Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings - nr. 65 February 6th 2013

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

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Floods and snow were the memorable weather events of January 2013.

The floods came after the snow and my pictures show areas around Oxford and the large expanses of water resultant.

Floods in Oxford along the Abingdon Rd 310113 M Crowe

Wheatley is prone to flooding with a river running through and this January was no exception.

Floods in Wheatley with Heyfordian heading for the M40 310113 M Crowe

Floods in Wheatley with SCO 50204 heading for London 310113 M Crowe

Floods in Wheatley with X90 heading for Oxford 310113 M Crowe

Gary Seamarks with a beautiful snowy picture writes "Thought of you when I saw how this has come out, have cropped a bit off bottom but rest as taken. The bus was working a 42 Flitwick - Bedford on Monday lunchtime."

Quite proud of it, as was looking the other way at time and just turned and took.

Bus stop sign showing no S3 180113 R Sharman

Express services operated throughout though on a few occasions journey times were extended, such as three hours from London to Oxford. This was caused by long delays on the M40.

Other notable happenings.

Golden Tours have taken delivery of some Volvo/MCV deckers which are presently working the Harry Potter tour from Victoria.

The introduction by Megabus of the Interdeckers took place in January making a significant new model into service.
Picture from Pete Hancock.

News was received that the first route to get a delivery of Borismaster Hybrids from the 600 ordered will be the 24 to Pimlico.

Running Days

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

Nearly nine years ago and on 5 October 2003, RLH48 takes a happy group of enthusiasts on a run to Berkhamsted - Malcolm Crowe.

Running Days 2013

Sunday 5 May   HARLOW marking 50 years since Harlow Garage opened to replace Epping.

Sunday 12 May SLOUGH moved from 19 May to avoid clash with Sevenoaks. Slough & Windsor Railway Society to join with us for the first time and to open their premises opposite the bus station for stalls etc. Also hopefully the launch of a green RT (a former WR one) now fully restored.

NEW DATE Sunday 14 July UXBRIDGE moved from 30 June as London (Cobham) Bus Museum are having an event that day and from 7 July to avoid North Weald.

Sunday 19 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

Sunday 6 October AMERSHAM – this year celebrating its Silver Jubilee!


Please advise me (petercartwright673@yahoo.co.uk) of the events you would like to attend/participate in as soon as possible please. Tel : 01494 437750.

Thank you and a big thank you to those who were able to participate in 2012.                 
Peter Cartwright                                                                   

Dates for your diary

Other Running Days in 2012

Sunday 19 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD based at bus station, Waterhouse Street

Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station 


Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society 

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal monthly social meeting in  Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture  show with local and guest speakers.  A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually around £1 for members per meeting depending on numbers.  For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.

Next Meeting:

Tuesday - February 19th 2013

Matt Bullock on Deregulation


Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road



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

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


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

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



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 - February 6th 2013


Observations and pictures

Glenn de Sousa writes with copious notes of happenings around.

Courtney Buses of Finchampstead, near Bracknell placed an order in October for 11 Optare Solo SR's. So far, four have been noted on the company's Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead routes (by 28/12/12). They are as follows:

YJ62 FCC - Optare Solo SR 8.9m Slimline

YJ62 FEH - Optare Solo SR 9.5 Normal Width

David Heath's web site for pictures shows one of the new buses. The link is shown below:


YJ62 FEW - Optare Solo SR 9.5 Normal Width

YJ62 FMA - Optare Solo SR 9.5 Normal Width

As far as I could see, YJ62 FCC was in plain white. YJ62 FEH was in a new blue and white Courtney Buses fleet livery. As with all Courtney Buses now, these new buses do not have fleet numbers.

YJ57 XWM-P,R-U are advertised for sale. In August, RK07 KOA (Optare Solo 7.1m) was sold to Chelton Leisure Services. Already owned Optare Solo 7.1m YJ08 PGU replaced RK07 KOA on the Windsor Home Park contract.

Also, does anyone know whether Optare Solo SE 7.1m RX57 MDZ is still in service as I have not seen it out and about recently.

A full list of the Optare Solo SR’s for Courtney Buses:

YJ62 FCC in Plain white (for Blue routes 4 & 239) NB. Still in plain white on 04/2/13

Yj62 FEH in a Purple and White Courtney livery for Purple Route 6

YJ62 FET in an Orange and White Courtney livery for Orange Route 8

YJ62 FEU in a Green and White Courtney livery for Green Route 7

YJ62 FMA in a Green and White Courtney livery for Green Route 7

YJ62 FMD Delivered (Livery unknown 04/2/13)

YJ62 FME Delivered (livery unknown 04/2/13)

YJ62 FYA in a Red and White Courtney livery for Red Route 5

YJ62 FYB in a Purple and White Courtney livery for Purple Route 6

There are two more Solo SR’s that I have not seen (04/2/13), they are YJ62 FYF/H.

All are 9.5m Standard width except for FCC which is an 8.9m SlimLine model.

YJ10 EZB is still on loan (03/2/13) at Courtney.

Optare Versa 11.1m demonstrator YJ61 JHF is on loan to Courtney Buses, Finchampstead covering for an Optare Tempo on the Chineham Park contract.

MX11 JYV has been returned to Mistral in Knutsford (dealer). This was around a week or two ago.

A few spottings in Maidenhead and Slough:

I am attaching two pictures of Courtney’s Maidenhead Foundation Park Shuttle bus (YJ10 EZX) that I took last year, but just found on my phone.

There are are a number of new vehicles at Andersons Travel in London. Some of them are:

VDL Bova Futura 2: WA62 BGF / HJC

(What I think is a Sitcar Beluga??) WA62 BBU

Plaxton Panther 2: YN62 GXA / K

They have also launched a new livery. 

A nice photo of one of the Bovas can be seen in the link hereunder.


Another Volvo/Plaxton Panther 2 is YN62 GXX.

Also, SN62 DNJ is a new Enviro 350H demonstrator for Alexander Dennis.

Glenn brings us up to date with Epsom Coaches 

All of Epsom Coaches’ Quality Line local fleet (NOT THE TFL FLEET) are in the process of being repainted from TFL’s London Red to a new beige and brown livery with a maroon skirt.

First Berkshire Dennis Dart SLF/Marshal Capital 41174 (R174 TLM) has been withdrawn.

Compass Travel are expecting a new Enviro 200 Dart, GX62 CSF, for East Sussex route 261. It will be to B29F. It was ordered on the 21st January 2013.

Indeed there are various snowy pictures in this issue as the weather in much of January showed. 

Gavin Francis sent a number of interesting pictures.

New Stagecoach E200 36762 on the 14A dated February 1st 2013 - G Francis.

Full house and almost in numerical order, three of the 61 plate Volvos being made ready for departure.
The use of these coaches on the X90 has seen an increase in recent weeks. G Francis.

Megabus Mid Devon YSU895 Bulleid Way 010213 G Francis. 

Stagecoach Oxford hired SGBC Levante in Stokenchurch (with Stokenchurch on blind!) seen on January 27th by Gavin.

A new coach from Excalibur working for Terravision at Stansted on January 24th by Gavin.

Arriva Dart MPD 3492 on route 61 at Luton Airport on January 24th by G Francis. Quite a small bus for this route !

London Go-Ahead WVL 145 in trouble with a flat tyre on January 31st by G Francis

A few Citaros have appeared on the parking services at Luton. This one has come from Central Parking at Gatwick.

Luke Braham writes "In the past few days I have managed to take a few pictures of buses in Aylesbury.

Arriva 3227 (T491 KGB) on Line 150 towards Aylesbury Bus Station. This bus is in Line 500 livery.

Arriva 3923 (BK58 URR) on Line 100 towards Aylesbury Bus Station.

Z&S P550 WGT on the 165 towards Leighton Buzzard. This is an ex-Sullivan Bus.

As we can see from Luke's pictures, snow was persistent for many days in January. 

Richard Sharman writes "After many years the South Midlands name has returned to the roads of Oxfordshire courtesy of Weavaway."

At least two Enviro 300's are branded.


Only a few Van Hool's and a Jonckheere remain in Heyfordian style livery.


Mean while a number of Paramounts remain in use for School Contracts.

The Villager who operate into West Oxfordshire using a number of Minibuses inc Transits and an Optare Alero have recently taken delivery of a Fiat based Bluebird.
Seen turning round in Foscott, near Kingham is YX12 CJV


Pulhams Prima departing on the Thursday only 806 Service to Banbury from Chipping Norton


Ex London Trident departing Chipping Norton on Warwickshire's 50 Service


Recently Purchased from York Pullman is this Paragon at Grayline


An empty Car Park at Bicester Village on a Sunday! due to the Snow many did not venture to the shops


Arriva logo and TGM

 An interesting event took place in January when an elderly LEYLAND Olympian, 5127 - H197GRO with Leyland H47/29F bodywork, once Luton & District's LR97, appeared at Wycombe and far from joining the Cressex line-up of withdrawn demics, started service on route 32 to Booker Asda. I chanced to take a ride on this venerable beast and enjoyed a spirited ride up and down the hills of south Wycombe where the dear old bus never faltered. since it was delivered in January 1991 it was celebrating its 22nd birthday when I travelled on it.

Seen at Booker ready to depart to Micklefield 5127 makes a brave sight. M Crowe.

Pictures to evoke memories, the interior of 5127.

A few problems were caused by the shopping trolley brigade and the buggy people but apart from that all went well.  I was therefore sad to see that by February 3rd it had joined the demic line up at Cressex depot. However until it has finally gone I would not be surprised to see the old bus out on service again.

Along with 5127 are 3181, in a state of disrepair, 3214, looking as good as many in service and 3701 which recently had an altercation with a car.
By the way this means that all three Park & R
ide buses have had accidents since new.  M Crowe.

When new this bus worked on London route 142.

Other buses seen on the 4th January are shown below.

Whilst waiting for my bus to Wycombe, 40 regular 3217 passed by heading for Thame. It looks a lot better than it really is!!!
New in February 1999 it is now fourteen years old.  M Crowe.

New Citaro 3931 was working the 300 on January 4th, This bus started life at the 2012 Olympics.
Note the interesting use of the rear route number to include the destination. M Crowe.

Olympian 5151 heads past 5127, the newer bus being on it's way to Micklefield on January 4th 2013. M Crowe.

DAF 6302 heads past 5127, the DAF being on it's way to Micklefield on January 4th 2013. M Crowe.

Dart MPD 3482, once the spare bus for the U9 and painted red, seen working a 40 service through Stokenchurch on January 31st by M Crowe.

Older Citaro 3931 on route 280 at Green Rd, Headington, on January 31st, makes a comparison with new 3930 at Oxford Rail Station on the same day. M Crowe.
These Citaros now often appear on the 280 as Aylesbury seems short of the intended E400s.

A bit of a surprise, 3213 passed me on Desborough Avenue. It is now repainted in a most attractive livery for driver training. M Crowe.

Arriva 4519 on route 33 in Desborough Rd on January 4th by M Crowe

Recently arrived DAF 4531 on the PR1 in Cressex on February 4th by M Crowe.
The use of this bus was probably down to the present loss of 3701.

The one remaining withdrawn Olympian/ Palatine II, 5153, seen at Wycombe Cressex on February 4th. M Crowe.

Visitors for attention at Arriva Cressex on February 4th. The "hotelbybus" is an MCV from Gatwick!!! M Crowe.

Luke Braham writes "The bus, Arriva the Shires Citaro 3923, believed to be involved in the fire on the evening of 23rd October 2012 is now back in service and is seen in the photo operating route 300 on 4th January 2013."

Glenn de Sousa writes "Reference as mentioned on the last S&J, at least 3608/9/11/12:

KE55 GVY (3608)

KE55 GVZ (3609)

KE55 GWC (3611)

KE55 CVG (3612)

...are in service in Stevenage.

Also, link to the newly repainted and refurbished bus in Aylesbury:

http://allaboardblog.co.uk/arriva-shires/?p=3401 .

Arriva the Shires are expecting ten Optare Versa’s for their Garston depot to work route 10. They will be 3413-3422.

Their registrations are:

3413-KX62 JJO
3414-KX62 JKE
3415-KX62 JKN
3416-KX62 JMU
3417-KX62 JNZ
3418-KX62 JPV
3419-KX62 JPY
3420-KX62 JUT
3421-KX62 JVE
3422-KX62 JWA

At least 3413 and 3417 have been delivered. Also they areB37F. 3414 has also been delivered.

When the Arriva/Sovereign takeover took place around 2005, most vehicles transferred with the operation at Stevenage and Hatfield, but it appears that Sovereign 139, W139 XRO, transferred up north to Harrogate and District previously working Centraline 300 301 at Stevenage.

Here are some links to pics from Flickr pictures to back it up:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/routemaster_rml2323/3093066228/  - Sovereign

http://www.flickr.com/photos/psbusdriver/7585630148/  - Transdev old livery

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansbusphotos/4711937569/in/photostream/ - Newer livery

I thought that this fact may be interesting to you and your readers:

The two KE51 WUO/P Green Line 797 coaches were also retained by the Blazefield group, now operating for Transdev.

Arriva Medway Towns have recently taken delivery of 2 Optare Versa’s with more to follow. At the moment, they are: KX62 JTV and KX62 JRZ.

Martin White writes "As seen in the news page on the LOTS web site regarding Arriva Shires Displaced DAF DB250s of the 142s;

Further to my email regarding the DAF DB250 ALXs that are displaced from the 142 at Garston & with be refurbished to single door to replace

At Arriva the Shires, the 52-reg 'DLA' buses that had been on route 142 until replacement recently by 55-reg 'VLA' buses from London, are now going for refurbishment. They will return within the next couple of months and are due to be allocated to Aylesbury, Hemel Hempstead and Ware to replace (mostly indirectly by transfers of older Tridents) the remaining G- and N- reg Olympians at Luton. Other 'DLA' buses are due to transfer to Arriva Southern Counties.

Looks as if the Olympians have a very short life left then.

Also Arriva Shires Garston are to receive later this year some of Enfield’s displaced Enviro 200 darts 'ENL' class, when they lose the 491, For the renewed tender contract on the 'H' routes in the Harrow area replacing Pointer Darts, & there Wright DAF SB120 Cadets used in the Edgware area & in Golders Green on TfL routes are to be refurbished for the renewed contracts on those routes.

Olympians and cascade Tridents around the Shires Fleet, a couple of already departed & 6001 has been seen at Bus & Coach World Blackburn ready to be done,

So the next couple of months will start to see the nail in the coffin for the Olympians that are remaining,

With regards to the DAFs heading to Arriva Southern Counties i would at a guess say they will be surplus DLA class ones from within Arriva London T, V, W,

Ones that are about to be displaced from Tottenham & Enfield as further New Hybrids enter service on the 73 and the existing DWs move to Tottenham with further

New Vehicles due soon as well to start the DLA cascade.

Two more E400s are to be transferred from HH to AYL for the enhanced 280 service. The 200 is to be withdrawn and replaced by the above enhanced service. Thus there will not be an express anymore.

The 542x batch of Tridents are to be concentrated at Luton finally replacing any remaining Olympians.

The arrival of the DLA deckers will help this.

Olympian 5127, new in 1991, was originally allocated to LRT services 142 and 340 and is now one of the oldest buses in service with AtS.

Nigel Peach writes "One of Wycombe's Park and Ride buses was involved in an accident at the end of January. 3701 (KE55 CKU) and a car collided at the junction of Cressex Road and Lancaster Road, where there are traffic lights. Thankfully nobody was badly hurt but 3701 suffered damage at the front. The vehicle is now languishing at Cressex. That batch are rather ill-fated. The other buses, 3702 and 3703 at different times have both spent months out of action following accidents.

Sole survivor from Oxford days Dart 3821 (N521 MJO) has made it into February! I saw it on route 33 on the 4th.

Among the buses noted as Vehicle Off Road on the list in Wycombe bus station on 4th Feb was 3444 (R204 VPU), a DAF. I would be surprised if that is a transfer in, as many of that batch have already been withdrawn. But maybe it is in for 3701.

The back row of withdrawn vehicles at Cressex comprises 3852,3431 and 3822. The only change in recent weeks is that 3827 has disappeared."

Edward Miller writes "I was recently reading the latest Spottings and Jottings issue and noticed some information posted regarding Arriva the Shires Volvo Olympian's which have been withdrawn from service. Other readers have already commented that bus number 5147 has been brought back into service but I noticed one of them you have listed as withdrawn and removed with a question mark next to it, bus number 5151 has not been mentioned.

I can inform you that this bus has not yet been removed at all and is still operating from Cressex depot as I got on this bus tonight (04/02/2013) at 18.35 running the 32 blue route from Eden Bus Station to Booker Asda. It is clear to see that Arriva is holding onto these buses and running them on the 32 route quite frequently as the recently transferred ALX400's tend to struggle on the incline of Booker Hill Road. Many times I have been on one of these buses as it has ground to a halt half way up the hill after reaching full rev without producing enough power to get up the steep incline, even with only a handful of passengers on board. Funny how the Volvo Olympians thunder up this hill at a steady 20 mph both empty and full of passengers, never have I been on one that has struggled half as much as the ALX400's."

Lewis Nagel writes "I have attached a photo of 3873 (KE57EPA) on route 724. The usual 724 workings are the specially branded Green Line Citaros, but one of the Wrights from the same garage appears to have escaped onto the route. I think that Wrights actually suit it more, not sure why!

These are of course the Eclipse 1.5s, they are on the newer B7RLE chassis but still use older style bodywork. These are still in the Arriva National livery as opposed to the newer Arriva Interurban livery."


An unusual working with Volvo 3861 on route 40 at Stokenchurch on Saturday February 1st. 2013 by Gavin Francis.

Recently transferred into Wycombe 4525 works route 40 at Stokenchurch on January 7th by Gavin Francis

Several buses are still with Thames Travel, though with the import of Citaro to that operator most buses should be back soon. I was told that one or two of the ex Oxford Scania coaches were still active at the beginning of the school term.

Three older buses, 471/2/3 have entered service with Beacon Buses, Holsworthy, Devon. Pictures would be appreciated.

Carousel Olympian 931 in the snow on January 14th by Gavin Francis. 


At the heart of your travel needs

Gavin Francis writes "With the closure of the Centrebus Depot at Harlow most of the routes have gone to Frontrunner/Olympian. Here ex-Metroline Dart Y672NLO 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."

Mike Penn writes "I thought you might be interested in an update of Centrebus operations in the Luton area." 

New arrivals are Plaxton bodied Darts 562 (R462 LGH), 553/63 (Y301/52 FJN) and 542 (LN 03 AYL).  These have moved from Harlow where Centrebus operations ceased in early November.  542 is now in Centrebus livery having arrived still in Trustybus livery.  562 may not be in service yet. 

Other arrivals are are former Newport East Lancs bodied Scanias 711 (L71 EKG) and 756 (K106 YTX) which have transferred from Bowers and are needed for increased school commitments although they appear in normal service as well.  711 has had a partial repaint and is now white with a blue skirt while 756 entered service still in Bowers’ red livery but has since had a blue skirt added.  There are now four former Newport Scanias in service – all in different liveries!  710 (L170 EKG) is in the earlier Centrebus livery while 712 (L172 EKG) is in the latest livery.  The University shuttle service normally employs two of these.  One further ex Newport Scania is 754 (K104 YTX) which regained its original registration in December 2011, having been TIL 4051, but is withdrawn at the depot still carrying the TIL 4051 plates. 

I am attaching photos of 711 and 756.  711 was working the 231 service back in November while the first photo of 756 shows it in as acquired condition on the University shuttle service in November.  The second photo of 756 shows it in its current condition on the 231 service earlier in January.


553/63 (Y301/52 FJN) have Alexander bodies, not Plaxton.

I should have added that two of the vehicles replaced at Dunstable are 107/58 (P27/158 MLE) which have moved to Hinckley.

I’m not sure if L713 JUD has gone yet.  This was the oldest Dart in the fleet and was the last former Thames Transit bus remaining. "

The X74 Slough-Wycombe service continues to be operated by a mix of vehicles including blue Citaros and ex Reading Volvos. 


NEx Travellers Choice PO62LMK r341 at GG Oxford on January 7th by Richard Sharman.
This is one of the few 62 plate Levantes to operate through Oxford.

Contrasting with the other Levantes ex Oxford's 59211 is seen ready to operate a 007 service to Dover from VCS on January 20th by M Crowe.

The following Olympians from Oxford were exported to Malta.

E225 AND 229CFC. However they have now been replaced and sold on to an operator in Melbourne, Australia.  Any pictures from down under would be much appreciated.

Thanks to Ralph Adams for the foregoing.

Also rumours suggest that two ex Park & ride Tridents have gone to Bus & Coach, Blackburn for conversion to open top. They are expected to return to Oxford for another operator.

The buses in question are 110 and 115.

The new Hybrid deckers are now almost all in service and mainly working the 5. However one was seen on an X13 working and pictures below show one on 2 road.

Details of the current fleet can be found at the following link:


Hybrid 351 meets two police horses on January 7th by Richard Sharman.

Hybrid 357 in Frideswide Square operating route 5 on January 4th January by Gavin Francis

Hybrid 367 before full application of decals on route 2B showing front and rear on 31st January 2013 by Gavin Francis

E400 228 on route 13 by Queens College on January 4th 2013 by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 300 on route 2B in Magdalen St East on February 1st 2013 by Gavin Francis.

Flag ship 351 seen by Hugh Jaeger on January 4th 2013.

Hybrid 300 on route 5 leaves Oxford Rail Station seen by Hugh Jaeger on January 4th 2013.

Coach 5 with 2012 Coach operator branding seen leaving Gloucester Green on January 31st by M Crowe

Not all the buses on route 5 are Hybrids as seen by E400 in Park End St on January 21st by M Crowe

I was about to take a short ride on my first Wrights Hybrid as runs out of Park End St on January 9th.  M Crowe

357 turns into St Aldates at Carfax on January 9th by M Crowe 

Horspath depot at dusk

Oxford fleet movements last period



Optare Solo - Witney to West



Optare Solo - Witney to West


V395 KVY

Optare Solo - West to Witney



Optare Solo - West to Witney




S454 CVV

Dennis Dart SLF - Oxford to Midlands


S455 CVV

Dennis Dart SLF - Oxford to Midlands


Oxford vehicles awaiting disposal


R155 CRW

Dennis Dart


Oxford vehicles in reserve


S935 CFC




S936 CFC




S940 CFC




S941 CFC




Richard Sharman writes "On the 18th of January 2012 severe Snow disrupted Bus Services through out Oxfordshire. The Chipping Norton area was particularly badly hit, Services X8/X9 and S3 operated from start of service until around 10.30 due to dangerous driving condition's.

A selection of pictures from the day show how heavy the snow fall was.

SCO 15834 on S3 in the snow 180113 R Sharman

SCO 15836 at Chippy outstation 180113 R Sharman

SCO 33947 in the snow 180113 R Sharman

SCO 33970 at Chippy outstation 180113 R Sharman

SCO 47237 and 47238 at Chippy outstation 180113 R Sharman

SCO 47237 r X8 180113 R Sharman

SCO 47237 r X8 at Stn interchange 180113 R Sharman

SCO 47437 - VX51ABF ex Wye and Dean on X8 180113 R Sharman

SCO DaRT IN THE SNOW 180113 R Sharman

SC 15761 Bicester buses at outstation 1800113 R Sharman

SC Gold Bicester buses at outstation 1800113 R Sharman

By January 26th conditions had improved as this picture of SCO 47037 on the X8 by R Sharman shows.

Another transfer in is from Wye and Dean with this Solo 47433 on route X8 by R Sharman.

Richard Sharman has also written some informative notes on the Chipping Norton-Stratford route from Oxford.

The S3 going all Gold on a Sunday has meant Stagecoach in Warwickshire have reverted to numbering all journeys between Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford as the 50 and is by passing the village of Yarnton.


Of course the 50 is what used to be the X50. A Route that has operated for many years, going back to National Bus Company days and then operated by Western Travel under the Stratford Blue name before Burman Travel operated it for some time using all sorts of Leopards inc Alexander bodied examples.


Then came the expansion of the X50 with Stagecoach Express running a fairly frequent service all the way to Birmingham using Tigers.


Pete's Travel then took on the route using near enough any vehicle they had in the fleet inc the Trident/Presidents that ended up at Reading Buses, when Pete's Travel failed the service past to Ensignbus's Stratford Blue operation using Countylinks Enviro 300's and a Mini Pointer Dart.


Stagecoach have been running the route on a Sunday every since they took over Stratford Blue in 2004.

15673 illustrates how the 50 has now returned to its original route of many years ago.

Frazer Peddle writes to send a picture of E200 33763 which he drove one evening on the no.9 route, which isn't the usual bus for this route. It was taken whilst waiting for time Speedwell Street.


SCO 15436 on route 3 at Carfax on January 9th by M Crowe

E300 22764 on the X30 in New Rd on January 9th by M Crowe

E200 36768 on route 10 in Speedwell St on January 31st by M Crowe

Gold in George St on January 31st by M Crowe


The X5 must have been experiencing difficulties on January 30th as there were a lot of changes to vehicles operating the X5 as the picture below shows.

21123 passes 52644 on X5 working in Gloucester Green by M Crowe.


Following accident damage the rear of 50201 has lost its branding when compared to 50224 and 50218 at Horspath depot on January 10th by M Crowe.

A nice picture from Richard Sharman of two Astromegas in Oxpens.

Showbus 50226 leaves Gloucester Green for London on January 10th by M Crowe.


The Interdecker fleet is now getting into full swing on the Megabus services to London.

Branding varies and this coach promotes Stagecoach involvement with Formula One.

54207 is seen next to an Oxford Tube in Sammy's. M Crowe.

Driver Training tool pace in early January and 54209 spent some days in London for that purpose.

Astromega 50233 leaves VCS for Newcastle.

50242 heads towards Sammy's on an inbound journey from Newcastle.

54051 loads for Manchester alongside new Astromega TX 50247 loading for Aberdeen.

As shown in the last issue Freestones have a new coach for their operation of the M16 Norwich service.

The flagship of the Interdecker fleet is in a special 10 year livery and is seen in Bulleid Way by Gavin Francis.

Megabus New Bharat BC09NBC 011213 G Francis


Finally a late picture of Interdecker 54206 in another special livery by Gavin Francis on February 6th.
Much better pictures to follow in the next issue.

Several old TT buses have gone to New Zealand and Iwan Jones has sent a useful link.


Link to Thames Travel MANs/MCVs in New Zealand:


...these buses were photographed in Auckland, New Zealand. They are destined for Go Bus Transport through Associated Coach Sales for operation in their Christchurch depot. These buses will have a rear door fitted before entering service.

A source close to TT has written "First and foremost the loaned Carousel buses have been withdrawn from service with the exception of DPL 480 and DAF 981 (481). 480 is to be retained and branded for the 98 contract service, Great Western Park estate - Didcot Town Centre, and 481 is to be disposed of once no longer required. Tempo 804 is also still in the yard but it understood no longer for service. 

TT now has twelve Citaros (849 - 860) in full colours and 861/2 in a temporary plain red livery. These are mainly for use on Oxfordshire commercial routes such as the 32, X2, X32 & X39/40  

Carousel's EVO12/15 (418/419) have been transferred to Wallingford and are to receive full colours in the near future. 

DAF 976 has had its destination board salvaged and is for disposal any day now.

As of Sunday 3rd January the route diagrams will be changed, the X32, X39/40, 101/106 will no longer interwork, neither will the 36/X36, 139 and 136. 

804 on 6the 106 in Oxford on January 4th by Gavin Francis.

TT 851 on route 106C on January 4th by G Francis.

TT DPL480 on route 116 on January 4th by G Francis.

TT 709 on route 101 on January 7th by R Sharman

TT 856 on route 106C on January 7th by R Sharman. At this time the bus was still awaiting repaint into full livery.

A decker to Watlington ! TT 916 on route 106C on January 7th by R Sharman

A late addition to the fleet, TT 861 on route X32 in St Aldates on January 27th by M Crowe


Rotala buys parts of First Worcs

First has sold some of its Worcestershire operations to Rotala for £1.5m.

The deal includes two freehold depots (Kidderminster and Redditch), 36 vehicles, plant and equipment and 120 staff. Rotala will take over all the existing services.

In the year ended 30 June 2012, the two depots recorded a £270,000 loss on a £5.2m turnover.

Rotala says the deal will “enable it to expand and consolidate its position in those areas of Worcestershire which are contiguous to its main areas of operation in the Birmingham conurbation.”

It will integrate the depots into its current West Midlands Rotala network, trading as Red Diamond, Blue Diamond and Black Diamond, to gain operating efficiencies.

Stagecoach New Year boost with over £75 million investment in more than 430 new buses and coaches

09 Jan 2013

·         Hundreds of new low-floor vehicles for local bus networks in UK

·         Special order for innovative sleeper coaches for megabus.com network in Britain

·         New left-hand drive coaches for megabus.com services to Continental Europe

·         Total investment in buses and coaches for UK now over £445m in last six years

Stagecoach Group today (9 Jan 2013) announced it is to invest more than £75 million in hundreds of new buses and coaches for its bus and coach operations in the UK and Continental Europe.

The Perth-based transport group has placed initial orders for more than 430 buses and coaches for financial year 2013-14. Most of the new buses and coaches will be produced in the UK, helping support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs.

The latest orders follow an annual competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles will be delivered from May 2013.

It brings Stagecoach’s total investment in new buses and coaches for the UK over the past six years to more than £445 million.

Highlights of the latest investment are:

·         More than 380 low-floor double-decker, single-decker, midi and mini buses for Stagecoach regional bus networks in the UK

·         A special consignment of 10 innovative double-decker sleeper coaches for megabus.com in the UK, providing 55 luxury seats during the day and 41 beds at night.

·         10 further inter-deck coaches for megabus.com services in Britain

·         10 left-hand drive 72-seat inter-deck coaches for use on megabus.com services in Continental Europe to replace existing 49-seat standard coaches.

·         A total of 18 other coaches for inter-urban bus routes in the UK

All of the new vehicles meet the current Euro 5 emissions standards and a number will also be low carbon hybrid or gas versions. Full details will be confirmed following the announcement of successful applications from the fourth round of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Green Bus Fund. The DfT has allocated an extra £20 million to encourage further investment in greener buses and an announcement on successful bids is due in May.

Stagecoach is already the UK’s biggest investor in green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard buses. The company has around 180 hybrid electric buses already in service in the UK, with nearly 60 more being introduced by the end of March 2013.

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This latest multi-million-pound investment is a great New Year boost for Britain. It will deliver better bus services to local communities across the country and will help support British manufacturing jobs. It is also great news for our customers, who continue to benefit from the best value fares of any major bus operator in the UK.

"We are continuing to see consumers switch to smarter, better value bus travel as motorists feel the effect of high fuel prices and the increasing cost of running a car. These new buses will also be better for the environment and continue our market-leading investment in greener technology.

"The new orders will also see further investment in our budget coach service megabus.com, which now carries more than five million passengers a year in the UK alone. We have placed a special order for new double-decker sleeper coaches, which will allow us to run a luxury service during the day and offer greater comfort to our customers on overnight services."

Details of the new orders are as follows:

·         113 ADL Enviro 400 Dennis and Scania double-deckers

·         98 ADL Enviro 300 Dennis and Scania single-deckers

·         140 ADL Enviro 200 Dennis midibuses

·         1 Optare Versa midi-bus

·         32 Optare Solo mini-buses

·         10 Plaxton Panther Volvo B13R coaches

·         8 Plaxton Elite Volvo B13R coaches

·         10 Plaxton Elite Volvo B11R coaches

·         10 Van Hool Altano TDX 21 left-hand drive coaches

·         10 Van Hool Astromega double-decker sleeper coaches

Blackpool by Geoff Cunliffe 

There has been very little to report about Blackpool for several weeks since the illuminations finished in November and the tramway assumed its winter timetable. It has been said that there will be a review of the first year’s operation to see what lessons can be learned (run enough tram to cope with the queues!). 

The Fylde Coast escaped the worst of the winter weather, but Balloon 701, newly fitted with its snowplough, has made journeys to Fleetwood on a couple of occasions, although there was hardly enough snow to dampen the bottom of the plough! At least they have tried it out! Attached is a picture of 701 at the Pleasure Beach on 18th. January, courtesy of my usual source with their permission, the Buses Train Traction Engine and Tram blog at http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/ 

The other item of slightly curious news is as follows: after a lengthy absence from passenger service, Flexity 002 has returned to service for the first time since it returned to Germany in May last year. Now it is back in service, there is no dedicated training tram, so 006 has taken over the role. The curious bit is that 006 was withdrawn last summer and has been out of use for so long as it has had parts removed whilst spares were on order for the other 15 trams.

Makes you wonder what state the other 15 are in after twelve months!

Finally, Blackpool Council has re-affirmed its intention in principle to extend the tramway up Talbot Road from Talbot Square to serve the new development around the North  Railway Station to be named Talbot Gateway. Much play is made of the fact the Fleetwood has no railway station of its own (now) and this will link residents to the train network directly. Welcome news provided it happens.

Trips & Events

Mark Smith writes " Some pictures taken when I made a trip London and my visit to the London Transport Museum."


Also an E400H on the 94 in Regent Street.

Clive King writes to send pictures of Winchester on Tuesday 1 January, 2013.


The Wilts and Dorset livery looks absolutely splendid but the seats do not appear to be the original.


The ever-present Dennis passes through a patch of sun into the Bus Station. It is a wonderful machine but rather like travelling in a garden shed.


The 1935 Paris Bus is extremely popular with its cheerful conductress.

The seats are in facing bays like a MK1 TSO and the second seat in the cab is for a policeman or soldier to direct the driver in the event of civil emergency.


Roger Burdett is deserving of great appreciation for bringing a different coach from his collection each year and driving it with a certain no nonsense gusto on circular tours.

He always stops at a well chosen location and waits very patiently until everyone has taken their photograph.


POU heels to the nearside on the roundabout by the statue.

This is preferable to heeling to the offside when upper deck passengers slide along the brown vinyl seats towards the sunken gangway.


The Olympic has returned to the arrival point in The Broadway following an oil change believed to have cost two rounders before running round to depart on Service 4.

It is a wonderful restoration and performed very well indeed.

Many thanks to Clive King for the lovely pictures.



John Bristow writes "I was interested to read your recent piece about route 24 and attach a photo of one of the Atlanteans passing through Trafalgar Square on 26 April, 1966."



From Chris Loddington


"It's a long time since we communicated, (Remember I live in Sandiway, Cheshire), but I am still an avid reader of your wonderful Bus Page. I am contacting you regarding 2 things, firstly I was very sorry to read about your wife's health problems and do hope she is getting better. Secondly regarding the query raised about United Counties FLF 730 on the 370 to Stoke Mandeville. I have a September 1964 United Counties timetable, and for some strange reason there are 4 Aylesbury town services, including one to Stoke Mandeville, that are all numbered 369! 730 was new in May 1967 and stayed at Aylesbury until April 1978, so the photograph was obviously taken during that period, or at least post-NBC time. I would therefore think it would be reasonable to assume therefore that these 4 town services were given individual numbers sometime after 1964, with the Stoke Mandeville service becoming 370. There is no other service 370 listed in the Sept. 1964 timetable. No doubt someone will come up with the definitive answer!
Seeing the picture also brought back some memories. I lived on the outskirts of Dunstable from 1960 - 1971, which was served by the Luton - Aylesbury 61 service, (And still is). I worked in Luton from 1964 and remember vividly coming home on 730 on its first day in service. The 61 was almost exclusively worked by FLF's from Luton and Aylesbury depots, but they had a reputation of being heavy and sluggish, but this later batch seemed to be a vast improvement. Aylesbury was allocated 624, 630 and 631, which were regulars on the 61. However, 631 was eventually blacked by the unions on the 61 as it was more sluggish than the others and unable to cope properly with the terrain with some quite substantial hills.
I still visit the area quite frequently, (My sister lives nearby in Studham), and the 61 seems to have been served by a mixture of elderly vehicles in recent years. In fact the age profile of the whole Arriva the Shires fleet is very high, and I think they are in need of a big injection of newer higher quality vehicles. This I think has been commented on in your Bus Page column concerning the High Wycombe operation.
Well that's it from me, and I do hope my information, although a little vague, goes some way towards answering the query regarding route 370."


From Mick Payne 

"In the 1st January OCBP Tony sought information on a rather splendid photo of United Counties FLF6B 730 (LBD730E) taken during the 1970s in Aylesbury. The photographer is standing near to what is now a BP service station/VW dealership in Bicester Road but was then Keith Garages and the Red Rover bus depot. The bus is approaching the Royal Bucks Hospital roundabout en route from Quarrendon to Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Aylesbury town service 370. The 370 and companion route 369 travelled via Southcourt as can be seen from the attached extract from a local 1971 road and rail timetable published by London Country. 

Be interesting to know when the photo of 730 was taken. I tend to associate Aylesbury's 70 seater Lodekkas with the 61 to Luton and the then 366 to RAF Halton via Wendover. The town services tended to be operated by rear entrance 60 seaters although I guess by the 1970s these were being ousted by Bristol VRs. Of note is that the 370 provided Prebendal Avenue with 2 buses an hour. These days that road is totally unserved and surprisingly not one of Aylesbury's current network of town services provides a direct link between the Quarrendon area and Stoke Hospital.

Mandeville Road which Tony rightly points out parallels the Aylesbury - Risborough railway line is the direct route from the town centre to the hospital. Up until 1971 Thames Valley virtually monopolised this road. For many years the only United Counties service ran on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. Originating in North Bucks route 386 was clearly intended for hospital visitors. But 1971 saw the withdrawal of Thames Valley route 80 that took the long way round to Wycombe via Great Hampden. United Counties put on route 365 as a replacement for the Aylesbury - Risborough section but I don't recall it lasting very long despite a deviation round Barnard Crescent to serve the then developing Mandeville Estate. 1971 timetables for both the 365 and 386 are also attached should they be of interest to readers."


Variety at Binders Yard HW 140113 G Francis

RT1702 at Binders Yard HW 140113 G Francis

Gavin Francis

Unusual performer LU VE10 on r 94 Shepherds Bush 110113 M Crowe 

Links & Publications

J.B. Tours



Leyland Olympian Running Days



MCW Metrobus Tours



U.K. Bus Tours



“U.K. Bus Tours”


Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures

You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website - http://166emj.piwigo.com/index?/category/50-beds_bucks_and_herts_photographs_2000

One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.

The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.

Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.

Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.

Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.

Many other independents are also represented. 

Mike Penn

Todays buses - Oxfordshire

This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.

The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.

Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.


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.