Spottings & Jottings nr.  87 - 15th July 2015

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

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Remembering 7/7

Stagecoach London's E400 19000 remembers the tragedy of 7/7 in 2005 and is seen at ROMFORD on June 23rd by Gavin Francis.
I was on Park-up in London on that day and well remember the explosion which destroyed the bus on the number 30.
It occurred shortly after I arrived at Victoria, having carried a full load from Shepherd's Bush to Victoria,
not at that point realising why there were no other services running!
It was a strange morning with little or no traffic in central London except the many emergency vehicles.
The Oxford tube ended up with some 15 coaches parked up around Green Line waiting for the all clear to load up.
Indeed we were one of the very few, if not the only, operators who remained in central London during that fateful morning.
By lunchtime there was a growing queue of passengers waiting to travel and we were unable to operate until 1430.
Let us remember and never forget those who lost their lives or were injured on that sad day.

Scoop !

First glimpse of one of Oxford's new StreetDecks, SL15ZGJ, recently arrived at Heysham Docks taken on July 12th by Gez.
I am told that these buses will not have cherished registrations, a first for many years with OBC.

Other news:

This has been a busy time, especially so with the London Underground strike and problems on the First Great Western lines. This has thrown a lot of traffic on to the buses and coaches also adding to the traffic on the roads. This issue has a number of interesting related pictures.

Extra capacity.

Arriva 5436 works the 758 from Hemel Hempstead and seen in Oxford St on TUBE STRIKE DAY - July 9th by Gavin Francis
Rather interesting since this bus worked into Oxford on the 280 from Aylesbury for a number of years, little expecting to rub shoulders once again
with the Oxford tube and the X90!!!!

Also taking place was Wimbledon 2015 and this is extensively covered by Gavin Francis.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - Olympian NV171 in London's Oxford Street on July 9th seen by Gavin Francis.

Another interesting item is that by Marcus Lapthorn who visited the Seaton Tramway in Devon.

Seaton Tramway nr 12 at Seaton Workshops on July 9th by Marcus Lapthorn.

Perhaps a significant item of news is that European Parliament has supported freedom to take pictures in public places. Many of you may have experienced challenges from members of the public, especially drivers of buses and coaches, who claim it is illegal to take pictures which show them. Now if you can see it you take pictures legally.

Full details on the above items are included in Jottings below.

The Harwell Connector bus service has arrived!

New high frequency bus service connecting Didcot Parkway and Harwell Campus

The Harwell Connector is new high frequency bus service, connecting Didcot Parkway and Harwell Campus with buses up to every 15 minutes.

Every bus has free Wi-Fi on board.  

Buses are numbered as either X1 or X32, with many services continuing onto Wantage, Milton Park, Abingdon and Oxford. 

Full details are available on the Thames Travel website

Citaro 862 operates an X2 service, in the new Connector livery, seen on St Aldates on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

Running Days

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.


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:

19th July – Trip running to Alton Bus Rally
leaving from Didcot Parkway & Newbury bus station.

Cost is free - Email society for departure times. 

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

Saturday 22nd August 2015

Introducing IMBERBUS  

In 2009, a group of bus industry professionals achieved a long standing ambition to run a vintage bus service from Warminster in Wiltshire, to the abandoned village of Imber on the Salisbury Plain.  It proved to be so popular that it has now become an annual event, with most journeys continuing across Salisbury Plain to parts of Wiltshire rarely seen by public transport users.  Each year the profits from operating the service are donated to The Friends of St Giles' Church, Imber, and to the Royal British Legion.

On the day we will be using at least 7 former London Transport Routemaster buses (and a few modern ones as well) to provide a bus service approximately every 30 minutes from Warminster Station to Imber.  From there the buses will continue on to Gore Cross, then either proceed across the plain to Brazen Bottom and the Lavingtons, or turn right and carry on to Tilshead and Chitterne. There is also an hourly service from Gore Cross to New Zealand Farm Camp.

All the buses are designed to meet up at Gore Cross to allow passengers to swap between them (and to take a few photographs), so even with a short stop at Imber, it is possible to travel on our entire network in about 4 hours. 

Where can I go when I get to Imber ?  

The main attraction at Imber is the 16th century St Giles' Church which is run by The Friends of St Giles who are volunteers. This is the only building open to the public in the village and is worth visiting (see  for more information).  As our buses run through Imber twice an hour, most of our passengers spend about 30 minutes to an hour at Imber, then board another Imberbus to view other parts of Salisbury Plain. 

Please note that whilst in the military area, access is limited to the following:

    The “main road” that runs from Warminster through Imber to Gore Cross;

    Imber Church and the path and field between it and the main road;

    The road that runs north from near Imber to Bratton;

    The road that runs south from Imber towards Heytesbury;

    The Imber Range Perimeter Path (open all year round).  

Please note that all other roads, paths, buildings and fields are strictly off-limits – this particularly applies to the burnt out tanks and the “houses” at Imber which were constructed by the military for training purposes and are not original.  

Where will I be able to get something to eat or drink ?  

Light refreshments will be available inside Imber Church and at Chitterne Village Hall.

You might also want to sample one of the country pubs along the route – our route to Chitterne stops right outside the Rose & Crown at Tilshead and our buses pass near to other hostelries at Market Lavington, West Lavington and Chitterne which may be open for part of the day. 

What other facilities are available at Imber

The short answer is almost nothing! As Imber is normally closed to the public there are no shops, no permanent toilets and no mobile phone reception. We therefore strongly recommend that you prepare for this before you board the bus (the nearest public toilets will be at Warminster Station and alongside Warminster Central Car Park).

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. p>

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - July 15th 2015



Observations and pictures

Gordon Scott writes "I was at Alexander's Falkirk today, June 26th, and include three shots attached two Stagecoach Buses and one for National Express West Midlands Platinum service leaving on there delivery run." 

Stagecoach London Volvo B5LH Enviro 40H MMC BF15KHE.

Stagecoach Gold Scania Enviro 300 YM15FPO

I understand that these Gold E300's are for Wales 13, Banbury 5 and West Cumbria 2.

(Indeed this E300 is for Stagecoach Banbury with fleet number 28742, the first of a batch of five, 28742-28746 for use on the S4 between Banbury and Oxford. Ed.)

West Midlands Platinum Enviro 400 MMC, 6721 SN15LDD. 

And now shots attached of New Lothian Wright Bus Gemini 3,s for Edinburgh Airport to Waverly Bridge route 100. First day in service, I caught up with them as I was working night shift last night and caught up with them early this morning at Edinburgh Airport. 

Shots of 428 SA15VTF and 429 SA15VTG. 

Another two shots of new Lothian Airlink Wright Bus Gemini 3,s taken close to my home in Corstorphine, Edinburgh on Airlink route 100.

432 SA15VTL and 426 SA15VTD.

For anyone working in Oxford at present there is the ever present road and building works taking place. What visitors must think I can only imagine. On the hottest day of the year, one Wednesday recently the temperature reached 31ºC and the demolition works continued with contractors trying, unsuccessfully to contain the dust using sprays of water, the full impact of the work must have been felt by anyone with hundreds of yards of the old Westgate Car Park.

The area around the Westgate on July 1st by Frazer Peddle.

City Sightseeing 56 in middle of Frideswide Sq. works on July 1st by Frazer Peddle. 

and TGM

Peter Cabin writes "I noted today, July 1st, in high Wycombe a new StreetLite in Arriva colours. I have to presume this was here for crew training in advance of Wycombe's own allocation. Also noted 3862 is back in service today on route 31 with 3865 on route 74. 3866 was on the 800/850. The other five similar buses are away having major repairs ."

2518 LK15FFS seen in High Wycombe on July 1st by Peter Cabin.

Other pictures of this operator.

4101 on the 757 with £10 pound branding now being applied, seen on June 30th by Gavin Francis.

There is a major article on Arriva in Bangor, Gwynedd under Trips below.

551 and 552 now both re-registered seen on the 40 in Stokenchurch on June 25th by Gavin Francis.

Solo 713 pauses in Stokenchurch last Friday on a 40 working, unusually so as we do not often see this type - July 10th by Malcolm Crowe.


First is to close Bracknell depot in the Autumn and have sold service 90 to Reading Buses. The 700-702 Green Line route will be worked by Slough.


Luton based LA159 FJ13ECF on TUBE STRIKE DAY showing the increased use of easyBus branding on these coaches - July 9th by Gavin Francis.

South Gloucestershire's YN08MOA leaves Gloucester Green on the 302 - June 24th by Gavin Francis.

Continued use of Oxford's own coaches sees 46 on the 737 in Stokenchurch on June 25th taken by Gavin Francis.

We are drawing ever closer to the arrival of the new StreetDecks for 5 road with the first example having been seen at Heysham Docks en route to the company. (See Editorial above)

The first blue 15 metre coaches are having the accident damage repaired and look quite smart these days. I think that part of the problem lies in the fact that drivers are changing from shorter coaches to the longer ones in the same shift.

65 with near side repairs complete seen on June 23rd by Gavin Francis.

A number of older Citaros have been seen on hire to Thames Travel, presumably whilst other Citaros have been gaining Connector livery. See separate item in the Editorial

Unusually JR branded 865 is seen on a 5 road working on June 29th by Gavin Francis.

E400s 202 and 206 are seen on city routes on June 29th by Gavin Francis.

The only old Trident remaining in Oxford is 114 the spare bus for the Chiltern Rail contract.
July 1st by Frazer Peddle.

1582, one of the loaned buses for the Chiltern Rail contract to Bicester loads at Oxford Rail Station on July 1st by Frazer Peddle.

Graham (Glowpigs) writes "The previously noisy flywheels on OBC Scanias 201-6 and ADL E40DMMC 601-14 seem silent now. Have they been modified to good effect, or have they been disconnected? These were introduced last year as significant fuel-saving devices, with a lot of publicity. I’m curious to know what has happened - do you know?"

 The company advises that there have been numerous experiments taking place and switch offs have occurred and are still doing so.


W495WGH branded for route 17 seen at Bicester's Pioneer Square on June 26th by Eddie Neal.



As mentioned in the Editorial the first of the Scania/E300 Gold buses for the S4 has been seen on test at Alexander's factory in Falkirk. (Picture in Editorial.)

E200 36764 has recently transferred to Banbury and is seen above on an S4 working on July 11th by Richard Sharman.

Another E200, 36760, is seen on an 11 working on 29th June by Gavin Francis.


53618, one of the last remaining Panther coaches used on the X5 service is seen in Oxford
on July 11th by Richard Sharman.


!5841 was recently transferred from Gloucester to Swindon in exchange for a 64 tacho registered Gold Bus.
It is seen here in Oxford on a 66 working on July by Malcolm Crowe.


Much has been going on in the development of Megabus services in Europe. I can give you details of the Astromegas now in use on European services. Pictures of these coaches in service would be appreciated.

Megabus Europe 

The registrations and allocations of the European registered fleet of Van Hool TD927 14.2m LHD coaches:



1 JES 614






1 JES 619






1 JES 809






1 JES 812






1 JES 815






1 JES 821






1 JES 831






1 JES 826






1 JES 838






MEG 4010






MEG 4011






MEG 4012






MEG 4013






MEG 4014






MEG 4015






MEG 4016






MEG 4017






MEG 4018






MEG 4019






MEG 4020



































A UK change is the transfer of some Altanos to Rugby, they have been in store there for several months, being re-registered with UK plates.

Stagecoach Midlands has now registered its five Van Hool TX21 Altano LHD coaches with UK registrations. 55011-15 now carry registrations KX14HSV/U/O, KX14HTV/U/T.

 Scania/Levante 59301-05 are all now in the main Megabus fleet based at Rugby.
                                                    59302 is seen on a Holyhead working on July 8th by Malcolm Crowe.

Other Megabus pictures

Ex Tube 50204 seen working a Cardiff service from VCS on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

On its way to Holyhead ex Tube 50221, now in full Megabus livery, leaves VCS on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

We now often see Citylink 900 vehicles from Scotland on the M20.
54134 is seen near VCS on June 24th by Gavin Francis.

Another Citylink 900 coach, 54137 on the Edinburgh/Glasgow service on July 2nd by Gavin Francis.

Megabus coaches now with other operators.

Corbell's CN07BAA ex Megabus 54003 in Oxford on July 11th seen by Richard Sharman.

Corbell's SV56BWB ex Megabus 54008 in Oxford on July 11th seen by Richard Sharman.

Jans SV54ELO ex Stagecoach Bluebird 50129 in Oxford on July 11th seen by Richard Sharman.

Seaford's NE05SEA ex SC Megabus in St Giles, Oxford on July 11th seen by Richard Sharman.
This coach joined SC as 50136 (LX05BWL) based in London and later moved to West Scotland and later still gained the registration WLT978.
It was latterly used on the X76 to Glasgow based in Kilmarnock.


Much has been reported on Thames Travel's new service, the Connector from Didcot Station to Harwell Campus. The company has provided at least three Citaros in a special livery (862-864).

Jack cooper has provided these pictures of the launch which took place at Didcot Parkway Station.
Phil Southall is seen with Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council

Oxford's Folly Bridge plays host to two of the Connector buses coming from and going to Harwell.
July 11th seen by Richard Sharman.

864 on the X2 in Connector livery on Abingdon Rd seen on July 8th by Malcolm Crowe. 

Several Citaros have been on loan from Oxford Bus.

828 on an X40 working seen in St Aldates on loan from OX Bus on July 11th by Gavin Francis.

830 on an X40 working seen in St Aldates on loan from OX Bus on July 10th by Glowpigs.


Freedom of Panorama is saved!

10 Jul 2015 — Your voices have been heard by the European Parliament and by the European Commission! After handing over the half a million signatures on Wednesday, the parliament voted yesterday with a big majority against any restriction of the Freedom of Panorama!

When handed over the petition to MEP Julia Reda, she was “overwhelmed by the responses to the petition” and stated that “the petition has changed the debate in the parliament considerably and a lot of the parliamentary groups that originally voted for a restriction of Freedom of Panorama are clearly changing their mind about this.”

And the debate changed indeed – even MEP Jean-Marie Cavada, who started everything with his proposal of restricting the Freedom of Panorama in the first place, called upon the other members of the Parliament to vote against his own amendment. Many politicians brought the Freedom of Panorama up in the debate and mentioned that they’ve received “hundreds of e-mails and letters” from concerned people – from you!

Also the European Commission gave a clear statement by Commissioner Günther Oettinger that they “don’t intend to restrict the Freedom of Panorama”. Instead he says that “
what you can see with your eyes as a citizen, on public places and streets in Europe, you should be allowed to also photograph it with a camera.”

The primary goal is accomplished. The parliament voted under applause that the existing Freedom of Panorama is not taken away from anybody and we can all take a deep breath. However, we do not forget about photographers from France, Italy and other countries that currently don’t enjoy this Freedom. We hope that the European Commission understood that this essential freedom has to apply all over Europe and we will closely monitor the proposal for the copyright reform by the European Commission that is due by the end of the year.

Now we may pursue our hobby without hindrance and fear of prosecution.

Blackpool update 

Geoff Cunliffe sent an interesting link for those interested in matters on the West Lancashire coast.


Bob Morley of the Newbury & District Transport Group sent some interesting pictures.

Stagecoach 27651 repainted into Southdown livery for the 100 years celebrations, seen at Havant Bus Station.

Other pictures at the Reading Buses Open Day on June 14.


Your Editor takes a break in North Wales

One of our two annual visits to my eldest daughter in Bangor took place in June and I show here buses on one afternoon in the City of Bangor, mostly by Y Cloc.

All pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

More details of the Arriva Cymru fleet can be found at:

This is an interesting fleet as it has many second hand buses from elsewhere and a large batch of 14 plate buses for Llandudno-Caernarvon route which like the X5 and 66 is split to conform to non-EU regulations for drivers. Bangor being the changeover point.

Arriva Wales 683 r 67 Bangor Y Cloc on June 27th

Arriva Wales 876 Bangor Y Cloc on June 27th.

An ex London Dart runs along Beach Road, near my daughter's house on 26th June.

The 5 ropute meets in Bangor with buses bound for Llandudno (3166) and to far rear Caernarvon.

These buses look very smart and are well kept after a year in service. 3169 heads for Caernarvon.
These buses carry a passing remembrance of the once much heralded Cymru Coastliner.
This service was worked by a variety of Bristol buses, including the very smart Bristol FLF coach seated cream deckers.

Arriva Wales 3170 on the 5 at Bangor Y Cloc. (These buses are a credit to their Bangor - Llandegai depot).

3174 shows the Welsh language display for a bus running from Caernarvon to Bangor for Llandudno.
My daughter, who speaks Welsh, says this display means Bangor - connect (contact) for Llandudno.
My Google translation doesn't even recognise the word Cysyllty !!!!!

At Llandegai depot.

Arriva depot at Bangor with Solo 671.

833 and 3165

4187 and ex Leicester bus.

4190, again another from Leicester.

General view.

Buses 822-2425-4189-2637-906

Eifion Coaches CX60AEE works the 43 Llanfairpg (that very long named place on Anglesey!!) seen at Bangor Y Cloc.

Express Motors CX08AOO at Bangor Y Cloc.
This Optare Tempo has operated the Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog service.

Express Motors R243KRG on the 9A at Bangor Y Cloc. (This bus was with Stagecoach on Teesside!!)
It is a Volvo B10BLE which is probably more at home with an independent than the M A N equivalent.

Express Motors YN03YBB on route 9A approaching Bangor.
This bus was with Yorkshire Traction as their 220 based in Barnsley.

Go North East HX54EEO seen at a restaurant at Waunfawr near Bangor on 26th June 2015.
This little bus seemed a very long way from home!!!!!

We always stay at a very nice small hotel overlooking Menai Straits.

The view which greeted us from our bedroom window each morning.
Somewhat better than Horspath Road at 0600 in the morning.

Marcus Lapthorn visits Seaton - Devon

Marcus writes "we had 2 days away in the West Country and rode on the Seaton Tramway. Here are some photographs for your interest."

All pictures by Marcus Lapthorn taken on July 9th. 

Tramway by the river.

Seaton Tramway at Seaton.

Seaton Tramway nr 2 at Seaton.

Seaton Tramway nr 6 at Seaton.

Seaton Tramway nr 10 at Seaton.

Seaton Tramway nr 11 at Seaton.

On the way to Colyton

Seaton Tramway at Colyford Halt Crossing.

Seaton Tramway at Colyford Halt.

Seaton Tramway nr 9 at Colyford Halt.

Seaton Tramway near Axford Loop.

Seaton Tramway nr 10 at Axford Loop

Seaton Tramway nr 17 en route.

Colyton Station with trams 2 and 11.

Marcus adds "CCTV cameras have been installed at Colyton to catch motorists who ignore red lights. On our journey a 4x4 drove through at speed even though our tram was approaching the level crossing. "

Gavin Francis takes time out at Northolt

Recently an Oxford tube on London park-up has been laying over in a layby at the Target roundabout slip road. Gavin was on this working and took some interesting pictures.

How many, I wonder, knew about what is behind those four hills at that location?

Pictures taken on June 30th by Gavin.

Northala Fields - those hills from the A40.

Northala Fields - the A40 from those hills - you can just make out the tube in the distance.

And this is what is behind the hills. A rather nice parkland area.

Oxford's 98 passes Northala Fields - Northolt.

A Horse bus in Northolt taken whilst Gavin was parked up.

Gavin records Wimbledon 2015 bus operation.

July 8th at Wimbledon - all pictures by Gavin Francis.

An appropriate platform presentation at Wimbledon.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - LDP's183 & 186 in unusual livery.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - PVL224 also in an unusual livery for London by Night!

WIMBLEDON 2015 - PVL248 & PVL263.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - 937


WIMBLEDON 2015 - E208 & E221

WIMBLEDON 2015 - EVH12 in London (an unusual brand new bus on the service.)

WIMBLEDON 2015 - RML2318.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - VC2 - we thought this was still with SGBC.

WIMBLEDON 2015 - VW1469

WIMBLEDON 2015 - WVL83 on the two routes 739 and 840.

Yet again, this event produces some most unusual workings.

Marcus Lapthorn's visit to Portugal - continued from issue 86.

Last issue we included a number of pictures from Marcus's recent visit. I can now include the programme report for the visit. Enjoy.

Many thanks to Peter Gascoigne who is the editor of the Modelstone Bus Club and Organiser of the trip.


Adrian Hartless writes "I had to share these two pictures with you for the O&C Bus Page. We were in Beaumont Street on Sunday (July 5) at about 11.40 awaiting the arrival of a friend on an excursion from the Potteries when these two beauties came around the corner from St Giles, evidently on excursion from Leicester.

Both are ex COMS and are in the Confidence fleet."

Olympian CUD221Y, now 32 years old, is former COMS 221 (sold Dec 2003).

Volvo L154HUD is ex COMS 154 (acquired by Confidence in 2009).

"As Confidence is run by a bus enthusiast, the choice of vehicles for this run to Oxford was probably not coincidental."

"Keep up the good work!"

Many thanks to Adrian. I well remember these two vehicles and drove both whilst working for Oxford bus from 1998 to 2004. Ed.


London in pictures by Gavin Francis

One of the latest New Routemasters in London.
Arriva LT534 on the 73 in Victoria on July 2nd.

Go Ahead London's PVL66 on a Private Hire on July 9th.

London United's LT 171 in new overall wrap for Vita Co-Co on the 10. July 9th.

Metroline LT 97 with overall wrap for b-pay on the 390 on TUBE STRIKE DAY, July 9th

Brand new, Metroline VWH2091 on the 6, July 9th.

RML2270 on the 205 laying over at Lancaster Gate on TUBE STRIKE DAY - July 9th by Gavin Francis.

Out of London but still by Gavin Francis

Nostalgia Travel XTF98D on wedding duties in St Aldates on July 11th.

Stagecoach Warwickshire preserved Bristol FLF 19953 - JAH 553D in Southam on July 11th by Steve Gee.


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