Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 41 - February 4th 2011

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

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week news please let me know

An important note - you cannot view this web site in Google Chrome

I seem to have been on the go with this page for several days now but at last its ready for readers to view.

However as I am almost ready to publish, news is released that the young 21 year old, who caused the Oxford Tube coach to overturn on the M40, has been sentenced at Aylesbury Crown court to 12 months imprisonment. The accident which happened on Monday, August 30th 2010 resulted in some £56,000 of damage to the near £400,000 Van Hool Astromega coach. The coach was off the road for more than three months whilst repairs were affected at the Van Hool works in Belgium.

There has been a lot going on in recent weeks and contributions have been significant. I am especially pleased with all the pictures received and there are some real coupes from several contributors.

Some items of significance reported in this issue are the appearance of two loan buses at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire covered in detail under that operators heading, details of the latest deliveries for National Express coach services, the latest news on developments in Malta, a new boss for First Bus, a White Paper on Transport Funding, the redesign of Frideswide Square in Oxford and the sale of "Preston bus" to Rotala by Stagecoach.

I am minded to comment on the appearance of a quite large area of subsidence at the exit to the bus station at Thornhill Park & ride which I am told may have something to do with the Biscuit over a deep drainage area.

As readers may see from the picture below the road surface is being caught by departing vehicles and this has got significantly worse in the past few days.

A word about digital photos

I receive many pictures for inclusion on the page and notice that some contributors do not have the date set up on their cameras. It would really help if you could check this and if your date is not set it would be most appreciated if you could do this within the camera set up.


For those interested in all things London, I can recommend the link below. The monthly magazine is of particular interest.

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

John Hammond writes that The Folly Bridge Inn is the location for the meetings of 2011.

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 per person per meeting depending on numbers.

Next meeting: 15th February 2011.

A talk on Malta by Chris Maxfield

19.30 - 21.30pm

Meetings are held at:


Upstairs Function Room

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road


A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.

John Hammond writes:

15th February – Buses on Malta by Chris Maxfield


15th March – 1st half AGM / 2nd half “Charles Cook Coaches of Biggleswade” by John Hammond


For the AGM I hope we can decide on the future of the group, and to elect a chairman, treasurer and secretary for the group.
I still welcome anybody interested in any of these posts to make a nomination to me. I hope to keep the AGM as brief as possible so we can enjoy the photo talk for the rest of the evening.
All meetings start at 19.30pm although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.


Finally and as always, my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - February 3rd 2011.

A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.

Some bus drivers do object to their pictures being taken, even though the photographer is taking the bus and not the driver.
So I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
Now that we live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.
It is interesting to note that a change in official attitudes to pictures is changing and even companies will not support bus drivers who are abusive or threatening!


Readers varied contributions 

Richard Sharman writes "I noted one of Excelsior's Levantes showing off its new rear advert in a deserted Park End Street a few days ago."

A study of rear ends

David Beynon sent some notes on his sightings saying:

"The attached picture was taken last Tuesday, 4-1-11. Today there was one Setra and three Plaxtons', unfortunately, they parked two each side, nose in to the wall.

Yesterday I noted NEx Levante FJ60 HYL (Classic) on the Bradford service at 11.xxhrs.

I am attaching a couple of recent pictures. Abbott's coach is shown in the Oxpens coach park, where incidentally, there were 15 Shearings coaches last Sunday (160111). The other was taken outside Reading Station earlier today. Time & date on camera accurate."

Abbotts of Leeming Three National Holidays coaches Reading Hybrid

Adam Green sent some notes on sightings.

3003 was on the 52 to High Wycombe Yesterday 17/01/11p

3176 was on the 5 to Bennett's End Yesterday 17/01/11 

Gavin Francis sent some notes on sightings and pictures saying "Got some pictures of The Cool Bus in Wycombe this morning and also at ASDA plus the Rotherham United Team Coach at Asda.

The Rotherham United Team Coach at Asda, Cressex allowing players to shop before the game with Wycombe Wanderers on January 22nd.
Wanderers won this match 1-0 before a crowd of 4181!

Had a run out to Stansted today. At last - there in daylight!. 

Arriva pushes Heart FM Arriva pushes Heart FM
Pictures of the Arriva Heart all over ad bus at Luton. 

The ex Kings Ferry coaches now in service at Stansted (Start Hill)
Two ex-Kings Ferry coaches covering for Levantes on A6 and A9. 

TGM-Arriva and a coach now used on the X22
TGM/Arriva new route X22 replacing First X22. First ceased operation after Saturday 8th January.
TGM started a new daily service on Sunday 9th January between The University of Essex & Stansted Airport via Colchester and Braintree.
The service operates every two hours 24/7.

Stephen LB  writes "Elizabeth Bridge is now no-parking on the right hand side so today- you had a tour midi-coach parked on the right where the parking is allowed and an increasing line of cars on the left. 

A car driver parked by the entrance to Bulleid Way and that caused chaos. One of your Oxford Tubes was unable to turn into Bulleid Way without damaging its offside. Taxi drivers tooted- I had a shouting match with one taxi man. All I asked was why did he toot, when he could see the obstruction? 

I headed off to the police station to find out if a traffic warden would help. 

However, as I walked down BP Road, the car driver must have returned as the traffic cleared as fast as it had been blocked. 

Otherwise, a much quieter day for observations. I had two rides on the new HVs (hybrid Volvos) on the 76. 

I caught up with VNZ32348 on the 702 to London at 3.35pm last Friday. This becomes the 5.30pm 701 from London and Gavin's photo which you kindly sent me showed it on the 701 so it was a case of checking the 2.35pm and 3.35pm ex Windsor.

It had entered service on the Wednesday so Gavin was very lucky to see it."  

The addition to the Green Line fleet for the 701/2 The addition to the Green Line fleet for the 701/2
Seen in Bulleid Way on its first day in service by Gavin Francis.

When in service in london on route 95
Seen in 2008 in service on the 95, a far cry from Green Line! Picture by Gavin Francis.

Paul Davis writes "Our Sunday paper today had a pic of a Routemaster you can have as a hearse.  The deceased travels in the lower deck - and the mourners in the upper deck should they wish.  (Saves on the number of cars needed!)"

The picture in the paper was the same as the lead picture in the link below: 

Neil Gow from Maidenhead writes "Saturday (21st Jan) saw Aylesbury using at least three Olympians on town services.  Pictured are Leyland 5097 and Volvo 5159 on Red Route 9 at Bedgrove, and another Volvo was on the 2.

An older Olympian still in service at Aylesbury Slightly newer and still going strong at Aylesbury

Saturday was also a good day for the two remaining Arriva step-entrance Darts in our area.  3413 was in use at Wycombe (didn't see it but it was on the running board) and Marshall bodied 3834, latterly a crew ferry at Aylesbury, has returned to the operational fleet (again!) and was in use on a local service.

Both of the ex Claribel Optare Excels recently transferred from Milton Keynes to Hemel were in use on the 500, and Aylesbury had Tridents on all four of their workings.  No coaches.

I've also attached a "tailpiece" for you.  Tiger Line W68 has arrived at Chesham with the last T5 of the day from Hatfield.

The last T5 of the day - Chesham 

Glenn Knight writes to send pictures: 

Simmonds Coaches of Iver.

A578 NWX, B262 LPH, B668 EWE, CWR 520Y, EWW 546Y, EWW 550Y, G283 YRJ (ex- CTB 113), H764 KDY (ex- ET 114)


Plus pictures taken today (02/02/11)   P176 SRO 3176 in Hemel Hempstead with the new 2/3 route branding, KE55 CVJ 3614 recent Luton re-paint into Interurban Livery. 

Luke  (Brown Monkey) writes "I would just like to say what a wonderful website you have. The OCBP is a credit to yourself, and as a teenager, can’t wait for the next edition to come out each fortnight.

Something that might be of interest to yourself and your readers, Just a Spotting in my Local Town of Wootton Bassett...

An unfamiliar bus (Certainly not of Stagecoach Swindon) was operating the 16:15 Wootton Bassett – Swindon Service 54 Route.

It was a Branded bus ‘Route D’ orange colours.

I could not catch any number plate or fleet number – due to the fact it was rather dirty!

Maybe someone could shed some light on why it is here?

Keep up the fantastic efforts with the OCBP."

I hope someone can answer the question posed by Luke?

Richard Sharman writes "Two Brighton & Hove coaches and also a Southern Vectis Paragon recently transferred from Go South Coast and new to Northern on NX Contracts visited the City on the 22nd followed by a Plymouth CityCoach Paragon on the 29th.

The Go-Ahead coach units in the South certainly seem to be kept busy, even in the winter months."

Southern Vectis: Acquired from Go Northern in December were 7085/86 Y785 MFT and NA 52 RNE (ex JCN 822) Volvo B12M Plaxton C49FT. Meanwhile Volvo B10B-58 Northern Counties 622 K122 BUD has gone to Island Motor Salvage, for scrap.

Keith McGillivray writes "I thought this would be of interest to you - so far as I can tell, this is a short-term visitor to the 900 route! 


Also, here's evidence of more colour being added to Edinburgh:

Mark Turner  writes "I am sending pictures taken in Hemel Hempstead on February 3rd. Most of the buses shown have been repainted, acquiring different route branding on the sides. Arriva and Tiger Line are featured."



And so on to fleet news with individual company happenings.

Glenn Knight writes "DAF 3278, T492KGB now has an all-over promotion for Heart 96.6 for GR based. Seen at Luton Airport on 19/01/2011 on service 321."

3194, R194RBM now fitted with an LED Destination.

3157, N707EUR in H. Hempstead on 500 Watford.

pictures by Glenn Knight 

Andrew D Webb writes "Arriva Shires and Essex have repainted Northern Counties Palatine 1 Volvo Olympian 5142 in an eye catching purple livery to support Luton's bid to become a city in 2012 when HM Queen will designate a new city to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of her reign.  The bus visited London on 22 January, promoting the bid whilst working Metropolitan Line replacement services from Harrow on the Hill to Wembley Park, where it is seen awaiting its next trip."

 Andrew Morgan writes "A picture of Arriva Plaxton Pointer - Dennis Dart 3372 (K322 CVX) in Welwyn Garden City today (25/01/11) on local route 403. It was one of nine buses (Five Optare Solos and four steppy Darts) transferred in October last year from Harlow to ware along with Waltham Cross routes 250 and 251."


Astock5000 writes "From the previous issue Mark Turner writes saying "the part in Arriva where it says 'Dart 3186 has been transferred from Garston to Wycombe is doubtful'. I think its Dart 3189 that has been transferred from Garston to Wycombe and not Dart 3186. 3186 was seen in Watford in the recent snowy weather. Dart 3189 hasn't been seen in Watford for a while e.g.: late November until now."

Maybe readers can clarify this?"

Dart SLF / Pointer 3189 was in service on route 1 on 28th January. I have also seen 3186 recently, running with its front panels replaced with interurban liveried parts (3186 is in the old livery), so if a Dart has been transferred to Wycombe it isn't either of those. However 3180, which had been at Milton Keynes, was in service at Garston in December but I haven't seen it since.

Darts 3183, 3185 and 3189 have been repainted in interurban livery.

DAF SB220 / Prestige 3278, T492KGB, that was in a purple advert livery for Mercury has now been repainted red and is advertising Heart. All other buses of this type in use at Garston are now in interurban livery with route branding for the 321. 

Mike Penn writes "I thought you might like this photo of Arriva The Shires Volvo Olympian 5142 (N42 JPP) which has been painted in this special livery to promote Luton's bid for city status.  The photo was taken in Luton this morning (January 31st). "

Carousel DAF 981 on the 2A at Stokenchurch
DAF 981 on a 2A working from Stokenchurch to High Wycombe on January 25th. M Crowe.

Carousel DMS 8 r 27 Wycombe Rye 210111 M Crowe
Carousel DMS 8 on route 27 passing Wycombe Rye on January 21st. M Crowe.



Glenn Knight sent this picture of R132RLY ex-Metroline DLD032 seen in Luton, Park Square

Gavin Francis has now recorded all three coaches being used by First Greyhound on the former Silver Service route from London to Glasgow. 

with Tappins

Peter Leyman writes "Heyfordian have re-registered Optare Solo V114 DCF to 2779 UE. "

Steve Warwick has kindly sent an updated fleet list for the High Wycombe depot and also a picture of an older coach in the latest livery which looks very smart indeed.

Wycombe allocation as follows:

2622 NU      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
4078 NU      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
4827 NU      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
N722 UVR   Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
N726 UVR   Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
C13 HTL       Volvo B12M/Sunsundegui
C14 HTL       Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
B16 HTL        Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
M833 HNS     Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
6595 KV        Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
L743 YGE      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
1435 VZ       Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
L585 JSA      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
L587 JSA      Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
2482 NX       Volvo B10M/Jonckheere
XCT 550       Scania/Jonckheere
9682 FH       Scania/Jonckheere
481 HYE       MAN/Caetano
R507 YWC     Mercedes/Plaxton
8216 FN        Leyland Olympian/ECW
7209 RU        Leyland Olympian/ECW
7298 RU        Leyland Olympian/ECW
H804 AHA      Dennis Dominator/East Lancs

Also of note is the following were acquired in December. KX04 HPV Optare Solo B35F from Stagecoach Somerset and KX 57FMD AD Dart SFD AD B29F from Kent County Council, Aylesford.

Little and large! Twice !! - Pictures from Gavin Francis.

Two more pictures of Heyfordian fleet members by Gavin Francis.

The double decker now allocated to High Wycombe and once with Arriva in Staffordshire, working a school service at Stokenchurch.
M. Crowe.

Hedley Shanks writes "Just to say we have been operating the 737 journeys 09.05 OX to STN, 14.00 STN to OX & 18.30 OX to STN since last Tuesday. CT07 was used all last week with MT60 on Saturday and yesterday 30 and 31st January.

Motts in Gloucester Green for 737 Motts MT60MTT at Stokenchurch
The coaches in question with both seen at Stokenchurch by Gavin Francis.

One of Excelsior's Levantes shows off its new rear advert in a deserted Park End Street by Richard Sharman

One of the NEx Stagecoach Elites heading for the Green as seen by Richard Sharman

David Beynon writes "Yesterday I noted FJ60HYL (Classic) on the Bradford service at 11.xxhrs leaving Oxford."

New Volvo B9R / Caetano Levante coaches have been delivered to Crawley C110 (FJ60HXS), C111 (FJ60 HXT) C112 (FJ60 HXU) C113 (FJ60 HXV) C114 (FJ60 HXX) C115 (FJ60 HXY).

Just a couple of movements C094 (FJ57 KHP) CY - SR: C100 (A19 TKF) CY - SH: C101 (H5 KFC) CY – SH 

Bournemouth Transport: Two Volvo B9R / Caetano Levante C48FLT coaches have arrived for National Express work 330 (FJ60 HYN) and 331 (FJ60 HYO). 

Yourbus (Heanor): A fleet of 16 new 48 seat Volvo B9R / Caetano Levante 2 coaches have arrived for use on various National Express workings

4001 FJ60 EHN 4005 FJ60 HYB 4009 FJ60 EGY 4013 FJ60 KVM

4002 FJ60 HXW 4006 FJ60 EGZ 4010 FJ60 KVH 4014 FJ60 KVO

4003 FJ60 HXZ 4007 FJ60 EFX 4011 FJ60 KVK 4015 FJ60 KVP

4004 FJ60 HYA 4008 FJ60 EFY 4012 FJ60 KVL 4016 FJ60 KVR

Given that these coaches have been delivered it is unlikely that any of the former Veolia fleet of coaches, noted last month have been taken into stock after all. 

Bennetts Gloucester for National Express duties are Mercedes-Benz / Caetano Levantes FJ60 KUH and FJ60 KUK.

More pictures from Gavin Francis.

The Elite fleet at Oxford has now gained super rear advertising. The rear of 53704 is seen at Wycombe.
One problem is that the fleet number is now not visible at the rear!

Currently both 53701 and 53702 are away for attention and so a coach has been hired from South Gloucester.
This was collected on January 31st and its first service was the 04:30 to Stansted on February 1st.

This picture by Steve Warwick shows it on its return from Stansted passing the West Wycombe depot of Heyfordian.

Whilst a shortage of coaches required a hire coach for the 09:05 and 18:30 services on the 737, one of the first coaches used
was this Weavaway Plaxton seen at High Wycombe.

One of the latest Volvo/Levantes is seen leaving Gloucester Green on a 310 diagram.

A shortage of NEx liveried coaches for the 033 led to W&D using a Damory coach, seen here in London.

The latest Volvos at Crawley for the 025 have varied liveries and C114 is seen near VCS.

The first picture shows a once regular on the A6 once again on the route and the other is a Bournemouth coach both in VCS.


Adam Baker found this photo of a former City of Oxford Bristol VR in my collections, from when it was with Taylors of Sutton Scotney (Hants) saying "I believe I took this photo sometime in 2001/2, just before the company became defunct.  Another shot I thought may provide some interest to your page."


Grahame Wareham writes "I was pointed in the direction of last week's bus page and noticed you had a couple of images of TPD118X. Well I have dug deep and found some shots of when I collected it from Redhill Garage in December 1998 and when I delivered it as 978 to Wycombe in January 1999."

Pictures courtesy Grahame Wareham.

Oxford buses delayed by roadworks in New Road 
Significant delays were caused to buses in the rush hours in Oxford as a result of road works on the corner of New Road and Worcester Street
in recent days. Picture by Gavin Francis.

A Brookes Exam Bus at Wheatley Campus Surning around at Wheatley
Oxford Bus now provides services for Brookes which needs specials for exam times as seen above early on a recent morning.
Pictures by M Crowe. 

Glenn Knight writes "New addition to the Redline fleet MX60 GXK Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 in 2-tone blue for service WP1 Wexham Park - Slough."

Red Rose

Red Rose Dart leaves Wycombe on the 275 bound for Oxford
This Dart was once in the fleet of East Yorkshire and is seen working the 275 to Oxford from high Wycombe. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Graham writes "Thank you very much - I enjoyed the page as usual. I noted that you did not publish a view of the solitary Trident/E400 19659 of Stagecoach as you said Peverel's view was not special. I sent you a view of it some time ago and attach some others in case you would like to include a view of it next time."

19659 19659
Pictures of 19659 contributed by reader "Graham".

Rectification work on the E400-Scanias has resulted in the loan of an Enviro 400 Trident from the ADL demonstration fleet to cover whilst buses are away. This bus, numbered 80015, took to the road on February 1st and readers have submitted photos.

80015 by Gavin Francis
The bus, numbered 80015 by Stagecoach is seen on an S5 working outside the Randolph Hotel on February 1st by Gavin Francis.

80015 ready for service at Horspath depot 80015 ready for service at Horspath depot
Ready to enter service for Stagecoach. Pictures by M Crowe.

A Dart on the 14A
The camera can sometimes play tricks on the eye, this Dart looking rather strange as it kneels for its passengers.
Picture by Gavin Francis. 

Hybrid 12006 put in a rare working on the 3 on 22nd January as reported by Richard Sharman

Chris Lowe advises that former Stagecoach Oxford Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian 16512 (R512UWL) has now left Stagecoach Manchester and has reportedly gone for scrap to PVS, Barnsley. 

The three Volvo B6LEs at Banbury 31361 (P361 DSA), 31362 (P362 DSA) and 31365 (P365 DSA) have been sold to McColls of Dumbarton.

Several readers ask "Is there any news of when the coordinated ticketing and services are to begin in Oxford? The press keep on mentioning this as a kind of flagship arrangement!" 

Al Boon writes "I saw an old Oxford Tube heading south on the m6 just after new year and it was packed, sadly I didn’t really know where it was headed but I swear blind it was the Omega coach you have pictured on Spottings and Jottings number 40.


Also they have one of the Jonckheere MAN tubes (T55BBW) up for sale at this link: 


I also saw a huge Bova double decker at Keele services, it belonged to Silver Gray which must be a band bus company or something because of the blacked out windows and good condition it looked in."

Other Stagecoach news.


Stagecoach in Warwickshire continue to operate there E400's on Sunday S3 workings, today a 28 branded example and the sole unbranded E400 where in operation.

Warwickshire Scania on a Sunday working of the S3
Picture by Richard Sharman

Adam Green writes "On Saturday On Saturday 15/01/11, I went to Nuneaton and there are 24 new Enviro 200's on Route 48 Coventry to Leicester and Atherstone. The fleet numbers are in the range 36153-36176 and I managed a few photos in Nuneaton Bus Station."

New Enviro 200 at Nuneaton TV
Picture by Adam Green.


The Routemaster fleet has gained new national numbers, although like the allocated ELBG numbers they will not appear on the actual buses

RM                  Old No             New No

RM324            12324              19961

RM652            12652              19662

RM871            12871              19963

RM1933          12933              19964

RM1941          12941              19965

RM1968          12968              19966

RM2050          12050              19967

RM2060          12060              19969

RM2071          12071              19970

RM2089          12089              19970

RML2760        12760              19960

Some interesting pictures of the London operation have been received from John Marsh as seen below.

Stagecoach London Stagecoach London Stagecoach London Stagecoach London Stagecoach London
Pictures by John Marsh


Still using Darts from time to time on the 66, 33942 was caught on camera by Gavin Francis. The bus is seen leaving Gloucester Green.

Swindon bound 33942


Megabus on the 900 in Edinburgh by Keith Mcgillivray
One of the Volvo B12Rs, 53017, which were most recently at Dover, have now appeared on Megabus duties as seen in this picture from Keith Mcgillivray

50129 in Bulleid Way by Gavin Francis.
A surprise to many was the appearance of a Neoplan Skyliner, 50129, still in Megabus livery, on a London service on January 18th 2011.
It was caught on camera in Bulleid Way by Gavin Francis.

Thamesdown logo 

Stuart Curwen writes "A few items of news for you -

Thamesdown Transport's first low floor double decker prepares to enter service

361 ready for service
361 V131MEV ready for service. Picture by Stuart Curwen

Former Metroline TA116 V316GLB has also been purchased from Ensign Bus and arrived on 2nd February, V316GLB (which will become Thamesdown fleet number 362)"

Pictures by Stuart Curwen


Major news

Government cuts to local authority funding threatens rural bus services

Broadcasting news and most papers, local and national are full of stories of threat to rural bus services. Amongst some draconian measures to effect cuts local authorities throughout the U.K. are planning reductions in spending and bus services are in the vanguard of these cuts. What a shame since the country needs to encourage the use of public transport and this seems to fly in the fact of such needs.

Bucks County Council budget cuts will affect local bus services and users dramatically

Peter Cartwright writes "I wonder if you and the readers of your website are aware of the implications for public transport in Buckinghamshire for 2011/2012. The Budget Consultation on Bucks CC's website asks for comments."


Subsidy for Sunday bus services withdrawn completely to save £240,000

Support for all evening services after 20.00 daily withdrawn to save £225,000

Reduce Young Persons' Travel Card to save £80,000

Stop bus promotion - stopping promotion of bus routes, production of timetables and passenger information to save £90,000. 

There is a hope that some Sunday services will be registered commercially. Some hope for most services! It is stated that most journeys on Sundays and late evenings are for leisure purposes. However, my own research to date does not confirm this and I would ask your readers to send in their comments. 

Whilst I feel that some economies may be possible this could be wanton destruction of the public transport network in Bucks and would lead to loss of patronage at other times also. There are still quite a number of people travelling to/from work during these times - far from everyone works 09.00 - 17.00.  

Public opinion can make a difference!

White Paper sets out transport funding 

The Government has set out its transport strategy for England with the publication of a White Paper ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon’. Transport policy is already devolved to the Scottish and Welsh administrations.

Launching the White Paper, Regional and Local Transport Minister Norman Baker, says it means that local authorities are set to receive an “unprecedented £560m funding boost” for sustainable transport projects.

The White Paper aims to encourage greater use of public transport, more walking and cycling.

The key measure in the White Paper is a £560m Local Sustainable Transport Fund and “a commitment to work with the transport industry to support the development of e-purses and other technology related to smart ticketing; and to deliver, with operators and public sector bodies, the infrastructure to enable most local public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by December 2014.”

It also promises “further incentivising integrated ticketing and joining up the dots to deliver easier end-to-end journeys using public transport.”

Mr Baker says the plan also is a “reduction in the bureaucratic burdens on local authorities by simplifying access to transport funding.”

This, he says, is part of the “radical simplification,” reducing the number of transport grant schemes for local authorities from nearly 30 to just four.

Latest PSV Circle fleet list for Berks & Oxon now on sale

News PSV Circle Fleet Lists for Berks & Oxon

The latest issue of the PSV Circle fleet list for Berks & Oxon has landed on my desk courtesy Ken Mackenzie, our local Editor of this publication.

It is most impressive, with colour photographs of excellent quality and fleet lists covering many aspects of PSV operation in the two counties.

At £9.00 I must recommend this book to readers who will find it most useful.

It can be obtained from the PSV Circle at Unit 1R, Leroy house, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP or via their web site at


Arriva Malta appoints management team

Arriva has announced the appointment of the senior management team who will lead the delivery of transport reform in Malta.

The team of transport experts, with local consortium partner the Tumas Group, will be responsible for preparing the Arriva business in Malta to start operations on July 3, as well as recruiting, training and developing local Maltese senior managers who will run the business in the future.

Keith Bastow, formerly Arriva plc director of new business development, has been appointed managing director of Arriva in Malta. He will be responsible for overseeing the set-up of the Arriva business and will then lead the business through the first two years of operation, recruiting, training and developing a permanent Maltese senior management team.

A seasoned transport expert, Mr Bastow has significant experience in bus, rail and intermediate/rapid transit. He has more than 45 years service in the public transport industry and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Supporting him will be Interim Operations Director, Alf Lloyd, and Interim Finance Director, Dave Barry.

Mr Lloyd is seconded to Arriva Malta for up to 12 months from the Arriva Midlands bus business in the UK where he is Operations Director. He has 30 years experience in the transport industry across a variety of operational roles and is experienced in network development, industrial relations, customer services and marketing.

He will be responsible for preparing Arriva to start operations and also supporting recruitment and training for the permanent Maltese operations director.

Mr Barry is seconded to Arriva Malta for six to nine months from the Arriva North East and Scotland bus business in the UK, where he holds the position of regional finance director.

He has 15 years experience in the transport industry and his responsibilities include setting up financial reporting and control systems, whilst supporting the recruitment of a permanent finance director in Malta and providing integration guidance for the finance team.


Arriva confirms new bus order for Malta

02 February 2011

King Long will be supplying Arriva with 49 new 9-metre buses and 125 new 12-metre buses. All buses are diesel low-floor vehicles providing easy access, and will feature Euro V engines, air conditioning, comfortable seating, and real time passenger information displays including next scheduled stop announcements.

Arriva’s Keith Bastow, said: “Arriva is replacing a large part of the island’s bus fleet as part of our commitment to delivering first class service for passengers. As such, it is essential that new vehicles greatly improve passenger comfort and reduce the environmental impact of transport in Malta – we believe that King Long have demonstrated they have the high quality manufacturing standards to produce vehicles to deliver upon these requirements.

“Our investment in new buses and advanced technology for passengers is set to put Malta ahead of many major European cities, with a public transport system of which the people of Malta can be proud. The vision of the Maltese government is for a 21st century public transport system. Arriva, with our partners the Tumas Group, and suppliers such as King Long, have the skills and expertise to make that vision a reality.”

Keith added: “In recent years King Long has developed as a bus manufacturer and I have been impressed by their hard work and commitment to improvement. King Long has earned a good reputation for quality, design and customer service within the international bus industry.”

Arriva will start operating bus services in Malta and Gozo, under a 10-year contract to Transport Malta, on 3 July 2011. 

Preston bus sold to Rotala 

Stagecoach has sold its Preston Bus subsidiary to Rotala plc, for £3.2m. The sale took place Tuesday 25th January 2011. 

The deal includes the depot and 85 vehicles.

Stagecoach was forced to sell the business by the Competition Commission.

Rotala Chairman John Gunn says: "This acquisition represents an exciting new phase in the development of the Rotala group. The extension of our network up the M6 to Preston will bring us a presence in a wholly new area of operation where the development potential is considerable." 

Geoff Cunliffe writes saying "From the BBC News web page tonight".  

Stagecoach sells "rival" Preston Bus Ltd for £3.2m

Birmingham-based Rotala plc bought Preston Bus Ltd from Stagecoach for £3.2m

Transport company Stagecoach has sold its "bus war" rival after being ordered to do so by the Competition Commission.

Perth-based transport group Stagecoach bought out its competitor Preston Bus Ltd in January 2009.

In November 2009, the commission concluded the sale reduced competition and was not in passengers' interests.

Stagecoach was instructed to sell Preston Bus "to a company capable of competing with it". Birmingham-based Rotala plc paid £3.2m for the company.

At the time a Stagecoach spokesman described the decision as "a perverse and irrational contradiction of competition law and common sense."

Geoff goes on to add "according to the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post, Stagecoach paid £6.4m to take over Preston Bus at the start of 2009. They have sold it for £3.2m, a substantial loss, plus their costs involved in the reorganisation of the Preston operations."

Giles Fearnley joins First

Giles Fearnley has been appointed Managing Director First UK Bus with effect from next Tuesday (1 February).  

He takes over from Mary Grant, currently Managing Director Rail division and Interim Managing Director Bus division, who has decided to leave the Company at the end of March. 

Giles Fearnley has a strong track record in both bus and rail.

In 1991 he led the management buy-out of Blazefield Holdings which operated bus networks principally across Yorkshire and Lancashire. He remained as Chief Executive for two years following the Group’s sale to Transdev plc in 2006. 

As one of the founders of Prism Rail PLC, which operated four passenger rail franchises in the UK, he was appointed Chief Executive in 1997 and led the Group prior to its sale in 2000. Most recently he served as Chairman of Grand Central, the open access rail operator running trains from Sunderland to London.

He is currently Chairman of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and is a past President. He is also past Chairman of the Association of Train Operating Companies. 

Since 2001 he has chaired Journey Solutions, the bus and rail industry initiative to promote integration and also chairs Greener Journeys, the UK bus and coach industry’s campaign to promote modal shift from cars to buses and coaches.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Tim O’Toole says: “I am delighted to welcome Giles to the Group where his extensive background and experience in passenger transport will be of great benefit to our UK Bus division and its continued successful development.”  

Design approaches for Frideswide Square in Oxford

As part of its Transform Oxford programme and together with the West End Partnership, the county council wants to improve Frideswide Square.

Consultation with stakeholders and other local organisations on their ambitions for Frideswide Square has shown high levels of dissatisfaction with the square.  Face-to-face interviews with members of the public have shown a lower level of dissatisfaction, but still revealed a number of significant concerns about the way the square works.   Read more about the Ambitions consultation results.

The national and local financial position means we don’t know when funding will be available to make improvements. However, we want to be in a position to make rapid progress when funding becomes available.  This could be in several years’ time.

Design approaches consultation

The Design Approaches for Frideswide Square stakeholder consultation took place between 8 July 2010 and 27 September 2010.  The deadline was extended to allow additional responses.

Following the ambitions consultation, four design approaches were assessed by officers against the design objectives. These approaches, along with background information on the scheme, were set out for stakeholders taking part on the design approaches consultation to view before they completed the online questionnaire or provided a written response.

Design approaches consultation results

Comments made by stakeholders on the different design approaches have been summarised in a consultation summary report.

The comments made in response to the design approaches consultation will inform more detailed designs which stakeholders and members of the public will have a chance to comment on later in 2011.

This consultation has now closed and we are analysing the results.

Consultation Documents


Other items of interest

Questions from Chris Farmer & Gareth Griffiths

London Country AN 185 

Chris Farmer writes "Just wondered if any of your readers could help with some detective work as to the current owners of an ex London Country AN. 

JPL 185K was one of the initial batch of ANs that was allocated to Harlow garage in the 70s.It spent most of its working life around the Town, before being owned for a while by a group of enthusiasts in the area, who I am good friends with, before being sold on.

The trail on the bus went cold some years ago and we all thought that it had been scrapped, until this weekend ! Searching through Flickr we came across the photograph below, 

This shows that JPL 185K is alive and well and now in the Manchester area and being used as an on set diner for Coronation Street or it was at the time the attached linked picture was taken. The date of which remains unclear. 

Could any of your readers please help us trace the current owners of her (Film and TV Catering Company I guess) ,as a number of us would like to see the vehicle again and should the chance come about, even consider re purchasing her for preservation. 

We are currently trying a number of different avenues but, as always, we are sure that your readers maybe able to come up trumps with the information too ! 

Many Thanks for your help." 


Roe bodied Atlantean 

I hope you don't mind my dropping you a line. 

I'm in the process of trying to trace a vehicle that was exported. 

I'm involved with the South Yorkshire Transport Trust based in Sheffield. One of our members found a picture that I believe was on your website a couple of years ago. I remember seeing the pic in August 2006. 

The picture was a 'head on' shot of a Roe Bodied Atlantean painted in shade of matt red. It was photographed by one of your members in Kenya! I'm trying to locate it as a colleague is planning to visit there in Spring. 

Any info you might be able to provide would be most welcome. I hope you can help with this obscure enquiry. 

Many thanks and best regards. 

Gareth Griffiths. (SYTt.)


On replies to questions asked in previous issues 

My thanks to Mike Bennett for sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge about Milnes-Daimler AF65 photographed at Land's End. 

My friend who had originally asked me the question was well pleased with the information from Mike and it has helped him to "understand the situation much better". 

Many thanks again, Mike and to you Malcolm for letting me ask the question through the pages of "Spottings and Jottings" 

John Marsh.


Oxford bus model announced

Peter Leyman writes "I don’t know if you are aware but CMNL (Creative Master Northcord) are planning to a model of a Stagecoach Oxford hybrid bus later in the year."

Details are below.
Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 - ukbus 6034 : Stagecoach in Oxford E400H (12002 – OU10GGE)
(I would note that this model is not finally confirmed but is indeed planned. Ed.) 

The Quiz in last issue

I showed a picture of Tube 50214 and asked readers for their comments on anything differing from other Tubes in service? I am giving replies in the order received. This makes Geoff Cunliffe the winner!!

Another super edition of your web page - very enjoyable. 

The question about the difference between 50214 and the rest of the Astromegas?

- well, 50214 certainly has a Van Hool badge on the front which I cannot see on any of the others. If I am right, I claim my prize of a toasted teacake in M&S next time we meet!

Geoff Cunliffe

Regarding the difference with the repaired Astromega that you ask readers to identify, is it there is no Van Hool logo on the side below the WiFi logo? 

(Indeed some coaches still carry these logos but that was not the difference I was looking for. Ed.)

Mark Eason

Thought I’d get in quick with you question about the difference between this Oxford Tube and the rest of the fleet. Seems Van Hool have added their name to it.

On a side note, the coach involved in the rollover at Jc. 7 is now languishing in the yard of OCB recovery in Bicester, fate unknown.

Nick Eustace

Did most people guess what was different about 50214? I believe that it has gained a VAN HOOL silvered body plate on the front. 

Stephen Le Bras 

Pictures galore of local interest from Mike Penn

You might be interested to know that I have recently completed a major expansion of my Fotopic site with nearly 800 photos covering the years 1995 and 1996 in Beds, Bucks and Herts.  These include a good number in High Wycombe of City of Oxford's second hand acquisitions of the period.  Of course Luton & District became LDT in 1995 with a change of livery.
Vehicles and services were taken over from Buffalo and Motts and many other second hand vehicles were acquired.  Both operators still existed after that although Buffalo have since gone, as has Seamarks, Sovereign and a number of others. 

Preserved vehicles are also included from the 1996 Luton and Bedford rallies as well as  Classic Coaches vintage vehicles on the Buckinghamshire County Council sponsored Sunday heritage routes and Routemasters and an RF running for Timebus at Watford.

Photos at :  (1995 photos) 
(1996 LDT vehicles) 
(1996 other operators)


The TV coaching programmes - comment from Mike Penn

I too watched the two television programmes about coaching.  I thought the second programme was a waste of time with the use of models and also the time taken up with strike breaking and travellers - not much to do with modern coaching.  However I thought there were some good bits in the first programme.  I particularly liked the sequence with a line-up of Thames Valley Windover bodied Bristol L types and also Mike Sutcliffe's piece about charabancs.  Definitely some sequences worth watching again. 

Trips out

Marcus Lapthorn & Chris Maxfield spent a very pleasant half day in Swindon on Sat 29 Jan. 

16203 next to 18447 at Swindon depot

Pic 909: The old & the 'new' in Swindon Stagecoach depot with delicensed 16203 next to four year old 18447.

Coach 52300 ready for action from Swindon depot

Pic 910: Rail replacement coach 52300. This was once a regular on London-Cambridge services.

Once a mainstay of route 66 !!

Pic 911: Volvo B210M 20688 about to depart on service 8 for Freshbrook.

18183 in Swindon bus station

Pic 915: 18183 departing for Highworth.

Wilts & dorset far from home in Swindon.

Pic 918: Attractively liveried Wilts & Dorset d/d leaving on route 95 for Pewsey.

RH 404 on the 64 from Carterton.

Pic 919: RH Transport Services 404 on route 64 departing for Carterton.

Buses in the Landscape

A few shots taken in Lincoln 25 1 2011  from John Marsh

Stagecoach in Lincoln Stagecoach in Lincoln Stagecoach in Lincoln
Pictures by John Marsh

followed by a few London scenes taken Tuesday.

London variety London variety London variety London variety London variety London variety London variety
Pictures by John Marsh 

Andrew D Webb writes "Northala Fields, adjacent to the A40 in Northolt, is the name given to the three distinctive hills created using rubble from the old Wembley Stadium and the site of the Westfield Shopping Centre at Shepherds Bush.  A gentle climb to the top provides excellent views on a clear day and a good location to photograph coaches heading towards Oxford.  A visit on 30 January found an unidentified National Express Scania heading west, whilst in the background one of City Circle's new Setras heads towards town.  A short while later an Oxford Bus Company Irizar Scania makes for home with a working from Victoria.  Visible in the distance is the distinctive Wembley Arch, the construction of which helped create such a fine vantage point." 

From Northala Fields, panorama of North West london including the Wembley arch. From Northala Fields, panorama of North West london including the Wembley arch 

Running Days & Events in 2011nning Days 2011


From Peter Cartwright

Sunday 22 May  SLOUGH/WINDSOR - 2 weeks later than usual. The date of the opening of the new Slough Bus Station is uncertain. It should have opened this month but now postponed to April - whether that will transpire remains to be seen. I am still awaiting confirmation from Slough Borough Council. It is possible it will be departures from stops around Slough Station (railway) - reminiscent of days before 1975!  I would be appropriate if we were able to take layovers to the east of Slough Stn as in earlier times but I am having difficulty in approaching the appropriate person to make this happen. Any ideas?. City of London are eager for us to use Burnham Beeches again and a good place for meal breaks for single deck crews with a free cup of tea and cake on offer. 

Sunday 26 June UXBRIDGE - will be on street departures as before and off-street parking provided. Uxbridge Bakers Road is not to be used. Should we have a few runs over route 207 - now just over 50 years since Routemasters replaced trolleybuses on the 607? 

Sunday 21 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD - date confirmed with Dacorum Borough Council who control the Market Square and Arriva the Shires who have agreed that we can operate from the bus station again. 

Sunday 2 October  AMERSHAM  - Chiltern District Council have confirmed that we can use the surface car park and the basement of the Multi-Storey car park again.  

Not sure whether there will be a Potters Bar garage open -cum- running day this year.

I further have details of the following days which readers may have the opportunity to attend. 

6th March Bournemouth Aviation Museum
27th March BVBG running day
17th April Penzance running day
22nd May  Bristol Harbourside
5th June  Cheltenham Coach Station rally
12th June Weymouth rally
10th July Toddington rally
6th-7th August South Cerney steam rally (previously at Kemble)
14th August BVBG/Avon Rally Brislington
4th Sep Torbay rally
17th Sep Kingsbridge running day
18th Sep Westpoint, Exeter rally
2nd October Winkleigh Collection Open Day
9th October Warminster
30th October BVBG running day

Weymouth & Torbay Vintage Bus Running Days for 2011.

Weymouth on Sunday 12 June and Torbay on Sunday 4 September.

Weymouth has a new location, it’s Lodmoor Car and Coach Park just around the corner from the previous site at the College, which should give us more room to play with... but other than that, the event will feature the usual mix of routes around the local area (including, of course, the scenic run to Portland Bill with views across Chesil Beach), a static display and stalls.  The shuttle bus to and from the railway station will be running again – times will be on the rally website once we know the summer train timetables.

Torbay will again be at Shedden Hill car park near Torquay town centre, just off the seafront and not far from the railway station.  Again, scenic bus routes, static display in the car park and stalls will feature, as usual.

Further details and vehicle/stall entry forms for both events are now on the websites:

Duxford - Showbus 2011

This year's event will be held on September 18th. This is slightly earlier than usual.