Sunday 27th March 2005
next update week ending 2nd April 2005
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The last week has seen a few days of much better weather and the chance to take some better photographs. Quite a lot has been happening and I should first of all make apologies that I got "the wrong end of the stick" relating to the Real Time bus information in Oxford. Robert Williams has written to correct me and I do apologise to everyone for this lack of correct facts on my part.
with my official hat on today.... I feel I should correct you on what you
may have been told about the real time system.
The real time system is not yet live, but under test. A few minor issues need to be ironed out before the system goes live to the public in the coming months. When it does go live, the information screens (primarily along Banbury Road) will be activated and display information about the next buses due to depart based on their current locations. The routes included in the first phase are the 2, 7, 25, 27, 28, 29, 500, U1, U4 and U5. No doubt there will be press releases at the time.
Also, the display at Lewknor is not part of the real time system, but is part of the Taxibus project. The display, which is smaller than the real time displays, is linked to the Taxibus control office. Taxibus control will be able set it to show messages relating to the service, although again I think that there are some minor issues still to be sorted out.
I am indebted to Robert for this correction as I do feel strongly that errors annoy everyone and should not happen. Can someone please keep me updated on how matters are progressing.
I have looked several times at the site and the trials may in part account for my sighting of a route 7 bus in Didcot?
Readers can view the tests at http://oxfordshire.acislive.com/
Routemaster finale on route 19
Your Editor and friend Gavin Francis intend spending Friday looking at the final day of route 19 in London using Routemasters. I shall post a short report on next week's page and do hope the weather is kind to us.
Nigel Peach sent a picture of an RT at Binders Yard and we hope to have the chance to ride on an RT next Friday. Nigel says "RT1602 has recently changed hands, I believe and is seemingly at Ward Jones Commercials in Binders Yard for attention."
RT1602 basks in the spring sunshine last week, captured in this excellent picture from Nigel Peach.
Dark blues win
Well, sorry to those who support Cambridge but I have to record that the dark blues OXFORD won this years boat race. I understand that both operators of the London coach services from Oxford enjoyed a strong morning with supporters going up to London for the event. I am sure that those who made the effort to get up early found their sacrifice worthwhile. One should not forget that the clocks went forward by one hour - British Summertime started at 0200hrs - and so there would have been one hour less in bed.
Red Nose Day
Some of you will wonder where I was on Red Nose Day and how could I not realise what the "pink substances" was on many Arriva buses in High Wycombe. Well there it is, age or something worse is catching up and I didn't but I am grateful to Nigel Peach, Trevor Wilson and Stuart Turner who took time to e-mail me with the explanation.
Service 63 from Oxford - The Village Carrier
I recently posted a picture of a minibus on service 63 and asked what this route and operator was? Well Bill J writes to say "I was a bus spotter in London and Sussex 45 years or so ago and haven't really been seriously involved since. However, I always keep my eyes open and I have enjoyed your reports on Oxfordshire buses since I discovered your website some months ago. I have lived near Didcot for the past 25 years and still travel by bus quite frequently - often in association with long linear walks anywhere in the South East.
That's why I can tell you a bit about Village Carrier 63, which you pictured in your 13 March report, and which I used once last autumn to get from Appleton to Oxford. You can find the route, timetable and operator details at:
The route changed in the autumn. The service used to serve Millet's Farm in Frilford and the village of Garford, but the driver told me he had only had 3 passengers for these destinations in a period of around 9 months. So the timetable was simplified. Apparently some people commute regularly from villages such as Appleton to Oxford using the service. On my journey, a lady was en route to Heathrow, and the driver agreed to divert to Gloucester Green so she would not have to drag her suitcase round from Castle Street to catch the 'Airline'. That's the advantage of local services!
I believe Windrush is basically a taxi company. They have just the one bus, and two drivers share the service (another passenger told me usually on a 'one week on, one week off' basis). The passenger also told me that the 63 is much more reliable then the Stagecoach 66, which often refuses to stop at the Appleton turn on the A420, and sometimes 'forgets' to go through the village for its morning and evening journeys (though this may have stopped after a lot of local publicity about a young girl who was left to walk home on her own in the dark from the A420 when the 66 missed the village last year).
Hope that's of some interest and keep up the good work."
Thanks for that Bill, this is in my belief what this page is all about, Reader contributions do make such an important difference.
George Street roadworks
Roadworks in George Street have reached the point where it is once again possible for PSVs departing from Gloucester Green to make a right turn an avoid the long and often slow detour via Beaumont Street. However at present there is still no through access from the east end and as such all bus services still have to use the Beaumont Street routing.
Cyclists in Oxford
I often wonder why it is that cyclists in Oxford - including a wide selection of people, old, young and not so young- seem to believe that traffic lights and other rules are not for them?
Having stopped my vehicle at the pedestrian lights in The High earlier last week, a most respectable woman complete with a high visibility jacket riding a vintage bike rode by the inside of my vehicle and went straight through the red lights. whilst fortunately the pedestrians crossing stood back to let her "sail through" !!!
Drivers of vehicles, especially buses and coaches often come in for strong criticism about they consideration for cyclists and yet the large proportion of said cyclists seem oblivious to the basic rules of road. Indeed one is surprised if they DO STOP for traffic lights. I hasten to add that this is not a feature unique to Oxford but applies to cyclists all over the UK. However there are probably many more cyclists in Oxford than many other areas of the U.K.
I realise that I run the risk of being pilloried for such comments but I speak as I find.
Friday 1st April 2005
and no its not
an april fools joke
the timetable booklets for Slough/Windsor Running Day on Sunday 17th April are now available price £5 inclusive of postage from
Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society please.
For those in the Oxford area there is a special X20
Returning from Slough @ 13.25 & 17.25
There are 136 scheduled departures from Slough Bus Stn on the day
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. I have not received so much news this week and so the operator reports are predominantly photographic in nature. I do however realise that many of you enjoy the photos more than the text.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 27th March 2005
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Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 27th March 2005
Don't forget the 4th of April and the expected launch into service of the new Volvos on route 31.
Nigel Peach writes "I noticed on Wednesday lunchtime that new Volvo 3864 has returned, and registered KE05FMU. 3861 and 3862 were also in the bus station.
Volvo B6 3127 (M727UMJ), the all over advert for Citygate, Chalfont has been missing from Wycombe for about three months now. I had assumed it had gone, but it has returned! Whereas the other B6s have the new destination indicators, this still has the dot matrix display. However, it was working! "
Vario 2196 is seen leading an ex London Olympian out of Wycombe last Wednesday.
note the new destination equipment being fitted to the Varios.
I spent a few minutes looking around Micklefield last Wednesday and chanced upon this Scania at the terminus of the 326.
A nice spring time picture of 3145.
Overall liveried for Lakes, a local TV Hi-fi dealer is carried by Scania 3158 inbound from Micklefield
and framed by spring daffodils, again last Wednesday near Wycombe library.
3841 was heading towards Wycombe last Wednesday when I caught it on camera near the end of my road in Stokenchurch.
Note the freshly repainted wheels which make the bus look quite spruce.
Steve Warwick writes
Thurs 24th March
Marshall bodied Dennis Dart 3103 (L300 BUS) is temporarily at Aylesbury while Volvo B6 3117 (M717OMJ) is away for repair following an RTA on Tuesday morning.
An unusual working today was a 'Oxford Volvo' 5157 on 11.45 324 Aylesbury-High Wycombe service. (Photos attached.)
Steve Warwick sent this picture of 280 route branded Olympian 5157 oddly on a 324 working to High Wycombe.
Seen here in Aylesbury having just left the bus station on 24th March.
Whilst my car was having its annual MOT, I spent a happy hour in Beaconsfield a week or so ago.
Carousel's MB51 is seen en route to Heathrow on the A40 service.
The Enviro 300 demonstrator was again still on loan to Oxford last week and continued to be confined the the Minchery Farm route.
Oxford's coach 10 was involved in an incident last Tuesday and could be off the road for some time whilst repairs are affected.
A rather nice picture of a Park & Ride Trident passing Oxford County Offices last Saturday
The Magdalen Tower always makes a nice backdrop for pictures when you are in Oxford.
Here Oxford's Dart 407 leave the city centre on a 13 road working last Saturday morning.
Saturday morning saw two Darts unusually on 5 road and in the picture above 410 is seen in Castle Street.
Two pictures now follow, first of 411 on 16 road last Saturday and passing Christ College.
Then it was followed on the next departure by 412 and is maybe the first time that
the two Darts, 411 and 412 were on the road they were purchased for?
In this picture of recently repainted Volvo 606 you can see the difference in colour as applied to the Dart vs the Volvo.
Gavin Francis caught freshly repainted 802 on the 400 Park & Ride service.
Note that there has been some changes on the destination layout and wording.
The previous day 803 was on the 300 service, seen here at Bond Square.
815 was on the 13C to Marston village on Saturday. This route was for many years a small bus route
and very much the preserve of Darts. Now it sees many different classes of bus.
Trevor Wilson writes regarding my comments about First Slough reliability.
He says "Service 335 Chalfont Common/Newlands Park <> Slough moved from First Uxbridge a few weeks to Slough. The red Olympian moved depot at the same time. The time keeping on the first return journey from Chalfont Common at 06.51 is much more on time - so reliability up? But this week, two of the regular drivers are moving on - one to Reading for a few months for the Heathrow coaches link and the other back to Glasgow (cheaper housing, lower cost of living, etc.)."
Whilst in High Wycombe last Wednesday morning I saw, from quite a distance, this First Olympian on driver training.
Seen in Green Line coach station in Victoria is this Rainbow branded Scania of First Berkshire.
These coaches were once the mainstay of the Reading Rail Air service.
Neil Gow writes "I see you've given me a mention! - and yes, that is my letter in the April issue of Buses. When I get a bit of time I'll start an irregular "Letter from Maidenhead".
Neil I certainly look forward to that.
Whilst in Stokenchurch last week I happened to notice that a Heyfordian school service turns right into the village green.
This is not at all usual and I wonder where this service comes from?
Ben Morroll writes "Not sure if in full scope of page, but Reading Buses are currently using Scania Omnicity Demonstrator YN54OBA today."
Following last weeks comments Gavin and myself both secured pictures of Mercedes minibuses on the 275. Gavin's is first.
The 2005 edition of Stagecoach Bus Handbook is now in stockists who normally sell these British Bus Publishing Handbooks. This year the cover price is £16.75.
My Manchester correspondent Chris Lowe writes "I don't know yet whether you have seen, but Stagecoach Group has placed orders for 340 new low floor buses for distribution around the group. The vehicles are expected to be delivered between June this year and February next year. The orders are placed as follows:-
120 - Alexander Dennis Trident ALX400's double deckers.
120 - Alexander Dennis Dart Pointer midi buses.
50 - MAN 18.220 chassis / Alexander Dennis ALX300 bodies single decks.
50 - Optare Solo midi buses.
It also states that the group are to place further orders in the next few weeks. The information can be found at the Stagecoach Groups main website."
Chris adds "Just a bit of an update on the former Oxford Olympians in service here with Stagecoach Manchester 16501-13 (R501-13UWL). At the start of this week Stagecoach must have re-organised bus allocations because as of today the allocation of these vehicles is Hyde Road (16501-5/9/13) and Stockport (16506-8/10-2).
Hyde Road actually gained about five Volvo Olympians from Stockport, but as far as I have seen only the two Oxford ones have transferred back to Hyde Road.
Also of interest is that the vehicles at Hyde Road garage can also be used by the Chadderton garage, which is a sub-garage of Manchester Hyde Road. So these vehicles can be seen in most areas of Greater Manchester depending on which routes they were allocated to.
Also a little while ago one of them (16505) was also used by Princess Road garage for a couple of weeks. Due to the bus war with GM Buses on the 192 some have also been used as battle buses against them, unusual as normally only the Magicbus 192 is operated with step entrance vehicles. But at the moment step entrance vehicles are also bolstering the main 192 service along with corporate coloured Scanias acquired from East Kent (originally London)."
Marcus Lapthorn writes "Had my first sighting of one of the refurbished Volvos today on route 66 from Oxford to Swindon. 20681 looked very smart indeed with its individually sculpted bright blue seats, new destination screens front, rear and side new flooring. Not sure that they have changed the headlight assembly though."
Having seen 20681 in Gloucester Green last week I must concur that an excellent job has been done on this now 10 year old dp. There is also a new electronic destination screen which adds much to the appearance of this vehicle. Sorry but I don't have a picture as yet but should have one for next week's page.
A classic shot of 18052 passing Christ Church in St Aldates.
Non branded 22903 works the route 3 last Saturday and is seen on the Iffley Road.
Super rear ad as applied to 22941, seen here on route 1 last Saturday.
Near matches in colour with the blossom tree, 33822 an 5a/b branding and a gentleman
who is almost perfect as a match for the blossom.
Dart 34470 approaches Carfax corner last Saturday shaded from the spring sunshine by the
ever present tall building in Oxford.
Chris Lowe writes "I went to Stockport again this afternoon taking a few photos and I managed a shot of 16512 (R512UWL) operating from Stockport (Daw Bank) garage. However the vehicle working was unusual as it was covering a journey on service 313 (Stockport-Grove Lane; via Adswood & Cheadle Hulme) which is normally covered by route branded MAN/ALX300's."
Chris Lowe' picture of an ex Oxford Olympian as mentioned in the test above.
I hope Chris won't mind but I rather like the training livery used by Stagecoach in Manchester
Saturday is always a busy day on London's and it is not unusual to see departure after departure from Oxford and
arrivals to Oxford bearing the screen shown above.
Latest Neoplan Megabus delivery is 50135 for the Wales services.
It is seen here loading in Green Line but the black fleet number is very difficult to see.
Thames Travel, Wallingford.
Ralph Adams advises news of service changes.
From the County Council web site, and also mentioned at the bus users meeting.
Thames Travel 105/6 Wallingford to Oxford, Daytime section between Berinsfield and Science Park withdrawn, service will now operate hourly between Oxford Rail Station to Science Park off peak.
Full details will appear on www.busbook.co.uk by 7th April
I got my first real glimpse of the "Pink Lady" last Saturday and can show the branding now applied. I liked the radio playing some nice music as well.
Interior shots of the new double decker whilst working the 105 service last Saturday.
Exterior shots of front and rear show of the branding to advantage.
At the other end of the scale Solo 153 works through Wheatley village last week. Very narrow roads at this point.
Solo 253 is seen passing Christ Church last Saturday
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Nigel Peach sent these two pictures from Binders Yard saying "M609 is currently on hire to Abbey Coaches and is pictured at their compound in Binders Yard.
The chassis on the right of the picture earlier above of RT1602 is a Leyland PD2 intended as a replacement for that of ex-Isle of Man Road Services No.11 pictured separately below, also at Ward Jones."
I would be interested to see the IoM bus as I spent many happy childhood holidays on the island. I remember the first post war Leyland deckers and the fact that as they were only licensed as 35 seaters, all but the back two or three rows of seats were roped off. Of course as a young boy my favourite seat was the front offside upper deck seat which one was not allowed to use.
your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me
These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend
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