Sunday 17th December 2006
next update week ending 30th December 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
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
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Our page this week has numerous contributions which should make a most interesting read. We have visits to Banbury, Milton Keynes, Leicester and also to Bangor in North Wales. Arriva gets a lions share of the action and I do hope everyone enjoys the work put in by so many contributors.
The new fleet of Oxford Citaros are now fully on the road and as a result some older buses have or are leaving the fleet. Full details under the operator heading.
Competition from the rail service to London has taken a body blow this week with complaints in The Oxford Times about the withdrawal of two peak hour services, 06:45 and 07:25 services to London. The 07:05 is not getting people to work until after 09:00 and the 07:44 is too late for the commuters. Additionally as a result of the changes passengers are now finding they cannot always get a seat at Oxford as their train now comes through from Hereford or Moreton-in-the-Marsh. They pay £3500 per year for a season ticket and there is a groundswell of dissatisfaction.
Whilst there is no doubt the train can be faster than the coach there are several significant factors in using the coach services. During the peak period there are two operators services operating a between 12 and 15 minute service. You will always have a seat on the coach, it is illegal for passengers not to, unlike the railway and on some service a free breakfast and newspaper is offered. Each seat has a charging point for laptops or mobile phones and on one operator WiFi is offered free of charge.
With my own experiences not being exactly great when using the train I am surprised so many people still use the train. For £1040 you can use the Oxford Tube for a whole year and enjoy travel on local buses throughout Oxfordshire and Oxford City. Indeed the Oxford Bus Company offers a similar fare for their London service.
For £1900 you can buy a two year ticket which means a very significant saving on the train fares and you always get a seat.
Hey everyone, its not that I dislike trains, indeed when the work they are great as I experienced in Germany where I used the trains nearly every week. However here in the U.K. they still have along way to go.
Derek Dawson visits Leicester
Derek Dawson sent me and account and pictures of a visit to Leicester he made a week or so ago. I found it most interesting.
Herewith some pictures taken last Saturday (9th December) where I made another Stagecoach explorer trip this time using the X5-X4 & X7 services to Leicester a bit out of the area and thought it maybe of interest?
The first part of the journey was on the Stagecoach X5 to Milton Keynes where due to the wires being down a rail replacement service was in operation.
Several coaches of Hamilton’s, Galleon & Flights were being used along with Double Deckers from Ensign Bus (five Noted) and Stratford Blue.
Pictures also of Grant Palmers MB and Z & S Int'l Aylesbury's Optare.
Next was the X4 service to Northampton which is operated by Tridents which definitely get a move on.
First picture shows the busy Northampton Garage also showing the X4 awaiting a service back to MK Services here are done mainly by First Northampton picture shows KP54KBE (Vo/ Wright Eclipse Gemini) and Stagecoach United Counties shown is R697DNH a Volvo Olympian which has still not made it to the paints hop (I don't suppose it will now).
Last leg was the X7 to Leicester Main operators here are Arriva Fox County and First Leicester although offerings from Kinchbus, Confidence (Never noted any of the ex COMS buses ), Centrebus, Woods and Paul Winson
Arriva FJ06ZTF (DAF/Wt Commander) and FJ06ZRN (DAF/ Wright Gemini )
Confidence A502EJF (Leyland Olympian / ECW) Kinchbus R923RAU (Ds Dart/Plaxton)
Centrebus G374NRC (Scania/Alexander) First Leicester G113HNP One of several Leyland Lynx's still working here
The Quicksilver Park & Ride is operated by Arriva FG52GGP (DAF/ Wright Commander)
Last picture shows the National Express Caetano Levantes which are getting more common
with two examples awaiting to leave the bus station these being FN06FKZ & FN06FLE Both operated by Dunn-Line
I hope this gives a few of you some ideas for trips in the New Year. Thank you Derek for this report.
Your Editor goes to North Wales
As I was on holiday last week, my wife and I took the opportunity to visit our eldest daughter who lives in Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales. It was several years since I had been up to that part of the country and we had an excellent run up using the M6 Toll and after the M6 the M56 to Chester and the A55 Expressway which now runs along the whole coast line of the Dee Estuary. Not much was seen on the early part of the journey except for a Megabus Neoplan on the M6 Toll heading southbound. I made a short stop in Llandudno Junction where Arriva have a rather nice depot inherited from Crosville.
My first memories of this depot were in 1944 when my mother took me on holiday to Llandudno and we took a Crosville Leyland TS7 to Conwy where a friend had a small yacht. We were taken out in a rowing boat and I remember helping to shell peas for our lunch sitting on the stern of said yacht and watching the sparse traffic crossing the old Telford Bridge, now only for pedestrians. The buses used were limited in weight and the Leyland TS7s were the largest allowed.
Now following many years of double deck operation local services are in the hands of Dennis Darts from Arriva and a variety of buses from KMP Llanberis who run a coast service in competition with Arriva.
Bangor depot proved interesting though there was no sight of the open topper allocated here in the summer.
The variety was good with new single bus new to Arriva Wales.
The first picture shows a Dennis Dart with Alexander ALX200 bodywork new to Arriva London.
The second picture shows a Dennis Dart with NCME new to British Bus and often seen in Staines.
The trainer coach came from D&G Rachub in 2000 and is a Volvo B9.
A surprise vehicle in the depot was this tanker bringing memories of the Thames Valley tankers.
Now I reckon this is something like a bus shelter seen at Conwy.
The style and colouring is Victorian and takes the colour from Llandudno and the Great Orme Tramway.
Just outside Conwy to the side of the coast road we cam across a few interesting buses including this Bristol VR.
We now pressed on towards Bangor and arrived some four hours after leaving home, a distance of well over 200 miles. My daughter lives on the main road into Bangor on what was the old A55. Her house faces the harbour and small port. Buses run by the door and Arriva, KMP and Padarnbus all operate services along Beach Road.
The main terminal in Bangor is known as The Cloc and I spent an hour or so taking pictures of what was passing through. The weather was really bad with what seemed like a force 7 gale blowing which seemed to conspire to blow me off my feet whenever I was taking a picture of a bus. What was great was that M&S had a store by the main bus stands and a car park underneath the store which was free for the first 45 minutes. Anyway the results may be seen below.
The first two pictures shown one of the DAF SB200s used on the X32 Traws Cambria service between Bangor and Aberystwyth.
Note the bicycle rack on the back.
The second picture shows one of two buses pained in Crosville colours for the 100th anniversary celebrations based at Bangor and new to Arriva, Wales.
The third picture shows a high floor Dennis Dart 1333, new to Arriva London in 1996.
The fourth picture shows a recent DAF VDL SB120 of which Bangor has six and uses them on the X4 to Holyhead.
Finally we see an ex Southern Counties 1997Volvo Olympian which is one a batch of six now based at Bangor.
These pictures show the variety of buses used by KMP Llanberis who compete strongly against Arriva on this coast.
This picture shows two examples of the Padarnbus fleet which also has a strong presence in Bangor.
Express Motors also run a service into Bangor using very new buses.
Arriva inherited the Crosville depot in Bangor which was near my daughter's house overlooking the harbour. This is now be redeveloped and
Arriva have a new depot above the city in the Llandegi Industrial Estate.
Near the Arriva there is a yard which contained some interesting buses including what is I believe a Volvo Ailsa from Cardiff.
My daughter said these are used on school services.
Our return journey home was somewhat marred by a major accident on the A55, when a tanker overturned. All efforts to find a way round eluded me and we spent 45 minutes in a very slow moving line of traffic on the "old" road but once through we had a clear run home not needing to use the M6 toll and passing an ex Oxford coach on the 325 near Stafford. Coincidentally Chris Lowe sent a picture of the same coach earlier in the day at Stockport.
I wonder how many times I drove this coach on the X70, X80 and then the X90 during my five years with COMS?
We passed very few coaches until we got to the M40 and were just past Oxford. We then saw seven coaches in quick succession including National Express 210 and 420 services, The Oxford Tube and various Airline and Espress coaches.
A long but interesting day.
Chris Maxfield visits Banbury and other parts of Oxfordshire
Chris sent an interesting selection of pictures following a day out in Oxfordshire. He visited Banbury and sent some good local pictures seen below.
Three examples of the Geoff Amos operation centred largely on Banbury.
National Express serves Banbury and on various services. Seen above are the 210 and 310.
SMS also serve Banbury.
Worths are an old established operator based at Enstone.
They have purchased many vehicles from COMS and above are two examples, a decker ex 220 and coach nr 54.
A recent addition was this ex Arriva decker and then a more cent addition to the coach fleet.
Finally a Volvo coach seen at Kingham Station.
RH Transport are growing in size and here we see three examples from their fleet.
The white Vario carries Mistral titles and must be on loan, the Ford is one of the original fleet
and the Solo is the dedicated bus for the Kingham Station rail link.
As mentioned last week McLeans have taken delivery of a brand new Setra pictured above.
The also have a number of quickly acquired second hand coaches for school contracts two of which are seen above.
A web link to amuse those who wonder how Oxford can protect OTS
I know that many of you will have seen this one but its worth repeating. What fun if the put bollards in High Street, Oxford.
A free bus service in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade
Glenn Knight sent this note regarding services in the above towns saying "I have attached a notice that has been put up in Arriva & Grant Palmer Buses of Free Bus Travel 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd December in Leighton Buzzard on most services Excluding 31 & 15."
Thanks again to everyone who contributed.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 17th December 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 17th December 2006
Some Arriva local happenings are what I am told is another bus fire. This time I learn that fire appliances were in attendance to Scania My correspondent says "Arriva's Scania 3169 is, I understand, the latest victim - seen with fire engines in attendance at Danesfield Camp @16.30 with windows blackened." Danesfield is on the 328/329 to Reading, just beyond Marlow where the ex COMS Volvo caught fire the other week.
Some of you joke when I put a picture of the 342 at Stokenchurch in the weekly page. Well I caught up with the 342 on Saturday last but at Studley Green. A slight change gentlemen!
2177 pauses for passengers and I even caught the blind at the right spot!!!
A Scania, 3205, in Cressex depot yard last Saturday morning.
Some weeks ago it was mentioned that the route from Aylesbury to High Wycombe was to become the 300.
Here an ex COMS/Wycombe Bus Olympian 5830 pauses at Stoke Mandeville on its way southwards last Saturday afternoon.
The overbridge between the car park and the town at Aylesbury offers a good spot for pictures.
Here another ex COMS Olympian, 5826, turns into the bus station road last Saturday.
Gavin Francis caught DAF (ex Gas bus) 4490 on the 32 in the centre of High Wycombe last week.
Imagine my surprise ..................
a London bus near Aylesbury - Garston depots' DAF 6024 on Rail Replacement work
heads towards Stoke Mandeville Station last Saturday.
Glenn Knight sent this picture of an advert appearing on Arriva buses in our area.
Nice one Glenn and Arriva...........
Glenn says "
Richard Sharman writes "A surprise relocation recently has been Bakers Coaches of Enstone to a new depot on the edge of Moreton-in-the-Marsh, so this now makes them a Gloucestershire operator.
Depot is on the left as you enter M-IN-M just past the Fire training college."
Following comments received from some of you including Gavin Francis after last week's report, Stephen Le Bras writes"Tell Gavin not to worry! The First Cymru coaches will be at Bracknell for a few months, as four of the Scania/Berkhofs are being taken out of service. Hopefully, a completely different set of coaches will be in service on the Greenline 702 next Summer."
After my earlier comments on trains from Oxford, Stephen adds "I must try and get over to Oxford to see the new Citaros. Unfortunately First Great Western has re-timed the Windsor-Slough shuttle so that the arrival in Slough manages to miss the fast Oxford train by 1 minute. (It makes you hope for late trains sometimes!) This has the effect of making the journey 75 rather than 45 minutes! I have complained but the response was that they try and please as many people as possible but.... "
Richard Sharman sent this picture of a lovely new addition to the Motts fleet - GB06 MTT.
Gavin Francis took a nice shot of an older Trathens double deck coach on a National Express working at Victoria last week.
It makes an interesting comparison with the latest deliveries, thanks to Ken Baker for this shot a Exeter bus station last week.
They look so crisp and clean when they are new.
Another picture from Gavin Francis was this Irizar in VCS last week. Neat advertising.
After last week's spread on new vehicles this week may appear tame in comparison.
First the company web page for enthusiasts has been updated and you can see the latest fleet list at the following link
849-859 LF, MF, OF, PF, RF, SF, TF, UF, VF, WF, YF56 OXF Mercedes Citaro B42F
Ralph Adams reports that the new buses re B42F plus 28 standing. Apparently the previous Abingdon buses were B42F plus 25 standees.
Acquired Vehicle (ex Go North East):
904 NK51 UCL Dennis Trident Plaxton H47/28F new 2001 (on loan from 7/06, did not enter service until 11/06)
This is the first of a batch of eight similar buses which will come from Go North East for use on service 35 and miscellaneous duties. They will be all fitted with a GPS based warning system for the low bridge at Oxford Rail Station. The whole batch will be converted to H47/30F in due course.
I am told that 901 is also on the road but it is only from one source.
898-899 to Wilts & Dorset (ex long term loan)
403-7/9-11 to Go West Midlands
604 to Go West Midlands
70 awaiting sale
With the intake of these vehicles, Dennis Tridents 101-105 are generally now used as spare float vehicles, with the exception of one on service 4.
Breathe easy message
One most appropriate message on the back of new Citaro 854 is pictured below.
Other pictures of interest
photo by Gavin Francis
408 - photo by Chris Maxfield
Trident 103 works a 300 service on the P&R - picture by Gavin Francis
Route 9 is the new number for the Risinghurst service - Reader Curly writes that all buses he has seen show route 8 on their return to Oxford.
Picture by Gavin Francis.
With so many Citaros and Volvo B10BLEs a surprise working on the 15 was by this B10B 642 - picture by Gavin Francis.
The new coaches for the X70
The new Volvo B12B coaches will be Euro 5 compliant, another first for Oxford?
Mercedes Benz mini 42624, on loan from Banbury to Oxford for service 7E at Kidlington, is now back in service at Banbury.
A few nice pictures have been received this week.
Gavin Francis caught this Witney based Trident working the renumbered X1/X2 service - the 200.
A new contributor to these pages is David Stenton who has just acquired a digital camera.
Here Brookes 18056 is seen at Harcourt Hill on a U1 working.
A founder coach on the Oxford-London Megabus service, 331HWD, ex Hong Kong Olympian 13604 is now hard at work in Manchester.
Chris Lowe's photograph shows the bus in Piccadilly Bus Station last week.
Another nice picture from Chris Lowe is of an ex Oxford Tube, nr 50054, laying over in Manchester's Princess Road depot last week.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
Ed Maun has sent in four pictures of local coach operators who are now long gone saying"I have obtained 4 photographs of local coach operators’ vehicles from the 1950s/60s period which you may wish to use on the news page. If you do will you please credit them to “PM Photography” who own the copyright." We recently mentioned them in these page and these pictures provide a welcome reminder of days gone by.
The use of these pictures has been kindly agreed to by P M Photography who hold the copyright.
House of Watlington was a fondly remember operator who had orange and black as his livery.
Ed writes "House’s Coaches Commer Avenger EBW 806.
I am sure I rode on this coach to the Sea Side many times in the 1950s. Does anyone know who built the coach work?
The photo was taken at the Watlington depot.
Bedford OB Duple Vista DUD 810 is seen behind the Commer; both of these coaches were purchased new.
Parked in the garage is a Bedford (I think) with Harrington body acquired second hand."
Pilot Coaches were another local operator and they had this rather splendid Leyland Comet.
ed Writes "Pilot Coaches Leyland Comet NBH 928.
I suspect this was taken after the merger with Jeffways Coaches to form Jeffways & Pilot Coaches
as the logo on the side of the coach looks like a “J” and “P” entwined.
Does anyone know who built the coach body and when did Jeffways and Pilot merge?"
Surman’s Coaches Bedford SB Duple Vega LBW 407.
I would guess the photo was taken on a hot summer’s day seeing that the widows are open quite wide.
I remember driving a coach just like this when I worked for Godfrey Abbott in Manchester in 1963. Ed.
Surman’s Coaches EUD 286 - a Maudsley Marathon Mk III with a full fronted Gurney Nutting coach body.
I have no idea where this photo was taken but I am 99% sure it is neither of the two Chinnor garages.
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at email@example.com
Coming events, models and useful links
King Alfred, Winchester Running Day - Monday 1st January 2007
Always a great event and well worth a visit.
Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book
In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.
The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.
The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.
Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours.
DVD s by Robin Clare
The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :- http://www.robinclare.co.uk/
A local model worth adding to your collection
Malcolm Hyland writes "This
mail comes to you in my capacity as Treasurer of The Amersham & District Motor
We have a very limited stock of the 10T10 EFE model T596 on route 458 to Uxbridge. This model was commissioned through London Bus Repaints for the Slough & Windsor Running Day on 14th May 2006 and was a limited edition of 150 models.
Price is £27-50 plus £2-50 for postage and packaging. It is available through Malcolm Hyland at 41, Clare Road, Prestwood, Bucks HP16 0NU. Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motor Bus Society. E-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest Citaro models revealed
Dave Rogers sent the following press release.
CREATIVE MASTER NORTHCORD - PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester - ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus
Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads.
ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks.
Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre.
ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions.
ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.
The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively.
Model Buses for Sale
prices revised with immediate effect
I have a revised deal on Models for your readers...
Each of the following models are available for the following price :
Each Model = £10.00
Postage is £4.00 regardless of the number of models.
UKBUS 1014 - CREATIVE MASTER OXFORD P&R TRIDENT
UKBUS 5002 - CREATIVE MASTER OXFORD P&R CITARO
UKBUS 2012 - CREATIVE MASTER BROOKES BUS TRIDENT
CORGI ORIGINAL OMNIBUS OXFORD ESPRESS EXCALIBUR
Once again this offer is only available by emailing me direct at email@example.com
More models are for sale on my eBay store, http://www.modelsmk.co.uk/shop
Would readers who respond to the above please quote my site when doing so.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
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
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
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