Monday 5th September 2005
next update week ending 16th September 2005
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Following a week off I now have a bumper news page this week which includes two supplements for my visit to Berlin and the new Wycombe Park & Ride. This means that those interested in the normal news will not need to scroll through items which may not be of such great interest.
Visit by the Editor to Berlin
I visited Berlin for three days last weekend and some of the results of my visit can be found on the link below.
Berlin visit 280805.htm
Wycombe's new Park & Ride.
If you click on the logo below you can visit my special launch report on the new Park & ride site in High Wycombe. This began this morning, Monday, September 5th 2005.
City Sightseeing in Oxford get a new bus - pictures by Kevin Stevens
CSS took delivery of their long awaited new bus this last week and it is now being prepared for service. Kevin Stevens writes "Attached are the first photographs of our new bus taken earlier this evening at the Osney Depot. My apologies for the poor quality but none of us were brave enough to take it out in the open !!!!!!
As you can see it still requires livery vinyls and a lot of work is still to be done on the commentary system by AVT. Hopefully next week I will be able to send you some pictures of the bus with its vinyls.
Reg No: PO 55 NXU Volvo B7TL with East Lancs PO49/35F for City Sightseeing in Oxford - not on the road until mid September.
We had a problem with the partition initially as the Ministry were not happy with the way things were laid out however a compromise was reached and a second door was placed at the bottom of the stairs.
The bus was delivered with registration PL05 PLZ as per the attached picture
Ken MacKenzie of the PSV Circle writes "The seating is to allow the covered area to be used as a school bus with three seats and seatbelts and the open air area is normal seating. A partition separates the 'school bus' area to the open area.
If anyone can supply VIN and body numbers I'll be grateful."
The above pictures were taken by Kevin Stevens and give us a good idea of what this new bus looks like.
Motorway dot matrix signs
I noticed that last week the signs on the M40 after leaving Hillingdon reminded drivers not to use mobile phones whilst driving. I then noticed an awful lot of people using their mobiles, including the driver of one continental lorry which was wandering all over the road.
Oxfordshire County Council
The following items of interest were gleaned from their web site.
- X90 timetable change http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/index/travel/publictransport/changes-2.htm
- Kids for Free on Saturdays www.oxfordtube.com
- Megabus Seat Sale - 100,000 free seats http://www.megabus.com/press_releases.php?pid=8
- A34 roadworks http://www.stagecoachbus.com/oxfordshire/serviceinfo_1233.html
- Changes to route B2 from 5th September http://www.stagecoachbus.com/oxfordshire/serviceinfo_1225.html
- St Giles Fair diversions http://www.stagecoachbus.com/oxfordshire/serviceinfo_1224.html
I noticed that in this weeks Bucks Free Press, Tesco had placed a full page advert relating to the Gerrards Cross issue.
Sentinel Steam Bus
More pictures have been forthcoming on the matter of Sentinel Steam Buses. Thanks to Mike Penn who wrote "Following your mention of a Sentinel steam bus you may be interested in the attached photographs of two of them at the Llandudno Transport Festival, one in 1998 and one in 2002. I don't know much about them but I assume they were built as lorries and the bus bodies are relatively recent. There may be a third as when I was in Whitby earlier this year there was publicity for a service using what was described as the world's only six-wheeled Sentinel steam bus. The photograph was of a lorry so whether the bus body had actually been built by then I don't know. I certainly didn't see it."
Warren Blackston of Burnley writes "Hi, I saw you mentioned the Sentinel Steam Bus on this weeks page. There is a press release on the Optare website with a few pictures on it. I think this is the same bus you mentioned?
Keep up the good work with the site, I've been a regular visitor for years now and love it!
Finally Nigel Butchers came up with the photo of the bus which started it all, well done Nigel.
More on Bucks County Council and web pages.
Trevor Wilson writes "There are more local guides than just High Wycombe. Look at this page http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/travelinfo/Mapping/index.htm"
Pictures from Steve Bunce
Steve writes "Please find enclosed a couple of photos I took outside Rickmansworth Tesco last weekend. They are Sullivan Buses P729RYL, a former London General Dart on the R21 and Red Rose of Aylesbury MetroRider V108LVH waiting time before it returns on the R4. The MetroRider is a very late model with only 10 chassis being produced after it. It was new to Red Rose in late 1999." I seem to be missing the Metrorider pictures Ed.)
Report from Luton by Mike Penn
Mike Penn writes to say "Here
is some news of Luton area service changes due to take effect on Saturday 3rd
Arriva service 11 to Stopsley is withdrawn. Lutonian service 17 is extended to cover it and becomes a circular route, also replacing Lutonian service 18.
Some LQT X31 peak hour journeys will be extended from Dunstable to Studham, replacing equivalent journeys on service 43.
Arriva journeys between Stevenage and Hitchin on service 301 (inherited from Sovereign) are withdrawn. They will be replaced by new Centrebus service 80.
The future of Lutonian service 6 is in the balance again. The emergency contract expired on August 31st and although negotiations with Bedfordshire County Council have been in progress I am not yet aware of any result.
Details of these changes are on the Centrebus website at http://www.centrebus.co.uk"
Mike goes on to say "the three Bristol VRs have been active throughout the school holidays. Here is a photograph of 5033 (SNV933W) parked in the town centre today (Wednesday). This is the last remaining vehicle acquired from United Counties when Luton & District was formed in 1986."
I understand that the first two of nineteen Scania/Wright Solar buses have been received at Luton for service 38.
Oxfordshire County Council and plans for the A34
OCC have revealed plans for improving various road links around Oxford. This includes bus priority lanes on the A34 northbound from lodge Hill to Hinksey Hill, an area of great congestion every week day morning, and from the M40 at junction 9 to Kidlington. However it seems that it could be 2016 beforte such improvements are in place.
Premium Route Bus Services (Oxfordshire).
A network of frequent express premium route bus services is proposed linking Oxford with surrounding towns with improvements to the A423 at Hinksey Hill and Peartree Interchanges. Park & Ride sites are also envisaged on the outskirts of towns such as Abingdon and Bicester.
All the foregoing is in the ideas stage at present but present some interesting developments, especially for local public transport.
On an editorial note I would suggest that the current bus lane from Thornhill to the Green road roundabout could be extended back towards Wheatley, at least to the pull in around 1 mile before Thornhill. This would assist greatly at peak times.
Congestion around Heathrow affects Gatwick and Heathrow services from Oxford.
Last Tuesday afternoon a lorry over turned on the M25 south of Heathrow and closed the M25. Congestion spread for miles and traffic was greatly affected.
When I landed back from Berlin I snapped part of this congestion from the air.
The long tail backs of traffic can be seen passing the road works on the M25 relating to the Terminal 5 project.
A little snippet of history in pictures.
I took some interesting photos in the past 20 years and from time to time have posted them on this page.
Chiltern Queens operated a service from Watlington to Reading often using this AEC Reliance, TYD122G.
Green Line via London Country North West used Leyland tigers on the services via Stokenchurch
to Oxford in the late 80s Here we see TPL92 picking up in the village. This is an interesting coach as it had been used
on National Holidays work but now carried London Express livery for this 291 working.
New services to Stokenchurch
Peter Cartwright, Cllr for High Wycombe writes "Coming soon an evening and Sunday service for Stokenchurch and other places - watch this space."
Stop press is that a service will operate between Stokenchurch and Great Missenden, linking the 340 and 345 to provide a two hourly evening and day time Sunday service. The service will be operated by Arriva.
Diversions due to St Giles Fayre and Abingdon Fayre
Curly wrote in the last page to remind us of the various diversions caused by these two annual events. please refer to the following web page for full details.
Don't forget Duxford on the 18th September. Amongst the many vehicles to be seen at this year's Showbus will be Oxford Tube 50124 and Brookes Trident 18052.
Amersham Running Day - Sunday 2nd October 2005
The timetable booklets for the Amersham Running Day are now available price
£5 available from the
Postage is included in the £5.
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 5th September 2005
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 5th September 2005
Nigel Peach writes "I do hope you have had an enjoyable break. I'm glad that you have had a week off - it has concerned me that for someone who is supposed to have retired, you make this weekly commitment to your readers, which must at times feel like a millstone!
I noticed last week (Friday 26th) that Arriva's three new VDLs for the new Cressex to Wycombe Park and Ride are numbered 3701-3 and registered YJ05 PYW/PXV/PXU (I would have expected 3701 to be PXW to give them a bit of a "reverse logical" sequence but I'm pretty sure I wrote them down correctly). All three vehicles were parked in the public car park by the bus station exit. This car park closed to the public "for four weeks" about two months ago! As you know, the Park and Ride service is due to begin on 5th September. The two main surface car parks in the town centre, in Bridge Street and the adjoining one are due to close on the same day for extensive development works for the new town centre project. I predict that there will be absolute chaos as people try to find somewhere else to park - hopefully they'll use the P & R service!
Then yesterday (Wed 31st), I went past the car park and the buses been re-registered!! They are now:
3701 KE55 CKU
3702 KE55 CKO
3703 KE55 CKP
At least, I think they are! There was nowhere I could stop, so I drove around twice to log them in my brain before I could write them down. Hopefully I got them right!
Mike Penn writes "Aylesbury
- Ex Arriva London Olympian 5836 (WLT 916) was noted on two journeys on the 16
route. I thought this was only used as a school bus.
Dart 3296 (X296 MBH) was noted on town route 2. This was one of three branded for Borehamwood town services which were rendered surplus from Watford when the tender for these routes was lost. I believe that one more of these is also at Aylesbury. The X15 route seems to be run entirely with Olympians now. The X15 branded Scanias can be seen on a variety of other routes including the 61, 324 and 500.
High Wycombe - The three VDL /Wright Cadet buses for the park & ride scheme have had their "05" registrations voided and now have new "55" plates. They are now 3701-3 (KE 55 CKU/O/P).
Mike Penn sent this nice shot of P318RGS on the 755 with some unusual and confusing branding displayed.
I noted 5836 on the 261 in Oxford last Thursday with a 261 paper sticker in the upper part of the destination box. Ed.
Gavin Francis took some interesting pictures last week.
Still hard at work in High Wycombe and seen here climbing out of the town on route 326 is Volvo B10M 3080
Seen on the 340 rushing out of Stokenchurch last Saturday was a Vario. It was going so fast I missed the registration.
New garage at Wycombe nears completion.
The new garage at Lincoln road, Cressex is nearly ready for occupation. The egineering will move in on 19th September and one week later the whole fleet will transfer in from Newlands Bus Station. Work can then start on the new bus station.
Gavin Francis took these two pictures of the new garage last week.
A company not featured recently is Charlton Services who operate this Mercedes mini coach, seen here on their Bicester service.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
Nigel Eggleton, the Commercial Director writes regarding the changes to their coach services saying "The X70/80 changes are the introduction of the winter timetable, exactly as last winter. The X90 timetable changes to a 15 minute throughout most of the day, 7 days per week."
This refers to the item above under Oxfordshire County Council. The X70 will revert to half hourly therefore instead of at certain times of the day in Summer when it runs a 20 minute schedule.
The X90 as it now becomes a 15 minute schedule is a reduction from peak of a 12 minute service.
Nigel goes on to say "We are about to complete discussions with Oxfordshire County Council to provide an evening and Sunday hourly facility between Cumnor and Abingdon, as an extension of the existing route 4. Section 106 funding from the developer of housing in Wootton enables this to happen and is initially for a three year period starting on Sept 26th."
A nice picture of Volvo 617 on the 35A to Didcot taken by Gavin Francis last week.
Bus Monkey reports, including an item of special interest
827 on 5 (X3 branded)
635 on 15
101 on 15
609 on 15
106 on 500
829 on 5 (X3 branded)
I thought that 827 was unbranded and ex the Park & Ride branding but nevertheless Citaros are appearing more often on 5 road now.
Gavin Francis sent this picture of 838 on the X3 last week.
Coach number 2 has recently returned from accident damage repair and currently has no rear end vinyls. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Gavin Francis caught this ex COMS Volvo now with Damory was R811NUD
A blast from the past.
A picture taken in the 80s in Victoria Coach Station showing 33 and 103, both on the 290.
Stephen Le Bras writes "All six Borough Bus liveried Darts have now been repainted to b1 livery. The last one to be done was First 43835 seen today and following on from 43834 and 42417 earlier this month."
Steve Bunce sent this nice shot of T705JLD now sued on PH and Rail Replacement by First
Matt Cooper writes "This is somewhat overdue! The pictures of MK Metro 266 (PAX 266F). There are 3 pictures, two in its early life with original owner Bedwas & Machen, and one shortly after being repainted and retrimmed at MK Metro. Unfortunately at the moment she isn't taxed and hasn't seen use for over a year, being sat at the Wolverton yard. Her last role as a driver trainer kept her up to scratch, but we now use an ex Thames Transit Dennis Dart, so PAX has fallen by the wayside!
Just another point of interest, Myself and our training manager were sent to Trent Barton HQ to collect an MB Vario we have bought from them on Tuesday and saw our first '55' reg vehicles, a batch of Wright Solar Scanias waiting for the road next week."
Kevin Crawford writes
Fleet list update.
R258 LGH Volvo Olympian
T957 ABF Mercedes 16 Seater
Dennis Condors X3 94 Seaters
We currently operate a fleet of 30 vehicles however this does tend to fluctuate. At the beginning of 2004 we were operating 24 vehicles and at the end of 2005 we have projected that it will be nearer 35.
Our vehicles are one of the best adverts we can have so I am constantly on the look out for new replacement vehicles to update our fleet and in the last year alone we have purchased 4 coaches.
If you are a new customer who is looking to use our services we would welcome you to come along to our operating centre and view a selection of our vehicles in order for you to decide if or not we meet your criteria, I believe it is important to know what standard of coach you are booking and I think viewing them is an ideal way.
At the present time we are operating vehicles with the following seating configuration.
· 16 Seater Mercedes Minibuses.
· 33 Seater Mercedes Minibuses with 3 point belts.
· 48 and 49 Seater Volvo Coaches with Toilet, Video, Air Conditioning and servery.
· 53 Seater Volvo Coaches with or without Air Conditioning.
· 57 Seater Volvo Coaches.
· 70 Seater Dennis Coaches with 3 point belts.
· 64 and 70 Seater Double Decker Buses with seat belts.
Routemaster Bus RML 2743 with 72 Seats.
From my library of the past, a DAF on National Express route 882 enters Gloucester Green.
Gavin Francis took this picture of P222SAS operating a 757 working last week
Another ex Speedlink coach used last week was T206AUA seen here at Oxpens and caught in the lens by Gavin Francis.
The latest allocation list has only one change and that is the return of 40150 to Warwickshire.
Bus Monkey reports the following workings.
20006, 34466 on 1
34466 on 1
22209 on 7/7C (route 1 branded)
I also noted 18052 on the 7's last Friday evening. It also appears that up to three Brookes buses were on Bicester's on Friday evening.
Brookes 18195 on New Road on 28th August 2005 - photo by Gavin Francis
Taken at Magdalen St East by Gavin Francis Trident 18197 waits time for its next trip to Bicester.
M A N 22931, recently repainted, shows a difference in livery with a blue skirt on the engine compartment. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Sister bus 22932, also recently rtepainted, works at Charlbury service out of Gloucester Green last week. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Unbranded Dart 34466 tis now seen on a 25A working normally the haunt of a Vario. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Following last picture below Marcus Lapthorn writes "Chris Maxfield's picture of 407 in Horspath Yard is of interest as I have not seen this particular bus on route 66 for a long time. This was due to have been the second of the batch (after 401) to be refurbished at Gloucester. It would seem from the photo that this has not happened."
I responded that I thought it was probably en route for refurbishment and Marcus replies "You were absolutely right! I saw 407 today for the first time with its new seats and new destination display in service on the 66 route. I thought that Gloucester depot were doing the refurbs but as it was seen at Horspath it suggests refurbs are now being done elsewhere maybe? Any ideas where?"
Chris Maxfield sent this picture of a Swindon depot Volvo in the Horspath yard last week.
As several Neoplans are still in process of modification the three Megabus M A N s are still in service on the Tube.
This picture by Gavin Francis shows 50047 and 50046 at the London terminus last week.
Kevin Stevens writes "New arrival at Tappins, Wallingford:
YN53 EHY (NDZ70, YN53 EHY) Volvo B7R Transbus C70F 09/03 ex Weaver, Newbury 08/05. Already painted in Tappins livery, so should be nice to see."
A visit to Wallingford last week provided the opportunity to take a number of pcitures. Of note is that at XX.20 each hour there are numerous services departing from the Market Square in Wallingford.
The Pink Lady shows off the X15 destination
Volvo B10BLE/Alexander nr 67 works the 1420 X40 service to Reading from RAF Benson.
There are plenty of helpers to assist with this passenger using the ramp at Wallingford on this Dart MPD.
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Gavin Francis caught RCL2260 in Buckingham Palace road last week.
Stephensons have applied new route branding to some of the coaches used on their X1 service to Southend from London - picture by Gavin Francis.
your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me
These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
The Oxford Bus Museum
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002