Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings nr. 75 - 20th January 2014.

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

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A Happy New Year 2014 to all my readers.

Little did I think when I took the page over from David Root back in late 1998 that I would still be hard at it in 2014, nearly 16 years later. It's been fun and often very interesting but has, I must admit, needed some will power to get the pages out without too much of a gap. Thank you to all my readers for your support, encouragement and patience!

Your contributions over the past year of 2013 have been exceptional and I should note five of you who have been outstanding in providing so many of the pictures used in each issue.

Gavin Francis is a major contributor with a seemingly endless supply of pictures, many of which are of some significance as will be seen in this issue. Gavin also has an excellent library and, as also seen in this issue, has easy access to past use of current vehicles seen.

Luke Braham has been providing many interesting pictures, especially from the Aylesbury area.

Richard Sharman seems, so often, to be in a good place from some very interesting pictures.

Marcus Lapthorn catches some interesting vehicles and for this issue braved the very wet weather on January 1st in Winchester.

Finally Clive King, Often seems to be in the right place at the right time.

He also ventured out to Winchester on a very wet New Year’s Day.

What a busy time it has been in Oxford since the New Year. The loan buses from the South Coast have entered service with Oxford Bus enabling the company to meet the new emission requirements which came into force on January 1st in Oxford.

This has produced a large number of 63 plate vehicles servicing the city and it is interesting to quote comments from Ralph Adams who notes that Stagecoach in Oxfordshire now operates the most modern fleet in the group with an average age of just under 4 years!

Ralph writes “A short while ago you thought that Stagecoach in Oxfordshire might have the youngest fleet in the group. According to my calculations, this is correct for active vehicles with an average age of 3 years 11 months.   A full list (according to my records) is:







South Lancs






West (Glos)










South West




East Kent


East Scotland


Norfolk Green




East Midlands








Well, quite an accolade and thanks to Ralph for his work on this matter.

Floods in and around Oxford cause havoc

An Oxford Tube crosses Lake Wheatley on January 7th 2014 - photo by Gavin Francis.

The recent heavy rains resulted in significant road closures due to flooding in the upper Thames Valley area.

Due credit must be given to all those at the various bus companies who kept services running under extremely difficult conditions.

Oxford was badly hit with the closures of Abingdon Road and Botley Road.

By the 6th January the Abingdon Road was beginning to flood off the allotments as seen in the picture above.
The road was to close on the 7th for a whole week!

This resulted in buses which would normally use Botley Road having to route into and out of the city via Woodstock Road, A34 to Seacourt thereafter resuming normal route.

OX 211 on the U1 diverted via St Giles and the Woodstock Rd, seen on January 10th by Gavin Francis.

Buses using the Abingdon road routed via the Iffley Road and the Eastern By-pass.

OX 218 on the 300 diverted by High St due to the closure of Abingdon Rd on January 7th seen by Gavin Francis.

The main High Street road through the city centre was opened to all traffic causing major delays during rush hour periods which can be illustrated by time taken to get from St Aldates to Gloucester Green – ONE HOUR and FORTY FIVE MINUTES !!!!! = during the afternoon peak on Wednesday 8th January.

High Street was opened to all traffic to ease congestion elsewhere as seen on January 14th by Richard Sharman.

Routes affected by the floods were as follows:

Oxford Bus.

3, 4, 5, 13, X13, 23, 300, 400, U1.


3, 31, 34, S1, X30.

Thames Travel.

X1, X2, X32, X33, X39, X40.

As a result of the foregoing the Iffley Road and St Giles with the Woodstock Road were all very congested for that week and things only returned to normal on the week commencing 13th January.

Trains were also badly affected requiring coaches to provide services.

Luckett's provided many coaches for the rail services as seen on by Gavin Francis on January 8th.

A selection of pictures from various contributors show the temporary changes.

Botley Rd under the station bridge at the closure point
as seen on January 14th by Richard Sharman.

Buses on Diversion from their normal route on Botley Road - an X30 heads towards Woodstock Road and a  66 is seen on the left of the picture
taken on January 9th by Richard Sharman.

OX 204 on Diversion - working a U1 service having come down the Woodstock Road is seen on St Giles
taken on January 9th by Richard Sharman.

OX 829 on diversion in St Giles on the 4B
taken on January 14th by Richard Sharman.

A Red Rose 63 service also affec ted by the Botley Road closure V238FJN comes off the  Woodstock Road diversion
taken on January 14th by Richard Sharman.

A 31 service heads north out of Oxford towards the Woodstock Rd as we see Scania 15437
taken on January 14th by Richard Sharman.
The Abingdon services were most affected in not being able to use either their normal Abingdon Rd route but also the Botley Road.
Many of course used the Iffley Road and the eastern by-pass.

A 66 service heads north out of Oxford towards the Woodstock Rd as we see Scania 15437 taken on January 14th by Richard Sharman.

The 400 services terminated at the rail station whilst the Botley Road was closed.
Hybrid 311 is seen at Oxford Station taken by Gavin Francis on January 8th.

Hybrid 366 on the 5 seen terminating at Speedwell St instead of following its normal route to the rail station which was heavily congested with rail replacement services
Taken by Gavin Francis on January 8th.

The 4 group services were routed via the Woodstock Road and Citaro 836 is seen in George Street on January 10th by Gavin Francis.

SC Swindon's 15765 on the 66 diverted via St Giles- Woodstock Rd
on January 10th by Gavin Francis.

SCO 15609 r S1 diverted to terminate at Gloucester Green then taking the outbound via St Giles
on January 10th by Gavin Francis.

SCO 15618 on the S1 diverted via Woodstock Rd and St Giles
on January 10th by Gavin Francis.

New Year's Eve services from London

As always services between Oxford and London were heavily supported by those celebrating this event. This year there was a very spectacular fire work display over the River Thames at Westminster and to cater for those returning from London a 15 minute service was operated on the Oxford Tube between London and Oxford. This started at 0035 and until 0435 every coach was full. Indeed the previous day coaches to London from 1400 until 2000 were also leaving Oxford "SORRY COACH FULL"

The witching hour saw eight Tubes waiting in Bulleid Way for their return to Oxford. Picture taken by Rob Hough.

The queue for return services after 0030 stretched all the way along the side of Green Line and coaches were loaded quickly to speed merrymakers on the way home.
Picture taken by Rob Hough.

Congratulations were forthcoming for all staff involved!

Running Days in 2014

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

Nearly ten years ago and on 5 October 2003, RLH48 takes a happy group of enthusiasts on a run to Berkhamsted - Malcolm Crowe.

Dates for your diary

Sunday 30 March  1st WATFORD - Running Day based at Watford Bus Interchange. Commemorating the centenary of route 142 and workings on route 158 plus several former Country Bus routes.

Sunday 4 May2nd HARLOW Running Day based at Harlow bus station

Sunday 1 June  - 10th SLOUGH Running Day based at Slough bus station, Brunel Way

Sunday 17 August -  9th HEMEL HEMPSTEAD Running Day based at Hemel bus station.

Sunday 5 October - The 26th AMERSHAM Running Day - based at car park, adjoining MET Station, King George V Road, Amersham on the Hill


Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society 

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal monthly social meeting in  Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture  show with local and guest speakers.  A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually around £1 for members per meeting depending on numbers.  For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.

Next Meeting:

21st January – Slides from the Clive King collection.  By Clive King

Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road



Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13 or 35 routes stop outside)

or a short walk from Oxford City Centre - For directions click HERE 


All meetings start at 19.30pm although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.

A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.



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.


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.


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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 20th January 2014



Vikki Lee wrote saying “You probably saw the message recently from a Go-South observer that the loaned vehicles were going to be numbered 601-614 whilst at Oxford. It seems the plan has changed, which is a shame as they would have been nice numbered in our own system. 

The branding on the 700s is a bit minimalistic by today's standards around the country, and leads one to wonder how long these vehicles will remain branded and on this route, perhaps even in Oxford as they are non-standard. Living in Kiddy, I note the regular amount of fresh air these vehicles carry around. I always thought a single deck was more than adequate for this route but we'll see. I'm certainly not complaining - these are a lot easier for me to photograph than four certain branded E20s which are proving elusive. Working long hours at present, so unable to make time to actually chase them down. 

One final observation from me for 2013, was the noting on Monday last of OBC Scania 213 in St Aldates on the X39? With full Thames Travel fleet names on it. Presumably a lone to cover their ex-OBC Tridents - pity it was too dark to get a photo. I wonder how many of ours are being loaned in this way, and for how long. Funny really, I usually ride that one to work in the mornings.”

(As readers can see there are two Scanias on loan to Thames Travel - 212 and 213.  Ed.)  

Observations and pictures

From Gavin Francis

Went up into the village this morning and came across this RM parked there. It is owned by Daves Buses and Dave himself was driving it. He was on his way to do a job in Oxford. He registered address is Hazlemere. He also owns RML 2508 and RML 883.

His website is 


Davesbuses RM848 at Stokenchurch on December 22nd by Gavin Francis.

New coach for Epsom’s - BX63BCE Epsom Coaches at Victoria BPR on December 20th by Gavin Francis.

Something to note is that although eastbound stop a
t Green Road proclaims that the NEx 737 stops there, it doesn't!!!
We know of some very unhappy passengers!!! 

Graham Low writes "Here are some recent views in Oxford of the last of the original OBS Tridents, and also of the new Trident era with Salisbury Reds and Stagecaoch vehicles, both on the 8 just after Christmas, as well as an Elite i on the X90.


I attach two further views of Salisbury Reds, which you may prefer to my earlier view. One of them is at Bonn Square on the 3, on the only day I have seen one on the 3, so far. I too saw a Southern Vectis green ADL E400 out on the 8 today. I also noted one of the red ones has a prominent "Brookesbus" fleet name on the front rather than "City" - but I missed its number." 


Reds and greens are about in some numbers today (20.1.14) in Oxford. All the reds I saw had Brookes fleet names (as I mentioned to you a few days ago) on the front and side advertisements as shown. Some of the greens have side advertisements as as shown.

1575 with Brookes branding, 1579 on a number 5 and 1582 devoid of any branding, all at Queens Lane on January 20th by Graham Low.

I had a good trip on the Tube yesterday and also rode on a New Routemaster on the 11, which I must say was very smooth and quiet. I also went on an Arriva DW: like all of this type that I have ridden on, it vibrated excessively, particularly when stationary, and there was quite a lot of body rattle as a result - not impressive for a 3 year old bus. 

Arriva logo and TGM

Arriva 5003 back at Campbell Park after the launch event on January 9th by Clive King.

Arriva 5004 - an offside opposite the railway station after dignitaries have been set down to catch their trains on January 9th by Clive King.

New vehicles- Eight new electric 9.6m Wrightbus E-Tric wheel-forward B37F StreetLite WFEV single deck - buses are being delivered, to work on route 7 from Wolverton to Bletchley.

They are scheduled to start service in January, but this will be dependent on adjusting road humps along the route.

5001 KP63 TDU

5002 KP63 TDV

5003 KP63 TDX

5004 KP63 TDZ

5005 KP63 TEJ

5006 KP63 TEO

5007 KP63 TEU

5008 KP63 TEV 

Acquired vehicles

3746 (AE56 MDX) MAN 12.220 / MCV Evolution (from TGM Group) 

Vehicle disposals

Dennis Dart SLF / East Lancs 3171 (P671 OPP) to ASM, Aylesbury (for scrap)

Volvo B6LE / Wright Crusader 3260 (V260 HBH) written off following fire damage

Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton Pointer 3822 (N522 MJO) to A. H. Hardwick (dealer) 

Allocation changes

3208 (R208 GMJ) withdrawn at Aylesbury

3234 (V234 HBH) Hemel to Milton Keynes

3236 (V236 HBH) Hemel to Milton Keynes

3239 (V239 HBH) Hemel to Aylesbury

3269 (T493 KGB) withdrawn at Aylesbury

3526 (HX51 LSO) withdrawn at Milton Keynes

3909 (BU06 HSO) Aylesbury to Garston

4364 (W364 XKX) Hemel to Stevenage

4376 (YJ58 FJV) Luton to Hemel Hempstead

5162 (S651 KJU) withdrawn at High Wycombe

Gavin Francis report

The  757 Levantes are now being repainted with dark green rears.

Arriva 4200 loads on stand in Buckingham Palace Road on December 19th seen by Gavin Francis. Note the orange rear has gone.

Luke Braham report

I thought you might like to know that High Wycombe’s recently transferred 2060 sister 2061 YX04 GBF has been parked in the Aylesbury depot since the 1st September.  

5157 S157 KNK was withdrawn at the beginning of December having been involved in an accident with a tractor and 5158 S158 KNK was withdrawn at the same time. They are both now parked in the Aylesbury depot.

3263 V263 HBH has joined the Aylesbury depot in return for Mix96 liveried 5431 W431 XKX which has gone to Luton.  

Luton based 3891 KX11 PUO was seen by myself on the 70 in Milton Keynes this morning and it has an all over adverts for The Casino in Milton Keynes.


Milton Keynes have recently started to use Wright Cadets on the 32 instead of Optare Solos. Shown by 3733 YJ07 JVV.


A big surprise for me while I was bus spotting in Aylesbury this morning with the arrival of three of Hemel’s route 2 brand Wright Eclipse 2s on the 500. They were 3970/1/4 LT63 UNP/R/V.


Sorry that 3971 doesn't have a destination showed took five pictures of it but none showed up.

Also new at Aylesbury are 6228 X428 FGP and 6249 Y489 UGC. They are both ex-London.


4530 LJ51 DFC is seen in ‘Death Row’ at High Wycombe depot. (I'm not sure this a candidate for death row - just somewhere to park it, especially as it looks as if it has had an M O T or is due to. Ed.)


Taxi P744 SHX is withdrawn and parked in ‘Death Row’ with the other taxi, R498 EGY, still in use as staff shuttle.


A new arrival for Wycombe is Alexander ALX400 6283 Y483 UGC.  

5162 and 3214 are still parked in ‘Death Row’ at Wycombe.


Sapphire spare 5455 must be LEZ now as it was on the 280 yesterday and I’ve seen a photo of 5454 on the 280 on the 2nd. 3930 has operated the 280 at least three times since the LEZ came into place. On the 2nd, 6th and yesterday (7th). I caught it on the 6th.

Arriva 3931 on the 280 in Wheatley on January 9th by Malcolm Crowe. Does this bus have WiFi?

Today (19th January) the trial of the Milton Keynes electric Wright StreetLites began. 5001 and 5003 were being used on the first day of service as 5002 is not charging and the others have not arrived from Northern Ireland yet due to the recent poor weather. Details of all eight of the buses is shown below: 



Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141194

Wt AH533




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141195

Wt AH534




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141196

Wt AH535




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141197

Wt AH536




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141198

Wt AH537




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141199

Wt AH538




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141200

Wt AH539




Wt Streetlite SA9DSRXXX13141201

Wt AH540



Arriva the Shires 5001 KP63 TDU is seen loading in Central Milton Keynes for Wolverton on route 7. The charging plate can just be seen on the bottom of the bus.
Taken by Luke Braham on January 19th.

Arriva the Shires 5003 KP63 TDX is seen in Central Milton Keynes just before going onto Bletchley on route 7, taken by Luke Braham.

Optare Solos 2491 and 2510 were also used on the first day of service for the StreetLites as others haven’t arrived or in 5002’s case was not charging.

Ex-Wycombe Arriva the Shires 2491 YK07 BGE is seen unloading in Central Milton Keynes on route 7, taken by Luke Braham.

Arriva the Shires 2510 YJ09 OTZ is seen unloading in Central Milton Keynes on route 7, taken by Luke Braham.

There are only two charging points along route 7 for the buses to use to charge and they are charged over night in the depot. One charging point is at Wolverton and the other I presume is at Milton Keynes Rail Station. In the picture of 5001 you can just see the charging plate on the bottom of the bus. 

My Dad says they sound like washing machines on wheels!

Bernard Lewendon report

Thank you for your email about the FX4 taxis at Arriva Wycombe. I think this is the situation.

There is a need for two vehicles to provide ferry services between the garage and the bus station. In the past, (at least two years) they have used P564 SYF and P744 SHX. 744 is the one now in the yard and withdrawn. A replacement, P498 EGY arrived in November.

Arriva 2060 YX04 GBE WYC on crew shuttle 231213 by Bernard Lewendon.
The LDV that I photographed was probably on a visit.

In the Bucks Free Press there is a report of an accident at Stokenchurch on 28 December. Involved were 2 cars and an Arriva bus with 3 injuries.
I wondered if anyone knows the identity of the bus and the extent of the damage.

Colin Richardson report

Arriva Route 280 - Aylesbury - Oxford


For the first time in many years, Arriva operated their only Route on New Year's Day in Buckinghamshire, with a Sunday Service, but with an early finish.


Additional Information


Services 500 and X5 are being altered with small amount of changes on 5 January 2014


Service 9, 50, 55, 61, 150 & 300 will change on 2 February 2014 - full details to follow later. 


Clive King report 

The launch of the electric bus route took place on Thursday 9 January from Campbell Park, Milton Keynes.

Three StreetLites were present and all departed with heavy loads on demonstration runs.


Chris Lowe with an interesting find

Chris found some ex Arriva Aylesbury and Heml Olympians working with JPT in and around Manchester. I remember these buses when new and it's good to see they are still finding gainful employment.

JPT S148KNK on route 118 in Manchester seen on December 13th by Chris Lowe.

JPT S156KNK on the 112 in Manchester on December 13th by Chris Lowe.

Mark Turner report

Darts 3187,3220, 3222, 3223 and 3224 are all at Ware depot delicensed and not to be used again in service. They were all based at Watford Depot they were transferred there just after the New year.

Also 2492 YK07 BGF & 2508 YJ58 VCG have both been transferred to Milton Keynes depot from Watford.

Arriva Pictureview.

Arriva 3866 on the 40 at Stokenchurch on December 30th taken by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 4364, an unusual performer on the 797 these days, seen in Buckingham Palace Road by Gavin Francis on January 18th.

Arriva 5439 on the 280 at Queens Lane, showing the difference now in the front and rear destination displays.
Caught in the lens of Gavin Francis on January 17th.

Arriva 4368 visited Cressex depot on January 2nd snapped by Malcolm Crowe.


Graham Low writes to send pictures of ADL E40H SN63 VTY at Didcot parkway today on its first day in service on this peak hour’s only shuttle service. 

Milton Park SN63VTY seen at Didcot Parkway on January 13th by Graham Low.

Motts ET12MTT turns off St Giles, Oxford on January 18th by Gavin Francis.

Motts MT11MTT turns off St Giles, Oxford on January 18th by Gavin Francis.


New vehicles

Go North East 7111 BF63ZRY Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

Go North East 7112 BF63ZRZ Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

(This pair are based at Chester le Street) 

Luckett’s, Fareham X4821 BF63ZSD Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

Luckett’s, Fareham X4822 BF63ZSE Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT 

Chalfont BF63ZSG Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

Chalfont BF63ZSJ Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT 

Wilts & Dorset 7052 BF63ZSO Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

Wilts & Dorset 7053 BF63ZSP Volvo B9R Caetano Levante C48FLT

(This pair are based at Salisbury) 

The Travellers Choice FN63PXB Volvo B11R Caetano Levante 

Parks of Hamilton Volvo B13R(T) / Plaxton Elite C61FLT based at Durrington, Plymouth. Routes operated include 421, 501, 504, 538, 540 and 570








These coaches are operating with these registration numbers at present but the private plate B12RT's they replace are now being re-registered and we may expect the cherished marks to appear on the new coaches in due course. Any sightings would be appreciated.

NEx Parks YY63WCL seen at Victoria including an interior view on January 11th by Malcolm Crowe.

Operations: The full details are now to hand for the batch of Volvo B9R / Caetano Levante coaches recently transferred from the Rotala group.

     169 FJ11GLZ

170 FJ11MLE
SR 171 FJ11MLF
172 FJ11 MLK
SR 173 FJ11 MLL
174 FJ11 MLN
SH175 FJ11 MLO

National Express SH165 FJ11GKU - ex Rotala 1104 on the 737 in High St, Oxford on January 7th by Gavin Francis.

Richard Sharman provides a picture of Bruce’s Coaches new Tri-Axle Levante at Gloucester Green, loading up for a late evening departure on the 539 to Bournemouth.


National Express SH174 FJ11MLN - ex Rotala on the 737 in High St, Oxford on January 9th by Richard Sharman.


NEx Bruce FN63PWZ on the 539 leaves Gloucester Green bound for Edinburgh on December 29th by Gavin Francis.

Quite a surprise in VCS was this Irizar PB once owned by National Express. It is now with South Gloucester and was working the 040 servic e.
YN55NDZ was seen by Gavin Francis on January 14th last.

Also taken by Gavin was back in 2006, this coach was working out of Stansted.

NEx NXL32 YN55NDZ is seen at Hemel Hempstead on October 23rd 2006 by Gavin Francis.

The older Park's tri-axles are now being re-registered as seen by SW09URH  above and taken by Gavin Francis on January 18th,

NEx Selwyns YJ05PXF on the 540 to Manchester seen leaving VCS on December 27th by Gavin Francis.

Beeline of Eastbourne run this Neoplan RY56RZH which is seen at Oxpens on January 11th by Gavin Francis. The coach had we believe been with Weavaway.

Before that and its heyday the Neoplan was with Parks and is seen here leaving VCS on May 5th 2008 by Gavin Francis.
These coaches were withdrawn for NEx services following the accident on the M4/M25 slip road.

Many Levantes are now appearing in operators own livery and one such example is this one of Yeomans operating the 445 fro VCS.
Yeomans FJ08KNX was in VCS om January 8th when caught on camera by Gavin Francis.

Another example is this one Whittles operating service 444 in VCS arrivals on January 11th by Malcolm Crowe. 

Latest fleet list is interesting.


Oxford Bus are placing the brand new E400s in service which are on loan from Wilts and Dorset and Southern Vectis.

The red ones only give a clue as to their ownership by a small City on the front. However the green ones have an interesting use of their dedicated advertising spaces as can be seen from the pictures.

I am a little surprised that the rear panel is not also used, especially as people often approach the bus from the back and with the kaleidoscope of colours on our local buses.

Pictureview of these nice new buses.

OX 1574 on the 4A loads in ST Aldates on a very wet afternoon. It's January 6th and behind the camera is Malcolm Crowe.

OX 1582 on the 2 at St Giles on January 17th by Mr R Saxton.

OX 1575 on the U1 with Brookes branding seen at  Queens Lane on January 20th by Graham Low.

OX 1579 on the 5 with City branding at Queens Lane on January 20th by Graham Low.

OX 1582 on the 4A at Queens Lane on January 20th by Graham Low.

OX 1578 on the U5 in Speedwell St on January 20th by Gavin Francis.

OX 1580 on the 2B at St Giles, also showing in detail the new branding - January 17th by Gavin Francis.

OX 1583 on the 8 by Carfax on one its very first days in service. - January 17th by Gavin Francis.

OX 1584 on the 2A at St Giles - January 17th by Gavin Francis. 

Richard Sharman notes that they are only the second ever batch of vehicles to operate with off-side electronic destinations are the current loan E400's from Go South Coast.....the first being the two loan Citaros from W&D at COMS, working in the city some years ago now.

Roland C made a most welcome contribution today with the picture below. Maybe it should be entitled "Where have all the Tridents gone?"

OBC Tridents at Yarnton from A44 railway bridge on January 20th Nr 120 is in the near foreground - 200114 Roland C

I am told that the withdrawn 07 plate Volvo coaches are all at Wallingford's Thames Travel depot.

Gavin Francis writes "Have you seen this scroll on new COMS coaches?"

Luke Braham reports that COMS Interdecker 64 UK63 OXF was at Volvo Bus and Coach in Didcot on the 2nd January. It was still there on the 3rd.


OBC Pictureview 

OX 831 having a spot of bother in St Aldates on January 17th seen by Gavin Francis.


Steve Gee writes “I emailed you a little while back regarding ex Oxford Airline/espress Scania coach OW03OFP, which I had seen at Catteralls yard near Southam.


Since then they have also acquired sister vehicle OW03OFS. I attach photo's of them both taken in the last week parked on the Southam by-pass between duties.


Both are currently in all over white livery. If they are given Catteralls' livery or are sign- written I will attempt to up-take photos again.”



Go South Coast Wilts and Dorset

Richard Sharman notes that the New E400's for Salisbury Reds are starting to enter service on the X5, although Omnidekkas also still appear.

GO South Wilts & Dorset 1543 a new E400 for Salisbury Reds which recently entered service on the X5
seen leaving Swindon for Salisbury on the X5 - December 28th by Richard Sharman.

Red Rose

This company now uses an E200 on their 275 service to comply with the new emission rules in Oxford. 


Your Editor started back to work after a bad time over Christmas with a cough developing into full blown 'flu, or as some would say "man 'flu". On day two the Depot Controller being short of city drivers suggested I might like a change and help him out on the S5 route.

The picture above shows my steed for the day at the Glory Farm terminus. I quite enjoyed the change.

On my way from Horspath after my lunch break one Luke Braham caught me in George Street. 

Richard Sharman sends pictures.


The X5 Panther looks rather small in comparison to the new COMS Elite i -
OX 62 and SCE 53603 The X5 Panther looks rather small in comparison to the new COMS Elite i - Seen on December 27th by Richard Sharman.

MAN Solo 47451 sits on lay over at Swindon Bus Station having just worked in from Carterton on the 64. Seen on December 28th by Richard Sharman.

Stagecoach Pictureview

A recent super rear added to 36765 , seen at Horspath on January 5th by Luke Braham.

SCO 10069 on the 8 in Castle St OXF on December 27th by Gavin Francis.

E200 36931 on route 2A loads outside Debenhams on January 17th as seen by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 12017 on the 2 loads outside Debenhams on January 11th by Gavin Francis.



Reports indicate that four of the Volvo B7R/Plaxton Profile C49FL 53271-4 (KX56JZJ/K/L/M) have been exchanged with Highlands for later but same type 53306-9 (SV08DHE/F/G/J). These are covering duties on the X5 where I am told loadings are becoming very heavy on certain sections. They do not offer the Wi-Fi and Power Points advertised on this route and one presumes are a temporary measure.

Here we see 53307 on the X5 departing from Oxford on January 15th by which time at least 53306 was also in use on the route.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.



NAT Group (Cardiff Bay): 

Pub quiz - what do these two Astromegas have in common?

Neoplan Skyliner H2 KFJ has reverted to its original registration OX04 BZP and has passed to MAN Bus & Coach, Avonmouth. 

This coach was new as 50124 - T55UBE. 

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidthedogsdad/7657267590/in/photostream/

Not everything always goes to plan as we can see above with Astromega 50226 being rescued off the Eastern By-pass on December 11th - Dave Allen.


Southbound to Plymouth.

Mention is made in Buses that drivers from SC South are being trained on the Interdeckers and here is our first picture of one operating the M34.
Taken by Gavin Francis on January 18th. I wonder if this is the first time the M34 has operated with an Interdecker.
Gavin commented that a lot of people got off in Oxford!

Now recording 1.5 million kms the oldest Astromegas with Megabus UK are four dating from 2009.
Above 50229 makes ready to operate an M11 service to Aberdeen on January 9th as seen by Gavin Francis.

One of the Welsh batch based at Cwmbran, 50234 makes ready to park-up in Green Line prior to its next departure, on January 9th as seen by Gavin Francis.

Megabus Gold 50310 leaves London on the morning departure to Plymouth of the G6 on January 8th pictured b y Gavin Francis.

On January 14th the M34 was operated by 53461, one the Volvos used on European services until replaced by the Van Hool Interdeckers. Picture by Richard Sharman.

Megabus 50304 Parked up at Membury Services on the M4 in December last year by Adam Green. 

Richard Sharman writes “Bringing a splash of colour to Swindon Bus Station is Thames Travel's 701, seen operating the Saturday Only X47 Service from Wantage, this is the most Westerly point to be served by Thames Travel and brings Go-Ahead into Swindon along with Salisbury Reds who use new E400's on the X5 from Salisbury.”

Solo 701 arrives for loading at the bus station in Swindon on a Saturday only service on route X47.
The date is the December 28th 2014 and the picture by Richard Sharman.

TT 701 on route X32 in St Aldates on January 8th by Gavin Francis.


TT 706 on route 94 in St Giles on January 17th by Gavin

TT 721 on the T2 in St Aldates on January 17th taken by Gavin Francis.



Axing bus service will leave us isolated, claim residents

Oxford Bus Company has announced it is scrapping its 4C service – which connects Wood Farm and the city with Dean Court, near Cumnor.

The 4B route, which serves other parts of Cumnor, will be improved, but residents of Dean Court say the 4C – their only bus service – is a lifeline.

News that the route will be axed from Sunday, January 26, has been greeted with dismay in the area, with some residents saying they will be forced to take taxis.

Oxford Bus Company runs the 4 service from Wood Farm to Abingdon, the 4A to Elms Rise, the 4B to Cumnor and the 4C to Dean Court.

Under the proposed changes, the 4B will run every 20 minutes to Cumnor and the 4C will be axed.

Several services, including the S1 to Witney, run near Dean Court, but elderly residents said they would struggle to get to the bus stop.

Oxford Bus Company operations director Phil Southall said the service was under-used and a more regular 4B service to Cumnor should help.

He said: “While the service as a whole is popular, passenger numbers on the hourly service to Dean Court itself are often very light.

“The new timetable offers more journeys to choose from just a short walk away, well within the 400-metre walking distance recommended by the Government for accessibility to a bus service.”

First places £70m bus order 

Wrightbus, ADL and Optare are sharing £70m in orders from First for 425 buses, to be delivered in the 2014/5 financial year.

Significantly, it includes 274 Wrightbus StreetLite Micro Hybrids - a new product which saves around 10% of fuel costs, but at a premium of only £6,000-9,000 per bus, compared with around a typical 40% premium for a ‘full’ hybrid.

It is the first order that Wrightbus has won for its Micro Hybrid.

“Investment in our bus division continues apace,” says Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First UK Bus. “This order underlines our commitment to growing our business and encouraging more people to use our services, and use them more often.”

Wrightbus’ order is for 301 StreetLites (including 27 conventional diesel versions); ADL has won an order for 97 vehicles; Optare will deliver 21 and Volvo will supply six Plaxton-bodied coaches.

All buses will be Euro 5 with Wi-Fi and E-Leather seats. The rest of the order comprises: ADL (Enviro200 x 37; Enviro400 x 60) and Optare (Solo x 15; Versa x 6).

Trips & Events

Winchester - New Year's Day 2014 

Marcus Lapthorn braved the weather writing “I attended the very last Winchester running day which was the 40th anniversary of the closure of King Alfred Motor Services. I understand that the bus station venue for this running day has been sold for redevelopment. I also believe that whilst the 1st January event has now finished, I suspect that the organisers will endeavour to hold the event in or near to Winchester at a different time of the year perhaps.

Winchester Bus Station and Hants and Dorset 1523 DEL893C has just arrived.

The weather conditions yesterday were truly horrendous and this resulted in fewer buses attending and of course fewer passengers too. Photography was difficult due to the driving rain beating right on to the camera lens. So I apologise for lower quality pictures than I normally produce! I made a good decision by wearing wellington boots, as the bus station area was a site of standing water in some parts. Notwithstanding the weather I thoroughly enjoyed the very last New Year ‘Friends of King Arthur’ running day. 


Photo 5 is of FNV 557 which is a 1949 Leyland Tiger PS2 with Whitson C33F body. This is one of only two Whitson bodied coaches in active preservation. It was new to Church of Pytchley in Northamptonshire, which used to trade as Royal Blue.


Photos 10 and 18 are of CCX 777 which is a 1945 Daimler CWA6 with Duple UL27/28R body. It was new to Huddersfield Corporation in 1945 as no. 217. It was then sold to West Bridgford UDC as it’s no 24 in 1955 and withdrawn in 1967. I made sure that I obtained a ride on this wonderful old bus and we took the former Hants & Dorset route 67 between Winchester and New Cheriton. This is a 25 minute journey  in each direction and we had a full load of passengers, who enjoyed a very spirited run in this old lady.


Photo 12 of YFO 127 was taken at Kings Somborne on the former Empress Coaches route from Winchester. This is a 1957 Albion Victor with Reading B30F body and was new to Guernsey Railways as its no. 77. It was one of 39 Victors in the fleet. The present owner, Peter Davies, bought it at auction in 1980 for £75! In fact Peter (and friends) bought SIX at auction by alerting friends that these wonderful buses were coming up for sale. Only 24 of us were allowed to ride in this lovely vehicle, as Peter Davies was mindful of the hills that this low powered bus would have to navigate on its journey in the rain. On the flat and in good road conditions the bus has a top speed of 40 mph. When in Guernsey however Peter once had a total of 56 passengers in the bus, with children having to sit on adults laps! Guernsey Railways ordered these Albion Victors from a Wiltshire body builder, Heavers of Durrington. Heavers apparently were overwhelmed with work and the aluminium body was actually built by Reading at their Hilsea, Portsmouth works. Peter Davies has actually bought and sold this vehicle no less than five times! The Victor ran very well and Peter gave us an exhibition class in how to change gears smoothly! The 25 minute ride in each direction was most enjoyable, even though the bus understandably struggled on the many hills.




So all in all a great wet day out in two wonderful old vehicles. Thanks to Friends of King Alfred, Peter Davies and Quantock Heritage who own the Daimler.


Clive King also visited the event and sent some very good pictures saying It was very wet and windy nearly all day in Winchester but almost full service was provided and those visitors who persisted would have had a damp but otherwise enjoyable day.

The Dennis 30cwt has changed since last year. The blind box surround was cream and is now green.


The PS2 / Whitson of the other Royal Blue spent the day in the yard due to the failure of its offside wiper which denied us the pleasure of a spirited tour in hands of Mr Burdett.


The City Services KSW stands at the Springvale terminus courtesy of Messrs.' Walker and Curtis.


The lightweight and surprisingly fast Tiger Cub does its 'U' turn under the watchful eye of King Alfred.


A visor-less FLF emerges from the soon-to-be-demolished Bus Station.


The false Merton Daimler proved very popular and has an amazingly straight waist-rail for a genuine utility.


This year's star attraction pulls away after a long period of absence during the middle of the day.


I said that very wet and windy weather affected most of the day but those who persisted enjoyed a nearly full service with only one bus missing but its journeys were covered. 

Salisbury event on November 5th by Carl Berry

Salisbury Bus Stn farewell 050114 by Carl Berry.

Salisbury Bus Stn farewell GLJ681N 3645 Hants and Dorset 050114 by Carl Berry.

Salisbury Bus Stn farewell Silver Star 1013MW 050114 by Carl Berry 

Hong Kong visit by Paul Hawkins 

Paul Hawkins writes “I have recently been in Hong Kong and if you want something different on you excellent website can  be cheeky and give you a link to my photos taken there?


I realise they don’t really fit in with the Oxford/Chilterns but was thinking some readers may be interested as they are 90% British buses in use." 


Blast from the past - Oxfordshire in the 1990s


Michael Wadman writes  A few photos that may be of interest to you. Whites Coaches of Culham are now of the main independent operators in Oxfordshire, but I think that this was their first foray into local bus operation: MB L608D / Alexander C662 XDF, new to Cheltenham & Gloucester, in Reading on service 136 to Stoke Row on 28th June 1997. I rode as far as the Unicorn at Peppard where there was just time for a quick pint before returning on Chiltern Queens service E, MB L608D / Alexander, former Yorkshire Traction D506 NWG.


Weavaway of Newbury are another large independent bus operator nowadays, but I think that this was their first bus service, when they took over the Summer Sunday only “Ridgeway Explorer” X48 for the 1999 season.


The first photo is of former City of Oxford MS Leyland Leopard / Duple BBW 22V in Wantage on 9th May that year, still in NBC livery, but by 24th October it carried this fictitious humorous livery, seen en route in East Ilsley and after arrival in Reading.”



1950 AEC Regent 


My name is Patrick Donaldson I am the proud owner of the referenced bus.  I am in Kansas city, Missouri, USA.  I have had this bus since 1989 September.  I am in need of a repair manual.  I have an air leak that prevents shifting the pre-select transmission.  


Can you help in anyway?                                                                                                                                                                                        


Marcus Lapthorn writes “I recently came across three RM’s stored on a farm at Garford, Oxfordshire. They are:

RM 441, LDS 341 A, ex Black Prince, Leeds

AST 415 A, ex Reading Mainline

XYJ 440  ex Reading Mainline


Gavin Francis responds “Have checked out these 3 RMs and they are all owned by N. Walker of Garford. 

RM 441 was owned by Black Prince and was one of the RMs brought by by London Buses to run on the 13. 

RM 45 (AST415A). Was owned by Strathtay Scotland and also Reading mainline before being again bought back by London Buses for use on the 13. 

RM 838 (XYJ 440). Another Reading Mainline Bus. Again bought back by London Buses but this time used by London Central, First and Arriva. Indeed in was used on the last day of Routemaster operation in London in December 2005. 

A few RMs were bought for the Oxford Tour but I think only one saw service. RM 1568 (BNK324A). 

Roland Clausen-Thue, in response to another question by Marcus writes “A very late reply to Marcus Lapthorn’s query in No.71 about the Swindon Safety Bus, Olympian/ECW G298UYK.

Towards the end of its London United days it was one of a small batch that for a year or two were regulars on one of my local routes, the 116 from Hounslow to Ashford Hospital, a brief spell of double-deck operation on a normally single-deck route."

Buses in the Landscape

A rather unusual picture of sunrise over Stagecoach's Horspath depot. Taken on January 5th by Malcolm Crowe.


The Romanians arrive at VCS, London - January 11th 2014 by Malcolm Crowe.

I showed pictures of LT62 on it's first day in service, when by the Sunday it had been involved in a very heavy accident.
The bus has been replaced by the one above LT119 seen in BPR on January 11th by Malcolm Crowe.

Another interesting bus is this Routemaster, until recently in Harrods livery, it now sports a back to red livery for a new London tour.
Premium Tours operate RM1979 seen on January 11th by Malcolm Crowe.

Bakers Dolphin Gold HD08GLD seen at Oxpens on January 11th by Gavin Francis who was shown round by its proud driver.

A new Setra for Epsom Coaches BX63BCE seen at Victoria on December 20th by Gavin Francis.

Big Bus AN335 Parked up near Queensway on December 19th by Adam Green.

Down under in New Zealand - An Auckland Red Route ADL in front of supposedly the worlds largest Father Christmas during November 2013 by John Marsh. 

Links & Publications


Fleet books by Steven Knight

Excellent and well priced fleet books from this publisher - see his web site.




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.