Spottings & Jottings nr.  91 - 30th December 2015
updated January 3rd 2016

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

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Well, nearly the end of another year. When I took over this page from David Root in the late summer of 1998 I had no idea that some 17 years later I would still be much involved in the OCBP!!

I have updated, corrected and added to the first part published on December 30th and you will find much to interest you.

I hope you all had a good Christmas and that Santa brought you the presents you wanted. I received very nice Panasonic G7 camera which seems to have great possibilities. Time will tell. Sadly so far no bus pictures.

A major issue has arisen whereby Oxfordshire County Council have decided they will not continue with tendered services which could leave many people in the villages without bus services. A vote on the matter is to be taken in February 2016 but this is a matter of great concern for many people in the area. We await the outcome with interest in a cost saving which could spell the end of many operators involved in such services.

The past weeks have, as ever, been interesting and have seen many developments. Perhaps one of the biggest problems has been the closure of the Forth road bridge in Scotland, a connection which sees in access of 25 million users per year.
The bridge re-opened to cars, light commercial vehicles and bus/coaches just before Christmas but heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes must use a 50 mile diversion whilst repairs are carried out. In the initial stages no one could use the bridge and Stagecoach had to provide alternative bus services using vehicles drawn from group operations U.K. wide.
Gordon Scott, as ever, provided some interesting pictures of vehicles in use. These may be found further down this page but two of the most interesting are included within this piece for your interest.

Working the X59 service between Halbeath P&R and Edinburgh, Gold Sleeper Coach 50308 was seen in Edinburgh on December 14th by Gordon Scott.
This was perhaps the most unusual choice of coaches.

From far distant Manchester, Trident E400 19237 is seen at Halbeath P&R on a wet December day, bringing some colour to events.
Many years ago in the early days of Stagecoach, Magic Bus would have been a familiar name with the inhabitants of Glasgow
but this and other similar buses were a welcome sight to those needing transport. Picture again by Gordon Scott.

The final Volvo-Caetano, ordered by Oxford Bus for the 737 arrived and has the fleet number 55. This means that all five coaches now have 5* fleet numbers.

Seen on November 26th leaving High Wycombe bound for Stansted, we see 55 on one of its early journeys. Picture by Gavin Francis.

The A3 service to Gatwick saw some rather interesting coaches which have been used as a result of the holiday closures on the rail network. These included some Kings Ferry Levantes adorned with an overall wrap for "Snoopy" making a very colourful addition to coaches using London's Victoria Coach Station.

Gavin Francis, as always, was on hand over the past few days to capture some shots of these eye catching coaches.

Kings Ferry FJ13EBG once NEx LA144 now with overall wrap seen on December 26th on layover in Green Line by Gavin Francis.

Kings Ferry FJ13EBX also now with overall wrap seen on December 29th on Victoria Coach Station by Gavin Francis.

We believe there are at least three and so far seen are FJ13EBG,N & X. I also might have seen EBE on New Year's Day but I am not sure.

The annual pantomime at the Playhouse, Oxford (  sees Aladdin being staged and drawing large crowds who often arrive by coach. Some of the vehicles used are seen below.

Various coaches in Beaumont St on December 10th as seen by Gavin Francis.

Weavaway had four of their eight 64 plate Jonckheere coaches in Beaumont St on December 22nd as seen by Richard Sharman.

Paul Bateson, Gavin's friend in Canada writes to say he has just done a 6hrs each way Megabus trip from Toronto to Montreal to go to a bus show there in November last. A picture of a Canadian based Astromega is shown below.

As both ways were overnight Paul could not get a picture of the coach but sent one he took back in July. I notice it looks like the front upper screen has been changed like ours so you can see inside! Must be worldwide SC policy?

Canadian MEGABUS DD42631 seen in Edward Street, Toronto on July 26th 2015 by Paul Bateson.

Paul at Trans Expo - Montreal on November 24th 2015.

Carfax corner aerial view by David Allen.

Taken from Carfax Tower on September 23rd by Dave Allen.

From the last issue.

That Leopard 353SZB at Wheatley

Matt Bullock writes "I believe 355 SZB is a PSU5/4R Leopard new in 8/71 to Rendell, Parkstone, as PFX 571K. Exported to Ireland in 2/82 and preserved there since about 2007."

An interesting link received from Colin Grafham. "Just to say that during November & December I have added around 500 more photos to my Smugmug site (link below)."

There are some really interesting pictures on this site. Ed.

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society


Icebreaker running day, Newbury

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society present the 1st Icebreaker bus running day in Newbury on 1st January 2016.

A selection of preserved buses will operate on former Newbury & District / Thames Valley routes out of Newbury.

We are interested in hearing from bus owners who may wish to operate trips on the day or be part of a static display. We also want to welcome stall holders to the event. Please drop us an email to or contact us by telephone on 07834706328 

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.


Check this link for future events:


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.

This year has seen some limitations in getting the pages out on time but the support from all readers has been great and I hope this continues in 2016.

Thank you to everyone who reads or contributes to the page.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 30th December 2015



General observations and pictures

A number of pictures have come to hand showing the changes and developments in the centre of Oxford, especially around Fridswide Square. Some problems are being reported as the new layout and lack of curb edgings is making life very difficult for those who are struggling with sight problems. There are crossings, marked in the usual way but other areas could allow such people to walk into traffic areas. Quite worrying really. Several elderly people who live in the area are far from happy.

An aerial view

Oxford's 358 enters the new road layout at Fridswide Sq having traversed the resurfaced Park End Street taken on December 6th by Gavin Francis.

Pulham's PU12HAM driven by Chris Maxfield heads through the new layout by the Rail Station on Christmas Eve taken by Gavin Francis.

Oxford - Park End St road works now over as seen on December 5th by Gavin Francis.

Stagecoach Gold 15966 seen leaving Fridswide Sq. on an S1 working on December 6th by Gavin Francis.

Stagecoach Solo 47736 on it's usual route, the 17C, on Sunday, December 6th by Gavin Francis.

Earlier progress at Fridswide Sq. seen on Sunday, 29th November by Frazer Peddle.

Scania 15996 on an X30 working at Fridswide Sq. seen on Sunday, 29th November by Frazer Peddle.

313 on the 400 at stop F1 Friedswide Square on December 31st by Malcolm Crowe.

Not wishing to appear critical but do designers of road layout ever drive heavy long vehicles when reaching their final conclusions?

Tony Bungay writes "I always enjoy reading your bus page, useful for timetable changes to. For once thought you may find the enclosed pictures of interest.

Waddesdon Manor have two ex London Citaro “Bendy buses” in addition to their StreetLites for use at busy times on their bus shuttle. I am told they have been a blessing in shifting the crowds which build up on very popular days. I have to confess i do not know who the original operators for these vehicles were, but was told one turned up still showing 23 Aldgate Station.

Pictures show vehicles on journey up to and at the main stop for the manor. What an idyllic setting compared to London's hustle and bustle!
FBU is now branded but LCE still awaited same on December 6th when these pictures were taken by Tony Bungay.

These buses will have been supplied by Dawson Rentals and LK53FBU Mercedes Benz O503G is ex First London EA11018. LX04LCE· was operated by Stagecoach East London as their 23066. I see they have been nicely repainted. Now a challenge to Gavin Francis, have you got pictures of these two buses in London service?

I received an interesting mail from Andrew Tyldsley as included below:

I note from the Traffic Commissioners website that the new PR1 in High Wycombe will be operated by Carousel, and the timetable is available from Travelinesoutheast

The new National Express coaches for Oxford and Edwards pictured on the site are clearly registered as part of a batch - we at Go North East have four new Volvo B11 tri-axle Caetano Levante that are registered BX65 WDA/C/D/E, following on from the Edwards one. 

These four coaches are for new diagrams taken over from 21 December on the North East to London services (diagrams previously operated temporarily by JH Coaches and originally Your Bus) - the new work also includes operating the once each way 461 Lichfield to London service.

Whilst our coaches currently only get as close to Oxford as Swindon and Milton Keynes Coachway, we will be serving the new High Wycombe Coachway when it opens. Once per day on the 410 at 1100 from Birmingham (1250 High Wycombe).

Hmmmm !!! I find the High Wycombe call most interesting as there is little provision indicated to get the coaches off and back on the M40 and at busy times the Cressex junction is extremely congested. Hope the timetables allow for this !! I wonder what other services will intend using the new facility? 

News from Derek Wiggins about Swindon

Thamesdown had an Enviro 200 demonstrator on loan for one week ending November 20th. It never entered service however an order has placed for a batch due for delivery in April 2016.

A new garage is being built for Stagecoach in Swindon and is due to open in mid-February in Cheney Manor. Seems there maybe some problems as there is only room for 45 vehicles and some inside the workshop facilities and currently Swindon has an allocation of 65 plus two training vehicles. (More information can be found under the Stagecoach Swindon heading below.)

The bus station reopened on December 15th but there are still some parts to be demolished and site to be cleared.

Picture from Gavin Francis

An early picture of 2016 sent by Gavin Francis. I think this was taken prior to Morecambe's 2-0 defeat of Wycombe Wanderers on January 2nd!!!!

Reays 8FXG awaits victorious Morecambe FC players after their 2-0 victory over Wycombe on January 2nd by Gavin Francis.

Much is happening at Arriva and in the last weeks fresh vehicles have arrived around the area as seen below.

I am now advised that the Wycombe PR1 service will move to a new operator from February 2016 when the Coachway opens. Arriva will continue with a near similar service to the PR1 renumbered 34 and this will operate via Cressex on a circle at the terminus which will be Wycombe 6 Cinema. It appears that the other service will go directly up Wycombe hill to the new Coachway. Details are just to hand in that Carousel is to be the new operator.

3702 is seen at the present P&R terminus at Cressex on December 26th b y Gavin Francis.
This service started in a blaze of glory as reported in these pages but seems to fizzled out like a damp squid.

Gavin writes "At last got some pictures of the white Levante on the 757. Fleet nr. 2863." This coach is not listed so far as part of the Arriva local fleet???

Said coach on November 27th taken by Gavin Francis.

Luke Braham writes "East Lancs Lowlander 6061 FD02 UKP has arrived and entered service at Aylesbury. It can often be seen operating school service 650 with one working on town service 8 arriving in Aylesbury just before 09:30. 6061 originally came from Arriva Midlands as there 4729. On recent Saturdays, in December double deckers have been replacing Citaros on route X60 with the Citaros seeing use elsewhere as seen in the photo of 6061.

Arriva the Shires 6061 FD02UKP on the X60 on November 28th seen by Luke Braham . 

Dennis Darts 3286/7/93 Y386/7/9 HKE have also transferred to Aylesbury from Arriva Midlands. It is believed these are here to replace non-DDA compliant Dart although none have been withdrawn so far.

3286 Y386HKE working route 8 on November 28th and 3293 Y389HKE route 8 this time on December 5th by Luke Braham.
These buses have an interesting history having most recently been working around Wolverhampton.

A new arrival at Hemel Hempstead depot is Ex-London Wright Eclipse Gemini 6047 LJ04 LGV which can often be seen operating route 500. It is believed that a total of eight of these are due for Hemel Hempstead.

6047 LJ04LGV on the 500 on December 4th taken by Luke Braham.

The old Sapphire 280 Enviro400s have made a few appearances into Aylesbury again in recent weeks with 5435 SN58 EOG being noted on the 500 on the 4th December and 5434 SN58 EOF being used on the route the following day. 5434 has also had its orange front destination display replaced with a white one.

It seems strange to see these buses back on their "home ground". One wonders if a bus has a memory!!!
Sad huh, it is nearly 2016!!!!

Arriva Aylesbury currently have Arriva Midlands Optare Versa 2965 YJ60 LUB on loan for a five week period. It arrived at Aylesbury on the evening of 10th December. The vehicle was previously used on the Shrewsbury Park & Ride contract and has had some of the branding removed.

2965 is seen operating a 50 service and as 2964 has arrived at Wycombe repainted into Arriva Interurban livery I think this is a permanent transfer.

Many thanks to Luke for his very comprehensive report and pictures.

As a point of interest 2966, in Arriva Interurban livery was seen working the 300 service just before Christmas.

2964 is seen working the PR1 on December 22nd, here at Cressex temporary terminus.

Nigel Peach writes "Two more Arriva buses in HW to report

Another "new" DD at Wycombe. Today (Wed 23rd) I saw 6289. I believe that this and 6286 have come from Aylesbury depot.

Arriva 6286 now at WYC on r 48 261115 G Francis 

Then, a big surprise. On the Park and Ride, Optare Versa 2964 YJ60 LUA. This used to be a P & R bus at Arriva Midlands Shrewsbury depot!

Nigel writes further. 

I have had nothing to report from Wycombe recently, but last week a few different Arriva buses have appeared. 

Daf DD 6286 has joined its many sisters at Wycombe. At Cressex on Sunday 20th Dec Volvo B7RLE 3872 was there. (We already have 3868/9/71 of that batch - just 3870 to come now!) 

6244 was also there, sister of our 6242. In fact I counted 10 DDs in the yard.

DAF double decks 6286 - 6300 - 6301 at Cressex depot on December 30th taken by Malcolm Crowe.

3307 was in the withdrawn row (I'd seen it running last week), with 3237. 3226 has now disappeared from the row.

Volvo B10BLE 3458 is back, after being missing for a while. It was on the 37 (curiously its display was "37  Maidenhead" rather than "Maidenhead 37"). I think it has been off for upgrade to make it DDA compliant.

Hmmm, the destination is not compliant as the number should be nearest the pavement. Ed.

DAF 4516 is back, having been away for some months, I think in Milton Keynes?.

Then yesterday (22nd), I saw MAN 3747 (on the 31) which has been off the road for over a year I believe !

Again on December 31st Nigel writes "Another DD at Wycombe is 6243, so we have now increased from 8 to 12 DDs in the last month. I was at Cressex yesterday (30th), and from your pictures it looks as though you were also there yesterday! In the withdrawn area, 3237 has been joined by Darts 3482 and 3225. There were two other buses parked behind, so I couldn’t identify them. I would think that one was 3307 and the other may well be 3310, being the last survivors of the four that were in Wycombe. 

I would guess that Volvo B10BLE / Alexander ALX 300 3452 and 3454 have gone off to be made DDA compliant. I wonder if the Volvo B10BLE / Wright Renown's 3261/2/8 will be so treated or if they will be withdrawn. 

The withdrawal 3482 and 3225 leaves just two Darts at Wycombe, 3837/8. I had heard that these were destined for Luton, joining 3839 which left Wycombe recently, and as I haven’t seen them lately, maybe these have gone. 

There is no longer a list of vehicles running and VORs visible in Wycombe Bus Station, so I can no longer tell when a vehicle has gone, or is just avoiding me - frustrating!! (I do agree, this was interesting and useful but I suppose they saw some people taking to much interest!! Ed.)

This list Nigel refers to taken on Sunday, November 8th 2015. - Malcolm Crowe.


2518 shows off its name "Gareth" when leaving Wycombe BS on a 33 working - December 230th by Malcolm Crowe.

showing its name Peter after Peter Cartwright of RML2440 fame - picture by Malcolm Crowe.

6303 at Cressex depot on January 2nd 2016 by Gavin Francis

Carousel Buses 

This operator is to operator the High Wycombe PR1 service from February 2016.

Carousel continues to provide much interest with transfers between Wallingford and Wycombe.

Geoff  Lovejoy writes "StreetLites 403/4/5 are now in service but have yet to receive branding. A sixth Streetlite is on order for March 2016.

As you may have seen, 809 has returned to service, but withdrawn now are 801 & 804 with 806 being next in line for withdrawal.

Solo 709 was in use at Carousel, having been de-branded from Thames Travel, it acquired Carousel fleet names over its TT livery, this was to be a short lived transfer, returning to TT after a few weeks. 504 was transferred from TT to Carousel in its place, repainted white, having Carousel fleet names added but this has gone back to TT on loan." 

553 has come, gone and come back again. Today it was working the 40 and is seen in Stokenchurch on December 30th by Malcolm Crowe.
Not the best of pictures, the light was going fast before the rain came !!

Two pictures of 405, more than a month apart, the first by Gavin Francis on November 26th and the second by Malcolm Crowe.
One can see that fleet numbers have been applied but full branding is yet to be completed.

CAROUSEL 118 - KIG9118 on the 40 to Stokenchurch on November 25th by Gavin Francis.
This is a school working as we have never seen a decker going through to Thame.

419 turns out of New Road on its way to Thame with a 40 working on December 7th seen by Gavin Francis.

551 on the 40 at Stokenchurch Kings - December 7th by Gavin Francis.
The afternoon sun was catching the roof nicely as it waited time.

Reports came in of Citaros working the 40 and it was first thought that Thames Travel's Oxford 831 and 832 were around.
However as the photos show it was 871 and 872, two of three original buses used on the A40 when it first started.
871 is resplendent in full Carousel livery whilst 872 shows a variation on a theme. The date is December 15th, the pictures by Gavin Francis.
For a day we thought that we were getting Citaros but it was not to be. 

Stephen Le Bras writes "I was pleased to see your latest update with pictures of the Airport Bus Service coach. I was not aware that they even had some new coaches despite my Saturday visits to Victoria. I had concentrated on the St Pancras service. There is no actual timetable, as far as I can see - just two publicity cards stuck on stop 11 in Buckingham Palace Road !!

The Arriva London HA class buses are eagerly awaited for route 78 while the virtual electric E400 has seen occasional service on the 69 (weekdays only).

As for First beeline, the Scania/Wright saloons have departed for Weymouth with the odd four Citaros from Bracknell 64020/21/30/31 taking their place. Repainted 64019 has replaced 44507 a temporary E200 bus at Slough, which was required in Portsmouth.


First Beeline, the four new StreetLites have arrived being 63313-6, SM65LNH/J/K/N and entered service on the X74 between the 5th and 11th December. Their arrival has marked the end of the Dennis Darts, with red example 41336 being the last to be withdrawn.


Two Tridents remain at Slough for route 200 to LEGOLAND (33179/181) until the 23rd December, when it closes for the winter.


The two Citaros shown in last time's bulletin, 64020 has had its old vinyls removed whilst newly repainted 64019 is expected to re-join its fellows down in Southampton in due course, where they are being re-registered. 




The red Dart 41336 has been withdrawn again-not for the first time-so watch this space. 


As a postscript to my report, it appears that red Dart 41336 is back in service after 2 E200 buses left for Wales.


The red Dart 41336 has been withdrawn again-not for the first time-so watch this space.

First is trying to confuse the enthusiast with this Red Dart.

New StreetLites are now a regular feature of the X74 but sometimes  blue 7's Citaro still appears. Indeed a blue 7's Citaro worked the 702 the other evening all the way to London !!!

StreetLite 63315 on an X74 working seen here in Wycombe Bus Station around 0830 on December 22nd by Malcolm Crowe.

Olympian P417KSX on school route 903 in Stokenchurch on December 7th taken by Gavin Francis.

Ex Dublin BUs LW51ZMY Volvo B7TL Alexander ALX400 at Wheatley on November 29th by Frazer Peddle.
(This bus has only recently arrived from Ensign Bus having been seen with them on October 31st.)


As mentioned in the Editorial many extra services ran on the A3 Gatwick service over the Christmas period.

An increasing number of special liveries and brandings have appeared recently.

NEx Kings Ferry FJ13EBX amid other Levantes in VCS on December 29th taken by Gavin Francis.

Kings Ferry provided many coaches for the extra services as no doubt their commitment to Commuter services to the North Kent Coast and Medway Towns was limited.
15 plate Irizars made a welcome appearance and their bright white destination screens were prominent.

Kings Ferry FJ10EZN leavers on an A3 service to Gatwick on December 26th taken by Gavin Francis.

NEx Edwards - Llantwit Fardre new BX65WCZ tri-axle on the 509 in VCS on December 12th by Gavin Francis.

NEx Kings Ferry FJ61EXH tri-axle on Eurolines 140 to Amsterdam waits time outside VCS on December 24th taken by Gavin Francis.
This service was operated by Heyfordian I believe.

Go-Ahead owned Oxford Bus Company is held up as one of the industry’s leading lights. MD Phil Southall has been in post for a little over a year, but he also has responsibility for two businesses that are very different. Check the link below.

The final E400 for the blue route 2 has arrived so now 223-228 are all completed.

The final three are captured by Gavin Francis in the days leading up to Christmas - 226, 227 and 228.

Variety on the Park & ride services has seen numerous red buses on this green route.
Pass your cursor over the pictures and look at the information bar at the bottom of your screen to see the dates and locations.
All pictures by Gavin Francis.

As mentioned before 316 has had some seats removed (a cycle rack area) for service on the 500 and now 317 has joined its fellow.

366 on a 13 road service waits time at Oxford Rail Station on December 6th taken by Gavin Francis.
These Hybrids, now replaced on the 5 by the new PINK buses are migrating to other services.

The 15 metre tri-axles have proved most useful over the holiday period on the airport services.
Above we see 61 and 64 on the LHR service at Thornhill on December 19th taken by Gavin Francis.

Three different liveries can be seen in this picture of Citaro 839 on a 6 road working on December 10th taken by Gavin Francis.

252 seen waiting time at the Rail Station on November 29th taken by Frazer Peddle.

Now some 13 years old, dual door Citaro 824 wends its way through the work on the Westgate Centre on December 22nd by Richard Sharman.

Not quite the shade but Richard Sharman reckoned he'd seen that blue before - December 22nd.

Saturday's sees the use of different buses on various routes. Here 660 is seen on 3 road on December 5th by Graham Low.

Frazer Peddle visited Reading and sent a few pictures of that operator which also has a "multi-coloured" fleet.

207 on the 26 to Calcot shows off in the atmospheric shot by Frazer on November 25th.

212 on Lion Route 4 to Bracknell ready for departure in company with other different coloured E400s on November 25th. 

Luke Braham writes "A new arrival to Redline is of ex-Arriva London Wright Eclipse Gemini LF52UPO which had been purchased through Ensign Bus.  It can often been seen working route 110. 

December 4th.

ALX400s SK52 MPU/V have also been repainted into a similar shade of red to other recent repaints along with Dart Y251 NLK which has also gained branding for route 321 between Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

December 4th

Green Route 4 liveried Enviro200 MK63 XAT has returned back to service after around eight weeks off the road. During this time, it was noted at Alexander Dennis in Harlow. It was often substituted on the 4 by a 09-plate Enviro200 during its time away. 

As mentioned in a previous email, Redline’s Dennis Dart Y251 NLK has been repainted into the latest version of fleet livery and has been given route branding for route 321. Quite surprisingly, Redline have also given the vehicle a white destination display. It was seen operating route 2 on the 12th December."

December 12th

Eddie Neal in front of the ex COMS coach at Showbus.

Decker W496WGH at Showbus by Eddie Neal.

The interior of the BMC Falcon so beloved by the driver on the 275.

Our Red Rose driver with his charge at Wycombe Bus Station taken by Malcolm Crowe December 9th.



The planned move of the Banbury Solo SRs to Witney took place, however 47834 moved to Oxford in exchange for 47454 which has gone to Banbury.

Solo SR 47834 on a 17 working on December 30th by Graham Low.

The new E200MMCs are settling down to work in Banbury as shown by these pictures from Richard Sharman.

Pictures taken on December 8th.

I heard that passengers on the 500, spoilt with Gold buses now complain when their new E200 turn up!
Again taken by Richard on December 8th.

47834 out of service at Gloucester Green on December 20th taken by Gavin Francis.


Jack from Banbury writes "On a recent Monday I saw an Enviro 200MMC on the B6. Then later I saw an Enviro 200MMC on the S4, I think running to Deddington and back.

The old 500 Enviro 200's are still in the 500 livery but are being used on the B services as well as the 200."



Ray James writes "The matter of single decks being used from Swindon on the 66, Swindon like Oxford is plagued by roadworks at the moment with a spare Gold bus being used on the temporary 7A service whilst a major rail bridge is replaced, this is causing disruption to local services and out of town services. the Gold buses frequently cover other services and are even scheduled to cover them when the 66 does not need its full PVR during off peak times. All our Darts are ADL/Transbus examples which were new to Stagecoach West (Swindon & Cheltenham Depots) or acquired from East Midlands, North West or Scotland. We also have 3 Cheltenham Scania/ADL E300 which should comply with the Oxford LEZ.

However I am no expert, and the 66 as certainly changed since I worked for Stagecoach in the early 00’s but this is my observation as an enthusiast."

Stagecoach is building a new depot in Swindon to replace the present one. This is due to open in February. For those interested you can look at the planning application details at the link below.

Swindon's 15764 on a very quiet Botley Road, New Year's Eve 2015 by Malcolm Crowe. 

Coaches operating the special Christmas Day 2015 service were 50285, 50276, 50278, 50268, 50274 and 50275. Local bus service nr 1 saw MMC 10431.

Bulleid Way Victoria just into the New Year with eight Tubes ready for return to Oxford - January 1st 2016 by Mark Atkinson.

First departure of 2016 from London with 50280 loading ready for the off. January 1st 2016 by Mark Atkinson. 

Some readers may remember and even be aware of a once very strong character at Megabus, Victoria, Archie, who had also served Stagecoach in Scotland in a number of roles. I remember him fondly in spite of him always referring to me as President of the Sad B******s Club - a Bus Spotter !!!!! Said of course with a rich Scots accent.

Archie at Mark Atkinson's wedding in 2013

Sadly Archie is no longer with us, having succumbed to cancer mid year 2015. It is delightful that Stagecoach have named one of the new Plaxton Interdecks in his memory - 54265. We miss him and his sense of humour.

Current Megabus news

Some new coaches have arrived for Megabus duties in the UK and Europe with both batches allocated to Rugby. Details are as follows:

Volvo B11R/Plaxton Elite i are being delivered as follows;

Right Hand Drive versions are 54263-76 (YY65VXE/F/G/H/J/K/L/M/N/O/P/R/S/T)

Left Hand Drive versions are 55021-28 (YY65VWU/V/W/X, VXA/B/C/D)

Look out for a domestic Megabus operation being set up at Plymouth in the near future with vehicles transferred from Rugby.

Megabus 54264 on the M34 at St. Giles, Oxford on December 20th by Gavin Francis.

Megabus 54268 on a southbound M34 working on December 22nd 2015 by Richard Sharman.

54266 loads in VCS on December 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Left hand drive 55023 leaves VCS for Worcester on December 23rd by Gavin Francis.

54269 on delivery in mid December by Mark Atkinson.

55024 on delivery in mid December by Mark Atkinson.

54221 heads southbound to Portsmouth on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Van Hool 55010 positions for the ME04 service to Koln in Germany at VCS on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Finally New Year's morning at Victoria.

The 0130 departures make ready for the off - January 1st 2016 by Mark Atkinson.

855 on the X39 and 707 on the 218 ex RH-Heyfordian Route December 22nd by Richard Sharman.

208 has been on loan to Thames Travel and is seen here on an X32 working on December 24th by Gavin Francis.
I am tol;d that this bus is to be repainted into Thames Travel full livery - Ed.


National Express services to serve High Wycombe Coachway

Thursday 17 December 2015

Residents will be able to hop on a coach to destinations including London Victoria, Birmingham, Heathrow Airport and Glasgow when National Express begins running services from the new High Wycombe Coachway next month.

When the Wycombe District Council-built Coachway opens in January, the town will benefit from 11 new National Express services departing from the Handy X Hub development every day - a total of 19 routes.

New direct connections will mean faster journey times, fewer changes and open up the entire National Express network to residents of the Wycombe district.

The Coachway includes a heated waiting area, real-time passenger information, with a coffee shop to follow later in 2016. The Park & Ride transfers to the site from Cressex in February - details of which will be announced soon.

Wycombe District Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Cllr Roger Wilson said: "We are delighted that National Express services will stop at the new High Wycombe Coachway - part of the council's fantastic Handy X Hub project.

"Not only does it make it easier for our residents to travel to airports and enjoy days out in major cities, it will also mean people from all over the country will be coming the other way to visit our wonderful district."

The 11 new services are in addition the eight existing daily services which depart from the High Wycombe bus station at the Eden Shopping Centre - meaning residents will enjoy 19 daily National Express coach services from High Wycombe every day.

National Express UK Coach Managing Director Tom Stables said: "Thanks to the construction of the High Wycombe Coachway, National Express will double its services to High Wycombe, adding a whole host of new direct connections to key destinations such as Heathrow Airport and London Victoria.

"This all-new facility will mean passengers can enjoy faster journey times, fewer changes and increased convenience bringing affordable travel to more people than ever before."

The coach operator will continue to lay on services to Oxford, Hemel Hempstead, Hatfield, Luton Airport and Stansted Airport.

There will be eight coaches a day from the HXH to Coventry, via Birmingham - where people can connect to Manchester and Liverpool.

Further services will travel to Wolverhampton, Warwick, Dudley and Heathrow Airport - taking in the Central Bus Station, Terminal 4, Terminal 5 - as well as Gatwick Airport; North and South Terminals six times a day.

Residents will be able to travel directly to London Victoria Coach Station five times a day, while there will be two coaches to Stratford Upon Avon.

There will also be a long-haul service to Aberdeen via Dundee, Glasgow, Hamilton, Carlisle and Leamington Spa.

Phase one of the wider Handy X Hub development includes the state-of-the-art new Wycombe Leisure Centre, which opens in early January, and a huge 25,000 sq ft Waitrose supermarket which opens in the spring.

A three-star hotel and office developments are expected to be built as part of phase two of the council's project.

For more information about the HXH visit  Visit for service information. 

Greyhound brand in the UK comes to an end

First’s final, but distinctive Greyhound route, between Swansea and Cardiff, has ceased. It has been replaced by the X10 express bus.

Says First Cymru spokesman Chris Hanson: “The service has not been doing as well as we initially hoped and we want to streamline it and have more local branding which is more relevant to our customers.”

The USA brand, owned by First, began in September 2009 between London and Portsmouth/Southampton.

The Swansea-Cardiff route was the last UK Greyhound route. However, First has not ruled out reintroducing it in the future.

Oxford Park & Ride – Oxford Parkway by Brian Bell

I sampled the first day of the 500 as a rail link service on 25 October.  I had not appreciated that the walk from Water Eaton P&R to the station was so far (had assumed buses would run right up to the station, which appears possible). On the way off the train I found the signing to the buses rather absent, the recorded announcement about buses picking up outside the station being very inaccurate. On the way back I actually missed the advertised train connection, as the 500 changed drivers in the centre of Oxford, and the short delay caused by that meant there was not sufficient time to walk to the station in time for the train. This was not helped by the fact that all trains (except the 0724) depart from the platform over the footbridge, and being a short train was departing from the very far end of the platform (can’t understand why that is really necessary).  I noted that on the train 30 mins later some young chap just managed to catch it, obviously having run from the bus, judging from breathlessness. During the daytime it’s probably wise to catch the bus 15 mins earlier than advertised, but at the time I was travelling the 500 had reduced to a 30 min service.  I hope someone checks before the last train is allowed to depart!

Pictures by Richard Sharman.

City on the brink beneath dreaming spires of history

OXFORD is regularly rated one of the best places to live in the UK but the city of dreaming spires has earned a new reputation as one of the most congested in the nation.

Commuters say 12-mile car journeys take up to two hours and one firm complained its concrete supplies for a shopping centre development were setting before delivery because of the gridlock.

Maurizio Fantato, of the Witney Oxford Transport Group, said: “People have come to expect long delays from roadworks and poor planning as a fact of Oxford life.

“My wife is a nurse at the John Radcliffe Hospital and her journey of less than 15 miles can take two hours. The evening rush hour starts at school home time and lasts until 7pm. It is deeply frustrating.”

Businesses have complained about the difficulty of attracting and retaining staff because of the long commutes.

Oxford’s historic problems of narrow streets and restrictive planning regulations have been compounded by a string of roadworks blighting approach roads and a house-building surge in surrounding areas. TTY

The Highways Agency do their best to minimise disruptions to drivers

“It can be quicker to travel to Cheltenham or Gloucester to shop than to go into Oxford,” said Mr Fantato, whose group wants improvements to the A40.

“There has been a lack of long-term planning and investment and, combined with plans to build new houses, it will only get worse. The county could grind to a standstill.”

An Oxford Business Barometer survey found widespread concern.

Tim Reid, of solicitors Withy King, said: “Three out of every four business decision-makers questioned thought the city centre was in danger of becoming a ‘dead zone’ for general business.”

Some firms have introduced flexi-time to help workers avoid the worst of the jams.

Jeanette Gower, of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “The commute is difficult and when you get into the city there is a lack of parking or it is too expensive.”

The Oxford Bus Company said the disruption had lost them a million passenger journeys over the past year while forcing up running costs.

Deliveries to the £440million Westgate shopping centre have been delayed and Hanson Concrete said it was losing thousands of pounds on loads that were ruined after being stuck in traffic for more than two hours.

A county council spokesman said: “We are determined to tackle these issues and have been successful in obtaining grant funding from central government. However, major improvements cannot be completed overnight and these do lead to disruption. The benefits come when the jobs are completed.”

I am readers will have their own horror stories to tell but it is certain that recent months have made many problems for passengers and the bus companies alike with delays. Ed.

Sir Brian Souter says too many bosses are "control freaks"

Please check the link above for Sir Brian's comments..


Marcus Lapthorn writes "Whilst travelling from Didcot station recently I observed two buses parked up at South Moreton. I returned to the area today by car and located the buses in a yard next door to a house. I introduced myself to the owner Mike and he told me that he and his brother had purchased the former Bournemouth Corporation double decker (156) on e-bay about 2 years ago. They carefully drove the bus home from Bournemouth, frequently stopping to refill the radiator which was damaged. They have carried out some work on the bus and hope to have it running in due course. I have attached three photo’s of 156 and also a link to a photo’ of 156 when in service in Bournemouth."

Bournemouth 8156EL on November 25th by Marcus Lapthorn

Mike and his brother also own former RML 2513 which is in a much better state than 156. This Routemaster is famous as it is the bus that Jeremy Clarkson launched a rocket from, as part of his tirade against buses. I have provided links to the bus being blown up:

................and in happier days in London.

RML2513 - unknown origin.

An ex London Trident by Marcus Lapthorn

I have attached photo’s of a bus that is now resident at Newbridge in Oxfordshire. It is ex London and its original reg was T218CLO. It was sold to a dealer in Essex from whom Exelabus of Eastleigh purchased it and  operated it with reg’ J12XEL and fleet number 512. They then sold it to the Maybush pub’ who intend removing the lower deck nearside windows and converting it into a bar. Your readers may be interested to see this bus in its new guise. The reg’ plates have been removed as has the drivers seat and all upper deck seats have been placed in the lower saloon.

T218CLO by Marcus Lapthorn

TA100 - T218CLO whilst in London service - Gavin Francis.

I think that these stories will interest your readers. 

Running Days & Shows

Showbus 2016 by Martin Isles

Hopefully the news has reached you that we have secured a prestigious venue for Showbus 2016.  We had lots of helpful suggestions from folk after Woburn and visited several potential sites.  Sadly we could not find one near our home, but the one we have found is so good, we will overcome our logistical problems somehow. 

The date is fixed for September 25th at Donington Park.  It is a purpose built site next to the famous race track with a long established Sunday Market and the world's largest collection of F1 cars adjacent. 

The site boasts what it describes as a "tarmac lake" of over 4000 square metres with separate entrances for cars and exhibitors.  Our only worry will be it gets so hot that buses sink into the tarmac! 

More details nearer the time or keep an eye on

Your Editor arriving at Showbus 2015 with E400 MMC 10441 on September 20th by C Strong.


Abellio 9550 wrap for KITS N ACE r 211 111215 G Francis

BB Afternoon Tea Ltd RML2546 VCS 101215 G Francis

LUL LT143 R148 VIC 271115 G Francis

Metroline LT661 on route 16 at Victoria, the highest one yet seen on December 23rd by Gavin Francis

London in pictures by Gavin Francis

Publications and Links.

This published produces various fleet books with a lot of useful information such as liveries, route and allocations. Whilst the price might by some to be considered high the benefit which many other publications do not have, is the regular updates to allocations and a weekly report on what happening.

The three latest books are shown hereunder with a link to SKM's web site. Here you can order the books and look at what is on offer.

Another useful link, not related to SKM is hereunder where you can catch up with all the latest PCV registrations as well as historical ones going back to the 1940s.

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