Issue 64

Sunday 25th January 2004
corrected links to pictures - 26/1/04

next update week ending 6th February 2004

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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A quieter week than usual but some interesting photos nevertheless. Stagecoach are working on applying the vinyls to their new low floor Darts to be used on the X4 and the new garage for Oxford Bus is now taking shape.

We are told that the weather in the coming week will be of artic proportions and this could have an affect on services throughout the area. It would be nice, if the weather does turn bad, for some photos of buses and coaches coping with the conditions.

The Bucks Free Press reports that the new bus services around Princes Risboro are being praised for being both cheaper and more eco-friendly than taking the car. Rider On Call is the name given to the new facility serving the areas of Saunderton, Bradenham, West Wycombe and Bledlow Ridge. Walters Limousine Services are operating the on call service and if their success in the Bicester area is repeated then a success seems very likely.

The Oxford times reports a major review is to be carried out on subsidised bus services by Oxfordshire County Council. OCC, who say they cannot go on throwing huge sums of money at the bus companies to keep big buses running, feel that they need a completely different approach. The review will examine the possibility of voluntary and community groups running buses and of taking more mobile services to villages instead of bussing handfuls of people from village to town at great expense. Maybe the examples being set in Buckinghamshire will provide food for thought on this subject. We will have to wait and see.

Another item of interest is also reported in the same paper saying "

Bus campaign pays dividends

A pensioner who campaigned for a bus link between Abingdon and Witney was celebrating today after it was announced that the idea has won a £400,000 grant.

Money from the Government's Rural Bus Challenge scheme will support the Abingdon-Witney Link Bus, providing a new service from Berinsfield and Abingdon to Witney, serving villages along the A415.

June Weatherall, 71, of Bellamy Close, Southmoor, started the campaign 12 months ago when she collected 350 signatures on a petition calling for an Abingdon-Witney link.

She said: "It's the best news I have received for a long time. At last we're going to get a bus service so people from Southmoor and other villages along the route can use public transport to get into the towns.

"I have friends in Witney but they don't drive now and neither do I, so this new service will be a great help not only for visiting people, but it will make it easier for us to go to both towns for shopping."

The service will be run by Thames Travel, of Wallingford. It will receive £410,218 over three years from the Government.

The buses will call at Millet's Farm Centre at Frilford Heath and its owners have also contributed to the costs of the service.

Mrs Weatherall's campaign won the support of Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor parish council, district councillor Melinda Tilley, and MPs Robert Jackson and David Cameron.

The county council took up the project, but it stalled last August when the Countryside Agency said it could only offer a 63,000 grant, rather than £93,000 requested by the county council.

The county's Rural Transport Partnership then lodged a bid for the Rural Bus Challenge grant instead.

The county council executive member for transport, Witney councillor David Robertson, said: "There's enough money to keep the service running for three years, but after that we're on our own.

"It's important that people use this service so it can become established and self-funding in the long term."

A few points of note from the OCC site say 

W/C 8th February 2004

106 (Thames Travel) - Thames Travel site says that the route will be curtailed at Kassam Stadium - NOT Science Park as stated by OCC
"Woodstock Wanderer" 201 / 203 / 242 (RH Transport): Slight timetable alterations including additional journey on service 201 and earlier finish on Saturday.

W/C 22nd February 2004

4 Group (Oxford Bus Company): Timetable alterations to improve reliability at peak times. Service 4 route altered in Abingdon Town Centre - Ock Street served and departures towards Oxford depart from outside Coxeters instead of High Street.
16/16B (Oxford Bus Company): Daytime route of service 16 altered to run via Iffley Road instead of Abingdon Road, numbered 16B. Evening service unchanged via Abingdon Road.

W/C 29th February 2004

"Oxford Espress" X90 (Oxford Bus Company): Frequency increase during peak times.

Ed Maun wrote re an article he saw on BBC :

Gloucester Green Coach Station

An item on the early evening BBC 1 local news programme today (19/1) reported on tests at Gloucester Green Coach Station by Stagecoach to see whether the mooted 13.7 double deck coaches could be manoeuvred safely in the coach station.   One of Buzzlines vehicles of this size was used one evening (!) in a series of tests with measurements being taken.    Stagecoach seemed to accept that some bus services would need to be relocated elsewhere to provide more space for these monsters and a representative of Oxford City Council seemed to imply that the layover bays would have to be dispensed with to provide the necessary space for manoeuvring.   The piece concluded with a reference to COMS recently re-launched “Oxford Espress” with a shot of the new livery and a member of COMS’ staff extolling the virtues of the upgraded service.

Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.

Malcolm Crowe, 25th January 2004.

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News of the local companies – 25th January 2004

Arriva is quieter this week but I secured a number of interesting photos.

With the advent of the new MPD Darts shown last week, the Varios are now available for
other routes and 2198 is seen last Saturday on the 33 Red Route.

Another surprise performer on the same day on the 33 was Dart 3811 seen heeling over as it leaves
Newlands Bus Station at speed.

Another shot of one of the ex London Olympians which have now gained proper route number displays.
Here 5853, again, shows off the large route number as it leaves NBS for Great Missenden on Saturday.

Carousel Buses, High Wycombe.

A Carousel Lynx LX559 puts in a turn on the A40 last Saturday in place of the more normal Citaro.

Cressexpress - Silverlink - Rider On Call (BCC)

Ed Maun writes "I followed a “Rider on Call” service between Bledlow Ridge and Princes Risborough today (19/1) which was provided by Optare Alero YN53YGR in a greyish livery with the “Rider on Call” branding on the sides and the “Rider on Call” web address on the rear window."



Further "espress" coaches entered service last week, when Scania/Irizar nr 3 took to the road. Presently coaches 14, 15, 16, 18, 24, 25 and 26 are all away for refurbishment. In their place coaches 8-12 and 69-71 are filling in. As the other coaches return these latter coaches will be taken out of service, though 69-71 may become pool coaches for use on either The Airline or Oxford espress services. It appears that coach 80, the loaned Irizar is now off charge.

Nr 20 seen on arrival at Victoria Coach Station again lacking a fleet number when it was seen last Friday.

The new garage on the Watlington Road is beginning to take shape and occupation is suggested later this year. The current Cowley road premises are due for demolition and are to be replaced by housing. Work has already started at the rear of the depot.

Work is proceeding apace on the new depot for Oxford Bus which is due for use later this year.

Last week saw some interesting allocations, especially on Friday. 837 was seen on 2C, 16 and 18 roads whilst Volvo B10BLEs 813 and 816 appeared on 400 road. Since 827 was also on this road, this meant that only green Tridents 109, 114 and 117 and red Trident 103 were deckers on the service.

One Oxford Bus duty which covers several routes fielded a Citaro last Friday.
Here 837, having just worked an 18 to Herschel Crescent, now works a 2C to Templar Road.

Later on Friday, Neil Gow pictured 837 again, this time on a 16 working.

On 300 road B10BLE 814 started the days services but was replaced Trident 929 (shortly to appear as a model) later in the day. In addition green Citaro 826 was also on 300 road. The foregoing use of non green Tridents on P&R services is caused by the fact that three are away for attention and others are required for routine maintenance.

Peter Leyman caught 838, unusually on a 300 working a week ago. This is a rare occurance.

The use of B10BLEs on P&R services resulted in B10Bs 614 and 618 appearing on 5 road, 643 on 15 road and 612 on 13s.


The Oxford Tube continues to call at SANDHILLS during the day though inbound services to Oxford now use Thornhill after dark

The Oxford Tube has placed a large sign on the stop at Sandhills now mainly used by Tube services
although the U1, 260, 280 and 757 still use this stop.

The new batch of Darts have arrived and details may be found below.

34466  KV53NHA
34467  KV53NHB
34468  KV53NHC
34469  KV53NHD
34470  KV53NHE
34471  KV53NHF
34472  KV53NHG

Correspondents suspect that the new Darts will literally replace the B10Ms currently used on the X4.

It appears that the new low floor Darts for the X4 will enter service on February 2nd.
Here two KX53NHC & NHF await application of the vinyls last Saturday.

The interior of one of the new Darts seen at Horspath Depot.

22209 has received branding for route 1 in addition to 22207. However older M A N s continue to appear on the 1s.

22940 waits time at "The Terminus" in Blackbird Leys last Saturday 

"Meanwhile at Nuneaton the first of their new Darts has arrived (and is awaiting the launch date), whilst Keith Wood informs me that existing Alexander Dart 33651 has been repainted into corporate livery (ex Primeline livery for route 48) pending its transfer to Oxford." writes Keith Wood who goes on to say "I hope I don't miss anyone out here ? PrimeLine Dart 33651 is the first to be repainted out of PrimeLine livery and into standard Stagecoach Livery in anticipation of it's move to Oxford. Our new Transbus Darts are imminent I understand. If anyone has the fleet / registration
numbers I'd be grateful ?"

Ross coments "Its ironic that 33821/2 are due to return to Oxford from Nuneaton in Feb/March to go onto the 10, which that batch used to do the evening duties on (when it was the 10/A)! "

Rev Ian Kirby writes "A contact has told me that Stagecoach in South Wales are expecting a number of step-floor Darts from Stagecoach Oxford."

Rob Williams comments "I actually suspect that the X4 B10Ms may leave - for use elsewhere in South Midlands. My reasoning is that they probably wouldn't have repainted 20704 if they were expecting to get rid of it so soon and the other two NW examples also seem well settled. I agree the two B6s seem a bit silly on their own, but don't think they'd be getting rid of low floors when there are still Darts lurking at Witney for example. We'll have to wait and see I think."

Adrian Lancer notes the under mentioned workings.

32057 - 7A for the third time in five days!
22057 - U1
31330 - 1 

Saturday 17/1
32627 was the 1807 100 departure to Carterton

Monday 19/1
A Plaxton Dart (class 32) on the 7A this morning and also 22925 has had what looks like a crystal eyes screen installed!!  It was covered up though!

It is unusual to see this display on a Tube, this time 50046 which was resting up at the depot in Oxford.

Adrian Lancer writes "Something which seems have gone unnoticed is that megabus is now operating to a third different timetable in five months!  The timings have been completely changed and most journeys have one set of timings for Mon-fri and another set at weekends!  Does anyone know the actual change date? - I've only just noticed it, but it definitely occurred after Xmas." this being followed by John Hammond who adds "The new timetable was due to come into effect from Sunday January 18th."

Details of the current timetable from the web site are

  MFr   SaSu   MFr   SaSu   MSu   MFr   SaSu   SaSu   MFr   MFr   SaSu
Oxford, Oxpens Coach Park 0600   0730   0900   0930   1130   1500   1600   1700   1800   2030   2100
St. Giles, outside the Taylorian 0605   0735   0905   0935   1135   1505   1605   1705   1805   2035   2105
Banbury Road (Lathbury Road) 0610   0740   0910   0940   1140   1510   1610   1710   1810   2040   2110
Marston (Cherwell Drive) 0615   0745   0915   0945   1145   1515   1615   1715   1815   2045   2115
Headington (Sandfield Road) 0620   0750   0920   0950   1150   1520   1620   1720   1820   2050   2120
London Road (Gladstone Road) 0625   0755   0925   0955   1155   1525   1625   1725   1825   2055   2125
Sandhills 0630   0800   0930   1000   1200   1530   1630   1730   1830   2100   2130
Hillingdon Underground Station 0730   0845   1015   1045   1245   1630   1730   1830   1915   2145   2215
London, Gloucester Place, Allsop Arms 0800   0910   1040   1110   1310   1700   1800   1900   1945   2215   2240
  MFr SaSu   MFr   SaSu   MSu   MFr   SaSu   SaSu   MFr   MFr   SaSu
London, Gloucester Place, Allsop Arms 0830 0930   1100   1130   1400   1800   1830   1930   2030   2300   2330
Hillingdon Underground Station 0900 0955   1125   1155   1425   1845   1855   1955   2100   2330   2355
Sandhills 0945 1040   1210   1240   1510   1930   1940   2040   2145   0015   0040
London Road (Gladstone Road) 0950 1045   1215   1245   1515   1935   1945   2045   2150   0020   0045
Headington (Sandfield Road) 0955 1050   1220   1250   1520   1940   1950   2050   2155   0025   0050
Marston (Cherwell Drive) 1000 1055   1225   1255   1525   1945   1955   2055   2200   0030   0055
Banbury Road (Lathbury Road) 1005 1100   1230   1300   1530   1950   2000   2100   2205   0035   0100
Magdalen Street East 1010 1105   1235   1305   1535   1955   2005   2105   2210   0040   0105
Oxford, Oxpens Coach Park 1015 1110   1240   1310   1540   2000   2010   2110   2215   0045   0110
MFr = Operates Monday - Friday only
SaSu = Operates Saturday - Sunday only
MSu = Operates Monday - Sunday

Full details of pick-up and drop-off points can be viewed at
find us

Swanbrook, Cheltenham

Swanbrook no longer serve Gloucester Green and now start from outside the Old Fire Station in George Street.
Here ex Oxford Citylink UJI1762 awaits departure time last Friday.

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This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

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