Farm - Luton on the 02.06.2007. Glenn Knight.
There are seemingly two Darts allocated to the line 40, being 3210 pictured last week
and Gavin Francis's one of 3213 above taken this week.
Someone is pre-empting a route number change - I wonder? - this ex OBC Volvo should show 329.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
They must have an awful lot of staff to move at Wycombe !!!! - Picture by Gavin Francis.
Still awaiting proper blinds this MPD shows its route number on a paper sticker.
3829 has been transferred in from AY. - Picture by me.
Gavin Francis was in town this week to catch up with what going on in Carousel. The new Plaxton Primo is a regular performer for the 27 and Gain was on hand to catch this delightful little bus in action.
The Primo has a big bus look until you see it side on.
Somehow it looks as if a bit of the rear is missing. The drivers say it is a great bus and love working on it.
Gavin got pictures of the interior.
The A40 is no longer the preserve of the Citaros and last week one of the Agoralines was working this service.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
Steve Warwick sent this lovely picture of the Ayats Bravo basking in the sun at Tetsworth last week.
Richard Sharman notes that a further Jonckheere has arrived in the shape of SJ04 KAE.
Gavin Francis took this picture of an Olympian coming through Stokenchurch last week.
He is able to compare this with a picture he took in Eastbourne some years ago when the RU registration was on an AEC Reliance.
It has been announced that National Express have ordered 120 tri-axle Scania/Caetano Levante coaches. These coaches will seat 60 passengers and be fully wheelchair accessible. Delivery is based over 3 years, 2007, 2008 and 2009 with 40 coaches per year. The first coaches are due imminently for the Stansted -London routes.
Malcolm Audsley and Dave Sanders have provided some excellent pictures of OBC coaches hard at work on the Isle of White at the recent Festival. Dave writes "You’ve probably had this info already: the four coaches used were R401/2 DWL and R809/10 NUD. The first two are going to Damory via H & D trim with one each of the later to Southern Vectis and Solent Blue Line. I took photos of them all at IOW festival and one of these is shown below. Coach nr 11 - R401DWL seems to have gained the fleet number 1502."
Picture by Dave Sanders
Pictures by Malcolm Audsley.
Those North East Tridents
John Marsh sent a couple of pictures of one of the same batch of Tridents due at Oxford working on the DFDS service in Newcastle.
John Marsh writes "3891 from the same batch as those recently (well perhaps no so recently now!) transferred to Oxford. In DFDS livery,
picking up from the DFDS quay side terminal for transfer to Newcastle City Centre.
Andrew Tyldsley writes "I have been advised that Trident 3884 set of from Chester le Street for the long drive to Oxford today, Tuesday 12th June."
Richard Sharman took this picture of repainted coach 33 at Gloucester Green on 28th May.
From June 4th Red Rose operates a commercial service between Wycombe and Oxford once per day.
Gavin Francis caught up with this Dart at Stokenchurch on 15th June on the Oxford bound service.
Gavin Francis had the opportunity to visit Plaxton's works near Sheffield last week and sent several pictures.
Several coaches are under refurbishment and seemingly are being converted to 70 seat school buses.
The R reg above was once a regular visitor to Gloucester Green on the X5
I well remember taking pictures of this coach when Oxford launched the wheelchair service to London.
I believe it was the only M A N to be so used.
Now at Plaxtons awaiting a buyer.
Well I wonder, what is fate
Richard Sharman sent this picture of an elderly Leyland Olympian working the X50 on May 28th.
Steward Curwen writes "Thamesdown Transport has acquired 6 L reg Volvo Olympians from Lothian Buses in Edinburgh the first two were collected this week and arrived in Swindon on Thursday.
They are to be used to replace some of the ageing Bournemouth Fleetlines 262-276 and also the last of the ECW bodied Fleetlines 302/304 & 305.
The first two are ex-Lothian Buses 954 - L954MSC and 957 L957MSC.
The picture is of the first two at Frankley Service Station on the M5.
The next two will arrive in Swindon next Thursday and the last two will arrive the week after."
I have been waiting for some pictures of this companies Scania decker in its new livery. This week they come from two sources.
Kevin Smith sent this great picture of the bus in St Aldates.
David Tole sent this picture - via Ralph Adams - of the rear of the bus showing branding details.
Walters are working feeder services from Ibstone and Radnage now that the revised schedules have started.
The Alero seen in Stokenchurch from Radnage last Friday. Picture by Gavin Francis.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Richard Sharman sent this picture of recently restored ex Midland Red Leopard. Doesn't it look great?
Another Richard Sharman shot of an ex Worth's coach still looking good.
To end this week's page, a study in rear ends at Wycombe. Picture by me.
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
A photo disc for your collection.
This week I can bring details of a really super new photo disc from Vics cliix. The disc contains pictures taken in the early 1970s by Vic Zealey and copies can be obtained through Malcolm Hyland's web site http://www.cliix.co.uk.
Here are some samples of the 158 pictures on this disc.
The quality is good and they are all at high resolution.
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming events, models and useful links
New casting from Britbus
A new casting with a local flavour has been released by Britbus as a picture from Mark Lyons shows. It is a nice model but as Mark says, a little pricey at £33.
Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book
In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.
The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.
The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.
Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours.
DVD s by Robin Clare
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
Latest Citaro models revealed
Dave Rogers sent the following press release.
CREATIVE MASTER NORTHCORD - PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester - ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus
Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads.
ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks.
Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre.
ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions.
ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.
The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively.
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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
A web site which has paintings of buses.
Arriva Handbook for 2006-2007
The latest handbooks are now
on sale, the ever
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