The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  

Issue 105
Sunday 28th November 2004
next update week ending 12th December 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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week news please let me know

This last weekend has been a damp one for most of the time, although yesterday it did manage to keep dry for a large part of the day. However, as ever, the light was poor and photography difficult. However some interesting shots have surfaced and been taken including one of the, so far, elusive coach on the Stagecoach 66. I was also delighted to receive some up to date pictures of the old COMS garage on Cowley Road, taken by one my ace roving reporters.

I must say how impressed I am by the continuing support to the web page each week. Statistics are somewhat subjective but I see that over 500 hits to the news page are recorded each week and visitors come from as far away as Australia, Canada, the USA and in Europe from Germany, Holland, Poland and Scandinavian countries. It is all most pleasing and I reliaise the page is much appreciated by all my readers.

On a local note, the Lewknor interchange is "up and running" and I am somewhat surprised that as yet no lighting has been provided. I also understand that the intended taxi bus services have so far not started although the planned date was said to be 27th September. One wonders just how long it is going to be before things are finished. Certainly with these very dark night lighting is needed with some urgency.

A friend, met through these pages, Geoff Cunliffe visited Oxford on Friday and as ever found some items of interest for the page. Geoff writes "Saw a curiosity in the form of the Cyclemas Tree, made up from 40 abandoned bicycles fastened to a conical scaffolding framework, being pushed, in the middle of the lunchtime traffic, up St.Aldates, along Cornmarket Street to its resting place at Gloucester Green. Standing 6m tall, it is said to have been the highest vehicle to traverse the centre of Oxford for some time. It was due to be lit with Christmas lights yesterday. (Photo attached)" I am delighted to publish this picture as a prelude to the upcoming festive season.

The "tree" mentioned above and caught in the lens of Geoff Cunliffe last Friday

Another correspondent, Gavin Francis, visited the yard of Carousel in High Wycombe and found the Routemaster, which has been under renovation, outside and ready for a picture. Gavin has a magnificent collection of photos of LT buses and was able to provide a now and then set. Carousel have made an excellent job of RM2198, the only thing missing for me are the front and rear wheel trims which so made a London bus special for me.


Another roving reporter sent these pictures of the old COMS depot on Cowley Road. Much work has taken place in demolishing the old garage and this had doubtless caused problems as the roof was asbestos. My reporter writes "......I stopped off at 395 Cowley Road to take some photos of the demolition in the fast-fading light.  G garage has gone, there's just a bit of the side wall (near the door leading to the car park) being eaten by that savage-looking gnasher-thing.  The roof of E garage is starting to come off, and they've knocked out the corner where the skip used to be.  Most of these were taken from the edge of the area where the newly-built houses at the back of Saunders Road are being put into use."


Paul Coley visited Binders Yard at Great Kingshill saying "Also seen was a recently repainted Dennis Dominator preparing for a school trip - I am sure someone will know it's history. Registration is C721NCD." A photo appears below and lower down more comments on Abbey Coaches.  

Now on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 28th November 2004

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News of the local companies 28th November 2004

Abbey Coaches

As mentioned in this week's editorial Paul Coley visited binders Yard and the interesting picture was included with his report.

Paul writes "I took these pictures today of the yard of Prestwood Travel in Binders Yard, Gt Kingshill. 

As I suspected, it seems this business has passed to Smiths Travel (t/a Abbey Coaches). The ex Seamarks and Maidstone Borough Council scania single deck bus D207MKK, previously in Prestwood Travel livery, has now been repainted in to the Abbey Coaches green and white as can be seen. The Leyland Royal Tiger, as others, are now marked up with Smiths Travel legal lettering. The only ex Greenline Plaxton AEC Reliance (of which Prestwood Travel had great loyalty to) on site is under cannibalisation behind the Metrobus. The others, which have included APM111/7T and EPM146V have been sold or scrapped. EPM144V was sold in June to another operator in High Wycombe (Neales) - one hopes for further service. I could not see the registration of the Greenway behind the Royal Tiger.


Another picture of the ex Prestwood Travel garage shows ex Manchester Atlantean A753NNA (which had been in use until a few months ago I think) now full of seats etc. A recent acquisition seems to be Metrobus CUB 540Y from Motts Travel, Stoke Mandeville. This has had it's Yellowbus fleet names removed, but still had Yellowbus blinds! Motts still have its sister CUB 539Y parked up at their outstation near Haddenham"

Geoff Cunliffe caught 5121 in Oxford on the 261.
According to the Arriva handbook this bus is from Garston

Alex Evans has been busy this last week and writes "...I saw Volvo B6 3115 (L315HPP) on the 31 yesterday. Its front blinds have now been replaced with the new orange digital type, like it's sister 3116. I also saw one of Arriva's Varios earlier this evening (Saturday 27th), which has had the same treatment. I think it was 2197 (R197DNM) but I can't be sure as it was dark"

Andy Churchill also visited Wycombe and says "....the Olympian that is being cannibalised for spares at the rear of NBS is 5129 which will eventually go for scrap. An order has been placed for '7' new buses are to be obtained for 'early in 2005' for the new Wycombe route 31 (Downley - Penn). Olympian 5144 did indeed return from Heckmondwike in Yorkshire on 15/10/04 and is now in service at HW and other vehicles have been drafted back to High Wycombe to cover the pvr increase from the 31/10/04. New route 31 will have to wait a while longer for more than an assortment of whatever has wheels!"

Gavin Francis was busy this last week and got several interesting shots in High Wycombe. Gavin writes "Went into Wycombe today. Saw 5145 in the bus station and I might go back in the morning to try and get a pic of it. Also there was an Iveco Arriva MInibus trainer there."

Gavin then went into Wycombe to following morning and took a number of pictures as shown below.

Arriva 3354. Aylesbury bus but I suspect it is a recent transfer in as it was not in Aylesbury's
normal good condition and the slogan on the side was serving East Herts and Essex.

Arriva 5145

Arriva 3104 which was new to Lucky Bus Watford in 1997

Arriva 5851. This bus has now acquired a super rear ad for Route 31.
Only a matter of time before it appears on another route. It must be Wycombe's newest re-painted bus, and also has the individual back.

Martyn says "....Arriva oddities - seen at night (thus no photo, sadly) a lwb Wright Handybus - K-reg but cannot remember the details - did anyone else see this?

Also 2416 N176DWM Merc minibus on the 261; odd compared to the normal Olympians.
(see above Ed.)


Bruce Billingham reports "...for the past week (ending 19/11) : RMO72Y on Kingston/Southmoor - Faringdon schools services and RMO74Y on Longworth/Hinton Waldrist - Faringdon schools services. But which is the third one, I wonder? Will keep my headlamps open for further observations."

Gavin Francis writes "....Went round to Carousel to see if anything was happening there. RM 2198 was parked outside so I have enclosed a pic of it and also when it was in service 22 years ago. M258 looks a bit of a mess after its accident on the 336. I don't think that will be in action again. Spoke to Steve Burns and they are still waiting for the green DAFs.  "

Andy Churchill writes "...acquired in October were DAF SB220LC/Plaxton prestige b40f (ex-b30d) R981 AND 988FNW both painted in the new Best Impressions new red livery and these former Speedlink car park shuttle buses are being used on a new competitive route 4 (high Wycombe Chesham) which began on 18/10/04,these Dafs were part of the large batch (R971-989FNW) originally with Speedlink at Heathrow. Another 2 similar vehicles are due soon in two tone green livery for route 336 (Chesham - Amersham - Watford), on the 15/10/04 Metrobus M258 swerved to avoid a traffic accident between Watford and Rickmansworth but collided with railings and is now said to be a write-off. Routemaster RM2198 (cuv 198 c) which has been kept at Carousel's depot for a few years is now operational and in use as a private hire vehicle, it should be noted that the new 'four-digit fleet numbers' that had started to be applied in the summer were soon abandoned!, and proper fleet numbers have now resumed thus--M***, L***, CB***, ETC for the Metrobuses, Leyland Olympians and Citaros continue."

Carousel M524 pictured by Gavin Francis

A correspondent who always has items of interest for the page, and who has been silent for a few weeks is back again, this time with a picture.Bus Monkey reports "

Tue 23rd
823 on 300

Wed 24th
Park & Ride 107 on the 4A in the morning
Single door 604 on 5

Thurs 25th
120 on 5 in evening peak!! Photo attached.

Bus Monkey's picture of 120 on 5 road in the evening peak.

Another reporter writes "Two low floor buses are expected for the 16 route, believed to be coming from else where, it is also rumoured that all the 644-656 and 601-609 are on the move .  On Tuesday this week a Trident ended up on x3 after a breakdown and 114 was on 4 road, Citaro 835 did a round trip on 5s from half past six. Coach 19 was on a X80, and 54 did two trips to London in the late afternoon and evening."  

A second report from another regular notes that he saw that 6 road was being operated by (amongst others):

836 (sic)

He says "...first time I can recall seeing a Citaro on Wolvercotes."

A less than regular bus on 5 road last Friday was single door Volvo 603.

As mentioned above the Citaros are getting around now and here we see 836 on 4 road.

A source from within the company concurs the note above that two mid life low floor Darts are being sourced from another group company, maybe London General. Full details when available.

Joshua reports that "...On Monday, there was one of the X4 darts on a 7b, most unusual."

Martyn Banham sent some more interesting shots this week as shown below.

Martyn Banham caught 16521 on the U4 one evening last week.

Another Martyn Banham gem, this time 22054 on the U1..

Bus Monkey reports.....

Tue 23rd
33763 on 7B

Also for the last week 22207 has been running around with all route branding except the orange spots on the destination display removed

Thurs 25th
33763 on X4
34466 on 10

And Martyn Banham notes re the pictures above "Not much from me this week.... Two unusual sightings on the U1 - pictured 22054/KX53VNK, and also
20004 R904XFC. It seems odd for single-deckers to work this route, given the obvious need for double-deckers. This may have something to do with the new buses, apparently the R-XFC Olympians will have been replaced in 2 weeks (according to a message from Brookes University).


More from Marcus Lapthorn who writes " 52157 continues to offer luxury travel on this route. The 66 route between Oxford & Swindon calls for a daily allocation of three vehicles and over recent years these have been drawn from a pool of nine single deckers from the N 401- N409LDF series. (Ex Manchester I believe). With the recent acquisition of the coach 51527 and its allocation to this pool it may well be that this signals the start of the withdrawal of the 'normal' pool of vehicles. The reason for saying this is that today @ 1005 I saw N 407LDF in Bristol on the M32 heading away from that City. It had people on board but the destination blinds were blank. Maybe this has been sold or is on loan to a Stagecoach company down there?

Graham Mildenhall noted on Tuesday 23 November "...I am pleased to advise that I have at last seen my first coach operated Service 66! Noted at 0818 joining the A420 south of Faringdon was 52157, presumably the 0730 departure from GG. Notable that the blinds were correctly set to display "Swindon 66"

52157 pictured by Marcus last !  Well done.

A display not normally seen in service, 50114 waits time in New Road last Friday.

This last Saturday's Megabus departures from Gloucester Green at 0930 and 1100 were operated by 16523 and then 16524.

Tappin - City Sightseeing

Late on Friday afternoon 928 makes one of the last tours of the day in wet conditions.

Thames Travel

Thames Travel 846 works the 17 last Friday afternoon.

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