Spottings & Jottings
Issue nr 54 - January 27th 2012
If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will
advise of any mid-week news please let me know
As it is already 27 days into 2012 it does seem late to wish everyone a happy New Year but I will do so anyway. I hope it brings all that you would wish.
I am entering another year having just had my birthday and am looking forward to a most interesting year which with the Olympics now only months away should bring a lot of interest for our enthusiasms. Certainly the operators are gearing up for the mammoth task of handling the significant increase in passenger loadings and in some cases the provision of drivers and vehicles for specific Olympic duties.
the launch of Gold Buses by Stagecoach on routes S5 and 66 which both serve Oxford.
all the new coaches for the Airline services run by Oxford Bus have been delivered an d many of the older coaches sent to Plaxtons for refurbishment prior to entering service on the London services.
three ex Brighton & Hove Tridents have entered service with Thames Travel.
Carousel have received three new Mercedes-Benz OC500U/MCV C124RLE Evolution vehicles for the A30/A40/740 services.
the Red Rose 275 route from High Wycombe to Oxford has re-routed via Chinnor and Bledlow Ridge from early January.
McLeans of Witney have ceased trading.
Two revised services are being operated by National Express through Oxford and Manchester is once again served direct for the first time in many years.
Preparations are now starting for the Olympics which will place great demands on operators. TfL asked for an Oxford Tube Astromega to make some trial runs around London in connection with accessibility for the Olympic Route Networks and 50226 was placed at their disposal with your Editor as the driver. It was an interesting few hours!
You will find a lot to interest you in this issue and one item of interest is the planned publication of my book on the history of Oxford Tube which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on March 7th. The book will be launched at The Oxford Bus Museum on Sunday March 11th and I hope many of you will come along and join me for that event.
Now on to the main business of the page.
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 for members per meeting depending on numbers. For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.
21st Feb A talk by John Burch, deputy operations
director of the
Confederation of Passenger Transport.
"C.P.T. I’ve heard of them but what do they do? " It will feature background on his career in the bus/coach industry as well as a look at the work of the C.P.T.
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
Upcoming Meetings from March 2012
· 20th March Bristol Omnibus “the green years” – by Mike Walker
17th April Society
· 15th May Working on the buses – by Martin Roberts
· 19th June Clydeside Scottish ‘we tried to run a bus company’ – by George Watson
· 17th July Evening Outing, details TBC
A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.
The level of contribution to this page by readers remains excellent! Thank you all.
Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - January 27th 2012
Observations and pictures
Richard Sharman writes
"Seen having just operated Service 806, a journey of an hour and a half
Sunday S5 Service operated by a new Gold E400, note the new Generic
service branding, ie Serving Towns & Villages to Oxford rather than the normal route branding.
Service changes in the Newbury area during December and the demise of
Steventon Transport Services have resulted in Stagecoach in Hampshire
gaining more work in the town.
Ex Oxford Dart on what used to be a jointly operated service with
Newbury Buses between Newbury and Basingstoke.
SWT Rail Replacement between Reading-Wokingham included a number of
Driver Trainers, ex Oxford VO's and SWT Liveried VO's
Whilst Richard was in Reading he took a number of interesting pictures of
local bus operation.
Whilst Richard was in Reading he took a number of interesting pictures of local bus operation.
Stephen Le Bras
"I managed to
climb on board with some friends and even shook hands with the mayor,
although he probably wondered who I was. There were plenty of bystanders and
thus photographs were difficult but patience paid off as they had to move it
at some point and I did get a chance to take some pictures of the exterior. "
Bus comes from Surrey Connect which are part of Rotala and was used on a small operation based around Gatwick.
MB52 has also not been seen for months, so I presume this is off long term. Also seemingly off are DMS14 and VWL236.
A great sight again yesterday was M758 on Route 1 heading into Wycombe.
As for Arriva, seems like they have more vehicles at Wycombe, recently noted in the last few days is 5146, and in the run up to Christmas, Scania's 3195 and 3199 arrived, although I have only seen 3195 in service, 3199 seems to only be used on Staff Bus duties. Since the end of the U9 TFL contract, all of the red Darts are in use mainly on the 32 and 33 routes. Also prior to Christmas I noted one of the F reg Alexander Olympians in use on Route 32. Apologies I can't remember the number.
Final arrivals also before Christmas are Darts P193 LKJ and P206 LKJ both in Interurban livery. 3217 has also been repainted into the current style. With all these arrivals I am not sure what has gone, as two of the Volvo B10B's 3850 and 3851 remain in use on the 800/850. Although I don't recall seeing any of the Alexander ALX bodied Volvo B10BLE's this week.
The long resident Plaxton Prestige DAF in the withdrawn line at Cressex was towed away on Monday morning. Of the former U9 darts, three are now back in service in Wycombe in normal Arriva colours, 3482, 3838 and 3839."
Unusual workings seen on ARRIVA route280 were Scania 3196 and Citaro 3919 with OXFORD BUS 81 at Gloucester Green. This has been down seated to 44!
STAGECOACH route 66 provided 22621and22623. Oxford's Gold livered 15754 was on S5 and I only saw one new bus on this route.
Scania 15433 was on local route 3.
Only old TRIDENTS seen. OXFORD 105 on 4A. 106 on X2 with SC 18398 on X30, 18198 on S3 and 18399 on S5."
(This was an interesting day to visit Oxford as by the following Monday
SC Tridents 18198 and 18399 along with sister buses 18199 and 13198 were
withdrawn pending transfer to Leamington. They had been replaced by Gold
(This was an interesting day to visit Oxford as by the following Monday SC Tridents 18198 and 18399 along with sister buses 18199 and 13198 were withdrawn pending transfer to Leamington. They had been replaced by Gold Scanias. Ed.)
Arriva extend the 55 by Mick Payne
Just a note to
say that following the demise of Tiger Line, Arriva route 55 is to be
extended to Chesham from 3 January.
Put on last
Autumn with NHS support as a means of getting staff from Stoke Mandeville to
Amersham hospitals, I gather Bucks CC has come up with the necessary for the
It means that
it will still be possible to go by bus from Aylesbury to Chesham albeit by a
longer route via Amersham.
It would be
good if Arriva/Bucks CC could be persuaded to include route 55 on bus stops
and roadside timetables.
The T1 never got much in the way of such acknowledgment which made me wonder if people even knew it existed.
Previously Stuart had reported
(I also saw this bus on January 25th on the staff shuttle in Wycombe. Ed.)
Previously Stuart had reportedan update that Scania 3195 seems to have gone again from High Wycombe but sister 3199 is still running around, mainly as a shuttle from the Bus Station to the depot, although I have seen it once on the H1 service.
(I also saw this bus on January 25th on the staff shuttle in Wycombe. Ed.)
A report from Pete Cabin notes as follows:
A report from Pete Cabin notes as follows:
High Wycombe December 15th - Dart 3217 S217XPP has been repainted in inter urban livery and two imports were also in town 3193 P193LKJ and 3206 P206LKJ. These buses are from Arriva Southern Counties. 3206 worked the H1 and 3193 worked the 74 to Slough. For me there is some mystery on their allocated fleet numbers as originally 3206 was R206GMJ 3193 was R193RBM unless I read them incorrectly.
(Both 3193 and 3206 Arriva SC were based at Maidstone. Ed.)
(Both 3193 and 3206 Arriva SC were based at Maidstone. Ed.)
On December 22nd Peter notes
On December 22nd Peter notes "return of the Scania to High Wycombe with 3195 - R195RBM and 3199 - R199RBM, probably on short term loan."
Peter further noted at the Arriva depot at Cressex was Arriva Southern Counties Dart 3181 - P181LKL and in the back row now is 3852 - R372TWR with an unusual visitor, Arriva Technical Training vehicle L509CPJ. - (a Dart/East Lancs once a stalwart of the Staines services Ed.)
"The ex U9
buses are fast being repainted into Arriva inter colours with 3839 -
KE53NFC shown in the picture below."
shown in the picture below."
3839KE53NFC has received an electronic destination board.
I was very surprised to see Dart 3193 (P193 LKJ) in Wycombe bus station December 16th on a local service. Surprised because I didn't recognise the registration number. Further investigation has shown me that this is actually from Arriva Southern Counties and it's their fleet number. I guess it will keep that number as the original 3193 is from the batch of Scanias now being withdrawn (though reported as still in service in Luton on your latest S & J!).
By total coincidence, also in the bus station was one of those Scanias. It was either 3195 or 3197 - I didn't write the number down, and my memory being what it is....! Anyway, this was on the 45 to Missenden. As Wycombe's five examples from that batch have already been withdrawn (or in the case of 3201, now in Hemel), I imagine it has been brought in as a loan. There were a number of buses "off the road" according to the list in the bus station.
Volvo 3852 has joined 3849 parked up at Cressex, withdrawn. This just leaves 3850 and 3851 from this batch still running, and one of these was in the "off road" list. I think these are the only non low floor single deckers left in Wycombe - apart from the Scania mentioned above.
Also I note from the latest "Buses" that Olympian 5831 (G231 VWL) ex Oxford Bus and Wycombe Bus and latterly in Luton, has passed to Woottens (where it will have joined many other ex Oxford Olympians).
Finally, just to thank you again for your work for us addicts week by week. It's much appreciated!
Further to the above note, another Arriva Southern Counties Dart was at the Cressex depot today (Sun 18th). It was 3181 (P181 LKL). Now, this gives The Shires a problem - They already have a 3181... and it is based at Wycombe! It is also a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dart!
Slightly newer Dart 3217(S217 XPP) has been repainted into Interurban livery - about time too, it was looking quite scruffy. That and 3216 (not yet repainted) still had partial branding for a Hemel route, some four years since transferring to HW!
Another Dart now working in Wycombe is P206 LKJ which is Arriva Southern Counties 3206.
The different buses that appeared before Christmas would appear to have been mainly loans. Southern Counties Darts 3181 (very confusing as The Shires 3181 is also based at HW!), 3193 and 3206 were all at HW at some time during December, but have all disappeared again, as has 23 year old Luton based Olympian 5087 (F637 LMJ) which was running in HW just before Christmas.
We do appear to have gained Olympian 5146 (S146 KNK) and I wonder if that has replaced 5141 (N41 JPP), the bus that advertises recruitment for Arriva and has spent time at a number of different depots.
Another import is rather surprising. This is Scania 3199 (R199 RBM) from the batch where all five of the Wycombe examples have already been withdrawn! Whenever I see this bus it seems to be on "Special Contract" and is often used as a staff bus.
Arriva lost the contract for TfL Uxbridge local service U9 at the end of 2011, so there are five red Wycombe based Darts now displaced. 3837-9 were the main buses, with 3482 and 3226 providing backup. All five of these buses are now at work on Wycombe local services, and 3482 has already been repainted into standard Arriva livery. That bus has been repainted more than most, having been standard Arriva, then red, then back to standard when it was decided in didn't meet the required levels for a TfL route, then back to red when they relented, and now the interurban livery! When I saw it this week (around 19th Jan), it still had a destination blind rather than an electronic display.
Another surprising appearance is that of ex Arriva London double decker DLA85 at the Cressex depot. It was there on Saturday 14th January and was in the same position a week later. Unfortunately it had a car parked in front of it so I couldn't confirm its reg no, but it did have DLA85 (if I can trust my eyesight!) at blind level. It is in standard Arriva livery, with no blinds, but I note from searching, that DLA85 was transferred from Arriva London to Southern Counties in early 2011 as its 6242. It's an Alexander ALX400 bodied DAF (S285 JUA). I wonder what it is doing in HW?
The withdrawn row at Cressex has been fairly static just lately, comprising
seven vehicles, Volvos
3849/52, 3240, Scanias 3202/03, DAF 4491 and trainer T007 Dart L509 CPJ. "
Whilst the lower front has been treated to a recent repaint, the lack of a working original dot matrix destination (note the route 2 on a bit of white paper on the dash) would indicate
that she is not going to be around for much longer.
From what I can see, 5102 has been at Aylesbury for her entire working life which, as she entered service with Luton and District in December 1989, makes her exactly 22 years old.
Not sure many other local Arriva buses (or anyone else's for that matter) can have that claim to fame - same garage allocation for 22 years.
Although, I am sure someone will prove me wrong!
Keep up the good work
Adam Green writes
Mark would like a picture of this bus if
anyone can help?
Mark would like a picture of this bus if anyone can help?
Steve Gee uary "
uaryArriva Shires DAF Plaxton coach 4051 R451 SKX was a little way from home on rail replacement duties at Leamington Spa. It was parked outside the station at 13:30 as I drove past.
noted in Hemel recently.
Adam Greenreports "3233 had a new LED destination display and 3201 was on the 500 to Aylesbury
noted in Hemel recently.
. and Trident !
.Coaches parked up 4047,4049,4364,4053
and Trident5421 was parked up with seats inside it
The following buses were on the pits in Hemel depot being 5455, 2419 and 3568.
On the same day Dart and .
On the same day Dart3238 was on the 3 on Hemel Town Service
andthere has been another Optare Solo arrived, 2434 which has been on the 2&3 all week
NEx coach SR49 was on the 787 to Cambridge.
Olympians 5149-5152 have been on the 2&3 in the
There is a report that 3201 R201RBM is for scrap
and - noted above.
and3176 has now left Hemel garage for scrap
- noted above.
New arrivals to Hemel Garage are and .
3192 from Luton it has been in the 320 twice in
recent week s.
Coach 4367 was used on the 500 service on the
evening of 25th January "
Richard Sharmanwrites "A rare working on the 16 was 3387, latterly at Maidstone then Milton
I noticed a Trident parked up at Wycombe which has been mentioned above by
Nigel Peach, DLA 85, indeed obscured by parked cars, converted from dual
door and painted in Inter-urban livery and now Gavin has come up with a
picture of it when in service in London. He says it is one of his first
I noticed a Trident parked up at Wycombe which has been mentioned above by Nigel Peach, DLA 85, indeed obscured by parked cars, converted from dual door and painted in Inter-urban livery and now Gavin has come up with a picture of it when in service in London. He says it is one of his first digital pictures.
Two significant items of note are that buses transferred in from Arriva SC are retaining their fleet numbers in spite of a clash with existing vehicles and Aylesbury are putting out very elderly single deckers on the 280, a route which boasts leather seats and improved service with the 200 express, also operated one of the elderly Scanias last week!!! We are used to seeing other types on the 280 but only at weekends when the deckers go on rail replacement services.
Note that both these buses have received electronic blinds now that they are no longer used on TfL services.
Operations Manager, Carousel Buses Limited
writes "FYI we have received our three new Mercedes-Benz OC500U/MCV C124RLE Evolution vehicles for the A30/A40/740 services. Details as follows:
MBA26 AE61 EWO
MBA27 AE61 EWP
MBA28 AE61 EWR
The new buses will be liveried by the end of January and I’ll forward some photos when they are done.
Citaro MB52 has been withdrawn and disposed of as it did not comply with the tighter LEZ requirements which came into force at the beginning of January.
MB51 and MB53 are both still here and as they were fitted with additional abatement equipment from new still comply with the tighter requirements for the LEZ that came into effect at the beginning of the month. As they are Link branded they will remain on the A30/A40/740 services.
EVO12 and EVO15 are being branded at the same
time as MBA26-28 which will be nice.
Volvo Ailsa V451 (A971 YSX) has been moved to offsite storage and MCW Metrobus M2707 (A707 UOE) to ASM, Aylesbury for scrap.
Steve Burns, the Director, kindly allowed me to take pictures of the rear of MBA27 which was in the process of bring branded on January 27th.
Noel Clark of Carousel has provided a picture of the buses ready for service. They will be on the road on Monday 30th January 2012.
John Hammond wrote from a with pictures as below.
John Hammond wrote from arecent day out
with pictures as below.
Some more pictures of Carousel Buses follow.
Sadly, Atlantean 928 has moved on to pastures new ending many years of Leyland Atlaneans in Oxford. It will be greatly missed by me!
Photos of the new acquired bus taken in the depot today, 21st January 2012."
An interesting decker now used on the 94 service by the company was once a pride of the UCOC fleet at Bedford.
Steve Warwick writes
writes"XCT 550 (B504 CBD) Scania/Je has been scrapped, still on the premises though at Bicester.
Wycombe has had two new additions Volvo B12M B10
HTL (ex SN02 NGL) & "
decided to remain with Stagecoach and go back on to Local service work.
opening a small depot in Gloucester in order to operate the Diagrams.
The Stagecoach Scania Levantes that operate the route are owned & the talk around Gloucester was that they are moving to Chesterfield to replace older coaches."
59301 - 59305 FJ08KNY/KOA/KOE/KOH/KNH.
National Express are also making network revisions to long distance services from the first weekend in March with many stop breaks shortened, certain sevices with additional stoppings, routes finishing at other destinations as well as re-numberings.
South Gloucestershire B9R FJ61GZE is also now on the road
I can confirm Dunn Motors have also started operating the 040 leg into Bristol on the evenings, returning into London Victoria at around 11:00am as well as both directions on 324.
Their B9R's operated the following:
4017 FJ11GLY Monday 09/01/2011 324 southbound.
4034 FJ61EXS Sunday 08/01/2011 sole 040 by them westbound for sole 040 by them Monday 09/01/2011 eastbound (This was the first operating after contract revision).
4006 FJ60EGZ Monday 09/01/2011 sole 040 by them westbound for sole 040 by them Tuesday 10/01/2011 eastbound."
Various pictures now follow.
Various pictures now follow.
Bill writes "Oxford Trident T112DBW is now being used by Thames Travel. I've travelled on it twice recently on Route 32. It is still in Park & Ride colours but now sports a Thames Travel logo on the front (and Oxford logos removed elsewhere). Unchanged inside as far as I can tell. The middle door is not in use - to the confusion of some alighting passengers.
Not clear whether this is a temporary or more permanent move. Maybe just one Go Ahead company aiding another with a short-term fleet shortage?
Sorry - no picture. Will grab one if I see a chance. "
More pictures of Oxford's fleet follow.
More pictures of Oxford's fleet follow.
New Scania nr 10 is seen on its first day in service at Gloucester Green on December 24th 2011 by Malcolm Crowe
Note that these coaches sport a number of messages on their rear panels, also included is an interior picture
Optare Alero YX04LXG was sold last September plus it appears that YX04LXF has also departed.
This company took over the workings on the 321 service from 28th December replacing Tiger Lines work on the 106/321/T3 services.
This company has taken over all the workings on the 333 High Wycombe-Speen services.
John Hammond sent p :
sent pictures of Red Rose buses taken recently
mentioned in the introduction above, the 275 service has been rerouted from
early January and now only the first High Wycombe-Oxford and last
Oxford-High Wycombe services run via Stokenchurch. The remaining services
operate via Bledlow Ridge and Chinnor replacing the 104 and 105 services now
withdrawn. Whether this rerouting produces sufficient passenger numbers to
justify retention of this "long established" service remains to be seen.
As mentioned in the introduction above, the 275 service has been rerouted from early January and now only the first High Wycombe-Oxford and last Oxford-High Wycombe services run via Stokenchurch. The remaining services operate via Bledlow Ridge and Chinnor replacing the 104 and 105 services now withdrawn. Whether this rerouting produces sufficient passenger numbers to justify retention of this "long established" service remains to be seen.
Richard Sharman they are currently on loan from
Richard Sharmanreports: Some additions to our fleet have arrived. They where former Leaside Travel/Arriva OLST Leyland Olympian(re-powered with Iveco Tector Engine)/Alexander RH J350-2 BSH to assist with new contracts.
they are currently on loan from Ensign Bus.
Significant investment has been made by the group for services in our area of interest. Apart from the batch of Enviro 200s for Banbury depot, new Gold Buses have been placed in service on the X4 from Northampton to Milton Keynes, the S5 from Oxford to Bicester and the 66 from Swindon to Oxford. This must make Oxford the largest operating centre for Gold Scanias.
Following the launch of the Scania Gold buses on the S5, a number of deckers have been transferred to other depots. Tridents 18198, 18199, 183908 and 18399 have moved to Leamington where the K* plates will seem more at home.
15440-3 and 19659 went to Kent with 19659 reported as arriving in Ashford on January 22nd. The whereabouts of 15440-3 are still awaited.
This means that Oxfordshire has had 34 Tridents in and out of the fleet since 2003.
The latest fleet status concerning withdrawn and reserve vehicles is as follows:
|fleet movements last period|
|31319||P321 EFL||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31320||P320 EFL||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31331||P331 JND||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31353||P353 JND||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31852||P852 SMR||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31853||P853 SMR||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|31854||P854 SMR||Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal|
|33822||R822 YUD||Dennis Dart SLF - Banbury to Reserve|
|vehicles in reserve|
|22925||S925 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22926||S926 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22933||S933 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22934||S934 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22935||S935 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22936||S936 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22940||S940 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|22941||S941 CFC||MAN 18.220 ALX300||OX|
|33822||R822 YUD||Dennis Dart SLF||OX|
The new buses replacing the above mentioned were reported in the last S&J
53. It also means that most of the fleet now have Oxfordshire registrations.
The new buses replacing the above mentioned were reported in the last S&J 53. It also means that most of the fleet now have Oxfordshire registrations.
Gold launch in Bicester
Gold launch in Bicester
January 14th saw the launch of the Gold buses in Bicester. 15752 was present
with several members of management including the Oxford Operations Manager,
Carole Stevens. Pictures of the event were supplied by Richard Morgan.
January 14th saw the launch of the Gold buses in Bicester. 15752 was present with several members of management including the Oxford Operations Manager, Carole Stevens. Pictures of the event were supplied by Richard Morgan.
The fleet went into service from the following day and the new timetable includes two morning peak hour workings, at 0725 and 0745, by Oxford tube coaches.
Bicester, Bure Place will only be served until the end of January after which services will run by Market Square where new stops
are being established. 50220 is seen in Bure place on a training run on January 16th. Malcolm Crowe
Other Stagecoach pictures.
Scania 15443 on route 3, where these now departed buses were used to give additional Christmas shoppers capacity, no longer being required for the S5.
The bus is seen by Carfax Tower on December 18th 2011. Richard Sharman
The first FULL day of Gold d/d's on the 66 route from Swindon to Oxford was delayed until Saturday 21 January and is reported in detail below.
Gold bus launch on
route 66 by
I attended the official launch party at Sudbury House Hotel, Faringdon for the new Stagecoach West Gold buses for the Swindon to Oxford 66 route today.
About 30 people attended and after speeches those who wished could go for a ride on one of the three double deckers that were at the event. In addition to the Mayor of Faringdon, the Mayor of Swindon also attended along with councillors from both Faringdon Town council, Swindon Council and Oxfordshire County Council. Managing Directors from both Stagecoach West and Stagecoach Oxfordshire were in attendance.
I have attached four photographs and can report that since the 66 route went half hourly, there has been a 50% increase in passengers carried!
The 66 route has turned into a great success story for Stagecoach West.
The displaced MAN's will enter service on the 8 route in Swindon, replacing Darts.
Apparently the Volvo B10's on the 51 and 65 routes will continue in service. Two or three newer B10's have joined the Swindon fleet from other parts of the Stagecoach empire to replace older B10's, that have been disposed of.
"Stagecoach West will be holding the official
launch party for the new buses on the 55 Chippenham to Swindon route, at
Wooton Basset on Friday 27 January. "
Tim Hall from Swindon
writes"I was able to take pictures on the first day of the 66 going Gold!"
More pictures of Stagecoach Swindon's buses
15767 arrived at Oxford on the first service of Gold buses on January 22nd 2012 and is seen leaving Oxford on the first Oxford-Swindon service!
The next day Gavin recorded both sides of this bus when it returned to Oxford. Gavin Francis
The Winchester E200s from 2007 which carried the 'Switch' branding from new have recently received new branding, following the repainting, for the Winchester 'Flock' network, i.e. the city routes.
Keeping with the sheep theme the branding has been updated and various sheep characters are used throughout. I attached some photographs for your website.
Jevon Smith "
The Skyliner coaches now appearing in service on Dublin Coach services from Dublin to Portlaoise (http://dublincoach.ie/) are as follows:
It is interesting to note that 50103 was the coach I saw at the factory
in Stuttgart back in 2004!
It is interesting to note that 50103 was the coach I saw at the factory in Stuttgart back in 2004!
I hope to be able to secure the Irish registrations in the future at
some point. KP04GKD is now 04KE11340 and three others are registered
04KE11346/51/2. If any reader can help it would be appreciated.
I hope to be able to secure the Irish registrations in the future at some point. KP04GKD is now 04KE11340 and three others are registered 04KE11346/51/2. If any reader can help it would be appreciated.
The first one appeared at Duxford where many people would have taken pictures.
On 7th Jan a reader noted 52654 from Stagecoach in South Wales having broken down around 8.25am at VCS finally being towed away at 2.30pm past Harrods.
Another reader wrote to say"The new Astromega coaches, 50223-243 should enter service on February 28th but prior to that driver training has take place for drivers not only based at Cwmbran but also Barnsley and Newcastle. Nine of the eleven are already on hand at Van Hool, Wellingborough as the picture below shows.
Cwmbran current B12BT's 54001/2/3/4/5/6/7 and B13BT will be moving to Rugby and the older ones will be repainted before entering service from Rugby.
coach movements due is that Chesterfield have received three Scania Levante
tri-axles from Gloucester, following the loss of the 444, to replace three
ex YTC B12Bs which will be moving to Hull .
.I think 53030/1/4 will be joining 53033 at Hull.
Also the remaining two Gloucester Levantes will be
moving south to replace 53021/32. 53021/32 will then move up to Hull for
Megabus Rugby B10ms 52649/57/58 have move to
Rennies with 52647/8 moving to Glasgow. (52647 is currently parked
Another Volvo Artic, 51097, is currently in Plaxtons been turned into a further sleeper coach."
Godley writes "Megabus
are currently taking delivery of a batch of Van Hool TD927 double
50234 is currently in Exeter for a few days for type training, although I understand their use in service in the South West will only be during February.
Godley writes "Megabus
are currently taking delivery of a batch of Van Hool TD927 double
It seems that 2012 is going to be the year of
It seems that 2012 is going to be the year of megabus.com!
Three ex Brighton & Hove Tridents have been transferred to this company and a number of pictures have been provided by readers.
They are Brighton 807/7/9 T806/7/9 RFG. 806 is now numbered 915, 807 is now 916, and 809 is now 917. They are resplendent in full Thames Travel livery.
Both Daniel Morris and Gavin Francis report that the company is trialling a M A N ecocity bus and Gavin has provided pictures as seen below.
John Hammond writes "
writes"As Tiger Line finish their bus operations on 23rd December, I have been out on their services recently taking the following pictures.
First six were taken opposite the bus station
(1135 arrival in to Aylesbury and the 1145 departure). Final picture was
taken at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on the final Journey to Chesham (ex
1745), which appeared empty. Apologies for the poor quality – strong wind,
rain and a slightly moving bus. "
We are sorry to see the demise of this challenge
to the established services but may be
the use of non low floor buses, for a clientele who were often elderly, was
part of the reason for closure.
be the use of non low floor buses, for a clientele who were often elderly, was part of the reason for closure.
I wonder what will happen to the fleet now ?
Euro5 derogation expected next year
There will be a Euro5
derogation when Euro6 emission standards are introduced.
If a chassis has a Certificate of Conformity before
30 September 2013 then there will be an 18-month window for registration by
which time the vehicle must be complete. The same deadline is expected for
integrals. A practical limitation is that the complete chassis/body will
have to be funded as work in progress.
Bus passengers to get a better deal
Measures to give bus passengers a better deal are
to be be outlined by competition chiefs.
In provisional findings in its investigation into
the UK local bus market, the Competition Commission (CC) found that in many
areas the largest bus operators faced little or no competition.
This had led to passengers facing less-frequent
services and, in some cases, higher fares than where there was some form of
In its final report, the CC will publish remedies
designed to give passengers better bus services, more competition, improved
passenger information and better ticketing.
Although bus patronage is growing in Scotland and
Wales, it is declining in England, despite increasing numbers who are using
Publishing proposed remedies in October this
year, the CC's local bus market investigation group chairman Jeremy Peat
said: "These measures aim to get to the heart of the problems we have
identified and open up local bus markets to entry and expansion - so
reducing the number of areas where the main operator faces little or no
competition. Together these measures are designed to address the specific
factors which prevent competition developing and being sustained at a local
level and lead to passengers losing out."
He went on: "This is a comprehensive set of
practical and sensible measures which will help encourage more competition
and benefit passengers. Given the number and diversity of bus markets we are
looking to give local transport authorities (LTAs) enhanced powers to tailor
some of these measures to particular local conditions. For example, we are
proposing that LTAs be given greater powers to introduce and reform
multi-operator ticketing schemes in their local area."
A coach company which has transported thousands of children to school over three decades has closed.
McLeans Coaches, in Windrush Park Road, Witney, operated school bus journeys in west Oxfordshire and excursions throughout the UK.
The company, founded in 1982, was put into liquidation by its owners on Friday, making its 22 employees redundant.
Managers denied action against the firm by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa) over 153 alleged safety and licensing failings had affected the decision.
Business manager Roger Alder, who has been with the firm for 20 years, said the industry was having a tough time at the moment and blamed high insurance costs for the decision.
He said the firm’s premium had this year risen to £60,000, compared with £43,000 last year.
Mr Alder said: “We couldn’t afford it and they would not negotiate from it, because they said the transport industry was high-risk.
“Our broker went out to several other insurance companies and said a lot of them were not interested at all.
“I’m feeling very, very sore at the moment but we took the commercial decision and sadly it was not viable to the company.
“Making 22 employees redundant was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.”
Mr. Alder said McLeans was financially solvent and if the insurance premium had been lower, the company could have survived.
He said the company’s 23 vehicles would either go back to the finance company which owned them or would be sold.
The company had 19 contracts with Oxfordshire County Council to run school bus routes in west Oxfordshire.
Council spokesman Gemma Watts said: “All the contracts have been covered from Monday by alternative providers.”
A court case brought by Vosa against McLeans over 153 alleged safety and licensing failings was due to be held at Banbury Magistrates’ Court last Friday, It was adjourned until March 30 at the request of Vosa, which declined to comment.
Mr. Alder added: “The decision to close definitely
had nothing to do with the court case.”
Geoff Cunliffehas sent us a link to keep up to date.
The latest edition of this Newsletter is now on line at:-
Once again I
have found another site which gives details of the Blackpool happenings,
past and present.
The main web
If you follow
the 2011 Blog Archive (half way down in the right hand margin), there is a
link named ‘Enter 005’ which shows the unloading of Bombardier 005 from a
long lowloader at Starr Gate. This is at :
Comments about the fleet in 2012 are interesting – and hopefully accurate!
The web site is worth spending some time with if you have any to spare. It shows various cars departing for pastures new and covers various happenings throughout last year.
Ashok Leyland in Optare ‘takeover’
Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship in India, together with its associate companies, has agreed to increase its stake in Optare plc, to 75.1% (subject to approval by Optare shareholders).
It means that Ashok Leyland will be the majority shareholder and have the majority of voting rights - effectively controlling the company.
It follows a re-financing agreement, under which Ashok Leyland will facilitate a credit-line to support Optare’s re-banking options and providing a “substantially improved” working capital facility for the business.
As a result, Ashok Leyland will buy £4m of newly-created shares, at 0.27p per share. This is an 80% discount on yesterday’s (Monday) 1.375p closing share price.
Ashok Leyland initially bought a 26% stake in Optare in July 2010 as part of a long-term strategic partnership.
Optare CEO Jim Sumner says: “This is great news for Optare’s customers, employees and suppliers and secures stability and the long-term future of the business. The re-banking represents a defining moment in the company’s three-year turnaround plan which started in June 2009.”
Optare told the Stock Exchange today: “Following discussions with the company’s current bank and other banks the Board has, as yet, been unable to find a solution to the re-banking of the company on a standalone basis.
“Accordingly, Ashok has confirmed that it would be prepared to facilitate, through its own banking relationships, the company’s re-banking with a credit line of £12 million. However, in order to be in a position to do this, the Ashok companies indicated to the Board that they require voting control of at least 75.10% of the company’s share capital.”
It adds that this is “the only course presently available” and that if shareholders reject the deal “the company does not have, at this stage, alternative means with which to finance its ongoing operations and thus will not be able to continue to trade.”
However, Optare’s board says it is “very confident that the Resolutions will be approved at the General Meeting,” and that it already has the support of shareholders (other than Ashok Leyland) holding 30% of votes.
The shareholders’ General Meeting is scheduled for 9 January, with the new funding starting once a ‘yes’ vote is made.
ADL also pondered bidding but withdrew leaving the way clear for Ashok.
ADL also pondered bidding but withdrew leaving the way clear for Ashok.
Malta update by Ian Brown
of Malta buses still attract considerable interest in Maltese newspapers and
on Malta television.
letters continue in much the same format; overcrowded buses, traffic
congestion caused by `bendies` and confusion over routes.
Arriva, a name
unknown in Malta 12 months ago must be just about the best known brand on
the island...and possibly the brand everyone loves to hate.
Many of the
vehicles have lost their route branding.
avoids confusing everyone - tourists especially - when a route-branded bus
is off route.
operated a fairly full service on Christmas Day and New Year`s Day.
were published stating that on both days the service would be `wound down`
between 11.30 and 15.30 to enable staff to spend `quality time` with their
station is having railings installed around each stand to, no doubt,
suppress the Maltese habit `free-for-all` entry to a bus.
The old habit
of having large route number cards in the front window appears to be
The Olympics and ORN (Olympic Route Network)
those of you wondering what traffic in London may be like during the
The following links
may prove of interest
The following links may prove of interest
Brown announces Scottish Green Bus Fund
A second round of Scottish Green Bus Funding (SGBF), worth £2m, has been announced this morning (Tuesday) by Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown.
It builds on the success of last year’s SGBF, in which five operators introduced 48 new hybrid buses.
Says Transport Scotland: “This scheme provides further opportunities to add eco-friendly vehicles to bus fleets. It will also help stimulate demand for green technology in Scotland.”
Operators, local authorities and regional transport partnerships are invited to apply for funding to help with the additional up-front costs of buying low carbon buses.
Changes to Aylesbury operated services by Colin Richardson
From the above date the following routes are to be altered. All bar two
services are operated by Arriva. These are routes 2,3,4, 5, 9, 16/18. 50,
60, 100/150, 300 & 321
Route 2 - timing changes,
Route 3 - timing changes
Route 4 - timing changes, reduced frequency and route extended to Stoke
Route 5 - Timing changes
Route 9 - Timing Changes and reduced frequency
Route 16 - The route will terminate at Steeple Claydon and operate hourly
Monday - Friday and
two hourly on Saturdays. One journey Aylesbury - Bicester
in early morning and returning in the early evening by
Langston & Tasker
Route 18 - Five journeys to be operated the whole length o Monday to Friday
only by Langston & Tasker
Route 50 - Timing changes
Route 60 - Timing changes
Routes 100/150 - Routing changes in Milton Keynes
Route 300 - All; journeys to operate via Little Kimble, Monday - Friday
frequency to be increased to every 15 minutes off peak
and about every 18 minutes during peak times.
Route 321 - Operated by Redline and to be operated between Princes
Risborough and Aylesbury via Butlers Cross. This
routing will be served Monday - Friday only with five
journeys by Redline and two by Arriva. Full timing details are provided on
email@example.com and in the bus timetables sections.
Protoype LT/Osborne's Renown worth saving ?
This has been doing the rounds since November, so
apologies if you've seen it, but I promised to forward it to anyone who
might be interested. I remember this rallied in concours LT green in the
'80s, and to see it in now is disheartening. We can't save everything, and
unfortunately demonstrators are largely ignored by enthusiasts because no
one remembers travelling on them, but in view of its long service with
Osborne's, I'm giving it wide circulation to colleagues in Essex. For before
and after pictures, Google 8071ML and BE-57-34. John R.
This is Russell Howard from Weesp in the Netherlands. Over the years I have contributed small snippets to CB but have be unable to do so recently because of illness and a bereavement. I have been working with PSV’s/PCV’s since 1964 and still do a bit for Bovo Tours, Roelofarendsveen but a Mercedes Tourismo is hardly the same as the Bristol L6B that I took my first test on.
However - enough about me. The reason for this Mail is to tell everyone about BE-57-34 or as it better known 8071ML. The prototype AEC Renown, built 1961 and as of yesterday – still alive and kicking !! Yesterday at 14.38; the rebuilt power unit –yes a 590 – was fired up in the vehicle for the first time.
The vehicle has had a long history – it appeared at the ‘61 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court painted LT Country Area Green. It operated as a Demonstrator (RX1) from Dartford Garage – vis-à-vis the Model from EFE – and then was sold to G.W. Osborne & Sons of Tollesbury in Essex to join 80WMH and 2211MK; also Ex AEC Demonstrators. This is where I drove it for the first time. The history of this Fleet has been well documented by G.R. Mills but it was very much LT/AEC in Essex with RT’s and RF’s – which we drove without a second thought.
After Osborne’s 8071ML went to a member of the Oxford Bus Museum; where it was repainted Lincoln Green and appeared at Rallies in that guise. Because of internal politics at the museum the vehicle was rejected from the collection (It wasn’t a COMS Bus) and was sold by its owner to Phil Munson (as Dealer) of Beestons of Hadleigh in Suffolk.
This is where Hans Sjoerds (the present owner) comes into the picture. He saw the vehicle and realised that being a Low Height it could operate in the Netherlands. (We have a 4 metre height restriction here) – he bought it and had it shipped to Hilversum.. It remained in Lincoln Green and was sold on to Ton Egbers, the Rover Dealer in Breda where it became a rolling advertisement for London. It had a Policeman on it – Big Ben – A Union Jack etc. (I sent a photo of it to CB years ago. It may still be in your archives. I may still have the negs downstairs).
With the demise of Rover,
Egbers sold the vehicle back to Hans Sjoerds and it stood in Hans’
Yard dead unwanted for a couple of years until it was spotted by the
advertising department of Rochdale Homes. The seats were removed and stored
– yes, we’ve still
‘em) and the vehicle was transformed into a mobile
driving to green-field housing developments all over the Netherlands. It has
240v Electricity, a kitchen and Toilet. Upstairs is a seating area with
desks for computer terminals etc etc. It must have cost a fortune to
convert. It was professionally repainted Red, White and Blue (The Dutch
Flag) but the basic structure of the vehicle remains original. By this time
the power unit was getting tired and was smoking badly
– then the inevitable happened
– a piston seized
scoring the block. Rochdale tried, unsuccessfully, to find a replacement
power unit and finally the vehicle came back to Hans Sjoerds
– who contacted me
“where he can I find another AEC Engine”? I knew that it was a
590 and I discovered a company in Clitheroe (Lancs) that would rebuild AEC
Engines. In the first instance the
Engine” was sent to Clitheroe
and a complete rebuild was carried out. It was returned to NL and a
professional company was engaged to re-install it. They messed the job up
– rendering the original block useless. The
complete engine was then sent back to Clitheroe. Another block was sourced
and this is now installed.
Classic coaches of High Wycombe by Michael Wadman
A potted history of this most interesting
operator - now long gone!
A potted history of this most interesting operator - now long gone!
For a few years in the
mid-‘nineties, Buckinghamshire County Council funded a small network of
summer Sunday leisure services operated with heritage vehicles by Classic
Coaches of High Wycombe. It seems amazing nowadays that a local authority
would have money to spare for such things.
The operation started in
1994 with two circular services based on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough
Railway: service 77 from Chinnor station via Princes Risborough,
ANW 710C, former Leeds City Transport
I have to admit that I have no idea where these photos were taken; it was somewhere where the two coaches passed each other, they stopped for the drivers to have a chat and I nipped out to take some photos.
For the 1995 season, a much expanded operation of six routes requiring five vehicles ran on Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage services operated by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe:
66 Aylesbury – Winslow – Buckingham – Stowe Gardens
78 Aylesbury – Quainton Road station – Winslow – Bletchley – Woburn Abbey
79 High Wycombe – Chinnor – Princess Risborough
77 Aylesbury – Wendover – Princes Risborough – Chinnor – Thame – Haddenham – Quainton Road station – Aylesbury (one journey in this direction only)
88 Aylesbury – Princes Risborough – Wendover – Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Mentmore – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)
99 Aylesbury – Mentmore – Ivinghoe – Tring – Cholesbury – Weston Turville – Aylesbury (one journey in this direction only)
In addition the vehicle that worked the 79 also ran a positioning return journey from Maidenhead to High Wycombe and return over Wycombe Bus service 316 (09:23 ex-Maidenhead, 18:15 ex-High Wycombe)
Classic Coaches must have been suffering a vehicle shortage on 28th August 1995, as the 316 / 79 duty was operated by
former National Travel South West Leyland Leopard / Plaxton
seen on the morning 316 journey in Wooburn Green and at High Wycombe station.
The 1996 season of Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe was slightly reduced from the previous year’s, consisting of four services requiring four vehicles:
78 Aylesbury – Quainton Road station – Winslow – Bletchley – Milton Keynes - Woburn Abbey
79 High Wycombe – Chinnor – Princess Risborough – Stoke Mandeville - Aylesbury
77 Aylesbury – Wendover - Princes Risborough – Chinnor – Thame – Haddenham – Quainton Road station – Aylesbury (two journeys in this direction only)
88 Aylesbury – Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Mentmore – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)
In addition one of the vehicles on the 78 worked positioning journeys on service 325 from Princes Risborough at via Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, and Bletchley to Milton Keynes; and at from Bletchley via Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury, and Princes Risborough to High Wycombe.
This WWN 191, former Neath & Cardiff
Classic Coaches of High Wycombe
in the subterranean gloom of the ghastly Aylesbury bus station on service 78, a splendid 110-minute trek to Milton Keynes and Woburn Abbey
-Former Colchester Corporation Bristol
Highlight of the 1996 season of Buckinghamshire’s
summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe was the
use of Albion
GWT 630, new to
- on at on
The coach is seen in Aylesbury awaiting departure on service 78 to Woburn Abbey
- GWT 630
-Albion Valkyrie / Burlingham, new to
The 1997 season of Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe turned out to be the last. Operations were similar to 1996’s, consisting of four services requiring four vehicles. Service 97 did not reappear, and there were no extra journeys on other operators’ routes, but a new service 87 provided a link with the Metropolitan Line for the first time:
87 Amersham – Chesham – Wendover Woods – Aylesbury (one return journey at ex-Amersham, ex-Aylesbury)
88 Aylesbury – Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)
During the 1997 season,
as well as the Buckinghamshire CC contracted summer Sunday Heritage
operation, Classic Coaches of High Wycombe also ran a commercial service 80
It didn’t seem to take long before service 80 became at least partly operated by Bristol VRTs from Classic’s school contract & rail replacement fleet. Whilst it was doubtless appreciated by some members of the enthusiast fraternity, I’m not sure that Joe Public would have regarded these as vintage buses.
Nothing at all to do with the Buckinghamshire CC summer Sunday heritage operations, this is a sort of post-script, if you like. Classic Coaches returned to local bus operation in Bucks in 1999 when it won a number of tendered services.
Also on 11th March, the 386 was a commercial service from Haddenham to Princes Risborough, worked off a school contract. I had planned to ride on this, but unfortunately my train from Marylebone was delayed and I got to Haddenham & Thame Parkway too late to make the connection; so I had to be content with staying on the train to Princes Risborough and photographing its arrival there, worked by rather splendid Bedford YMT / Plaxton DKG 270V, new to Hills of Tredegar.
Sadly, before I could make another attempt, Classic Coaches had ceased trading.
The foregoing is a history of the
Buckinghamshire Summer Sunday heritage services rather than of Classic
Coaches as such,
Classic also had a school contract and rail replacement fleet.
For a while they were
regulars on Underground rail replacement (and thanks to which one day in
1998 I was able to board an Ailsa at Wembley Park, alight at West Hampstead,
wait ten minutes, and catch a Bristol RE to Baker Street! – although VRTs
and Leyland Nationals were the more usual fare) and even appeared on TfL
route 60 during the “running days” there.
Buses in the landscape
Dave Allen sent a couple of interesting pictures taken from the top of Carfax Tower in Oxford. You may ask "where have all the other buses gone?"
writes "As a regular reader of your newsletter, I wondered if you are interested in using the attached photo for the 'Buses in the Landscape' section, even although it is slightly out of the area which you normally cover.
Although more of a 'townscape' than landscape, and not so attractive as many of your readers submissions of vehicles in open countryside, it shows one of the First operated Green Line Volvo / Wright 'twin deck' coaches, loading in the centre of the rapidly changing Slough town, on a 702 service to London. The site of the recently demolished Brunel bus station is on the right, with the well known roundabout with the same name replaced with a forest of cones, street lights and traffic lights.
Hopefully the quality is good enough if you want
to use it - I am probably one of the last people in the world still using
roll film....so hope that this scanned image is OK! "
Barry writes "Been a few months since I dropped you a line, but here's a few winter photos I've taken recently. Not strictly in the countryside but hope you may include in the OCBP. So first up.....
An early Sunday morning shot of a Network Colchester Dart at Mersea Island.
This was traditionally Eastern National territory and the large building on the right was originally the EN outstation shed (now heavily modified)
(Last one for 2011, and it's my home town.... many thanks for running the OCBP, Malcolm)
The originals of the above pictures
are some of the crispest pictures I've seen, really great! Well done, Barry.
The originals of the above pictures are some of the crispest pictures I've seen, really great! Well done, Barry.
From John Marsh
From John Marsh
From Neil Gow
From Neil Gow
writes "h "
writes "here's a picture you can use for Buses in the Landscape if you like. It's Friends of King Alfred Buses preserved AEC Renown 596 LCG at Sutton Scotney on New Year's Day. As you can see the landscape was very wet!
I can confirm it was a very wet day, Ed.
I can confirm it was a very wet day, Ed.
Reference to the last page
Bicester Line replies
from VICTOR GACKOWSKI
Can I please comment on the article by Gary Seamarks;
Oxford (North Junction) to Bicester London Road (The official name in railway working as Bicester Town is purely the station name) is not "One Engine in Steam" working but is in fact "Tokenless Block" working controlled by Oxford Panel. Beyond Bicester London Road to Claydon Junction it is a separate "Tokenless Block" section controlled by Claydon Junction Signal box in cooperation with the train crew who have to operate the London Road Barriers before getting the signal to proceed.
The date for he new Oxford to Marylebone service has been put back beyond 2013 as a planning issue is ongoing with the Bats Habitat in Wolvercote Tunnel.
The new line east of Bicester will not connect with the former GCR Marylebone - Banbury - Birmingham line. The line it will connect with is the current line of route but it is pure Great Western in the Bicester area and not GCR. The Lines from Marylebone via Aylesbury and on to Calvert and Claydon were GCR and Metropolitan Railway. The lines through High Wycombe and Princes Risborough to Ashendon Junction were GWR and GC Joint. From Ashendon Junction the GC ran to Grendon Underwood whilst the GWR ran on to Bicester and Aynho Junction. Bicester was therefore never GC and nor was the line at this point. As for Banbury and on to Birmingham (Snow Hill) this was pure GWR. The reference to the Marylebone - Banbury - Birmingham line as being old GCR is sadly well wide of the mark.
The contract for the Avon "Bin Liner" Refuge train expired well over a year ago. The refuge train via Bicester no longer runs. There is currently no booked rail traffic beyond Bicester London Road (Town) although Engineering Trains for weekend work can very occasionally be seen. The Northolt to Cavert (London's waste) Bin Liner that normally runs via High Wycombe , Princes Risborough and Aylesbury may divert via Oxford and Bicester but this is very very rare indeed.
The route of HS2 has not been finalised with much of the new build transiting fresh land. It is currently not shown to run exactly on the existing line through Calvert although it will not be far away. If it did run on the existing lines then this would impede Chiltern Railways plans for a service north of Aylesbury to connect with the new East West Link as the Oxford to Bedford and Cambridge scheme is called.
Finally, one can transit direct to Bedford off the Bletchley Flyover (done
it many times when I was on the footplate and you still can today). At the
Bedford end of the Flyover is Fenny Stratford Station still very much open
and used by all Bletchley to Bedford services. The station is the junction
where the line from Bletchley Station joins the Flyover line so from Fenny
Stratford you can go down in to Bletchley Station and , when reopened,
direct to the Bicester London Road and Oxford line. You do not need to run
to Milton Keynes to reverse a multiple unit as the signalling already allows
for reversal at Fenny Stratford. Trains to and from Oxford to Bedford could
either reverse at Fenny Stratford and run down in to Bletchley or , more
operationally sound, call at Fenny Stratford and continue to Bedford leaving
a second service to work the Bletchley to Fenny Stratford and Bedford
services. The train from Oxford could be Non Stop from Fenny Stratford to
Bedford whilst the Bletchley to Bedford service (that runs now) forms the
stopping service behind. With proper timetable planning customers changing
at Fenny Stratford would not have long to wait for connections and customers
on the core route ,Oxford to Bedford, get a fast service. IE Oxford , Water
Eaton, Islip , Bicester Town , Winslow , Fenny Stratford - Bedford. The
Bletchley starting service would follow and call all stations to Bedford.
The same would apply in reverse with the stopper for Bletchley following the
fast for Oxford from Bedford.
from Mike Walker
from Mike Walker
A few observations regarding the report on the Oxford – Bicester – Bletchley rail line in S&J 53.
First the term “one train in steam” – there’s a blast from the past! Actually the term was “one engine in steam” and it hasn’t been used for years even on heritage railways. Today the term is “One Train Working” (OTW) or “One Train Working with Staff” (OT-S) but the signalling protocol and single line protection in use between Oxford North Junction and Claydon L&NE Junction is actually “Tokenless Block” (TB).
Chiltern’s plans to upgrade the section from Oxford to Bicester have been slightly derailed by bats! These apparently like to roost in the short Wolvercote Tunnel near Oxford and the tree-huggers fought their corner at the public enquiry saying they would be disturbed by the increased number of trains. The inspector has found in favour of the bats and put the application on hold whilst Chiltern come up with a credible plan to mitigate the effect on the bats. Chiltern had proposed a system which would have switched on powerful lighting as a train enters tunnel thereby encouraging them to leave. This of course was seen by the tree-huggers and inspector as only making the problem worse so it’s back to the drawing board. Chiltern apparently have ideas being worked up to submit to the reconvened enquiry early in the New Year and are hopeful of success but the delay means the Oxford – Marylebone service won’t start until 2014 or later.
The original plan for this upgrade was to reinstate double track over the entire section with 100mph capability. However this has now been scaled back in the face of escalating cost estimates and it will now remain largely single apart from a short double section at Bicester (including the new chord) and through the new station at Water Eaton adjacent to the P&R site. What effect this has on the planned timetable remains to be seen but there are many of us who feel the line might not fulfill the expectations Chiltern have for it. By next year FGW will have replaced the Class 165/166 units on the Oxford – Paddington fast trains almost exclusively with the returning Class 180 ‘Adelante’ units allowing a considerable acceleration of the service compared both to present timings and what Chiltern proposes between Oxford and London. Gavin and I were discussing the possible effect of the newcomer on both the Tube and your COMS rivals but Gavin felt it was unlikely to have a big impact as the Tube has a strong clientele that commuted from the east side of Oxford and preferred the convenience of the coach rather than getting right through Oxford city centre to the station or, for that matter, to Water Eaton. As for the leisure market, then cost is a big factor and with Chiltern’s fares already among the highest per mile in the country that’s not likely to change. The only time the new facility will come into its own is if either route to Oxford is blocked for any reason and henceforth passengers will have an alternative.
Turning to the Claydon to Bletchley section this has been out of use for years. Officially it’s “mothballed” but as Gary points out it is largely overgrown and much of the track has, or so I’m led to believe, been stolen – metal theft as usual! So reopening will require complete site clearance and reconstruction of, in effect, a new railway. The good news is that in his Autumn Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce the East-West Rail Link project would be going ahead and that £25 million had been ring-fenced in the 2015-16 FY towards it although that won’t go far! When (if) this is built, then Chiltern see it contributing to completion of double track between Oxford and Bicester. As far as I’m aware the train plan for the E-W line is a service between Oxford and Milton Keynes Central, I’m not sure if Bedford is included. Gary is right in saying there is no way of serving Bletchley. Previously there was a curve onto what is now the Down Fast line to access the station but I can’t see that returning as it would be too disruptive to WCML services. There has been talk of a high-level platform on the flyover but nothing set in concrete (ouch!).
On the section between Aylesbury and Claydon the current service is the hourly Chiltern service to their new Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and two or three daily “Binliners” plus an occasional spoil train in each direction to Calvert and Chiltern’s empty workings to and from Bicester. This section will not be subsumed by HS2. The current plan is for HS2 to swing around the west side of Aylesbury and join the old GC alignment just north of Quainton Road. It will however run parallel to the existing tracks not replace them.
from Mick Payne
piece on the East-West rail link made interesting reading.
Regarding Bletchley, the plan is to build a new platform where the viaduct descends on the east side of the station so there will be no need for the complicated manoeuvres that Gary fears.
At present I
understand Chiltern Railways have indicated interest in extending their
Marylebone - Amersham - Aylesbury Parkway service to Milton Keynes stopping
at a new station at Winslow and the new platform at Bletchley.
restore the High Wycombe - Milton Keynes X15 link which is a shame.
Comment on the report on the last day of TfL 207 bendi-buses
from George Manning
Just to take issue about the 207 route, you say you didn't see any fare evasion?
Nobody knows whether passengers have or haven't got
a valid ticket in their possession but fare evasion is a big problem as it
would be on any type of bus with open boarding.
Where have all the bendis gone!
Winchester - The Editor's favourites
New Year's Day 2012 by Malcolm Crowe
Winchester - The Editor's favourites
A selection of interesting vehicles at the event.
A selection of interesting vehicles at the event.
My very first new coach that I saw in 1946 was the
chassis of one of these AEC's for Sykes of Sale, near Manchester and it
became their KLG37.
It stood outside their garage on the main road for many months waiting to go to the body builders Burlingham.
Links & Publications
Todays buses - Oxfordshire
This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over
18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the
OCBP when doing so.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.
Newbury & District History
Newbury & District History now available
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury &
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury & District.
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which
although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding areas.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford &
London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when
both owned by Red & White.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford & London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when both owned by Red & White.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within
Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs
plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
Apart from the archaic Leylands, the company ran some AEC Regals after the war.
These were rebodied with ECOC/ECW bodies purchased from North Western Road Car, Stockport via dealers.
They had been new in 1936 on Bristol Jo5G chassis which were rebodied with Brush bodies in 1946 to a similar design.
Your Editor must have travelled on one of these buses, when in NWRCC service, as a small boy.
They would have doubtless run on service to Highclere, now well known as the house is featured in Downton Abbey.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special
price of £20.00 for OCBP readers.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special price of £20.00 for OCBP readers.
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.