Sunday 31st October 2004
next update week ending 6th November 2004
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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So into the next century with 101 with appreciation for the continuing support which so many of you give.
In the city of Oxford last Saturday the police were in evidence once again pulling motorists over in the High Street after they had come through the "bus-taxi-gate". This may well follow the highlighting of this problem in the Oxford times a few weeks ago.
We are now heading into winter and of course the clocks went back last night. Sunset today was at 1632 in Stokenchurch and this means much more limited time to take photos. On Friday I spent a pleasant half hour at Green Road and got a few interesting photos.
Whilst The first Group are not evident in Oxford one of their training buses from London seems to make forays into Oxford on training duties. I have seen it once or twice before but this time I was in the right spot at the right time to get a photo.
First London VDN34215, S215LLO,a 1993 Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork
on training duties near Green Road on the A40 leaving Oxford. According to my records this bus is based
at Tottenham, Marsh Lane and as such was a long way from home.
A bus for sale
As a reminder of
how widely read this page is I received the following e-mail from a reader in
the USA who has a bus for sale. Brian writes "I
was wondering if you know anyone who would be interested in buying this 40' 1958
GMC 5108 model Bus.
The last time I drove it was on a US tour with my band and we drove it from NC to NY all the way to CA and back to NC. in 26 days. The bus runs and drives fine. The interior is pretty much wide open... there are 7 bunks in the very back. but its rough on the inside. It has a Detroit 671 and 4 speed manual Allison transmission.
I'm asking $8,000 but will take offers on it until I sell. Please let me know if there is anyone who is looking for something like this. Best Regards, Brian 919-949-3705"
I am really not sure what the interest is here in the UK for such a bus but one never knows. A picture of the vbus was also sent by Brian.
One has to admit it would certainly turn some heads if caught passing through Oxford !!
A visitor to Oxford
writes following a visit to Oxford saying "For
a while I have been meaning to say how much I enjoy reading your weekly pages,
so your forthcoming hundredth edition seems an opportunity not to be missed.
Although I live near Southampton, I do come up to the Oxford area now and again and your news is most useful to see what is going on.
I am of course interested in what is happening with the "Big Boys" but I am also interested in the buses run by "Independents" to use an old fashioned term and any snippets of information about them, especially where and when their buses operate so I can try to get photos of them "out on the road". I find these usually more interesting than depot shots. An example springs to mind when you mentioned Coachman using a VRT on their route from Swindon. I did try to see it but on the two occasions when I tried they were using a LT Titan! Such are the frustrations of bus photography!
I was around the Oxford area yesterday so can offer a couple of bits of information which may be of interest.
Firstly I called at Bicester bus station and Hartwell (Grayline) were using Dart K623PGO on Town service 21.
Secondly a brief call in Brackley around 12.30 produced Jeff's ex Oxford Dart M505MJO (still in COMS livery), it seemed to be waiting to go out on service although I could not see any destination. It had number blinds set to "33".
Many congratulations on making the "ton" and keep up the good work. It is much appreciated, especially as you seem to have only a limited amount of time to devote to it."
Thanks to David for the news and kind words.
Oxford goings on
The city is an interesting place for the enthusiast at present with quite a number of unusual workings from the main operators. Oxford Bus seem to be less likely to put a specific type on a given route. Low floors are appearing in all day service on routes which did not see such buses a year or so ago. most specifically 2 road seems to get its share of Volvo B10BLEs and this often means that 5 road sees B10Bs rather than low floors. So far the Citaros however seem to stick to X3/X13s and 15 roads. Very occasionally one can see one on 2 road but not on all day service to my knowledge. The 5xx Darts seem to be nearing the end of their days now and only a handful remain in service. One wonders what the future will bring and what, if any new orders for 2005, will produce.
Stagecoach are presently waiting for a further delivery of deckers for the Brookes services and for the time being a variety of buses can be found on the U1. Doubtless this will change in the new year when the new deckers arrive but for now there are some interesting photo opportunities.
Thames Travel now seem to have settled down to similar bus types on similar routes and quite by chance on Friday, at Green Road I was caught by surprise with the offering on the 108 from Whites. I managed a rear shot as can be seen in the picture below.
Whites Mercedes L151FRJ on the 108 last Friday, in place of the more normal Solo.
The independents still offer variety and a late piece of news is the Full Circle Tours have suspended operations for the winter. One remembers that there were two operators in Oxford with Guide Friday and City Sightseeing. When these two operators were merged it may have been that another operator saw an opening. City sightseeing have been operating 10 buses this last summer and this has been competed with by Full Circle with two or three buses. I wonder if over bussing may have been a consideration.
Volvo Ailsa WTS272T rounds the traffic island at St Clements in August 2003. this was earlier
in the history of Full Circle who did run through the winter of 2003-2004.
Of course another operator to "disappear" from Oxford centre working will be Worth's when they handover the 70 to Stagecoach as reported recently in these pages.
Just another one for the record from my archives.
rose and a new one
Volvo B10B K127BUD (VN10 - K10KLL) seen when recently acquired from London General in 1997.
They were new in 1993, entering service on the 15th May and branded the Clapham Omnibus.
Their route took them through Oxford Circus and those LG drivers who remember them say how fast they were.
Next to 653 is 641 at that time almost brand new and very shiny.
The location is the old depot at Cowley Road on the 21st June 1997.
Tried out but not successful
Volvo B10MA-55 561 - N561SJF seen when on loan to Stagecoach Oxford for trial on the Oxford Tube.
The date is Saturday, 23rd August 1997 at 1553 when the coach had come off the M40 to make its scheduled stop
at Lewknor and at that time the company was conducting trails for suitability of larger coaches.
These trails were unsuccessful, largely due to problems in Gloucester Green, the coaches having to load and set down in George Street.
The outcome of the need for high capacity coaches lead to the ordering of 27 M A N double decks.
This coach is now fleet number 51061 YSV730 and is based at Ayr depot.
Debate on transport blueprint
The Oxford Times this week reports that people in Oxfordshire are being given the chance to have their say about transport issues in the county. The campaign is part of the preparation of a policy blueprint that will last until beyond 2011.
A website has been established so that people can contribute on-line with their views.
The link for this site is http://www.transaction.org.uk
50 YEARS OF
SOUTH MIDLAND, 1921 – 1970
WRITTEN BY DAVID FLITTON AND PUBLISHED BY PAUL LACEY
Paul Lacey wrote to me about a new book he is publishing which man y of you will no doubt be interested in. Details of how to obtain the book can be seen on the attached download document and I hope many of you will support Paul in this venture.
One of the pictures to be found in the 50 years of South Midland book.
To order the book please download the attached document and there you will find all details. (I understand that the link was not working but this is now corrected. please be patient for the form to download. Ed.)
Order form for the South Midland book
Another picture has come to light of the old south Midland fleet and their garage in the Botley Road.
The date is 27th November 1965. The location is Oxford Botley Road.
A unique coach in the South Midland fleet, a 1952 AEC Regal IV with ECW C39F bodywork.
The coach is pictured in the Botley Road Garage and was sent to me by John Bristow.
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 31st October 2004
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
News of the local companies – 31st October 2004
Arriva's 5851, pictured in Newlands Bus Station by Gavin Francis a week ago.
Nigel Peach wrote for last week's page "Ex London Olympian 5851 (C36 CHM) was there freshly repainted and without blinds.
According to the Arriva 2004 handbook this bus was based at Ware. If it is a transfer in it will become the oldest bus at the depot I think !
Looking very clean and smart, Arriva Aylesbury's 5161 on the 280 to its home town and seen at Green Road last Friday.
Graeme writes "I have
been in Aylesbury and Wycombe today and made the following observations.
Route 323, Volvo B6 L43 MEH (didn't catch the fleetnumber) broke down just outside Aylesbury town centre today. Don't know what was wrong with it, but I saw it when travelling to Wycombe on Dart 3374, which was the next route working. Consequently, everyone from the vehicle in front had to get on the bus behind, which meant an unusually full bus. However Aylesbury depot sent Olympian 5097 to Wycombe Bus Station to cover the departure from there, I saw it zoom past when we were stopped where the B6 had broken down with '323 Aylesbury' on blinds and subsequently saw it making the return journey to Aylesbury.
All-Leyland Olympian 5121 is operating out of Aylesbury and was on the 280 this evening, while at least one of the X15-branded Scanias was used on the 66, with Olympian 5100 used on the X15 instead.
At High Wycombe, the red-liveried Dart spare for Uxbridge service U9 (3482) was used on the 339 today, and Olympian 5854 and Volvo 3080 were used on the 326. It appears that there are now five ex-London ECW/Olympians for the Wycombe allocation, former Arriva London L36 (see above Ed.) having joined similar L166-9. Like the others, it also has a 3 speed, fully-automatic Voith transmission with no manual override- I thought they were having trouble with these on Wycombe's steep hills so why another has been brought into stock I don't know!
It was not used in service today though and come to think of it nor were 5855/6. I am not sure how often the red Dart has been used on Wycombe services, but it seemed unusual seeing a red Arriva bus on a Wycombe service.
One final note is that Olympian 5826 seems to have gone. I don't know if it just wasn't there when I was, but I did not see it at all in Wycombe or Aylesbury. 5829 made a brief appearance in Aylesbury but I don't know what route it was on. It seems the era of the Oxford Olympians with Arriva the
Shires is coming to an end.
SLF Dart 3181 (P181SRO) was also there. This bus is listed in the book as allocated to Garston depot.
I was premature about ex London Dart 3814. It has regained its blinds and is back on the road!"
Martyn Banham writes "Another case of "right place, right time"
here we have Arriva 3205 R205RBW (Scania L113CRL/NC Paladin)
seemingly straying off its normal route onto the 280, pictured here outside Brookes Uni on Wednesday 27th."
(I notice the rear route blind is even saying 61 !!! Ed.)
Still no sign of the green DAFs but I did notice that a Citaro now also had a fleet number below the drivers window. I think it was MB51.
This week I received a number
of interesting pictures from Brian Matthews. He writes "Sorry
but no more from the rally day - 4 was my sum total !
I attach 4 "older" Oxford ones -
Two Fords seen at Didcot.
Queen Street - with Marks & Sparks under construction (and look at those flares ! )
Gloucester Green as it was with Bristol RE nr 80 on the 390 London via Henley
A destination that we shall not see again shown on AEC nr 625 at Cowley Road Garage.
Sister coaches but now somewhat different than when delivered. 26 and 27 approaching the Green road stop last Friday.
Unusual destination for a bus going to Risinghurst but it was because the side and rear screens said so!! 614 at Green Road last Friday
An interesting substitution last Saturday evening was the use of Airline branded coach 56 on an X90 working to London.
Martyn Banham writes "Another unusual sighting - this time Stagecoach's turn. The U1 seeing an unusual vehicle in the form of 20694 (Volvo B10M-55/AR PS). Once again, the single-deckers struggling with the volume of people at the Pullens Lane bus stop.
20694 mentioned above laoding at Pullens Lane and caught in the lens of Martyn Banham last week
A variety of mini buses appears on the 600 and last Friday it was the turn of 40653.
Peter Coney writes "don't know if these photos are any good to you, but please feel free to use them.". (Thanks Peter, very welcome. Ed)
Peter has sent these pictures of ex Tube coaches in new lives.
L156LBW in driver training colours at Corby 18Oct04.
N48MJO taken at Perth Sep04, in SC swirls with Megabus lettering
Thames Travel, Wallingford.
further information has been received regarding the new Volvo.
James Street Depot - 7 March 2004 - Andrew Burbridge sent this picture and writes
"The bus arrived in the week commencing 1 March 2004 (Thursday 4 March I seem
to recall) and departed on 27 August 2004 (possibly from Volvo, Tadcaster as I was told it left the yard the day before)
Ed Maun writes "You may recall that there was speculation in Issue 94 as to when Thames Valley service 80 had ceased after the route had been recreated in the Wycombe Running Day schedules. You may remember that I e-mailed you on 14th September that it appeared in the TV timetable dated 19th September 1970, but not in the Alder Valley timetable dated 4th January 1976. I have now acquired a copy of the Alder Valley High Wycombe area timetable dated 10th December 1972. Service 80 does not appear in this timetable. Service 80 appears to have been replaced, in part, by variations to other services, viz. Bryants Bottom is served by a 34A via Bryants Bottom to Speen; Longwick is served by extending some 31 service journeys from Lacey Green to Longwick on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays. The question is; is this the date the 80 ceased or did it cease before Alder Valley took over from Thames Valley on 1st January 1972 or earlier in 1972 after the take-over?
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An interesting foreign visitor last Friday was this Setra but I am not sure what country it originates from?
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These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002