Spottings & Jottings nr. 79 - 12th August 2014

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

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week news please let me know


Well, I'm sure you must all have wondered what had happened to the page but as I explained in a recent mid week update to those registered for such news, I have been much involved in the introduction of the new fleet of Astromegas for the Oxford Tube. This included collection of several new coaches from Wellingborough and 50217 from Cleckheaton. finally two of us took 50204 and 50212 to Kilmarnock, West Scotland. Altogether a lot of work but most enjoyable.

Now after a break of seven days, I am able to catch up with the page and hope you all enjoy edition 79.

This includes pictures from a number of events such as the Game Fair at Blenheim, Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon by Gavin Francis with articles from Edinburgh by Marcus Lapthorn, The Commonwealth Games by George Irvine, Peterborough' Rally by John Marsh, a trip to Birmingham by Adam Green and news of the Sapphire fleet of Arriva at Aylesbury by Luke Braham.

Oxford Tube launches new fleet

Customers travelling between Oxford and London on the Oxford Tube can now choose to relax on the upper deck beneath a panoramic glass roof which creates a lighter interior. Additional leg room is also available in many seats and passengers will benefit from high speed 4G WiFi during their journeys.

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, officially launched the new fleet today (Wednesday 16th July) along with Martin Sutton, Managing Director of the Oxford Tube.

The £10million investment by Stagecoach is the largest ever investment into new coaches for the Oxford Tube route. The new vehicles have Euro 6 engines which make them amongst the cleanest vehicles available. They also run on B30 fuel - a greener mix of 30 % recycled biofuel and 70 per cent standard diesel.

Key features of the new coaches are:

·         Panoramic glass roofs allowing greater use of natural light

·         Additional leg room

·         High-speed 4G WiFi

·         USB power sockets

·         More luggage racks for carry-on items

·         New automated audio- visual communication system offering clear arrival and departure information 

Specially designed and manufactured by Van Hool in Belgium, the new coaches will provide more enjoyable journeys for Oxford Tube passengers.

Martin Griffiths Stagecoach CEO, Hugh Thompson from Helen and Douglas House (Stagecoach's chosen charity) and Martin Sutton launch the new coaches.

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group said, “These new vehicles are fantastic news for the many customers who regularly use the Oxford Tube. This £10million investment we have made here is clear evidence of the level investment we are making in new vehicles every year and shows our commitment to delivering improvements for our customers to attract even more people to our greener, smarter services.”

Martin Sutton, Managing Director for Oxford Tube said,
“We have listened to customer feedback and worked to ensure that the new coaches offer additional and improved facilities. The combination of the Euro 6 engine and B30 fuel also means that our customers know that they are choosing the most environmentally friendly way to travel between Oxford and London.”


To mark the introduction of the new fleet, Oxford Tube launched a competition encouraging the public to tweet #CoachWithAView. The winners who had been drawn at random were invited to join volunteers from Stagecoach’s chosen charity, Helen and Douglas House, on the inaugural trip of the new coaches to London for afternoon tea. Forty winners were taken to the Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria, London.

Afternoon tea in London
More than 40 lucky prizewinners enjoyed afternoon tea in London and one is seen taking a picture of 50261 used on this event.

Pastures new for Philip Kirk of Oxford Bus

Perhaps one of the most momentous announcements involving a senior person in our local scene. Managing Director - Philip Kirk has revealed that he is leave Oxford Bus after 20 years, handing over the reigns to Phil Southall, presently Commercial Director. Philip has overseen many changes during his time at OBC including the rejuvenation of the X90 London service, securing a new rest facility and shop in the city centre, securing a fresh long term contract with Oxford Brookes, getting the Thmaes Travel and Carousel acquisitions stabilised and retaining all of the schools contract work at Carousel.

Whilst on the subject of Brookes their new timetables and revised routes can be seen at the under mentioned link for the Winter semster.

I met Philip when I was doing occasional driving for Oxford Bus by in the late '90s and found him an able Captain of his ship and one can only admire his achievements in a highly competitive industry.

And... details of the various upcoming events of interest.

Reviews of new books

I have received two books for review which I found well produced and most interesting.

The PSV Circle has a revised edition of Berkshire and Oxfordshire current fleets. There are some excellent colour pictures and almost every operator, large and small in the area is included. A most useful reference book.

You can purchase the book from : Sales Team, PSV Circle, Unit GK Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP. The cost is £9 inc post and packing.

The second book reviewed is a pocket sized booklet costing £5.95 which can be obtained from Presbus Publishing.

This is well produced book and in a way is retro repeating the successful format of Ian Allan spotters books in the 1950s. Very good price for a very nice book, giving all the information you could ask for on operations and buses in Stagecoach Midlands including six new Van Hool Altanos, yet to be delivered.

Please quote the OCBP when ordering.

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

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.

Amersham & District Motorbus Society presents its


Sunday 18 August 2013
based at Hemel Hempstead Bus Stn, Waterhouse St
10.00 - 17.30
departures from Hemel on various routes and vehicles.

The programmes for Hemel Hempstead are now available : 

£6 from Hemel Hempstead Bus Stn Enquiry Office Mon - Fri or Tourist Information Office, Central Library, Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe

£6.50 by post from Peter Cartwright, 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE HP13 7NX

Cheques payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society or online at

£7.00 on the day from Amersham & District stand near Stop 1 in bus station.


Dates for your diary

Other Running Days in 2014

Sunday 6 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 £3 per head is made.


Next meeting:

September 16th at the Whitehouse Pub, 38 Abingdon Road, Oxford 

Guest speaker is Jim Neale who is giving a talk
"Cambridge Coach Services from the Drivers Seat"

based on an account of his life working for CCS.

Jim is also a published transport author and has written books on CCS, Burwell & District and about preserving a former Burwell coach. Hopefully he will be bring his books along to buy on the night.

The meetings are at the Whitehouse Pub, 38 Abingdon Road commencing at 7.15pm.

Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13, 31 or 35 routes stop outside)

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

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 - 12th August 2014


Observations and pictures




Arriva logo and TGM

Bernard Lewendon writes "Arriva 3309 was destroyed by fire last week and as it is not in the garage yard it probably went straight to scrap.

Gavin Francis caught this bus as it was finally being extinguished by the fire brigade in Stokenchurch on the 11th June 2014.

Yet another old timer sent to Wycombe is 3294 seen and photographed on 7 July, thus it seems that Wycombe collects old buses.

Photo by Bernard Lewendon 

Finally picture 0947 is of Arriva Aylesbury 3485 working route 300. It is liveried for Red route 9 that does not come anywhere near Wycombe.



Colin Richardson writes "One new route improvement is on 280 from Saturday (26/7) when the service was increased from 30 mins to 20 mins in the middle of the day.


On route 280 resurfacing along London Road in Headington which I understand should be started shortly, may cause delays on this service."

Luke Braham writes "The first changes to the Arriva fleet at Aylesbury since February is the arrival of a London taxi for use as a staff shuttle and it is registered R698MGP. At the moment it does not seem to carry a fleet number.  

0441 YJ10 LZV spent about a week at Aylesbury and mostly operated Blue Route 2. It has now returned to the Leighton Buzzard Outstation. 

Dart 3484 W484YGS operated on Sapphire route 280 on Thursday 5th. The mechanic, who was driving it, told me it was covering for an Enviro400 which had been involved in an accident. Once it got to Aylesbury, it was replaced by 3931 BD12DHJ. The identity is currently not known of the Enviro400.

Sapphire Enviro400s have continued to stray from the 280. On Thursday 5th, I caught 5437 SN58EOJ operating Pink Route 8 but the driver changed the destination just before the photo was taken. Also on this day 5439 SN58EOM was operating route 500.

A surprise for me today was the arrival of Red Route 9 branded 3485 W485 YGS operating Sapphire route 280 and it appears to have operated the whole stretch of the route despite being replaced by 5453 SN58ENY when it arrived in Aylesbury. Another things of interest with 3485 W485YGS operating the 280 was that the destination display was advertising Free Wifi and leather seats which the Citaros used to do at the beginning of the year also having neither. 

This is also the second time this month a Dennis Dart has operated the 280 with sister 3484 W484YGS doing the honours on the 5th of June before being replaced by 3931 BD12DHJ.

5459 YY14 WFT and 5460 YY14 WFU both entered service on Tuesday 8th, one day later than originally planned. They entered service in unbranded Sapphire livery with no WiFi and no working electrical sockets. An Arriva driver has told me that these new Enviro400s are 4 inches longer than the 58-plate examples to allow extra room for their Euro 6 engines.I also include pictures of the interior of the two brand new Sapphire Enviro400s. I believe the WiFi and power sockets now work on both of them.


5454 SN58 EOA and 5455 SN58 EOB are now expected to be staying at Aylesbury for use on a new route X60 in November.   

Yet more Sapphire Enviro400s have strayed onto routes other than the 280. Today (11/07/14), 5437 SN58 EOJ was seen operating a one-off working of Pink Route 8 with sister 5438 SN58 EOK seen operating a one-off working of Blue Route 2. Both 5437 and 5438 had operated school service 650 before they operated these Aylesbury town routes.



The driver of 5438 said that he also had a Sapphire Enviro400 the day before.  

Today (16/07/14), 5434 SN58EOF, 5435 SN58EOG and 5452 SN58ENX had all escaped from the 280 with 5454 SN58EOA and 5455 SN58EOB having to be used again to make up the numbers on the 280. 5434 SN58EOF had escaped onto route 50 for the day, 5435 SN58EOG had escaped onto the 650 and a working on Pink Route 8 and 5453 SN58ENX had escaped onto the 650 and a working of Blue Route 280. 

5436 SN58EOH had its engine re-built by the maintenance team at the Aylesbury depot and I have since been told it has been upgraded to Euro 6.   (I wonder if that's correct Ed.)

Luke goes on say "Every time I’ve gone out this week to see if there is anything interesting in the bus station I’ve seen a Sapphire Enviro400 on another route. They quite often have been appearing on the one-off workings of Blue Route 2 and Pink Route 8 after operating morning workings on school service 650. This week I’ve seen:

5439 SN58EOM operating the one-off working on Blue Route 2 on the 21st July.

5453 SN58ENY operating the one-off working on Pink Route 8 on the 21st July.

5435 SN58EOG operating the one-off working on Blue Route 2 on the 22nd July.

I have no doubt that at least one Sapphire Enviro400 is in use on another route other than the 280 today (23/07/14). I did expect this to become a more common accurance due to the Aylesbury depot now have two extra Sapphire 280 liveried buses.

On the 25th July, I noticed that 5434 SN58EOF had all of its destination displays turned off so I would assume the whole equipment on the bus had gone down and 5440 SN58EOO was seen operating the once a weekday double decker working of Pink Route 8. This seems to be becoming quite common at the moment.

On the 4th and 6th August, 5435 SN58EOG was used on the one-off working of Pink Route 8 in the morning.

5435 had strayed from the 280 again on the 7th August with it operating route 50. I’ve heard that Arriva are having a fair few reliability issues with 5435 so they don’t want to use it on the 280.

4490 T490KGB was  withdrawn without a replacement on the 28th of July. I would expect it won’t get one until the Citaros arrive from Garston in the next few months.

The 12-plate Citaros still see regular use on the 280 as two Enviro400s are normally in the workshops each day and with 5435 not being used on the 280 at the moment. This makes Arriva one Sapphire bus down on the 280 allocation unless 5435 is on the 280 or less than two Enviro400s are in the workshop. 3931 BD12DHG was on the 280 on the 6th August and 3930 BD12DHJ on the 280 on the 7th August.

Arriva pictureview

3829 on the 124 at Lewknor 180714 by Gavin Francis

3874 unusually on the 724 in Uxbridge - 010814 - by Gavin Francis

Olympian 5139 turned up working the 32 at Wycombe on 11th August seen by Gavin Francis

4363 works the 797 seen at the London terminus on June 10th by Malcolm Crowe

The 40 seems plagued by troubles and 4532 has broken down in Stokenchurch on August 18th by Malcolm Crowe

New 5459 seen at Oxford's train station on June 19th by Malcolm Crowe

On a visit to my daughter's in Bangor I caught up with new 3173 on the 5C running the coastal service to Caernarfon on June 15th

This was after Padarn Bus had closed down and I saw one of their older buses in service on what is now an Arriva service 58 to Glanrafon
MX11JYR is seen in Bangor on June 15th by Malcolm Crowe

Carousel Buses

Bernard Lewendon writes "I was in Wycombe and saw Carousel's 419. It came from Oxford just before Christmas and has been in use in the Thames Travel colours. Now it has been repainted to plain red. Perhaps one day it will get some titles. It is AE59AWJ  MAN 14.240 with M.C.V. Stirling body.

Some pictures taken that might be of interest.

Carousel have introduced the Optare Solo to their fleet with 710 and 711 transferred from Thames Travel. First seen in service on 14 July.

Both have the two red livery but, so far, no company titles although they have the legal names and address on a window, and fleet numbers. (this has now been updated and all Solos now have full fleet names. Ed.)

Carousel pictureview

Carousel 710 r 38 WYC 250714 M Crowe

Carousel 712 r 336 WYC 250714 M Crowe

Carousel 801 r 1 WYC 210614 M Crowe

Carousel 419 r 336 WYC 010714 G Francis

Carousel 710 Stokenchurch 050814 G Francis

Carousel 711 and 713  - when is a Solo not solo? - 110814 G Francis

Carousel 713 r 38 full livery WYC 110814 G Francis

Something of a surprise is created by the ex Thames Travel decker now with Carousel
Scania N94UD with East Lancs CH47/33F body, new in 2005, 911 in Wycombe 110814 G Francis

Ready for the new school year, one of the many Tridents which now add to the Carousel fleet,
116 on route 36 in Wycombe 240714 G Francis

Carousel's 920 again on route 36 in the centre of Wycombe 310714 G Francis

E200s 502 and 503 in service in Uxbridge on August 5th by Gavin Francis

Latest update on the fleet:

The four Solos (710/1/2/3), two E200s (502/3) and one Scania double-deck (911), all from Thames Travel have replaced the three Primos (751/2/3) and the three MAN/MCV Stirlings (415/6/7) have gone. Now that schools are on holiday, all remaining Olympians have gone, next term ex-Oxford Tridents will be in charge.

Bernard Lewendon writes "You might like this photograph I took on 9 July at Reading Station. All details of the vehicle can be seen in the picture.

First 20613 Railair at Reading Stn 090714 B Lewendon

42115 r X9 WYC 010714 G Francis

63191 r 7 Uxbridge 010814 G Francis

ES64037 r X74 WYC 010714 G Francis

An unusual visitor to Wycombe, VSH69930 r X74 WYC 250714 M Crowe 

Luke Braham writes "A new addition to the Heyfordian fleet is a Jonckheere SHV registered BJ14 KTF. Correct me if I’m wrong but this could be the first new vehicle to enter the fleet since the arrival of the Optare Solos in 2011 for services in Oxfordshire?"


 and Crusader Holidays

MT60MTT outside WWFC training ground at Booker 090814 G Francis

Luke Braham writes "A new arrival to Motts Travel is ex-Buzzlines Setra S416GT-HD BF60 OFZ. It is due to receive the registration GT60 MTT along with Motts Travel livery. 

Motts Travel's three Plaxton Cheetahs have finally been given fleet livery instead of the plain white they have been operating in in the past with one in plain white for two years. GT12 MTT, GT13 MTT and GT14 MTT have all been given the Motts Travel livery. "

Coaches seen at Silverstone by Richard Sharman.


NEx SH177 BK14LFR r A6 BPR VIC 100814 G Francis

NEx SGBC FJ56OCA GG r 302 290714 G Francis (once 59213 with Stagecoach on the 737.)

NEx new super rears at VCS 220714 G Francis

NEx Epsom EP01 r 539 GG OX 200714 G Francis

I refer readers to the new Brookes timetables which will see the introduction of the 14 new E400s due anytime now. The older Brookes buses are in the main being repainted red and some used on Brookes services whilst others have joined the city fleet. These buses can be seen in the pictures below.

OX 205 r U1 displaying new Brookes red livery 200714 G Francis

OX 202 r U1 Queens College OX 220714 M Crowe

OX 207 r 4A Repainted from Brookes livery 300514 G Francis

OX 208 r 2A OX 090814 G Francis

Ralph Adams writes "From my observations, most days there are two buses on short term hires to Thames travel. It is often two Citaros but not the same bus for two days in a row. In contrast, 214 is the only Scania that I have seen on hire. Obviously that is in addition to 212/13 which have  TT transfers and printed legal details.

The hires normally have working blinds and I have been told that all TT destinations are held on some / all COMS buses, but the lists above the drivers heads only has the normal COMS destinations.

With the loss of the school routes at Wokingham, 911 will be surplus but being 04 registration cannot be used in Oxford. The remaining routes left not coming into Oxford all only need small capacity buses except BB1 and BB2 school services." (see under Carousel Ed.)

Graham Low writes "Here is a view taken today at Carfax of an ex Brookes Bus blue-liveried OBC Scania 205 freshly painted red but with extensive branding for Brookes Bus and the University. At least one other has been so adorned. I guess it will be used at peak periods on routes U1 snd U5." 

Luke Braham writes "While bus spotting in Aylesbury on the 21st July I came across Oxford Bus Company 218 GF10OXF along Friarage Road outside the bus station. At first I did think it could have come from the Carousel Buses depot at High Wycombe but then I began to wonder why it was carrying a trade plate in the window. The destination display was also turned off so that gave no clues either. Any ideas?


Coach 62 showing the unique display with the route number to the right instead of the left. G Francis.


OX64 with dreaming spires 270714 R Sharman


Pulhams Coaches

PULHAMS YJ06YSU FLEMING WAY EAST on the 64 service taken over from Stagecoach on June 2nd. Seen by Tim Hall on June 4th.

Pulhams PU14HAM in Oxpens coach park on August 4th by Gavin Francis

Red Eagle

This company now has a number of local Buckinghamshire services using smartly turned out E200s as shown in the pictures below.

Red Eagle MV59ASX WYC 110814 G Francis

Red Eagle MX09HJN r 583 Uxbridge 050814 G Francis

Red Rose

This company trialled an M A N /MCV bus but the trial did not result in the bus joining the fleet.

Red Rose AE59AWN r 275 WYC 010714 G Francis



Revised services on the West Oxfordshire services are included in the link below.

Additional Gold buses have joined the Oxford fleet, these being similar to previous batches but are fitted with seat belts for possible use on London services via the M40.

They first appeared on ex tra services on the Game Fair days at Blenheim.

SCO 15964 S3 extra for the Game Fair with your Editor driving GG 200714 G Francis

SCO 15966 holding for S3 to Oxford from Woodstock 190714 M Crowe

Other pictures from this event.

SCO 15616 Game Fair at Blenheim 190714 M Crowe

SCO 47239 Game Fair on the Hanborough Stn Shuttle 190714 G Irvine

SCO buses for Game Fair at Blenheim 190714 M Crowe

Other pictures from Oxfordhsire.

SCO 47658 on the S1 at Freidswide Sq OX 280714 M Crowe

SCO 47831 at Oxford 190614 M Crowe - was not used in service from Oxford and was returned to Banbury.

SC Midlands Driver Training 52526 at Horspath depot on July 7th by Malcolm Crowe

Oxford diversion due closure of George St with various buses in Beaumont St 290514 G Francis

SCO 15754 on the 31 St Aldates OX 040814 G Francis

SCO 15965 on the S5 express normally worked by a Tube. There was no correct destination display available.
Bicester 210714 G Francis 


SC Swindon 15648 branded for 49 but working 66 GG 290514 G Francis

SC West 15969 leaves Swindon for Oxford on the 66 on 24th June by Tim Hall

15973 in Swindon on June 6th by Tim Hall.

I have included a large number of pictures of the new Tubes plus some older ones. These new coaches are still being delivered.

Fleet Number

Astromega Double Deck Coach Oxford Tube

Chassis Number

Body Number

Reg Number


Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)





Oxford (Tube)




50270 having picked up guests for the launch at Network Oxford on July 16th leaves Gloucester Green - Graham Low.

SCO 50272 awaiting delivery at Wellingborough on 140714 - Malcolm Crowe

SCO new wash being installed on June 2nd by Malcolm Crowe

50263 receives its first wash in Oxford in the new facility. July 10th by Gavin Francis.

One of the reasons for the new wash was to provide brushes to wash the roof windows on the new coaches.

For promotional purposes a film company was was hired to get shots of the top of the coach.
Here one can see the drone which was used. July 9th by Gavin Francis.

50266 and 50225 at Thornhill on the launch day - Gavin Francis

50266 passing under the overbridge at junction 5 on the M40 gives opportunity to see the glass roof from the outside. 19 July by Gavin Francis

50262 and three other new coaches in Buckingham Palace Road on July 28th by Gavin Francis

A night time shot of 50264 in Green Line on August 10th by Gavin Francis.

m50273 pauses at Shepherds Bush on August 3rd by Malcolm Crowe

50275 on its first day in service at the London terminus July 30th by Malcolm Crowe.

50264 on the 31 to Wantage on August 5th by Malcolm Crowe.

SCO 50271 heads down The High in Oxford 270714 R Sharman

And now some pictures of the old fleet on its final days in service.

SC 50227 with SCO 50226 and 50208 in Sammys on June 3rd by Malcolm Crowe
I had waited 5 years to get a picture of 226 with 227!!

A selection of Stagecoach Astromegas in Sammys which since Tubes no longer layover in this facility is now historical.
June 3rd 2014 by Malcolm Crowe.

On July 28th I went to Arriva at Cleckheaton to collect the coach after new engine had been fitted and this coach
has now gone North to Scotland for further service. Malcolm Crowe

If you look further down the page you will find pictures of the day when I took 50204 to Kilmarnock. 


The last delivery of Interdeckers are now used on service to Europe.

SC Megabus 54213 on ME5 to Paris near VCS 220514 G Francis

53005 on the ME2 Amsterdam service near VCS on June 6th by Gavin Francis

SC Megabus 53639 on Leeds service in Oxford 090814 G Francis

Megabus Freestones Van Hool GX11PKC on the M16 near VCS on 300714 G Francis

By 7th August this coach had been reregistered, taken again by Gavin Francis.
UEA is University of East Anglia. 

Several vehicles have left the fleet to join the Carousel fleet and this can be seen above.

Solo SR 721 on the 25A in Magdalen St East 270714 R Sharman

The loss of route in Berkshire produced the superfluous vehicles which were able to move elsewhere.


Peter Edgar writes "I took the attached whilst on the way to the RM60 event in Finsbury Park on July13th 2014. Timebus RM 479 and SRM 7 turning from the North Circular Road into Bounds Green Road, I was standing on the platform of RML 2310 which also attended the event."

Timebus RM479 at Oxpens 050814 M Crowe


The Commonwealth Games in pictures by George Irvine

First were awarded the contract to provide transport for the games and subcontracted much of the work to Stagecoach. They drafted in large numbers of buses from other areas including a large number of Tridents from London.

George Irvine was one of the people from Oxford who were drafted north to help at the Commonwealth Games. He took some nice pictures at Wigan and then in Scotland which are included below.

George took a old Tube up and 50215 is seen after refuelling being washed at Wigan.




SC 50215 at Cumberhauld 220714 G Irvine


Never knew SC had motorbikes 220714 G Irvine



Far from its London base, normally seen in Oxford and along the M40, here seen in Edinburgh by George Irvine


Scotland by Marcus Lapthorn

We spent a very pleasant week in Scotland recently. We started off in Edinburgh and here are attached photos of buses and trams in that fair city.  

The tram system is brilliant with a flat fare of £1-50 per single journey but £5 to the airport. The trams give a very smooth ride and run on reserved tracks when leaving the City. 

The current end of the line is on Leith Road. Trams were originally planned to run to Leith but because of contractual disputes the project ran out of time and money. It is hoped that once the trams have proved successful, then the line will eventually be expanded to Leith. One photo is seen of Inglestone Park & Ride.




Various pictures of buses in Edinburgh



Picture  3 shows a coach that used to operate out of Kettering, now with Elizabeth Yule 101RTD at Aviemore 030714 M Lapthorn

These three pictures were taken at Aviemore.

Megabus 54049 on the M90 030714 M Lapthorn

Parks of Hamilton - Citylink Gold HSK650 at Aviemore with the 1300 Glasgow-Inverness 030714 M Lapthorn

20925 r 38 Aviemore 030714 M Lapthorn 030

Stagecoach Volvo B10M 20925 is one of just 5 high floor survivors on the Highland mainland, with a further 5 on Skye, I was informed by a driver.

An Astromega to Kilmarnock by Malcolm Crowe

The old fleet of 26 Astromegas, until recently the backbone of the Oxford tube service from Oxford to London are now being transferred to West Scotland and will serve the X25, X76 and X77 routes which serve Glasgow and west. I had the opportunity to take one of these north on Thursday, July 31st last. In company with my coach 50204 was another, 50212 driven by Pete Hancock.

We left Oxford a shade after 04.30 and drove northwards on the M40, M42 and M6, all of which were relatively traffic free. Approaching Preston, some 3½hrs later, we took a break at Charnock Richard services and had a welcome breakfast. After 50 minutes we were on our way again heading further north and after climbing Shap passed Carlisle and over the border towards Glasgow and the A74/M74. The scenery on this journey is really superb, the peaks of the mountains in Cumbria were wreathed in cloud and more mountainous scenery was revealed as we climbed Beatock passing two London Tridents heading southwards after service at The Commonwealth Games. Also heading south at several points were Megabus services en route to London, one Astromega with its trailer on the M11 service. All these Stagecoach company vehicles offered a flash of lights or a friendly wave as we headed even further towards Glasgow and our destination of Kilmarnock. The weather which had been quite nice when we left the south but now we ran through intermittent rain showers but as we neared our destination the weather brightened.

We turned off on to A71 to avoid the forecast traffic delays in Glasgow and followed a nice winding country highway towards the end of of our trip which was reached at 12.20.

Both coach ran well, although it seemed that 204 was some 2 mph faster than 212 for which I had to slow down on several occasions.

A number of pictures were taken when we arrived at Kilmarnock and one surprise was an old Oxford Tube coach, M103XBW, still in use for training.

SCWS 50204 and 50212 on arrival from Oxford at Kilmarnock depot 310714 M Crowe




We were taken after a break for pictures to Glasgow Central for our train journey back to Oxford and a very enjoyable day was finally "put to bed"

I intend visiting Glasgow and Ayr in September to get some pictures of our old coaches in service and in the meantime have been sent some pictures of 50222 in its new livery for service on the X25, Gary Hamilton, Engineering Manager at Kilmarnock.

Vinyls have yet to be applied and the Oxford Tube logos removed. Pictures by Gary Hamilton SC West Scotland.

Running Days


Ian Manning (centre) with Les Burton (left) on the day.

Marcus Lapthorn attended the Running ~Day which celebrated the career of Ian Manning, the retiring Managing Director of Stagecoach West.

"The 1952 single deck Leyland PSU1/15 BMS 222 is a fantastic vehicle with a very distinctive throaty roar from the engine! The driver, Dave from the Stagecoach body shop at Stroud, did a good job of handling the tricky gear changes and his crew Richard also from Slough depot made for a great team. The ride to Gloucester on this coach was a real step back in time and for me this was my favourite vehicle of the day."

Your Editor enjoyed a very pleasant day and relived his days with TAP the Portuguese Airlines and rids in Lisbon on the Carris fleet of AEC buses.

The Weymann bodied Regent was a real treat and with my eyes closed I could have been back in Lisbon in 1966!

James Freeman holds up a Bristol MW on the day. We did not know at the time that he was leaving Reading - and where to? Bristol !!

My own boss, Martin Sutton, conducted this AEC of East Kent.

Other buses attending the event. 

Nene Valley Railway by John Marsh

Thought you might like these.  Poor attendance by visiting buses but some enjoyable rides via Wansford Station on the Nene Valley Railway and Wansford Village.

Delaine 156 AD14DBL at the Nene Valley Railway Wansford Station Peterborough Bus Rally 060714 J Marsh

First 33816 passes through Wansford village Peterborough Bus Rally 060714 J Marsh

First 33816 YX63LKE attracts a large load at Wansford Station Peterborough Bus Rally 060714 J Marsh

Pub Crawl Possible Wishful Thinking Diamond Coaches N125YRW Wansford Station Peterborough Bus Rally 060714 J Marsh

Stagecoach 15654 FX10AFU crosses the Nene Valley Railway at Wansford Station Peterborough Bus Rally060714 J Marsh

and the pièce de résistance

1932 Short bodied Dennis Lancet MJ4549 Peterborough Bus Rally 060714 J Marsh

Hammersmith and City 150 by Mike Walker


Attached are a couple of shots taken outside Hammersmith stations yesterday during the special events to mark 150 Years of the Hammersmith & City line which included 3 round trips between Moorgate and Hammersmith hauled by Sarah Siddons westbound and Metropolitan No.1 east and using the Bluebell's Met set plus the Jubilee coach and milk van.


The B type shows a surprising turn of speed and showed a "clean pair of heels" to that modern box on wheels as it set off back to Acton. Methinks stopping it might have been a greater challenge!


Birmingham from Adam Green

I was up in Birmingham on Friday 11th July and I found ex Metroline TP25 with the Green Bus Company. Also a Dart and a Trident that were parked up near the Bull Ring

The Green Bus Company


National Experss Travel West Midlands


Buses in the Landscape

Peter Edgar writes "Attached is a photograph I took recently in Looe, Cornwall of a Western Greyhound Plaxton Beaver on route 573 to Polperro, I thought it may be suitable for the Buses in Landscape section."



Andy Churchill writes "Here is a bus in landscape Volvo Olympian 16294 (R294HCD) seen at the bus station at Portree on the isle of Skye on 23/06/2014 on the discover Skye open top tour for stagecoach in the highlands."


London in pictures by Gavin Francis

Abellio 2463 r 211 BPR 300614 G Francis

New Routemaster variety

Chelsea Flower Show

Wimbledon 2014

Go London PVL60 on training duties in London 060614 G Francis

LUL ADH13 r 94 McD overall ad 110614 G Francis

Other pictures of interest

Centaur FN62CYT at Oxpens 200714 G Francis

Omega ex SCO 50102 on M40 190714 G Francis

BYB Travel Ltd T39DJO, one time Oxford Tube 50039, at Oxpens 030814 G Francis


Golden Tours BX13BZG EB 300714 G Francis

SC London 10136 in special livery 200614 G Francis

Vale Travel T59NWL on schools at Lewknor 230614 G Francis


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.