Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings nr. 74  Christmas 2013

A Happy Christmas to all my readers



Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Current archives from October 2002

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Of Christmas's past!

Well, here we all are, nearly at the end of another year! It hardly seems possible that 2014 is just around the corner. A special year as it remembers the start of the Great War or First World War, said to be the war to end all wars. Sadly not to be the case but one of great significance in so many ways.

How many of you appreciate that as a result of that war road transport in this island of our really got started. Reading through various company histories the development of passenger road transport certainly started with a large number of trained people leaving the forces in 1918-1919, many with small gratuities enabling them to start up bus and coach companies.

This was helped by a surplus of ex army vehicles, some very suitable for conversion to passenger carrying buses and in many cases what were then called charabancs. Indeed one local company to Oxford was that of South Midland who started in just this way, running between Oxford and London via Henley. Other followed and over the past 90 or so years have developed into what we can see today.

I feel privileged to have seen at least 70 years of that development and can remember buses pulling gas trailers in the dark days of the second world war, the advent of double deck coaches with the Standerwick Gay Hostess Atlanteans, deregulation in the '80s to mention but a few.

One could not have imagined what t5he internet would be in the days past and how we take all this for granted in this second decade of the 21st century.

I have been laid low for the last few weeks with what started as an irritating cough and became a virus and seems now to have arrived as a very nasty cold. Hence I have been signed off by the doctor but hope to be back in the driving seat for the new year. However during this period I had to deal with some one who stole yours and my pictures on a Facebook page claiming them for their own, even adding a copyright note on same!

I contacted Facebook and am delighted to report that they closed that site down with 6 hours. What a sad person can do!

This page is very short ands more to keep you up to date with latest happenings in our area.

January sees the introduction of low emission regulations for Oxford and as such many older vehicles are being replaced by compliant buses. This has affected a number of operators including Oxford Bus,. Stagecoach, Thames Travel and Red Rose.

The next full page will report more on these events.

Of Christmas Present !!

An interesting development this year is on the Christmas Day Heathrow service. For very many years now The Oxford Tube has routed via Heathrow instead of Hillingdon giving a special service on this day of all days each year. This was always because Oxford Bus did not operate on Christmas Day.

Somewhat to many peoples surprise Oxford Bus have decided to run their Heathrow service this year, one imagines "in competition" to the incumbent Christmas Day operator.

One could surmise that this gives the travelling public a great deal and unexpected choice of service!

And to close.

My apologies for the initial error on the index page which resulted in difficulties showing Issue 73. This should now be corrected.

Meanwhile may I wish my readers a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year 2014.

The level of contribution to this page by readers, as ever, remains excellent! Thank you all. 

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - December 25th 2013


Very important note

When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things and one recent case was of an individual taking and claiming for his own many pictures from these pages. He even claimed copyright as his own!!!


Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!


I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.


May I please ask readers to do two things?


1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.


2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.


The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.


Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.


Observations and pictures

I am told that the next route to go over to NBfL vehicles is to the 8 operated by Stagecoach in June 2014.


Arriva logo and TGM

Another M A N has arrived, nr 3746 which joins its sisters.

Bernard Lewendon writes "New to Arriva the Shires at Wycombe is 3746 AE56 MDX. This is a MAN 12.2230 with MCV Evolution and as such is similar to 3741 - 3745 already here.

It was previously with TGM Essex but is now in Arriva colours. First seen today at the Lincoln Road garage."

Gavin Francis provides a picture of this bus in service at Stansted in 2011.


Still not on its branded route is 3744 seen by Gavin Francis
on December 9th 2013.

The taxis in use by Arriva at High Wycombe would appear to have ben withdrawn as shown in my picture below which include withdrawn Olympian 5162 and maybe replaced by a small minibus as shown in Bernard Lewendon's picture.

Arriva 2060 YX04 GBE WYC on crew shuttle December 23rd by Bernard Lewendon


It is suggested that the 280 service, recently upgraded to Sapphire status m ay not be going to continue as such and replacement buses could be imminent. Developments are awaited with interest.

Bernard Lewendon reports that M A N 419 has returned from Thames Travel and I have also seen it working in High Wycombe.

Carousel 419 seemingly on loan from Thames Travel (still in their colours) in Wycombe on 23rd December by Bernard Lewendon.
This bus was of course new to Carousel!!

First 44561 on the X9 in Wycombe Bus Station on December 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

A new route, the X9, has started between Maidenhead and High Wycombe. Below is the press release for this route from First.

More buses for Maidenhead including new link to High Wycombe

Saturday 23 November 2013

First is introducing new services in Maidenhead to make getting around easier.

**** Try the new routes for FREE on 23/24 November ****

Route X9 will provide a new link between Maidenhead and High Wycombe seven days a week, via St Mark's Hospital and the A404 dual carriageway. 

The service is Ideal for shoppers and leisure travellers or those making longer journeys and wanting to connect with other public transport.

"High Wycombe is one of the top 50 shopping destinations in the UK and according to the Internet its shopping centre is larger than Reading's", said Matthew Wooll, Revenue & Marketing Manager for First Berkshire. 

"We want to improve public transport links and reduce car dependency. Travelling sustainably need not be an inconvenience. Our buses terminate at High Wycombe Bus Station which is direcly adjacent to Marks & Spencer so there's no need to find and pay for a car parking space!"

The X9 will also be ideal for those in High Wycombe wanting to explore Maidenhead and the surrounding area.

From the same date First will operate additional journeys on route 8 between Maidenhead Town Centre and Halifax Road via Belmont Road and Farm Road.

Download our 2-page PDF leaflet by clicking on the link below.

Click here to download a 2-page PDF (PDF - 383.71 KB)



Following on from S&J 73 Gavin Francis has provided some nice pictures of the new coaches, including some interior pictures.

OX 61 displaying ad blind GG 201213 G Francis

OX 61 r X90 deps for London 091213 G Francis

OX 65 in New Rd 141213 G Francis


All pictures by Gavin Francis.     

Oxford Bus have taken steps to replace the remaining Tridents, once used on the Park & Ride services, with some loaned ADL E40D deckers, which are intended eventually for services on the South Coast. 1571 was seen working the 400 on Monday 23rd December.

Seen after delivery from ADL on December 10th and part of a batch of 14 due to enter service before the end of the year. (1571 and 1572)

Their web site states:

20 December 2013

New Vehicles (on loan):


ADL Enviro 400 H--/--F

These vehicles are owned by sister company Go South Coast and have been loaned (from new) to OBC to cover the gap between the start of the Low Emission Zone in Oxford (01.01.14) and the delivery of a batch of 14 new double decks for the new BrookesBus contract. They will use their GSC fleet numbers whilst with OBC. 1571-8 are in a red livery, whilst 1579-84 are in green. They will be used on BrookesBus and city services.

Vehicles withdrawn (12/13):


212/3 on long-term loan to Thames Travel. When the new BrookesBus vehicles arrive, two of batch 201-11 will be permanently transferred to Thames Travel.

The loan buses are entering service and one of t he first was caught in St Aldates by Gavin Francis on Christmas Eve.



As forecast, five new ADL E400s have arrived for use on the 700 service. As such they are branded for Headington Connect 700 service and join the four E200s used on the 800 and 900 services.

10069 is seen below on one of its first days in service taken at the Churchill by Malcolm Crowe.

Further pictures give more detail and were taken by Gavin Francis.



Links & Publications

Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures

You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website - http://166emj.piwigo.com/index?/category/50-beds_bucks_and_herts_photographs_2000

One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.

The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.

Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.

Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.

Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.

Many other independents are also represented. 

Mike Penn

Todays buses - Oxfordshire

This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.

The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.

Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.


Thames Valley - final part now available




ORDER NOW FOR £20+ £3 p&p

This final installment of the 4-volume 800-page history of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. brings the story to its conclusion on the last day of 1971.

All route developments and changes to the fleet are fully detailed, along with special appendices for the service vehicle fleet, garages and out-stations, a route map, garage allocations and working arrangements.

Profusely illustrated with 548 monochrome half-tone illustrations and a full-colour section of 45 photos, this provides a very comprehensive history of this interesting decade, including the numerous secondhand vehicles acquired during those years. Demand will be high, so

order now from: Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close

Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT

If you are local and wish to collect please call me on 0118 979 4097 and arrange a suitable time, but no casual callers please!


Newbury & District History now available

Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury & District.

The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding areas.

A Guy Arab on the Oxford service and seen at Gloucester Green.

Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford & London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when both owned by Red & White.

The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.

The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.

One of the constituent companies was Denham's.

Apart from the archaic Leylands, the company ran some AEC Regals after the war.
These were rebodied with ECOC/ECW bodies purchased from North Western Road Car, Stockport via dealers.
They had been new in 1936 on Bristol Jo5G chassis which were rebodied with Brush bodies in 1946 to a similar design.
Your Editor must have travelled on one of these buses, when in NWRCC service, as a small boy.
They would have doubtless run on service to Highclere, now well known as the house is featured in Downton Abbey.

The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special price of £12.50 + £3.00 post and packing for OCBP readers.

Just mention OCBP when ordering from:

Paul Lacey,
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.