Sunday 26th September 2004
next update week ending 9th October 2004
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Today was SHOWBUS at Duxford and for once the day dawned dull and chilly but by lunchtime the sun had come out and for those who stayed on this afternoon they enjoyed a warm period of time and I am sure would have had a very enjoyable day. Quite the reverse as in past years one often got a very wet afternoon. As ever, having the News Page to do and prepare for yet another week in Germany I and friend Gavin Francis left at 1.30pm and had a pleasant journey home via Luton and Dunstable. The Arriva depot at Hitchin provided an interlude on our homeward way, although the significant allocation of Mercedes Minis parked outside were rather boring.
Showbus was as ever an amazing event and the number of buses and coaches from the length and breadth of the UK never ceases to provide interest and variety. Sadly the representation from Oxfordshire was small and only the private operators contributed. One had hoped to see one of the new Neoplan Oxford Tubes present and maybe on of the Oxford espress Scanias but, probably due to operational commitments neither type was present.
On the model side one had a first chance to view the 1/24th Sun Star Routemaster RM8. What a fantastic model this is and well worth the £99.99 outlay required to own this masterpiece. Mind you at that price I cannot see too many people collecting every version produced. Where to put the model is another problem as it takes up a lot of room in that scale.
Perhaps the most eye catching siter at Showbus was the arrival of Emblings entries. As can be seen from the picture below they had a long line of Bristol VRs and I do not remember so many buses from one smaller company.
The Emblings procession, a spectacle in itself, lad by a small Trojan minicoach.
I have actually driven one of these Trojans when working up in Manchester in the '60s.
The Concord on display at Duxford made a striking background to RMs 1 and 3 which had a model like look about them when photographed.
This week's Oxford Times records the fact that there is much discussion and heated debate on the Oxford Expressway project. It seems that it may never see the light of day as intended and if it happens at all it may well be a much watered down version. Developments will be watched with interest.
Also the County are in debate about finance for a service from Didcot to Oxford and further developments are awaited on this.
Last week we noted that the Stagecoach new and futuristic hybrid diesel electric bus would be tested in Oxford later this year. It now seems that it may come after the coach & Bus show at Birmingham NEC.
A taste of what is to come. Stagecoach are very enthusiastic about the potential in cities where pollution is an issue.
Wycombe Running Day
A few more pictures have been sent to me and I am unable to trace the sender at present so if the picture below is yours please let me know and I'll correct matters. My apologies for the lack of credit.
RM2524 operates a 26A Local Service in High Wycombe on the recent Running Day.
My correspondent Ed Maun writes further on a long gone local operator.
I was interested in the photo of Bristol K 494 at High Wycombe rail station in issue 95. The photo shows the bus later in life with only one cream band (top band under top deck windows over-painted red), no black lining to the cream band, small un-shaded fleet name and additional fleet number in white on front dash (although fleet number on bonnet side is still black). This bus also had destination blinds over the rear platform when new, which have been panelled over. The lamp standard to the left of the bus is where I used to wait for my bus home from school in the late 1940s/early 1950s (Thames Valley services 39/40/41/Oxford 75)!
Tomorrow Monday 27th should see the start of Interchange services at Lewknor. If anyone has the opportunity to get some details I would very much appreciate your input.
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 - 26th September 2004
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News of the local companies – 26th September 2004
Abbey Coaches, High Wycombe
The green Leyland National pictured on this page recently attended Showbus today.
A surprise was in store for Wycombe aficionados today when ex Oxford E225CFC,
once 5825 in the Arriva fleet attended Showbus as 5881.
Does anyone know why this bus has been renumbered?
Andy Churchill reports "Aylesbury 3118 has now lost it's VW advert in favour of Arriva livery. MB Vario 2240 at Aylesbury has now received Arriva livery (ex-Herts cc Intralink system - in Buck's). Aylesbury Olympian 5828 has been repainted from it's Swan FM advert livery back into Arriva livery prior to being transferred out of the company. The new Saturday-only X32 service is worked by one of the green Country Rider Optare Solos. This bus also does the new service 342 Saturday only journeys (10.00am Wycombe-Stokenchurch and return). Wycombe Olympian 5826 has been transferred to Aylesbury."
Arriva runs this open top bus as a special events bus - 5301 JHK495N.
The map on the OFFSIDE even includes Stokenchurch as this picture from Gavin Francis shows.
Strangely Stokenchurch is missing from the nearside map shown in the first picture above.
I am advised that the first of the acquired single deckers for town services should arrive tomorrow, Monday 27th September.
Charlton's contribution to Showbus today was this very nice Leyland Tiger.
Driver Julian shares the picture with the Tiger and Mum!!
The move from Cowley Road to the new garage on Watlington Road continues to provide interest and photos.
Brian Matthews sent this picture of a Fleetline passing Cowley Road bus garage.
The year is 1977 and all is well in the Cowley Road, the closure still 27 years away. The route is interesting
as the 513 is going to Abingdon. Photo by Brian Matthews.
Alan Gelson provided a few interesting shots and also sent some of the recent Bus Driver of the Year event and Oxford Bus's contribution to that event. He says "A few photos that may be of interest to your news page. Taken on the 12th Sept 2004, Blackpool Bus Driver of the year comp. Park and Ride Citaro 825 along side a Blackpool tram plus a photo of the old garage taken Wed 13th Sept 2004 and one of the new garage taken on the 19th
The move of a facility such a a bus garage , especially after 80 years needs a lot of organisation.
In Alan's picture above we can see the bus wash being removed for relocation in the new premises.
Alan's next picture shows a line of buses in the new garage. It takes some getting used to after the pictures from the old premises.
As mentioned above Oxford Bus sent a bus to BDotY in Blackpool and one green people mover meets another
but this one was from an era of long ago. Citaro shares the picture with tram 177.
One interesting result of the move from Cowley Road is the need for crew transport
nowe provided by four of these 8 seat crew buses. This one, 953, is seen waiting time at Queens Lane.
They carry now indication, other than fleet number, of their ownership or use.
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.
I was surprised to see that 6 road seems to have switched to low floor Volvo B10BLEs last Saturday.
Here 810 waits time at the Randolph stop and on Saturday last 813 was also in use on the 6.
Adrian Lancer noted Trident 103 on the X13 on the 22nd September
Andy Churchill noted the following fleet items of interest. Noted at the new depot at Watlington Road are crew-transfer vehicles 951-954 EX54DYB/C/D/F) Ford Transits in use, interesting is the use of 9xx fleet numbers for ancillary fleet as these would be used for buses that could not use the Botley Road Rail Station Bridge,
Optare Metrorider (G781WFC) is numbered 959 and Volvo B10B (K119 BUD) is numbered 962 and the two driver trainer Leyland Lynxes (C63,66HOM) are numbered 971 and 972,
Current withdrawn vehicles to date are- Dennis Darts 512/515 (M512/515VJO), Volvo B10M 11/12 (R11/12OXF).
Chris Maxfield was on a trip and noted the following coach with some similar ones in preparation for Heyfordian at Volvo Leicester.
N724UVRwas new to Shearings in 1996 as their fleet number 724 - photo Chris Maxfield.
It seems that more are included with this one joining Heyfordian?
One of the new Scania/Irizar PBs for NEx was at Showbus today.
The fleet numbers are on the rear view mirrors, a first as far as I know and all are registered to NEx at Birmingham.
In a recent issue I published a picture of 20202 which was in Midland Red livery without vinyl's. These were applied in time for SHOWBUS where I snapped it today.
Bus Monkey writes to report:
20005 on 7
22054 (Brookesbus) on 7
Fleet movements planned from 20/9/04 are reported by John Hammond, Commercial Assistant, Oxfordshire & Warwickshire
34626/7/8 - KX54OPA/B/C - Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton Pointer
All at Nuneaton depot awaiting allocation, although expected to join the batch of SLF Darts on Route 48.
Withdrawn / Transferred
14935 - C962XVC - Leyland Olympian - from disposal to Stagecoach in Corby
14937 - C964XVC - Leyland Olympian - from disposal to Stagecoach in Corby
31333 - P333JNE - Volvo B6 - from Nuneaton to Leamington
40140 - M140LHP - Mercedes 709D - Leamington to Disposal stock
52308 - N618USS - Volvo B10M/Expressliner - Rugby (ex Nat Ex) to Leamington
52434/5/6/7/8/9 - R34/5/6/7/8/9AKV - Volvo B10M/Expressliner - Rugby to Stagecoach Northampton
52444/7 - R454/3FCE " " "
52450/1 - R550/1JDF " " " " "
Stephen Le Bras reports: I was told by a fellow enthusiast that the Designline's movements are listed on the Warwickshire cc website. For the record, these are:
23/9 Rugby town centre (Church St/North St)
24/9 Leamington (The parade/Church)
I understand that its appearance in Oxford has been delayed."
Rob Williams writes "Further to the report on the OCBP. The Designline has been in use in Warwickshire for that last week":
Dave Stewart is right in that it was reported to be due in Oxfordshire from 13th, (before that Warwickshire from 28th August). However it only arrived in Warwickshire last week, and will be with them until the end of this week. I don't know where the published dates originally came from, but if correct it seems that the plans have changed since the dates were released!
Adrian Lancer reports that on Wednesday 42378 was doing a dup on the U1 (seen at Carfax heading to Wheatley at around 08.20 and also 22948 is now sporting an all blue door!
Brian Matthews also wrote on the Designline saga saying "As I have not contributed many pictures to the webpage recently I thought that today, Friday, whilst I was in Leamington Spa, would be an ideal opportunity to address that situation - by taking some shots of the Stagecoach "Electric" bus, as you had requested.
It was a super day for photography - crystal clear, blue sky and fluffy white clouds - the only thing missing was THE BUS !! On enquiry to a local Stagecoach driver I was told "It was here earlier in the week for a couple of days but its gone away now - to the Newcastle area (??) - but it certainly was a lovely bus". I'm not quite sure that his closing remark made me feel any better!"
Stephen Le Bras wrote again to say "Regrettably the Designline bus was off the road, languishing in Nuneaton garage, when a colleague and I visited Leamington Spa today. I do not know how long this has been so but no photos of it from me this time."
Back on the route for which they were first obtained, the 1 but now converted to single door
16522 seen last Saturday on Bravos.
Finally this little bus was at Duxford today. Did it not start life in store at Oxford for some planned route elsewhere?
Brookes are being worked by older olympians pending delivery of new Tridents. Here 16519 stops at Queen's Lane.
New Tube 50121 or Tango 121 as they are known internally rounds Carfax last Saturday inbound from London.
One reader commented that this batch were some of the few Neoplans not to have any external badging.
Duxford played host today. 50044 coincidentally was T44UBE, see above and now works the X77 in Scotland.
Brian Matthews writes "Former-Oxford Tube M A N coaches 50047 and 50058 are both now allocated to Stagecoach London's Leyton depot. Leyton is providing both driver's and buses on the Megabus bendy-bus London-Glasgow service.
Keele services (on the M6 in Staffordshire) also sees the appearance of former Oxford Tube M A N s 50037 and 50046 (T37&46BBW) visiting Leyton.
50047 had to recently return to it's former home in Oxford for some repair
work to be done."
(as mentioned by a
couple of readers Ed.)
Bus Monkey writes to note:
501 (X42 branded) not on X42, but seen heading out towards the Plain on a
846 on 106 (didn't see what was on the 17 in its place)
Think its a classic case of use it or lose it.
The villagers on the route have been moaning about the X42 not being frequent enough and not carrying onto the hospitals since its introduction, and they wanted the 107 back, according to snippets of the Oxford Mail I have seen. BUT like Ralph observed it does seem to mainly carry fresh air, when I've seen it, not unlike the hospitals (and Quarry) extension at least on its predecessor. The one time I used it (as far as Long Wittenham) the passengers on each journey could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
However I'm sure that the timetable leaflet for the X42 said that it was valid until a date in (May/June?) 2005, so the villagers do have good reason to be upset - though it would be nice if someone can prove/disprove this.
I also think that John Power's recent campaign to cut rural bus subsidies may have had an effect on the decision, though doubt the council will actually admit it."
This was in reply to Adrian Lancer who says
being withdrawn W/C 7th November anyway! There was an article in the Didcot
local paper, but I only glanced at it quickly in the shop, but from what i
gathered locals are understandably not very happy!"
And in turn Ralph Adams had commented on the X42 that "It appears that this service is operating in and out via the plain at present due to problems at Folly Bridge, although with the road being resurfaced in the High Street at Carfax and temporary traffic lights at Longwall Street, I am not sure how much better that route is. How can anyone expect buses to keep to time with all these roadworks at the same time?"
Whites of Abingdon
Ralph Adams sent this report a few weeks ago which I now include for the record. Ralph says "Bland & Bainbridge T/A Whites coaches As from 5th July, they need 2 extra low floor buses for the Henley and Didcot town services. Optare Solo T645HBF has been in stock for about a month, occasionally on the 108 and on Friday another Solo, YN53SVJ, was operating the 108. This is on hire from Optare Group, Leeds and is a smart Blue and Silver livery, with a sign noting on hire to Whites Coaches. The dedicated bus on the X30, which route has now been withdrawn, is Vario R946AMB which does not fulfil the low floor description. (The loan Solo has now been returned to its owners. Ed)
Woottens had, as promised W100TEN at Showbus today.
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