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 223
Friday 20th April 2007
next update week ending 28th April 2007

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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

To see the pictures full size just click on the thumbnail

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

Due to work commitments this week's News Page is yet again a mid week edition. There have been, as ever, quite a few newsworthy items to report upon and these are included below.

Stagecoach named as preferred bidder for Manchester Metrolink. -

A long long time ago I entered this mortal world in the town of Sale, then in Cheshire and have memories of the Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJ&AR) electric trains making their way between Altrincham and Manchester. In those days the railway was run by a combined LMS and LNER committee and the trains comprised 24 3-car electric sets which could be combined to make 6-car sets in the rush hours. My early childhood was spent in sight and sound of these trains and often riding on them. We would go to the shops in Sale and the picture below brings back some happy memories.

It was in June 1992 that Metrolink first came to Sale when the line was converted to a "tram" link with Manchester. How interesting now that Stagecoach should become involved in what were some of my earliest childhood memories. I even took some Cine film of the line and a cab ride which was eventually used in a Video production of the line some years ago.

Stagecoach Group plc has announced that it has been selected as preferred bidder for the contract to operate and maintain the Manchester Metrolink tram network.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) announced today (3 April 2007) that Stagecoach Metrolink has been selected as its preferred bidder for a combined contract to operate and maintain the 37km Manchester Metrolink system and the associated infrastructure.

The contract will run for a 10-year term and is expected to commence within the next three months. It will include managing a number of special projects sponsored by GMPTE to improve the trams and infrastructure to benefit passengers. Stagecoach Metrolink will also be responsible for operating tram services on the new Metrolink lines to Oldham, Rochdale, Droylsden and Chorlton.

Nearly 20 million passengers travel every year on the Metrolink network, which generates an annual turnover of around £22million. Metrolink operates four routes:

Stagecoach already operates Supertram, a 29km tram system in Sheffield, incorporating three routes in the city.

Ian Dobbs, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group’s Rail Division, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder for the contract to run Manchester’s Metrolink network, which is one of the UK’s premier light rail systems.

“Stagecoach already operates a major tram system in Sheffield, where we are now carrying a record 13 million passengers a year and we will build on this operational expertise to deliver a first-class service to passengers in Manchester in partnership with GMPTE.
“We have developed an excellent reputation for delivering high-quality bus services in Manchester over the past decade, and we are already working hard on our plans to improve Metrolink’s quality of service to customers and attract more people to the tram.”

Other links of interest.,_South_Junction_and_Altrincham_Railway#1500_V_DC_electrification

You may well ask what this all has to do with buses and coaches in Oxfordshire and this area? Forgive your Editor and bear with his indulgence in the past. Could one ever have imagined that in the future that small boy would be working for a group that would run the service along his old railway line.

On the bus front my memories from those days are of AEC Regal chassis awaiting bodies from Burlinghams for Sykes of Sale, Manchester Corporation Daimler COG5s and Leyland TD5s both with "streamline" style bodies and North Western Leyland TS2 s with Burlingham utility bodies and gas trailers.  Now if one could time travel (Life on Mars) with a digital camera.

National Express - destination policy

In any large organisation wishing to project a standard image there have to be rule books or guidelines. National Express have such a document regarding the use of destination screens and it is interesting to see how such guidelines are sometimes, often by pure human error, applied incorrectly.

I took two pictures at Stansted the other night which illustrate what I am talking about. The can be classed as the right and wrong picture.

The right way to do it, showing the route number on the right of the display when looking at the coach.
This is Stagecoach Oxford's 59213 loading for the 0045hrs departure from Stansted to Oxford on Thursday 19th April.

The wrong way
as shown by a Dunn Line Levante recently arrived from Nottingham on the same night.
FN06 FLF shows the route number on the wrong side and they have sadly spelt Stansted incorrectly.
I checked another coach from the same company 24 hrs later and that had the spelling correct but not the route number !!

3rd Slough Running Day - Sunday 13 May 2007

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

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

Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society

or IN PERSON from next week from

Slough Bus Station Enquiry Office


Tourist Information Office
Pauls Row

Amersham & District Running days 2007 - dates for your diary 

Amersham & District Running Days for 2007 are as follows: 

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

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

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

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

Malcolm Crowe - Friday 204th April 2007

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

News of the local companies – 20th April 2007

A number of interesting pictures again this week plus a report from Nigel Peach who writes "I have noticed a few vehicles have gained electronic destination equipment in recent weeks, including: 

SLF Dart 3826, DAFs 4490 and 4429 (but not 4491 yet), Northern Counties bodied Olympian 5109, and Volvo B10 3841. This bus has also been repainted and looks smart (rather like ill-fated sister 3855 did before it was burnt out!)

3826 seems to be a bit different to similar buses 3825 & 3827. I've not seen it for long enough to study in detail, but the display sems bigger - maybe in capitals and without the intermediate points on the journey scrolling through."

No pictures have reached me of 3841 but I am sure this will be corrected by next week's page.

This picture of 5132 seems to illustrate the comments made above by Nigel Peach.

Olympian 5120 illustrate the more regular form of display when seen in the centre of Wycombe last week.

I saw one of the Olympians with ARRIVA THE SHIRES on the destination display earlier this week.

Arriva the Shires Scania 3160, N710EUR with "Line 300 Branding" on 61 Aylesbury in Luton, Silver Street last week.
Copyright © Glenn Knight 2007.

Things seem quiet at Carousel but the Tridents are regular performers in and around High Wycombe.

The use of Line route numbers is again prominent in this picture seen on Trident 403 which is still devoid of any branding.


Glenn Knight has once again sent in several pictures which keep us up to date on this interesting company. I especially like the small Solo. Very "diddy".

Glenn tells me that these pictures were taken in Stevenage earlier this week.
Copyright © Glenn Knight 2007.

Another report from Steve Warwick plus some pictures tell us about recent arrival for this fleet.

Heyfordian's 'new' coaches have arrived SJ04 KNK & SJ04 KAE Volvo B12M, Jonckheere ex Parks, Hamilton.

SJ04 KNK at Kew Gardens on 17th April. Picture by Steve Warwick

Metrorider ex 481 HYE now K428HWY stored at Bicester and sold to dealer. 

Scania K112 ex 9467 MU now C182LBW stored at Bicester,  sold.

Arrived 16.04.07 Dennis Dart L268ULX  (ex Belle View, Manchester.)

M639 KVU Volvo B10M now 9467 MU

Motts of Aylesbury

Hedley Shanks, Traffic Manager  Motts Travel writes to say "Just like to complement you on your excellent website and I’d like to contribute to it.

Yes, we have secured the 108 & 118 routes into Oxford from Forest Hill & Brill/Oakley. We have ordered two new Optare Solos (slimline), one for the 108 and one for the M1 route. There will be subtle differences between the two, I will inform you when I know, but I do know each one will be dedicated to each route. I will e-mail you pictures when they arrive.

Gavin Francis caught up with some more Levantes in London which are pictured below. The Wilts & Dorset ones follow on from the Stagecoach Oxford ones which were build numbers 57-61. The W&D one shown is build nr 62 and also the first 07 registered example.

David Bunny writes "I read your article on the new Levante coaches with interest. We have 3 down here in Ramsgate operating the 022 National Express service to London. It is thought that they lack power. 340 bhp equals the power output of the standard B12M Volvos formerly used, however unladen weight of the B12s is only around 12000 kg. With the wheelchair lift and extra length the Levantes are around 14000kg ULW for the same engine output. This makes them unable to maintain top speed up the steeper motorway hills unless the full kickdown is used and the gearbox decides to change down from 6th to 5th. I-shift fitted Volvos never have this problem but are decidedly sluggish in town compared to full automatics due to the delay changing gears."

Well David, I can agree that on a very steep hill on the motorway they can slow down somewhat but when leaving Wycombe on the steep hill towards Amersham, they will, from a standing start, reach 30 mph on the long climb ahead. I find them very acceptable to drive, even with a full load of passengers and baggage.

SC South 59210, build nr 56, at rest near VCS earlier this week. Picture by Gavin Francis.

News, included in this week's Oxford Times, report a fire on a Citaro a week ago. Details are that "Last week saw an unfortunate incident involving Citaro 825. The bus was, we understand, badly damaged by fire. 

The bus was not in service at the time but was returning to the company depot in Cowley. It is being evaluated to determine the extent of the damage."

I have included two pictures of the bus involved in happier times. This bus was fitted with a tachograph and as such was used on various outings including one that saw me take it to Gaydon with The Oxford Bowls Club. This was when it was almost new.

Citaro 825 leaves Water Eaton under a deep blue sky 15th March 2003..

Citaro, ex green 825 working 15 road hotly pursued by Scania coach 1 Friday 7th October 2005.

Peter Thomas writes from North Wales saying "I thought I'd make a comment regarding the current situation with the OXF registrations. A few minutes ago I had a look on the DVLA registration sales site and AB07OXF through to KB07OXF are still shown as for sale with the exception of CB07OXF. Seems odd, as in my past experience, what is shown is usually 'live' information."

Well Peter we await developments with interest.

Richard Sharman sent this picture of one of the new Volvos. I think it is most impressive.
On a registration point DB was once a Stockport registration and Stratford Blue had some tinkling Tillies with DB registrations.

Gavin Francis has been busy with his camera this week and I include some of his work below.

The X90 has seen a variety of coaches this week. The Jonckheeres are beginning to appear on the route even before they have been repainted.

The Tridents on the Park & Ride have gained some super rear ads for new advertisers.

Gavin liked this shot of two red Tridents on two of the three Park & Ride routes. St Aldates is the location.

The fire involving 825 saw some unusual workings in the first few days thereafter.
816 appeared on the 13/X3/X13 group late last week.

Coach nr 8 is notionally withdrawn but was still in service along with nr 11 earlier this week. I am not sure if this coach was on a special working when pictured.

Finally 642 appeared on the 2 group of routes late last week, seemingly as a result of the Citaro matter.

This week has been quiet on the local front except for the arrival of a coach fro training purposes. This has come from Glasgow and appeared in the depot last Tuesday. Work on conversion will start in due course. It joins 52211 still on loan from Gilmoss, Liverpool

The coach, 52251, still carries its route branding for Glasgow.

Richard Sharman caught Trident 18199 on the 3 on the 18th, available as Brookes are Easter vac.

One duty each day on the 27 calls for an M A N bus and on 14th April this was filled by 22930. Picture by Gavin Francis.

There a seven Darts branded for the 10 but when one extra is needed then 33821 or 33822 deputise. Picture by Gavin Franics.

The newest Solos appear in Oxford on the 18. Here is 47459 on that route on 12th April. Picture by Gavin Francis.

The U5 runs via Old Road and turns into Gipsy Lane.

An elderly PS on the X6 but fitted with high backed seats. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Marcus Lapthorn writes "What's this - a d/d on the 66 route from Faringdon to Swindon! Yes each weekday the 0719 journey starts at Faringdon. Vehicle used on Tuesday 17 April 2007 was N343 KGN (I believe)."

Ben Morroll sent this action shot of a Northampton Trident on the X4.

Richard Sharman was hoping to catch the branded Olympian on the X5. Instead he caught this Olympian on the X6 at Gloucester Green.

Two more pictures from Richard Sharman showing the variety now seen in Stratford.
Of course 16514 was once based at Witney and the second Olympian was once a regular on the X38.

The Enviro 300s used on the Stratford route now carry Stagecoach fleet numbers.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Stuart Curwen writes "Stagecoach In Swindon has got three Enviro400 buses to operate Service 49 Swindon - Devizes - Trowbridge.

They are

19128 - VX07 CYT

19129 - VX07 CYU

19130 - VX07 CYV


Tim Hall writes "I thought you may like these photos of stagecoach Swindon's 3 new Enviro 400 double decks for route 49 Swindon-Devizes-Trowbridge."

The three new Enviros which I believe were diverted from Manchester.
Pictures by Tim Hall.

Gavin Francis caught up with one of the 15m Volvos in London a few days ago.

Another Megabus performer is this one from Barnsley by Gavin Francis.

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

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

Richard Sharman saw this Czech coach at Brighton and wonders if it is on an Oxford route.

Long and low, seen at Stansted this coach would sadly not be suitable for the Oxford Tube. It could never board passengers through the front door.



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

Coming events, models and useful links

New casting from Britbus

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

Oxford Bus 125 commemorative book

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

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

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

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

DVD s by Robin Clare

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

Latest Citaro models revealed

Dave Rogers sent the following press release.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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


These are three most interesting sites which I do recommend

Bus Zone Logo (2421 bytes)

Mike Penn's photo page with much from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire

Chris Lowe's Photo page - mainly North West UK

The Oxford Bus Museum

Ray Jackson Art

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


Stagecoach Handbook for 2006
from British Bus Publishing

Arriva Handbook for 2006-2007
from British Bus Publishing

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


Bus Services in Buckinghamshire

Bus services in Oxfordshire

Where are the Chilterns?

Visit this informative site through the link below.

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

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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