The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  

Issue 114
(OBP-329)

Monday 7th February 2005
next update week ending 19th February 2005

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week news please let me know
malcolmhc@aol.com

Apologies for the delay of one day but I wanted a couple of extra pictures and as I was off today there was opportunity to get them this morning.

Megabus and the new Neoplans 

Last Monday was a significant day in the development of Megabus. The first services with the new Neoplans were operated between Scotland and London and v.v. Suzy Scott was on hand to take pictures of the first southbound departure and you can view these on her photo web site clicking this link http://scotbus.fotopic.net/c416851.html. The pictures were taken at Dundee. Suzy says "An early one here! The 0640 Aberdeen - 0820 Dundee - London on Monday 31st January was the first Scottish service (one managed to sneak on the London - Bournemouth run last night!) to see a new Neoplan Skyliner double deck coach from Megabus.com This is also the first day of their new-look website (recoded to use CSS), and the first day of using Glasgow and Edinburgh bus stations. In five weeks time, the bus stop will be moved from Yeaman Shore over to a stop near Discovery Point."

I was able to send those of you on my mailing list details even before the coach had crossed the border on its southbound journey which I felt was something of a coup.

Christopher Lowe also wrote regarding these new coaches with another photo link saying "I don't know whether you have seen yet, but the Neoplans have already started to enter service with vehicles passing through Manchester on the Glasgow-London service over the last two/three days. I have seen 50127 (SV54 ELH) in service on it's way to Glasgow in FULL Megabus livery. Also the vehicle I have seen has been photographed by Luke Gottard and has been added to his fotopic site and can be viewed at http://lukegottard.fotopic.net/p11456988.html on its was to Glasgow again."


Paul McNamara's picture of 50126 in Manchester en route to Glasgow.

Paul Austin also wrote saying "Snapped a Photo of 50126 (SV54ELC) in a dark & dismal Manchester on Thursday 3rd Feb working the 13.30 ( ex M/c) to Scotland. (he was, I think with Paul McNamara - see above Ed.)

Only just caught your website since I recently Broadbanded, excellent keep up the good work. 

Incidentally I hail from darkest East Lancashire, Oswaldtwistle to be exact and have always been interested in the Oxford area bus scene, as well as the rest of the country, big interest in Scotland as well hence the Megabus interest. 

Please find a few other photos I took on the same day in Manchester that some of your Megabus readers might be interested in."

(Paul's pictures are under the Megabus heading below. Ed)

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More Fuel Cell Citaros, this time in Sweden


One of the three fuel cell Citaros based in Stockholm.

More news on the fuel cell Citaros reached me this week when Paul McNamara wrote saying "Reykjavik also have three of the Fuel Cell as part of the same project, making 30 in all. 

In addition, Perth in Australia have three, but I think these may have been bodied locally. 

The flat floor throughout the whole saloon with the nearside (or offside if you are the UK) mounted engine is in use in many parts of Europe. It just has not made it into the UK until the Fuel Cell examples arrived in London. 

I plan to visit Hamburg to capture these vehicles during the summer. Attached are some photos of the Stockholm vehicles, taken last Sunday. The third door being the main reason for the flat floor. 

I seem to recall both Evobus and Volvo (with the B7L) saying that as the UK don't go for three doors it didn't matter. 

The third door requirement is also the reason there was a DAF SB250 with a sideward mounted engine on the offside - that resulted in loosing even more seats!!!"

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Oxford Tube Connection - Lewknor

The new connections service meeting the Tube at Lewknor started last Monday and seems to be progressing quite well.


The front of the brochure shows the vehicles to be used and some brief details.

Gavin Francis has added to the pictures I took this morning with a suitable one showing the buses used plus a Tube


The vehicles used by Walters include this Ford Transit OV02FTX seen here with Tube 50124 at Lewknor last Friday.
picture by Gavin Francis.


The new bus shelters have phones installed to enable passengers to call the Taxibuses.


Also installed in the new shelters are real time information screens.
These are in readiness for this facility being introduced on the Tube.
This will be a most welcome innovation for Tube passengers waiting at what is a rather isolated stop.


Signs on the B4009 warn drivers of the bus interchange area at Lewknor.

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Manchester and GM Buses.

Christopher Lowe also wrote re the recently loaned STAGECOACH Manchester Trident loaned for Brookes saying "I am just writing to let you know that this week I have seen Dennis Tridents 18177/9/80 back in service at Stockport Garage, mainly on services 192 and 197. 

These will be well received as from Monday (7th February) Greater Manchester Buses (owned by directors of UK North, using former UK North vehicles) will begin competition on service 192 (Manchester - Hazel Grove) on what is expected to be a 20 minute frequency. I have attached a picture which shows one of UK North's Ikarus Citibus bodied DAF SB220LF's ready to begin operations on Monday morning."


The Ikarus Citibus mentioned by Christopher Lowe.

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Oxfordshire Bus development News

Last year, Oxfordshire County Council signed a 900,000 contract with Advanced Communication and Information Systems (ACIS) to provide real-time bus information.

The boards are now being installed on Banbury Road in Oxford, on the route to Kidlington, and at Speedwell Street in the city centre.

They will go live at the end of the month or early in March.

The council is providing 20 electronic street information signs, new bus shelters and a website with virtual signs for all stops along the route.

The Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach will share the cost of the project.

The Oxford Bus Company is fitting its entire fleet of 160 with automatic vehicle location equipment.

OBC commercial director Nigel Eggleton, said: "Twenty of our vehicles still need to be fitted out with the right equipment and drivers will be given a small amount of training.

"The new system will provide passengers with confidence that the next bus is going to arrive, and we can also react appropriately at times of disruption.

"Information relating to each bus stop will be available via the website http://www.oxfordbus.co.uk and potentially via a mobile phone link.

"Some of the boards are now being set up, but they are still being tested and we expect the system to start operating in late February or early March."

Passengers will be able to log on to the website at home or from other Internet links such as local libraries to get the latest travel information.

Company spokesman Phil Ashworth said: "If there are three buses running close together down the Banbury Road you could divert one of them elsewhere.

"It will give us greater flexibility."

Oxford Bus Company buses using the system include the service to Water Eaton park-and-ride and to Kidlington from Oxford.

Drivers will input the relevant details into a key pad in their cabs at the beginning of each journey.

Stagecoach will also use the satellite system on a number of premium routes.

David Robertson, the county council's executive member for transport, said: "We are starting to roll the system out and hope to get all the bugs out of the software by the end of the month.

"It should give the bus operators much better control of their buses and passengers much more timely information.

"Oxford Bus Company are investing in the whole of their fleet while Stagecoach are fitting out buses on their premium routes.

"Part of the initial costs will be for computer software and a radio mast at Macclesfield House in New Road."

Adam Rideout, a spokesman for Stagecoach in Oxford, said: "We are definitely on board with this."

Recent and forthcoming service changes

This list contains details of all recent and approaching changes to Bus Services in Oxfordshire and is regularly updated.  We recommend that you check here often so that you can keep up-to-date with any changes to your service.

The list is only a summary and we recommend that you check with the relevant operator for more details.  Contact details for operators are on the Current Operators page.

Week commencing 30 January 2005

For more details of these changes call 01604 702112

Premium Routes Network

To encourage people to use buses and help reduce predicted traffic growth over the next decade, Oxfordshire County Council will be developing a 'Premium' network of  high frequencies bus routes.

The network will cover main routes between Oxford and the larger Oxfordshire towns, as well as urban networks in Oxford and Banbury.

Major enhancements will be made to existing routes, including bus priority measures, bus stop and interchange improvements and real time information systems.  These developments will be phased in over the next decade or so at an estimated cost of 30 million and promise exciting new prospects for bus services in the county.

Improvements to bus priority in Kidlington is the first of such schemes, with proposals currently under consideration following consultation with bus companies and Kidlington residents.  Improved bus priority and Real Time Information should be introduced on the Oxford to Kidlington route during 2004.

Further Details

Why introduce bus priority?  The Bus Partnership Forum's Bus Priority website outlines the benefits of introducing bus priority measures.

For more information on the Premium Routes Network in Oxfordshire
download the comprehensive information leaflet here.

For more specific enquiries contact:
Brendan.Quinn@oxfordshire.gov.uk on 01865 815764.

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Stephen Le Bras wrote to correct an item on last week's page when I featured route 36 changing from RMs. He says "RM1 was built in 1954 so is actually 51 years old, although it was first in service in Feb 56 and spasmodically afterwards"

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

Malcolm Crowe - Monday 7th February 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 7th February 2005

Again not too much regarding Arriva however Nigel Peach writes "Little to report! The only thing I have noticed is that Merc Minibus 2171 has gained the new style electronic destination display, thus meaning that all four of Wycombe's minibuses are now so treated."


Olympian 5103 is seen unloading in high Street after its journey from Aylesbury last Friday afternoon.

I also noticed today that 5830 was on the 261 from Aylesbury to Thame.


Paul Coley sent this shot of ex Oxford Dart 502 and now Metrobus 7762 on driver training in London

Martyn Banham wrote to say "This week - fairly quiet it seems. I notice Tridents 109 and a few others have new Debenhams adverts on their rear."

both Gavin Francis and I have got photographs of the new rears and I am posting one by Gavin and one I took of the older type of advert on the rear of the Park & Ride Tridents.

 
The older style taken by me last Friday and the new style taken by Gavin Francis.

"I also enclose a photo taken from the rear top-deck of SC 18056, of the site of the old Cowley Road depot. Certainly, it is completely unrecognisable now."

Bus Monkey writes to report the following sightings over the last few weeks.

Wed 19th
102 on 4A
404 on 5

Thu 20th
656, 834 (X3 branded) on 15

Mon 24th
116 on 4A

Tue 25th
6?? on 15

Wed 26th
629 on 15

Mon 31st
101, 120 on 4A

Tue 1st
826 repainted - on 5? Destination displays not working.

Wed 2nd
825 on 15
102 on 4A

Thu 3rd
630 on 15

Fri 4th
635 on 15

Sat 5th
836 on 6


Volvo 802 seen working the 13C to Marston Village last Friday


Another repaint, this time returned from Loughborough where the work was carried out. Citaro 826 now in red.
Unusually working a branded bus route, X13 when pictured in High Street last Friday.


Not a brilliant picture but an interesting nevertheless. The 300 from Redbridge is normally only has a Trident allocation
but last Saturday morning a Citaro followed by a Volvo B10BLE were operating. I was a passenger on another bus before anyone says anything !!!

Last week saw two Airline branded Scanias on the X90 in London in the same evening.

Motts


This Volvo/Jonckheere is seen near Lewknor on a school working , today Monday.


Stokenchurch sees a lot of school bus working each day and on Monday afternoon three can be seen in the picture below.
These include a Motts mini coach plus a Heyfordian Olympian. Two were following each other at this time.


I was rather amused when the Controller in the City last Friday suddenly noticed that the driver of 22207 had the wrong destination set.
It was changed moments later and I just caught the night display.

Bus Monkey sent some sightings for the past few weeks.

Wed 19th
Manchester Trident on X31

Thu 20th
18177 on 3

Fri 21st
16520 on 1

Tue 25th
16520 on 10
18180 on 1

Thu 27th
16520, 22914 (partial route 7 branded) on 1
20822 on X4

Mon 31st
22916 (7 branded) on X4
18181 on U1

Wed 2nd
20822 on 10

Martyn Banham writes "Intriguingly, 20694 was on the U1 on Tuesday, despite the arrival of the new Tridents. However, from being on board, it seemed the driver was undergoing training."
 


Martyn's picture of 20694 after the journey he mentions above.


The same bus, this time on the 10 caught by the lens of Gavin Francis last week.

Chris Maxfield writes to say "Got these pictures from John Atkin of 27903 one of the old Chippy Lances written of in the floods and 32704 transferred North from Banbury as replacements. If you use then can u use his name and possibly put on his links :-

http://500group.fotopic.net and www.500group.org.uk

So thanks to John Atkin I am publishing the one of the Lance.


 

I would be very interested to learn how many and which buses are lost through the recent floods in Carlisle.


Volvo coach 52439, recently transferred from National Express work at Rugby
is now working out of Cambridge on the X5 service for which it is branded. Seen last Friday, 4th February in George Street.

News and a picture reached me this week of one of the Volvo coaches which used to operate the Tube before the days of the  M A N double decks.

John Carr writes "I think the attached photo is of a former Tube coach now with Fife but currently working in Carlisle on the 685 Newcastle service. The picture, of 52030, was taken this morning (Sat 5th) in Haltwhistle.

I noticed that the rear has a scroll advert for Raith Rovers FC on the rear - I tried to take one of that but a car got in the way & the relative slow speed of digital cameras defeated me!

All the best for a more restful future (!) & thanks for all your hard work"

Some readers may have noticed that Tubes can be seen parked up at the NCP in Bayswater Road, Notting Hill Gate. These coaches are held in London to cover the peak hour services on the Tube and save a wasted journey back to Oxford.


Just beyond the NCP is the Oxford bound stop where 50123 is seen picking up last Saturday lunchtime.

The new Tridents are now settled in to work on Brookes services and all the Manchester Tridents have now returned.


18199 passes 18197 in New Road last Friday giving a comparison between front and rear of the new buses.

Paul Austin, as mentioned in the Editorial sent some further pictures of Megabus workings as seen below.


Paul Austin's picture of 13623 on a Manchester-London working loading in Chorlton Street.


From nearer home originally an ex Tube 50046 passes Piccadilly, Manchester on a Glasgow-London working.
Picture by Paul Austin.

Thames Travel


I waited in vain to catch a Stagecoach M A N passing this Alexander bodied Volvo of Thames Travel.

Bus Monkey reports

Sat 5th
154 (the new OmniDekka) on 105

Whites of Abingdon

Bus Monkey reports

Mon 31st
G411PGG on 108

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on malcolmhc@aol.com

PHOTO CORNER
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at 
malcolmhc@aol.com

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

These are two most interesting sites which I do recommend

Bus Zone Logo (2421 bytes)

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002