Sunday 16th July 2006
next update week ending 29th July 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
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.
you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week
news please let me know
This week's page marks a milestone in that in the small print you will see that we have now reached a grand total of 400 News Pages and the first one recorded and edited by me was at the following link
This shows the founding editor, David Root, at the wheel of an OBC Volvo 642 on route 52 to the Rail Station. This was all nearly eight years ago and I have made many friends and received many hundreds or even thousands of emails in the intervening period. Some of the pictures are missing but you can see many others which may bring back memories of those days.
This week brings interesting news and photos from many of my readers and we will start with events in High Wycombe.
First Glimpse of Eden Bus Station http://www.edenshopping.co.uk
Multiplex has released the first image showing what High Wycombe’s new bus station will look like when it opens ahead of schedule in Bridge Street on Sunday 13th August 2006.
The bus station marks the first major milestone to be
reached within the construction programme of the £275 million Eden shopping and
leisure destination and passers by have watched it taking shape over the past
six months. Once open, it will allow passengers an early taste of the quality
The scaffolding has recently been removed revealing a modern glass frontage that will allow high levels of natural light to stream through the interior. The exterior construction involving over 40,000 bricks is now complete and work is now focused on the finishing touches. The high quality ceramic floor has been laid and electricians are busy installing miles of wiring to service the high levels of lighting, CCTV cameras and the modern monitors that will clearly display scheduled times for the 18 arrival and departure ports.
The new bus station has been designed to ensure that bus passengers travelling to and from the town centre and bus operators’ staff will enjoy the very best of facilities in a safe and secure environment, including 24 hour public toilets with disabled facilities and ample seating.
Multiplex has also invested in the exterior landscape of the bus station. 11 ‘London Plane’ trees have been planted, adding an extra feature to enhance the local environment.
Simon Ruck, Project Manager from Multiplex, explains:
“We are delighted with the progress of the Eden construction programme in general and especially pleased to be able to confirm that we will deliver the bus station to High Wycombe ahead of schedule. With the planned opening set for Sunday 13th August, the interior of the bus station is now taking shape very quickly and will offer bus passengers a dramatic change from the existing bus station that is now extremely run down.
The bus station will provide High Wycombe with a transport interchange that the town can be proud of and exemplifies what Eden is all about – a quality experience”.
update you on the new bus station, The bus station will be finished and handed
over on 27th July. There will follow 2 weeks of internal fit-out by the
companies moving into the bus station, including final installation and testing
of electronic displays. The bus station will open on Sunday 13th August.
The last service from the old bus station will be the 2359 NatEx 737 to Oxford
and the first bus from the new bus station will be the 0215 737 to Stansted.
Notices should start appearing around Wycombe during the next week.
I won't be there to witness either but I'm sure someone will!! I will be around from start of normal service for most of the day on and off."
I wonder if any reader will be out and about to record the event?
Paul Davis writes "A large chunk of the south end of the old Newlands Bus Stn and multi-storey car-park in Wycombe was levelled this week. Operations (and use of a lot of the car park) continue, as can be seen from this picture taken this afternoon (Sat 15th July)."
The old south end of Newlands Bus Station can be being demolished last Saturday in this picture from Paul Davis.
Bucks County Council Optare Solo plans
John Hodgkins writes "...responding to the comments on your website about the future of the Optare Solos that are currently used by Arriva to operate County Rider services for Buckinghamshire County Council - I can confirm that these vehicles will be remaining with Arriva for the time being - but will be used in connection with the following contracted services:
Two will be repainted into Silver and allocated to the Silver Rider route 1 (Aylesbury - Fairford Leys) from September to provide much needed extra seating capacity on this route;
Two will remain in green, but be rebranded for use on Route 4 in Aylesbury (probably from early August)
and the fifth will be repainted into a promotional livery (in Silver) and retained as the spare vehicle for both routes.
As for the County Rider services, the new operators will be providing low-floor, fully accessible buses from within their own fleets, but all four buses will be painted green and branded in the now familiar County Rider livery."
Several other readers sent comments in a similar vein, so my thanks to all of you who have kept us up to date.
Local operator developments by Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor for the PSV Circle.
Worth's have acquired a Leyland Olympian from Arriva Yorkshire West - G637 BPH. this replacing BBW 216Y which I believe is for sale but needs a new head gasket.
BBW 217Y form Holder, Charlton is now reported with an operator in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
GIL 8489 the Volvo which was acquired last May by McLean's Coaches is a centre door vehicle, unusual vehicle in Oxfordshire.
L673 OHL ex McLean's is now at work in Scotland with Highland Country.
Regarding the coach fire on the M40 last week Ken adds "I have the burnt out coach as belonging to: Rowbotham (Ann's Executive Travel), Kerswell Green (HW)."
(Seemingly there were 50 kids on this coach and the driver got them and all their baggage off before the conflagration. Well done ! Ed.)
Those Routemasters in Cowley Road
Simon Brown writes "Following
your report this week about tour buses in Bath, a friend who works at the
Western Traffic Commissioners has just told me that a new sightseeing operator
will soon appear on the streets of Oxford.
A registration has been received for a circular service operating every 20 minutes from Oxpens Coach Park, but following the same route around the city centre as Tappin's City Sightseeing.
Both tours companies will go head-to-head to attract custom, the same as they did when Full Circle tried to muscle in on the patch a few years ago. My friend tells me that the new service will be run by a company based in Cowley Road, Oxford.
Isn't that the same place the ex-Arriva London Routemasters are kept? Maybe we will see RM's plying for trade in Oxford before the end of the summer?"
Photographing buses - the perils therein !!
John Podgorski writes "....re your comments on camera shy PCV drivers, I've encountered a few in my time, and I've now got wise in how to avoid confrontations, or diffuse them if they do happen.
The most extreme incident happened at Stevenage bus station 6 years ago, when an irate Arriva driver literally demanded that I hand over the film from my camera, and physically grabbed hold of me, saying "that if I called the Police, he wouldn't care as he'd dealt with other enthusiasts before".
As I only had 4 frames shot off on the film I handed it over, and then immediately reported him to the Police, who didn't seem interested. I then wrote to Arriva, and got a very apologetic letter from one Nigel Eggleton (more recently of Go Ahead fame), who even offered to refund my lost film.
The offending driver got a total b********g by his employers, which served him right, and he was lucky he wasn't sacked. I would go as far as saying that it is idiots like him who give the bus industry a bad name, to the public and enthusiasts alike.
More recently, a very bizarre incident happened at Gordon Hill, Enfield. I took a shot of a Metroline Trident at a bus stop.
Around 15 minutes later, a chap approached me and demanded to know "why I had photographed him getting on the bus!"
All reasoning with him failed, and he said he was going to the Police station.
I fortunately had my car with me, so I was able to make a quick escape, and I went to the same Police station, where surprise I met "Mr Paranoid" again.
A Constable sorted the situation out, and to calm it, I handed over my film (again), but I was able to retake all the lost pictures that same day.
There seem to be some very ignorant people about whose paranoia is probably fed by the Mass Media.
Terravision and photos which have appeared on this page - by John Podgorski
"On a more positive note, I saw the picture of the new Terravision tri axle Scania, and I have some more info on Terravision operations. Terravision only directly runs 2 coaches, the rest are all contracted out.
Most are contracted to Excalibur of London, with another 3 supplied by Epsom Coaches. Centra used to supply vehicles, but that ceased when Centra quit Stansted.
Epsom has Setra S315s in Terravision colours, while Excalibur has painted a Scania K114/Irizar and a new B12M/Jonckheere into Terravision pink/white..
Epsom had the original Terravision contract coaches; specially branded B10M/Jonckheere P708-10 DPA, which launched the service in summer 2003 (supplemented by unbranded Epsom Javelin/Premieres). They were superseded in Spring 2004 by 4 new Terravision liveried Setra S315s, BU 04 EXT-W. EXV subsequently went into the main Epsom fleet. The Epsom S315s gained "fixed" destination displays, which were transfers detailing all stops across the top of the windscreen. These were subsequently replaced by led displays. Recently, another Javelin/Premiere has been branded for Terravision but retains Epsom livery.
Terravision's own coaches are Scania K114/Irizar Century, YN 04 YJK/L, with dot matrix destinations.
Excalibur originally used Scania K114/Irizars in their own livery on Terravision work, although one (YN 03 WPV) gained small 'Terravision' straplines. The appearance of contract liveried vehicles has only happened recently, led by the appearance of the new B12M (FJ 55 BXR), and subsequently Scania YN 03 WPU..
Excalibur also supplies plain blue coaches for Terravision work; Iveco Eurorider/Beaulas W805 AAY and Scania K114/VH Y177 JSH being noted, these working alongside coaches in full Excalibur livery and those in Terravision colours.
Terravision directly runs two routes; the "Direct"A50 Victoria-Stansted (some journeys via Liverpool Street), and the "indirect" A51 Liverpool Street-Stansted via Bromley by Bow.
Terravision tickets are also valid on Green Line/Arriva 757 from Victoria to Luton Airport."
(I know that this is outside our area but I found the contents from John rather interesting. Ed.)
Geoff Cunliffe takes the Tube to London
I remember reading an account in a very old Buses Illustrated of a journey from London to Glasgow on Northern Roadways way back in the '50s. I enjoyed reading it very much and the memory lingers on.
Recently Geoff Cunliffe told me he would be taking the Tube to London and I asked him to write an account. It gives an insight from the passengers point of view and I have included an unedited version so that his comments can be viewed by all. It raises some interesting points, especially about personal stereos.
"Last Saturday, 8th. July, my wife and I had to make a journey from Oxford to London using the Tube, and your editor asked me to let him know how we got on. “Ah-ah”, I thought, “my chance to share with the world my contribution to the on-going debate about what is wrong with British bus operation and Stagecoach in particular.” But the fact is that we got on surprisingly well.
I had done my homework, and asked at Gloucester Green the previous evening how much delay we could expect with those road works. I was told that, on a Saturday morning, the delay should be minimal and we should just allow about a couple of hours on our outward journey. There could be, perhaps, a more significant delay on the return.
Our trip started from Pear Tree at 8.40am, with Oxford Bus Trident 114 making sedate progress into the city. Alighting outside Gloucester Green in George Street, we made our way to the loading bay. Two Tubes were in the stands - ours was the left hand of the two, 50111. Having bought our tickets, we slightly elbowed our way passed a guy whose ticket had been eaten by the automatic ticket cancelling equipment to the offside upstairs front seats and settled down, playing with the air con blasters and studying a surprisingly large crack in the windscreen in front of us. We heard someone saying we were to leave at 9am so, by the available timetable dated 11th. December 2005 Issue 2, we were obviously the late 8.55 or the early 9.15 - or neither!
Pretty lightly loaded, spot on 9am we eased our way out of Gloucester Green, round the West End Centre, loading just one passenger at Speedwell Street, followed by a fast run on clear roads to the High Street and we passed the previous departure, 50121, which was still loading at Queen’s Lane.
Not to be outdone, we were overtaken by 50121 whilst we loaded at St. Clements, though we caught him up at the top of Headington Hill having presumably just loaded there. He led the way to the Headington Shops stop but he kept going, leaving us to pick up a considerable number of passengers and taking a long time to do so. Whilst we were loading, an inbound X90 passed us showing “Sorry Coach Full”.
It was still very quiet on the road and we encountered virtually no traffic at Green Road roundabout although there was a moderate queue of traffic inbound. Similarly it took just one cycle of the lights to get into Thornhill where we picked up another large number of passengers (are we ‘customers’ these days?). Again it was just one cycle of the lights to rejoin the main road at 9.35am and, by now, we were very heavily loaded.
Timing from hereon were:-
M40 - 9:40am; Lewknor - 9:47am (didn’t pick anyone up); M25 - 10:08am (60mph variable speed limit in force southbound); Hillingdon - 10:13am; Shepherd’s Bush - 10:34am; Notting Hill Gate - 10:41am; Marble Arch - 10:51am. No spare coaches were parked in Notting Hill Gate coach park as we passed.
Inbound there was remarkably little congestion except slightly at Gipsy Corner. What a shame there is no stop at Hyde Park Corner as we wanted to go just round the corner in Piccadilly,- and it was a long and warm walk down the side of Hyde Park.
Returning, we spent £1.50 each for a single ride ticket on an artic Citaro on the 73 (pretty poor value for money in comparison to the Tube, but better than a taxi no doubt) to Victoria where we found 50106 in Buckingham Palace Road, and we were just about the only passengers aboard when we set off at 5:40pm. It also had quite a crack in its front upper windscreen but horizontally this time instead of diagonally!
At Marble Arch there seemed to be complete chaos with the tour buses blocking our stop (as ever?). We loaded in two places, firstly with a brave few who flagged us down by walking out into the road behind the tour buses, then our driver pulled in ahead of the open toppers where we seemed to load enough to make the side of the Neoplan bulge. We were there so long that the next Tube passed us (and made it to Oxford before we did) as copious quantities of luggage were being stowed into the lockers.
It was a fairly uneventful return run with no congestion whatsoever. There was nothing approaching Thornhill; we ran straight into the P&R and coming out, the lights obligingly changed as we approached them. 106 seemed to be quite a fast coach looking at what we overtook on the M40. But I’ll tell you something about it - it doesn’t half creak when you are on the top deck and it is fairly heavily loaded. I assume it is down to some trim which is not completely tight rather than a structural problem, but at times like turning onto the slip road to rejoin the M40 at Lewknor, it sounds to be in distress. We reached Gloucester Green almost exactly two hours after leaving Victoria.
All in all, it was a very good ride in both directions. Niggles? Well, neither coach had its digital clock set, and throughout both journeys, they flashed an incorrect time at us. I know one driver who always makes a point of setting them - correctly! True both upper deck windscreens were cracked but they must cost a fortune to replace. One driver seemed slightly ill at ease with the PA, switching it on after his first syllable so we stopped at ‘ingdon, ‘ting Hill Gate, ‘ble Arch and so on, but it must be a chore to recite the names four times during every shift. By the time we were running back into Oxford, one passenger behind us was heard to remark that the air con made the coach feel cold, and it was getting a bit nippy although I thought the system was set at an actual temperature rather than just blasting cold constantly.
Probably the biggest niggle is one which Stagecoach can do little about - iPods! We used to complain about the old Sony Walkman, but they seem to have been superseded by the newer generation of toys. There was one near us which hissed and clicked all the way from Oxford to London. Strangely its owner talked, read and slept with it still hissing loudly enough to annoy many. In this day and age, you are reluctant to ask them to turn them down (I like living too much!) and a Regulation banning them or asking for users to be considerate with them would probably not be worth the effort. I just don’t know how you solve this selfish major irritation to many. Trains are as bad.
In closing, I must confess that the Oxford Tube may well be the jewel in Stagecoach’s crown and, to be fair, it certainly was last Saturday. I am more used to my local subsidiary (the Editor knows which one it is but it may, perhaps, be indelicate to name it) with services maintained by aged Volvo Olympians and PS-bodied B10Ms all, on their final cascade before they finish up either in the colonies or in the Yorkshire scrap yards! "
Geoff took some pictures which I include below.
The first picture is at Green Road roundabout and the new through road can be seen from the coach, the second is at Thornhill.
When Geoff returned there was no shortage of coaches waiting to take him to Oxford.
A new local website
Mike Knuckey has launched a new web site and writes "I have launched a new community website called mychilterns and would like to add a link to your website. Can you add a link to my site at http://www.mychilterns.co.uk "
Pedestrian accident in Gloucester Green
Following last week's report the Health & Safety boys descended on the Green last Tuesday, taking pictures of what was going on, especially of coaches unloading on the park up bays. This means that passengers often walk across the coach station with heavy bags in tow.
It will be interesting to watch developments over the coming months.
Model Buses for Sale
I have a new Deal on Models for your readers...
Each of the following models are available in the following price structure:
1 Model = £13.00
2 Models = £24.00
3 Models = £35.00
4 Models = £41.00
Postage is £2.70 for the first models and 40p per model after that.
UKBUS 1014 - CREATIVE MASTER OXFORD P&R TRIDENT
UKBUS 5002 - CREATIVE MASTER OXFORD P&R CITARO
UKBUS 2012 - CREATIVE MASTER BROOKES BUS TRIDENT
CORGI ORIGINAL OMNIBUS OXFORD ESPRESS EXCALIBUR
Once again this offer is only available by emailing me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
More models are for sale on my eBay store, http://www.modelsmk.co.uk/shop
Would readers who respond to the above please quote my site when doing so.
Again my thanks to all my contributors, both old and new.
Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 16th July 2006
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002 to date
News of the local companies – 16th July 2006
Stephen Le Bras writes "I
can confirm that two of the vehicles in use on the 724 on Saturday were 3371 and
3449, the former with just a 724 and no destination."
James writes "I have a picture of one of the DAF's from the 724 that has been repainted and is now at Aylesbury, I shall email it shortly."
Nigel Peach writes "I haven't had anything to report in recent weeks but still read the page with great interest.
Last week Gavin Francis pictured Volvo B6 3133 asking if this was a recent addition to the Wycombe fleet. Answer: Fairly recent; it appeared at the end of last year. I think it was effectively a replacement for similar vehicle 3126 (the "74" branded bus) which was withdrawn after a fire.
I attach a photo taken on Sunday 25th June showing the rears of four of the "31" branded Volvos at Cressex depot (3862/6/5/7) which may be of interest.
There's an interesting "artist's impression" of the new bus station in this week's Bucks Free Press (Page 9).(also see the Editorial above Ed.) It shows two very authentic looking Arriva single deckers, all three of the Carousel Citaros and three red double deckers which look like London Buses. The fascinating thing about the only one of these you can see in detail is..... that it must be left hand drive, because the dual doors for the passengers are both on the off side of the vehicle!"
The third recently purchased Trident has arrived and is in the latest livery. It is T411SMV. 403 remains in Metrobus blue and yellow.
Mike Penn writes "The four new Centrebus Plaxton Centro bodied VDLs are now in service on route 10 (Luton - Marsh Farm). FH 06 KGK was the first to enter service on Sunday July 9th - the first time this route has run on a Sunday. KE 06 NZW and KE 06 NZX entered service the following day while KE 06 RXL was first seen by me on Wednesday. The last three have route branding for the 10.
The attached photos are of FH 06 KGK taken on Sunday and KE 06 NZX taken on Wednesday.
Also now in service are three ex Travel West Midlands Alexander bodied Mercedes Varios - R243/4/8 XDA. Attached is a photo of R243 XDA on Centrebus service 231 from Luton to Dunstable via Caddington taken on Wednesday."
James also sent some pictures taken on his mobile phone of these new buses.
A quiet week for news from this company, however one highlight was the use of an Airline branded Volvo B12B nr 54 on the X90. Chris Maxfield caught it on camera in Victoria Coach Station.
Seen under preparation at Plaxtons Anston premises last week, this Neoplan is due to enter service with Trathens on National Express services shortly. This coach has a Mercedes engine and an Alison gearbox. It also has the main entrance through the centre door unlike the Tubes.
Picture by Chris Maxfield
Oxford International, Culham
Seen crossing the river near Culham, Volvo OU05 AVY is seen on a late afternoon schools duty last week.
The mid morning service from Stokenchurch to Oxford failed to run last Friday and a number of intending passengers were left stranded. The company advised that the bus had broken down and suggested using the National Express service 737.
Sadly they obviously are not up to date with matters.
The Slimline Solo arrived early last week and was being prepared for service and was on card Juliet 3 today, Sunday. The pictures below show it ready for service last Friday evening.
47363 is now the newest vehicle in the Stagecoach fleet. The difference easily recognisable are the "spats" on the rear wheel arches.
This will never happen but all local buses can show Tube destinations.
M A N 22929 comes through the wash at Horspath last Friday.
Manchester 205 when new is seen in service in that city. It was pictured last week after a recent repaint in Oxford.
Trident 18133 on the 0205 from Oxford seen at Carterton on Saturday morning at 0252. Picture by Chris Maxfield.
Paul Dudfield writes "I thought you might be interested in this picture of a Brookes Bus Trident taken today (13th July) in Exeter. The bright sun seems to have overwhelmed the digital destination but it was correctly set for service X46 to Torquay. I don't know how these buses perform on the open road but the route has a lot of non stop running on almost motorway-standard roads but with some steep hills."
Brookes Trident 18051 seen on service on the X46 from Exeter to Torquay. Picture by Paul Dudfield.
Josh writes "Today Friday 14 July, a route 7 branded MAN was in use on the 59 from Banbury being driven by an Oxford Tube driver."
Richard Sharman also sent a couple of nice pictures of Stagecoach buses in our area.
SC 20012, once the yellow livered Bus Points advert is seen crossing the river at Abingdon on route 33.
Once based at Oxford having been received from London, Olympian 16072, now sports a Uni livery
and is used on the X1 service on Sundays between Coventry and Stratford via Warwick.
Returning from modifications 50106 is seen at Plaxtons and then on the motorway services on its way to Oxford.
Chris Maxfield's picture alongside Manchester 15199 shows the differences in height.
Dragon 15199 was in for fire damage repairs. http://www.plaxtonlimited.co.uk/plaxton/Service.html
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
Coaches at speed by Derek Dawson
This ex Devon General AEC Regent was caught on camera by Gavin Francis last week at Binders Yard.
Paul Green sent this picture of the ex COMS tow truck now resident in Ireland.
Paul says "On a recent visit to Ireland, I came across this wrecker with MARTINS COACHES of Limerick.
I am told that it was ex Oxford Bus Company. Anyone remember it?"
Pictures at Didcot from John Bristow.
Thames Travel's Dart 104 at Didcot station.
Abingdon Bus Company Merc also at Didcot Rail Station.
Courtney Solo en route to Milton Park
Harris Coaches of High Wycombe have two new coaches - pictures by Gavin Francis
HISTORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS
If you have any pictures or historical memories and wish to submit them for this page please send them to the me at
Route 724 by Gavin Francis
Gavin Francis writes "Peter Cartwright says it is 40 years since route 724 started from High Wycombe. I remember cycling from my home at Micklefield to see the first one go I think about 08.00. From memory I went back later in the day and took a picture on its return so the attached picture I believe to be of the first High Wycombe 724. Not great quality but I know you can sometimes improve it."
Running Day as advised by Peter Cartwright, Running Day Organiser Amersham & District Motorbus Society
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 by e-mail - Peter_Cartwright@wycombe.gov.uk - or post at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.
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 email@example.com
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
A web site which has paintings of buses.
The latest handbook from BBF was
on sale at Cobham and was the ever popular Stagecoach edition now in its 13th
As in earlier editions it includes the 2006 new bus orders.
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