Sunday 19th March 2006
next update week ending 31st March 2006
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A major announcement this week was the award of the tenders for bus services in Oxfordshire from June 2006. The routes concerned are detailed below and where I have such information on the operator this is given under the relevant service.
Review of Subsidised Bus Services in the Oxford and Abingdon Area.
On Thursday 16th March the County Councils Transport Implementation Committee awarded new 4-year contracts for subsidised bus services in the Oxford and Abingdon area. As a result many services will have new timetables, revised routes, days of operation and new operators. A short summary of the main changes can be found below. We hope to publish all the new timetables four weeks before the introduction of the revised services on Sunday 4th June.
Services A1-3, Abingdon Town Services.
Local services within Abingdon will be retained with a new network and timetable. A new Saturday morning service will be introduced.
Services 5A/B/C, Oxford Cowley Centre Greater Leys.
Services retained with a revised timetable. During the off-peak through journeys between the City Centre and Greater Leys will run hourly but the frequency between Cowley centre and Greater Leys will be increased to run every 20 minutes.
Retained by Stagecoach
Service 6/A, Oxford Woodstock Road Wolvercote Village.
Evening and Sunday service retained but withdrawn from the Rail Station.
Retained by Oxford Bus
Service 7D. Oxford Kidlington (Lyne Mead) Oxford Airport.
This service withdrawn. However alternative facilities will be introduced to serve Lyne Mead during the evenings and on Sundays. The Airport will only be served during the daytime Monday to Saturday by diverting journeys on service 59 (OBC will continue to run their commercial peak hours service).
Operated by Stagecoach Banbury with 59 service
Service 8, Bladon Cassington Wytham Five Mile Drive Oxford.
Service retained with a revised timetable but reduced to operate only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. This service will additionally serve Heath Lane in Bladon. A new Saturday service between Wytham and the City Centre via Five Mile Drive will be introduced.
Service 8A, Oxford - Waterways.
Service retained with a revised timetable but reduced to operate only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Service 10C/D, City Circular service via Cowley, JR Hospital and Banbury Rd.
This evening and Sunday circular service split in to two sections. The frequency between the City Centre, Cowley, Hollow Way, Wood Farm and the JR Hospital will be doubled to half-hourly. Service 17 will operate additionally between the City Centre and the JR Hospital via Marston Ferry Road hourly during the evenings and on Sundays.
Gained by Stagecoach
Service 14/A, City Centre Marston Ferry Rd Marston - JR/Churchill Hospitals.
A decision on a revised timetable has been deferred. A new shopping service will operate on Wednesday to Friday from Bradlands and Cumberledge Close in Marston Village to Marston Road Post Office.
Services 16/A/B, Oxford Abingdon Road - Cowley Centre Minchery Farm.
Services retained with a revised timetable. During the off-peak through journeys between the City Centre and Minchery Farm will run hourly but the frequency between Cowley centre and Minchery Farm will be increased to run every 20 minutes.
Gained by Stagecoach
Service 17, City Centre Jericho Summertown Cutteslowe.
Service retained. A new evening and Sunday service will operate between the City Centre and the JR Hospital via Walton Street (not Clarendon St/Canal St) and Marston Ferry Road. Additionally a new Wednesday shopping service between Jericho and Cowley centre will commence.
Gained by Stagecoach
Services 17A/B/C, Cowley - Rose Hill/Iffley/Lye Valley
These local services retained.
Service 44, Oxford Boars Hill/Sunningwell Abingdon south Abingdon.
Revised timetable and route. Withdrawn from Milton Heights and Sutton Courtenay in the peak hours and withdrawn from south Abingdon in the off-peak. Peak journeys withdrawn on Saturdays.
Lost by Stagecoach
Service 49, Berinsfield Baldons Cowley centre Oxford.
Service retained. There will be a new Tuesday return shopping journey to Cowley Centre.
Service 99, Drayton St.Leonard Appleford Abingdon.
Revised timetable and days of operation. Service from Drayton St.Leonard to Abingdon reduced to one day per week but this community will gain a new Tuesday service to Cowley centre.
Service 115, Eaton Southmoor Gozzards Ford Abingdon.
Revised timetable and days of operation. Withdrawn from Southmoor.
Service 300, Oxford Park & Ride - Peartree.
The subsidised evening service (Monday to Saturday) is retained.
Retained by Oxford Bus Company
Service 600, Thornhill to Hospitals.
More photographic submissions
Once again I am indebted to Ben Morroll, Chris Maxfield and Derek Doling for further interesting photos. I have also been going through my albums and have scanned some interesting pictures from the early '90s. I hope you enjoy them
Looking back to that time I thought this pictures of Thames Transit Mercedes and COMS Bristol VRs gave an insight into those days in Oxford.
New Road as it appeared 15 years ago last month on 2nd February 1991.
Service changes on 26th March 2006
Both major operators in Oxford are improving services from next Sunday which involves new buses and route changes. Please see under the relevant operator headings for full details.
Bus Users meeting - 17th March 2006
Some 20 or so people gathered for the spring Bus Users Meeting in Oxford last Friday. The panel consisted of Noam Bleicher (Chairman), Allan Field (Bus Service Manager for OCC), Mike Conroy (Manager Arriva Aylesbury), Nigel Eggleton (Commercial Director - Oxford Bus and Simon Mathieson (Manager City Bus Services Stagecoach).
Allan Field outlined the changes mentioned above, regarding service changes from 4th June 2006. He also mentioned the free concessionary travel due from April 1st and it was noted that Arriva had 19 different schemes to contend with.
Questions from the floor raised the matter of the X70, X80 and X90 services stopping in St Aldates inbound but kerb space during the day was a major problem.
One lady asked about the 108 service making a stop at the Crematorium as she noted that many people of the older generation needed to attend this site and it was long walk from the main gate. Other comments from the panel suggested that was indeed difficult to turn a bus around in the site. It seemed that there was little justification for a dedicated service.
The 600 service decision, currently run by Stagecoach, had been delayed as this was "developers money - section 106) and it would be a few more weeks before a decision would be reached.
Further comment and discussion related to the provision of a bus station in Oxford and no final decision had yet been reached, if indeed it ever was.
Allan Field noted that the 159/259 taxi-bus service had been totally withdrawn due to lack of support and that the 59 Banbury-Oxford service now covered some villages which had lost their service.
Nigel Eggleton of Oxford Bus reported that the 2 and 8 services, replacing the former through service 2 between Kidlington and Barton was proving to be a great success. The new Citaro buses on route 2 were very popular with passengers. He did however report that numbers of users were declining on the Park & Ride services and this prompted comments from the floor that free park and ride parking seemed to be against the concept that drivers park and pay for their cars and also the bus fare which only seemed fair when taken in parallel with people who did not have cars.
Comment from the floor also complained that Thornhill Park & Ride site was normally full by midday and afternoon users were losing out.
A lot of discussion took place about Green Road works, those works near Osney Island and the remodelling of the High Street. Nigel Eggleton said consideration was being given to splitting the 4 and 400 in the city to reduce service delays during the works mentioned.
Simon Mathieson of Stagecoach reported that plans for the introduction of revised services in Bicester and those in South Oxfordshire were ready for implementation and he explained the benefits to the attendees of the meeting. (Full details are under the operator heading).
Mike Conroy reported that the two routes operated by Arriva were running well but also had concerns about the roadworks.
It was also advised to the meeting by Allan Field that the National Express 737 service between the city and Stansted was to be re-routed during the roadworks and the service would use the A34 from junction 9 of the M40 to reach the city, thereby cutting out all but the Gloucester Green stop on this service.
The next meeting of the Bus Users was advised as September.
Running Day for the 347 at Hemel Hempsted by Colin Cooke
Colin Cooke writes, sending some pictures, saying "As a forerunner to the upcoming Hemel Running day, it was nice to see 4 RML's laying over in the Hemel Hempstead Bus Station on the 347 RML anniversary run Sunday 19th before routing to Garston and then the returning full length 347 to Uxbridge....
Could not resist a quick shot of the colourful Plaxton................".
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 March 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies 19th March 2006
Frazer Peddle writes saying "I took this picture for use on the OCBP. It shows Temple Street, High Wycombe town centre, on the evening of Tuesday 14th March. The Wright Eclipse in front is on the 326 route to Micklefield, the other is on the 315 heading for Lane End both wear the Green route livery, sorry the image isn't great but this was taking on my mobile phone whilst on my way home from work in the dark".
Stokenchurch as a picture postcard - showing Vario 2196 on the 10:15 service to High Wycombe, today Sunday.
Aylesbury bus station with Dart/East Lancs 3172 laying over between working on route 9. Photo by Ben Morroll - 110306.
Ben Morroll caught this Dart MPD, 3294, last Saturday with blue route branding for route 2 Haydon Hill, a local Aylesbury service.
Those who remember these little Darts arriving at High Wycombe during Wycombe Bus days may be sad to see 3815
now at the end of its life with Arriva and prepared for sale. Picture by Ben Morroll 110306.
Another ex Wycombe Bus Dart, 3823, now based in Aylesbury and seen here at the depot. Picture by Ben Morroll - 110306.
The Tridents have yet to take up service on the X15 and a week ago last Saturday Olympian 5103 was on this service.
It is seen caught by Ben Morroll entering Aylesbury at the end of its run from Milton Keynes.
A selection of buses waiting their next duty at Aylesbury, taken by Ben Morroll last Saturday the 11th.
Bucks County Council provide this Alero for a local service in Aylesbury.
It is operated by Arriva and the picture was taken by Ben Morroll.
Metrobus M1351 captured by Ben Morroll on Saturday 11th March. Note the position of the advert. Picture by Ben Morroll.
Nigel Peach writes "I see from the latest issue of the Thames Valley & Aldershot Bus Interest Circle that the final Lynx LX558 (F558 NJM) was sold to Town & Country in Grays in February together with the oldest Metrobus M57 (WYW 57T) which was in "General" livery.
The Lynx had served Wycombe all its life starting new in 1988 with Beeline, then Wycombe Bus, then Arriva before being sold to Carousel a few years ago. I think this must have made it the bus with the longest unbroken service in Wycombe. I wonder which bus takes over this role now!"
Martin Oxenham writes "We have had a reshuffle with regards to the evaluation vehicles coming our way. We have been contacted by Optare who are putting in a Tempo for two weeks starting Monday 20th March 2006. Details below."
Type: Optare Tempo
12 Metre Length
42 Seats with 27 Standees
Registration Number: YJ06 FZK
The two additional Citaros have now arrived and are in Wilts and Dorset red and blue. They are registered HF06 FTO (898) and HF06 FTY (899) and will be used to operate the new X4 service which will run to terminate at Queens Lane thereby replacing the Stagecoach X4. Details of the service is given in two leaflets shown below which are produced by Best Impressions.
Nigel Eggleton, the Commercial
Director, advises that
OBC have won
Mon to Sat evening P and R 300 to Peartree - timetable as now. Also Mon to Sat
evening and all day Sunday route 6 Magdalen St to Wolvercote - note not to
Station so 30 min frequency can be provided with one bus.
The County are also to provide financial support to enable one bus per hour, eves and Sunday, on route 2A to divert via Lyne Mead in Kidlington but not to Airport.
The decision about the 14 and 600 has been delayed for a 'few weeks'. We don't know why as yet.
Curly writes to note that on two days last week 6XX series Volvos were working on the 400 service.
I thought readers might like the picture below of Volvo B10Bs 603 and 605 brand new prior to entry into service back in mid 1995. Details are :
Another Ian White gem, once Leopard coach 13 on the London service it later gained a Willowbrook body and worked various route around Oxford.
It would have been quite newly rebodied when this picture was taken at Carfax.
First in Berkshire
Sunday 26th March will see a fairly major revision of service to Bicester and South Oxfordshire. Some nice leaflets have been produced, most by Best Impressions, and these are shown below.
4 Darts will be required for the X30 and these will receive Vale Shuttle branding. 34467-70 have already had their X4 branding removed and one expects these to be the Darts gaining the X30 branding for the Vale Shuttle.
The new South Oxfordshire services.
The new Bicester services which include promotion for the X5.
In the meantime the unbranded Darts are being used on various routes including the BMW Mini Adventure service.
34468 in between duties at Horspath on the 14th March
Dave Rogers sent a selection of pictures of Stagecoach buses at Cheltenham Races. These include some from Stagecoach in Bedfordshire, new 06 registered Tridents.
A visiting East London coach took its break at Horspath last week.
Unbranded Trident 18137 from Witney laying over at Oxford rail station whilst working the 20. Picture by Ben Morroll.
It's always impressive when you can tell someone what registration a bus or coach is when still 1 mile away.
50118 has had the Tube branding on the upper deck window applied lower down than the rest of the fleet. Seen here next to 50119.
John Wood wrote last week ".....have sister Mercedes/Marshall to M248 UTM in the shape of M250 UTM also from Stagecoach Devon (40250) and in fleet livery."
Ben Morroll sent a picture of 250 shown below.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Brian Bell took this nice picture of ex OBC K126BUD now in service with Solent Blue Line.
Richard Sharman sent this picture of ex COMS coach 27, MUD27W now with Goldfinger and seen at Cheltenham races last week.
An ex West Midland Metroliner C901UOF when working with Carterton Coaches on 19th June 1993.
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
Thames Valley times by Bill Legg (via Derek Doling)
More pictures from Derek Doling who is scanning his collection of Bill Legg pictures.
TV Lodekka 758 taken at Desborough Road garage in the early '60s. - Bill Legg.
A 1956 Bristol SC4LK nr 778 taken in Maidenhead depot where it was based for the 17 to Marlow.
Lodekka 784 at Maidenhead bus station on 30th April 1961, nearly 45 years ago.
AEC Regal nr 56 of South Midland seen at VCS. It was withdrawn in October 1959.
Thames Transit in the early days.
Thames Transit was formed on 7th March 1987 and is thus approaching its 20th Anniversary. In the early days there was quite some variety of buses often transferred in from Devon operations.
Burtons of Brixham had some very nice Leyland Tiger buses and one is seen here soon after transfer to Oxford still carrying Burton branding.
The date I took this photo was 20th April 1990.
Another immigrant was this lovely little Bristol LH, 94 LFJ948W which had worked for Devon General.
It is seen on the 9 service to Redbridge Park & Ride in competition with what is now the 300 OBC service.
During one winter this convertible open top Bristol VR worked the competitive Thornhill Park & Ride service. Picture by Ian White.
The date for this year's Spring event is April 2nd.
Wycombe - Other events in 2006:
Special trip over route 347 from Hemel Hempstead to Uxbridge on 19 March marking the 40th anniversary of RML type vehicles starting on that route from Garston & Hemel Hempstead garages.
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 14 May - Slough/Windsor
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Day in Aldershot with details from Andrew Dyer.
I wonder if you could put a piece in your "forthcoming events" section about all the excitement that will be in Aldershot (not often you see the words "excitement" and "Aldershot" in the same sentence!!) over the weekend of 3 & 4 June this year.
Stagecoach is organising an event jointly with the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group to celebrate 100 years since the first bus service operated from Aldershot to Farnborough in June 1906. There will be a running day and on Sunday 4 June we will be holding an Open Day at our depot in Halimote Road, Aldershot. As with the Portsmouth event last year, we hope to attract local families as well as enthusiasts and all proceeds raised will go to local charities.
As Aldershot has such a strong history of Dennis operation, we are hoping to get as many different types of Dennis bus on site as we can. Do you have a contact at the Oxford Bus Museum who might be persuaded to bring a KFC Loline 2? Sadly, I don't think any of the Loline 1's or 3's that were on loan from A&D to COMS in 1969/70 have survived to enable them to make an appearance, although there will certainly be sister vehicles in the SOU xxx and AAA xxxC batches there.
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
At last I'm able to officially notify everyone of the Running Days for 2006.
Sunday 14 May 2006 is the date for the second Slough/Windsor Running Day based on Slough Bus Station. Since last year a huge new Tesco store has been built adjacent and is now fully operational. Due to traffic delays experienced last year in Windsor an extra 5 minutes each way is being added to running times between Slough and Windsor.
There is no St George's Day parade to hold us up this year and the Queen's official birthday is 2 weeks plus later when her 80th birthday is marked. I know of no Royal Wedding planned for Windsor this year and, hopefully, timekeeping will be better on the Windsor routes.
An enhancement to the Burnham Beeches service is envisaged with the opposite way round the loop. There is also the chance to have double deck workings but terminating on the eastern fringe of the Beeches.
Another new route for this year will be a service through Windsor Great Park. Crown Estates are happy with this and I have a meeting arranged with them on Tuesday 10 January. White Bus Services currently operate a restricted service here but not on Sundays & on only certain days of the week. Operation is likely to be by non-LT single-deck vehicles. A large number of vehicles is required including at least 16 double-deckers.
Some 40 years earlier on 15 May 1966 RMLs were allocated to Windsor Garage to work several routes in the area. RMC coaches had already been there for some time.
WR Garage operated many other types of vehicle including RT,RF,RC,RCL,RB,RS,GS,SMA,SNB,STL, T and of course some of these only operated in the London Country period. Additionally in the summer months Central area red vehicles were commonplace as green vehicles were reassigned to Green Line relief duties so any red-liveried vehicle would be welcome. At least 30 vehicles (including 5 non-LT/LCBS vehicles will be needed to maintain the schedules.
As 1966 is the 40th anniversary of route 724 it is hoped to have a feeder to/from the Northern areas and to run the route from Slough through Windsor, Old Windsor, Runnymede to Staines. Via Runnymede, by the river Thames was the original routeing when it was extended from Staines to Windsor Castle. It did not serve Windsor Garage nor will it in 2006. The coach link to Staines will therefore be 724 this year in place of 718.
Anyone offering to operate a 725 from at least Kingston will be welcomed. Please let me know.
At the moment there is not an area for display vehicles but every effort will be made to find one. Can I please ask anyone who came last year and was allocated blinds and who will/cannot come this year, to contact me urgently so I can collect them for re-issue to others. These are expensive and will be needed on the day.
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
The Oxford Bus Museum
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