Wednesday 27th December 2006
next update week ending 6th January 2007
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Please excuse the delay in posting this week's page but although the spirit was willing I am afraid the flesh was weak, very weak indeed !!!!!
We draw to the end of yet another year, 2006, and in closing I am delighted to have a really good batch of pictures from many of my regular contributors. I know I've said this many times but it is YOUR contributions which make the page what it is. Proof, if it is needed, says that we are now getting 45,000 hits per month which I think makes the page very popular indeed. I must also mention the contributions from the operators in our area and hope that this may long continue.
The weather was very cold on the lead up to Christmas and after this week it seems we will get more cold weather.
I thought this picture, whilst not very good of the coach said it all.
Taken at 16:03 on 22nd December near Lewknor whilst walking on the Icknield Way.
An alternative to the train when travelling between Oxford and London
Last week's local Oxford papers continue with the criticism of the very poor rail service between Oxford and London with more comments on the lack of commuter services and the resultant overcrowding of those trains which do run. I can appreciate that the road journey is slower but wonder why commuters put up with a standing journey to and from London when they could be assured of a seat if travelling for half the price by coach. Indeed it the last few weeks, now that the roadworks at Green Road are over journey times to and from London have become most acceptable.
It is also worth mentioning that when the coach route becomes blocked, radio communication enables coach to divert off route and avoid the worst of the delays. I think the train would find this rather difficult and trains do have delays due to congestion etc.
Indeed the Oxford Tube invests quite heavily in diversion training for new drivers as witnessed last Saturday when two of you caught 50118 involved in such work at Victoria.
Neoplan 50118 waits at the traffic lights in Elizabeth Street before returning to Oxford
via Sloane Square, Kensington - Church Street, Bourne End, Marlow, Lane End, Stadhampton and Cowley.
Derek Dawson visits Victoria
Derek Dawson sent me an account and pictures of a visit to Victoria last Saturday which I hope you find interesting. All the pictures are by Derek Dawson except where noted.
Anyone who has visited Victoria coach station on the last Saturday before Christmas will know how busy it is. This year was even better (or worse if you happen to be driving in the area) with coaches totally grid locking local roads at varying times. On a normal day coaches sometimes have to do several circuits of the station before getting a bay it must have been a nightmare last Saturday. I spent seven hours there, logging hundreds of coaches. Luckily the fog had lifted giving the chance of plenty of pictures.
One of several Scottish coaches in is this Volvo Sunsundegi of Clyde Coast, Ardrossan, (FN04JZM). I think these are excellent styled coaches and I try to get pictures of all of them. I managed about six different ones on Saturday last.
Another one seen was a Volvo/Sunsundegi this time belonging to Abbotts of Leeming (XK06AOL). This was an impressive six wheel version.
The Arriva the Shires 757 service operates between London Victoria and Luton Airport every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day and now use mainly VDL Bus SB4000 coaches with Van HoolT9 Alizée, one which I saw being YJ55WSY.
Several coaches belonging to Dhillons of London were operating additional services for National Express and on was R147OYS was on a Bristol relief service.
Stagecoach Express coaches operated several additional services for Megabus or National Express. Seen below are East Midlands 52632 - S672RWJ on a Megabus Service and 52484 - R184DNH of United Counties on a National Express service. (The picture of 52632 is from Gavin Francis used as it shows more of the coach, unusual in the fact that it one of a small batch of Jonckheere Modulos purchased in 1998 by Stagecoach)
If you are into foreign coaches you would have had a hey day with dozens of them operating into London seen here is a Eurolines Van Hool coach on a Paris - London Service (although coach was showing Polish plates)
The usual mass of Oxford Bus and Oxford Tube coaches were to be seen and included Oxford espress nr 22 heading towards its stand at VCS. One of the numerous traffic wardens on duty can be seen in the background.
Also as noted above Oxford Tube 50108 KP04GKK was observed on Driver Training.
Roadliner of Poole were using one of their impressive Volvo Bt9L's with East Lancs coach seated bodywork, TO05ELF, the East Lancs body is the same as Weavaway Newbury operate although I think it looks a lot smarter in Green than Weavaway's silver. It also had a coloured destination display which alternated between that shown and 035 Bournemouth. Very smart indeed !
Trathens, Plymouth now operate a new fleet of Neoplans on the National Express routes, the one pictured being LSK507 at the beginning of its long journey to Penzance.
Although the Neoplans are now the norm', the old Volvos are still visiting unbranded and LSK498 had obviously been pressed into service for the Christmas rush
Wicksons, Walsall Wood had the festive spirit, with YJ06LFU adorned. I had hoped for a frontal shot as well but unfortunately this did not go into the coach station and did not see it again.
I think this account gives a small idea of the very busy times last week.
Your Editor's visit to North Wales - a correction.
Several of you wrote to me to note that the school bus pictured in Bangor was not a Volvo Ailsa but a Bristol VR. Now how could I make such a fundamental mistake. Anyway it proves there is someone out there after all. Thanks to John Podgorski, Andrew Burbidge and Neil Gow amongst others.
Chris Maxfield visits Banbury and other parts of Oxfordshire - part 2
Chris included a coverage of Stagecoach buses used in Banbury which is quite a stronghold of the Volvo B6 model.
Seven pictures of Volvo B6s allocated to Banbury. These buses, some of earliest low floor models, date from 1997
and have given good service over the intervening years.
Banbury was the first depot in the Stagecoach in Oxfordshire area to introduce Solos.
Apart from the 488 branded bus 47236, the other three work local town services.
Mercedes 42624 spent some time in Oxford recently working the 7D service in Kidlington.
It is now back in Banbury on its old haunts.
As a tail-piece to Chris's visit to Banbury I include this nice shot of two Solos on town services.
All the above pictures were taken by Chris Maxfield.
Chris Maxfield visits Witney and sees the revised services and the Stagecoach Witney depot
Last Monday, Chris went to Witney and took a selection of rather nice pictures, including some of the revised services in that area.
Details of the changes were:
Oxford County Council local bus tender changes - 11th December 2006
Oxfordshire CC have announced the results of their review into subsidised services in the Witney and Eynsham areas plus a few other changes. Of particular note is the reduction in Carterton town services and the reduction in the off-peak Water Eaton P&R service to every 20 minutes M-F! The main changes are set out below:
This service will continue to be operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, and low floor buses will be introduced to this route as soon as possible by Stagecoach.
Service 19: Witney-Bampton-Carterton
These services will continue at the current hourly frequency, and they will continue to be operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. Due to low passenger usage, the extension of service 19 to Cotswold Wildlife Park has been withdrawn. Low floor buses will be introduced to this route as soon as possible.
Service 45 has been withdrawn due to low passenger use, a daily shopping service from Sutton, Stanton Harcourt, Bablockhythe, Northmoor and Brighthampton to Witney provided by service 18A which will be operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire.
The South Leigh to Witney shopping service will now be provided by extension of Villager service 20A on Thursdays only.
Service 64: Carterton-Filkins-Lechlade-Swindon
The service will continue at current broadly two-hourly frequency and will remain operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. The service will operate in and out of Carterton town centre via Milestone Road and Corbett Road to replace former town service 117. Low floor buses will be introduced to this route as soon as possible by Stagecoach.
The diversion via Coleshill is retained, and the route in and out of Swindon is unchanged.
Services: 213/214/215 Witney town services
The Witney town services will now be entirely operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, and Stagecoach will be introducing low floor buses as soon as possible.
The Wood Green/Cogges services will be merged, and will operate in a single clockwise (213) and anti-clockwise (214) loop, resulting in some increased journey times. However journeys via Wood Green School retained as at present. These services will no longer serve the Sainsbury's superstore.
Service 233 will continue to be operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. journeys via Burford School operated by double-deck vehicle as at present, however school journeys will be withdrawn from Ascott-under-Wychwood.
Stagecoach will be introducing low floor buses to this route as soon as possible.
Services: 113/117/118/119 Carterton local services
Service 113 will now operate on Thursday only, giving three journeys from Burford to Carterton via Shilton Village (first morning journey commences at Fulbrook) and two from Carterton to Burford (final journey extended to Fulbrook on request). All journeys operate via York Road and Shilbrook Avenue, with two additional round trips linking this area with Carterton shops and Broadshires Health Centre. The operator for this service has not been announced yet.
Service 117 is withdrawn, and is replaced by diversion of two-hourly Stagecoach in Oxfordshire service 64 via Corbett Road and Milestone Road.
Service 119 (York Road/Shilbrook Avenue) and will be replaced by limited Thursday only service 113.
Service 118 will continue to operate between Carterton town centre and into the Shilton Park estate via Broadshires Health Centre. It will be operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and Stagecoach will be introducing low-floor vehicles to the route as soon as possible.
Stagecoach use a batch of eight Tridents on the 100 service.
There are two more Tridents which are unbranded but 100 branded buses can and do appear on the 200 and 20 routes.
Witney depot houses 12 out of the 13 Varios allocated to Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. 42371-42382.
Many of these will be replaced when a batch of 11 Solos arrives in the New Year.
Chris has sent four pictures which show these Varios at rest and work in the Witney area.
Witney is home to four ex London Darts, 32627-32630. These buses appear on a variety
of routes including the 100 from time to time.
Witney depot on Boxing Day with the doors shut, which I am told is quite unusual.
Despite every effort the old City of Oxford Motors Services title keeps reappearing over the door. Spooky really.
New casting from Britbus
A new casting with a local flavour has been released by Britbus as a picture from Mark Lyons shows. It is a nice model but as Mark says, a little pricey at £33.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed.
Malcolm Crowe - Wednesday 27th December 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 27th December 2006
John Podgorski writs to say"...you may know that Arriva The Shire's Hitchin garage is to close operationally from 13/1/07 but will remain in use for engineering for a while longer, due to delays in extending the workshop at Stevenage (Norton Green Road).
It is also reported that Arriva is to pull out of the Hitchin area in early 2007 (apart from the Stevenage-Luton trunk routes), and that Centrebus may fill the void."
Gavin Francis caught up with this Marco Polo coach seemingly on loan to Arriva for the 797 service.
Chris Maxfield has been busy keeping up with this company's coaches. Several additional coaches were obtained at short notice for school contract gained recently.
Chris Maxfield took this picture of FJ53VDF resting prior to its next duty for Grand UK Holidays.
Whilst waiting to work a Tube service to London last week, Wednesday to be precise, I espied a First Bus coach on stand at Gloucester Green. Now this is an unusual if not unique event at Oxford as it is one place where one never seems to see a First Group vehicle.
It turned out that this Volvo on a Swansea working had broken down but why was a 302 in Oxford in the first place _ pun haha.
Some two hours later Derwent Travel appeared to take the passengers from the broken down coach to their final destination.
The opportunity then came to get three Premieres in a line, quite unusual in 2006 at Oxford.
A Stagecoach example on the X5, the First one on the 302 and a Tellings Golden Miller version.
Derek Doling caught up with the National Express training bus. I think when new this bus worked on the Hotel Hoppa services but I may be wrong.
Chris Maxfield was out and about and sent some more Citaro pictures. This included one of the "poster" on the front side windows promoting the Citaro as Bus of the Year 2007.
Four of the new Citaros on the various X3/X4/13 group routes.
The one of 854 at the rail station seems to show the bus riding in high mode?
Chris Maxfield caught Abingdon branded 830 on a 2 road working at Grovelands last week.
This is most unusual as OBC do seem to normally succeed in keeping buses to the allocated routes.
The Park & Ride Tridents continue to give good service.
Chris Maxfield's picture shows 117 in St Aldates.
Chris also caught a Volvo B10BLE 812 on the 300 last week, seen outside Debenhams.
Finally 809 was caught in Castle Street on a 5 road working last week. Picture Chris Maxfield.
As mentioned in a recent issue ten new coaches are due for the X70. This will mean that the older
Plaxton Excaliburs will be withdrawn and here we see nr 71 departing from GG to LHR.
These coaches were not refurbished internally but do have a retrofitted toilet unit.
R H Transport
Josh writes to note that for the week commencing 15th January 2007 a new limited stop park & ride service numbered 700 will be introduced between Water Eaton Park & Ride and the JR Hospital. It will operate between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday and will run every 15 minutes."
Following the return of Mercedes 42624 to Banbury another Dart has been received on loan for the 7E service in Kidlington. This is ex London Dart 32626, one time stalwart at Witney.
Chris Maxfield caught up with 32626 in Kidlington. last week.
Unusually for Stagecoach the blind is not suitable for this service and so paper stickers are in use.
Chris Maxfield caught up with some Olympians on the 20 route. 16520 is shown in Woodstock
and then 16523 was caught in Stonesfield. Finally 16523 again rejoining the main road after serving Coombe.
As mentioned earlier the 100 branded Tridents do appear on other routes.
Above we see 18128 on a 20 working towards Oxford and seen in Woodstock. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Chris Maxfield took this picture of 22918 waiting time in New Road on Boxing Day.
The driver looks most relaxed.
Chris Maxfield was in the right place at the right time and took this rather good night shot of 20401 at Volvo training bus now based at Oxford.
Chris Maxfield caught up with 50112 at St Clements on Boxing Day.
Reversing out of Gloucester Green is never easy and 50123 is taking all the room it can to make the turn.
Most of the Tubes now carry Internet WiFi branding but 50105 and 50115 are still without such branding.
Gavin Francis caught up with 13611 at Victoria last Saturday. Gavin said that due to the large number of coaches using Green Line, these Megabus
vehicles were forced to load outside the coach station.
Here Gavin's picture shows 13622 bound for Worthing via Brighton, loading opposite the entrance to Green Line - Bullied Way.
The railways were having quite some problems over the Christmas period and here we see 13652, once loaned for Oxford Tube workings,
on a South West Trains service to Worthing last Saturday. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Worth's Coaches, Enstone
Last week we had a picture of Worths new decker. I received pictures from Andrew Burbidge of this bus in its former life which I include for interest.
Seen when working for Arriva in Leeds in 2005.
....and when withdrawn early in 2006 at Belle Isle, Wakefield.
....and finally when it appeared at Showbus 2006 in full Worths livery.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Gavin Francis found this rather nice brand new Applegate coach on National Express 403 working last Saturday.
Another find was this coach in Oxford Rail Station taken by Chris Maxfield. I think its Belgian?
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
Appropriate for the time of year is the lovely picture from John Bristow of Times Past
Following the pictures sent in by Ed Maun last week, I have received further news on the coaches shown from Mike Penn who writes"It's nice to see some more historic photographs on your web page. I've
The use of the above pictures has been kindly agreed to by P M Photography who hold the copyright.
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming events, models and useful links
King Alfred, Winchester Running Day - Monday 1st January 2007
Always a great event and well worth a visit.
Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book
In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.
The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.
The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.
Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours.
DVD s by Robin Clare
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
A local model worth adding to your collection
Malcolm Hyland writes "This
mail comes to you in my capacity as Treasurer of The Amersham & District Motor
We have a very limited stock of the 10T10 EFE model T596 on route 458 to Uxbridge. This model was commissioned through London Bus Repaints for the Slough & Windsor Running Day on 14th May 2006 and was a limited edition of 150 models.
Price is £27-50 plus £2-50 for postage and packaging. It is available through Malcolm Hyland at 41, Clare Road, Prestwood, Bucks HP16 0NU. Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motor Bus Society. E-mail queries to email@example.com
Latest Citaro models revealed
Dave Rogers sent the following press release.
CREATIVE MASTER NORTHCORD - PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester - ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus
Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads.
ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks.
Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre.
ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions.
ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.
The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
The Oxford Bus Museum
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002