Spottings & Jottings
Issue nr 42 - February 22nd 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
The past few weeks have seen a goodly number of e-mails bringing news of happenings in our area. I have received many pictures for inclusion and must admit that sometimes I am spoilt for choice.
The weather seems to have been very mixed with often one day good and one day poor. Thus photography has not been easy. I have enjoyed 18days holiday and have spent much of the time busy with The Oxford Tube history well under way for the 25th Anniversary in March 2012. If anyone has any pictures or memories they would like to submit, now is the time to ensure inclusion.
I have heard that work on repairing the large hole at Thornhill Park & Ride should be well under way by the time you read this page. I believe they will close the bus station and use the overflow car park area by the entrance for the period of the works. I am sure some of you will provide pictures of events.
Buckinghamshire County Council have proposals in hand to save money. Their proposals relating to Transport are as follows:
Our second biggest spend is helping bus companies provide buses and bus routes which cannot cover their own costs. We know that these buses are important to those who use them. However, passenger numbers are continuing to fall and existing bus services no longer offer a cost effective way to provide rural communities with access to key services.
We propose to withdraw our subsidy for Sunday bus routes and evening bus services – saving £465,000 each year
These are mainly leisure journeys and we propose working with bus operators to
develop commercial replacements on those routes with higher demand. This will
however mean fewer buses than at present. We propose to create a Community
Transport Fund using a proportion of the budget for subsidised rural bus routes.
This will be achieved through a review of existing services that have the
highest per passenger subsidy costs. This will support and strengthen community
transport provision in Buckinghamshire and enable local communities to develop
transport solutions that best meet their local needs. This builds on the
excellent work already being done by Community Bus projects and voluntary car
We are working with partners to develop a combined transport system bringing
together rural bus services, community transport, patient and
This would involve greater coordination of journeys, improved journey planning and increased travel options.
I would only make one comment, at a time when we
are encouraged to get out of our cars and use public transport such
proposals seem to fly in the face of all that is right. Those living in
villages, wanting to get out in the evenings or weekends are being penalised and
of course it is the elderly and young who are most affected!
I would only make one comment, at a time when we are encouraged to get out of our cars and use public transport such proposals seem to fly in the face of all that is right. Those living in villages, wanting to get out in the evenings or weekends are being penalised and of course it is the elderly and young who are most affected!
Peter Cartwright, a local councilor, wrote to me about these cuts. He has
been much involved in trying to get local people involved. He writes:
Peter Cartwright, a local councilor, wrote to me about these cuts. He has been much involved in trying to get local people involved. He writes:
"When I learnt that Buckinghamshire County Council
were proposing to withdraw their £465,000 subsidy for late evening (after 20.00)
and Sunday services, I was amazed to see it was because
journeys at these times were, allegedly,
mainly for leisure.
But were they?
I could find no evidence to support this so I
decided to conduct my own on-bus surveys on Tuesday and Friday evenings and
Sundays provided I had no other commitments. So far I have managed 9 evenings
and 4 Sundays from 14 January to 18 February and seen 1548 passengers. The
results are very interesting indeed.
During the evenings I have seen 577 passengers of
whom 233 (40.4%) were travelling to/from work. On Sundays of 971 passengers, 178
(18.3%) were travelling to/from work and 395 (40.7%) were going shopping. Also a
number were travelling quite long distances to visit a near relative in hospital
Thus it can be
substantiated that the majority of journeys are NOT for leisure and my surveys
are continuing as there are plenty of journeys to cover. With this information
to hand I have been able to convince fellow councillors that some funding should
be retained for these services and £240,000 has now been included in the budget
for the next three years. It is clear from my surveys that a number of the
Sunday services could be operated commercially during shopping hours.
By comparison I looked
at my old MAP report which led to the introduction of Chilternlink in April
1980. At the time of the surveys over 30 years ago 1% of journeys on Sundays
then were for shopping and 8% to/from work. There has been an enormous change
since then as I have highlighted. It will be interesting to hear of any
observations from your readers.
I shall be out again on Sunday 20 February to survey more journeys on Arriva’s 31 and 800 routes and realise that February is not the peak month for Sunday travel.
I wonder how many readers have responded to Bucks
CC’s budget consultation – the one on transport ends on 31 March and can be
accessed on Bucks CC website.
It no remains to be
seen how many services will be run commercially and will the £240,000 per annum
Rubbish in the verges
Travelling on the Tube the other day and boarding at Lewknor I could not help seeing how much rubbish was lying down the verges as one walked from the car parked to the stop. It really was appalling and something should be done about it.
That knotty problem again - Cyclists in Oxford
I was in Oxford last Tuesday and could not help noticing the very many cyclists riding through Queen St, a location for the main section banned to cycle riding during the day time. The said cyclists, and there were many during the few minutes I watched, seemed totally oblivious or just couldn't care less for the rules. I append three pictures taken inless than three minutes around 1400 last week. I wonder why?
I would add that there are many cyclists who do follow the rules but there are many who don't who spoil it for those who do!
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
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 March 2011.
The First Annual General Meeting plus “Charles Cook Coaches of Biggleswade” by John Hammond
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.
Finally and as always, my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue.
Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - February 22nd 2011.
Glenn Knight made some visits during the last few weeks.
He writes I
made some visits during the last few weeks. He writes"Visit to Marshall's coaches of Leighton Buzzard, they have recently purchased KKY 835P a Bristol VR ex-Johnson's of Hodthorpe and also KBZ 2476, a Volvo B10M/Plaxton Paramount ex-Naughtons of London.
Ihave attached the following pictures of Marshalls vehicles taken in their yards at Dunstable & Milton Keynes:
H657 GPF , K858 LMK , KBZ 2476 , KE07 HMO , MIL 8340 , WA05 DFG , WJI 9363
WJI 9363 (ex- D390 PYS) Volvo B10M-61 Duple B55F ex-Hutchinson, Overtown rebodied to East Lancs Pioneer
MIL 8340 (ex- NCS 123W) Volvo B10M-61 Duple C46Ft ex-Western SMT V123, rebodied to East Lancs Pioneer
Marshalls also have a 2004 Neoplan 37-seater with satellite navigation, six tables, toilet with hand dryer and hot and cold running water. It also has an Inverter for power - 240v plug sockets, DVD with six monitors, coffee machine, two fridges, a microwave and double oven in the kitchen servery. It has tinted windows all round."
Glenn also visited Lanes and sent the following picture:
N458 PAP Ex- Stagecoach East Kent now in full Lanes livery. also attached are pictures taken in Oct 2009 when N458 PAP first arrived in Stagecoach Stripes.
Finally BR LeBlonde with a picture of their Lynx:
J266 UDW a Leyland Lynx MKII used on Batchworth Hall shuttle ex-Cardiff 266 & Dorset Sprinter.
Mike Bennett writes
Mike Bennett writes "I made the trip out to Bicester on Thursday February 3rd to try to photograph the Stagecoach loan ADL E400 80015. And yes, I saw it, but only as it passed me in Bicester Bus Station on its way to Langford - I was on a Heyfordian Solo waiting to leave to return to Oxford at 1530. On arriving back at Magdalen Street East at 1640 I thought I had caught up with 80015. There it was in front of me - or so I thought. However, this one turned out to be the other loan ADL E400, OBC 900, which I had not seen for a long time. Anyway, needing a better photo of it, I soon had one in the camera. Whilst taking it I noticed 80015 drawing up at the back of the queue - so I was soon down there taking that one as well. Inside the cab it had the notice that all Full Height buses need whilst in Oxford - Not to be taken under Botley Road Bridge. Luckily it is allocated to Bicester so should only be used on the S5, hence not needing to approach the Danger Area of Botley Road. Some drivers can be very appreciative that an enthusiast should show an interest in their bus, and the driver of 80015 invited me to come aboard to photograph the nice leather seats. We chatted for several minutes until I realised that it was time to get back to the Bus Station to catch my bus home.
Graham Mildenhall writes
Bit of an odd one this - last Saturday (5th February) at approx. 1040 between Kirtlington and the Heyfords, I passed a 25A heading for Bicester. So far, not unusual - but, the vehicle operating it was R872MDY, one of Heyfordian's ex Eastbourne DAF double deckers! I've lived out here for over 30 years now and I don't recall seeing a double decker on our village service since the days of COMS/South Midland operating the route!"
writes"Thought this might be of interest for your next S & J........
Thanks to Graham for that report and as luck would have our erstwhile roving reporter/photographer, Gavin Francis, was on hand in Oxford the same day and recorded this working.
Steve Gee writes "I made my now annual trip to Skegness for a "Rock & Blues " weekend at Butlins a couple of weeks back. Noted with local taxi & now bus operator Red Bus, was former Thames Transit 3050/ Stagecoach Oxford 788 Dart/ Plaxton Pointer, N 48 EJO, in use alongside another ex Stagecoach London Dart on services between the town centre and Ingoldmells. Both are now (perhaps unsurprisingly) in all over red livery, and N 48 EJO now has a front entrance only."
The pictures are:
Richard Sharman sent
some pictures for this issue.
sent some pictures for this issue.
JD Travel of Oxford's Tourismo picking up on a Private Hire.
Thames Travel Solo taking a break from Bracknell.
Your Editor had a very nice day out on Saturday 12th February when I took
my granddaughter to Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum and found time to stop at
Bicester and Bicester Village. Has anyone seen the price of an ice cream in the
village? Not for mortals like us! When my 9 year old saw the price she said "that's too much to pay for an ice cream" Out of the mouths of .... etc.
Your Editor had a very nice day out on Saturday 12th February when I took my granddaughter to Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum and found time to stop at Bicester and Bicester Village. Has anyone seen the price of an ice cream in the village? Not for mortals like us! When my 9 year old saw the price she said "that's too much to pay for an ice cream" Out of the mouths of .... etc.
One the subject of the Canal museum I must say that this is very well
appointed and well worth a visit. You even get a hand held personal tour guide
recorder to keep with you as you wander around and I can really recommend the
Navigation Pub for lunch.
Well priced, very quick and excellent food. And, I have never seen so many
fridge magnets in one place!
One the subject of the Canal museum I must say that this is very well appointed and well worth a visit. You even get a hand held personal tour guide recorder to keep with you as you wander around and I can really recommend the Navigation Pub for lunch. Well priced, very quick and excellent food. And, I have never seen so many fridge magnets in one place!
Whilst queuing to get into the village I saw this Citaro on the 160 which
was passing an X5 Oxford bound.
Whilst queuing to get into the village I saw this Citaro on the 160 which was passing an X5 Oxford bound.
During our short stop at Bicester Bure Place and after we had negotiated
the road works I got three pictures which give a feel for 2011 Bicester style.
During our short stop at Bicester Bure Place and after we had negotiated the road works I got three pictures which give a feel for 2011 Bicester style.
This Scania, 3157, had just come on stand to load for Aylesbury and looked rather smart in the late afternoon sunshine.
Heyfordian are everywhere now and have quite a large fleet of buses.
This one, YJ59NNO is seen working on the 25A to Oxford.
I couldn't resist this picture of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire's latest double deck, a sole ADL Enviro 400, 19659, which is based at Bicester out-station.
I have to say that this was one of the most pleasant days of the year so far and I can recommend it to anyone wanting something different.
Gavin Francis sent a picture of a visiting coach in Oxpens. This is a new tri-axle Setra of Epsom Coaches.
Chris Maxfield writes saying "I had a duty at Banbury today and got a couple of photos of my buses today (see under Stagecoach). I am also sending a number of pictures which I hope readers will find of interest taken around North Oxfordshire.
The School Bus Company
Chris spent a pleasant hour taking pictures of this company's buses and coaches. They have a very interesting fleet which probably includes one of the last strongholds of Leyland vehicles.
Many services are operated by ex MOD buses
They can also offer buses for Wedding or Special hire including a Routemaster.
Their yard still has a number of now withdrawn but historically interesting coaches from the new long gone fleet "Tourex"
More of Chris's photos are under operator headings further down the page.
Andrew Morgan (Herts) writes "There
will be route and timetable changes on Arriva 300/301 and a new Sullivan’s buses
route 330 Welwyn Garden City to St Albans - St Peters Street .
I think this may all be Herts CC contracts as Centrebus has, from Sunday 27th
march, deregistered their 700 Stevenage to Stansted airport which was under
contract to herts CC but will know more info when it comes out."
Andrew Morgan (Herts) writes "There will be route and timetable changes on Arriva 300/301 and a new Sullivan’s buses route 330 Welwyn Garden City to St Albans - St Peters Street . I think this may all be Herts CC contracts as Centrebus has, from Sunday 27th march, deregistered their 700 Stevenage to Stansted airport which was under contract to herts CC but will know more info when it comes out."
I noted an interesting overview into the history of
Arriva which may be found at the following link.
Nigel Peach reports that “Dart 3178 transferred to Wycombe late last year has at last been fitted with an electronic destination display. I think that means the only bus at the depot without is 3371 (K321 CVX), the Cool Project bus.
Step entranced Dart
3413 (P833 HVX) appears to be out of service now. It was in the row of withdrawn
vehicles at Cressex today (19th Feb). One bus disappeared from that row is ex
Oxford Volvo 3854 (N414 NRG) presumably for scrap. As well as 3413, 3240, 3853,
4491, 3151, 3202 and 3446 comprise the line-up of seven withdrawn buses there.”
Noel Clarke writes
"Metrobus M1432 has now been sold. Metrobus M598 passed the MOT last week and
will be returning to service very soon. "
Nigel Peach writes “Carousel appear to have acquired another RM which I saw at the depot from a distance today. It has a white roof. I intend to have a look with camera when I'm passing tomorrow so will advise then if I can identify it.
I thought that Carousel had
got another RM which I'd only seen in their yard from a distance. But closer
inspection today reveals that it is certainly not an RM! There was an EVL parked
in front of it but the bit of the radiator I could see told me it was an RT or
maybe older. I went round the back of the yard and got this picture of just a
bit of it, but maybe enough for someone to identify it! I now don't think it's
even an RT. This looks more like an STL I think (they are before my time -
just!) I know that Carousel do have an RT which is usually under canvas, but a
bus under canvas was parked behind this one, as can be seen. I'm sure that
someone will enlighten me!”
wrote to say
wrote to say "When driving around Oxford of a weekend on City sightseeing there are often fellow enthusiasts taking photos. This Saturday I was out with the old Atlantean 928 having a fantastic time with those lovely Leyland noises and was snapped by at least three photographers taking advantage of the nice weather. I managed to chat to one guy, a chap called Alastair, and asked him to email me a photo or two - enclosed are a couple of pictures he took of me."
Chris Maxfield sent an interesting picture of one of first bus's rail replacement fleet in trouble at Oxford Station. It is seen being towed away after failing.
20514 - WV02EUP, is I believe a Bristol based coach, being towed away on January 5th - Chris Maxfield.
sent some pictures which I found very interesting.
sent some pictures which I found very interesting.
Taken at Radley College on Saturday 5th February 2011
A couple of pictures for the page of our FJ60 EKO on it’s way to London Victoria for the Amsterdam’s 142.
Heyfordian now work the B10 in Banbury as seen by Chris Maxfield.
Tappins, part of the Heyfordian empire operate some interesting coaches as seen in this picture of 505 by Chris Maxfield.
Motts MA07BUS passes through Headington.
The number of new coaches in service is significant with the continuing delivery of the batch of 50 Caetano Volvo B9Rs plus the growing number of Plaxton Elite bodied B9Rs. Many of the older coaches have now been withdrawn and will doubtless appear on less onerous duties in the near future.
Haytons (Manchester): New for National Express work are Volvo B9R / Caetano Levantes FJ60 EFU, FJ60 EFV and FJ60 EFW
Notice that the coach on the right is now in England livery but as recently as November last was in normal NEx livery.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
Yeomans (Canon Pyon): A pair of Volvo B9 / Caetano bodied
National Express spec coaches FJ60EFZ and FJ60 HYG have been added for use on
route 222 linking Gloucester with Heathrow and
Gatwick, which is run jointly with Bennett’s Coaches.
Your Bus of Heanor have taken over the workings of the National Express contracts from Veolia England with 16 Volvo B9R/Caetano Levante coaches, 4001-16 FJ60EHN, HXW/Z, HYA/B, EGZ, EFX/Y, EGY, KVH/K-M/O/P/R and pictures of these will appear from time to time on these pages.
These are better pictures than those originally taken by and now replaced by Gavin Francis.
Sadly not everything always goes according to plan. Volvo 53703 failed at Stokenchurch on February 8th
and is seen above waiting for assistance.
Seen in Brackley, this Arriva DAF is on the Northampton-Bristol service. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Banbury is a picking up and set down point for many NEx services.
Above we see the 210 service from the Midlands to Gatwick. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken in London on February 7th 2011.
Gavin Francis writes
"I see the U5
branding has gone from the side of 900 so maybe it will be used on more routes.
Perhaps all the Brookes buses have been done and they are now working on the
City buses. Saw one on the M40 the other day. "
On February 17th Gavin saw a Citaro, 84?, on the U1 heading for Wheatley Campus with large lettered destination screen, also Trident 101 on the U1 on the same day."
writes"I really enjoy reading the OCBP and look forward to reading the next issue of it, even more now I’m studying in Oxford. On 17/02/11 I saw Citaro 827 in service on Route U1 entering Wheatley Campus around 15:30 which was a bit weird allocation to me as I see the U1 everyday. There was another Citaro on the U1 also in the morning but I could not identify that one as I was in a Lecture when I saw it pass."
It is delightful to still see this celebration bus, 817, in everyday service. One wonders how much longer this and sister 816 will retain these old liveries?
Bonn Square provides the background to this Citaro, 843, working a 4C service to Rose Hill.
The ex Brighton & Hove Volvos are still giving good service in Oxford. Here 797 makes it way along Queen St.
For those who have a penchant for numbers, Citaro 835 working the 35 should provide a nice coincidence.
Whilst many of its sisters are now heading for the scrap yard after service on the south coast, this ex London Volvo is still giving service in Oxford.
The Oxford Bus driving school use 963 to train new drivers and is seen in Speedwell Street last week. This bus was once 646 in the main bus fleet.
Following on from the picture sent in by Adam Baker I have further news
from Marcus Lapthorn who writes
Following on from the picture sent in by Adam Baker I have further news from Marcus Lapthorn who
writes"I have attached a photo showing the next stage in this bus's life after it left Taylors. It was acquired by Coachman of Swindon and used on school bus contracts in the Faringdon area plus some use on the 67 routes from Faringdon. Now withdrawn and almost certainly scrapped."
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."
Also it seems that the picture used was in fact one taken by Marcus sometime ago. sorry Marcus for not realising this.
Glenn Knight was quick off the mark with a pictureof the
new Enviro 200s introduced onto service WP1 Wexham Park Hospital - Slough. They
are as follows:
was quick off the mark with a pictureof the new Enviro 200s introduced onto service WP1 Wexham Park Hospital - Slough. They are as follows:
MX60 GXK Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 B27F
Andrew Morgan wrote on February 15th saying
wrote on February 15th saying"I saw Red Rose Dennis Dart N744 XDV in Hemel but did not get a picture of it as, if you will pardon the pun, it went darting past the bus station too quick. I think was going back to depot after doing a bus change down at the Riverside stops it was in full Red Rose livery of red, black and yellow.
Glenn Knight also captured a Red Rose on camera and this
is of a bus which I thought had left the fleet.
also captured a Red Rose on camera and this is of a bus which I thought had left the fleet.
Seen in Hemel Hempstead Riverside Red Rose Travel Leyland Tiger F49 ENF
RH operates a number of services in south west Oxfordshire and the two pictures show first the 19 in Carterton and
secondly the 67A in Faringdon heading for East Challow. Pictures by Chris Maxfield.
I do not think this coach has been featured on this page before. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Not much to report at present. The coach involved in the incident at junction 7 some months ago (50226) is to be returned to Van Hool for repairs.
Following the problems with the new Volvo/Plaxton Elites the coach hired, from South Gloucester Bus & Coach of Patchway, is still in use on the National Express 737 service.
I am not sure if I put a picture of the Solo in use on the tendered service 20 at Cowley. This bus is called Rosie.
Chris Maxfield took a few pictures on Sunday 20th and these are included below. One is of "Rosie" on the 17, a Sunday working for this bus normally allocated to the 20.
Chris was working on the S3 yesterday and sent a picture of 15434 at Old Woodstock (Vermont Drive) terminus and the of the same bus at the Stratford end of the 50 (Sundays only for Oxford) and finally Rosie!
34468 is seen on a B8 working and 31854 is on a B5 service. Pictures by Chris Maxfield.
Dart 34470 is seen on a 500 working at Brackley. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Stagecoach Midlands 20220 from Stratford depot is seen in Banbury on a 50A working. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
A night shot of Banbury depot by Chris Maxfield.
A morning shot of Chipping Norton outstation last Sunday by Chris Maxfield.
Two pictures of Solos at work in Oxford by Gavin Francis.
As readers will doubtless know Stratford depot works through to Oxford on Sunday as and a variety of Scania deckers
can be seen on these workings. We are lucky for this page to have both ends of the route featured thanks to Gavin Francis
and further up the page, Chris Maxfield.
For those readers who would like to see a comprehensive site of pictures of Stagecoach coaches may I recommend the link below. See Skyliner 50133 as it is now!!
writes"On the weekend before Christmas, I was one of those stuck on the M40 when the snows came. However, I did get to take some photos. They're for the main bit of the site
An unidentified X5 diverted from Bicester onto the A43 to get back home. Three
other X5s were stuck between Bicester and Buckingham at the time behind a lorry.
You can see how bad the road conditions were.... that is the A43 you can see!! "
John Marsh writes
John Marsh writes "withreference to Stagecoach London Routemasters, thought you might like this early evening shot of RM871 at Charing Cross last Monday.
This time of year produces shadows on a sunny day and reflections abound. 50211 is seen in Magdalen Street East waiting time by Geoff Cunliffe.
Omega KP04GJK - ex Tube 50105 - is seen in St Giles on February 6th by Gavin Francis.
50224 in St Aldates setting down after a journey from London on February 14th.
Many coaches, once in the mainline fleet of Stagecoach, often on National Express work have been cascaded to Megabus work in recent months and Gavin Francis has captured some with additional pictures of their work in former days.
The same coach then and now. Gavin Francis.
SC 53013 in Citylink livery in Buckingham Palace Road (BPR) Victoria on February 6th by Gavin Francis.
normally one sees tri-axles on these workings but recently we have seen this coach on more than one occasion.
It is not very often that double deck service buses appear on Megabus duties but one of the first noted in 2011 was an appearance
of one the Gold Scanias from Cheltenham. 15521 was caught in VCS by Armstrong Galley.
Andrew Morgan,my regular correspondent from Hertfordshire and all things uno has sent me a request and several sightings of this most interesting fleet. He writes:-
"Has anyone taken any pictures or made sightings of UNO Optare solos 406-411
(YA02 YRR/S/T, YJ55 YGE/F, YJ56 APF) Andrew has not seen them and has not heard
uno have registered two new routes as follows :
700/635 Hatfield uni - The Forum to Stansted Airport
712/714 Hatfield uni the forum to London Victoria
They are to start on Monday 28th, March. I am not sure what buses they will use and they are registered on the Universitybus licence. There are also some other route or timetable changes as well, plus uno have kept the S routes in St Albans.
uno 201 and 202, Optare Spectras have now been fitted with a digital route display. I am going out Saturday and Sunday to see what is on local rail replacement round Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage. I may also be going out sometime in the week to see if uno solos 406-411 are out . Whilst doing a free vehicle check on the net it says they have been repainted in to uno livery.
Andrew goes on to add "Four pictures for readers, two taken today (15/02/11) - one each of 201 and 202 showing their new digital displays and one taken on 19/12/10 of uno Plaxton Mini Pointer Dennis Dart 104, also showing its new digital display and the final one of ex-Centrebus dart SLF 575 taken on 1/10/10 also fitted. All the pictures were taken in Welwyn Garden City.
So far the following buses have been fitted with new digital displays:
DLD 201-202 ; ;
Finally Andrew adds
"All the fleet is going to be so fitted over time. I did go out today but did not
see any of solos 406-411. "
Optare to go to City for factory cash
Optare has announced to the Stock Exchange that it is planning to raise £7.4m by selling new shares, to fund the relocation of its Leeds factory (on which the lease is to end shortly) and also to provide working capital, and to reduce its borrowings.
The Leeds-based bus manufacturer says that it is at “the advanced stages” of preparation for the share placing, which is subject to shareholder approval.
It plans to sell the 370 million new ordinary shares - at 2p per share - to institutional and other investors. This represents a significant discount on the current share price, which was 3.26p as the market opened this morning (Monday).
Additionally, late on Friday afternoon, Optare announced that it had secured a further order of £7.6m for 68 single and double-decker buses, from an undisclosed UK “major operator”, taking its current order book to £43m
12th February 2011
THREE men have been jailed for a vicious and unprovoked attack on a group of teenage boys on a night bus.
Michael Lewin, Michael Thompson and Kieran Hogg had been drinking heavily in Oxford city centre before getting on the Stagecoach S1 bus in Park End Street, Oxford Crown Court heard.
Their 17-year-old victims – picked at random after one of the robbers asked them for a lighter – were travelling home at about 12.40am after a night out in Oxford on October 26.
The three attackers, who between them have notched up 65 previous convictions for 117 offences, were all jailed at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.
Cathy Olliver, prosecuting, said 23-year-old Lewin reacted to being told none of boys smoked by asking if they were “dissing” him.
He then punched one of the teenagers in the mouth, breaking a front tooth and leading him to eventually need up to £2,000 of dental work.
The court heard Lewin taunted: “Don’t mess with me, I’m a gangster.”
Hogg, of Iffley Road, East Oxford, joined in by sitting behind one of the boys, who cannot be named because of their ages, and demanding money.
The 20-year-old threatened to punch one of his victims if he didn’t open the note compartment of his wallet.
Finally, 23-year-old Thompson bounded down the bus and elbowed one of the boys in the face.
He then launched “a karate kick at the throat” of another victim, the court heard.
The trio made a swift exit from the bus, which was on its way to Witney, at Farmoor after realising they had been caught on CCTV camera.
The court heard they fled with just a handful of coins.
Adrian Amer, defending Hogg and Lewin, said: “It was a disgraceful set of events.
“Mr Hogg and Mr Lewin totally understand that, totally recognise that and totally appreciate that, and they express very heartfelt and sincere remorse.”
Mr Amer said Lewin, who has 39 offences to his name, was expecting his first child in May and hoped “to make a fresh start” after his release from jail.
Clare Fraser, defending Thompson, who has nine assaults on his record and was jailed for affray in 2008, said: “He didn’t become involved through any sort of buzz.
“He deeply regrets becoming involved, and he wasn’t aware a robbery was taking place.”
The court heard the father-of-one had previously worked as a doorman.
Judge Anthony King called on police to investigate how he could have been licensed for such work with his “abysmal record of violence”.
Lewin, of Bartlett Close, Witney, who earlier admitted robbery, causing actual bodily harm, and possessing cannabis, was jailed for two years.
Hogg, who had admitted robbery, was given 18 months in prison.
Thompson, also of Bartlett Close, who pleaded guilty to two common assaults, was jailed for six months. Having spent 79 days on remand, he is likely to be released within days.
12th February 2011
A BUS driver was left with facial injuries after he was ambushed and ‘horrendously’ attacked by two teenagers on board a bus.
The 54-year-old driver had parked the Stagecoach single-decker 55 bus in the bus lane in Church Place, near Faringdon Road Park, at 12.55am on Thursday, when two teenagers forced open the doors.
The driver, who does not want to be identified, moved to get out of his cab and both youths attacked him, punching him in the face and head. Both then ran off in the direction of the Railway Village and Station Road.
A Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) rapid response vehicle was called at 1.14am and arrived at 1.19am.
The injuries were not serious but he was taken to the Great Western Hospital for treatment.
Sholto Thomas, Operations Director for Stagecoach West, said: “It was basically an ambush in which our driver was assaulted.
“This was a particularly nasty attack.
“He is back home now but he is badly shaken.
“We would fully support the police in their search for witnesses.”
Two local men, both 17, were arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and have been bailed pending further inquiries and police are appealing for witnesses.
Acting Inspector Chris Palframan said: “It was an unprovoked attack which was certainly horrendous for the victim and we would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the incident.
“Of course this is not something that happens every day and we do not want to scare people. For the purposes of our investigation at this time it is being treated as completely unprovoked.”
Anyone with any information should contact DC Ed Russell at Gablecross Police Station on 0845 408 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Bicester Bus Station
From Monday 21st February, due to the continuing work
to upgrade the Bicester Bus Station area, the existing entrance to the car park
and bus station will be closed and
that the new entrance will be 30 metres before the current entrance [and will be clearly signposted it says!].
Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe
Saturday 12th February
Maintenance car 754 has again escaped from the depot to Starr Gate. I saw it earlier today. Apparently, depot wiring is being made compatible with trolleys! Interestingly, the bogie on the wire-carrier being towed by 754 is an original 1898 Blackpool & Fleetwood Milnes plate frame bogie.
I attach three photos, two showing 754 with its wire carrier. It is 'parked' at the new, north-bound loading platform at Starr Gate with the new depot in the background. It now seems that, although the Starr Gate turning loop has been reinstated, normal service cars will not use it and, having unloaded, will simply reverse over a crossover onto the north-bound track and the corresponding loading platform. The turning loop will access the depot, car washing facilities and other 'utility' functions.
Latest news is that trams may only be running to Cabin or Bispham at Easter, as
track work at Cleveleys & Fleetwood as yet incomplete. Only trams fitted with
transponders will be able to leave Rigby Rd depot as automatic traffic control
being fitted at Manchester Square. Box 40 & Bolton 66
et al will be imprisoned until the Centenary cars are disposed of
next year and their transponders become available.
The first of a pair of Arriva dedicated training and route-testing buses have arrived in Malta. The un-refurbished training vehicles will be used to provide extensive specialist training for Maltese driving instructors and, in turn, a number of specially selected drivers, who will drive the buses. The fully refurbished, air-conditioned passenger buses will arrive in advance of the July 3 start for the new operator.
The first Citaro 530G (BX55FWG) to arrive in Malta - courtesy "Times of Malta"
Chris Maxfield took this picture in April 2008 of EBY-622 which was when new with Ribble Motor Services as their 933.
I drove this coach in service with Ribble, one of the occasions being on June 19th 1965 on a duplicate journey to Morecambe from Manchester as an X50.
I again drove this coach on September 1st 1965 when doing a kiss and turn on Edinburgh at Penrith. 933 was my southbound steed back to Manchester.
Does anyone have a picture of 933 in Ribble service?
This is what the coaches looked like when new in 1953. Picture by Ribble Motor Services.
How things change and could I or anyone have imagined that this vehicle
still be around in 2011 on a far off sunshine island like Malta.
How things change and could I or anyone have imagined that this vehicle still be around in 2011 on a far off sunshine island like Malta.
Marshalls seem to have ceased running the 773 Commuter service
Changes are being made to a number of bus services in Central Bedfordshire
On 28th March 2011. Many of these changes are a result of a spending review on bus services financially supported by Central Bedfordshire Council. Bus operators are also making some changes to their commercial services from the same date.
· Journeys provided by Ivel Sprinter serving Upper Caldecote, The Pastures and Old Warden on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as a part replacement for Route E6.
Routes revised to operate as follows:
· 10: Leighton Buzzard Station, Eggington, Hockcliffe, Woburn, Woburn Sands, Kingston, Open University, Milton Keynes Hospital, Central Milton Keynes.(Mondays to Saturdays).
· 10: Leighton Buzzard Station, Eggington, Hockcliffe, Dunstable. (Mondays to Fridays peak hour journeys).
· 10A; Flitwick, Ampthill, Ridgmont, Husborne Crawley, Aspley Guise, Woburn Sands, Kingston, Open University, Milton Keynes Hospital, Central Milton Keynes.(Mondays to Fridays daytime journeys).
· This service is withdrawn
· Route 34 withdrawn between Salters Way and Dunstable Square on Mondays to Fridays. Route 34 is unaffected between Dunstable Square and St. Albans.
· The 1645 and 1745 journeys from Leighton Buzzard High Street to Linslade; and 1725 and 1755 journeys to Billington Park are withdrawn .
· Changes are being finalised for this service.
· All buses operated by Arriva will operate as Route 70 via Stanbridge, and not serve Eggington and Hockcliffe
· Red Rose journeys continue to operate. The 1950 journey from Leighton Buzzard to Luton will operate as route 69 via Hockcliffe.
· Routes 10 and X31 provide an alternative service for Eggington and Hockcliffe.
· All buses operated by Arriva operate as Route 70 between Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable via Stanbridge and Tilsworth. This gives a half hour frequency on route 70 during the day.
· This service is reduced to provide one return journey on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
· Revised timetable. Service via Hexton and Pegsdon withdrawn.
· This service is withdrawn.
· The 1735 journey from Biggleswade Bus Station is withdrawn.
· The 1715 journey from Biggleswade Bus Station is withdrawn.
· New service Mondays to Saturdays operating approximately every 2 hours, and partly replacing routes E2, E3 and E4.
· New service Mondays to Saturdays operating approximately every 2 hours, and partly replacing routes E1, E2 and E3.
· On Tuesdays buses continue to operate via Langford and Henlow as current.
· On Saturdays operates via Broom and Stanford, and is interworked with route 200. On Saturdays it will also serve Westoning.
· Route 197 will no longer serve Streatley, Barton, Steppingley, Ridgmont, Husborne Crawley, Aspley Guise, Woburn Sands, Salford.
· On Mondays to Fridays revision to morning journey. The 1743 journey from Flitwick and 1840 journey from Biggleswade are withdrawn. Other changes are being finalised.
· On Saturdays, the timetable is combined with route 197 to provide three journeys from Flitwick to Biggleswade and three journeys from Biggleswade to Clophill with two journeys operating on to Flitwick.
· This evening service is withdrawn
· Service withdrawn between Bushmead and Luton Town Centre.
· Revised timetable between Dunstable and Luton.
· The 2031 journey from Luton and 2100 journey from Dunstable on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are withdrawn.
· Service withdrawn between Dunstable and Luton.
· Revised timetable Mondays to Fridays and Saturdays.
· Revised to operate from Dunstable Square. Route DB3 no longer serves ASDA.
· Revised timetable with a basic hourly frequency through most of the day.
· This service is withdrawn. Replaced by route 190 operating approximately every 2 hours.
· This service is withdrawn. Partly replaced by routes 188 and 190.
· This service is withdrawn. Partly replaced by routes 188 and 190 ( no service to Bedford).
· This service is withdrawn. Replaced by routes 188.
· This service is withdrawn
· This service is withdrawn. Partly replaced by Ivel Sprinter Route 1A.
· Revised timetable. Additional journeys introduced between Leighton Buzzard, Eggington, Hockcliffe, Dunstable, and Luton.
· Journeys serving Ridgeway Avenue and Wilbury Drive now operate direct via Luton Road.
Comments from readers regarding viewing in Google Chrome
writes"Firstly, I thank you for what I’m sure is a huge effort that you put into running the OCBP site. I am an avid follower, although unfortunately I never seem to be in the right place at the right time to contribute!
I write as I notice your note on the latest OCBP Spottings & Jottings that you claim the website cannot be viewed in Google Chrome. However, I have been using Google Chrome since I started following the site and have never had any issue – and nothing seems to have changed from what I can tell. I wonder if problems have been reported by other readers or if there might be some way I can assist in ensuring that the site is as compatible as possible with all web browsers.
I entirely agree with the nightmare potholes, for what it’s worth. The roundabouts at J8a of the M40 are horrendous and have been for some time, with vast chasms right where you have to drive.
Many thanks for the very interesting content on OCBP, and long may it continue. "
Good picture sites
Gazz writes that he has uploaded photos of interest at GJM Photogenic at Flickr
Become a fan of GJM
Photogenic @ Facebook
Still available for viewing until 31st Dec 2011. Last site updated GJM Bus Photos in August 2010.
http://gnebp.fpic.co.uk - http://gjmbc.fpic.co.uk
http://scnebp.fpic.co.uk - http://anebp.fpic.co.uk
http://scbuk.fpic.co.uk - http://prestonbus.fpic.co.uk
http://gjmrail.fpic.co.uk - http://gjmrally.fpic.co.uk
http://lothian.fpic.co.uk - http://blackpool-transport.fotopic.net
http://go-aheadgroup.fotopic.net - http://swsbp.fpic.co.uk
http://gjmlightrail.fotopic.net - http://bac.fpic.co.uk
http://transdev-transport.fotopic.net - http://1st.fpic.co.uk
Martin writes "In answer to Luke's question about a route D bus around Swindon, could that be from Cheltenham? Stagecoach have lettered routes there."
Great website which is always full of interesting
articles and pictures keep up the good work! "
(Brown Monkey) writes "
(Brown Monkey) writes "After a bit of digging, I found an explanation as well. 34885 (of Swindon) was sent for a repaint. Therefore, the bus from Cheltenham must of been on loan to Swindon whilst it was being repainted. I haven’t seen anything of it since, so it must have been a one-off.
Many thanks for you and your readers help."
Rob Coldwell writes
question raised by Luke (Brown Monkey) in the latest Spotting and jottings regarding the unfamiliar bus (Certainly not of Stagecoach Swindon) was operating the 16:15 Wootton Bassett – Swindon Service 54 Route.
As it was a Branded bus ‘Route D’ bus I would suspect that it is one of Stagecoach Cheltenham's Dennis Darts which are branded for the Route D between Hatherley and Bishops Cleeve. Although what it would be doing operating routes out of Swindon is more of a mystery. Maybe it had been used on the 51 service from Cheltenham to Swindon and then gone astray.
As the route D is the local service to my home in Bishops Cleeve I've attached a couple of photos showing the buses in Service in Cheltenham. One taken on 18 December 2010 during heavy snow and another in better summer weather."
writes"As a regular reader of your website but living over the border in Gloucestershire I might have an answer to the
(not the same person as Mike Bennett who contributes to your pages)comments on the Atlantean
mentioned a previous issue
"I can't help with the whereabouts, but I
can tell you that the London Country vehicle fleet number was AN85, and not
Latest PSV Circle fleet list for Berks & Oxon now on sale
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 psv-circle.org.uk
Buses in the Landscape
Barry of depotpic sent some excellent pictures of buses in the landscape
which are well worth studying as they show so much more than just a bus.
Barry of depotpic sent some excellent pictures of buses in the landscape which are well worth studying as they show so much more than just a bus.
That's all for now Folks
That's all for now Folks