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 232
Sunday 24th June 2007
next update week ending 7th July 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 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.


The weather continues to be pretty awful with constant heavy showers and I am therefore pleasantly surprised by the quality and content of readers contributions this week. Thank you!

National Express returns to Stokenchurch

It seems many years ago that Cambridge Coach ran their 75 service through Stokenchurch on its way to Cambridge via Stansted. When National Express took over they removed many of the intermediate stops in an efforts to reduce journey times and provide an express service. The service became the 757 and a stop at Luton Airport was introduced. Then of course there was confusion with the Green Line 757, reported at the time in these pages, the National Express 757 the coming the 737.

Last Friday the 22nd June, after an unexpected delay caused by registration problems, the service once again calls at Stokenchurch, offering eight services a day between Stokenchurch and Stansted and NINE service a day between Stokenchurch and Oxford. It is now possible to go into Oxford or Wycombe for an evening out and have a comfortable way of getting there and back.

The 0950 to Oxford operated by 59213 runs through Stokenchurch exactly on time at 09:50
whilst the Stansted bound service, operated by 59211, passes by at 09:55 again perfectly on time.
The location is near The Kings Arms on the A40.
It is possible that one could get the coaches passing if one or other was a few minutes late.
Now there's a challenge!

"Open Doors" at Oxford Bus Saturday 23rd June - a report and pictures from Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson reports "I've not long been back from my day trip to Oxford. Another pleasant trip out and a few more pictures I hope you can make use of on the site. There were two classic bus 'routes' operating from Queens Lane. One was the Cowley House trip, the second was a circular into Headington, with buses alternating between the two routes during the day. Upon boarding the bus bound for Cowley House, all passengers were given written information regarding the buses being used on the routes from the Oxford Bus Museum.

The buses used were:
L166 (PWL413) 1950 Lowbridge AEC Regent Mk III/Weymann.
H928 (TWL928) 1953 Highbridge AEC Regent Mk III/Park Royal. - no picture received ?
H956 (956AJO) 1957 Highbridge AEC Regent MK V/Park Royal.
703 (703NJO) 1949 AEC Regal Mk III/Willowbrook.


Gavin Francis was on hand to capture most of the participants in the centre of Oxford.

We travelled to the depot on H956, and were given a talk by the 'conductor', comparing these vehicles to modern day buses, and how vehicle technology has changed over the years.

One can just make out the present General Manager of OBC in a high-vis jacket.
The thumb mentioned below has just about gone !!

Upon arrival at the depot, there was the chance for a photo opportunity. 816 and 817 carrying Oxford Heritage liveries were parked on display adjacent to the depot entrance. We were then transferred to a waiting Citaro, 852. We were taken through the bus-wash before being allowed to leave the vehicle to be escorted around the company's modern office and workshop facilities.

I found the modern operations room very impressive. In case of technology failures, they still use the old trusty manual running-boards. However more up-to-the-minute information is provided in the two-way radio system and satellite navigation facilities installed on the buses. Whilst the reasons and benefits of the system were being explained to us, we were able to watch the computer screen tracking the progress of a Park & Ride bus making its way across the city centre.

The next stop on the depot tour involved a talk on staff training. The points raised were of interest to me as I am still in the planning stage of being able to (legally) drive a bus.

The final part of the tour was the engineering facilities. It appeared fairly quiet repairs-wise, although staff were working. There were a Plaxton Verde B10B, a red Trident and an Espress coach which were parked inside (we didn't venture far enough along to see which buses they were), while Citaro 858 was undergoing work to the front end and the front dash was missing.

637 had just been repainted and interestingly sports black wheels

Interestingly there was also the shell of a Plaxton Panorama coach in there. It apparently belongs to the MD of Oxford Bus and is currently in the very early stages of restoration. The body and interior had been completely stripped down so I was unable to tell anything much else about the coach.

Following the tour there was a brief break before we were collected by Regent L166. I took a few more pictures before I left, but I'm afraid I didn't take any actually inside the garages/building itself.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Oxford Bus and the Oxford Bus Museum and their staff for making today's trip possible. I will certainly be planning to visit the Oxford Bus Museum in the future.

Hope you like the collection of pictures I have included. I apologise for the edge of my finger catching the shot of H956
(I've tried to take it out Ed.). I admit I didn't notice at the time. I have a couple of interior photos of the buses too."

Phil Ashworth also sent a picture taken on the day.

That Leyland National at Gaydon by Geoff Cunliffe & Tim Burns

This National, UTJ595M, was built as a special concept commuter demonstrator by Leyland.

Following last week's mention and picture of the Leyland National at Gaydon, Geoff Cunliffe writes "It was sad to see the photograph of Leyland National UTJ 595M abandoned at Gaydon on your latest issue of the Web Page. It is a vehicle I knew reasonably well. 

There is a good and detailed description of it in Doug Jack’s excellent “The Leyland Bus” (Transport Publishing Company, 1977, subsequently reprinted), pages 374-6. These days we would call it a concept vehicle having never, to the best of my knowledge, been used in service. It was called a Business Commuter, and was fitted out by Clements of Bromsgrove in four weeks. Inside the standard 11·3m bodyshell were eight “workstations” each with a bank of electronic equipment of the day including cassette tape recorders, Dictaphone headset, selector for radio & TV sound channels, intercom, radiotelephone and reading lamp (it was the early 1970s). At the rear, 14 seats were set out more socially around tables adjacent to a small servery. At the front was a secretariat/control centre from which such items as the public address/personal call system, radio telephone, radio, television, electric typewriters, paper shredder and photocopier could be controlled. There was even a videotape recorder for playing back through two television sets (colour at that!) and a mail box for completed, outgoing letters. 

It was designed to temp executives to leave their cars at home and travel up to 40-50 miles into the city. Leyland reckoned that fares would be about the same as a first class rail ticket but with vastly superior facilities. 

The Commuter attracted a lot of interest but, I understand, was destined to be the only such vehicle. It became a Leyland demonstrator where I met it regularly at vehicle rallies and Fleetwood Tram Sunday where it formed an excellent Rally Control. It is said it was a bit dodgy to drive with water tanks on the roof above the rear heating pod, giving it handling characteristics not expected of a single decker!"

Tim Burns writes to say "If I remember correctly, the Leyland national pictured at Gaydon was a concept vehicle that featured in Leyland publicity when the National was first produced. I seem to recall it had 2+1 leather seating and was set up so punters could work on their way into the office. The buses that Harrogate & District bought for their X36 recently, seemed to have picked up that theme. and of course the Oxford tube has Wi-Fi now - so this National was clearly way ahead of its time. I never heard of any operator using them in this configuration.
As ever, enjoy the site - thanks."

The Oxford Tube of course features WiFi powered by Moovera Networks.
All the coaches have now received updated branding on the front dash as above.
Originally the coaches carried the wording "powered by Telabria".

Bolivia blessing by Marcus Lapthorn

Another picture from Marcus who says " the UK we have to MOT vehicles, whilst in Bolivia each year they are taken to a church to be blessed! Here is an example of this with the owner and family busily decorating their coach prior to the priest emerging from the church to administer the blessing. This is on Sun Island in Bolivia and in addition to this coach there were loads of cars and smaller buses etc all queuing up for the ceremonies."

Roger Spence writes

"Another mixed batch of photos for you!

On 14 June I was in Luton, where Merc 709Ds 2131 and 2133 were plying for trade at the top of Church Street

On 19 June I was back in Hemel.  First, a picture from the high walkway to the new shops.
Dart 3171 was on the 'magic roundabout' on its way back into Hemel on route 5.

Alexander-bodied Volvo 3332 was shortly to return to Stevenage on the 300

Another busy scene at the bus station, with all lanes blocked

Here's one of Volvo 5136 passing over the Marlowes 'crazy paving'

On June 21, the Herts CC 'Intalink' information bus K802DCF was parked in the Marlowes. 
This is a M.A.N. Optare Vecta, which I believe was originally Reading Transport number 802

Ex-Wycombe Bus, Marshall-bodied Dart 3833 was on route 5.   I'm not sure if this is a transfer or another short-term loan

On 22 June it was back to Luton, where Olympian 5170 was in Church Street. 
I think the few Leyland Olympians at Luton must now be the oldest vehicles in the fleet

I strolled over to the almost deserted bus station, which is now a rather forlorn and foreboding place.  There were no buses inside, and just the one (typically shabby) Metrobus vehicle on the forecourt.  Not the kind of place you'd particularly want to hang around - unless you're into skateboarding.

A couple of archive pictures.  I tried scanning some of my old colour prints, though the quality is obviously poor.  The first is Old Amersham car park (again), but as it was taken in May 1993 the garage has gone leaving just the outstation to soldier on for a few more years.  Quite a variation of liveries!  The buses were SNB461; SNB465; LRL29 (G129YEV); SNB517; AN241; SNB506 and SNB454.  Fourteen years later and LRL29 is, I think, still in service at Wycombe (5109).

Finally, a picture of Aylesbury depot in the 'red and cream' Luton & District days - sometime in the early 1990s.

Other observations - I've not seen Dart 'Handybus' 3818 in Hemel again, so I assume it's gone elsewhere, but sister 3820 (H370XGC) was in service at Luton on 22 June.  I also saw an Arriva liveried bus, which looked like a Marshall-bodied Dart, in service at Milton Keynes on 23 June, but wasn't close enough to confirm.

Daniel Stazicker finds an Oxfordshire registered bus in the North East

Anth writes "... the vehicle in question was sold from Busways (Sunderland) to Sunderland Football Club as a promotional vehicle and was given this reg by the football club the reg stands for Sunderland Football Club 4(for) Promotion. I could never understand why the Football Club never kept the reg when the vehicle was sold on a few years back."

Buses in cityscape and landscape

Again contributions continue to arrive on my desk and I have used these below plus one from my lens.

Buses in the landscape -
Vario 2180 pulls on to the roundabout, followed by Dart 3176
Over at the bus station, Dart 3228 was on the 500.  I don't think I've noticed Darts on this route before.
Picture by Roger Spence

Buses in the landscape - Maybe this picture should be entitled Moor and Ride.
Osney Island interlude by David Sanders.

A VR climbs out of Weymouth last weekend.
Malcolm Audsley took this picture of a lovely VR on 17th June.

Stokenchurch in the rain with National Express - 24th June 2007.

Oxford - The High - a classic shot of this location in June 2007 by Matt Robinson.

Amersham & District Running days 2007 - dates for your diary 

Amersham & District Running Days for 2007 are as follows: 

Sun 24 June 2007 - 2nd Hemel Hempstead Running Day based on Hemel Hempstead Bus Station  - That's today, hope for reports for next week.                       

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.

Malcolm Crowe - Sunday 24th June 2007

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

News of the local companies – 24th June 2007

Quite a few reports this week plus a number of pictures.

Matt Robinson takes a day out and ends up in Oxford 

ARRIVA (Saturday).

On to Arriva then. It's mostly pictures this week although following my trip to Oxford it was maybe fitting that the 61 from Aylesbury to Dunstable that I caught on the way home was worked by ex-COMS 5826 (E226CFC). (5834 G234VWL was on the 61 too today).

Upon arriving in Oxford I found Leyland Olympian 5097 (G647UPP) disabled by the roadside in Queens Lane (inbound) having overheated. The bus (and driver) was later rescued and replaced on the 280 by 5145 (N45 JPP). I don't think it has an Aylesbury blind fitted yet as it was working 66s in the morning and 280s in the afternoon showing just a blank.

There were a few MPD Dart workings on 31s in Luton today also. 3282 and 3291 spent the day on the route.

B6 3130 (M710OMJ) has become the first example at Luton to carry an LED destination display. It's the first bus at Luton to be changed over to LED (although several coaches have been done). As we have a few more B6s still with faulty flip-dot displays, I wonder if we may see a few more appearing...

On the subject of destination displays, Olympian 5095 still hasn't had its power blind rectified. I asked Aaron about it and he said that the power blinds on the Darts (and the Tridents when we had them) still allow you to enter a route number to display even if the destination doesn't work or is configured incorrectly, but the Olympians' control panels in this instance just display BAD DESTINATION and the front display remains blank.

Finally I've included a photo of Centrebus 112 (L712JUD) which I saw today in Dunstable. Am I right in thinking this bus was new to Thames Transit in Oxford?
(1./ sorry to include this under the Arriva heading and 2/ yes it was new to Thames Transit Ed.)

Bouncy Castles turn up in Luton

Pictures by Glenn Knight

James sent this picture of 5826 on Aylesbury working of the 54. It still has Oxford Bus No Smoking labels in the upper deck.

It had to happen, branded for the 757/Easybus service this Volvo turned up in London on the 755. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Matt Robinson sent some newsy reports saying "We currently have some more ex Wycombe buses working in Luton, in the shape of Wright-bodied Darts 3869/70 H369/70XGC." (see above Ed.)

According to Aaron at Luton they are suffering a shortage of buses there at the moment and it's still unclear if they are permanent additions or not at this stage.

3870 made it on to a 50 in Dunstable following the breakdown of MPD Dart 3290 earlier in the day, although I've not seen 3869 yet. 

I've just been talking to Aaron who's had the pleasure of driving both of them (as he puts it). He said they've raised many comments from drivers and passengers alike, they certainly do look different from anything else we have in Luton.

Their stay here may be short lived as some of the long-term off the road vehicles seem to be returning now. B6 3120 and Dart 3283 are both back on the road now following mechanical attention.

The route 38 Scania involved in an accident in Houghton Regis on Tuesday morning was 3608 (the one with the broken destination display). I don't know much detail about the incident, but the bus had to be towed back to the depot afterwards.

Coach repaints continue apace. 4365 W365XKX is the latest to be outshopped in the Easybus livery. Similar 4359, 4362 and 4368 which were all painted into the new style Green Line livery long ago, have all received super-rear Easybus ads at this stage. I believe there are only two coaches left in the old style livery. 4364 (pictured last week), and 4064 (P201RWR - which has no destination display). 4064 was acquired to replace 4366 which was written off in an accident.

I've attached a picture of 4365. The wheels were still fairly shiny, always a tell-tale sign. (Similar 4363 is behind). It looks as though it has an LED destination display. It wasn't switched on in this photo, and it still wasn't displaying anything when the coach departed."

Matt Robinson sent this picture of 4365 at Luton Airport looking very spruce.

"I saw Volvo B6 3130 on route 9 today, it has a new LED destination display fitted !!  Most of our B6s that originally had electronic displays suffer the problem where they now don't work. 3131/2/5 are still all faulty, but 3130 had its old display removed some time ago and had nothing there at all.  3136 was converted to roller blinds some time ago, and 3134 has a rather bright and bold flip-dot display, fitted whilst it was carrying an allover advertisement.

Part of Marsh Road was closed this morning, due to a fire in a derelict building (the second of two large fires in Luton overnight). This has impacted on routes 5, 15, 23 and 27 for much of the day.


Today's diversion from Marsh Road on routes 5 (inbound), 15 (outbound) and 23/27 (both ways) involved Blundell Road, Trinity Road and Limbury Road, before rejoining Marsh Road at the Archway Road traffic lights.

Blundell Road and Limbury Road are currently not served by any existing bus services in Luton."

Following the report that Olympian 5152 had moved to Wycombe, Mike Penn sent the pictures below covering all three advertising livery that this bus worked in.


First Berkshire

Gavin Francis sent this picture of a Paladin on the 702 last week.

Jeffs of  Helmdon

Richard Sharman 
visited the depot and took two nice pictures.

Gavin Francis caught one of the new Enviro 200s on the 113.
I am told that these buses will shortly receive a new livery prepared by Ray Stening's Best Impressions.

Open Doors took place on Saturday, see the report in the Editorial.

Another picture of the Festival Site on the Isle of Wight by David Sanders. This gives a better view of the site.

Picture by Dave Sanders

Reading Buses

Alistair Liddle was at East Lancs last week and sent the picture below. I think this page must be one of the first to record this bus?

R H Transport

News came in on Friday 22nd that an unusually liveried Solo was working the X15.
Here it is caught on camera by Chris Maxfield.


Surprise visitor to Oxford depot last week was this Olympian which stayed only a short while.

Chris Maxfield sent this picture of one the last  M A N 18-220s with ALX300 bodywork, recently delivered to Stagecoach Yorkshire.

Following on very closely to the batch at Witney this Solo is also running in Yorkshire. Picture by Chris Maxfield.

Chris Maxfield found this one time Oxford based Dart working in Swindon last week.

Richard Sharman sent this picture of a Volvo Olympian, 16527, now fully liveried for work in Stratford.

Finally Chris Maxfield sent two pictures of Witney depot.
The first is taken at 04:25 and shows how the old Oxford name refuses to remain covered.
The second should be entitled Eventide at Witney.
Note Brookes Bus 18197 presently based at Witney.


Another Stewart Curwen picture of an ex Lothian Olympian recently arrived..

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

Ken MacKenzie
sent this nice picture of a Danish Leyland resting at Oxpens last weekend.

A new bus for London - Epson Coaches run Quality Line and this is one of their first double decks ever.
Pictured by Gavin Francis.


City of Oxford Motor Services

David Sanders sent this nice shot of one of those lovely REs operated by COMS on the London services.

Paul Davis writes
"Malcolm, as a comparison to this week's picture your readers might like to see this picture of an RE at Watlington in July 83.
  I don't know if this bus was on short term loan from Bristol to Oxford, or if it was later repainted, but the green livery is obviously something a bit different."
In fact the bus joined the COMS fleet as a loan from Bristol in1982, where it had been fleet nr 1201.
It ran in green for two years when it was repainted into NBC red in June 1984. It was sold to Rollinson, Carlton in May 1985.

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.

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