Issue 37

Sunday 29th June 2003

next update week ending 19th July 2003

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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Well, after a week on the London General service on Motspur Park & Ride I now have a short moment to get this week's News Page out. I mentioned that I would be working for London General for two weeks on their Wimbledon services, keeping the Oxford Bus flag flying on this prestigious event.

I must say that the bus allocated to me (NV185) has been a pleasure to drive and the crowds carried make the job really worth while. Most journeys seem to operate with full loads and when both centre court and number 1 court tip out at the same moment things really get busy.

NV185, a 1998 Volvo Olympian with NC Palatine II bodywork with coach seating, once a regular performer on route 74.

The week was most interesting in the variety of buses provided for the Wimbledon services by London General. Other Go-Ahead companies provided support with Brighton & Hove coming up with a variety of buses and coaches over the past six days. One interesting use of a golden Jubilee bus is 866 shown below and now in use for private hire weddings.

866, a Trident with Plaxton bodywork is shown using the specially constructed bus station in car park 1.

Perhaps the nicest buses of all were the latest open top conversions for London General of three NV class Olympians with Palatine II bodywork. These are in fact convertible open toppers but the week's fine weather attracted many passengers travelling between Wimbledon Rail Station and the Tennis.

Looking resplendent in pseudo General livery, NV waits a return trip to the station.
These buses are also used on the London by night tours.

A brand new Volvo PVL class decker was also in use on the Motspur Park service and started its working life on Tuesday last.

PVL355 (PL03AGZ) works its first journey in service, devoid of any blinds except this Wimbledon sticker.

Finally having a group association it is not surprising that Brighton & Hove also have several Plaxton Excalibur bodied Volvo coaches. These also appeared on the Wimbledon services.

BH&D 503 takes a break in the car park 1 bus layover area. Alongside is PVL355.

Paul Goodwin writes regarding the on going saga of the 74 and various comments from correspondents. He says "I think I need to update you on the position with the 74. 

Arriva have deregistered their part of the current 74 wef 7/7. They have registered an hourly replacement between High Wycombe and Slough Only. Beeline are continuing with their current service. This means that the first through Service from High Wycombe to Heathrow is the 0920 arriving at 1045! It also  means that every 2 or 3 hours you have two buses at the same time....!!!!! 

From 28/7 Beeline have deregistered their part of the current 74 and registered a replacement 2-hourly 74 between Wycombe and Slough. Again this Means that that every two hours there are two buses within 5 mins of each other."

I suppose the overlap problem is caused because OFT regulations preclude operators from talking to each other. This seems to be a rather amazing outcome of what are thought to be protections in favour of the travelling public. I wonder when someone in authority will wake up to the problems such rules can cause.

One of my correspondents last week commented on the advert on a bus in Cheltenham.

Friday 13th. saw us in Cheltenham, investigating the Brian Matthews puzzle from last week about a non-standard Stagecoach livery. The only clue I can offer is on the side, as it carries a recruitment advertisement – though why is the email address westwales.recruitment?


An answer from another correspondent says "I can offer an answer to the mystery of the e-mail address on the recruitment Dart SPD, seen in Cheltenham. The local Stagecoach company was West & Wales, and the IT department  allocated that address to the training department for recruitment."

Well, my apologies for a rather short News Page this week but time is not on my side, nor have been in Oxford all week. Also please note there will not be a News Page next weekend due to my Wimbledon commitment. And so on to the operators news and do keep the news coming in.

Malcolm Crowe, June 29th 2003.

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News of the local companies – 29th June 2003

Steve Warwick writes

Mon 23rd June

Volvo B6, 3137 arrived from Luton yesterday (Sun), first day out on the road today on the 260 broke down, now in the workshop.
Two more N/C Volvo B6's are imminent from Luton.

Wed 25th June

Olympian 5100 was working the 4 route this morning before being replaced by MPD 3485.

Olympian 5114 which has been off the road since being transferred from HW to AY is going for MOT tomorrow so it should be in service soon.

Friday 27th June

Dennis Dart 3101 on 500 Aylesbury- Watford
Volvo Olympian worked the 14.45 16 service to Steeple Claydon and 17.15 16 service to Quainton.

MPD 3482 was on 4's with Optare Solo 0446 on 5's.

Nigel Peach writes

Friday 27th.

All Leyland Olympian 5133 (H203 GRO) was in the workshop at Wycombe. So, it joins its sisters 5124 & 5132 at Wycombe depot.

Most, if not all of the Alexander bodied ex Oxford Olympians (5825-35) are still around.

Ed Maun writes "
Reference Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page, issue 35.

I was particularly interested in service 303 becoming service 33.  There is an article in this week’s Mid Week Free Press about this service – apparently it is to become Red Route 33, similar to Red Route 9 in Aylesbury. The Kassel kerb infrastructure has long since been in place as this was done for the service 303/313 Quality Bus route introduced in 1996 and branded as EasyAccess using the new Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer low floor buses. I have not been into High Wycombe recently to have a look at preparations for the new service.   Are new bus stop flags with the integral timetable cases being introduce as per the Red Route 9 in Aylesbury? 

Service 33 was the long standing Thames Valley service from High Wycombe Town Centre to Desborough Castle, so use of “33” is very apt.  Service 33 was always single deck operated due to the steep terrain encountered and was half cab operated for some time after underfloor engined front loaders were generally introduced, as the newer vehicles had problems with grounding on some of the steep corners.  Thames Valley’s last 5 Bristol LWL6Bs were specifically kept on for service 33.  To perpetuate the memory, Corgi produced, a few years back, a model Bristol L6B in Thames Valley livery and displaying service 33 blinds."

Steve Warwick came with a late request saying "HI Malcolm, hope I'm time for this weeks webpage, see you're on line now, could you see if any of our readers can help me with this attached photo, obviously an Aylesbury bus taken probably around the early seventies fleet number is 730, but I don't recall the route number at all and looks as if it's down the  Road. Any info would be appreciated


I was delighted to hear from Noel Clark, operations Manager of Carousel who says "I noticed your news item on our A40 service and the interest surrounding the vehicles to operate it. From 28 July until the end of the year it will be operated by our existing Leyland Olympians although I suspect the odd Lynx may appear if circumstances dictate. It is highly unlikely any Metrobuses will appear due to their 40mph top speed making them unsuitable for this route that has several sections that will require 50mph running.

This week we ordered three Mercedes-Benz Citaro 12m single deck vehicles for November/December delivery. These will be almost unique in the UK as we have specified the Voith 4 speed automatic gearbox in preference to the ZF 5 speed. We are informed by Mercedes that the only 12m Citaro currently in the UK with a Voith 'box is the vehicle owned by TfL, however it is a popular gearbox for the Citaro-G articulated bus.

The A40 is a commercial venture for Carousel in partnership with BAA and Bucks CC. In common with our other commercial ventures we are keen to keep the fares as low as possible. Adult return fares from Wycombe Centre to Uxbridge and Heathrow will be £2.95 and £3.95 respectively. Weekly seasons £12.95 and £16.95 respectively. We will also be reducing out Wycombe area weekly ticket to £7.95 from this date. This covers Beaconsfield, Bourne End, Marlow, Flackwell Heath, Wycombe Marsh etc.

A timetable for the A40 service can be found on our website."

Thanks to Carousel for that very informative piece.

Oxford Bus this week announced a late year delivery of an order for ELEVEN new Mercedes Benz Citaro single door buses. They will enter service on the X3/X13 revised services of which details may be found on the company web site News Page

Eleven more of these MB Citaros are on order for late year delivery. They will be 828-838 and this time
will be in red livery for the X3/X13 group service. They will be single door.

Richard Griffin caught this Airbus landing at Heathrow on 27left with a new Scania of Menzies followed by Oxford 25.

Due to serious traffic congestion last week on the M40 an exchange of coaches between the X80 and X90 took place to keep departures on schedule from Oxford. Coach 28 went to London (it is in The Airline livery) and recently rebranded 24 (in X90 livery) went to Gatwick. It is suggested that a Jonckheere also went to London some days ago but this is an unconfirmed rumour.

Volvo 606 is presently having a major bodywork refit and may also be having refurbished interior work as well.

Route 14 starts on 7th July and for a short period some ex Oxford Darts recently with Metrobus will be returning home to work this route.

A correspondent from Japan has asked for more photos of National Express coaches in the new livery. I will get round to this after Wimbledon.


David Whitley, Marketing Manager of the company has asked for the latest attached fleet list (period 3 - June 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click on the Stagecoach logo to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)

getacro.gif (712 bytes)

David also advises that the next route for branding will be route 10. This time the colour is pale blue and the buses in question will be Darts 32051-32054 and 32061 and 32062.

Shortly to receive 10 route branding 32052 passes along George Street earlier this year.

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This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

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