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This week's page is rather shorter than usual due to the fact that I published only 4 days ago. Nevertheless I have received some interesting input from various correspondents and I am sure you will all enjoy this week's offering.
I enjoy watching the TV programme "The Big Red Bus" which follows the lives of training staff and trainees from London Central/General each week. It takes ones mind back to the days when one was also under training. In my case that was on two occasions, once in 1961 and then more recently when I retook my PCV in 1997 having let my licence lapse for some 20 years. It may look easy to drive a bus but when you are learning its not quite so easy as it looks.
Further coverage appeared in the Bucks Free Press this week regarding local fare increases. Generally the travelling public were not happy with the rises but at the end of the day, it seems that the local company is trying to encourage regular use with no rises on travel cards.
Following on from issue 159 there are some useful replies which I include under the appropriate headings.
Bulleid Way Green Line coach station to close for two weeks
Bulleid Way will close for repairs from 16th to 29th January. Eccleston Place will be used as a departure point for Megabus services. Further details will be given when available.
Thornhill Park & Ride development
Ian Pinnell writes following last week's report on building work due to start at Thornhill in April.
Ian says "I write about your report on the development of the Thornhill Park and Ride happening this April. It will indeed should be a big improvement to facilities currently there now, the council will have to think carefully of where everything will be and the final layout plans because Thornhill Park and Ride is now a widely used system, for both buses to Oxford and coaches to London and Heathrow. Will the new development be able to withstand the large amounts of use the site will endure? Also, I assume as they are developing it, some parts of the site will be closed in sections like sections of the car park which could have knock on effects to users. Will the coaches be using the old Sandhills stop when the major work begins to take place? Or is the work expected to take place during the night time hours?"
Well Ian, this poses some interesting question which will only be answered in due course.
Running Days advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
At last I'm able to officially notify everyone of the Running Days for 2006.
Sunday 14 May 2006 is the date for the second Slough/Windsor Running Day based on Slough Bus Station. Since last year a huge new Tesco store has been built adjacent and is now fully operational. Due to traffic delays experienced last year in Windsor an extra 5 minutes each way is being added to running times between Slough and Windsor.
There is no St George's Day parade to hold us up this year and the Queen's official birthday is 2 weeks plus later when her 80th birthday is marked. I know of no Royal Wedding planned for Windsor this year and, hopefully, timekeeping will be better on the Windsor routes.
An enhancement to the Burnham Beeches service is envisaged with the opposite way round the loop. There is also the chance to have double deck workings but terminating on the eastern fringe of the Beeches.
Another new route for this year will be a service through Windsor Great Park. Crown Estates are happy with this and I have a meeting arranged with them on Tuesday 10 January. White Bus Services currently operate a restricted service here but not on Sundays & on only certain days of the week. Operation is likely to be by non-LT single-deck vehicles. A large number of vehicles is required including at least 16 double-deckers.
Some 40 years earlier on 15 May 1966 RMLs were allocated to Windsor Garage to work several routes in the area. RMC coaches had already been there for some time.
WR Garage operated many other types of vehicle including RT,RF,RC,RCL,RB,RS,GS,SMA,SNB,STL, T and of course some of these only operated in the London Country period. Additionally in the summer months Central area red vehicles were commonplace as green vehicles were reassigned to Green Line relief duties so any red-liveried vehicle would be welcome. At least 30 vehicles (including 5 non-LT/LCBS vehicles will be needed to maintain the schedules.
As 1966 is the 40th anniversary of route 724 it is hoped to have a feeder to/from the Northern areas and to run the route from Slough through Windsor, Old Windsor, Runnymede to Staines. Via Runnymede, by the river Thames was the original routeing when it was extended from Staines to Windsor Castle. It did not serve Windsor Garage nor will it in 2006. The coach link to Staines will therefore be 724 this year in place of 718.
Anyone offering to operate a 725 from at least Kingston will be welcomed. Please let me know.
At the moment there is not an area for display vehicles but every effort will be made to find one. Can I please ask anyone who came last year and was allocated blinds and who will/cannot come this year, to contact me urgently so I can collect them for re-issue to others. These are expensive and will be needed on the day.
Sunday 25 June 2006
This date in mid-Summer is for the first Hemel Hempstead Running Day to be based on the Bus Station. Arriva the Shires and Essex have given permission for us to use the bus station that day but like Slough this is an operational bus station and we will not interfere with their operations which are anyway much reduced on Sundays.
This is the normal date for North Weald which will not take place this year and the NLTS have no plans for a replacement event that day.
Discussions have also taken place with Dacorum Borough Council, Herts County Council and the police who have all been most helpful. I have also spoken to the Market Superintendent and am able to book and pay for stall space on the day. For those who don't know Hemel, the covered market is situated behind the bus station - an excellent location.
The market will have a hot food stall that day and another stallholder sells confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream etc. Ample toilet facilities are at the bus station.
Peter Gomm and I visited Hemel on Fri 6 January and, with advice from the police, have identified an area nearby for display vehicles in Dacorum Way and vehicles on long breaks can park in Queensway (formerly Bury Road) between Leighton Buzzard Road and Marlow's, the railway station on one unused bay on Sundays and the bus station itself can be used for shorter breaks without disturbing its smooth operation. Health & Safety issues have to be borne in mind. A requirement of at least 10 double decks and 11 single decks are needed. This excludes any duplication which will be needed.
A number of rural and inter-urban routes have been chosen for operation - 302, 307 ,312.316. 317.317a,318,319 ,320,330, 337 ,347,706,708, 724. The 724 is for a feeder service to/from Watford from the North and then a 708 to/from Hemel. At the moment I have nothing from the South - any suggestions/offers? (THOSE IN BOLD HAVE TO BE SINGLE-DECK OPERATED).
Certain places such as Berkhamsted Station provide good interchanges with rtes 317/a and 312 connecting there and also in central Watford with the 302 and 347 connecting.
The biggest interchange of all, of course, is the bus station.
Again in Hemel a wide range of vehicles have been operated e.g. GS,RF, T, RB,RT,RMC, RML,SNB,SNC plus several others. Like Windsor, Central Area used to loan their vehicles for weekend and bank holiday duplication.
If anyone has blinds for any or part of these areas please let me know urgently.
Please respond as quickly as you can as I want to finalise timetables/duties etc asap.
I am paying a visit to Hemel this morning to see what it's like between 11.00 and 12.00
Sunday 1 October 2006 - the 18th Running Day at Amersham.
As route 724 is 40 years old this year, apart from the feeders, I want to schedule a service between Watford and High Wycombe via Amersham - the original route south of Watford. This will be 29 years to the day since MA Garage took over duties from HE - High Wycombe Garage which closed the previous day, 30 September 1977.
This year should see the brand new bus station at High Wycombe open by this date and this would be the ideal place to terminate. More on this Running Day in due course.
It is hoped to celebrate 40 years since RMLs took over route 363 Totteridge - Holtspur in February 1966. Weather permitting it is hoped to have RML/RMLs running over the route on Sunday 19 February. Likewise a month later to run over the full length of Route 347 Hemel - Uxbridge which received RMLs on 20 March 1966. Anyone else interested in joining us?
Please feel free to contact me by phone 01494 437750 or 0791 6310, by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
North Oxfordshire service revisions by Brian Bell.
As promised, somewhat after the event, here is my report of a trip to travel on the Woodstock Wanderer minibus network in its last few days of operation, The Connection services in the Deddington area, amongst others are covered.
I needed an early start from Ruislip on the 0530 E7 to Ealing Broadway for the 0611 train to Takeley, a 108 minute journey. Having got to the deserted Takeley Station in light rain, and having 46 minutes until my connection, I decided to wait under the station shelter for a while. Whilst waiting here the wind blew up somewhat, and lifted a large sheet of hardboard that was leaning on the station wall, straight onto the tracks. Fearing this could get caught under a train, I pressed the Emergency button on the platform. After taking a while for the Scottish sounding operator to understand where Takeley was, he agreed to warn the signalman in order to stop the next southbound train (which driver I thought would remove it from the track). About 20 mins later a Southbound Virgin Voyager did indeed stop at the signal in the distance, however instead of stopping and removing the hardboard, he slowly ran over it, dragging it under the train to beyond the crossing, where it was deposited in two halves on the Northbound track. I then reported this via the Emergency button, but had to make tracks for St Johns Road to find my Woodstock Wanderer minibus.
Not knowing where the 201 starts in St Johns Road, I walked all the way round, till I found someone waiting for it at the furthest point from the Station. Spot on time RH Transport blue Ford Transit R124 JGS appeared and I duly paid my £1.70 to Woodstock. Just 4 others were picked up, all from various points around St Johns Road in Takeley, and all went to Woodstock for shopping. Luckily I had printed off the new timetable off the internet, and was able to let one of the passengers have it, as neither they nor the driver knew the actual times of the bus when everything changes in 8 days time, although they were aware the Saturday services on this (and the other Woodstock Wanderer routes) was ending next week.
After Woodstock the same bus then worked the 0900 242 to Heath Lane in Bladon and the 0910 back, neither of which produced any passengers. Continuing then as the 203 at 0920 to Kidlington via Shipton On Cherwell (where it penetrates the village more than the 59 used to) we still had no passengers, despite going via the 'on request' only section through the Grovelands housing area of Kidlington. The bus terminates at Sainsbury's, after which I returned on the 0950 203 (still on my own) as far as Kidlington High Street. Maybe one can understand why the Saturday services are being deleted. My original itinerary had me leaving the bus at Bladon for the 8 to Oxford. However despite the Oxfordshire website showing this a Mon to Sat, the bus map showed it as Mon to Fri. Luckily I sent an e-mail to the public transport team at Oxfordshire, who quickly responded that the web site was wrong. I was very impressed that it was corrected within a day.
There was time here for breakfast in a local cafe, and the weather had turned decidedly wet. My next trip was on Stagecoach 59 at 1038 to Banbury, aboard Volvo/Alexander saloon 20204 (M204 LHP), on which I purchased an Explorer ticket. Indeed all 3 buses on the route were this type, I had thought Low Floor Darts had taken over some time ago, but I must be mistaken. The next bus on my itinerary was the 1200 circular Cherwell Villager 57 service operated by Banburyshire Community Transport Association. This was a Mercedes 412 Sprinter midibus N961 NJO, and cost me £2. This ran around Cherwell Heights and then through Bodicote Village (not shown on the timetable) where one severely mobility impaired gentleman was set down, and on to Twyford where we lost 3 passengers, leaving just one lady besides myself for the trip through Adderbury, Milton, and Barford St Michael, essentially over the same route as 'The Connection 159' (except for a different route through Barford St Michael) to Hempton, where the remaining passenger alighted. I alighted at Deddington (where unlike shown on 'The Connection' timetable, the bus does not serve the Market Place, and the bus continues direct back to Banbury. There was now time for refreshment in the Red Lion Inn.
Now came the main point of the day, to ride on 'The Connection' routes 159 and 259 before their imminent withdrawal. These are operated by Peter J Blowfield of Bicester, trading as Walters Limousines, not that you would know that from the all white livery. The timetable for these routes is incredibly complicated, with dead runs all over the place, some logical, but many could be run in service for no additional cost. One vehicle tends to stay on each route, but it looks to me like there may be cross linking in the morning. At this time the 159 vehicle should have been at Adderbury on the timetable, however both were at Deddington for the early turn driver to swap with the late turns. Whilst the 259 was the expected Optare Alero, the bus on the 159 was a very scruffy Mercedes midibus, which soon shot off to pick up its scheduled time from Adderbury.
I travelled on the 259 at 1321, aboard the Alero, No 1 (YL51 ZTK), using my Stagecoach Explorer. No other passengers travelled on this journey through Duns Tew, Ledwell Turn, Sandford St Martin and Middle Barton to Steeple Ashton. This was one of the few trips to serve Sandford St Martin, which will presumably be bus less in future (?), and was also advertised as going into Ledwell Village if required, however the friendly driver said that had never been requested, and he would not know where to turn there anyway. At Steeple Ashton we connected with 59s in both directions, and that from Banbury yielded 3 passengers for the 259 to Middle Barton. This trip, the 1407, takes the direct route from Middle Barton to Duns Tew, a very narrow road also used by Stagecoach Volvos on the 59A, due to be substantially increased when the 259 is withdrawn. The driver of this admitted there are a couple of advertised trips that they never bother to operate on this route, such as the last bus from Middle Barton to Steeple Ashton. Back in Deddington there was time to sample another pub, this time the Falcon Inn.
My next trip was aboard Mercedes 609 midibus H261 FPD on the 1512 159 to Adderbury. This is one of two journeys that runs via Duns Tew en route to Hempton, Barford St Michael and Milton. I thought I would check the driver was going that way, and he at first flatly refused to go the registered route unless I wanted to get off at Duns Tew. However he then admitted he did not know the way, and agreed to do the proper route if I showed him the route !! There were no passengers for the whole trip. At Adderbury he should run back empty direct to Deddington for the 1548 from there, but he never bothered to do that. After a visit to the Coach and Horses, I was getting a bit worried when he was 12 mins late leaving for the next return trip to Deddington at 1612, again completely empty. We made up much of the lost time, and I was able to complete the hat trick of Deddington pubs in the form of a visit to the Deddington Arms.
It was then back on the 59 to Oxford, this time Volvo/Alexander 20205 (M205 LHP). This returns as a 59A, and the driver was saying the narrow bit after Middle Barton requires full concentration !! My next journey was a round trip to Bicester and back on the 1800 25A through Heyford, to say farewell to Stagecoach on the service. This was operated by Mercedes Midibus 42383 (S383 DFC) and I was surprised that half a dozen passengers travelled all the way to Bicester on this, despite far faster main road buses being available. Running time on this is very tight, but with a bit of lee way into Bicester. This returns from Bicester at 1900, and is the only 25A to run through Chesterton, although little could be seen of the 'rare' routeing in the dark. Given there is a late return trip, I expected this to be busy with revellers coming into Oxford for the evening, however there were only 2 passengers into Oxford besides myself. The homeward trip to Hillingdon was then aboard the 2003hrs Oxford Tube, operated by Skyliner 50115 (KP04 GKF) which was nearly full by the time we left the Lewknor Turn stop.
Coaches using M40 over bridges with a weight limit
There is a C road which runs from the A40 near Stokenchurch via Christmas Common towards Nettlebed. The bridge over the A40, has a 7.5 ton weight limit and one can often see trucks and coaches, well over that weight limit using this road.
One wonders, that if there is a weight limit, how the drivers of these vehicles would feel if bits fell off this bridge onto traffic on the M40 or worse.
It seems something should be done, maybe a road narrowing scheme, to stop this infringement? Such a narrowing would also serve to reduce the speed of the cars which often exceed the 50mph limit applicable.
I am aware of two coach operators I have now seen using this road and crossing the bridge but do not feel it my place to reveal their identity, save to say they are local operators.
AERE Harwell - what happened to the buses which ran the staff bus service?
My piece on last week's page brought several responses and further pictures which are most interesting.
Neil Gow writes "RFO 361 was formerly registered 241 AJB and was sold in November 2005 by ESJ Coaches to King Harry Coaches of Falmouth. When prepared for service it is intended to use for PSV and advertising work.
Sister 240 AJB is in the heritage fleet of ACE Travel, Speke and 239 AJB is preserved in AERE livery by Vic Priest and was at the Wroughton Rally in 2004.
All this information is, of course, on the AEC Bus Site, at www.busweb.co.uk/aecbus/inservice.htm and www.busweb.co.uk/aecbus/preserved.htm"
Mike Bennett writes "Whilst reading through the AERE article I saw no reference to the preserved example - 243 AJB - which attends rallies locally. Attached are 2 views of it. --v1 shows it at the Swindon Centenary Bus Rally held at Wroughton Science Museum site on 12 September 2004, whilst --v2 shows it at your own Oxford Bus Rally at the Water Eaton P&R site on 16 October 2005. In the 2000 Showbus Rally programme it was shown as owned by Vic & Sylvy Priest."
Brian Matthews also sent a shot of the preserved AJB which is shown below.
Also Steve Annells site at The Bus Station at http://www.busstation.net covers the fleet at AERE very well.
Mike Penn also wrote but this time about AWRE saying "You have devoted quite a lot of your pages to the buses of AERE at Harwell but you haven't mentioned AWRE at Aldermaston who also operated their own buses. In the early 1960s they operated a fleet of ex London Transport RTs which I believe were maintained by Smith's of Reading - certainly they could be seen in Smith's yard frequently. I am attaching a photo of LUC 101 photographed at that location on June 30th 1965. As can be seen it now has platform doors and the front upper deck half drop windows have been replaced by plain glass. On the extreme left you can just see one of Smith's ex London Transport pre-war RTs, recognisable by the rear roof route number indicator."
That Iveco double decker again
Michael Bennett writes "I response to your request for a photo of the IVECO double decker bus owned by Abus of Bristol, I have attached a .jpg of it at the Brislington P&R site on the eastern outskirts of Bristol. It was taken during the Bristol Vintage Bus Group's Open Day and Rally on 15 August 2004, and was one of many vehicles I photographed on the day.
The Stroud Running Day was 5th June in 2004, so that makes the previous Wednesday 1st June, for when the IVECO left Abus."
News from Swindon by Michael Bennett
Thamesdown Transport took delivery of two of its order for 10 Scania/Wright Solars on 21 December last. One will receive a "55" reg and will be used for driver training. The remaining 9 will be registered in March thus receiving "06" registration numbers. They are scheduled to be used on routes 1 &1A.
The historical news and pictures has indeed generated more correspondence than any other item I have put on this page. Indeed following the format set by Mike Penn it would be nice to have coverage of other areas including Oxford.
I am able to continue this subject thanks to various contributors including Mike Penn, Gavin Francis and comment.
First though I repeat a number of comments received following last week's pictures by Mike Penn.
Many thanks for including Mike Penn’s pictures of Thames Valley buses taken in the Wycombe area in the 1960s and 70s, in issue 159. Pictures of TV buses in the Wycombe area are quite rare as most pictures on sale at Collectors Fairs are taken in the Reading or Newbury areas!
The picture of 574 on service 33 was taken in Newland Street which is where the 33 service to Desborough Castle started in those days. I would hazard a guess that this spot today is under the Tesco building. I think the building to the right of the bus was the new Murray’s department store which was incorporated into the Octagon Centre. I also think that this building, which still stands today on the edge of the Octagon Centre, incorporated the TSB bank which closed only recently. If I’ve got this wrong no doubt someone will soon put me right! To the right of the picture out of sight was a wasteland/car park waiting redevelopment as the Octagon, Newlands bus station, the Tesco store and Abbey Way inner relief road.
The pictures of 629, 730 and 856 were all taken in the Frogmoor bus station. Note that 629 has had its 3-piece destination indicator rebuilt to a “T” type indicator, whereas 730 has merely had the “via” box painted over. 730, when new in 1954 was allocated to Stokenchurch Dormy Shed where it resided for many years with sister 731.
Referring to the pictures taken outside the new bus station at Newlands in 1970; the traffic flow was the reverse of what it is today. This was changed when the Tesco store was built as the then roadway into the bus station was blocked off.
With reference to the picture of 476 taken at Oxford, Gloucester Green and your note about side destination indicators; all new single and double deckers delivered after the war, apart from those with utility bodies, initially had side destination indicators. These were deleted from the batches registered “FBL” and all subsequent deliveries. From the early 1950s these indicators started to be over-painted and several of the double deckers had them panelled over. The picture could date from the very late 1940s as 476 was delivered in 1948.
Newman Morgan writes
I was intrigued with the photos of the Thames Valley vehicles in the mid-1960s, reminds me of my childhood!
The Bristol LL6B 574 on the Castlefield Service 33 was, I believe, photographed in Newland Street, High Wycombe. This would be before the building of the Octagon shopping centre and the bus station. From memory, the Octagon opened in 1969 or maybe early 1970 with the bus station following on later in 1970. The 33 was Wycombe's most frequent service with a timetable of buses every 7 to 10 minutes during the daytime, the evening service was at least every 30 minutes. 574 appears to be on lay over as the rear door is open. The 33 ran from Newland Street to Desborough Castle Estate (or Castlefield as everyone knew it) along Desborough Road and Dashwood Avenue to the Half Moon pub, as the present Arriva 33 does. The 33 went left at the Half Moon (no traffic lights in those days!) and then did a right turn into Rutland Avenue. The route went up the steep climb of Rutland Avenue and along Rutland Avenue to turn right and stand at Cross Road, by the school. Buses would then run down Spearing Road to re-join Rutland Avenue at the top of the hill, and then descend the hill back to the Half Moon and the town. The Castlefield leg was a kind of a circular route in the shape of the letter D and passengers for Spearing Road would stay on board during the short layover at Cross Road.
I note that 574 is on Car No. 56, this would be prefixed by a small embossed letter D to denote Desborough Road garage. The four buses used on the 33 ran on Nos. 55 to 58. In those days 1 to 41 were double deck workings, 51 to 70 were crewed single deck workings and 81 to 85 were one man workings on the 32, 34 and 80 services. Of the single deck crewed workings, 51-54 were duties on the 31 to Walters Ash and Lacey Green, 55-58 were Castlefields, 59-62 were Downleys (35) and 63-68 were used on the 36 Lane End/Cadmore End and 37 Lane End/Frieth/Turville/Henley which were interworked often using Bristol LWL's like 629 in another photograph. 69 and 70 were Relief duties on certain routes.
From the photo of 574, the bridge adjacent to the rear door is the bridge over the River Wye (now subterranean), the rectangular building in the back ground is the Trustee Savings Bank and is positioned in part of the department store Murray's building. The car park on the left provided a walkway through to Oxford Street where West Wycombe Road services departing from the Railway Station would pick up. The building with the chimneys behind the rear of the bus would most likely be the Bull public house (now the Robert Dyas hardware store?). The buildings to the rear of the bus would be in Queens Square, High Wycombe. There used to be another pub just out of vision in Queens Square called the Globe. In those days pubs closed at 2.30pm after the lunch period and I always remember witnessing a fight involving Teddy Boys spilling out of the Globe into the serenity of Queens Square!
Out of vision in the photo, but outside Murrays ( a rather fine department store now closed I think. Ed.) and the Bull were the bus stops for the other Desborough Road services, the cross town Thames Valley 26 / 26A and London Transport 326.
The photo of 629 brings back memories as these used to pass my bedroom window at Lane End Road, Sands working the 36 to Lane End and Cadmore End. Quite a fair number of this batch was allocated to the Wycombe depots. From memory, 616 - GJB 254 - spent more time than the rest working on Fingest outstation duties. 629 in the photo shows the T-shaped route number and destination layout. All these vehicles originally had three piece layouts with the third layout listing intermediate places served en route. The bus is parked in Frogmoor Bus Station.
The KSW 730 is also in Frogmoor and shows the lazy blind layout often used when the 'via' displays were removed either by simply applying red paint to the glass or by replacing with the T-shape layout as on 629. 33A LOCAL SERVICE doesn't really help anyone especially as the bus laid over in Frogmoor but started its route from Newland Street! The 33A was an hourly service supplement to the 33 and ran from Newland Street to Chairborough Road. The route was the same as the 33 until just past the Half Moon, and as the 33 went right into Rutland Avenue, the 33A went left, then right into Chairborough Road. The bus turned into a road (its name eludes me) just before the Jolly Bodger pub and then returned to the Half Moon by making another right turn and running parallel to Chairborough Road. The route was double deck worked and the bus did one trip on the 33A and one trip on the 81 each hour. The 81 went from Frogmoor via Oxford Street, Oxford Road, Desborough Avenue, Marlow Road, Cressex Road to Booker (Turnpike). A second journey each hour was numbered 81A and ran through from Wycombe Marsh.
The blind layout on 730 typifies the problem I used to have as a 6 year old coming home from school! These vehicles were used on the 42 service, but there were two 42's! The 42 ran every half hour from Loudwater, Station Road (turning in the station forecourt just up Treadaway Hill) to West Wycombe Swan (turning at the junction where Chorley Road meets the main A40). The 42 also ran every half hour from Wycombe Marsh to Booker Hill Estate. The two services paralleled each other from the Marsh to the West Wycombe Road/Chapel Lane junction by the Downley Turn bus stop. The Booker Hill 42 turned left down through Sands and up New Road to turn right at the top end of Booker Hill Road. I attended a small school on the West Wycombe Road and thanks to late running 42's showing just 42 LOCAL SERVICE, I dread to think of the number of times I ended up in West Wycombe instead of alighting at Sands Hour Glass!
856 is quite interesting as a small number of one-man Bristol MW's were based at Wycombe. In those days about 50% of the 32 ran through to Chinnor and the remaining 50% turned at Routs Green, Bledlow Ridge. The photo was taken at Frogmoor bus station and in the background there is a former South Midland coach demoted to one-man bus duties. They had white window surrounds and roof.
The photo of Bristol LD 778 also brings memories! This was one of a sizeable number of double deck Bristol LD's plus some FS's and I believe a couple of the short FSF's that came to Thames Valley from United Welsh in Swansea. This particular bus, when first at Wycombe, regularly performed the 8.24am 38 Relief bus from Booker (Turnpike) to Hearns Corner, the main bus being the 8.21am from Limmer Lane, Booker to the Railway Station. I recall that for many months 778 carried internal advertisements for all things Swansea, such as the previous year's Swansea Eisteddfod! United Welsh livery was also red and so transferred buses could enter service with Thames Valley without having to be re-painted. 794 and 632 were 2 other ex-United Welsh LD's that spent time at Wycombe. The conductor on that particular roster had some sense, as he/she is showing 26A MILL END ROAD, rather than the more usual 26A LOCAL SERVICE! The 26A ran from the Happy Wanderer in Bowerdean to Mill End Road via Bowerdean Cross Roads, Totteridge Road, Castle Street, Newland Street, Desborough Road, Desborough Park Road, Abercrombie Avenue and Eaton Avenue to Mill End Road. Peak hour and lunch time journeys extended to Sands Industrial Estate which was known as Sherwoods Corner on the destination. London Transport ran short workings on their 326 from the Happy Wanderer to Rutland Street each hour. These followed the same route as the 26A to the stop after Newland Street which is the request stop by the Job centre at the town end of Desborough Road. The LT buses then went left into Rutland Street and turned and stood at the Rutland Street/Wendover Road junction.
26/26A and LT 326 buses used to reverse from Mill End Road into Dashwood Avenue to turn and then stand in Mill End Road. This was eventually stopped as being dangerous and the revised route of running from Desborough Road straight along Dashwood Avenue to Mill End Road was introduced, returning to Desborough Road via the old route along Eaton Avenue, Abercrombie Avenue and Desborough Park Road. Oddly, the Sherwoods Corner journeys continued to reverse from Lane End Road into Hillbottom Road to stand. It was some years before this too was stopped and the revised terminus of Roundwood Road was introduced.
The FLF D52 was one of a number of D-prefixed FLF's at Wycombe. It was indeed sent to Central SMT Co along with at least D51 and D56 from Wycombe. Series 1 VR's were received in return. D52 is working the 21 service to Aylesbury via West Wycombe Pedestal, Bradenham, Saunderton to Princes Risborough. This route was originally the 30 and was then linked with the 20/20A Wycombe-Maidenhead-Windsor routes to form the 20/20A Aylesbury-Wycombe-Maidenhead-Windsor, worked by Wycombe and Maidenhead depots. Eventually the route was re-split and the Wycombe-Aylesbury section became 21/21A. Route No. 30 was allocated to a then new town service to the Plomer Hill Estate via Hughenden Road, Hughenden Avenue returning via Telford Way to Hughenden Avenue.
The RF on Green Line 724 had just left the LT (later LCBS) depot at the foot of Marlow Hill (now Staples store) for its long journey to Romford. The route was worked by HE High Wycombe and RE Romford garages, I believe. The route was 'express' rather than 'limited stop' as I am sure the only stop between High Wycombe Garage and Amersham Garage was Hazlemere Cross Roads.
The RT on the 326 would eventually succumb to RML Routemasters. Note its running number HE9. 9, 10, 11 were used on the 326 with two journeys and hour from Micklefield Estate to Mill End Road via Micklefield Road, London Road, Gordon Road, Bowerdean X Roads, Totteridge Road, then as the 26A to Mill End Road. A third journey ran hourly from Micklefield to the LT Garage and this omitted Gordon Road but continued along London Road to Easton Street then left into Queen Victoria Road down to the Garage. The same bus would then run from the Garage to Bowerdean Happy Wanderer, back to Rutland Street then from Rutland Street to Micklefield each hour, this latter journey turning right from Castle Street into Crendon Street, left into Easton Street and along the London Road. From memory, HE9 and HE10 did the Mill End Road journeys and HE11 did the Micklefield/Bowerdean shorts. Some 326's also extended to Sands Industrial Estate but rather than showing SHERWOODS CORNER as Thames Valley did, LT showed SANDS. Destination displays for Micklefield included WOODSIDE ROAD NTH via Totteridge Road, WOODSIDE ROAD NTH via Easton St., WOODSIDE ROAD STH via Totteridge Road, HERBERT ROAD via Totteridge Road. Woodside Road South and Herbert Road stops were used as terminals for Relief journeys.
RF612 is on what was then a fairly new service, the 442 which was the first route to my knowledge to serve Hatters Lane, Hicks Farm Rise and Roebuck Avenue. The Hicks Farm area of Micklefield/Totteridge was pretty new housing in those days.
RML2416 is on a short working of the 363 from the LT Garage to Totteridge. The 363 ran every 12 minutes from Totteridge (Tyzack Rd) down Totteridge Road to Bowerdean X Roads, then along Gordon Road to the Cricket Ground right into London Road to Easton Street. Journeys terminating at LT Garage would turn left into Queen Victoria Road. Through journeys turned right into Crendon Street. Note that Penn is shown as an intermediate point as this service ran regularly through to Beaconsfield. From Crendon Street the 363 ran up Amersham Hill, past the RGS to Terriers, then Hazlemere Cross Roads. It turned right into Penn road and straight down the main road to Penn as the housing on the right where the William Ramsay school is wasn't built. The Beaconsfield journeys continued along the main road from Penn through Knotty Green to Beaconsfield Station and then up to Beaconsfield Old Town. I think mainly for school children purposes, a couple of afternoon journeys then continued down the A40 to Holtspur and these would show 363 HOLTSPUR as their destination.
From memory the Wycombe-Penn section was half hourly with the Penn-Beaconsfield section being hourly. Eventually, the Totteridge section was split from the Penn section to become the 360 and then became worked by standee Merlins/Swifts from the MBS/SMS classes.
MB95 could have been either a HE or MA (Amersham) garage bus as both worked the 305. SM451 was an Amersham bus and Amersham worked the lions share of the 362 which in those days didn't go to Pond Park Estate in Chesham but ran instead to the Nashleigh Arms which was shown as Nash Arms on blinds.
Think I've got a little carried away in this e-mail but hopefully some of the information will clarify the photos and provide some background information, if only for debate in coming issues!!!!
With regard to the 724, I do believe there still exists need for a Wycombe - Watford service but probably via Amersham, Chesham, Hemel Hempstead rather than Amersham and Rickmansworth as the 724 used to run. (In fact one could take the bus to Amersham and then the 336 from there to Watford. Actually quite a pleasant trip. Ed)
Just to confirm the locations of the TV pics in last weeks page. 574 is on the old Newlands Car Park which is now the site of the Octagon. It's probably stood about the entrance to Tescos. Originally the road went through from where Robert Dyas is now through to the front of the new bus station. The 326 and 26 routes took this route through the town. I have what is maybe the first picture I ever took. It shows RT979 leaving The Bull stop (now Robert Dyas). It was a Green Line RT allocated to Wycombe. It's blank intermediate display used to mean it was an extra usually running on a Saturday morning. In the background is the area where 574 was stood. It was taken from the games room above The Globe Public House (now Carphone Warehouse) - a misspent youth.!!! Probably not good enough to use.
Mike Penn makes a further contribution
A small correction to what I sent you last week - the buses Thames Valley acquired from United Welsh were Bristol LDs and LSs, not MWs.
More photographs from High Wycombe, this time in 1978. The Tesco store is still noticeable by its absence, Thames Valley is now Alder Valley but London Country still continues. Both operators' vehicles are now in the standard NBC livery but there is still a variety of types to be seen. Some of the destination displays are unfamiliar, either because the places are now no longer served directly from High Wycombe or because they are now an intermediate point on a longer, perhaps infrequent, route. Names such as Windsor, Staines, Frieth, Cadmore End, Lacey Green, Chartridge; some of which had me reaching for the atlas! (When I first moved to the area in 1975 Frieth had its own Dormy shed at the bottom of the hill on the road from Stokenchurch. Does anyone have any pictures of this? Ed)
Thames Valley pictures by Mike
Alder Valley 663 (GRX 131D) is an ECW bodied Bristol FLF6G, new to Thames Valley.
Alder Valley 684 (KPM 84E) is an ECW bodied Bristol FLF6G, one of a number
acquired from Southdown but new to Brighton, Hove & District.
Alder Valley 888 (OCS 596H) is an ECW bodied Bristol VRT/SL6G acquired from
Western SMT in exchange for a Bristol FLF.
Alder Valley 1082 (LJB 332F) is an ECW bodied Bristol RESL6G relegated to
non-PSV use for the Market Analysis Project.
Alder Valley 471 (CMO 647J) is an ECW bodied Bristol RELL6G.
Alder Valley 163 (TBL 163M) is a Leyland National on its way to Frieth.
Alder Valley 230 (KPA 381P) is a Leyland National.
Alder Valley 283 (TPE 159S) is a Leyland National.
Alder Valley 949 (TPE 159S) is an ECW bodied Bristol VRT/SL3/6LXB when very new.
London Country SM116 (BPH 116H) was a Park Royal bodied AEC Swift, one of the first batch of 48 of this type
placed in service by London Country but ordered by London Transport.
This one was withdrawn about six months after the photograph was taken having had a lifespan of less than 9 years with London Country.
London Country SM478 (DPD 478J) was an MCW bodied AEC Swift.
London Country SM497 (DPD 497J) was an MCW bodied AEC Swift.
This was at one time in the yellow and blue "Superbus" livery at Stevenage.
London Country BL18 (SPK 118M) was an ECW bodied Bristol LHS6L.
(What dear little buses they were Ed.)
London Country RB24 (TPD 24S) was a Duple bodied AEC Reliance.
More than 100 AEC Reliances with Duple and Plaxton bodies were delivered
around this time to upgrade Green Line services.
London Country SNB343 (UPB 343S) and SNB346 (UPB 346S) were Leyland Nationals
which later became part of the Luton & District fleet.
London Country SNC133 (XPD 233N) was a Leyland National, originally deployed on Green Line Services.
London Country - Green Line SNC133 on the 441 to Staines, a route long since gone.
On further matters relating to "history" Ed Maun writes "Didn’t get the BFP until today (Saturday)! I liked the picture of Wycombe Marsh depot. I was amused by the caption “……The station looks new….”. The depot was built in 1924! I would guess this photograph was taken in the mid to late 1950s. The low storey add-on to the right of the main building was originally the enquiry office – I’ve never been able to find out when it ceased to have this function, but the caption implies it was in use as a building supplies firm by the time the picture was taken.
There is another picture of this depot taken around 1930 in a new book on High Wycombe published last year. The book is titled “Images of England – High Wycombe Revisited by Colin J Seabright. The picture appears on page 60. There are glimpses of buses in some of the other pictures including a glorious one of the High Street taken in 1930 which contains two Leyland TD1 Titan double deckers.
By the way, the letter in Midweek about the Frogmoor bus station was also in the BFP this week.
I read the letter mentioned with interest where the writer is asking readers to settle an argument with a friend at to whether there was a bus station in Frogmoor. Well there were stands for departing buses and so, yes, one could argue that there was a bus station at that location.
Gavin Francis also wrote on the same subject saying " Do you see the Midweek Free Press? In this week’s issue (Jan 4th) there is a letter from a Brian Smith seeking to settle a friendly argument about a bus station in Frogmoor, High Wycombe. I have written to Midweek about the Frogmoor bus station and have also directed them to issue 157 of the bus page which included two pictures of the station. I thought I’d better let you know in case they print a picture in Midweek – I presume as newspaper publishers they know all about acknowledging copyright. If Midweek does not publish my letter, I will forward a copy direct to Brian Smith."
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this page and look forward to your continued support in the future. Many of you ask how long it takes to prepare each week's News Page and I can tell you it varies from 4 to 8 hours. A labour of love some would say. Anyway judging by the comments I receive it seems its well worthwhile.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 8th January 2006
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News of the local companies – 8th January 2006
Operator news it still somewhat limited after the long break over Christmas but I hope to have better coverage next week.
New 757 coach seen in London
Phil Stockley of Solent Blue Line has provided pictures of the ex OBC Paladins which are now entering service with SBL in full livery. The use of near matching fleet and registration number is nice.
Phil writes "of the initial six (K125-130 BUD) have been in service since 3/1/06 as our fleet numbers 625-630, with 625-8 having been vinylled over the New Year weekend."
With regard to the reference to a Volvo demonstrator in 1982 I am advised that "EHG 467Y was a Duple demonstrator new in May 1983 and sold in January 1985. It was a Volvo B10M (chassis no 4703) and had Duple body number 349/7018."
Alan O Watkins sent the picture included below.
Robin Clare writes "Can I please set the record straight with regard to the various liveries in use by M K Metro. Erroneous information, I suspect from the same source, has been published on your site and in Buses magazine recently.
The current standard livery remains base yellow with dark blue skirt and trim stripes. This livery adorns most of the fleet, and is carried by the two latest LWB Cummins engined Solo's delivered in December (No's 32 & 33). I am not aware of any plans to change the standard livery.
There are two "Route Branded" liveries currently in use. Firstly, vehicles dedicated to service 5, including the TWO new Scania / Solar's, plus the three Cadets, and a number of SLF Darts are painted Orange, with a dark Blue skirt, and carry prominent branding vinyls for Route 5, our flagship cross town route.
Secondly, dedicated to service 8 are the two Solo's acquired from Newbury last year, Nos.28 & 29. They carry an all-over purple (mauve?) livery, with route branding vinyls in the same style as carried by service 5 vehicles. Similar Nos. 30 & 31, acquired from formerly associated company Choice Travel carry standard Yellow / Blue livery.
Thirdly, Dart No.428 carries a special livery for Milton Keynes College, and during term time is usually dedicated to Service X1 which links the railway station and town centre to the two major campuses of the college.
There are also a number of overall adverts, including a recently out shopped Solo in a black and orange scheme to publicise the opening of a second B & Q Superstore in the town.
Mercedes Benz Vario / Plaxton Beaver No.124 which was acquired recently from Trent / Barton has NOT been painted in green travel livery, and is still running around in Red and Cream, albeit often used on Green Travel duties. I am not aware of any plans to expand the Green Travel fleet beyond it's present five vehicles.
A very recent re-acquisition is No.141, a Volvo B10M with incredibly ugly Alexander Belfast body, originally used on the Trans-Peak service by Trent. After use as a school bus here last year, it passed to Centrebus, who I believe used it in Grantham. It has now rejoined us as a dedicated training vehicle, following appointment of a second Driving Instructor.
Finally, the Mercedes 709D is now extinct as a normal service bus within this fleet, although a number remain with the Community transport operation. One of these, No.611, carries bus livery, but is fitted with a tail lift and is now only used as a backup CT vehicle, or very occasionally as a staff shuttle. It's an absolute pig to drive!
The Community Transport fleet carries Milton Keynes Council house colours of white with lime green skirt and trim. Z & S have painted one of their Varios in ASDA's colours of ......... white and lime green, for a service to the new ASDA superstore."
Chris Maxfield and myself were talking during a break in London this last week that First Bristol had some new Scania/Irizar PB coaches with airport N Ex branding. A picture of one of these coaches has come to hand taken by Armstrong Galley. None has so far been seen on the 201 service to Gatwick.
John Wood writes from Aylesbury to report "Another photo of the ex Reading Excels now in Auckland New Zealand - taken by me whilst on holiday.
Richies 658 (CSM 935) ex Reading 919 (919 SJH) runs into Auckland on a morning peak working on Thursday 10 November 2005. Behind is another independent - Birkenhead Transport Ltd - although in a livery more reminiscent of Wallasey.
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An interesting little bus photographed at the recent Winchester event by Woody.
Further details of its history would be appreciated. It is now operated by Mervyn's Coaches.
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
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.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002