Issue 87
(original Oxford Bus Page included to nr 303)
Sunday 18th July 2004
next update week ending 30th July 2004

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 & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on
malcolmhc@aol.com

The weather has certainly been less than conducive to photography in the past week and Friday last was no exception. Next week Farnborough 2004 is upon us and the Air Show will doubtless grab some headlines. In the past two shows I have taken an Oxford bus Volvo 601 to help out with the Park & Ride service run by London General at the site. This year there is change and I will once again have Olympian NV185 as my steed. This time however I will operate a return service from Heathrow to Farnborough each day and during the day sell tickets on the London and Heathrow services from a sales point at Farnborough. This promises to be an interesting week and one can only hope the weather is a little kinder than in the past month. Remember Wimbledon and the many downpours which affected play on a number of days. Well, I am looking forward to my week though perhaps not so much to the traffic especially on the M25 around Heathrow.

Gavin Francis kindly sent me a scan of an extract from the latest issue of the London Bus Magazine which notes that during Wimbledon as an item of interest an Oxford Bus driver operated London General NV185 on a Heathrow service for two weeks with the bus being parked at Heathrow overnight !!

The Oxford Times reports of further trials with the new Skyliner Tube coaches. According to the report some damage occurred to the surface of Gloucester Green during reversing manoeuvres requiring attention to the tarmac. This seems to have prompted the Council to review the whole matter but no details of that review have as yet been made public. Some minor resurfacing apparently took place after the trial where the surface has been affected by coaches of both the Tube and Oxford Bus express vehicles.

Crew training continues on the new Skyliner coaches and it seems that still only five are at Oxford with the remainder held at the dealers in Yorkshire.

Talking of Gloucester Green Kevin Stevens sent the photo below and the following comments which highlights the problems of people ignoring clear signs about entry to Gloucester Green. Kevin writes "This clown and his trailer caused complete chaos on Bays 12, 13 and 14 for nearly an hour after he parked in the position he did and went off shopping.

To get off bay 14 I had to wait for the Swindon bus to shuffle his way out and then the Bristol coach to do likewise giving me 3 bays in which to turn. I was stuck on Bay 14 for over 20 minutes. The only comfort is that he got himself a 40 ticket for my troubles after I whistled up a security type officer."

Rob Williams writes about problems in the city on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th July saying "Chaos in the city last night (13/7/04) and this morning following the rephasing of the traffic lights at the end of High Street. I don't know if the situation was sorted during the day (but sincerely hope it was) - I didn't have chance to go back and have another look. 

This morning traffic was queued all the way up into Headington, along Cowley Road and along Iffley Road. Very little was incoming from those directions at all, meaning very few departures leaving the city, and large crowds on those buses that did make it through. Departures for Blackbird Leys by both companies were particularly erratic, with the road works on Cowley Road adding to the pressure. 

Of course, Abingdon Road also has its road works causing delays, so the Banbury, Botley and Woodstock Roads were the only roads not too badly affected. Oxford Bus Co. services along Banbury Road and Botley Road do of course run cross city though, meaning service disruption was virtually city wide, thanks it seems to one set of lights!" (Another source suggested it was the failure of Long Wall traffic lights which caused the main problem on Tuesday Ed.)

The Oxford times also reports that both major local Oxford companies report healthy recruitment of drivers and a turn around from the driver shortages of some years ago. This is put down to the higher level of wages at Oxford and an ongoing strong recruitment and training programme by both Oxford Bus and Stagecoach. One must also comment on the smart turnout by crews of both companies mentioned.

The British F1 Grand Prix was held at Silverstone last weekend and under the Stagecoach heading I am pleased to list the buses used by Stagecoach to handle the very large crowds attending the event and using Park & Ride services from a number of locations. Thanks go to John Hammond of Stagecoach for this information.


Some of the massive fleet of Stagecoach double decks at Silverstone.
- photo courtesy
Steve Loveridge of Stagecoach East.

As ever I am grateful to all those who have contributed to this week's page. Now on to the reports for our area.

Malcolm Crowe, 18th July 2004

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies 18th July 2004

Abingdon Taxis 

Steve Annells writes to note "Hitherto unreported, I think - I noted Abingdon Taxis using all-white W992JNF on service 95 from Didcot this (Saturday) afternoon.  This is the replacement for the Moretons and Astons Shuttle 141 service.  W992JNF is a Mercedes Vario/Plaxton Beaver 2 with rear chairlift."


Olympian 5159 photographed on an early morning 280 service at Oxford Rail Station terminus.
Picture by Steve Warwick

Gavin Francis writes "I went into Wycombe on Tuesday morning to buy the latest copy on Bus and Coach Preservation. Incidently there is an article on the preservation of Oxford Regent 166 in there. I think Arriva must have had a bad hair day in the vehicle allocation office.

1). 3854 branded for route 328 on the 326.
2). 3126 branded for route 74  on the 317.
3). Similar plain buses 3110 and 3115 were on the 74.
4). Mercedes 2198 on route 33.
5). Red MPD 3482 on route 300. It showed Uxbridge as the destination but no route number, not even a label. Perhaps they were trying to get it to Uxbridge to change it on to the U9. There was also another red MPD in the depot which means there must have been a turquoise bus on route U9 in Uxbridge.

Also 5108 was on route 307 and Lynx 3345 was also on route 317.  And these were just the ones I saw. !!

I have attached a picture of 3854 as I think this is the most unusual one. I do have photos of most of the others.

The general condition of the Arriva buses in Wycombe appears to be getting worse and worse. The Northern Counties Olympians new to London Country North West in 1989 have lots of roof and body damage. The ex-London Olympians are already tatty which is hardly surprising aftrer 20 odd years in London. The Lynx's and even the Scanias are battle scarred. Apart from the newer Darts it really is a sad line-up. When I see Arriva vehicles coming from Aylesbury they always look in good condition. What makes it even worse is that Carousel operate older vehicles in the main and these always look very clean and tidy which just goes to show it can be done.


Another Gavin Francis picture, this time of an Arriva Lynx 3345 on the 15th July 2004
on the 339 service at Lane End which operates alongside Carousel on the same route.

Gavin also notes that "Whilst working on Monday and Tuesday this week I noticed the Lakes Scania from Aylesbury which you pictured in the last report was working the 280 on both days." (Gavin refers to work in Oxford Ed.)

Steve Warwick reports

Thu 15th July 
Scania 3164 has been working the 280s today due to shortage of double deckers and Carlyle bodied Dennis Dart 3093 (H925 LOX) has been scrapped.

Ed Maun writes "I was in Aylesbury for a while today (Fri 16/7) not much to report but observed the following:-the 280 is still suffering from the absence of the normal dedicated double deckers.   Scania single decker 3165 was doing a turn today (16/7).    Saw one of the refurbished deckers which was still devoid of route branding vinyls"

Andy Churchill writes saying "news from ARRIVA THE SHIRES - the long-winded saga of the refurbishment programme of the six Olympians on the 280 route (5156-5161) drags on ,5161 finally returned from Pickering's of Leicestershire on 17/06/04 and 5159 on the 19th,with 5160 due back imminently. By the 19th June 5156 and 5157 had gone from Aylesbury and 5158 followed on 24th the latter vehicle having worked the last route 280 journey in the 'old style' livery on the 23rd (23.00 Oxford-Aylesbury).

Those that have so far returned are in the new Arriva 'express' colours of all-over blue, a dark blue skirt and cream 'cow horns' and not the full cream front. These are similar to buses in Kent on the 700/701 routes between the Medway towns and Bluewater.  Route branding vinyls for route 280 will be applied at Aylesbury and of course while this work is done much oddities will continue on the 280.

Transfers in June of note are...3069,3070 WB/WBw, 3172 HH/AY, 5108 WB/AY."

Steve Warwick writes with some late news about a bus I saw in NBS this morning saying "Volvo B10M/Plaxton Derwent 3080 has gone to HW was seen on a 310 Downley on Saturday with a suitably impressed driver!"

Carousel Bus, High Wycombe

Carousel started operating the Sunday 74 today from High Wycombe to Slough. The bus used was a Metrobus M1336.

The company was also involved in providing a Park & Ride service at Fairford, Gloucestershire.


Gavin Francis sent this picture of LX558 operating on the 339 to Lane End, now somewhat in competition with Arriva.
The picture was taken on 15th July 2004

Andy Churchill writes to bring an update on the most recent events. He says "news is that yet another four ex-London United Metrobuses have arrived (via Ensignbus) and are MCW Metrobus/H43/28D M 1345/1351/1356/1393 (C345,351,356,393 BUV) now making a total of 20, and M598 after being in store for a long while, has been converted to H43/28F layout and has returned to service.

The fleet which now exceeds 30 vehicles, is now outgrowing it's Desborough Road depot, which has resulted in a number of vehicles being parked up at a former petrol filling station in Bridge Street, on loan since the 12/05/04 and well into June is a Leyland Tiger/Plaxton Paramount coach (B 122 UUD) an ex-Oxford Bus Company vehicle and has seen regular use on school contract duties, also on loan for a few days during June was a Dennis Dart/Caetano Nimbus (HX53ODH).

Following the reductions by Arriva on route 339 (High Wycombe-Lane End) to hourly Mon-Sat. Carousel Buses commenced a part replacement, hourly but on Mon-Fri only their service operates on the alternate half-hour to Arriva from approx 09.00-18.00 via the same routing through Cressex and Booker and Carousel's existing sdo route 655 between Cadmore End via Lane End and Booker to Wycombe schools continues as before but is renumbered 339 and also runs on nsd only between Lane End and High Wycombe. Not only that, Sunday services from High Wycombe to Slough that had been run by Arriva, the 74 and 372 are now run by Carousel under the recent re-tendering."

     

   

The London X90 is now wholly operated by "oxford espress " branded coaches. Nr 12, the last coach in the old livery was finally withdrawn at the end of June.


Steve Annells sent this picture of Volvo 615 operating the new Sunday 35B service through
Sutton Courtney Triangle on its way to Oxford from Didcot. This service replaces Stagecoach's 32B


Sister single door Volvo 610, unusual for the 5 which generally has dual door buses,
is seen heading down Cowley Road towards the city.


I had not noticed before that the new super rears on the Park & Ride Tridents
have covered over the rear destination blind which must be inconvenient for intending
passengers where the 300 and 400 operate along the same roads.

Ross writes "This weeks sightings by me - the bus monkey and Iain Pinell? will almost certainly have others." 

Mon

629, 631, 635, 641, 642 - 5
806 - 5A
831 - 15
510, 620 - 13
803 - X13 

Tue

655 - 13
831 - 15  (an X3/X13 branded bus)
612, 629 - 5
605 - 5A
 

Would guess that the B10Bs on the 13 are doing the extra peak journeys during the Abingdon Rd road works.

Wed

831 - 15

Then, as always Bus Monkey reports 

Thu 8th
-----------
519 on 4A
630 on 5B
631 on 5

Fri 9th
---------
637 on 5B
641 on 5A

Mon 12th
-------------
635 on 15
640 on 5

Tue 13th
-------------
637 on 5A
805 on X3

Thu 15th
-------------
631 on 5
805 on 13C

Fri 16th
-----------
631 and 655 on 5
803 on 4A  (unusual for a weekday)

A copy of the latest fleet list can be found on the official company web site. 


One of the DAF/Van Hool coaches, D308, sets down at Queens Lane on a 757 service from Stansted to Oxford.


Another rear end shot of a coach in VCs operated by an Uxbridge company.
The super rear follows Oxford practice.


A new National Express coach, this time a YTC vehicle with an 04 registration.


Freshly repainted and converted to single door Olympian 16419 operates at 20 service out of Gloucester green last Friday.
Don't be fooled by the 100 route number, it was on a 20 - honest!

Ross notes "This weeks sightings by me 

Wed

33763 - X4

Sat

UID 1 branded MAN on the 7 or 7C.

John Hammond you may remember wrote from Stagecoach saying "Stagecoach will again be operating the Park & Ride shuttle service to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday 11/7/04.  I am delighted that I have now received full details of the near 250 buses which were used on this event. I realise that it outside our normal area but Oxford based buses were also used.

John went on to say "It was organised by Stagecoach East and has run for the past two years already. Support ws provided by the depots of Stagecoach Oxfordshire & Warwickshire to assist the buses supplied by Cambridge, Peterborough, Bedford, Biggleswade & Huntingdon O/S & Northampton depot.

Double Deckers, and some low floor Darts supported the operation of services from Hinton in the Hedges Airfield, Sixfields Rugby Stadium (Northampton) and Towcester Racecourse.

Depots helping out were Oxford, Witney, Rugby & Leamington who lent buses and drivers.

John Hammond adds "I drove 16514 fresh from single door conversion, and repaint at Bedford depot. It is to be allocated to Leamington, but had not had its Hanover destination reprogrammed from Oxford spec"

I am delighted that not only do we have pictures provided by Steve Loveridge of Stagecoach East but also a list of the buses involved, again provided by Steve Loveridge.

   
Three general views of buses involved by Steve Loveridge of Stagecoach East.

STAGECOACH BUSES OPERATING THE SERVICES OUTLINED ABOVE. Each bus made one trip into Silverstone between 0530 and 1100hrs and then a return trip between 1500 and 1930hrs. It seems that this is the biggest single operation by Stagecoach anywhere in the British Isles in one day but possibly by any company in the U.K. I have tried to add the depot codes for each bus, this being taken from the excellent British Bus Publishing fleet list for 2004. where I am not sure or a bus is not listed in the BBF publication I have used a ? mark in the listing.

SIXFIELDS BUSES 

 

HINTON AIRFIELD 

 

 

TOWCESTER

16008

 CB

 

14000

 BD

 

 

14020

KG

16009

 CB

 

14030

 BD

 

 

14021

KG

16010

 CB

 

14032

 BD

 

 

14025

KG

16011

 CB

 

14034

 BD

 

 

14026

KG

16012

 CB

 

14035

 BD

 

 

14027

KG

16013

 CB

 

14036

 BD

 

 

14029

KG

16014

 CB

 

14037

 BD

 

 

14033

KG

16015

 CB

 

14038

 BD

 

 

14043

KG

16018

 CB

 

14039

 BD

 

 

14046

KG

16019

 CB

 

14041

 BD

 

 

14048

NN

16020

 CB

 

14042

 BD

 

 

14054

KG

16022

 CB

 

14369

 LE

 

 

14057

KG

16023

 CB

 

14371

 RU

 

 

14058

KG

16024

 CB

 

14373

 LE

 

 

14059

KG

16025

 CB

 

14374

 LE

 

 

14060

KG

16026

 CB

 

14375

 LE

 

 

14062

BD

16049

 PE

 

14377

 LE

 

 

14063

BD

16070

 PE

 

14381

 RU

 

 

14067

KG

16082

 PE

 

14382

 NU

 

 

14068

KG

16083

 PE

 

14386

 NU

 

 

14069

KG

16086

 PE

 

14387

 RU

 

 

14208

?

16089

 PE

 

14493

 CB?

 

 

14472

BD

16091

 PE

 

14495

 CB?

 

 

14474

?

16095

 PE

 

14510

 BD

 

 

14477

BD

16097

 PE

 

14511

 BD

 

 

14479

BD

16106

 PE

 

14512

 BD

 

 

14482

BD

16109

 PE

 

14515

 LE

 

 

14483

BD

16113

 PE

 

14516

 LE

 

 

14484

BD

16130

PE

 

14517

 LE

 

 

14493

BD

16162

 PE

 

14708

 BD

 

 

14494

BD

16162

 PE

 

14710

 BD

 

 

15401

?

16167

 PE

 

14930

 LE

 

 

15402

?

16174

 PE

 

14931

 RU

 

 

15403

?

16534

 CB

 

14932

 RU

 

 

15404

?

16541

 CB

 

14933

 LE

 

 

15405

?

16542

 CB

 

14935

 LE

 

 

16004

NN

16544

 CB

 

14937

 LE

 

 

16056

PE

16545

 CB

 

14942

 RU

 

 

16125

PE

16581

 PE

 

14944

 RU

 

 

16139

PE

16587

 PE

 

16005

 NN

 

 

16151

?

16588

 PE

 

16006

 NN

 

 

16175

PE

16590

 PE

 

16007

 NN

 

 

16225

NN

16591

 PE

 

16064

 ?

 

 

16228

NN

16593

 PE

 

16072

 LE

 

 

16453

CH

17008

 CB

 

16076

 LE

 

 

16457

CH

17010

 CB

 

16078

 LE

 

 

16458

CH

17036

 CB

 

16079

 LE

 

 

16459

CH

17037

 CB

 

16124

 OX

 

 

16582

PE

17038

 CB

 

16140

 KG

 

 

16583

PE

17050

 CB

 

16144

 KG

 

 

16682

NN

17051

 CB

 

16209

 KG

 

 

16683

NN

17052

 CB

 

16210

 KG

 

 

16693

NN

17053

 CB

 

16211

 KG

 

 

18101

?

17054

 CB

 

16212

KG

 

 

18102

?

17055

 CB

 

16214

 BD

 

 

18103

?

17056

 CB

 

16215

 KG

 

 

18104

?

17058

 CB

 

16222

 NN

 

 

18105

?

17059

 CB

 

16223

 NN

 

 

18106

?

17076

 CB

 

16224

 NN

 

 

18107

?

17078

 CB

 

16226

 NN

 

 

18108

?

17079

 CB

 

16227

 NN

 

 

18109

?

17691

 CB

 

16229

 NN

 

 

18110

?

17692

 CB

 

16230

 NN

 

 

18111

?

17694

 CB

 

16231

 NN

 

 

18125

?

17695

 CB

 

16232

 NN

 

 

18126

?

17696

 CB

 

16438

 LE

 

 

19953

CB

17697

 CB

 

16439

 LE

 

 

 

 

18057

CB

 

16440

 LE

 

 

 

 

18058

 CB

 

16514

OX?

 

 

 

 

18059

 CB

 

16522

 OX

 

 

 

 

18060

 CB

 

16523

 OX

 

 

 

 

34539

 ?

 

16524

 OX

 

 

 

 

34540

 ?

 

16537

 BD

 

 

 

 

34546

 ?

 

16538

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16539

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16555

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16563

 ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16584

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16585

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16586

 BD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16598

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16599

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16600

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16614

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16616

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16617

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16618

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16619

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16620

 LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16671

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16673

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16676

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16681

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16684

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16685

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16688

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16689

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16690

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16691

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16692

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16694

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16696

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16697

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16698

 NN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18051

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18052

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18053

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18054

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18055

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18056

 OX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34440

BD

 

 

 

 

The two most interesting buses were probably "Nessy" F110NES and 19953 which is a Bristol FLF6G, JAH553D.

Depot codes are Bedford (BD), Cambridge (CB), Kettering (KG), Northampton (NN), Peterborough (PE), Leamington (LE) Rugby (RU) and Oxford (OX)

Whichever way you look at it, this was a massive achievement in organisation and manpower requirements and Stagecoach must be congratulated and all those staff who participated. Indeed I make it just short of 250 buses all told and only 4 of those were single decks. Finally normal Sunday services had to be run which only adds to the achievement.

 

Ralph Adams sent some interersting news on the new Tubes saying "I was given the following fleet numbers for the new Tubes yesterday.

50101    KP04GJE
50102    KP04GJF
50103    KP04GJJ
50104    KP04GJK
50105    KP04GJU
50106    KP04GJV
50107   
KP04GJX

Ralph continues ".......No sign of the T..UBE registrations being reused yet."

Now i wonder if Ralph has all the chassis numbers and is 50103 build number 3 because that's the one I saw in Stuttgart?

John Hammond kindly has sent an update on the operation of the Oxford Megabus service. He says "The Oxford - London Megabus service reduction has reduced the operation down to just one bus working a day from Oxford, with the rest of the bus workings being operated by Stagecoach in London's depot at Leyton. 

This has reduced the Oxford staff requirement down to two weekly roster lines, and just one shift a day which does two trips to London and back per day. 

The Oxford operated journeys are the 9am (9.10 Sat/Sun) and 15.00 (15.15 Sat Sun) from Oxford and the 11am & 17.45pm from London.

Now I wonder which buses are now allocated to Oxford and which buses Leyton use on the Oxford service? Ed.

Another item of interest is one wonders why the 0600 departure has been withdrawn since this seemed popular with commuters?

Thames Travel, Wallingford.


An interesting wayside connection is that by the Taxibus and the 103 service at Wheatley.
Here Solo 49 meets up with TB02 on Saturday 17th as both buses approach the changeover point on the old A40.

Ralph Adams has sent some most interesting notes on Thames Travel operations following time in  Oxford. Ralph says "On Monday, I spent most of the day watching activities .

One of the TT drivers is an enthusiast who told me the company owns the following vehicles.
208 Olympian - used on school service plus one evening trip. Thought it would arrive in Oxford at 1800 but did not, and has not all week. I think it more likely it did a similar time to Reading. 501 Dart. This is dedicated to X42.

847 Vario. The only 7.8 metre Vario - used on Service 17 every day.

The X42 was observed every 2 hours but the loadings were not specifically noted. I have not seen queues waiting for it. The fares are cheap but at a reduced frequency from the 107.

Weavaway


Weavaway's S322AJW operates one of the last 32B departures on the evening of Saturday 3 July
through Sutton Courtenay Triangle, heading for Abingdon. Photo by Steve Annells.

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


A Volvo N716CYG, owned by Chauffeur Bus waits for passengers in George Street last Friday.
The livery is interesting in that alternate corners are painted black.

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

If you are a model fanatic check out this site
Mention the Oxford Chiltern bus Page and they will give you a further 5% discount.

http://www.sjmodels.co.uk

Place your orders to sales@sjmodels.co.uk or on the text orderline on 07941 095511, quoting the model they require and the offer code of "OXFORD BUS".

Also 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