Spottings & Jottings nr. 77 - 10th April 2014

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

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This issue sees a number of new vehicles with 14 plates. It is always interesting to see who makes it first and I think that this year's accolade goes to Motts and pictures taken by Luke Braham. Hot on their heels were pictures of the latest Volvo coaches for Oxford Bus in their well recognised Airline livery. John Marsh was also the first, as ever, with a 14 plate in service. This time for National Holidays, a Setra which will be one of the last right hand drive ones as Setra announced sometime ago that they would not be building right hand drive models after this year. Plaxton have been busy with further examples of the Elite body on Volvo B11RT chassis for Parks of Hamilton in National Express livery.

New Stagecoach orders for 2014-15 reveal a complete replacement of the present Oxford tube fleet with 26 new Astromega TX27 coaches to Euro 6 specification. These are expected in the summer and we will reveal further information as and when it becomes available but we are promised "state of the art" coaches to enhance this already world famous service.

Indeed it is noteworthy that the Stagecoach orders are the largest ever placed in the UK bus business.

A major facelift to VCS has seen new signs placed on frontage shown in the picture below. The use of the top of the tower reverts to the original design.




Running Days

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

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

From: Peter Cartwright, Running Days Organiser, Amersham & District Motorbus Society

I note that your last bus page in Feb included our 2013 Running Days - NOT the 2014 Running Days details of which are attached (see end of e-mail). Programmes can be purchased in advance through our website or from the Tourist Information Centre in High Wycombe Library at the Eden Centre where they cost £6 ( £7 on the day). (Sorry about the incorrect information. Ed.)

As a group, we organise 5 Running Days per year, Watford, Slough, Uxbridge, Hemel Hempstead and AmershamWe also attend various events and rallies during the year.  Take a look at our Dates to Remember section to see where we are going.

At each Running Day we have a commemorative model bus for sale for the particular event.  These are a real collectors item and beautifully manufactured.  The models are usually of vehicles relative to that area or services run from that area.

The programmes from our Running Days are also collectors items.  They have interesting articles about vehicles running and historical items of past routes, services and vehicles running around the area as well as full time tables for the day.  The programme is full of photographs of vehicles found both in the past and those running the routes on the day.  Programmes usually run into 30 to 40 pages.  

You can buy your programmes about 1 month before the event click here for ordering information - ordering now available online!! 

If you are a vehicle owner and would like to get involved in one of our events please e-mail us for further details.  Owners receive a commemorative plaque to celebrate the occasion.


Dates for your diary

Other Running Days in 2012

Sunday 19 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD based at bus station, Waterhouse Street

Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station 


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.

22nd April – (Society AGM  followed by photo show.)

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 - 10th April 2014


Observations and pictures

Ralph Adams notes "On Thames Travel 25A was COMS dual door 839. First time I have seen anything apart from Solos on this route.

Arriva 5454 was in use on route 280 again today, a Saturday when the PVR is only six. This bus is not authorised into Oxford under the LEZ restrictions. (Wonder why this happens? Ed)

Stagecoach. Large number of students giving £5 and £10 notes in Summertown. Next stop elderly man asked how much return to the town. He was not happy at the price saying he had left his card at home. Could he travel Free?   !!!!!

Driver said no (very politely) so passenger gave him a £20 note. Driver said, Sorry but it will be a lot of £1 coins."

Clive King writes and sends a nice picture "London United's LT80 sweeps round the precinct of Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 29 March whilst running on the free service from Onslow Park and Ride to Guildford Bus Station via the Safeguard Depot on the occasion of their 90th Anniversary Open Day."

London United's LT80 sweeps round the precinct of Guildford Cathedral.



Terravision have been using two new King Long coaches, one of which is seen below in full livery and taken by Clive King.

Terravision BK63ZTC in London on March 15th 2014 taken by Clive King.


Arriva logo and TGM

Luke Braham reports as follows: As of the 8th March, all but six of the electric Streetlites at Milton Keynes have arrived and entered service. 5005 KP63 TEJ and 5006 KP63 TEO had not been seen in service.

Arriva the Shires 5007 KP63 TEU is seen operating route 7 in Milton Keynes.

Arriva the Shires 5008 KP63 TEV is seen operating route 7 in Milton Keynes.

After disappearing for a few weeks, 2060 YX04GBE is in use at Aylesbury again and is seen working the Crew Shuttle Service.


Route 61 is mostly operated using double deckers but on the 15th March Dart 3388 P195 LKJ was used. (Dart SPDs are also being used on the 300. Ed.)


In the last issue there was a photo taken by yourself of Aylesbury’s 6004 KL52 CWT operating route 300. Adding to this on the 15th march Sapphire spare 5454 SN58 EOB operated the 300. Double deckers are becoming quite common on the 300 at the moment especially when the Citaros are used on other routes.  

Arriva the Shires 5455 SN58EOB also on the300 on March 15th by Luke Braham.

Also in the last issue was a photo of 6286 on the Blue Route 2 and it looks like double deckers continue to be used on the route from time to time with 6000 KL52 CWN being used on the route on the 15th March.


5454 SN58 EOA was noted on Sapphire route 280 on the 22nd March with a couple of dark Sapphire blue panels with its Arriva fleet livery.

Due to rail replacement, a number of 52-plate ALX400s operated the 300 on the 22nd March. Noted were 6002 KL52 CWP, 6004 KL52 CWT and 6012 KL52 CXD.


Another double decker on the Blue Route 2 this week, this one being 6008 KL52 CWZ.


Arriva the Shires’ Hemel Hempstead based 5149 S149 KNK arrived in Aylesbury on the 500 this morning (29/03/14). This one of only two Volvo Olympians still in service at Hemel Hempstead. The other being 5152 S152 KNK.


The presentation of the Sapphire fleet at Aylesbury is decreasing with 5454 SN58 EOA with two Sapphire coloured panels as mentioned in an email last week, 5435 SN58 EOG has two Arriva livery panels and 5452 SN58 ENX has a Arriva livery flap on the drivers side. 


The two brand new Enviro400s to Sapphire specification due at Aylesbury later this year are currently set to arrive in July but this has not yet been set in stone. They will be numbered 5459 and 5460. 

Garston’s route 321 is due to be launched as a Sapphire route later this year when the new Wright Streetlite Maxs arrive. The Citaros from route 321 will transfer to other depots.

Derek Piekielniak writes "Thank you for the recent update.  In respect of 3216 (S216 XPP) which is parked at Cressex depot, do you know what is wrong with it and will it go back on the road.  I heard that 5151 (S151 KNK) was due to be withdrawn before Christmas, this is still out on the road and shows no sign of giving up, such a lovely bus, shame its days are nearly over.

3214 R214GMJ is scrapped and parked in death row at High Wycombe

3216 S216XPP is withdrawn and parked in death row at High Wycombe

5162 S651KJU has finally been removed from High Wycombe, I presume this has gone for scrap

5151 S151KNK scrapped and removed from High Wycombe 

Peter Cabin writes "Death row at Cressex depot, High Wycombe has had a major clear out.

Looking at 3216 S216SPP I wonder if this bus may make it back on the road, as at this time it classed as withdrawn, it has not been meddled as such judging by the photo attached.

This leaves just two taxis and Dart 3214 R214GMJ in the back row.

M A N 3746 AE56MDX has returned to High Wycombe after luggage racking has been removed with further seating installed. Apparently 3747 (registration unknown) is to be allocated to High Wycombe.

On the Bucks Travel Guide new time tables for the Wycombe area starting April 27th 2014 to note there is a new service pink route 30 High Wycombe to Downley Green route 31 will now just run from High Wycombe to Penn. Most routes have timing adjustments.

Arriva Aylesbury had 5454 SN58EOA working service 300 High Wycombe to Aylesbury on March 29th 2014."

Arriva 4075 being recovered from Green Line, Victoria on March 26th by Gavin Francis.

Following a repaint eliminating the "easyJet" orange rear, Arriva 4201 now has revised Green Line livery with new lettering.
Seen on Buckingham Palace road, London on March 24th by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 4380 on the 757 Luton Airport service restored by March 2nd taken by Malcolm Crowe.

The revised lettering on the rear of Arriva 4385 on March 3rd taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Acquired Vehicles

Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400 all from City of Oxford.

102 (T102 DBW)
103 (T103 DBW)
104 (T104 DBW)
111 (T111 DBW)
112 (T112 DBW)
113 (T113 DBW)
116 (T116 DBW)
118 (T118 DBW)
119 (T119 DBW)
120 (T120 DBW)

Some of these have been given the blue school bus livery, sometimes a cleaned up Brookes one but some are still in Oxford red. Indeed one or two look very careworn.

These are direct replacements for Volvo B7TLs 918 (PN02 XBZ), 919 (PN02 XCA), 920 (PN02XCK), 921 (PN02 XCS), 922 (PN02 XCT);

Leyland Olympians 923 (G530 VBB), 924 (G534 VBB), 925 (H554 GKX), 927 (H563 GKX) and Volvo Olympians 928 (R267LGH), 929 (R269 LGH), 930 (R270 LGH), 931 (R287 LGH) all of which have been or are being withdrawn.

Adrian Hartless writes "COMS Trident 118 was seen yesterday afternoon (March 28,) going into the Watlington Road depot having approached from the direction of Headington. It still carried full Brookes livery and was withdrawn on Dec 13 2013. 


Any ideas what it is doing?  (I guess it was being prepared for dispatch to Carousel. Ed.)


Trident 103 was recently seen working the 336 from Wycombe in plain blue  livery.

 and Crusader Holidays

Luke Braham writes "On the 25th February, two brand new Setra S416GT HDs with C49Ft seating. They are UK/GB14 CRU and are the last British registered Setra coaches.


Plaxton Cheetah GT14 MTT with C29F seating also arrived on the 25th February at the Motts Travel depot. GT14 MTT is one of the last Plaxton Cheetahs to carry a Mercedes Benz Vario chassis.


After the 1st April, two more coaches are due for delivery. These are a Scania OmniExpress with C63Ft seating with the registration MT14 MTT and a short 10 meter Scania Irizar i6 with the registration CT14 MTT.

GT05 MTT has been sold this week and is awaiting collection."

New Coaches 

Bruce, Salsburgh YX14 GPV Scania / Caetano Levante tri-axle.

South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach have acquired three former Stagecoach Scania / Caetano Levante’s FJ56 OBR FJ56 OBZ and FJ56 OCA.  OBR has been re-registered L66SGB and OBZ L555SGB. OCA still carries it's original registration but may become L99SGB (A coach of happy memories on the 737.)

Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

Park's of Hamilton: The latest Volvo B13R (T) / Plaxton Elites used on National Express services have now been re-registered

YY63WCJ to LSK807
YY63WCK to LSK808
YY63WCL to LSK812
YY63WCM to LSK814
YY63WCN to LSK815
YY63WCO to LSK819
YY63WCP to LSK825

NEx Park's LSK 807 ex YY63WCJ r 504 in Sammy's on March 19th by Malcolm Crowe.

NEx Park's LSK 815 ex YY63WCN r 501 in Sammy's on March 11th by Malcolm Crowe.

A number of the Tri-axle Plaxton Panthers used on National Express duties have been re-registered, prior to disposal

KSK949 to SW09 UMC
LSK513 to SW09 URH
LSK845 to SW09 UNS.

Noted at Plaxtons have been Volvo B11R / Jonckheere SHVs


They carry the black Parks livery, but the previous gold skirt has been replaced by a silver band. The fleet names remain gold though.

Further Volvo B13R (T) / Plaxton Elites used on National Express services include


NEx Park's YX14SGV r 540 leaving and in Sammy's on March 25th 2014 taken by Gavin Francis.

NEx Bruce's 15 metre tri-axle having difficulty getting out of Gloucester Green Bus Station on March 9th 2014 by Malcolm Crowe.
These days there are more "long coaches" using the bus station and accidents are not unknown.
It would however eliminate these problems if layovers were removed from the station altogether.

NEx Stagecoach East Kent's Volvo-Plaxton Elite 53704 on route 022 in Sammy's on March 3rd 2014 by Malcolm Crowe.
This coach, with four more, was new to SC Oxford for service on the 737 Stansted service. 

Interesting news is that on a number of occasions Oxford Bus Citaros have appeared on Thames Travel services, suggesting a current shortage of buses for TT service. Another significant development has seen the use of Park & Ride buses on city services and the loan of an Alexander demonstrator Hybrid on city service 5.

Ralph Adams writes "On Thursday 6th March, Thames Travel were using COMS Citaro 844 on the X39. No change of legal ownership so presumably a short term loan.

As I was going into town this afternoon on the bus, I looked back at a bus we just passed. It was a red Citaro on route X32 so yet another bus on loan but unable to see which bus it was. I wrote that 837 was used by Thames Travel but back on COMS 35 2 days later.

It appears that TT is short of a Citaro and would have expected them to keep the same bus all of the time. Changing over means the Hanover screen needs to keep being changed and then back again shortly afterwards.

Seen on 22nd March Thames travel X1  was COMS 838.

Sadly no pictures have emerged of these loans.

COMS have SN59 AWW on hire from Alexander Dennis. This is an AD E400H and has been allocated fleet number 900. It has a fixed destination for route 5. At least this way it will not venture under the railway bridge!"

Several pictures of the hired bus have been received.

OX 900 on route in The High on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Three views of the same bus, showing the livery of which the vinyl's have seen better days.
The fixed blinds have no lighting at night and as such are difficult to see which route the bus is on.
Seen by Gavin Francis on March 29th 2014.

The same bus with the red reflected from a passing company bus and seen on March 29th by Adrian Hartless.

900 seen by Graham Low on March 16th 2014.

Richard Sharman writes "On 27th of March- Park & Ride 312 on the 2C late PM"

Park & Ride Hybrid 313 most surprisingly on 5 road loading in St. Aldates on March 17th 2014.
Several readers have reported seeing these buses on city routes in recent weeks which is most unlike the company who have always been fastidious in the matter of allocation.

The new Airline coaches, 21 - 25, finally entered service in mid March and are said to be performing very well. They are on a Volvo B11R chassis with the larger engine than on the B9R. As such they perform very well and the body has some similarities with the Interdeckers, especially when viewed from the rear. They are longer than previous "12 metre" coaches at 12.6 metres or 41ft 4ins.

Airline 22 waits it's next duty on March 19th by Malcolm Crowe. 

The interior of one of the new coaches.  Malcolm Crowe.

21 and 23 on their first days in service. Malcolm Crowe.

Volvo B11R 22 Heathrow bound on the A40 near Wheatley on March 20th by Richard Sharman.

24 and 21 rears at Volvo Didcot prior to entering service seen on February 26th by Richard Sharman.

Panther 21 at Speed on the A40 Gatwick bound on March 20th 2014 taken by Richard Sharman.

All white 45 getting a lift back to the yard, seen on the M40 hear Wheatley on March 20th by Richard Sharman.

Interdecker 64 London bound on the A40 near Wheatley on March 20th as seen by Richard Sharman.

The extra length of the new Volvos can be seen in the picture of 23 taken by Graham Low on March 16th 2014.

Two of the older 61 plate Airline coaches have been repainted into X90 livery and renumbered. There was some confusion when nr 82 entered service as it was numbered 81. It had been 15 whereas it was expected that nr 11 was to become 82. 10 became 81 only after the confusion with 15 becoming 81 and then 82.

Coach 82 as 81 ex 15 on March 5th in London seen by Gavin Francis. This was more or less its first day in service after repaint.

March 5th again with 8, 42 and 81 lined up for service in Oxford. Picture by Gavin Francis.
Corporate branding identity seems somewhat in doubt!

By March 7th 81 had become 82 but had broken down at Stokenchurch where Malcolm Crowe pictured same.

By March 14th 81 ex nr 10 had appeared in service and was caught on camera by Malcolm Crowe.

The new Interdeckers only appear on the Airline services occasionally, spending most of their days on the X90.
Coach 64 is seen at Thornhill and Ride on March 24th by Gavin Francis.
Another odd thing with these coaches is the varying destination displays on the same route.

The difference as seen on coach 62.

I have some more pictures of the Chiltern Rail service, some taken at Bicester, all by Richard Sharman.

OX 1581 and 1583 at Bicester on February 27th by Richard Sharman.

1583 at Bicester on February 27th by Richard Sharman.

OX 1583 r CR1 en route to Oxford on February 27th by Richard Sharman.

OX 1584 working a CR2 service at Oxford Rail Station on February 17th by Richard Sharman.

A surprise bus in use on the Chiltern service is Trident 114 which we do not think is LEZ compliant.
Picture by Richard Sharman on March 3rd 2014.

Although their withdrawal was expected earlier 51 was still working on March 27th as seen by Adrian Hartless. 

Park & Ride 306 with Sorry Bus Full on March 1st 2014 by Richard Sharman.

The company website update reports the following fleet changes.


12 March 2014

New Vehicles (3/14):

21-25 AF, BF, CF, DF, EF14OXF Volvo B11R Plaxton C44Ft new 3/14

Withdrawn (3/14): 51/2, 83-90

Renumbered: 10 to 81, 11 to 44, 12-14 to 41-43, 15 to 82, 16-18 to 45-7

Reinstated (2/14): 114 to act as spare bus for Chiltern Railways contract


Lewknor - new stop for Airline services - from April 6th 2014.




Red Line

Bernard Lewendon writes "A recent visitor to High Wycombe was F101 TML, is a Volvo B10M with Alexander body. It was new in 1988 and is by many years the oldest bus working regularly into Wycombe. It is old and it certainly looks it. It was photographed on 17 March 2014."


Red Rose

The company started to use a 61 plate E200 on the 275, late last year, thereby complying with the Oxford LEZ. This is seen below in a picture by Richard Sharman taken when the bus was at speed on the A40 approaching Wheatley on March 20th 2014.



E300 22766 on the X30 in Wantage Market Place on March 16th by David Allen.

Some changes to the allocations have seen 62 plate E200s moving to Witney and their places taken in Oxford by E300s from the reserve fleet. Older Darts 33463,4,50 and 53 have now moved to reserve. This means that the 62 plate E200s can be seen on the 18 and sometimes on the S1 or S2.

Gold Scania 15934 attended an event at the Oxford Bus Museum on Sunday April 6th. Pictures of this event wil be included in the next issue with a short report from Gavin Francis who drove 15934.

fleet movements last period
33650 R150 CRW Dennis Dart SLF - Witney to Reserve
33653 R153 CRW Dennis Dart SLF - Witney to Reserve
33463 V463 TVV Dennis Dart SLF - Witney to Reserve
33464 V464 TVV Dennis Dart SLF - Witney to Reserve
22768 OU58 GKK MAN E300 - Reserve to Oxford
22769 OU09 BZO MAN E300 - Reserve to Oxford
22770 OU09 BZP MAN E300 - Reserve to Oxford
22771 OU58 GKO MAN E300 - Reserve to Oxford
36760 OU62 BBE ADL E200 - Oxford to Witney
36761 OU62 BCX ADL E200 - Oxford to Witney
36762 OU62 BEO ADL E200 - Oxford to Witney
36763 OU62 BHV ADL E200 - Oxford to Witney
22935 S935 CFC MAN ALX300 - Reserve to Yorkshire
vehicle disposed of
42624 R624 CTX Mercedes Vario (Staff Transport) OX

E200 36761 recently transferred to Witney depot on the S2 at Gloucester Green on March 25th by Gavin Francis.

E200 36984, the latest delivered on the Sunday X30 in St Aldates on March 2nd by Gavin Francis.

Darts 33464, 33462 and 33653 now in reserve seen in our remote parking area on March 25th by Malcolm Crowe.

Gold 15933 on an S3 duty that also does an S1 Short to Thorney Leys as seen on March 24th by Richard Sharman.


East is using some ex Scottish Volvos on the X5
53315 is the latest addition to this fleet and is seen on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.


Swindon's 15769 on the 66 at Gloucester Green fitted with anti-spray equip on front wheel arches.
Seen on March 9th 2014 by Malcolm Crowe.
It seems that all the Gold buses on the 66 are so fitted. Are these the first Stagecoach buses to be treated like this.

The biggest news, reported elsewhere in this issue, is the order for 26 Van Hool Astromega TX27 models to Euro 6 standard to replace the current fleet of TD927 models (50201-50226). These coaches have given sterling service along the M40 corridor to London for the past near five years. Further details of the new coaches are eagerly awaited and we are told they will arrive in the summer this year. The keeps up the Stagecoach standard of replacing this high profile fleet every five years.


Oxford Tube coaches with cherished registrations

Re-registered overnight 10-11 April 2014 in preparation for the new coaches to gain these five marks.

Old registrations in parenthesis

50201   GX09OTN          (T40UBE)
50202   GX09OTM         (T44UBE)
50203   GX09OYF           (T50UBE)
50204   GX09OTP          (T55UBE)
50205   GX09OFE           (T60UBE)

This coach worked the 0700 Express departure to London on April 11th 2014 bearing the new registration.


It is not known where the TD927s will be going but news of this will be given as soon as it is known.


Megabus 50246, a TX27, next to Tube 50213 shows the revised lighting at the front end which is a feature of the new coaches. 


Tube 50202 at speed on the A40, London bound on March 20th in this picture by Richard Sharman.


For those who notice such things and enjoy knowing what is in the distance, both 50201 and now 50222 are devoid of any rear end branding. This is following a general tidy up and 50222 is seen below at Horspath depot on March 14th by Malcolm Crowe.



The Megabus orders for this year are reported elsewhere in this issue but for those who follow this company I am repeating the orders below.

• 3 Astromega Euro 5 double-deck coaches

• 6 Van Hool Altano TDX 21 left-hand drive coaches

• 3 Van Hool Astromega double-deck sleeper coach vehicles

Plaxton Interdeckers are presently being used on the Paris service to provide additional capacity on this popular route.

Megabus Gold sleeper 50308 seen en route to Cardiff on the G7 service on March 1st by Malcolm Crowe.
Three more of these coaches are now due in 2014.

Altano left hand drive 55001 arrives at Victoria from Amsterdam via Rotterdam and Antwerp on March 11th seen by Malcolm Crowe.



Occasionally when problems occur a replacement vehicle has to found.
This happened when the rostered Gold sleeper failed and was replaced by one of Parks Gold Citylink Volvo Elites seen above on March 21st.
This coach would have worked the night sleeper from Scotland to Cardiff and then the G7 to London to be followed by the route in reverse.
LSK 481 is a long way from its normal haunts in the Scotland!! March 25th was the date, seen by Malcolm Crowe.

A trio of Interdeckers in VCS on March 25th 2014 caught on camera by Gavin Francis.

Stagecoach serving from one end of our land to the other and one of the very latest Interdeckers, 54220, waits time to go to VCs to load for Penzance.
Seen on March 25th by Gavin Francis.

Interdecker 54213 ready for an ME1 departure to PARIS on March 25th by Gavin Francis.

The Volvo B9Rs originally used on the European services, ME1 and ME2 are now to found on other services, their place taken by various Interdeckers.
Richard Sharman caught 53645 working the M35 service out of Oxford, near the Rail Station on March 9th 2014.
The European branding remains! 

Following my question last month several of you kindly replied.


Ralph Adams writes "You ask if the four Tridents have been withdrawn but not at present. School bus route BB1 from Abingdon requires 2 Tridents, one of which is 105 the Blue Bus, and two deckers are required in Reading, I believe it is 911 and one Trident. However they have been withdrawn from use in Oxford following the introduction of the LEZ."


Simon Caygill writes "I know Thames Travel ex COMS 101 is still busy every day in and around Reading, this am arriving at 06.50 and then doing the 244 route at 7.05 school version of 144,

Also the route 72 at around 16.50 is quite interesting with stagecoach proper buses Volvo Olympians S590 and P282 the last few days working through to Aldershot,  no plastic yellow buses insight."

Another correspondent says "I can confirm that Thames Travel still have at least 101 and 109 in service. 101 was observed yesterday 25th Feb, 106 in late January."

Alex Horwood writes "The Tridents at Thames travel are still in service and there are no plans to withdraw them in the near future. Currently 101 is working from Hogwood outstation, 105 is VOR, 106 and 109 are working various school contracts in the area. 

The four East Lancs bodied Scania N94s left Wallingford for Go-Ahead's Plymouth City Bus. (Pictures appreciated Ed.)

See information at this link: 

Five vehicles left the fleet on Thursday 20th March; 401-403 (402 & 403 were originally said to be transferring to Carousel) the company's longest serving bus: 501 and after a lengthy period of being withdrawn and up for sale the final ex Brighton & Hove Trident: 916 all left one week ago for their new home in Malta"

TT 212 and SCO 22766 in Wantage Market Place on March 16th by David Allen.

Citaro 854 at the same location on the same day also by David Allen.


stagecoach group logo b&w

Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus and coach operator announced on 3rd March that it has placed orders for almost 570 vehicles for the financial year 2014-15. The investment in new greener vehicles also includes a £21million fleet of hybrid electric buses for London and new coaches for the company's expanding budget travel service in the UK and Europe.

The vast majority of the new buses and coaches will be produced in the UK. The investment will support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs and smaller businesses in the supply chain who produce key components from drivers' seats and toilets to wheelchair lifts and destination displays*.

It is the largest set of orders ever placed by Stagecoach and is also understood to be the biggest placed by any bus operator in Britain. It takes Stagecoach Group's total orders of new buses and coaches for its regional bus operations in the UK to around £545million in last seven years. The Group has also ordered more than £100million of new vehicles for its London bus operations since buying the business in 2010.

In the next financial year, Stagecoach is investing more than £81million in 495 new vehicles for its regional operations. In addition, a £21million fleet of 70 state-of-the-art hybrid buses will be introduced at the Group’s London operations.

All of the new vehicles will be fitted with CCTV while more than 350 will also have Wi-Fi installed, giving customers free internet access during their journeys.

The latest orders follow an annual competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles will be delivered from spring 2014.

Details of the new orders are as follows:

UK Regional operations

• 69 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Scania double-deckers

• 86 Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 single-deckers

• 28 Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 Scania single-deckers

• 23 Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 Scania GAS single-deckers

• 29 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Euro 6 double-deckers

26 Astromega Euro 6 double deck coaches

• 199 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Dart 4 midi-buses

• 3 Astromega Euro 5 double-deck coaches

• 6 Van Hool Altano TDX 21 left-hand drive coaches

• 2 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Dart 4 Euro 6 midi-buses

• 13 Optare Solo Cummins minibuses

• 8 Plaxton Elite i Volvo B11R Euro 6 coaches

• 3 Van Hool Astromega double-deck sleeper coach vehicles


• 32 Wrightbus Gemini Volvo B5LH Euro 6 hybrid double-deckers

• 40 ADL Enviro 400 Trident Euro 6 hybrid double-deckers

• 1 ADL Enviro 400 Trident Conventional Euro 6


Stagecoach Group today (Friday 14 March 2014) announced that it has appointed a new Managing Director at its bus operations in the west of England. 

Current Stagecoach West Managing Director Ian Manning will retire on 31 May 2014. He will be replaced by Rupert Cox, currently Acting Operations Director, Stagecoach West who will become Managing Director of the business on 1 June 2014. 

Rupert Cox is a product of the industry-leading Stagecoach Graduate Development Programme which has so far produced nine directors and dozens of managers across the Group’s UK Bus division. 

Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director Robert Montgomery said: “I would like to congratulate Rupert on his appointment. He has worked hard and risen through the ranks at Stagecoach over the past 13 years and thoroughly deserves this new role. All of our regional bus companies are managed and run locally and we have a track record of delivering continued investment and low fares. We have a dynamic crop of young managers and directors across the UK who are helping to deliver better bus travel to attract even more people on to our greener, smarter services. 

“I would also like to pay tribute to Ian Manning for the service he has given Stagecoach over many years. Ian is a passionate and knowledgeable busman who has shown great commitment to improving public transport in the west of England over the past 11 years. His experience, both in the UK and overseas, throughout his career has been invaluable to us and we wish him every success in his retirement.” 

Rupert Cox began his career in the bus industry while at University, working in the schedules office at Wilts & Dorset Buses in Poole. He joined Stagecoach on the company’s Graduate Development Programme in 2001 and took on his first managerial role two years later as Commercial Manager for Stagecoach West. In 2007, he moved to Stagecoach Yorkshire as Commercial Director where he stayed until 2013 when he returned to Stagecoach West as Acting Operations Director. 

Rupert Cox said: “It’s an honour to be appointed as Managing Director of Stagecoach West, where I took on my first managerial role just over 10 years ago. It is a great company, in a fantastic location and I am excited about working with our team to build on the success that has already been achieved here. 

“The delivery of high quality bus services is a shared responsibility between bus operators and local authorities and I look forward to working with our partners locally to further improve bus services for our customers in the region.” 

Following a brief spell in the steel industry, Ian Manning joined the bus industry in 1976 in the planning department at Lothian Region Transport in Edinburgh. Three years later he joined Scottish Bus Group subsidiary W. Alexander & Sons (Northern) as Assistant Planner and was appointed as SBG Group Commercial Officer in 1981. He later moved to another Scottish Bus Group subsidiary, Clydeside Scottish before landing the role of Operations Manager at Southdown Motor Services in Chichester in 1989. Shortly afterwards the company was sold to Stagecoach and Ian Manning was made redundant, quickly moving on to become Deputy County Passenger Transport Officer at Buckinghamshire County Council. 

With a known interest in the Portuguese bus industry, about which he has now written four books, in 1996 Ian Manning was invited back to become the Managing Director of Stagecoach Portugal and ran the company for almost five years. He then moved to Arriva’s Portuguese operations in 2001 but returned to Stagecoach in 2004 as Managing Director of Stagecoach West. When he retires on 31 May 2014, it will be 11 years to the day since he took on that role and, during that time, the company has increased in fleet size by 15%. To mark the occasion, a Running Day – offering a network of vintage bus services - is being held in Cheltenham which will also celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Cheltenham District Traction Co. Ltd and will feature more than 20 classic buses from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. 

Ian Manning said: “My career has taken lots of twists and turns and I have actually had three incarnations at Stagecoach. The bus industry is something that has always interested me and it has been a privilege to have been able to contribute to the industry and to do a job I genuinely love.  

“Bus operators have a hard job to do but over the years we have become better at delivering the kind of service our customers rightly expect. The industry can still improve further of course and, provided it has support from local and central Government, I believe bus travel will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stagecoach and I wish everyone all the best for the future.” 

Stagecoach West carries more than 23 million customers a year. The company has around 665 employees and operates a fleet of more than 230 vehicles. Stagecoach West also manages the dedicated transport operation for the famous Cheltenham Festival.


Woods of Leicester is sold

Long-established coach operator, Woods Coaches of Leicester, has been bought by Stewarts Coaches, based in Reading, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see the existing Woods management team retained, along with the Woods name, which will operate as part of the Stewarts Group.

Run by Andy Cotton, award-winning Stewarts Coaches runs more than 40 coaches, mini-coaches and buses from its Woodley base, specialising in high-quality coaching and corporate work.

Woods Coaches, founded in 1950 and now the city’s leading coach operator, is also an award-winner. With an O-Licence for 25 vehicles, it runs an extensive holiday and day trip programme.

Blackpool update from Geoff Cunliffe 

I am able to let you know a couple of significant happenings relating to Blackpool Transport. 

First, the General Manager, Trevor Roberts, is to leave. The newspaper announcement is slightly vague and suggests he may not be remaining within the transport industry. He has not really been seen as a man with an eye to the undertaking’s heritage, particularly with regard to the trams, having stated that they are not a tourist attraction and his job is to run a modern tramway. The heritage fleet gets in the way of this. We will have to wait and see if his successor has a different view. 

Secondly, Blackpool Council has taken the controversial decision to restrict the use of ENTCS permits on the trams to Blackpool residents only with effect from 1st. April this year. The carefully worded item on the Blackpool Transport web site, which may be viewed in full at 

makes the valid point, which fellow enthusiasts will know, that technically the scheme applies to BUS travel only and any extension to cover trams is at the discretion of the funding authority. Apparently Blackpool Council is quite prepared to fund anybody’s bus fare (well, the same proportion of it) on the parallel bus Route 1 which operates for the full length of the tramway so it will be interesting to see how much they save.  

I understand that whilst local residents may be able to use their passes on various tram systems around the UK, only those trams in Sheffield, operated by Stagecoach, accept anybody’s ENTCS passes. 

It will be interesting to see how this decision affects the very infrequent operation of Blackpool’s Heritage fleet where excellent value all-day tickets were available with ENTCS passes. 

The only other item I think I have for you at the moment is that Pantograph car 167 is to return to Blackpool this season. Whilst owned by Crich, it is currently on loan to Beamish, after which it will make the journey back home. In exchange, “fat” balloon 711, i.e. one of the traditional Blackpool double deckers which now has a widened central loading platform and plug-type doors, is to go to Crich. 

It is now known when 167 will operate as there are rumours that the Heritage fleet will NOT be out on Bank Holiday Mondays this season. If that means they will only be used during the illuminations period, it hardly seems worth the transport costs.  

Attached are photographs of 167 on a previous visit back home, and 711 at Talbot Square in its last guise when used on the “old” system. It now has the modified doors and is in corporate burgundy and white livery. Both pictures are mine.


Changes to bus service 353

On the 31st March, Arriva are withdrawing their 353 bus which serves Slough, Stoke Poges, Gerrards Cross, The Chalfonts, Amersham, Chesham and Hemel Hempstead. The route will be partially replaced by a commercial service the 730 operated by Carousel Buses which will run between Uxbridge, Gerrards Cross, Amersham, Chesham and Hemel Hempstead. The other section of route between Slough and Gerrards Cross will be replaced by amended 335 and 353 routes. These will operated under contract to Transport for Buckinghamshire.

Arriva are also withdrawing their 354 service from Chesham - Berkhamstead and Northchurch, this has been re-tendered by Hertfordshire County Council and will be operated by Vale Travel with no change to the timetable.

Please see the information sheets and timetables below.

Related files




335, 353 timetable



730 timetable



Summary of change by area



Background to changes



Stagecoach has threatened legal action in Wales over concessionary travel reimbursement cuts

It has today (Wednesday 19 March) given the Welsh Government until 1 April to re-think its decision to set a new rate, or face a potential judicial review.

The new rate would result in a £24 million cut in the scheme’s budget.

Stagecoach has received legal advice suggesting failings in the Welsh Government’s process.

MD of Stagecoach in Wales John Gould says: “Legal action is a last resort.”


Gavin in Florida 

Gavin visited Florida and found the parking up area for the M96 service.
Megabus USA DD064 seen at Rosen Inn International Drive, Florida on March 12th 2014.
This is a 2011 model. Driver told me he thought the coach was a 2011. It had 739000 miles on the clock.

Gavin is preparing an article and pictures on his recent trip which I feel sure will prove most interesting.

Northampton etc by Richard Morgan

I have now managed to burn a disc of all the pix I took on my trip to Victoria on Saturday 22 February. 

This weekend was the closure of Grey Friars BS and the opening of North Gate BS at Northampton.





Some of the new E200s which now work in Northampton - seen at the new depot.

From Ray Ramsey 

Just been given this link,  a web cam installed on Allhallows multi Storey car park over looking the bus station rebuild.. 

Nice one Bedford Borough.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Race Days 2014

Dave and Deric kindly provided details of the buses used for the above event.

Buses on loan for Cheltenham Races 11th -14th March:

Stagecoach Manchester/Wigan: 19004/55/63/5/9/71/7/8/9/81/90/6

Glenvale: 15467/839

East London: 10110/80, 19758

Selkent: 10194/6

Oxford: 15434/5/6/8

Scania 15438 "on holiday" in Cheltenham on March 14th by Richard Sharman.

Scania 15435 at the Races in Cheltenham 2014 on Marcch 14th seen by Richard Sharman.

Hampshire Bus: 14951, 16293/588

South West: 17003/705, 18078

Yorkshire: 15690/1/2

North West: 16642

Midlands: 16695/8, 19953

East: 16218/593

In addition, West's own Reserve fleet of Olympians, are in use. 

Non Stagecoach loans are North Somerset G706 TCD (Olympian) and VDV 134S (VRT). In the evenings, vehicles from Marchants, Swanbrook and Thamesdown Transport will also be in use.

For information, all the Manchester/Wigan buses were returned by West drivers to Chesterfield on Saturday 15th March, from where, we have been told, they will then move to Sheffield for tram replacement duties. 

Running Days

Mark Turner writes "Pictures that I took at the 1st Watford Bus Running Day on 30th March 2014."

1st Watford Bus Running Day Timebus RM29 - OYM 453A formerly VLT29 - 300314 by Mark Turner.

1st Watford Bus Running Day ENSIGN RMA58 NMY655E and London Transport RML2683 SMK683F 300314 by Mark Turner.

RTL139 at the running day by Mark Turner.

STL2377 at the event by Mark Turner.

RML2440 at the event seen by Mark Turner.



Arriva's 6020 on the normal 142. 


Golden Tours new 114 BF63HEJ on ELIZABETH BRIDGE-VICTORIA - March 5th 2014 by Gavin Francis.

Sun Fun Luxury Travel from Collier, Earith, Cambridgeshire - N66SUN near Victoria ex Parks NEx and possibly Weavaway.

Taken on March 1st by Malcolm Crowe. 

Excalibur King Long BX13CZD at Victoria on March 1st by Malcolm Crowe.

Regal Busways 801 RG09BUS at Oxford Rail Station on Rail Replacement service on February 16th by Richard Sharman. 

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 -

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.