Issue 68
(OBP-284)

Sunday 29th February 2004
next update week ending 6th March 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 on
malcolmhc@aol.com

Firstly my apologies for the missing update from last week but in addition to my change of location as mentioned below I suffered from a really bad cold and finally succumbed to a day in bed yesterday, Saturday, when the body could no longer cope.

The last two weeks have proved to be busy ones personally as I took up a revised post with my company based in Frankfurt. I was already able to sample the local transport, which just like Heathrow Airport is provided free in the area of Frankfurt Airport. My one journey from the car pool to the terminal was made on the Setra pictured below and, as I was short of time, I was unable to get any further detail than that which you see. However one certain thing is the predominance of Citaros, in use both airside and on local services.


The route number 5514 is a somewhat longer number than we in the UK are used to!
This Setra operates a route from Frankfurt Airport to Darmstadt.

British Bus Publishing has released the 2004 edition of its Stagecoach handbook which, amongst other items gives details of the forthcoming Neoplans for the tube. There are more details to be found under that operators heading below but suffice to say, as ever, this is an excellent publication. Also I have just received the latest official Stagecoach fleet allocation for our area which shows some interesting changes.

On the "other operators front" this year sees, for the first time, a separate book devoted to Go-Ahead and this is eagerly looked forward to. Additionally Philip Kirk, MD of Oxford Bus has also sent an enthusiasts update which is most welcome.

The changes to the Stagecoach 7 group route took place on Monday 16th February, with major parts of the the through service between Barton and Kidlington split into two at the City Centre. There are now two timetables, one for along the London Road to Barton and one for along the Banbury Road to Kidlington. The through service is maintained but on a reduced frequency and short workings on the Banbury Road to Grovelands are numbered 7A, Evans Lane 7B and on the other side short workings from Barton become the 7C. It does however seem that ALL service departing from the City show 7 except for the 7B to Evans Lane.

It will be interesting to see how this develops and if the hoped for improvement in reliability becomes reality. If so one wonders if other through services of the major operator will be revised. Also of course Thames Travel have introduced the 103, which is a cross city service, during 2003.

I was able to spend a short time in the centre of Oxford on Friday afternoon and noted just how many cars were ignoring the restrictions on private cars in the High Street. If one adds to this the flagrant breach of the "no go area" of Gloucester Green coach station to private cars one has to doubt just how effective OTS really has been?


A private car passes the "bus gate" in High St followed by yet another.


A private car jostles for position with a tour bus in Gloucester Green.
The photographer has blocked out the number plate as we do not wish to get into a dispute.
Picture by Richard Griffin.

The Oxford Times this week relates to the fact that the council intends to take legal powers to prosecute bus drivers who stand in the city centre with their engines running. Such practice is against bus company rules and the local companies support the council in their actions. It appears that some special wardens will be employed to ensure compliance and one wonders if these wardens could also book cars who flagrantly breach "no go" areas such as the High Street, Speedwell Street and Queen Street areas?

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, 29th February 2004.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002

News of the local companies 29th February 2004

Things seem rather out of sorts at Aylesbury where it is reported that Arriva are up to 15+ buses short everyday. Star Travel was operating the 5 service yesterday and on Tuesday Z&S were operating the 5 service with one of their Leyland Titan's. 

MPD 3485 has got a o/s all over window advert for Friars Square. 

  

   

Philip Kirk, Managing Director of Oxford Bus kindly sent the following Enthusiast Update February 2004

New Vehicles (additional info): 

1

AF53OXF

Scania K114EB

1846642

Irizar Century

C46FT

96042

To service 16.01.04

2

BF53OXF

Scania K114EB

1846646

Irizar Century

C46FT

96043

14.01.04

3

CF53OXF

Scania K114EB

1846651

Irizar Century

C46FT

96040

18.01.04

4

DF53OXF

Scania K114EB

1846654

Irizar Century

C46FT

96041

05.01.04

5

EF53OXF

Scania K114EB

1846656

Irizar Century

C46FT

96039

05.01.04

Vehicle renumbered: 

505 to T5, 2/03

Vehicles sold: 

96-99  to Wilts & Dorset, 2/03.

Another source suggests that 99 has actually entered service in the Damory fleet which is part of W&D.

From Oxfordshire County Council website:

W/C 4th April

2 (Oxford Bus Company): Timetable and route alterations. Route in Kidlington altered to
Evans Lane - High Street - Grovelands - Yarnton Road and vice-versa. Lyne Mead section of route withdrawn.

2A / 2B (Oxford Bus Company): Services withdrawn. The Langford Lane section of route is incorporated into service 2 but served Monday to Friday at peak times only.

22 (Oxford Bus Company): Service integrated into route 2 (route Risinghurst - Oxford City - Kidlington) running at similar times but not serving Oxford Station.

Further news on these changes are that RESIDENTS have launched a campaign against the bus service cuts in Kidlington.

Oxford Bus Company is withdrawing part of its daily 2A Kidlington to Oxford service from April 4.

The service will no longer serve parts of Banbury Road, Oxford Spires Business Park, Langford Lane and Oxford Airport, between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

It will be increased from half-hourly to quarter-hourly during peak periods.

Oxford Bus Company's commercial director Nigel Eggleton said the cuts were necessary to improve its route two service, from Kidlington to Oxford, via Cutteslowe, also serving Headington and Barton. He said the service had suffered "punctuality problems" which needed to be solved by increasing the number of buses on the route from eight to ten. The service would run every six minutes instead of every seven to eight and 95 per cent of customers would benefit, he said.

However Langford Lane residents and Kidlington Parish and County Councillors said many people would miss out.

Wendy Scalonl, 51, who lives in a canal boat off Langford Lane and is launching a petition, said: "The nearest bus we will be able to catch out of these hours will be right down in the village which is about a mile away."

Kidlington county councillor Christine Witcher said she had appealed to the council to step in and subsidise the service.

Allan Field, county council bus services manager, said it was in talks with Oxford Bus Company, but it was too early to comment further.


Very few of the Marshall bodied Darts now remain in service with Oxford Bus.
Here 512, seen in Queen St, works the 5A now extended to the Kassam Stadium.


Unusually a week or so ago Volvo dual door 641 was to be found working the 14 road.
It is seen here in George St, its destination equipment unable to show The Churchill Hospital.


That card which does 18s and 2s, mentioned in earlier News Page reports see X3/X13 branded
828 working the midday 2C duty. Sadly the blind escaped my lens.


Scania nr 2 seen at VCs after working the 0610hrs up service to London a week ago.


Richard Griffin's lens caught refurbished Excalibur nr 21 unusually, and maybe for the first time,
working an X70 service to Heathrow on Sunday, the 15th February.


Apart from the snow and rain, we did have a nice period over the weekend.
Here Scania 62 heads outbound to Heathrow on Friday afternoon last.


Last Friday afternoon was the first time I had seen a Citaro on 4 road.
Here 838 heads up High St, Abingdon bound.


Scania demonstrator coach 80 has returned for a further spell at Oxford and is seen at
Gloucester Green last Friday in company with 18 and 28.


Thought some of your readers might be interested in this view of ex COMS 777
operating a service from Llandrindod Wells to Builth Wells last week.
I believe it left COMS in 1999 and has been owned by BROWN, Builth Wells, ever since.
Regards, Paul Green who also took this photo.

First Uxbridge 

Trevor Wilson reports that "First Uxbridge has replaced the Metrobus on the 335 Chalfont Common <> Slough with a Northern Counties H47/27D bodied Olympian (T reg?) transferred from Alperton garage route 83 Southall Hospital <> Golders Green.  So presumably route 83 is running with the low double deckers displaced from route 18 Euston <> Sudbury by Mercedes Citaro bendy buses.  The Olympians used on route 83 were the last Olympians placed in service on a LT route having been acquired from dealer stock.

Heyfordian


Plaxton bodied DAF 8252MX from the Heyfordian fleet is seen passing along High St last Friday afternoon.
This coach once bore the Citylink livery and worked X70 and X80 services to Heathrow and Gatwick.

Graeme asks "Can you help me? I am looking for a current Heyfordian fleetlist but I can't find one anywhere. Do you have one, or at least know where I can find one? - Any help would be very much appreciated."

It would be nice if someone could provide an updated fleet list as the last one published was some years ago now.


DAF Van Hool YJ03FFX works a 348 service through Gloucester Green to Bristol.

 

On March 27th 2004, Stagecoach in Warwickshire is retiring from service the last of 85 Leyland Nationals acquired from the former National bus subsidiary Midland Red Omnibus Co. Ltd. The last surviving example, NOE 602R dating back to March 1977 has completed 27 years service in Warwickshire.

From October 1972 to September 1980, while part of the National Bus Company, Midland Red received 445 new Leyland Nationals. The first 420 of these were Mark I Nationals and the remaining 25 were Mark II.

To mark the end of the type in service, Stagecoach in Warwickshire is to celebrate the last example NOE 602R on a special final day in service for bus enthusiasts.

0915 - Service 48 from Nuneaton Bus Station
1005 - Arrive Coventry Pool Meadow Bus Station

1025 - X16 from Coventry to Stratford-upon-Avon
1137 - Arrive Stratford Upon Avon Bridge Street

Lunch Break

1205 - X16 from Stratford, Wood Street to Leamington
1252 - Arrive Leamington Spa, Upper Parade

1335 - 64 from Leamington parade to Rugby
1445 - Arrive at Rugby, Clifton Road

1504 - 86 from Rugby, Clifton Road to Coventry
1557 - Arrive at Coventry, Broadgate/The Burges

1610 - 157 from Coventry, The Burges to Nuneaton
1705 - Arrive at Nuneaton Bus Station.

FARES:
Stagecoach Day Explorer 5.50
Child/Senior Citizen 3.50
Group Explorer 10.00
(A group is 2 adults and up to 3 children or a maximum of three adults)

Goldriders, Day Riders and Megariders will be valid for the day within their respective zones. Cash fares will also be available from the driver.

The latest allocation lists show a number of changes:

Vehicles in reserve
16401  M301DGP     VOLVO OLYMPIAN OX
20541* P541ESA     VOLVO B10M OX
20542* P542ESA     VOLVO B10M OX
20417* H617ACK     VOLVO B10M OX
20423* H623ACK     VOLVO B10M OX
20704* K704ERM     VOLVO B10M OX
31330  P330JND        VOLVO B6LE OX

41504 H404MRW     Reserve to Disposal RY
41510 J410PRW      Oxford to Disposal OX

* Pending transfer to Route 10 in Oxford on March 21st 2004

33650* R150CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33651* R151CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33652* R152CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33653* R153CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33654* R154CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33655* R155CRW Nuneaton to Reserve
33763* R463LSO Nuneaton to Reserve
33821* R821YUD Nuneaton to Reserve
33822* R822YUD Nuneaton to Reserve

Newly received vehicles.
13614 J166UNH     Hong Kong to Rugby
13615 J167UNH     Hong Kong to Rugby (Megabus.com)

34491 KV53NHH New to Nuneaton
34492 KV53NHJ New to Nuneaton
34493 KV53NHK New to Nuneaton
34494 KV53NHL New to Nuneaton
34495 KV53NHM New to Nuneaton
34496 KV53NHN New to Nuneaton
34497 KV53NHO New to Nuneaton
34498 KV53NHP New to Nuneaton
34499 KV53VNL New to Nuneaton

Transfers out

52298 N448 XVA Reserve to Stagecoach South
16402 M302 DGP Reserve to Swindon

The arrival of 33821 and 33822 will see a small part of a batch of 29 buses which were new to Oxford returning "home".

Further news to add, and some to summarise from Rob Williams:

16401 has been on loan to Banbury for the last couple of weeks, covering for their Leyland. As both were in service on Wednesday, I suspect that 16401 is the one that will return to Devon.

The following transfers will be taking place over the next few weeks:

25402 Nuneaton to Withdrawn to be replaced by a B10M sometime in March/April
31330 Oxford to Rugby to replace 32058 (31330 was still in service in
Oxford today)
31331 Oxford to Banbury to replace 40172 (31331 has transferred)
32051-4/7/61-3 Oxford to Withdrawn (to South Wales and also I think West) sometime in March
32058 Rugby to Withdrawn (and then to South Wales etc with the Oxford examples) (still in use at Rugby at the moment)
33650-5/763/821-2 Nuneaton to Oxford sometime in March.
40172 Banbury to
Oxford to replace 41510 (40172 still in Banbury on Wednesday)
41510 Oxford to Withdrawn (still in use today)
50038 Withdrawn to
Oxford Tube

It is 100% definite that it is Nuneaton's nine Dart SLFs (not B6s) that will transfer to Oxford to replace nine step entrance Darts, including those on the 10.

16401 had returned from loan to Banbury by Monday morning. It has been stripped of ticket machines (but not all of the fittings yet), so it looks likely that it will be the one going back to Devon. (see above it seems to be going to Swindon.)

40162 has not yet arrived from Banbury to allow 41510 to go.

22916 is being prepared for repaint, 22913 and 22915 having been completed recently. 22913 hasn't yet had its route branding replaced, but 22915 has. I'm not sure if 22914 has been done.

50038 is definitely back, in plain red livery with its interior refurbished. It is said to be a very bright orange and red.

Trident 18055 was seen last week - it's in a bad way, with no windscreen and severe front end damage - it seems it could take as long as two months to fix. As a result 16524 is coming back from apparent loan to Witney and 20417 is going on loan in its place.

Also, it has been confirmed that the U2 and U3 WILL be converted to double deckers - approx date October

This years edition of the new Stagecoach handbook quotes 50101-50125, Neoplan Skyliner / Neoplan  C63/18FT, new 2004 to augment the Oxford Tube. No registration numbers are quoted.

Whilst application has been made to the Council regarding their use in Gloucester Green no decision has been made officially known from the council if such coaches will be allowed.


The northern end of the 7 short workings now terminate in Magdalen Street East. 22930 is seen laying over.


Olympian 16402 is still at Oxford although it seems to move in and out of reserve.


One of the oldest SC coaches to be seen at Oxford is this Volvo L reg 52155 seen working an X6.


Another unexpected performer on the U1 last Friday was 16141 seen in High Street.

A major new story broke a week ago when it was announced that a number of new routes were to be launched in March. Details were advised as:

Stagecoach is today announcing a significant expansion of the Megabus.com network with a number of new routes to be introduced on 1st March.

The new routes will be as follows - all will operate daily:

London - Birmingham (6 journeys each way)
London - Cardiff - Swansea (1 journey e/w)
London - Bristol (4 e/w)
London - Exeter & Plymouth (1 e/w)
London - Bournemouth (2 e/w)
London - Southampton (2 e/w)
London - Portsmouth & Southsea (2 e/w)
London - Brighton (2 e/w)

London - Birmingham will be operated jointly by Stagecoach South Midlands and Stagecoach London. 
London to the South Coast will be operated by Stagecoach South. 

Services to South Wales, Bristol and the South West will be operated jointly on a complex interworking pattern involving Stagecoach West (1 vehicle based at Swindon), Stagecoach South Wales (1 vehicle at Cwmbran), Stagecoach Devon (1 vehicle at Exeter) and Stagecoach London (1 vehicle at Leyton).  All maintenance will be the responsibility of
London and Cwmbran, and buses will be on two day diagrams so Exeter and Swindon will simply be used for overnight parking.

The vehicles will be moved to their respective depots over this weekend and early next week to allow time for staff training before the services go live the following Monday.

All services listed except
Birmingham will use Victoria Green Line Coach Station in London.  I think the Birmingham service will operate from Gloucester Place along with the existing Oxford service.

Almost all serve handy Universities in the cities concerned. Bookings are open, start date 1st March, fares 1.see www.megabus.com for routes and timetables.

Lots of ex HK Citybus Olympians have been done up, all in the blue and yellow scheme, identical to the Oxford ones.

Route numbers have been allocated as follows;

M1 to
Birmingham - it seems that the two buses from Rugby will be on this service
    13614 J166UNH     Hong Kong to Rugby
    13615 J167UNH     Hong Kong to Rugby (Megabus.com)

M2 to Ringwood and
Bournemouth
M3 to
Southampton
M4 to
Portsmouth
M5 to
Brighton
M6 to
Exeter and Plymouth
M7 to
Cardiff and Swansea
M10 to
Bristol
with the Oxford route is now numbered M40.

It also seems that some coaches have been painted up in Megabus livery for services on the south coast.

Adrian Lancer notes "I have been told that a reason for the Megabuses being unavailable for the Oxford Route is that they have been suffering considerable problems at White City with getting windows smashed by the local youths throwing various things at them. Indeed, many now divert via Old Oak Lane and Uxbridge Road to avoid the problem. He also said that the Tube seems to have been affected less.


Oxford's 13605 works an afternoon up service to London and is about to pick up on St Giles.

Thames Travel, Wallingford


Have missed some TT pictures recently and liked this one of 651 on the 106 in New Road.


Once with TT this Solo - X384VVY - is now with Norfolk Green. Photo by Chris Maxfield.


Another Solo - X249VWR - is also with Norfolk Green. Photo by Chris Maxfield.

PHOTO CORNER
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at 
malcolmhc@aol.com


A busy scene in Headington last week.


Crusader Holidays Setra EK51KZB arrives in St Giles to unload some sightseers.


What a nice little coach this was, caught in St Giles FY03WZU. A Mercedes Benz.


Once with Armchair in London P689RWU was caught a week ago in St Giles.
Who now owns this bus was no clear but it seemed to be learner duties. Anyone know?

I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
malcolmhc@aol.com

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002