Monday 18th July 2005
next update week ending 29th July 2005
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Well, this week has yet again produced a bumper post bag and lots of pictures which I know many of you enjoy more than text.
Chiltern Railways are in the news again as is speed in Oxford City. I made an excursion today to Bournemouth calling at Salisbury and Blandford en route, where I caught a few ex Oxford Bus vehicles on camera.
The M40 is yet again in the news with more accidents since I published last week's page. I was also delighted to hear from a Swanbrook driver about current fleet developments, so altogether we have yet another news and picture packed page this week, albeit one day late.
Wednesday 14th July
In reaction to a factory fire at Wembley, no trains are running between West Ruislip and London. A rail shuttle is running between Denham and West Ruislip. In addition to the bus service between Amersham and High Wycombe, we are setting up bus-links between Amersham and Beaconsfield, Rickmansworth and Gerrards Cross. Passengers from London can either travel on the Metropolitan Line and use connecting bus services or travel on LUL Central Line to West Ruislip and connect with a rail shuttle running between Denham and West Ruislip.
So Amersham had a influx of even more Buses ! Carousel sub chartering extra capacity with a Weavaway Volvo and Blue Triangle Metro.............
Dennis Troughton reported that an unusual visitor had run on the rail replacement services and a picture is shown below.
Dennis wrote "...somebody else probably spotted this today - but Blue Triangle sent out an RCL on the High Wycombe replacement bus services. This was seen shortly before working the 1200 to Amersham. I later (about 1530) overtook it on the M40 whilst heading towards London (presumably it was en route home)."
Hillingdon by Suzy ScottSuzy Scott wrote following my comments in the last issue about the coach stops at Hillingdon saying "...re Hillingdon... I was up there three weeks ago. The old Tube & Espress signs were in the "old" spot on route to Oxford, but the stop at Hillingdon Station was not there. Buses were parking in either of the two U2 stops. (one for Uxbridge, one for Hillingdon Hospital). The pictures I have taken there start from here http://scotbus.fotopic.net/p16834897.html On the same trip, "Part 1" has some Victoria shots of X90's and Tubes.
Photographing those LED destination screens by Chris Lowe.
Chris Lowe writes " .. I am just writing with a little tip for you regarding the LED destinations, which although not always it sometimes does work for me.
As you probably know the LED's actually flash to show the destination, which although is too fast for the human eye a camera can usually pick it up.
If you are using a digital camera try using the LCD screen on the back of the camera and if the vehicle is stationary try holding your finger over the button which sets the camera (e.g. focus) and hold it there for a few seconds and sometimes you will see the display actually flashing and then it sometimes seems to slow down and you can sometimes catch which display it is showing that way.
However if the vehicle is a moving shot this can be more difficult to obtain, although in some quarters people have said that they always come out blank. This isn't the case as it seems to be pot luck sometimes when you just point and shoot. My recent picture of Trident 18181 on this weeks page proves this as this was just taken on the spur of the moment and has come out perfectly.
Hope this helps?"
Luton-Dunstable report Mike Penn
Here are two photos taken at Whipsnade last Sunday.
Red Rose Dennis Dart RR 02 BUS is seen on the Sunday only Chiltern Rambler service 327 for which it wears this special livery.
When delivered in 2002 this bus was in Jubilee livery.
Centrebus W568XRO, a former Sovereign Dart, is seen on the Sunday extension of the 343 service from Dunstable to Whipsnade Zoo.
The main weekday 343 service from St Albans to Dunstable was withdrawn by Arriva a couple of months ago.
that I cannot report on the happenings at Luton on Tuesday as I was in Edinburgh
at the time! I returned to Luton Airport at about 9.45pm to find that there
were no trains running and it was not until I got home and turned on the
television that I found out what was going on. I assume that all the buses that
normally call at the railway station or the bus station were diverted but I
don't have any details.
However here are two photos from Edinburgh that you might be interested in, both former Oxford Tube vehicles. T42BBW is now with Bluebird Buses in Megabus livery and is seen here on route to Inverness while T43BBW is now with Stagecoach Glasgow in Motorvator livery.
Grant Palmer W6JPT is the only Optare Solo seen in Luton on a regular basis and normally works the infrequent service 44 to Stevenage by a rather roundabout route.
LQT P501VRO is a Dennis Dart acquired from Sovereign by Centrebus at the beginning of last year and later passed on to LQT. It is seen on the infrequent service 88 to Hitchin, also by a roundabout route.
Here are two photos of Lutonian Marshall bodied Iveco 59-12s, a type once numerous in the fleet but whose numbers are now steadily decreasing. Both were taken on Thursday.
N124GNM is one of those bought new by Lutonian before its acquisition by Arriva in 1998
and returned to the fleet when it was sold off again in September 2000. It still wears the original Lutonian livery.
R115GNV was new to MK Metro and wears the later Lutonian livery. It is running on service 6 which is itself under a sentence of death.
It was due to be withdrawn some months ago but Bedfordshire County Council stepped in with financial support
although only a small section of the route runs outside the Luton Borough boundary.
Universitybus R648VMJ is a Wright bodied Dart in the latest livery and carrying route branding for the 636 service from Hatfield to Leagrave which runs only three times a day on Mondays to Fridays outside University term times.
Three Star N56 FLU is a Mercedes 609D which runs on the Luton "Access" service linking various sheltered housing areas with local shops and other amenities. The proprietor of Three Star is the son of the founder of Lutonian Buses.
Many thanks to Mike for that most comprehensive report and the excellent pictures.
Breakdown in Oxford's High Street by Richard Griffin.
When I was coming back into Oxford from London on Saturday I was warned of a broken down coach in the very centre of High Street just before Carfax. When I could see what had happened I must say how sorry I felt for the driver as it really was in an awkward position. I would have liked to take a picture or two but this was not possible so I was delighted when roving reporter Richard Griffin provided the goodies in time for this week's page.
Speed cameras to be used by Oxford Bus Company.
Speed cameras will monitor bus drivers employed by the Oxford Bus Company, so says the headline in last Friday's Oxford Times.
The Oxford Bus Company is funding its own speed cameras to monitor its fleet of 160 buses and coaches in certain areas of the city centre. There is a speed limit of 20mph in St Aldates and the High Street. Nigel Eggleton has stated that the company has stressed to its drivers the need to drive safely in these and an area of Blackbird Leys where the cameras will also be used. He also said that drivers supported this and also the company said it would help to prove that its drivers did drive within the lower speed limit.
It will be most interesting to see how this initiative develops. I wonder if any other bus company has done this or something similar?
More accidents on the M40.
Following last week's report of accidents closing the M40, further problems affected the M40 on Thursday when a small horse box towed by a car overturned on the northbound section between Lewknor and junc. 7. There were long queues whilst the accident was cleared and yet again journey times from London were extended by up to one or more hours.
Locals in Stokenchurch have noticed increased activity by the police helicopter in the last few days.
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. M6y apologies for the delay in publishing this week's page but I hope it will have been worth waiting for.
Malcolm Crowe - Monday 18th July 2005
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News of the local companies – 18th July 2005
Last week we reported that the car park adjacent to Newlands Bus Station was being used as a bus parking area whilst work went ahead on the entrance to the bus station.
Gavin Francis has yet again been busy with his camera and I reproduced some the results below.
Gavin Francis took this picture of Vario 2183 at Hemel Hempstead last week.
Another picture taken is of Scania 3162 on a Park & Ride service in Hemel.
Gavin Francis also took some pictures in Watford and here Garston based Dart 3206 is on 350 working.
Olympian 5148 is Hemel based but is seen here in Watford through the lens of Gavin Francis.
Gavin Francis was back in Hemel to take this picture of Dart 3295 on a 3 route working.
A local in Stokenchurch tells the tale of using the 340 last week from High Wycombe to our village. The driver said he had no idea of the route and the lady had to help him find his way to Stokenchurch. When she left him he was directed to Radnage but she felt very bad as she had forgotten to tell him he should also return to Wycombe via Stokenchurch and she still does not know if he did this. She had got of in Stokenchurch and hoped he found his way.
Whilst I was taking the pictures in Newlands multi-story car park I was also able to catch a few Carousel buses.
Another picture of 301, this time on route 4 last Sunday afternoon. No buses were able to go into the bus station at the time.
Citaro MB51 was working the 74 to Slough when this picture was taken on Sunday.
The closed approach to the bus station can be seen in right hand of this picture.
Following the information from Nigel Eggleton, the Commercial Director, received last week, I thought a trip to Wilts and Dorset territory was called for. Andy Gilmour wrote to me saying :-
602 is supposedly at Hampshire Body and paint receiving Damory livery - may have made it to Blandford by now.
657/8 (L52/3 UNS) will be at work somewhere on the Damory network - unlikely to appear in Bournemouth - QE school at Wimborne or Blandford Sunrise depots are best bets.
3233-5 (R-NUD coaches) most likely in Salisbury bus station - although the 1330 X3 from Bournemouth Triangle is a possibility. Their old route - the X33 - now requires just 1 Solo.
When I arrived in Salisbury I passed the depot on my way into the city centre and promised myself to return before leaving the city. I enjoyed a pleasant hour in the market square and a short visit to the bus station. I was delighted to catch 3235 (R813NUD) parked up and the picture is shown below. As you can, it and its brothers, have lost their X33 branding and they are now used on various duties.
I was impressed by the new buses operating the park and ride services and rather liked the new livery which is replacing that seen above. If readers are interested I may provide a special page for my visit to this area.
I then did return to the depot and was kindly allowed to take some pictures and I include a rear picture of 3233 which was in the depot at the time.
I was directed by the ever helpful staff to the Damory facilities in Blandford and was delighted to find the ex OBC 602 had just arrived from the Hampshire works and I was able to get some pictures of this bus.
When photographed 602 still retained its Oxford blinds which made for an unusual shot.
Damory vinyls were to be applied later today.
Sadly I did not have time to wait for one of the Volvo B10Bs ex 657 and 658 to appear but I will be making another trip soon as I liked the area and places very much.
Whilst not Oxford I will include a picture of one the latest double decks to arrive. This was pictured in Bournemouth on the 121 service and looked rather splendid. My excuse is that it is a fellow Go-Ahead company bus.
Chris Duncombe sent a number of pictures this week and one was of Volvo 602 prior to its departure from Oxford.
Another Dunscombe special is of Scania coach 4 leaving Gloucester Green on an X90 London working.
The driver on the left is seen in a ghostly reflection on the side of the coach !!
Dave Rogers writes "...these two were at the Burton Bus Rally on 3rd July, according to the programme are owned by the same person in Halifax, I haven't seen the Oxford one before."
Chris Jenkinson writes "....Bristol VRT (HUD479S) is currently on loan to Nu-Venture Coaches of Aylesford, Kent from Farleigh Coaches. It has been here since early July and has been operating in the Maidstone area.
Attached is a photo of it which you may use on the bus page if you want. The photo was taken last weekend at our Aylesford depot."
Chris goes on to ask "...do you have any pictures of it in "Oxford" colours?"
Chris Duncombe sent these two pictures of preserved AEC Regent 956.
Dave Rogers wrote on another subject saying "I really was impressed with this weeks page, especially covering last Thursday. (thanks Ed.)
You may be aware that a model is to be produced of the OBC Park & ride Citaro. I have had the o.k. to release the model Citaro picture to you - this will be exclusive to your web page.. I will have the models on display in my bus at the Alton bus rally on Sunday, together with the Stagecoach Devon Trident.
Chris Duncombe took this picture of T206AUA on a 757 working at Gloucester Green
Gavin Francis caught this rather shabby ex Cambridge Coach Volvo on a 797 working in Hemel last week.
Another Gain Francis picture, this time of D25 on a 757 working in Hemel last week.
"Oxford" Trident in Manchester
18314 on a Manchester working last week. Photo by Dave Rogers.
M A N 22947 pictured in high Street on a 1 working by Chris Dunscombe.
Chris Duncombe also took this picture of 52943 on the X5 last week.
One to wet the appetite and your answers.
Following this picture on last week's page I received a number of corrections to the origin of the Atlantean which was of course PORTSMOUTH. I really should have known better.
From Ralph Adams
This was from Portsmouth (fleet number 287) in 03/96 and was used in different seasons on the route 200 City - Woodstock (i.e. Blenheim Palace service) and enabled the service to be one man operated. It was kept at Witney for operational purposes as it was too high to go into the garage at Horspath Road.
Both buses came into the fleet from the Red Admiral / Blue Admiral days, which of course goes back to when the monopolies commission made Stagecoach divest itself of part of the Portsmouth operation as it already owned Southdown.
287 was also used at times of St Giles fair on local services, a time when high capacity vehicles were needed to move the fair goers, plus if a rostered minibus was not available.
It was then transferred to Circle Line at Gloucester.
From Neil Gow
The "ex Plymouth" Atlantean was actually ex Portsmouth and passed into Transit Holdings ownership when they acquired the Red Admiral - Blue Admiral operations in the Portsmouth/Southampton area. Several big buses passed through Thames Transit for onward sale as they were replaced by minibuses on the South Coast, and a few sneaked into service. I never saw the Atlantean, but did see a former Hampshire Bus Leyland National-2 on Wantage road and got a picture of a one-time Southdown Tiger/Duple Laser on Bicester Road.
Some series 2 Bristol VRs also came from Devon General around that time, including one that had been sold to DG by City of Oxford South Midland division - rather appropriate really although it was on city service 1 when I photographed it.
From Newman Morgan
Long time no
write, but I hope you are keeping well and I always look forward to reading the
OCBP each week.
Last night, Tuesday 12th July, had to drive up to Manchester and noted on the M40 heading south near J11 Banbury were T37BBW and T57BBW. Both vehicles are in the fleet of Stagecoach Western Buses and are liveried in Stagecoach corporate livery with branding for Route X77 Ayr Prestwick Glasgow. The two coaches were travelling in convoy, wondering if they were heading to Oxford or somewhere else.
(Still no one has been able to say why these two coaches were so far south? Ed.)
picture by Chris Duncombe.
Paul McNamara writes ".....I don't want to appear picky, but the megabus list that you posted on the oxford bus page this week is a direct and exact copy of my fleet list that I make directly available on the megabus yahoo group.
Hopefully, the mention of this was an oversight by Chris, but I would appreciate it if you could clarify this on your next weekly posting."
What can I say, it was indeed an oversight for which I most sincerely apologise. For those interested in megabus and may not know, Paul runs a Yahoo group which is well worth joining. See link above.
from Scott Howard
Hi, was searching for pics of the 53 service coaches when I came across this site....
Just some info I thought you might find useful (fleet 'numbers' in brackets)....
T35 CNN (T35) - Usually allocated to 53 service, however reliability is not what you would expect for a coach of it's age.
UJI 1761 (1761) - Refurbished and re-panelled around 7 months ago, this is the usual backup to T35. Drives well but sluggish up hills.
UJI 1762 (1762) - Returned around 6 weeks ago from Blackpool having had the same treatment as 1761. Usually kept for private hire but I have taken it to Oxford a few times when T35 has broken down and 1761 is not available.
UJI 1763 (1763) - Awaiting refurbishment. Should be sent off to Blackpool at the end of the year, for similar treatment to 1761/2. Sometimes seen on Oxfords, but usually kept at the depot for light duties. Rust is getting the better of the minor internal framework now.
Two other coaches owned by Swanbrook are:
B120UUD (120) - Leyland Tiger/Paramount I express door 3500 body. Local services only, used frequently on the Gloucester - Cheltenham part of the 53 service (ex. Gloucester 10.30).
C142SPB (142) - Leyland Tiger/Berkhof Everest body. Local services only, as with 120 used on the 53 from Gloucester. Also used for private hire. My favourite coach in the fleet - not especially fast, but the semi-box shifts smoothly and it is never short of power. My manager thinks I'm mad.
Thanks... Scott Howard (Swanbrook Driver)
Thamesdown - Swindon
Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor - for PSV Circle writes "Thamesdown have received three loan Optare solo's for use from August 1st. This is to cover pending delivery of the new Scania/Wright single deckers for Feb 06.
Attached are some photo's by Stuart Curwen
I was told by Mr Owen they are for the new service 18 from 1st Aug
Neil Gow writes "I think the Chiltern Queens Volvo B6LEs were leased for contracted services in the Henley area, but were used on the evening/Sunday 10C/10D as well."
A more regular performer on Thames Travel services into Oxford is 313 which originated with Chiltern Queens.
I seem to remember this bus was one of two purchased for the evening 10 route in Oxford.
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