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 135

Sunday 3rd July 2005
next update week ending 15th July 2005

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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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This week has seen a record number of contributions from readers and the pictures submitted have been especially interesting and of excellent quality.

The item of most significance takes the lead this week and I have been very pleased with the photographic contributions received.

Also of great interest was the Live 8 concert in London which, along with the other events - Gay Pride March, Wimbledon and Lords, generated an enormous increase in traffic on the Oxford-London services.

Tunnel collapse on Chiltern Railways causes headaches for rail travellers.

The tunnel collapse at Gerrards Cross last week. Picture from Dennis Troughton.

Commuters in the Midlands and London face at least a week of disruption after a rail tunnel collapsed.

Tonnes of earth dropped on to the track at Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, near to where a new Tesco store is being built. No trains were in the tunnel at the time on Thursday evening, although one was stationary nearby.

An hourly service is now running between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone via Aylesbury. Rail replacement buses are operating throughout the day between Beaconsfield and Amersham, High Wycombe and Maidenhead and Denham and West Ruislip.

Dennis Troughton supplied the picture above saying "The new tunnel being built over the railway at Gerrards Cross by Tesco suffered a partial collapse tonight at 1940hrs. Being on call I was there luckily within fifteen minutes. In my estimate it will be up to two weeks maybe more before trains services are restored. This of course means bus replacements until further notice. So out with the camera, mine will be ready for action as ever.

Here's Chilterns official release from their website 

Services are subject to major disruption until further notice. Trains between London Marylebone and Princes Risborough and stations to the West Midlands are being diverted via Aylesbury with a reduced service. Buses are running between Princes Risborough and West Ruislip calling at all stations. There is a rail shuttle service running every 30 minutes between West Ruislip and London Marylebone calling at all stations apart from Sudbury Hill Harrow and Sudbury & Harrow Road. Buses are also running between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough calling at Little Kimble and Monks Risborough. Virgin Trains, First Great Western Link and London Underground are accepting Chiltern Railways tickets on alternative rail routes until further notice. 

And here is a photo showing the collapse into the tunnel taken about 30 mins after it happened. I don't think I'm breaking any rules by letting it be published if you so wish!

Gavin Francis and Malcolm Hyland secured a number of pictures of the buses and coaches used for replacement services as described above. If you look at the caption on the link bar at the bottom of your screen you will see who took which photograph. Many thanks to Gavin and Malcolm for their prompt efforts.





One picture sent by Gavin Francis may or may not have been of a coach on this service but again it might have been on schools. We don't know which company this coach belongs?

Flash floods bring chaos to Oxford's rush hour.

Last week on Tuesday and Wednesday flash flood caused by electrical storms brought chaos to roads around Oxford. The Eastern by-pass was closed between Rose Hill and the BMW factory at Horspath for a period of time and many bus services were affected or delayed by the downpours.

Live 8 and Gay Pride march bring many thousands to London last Saturday.

The various events in London this last weekend brought many thousands of extra people wanting to get to London. There was also a great deal of traffic congestion in central London but most operators of buses and coaches managed very well indeed.

Park Lane was closed to traffic southbound for most of the day and the concert, Live 8, did not finish until nearly midnight when the area around Hyde Park was once again severely congested.

Of the two local Oxford operators with services to London only Stagecoach with their Oxford Tube offered additional capacity.

Their web site quoted :-

Extra Coaches for Live 8

On Saturday 2nd July the Oxford Tube will be operating up to 12 extra vehicles to provide extra capacity for everybody heading to the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park.

However Park Lane will be closed southbound between 0830 and approx 1300 for a parade at 1200. Coaches will be diverted via Kensington Church Street. Passengers for Marble Arch are advised to alight at either Notting Hill Gate or Victoria Station.

The streets surrounding Hyde Park will be closed from approx 1900 until the crowds from the Live 8 concert have dispersed. During this time coaches will be diverted via the Embankment and Shepherds Bush, stopping at the Kensington Hilton stop via Royal Crescent. Passengers travelling from London at this time are advised to board at Grosvenor Gardens, as we will be unable to stop at Notting Hill Gate or Marble Arch.

As a result 24 out of the 25 Neoplans were in service, the missing coach being 50123 away at Rotherham for modification work, FOUR of the old M A N Tubes, 50040, 46, 47 and 58 plus five Olympians. 16521, 16522, 16523, 16524 and 16526.

The services of both operators were fully subscribed from around 0830 until 1230 and passengers joining after St. Clements for a time had to wait for space.

Gavin Francis caught 16523 departing from Gloucester Green around 1000hrs bound for London.

One reader observed a total of 15 coaches and buses awaiting service for returning passengers from London around 2100hrs.

Certainly it must have been a record day for both companies.

Major route into Oxford set for changes.

Improvements are to be made to one of the busiest routes into Oxford, London Road Headington to St Clements is set for an overhaul and could include priority signals for buses, new bus lanes and provision for pedestrians and cyclists. Dates and full details are not yet finalised and the matter is still in the consultation stage.

Bus use in Oxford falls.

An article in the Oxford times says "Oxfordshire County Council will lose out to the tune of 500,000 because of a drop in bus use. The number of people using buses fell three per cent between October and March.

The county council had committed itself to increasing bus use by 10 per cent over three years in an agreement with the Deputy Prime Minister's Office. It described the reduction in passengers as "a worrying trend" and promised "strong measures" to try to persuade people to get back on buses.

A report for the county council's cabinet on Tuesday said: "We are not on target for meeting the national target or our challenging Public Service Agreement target."

"A significant drop was recorded for one major operator, contributing 49 per cent of the overall total."

It added: "A key factor remains the failure of Government to implement camera enforcement legislation to allow us to keep bus lanes clear."

The council's sustainable transport manager, Noel New- son, said that buses were victims of the congestion they were supposed to ease.

He said: "We know there are operational difficulties and areas where bus operators say they are unable to operate reliable services. It does not encourage people to use services."

He believed increased fares and the reluctance of shoppers to return to Oxford following the Cornmarket debacle were also factors.

The council said it would be relying on better marketing to encourage greater public transport use, as well as the introduction of free parking at park-and-rides sites.

The failure to boost passenger numbers means the council loses out on a reward payment worth more than 500,000.

Martin Sutton, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxford, said: "We have had a bad six months in terms of roadworks on Abingdon and Cowley Roads."

Nigel Eggleton, commercial director of Oxford Bus Company, said: "There has been an overall drop in bus travel into the city centre for all operators."

The number of passengers in 2004-5 was 34.49m compared to 34.77m, a drop of 280,000 compared with a year earlier.

(I find that The Oxford times is an excellent paper in reporting local issues, especially on Transport. Ed.). 


ow on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. Please note that next week's page will be published on Monday evening and not Sunday as usual.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 3rd July 2005

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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

News of the local companies 3rd July 2005

This week has seen a goodly number of contributions and I would like to thank Gavin Francis and Mike Penn for their efforts.

Mike Penn has sent a short report from his area of Luton and Dunstable with some interesting pictures.

Gavin Francis caught this Dennis Lance with Wright Pathfinder bodywork taken in Wycombe last week.

Olympian 5158 is quoted as an Aylesbury based bus but is seen here on a Wycombe local service
ands is believed to be one of the buses drafted in following the Abbey Coaches collapse.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

5851 is nominally allocated to Ware but is seen here in Wycombe on the 348.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Mike Penn writes "As I now have a digital camera here are a couple of photos from Luton taken yesterday (Tuesday) that you might be interested in."

FKM 866V is one of three Bristol VRs still active in Luton with Arriva The Shires.
  It was new to Maidstone & District.

Arriva The Shires 5381 (MUH 281X) is the oldest Olympian in the fleet and was new to National Welsh. 
It is seen about to enter the garage in Dunstable Road, Luton following a school run.

Arriva The Shires 3081 (F153 KGS) is a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M acquired from Buffalo Travel in 1995. 
Although normally based at Watford for contract duties its is seen on a visit to the Luton garage.

Dart L153WAG remains in Arriva London livery whilst the other three Darts have now received fleet livery.


Mike Penn sent some more interesting pictures taken last week in his area.

Lutonian K254 JNV (originally NDZ 7921) is a Wright bodied Mercedes 811D acquired recently from MK Metro. 
It is in the now standard Centrebus livery and is seen at Luton station on LQT's X31 service linking Luton and Dunstable.

L954 MBH is a Plaxton bodied Mercedes 811D taken over with the St Albans area services of Sovereign by Centrebus
at the beginning of last year. It is seen operating LQT's   X31 service.

All the changes in Oxford took place today, Sunday 3rd July. I will be bringing you pictures next week of the routes. Ace reporter Gavin Francis took the picture below of 640 on the 8 at Barton. This picture was early this afternoon.

White Citaro is back.

The loaned Citaro has returned and it is presumed that further modification work is being carried out on OBC's own buses.

Coaches are now able to show a route number in addition to the fact that they are full, giving passengers a better idea if they are unable to get a seat on a particular service. This must be especially useful as yesterday, Saturday, there were five green coaches on the X70.

Another unusual event last Tuesday was the appearance of TWO red Citaros on the 400 Park & Ride service. Gavin Francis was on hand to record the event as seen in the pictures below.


Regarding repaints unless I am much mistaken the last bus to be treated to a new coat of paint was 606, does anyone know better?

Steve Warwick is now with Heyfordian and send us another picture this week of an older coach still in excellent condition.


Mullanys Starline of Watford

Ben sent this fleet list for the company saying "...this is a fleet list for Mullanys Starline. This operator is becoming a big independent with a fleet of around 31 buses and coaches and they have built a new depot with M O T testing bays which is called Brookdell Transport Yard which cost around 1.1 million."


R787 WSB
R914 YBA
R901 YBA
N749 UOL
N988 BWJ
R905 JGA
FDZ 3715
EBZ 6296


R369 LGH
R372 LGH
B734 GCN
SMK 743F
G365 YUR
G760 VRT
GOG 283W
EBZ 6295
A986 SYE


F707 WCS
F708 WCS
F709 WCS
J986 JNJ
D302 PEV
F238 CNY
M840 MEE
YDN 504
N999 MGA
H254 LOX

Further pictures of this operator would be appreciated.

Reading Buses

Paul Dredge writes "...firstly thanks for the weekly bus page-keeps me in touch with one of my former haunts (High Wycombe). Not sure if this photo of one the ex Cardiff & Reading Excels is any use to you-taken yesterday in Eastbourne."

Banbury buses found in Carlisle

Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor - for PSV Circle. writes "...attached are two pictures of Stagecoach Oxfordshire taken in Carlisle on Wednesday 29th June. I was told it was the last day of the loan vehicles as the 39 new vehicles were due to enter service on 30th June. New Stagecoach 34711 Alexander-Dennis Dart Pointer was on display in the city centre and carrying Carlisle Citi logo's. I saw a convoy of 10 new vehicles being moved from a storage area to the depot during my afternoon stay."

Ken's pictures show the "in Oxfordshire" lettering quite clearly.

KX registered Tridents enter service in Manchester

Chris Lowe sent this picture of one of the new Tridents with our area registrations which have entered service in Manchester. The different layout and use of the destination screen is interesting.

Chris now works for Stagecoach in Manchester and says "These vehicles are very nice to drive too, I had 18313 in service on my third day at Princess Road on Thursday, for four trips to/from Chorlton on service 85 and it only had 480 miles on it when I started. These also have cab fans fitted for the driver as well"

18314 KX05TWM on service 250 in Piccadilly, Manchester. Photo by Chris Lowe.

Stagecoach in Swindon

One of the Swindon coaches off the 66 was seen heading for Horspath depot last week but it is not known what bus substituted for this coach?

Stagecoach United Counties.

Mike Penn sent this picture saying
"Stagecoach United Counties 52332 (9737 VC)
is seen at Luton on the Virgin Trains service from Milton Keynes to Luton Airport."

As mentioned in the article in this week's Editorial a total of 33 coaches and buses were used on the London service on Saturday and most departures to London were full throughout Saturday morning.

50040 is seen leaving Oxford in the early afternoon when things had quietened down. It ran empty to London
ready for the returning crowds having already made a round trip in the morning.

50040 is seen heading back into Oxford around 1830 having made the 1656 departure from London.
Pictures by Richard Griffin.

Ben Morrell sent this picture of 16521 in London at the Buckingham Palace Road terminus with a second unidentified bus behind.

As mentioned in an early News Page there is one 31/X31 journey each weekday morning operated by a Tube coach. Since the return of the older M A N s this working is presently entrusted to one of these coaches. Gavin Francis took these pictures early in June when these working had just started.

50047 is seen at first in St Aldates ready for the 0625 departure and then in Wantage ready for the 0720 return to Oxford.

Stephen Le Bras writes "16523/4 were used on the Oxford Tube extras on Saturday. I also noted the MAN/Jonckheere coaches. I stayed around Victoria and Putney rather than risk anything North of Victoria, as many buses were curtailed and most were pretty full. The only exception were the tennis buses from Victoria- I presume most people went to Southfields or Wimbledon station."

Chris Lowe writes "...think the Megabus below was originally at Oxford. It is now at Princess Road, Manchester and when I saw it was being used as a staff shuttle."

Olympian 13604 seen in Princess road depot last week. Photo - Chris Lowe.

Thames Travel Buses based in Wallingford, has just celebrated their fifth annual Safe Drivers Awards evening with a record number of 22 diplomas being handed out to employees this year. 

Lord Bill Bradshaw, Transport Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, attended the awards ceremony as guest of honour, to present the drivers with their Road Operators Safety Council (ROSCO) certificates. The presentations were made at The George Hotel, Wallingford, in front of the workforce and their partners, followed by a buffet, a Salsa demonstration and disco that went on until the early hours.

In order to qualify for an annual ROSCO Safe Driving Award, drivers must have spent at least 40 weeks behind the wheel over the past 12 months, be accident-free and have no road traffic offences. A distinctive pin-badge acknowledging 5 continuous years of safe driving was awarded to local Didcot man Adam Conner, the first Thames Travel driver to achieve this special accolade.

Managing Director John Wright is convinced that the introduction of the awards scheme has made a real difference to the company's safety records: "The reasons for introducing the awards scheme in the first place were twofold; to raise awareness of the importance of safety standards and to recognise the skill of the drivers, who undertake a very demanding role every time they go on duty.

Some of the most popular routes operated by Thames Travel include: X39 from Wallingford to Oxford, X40 from Benson to Reading, and X15 from Witney via Abingdon to Wallingford.

Lord Bill Bradshaw who presented the drivers with their special diplomas at the ceremony commented: "Bearing in mind the narrow streets, indiscriminate parking and road works that seem to be a feature of Wallingford these days, it is a great tribute to the skill of any bus driver who manages to drive for a whole year without incurring even a minor accident."


Yet again, yesterday I tried to get a picture of the new Sprinter but the blind still would not come up in a picture. I took around a dozen shots without success. Anyone else got a picture with destination blind?


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please let me know on

If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at


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

These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend

Bus Zone Logo (2421 bytes)

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


Bus Services in Buckinghamshire

Bus services in Oxfordshire

Where are the Chilterns?

Visit this informative site through the link below.

back to home page
Map showing the Chilterns Hills beginning in Oxfordshire in the Thames Valley and stretching north-east through Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire to Hitchin in Hertfordshire. The highest points are over 250m. There are various water courses running from the Chilterns to the South East.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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