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Spottings & Jottings nr. 88 - 19th August 2015

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

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This past month has seen quite a few changes in our area.

The highlight has been the change in allocation on the Blackbird Leys route. It had been known for sometime that Oxford Bus were to put nine brand new Street Decks on the nr. 5 service but it came as a surprise when Stagecoach announced they would be putting their new ADL E400 MMCs on the nr. 1 service. This gives the users a total fleet of new buses. As I write these notes not all the buses of each company had arrived and so there was still a mix of old and new from the two operators.

Oxford Bus 651 on the 30th July by Peter Edgar and Stagecoach 10435 on Blackbird Leys flyover on 8th August by David Beynon.
One wonders if more people will use the 5 with its striking livery or will they take the first bus that comes?

On a personal note I was interested to see that the five Scania tri-axle Levantes once the mainstay of the 444 service from Gloucester to London, which were subsequently moved around a bit, including West Scotland have now moved to Rugby for Megabus services and the coach I drove in late 2009 is seen below in London taken by Gavin Francis. It is now resplendent in Megabus blue.

I well remember my two days with this coach and the long delay in reaching London on Cheltenham race day Friday.

Somewhat surprising is the increasing use of contractors by National Express and the A1 route started to replace the Green Line 757 is now seen to be worked by a myriad of operators who also take a turn on the A6.

Often seen on the A1, this is one of the first occasions when London United's VB2 was seen on the A6 on 13th August by Gavin Francis.

The Gold Scania-ADL E300's for Banbury to be used on the S4 have arrived at Scania, Banbury for PDI prior to delivery to Stagecoach. These are eagerly awaited by locals and will enhance this valuable service. The S4 also sees Oxford based buses operating between the Airport and City Centre.

Picture by Richard Sharman.

Carousel's new StreetLites have arrived and the first, 401, has been seen on training runs and must by now be in service with its sister 402. They are for use on the A40/740 routes.

401 seen on 27th July by Richard Sharman.

Further Volvo/Levantes for National Express are being delivered and Skills have a 15 plate example in service.

The road works in Oxford continue and now Queen Street is closed. I know that there is pain for gain but short of a bomb dropping on the city, could we have anymore disruption to the life of the dreaming spires?

Queen Street on 11th August, adding to Frideswide Square, the two roundabouts in north Oxford and the Eastgate rebuilding.
One must have sympathy for the bus companies trying to provide a reliable service!
Picture by Richard Sharman.

Nearly time for 65 plate registrations. Who will be first to submit a picture I wonder?

Well there, is as usual, lots more further down the page, enjoy!


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.

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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 19th August 2015



Observations and pictures

Graham writes "a couple of most unusual visitors to Market Street Oxford (back of Covered Market) today (24th July) for filming (Morse) were Red and White RELH6L OAX9F and Ellen Smith Leopard CDK448C. Could not avoid having people in the pictures." These were being used in the filming of the new TV series "Endeavour".

I rather think the people add to the pictures.
OAX9F is now owned by Jonathan Radley, one time Marketing Manager of Oxford Bus. Ed.

Fleet News

Gary Seamarks writes "Back from our trip of Eire. 2300 miles in 14 days !!!, masses to sort out and photos as well !!, one I got as we were waiting the ferry 50222 turned on a the Megabus from London to Pembroke Dock, its the best of a batch that I took hand held into the bargain !!..."

Megabus 50222 seen at Pembroke Dock at 00:51 on 6th July by Gary Seamarks

Gordon Scott sends his reports from north of the border which are, as ever, most welcome. 

Two shots taken yesterday (22nd July) of New Lothian Volvo B5LH Wright Gemini 3 with new front.

555 SA15 VUF on route X25 and 556 SA15 VUG on route 34.
Both shots taken at Hermiston Park & Ride Edinburgh.

Recent visits to the Alexander Factory revealed more of the E400 MMCs of the Oxford batch seen out on a test run.

SCO Enviro MMC 10437 SH15HCZ leaves ADL Falkirk on test 24th July by Gordon Scott.

SCO Enviro MMC 10442 SH15HDF leaves ADL Falkirk on test 31st July by Gordon Scott.

Also a shot of Enviro 200 for Stagecoach South Shields route branded SK15 HFE.

SC North East 37311 SK15HFE leaves ADL Falkirk on test 24th July by Gordon Scott.

I was on the Omnibus Society trip to Inverness on 1st Agust and took several pictures of the new Optare Solo Electric buses taken in Inverness with Highland Stagecoach.

48901 YJ15AWC seen in town in service.

48902 YJ15AWF parked at the bus station as the spare bus.

48903 YJ15AWG at the Bus Station being recharged.

48905 YJ15AWM at Inverness bus station

More shots taken in inverness town and Bus Station on Sat.

Volvo B12B Plaxton Panther 54013 SV07 ACX with Highland Caithness depot ex Stagecoach Glasgow Megabus.

Enviro 300 route branding 27911 SN63VUK.

More shots taken at Stagecoach Inverness depot. 

Volvo Olympian Alex RL O/T 16393 N393 LPN withdrawn.

Volvo Olympian SC 16526 IDZ 828 ex R426 XFC ex Oxford withdrawn at Inverness 010815 G Scott

MAN 18.220 Alex ALX300 22311 AE51 RYH ex Cambridge withdrawn.
Cannot imagine this running ever again !!

Highland Scotbus Volvo B7LT Alexander ALX 400, X122HKY, ex Dublin Bus taken in their depot in Inverness.

D & E Buses Volvo B10M Alexander PS, P125XCN, ex Stagecoach taken at their depot Inverness.

All pictures from Inverness taken by Gordon Scott.

Gavin Francis writes "Watched ex Abellio 9789 struggle to find its way through the City today. Inevitably it ended up at the bottom of Castle Street alongside a number 5 as he thought the line of buses were at a bus stop. Just then a line of buses came the other way and within moments gridlock. He had to back up all the way up the hill to allow buses through by which time the lights had changed several times and nothing moved.

BTFS KV02USE in Oxford on 30th July by Gavin Francis.

Back in GG this evening I followed a 94 branded E400 on the 66 into Gloucester Green.

The myriad of brandings to be seen on the 66 these days are legion.
More are under the Stagecoach heading in fleet news below. Ed.

NEx Skills SV07ADO ex SC 54016 at Victoria on the 440 on 5th August by Gavin Francis.

On tube strike day I saw RML 2380 and former High Wycombe RML 2414 at Lancaster Gate on 205, a Trident and President from Go-coach on 211 and TP 419 running as an extra on 16.

Dave Harrison writes "I thought you might be interested in these pictures of the Wrightbus Streetlites being used as shuttle buses between the car park and house at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury. They have two of them branded for the service, even to the extent of the seat moquette!"

Waddesdon shuttle bus MX61BCY 17th May by David Harrison.

Stephen Le Bras writes "New 'deckers for London:  Following the new style Wright bodied Streetdecks delivered to Go Ahead in Brighton and Oxford, a batch of Volvo hybrids with the same sort of body is now being sent to Go Ahead London. The first two WHV42,43 were noted London bound on the M4 on Saturday 8th August. The LOTS newsletter did suggest that they may be going to Putney garage but plans may have been changed, so it's best to wait and see."

Richard Sharman visits the east coast and the county of Norfolk

Former Tappins N175 LHU is now with Lynx Kings Lynn seen on 22nd July by Richard Sharman.


SANDERS 317 YN06NXS ex Reading 1023 in Great Yarmouth on 23rd July by Richard Sharman.


NORFOLK GREEN 27644 GX10HBZ in KINGS LYNN-former South 27644 at Hunstanton seen on 22nd July by Richard Sharman.

and TGM

Nigel Peach writes "This afternoon (17th July), I saw Volvo B7RLE 3868 (KE07 EVX) on route 31. I think it was previously based in Stevenage. It's two years newer than Wycombe's batch of these vehicles (3861-7), which are gradually returning from repairs. 

Sad to report that another bus was destroyed by fire today (20th July). Arriva's 3742, one of those branded for "The One" route was the victim, at Park Parade, Hazlemere. Here's a link to The Bucks Free Press report and pictures:

PS  .... these are all single deckers. I can't think of any D/Ds that have been fire victims.

It's a dreadful record, isn't it?! I worked out that this is at least the sixth bus to be totally destroyed by fire since the move to Cressex. (3110, 3204, 3855, 3453 and 3309 being the others). Two other buses (3126 and 3169) both had fire damage that brought their lives to a premature end, and 3457 had fire damage but was repaired..... but it was off the road for about a year while repairs took place!

On a much lighter note, Arriva are asking the Wycombe public to name the five Streetlites due next month. Here's the BFP link to that one:

Another update! 

A lot of change at Arriva at the moment! I was in the bus station today (28th July), and looking at the running board 3871 was listed. (No sign of 3870 yet!). 

Also listed were 3863 and 3867 which means that just 3861 and 3864 of this batch of seven are still to return (and they were the last to leave). 

I think the 3261-8 batch of V reg Volvos are the buses being replaced by these. I couldn't see many of them still listed. 

Also in the bus station was Dart 3235 (V235 HBH) on one of the local routes. I think this is ex MK. 

At Cressex on Sunday 26th was 3869 (KE07 EVY) - another "new" bus for Wycombe!

Two buses that I couldn't see listed are the oldest two at the depot, 3224 (P224 MKL) and 3217 (S217 XPP). 3217 was with the withdrawn buses at Cressex last Sunday.

3217 in the withdrawn area on 24th July. Malcolm Crowe.

When they have gone, it would mean that the oldest single deckers would be V reg! 

Pete Cabin writes "buses 'new' to High Wycombe:

3868 KE07EVX

These are from Stevenage depot leaving just 3870 and 3872 to follow if we are lucky. 

Transferred back to Aylesbury is 3266 V266HBH, this was on route 300 to Aylesbury today Thursday 23rd July 2015.

Just put into service now is 2518 LK15FFS this was on red route 33 today Thursday 23rd July 2015

3742AE06XRM is another fire victim as reported in the bucks free press what a shame as this bus is quite new compared to most other buses in the High Wycombe fleet.

Keeping up with Arriva High Wycombe gets harder seen today 3237 V237HBH travelling along the London Road towards Wycombe marsh destination blinds were blank couldn’t see the route it was on. 

Now 3267 V267HBH has gone back to Aylesbury, saw this bus on service 30UF9270 to Aylesbury today 28th July 2015." Is that a school service Pete?

The refurbishment of the Citaros at Aylesbury are now complete with all of them now being back in service. The last four to be completed were 3924 BK58 URS and 3930-2 BD12 DHG/J/K with 3924 being branded for route 300 and 3930-2 all carrying no route branding to allow them to be used on other routes.

Luke Braham writes "Wright Renown’s 3266 V266 HBH and 3267 V267 HBH are now back at Aylesbury after their stint at High Wycombe. They join sister 3264 V264 HBH at Aylesbury depot.

Dennis Dart 3237 V237 HBH has moved on to High Wycombe from Aylesbury. 

Dennis Dart 3829 KE53 NFG is still at Aylesbury depot but is due to transfer to Luton any time now to join others from the batch.

Arriva the Shires 3266 V266 HBH  on the 300 on 27th July by Luke Braham.

Arriva the Shires 3267 V267 HBH on the 300 again on 27th July by Luke Braham.

Citaros, refurbished to MAX standard, 3930 on the 300, 3931 on the 9 and finally 3932 on the 150 all by Luke Braham.

Other pictures

In the pouring rain - 2518 on the 33 HW on the 24th July by Malcolm Crowe.

3567 on a 758 working at Green Line Victoria on 16th July by Malcolm Crowe.

On a visit to Bletchley Park we saw 3640 on route 5 - July 29th by Malcolm Crowe.
Notable is the guided busway equipment.

 3771 on route 4 in Bletchley July 29th by Malcolm Crowe.

In spite of a fleet of new Enviro 400s here we see Citaro 3931 on an early morning 280 at Thornhill Park & Ride on 22nd July by Malcolm Crowe.

StreetLite 2518 on loan to Wycombe is seen on the 33 on 11th August by Malcolm Crowe.

3667 on a 758 working at Green Line Victoria on 15th July by Gavin Francis.

Gavin Francis made a visit to Stevenage on 21st July on the SB1. This and similar sister we used on Luton Airport shuttle services for a while

On the same visit we see 3766 on the SB1 at Stevenage - 21st July by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 3902 BU06HSE of Network Harlow works the 724 on 21st July by Gavin Francis.

A rear view of Optare Versa 4210 at Harlow on 21st July by Gavin Francis.

A rear view of Optare Versa 4239 at Harlow on route 3 - 21st July by Gavin Francis.

DAF SB120 4516 at the Arriva route 40 terminus in Stokenchurch on 23rd July by Gavin Francis.
The Arriva 40 service was withdrawn from the end of July 2015 leaving Carousel in charge of this service.

DAF DB250 6304 Y504UGC on the Arriva 40 in Stokenchurch on 21st July by Gavin Francis.
In spite of the destination display this bus was on a Stokenchurch-High Wycombe service.

Thames Transit 553 AE59AWM has been transferred to Carousel and re-registered C3WYC.

Tempos 801-9 have been earmarked for disposal.

Luke Braham writes "I have been busy over the past few days due to work but on Monday I did manage to get out to visit High Wycombe and Oxford.

While in High Wycombe, I noted Carousel 112 T112 DBW operating route 1 instead of a branded Optare Tempo on 27th July. Quite a surprise especially as the last time I was in High Wycombe one of Arriva’s ALX400 was on the 1.

Carousel Buses 112 T112DBW r1 270715 L Braham

Also noted was one of Carousel’s brand new Streetlite DFs in fully branded ‘Link’ livery on the 27th July. This one being 401 SM15 HWC which looked as if it was of driver familiarisation work. I would assume that the other expect will be 402.

Carousel 420 - RX60DLY turns onto the M40 at Stokenchurch on its way to Thame on 23rd July by Gavin Francis.
The Carousel version of the Thame service operates via the M40 between junction 5 and 6 thereby serving Lewknor coach stops
but does not operate in a similar way on the return as it uses the old A40 to Stokenchurch.


First in Berkshire

Stephen Le Bras writes "Following the disappointing decision by First to close Bracknell garage, the gradual running down of operations is taking place. Already some of the Enviro 200 and blue Citaros have been moved to Slough garage where they are replacing mainly the elderly Darts. In July, the tendered services for Bracknell Forest went to Courtney while route 90 has been taken up by Reading Buses who plan to rebrand it at the end of August as their route 4 and 4X.

When the garage closes on August 28th, route 94 is being taken up by Stagecoach who will compete with Courtney on the Camberley bound route. The local B- routes will be withdrawn as it appeared route 191 would but this seems to have been given a month's reprieve. Route 200 to Legoland and the Greenline routes will be run from Slough garage. It seems quite possible that the 702 will be operated via the 191 route between Legoland and Bracknell when the winter timetable comes into effect, as there is a vociferous campaign to keep this bus route going when there is no alternative means of reaching shops, work and hospital appointments."

I look forward to pictures of the new operations in this area. Ed.

 and Crusader Holidays

Motts MT08MTT pictured in Great Yarmouth on July 23rd by Richard Sharman.


A number of 15 plate Levantes have been entering service in the past few months as we now head to the 65 plate period.

New contractor, Whippet of Swavesey have their three remaining Scania / Caetano Levante coaches for National Express work were delivered in mid-July NX11 (BK15 AJY), NX12 (BK15 AKF) and NX13 (BK15 AKG).

Their arrival has led to NX1 (FJ57 KHO), NX2 (FJ57 KHK), NX3 (FJ57 KJO) and NX4 (FJ57 KJU) being returned to South Gloucester Bus and Coach.

Interesting is the use of Scania two axle chassis after a time when Volvo B9Rs rained supreme.

Bournemouth Transport's 341 FJ13DZY with new super rear on July 21st by Gavin Francis.

Another colourful super rear on Bruce's of Salsburgh FN63PWL on 15th July by Gavin Francis.

Excalibur have changed loyalty from Terravision to National Express as seen in the two pictures below.

Excalibur of Peckham's Sunsundegui SC7 BL14LSO on the A1 from Luton Airport on 5th August by Gavin Francis.

Sister BL14LSV heading for Luton on the A1 - 12th August by Gavin Francis.

Tube Strike day saw a special A4 service with FL09DXR leaving VCS - 6th August by Gavin Francis.

Another A4 operation, this time by London United's VB1 - 6th August by Gavin Francis.

VB2, this time on the A1, heads for VCS departures - 6th August by Gavin Francis.

VB2 this time on the A6 near VCS on 13th August by Gavin Francis.

Scania K340 coach 59303 is on loan from Stagecoach Midlands (Megabus Fleet) to Stagecoach South East at Dover provising cover for Volvo B9R 53708 which has sustained collision damage.

59303 0n a Kent working near VCS on 12th August by Gavin Francis. This coach must have had several repaints in a very short space of time now!!!

Skills SV07ADO ex SC Megabus 54016 at Victoria on the 440 - 5th August by Gavin Francis.

South Gloucester's BN64FKU at VCS showing off a new super rear on 20th July by Gavin Francis.
Hope now one catches a picture of a passenger loading their own luggage!! 


Graham writes "Here are views of the pink 5 COMS Wright StreetDecks, of which I have seen 651-4 in service so far. Only 651 shows rear destination names: the others only show the route number, like the Brookesbus ADL E40D MMCs."

652 on 24th July by Glowpigs.

Phil Southall advises regarding the new double decks as follows: 651 to 659 will be branded for City 5 with 660 and 661 being in a new generic City red.

1581 to 1584 have also been renumbered 251 to 254 as they have now been formally acquired by us and are no longer on loan from Southern Vectis.

Now purchased by Oxford Bus and renumbered from 1584 to 254 on CR1 at Oxford Rail Station on July 22nd by Gavin Francis.


OX 661  on route 5 in St Aldates - just before 09:30 on 19th August by Glowpigs.

The new StreetDecks are listed below and at least 661, one of two new generic City red liveried examples, was in service on 5 road by 14th August.

651   SL15ZGC
652   SL15ZGD 
653   SL15ZGE 
654   SL15ZGF 
655   SL15ZGG 
656   SL15ZGH 
657   SL15ZGJ 
658   SL15ZGK 
659   SL15ZGM 
660   SL15ZGN 
661   SL15ZGO 

The buses are 45/29F

I have received a large number of pictures of the new buses in service on 5 road and include them below.

652 after delivery to OBC on 18th July seen by Alan Gelson.

Gavin Francis took these pictures of 651 and 653

First views by your Editor of 651 and 652 - Malcolm Crowe.

653 turns into St Aldates by Tim Hall.

Further pictures of OBC vehicles

221 seen on a 35 working on 2nd August by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 361 seen on an X3 working on 2nd August by Gavin Francis - it has been unusual to see Hybrids on the longer routes out of the city.

The last repaint into 4 road livery is 848 seen here in heavy rain in Castle Street by Richard Sharman on10th August.

Oxford Gloucester Green with tri-axle departures on 5th August by Malcolm Crowe.
The past weeks have seen increased use of the blue tri-axle Volvos on airport services.

Colour variety in Oxford's High on 23rd July by Malcolm Crowe. 

Red Rose 50506 on route 28 in Bletchley on 29th July by Malcolm Crowe


Trevor Wilson writes of interesting happenings in the Lake District "I understand the two Gold E300s for West Cumbria will be accompanied by five Gold Scania E400 and will be used on the X4/X5 Workington - Keswick - Penrith.  The four Gold E400 will be used for Workington - Penrith (mainly hourly) and the two Gold E300 for the extra Working - Keswick which to provide a half hourly service between Workington and Keswick.  Of course the E300 could be used for the full journey as the route is currently operated by Panther coaches supplemented firstly by E300 (ADL or MAN) and subsequently anything.

The 5th Gold E400 provides a spare vehicle for both the X4/X5 and 300 Workington - Carlisle.  At the moment there are 4 Gold E400 on the 300 and the spare is a normal bus seated Scania E400, one of 3 retained at Workington (there used to be 4) that worked the 300 before the Gold E400s." 


The new fleet of ADL E400 MMC deckers is now arriving.

Some surprise was caused by the allocation of these buses to route 1 (Blackbird Leys) head to head with Oxford Bus's new StreetDecks. At the time of writing up to 10438 had been delivered but we are aware that all 12 have been built as can be seen in the pictures from Gordon Scott above. Details of the buses are as follows:















10438 SK15HDA








The buses are 77 seaters (45/32F)

Again a number of pictures have been received.

10431 under preparation for service on 22nd July by Malcolm Crowe.

10432 at depot ready for service on 31st July by Malcolm Crowe.

Time for comparison - 10432 in line up at the depot on 22nd July by Malcolm Crowe.

10432 turns into St Aldates on 1st August by Gavin Francis.

10433 on the 1 in St Aldates on 31st July by Gavin Francis.

10435 on the 1 in St Aldates on 1st August by Gavin Francis

10433 turns into St Aldates on 2nd August by Tim Hall.

The displaced Hybrids will work on the 8, 9 and 700 routes. The ADLs on the 700 are moving to the Wantage routes along with other deckers displaced from the 8/9 routes.

Other Oxford pictures

10067 works the X30 from St Aldates on 31st July by Gavin Francis.

10071 still with 700 branding works an X30 service in Park End St on 7th August by Gavin Francis.

Gold 15934 on an S5 working in Magdalen St East on 2nd August by Gavin Francis.

15994 on a Sunday 10 working, seen in St Aldates on 2nd August by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 12008 on the 700 in Headington on 4th August by Malcolm Crowe.

Your Editor worked two round trips with 12015 on the 1 in Pegasus Rd - 26th July by Malcolm Crowe.

Further new vehicles in process of delivery are five Scania/ADL E300 Golds for the S4 route between Banbury and Oxford. An interesting point on buses based at Banbury are that they show the legal owner as South Midland.











Richard Sharman has secured pictures of four of these buses waiting PDI prior to delivery.

SCO 28742 and 28746 Banbury Gold E300s awaiting PDI at Scania Banbury on 4th August by Richard Sharman.

SCO 28744 and 28743 Banbury Gold E300s awaiting PDI at Scania Banbury on 4th August by Richard Sharman.

As I write this issue I understand that these Scanias are now entering service. Pictures please! 

36763 at Banbury depot on 28th July by Malcolm Crowe.

47833 at Banbury depot on 28th July by Malcolm Crowe.


An amazing variety of buses has recently been seen working the 66!

Note that Cheltenham's 15531 and 15532 have been moved to Swindon. It is not know if this is temporary or permanent?

West's 15531 works the 66 in Oxford's Park End Street but branded for the 94 on 2nd August by Tim Hall.

West's 15532 on the 66 at Gloucester Green with 94 branding (Cheltenham-Gloucester) on 1st August, the front view by Malcolm Crowe
and the rear by Gavin Francis.

West's 15730 on the 66 but with 55 branding for Chippenham-Swindon service on 15th July by Gavin Francis.

Further variety in branding with 15734 also on the 66 in Oxford on 16th July by Gavin Francis.

Another ! 15736 on 17th July by Gavin Francis.

Standard livery 15975 also works the 66 as seen by Gavin Francis on 6th August.

One wonders where all the Gold branded buses are?


Recent weeks have seen heavy loading on the London service. Holiday makers, homebound students, summer students all make up for busy services. This is highlighted by the picture below which shows three Tubes London bound on a Saturday morning, all with full loads leaving Thornhill Park & Ride. What you can't see is the further almost full coach behind the three.

18th July, Thornhill and three Tubes with 243 passengers headed for London by Malcolm Crowe.

Megabus services are also enjoying good loadings with increased capacity.

Megabus 54215 ready for service to Paris for Barcelona on 27th July by Malcolm Crowe.

Megabus 50223 lately arrived from the north east turns into Elizabeth Street on 18th July by Malcolm Crowe.

Rugby based. 

55011-55016      Van Hool TX21 Altano (2015) C67/5FT

55011 KX14HSV

55012 KX14HSU

55013 KX14HSO

55014 KX14HT

55015 KX14HTU

55016 KX14HTT 

Megabus 55011 waits to load for Lille & Paris near VCS on 16th July by Gavin Francis.
These 14 plate left hand drive coaches were stored for some months at Bedford waiting for UK registration approval.

Megabus 55016 on the ME5L in Bulleid Way on 31st July by Gavin Francis.

Nearly six years ago this was my steed on a weekend of 444 National Express work.
It has since been based in Yorkshire and then West Scotland now returning south to Rugby and resplendent in Megabus blue.
59301 is seen near VCS by Gavin Francis on 13th August. 

In the last issue I asked for pictures of the Astromegas working in Europe. Tim Hall obliged having travelled from Leipzig to Berlin.

Tim writes "I caught  56016 (m-eg-4016) from Leipzig to Berlin on June 27th it was due to leave at 16-40hrs having left Munich at 10-00hrs ,there were no more than 30 passengers on board offside photo is loading at Leipzig and the nearside was a break at a rest area.

Megabus Germany 56016 en route Leipzig-Berlin on 27th July by Tim Hall.

Megabus Germany 56016 at a break en route from Leipzig to Berlin on 27th July by Tim Hall.

I hope more readers can send pictures and details for future issues. 

Ashalls SV54ELH ex Megabus 50127 on St Giles - 12th August by Gavin Francis.

Solo 707 on the 63 to Southmoor in Oxford on 11th August by Richard Sharman. 

It is suggested that uno will no longer come through to Victoria but turn short at Marble Arch. No further details are known.

The 797 changes into a 635 at Hatfield as seen by uno 315 BF59NHX on the 635 in Stevenage on 21st July by Gavin Francis.

uno 352 on the 635 in Stevenage on 21st July by Gavin Francis.



Reading Buses is going wild

Reading Buses is going wild and rebranding route 90 ‘the Lion’, from 31 August.

Continuing its rural numbering plan, the Southern Estates journeys will be route 4, and faster journeys via the John Nike Centre will be more easily identifiable as X4.

There will also be later buses in the evening and a much-improved Sunday service, with the frequency doubled to every 30 minutes throughout the day.

The first two of the dedicated fleet of 10 ADL Enviro400 ‘deckers (eight of which will be electric-hybrids) have returned from refurbishment at Thornton Brothers near Newcastle.

The high-quality finish includes seats in Reading’s recently introduced multi-coloured moquette, wood laminate flooring, 4G superfast Wi-Fi and at-seat USB charging points, as well as a re-panel and new paint.

The final graphics will be applied nearer the launch date but some buses are needed for service before then.


FIRST Bus has agreed to sell its operations in Plymouth and South Devon to Stagecoach.

In a statement released recently, First South West said the move is a result of the business  consistently underperforming.

On completion of the sale, expected in early September, the Plymouth bus depot, along with outstations at Tavistock and Dartmouth, will transfer to Stagecoach.

The outstation at Torpoint is not included as part of the deal so it will be sold separately.

First South West bosses say they will “fully support” all 255 staff during the move, while Stagecoach has already started a consultation period with employees.

First South West Managing director Alex Carter said: “Despite the focus on services and the hard work of everyone in South Devon, unfortunately the business has underperformed for a number of years.

“I’m pleased we’ve negotiated an agreement to sell and therefore help protect jobs and key services.

“The sale does not, in any way, reflect the commitment of our employees in the area who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to local communities.

“I’d like to thank them for their hard work and loyalty over the years. We will be fully supporting them as they transfer to their new employer.”

Mr Carter added: “We’re proud to have served the South Devon community and would like to thank passengers for travelling with First South West over the years.

“I can assure our customers that we will continue to run services as normal up to and including September 5 and will ensure a smooth transition.”

A Stagecoach spokeswoman said: “We are pleased to confirm that Stagecoach Devon Ltd has agreed to acquire certain assets  of First Devon & Cornwall Ltd.

“The assets acquired include the Plymouth depot and associated outstations (excluding Torpoint) currently owned or leased by First Devon & Cornwall Ltd.

“The agreed sale is conditional on the successful registration of a new network of bus routes that has been submitted to the Traffic Commissioner and will now go through the 56-day registration process.

“The sale also includes the transfer of the Dartmouth Park and Ride contract operated by First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd. Vehicles are not included in the acquisition.

“A total of 253 staff are currently employed across the Plymouth business. First Devon & Cornwall has started a consultation process with employees. Every effort will be made to minimise the impact of the planned changes on staff. Following the consultation period, staff will transfer to Stagecoach South West under TUPE arrangements.”

Stagecoach South West Managing Director Bob Dennison said: “This acquisition will allow us to further expand our successful bus operations in the South West of England, where we currently employ around 1,000 staff and operate around 310 vehicles over 136 routes across Devon and into Somerset and Cornwall.

“We have a strong track record in the South West region of attracting more people to bus travel  and we will continue to focus on providing good value, high-quality bus travel for people in the area.”

Read more:

Brijan Tours ceases trading after 25 years!

The family-run Brijan Tours, which has running bus and coach services for 25 years, has ceased trading in a move that has shocked Hampshire's business leaders.

Companies House revealed that all the directors had resigned, adding that Brijan’s accounts were four months overdue.

It is not known how many people have lost their jobs but nine staff have joined rival operator Xelabus, which has taken over rural bus services previously run by Brijan.

Fleet pictures can be seen at this link:

Trips & Events

Thames Valley 100

Mike Walker writes "Despite you failing completely to publicise the event in OCBP, huge crowds turned out in Maidenhead and Reading on 2nd August for the Thames Valley 100 event organised by the Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust."

Thames Valley 100 - Leyland S3-30 T HE12 - by Mike Walker

Proceedings started with a cavalcade which set out from Bridge Avenue, Maidenhead at 09:10 – the exact hour that the first British bus set out for Reading in July 1915. Ironically, it was the newest vehicle in the procession, Lodekka D40, that failed to make to Reading – failing with a compressor problem at Cemetery Junction! On arrival at Reading station the oldest three in the cavalcade, Mike Sutcliffe’s exquisite 1913 Barnsley & District Leyland (which had worked that first journey in 1915), Thames Valley Tilling Stevens 152, MO9324, and GWR Guy 1268, YF714, joined the LT Museum’s B2737 and the partly restored Thames Valley 1930 Leyland LT1 Lion 215, RX5577, on display on the station forecourt whilst the newer vehicles, joined by others not in the cavalcade, gave free rides all day on journeys to Charvil, Twyford, Maidenhead and Goring & Streatley station. Virtually all filled to capacity all day.




In the early afternoon, Mike’s Leyland was taken round to 113 Caversham Road for photos.


The significance of this is that this building was the original office of the British Thames Valley branch along with the garage behind. The never to be repeated opportunity was taken to pose the bus in the garage entrance recreating scenes which can be found in Paul Lacey’s British book. I say never to be repeated because the garage at least is scheduled for demolition to make way for new housing. Unfortunately, taking around 12 of us back towards the station proved a little too much for the old girl which developed what we railway types call a “hot box” so it retired to Reading Transport’s Great Knolleys Street HQ for some TLC. 

The day ended with a photo line-up of all the TV vehicles, D40, 616, 152, S302, 748, 556 and 446, at the Rivermead Leisure Centre. LH 215 was withdrawn from proceedings at the last moment but it still made a great line-up and reminded us how few TV vehicles have survived – isn’t there an earlier ‘D’ around somewhere?


Collin Billington hasn’t ruled out doing it all again in 2020 to mark the centenary of the actual company – who knows, perhaps both 215’s will be able to fully participate then?!

I was fortunate to be able to bag  a lift back to Maidenhead on the Tilling Stevens – what an experience!"

Frazer Peddle also sent some pictures.

1914 London General AEC B "battle bus"  This was used during WW1 for troop transport in France and Belgium

Stagecoach South 20228 on rail replacement

Reading 204 waiting near Reading station on yellow 26 route to Calcot

Reading 416 at Broad Street on pink 24 route to Emma Green Caversham

Reading 806 at Broad Street on the 90 route to Bracknell which Reading buses took over this route from First Berkshire last weekend. It's believed the route will be re-launched with Hybrids in September. 806 Scania East Lancs used to be on the 5 route before being sidelined for ADL e400 MMCs

Nigel Peach writes "I spent a happy time at the Thames Valley 100 Event in Reading on Sunday 2nd Aug.

Former Oxford 703 (NJO 703). I first remember this as one of three buses used by Austin Hoy of Saunderton for staff transport.
I used to see it (and 701 and 705)  from my bedroom window in the morning when I was a child living on West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe.

Thames Valley 446 (DBL 154) with a full load, looking very smart. 

Many thanks to your contributions on this excellent event. What can one say about missing the early advice!! Ed. 

Ducklington by Gavin Francis - 19th July

ACH441 an AEC Regal with Windover body.

The Pheonix - ASL914

McMillan Cancer YJ10EZU 

Running Days

Phil G. - Imberbus Webmaster writes "Thank you for mentioning Imberbus on the Oxford & Chiltern bus page.

However we wondered if you would like to brighten it up with an illustration - two of which are attached if you want to use them."


I wonder if we could also ask you to include a link to the website - as that is where people can download thee timetable and get further information.

Many thanks 

Buses in the Landscape


Pictures by Gavin Francis

Terravision changes horses.

Terravision have terminated their contract with Excalibur for their Stansted-London service.
They are using Westway as seen below.

Terravision Westway 51WT on Buckingham Palace Road on 6th August by Gavin Francis.

Westway BSK853 turns onto Elizabeth Bridge on 6th August by Gavin Francis.

Premium RML2348 in VCS on 20th July by Gavin Francis.

London General's experimental EL1 YP15NLM on the 521 on 3rd August by Gavin Francis.


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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