Spottings & Jottings nr. 70 - 12th August 2013
If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will
advise of any mid-issue news please let me know
A great deal has been happening since my last page which was only just over one month ago.
Arriva have now launched their Sapphire service on the 280 Oxford-Aylesbury service, Oxford Bus have launched their Heartbeat service of Wi-Fi on the Abingdon group of routes and Stagecoach have put four brand new Optare Solos into service at Banbury. Further a field the Stagecoach Megabus Gold Astromegas are now all in service with new services leaving London for Cardiff and Plymouth in addition to enhanced night services between the London and Scotland. Finally the first of the left hand drive Van Hool Altanos have arrived for the Megabus European services from the U.K.
Several areas of roadwork's have blighted services to and from London and these include a ten week two way working on the A40 near Wheatley with a 40 mph restriction. It seems that already some coach drivers have been served notices of intended prosecution for speeding, though it must be said that these are generally on night operations when the road is very quiet!!
In London the road closure at Notting Hill Gate which has caused diversions for Oxford Tube services is at last ended and the road reopened. however a several day closure near the Bag 'O Nails on Buckingham Palace Road caused diversions and delays for a number of days and then during this last week a gas main leak closed part of Elizabeth Street which front the exit to Victoria Coach Station and Sammy's arrival facility. The latter was closed for several days and once again Oxford Tube park-ups were sent to West Ham.
A large number of Optare Solo SR buses are, seemingly suddenly, all around our area as this page shows.
The heatwave tested fully the air conditioning on the coach fleets and local buses were often overbearing as a result.
The holiday season is now in full swing and the roads quiet or very busy at very different times than normal. Both National Express and Megabus have put on many extra services.
The saga between National Express and Green Line continues and NEx have during the last week been putting much effort into promoting their A1 service against the Green Line 757 service as can be seen in the picture below.
National Express started operating the 737 Oxford-Stansted again from August 1st and to begin with used four 12 plate Levantes as shown in the last OCBP S&J. Things have gradually changed and we have seen coach with London-Stansted for a little as £5 being used. On Friday of last week one of the 07 plate tri-axle Levantes appeared operating the 06:30 service as seen in the picture below. This means that more operators are using tri-axles into Gloucester Green, the subject of much controversy when Stagecoach wanted to use longer coaches on the Oxford Tube.
Finally it is always interesting to hear from readers who have been on overseas trips and found an old British bus in far away places.
Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Dates for your diary
Dates for your diary
Running Days in 2012
Sunday 18th August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD based at bus station, Waterhouse Street
The 8th Vintage Bus Running Day is to be held at Hemel Hempstead bus station on Sunday 18 August 2013. As you may know, this site is soon to be redeveloped and it is possible that this may be the last year we can operate from the current bus station. Sometime in early Autumn/late Summer 2014 it is envisaged that all services will terminate on street and this useful facility will be lost forever.
Programmes for this event are now available from
the Hemel Bus Stn Enquiry Office, High Wycombe Library in
the Eden Centre
or on-line at http://www.amershammotorbussociety.co.uk/
or by post from me at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE HP13 7NX at £6.50 payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society.
Programmes will be sold for £7 on the day.
Peter Cartwright , ,
,Running Days Organiser
,Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station
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.
Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:
The Folly Bridge Inn
38 Abingdon Road
Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13 or 35 routes stop outside)
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 - 12th August 2013
Observations and pictures
writes "A photo of a familiar vehicle - Worth of Enstone's Mercedes-Benz Citaro BU53 ZWZ, photographed on the last working of Worth's stage service from Witney to Chipping Norton on 29 May 2010 at Ramsden War Memorial, was one of the vehicles destroyed in the Western Greyhound fire in May. Western Greyhound had acquired it in September 2010 as a back-up vehicle for services 599 and to use on service 576, upon which it was a regular visitor to both Exeter and Plymouth."
Matt Cooper writes
Matt Cooper writes "I enclose a few pictures which relate to the last page (OCBP 69) and the vehicles shown. I was interested that the article mentioning First Northampton features a Portsmouth bus on route 7 (Southsea-Wecock Farm)!
117 - From a previous part of my bus industry career! MK Metro Northampton, now just consigned to history ran 8 vehicles
from a haulage yard near Billing Aquadrome from September 2005 until 2008.
Many of these Caetano Darts have moved within Arriva The Shires and the bus pictured at Luton Airport
was MK Metro 64 (T424 LGP) which was acquired along with 62 and 63 to operate the Northampton University contracts.
This is 62 (T408 LGP) at Park Campus.
123 - A newly delivered 63 (T425 PGP). The 'office and staff room' (a 20ft x 9ft steel cabin!) can be seen in the background!
143/146 - Early hours at Billing Depot and the other residents of the yard can be seen.
The Canute and Wickes lorries were rented from W. Wright & Sons who owned the yard.
These buses looked smart but were very under powered and many months of standing out of use before MK acquired them did the engines no favours.
This is 64 (T424 LGP) in both.
00284/00285 - An unusual visitor to Stagecoach South Portsmouth Depot in February was this Jersey Bus E400.
It had received extensive body rectifications following an accident.
With vehicles on Jersey being restricted to 40mph the bus had been 'uprated' to 60mph for its journey from Harlow (where the repairs were carried out) to Portsmouth.
A representative from Dennis met the vehicle in our yard and settings were put back to 'Jersey mode!'
The 40mph restriction not too taxing for the 3 mile journey to the docks then all the way from Harlow!
From Richard Sharman ,
,a selection of pictures from recent weeks.
Pictures of the recently delivered Optare Solo SR's in service now at
Pictures of the recently delivered Optare Solo SR's in service now at Banbury.
From Gavin Francis on July
on July 19thwho sent interesting pictures from his camera on that day.
Mark Turner writes
Mark Turner writes "Some pictures taken on 27th July 2013 in Watford Town Centre."
Linsey Frostick the
for Arriva the Shires writes
theRegional Marketing Manager
for Arriva the Shires writes "To commemorate the launch of Sapphire on route 280, we have produced a short film highlighting the benefits of the service, how easy it is to use and what a lovely trip on a bus, the 280 makes.
Click on this link to view the film. http://youtu.be/6aqGD0Xe5Wo
Luke Braham, my erstwhile correspondent on all matters
Aylesbury, was on hand to witness the arrival into service of the
refurbished and rebranded E400 Tridents now working the 280 service.
Luke Braham, my erstwhile correspondent on all matters Aylesbury, was on hand to witness the arrival into service of the refurbished and rebranded E400 Tridents now working the 280 service.
This morning I was able to attend the launch at Kingsbury Square in Aylesbury for Sapphire 280 and took some pictures.
Linsey Frostick attending the launch told me they are new seats but they looked recovered to me. The Leicester Sapphire’s have 2 + 2 seating but were supposed to have 2 + 1 seating. I think three Sapphires are missing as I have not seen 5452/4/5 SN58 ENX, EOA/B since refurbishment.
Today the Sapphire route 280 Enviro400’s entered service and I have managed to get a few pictures.
Knowing Arriva it will not be long until the stray onto other routes. Olympian 5158 S158 KNK was on the 300 yesterday (I did get a picture of it) and Arriva told me when the Sapphire’s enter service these S-reg Olympians would be withdrawn.
On Friday 9th August Luke advised "The two final Enviro400’s for Arriva the Shires’ Aylesbury depot have now arrived. These are 5454/5 SN58 EOA/B. They have not yet entered service but are in normal Arriva fleet livery to Sapphire specification."
News concerning other buses.
A number of Wright Solars from Luton are replacing the Plaxton Prestige's at Aylesbury. Two are known. More information will be about this in a separate email which will be sent later.
Arriva told me a few weeks ago the the Plaxton Prestige’s at Aylesbury depot would be withdrawn soon. Since they have told me this 3601 KE55 CTV has been seen in the depot but I was unable to get a picture and so has 3604 KE55 FBX. These Wright Solar’s I believe have come from Luton and have 44 high backed seats.
Olympians 5145 N45JPP, 5161 S161KNK are withdrawn in Aylesbury depot and Caetano Compass 3532 NDZ 7921 has left ‘death row’ at Aylesbury depot.
On 14th July 3601 KE55 CTV was parked in the Aylesbury depot. Presumably to replace the Plaxton Prestige’s that Arriva told me would be withdrawn soon.
Depot pictures of withdrawn buses at Aylesbury from Luke Braham
Depot pictures of withdrawn buses at Aylesbury from Luke Braham
(They were launched on the Friday and only entered service on the Saturday.
writes "My first sighting of an Arriva Sapphire is shown in this unpublishable view from an OBC Volvo on Wednesday 17 July: it was parked at Queen's Lane and not in service. I saw no sign of any in service yesterday (Friday).
(They were launched on the Friday and only entered service on the Saturday. Ed.)
Here is my second email to you in a few hours! This is Arriva the Shires Sapphire-liveried 5435 outside Lincoln College Oxford this morning - the first day of operation. According to the timetable on the Turl Street bus stop this is still an x30 min service on Saturdays and x20 min Mondays-Fridays, in spite of the earlier publicity suggesting an x15 min service."
Peter Edgar writes "Attached are photographs taken in Thame on the first day in service ( 21-7-2013) of the Enviro 400's in the new Sapphire livery on route 280,Oxford - Aylesbury."
Ian White writes
Ian White writes "I photographed these two Sapphire liveried Arriva buses on the 280 service in Thame this afternoon (22nd July) 5453 outside Thame town hall en-route to Aylesbury and 5452 outside Thame Coop en-route to Oxford. Very smart they looked too.
Pictureview for Arriva
Pictureview for Arriva
Ralph Adams writes "A report was made that Thames Travel 401 was at High Wycombe.
On a visit to Bracknell and Wokingham, I was
informed that the vehicles used there were now maintained by Carousel at
High Wycombe rather than Thames Travel at Wallingford. In past times,
Wallingford buses would cross over at Reading to allow all vehicles to be
fuelled at Wallingford but that is no longer the case. One Double deck
starts as X39 then does a school run to Wokingham (morning and evening)
returning as a X39 at 16:40 and then a Citaro crosses the border until
19:40. Otherwise the area is self-contained. "
Glenn de Sousa
writes "The following new vehicles have arrived from Optare:
Optare Solo SR Slimline M720SL - YJ13 HJX
(Arrived for the Maidenhead Office Park Shuttle)
Optare Solo SR Slimline M720SL - YJ13 HJY
(Arrived for the Windsor Home Park and Ride Shuttle)
Optare Solo SR Slimline M900SL - YJ13 HKW
(Arrived for the Maidenhead Office Park Shuttle)
Optare Solo SR Standard Width M970 – YJ13 HNG
(Arrived and in plain white for Basingstoke Sony. Will demote the double decker to a spare in the depot.)
Optare Solo SR Standard Width M900 – YJ13 HNH
(Arrived and in plain white for The Heights. When it enters service it will replace the current 2009 Solo for elsewhere in the Courtney Empire.)
There haven't been any fleet changes at Courtney recently apart from:
Optare Solo RX57 MDZ, YJ09 OHT, YJ62 FMD/E have received rear adverts ‘Take the sting out of the cost of bus travel in Bracknell’ in response to First Berkshire branding their Bracknell buses as Beeline, once again.
The LK53s worked almost exclusively on the Stansted routes when new and at least one has now found its way
into the South Gloucester fleet. Here working the 403 from VCS is LK53KWE on July 28th by Malcolm Crowe.
It is interesting to see the variety of advertising on the rear of most National Express coaches these days.
A significant development within this company is the introduction of Heartbeat, a clever way of promoting Wi-Fi on services from Oxford and Abingdon to John Radcliffe Hospital. A number of Scania E400s and Citaro single decks have gained branding for this innovation. Many contributors to the OCBP caught up with this from the earliest days and a number of pictures will give readers an idea of what is going on.
Pictures from Gavin Francis
Buses involved are Scanias 223-231 and various Citaros in the 862-870 batch.
Indeed you can refer to the company's web page to read a lot more about it by clicking on the link below.
Graham Low writes
"The Oxford Scanias recently fitted with high
backed seats now have Wi-Fi and new branding front, rear and sides, as this
photo shows. "
On another note that fleet of Trident Park & Ride 'deckers is now well
spread and serving with Thames Travel, Wilts and Dorset (a temporary measure
for the summer vac), Tappins as well as 107/8/17 with Headingham
Omnibuses. There are of course still a number with Oxford bus itself.
On another note that fleet of Trident Park & Ride 'deckers is now well spread and serving with Thames Travel, Wilts and Dorset (a temporary measure for the summer vac), Tappins as well as 107/8/17 with Headingham Omnibuses. There are of course still a number with Oxford bus itself.
The current situation is that
The current situation is that
101/2/6/11/12/14/20 are with Oxford
101/2/6/11/12/14/20 are with Oxford
105/9 with Thames Travel
105/9 with Thames Travel
107/8/17 with Headingham
107/8/17 with Headingham
103 /13/16/18/19 with Wilts and Dorset on loan
/13/16/18/19 with Wilts and Dorset on loan
110 and 115 with Tappins on the City tours of CSS.
110 and 115 with Tappins on the City tours of CSS.
I am sure readers will correct me if I am wrong in any of the above allocations!
Also 208 and 211 at least presently have "Q Buster" logos" and are not normally in use on Brookes during the Summer VAC.
It has also been announced that Oxford Bus has been awarded the Brookes contract for a further five years from July 2014 to June 2019, a significant achievement.
writes "Yesterday while driving through Runnymede I found myself stopped behind a familiar-looking coach (see photo), which was waiting for a large number of tourists to cross the road.
The coach was well known to me: R808 NUD, a Volvo B10M / Plaxton Excalibur, which was new to Oxford Bus as Coach 7 (R7 OXF, a registration since re-used by OBC) in February 1998; renumbered to coach 71, and passed on to Solent Blue Line in December 2005; on via ?Wilts & Dorset, Llew Jones of Llanwrst, and evidently now with Apple Travel.
I drove this machine for many dozens of hours,
usually on the X90. While I didn't take it along this particular piece of
the A308, I certainly DID come this way in another OBC coach while returning
writes "Further to my e-mail a couple of weeks ago, I've now caught up with all six (not five as originally thought) Brookes Bus Tridents on loan to Go SouthCoast, 103 and 118 at Totton and 104, 113, 116 and 119 at Lymington. Photos attached for your use with my compliments,"
Tim Hall from Swindon writes "
writes"I thought you would like this photo of Oxford bus/Brookes bus 113 on loan to Wilts & Dorset taken in Bournemouth Square on Saturday 27th July on the x2 to Lymington !!!!!!!
A Red Rose single decker brightens up the lovely village of Hinton Waldrist
when it passes through on its way from Oxford to Southmoor
on Saturday 13 July. This company are spreading their activities further westwards with the acquisition of route 63.
Picture by Marcus Lapthorn
It appears that the group is now the largest operator in the U.K. following the sale by First of a number of companies around the U.K including most of its London operations.
writes " "
writes "Here are views of two of the four Optare Solos which began work with Stagecoach in Oxfordshire this month on Banbury town services. Their registered owner is Midland Red (South) Ltd.
There are four of these Solo SR's 47831-4.
On the 17th July a Hybrid appeared on the 700 and a Scania on the 1.
Pictureview of Stagecoach
Seen at Oxford, a rather poorly Olympian, 16304, which had been going to or from Silverstone but did not make it back to its depot.
Oxford variety with trainer 20933 "visiting" 16304 and three Solos on July 4th by Malcolm Crowe.
York Bus Driver
writes "Ex National Express Oxford & East Kent Scania 59214 is now working out of Chesterfield – today was on 14:00 560 Barnsley – London."
writes "Attached is yet another Stagecoach route 700 bus with a wrong liveried vehicle working on this route . Last year on August 14.
Route 700 seems to be having a lot of vehicle problems as they are now operating with a lot of single deckers causing passengers to stand for many miles."
Richard Morgan writes "
writes"Thought this might be useful. Former Oxford vehicle, 33820 (R720 YUD), photographed in Northampton on 13 July, just after departing Greyfriars Bus Station, which is destined for demolition. Work on a new bus interchange is progressing slowly nearer the town centre.
Robert Hall writes “With VCS arrivals (and Parking at Sammy’s garage) closed due to a gas leak, Oxford Tube have been using West Ham for their spare coaches. Attached is one heading back to Victoria last Thursday at Embankment.”
Ralph Adams notes “Former Stagecoach Oxford Neoplan Skyliner 50111 KP04GKA has been acquired by McEwens of Mansfield and this has replaced sister Neoplan 50123 OX04BZS (T50UBE) which is now withdrawn.”
The first of the left hand drive Van Hool Altano coaches has arrived. The coaches are to replace the present coaches in use on services to Paris and Amsterdam. Richard Morgan was on hand at Rugby to take some pictures for us to see these fine new coaches. As can be seen in the picture fleet numbers start at 55001 through 55010
These coaches are presently being delivered and 55001 will be KX13HYP with 55002 being HYR, 55003 HYS and the remainder expected to be in the KX63 series.
Pictureview for Megabus
The Gold Astromegas are now fully in service and can be seen at Victoria during the daytime with the Cardiff and Plymouth services.
Thames Travel have a couple of Oxford Tridents and one has now appeared in school bus livery.
John Marsh writes
writes"Thought you might like this one. Apparently the four they have are the first all diesel to this length."
Since Weavaway took over Tappins a very fine fleet of new coaches has entered service, all decked out in the black livery of Weavaway.
On matters concerning the Luton Busway
by Clive King
On matters concerning the Luton Busway by Clive King
On the afternoon of Tuesday 23 July, Volvo B7RLE 3960 carried out another test run along the Busway although it was unable to pass through the Luton Station Interchange.
Here is a preview of the other principal features of the Busway which is now expected to open on Sunday 22 September; subject to final confirmation.
Clive finishes by saying
"I assume you know that the Interchange moved again at midnight on Saturday
27 July to Stop C9 in Church Street? "
English BSOG reform decided
Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced changes to Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) in England, with the devolution of funding to local authorities.
From 1 October BSOG will no longer be paid for rail replacement or ‘tourist’ services.
At the same time BSOG for London routes will be paid direct to Transport for London (TfL) and BSOG will be paid directly to BBAs - of which there is currently one (Sheffield), with more to be announced shortly.
From 1 April 2014, BSOG for non-commercial (e.g. tendered/supported) services will be paid direct to the local authority, not operators.
All devolved BSOG will be ring-fenced until 2016/17.
A further review of BSOG for commercial operations, in non-Better Bus Areas (BBA) will take place next year. Full story in next week’s route ONE
Plaxton reveals new low-cost coach
Plaxton is launching into the low-cost sector with an all-new coach aimed at operators looking for an attractive, economic vehicle, ideal for day hire and short duration touring.
The new yet-to-be-named coach will be launched at Coach & Bus Live, the UK’s biggest trade show, on 2-3 October.
Plaxton New Business Development Director Kevin Wood says: “The big attraction is that it is all-new, lower in height than our current Panther and has a pivot entrance door, to reduce boarding times.
“With capacity for up to 59 passengers - and significantly more with a 3+2 seating - it is ideal for operators seeking a low cost option. It also has potential for where high capacity is required, such as home-to-school, and I am convinced it is well placed to win new business.”
The coach will be launched with a limited number of Euro 5 vehicles, on the Volvo B9R and on the Euro 6 Volvo B8R, both versions of which will be at Coach and Bus Live. The first deliveries are scheduled for immediately after the exhibition.
Stagecoach South West announced today that, starting 30th September 2013, they are introducing two brand new ‘Stagecoach Gold’ routes which will operate between Torquay, Paignton, Totnes and Plymouth or Dartmouth. The introduction of the flagship ‘5 star’ brand to Devon is a coup for customers, reserved for only a select number of locations across the country.
The two ‘Gold’ routes will operate up to every 30 minutes, 7 days a week between Torquay, Paignton and Totnes. The routes will then connect the English Riviera to either Dartmouth or Plymouth via Ivybridge, with each location benefiting from an hourly service .
The company is also investing £2 million in a new fleet of 9 high specification buses which will only operate on the Gold routes and will feature a distinctive gold and blue livery. The buses offer luxury as standard and feature extra legroom, high back leather seats and free Wi-Fi. The buses will also be fitted with Scania Euro 5 EEV (Enhanced Environmental Vehicle technology) engines that have even lower emissions than those required by the highest current Euro standard, making them amongst the most environmentally friendly vehicles on the road.
Stagecoach Gold is also characterised by its ‘Customer Promise’ which enshrines the service standards customers can expect from the company, vehicles and drivers.
Mike Watson, Managing Director at Stagecoach South West, said “We know that, particularly on longer distance journeys, comfort and reliability are essential so we are taking our services to the next level by introducing ‘Stagecoach Gold’. This is an incredibly exciting development for Devon and I can’t wait to see the new buses on the road”.
Further details about the new services will be released towards the end of August, in preparation for the launch 30th September. More information about Stagecoach Gold can be found at www.stagecoachgold.com.
DCPC exemption extended
DCPC exemption extended
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond has announced that exemptions for the requirement to hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) will be extended this autumn.
He says it will exempt around 76,000 people and save employees, PCV and LGV operators, £29m a year from needless training.
The first exemption benefits mechanics and valets delivering vehicles. It applies as long as no passengers or goods are being carried, the vehicle is not being used for hire or reward, driving PCVs or LGVs is not the driver’s main job and the vehicle remains within 50km of the driver’s base.
The second exemption benefits mechanics – it applies as long as the vehicle is being driven to an official test at a VOSA or Authorised Testing Facility.
Closure of Coxwell Road, Faringdon
Marcus Lapthorn has kindly provided information about an on-going road closure affecting route 66 bus route between Oxford and Swindon.
Closure was from the morning of Wednesday 24th July for up to four weeks (to 21st August) but could reopen sooner if works are completed (or after if problems are encountered)
Stagecoach Swindon will provide a banksman to supervise the reversal of buses at the junction of Coxwell Road / Fernham Road for all journeys throughout the day on Mondays to Saturdays only. Buses will NOT serve Coxwell Road on Sundays (or Bank Holidays if work continues until Mon 26th).
All buses on routes 65 and 66 on Mon-Sat will double-run from Park Road and Station Road, Faringdon to Coxwell Road / Fernham junction via Coxwell Street, serving the diversion FIRST (before the Market Place) on journeys TO Oxford, and AFTER the Market Place on journeys TO Swindon.
Stagecoach Swindon to provide on-bus notices, a notice at Swindon Bus Station and information on the Stagecoach web-page.
OCC to provide notices on affected stops in Faringdon – there may be a requirement for a temporary stop sign at one point in Coxwell Road, eastbound near the Fernham Road junction. My colleague David Bellchamber will liaise regarding this matter. OCC will also deal with alterations to TraveLine information.
Buses to be "expelled" from central Oxford!
NEW plans show how planners think they will be able
to expel buses from Queen Street and overhaul routes through Oxford’s
cramped city streets. Oxfordshire County Council has unveiled this
masterplan detailing new bus and car routes and pedestrianised areas to fit
in with the Westgate and larger West End redevelopments.
The main plank for changing the city’s road network is the long-held wish to completely pedestrianise Queen Street by removing the buses that currently use it.
That will lead to:
· Buses having to make their way down Castle Street and along Thames Street – with a new junction east of the Castle Mill stream bridge created.
· Other city centre streets being made more “pedestrian-friendly” including Pembroke Street, St Ebbe’s and St Aldate’s.
· The subway linking County Hall with the Westgate Centre itself being filled in.
· Coaches from Gloucester Green going down Park End Street and along Oxpens Road to prevent traffic from building up in central Oxford.
· Pembroke Street’s footpath and road merging into one “shared space” similar to New Inn Hall Street.
· St Ebbe’s being fully pedestrianised between Queen Street and Pembroke Street.
The county council is now consulting on its scheme.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “One of the key things that the
developers are looking for is the pedestrianisation of Queen Street.
With John Lewis arriving more cars and more people will be coming to Oxford. We want to make it the best possible experience so people come to Oxford rather than to other places. The area will be more pedestrian friendly. The retail experience can really be improved to make Oxford a real destination.”
At this stage Mr Hudspeth said he did not know how much the work would cost but said it would be paid for by developer contributions.
Sushila Dhall, of Oxford Pedestrians Association,
welcomed the plans.
She said: “At the moment the city centre is not a very pedestrian-friendly place. Unlike most cities we have very few areas which are car-free like Cornmarket. Other cities seem to have many more pedestrian-only spaces. All these ideas are excellent. Pembroke Street definitely needs an improvement but I remain concerned about what will happen with St Aldate’s, which is heavily polluted and congested.”
The revamped Westgate Centre, complete with a new John Lewis store, is due to open in 2017, following a £400m redevelopment. It will house a multi-screen cinema, a terraced restaurant area and a 1,100 space underground car park.
The decision to remove buses from Queen Street has proved to be controversial.
Hugh Jaeger, a spokesman for Bus Users UK, said it would mean passengers getting off buses further from the city centre. He said: “They want a huge upheaval just because they feel like it. They are not offering a shred of evidence for it. From our point of view that is not good enough.”
Phil Southall, operations director of the Oxford Bus Company said: “We are delighted the Westgate development is now going ahead. It is really good news for the city. “We have a vital role to play in bringing shoppers and workers to the new look Westgate centre. We will be continuing discussions with the local authorities and the developers to ensure the needs of bus passengers are high on the list of priorities. The new development and the closure of Queen St will mean changes to bus stops and routes in the immediate area but we mustn’t lose sight of the widespread implications for other areas of the city; the Westgate issues can’t be addressed in isolation.”
A spokesman for the Westgate Alliance, the group made up by Land Securities and Westgate owner Crown Estates to redevelop the Westgate, said: “We are working closely with the county council and city council on development of an integrated transport strategy for the area around the Westgate centre and in supporting the county’s consultation.”
The county council does not yet have a timetable for when the work will be carried out. Detailed planning and further consultation will take place in the next few months.
Bedford’s decades-long wait for a new, improved bus station is nearly over, with a planning application for a major regeneration of the site now submitted.
Bedford Bus station is the gateway to Bedford town centre for many thousands of visitors but the area has long been considered an eyesore in severe need of improvement and regeneration. Now, in spite of the extraordinarily tough financial climate for Bedford Borough Council, the authority has put together an £8.8 million fund through savings and efficiencies to ensure the development will take place.
The project has been designed in partnership with bus station owners Stagecoach, and includes an attractive new bus station building with improved facilities for passengers and a new Travel Centre offering bus and train tickets as well as a range of other services.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Bedford bus station area lets our town centre down and has been in sore need of improvement for decades. I remember this being widely recognised decades ago, and it is a message that comes across loud and clear today when I talk to people right across the Borough.
“The easy thing to do would be to simply wait for rosier economic times to come and enable the redevelopment to take place at some point in the future, after so many years of waiting. However, I want the very best for Bedford Borough and no-one can claim that the current bus station offers the best for local residents and visitors to our town. That’s why we have worked to identify savings, underspends and efficiencies to make this crucial redevelopment possible, in defiance of the economic conditions.
“The regeneration of this area is already happening, with the refurbishment of Allhallows multi-storey car park underway and construction to begin shortly on the new surface car park across the road on Greyfriars.
“The planning application for the brand new bus station area marks a major milestone for this project, and I hope people will take the opportunity to look at the plans and take part in the consultation in the coming weeks as we work to deliver a gateway to Bedford Town Centre that we can all be proud of.”
In addition to the new bus station and Travel and Tourism centre, the wider bus station regeneration also includes:
• Refurbishment of Allhallows multi-storey car
park. Includes major modernisation of the public toilets with improved
disabled and baby change facilities.
• New shopfronts, including new windows and doors which will improve the appearance and disabled access to shops in Greenhill Street, below the car park.
• Construction of new surface car park on Greyfriars
• Improvements on the north side of the bus station area, in front of the car park, with new paving, seating and other features.
Stagecoach East Managing Director, Andy Campbell, added: “We are delighted to be working with Bedford Borough Council on this project in the heart of Bedford town centre.
“The new bus station would significantly improve the facilities available for bus passengers with a new travel centre as well as a new building design which means passengers can walk from the concourse and onto a bus while staying under cover.
“If planning permission is granted, part of the bus station will continue to be operational during the construction works. However, there will be some changes and we will keep passengers informed throughout the process.
“We look forward to work starting and the introduction of a new and improved
bus station for Bedford Borough.”
Artists impression of plans for Bedford bus station from the south - from Thurlow Street facing across to Allhallows multi-storey car park:
Artist’s impression of plans for Bedford Bus Station - rear of bus station at the corner of Thurlow Street and Allhallows
Trips & Events
Newbury event 2013 with pictures from Marcus Lapthorn
Another excellent event and once again blessed with very fine weather. Marcus attended and sent an excellent selection of pictures of the buses and coaches attending.
The Brighton decker was at Wimbledon this year and the Chesterfield Tiger was a newcomer to the rally scene down here. The Hong Kong Olympian makes a fine sight. The Bristol VR was well represented.
I like the Ellen Smith Leopard Harrington, which was of type very enjoyable to drive. King Alfred of Winchester was well represented. I also think this was the first time I had seen a Glasgow bus so far south!
Buses from London were well represented and it was a treat to see Mexborough & Swinton remembered too. How nice to see Oxford represented by a fine example of a DP decker VR.
Stagecoach were also remembered as they were with the old stripey livery and Midland Red were not forgotten. Nice to see United Counties represented with a Bristol Lodekka, the mainstay of the BTC fleets for many years.
I personally liked the Burlingham Seagull examples of Harpers - who I drove part-time for a number of years sometimes on the erstwhile Guy on show - and Whittles with whom I spent a very draughty journey from RAF Bridgnorth to Manchester in early 1958. The coach, it might have been that very one, had a broken front nearside screen and was going on to Blackpool for repair.
With many thanks to Marcus for an excellent selection of pictures.
From Geoff Cunliffe who visited Oxford
who visited Oxford recently
After a prolonged break for two pretty major orthopedic operations, it was nice to be back in Oxford recently at the end of June. Two new hinges can make quite a difference to the hips!
First I realized that around my Cotswold base, Pulhams were now operating their Cheltenham - Moreton service with MCV Evolution-bodied Volvo B7Rs (picture 1) which I caught in the Square at Stow-on-the- Wold.
At Oxford, we parked, as usual, at Pear Tree. Not as busy as it used to be perhaps. No doubt the parking charge is a nice little earner for Oxford City Council but have they diverted cars to Water Eaton & Thornhill?
(Things may change on Geoff's next visit as Thornhill and Water Eaton
will be charging everyone, including shoppers into Oxford!!! Ed)
(Things may change on Geoff's next visit as Thornhill and Water Eaton will be charging everyone, including shoppers into Oxford!!! Ed)
In on a standard COMS hybrid, despite the exasperations of the driver with his large party of tourists who didn’t speak English. Why don’t they use the bus lane down the Woodstock Road? I have heard it said it is too narrow. Off at St. Aldates and soon I was back at Carfax for the first time since the newly integrated system was implemented. I have to say that I am slightly out of touch with what would be classed as unusual workings, but I enjoyed taking a selection which I share with you.
It was my first meeting with the Wright-bodied hybrids - do I like their strange upper deck offside window arrangement? I’m not sure (picture 2).
Whilst I photographed two inbound Tubes, 50203 & 50222, I missed the earlier 50226 driven by our Editor (picture 3).
Thames Travel vehicles are, understandably, not all in their own livery yet, and I found Evolution-bodied 402 in allover white (picture 4) and Citaro 854 was in new livery in Castle Street (picture 5). At that spot, I also found Charlton Services somewhat well-worn Jonckheere-bodied Volvo (picture 6). Driver trainer 964 was about but it has only just featured on your page.
National Express 53702, a Plaxton Elite bodied B9R came into the City at 12:41 past Carfax and left past Bonn Square at 2:12 (picture 7).
Whilst at Bonn Square, I was passed by Tappins Guide Friday open topper 906 (Picture 8) contrasting with ex. Park & Ride Trident 59 (ex.115) now part open top (Picture 9).
We left for Pear Tree on COMS 218, suggesting a shortage of available hybrids at that time (Picture 10). The destination display was working, but those wretched electronic displays….!
We paid a visit to Banbury whilst in the area, but whilst some ALX200s have been introduced there (picture 11), there was more activity on the canal than in the bus station.
Our visit to the area was made all the more enjoyable as my wife and I later shared a meal with our Editor and his wife at our Cotswolds base - and very nice it was too after a long break.
Returning home, I came across a very welcome piece of news in the form of a Blackpool tram update. I can do no better than to quote from a Blackpool tram blog at http://blackpooltram.blogspot.co.uk/
Blackpool Transport and the Lancastrian Transport Trust are to merge their
historic tramcar fleets by the creation of a new charitable trust which will
consolidate the combined collection.
The deal will involve 8, 304, 624, 632, 704 and 715, belonging to the Lancastrian Transport Trust, returning to the care of Blackpool Transport, followed later by Standard 143 and Railcoach 279 in October, with the Rocket joining at the conclusion of the current deal with the Illuminations Dept.
The two organisations will work together to form a charitable trust to care for the expanded fleet of heritage trams. This will be managed independently of Blackpool Transport’s core business and supported by representatives from both sides, this will allow the chance to explore further funding opportunities not normally available to commercial organisations. The operation of the heritage trams will be undertaken by Blackpool Transport.
This deal is excellent news for both the LTT and the future of the heritage operation of Blackpool Transport, and all involved in brokering the deal are to be congratulated.
Unfortunately it was noted on Sunday 9th June that some of the LTT trams that are in open storage have suffered from the attention of vandals, with several broken windows being noticed, the worst of the trams affected appears to be Balloon 715. Hopefully no more serious damage than this has ensued during their outdoor sojourn at Marton.
LTT trams not included in the arrangement with BTS include Balloon 703 and Boat 605 both currently at the Beamish museum, Coronation 663 which resides in the LTT depot at Brinwell Road, and Trailer towing car 671 which is stored in the yard of a coach company at Marton.
This does seem to be excellent news and may put to bed the differences which BTS and the LTT have experienced for some time. For those interested in Blackpool trams, I cannot recommend this page too highly. There are very regular updates including what is happening to the trams forming the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust trams collection. A further page I would recommend is http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/ which, although it caters for other forms of transport, updates its pages even more regularly.
To end on a slightly negative note, there has been much criticism (again) in the local paper that the Heritage fleet, and particularly the open top vehicles, have remained locked in the depot throughout the present heatwave. Whilst the service they operate every Bank Holiday is good and very welcomed (and fully detailed on the above blog sites), it is a shame there does not seem to be much flexibility in their thinking at this time.
Royal Blue Run from VCS with pictures from Agnieszka Weclewska
I was delighted to have three very nice pictures from Agnieszka Weclewska, a charming lady who works for Green Line. I hope readers will enjoy as they compliment the article in the latest issue of Buses.
The most amazing thing is that the canopy had changed so little that the rear view could have been taken 50 years ago!!
Visits by Gavin Francis
Hemel Hempstead and Watford on July 22nd
An interesting visit as there are many changes in recent months, such as the independent small operators gaining a foothold in what was once very much London Transport territory.
Reading visit on July 16th
A fascinating place to visit with buses in a myriad of colours adding much to the local scene.
Wimbledon Tennis Buses visit on July 2nd
Wimbledon always produces a number of interesting buses and coaches provided by London General to serve this event.
A request from a reader
I have a interest in Byles coaches of Kidlington and Blunsdon's Coaches as my grandfather owned Byles coaches and my mother drove for Blunsdon's of Oxford.
Is there any chance you could find out if there are any pictures that could be sent in or if you have any pictures of them please they are of real interest of me?
Many thanks Andy Hunt
Buses in the Landscape
Buses in the Landscape
Peter Short writes “This must be the UKs least likely open top service. Introduced by Stagecoach, this runs from Fort William to the Commando Memorial by Spean Bridge via the Nevis Range outdoor and ski centre. 90 inches of rain per year! Bus is heading south to Fort William by Achnabobane.”
A selection of pictures from readers which I hope will be
A selection of pictures from readers which I hope will be of interest.
Links & Publications
BUSFLIX FILMS are delighted to announce that we have secured the entire catalogue of Robin Clare's films.
Robin sadly passed away In February and is sadly missed by us all. His cheerful personality and excellent films were an attraction at bus rallies all over the country.
His range of films were well filmed, well produced and well thought of by one and all.
It is our intention to have these films back in production in the very near future at the same price as previously offered. (£10 each for 1 hour on each film).
The range Robin produced will perfectly complement the existing BUSFLIX range, and we look forward to serving Robins old customers and ours with this exciting range.
This is an excellent film for all who want a record
of buses in our area in 2013.
Well covered and very interesting.
A full review will be covered in the next issue of S&J.
Please quote Oxford Chiltern bus Page when ordering.
Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures
You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website - http://166emj.piwigo.com/index?/category/50-beds_bucks_and_herts_photographs_2000
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.