Spottings & Jottings nr. 82 - January 16th 2015

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

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Well Christmas has come and gone and we are in a New Year, 2015. I find the passage of time goes rather more quickly as one gets older!!

Since the last issue we have seen a number of new vehicles entering service, the largest batch being the 18 new coaches now in use on he X5 Oxford-Cambridge service. These are 55 seaters at 14 metres long, just 0.2 less than the Oxford Tube Astromegas. They seem to fit into Gloucester Green Bus Station in Oxford quite well and the whole station now accepts much longer coaches than originally envisaged when the terminal was designed. Suggestions have been made that the layover bays may be closed to give more room to reversing vehicles but so far nothing has happened.

Talking about the X5, it's operation is now quite changed and it is no longer run under EU rules. Like a number of routes up and won the U.K. it has been split to enable it to run under Local Bus rules.  Leaving Oxford coaches proclaim Buckingham for Cambridge on the destination scrolls. This changes at Buckingham to Milton Keynes Coachway for Cambridge.
Moving on to the Coachway change is made to St. Neots for Cambridge and finally at St Neots just Cambridge, This in no way affect through passengers but assists the operation of the service.

Very shortly Oxford Bus will start operation of the 737 service to Stansted. Details of coaches to be used are to be found under the company heading.

As usual there are numerous pictures of various vehicles under the various operator headings.

To add to the difficulties of operating a bus service, Oxford has had more than its fair share of roadwork's in recent weeks with more to come. The picture below shows resurfacing to complete changes to the junction at the bottom of George Street. The picture was taken by Gavin Francis at 0130 on December 9th 2014.

Canadian developments.

Some interest was shown in matters in Canada and I have received the following from Alan Green which I hope readers find interesting.

Alan Green from Edmonton writes "I am a member of a volunteer-based organization called the Edmonton Radial Railway Society, and essentially we restore, maintain and operate trams, or to be more accurate, streetcars as they are called in Canada. We are based at Fort Edmonton Park, a reconstruction of Edmonton in its early years, with four separate sections - The Fort, 1885 Street, 1905 Street, 1920 Street - for historical accuracy, the streetcars operate along 1905 and 1920 streets. We carried more than 120,000 passengers during 2014. We operate May through September, and at Xmas/New Year. 

We also operate the High Level Bridge Line in Edmonton May through October. This is physically separate from Fort Edmonton Park. The bridge was completed by the Canadian Pacific Railway just over 100 years ago, is roughly 3,000 ft long. There are two bridge decks. The streetcars operate on the top deck,  about 150 feet above river level, road traffic uses a lower deck immediately below the streetcars. Originally there were 3 tracks on the top deck - the railway ran down the centre and the streetcars on each side - the original streetcar tracks were removed 60 years ago - the trains stopped operating 25 years but the rails were left in place, and that is where we operate. The route also includes a fairly long, curved tunnel plus numerous roadway crossings.  We carried almost 80,000 passengers in 2014.

Right now, we have a total of 8 cars operational, plus one under reconstruction and one down for long term major overhaul, with about another 15 stored for restoration over several decades. Several of these cars operated on the streets of Edmonton up until 1951, when the system was abandoned, and some are more than 100 years old. Others are from across Canada, plus one car each from Australia, Germany and Japan.

I work as a volunteer on restoration and maintenance during the winter, and drive streetcars during the summer. I am attaching photos of two of the cars to whet your appetite.


Here is our website address: 

If you poke around in there, you will find all kinds of interesting information about our society and what we do. 

I trust this will be of interest to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. 

Kindest regards, 

Alan Green



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:

Tuesday 20th January 2015. 

Scottish Independents of the past by Andy Baker.

Meetings are held in the new venu at:

 The Tree Hotel,

 63 Church Way,

Iffley Village, Oxford OX4 4EY


All meetings start at 19.15 although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.
The venue offers a wide range of excellent food

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 and for your patience in waiting for this issue.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 16th January 2015


Observations and pictures

Arriva LT326 on the 137 on December 22nd by Gavin Francis

Grayline OV51OOA on the 21 Bicester 050115 G Francis

HEYFORDIAN P417KSX - ex Lothian 417 on schr 903 STOKENCHURCH 091214 G Francis

Langston and Tasker on the 18 in Bicester 050115 G Francis

Weavaway S222AJW was Parks LSK819 then MC07YDK on NEx 040 VCS 241214 G Francis

Metroline LT1100 Oxford St XMAS lights 071214 G Seamarks

Centrebus 531 YY64GWF Peterborough xx1214 J Marsh

Delaine 157 AD64DBL Peterborough xx1214 J Marsh

Blue Star 1530 r 1 Winchester 020115 M Crowe

Express Motors CY12EMS Bangor 201214 M Crowe

Gwynfor Coaches - O R Jones S94EGK R 42 Bangor 201214 M Crowe

Lloyds YJ14BCZ r T2 Bangor 201214 M Crowe

Grayline MJI 1676 once Tube 50057, passing the SM depot Bicester 261214 R Sharman

Grayline T113KLD Bicester 261214 R Sharman

South Midland YJ13HHX Bicester Village P&R passing ex SM depot 261214 R Sharman

Adam Green
writes "I was at Bury St Edmunds on November 29th and there were some interesting vehicles there, some of which were ex London with Stevenson's Of Essex and Chambers of Sudbury, Suffolk."

Chambers W506WGH on 29th November by Adam Green.

Chambers W517WGH on 29th November by Adam Green.

Stephenson's Y284FJN Bury St Edmunds on 29th November by Adam Green.

Ralph Adams writes re County tendered services saying "Red Rose were trying to obtain a school contract to inter work with route 63 but were unable to obtain a suitable one. This to me seems stupid. The education section of the council does not actively work with public services. Joint awards should be able to obtain lower costs. The new Thames Travel service starts next Monday, 8 December which will require an extra bus. I have completely lost track on what vehicles Go Ahead have here. Carousel lose two Citaros to Oxford, Oxford gain a new Citaro and lose 873 (possibly back to Wycombe), 862 has gone to Wallingford, possibly replacing either 853/854 which is damaged. Vehicles back are 417/419/P480PLE from unknown places. I saw the last being moved in the workshop. So what will TT use?

Citaro 821 works 6 on December 17th taken by Graham Low.


The new route 17 Aylesbury to Bicester starts 5 January on an irregular frequency but about 2 hourly. Journey time about 40 minutes.


Regarding the 85, I think that 55 minutes to Aylesbury would have been difficult. Possibly they were always late so no passengers." 

Green Line 757 

Van Hool coaches 4372, 79, 84 and 86 have been moved to TGM for disposal.

They have been replaced by four Volvo B9R’s from TGM now in GL livery including the following:

4102     FJ60HYK
4103     FJ60HYL

4102 FJ60HYK at Victoria on December 23rd taken by Gavin Francis and Malcolm Crowe. 

Luke Braham writes "at Wycombe both P & R liveried buses 3701 and 3702 have been repainted into normal Arriva livery. I had thought that this would be to give more flexibility to run these buses on different routes, but actually, they are still the two buses that are usually rostered on this route! 3701 still advertises the Park and Ride in its back window, but 3702 doesn't. 

Loaned ALX400s 6243 S291 JUA and 6244 S272 JUA left Aylesbury depot on the 29th December for the Hemel Hempstead depot. Pictures of them in service at Aylesbury are shown below.

The term Halton Camp dates from the first world war. it seems strange that it is still used!

3909 BU06 HSO is currently away being refurbished to MAX specification and having its luggage racks removed. 

I got a better picture of 3914 in its MAX livery today if you would prefer to use that one instead.

Adam Green writes "the last three Plaxton Centro's 3403,3404,3405 are expected to return to Watford in the New Year for the 8's in Watford, replacing them are 3503,3504 and 3225 .

Arriva 3224 at Stokenchurch with the twins on December 9th taken by Gavin Francis.

Dart 3388 on the 40 at Stokenchurch on January 15th taken by Gavin Francis.
High Wycombe seems to attract the older buses from other depots.

3829 near Lewknor on January 7th taken by Gavin Francis.

4072 now all white leaving Victoria on the 797 on December 23rd taken by Gavin Francis.

Wales 0002 (YJ04BKF) based at Bangor, Gwynedd, for Rail Replacement seen on December 20th and taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Wales 3176, one a new batch to work the X5 Caernarfon-Llandudno service, seen at Bangor Y Cloc on December 20th and taken by Malcolm Crowe.


Volvo B7TLs PN02 XCA, PN02 XCK, PN02 XCT: are now with Redbridge Transport.

Nigel Peach writes "Old Dart 480 (P480 MLE) has re-entered service at Wycombe. I've seen it on the 35 and 336 in the last week. It had been in use as a mobile office with Thames Travel for some time and sadly, looks rather scruffy.

As you have reported, purple 415 and 417 (AF53 GCX/Z) have returned to Wycombe after being replaced by newer buses.  

Should I be concerned that Carousel are having older buses dumped into Wycombe, replacing newer ones? 873 and 874 (AE61 EWO/P) have gone on loan to Oxford which is presumably why 415 and 417 are still around?

This sort of policy sounds more like Arriva!!" 


Glenn de Sousa writes "Six new buses were due from Dawsons for start of service on 5th January.

- Five ADL Enviro 200 10.8m for Bedfont Lakes, registered KX64 AEF/G/J-L. Unsure of the finance of these - either long-term lease or owned outright with Dawson's acting as a dealer.

- One Optare Solo 9.0m for Foundation Park, also through Dawsons, registered KX64 AEM.

Optare Solo YJ10 EZX will be reallocated to Milton Park to operate alongside the Hybrid deckers.

Bracknell tenders are due to be announced in February for July start - these will be interesting to watch - 53/153,108,152,154,156,162 are up for tender."

This company is certainly expanding. Heathrow to Didcot!!!! Ed.

 Motts were in evidence working the NEx 737 following breakdowns. Gavin Francis was working a night duty and caught MT09MTT on the 0100 737.

This coach was that used in the TV programme coach trip. Refer to earlier editions of this page.

Start Hill coaches re-registered

SH04 FJ07DVK to MIG9442

SH07 FJ07DVN to MIG9441

SH09 FJ07DVP to MIG9440

SH10 FJ07DVR to MIG9439

SH35 FJ57KHC to MIG9438

SH37 FJ57KHE to MIG9437 

A study in backs, all Plaxton !!
NEx Excelsior 615 at GG OX 171214 G Francis

NEx South Gloucestershire BN64FKV at VIC GL 221214 G Francis

NEx Yeomans FJ08KNX r 444 VCS 241214 G Francis

Go Ahead-Tourist Coaches 7132 YN07EWT on NEx dupe 241214 G Francis 

Andrew Tyldsley writes "You might already have picked this up locally, but two National Express coaches have transferred from Go North East to Oxford Bus, for the forthcoming start of the 737 service:

7118 FJ60 KVP

7119 FJ60 KVR

both Volvo B9R/Caetano, acquired by Go North East from Your Bus at the end of 2013."

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus confirms "We so far have four coaches on site. Our fleet numbers are also noted.

48 is FJ60HXT

49 is FJ60HXU

51 is FJ60KVP

52 is FJ60KVR 

Coaches 48 and 49 are on loan to us from National Express whilst coaches 51 and 52 are internal permanent acquisitions from Go North East (their 7118 and 7119). Coach 50 will be a loan vehicle from National Express but this is being sourced at the moment."

Gavin Francis has provided pictures of some of these coaches in service with their original operators. 


Other information.

Volvo B12Bs AB07OXF, JB07OXF from Ensign to F: Dawson Rentals.

Graham Low writes "Oxford 862 has full size Thames Travel fleet names on its still red livery, and was on the X39/40 recently and I saw a Go Ahead London liveried PVL on driver training in the High Street today, but failed to get its number or snap it." 

Gavin Francis writes "Anybody reported OBC are using an ex-London PVL for training. It has fleet number 444 on it but it may not be a OBC number. Saw it twice in Oxford and it was in Stokenchurch yesterday morning?"

Robin Harrison writes "Just wanted to let you know if you already didn't know, during October 2014 I purchased Ex City of Oxford Motor Services Dennis Dart Marshall C37 -
507 (M507VJO) from Metrobus who either had two choices for the bus either to be scrapped or used a spares donor for someone else's project.

At the first minute, even though with me having not much interest with the Oxford fleet at the time I didn't take much interest it was only until the proposition was put to me that the plans went into fruition and during October 2014, 507 left its base at Crawley for West Sussex where it is currently being preserved to Oxford condition with myself.

I just wondered if any readers have any pictures and memories of the vehicle itself."

507 during viewing the bus at Crawley. 

Oxford Bus pictureview

OX 363 r 2B OX with WiFi sticker 171214 G Francis

OX 845 r 2 OX 221214 G Francis

OX366 r 3 Iffley Rd OXF 151214 M Crowe 

One time Oxford 408 now with Plymouth-216-R408FFC-Milehouse-031010 by Michael Wadman. 

Coaches 1-5, the X90 coaches are now with Weavaway's Noah Vale fleet. They are W30, 40, 50, 60 and 70OOW now.

COMS 992 in 1979 by Marcus Lapthorn.


Information from Luke Braham and Nick Cherry who have advised known fleet numbers for the Red Rose fleet which are as follows:



ADL Enviro200



ADL Enviro200



ADL Enviro200



ADL Enviro200



ADL Enviro200



ADL Enviro200


R445 LGH

Dennis Dart



Dennis Dart


W402 UGM

Dennis Dart


W407 UGM

Dennis Dart


W408 UGM

Dennis Dart


W411 UGM

Dennis Dart


X513 UAT

Dennis Dart


X514 UAT

Dennis Dart


X519 UAT

Dennis Dart


X523 UAT

Dennis Dart


Y116 HWB

Alexander ALX200


Y215 HWF

Alexander ALX200


Y358 LCK

East Lancs Spryte[MC1] 


Y359 LCK

East Lancs Spryte


Y829 TGH

Dennis Dart


Y842 TGH

Dennis Dart


Y845 TGH

Dennis Dart


Y848 TGH

Dennis Dart



ADL Enviro200



Alexander ALX200



Dennis Dart



Dennis Dart



ADL Enviro200

Luke Braham adds "Red Rose have recently brought Plaxton President W496 WGH which carries Red Rose fleet livery. Its fleet number is currently unknown."

 Nick Cherry adds "two very recent purchases ready for our new aylesbury to Bicester contract and the take over of the 16/17 from arriva commencing January ex go-ahead Volvo deckers:

W495 WGH will be 50532

W496 WGH (sporting a golden livery rather than yellow and standard red and promotional writing on the side) 50533


50526 in Bicester on the 17 taken by Gavin Francis. 

Gavin Francis writes "LOTS report Red Rose have bought and put into service PVL 95 and PVL 96 on the new Aylesbury - Bicester route from last Monday. Of course I was there last Monday but did not see them. They are the first double deckers used by the company in normal service."

London General PVL 95 at VICTORIA STATION 180907 Gavin Francis.

London General PVL 96 in Church Rd Wimbledon 230714 Gavin Francis.



Old Oxford M A N s still around in Yorkshire. 

22913 Barnsley to reserve

22914 Barnsley to reserve

22915 Barnsley to Ecclesfield

22918 Barnsley to reserve

22919 Barnsley to reserve

22923 Barnsley to reserve

22925 Ecclesfield to reserve

22926 Chesterfield to reserve

22928 Barnsley to reserve

22929 Barnsley to reserve

22931 Barnsley to reserve

22935 Barnsley to reserve

22938 Barnsley to reserve

Allocation changes

47239 reserve to Witney
47434 reserve to West Scotland


The Gold service SW1 from west Oxfordshire to London continues to run and I received a picture and link from Terry O'Neill. He writes "Here is a link to my photo of Stagecoach Oxford 15964 taken at Holland Park Roundabout heading for Central London."

This Dart was until recently operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire as 33464 and is now with Diamond Bus.
Diamond Bus 30203 V464TVV r 303 080115 by Richard Sharman

33464 at OXFORD DEPOT 030514 by Gavin Francis

36930 on the 14A in Oxford with WiFi sticker 171214 Gavin Francis

Solo 47454 on the 26 in Bicester 050115 Gavin Francis

Hybrid 12012 on the 3 on the Iffley Rd 151214 Malcolm Crowe


Quite a number of pictures are to hand of the new Volvo coaches which entered service on the X5 on January 4th.

SC East 54311 r X5 in Bicester 050115 G Francis

SC East 54314 r X5 in Bicester 050115 G Francis

SC East 54309 at Gloucester Green on the X5 040115 M Crowe

One of the first services seen at Oxford at 08:18 on January 4th by Grace McKenzie.

54308 visited Horspath Road depot on December 11th prior to a launch in Oxford the next day. Taken by Malcolm Crowe.


SC Midlands 37055 on the 8 in Bicester 050115 Gavin Francis


I had occasion to visit Stagecoach Winchester on January 2nd and was able to secure a number of interesting pictures plus a trip on an ex Manchester Olympian on local route 3.

Still in all day service 20228 is seen above having just worked a route 2 service in Winchester Bus Station (It still is operational!!!)

Recently transferred to Winchester, 27512 is seen at the depot.

There is an excellent Park & Ride service which I sampled travelling on 27620 seen here in The Broadway.
The little boy reminds of those railway posters of pre war times.

34253, an MPD is seen in the Bus Station on a route 4 service.

Dart 34452 is seen on a route 2 working in the centre of Winchester.

36023 is branded for route 5 one of the FLOCK services.

36026 is branded for the SPRING service as is 36917.

Unusually an Olympian, 16767, was used on route 3 to Weeke on the journey I took. A lovely bus!

Volvo 52619 is one of the training fleet.

37263 and 37264 pass through Oxford depot on their way to South. Gavin Francis.

37272 at Oxford on 15th December on its way south. M Crowe.


Herewith a of the re-registrations of Van Hool coaches.


Depot- AYR                  

Depot- Glasgow


50223 at Abronhill

50224 WLT809 on the X25 in GLASGOW on December 6th by G Scott

53320 is now in X25 livery - January 8th 2015.

53718 and 53722 transferred south from the X7 route and now working the X54.

Volvo B9R Plaxton Elite 53718 TSV718 org SN61 ABK & 53722 TSV 722 org SV11 FSC. When new in Coastliner route X7 livery for Dundee to Aberdeen now repainted into current livery.

One of the first new E400s for Manchester, 10401, bringing the new style bodywork to the Group.
Taken by gordon Scott at Alexander, Falkirk/

All the above pictures by Gordon Scott.

Scotland Vehicle disposals

Volvo B12B / Plaxton
54024 (PX07 EAC),
54028 (SF07 AMX)  both returned to lessor

Neoplan Skyliner
50128 (SV54 ELJ),
50143 (CN05 FVW),
50146 (YN05 WEF),

50150 (YN05 WEK) sold to Ensignbus (dealer) 

YN05 WEK, SV54 ELJ to Herbert’s Travel, Shefford, Beds.

SV54 ELO: Jan’s Coaches, Ely, Cambs.
YN05 WEF: Barkerbus, Roydon, Essex.

50126 (SV54 ELC),
50127 (SV54 ELH),
50130 (SV54 ELU)

50139 (CN05 FVU),
50149 (MX05 BWO) sold to Plaxtons

If any readers can help with a picture of a Guy UF/Alexander coach (ex London service) fleet number KG968 which goes back to 1964/5, I would appreciate same. I drove this coach from Manchester to Glasgow and back when working for Ribble. 


New headlight units are fitted as a trial to two Astromegas. They are 50269 and 50276.

50269 is seen at Hillingdon by Gavin Francis on January 7th.

New Year 2015 saw the usual number of services operating every 15 minutes from 0030 until 0445.
Gain Francis operated the first service of the New Year from London with 50263 as seen in this picture by Richard Morgan.


Gavin got some pictures of the large number of Tubes awaiting return to Oxford on New Year's morning.


SCO 50282 High St OX 291114 R Sharman

Delivered to Glasgow at the end of the year were three Van Hool Astromega deckers for Megabus’ Gold Sleeper service. These will be the first in the UK fleet fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control

50311 YJ64 AUP
50312 YJ64 AUS
50313 YJ64 AUT

A surprise over Christmas was the appearance of left hand drive Astromegas from the Brussels depot on service to London.

56004 on the 27th December by Gavin Francis.

56011 in VCS on the 18th December by Pete Dyer.

I am told that 50 of these coaches are on order for European services including new ones in Germany.


The M14 goes to Worcester and the service is operated by Hamilton Gray.

GB07OXF yet to be repainted shows off its X90 livery in Worcester on Christmas Eve by Richard Sharman.

This time 20 - HB07OXF is in Hamilton Gray livery operating the M14 on December 14th by Richard Sharman


912 on the X39 by Richard Sharman on November 29th.

718 and 722 in Bicester on January 5th by Gavin Francis.

722 on the 23 at Bicester on January 5th by Gavin Francis.


Mike de Courcey has a number of National Express operations and Alan Drake sent a couple more pictures from the operator where they operate a number of contract services for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) between Birmingham Airport Car Parks and advanced design and engineering centres at Gaydon and Whitley

Mike de Courcey MJI2367 on the shuttle for JLR on June 13th by Alan Drake.

Vale Transport

Vale AU54ENY on the Sunday's only 48 in Stokenchurch by Gavin Francis.

An interesting picture of this operators past buses appears at the link below.



Matt Bullock writes " I'm seeking any information or knowledge readers might have (or have access to) about bus and coach operators in Oxfordshire. I've been researching the histories for a while now and have a wealth of information, but I'm sure some of you out there will have something to add. 

My interest is in all independent operators of whatever size (ie not COMS and Thames Transit, but everyone else) - the vehicles but also, and probably more importantly the history, liveries, services operated, and when companies started, where they were based, takeovers etc. 

If you have any info you're willing to share, please do get in touch. I'm happy to receive emails, stuff in the post, or can meet for a beer/lunch.  

The attachments are a  list of known operators, a list of known vehicles and the histories of the ceased operators. There are many gaps of missing info, so if you can fill any of them, I'd love to hear from you.

07977 517514

Blenheim Cottage, The Slade, Charlbury OX7 3SJ

From Mel Heir of the Swansea Bus Museum.

Wondering what info you have on the ex James Atlanteans that went to Oxford , Rumour has it that YTH 805 still survives and looking for information to trace it if true?

A question answered

Replies to last issue 

From Mick Payne

A magnificent issue on 30 November. Keith Shayshutt asked for some info on the history of the 280 (or 82 as it was originally). I can help a little. Originally run out of  COMS Thame Depot, responsibility for route 82 was transferred to United Counties Aylesbury garage under NBC auspices. COMS vehicles continued to be used but it wasn't unusual for them to wander. I recall seeing a COMS bus more than once on the 366 from Aylesbury to Halton Camp. Along with the rest of the COMS "country area" fleet, South Midland took over provision for route 82 in 1984. What happened in 1988 when South Midland was acquired by Transit Holdings is a bit of a mystery. It may be they didn't wish to be associated with Aylesbury. Whatever the reason, route 280 as it had become passed back to COMS in its new guise as the Oxford Bus Company. At about this time some short workings between Aylesbury and Thame were provided by Aylesbury Bus (part of Luton & District) as OBC decided to run the Oxford - Aylesbury service from Cowley. The disadvantage of this arrangement was that early and late journeys to and from Aylesbury ran practically empty, Oxford being the altogether more popular destination for through passengers. This fact wasn't lost on Motts Yellow Bus (of Stoke Mandeville) who first of all gained the contract for the supposedly loss-making evening and Sunday services and when they realised they could turn in a profit went on to provide a weekday service in competition with OBC. Motts similarly went head to head with Wycombe Bus (then part of OBC) on the Aylesbury - Wycombe route but in the event found they could not compete .As I recall in the summer of 1995 Luton & District bought out both Motts and OBC operations on the Aylesbury - Wycombe and Aylesbury - Oxford routes. That to Wycombe went to Chiltern Rover and the 280 to Aylesbury Bus, both part of Luton & District's growing empire which of course we know today as Arriva.

From Matt Bullock 

The other relates to Keith Shayshutt's question on the most recent page.  Without delving into my timetable archive (just using what's in the corners of my brain!)  I was a regular traveller on route 280 between Aylesbury and The Vale School, Stone (since closed and now a nursing home) between 1993 and 1995.  Prior to that my aunt and uncle lived in Haddenham (Britain's largest village at one stage) and have happy memories of travelling to Oxford and indeed viewing the vehicles operating the route from their upstairs window!  Their house was the last on Church Way next to the school.  You would see the buses (Aylesbury and Oxford bound) travel up Church Way turn at the end by the church then return down the same road.

Handy for taking pics!  OBC were the end to end operator and used VR's/Leyland Olympians.  All dual door of course (except the ex Harwell batch 236-239) 

The G-VWL 230-235 buses were favourites at the time being 'new' machines!  L&D ran Aylesbury to Thame using mainly the ARP-X Leyland Olympian batch but frequently Bristol VRs and Leyland Nationals would appear.  Route variants took L&D round some other villages on the way to Thame which OBC didn’t serve.


Motts Travel's Yellow Bus service also ran on the 280 end to end. Part of this placed buses in Oxford for OCC contract services and put some late night journeys on the timetable.  All manner of vehicles were used mainly the ex SYT Metrobuses.


The big change in Bucks and Oxon from 23rd July 1995 saw the end of Yellow Bus to The Shires and the rural operations of OBC and Wycombe Bus pass also to The Shires in exchange for urban routes in those respective towns.  This saw The Shires (L&D) take the end to end 280 service whilst OBC ran Oxford - Thame for a short time longer before withdrawing all to The Shires (L&D) in the end.  This also gave High Wycombe depot the 323/324 routes and brought Atlanteans of the 'AN'class to Aylesbury.  Thus Arriva ended up with the 280.

Ironically the G-VWL batch which ended up at High Wycombe and again were acquired by Arriva with Wycombe Bus in 2000 ended up back on the 280 route when some examples were transferred to Aylesbury.


From Ed Maun 

Re Keith Shayshutt’s request for info on the Oxford/Arriva 280 service between Aylesbury and Oxford.

I can throw some light on this subject but it all happened a long time ago now so the memory is a bit dim and my notes are now somewhat incomplete. As far as I remember the 280 stayed with COMS when (the new) South Midland took the country services of COMS, although they both may have shared it for a while. South Midland certainly took the back roads service between Aylesbury and Oxford via Cuddington and Long Crendon.  In the early 1990’s Motts Coaches began running bus services in competition  with the long standing local operators under the Yellow Bus name. This included an Aylesbury to Oxford service.

I believe this was during a time of recession and coaching was going through a difficult time – hence Motts deciding to  compete in the bus market! In the run up to privatisation of The National Bus Company the Luton and Aylesbury area of United Counties had been hived off as Luton and District which was subsequently acquired by, I believe, British Bus and became The Shires. The local depots still traded under local names; Aylesbury being Aylesbury Bus.

In July 1995 Motts sold their Yellow Bus services to The Shires and hence The Shires gained an Aylesbury to Oxford service. This sale by Motts appeared to trigger a great deal of activity in the exchanging and taking over various services including between The Shires with both its Aylesbury Bus services and Chiltern Bus services based in High Wycombe and COMS, including the COMS owned Wycombe Bus services. This resulted in Wycombe Bus running the High Wycombe town area services while The Shires in High Wycombe operated most of the out of town services,  and The Shires in Aylesbury assuming total control of the Aylesbury to Oxford main road service (the 280). 

British Bus subsequently merged with the Ewer organisation which had been growing as a bus service provider although originally a coaching outfit which reinvented itself as Arriva I believe in 1998.

Hence the 280 became an Arriva service. All very convoluted but typical of the early years post deregulation of bus services and sale of the National Bus Company in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s!

I hope this might be helpful – if anyone’s memory is better than mine I am quite happy to be corrected on the detail.

Finally a really lovely piece of history - 100 years ago. 

Ali Hough found a postcard in her grandfather's belongings. Here it is and thanks to Ali and husband Rob.
Cowley Road in 1914.

Buses in the Landscape


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.