Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr 64 - January 1st 2013

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



A lot has been happening in Oxford and our area over the past two months.

Oxford Bus is in the process of receiving 19 new Volvo/Wright diesel-electric hybrid double deckers which are the first "low-bridge" Geminis, in the U.K, on other than VDL running units. These are numbered 351-369 and the first few entered service just before Christmas. The company claims that these new buses will give Oxford Bus the highest percentage of electric-hybrid buses in any fleet in the U.K.

Bus 356 in Blackbird Leys on November 21st by Gavin Francis.

Mike Penn was at pains to remind me that Oxford Bus have not had the first "low Bridge" Gemini bodies, that accolade went to Arriva who have a number on VDL chassis. Mike sent a picture to remind us.

Arriva North West 4489 MX61AUN seen on May 25th by M Penn

Stagecoach received twelve new E200s for route 10, service increases also taking place.

E200 36764 loading for a trip from the city on route 10 on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

Popularity of the London services was emphasised by the decision of Oxford Bus to increase frequency from January 20th and recent problems with rail services into Paddington has resulted in increased patronage on the two operators services. Check the link below.

Oxford Bus 98 heads towards Victoria Coach Station on November 19th by M Crowe


Criticism of Arriva services in the High Wycombe has continued in the local press with especial disapproval of the 37 route. From local observation and comments in my village service 40 seems to have its fair share of breakdowns!!!

Arriva 3226 r 37 WYC 231012 M Crowe 

Jeffs was resurrected following the collapse of the Bowen Group but this seems the only part of the group to emerge!

Jeffs 647PJO seen on October 30th by Clive King.

In late September one of the easyBus Mercedes 313 turned up in the van hire yard on the West Wycombe Road and was around for a few weeks. However this has now gone and I have not seen it for many weeks.


Floods in and around Oxford caused a lot of problems in the last week of November with Abingdon road being closed for several days. The High Street was opened to all traffic during the closure resulting in heavy city centre congestion.

On November 8th I took the opportunity to visit Euro Bus Expo 2012 at the NEC Birmingham. I took a number of pictures which are shown below and also received some shots from John Marsh who was there on the same day but we never managed to meet up!

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Arriva Pulsar 2 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Claribel VDL Wright 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Electric Solo 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Megabus Plaxton Interdecker 081112 M Crowe.

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Megabus Plaxton Interdecker disabled seat 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Optare Metrocity 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 short Citaro 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Sunstar Merc Cabriolet 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Sunstar Merc rear view 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Westway Astromega - note the revised body style.  081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Wight Streetlite 081112 M Crowe

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Wight Streetlite Max 081112 M Crowe

and now for some pictures by John Marsh.

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 A lady and a Borismaster 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Arriva MANEcocity 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Backhouse Jones stand 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Bibbys of Ingleton 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Green Bus Trident 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 King Long stand 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Newport E400 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Scania PB 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Sunset Merc 081112 J Marsh

and some outside shots.

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Airparks King Long 081112 J Marsh

Coach and Bus NEC 2012 Network Warrington YJ62FOT 081112 J Marsh

I found the show most interesting and there were some unusual and ground breaking vehicles on display. 

In spite of the delay to this issue, your contributions have continued to be received and only one message of dissatisfaction, regarding the reduced publication schedule, arrived!!

The delay to this issue was in part due to the recently diagnosed illness of my wife and numerous hospital appointments which I attended with her. She then went into hospital for an operation just five days before Christmas and for the past week or so I have been head cook and bottle washer. I am sure you will appreciate the reason for the gap between issues.

To finish this Editorial I show a seasonal picture by Bernard Lewendon, Wycombe Bus Station on Christmas Day 2012.



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.


John Hammond writes to advise:

Next Meeting:

The meeting will be a members open meeting in two halves.
The 1st half will be a quiz set by the committee with a copy of the 2013 Buses Yearbook as a prize. In the 2nd half, members will be welcome to give short photo/slide presentations on topics of interest. These will be allocated time slots of 5-10 minutes or so per person. I would appreciate if anybody wants to give a talk that let me know in advance so I can prepare the projector. The epidiascope is still poorly so it will need to be a digital presentation or slides.
Non members are always welcome and will be eligible for the quiz, non members pay £2 per person per meeting.
In addition, we've finalised the 2013 speakers list:
January - Matt Gamble - The Cambridge Busway
February - Matt Bullock - Deregulation
March -  Glyn Bowen - Buses & Me
April   - 2013 AGM
May   - Paul Lacey - Thames Valley the final years
June  -  Richard Stedall - Buses of the South Pacific
July - Evening outing TBC
August - Summer Break
September - Terry S. Blackman 1970's slide presentation.
October   - Peter Gulland - “City of Oxford in Buckinghamshire, 50 years ago'
November - Graham Low - subject TBC
December - Members social / Quiz

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 19.30 although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.

Members get free access, non members can attend for £2 per person.

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



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.



The level of contribution to this page by readers, as ever, remains excellent! Thank you all. 

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - January 1st 2013



Tony writes "I'm doing a little bit of browsing back pages of OCBP and came across this photo with a request from Steve Warwick for any info.  I suppose someone has already answered the query elsewhere.


I can't throw any light on the route number - it doesn't seem like a number used in Aylesbury during the 70s.   Destination is Stoke Mandeville Hospital and I believe, looking at the houses in the background that its on Mandeville Road, Aylesbury which at that point runs parallel with the Aylesbury-Princes Risborough rail-line.

I'm really enjoying going back over the old pages.  I know, 2002/3 isn't all that long ago but I'm remembering lots of little things I'd forgotten about.

Many thanks for these pages. 

I'm still browsing through back numbers and found you have posted a photo of Travel West Midlands 3125 (N125 YRW).

I thought you might be interested in the attached picture of the same bus.


A nice painting

Marcus Lapthorn writes "As Portsmouth is my home town I developed a particular interest, understandably, in both Portsmouth Corporation and Southdown buses. When the 19/20 trolleybus route was converted to motor buses, the Corporation initially allocated Crossley bodied Crossley's to operate the route. I was very surprised one day to observe that a Reading bodied Crossley was on the route, something that I had never seen before nor ever saw again. I therefore rushed home to obtain my camera and then made sure that I was in the correct place to photograph this bus. I took black & white interior and exterior photos of no. 15 on 9th October 1963 at Alexandra Park.

This year I commissioned an artist, Phil' Lightman to produce a coloured painting of this unique event. The result of his efforts are attached and I thought that your readers may like to see this painting. Phil' and I have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the finished result accurately reflects the vehicle as it was on that particular day. CPPTD bus no. 15 was withdrawn from service about 4 months later."

Phil Lightman says "The link to my website is www.artomotor.co.uk

And so to the picture of the Crossley.


Olympic follow up

Adrian Sheppard writes to send some more pictures from "Bus Depot Media". He says that you were unable to capture the depot in its entirety and I also include a few others you might find interesting.

2012 Olympics - Cruise ship berth and depot in August 2012

2012 Olympics - SC E300s lined up in August 2012

Swindon convoy en route to Olympics on July 15th

Swindon WX12GDY from offside rear on July 25th

Swindon WX12GDU passes the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on August 11th

All above pictures by Adrian Sheppard.

Olympic follow up by Peter Edgar.

Peter sent a selection of pictures of buses at several locations, including First Group and Reading Buses.

First at North Greenwich Arena

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 36266 at North Greenwich Arena - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 36277 at North Greenwich Arena - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 37662 at North Greenwich Arena - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 37682 at North Greenwich Arena - 040812

First at Maidenhead / Dorney Reach Park & Ride.

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 33371 Maidenhead Dorney Reach PnR - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 33656 Maidenhead Dorney Reach PnR - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 33705 Maidenhead Dorney Reach PnR - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -First 36229 Maidenhead Dorney Reach PnR - 040812 

London United VA81 at ExCel Arena.

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - London United VA81 at ExCel Arena - 040812 

Reading Buses, Maidenhead / Dorney Reach Park & Ride

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - Reading SN11BVZ Braywick PnR 36 - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - Reading SN61BDO Braywick PnR 34 - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - Reading YN06JWC Braywick PnR 36 - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - Reading YN08MME Braywick PnR 34 - 040812 

The Green Bus, Maidenhead / Dorney Reach Park & Ride

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - The Green Bus, Maidenhead - Dorney Reach PnR - 040812 

Translink Metro at North Greenwich

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -Translink Metro at North Greenwich - 040812

Olympic interlude by P Edgar -Translink Metro 2352 at North Greenwich - 040812

Ulsterbus at ExCel Arena.

Olympic interlude by P Edgar - Ulsterbus at ExCel Arena - 040812

Coca Cola Advertisement at Westfields Shopping Centre.


Observations and pictures

Mark E Lyons writes "Although slightly out of the Chiltern area I thought that readers might be interested in this....two of Stagecoach London's Scania Omnicitys have received poppy wraps to mark remembrance day as shown in the attached images.  The bulk of the tube fleet is also "wearing" poppies this year."

East London 15152 Lea Bridge Road

Selkent 15040 Old Kent Road

Frazer Peddle notes "I've been busy on my city lates rosta, however I did someone a favour and did a day shift on Friday (26th Oct) on Blackbird Leys.  It was very busy, much more so than on a late shift!

I haven't managed to take any photos lately but I have some observations from the past week or so....

COMS ex Thames Transit Hybrid (300) has only been seen on the 5 Rail Station - Blackbird Leys

COMS have been switching their buses round on different routes, Citaros have been on 8 & 9s Barton & Risinghurst, whereas previously it's been run by old Tridents, instead I've seen Tridents on X13 and X3."

Jamie Vendie writes "... some photos for you to add to next issue: 

50246 SV62BBJ Stagecoach Bluebird performing the first M19 service from Leeds to Glasgow,
which comes off the back off the revised overnight M12 from London which leaves at 01:00 instead of 23:30,
now via Milton Keynes, Leicester, Loughborough & Sheffield

DT04CJT Turners is becoming a regular performer working the south west corridor
of routes on the cross country megabus.com services.

Also early October saw 52366 PSU 787 perform on the Portsmouth services covering for earlier breakdowns.

Finally a photo of 16143 R143EVX with Stagecoach in Hull on its final day in service.
which was working alongside a Northern Counties Volvo Olympian both on the same evening,
got withdrawn pending transfer/disposal bringing Stagecoach in Hull 100% low floor fleet.

Richard Sharman sent some pictures and notes. He says "Olympian 925, H554 GKX (Carousel) was tonight (31/10) operating the 108c!, seen in service on Park End Street ."

SCO 22926 r 10 The High 291112 R Sharman

SCO 22940 r 10 St Aldates 291112 R Sharman

SCO 33464 on the X9 at Witney depot 031212 R Sharman

Gavin Francis noted with pictures as follows: 

With the closure of the Centrebus Depot at Harlow most of the routes have gone to Frontrunner/Olympian.
Here ex-Metroline Dart Y662NLO now operates the 351.
Only a few weeks ago I pictured it in Camden Town whilst at The Olympics. I believe they have purchased 13 of these from Metroline.

Karl Oakley, from Swindon, sent sone links which you maybe interested to include on next news page.

R976FNW from Carousel now with Thames Travel 

FJ56PFK ex National Express Caetano Levante with Aircoach in Dublin

Glenn de Sousa writes "First Berkshire's contract for the Madejski Stadium FastTrack contract was awarded to Reading Buses in October. Two of the Wright Solars that operated the route (65724/6) have transferred to Slough presumably for Route X74 with 65725 to follow shortly. First Berkshire Optare Solo 53065 has recently been repainted into the new corporate livery, but when I saw it last week it did not have any fleet names.

First 65726 r X74 WYC Bus Stn 151112 G Francis

Wrightbus Pulsar 2 KX12 HAA entered service last month at Stevenage

A Mercedes Benz Citaro from Aylesbury was on fire not so long ago. The Aylesbury garage have received two Citaros for an upgrade to route 300."

Arriva logo and TGM

In recent weeks one of the 12 plate Citaros has been working the 200 Express service between Aylesbury and Oxford on weekday services.

Luke Braham writes "Talking of Citaros I think the Citaro involved in the bus fire was 3923 (BK58 URR). The Citaros at the moment are being shared between the 300, 100 and 150 as the buses on the 100 and 150 are due for replacement

6306 was probably covering for E400 5438 (SN58 EOK) as it was operating Blue Route 2 all day yesterday. This week a line 280 branded E400 has been on Blue Route 2 a lot, as shown by one picture I sent to you earlier this week.

It was inset day (teacher training day) at school on Friday so I went down to the railway station and saw some interesting workings. Pictures included except Arriva 3919 on Line 150

Arriva the Shires Green Route 4 branded 0442 (Y42HBT) was operating Blue Route 2.

Arriva the Shires Line 100 branded 3447 (R207VPU) was operating Line 50.

Arriva the Shires Line 280 branded 5437 (SN58EOJ) was operating Blue Route 2.

Arriva - 5452 - SN58 ENX - r 300 AYL 291012 L Braham

During my time at Aylesbury rail station I managed to get a quick picture of Line 280 branded Enviro 400 5434 (SN58 EOF) with a Paralympic super-rear. 


Colin Richardson reports as follows
Route 300- Aylesbury - High Wycombe
On Tuesday 17 October 2012, Three ex London dickers worked all day on the route.
On routes 100/150 - Aylesbury - Milton Keynes it is now quite common place to see MB Citaros operating. 

Did you know they had two new Citaros delivered in August for the 300? All on their website http://www.arriva-shires.co.uk/

Also one of the older ones caught fire in Walton Street, Aylesbury last week.....


Adam Green reports as follows:

4517 is at Hemel from Watford.

3930, a new Aylesbury based Citaro, was on the 500 to Watford yesterday 301012.

Mark Smith writes "Could anyone advise what has happened to the following buses, not seen around for a while?"

They are as follows.

3002/3003 (V392/93 KVY)  3175 (P175 SRO) All were Base at Hemel

3189 (P189 SRO) Which was base at Watford

3173 (P673 OPP)/3183/86 (P183/86 SRO) 3441/49 (R201/09 VPU) these were Base at Luton

"Also which buses have left Luton to move to Stevenage out of the 3601-19 (KE55 Reg) that were used on Routes 27/38 in Luton "

Glenn de Sousa writes "Arriva the Shires new additions for Luton Guided Busway (when it opens) for now, they will be operating Luton Town Routes and route 38

3951 KX12GZN Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3952 KX12GZO Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3953 KX12GZP Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3954 KX12GZR Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3955 KX12GZS Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3956 KX12GZT Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3957 KX12GZU Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3958 KX12GZV Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3959 KX12GZW Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3960 KX12GZY Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires
3961 KX12GZZ Vo B7RLE Wt Eclipse 2 Arriva the Shires

Bernard Lewendon writes "There has been quite a rush of buses in and out of Arriva Wycombe in recent weeks so a summary, as far as I can workout, is given below." 


T007     L509 CPJ  Dennis Dart / East Lancs 2000. Driver Trainer Vehicle. Withdrawn many months, departed October.                       

3180     P180 SRO          Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer. W/d and removed October.

3213     R213 GMJ          Ditto                                         Removed September.

3245     R603 WMJ          Volvo B6LE/Wright Crusader.       W/d August, removed September.

3248     R604 WMJ          Ditto                                         W/d months ago, removed October.

3298     R607 WMJ          Ditto                                         W/d and removed October.

3849     R369 TWR         Volvo B10B/Wright Endurance.    W/d months ago, removed September.

3850     R370 TWR         Ditto                                         W/d months ago, removed September

3851     R371 TWR         Ditto                                         W/d, fire damage, removed September.

Last step entrance single decker to be in Arriva Wycombe service.

5141     N41 JPP             Volvo Olympian/N.C. Palatine.     Transferred to Luton, October.

5147     S147 KNK          Volvo Olympian/N.C. Palatine ll.    W/d and removed October.

5150     S150 KNK          Ditto                                         W/d and removed October ?

5151     S151 KNK          Ditto                                         W/d and removed October ?

Of the Olympians only 5162 continues in service. Two, believed to be 5148 and 5143, are stored out of us to the left of the garage.

See your picture, Malcolm, in last S & J. Any reports of the whereabouts of any of these buses will be welcomed.


3178     P178 SRO          Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer  Withdrawn November.

3240     P601 RGS          Volvo B6LE/Wright Crusader.       W/d months ago.

3431     P431 HVX          Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer. Arrived and withdrawn immediately, October.

3822     N522 MJO          Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2.      Appears to be withdrawn, November.

3825     P525 YJO           Ditto                                         Appears to be withdrawn, November.

3827     P527 YJO           Ditto                                         Appears to be withdrawn, November.

3852     R372 TWR         Volvo B10B/Wright Endurance.    Withdrawn July, waiting for scrap collection.

5148     S148 KNK          Volvo Olympian/ N.C. Palatine ll   Awaiting disposal. w/d or transfer?

5153     S153 KNK          Ditto                                         Awaiting disposal. W/d or transfer?

It looks as though 3821-3827 are on their way out, taking with them the colourful Redroute 33 livery.

Arriva 3852 and 3341 at Cressex withdrawn 201112 M Crowe

Arriva 3240 and 3822 withdrawn at Cressex 201112 M Crowe

Arriva 3217 with 3181 and 3178 withdrawn Cressex 201112 M Crowe


3261     V261 HBH          Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown.     Arrived November, from Luton (?).

4516     KE51 PVK          DAF SB120/Wright Cadet.           Arrived October, from Stevenage (?).

4517     KL52 CWJ          Ditto                                         Arrived November, from Stevenage (?).

4519     KE03 OUN          Ditto                                         Arrived November, from Stevenage (?).

4520     KE03 OUP          Ditto                                         Arrived November, from Stevenage (?).

4525     KE03 OUM         Ditto                                         Arrived November, from Hemel Hemp.

4530     LJ51 DFC           Ditto                                         Arrived September, from London. DWL 18.

4531     LJ51 DFD           Ditto                                         Arrived November, from London. DWL 19.

4532     LJ51 DFE           Ditto                                         Arrived November, from London. DWL 20.


A new arrival, in December, was 4529 LJ51DFA. It was previously DWL 17 with Arriva, London and was converted to single door and repainted to Arriva livery at Hants & Dorset Trim, Eastleigh. It is a DAF SB120 with Wrightbus Cadet body. 

3240 P601 RGS a Volvo B6LE with Wright Crusader Body, has at last been removed for scrap.

5147 S147 KNK a Volvo Olympian, was a Wycombe bus for several years and it disappeared in September. I was very surprised to see it back working a local service on 11 December. Does anyone know where it has been working or hiding for the previous two months?

At the Lincoln Road garage yard on 15 December was 5127 H197 GRO. I thought we had seen the last of the Leylands.

In due course we will see if it is a transfer or a visitor. Perhaps it is on its way to a scrap dealer.

Bernard then added "about the two double deckers that were parked to the left of the garage at Arriva Lincoln Road.

The front one could always be identified as 5148 but the identity of the second could not be determined.

Now that 5148 has been moved it is possible, with binoculars, to see that the one remaining is 5153.

5147 is still be in use."

Paul Coley writes "Whilst all the Arriva RL Olympians have now been withdrawn at Aylesbury, the ex Arriva G654UPP was I believe  bought 6 months ago by a staff member at the garage. As others have been withdrawn, she has been acquiring parts including removal of the dot matrix display and refitting of a standard blind, new front and some side panels. 654 was the original coach seated bus used on the X15 from MK to Reading. For around 2 weeks in September, she even had the blind set accordingly when parked up in 'death row' at the garage. Then she disappeared.......only to return last week in full British Bus yellow, blue and sand Shires livery! She looks stunning, I have to say. Difficult to get photos due to where she is parked, but will do my best  and send them in to you."

Glenn de Sousa sent a picture of one the recent arrivals.

Arriva 4529 at Hants and Dorset Trim courtesy Circle of London blog 261012

Peter Cabin writes "put back into service is 5147 S147SNK, it was working on the 37 & 74 corridors 13.12.12.

Arriva 5147 r 32 WYC 181212 M Crowe

Well I thought we had seen nearly the end of the Olympians in Wycombe yesterday 17.12.12. but no, 5127 H197GRO was in service on blue route 32.

Arriva 5127 at Cressex 151212 M Crowe

This, I presume, is a loan job from the MK area as up to ten buses were out of service.

Nigel Peach writes "It's sad to see the demise of the SLF Darts - the last surviving buses form the Go Ahead (Oxford Bus) ownership era. It's very unusual for buses to serve their whole life at just one depot, but these six vehicles have not only done that, they have been dedicated to the one route all that time. And not for them the meandering along the country lanes, these have had steep hills to contend with at both the Castlefileld and Totteridge ends of their routes. 3821 (N521 MJO) still survives though, on its own, and is still putting in good service after more than 16 years. These buses appeared new at round about the same time as when Wycombe Bus lost all its VRs - about 15 of them withdrawn en masse.

To add to the correspondence about Olympian 5127 (a surprising appearance at Cressex at the end of last week), the London Bus magazine reports that this has just been withdrawn at Milton Keynes. It's place was to have been taken by S reg 5146, but the MK contract that this bus worked has ceased, so 5146 remains at Watford. 5127 was the last double decker at Milton Keynes. (Strange to think that at the same time, Oxford is increasing its number of D/Ds!) "

Frazer Peddle writes "see the attached picture of an Arriva Dart 3821 - N521MJO waiting time outside the Thame Town Hall, working a 40 service, with route 33 branding, on the 19th December."


Luke Braham writes to  observe an unusual working of Line 280 branded E400 5452 (SN58ENX) on Line 300 to High Wycombe on the 29th October 2012. This bus was once allocated to Hemel Hempstead.

Arriva Pictureview in last 10 weeks.

Arriva 4517 r 40 291112 G Francis

Arriva 2445 unusually a Solo on the 500 seen at Hemel 211212 G Francis

Arriva 2497 r 31 WYC 291112 G Francis

Arriva 3214 new super rear 151112 G Francis

Arriva 3217 r 33 WYC 291112 G Francis

Arriva 3452 r 32 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 3454 r 850 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 3920 r 300 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 3931 r 300 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 4071 branded for 758 working 797 in BPR LON 041112 G Francis

Arriva 4516 r 33 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 4519 r 33 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 4520 r 33 WYC 291112 G Francis

Arriva 4530 r 74 WYC 291112 G Francis

Arriva 4532 r 74 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 5163 new super rear 151112 G Francis

Arriva 6301 r 33 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 6304 r 74 WYC 291112 G Francis

Arriva 6306 r 300 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 6309 r 300 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Arriva 6310 r 280 OXF Stn 101112 G Francis

Arriva R146NGT taxi HH 211212 G Francis

Arriva TGM Stansted 262 M162GRY STN 241212 G Francis

Arriva 2496 r 62 WYC BS 181212 M Crowe

Arriva 2497 r 62 WYC BS 081112 M Crowe

Arriva 3307 r 850 WYC 231112 M Crowe

Arriva 3482 r 32 Desboro' Av 081112 M Crowe

Arriva 3821 r33 WYC 181212 M Crowe
Not a very good picture but one of these ex Wycombe Bus Darts which are mostly being withdrawn.

Arriva 3826 r 33 WYC 081112 M Crowe

Arriva 3921 r 300 WYC showing revised rear destination 201212 M Crowe
Note that a destination has been added to all the rear displays at Aylesbury.

Arriva 5160 osf New Rd OX 171112 M Crowe
Not a regular sight, these Olympians are nearing the end of their Arriva life.

Arriva Cressex variety 201212 M Crowe 

Bowen Group/Jeffs 

David Percy sent a number of pictures from Jeffs just prior to the collapse of the Bowen Group.

Of course Jeffs is now back in business and going well!

The above pictures were taken on October 25th 2012 by David Percy.

John Mariner writes "....please find attached a picture of Carousel 923 taken in Reading on 19 November whilst it was working on service 144. Tempo 806 was also seen on the service that day."


Many Carousel vehicles have been temporarily transferred to Thames Travel following the sale of their MCVs / MAN’s:
AE57LYO / LYH / LYJ / LYK / LYP / LYR / LYS and AE08DLD / DKY.

To help with their loss two ex Oxford X90 Scanias have been in use at Wycombe, being 38 and 39, which of course started life as Airline coaches. These coaches were used on school contract work, one being a first trip  on the nr 3.

Carousel 39 nsr r 3 WYC 071212 G Francis
Not the best of pictures but the weather etc was much against any better.

Carousel 38 nsr WYC 191212 G Francis

Carousel 38 at depot 201212 M Crowe

Carousel Pictureview

Carousel 421 r 306 WYC BS 181212 M Crowe

Carousel 920 r 4 WYC 181212 M Crowe

Carousel 928 WYC 231012 M Crowe

Carousel 416 r 336 151112 G Francis

Carousel 421 r 306 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Carousel 751 r 35 WYC BS 151112 G Francis

Carousel 753 r 36 WYC 291112 G Francis

Carousel 918 - EVL4 r 740 WYC 291112 G Francis

Carousel 929 WYC 291112 G Francis 

Carousel fleet list as at December 10th 2012.

Fleet No. Old F/N Reg No. Chassis Body Seats New Livery Branding
38 OW03LFS Scania Irizar Century C44Ft 2003 White
415 STL9 AF53GCX MAN 14.220 MCV Stirling B38F 2003 Carousel
416 STL10 AF53GCY MAN 14.220 MCV Stirling B38F 2003 Carousel
417 STL11 AF53GCZ MAN 14.220 MCV Stirling B38F 2003 Carousel
418 EVO12 AE59AWH MAN 14.240 MCV Evolution B44F 2010 Carousel Link
419 EVO15 AE59AWJ MAN 14.240 MCV Evolution B44F 2010 Carousel Link
420 ENV16 RX60DLY MAN 14.240 ADL Enviro 200 B38F 2010 Carousel
421 ENV17 RX60DLZ MAN 14.240 ADL Enviro 200 B38F 2010 Carousel Line 4
422 ENV18 RX60DME MAN 14.240 ADL Enviro 200 B38F 2010 Carousel Line 4
423 ENV19 RX60DMF MAN 14.240 ADL Enviro 200 B38F 2010 Orange Orange Route 39 branded
424 ENV20 RX60FKF MAN 14.240 ADL Enviro 200 B38F 2010 Orange Orange Route 39 branded
561 DPL423 P423MLE Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B31F 1997 Purple Purple Route 35/36 branded
751 P22 YX07HNO Enterprise Bus Plaxton Primo B28F 2007 Carousel
752 P24 YX07HPJ Enterprise Bus Plaxton Primo B28F 2007 Green Countyrider
753 P25 RK07BNF Enterprise Bus Plaxton Primo B28F 2007 Carousel

801 C1 WYC Optare Tempo Optare B46F 2006 Carousel Route 4
802 C2 WYC Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
803 C3 WYC Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
805 YJ56 WUE Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
807 YJ56 WVT Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
808 YJ56 WVU Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
809 YJ56 WVV Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
871 MB51 CB51 BUS Mercedes Citaro Mercedes B42F 2003 Carousel Link
872 MB53 CB53 BUS Mercedes Citaro Mercedes B42F 2003 Carousel Link
873 MBA26 AE61 EWO Mercedes OC500U MCV Evolution B43F 2011 Carousel Link
874 MBA27 AE61 EWP Mercedes OC500U MCV Evolution B43F 2011 Carousel Link
875 MBA28 AE61 EWR Mercedes OC500U MCV Evolution B43F 2011 Carousel Link
918 EVL4 PN02XBZ Volvo B7 East Lancs Vyking H45/23D 2002 LT red
919 EVL5 PN02XCA Volvo B7 East Lancs Vyking H45/23D 2002 LT red
920 EVL6 PN02XCK Volvo B7 East Lancs Vyking H45/23D 2002 LT red
921 EVL7 PN02XCS Volvo B7 East Lancs Vyking H45/23D 2002 Carousel
922 EVL8 PN02XCT Volvo B7 East Lancs Vyking H45/23D 2002 LT red
925 L554 H554GKX Leyland Olympian Leyland H47/31F 1991 Carousel
927 L563 H563GKX Leyland Olympian Leyland H47/31F 1991 Carousel
928 R267 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F 1997 Blue The Blue Bus
929 R269 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F 1997 Blue The Blue Bus
930 R270 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F 1997 Blue The Blue Bus
931 R287 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F 1997 Blue The Blue Bus
Operational support vehicles
997 CE57 DSY Renault Master (panel van) 2 2007 Silver
On loan to Thames Travel
481 DAF981 R981FNW DAF SB220 Plaxton Prestige B40F 1997 Carousel
521 DAF54 CB54BUS DAF SB120 Wright Cadet B30F 2004 Carousel
804 YJ56 WUD Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
806 YJ56 WVS Optare Tempo Optare B47F 2007 Carousel
923 L530 G530VBB Leyland Olympian Northern Counties H47/27D 1990 Carousel The Blue Bus
924 L534 G534VBB Leyland Olympian Northern Counties H47/27D 1990 Carousel The Blue Bus
DPL480 P480 MLE Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Pointer B31F 1997 Carousel
DAF976 R976 FNW DAF SB220 Plaxton Prestige B36D 1997 Red
926 L556 H556GKX Leyland Olympian Leyland H47/31F 1991 Red Thames Valley Heritage Livery

Ensign Bus

Current movements in and out of this well known dealer are provided thanks to the Trident magazine. 


RH Transport:  Solo’s MX57 UPS, MX57 UPT, MX57 UPW


Solo’s  MX57 UPS, MX57 UPT, MX57 UPW to Rotala Group:

Epsom Coaches

The company provides coaches towards the Terravision service from Victoria to Stansted. These are normally in Terravision livery and if one of these coaches is not available then they use an Epsom liveried Setra in place.

A recent surprise has been the use of the spare National Express Levante coach which is in plain white. It is seen below in Bulleid Way.

Epson Coaches EP04 on Terravision service to STN at Bulleid Way 191112 M Crowe

News came during the period that the Greyhound were to cease their services from London to the South Coast. They had previously ceased the Glasgow service.

First 23322 YN06CGV GREYHOUND BPR LON 081112 G Francis

First Greyhound 23325 - last service to the coast by VCS 171112 M Crowe
The End of a brave experiment!

First Scania K124 23008 covering on the Greenline 702 at Victoria 191112 M Crowe

First Scania K124 23011 covering on the Greenline 702 at Victoria 281012 M Crowe

Heyfordian - KX04HPV r 118 OXF 051112 G Francis

Heyfordian - KX04HPZ r 63 OXF 031112 G Francis


The first 62 plate Levantes have now taken to the road starting with GALLOWAYS FN62 CAA first seen on October 28th.

Details of more 62 plate coaches are given courtesy The Trident Magazine.

FN62 CCV   Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   Selwyn's

FN62 CCZ   Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   Selwyn's

FN62 CDE   Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   Selwyn's

FN62 CDY   Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   Selwyn's

FN62 CEA 74 Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   East Yorkshire

FN62 CEU 75 Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   East Yorkshire

NEx EYMS 75 FN62 CEU r 562 Bulleid Way 181212 G Francis

FN62 CGX 76 Volvo B9R Caetano Levante II C48FT   East Yorkshire

Service news

(From 7th January 2013)

326 Newcastle to Cambridge will operate to Luton instead via Northampton and Milton Keynes and calling additionally at Mansfield.

332 Newcastle to Swindon will no longer call at Darlington, Doncaster or Mansfield, but will call at   Leeds   

National Express Pictureview

NEx Epsom 906 BF60OFD r 509 VCS 221212 G Francis

NEx Travel De Courcey MD7 FJ11GKN super ad detail 181212 G Francis

NEx Parks HSK660 VCS 251012 M Crowe

NEx SCO 53704 revised super rear 261012 M Crowe

NEx Your Bus 4016 with mirror problems at VCS 281012 M Crowe

One of National Express's most prolific contractors is South Gloucester Bus and coach. Not only do they operate a number of services from the West Country to Victoria and the Airports but they also loan coaches to other NEx operators, such as Stagecoach Oxford.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have their own low loader to deliver or recover their coaches. One of their coaches is seen below being delivered to Victoria to replace one which had broken down. Most enterprising I must say.

SGCB low loader and Caetano Levante in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria on October 27th. M Crowe


As mentioned earlier floods caused problems in Oxford at the end of November and early December. I am indebted to Ralph Adams for his report and pictures.

Ralph Adams writes "Kennington has today for 1 week been cut off from Oxford as a new trench is being dug across the entrance road for drainage improvement so route 35 goes direct from Redbridge to Radley. A shuttle bus  is provided by 521 by COMS, part of the Thames Travel fleet, CB54 BUS, a DAF with Wright bodywork providing a 30 minute frequency from Radley Station to Kennington."

The loaned vehicle with Oxford Bus Company stickers in Radley. R Adams.

Citaro 856 on the same service.

Perhaps the most significant item from this company has been the introduction of a further batch of Hybrids deckers for service in Oxford.

Gavin Francis was on hand to record their entry into service on the first few days.

OX 356 on route 5 in Blackbird Leys on 211212 G Francis

OX 353 again on route 5 at the Rail Station on 221212 G Francis

OX 357 on route 5 in Park End St on 221212 G Francis

Of course the other deckers are still active and the delivery of these new buses may allow more Citaros to be cascaded to local subsidiary companies. Already 849 has joined 850-854 at Thames Travel.

Gavin Francis has taken a number of other Oxford Buses in service and these along with my own efforts are included in an Oxford Bus Pictureview.

Oxford Bus Pictureview.

OX 300 on route 5 at the Rail Station on 221212 G Francis

OX 215 on route U1 at the Rail Station on 101112 G Francis

OX 101 serves route 5 on 311012 G Francis

OX 106 also serves route 5 in St Aldates on 281112 G Francis

OX 118 on a Special Service at the Rail Station on 101112 G Francis

OX 105 on route 3 at Bonn Sq. with revised super rear on 271012 M Crowe

OX 114 passes Bonn Sq. on route 8 on 171112 M Crowe

OX 114 on route 8 loads in Castle St on 171112 M Crowe

Scania 213 passes 224 at the top of New Rd on 171112 M Crowe

OX 219 runs the route 5 in New Rd on 171112 M Crowe

OX 230 serves route 3 in Castle St on 171112 M Crowe

OX Hybrid 316 passes sister 308 at New Rd Corner on 171112 M Crowe

Citaro dual door 827 on route 4C in New Rd on 171112 M Crowe

Citaro 838 runs the 4B in Castle St on 171112 M Crowe

Citaros pass with 862 passing 870 at New Rd top on 171112 M Crowe

On a number of occasions in the past months the Airline coaches have been seen in London on the X90.
18 is seen in Victoria coach Station on November 4th by M Crowe

92 arrives in Oxford at the end of a run from London by M Crowe on November 17th.

Red Eagle

Red Eagle Alexander bodied Y349FJN is seen at Hemel Hempstead on 211212 by G Francis
This bus also can be seen in High Wycombe on the 339.


Luke Braham writes "Red Rose have sold their only double decker bus, T309ORP, a Volvo Belfast Olympian to Red Line, Aylesbury and is still in Red Rose old livery. This is the bus Motts Travel sold to Red Rose after owning the bus for 2 hours and it was registered 99-D-490 in Ireland."  

Red Rose

See above re Olympian T309ORP.

Red Rose E200 OU08EHO works the 275 at Wycombe Bus Station on November 15th - G Francis

R H Buses

Derek Wiggins writes "shown below is a picture of Stagecoach Solo 47452 working the  free replacement 64 route but with paper blind on 6th October. During the week I noted Banbury depot 47239 also on the 64.

STAGECOACH Oxford 47452 on the replacement service 64 on October 6th by D Wiggins

The X47 has been passed to Ridgeway Coaches of Wantage. They are using a Scania Irizar, VKZ2292, on the service.

Ridgeway Coaches Scania VKZ2292 runs the X47 on October 13th by 131012 D Wiggins


Ralph Adams notes that service 10 has an increased frequency requiring two extra buses on weekdays from Monday 6th November.

The twelve new Enviro E200s have arrived. They are listed below and we note that 36770  and 36771 are fitted with Tachos.

























Route 12/16 has an increase in time due to other traffic requiring one extra bus on weekdays from today.

36766 works route 12 loading in St Aldates on December 18th by Gavin Francis

E200 Pictureview

Before entry in to service by Malcolm Crowe.

E200 36762 before entering service, seen at Excel on November 10th by M Crowe

Interior shots of 36762 by M Crowe.

Now in service.

36764 on route 10 loads in St Aldates on November 26th by G Francis

36767, on route 10, loads in St Aldates on November 27th by G Francis

Graham Low writes "Here are views of the first (numerically) of the new Stagecoach E200s on Route 10 at Cowley Centre on 25 November. I first saw these buses in service on route 10 on Friday 23 November."

Flagship 36760 of the new E200s loads at Cowley Centre on 29th November by G Low

Following the acquisition of the ex RH routes all spare buses have gone to the Witney area so 33462/63/64 have come to Oxford from Peterborough, 33463/64 last used in Cambridge.

Gavin Francis sent a pictures of various loaned buses.

East's 33463 works route 10 on October 31st prior to the introduction of the new buses by G Francis
Note the older style destination screen as all Oxford's own buses have digital displays.

SC 47434 just received from Gloucester and new to Dukes travel, Ross-on-Wye.
It is rather posh and has semi-coach seating and seat belts.
Seen in Horspath depot on December 14th by Malcolm Crowe.

Richard Sharman notes that Gloucester branded Solo 47551 was out on the 17A on the evening of the 8th of November.

Courtesy Trident for December the following fleet changes are noted.

Transferred to East Kent have been five MAN 14.220 / ALX300s 22944 to 22948.

Back in use on National Express is Volvo B9R 53701 (OU10 GYH). This has allowed Scania / Caetano 59211 (FJ56OBY) to move across to East Kent.

With the collapse of RH Buses, Stagecoach took on many of the services, resulting in the need for additional buses, MAN / ALX300s single decks 22925, 22926, 22934, 22935, 22936, 22940 and 22941 were reactivated from reserve, along with Dennis Dart 33822.

Several buses arrived from elsewhere:

Optare Solos 47037 (KX03 KZB), 47549 (VX07 LXZ) and 47551 (VX07 LYC)

Dennis Darts 33454 (S454 CVV), 33455 (S455 CVV), 33462 (V462 TVV), 33463 (V463 TVV), 33464 (V464 TVV), 33947 (V947 DFH) and 33970 (V978 AFH).

A few transfers: Optare Solo 47455 has moved from Oxford to Witney, with 472347 to 47239 moving to Witney from Banbury.

These have been replaced at Banbury by Enviro 300s 22768 to 22770 from Oxford.

Since those notes 33454 and 33455 have returned to Northampton following the entry into service of the new E200s. Indeed your Editor had the opportunity to take 33454 back to Northampton one foggy and cold morning. Pictures of this short excursion are shown below.

SC Midlands 33454 at Northampton depot after arrival from Oxford on December 14th. M Crowe

SC Midlands Solos at Northampton depot on 141212 M Crowe

An old friend was peeping out from a corner of the depot to greet me. 22921 seen at Northampton depot on 141212 M Crowe

Another excursion for me was one Sunday when a change of buses was required at Chipping Norton depot. This is located in the yard area of what was once a very fine depot in the Oxfordshire network.

Dart 33464 and Solo 47735 at Chippy outstation on 181112 M Crowe

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Pictureview

A big surprise in Gloucester Green on November 27th was the appearance of Scania 16549 from Swindon on route 66.
This bus is branded for the 49 service which runs from Swindon to Trowbridge via Avebury and Devizes.
Happy memories flooded back to me of our family holiday on the Kennet and Avon, when I saw these buses
passing close to canal  at the bottom of Caen Hill locks, which is where we hired our boat from.
Happy days, sun, good food and lovely scenery. Ah me!  M Crowe.

The first company in Oxford to enjoy Hybrids was, of course, Stagecoach and here 12010
loads on route 8 in Castle Street for a run out to Barton on eastern extremities of the city.
Taken on November 17th by  M Crowe.

The delivery of so many "Gold" buses to Stagecoach Oxford has made an occasional spare,
 which in the case of the latest buses for the S3 means that they get used on the 3 to Rose Hill,
now extended to Oxford Rail Station.
15835 is seen in Castle St on November 17th by M Crowe

One of the loaned Darts, 33462, works route 12 and is seen loading in St Aldates on November 17th by M Crowe

One of the acquired routes from RH was the 18  and a Witney based Solo 47451 is seen in 18 George St on November 17th by M Crowe

Oxford has received an above average arrival of new buses in 2012 and some of these are seen above
on October 23rd by M Crowe

Of interest may be that there are now 20 Gold Scanias in Oxford and area.

Scania 15438 is seen on the 2A, more usually run by Hybrids, on November 5th by G Francis

This time E300 22766 is seen on route 2 inr 2 Magdalen St on December 22nd by G Francis

Loaned Dart 33463 is seen on route 16 loading in St Aldates on November 3rd by G Francis

Once at Banbury and now based at Witney Solo 47239 is seen in Oxford on an 11 working on November 3rd by G Francis

Loaned from Gloucester Solo 47549 is seen at Horspath depot on November 18th by G Francis 

Oxfordshire fleet disposals up to December 9th were as follows.

22054 KX53 VNK MAN ALX300 - Oxford to Eastbourne
22057 KX53 FAA MAN ALX300 - Oxford to Eastbourne
22279 SP51 AMO MAN ALX300 - Oxford to Eastbourne
22942 OU51 WLK MAN ALX300 - Oxford to Eastbourne
22943 OU51 WLL MAN ALX300 - Oxford to Eastbourne

Roy Meller has been busy with his camera and sends us pictures of ex Oxford M A N s at work on the south coast.

"I hope this photo will be of interest to you, 22945 is now in service at Eastbourne, having been transferred from East Kent Thanet after a short stay. There, it is one of five similar vehicles 22944 / 946 / 947 / 948  intended to replace the MAN / MCV Evolutions here, although they will need more than five."

22945 OV51KAE is seen at Eastbourne D.G.H  Kings Drive on service 51 ( Tunbridge Wells - Eastbourne ).

"Another  Man / ALX300  has entered service with Stagecoach Eastbourne, 22947 is seen emerging from Hazelwood Avenue, Willingdon Trees on the 1A on its first day at Eastbourne  16/11/12."


Mark Jones writes "I've been reading your site, and noticed you take contributions, So here is one from the other week, I'll keep sending in more as and when."

An unusual working on the 10 is 15434, KX08KZG.
Compared to the usual staple of ALX200 and 300's on this service it is very unusual.
I saw this heading out of the City, so spent some time waiting for it to return.

South West

Stagecoach South West (as they now seem to be known) 18395 at Ilfracombe.
This bus used to a Brookes bus in Oxford.
Andy Mitchell - ( Photo courtesy of S. Mitchell)

Cheltenham & Gloucester

Another new Gold bus, this time for route 10 in Cheltenham by Carl Berry.


New tri-axle Volvos have been delivered to this company for use on the X27 service. A picture of the first coach in service can be found at the link below.


Mark Atkinson provided a couple of shots taken at Plaxtons before delivery.


The Astromega fleet is working hard with a busy period now drawing to its conclusion with the New Year's Eve/Day services closing the year 2012.

Some interesting pictures are to hand, one of the best being the arrival of a Megabus Cwmbran Astromega at our parking location in Oxford on December 8th.

50236 is shown below in company with 50226 from the Tube fleet.

M Crowe.

Tube Pictureview

50204 at the beginning of its journey to London holds for the pedestrian crossing at the top of New Rd
on November 17th by M Crowe

50214 heads along Castle St, nearing the end of its journey from London.
Some readers may note the loss of the Van Hool badge on this coach following an altercation with another Astromega!
Seen on November 17th by M Crowe

Ex Oxford Tube Skyliners working hard in Ireland 

Six Neoplan Skyliners are running between Dublin and Limerick. 

The web site link will give readers information on this innovative service between two important cities in the Republic.


Looking at the site it seems to be a mini Tube operation with the added advantage that viewers can see where the coaches are on their route.

Ken Oakley sent a picture of the operation

ex Tube Skyliner KP04GKE en route to Ireland 221012 D Robinson.

Also from Mark Atkinson a picture of an ex Tube Skyliner working for Cozy.

Cozy Letchworth KP04GJX 161212 M Atkinson


The new Astromegas are entering service and joining the six older coaches allocated to Perth.

Also contracted operator, for the M16, Freestones Coaches of Dereham, are now operating a tri-axle Scania/Irizar i6, YT62HZX, which is the only one of its type to operate Megabus services.

The company has been operating the Megabus M16 contract since May 2011 and the demand on the service has resulted in this increase in capacity.

I am most grateful to the Norwich Bus Page for the kind permission to use this picture taken by Kieran Smith on December 27th 2012. The page covers an area somewhat removed from the mainstream, located as it is in the far east of the country. It is however well worth a visit.

Freestones YT62HZX seen at Norwich Bus Station on December 27th in a photo by Kieran Smith

Mark Atkinson has provided one of the same coach in Bulleid Way, London.


The Interdeckers are being seen on the road and a nice picture is shown below.

A point of interest is the mileage accrued by the early Astromegas on Megabus services since late 2009. Some of these coaches now record nearly 1.5 million kilometers, a fine tribute to this fine model.

Megabus Pictureview

A nice surprise in early November was to see this ex Oxford Tube Skyliner operating a Megabus service.
New Adventure H2KFJ is seen leaving "Sammy's" on November 4th by M Crowe

Peakes of Pontypool were using this Scania/Irizar PB YN05HDA on Megabus service from London victoria on November 4th seen by M Crowe

Catteralls provided a mega seated (83 seats) Volvo SF07WAJ for a Megabus service on October 28th seen by M Crowe

SC Megabus 50228 heads for the coach station in Victoria before leaving to Aberdeen on November 19th seen by M Crowe
This is one of the coaches which have accrued almost 1.5 million kms!

The car got in the way!!!
SC Megabus 50249 crosses from Elizabeth St Victoria on November 4th seen by M Crowe

It's nice to see a sense of humour in the industry as shown by
Megabus 53029 "not feeling well" at Bulleid Way London on November 28th by M Crowe

Megabus revised livery - newer on right - VCS on October 26th by M Crowe

Regular performers for Megabus are Megabus Tetley's whose X3TET is seen loading for an M12 departure at VCS on December 1st by G Francis 

Star Travel

Luke Braham writes "recently acquired an Optare Solo from Tyrer Tours and has the registration plate YJ56 AOX. It is seen operating route 5 in Aylesbury."


The company provided a number of Wright Streetlites for the Olympics. The main pictures are shown above and taken by Adrian Sheppard.

Swindon WX12GDU passes the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on August 11th 

Thames Travel MCV Evolutions 405-14 have been withdrawn with 408 and 412 sold to Ensignbus (Dealer). Also two Leyland Olympian / Northern Counties Palatine I's (923/4) are on loan from Carousel Buses.

Thames Travel MCVs / MAN’s: AE57LYO / LYH / LYJ / LYK / LYP / LYR / LYS & AE08DLD / DKY have been sold by Ensignbus to Associated Coach Sales, Palmerston, New Zealand. (Now anyone able to supply pictures of these buses in their new location?) 

ADL Enviro 400 hybrid 900 (SN60 BXW) was transferred to Oxford Bus Co. repainted red and renumbered 300 to fit in with the Hybrids. (pictures above under Oxford Bus)

With the disposal of MANs 405 to 414, several buses have come on loan from Carousel: Optare Tempos 804 and 806, Olympians 924 and 924, DAFs 481 and 976 and Dennis Dart SLF 480.

Citaro 849 has joined the fleet from Oxford Bus.

Pictureview below shows some of these changes.

Thames Travel Pictureview

109 r 101 OXF 201212 G Francis

707 r X40 St Aldates 081112 G Francis

710 r 106C St Aldates 201112 G Francis

804 nis St Aldates 271112 G Francis

Carousel 804 route 101 High St 171112 M Crowe

Carousel 804 heading for the X39 loading point passes Oxford 867 on the X13 St Aldates on November 17th by M Crowe

Carousel 804 on the X39 St in Aldates on November 17th by M Crowe
The driver remarked on the wheel base and length not being easy in Wallingford or Watlington.

851 r BF St Aldates 281112 G Francis

852 r 101 St Aldates 261112 G Francis

854 r 106C OXF 031112 G Francis

911 r 116 St Aldates OX 081112 G Francis

915 nis St Aldates 271112 G Francis

917 r 116 High St 201112 G Francis

Carousel 923 on the X32 St Aldates 171112 M Crowe

1909 r X39 St Aldates 081112 G Francis

1909 also seen on the 600 at Thornhill by M Crowe.

DAF976 r X32 St Aldates 281112 G Francis


Tappins are operating some of the ex Jeff's school contracts, often using a black Volvo W40OOW. 

This operator acquired the Tappins Coaches, Didcot division of Heyfordian Travel on the 1st October and acquired 33 vehicles (see below).

73  TIL 5973 (ex D73 HRU) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
75  TIL 5975 (ex D75 HRU) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
163  RIL 7163 (ex B163 FWJ) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
166  LUI 3166 (ex F166 XLJ) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C53F
171  C 17 TCL (ex N171 LHU) Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
172  N172 LHU Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
173  C16 TCL (ex N173 LHU) Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
174  C18 TCL (ex N174 LHU) Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
175  N 175 LHU Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
176  C19 TCL (ex N176 LHU) Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
177  N177 LHU Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
178  C18 TCL (ex N178 LHU) Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
179  N179 LHU Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
180   N180 LHU Volvo B10M-62 / Van Hool C53F
184  TIL 1184 (ex K101 XPA) Volvo B10M-55 / Plaxton B55F
260  YBZ 3260 (ex E260 PEL) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
261  RIL 5261 (ex H261 GRY) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C53F
262  TIL 9262 (ex H262 GRY) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C53F
301  461 XPB (ex LUI 9301, K301 GDT) Volvo B10M-60 / Van Hool C53F
302  653 GBU (ex TIL 9302, K302 GDT) Volvo B10M-60 / Van Hool C53F
324  KUI 5324 (ex C324 UFP) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
325  ANZ 1325 (ex C325 UFP) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F
338  C326 UFP Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C53F 
400  LUI 8400 (ex F400 DUG) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C53F
414  P414 HRB Toyota Coaster / Caetano Optimo C21F
415 P415 HRB Toyota Coaster / Caetano Optimo C21F
418  KUI 9418 (ex G418 YAY) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C53F
500  YUE 338 (ex 500 EFC, NBL 905X) Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton C51F
507  ECZ 3507 (ex G507 LEU) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C49F 
509  TIL 7509 (ex G509 LWU) Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton C49F
C10  TCL (ex N727 UVR) Volvo B10M-62 / Jonckheere C53FT
C13  TCL (ex N731 UVR) Volvo B10M-62 / Jonckheere C53FT
C15  TCL (ex L745 YGE) Volvo B10M-62 / Jonckheere C53FT 

Vale Transport

Pete Edgar writes that DK57OPY has broken down at least three times in the end week of October, being replaced on Tuesday 30.10.12. with MPD dart Y843TGH.

On Thursday  01.11.12. MPD Y847TGH was out and about and finally Friday afternoon Dart Y803TGH saw service in High Wycombe.

All these buses operated on service 27 to Lance Way and Cotswold Way

Photo by Pete Cabin


Arriva begins to operate four contracts in the Netherlands

12 December 2012

Leading European passenger transport operator Arriva has this week begun four new regional contracts in the Netherlands.

The contracts, which began on Sunday (9 December) include bus services in north and south west Friesland, including on the island of Schiermonnikoog; bus services in the country’s South Holland province, and the Achterhoek Rivierenland and Vechtdallijnen rail contracts.

In total Arriva is introducing nearly 400 new buses and 38 new trains to serve the contracts. The revenue, over the life of the contracts, is around €2.5bn. Some 1,800 new employees are transferring to Arriva.

The north and south west Friesland andSouth Holland bus contracts both operate for eight years with a further two-year extension option.

The north and south west Friesland contract was awarded by the Province of Fryslan, and involves the operation of 190 buses providing urban, inter-urban and rural services, which will complement Arriva’s existing bus and rail services in the province.

As part of the contract, Arriva will continue to operate its services on the island of Schiermonnikoog, where it is the sole operator.

The South Holland contract, including 230 new buses, adds to Arriva’s strong presence in the province where it already operates bus, rail and waterbus services within the Drechsteden, Alblasserwaard, Vijfheerenlanden and the Hoeksche Waard regions.

The rail element of the Achterhoek Rivierenland  contract also began this week, the bus element having begun in 2010. Services operate between Arnhem and Winterswijk, Zutphen and Winterswijk, and Tiel to Arnhem. The rail contract has a 10-year term with an option for a five-year extension. TheVechtdallijnen rail services - between Zwolle and Emmen - will be operated by Arriva until 2027.

Arriva is delivering real improvements in all four of these concessions. A network of new ticketing kiosks will help customers purchase tickets and travel cards. Timetables have also been overhauled and will offer customers more late-night journeys and more frequent services – for both bus and rail. In addition:

- For South Holland, each of the new low-emission buses is equipped with wi-fi and offers free transport for bikes; new timetables integrate the new bus services with existing multi-modal networks in the region and new travel shops have been opened.

- In north and south west Friesland, timetable improvements include better multi-modal connections in Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, Veenwouden, Outpost, Franker and Sneek. Arriva also offers free wi-fi on coach services and free bike transport.

- For Achterhoek Riverienland, passengers benefit from new trains with free wi-fi, and additional journey times in the early morning and late evenings on the Tiel to Apeldoorn services.

- New trains, limited stop services, additional services plus free wi-fi are some of the improvements to the Vechtdallijnen service.

David Martin, chief executive of Arriva plc, said: “These are important contracts which enable us to integrate many of our existing operations and offer a comprehensive service for customers".

Arriva UK Bus unveils first of 21 new carbon neutral buses

Arriva has unveiled the first of a new fleet of carbon neutral buses which will bring eco-friendlier travel to some of the European transport operators’ UK bus routes.

The bus, which was showcased at the Eurobus Expo 2012 show at the National Exhibition Centre this week, is part of a £4.2 million investment which will see the introduction of 21 MAN EcoCity gas powered buses into service.

The buses, which are powered by gas generated from landfill household waste, were purchased following a successful trial of the technology in the North West earlier this year.

The 21 buses will roll into service at the start of 2013 and will contribute to Arriva’s strategy to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment.

The gas buses are part of a wider £26.7million investment in new, environmentally-friendlier buses by Arriva UK Bus. This includes Europe’s largest ever order of 153 diesel-electric hybrid technology buses, which will be used both as part of Arriva’s Transport for London fleet and across its UK regional bus businesses.

Mike Cooper, managing director of Arriva UK Bus, said: “As one of the largest bus companies in the UK we are committed to leading the way when it comes to using technology to deliver solid benefits to our customers, the environment and our stakeholders.

“The buses have been specially designed for the UK market and, as they run on Bio-gas, provide a carbon neutral solution to the environmental challenges we face as a transport provider in the 21st century.

“The 21 new gas buses and our order of 153 hybrid vehicles is only one element of our strategy for reducing our environmental impact. We have also invested in technological solutions to improve driver efficiency, training to raise awareness amongst staff, and created an upgraded roll-out plan to improve the energy usage of our depots across the UK.”

Arriva already has substantial experience in Europe with gas buses operating in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

The gas will be provided by members of the Gas Bus Alliance. This recently formed organisation aims to support vehicle makers, dealers and operators with advice on all aspects of running low-emission Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles. The GBA says that by bringing together expertise in a single alliance, it offers the transport sector one point of contact for CNG vehicle support.

Mike Cooper added: “The improvements and investments Arriva is making now are just one step towards our overall objective of reducing the carbon footprint of bus travel while providing quality, reliable services for people who want to make greener travel choices. The future will see further investment to reinforce our commitment to a greener future, as we look to continue to lead the way in this increasingly important issue for the bus industry.”

The gas buses will be used as part of Arriva’s UK bus operations in the North East and North West of England.


Stagecoach, on 2 November 2012, announced a £3.2m investment in a fleet of Britain’s biggest coaches as it continues to meet growing demand for its market-leading inter-city travel service megabus.com.

A fleet of 11 15m-long coaches equipped with free Wi-Fi will be delivered in December and introduced on megabus.com routes covering Scotland and England.

Megabus.com now covers around 60 locations across the UK and carries around 5 million passengers a year.

Manufactured by Scottish-based Alexander Dennis Limited, the Plaxton Elite i coaches have 75 seats, offering more than 20% extra capacity than a standard 15m vehicle and more luggage space.

They provide roll-on level access for wheelchair users and other passengers with disabilities, eliminating the need for a special lift, and also feature tinted double-glazing and a toilet.

The vehicles will operate mainly on two routes: Glasgow - Edinburgh - Newcastle - Sheffield – London; and Preston - Manchester – London. They may also be used on some London - Leeds and London - Exeter - Plymouth services.

Included in the order is a coach in a special metallic version of the megabus.com livery to mark the 10th anniversary of the budget service in 2013.

Ian laing, General Manager for megabus.com, said: “Demand for great value inter-city travel just keeps on growing, especially with the rising cost of owning and running a car and the further stretch on household budgets. These new state-of-the-art coaches will deliver more capacity on key routes we operate in the UK.

"We have worked closely with Plaxton over the past 10 months on developing this new model. It sets new standards of accessibility for our customers with impaired mobility, as well as offering great comfort all round. The new fleet will also provide even greener travel for our customers and a lower carbon footprint for our business."

The Elite i higher-capacity coach will deliver lower per passenger emissions than standard coaches. Powered by a 10.8-litre Euro 5 engine, the vehicle is based on a tri-axle Volvo B11RT underframe.


09 November 2012

Go-Ahead Group current and former staff were among the winners at this year's prestigious Route One Operator Excellence Awards.

Steve Prewett of Go South Coast won the Bus Engineer of the Year award, with the judges citing his deep passion for the performance of the entire business, his pride in the presentation of the company's buses and his focus on satisfying the customer.

Louisa Weeks, who until recently was Operations Director at Oxford Bus Company, won the Bus Manager of the Year award. The judges said Louisa is a "highly regarded senior transport professional who has enhanced an already well-earned reputation by taking forward a textbook example of partnership working with the local authority."

Go North East was also successful, winning the Innovation of the Year award for the Key Lifestyle, a flexible transport package which combines bus, car and travel discounts. The judges commented that the package was "especially appropriate in challenging times...It builds on growing concerns about the cost of car ownership while providing  an integrated solution that also saves passengers money."

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead said: "Many congratulations to Steve and  Louisa who have been rightly recognised for their commitment in their respective fields.  I am delighted that Go North East's Lifestyle product was deemed a worthy winner too, with the company recognised for its innovation and its achievement in bringing together  in one product a wider choice of transport options for passengers ”.

Double awards success for Stagecoach

08 Nov 2012

• Stagecoach Manchester named Large Bus Operator of the Year
• Innovation award for megabus.com overnight sleeper coach

Transport operator Stagecoach is celebrating after its businesses scooped two top honours at the 2012 Route One Operator Excellence Awards.

Stagecoach Manchester was named Large Bus Operator the Year at the Birmingham ceremony last night (Wednesday 7 November) while the megabus.com overnight sleeper coach won the Coach Innovation of the Year honour.

Stagecoach Group was also shortlisted for the Green Award at this year's event and Stagecoach Manchester Engineering Director Peter Sumner was named as a finalist in the Bus Engineer of the Year category.

Winning the Large Bus Operator of the Year title, Stagecoach's Manchester operation was praised by judges for the consistent passenger growth it has achieved through continuing innovation, good customer service, vehicle presentation and the use of new technology. Stagecoach Manchester - which recently announced plans to acquire private operator Bluebird as well as FirstGroup's Wigan bus business - currently employs 1,850 staff and operates 630 buses, carrying around 100million passengers a year.

The company has increased passenger numbers by 24% over the past 10 years through a series of innovations including the introduction of smart ticketing, the use of hybrid-electric vehicles, the launch of new routes and the construction of a state-of-the-art, green depot at Sharston.

Stagecoach Manchester Managing Director Christopher Bowles said: "To be recognised by our peers is a reflection of everyone's hard work and dedication. We strive to ensure that our passengers receive the best possible service, which includes offering a greener, cleaner journey.

"We look forward to continuing our success in 2013 and further improving our service offering, which includes launching 40 more eco-friendly hybrid buses."

The sleeper coach, which is operated through the Scottish Citylink joint venture between Stagecoach and international transport group ComfortDelGro, scooped the Coach Innovation of the Year award after establishing itself as a successful new transport option for people travelling overnight between Glasgow and London.

The service was launched in October 2011 and offers fares between £1 and £40*. It provides a direct, non-stop service between the two cities and offers passengers a bunk bed as well as a seat for their journey. The sleeper coaches, which operate one journey in each direction every night, have been specially converted to provide 24 berths and 24 seats. Customers also benefit from free wi-if, as well as a duvet and pillow and refreshments during their journey.

The service has proved popular among passengers, and has operated at 95% capacity since it was launched. Stagecoach has previously announced that it is now working in partnership with Belgian manufacturer Van Hool on a new 15-metre sleeper coach vehicle which would see the vehicle fitted with 55 seats and tables for use during the daytime, with the potential to be converted into 41 bunks for overnight services.

megabus.com General Manager Ian Laing said: "Winning this award is great recognition for everyone involved with the launch of the sleeper coach. More and more people are choosing to travel long distance by coach and this service has shown that, by introducing a new and innovative transport option, it is possible to attract even more people on to greener, smarter coach travel. We are delighted to win this award and I would like to thank all of our staff for their hard work in making this concept a reality."

The Route One Operator Excellence Awards recognises and celebrates excellence among coach, bus and minibus operators across 16 award categories.

At last year's Route One Awards, Stagecoach won the Green Award alongside bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis. In addition, Stagecoach London Engineering Director Darren Roe won the Bus Engineer of the Year Award at the 2011 event.

Stagecoach Group launches Corporate App for Android devices

05 Nov 2012

Stagecoach Group has launched a dedicated version of its corporate app for Android devices.

The new app gives investors, analysts, media and other users quick and easy access to key information about the Group.

Developed by digital corporate communications experts Investis, the new free app follows those already available for iPhone and iPad.

The Stagecoach Group Media and Investor app can be downloaded from Google play here.

It gives users access to a range of corporate content, from the latest company news to financial information and investor presentations.

Android-optimized features include:

·         Detailed share price data

·         Latest news releases

·         Document library with download facility

·         Event calendar

·         Investor Relations contact information

Steven Stewart, Stagecoach Group Director of Communications, said: "The new Android app will open up our digital content to a wider audience. It will help investors, analysts, the media and other stakeholders stay informed anytime, anywhere."

Earlier this year, Stagecoach Group launched of a mobile version of its corporate website, www.m.stagecoach.com.

Stagecoach has also launched a corporate Twitter account, @stagecoachgroup, where the communications team is posting news, comment and images about the business and transport issues.

Stagecoach buys Chester and Wirral

Stagecoach subsidiary Glenvale Transport Ltd, is buying First’s commercial and bus networks in Chester, Wrexham and Birkenhead for £4.5m.


In the year to 31 March 2012, the acquired business had a £11.9m turnover, £1.7m EBITDA and a £600,000 operating profit - a 5% margin.


The deal includes 110 vehicles, 290 staff, the two owned depots at New Chester Road, Rock Ferry and Liverpool Road, Chester; plus a leased out-station at Wrexham.


The operations will become part of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, which carries 33m passengers a year and is led by Managing Director Elisabeth Tasker. It runs 300 buses and employs 900 staff


Stagecoach expects the purchase to be completed in December 2012 or January 2013.

First sells Wigan to Stagecoach for £12m

Photo: New plaque required: the opening of the new £6million Wigan bus depot by First last year, with Dave Alexander and (now senior) traffic commissioner Beverley Bell.

FirstGroup has sold its Wigan bus operations to Stagecoach for £12million. The sale is part of what First describes as the “repositioning” of its UK bus business and it follows a similar deal in North Devon in the spring, which Stagecoach backed out of when the Office of Fair Trading took an interest in the deal. 

Tim O'Toole, FirstGroup chief executive, says: "The sale of our Wigan bus business marks continued progress in our programme of selected asset and business disposals as we review the scope and scale of our UK Bus portfolio and reposition it for the longer term. With a clear focus we are working through a detailed plan to recover performance in our UK Bus division and equip the business to achieve sustainable growth and improved returns." 

The Wigan business operates 120 buses, employees 300 people and in the year to 31 March made an operating profit of £1.5million on turnover of £13.2million. Around 20 of the vehicles are owned by Transport for Greater Manchester, primarily for use on school contracts.

Stagecoach currently operates 630 buses in the Greater Manchester area, but mainly to the south of the city. The Wigan operation will become part of the Stagecoach Manchester business when the deal is completed in December. Stagecoach is informing the OFT of the deal, but notes that Wigan is a new area of operation for the company and that there should be no issues with competition. 

A correspondent has been doing some research into the Wigan fleet which looks like this:
·         9 Dennis Arrows P and R
·         10 Olympians P and R
·         10 Volvo B9TL 07-plate (the newest buses there)
·         13 Dart SLF all R
·         21 Optare Excel all P and R
·         22 Volvo B10BLE R and S
·         13 Volvo B7RLE 05 and 55-plate, 1 06 plate (newest saloons)
·         20 assorted TfGM school buses, including the extremely dodgy new Versas.
Basically 100 buses, all but 23 of which are utterly life-expired. The 19 deckers will surely be dealt with by cascades from Ashton and Hyde Rd of 06/56-plate E400s, which are due to move away anyway, I’d say that would be near immediate. That leaves need for some newer Darts, this shouldn’t be a huge problem, it’s the 43 salons that need urgent attention, starting with the Excels which are surely among the worst buses ever designed? So suspect there will be two blocks of E300s delivered with about 12 months between them.
Mid life B7RLEs are getting reasonable values so wonder if First will buy them back? Saying that if theres other First stock coming Stagecoach’s way that may make them a bit less non-standard. 

Lost coach concessions to hit NEx profits

National Express has warned that the loss of £15 million of annual concessionary coach travel income will have an impact on the group's profits this year. 

In an interim management statement covering the third quarter of 2012 the company notes: “This has been a difficult year for the UK Coach business. The withdrawal of the government’s concessionary scheme has severely affected the affordability of travel for our senior citizen passengers, with a million fewer concessionary journeys expected in 2012.

“To offset this, we have invested in our network, adding new routes and frequencies, with non-concessionary revenue on the express coach business up 1 per cent year-to-date. With intense price competition on competing rail journeys, we have discounted fares through the summer, driving stronger non-concessionary volume growth, up 4 per cent year-to-date and fully offsetting the concessionary passenger shortfall for the first time in September. Olympic-related contract work also benefited the third quarter; however we expect the majority of the £15 million annual concessionary income loss to impact profit in the current year.”

NatEx says that ridership on its UK Bus business is stable, with commercial revenue up 3 per cent in the year to date.

Budapest bus contracts strengthen Arriva’s Hungarian presence

Hungarian bus operator VT Transman, a joint venture between Arriva and Videoton Holding, has won two eight-year bus contracts operating across Budapest, Hungary’s capital city.

The contracts are the first to be awarded on a new tender basis by Budapesti Közlekedési Központ. They will begin to operate from 1 May 2013 and include the potential to extend for a further two years. The services will operate in the North Pest area of the city. Revenue from the contracts will be €29 million a year.

The contracts add to VT Transman’s presence in Hungary where it provides regional, urban and contracted bus operations, currently with 225 buses and 450 employees.

Passengers will benefit from an investment in excess of €40 million in 150 new Mercedes Citaro buses for the contracts, consisting of 12 metre and articulated vehicles. All vehicles will feature passenger information systems, air conditioning and infotainment.

Combined, the contracts will see Arriva and Videoton operate an additional 11.5 million kilometers a year and employ an additional 500 people. The contracts will operate from the existing depot and a new depot in Budapest.

Dominic Palleschi, director - Eastern Europe, at Arriva, said: “These are the first contracts of their kind in Budapest. They allow the transport authority to provide an upgraded, modern fleet for its passengers, significantly improving the travel experience.

“The Hungarian transport market is opening to competitive tender and we are well positioned to work closely with the client body and to advise as they establish the best solutions for their local transport needs.”

The contracts will begin on 1 May 2013 in a phased introduction over a three-month period.

Arriva entered the Hungarian bus market in 2008 where VT Transman is the country’s largest private sector bus operator. It has been operating sub-contracted services in Budapest since 1999.

The contract wins strengthen Arriva’s presence in mainland Europe where it operates a range of passenger transport services in 11 countries in addition to the UK.

Baker announces Green Bus Fund No. 4

An extra £20m is being made available for the Government’s Green Bus Fund, Transport Minister Norman Baker announced on the first morning of the Euro Bus Expo show at the NEC.

And, in a second boost for low carbon buses in England, Mr Baker launched a toolkit to allow local authorities and bus operators to make informed decisions on investing in carbon cutting buses.

The £20 million funding will part fund 300 buses, according to Mr Baker. It will be the fourth round of the English Green Bus Fund, bringing the total support for this initiative to £95 m since its launch.

The additional funding has been found from an underspend in the Department for Transport’s budget and those wishing to buy green buses will be apple to apply for the round four support this financial year. Mr Baker promised that details on the bidding process and eligibility will be published soon on the department’s website.

Optare CEO quits

Optare CEO and Director Jim Sumner is leaving the AIM-listed plc on 31 December.

Making the surprise announcement, Optare says: “Jim now feels that the time is right for him to move on and pursue other business interests.”

The Board has started the search for a replacement.

Until one is located, Non-Executive Director Per Gustav Nilsson will become interim CEO. Mr Nilsson “has considerable experience in the industry,” says Optare, having been MD of Scania CIS, followed by four years as MD of MAN Russia.

Glenn Saint will continue in his role as Chief Technical Officer and also act as deputy CEO.

In a statement Optare says: “Jim joined the Board in June 2009 with the objective of managing the turnaround of the business. 

“From a challenging position, the Board believes that all the principal objectives of that turnaround have been substantially achieved in terms of restructuring, new factory investment, low carbon product developments and refinancing.”

Chairman John Fickling says: “Jim has done an outstanding job in turning the business around from what was an extremely difficult position in June 2009. We sincerely thank him for his unwavering leadership, clear direction and total dedication.” 

Stagecoach expands megabus.com North American network to California and Nevada

  • Budget coach brand to run out of eight new locations
  • Network now covers 120 destinations in United States and Canada
  • Expanding low-cost coach service has now created more than 1,000 new jobs

Stagecoach Group announced today (28 November 2012) that it is expanding the North American network run by its market-leading budget coach operator megabus.com to the major states of California and Nevada.

New express coach services will start running from 12 December to eight new locations in the two states, which have a combined population of around 40 million people, with fares starting from $1.

Bookings are being accepted at www.megabus.com from today, with all fares priced at $1 during the first week of travel from 12 to 19 December.

Services will cover Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Riverside, Calif., Las Vegas, Sparks/Reno, Nev., Sacramento, Calif., and San Jose, Calif.

The expansion means more than 120 destinations are now covered by megabus.com in the United States and Canada. It comes only six months after Megabus.com launched a new network of routes in Texas.

More than 80 new jobs will be created with megabus.com’s expansion into Nevada and California, bringing to more than 1,000 the total new employment opportunities created by the company since it started services in North America in 2006.

Dale Moser, President and COO of megabus.com in North America, said: "We’ve seen impressive growth across North America. As well as helping connect people across the United States and Canada, we've also created hundreds of new jobs. We are confident that our 21st century double-decker buses with Wi-Fi and power outlets, combined with our outstanding prices, will prove popular with people in California and Nevada."

Megabus.com has also partnered with Clean Air-Cool Planet, a national non-profit organisation that works to reduce carbon emissions and help create a sustainable environment. For every new Facebook friend and Twitter follower added on 28 November, megabus.com will donate $1 to Clean Air-Cool Planet.

More than 22 million customers have travelled with megabus.com in North America since April 2006. Customers can travel on state-of-the-art, green-certified double-decker buses, which are wheelchair accessible and have free Wi-Fi, power outlets, seatbelts and toilets.

In the UK, megabus.com now covers around 60 locations and carries around 5 million passengers a year. Earlier this month, Stagecoach announced a £3.2m investment in a fleet of Britain’s biggest coaches to meet growing demand for its market-leading inter-city travel service.

A fleet of 11 15m-long coaches equipped with free wi-fi will be delivered in December and introduced on megabus.com routes covering Scotland and England. Included in the order is a coach in a special metallic version of the megabus.com livery to mark the 10th anniversary of the budget service in 2013.

megabus.com has also recently launched new European websites to make it easier for people to book its cross-Channel services. The new French and Dutch language websites trade in Euros, making it even easier for passengers from across the Channel to grab a bargain coach ticket.

Stagecoach launched the network of low-cost coach services from the UK to Continental Europe in April this year, running daytime and overnight coach services between its main hub in London and destinations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Visit www.megabus.com for additional information about the service, schedules, arrival and departure times and fares.

Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe 

The season draws to an end…. 

In the days leading up to the end of the season, a few items have been highlighted at Blackpool. First, Coronation tram 304 eventually made it to Beamish on 11th. October. Last year, a Marton Vambac with two motors ran there and apparently there were concerns about its high current consumption. Wonder what they made of 304 with its four motors? As an aside, Beamish managed to scrape a corner panel of 304 in an argument with a replica Northern 1913 Daimler bus.  

On a weekly basis throughout the season, there have been copious complaints in the local paper that there were not enough of the new trams running, leading to excessive gaps between the cars and, when one arrived at your stop, it was crowded to the gunnels with scant chance of you being able to board. One is tempted to say they have been victims of their own success, but why has nobody reacted to the problem? 

Having spent the season saying “it’s a learning curve”, with the modified Balloons (i.e. fitted with wider, plug type doors for the new loading platforms) hidden away at the back of the old depot, it was announced that, at the end of the season, they would be operating in service to supplement the Flexities for half-term week. This happened for the week commencing 29th. October, with about five in service each day, much to the relief of angry and frustrated potential travellers who had taken to the parallel buses instead. 

The Balloons mostly ran from the Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham,- a curious northerly destination given the track at Bispham has been relayed at least twice to cope with the turning of short-working trams. Some bunching did occur but sensible decisions about even shorter workings were taken to correct this as much as  possible. 

I understand there is a pool of about nine modified Balloons available, all of which performed pretty well although one developed a brake compressor problem. Those available were 700, 707, 709, 711, 713, 718, 719, 720 (which sustained door damaged some time ago) & 724. 

All in all, the use of these extra cars was considered to be a success, again leading to many questions as to why it had taken so long for this sensible action to be taken. Even so, there was the occasional complaint that even more could have been used in service except that there weren’t enough suitably qualified drivers! 

Right at the end of the season, Flexity 002 returned to Blackpool, having been back in Germany for warranty work for many months.  

And so, on the 5th. November, the season officially finished, the illuminations were switched off and schools went back. The Flexities adopted the first version of the winter’s timetable, which is available to download at


Also significantly, it is now a year since the proper Blackpool trams ceased, after 126 years.

To say the first season of the new Bombardier cars has been a success would not be true because, as I have mentioned frequently, there have been a massive number of complaints that there were not enough of the new trams in service. Residents and visitors alike have both used the local paper to vent their wrath on Blackpool Transport which seems to have failed to realize the fundamental principal that the trams should be run for the convenience of their passengers,- not the crews or the schedulers.

As the pressure comes off the system for a while, the track gangs are already out and about checking for any work which is required. There are also some strange tram movements with some of the older vehicles appearing at the new Starr Gate depot, although nobody seems to have discovered why at this stage. Both attached pictures are courtesy of the Buses, Train, Traction Engine and Tram blog at


and are reproduced with their permission.

Blackpool out of season is a very different place - you might even find a free seat on a tram now!

Update for end of the year

Announced on 7th. December is an arrangement to try to persuade motorists to use the trams as a Park-and-Ride facility. You can use the Gynn Square car park or South Promenade on-street parking bays between Starr Gate and Manchester Square after 10am for 20p all day. That is cheaper than the usual ridiculous on-street parking charge of £1 per hour which is used to “encourage” visitors during the summer season. A family tram ticket at £5 (normally £9) will give all day travel on the trams but not buses. The offer runs until 4th. January


Also today, a photograph showing Balloon tram 701 fitted with a snowplough sat in the old depot in readiness for nature’s worst. Next to it is Balloon 717 still in heritage livery. Although not obvious from the photograph, reproduced from the Buses Train Traction Engine and Tram Blog at http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/ (reproduced with permission), 701 is fittingly painted yellow like the Council utility vehicles frequently used to keep our roads open.


 8th. December, 2012:-

The Santa Specials, run by BTS using the Prarie Train, have not had a good start. The tram set runs from the Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham loop and back. It is timed to run at 10am, 11.30am and 2pm. The first run had no passengers and the second attracted only one family. It is suspected that the fact you have to book in advance doesn’t help. You can always visit the Santa Express website at http://www.blackpooltransport.com/westerntrain.aspx for more details. Later it was reported that the second weekend of operation was also vey poorly patronized. 

10th. December, 2012:-

Flexity 002 has returned to use, five weeks after it returned from Bombardier in Germany where it has received upgrades, modifications and, allegedly, considerable warranty work. It was on driver training duties this afternoon and went as far north as Bispham, pausing for some while on the centre track there before returning south. This is the point which used to be used for turning short workings although they now appear to run on to Little Bispham with its full turning loop. 

Other sad news to filter through is that the tram museum proposed for the former Copse Road, Fleetwood depot looks to have fallen through due to the withdrawal of promised  money by the local Council. Clearly this leaves a question mark over the future of the trams which the Friends of Fleetwood Trams have acquired. Storing preserved buses can be difficult enough but at least they can move under their own power. Storing a tramcar is a very different ball game. However, a mole has leaked to me that there is an alternative proposal which is subject to an embargo. I’ll let you know as soon as I do. 

17th. December, 2012:-

Although not Blackpool news, many bus services on their way to or from the town pass through the iconic Preston Bus Station. It has been announced today that it is to be demolished, despite a long campaign to save it. It was built in 1969 and was designed by my late cousin, the architect Keith Ingham. At that time, it was the largest in Europe. It is 171m, long, has nine levels and contains 1,100 car parking spaces. 

It has been said that the cost of revamping it could be as high as £23m, but cynics will remember how inflated the possible cost from British Rail for repairing the Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle line some years ago. That particular area of Preston is due for a complete revamp but their grand bells-and-whistles scheme fell apart last year as proposed, big-named tenants for the refurbished shops pulled out. The only ray of hope is that the Council has said it will talk to any potential investor interested in the building - and one, anonymous one has already come forward.

Tram 700 in its renewed guise being launched at Starr Gate.

Route 24 in London

On Saturday 10th November LRT Rte 24 transferred from being operated by Go Ahead to Metroline.

The route dates from 1910 when it ran between Hampstead Heath and Victoria and in August 1912 was extended to Pimlico. These termini have remained unchanged to the present date making it the oldest unchanged bus route in London.

The 24 was selected to be the first Central London route using front entrance rear engine buses with the introduction of the XA class in 1965.

It was also the first Central London route to be awarded to a private company under the tendering process when on the 5th November 1988 Grey Green took over the route using Alexander bodied Volvos.

Metroline originally ran the route from November 2002 to November 2007 and in 2006 it became the first operator to use the Enviro 400 on a Central London route. The 24 was then lost to Go Ahead before being regained this month.

Trips & Events

Caribbean 2012 by Andrew Webb

The pictures relate to a trip to the Caribbean during Summer 2012. 

Public transport in Barbados is provided by three different organisations, all centered on the island's capital of Bridgetown.
The government owned Barbados Transport Board runs services using a fleet of Mercedes O500s with either Busscarr Urbanuss bodies or, as illustrated here
Marcopolo Torino bodies.  Smaller buses appear in the form of Hino Roadrunners.  Many of the services leave from the central bus station, the departure gate corresponding with the the service number!


Private operators have joined together to operate in a similar way to Malta and run a selection of midibus sized vehicles in a yellow livery with blue relief.  A Hino Roadrunner is pictured here on the edge of Bridgetown.


Finally taxi vans ply the roads, picking up passengers on demand.  Known locally as "ZRs" (after their registration series) they are invariably Japanese minibuses.


The beautiful volcanic island of St Lucia holds little in the way of interest to bus enthusiasts.  The service is centered on the capital Castries and operated by Japanese minivans.   The services did, however, appear to be managed by a rather larger (and more distant) authority, if the bus stops were to be believed!


Bus services on Antigua are provided by owner drivers.  Services are centered on the capital of St John's, arriving and departing from a bus station on the edge of the CBD.  Drivers are restricted to one route, indicated by a small route number in the windscreen (about the size of a tax disc).  Timetables work in one of three ways:

  1. The bus leaves when it is full
  2. The bus goes when the driver is ready
  3. The bus goes covers the route as many times as possible in a day.

Which operating schedule is followed depends on what the driver wants to do!


Routes follow the main roads, with frequent pauses and / or diversions (often in reverse) along side roads to pick up intending passengers as and when they are spotted.
Most vehicles are once again Japanese minivans typified by BUS289 parked in a side street in St John's The "20" in the windscreen is the permit allowing it to be used on route 20.  Some more interesting vehicles are used.  Pictured laying over in St John's bus station is a vehicle manufactured by ACME in Barbados, this used on route 22. The largest and most luxurious vehicle used is this Chinese manufactured Higer preparing to depart St Johns for Coolidge.


Finally, a very pleasant surprise.  Close to the hotel I discovered a fish and chip shop, in a Bristol Lodekka! Inevitably marketed as a "traditional London bus" it is now the static home to Shell's Fish and Chip restaurant at Sugar Ridge Depot, Valley Road.  A visit one morning found very friendly staff who were happy for me to explore the bus, but who knew little of its history.  Apparently it is one of two imported by Alan Stamford, now in jail for fraud.  Internet research suggests one is now in use as a mobile bank, whilst this chip shop would appear to be former Bristol Omnibus C7037 205NAE.


Mike Walker visits the Looe Branch and sees steam and old buses

Railmotor, GWR 93, was built in 1908 but converted to a conventional push-pull trailer in 1934 - It has been restored by the guys at Didcot 121112 M Walker

As promised a few images from the Railmotor event on the Looe branch yesterday. In the event two buses were used in case of overcrowding although most chose to use their cars to get to the few photos spots along this picturesque but deeply wooded branch (me included!). The two were the advertised  WN 137, FJ8967, which I'm told is a 1933 Bristol H5G with 1942 Bristol body and 420, 270KTA, a 1960 Bristol SUL4A. The latter brought back memories of the old TV (ex-WN) SUS's on the 18 as I had to follow it up the hill out of Sandplace at little more than walking pace - just like following up Quarry Woods out of Bisham!

Western National 137 FJ8967 at Liskeard 121112 M Walker




Western National 420 270KTA at Liskeard 121112 M Walker


The shots were all taken in the yard at Liskeard station as that was the only opportunity I got - the Railmotor being the prime target and a few shots of that at Terras Crossing and Looe are include in case you want to show your readers what all the fuss was about.

Railmotor, GWR 93, was built in 1908 but converted to a conventional push-pull trailer in 1934 - It has been restored by the guys at Didcot 121112 M Walker

The Railmotor, GWR 93, was built in 1908 but converted to a conventional push-pull trailer in 1934. It has been restored by the guys at Didcot and the 0-4-0 vertical boilered steam engine is all-new. After some initial problems, a vacuum brake glitch at Terras on the first Looe-bound run, and stalling on the climb from Coombe Junction back up to Liskeard on the first return run because some clown had left the handbrake partly applied (!), it all went quite well and both FGW and the GWS appeared well pleased with events. It will be repeated next weekend in lieu of last weekend  (3rd Nov) when it had to be cancelled because the diesel which was to haul it from Bodmin to Liskeard broke down at Westbury on its way from Southall. Mark Hopwood, FGW MD, said he'd left West Coast Railway's management in no doubt of the calamitous consequences he'd bring down on them if the fouled up this week! His closing words to me yesterday were: "we must do this again".


If, and it's a big IF, the weather forecast for next Sunday is for blitzing blue skies (it was for yesterday, but wasn't) I might hop on 1C05 (with my FGW pass it doesn't cost me) and use the vintage bus to get to spots and have another go. That way I might get some shots of 137 on the road - it's a "real" bus, I can't get so enthusiastic about the SU. 


London Interlude and variety

Go London WVL118 overall IPod 261112 G Francis

LG E228 in full IPod wrap 111211 G Francis

Abellio 9543 r C2 overall for IPod 261112 G Francis

Arriva DW250 r 38 overall for Hangzhou China 261112 G Francis

London United TLA15 Overall for Thailand 311012 G Francis

Arriva LT1 r 38 Victoria 191112 M Crowe

Arriva LT4 r 38 Victoria 191112 M Crowe

Arriva LT5 r 38 Victoria 191112 M Crowe

First RM1562 which for some reason has had its fleet number changed to RM39862 191112 M Crowe

Arrival from Romania

TransMarian Skyliner arrival in London from Romania 1 271012 M Crowe

Other interesting vehicles

Omega YN55PXA was NEx C009 then based at Birmingham now seen at Oxpens 101112 G Francis

Incident at Stansted 061212 G Francis

Surprise Leyland still in revenue service.
Regal Busways ex-Hedingham Leyland Lynx J295TWK on route 5 at Stansted on 141212 by G Francis

Regal Busways H263GEV 1204 seen at Stansted 061212 G Francis

New to Docklands Transit !
Regal Busways N414MBW acquired from Stagecoach in 2009 seen at Stansted 081212 G Francis

J L Coaches from High Wycombe seen at Victoria.

Seen at Binders Yard, High Wycombe

Binders Yard ex Jersey J1942 121112 G Francis

Binders Yard ex COMS 332 - 332RJO seen on 121112 by G Francis
and in earlier times (1970s) outside the Cowley Road depot..

Routemaster variety at Binders Yard on 121112 by G Francis

Another Jersey bus, J46655, a Bristol LH made into a converted seaside runabout. Gavin Francis.

YBK338V at Binders Yard on 121112 last seen in February 2011 -  G Francis


Links & Publications

Thames Valley - final part now available




ORDER NOW FOR £20+ £3 p&p

This final installment of the 4-volume 800-page history of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. brings the story to its conclusion on the last day of 1971.

All route developments and changes to the fleet are fully detailed, along with special appendices for the service vehicle fleet, garages and out-stations, a route map, garage allocations and working arrangements.

Profusely illustrated with 548 monochrome half-tone illustrations and a full-colour section of 45 photos, this provides a very comprehensive history of this interesting decade, including the numerous secondhand vehicles acquired during those years. Demand will be high, so

order now from: Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close

Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT

If you are local and wish to collect please call me on 0118 979 4097 and arrange a suitable time, but no casual callers please!


Newbury & District History now available

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 areas.

A Guy Arab on the Oxford service and seen at Gloucester Green.

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 book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.

One of the constituent companies was Denham's.

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 £12.50 + £3.00 post and packing for OCBP readers.

Just mention OCBP when ordering from:

Paul Lacey,
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.