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 221
Wednesday 4th April 2007
next update week ending 14th April 2007

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.

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

To see the pictures full size just click on the thumbnail

A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a driver of a bus in Oxford but considering the fact that the photographs are taken of the vehicle not any person,
I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
I am sorry to have to mention such a matter but we now live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.

I have to apologise for the lack of any updates for the past two weekends. This has been due to my attending the wedding of Chris Maxfield on the 25th March in Scotland and then this last weekend I had to work, driving on the National Express 737 service to Stansted.

This week's page has a lot of information relating to varying events but possibly the highlight of this week has been the introduction of the new Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther coaches by Oxford Bus on their Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick.

A wedding in the family !

So first things first, Chris Maxfield married his long time partner Shelley at Comlongon Castle, Clarencefield, Dumfries, Scotland on Saturday 24th March and the day dawned fine and sunny.

The happy couple, now on honeymoon in Mexico.

Chris has been a great supporter of this page and you all know how good the pictures are from Chris. I felt we might all share the pleasures of a wedding in a Scottish castle.

The journey from Witney to Clarencefield had not been without its problems. Chris had arranged a coach through Julian Wells and this duly turned up as a Bova L6BSL from Ridgeway Coaches of Wantage. Although an elderly coach by today's standards it was however very comfortable and sped us on our journey via Birmingham (to pick up Ben Morroll) and Maltby to pick up members of Chris's family and his best man.

The coach was fitted with a servery and tea, coffee and light refreshments were served by your editor. We arrived in Carlisle and found our way to our hotel for the Friday night blocked by roadworks. In our efforts to find a suitable route to the back door Julian encountered a problem with the gearbox of the Bova and we ended up stuck in 4th gear. By a miracle we managed to get near to the hotel and drop off the wedding party before limping into Stagecoach's Carlisle depot.

DAF-AID were summoned for the next morning and the group repaired to a local Chinese restaurant where one could eat as much one wished for £8.50. Nice one Chris!

After being well fed and a nights slumbers, your Editor and Julian Wells made their way to the depot at Willowholme for 08:00hrs and DAF-AID. The engineer turned up in his van and went to work on locating the problem. This turned out to be broken gear linkage which our DAF Man said would take a few hours to fix.

DAF-AID attend to our poorly coach in Carlisle.

After much effort and not a little cursing we eventually got on our way by 14:00hrs, just two hours before the happy event. Shel, with her sister and mother had already gone on to the castle by taxi and we got Chris there by 15:00hrs.

In the few sentences above I have covered a whole weekend which was much enjoyed by everyone, except for the small problem with the gearbox which taxed the patience and good humour of Julian who nevertheless smiled as he always  does. Well done Julian!

All's well that ends well. The Bova picks up everyone to hasten them to Comlongon from Carlisle city centre on Saturday 24th March.

Our grateful thanks go to the staff of Stagecoach Carlisle depot who from the Engineering Manager down were most helpful and allowed us to safely park the Bova overnight, loaded as it was with wedding attire, presents etc etc.

Some of the buses at Carlisle depot.

Carlisle still uses Mercedes 409's on the Seatoller service and has Varios with cycle racks for the Hadrian's Wall service. It also boasts its own recovery truck.
Not only that but it also is home to several Routemasters and open top Titans.

Chobham 2007 by Gavin Francis

Cobham Bus and Coach Gathering, Longcross  -  1st April 2007.

This year was the 34th Annual Bus and Coach Gathering and it saw a change of venue. Previously held at Wisley Airfield its new home was at Longcross alongside the M3. The site was developed by the then War Ministry during the 2nd World War as a testing ground for military vehicles and although now privately owned the site still sees considerable activity of this nature. It was here that the first two prototype Routemasters were extensively tested in 1956. Over 50 years later this model formed by far the largest type of all the buses and coaches present.

The site reminded me of the Automotion rallies that were held at a similar site outside Bracknell many years ago. The site covers a huge area and although there were many thousands of people present in no way was it crowded and no queuing for any of the rides. It has a track running around the perimeter with all the buses and sales stalls located in the centre. Whilst the day started overcast and cold it developed into an ideal day for this type of event.

There was plenty of local interest with the following buses present.

Stagecoach Stratford Olympian 14516

Carousel T411SMV

Wiltax YJB68T (Ex-Reading)

Centrebus W569XRO

Reading 52, 76, 258, 31, 47 and 1010.

Thames Valley 152

Atbus M1351 (Ex-Carousel)

Autocar M513VJO (Ex Oxford 513)

Westbus MUI 4841 (Ex Reading 751)

Westway CCG376 (Ex Southend C256FHJ)

Its difficult to recognize these last two coaches from their origins. In previously lives they had both been used on the X1 Southend-Reading service.

As usual Ensign Bus came up with something new in the form of DMS 2646. This was the last of the batch built and has been restored into Shilibeer livery which it wore when new.

Around the site were many areas where vehicles are tested. Steep inclines, different types of road surfaces etc so it was an obvious place to find a bus undergoing tests much the same as the Routemasters had done many years ago. The bus concerned was a much modified Alexander Royale. With the concept of guided busways using old railways tracks now becoming a reality, the problem of low bridges has arisen. This prototype shows a solution to this problem and although still in the very early stages of development it shows potentially an answer to the problem.


The museum itself was closed this year so in order to provide some rides a 30min trip service No. 448 was run. This went through Sunningdale and Virginia Water and ran approx. every 5 mins. There was also a service No. 474 which linked the site with Woking Station. 

Overall an excellent day and the new venue proved to be ideal.

Sadly your Editor was unable to attend this year due to 737 commitments but thank you Gavin for his excellent report.

Taking photographs in public places - a reply to those who signed the Downing Street petition

The e-petition asking the Prime Minister to "Stop proposed restrictions regarding photography in public places" is on-going. This is a response in advance of the closing date from the Government.

The following reply has been received from Downing Street.

Thank you for signing the petition on the Downing Street website calling for the Prime Minister to stop proposed restrictions on photography in public places.

This petition has already attracted over 60,000 signatures from people who obviously share your concern. Not surprisingly, the idea that the Government might be poised to restrict your ability to take photos has caused some puzzlement and even alarm.

We have therefore decided to respond to this petition before its closing date of August, in order to reassure people.

The Government appreciates that millions of people in this country enjoy photography. So we have checked carefully to see if any Government department was considering any proposal that might possibly lead to the sort of restrictions suggested by this petition. We have been assured this is not the case.

There may be cases where individual schools or other bodies believe it is necessary to have some restrictions on photography, for instance to protect children, but that would be a matter for local decisions.

In fact, Simon Taylor, who started the petition, has since made clear that he was not really referring to Government action or legislation. His main concern appears to be that photographic societies and other organisations may introduce voluntary ID cards for members to help them explain why they are taking photographs. Again, any such scheme would not involve the Government.

We hope this re-assures you and clears up the confusion.

Geoff Cunliffe visits Oxford

We came in from Pear Tree noticing the signs down the Woodstock Road warning of the camera enforcement of traffic restrictions in the High Street. Over the period of about three hours, my unscientific and purely personal observations suggest that there are fewer private cars using the High illegally, but there still seem to be a number which appear as if they should not be there. I don’t know how regularly or diligently the enforcement takes place, but I would not be surprised to discover a number of private motorists getting an unwelcome letter through the post. But to business:-

Oxford Bus Company

Heritage vehicles 816 & 817 were on the 5 road

Red Tridents 101 on the X13, 102 on the 4A, 104 on the 35

Plaxton Verde-bodied Volvo B10B 640, working the B-card on the 5, became disabled at lunchtime in Queen Street. I did not see how it died but the driver managed to get it quite near to the kerb so it only obstructed a couple of stops and not the whole street. In due course, after the company fitters had had a go, Kardos produced a magnificent Volvo wrecker and towed it away. The removal process was quite interesting which your readers may not be familiar with. First a flat hydraulic platform was slid under the front axle and the bus lifted to enable wheel stands to be placed under the two front tyres. The platform was then withdrawn and fitted with two V-shaped brackets which, given the raised bus, now had clearance to slide beneath the front axle and lift the bus further and it was chained to this platform. After the connection of an auxiliary air line for the brakes, off the convoy trundled. It was interesting to see how easily a skilled man with a very expensive wrecker could move a disabled bus on his own quite quickly.

640 passing Carfax on its way home. 

Stagecoach Oxford

Alexander-bodied Olympian 16522, R422 XFC was helping out on the 1; I though it was looking rather down-at-heel.

Despite the new deliveries recently, elderly Mercedes Vario R624 CTX was at work in Banbury on Thursday 29th. March.

Ian Pinnell writes on bus stop developments in Oxford

Thought you may be interested, the new "generic" bus stops have started appearing in the main Headington Shops area, with the original bus stops still in place. Also, Real Time Bus Information is now available at the passengers waiting at the Green Road Roundabout stop (first stop, towards Oxford City Centre). 

Hopefully the Real Time information will be stretched to the main part of Headington Shops, I think it's already in the John Radcliffe Hospital with the Generic sign postings too.

3rd Slough Running Day - Sunday 13 May 2007

Please note that the programmes for the above Running Day are now available at £5 each by post from:

Peter Cartwright
54 Guinions Road
HP13 7NX
Tel: 01494 437750                         

Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society

or IN PERSON from next week from

Slough Bus Station Enquiry Office


Tourist Information Office
Pauls Row

Amersham & District Running days 2007 - dates for your diary 

Amersham & District Running Days for 2007 are as follows: 

Sun 13 May 2007 - 3rd Slough/Windsor Running Day based on Slough Bus Station 

Sun 24 June 2007 - 2nd Hemel Hempstead Running Day based on Hemel Hempstead Bus Station                        

Sun 30 September 2007 - 19th Amersham Running Day based on Amersham but commemorating the 30th anniversary of the closure of HE Garage (30/09/1977) so there will be a reconstruction of certain routes in the High Wycombe area.

Another good week for news although the picture stakes have been a little less than usual.

Malcolm Crowe - Wednesday 4th April 2007

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

News of the local companies – 4th April 2007

Various pictures have arrived on my desk which provide some interest for Arriva aficionados..

Two  interesting pictures from Glenn Knight.

3332 Volvo B10 on 100 Stevenage & Dennis Dart 3292 with "Virgin Media" Advertisement at Luton.

pictures by Gavin Francis.

Picture from Tim Hall of Swindon. Should the title be " where has my gas pod gone?"

Lastly away at far flung Stansted on the 510.

Motts of Aylesbury

Gavin Francis sent a picture of a new addition to the fleet.

Taken at Peterborough last Saturday.

I had several replies about that 6 wheel Volvo on the 777.

David Oakley  writes "

You have a picture of KBZ1800 taken at Stansted and you mention it may have come from First... 

All 7 of First's tri-axles are still with First and 5 of them are in Bristol, the other 2 are in Aberdeen. 

KBZ1800 used to be registered Y756MRR and 01 G 3066. It is operated by Flights Hallmark and was recently acquired from the Zak's, Birmingham fleet. 

This coach was also very recently on loan from Flights to South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach but was in plain white.

Picture by Gavin Francis.

Another reader writes "KBZ1800 is with Flights Hallmark of Birmingham who have taken over two runs on the 777 till the end of June." 

0100 x Stansted-Wolves

0625 x Wolves-Stansted

1300 x Stansted-B'ham

1845 x B'ham-Stansted

As mentioned in the editorial the news of the week is the introduction of a new fleet of coaches for the Airline.

the journey begins !

Picture by Alan Gelson

The new Panthers are nominally 48 seaters with a "magic floor" lift for wheel chairs which when carried reduce the seating to 46.

Interior layout is similar to the original fleet of Volvos and Scanias with the same attractive blue seating.

The appearance is enhanced by alloy wheels and the subtle use of OX in the livery.

The chrome strip on the front panel is an immediate clue when a new coach is approaching.
Picture by Alan Gelson.

A new slogan is introduced with the fleet, "the journey begins" and this also appears on the destination screen.
Ten brand new rear vinyls have been produced by Best Impressions.
Between us we managed NINE of the ten by tonight, 36 hours after they entered service.

Ben Morroll sent some nice pictures of the Darts which have moved to Go West Midlands. They have been converted to single door and surprisingly retain their cherished Oxford registrations.


Another ex Oxford vehicle with GWM is this coach, once an airport coach and then on the X90.

Some interesting pictures were sent this week including one of an Olympian from Northampton and still in stripey livery.

Picture by Robert Janko. Is this one of the very few buses left in the old livery?

22940 has gained a full side advert for Virgin. Picture by Gavin Francis.

A clear nearside view of Solo 47363 with the new Jericho branding.

Marcus Lapthorn writes "'Stagecoach in Swindon' operate only 3 journeys a week on the 65 route between Stanford-in-the-Vale and Swindon. All 3 take place on Saturdays only. On Saturday 24 March 2007 the 1253 departure from Stanford for Swindon via Faringdon was formed with double decker 16055. I was the only passenger in both directions between Faringdon and Stanford and I suspect that this service will inevitably be withdrawn due to low patronage, so this soon may be a historic shot!" 

Marcus Lapthorn
took this picture of an ex London Olympian working the 65.

In our travels we found several ex Tube coaches, one in Carlisle and still earning its keep, albeit as a trainer.

The M A N Jonckheere double deck Tubes are now being dispersed to new operators with reports of 50066 appearing with TM Travel of Stavely, Chesterfield (Derbyshire). A photo of it with it's new owner here:

Some pictures were taken on 19th March in Glasgow and Dumfries which include 66 just before it left SC.

Pictures by Chris Maxfield.

Tim Hall wonders what this brand new Megabus was doing in Oxford on Saturday 24th March.
Sorry but I have no answer as I was way away in Scotland.

Stephen Le Bras writes "Last Saturday, I saw the first 15 metre Megabus coach on the 9am service to Inverness from London. It was 54015 SV07ACZ."

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

Peter Edgar writes "Timebus Travel returned RM 1871 to the road today in a  Silver Livery. This bus appeared as one of the 25 RM's that were painted silver to celebrate the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977, and advertised Exide Batteries."

NCP is a new operator of London buses and Gavin Francis caught this 07 registered example on his recent travels.

Gavin writes "Had a day in North London today. Ended up at Edgware. Arriva The Shires have a strong presence there with rtes 288, 303, 142 and 340. I think they are from Garston Garage which means they must have as many red buses as turquoise as I know they supply red buses for other London routes as well. 

Also Uno have a service there from Stevenage running every 30mins!!. In the short time they have been going they cover a wide area. As you know we see them in Hemel as well as Hatfield."

Gavin also visited Binders Yard at Cryers Hill, High Wycombe and thought that this yard was reminiscent of a London bus depot of the '70s/


Routemaster identity and Midland Red Fords by Mac Head

I've never been one to accept a Routemasters identity once it has passed through Aldenham!. To me the body is the important factor and thus identifies the vehicles prior and subsequent history.

The current Timebus RM1871 now carries Body B1903. This body was in fact carried by RM1650 back in the days of the Silver Jubilee and if you dared scratch below the immaculate surface, should reveal the silver paint carried as SRM3 back in 1976.

I always wondered what would have happened if Timebus had also painted this vehicle in silver for the Golden Jubilee and claimed SRM3 pedigree (alongside First London RM1650 now carrying body B1608). I know which I believe to be the true claimant but most enthusiasts would no doubt differ with my view!

Quite by coincidence I have recently been listing all the hired-in Alder Valley vehicles during the 1970/80s.
PSV Circle newssheets reveal that Midland Red 6389 (YHA 389J) Ford R192/Plaxton B27F, having been shortened by MROC to 22'10", was assessed by AV between 3 Oct 78 and 13 Oct 78. The inspection must have been successful as subsequently AV 723-5 (TRD 723-5) Ford 192s were dispatched to Midland Red for similar treatment. 725 had been modified by 1 Feb 79, 723 was unveiled thus at High Wycombe on 26 April and 724 similarly modified by June 1979. They were renumbered 797-9 on return and allocated to Maidenhead. They were recorded as slightly longer than the Midland Red Plaxton version owing to the different bay lengths in their ECW bodies. The Leyland Ascos, AV 551-3 renumbered from 501-503 July 1979, were withdrawn shortly afterwards and these were the replacements for service 18 (Maidenhead-Marlow).
Mac Head

Electric bus from Oxford in the news by David Cole.

You may be interested to know that the one time Oxford electric Metrorider has now finished its sojourn on Islay and was recently seen on the dockside at Port Ellen awaiting shipment back to the mainland. The attached picture is by local photographer Mark Unsworth.

copyright -

David also now adds "I gather that the Metrorider never made it to the mainland - there has been a shortage of capacity on the ferries and after sitting on the dockside for some time, it was taken back to Bowmore and dumped in a car park!"

Stokenchurch memories

Gavin Francis took this picture in Stokenchurch a few years ago when there was a Wycombe running day.

If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at

Coming events, models and useful links

New casting from Britbus

A new casting with a local flavour has been released by Britbus as a picture from Mark Lyons shows. It is a nice model but as Mark says, a little pricey at £33.

Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book

In last week's issue I mentioned that Oxford Bus were publishing a book to commemorate the 125 years of public transport in Oxford. Thanks to Phil Ashworth I have had a review copy and hereunder give my thoughts on this book.

The book is well presented and includes a number of historical pictures of interest including some I had not seen before. The modern pictures have received a nice treatment reflecting the modern fleet against a background of typical Oxford architecture. The Botley Road rail bridge gets a mention and a picture of an AEC pre war decker which has done battle with said bridge and come off worse from its encounter is included.

The book, whilst rather small to reflect the 125 years in detail is nevertheless a must for all who love Oxford, historians and enthusiasts alike.

Copies of the book can be bought from the Oxford Bus Company, Cowley House, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6GA. The cost is £5.95 including postage. Cheques should be made payable to "Oxford Bus Company", it is also available in person from the Oxford Bus Museum during normal opening hours. 

DVD s by Robin Clare

The full details of DVDs available from Robin Clare may be found at his web site :-

Latest Citaro models revealed

Dave Rogers sent the following press release.


Mercedes-Benz Citaro - ukbus 5004 Arriva Manchester  -  ukbus 5007 Oxford Bus


Creative Master Northcord Limited is proud to release two brand new liveries on its well known Mercedes-Benz Citaro casting. Both models have received significant, yet different, modifications to the tooling in order to represent, as close to 100% accuracy as possible, the real buses on the roads. 

ukbus 5004 represents fleet number Arriva North West’s 2851 (CX55 EAA). This Mercedes Citaro is one of three such vehicles with dedicated route branding for service 700 and with the destination set to Manchester. The model features a redesigned interior layout that includes the reduced seating capacity and luggage racks. 

Starting on 29th October 2005, Arriva North West’s service 700 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Railway Station to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. For the service, 3 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were purchased and numbered 2851-3. They were painted in the same style and colours as the Scania OmniCity buses that already operated between John Lennon and Liverpool city centre. 

ukbus 5007 represents fleet number 830 (X13 OXF) of Oxford Bus Company. 830 entered service in December 2003, to upgrade the X3 & X13 Oxford – Abingdon services. The bus was painted in a new and distinctive livery designed by Best Impressions. 

ukbus 5007 features the smooth, curved windscreen with the destination display set behind the windscreen glass rather than the protruding destination found on the Park & Ride Citaros in the fleet. This feature is one of the standard specifications on other Citaros that the Go-Ahead Group has purchased. 

Mercedes-Benz Citaro ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are each a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Another main feature on both models is the extensive portrayal of handrails. The headlight / indicator units at the front and indicator / tail light units at the rear are made of individual components to look more realistic.


The brand new single-door Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus models will be distributed by John Ayrey Die-Casts Limited (UK), Porte Publishing Company (Japan) and Concorde Hobby Shop (HK) respectively. The ukbus 5004 and 5007 models are limited to 1700 pieces worldwide respectively. 


Would readers who respond to the above please quote my site when doing so.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news & when each News Page is posted
please let me know on

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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


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

Ray Jackson Art

A web site which has paintings of buses.
Nice present for a Christmas or Birthday wish list !!


Stagecoach Handbook for 2006
from British Bus Publishing

Arriva Handbook for 2006-2007
from British Bus Publishing

The latest handbooks are now on sale, the ever
popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th year.


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