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 156

Sunday 4th December 2005
next update week ending 16th December 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.

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

The highlight this week is the delivery and launch into service of 10 new Mercedes Benz Citaros for Oxford Bus. With the help of several colleagues and support from The Oxford bus Company I have prepared a special page to commemorate this event. I would also like to thank Ray Stenning of Best Impressions for providing the posters which accompanied the launch. Please click on the poster below to move to the special page.

Click on the poster above to enter the special page.

End of the Routemaster in London in sight - well except for the Heritage routes

Next Thursday and Friday sees the end of the Routemaster in normal service on the streets of London. The 159 changes over to one man operation with a fleet of new buses and your Editor will be covering the event with a special supplement. I would note that First London are now receiving freshly prepared Routemaster for their operations on route 9.

Peter Edgar sent two rather nice pictures as a taster for next Thursday.

Notes of appreciation

Many of you wrote to express your appreciation of the pictures and information on older buses in our area and I would like to thank once again those who contributed to these items.

Historical notes

A reply received to last week's questions and information posted from Nigel Peach reads "Lots of items on last week's page brought back the memories! 

1. I always enjoy Ed Maun's historical notes and the detail he is able to provide to back up the pictures. These latest pictures remind me of my days as a teenage bus-spotter! I remember the LHs arriving in Wycombe. They were often used on the 35 to Downley, but I remember one or two of them breaking down on Plomer Hill, just after turning off the West Wycombe Road. 

2. David Hillas asks which buses had illuminated advertisements. In addition to those noted, I think 870 (538 BBL) had. This was an FLF6B based in Wycombe, which along with 873 were swapped for two FLF6Gs early in their lives (878 and 881 I think) because the Gardener engines fared better on Wycombe's hills than the Bristol engines.

848 (WJB 232) also had an illuminated advert. This was for Murray's, Wycombe's much missed department store.

3. Gavin Francis' notes and pictures about Spencer's Coaches reminded me of a company I'd forgotten about. I also didn't remember them having any double deckers until I saw his picture of the RT.

This week Terry Partridge kindly supplied two photos which I am sure will bring back memories to my older readers.

What memories too, I remember riding on this particular bus on the Blackbird Leys service, how it rattled but the engine sounded pretty powerful.
Also note that it is in Cornmarket on its way to Kidlington. Coincidentally today's page includes a link to the launch of a new fleet of Citaros for this route.

A very nice picture from Terry Partridge shows the old school at Gloucester Green and the SM service 190 to Witney.

Another reader sent the picture below which is still extant somewhere in Oxfordshire today. Intending passengers will have along wait for a "National Bus Company Bristol" bus. Does anyone else have some examples of history on a pole? Certainly in certain areas of High Wycombe and district the Wycombe Bus Company lives on.

Picture from Brian Matthews who says "Thought the attached picture may be of interest 
-  taken this week at a stop in a rural location in our area  - "Bristol NBC" well past it's sell-by date now !"

Geoff Cunliffe visits Oxford and has some comments

Geoff who is from the Fylde coast in Lancashire often visits Oxford and we sometimes have chance for a coffee together. He is always interested in goings on down here and his comments this week are of some concern as they relate to Queen Street. Readers may remember I commented about the cyclists some weeks ago and low and behold the following week the long arm of the law was present apprehending cyclists who ignored the clear signs. Geoff says "We had travelled in from Pear Tree (despite the free parking at Water Eaton) on Oxford's 118 but were dropped off at the top of George Street; has the stop moved or was this simply a necessity given that Magdalen Street was full when we arrived? "(I think you supposition is correct about the drop off in George Street Ed.)

"Apart from the ride with you, it was a pretty quiet visit. A private car did travel the length of Queen Street in the wrong direction(!) but, otherwise, the greatest activity seemed to be buses and coaches trying to traverse the High Street given the parked lorries and vans together with the cars which shouldn't have been there anyway! "(One has to say that parking at the west end of High Street is causing a lot of delay to buses and coaches which then stand with their engines running - a matter commented on by the clean air lobby but not in this context. Last week on Tuesday there was an even greater classic of mismanagement when some essential roadworks were taking place outside the covered market and there were stop go boards in  use. however the pedestrian crossing lights were still active and so major delays occurred as one had to wait for a green light and green go board. Actually said like this it sounds more like a comedy sketch on TV. Indeed it took me 23 minutes from Gloucester Green to Queens Lane and the parked vans etc added to the chaos. Ed.) 

Talking of Queen Street, if cyclists are prohibited from using it between 10am and 6pm as the signs at Carfax Corner tell us, why do you have to dodge them, coming in both directions, all day long? Does nobody enforce any traffic regulations in the city?" (See my comments above - cyclists are a total law unto themselves and the highway code seems not to apply to any but a small few who try to uphold a good name for cyclists. Ed.)

The Steam Bus again

Vernon and Viv Smith read the articles on steam buses some weeks ago and wrote to say "We read with interest the comments mentioning our Steam Bus and thought you may like further information and photos.

'Elizabeth' is a Sentinel DG6, registration GT2827 on which we have traditionally coach built a 30 seat body. Approximately 40 cubic feet of Ash as well as a substantial amount of Mahogany were used.

On December 13th an amendment to the Road Traffic Act comes into force allowing the granting of a COIF for which all the examination and testing has already been completed.

Should the weather be kind enough, we plan to run from Boxing Day until the New Year bank holiday. From Easter, we plan to operate 7 days a week until the end of November.

This is our third year in business as we have operated our delightful Dennis Toast rack in Whitby whilst building the Steam Bus.

Both vehicles are much loved and often feature in the local press and television news programmes.

Our Dennis is, we believe, the oldest class 6 vehicle still in regular public service, i.e. daily throughout Spring and Summer.

With regard to steam power, 'Elizabeth' is the only 6 wheel Bus in the world. 'Martha,' the Bus featured on your site is the 4 wheel equivalent. No other Steam Bus is licensed to carry passengers on the public highway.

The Foden depicted in your news page would not pass a Coif examination.

Anyway, hope this was of interest to you and here are some pictures." 


Well Vernon and Viv sounds like a visit to Whitby next summer for some readers may prove most interesting and worthwhile.


I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this page and look forward to your continued support in the future.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 4th December 2005

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

News of the local companies 4th December 2005

Frazer Peddle was in Wycombe last week and took a few pictures one of which I publish below. It's always sad to see a newish bus on tow.

Photo by Frazer Peddle

Two local Arriva buses passing through the bus only road in the centre of High Wycombe.
I think the driver of the Volvo must have forgotten to change his route number blinds.

Gavin Francis caught 5432 on the 306 at Newlands Bus Station last Wednesday.

In company with several other correspondents John Hammond noted an unusual bus on the 280 last week. He writes "Spotted at lunch time on Thursday working the 13:28 280 from Oxford Station was ex Luton Dennis Trident/ALX400 5431 W431 XKX. Had the route numbers working but was without destination (I presume because these buses had "power blinds" fitted whilst at Luton."

Olympian 5134 and that Trident 5431 were captured in the lens of Ben Morroll last Saturday.
One wonders if this Trident will gain digital blinds like the two at Wycombe?

There are indeed two ex Airlinks Darts now with Carousel. Pictures by Gavin Francis and myself and included below. The first is off 479 seen backing into the depot after working a 339 service and taken by me. Then Gavin Francis sent some interesting pictures of 423 which it seems still has Airlinks on the nearside. also a shot of 479 in service on the 1.


Whilst I was in Wycombe on Wednesday I caught MB51 coming in from Heathrow and Gavin caught up with a DAF which now also has digital blinds and was working an A40 service to Heathrow. Note the destination screen.


Stuart Turner wrote to add  "Saw P423MLE in service on school duty going up Marlow Hill on the Morning of Wed 30th. This is still all white with old fleet names blanked out and blinds set to blank yellow. I then saw it again fully loaded going though Twickenham around noon, this time I caught sight of nearside showing out fleet name of Airlinks."

Stuart then adds "Can confirm that P479MLE has Electric Blinds and front fleet name as previous stated (again on the 4 going to Chesham plus it and P423PLE are ex Airlinks nrs 1104 & 1106 (checked list)."

This has been a very busy week for Oxford Bus and much has happened. The launch of 10 new Citaros is a major highlight but there also a lot of other news as well.

To clarify on the re-registrations that have taken place recently these are.

Coach nr 9 is now R257DWL and remains stored at Meteor Parking at Stansted
Coach nr 10 is now R259DWL and has been
reinstated, to put more resource into the X90 Oxford espress service, to maintain timetable in the face of ever-worsening congestion on the London route.
Coach nr 12 is now R258DWL (see picture below)

The new Citaros are model O530 dual door 37 seaters with wheel chair space. If this is used seating is reduced to 34.

839            AF55 OXF

840            BF55 OXF

841            CF55 OXF

842            DF55 OXF

843            EF55 OXF

844            FF55 OXF

845            GF55 OXF

846            HF55 OXF

847            JF55 OXF

848            KF55 OXF

They differ from earlier models in having bright wheel trims and an "air dump" switch under a flap on the nearside front corner panel. They only carry fleet numbers by the nearside front door and a small one by the fuel filler.

As a result of this delivery the following buses are withdrawn.

Volvo B10B/Northern Counties Paladin B43D  646-655 . They joined the fleet in 1997 from London where they had worked the Clapham Omnibus route 88 since 1993.

646 to be retained for conversion to driver training vehicle

647-655 will all move to Solent Blueline. 647-50 are awaiting conversion to single door, 651-5 should be dispatched to SBL during the coming week and 656 has already gone south.

On the subject of re-registration the old Volvo coach registrations have been used as follows:

409 to R9 OXF
410 to R10 OXF
983 to R12 OXF Publicity van.

This leaves coaches 8 and 11 still carrying their original registrations. No doubt 8's will go to 408 but one wonders what will happen to 11?

Quite incidental to the above I noticed a small motor bike last week, which was moving at high speed in traffic approaching Gipsy Lane from Headington being registered R256DWL !!

A most unusual working yesterday, Saturday, was the use of 101 on 14 road.
It is seen here having come from Marston Village on its way to the JR.

As mentioned above Dart 410 has acquired the registration from coach 10.

Andy Churchill sent this shot of brand new Citaro 840 in the City Centre.

Geoff Cunliffe caught up with coach 12, re-registered - at Carfax last Tuesday.

Two shots of Tridents on the 500 - I wonder what has happened to the Citaros other than 823 which normally work this route -
the first picture of 116 is by Geoff Cunliffe and the second by Gavin Francis, both taken last week.

New bus stop flags are appearing throughout Oxford, this one being at Garden City.
The stops on the Woodstock Road remain to be done, those in place still showing then old spires logo.

It is unusual to see PRIVATE displayed on an Oxford Bus vehicle but 6123 was doing just that when seen Carfax last Thursday.

Gavin Francis caught another unusual working last Thursday when 654 was out on 6 road.
This bus has been converted to single door and as I write this must already have gone south to Solent Blueline.

Another Gavin Francis beauty is this one of 808 on a 35 working last Thursday. It was taken around lunchtime
and is special as the destination screen shows the evening and Sunday only workings of the 35B.
Also it is unusual to see a "low floor" on the 35 road.

First in Berkshire

Gavin Francis thought this an unusual bus to work the 74 at High Wycombe last Wednesday.
I think I have seen them on the First 74 before but not very often.

Grayline Coaches - Bicester

Chris Maxfield also caught up with this Grayline Mercedes which has acquired an overall advertising livery since it last appeared on this page.


Chris Maxfield was on hand near Kidlington as this Yorkshire Traction - National Express coach passed by on its way into Oxford.

Ben Morroll caught this new Scania/Irizar PB on a 757 working last Saturday

R H Transport

In News Page 151 I reported some changes involving this operator.

Services 25/25A/25B: Oxford-Kirtlington-Upper Heyford/Chesterton-Bicester

It seems the news buses maybe Aleros but this is only hearsay at present. My sightings of buses belonging to R H are of two minibuses one of which was caught in the lens of Chris Maxfield last Friday whilst he was in Kidlington.

We look forward to further details and the change on 11th December which will give another photographic opportunity of new buses in our area.

A good week for pictures and some rather interesting ones from correspondents.

The first picture from my camera shows a Brookes Trident on U5 having passed another on the 3 at Carfax.
The next is of an Olympian coming up through Summertown and the last of one of the older
ex Manchester Volvo/Alexander PS buses transferred to Oxford some years ago now.

It seems some changes are planned for the Bicester services so as they say "watch this space".

During the time we were taking pictures of the new Citaros on route City 2, the Stagecoach M A N s
continue their services for the residents of Kidlington. A selection of pictures from the
lenses of Chris Maxfield and myself are included above.

David Whitley writes re the new OBC buses saying "In the 9 years since they've been on the 2s, Stagecoach/Thames Transit has had a new fleet of Plaxton Pointer Darts, new fleet of ALX200 Darts and new fleet of ALX300 MAN 18.220s. That's low floors for 6 years...."

42586 seen in service on the 600 last Thursday.

Gavin Francis caught 18056 putting in time on the 3 last Thursday.

These three pictures were taken by Gavin Francis and show much travelled 34466 - it must have worked on every route in the city now -
Vario 42371 on the 7D at Debenhams and 42372 on the 25A outside the Randolph. This route changes operator very shortly.

Ben Morroll was busy with his camera on Saturday and took another Brookes Bus on the 3, 18054 at Carfax
and then 18133 and 18134 on the 100 in the centre after the journey in from Witney.

Another Ben Morroll picture, this time of 22053 - still lacking fleet numbers - working a Bravo service at Carfax.
I mentioned last week that this bus, once in black BMW livery, had now been painted into fleet colours.

Brookes Bus Tridents have been seen in recent days on the 7 and 29 in addition to the photos records of 3 workings above.

Stephen Le Bras writes that "Having read your report about Megabus changes, I thought I would post the fact that Stagecoach 16615, a Unibus, was on the Megabus service to/from London on Saturday in place of either 50141 or 50142! Quite a colourful change!"

Additionally I noticed one of two aforementioned Neoplans on a Birmingham working last Saturday with a blank destination blind and a card notice in the front nearside window.

Thames Travel

I'm not sure if I noted that TT has another Dart pictured above by Geoff Cunliffe.
I think it may on loan to cover for the MB Sprinter 305 which is still having problems.

Ken MacKenzie writes "Thames Travel have advertised for drivers for the X39 Premium Route to operate a new improved half hour service for Wallingford/Oxford/Watlington. The advert quotes that the route will receive four new Scania buses during May 2006.

Does anyone know more details on these vehicles?" 



Last week Kevin Stevens mentioned that this company had a new coach, well there are several and I must thank Ken MacKenzie for the pictures of two of the coaches.

Ken adds to the pictures with details of the latest deliveries.

YN55 PYX      Scania    K94IB4                                       Irizar               C70F          11/05

YN55 PYY      Sca       K94IB4     YS2K4X20001851092    Ir    151565     C70F          11/05

YN55 PYZ      Sca       K94IB4                        ?              Ir           ?        C70F          11/05

YN55 PZB      Sca       K114EB6                    1851359       Ir                  C53F          11/05

YN55 PZK      Sca       K114EB6                    1851367       Ir                  C53F          11/05

YN55 PZS      Sca       K114EB6                    1851415       Ir                  C53F          11/05 

YM55 PZT      Sca       K114EB6                    1851496    Ir                    C53F           11/05  

Ken is still looking for chassis and body number details where these are not given.

Woottens of Chesham

Ken Gladstone caught up with Woottens Olympian coach in London last week.


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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


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