Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 19 - 4th February 2010

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Current archives from October 2002

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Well, I'm now getting into the swing of nights on Oxford tube which has some advantages, not the least of which are the clear roads on which to drive. It has also given me the opportunity to take some pictures in London in the wee small hours which is at a time most of my readers may well be in bed!

My worthy steed at Buckingham Palace road terminus around 2 am on February 1st.

Three pictures of Victoria Coach Station in the quiet hours at 2 am on 1st February.
Note the randomly parked A6 coaches.

Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

Fatal accident on Cressex Industrial Estate

A young man of 23 years of age died in an accident on the Cressex Industrial Estate that morning. He was driving a black Alfa Romeo and was declared dead at the scene after his car was in a collision with an Arriva single-decker Park and Ride bus.

The bus driver was airlifted to John Radcliffe Hospital. None of the four passengers on the bus at the time were injured.

Fire crews from High Wycombe fire station were called to the scene, in Lancaster Road, at 9.51am.

Eye witnesses said that Coronation Road was dangerous following the overnight snow and ice. It appeared that gritting if any had been limited and there were a number of problems for drivers.

Gavin travelled up to Cressex on 3703 sometime around the accident which involved a sister bus.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

dOT2dOT in store by Ian Brown of Hemel Hempstead

Ian Brown writes advising that parked in a temporary secure area in Boundary Way, Maylands Industrial Park, ( a stone's throw from the infamous Buncefield blast) Hemel Hempstead are fourteen former NEx dot2dot vehicles. The site appears to be that of a former office/factory which may have fallen victim the explosion and is guarded and there are other vehicles there, too.

Ian Brown sent this picture of dot2dots in Hemel earlier this week.

New Oxfordshire Public Transport Map & Guide

Following my comments in the last issue on the map as mentioned I received some information from Oxfordshire County council which answers the question posed.

Ian Connick, Public Transport Information Manager for Oxfordshire County Council writes "To answer your question about why the airline services are not shown with the "wheelchair" symbol. 

The symbol actually designates "low floor easy access" vehicles, rather than "wheelchair accessible". While the airline undoubtedly fits that latter description, it could hardly be described as "low floor"! Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a symbol which designates "low floor" alone. A touch confusing, I accept, but the symbol is explained at the bottom of the page. 

Interestingly, yesterday I was on a Thamesdown bus in Swindon which, while low floor, had a sign painted next to the door saying the bus was not licensed to carry wheelchairs!"

Many thanks to Ian for his correction on my earlier thoughts.


As always my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue. I have been asked if I will be returning to the old format but have to admit that a present I intend continuing with the S&J format which is quicker to produce. I hope everyone understands?

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 4th February 2010.


Gavin Francis writes "Yesterday, 30th January, I saw Arriva Volvo B10BLE 3454 on the Blue route 32. Is this another new arrival? It is still in "national" bus livery."

Once in the Oxford bus fleet and then transferred to Wycombe Bus and acquired by Arriva this Dart is now in Harlow.
It is seen above working route 403 from Welwyn Garden City on January 29th by Andrew Morgan.

These two very elderly Darts, 3369 and 3371, are still in service at Harlow. Pictures by Glenn Knight.

John Norman provided these two pictures of Green Line coaches on local services in Hemel Hempstead on 24th January.
I think this happens when double deckers are taken for rail replacement services.

One of the recently acquired West Midlands deckers now with Carousel and seen in Stokenchurch on 28th January - picture by Gavin Francis.

Carousel now operates two circular services to Stokenchurch. Above DAF 981 works in from Stokenchurch with a very respectable load.
Picture taken on February 1st by Gavin Francis.

A couple of nice pictures have been sent in by Glenn Knight.

TIL 4051 now sports a digital destination display. Picture by Glenn Knight.

One of the ex Arriva Dennis Lances 767. M267MPU has been repainted and gained a digital display. Picture by Glenn Knight.

Stephen Le Bras writes to correct a report in issue 18 saying "I saw the Greenline liveried 20367 on the 702 (3pm departure from Bracknell) on Sunday 24th and it was still green! Is there confusion with the all-white 23011 (ex Greenline services) now deployed on Reading Railair link."

My apologies to readers for the previous wrong information.

Heyfordian operate an number of coaches formerly with Shearings, one of which is seen above.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

J L Travel

The company has provided me with two photos of the recently acquired tri-axle deckers used on Buckinghamshire School contracts.

Stephen Le Bras reports that he noted on the 032 another Levante from Bournemouth Transport this time- 329 FJ59ARO.

Both Gavin Francis and myself have taken a number of photographs in Oxford in recent days and so we have quite a showing for this issue.

The news of the month must be the repainting of four Tridents, 103, 104, 119 and 120 into Brookesbus livery. Pictures are included below including what may the first working in the livery on the X2 from Didcot. This picture taken by John Hammond.

Trident 119 is seen approaching Headington centre with a full load on a mid morning service to Wheatley Campus on 28th January.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Trident 103 is seen approaching Carfax Corner on only its second day in service in this livery working a U5 road service.
The date is 26th January and the photo taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Trident 104 is seen outside Didcot Station this morning, 4th February with a peak hour working on the X2.
Picture taken by John Hammond.

We commented that these buses had now carried several different liveries. A selection is given below for the record.

The first livery taken in July 1999 taken by Malcolm Crowe.

The second livery in June 2005 taken by Gavin Francis.

The third livery in October 2007 taken by Gavin Francis.

The fourth livery  in June 2008 taken by Gavin Francis.

and now .... The fifth livery - February 2010 by Gavin Francis.

Indeed 120 was green, then red, then green and now blue. Note the subtle variations of both the city and Park & Ride liveries. The one thing that does not change is the green binnacle!!

Volvos 640 (28th January) and 642 are still at work and will one supposes be replaced by the two Brighton buses, 790 and 791, very shortly.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Volvo 816 still carries its special livery and, I must say, looks very smart in the morning sunshine of a winter day. (28th January) Picture by Gavin Francis.

The changes in the use of some of the Trident fleet has seemingly left a shortage of Park & Ride buses.
One of the original 500 route Citaros is seen on a 400 working on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

A new service started on January 25th, the X23, this being a more direct service between the JR and Redbridge.
Peak hour services extend to Abingdon and a variety of Citaros has been seen on this new route.
This route competes with RH Buses 100 and 200 services.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

26th January and only the second day of the X23 saw Citaro 828 working short to Redbridge and passing Carfax.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Shortly to be joined by two more of its sisters from Brighton, 795 is seen loading in Castle Street on 26th January for a run out to Risinghurst.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Volvo B10BLE 812 is seen in two different locations in these pictures from Malcolm Crowe.
It is working a 5 road service.

The back and the front of two OBC Citaros seen in St Aldates, always a nice backdrop for pictures in Oxford.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Finally the absence of many buses from Queen Street is shown by the only two buses in shot being two very "clean" Citaros proclaiming their credentials to all around.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Red Line

Another operator to gain second hand Tridents is Redline who have this ex London General example, V112LGC.
Picture by Glenn Knight.

R H Buses

A number of nice pictures are to hand of buses in the fleet and showing some the new routes or recent routes.

One of the 2007 batch of Solos in use by R H on the 800 from the JR on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

A Solo new to R H is seen on the 700 at Gypsy Lane on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Another Solo is seen approaching the JR through the bus gate on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Another second hand Solo, looking resplendent in the attractive R H livery is seen on a 200 working near Brookes.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

The recent increase in services has seen the Solo fleet grow. Above second hand S251KNL
is seen at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

As many know RH have recently acquired Tridents which they normally use on the 700.
806 is seen above at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 28th January. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Please refer to the article under Jottings on this company which reveals new routes recently introduced by the company.

Once again we have a number of pictures for this operator taken by Gavin Francis and others.

Two M A N s have gained colourful super rears in recent days - pictures by
Gavin Francis.

From time to time one of the Scanias appears on city routes as exemplified by 15435 on a Rose Hill working - picture by Gavin Francis.

From time to time S series branded buses appear on city routes as exemplified by 18399 on a 7C working - picture by Gavin Francis.

Very often the 14 has larger buses on and 22052 is seen at the JR on a City bound service - picture by Gavin Francis.

S series Tridents on the S1 pass in George Street on 26th January - picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Regular performers on the 10 are some Darts from Coventry. with the delivery of 26 new deckers due shortly one imagines their days are numbered.
Picture by
Malcolm Crowe.

The new Van Hool Oxford tube coaches are now a very recognisable sight on the road to London - picture by Malcolm Crowe.


In the last issue I mentioned two coaches from Hamiltons on a Megabus working at 2 am one morning. My sources tell me this was because 50228 failed on its booked service and they needed two coaches to replace this fully booked service.

I have received a lot of information on this part of Stagecoach operations and am working on an article to include in a future edition.

Andrew Morgan writes “A picture of the third Trident to receive Uno livery."

Z&S Buses

Glenn Knight reports that another Silver Rider bus has gained a "cherished" registration, re-registered SR53ZNS.


Developments at R H Buses by Bill Jackson 

"You may be interested to note that RH decided to run route 36 between Wantage and Didcot all day on Mondays to Fridays from 4 January. Previously there were just 2 or 3 morning journeys from Wantage and afternoon journeys from Didcot - the principal purpose being, I think, to provide a more direct service from Wantage and Grove to Milton Park, where many people work, than the Thames Travel 32. The dead legs of these journeys used to run out-of-service via Harwell village and the A 417 back to their origin. 

The new service is interesting. In the mornings, the Wantage to Didcot service (still numbered 36) runs via East Hanney, Steventon and Milton Park to Didcot, The return journeys (numbered X36) run from Didcot back to Wantage via Harwell Village, East Hendred and the A417 (not via the Harwell IBC and Ardington - unlike Thames Travel's 32, which is timetabled to take approximately twice as long from Didcot to Wantage). From midday the pattern is reversed, with the 36 running from Didcot to Wantage and the X36 from Wantage to Didcot.  

The launch of this service has been low profile, although timetables have been posted at the main bus stops, and the drivers are handing out timetables. I believe it is largely a commercial venture by RH (our County Councillor confirms this), although they state on the timetable that some services are financially supported by OCC. The pattern of the service may make it of doubtful regular use for people other than those using it to get to and from work, although the X36 may pick up passengers if the Thames Travel 32 is delayed, as it runs just a few minutes behind it from Didcot, and usually just 2 minutes behind it from Rowstock to Wantage.  

The timetables can be accessed at although at least one journey on the printed timetable does not show up on the website."

Stagecoach to trial amphibious bus on Clyde Jump to top navigationJump to site services

Transport group Stagecoach is set to trial an innovative amphibious bus on the River Clyde next week.

A demonstration of the state-of-the-art vehicle, which can operate on water and roads, will be held at Renfrew ferry on Monday 8 February.

Stagecoach believes there is potential for a new “amfibus” service linking communities on the Clyde, making use of existing slipways at Renfrew and Yoker. The “amfibus” would run by road from Braehead to the Renfrew ferry slipway, cross the Clyde to Yoker and then travel on by road to Clydebank.

It would be a boost for local people facing the loss of the existing ferry service between Renfrew and Yoker from the end of March.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announced the decision last month as part of a series of cost saving measures, while the current vessels - the Renfrew Rose and the Yoker Swan - are reaching the end of their working lives.

The new £700,000 “amfibus” can carry 50 passengers and is built in Holland by Dutch Amphibious Transport Vehicles BV (DATV) of Nijmegen. 

Based on a bus chassis, the “amfibus” incorporates a hull to allow the vehicle to float and is fully safety certified for operation on road and water by European transport regulatory authorities.

On the road, the vehicle operates like a standard coach. In the water, the “amfibus” is driven by twin water jets and can achieve a speed of 8 knots.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: “This is an exciting transport project that would provide a seamless bus connection between two important local communities.

“Passengers can use the amfibus to travel over road and water without having to leave the comfort of their seat to change from a bus to a ferry. It shows the potential of Scotland’s rivers and estuaries to be links rather than barriers to travel and we are looking forward to testing the technology on the Clyde.”

Stagecoach has already carried out tests of the “amfibus” in Rotterdam harbour where the vehicle coped well from the wash from heavily laden barges and provided a smooth travel experience. The “amfibus” being demonstrated next week is due to be used by Rotterdam Splash Tours for excursions around the harbour from next month.

Meanwhile, Stagecoach is continuing to progress plans for a cross-Forth hovercraft service linking Kirkcaldy and Portobello. In November 2009, Stagecoach announced it has in place a joint venture agreement with Bland Group and a combined £14million funding package as it moves forward with plans to establish a permanent service.

Stagecoach submitted detailed planning applications to both Fife Council and City of Edinburgh Council in December 2009. An estimated 870,000 passengers a year are predicted to use the hovercraft link after it is fully established.

Blackpool again from Geoff Cunliffe 

"Looking ahead, plans are being made for the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the start of the "proper" Blackpool trams. 

May I advise your readers of a link to the Fylde Tramway Society web page which gives some information and which will be updated as the date approaches. I suggest that those interested monitor developments on this page. Note that there is the chance for a depot visit - a rare event indeed at Blackpool." 

"Further to the foregoing with both the chaos of the upgrade and the prospect of an exciting celebration of 125 years of running next September, I would advise readers of the following:-

The Blackpool evening paper has today (4th February) revealed the identities of some of the trams expected to be in Blackpool by September for the 125th anniversary of the opening of the tramway,- a celebration which will take place amidst the works costing £100m which will upgrade the system for the future. 

The first three trams are likely to arrive by the late spring. They will be Marton Box Car 31 from Beamish, Manchester 765 from Heaton Park, and Liverpool 762 from the Birkenhead Tramway. 

The East Anglia Transport Museum is due to provide Marton Vambac 11 for the September events, which last ran in Blackpool in early 1963. 

Crich is expected to provide Blackpool Standard 40, Blackpool Pantograh 167, London County Council open top 106, Johannesburg 60, Leeds 299 and Oporto 273." 


I was in London VCS and noted a coach going to Walton-on-the-Naze, not a place I am familiar with.
Indeed I wondered just how many people might go to this place!
Gavin Francis put me right saying
"I spent many happy holidays' at Walton and here are some pictures I took on
my Mother's Box Brownie in 1969. It was a very nice place"