Issue 39
(OBP-255)

Sunday 20th July 2003

next update week ending 2nd August 2003


Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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

This last week saw more hot weather and I expect most people were pleased to see some rain mid week. However temperatures had climbed to the late 20s again by the weekend and I was more than pleased to have coaches for my weekend duty which had most effective air conditioning. Indeed the new Scania/Irizars can be maintained at as low as 19C which is perhaps even chilly for some passengers.

I have been thinking for sometime about a series of photographs depicting the streets and roads in our area with buses more in the background. This would give a better idea of the scene today and maybe of yesteryear for our area. What do you think?


Oxford High Street looking east with Oxford bus 813 unloading and an X90 waiting for pedestrians to cross.


Headley Way viewed from Cherwell Drive with two Oxford Bus Dart SLFs in the distance on 13 road.


The old A40 at Wheatley looking east. An Arriva Olympian on service 280 loads Oxford bound passengers.

Last week some comment was made that the page was Arriva heavy. Well I can agree but I lack correspondents with contributions from Oxford and other less Arriva areas. Lets see what the coming week's bring. As I am away in Holland for four days each week my Oxford notes are limited to two days each weekend and I would also like to balance the page a little more evenly. Can you help?

The John Radcliffe Hospital is getting more services and improved ones. On Saturday afternoon I took my car in that direction and was lucky to get a selection of the services at the same time. The Stagecoach 10 was just leaving, with an Oxford Bus 14 and 13 behind. Soon there will also be the X13 from Abingdon and i wonder if the bus waiting area will be adequate.


The JR bus stand with SCiO 32063 followed by Oxford Bus 508 (loan from Metrobus) and SLF408.
The SC bus was sadly not a branded bus and the Metrobus Darts are getting Oxford Bus livery fronts.

I know some of you dislike my using the page as a soap box but in recent days there has been an increasing disregard by taxis and cars of the basic rules of non entry to the coach station at Gloucester Green. I wonder, if and when a coach collides with one of these mis-users who will take the blame?


Gloucester Green coach station is supposed to be a restricted area but taxis and cars all seem to ignore
the signs of no entry and a 40 fine. At busy times it can become downright dangerous and I feel
something should be done by officialdom. Here a taxi - with its identity removed, unloads passengers
and baggage with a total disregard for the recent health and safety regulations imposed on operators.

Last week reader Mac H asked for information on Oxford's 400 buses for an article he was preparing. I posted his request and was delighted by the responses. Mac H said "Have spent many fascinating hours reading your Oxford Bus Page subsequently Oxford and Chilterns, and wonder if you may be able to provide me with some information that unfortunately your archives do not extend back to. I hasten to add just basic information not in-depth!  etc etc etc"

The replies, some sent direct to Mac H have given him a lot to work from. I quote one here for more general interest.

Andrew dyer wrote "A few titbits about the above vehicle which I'm afraid I'm not old enough to remember in COMS service but have ridden on it as a Magdalen College School boy in the late 60's. The school hired Charlton-on-Otmoor Services for transport for things like school sports days and OFC400 put in regular appearances on these hires. I can remember it performing well with a full load to the top of Shotover Hill when we went up there cross-country running. Could you get a bus up there now - I guess the trees would be too low? 

The details I have from my old Charlton records are that it was purchased from COMS in December 1961 (having by that time been renumbered as COMS fleet no H899) and was sold for scrap by Charlton Services in August 1969. The chassis number was 9612A 4672 and the Weymann body number M4505. 

 Whilst in Charlton's service I gather it was mainly used on their Oxford - Charlton - Arncott - Piddington service and also for the many works contracts they operated for the Army Ordnance Depot and schools in the Bicester area. For several years it was out stationed at Kidlington (near to one of the drivers' houses) and was usually parked overnight in the car park of "The Dog" (now "The Squire Bassett") pub in Oxford Road."

Mac H responded  It gets better all the time!  I never expected to get some history of it with Charlton too, particularly as it was still local to the area. Can you pass on my thanks to Andrew. When I complete the article I propose to make an Acrobat file of it and forward to those who assisted just to show my appreciation and hopefully that they can see their efforts weren't wasted.

Thanks again Malcolm. " 
Well, no problem and pleased the page can be of such help. I never cease to be amazed at the power of the Internet!

Oxford Bus having announced their Football services for the 2003-2004 season and a new route 603, giving a fast service from Kidlington have introduced a further new service from 16th August. This is the 604 running the X3 route from Abingdon to Lodge Hill and then express to the Kassam Stadium This service will run for a three month trial period. What with the new Stagecoach X4 and the revamped Oxford Bus X3, X13, 35 and 35A services Abingdon looks set to have a rather good service level to Oxford. The 35A also returns to a half hourly operation to Didcot.

This last weekend saw a lightning strike by check in staff at British Airways and I was most surprised to find an enormous queue at Heathrow's Terminal 4 on Saturday morning. It appeared that several hundred passengers had been stranded all night and by later in the morning the "coach road" at departures had been closed by police as passengers spilled out onto the roadway. I felt sorry for people on this busy weekend following schools breaking up and families off on holiday.

The local papers are full of stories about buses this week. The Bucks Free highlights the success of the new Red Route 33 but there are also complaints about poor service levels in other areas.

The stone sets which caused so much fuss at the Oxford Rail Station area recently renamed Frideswide Square have now reappeared at The Plain where they have been used to rebuild the curbing around the traffic island. Cornmarket is set to be full of road works until next year as the contractors have found numerous pipes and cables which are not marked on their maps. This means that they cannot complete the resurfacing and the area remains a mess. My wife remembers a rubber surface in the '50s which was very silent. another person I was speaking to however remembers that this rubber was very slippery and people would come off their bikes in the wet.. Seems Cornmarket has had it share of troubles for many years.

Last week I mentioned about the bridge over the M40 cutting at Stokenchurch leading to Christmas Common which has a 7.5 ton weight limit. One of my correspondents, which I choose not to name, wrote saying "Re your comment in the current news update, I was going to Henley on Friday and passed two coaches parked outside Cowleaze Woods. Indeed one was practically blocking the road.  From the way the coaches were facing and the angle of the one blocking the road there was no way they had come from Watlington direction. (as you know there is nowhere for the coaches to turn round before the bridgehad they come to from Watlington).  

As an aside I work for Trading Standards and part of our Department's new duties is to enforce weight restrictions.  As far as I am aware coaches are not exempt from such restrictions and therefore both coaches were committing offences if they had gone over the bridge. 

Keep up the good work with the news page - first rate as ever."

So operators take note about bridge weights!!!!

And so on to the local operator news. A point of thought is I wonder if you would prefer each operator to have a separate page which will contain all recent news and where possible a fleet list and some pictures. The pictures would probably have to be changed each week but the old ones remain archived for access. Let me have your comments on that one.

Malcolm Crowe, July 20th 2003.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies 20th July 2003

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


Branded Volvo B6 nr 3126 runs into Wycombe on a local working - the destination was very difficult to see.

Steve Warwick writes

Wed 16th July

Two of the X15 branded Scania's were on 500 Aylesbury-Watford route all day, numbers 3203 & 3204.

Watford Scania 3166 was on the X15,

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

Vehicles - Olympian 5114 is sold, awaiting collection.  As informed yesterday ex COMS Olympian 5832 has now arrived at Aylesbury, has been on 261 Thame and 66 Buckingham's.   The two NC bodied Volvo B6's are expected from Luton this weekend for the 61 service wi=hich Aylesbury depot start on Monday. Rumours are that are going to be 3117 (M717OMJ) and 3118 (M718OMJ).

Fri 18th July

The 13.30, 280 Oxford was worked by Scania 3165.

Olympian 5114 was collected by it's new owners yesterday, it has gone to Red Kite at Tilsworth.

It is confirmed that three Volvo B6's will be at Aylesbury tomorrow (Sat) they are 3117 (M717OMJ) 3118 (M718OMJ) and 3119 (M719OMJ).

Sat 19th July
On visit to Wycombe noted that Olympian 5129 (H199GRO) has arrived from Ware and was in the workshop.

At Aylesbury the three Volvo B6's 3117,3118 & 3119 arrived from Luton.

Dave Stewart writes "Re the Stokenchurch - Wycombe routes from 6/7/03,  there seems some confusion over the existence of a 341.  Arriva clearly stated that the 341 number ceased, and their new t/t leaflet quotes only 340 and 342 as on that corridor.   However, the new Bucks CC Travel Guide book shows the 1740 (M-F) ex HW as a 341, but the Arriva leaflet shows it as a 340.   Arriva themselves then confuse the issue by showing the Saturday journey at 1510 from Ibstone to HW as a 341, whereas the 1110 journey - which covers an identical route - is headed correctly as a 342.   Anyway, Arriva reckon that there is no such thing as a 341 in spite of the Bucks book.  What actually is shown on the buses is anyone's guess - and probably matters little to passengers as long as it goes in the right direction!!"

Graeme Wilson writes

Wednesday 16th:

Volvo Olympian 5157 (I think) route 54 to Halton Camp, Greenway 3044 also working this route.

Thursday 17th:

Olympian 5832 (G232VWL) working Grange school contract in the afternoon, so it is now at Aylesbury, but older 5828 (E228CFC) was still working out of
Wycombe on the same day.

It also now seems that another B6, L43MEH, has arrived from Luton- spied it on route 54 Monday.

Nigel Peach writes

"Thanks for another interesting "page". Newman Morgan has a very good memory for what went on in the olden days!  I had totally forgotten the existence of the old route 33A until reading his report, but I remember it now.

Newman makes mention of the RMLs on the 363. I think I've mentioned before that I remember the excitement we young schoolboy bus spotters felt when we knew that their delivery to Wycombe depot was imminent. Regular journeys home from school were via the London Transport depot at the bottom of Marlow Hill in I think it was Jan & Feb 1966 where we saw newly delivered RMLs 2411/2/8 (JJD 411D etc) shortly followed by 2415/6/7/9 to work the 363. 2419 quickly disappeared but the other 6 ran the route for many years. At that time they rarely strayed onto other routes, with RTs running most of the other LT routes in Wycombe.

Back to today! :

On Tuesday evening one of the all Leyland Olympians was on the 301 climbing Treadaway Hill from Loudwater to Flackwell Heath when it was hit by a car coming down. The bus was either 5120 or 5124 (as I saw 5120 running later in the week, maybe it was 5124). I'm not sure how much damage was incurred, but the road was closed for some hours while the vehicles were recovered.

Alexander bodied Volvo B6 3243 has returned to service after many weeks off the road. On Friday 18th it was on Red Route 33. Interestingly, like 3115 I mentioned last week, it was totally devoid of decals.  (Sister 3242 is still at the back of the bus station where it has been for a long time now, but it did look as though it is being worked on.)

Most if not all of the SLF Darts now have Red Route branding, but I notice that 3827 does not have "Arriva" on the front for some reason!"


3139 pauses at the two way lights in the centre of Wycombe. The church makes a nice backdrop.

Oxford Bus have kindly provided the latest fleet list which also includes the four Darts on loan from Metrobus for the launch of the new route 14. These buses are having their front ends returned to full Oxford Bus livery. (see below)

Oxford fleet list 1/7/03

Details of various changes to the routes including the new route X13 can be found on the company web page. http://www.oxfordbus.co.uk


A busy Saturday morning saw the 0900 X70 departing with a full load. Coach 33.


Coach 37 poses beneath a Thomas Cook B757 at Gatwick coach park last Friday.


There are some beautiful buildings in Oxford one of which makes a backdrop for Trident 117 on 400 road.


Looking more Oxfordish Dart 506 shows off its repainted front prior to entering service.


I had not noticed before the at least MB 827 has gained a rear fleet number.
This is unlike any other style used.

Work continues on Volvo 606 presently having a major bodywork refit and seemingly to receive new seats and other internal fitments. 602 is also under going work. I understand 601-607 will be branded for 35 road services.


The new National Express image is of course normal on new coaches and this example is
now working the First Cymru contribution from Swansea to Gatwick on route 201.
CU03AVD - fleet nr 118 seems to have missed being "Nationally numbered"


The Flightlink livery is fast disappearing and a surprise visitor to Gloucester Green last Saturday
was this ex Flights - now Dunnline - Volvo B10M S295WOA, until recently a regular on
the Birmingham - Gatwick services. It is working a Weymouth service relief.

 

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

getacro.gif (712 bytes)

Route 10 is now up and running with its branded buses, Darts 32051-32054 and 32061 and 32062.


Here 32052 pauses at Headington shops, showing off its new branding.


The interior of recently arrived M A N 22203 shows its large interior fleet number.
Many operators seem no longer to use interior fleet numbers - I wonder why?

Stagecoach, awarded the new Brookes University contract, will gain several new buses as a result. It is understood that three of these new buses will be from the latest batch of 60 new  M A N s currently under build by Transbus. I understand they feature revised front end. The deckers are also new buses but I do not have any details as yet.

Ralph Adams notes "Stagecoach had 12 Olympians on the Sunday Silverstone Park & Ride service this year."

Richard Sharman writes "I can know confirm that Dart/Pointer 759, N59KBW, the one that was fire damaged some time ago, is now at Wacton Coach Sales, Bromyard for Scrap. The fire had took out almost all the roof, only bit that remained was round cab, vehicle will be canabalised then scrapped."

Keith Wood writes "As promised a catch up of info from the last couple of weeks.

At Rugby

40155 is the latest repaint into new livery here.

40154's new Mega Rear Advert is a Orange/Green/White affair for
Warwickshire College at Leamington,Rugby & Moreton Morrell. The previous Mega Rear carried by this bus was for Rugby FM Radio Station.

52308 has been repainted overall white presumably for the application of new National Express branding.

West & Wales 52450 R550 JDF was present on 9/7/03 in similar fashion to 52308 reason unknown.

At Leamington

Rob has reported the repaint into new livery of 14516 whilst Richard Sharman of the excellent Stratford Blue website has reported on UKBus the repaint into new livery of 20401."
 

Tappins of Didcot.


I rather liked the end result of this picture taken as a passenger on SC22203.
What a queue of buses is behind us.  Tappins MUI7852.

Woottens

Michael Wootten writes "I thought you might be interested to know that Woottens have recently acquired Volvo B10M MK4 \ Berkhof Excellence C53F N903ABL from Truemans Coaches of Fleet. 

I have attached photographs of N903ABL and the three latest Euroriders, which joined the fleet last month.


 


 

PHOTO CORNER
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at 
malcolmhc@aol.com


There is shortly to be one unhappy driver as he finds a ticket on this Plaxton CMJ224X parked
in High Wycombe last Friday. does anyone know who it belongs to and what it is?

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

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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