A Happy New Year to all my readers
Sunday 9th January 2005
next update week ending 22nd January 2005
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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Well, the second week of 2005 is over and we are marching on into the year at what seems a very fast speed. My holidays are now over and so its back to Germany in the morning but as retirement also draws near I can look forward to more driving time from the end of February. Also I am now into the seventh year of the News Page and those seemingly far off days when I took over from Dave Root, somewhere early in 1998. your contributions continue to grow and pictures and news seems to come from far and near. Many of you are kind enough to say how much you enjoy the page and this makes it all worth while. It is also most pleasing to know that my readership[ comes from enthusiasts and bus company staff alike. It also includes a number of highly placed executives of the various bus companies covered in our area.
I am also pleased on man y occasions to be able to answer questions from readers and the information flow is truly amazing. what did we do before the WEB?
One very sad piece of news reached me this week when I learned of the passing on of Phyllis Maycock OBE, a retired conductress once employed by Charlton Services. Indeed she worked for Charlton Services fro 50 years and was once the subject of "This is Your Life" when she was reunited by Michael Aspel with more than 100 friends and family. Miss Maycock had lived in Charlton-on-Otmoor all her life and was famed for her caring personal touch with passengers. She had retired as a conductor on Christmas Eve 1992 at the age of 70 and was surprised to receive the OBE from the Queen in 1994. A service took place last Friday at St. Mary's church, Charlton-on-Otmoor followed by a cortège to Oxford Crematorium in which mourners were carried by Leyland Tiger FIL6689 suitably bedecked for the occasion. A fitting tribute to a special person.
Andrew Dyer writes "Phyl worked on the Oxford-Arncott route from 1942 - 1993 (and was the sole conductress from the late 60's onwards) and any enthusiast who travelled on a C-on-O bus during that period has probably met her. She was a typical "battleaxe bus conductress with a heart of gold" and was awarded the MBE for services to the community on her retirement. She also was the star in an episode of "This is Your Life" in 1994 where she soon put Michael Aspel in his place!! She will be much missed in the Otmoor villages and I will be attending her funeral later this week."
Andrew Dyer also wrote following our meeting in Winchester on New Year's Day "It was good to meet you on Winchester on Saturday and like you I enjoyed the day despite the damp weather later on. I drove the electric bus for two round trips up to the "INTECH" site and was very impressed with its performance. I left Intech with about 10 standing on the second trip and it still accelerated very presentably.
You're right about the VR it is the last Stagecoach one and was actually withdrawn after the running day. We are going to transfer it to the Stagecoach South preserved fleet and repaint it in stripes - a livery that's fast dying out. It's likely to go on loan to Cheltenham (its original depot) for the Gold Cup shuttle service in March. There is one VR held in reserve at Stagecoach Cumbria, but I don't think it's been in service for a while."
The VR mentioned by Andrew above.
The Designline M A N 14.220 HOCL trial bus also mentioned by Andrew.
Requests & Replies
Paul Harrington writes " I am trying to find a contact number or Email address for the owner(s) of Bristol Bus KSW 748 (JRX823). I am considering purchasing a sister vehicle and would like to ask them a few questions."
Ed Maun writes in reply "Reference bus page 109 and the request for details of the owner of JRX823. According to “Preserved Buses” 2002 edition published by the PSV Circle (Publication 3JP100), JRX823 is owned by a Mr Pribik (I believe his name may be Peter) who lives in Winnersh. I am intrigued as to the identity of the sister vehicle Paul Harrington is thinking of buying! 601 FMO 983 is still in existence, with Rampton, Reading according to the same publication. There is a picture of this bus in the Bus and Coach Preservation magazine dated March 2002 (Volume 4 Number 10) in a field belonging to an ex operator in Essex from where it was rescued 3 or 4 years back. It was Thames Valley’s first ‘KSW’ and was allocated to High Wycombe for many years from new, but had been in the field for many a year. 747 JRX822, thought to still exist in America, was also operated by the same Essex operator at one time. Publication 3JP100 also records 641 GJB279 as being with Karlsberg, Birkenhead and 666 HBL68 with Fowler, Holbeach Drove. Bus and Coach Preservation dated April 2004 reports 727 JRX802 as being in Holland. I wait to see if it is one of the above or whether another one has been found!"
If anyone else has any information I would be pleased to pass it on. I wonder if anyone reading my page in holland has any further information or photos?
James writes "I'm trying to find some old pictures from MK Citybus/Buckinghamshire Roadcar days, or even before that when it was United Counties, but my searching hasn't produced any results. So now I am appealing to your reader if they have any I could upload to my site, http://journals.aol.co.uk/arrivatheshires/news, with credits to them of course!!
sent some interesting picturtes which may be of interest plus some comments "It
has been some time since I have sent you anything for which I apoligise. I have
now graduated from University and am working as a trainee manager for MK Metro
in Milton Keynes. Sad to see the pictures of Cowley Road being gradually
demolished. On a similar topic, the once pride of NBC's bus depots, the purpose
built Winterhill depot built for United Counties and subsequently Milton Keynes
Citybus and MK Metro has recently been demolished. This was quite a vast site
and only opened in 1982. It had never fulfilled its purpose of being a regional
operations centre for National Bus. MK Metro currently work from 2 sites, one
at Wolverton and one at Bleak Hall,about 2 miles from the city centre. These
premises have been in use since 2002.
An Oxford connection is with 3 Plaxton bodied Darts we have which originated with Thames Transit and were last used by Stagecoach East London. These are now numbered 416/418/419 (L711/713/709 JUD) which were of course new on Blackbird Flyer duties in March 1994. 416 sees the majority of its time on driver training duties whilst the other two work a number of different duties. I myself took 419 on late night rail replacement work 22nd December 2004. The trio remain of dual door layout. Jeffs use the two ex Oxford Bus Darts on local service work between Buckingham and MK.
Matt included the two pictures below which are relative to our area.
MK Metro L709JUD once a Blackbird Flyer & M505VJO once an OBC Dart and now with Jeffs.
Pictures supplied by Matt Cooper.
Now started my request for pictures in Stokenchurch at The Kings Arms seems to produce a new outcrop with every postbag. I am really delighted and hope the flow continues.
Ian White writes "Three more coaches for you. One Eastern National Bristol MW. One Red & White Bristol MW and a Duval's AEC. If I remember rightly you may have a problem finding photographs of coaches taken in front of the Kings Arms as there wasn't room for them to park because there where petrol pumps and the attendants hut built on an island halfway between the gardens which are still there and the front of the hotel.
With reference to the conductress who still lives in Stokenchurch would this be Bet Hoskins, if so she was my Dad's conductress when she first joined the Thames Valley. Attached is a picture taken on layover at Ibstone school around about 1960 of my father and his first conductress Kath Montgomery."
Layover at Ibstone school around about 1960 of my father and his first conductress Kath Montgomery.
Indeed Ian it is Bet Hoskins who sometime ago now provided me with photos of an accident damaged Bristol Lodekka which she and her driver had been riding passenger on to Wycombe to take up their duty. She was delighted to hear of Ian and promised to ask some village friends if there are more pictures of the area.
Ian also wrote "Attached are two photographs I took of coaches in the Kings Arms car park. A Bristol Greyhound MW and a Crosville MW a later model. Possibly 1960/61 when I lived in Stokenchurch and worked as a young lad for the Thames Valley Traction Company in the workshops at Wycombe Marsh. My father Frank White (Chalky) was the relief driver for TV crews at Stokenchurch Dormy Shed. I hope these are of some interest?
A Bristol Greyhound MW at The Kings Arms - Ian White
A Crosville MW at The Kings Arms, one of apparently three operating the London service that day.
This service used to call at The Harrow (now the Studley Arms) at Studley Green. - Ian White.
More Stokenchurch photos as mentioned above - kindly submitted by Ian White
See the letter above for details of these coaches pictured by Ian White
A request from Epsom Coaches
David Oliver wrote
"I am writing this e-mail to you as I have seen on your
website information regarding two vehicles that operate in the area. These are
a Mercedes Benz Minibus H947JPA and a Carlyle Dart G47TGW.
We have an Open Day on the 23rd of April 2005, and we would like to know if you have any pictures of the above two buses in service with whoever it is
in Oxfordshire or in the Epsom Buses colours they arrived in. If you are able to help us, we would like to put them on display at the Open Day along with other prints of vehicles that we have sold to other operators.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Bus & Coach Administration
Epsom Coaches Group
Peter Edgar wrote an interesting note and I agree to bend the rules on geography regarding Oxford and Chilterns !!!!
Peter says "I
know the attached photo's are out of our area but thought they may be of
interest, and they do have a slight connection.
London General operated a RML on route 85 Putney to Kingston last Saturday, 4th December, first crew operation on this route for about 34 years.
The connection....Putney and Kingston both share the River Thames with Oxford, and London Central is part of Go Ahead, as is the OBC. (hope I can get away with this excuse)?!
Also included, a picture of the rather impressive recovery vehicle based at Putney Garage. (I like the pictures, especially the recovery vehicle. There are so few company owned recovery vehicles these days. Ed)
Winchester - 1st January 2005 again.
Brian Matthews writes "Attached
are two of the very few acceptable shots obtained today - Marcus and I were
lucky enough to be able to catch an afternoon run on the "Ribble" Leyland to
Stockbridge, where we quickly changed for the return to Winchester by the
Bristol 'Greyhound' - both very enjoyable trips. The pics were taken only
a few minutes after we met you in the morning.
A great day in spite of the generally poor weather
The two pictures submitted by Brian Matthews taken in Winchester 1.1.05
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 9th January 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 – 9th January 2005
Reports this week bring us up to date with happening from Arriva. The first is from Steve Warwick who writes "Some vehicle movements to report Dennis Dart/Carlyle 3096 (H243MUK) has arrived at Aylesbury along with Leyland Olympian 5124 (G294UMJ) from Wycombe for Aylesbury's new school contract from Buckingham - Milton Keynes.
Dennis Dart 3820 (H370XGC) has gone in the opposite direction to Wycombe and was on 31 Downley-Penn route this morning (Wed 5th).
Also saw Volvo Olympian 5145 (N45JPP) in the workshops at High Wycombe was blinded 362 Chesham so must have been transferred from Luton."
Mike Penn then writes "On
the subject of the Arriva The Shires Carlyle bodied Darts, 3094, which you
mentioned as being at High Wycombe, was in use at Luton until mid-December.
3096 is now at Aylesbury and I believe that these two are the only ones of the
batch still active. Members of this batch have been moved around a great deal
recently. 3091/4/6/8 were all with Arriva East Herts and Essex at Harlow at one
time and 3094/8 were both used briefly at
Stevenage in September before transfer to High Wycombe.
information the batch was originally DC1-8 (H922/3/5/6 LOX, H242-5 MUK). They
were new to Luton & District, having been ordered by London Country North West
who were taken over by Luton & District in October 1990. They were later
renumbered 3091-8. Of these 3095/7 were transferred to Arriva Scotland West,
along with some newer Darts, in exchange for Volvo B6s M841-7 DDS which became
3241-7. Of course some of these worked at High Wycombe although I am not quite
sure which ones are still active. 3092 ended its days with Arriva Southend.
Finally Nigel Peach reports "On Wednesday 5th I saw ex London Dart 3820 (H370 XGC) on route 31. This and 3819 were among the buses transferred from Wycombe to Aylesbury depot about 18 months ago when the two Wycombe depots merged and many routes were transferred to Aylesbury. Not surprisingly it had to have "31" on a scrap of paper!
Do we know what sort of "new buses" have been ordered for this route? On the subject of new buses, I thought that we were going to get some for the 326 "in the Autumn"?
At least three of the seven Volvo B10s are off the road receiving attention at the moment: 3841, 3853 & 3855."
5135 at Stokenchurch on 8th January photographed by Gavin Francis.
No sign as yet of the green DAFs entering service.
Gavin Francis has been busy with his new Canon camera and some of his results can be seen on this week's page.
Fleet number DAF54
DAF981 on the A40 to Heathrow.
John Bristow sent this delightful picture of a CS Commer 2 stroke with Plaxton bodywork.
COWLEY ROAD GARAGE JANUARY 9th 2005
My staff reporter has been busy up at Cowley Road again with the latest demolition work at the old garage. The pictures are in order:
Bulldozer in mid-demolition on Friday. - R7126 - Another view, showing the
interior of the Engineering Department locker room.
7135 - Operations Manager's office was at the top of the stairs, and is the doorway visible at top centre.
R7148 - OBC will *have* to rename Fare Stage 45, sooner rather than later.
I must apologise to the company and to all readers for an error on last week's page. A report received indicated that Trident 106 had been involved in afire. however in fact it was Volvo 614. I understand that an assessment was being made last last week as to the viability of repair and further news is awaited.
Ex London General Darts purchased.
I am advised by sources within the company that two Darts have been purchased from London General for use on 16 road. The buses in question are LDP32 P732RYL and LDP39 P739RYL. I understand that fleet numbers are expected to be 411 and 412. They are presently at Loughborough under going refurbishment to Oxford's specifications. They have Plaxton Pointer bodywork and are N36F low floor vehicles new in 1996. It will be most interesting to see which livery they appear in?
LDP37 in service at Wimbledon in 2003 with London General and identical to the two purchased by Oxford.
I also understand that repainting of Citaro 825 was undertaken at Loughborough and Trident 105 is presently under preparation at the same location.
Red Trident 103 operates a 4 road working last week and was caught on the camera of Gavin Francis. This is to be repainted green again in due course.
Another Gain Francis picture, this time of 814 unusually on X3 service to Abingdon.
An article in a recent issue of Transit says that OBC is having great success with its Citaro fleet on the Abingdon services claiming a significant market share. The X3/X13 operates in competition with Stagecoach who operate the X4. It is said that passengers prefer the Citaros saying they are very comfortable.
Scania nr 5 leaves Victoria on its way home to Oxford one day last week.
Volvo nr 20 leaves Gloucester Green on an X70 working to Heathrow last week.
All coaches are now able to show this style of destination but it is still unusual to see drivers setting the screen in this way..
Bus Monkey reports
on the OBC front;
616 on 400 AM
616 on 15 PM
824 on 400
Marcus Lapthorn contributed these pictures from some years ago He notes :
640 was a one off vehicle that was used in the Aylesbury area on the 260 series of routes.
52 photographed in Didcot.
992 was at Aldenham Works.
5250 HA was at Haddenham.
213 was at ?
This ex Shearings Volvo was working the 14 to Thame two weeks ago.
This NEx coach is owned by Yorkshire Traction and is seen on a 3120 working to Poole last week. I think the original blind has been replaced with Hannover equipment?
Work continues apace on the rebuilding of Horspath Garage but will be pending until after the Christmas holidays. A much larger open standing space is being provided but parking will continue at Exel at present.
The current situation of the rebuildingg work can be seen in the picture above.
Each depot prepares its buses for repainting and the work for Oxford is usually done at Bedford.
Branding and adverts are removed prior to despatch for repainting as can be seen on 16523 last week in Horspath depot.
Unusually BMW branded 22053 was on route 10 last week and is seen here in Speedwell Street in company with 50122 last week.
On the subject of Thames Transit Rose Hill Runner names Andy churchill notes that 3029 was to have been named Roger Bannister but the gewntleman refused permission.
Bus Monkey reports
20012 on 3
16524 on U1
18181 on 3
Mr Lemming reports that 16520 was on the 7B last week
SVV588W reports "...noted Olympian/NC 16555 (P526EFL) on an Oxford bound X5 service on A34 near Water Eaton on Wednesday 5th at 10.30am. Could not see the toilet on this new coach - maybe it was under the stairs!
On 2nd January two X5
services were operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire on behalf of Cambridge and
this saw deckers working to Bedford with full loads.
Again SVV588W reports "20687 (N407LDF) back where it belongs on the 10.00am ex Swindon 66 service today (7th). The coach (52157) now seems to appear daily as one of the three buses on this service."
Last Thursday the bus stops at Marble Arch for both the Tube and X90 disappeared. It is understood that new style coach stops provided by TfL are to be erected. However for the time being those non regular travellers will have to guess where their service goes from.
Another Police and TfL initiative has resulted in the bus stop bay in Buckingham Palace Road being shortened by nearly one coach as can be seen in the picture below. There is normally not enough room anymore for three coaches to layover.
50108 turns into Bullied Way at Victoria, soon to become home to more of these behemoths when Megabus get their deliveries.
Model BrookesBus buses now available.
OBU has commissioned a 1/76th scale limited edition model BrookesBus, the model's, which are incredibly detailed, are available to purchase form the Resources Office, GLC, for a discounted price of £15.00 (usually £25.00).
A photo of the model can be found at the following link: http://www.sdmodels.com/images/bro%20pics/uk2012bro.jpg
If anyone has difficulty in getting one please talk to me and we'll see what we can do.
Rob Williams writes "Speaking
of Megabus, I'm sure Malcolm spotted Leamington's 13625 sitting in the yard
today, presumably for the attention of our engineers.
I'm sure the MANs were simply stopping by on their way home up north. A number of duplicate workings were in operation over the festive season."
As far as Rob is aware Megabus liveried ex Oxford MAN's 50046/50058 were at Nuneaton depot on December 29th. Rob told me they were being used as spare vehicles over the busy Christmas / New Year period. These are now with Bluebird I understand so were a long way from home.
46 was in Victoria on several days last week.
Perhaps the most bizarre working on Megabus yet was the appearance in London of an M A N from MANCHESTER. Gavin Francis was on hand to capture the appearance. I am told it had only been intended to use this bus to Liverpool but somehow it got to London.
Gavin said that at 16340 he was lucky to get any kind of picture at all but here is 22212 in London Victoria on Saturday 5th January 2005.
Rob Williams writes "Megabus Neoplans - there will also be two crew seats on the bottom deck, located behind the driver where the luggage rack is on the Tubes (these seats won't be to a specification legal as ordinary passenger seats), but making the total number of seats 91. Delivery to Aberdeen on/by 14th Jan as per your report / "megaNews". You'll note from the artists impression of the Megabus Neoplan that they will be single door - four of the eight extra ordinary seats go here, and four by reducing the legroom slightly upstairs."
Chris Maxfield reports that the first four Megabus Neoplans are at Mentor in Rotherham and were so by 27th December 2004.
Michael Wootten writes to say "A Volvo B12B / Jonckheere demonstrator is due at Woottens later this month for evaluation. The vehicle features the latest Volvo I-Shift gearbox, which has yet to be tested by the company. The Volvo I-Shift is an entirely new mechanical gearbox with twelve forward ratios. The transmission changes smoothly and rapidly with engine and gearbox electronics adapting gear changes to the driving conditions. Thanks to low internal losses and its ability to optimise gear-changing, it is said to have a positive impact on fuel consumption as compared to conventional automatic gearboxes.
For the last five years the company has specified ZF automatic transmission for all new vehicles. It will be interesting to see how the new Volvo I-Shift gearbox performs."
Ed Maun rightly pointed out re last week's page "Reference bus page 109, the picture of Dennis Dart J159GAT on service 321 at P.Risboro’ Rail Station in the repainted green and grey livery belongs to Z&S, not Carousel. Z&S were using their MAN single-decker on the service today (Tuesday 4th Jan).
(My apologies for the error Ed.)
N124XEG at High Wycombe on 7th January pictured by Gavin Francis.
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