Issue 95

Sunday 19th September 2004
next update week ending 2nd October 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.

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This weekend saw the passing of an era in Oxford when the City of Oxford Motor Services Limited moved from premises on the Cowley Road which had been in use for some 80 years, to a site on the Watlington Road which have been developed as a purpose built bus garage, more appropriate to the new century. Indeed sources within the company note that the very size of buses in this decade made operation in the Cowley Road depot less than easy. I have received a number of pictures which are included under the company heading below and feel sure that more will be forthcoming over the next weeks.

80 years of history will soon be no more when the Cowley Road site of "COMS" is redeveloped.

Whilst mentioning this local company, the Oxford Mail for Friday September 17th carries an article regarding "Going Green on the Buses" highlighting the problems of pollution in Oxford. Nigel Eggleton , the Commercial Director of Oxford Bus is prominent in the article which discusses the efforts by the various bus companies operating in Oxford and their work to protect the environment. It seems that Queen Street was named the most polluted place in Britain in a recent survey. Mr Eggleton says that he agrees with sentiment that people should leave their cars at home and get the bus. City and county councillors are joining forces to come up with a series of measures to tackle the problem and their recommendations are due to be published in October.  Oxford Bus have expended a considerable financial sum in the coming months by fitting its entire fleet with CRT (Continuous Regenerating Traps) from the beginning of 2005. So far 80% of its fleet are fitted with particulate traps.

The article mention that some 44% of the public arrive in Oxford by public transport.

Stagecoach is also mentioned in the article and Mr Adam Rideout, the company's Marketing Manager said that SC vehicles were not fitted with the same devices as OBC but that over the past 12 months one third of the Oxford fleet has been replaced and indeed over the past six yyears more than 30 m has been spent on new buses in the city. The latest batch of new vehicles are all built to Euro 3 standards and the 25 new Neoplan coaches for the Oxford Tube far exceed Euro 3 emission levels.

Mr Rideout also mentioned that a new and futuristic hybrid diesel electric bus would be tested in Oxford later this year. This is the one from New Zealand mentioned in these page sometime ago. It is also featured in the latest issue of Buses magazine on sale now.

The other companies mentioned in the article in The Oxford Mail were Full Circle and Guide Friday who are also both making efforts to improve their bus emissions.

On the subject of the latest issues of various Bus magazines, the Autumn 2004 issue of Buses Focus carries a very interesting article on the Oxford-London express services and their impact on the market.

Turing to high Wycombe, the weekend issue of the Bucks Free Press carries a story about a 1 pledge to improve transport in the town. Paul Cartwright gave me some news on developments saying "Certain route alterations take effect from 4 October:

Marlow Town Service 160 is being retimed to meet passengers needs and Bovingdon Green will no longer be served- replacement is the Hambleden Rider. 

Route 158 Marlow Bottom - High Wycombe will be retimed and WITHDRAWN ON WEDNESDAYS. 

Route 155 is being introduced from Wednesday 6 October and will operate on WEDNESDAYS ONLY to Maidenhead from Marlow. Timetables should be out shortly. 

October 31 is the target date for the introduction of Green Route 31 to replace Arriva's 310 & 363. Daytime frequency to be every 15 minutes throughout between Penn & Downley via Wycombe reducing to hourly evenings and Sundays. Evenings and Sundays being inter worked with 326 - the demise of the 326 is delayed."

Peter goes on to mention the upcoming running day at Amersham saying "The 363 has been in Wycombe since 3 October 1934 but then only operating to Totteridge from Wycombe. 14 May 1958 was when it was extended to Penn to replace the 362B but its introduction was delayed due to the LT bus strike. There will have to be a commemorative run and this could happen on the Amersham Running Day on Sunday 3 October where a large assortment of vehicles ranging from 26 seater GSs to 72 seater RMLs, RMs, RFs, RT(hopefully), RLHs,RB, T both single deck 15T13 and double deck Titan, Metrobus, Bristol VRT, Leyland Nationals plus others are all due to attend and run an intensive service. Penn will be served anyway on the 373 from Beaconsfield. Feeder services are operating from Aylesbury on 359 (RF),Tring on 397 (GS),High Wycombe  on 362 (RF, Leyland National and possibly RM),Windsor/Slough  on 353 and 441 (RML/AEC Reliance), Watford on 336 (Leyland National),Uxbridge/ Gerrards Cross on 305 (RML) and Beaconsfield on 441 (RML).  

Full timetables can be purchased from me @5 including postage. 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE HP13 7NX.or the Tourist Information Office in Pauls Row, High Wycombe. 

The new depot for Arriva is actually the site of the former Rye Engineering in Lincoln Road, Cressex - just up the road on the other side from the former depot. The site has been cleared awaiting construction of a new depot in due course."

Wycombe Running Day

Ed Maun writes "Reference the speculation of when service 80 ceased in issue 94.   It was still running for Thames Valley in 1970 as it appears in the timetable dated September 19th 1970.   However it does not appear in the Alder Valley timetable dated 4th January 1976."

John Bristow also writes "By way of a tailpiece to Ed Maun's report in your newsletter of 5 September I enclose a photo which I took of Thames Valley Bristol K No. 494 (EJB 216) at High Wycombe railway station in 1960. Oh, the heady days of road/rail interchange at HW!"

Thames Valley Bristol K No. 494 (EJB 216) at High Wycombe railway station in 1960 - photo by John Bristow.

My good friend Geoff Cunliffe writes on an interesting note and one which bears some thought "Just a final follow up from our trip on a Tube last week: 

I was somewhat interested to see a notice at Holland Park Avenue/Notting Hill Gate that bus drivers should be wary of overhanging low trees. 

One of my earliest memories about buses dates from when we lived on Preston New Road in Blackburn. Ribble had a Leyland TD1 which had its roof removed and it was fitted with a curved metal hoop at the front of the open top deck as a sort of loading gauge. There were a number of men on the top deck with large saws, and if your garden tree overhung the road or fouled the hoop, the offending branch was speedily lopped off.  

There were no warning letters, no forms in triplicate or applications to the local Council, and you even lost your firewood because it was stored on the rear portion of the top deck. The men didn't wear hard hats or fluorescent jackets either. Life was simpler in the 1940s!"

I would note that it is not that many years ago and certainly during the lifetime of this page that I photographed a Bristol Vr of The Shires at work on tree cutting in the Wycombe area! Now it seems that bus companies can no longer protect their vehciles and it is the council who must deal with matters.

Work continues on the interchange at Lewknor and this week shelters have appeared on both sides of the M40 and very nice they are too. They  provide good cover for intending passengers or those waiting for cars etc at what is an oft expsoed place to catch a bus or coach.

50118 picking up at Lewknor, London bound showing the new shelter.

50101 turns off the M40 slip road, showing how the new layout had resulted in the wide turnout.

A view under the M40 with an Oxford bound Tube arriving at Lewknor. Parking in the lay-bys is going to be a problem!

"Bus Stop Poems"

Louise Sullivan of Whitehill Publishing - Tel: 0116 2293102 writes to say "I am currently organising a book launch for a book of poetry called "Bus Stop Poems" which describes the poet's travels on buses throughout Oxfordshire and the characters and situations she observes. They are very funny and anyone who has ever travelled on a bus will instantly be able to relate to these poems. The book launch is being held at Long Hanborough Bus Museum 1st October 12.30pm-2.30pm and promises to be a great day with readings of some of the poems on a double-decker bus! Would any of your readers be interested in attending this event? If anyone is interested then I can send them some more detailed information."

Finally this last week I visited Lisbon and Bilbao and was able to see yet again cities with the ubiquitous Citaro. It was nearly 25 years ago that I worked for TAP Air Portugal and during my fifteen years with TAP I enjoyed AEC double decks with Carris, the Lisbon operator. Sadly all these have now gone and the picture below shows a little of what is left.

Carris Citaro passes a Mercedes mini coach on a service to Estoril and Cascais. This operator had a similar
coach in Stagecoach stripey livery but I sadly could not get a picture.

Well on to the news of our local companies and many thanks for the continuing reports including the late ones received today..

Malcolm Crowe, Stokenchurch - 19th September 2004

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies 19th September 2004

Abbey Coaches, High Wycombe

Ed Maun writes to advise that Abbey coaches has taken over Prestwood Travel. Further details would be appreciated such as fleet and location of the combined operations.

Steve Warwick reports "Leyland Olympians 5121 (G291UMJ) and 5117 (G287UMJ) have been transferred to Aylesbury from H/W."

I am delighted to have received details of ex Wycombe Bus Company buses now located elsewhere within the Arriva group. Mike Penn sent a number of pictures some of which are included in this report. Mike notes:-

I believe you were asking for photographs of ex Wycombe Bus vehicles in service at other Arriva garages. I have taken pictures of the following:

3837  H367XGC with Arriva East Herts & Essex at Waltham Cross.
3838  H368XGC with Arriva East Herts & Essex at Harlow.
3839  H369XGC at Aylesbury.
3840  H370XGC at Aylesbury.

3833  M503VJO (Aylesbury based) at Luton on the 61.
3834  M504VJO (Aylesbury based) at Luton on the 61.

5828  E228CFC (Aylesbury based) at Luton on the 61 - in advertising livery.

5830  G230VWL  (Aylesbury based) at Bletchley on the X15.
5832  G232VWL  (Aylesbury based) at Bletchley on the X15.
5835  G235VWL  (Luton based) at Bletchley on the X66 and in Luton.

Arriva East Herts & Essex  3817/8 (H367/8 XGC) at Waltham Cross and Hertford respectively on 8/9/04.

Arriva The Shires 5828 (E228 CFC) (Aylesbury based) at Luton on 7/6/04.

Arriva The Shires 3833/4(M504VJO) (Aylesbury based) at Luton on 21/10/03.

Nigel Peach wrote on the 15th September saying "Tues 14th Sept. I was surprised to see 3098 H245MUK on the 317 (without destination blinds). It is a Carlyle Dartline bodied Dennis Dart and, according to my Arriva 2004 Handbook, was based at Harlow depot. 

Wed 15th. 3098 on the 317 again, but another similar bus was parked at the back of the bus station today. Displaying route 353, its number plate was obscured, so I couldn't identify it! I see that the October Buses (arrived today) reports that Aylesbury's example of this type, 3093 H925LOX has been withdrawn. 

The Dart at the back of Wycombe depot is 3094 H916 LOX which, according to my book, also comes from Harlow."

As mentioned in the editorial above Oxford Bus reloated to their new premises on the Watlington Road. The move started during the week ending 18th September and the main move of buses and coaches and the change of operating location took place on Saturday September 18th. The morning run out was from Cowley Road and the evening run in to Watlington Road.

Michael Wootten sent some interesting pictures of the garage at Cowley Road on the last day of operation and afterwards showing an almost deserted depot.

Trident 110 by its display pays fitting tribute to the old garage.

One of the new Scania X90 coaches, nr 4 alongside an old stalwart AEC 965 back in its old home for the very last time.

Two shots of the old garage sadly deserted, the second of the two being A2 where major overhauls took place.

The newest single decker pays fitting tribute to the end of an era. The last "old fashioned garage" in the area and one with many memories.

Pictures of the new garage are still somewhat limited but one of my correspondents submitted a few for publication.

Two coaches and a saloon share the parking area at Watlington Road.

The new legal lettering on a coach and a bus.

I hope that more information may be forthcoming and I have written to the company asking for an official release. I hope it may be available for next week's page.

Ed Maun writes "I have just received the latest Transit magazine dated 17th September. There is an item on OBC that says the Espress service to London peak frequencies will increase  to one journey very 10 minutes from the 10th October; this will require the refurbishing of another five coaches to operate the higher level of service. The magazine also reports that OBC is moving from Cowley Road to its new depot opposite the BMW car plant this weekend"

Dave Stewart writes "About a month ago, the trade press quoted the "UK tour" of the Stagecoach Designline electric bus, and said that it would be in Oxford week commencing 13th Sept, for two weeks.  Has anyone seen it?, and if so, what route(s) is it likely to be on, as I would very much like to sample it."

Dave I have to say that as of today it had not arrived at Oxford and there is currently no clear indication as to when it will.

John Hammond writes regarding Warwickshire saying "Transfers of National Express coaches following the loss of the 455 Rugby & Northampton to London service, and other Stagecoach National Express operations around the country mean that the following are expected for the remaining NatEx diagrams.

From Perth:
T667XTV   - Volvo B10M

From Mansfield
KSU462     - Volvo B10M  (arrived from Mansfield on 13/9/04)
T668XTV  - Volvo B10M  (arrived from Mansfield on 13/9/04)
T669XTV  - Volvo B10M  (arrived from Mansfield on 13/9/04)
YN03WNA  Volvo B12M/Plaxton (arrived from Mansfield on 13/9/04)
YV03TZN   - Volvo B12M/Plaxton (arrived from Mansfield on 13/9/04)

From West Cumbria

This means that
are all surplus stock at Rugby depot, and are to be withdrawn and disposed off.

A large private hire was undertaken on 16/9/04 by Rugby depot with assistance from Leamington who supplied a couple of double deckers. The service was to transport all the children from Harris school in Rugby to a special service at Coventry Cathedral. The hire was registered as a one day special service from Harris School to Coventry Cathedral to remove the need for tachographs & EU driving hours. It was numbered service 926.

Deckers present were from
Rugby:                  14943, 14932, 14381, 14387,
Leamington:       14374, 14375, 14377, 14935, 14937

Rob Williams also writes "An additional surprise today was the arrival of two ECW bodied Leyland Olympians that have recently been withdrawn from Leamington:

14935 - C962 XVC (in stripes)
14937 - C964 XVC (in swoops, and with reupholstered seats)"

Both buses then left Horspath and I understand that they are to be sold?

Ben Morroll sent an interesting picture of one the early Darts which operated the 1s several years ago. It is now with an operator near Huddersfield.

Changes to the Brookes services from today mean that a revised service renumbered U5 replaces that U2 and Brookes will now serve the Cowley Road as U5. Indeed Adrian Lancer reported 18051 on the U5 today, Sunday.

The Tridents on Brookes have received a change to the lettering which can be seen in the picture.
They are now branded "EVERYBODY'S BROOKES BUS"

Several 165xx Olympians have received small Brookes labels for their duties in the next few months until replaced by new Tridents.

Rob Williams writes "The Brookes vehicles have today been having their branding altered ready for the expanded service that starts on Monday. In place of the route map there is now the wording "Its for Everyone" to match the latest timetable and advertising. 

Timetables have been available on buses this week, now in booklet form. 

In addition to the six Presidents, 16518-19 are being held back from transfer to Leamington (16518 having been at Leamington, but only for preparation work) to help cover until FIVE new Tridents arrive later in the year. Since returning from single door conversion the opportunity has been taken to send all of 16514-26 off for repaint, bar 16523 which won't now have chance to go for a couple of months. 16524 is the last to have returned from repaint this week. 

16518-19 will join 16520-4 that have been selected remain at Oxford permanently, 16525 being the vehicle that that is replacing 14936 at Banbury (in fact it may already be at Banbury, I'm not sure).

Ed Maun also writes re the Tube saying "Transit magazine dated 17th September reports that the Oxford to London service is to cease in favour of selling cut price internet tickets for some seats on the Oxford Tube services."

Once again further pictures of the old Oxford Tubes are coming through with reports on their operation .

Photos by Susanna Scott, this time of 50042 on a London-Manchester-Aberdeen operation.

Susanna Scott writes "The route section between Dundee and Perth passes by my work. Yesterday (Saturday 18 August) I did a trip from Dundee to Manchester by M11 using the two new recently added departures at 0620 from Dundee and 1745 from Manchester.

Firstly, former Tube 42 is seen at Dundee, Yeaman Shore, arriving a few moments late for the 0620 departure. I've brightened this up a bit but it is intended as an "atmospheric" shot i.e. it's pi**ing down with rain, it's 6 in the morning, and I probably should be in bed, but who cares?

As for why it arrived a little late... well, it wasn't the fastest knife on the block. While from Dundee to Perth is flat most of the way, the bus has to climb up the hill from Barnhill/Craigend to Broxden on the M90/A9 "spur", and it really struggled... The driver thought there may be a bus change at Glasgow, and in fact when we left the driver got my hopes up by following the signs for Royston, but then took the slip onto the M8. The two drivers themselves diagnosed the problem i.e. the bus could not go faster than 20mph uphill. As a result, we were over one hour late at one point. For the last 30-60 minutes, the bus seemed to be ok, and we got to Manchester a full 50 minutes late. Interestingly the clock upstairs was dead - probably just as well.

Above, former 42 is seen at Chorlton Street, Manchester - ironically enough at stop "EZ".

My ride back was former 58, which arrived a full 35 minutes late into Manchester. This was, we'd been told, due to traffic on the way up. The drivers did well, and although we were due to arrive Glasgow 2200/depart 2230, we arrived 2235 and departed 2238, which was not too bad. We arrived at Broxden Park & Ride early, and we were told the five of us going to Dundee would be put on another bus (147YFM did the section from Edinburgh to Broxden), and ex-58 did the run to Mill Street before running light to Inveralmond (Perth depot). However, interestingly, N448XVA was the Megabus to take us to Dundee! The coach still has all it's "south" lettering on it, and was reported as being on the M90 (Inverness/Edinburgh) earlier in the day. (Also seen were LSK545 - a former generation of Oxford Tube coach - and Plaxton 147YFM). We then left Broxden Park & Ride at 2340, and arrived back in Dundee a few minutes early."


Woottens of Chesham have recently purchased ex-West Midlands Leyland Lynx B48F C64 HOM. Having spent many years as a training vehicle with both West Midlands and Oxford Bus, this Lynx should return to normal passenger service shortly

The attached photograph shows the vehicle as acquired from the Oxford Bus Company.


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Ex COMS preserved 965 and this T&G ?? C60HOM were at the Sports Ground opposite the BMW mini plant last Friday.
This may have been something to do with the new OBC Garage opening?

This very nice shot of an ex AERE Harwell AEC  was submitted for publication.

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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