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 257
Saturday 23rd February 2008

next update week ending 8th March 2008


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

News Archive Pages from the "Oxford Bus Page"
I regret that the server used to store the pictures for many of these pages is no longer available.
I hope to restore the pictures at some time in the future.

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


Sometimes when one is sitting in a bus station on break or waiting time for departure, one cannot help but wonder at the risks some people will take to find the bus or coach they require. In days when health and safety is almost eclipsed by the claim culture now seemingly rife in the U.K. one does wonder at the lack of control over the passengers who will be or have been transported to the location in question.

There have been accidents in Gloucester Green, Oxford when members of the public have wandered across the operating area, seemingly oblivious to the dangers therein. Whilst your Editor has been sitting at Stansted he can only wonder that there are not more accidents to pedestrians at that location. The problem seems to be that when arriving at Stansted from some overseas origin and then making their way to the bus station, there is no proper signage to direct passengers to where they will find their coach. When they do emerge into the station they see coaches lined up in the layover coach park and not unexpectedly walk in that direction. This means crossing the main movement area.

Now there is a banksman, one of whom has a whistle which he can often be heard blowing. This seems most effective in persuading recalcitrant passengers in the right direction but this individual is often not on duty so it is very likely that passengers will walk unheeded across a busy operating area.

My picture below shows a group of nearly 40 intending passengers who were wandering happily around the movement area looking for their coach. Nothing it seemed would persuade them to go into a safe area.

The Excel coach had great difficulty in reversing out safely and the groups actual coach was parked at the other end of the bus station waiting for them. Bizarre is a word which springs to mind. I suppose as ever someone will have to be seriously injured before something effective is done?

This issue includes reports on the last week of operations at Selkent's Waterden Road facility, Reading's last day of step floor operation, Swindon's last Daimler Fleetlines and another last day many years ago when Reading ran their last Dennis Lolines. Altogether another bumper issue.

An unusual outing for a CSS bus by John Hammond

John writes "Some interesting pictures taken by Ed Webster & Mark Shepley of a private hire on 15th Feb 2008.

As I have left the council, I took a party of my colleagues from the public transport teams to Fox's diner for a leaving breakfast. Rather than taking the X39, I borrowed and drove city Sightseeing Oxford Olympian 54 on a special hire and took everybody on the bus there and back - the cafe owners are used to a car park full of hungry bikers, but were a little surprised when the CSS Olympian arrived with a party of 15 hungry people on board


The fleet continues to work hard, even on winter's days.

Picture by Gavin Francis

How much does an authority have to do to make car drivers aware?

The much maligned traffic scheme for Oxford gets updated from time to time in the councils efforts to stop motorists flouting the no-go areas in the city centre. However from personal observations motorists either don't look or in many cases don't care and flout the law every hour of every day. Some pictures taken last week by Gavin Francis well illustrate this frustrating problem.

The first picture shows a remarkably clear George St but the second shows an everyday occurrence as another motorist flouts the Castle St ban.
The new road markings should make it clear and I think offending drivers rate being charged for driving without due care and attention.

One must have some sympathy for the council who really seem to be doing their best.

A question on the destination of three Tigers for Buckinghamshire?

Suzy Scott writes "I've been advised that three Stagecoach Strathtay Tiger/EL re-bodies are headed your way (well almost!)... This next bit copied from the Dundee Area Bus Forum..."

25819 (431) 25814 (425) 25816 (428) today left Elliot under their own power all seen in the Muirdrum lay-by at about 2 o clock today and then at Claypotts in a convoy at 14:15 ish.. they headed up the Kingsway.. all were driven by un-uniformed drivers....

Last night they were going as far as Gretna then this morning they will complete their journey to their new home in Buckinghamshire.

They will be getting used on school journeys down there. Just a pity the Company's name escapes me at the moment...

Suzy asks "Any ideas where they are likely to be going?"

Now I wonder who this could be, It might be a company for whom the initials MJW have some relationship!


When I called MJW as this issue was going to press, MJW admitted they are indeed for Woottens of Chesham. The young man was totally flabbergasted at the way the news travels as he had tried to keep this under his hat. Michael, you need a much bigger hat - remember where you read the news first. The OCBP.

In the next issue there will be a press release from Michael with pictures of his latest acquisitions. Maybe there could even be some additional news, don't miss the OCBP.

Man waiting for bus is left behind because the street lights are switched off

COMMUTERS have been left waiting outside in the cold after buses failed to stop on an unlit High Wycombe road.

Mike Hall was forced to use a torch to catch the driver's attention on the 300 route. The route follows the A4128 at Hughenden.

Mr Hall, 52, of Nicholas Gardens, High Wycombe, said: "There have been a number of occasions when I have been waiting at the bus stop after dark and the bus had driven straight past me.

"Drivers have said that if it hadn't been for the torch, they would never have seen me and would have driven straight past without stopping."

 A local newspaper reporter “on the case” stood in a visible spot at the Hughenden Park bus stop on a recent Wednesday night and was surprised when buses passed him at 7.08 and 7.21pm without stopping.

The stretch of road has been targeted by Bucks County Council to take part in a scheme in which street lights are switched off to save energy.

Kevin Allen, lighting engineer for Jacobs, who perform work for the council, said: "Following further consideration the county council has decided not to provide lighting at this bus stop."

Val Letheren, Bucks County Council's cabinet member for transportation, said she would investigate: "I will look into what can be done to make that bus stop more visible.

I don't want to discourage anybody from catching a bus."

Your Editor often uses this route and one of the stops is indeed in a poor position but from experience one would comment that the age old action of putting ones hand out to signal the bus to stop seems to have passed into history as very many people think that the bus will stop, sometimes even when they stand with their backs to the bus driver and make no indication of their intentions.

I do remember having visited my grandparent that when we went home, my grandfather would take his torch with us to the bus stop. I know we are not at war now - well maybe we are against climate change - but when we used the bus in the wartime and lighting was very poor in all respects it seemed an ideal way to signal to the bus driver. We never missed our bus home!

Luton & the district in February 2008 by Mike Penn on his fotopic site

I have a photo of the Green Line DAF/Van Hool YJ57 BTU taken at Luton Airport last Saturday on my Fotopic site.

The link is:

There are other recent photos that may be of interest - Grant Palmer buses at Bedford, including the new MAN/Plaxton Centro and one other in the new livery, some recent Centrebus repaints, United Counties buses in special liveries and one of the Streetcars at Luton Airport.

The End of Waterden Road by Peter Edgar

The East London Bus Group put on a special day yesterday to commemorate the closure of their Waterden Road base in Stratford at the end of this coming  week.

Four buses ran from Mile End Station to Waterden Road which gave traveller's a good view of what is taking place within the Stratford area in preparation for 2012. The Olympics and the venue.

The four vehicles used are pictured below.

All pictures by Peter Edgar

RML2760 looking as good as the day it first saw the light of day - The LAST Routemaster

The new Titan from Leyland - London style leads two of the other participants at Mile End Station.

Olympian 16123 one of two only still with the Selkent division of The East London Group.

A significant bus in the East London fleet, 18500, the Dennis-Enviro 400, remembering the horrors of 7/7.

Reading goes totally low floor


The end of step entrance buses in Reading

Saturday 23 February 2008

As Reading Buses takes the final steps in its radical programme to introduce Premier Routes on all the main corridors in Greater Reading we will see the end of the use of step-entrance buses on regular services.

Thus, Saturday 23rd February 2008 will be the last day that people will be able to ride on the 21-year-old double-deck Metrobuses.  It will also be the last chance to ride on the high-floor Optare Spectras, which also leave the network on the day.  The first was the prototype and was exhibited at the Bus & Coach Show in Autumn 1991.  These Spectras were a real revolution in design when first introduced in 1992 (though they are rather tired now, after a hard life!).

To celebrate this “step-change” in local bus services, Reading Buses will be running several of these old-timers on all-day service on Saturday 23rd February 2008, on routes 12/20, 31 and 63/65.  In addition a Metrobus will make a great appearance on the 17 during the day.

For full details of the timings that these buses will be used on, see the Reading Buses website from Monday

So, if you want to rattle along on a Metrobus, or sing to the melodious tune of the back axle of a high-floor Spectra, make a date in your diary for next Saturday 23rd February for one last fling!

After that, Reading’s local bus services will be 100% low floor. “I believe this is a first for a network of this size in the UK” commented James Freeman, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Transport Ltd owners of Reading Buses.

I look forward to readers report and photographs of this significant event. 

Swindon’s last Daimler Fleetlines by Michael Bennett

I went into Swindon on Saturday 16th to ride on the last of the Daimler Fleetlines to see service in the town.  Before anyone writes in to complain, yes, I do know that all three are Leyland Fleetlines - but I much prefer to forget that fact - and to use the original name for them.  The three were running on the 12 route from Haydon Wick (Asda-Wal-Mart) in the north, to Eldene Centre in the south, via Moredon, Rodbourne, Fleming Way, Old Town and Lawns.  The buses used were 299  -  UMR199T, Swindon's last ECW bodied example - new in 1978, and now part of the Heritage fleet, and 263/4  -  GRU163/4V, the last of the ex-Bournemouth Alexander bodied Fleetlines, new in 1980.  The service started before 10:00 and continued until around 16:00, with the three buses providing a half-hour service over the full route.  At each opportunity the many enthusiasts present took loads of photos, as indeed I did, the weather being sunny, although cold.  Each time I saw a Fleetline it seemed to be carrying a good load.  Plenty of non-enthusiasts were also enjoying the day, always trying to get the upstairs front seats, especially if there were children in the group.  The service was free, but you could make a voluntary donation to the Prospect Hospice, in return for which you received a souvenir ticket - the rear of which showed the two ex-Bournemouth buses plus ECW bodied no 201. 

What had not been advertised was the fact that Stagecoach was bringing along their Routemaster RML 2657 to join in with the fun.  It even operated on the route 7 to Highworth and it must have followed the Dart on which I had ridden into Swindon in the morning.  It also provided at least one journey on route 8 to Freshbrook, and the journey on route 6 that I caught to Kingsdown, where we had a useful photo stop.  It was sporting a good set of blinds as each route it operated was properly shown. 

Another good running day around Swindon, enjoyed by many local people as well as the seasoned enthusiast - I heard one say that he had driven down from Preston for the day!  Thanks are due to the Thamesdown Transport management team for organising the event - and to the drivers of the Fleetlines who all did a great job.  I even saw Tim Hall, another of your occasional correspondents, driving no 299.

Pictures by Michael Bennett 


Stuart Curwen sent another nice picture of the buses involved saying "The photo shows the three buses (264, 299 & 263) just before they went out to perform the special number 12 service."

Yesterday's Fleetline day was a great day success with all three buses performing beautifully they bowed out of service at about 16:30.

Also Stagecoach West put there Routemaster RML2657 on the 6, 7 & 8 routes. 

On behalf of Thamesdown Transport I would like to say thanks to all those who attended we have collected £694.23 for the prospect hospice.

Steve White also sent in a short report with details of his web site and the pictures contained therein. 

Steve writes "Yesterday saw Thamesdown run a Fleetline Farewell day with 3 buses running on the 12 between Haydon Wick and Eldene. 2 Bournemouth Fleetlines 263/4 and Thamesdown's own 299 performed all day with all three buses carrying really good loadings."

Below is a link to the various pictures he took

London interlude with Gavin Francis - the old and the new

Last week Gavin Francis, with good weather, took a significant number of pictures in and around London. I thought readers might be interested in just a few of the old and the new.

On the day before the Brit Awards, which received a lot of publicity, Gavin caught up with this Routemaster looking a little different.
It is seen in Trafalgar Square on the 19th February.

London General have taken over operation of the 453 with a fleet of brand new Citaros 530Gs. They have the latest body style.

Stagecoach Devon questions by Jon Harris

Jon Harris writes "Just wondering if anyone had any more information on these Olympians.  I was just wondering if anyone knew where the following have gone ..."


All before repaint with SCD

I was shocked to find out that A543HAC has already gone to Mc Kindless as it wasn't long ago I remembered seeing them withdrawn! I must have been wrong months have flown past as the photo indicates they must have got it before Sept 2007!

With Mc Kindless

With SCD

Also Just found out D127FYM is now with Brijans:

Thanks, just wondering if the other two are also now sold and was it only the four with Stagecoach Devon got?

I mention the above as of course A542HAC was once very local to  us. I am pleased to publish three pictures from Jim which are of Olympians from the same batch as 542 above. Jim relates to operating from Stratford to London on a Saturday morning, being an 190 relief from Oxford through and then being used by National Express as a relief to Birmingham. This he told me happened quite often.

A543 and 545 HAC in Midland Red days

Buses in the Landscape

I really do like some of the submissions as they capture a sense that other pictures do not.

Keith Shayshutt writes "A contender for 'Buses in the Landscape'?"

A Western Greyhound Vario climbing out of Port Gaverne (Cornwall) up to Port Isaac on an early morning 584 to Wadebridge on 14 June 2007.

John Bristow writes "Malcolm,  I thought that the attached photo could be shown as a 'vintage' Buses in the Landscape.  It shows a Sheffield Transport Leyland Titan at Hunters Bar and was taken on 19 June, 1967."

Now those Weymann bodies had style. Picture by John Bristow.


Recently there has been discussion on the suitability of bendi-buses in London. This picture by Gavin Francis shows the problem.

Tom Tower and Oxford Time

Tom Tower at Christ Church, Oxford houses the City's loudest bell, Great Tom, which dates back to pre the 1500s.
At 9.05pm (9pm "Oxford Time") every evening Great Tom, Christ Church College's famous bell, rings out 101 times. 
This dates from the foundation of the college when the bell rang once for each of the college's original 101 students,
in order to tell them to return to the college before the gates were locked. 
The bell then remains silent until 8am the next morning when it returns to striking every hour, on the hour (Greenwich Time) until 9pm in the evening.
What is Oxford Time?
Before the coming of the railways (railroad) every town had its local time.  With the introduction of
Railway Time, time zones and Standard Time became the norm.
Local time is calculated by the line of longitude at which a town is placed.  Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0") is the
Greenwich Meridian and the line from which all lines of longitude are based.
The day is divided into 24 hours; If you measure local time each hour is 15° of longitude East or West of Greenwich (24 * 15° = 360°). 
Every 1° is 4 minutes of time (60 minutes of time / 15° of longitude) or 1 minute of time is 15' (minutes of longitude).
The co-ordinates at Oxford, England are: 51° 44' 60" North (of the Equator), 1° 15' 24" West (of Greenwich).
So Oxford Time is 5 minutes and 2 seconds behind Greenwich Time.

The tower looks down on OBC's Citaro 862 as it prepares for its dash to Abingdon down the A34.
Picture by Gavin Francis. 17th February 2008.


- a study of coaches in Gloucester Green - your Editor
Appropriately the Airline carries National Express passengers.


The road works in St Aldates and Magdalen Street East from a different viewpoint by Robin Stevens

A few shots from a visit into town last weekend that you're welcome to include on a future page.  I was testing a new ultra-wide-angle lens, hence some somewhat unusual results 821 and St Aldates roadworks:

Oxford Tube looking particularly big:

Stagecoach route 27 in Magdalen St East from a normal and an unusual angle:

(for all you can replace "medium" with "small" or "thumb" for smaller versions or "large" to go to higher resolution). For this see

Future dates for your diary from Peter Cartwright 

You may know that there are some alterations planned for 10 March with Carousel becoming the operator serving Flackwell Heath. I am still waiting for all the details.

Amersham & District Running Days for 2008 are:

4th Slough/Windsor Running Day Sunday 11 May based on Slough Bus Station with a number of alterations this year.

Uxbridge/Northwood Running Day Sunday 1 June which, it is intended, will cover routes 309 309A 347 158 220 223 & 225. Details are still to be finalised.

3rd Hemel Hempstead Running Day Sunday 22 June based on Hemel Bus Station. Marking 60 years since the first Country RTs came into service. These were allocated to Tring and Hemel Hempstead (Two Waters) garages for the 301 and 302 routes. It is hoped that a number of RTs will be operating on these routes on 22 June.

20th Amersham Running Day Sunday 5 October based on car park adjoining Amersham MET Station. This has become a very popular event and no doubt it will still attract many after 20 years when again there will be some alteration to routes operated.

Link to a really good photographic site from Jimmy Sheng


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

An interesting web site on London Buses

Reading Lolines by Marcus Lapthorn

As Julian Walker enjoyed my 1975 Reading pictures so much, here a few more! 

The last day of public service for the Reading Dennis Lolines was, sadly, Saturday 20 March 1977. On Sunday 21 March 1977 a tour of the routes was operated for enthusiasts by Lolines 133 and 178 but the weather was atrocious!

133 at the Railway Station.

The upstairs interior of 178 at the Railway Station.

1966 registered no. 178.

Lolines 178 and 133 behind the shape of things to come in the form of 1977 registered no 116.


Glenn Knight visits some interesting locations with "vintage" vehicles galore

Glenn writes "Here are some photos taken today 16.02.2008 at Denyer Bros - Stondon Massey, D.M.A.Coaches Brentwood & Haroldwood Coaches of Haroldwood."

Both ex British Airways airside buses at Heathrow.

The frightening thing is that I remember this model of coach belonging to Bluebird of Hull running on hire to North Western, Manchester
on the London service in the very early '50s. Very typical of the late '40s design by Plaxtons when half cabs were going out of favour and fashion. Ed.

Above pictures from Glenn Knight


Paul Dudfield writes "I was looking through my photo collection and came across the enclosed picture which might be of interest. The location will be familiar to you but I am not sure about the bus. It appears to be in the livery of Brighton & Hove but what it is doing on Carfax I can't now remember. The photo was taken in October 1995."

To answer Paul's question and with thanks to Graham Wareham of OBC, this Bristol VRT from Brighton & Hove was loaned as a stop gap until the new Volvo B10B’s arrived. (601-643 batches). TPN103S then passed into preservation at Brighton (M.Eaton)



Bristol VRTSL3/797





Brighton & Hove 603
loaned  28/9/95-12/11/95


Thanks to all my contributors who help to make this page what it is.

Malcolm Crowe - Saturday 23rd February 2008

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

 News of the local companies – 23rd February 2008

Report on various items from Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson writes "I have been following up reports last week (Monday) of trouble on the 38 route in Luton. An unconfirmed number of buses have suffered damage after being shot at, and had rocks thrown at them. The incidents took place on the Parkside estate between 7.30 and 8pm. 

Later 38s were diverted via Park Road North and Sundon Road (running fast between Wheatfield Road and Hillborough Crescent - not serving Parkside at all).

Several years ago a special bus link road to the east of Parkside (linking Lewsey Park/Lewsey Farm with Parkside directly) was abandoned by the bus company after a spate of serious attacks on vehicles, mostly during school holidays. This prompted the withdrawal of route 39 which used the link road. 

I understand that buses to any area are a lifeline to some people but there comes a time when the bus company has to seriously consider the safety of its drivers and passengers, and also the costs incurred in repairing the buses.
A known trouble spot at night is the double-run the 38 takes in Parkside to the Dog & Duck Pub (to cover the area affected when the link closed and the 39 was withdrawn). It seems those responsible watch the buses come in then attack them on the way out again before running off into the estate. Monday's incident was not in this part of Parkside though.
Moving forward I don't know which buses were involved at the moment but they would most likely have been the Wright Solar Scanias. Evening 38s will be continuing the Park Road North/Sundon Road diversion for the foreseeable future as I detailed yesterday.
More snippets...
Leyland Olympian 5093 (F643LMJ) is off the road again, this time after being struck from behind by a car on Monday.
Volvo Olympian 5138 is also off the road undergoing its MOT. With the colleges off a nice variety of single deckers have appeared on the 24 this week. Mostly Darts and Scanias but tonight Volvo B6 3134 (M714OMJ) was noted - a very unusual working. 

There is currently a Van Hool bodied DAF Coach on loan at Luton depot for the 757. It is registered YJ57BTU and given temporary fleet number 0412. I presume it is a temporary replacement for 4067 which suffered extensive accident damage late last year.
This coach is operating in allover white - but with Green Line labels on the nearside window by the door. It differs from the other Van Hool coaches in the fleet as it has a rear window.

Pictures from Gavin Francis, taken in London last week. This coach seems to have replaced the previous 04 registered white coach

The lettering on the near side shown in this picture from Glenn Knight

I travelled down to Hertford and Waltham Cross on Saturday to see some of Luton's old Dennis Tridents. There are eight ex-Luton examples based at Ware depot (the other four are at Aylesbury), together with six examples new to Southend. Most are confined to the 310/311 routes between Hertford and Waltham Cross, although there also appeared to be a local service mainly operated by them too. 

Attached are photos of 5424 in Waltham Cross and 5426 in Hertford. I also attached a photo of Mercedes Citaro 3901 on the 724, this being the bus that Creative Master Northcord based a model on late last year.

I returned from Hertford on the 384 route into Stevenage, this was operated by an ex-Sovereign Dart, 3807 (KC03PGF). This route will shortly be passing from Arriva to Centrebus in the latest round of re-tendering in the Stevenage area.

I mentioned to Matt that I must take a trip over to this area, I only ever pass through on the  737, which means I don't see the interesting places. Ed.

That was my first trip to Hertford too. It has a rather odd (and very small) bus station as the buses stop on islands in the middle of the roadway and the passengers must cross out to the buses. The bus stop flags are also in awkward positions for getting photos but I think I did okay!
Besides Arriva (and the Green Line 724) there are a few routes running in and out of there operated by Trustline and Golden Boy. Most of those networks seem to use a variety of Dennis Darts.
Back to Arriva, Dennis Dart MPD 3489 (W489YGS) returned to Luton from repaint at Garston late last week, aside from looking very fresh it also now has an LED destination display fitted.

Glenn Knight sent this picture of 3489 seemingly in Luton taken on the 18th February.

A photo from my lunch break today was Dart 3484 (W484YGS) awaiting departure on the 13.25 61 duty to Aylesbury!

I mentioned to Matt that I had seen 3483 at Hertford on my 737 trip and then 3482 in High Wycombe. This started a discussion on the allocation of these chunky little Darts. Ed.
I didn't see 3483 at all on Saturday but that was another bus I was intent on getting a photo of. Ware depot also operate the Welwyn local services too - so it's possible their buses can get about a bit (Tridents have even been noted on these in the past).
There were a couple of strange examples to the original allocation of the W-reg Darts:
3482/4-7/97 to Aylesbury
3488/9/91/2 to Luton
3483/93-6/8 to Hitchin
I think that 3483 and 3497 may have been switched somewhere along the lines when new. I actually went on 3492 in Luton on its first day in service when I caught it home from school on the now defunct 11 route. 3491 is a unique vehicle by having the later version Cummins engine - thus sounding completely different to the rest of the batch. In addition 3495 and 3496 now have coach style seats from when they were used on the 700 route (now operated by Trustline).

Does anyone have a picture of these buses when on the 700? Ed.

3482 was originally at Aylesbury and branded for red route 9. It had the little red stripe in the top of the windscreen. I remember noting it on the ramps in Newlands Bus Station just after being painted red for the first time.
Welwyn has changed considerably bus wise from the times I used to visit during the 1990s. Sovereign were the main operator at the time, although local services were branded as Welwyn Hatfield Line with a different livery. This network was mainly operated by MCW Metroriders and later Plaxton bodied Mercedes 709 and 811 models. I think 2-3 Leyland Lynxes also gained WH Line livery in the end though. I used to catch the 366 quite a lot then as it was like the 61 is now for vehicle allocations, absolutely anything could be working it!
The 300 (and 734 - now the 301) also used a variety of buses - Nationals, Lynxes and Roe bodied Olympians. I remember the M-UKX batch of Volvo B10Bs entering service for Sovereign in 1994 with branding for the 300. The 724 used a real variety of coaches up until the nine DAFs entered service in 1997. Universitybus (now Uno) always had a slice of operations too but all in all it's a much quieter place for bus activity than it used to be.
Prior to the Howard Centre being built, the bus station used to be in the square beside McDonald's (overlooked by Starbucks in the Howard Centre). This closed when the shopping centre opened, which I think was about 1991, and was pedestrianised.
Unfortunately this era was before I took photos of buses but I would be particularly interested in seeing pictures of Welwyn's old bus station.

Also forgot to mention I will hopefully be taking Harlow in soon. Vehicles of interest which I understand are still based there include Bouncy Castle 3818 (H368XGC) (and I think either 3819 or 3820 may be stored in the depot there too), ex Luton B6s 3123 and 3124, and former Aylesbury B6 3129.

I would also be interested to see if the Bouncy Castle is still in service. The gave quite a good account of themselves whilst a Wycombe and a lot of money was spent on refurbishing them by COMS before they entered service at Wycombe. Ed.

Many thanks to Matt for that most interesting account of Arriva matters in his area.

DAF Van Hool coach YJ57 BTU

Sources inside Arriva suggest that it is an Arriva Bus and Coach rent coach. They say they already have a B12B/Plaxton 04 reg. covering the accident victim (late last year one of the new DAF s was involved in an accident on the M1) and it now seems that the SB4000/Van Hool has replaced the Plaxton.

James from Aylesbury sent a picture of the fire victim mentioned in the last news letter. I cannot imagine this bus will ever see the road again. How sad a sight it is

He also advises that the Wycombe Decker that tried to go under the bridge at Cookham is now in the yard at Aylesbury.

Peter Cabin reports with a quick note that "Volvo B6 3137, L43MEH, has received electronic blinds having seen this on her outward trip to Uxbridge at 1pm 305 service. Peter also mentions that it was nice to see one of the older drivers from Wycombe Bus Company days, Mr Clarry Dover. driving this bus. It now appears that only 3365, L415NHJ, left with old style blinds although this bus is parked up at Cressex at the moment its future looking bleak."

Indeed I think 3365 may now be withdrawn hence new blinds have not been fitted.

Peter Cartwright kindly supplied details of changes to Arriva service in Wycombe due early next month. 

Arriva  -  Bus Services Changes from 10 March 2007 

Service No




Penn – High Wycombe – Downley

Additional journeys maintaining a 30 minute service from Bus Station until approx 2015 Monday to Friday and 1915 on Saturday


Lane End – Booker – High Wycombe – Micklefield Estate

Additional journeys maintaining a 30 minute service from Bus Station until approx 2015 Monday to Friday and 1915 on Saturday


Lane End – High Wycombe

A new journey to meet public and parish council requests  -  from Lane End at 0730 to Bus Station via Lane End Road


Totteridge – High Wycombe – Castlefield

Additional journeys on Monday to Friday to maintain 15 minutes service until 2015


Bourne End – High Wycombe

No changes


High Wycombe – Bourne End – Maidenhead

No changes


High Wycombe – Deeds Grove

No Changes


Hicks Farm Rise – High Wycombe – Southfield Road

No changes


Thame – Chinnor – Stokenchurch – Piddington – High Wycombe

Evening service retarded 30 minutes throughout



Timing changes and withdrawn from Amersham



Timing changes and withdrawn from Amersham


Flackwell Heath – High Wycombe – Prestwood – Great Missenden

Withdrawn between bus station and Flackwell Heath; minor changes during off peak and evening service retarded by 15 minutes throughout


High Wycombe – Slough

Monday to Friday

PM peak retimed to roughly 35min headway and 1835 journey extended to Slough and back.  New 1950 journey High Wycombe to Beaconsfield.


1820 journey extended to Slough and back and 1850 journey from High Wycombe to Beaconsfield.


Pictures from your Editor

Whilst taking my break at Stansted I can watch the comings and goings on the 510. This route has recently produced buses other than the normal Volvo B7RLEs.
I am still wondering why some of the B7s have lost their branding but the variety is always welcome.

Sometimes one has time to spare at Luton en route to and from Oxford. This DAF coach was parked in a way that I didn't even have to get out of my coach!!!!
This is the way to bus spot huh?


Matt Robinson also sent another couple of photos from last weekend which are a couple of Centrebus vehicles.

132 taken I think in Stevenage?

These are some of the latest buses in the Centrebus fleet, with 604 seen here in Luton.
I read in the latest issue of "Buses" magazine that one more has joined the Hertfordshire fleet from the Midlands fleet.

Charlbury Travel 

Richard Sharman writes that Charlbury Travel has just acquired one of the former Transit Holdings (Devon General & Thames Transit) Iveco Electric/Mellor Duets from Mobility Link, Banbury. 

Its now fitted with a normal Diesel Engine and has only covered twenty five thousand miles since new!. 

Richard says "Thanks to Greg and Wendy Gill of Charlbury Travel for providing these pictures."


Little and large in London - good old Gavin got the picture we all wanted. Its orange or nearly orange everywhere !!!!

First Berkshire 

Stephen Le Bras writes "I called into Slough this afternoon and was intrigued by the sight of four Olympians parked in the yard. (Thurs 21/2/08)

In order, 34279,34274,34277,34275 all with defect notices on the windscreen. (34277 is ex-Bracknell)

Trainer 64791 and long withdrawn 64819 were also present."

I note that of the four, two are those recently used and indeed branded for the 74 service Slough - High Wycombe. Ed.

Once again whilst sitting at Stansted I watch the comings and goings of First Bus Essex. I think this Scania/Wrightbus Solar 62408 is not usual on the X22? It is one of a batch of five new in 2003 and is based at Colchester.

I noticed one of the older Citaros from Slough in the new blue 7's livery on the 74 in high Wycombe last week. Sorry no time for a picture on this one!!!

Jeffs of Helmdon

I was delighted to hear from David Percy who also sent some photos. David writes "I enjoy your site, the Oxford/South Midland photos bringing back a lot of memories!

I am a recently qualified PCV driver and drive for Jeff's coaches in Helmdon, near Brackley, Northants. I am attaching a few pictures that I hope you can use on your site.?"

Volvo  W633FUM at a school in Bicester 12/2/2008, on football duties.
 This and another W636FUM are ex Wallace Arnold , known by drivers as  'Wallies Trollies'!

 Volvo 938HNM seen 8/2/2008 on rail replacement work on behalf of Chiltern Railways/Fraser Eagle at Stratford on Avon standby.
 (I didn't turn a wheel all day!!)

I look forward to further reports and pictures from David as Jeffs feature in Oxford on schools work every day but Brackley is quite a long way from Oxford. I am told they still run an ex Oxford Bus Olympian.

Motts of Aylesbury

Gavin Francis writes "Today's offering Saturday 23rd February) from Motts for the Rochdale game." (Gavin supports Wycombe Wanderers)  

"Another win. It seems we can do well against the better teams but when we play the bottom teams we are rubbish." There speaks a man who knows his game !!!

Further coaches are now appearing in the new corporate livery and Stephen Le Bras reports seeing NXVP1, recently transferred out of Stansted - Start Hill - as seen working a 701 service at Heathrow resplendent in the new livery.

I noticed short Levante SC40 on the 727 last week at Stansted, not seen this one before and also had reports of SC41 and SC42 working the 420 services. Imagine my surprise when on my way from Stansted to Hatfield last Friday I passed SC42 working a 767 service to Stansted. This leads me to believe that SC41 and 42 are Veolia coaches based at Nottingham. Can anyone confirm? Also why the company owned NEx fleet numbers?

Stephen says "I haven't seen SC41 for a few weeks but this was on the 420 when I last spotted it in London." He adds"However, two weeks ago Volvo B9/Plaxton demonstrator reg  FJ57SKF made an interesting appearance on the 420 and when I called into Heathrow this afternoon and noted new liveried NXVP1 on the NEx 701"

SC40 on the 727 Norwich service at Stansted last week.

Veolia Dunn-line used this Sunsundegui on two days at least last week on the 767.
Wonder if there is a connection with the later appearance of SC42 on the 767 service?

SC36 now in service and looking a little less pristine that when in Birmingham for its press debut a week or so ago.

NXSC1 shows of its new livery having just returned from Birmingham and a press event.

The world at Stansted at 05:55 in the morning. Two Irizar PBs meet up on the 777 service. And the blinds came out again!!!!

Pictures above by Malcolm Crowe

Readers may remember we had L66SGB on loan over Christmas at Oxford to cover for problems with the Levantes.
Gavin Francis caught up with L555SGB in VCS last week on the 412.

Another Gavin Francis scoop was this TGM Volvo deputising for a NEx liveried coach on a service through Oxford last week.

One from Gavin Francis shows a regular NEx contractor, Newbury Coaches using one of the smart Volvos on the 412 service.

Heard from Josh who writes "Just to let you know that Oxford Bus Company has repainted Mercedes Citaro's 826 and 827 into city 2 livery, with city 2 branding inside." When new these buses were part of the dual door batch specifically purchased for the 500 Water Eaton service. This just leaves 822-824 in green for that service. The two buses 826 and 827 join other dual door Citaros delivered new for City 2. 825 is the missing bus which was lost through fire damage last year.

Olympian of Harlow have purchased this ex OBC coach which is seen above resplendent in its new owners livery.
It was once nr 15 in the Oxford fleet.

Nice day, nice picture from Gavin Francis - Trident 112 is seen on the 400 Park & Ride service.

Trident 104 seen in this picture from Gavin Francis works a 5 road service last week.

Volvo 643 has gained a digital display and I'm wondering if before selling the coaches, seen above,
the company removed the destination equipment for use in other vehicle? Picture by Gavin Francis.

The Citaros in use on City 4 have gained some updated branding on the rears as seen in these pictures from Gavin Francis taken last week.

Finally for this week's contributions from Gavin, ex North East Trident 906 is seen unusually on City 2 last week.

Red Rose

Stuart Turner notes a new sighting, in use on the R21 (saw in Rickmansworth mid morning 14th Feb) being a Mercedes Vario Midi reg T458JRH, Fully repainted in Red Rose colours. Appears to be ex East Yorkshire.

R H Services

Richard Sharman reports the arrival of some more new buses.

Seen on delivery from the manufacturer last week.

It is rumoured that the first of the new Scania-Enviro 400s is imminent, maybe early this coming week. Many people are busy preparing for the arrival of this exciting new fleet and it will be some days after their arrival before they can take to the road, so watch this space.

Alan Drake wrote saying "I was surprised to see the Kettering buses by Chris Maxfield this week. I always thought we were a bit out of your area here. The green Optares are wonderful, from where I live its £1.20 each way to town, with my bus pass free, wonderful. The M reg Merc, they have another one as well running in an all over gold advert livery. I'm hooked on this site and really enjoy it ,thank you."

Just one more for you Alan. Yes, Kettering is a little out of area but  I often think to use out of area pieces adds to the page.

I received some nice pictures from Colin Grafham taken in Farringdon last year. The buses pictured are shortly to be replaced on the 66 by a fleet of new buses, so once again watch this space.

Colin adds "I've uploaded about 10 pictures I took that day at Wantage and Faringdon onto my fotopic site ( ... you'll find them under Oxfordshire.

 It's a while since we featured Megabus on the site and Gavin Francis caught up with 52642 on the Cheltenham service in London last week.

52451 is seen on an X5 arrival in Oxford. One wonders what the outcome of the double deck trials on this route were and if new vehicles are on the way?

The Volvo on loan for staff bus duties reveals its origins with the super rear ad it carries.

All of the 51 reg batch of M A N shave now been repainted and have gained super rears for the route 1 service they operate.
Here is the last, 22948, pictured last week by Gavin Francis.

Richard Sharman was up at Plaxtons a week ago and sent this picture of an ex Tube coach, 50038
still awaiting a new buyer at Plaxtons. This coach readers may remember suffered fire damage and its interior was totally refurbished.
Indeed it was off the road for many many months and as such has a much lower mileage than the rest of the batch.


Latest coach for this company seen in the lens of Gavin Francis at Victoria. They two coaches YN57FWE and FWF seen above.

M A N-Evolution AE57LYH
pictured a few days ago by Gavin Francis. This bus seems to still lack fleet numbers.

Tui Luton

Glenn Knight secured this picture of one of three Plaxtons working a special service for Tui between Asda - Hanger 61 and Luton Parkway.

uno bus Hatfield 

Matt Robinson sent a very nice picture of one of Uno's new Mercedes Citaros on the 603 route between Welwyn and Hatfield.

This bus is in the latest Citaro style and looks very smart indeed.

Woottens Coaches

As mentioned in the Editorial above, Woottens have acquired three ex Strathtay Tigers. Full details and pictures in the next issue.

MXT at Plaxtons, Anston on Monday 11th February for body modifications. Picture by Richard Sharman

Bob Stanger
sent this picture of a coach now with Woottens in its previous life in Reading saying
Always a pleasure to read your latest news reports and seeing the various photos from the Woottens fleet,
I noticed SIJ305(ex L901NWW) formerly of Horseman Coaches and Wallace Arnold.
Attached is a photo I took in the grounds of Reading University laying over between trips being my vehicle for the day."

A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a bus driver 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.

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

Gavin Francis caught up with this ex Hong Kong - ex Stagecoach Olympian now with Roadliner. Can anyone reveal its original identity?

An unusual coach seen at Stansted was this Van Hool T916 Astron. One does not see many of these coaches in the U.K.

Coming events, models and useful links

New Trident model with an Oxford flavour

Date: 21st December 2007. 

ukbus 1036 Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident

 Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

Creative Master Northcord is proud to release a brand new livery on its well-known casting – the Alexander Dennis ALX400-bodied Trident. This is ukbus 1036 carrying standard Stagecoach livery but with special route branding livery.

This model represents Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 (KX55 TLN). This is the second Stagecoach in Oxfordshire ADL ALX400-bodied Trident model that CMNL produced. The previous one is ukbus 1026 with Brookes bus colours. 

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire 18394 is one of a fleet of seven Tridents introduced onto route 27 in March 2006 to replace Volvo B10M single deckers. Route 27 operates between Oxford and Bicester up to every 15 minutes at busy times with three main route variants around Bicester – 27A to Glory Farm and Launton, 27B to Glory Farm and Langford and 27C to Ambrosden and Arncott. 

18394 is one of three vehicles which carry supplementary branding for the Bicester Duo ticket which was introduced during 2007. The ticket allows two people to travel from Bicester to Oxford for the price of one.


The replica features excellent detailing, inside and out, including an opening engine door, engine detail and the representation of LED lights at the rear. This is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the windows and livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. The model has no unnecessary metal poles to hold it together.  

It will be a good opportunity to make a twin Stagecoach in Oxfordshire bus model set with ukbus 1036 and ukbus 1025 representing the common street scene in Oxford.


PSV Circle publishes latest issue of the fleet list for Berkshire and Oxfordshire

Ken MacKenzie writes to note that the new PSV Circle fleet list for Berkshire/Oxfordshire (G432) is now available.

Those readers wishing to buy a copy should write to: PSV Circle, 59 Palmer Avenue, Cheam SM3 8EF - Cost id £7.00 plus 50p P & P and it will also be available at the PSV Circle sales stand at Showbus 2007.

This will be a most useful reference for all those interested in the local scene.

Editors review - I have now had chance to review this book and it is indeed very useful, giving details of all known fleets in Berks and Oxon. Whilst some information is not totally up to date it allows the readers to have a comprehensive view of the local fleets and up dates can be gained by joining the PSV Circle. At £7.00 this represents value for money as it also includes a number of good photographs.


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.

Model News of an Oxford bus

Guy writes to send a picture of the latest offering on the model front related to Oxford.


A photo disc for your collection

This week I can bring details of a really super new photo disc from Vics cliix. The disc contains pictures taken in the early 1970s by Vic Zealey and copies can be obtained through Malcolm Hyland's web site

Here are some samples of the 158 pictures on this disc.

The quality is good and they are all at high resolution.

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. 

New DVD by Robin Clare -

Robin sent me a copy of his latest DVD to review. "Today's buses - Oxfordshire" is the compelling title which includes Henley, Wallingford and Didcot before the viewer is taken onto Wantage, Witney, Banbury and finally Bicester. Each of these locations is covered in2 to 5 minutes and each shows the current selection of buses and coaches to be found. Finally over 37 minutes is devoted to Oxford with filming in a variety of locations in the city.

On another subject the road sense and behaviour of cyclists in Oxford has to be seen to be believed!!!!

The quality of the DVD is excellent and one can really see clearly the details of each vehicle, something which older video always seemed unable to do. All the latest developments are shown in this September 2007 DVD, including workings from Broad Street during the St Giles Fair weekend.

The DVD provides a unique record of events in Oxfordshire during this period and at £10 is not a very large outlay.

Robin Clare Transport Video
74 Polruan Place, Fishermead,
Milton Keynes MK6 2EA

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

Citaro models

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.

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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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


These are nine 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

John Marsh's pictures with a difference

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

Bus services in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire Logo/link

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