Issue 75

Sunday 2nd May 2004
next update week ending 12th May 2004

Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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The past week has been a relatively quiet one in our area and the weather until Sunday was hardly conducive to photography hence the lack of too many pictures on this week's page.

Several of my correspondents wrote regarding their visits to Oxford including Geoff Cunliffe and Stephen le Bras. Stephen especially mentioned the delays in Abingdon road and wondered why they should try to do such a large stretch at once.

Geoff Cunliffe writes "....anyway, what did I find in Oxford last Tuesday (27th. April)?  We came in on 616, 10.55am from Pear Tree. Why is there a sign at Pear Tree which recommends that, when the site is busy, you should use Seacourt Park & Ride when the new Water Eaton one in much closer and much quieter? (See picture under COMS heading below Ed.)

I found a new SiO Trident in Broad Street. This was a different one to last week’s page since it has no “Low Floor” vinyls. (Interesting, I haven't seen any without Ed) 

I found Abingdon-branded Citaro 833 on 2C loading outside Debenham's at 11.50am, and spotted it still on the 2C much later in the day. (That's the card which also does 18's and starts on a relief working from Abingdon X3 at 0810 Ed).

Charlton Services GAZ8573 Leyland was in St.Giles outside the Ashmolean Museum. It still has its Tiger badge which must be somewhat unusual. Is it a former Oxford coach? Similarly, how about the Swanbrook UJI1761 photographed outside the Randolph? 

OBC's red 101 was on the G card for the 400; red 103 was on the 300 and 104 on 400. Red 102 was on the 35 at 2.30pm. 

Once again, inconsiderate parking by delivery drivers and the presence of unauthorised cars emphasises the fragile state of the High Street. A bus controller directed traffic for a considerable time and chatted to Policemen on foot about it. A Police car spoke to two apparently illegal cars at 2.15pm, but allowed them to continue. Turning them would have caused even more chaos.

Tube 39 did an apparent naughty, running empty through Queen Street, presumably heading back to the depot.

Tube 38 – the fire damaged one? – looked very bare with no graphics at all. Worked to London, 2.20pm past Carfax.

You get used to the buses in Queen Street but you take your life into your hands when dealing with the cyclists, which travel at speed in the reverse direction despite a prohibition sign covering the period 10am to 6pm.

One thing which did take me by surprise was when Stagecoach Olympian, 16141, R141EVX, operated the Blackbird Leys route about 2.30pm.  (see picture below under SC Ed.)

Stephen Le Bras also wrote saying "I visited Oxford for a change today and bought a bus-train day ticket from Windsor and then wondered exactly where I could use it. Certainly not the 100 which was all Trident 18127-31/34/36/37 with 18135 on 20. Basically from the map it seems to be OK in Oxford locally for Oxford Bus, S/coach and Arriva. I haven't tried Brookes Bus to the station. Sadly 20,50, 66 and X5 are of course out but what about X4? I think X3/13 to Abingdon is allowed but perhaps you can enlighten me. The leaflet tells you what is not available but is a bit vague otherwise.

I trekked down Abingdon Road- what a mess and still another 2? 4 ? weeks to go. I agree the road surface needs replacing but why tackle such a large section?

Other observations were 16141 on the 31- the driver wound the blind through the BrookesBus routes to get to 31 as he had taken over a yellow blank blind with a piece of paper for the route information.

Thames Travel 104 on the 107.

Oxford 11 and 12 were still out on X90.  Red Tridents were out on the P&R, plus Citaros on the 400 (824/7) 105 on the 5, 837/8 on the 15.
Finally, a Bova on the NX route 539 to Scotland BC51NAT

The local Oxford times carried an article on the pollution in the city centre and the continuing fact that could drivers not switch their engines off whilst loading or waiting ion the city centre. I can only comment that the bus I was using to return to OBC Cowley Road most certainly did switch off his engine whilst loading in Queen Street. It is not the purpose of this page to make views on those who do not switch off their engines and I am aware that most companies do instruct their drivers to switch off engines whilst loading or waiting in the city centre.

One item of sadness is the significant under utilisation of the Bucks County Council Sunday services run under the banner of Silver Rider and Cressexpress. Certainly the Stokenchurch 400 service has, as far as I am aware, not carried more than a handful of passengers since its inception on Sunday January 18th 2004. Such services can have no future and must shortly be consigned to history. I think it was July when a review was planned and we shall have to wait and see what happens. Sadly the 757 service between Oxford and Stansted was quite well used when it ran through Stokenchurch and it seems sad that when it often runs along the old A40 to Junction 5 on the M40 it cannot stop too pick up or set down. However one must appreciate this is supposed to an express service!

On the 18th January a new Sunday service 400 was launched serving Stokenchurch.
It has not been very successful to date and may suffer the consequences as a result.

It seems that road works on the A40 between Loudwater and High Wycombe have now been completed and traffic is back to normal. This is welcome news as bus services in the area were badly affected during the works.

Malcolm Audsley writes to say "Here are a couple of pictures you be able to use. The Metroriders with Emsworth & district have I think already been featured but G778WFC was still hard at work in Chichester earlier this month.


More topical is the appearance last week of Trident V929 FMS, still in P&R green on the service around the city operated by Portsmouth University. Unlike the larger Unilink operation in Southampton, the Portsmouth service appears to be a non-psv contract for students only. Picture taken at 8am on April 23rd, hence the less than perfect light.

Ralph Adams asks who 929 is now owned by as he believed it was used by Trans Bus as a replacement for buses under warranty work?

Finally this months issue of "Buses" which contains a most interesting article on competition in Oxford was already sold out at W H Smith in Oxford by last Friday.

Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.

Malcolm Crowe, 2nd May 2004.

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News of the local companies – 1st May 2004

Ed Maun responded to a question raised by official of Arriva some weeks ago and the 326 route in High Wycombe. Ed says I recall the request.  However, if memory serves me correctly Arriva required info on service 326; this was a London Transport Country Area service.   Thames Valley did run a similar service (may have been joint with LT?) numbered 26 (and possibly a 26A variation - working from memory without digging out old timetables!).  The 26 (and 26A?) continued into the Alder Valley era and then became amalgamated with the 326 in 1980 under the ChilternLink  MAP inspired scheme.   I believe the "new 326" was then jointly run by Alder Valley/Bee Line/Wycombe Bus and London Country/LCNE/Luton & District owned Chiltern Bus until Motts Coaches Yellow Bus sold out to Luton & District when with the recasting of Wycombe area services Wycombe Bus finished up with all the "Town"
services including the 326 which became solely a Wycombe Bus operation, subsequently passing to Arriva which had also of course "bought" Luton & District via British Bus and so the 326 returned to where I started!!  I can't remember whether the "original" route which became LT 326 was a Penn Bus Company or Amersham & District operation.

Hope you can follow this - it spans about 80 years!!   If this is what Arriva is looking for then I would have to do some serious research for dates and fact checking.  One final thought - are we about to see "Red Route 26" introduced.   I understood that the 326 was supposed to be the second Quality Bus route in High Wycombe and a number of stops had Kassel curbs installed in readiness - but it never materialised; all we got were the route branded Dart "bouncy castles" and a couple of branded Lynx shortly before Arriva took over.   The route brandings all disappeared under Arriva national colours - this also applied to the EasyAccess branded Darts for what was then the 303/313 service; which is now of course "Red Route 33".

Thanks for that Ed, lets see if Arriva get back on this one?

Gavin Francis wrote following a visit to Wycombe this morning. He reports "..just a couple of items regarding a trip to HW this morning when I saw Volvo 3842 with Thames Valley line branding. I have attached a photo and noted that 3843 and 3844 also carried the same branding. In the bus station I also saw ex Buffalo K447XPA new in 1995 and now Arriva 3099"

A photo from Gavin Francis showing 3842 with the new Thames Valley line route branding - Newlands Bus Station today.

3843 now also has the TVl branding as seen here yesterday approaching Wycombe.

Lynx 3070 is just about the last one in service at Wycombe and seen here a week ago leaving NBS.

Olympian 5073 pictured some time ago by Chris Maxfield. I wonder what the blue livery is about?

Olympian 5129 a week ago on a 310 working out of NBS.

Paul who writes under the name Stagecoach888 reports that "The Olympians are being treated at Cannock, not Leicester. Paul refers to the 280 branded ones away for refurb. Ed)  There were two in the yard this afternoon, but as it was raining I didn't leave my office to see which they were. They are certainly having a proper job done on the exterior, i.e. repanelling etc, but there is not much evidence of the interior being touched."

Paul then reports today "Just had a walk down the yard (yes, in the office on a Sunday - thanks First PMT !) and find they have now gone.

One was 5161, which has had lots of panels replaced and all seating removed. The floor coverings have also been lifted. It was driven out of the yard on Friday - I would guess either to Derby or Thurmaston. I don't know if the other one is still here as I cannot gain access to the workshops. I will check on Tuesday."

I must thank Paul and many other readers who keep me posted on events concerning our area vehicles, sometimes many miles away from our area.

Carousel, High Wycombe

Gavin Francis also visited Carousel today and reports " the depot was Metrobus M1100 in London training livery of white and grey. Just around the corner from there in a disused Esso Station in Bridge Street were three of the ex London Metrobuses including M611 showing Cricklewood Broadway. (Are these additions to the fleet ?? Ed)



The new company web site is well worth a look and now includes an enthusiasts section. ( )

Coach 69 having arrived back after conversion to C49FT and application of all vinyls for The Airline except anything on the rear entered service last Friday working the 1400 X70 to Heathrow.

This rear view of 69 shows just how shiny the new paintwork is.

Bus Monkey sent in the following sightings from last week.

Mon 26th
636 on 5

Tue 27th
643 and 654 on 5
836 on 4A
616 on 300, particularly unusual because it was out all day
833 on 13 in evening peak - is there a regular Citaro working on this
through doing X13s?

Wed 28th
638 and 652 on 5

Thu 29th
652 on 5

Fri 30th

651 on 5
837 on 4A in morning

I also noticed 101 on 15s for most of Friday and later in the day 651 on 5 road.

The latest full "refurb" to return is 26 seen here on its first day in service at Heathrow T4 on an X70 working.

Earlier on Friday morning coach 69 appeared at "the Green" but returned to the garage quite quickly.

On Saturday lunchtime coach 70 (R809NUD) returned from toilet fitting and repaint. This only leaves nr 71 (R808NUD) and 25(Y25OXF) to be returned for service from overhauls.

The three older Plaxtons (69-71) are required for the increase in frequency on the X70 to every 20 minutes from May 9th. Full details on the company site as above.

Geoff Cunliffe started his visit to Oxford unexpectedly on Volvo 616 on the 300 on Tuesday of last week.

One further unexpected piece of news from last Thursday was the departure of Volvo/Paladins 657 and 658 to Wilts and Dorset. I look forward to pictures and details of the routes they are working from local correspondents.


The new Solo photgraphed at the main depot in Bicester by Chris Maxfield.


News from readers was received as follows:

Richard Sharman writes "All the new Trident/ALX400 now in use at Witney. 

18128-37, KN04XJB-H/J-M

Only ex Witney Olympians to remain in use are-


OXFORD-  16524

WOODSTOCK 20 SERVICE (I think still allocated to Witney) - 16523 

The rest are going to Caetano at Leicester for single door conversion, then maybe into the Warwickshire fleet?.

Ralph Adams writes "To add further confusion, the Witney batch is 18127-18137 whilst East Midlands is 18120-18126. However, East Midlands has allocated 18127 to one of their buses, and there are some photos to prove it. They appear to have not allocated the number 18120 yet with 18121-25 at Worksop and 18126/27 at Chesterfield. 18138 onwards have been allocated to Stagecoach North West"

Keith Wood adds "Ex Witney Olympians 16514/16517/16518 were in the disposal area at Nuneaton garage last night (Tuesday 27th)."

New Trident 18134 operates a 100 service through George Street in the rain last Friday.

Indeed 16523 is still in town here seen operating a 20 service last Friday.

Geoff Cunliffe caught 16141 on the 1s last Tuesday during his visit to Oxford.

Suzy Scott writes "First of all, what we in Scotland have dubbed "megahairies" - i.e. a non-Megabus vehicle on a route.

Here, former East London Volvo Olympian 16141 has returned to it's former home, where it was VA141? (VA41 maybe), and is seen here at London's Gloucester Place, Allsop Arms. The driver frequently had to point out he WAS a megabus vehicle - for the day anyway - but still had a pile of Oxfordshire 32 timetables in the windscreen.

A "megahairie" 16141 pictured by Suzy Scott at Allsop Place, London

Worth's of Enstone.

Worth's new Citaro, BU53ZWZ caught by the lens of Chris Maxfield a few weeks ago

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A CIE coach working the 873 through Gloucester Green last Friday morning at 0619
Sorry about the poor picture, it needed a tripod.

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This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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