Sunday 5th January 2003
week commencing 13th January 2003
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Well here we are in the first week of the New Year and the overriding memory of this period will be of floods, rain and more rain! To add to the misery the temperatures dropped towards the end of the week and there was even a light covering of snow by Saturday morning. Bus services in many parts of our area were disrupted by the floods and it brings to mind the "5 minute" rule yet again and the question as to how operators can match the demand of the authorities.
The A40 by-passes Wheatley and the meadows alongside that road have, as usual flooded.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny and this shot belies the reality of the water levels.
The centre of Oxford has certainly been badly hit and roads such as Abingdon Road, Botley Road and parts of Kennington were probably the worst hit. Indeed such was the chaos on the Abingdon Road, with water being pushed into house by passing traffic, that on Saturday the road was almost impassable. 300 Redbridge Park & Ride services were, for a time, being diverted on their outbound journeys via Iffley Road and the Eastern By-pass back to Redbridge, surely a first?
However even the Iffley Road has its share of problems as can be seen by this photo from Ralph Adams.
The water was up to the lower platform step of passing buses and one can only feel heartfelt sympathy
for residents so obviously affected by the flood waters. A 15 road service is seen turning out of
Donnington Bridge Road, heading for Florence Park and Cowley Centre. © Ralph Adams
The Botley Road was also suffering from floods especially on Friday evening, when many services were badly delayed, especially the cross town services from affected areas. To add to the congestion, the railway line at Kennington was also flooded and thus closed. This meant a large number of coaches hired in by the rail companies to carry passengers between Oxford and Reading.
Whilst mentioning Kennington, the floods also affected the Oxford Bus 35 service and Metrorider T3 was pressed into service to operate a shuttle in that area. Ralph Adams writes "Route 35. from Abingdon Road continued to the Southern Bypass, up Hinksey Hill, first left on Oxford Road, next left to Bagley Wood Road, into St Swithun's Road, then turning right at The Avenue regaining the normal route.
T3 runs through Radley on its way to Templeton College. © Ralph Adams
Minibus 35. A free service from the junction of St Swithun's Road with The Avenue, then Oxford bound through the village terminating 30 feet before the last bus stop in the village using the Kirlene Nursing Home entrance to do a 3 point turn. Templeton College is not served as COMS at present do not operate boats and the road is fully flooded at that point."
Ralph continues "On behalf of Kennington residents, I would like to thank COMS for this minibus in addition to the extra mileage of the main service." A nice thought to a company facing considerable problems in maintaining services in flooded areas.
People are beginning to get back to normal now after the long break. Students will be returning soon for the next term. The city will tehn be full as usual and services will be well patronised. However the shoppers seem unabating and the Park & Ride services were doing exceptionally well over the last weekend. The new Water Eaton service was loading well on Saturday and the new Mercedes seem very well received.
Mercedes Citaro 825 loads for a return run to Water Eaton.
One of joys of being out and about in a city besieged by rain is the water lying in the gutters
especially by bus stops. The stop outside the Randolph was more like a jetty!
Saturday saw the eagerly awaited cup tie between Arsenal and Oxford United, held at Highbury. Many extra passengers travelled to London and both coach operators added extra vehicles to their services on that day. It was a sad end to a day when the final score was 2-0 to Arsenal. however one cannot but admire Oxford for holding Arsenal to a respectable score rather than allowing a rout.
Oxford Bus Trident 101 added capacity to the X90 service running to London with a full load at 0930 on Saturday morning.
It is seen here about to be overtaken by coach 28 on the X70 Heathrow service near Stokenchurch.
George Street was the scene of considerable delay on Friday when a Debenham's delivery lorry
blocked the street for over 10 minutes trying to get the loading bay at the back of the store.
Finally and on an old cherry I must comment on the continued abuse of the traffic regulations in the centre of Oxford. Whilst there is a lartge notice that camera surveillance is in operation on High Street at the "bus gate" , car totally ignore the rules and continue to use High Street and St Aldates as a through route. Add this to further abuse of the access from Speedwell Street to Castle Street, one can readily appreciate the additional delays to bus services which are caused. Can nothing be done?
I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page.
Malcolm Crowe, January 5th 2003.
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News of the local companies - 5th January 2003
Abbey Coaches, High Wycombe.
The National Greenway was on the Sainsbury's shoppers service last Friday.
Do you like "super rear ads"? I think they can spoil an otherwise nice livery.
D304 shows off a Hapag Lloyd Express super rear at Heathrow Central Bus Station.
Arriva serving The Shires
Steve Warwick writes with various news items saying:-
In answer to Graham's question as why the Wright bodied Darts are referred to as 'bouncy castle's' is that as they have such a short wheelbase that they give a extremely bouncy ride especially the driver and feel every single bump in the road.
Fri 27th Dec
Greenway 3050 (BTX 152T) is finally back on the road today after being laid up for about 9 months, after being fitted with a new engine.
As I mentioned a while ago when Watford received their new DAF/Alexander ALX's I thought that Aylesbury would receive displaced buses from Watford, rumour has it that we are going to get three G Reg Olympians from Watford.
Mon 30th Dec
The 09.30, 280 Oxford was worked by Olympian 5071 (A151FPG) - Scania 3204 was operating the 324 service this morning. - Ex Wycombe Dart 3833 worked the 11.25, 500 service to Watford.
In Milton Keynes Bus Stn last night at 311202/17.30 I spied parked in bay 31 - Bristol VR 5049 (Scrap metal)
Matt Wheeler writes "I have something that might be of interest for your website, although technically its slightly "out of area". Attached is a photo of one of the 25 new ALX400 bodied Daf's that Arriva now have at Watford for TfL contracts 142 (Watford - Brent Cross) and 340 (Edgware - Harrow).
Pictured is 6015, which was on route 142 to Brent Cross, seen in Watford,
heading towards the town centre having left Watford Junction.
In connection with this,
one of the former vehicles for routes 142/340, 5114 was on route 61 this morning
on the 7:30 journey from Aylesbury - Luton. This is an "all-Leyland" Olympian,
of which I believe Watford have/had about 22, at least 12 of which are going to
Ware depot (for routes 310/310A), and the rest I suspect will be used to
displace older double deckers at the Shires... indeed the appearance of 5114
would suggest Luton are receiving some, perhaps to displace some of their older
ECW bodied Olympians.
Locally, Olympian 5100 was on route 323 today, whilst one of the Marshall bodied Darts was on route 54. Earlier this week (Tuesday) one of the two K-reg Wright bodied Darts (either 3374 or 3375) was on route 500, whilst today alongside two of the usual Scanias (3164 and 3166) was Olympian 5101 (in Mix 96
advertising livery, of similar style to the Swan FM bus at Wycombe).
Incidentally on New Years Day, when 323 was on a Sunday service (until 5:45) one of the vehicles was Dennis Dart MPD 3485. On the subject of New Years Day, it was a little surprising that (apart from early finishing) Aylesbury was running its "usual" Sunday services, whilst (apart from 323) there were no services in High Wycombe at all although I think the Jetlink service also ran on Jan 1). Although its not really that surprising since I believe the same happened last year as well. Although it does seem strange that of all the Arriva the Shires depots, only High Wycombe ran no services at all on New Year's day.
Arriva 3057 gets about yet again, this time on a 260 service into Oxford , passing Risinghurst.
Olympian 5161 nears the end of its journey from Aylesbury as it passes down New Road ion Oxford.
I hadn't seen a Scania in Heathrow before. Saturday afternoon saw 3169 on the 74 at Central Bus Station.
Late News is that today's 0955 315 service did not run to Lane End today due to icy roads.
Carousel Buses, High Wycombe.
I understand that the first ex Armchair Olympian, H563GKX was operating rail replacement from /Staines last Saturday. Did anyone get a photo?
Whilst Carousel are awaiting delivery of the three remaining Olympians, FDV818V is on hire.
Mike Penn kindly supplied a photo of 563 when nearly new. The wonders of the web!!!!
As requested here is a photograph of Armchair H563GKX on service 65 at Kingston on July 27th 1991, when it was still fairly new.
Behind is H556GKX. © Mike Penn
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Mercedes Citaros recently delivered were wrongly quoted by me last week. The full batch is 822-827 : MA-MF52OXF.
The floods added to the scene this last week and Oxford Bus were in the thick of it.
One of the last batch of Volvo/plaxton coaches heads fro Oxford across the flooded fields of Wheatley.
Volvo/Plaxton 19 has received X90 livery.
825 loading at Water Eaton on a black, wet and dismal Thursday 2nd January.
Citaro 824 puts in time on the 400 last Saturday..
Sole survivor of the batch of North East Verdes, 625-628, fills in on a 300 service.
628 is seen loading at The Randolph last Friday evening. 625-627 are now with Arriva.
A limited service is now provided on the 2C which runs to Cutteslowe from the City.
Here 510 is seen returning to the City in Summertown.
A sunny Saturday, what a change after all the rain. 803 rounds St Giles on a 5 road service.
Trident 101 passes junction 4 at High Wycombe on its way to London for the FA Cup game.
Trident 101 awaits its service on X90 to London in Gloucester Green - © Ralph Adams
Volvo 620 turns off normal route on 35 road during the flood diversions. © Ralph Adams
Artistic licence allows us add to the photo taken by © Ralph Adams of T3 on 35 feeder service.
Turning round in Radley. T3 again by © Ralph Adams
wrote follwoing a trip on the new Citaros. He says "I
went city bound on Citaro 824 and outbound on 822. 822 was definitely quieter
than 824 but 822 was pretty well loaded whereas 824 had only 9 passengers
aboard, plus a couple picked up at Summertown where 2 stops are made on the 500.
824 had an annoying loose roof panel above the exit door. These panels are
tightened/loosened with an Allen key and I would imagine that there had been an
issue with the door mechanism. The panel had not been put pack in place properly
and was vibrating at every bounce of the bus. However, pleasant vehicles to ride
in and pretty powerful on the gas pedal. I noticed 823 working Pear Trees (the
split Saturday service being in operation) whilst on of the Water Eatons was a
Volvo/Plaxton Verde although I didn't see which one.
These Citaros had a different internal feel to those I had been on in France (Saint Etienne and Metz) which, although being dual-doored, had a large passenger standing area opposite the centre door as is customary in French buses. Also, the continental models I have seen have only 1 wide forward facing seat each side in the front part of the bus which is pretty comfortable and not the inward facing contraption behind the driver. However, I am sure the P&R models will be well-received by passengers.
It was about 3.55pm when I saw 823 on Pear Tree; it left the Randolph with a pretty full load including standees. I let 636 go to ride back on 822. Can't help but think that a batch of low-floor vehicles would improve the loadings on the 2 road. When I worked in Cowley for 6 months and visited the bank at Headington every day I was intrigued by the numbers of elderly and baby buggie pushers who let a 2 go by to wait for an SiO 7A low-floor bus."
Stephen Le Bras
paid a flying visit to Oxford between 11.40 and 1.40 (including lunch) today
(Thursday). 110 was in new livery but without logos and with blank blinds. 224
was on the 2, 101 on the 15, 103 on 22. Citaros seen were 823,825-7. The driver
of 825 (B) was obviously a bus enthusiast- mentioning the PD2 down at Rexquote
in his chat to me. (I wonder who that driver was!)
First - Slough
Stephen Le Bras writes "Interested to read your report on Slough depot.The Citaros for route 74/75 have to be painted before they can enter service and although all 8 should be at Evobus, Coventry by the end of December, their entry in service is unlikely to be imminent, or so I am told.
I understand that it has taken rather longer than
anticipated to agree the final design with the sponsors BAA, so buses were
shipped into the UK in all-white livery. From what I have heard, they should be
very eye catching and quite different from the yellow and green Darts."
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
It appears that the four London Olympians are ready for delivery from Mainline Sheffield where they have been refurbished and converted to single door. Their arrival in Oxford is now imminent.
I am told that many 20 working are now decker operated. Here 519 leaves Gloucester Green last Saturday
with a Witney driver at the helm..
Swindon 930 shows off another style super rear ad whilst operating a 63 service to Faringdon.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 107 waits time on an X59 service from Banbury.
seen at its terminus in Magdalen St East, Oxford.
There is still no news as to what will happen to fire damaged Tube 38.
Phil Rumsby reports "I've found out today it was caused
by an electrical fault - the engine was undamaged. The luggage compartment and
most of the upper deck was damaged. There were 32 passengers on board - 30 of
whom were upstairs. The driver reported 6 foot high flames before the fire
brigade got there."
Another report says "Olympian 500, after having been repainted very recently, has now gone to Leamington.
Stagecoach Oxford received P822FVU which previously had
fleet number 422 with Stagecoach West. It was initially in use in Oxford with
the same fleet number. However by Saturday 4th January it had fleet number 414,
which is the number on the company fleet allocation list.
There is already a 422 (Merc K422ARW) which is in reserve at present. Probably the last bus to be renumbered before national numbers are introduced."
Woottens of Chesham
New into service on 3rd January was Irisbus/Indcar Maxim 2 FE52HFW C29F.
Withdrawn Mercedes Vario/Autobus P216RWR C29F has been sold.
Worth's of Enstone
Y4WMS operated a 70 service from Oxford last Saturday afternoon.
Graham Norris reports "The Optare Solo seen in Aylesbury was a demonstrator being operated by Z & S International"
Brian Matthews writes to enclose the photo below. In the days of 1983, when VR's ruled the world (or at least Cornmarket, Oxford)
499 in Cornmarket in 1983. © Brian Matthews.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
A regular visitor to Oxford is this Scania/Irizar from Golden Tours of London - YR02ZZV
This Bova looked like a Weavaway one to begin with but it is from Longs,
working a 539 relief service.- P348WHS
Steve Annells sent this shot of Silver Star Atlantean 1012MW leaving Winchester Bus Station on 1/1/03.
Brian Matthews sent this shot of more local Midland Red National NOE605R
alongside Daimler CHL772 which was with Rexquote but long ago operated with
Guide Friday in Oxford.
I welcome your photos for
inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
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