Issue 54
(OBP-270)

Sunday 16th November 2003

next update week ending 27th November 2003


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 on
malcolmhc@aol.com

Last week proved a very busy personal one, with a number of overseas visitors, all leaving little time for such pleasures as this News Page. So, very sorry, but I have missed a week and this is effectively two issues in one.

I was reading a letter in The Oxford Times where a lady suggested that re-routing various express services for their journeys into and out of Oxford would reduce congestion at Carfax. Last Friday I had a few hours to kill in Oxford and took the opportunity to climb to the top of Carfax Tower. This gave me a birds eye view of the junction and the chance to take some photos of the area on a busy Friday afternoon.

As can be seen from the picture above the junction does indeed get very congested but I can just imagine the discussion arising out of someone in authority saying that this or that coach service should go via Iffley Road, Donnington Bridge and the Abingdon Road rather than inbound through high Street. This was indeed one of the writers suggestions. In fact on certain days , due to serious congestion on the Abingdon Road local services and Park & Ride services do the opposite to run an acceptable timetable for customers. I did not see any reply in this week's edition which surprised me as I thought the original letter might provoke some more reaction.

One interesting observation when looking down from the top of the Carfax Tower was how the Oxford Bus Company vehicles all have fully painted roofs whereas Stagecoach sadly seem to miss the roof on their repaints. however I suppose the vast majority of people do not see the buses from above.

An item from the week before last of some concern is the mugging of a second passenger who had alighted from an Oxford Tube service setting down at Sandhills. The 43 year old man had his wallet demanded by two youths at knifepoint, something hard to believe in this area. Since that incident The Oxford Tube has been setting down in Thornhill for the last few weeks now since the incident mentioned above.

The Oxford Bus Company have also announced their intention to route ALL express services effective 13th December 2003 when both outbound and inbound services will use Thornhill Park & Ride.

On the subject of Thornhill a serious accident was reported a week ago when according to a correspondent, a Park & Ride bus in the bus lane from Thornhill Park & Ride was overtaken by a lorry which then turned sharply right off the A40 and collided with the bus. The driver and 4 passengers were taken to hospital and apart from shock, have not been seriously hurt. The Trident, 106, suffered serious damage to the front end. This does highlight the perils of bus lanes on fast main roads and the need for careful planning when such lanes are introduced. It will interesting to see if any changes are made to the design of this particular lane and the entrances and exits between the Risinghurst turn and the Green Road roundabout.

A new service is included in this edition. Ralph Adams writes " The County Council have now published the new 159 and 259 linking into the X59 service. It appears that 2 12 seat minibuses with a large entrance door are being used  " The company involved is Walters Limousines and you can find full details under their heading below.

Ralph goes on to say "Cheney Coaches are reported as cancelling the B4/B8 and 489 from January. The local service is hourly, Sundays only, whilst the 489 is a single early morning journey.

Stagecoach in Banbury are introducing new services on  BANBURY HIGH STREET To: BANBURY HIGH STREET Via: BRETCH HILL  N5 Service  Effective Date: 10-Nov-2003 Other Details: FRIDAY AND SATURDAY EVENINGS 2230 UNTIL 0350 EVERY 15 MINUTES "

Another item of interest is that "For the past 2 weeks there has been a large team of people monitoring the local buses starting before 7.30 and finishing after 18.00, keeping records of the buses of the 2 major companies at least. It appears they are noting the number of passengers carried as well as the times.

Who are they? They are wearing fluorescent jackets so easily noticeable and hand held computers of a type used by the County Council."

On a rather more amusing note I came across this picture of an amazing bus but where it is and what it is I do not know. Maybe such a bus would be useful for routes serving housing estates where roads are narrow and cars park without thought.


Is this maybe a sneak preview of the vehicles to be used by a certain airline
which has plans to launch mini coach services in the UK?

Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.

Malcolm Crowe, 16th November 2003.

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News of the local companies 16th November 2003


This Olympian, 5166,  once worked at High Wycombe, seen here in Luton last year.

James asks "...just like to find out, if you could ask your readers if they know of any history/background to the 323 & 324 routes, from Aylesbury To High Wycombe.  This is to accompany some photos i have for my Arriva site."

Nigel Peach writes " ...at lunchtime today, Mon 10th, I noticed ex Arriva London Olympian 5856 (D169 xxx) in Wycombe bus station. It has no blinds yet, in fact it still has a London type display. Presumably this will replace one of the remaining four (newer!) ex Oxford buses, 5825/26/31/34.

Alexander bodied 5130 still appears not to have entered service yet. It was in the bus station still showing route 74."

Steve Warwick wrote

Thurs 13th Nov

The first of the three Optare Alero 16 seater minibuses for the new BCC Fairford Leys to Aylesbury bus/rail station Silver Link contract starting in January 2004 have arrived this morning.

Plenty of unusual workings going on as we are short of vehicles, Red Route 3486 was on 54 Halton Camp's for a while. X15 3203 was operating the 4 route for most of the morning.

Optare 0449 in it's new County Rider was on the crew shuttles all day. 280 branded 5158 worked the 16 service am.


Bucks County Council

As has been mentioned elsewhere the Bucks County Council Solos, delivered branded for easybus services in a blue and orange livery have changed to a green livery as seen in the pictures below. This is, it seems, to avoid confusion with any easyjet bus operation.


Solo 0446 displays its new livery whilst working the 160 in Marlow 10 days ago.

Ed Maun wrote to say "BCC owned Optare Solo 0448 has been painted in the new County rider green livery but has yet to have the vinyl logos added.   It was in service on the new Fridays only Aylesbury to Bierton 165 service."

  

   

A significant piece of news emerged this week when Dart SLF 404 emerged from works following a repaint, having been registered R4OXF. This is of course one of the registrations from the re-registered Volvo coaches 1-7. R1OXF has already appeared on Scania coach 41and now the remaining R2-R7OXF block have appeared on Darts 402-407. This is a nice touch and it would have been a pity if these unique registration had gone outside the company.


Dart SLF 404 shows off its new registration on its first working on 13 road on Friday afternoon.


A classic shot of the Magdalen Bridge with 404 before re-registration a week ago or so.

Rob Williams writes "I was astonished to note Airline coach 26 operating the 4A this morning!! (5/11/03) Now thats an unusual working and a half. It had a laminated card in the window with route number and destination, heading off down Botley Road."

It seems that the following day coach 6 (X90) branded worked the same relief duty. Maybe Corgi should get one step ahead and release their new model of 26 with a small sticker in the window (just joking!!!)
 


Talking of The Airline coaches only one rear graphic has been used twice, seen here on 39 and 29.


Volvo 611, X3/X13 branded, passes coach 16 a week or so ago in The High.


Another X3/X13 branded Volvo, this time 620, turns at Carfax.


Friday last was a very wet day and here Lynx T2 waits for the lights at Carfax.


Trident 101 was on 35 road on Friday and is seen here on a Didcot working.


The latest green Trident to turn red is 105, seen here a week last Friday,
its first day in service as such on 300 road at Redbridge.


Trident 113 has received the very latest Transbus style rear lights. This bus still has the original front blind display.


That 18 again, Herschel Crescent bound at St Aldates operated by Dart 515.


Proving my point in this week's editorial, Volvo 606 and a Trident show off their fully painted roofs.

Workings on the 14th November saw the following.

105 on 5 road plus a 4xx series low floor Dart. 638 on 15 road, 104 on 4 road, 822 and 823 on 400 road. (822 had seemingly lost it nice front offside wheel trim.)

Historical by James O'Neill

Optare Metroriders

A brief update on these former Oxford vehicles with Emsworth & District, West Sussex.

They are currently for sale, but are not yet being withdrawn from service.

They are being replaced by Dennis Darts: two Carlyle versions have recently been purchased for local service work (these are ex London G39TGW and Town & Around L452UEB). 

Below are a couple of photographs that you may wish to use - they show how the vehicles still carry liveries very similar to the original Oxford scheme. 779 remains unfinished as far as repaints are concerned... it continues to sport a red and blue door!

  


New National Express coaches abound and here LB52UYK is operating the 310 service in Oxford.


Another new coach is YJ53VFY seen here on the 348 in Gloucester Green.

 

Stagecoach have sent their latest attached fleet list (period 8 - November 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click here to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)

getacro.gif (712 bytes)

Rob Williams wrote to say

Tue 4th:

16144 on 7A

Thu 6th:

31330 on 20 

Fri 7th:

20543 left for repaint today after spending most of the week being prepared

Mon 10th:

42376 on 10

Tues 11th:

22052 on 1

16144 on 7A

20010 on 29A

Wed 12th:

22052 on 7A (not unusual but showing its now being put out onto ordinary city routes)

Ross wrote 

While 22205 is probably the first MAN on the current version of the route I've heard of on the last day of the 10/10A operation this year 22932 was on the route, and before that a 2291x could appear quite regularly on Saturdays, so its not an unknown type on the route (in previous versions). 

Adrian Lancer writes

Tuesday 4/11/03
103, 805 and 822 all seen on 400 within 10mins!!
16141 - 7A
22205 - 10!! First M A N I've seen on the route

 


  One of the Devon Olympians on short term loan to Oxford, 16402, works at 29 service last Friday


I just loved this new super rear on tube 37, lots of little Tubes rushing around the Millennium wheel


Back up Carfax Tower last Friday and Tube 54 heads towards St Aldates.

Adrian Lancer notes that he saw people boarding a Tube near VCS in Buckingham Palace Road. I think this must now be a formal stop as there are flags on the bus stop poles for the Tube.

Visiting Stagecoach vehicles from other areas still present themselves in the old livery.


From Bedford, 16997 works an X6 service to Northampton.


Ex Tube 52024 works an X5 service at Oxford.


I had been hoping for some weeks now to catch the Brookes branded M A N which appears
at Tesco's on an hourly basis on Saturdays. 22054 is seen here a week ago.


Sharing the work on this route is the black liveried M A N 22053, still awaiting vinyls.


Megabus operations are gaining strength as mentioned in the last issue, though loading on some services are still very light. One noticeable fact, now that the winter nights are drawing in, are the very bright interior lights, when compared to the other two operators who can offer a slightly more comfortable environment for passengers on what can be a two or more hour journey in the dark hours.


13604 "Balliol" - 331HWD awaits departure on the Friday afternoon 1600 service 10 days ago.


13605 "Magdalen" SJI4558 runs back to depot off a mid afternoon arrival from London.
It is seen here passing Redbridge Park & Ride.

The Connection - Walters Limousines

Rob Williams wrote with details of the Connection services saying "The vehicles that will be operating new X59 feeder services 159 and 259 from Monday are as follows: 

YL51ZTK is fleet number 1 (generally for service 159)

YS02UCJ is fleet number 2 (generally for service 259)

H574GTM is fleet number 3 (spare, its not expected that it will be in use very often at all)

The Aleros are in white based "The Connection" livery with "Oxford - X59 - Banbury" and "Oxford - The Connection - Banbury" lettering on the sides. The Iveco (which I think has a wheelchair lift at the back) is a spare for the services and is just in plain white livery. 

The service is being operated by Walters Limousines, however some operational expertise is being provided by Stagecoach all on contract to the council. All three vehicles were at Horspath Road today for the fitting of fitments so that ticket machines and card readers can be put into the buses. Tickets issued on the services will to all intents and purposes look like Stagecoach tickets, and through fares will be available to/from destinations on the X59. It looks like all of Stagecoach's ticket range will be available on the services, including the Brookes UniRider 1 fare! I noted that the timetables/leaflets for the service are also produced by Stagecoach, in corporate style.


YS02UCJ Optare Alero


YS02UCJ Optare Alero


H754GTM Iveco 


YL51ZTK Optare Alero - photo by Rob Williams


YS02UCJ Optare Alero - photo by Rob Williams

Rob goes on to say "Managed to get photos of Walters entire fleet in just one day last week (not something you can say very often!) All three vehicles were at Horspath Road on Thursday for machine fittings, so I took the opportunity.  

It seems that it is the council's wish that the services are considered as part of the Stagecoach network in every way, bar their operation.

I imagine they have been needed for some time, to allow villagers to go to Banbury, Oxford etc.
159 - Adderbury (for X59) - Milton - Bloxham - Barford - Hempton - Duns Tew - Deddington (for X59)
259 - Steeple Aston (for X59) - Middle Barton - Westcott Barton - Sandford - Ledwell - Over Worton - Duns Tew - Deddington (for X59)"


Timetables at:  http://www.stagecoach-oxford.co.uk/download/timetables/ban-159.pdf

Thames Travel

As mentioned in the last issue three new Solos have arrived.


353, Solo with digital display works an X39 service last Friday, seen here loading in St Aldates.

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


Sorry but I really liked this small joke, its nice to end on a smile.

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

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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