Issue 42

Sunday 17th August 2003

next update week ending 30th August 2003

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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news please
let me know on

Another busy week has passed by with new buses, odd workings, new liveries and  the first refurbished ex Hong Kong Olympian operating to London. Added to this a sighting of an Oxford City Nipper and news of new deliveries for the Reading Rail-Air coach service made this a week to remember.

The discussion in the local press rumbles on regarding the subsidy of the Park & Ride services in Oxford and what seems clear is that the general public is unaware of the official rulings regarding cross subsidies. This was, where in times long ago, a bus company would subsidise the country workings with money from profitable city/town routes. This is, I understand, no longer allowed.

One letter writer said why cannot one service be subsidised by others? Sadly the problem of the  Park & Ride not meeting expectations is down to a mixture of problems which include the users objecting to have to pay to park their car and then pay again on the bus to travel into town. Add to this the state of the Cornmarket in central Oxford - full of road works - and the general state of the economy and one can begin to appreciate the problem. I hasten to add that this is not an opinion from any official source, more one of listening to what people say, especially members of the general public. I have family who used to enjoy a day in Oxford using Thornhill. My daughter objects to paying twice - as she puts it - and then having to stumble around road works when she gets to town. Maybe this view is more widely shared than officialdom is prepared to admit. However one cannot escape the fact that apart from the works, Oxford is still one of the most beautiful cities to visit.

Gearless Leyland Titan returns to its home in Lancashire.

On the vintage bus side, my good friend Geoff Cunliffe, who visits Oxford from time to time but lives in St Annes on the Lancashire coast sent me this photo of a repatriated Leyland TD originally in service at Lytham St Annes. For many years it has been dry stored in the West Country with Colin Shears but has now returned to its native Lancashire for restoration. Geoff says it is in very good condition and we both look forward to seeing it run again. A very good article can be found in the latest issue of Bus & Coach Preservation. From a personal point of view I travelled on these buses as a youngster from Blackpool to St Annes and remember the "gearless" performance as fine for flat roads but suspect for hills. The Standard Leyland body was enhanced by the full front, seemingly influenced by the Blackpool fleet which had full fronted centre door TDs in quite large numbers. The Lytham buses were open back platform models. 

Lytham St Annes 45 is seen on its return to Lancashire.

Rail Replacement coaches for The Chiltern Line.

Sunday saw coaches replacing trains at High Wycombe.
local operator Motts is joined by an operator from Dorset.

I have been asked to mention the Amersham Running Day which this year will be on Sunday 5th October 2003. It is always a good day with a lot of variety and an event not be missed.

Malcolm Crowe, August 17th 2003.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies – 17th August 2003

the Arriva Bus Running Day
Sunday 21st September 2003
- there will be visiting Routemasters as in previous years
and the event is organised by Richard Bond.
venue : Newlands Bus Station

In my quest for nice pictures I was delighted to be on had this morning, Sunday, to catch the bus - so to speak - when this SLF Dart picked up a gaggle of young ladies at the Marlow Bottom stop.

3825, having paused to pick up passengers at Marlow Bottom,
continues on its way to Reading via Marlow and Henley.
The farmer has harvested in good time for next week's expected rainfall.

Steve Warwick reports as ususal.

Tue 12th Aug

Greenway 3057 (TIB4886) has today been withdrawn from service and has a red band painted around it and is awaiting collection. This just leaves the one Greenway in service 3305.

Oxford Volvo Olympian 5157 has been on 54 Halton Camp's all day.

Fri 15th Aug

Greenway 3057 (TIB4886) was collected today by it's new owners Ensign. That just leaves 3305 which will be withdrawn by the end of August.

Sat 16th Aug

The 10.30 dep, 280 Oxford was worked by X15 Scania 3203.

Neil Gow reported that
an unusual visitor to Oxford today was Arriva The Shires 3203, an X15 branded Scania - picture attached.

Scania 3205 was caught by the camera of Neil Gow as reported above.

Ed Maun writes 5071, the black liveried Olympian has been a regular performer on service 323 Aylesbury to High Wycombe over the past few days.

Newman Morgan writes "Also reported is the continuing of First's 74 on a 2-hourly basis between Slough and Wycombe. First's buses will be timed to be a few minutes ahead of the corresponding Arriva buses on Arriva's hourly 74 between Slough and Wycombe.

What a waste of resource and no wonder that our European brethren ridicule our de-regulated networks and competition in public transport."

Yellow mirrors are not only confined to The Airline coaches but Arriva is now using yellow paint.
Olympian 5160 rounds The Plain on its way to the Rail Station on Friday.

Bucks County Council - Easybus

Another correspondent writes re this service "reference easybus 160 Stokenchurch to Marlow, from 01.09.03 this service becomes a Monday to Friday service within Marlow town only. The Stokenchurch to Marlow leg is withdrawn but all the various permutations within Marlow are boosted to 5-days a week.

Also, the Bucks CC easybus services are to be relaunched and rebranded from the same date. Assumedly Bucks CC has been scared off using the easybus name by Stelios' easy group as they want to use the easyBus name for their proposed cheap inter city minicoach services."

Carousel Buses, High Wycombe

Carousel had a loaned demonstrator from MB for The Wycombe Show.
As a taste of things to come it is parked in their yard alongside the Thames Valley Olympian.



My correspondents have been prolific this last week and report as follows:

Rob Williams notes

Tues 12th:

I've attached a photo of 506 on the 22 today, and also the highly unusual sight of 222 on the 5! Also 102 was on the 300. 

Wed 13th:

403 on 2

103 on 5

104 on 300

Thurs 14th:

101 on 300

104 on 400

Fri 15th:

602 has Oxford Red branding, advertising route 35. Unfortunately today it was operating route 2A!

Trident and 651 on 5.

Ed Maun writers "I was in Oxford on Wednesday 13th and can report that 602 is also in the new livery.   Will the forthcoming Citaros also be in this new livery?    About 11am in St Aldates 612 had experienced problems whilst working an X3 service.    The service van was in attendance.   This caused a considerable amount of traffic chaos, not helped by an illegally parked van opposite!    612 was eventually driven back to the depot under its own power and “out of service”.

Rob also says "COMS aren't the only company in the area receiving Scania / Irizars at the moment! First Berkshire are in the process of receiving eight for their Reading - Heathrow RailAir service. I believe five have entered service so far, and I have a photo on my website

Ralph Adams notes "coming out of COMS garage, driven by a fitter, was C724JJO, a Ford Transit in original green Oxford City Nipper livery and COMS legal address. It is destined for the museum. On the cash shelf it had Emsworth & District

COMS 506 (Blue) was again out today, this time on 2 Road, card L.  I must check why it is always 506. I know that some of them have destination blinds with fixed lazy blinds. I did not notice but believe that 506 must have a full normal blind.
(All loaned Metrobus Darts now have full destination displays. Ed)

Neil Gow wrote "
The ex Metrobus Darts have had their fronts painted red and standard destination screens reinstated.  511 was running on the 22 today."

This last Friday saw the introdcution of what seems to be the definitive version of the new bus livery for Oxford, no formal statement is as yet forthcoming. 602 returned to service just after midday, on 2 road, bearing the latest Oxford Red livery and branding for the 35 route on its cove panels. It is caught on camera below in the late afternoon.

602 uses the same fleet number now applied to the Citaros but a new fleet name Oxford Red.
Let me know what you think of this livery. By Saturday it was on 35 road.

Following some work required on the latest batch of Irizars, a brand new demonstrator joined the fleet for a few weeks. It is a 49 seater with rear offside sunken toilet. It also has a radio which is a nice change for the passengers.

Its first service was on the 1215 X80 and it is seen here in Gloucester Green on its return.
It is nr 60  YS03ZLE

The first day of operation for the new football special 604 service from Abingdon to The Kassam
was operated by Trident 104, seen here on its return to the depot at the end of the duty.

Trident 107 sets the style of the Park & Ride Tridents now being fitted with digital displays.
A nice surprise was that this one got caught on camera.

Rob Williams caught 223 on 5 road last week when 506 started to appear on 22 road.
This service will shortly be cut back to the Rail Station when Stagecoach takes over the
Brookes contract to Harcourt Hill.

Rob Williams picture of 506 on 22 road to Harcourt Hill.

617 is back in X3 branding having had suitable vinyls added last week.

Due to road works on Abingdon Road the 16 and 35 routes amongst other now enter Oxford
via the Iffley Road. For these journeys the 16 becomes the 16B.
628 is seen on the 35 and 814 on the 16B

W337CDN operates a late morning 757 service through High Wycombe.
This coach now has full National Express livery in the latest style.



David Whitley, Marketing Manager of the company has asked for the latest attached fleet list (period 4 - July 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click on the Stagecoach logo to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)

getacro.gif (712 bytes)

Rob Williams sent this observation.

Tue 12th

31331 on the 10.

Another correspondent wrote regarding Tubes on normal service. He says "Since about 1991 Tube coaches have been used on local routes to bring passengers in by 9.00 but it has not be published as a Tube bus. There are no evening services. These were very useful to help carry the passengers when the standard bus was a 25 seat Merc.

The Wantage service at 7.25 has always gone light to Wantage. The new service is the first time it has run to Wantage in service. The Carterton X1 service arriving at 8.25 also had a tube until Stagecoach introduced Olympians to the service.

The Bicester service had an Olympian I believe many years ago for  a short period--

Ralph Adams writes on a number of issues. "Stagecoach dedicated X4 buses will apparently be 20906-20911. The call sign for the route will be Alpha. Also on call signs, apparently the double decks on the Bicesters will be Zulus instead of Xrays as at present

It seems that the colour for the route branding on the X4 is to be red.

On the matter of call signs Ralph notes "All Oxford garage buses have a call sign followed by the vehicle  numbers. These have been running cards but will change next week to bus cards. This gives B1 to B11 - 11 vehicles

Call signs - previous and continuing
Bravo   B  Blackbird Leys Route1
Charlie  C  Circular 10 (although not now a circle)
Delta     D  44, 600, Staff bus (originally Didcot)
Echo     E  Harwell outstation 31,32
Kilo       K  Kidlington 7A & 7B (to Barton)
Whisky  W  Wantage 31, 32
X-Ray     X   Bicester 25, 27,28,29
Victor      V   Controllers on mobile phones
Starting from Monday 18th August
Alpha    A   X4 new service to Abingdon. A used to be a single bus from Witney on Route 20, and several years ago was the open top on route 200. It is now part of the main Witney roster
Zulu      Z   Double deck duties from X roster (including Bicester outstation)
Yankee  Y   Witney. All buses have the same code letter.
Over the years there have been various other call signs used."

honest, I didn't notice the blond Guvner !!! 22918 waits time at Headington.

I liked this un-posed shot of two route liveries.

Not an old livery in sight. Horspath Depot last Friday. 

I was delighted to be given first hand experience of one of the ex Hong Kong Olympians last Friday. The publicity chap took me for a run and we got some really nice shots. The fllet number , David Whitley advises will be 13604.

Nearside and Offside pictures of 13604.

A rear side shot shows off the livery nicely.

Id there are no passengers for en route points in Oxford the Megabus can
run directly to its terminus. Here 14239 passes Carfax. Photo by Ralph Adams

Interior comparisons, UK bus left - HKG bus right. - Lower Deck
Both buses have been re trimmed.

Upper deck comparisons.
The UK versions were taken by Rob Williams.

My own rear view of the UK version on arrival back at depot.

14240, unloads its Oxford bound passengers.
Picture by Neil Gow

Neil also wrote "Sadly can't answer your question (I sent an email out to my regulars on this one") on 331HWD because both cars today were the Glasgow Olympians.  Attached picture of 14240 on the 1240 arrival. (see above Ed.)  Much interest from other enthusiasts, several of us taking photos.  I went back later in the day though and got the picture no one else got! The driver of 14240 on the 2000 departure decided to wait for 14239 to come in on the 2010 arrival to effect a changeover. 

Neil Gow caught the two UK versions last week at the Oxford Terminus - Oxpens.
seemingly the driver of the outbound one wanted 14239 for his run.

It came in just before 2000 and gave me the opportunity to get both together at Oxpens.  About 15 passengers got off 14239 at Oxpens, so when you consider that many would get off before here it looks like loadings are quite good already."

The Hong Kong registration number can be seen in this interior shot.

Trevor Wilson wrote to say "I saw Megabus 136004 (or should that be 13604) 331HWD Alexander bodied tri-axle Olympian near Baker St at 08:10 on Thursday 14th August.  The bus was empty, with driver and parked at a bus stop in the bus lane in Gloucester Place between Marylebone Road and Dorset Square.  Presumably the bus had travelled in along the Marylebone Road and turned left prior to Baker St underground station (Gloucester Place being the northbound A41, Baker St being the southbound A41) and dropped off all passengers at the first bus stop 20 yards along.

Another mail says "I believe that 331 HWD went out in service on Thursday, as one of the others stayed in the depot. However Friday it was back sitting in the yard."

Finally Keith Wood writes "331 HWD was on one of Midland Red South's Leyland Leopard / Plaxton Supreme IV's for many years."

Whites of Abingdon

Whites continue to use this elderly Merc on the X30

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

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

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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