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
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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 busy week working and now a couple of days off and time to get the page completed and on line. The last ten days have seen a full mail bag and lots going on including the appearance of the ex Wycombe Bus Darts in red and cream for Red Route 33 and as yet they await branding and have appeared on various routes.
This news page also sees reference to ex Oxford Bus Excalibur coaches which are now turning up in various places, seemingly well received by their new owners.
A trip to Leicestershire by your Editor
I was asked to go to Caetano UK in Leicestershire to collect one of our Levantes which had been having rectification work. I enjoyed a really pleasant trip up to Leicester using the Oxford Tube from Lewknor to London and then a nr 10 bus from Marble Arch to St Pancras. This took 30 minutes and I felt I could have walked quicker. However the chance to use my National Bus Pass was too good to miss.
This was one of my first trips on First London and on a Volvo. It was a sprightly performer.
I had thought I might get the earlier train to Leicester, they are every half hour but the slow journey on the nr 10 coupled with a good walk to the ticket office and a queue meant I only just got the 1325. There was a long queue to get through the barrier and the platform was like glass as there had just been a storm and the surface was very wet. The HST was waiting and I approached through a cloud of blue smoke, not smelling pleasant as in the old steam days but rather more pungent and unpleasant.
The picture tells a story, watch your footing and hold your breath.
We were soon on our way and I took the chance to sample the buffet car. The staff said sit in first class, which I did and enjoyed a burger and some tomato soup, followed by some Earl Grey tea (99p) and the comfort of a large and comfortable seat. I was reminded of my RAF days when we passed Cardington and the airship hangars in the far distance. I had spent 3 days at RAF Cardington when I joined the RAF back in 1958. I also remember taking a troop train from there to Bridgnorth where my square bashing took place.
One can just make out the Cardington hangars on the skyline.
We also sped through Harpenden and Luton and I was just in time to catch a glimpse of the Nickey Line where it leaves the main line just after Harpenden. We pulled into Leicester a few minutes early and I must say that apart from the blue and smelly exhaust the journey was most pleasant.
On arrival at Leicester I was to be picked up by Caetano and I had about half and hour to wait and see the buses in the area. I was surprised to see that several Arriva buses in Leicester had FJ56 OB* registrations which precede those on the Stagecoach Levantes. Two or three passed the station whilst I was waiting and there were also First Group and Centrebus vehicles to watch as well.
A Volvo B7TL/Wrights Eclipse Gemini decker with FJ56OBE registration passing the Rail Station in Leicester.
The journey to Heaver was on varying roads but one vehicle seen of especial interest was an ex Oxford Bus Leyland Tiger A118PBW, now with Confidence of Leicester, turned out in a smart black and red livery reminiscent of Midland Red. Sadly no chance of a picture, the guy picking me up must have thought me mad when I said "follow that bus".
You can see the current Confidence fleet at this link : http://www.confidencebus.co.uk/stats/fleet/index.html
Another link leads to some photos of the current fleet : http://www.confidencebus.co.uk/places/index.html
After about 30 minutes we arrived at Heather (pronounced Heether) and the Caetano UK site. This proved very interesting as there were a number of brand new coaches for National Express being mainly tri-axles but one two axle coach, nr 54 was on hand. There was time for some photographs before I set off back to Oxford with 59214 (FJ56OCB).
Two coaches as yet unregistered are flanked by coaches nearly ready for service. All these coaches were receiving the new corporate livery.
Two coaches had been prepared for the new Swindon-Reading-London commuter service. These coaches had been down seated to 53.
The coaches in question are tri 60 and 61 being body number 11998 and 11999. registrations are FJ08 KMM and KMO.
One interesting fact is that the coaches are registered rather haphazardly, with there being no order to correspond to the line number and body numbers.
Here we see three coaches, the far left one being as yet minus branding.
They are FJ08 KLO (tri 68 - 12006) FJ08 KMV (tri 63 - 12001) and FJ08 KLF (tri 64 - 12002).
The highest delivered coach seen was FJ08 KLS (tri 70 - 12008).
My return to Oxford was in just over 2 hours and mainly using the A5, A43 and M40 was painless and quick.
Free parking at all Oxford Park & Rides being planned
Whilst Thornhill and Water Eaton offer free parking for car users and have been very successful, until now the other three sites, Redbridge, Seacourt and Pear Tree all levy charges on the motorist.
It is suggested on the front page of today's Oxford Times that these three sites may also become free to encourage more motorists to park their cars and use the bus into town. This would also help traffic congestion which is once again getting worse.
Wembley is a haven for coach enthusiasts
Two readers sent pictures of Wembley during the recent cup tie matches. These show many local operators coaches and must prove interesting for those who follow coaches.
David Percy sent this excellent shot of "how many" coaches at Wembley. See which of our local operators you can pick out?
David writes "Please find a couple of images for consideration for your 'well received' web site!
The first was taken on Sunday 30/03/2008 at Wembley stadium, for the MK Dons v Grimsby football final.
We all seemed to think that there were over 250 vehicles from both sets of supporters there, what you see is the MK contingent on the left, we had 14 vehicles out on this job, my vehicle is the golden Jeffs coach (Iveco/Beaulas Y805YBC), bottom left.
It took over two hours to get out of the coach park, if you ever get asked to do one of these jobs, SAY NO.!"
Another two pictures, this time by Mark Easson. Weavaway seem well represented.
Mark Easson writes "Thought you might be interested in some of the attached. I was driving one of the supporters coaches for the recent FA Cup semi final at Wembley (I was driving Portsmouth supporters) and took the attached photos.
I was driving X498AHE- a Scania Irizar century, 53 seater, transferred to Lucketts (Fareham) from Flagship Eastbourne (part of the same group). I believe it was with in service in Ireland prior to Flagship Eastbourne owning it."
David writes "I try to get to this wonderful island once a year, it is changing bus wise, but thankfully, very slowly, a few real oldies have gone, replaced with Chinese KingLong vehicles, but there doesn't see to be any policy in getting rid of the real old vehicles, perhaps it is because the vehicles are owned by their drivers."
Above is an Oxford exile, according to David's lists, it is (well the chassis at least) ex COMS AEC Regal HFC413, of 1939, now with a Barbara body of 1960 vintage.
David adds "It is a vehicle that I have been chasing for a long time on Malta, it turned up on Wednesday 3/4/2008 at Marsaxlokk harbour."
Industry happenings - courtesy Route One - For the full story every week, click here to subscribe to routeONE
Wrightbus wins £125m First order
Ballymena-based Wrightbus has won a £125m order from First for an undisclosed number of buses, thought to be around 900, to be supplied during the next two financial years.
The bulk will be on Volvo B9TL and B7RLE chassis, but the order also includes the previously-announced nine new Wrightbus double-decker buses, costing £2m, of which five are diesel-electric hybrids.
Two months ago, First announced it would spend £100m on 700 vehicles, as the bulk of its 2008-9 UK fleet replacement programme, but did not reveal who the orders would be going to, other than saying most of the order would go to “two key suppliers.”
Optare MD in shock departure
Optare Group Managing Director Bob Coombes, 54, is no longer at the Leeds-based bus manufacturer - less than four weeks after Roy Stanley’s Jamesstan Investments took over.
A PR Spokesman says Mr Coombes' duties are currently being handled by the remaining Optare directors and a formal statement is expected soon.
Mr Coombes joined Optare in 2003, after nearly 10 years in senior positions with Dennis, and was at the helm in 2005 when he led an £11.8m management buyout of Optare.
Darwen wins two orders
Darwen Holdings plc (formerly East Lancs) has won two orders worth a combined £5m, to be delivered by April 2009.
The bus builder declines to say who the purchasers are, but says the orders comprise double-deck open toppers and single deck school buses.
Darwen adds that its order book is now 50% ahead of the equivalent period last year.
RM1933 by Chinfield
Peter Edgar writes "As you are aware East London Buses have repainted RM 1933 into a special livery to celebrate 75 years of London Transport, and the Centenary of Bow Bus Garage. Although the vehicle was unveiled at Cobham last weekend in unfavourable weather, it has started to appear in regular service during last week.
No doubt Platinum RM 1933 with form one of the main attractions at Bow Garage Open Day on Saturday June 28th."
Picture taken at Tower Hill on Saturday April 12th.
Another one from Cobham on a snowy Sunday
I received a very nice picture of RM54 driven by Bob Stanger at the recent Cobham event.
It makes one shiver just to look at this picture.
Unusual goings on with bus stops in Oxford and a bus fire
Ralph Adams writes "In St Aldates today (Monday), stop G2 was out of service. The builders had moved the stop down a short distance with a small dolly stop provided by Metro, www.wymetro.com complete with a Leeds telephone number. I hope that they will be able to give any information on buses to Watlington if someone telephones."
Andrew Simpson has an even more strange story to tell saying "I had the somewhat bizarre experience on Saturday 12th of seeing in the distance the huge plume of black smoke which was demise of the Optare Solo I had planned to catch on First route 335. I gather the bus was gutted. This set me thinking that such fires are surprisingly common (there seems to be one every few weeks in your pages), given the safety-conscious age in which we live and the fact that a new bus is anyway a fairly expensive investment which the operator will not want to lose. It also runs on diesel, which is generally regarded as less volatile than petrol.
Can you or any of your readers shed any light on why it is apparently so easy for a modern bus to catch fire, and for it then to turn into a major blaze? What safeguards are there to help prevent, detect or extinguish a fire on a bus?"
Ghostbusters or GhostBUStours !
Colin Cooke writes
in Dublin the other day I caught sight of this Dublin Bus 'night time !' tour
bus ! A tour of Dublin's 'darker areas' Here is how the brochure describes it...
'The bus itself is a unique attraction, it is a mobile theatre decorated in the Gothic style and features a live storyteller who takes you on a spellbinding trip through Dublin. Once on board, we take advantage of this atmospheric setting to spirit you away to a world of felons, fiends and phantoms and put you in the mood for being both charmed and spooked at the same time.'
Well I preferred the daytime tour bus, and very good it was to with the drivers providing excellent live commentary."
A photo of the said bus, outside Dublin Bus offices in O'Connell St by Colin Cooke
A regular vehicle seen on the roads of Oxford is this Dennis Trident with Plaxton President body, this along with a National Greenway are based at Heyford Park, it is seen here passing through Summertown.
A relatively rare working was Trident 106 on the 500 Thursday. Although having seen and travelled on the 500 a lot recently, I think there is scope for the 500 to become "Double Decked", It is fairly normal these days for the 500 to leave Water Eaton with a standing load, the free parking here has made it more popular recently.
Having spent much of its former National Express life on the 324, T662OBD is now stranger to Oxford, back in 2001, indeed one per night was stabled at Horspath Road overnight.
Its seen here displaying Oxford on its recently fitted Hanover display in Water Eaton Park and Ride.
all the hard work you put into your excellent website it makes very interesting
reading and viewing - sadly I don't seem to get time to contribute with
Anyway I thought you might like to know of an unusual sighting in High Wycombe this morning (Friday 11/4). As I turned off New Road in Sands, a grey single deck coach came the opposite way from Lane End Road. I made a mental note of the reg no. and did a Google search back here in the office which revealed a very interesting 1952 AEC Regal IV operated by Scott Greys.
I've no idea what it's doing in HW but hopefully someone will be able to shed some light on it or perhaps provide a local picture.
In the meantime here's a picture of it on a run up north in 2003: http://www.ianhardy.net/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=15034
Google has turned up this info and yes it appears to be a long way home if it's
still owned by Mr Leonard!
Another AEC on show (At the Metrocentre Bus Rally 2002) was this Regal IV with 41 seat Burlingham Seagull body from Scotts Greys, a Darlington firm. This 1952 bus is ready for its next tour of the coast; all it lacked was the distinctive white headrest covers and the smartly uniformed driver. This model is powered by an under floor 9.645 litre 6 cylinder engine and has fluid flywheel and preselector transmission and air brakes. This was one of the first types of coach to be built to the then increased maximum of 30 feet (9.23m) length and 8 feet (2.46m) width. Production of this chassis finished in 1955. This well presented bus is owned by Jim Leonard of County Durham.
There are changes to many bus services in the Luton & Dunstable area starting
20th April 2008.
Services 8, 9A and 23 all have route changes. There are timetable changes to services 5, 7, 8, 9, 9A, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 60, 61, 69 and 70.
Service 8 will no longer operate as a loop via Poynters Road, but will terminate at Lewsey Farm, and return via Ravenhill Way and the Hospital.
Service 9A will have a minor route variation in Limbury. Also, at Hockwell Ring, service 9A will only serve Butely Road in one direction, and will return via Montague Avenue.
Service 23 is withdrawn from Camford Way, and will also cease to serve most of Grampian Way, and is withdrawn from Eighth Avenue and Fourth Avenue.
This is because of inconsiderate car parking blocking these roads. The 23 will operate via Chestnut Avenue, Grampian Way and Ashwell Avenue and then back direct along Sundon Park Road.
Full details of all the changes can be viewed and downloaded from this website.
Seen at Luton Airport - Saturday 12 April by your Editor
Arriva route 321
3401 YJ57BWA VDL Bus SB200 - Plaxton Centro N44F
National Express 787 to Heathrow at 12:50, normally a Burtons machine not a Sibson Rd based coach.
Levante Tri axle SC44 FJ57KHH
Tri axle Burtons FJ08KMJ (tri axle 58) thus the newest on the road that I've seen> It also suggest Burtons have tri 53-58 in total six.
This is interesting and can be printed out as a 2 side A4 sheet to have with you if need be.
Glenn has been on his travels again and has sent some interesting pictures. The appearance of Arriva fleet numbers in addition to the MK ones is interesting on MK buses.
T405ENV 2418 on 8 in Woburn Sands taken 08.04.2008.
NDZ2607 3522 in Wolverton on 4A taken 08.04.2008.
MK Metro K302 FYG 6081 on 200 P&R 09.04.2008 with Arriva Fleet Nr.
S285 NRB Optare Solo 285 Ex-Nottingham Transport now with Centrebus taken in Stevenage 14.04.2008.
Arriva 3497 at Aylesbury 07.04.2008
Red Rose OU08 EHP Dennis Enviro Dart 200 at Watford 07.04.2008.
Whites of Abingdon take a new Versa
Various readers told me they had seen a silver Versa in Oxford and speculation arose as to whose it was. I can reveal it is being used by Whites on their 63 service to Southmoor. What is even more interesting is that it is a one off bus, being around 9.6 m long, shorter than any other Versa and it seats around 30 passengers. Although it is an 07 plate, I am told it only had 120 miles on the clock when picked up and it may well stay with Whites on a permanent basis.
It does look much shorter than the Versas we have seen and the silver livery looks good. Seen here in Castle St in a picture from Gavin Francis.
Stagecoach in Lancaster launch a new fleet of Versa buses
Gez writes "We launched the new Versas yesterday and we were visited by Brian Souter's Horse Drawn Bus complete with £100,000 worth of Horse Box. The last one catches it arriving at Morecambe Bus Station, complete with Almex toting conductor."
I'd best stick a Versa in as well for good measure
Changes to Oxfordshire subsidised services from2nd June 2008
Changes to supported services in Oxfordshire June 2008
From Mike Penn.
I am glad to see you intend to do a regular piece on concessionary passes. I
look forward to reading about other people's experiences. It seems that word of
mouth is about the only way of finding out what one can do.
My own small contribution is of a rather unambitious trip to Watford on the first day, and that not entirely on the buses. As I live close to Leagrave Station it is much quicker and easier to hop on a train to St Albans than to get a bus into Luton town centre and then get the slow 321. Also my pass entitles me to half price travel on trains between Bedford and Elstree (but only after 10am on weekdays). So after arriving at St Albans I had time for a quick look around at the Uno buses recently acquired from Centrebus before taking the 724 to Watford.
I am attaching a small selection of photos from the day.
Red Rose OU08 EHO, one of two new Enviro 200 Darts in white livery (the other being EHP).
Uno Buses L951 MBH, one of two Mercedes 811Ds transferred from Centrebus. This is still in Sovereign livery, the other being in Centrebus livery.
Arriva The Shires 2492 (YK07 BGF), an Optare Solo transferred from High Wycombe off Line 40 for which it was branded
Arriva East Herts & Essex 3903 (BU06 HSF), a Mercedes Citaro showing the new Heathrow Airport T5/T4 destination.
Uno Buses W577XRO, a Plaxton bodied Dart transferred from Centrebus. This was photographed at St Albans.
All pictures by Mike Penn
From your Editor
One thing I do find surprising is the variety of ways in which operators record concessionary travel. In the case of Arriva and Stagecoach, they issue a ticket for the journey taken. However not all drivers are doing this correctly and seem to issue a ticket for maybe only a portion of the journey.
I don't know what First do but in London on the nr 10 bus, the driver just looked and I boarded. No ticket and hardly any close scrutiny of my pass.
On the National Express services which can carry such passengers, the driver has to complete a form for each journey, recording full details, such as pass number, name and journey made.
Maybe other readers can advise of their experience.
I was asked by one reader if the Stagecoach X5 service, Oxford-Cambridge could be used. The answer is yes, it can and throughout.
Buses in cityscape and landscape
Again contributions continue to arrive on my desk and I am delighted to publish these below.
From Nigel Peach
From Simon Hussey
Once again congratulations for another great update.
I think I have a couple of contenders for your buses in the landscape feature. All were taken in the North Devon town of Bideford. Feel free to use which ever you think is most suitable ?
I've found another hidden gem of a picture for you from my collection. It's a Leyland Leopard with Plaxton working the 27 service to Bicester. You're probably wondering what is so unusual about this ?
Well the vehicle is still in Devon General livery.
From Steve Warwick
Does this picture qualify for buses in the landscape?
It is Peter Cartwright's RF 673 taken at Burnham Beeches last Sunday while route learning for the Slough Running day.
From Peter Edgar
Ancient and Modern...............well the buildings anyway!
From John Marsh
In Kings Lynn - nice poster as well.
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 email@example.com
Let me have your contributions
Marcus Lapthorn has been scanning some more of his old pictures which I now include as they are most interesting.
Southdown Motor Services
CORRECTION to 'Yet more SMS memories'
315 was built 1966 NOT 1967. Sorry about my error.
Southdown Leyland Titan PD2/12 no. 717, built 1951, with Leyland highbridge 58 seat body, seen at Chichester depot on 19 June 1966.
Southdown Leyland PSUC1/1 no. 642, built 1955, with Park Royal 39 seat body, seen at Chichester depot on 19 June 1966.
Former Southdown Leyland PSU1/15 no. 1646, built 1952, with Duple 41 seat coach body, seen with Stokes of Carstairs, Scotland on 19 July 1966.
My friends from Portsmouth & I were amazed to see this coach way up in Scotland, as it had for many years been allocated
to the Hilsea, Portsmouth depot and we had not even realised that it had been sold, so to come across it by surprise like this was quite a shock!
Southdown Leyland PD3 no. 315, built 1967, with Northern Counties 69 seat body, seen at Eastbourne on 2 April 1967 when being used by the Southdown Enthusiasts Club.
4th Slough/Windsor Running Day Sunday 11 May based on Slough Bus Station with a number of alterations this year.
The programmes for the above event have now been printed and can be obtained by post from my address:
54 Guinions Road
Please note that the price is £5 in advance but will be sold at £6 on the day. The increase is due to increased costs in staging these events. Public Liability Insurance is NOT cheap!
Uxbridge/Northwood Running Day is on Sunday 1 June when routes 158 and 211 will be serving Ruislip Lido (for the narrow gauge railway etc) as well as several other former Central and Country area routes. Programme price is £3 before the day and £4 on the day. Programmes ready early May.
3rd Hemel Hempstead Running Day is on 22 June. Programmes £5 before the day, £6 on the day. Programmes ready late May.
20th Amersham Running Day is on 5 October. Programmes £5 before the day. £6 on the day. Programmes ready circa 10 September.
Please note cheques should be payable to "Amersham & District Motorbus Society". Please do not send your remittance in an envelope larger than A5 and please affix the proper postage - a 2ND CLASS stamp now costs 27p! I am unable to pay the excess postage now demanded by Royal Mail and any bearing underpaid postage will not be received by me.
Amersham & District Running Days for 2008 are:
Uxbridge/Northwood Running Day Sunday 1 June which, it is intended, will cover routes 309 309A 347 158 220 223 & 225. Details are still to be finalised.
3rd Hemel Hempstead Running Day Sunday 22 June based on Hemel Bus Station. Marking 60 years since the first Country RTs came into service. These were allocated to Tring and Hemel Hempstead (Two Waters) garages for the 301 and 302 routes. It is hoped that a number of RTs will be operating on these routes on 22 June.
20th Amersham Running Day Sunday 5 October based on car park adjoining Amersham MET Station. This has become a very popular event and no doubt it will still attract many after 20 years when again there will be some alteration to routes operated.
Malcolm Crowe - Friday 18th April 2008
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 18th April 2008
I was pleased to see recently repainted Volvo Olympian/Palatine II double deck 5146 on the 321 on Saturday 12th April. Quite like old times when the 321 was and had been a double deck route for years and years.
that there seemed to be a dearth of the normal branded Darts on the 33 (or
indeed low-floor vehicles of any description), I detoured past the depot to
investigate, and found 3821 parked up adorned in a red version of Arriva livery,
plus at least one more in workshop area - presumably a more visible branding for
Red Route 33. Are we also going to get green and blue vehicles for routes 31 and
32 too, I wonder?
Also parked up was 5836 (WLT916), whose imminent transfer to Wycombe was flagged up on your last news page,"
Jay writes "I read your pages every week when they come out and I cannot see anywhere on past issues that TfL are going to introduce a hourly Sunday Service on Route U9. It is mentioned on three sites including TfL and it is your area so thought I might as well tell you."
Nigel Peach writes "Your correspondent James reported last week that Olympian 5121 was on its way to Wycombe. It has arrived and was at Cressex on Sat 12th. (Dart 3365, withdrawn before Christmas, is in the background.)
A line up of interesting buses: Dart 3821 repainted into the red and cream livery that has also appeared at other depots. Red Dart 3482 (TfL red, rather than Arriva red - spot the difference!), ex Oxford Marshall bodied Dart 3833 still going strong, new Solo 2497, then Olympian 5836 (WLT 916), the other bus that James reported as on its way from Aylesbury. I think 5836 becomes the oldest bus at the depot - interesting that it is parked next to 2497, the newest bus!
In the workshop, MK Metro liveried 3334 (L124 YVK), a Northern Counties Paladin bodied Dart, one of a batch that was new to Kentish Bus. I wonder why this has come to Wycombe for attention.
Dart 3827 is also in the red livery - presumably these Darts will receive branding for Red Route 33 in due course."
Peter Cabin writes "yes, 5121 G291.UMJ has arrived in Wycombe being used on service 32 to Lane End on Wednesday 09/04/08.and on Thursday 10/04/08 on service 33 Totteridge/Castlefield.
I haven't seen 5836 anywhere in town and this must be quite an old bus. Surely they would have been better of keeping dart L415NHJ.instead of de-licencing it?"
Gavin Francis and self have taken a number of pictures which illustrate the comments above.
Gavin took these pictures of repainted Darts for Red Route 33. Don't they look nice?
Surprise return to Wycombe is 3805 seen in the town for the past two days.
The 300 has been seeing some unusual buses recently.
5126 in Oxford on the 261.
All above pictures from Gavin Francis.
Unusually one of the refurbished DAF for use on the Milton Keynes Line 100 appeared in Wycombe on the 300 last week.
The blind was working but didn't come out in either picture I took - pity !!!!
Seems the Solos are playing up and last week one day Darts 3213 and 3214 in service whilst the Solos were repaired.
I had heard about the Versas having problems with their long front overhang and the above picture shows this to advantage.
Working the long 61 Aylesbury-Luton Airport service is ex Oxford - Wycombe Bus 5834 last Saturday.
All above pictures by Malcolm Crowe.
Peter Edgar sent pictures taken in London and I am using one of the new Enviro 400 buses taken on Saturday April 12th at Brent Cross. The Enviro 400's are working on route 102 Brent Cross to Edmonton Green.
Finally it would appear that Wycombe depot are doing overhauls for MK Metro as several of their buses have appeared at Wycombe in recent weeks.
Late News: Friday morning saw a red route branded Aylesbury based Dart, 3492 I think, on the Line 300 in Wycombe.
Last Sunday morning the A40 was worked by the little VDL-Wright bus seen leaving High Wycombe.
The Tridents are fully employed on local services and T402 is seen here on a Line 1 working last week.
Brian writes "Just got round to looking through your latest excellent page. I looked at the article on Centrebus/Uno & noticed that there is no mention of the Solo that was pictured at Cobham (396 - MX57 BZY) on either the list for transfer to Uno or the depot lists for the remaining Centrebus fleet, I realize of course that you can only print the Info your given but just wondered if you had somehow over looked it or if it wasn't to you. I'm 99% sure this vehicle has been transferred to Uno as it is often in St Albans running the 359 service & I'm almost certain I've seen it with the Uno legals attached."
Andrew Huggon responded saying "396 is part of the St Albans fleet transferred to Uno and I did miss it off the fleet list by accident (it is always that one that gets forgotten since its age meant it did not feature on the tyre returns which I manage for Centrebus). I can confirm it definitely has Uno Buses legals on (it was parked next to the genuine Centrebus Solo I took down to Cobham on Sunday so I had a look) however in common with the rest of the St Albans fleet they are still displaying Centrebus titles."
Seen in Hemel last Sunday, a little off route, was this Plaxton Centro.
George asked "What buses are normally used on X31(Ccentrebus) and if so which ones are branded for that route."
Again Andrew Huggon responded saying "Normal allocation on the X31 is step-entrance Darts, however anything in the fleet can and will at some point appear on the service (in fact the Y-reg Vario has a regular turn on an evening run to Hemel). As far as I can remember 189 (M389KVR) Dart - NC Paladin is the only one left with X31 branding on it. The Dual-door Darts should be allocated to the X31 along with other of the longer Darts - 9 or 9.8m - (shorter ones should be allocated to 17/19) but that is not universal or consistent."
A late addition by Andrew just received says "Having been out yesterday evening to check our services yesterday evening it appears 129 has X31 branding (it has a large X31 on each side) whilst 189 carries Centrebus Timesaver names (which was used for the X31) but much of the associated branding appears to be covered by adverts - both of these being Northern Counties bodied Darts."
Gavin Francis has a goal to achieve and that is to see how many easyBus vehicles he can photo in Buckingham Palace Road. His latest score is four as seen below.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
Gavin Francis caught up with this Olympian on the 74, one not seen before in Wycombe, VDA34279.
My picture shows a Wrights Scania nominally allocated to Bracknell on a 74 working last week in Wycombe.
Well quite a lot has already been included on the page this week but more is to come.
Jevon Smith writes
in Bristol Bus Station on Snowy Sunday 6th April are:
Ex Stagecoach 50038 T38 BBW now with Applegates of Newport (Gloucestershire) Starting NEx 318 towards Gloucester BS, Cheltenham Royal Well BS & Birmingham Oxford Street CS. Inside on the lower deck toilet is a notice still showing TOILET NOT IN USE from Stagecoach Western!
Also as some snow started is Y27 OXF now with Humphries Coach Miles after finishing an NEx 040 from London Victoria."
Thanks to Jevon for those
As previously mentioned above Burtons of Haverhill (Arriva) have placed new Scania/Caetano Levante tri-axles in service on the 787. However we are also seeing Sibson Road based tri-axles on this service, all a little confusing.
Stagecoach Oxford's 59215 on the 737 in High Wycombe - picture by Gavin Francis.
Selwyn's DAF/Van Hool YJ51 EKY on the long 303 service in Oxford's George Street - picture by Gavin Francis.
This Irizar PB has had revised branding applied to the rear. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Burtons tri-axle Levante on NEx 787 at Luton - FJ08 KMA.
New stop and new shelter, at Sandhills outbound stop, Oxford. The 737 is not using the new interchange facility at Thornhill.
Late news is that all three white tri-axle Levantes based at Stansted, SC37-39 have now received the latest NEx branding. Also Volvo/Plaxtons V823-825 have been transferred to Travel Dundee. These coaches worked the 777 when new and were often used on the 757/737 Stansted-Oxford service until this route was taken over by contractor Stagecoach Oxford.
The introduction of the new coaches continued, 97 being one of the last enter service and below are a number of pictures showing the livery, especially the colour super rears on these coaches. Pictures by Gavin Francis and myself.
Full house - all the new rear supers
Olympian of Harlow, seemingly renamed Olympus coaches have two ex OBC Excaliburs seen above at Stansted last Sunday.
Note that 14 still has its fleet number on. Pictures by your Editor.
A trio of re-registrations if you take the two above completed by training bus 961. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Richard Griffin writes "I just stumbled across an item on the Meridian TV website, in which Gordon Brown visited the OBC garage and spoke to Arthur Pearson among various people:"
Chris writes "Attached are photos of N601FJO with Farleigh Coaches." (I remember many happy miles at the wheel of this particular bus. Wimbledon, Cardiff, Rugby and Farnborough. Ed.)
John Hammond sent an interesting picture today of Tridents in charge of Iffley Road services this morning.
OBC Trident 102 and Brookesbus Trident.
Llew Jones of Llanrwst has purchased Volvo/Excalibur coaches 12 (R289DWL R12OXF) and 71 (R808NUD) and Tanat Valley Llanrhaeadr-YM has acquired Y28OXF.
Thanks to Buses magazine - May edition for those snippets.
Pete Jackson writes "I just thought you might like to know that an ex Oxford Plaxton Verde/Volvo B10 has just been acquired by Manchester operator, Travelmaster, Stretford. The vehicle is N620 FJO and has been painted into Travelmaster's livery but currently doesn't have any fleet names on."
Plastows of Wheatley
This operator has received two new Volvo B12s with the new style Jonckheere bodywork. They are FJ08 BYP and FYP, being the initials of the Directors.
Picture by Richard Sharman.
Neighbours meet - at Stansted.
We were surprised to find that the company had acquired two further Enviro 200s in white and one was in use on the 275 last Friday.
One of the two Enviro 200s "EHO" on the 275 last week.
Chris writes regarding Nu-Venture and notes that Lynx G615CEF is not in service as yet. It will receive Nu-Venture blue/white livery before it does enter service.
Click on this link to see sister vehicle G614CEF in fleet livery:http://www.busfleets.co.uk/NuVenture/Fleet%20List/Photos/G614CEF1.JPG
All of the Enviro 400 s appear to be in service now and some of the Olympians will be leaving shortly.
Enviro 400 15433 leads a procession of PCVs in George Street. Picture by Gavin Francis.
The old waits for the new. 18397, now based at Witney waits for Enviro 400 15431 to depart on a 20 working. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Ready for the days work. Various buses wait their next run of duty at Horspath. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.
The Olympians replaced by the new Enviro 400s at Oxford have begun to depart for new homes. The only ones to remain will be 16523-5 which will be used on Harwell out station based services.
Company sources tell me that 16521 departed on Monday northwards to Fife. 16522 and 6 have gone to Bluebird and 16518-20 will also go to Fife.
The Olympians in question are interesting as they were originally dual doored and worked the Blackbird Leys services. They were bodied by Alexander Belfast and latterly were converted to single door. during this time they were based at Witney and were the backbone of the 100 service until replaced by Tridents.
Alexander PS bodied Volvos 20542 and 20822 have gone to Yorkshire depot.
The X5 service has provided some interest in Oxford as some workings now often see Alexander PS buses. Glenn Knight noted that an 18.10 departure from Cambridge to Milton Keynes was worked by Volvo B10M/Alexander PS 20825 - P825GND.
Richard from CSS noted that SCUC 20853 was noted operating the X5 16.40 departure from Gloucester Green on 30/3/08.
Marcus Lapthorn notes that the nine current Alexander PS buses used on the 66 are soon to be leaving saying "the 66 route between Swindon & Oxford and transferring to the 98 route from Cheltenham to Gloucester. 20685 is seen in Faringdon Market Square on Tuesday 8 April at 1250. This departure does not normally come in exactly on time but usually at about 1255. I was hoping that it would be late today so that I could photograph two buses at this stop at the same time, as the 1257 usually comes in early on its way from Oxford to Swindon. Alas it was not to be!"
I often see Megabus workings from the north on the M1 and the night service to Scotland still seems to be worked by a Neoplan. The Manchester-Preston service from London is now mostly worked by tri axle Volvos.
M A N 857 looking very smart in St Aldates - picture by Gavin Francis.
Michael has surprised us all again
with the purchase of three more Tigers from Strathtay. MJW writes
just returned from Scotland and have the following news for you:
Further Leyland Tigers / East Lancs Myllennium Hylines acquired from Stagecoach East Scotland (Strathtay) in April were DFP492Y, MSL469X & A234USR, which were Stagecoach 25815/7/8, and previously Strathtay 427/9/30. These latest Tigers join D315SGB, A127ESG and THL290Y, which were acquired in February ex-Stagecoach 25814/6/9, and previously Strathtay 425/8/31. All six were rebodied by East Lancs in 2000 and are now being prepared for further service as W57-62.
Withdrawn and sold are Leyland Lynx W50 (C63HOM) and W34 (C66HOM). Sister vehicle W33 (C64HOM) is also withdrawn and has been advertised for sale marking the end of the Leyland Lynx here."
Picture by mjw.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
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.
Walters have been using this little coach in place of the more normal Alero on services radiating from Stokenchurch. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Note the registration - OBC had UJI1759-63, two of which are now with Swanbrook's.
Seen in high Wycombe is this ex Reading Metrobus which it is said made one school trip for Carousel before conversion.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
New Trident model with an Oxford flavour
ukbus 1036 Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
Creative Master Northcord is proud to release a brand new livery on its well-known casting – the Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident. This is ukbus 1036 carrying standard Stagecoach livery but with special route branding livery.
This model represents Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 (KX55 TLN). This is the second Stagecoach in Oxfordshire ADL ALX400-bodied Trident model that CMNL produced. The previous one is ukbus 1026 with Brookes bus colours.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 is one of a fleet of seven Tridents introduced onto route 27 in March 2006 to replace Volvo B10M single deckers. Route 27 operates between Oxford and Bicester up to every 15 minutes at busy times with three main route variants around Bicester – 27A to Glory Farm and Launton, 27B to Glory Farm and Langford and 27C to Ambrosden and Arncott.
18394 is one of three vehicles which carry supplementary branding for the Bicester Duo ticket which was introduced during 2007. The ticket allows two people to travel from Bicester to Oxford for the price of one.
The replica features excellent detailing, inside and out, including an opening engine door, engine detail and the representation of LED lights at the rear. This is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the windows and livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. The model has no unnecessary metal poles to hold it together.
It will be a good opportunity to make a twin Stagecoach in Oxfordshire bus model set with ukbus 1036 and ukbus 1025 representing the common street scene in Oxford.
PSV Circle publishes latest issue of the fleet list for Berkshire and Oxfordshire
Ken MacKenzie writes to note that the new PSV Circle fleet list for Berkshire/Oxfordshire (G432) is now available.
Those readers wishing to buy a copy should write to: PSV Circle, 59 Palmer Avenue, Cheam SM3 8EF - Cost id £7.00 plus 50p P & P and it will also be available at the PSV Circle sales stand at Showbus 2007.
This will be a most useful reference for all those interested in the local scene.
Editors review - I have now had chance to review this book and it is indeed very useful, giving details of all known fleets in Berks and Oxon. Whilst some information is not totally up to date it allows the readers to have a comprehensive view of the local fleets and up dates can be gained by joining the PSV Circle. At £7.00 this represents value for money as it also includes a number of good photographs.
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.
Model News of an Oxford bus
Guy writes to send a picture of the latest offering on the model front related to Oxford.
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.
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.
Robin sent me a copy of his latest DVD to review. "Today's buses - Oxfordshire" is the compelling title which includes Henley, Wallingford and Didcot before the viewer is taken onto Wantage, Witney, Banbury and finally Bicester. Each of these locations is covered in2 to 5 minutes and each shows the current selection of buses and coaches to be found. Finally over 37 minutes is devoted to Oxford with filming in a variety of locations in the city.
On another subject the road sense and behaviour of cyclists in Oxford has to be seen to be believed!!!!
The quality of the DVD is excellent and one can really see clearly the details of each vehicle, something which older video always seemed unable to do. All the latest developments are shown in this September 2007 DVD, including workings from Broad Street during the St Giles Fair weekend.
The DVD provides a unique record of events in Oxfordshire during this period and at £10 is not a very large outlay.
74 Polruan Place, Fishermead,
Milton Keynes MK6 2EA
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
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 nine 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
John Marsh's pictures with a difference
The Oxford Bus Museum
A web site which has paintings of buses.
Arriva Handbook for 2007-2008
The latest handbooks are now
on sale, the ever
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Bus services in Hertfordshire
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