Sunday 19th February 2006
next update week ending 3rd March 2006
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Apologies to all for the delay in posting this week's page caused by my errant motor car which decided to strand me on the M40 for over 4 hours yesterday. I am temporarily driving a Peugeot 407 with of all things a 6 speed gear box. Quite a car!
As a result I have to rely on contributors for a report on the RML day in High Wycombe and am delighted with the contributions from two of my readers.
One of my readers asked, last week, for some more on Tappins and so last Thursday I visited Tappins at Didcot and got an up to date record of the fleet. At the same time I at last caught up with Thames Travel's new Dart and was on hand to witness the return of one of the ex Chiltern Queens Volvo B6s from Waterlooville where it had been repainted into their latest fleet livery.
The latest issue of Buses magazine records the arrival of the Agora Line buses with Carousel but also adds that these are some of the very few built for the UK market. It therefore would appear that any further additions will be limited. This would seem to be a shame as the buses have been well received by both crews and passengers.
I was fascinated to read an article in the Saturday Daily Telegraph which recorded the help being given by the Chairman of Chiltern Railways, Adrian Shooter, to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in their quest to restore the railway to its former glory. It appears that executives of the Indian Railways believe that the best help can come from someone who runs one of the best railways in Britain.
Routemasters take to the streets of High Wycombe again
An interesting opportunity to ride on a Routemaster in High Wycombe happened on 19th February when two RMLs ran a series of services taking in the main areas of Routemaster operation when London Transport and later London Country held sway in the town.
Peter Cartwright organised the day when both RML2440 and RML2412 were in operation together and two readers sent pictures of the event.
Paul Davis sent the pictures above of RML2412 heading up Amersham Hill and then RML2440 at Totteridge Road.
Peter Edgar took this picture at West Wycombe, doubtless bringing back memories to my older readers.
Some more pictures of the event from Peter Edgar.
Bus stops in Oxford
I have highlighted bus stops in Oxford which are either poorly sited or of a strange shape.
With the increase in use and additional services, several stops often seem inadequate for the traffic using them. Ian Pinnell wrote with a picture regarding the outbound stop at Headington shops saying "
The picture shows an Oxford Tube Skyliner trying to overtake an Airline Coach in Headington on Friday 17th February 2006. The bus stop is the one outside the bank and estate agents in Headington. I think this picture shows how congestion in the Headington area is caused and why too.
The Oxford Tube was first at the coach stop of that part of the bus stop, with an Oxford Bus Number 8 pulling up behind. The Airline Coach had awaiting passengers had to park on double yellow lines away from the bus stop as shown in the picture mainly due to the fact half of the lay by is allocated to cars to park in.
As The Airline Coach was parked on the double yellow, The Oxford Tube Skyliner tried pulling out, but did not get very far as the picture shows, which meant as The Oxford Bus Number 8 started to pull out at the same time, it could not go anywhere causing a complete standstill. Eventually the Airline coach moved which meant The Oxford Tube Skyliner could move and The Oxford Bus Number 8 as well.
If I were at a better angle, you would have been able to see the traffic queuing up behind as far as the traffic lights and on the intersection.
Maybe Headington needs new facilities for busses and coaches? Or maybe the lay by should be strictly for busses and coaches only, and delivery drivers early morning...
Around 15 minutes later, a car pulled up in the bus stop section and the driver got out, looking for someone and then got back in, by this time the Brookes Bus had pulled up and an Oxford Espress was parked in the coach part, so with nowhere to go, the Brookes Bus parked up on the road and started letting passengers off, it was at that point the red car started to move almost injuring some of the alighting passengers, and eventually sped off.
These comments highlight the problem now occurring, not only in Oxford, but also in London where kerb space is at a premium. The problem is exacerbated when buses or coaches need to board a wheelchair which requires the vehicle to pull close to the pavement. If we are to improve bus travel in general these are points which require urgent attention.
Let the bus pull out
Kevin Ward wrote the following comments related to my recent comments on the above subject saying "Led to your moan re not giving way to busses by a Google search and felt I ought to point out that, trusting to memory, the highway code rule has been constantly strengthened and no longer says please or give way but in fact says:- Give Priority whenever possible to buses coaches and trams especially when pulling off a bus stop.
I agree on the sentiment, however, because I love to remind Mr Policeman that this means him too. A bus or coach has priority over all vehicles unless they are an ESV (Emergency Service Vehicle) en route to an emergency i.e. blue light flashing and/or siren.
An interesting comment and one which I am sure many readers have thoughts on? It is also interesting to learn how readers arrive at my page - thank you Google!
Whilst taking pictures at Tappins I of course spent a few minutes at Didcot Parkway station which always seems host to an number of interesting vehicles. I was not disappointed and the results are seen in photos reproduced below.
KX54 NLA is with Courtney, Bracknell (BE) - Vehicle details - DAF SB220 with East Lancs B50F New 10/04
This bus is seen working the Milton Park Shuttle.
M836 ATC is with Atherton, Abingdon (OX) - MB709B Plaxton B22F - ex Pickford, Chippenham (WI) 9/05
This little bus is seen on the 95 to Blewbury.
Thanks to Ken MacKenzie of the PSV Circle for details on the two buses above.
Newbury buses have a couple of services which serve Didcot and one such service is seen above.
Sadly the destination blind defeated my camera, even after 6 attempts.
My final picture shows two Shearings coaches picking up but on which service I do not know.
Both coaches displayed the new WA Shearings livery. 212 is shown above.
Quarterly Video Newsletter
I am in the process of working on a quarterly video newsletter which will be available on DVD, probably in the middle of March. Please let me know those of you are interested in receiving a copy. There will be a charge of £10 plus postage and packing, about £2. The content will reflect what is going on in the area covered by this page with the chance to really get the feel of how the area is developing. I would also appreciate receiving your thoughts on what you would like to be included? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am pleased to say that response has been quite good and work is in had with an issue date of end March.
Don't forget to look further down this page for Coming 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 - Sunday 19th February 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 19th February 2006
Arriva buys MK Metro
LONDON (ShareCast) - Transport services outfit Arriva has paid £6.8m cash for Premier Buses Ltd, the holding company of MK Metro Ltd of Milton Keynes, the group said today.
The net cash consideration is £5.6m consisting of £6.8m for shares in Premier Bus, less inherited cash in the company of £1.2m.
MK Metro, which operates commercial and tendered services in Milton Keynes, in Bedfordshire and in Northamptonshire, reported an annual turnover in 2005 of £8.6m.
Mike Cooper, managing director of Arriva UK Regions, said, "This acquisition gives Arriva a good opportunity to expand our presence in the south of England. Milton Keynes' population is set to expand over the next five years, giving us strong growth prospects.
I am advised from several sources that the two Tridents at Wycombe (5422 and 5432) and the one at Aylesbury (5431) are eventually destined for the X15 service details of which can be found at the following link: - http://www.arrivabus.co.uk/__80256E280053B5B6.nsf/vWeb/pcCWAN5XFEHA?open®ion=Shires%20and%20Essex&town=Aylesbury&service=X15
Gavin Francis writes "Received my copy of The London Bus today. It says we are due to get X15 branded 3203-5 from Aylesbury for the 362 and in return our two Tridents will go to Aylesbury to convert X15 to double-deck along with 1 from Garston."
Ed Maun wrote "I have just received the February edition of the LOTS magazine TLB. It reports that the X15 Aylesbury to Milton Keynes service is to be double-decked using Tridents including the two currently at High Wycombe. However, the conversion is delayed pending a decision on how to avoid the low bridge at Linslade. Apparently, the Scania/Northern Counties single-decks currently allocated to the X15 (fleet numbers 3203-5) are due to move to High Wycombe for use on the 362 High Wycombe to Chesham service (in competition with Carousel’s new Agoralines on service 4!) This means that the X15 goes from single-deck to double-deck, whereas the 362 goes the other way from double-deck to single-deck!"
A surprise arrival last week was this M A N/Marco Polo Viale. It is replacing the Enviro 300 demonstrator which had an altercation with an Arriva bus in the bus station last week. I am advised it will remain here until 24th February and is expected to work mainly on the A40 service.
The Viale in service on the A40 on Sunday with picture from Paul Davis.
Ed Maun reminds us that Bucks CC has arranged for some daytime off peak weekday journeys on Carousel service 4 to divert via Penn Street and Winchmore Hill to replace (in part) the lost Arriva 372 service.
Rather quiet this week with nothing special to report.
Richard Sharman sent this picture of Red Route Metrorider 779, still in Oxford livery, but now well past its sell by date.
He says this picture was taken by Paul Emery at Hardwicks for scrap.
I thought readers might like this picture of Olympian 230 working the 190 to London on 10th August 1991.
The use of double deck service buses at that time was quite usual on Saturday mornings.
A nostalgic shot of Metroliner 906 loading for Oxford in Victoria Coach Station, London.
The date, the evening of 18th November 1989.
Ken MacKenzie sent this photo of ex Oxford 602 in service in Blandford Forum on 13th February 2006.
He says ex 606 was in the garage of Damory but still in Oxford livery.
First in Berkshire
Frazer Peddle writes "I took this photo whilst I was in Dumbarton town centre last week on my travels. It's a First Dennis Dart which is a sister to the Darts in Slough which are all ex First London if I am correct. Please publish this on the OCBP to show where they end up.
Gavin Francis took this photo of the latest addition to the Solo fleet of RH Transport. MX55WDJ maybe the last the three ordered for 25 service.
Two more of the new Tridents have arrived being 18394 and 18395. They should enter service very soon.
Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400
Fleet Chassis nr Body nr reg
Of general Stagecoach interest are the orders for 2006-2007. Details were released on the Stagecoach website and are advised as follows.
Stagecoach Group plc announced today (13 February 2006) that it has placed orders for more than 460 new vehicles for its UK bus division.
The £50 million investment will benefit customers in Stagecoach’s growing provincial UK bus operations.
Vehicle manufacturers Alexander Dennis, Optare, Plaxton and Volvo will supply a total of 13 single-deckers, 160 double-deckers, 165 midi-buses, 95 minibuses and 31 coaches.
The fleet of new vehicles will be delivered between April 2006 and the end of February 2007.
Details of the orders are:
Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We have pursued a highly successful organic growth strategy in the UK in recent years and we believe more people in our towns and cities can be attracted to bus travel.
“We have expanded our UK bus operations with two significant acquisitions in the last 12 months and we are committed to focusing on investment, innovation and effective marketing to drive further growth.
“This latest capital investment will deliver a more comfortable travelling experience for passengers, better environmental performance, improved reliability and help make public transport more attractive to car users.”
Among the areas to benefit from the new investment will be the former Traction Group operations in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Tayside, which were acquired by Stagecoach in December 2005.
Stagecoach’s order includes five single-deck vehicles, fitted with the latest environmentally friendly Euro 4 engines, while the remainder meet the current Euro 3 low emission engine standards.
All of the new vehicles run on low-sulphur diesel, and are equipped with modern heating and ventilation. The buses also incorporate low floor access for parents with young children, people with disabilities and elderly passengers, and many feature a special ‘kneeling’ mechanism to help boarding from the pavement. All coaches are fitted with special lifts to assist boarding for wheelchair users.
One wonders if some of the new coaches will be for the X5?
History from Thames Transit.
I was looking at a PMP Video taken in Oxford in 1999 when the M A N s had recently entered service but before the Tridents had arrived. Compared to today, Stagecoach was a shadow of its present day self. Cornmarket was still open to traffic and buses came round Worcester Street in a one way system. How things change.
Another one time Tube , believed to be F337CHE, fleet nr 31 now advertised for sale in Ireland.
Richard Sharman writes "Found an add on the internet for another ex Tube Ikarus,
this time for sale, currently with Martell Coaches, Clane ,Ireland."
Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor for the PSV Circle writes "Malcolm, see list of names for new Scania's - also one registered for driver familiarisation."
501 is WX55 ZZR - Brunel
502 - Iron Duke
503 - Great Britain
504 - Lightning
505 - Emperor
506 - Sultan
507 - Lord of the Isles
508 - Royal Sovereign
509 - Tornado
510 - Great Western
Tim Hall writes "I took this picture of the first Thamesdown Scania, licenced for driver training. Fleet number is 501 (see above) and with the rest should enter service in March. Picture taken in Fleming Way, Swindon on 15th February 2006.
I like the nice touch of the "Great Western" style names Ed.
Regarding last week's report Thames Travel wish to make it clear that the X39 Wallingford-Oxford service is every 30 minutes.
I spent a pleasant hour in Wallingford on Saturday afternoon and took some nice shots of the various Thames Travel workings in the town and also a new repaint.
Thames Travel have devised a new livery with the assistance of Mill Design and Marketing, a local firm based in Wallingford. They have a web site which can be viewed at : http://www.millmarketing.co.uk/
Steve Downend wrote "Hi Malcolm - please find attached the new logo for Thames Travel - I hit your site by accident whilst looking for pics of Thames Travel buses... we run Travelling Ads which is a company who promote the advertising space on TT buses - hence the search! ... I also run a Graphic Design Company which has recently undertaken the new corporate ID for TT - hence the change of logo... I understand that there will be a few more buses in the new livery"
The results may be seen in the pictures below.
Volvo B6, one time member of the Chiltern Queens fleet, has been given the new image.
It is seen here on return from Waterlooville looking very smart indeed.
At last the new Dart, 155, is seen in Wallingford Square last Thursday on the X40 service, its weekday haunt.
The X39 runs from Watlington via Oxford to Wallingford and Solo 49 is seen in Watlington on a midday working last Thursday.
Normally buses show Oxford for the first portion of the journey as there is confusion to the passengers.
This maybe because there is a direct service 125 between the two "W"s.
Busy times in Wallingford last Thursday. Those of you who watch "Midsomer Murders" may recognise this spot
as the point where Cully comes home on a National Express service.
Tappins of Didcot
A correspondent asked for more on Tappins so here are eleven pictures of the fleet last Thursday, when due to school half term, much of the fleet was on hand at the depot in Didcot.
I understand that the white coach TIL 2511, ex Wallace Arnold G511LWU, has been prepared for sale. The line up of Van Hool T9s is nice and includes T4GLF, T992JNW, S810MCC, R184VSJ and T991JNW of which T991 and T992 are the most recent additions to the T9 fleet. Three open toppers are under winter store and will return for the new season, maybe at Easter.
Whites Coaches of Culham
Paul writes to note that this week Whites acquired Optare Solo M850 B29F FE52 FGZ from us (Eastbourne Buses).
Worths of Enstone
Richard Sharman writes "A rather unexpected arrival at Worths is WM 55 BUS, VOLVO B12B/CAETANO ENIGMA with LED destination equipment and 53 Seats."
Does anyone have a picture of this coach? Ed.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
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
More on the past in High Wycombe
RMLs in their heyday.
Gavin Francis has been digging through his pictures and has sent me the nice shots of RMLs when in service. They date from April 1967 through to May 1997.
Further RMLs working in High Wycombe.
Paul Davis sent these next pictures saying "RML2440 at HE garage in Jan76 on 326, and at Totteridge on 363 Sept77. Also a couple of shots of red RML2440 at High Wycombe running day May2000."
An interesting sign from Thames Valley days
Ian White writes "Thought this might be of interest for your archive section. Looking at a 1959 Thames Valley timetable there must have been hundreds round the area. I wonder where they all went? I remember a couple. One was on the wall of Palmers Stores, Oxford Rd, Stokenchurch the other on a post outside the Crown public house City Rd, Radnage. Both the proprietors being parcel agents.
Still enjoying the website, keep up the good work."
The sign mentioned above by Ian White.
A now historical picture from my album
Green Line days
Green Line coach TP36 working a 290 service London bound on the long climb up the Chilterns
from Aston Rowant in the late Autumn sunshine on 13th November 1989.
The date for this year's Spring event is April 2nd.
Wycombe - Other events in 2006:
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
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
Ray Jackson Art
A web site which has paintings of buses.
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