Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 9 - 19th October 2009

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Welcome to issue number 9 and once again I am indebted to the many contributions from all my correspondents. It is always nice when I receive reports of a specific bus or coach to find another email from someone sending a picture of that same vehicle. This is the case where one of you mentioned a Megabus Van Hool with a trailer and later there were pictures from another reader.

The National Express saga rumbles on and it is not very clear as to what the future may hold for this company. As I write this page yet further news has reached regarding Stagecoach and a bid for the National Express Group.

Another significant item of news this week is the introduction of a new "Circle Line" by Carousel Buses linking High Wycombe with West Wycombe, Stokenchurch, Lane End and Booker Asda. Indeed this service will give added capacity to the services between Stokenchurch and High Wycombe which, as mentioned in the last few issues, has seen increased patronage meaning larger buses by Arriva on Line 40.

Indeed Gavin Francis mentioned that with Line 40, Line 2A and 2C, 104-106 group and the 275 not forgetting the 737 Stokenchurch now boasts SEVEN service to High Wycombe between 1400 and 1500 each weekday afternoon.

Dart DP480 loading the Noon departure on Circle Line 2A. Picture by M Crowe.

If you click on the link below you can bring up a timetable for the new services.

Carousel Timetable Circle Line 2A_2C eff 191009

Finally we have some nice pictures from the Buses 60 event this last weekend at Wroughton provided by Matthew Searle and Richard Sharman.



Mark Turner asks what has happened to the following buses that were all allocated to Hemel depot?

3152 N702 EUR
3155 N705 EUR  (intalink bus)
3156 N706 EUR
3441 R201 VPU (ex 500 bus)
3442 R202 VPU (ex 500 bus)
3443 R203 VPU (ex 500 bus)
Mark says
"I really in enjoy your news page and the Spottings & Jottings pages."
The news from Carousel regarding their newly introduced Circle Line, covering Stokenchurch and Lane End, follows on from the heavy loadings on Line 40 - High Wycombe to Thame - and the introduction of larger buses on that route, making interesting reading. I was able to catch up with an Arriva Dart on Line 40 in West Wycombe this morning, Monday 19th October.

Arriva 3825, a Dart SLF/Plaxton on Line 40 passing through West Wycombe this morning, 19th October. Picture by M Crowe.

The most recent repaint into blue route 32 livery is Scania 3162, seen above leaving the Eden Bus Station just before noon on 19th October.
Picture by M Crowe.

Dart 3214 seen turning up New Road in Stokenchurch on Line 40 in the picture above by M Crowe.

Again on Monday 19th October, Gavin Francis caught up with Dart 3210 heading towards High Wycombe through Stokenchurch.

As mentioned above the latest changes at Carousel provide a new commercial service, Circle Line 2, connecting High Wycombe and Stokenchurch with Lane End and Booker. This is the first time there has been a service on this route (Lane End) for some years, the village being covered by service Arriva 32 from High Wycombe.

As of Monday 19th services 2 to Marlow and the 339 to Lane End no longer operate, being partially replace by Lines 2A and 2C.

The buses seen on this service on the first morning are Dart DP480, DAF981 and Volvo B6 - P232AAP. The service basically calls for two buses to maintain the normal daytime service.

Dart DP480 heads towards Stokenchurch through West Wycombe on the 1100 2A from High Wycombe.

Later on day one Gain Francis caught up with DAF981 in Stokenchurch on Line 2C.

A rather poor looking Dart - S314JUA - still in Arriva "London" livery working the 133 at Stansted on 14th October - picture by M Crowe.

We are still using this hire coach on the 737. It is from South Gloucestershire Bus. 18th October at Hemel by Malcolm Crowe.

Has 841 been repainted, it certainly looks very smart in this picture from Gavin Francis taken on 18th October.

Richard Sharman
caught up with Volvo 815 unusually working 300 road.

Red Rose of Aylesbury

Adam Green passed by the Red Rose depot on sunday last and noted the following buses in the yard.

M79CYJ which is still in Brighton & Hove livery
R843FWW which is broken up in the yard

R H Buses

A picture from Richard Sharman of a loan bus numbered 901 in the R H fleet.

Craig Rossington
sent the picture above of one of the new Stagecoach Gold Enviro 400s turning out of George St on Friday 16th October.

Stephen Le Bras writes "Last Saturday saw an early start to reach White City and note any new Oxford Tube and then on to Victoria.

50220,1,5 and.6 noted ( no Skyliners seen ) plus Megabus 50228 with trailer on the 10.30 Manchester departure. Also leaving VCS was 54061 on the M10.
By 2pm when I returned to Marble Arch from Golders Green (new deckers on the 183), everything had gone pear shaped and I headed off to Hammersmith. I did see a Megabus Plaxton at Kensington High Street and plenty of buses were curtailed and/or delayed with the 2 marches in central London."

Gavin Francis sent a couple of pictures to illustrate one of the new Van Hools working Megabus services from north of the border complete with trailer.

50230 at the end of a long journey takes a break in Green Line - picture by Gavin Francis.

First and last of the new Van Hool coaches, 50201 and 50226 in Gloucester Green. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Richard Sharman
did catch up with one of the very few remaining Skyliners at Gloucester Green on Friday 16th.
We believe this to be the last time 50122 was in service, leaving only 50114 available if required on Monday 19th October.
50114 was not used over the weekend as the Van Hool fleet is now very reliable and fully available for service.

One time Brookes Trident 18199 now in company livery with S5 branding. Picture by Richard Sharman on 16th October.

Stuart Curwen writes "For your information the full details of Thamesdown Transport new Scania K230UB/Wright Solars

Fleet no.

Reg. No.

Chassis Type & Number

Body Type & Number


Date New




Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864531

Wright Solar / AC772






Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864555

Wright Solar / AC770






Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864578

Wright Solar / AC769






Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864583

Wright Solar / AC767






Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864619

Wright Solar / AC768






Scania K230UB / YS2K4X20001864652

Wright Solar / AC771




Also an unregistered MAN Enviro 200 Demo has arrived at Barnfield Depot for evaluation purposes, having been a Demo was at Coach & Bus Live 2009.

The unregistered M A N - Enviro 200 at Barnfield Depot. Stuart Curwen.

One of the new Solars appeared at Wroughton on Sunday last. Picture by Richard Sharman.



National Express - a decision is announced

CVC Capital Partners and the Cosmen family have decided not to make an offer for National Express. The Board of National Express believes that strengthening the group’s balance sheet through an equity fundraising is now the most appropriate course of action and is a key objective in order to unlock the inherent value of the group for all shareholders.

Stagecoach has confirmed that it’s no longer in discussion with the CVC Capital Partners Cosmen consortium regarding the possible acquisition by Stagecoach of the UK Bus and UK Rail operations of National Express.

However an interesting continuation of this long running saga is in a report that Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter is considering putting an all-share merger proposal to the board of National Express, whose private equity suitor CVC on Friday walked away from a £765m bid.

The whole business of discussions by Stagecoach are far from clear and one will have to wait for the situation to clarify in the coming days and weeks.

Indeed as I go to press I received more news saying :-

In the latest twist to the National Express Group (NEG) saga, NEG revealed this morning (Monday) that it has received what it describes as a “highly preliminary proposal” from Stagecoach to acquire the entire Group in an all-share transaction, with NEG shareholders owning no more than 40% of the enlarged group.

Stagecoach says that “further work and analysis is required to determine a precise exchange ratio, the extent to which any equity needs to be issued for cash and appropriate disposals of businesses.”

It follows Friday’s announcement that the Cosmen/CVC Partners Consortium was abandoning its provisional offer, and Stagecoach saying it was no longer in discussions with the consortium about buying NEG’s UK bus and interests from the Consortium.

Stagecoach, which had previously ruled out bidding, said in a statement this morning that any offer will require backing from the NEG board.

And now it seems that First Group are to ask to be able to re-enter the bidding and so this long running saga seems set to continue, at least in the short term.

Amersham 2009

Ed Maun writes "Many thanks for Spottings & Jottings no. 7 in particular your report on the Amersham running day.    It was good to see two one time Thames Valley Bristol’s parked up next to each other – namely K type DBL154 and LWL type GJB254.    I was particularly interested to see GJB254 as I had noted that it had appeared to have left the Oxford Bus Museum as it is not listed as being there in the 2009 edition of Buses Restored. It was owned by Martin Shaw – does he still own it or has it been sold on?    Incidentally there is a picture of another one time Thames Valley Bristol in Buses Restored 2009 namely KSW type JRX823."

Wroughton 2009

Matthew Searle visited the Buses 60th anniversary event at Wroughton on Sunday last and contributed a few pictures of this interesting event.

Swindon line up

Swindon & District and Hong Kong Leylands in a Leyland line up at Wroughton.

Exeter 173 and 50. In the '60s I probably went blackberrying on the 1949 Daimler (it was used on country routes) and would certainly have gone to school on the Guy.

Above pictures and comments from Matthew Searle.

Richard Sharman has also sent some pictures of this event which are included below.

Pictures by Richard Sharman.

Busworld 2009

Busworld Kortrijk facts & figures

Busworld Europe Kortrijk is the biggest and oldest specialized exhibition for the coach and bus sector in the world. This biennial exhibition now reaches its twentieth edition and covers four sections: coach and bus builders, accessories, public transportation and tourism. Like any previous show, Busworld Kortrijk 2009 is a tremendous success, a forum for the worldwide coach and bus sector where all big bus manufacturers are present.

  • Date 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21 October 2009
  • Location Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium
  • Opening hours 10am till 7pm

An excellent photo site shows what is on display and what visitors can expect.

Stagecoach set to run a local bus service in Oxford on Christmas Day

Services will run to revised timetables over the Christmas and New Year period.

For the first time ever Stagecoach will be running a service on route 1 on Christmas Day in addition to the now traditional service on the Oxford Tube. Banbury will get its first ever service on Boxing Day with a service on route B5. There will also be improved Boxing Day frequencies on routes 1 and S5 compared to last year, plus a new service on route 10 between the JR and Cowley Centre.

More details of these services and other holiday changes can be found at the link below.