Spottings & Jottings
Issue nr. 8 - 12th October 2009
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Welcome to issue number 8 and may I say how pleased I am to continue to receive so many contributions from all my correspondents. I could nearly stay in a locked room and still produce a worthwhile page each week, such is the level of contribution from so many of my readers.
The weather over this past week has been better with some good sunny days and with a high settling over the U.K. a further week of decent weather seems likely over the Chilterns and surrounding areas.
Last Thursday I visited Coach & Bus Live 2009 at the NEC in Birmingham. I met up with Alistair Liddle and we enjoyed a pleasant day meeting with a number of other acquaintances who were also at the event. Prominent in the outside parking area was the first of the Oxford Tube Neoplans to be released by Stagecoach for sale by Dawson Rentals. The coach in question was 50103 and this brought back memories of one day in Stuttgart in May 2004 when I visited the Neoplan factory and was lucky to be given a tour of the build line. What a coincidence that it should be the first coach to go.
No one has yet come forward to admit to being the person dressed in black who was taking photos of the 04:10 service a week ago on the Magdalen Bridge. Any takers?????
I am grateful to Stuart Harvey for providing a comprehensive update on the Carousel fleet. I saw the A30 approaching Chesham on Saturday evening with a reasonable loading and driven by a smart young lady.
Thanks to Pete Cabin I can note that the High Wycombe "Thame" Solos, 2496 and 2497, are now appearing on the 305 service to Uxbridge, their place on the A40 being taken by somewhat larger Darts or Volvo B6s. Last Saturday Gavin Francis noted that the two buses in use were Dart 3208 and Volvo B6 3298 which was also seen earlier in the week by Pete Cabin. As mentioned before Line 40 between High Wycombe and Thame suffers from significant overcrowding on daytime services, especially market days in Thame and shopping times in High Wycombe. My wife travelled into Wycombe last Tuesday when the service was operated by a Solo on which the doors could not be closed. The bus proceeded to Wycombe with the doors open despite being fully loaded!!
Trevor Wilson writes "The rugby season has now started again and this year Arriva HW have the London Wasps free shuttle bus contract (1) between Cressex Park&Ride and Adams Park and (2) High Wycombe rail and bus stations and Adams Park. Vehicles noted included an S-SNK registered Northern Counties Palatine II Olympian (one week ago this was the Watford route 5&6 branded bus with much evidence of tree damage along the near side upper deck), an older Northern Counties Palatine I bodied Olympian and a single decker (this week a very recent Wrights bodied saloon). Last season the contract was with Motts."
Glenn Knight sent a picture of interest taken in Hemel Hempstead.
Firstly the A30/A40/740 services seem to have settled down to be the Citaro's / Agoralines / 1 B7TL and STL9 on a daily basis.
Trevor Wilson writes "We picked up a new leaflet being distributed locally for the Carousel Buses A30/A40/740 and noted it carried a TfL Mayor of London logo."
Glenn Knight sent a picture of interest taken in Hemel Hempstead.
A further picture of a Kings Ferry coach operating on NEx services from Crawley has come to hand.
The recently acquired Volvo B10BLEs from Brighton are now fully in service, looking very smart indeed. Gavin Francis has provided a number of pictures including a couple, when they were in service in Brighton, taken in 2007.
The B10BLEs when in service in Brighton taken by Gavin Francis.
An interesting selection of the ex BH&D Volvos in service taken last week. Pictures by Gavin Francis.
For comparison and also of two celebration livery vehicles caught together in Castle Street by Gavin Francis.
Native Volvo B10BLEs 816 and 817.
Richard Sharman provided a picture of 797 working 5 road on 13th October.
Red Rose of Aylesbury
As mentioned above, the Neoplans reign in Oxford is coming to an end with only three remaining in service, all the other coaches having now been delivered to Plaxtons at Anston for preparation for return to Dawson Rentals. The first completed coach, 50103, was displayed at Coach & Bus Live at the NEC and 50107 is also ready at Anston but not yet released by Stagecoach.
A nicely composed picture of 22940 on a 10 service working looked on one of Oxford's Dreaming Spires.- Picture by Richard Sharman.
I am told that the two Tridents "in Store" at Banbury, 18129 and 18130, are actually expected to go to SC Fife and are waiting to have their S series branding removed.
Tridents 18198 and 18199 now carry S series branding.
M A N saloons 22932 and 22933 are now in fleet livery having lost their overall Southern Electric advertising livery. This particular advertising must have been some of the most ugly ever applied to a bus.
Megabus continue to place new coaches in service and Gavin Francis caught up with the latest, a Volvo B12B 54060, nominally based at Rugby.
Despite the new coaches
the occasional Neoplan still makes it to London, the one above, 50147, towing a
Pictures above by Gavin Francis.
Glenn Knight sent some further pictures of the new Citaros which now show more examples of the rear branding.
Pictures by Glenn Knight
Both Alexander Dennis and Optare had stands displaying their latest products and I must say that the livery applied to the Enviro 400 and 200 models on the main stand should win a prize for an excellent livery. I did hear some derogatory comments about the use of the Union flag on a "Scottish" product but I thought that rather unfair.
I include a number of photos below which I hope capture the flavour of this event.
All but one of the Neoplans once the mainstay of the Oxford Tube London service have been withdrawn.
They have been sent to Plaxtons at Anston for refurbishing and the first to be released to dealer Dawson Rentals is 50103 pictured above.
All the pictures above are by M Crowe.
National Express - decisions on future imminent
D day is this coming Friday and an announcement on the future of the group may be expected following a second extension of the deadline. One wonders if this will happen?
Traffic lights in our cities and towns
I am moved to write about the frustration of the ever increasing numbers of traffic lights in our country. One is minded to ask "is someone in the council offices also an owner of a traffic light manufacturers?"
Of even more frustration is the seemingly mindless way the phasing is set and the lack of an ability to either rephase or even switch off during the night hours. In Germany and other European countries they have a system whereby the lights flash amber in both directions in the quiet hours obviating the need for waiting, burning fuel and further polluting the atmosphere by waiting for the lights to change, even though there is no other traffic about.
Of course, maybe the powers that be do not think we are able to cope with such procedures, I wonder why?
Oxford's Queen Street in pictures by BBC Oxford
Geoff Cunliffe writes "The BBC Oxford web site has, I think, thirteen historic photographs of Queen Street taken over the years."
"Now I don't want to question the BBC, but I think some of the photographs are of the High Street rather than Queen Street. I must say that I am not sufficiently familiar with Oxford to be totally sure.
Your followers may be interested given the recent controversy about the pedestrianisation"