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The England Team coach in Moscow.
(Courtesy Getty Images)

They played well and as the saying goes "it matters not who won or lost but how we played the game" How true of England 2018. well done Lads !!

Well now it's back to reality and work on the page. I was pleased with the responses to last week's page and hope that we can broaden our list of contributors.

On the July 16th Stagecoach made a press release of the appointment of the new Managing Director for Oxfordshire. 

STAGECOACH APPOINTS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR OF OXFORDSHIRE BUS OPERATIONS

Former Metrolink Managing Director Chris Coleman to take on new role in September

Stagecoach has announced the appointment of the new Managing Director of its Oxfordshire bus operations.


Former Manchester Metrolink Managing Director Chris Coleman is to take over at Oxford in September this year.
Courtesy Manchester Evening News

Stagecoach previously announced that current Oxfordshire Managing Director Martin Sutton is to retire.

Mark Threapleton, Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director for England and Wales, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Chris to the UK Bus division – he has significant experience within the transport industry, over many years, and we look forward to benefitting from his knowledge and expertise as we continue to develop and improve services for our customers in Oxfordshire.”

Chris Coleman began his career in British Rail in 1987 and progressed from front line positions through to senior management roles in Virgin Trains. This included the role of Regional Director on the west coast before being appointed General Manager (Customer Services and Commercial) for Stagecoach Group’s light rail interests in 2010.

In 2011, after Stagecoach sold the Metrolink contract in Manchester, Chris moved on to become Managing Director of Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd, a position he held until July 2017. Since then he has been part of the Stagecoach Rail team working on the Group’s rail strategy.

Chris Coleman said: “This is an exciting new challenge for me and I am really looking forward to working with the team in Oxford. It’s a fantastic city with a great bus network and I look forward to building on the work that has already been done, along with our partners, to deliver even better services for our customers.”

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire carries around 19million passengers a year on its local bus network and Oxford Tube coach services. The company employs more than 500 people and has a fleet of around 170 vehicles. 

New CEO for Reading Buses named


Coming Home !

Robert Williams, currently Commercial Director of Stagecoach South West, has been named Reading Buses’ new CEO from October 1st.

Robert has worked for Stagecoach for 15 years, progressing through the ranks from Commercial Officer to Commercial Manager in Oxford and, since 2012, Commercial Director South West.

He is originally from Reading and started his career as a conductor for Reading Mainline back in 1999.

Chair of Reading Buses David Sutton says: "I am delighted that he is returning home to Reading to take on this role, and I look forward very much to working with him to ensure that Reading Buses continues to go from strength to strength in the future.”

Outgoing CEO Martijn Gilbert added: "Robert has a sound understanding of bus operations, a huge enthusiasm and passion for Reading and its buses, and is well respected across the UK bus profession. I am delighted to be handing over to him.”

Prior to Robert starting, Tony Pettitt, Reading’s Chief Finance and Information Officer, will cover the Chief Executive Officer's role.

Malcolm Crowe notes " I know Robert from his days at Stagecoach Oxford and also for his work on his web site Bus Zone which provides significant information about the industry in our region. The intro says " Bus Zone, an enthusiast site about bus operations in the Thames Valley, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and specifically Reading."  His site is always well worth looking at.

I and, I am sure all my readers, wish him well in his new appointment."

38-passenger extended, uprated Sprinter 75 in 2019


Sprinter City 75 lengthened within wheelbase to 8.4m, uprated to 6,800kg.

Daimler Buses has revealed a radical Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based low-floor minibus that will carry up to 38 passengers, of which around 24 will be seated. It will make its UK debut in mid-2019.

The two-axle Sprinter City 75 utilises a standard new-shape chassis cowl, which is lengthened by around 1m largely within the wheelbase to 8.4m, allowing a larger low-floor area than in the current City 45.

Axles and suspension are also upgraded. In particular, the 5,000kg rear rating allows a GVW of 6,800kg, although work at the front may further increase the overall figures to 7,000kg GVW and 40 passengers.

Still manoeuvrable

Although coach built, the body retains a Sprinter conversion’s width of 2.02m. The City 45 is not affected by the arrival of the City 75, and it will be available in right-hand drive form on the new Sprinter from early 2019, says EvoBus (UK) Director Mercedes-Benz Sales Marcus Watts.

“The City 75’s chassis and axle alterations were developed by, and are exclusive to, Daimler Buses. They will not be available to any other bodybuilder or converter,” he adds.

Within the saloon, the low-floor area is slightly inclined towards the door. No kneeling mechanism is thus required to achieve a step height of 270mm. A manual ramp is fitted and up to two wheelchair users can be carried.

Technology laden

Power remains from the standard 2.1-litre OM 651 engine rated at 163bhp and coupled to a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox. A battery electric version will follow, but not in the short term.

As with all new Sprinters, the City 75 comes with Daimler’s MBUX multimedia system along with a high level of connectivity. As standard, it also has Crosswind Assist, Active Brake Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist.

A 6,800kg Travel 75 minicoach will follow. It is still at the product planning stage and further details are awaited.

So, this is an interesting development as it gives some more seats but how will 14 standing passengers manage on a full vehicle in local town service. Elderly ladies with their shopping trolleys??

It was interesting to talk at an elderly lady from near Hemel Hempstead who was most uncomplimentary about the minibuses in Hemel now being replaced with larger buses. She commented how, with her laden trolley, she was "swamped" by homebound school children and nearly missed her stop.

Botley Road water leak causes terrific traffic jams

This last week has seen quite some delays on  the Botley Road when a water main burst. This created traffic delays back into the City centre. Also as many of the coaches on rail replacement use the Botley Road the extra traffic due to the station closure did not help. Three-way traffic lights were set up at the junction with Ferry Hinksey Road with tailbacks stretching past Frideswide Square and as far as Seacourt Park & Ride. 

It was hoped that the road would open on July 14th in the evening.

Oxford Rail replacement and Didcot workings

Gavin Francis took the opportunity to run out to Didcot to see what is going on at that end of the line. There have been numerous coach/bus workings from Oxford to Didcot over the past week or so. The planned closure continues until July 28th.

Pictures by Gavin Francis
Didcot on July 13th


Rail Replacement - Didcot - Access Travel Cleland North Lanarkshire LK13COA, a long way from home!


With a distinctive destination screen First Bristol 33498 heads for Oxford with a load of rail passengers.


With a similar distinctive destination screen First Bath 33949 heads for Oxford with a load of rail passengers.


Didcot and Mighty Travels of Birmingham runs WA61AJV, an M A N with Fast Carrier 57 dual door bodywork,  ex G4S Glasgow.


Reading number 4, until recently branded for service 2 in Slough but now a spare bus, leaving Didcot with a healthy load of passengers for Oxford.


Walters FIL2688 at Didcot on the Rail service.


Ex Bennetts of Gloucester - National Express and now with Weavaway, who I understand also have an NEx contract, FJ60KUH heads for Oxford.


Weavaway South Midland SN16OHO also heads for Oxford. Smart bus this !!!

Oxford - July 11th


Oxford and Chiltern Buses Trident 112 T112DBW in the holding area with Steve Burns driving.


First StreetLite 47561 from Bristol.


Oxford and First University of Bath 33949 leaving boarding area.


First Bristol unibus 33499 leaves the loading area with a load for Didcot.


Oxford and Brookes 605 in the Layover area.


Z&S SJZ9743 leaves the boarding area. 

Pictures by Jim Wright


Jim Wright was on rail replacement duty on July 14th at Didcot with 10068. 

Notes from Ralph Adams

11/7

Vehicles seen at the station were similar but included StreetLite 47561 from First – first single deck I have seen.

COMS

871 seen again – it is B12F plus 8 bikes  I wonder if anyone got a picture of 871 beside Chiltern Bus 872 ???? Ed.

Yesterday 839 (Wolvercote) was on Rose Hill (3 road)

Today, Thames travel 212 was on 5 road (photo enclosed) See under Oxford below

841 (Wolvercote) was Not In Service going along Queen Street at midday, presumably going to the garage.

City Sightseeing 2058 with its new number. The full open tops have had their 29xx numbers for some while but this was the first part open top that I have seen with its correct number..

CS have two small vans but there is no fleet number visible. They are used for publicity drops (many as publicity is important) plus staff transit from Station to Osney Mead. Presumably they no longer need to do vehicle maintenance.

History in the making

Your Editor's pictures of times gone - Harwell Olympian memories

Over the years I have taken many pictures of buses up and won the UK and overseas. Some are now quite historic, not the least right hand drive - right hand entrance Leyland bodied Leyland PD1's used in Lisbon.

This week I thought it would be interesting to bring some pictures taken in 1991 when four Leyland bodied Olympians arrived at City of Oxford Motor Services Cowley Road depot from Harwell where they had provided transport for the AERE at Harwell. Of those four, one remains in the capable hands of Grahame Wareham, who is restoring this now historic bus. I have included pictures I took of the buses on arrival and then when some months or so later they were ready for service. Latterly they operated in High Wycombe for the Wycombe Bus Company, by then owned by Oxford Bus (COMS) and from where the left the company's service.


237 ex Harwell FWL779Y in works on June 8th 1991 by Malcolm Crowe. The destination numbers were used to indicate the fleet number!
This was doubtless Grahame Wareham's doing.


239 is seen beside company 217 being readied for service on June 8th 1991 taken by Malcolm Crowe. This is the bus now under restoration.

 
236 is now ready for service and is seen gleaming outside the depot on June 22nd 1991 by Malcolm Crowe.
It was said that they were like new as they were very low mileage buses.

And some more pictures of these buses from Matt Cooper

 
No dates were given by Matt but it must have been around 1998-99 when 238 was seen on the 302 and 328.


239, in Travelwise super ad, working the 363 from Penn Pond.


Sometime later 236 had been renumbered 1825 and is seen working the 328.

Wonder why they were renumbered?

Your questions answered

David Oakley answered a question from Phil Roberts regarding ex Oxford Bus MB52OXF which has passed to North Manchester HGV Training, Bolton. Thank you David!

Then in a reply from Phil he said that quite by coincidence he is ion Bolton this week so I hope he might get a picture of the beast !! 

 

Before Arriva and before Wycombe Bus, Luton & District ran the depot at High Wycombe which moved variously from West Wycombe Road to Cressex opposite the current depot of Arriva. There was also a depot in Amersham. During that time they worked on the joint Green Line service 290/790 between London and Oxford or Thame. I little realised when in 1990 I pictured a Leyland Tiger working the 290 from London through West Wycombe that I would be posting this and other pictures on my own web page nearly 30 years later. Happy days!


Having recently been repainted in Green Line colours, recently in National Express white with London Express branding TPL92 - B292KPF
is seen setting down in West Wycombe on its way to Oxford on a sunny July afternoon - July 22nd 1990. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.
I was watching an old film on Talking Pictures recently and the dialogue said "You've missed the Green Line" - what memories !

It would now appear that all of the E20D MMCs have now departed for the Midlands with most at Wigston but possibly 3019 being indicated to be at Wigston. I await confirmation of 3108 having left but at the time of publishing nothing was certain. However now the 32 route is home to a variety of elderly buses replacing the most modern in the fleet at Wycombe.


From 18 to Y in one easy movement !!! - DAF 6310 at Asda Cressex on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


StreetLite 2526 seen in the Eden Bus Station, named Peter (Cartwright) the local owner of RML2440, on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Once part of the Wycombe fleet, 3863 is seen on a 300 working leaving the Eden Bus Station on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe.

From Brian Butler

"In last week's bulletin reference was made to the previous service 366 which operated between Aylesbury and Halton many years ago. I still have a copy of the Luton area United Counties timetable dated 5th September 1976. Indeed the 366 did operate between Aylesbury and Halton, but it was route 367 that served the former Halton Hospital site. The 366 departed Aylesbury on the hour and 20 minutes past the hour and operated via Wendover to Halton Camp while the 367 left Aylesbury at 40 minutes past the hour and operated via Weston Turville and Halton Village to Halton Hospital, the two routes giving the Wendover Road a service every 20 minutes."

Many thanks to Brian for that most interesting information. does anyone have any pictures of service 367?

I thought I would include this company here as they are worldwide operators. They are using a variety of wraps in London.


Big Bus London 323 PN10FOF with a wrap for GOLDEN KEYS CONCIERGE on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

Chiltern Buses

Steve Burns is presently parking his fleet in a part of the overflow yard at Carousel's depot but this last week it has been very busy on rail replacement at Oxford.


Steve's fleet on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe. Interestingly Citaro 872 has met with sister Citaro 871 currently a cycle bus with 12 seats on Oxford's rail replacement.


Now a very standard sort of bus for the 21st century Courtney's Milton Park Shuttle YY67HDO is seen on December 6th 2017 by Simon Caygill.

Another picture from my archives which shows one of the coaches used on the Reading-Heathrow Railair service. Does anyone have a picture of the High Wycombe-Heathrow Railair service? I remember travelling on this but sadly did not take a picture. I've included the picture below since it shows one of the origins of the Railair services.


Bee Line Reading Railair F634UBL seen on August 22nd 1989. This coach was from dealer stock and was very recent at the time. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.
The coach was a 53 seater and with sister F635UBL was owned by the Berks Bucks Bus Co with fleet number 759 and 760 delivered in July of 1989.

Not too much news from this operator other than to say "We now await Citaros 877 and 878 appearing with route 1 branding. Word also reached me from Oscar Longman that he had seen a Thames Travel Citaro on the ONE in Chesham on Saturday July 14th. Can anyone confirm?"

 

First a little bit of history with a picture from the "last century" when COMS had a fleet of Metroliner double deck coaches normally used to operate between Oxford and London on the X90 service.


Sometime in 1988, 30 years ago, Metroliner 904 is seen leaving Gloucester Green for Heathrow on an X70 departure.
This was unusual because these coaches suffered from the same problems do for today's double deck coaches, luggage! Picture by Malcolm Crowe.


Coach 42 has acquired a new super rear for the Ashmolean as seen on July 11th by Gavin Francis.


Oxford's Citaro 839, branded for the 6, is seen leaving the train station with a 5 road service on July 12th by James Freeman.
James advised that it did return to work on the 6 later in the day!


Scania 212, from the Thames Travel fleet, is seen working a 5 road service in St. Aldates on July 12th by Ralph Adams.


On the same day the same bus was caught in New Road on 5 road heading for the station, this time by Gavin Francis.

and a touch of the past from Simon Caygill.


Once flagship of the Park & Ride fleet Trident 101 is seen in Didcot on the X2 before it was taken over by Thames Travel.
Happy memories of this bus as I once worked a special to Derby day and also Farnborough Air Show.


Must be at least 10 years ago when Volvo 620 was seen working a 35B service to Didcot from the terminus in St. Aldates. 


Renumbering of the part open top fleet has now taken place and above we see 2058 (T110DBW) near the Rail Station on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

Gavin visited Didcot to get some pictures of rail replacement and has the opportunity to get a number of pictures of Thames Travel on their local routes.


StreetLite 441 with a 90 working by Didcot Train Station on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

 
Citaros 853 and 860 with the 32A service by Didcot Train Station on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

 
Citaros 864 and 865, both in Connector livery, work the X2 in Didcot on July 13th by Gavin Francis.


Still in Oxford City livery, 869 is seen working a 94S service on July 13th by Gavin Francis.


Scania 914, last seen in the Carousel overflow yard at Wycombe, is seen running out of service on July 13th by Gavin Francis.


Ex London General LX06EAE, now TT 914 is seen on the BB2 service to Berinsfield on July 13th by Gavin Francis.


One not seen at Wimbledon was RML2318 now caught in London on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

I've received some nice pictures for inclusion in the page. This operator looks after Swindon!


Scania 1648 with a More X3 working showing the striking livery - seen on August 19th by Simon Caygill. 

Harlequin Travel, Marlow


Harlequin Travel of Marlow, YN55PXV, a Scania/Berkhof 55 seater new to Lock of Epsom, passing through Lane End on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Heyfordian H18HTL overtaken the Z&S Olympian in Thames on July 5th by Gavin Francis.


An ex Dublin Trident, AV137, in High Wycombe outside the Wycombe Swan - Motts X900MTT by Nick Ross on July 13th.


Coaches N18MRG and MIG3820 at their depot in Cressex on July 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Many moons ago - some 30 in fact we see a Crosville Leyland Tiger with Duple bodywork , Sammy's arrival at VCS
 being CTL67 C67JTU on the 545 service from north Wales on August 23rd 1989 by Malcolm Crowe.
The hostesses with mostess were a part of the National Express Rapide service in those now far off days.


Premier of Cambridge operated a Cambridge-Paignton service for National Express with a Plaxton Volvo specifically designed for Nation Express as their Expressliner!
Above 374 G374REG is seen leaving  Gloucester Green on the 747 to Paignton - the date was March 3rd 1990 by Malcolm Crowe.

A picture from Simon Caygill of one of this operators buses.


Solihull to Birmingham route X2 with MMC 6829 on December 30th 2016 by Simon Caygill.

 


Local operator Pearces OU09BZD passers through Didcot but not on Rail Replacement taken by Gavin Francis on July 13th.

A mix of old and new makes this an interesting page to read this week.

Reading have announced that they will be taking over the National Express service between Heathrow and Woking as an NEx contractor. Further details are awaited. however I do have a picture from times past of Frames Rickards working this service in the mid '80s. Also Gavin Francis has supplied three pictures.

Another slice of history


Frames Rickards A528LPP on the Woking Railair link sometime after 1983 by Malcolm Crowe. The coach was new in October 1983 and was one of six in a batch.
Rickards, whose origins date back to pre second world war, the coaches were always painted in royal maroon as they were the chosen coaches for royal requirements in London.

   
S320VNM and T325APP, both ex Cambridge coach Services, at Heathrow Central Bus Station on July 24th 2006. Taken by Gavin Francis.

This gives readers some idea of the continuity of this service.

Pictures past and present in Reading.


Maybe 30 years separate these two pictures of buses on local routes. Titan number 15 is seen in the Butts on route 25 by Simon Caygill.


Branded for the 23/24 route here is 221 picking up in Church Street at the eastbound stop on a 24 working on July 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

I wonder which was the more reliable?

 
Reading Green Line 899 seen on the 702 in Bulleid Way on July 11th by Gavin Francis. This may have been the first day on the route since repainting?

Several readers have commented on the use of Solo SR's on the 702 to London. This is, I understand, to compensate for late running of the service bus which thereby ensures timely operation of the 702.

 
Thames Valley 194 fills in on the 702 and is seen in Bulleid Way on July 13th by Gavin Francis.


Andrew Webb caught Thames Valley 193 operating the 702 on July 14th as it approach its Victoria terminus.


ADL 10433 on the 1 near Oxford's train station on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

Before Stagecoach in Oxfordshire was formed the South Midland part of COMS Oxford-South Midland had been purchased and was running with the country depots of Bicester, Chipping Norton, Wantage and Witney. They had a selection of buses including Bristol VRs and Leyland Titans. today this seems hard to imagine but below is one from my archives of the route 20 to Chipping Norton with an ex Manchester Titan departing from Gloucester Green.


Nearly 30 years ago and "the Green" looks very busy as Titan 702 (GNF8V) leaves for Chipping Norton by Malcolm Crowe.
These buses also were to be seen in Bicester at the old depot by the level crossing.


          Midlands

I have received some interesting pictures of Midlands buses from Dylan Jones.


Scania 15675 at Redditch with an X19 on April 14th by Dylan Jones. The use of the heritage livery is exemplary.


E200 22841 in Leamington Spa on local route 64 to Long Itchington seen on August 7th 2017 by Dylan Jones.


E200 Gold 26215 at Nuneaton Bus Station on Gold 48 seen on May 26th by Dylan Jones.


E200 27681 works the X7 towards Northampton is seen at Leicester on May 26th by Dylan Jones.


E200 39699 on the 56 to Coventry from Nuneaton on May 26th by Dylan Jones.


 East Scotland - Fife

Gordon Scott caught up with one of the Mercedes City Sprint 45s now in Scotland.

 
44015 BV66GTZ ex East Kent Little Often branding (in Ashford Town) seen at Leven Bus Station on July 12th by Gordon Scott. It was being used as a staff bus for a few weeks.

I am advised that 50237 may stay in Oxford for around 6 months and is seen below in a picture by Jim Wright. this gives a clear indication of how it now looks.


Seen in Worcester Street on July 12th.


The same coach again, this time by Andrew Webb, when in London on July 14th.

These two pictures give an idea of both sides. I must say it is a little unusual but does indicate Megabus and the Oxford tube since one can buy Megabus tickets on the M40 (Oxford tube!!)


Megabus 54287 "Mega N Harry" on an M7 Cwmbran working runs round to VCS on July 11th by Gavin Francis.
Note the addition of a Young Leaders branding since the last picture of this coach.


A nice picture of BL64MFJ near Oxford's train station on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

I am told that Weavaway have two Mercedes/Caetano Levantes and expect some National Express work. One of them is shown elsewhere in this issue on rail replacement work in Didcot.


Weavaway Travel YJ13HHW in Newbury Bus Station on July 26th 2017 by Simon Caygill.

Whites Coaches


Seen in Oxford on July 11th YX66WOV is on private hire working taken by Gavin Francis.

Other London operators


Westbus LF18AWV with a Far East group in London on July 11th by Gavin Francis.
I find these attractive little coaches with a big coach look.  Ed.