Sunday 21st May 2006
next update week ending 3rd June 2006
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The week just closing has seen several items of interest in our area. The contraflow work at Thornhill has resulted in some significant traffic delays in the Thornhill area. Bath hit the news with reports of the increasing conflict of interest produced by the excessive number of open top buses said to be polluting the city. There are it seems five operators competing for business in the city and action is being planned to restrict the numbers of buses crawling round the city.
New deliveries feature for Stagecoach with the arrival of two Solos.
Slough Running Day
A final picture of this event was received from Peter Edgar.
RM1859 latterly with Reading Mainline is seen here in Windsor by the side of the Castle. Picture by Peter Edgar.
Nigel James also sent a picture of RML2412 in Newlands Bus Station.
Updated report on delays to traffic and services resulting from work at Thornhill Park & Ride junction on the A40.
A four way "stop street" system has been installed at Thornhill in connection with carriageway repairs to the A40 at this point. Whilst very effort has been made to ensure a minimum of delay to traffic negotiating this busy junction delays have been inevitable.
In principal traffic gets a five minute slot in each direction on the A40 with the exits from Sandhills and Thornhill somewhat slightly less. The worst feature of the delays has been the grid locking of the Green Rd roundabout, especially at peak times. Reports of journey times between Headington and Thornhill being as much as 60 minutes have not been uncommon. The first day, last Monday, had added problems when a fatal accident occurred on the A40 at Wheatley inbound to Oxford resulting in coaches diverting via Stadhampton and Cowley.
As a result it has not be unusual for there to be a complete dearth of coaches at Gloucester Green, sometimes for as long as 30 minutes.
Ian Pinnell writes "I attach 2 pictures showing how Stagecoach are coping with the roadwork's of the Headington Roundabout with their route 7 services and a photo of the traffic. One picture attached is of the traffic on the roundabout where my bus was stuck for 20minutes, with traffic going right around the roundabout.
I think, and I'm sure if I'm wrong, other readers will correct me, buses numbered route 7 (going to Kidlington via Barton), will no longer serve Barton and go straight round the roundabout, making Barton only served by route 7C. I am not sure if this is only during peak times or throughout the day. Also, driver changes have taken place in Headington today (Monday 15th) with buses from Oxford City Centre showing the display '7 - Headington via Brookes Uni', stopping at Headington and driver changing. As far as I witnessed today, these buses were on the full route, meaning when they get to the Green Road Roundabout they would not go into Barton and thus continue with the 7 up to Kidlington from the Green Road. All confusing I know, but that's what I think is happening.
Also this morning (Tuesday - 7.30am), not a single Stagecoach turned up at my stop, yet when I went back at 9am, four turning up in a row (1 7C, 3 7s).
Oxford Bus Company also seem to be having delays, in Headington at around 12.30pm, Three 8s all displaying Oxford City as their destinations apart from the one with the all over branding had the company logo being displayed."
Alexander noted that a number of buses had Green Road as their destination and also he saw an Oxford bound Tube coming up Windmill Road, no doubt from the Stadhampton, Cowley diversion.
I spent a pleasant day on Thursday working "shunts" between Gloucester Green and Thornhill and v.v. This is to ensure drivers have sufficient hours on the tachos when delays inbound and outbound can add significantly to the driving hours in a two round trip shift.
I was able to get quite a few interesting pictures at Thornhill whilst waiting for an inbound service to appear.
The three pictures show the waiting traffic at Sandhills/Thornhill and services thereby affected.
Red Rose seemingly missed one whole trip on Monday on the 275 service due to the delays.
Generally speaking journey times out of Oxford were at the best 30 minutes from Gloucester Green to Thornhill. This could increase to 1hr and 30 mins at peak hours.
Open top tour bus restrictions called for
It seems that there are moves afoot to reduce the number of open top tour bus journeys in historic cities such as Oxford. This move is backed by Oxford Greens. It is claimed that older tour buses are among the worst polluters in Oxford as they crawl through the city centre, often almost empty. There are timetables for the services which have to be maintained and so 10mph is often the rule of the day.
The Oxford Greens are claiming that if the rules regarding timetables were relaxed the number of journeys could be cut.
Certainly in the last few weeks all the companies have been making stringent efforts to ensure engines are switched o0ff when buses are standing and this should help pollution levels. In fact in a recent survey published in the national press Oxford came out as one of the better cities for air quality.
Very few of the "older" buses are left in Oxford and brand new ones are in service or on order as shown in the fourth picture above.
The Bath situation is well recorded on the web and I give a number of interesting links below.
Glynn Williams writes regarding Bath saying "several
companies (Guide Friday, Classic City Tour, Regency Tours, and Ryans, with live
guides, and Bath Bus Co., which offers recorded guides in seven languages) run
round the town and its more photogenic environs. Depart Orange Grove/Bog Island.
All through day; shop around for best deals as prices vary from £3.80-£7. Guides
variable, usually good.
Typical quote: "This is the Royal Crescent. I shall now turn off the loudspeaker at the request of the residents..."
London has not been mentioned in the matter so far where there are enormous numbers of tour buses in use. Several of these are parked up all day and local and express services have to share stops with the tour buses in London. This can often lead to impossible situations where express services can hardly get near to their stops to load or unload.
The problems caused can be seen here at Marble Arch with ex Citylink 907 - C907GUD working for Arriva.
This matter is doubtless going to grow in national interest as people realise how poor matters are. I must however make some defence of our own local operator where Oxford has only one incumbent and its buses are well maintained and every effort taken to ensure minimum pollution.
Another Routemaster found in Oxfordshire
David Jackson writes to say "Just wanted to thank you for all the work on the site. I've attached a photo of ex BEA RMA13 which serves as a reception office for the Crazy Bear Hotel, Stadhampton, near Oxford. One of the more unusual uses for a Routemaster, I think. Probably everyone else who visits your site knows all about it already, but it took me by surprise when I had to deliver some goods to the hotel."
RMA13 seen at Stadhampton in David Jackson's picture.
Routemasters in Oxford - further news
No further information has so far come to light regarding what these buses will be used.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new. This week's report is somewhat shorter than usual but I hope still with interest to everyone.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 21st May 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 21st May 2006
No special reports this week on Arriva but an interesting transfer to High Wycombe caught on camera last Friday by your Editor.
3342 - L602EKM, a Volvo B6, has arrived from Southend where it spent sometime but was new to Maidstone & District in 1994.
It was part of a batch of 10 identical buses which worked in and around Maidstone when new being allocated in 2000
to Merstham before being transferred to Southend. Its fleet number before coming to Wycombe was 3602.
I was tracing its history and in the 1997 South East Handbook published by Capital Transport there is a picture of the bus in Maidstone.
A few more pictures are shown below of Arriva in Oxford caught up in the roadworks.
Volvo Olympian 5161, on the 280, is seen ahead of Leyland Olympian 5853, on the 261, both at Thornhill.
Back to High Wycombe for a few more pictures.
Lucky Bus ran this bus from new, another 1994 vehicle but this time at Dart with Marshall bodywork.
3104, L400Bus is seen last Friday on the 323 to Aylesbury.
Ex Motts Volvo B6, 3139 is seen leaving Newlands Bus Station last Friday en route to Slough.
Scania 3205 is the latest of the this batch to receive Connexion branding and is seen in Newlands Bus Station last Friday.
Wycombe single Solo, 0442, is seen last Friday.
Desborough Avenue enjoys a busy flow of buses for much of the day. Here an Arriva Dart on the 33 passes
Carousel MB51 on its way to the bus station to take up its next service to Heathrow.
Armstrong Galley writes "Something that may be of interest is that Arriva (ex Sovereign) Volvo124 was on a Green Line 797 of late.
Also you may have noticed - these two bays have been suspended on recent Saturdays and on certain weekdays. This has enabled TfL to undertake CCTV works for the forthcoming western extension of congestion charging. To compensate for the loss of these two bays, Arriva have been permitted to manage two temporary bays on Elizabeth Street."
Armstrong Galley sent this picture of Olympian 5146 in TGI Friday livery in London seemingly on a Private Hire.
Nigel Peach writes "At the Cressex depot today (Sun 21st) I noticed all Leyland Olympian 5128 (H198 GRO) which according to my book was at Hemel Hempstead.
Of this H reg batch of vehicles, the others based at Wycombe have been: 5129 which was cannibalised at Wycombe a couple of years ago after an accident, 5132 which was off the road for a month or two this time last year after accident damage, and 5133 which you showed a couple of weeks ago with severe frontal damage (indeed 5128 may well have come in to replace 5133)."
The Citaros continue to put in good work on the A40 and here MB51 is seen at the end of its run from Heathrow last Friday.
Nigel Peach writes "I saw Metrobus B114 WUL in the yard on Tuesday 16th. Maybe another acquisition? It still had London adverts on it."
Gavin Francis sent this nice picture of another member of the Charlton fleet.
Roland writes to say "Charlton have another cream Van Hool coach AIG 8835 similar to BIG 5013 pictured last week."
We need an update on developments at Charlton. I wonder if they are finally pensioning off their Leylands?
Coach 70 recently returned from Solent Blue Line and once again with full branding for The Airline.
J May took this picture of the latest vehicles to work the Solent Shuttle services which saw the two Oxford coaches last winter.
Once again ex Oxford, this time 622 K122BUD.
Trident 120 works a 400 service last Thursday and is seen in the queue from Green Road to Thornhill.
This Trident once sported X3 branded red livery but was delivered new in green for Park & Ride services.
A recently acquired Volvo/Jonckheere from Parks and now in full livery - SA02UCE - picture by Richard Sharman.
Roland writes "Came past the High Wycombe depot this afternoon (170506) and parked with Heyfordian coaches were two white coaches (with either Taylor or Foster, not sure,) Aylesbury fleet names. Sorry but I saw them quickly and thought it was Foster, but have looked on VOSA website and I can only see Taylor on there.
Roland then adds "Regards the e-mail I have just sent you, I have been on Bus and Coach Fleets mid-Anglia website and found Fosters Aylesbury on there. So they are Fosters coaches of Aylesbury."
Can we presume that these companies have been acquired?
I also visited the West Wycombe parking area this afternoon (Sunday) and took a few pictures.
Volvo L587JSA was one of four which came from Stagecoach Scotland in late 2005.
Another Scottish operator provided this Volvo - R415EOS which came from Parks in 2002.
It was registered LSK502 when with Parks of Hamilton.
John Marsh sent a number of interesting pictures of the latest deliveries to Reading. Note the use of appropriately coloured route numbers for the various services.
James Cusworth also sent a report saying "Yet more new buses have arrived at Reading Buses over the past couple of weeks, eighteen in total, all Scanias and in four different liveries. As is now standard, all have coloured number displays on the front.
The dark pink Omnidekkas are now in service, numbered 827-834 for routes 23 and 24. The first seven entered service the second week of May, whilst 834 is believed to have entered service this week.
The other ten buses are Scania L94UBs numbered 1021-1030. The first eight have entered service, and the final two may also have but have not been seen. First into service were 1022-5, the four light blue examples for route 37. These were all in service by Tuesday 16th.
1021 was in service by Wednesday- this is the additional dark green example for routes 4, 5 and 6 which is required due to an increased frequency on route 5 introduced earlier this year. This vehicle also has no route lettering on the side as the lettering on it’s sister vehicles is now out of date- the terminal for route 4 is now known as Reading International Business Park rather than MCI (the main business based there). The dark green number is very difficult to see even close up!
The remaining five are in the generic grey livery. The picture above was taken on Thursday and it looks like someone at Reading Buses has realised that dark green route numbers are not clear as the number is now displayed in the destination part of the display."
Wednesday, 17th, saw the arrival of two new Solos direct from thee factory. Details are given below and also include the awaited Solo Slimline.
|Delivery Sequence Number||Operating Company||
|Chassis Number||Body Number||Registration Number||Seats||
|15||Oxford||47315||SABEWFAC06R192391||192391||KX06 AZB||Lazzerini||Euro 3||Allison 2000||27(24)||12-May-06|
|16||Oxford||47316||SABEWFAC06R192392||192392||KX06 AZC||Lazzerini||Euro 3||Allison 2000||27(24)||12-May-06|
|61||Oxford (NARROW)||47363||SABEWFAC06L192468||192468||Lazzerini||Euro 3||Allison 2000||27(24)||14-Jul-06|
The two new Solos immediately upon delivery to Horspath last Thursday.
Ex Oxford - Thames Transit - 32056 now in Devon based at Exeter.
Soon to be no more, Stagecoach on the 600. This route transfers to RH Transport from June 4th.
42588 seen at Sandhills stop last Thursday.
Several readers reported Trident 18393 - unbranded - working the 7/7C service between Barton and the City last Thursday
50122 seen in Buckingham Palace Road last week. Picture from Roland.
50120 seen at Sandhills last Thursday in a picture which enhances the length of these coaches.
Once one of the Oxford Tube fleet, as nr 30 - L157LBW and now with Stagecoach East London,
Gavin Francis took this picture last week in London. It looks well for a twelve years old coach.
Phil Rumsby took this picture of 50101 on diversion when Holland Park Av was closed last Saturday week resulting in a diversion to regain normal line of route.
The coach is seen in Upper Addison Gardens approaching Holland Road.
Martijn Gilbert writes "Just writing to advise that last week we acquired from Mott's Travel Volvo B10M Jonckheere coach L214 GJO which was new to Thames Transit for the Oxford Tube. I hope this report is of interest to your readers.
The vehicle will be re-painted shortly into our orange based livery, as per the ex. Reading Titan which is featured on your current page. The coach currently carries registration 5812MT but will be re-registered back to L214 GJO in a few days time and is now running in C53F configuration."
James Cusworth writes "....some pictures of the current scene at Weavaway with their various trading names on rail replacement work recently."
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Seen approaching Thornhill last Thursday was this ex WMPTE Metrobus D950NDA.
Around the same time this Scania came through at Thornhill, S11FSC.
Gavin Francis spent a day in London last week and sent these pictures of Stagecoach Citaro bendis in full advertising livery.
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at
House's of Watlington.
Graham Gough writes "Great to see Brian Wright's two pictures of the House's OBWs in Henley. I grew up in Watlington and remember these and their minimalist comforts well - also the Bedford Duple coaches.
There were two Commers: the one may well have been late thirties vintage, and I seem to remember it had an arched top and sweeping back . Sorry, I've no idea of the model type. The driver was completely enclosed and separated from the passenger saloon. The newer vehicle to which Brian refers was much 'squarer' than the older one, and the driver was not separated from the passengers. As with all of House's vehicles, they turned up on all the routes they ran, and I remember particularly travelling on them to Wallingford - the great metropolis when I was kid!
I wonder what happened to the Commers? Regrettably, I've no pictures."
Does anyone have anymore pictures of Houses coaches?
Brian Wright wrote further following the excellent pictures of House's OWBs last week. Brian says "I was thinking more about House's and all that - I remember they also had a little old Bedford WLB(?) JO7120 - but I dare say that didn't last very long after my time there. Do you remember Shurey's of Nettlebed or Kemp's? I've a sort of feeling that they got together to make Chiltern Queens? Shurey's, I recall, had an ex-Alexander's Bedford WTB with a WG44xx registration; the one interesting vehicle of Kemp's I remember was an ex-Green Line 10T10 which had seen service as an ambulance in the war, and had been re-registered. The sad thing is, I didn't take up photography until it was all too late!"
COMS and liveries.
You might be interested in the attached group of pictures (indecently modern!). At the time of the centenary of the Oxford concern, they repainted two of the VRs in early Oxford liveries; 476 is still like that, in Hanborough museum, but 454 was repainted again after an indecently short period - I don't recall having seen a picture of it elsewhere in this livery.
By the way, one question asked on your website (though I'd be surprised if you hadn't already been answered!) concerns ex-Thames Valley Bristol KWL6B(?) JRX923 - I don't know the name of the person who owns it, but I believe it lives at a garage at Medstead, by the Mid-Hants. Railway."
Bus Running Days as follows:
Sunday 25 June - Hemel Hempstead
Sunday 1 October – Amersham organised by Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Running Day in Aldershot with details from Andrew Dyer.
I wonder if you could put a piece in your "forthcoming events" section about all the excitement that will be in Aldershot (not often you see the words "excitement" and "Aldershot" in the same sentence!!) over the weekend of 3 & 4 June this year.
Stagecoach is organising an event jointly with the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group to celebrate 100 years since the first bus service operated from Aldershot to Farnborough in June 1906. There will be a running day and on Sunday 4 June we will be holding an Open Day at our depot in Halimote Road, Aldershot. As with the Portsmouth event last year, we hope to attract local families as well as enthusiasts and all proceeds raised will go to local charities.
As Aldershot has such a strong history of Dennis operation, we are hoping to get as many different types of Dennis bus on site as we can. Do you have a contact at the Oxford Bus Museum who might be persuaded to bring a KFC Loline 2? Sadly, I don't think any of the Loline 1's or 3's that were on loan from A&D to COMS in 1969/70 have survived to enable them to make an appearance, although there will certainly be sister vehicles in the SOU xxx and AAA xxxC batches there.
Running Days as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend
Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire
Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK
The Oxford Bus Museum
James Smith writes "I'm reopening my Bus Model store (its being hosted at www.arriva-shires.co.uk/shop for the time being) and as an opening offer I'd like to give your readers the opportunity to buy a couple of local models at a reduced price.. Anybody wishing to purchase these items should contact me directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) instead of through the store...Details Below:
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 1014 - DENNIS TRIDENT - OXFORD PARK & RIDE
Normal Selling Price £19.99 - Oxford Page Readers £13.99
CREATIVE MASTER UKBUS 2012 - DENNIS TRIDENT - STAGECOACH BROOKES BUS
Normal Selling Price £20.99 - Oxford Page Readers £14.99
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
Bus Services in Buckinghamshire
Bus services in Oxfordshire
Where are the Chilterns?
Visit this informative site through the link below.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002