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  

News Page
Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles

Issue 294
this part
published 21st September 2009
(next update mid October 2009)

Now in our 11th year

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.

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Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape,
Running Days plus Interests outside our area and Historical articles

More from the Hemel Hempstead Running Day - Sunday 16 August 2009
50th Anniversary of Upminster Underground Depot
Bedford OB 70th Anniversary Rally
Lathalmond  Rally

The famous RT1
Torbay by Marcus Lapthorn
Cheltenham by Rob McCaffrey & Geoff Cunliffe
Sandtoft by Marcus Lapthorn
Kingsbridge & a Bristol H on Saturday Sep. 19th
Bestival 2009 and the IoW Bus Museum from Robin Harrison
Thai Buses
Buses in Florida by Gavin Francis
History and some answers to readers questions

and why not visit the Oxford Bus Museum this autumn?

Concessionary Travel

All quiet on the western front as the saying goes. No changes as yet but the new parliament has yet to start and get down to work.

Buses in the Landscape

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

Simonds 304 on the 1443 Bury St Edmunds to Diss passing through the very picturesque village of Botesdale on Friday 14 August 2009. 

John Bristow writes "I thought that you might wish to publish the attached picture on your website. It shows the two minibuses used on the free bus service between the Harbour and the Town Centre of Tenby in South Wales.  The blue vehicle has just started its climb up to the town."

The lazy crazy days of summer, 2009 style. Picture by John Bristow.

Tim Hall from Swindon writes "I thought you would like this photo of Stagecoach Dennis Trident 18444 on route 49 Swindon to Trowbridge, crossing the Kennet and Avon canal at the top of the Caen Hill locks in Devizes, Wilts on Thursday 10th September 2009."

Happy memories revived of my holiday last October on this very canal.
Picture by Tim Hall Swindon


John Marsh also sent a couple of submissions for this section.

Buses in the Landscape -Les Cars Rouge from 1st Stage Eifel Tower Paris in April 2009 by John Marsh

Buses in the Landscape - RM397 - 397CLT at Dungeness Lighthouse, Kent on Saturday 5th September 2009 by John Marsh


Running Days

More from the Hemel Hempstead Running Day - Sunday 16 August 2009

Paul Davis attended the running day and writes "another great event organised by Peter Cartwright. The sun was out most of the time!  Many of the single deck runs were heavily loaded (especially the GS on the 387 to Aldbury of course). Of particular interest to me was red RM1699 in absolutely pristine condition. I am including a number of pictures which I took."

Pictures by Paul Davis 

Peter Edgar writes "A few pictures from the recent event at Hemel. I know you managed to get some pictures in the latest O&C update, just wondered if you required any more." 

Hemel Hempstead Bus Station in the 1960' in 2009!

Pictures by Peter Edgar 

50th Anniversary of Upminster Underground Depot

Peter Edgar also adds "attached are pictures of buses running at the 50th Anniversary of Upminster Underground Depot held on August 29th & 30th.

The vehicles were operating between Upminster Station and  Upminster Depot along part of the 248 route which at one time required the use of the RLH Class due to a low bridge in the Upminster area." 

Pictures by Peter Edgar 

Bedford OB 70th Anniversary Rally

Mike Penn wrote "...while you were in sunny Hemel Hempstead yesterday I was in equally sunny Luton for the Bedford OB 70th Anniversary Rally.
A grand total of 27 Bedford OBs attended this event at Luton and Bletchley. There were also two OWBs (both rebodied post-war), four pre-war Bedfords of various types, five later post-war Bedfords, plus one Guy and one Leyland.

Photographs of most of them can be seen at :

Lathalmond  Rally

Gary Seamarks was even further afield and reported "..... from my visit to Lathalmond  Rally on Sunday 16th August taken during my holiday in Scotland".

Pictures by Gary Seamarks

The famous RT1 

Mark Lyons wrote "RT1 entered public service on 9 August 1939 from Putney (Chelverton Road) Garage on route 22.  Although I was not possible to re-create the event on the 70th anniversary the occasion was marked two weeks later when, in glorious summer sunshine, RT1 made a return to the garage and then ran from Putney Common into central London along the line of the route.  The bus then toured various London sights, attracting admiring glances all the while."

Some of Mark's photographs are shown here. He really does seem to capture the image and this bus is a real gem.

Pictures by Mark Lyons

Torbay by Marcus Lapthorn

Marcus visited the Torbay area and was able to send us an interesting selection of buses and coaches on display at Torbay 2009.

8159 EL - Bournemouth Corporation : CTT 518C - Devon General : 913 DTT  & LFJ 862W- Devon General

OFV 621X - Fishwick of Leyland

HTT 487 - Devon General : 100 VRL - Hawkeys of Newquay : Grey Cars TCR960 : RRU 903 - Bournemouth Corporation :
MSJ 499 - Bournemouth Corporation (Ex Devon General)

VDV 818 - Devon General

AJH 854 T - Ex AERE Harwell : P1010764 - RTL 1163

VOD 88 K - Devon General

Marcus also noted former Brookes buses 18051/2/3 were on the Torquay to Babbacombe 32 route and/or Teignmouth 32T route on Monday 7 September.

T653 KPU 

This is a 1999 Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 numbered 17053 in the Stagecoach Devon fleet. It started life in red with East London as TA53. In 2004 it moved to Cambus and into Park & Ride livery. Then to Devon in 2007 and into Devon General livery. This bus is something of a rarity in that it has never carried Stagecoach livery despite passing through 3 different Stagecoach fleets! 

Brighton & Hove company’s RML

Brighton & Hove company’s RML’s scheduled visit to Henfield, Sussex on Bank Holiday Monday.
Picture by Roger Funnell. 

Contributed by Marcus Lapthorn.  

Cheltenham event by Rob McCaffrey

Saturday the 12th September's event was another true delight with two Lodekkas and a VR on the main 94 service, four REs on the indirect 97 & 98 and numerous vehicles on the Cheltenham free service.

What was notable was that every preserved vehicle in service on the day had originated with Bristol O.C. or one of its subsidiaries and that only two were in liveries other than Bristol or Cheltenham District which did make for a pretty authentic day.

Sadly my first journey of the day was on a Dennis Dart rather than a Lodekka or I might have had the pleasure of a £4.70 Setright-issued Day Rider ticket.

Here's a selection of photos from the day.

The old order at the start of the day as a pair of Dennis Tridents line-up in Gloucester for the 10 minute frequency 94 main line to Cheltenham.
All that differs from the norm is the removal of route branding vinyls.

Arriving at the Promenade in Cheltenham for the first vintage run of the day on the 94 is former Cheltenham District 6037, a short Bristol FSF resident at BaMMOT, Wythall.

r one of the new Scanias arrives at Gloucester. Stagecoach has used Gold-style branding on a couple of networks but this is the first double-deck instance.

The other Lodekka in service was Mike Walker's superb 1959 LD6G from the Bath Services fleet.
The LD was relatively rare in the Bristol fleets due to their preference for the more previous and more straightforward highbridge KSW model
reflecting the lack of lowbridge problems in their operating area, unlike most other Tilling fleets.

There were moments of true irony on board the LD with passengers being told that the vintage service was to celebrate the introduction of low-floor, leather-seated buses, considering the 50 year old LD rather matched that description.

Back in Cheltenham and former Bristol 2062 arrives on the "back-road" 98 service to Gloucester.
A notable feature of this route is that it passes a remarkably surviving large cluster of prefab housing. It's not all elegant Georgian villas in Cheltenham you know!

Finally the special free service for Class V Psv's in Cheltenham, the 80 is represented by this pre-war Bristol J, rebodied post-war with this Bristol body. Note the rather elegant destination display.

All-in-all another excellent day and thanks again to Stagecoach West for another memorable running day.

Many thanks to rob for allowing me to reproduce this article.

Another article received from this event was one by Geoff Cunliffe who was down from the Lancashire coast on a family holiday.

Stagecoach Gold at Cheltenham by Geoff Cunliffe

Geoff Cunliffe sent a comprehensive report with some very nice pictures relating to this event. 

Stagecoach could hardly have chosen a better day to promote their upgrade of service 94 from Cheltenham to Gloucester than last Saturday 12th. September. The day also commemorated the 80th. Anniversary of the formation of Cheltenham District Traction. Unfortunately, the bright sunlight shining through trees on Cheltenham Promenade, where quite a lot of the action took place, was not ideal for photography,- picturesque as it was. 

From about noon, alternate journeys on the 94 were operated by a group of vehicles which had operated in the area over the years together with some of the new Stagecoach Gold vehicles which were scheduled to take over service the following day. 

Amongst those providing the service were:-

Stagecoach East Bristol front entrance FLF6G, 19953, JAH 553D, seen in Crescent Terrace approaching The Promenade.

Cheltenham District Traction front entrance 6037, 802 MWH.

Stagecoach South (ex. Cheltenham District Traction) Bristol VR 15160, JOU 160P.

Bristol Omnibus rear entrance LD6G, 969 EHW.

Additionally Bristol Olympian LH 9554, A954 SAE put in an appearance, although I think  its rear badging owed more to technical correctness than historical accuracy.

Services 97 & 98 was also operated by at least three former Cheltenham REs including 1000, KHW 306E with B52F body,
 similar 1003, KHW 309E with a B44D body and OAE 954M, seen being passed on the Promenade by the LD6G.

Additionally one of the new Scania Enviro 400 deckers was parked at the junction of the Promenade and Crescent Terrace and you could have a prowl round it and examine its route branding.
The driver apologized that they hadn’t provided him with any giveaways. Smart indeed they are with the special logo on the black leather seats.
I had a good look round the cab and was mildly surprised to see that the automatic gearbox had no provision for manual override or intermediate gear hold.

I did hear a conversation about the number of seats which had poor legroom, wheel arch intrusion and how far you had to walk to find a seat if you are disabled. I didn’t look that carefully and wouldn’t wish to comment. 

A further group of elderly vehicles provided a free bus service between the GWR Station end of the Racecourse car park and the Arle Court Park & Ride car park at the other end of town, by a route I never discovered, described simply as Albert Road, Albion Street, Town Centre etc, but I must confess I ran out of time.

Also, a couple of Gold deckers, 15529 & 15532, came and went periodically, otherwise running round the town centre to publicise themselves.

Amongst those used on this route were the following:-

AHU 803, former Bristol Tramways 1934 J-type Bristol, originally fitted with a Bristol 6-cylinder petrol engine then rebodied in 1947,
when the lower PV2 radiator was fitted and a Gardner 5LW installed

Two similar Bristol MWs, 536 JHU of 1961, ex. Bristol Omnibus 2514 and 924 AHY, former Bristol 2934

BOU 6V, a single door B-series National 2 ex. Cheltenham District CM3531, although I must say I didn’t think it had the best of paint jobs.

Bristol 2388, LHT 911, a L5G of 1948 carrying rare BBW rear entrance bodywork.

Bristol C2736, LHY 976 another L-type but carrying a dual-entrance body.

The day provided an opportunity to see logos and fleet names which have now passed into history. Amongst those which I spotted were:-

“Bristol”, with the double N.

"Bath Services”.

The Bristol crest.

The “Bristol” scroll.

“Cheltenham District” with the dual logos. 

Events like these usually have their lighter moments. A motley cohort of a two or three dozen people of various ages with various types of photographic equipment charging up and down Cheltenham Promenade with a total disregard to taxis and other traffic every time a bus appeared, itself attracted attention, often from young ladies - although they were usually accompanied. A typical exchange was:-

Girl: “Excuse me, what are you photographing?”

Me: “Buses – sad isn’t it”

(I find this slightly self-deprecating response often works well)

Girl: “Why?”

A brief explanation usually satisfied the enquirer. 

The last enquiry surprised me:-  

Girl: “Excuse me, what are you photographing?”

Me: “Buses – sad isn’t it”

Girl: “Oh, that’s really disappointing. I thought you were all waiting to photograph someone really famous!” 

But, in reality, we were actually photographing a group of rather famous old ladies. It’s just that the uninitiated didn’t realize it!

Many thanks to Geoff for a most interesting article.

Sandtoft by Marcus Lapthorn

I spent a very enjoyable day at the Sandtoft site, which I had last visited in September 1972 shortly after the museum was established in its current home!

These first 5 shots are of Reading trolleybuses:

Fleet  no 144 was one of the last 3 trolleybuses into the depot when the system closed in 1968. It is a 1949 BUT9611T,  H56RD bodied by Park Royal.

Interior of 144 showing the fares and stage table

Lower & upper decks of 144

Fleet no 181 which is a 1950 Sunbeam S7, H68RD bodied by Park Royal

Models of two Reading Trolleybuses. Fleet no 113 was made at Reading Technical College and is actually a money box
 and when money is inserted the interior trolleybus bell operates!
Fleet no 170 was made by a Reading Transport employee and includes various bits of authentic materials!

London Transport 1812 is a 1948 BUT 9641T H70R body by Metro Cammel.

Fleet no 22 from Aachen, Germany is a 1956 Henschel 562E with an unusual RB61T body.

Fleet no 140 is from Oporto, Portugal and is a 1967 Lancia 120003 bodied by Dalfa as H68D.

Fleet no 506 is from Nottingham and is a 1950 BUT 9641T with a H70R Brush body.

Awaiting full restoration!

General view with 3 trolleys under the wires waiting for passengers.

General views.

Fleet no 72 is a superbly restored Maidstone Corporation 1947 Sunbeam W with a H56R N.C.B. body.

Fleet no 204 is a South Shields 1937 Karrier E4 with a Weymann H55R body.

Fleet no 137 is a Nottingham 1953 AEC Regent 111 with a H56R body by Park Royal.
This together with a Nottingham trolleybus is owned by a man from Carterton.

Fleet no 55 is a Doncaster Corporation 1968 Leyland Royal Tiger Cub with a B45F Roe body.

Doncaster clock saved for posterity.

This Arriva Ikarus is the oldest bus still operated by Arriva out of its Wakefield depot.
 The bus called into Sandtoft as it was being used by the Wakefield Arriva social club members!

Showing former Reading Corporation bus now used as a dormitory by volunteers.

Prohibition road sign.

Remember these Police boxes that used to be on street corners?

The fantastic Barnsley bus station interior - very attractive modern state of the art.
Gloucester Green could learn a thing or two from this example!!

Stagecoach operate a very modern fleet out of Barnsley which is in keeping with the modern bus station.

Kingsbridge Running Day Sat Sep 19th 

Terry Partridge writes "The Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day event will see the return to operation of the newly restored 1933 Bristol H FJ 8967 which was Western National No. 137137 was a South Devon area vehicle spending its operational life working from Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Plymouth depots until withdrawal in 1957.  Colin Billington bought 137 from Colin Shears on 6 October 1996 and since then has undertaken a complete restoration which is now nearing completion.  This will be a special day for us and testament to Colin's efforts at Winkleigh to save as many important West Country vehicles as he could." 

KVBRD number data 

Vehicles in service 24
Routes operated 15
Journeys planned (mostly returns) 54.
More if you count single journeys then it is over 100 ! 

Dave Godley was on hand top bring us photos of the star of the day and he icludes this history of 137.

134  FJ8967 Bristol H  H160   Brush B32R new 6/33 fitted with Gardner 5LW engine in 1939 body destroyed by enemy action in 3/41, rebodied Bristol B35R in 11/42, damaged by enemy action at Plymouth in 1944, spent most of its life based in the Totnes/Kingsbridge area

to Jones, Plymouth (showman) 7/58 and converted to showmans vehicle

to Colin Shears, Winkleigh for preservation in 11/67

to Colin Billington in October 1996 and has been ungoing restoration since.

Colin Billington and Colin Shears are seen here standing in front of 137 for the official WHOTT photo.

Two more pictures of a truly magnificent bus. For those of a certain generation this does bring back memories.
All pictures courtesy Dave Godley.


Bestival 2009 and the IoW Bus Museum from Robin Harrison

Robin writes saying "...great work on the Oxford Chilterns Bus Page, I love reading all about the interesting buses operating in Oxford as well as surrounding areas. I am on the Isle of Wight and captured some pictures at the Bestival and also some buses which operated at Heritage Open Days which was around the whole of England last weekend I help locally down the IOW Bus Museum and worked on these buses and there also some buses which are undergoing restoration. If you could also say about 18th October 2009 Autumn Running Day at Newport Quay for more details visit follow links plus "

Bestival Buses

TIL6723- Wilts & Dorset

K738ODL-Wilts & Dorset

M749HDL-Southern Vectis

Heritage Open Days

DDL50- Ex Southern Vectis

FLJ538-Which is under restoration at moment

UDL673S- Former Damory Coaches 5066

FDL927D-Former Southern Vectis 806

Buses a long way from our shores.

Thai Buses 

David Jackson writes "A long way from the Chilterns, but you and others may be interested in this link :- which has some interesting photos of buses and street scenes in Bangkok.

Buses in Florida by Gavin Francis

My erstwhile colleague and staff photographer for the OCBP is on leave enjoying a well earned break in Florida with his wife.

Of course, since photographing buses is much in his blood he could not resist sending a few photos of what the local scene has to offer. I have never found US buses very interesting but they certainly are a little different to those on our scene, albeit that a European influence seems to be gaining on more recent models.

Not such a nice design as those below.

Interesting vehicles with a rather European look. Pictures by Gavin Francis.


Some answers to readers questions.

On the Thames Travel service 125 between Wallingford and Watlington.

Graham Gough writes "Dave Kemp asked a question in Issue 292 as to which company originally operated what substantially is now the Thames Travel service 125 between Wallingford and Watlington.

In the late 1950s and 60s House's of Watlington operated a market day journey to Wallingford on a Friday afternoon, via Britwell, Ewelme and Benson. A service was running at least as early as 1939 when it is listed in Kelly's Directory for that year.  It was, if my memory serves me, supplemented in the late 60s by a morning journey the same day, operating over a slightly different route to serve the villages of Cuxham, Brightwell Baldwin and Upperton.

Chiltern Queens did operate a service, but I think it was principally to bring passengers into Watlington from Ewelme for shopping (this in the days when you could actually buy anything in Watlington), returning via Ewelme to Wallingford. I don't recall it being specially useful to Watlington residents, but perhaps another reader will remember this better than I do."

A bus company in South Oxfordshire?

Richard Hall writes "I'm an ex bus driver myself and have just found out that a relative of mine once owned a small bus company in South Oxfordshire in or near Woodcote or Checkendon. His name was Albert (Bert) Hall and I am told he sold his company to Kemps Buses. I wonder would any one have any information or pictures? I am not sure of dates but think somewhere between 1920 to 1950."

Well readers, any answers for Mr Hall?

From Mick Payne on memories from Amersham Garage (LT) 

Belated note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your article. A long time ago I used to travel to college in Wycombe on the 362 from Amersham. RTs in those days. And doesn't time fly? Seems only yesterday Amersham Garage was a haven for RTs, RFs and those beautiful little Guy Specials that used to go over the hills to Beaconsfield on route 398 and ply between Chesham and St Leonards on the 348 and Tring on the 397. Your journey through Tring reminded me I could never fathom why Amersham had the monopoly on the 397. Tring had only one GS for the 387 to Tring Station. Years later I recall London Country sent Tring a Routemaster for this duty. Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous. Tring also worked the Saturday only 352 from Berkhamsted to Dunstable but with no allocation for this duty borrowed an RF from Amersham. An old school friend who joined Amersham's engineering staff used to drive this over to Tring via Wendover on Friday night returning on the last 397 out of Tring.  Anyway enough of my ramblings here's some photos for you. Wasn't that surprised to find a Routemaster on a recent visit to Niagara Falls. London destination blinds an interesting touch though albeit route and destinations randomly displayed. More surprised in Ottawa to find this Bristol FLF looking like it had strayed some time back from Wycombe Marsh.  Unfortunately no clues to original ownership.

Oxford Bus Museum

Over 40 vehicles are on display.  Most are buses in the ownership of the Museum.  Some are privately owned buses on long-term loan for display to the public. In addition there are various other exhibits on loan, from fire engines to bicycles, to add a period feel to the core collection. For reasons of safety, and to preserve the more fragile exhibits, visitors cannot enter all the vehicles on display, but access to a number of them is possible.

There are extensive displays of photographs, tickets, uniforms and other memorabilia.

As a special attraction, the Museum offers a free bus ride from the collection on the first Sunday of the month from March to October inclusive.

Click Here

Third part of Thames Valley history from Paul Lacey


Paul's third volume in his comprehensive work on Thames Valley is now available.

Paul Lacey is pleased to announce the completion of his latest and long-awaited book:


224 A4 pages, perfect bound in laminated covers, with 544 half-tone illustrations, full fleet list, service fleet list, route map, and appendices covering livery details, background to Newbury & District and South Midland, as well as allocations of vehicles, working arrangements and premises. A highly detailed and evocative account of all aspects of the Thames Valley activities, with the experience of over 40 years of research, fully illustrated with almost all unpublished photos

Retail Price: £25  Order your copy NOW direct for just £20!

Please quote the OCBP when ordering

Other titles currently available: 

A History of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd., 1920 – 1930

Retail Price: £15                                                     Special Offer Price: £5

A History of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd., 1931 – 1945

Retail Price: £25                                                     Special Offer Price: £5

Thackray’s Way – A Family in Road Transport

Retail Price: £10                                                     Special Offer Price: £5

50 Years of South Midland, 1921 – 1970           Written by David Flitton

Retail Price: £11                                                      Special Offer Price: £5 

Offer prices apply to orders placed with the new volume only. Send to:

Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close, Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT, cheque payable to Paul Lacey  -(post & packing inclusive). 

If you live locally and prefer to collect, please call on 0118 979 4097 to arrange a mutually convenient time to visit (please do not just turn up!).  

Menu for News Page Issue 4th September 2009

updated 21st September 2009

Archive Index (previous News Pages)

Introduction & main menu

Editorial & Features plus Picture Corner

Company and Fleet News

Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles

Spottings and Jottings nr5 20th September 2009

Special issue to mark introduction of new Oxford tube fleet