Sunday 23rd January 2005
next update week ending 5th February 2005
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.
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This past week has seen a great deal happening in our area. Some items are notable whilst others are of interest from a fleet point of view.
There is however one problem and that is time. I am rather late getting down to producing this week's page and so some items will have to be left over to next week.
Oxford Tube Connection - Lewknor
One item of particular interest is the launching, at last, of the CONNECTION service of taxi buses from Lewknor. I remarked on this service way back last September when it was due to launch. At long last things will get under way on the 31st January when two routes will launch. One is between Watlington and Lewknor - TB1 and the other from Chinnor as TB2. further details will be given next week with some pictures of the operation. Any contributions from readers would also be appreciated.
The front of the brochure shows the vehicles to be used and some brief details.
The service is to be operated by Walters Limousines on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council. It should provide additional support to the already very popular Oxford Tube. you will remember that new bus shelters and lay-bys have been provided and the area is now street lit at night.
The map in the brochure shows the area of operation. Travel is also possible between Chinnor and Watlington and v.v.
Another OCC service is at Deddington and Chris Maxfield got a shot of another Walters vehicle on this service.
COMS - Cowley Road is no more
One of my erstwhile correspondents has produced some excellent photos of the old COMS site as it was last week. This is the view looking towards Cowley Centre.
Requests & Replies
Ben Morroll wrote asking "....a long shot, would you know who is running a Lynx in Harrogate Coach Services livery in Milton Keynes?"
I received an interesting reply to this question from David Fell who says "This vehicle, and several others (below), are regularly parked adjacent to my office at Chesney Wold, Bleak Hall, Milton Keynes. This is adjacent to the United Counties Milton Keynes parking area.
The Leyland Lynx in question is E264TUB, and is owned and operated by Midland Routemaster (www.midlandroutemaster.co.uk). New in Feb 1988 to Sheffield and District, it passed to West Riding in Oct 1989 and eventually to Harrogate Coach Travel. It was acquired by Midland Routemaster in Oct 2004 and, along with the rest of their fleet, is soon to be repainted in a new livery. I'll try and photograph the vehicle over the next few days (too dark this evening!!).
Midland Routemaster also own ex Reading Titan YJB 68T (usually parked overnight at Bleak Hall) and frequently hire Transit Group ex WMT Metrobus POG600Y. An ex Mainline/First South Yorkshire Dennis Dominator is also often parked there (owner unknown).
Also at the site is former Morris, Swansea (via Payne, Eaton Soton) LKG19X. This has been purchased for preservation by a Midland Routemaster employee and will appear at local rallies later this year.
An adjacent parking area is used for overnight parking by Stagecoach United Counties. Residents over the last two nights (19 and 20 Jan) were 40305 (N305XRP) and 16228 (S758DRP).
On my daily journey between Bicester and Milton Keynes, I regularly pass Jeffs (ex Oxford) Dennis Darts M505VJO and M517VJO. These are used on Buckingham/Milton Keynes services in the mornings.
I hope this is of interest. Thanks for an interesting website."
Thanks too David for a most informative reply.
Matt Cooper also responded regarding this question saying "In response to the enquiry on this weeks news sheet regarding the Lynx in Milton Keynes. This is operated by an operator called Midland Routemaster who ran a few routes in Northampton using Leyland Nationals of various origins before withdrawing all routes in late 2003. Midland Routemaster re-appeared in early 2004 operating night buses at weekends in Milton Keynes and taking a Beacon Bingo contract in Northampton after Stagecoach withdrew from operating this contract. Vehicles have been housed at a number of locations but have now seemed to settle in an old factory yard in Roade, on the A508 near Northampton. All the old Nationals are stored here in their various liveries of former operators, an old Confidence of Leicester Atlantean new to Portsmouth. These are seemingly non-runners and were the vehicles used by this operator when running in Northampton. Currently used are an ex Travel West Midlands Metrobus (POG600Y) still in their livery and the Lynx (E264TUB) still in Harrogate livery of green/cream with o/a rear advert still applied. This vehicle was used as a road test vehicle by 'Buses' magazine in mid 1988 (featured in edition 400). An ex Reading Titan, in blue livery has recently appeared at the yard."
I never cease to be amazed at the way in which the world wide web brings forth information. Thanks also to Matt.
Finally on this subject London Bus Driver sent some pictures saying "Attached are 2 photo's taken on the 29th November in Northampton of Lynx E264TUB - It appears it is owned by Midland Routemaster, who did operate a late night service in Milton Keynes at one point."
Historical notes - a letter from Peter Edgar
Thought you might be interested in the attached photo's that I have scanned from a Crosville guide I have. I picked it up from a second-hand bookshop in Aylesbury a few years ago.
I have scanned the cover of
the guide, and two of the pages that relate to the Chilterns and Oxon. area,
hopefully they are clear enough for you to see the details.
You will see that there are various notes, mainly timings written down the edges, these have been written in by someone obviously making the complete journey from London to Liverpool. The guide is complete and should you like a full copy let me know. There is no indication of date of issue, but I would guess it's from the 50's,early 60's.
On the page showing Studley Green and Stokenchurch there is a note against Studley Green saying 'stop' so this fit's in with a comment from one of your recent newsletters where there was mention of the Crosville Liverpool service stopping at S/Green rather than S/church.
What makes this guide of particular interest to me is that the person using it was obviously travelling from London to Liverpool, but their ultimate destination is Southport (a Southport address is written as a note) which is where my wife comes from, and every time we go to Southport I mean to go and look the house up.
Hope you find this interesting? Thanks for your hard work each week.
(Peter - my hard work seems to
have managed to lose your scans. Could you resend them for next week's page
Finally I have two pictures of the Menzies buses working at Heathrow on the LTU replacement service.
Colin Cooke took this lovely shot of T39 - YS03ZKU leaving Hatton Cross last week bound for T4.
My own picture was a late afternoon picture of another Scania at Terminal 4.
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 23rd January 2005
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 23rd January 2005
A dearth of reports about this company this week.
I have some photos from Gavin Francis but I have held them over until next week. There is however a nice shot of the revised bus stop flags for the 280 taken by Chris Maxfield.
The green DAFs have entered service on the 336 as can be seen from this picture taken by Colin Cooke.
Colin Cooke writes "Taken Sat 22 at the bottom of Green Street Chorleywood. Nice to see the driver lowering the floor for an elderly passenger."
Gavin Francis sent some pictures and says "I went over to Princes Risborough first thing this morning to get a pic of The Cadet on the 320. It turned out to be a DAF so got a pic of that instead."
Gavin Francis took this picture of DAF988 at Princes Risboro station on the 320.
Another nice picture from Gavin, this time of newly repainted Olympian L563 in Wycombe.
I must say I very much like the new Carousel livery which has a most professional appearance.
Freshly out of repaint, maybe one of the first from the new depot and seen last week was Volvo B10B 638 on 2 road. It however eluded my lens.
Volvo 634 however was caught turning into Speedwell Street showing 4L. I wonder if there is some new variation of route?
Last week I saw a 28 going to Barton !!!!
Citaro 828 branded for the X3 pauses on the Abingdon Road last Saturday on its way to Abingdon.
The sharks fin mentioned last week has since disappeared. I wonder if there is a bigger shark at Cowley House which may have eaten it!
Bus Monkey writes to report:-
833 on 4A (X3 branded)
102, 656 on 15
822 on 400
609, 617, 634, 648 on 15!!!!
825 on X13
836 on 5
103 on 4A
Robin Clare writes regarding the pictures from
Marcus Lapthorn in issue 110 saying "I
believe that the picture of ex-North Western Fleetline 213 was taken in the yard
of Wantage garage.
Being based there from 1977 to 1983, it brought back a number of memories.
I passed my test in Abingdon, before these were conducted from recognised test centres. My Instructor had been Len Marsh, who regrettably died a number of years back.
The 799 on the destination blind doesn't ring a bell, although we did a contract for Metal Box from Didcot Station to their research centre on the old airfield at Grove, which was numbered 399.
My years at Wantage were very happy ones. It was a small garage, and I was junior man for 17 months.
Most of my contemporaries will have long since retired. Main man was Charlie Wernham with Sid Tinley and Alan Willerby as depot Inspectors.
Amongst the drivers that I remember were Fred Mathews, Johnny Bartholomew, Vic Thornhill, Eric Tarry and Brian Whitehorn. If I put my mind to it, I could probably remember most of the rest.
We had a mixed allocation, with MkIII VR's 453-457 to do the main road 301/302 service, which formed the bulk of our work. Single deck Fleetline 640 was a one-time resident, which we used on the 570 and 311. I once had the dubious pleasure of taking it through to Newbury. Hard work at 38m.p.h. flat out and rock solid steering.
Favourite trip was the Summer Saturdays (380?) from Oxford to Weston Super Mare. Regular vehicle, from memory, was I believe No.22 (?) a prototype ECW/RELH with an air operated throttle. You had to stand up to get 50 m.p.h.
Being fairly adventurous (and broke) in those days, I used to volunteer to work most rest days, but I was normally sent to Oxford to work. They in turn often sent me to Chipping Norton or Witney to cover.
Since leaving Oxford I have remained in the industry, and currently drive for M.K.Metro.
Congratulations on a very interesting site."
Thanks to Robin for these most interesting and informative memories. I always feel that such pieces add to the value of the page.
On another personal note one of the Express drivers at Oxford, Alan Gelson sent me the following notes and pictures saying "Thought that these may be of interest to you, taken today at the new garage.
Last June Loretta and I went to a classic truck show at the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon near Banbury and we purchased two raffle tickets to win a classic car, as you can see by the photographs we did! Its a 1957 Morris Oxford and it was handed over to us in a short ceremony at the garage at 2 o'clock today. It was also attended by the Oxford Mail so we will probably be appearing in it next week.
The relevant coaches are no.22 and no.59
congratulation to Alan and Loretta. I am sure they will enjoy many happy hours
with such a classic car.
Stephen Le Bras
writes re the picture shown last week and included below "I
have this coach YN54WWF as belonging to Telling Golden Miller, Fratton
for route 027 etc."
A Volvo/Plaxton YN54WWF on National Express Service 027 which is nominally a London-Chichester operation.
I think this maybe a new delivery to National Express operations but I did not have chance to note the legal owner.
Another fresh repaint this week is 32614 based at Witney and seen here in Gloucester Green last Saturday.
Monkey writes to report that "MANs have started to appear on the 10 quite
regularly in the last month or so. A monkey may be forgiven for wondering if
this is now regular what with 33821/2 branded up for the 5A/5B."
18178 on X31
20012 on 1
18179, 34466 on 1
18180 on 7
Ian Pinnell reports "Today (22nd Jan 2005) I noticed the loaned Tridents for the Brookes Bus duties work the 10, 3 and 7. (Sorry, did not see fleet numbers).
Joshua also reported that "Today (Tuesday 18) I caught a stagecoach trident's on loan from Manchester home from school, it was on 7a duties, to be specific it was trident 18181, and its sister trident 18180 was just ahead on 7's from BARTON, I wonder why they are putting them on Kidlington, because this is not the first time they have appeared in Kidlington, most days they are about on 7/a, but never on 7b/d.
(Since Brookes is not fully back as yet there are spare buses for other duties. Ed.)
The expected and long awaited new Tridents have started to arrive, the first coming late last week. Details are as follows.
Trident/Alexander body nr 4413/1
18196 KN54ZXL Trident/Alexander body nr 4413/2
18197 KN54ZXM Trident/Alexander body nr 4413/3
18198 KN54ZXO Trident/Alexander body nr 4413/4
18199 KN54ZXP Trident/Alexander body nr 4413/5
They are 47/28 seaters and have Voith 4 speed gearboxes.
3 of the 5 new Tridents awaiting entry into service - 230105
18196 at Horspath last Friday.
A rear near side view of the same bus.
Twenty-five new Neoplan Skyliner double deckers due for Megabus are in the course of delivery.
The fleet numbers are 50126 to 50150 and the first 7 are registered
50127 - SV54ELH
50128 - SV54ELJ
50129 - SV54ELO
50130 - SV54ELU
50131 - SV54ELW
50132 - SV54ELX
to be allocated to Perth (3) and Aberdeen (4).
The blue used is much darker than on the Oxford Tube Neoplans as can be seen in the picture below.
Crew training is currently taking place and some of you have noted coaches in various locations. Indeed 50128 is currently based at Oxford and is doing crew training in various parts of the UK.
Christopher Lowe writes "I am just writing to inform you that one of the new Neoplan's was in use on driver training duties in Manchester on Thursday 20th January. It was being used by Princess Road garage and was seen at various times during the day in Manchester City Centre. The vehicle (registration SV54ELJ) was in plain blue with a rear air conditioning vent painted yellow but with no other visible markings. A driver I know at Stagecoach Manchester saw it in Princess Road garage later that evening."
Luke noted that "New, and unbranded Neoplan SV54 ELJ entered Princess Road depot (Manchester) tonight at approximately 18.30, and was parked on the wash & fuelling bay. It was displaying something like 'ABC Hanover Displays' on the LED display. Certainly turned a few heads!"
As you can see this is the one being used for instruction by an Oxford driving instructor already well used to these type of coaches Ed.)
50128 rests during today (Sunday) before setting off on another week's training somewhere in the UK.
The back ready for the vinyls.
A shot of the interior showing the two crew seats behind the driving position.
Taken by Graeme/Tails Adventures 2040 who has allowed me to use on our site. 50127 in Scotland last week.
Let us see who can be the first one to send in a picture of one in full livery?
News of a new double decker reached me last week but I held this over pending a picture. I was able to visit Wallingford this afternoon and photograph this pink bus.
A Scania with East Lancs bodywork, OU54PGZ is being used on the X15 from Abingdon to Witney.
It has more security cameras on a bus than I have seen to date.
Worth's of Enstone
Chris Maxfield made a visit around the area last week and produced some excellent photos.
The Citaro seen in Charlbury last week.
Still in service, two ex Oxford Olympians. 220 is yet to receive fleet livery
Chris notes that this Plaxton coach, DCZ2322, has received new rear lights in place of the familiar lighting clusters used on this type of coach.
Z&S Travel, Aylesbury
Z&S operate some journeys on the 321 and unusually rostered this Volvo last week which was caught on camera by Gavin Francis.
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