Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
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As year end approaches I realise that this page and its predecessor started by David Root, has been in existence for nearly nine years, which brings me to the reason for the logos about 1000 years of Oxford and a variety of events which will be taking place in this great city in the forthcoming months of 2007. Oxford is not the oldest place in the British Isles, being formed in the West Saxon kingdom of Mercia in about 1007 but a lot has happened in Oxfordshire for it to reach what it has become in modern times. It may be considered the most rural county in South East England, presenting a quintessentially English picture of the countryside, scattered with market towns, villages, churches and historic waterways. It is also the only county in England to boast three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The city is host to one of the oldest universities in the western world. Oxford is an historic and unique institution. As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, it can lay claim to nine centuries of continuous existence. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. There are now 39 colleges which go to make up the University of Oxford with Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between 1249 and 1264, being the oldest.
To celebrate 1000 years Oxfordshire 2007 is to be a year of special events, festivals and anniversaries which will turn the spotlight on the wealth of talent which exists in the county today. Creative people from all corners of Oxfordshire will be involved in special events, festivals and anniversaries throughout the year. Oxfordshire 2007 aims to turn the county inside out, opening up new places and spaces and introducing you to new cultural experiences.
Full details may be found at the following link :- http://www.oxfordshire2007.co.uk/Default.htm
Already The Oxford Bus Company has adorned one of its Volvo B10Bs with a suitable livery to commemorate this event,
seen here in High Street in August of 2006 resplendent in the Oxfordshire 2007 colours.
Where appropriate we shall bring you details of events but for those who wish to keep up with all matters you should add the above web link to your favourites.
Looking back over the years
I have lived in the Chilterns for over 30 years now and have come to regard it as my home. I have always taken an interest in the local buses and coaches and have fond memories of the mid seventies in and around Stokenchurch and High Wycombe. This was before the days of digital photography and from 1980 I tended to be enthusiastic about video. I have some early footage taken in Oxford in 1980 and I began to take more photos, albeit the send off to be developed kind, in the late '80s.
1985 saw some rather splendid Plaxton bodied Leyland Tigers delivered to Green Line and some of these
found their way to the then newly formed London Country North West fleet.
These coaches had a special low floor driving position.
Unusually in the picture above STL 7 ( what a memory this could evoke - not at all an STL you may say)
is seen working a 291 service bound for London in Stokenchurch during the early summer 1988.
Another Tiger at Stokenchurch, this time on the 290. This time TPL84.
It was one of the Plaxton 3200s which were the more normal performers on this route at the end of the '80s.
In those days now but a memory, I somehow felt that it would be nice to record transport matters in my home village and thus you will often see village pictures on this page. In the mid 70s there was still a depot for Thames Valley and COMS in the village and it was in this depot that a couple of vintage buses were stored. Services in and around High Wycombe in those days were in the hands of Bristol Lodekkas, REs and some smaller Bristol saloons. With the advent of Alder Valley the Leyland National began to appear in quite large numbers and London Country at High Wycombe also introduced this type on various services including the long 711 to London and Reigate. They even had some dual purpose Nationals for this route. Gavin Francis has provided some nice pictures of Nationals from this period.
Gavin's three pictures of dual purpose Nationals outside the LC garage in High Wycombe. This is now a Staples store.
First, SNC172on 26th June 1977 followed by SNC184 on 2nd April 1977 and finally SNC185 on 30th July 1977.
These buses were quite a change from the RFs they replaced though there had been various other types on the route in the interim. I used to sometimes get the 290 from Uxbridge to Stokenchurch and remember some spirited runs on the COMS Bristol RE dual purpose coaches which seemed very fast and also very warm, especially on a cold winters day. Sadly I never did take any pictures of the coaches passing through Stokenchurch in the '70s.
When we first moved to the village in 1975 the end of an era was approaching. The motorway M40 had opened to Oxford, though the section from Beaconsfield to Denham had yet to open. By 1977 there were some non-stop journeys via the M40 and the service through Stokenchurch was renumbered from 70 to 290. The Motorway service was the 190. The first Leyland Leopards were arriving and the next few years for COMS saw a fairly standardised fleet of Leopards taking over all the Oxford-London services. I think it was around the end of the '70s that Green Line also started to run through to Oxford.
I really started to take an interest in Oxford in the early 1980s and even more so from 1987 when The Oxford Tube started to run. This was a time when there were many changes in the city, resulting in the privatisation of COMS. This was split into two parts, the city running services in and around Oxford and South Midland running country services based on Bicester, Witney and Wantage. South Midland gained some interesting liveries in those days with some buses appearing in an interesting livery of blue, white and sand. I was passing Bicester on one occasion and happened upon an ex Manchester Titan. In fact on that day there were two ex Manchester Titans in the small depot alongside the railway line.
Titan 703 is being made ready for a trip to Oxford whilst another one is parked up at the rear of the depot.
I think this one was 702, the picture being taken around 1988, sadly I failed to record the exact date.
It was around this time that COMS surprised everyone by introducing specific buses for the Park & Ride services in Oxford. Up until that time the buses used were mainly second hand. The first had come from Midland Red, were Fleetlines and were in what was called a "Starsky & Hutch" livery. These were followed by second had Fleetlines from London of the DMS type.
The new buses were Leyland Olympians with Alexander RL dual door bodies and comprised a batch of five vehicles numbered 225-229 : E225-229CFC.
Somehow these buses looked very white.
They had fixed Park & Ride destination screens and this particular bus, nr 226, is still in service nearly 20 years later with Arriva, Aylesbury.
Indeed it can often be seen in Oxford these days on the 261 or 280.
The picture was taken in Oxford in the Spring of 1988 when these buses had just entered service.
In 1989 this bus gained advertising livery for Barclays and was transferred to Wycombe Bus in June 1999.
It was sold along with all the Wycombe Bus operation to Arriva at the end of 2000.
Another Park & Ride Olympian was one purchased from a dealer. This unique vehicle started life
as a Leyland Bus far east Leyland Olympian prototype built to Singapore Bus Services specification.
New in 1980 and exhibited at the 1980 Commercial Motor Show at the NEC it featured the prototype Alexander R type body.
After demonstration in Singapore it was shipped back to the UK via Alexandria, Egypt where it stayed for a period of time.
It was sold in 1986 by Leyland Bus to Dobsons Coaches, Widnes who then put the vehicle up for sale
via J. Sykes, Carlton, Barnsley acting as dealer.
After some refurbishment work it was put into service in Oxford as 999, PWL999W and spent sometime
on the Redbridge-Peartree service, it being too high to go under the station bridge.
The picture abo0ve was taken at Redbridge by me in 1992.
One place which had always been of interest has been Gloucester Green and this historical interlude concludes with a picture of the site under development at the end of the '80s. The Oxford Tube has arrived and one can glimpse a Bristol VR of South Midland in Orbiter livery but the main vehicles on show are Leyland Tigers on Oxford Citylink services. Also in those days the city road signs relied upon people knowing their North, South, East and West.
To end this short piece on some memories and to bring matters up to the minute, I would have to comment that the Leyland marque is now almost extinct in Oxford although High Wycombe sees a few more examples with the double deck fleet of Carousel. Deliveries of new vehicles has seen a significant improvement in local fleets, especially in Oxford. Low floor is now the name of the game and one operator that has grown in the past few years is that of Thames Travel. In the 1970s and 1980s this operator was yet a dream in the future but as the 1990s closed it was becoming a force to be reckoned with. Now in 2006 it is the operator of a fleet of some 40 or so buses and covers a wide area extending from its base at Wallingford. On the double deck front the Dennis or ADL Trident has become the standard in the area with even Carousel taking three second examples from Metrobus.
One of the most significant steps forward has been the quest for cleaner air and less polluting vehicles. To this end Oxford Bus has probably made the most marked improvements with the recent introduction of eleven Mercedes Benz Citaros complying to Euro 5 standards. They have even won an ward for their branding of the fleet with a star rating system.
2007 promises to be an interesting year with more new buses due and doubtless changes to the local networks. One thing is sure and that is that the Oxford Chiltern Bus Page will bring you news of all the latest happenings as and when they occur.
Victoria on the last Saturday of 2006 by Stephen le Bras with a picture from Gavin Francis
Stephen writes " Saturday the 30th of December 2006 was rather less cold but quite windy and only a handful of enthusiasts were to be seen around Victoria. Once again it was coaches which made the day with Shaw/Travellers Choice of Carnforth putting out a 56 reg Plaxton on the 570 (FJ56UJX) and another operator with two Levantes on the 560, (FJ56PEO and ?)which may have been Stagecoach Yorkshire. On the other hand, Stagecoach put out a trans Lancs Express 52414 on Megabus. (see picture below from Gavin Francis)
pictures by Gavin Francis
I also noted
Weavaway/Oxford YN56EZW, a Scania/Berkhof coach by Victoria station.
A highlight for me was a Volvo 9700 on the 871A Eurolines service from Ireland. I suspect that it was one of the batch owned by Cullinan although it was branded CIE Tours. Reg 06-G-610. All the services to Europe were well loaded again as there were fewer coaches."
On a related note Gavin Francis took the picture below of one of the latest Stagecoach coaches from United Counties and new into service in an unrelieved livery of red, 53272. This is a Volvo B7R with Plaxton Profile Interurban BC51F coachwork and was included in a report of the batch now being used on the VT99 Virgin Trains services between Milton Keynes and Luton Airport. The batch was reported as being :-
53271 KX56 JZJ
53272 KX56 JZK
53273 KX56 JZL
53274 KX56 JZM
53275 KX56 JZN
53276 KX56 JZO
I think one must presume that this is late delivery to the batch for the Virgin Trains services and as yet awaits application of the full livery. It is unusual for such a coach to appear in London.
That coach last week which was Spanish and not Polish as stated
I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Ricardo Fig, a reader in Portugal who writes "First of all, congratulations for you webpage, I am from Portugal, and I love buses, especially German and British ones.
Keep up the good work, as I enjoy each and every update of
your page. However, there is a small mistake on your last update, which was the
picture of a Eurolines coach at Victoria (although
you stated the coach was carrying Polish plates), it was in fact
should be Spanish plates, its a Van Hool from Hermanos
Looking forward for your next update, best regards, and a happy new year, Ricardo Fig."
Another reader Harvey Cullimore writes "Good to see your page out this week. Just a note about the Eurolines coach pictured leaving Victoria and indicated as being Polish registered.
This is most certainly not the case as the coach belongs to Arriaga a Eurolines European partner based in Zaragoza within the Aragon region of Spain.
Arriaga operate numerous Eurolines diagrams within Europe and would in this instance have been operating the 121/3 service to Eurolines Paris terminal at Bagnolet. This 121/3 service would most likely be the first part of a split service that operates from London via Paris to Spain. Quite a few partner operators carry the Eurolines web address of the individual country responsible for the tendered route even though they themselves may operate from another country."
Terry Wong Min catches up with a Tube on Christmas Day
Neoplan 50109 seen at 13300 hrs on Christmas Day at the terminus in Buckingham Palace Road before returning to Oxford.
Terry Wong Min's picture would also show how deserted the street of London were as his picture of Oxford Street below taken at 1035 hrs shows.
Can it really be London, not a bus in sight.
For some more interesting pictures do please visit Terry's excellent photo site :- http://londonbuspics.fotopic.net/
Dave Rogers on the south coast
Dave Rogers wrote to me today to send a couple of interesting pictures. He writes "Taken on 29.12.06 at The Hard, Portsmouth and all the best for 2007, keep up the good work on the OCBP!"
An ex Oxford Volvo at work on the south coast. 30th December 2006 - Dave Rogers.
Dave goes on to say "SWT have been out between Portsmouth Harbour and Petersfield over the Christmas and New Year. I have been working on the replacement bus service and on Friday I was using this ex Hong Kong Olympian, 13646, which I think was used on the Oxford Tube in the past as it had a notice in the cab saying 'Not to go under Botley Road bridge'."
Andrew Webb visits Milton Keynes
Andrew Webb wrote and interesting note regarding a shopping trip to MK with his
girl friend. I hope she doesn't read this page as Andrew writes
bored with following the girlfriend around the endless shops of MK I volunteered
to leave her in peace for a while and sauntered off to the bus stops to watch
the local activity for an hour. Too dark to take photos, but a couple of things
of relevance to your page.
Arriva MK Metro were using Arriva Shires' NC Paladin Volvo B6 3119 on service 200 Park and Ride to the Coachway. Legals for MK Metro were on A4 paper in the window.
Also on the 200 was a white Plaxton Dart, S393HVV, legals on A4 in the window showing it as on hire to MK Metro.
The Arriva X15 to Aylesbury was in the hands of elderly Olympians (G reg), though this route had been updated with low floor single deckers, or was it to provide extra capacity at Xmas?
Stagecoach had a NC Olympian, P526EFL, out on the X5, no idea if this is an odd working or not, but I only ever saw coaches on it when I lived in Oxford 10 years ago. (Very occasionally they do use a decker if short of coaches Ed.)
After reading your page for 27/12, I remember seeing the Nat Ex training bus featured in use at Heathrow on the Hotel Hoppa services.
Keep up the good work with the page, always a good read."
An interesting link regarding coach travel between Oxford and London
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 all my contributors and for the kind notes many of you so often write. It has been a challenge to ensure we have a weekly page but the effort is so worthwhile when so many of you say you enjoy the read each week. May I wish you all the best for 2007 and keep the support coming.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 30th December 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 30th December 2006
Neil Gow writes to say "Was passing through Aylesbury today on the way to see if anything's changed at Milton Keynes (it hasn't, other than an ex dealer stock low floor DAF SB220 on Park and Ride that never stopped long enough to get a picture of it), so watched out for the 54 which seems to be the best bet for old Olympians. It was - 5123 and "new" 5172 were on it. Tried to get digital pictures at Wendover clock (nice scenic location) but the combination of weather and expiring battery conspired to produce only blurred shots."
Nigel Peach writes"On the page for 10th December you reported:
Steve Bunce put me in touch with Bryan Larkins who reports that "......noted
today at Garston garage were two new Darts in red colour scheme for use on
London routes. They are registered SN56AXG and SN56AXH. No titles, fleet
numbers or legal lettering yet.
An engineer told me that one if for a H route (based at Garston) and the other a U route (based at High Wycombe). They were only delivered on Friday 08.12."
Today (Sun 31st) I saw Dart 3805 (SN56 AXH) at the Cressex depot. It looked as though it has already seen service on the U9 route at Uxbridge. Very annoyingly I had forgotten to take my camera with me today! I guess it means that red Dart 3482 (W482 YGS), the previous "spare" bus for this route, which didn't comply with TfL requirements, has gone off to be repainted in standard Arriva livery."
Well, now that leaves a race to see who will the first to send me a picture, especially as the weather is so poor.
Brian George took this picture of some Neoplans in Trathens yard on the 30th December 2006.
I think 819 is a recent arrival.
Richard Sharman wrote regarding a National Express diagram which passes through Oxford saying"Purely by chance I stumbled across this Arriva Derby Levante on Saturday night at Oxford Services. I'm thinking this must be where they layover every night, they took over a couple of NX workings from Stagecoach in Warwickshire, this vehicle works the following-
13.55 from Bradford then Leeds/Sheffield/Chesterfield/Derby/Birmingham then into to Oxfordshire at 20.00 to stop at Banbury then last stop Gloucester Green at 20.40 then I dare say refuels at Shell Pear Tree then overnights at Travelodge. Where as when SC in Warwickshire had it the vehicle went to Horspath Road depot.
Departs Oxford at 07.50 Banbury 08.40 then arrives Bradford at 14.45"
I would mention an interesting site for those who like National Express. The link is :- http://nationalexpress.fotopic.net/list_collections.php
After a great deal about OBC in recent weeks this week I have one contribution from Gavin Francis who caught a Citaro on 6 road.
Is it now the norm for a Citaro on 6 road, or should it be the Darts 401, 402 and 408?
Just a few pictures from Gavin Francis to end the year.
Gavin caught up with 32626 in Oxford last Friday working to Kidlington.
Full blinds now showing though not on the 7E.
Gavin was lucky to get a good destination display on camera as 18053 left Gloucester Green last /Friday en route to Charlbury.
Richard Sharman caught up with the same bus at Chipping Norton outstation saying
The X6 generally sees double decks at busy times and this ex Manchester Volvo/Alexander PS
was a most unusual performer on this route last Friday. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Gavin Francis caught up with 52297 at Victoria last week.
I think this coach is now allocated to Stranraer having once been a regular on the Cambridge-London National Express service.
Terry Wong Min sent some nice pictures of a new Scania Omnilink demonstrator to be used by this operator.
The new bus prior to entry into service.
Richard Sharman sent a picture of what he advises is a recent acquisition. I was wondering if anyone could provide an up to date fleet list for next week's page.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
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/
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