Sunday 23rd February 2003
week commencing 3rd March 2003
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This last week sees the publication of the March issue of Buses magazine which includes the 2003 Rally & Museum Guide, a most useful piece of information. There is also an interesting article on the Scania OmniDekka and this recent contender for the very large orders for double decks being placed for TfL services must worry manufacturers such as Dennis and Volvo who have had everything there own way for a number of years now. I haven't yet tried out a Scania decker but with engine power of 230hp or 260hp it is still quite low powered for a vehicle designed for modern traffic conditions. Especially so, when one considers coaches now with 300+ and 400+ hp engines moving many less passengers.
I took my grandson up to London last week to The Imperial War museum, which is close to Elephant & Castle. Having considered using the coach and transport in London but having care for my wife who is not easily able to get around I decided eventually on the car. I even paid the congestion charge, easily accomplished on the TfL web site, even after the event and must say traffic was much easier than before the charge. One of course must remember to pay the charge before 10pm otherwise it becomes costly. Having said all that I found the A3 leading up to Elephant & Castle just like an old Sunday morning with little or no traffic around. In fact the journey home was completed in just around 1 hour from the Museum. So for me I think it is a good idea. I read somewhere that it is costing over £1000 per year for people working in the zone and I can sympathise with their protests, especially since the Underground is so crowded and to get to the IWM one would need two buses from Victoria, not easy for those with walking difficulties such as my wife. However the number of new buses seen, including the Citaro bendi-buses on the 436, were significant and one is left to wonder how on earth they are going to get enough drivers for all the proposals in the pipeline, let alone those already in service.
On Saturday I had a chance to sample the traffic from a PCV drivers point of view when I operated the 0900 and 1440 Oxford X90 services to Victoria. Baker Street seemed a little easier than usual but Oxford Street was as congested as ever, maybe its the extra but services. I noticed a Routemaster on service 390 which struck me as very odd. It seemed it should be green and out in the country rather than Oxford Street. I suppose a 436 in London is equally odd to those with long memories. Another surprise was to see a yellow Trident/Plaxton President on rail replacement work - PO51WNH, just ahead of me approaching the Marylebone road in Gloucester place. The last time I saw this bus was in Oxford on a Sunday service from Stratford last summer. It's now with Blue Triangle. Loading on the London services were very good for both Oxford operators last Saturday and one wonders if the congestion charge has made a difference or is it just half term?
Talking of rail replacement Chiltern Railways are still using coaches on Sundays and there were several coaches in an otherwise rather deserted car park this morning.
Catteralls of Southam had two coaches in Wycombe along with Taylors J9DLT seen below.
I had chance to pop into Newlands Bus Station afterwards and was interested to see this allocation board in the old enquiry office now being used by the Duty Manager. One would need to now the running boards to know what bus is where but it is a useful way of knowing what is on the road each day.
A total of 60 buses is presently allocated to Wycombe by Arriva.
A strong letter of criticism is in this last week's issue of The Bucks Free Press as a result of the recent changes made by BCC. The letter in question includes the comment "we are told not to use cars and use public transport but unreliable services are forcing people to use cars". The writer is a student at Amersham College sand also complains of a fare of £2 for a 4 mile journey. Indeed there needs to be a very radical rethink by our Government if they are really going to get people out of the car. Maybe more of the taxes on fuel and private cars is going to have to be spent on public transport rather than introducing new taxes such as road tolls. Is it possible to see in a Government budget what our taxes are spent on, i.e. how much of the present road and fuel taxes go into public transport? I bet I'm opening a whole can of worms with these thoughts.
Following the comments of a reader last week on buggies and wheelchairs, the Oxford Times this week carried an article about Stagecoach, one of the city operators, where electric wheelchairs had been refused by the drivers on instruction from the company. Indeed more people now have electric chairs and many low floor buses have problems for such users in the width of the isles and the number of grab rails preventing chairs from being correctly located. In the event of an accident and injury to the chair user I wonder just who would take the blame for the injury. All buses state the need for chairs to be correctly located before the bus moves off. The incident reported was related to the batteries and not space but space is an issue for all operators. Stagecoach have now rescinded this instruction and they will carry such chairs in future.
Whilst out today I went up to Binders Yard and came upon this delightful Bedford SB with Burlingham bodywork. The style was quite popular in the late fifties but my memories of such Burlinghams, when I was driving on the Ribble from Manchester, was how they leaked a lot, especially on the driver.
329FPE is in for attention but is it being returned to coach status?
I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page. The many very positive comments make it all worth while.
Malcolm Crowe, February 23rd 2003.
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News of the local companies - 23rd February 2003
Martyn Pearce advises that he now has an ex Motts Leopard OWG368X.
Leopard OWG368X parked in the Abbey Coaches yard this Sunday. It is in the now familiar SCHOOL BUS livery.
Airlinks are busily removing all traces of Cambridge Coach Services, with the application of various other liveries. It does appear that a survey of passengers said they recognised the National Express branding more than the subsidiaries such as Airlinks, Airbus, Jetlink and Speedlink. As such it seems possible that National white will be applied to the whole fleet. Here V304, now in Express Shuttle livery stands alongside V313, which like V314, carries Airbus livery. Can any reader shed any light on what the plans are, since several coaches - as mentioned on this page - now carry all over white livery.
The rear of V313 shows the effect of the "Heathlow" all over advertising livery. I can't say I like
such liveries but I suppose the help to bring in revenue to the operator.
Arriva serving The Shires
Ben Carter writes that on 17th February "Bouncy castle on route to Uxbridge, route 300 but it just displayed - Uxbridge. Wycombe Bus Company Leyland Olympian on route 315 to Lane End at 1945."
got some more things to report, this time regarding Tuesday, 18th February.
Firstly, Aylesbury's surviving Roe-bodied Olympian 5071 operated the 09:10, 11:10 and 13:10 departures on route 66 to Buckingham, before being replaced by Olympian 5085 for the 15:50 service.
Secondly, ex- Oxford Dart M504VJO was on the 4's today, and route 2 was served by Mercedes minibus N177DWM all day.
I have yet more points of interest for you, regarding
Thursday and Friday of this week:
Thursday 20th: In Aylesbury, Dart M504 VJO on route 2, and Roe-bodied Olympian 5071 worked local service 4 initially, but was quickly re-allocated to route 16. Furthermore, Olympian 5099 worked the 11:52 departure on route 500, and Greenway 3050 was in service both today and Friday on route 54.
Friday 21st: In Wycombe, two 'Bouncy castle' darts worked the 303, and Dart L415NHJ was on the 326. Also, L460NMJ (I think) has been down at Wycombe all day; this bus is allocated to Aylesbury, as it was on the 261 previously.
With thanks to Steve Warwick for this info, Greenways 3048 and 3057 are currently in the workshops; 3048 has been off the road for some while now, and so it may never return to service.
3101 L460NMU now transferred to High Wycombe. It replaces Dart SLF 3823 transferred to Aylesbury.
Dave goes on to say -
Ref. the picture of Arriva 5114. I can confirm that the company has now
transferred it to Wycombe. It originally went from Garston to Luton but only
stayed there about a couple of weeks. In your picture showing "Manchester",
you will observe that the word is at the bottom of the screen rather than
filling it. I think you will find that it is just the top part of "Manchester
Street", the location of the main Town Centre stops in Luton ! I don't know if
it now has a Wycombe blind, I was in Wycombe on Tuesday (briefly) but did not
see the bus.
Ed Maun also writes on the route changes saying "Further to my previous e-mail, further info is now available regarding service changes from 16/17 Feb.
Steve Warwick writes :
Thurs 20th Feb
I was driving the 8.35 service to Halton Camp today with Greenway 3050 (easily the best one we've got) when I got to Halton I leapt out to take a photo when a passenger asked me if I was a bus enthusiast, and asked my name it turned out to be Graeme Wilson and we had a good chat about Greenway's and your news page.
Fri 21st Feb
SLF Dennis Dart 3823 (N523 MJO) has been transferred from H/W to Aylesbury, with Dart 3101 (L460 NMU) going the other way.
Olympian 5099 was working the 500 service Watford-Aylesbury.
Steve also sent me details of current allocations.
AYL: 0446, 0447, 0448, 0449 - 2114, 2127, 2176, 2240, 2244, 2248, 2347, 2416, 2417, 3044, 3046, 3048, 3050, 3053, 3054 and 3057. (This puts all Shires Greenways at AYL) 3080, 3093, 3099, 3164, 3165, 3166, 3203, 3204, 3205, 3305, 3315, 3316, 3354, 3374, 3375, 3482, 3484, 3485, 3486, 3487, 3492, 3497, 3819, 3820, 3823, 3833, 3834, 5071, 5085, 5088, 5097, 5099, 5100, 5101, 5102, 5103, 5104, 5156, 5157, 5158, 5159, 5160, 5161.
Please advise any changes. Next week I'll publish the Wycombe allocation.
Paul Coley writes re Red Route 9
"Bucks County Council have now
called me to advise the following:
1.. 60% of the new black bus stops that were ordered (back in November) were not delivered. These are now due to be delivered in March.
2.. A company was appointed to deliver information packs to all houses along the route.....but only delivered about 1000! Again, these are being reprinted, and are to be redelivered in March (pack includes timetables, free tickets etc)
3.. To compenstate for a lack of information at stops, they have asked Arriva to hand out timetables to all passengers with their tickets.
4.. Arriva are supposed to use branded buses on this route (which makes sense), but the gent from the council was annoyed to see a route 9 branded bus on the 2's this morning!
All in all, my comments were accepted. It would appear a sort of re-launch will occur in March once all the stops have arrived, and leaflets distributed!"
Carousel, High Wycombe.
The 321 route is now partly in the hands of Carousel. Here recently arrived ex Armchair Olympian 556
basks in the warm sunshine of this Sunday alongside two Metrobuses.
This Sunday, instead of the more usual double deck, Lynx LX58 was working the 401 service.
Ed Maun writes "Ref issue 20 and Carousel Buses finding their way to Princes Risborough as a result of the recent service changes. Carousel already operated journeys to Princes Risborough on service 321 (early morning and late afternoon) and also school days only service 621. With the recent changes to service 321, Carousel now operate one early morning journey via Princes Risborough Rail Station and one journey via the Place Farm Way and Woodfield Road loop in Princes Risborough."
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Volvo 24 waits time in Victoria coach Station whilst operating an X90 working instead of its more usual
X70 Heathrow workings. This was last Thursday mid morning.
Trident 120 preceeds Jubilee liveried 104 into Queen St last Saturday.
Volvo 616, one of only two buses with X3 branding now makes a crew change in Queen St last Saturday.
Demands on the low floor fleet occasional cause B10Bs to appear on a nominally low floor route.
Here the last of the plaxton Verde dual doors, 643, works a 5 road service last Saturday.
The Citaros operating the 500 service have had an amendment to their destination displays made.
The display now shows "stopping at Keble Road - and Summertown or the reverse for inbound services.
This helps intending passengers to realise when they can use this service.
Volvo B10B 620, the only OBC bus in overall advertising livery has now been returned to fleet livery at the end of contract. It normally works 35 road.
The new Citaros are seemingly still not in service and it does not appear if any have been to Wycombe as yet, even on driver training. It seems that they will be registered LT52WXA, B, L-P, R but I am not sure about the fleet numbers.
Harris Coaches, High Wycombe
A visit to their yard today revealed this MB midi coach FY52GUH.
Motts, Stoke Mandeville
Paul Green writes to send these two photos showing the latest arrivals. Does anyone have an up to date fleet list?
E25 and 26 UNE stand side by side in the yard at Stoke Mandeville. They were
new to Shearings and are Leyland Tigers with Alexander Belfast bodies.
They were latterly with Arriva Midlands North.
This Olympian E153OMD started life in London, I think
Prestwood Travel, High Wycombe
Still in revenue service with Prestwood, this AEC Reliance/Plaxton started life with Green Line as RS111
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
20204 now spends time on the South Oxfordshire services giving more comfort than the Darts to passengers.
Seen last Friday in Speedwell Street between duties.
20543 seen in Gloucester Green last Saturday has trasnferred in, with 20541 and 20542
from Stagecoach North West in exchange for our three Dennis Lances 27901-3. These Volvos
Started life in Glasgow.
M A N 22920 was once a Kidlington branded bus but is now in the new colours. Here it works a 3 service.
The 44 to Abingdon is now worked by Varios and we see 42376 on a service last Saturday.
Ralph Adams advises that this Dart, 784(32084) - seen here last Friday in Castle St
left on Saturday for Devon, its new home. This must have been its last working in Oxford.
Ralph Adams writes "Tweleve L Reg Lance buses have gone from South East or London to Carlisle. Carlisle have transferred some K Reg B10M buses to Morecambe, and one P reg B10M bus (20541) has apparently come to Oxford. 20542 has also "gone south" on the report from Lancaster. I can't imagine Carlisle happy on the switch, or Morecambe having older buses. The interesting thing is what will leave Oxford. Only 17 buses from pre Stagecoach remain and several should be going with the ex London buses still due." (After Ralph wrote this we found out about the switch mentioned above. Ed)
Weekly news from Ralph states
3 Volvo B10M with Alexander
bodywork 20541-543 (P541-543ESA) have this week arrived from Morecambe. The 3
Dennis Lance buses 27901-903 have "gone north", almost certainly to Carlisle
where there are another 12 Lance buses. This removes another type of bus from
the pre Stagecoach era, leaving just the high floor Darts, which are also being
On route 66 on Saturday was B10 20683 (previously 403) which is route marked
for service 51 Cheltenham - Cirencester - Swindon. The bus is allocated to
Cirencester outstation, so presumably had been at Swindon for attention.
Latest news (Sunday) from Ralph as follows:
"Seen today were the following
ex London Olympians
16072/76/78/79 R172/76/78/79 VPU
16076 carries fleet number incorrectly of 16176. The real 16176 is R176HHK, still in London.
16072 16078 and 16141 do not yet appear to have had fleet numbers applied.
New Park & Ride route is to be operated by Stagecoach from end of March. It is route 600 from Thornhill P&R to Nuffield & Churchill Hospital. It will be
operated by 2 refurbished Merc 709 buses painted in the style of COMS, but with Stagecoach colours.
Dual door Dart 32084 went to Torquay today (Sunday). The 2 remaining dual door Darts were delivered after Stagecoach purchased Thames Transit. Therefore the only true Thames Transit vehicles left are the 11 single door Darts ".
Stagecoach - other companies.
Another Stagecoach East Olympian working the X38 and not renumbered. It should be 16671.
I was delighted at last to catch one of Tappins in their new livery. Here T4GLS leaves Oxford.
It is not the only VVan Hool T9 Alizeι as they also have R184VSJ.
Does anyone have an up to date fleet list for this company?
Thames Travel Wallingford.
There is one addition to the fleet list published last week and this is a T reg Vario..
151 loads for a 105 departure to Wallingford, displaying its super rear advert.
The 107 service now goes through to Didcot. Here 251 waits time in St Aldates.
Reg. No. Type Body and Seats
B51F Ex Ipswich 104
M501VJO Dennis Dart Marshall B36D City of Oxford 501
WWL208X Leyland Olympian E. C. W. H75D 208
R846 JGD Mercedes O814D Plaxton Beaver B31F
R847 JGD B27F
R848 JGD B31F
T465HNH " " " "
W682MVV Mercedes Sprinter Mercedes B8D
BD02HDV Evo-Bus B8D
X 49VVY Optare Solo Optare B27F
X249VWR Ex Whittle, Kidderminster
V270BNV Dennis Dart Plaxton MPD B29F Ex Armchair, Brentford
KP51UFK Pointer B36F 551
KP51SXU MPD B29F Ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
W992BDP Volvo B6BLE East Lancs B31F Ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
Sometime ago Brian sent this picture in of Worth's on Rail replacement at Oxford Station.
Here Volvo W5WMS waits its next journey.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
For the national renumbering of The Stagecoach Fleet, I have been speaking to Bill Potter of British Bus Publishing. This company has produced a handbook with the full listing and details.
A special offer has been negotiated with Bill and he is prepared to let my readers have a copy of the new handbook for a reduced price of £15.25 (£1 less than the cover price) if you call him on 01952 255669 or visit the web site mentioning:
The Oxford Chiltern Bus Page.
The main site address is http://www.britishbuspublishing.co.uk/index.html I am sure many of you will want to take advantage of this offer.
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