Issue 97
Monday 4th October 2004
next update week ending 16th October 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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As mentioned in the holding News Page this last weekend was the Ribble Express Running Day in Preston and I enjoyed a day of nostalgia with the highlight being the run to and from Manchester on a double deck coach I had driven in service on the 23rd August 1965, thus nearly 40 years ago.

Your Editor pictured with 1279 at Walton-le-Dale. The rain came down but somehow added to the atmosphere of the day!

The duty mentioned above was an X60 duplicate from Manchester to Blackpool and I noted that I travelled back to Manchester passenger. On recollection I believe this was because the coach was a Blackpool depot coach and was being returned to its home base. At Manchester in that summer we had 1272, 1275 and 1284 and these were mainly used on the X50 to morecambe (2 coaches) and on Saturday's only one coach was used on the X40 Keswick relief.

I was very interested to make a comparison of a double deck coach of 40 years ago and the latest coaches from our area which are doing much the same kind of work which the White Lady's did all those years ago. I have taken a few photos which make for much interest. The luggage area in the White Lady was accessible from the inside or offside emergency exit. Seating was for 59 with 20 downstairs compared to 18 + 2 tip up seats on the lower deck of the Neoplan. Seats were not reclining on the White Lady nor was there wheel chair access. From a driving point of view gear changes were semi auto which can also be achieved on the Neoplan with AS-tronic gearbox. Top speed of the Atlantean was around 58-60 mph and on the Neoplan 62.5mph. The biggest difference was the lack of power steering. Drivers had to be strong in those days!!!

The lower deck comparisons, 1279 on the left, 50113 on the right.

Driving compartment of 1279 shows the simplicity compared to the Neoplan.

1279 leaves Walton-le-Dale on an advertised trip to Lytham. The coach was fully loaded for this trip
and a relief on the shape of a Saro bodied Leyland Tiger Cub had to be provided.

My weekend enjoyment was enhanced by a visit to Stagecoach Manchester where a friend works. I was delighted to be able to drive a couple of the unusual double deckers they have up there and hope no one minds my including the pictures on this week's report. The guys were most hospitable and I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to sample two six heel overseas deckers.

Your Editor driving first KMB Olympian 13513 and secondly Dragon 16587.

The Olympian and Dragon were both basic but one did not have either sensation of a very big bus or heavy steering. I am told that the routes these buses are used on are heavily loaded at most times of the day. In fact the Wilmslow Road - where the University is located - enjoys a bus every 19 seconds at peak and as such is the most heavily bussed route in the world. The Magic Bus fleet carries a large proportion of the students and loads of 120 passengers are not unusual.

Another event this last Sunday was the Amersham Running Day and my roving reporters sent in photos and reports. If only one could be in two places at once!

Colin Cooke sent some nice pictures as did Alan Gelson. No doubt more will be forthcoming as the week goes by.

Pride of place must go to this DAF recently acquired by Carousel which sports a new and striking livery.
This bus - R981FNW - and more to come originally saw service at Heathrow.

Another Colin Cooke picture was this one of GS34 working a 397 service.

Woottens sent this immaculate Bristol VR - WJI2849. -

Colin writes to say "Despite the weather (not as bad as predicted), a spirited gathering of buses could be seen at Amersham's Running Day 2004.

Carousel always support the event with variation from their excellent fleet................... 

This year they bought two examples of how rapidly they are updating.........The new scheme ex Airport bus looked wonderful even without the sun on it. I am told they will put some of these on the Amersham 336 in a 'two tone green'..........can't wait. 

GS34 shows just what 'timeless' photo opportunities this event gives..GS34 stands at Cholesbury in what could have been 35 years ago ! 

Finally one of Woottens school buses taking a Sunday rest !

Alan Gelson writes "the bus we took was Park and Ride 825 - same one we took to Blackpool. The photo of it out on the road was taken on service 394 at Chartridge returning to Chesham."

Finally from last week's page I received the following comments from "York Bus Driver" who says "In reference to the picture on the Citaro and tram 177 in Blackpool. 

The tram is actually 147, but had 177 applied for the parade on the Saturday to celebrate 50 years of the Balloon Cars, as 177 was the number of the last "Standard Class" tram, and was used to show the development of trams over the years. 

By the way, one of the entrants from York drove the Citaro, as per last year, and says he hates them compared to our B7L's"

Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Malcolm Crowe - Monday 4th October 2004


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News of the local companies – 4th October 2004

Why, you will wonder is there a picture of a boat?  Well if you look carefully in the right background you will see some buses.
The boat is the ferry royal Iris from Liverpool following a sister vessel on the Manchester Ship Canal near Latchford, Warrington.
Each week in summer, until October you can take a ferry trip from Liverpool to Manchester and back.
See the picture below for more detail of the buses.

Twqo ex Wycombe Olympians are working for Fairbrothers in Warrington. Here ex 5822 is seen behind the other example.
Sadly all the fleet was parked nose in so this is the best I could get. The Swan advertising can still be seen.

I am delighted to be able to publish the latest Enthusiast update from the company.

Enthusiast Update – September 2004
(dates of all changes are 9/04 unless otherwise stated)

Ancillary Fleet 

New Vehicles 



Ford Transit

Crew bus



Ford Transit

Crew bus



Ford Transit

Crew bus



Ford Transit

Crew bus

Vehicles Refurbished


To C46Ft and espress specification

Due to re-enter service 10/10/04

Editors Note: The remaining Excaliburs are all 45 seats so as these are 46 seaters they are internally somewhat different?? 

Vehicles Converted and Renumbered 

962 (ex 645)

K119 BUD

Volvo B10B

Northern Counties

Training vehicle

Renumbered Vehicles


G781 WFC

Optare Metrorider

Ex T3



Leyland Lynx

Ex T1



Leyland Lynx

Ex T4


R815 SWN

Ford Transit

Ex V1


YDZ 5960

Ford Escort Van

Ex V2


V261 CVV

LDV Convoy

Ex V3


RIL 4910

Ford Escort Van

Ex V4


RIL 4911

Ford Escort Van

Ex V5


G912 RBW


Ex G2

Vehicles Withdrawn 



To Wootons, Chesham

Vehicles On loan (from 6/9/04)



Scania K113





On loan to cover for native examples returning to Scania for warranty modifications. It is in an overall blue livery with ‘airline’ vinyls.


The premises at 395 Cowley Road were vacated for operational purposes on 18th September 2004. From the same date, the new site became operational. The full address is:

          Cowley House, Watlington Road, Oxford, OX4 6GA.

951-954 are crew shuttle buses operated in connection with the new depot.

The renumbering of the ancillary fleet has been done as a consequence of a new radio system which will be installed in early 2005. The delivery of the new crew shuttle buses was an opportune time to renumber all non-PCV vehicles into a three-digit numeric series.

The numbering range 901-950 is being retained in case we ever have normal height double deckers in the fleet again (there are NO plans at present!)

My thanks to OBC for this update which clarifies a number of issues. Ed.

The company have just announced fare increases and details are as follows.

Fares rise from Sunday 3rd October 2004

Large increase in fuel costs prompt fares increase

Huge increases in fuel, insurance and business rates are behind changes to Oxford Bus Company's fares to be implemented on Sunday 3rd October 2004.

Along with everyone else we've had to pay a lot more for fuel in the last 12 months. We spend over £2 million a year on fuel so even a small increase has a huge impact. We've managed to absorb the extra costs as long as possible and stick to our pledge to increase fares just once a year. In some parts of the county bus operators imposed a special fuel surcharge but we wanted to aviod that here.

Amongst the increased costs the company has had to face are:

11% rise in fuel costs.
39% increase in insurance.
11% rise in Business rates.
3.6% rise in wages.

Despite these steep rises in costs the overall increase in fares is just 4.5%. In fact some fares will be reduced, whilst others remain unchanged. For example a £3.60 adult return will fall to £3.20 and the most popular adult fares, at 60p and £1, will stay the same, and an 80p single will be reduced to 70p. Further examples include the £1.60 adult single that falls to £1.50, although the £1.40 adult single will rise to £1.50. A one zone weekly ticket rises from £9 to £10.

We try to keep the increases to round monetary amounts to make transactions quicker and easier for passengers and drivers. It means that some fares that didn't go up with the last changes a year ago but have risen this time.

The increase in fares comes after the company moved to a brand new "state of the art" depot on Watlington Road, but the move and the fare changes are not connected. In fact, the new premises are more efficient and less costly to operate than the previous one, and this saving has been factored into these fares changes.

When one sees the very dramatic increases in fuel prices it is obvious that companies relying on fuel, airlines, train companies and the bus companies are facing significant problems in maintaining costs so that this increase is not unexpectedl.

Bus Monkey reports as follows ".....noticed that OBC have updated their X3/X13 destination display, copying Stagecoach's arrow! Their via line now reads something like "Direct ---> via A34" whilst the Stagecoach one switches between something like: "Direct --->"  "---> via A34"

Mon 27th
804 on 4A
510, 630 on 5
808 on 13A

Wed 29th
401 on 5A

Thu 30th
103 on 2
820 on 4A
406 on 5B
630 on 14

Fri 1st
811 on 2B
619 on 5

The move from Cowley Road to the new garage on Watlington Road continues to provide interest and photos.

Ricahrd Griffin sent these two pictures of Cowley Road depot as it is in the first days of October.

Bus Monkey reports "Various Brookesbus duplicates were operating all week using M A Ns (including ones branded for route 1, route 7, BMW 22053 and Brookes 22054).

Wed 29th
22942 repainted on 1
20011 on 1

Fri 1st
22052 on X4
22054 (Brookesbus branded) on 7
34466 on 10

This last weekend I have been in Manchester so pictures of Oxford and area are somewhat short. I am however including a few interesting shots taken whilst I was away.

When new the batch 16501-16513 were at Witney for the 100. 16509 is shown above.
They moved some years ago to Manchester and are now having possibly their first full repaints.

This second shot shows the after to the one above before. 16504 is ready for service at Hyde Road depot in Manchester

I loved this shot of an M A N, 22237, taken in Partington, west Manchester and have to report that there are many advertising buses in the area.

A trial bus in Manchester is this Enviro 300 based at Princess Road and numbered 27501

Sister bus to the Brookes Trident below, 18057 from Cambridge was at Showbus.

18054, mentioned above, but now on the U1 and showing off its branding changes in Queen Street. Photo Gavin Francis.

Word reached me in the past week that a Neoplan was called upon by Leyton to work a Megabus service. I am not sure which one it was an even more of interest is did anyone get a picture away from its normal route? It seems that the rostered M A N had several windows vandalised whilst at Leyton.  The Neoplan worked as far as Manchester.

Whilst in Manchester I was interested to note two items.

One that the London service on Friday morning was very heavily loaded. I was told that at weekends they often have to send a duplicate on this popular service.

Olympian 13626 works the 1045 to London from Manchester Chorlton Street. This bus is reported as being spare and based at Northampton.

Of much more interest and somewhat surprising is the use in Manchester of Megabus branded buses on local service.
Here 15193 is seen on the 86 last Saturday as was another such vehicle..

Suzanne Scott writes to say "47 and 58 are allocated to Scotland for work and not Leyton. The London - Glasgow service is now worked London - Aberdeen. The bendibuses are officially licensed to Bluebird Buses from Aberdeen depot. Drivers from Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, and the second Stratford depot of Stagecoach London (SD2) provide crews. Not 100% sure about daytime, but the bendibuses go there as it is already a bendi garage (route 25). The newly introduced 3rd journeys (those that go Dundee - London) normally use MAN's from Perth, with crews also from Glasgow and further down the route.

Present disposition of MAN's has been tallied up by "Stagecoach Lanarkshire" on Scottish Bus News - as follows.....

From reports and visual sightings I have as follows:

Corporate 50034/8/44/50/1/7/60 (7)

Megabus 50042/6-8/55/8 (6)

Motorvator 50035/6/9/41/3/5/53/4/6/9/66 (11)

50037/40/9/52 are still unclear.

Suzanne goes on to say re the Neoplan mentioned above...................according to sources on the megabus group, it did happen! Will dig out the number for you for later. 

I also believe a few Fridays ago (I think the day before I did Manchester, so may well have been 42 involved!) Leyton sent a triaxle ex-HK Olympian on the 300 London - Dundee. No idea how far it made it up, probably not cross-border."

Megabus certainly continues to provide great interest.

Thames Travel, Wallingford

Fred Spresser has sent me the latest fleet list which I am publishing below.

Fleet List as at  01-10-2004. 

   Reg. No.                   Type                           Body and Seats
M501VJO            Dennis Dart                         Marshall B36D                                ex City of Oxford 501
WWL208X          Leyland Olympian              E. C. W. H47/28D                             “     “     “       “    208
R846 JGD            Mercedes O814D                     Plaxton Beaver B31F
R847 JGD                           “                                   “            “    B27F
R848 JGD                           “                                   “            “    B31F
T465HNH                                                               “             “        “
BD02HDV                     “            “                    Evo-Bus B13F
BX02CMF                     “            “                        “          “
X 49VVY             Optare Solo                           Optare B27F
X383VVY                 “        “                                   “         “
KX53SGV                 “        “                                   “     B26F
KX53SGY                 “        “                                   “         “
KX53SGZ                 “        “                                   “         “                          
V270BNV            Dennis Dart                           Plaxton MPD B29F           ex Armchair, Brentford
Y972GPN                   “         “                                 “         “          “
Y973GPN                   “        “                                 “           “         “
KP51UFB                   “        “                                 “          “         “
KP51UFC                   “          “                               “          “         “
KP51UFG                   “          “                               “          “         “
KP51UFH                   “          “                               “            “        “
KP51UFK                   “         “                                “      Pointer B36F
KP51UFL                   “          “                                “            “         “

KP51SXU                   “        “                                “      MPD B29F            ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
KU52RXF                  “        “                                  “         “         “
KU52RXG                  “        “                                 “         “         “

KU52RXR                  “        “                                 “         “         “
KU52RXS                   “        “                                 “         “         “
OU04FMV                  “        “                                 “        “         “                  See Note (A)
V  67SVY             Volvo B10BLE                   Alexander B44F                 Ex Longstaff,
Y313KDP                 “     B6LE                        East Lancs B36F                ex Chiltern Queens, Woodcote.
Y877KDP                 “           “                                “       “   B31F                    “         “           “                 “

Notes     (a)          Delivered with Registration Number SN04EFW
                           Re-registered due to demise of Trans-Bus International

(b)              On Order – One Mercedes Benz 616 Sprinter – Mellor B25F for Delivery early 2005. 

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RF107 pictured at high Wycombe garage on the 24th February 1974. Photo by Gavin Francis.

Finally and apologies for so much Stagecoach, the RVPG have the original Olympian Ribble 2100
donated by SC and kept in the Preston area.

I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at

These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend

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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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