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 News of the local companies – 31st August 2008

Issue 272
Sunday 31st August 2008

(next update week ending 14th September 2008)

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 News of the local companies – 31st August 2008

Richard Sharman writes "Seen in Bicester 280808 (Thursday) around 14.20 was a rather strange working on the on Arriva's 16 service from Aylesbury in the form of Dart/Pointer N133 XND.....IN MK METRO LIVERY!, is this the first time a MK Metro liveried vehicles has operated into Bicester or indeed Oxfordshire?"

Glenn Knight sent this logo for the website for the ARRIVA Dunstable & Luton area

Glenn also sent some interesting pictures.

10/08/08  3120 - M720OMJ worked the DB2 Downside/Langdale.

5138 N38JPP on service 8 - 26.08.08

Glenn also mentioned that Scania R194 RBM was involved in a RTA on 220808 with a BMW whilst on service 70 between Luton Airport & Milton Keynes with Matt Robinson also noting Luton Scania 3194 (R194RBM) being towed back to Luton depot, following an accident at Bletchley on the 70 around lunchtime today.

I took the opportunity when having time in hand on a 737 working to snap 3155 in its new livery at Hemel. - M Crowe.

The two remaining Volvo/Alexander PS's at Wycombe were caught by Gavin Francis.
One wonders what determines if the bus has interurban livery?

This is to give an idea of the different brandings on the Red Route 33 buses, 3822, 3824 and 3826.

Another Red Route bus is 3827 but seen on orange route 39 in this picture by Gavin Francis.


Gavin and I have had a sort of competition to see how many easyBus vehicles we can picture at Victoria. As readers will know my forays to London are few and far between and it was therefore surprising the I was able to outmatch Gavin last week with the picture below, FIVE in line.

Stansted also provides continued interest in the easyBus fleet and there are still two older Mercedes in service. In the early morning it is possible to see up to eight buses parked up at Stansted.

Andrew Web writes "Carousel had two Olympians and a Trident parked up in Reading with displays for route 79 to the football.  I assume they help out Reading Buses on weekday matches?"

Gavin Francis caught the none purple liveried Dart on purple route 36 last week.

This announcement was made following a review of its local business in Hinckley, Arriva Midlands reached an agreement with Centrebus Holdings Limited to sell its Hinckley local town service network to them. 

Centrebus Holdings is expected to take over operations from Tuesday 26 August 2008; there are no job losses as part of the sale.  

The change in operator of the Hinckley local town service network will have no affect on passengers as bus routes and times remain unaltered.  

Route 158 running between Nuneaton, Hinckley and Leicester and currently operated by Hinckley depot will continue to be operated by Arriva Midlands, drivers who usually operate this service will be offered positions at Arriva’s Southgates depot from where the service will be operated in future. 

Centrebus Holdings Limited is a company set up earlier this year in which Arriva has a minority holding (of 40%). It currently operates the Huddersfield Bus Company in Yorkshire.


Whilst Arriva do seem to have quite some investment in Centrebus they are also seeming to have an influence on the livery. I have to say that the revised livery looks rather nice and the silver wheels are very Arrivaish.

Glenn Knight writes to advise that J126DUV & J103DUV have gone to Centrebus Leicester with J134DUV going to Centrebus Grantham.

Transfers delivered are N430CHL & N432CHL both Northern Counties Darts. 

N431CHL in Dunstable on X31 with Arabic writing on the display !!!!  Glenn Knight.

N432CHL fresh out of the paintshop. Glenn Knight.

601 - FH06KGK worked the 327 Ramblers Bus on Sunday 10th August. Glenn Knight.

The more regular performer on the 327 seen on the following Sunday 17th August at Hemel. M Crowe.

Gavin paid a visit to Bracknell last week and produced some interesting pictures. I think this must be the first time we have covered Bracknell and I must admit it is somewhat out of area. I hope readers do not mind.

First continue to provide interest at Wycombe on route 74. We now reguarly see Citaros on this route. Picture Gavin Francis.

At the other end of the area in Stansted the new coaches are beginning to make their presence felt on the X30 to Southend. This is 20801.

Seen from the rear alongside an older service bus on the X22. This is 62407 alongside 20805.

Finally for First this week is this Olympian, 34818, looking very smart indeed for what is now a rather old bus.
This batch, once the pride of the Essex fleet are now dispersed to Devon as well as Essex.

Have loaned Enviro 200 SF07KCE working on the 103 service through Horspath.

I followed the 06 registered Ayats Bravo along the M40 the other day and it was performing really well, just a shade above 100 kph according to my speedo but it was on the climb up the cutting top Stokenchurch that it really excelled itself, maintaining the +100 kph level all the way. It was empty but it would have left most other coaches for dead. A most impressive coach!

Some interesting pictures are to hand this week and are shown below.

The company parks two buses in Wheatley and here they are seen being overtaken by an Enviro 200 on the 104.

The alterations to pick up points in Oxford City Centre due to the roadworks in St Aldates means unusual routings for services.
Here we see a 116 service in Queen Street.

National Express operations and vehicles continue to generate much interest from readers and I am delighted following the last issue to have heard from Andrew Tyldsley, Commercial Manager of Go-Northern. His e-mail concerns the nine Levante tri-axles which the company operate on various National Express diagrams, including the 304 service through Oxford.

Andrew writes "I see that on this weeks update of your excellent site you mention the new tri-axle Caetano Levante that we have in operation as part of our seventeen vehicle Go Northern (we dropped the "-Ahead" some time ago) National Express operation.

There are nine vehicles altogether, all of which entered service in late July/early August - fleet numbers 7094 to 7102 (FJ08 KLF/S/U/X/Z/MU/V/NV/W) which are 53 seaters and have replaced an identical number of Volvo B10M/Plaxton coaches.

We intend to have eight out of the nine tri-axle’s out each day, but it’s early days yet and there are a number of minor “teething” troubles that we are currently resolving so we don’t quite meet this every day at the minute."

The scheduled operation is:

Four on a four day cycle that brings them through Oxford:

Day 1: Service 380 1445 Newcastle to Liverpool

Day 2: Service 304 0720 Liverpool to Weymouth

Day 3: Service 304 1040 Weymouth to Liverpool

Go-Northern 7097 on the 1040 Weymouth-Liverpool seen reversing off bay 9 at Gloucester Green in late August.
Picture by Richard Sharman.

Day 4: Service 380 0645 Liverpool to Newcastle

Two on the 530 (0900 Newcastle-Paignton & 0710 Paignton-Newcastle)

Two on the 531 (0630 Newcastle-Plymouth & 1000 Plymouth-Newcastle)

Many thanks to Andrew for those comprehensive notes.

Another two axle Levante in London but not with FJ registration (YN08FXP). Can anyone enlighten me please? Picture by Gavin Francis.
From issue 271

Matthew  Northantsbusman writes "The coach the Gavin saw was East Yorkshire Motor Services, Volvo B12B Scania Levante. The working involves a 562 working from Beverley then wait at VCS before running to Bristol as an 040, staying overnight in Bristol and heading back home the following day."

Dave Francis writes "First off, thank you for the glowing review you gave to the GB-BG National Coaches fleet book a couple of months ago. I apologise for not replying earlier.
In the latest issue #271, you ask for registrations & fleet numbers for the Stagecoach Gloucester & Yeomans Levantes. All of these (as well as the other NEx questions you asked) can be found on my online NX fleetlist at:
Veolia Birmingham also have two round trips from Worcester on the 444. I believe one of those diagrams has been covered by First Coaches (Cheltenham outstation) due to late delivery of Veolia's tri-axles.
Birmingham is to receive three tri-axles, one will do a round trip on the 444, the other 2 will work a one way 444 journey & interwork with the 420 Aberystwyth service. Thus one Coach will overnight in Aberystwyth, the other 2 are to be outstationed at Astons of Kempsey. Additionally, Veolia Birmingham has received it's twin-axle Levante for the 777, it is FJ08KMX and was the 'lightweight Levante' demonstrator as seen at Brighton 2008. (build nr 54. Ed.)"

NEx Veolia FJ08KMX at Caetano UK, Heather prior to delivery 050808 M Crowe.

NJZ4124 is with South Gloucestershire, Patchway and is the former YJ53VHF of Go West Midlands.
Mike Bennett of Swindon writes to throw more light on the latest Levante deliveries. He has provided the table below which gives quick reference to the coaches used on the 444. These can be seen on the A40/M40 daily after a re-routing of that service.

Stagecoach 59303 seen on a lay-over at Bullied Way, Victoria - Picture by Gavin Francis.
(I can see no fleet numbers on these Stagecoach vehicles ?? Ed.)

Another picture by Gavin Francis, this time showing Yeomans 41 on a special working to Wembley on August 20th.
It is seen leaving Gloucester Green.

He says "Attached is a table showing the ownership of the 3 axle Levantes owned by Stagecoach Gloucester and Yeomans  (no apostrophes).  The link below the table will take you to the first of eight photos of the total of ne coaches owned by the two operators." 

New Caetano Levantes for the National Express route 444 and 413



Fleet number














Stagecoach Gloucester



Stagecoach Gloucester



Stagecoach Gloucester



Stagecoach Gloucester



Stagecoach Gloucester


Mike says "Below is a link to a web page that will give you the answer to the question of the ownership of Levante  YX08FXP.  It belongs to East Yorkshire and it has fleet number 68.  I just happened to photograph the same coach at the temporary Birmingham Central Coach Station on August 16th.  In fact the question on your page helped me in identifying my own photograph as mine was a side view and only the fleet number 68 was visible.  And yes, I was there because my wife was at another quilt exhibition, this time at the NEC.  I had travelled into Birmingham on the service 900, alighting at the erstwhile Digbeth Coach Station to have a look at where I had changed coaches in the early 1950s on the long journey from Marlborough to Chester."

Dhillon operate the 370 and here we see one of their coaches not in NEx livery on a working through High Wycombe.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

On occasion an operator is unable to provide a coach for a rostered working. When that happens NEx Control call in another operator.
In the picture above Neales of High Wycombe are seen on the 1620 737 service Oxford-Stansted which must have been lightly loaded.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

(Arriva) Classic Coaches, Annfield Plain operate the 0930 425 service to Newcastle.
Their Levante is seen above -
8925 FJ07DWF - M Crowe

Parks of Hamilton's Jonckheere operating a 563 service found itself making a wrong turn in the centre of Oxford.
It had taken the road that leads to Gloucester Greens under ground car park below Gloucester Green Coach Station.
Picture by
Richard Sharman

Park's HSK647 leaving Gloucester Green on the 543. Picture by7 Richard Sharman.

Stagecoach Peterborough have a working on service 449 and were using this older Volvo, 52520 on August 25th.
Picture By Gavin Francis.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire's Levante FJ56OBY, 59211 pauses at Redbridge Park & Ride - M Crowe.

John Marsh writes "So, on to the next! I have sent you pictures of time spent at the Bournemouth coach interchange which are a little light hearted and I am sure readers will enjoy the colour and variety. I am also hoping that with all the hanging baskets (and girls!!) around Bournemouth Interchange it would demonstrate that bus stations don't have to be dull and dingy places."

I hope readers will appreciate John's artistic contributions.

Finally for this issue Gavin took this evocative shot of Veolia's NXL15 with revised branding for services from Birmingham.
It is seen in Bullied Way, London Victoria on August 17th.

The company web page offers information for the enthusiast which can be found at the following link:-

Stephen Le Bras reports that on August 30th Scania 63 in blue was operating the X90 service to Victoria.

He says the search must now be on for the first 58 reg as September 1st is upon us.

Some interesting workings have been seen in recent weeks and also the matter of the missing wheel trims seems to be answered in that many buses are now appearing with silver painted wheels.

Coach nr 1, seen last week on an X70 working, is seen here approaching Stokenchurch on the M40.
Picture by M Crowe.

I found myself earlier last week returning to our depot on the upper deck of a Brookes Trident.
I rather liked this picture of the Iffley Road and two Citaros.
Picture by M Crowe.

Sitting in traffic due to the roadworks two weeks ago, I had chance to take this shot of 817 loading on a 15 road working.
This is a temporary stop in High Street whilst the roadworks in St Aldates are taking place.
Picture by M Crowe.

This Citaro is running through Queen Street to get to the new pick up point for the 15 - see above.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Now this is unusual, a Q buster on Thornhill Park & ride duties.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

An example of silver wheels, Trident 104 on 8 road in Queen Street.
These double decks are often seen on the 8 and 9 routes now.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Again an unusual working as 902 is seen on the 300 service.
Picture by Richard Sharman.

More silver wheels as 113 turns into St Aldates at Carfax.
Picture by Richard Sharman.

R H Transport Services

A number of nice pictures have been received for this issue.

Picture from Richard Sharman showing this bus now in full fleet livery.

Unusual visitor to Gloucester Green caught on camera by Gavin Francis.



23 August - Brookes Trident on 7A struck me as a bit unusual - Russell Young

Seen on the Iffley Road, the first picture being interesting in that this bus stop has always had an odd position,
more appropriate to a back loader. Pictures by M Crowe.

Volvo 20227 on the 20 in Gloucester Green on 25th August. Gavin Francis.

Of significant interest in the past ten days has been the arrival and entry into service of one of the ex Megabus Neoplans, 50133 CN05APV. This coach is on extended loan from Ayr and has been given a pseudo Tube livery for the duration of its stay in Oxford.

The coach has been moved to Oxford to help cover the increase in traffic levels, especially at weekends when its 89 seats will be most welcome.

Seen on August 25th approaching Stokenchurch, the coach was well loaded on this bank holiday Monday.

Seen earlier in the morning, Gavin Francis captured 50133 alongside Tube 50133 and then leaving Gloucester Green, Oxford.

I was on hand at Lewknor to record its arrival and departure, as said with a good load.


Richard Sharman sent a couple of pictures of recent events at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Richard says there have been changes to the headlight clusters on this bus - 16534


Matthew  Northantsbusman writes "A photo taken of the new Route 7 branding, pity I didn't get the FLF behind it's a nicer bus which I might eventually get to drive, as we are looking for volunteers, got to remember how to Double de-clutch down and up, yes I may only be 29 and ink still wet on my licence, but it was a skill I learned in the Training School lol."


Marcus Lapthorn writes "The Volvo B10M's that were displaced from the 66 route between Swindon & Oxford have now been transferred to Gloucester. Here is former 66 route performer no. 20684 on its new route, the 98 from Gloucester to Cheltenham. It is seen at Cheltenham Promenade waiting time before the 1435 departure back to Gloucester on Tuesday 26 August 2008."

Gavin Francis caught up with two Darts on the 66 in the last week or so.
One wonders what has happened to the new M A N s?

Stuart Curwen advises details of the recently transferred Tridents from Manchester, saying that eight ex-Manchester Dennis Tridents are replacing single deck Dennis Darts at the Swindon depot. 



Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53529

Alexander ALX400 - 3071/99




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53530

Alexander ALX400 - 3071/100




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53527

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/1




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53531

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/2




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53533

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/3




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53534

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/4




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53535

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/5




Dennis Trident - SFD33GBR64GX53549

Alexander ALX400 - 4404/14



Mark Lyons writes "Thames Travel has three of these buses - I attach a photograph of one that may be of use on the Oxford - Chiltern bus page."

Scania 508 in Wallingford Market Place. Mark Lyons.

Scania 608 in Reading at the rail station. Gavin Francis.

A selection of the Thames Travel single deck fleet seen through the lens of Gavin Francis.

306 waits time in High Street, Oxford - M Crowe.

Ben Morroll sent this picture of a once Thames Travel Dart now working in Birmingham.

Russell Young writes "A Tiger Line picture for you seen departing Hemel Hempstead - Friday 15 August 2008."

Woottens calls on operators to support the Armed Forces

On the launch of their new Tiger Line T1 service at Wendover, Buckinghamshire based Woottens coaches have announced that all military personnel are permitted free travel anywhere along the route at any time.

Additionally the families of personnel on active service will also receive free travel on production of a special pass issued by the RAF.

The offer is being provided as the Tiger Line serves Wendover, which is near RAF Halton, a major military training base.

Michael Wootten, Operations Director of Woottens coaches said "Providing this offer is an easy way to show our support for our Armed Forces, at a time when they are so active around the world."


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