Issue 5

Sunday 27th October 2002

next update week commencing 3rd November 2002

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.

My thoughts this last weekend turned to the new title of this page and the fact that the area of The Chilterns reaches from near Reading to Luton in the east. I felt that many of you would be interested in a look further afield from our origins in Oxford. Saturday dawned bright and sunny and as I was to enjoy a free day I decided to strike out east from High Wycombe. I first ran through Lane End and down towards West Wycombe before turning towards Princes Risborough under the Chiltern ridge. The road runs through Wheeler End towards West Wycombe and Bullocks Farm Lane affords a fine view of the valley along which the A40 runs westward toward Oxford. 

An Airlinks 757 service Oxford bound is operated by one of the Volvo/Plaxton Panthers acquired
from Stort Valley last year and used almost exclusively on this service now. It is seen from the lane
high above West Wycombe last Saturday and will pass through Stokenchurch at 1125.

I had noted in the past summer that this would make a fine shot if I could catch the right day and time. My luck was in!

My next stop was Princes Risborough where I hoped to record an Arriva service between Aylesbury and High Wycombe. On the A4010 I passed three Motts deckers heading towards High Wycombe and a Wasps Rugby duty. In the lead was Olympian LIL7230, the coach type ECW and shortly after two together, being a decker, another ECW I think followed by a Metrobus in white. I am still wondering about the second bus past?

High Street in Princes Risboro' produced an old favourite working the 323 towards Wycombe. Greenway 3048 is seen below, this bus does get around.

My next stop was RAF Halton where I noted several coaches inside the camp MT area. They seemed rather newer than I would have expected and maybe worth a look in the future. I was reminded of the days of Bristol VRs on the service to Aylesbury but would have had to wait for nearly 20 minutes for the next service and so decided to press on towards Dunstable, following the Chiltern ridge. Following the B489 through Aston Clinton, I was surprised to find heavy road works where the new A41 by-pass is under construction. It was some years since I had last used this road and can only imagine the delays during the week. nothing of bus interest was seen on my way to Dunstable and joining the queue of traffic into the centre, I could see an Arriva Dart MPD on the 51 ahead of me but never got close enough to find out what it was.

Pausing in West Street, Dunstable I was just in time to see an Aylesbury bound service loading on its way from Luton on service 61. It was an Luton depot bus but I presume Aylesbury also work this service.

Olympian 5105 loads in West St. Dunstable on service 61 to Alyesbury.

Not being so familiar with Dunstable I nearly missed the small "bus station" in High St on the southern side of the town. This is the terminus for the 38 service to Luton which passes through numerous housing estates and calls in Houghton Regis.

The "bus station" in High St. Dunstable with Trident 5424 and Dart MPD 3293.

Whilst in this location I saw Stagecoach North West R120VFR, a Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 50, fleet number 8120 on the National Express service 570, London bound bringing back memories of Standerwick "Gay hostess" Atlanteans on the forerunner of this service from Blackpool. The Arriva 38 is I believe a high frequency service which is operated by a mixture of Tridents and Olympians.

My next stop was to be Luton where Arriva for this area has its Headquarters and a new garage. I hoped I would be allowed to take some photos and I was not disappointed. The variety was excellent as was the condition of most buses I saw. This depot houses the coaches which work the Luton-Victoria service and it was interesting to compare the layout of the DAF cab on the Plaxton compared to the Volvo I am used to with Oxford Bus.

A pleasant surprise was in store - I was allowed to take some photos at the Arriva depot - and I found FOUR Bristol VRs , two ex Maidstone & District and two ex United Counties. They were all in the old livery but looked well cared for.

VRs 5033, 5000 and 5866 (both ex Maidstone) in Luton depot.

5038 next 5866. note that 5038 still has a Bristol VR badge.

I was pleasantly surprised to find ex Wycombe Bus olympian 5829 at works for attention and there were also a number of ex Crosville Olympians and ex PMT Darts. The sun was just right for photography and I had most enjoyable half hour recording all on offer.

This view gives an overall picture of the yard area at Luton depot.

The staff there were most helpful and I was impressed by the general air of efficiency given. I must note that Luton is at extreme end of the area intended to be covered by this web site but it is the Headquarters of one of the three main operators in our "area".

Leaving Luton I ran back via Houghton Regis towards Leighton Buzzard but time was against me for any further stops. My route towards Aylesbury took me though Wing and I came across a fast running Arriva olympian on the X15 service to Aylesbury from Milton Keynes. Having passed it at a stop in Wing, I managed to get this rather nice shot of the bus as it left Wing, Aylesbury bound.

The trees are losing their summer coats now as 5104 rounds the bend leaving Wing on the X15.

Running through Aylesbury, I noted two small Mercs on the 3 and I was soon passing over the railway bridge on the Thame road. I took a moment to pass by the Red Rose yard by the railway line and snapped this line up in the autumn sunshine.

Mercs N803GRV, N784JBM and K26WND pose ofr a photo. K26 is I think a recent addition?

I was back home in time for a dish of tea having had a most interesting outing. The predominance of Arriva is quite something on such a trip and whilst there are some smaller operators in this area, my day was almost totally Arriva influenced.

Week commencing 27th October 2002

Service 2d (Oxford Bus Co.):  This service is withdrawn. 
New journeys on the 'Woodstock Wanderer' service 203 (below) now serve Kidlington Moors.

Service 11 (McLeans):  Evening weekend service between Oxford, Witney and the Wychwoods via the villages is withdrawn due to lack of patronage.

Service 11 (Stagecoach Oxford):  Journey re-routed to serve Spareacre Lane in Eynsham adding 5 minutes to the complete journey time. Slight timetable amendments with most journeys leaving several minutes earlier or later. Stagecoach now run this service commercially.
Service 12 (Stagecoach Oxford):  Witney Cogges service renumbered 212 and operator change to McLeans.  Improved to hourly Monday to Saturday and leaves Cogges Estate, Manor Road at 50 minutes past each hour (0950 until 1650)

Service 15 (Stagecoach Oxford):  This Witney Town service to Fettiplace Road is renumbered 215 and extended to Sainsburys, leaving the store daily (not Sunday) on the hour every hour between 0900 and 1600 with later trips at 1705 and 1730.  An earlier journey via Wood Green School, not Sainsburys leaves Fettiplace road at 0805 and is operated by McLeans. Returns from the School to the Smiths' estate operate as service 213 at 1420 on Wednesdays and 1520 other schooldays.

Service 18 (Thames Travel):  The Oxford to Bampton route is now contracted to Stagecoach.  Service enhanced to hourly throughout much of the day, Monday to Saturday, with connections available to Clanfield at Bampton via service 19.  No changes to settlements served along the route except all journeys into Oxford now enter via Woodstock Road.  More journeys serve Northmoor and Bablockhythe and in Eynsham Mill Street is now served.

Service 19 (Thames Travel):  Operator change to Stagecoach. Former Thames Travel routes 19, 19d and tb19 are amalgamated into a single hourly 19 between Witney and Carterton via Ducklington, Aston, Bampton, Clanfield, Black Bourton and Alvescot. Two journeys in each direction are extended to serve the Cotswold Wildlife Park. 

Service 19d (Thames Travel):  Withdrawn.  Service from Witney to Ducklington village now provided by Stagecoach service 19.

Service 42 (Stagecoach Oxford): The route diversion via Farmers Close in Witney withdrawn and transferred to service 213 (McLeans).  Heath Lane in Bladon is also taken off this service and now served by "The Woodstock Wanderer".  This is to improve timekeeping on service 42 and reduce journey times.  Slight timing changes but similar pattern of journeys with some journeys also serving Freeland.  New timings allow connections with peak hour trains at Hanborough Station.  Sunday journey withdrawn.

Service 62 (APL Travel)
:  This Friday only shoppers service between Coleshill and Swindon is withdrawn, Coleshill now served by Stagecoach 64.

Service 64 (Stagecoach Oxford): One journey in each direction diverted via Coleshill to give the village a daily return trip to Swindon.  In Swindon the service is diverted via Gipsy Lane and Gorse Hill.

Service 100 (Stagecoach Oxford):  Certain journey times amended but generally same level of service.

Service 101/102/103 (Stagecoach Oxford):  A new pattern of services operates between Oxford, Witney, Carterton and the villages. 101 provides early morning and evening links between Witney, Curbridge and Carterton, provided for off-peak by new service x2 (below).  102 and 103 each run hourly throughout the day to amended timetables between Witney, Minster Lovell and Carterton, with 103 also serving the Deer Park Estate.  See also x1/x2/x3 below.

Service 101 (Thames Travel): 
Slight timetable amendments, departures from Watlington towards Oxford leave 5 minutes earlier throughout much of the day.
New Service! Service 102 (Thames Travel): New journeys on Saturday nights between Watlington, Cuxham, Chalgrove, Garsington, Stadhampton, Horspath and Oxford. Services leave Watlington 2015 and 2215 and return from Oxford at 2115 and 2315.  The 2315 also runs on Fridays.  The 1915 Watlington departure on service 101 is renumbered 102 and runs via Horspath also on Fridays and Saturdays.

Service 103 (Thames Travel):  Most departure times brought forward by no more than five minutes.

Service 105 (Thames Travel):  Most weekday journeys extended to serve Oxford Science Park.  Points after the Park will be served about four minutes later.
New Service! Service 106 (Thames Travel):  Hourly weekday journeys between Oxford Rail Station and Oxford Science Park via Littlemore and Sandford. First journey departs Station at 0727, last journey leaves Science Park at 1808.  Total journey time just under half an hour.

New Service! Service 113 (McLeans):  Two return journeys a day (Monday to Saturday) between Fulbrook, Burford and Carterton serving Bradwell Grove,
Elizabeth Finn Home and the Cotswold Wildlife Park.

New Service!  Service 117 (Stagecoach Oxford/McLeans): Enhanced hourly service for South Carterton, serving Corbett Road and Milestone Road and
visiting the Town Centre and Health Centre. The two operators will accept each other's tickets.

New Service!  Service 118 (Stagecoach Oxford/McLeans): Enhanced hourly service between Carterton Town Centre, Health Centre and the Shilton Park
development at Monahan Way. The two operators will accept each other's tickets.
New Service!  Service 119 (Stagecoach Oxford/McLeans): Enhanced hourly service for North Carterton serving Shillbrook Avenue, York Road and Sycamore Drive with links to the Town Centre and Health Centre.  The two operators will accept each other's tickets.

Service 133 (Thames Travel): Leaves Ipsden five minutes earlier at 0855.  Return journey unaltered.  South Oxon concessionary passes will still be accepted.

Service 135 (Thames Travel):  Journeys serving Moulsford are renumbered tb35. There is an extra Wallingford to Moulsford at 1740 on weekdays.  Times
towards Moulsford are the same but returns to Wallingford leave 12 minutes later with an additional trip at 0912.

Service 137/138 (Reading Buses):  Slight timetable amendments on weekdays before 1000 with more services to Peppard Common Unicorn. Slight evening timetables amendments with last journeys leaving 15 minutes later.

New Service! "The Woodstock Wanderer" 201, 203 and 242 (R H Transport):  201 provides a daily link (Mon - Sat) between Tackley and Woodstock.  203 links Bladon and Woodstock with Kidlington, also serving Hensington, Kidlington Moors, Shipton on Cherwell village and Spencer Court in Woodstock.  242 links Heath Lane in Bladon with Woodstock and provides connections for commuters  from Woodstock and Bladon to trains at Hanborough Station.

New Service! Service 213 (McLeans):  New Witney town route serving Farmers Close and the new Madley Park development.  Hourly Monday to Saturday.
Service 502 (Heyfordian):  Operator change to Cheney Coaches.  The timetable from Kineton towards Banbury remains the same but the return trip leaves 45 minutes later.

Carterton Town Services C1, C2 and C3 (McLeans): Withdrawn,  but replaced and enhanced by services 113, 117, 118 and 119 (see above).

Service tb19 (Thames Travel):  Withdrawn.  Service between Bampton and Carterton now included in Stagecoach route 19.

Service tb29 (Thames Travel): Route extended to Goring Station on certain journeys replacing link lost by curtailing former Chiltern Queens service I.  Journeys depart Wallingford and Woodcote up to 10 minutes later except the 0725 weekday journey which remains unchanged.

Service tb30 (Thames Travel): Service now leaves Watlington three minutes later and arrives Wallingford Hospital five minutes earlier due to less lay-over time in Wallingford.  Return journeys unaltered.

Service tb31 (Thames Travel):  This is renumbered 31. No change to Schoolday timetable but other departures are now Friday only, leaving Chalgrove at 0934 and Wallingford at 0910 and 1220.

New Service! Service tb35 (Thames Travel): Monday to Saturday, approximately every two hours, this service restores links between Wallingford, Cholsey, Moulsford and Goring Station.

Service tb103 (Thames Travel):  Slight timetable amendments to maintain connections with Thames Travel services 101 and 103.

Services X1/X2/X3 (Stagecoach Oxford): x1 continues to provide a direct daily link between Carterton and Oxford at peak times with late night Saturday and Sunday night trips.  Off-peak daytime services are now provided by a new  service x2 serving Carterton, Curbridge, Witney and Oxford every 30 minutes, x2 also covers off peak journeys on the 101 route. x3 continues to provide a through service between Milton-under-Wychwood, Witney and Oxford for school journeys and in the early morning and evening peaks, Monday to Friday.  Off peak, a new service 233 replaces x3 journeys between Milton, Burford and Witney connecting with regular buses to Oxford at Witney

I append a letter received from one of my readers asking for help. If anyone can do so please contact him directly.

I wonder if you would be able to help in my search for a near side head light for a 1984 DAF/Duple Laser headlight. I was wondering if you knew of one being broken any where or some one who may have one in stock. I can get one from Plaxtons but they want near on £250.00 plus vat, which I think is rather expensive.

Any help or advise you may have will be much appreciated

Many thanks

Cliff Thurbin - 1st bus stop   Telephone :01474 – 832944

I am not allowed to tell you where Paul Coley took this picture of a genuine LT bus stop still in use in2002 in our Chiltern area.

Well on a final note both major operators in Oxford have now raised fares but there are some anomalies where some fares have not gone up and there are some odd reductions. One thing which it's obviously not possible to ignore are increasing costs in wages, insurance and general inflation. Manufacturers are not bringing prices down and often spares are very costly. I heard of one case where a heater switch for a coach was quoted by the manufacturer at a cost of £25 and a Ford car heater switch, the same one,. cost £2.50. Seems it pays to shop around as ever. One can but sympathise with operators trying to return some kind of profit and keep passenger number growing.

I look forward to your continued support and contribution and welcome your comments.

Malcolm Crowe, October 27th 2002.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

The operator news from our area follows.................

News of the local companies - 27th October 2002


Once regular performers on the Cambridge-Oxford run these M reg Volvo B10Ms are now appearing in
National Express livery. N306BAV poses in NEx Express Shuttle livery on service 010 to Cambridge..

Arriva serving The Shires

Ed Maun writes with a question which I am sure someone will answer. He Says "I was intrigued by the photo of Greenway 3048 on service 262 in issue 3.  When was this photo taken?   The location appears to be at in St Clements Street in Oxford, and is the bus heading towards the city centre?  Is it actually in service?  The 262 doesn’t go as far as Oxford.  It is a Monday to Friday service between Aylesbury and Worminghall with slight variations dependant on whether the schools are on holiday or not.  There is one journey inbound to Aylesbury in the morning peak and one journey outbound from Aylesbury in the afternoon.    It doesn’t terminate at Thame, but that is the destination on 3048!  - Any comments?"

Arriva's Scania 3168 still at Luton and here seen on a working of the 31.

Sunday brought gale force winds and many trees were down in the High Wycombe area.
This large branch narrowly missed some parked Arriva buses including 3818 at NBS.

Lynx 3344 has been refurbished and outshopped as a trainer. It is now based at Wycombe
where it last worked as a service bus.

5829 was at Luton for service last Saturday. When this bus returns to Wycombe I understand 5832 will be
formally transferred to Luton which sent 5106 in exchange. Seemingly 5832 is not too happy with the hills
in Wycombe and routes in and around Luton are somewhat easier.

City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.

Trident 107 is the latest Trident to return from rectification work at Alexanders and to gain the latest livery.

A change from front views , coach 21 is seen Oxford bound on the M40 motorway.
The large fleet number is prominent on the roof.

Volvo, 657 now regularly used on X3's help my camera to become victim of "desty blinditis" which often affects
pictures of the latest dot matrix destination equipment. It is seen in Bonn Square which is being resurfaced.

This photograph is relevant to this week's page as it shows now preserved NJO 703 with Austin Hoy of Saunderton
with whom it was used for staff transport.  It was photographed at Saunderton station on November 3rd 1966.
This bus was pictured on last week's page in its present form.
Photo courtesy Mike Penn

Several readers have written in with comments relevant to Oxford Bus.

Brian Matthews says "Good page this week - just point out that the last sentence on your (second) main page of the new site shows  "For local operations please return to the Oxford Bus Page until further notice" - your changeover schedule 'running early' as all local reports now seem to be on the new page !  (problem corrected Ed.)

What a great new P & R livery  -  keeps alive the memory of Southdown, City of Nottingham and King Alfred with those various shades of green. Also if the remaining 'rear' pictorials of Oxford are as good as the one illustrated we will surely have the smartest set of Park and Ride buses in the

Marc Downing writes "Saw Oxford Olympian number 224 in Brighton City Centre on service 273 from Crawley Bus Station this morning (30/9/02). Sorry no pictures but I was busy driving for  Brighton & Hove Buses at the time. It certainly made an interesting companion with its Go-Ahead cousins!  Usually Metrobus Olympians are used on this route. Congratulations for an excellent site! "

Jeff Peck says "first I would like to say how excellent your Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page website is, please keep up the good work. Looking through the site made me think of dropping you this note to try to solve a COMS mystery I have had for 25 years, I am always hopeful!

I was wondering if you, or any of your COMS contacts, would know the identity of double deck bus that was in a scrap yard just south of RAF Benson in late 1976, probably quite near Ewelme. I am as sure as I can be that it was ex COMS, there was a faded advert on the back for (I believe) Johnson's Timber, Worcester? Place, Oxford, it may have been converted to a mobile caravan or home at one time as there were additions to the roof I think. Unfortunately I could not get anywhere close enough to identify it, but it certainly looked as though it had been there for some time?

I would even appreciate if anyone knows the name of this scrap yard?, was this anything to do with Main Motors of Ewelme? I have seen them mentioned in PSVC news-sheets many times, but assumed they were a second hand dealer? Anyway, if you or your colleagues have any idea on what the identity of this vehicle may be, I would be delighted and able to solve two of my 25 year old mysteries in one year. "

Finally Newman Morgan writes "Thought I'd mention that at around 8am on Thursday October 17th OBC Olympian 222 was heading south on the M40 near Banbury. Looking pristine in OBC livery I imagine it was heading back to Cowley Road Garage.

About 5 minutes earlier, also heading south, was former Southern Railway West Country class locomotive "Ottery St. Mary" which  was on the back of a low loader minus tender."

I really do appreciate the positive comments received from so many of you about the page, it does make it all worthwhile.


Mike Penn writes following recent correspondence. He says "I was interested in the photo of Heyfordian vehicles taken at Upper Heyford in this week's Oxford & Chilterns bus page as it must have been taken at about the same time that I went there.  I don't remember the Fleetline or any other double deckers there but the single decks and coaches were familiar.  Cherwell Valley was a trading name used at the time and most of the vehicles I photographed then carried it.  NAL545F was an East Lancs bodied AEC Swift which was new to West Bridgford UDC but transferred to Nottingham City Transport when the former was taken over in September 1968. It was one of three (NAL543-5F), all of which eventually went to Heyfordian.  The ex Southdown Leyland Tiger Cub had a Weymann "Fanfare" body and similar coach XUF 144 also operated for Heyfordian in Southdown livery. The partially obscured coach was probably CHA 79C or CHA 83C which were Leyland Leopards with Duple (Northern) "Commander" bodies acquired from National Travel (South West) though new to Midland Red.  It is interesting that 79 operated for City of Oxford on hire from Midland Red in the first half of 1973 along with several others of the batch, two of which were later acquired.  Both of these had their front grilles replaced by a plain panel on which "Leyland" was sign-written while with Heyfordian.

The two photographs attached show CHA 79C and NAL 545F in the Upper Heyford yard on April 29th 1978.

Photos courtesy Mike Penn.

Another re-registration at Wycombe depot is ex United 253, now 8216FN, formerly on a DAF.

Red Rose - Aylesbury

Ed Maun writes "I was in Friarscroft car park in Aylesbury today where the upper floors give a distant view of Red Rose’s yard.    Parked up was a red liveried double decker – does anyone know its identity and is it owned by Red Rose?    If so, is this the first double decker operated by Red Rose?"

Stagecoach in South Midlands & in Oxford

Keith Wood writes "472 has been repainted at last! 347's MegaRear is for North Warwickshire College"  

Rob Williams adds "One of the 3x National Express liveried Plaxtons has received a MegaRear.

Both Bus Fayre and the PSV Circle report the transfer of this vehicle to Nuneaton. I haven't seen it yet ! Can someone from the C & OBP confirm that it has left Oxford please ?

I'll be doing a full
Nuneaton survey on Thursday to confirm any changes.

Only one piece of news this week (apart from the repaint of B6LE 472).Leyland National 702 was working the 717 to
Birmingham Airport on 19/10/02."

"Nothing of interest from my Nuneaton survey yesterday. Coach 12 is now laid up after the ending of the Virgin Coventry-Stratford "RailLinks" service and there is another unidentified ECW Olympian at the depot. No sign of B6LE 842 !

Reported from the Optare factory are 3 x Optare Solos in WCC livery. Of note on the WCC website is the October tenders which show Stagecoach winning more schools work around Atherstone and new services starting locally in
Nuneaton. These take place in November. I'm not sure whether to put the two together ! (Pure speculation !)

Neil Gow writes "Another response to your latest page.  I remember the two ex COMS Tigers 101 and 102 on the Oxford Tube.  TT didn't get them direct from Oxford of course - who would never have countenanced selling them to their unwanted new competitor.  They were in fact two Witney based examples of South Midland which migrated to the Oxford Tube service after South Midland merged with Thames Transit.  After being displace by Volvos they went back onto 390s and local bus service for a while, including Bicesters, Chippies and the occasional turn on the 1, which made a welcome change from Ford and MB breadvans."

London bound Tube nr 34 passes Wheeler End on the M40 last Saturday.

Unrepainted Vario 373 on route 25 last week, seen here in George St having passed Olympian 519.

Looking blue from the front, Olympian 515 loads on service 100 in George St.

One of Leyland National trainers was noted hard at work in the City Centre last Friday. It was 753.

Thames Travel

Thames Travel still have Oxford Bus Olympian 223 seen here in George St on a 107 working last week.

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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