Issue 90
(OBP-305)

Thursday 19th August 2004
next update week ending 27th August 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 please let me know
malcolmhc@aol.com

Well, here we are at last after what seems quite a break. The storm had a lot answer for as we had to have new phones, TVs, DVDs and various replacement computer equipment. It seems that everything with a chip near to the phone lines, which were struck by lightning, was fried and it has taken quite sometime to get things back to normal. However, having read about Boscastle our problems were nothing compared to theirs.

A lot has been going on in the last 18 days since my previous news page. We had the launch of the new Neoplan Tubes and this was covered in a special news page. These exceptionally large coaches have now become a familiar sight on the route to London and from all reports seem very well received by the passengers.

Gloucester Green was closed for two days this week and correspondent Derek Winkfield sent the pictures below as a record of events at that location.

   
Photos by Derek Winkfield of Gloucester Green resurfaced - 18th August 2004


The old surface in Gloucester Green a few weeks ago, when delays on the M40 caused
a lack of coaches for services and resulted in a very empty GG. Picture by Richard Griffin

I must say it looks very smart and one must now wait to see how the surface wears with coaches in general getting heavier. It is interesting to note that a Leyland Royal Tiger with Leyland coach body and 41 seats weighed in at over 8 tons u.w. (in fact 8.3.0) and were thought very heavy for their day. In a quest for lighter weight vehicles to improve fuel consumption the Leyland Tiger Cub 41 seat coach with Burlingham body weighted in 6.4.0. depending upon specification. This compares with some 17800kgs (17.16.0 approx) for the new Neoplans of The Oxford Tube but they do carry 81 passengers and have toilets, reclining seats and air conditioning, something which was not included in the comparisons above. So on a comparative basis our modern coaches are not dissimilar on a seat for seat basis.

During the closure of GG once again services were transferred to Oxpens and Derek Winkfield once again  came up with an interesting picture showing four new Neoplans parked up.


Derek's picture of four Tubes in Oxpens.

There have also been a lot of roadworks in Oxford in the past few weeks with resultant long delays. The traffic lights at Long Wall by Magdalene College were replaced with temporary lights, which sometimes did not work and Cowley road is also full of roadworks where revised traffic flows and parking arrangements are appearing. orts and as such the page is delayed. Indeed it may not be possible to produce a page until next weekend since I will away in Europe until Thursday during which time I will be travelling quite a bit.


I just loved the chair the guy was using to rest between light changes.

Peter Cartwright has written to advise of the upcoming Wycombe Charity Bus Running Day saying that "on Sunday 5 September when a 5 day ticket will give rides on Routemaster operated routes 26a to New Bowerdean and 41 to Ibstone. At least Stokenchurch will get a limited Sunday service that day!


In 2003 RML2407 came from Arriva London to provide journeys on the 363 to Penn

Route 80 to Aylesbury via Hampden, Lacey Green, Princes Risboro' and Longwick is scheduled to have 3 return trips but which vehicles operate it remains to be seen - NOT Routemasters however. 

The  programmes with full timetables for the Amersham Running Day on Sunday 3 October are now printed and are available at 5 from me:

Peter Cartwright
54 Guinions Road
HIGH WYCOMBE  HP13 7NX
Tel: 01494 437750

e-mail:
peter_
cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk


In 2003 Amersham was host to a number of Routemasters some of which are seen above.


A real treat was this RLH, 32, which ran on the 336 during the day.

There is scheduled to be a green RML working on routes 326/326a,362a,455/455a having started from Amersham with a feeder journey on Route 441 to/from Windsor. There are some 92 departures scheduled ex Amersham on a variety of routes at 5 minute intervals - unless there are mechanical problems etc. This date marks to the day the 70th anniversary of the former LPTB renumbering all the services it had taken over from Amersham & District into the 300 series with a few in the 400 series. A wide selection of vehicles is expected and anyone else who wishes to bring a vehicle either for display or to run in service should contact me. All journeys are free of charge but it is recommended that you purchase a timetable booklet/programme to plan your day."

So folks, these are two days not to be missed. Certainly the Sunday Stokenchurch service will be worth sampling as this village is now bus-less on Sundays.

A side issue to the recent storms around here was that a van ran away on Amersham Hill and hit an Arriva bus. Driver must have been very surprised!

Finally one for the album. I was in Vienna earlier this week and parked outside my hotel, though I did not see the team inside, was the Mercedes pictured below which looked very smart indeed. It has a Frankfurt registration.

Stephen Le Bras comments re my last News Page "RM8 appeared at the 1958 Show- I know because I went to the 1962 show
(all the way from Birkenhead where I lived) to see RMF1254.

BU53AYA the Citaro has also visited Reading Buses for their Park and Ride.

Oxford Bus Trident 929 the ex-demo was working in Portsmouth on 15th July in white livery. I wonder if it will still be there for the Autumn term."

Well on to the news of our local companies and may I say how very much I appreciate the recent support from so many of you plus all the photos. One small point to note is that if you could split your reports by operator it would help so very much when collating for this report - Ta!

Malcolm Crowe, Stokenchurch - 19th August 2004

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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News of the local companies 18th August 2004

Abbey Coaches - High Wycombe

Martyn Pearce of Abbey coaches writes on two subjects saying "There was a picture of STK125T an open top Atlantean on your page this week. It is now privately owned by a local bus enthusiast and was extensively used recently advertising UKIP (The UK Independence Party). It travelled as far as the south coast and is based near to Gerrards Cross. It comes to Abbey Coaches in High Wycombe for maintenance and recently an MOT preparation.

Recent additions to Abbey Coaches are J8TCC Jonckheere bodied MAN from Waterside Coaches and NIL9875 Leyland Tiger/Plaxton Paramount 3200 from Magpie Travel High Wycombe. YJB69T has been repainted into the newly adopted bus livery of dark green."


Gavin Francis sent me this shot of a Bucks County Council Solo working a local Wycombe Arriva route, the 308.
Since receiving this picture I have several more occasions when this bus has worked Arriva local routes.

Gavin Francis writes "10.8.04 - Went into Wycombe this morning and amongst other things Arriva 0449 was working the 308 to Pheasant Drive. Standard Arriva blinds were fitted (a piece of paper in the windscreen). I have never seen one of this type of bus used on a local route before, have you?? I have attached a picture for you." (As noted in the caption above this has occurred recently and I believe once or twice before. Ed.)

 


Steve Warwick sent this picture a week or so ago of the branding now applied to the Aylesbury based Olympians on the Arriva 280.

Steve Warwick wrote on the 7th August saying "...the last working Lynx at Wycombe 3345 was involved with an altercation with a bus shelter at Lane End on Thursday, I hear and was towed away on the back of tow truck. The last Volvo Olympians, 5158 and 5156 arrived back yesterday from refurb."


I took this shot last Friday of the rear of 5159 for comparison, showing the branding.
The unusual use of words as well as figures for the branding is noteworthy.


Olympian 5153 (S153KNK) based at Watford - Garston - is one of a batch split between Hemel and Watford
and often used on the long 321 service from Luton to Uxbridge. These buses do not seem to be going for refurbishment at present.
5153 seen above is in all over advertising livery Watford's Driving force.

Having visited Watford I notice also that three of the DAF Prestige gas buses have been transferred from the North West. I think they were based at Southport. also I think one bus has lost its gas pods on the roof but I am not really sure. These buses are also used on the 321 and appear on the 5s as well.

Rob Williams for the 6th August noted "5158, S158KNK in Oxford this evening with route branding for the 280 applied. The service is branded as line two-eighty below the lower deck windows. Between the decks there is a line showing the main destinations Aylesbury, Haddenham, Thame, Wheatley, Headington, Oxford. 280. The offside also has "up to every 30 minutes" in big letters on the panel where the stairs are, I didn't note what the nearside or rear shows."  (see photo above Ed.)

On the 13th August Nigel Peach noted "Arriva - ex London Olympian 5854 has received an all over rear ad for The Chimes Uxbridge shopping centre. (5130 is the bus with the all-over ad for the same). The route blind on 5854 seems to have stuck on "819" which seems a bit bizarre. Indeed, the blinds on those four ex London Olympians seem to be almost permanently giving trouble."

Carousel Bus, High Wycombe

Nigel Peach notes "Further to my note yesterday re the Carousel renumbering I have noticed the following: 

Ex Armchair Olympians H554/564 GKX are 4002/1. Of this batch of four I think H563 is out of service. The fourth is Thames Valley liveried H556. My guess is that this will be 4003, but I can't see the logic of the numbering. 

Of the Metrobuses I've seen four, as follows:

GYE 598W is 5001
B272 WUL is 5011
C345 BUV is 5008
C356 BUV is 5007 

Again, I do not understand the logic. So the old London Transport style numbering has now gone.

I've had a look at Carousel's website http://www.carouselbuses.com/ to see if this sheds any light. This site used to have an enthusiasts section, but that seems to have disappeared.


The picture reveals H564GXK as 4001 and C345BUV as 5008
Also of note is the use of a large route number on 5008 for the 339

I can officially reveal that the new fleet numbers were applied just over a week ago and these are detailed below. They include some DAF low floors due for the 336 route.

NEW FLEET NR OLD FLEET NR TYPE
1001 MB51 CITARO
1002 MB52 CITARO
1003 MB53 CITARO
2001 LX559 LYNX
2002 LX78 LYNX
2003 LX558 LYNX
3001   DAF
3002   DAF
3003   DAF
3004   DAF
4001 L564 OLYMPIAN
4002 L554 OLYMPIAN
4003 L556 OLYMPIAN
5001 M598 METROBUS
5002 M258 METROBUS
5003 M758 METROBUS
5004 M57 METROBUS
5005 M1432 METROBUS
5006 M1336 METROBUS
5007 M1356 METROBUS
5008 M1345 METROBUS
5009 M1000 METROBUS
5010 M524 METROBUS
5011 M1272 METROBUS
5012 M1386 METROBUS
5013 M1351 METROBUS

I understand that the DAFs are coming from a dealer but were last used at Heathrow.

Ms 283, 703, 737 and ex WM F75DDA are expected to be sold. M1092 and 1101 recently acquired from Arriva are under review.

This fleet is changing and also growing very quickly and more changes may be expected in the coming months.

     

 

Oxford Bus has seemingly increased its "express" fleet by three coaches, 8, 9 and 10 as originally Scanias 1-5 appeared to replace 8-12. I do not know what is happening to 11 and 12 and we shall to wait and see. what one can see for oneself is that at peak times the present london coaches are often showing "Sorry Coach Full".

A further development on the London fleet is the appearance of a slogan on the destination blind appearing alternately with the destination X90. This can be seen in the picture below.


The Scanias really are nice coaches and the slogan most appropriate.

As mentioned in my last report The X90 saw some very busy days in recent weeks and this may explain why Airline branded vehicles were pressed into service on the London route.

 
The right hand picture of 62 at VCS was provided by Stephen Le Bras

Ian Pinnell writes re sightings in Oxford on the 5th August.

2 road: 615/641/105/104

Park & Ride Services: 823(400)/825(400)/106(400) I did see more Park & Ride services but I could not tell where they were going because of the adverts on the back of them!

5 Road: 519(5A)/808/815

4 road: 652/631(4c)/651(4b)

X3/X13: 828(X3)/832(X3)/829(X13)

13 road: 404

and
805 made an appearance on 2 road.

Then regular correspondent Bus monkey - now with Digital Camera wrote

Mon 26th
620 on 400

Tue 27th
105 on 2B, not entirely sure why I noted it
648 on 400

Wed 28th
832 on morning 4A

Fri 30th
821 on 2

August

Tue 3rd
836 on 4A

Wed 4th
814 on 13A


First picture from Bus Monkey was of this Dart 510 seemingly on  the 5A but seen at the Rail Station.

Following on from the above observations are for last week first from Ian Pinnell.

Here are my observations for Saturday 14/8/04:

I have noticed that Oxford espress coaches have had the message oxford to london in style on the display screen outbound to London and london to oxford in style inbound to Oxford.
(Correspondent Stephen Le Bras report the message is "oxford-london in style and elegance")

2 road: 603/640/639/638/653

4 road: 630/652/641

Park and Ride: 826(400)/112(400)/119(400)

X3: 834/831/828

13 road: 408

5 road: 815/818/519(5a)/819/816/821

Airline: 61/68/51

Oxford Espress: 4/9

Bus Monkey wrote (see picture above) "This week I have a new Monkey camera. Not brilliant quality I'm afraid.... but I am paid peanuts.... Not sure if I'll use it much, but I did get an unusual shot this week.

Tue 10th
639 on 14
510 on 5A, not unusual except that it was picking up passengers at the railway station!!!
(see picture above Ed.)

Thu 12th
803 on 4A
403, 404 on 5B
652 on 5

Fri 13th
410 on 5B

First Group

Stephen Le Bras writes "You may be aware of First Darts moving from Slough to Bracknell but if not; 42414,42643,42644 Slough to Bracknell 3 DML type from London in First livery 44174-6, plus all of Bracknell's DML type to Slough. Route being converted is the 3, as of today. Services run by Nightingale are being covered after its owner decided to retire.


According to my First fleet book this is 41174 now at Slough but formerly at Stratford.

Heyfordian

Gavin Francis writes "Speaking of new Neoplans have you noticed Heyfordian have another one. R998KKO. I first saw it a couple of weeks ago on the Oxford by-pass in the normal Heyfordian colours but with additional colouring on the near-side. I saw it again in London on Monday but on closer inspection it is in fact graffiti!! "


I thought you might be interested in this shot taken on the overbridge at jc 5 on the M40 of a Volvo-Plaxton
working the 420 service from London to the Midlands.

Ralph Adams writes "According to a report on Stagecoach News site, the New Zealand Designline bus (80009) is travelling around the country now. It is due to be in Oxford for 2 weeks from 13th September."

Then Ross Williams writes " http://www.buszone.co.uk reports: "Designline demonstrator 80009 is expected at Leamington from 25-08-04 and then at Oxford from 13-09-04 to 26-09-04."

There is no word yet on what routes it will be trialled on.

Andy Churchill sent the following report "...Stagecoach are to begin trials with it's New Zealand-built Designline diesel/electro hybrid single deck bus. This unit is a M A N 14.220hocl-nr powered by a gas turbine which charges batteries to run the bus it is 80009 (VX04NZG). As from the 9th August 2004 and after use in Carlisle and the Lake district, it will then move to Stagecoach in Warwickshire at Coventry and Leamington Spa on the 25th August 2004,and then it will come to Stagecoach in Oxfordshire on the 13th September 2004 and then finally to Stagecoach in Hampshire at Winchester on 29th September 2004,before taking up it's duties on a special service in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with Stagecoach Bus ways."

So we wait with interest as this must surely be one of the most unusual demonstrators to work in the UK.

Andy goes on to say "....former-oxford Dennis Dart 32058 (N58KBW) is with Stagecoach Western and is in it's reserve fleet. Ex Oxford driver trainer Leyland National (PUK621 R)  is with dealer Hardwick, Carlton for scrap.

An odd route working on Saturday 14/8/04 saw ex-Witney Volvo Olympian 16523 appear on route 1 (City Centre-Cowley-Blackbird Leys) and it was even showing 100 on it's nearside destination display."


An interesting visitor to Oxford Horspath recently was this ex Oxford Tube coach, now a driver trainer.

Ian Pinnell reports for the 6th August

7: 22913/22932/22916

3: 22935/22934?/

1: 22945/ 22944/22930?/22947/22946/

U1: 10855

X4: 33763

and our friend Bus Monkey notes

Mon 26th
16519 on 100 - back from Banbury again?

 Fri 30th
16141 on 10 in early evening

Mon 2nd
22053 on 1
22940 on 10

Wed 4th
33821 on X4

Fri 6th
20009 on 7

Sat 7th
33822 on 1


Gavin Francis sent another photo depicting the night destinations screens for SC services in Oxford.


Steve Annells was up in Cleethorpes recently and caught this Oxford registered Dart at work in that area.

The new Neoplans are now settling down to work on the London service and it seems that none of the older Tubes will remain once all 25 new coaches are delivered. However there are conflicting reports so we will have to wait and see.


The workshops at Horspath two weeks ago showing 50121 being prepared for service.
It entered service on the Saturday of that week.


Stephen Le Bras sent this shot of 50106   leaving Gloucester Green


I took this picture of 50108 heading towards London on the M40 approaching Junction 5 at Stokenchurch

Latest reports from Gavin Francis and Stephen Le Bras suggest that all 25 coaches must now be in service as 50125 has been seen by Stephen in London.

It also appears that the Friday 2355 service on Megabus from London to Glasgow has been duplicated by one of the M A N Tubes which thereafter do not return south.

Also a report in the weekly paper Transit notes that Stagecoach have bought Motorvator's Edinburgh-Glasgow express coach business, taking the staff and service but not the vehicles. This service operates in competition with Citylink and Transit says it is thought that some of the ex Oxford  M A N coaches could be used on this service but Stagecoach has so far refused to comment.

Gavin Francis writes "After reading the report of The Trident on the Megabus in the last newsletter, we had another visit from a Stage East London Leyton garage Trident yesterday afternoon. No. 17780 arrived about 3.30pm, refuelled and departed a few minutes later ."


Whilst most Oxford-London services are now operated by Leyton garage with Tridents,
one ex Hong Kong Olympian remains at Oxford, 13601 and continues to work Oxford depot's share of the route.
It is seen here approaching Stokenchurch on the M40 having been overtaken by Oxford espress nr 21
on the climb up from Lewknor but it had previously overtaken the same coach on the level towards junction 6!

Richard Sharman writes ".... Took a trip down to Victoria from Oxford today to see Megabus workings, got the 4.30am X90 and arrived at six am but just missed the first departure to Bristol. 

There is now a controller on the Megabus stop, as at times three or four vehicles where trying to get on one stop!.

First to appear was Expressliner 52295, N445XVA in all over white with Stagecoach Western fleet names on followed by a very full bendy in the shape of 51062, VCS 391, which both quickly went off in convoy to Stratford depot for fuel. 

Other departures-

13609- J701HMY  East London

13610- JSK492     Wales

13611- OSK784    Wales

13619- 511OHU    Wales

13621- H724KDY  Southdown

13626- H723KDY  Southdown

13629- H495LNB   Manchester

13634- H764KDF   Hampshire

13635- H767KDV(?) Southdown

13633- G127WGX East London

13636- G128WGX ?

?      -  J167UMA  East London 

Most of these have had toilets fitted opposite the staircase. 

A Trident turned up to do a early M12 departure, 17779 LX03BVR with Seasider 786 on blind!!!!!, hope it does more than 50mph.

Just to note I followed 17779 in my car last week and it was doing just around 60mph. Ed.

Must say that Megabus is proving most interesting but is I acknowledge somewhat outside the scope of this page. Hope no one minds the detail above but I will have to restrict myself in the coming weeks. Have any trailers been used yet.

Thames Travel, Wallingford


Chris Jenkinson sent this picture of 848 in Summertown a week or so ago.

Whites of Abingdon


Ben Morroll took this excellent shot of the loaned Solo with Whites working the 108.

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

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


Stephen Le Bras writes that this Titan is now working in Windsor.

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

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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