A Happy Christmas to all my readers
Sunday 19th December 2004
next update week ending 8th January 2005
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Well, Christmas is nearly here and I think my picture below illustrates this very well. Indeed Oxford in general was a mass of shoppers last Saturday when the picture was taken.
The Oxford Times this week carries a story relating to the revised bus lane arrangements on London Road, Headington. The inbound lane has been reduced in length and now starts by Barton Road. This allows an outbound bus lane to be introduced by Sefton Road and this continues to just short of Green Road roundabout. The problem is that inbound traffic has to wait whilst buses and coaches stop at the inbound Green Road stop which can cause traffic to back up onto the roundabout, not a very desirable situation.
I understand there are plans to modify the road layout, maybe to include bus lay-bys.
I was delighted to receive another couyple of photos from Ed Maun showing coaches in the '50s at The Kings Arms, Stokenchurch. This was in the days when many express services used this location as a refreshment stop on the way to and from London. Ed writes "Further to my e-mail dated Saturday 11/12 and reference to the express services passing through Stokenchurch from the West and Northwest; in the late 1940s and early/mid 1950s they made a refreshment stop at the Kings Arms Hotel where a café had been built at the right hand end of the hotel. There was also a large parking area at the right hand end, bordering the common and near to the Wycombe bound bus stop.
Part of the area, including the new houses mentioned by Ed below, at Stokenchurch photographed this morning.
I have attached a couple of photos that I took in the mid 50’s. The first is of Black & White 101 DDF 45, a 1939 Bristol L6G with Duple C31C body which is posed near the island that was built to achieve some sort of “in and out” control of the parking area. The body is of a design first built by Burlingham for Black & White on Bristol JO6G chassis and the same design was also produced by ECW on Bristol chassis for B&W.
The second is a poorly posed shot of Red & White UC453 LAX 644, a 1953 Bristol LS6G with ECW C39F body; however it does show the large parking area which has now been largely built over with housing. (See top photo Editor)
The Studley Arms at Studley Green was also used as a refreshment stop in the 1950s, although I don’t remember whether this was used at the same time as the Kings Arms or replaced the Kings Arms. (Indeed the Crosville service did stop at Studley Green in the 1953 ABC Coach and Bus Guide, using The Harrow Hotel. There is no such place now and only the day service stopped there, the night service passing by. Associated Motorways - Red & White, Black & White and Bristol Tramways - stopped at Stokenchurch for refreshments on their Cheltenham service. Bristol Tramways stopped on their Bristol-London service referring to the stop as Ye Olde Kings Hotel. I look forward to further contributions or photographs on this subject. Editor)
Also anyone else got any classic pictures like those from Ed Maun. They should be relative to this area of course.
Newlands Bus Station interlude by Gavin Francis
. Gavin Francis wrote saying "I took a pic of Simmonds ex-LT T237 in The Bus Station.
Normally it has been EWW546Y when I have seen it there before."
Oxfordshire county service changes
Ralph Adams writes "The latest County leaflet quotes 7 journeys daily on route 94 on Bicester - Otmoor - Oxford but no further details are provided. There are no timetables displayed in St Giles and the company obviously relies on local knowledge. When walking around some of the villages about 10 years ago, there was no indication of ant timetable boards (including outside their own garage).
The last timetable I have for the 94 was Winter 1999 County Council Bicester edition when there were 2 morning trips in by 8.35 from Otmoor, but the only services to Bicester started at Charlton, and only on Tuesday and Fridays.
On Monday this week when the coach arrived, only 6 people got off at Magdalen Street.
Charlton - on - Otmoor Services also operate
30 Oakley - Brill - Bicester on Fridays
93 Noke - Islip - Oxford Fridays only
95 Murcott - Charlton - Oxford Monday & Friday only 2 trips.
(I remember that some years the sign off the main road to Noke had the sign changed to Nokey by some wag. Ed.)
I have never yet seen any timetable the company has produced. The first bus in then carries on to the south to work a school contract."
Busy days at Victoria Coach Station and Green Line.
There was a significant amount of traffic on Saturday using both VCS and Green Line, especially a large number of foreign coaches many seemingly bound for Poland. Whilst you may wonder what this might have to do with Oxford, I would comment that it was taking 15 minutes to get from just before Victoria Rail Station to VCS at the lunchtime peak.
Correspondent Stephen Le Bras was on had to note the congestion and I can also report that one tube took 20 minutes to get through Green Line at the beginning of its return journey.
Gavin Francis took this evocative shot of a Megabus M A N paring up in Green Line some weeks ago.
The roadway is in fact a public thoroughfare called Bullied Way but this seems odd for a bus station which has become so very busy with Megabus.
Indeed it seems set to become more so as there are new coaches in hand for Megabus as reported below under the Stagecoach heading.
Ed Maun wrote to say "You probably don’t need me to tell you that with reference to News Page 107, the National Express Oxford, High Wycombe, Stansted service is numbered 757!!! On a historical note service 75 was the COMS High Wycombe, Stokenchurch, Oxford route for many years and the number in effect still lives on as Red Roses’ service 275 on that route"
No Ed indeed I know it is the 757 but I was quoting verbatim what the Bucks Free Press reported. Maybe they know something we don't?
Well, only 5 shopping days to Christmas, it hardly seems one year ago that I was preparing the last Christmas page. I wrote at that time "Well, here we are and another year nearly gone. Last year at this time we were on issue 13 and 46 issues have passed since that time. In fact if I count the old Oxford Bus Page, this is issue 275 ! It is sometimes an effort but one which is well worthwhile when I read messages from many of you saying how much you enjoy the page each week. I am also encouraged by the number of contributors and especially the photos many of you send."
I can only echo those sentiments once again. The number of contributors has grown and there are many more photographs being submitted than a year ago. This year in the 12 months past 49 issues have been posted including two specials for the launch of "the oxford espress" and "the new Oxford Tube". In fact quite a year with many changes. I am delighted to have been able to record these events but it would have be much more difficult without your help. so many many thanks and an especially Happy Christmas. I will have a break next weekend and therefore the next News Page will be on Sunday 2nd January 2005.
Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 19th December 2004
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News of the local companies – 19th December 2004
Two reports again this week. The first is from Nigel Peach who writes "Further to Alex's comments last week about the blinds in the ex London Darts, I notice that both 3812 and 3814 are able to show route 31 (and can often be found on that route). Both these buses had been withdrawn from service but were reinstated. This seemed to occur at the same time that sister vehicles 3813 and 3815 disappeared. 3811 is the only other bus from the same batch still in Wycombe and, as Alex said, this doesn't appear to have had new blinds fitted.
One of the Scanias - I think it is 3158, now sports an all over rear ad for Lakes, the electrical retailer. The last bus to have an all over ad for Lakes was, by coincidence, Dart 3811 mentioned above!
It was good to see John Bristow's 1960 photo of Bristol LS 679 (HBL81) on last week's page. It certainly brought back memories. In the mid 60s there were four of that batch in High Wycombe (678-681). Two would run the 35 to Downley and I think the others were usually to be found on the 31 to Lacey Green (long before today's Green Route all-new 31!). At the time I lived on West Wycombe Road opposite the turning to Downley (Plomer Hill) and even from my bed, at one time I used to be able to recognise each individual bus either by the engine noise or the squeak of the brakes!! Although these were front entrance buses, they always had a conductor, and were not converted to one-person operation until some years later.
Tues 14th. Another addition at the Wycombe depot is 3174 P674OPP. It is an SLF Dart with East Lancs Flyte bodywork. It sports a local Harlow advert on the side, but it has been fitted with Wycombe blinds. (I think this came from Harlow. Ed.)
Alex Evans adds "I saw Olympian 5851 today - 14th December - on the 31. It has now had destination blinds fitted."
Martyn Banham took this nice shot of Scania 3164 pausing at Queens Lane bound for Aylesbury last week.
Ben Morroll sent this picture of 5158 near the station again the 280 service.
I have posted it full size as it really is a lovely clear shot.
At long last the first of the green DAFs for the 336 has arrived. I managed to get a few pre service shots, it may not be entering service until January 1st. As the pictures show it has full branding for the 336 and the legend run by Carousel. Nigel Peach alterted me to these two news buses and I must thank him for a timely nudge resulting in these pictures taken in the depot today.
Fleet number DAF986
A surprise arrival is that of a Wright cadet bodied VDL 120 complete with the new livery. It is a 30 seater and looks very smart indeed. It carries the registration CB54BUS but as yet lacks a fleet number.
The bus carries seasonal lettering in the nearside front window. Additionally it carries the wording
Another New Bus brought to you by Your LOCAL Operator.
One can imagine that Arriva are not very happy at the developments of this operator who now has two quite large facilities and a growing fleet of newer and new buses. The livery is also most attractive. One wonders if the Olympians will gain this livery?
Ed Maun wrote "Carousel has taken over operation of service 320, the Princes Risborough Rail Station – Chinnor Rail Link service from Monday 13th December. I have yet to discover what vehicle is being used. Arriva, the previous operator, used a Mercedes mini bus. I also understand that Carousel is withdrawing the Bourne End to Marlow extension of service 400 from Friday December 24th."
Michael Wadman writes "...on a trip to Cheltenham & Gloucester last Tuesday I found myself in an unusual place and time, ie St Giles just before 09:00. A Charlton Services coach came along with a board in the windscreen saying “94 Oxford – Bicester via Otmoor villages” and picked up virtually a full load of passengers, who appeared to be students. The problem is, I can’t see any reference on Traveline to a 94 or any other Charlton Services service departing Oxford at this time. Is this a non-public contract worked by the inward 94 vehicle, or is there another timetable that I’ve missed? Oxfordshire CC’s website seems to abandoned all reference to bus services.
Rob Williams reports "...apparently Coachmaster have taken a fourth ex Reading Titan - 73 - RMO73Y."
SVV588W writes "...last
Friday Longworth school kids treated to GSX644X, Coachman's ex Lothian
Atlantean. Still looking for 497/504 though."
I had noted previously that Volvo 605 had received new number blinds as shown in the picture below taken on Saturday. Sister bus 634 has also received the same style blinds which look very smart. It is interesting to note that Arriva have also been replacing the number blinds in similar buses inherited from Wycombe Bus some years ago.
Saturday saw a number of service extras being operated by Oxford Bus and the picture below shows 635 returning to depot after a short working into Oxford along the Cowley Road. The Christmas lights make a nice background to the bus.
As mentioned before staff buses are now provided to take crews to the new depot at Cowley. normally these appear to be crew vans but on Saturday ex Metrorider bus 959 was in use and is seen here performing a u-turn at Queens Lane, not possible with anything larger.
Martyn Banham caught 959 turning at Queens Lane en route to the new depot from town.
Stephen Le Bras reports that Airline branded Volvo B12B 53 was operating the X90 on Saturday morning when he spotted same at CVS.
Thursday afternoon saw "espress" branded 21 operating an X70 at Heathrow. This combination would make an interesting variation on the upcoming Corgi model of nr 16 on the X90.
Ian Pinnell notes the continuing use of red Tridents on 2 road and several others have written to report the use of red Tridents on the 15 in recent days.
Ralph Adams writes "......whilst at Gloucester Green recently, a COMS Scania/Irizar need to have its headlight changed (quite a common occurrence I would have thought). To remove the bulb, the fitter had to remove 21 screws. COMS have made modifications as when originally delivered it had 26 screws. The fitter was doing the job for 13 minutes, so the coach left a little late. A few years ago, I was on a coach which stopped at Green Road and a fitter replaced a bulb within 3 minutes. Progress!
Finally Bus Monkey writes
104 on 15
105 on 14
both noted around 5pm........................, it's pretty unusual to see deckers on either of these routes.
R H Transport
Ralph Adams noted last week that "..RH Transport were using the ex Worths Merc 412 on the Charlbury Taxibus
The X8 was using an Optare Solo MX04VLT which is on hire until March / April when a slim line Solo is due to arrive. The X8a extension to Salford and Cornwall had 4 passengers on both trips - as this is a brand new service, I think the initial loadings are good.
RH transport operate 5 Transits in addition to the above 2. F124JGC (or JGS), G434ETW plus H239AHE. Last 2 not yet seen."
Another bumper set of reports on Stagecoach related matters again this week.
Ben Morroll sent this picture of an ex National Express branded Volvo working the X5.
Andy Churchill writes "...the two Dennis dart/ALX200 required for the new 5A/5B routes are 33821 / 33822 (R821/822YUD),and 33822 was seen on 10/12/04 at Horspath road depot running on the Exel shuttle bus in the new purple route branding."
Indeed I had the opportunity to catch 33821 on the 5B in Queen Street on Saturday.
(It seems most coincidental that these two buses should back virtually where they started life as new buses at the end of the '90s.Ed.)
Richard Sharman writes "....looks like they where short of MAN s today as they had three B10Ms on the 1's, 20204 M204LHP and 20006/9 R906/9XFC.
Volvo Olympians 16521/6 R521/2/6XFC where noted on the first day of extended 20's. All with Brookesbus stickers removed, but saw 518 on U1 along with MX54LPA/C/XFV.
S in Bedford-(X5) Two unusual vehicles on today where VO/NC P526EFL and ex SinW B10M/Expressliner R454FCE, just been painted into corporate livery minus vinyls.
S in Swindon-
Coach Volvo B10M L157JNH was on the 10.45 66 service.
Thanks to Richard for those notes
The company have kindly advised details of the fleet changes for period 9 - 13th December are as follows.
20203 M203LHP Volvo B10M - Oxford to Reserve
20204 M204LHP Volvo B10M - Oxford to Reserve
20205 M205LHP Volvo B10M - Oxford to Reserve
18177 MX04XFV Trident - Manchester to Oxford - on loan
18178 MX04XFW Trident - Manchester to Oxford - on loan
18179 MX54LPA Trident - Manchester to Oxford - on loan
18180 MX54LPC Trident - Manchester to Oxford - on loan
18181 MX54LPE Trident - Manchester to Oxford - on loan
40162 N362AVV Mercedes 709D - Reserve to Oxford
40654 N654VSS Mercedes 709D - Witney to Disposal
(Strangely 20203 and 2024 were both in service last Saturday. Ed.)
George Candelin notes ".....Bicester today 13 Dec 04, 16520 sporting Brookes Bus vinyl’s and operating local services"
Following a days spotting Ralph Adams wrote ".....16526 is a Witney bus which covers some 20 duties. Also on the 20 group was 18133 from WY
16521 16522 and 16523 were operated by CN on the 20 and 20A
20203 and 20812 were the 2 single deck buses on the 20 and 20A
33821 and 33822 were on the 5A and 5B. The 07.20 trip goes into Unipart site and the turning "circle" is not large enough. The bus came at right angles with about 12 passengers getting off, and then a reversal needed to exit the site. The 5C will continue to be run with a Vario (screen fitted and not tendered as low floor)
Vario from the 25 was used from 1016 to 1512 on the 7D. I do not know what covered the 9.16 departure (I was at Charlbury at that time)
Another Olympian was operated from Harwell apparently (In addition to the previous one) according to a County Council employee I was talking to today.
MAN on U5 at The Original Swan at 0800, Gipsy Lane bound. Unable to ID.
Most bus stop flags had the new route details already up (Greater Leys, Cassington, Charlbury, etc.), although some on the Banbury Road were still being changed at 15.00 today.
Tridents from Manchester.
3 Olympians to Chippy, 1 to Harwell, 1 spare?
3 B10Ms surplus.
However, 2 extra Darts in service on 5A/5B with no extra buses to cover (1 spare on PVR of 15 appears tight)"
John Hammond replied
".............The 0916 is worked by a Oxford Big Bus card M-F, it runs the 0802
X27 from Langford to Magdalen Street, originally the bus went down to the garage
but now sits in Magdalen Street for a couple of minutes before operating the
0916 and 0943 back.
The 5 A/B are on their own bus cards (Low Floor Midi) whilst the 5C remains on the bus card it was on pre: Dec 12th."
Ian Pinnell writes "....Arriving home today, I saw a Stagecoach in Oxfordshire M A N displaying the N1 sign, most unusual especially as it was not night time, and the fact that it was in Headington at the time! I did not manage to catch a fleet number... sorry!
Martyn Banham wrotes "....Sadly,
this is likely to be the last from me until February, as Oxford Brookes' autumn
semester finally comes to an end.
Many oddities this week - Thursday had 16519 on the U1 along with 22203; whilst 22054 was working on the 10.
I managed to find the remaining Manchester Tridents; 18177/MX04XFV and 18179/MX54LPA. Both are looking fairly well-used now, especially inside.
Curiously, 22923 has been fitted with a new destination display on the front - but not the rear or side. I imagine the old unit must have been damaged somehow.
Ben Morroll sent a number of excellent pictures this week of which relative SC ones are included below.
Ben Morroll's picture of 16526 on the X1 in Witney.
Ben Morroll's picture of 18178 near Oxford Station on the U1.
Ben Morroll's picture of 18180 near Oxford Station on the U1. Again this has different coloured destination screens.
Keith Wood, an long standing correspondent writes "...Ex Stagecoach Oxford Volvo B10M 20417 has finally received Stagecoach in Warwickshire fleetnames having carried Oxford names since arriving from there.
Another Mercedes 709D with Bedworth Shuttle Service 6 branding at Nuneaton is 40148."
SVV588W writes "...have
just noted today that on the 08.00 Swindon - Oxford 66 service is B10-55 20817
N817DNE, which I believe is a Gloucester bus. Have not seen the prodigal 20687
recently, hence today's observation but will keep looking. Last noted 52157 on
Friday last but not seen every bus."
At Exel and ready for service last Saturday morning. 50110 and 50116.
Twenty-five new Neoplan Skyliner double deckers due for Megabus are expected shortly. The fleet numbers will be 50126 to 50150 and the first 7 should be registered SV54ELC, ELH, ELJ, ELO, ELU, ELW, ELX for Aberdeen (4) and Perth (3). The Aberdeen ones should be there for the 14th of January, and 'on the road' soon after. The Perth ones should be out by mid February. After this, Cwmbran are due to get 3, then Leyton are due 4, Leamington 2, Newcastle 4, Manchester 3, leaving 2 unallocated. The seating is 89, eight more than the Oxford Tubes of similar size. The coaches have M A N D 2866 LOH 29, 410 bhp engines and the same AS-Tronic gearboxes as the Oxford Tubes. It is said that they will also have tow bars for the luggage trailers so far unused.
The Green Line coach station is due to become Skyliner city from next year it would seem.
Other SC Scottish news.
From Monday 15 December, the Stagecoach Express branded 900 (Glasgow – Edinburgh) was discontinued. This now means that three buses on the Motorvator branded 900 are being worked by Fife’s Cowdenbeath depot. Three MAN double deckers from Glasgow will be “outstationed” at Cowdenbeath each evening, and additional time has apparently been put into the schedules to allow for travelling via Kincardine, if the Forth Bridge is closed to double deckers (are they running to/from Fife in service?) This move means that Stagecoach Glasgow have reassumed operation of Service X25 (latterly ran by Parks with white coaches "on loan" to Stagecoach Glasgow) which was of course started a long time back by Dunfermline depot.
Richard Sharman enclosed this picture saying "I enclose two pictures relevant to Oxford, Tiger 767, B167XBU which was ex Oxford Tube has now left the fleet, Enviro 403 is seen here on the first day of X50 operation by us, way back in the summer!2
Michael Wadman writes "Swanbrook changed the timetable on their 53 service last week. Several journeys are retimed including the morning bus to Cheltenham which now leaves Oxford half-an-hour earlier at 09:00, and the terminus has been changed from George Street to St Giles."
Tappins of Didcot.
Andy Churchill writes "....former Leyland Atlanteans open-toppers (MAU 614P) AND (JPE236V AND KPJ258W) are now at smith's of Bloxham nr Banbury being scrapped, Also there is Leyland Atlantean (GSC664X).
Kevin Stephens writes " I hope to be able to report the arrival of another Neoplan double decker to Tappins in the new year plus some other new arrivals.
Worth's of Enstone
Ralph Adams notes "Worth's were using their Citaro BU53ZWZ and Dart S2WMS on the 69 today. I went past the garage at Enstone twice but could not see the short Dart although it could have been in the workshop"
Ben Morroll sent these two excellent pictures of Worth's taken yesterday.
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