Sunday 18th June 2006
next update week ending 1st July 2006
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Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute
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As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.
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With so many days over the past week being hot and sunny, there never was a better time to take photographs. Those submitted and those I have taken are so bright and crisp it takes a moment to realise and wonder and how we manage over the larger number of dull or rainy days when we all still manage to get at least some pictures to record the passing scene.
Modern technology has its drawbacks
Whilst so many of us enjoy the digital age we now live in, it can have its drawbacks. Many of us have read how it is possible to land in a lot of trouble taking pictures of buses and coaches, especially in private areas such as bus stations. We must also remember that we can face problems when members of the public object to our taking pictures which they may appear in. I well remember a National Express driver wanting to get the police because I had taken a picture of his coach as he approached Victoria Coach Station in London on Buckingham Palace Road. He took the time and trouble to run out of VCS to my location on the roadside and proceeded to take a most abusive and aggressive attitude. The only way to placate this irate gentleman was to show him that I was deleting the picture I had taken whereupon he not ungraciously removed himself back to VCS.
On another occasion I was taking pictures in Oxford when a local bus driver hurled abuse from his driving position saying that he could have my camera confiscated. My only saviour was the fact that he was in service and would have got into serious trouble had he abandoned his bus to chase after me.
However it is not only the wayward bus "anorak" who can get into trouble. With the advent of phone cameras, often producing a high quality image plus the ease of sending an e-mail, the errant bus or coach driver can find himself on a disciplinary charge for breaking the law. It was only recently that a driver on a country service leaving Oxford found himself the subject of a discipline for having used his mobile phone and been caught on a passing member of the public's camera. On another occasion a driver who had committed a motorway infringement was also reported with supporting camera evidence of his misdemeanour by a passenger travelling on his coach.
Of course for those who follow the letter of the law there is nothing to fear but I only comment to illustrate how things have changed. What fun these well meaning citizens would have had in the days of the bus wars of the '80s and earlier still the days of pirate buses when it was not uncommon for one operator to run another off the road.
Updated report on delays to traffic and services resulting from work at Thornhill Park & Ride junction on the A40.
Readers will remember my comments in last week's page about the long delays for traffic last weekend when the 4 way stop lights got out of sync. Huw kindly sent me a picture of the long line of traffic waiting to exit Thornhill Park & Ride where a wait of 12 minutes is not uncommon.
In this picture we can see five buses and coaches waiting for the traffic to clear with two Tubes, Saturday being a 10 minute headway, one having caught the other up.
Roadworks in High Street, Oxford cause taxi drivers to complain
The Oxford Times carries an article in the current edition about taxi drivers complaining that they are losing business as a result of the roadworks in High Street. The taxi drivers complain that buses are unloading on the wrong stops and that private cars are adding to the congestion, when said private cars should not be there in the first place.
Now far be it for me to take up the cudgel on this one but I have to say that the taxi drivers are far from guiltless on this one. Having complained that the buses are unloading on incorrect stops, it is not toally unknown for the aforesaid taxi drivers to stop in the roadworks area to set down fares causing equal congestion. I have to add that they are also want to drop fares in the middle of pedestrian crossings and make u-turns without warning when it so suits them. I would hasten to add that it is not all taxi drivers who carry out these acts but then it is also not many bus drivers who drop on the wrong stops.
New Park & Ride facilities proposed for county towns
Reaction to the proposals for new park and ride sites in outlying county towns has been interesting. One letter I read in The Oxford Times remarked on how many car drivers made journeys which would be almost impossible by public transport and this set in train a line of argument which I often feel planners fail to recognise.
In years gone by people worked in locations which were either close to their area of residence and in the days of limited car ownership, most often on a bus route or the factories they worked in generated the demand for works services from areas often quite far from the work location. An example were the works services from Stokenchurch to the Morris Cowley works, now BMW.
In these days of significant car ownership, and this includes the very people who drive the buses, people are prepared to travel significant distances to get to their place of work.
If we are going to have new Park & Ride facilities then planners have to identify the potential usage with a lot more accuracy than a feeling that it will work. Thornhill is a good example of a successful site where people for London, the airports and Oxford all use the facility to the point of saturation, more especially when the roadworks are not hindering the users.
I have a personal theory that eventually all major cities and towns will have to severely restrict the access of private cars and force car users on to Park & Ride but this is very much in the future. To do this the said facilities will have to be very much more user friendly than at present with everything made as easy as possible. Such sites will need to be free as indeed maybe the buses will be which take the people into the aforementioned locations.
The government is then going to need to fund these facilities out of the road taxes which people now pay. Even then this will not account for all the people who travel to areas outside or close to the cities and towns which have such a facility.
I am sure many readers will have their own
views on the matter which may indeed make interesting reading.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 18th June 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 18th June 2006
Various items of interest have occurred in the past week and are recorded below.
The branding of buses often means their use on the wrong route. Above we see a "Green Route" Volvo on the 74 and the use of the Unbranded Volvo on the 31.
Both pictures were taken within minutes of each other on Saturday 17th June.
Many years ago the building in this picture looked down on the Thames Valley parking area and bus stands.
Much of the area to the left of the building is now under a by-pass but it makes a nice background to an ex Oxford Bus Dart, 3834,
converted to single door by Arriva and working the 324 from Aylesbury on Saturday 17th June.
Frogmoor again with a Volvo on the 31 heading out of town towards Downley on Saturday 17th June in the hot June sunshine.
This Volvo B6, 3117 will also turn into Frogmoor as it heads off towards Aylesbury again on 17th June.
The Wycombe Park & ride is doing quite well and VDL 3702 is seen setting down intending shoppers on the 17th June.
The transfer of further Scanias from Aylesbury to Wycombe took place several weeks ago.
I was therefore surprised to see this one bearing route number X66 on its rear screen. 17th June 2006.
Single decks are not always used on the Aylesbury-Wycombe route as this picture by Gavin Francis shows taken last Friday in Wycombe.
I would recommend the location of Frogmoor to intending photographers as the sun is well placed in these lunchtime shots.
Gavin Francis writes "In last weeks letter John Podgorski stated that Arriva 2417 had previously worked at Stevenage and Ware but you can also add Hemel Hempstead to that as the attached photo taken last summer shows. Maybe only a short term loan as it only had a route number display. No sign of it on a visit to HW this week."
Arriva 2417 Hemel Hempstead 14th July 2005 Gavin Francis.
For the record 2417 was working the 317 today Saturday 17th June 2006.
Further details are awaited.
Three Metrobuses have been sold being M1100, 1272 and 1351.
There are still a goodly fleet of Metrobuses in service with Carousel as this shot taken on 10th June shows.
One tends to take frontal shots of the buses in the various pictures, so I thought this near side rear of MB52 would be appreciated.
One of my favourite buses is this VDL/Wright bodied midi buses CB54BUS seen here last Friday on Line 4 to Chesham. Photo by Gavin Francis.
Most Metrobuses have now lost the bingo advertising mentioned last week as the promotion is now over.
Mike Penn wrote saying "Here is a photograph of one of the new Centrebus VDLs, taken about 30 minutes ago (this was last Monday the 10th Ed.) outside the Centrebus garage in Luton (formerly the Lutonian garage). It has Plaxton Centro bodywork and, as can be seen, it is not yet registered."
Damory Coaches (of Blandford) operate several routes from north Dorset to Dorchester. L52 UNS is a fairly recent "hand-me-down" from Oxford Bus Company, while N15 WAL is from neighbouring sister Go-Ahead group operation Wilts & Dorset (previously Damory's parent company). The N-WAL vehicles were acquired by Wilts & Dorset when Walls of Manchester ceased trading.
Trinity St 'layover point', Dorchester 13/06/06
You can view the latest happenings to the fleet at the following link - http://www.oxfordbus.co.uk/company4.shtml
Dart 409 is seen crossing the Magdalen Bridge on a 13B working today Sunday 18th June 2006.
Volvo B10BLE 806 is seen at The Swan stop on the Cowley Road today Sunday 18th June 2006.
This bus will very shortly be refurbished in the like manner to 801-3.
Still looking very shiny and new, Citaro 847 picks up in Summertown on a Sunday working of the Kidlington city2.
Magpie, High Wycombe.
Chris Maxfield took this picture of a recent acquisition to the fleet, Dart J630KCU,
in company with school bus AE51 VKH. Friday 16th June 2006.
Many of the ex Cambridge Coach Services Volvos are still busy with National Express. Two of the newest have now found themselves on the Railair service to Woking from Heathrow. They are S322 and S323 VNM.
Once a regular performer between Oxford and Cambridge before the days of "National Express" domination on the route
S323VNM is seen working the 701 Railair link from Woking to Heathrow last Wednesday.
They replaced some ex W registered Scanias from Ireland.
Plastow's Coaches - Wheatley
It was mentioned a few weeks ago that Plastow's had a further Volvo/Jonckheere SG03 ZES rom Parks of Hamilton.
Here it is today Sunday 18th June 2006 posing with what is now the oldest coach in the fleet R440RWT ex Wallace Arnold and Volvo W1BUS.
RH Transport - Oxford Yarnton
Roland C writes "Went to Yarnton this morning (Sunday 18th) and obtained some interesting photos. These were taken from the railway bridge and RH had 10 vehicles there.
These were six blue /cream Solos. MX55 WDK /WCY/WCZ. MX06 BPY/BPZ plus one other. Two white Solos MX53 FEH plus one more and Scania bus F113OMJ and Mistral MB W996JNF."
A general view of the yard today Sunday 18th June - pictures by Roland C
One of the latest Solos - MX06BPY
The other white MB parked the other side of the pylon is OLZ 3962 of AKR Oxford
I presume that the two 06 registered Solos are the new ones for the 600 route - Ed.
The allocations ending May 2006 prove interesting.
Witney now has the following fleet.
Varios 42371,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,80,1 & 2. Tridents 18127-37 Volvo B10M-NCME Paladins 20007-11 Olympian 16526 and Darts 32627-30 making a total allocation of 32.
From the fleet movements quoted below one can see that there have been a number of changes and disposals. Officially there are now no Varios at Oxford. Also all the 709Ds have gone with the exception of the one used for staff transport, 40653.
|34470||KV53 NHE||Dennis Dart SLF - Reserve to Oxford|
|34471||KV53 NHF||Dennis Dart SLF - Reserve to Oxford|
|34472||KV53 NHG||Dennis Dart SLF - Reserve to Oxford|
|18054||KX53 VNE||Dennis Trident - Oxford on loan to Devon|
|18055||KX53 VNF||Dennis Trident - Oxford on loan to Devon|
|40108||L308 YDU||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|40110||L310 YDU||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|40654||N654 VSS||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|40657||N657 VSS||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|40658||N658VSS||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|40162||N362 AVV||Mercedes 709D - Disposal to Sold|
|52037||4012 VC||Volvo B10M (Training Bus) disposal to Sold|
|47315||KX06 AZB||Optare Solo - New to Oxford|
|47316||KX06 AZC||Optare Solo - New to Oxford|
|47106||WA04 TXX||Optare Solo - On loan from Devon to Oxford|
|42383||S383 DFC||Mercedes Vario - Oxford to Banbury|
|42624||R624 CTX||Mercedes Vario - Banbuy to Reserve|
|42376||S376 DFC||Mercedes Vario - Oxford to Reserve|
|42586||T586 SKG||Mercedes Vario - Oxford to Reserve|
|42588||T588 SKG||Mercedes Vario - Oxford to Reserve|
Two of the withdrawn Mercedes Minis at Exel on Sunday 18th June 2006.
Seen in the Cowley Rd 20mph area, Trident 18196 works a Sunday diagram on the U10 - 18th June 2006.
Witney provide a Trident to work the service 20 on Sunday and here 18129 heads into Oxford having just picked up in Yarnton. Sunday 18th June 2006.
M A N 22932 works a service 1 on Sunday 18th June 2006 and is seen in Cowley Road.
Suzy Scott from north of the border sent me some interesting pictures of ex Oxford Tube M A N s now working for Megabus and City Link.
Suzy says "Some pictures of recent escapades on the Inverness - Edinburgh - Newcastle - Sheffield - London megabus...
Southbound 30th May 50042
50053 on the A1 at Oak Tree Shell filling station, about half way down, where the bus is refuelled
5452 50053 in Newcastle Neville Street 28th March
p.s. Last Spring I sent you pictures of former Stagecoach Oxford J410 PRW with JP Mini Coaches, but I sent you the wrong one/link.
The enclosed is taken at King Street, Dundee, just as the bus was close to the end of Service 138, but before running light to pick up Service 81, on the morning of Monday 24th April.
Quick plug - pictures of all my recent ramblings at http://scotbus.fotopic.net with all my recent musings, rants and observations at http://suzyscott.blogspot.com
Suzy also sent some interesting shots of 50038 taken on the 2nd May 2006 in Buchanan Bus Station Glasgow. This is the coach which sufered fire damage when in service on The Oxford Tube and was refurbished internally with only 66 seats. Suzy has since advised that the coach is presently off the road and seems to be long term sick.
Suzy Scott sent this picture of 50045 now on City Link work.
Gavin Francis sent pictures of two Megabus coaches or workings.
The first is of a Rugby coach at Exel in Oxford following a breakdown on the M40.
The second is of a Cwmbran Express coach on Megabus working at Victoria, London last week. Gavin says "I have seen this a lot lately and this is the best picture I have got so far."
Finally Gavin sent this very nice picture of another "ex" Yorkshire Traction coach now in use on Megabus services to London.
Richard Sharman writes "I did two trips to Oxford from Stratford last Sunday. I had 402 for both trips, as pictured.
Some readers may not be aware that the service also operates into Gloucestershire...
Running Card A-(2 trips)
Stratford to Oxford via Moreton in Marsh
Oxford to Stratford via Over Norton.
Running Card D-(2 trips)
Stratford to Oxford via Over Norton
Oxford to Stratford via Moreton in Marsh.."
On the subject of the new Scanias Chris
Maxfield writes "On
another theme after talking to Alan Millar buses editor it appears that the new
Thames Travel Scanias hae the old OmniTown body with the Esteem
front end and not the full new Esteem body.
The text I received from Alan "Incidentally, according to East Lancs, this body isn't the Esteem, but the OmniTown with Esteem front end. The real Esteem should look better proportioned."
Chris Maxfield writes " I visited the depot on Friday last and took a number of pictures." These have been included below.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Chris Maxfield also visited Binders Yard on Friday and I am pleased to include a selection of his pictures.
This ex Isle of Man Leyland PD2 is in for long term restoration
This ex Thames Valley Bristol K6A is almost ready to return to the road.
What does anyone know about this bus?
Recorded as belonging to the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group this National is in fine condition.
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at
The London - Oxford via High Wycombe service of UCOC - 1946
Ed Maun writes "Further to my previous e-mail and issue 181 on the subject of what UCOC used on the Oxford to London service. I have attached a cutting from the Commercial Motor dated March 1st 1946 showing the Burlingham bodied Leyland Tiger that restarted the service post-war. Eastern Counties OC had purchased Varsity Express in 1933 and transferred the Oxford to London service to UCOC in 1934 together with 6 coaches. These were believed to all be AEC Regals new in 1933, at least one of the batch being rebodied with a Burlingham body in 1939 – this was AEC Regal VE 3031."
The picture shows one a batch of four Leyland TS8 s with Burlingham coach bodies delivered in 1938 and which spent most of their lives on the Oxford-London run. The Commercial Motor cutting says "A resumption of the London to Oxford service of The United Counties Omnibus Cop. Ltd., a concern of the Tilling Association Ltd., took place last Monday, 25th February 1946, when a coach left Victoria Coach Station at 9.15 am, its time of arrival being 11.58 am. There are 17 stopping places on the route which passes through Uxbridge and High Wycombe. The single fare for the journey is 5s, 6d. This is a sixteen and two thirds increase upon the pre war charge, but it compares favourably railway fare of 9s, 10d. for the same trip. Five coaches are run each way on the route every day, one extra vehicle being available on Saturdays."
I must recommend the Ian Allan Glory Days publication covering United Counties. This costs £16.99 and has some excellent pictures of the buses of that era.
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October – Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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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