A Happy Christmas to all my readers
Christmas - Issue 59
Sunday 21st December 2003
week ending 9th January 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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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.
So much has happened in the past year and these pages give record of those events. The number of new buses and coaches in our area are a compliment to those operators who continue to make investment.
As it is Christmas and a holiday time there will not be an issue next week and as such this is the last issue for 2003. The next issue will be hopefully on January 4th 2004 and I will look forward to your contributions for that issue.
Developments in The Chilterns
Last week Michael Chadwick eluded to developments in The Chilterns and he has
given more details in time for this issue. Michael notes that "All
the following commence Monday January 12th 2004:
1. "rider on call" branded Demand Responsive Transport services in two areas, using Optare Aleros, funded through Rural Bus Challenge fund. Both involve variable routes depending on pre-booked demand. One service will connect villages throughout the Hambleden Valley (including Hambleden, Skirmett, Turville, Fingest and Frieth) with commuter trains at Marlow Station, and will offer a daytime shoppers' service between Marlow and Henley. The second service is centred on the Bledlow area serving, I think, Saunderton Station at morning and evening peaks, and daytime between Princes Risborough and High Wycombe. Both vehicles also accomplish a school run within the schedule. I believe they are only M-F daytime. Operator understood to be a firm from Bicester.
2. "Cressexpress" using 8-seat Transits linking High Wycombe rail station, the hospital, and Cressex Business Park on a 15-minute frequency. I believe there is a demand-responsive element at the Cressex end? Operator will be Ambassador Coaches (which I'm told has management links with former West London Travel??).
3. The Cressexpress vehicles are also to be used for a new evening / Sunday service linking Stokenchurch (from Mill Road, at western end of village, via A40, then Marlow Road, New Road, back onto A40), Piddington, West Wycombe, High Wycombe centre, hospital, sports centre, and Wycombe 6 cinema at Cressex. There will be 3 return journeys M-Sa evenings, plus 5 return journeys Su daytime. Provisional service number is 400A, although vehicles don't have destination displays. This is a Wycombe District Council initiative, funded for an initial period of 6 months to assess demand, and follows significant community unhappiness following loss of 757 earlier this year.
4. The opportunity is also being taken to "re-launch" (basically a publicity drive) the Carousel A40 High Wycombe - Heathrow service now that the Citaros have entered service, and Arriva RedRoute 33 (plus Route 9 in Aylesbury and the CountyRider network).
As a Stokenchurch resident, I appeal to site visitors to try the evening/Sunday services, to help ensure their continuation!
Licensing notes for this area
Week commencing 21st December 2003
In addtition to 5A/5B change, Banbury night route N5 will be withdrawn after service on 20th December 2003.
Week commencing 11th January 2004
Early morning return Banbury to Chipping Norton journey on service 488 and Sunday services on Banbury routes B4 and B8 will be transferred from Cheny to Stagecoach
Service B8 (Stagecoach / Cheney): Sunday service operated by Stagecoach instead of Cheney.
Saturday 7th February 2004
Stagecoach services 1, N1, 7A, N7, 3, N3, X4, N4 will have slight timetable alterations incorporating improvements to late evening / night services.
There will also be a new N15, operated by Stagecoach on Friday/SAturday nights only between Oxford and Wood Farm (presumably via day OBC 15 routeing).
Week commencing 8th February 2004
Thames Travel's service 106 once again curtailed to run between Oxford Station and Science Park only. Heyfordian will operate a partial replacement, numbered 85 to run between Greater Leys and Cowley only, but at a reduced frequency compared to 106.
Adrian Lancer reports "....a rumour that the Oxford Tube fleet was to be replaced now seems more likely.
According to LSP38 (at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/buses/pdfdocs/lsp.pdf ) Stagecoach have applied to vary LSP0100 from April 2004. The variation is to allow the usage of double deck coaches with a maximum length of 13.7m, which are fully DDA compliant.
This does not imply an imminent delivery of such coaches but one was viewed recently as reported in these pages.
Paul reports that "The
Traveline journey planner has been revamped. They now take you to PDF
timetables (not the official ones, but all to a standard design, so I assume
designed by Traveline themselves. There are still some errors, for example the
10 listing shows the route only runs between City Centre and Corner House and
the timetable shows the OBC Garage as: Rose Hill (Oxford), Oxford Bus Co
Garage!! The terminal is shown as Marston (Oxofrd), Oxford Northway, Brookfield
Crescent - not JR Hospital!!
Some TTs are also missing - in Oxford it appears to just be the U2,U3 and NU3 (possibly as they're waiting for the new timetable instead of putting the old onbe up for a few days!)
The journey planner is at:
although http://www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk will give you an explanation of what's changed.
Thornhill now a coach interchange for Oxford Express and The Airline services
As mentioned last week Oxford bus company has now rerouted inbound and outbound services via the Thornhill Park & Ride site and services are seemingly enjoying good patronage as the services become more well known.
Oxford bus have also introduced a kerbside conductor and passengers appreciate the personal touch. When I took the opportunity to visit the site this morning coaches were arriving a departing every few minutes and passengers I spoke to thought the new stop was an improvement on the stops outside the site. These stops, especially for the services leaving Oxford require an often precarious crossing of a very busy main road and the new stop also enables people to be dropped off or picked up in much greater comfort.
There is plenty of room for cars to park when bringing or collecting coach passengers and I thought how well the whole matter seemed to be working.
I did however notice that the Oxford tube people were now encouraged by very large signs on the shelter on the eastbound A40 and it might be nice if the Oxford Bus Company could also put some large signage on the shelter in the car park seen in the photo above.
Stokenchurch & Princes Risboro'
Ed Maun wrote following last week's pice on the old Thames Valley bus garage at Stokenchurch.
Ed says "I was interested in Colin Richardsonís notes on the Thames Valley Stokenchurch dormy shed in issue 58. To say the garage building is still standing is probably stretching the truth a little. Its new owners carried out a major refurbishment as well as removing the large full-fronted entrance doors. The walls and roof were completely stripped and new cladding installed. A similar rebuild was done to the Princes Risborough dormy shed in Longwick road when the original successors to Thames Valley (Shirleys Self Drive Ė they called it Valley Garage, by the way) sold the premises on to the Risborough Garage of New Road about 4 or 5 years ago.
Coming back to Stokenchurch and TV operations; Leyland TD5s 339 Ė 341 operated the routes from 1937 when they were taken over from COMS. These were replaced by Bristol K5Gs 407 Ė 409 in 1939 and by K5Gs 413 and 414 in 1942. The TV allocation went down to two during the war; never returning to 3. In 1950 Bristol K6Bs 528 and 529 were allocated until 1954 when KSW6Bs 730 and 731 took over. All of these buses were brand new when allocated to Stokenchurch. As Colin says various Lodekkas were allocated later and towards the end of operations there was no permanent allocation, any of Wycombe depotís newer double deckers being used.
In the 1940ís/50ís coaches were regularly stored in the shed during the winter including the Windover Bristol L6Bs (there was room for at least 6). The K5G open toppers were also stored on one occasion as were the Marlow/Maidenhead Bedford OB/Beadles when Marlow Bridge had one of its frequent severe weight restrictions applied. On these occasions a shuttle operation was employed each side of the bridge with passengers having to walk over!
Colin is correct in stating that the shed closed in 1980; this coincided with the introduction of the Wycombe area MAP scheme under the ChilternLink banner which saw the Stokenchurch services completely recast. This introduced services from Stokenchurch to H. Wycombe via Cadmore End and Lane End for the first time; previously they used the A40 road via Studley Green.
In the 1940ís and 1950ís COMS had 3 double decks allocated, all AEC Regents as you would no doubt guess! After this time my memory is a bit shaky as I was doing National Service in the 1950ís and then married and moved nearer to Aylesbury from the middle 1960ís.
Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.
Malcolm Crowe, 21st December 2003.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
News of the local companies Ė 21st December 2003
Formally an Aylesbury based Dart, 3482has now seemingly been transferred to Wycombe
and is seen here on a 33 working but lacking branding vinyls.
Nigel Peach wrote "Ex
London Olympian 5854 (D167FYM) has appeared at the back of the Wycombe bus
station this week. This becomes the tenth replacement for the 11 ex Oxford
Olympians with just 5855 to come. However four of the ex Oxfords are still in
service - 5825/6/31/4. Maybe they are staying to cover for other buses that are
off the road. On Friday (19th), just one of the route branded buses was working
the 33 (3826). Recent arrival 3482 (not branded) was also on that route
but the others were all either being worked on or lying dormant in the bus
station. 3824 had evidently failed whilst waiting to pick up passengers. Its
replacement had to drop off & pick up passengers parked alongside it which
caused a tail back going a way outside the bus station!
Steve Warwick writes "Delivered this morning (last Friday) to Aylesbury a NEW Transbus MPD (KE53NFG) fleet number we think is going to be 3829. It has been paid for by Oxfordshire County Council it is to be used for the 232/231 Wycombe to Thame."
Carousel Buses, High Wycombe.
A visit to Wycombe on Friday revealed the new Citaros in service and also the London General adorned Metrobus.
Branding is partially applied on the new Citaro fleet but as yet not fully completed.
They also lack fleet numbers when MB51 CB51BUS was seen here laying over between journeys.
Metrobus M57 was working route 1 and looks rather splendid in its traditional livery
Chiltern Queens (a blast from the past !)
Soper wrote "Do you have any fleet details of Chiltern Queen in the early
1960's as I have at least 3 pictures of this fleet taken in the middle of a snow
storm but cannot identify them except for the vehicle types, AEC, Guy, and
Leyland Comet. Any vehicle details would be very welcome".
I am delighted that both Richard and Mike responded and their efforts are recorded below.
Richard writes "Ex CQ vehicles are operated by Tourex t/a School Bus Co and Nostalgia Travel. There are a few ex CQ Leopards in the Scrap Yard at Berinsfield, if you watch some episodes of Thunder Races on Discovery (Monday night 8pm) you can see them in the background."
Mike writes "With regard
to your query about Chiltern Queens' vehicles I photographed a number of them in
the early sixties, some of which you published a while back.
They had two Leyland Comet coaches - HRK 901 and 906. 906 was a 30' long 37 seater while 901 was a shorter 33 seater. If it helps I photographed 906
engineless at the garage in October 1963 but I don't know if it returned to service.
There were two Wadham bodied Guy Vixens - NPC 727 and NPE 61.
As for AECs there were several Reliances with bus and coach bodies and one exposed radiator Regal III with Gurney Nutting full fronted body. This was
LLU 420. There was also a Whitson bodied Maudslay Marathon III which was rebuilt to full front using a Regent V grille. This was LPH 429.
Incidentally there is an excellent article on the early days of this operator in Buses Illustrated for January 1963 for anyone whose library goes back this far."
Mike then sent some photos of the Chiltern Queens vehicles he mentions above.
First is HRK901, a Strachans bodied Leyland Comet, photographed outside the garage on November 16th 1963.
Second is HRK 906, another Strachans bodied Leyland Comet, this one built to 30' length and photographed at the garage on October 19th 1963. Alongside is a withdrawn Bedford OWB, BBW 701. The Comet was engineless at the time but I don't know if it ever re-entered service.
Third is LLU420, an AEC Regal III with a full-fronted Gurney Nutting body photographed in Reading on October 9th 1965.
Fourth is LPH 429, a Maudslay Marathon III with Whitson body which had been rebuilt with a full front complete with an AEC Regent V grille. It was photographed in Reading on September 30th 1963.
Thanks to Mike for the foregoing.
The Citaro features again this week in the photo below sent in by Rob Williams of one the two unbranded buses, 837 and 838 working 15 road. As rob says they seem to have settled down on this route at present and were working here on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week.
Indeed looking at the allocations for Saturday 20th December I note the following.
5 road - 810,
104, 105, 801, 806, 102, 804, 802, 803, 818, 808, 815 and 805. (all low
X3 road - 835, 828, 834, 830, 829, 832, 831 and 836.
15 road - 809, 821, 838, 817 and 837
14 road - 403 and 512
5AB roads - 401 and 510
Indeed the only old Darts in service were 510 and 512 mentioned above. aslso there were no Citaro dual doors on 300 or 400 roads.
It is also noted that 811 is under repaint and 618 is having its X3 branding removed.
It is understood that all other Darts in the 5xx series are now withdrawn.
For other Oxford Bus photos please refer to the Editorial above relating to Thornhill Park & Ride interchange.
A couple of points of interest have appeared on the other page relating to bus matters in Oxford - firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul wrote "I would be
grateful if someone could advise me as to which national express service(s) the
coaches at Rugby are used on, as I've only seen a handful of them , when they
were in the garage and haven't seen any in service."
Eddie responded "One of the National Express services that Rugby operate is the 455.
After the coaches have gone out in service on the early morning service from Rugby, they shuttle between Northampton and London during the day and then return in service to Rugby in the evening.
I would be able to provide more information with regard to the timings if you were interested"
Ralph Adams wrote "One of the duties is service 310 Oxford - Leeds and it is part of a 4 day cycle I believe.
It arrives at Gloucester Green in the evening and the driver takes it to Horspath garage overnight. The next morning, the driver is taken as a passenger to GG picking him up at lodgings in the Wood Farm area with a Tube driver in the cab as this day is a very long duty. It therefore ensures the driver stays within time limits. I remember when as a passenger on the coach he informed me of the services he was doing on the next few days which covered a variety of services."
Adam Rideout, now Marketing Manager of the company sent the latest attached fleet list (period 9 - December 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click here to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)
A view this morning at Horspath Garage with Tubes 51 and 54 in the entrance.
An ex "Ribble" Alexander PS now in the Oxford fleet 20423. Photo by Neil Gow.
Ralph Adams writes "According
to Coach & Bus, stagecoach are importing a demonstrator from New Zealand. It is
a hybrid electric / LPG bus. It is planned for use in Newcastle but will also
operate at various other places such as Oxford. It is produced by Designline
(who I thought were only body builders) with unusual shaped body / windows. When
the windows are broken, each one appears different so will cost a lot to hold
It has a range of 32 kms (about 200 miles) ay average speed of 22kms (17 mph). This seems slow, but is better than the Blackbird buses obtain in normal service.
Cost is £200,000 (double normal cost) with 30 seats plus 30 standees."
There is a picture and article in the January edition of Buses - from Ian Allan Ed..
brookesbus at rest. Horspath this morning.
Rob Williams writes "22053 finally received its BMW (or more correctly Mini) vinyls on Wednesday! Each side features four large top views of a mini with union jacks on their roofs, and 'Its a Mini Adventure in Oxford' fleet names at the top rear. The Mini logo appears above the drivers cab, plus white on black Brookes Bus logos dotted about with a large one on the front.
This morning it was out on the U2s before coming out of service, apparently to be filled up with presents from BMW to take to children's homes."
Adrian Lancer notes "The U2 should be operated by 22053 and 22054, but tridents are being used at the moment due to the fact they are spare from the U1, as it is now vacation time. Unfortunately, the tridents are needed on the U2 in term time, but then there aren't any spare to use!!
received an e-mail from Brookes regarding the changes:
The U2 daytime route was established because the 10 could not cope with the peak time passenger numbers, outside of term time the 10 can easily cope with the dwindling passenger numbers produced by the University along Hollow Way and The Slade. The services available to the students at this time allow them to do just about anything they need to do.
The withdrawal of the U2/U3 outside of term time does bring certain cost savings, however this money is being ploughed back into the network to provide additional capacity on the U1 route where passenger numbers are greatest."
Thames Travel, Wallingford.
Travel recently put 3 new Solos into service. I read somewhere that V399SVV had
gone, but I have seen both 390 & 399 on the road together so that was incorrect.
I am not aware of any extra services so would have expected 3 buses to have gone
but so far I have not noticed what vehicles are no longer in service.
PS 390 tonight looked like it had recently had a new coat of white paint."
Rob Williams responded "V390 has therefore lost its X39 branding like V399. I was under the impression that they might be replacing 3 Solos for 3 Solos. Don't know if that's right though!"
Z&S Travel, Aylesbury.
Z&S continue to operate some journeys on the 321 into High Wycombe with this elderly Dart, ex London.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
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