Spottings & Jottings nr. 67 - April 10th 2013
If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will
advise of any mid-week news please let me know
Maundy Thursday saw H M The Queen visit Oxford to present 86 old people with their Maundy money purses. Needless to say some delays were encountered by traffic in the city centre.
This past month has proved most interesting with various arrivals and changes to local companies.
The first item of note is that Green Line (Arriva) have lost the permission to serve Luton Airport from London, currently operated as service 757. This has been running for around 30 years and came as a shock to many people. In its place National Express have been granted the rights and will operate service A1 between Luton Airport and London Victoria coach Station. This service will operate up to every 10 minutes using a fleet of eighteen brand new coaches and it is suggested a further 4 six month old coaches supporting the route. We understand that Green Line will continue to operate the 757 serving Luton town only but matters are not totally clear as yet. The A1 starts on May 1st.
Secondly Tappins (City Sightseeing Oxford) have purchased four second hand Dennis Tridents which have been converted for Oxford sightseeing work. The biggest surprise is the livery which you see in detail under the company heading below. Four elderly Olympians have been sold to Ensign Bus, which means the end of this marque in the city.
As a result of the upgrading of the Arriva 280 service to Platinum quality, a number of ex London DAF s are being used to supplement the Aylesbury fleet whilst the conversion work is done on the E400 fleet. Again more details can be found under the Arriva heading.
Oxford Bus surprised local enthusiasts with the repainting of one of two Airline coaches which are now multi route use vehicles. The livery is striking with excellent branding and the coaches stand out from others in the fleet. Coach 17 is the first to be done and entered service on Saturday, 6th April and one assumes that the other will be coach 18 which we think is away being prepared. This means that there is a variety of livery variations in the OC coach fleet which all adds to the interest locally.
Thames Travel are to be congratulated in the turn out of their fleet with the Citaros looking excellent. Again these buses add to local variety and as mentioned under the company heading some may be based in Oxford for the early X2 service. We understand that this is operated out of Cowley House depot using Thames Travel drivers. This company seems to be expanding quite quickly and the green and blue livery is very striking around Oxfordshire.
Finally Grayline are receiving three new Streetlites shortly and details are to be found under their heading below.
Other items of interest are reports on the Delaine Running Day, the Luton Busway, Wellingborough 100 and the latest state of affairs in Blackpool.
A point of note regarding Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria is that fibre optic cable laying works will restrict traffic inn the area for around two months. Long coaches will be unable to turn left off Eccleston Bridge into BPR during this period.
As ever contributions have been excellent and I much appreciate your support which helps to make the OCBP what it is. I find it hard to realise I have been doing this now for fifteen years!!!
Amersham & District
Dates for your diary
Dates for your diary
Sunday 5 May
HARLOW marking 50 years since
Harlow Garage opened to replace Epping.
Sunday 5 May HARLOW marking 50 years since Harlow Garage opened to replace Epping.
Sunday 12 May
SLOUGH moved from 19 May to avoid clash with Sevenoaks.
Slough & Windsor Railway Society to join with us for the first time and to
open their premises opposite the bus station for stalls etc. Also hopefully
the launch of a green RT (a former WR one) now fully restored.
Sunday 12 May SLOUGH moved from 19 May to avoid clash with Sevenoaks. Slough & Windsor Railway Society to join with us for the first time and to open their premises opposite the bus station for stalls etc. Also hopefully the launch of a green RT (a former WR one) now fully restored.
NEW DATE Sunday
UXBRIDGE moved from 30 June as London
(Cobham) Bus Museum are having an event that day and from 7 July to avoid
NEW DATE Sunday 14 July UXBRIDGE moved from 30 June as London (Cobham) Bus Museum are having an event that day and from 7 July to avoid North Weald.
Sunday 18 August
Sunday 18 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
Sunday 6 October
AMERSHAM – this year celebrating its Silver Jubilee!
Sunday 6 October AMERSHAM – this year celebrating its Silver Jubilee!
Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society
The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal monthly social meeting in Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture show with local and guest speakers. A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually around £1 for members per meeting depending on numbers. For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.
The next society meeting is on April 16th and
will be the society A.G.M Meeting.
We will follow the AGM with a photo presentation for the rest of the evening.
At the meeting, we will discuss the future direction of the society and it will be chance to elect a new committee for 2013/4. The AGM will be kept as brief as possible and the 2012/3 commitee would welcome your attendance. If you do not intend to attend the AGM, I would welcome notice for the minutes.
Meetings are held at the North Community Centre,
Diamond Place, Summertown:
There isparking, also close to bus stops (frequent 2, S4 and S5 routes)
or a short walk from Oxford City Centre - For directions click HERE
A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.
When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site
Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.
Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!
I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.
May I please ask readers to do two things?
1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.
2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.
The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.
Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.
The level of contribution to this page by readers, as ever, remains excellent! Thank you all.
Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - Wednesday 10th April 2013.
Observations and pictures
From Gavin Francis
Some interesting pictures from Gavin who was able to record the scene at Stansted Airport whilst operating the 737 from Oxford and on a recent visit to Binders Yard near high Wycombe.
March 7th by Gavin Francis.
Silverdale livery coach covering for Levante. Gavin two other coaches on 767, another Silverdale livery coach and an old Panther.
Not a Levante in sight today! Even the 777 Levante of Flights was being covered by Dons of Dunmow!
March 7th by Gavin Francis.
SX Connect 634 GN07AVO on route 133 at Stansted Airport on March 7th seen by Gavin Francis.
This bus and other came from Arriva Kent Thameside where it operated services to Bluewater with fleet number 3825.
And now our first 13 plate!!!!
And now our first 13 plate!!!!
And from Binders Yard.
And from Binders Yard.
Cliffs of High Wycombe have been rebranding their coaches.
From Glenn de Sousa
I have some more local news for Hertfordshire by Glenn de Sousa:
Here is a pic of ex-Courtney YJ57 XWP, being repainted at NCT. It will enter service later this month. (All credit to NCT Fleet list Facebook Page).
A new DAF/Irizar i6 for Stewarts of Mortimer (near Reading) is YN13 BWV. This is the first of three due for Stewarts this month.
Bracknell Forest Council retendered local routes
108, 153 Suns, Eve + Sun 171 + 172s and part of the Sunday 194 back in Feb.
Thames Travel won the 153 and 108 whilst First declared a commercial operation on their bits of supported network, including the 171 and 172 in the evening, resulting in Courtney losing all tendered work in Bracknell.
Ex-Stagecoach Dart, X964VAP, in on loan to Olympian Coaches (for the Roadrunner business). It is still in Stagecoach livery, but is devoid of any Stagecoach branding so is presumably here from Ensignbus (though I am not completely sure).
Roadrunner Y669NLO is in company livery, but with no branding apart from ‘£5 Weekly’ ticket advertising on the nearside window for Harlow services R1, C3 etc.
Also, Y862 TGH is in full livery with logo’s ( www.olympiancoaches.co.uk ) and is fitted with a digital destination display but is not currently in use, route numbers printed on paper and stuck on the windscreen.
In Olympian’s yard, there are also two ex-Lothian, Edinburgh Plaxton Presidents in all-over white. Can anyone advise whether these are purchases, loans - and what they are to be used for?
Please find attached a picture of two New Bharat Coaches taken on Wednesday morning (10:30) to cover the ME1 and ME2 dupes to help clear the back log of passengers that were stranded due to the poor weather conditions in Kent and Northern France.
At Reading and Wokingham Coaches, a new acquisition is Mercedes/Reeve Burgess bodied NUI 7712 (C33F) from Midland Glowbelle, West Bromwich. BIG 9885 has now departed for a company on the Isle of Wight.
Optare Demonstrator YJ11 OJK has gone from Courtney
to the University of Nottingham. It left Courtney’s Finchampstead depot in
Courtney Solo YJ62 FYF is a Slimline model, not standard width, as is YJ62 FCC for definite.
YJ13 HJO is a new Optare Versa for Newbury and District (Weavaway, Newbury). It was in service a couple of days ago (today being 10/3).
Two new Optare Versas arrived at Weavaway’s Greenham depot on 5th March, they are registered YJ13 HJO/HMO. They will be used on the Newbury and District services.
Horseman Coaches of Reading are expecting four new Plaxton Panther 2’s. Four Iveco/Beulas Euroriders (FJ03 ZTU-W/Y) have gone to Plaxton in part exchange. FJ03 ZTU/Y have gone to Zinnu Bus and Coach in Malta. The first of the new Panther 2’s is YN13 AWF. It entered service at the beginning of the month (March).
The final of three Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 buses to enter service with Mullany's is KX10 DVL.
Following the sale of the Optare Solo's, Mullany's have two Dennis Dart/Plaxton’s in use on loan from Dawson Rentals until the new Optare Solo SR's arrive around Easter time. They are KX05 KFD/E.
Golden Tours, London:
Volvo/MCV 106 (BF62 UYP) has received the advertising (black) for the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour.
Link to photo to show livery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanderer30/8555709522/in/photostream
A few changes to services in Berkshire (operated by Thames Travel, Courtney and First Berkshire) in May:
From Peter Dyer.
From Peter Dyer.
The DAF Van Hool Decker had less than 1000 miles
on the clock and this was it's first proper use in service I believe.
The DAF Van Hool Decker had less than 1000 miles on the clock and this was it's first proper use in service I believe.
From Frazer Peddle
Please find some attached pictures I took in Oxford city centre today (Sunday 10th March).
Also pictures of buses I took during a fleeting visit to Wycombe (Monday 11th March).
Two of them are of Carousel's Olympian parked in Westbourne Street, the other was a "quick on a whim" backside image of an Arriva Volvo B10M Plaxton on a 300 service at Frogmoor coming from Aylesbury, a very rare sight indeed!
From Carl Berry
Expresswest first ran nearly 32 years ago as an express bus service replacing various, shorter, services. It was popular but demand slowly died once it was moved to be part of the National Express network. Whilst the Greyhound service could be used in the same way it's not promoted as such and doesn’t encourage turn up and go passengers. (It's timekeeping in the first week wouldn’t encourage any passengers, however I hope that'll be dealt with). I'm sure that having the same group owning the competing railway hasn’t entered the equation!
From Andrew Webb
An hour at Victoria
on 23 March yielded some half decent photos, despite the freezing weather
and driving snow. Roadworks on Buckingham Palace Road saw lots of
congestion with many buses diverted through the Green Line station.
Megabus' European services now run on a Saturday, leaving Victoria at 10:30 for Paris and Brussels. Both were running 30 minutes adrift when Midland Red South's Plaxton 53645 was captured heading for the coast on the ME1. The Brussels service was in front of this one.
Two slightly unusual Van Hool's. The first is former Chalfont B10M Y618NYD. Now owned and operated by Buckswood School, a private boarding school in Hastings. Relatively few schools now have their own vehicles, preferring to hire in as required. Shortly after this Candy Coaches B10M E938SSD passed by. This is a remarkable survivor (especially in the London LEZ), having been delivered 25 years ago in February 1988 to Clyde Coast.
The craze for overall adverts on London buses has diminished significantly since the Olympics. The Vodafone campaign continues on 40 buses. Other campaigns utilise just a handful of buses, such as this one for China which is on a Metroline Enviro 400 and, as illustrated here, Arriva's DW270.
Wagon Wheels Facilities operate this former Southdown Northern Counties bodied B10M as a dining bus for film sets. Originally F301MYJ, it was re registered to XIL5099 with Travelmasters and continues to carry this registration. The rear has a metal shelf on which sits a generator with tow bar for a further generator to be towed. It is seen here in London's Lincoln Inn Fields whilst on a filming job on 23 March.
From Graham (Low)
Stagecoach usually run two E400H hybrids on the 3, seven days a week. OBC have run two Volvos on recent Sundays and today (Saturday 23 March) ran two - the first I have seen on a weekday - here is 351. The recently re-registered E400H 300 (R12 OXF) also appears on the 3, as well as on most other routes - here it is on 18 March.
From Artful Dodger
At 1817 traffic was at A standstill in all directions due to an accident on The Plain causing delays. At 1826 St Clement's was closed. All services coming into the city from Headington were diverted. At 1842 the 8/9/400/X90/Brookesbus/LHR/LGW were diverted from Headley Way to Banbury Rd to Oxford and the 4/4A/4B/4C operated from Wood Farm to Gipsy La to Headley Way to Banbury Rd to Oxford. At 1901 St Clement's re-opened and OBC services returned to normal with delays while the traffic clears. At 1903 Stagecoach were experiencing delays on city services due to A broken down car on The Plain.
A question from Trevor Wilson
I see the Arriva 353 has now changed to Hemel Hempstead - from June 2012 it would appear. Anyone know why? And which depots work the route - used to be High Wycombe. Used to live in Chalfont St Peter and occasionally used the 353?
... The 353 is worked out of the Hemel Hempstead depot. The Monday - Saturday service is run commercially, the Sunday under contract to Herts CC - Sunday service between Hemel and Amersham will transfer from Arriva to Red Rose following retenders.
Any advance on this? Ed.
Any advance on this? Ed.
From Glenn de Sousa
From the 1st May, Green Line 757, which Arriva operate from London Victoria to Luton Airport by Arriva the Shires with sixteen Van Hool Acron tri-axle coaches plus the two Caetano Levantes, will cease serving Luton Airport after over 32 years. The Airport Authority has awarded a new concession to operate into the airport to National Express.
I shall be publishing a tribute to Green Line's 757 service in the next
issue with pictures provided by Mike Penn. As a taster I thought readers
would like the one below.
I shall be publishing a tribute to Green Line's 757 service in the next issue with pictures provided by Mike Penn. As a taster I thought readers would like the one below.
If readers have interesting pictures to submit for
consideration please do so.
If readers have interesting pictures to submit for consideration please do so.
At Arriva the Shires in Garston, Plaxton Prestige T492 KGB is still in allover red with ‘heart’ radio branding. Does anyone know how long it has been like this? At least two Alexander Dennis Enviro 400’s from the Aylesbury depot have gone off to be upgraded to Sapphire specification (for the upgrade of route 280 in the summer). At Luton, 13 new Volvo B7RLE/Wrightbus Eclipse 2’s are due in Autumn for the Luton and Dunstable guided busway.
Also due in the Autumn for other Arriva fleets are 11 new VDL SB200’s/Wrightbus Pulsar 2’s for Arriva Sapphire route 7 in the North East. Part of the 2013 bus order for the Arriva Group includes 80 on the SB200 chassis.
Dart SLF/East Lancs Spryte 3171 (P671 OPP) was also re-instated at Milton Keynes for cover.
Arriva the Shires (formerly working on route 142 before the contract renewal with ‘55 reg Volvo/ALX400’s) 6004 KL52 CWT and 6009 KL52 CXA were at Bus and Coach world in Blackburn this afternoon - they have been repainted into the Interurban livery and have had their centre doors removed, they are also fitted with LED displays as at the front side and back. KL52 CWW has been converted to single door but is still in TfL London Red. (12/03/13).
Arriva the Shires V259 HBH is now at High Wycombe.
Arriva the Shires Garston 3704, YJ06 LFE, was at the Hants and Dorset Trim today undergoing refurbishment for the contract renewal of TfL route 303.
Announced on Sunday on the LOTS website was the following information about the 280 Enviro’s at Aylesbury:
‘Arriva's newly announced 'Sapphire' branding which features upgraded buses on certain key routes, is to be introduced on route 280 Aylesbury- Oxford. The first couple of Enviro400s (which are allocated to the route) have gone away to be treated to this branding but in the meantime a miscellany of other buses will be seen until the E400s are all treated.’
-This doesn't seem unusual!
Arriva the Shires ex-Garston 6000 KL52 CWN is now at the Aylesbury depot.
The following Mercedes Benz Citaros at
Aylesbury have Friars Square Shopping mega rears:
I cycled down the the Arriva depot in Aylesbury in a gap from the rain and I now include an update from Arriva Aylesbury:
3827 is still at the back of the depot and has not yet transferred to Milton Keynes.
Adding to 6000 (KL52 CWN) from a couple of weeks ago, 6002 (KL52 CWP) has arrived at the depot. So this means that 6000 and 6002 are now at Aylesbury after refurbishment at Blackburn Bus & Coach. I’m guessing that 6001 (KL52 CWO) will also be at Aylesbury and others may join it.
The KL52 batch of Tridents from Garston have been refurbished at Blackburn Bus and Coach and some of them have been transferred to Aylesbury. A list of buses thought to arrive at Aylesbury and have arrived is below:
6000 – KL52 CWN
6001 – KL52 CWO (possibly)
6002 – KL52 CWP
6003 – KL52 CWR
6004 – KL52 CWT (possibly)
6005 – KL52 CWU (possibly)
6006 – KL52 CWV (possibly)
6007 – KL52 CWW (possibly)
6008 – KL52 CWZ (possibly)
6009 – KL52 CXA
I hope to confirm so of the other buses for the next issue but 6000, 6002, 6003 and 6009 are all defiantly at Aylesbury.
Luke goes on to say:
Just found some information on the Arriva website about services changes in Aylesbury and High Wycombe from the 14th April. See below:
Aylesbury service changes starting 14 April 2013:
Service 50 – There will be an additional Monday to Friday mid-afternoon journey between RAF Halton and Aylesbury.
Service 100 – Will be withdrawn due to the end of funding for the service by Buckinghamshire County Council.
Service 150 – Timetable is revised on each day with additional Monday to Friday early morning and evening journeys and extra Sunday journeys supported by Buckinghamshire County Council. The route will be revised to run northbound via Aylesbury High Street and will run via part of Saxon Street to serve MK Stadium and MK Hospital within Milton Keynes. After Milton Keynes Shopping Centre the route will now serve and end at Milton Keynes Central Rail Station.
High Wycombe service changes starting 14 April 2013: .
Service 1/62 – New Service 1 will replace Arriva service 62 and Carousel service 4. Service 1 will run between High Wycombe and Chesham along the current route with Arriva buses serving Pond Park Estate and Carousel buses serving Hilltop Estate in Chesham. This joint timetable will provide a Monday to Saturday frequency of every 15 minutes with an Arriva evening and Carousel Sunday service. Each operators return tickets will be accepted on both services.
Service 31 – The timetable will be revised on Monday to Friday afternoon peak to improve reliability
In a previous e mail, I did not mention that the frequency between the two towns in 1970's on Monday - Friday off peak was only every 40 minis with lightly loaded single dickers - Leyland Nationals by two routes of Butlers Cross or Little Kimble - route very 80 minutes. The buses used the main road between Princes Risborough and High Wycombe until 1976 approximately.
What a change for this year with every 15/20 mins all day on Monday - Friday from 06.00 to 18.00 hrs. - frequently on some departures with double dickers on various timings to cope with the passenger numbers.
Thought you be interested to hear that against the trend of recent improvements to inter-urban services Arriva route 100 that provides an hourly fast link between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes in 46 minutes is being withdrawn as of 14 April. Companion route 150 via Leighton Buzzard gains a few extra peak hour workings to compensate for the withdrawn 100 but otherwise remains hourly and is diverted in Milton Keynes to serve MK Stadium and the Hospital. Means that for most of the day Aylesbury - Milton Keynes will now take 63 minutes. Seems strangely at odds with the news that trains, once up and running, are expected to take 33 minutes from Milton Keynes to Aylesbury fulfilling a need for faster links between the two towns. I've seen no publicity for the withdrawal of the 100 but both Milton Keynes Borough and Bucks County have published the new timetable on their web sites.
From Adam Green
3401-3406 at Hemel Depot from Watford.
5154 was on the H13 to Maylands Avenue on Tuesday
5th March .
3567 was on the 758 to London Victoria this Morning 2/4/13
From Bernard Lewenden
From Bernard Lewenden
I went to Lincoln Road last week and noted two more arrivals.
3744 AE56 MBU With an airside rooftop light for Gatwick use.
3601? AE06 OPG
Both are MAN 14.220/ M.C.V. Evolution and both had recently been repainted into the standard Arriva colours.
There is already a 3601 in Arriva the Shires so this needs checking.
I have not seen 5127 recently and I am wondering if it has been removed.
I mentioned 3601. It looks as though this will become 3741.
Transfers into Wycombe are shown as 3741/2/3 but I think we can add 3744 and 3745. In all of them I would welcome details of seating.
I was at Lincoln Road garage on 27 March and noted, as follows:-
New arrival 3370. S309 JUA, a Dennis Dart SLF/ Plaxton Pointer. The book shows it as Hemel Hempstead.
It is quite old so I wonder how long it will last.
Withdrawn but still present were:- 3181, SC3431,
3457, 3822, 3852. = and p
= and possibly withdrawn was 5153 that has not moved for some time.
Since my last visit two weeks ago 3852 has disappeared unless it was hidden in a garage. It was the last step entrance single decker in Wycombe.
Also present was a Routemaster CUV 263C.
From PS Bus Driver
This has now arrived at Hardwick's, Barnsley (parked in the re-sale line) so may survive a bit longer.
If anyone can get a picture of this before it is scrapped
it would be appreciated. Ed.
If anyone can get a picture of this before it is scrapped it would be appreciated. Ed.
From Terry Longhurst.
I have just been reading Spotting & Jottings 66 and seen to photo's of which one is at an Arriva Depot of which it a Volvo B7TL & the other one with Redline is the same.
These was the ex AVL Class from London Central.
I have some photo's of the Man MCV Evolutions from when they was at Gatwick on my Website.
3601 was the fleet number AE06 OPG had while
working with Arriva Medway Towns at Gillingham. It will be renumbered.
AE06 XRM will probably arrive carrying fleet number 3602, the number it
currently has with Arriva Kent & Surrey at Tunbridge Wells.
They came from TGM, who have operations at all three of London's airports (the official head office location of TGM Group is at Heathrow Airport, incidentally).
In fact (3601) apparently returned to Gatwick on 8th February, before moving to Wycombe, so it would seem that was where it was working before.
There are six of them, all were intended to go to Kent before being diverted to Wycombe. Only (3601) and (3602) made it to Kent.
Recently received M A N / MCV buses for the new joint service with Carousel to Amersham and Chesham.
CSS operated in Oxford by Tom Tappin
From Thomas W. W. Knowles.
There have been some changes in the fleet of Tom Tappin Ltd who operate the open top bus services in Oxford.
As has been reported, four secondhand buses have entered the fleet. These have now been allocated fleet numbers as follows:
906 = LY02 OAE
907 = LY02 OBK
58 = T110 DBW
59 = T115 DBW
The logic is that those with half roofs are in the 50s and the fully open
top buses are in the 900s .
The four Leyland Olympians have passed to Ensignbus of Purfleet - one of which appears in their current advertising in Coach & Bus Week. 52 and 54 were delivered to Purfleet on 19th March 2013, 51 and 53 having gone there earlier.
The vehicle authorisation on the licence is 12 but the fleet for this year will settle down at 11 buses.
Perhaps the major story is that 58/9 and 906/7 have been painted in a new green livery promoting Guide Friday The Oxford Tour although City Sightseeing logos are still shown on the bus as well.The green buses will normally have a live guide and a multi-lingual commentary whilst the red buses will. in the main, just offer a multi-lingual commentary.
It is hoped that 906/7 will enter service tomorrow when the vinyls have been applied (I hope to be sent some pictures which, if that is the case, I will forward on to you) whilst 58/9 should enter service in April.
A couple of small pieces of additional information.
From the beginning of this month, 57 has been renumbered 903.
I can confirm that 906 and 907 did enter service on Good Friday 29th March 2013, but over the next week or two the vinyls applied to them will be altered in a relatively small way, so, for those interested, cameras at the ready quickly!
The logic behind the renumbering is that the 50 series are part open toppers and the 9xx series are full open toppers. These series have been chosen to avoid renumbering more buses than necessary i.e. taking advantage of existing fleet numbers where possible.
Tom Tappin operates using both City Sightseeing and Guide Friday names, the latter logo is on all 4 sides of the buses but there is no web site for Guide Friday and I thought had disappeared in the past.
From Ralph Adams
From Ralph Adams
The two newly converted Volvos LY02 OAE and OBK have returned after conversion by Ensign with fleet numbers 906 & 907 respectively and are O47/27F, painted light green, in contrast to dark green of Guide Friday. They will be branded City Sightseeing and Guide Friday but today are unbranded. They have standard red City Sightseeing seats and are parked inside their workshop so not suitable for photos at present.
The last two Olympians departed yesterday, forgot to ask destination, but I expect we will see them on Ross's list next month.
The two ex COMS Tridents are due back from Blackburn this afternoon and they will be part open top and will be numbered 58/59. Presumably they will be single door only.
Changes to be made.
57 will be renumbered 903 but when seen today was still numbered 57. This will mean that 55/56/58/59 will all be part open top and 902-908 will be full open top.
All buses are apparently being converted to Euro 6 (which means little to me but surprised they are converting such old buses to this standard).
From Steve Doel
All four ex Dublin Olympians (51-54) have passed to Ensign Bus, thereby ending many years of Leyland operation on these services.
From Glenn de Sousa
The new Volvo 7900 Hybrids for First Berkshire
are to be numbered 69920-9.
Registrations of the new Volvo 7900 Hybrids for First Berkshire are as follows:
69920-9 as BV13 ZCF/J-L/N/O/T/U/X/Y.
Also 42347 of First Berkshire, X247 AMO, has gained a colour bus advertisement for The Best of Slough.
Seen in Bristol on the newly extended Greyhound service from Swansea is First South Wales's 23318, YN55PXJ.
Expresswest first ran nearly 32 years ago as an express bus service replacing various, shorter, services. It was popular but demand slowly died once it was moved to be part of the National Express network. Whilst the Greyhound service could be used in the same way it's not promoted as such and doesn’t encourage turn up and go passengers. (It's timekeeping in the first week wouldnt encourage any passengers, however I hope that'll be dealt with). I'm sure that having the same group owning the competing railway hasn’t entered the equation!
From Andrew Webb
First Berkshire have ordered hybrid Volvo 9700s for use on the "7 Series" routes linking Heathrow with Berkshire. These are some of the first 9700 buses in the UK. The first few have now arrived at Volvo Truck & Bus at Hayes for preparation for service. Three are seen here, BV13ZCU (fleet number 69227) and two unregistered examples.
One wonders if we will see a Hybrid ever in Wycombe??
One wonders if we will see a Hybrid ever in Wycombe??
From Ralph Adams
From Ralph Adams
Grayline are receiving three new Streetlites - due to arrive soon. They are MX11 CZG/H/J and will be door forward instead of wheel forward.
From Hedley Shanks, Commercial Manager, Motts Travel
Thanks once again for a brilliant website, got to be the best around.
Just a few bits & pieces about Motts:
MT03 MTT Sitcar Beluga to M & M Coaches (McMackin)
9920 MT Neoplan Euroliner to YN03 AXF and is to be sold
Due this month:
UK13 CRU Setra S416 GT HD C49/53F Crusader Livery
GB13 CRU Setra S416 GT HD C49/53F Crusader Livery
allocation to Crusader Holidays fleet in Clacton.
for allocation to Crusader Holidays fleet in Clacton.
GT13 MTT Mercedes 0816 Plaxton Cheetah 2
MT55 MTT (YN55 YSA) Volvo B7 Plaxton Prima C53F (ex OFJ Connections, Telling's). This is going away to Plaxtons for a 70 seat conversion.
From Glenn de Sousa
At Mullany’s buses, Dart X909 CNO is in all over white with Mullany’s Coaches lettering on the sides - Mullany’s in black, coaches in blue.
Mullany’s now have their their ’59 plate Alexander Dennis Enviro 200’s in service. Two brand new Optare Solo SR’s are due here around Easter (not so far away!)
From Ian Brown, Hemel.
Malcolm, greetings. Apologies if you know this already. Here`s an announcement on the National Express Corporate website. From several postings on the Beds, Herts - Bucks newsgroup it appears that NX are opening a base at Luton. They are (see website) advertising for drivers based there. The other question is what will happen to the Luton Town/area Green Line express to London? What about the rest of the Green Line `empire` - Hemel, Stevenage and Slough/Windsor? I suppose that by NX operating from Luton to VCS, you can just walk a few yards on to another NX vehicle in VCS.
National Express delighted to announce important business successes in UK Coach and North America
27 Mar 2013
National Express Group PLC ("National Express") is delighted to announce that its UK Coach and North American Transit operations have recently won important new business.
UK Coach win
National Express has underlined its position as the leader in affordable airport travel following a major new agreement with one of the UK's leading airports.
National Express - the UK's largest operator - will begin running dedicated services between London Luton Airport and London Victoria Coach Station, from May 1st. The services are expected to deliver a minimum of £6 million of annual revenue. The agreement lasts for seven years.
National Express will deliver a new and improved service offering faster journey times, more frequent services and more seats available at peak times. All coaches will be equipped with free WiFi, power sockets and business-class legroom. An enhanced timetable, specially engineered around flight times, will further benefit customers.
At peak, coaches are timetabled to run every ten minutes, with 150 services travelling to and from the airport each day. This is equivalent to a third more seats than the outgoing operator at peak times.
National Express already carries nearly 5.5 million passengers to and from UK airports. This agreement will mean National Express now serves London Luton, Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports directly from central London, as well as other major UK airports including Manchester and Birmingham.
Citaro 862, which had been in use by Thames Travel, albeit in red with TT fleet names on the front, has returned to full branding with Oxford bus and was seen on the 35 on Friday, April 12th.
Readers can enjoy a nostalgic trip into the ‘90s with Mike Penn's photos which include Oxford bus’s previous excursion into ownership of a Wycombe bus company.
Just click on the 1990s files for Herts/Beds and Bucks.
All can be seen at http://166emj.piwigo.com/
From Glenn de Sousa
Three Oxford Bus Company Trident/ALX400’s (107/8/17) have transferred to Go-Ahead owned Hedingham Omnibuses. Also 106 has transferred to Thames Travel.
At the OBC, 300 (SN60 BXW) has been re-registered R12 OXF.
From Andy Churchill
Just thought I would let you know of an odd route appearance of one of the new oxford bus company Volvo Hybrids 367 (V 17 OXF ) appearing on park and ride route 500 on Saturday 23rd March 2013 at around 15.30 seen at Summertown heading into Oxford. This is not the normal working for one of these which do seem to be regular performers on the Kidlington to Oxford corridor on the 2 routes.
Since the last comment at least two new OBC Volvo
B5LHs - 368/9 - have been branded for the 500, whose frequency rises to x
15 min at the end of March (details are on the OBC website).
From Graham Low
When H M The Queen visited Oxford on Royal Maundy
Thursday, Oxford bus provided a special service for attendees.
From Glenn de Sousa
From Tuesday 2nd April, Redline will be taking over St Albans City Services S4 & S5 Monday to Saturday daytime only. Evenings and Sundays are to be operated by Uno.
Brand new high specification Alexander Dennis Enviro 200's with distinctive livery are to be allocated to this service. Buses are due to arrive soon.
The new high specification Alexander Dennis Enviro 200's for Redline Buses St Albans services S4 and S5 have arrived at their depot in Aylesbury. They are fitted with free WiFi and this has prominent branding on the near side windows. They are in a maroon/red livery with route branding on the cant rail. One of them is registered MX13 BCK. They will operate Monday to Saturday daytime only. Evenings and Sundays are to be operated by Uno.
From Luke Braham
I saw one on the new Redline Enviro 200’s for the S3 and S4. It's registration plate was MX13 BCK
Just got back from shopping at Tesco and saw one on the new Redline Enviro 200’s for the S3 and S4. It was registration plate was MX13 BCK. Hope to go on my bike this after noon to there depot and do Arriva’s in the week as it is school holidays for 2 weeks.
From Roy Meller
Ex- Oxford buses currently in service at Eastbourne OV51KAK seemed to last here less than a week before being taken out of service again, the remaining vehicles intended for Eastbourne are on temporary loan to East Kent.
Eastbourne Buses DAF / Wrights Cadet GX02WXV 35904 returned to service today after repaint into the smart traditional corporation style,
"celebrating 110 years of service" livery. and is seen in Hazelwood Road, Willingdon Trees.
I sent you a couple of photos of ex- Oxford M A N/ ALX 300s when I stated that OV51KAJ & KAO were the the only two Oxford vehicles in service here. I told a porky!! I'd forgotten about OV51KAE which has been keeping a low profile of late.
Picturesof the new 13 plate ADL Enviro 300,s which have gone in to service on route 51 Chichester to Selsey, with high spec "Gold" vehicles.
These buses passes through Stagecoach Oxford's
Horspath depot on delivery
47433 out of Winey on the 18.
Interesting flickr site showing this bus on “death row” at Stroud depot.
From David Percy.
A route war has broken out in Northampton, First giving up three routes (as I understand), leaving First with one major route left (to be sold off) Stagecoach registering the routes beginning in May, Stagecoach are looking for 45 new drivers to cover the new routes, my precarious status with Jeffs may see me 'take the Stagecoach shilling!'
From Richard Sharman
From Richard Sharman
Former BrookesBus 18198 rests between School Runs at Rugby Depot
From Adam Green
From Adam Green
I went to Birmingham & Wolverhampton on Tuesday and we stopped off at Rugby
There is a few Megabuses Parked up on the outdoor car park beside the Garage here is a Few Photos
Here are some more Photos from Rugby Depot
From Stuart Curwen
Thamesdown Transport have acquired former London United Scania/Omnidekkas SLE10/11, 13-19 YN55 NHD/E/G/H/J/K/L/M/O.
They are currently have the centre doors removed and then a repaint and will be used in September for school contract work as the current fleet of Volvo Olympians are now to old to use.
Glenn de Sousa
At Thamesdown Travel some Scania OmniDekkas (new in 2005) are in the process of being delivered from London United and are currently undergoing single door conversion. I think they have been purchased directly from London United. Once these enter service, Thamesdown are likely to withdraw all of the ex-Lothian Olympians that are currently used on school services.
Ex Carousel 419 is now in full TT livery
FromGlenn de Sousa
This may be of interest to you and your readers, regarding fleet movements at Thames Travel:
Thames Travel have increased the vehicle authorisation at their base at Elms Farm Business Centre, Wantage Grove to 4 vehicles. They have also increased the vehicle authorisation at their depot in Bracknell to 11 vehicles (this is probably after the gain of route 108 from Courtney following tenders at West Berkshire Council). They have decreased authorisation at their sub-depot in Weller Drive, Hogwood Business Park in Finchampstead to 6 vehicles (this is within walking distance of Courtney’s depot on the same business park). Thames Travel have also registered a new operating centre (at what I think is their registered address) at Cowley House, Watlington Road, Oxford with authorisation for 4 vehicles.
From Glenn de Sousa
Some, if not all, of the Ex-Connex Jersey Enviro
200’s are in service. T21 UNO was on the 635/6 yesterday, without any logos
or fleet names. (13/3/13)
Most, if not all, of the Ex-Connex Jersey Enviro 200’s are in service. T21 UNO was on the 635/6 yesterday, without any logos or fleet names. The Enviro 200’s are thought to be for use on the 635 and 700 services.
AE501 (T21 UNO) - In Service
AE503 (T23 UNO) - In Service
AE504 (T24 UNO) - In Service
From Glenn de Sousa
Optare Solo SR, YJ12 NBX, is with Z & S, Aylesbury in Optare demonstrator livery - it is unclear whether this is a loan or not.
A couple of corrections to this latest newsletter by Peter
Cartwright . (Received after publication)
. (Received after publication)
The new wooden shed at Binders Yard is NOT a garage/workshop erected by Ward Jones who has NOT acquired this site. My own Routemaster is also parked there.
The new route 1 between High Wycombe and Chesham to replace Arriva's 62 and Carousel's 4 brings back a number used by Amersham & District prior to its acquisition by LPTB in the 1930s. The service was renumbered 362 with an A and C suffix by London Transport in October 1934. Carousel's journeys run via Eskdale Avenue to a terminus at Chesham Grammar School NOT via Hilltop Estate.
The timetable for the Harlow Running Day on 5 May has now been finalised and requires a pvr of 17 vehicles. There will be a feeder service from High Wycombe/Amersham/Uxbridge. Programmes can now be purchased from my address- 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE HP13 7NX for £6.50.
The schedules for Slough on 12 May are now being finalised and programmes should then be available at £6.50 from the address as above. Journeys on the defunct 441B between Beaconsfield and Langley are incorporated in the schedules together with other changes.
There are also timetable changes on Sundays from 12 May 2013 on Carousel routes 74 (no longer serving Hedgerley) departing HW at 08.10,10.10,12.10,14.10 and 16.10 returning from Slough at 09.00,11.00,13.00,15.00 and 17.00 and A40 increased to hourly HW - Heathrow departing HW at 07.40 to 16.40 and from Heathrow 08.40 to 17.40.So an even earlier Sunday finish. The 740 is withdrawn on Sundays. The Sunday service between HW and Chesham with the introduction of route 1 from 14 April is restored to hourly between 08.30 and 17.30 from High Wycombe and all journeys are extended from the Broadway in Chesham to the Grammar School.
Contracts for subsidised bus services largely serving Banbury, Bicester and the surrounding rural areas have been reviewed and retendered by Oxfordshire County Council.
Existing services will continue, and a new route will link Hornton and Horley with Banbury on Thursdays. Some enhancements have been possible to some routes, but one or two minor reductions have also been necessary and the companies running some routes will change.
The new contracts will come into effect on 2 June.
Further information on bus timetables and fares will be available from the relevant bus companies in due course.
As soon as new operating companies are known this will be advised on the OCBP S&J.
Battery buses for Nottingham
Optare has announced that it has won an order from Nottingham City Council for 20 electric buses, worth more than £4m.
This contract is the largest order for electric buses placed in the UK and, says Optare, “allows Nottingham City Council to take the lead in the introduction of this advanced technology, enabling a quieter, smoother and emissions-free travelling experience for passengers, with what is thought will be the largest EV bus fleet in Europe.”
Optare adds that the order “further enhances Optare's position as one of Europe's leading manufacturers of full-size, commercially viable battery-powered electric buses.”
Details of the vehicles and routes they will be used on have not yet been revealed, but are expected shortly.
Blackpool and Preston update by Geoff
by Geoff Cunliffe
Further updates from Blackpool:-
The Heritage fleet for 2013 has been confirmed as follows:-
40 - Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car
66 - Bolton standard
600 - Open boat
604 - Open boat
631 - Brush car
706 - Balloon - Princess Alice
717 - Balloon - original style and condition (more or less)
733-34 - Prairie train
736 - HMS Blackpool
737 - Trawler - Fisherman’s Friends
In a surprise but very welcome move, it has been announced that the Heritage service will operate several trips to and from Fleetwood at the start and the end of the day. With this in mind, new Heritage stop signs have been erected at Cleveleys and Fleetwood. The Cleveleys ones are roughly where the proper trams used to stop anyway because the new loading platforms have had to be constructed a little way away from those positions. In Fleetwood, the Heritage trams will drop off in Bold Street at the start of the new loading platform and will pick up at a new position in Pharos Street by the lighthouse. Other trips will be from Pleasure Beach to Bispham with two specials performing North Pier shuttles. Perhaps this year there will be enough trams running to cope with the number of frustrated passengers standing at stops! The Heritage tours timetable is on the Blackpool Transport web site at
These extra Heritage services commenced at Easter and, for a bright but very chilly weekend, they appear to have been commendably well patronized. Two websites follow the tramway closely, the Buses Train Traction Engines and Tram blog at http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/
and Blackpooltrams.com at http://blackpooltram.blogspot.co.uk/
Both websites have almost daily updates and I have obtained permission for photographs form the former to be included in these pages for which we are very grateful. To set the scene, I attach photographs of 147 in North Albert Street near the terminus and 706, Princess Alice, near Rossall School. Both sites are worth a look if you like Blackpool trams.
Technically there are at least three fleets of trams at Blackpool. There is the normal running fleet (the “A” fleet?) comprising the sixteen new Bombardier Flexity 2 units, Heritage fleet listed above, and the “B” fleet comprising nine Balloons with extended centre platforms and plug-type doors which can be used in normal service as reliefs or extras. There are also other miscellaneous stored and works cars.
Coronation class car 304, the “Salvage Squad” tram has returned from loan to Beamish and is now stored in Fleetwood.
In an unsurprising move, Preston Council has rejected at least two sensible bids to take over the city’s iconic bus station. Being somewhat cynical, it would seem that there was not the political will to save the building and its future now seems to be demolition. How sad.
In another surprise move, it would appear that Brush car 631 is being ‘restored’ in the new Starr Gate depot. Last seen in allover red as an advertising livery for Walls ice cream, although fully operational in the heritage fleet, it had been fitted with improved head and tail lights and it had received the new style, heavy rubber bumper. Recent photographs show it rubbed down and with the traditional ‘sprung’ front bumpers having been replaced and the ends repanelled (although unpainted as yet) with holes which appear to be suitable for receiving the traditional style of light units.
Trips & Events
Reading Rail closures by
by Mike Walker
Whilst Reading station was closed over Easter to allow the new station to be brought into use various diversions were in place. Bristol and South Wales services were diverted via the Chiltern Line with reversals at Banbury whilst West of England services ran from Waterloo via Salisbury and Westbury.
For local passengers a complex of bus services were run between Maidenhead, Reading, Wokingham and Didcot. The attached photos show the scene at Maidenhead around 11:40 on Easter Monday where the forecourt (normally a car park) had been turned into a temporary bust station, complete with its own control and amenities building. Reading Buses seemed to be the operator with at this time 1024 and 1020 bracketing 802.
This coming weekend will see a further blockade at Reading with an even more complex rail replacement service in operation with additional bus links connecting Reading with Theale and Basingstoke and Windsor & Eton Central with Theale.
Incidentally, at Reading the rail replacement buses are operating out of the old bus station on Station Hill.
I look forward to any further pictures of this most interesting
I look forward to any further pictures of this most interesting operation. Ed.
Delaine Running Day Good Friday 2013 by John Marsh
Delaine Running Day Good Friday 2013 by David Percy
I attended the Good Friday event hosted by The Delaine over their 101 route on Good Friday, and I attatch a few images.
It was a well organised and professionally organised event, friendly drivers (who positioned vehicles for photography wherever possible), and a credit to the Delaine company.
A really good day, old vehicles running in everyday service, enthusiastic staff, I thoroughly recommend a visit to this operator, a bit far from the O& C area, but a good day out, Good Fridays event was well supported.
by Richard Sharman
by Richard Sharman
Hampshire and Dorset from Andrew Webb
The south coast around Bournemouth and Weymouth
seem a popular place to find Optare's products as this photo montage
Ringwood is a pleasant market town on the edge of the New Forest and 12 miles north of Bournemouth. Easily missed if heading along the fast A31, it is well worth stopping for an hour or so with the main bus stop at Meeting House Lane offering a good variety.
Town services in Ringwood are provided by Gardbus, a small independent operator who cover two routes with one bus. On the day of my visit former Wilts and Dorest Optare Delta L505AJT was in use seen here approaching the main stop. The livery is the remnants of an allover advert it carried for Totton College. When the vehicle returned a little later in the afternoon it had lost the first three letters of the "Success" on the side!
Apart from National Express services operated by
Excelsior and Bournemouth Transport all other services are provided by Wilts
Optare Spectra's were once the mainstay of the double decker fleet. All step entry examples have departed, but low floor examples remain to cover secondary services, as illustrated by 1679.
The Optare Excel gained something of a reputation for poor reliability, with many operators disposing of their examples. Wilts and Dorset have, however, continued to operate a fleet. Their first example was 2601, looking in fine condition for a bus approaching its 13th birthday.
Wilts and Dorset were a key customer for the Optare Solo, indeed the company had a big say in the design of the vehicle. The fleet contains many examples including 3704. Whilst many Solos were delivered new this one started life with Go Ahead North East where it was used on shuttle services around the huge Metrocentre at Gateshead. It is seen here enjoying a quieter life linking the villages between Ringwood and Fordingbridge, a small market town en route to Salisbury. The X3 provides a faster direct link.
Wilts and Dorset and Yellow Buses provide extensive networks across the conurbation which takes stretches from Poole to Christchurch. Both are enthusiastic Optare operators with many examples to be seen. Yellow Buses have taken several second hand Solos in recent years, including 701, which was new to Brylaine in Lincolnshire. The Solos are utilised on minor routes as illustrated here by 701 passing the Castle Point shopping centre on the thrice daily route 41 which links Boscombe with the delightful village of Throop.
Britannia Parking Management run private peak hour services for workers linking various offices, car parks, hotels and the travel interchange. The fleet has recently been upgraded with a batch of Solo SRs as illustrated here by number 19 heading along the Lansdowne.
Macmilan Cancer Support has a custom built Solo which it uses to provide a focal point for information and fund raising as it tours town centres. It is seen here preparing to depart after a busy day in Bournemouth Square.
First are the key operator in Weymouth, which saw much investment in new transport infrastructure for the Olympics. Despite this the company continues to receive poor local press coverage about the age profile of the fleet. One recent arrival to the fleet is this new Solo SR seen picking up on the Quayside. Note the tracks of the famous railway which are still extant despite not seeing a train for many years.
As part of the investment for the Olympics a new park and ride site was created on the edge of town. Dorset County Council operate electric Versas on the service to the town centre, one see here as it passes the Kings Statue.
Wilts and Dorset subsidiary Damory link Weymouth with large parts of rural Dorset. Solos are a mainstay of the fleet, acquired from a variety of sources. 3659 came from the parent company where it had started life as a route branded vehicle for Route 7 in Parkstone. It is seen loading in Weymouth before heading off for the rural hinterland.
The county town of Dorset is another stronghold for Damory. Rapid expansion in the last couple of years has seen numerous second hand Solos join the fleet, including 3764 from Maytree Travel. Yet to gain fleet livery it is seen working a local town service.
Poundbury is an "eco town" on the edge of Dorchester. Developed by HRH Prince of Wales it is famous internationally as a pioneering example of urban development. It seeks to implement the principles expounded in The Prince of Wales’s 1989 book, ‘A Vision of Britain’ and be a "green" place to live. In keeping with this intention Dorset County Council operate electric Solos SRs to the town. This example is seen leaving Dorchester for another trip to Poundbury.
As an aside some readers may remember my taking a trip to Lands End
back in 2008 (
) when I passed through Dorchester via Bournemouth. what a change there
has been to local services since then! I must retrace my footsteps one day
again, it was the most pleasant of trips. Ed.
As an aside some readers may remember my taking a trip to Lands End back in 2008 ( http://www.oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk/120608.htm
) when I passed through Dorchester via Bournemouth. what a change there has been to local services since then! I must retrace my footsteps one day again, it was the most pleasant of trips. Ed.
The Luton – Dunstable busway by Mike Penn
The Luton – Dunstable busway, is said to be, when complete, the second longest in the world and the longest in an urbanized environment. The major part of the route will be along the trackbed of the former Luton, Dunstable and Welwyn Railway which had closed to passenger traffic in 1966. Commencing at Kimpton Road it proceeds past Luton Station and after crossing New Bedford Road it becomes a guided busway up to a point north of Dunstable where the old railway line veered westwards to cross the A5 and reach Dunstable North Station and thence Leighton Buzzard. This bridge was demolished in 1969 as it had become unsafe and new council offices were built on the station site. Because of this the busway turns to the opposite direction to end in an industrial estate in Houghton Regis, the last part being unguided. There are only four stops on the guided part of the busway. From east to west they are Clifton Road, adjacent to Luton Town Football Club, Toland Close, supposedly for the Luton and Dunstable hospital but a good half mile walk from there, White Lion Retail Park, which is the nearest to Dunstable town centre but again a good walk from there, and Portland Ride where the busway diverts from the railway route.
The main bus service on the route will be from Luton Airport to Houghton Regis and will be run by Arriva The Shires using a fleet of Wright Eclipse 2 bodied Volvo B7RLEs, eleven of which have already been delivered and are currently running on route 38 between Luton and Dunstable on normal roads via Houghton Regis. Centrebus and Grant Palmer are also planning to use the busway but details are not yet available. Centrebus has an East Lancs Esteem bodied Scania N230UB which was transferred from Leicester and fitted with guide wheels to test the suitability of using such vehicles on the busway. Some other routes run by Arriva may also run on part, or all, of the busway. The 61 from Aylesbury has been quoted as one, but whether it will be economic to fit all the buses that might run on the route with guide wheels which will be used for only a relatively small part of the journey is open to question. Also it is not clear whether it would join the busway at the White Lion Retail Park or at Chaul End Lane. If the former it would cut a link to the L & D hospital from villages such as Ivinghoe, Edlesborough, Eaton Bray and Totternhoe and if the latter it seems hardly worth it as the route already uses Hatters Way to avoid the congested Dunstable Road at Bury Park.
It should be stated that there has been a considerable amount of opposition to the scheme by council tax payers in both Luton and Dunstable, partly on the grounds of cost to the taxpayer and partly because of the amount of disruption to traffic the building has caused by the demolition of, and replacement of, a number of bridges and by the laying of the concrete track adjacent to busy roads. Also many believe it will be a white elephant, not really going where people want to go and not solving many of the region’s traffic problems as the council believes.
Currently the date given for completing work on the busway is June 2013, however, with the current weather and the amount of work still to do it would not be surprising if the date were to slip again.
For further information you may wish to see the Luton council website at http://www.luton.gov.uk/Transport_and_streets/Transport_planning/Luton%20Dunstable%20Busway/Pages/default.aspx
This rather unprepossessing view is the start of the busway at Kimpton Road, between Luton town centre and the airport. This end of the route will be unguided, making it accessible to all buses (and perhaps coaches).
This is a view of the unguided stretch of new road from the Crawley Green Road bridge looking towards Luton Airport.
Another view from Crawley Green Road looking towards Luton Station with a Thameslink train heading towards London and perhaps Brighton.
This is a view from Church Street, Luton looking towards the airport. This is a new section of road built between the current railway line (on the left) and the embankment which formed part of the Luton - Welwyn railway line. It will be unguided.
This is a view from Church Street, Luton looking towards the railway station. There was previously a mini roundabout at this junction but when complete it will be a normal traffic light controlled crossroads. This end of Station Road will now be buses only with access to the station for cars and taxis at the Guildford Street end.
This is a view from the station entrance looking towards Church Street. This is where the busway diverges from the old railway trackbed, seen on the right, to the original alignment of Station Road.
This is a view from the station entrance looking towards Guildford Street and shows the layout of the new bus interchange. On the right is the access road for cars and taxis to the station.
This is a view from Guildford Street looking towards the station and the bus interchange. In the bottom left hand corner is the exit for buses terminating at the station with the re-entry point just in front of the red and white barriers. The old railway bridge at this point has been removed and Guildford Street raised to bring it to the same level as the busway.
This is a view from Guildford Street looking towards New Bedford Road. This new road, part of the old railway trackbed, will be used by all buses leaving the station westwards including those not heading for the busway, so avoiding the congested Mill Street .
This is the same stretch of road as seen in the previous photograph but viewed from the New Bedford Road end. Again, the old railway bridge has been removed from this point allowing a ground level junction to be provided.
This is a view from New Bedford Road looking in the opposite direction and shows the actual guided busway start. The slope now necessary to reach the Telford Way bridge can be seen. There is obviously a considerable amount of work still to do here.
This is the new bridge carrying the busway over Telford Way.
This is from a point close to the junction of Hatters Way and Dunstable Road looking towards Dunstable with Hatters Way (the A505 relief road) on the left.
This is a view from the bridge adjacent to the football ground looking towards Dunstable. The shelters for the Clifton Road bus stop can be seen.
This is from the same location looking towards Luton and alongside the rear of the football ground.
This is from the Chaul End Lane bridge looking towards Luton town centre. On the left can be seen the junction from where buses may join the busway.
A closer look at the junction for buses joining the busway here.
Looking the other way from Chaul End Lane showing the junction for buses leaving the busway here.
A closer look at the junction for buses from the Dunstable direction leaving the busway at Chaul End Lane.
This is the new bridge carrying the busway over Luton Road/Church Street in Dunstable.
This shows the slip road to enable buses to enter the busway northbound from Church Street.
This is the rather long slip road enabling buses to leave the busway in the vicinity of the old Dunstable Town station.
This is the entry point to the busway southbound at the rear of the White Lion Retail Park in Dunstable.
This is the entry point to the busway northbound at the rear of the White Lion Retail Park in Dunstable.
This is the unguided part of the busway approaching the end at Houghton Regis.
This is the rather ignominious end of the busway in Houghton Regis.
Arriva The Shires 3960(KX 12 GZY) is one of the Wright bodied Volvo B7RLEs purchased for eventual use on the busway. It is seen in Flowers Way, Luton on the 38 service in March 2013. This is the one that was demonstrated on a completed section of the busway last year. There is a video of it here: http://thebuspeople.co.uk/?p=295
Centrebus are also planning to use the busway. 709 (K6 YCL ex YN 06 TGE) is an East Lancs Esteem bodied Scania N230UB which was transferred from Leicester and fitted with guide wheels to test the suitability of using such vehicles on the busway. It is seen at the Centrebus garage in Dunstable in March 2013.
More than 50 years ago, in October 1962, Birch Bros. K215 (LXV 215), which was one of their unusual full-fronted Willowbrook bodied Guy Arab IIIs is, seen at Luton Bute Street station at a time when passenger trains were still running on the line.
A year later, in September 1963, United Counties Bristol KSW6B 898 (CNH 718) is seen in Station Road, Luton awaiting departure on service 66 to Bletchley. In the background can be seen a train in Bute Street station.
What a superb contribution from Mike Penn!! His presentation
was excellent with all photos sized to 1000 pixels which made adding it to
the page was rather easy.
What a superb contribution from Mike Penn!! His presentation was excellent with all photos sized to 1000 pixels which made adding it to the page was rather easy.
Many thanks to Mike. his contribution to S&J 67 promises to be
equal in interest, The Green Line 757 story! don't miss it.
Many thanks to Mike. his contribution to S&J 67 promises to be equal in interest, The Green Line 757 story! don't miss it.
Wellingborough 100 by Richard Morgan
Over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 16/17 March Wellingborough Museum staged a celebration marking a century of United Counties in Wellingborough.
Wellingborough is a town 10 miles north east of Northampton which in 1913 had a population of about 20,000. Incorporated in 1913 the Wellingborough Motor Omnibus Company Limited set in motion, over the following 10 years, the embryonic beginnings of the present day United Counties Omnibus Company Limited, now part of Stagecoach UK Bus.
The weekend’s celebration was substantially supported by Stagecoach Midlands and Steve Burd, Managing Director of Stagecoach Midlands, was guest of honour, performing the official opening ceremony at 11:00 on the Saturday.
Then at 11:30 Mike Sutcliffe with his painstakingly and beautifully restored Leyland ST, LF 9967, one of the original 13 vehicles in 1913, in authentic WELLINGBOURGH livery led a road run of 10 vehicles, supplied by Stagecoach and private preservationists, representing each decade. The road run followed some of the inaugural routes to Finedon, Irthlingborough, Higham Ferrers, Rushden and Irchester with stops for photo opportunities.
During Saturday afternoon and on Sunday there were free bus rides around Wellingborough. Buses were parked around, and in front of, the museum, where a special exhibition had been mounted by Roger M Warwick, renowned for his minutely detailed and authoritative An Illustrated History of United Counties Omnibus Company Limited 1913 – 1999 in 17 parts.
Stagecoach painted 15453 (MX08 GJE) a Scania N230UD Alexander Dennis in United Counties Tilling green, bearing the legend 100 YEARS OF BUSES IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE and, also, re-trimmed special event vehicle 19953 (JAH 553D) a 1966 Bristol FLF6G in Stagecoach upholstery and Eastern Counties Tilling red livery, in support of the anniversary.
Throughout the weekend, Caroline Cleaveley was available to sign copies of her trilogy of books Memories of United Counties.
Just after mid-day on the Sunday, Mike Sutcliffe positioned his Leyland ST in the Market Square to re-create a 1913’s scene. This was the main bus interchange in the town for many years. Unfortunately it is now pedestrianised and all the original buildings demolished and replaced.
Pictureview of various vehicles attending the event
Pictureview of various vehicles attending the event
Richard Morgan visits Bedford depot
Richard Morgan visits Bedford depot
Whilst Richard was on his way to Wellingborough he also visited the
Stagecoach depot in Bedford.
Whilst Richard was on his way to Wellingborough he also visited the Stagecoach depot in Bedford.
Chris Maxfield visits Manchester
Chris Maxfield visits Manchester
It is always interesting to see how other areas present their training buses.
Stagecoach In Manchester 20603 and 20972 on December 15th. 20603 came from the south coast and 20933 and 20936 are in a green livery in Oxford all as trainers.
Marcus Lapthorn writes on a trip on a
Marcus Lapthorn writes on a trip on a Volvo/Alexander PS
Kath & I enjoyed a short trip in Stagecoach Swindon’s old Volvo high floor single decker 20683 on Saturday 30 March on the 65 route from Faringdon to Great Coxwell turn. This is one of the last surviving former 66 route regular buses. The bus still runs very well and the powerful engine sounds fantastic. The bus is kept busy on the Saturday card fulfilling four return runs on the 70/80 routes from Swindon and three return runs on the 65 route from Swindon to Faringdon.
Buses in the Landscape
Buses in the Landscape
A couple of coaches taken
at Burghley House, Stamford yesterday by John Marsh .
What might have been had Stagecoach carried on with Neoplan Skyliners instead of switching to Van Hool Astromegas.
From the Czech Republic comes this fairly new Skyliner seen in Oxpens coach park in Oxford on March 10th by Malcolm Crowe.
Links & Publications
Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures updated for this issue. This makes fascinating viewing and is highly recommended.
You might like to know that I have now uploaded to my website photographs of buses in Beds, Bucks and Herts for each of the years 2001/2/3. This completes the set comprising each of the years 1991 to 2012 and totalling around 5000 photographs. Much has changed in those 22 years. Many operators have come and gone and most of those that remain have changed their name or livery or both.
All can be seen at
One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.
The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.
Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.
Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.
Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.
independents are also represented.
Todays buses - Oxfordshire
This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over
18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the
OCBP when doing so.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.
Thames Valley - final part now available
Thames Valley - final part now available
RETAIL PRICE £25
ORDER NOW FOR £20+ £3 p&p
This final installment of the 4-volume 800-page history of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. brings the story to its conclusion on the last day of 1971.
All route developments and changes to the fleet are fully detailed, along with special appendices for the service vehicle fleet, garages and out-stations, a route map, garage allocations and working arrangements.
Profusely illustrated with 548 monochrome half-tone illustrations and a full-colour section of 45 photos, this provides a very comprehensive history of this interesting decade, including the numerous secondhand vehicles acquired during those years. Demand will be high, so
order now from: Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close
Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT
If you are local and wish to
collect please call me on 0118 979 4097
Newbury & District History
Newbury & District History now available
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury &
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury & District.
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which
although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding areas.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford &
London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when
both owned by Red & White.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford & London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when both owned by Red & White.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within
Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs
plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
Apart from the archaic Leylands, the company ran some AEC Regals after the war.
These were rebodied with ECOC/ECW bodies purchased from North Western Road Car, Stockport via dealers.
They had been new in 1936 on Bristol Jo5G chassis which were rebodied with Brush bodies in 1946 to a similar design.
Your Editor must have travelled on one of these buses, when in NWRCC service, as a small boy.
They would have doubtless run on service to Highclere, now well known as the house is featured in Downton Abbey.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special
price of £12.50 + £3.00 post and packing for OCBP readers.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special price of £12.50 + £3.00 post and packing for OCBP readers.
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.