Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr 45 - May 18th 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

Your reports and pictures continue to reach me in a regular flow and there is much of interest for this issue.

I was especially appreciative of pictures from Hong Kong sent by Gary Seamarks. It is now some years since I last visited HKG, around July 2001 and much must have changed. Surprisingly many of the buses , especially the Leyland Olympian tri-axles are still around. The trams appear to have been modernised and there is even what looks like a new tram!

Glenn Knight has been to Cyprus and Cornwall and has sent some interesting pictures.

I am enjoying working on days now and I like the express services which go non-stop from Thornhill to Marble Arch. This is a nice change but the traffic is rather heavier than I have been used to especially coming out of London in the rush hour. If it is possible there seems even more traffic than there was four years ago and it is not unusual to take 30 minutes from Marble Arch to Shepherds Bush.

The weather continues warm and dry, I imagine we will have a hosepipe ban before long!

You have sent more pictures of changes to the Oxford Bus Company's fleet and word reaches me that at least one of the old T registered Tridents has been seen heading north. This may be for repaint and further service in Oxford or again it may be joining its brothers and sisters in the North East?

Sometimes motorists cannot read road signs


What a mess - this road is forbidden to cars!!!!
Picture by Gavin Francis


Nostalgia Travel ready for business


For those looking for an ideal vehicle for wedding guests in the Oxford area why not use this lovely old Bristol double decker?


When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.


Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!


I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.


May I please ask readers to do two things?


1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.


2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.


The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.


Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.


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: Tuesday, 21st June 2011

Details to be announced

19.30pm - 21.30pm

Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road



Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13 or 35 routes stop outside)

or a short walk from Oxford City Centre - For directions click HERE 


All meetings start at 19.30pm although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.

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 - May 18th 2011.


Stephen Le Bras notes that on S&J 44:The Kings Ferry Levante is operating a service to the Kent coast which used to be run by the Ulsterbus inbound 920 coach. I have seen the Ulsterbus coach running westbound out of service on the M4- I wonder if it parks up at Heathrow?

I duly noted the 11 plate Levantes on the 509 yesterday (Saturday) and I paid an interesting visit to Oxford to look at the new hybrids on the 400 on May Bank Holiday Monday. The journey up to Thornhill gives the hybrid a good chance to shine. There are no shortage of photos on your site!

Pictures by Gavin Francis

Ralph Adams sent some notes as follows


Park & Ride.

On 12th May, there were six green deckers plus red Citaro 860 on the route 300. I would have expected all double decks, as 108, 114, 115, 117, 903 and 909 were not on the road. Have any of these left Oxford yet?

The 3A has taken on the old route 15 B10BLE buses and Wood Farm now has Citaros.

The 3B (school bus) is operated by double decker 4K (a route 4 bus) but quickly returns to the garage after a few peak trips.

The X3 Q card bus appears to be a Scania - whenever I have seen it recently. This bus again is only out for a few hours in the morning and evening peak.
The X23 route no longer exists as the Redbridge shorts are route 23, the through service to Abingdon is X13.

and updated on 18th May

The Hybrid buses up to 312 have now arrived but the roofs leak on several. COMS have therefore refused to put 312 into service at present, so 311 is the highest on the road until ADL sort out the problem. 301 was sideswiped by a coach and has left Oxford for repair. 305, registration HE11 OXF, in other words Hell, has had 2 minor accidents already.

108 has gone away and returned as a red bus. Not on the road by 10.00 today. 115 in workshop having panels repaired before departure for repainting and 114 not seen on the road for some days - location unknown to me.
Green 110 had a problem during the morning and was replaced by red 102 indicating no suitable green P&R bus available, but any bus is better than no bus!


Tappins hold the main contract for Abingdon school, joint with St Helens school. The St Helens bursar is now arranging the contract and has awarded it to Weavaway Travel (Mr Weaver is an old boy of Abingdon school).

Today I saw twelve Tappins coaches, three Pearce coaches and two Weavaway coaches on the morning operation. I am told there should be Fourteen Tappins coaches in the morning and nine in the evenings plus the other five listed.

Potentially quite a few disposals from the Tappins (or Heyfordian's) fleets and allegedly coaches now need to be under five years of age.

Thames Travel

Several services are changing next month and it is good to see that full timetables are already on the website. It is a pity that all companies cannot do this so that plans can be made in advance. Of note is that most day time services on X39/X40 come up St Aldates and change into 104 or 106. Obviously makes staff changeovers easier with the staff returning to Wallingford from these latter two routes. 

Swindon from Tim Hall 

Three pictures for the page!

The first is Stagecoach Swindon 33930 on the 1115 hrs route 66 to Oxford leaving Swindon Bus Station. This is on loan whilst 33955 is having some work done on it at Cheltenham.

Second is 33946 recently acquired from Cheltenham to "update!!" the Dart fleet by a couple of years seen at the Swindon designer outlet village on route 8.


The third was a surprise, Optare tempo YJ07 VRG of Somerbus on loan to Andybus on route 31 to Malmesbury; sorry the destination did not come out.


My new web site is : http://timstours.shutterfly.com/ replaces fotopic

Wycombe Rail interchange takes shape by Gavin Francis.

The interchange is nearing completion and Gavin has provided a number of pictures to illustrate progress. The design of the passenger waiting area is classic in the case of the barge boards!

Fleet News 

Arriva logo

Pete Cabin 7/5/11 

Two transfers/loans to High Wycombe 3185 P185SRO and 3222 S316JUA and as this is not listed in the Arriva fleet list I am not sure where this bus has been recently. Earlier transfers/loans 3179 P179SRO and 3172 P672OPP are currently still operating in High Wycombe but 3172 has been reported being used in Aylesbury midweek.

Today 10/05/11. another two transfer/loans were operating, with the previous that I’ve mentioned, on service 33 - 3489 W489YGS and on service 32 - S309JUA, a transfer from Arriva London. I did not see one Scania in town today and I have heard through the grapevine that blue route 32 is to be completely low floor before the autumn. (Could this mean some new buses for the town or maybe it will be the Darts used on the U9 which has been lost in recent tender rounds by Arriva? Ed.)

S309JUA was recently operating in the Arriva Hemel area not Arriva London I was travelling on S309JUA today and she had advertising Hemel Hempstead time table changes. Also 3179 P179SRO has had its electronic destinations programmed to High Wycombe work now.

One of the transfers to Wycombe becomes permanent 3370 S309JUA which has had her destination screen programmed for the High Wycombe area. 

From Neil Gow 7/5/11

3248 disgraced itself today by breaking down in Maidenhead in the middle of the one-way system on the junction of Queen Street and High Street, making it impossible for other vehicles to pass. It was there for at least half an hour, causing traffic diversions and jams and preventing local buses from accessing the town centre stop. Well, it's a Volvo B6, what do you expect! There was some excitement at one stage when it appeared that a traffic warden was going to issue it with a parking ticket - shame I didn't have my camera.

The last picture above of 4515 shows a bus normally at Hemel and a regular on the 52/62 routes.
Pictures above by Gavin Francis

The first picture shows Olympian 5147 which still carries branding for the 5/6 at Hemel several years after its transfer to Wycombe.
It is very much in need of a coat of paint.
Pictures above by Malcolm Crowe


Gavin Francis has recorded the fact that two afternoon services on the 2 work through to Thame for school bus duties. This gives three services to Thame in a very short space of time when one adds the Line 40 to the Carousel services.

I am told that soon there will only be one bus to Thame and not two.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Pictures by Gavin Francis. 

Pete Cabin wrote on the 18th saying "an unusual single decker bus was parked up in the back row of carousals baker street bus park yesterday 17th may I couldn't work out what to make of this bus, but the reg is MP56BUS. It is a 2006 BMC 850 SLF HAWK 27 seater."

Pictures By Malcolm Crowe showing variety in the current Carousel fleet.


Gavin Francis records new Levantes for Edwards of South Wales (route 509) which he saw:- 





Two SGBC coaches were on hire to NEx for the A6 and were seen at Stansted on several days following May 11th.

Pictures by Gavin Francis

One of the very latest Volvo B9R/Levante coaches of NEx seen leaving Victoria Coach Station. Picture by M Crowe.

One of Parks Volvo B12R(T) coaches awaits departure time to Penzance. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

South Gloucestershire are much in evidence at Victoria and other parts of the NEx network.
Often hiring coaches to other contractors their coaches can be seen in many parts of the U.K.
Here a tri-axle runs round to departures for a service to West Country. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Not quite National Express but part of the empire, Kings Ferry can be seen in many areas.
A surprise last weekend was the appearance of three of their Mercedes Caetano coaches in Oxford on a Private Hire.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe. 

Matthew Kilburn writes "Further to your query concerning the Oxford Park and Ride livery single deckers, I saw two in full livery heading north on the A1(M) Doncaster by-pass on the afternoon of Wednesday 4 May. They might be being transferred within the Go-Ahead group, perhaps." (Indeed they were Matthew, they were 820 and 821 en route to their new home in the North East! Ed.)

Mike Bennett has sent several pictures and writes as follows:

The Park & Ride Hybrids meet the Botley Road bridge - by Mike Bennett

At the April meeting of the Oxford Bus Enthusiasts the discussion got around to the forthcoming entry into service of the new OBC Enviro400 Hybrids on the P&R routes. Someone mentioned that they were going to be slightly higher than other E400s. So what about getting under the bridge at the Railway Station ? (Well they can so no problem there. Ed.)

I was riding home towards Swindon on a Stagecoach Trident on Tuesday May 3rd when a Hybrid pulled out in front of us in Frideswide Square, and quite easily managed to pass under the bridge. Of course, I had put my camera away in my bag by this time so I missed the shot. However, on Thursday 5th we had another double-decker. This time I was on Trident 18180, and I had my camera ready in case a Hybrid should get in front again. To my surprise and delight, as we approached Frideswide Square OBC 308 was on the stop. Our driver let the bus out into the stream of traffic so I was able to get a photo this time - albeit not a very good view as the sun was causing a lot of flare on a very streaky front window. However, a lot can be done with a photo manipulation program to produce a usable view. As you may see, the clearance under the bridge is about 6".


Oxford Bus Company red Scanias are receiving new logos - by Mike Bennett

During my visits to Oxford in the last two weeks I have seen several of the OBC Scania/E400s with some logos that appear to be new. So far I have photographed eight buses with 4 different messages, but no doubt more are to come. I have seen 216,221,226, and 231 with vivacity, 223 and 228 with centricity, 217 with capacity, and 219 with elasticity, together with a route map for the company. Each bus seems to have the same message on both sides. 

Oxford Espress Survey

Oxford espress is our direct coach service that operates between Oxford and London. We want to make your journey as convenient, comfortable, and as satisfying as possible.

This survey is designed to give you the opportunity to give us your comments so that we can develop and improve our service. We greatly value our customer feedback, and would like to thank you for your time in completing this short survey.

Click on the link below to take the survey:


OBC Service Improvements from Sunday 8 May 2011

From Sunday 8th May, we will be making changes to improve the service and reliability provided on routes to Rose Hill, Wood Farm, Botley and to Abingdon & the JR Hospital.


city3A is a new service that will operate from Rose Hill to Oxford City Centre via Iffley Road. It replaces the city4 that currently serves Rose Hill from Abingdon, Cumnor and Botley.

Why has the route changed?

The revised route was due to come into effect with the implementation of the final phase of Transform Oxford. However, in anticipation of the forthcoming roadworks on the Iffley Road, the change has been bought forward to provide a more reliable service during the works on the Iffley Road.

Does this mean the same ticket can be used on both the city3A and the Stagecoach route 3?

No. The implementation of joint ticketing between the main bus operators in Oxford will come into effect with the final phase of Transform Oxford in the summer.

Going to the Station from Rose Hill or Iffley Road?

Smartcard holders can get to or from the Rail Station by simply changing to one of our city5 services anywhere in the City Centre. Passengers without smartcards can buy a Transfer Ticket from the driver and change to the city5 at Speedwell Street for the Station, or Queens Lane for Iffley Road or Rose Hill.

Travelling to Botley or Matthew Arnold School?

A city3B service will leave Rose Hill at 07:32 and operate through to Matthew Arnold School and Elms Rise via the City Centre, Rail Station and Elms Parade. A return service will leave Matthew Arnold School towards Rose Hill at 15:36. Monday to Friday only.

Click here for the new city3A timetable.


From Sunday 8th May, city4 will serve Wood Farm from Abingdon, Cumnor & Botley. This replaces the city15 that currently operates to Wood Farm.

How does this effect services to Wood Farm and the Churchill Hospital?

The revised city4 will provide an exclusive link between Oxford Rail Station and the Churchill Hospital. The frequency of services to and from Wood Farm will increase to every 10 minutes during weekdays.

How will services to Botley be affected?

The Monday to Saturday evening frequency to Botley will increase from 20 minutes to every 15 minutes. We are also increasing the Sunday daytime frequency to every 15 minutes. The Monday to Saturday daytime frequency will remain unchanged.

Click here for the new city4 timetable.


We will be making changes to the timetable for routes between Abingdon, Oxford City Centre and the John Radcliffe Hospital. This is to improve the reliability and service provided on the city13/X13/X3/23.

What’s changing?


There will be significant improvements to the services that operate to Oxford City Centre from Abingdon and Marston.

We will be increasing the weekday frequency between Abingdon and Oxford City Centre during peak times, with more buses leaving Abingdon between 07:00 and 09:30, and more buses returning to Abingdon from St Aldates between 16:00 and 18:30.

There will also be an increase in the morning peak frequency of weekday services between Marston and Oxford City Centre.

Service Numbers

cityX4 services from Abingdon to Oxford City Centre will be re-numbered cityX3, whilst cityX23 between the John Radcliffe Hospital and Redbridge park&ride will be re-numbered city23.

The current cityX23 service that operates between the John Radcliffe Hospital and Abingdon via Oxford Brookes University during morning and afternoon peaks will be re-numbered cityX13. All other cityX13 services will continue to operate via Marston Road. The route of the cityX13 will be indicated on the destination display e.g. via Brookes University or Marston Road.


city23 will no longer operate via Osler Road and will instead operate via Headley Way from the John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford Brookes University.

Click here for the new city13/X13/X3/23 timetable.

To download these changes and the revised routes in PDF format Click here.

Latest Oxford Bus fleet list


Enthusiast Update from the Company

27 April 2011

New Vehicles:

301-307 HY11 BRD, HB, HC, HD, HE, HF, HG11 OXF

ADL Enviro 400H ADL Enviro 400 H47/30F

The first of these buses (301-4) entered service today.

The balance will be 308-317 (HH, HJ, HK, HL, HM, HN, HO, HP, HR, HS, HY11 OXF).

Vehicles Withdrawn (4/11):

790/1 Returned to Brighton & Hove

820/1 to Go North East.

2 March 2011

900 returned to ADL ex loan (not used after 2/11)

800 was returned ex loan on 9/7/10

Enviro 400s in their various guises pass by the camera of Richard Sharman. 311 is the highest yet in service.

The Tridents are still much in evidence and appear to be even working the U1 which is not normal.
Pictures By Gavin Francis.

Variety on the Wood Farm route now renumbered 4 from 15 and extended to Abingdon. The Citaros seem to be rostered to this road.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Once the 4 to Rose Hill, this road is now 3A and work ed for the time being by the oldest buses in the fleet.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Two Hybrids meet in Bonn Square as Oxford's 306 passes Stagecoach's 12006. o6 twice and 3 twice for those who notice numbers!
Picture by Gavin Francis.


Red Line are now going to work the Sunday and evening services on the Line 40 from Stokenchurch and the first service was caught on camera by Gavin Francis.


Red Rose are still working varying services around Stokenchurch as caught by Gavin Francis.

One of my correspondents asked why the Darts were now appearing on the 7C when once they had been always on the 10.
I think this is because they are using the larger M A N s on the 100 these days.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

One of the larger M A N s in use on the S3 in place of the more normal Scania decker. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

About to depart to Wantage on the 31 at 06:25 from The high. This is a once a day working which returns as an X30 direct.
Pictured and driven by Malcolm Crowe. 

Mark Butler of Stagecoach East Midlands writes "We have 5 coaches on rail replacement work for East Midlands Trains & they are as follows:

52310 N 619 USS MegaBus Plus livery (Currently on loan to Hull depot)
52357 P 157 ASA East Midlands Trains livery
52381 P 181 PRH East Midlands Trains livery
52446 R 456 FCE MegaBus Plus livery
52622 S 902 CCD MegaBus livery.

We also undertake rail replacement work with other vehicles from within the fleet.

Recently we undertook rail replacement work on London St Pancras International to Luton via Luton Parkway. Vehicles used were 52446, 52622, 15653 & 15656.

The two double deck vehicles are leather seated Scania Enviro 400's in the purple Inter Connect 1 livery. We are undertaking rail replacement on the same line on Sunday 29th May 2011 & will be using the double deck leather seated vehicles again."


SC Megabus 53020 Elizabeth Bridge on May 8th by Gavin Francis


 John Hammond writes "Nothing new, but I was out and about and caught the following pictures of the Thames Travel fleet at work in South Oxon."

132 - ADL E200 - 110 passes through the bus station at Harwell Campus whilst heading to Chilton on the X32 service from Oxford.

133 - OU08 HGO passes between Rowstock & Harwell whilst on a 32 working.



STC Philip Brown is ‘stood down’ 

Senior Traffic Commissioner (STC) Philip Brown has been “stood down” from his duties, by Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond.

The move was made today (Wednesday) and the Department for Transport (DfT) says that a temporary Deputy STC will be appointed to carry out his duties.

Arrangements are also being made to cover his day-to-day work as South Eastern & Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner.

The DfT says that Philip Brown has been stood down on “medical grounds.” It will be making the Deputy appointment and arranging cover “as soon as possible.”

Philip Brown was appointed STC under the revised system in April 2009; this followed legislative changes in the 2008 Local Transport Act. He was one of a number of candidates who applied for the post, which he had held in its previous form.

He controversially hit the headlines in January when he made a policy document - without consulting the Traffic Commissioners (TC) or their Deputies - that meant they would report on a number of matters to the CEO of VOSA, as well as the Transport Secretary.

Fearing that their judicial independence would be compromised - by having the prosecution (VOSA) effectively acting as a boss - two TCs took a public stand by refusing to hold any more Public Inquiries until the matter was resolved.

Their position was supported by all the TCs, as well as trade bodies, which said that having independent TCs is a vital element of the O-Licensing regime, and they raised the matter with the Transport Secretary.

Stagecoach drives forward green awareness


Stagecoach Group is celebrating a year of environmental progress with the launch of its third annual Green Week on Monday (23 May).

The Perth-based transport group is driving forward awareness in the UK and North America with a range of initiatives designed to meet its environmental targets, as well as providing simple tips to help staff and customers become greener.

Stagecoach will use Green Week to demonstrate to staff and customers the green measures being taken across its businesses. The event will also be used to highlight the environmental – and financial - benefits of using public transport.

Throughout the week, green events will be held at a number of the company’s bus and rail operations. For customers, eco-friendly giveaways are being held at bus stations across the country, along with roadshows and cycle events at some train stations, and the launch of new environmental measures at several Stagecoach companies across the UK and North America. In addition, poster competitions and educational talks are taking place at a number of schools and in some areas Stagecoach companies are holding environmental awareness events in partnership with local councils.

There will also be the chance for people to win a year's free travel on their local bus network in the UK*.

Information on green issues will also be provided to Stagecoach employees throughout the week as well as advice on ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint both at work and at home. Staff will also have the chance to put forward their own green suggestions and many employees will take part in green activities such as car-share schemes, local litter-picks, green competitions and raffles, the proceeds of which will go to environmental charities.

Launching Green Week 2011, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Brian Souter said: “We’re proud of the steps we have taken so far to become a more sustainable business. Being a greener company is at the heart of what we do - and we have a number of exciting and innovative plans in place to build on our progress so far.

"Green Week is also important in helping make it easier for our staff and customers to make simple changes in their everyday lives to reduce their impact on our planet. As motorists face rising costs, it’s also a good chance for us to remind people of the time and money savings that can be made by using greener, smarter public transport.”

Stagecoach has launched a comprehensive sustainability strategy and is investing £11million in a range of measures to meet its environmental targets. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2 emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by April 2014. It follows a reduction in the carbon intensity of its UK businesses of 5.7% in the three years to 30 April 2009.

It is estimated the five-year programme, from 2009-10 to 2013-14, will save a total of nearly 150,000 tonnes of CO2e, with the Group’s annual emissions reduced by around 40,000 tonnes CO2e by April 2014.

Last year, Stagecoach Group became the first Scottish-based transport group to be awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. The company already reports annually on its carbon emissions and discloses its global carbon footprint to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Each year, Stagecoach launches a search for its Green Champion – an employee who has done most to champion greener working practices and sustainability. The 2011 Stagecoach Green Champion title – and £1000 cash prize – was awarded to Stagecoach North East Marketing Manager Jodine Milne who was the driving force behind the local bus company’s energy-saving and carbon reduction initiatives, engaging employees through local eco-teams.

In the 12months since its 2010 Green Week, Stagecoach has implemented a number of successful initiatives designed to reduce the impact of its businesses on the environment. These include:

UK Bus

Stagecoach recently announced a multi-million-pound investment in a hi-tech eco-driving system, by Green Road, which is expected to reduce fuel consumption at its bus division by 4%. The scheme also offers employees the chance to earn “green points” that are converted into financial benefits from a potential £900,000 annual bonus pot.

The company is leading the way on investing in greener vehicles and has placed orders for 142 hybrid electric buses in the past year which deliver a 30% reduction in carbon emissions compared to standard vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles are already in operation in Oxford and Manchester and more will be introduced across the UK within the next 12 months.

At its UK Bus division, Stagecoach has also recently installed a new ‘intelligent’ lighting system – which uses movement sensors to determine the amount of light required - at six depots across the UK. Based on previous trials, it is expected that the system could reduce the energy consumption used on lighting at the six depots by around 40%. This would produce an annual saving of more than 373,000kilowatts per hour (KWh) and save almost 230 tonnes of CO2 over the course of a year.

The company has also started issuing bus drivers across the UK with fleece jackets made from recycled plastic bottles – a project which could save around 350,000 plastic bottles being disposed of in landfill sites**.

UK Rail
At South West Trains, the company is investing £2.2 million in a major regenerative braking project to save energy on more than 200 of its trains. The technology returns electricity to the third rail system, allowing trains in close proximity to draw on the electrical supply. The initiative is conservatively expected to save enough energy to power more than 3,500 UK homes for an entire year.
In addition, six South West Trains stations have become the first on the UK rail network to install ‘intelligent’ lighting, which automatically adjusts depending on the amount of natural light available. This is expected to deliver a 60% energy saving. The company has also introduced a new on-train energy meter which could cut energy consumption on trains by up to 10% per year.

At East Midlands Trains, the introduction of an innovative fuel additive – the first of its kind in the UK - has demonstrated a 4.4% improvement in fuel economy. In addition, East Midlands Trains recently launched an innovative energy-saving engine standby mode which could reduce enough carbon to take the equivalent of 705 cars a year off the road***. The technology means that when a train is stood still within a station for more than seven minutes, it will automatically go into Energy Saving Mode which shuts down virtually all the engines, thereby reducing carbon emissions. East Midlands Trains has also introduced energy wardens and greener driver training measures as part of its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Light Rail

A number of green measures have been taken at Manchester Metrolink, including the installation of motion sensitive lights at several locations and the launch of an aerosol recycling facility which has been set up in workshops. Stagecoach Supertram is also investing in greener lighting in offices and workshops which will reduce energy consumption, costs and maintenance.

North America

As well as on-going fuel efficiency measures in North America and Canada, in the past 12months, Coach USA has introduced new energy efficient hand-drivers in lavatories which deliver savings of 80% compared to standard driers. The company has also invested in new water coolers which remove the need for bottles and thereby reduce landfill waste and save money. In Canada, energy saving lighting has been introduced and the company has put in place schemes to recycle oil filters and aerosol cans.


John Hammond writes "Over the weekend of 7/8 May, Arriva the Shires were on TfL rail replacement work on the Metropolitan line between Northwood and Chesham, Watford & Moor Park via three different routes."

118 - Resources hired in from Sullivan Buses included W466 BCW, a Volvo B7 seen here at Northwood with two Arriva London DAFs.

121 - My bus for the duty was Aylesbury's 280 branded E400 SN58 EOO and it is seen here with me at the wheel at Chesham station.

122 - KN52 NDU of T.G.M also providing extra capacity on the service, seen here at Northwood

126 - An Arriva London DAF at Northwood

127 - Arriva the Shires Dart V289 HBH at Northwood.

Blackpool by Geoff Cunliffe

When the traditional Blackpool trams started their 2011 season on Good Friday, it was on a very reduced length of track as infrastructure maintenance and upgrading was far from complete. We were promised that lengths would be progressively opened as work was completed, and yesterday, Friday 6th. May, the next section was opened. Trams now run from the Pleasure Beach to the Cabin. Work is not fully complete on the section north of Talbot Square and much of the area is actually fenced off to pedestrians and cars are currently running although observing a restricted number of stops.

I attach a couple of photographs for you, as double decker 762 approaches the Metropole Hotel heading south, and Centenary car 647 also heads south, passing the Hilton Hotel on a stormy looking evening with menacing clouds out to sea. Shortly afterwards, we did indeed have thunder and lightening – a good test for the new equipment and its insulation effectiveness. Both pictures show the cars running within fenced off sections of track.

Incidentally, I can confirm that the track behind the Metropole hotel has now been realigned so cars run alongside the rear of the building with road traffic now separated completely, removing a dangerous and confusing road layout which visiting drivers found difficult.

Also, on Friday 29th April 2011, I went to the Inaugural Meeting of the Fylde Tramway Society’s Annual Convention which was a talk by Tony Stevenson about the new tram depot, currently nearing completion at Starr Gate. Not many new tram depots are being built in Britain these days so I thought the following may be of interest.

The multi-million pound depot has been built pretty well on schedule in just over a year, working to a 5-day week as agreed with the local residents, and has been an accident free site. It has been a very modern site, with the latest measuring and construction technologies being employed. Nobody carried anything – there was always trucks available, and nobody climbed ladders – there were self powered lifting cradle trucks.

As a depot, it has seven storage roads, each holding two sets of cars and three maintenance roads. Between the two sections are the two storey offices which, on the initial contract, have been left bare.

It has a complex system of circuit isolators and safety interlocks and the overhead system features frogs to allow the use of heritage cars with trolleys. The Blackpool Transport Engineering car was leant, together with a driver, to help erect the overhead.

Whilst the turning loop has been reinstated, it is not used for service cars but to access the washer and the depot fan which can also be accessed from the north end. There are large sunken water tanks and a labyrinth of cable ducts. Masses of ready mixed concrete has been used in the contract making it essential that the area is future proofed as far as possible. There is, for instance, a set of points incorporated to access the proposed heritage storage shed.

Tram movements around the area are controlled by traffic lights and the trackwork incorporates facilities such as a head shunt and double crossovers on the approach, one facing and one trailing. The only tie-bars on the trackwork are at points.

It is a high tech building featuring super heat insulation, a rain water collection system on the roof to feed the tramcar washing system and a one million pound wheel profiling machine which., it is hoped, will be used commercially to generate income. How often do you have to re-profile wheels (or tyres)? Perhaps I should have asked.

There are subtle little features such as an exit chute on the seaside to drop swarf from the wheel profiling machine into a skip immediately outside, and a small door on the south end to allow bogies to be pushed out for steam cleaning in the open.

Doors are electrically operated and are mirrored glass so you can see out but not see in!

There is no provision at this stage for a paint shop. Will the work be done at Rigby Road or will a facility be developed? It won’t be long before someone scratches one, and what about all the vinyls which will soon appear, either advertising or giving route details?

Already the building has been invaded by pigeons and a hawk has been employed to remove them! Starlings also flock to it and settle on the blue waves decorations, but they seem to be tolerated,- at this stage.

Security on the site is strict – there is a strong fence around it with digital locks on the access gates. The site is also monitored by CCTV. If you thought Rigby Road was hard to get in to …. Besides keeping out the casual visitors, it should be remembered that there are many expensive toys on the site.

All in all, it is a splendid home for the fleet of sixteen new Bombardier trams, the first of which will arrive for evaluation this summer.


Malta by Ian Brown, Hemel Hempstead.

"Malcolm, well done on latest issue. I noted that it was particularly strong on Malta goings-on. I might well have told you that I spend part of my life in Malta. I have just returned and enclose some up-to-date pix. When I was there over Easter, a ship arrived in Valletta with 172 King Longs on board. It was widely published in the Times of Malta and the buses were given a police escort to their new base. Talking of which, I eventually found a - temporary I suspect - base located in a yard behind the main KIA dealer on Qormi (in the centre of the island). To see these vehicles, you only need to drive or walk down the side of the KIA building. Before Easter, there was just one King Long in Arriva livery and one bendy in Arriva livery plus about half a dozen older King Longs in there former Malta bus yellow. All of them being used for driver and route training. I noted a few times that driver training runs were being held in various parts of the island and it was good to see the instructor smartly dressed and wearing a yellow tabard, as was the learner driver. Buses have green L plates affixed to the windows. One very unusual sight - possibly unique in the history of Malta`s buses - was that of a lady trainee driver driver. In Malta`s male dominated society, you would have never seen a female driving a bus, coach, lorry or delivery van ! However, I regularly fly to and from Malta on Air Malta and one of the two pilots was a female. There were the usual sarcastic comments from passengers. "I wonder if she knows how to park this thing".

Two giant street notices, a King Long on driver training, a bendy on training.
Pictures by Ian Brown

Changes to services

The latest service updates have been uploaded on the Intalink website. This can be accessed via the link below.

Hertfordshire service updates 

Harlow services 

The changes in the area comprise these:

Monday 16th May: Lea Valley Buses 255 becomes a standard Mon-Sat x30min service from Loughton (no longer from Debden) to WX, and extended to Brookfield Centre, while the 555 is retimed - still hourly - to do a standard route via the Debden/ Loughton loop, then via Upshire, W/Abbey, Nazeing X Rds to Harlow. No longer doing any double runs to WX, nor doing the the Saturday variation via Ninefields South (except the last two evening jnys back to the garage at Debden).

Monday 23rd May: Centrebus 324 and C3X withdrawn. The C3 is withdrawn Epping-WX and becomes a Mon-Sat x20min service from Holdcroft via WX and Cheshunt to Hoddesdon, then it splits into three - one bph to Hertford (repl 324), one bph via Hunsdon to Harlow (as now) abd one bph direct on A414 to Harlow (repl C3X).

Monday 6th June: The SM 323 will stay as it is in M-F peaks in Broxbourne/ Hoddesdon, but the bus will now be used 'between peaks' between Hoddesdon and Harlow. Dont know yet about the 381 but I believe it to be just 'positioning jnys' off 19/20/21.

Monday 13th June: Most Network Harlow routes change with assorted swops on bits of route. TGM 505 cut back from Mark Hall to Bus Stn, 333 withdrawn altogether. Roadrunner 392 withdrawn (now virtually covered by 555 through Nazeing, but that's about all).

Monday 27th June: The Olympus 511 is a new Mon-Sat service every 20mins Harlow- BS doing a loop around Thorley Park/ Bishops Park/ Town Centre. The 808, currently a school bus only, will also run between peaks on a loop at BS around Parsonage Estate. These replace (rather more than exactly) the 333. 

Changes to bus services in High Wycombe 

On the 15th May bus services operated by Arriva will be changing. The changes are as a result of the reduction in funding from the local authority following the government spending review. They also reflect the current usage levels and the increased costs of operating some services especially with the rising cost of fuel.

Due to the two bank holiday weekends and some late decisions on the contracted journeys, the timetables have been delayed in production. We hope to have them available as soon as possible, in the meantime, all the information and the new timetables is on the website and is available by selecting the service number of town in the box on the right.

Service 31
High Wycombe – Penn and Downley
• No change to Mon-Sat daytime services
• Revised evening service with last buses:
to Penn is at 2115
to Hazlemere & Rose Ave is at 2215
to Downley is at 2210
One journey also extends to Great Missenden, Mon-Sat
• Revised Sunday service with last bus to Penn at 1920 and last bus to Downley at 1913

Service 32
Micklefield – Bus Station – Sands – Booker – Lane End
• No change to Mon-Sat daytime services
• Revised evening service with last buses:
to Micklefield at 2305
to Lane End at 2145
to Booker at 2345
• Revised Sunday service with last bus to Micklefield at 2010 and to Booker at 2050

Service 33 & 34
Totteridge – Bowerdean – High Wycombe – Castlefield
• No change to Mon-Sat daytime services
• Revised evening services with last buses:
to Totteridge at 2245
to Castlefield at 2320
• Revised Sunday service with last buses:
to Totteridge at 1740
to Castlefield at 1813
A later journey on service 52, operated by Redline, will operate to Tyzak Road at 1825
• Evenings and Sunday services will be diverted by Hollis Road to and from Totteridge
• Service 34 is withdrawn and evening and Sunday service to St Hugh's Avenue is provided by service 32

Service 35
High Wycombe – Flackwell Heath – Bourne End
• Revised timetable with last buses on Mon-Sat at 2250 to Bourne End and 2324 from Bourne End.
• Revised Sunday service with last buses to Bourne End at 2015 and from Bourne End at 2049

Service 37
High Wycombe – Loudwater – Wooburn Green – Bourne End – Cookham – Maidenhead
• First journey on Mon-Sat withdrawn between Bourne End and Maidenhead and Maidenhead and Bourne End
• Other minor timetable adjustments before 0800 Mon-Fri and before 0930 on Saturdays

Service 38
Bus Station – Deeds Grove – Shelley Road
• No change to service

Service 39
Downley – Wycombe – Hicks Farm
• No change to service

Service 40
High Wycombe – Stokenchurch – Chinnor – Thame
• No change to Mon-Sat daytime timetable
• Revised evening services with journeys from High Wycombe at 1840 and 1940
• Last bus operates as a 31 departing at 2215 from High Wycombe
• Revised Sunday service will be operated by Redline services as 340
• Further route and timetable changes on 6th June, more details to follow

Service 41
Earlybird service – Hazlemere – Bowerdean – Downley
• Revised route and timetable, no longer serves Holmer Green and Lane End

Service 42
Earlybird service – Flackwell Heath and Bourne End
• Revised route and timetable, second journey will not serve Wooburn Green and Bourne End

Services 45 & 46
High Wycombe – Terriers – Hazlemere – Cryers Hill – Widmer End – Great Kingshill – Prestwood – Great Missenden
• Journey at 0901 from Great Missenden to High Wycombe is withdrawn
• Journey at 1455 from High Wycombe to Great Missenden is withdrawn
• Rest of Mon-Sat timetable remains unchanged
• Revised evening services with last buses at 2025 and 2215 (service 31) from High Wycombe and at 2056 and 2256 from Great Missenden
• Revised Sunday service operated by Redline

Service 52
High Wycombe – Hazlemere – Holmer Green – Amersham – Chesham – Bovingdon – Hemel Hempstead
• No change to service

Service 62
High Wycombe – Hazlemere – Holmer Green – Amersham – Chesham – Berkhamsted - Northchurch
• The following journeys are withdrawn on School days:
0745 journey from Old Amersham – Berkhamsted
1552 journey from Amersham School to Northchurch
1640 Northchurch – High Wycombe

Service 74
High Wycombe – Loudwater – Beaconsfield – Slough
• No changes to Mon-Fri timetable
• Saturday service at 0927 from Beaconsfield to High Wycombe is withdrawn

Service 300
Aylesbury – Princes Risborough – High Wycombe
• Minor timetable changes across service
• Revised evening timetable with a new later journey from High Wycombe at 2330 which runs via Saunderton and not Naphill and Lacey Green
• Saturday journey at 0708 from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury withdrawn
• Revised Sunday timetable which will no longer serve Butlers Cross, last bus from Aylesbury is at 2000 and from High Wycombe at 2100 service will operate hourly with connections to Milton Keynes.
• Onward travel connection without changing buses at Aylesbury to Milton Keynes on service Line 100/150

Service 306
Bus Station – Totteridge Drive
• No change to service

Service 333/334
High Wycombe – Speen – Bryants Bottom
• No change to service

Service 340
High Wycombe – Lane End – Stokenchurch
• New Sunday service with some journeys renumbered Line 40 operated by Redline
• From 6th June minor changes to service with some trips extending to Thame

Service 353
Amersham – The Chalfonts – Slough
• No change to Mon-Fri service
• Saturday service reduced to operate every two hours

Services 800 & 850
High Wycombe – Marlow – Henley – Reading
• First Mon-Fri journey withdrawn and second journey runs 10 minutes earlier throughout. No other changes to daytime services.
Reading terminus moved to Friar Street East in Reading town centre on 18th April
• Revised evening service with last bus from Henley to High Wycombe at 2249
• Revised Sunday service with last bus from High Wycombe to Henley at 2115 and from Henley to High Wycombe at 2202

For details of other operator services please visit the Transport for Buckinghamshire website by clicking here 

On the 15th May there were changes to bus services across Aylesbury and the surrounding areas

Some changes are to improve reliability, better reflect current usage levels, others are changing as the result of Bucks CC review of contracted services followng the goverenment spending review. Where the operator is not Arriva, please visit the Transport for Buckinghamshire website for more details by clicking here

For Arriva services, all timetables are now on the website and can be accessed by searching for the route number of by selecting Aylesbury as the town in the boxes on the right.

Due to the two bank holiday weekends, the delivery of timetables has been delayed and booklets should be available week commencing 9th May 2011.

What's Changing?
Where a service is not listed it means there is no change to the current timetable

Silver Rider - Aylesbury > Fairford Leys
Service provided by Z & S International & 01296 415468
Revisions to evening service...
• Last bus from Aylesbury, 2018 Monday-Friday, 2000 Saturday.
• Last bus from Fairford Leys, 2002 Monday-Friday, 1946 Saturday.

Blue Route 2 - Aylesbury > Haydon Hill
• All journeys to Edison Road withdrawn altering times at the peak.
• New evening timetable: every 30 minutes to Haydon Hill, every 60 minutes to Aylesbury.
• Sunday service withdrawn, see route 5

Route 5 - Aylesbury > Broadfields > Haydon Hill
Service provided by Star Travel & 01296 715786
Revisions to service...
• Introduction of two later journeys on Sunday

Red Route 9 - Bedgrove > Aylesbury > Stoke Mandeville Hospital
• Evening service to Stoke Mandeville: revised to run a circular route returning to town via Mandeville Road.
• Evening service to Bedgrove replaced by a diverted journey on service 61.
• Sunday: Revised to run every 30 minutes between Walton Court, Hawkslade and Aylesbury. See Line 300 for Aylesbury – Stoke
Mandeville Hospital.

Line 50 - RAF Halton > Wendover > Aylesbury
Service provided by Arriva and Redline Buses & 01296 426786
Revisions to service...
• Minor timing changes throughout the day.
• Last journey Monday-Friday from Aylesbury will continue to Tring and Ivinghoe replacing service 61.
• Last journey Monday-Friday from RAF Halton is withdrawn
• Saturday: First journey to Aylesbury now extended to start from Ivinghoe and Tring replaces service 61.
• Sunday: Introduction of 3 return journeys between Ivinghoe, Wendover and Aylesbury partially replacing service 161. Arriva tickets will be accepted on this service which is operated by Redline Buses.

Line 60 - Aylesbury > Winslow > Buckingham
Service provided by Arriva and Redline Buses & 01296 426786
Revisions to service...
• Monday-Saturday: Withdrawn from Watermead, except for one return peak journey to Buckingham and the first bus on a Saturday. Therefore re-timed throughout the day.
• Sunday: Reduced to four return journeys, no longer calling at Stoke Mandeville. See Line 300 for Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Arriva tickets will be accepted on this service which is operated by Redline Buses.

Route 61 - Aylesbury > Tring > Ivinghoe > Luton
Revisions to service...
• Monday-Friday: 1815 Aylesbury-Ivinghoe withdrawn but replaced by Line 50.
• Monday-Saturday: 1940 from Aylesbury diverts to serve Bedgrove.
• Monday-Friday: 1900 from Luton withdrawn from Eaton Bray and Edlesborough
• Saturday: early journeys between Aylesbury and Edlesborough withdrawn but partially replaced by Line 50.
• Saturday: Some re-timing and re-routing to evening journeys as some journeys no linger server Edlesborough and Eaton Bray.

Line 100/150 - Aylesbury > Wing > Milton Keynes
Revisions to service...
• Re-routed in Aylesbury town to run via Vale Park Drive and Park Street instead of High Street and Cambridge Road.
• Monday-Friday: 1910 to Leighton Buzzard is withdrawn.
• Sunday: Increased to every 2 hours and now follows the same direct route as line 150 on weekdays, running fast from Heath and Reach to Central Milton Keynes.
• Onward travel without changing buses now available at Aylesbury to High Wycombe on Line 300.

Route 160 - Aylesbury > Bicester
Revisions to service...
• Service withdrawn. See route 16 for other connections to Bicester.

This service was one provided to give connection to Bicester Village. It was normally operated by the a Citaro from Line 300. Ed.

Route 161 - Aylesbury > Wendover
Service provided by Red Rose Travel & 01296 747926
Revisions to service...
• Service withdrawn, but partially replaced by the new Sunday 50 journeys which run between Aylesbury and Ivinghoe only.

Line 280 - Aylesbury > Haddenham > Thame > Oxford
Revisions to service...
2245 Aylesbury – Thame is withdrawn.

Line 300 - Aylesbury > Princes Risborough > High Wycombe
Revisions to service...
• Monday-Sunday: Timing changes throughout the day.
• Evenings: Revised timetable with new later journey from High Wycombe at 2330.
• Saturdays: 0708 from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury withdrawn.
• Sundays: Revised timetable and withdrawn from Butlers Cross. Last two round trips withdrawn.
• Onward travel without changing buses now available at Aylesbury to High Wycombe on Line 300.

Bedford changes by Gary Seamarks

Route P1 Bedford-Northampton will be renumbered 40 from 22/05, and diverted via Olney on all journeys, basically hourly Mon-Sat daytime and three trips on Sunday

New Route 41 Bedford-Milton Keynes, via Bromham-Newport Pagnall-Coachway. Basically hourly Mon-Sat daytime and three trips on Sunday. This takes over from Arriva 1 between Newport and Bedford and is also diverted via Coachway. This provides a stopping service on the X5 section between Bedford and Coachway.

Five vehicles are needed for the service and interwork at Bedford with Northampton's ad xx.15 and MK at xx.45.

21160-6 R120-6HNK B10BLE-Wright B48F are the vehicles brought in for the service from The Fens.

Also recently arrived in Bedford are former Viscount 18411-6 .

Former 16175 16214/6-8 also from the Fens with 34440-2 moving in the opposite direction

New vehicles expected are Enviros 19888-92 for Bedford Towns these will be the first new deckers for Bedford since 16215-8 R565-8DRP in Jan 98, of which 16216-8 have just returned home. 16215 was written off a few years back.

A new Volvo coach 53618 to replace written off 53614 on the X5 Oxford-Cambridge service.

All of these will be registered in Cambridge as opposed to Northampton.

17694-7 X704-7 JVV Trident Plaxton H49/29F are also rumoured to be coming down from Kettering, to add to 17691-3 that arrived last autumn.

Withdrawn are 16671/2/5/7/80 L671HNV etc, but what else is to go remains to be seen, With 19 Olympians left, 5 of which are in Schoolbus livery and 8 having just arrived from Cambus group.

The former Park and Ride Darts, 33181-4 look like they are now owned, they were Council owned when they arrived, as they have appeared on other routes now they are in fleet colours. The influx of Tridents has seem Bedford Town route 1 with double deck operation now it no longer has a low bridge on the route and some Hitchin and Biggleswade as well. The Luton remains Olympian worked in the main.

Grant Palmer of Dunstable has taken 3 ex Manchester/Kenya Dragons for school college workings they are M683/5/9 TDB all are in full livery minus fleet names.

Milton Keynes has major service changes on its council website effecting nearly all routes into the town. Looks like Arriva will no longer go to Northampton or Bedford.

Dawson Rentals have a secure storage yard near Cranfield Airport, which has various Low Floor buses parked up including Tridents Darts and Artics, no more details as the yards are locked and security fenced, but would estimate over 30 bendis, and about the same for Tridents and a dozen or so Darts were visible.

Red Kite Tilsworth has former Swindon G103 AAD on loan from Ensign covering for V150 MEV a former East London trident that's gone back to Ensign for attention.


Glenn Knight in Cyprus

I have had a 7 day visit to Cyprus with some interesting finds

WLT 581 Routemaster RM581 in Ayia Napa

KWU 714 Optare Alero ex-Arriva Aylesbury

MAN MCV eVolutions selection

TKWE 384 DAF Optare Spectra ex-City Sightseeing Windsor/TKWE 384 (ex-K703 BBL) DAF DB250 Optare Spectra Ex- Reading Buses 703

A few days visit to Cornwall & Devon by Glenn Knight:

Western Greyhound:

WK51 CAB ex-R4 OXF seen in Newquay Bus Stn, ex Oxford Bus Co.

BU53 ZWZ 207 ex- Worths of Enstone

PL06 TFX 914 ex- Centrebus of Luton

Parks of Hamilton

HSK 646 Volvo Plaxton Elite seen in Penzance on service 500 to London

Gary Seamarks in Hong Kong

Gary Seamarks recently visited Hong Kong and has sent a number of interesting pictures which may wet the appetite of some of you to visit this supper place!



Bob Telfer writes "I've picked up your email address from the Oxford and Chiltern Bus Page, and I wonder if you can help me?

One of my transport interests is the old Stratford Blue bus company and I did some research into the history of the 150/X20 service between Stratford and Birmingham. This indirectly spawned the X50 to Oxford and I'm trying to trace an article which I recall reading ten or more years ago about the operation of Chipping Norton garage, which I'm sure had something to say on the subject of how the X50 was operated. I seem to recall it was written by a driver. I'd like to find it but I just cannot remember where I saw it! Does it ring any bells with you? If you could suggest where I might find it I'd be extremely grateful (I'm pretty sure it was printed rather than on-line).

Sorry to trouble you with this obscure request!"