Issue 9

Wednesday 27th November 2002

next update week commencing 1st December 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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news please
let me know on

This is one of the first times that the weekly update has been so delayed. The main reaqson is the fact that I have been experiencing some problems with my left wrist. This has required an injection of cortisone in the wrist and I was unable to make the update on Monday as I had planned. Anyway back home from Amsterdam I am now making the delayed update. My apologies for the delay and disappointment which may have been caused.

Last weekend I enjoyed a visit to Glasgow and the chance to experience the new Volvo B7L/East Lancs Nordics of First in Glasgow.

First VT6 at its daytime terminus of route 75 in the centre of Glasgow

A near side rear view of this 95 seater.

I wrote some thoughts down after my trip on this very large vehicle. It is of course only 12metres long but it just seems so much larger than anything else in use.

For those not familiar with Nordics, these are six wheel double deck Volvo BT7L's with East Lancs 95 seat single door bodywork.

The upper deck which seats 55 can be sealed off with a door at the bottom of the stairs leaving 40 seats for off peak use. This also combats vandalism, a feature of double deck operation in difficult areas. In a dual door mode I would expect seating to be reduced by 4 seats in the lower saloon, thereby giving a total of 91 if such a bus were to be used on Oxford Park & Ride services.

You may ask what were my impressions of this bus, modelled on similar three door versions now in service in Copenhagen?

My experience showed that the ride was firm and acceleration good. The interior was well finished though the First Barbie interior is rather a matter of personal taste and one wonders how the colours will look in 5 to 6 years time. The seats, a matter of operator choice were, on this sample, very uncomfortable and hardly designed to woo Mr Car Driver out of his accustomed comforts.

Lighting was nice and bright and I was unaware of the driver having glare problems but my journey was confined to the city. The upper deck interior height was just 6ft  and when walking any "bounce" caused ones head to come into to contact with the roof.

Cab controls were similar to the new Oxford coaches but the computer would not give the displays such a fuel consumption, average speed etc.

My overall impression was of a well finished vehicle well suited in most ways to modern needs, but oh those seats!

The last week or so has seen considerable traffic delays on the M40 due a series of accidents. On Friday there was a multi car pile up on the section approaching junction 3 London bound in the morning rush hour. Monday last saw a pile up with two trucks and car involved on the approach to junction 1A/M25, once again in the morning rush hour. Time through the tail back when I went through from between junction 4 to 3 and the accident was about 1 hour. Yet again, this morning - Wednesday -, there was a lorry fire between junc 5 and 4 resulting in closure and diversion London bound from around 7am until midday. And these are just the ones I am aware of. My wife tells me that with the M40 closed there was an impossible traffic jam through West Wycombe on the A40, seemingly going nowhere fast.

The point of the last paragraph is to illustrate the problems facing the Oxford based operators who provide services to London and the airports of Gatwick and Heathrow. One can but admire the resilience of the controllers and drivers who get through somehow and keep the services running. I was therefore interested to read a piece in yesterdays Daily Telegraph illustrating how much longer journey times were growing in the last few years. It may be that in order to keep things moving in the public transport sector, a bus lane should be provided in both directions on the M40, if only during the rush hours. The railways are presently running to capacity and with London centre toll charges due in February next year, public transport demand can only grow on this already busy and congested motorway. I wonder what the thoughts of our readers maybe.

Brian Matthews writes "Following the items recently discussed re cycles and visibility etc....

This one is from this afternoon    -   the OBS Trainer  'T4'  negotiating George Street, its reflective "L" 's showing up very prominently, supported by the instructor's vest inside the bus !   -   the cycle occupying the position that perhaps most drivers (bus and car) would approve of.

photo courtesy Brian Matthews

Brian also wrote "I cannot seem to enlarge 3 of the pictures on the News Page. The Northampton Olympian and both of my pics.    I get the message "Error  404:   File not found"  (in a coloured image block, size about 30% of the screen  -  same for all 3 pics). Is this just me or has anyone else reported problems ?"

Well I must apologise to Brian and others who had this problem. This was caused by my not inserting the correct hyperlink when writing the page and I must apologise for this error. I corrected it quite quickly and hope the everyone has been able to enjoy the pictures.

Al Partington wrote on the subject of cyclists saying "As a cyclist and occasional PCV driver, I do regard the visibility issue as important. Indeed I did suggest that the local authority might take space on the back of buses to raise this as a safety issue - and/or bus companies for that matter. But I don't think dressing cyclists up as 'roman candles' is the answer as 1) they (me) literally won't wear it and 2) prettiness and jokes apart, inappropriate lighting can be a danger in itself. I have to add that my other half strongly disagrees and  when I venture forth on my bike at night would have me visible from the moon!"

I do have to agree in part with what Al says, those points being most especially "they literally won't wear it" but I do think there is a half way house and that legally it should be mandatory for cyclists to wear some limited form of high visibility clothing or bands. Indeed I do remember the fuss when it was made law for motor cyclists to wear a helmet. Again many people refused but now I very rarely, if at all, see a motor bike rider without a helmet. Equally, as with other countries, maybe cycles should have some form of licence plate. Without this any form of policing would be very difficult.

Finally Rob Williams wrote to say "I don't know where the part of the report starting "A bit of info regarding vehicles at Nuneaton garage" came from, but it certainly wasn't me! All I sent was the one liner above! By the looks of it, the rest of it could have been from Simon Langley...."

So, not a good week for me with these various errors and again apologies to all for those mistakes.

On a more positive note I am hoping to arrange a tour of our area on Sunday 29th December using one of the new Park & Ride Mercedes Benz Citaros. The tour will include Oxford, Wallingford, High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Bicester. There will be a cost which is going to around 10. If you are interested please let me know by e-mail marked Christmas Tour. Send your mail to as soon as possible.

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

Malcolm Crowe, November 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 November 2002

Arriva serving The Shires

Graeme writes "Thanks for your updates this week, and thanks for including my name on the Oxford bus page- I was pleasantly surprised to see that you included my info on it.

I can report some unusual vehicle workings today (Wednesday 20th). NBS-based Volvo B10B/ Plaxton N621FJO operated route 353 to Slough, as did Scania N702EUR. I am not used to seeing the B10Bs in particular outside Wycombe, as they are normally employed on the 328/329s to Reading. Also  Is black Olympian 5071 (A151FPG)still operating out of Wycombe depot?

Thanks again for your updates."

Last Sunday saw two ex Motts buses sharing the line up Newlands Bus Station, High Wycombe.
L922LJO started life on services to Oxford and F506OYM started life as a playbus before joining Motts.

I can confirm that 5829 has returned to Wycombe, it was in NBS last Sunday. Tonight, Wednesday, on my way back from Hemel Hempstead I saw two 58xx deckers working the 372, unsurprisingly both buses lacked destination displays only route numbers.

City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.

The Mercedes Touro demonstrator which has been on loan  for the last two weeks made its final OBC journey to Heathrow on the 1830 service tonight Wednesday. It had carried the fleet number 40.

Dart SLF 406 works a City Circle 10D service last Sunday, passing along the Cowley Road.

The Magdalen Tower creates a majestic background for 632 operating a 2 road service.

Jeff Peck wrote to say "Please pass my thanks to Grahame Wareham for his wonderful shot of what was my 'COMS mystery', I was not in any doubt after the details he posted but the photo even shows the advert for Johnson's Timber that I mentioned in my plea for help. Grahame thanks very much, keep up the good work."

Matt Cooper writes "The ex Oxford Bristol VR featured on the pages last week that is now in America and carrying registration plate (VNV 759H) this is from one time United Counties series 1 Bristol VR 759 which was used by the company in Bedford.  It was new in 1969 and withdrawn to PVS Barnsley in 1988. How it came to be on the ex Oxford VR I don't know."

It now appears that the new Park & Ride at Water Eaton will open on December 10th 2002. The new Mercedes Benz Citaros are in build at Mannheim and the first one is expected in the U.K. late next week. Delivery to OBC is hoped to in time for the launch.

Last Saturday X3 branded Volvo 618 appeared on 2 road in the evening.

Oxford United will play Swindon Town in the next round of the F A Cup on Sunday December 8th 2002. Services 601 and 602 will operate to a revised timetable, basically 2 hours earlier than  for a normal day match.

First Uxbridge

Brian Bell writes "I understand that First (Uxbridge) 335 is now scheduled for Metrobus operation on school days (unsure about holidays, but they probably have nothing else spare anyway) as the Lance, LLW31 has departed for pastures new. The midday Uxbridge to Slough journeys are essentially staff ferry journeys operated in service, and can be operated by whatever is available.

Being more interested in routes than vehicles, I welcome the addition of the Oxfordshire changes. I am sure there are others besides me who would welcome advance warning of impending changes, so is there any chance of asking readers to let you know when they hear a whisper about forthcoming changes, so at least we are prepared for them, even if details are not known.

Keep up the good work, I certainly think your site is one of the best about!"

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford 

Tube nr 50 is caught coming off the Magdalen Bridge, London bound last Sunday morning.

One of the ex London Volvo Olympians, 530 works a 77 Brookes service last Sunday near the BMW Mini works.

The M A N s continue to give good service in Oxford and 940-949 will gain route branding for service 1.
Seen above is 913 one of the earliest batch.

One last view of Sunday operations in Oxford near The Magdalen Bridge, 921 works a 7A service to Barton.

Keith Wood wrote "Thanks for that. I'm not sure what vehicle 4828VC is ? It was reported on your page that this was an ex Virgin Contract vehicle ? The Coventry - Stratford vehicle was 12 4012 VC and as of last Tuesday was still dumped at the back of Nuneaton depot in Virgin Red Livery ! Honest ! Last night Dart 110 (in new livery) was in the depot along with two of the three WCC Solos. Still no sign of 475 though !!!!! (These cherished registered coaches are from The Oxford Tube and date from pre M A N 6 wheel times. Ed)

The PSV Circle has reported the withdrawal of Coaches 8 , 10 & 12. 12 was used on the Virgin Coventry-Stratford Virgin RailLink contract. 8 & 10 recently on Chiltern Railways contract. Has the Chiltern contract now ceased or passed to another operator ?

Also Olympian 831 has replaced Merc 420(now withdrawn) at Rugby.

Dart 110 is back after repaint."

Rob Williams wrote "Leamington's 217 is in new livery. 

There are now only 7 Volvo B10Ms / Alexander PSs in the whole Warwickshire fleet left in the old livery (Leamington - 201, 230 & 232, Nuneaton 213, 239 and Rugby 243, 247), plus Leamington's two older Volvo B10M / Alexander P's 261/2."

David Whitley advises that M A N buses 940-949 are gaining route branding for the service 1 - Blackbird Leys.


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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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