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 138

Monday 25th July 2005
next update week ending 5th August 2005

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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.

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Just when we thought it might be over Thursday, two weeks after the last episode, we had another day of problems in London. This time it was not so bad and most bus and coach services continued as normal. The main problems were connected with closure of part of the London Underground. Friday was interesting when a Central TV News crew turned up at Gloucester Green to film a piece about services to London. It seems your Editor may well have appeared on Central News that day having been asked what drivers felt about working into London. I seem to recall my reply was to the effect "life must go on etc etc".

The M40 once again produced its batch of accidents and delays. Once again on Friday a truck and car were involved in a crash at Stokenchurch - junction 5 and this time one persons injuries required the "flying doctor" helicopter which I am told landed on the "on-slip" to London to recover its patient.

Chiltern Railways seem to be no further on with reinstating train services through Gerrards Cross and people are making alternative arrangements for their journey to London.

Gavin Francis writes ""Went to Amersham yesterday to check out the rail replacement but it was very quiet. Just one Blue Triangle Metrobus showing blinds for an East London route."

The Oxford Times letter columns last Friday were rather full of letters regarding bus services in the city. A headline "People will not use buses unless they are cost-effective and run on schedule" drew my eye and I discovered that a lady from Abingdon claimed that people are preferring to drive to Newbury or Reading rather than come into Oxford for their shopping. She remarked upon the continuing road works on the Abingdon Road, horrendous delays and the need for cost effective bus services. Another writer mentioned over-crowding on the service 20 via Yarnton, this seemingly caused by the use of single deck buses on the timings used.  The general impression conveyed was of poor planning, congested roads and bus services which were not too good.

I feel that a counter comment is in order regarding the bus services. Oxford probably has one of the finest bus services outside London and everything is done to ensure a really reliable service. Indeed on the Banbury Road a lot of money has been put into a real time information system and this is expected to spread to other routes in the future. Neighbouring cities and towns are well served such as Abingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage with quite high frequency services at fares which, if compared to fares 30 or 40 years ago, bear no relationship to the real cost inflations over the relative period. Additionally man y city routes and a few country routes enjoy a 24hr service, something unheard of even 20 years ago.

On the express service front, London enjoys the highest frequency express service anywhere in the world, running 24/7/365. Cambridge enjoys a 30 minute express frequency throughout the day and this service is growing in support.

More on speed cameras used by bus companies.

Andrew Dyer wrote regarding the use of speed cameras by bus companies saying "Interested to read your piece about OBC using speed cameras to reinforce speed limits and you asked if other companies had done it....answer Devon General, 1984!! Not cameras of course, but the old radar speed guns. 

When the Ford Transit minibuses were introduced on to Exeter city routes there was all sorts of criticism in the local press about the number of vehicles and the speed at which they were going through the High Street pedestrianised area. 

Devon General imposed a 10mph company speed limit in the pedestrianised area and borrowed guns from the police to monitor it. All drivers were warned that they would be disciplined if they were caught speeding and I was told that Harry Blundred's recommendation to local managers was that they should award one days unpaid suspension for each mile per hour over the limit. I wonder if other companies will consider something similar?"

Ex Portsmouth PD2 in Oxford 

Andrew goes on to add "Also a question if I may. Did LRV992 the ex- Portsmouth Corporation PD2 ever appear in Oxford during its days with Transit Holdings? We have just taken it from Stagecoach Devon into the Stagecoach South preserved fleet and it is now on long term loan to two staff who are masterminding its restoration. We hope to have it MOTd in time to be running at the Worthing bus rally on 31 July."

That ex COMS AEC by Robin Clare

Robin Clare writes "Greetings from MK ............. What a blast from the past the picture of AEC 340. 

During my early days with Oxford / South Midland, this was one of two training buses, from memory, the other being 360. I actually took my PSV All Types (as it was then) on this vehicle. 

Having passed the test, taken around the streets of Abingdon, I was despatched passenger on a service bus to Wantage, my intended place of employment. The driver, Kevin, enquired whether I had passed, and upon being told that I had, promptly put me in the seat whilst he cashed up on what was his last trip of the day. The bus was VR 453, which was like something out of Star Wars compared to the AEC. 

Keep up the good work with the site. Very much appreciated."

Unusual set down point for a visiting coach to Oxford

Geoff Cunliffe, on one his frequent visits to Oxford, sent a number of pictures but one which deserves a prize for the unusual was that shown below of a Brian Isaac's Bova which set its passengers down in Queen Street on the 22nd July. I have been taking pictures in Oxford for many years and have yet to see a visiting coach in Queen Street.


ow on to this week's News and photos. Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week. Apologies for the delay in publishing this week's page which is also shorter than usual but I hope the content is of equal interest.

Malcolm Crowe - Monday 25th July 2005

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

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News of the local companies 25th July 2005

Little to report from Arriva this week, save to say that the "bouncy castle" Darts are still present in the area.

3811 was working a 339 service through Cressex the other morning.

Ex LT Routemaster visits Oxford Bus

Matthew Bradley wrote to me regarding the visit of an ex London Routemaster which visited Oxford a week or so ago. his story is as follows.

"Matthew Bradley and Ray Stenning (Best Impressions - the people who have designed many liveries including espress, airline and P&R) believe the Routemaster is a design classic - and therefore wanted one!

RML2732 is from Putney garage - noted for keeping its buses in excellent order (little vandal damage as the bus served the likes of Kensington, Brompton and Chelsea), so is therefore a good purchase. The bus entered service at Crodyon in November 1967 and from the early 70s has served at Putney mainly on routes 14 and 22 together with a brief spell at Waterloo on the 11.

Brought to Oxford last week, and then on Saturday driven from Oxford via Milton Keynes to Durham (by Norman Davies and Nigel Eggleton) where it is now stored in a modern barn together with a five other preserved buses including a recently withdrawn RM from New Cross garage that had served on route 36.

RML2732 will kept in current condition as an example of the 1990s refurbishment that kept them going until now. It has an Iveco engine and is relatively unusual in being reunited with its original body. The adverts including one for this summer's Harrods sale will be retained to give the bus a mid-nineties flavour and date it to this period.

The bus is used to travel. In the 1990s it visited Cyprus and has appeared in two TV documentaries."

Nigel Eggleton kindly supplied some pictures taken by Andy Seeney of the bus mentioned by Matthew Bradley which visited OBC the week before last. 


More pictures from the camera of Geoff Cunliffe. The two remaining red Tridents continue to appear on various routes each week, though one is normally allocated to 35 road.

McLeans of Witney

Ken MacKenzie, Oxfordshire Other Operators Sub Editor - PSV Circle Oxfordshire writes to say "A little snippet for this week. McLeans Coaches of Witney have a Volvo B12B with Volvo bodywork - Reg No: VL05VOL on loan from 20/7/05 to 26/7/05. This is one of the Volvo Poland bodied Volvo's which is featured in June 2005 issue of Ian Allan Buses."

A picture of same would be appreciated.

Red Rose, Aylesbury

Gavin Francis visited Amersham last week and took a few pictures of Red rose buses saying "Went to Amersham yesterday to check out the rail replacement but it was very quiet. According to the displayed time-tables the 373 and 375 should have changed to Carousel but were still being operated by Red Rose. Perhaps it will change on Monday.


I have checked the web pages of both bucks County and Carousel and can find no reference to the 373-375 group services changing to another operator.

I received the latest allocation list for SCO this week and the main point of interest is that a Mercedes mini bus 40105 - N350AVV has been received on loan from Nuneaton.

This is to cover the Grove bridge closure and resultant temporary services to cover service changes. The routing and opportunity for something different may entice someone to bring back some pictures of this interesting operation.


Also of note is that 16525 is back from Banbury and now allocated to Oxford once again. The only Olympian at Witney continues to be 16526.

Photo corner - Stagecoach in Oxford

Geoff Cunliffe took this picture of 18197 on an X4 working on the 22nd July.

Gavin Francis caught Olympian 16526 on the 100 service on the 22nd July.

Another Gavin Francis picture, this time of 34466 on the 7 in Queen Street.

My picture of 18199 shows the alterations to the wording on the rear of the Brookes Bus fleet.
"even for Students" is no longer shown.

Although the sun was in the wrong direction I think this picture of Tube 50101 is evocative.

This time the sun was in the right direction and 50108 looks very fine as it heads down St Aldates a week or so ago.

Last week there seemed to be a dearth of new Neoplans on Megabus services. I saw Manchester Olympian 16752 on a London working followed in the next service by ex Hong Kong Olympian 13651 pictured below. The driver had momentarily got the wrong destination on the screen!!

The Leeds service has for sometime now been worked by a Neoplan but last Thursday13608 was on the service.

Also I noticed a Volvo coach in plain blue with small Megabus vinyls operating another service. Such coaches are most unusual these days.


Tappins of Oxfordshire - City Sightseeing

That new open topper mentioned some months ago must due about now.
Meanwhile the existing fleet soldiers on.


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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


Bus Services in Buckinghamshire

Bus services in Oxfordshire

Where are the Chilterns?

Visit this informative site through the link below.

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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