Spottings & Jottings nr. 94 - April 15th 2016

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

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Stagecoach have announced orders for £97 million worth of new buses and coaches. Full details are shown below under Jottings and reveal 480 new buses and coaches, many of which will be fitted with Wi-Fi.
Interestingly, no Scanias this year for the first time in a long time.

An interesting development at Stagecoach East Kent is the painting into a 100 year commemorative livery of ex Oxford Scania/Enviro 400 15443. Further pictures can be found under Stagecoach but here is a foretaste.

It just proves how a corporate livery can be used to great effect on such a commemoration ! Picture by Chris Rouse. 

Work continues on the Westgate Centre rebuilding in the centre of Oxford. This work is often causing delays to bus traffic using the temporary roadways. Dirt is another problem which does nothing for the presentation of the bus fleets.

An idea of the significant works taking place, seen by Gavin Francis on April 1st.

Oxford Park & Ride's 315 coming out of the works area on April 1st seen by Gavin Francis.

April 3rd saw Oxford United at Wembley playing Barnsley in a cup draw Oxford sadly lost.

Here we see 231 on special duty conveying supporters from Oxford to Hillingdon and v.v.
This was joined at loaned 932 also providing transport. Picture by Ian Rivett.

932 is seen waiting trade at Thornhill earlier in the day. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Chiltern Trains also offered special deals from Oxford Parkway on trains directly calling at Wembley. Stagecoach provided three Gold buses but passenger numbers did not meet expectations.

London NRM wraps are appearing in great numbers now and further down the page you will find a selection of the latest. I realise that these are outside our area but hope readers will find them of interest.

Marcus Lapthorn visited the Wythall Bus Museum and a report on his visit with pictures is in the Jottings section. As an appetizer one picture is shown hereunder.

Wythall Bus Museum and a West Midlands selection on March 27th by Marcus Lapthorn.

Paul A. Bateson, Editor of British Buses Abroad has sent an interesting report which includes some news on buses from our area. His full report is lower down the page but a COMS Daimler is shown hereunder.

Ex COMS 395 - MJO 395H - seen at Tallahassee in the USA on February 26th taken by Paul Bateson.
Not much has changed except that when new it had a wrap round screen on the upper deck.

A similar bus shown in these pages many years ago, this gives an idea of how the front upper deck screens looked.

More information on Eagle of Faringdon has come to light and is included under the history section in Jottings below.

Also included in this section are some pictures from Graham Low, one of which is shown below and shows a Standerwick coach in Gloucester Green in the '70s.

These coaches were the BET groups last effort at double deck coaches before nationalisation into the National Bus Company.
Black & White pictures have a certain ambience don't you think?

When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.


Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!


I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.


May I please ask readers to do two things?


1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.


2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.


The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.


Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.


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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - April 15th 2016



Observations and pictures 

Fleet News 

Nick Ross writes "I have enjoyed your site for some years, finally got round to helping with images."

Red Kite of Tilsworth's
R53 NBV parked up in Leighton Buzzard High St on March 5th 2016 prior to working the 162 village service.
This is the youngest Olympian in Red Kites Olympian fleet that are mainly used on schools work. 

May once have served High Wycombe and Aylesbury?? (I'm not sure though).
Preserved Bristol VR CJH 141V at Alresford prior to working back to Winchester on Sunday March 13th 2016 during the excellent Hampshire preservation group running day

Gavin Francis writes "This former NatEx coach now owned by Hackney Community Transport (CT Plus) of London E17 who run a few TFL routes in East London. I wonder what its origins are?"


Gordon Scott, my erstwhile correspondent north of the border, writes "New for Stagecoach London SN16 OJW Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC seen at Falkirk on March 17th on a test run seen below."

Also caught up with this Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 SN63 VTX  99991 fleet number operating with First Midland Bluebird Bannockburn depot. This bus was new to Stagecoach as a demo Diesel Electronic Hybrid, with More bus branding seen at Falkirk bus station.


I was working on March 20th and caught up with this Weardale Van Hool Astromega YH63 CWM on a private hire picking up passengers at Edinburgh Airport.

Shots attached taken from weekend Omnibus Society Borders trip.

Perryman's of Berwick Mercedes Benz MCV Evolution AE12AZD taken at Galashiels new Interchange linking railway station of reopened Edinburgh to Tweedbank line. 

First Borders Scania Wright 65745 SN55 JVK in Border Weaver livery taken at Galashiels Interchange. 

Arriva North East 7516 NK09 FNC Enviro 400 on route X15 Berwick to Newcastle
taken in Berwick town.
(Interesting as the last time I was in Berwick was in 1969 !! Ed.)

Derek Wiggins writes "Ex Oxford's 49, hired for their start on the 737, was in Swindon on Sunday April 3rd on service 401. It is now National Express SR112 - FJ60HXU."

Barnes of Swindon have four 16 plate coaches and YT16FUB is an Irizar i6 14 metre 61 seater, YJ16EOO is a Van Hool 12metre 49 seater and WJ16KBE and KBF are Bova Futura 2 13 metre 53 seaters.

Rather an impressive beast! 

Tim Hall from Swindon writes "I paid a visit to High Wycombe on March 19th and a lot has changed. Here are photos, one of which, Arriva 5465 was taken at Haddenham & Thame parkway station. The others were  Carousel 101 ex oxford bus 101 and 404, a newish StreetLite."


Luke Braham writes "High Wycombe’s 3703 KE55 CKP was noted in the Aylesbury depot on the 3rd April looking a little worse for wear. I am told that sometimes engineering work is carried out at Aylesbury on behalf of High Wycombe depot.



The only remaining Aylesbury based Dart that was withdrawn at the end of December following the DDA deadline is 3297 X297 MBH which is being stripped for spares at the depot. I am told that sister 3296 X296 MBH has been repainted white and has been converted into a driver trainer.


Arriva Midlands 2543 FJZ 4196 has arrived at the Aylesbury depot and is also being stripped for spares alongside Dart 3297.  

Also worth noting is the regular use of a double decker on the 150 service from Aylesbury in the evening which only runs as far as Leighton Buzzard. This working is operated out of the Leighton Buzzard outstation with the bus also working on the Leighton Buzzard town services during the day. During term time, this bus would also work a 650 service from the secondary school in Wing to and from Aylesbury in both the mornings and afternoons. It was once quite rare to find a decker on the 150 service due to a low bridge at Linslade. ALX400 628 X428 FGP was seen operating this working  the 29th March.

There hasn’t been much activity in Aylesbury over the past few months with very few odd workings being noted too. With Arriva, we’ve had no transfers since late December now when the Darts arrived from the Midlands and they appear to be quite good at keeping the MAX buses on their branded routes (which seems quite surprising knowing Arriva). Wycombe’s 3703 was noted in the Aylesbury depot on Sunday morning looking a little worse for wear. I am told some engineering work is carried out by Aylesbury on behalf of Wycombe depot.

At Arriva in Aylesbury, I am told that some of the MAX buses (mainly the 12-plates) have been on the 280 although I’m still to get a photo of this. I am also told that this is mainly down to rail replacement work on Sundays but they have also appeared on the route in the week.

Lewis Nagle writes "I've also sent you some Arriva shots attached that I hope you'll find interesting. 

Pictures of some Arriva the Shires buses recently seen on Rail Replacement work, including the Metropolitan line from Northwood to Chesham and Piccadilly from Boston Manor to Ealing. 

This one I was very pleased with because of the whole composition with the Sapphire bus, the country lane of Chorleywood, and of course the huge splash made by the bus as it opened up through a large puddle. And the driver looks like he's having fun too!


The Boston Manor shot was interesting as it's a bus branded for Luton service A but in this case was on Replacement Service B! Nice to finally get a shot of these vehicles though, and without having to journey that far either.


The final one is a MAX Citaro at Ealing picking up passengers for Boston Manor. It was a well-organised rail replacement, as buses would wait for trains to arrive at Ealing, for example, and then ferry passengers in bus bunches of usually three vehicles direct to Boston Manor for onward travel. Other companies provided more local, stopping services.


Many thanks for keeping the OCBP going, and kind regards. "


James Allum writes "Last Thursday 31/3  3264 (V264 HBH) was being used on the 500, seen in Hemel bus interchange heading towards Watford."

APPEAL: do any of your readers have any photos of Sovereign Buses route 300 / 301 from along the route when Sovereign ran it?

Arriva 3923 on the 300 leaves HIGH WYCOMBE on March 9th seen by Gavin Francis.

3701 on the 34 at Eden Bus Stn, High Wycombe on March 21st by Malcolm Crowe.

4071 on the Green Line 758 in Park Lane on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

4072 on the Green Line 757 in Park Lane on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
When seen earlier in the month this coach was in service on the 757 with L plates affixed!!!
The holders are now empty on this day.

4101 on its branded route, the 757 at Marble Arch
on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
Competition on the Luton routes is very hot with National Express's A1.

 4373 on its branded route, the 757 loads in Park Lane on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Arriva M702RAU tow truck and 3225 withdrawn at Cressex Depot on April 2nd by Malcolm Crowe.

Today, April 15th, a Tempo was noted on the A40 Thame service. I think this might be a first?

Lewis Nagle writes "I've been in and around Wycombe recently and have attached some pictures I think you and your viewers might find interesting. The other thing I thought I might mention is that I, a while ago, created an enthusiasts' Facebook page for the company and if any of your readers wish to join it they'd be most welcome.

The first picture I attached is 403 rounding the corner at the end of Castle Street on the PR1; this was inspired by an old picture of yours of one of the MCVs when they were new in early 2012 which you may be able to dig out of your archive!


The second is 505 in Eton on its first day of Carousel service. Prior to this it was a Thames Travel bus and has since been repainted into the smart Carousel livery. In fact the destination equipment hadn't yet been updated to Carousel destinations hence why it has Special on the front!


The third is 402 on route 40 to Stokenchurch. This is the interworked service with the PR1 so instead of having incorrect branding for the 40 part of its shift, it was incorrectly branded for the peak PR1s instead! Same bus type though, so little to be concerned with really.


The fourth is newly arrived 406. It was seen in Northern Ireland in early March and was delivered to Oxford in mid-March where it was stickered up before finally being driven to Wycombe on the 29th. Its branding is identical to that of 401/402, just with the fleet number in a rather odd position! It is as well, of course, the first 16-plate vehicle to enter service in the surrounding areas.


The fifth is a standard Solo on the Sunday service on route 1.


The sixth is Tempo 808 suffering a mild identity crisis at Uxbridge with the old display of 'Line 4 Chesham' which was put on the vehicles for special purposes only. I think it's reminiscent of the old Carousel service 4 which was replaced by the council's joint venture on the 1, and the Tempos were only on the 4 for a few months at most.


The final is Evolution 553, which - unlike the Carousel originals - has a Dennis chassis and not a MAN one. It's on a standard 40 to Thame but carries the trademark Carousel plates originally worn by the Agoras and then Tempos and now the ex-Thames buses 551-553.


Nick Aris writes "I have just read the latest page and vey informative it was as usual, thanks for including some nice pictures of the Carousel fleet, I noted the comment not a decker in sight which in the picture is true, they are parked inside most of the time hence the reason none to view last time you were there.

We should have another Streetlite arriving very soon with three more by May, the last three will be in a dark blue livery for the Park and Ride and 403,4 and5 will be rebranded.

I can confirm that fleet number 415 Man Stirling in Purple livery is up for disposal but 417 is to remain for now.

We also have Enviro fleet number 505 which is away for repaint into Carousel Red which will join us soon giving us four of that type. (See above for first day in service picture Ed.)

It is very likely that all of the Tridents we have will be replaced by the end of this year due to the fact they are not DDA compliant which is a pity as they have proved to be very reliable buses.

Thanks for the comment with regards to 553.

Fleet numbers 407,408 and 409 will arrive around late April early May and be in a very dark blue colour and branded for the Park and Ride, 404,405 and 406 the will have their branding changed.

415 has now been sold.

That is the news from Carousel at the moment, once again thank you for a very informative issue.

Phil Southall writes "Regarding new deliveries, 406 went into service this week on the A40/740/730 cycle. 407 to 409 in the new Park & Ride livery are expected in June. 406 is SK16GXL. We don't yet know what 407 to 9 will be.

Bus Lists on the Web notes as under. I think something is incorrect as Carousel only expect four and not five? 


Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX16141298 




City of Oxford 


Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX16141299 




City of Oxford 


Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX16141297 

Wt AN001 



Carousel 406


Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX16141300 




City of Oxford 


Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX16141301 




City of Oxford 

Trident 112 on the 740 in an unusual pose of the rear passes through High Wycombe on March 9th seen by Gavin Francis.

Another ex Thames Travel Enviro 200, 504 OU57FGZ on the 28 in Stokenchurch on March 31st by Gavin Francis.
The thumbnail in the corner shows this bus in its once familiar garb!

102, 417 and 423 at Eden Bus Stn High Wycombe on March 21st by Malcolm Crowe.
417 may not have long with Carousel as 415 has now gone.

Former Clarkes YN14NPY now with Cheney seen in Cheltenham on March 20th by Richard Sharman.

Former Happy Days Coaches YT09YHX now with Cheney seen in Cheltenham on March 20th by Richard Sharman.


Citaro 64019 LK03LNF on the X74 in HIGH WYCOMBE on March 9th by Gavin Francis.
An unusual working as this route is now the preserve of StreetLites suitably branded.

Heyfordian-Bicester C20HTL at Marble Arch on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
These are still most impressive coaches well suited to this livery.

Luke Braham writes "Delivered new on the 3rd March for the Crusader Holidays fleet was Mercedes Benz Tourismo M UK16 CRU with C49Ft seating. Hedley Shanks has supplied and given me permission to pass photos onto you of the said coach shortly after arrival."


Due for arrival in May are three Mercedes Benz Tourismo's for the Motts Travel fleet. They will feature C53Ft seating and will be the first Tourismo's in the Motts livery. The trio will become MT16 MTT, GB16 MTT and UK16 MTT.

Ex-Dublin Bus Alexander ALX400s X800 MTT (00 D 70129) and X900 MTT (00 D 70121) are due to enter service shortly. They have been converted to single door layout and have a H49/33F seating layout.

 Mercedes Benz Tourismo M UK15 CRU has been repainted white out of its Crusader Holidays livery. It is due to be converted into the Wycombe Wanders team coach with a yet to be decided livery. It will replace Neoplan 90 WFC which is expected to be sold on."

& competing express operators.

Competition is hotting up on the airport services with a new route, the A7 operating from Victoria to Stansted via Waterloo. An increasing number of hired in operators have been seen on both the Luton and Stansted routes. One presumes that the Irish registered Eurolines coaches on the A1 are used during its daytime layover in London?

Reverting to the Stansted services a change has now happened on the A6 which now terminates at Marble Arch. The stop used is at the top of Bayswater with coaches routing via Baker Street and Sussex Gardens to reach this point. The idea of coaches waiting unloading at the end of the bus lane, already congested, means that traffic coming up Bayswater is going to be heavily congested. I wonder if anyone thought of this? The A6 then routes out via Gloucester Place towards Stansted. The A7 is thus serving VCS and then routing out via Waterloo and the east end. Surprisingly the Airport Bus services are now starting from inside VCS. It has been suggested that these A20 and A21 services are in some way linked to National Express. I wonder?

Other competition has appeared on the Paris route with Flixbus joining Eurolines, Megabus and Ouibus.

Our pictures below - by Gavin Francis - show examples of these events.



Terravision seems somewhat in the shade at present with various hired operators no longer being used and the service can no longer go into Stansted Airport.

Terravision TV03 FJ61EYK at NOTTING HILL GATE on April 7th seen by Gavin Francis.

Ouibus DV-159-BF on Park Lane, the date March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Other National Express pictures.

Chalfont WA10ENK on the A6 on March 29th by Malcolm Crowe.

Start Hill's SH202 on the A6 on March 28th by Malcolm Crowe. This is part of a new batch of tri-axle Volvos for NEx.

Eurolines Arriaga 4809HLC heads for Paris on March 29th by Malcolm Crowe.

Terravision YN64AMV on Park Lane on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe. Not quite sure if the lettering is now correct?

Part of the latest batch of tri-axles for NEx, Edwards Llantwit Fardre's BX16CHO on the 509 by VCS on April 4th by Gavin Francis.

Skills BX16CHJ on the 440 by VCS on April 1st by Gavin Francis. Another Volvo B11RT.

One of many Skills Volvo tri-axle Levantes enters Gloucester Green on April 1st by Gavin Francis.

Luckett's FJ58AHG on NEx work by VCS on April 1st by Gavin Francis.

Skills JFZ8616 on the 310 to Poole leaves Oxford on March 12th seen by Malcolm Crowe. 


Graham Low writes "I saw this OBC Wright Streetdeck at Cowley Centre this afternoon on the 5, with fleet number 932, i.e. in the full height series. Is it covering for rectification of OBC vehicles?"

Ian Rivett writes "Some 'extras' ran on service X90 today for the Football League Trophy – Barnsley vs Oxford United at Wembley on April 3rd.

The duplicate double deckers ran from Thornhill Park & Ride to Hillingdon, as the normal coach service was full and could not take the extra passengers.  Four were used, with one on standby. 

A special fare of £12 return was charged, with buses returning after the match to Oxford City Centre and ran 'as required' back from Hillingdon. 

I was told that this is something that may well be repeated in the future, if there is sufficient demand on days when there is a special event at Wembley or in London. 

The picture was taken at the Hillingdon Bus Station, outside the Underground Station. 

Sadly, Oxford United lost......................"

Picture by Ian Rivett

OX 932 on Football Special at Thornhill April 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Gavin Francis writes "Coach 22 must have a faulty scroll. It now has a Greenline style permanent destination. Blue on a yellow background vinyl in its place."

Coach 46 seen on a National Express 737 working on April 10th by Gavin Francis.

OX 225 with advertising on 2 road on  April 9th by Gavin Francis.

41 on the X90 leaves Gloucester Green on March 12th by Malcolm Crowe.

72 on the X90 loads at the Park Lane stop on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

73 at the end of an X90 journey enters Gloucester Green on March 12th by Malcolm Crowe.

77 picks up in Park Lane on an early X90 journey on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

MMC 613 is seen in Oxford on March 25th by David Beynon.

Richard Sharman sent an interesting find, that of ex 91, now with Grosvenor Coaches, Birmingham.

Seen in Cheltenham on March 19th by Richard Sharman.


Luke Braham reports that "Darts KF52 NBM/N have been acquired from Uno Buses and have been repainted into the latest version of Redline livery. Both have now entered service with the company."


Also repainted into the latest version of fleet livery are Darts SN53 LWR and V262 BNV. Upon visiting there depot, I was told by a friendly employee of the company that all buses are to be repainted into the new livery expect dual-door buses.


After checking the last editions of the OCBP, it appears that I’ve forgotten to notify you of the arrival of Wright Eclipse Gemini LJ03 MJF. This is another example from Arriva London brought from Ensign Bus.

There is no doubt that this company is intent on providing a first class image to the travelling public !


Steve Gee writes "Noted Banbury based saloon 36448, OU 61 AUV, running south along the Southam by-pass this afternoon 9/3/16 at 12:45 approx. I think it was on route 63, which is a Rugby- Leamington Spa journey, and is usually worked by a Rugby or Leamington based vehicle. Has 36448 been re-allocated or was it deputising for a local vehicle? It is quite usual to see Rugby based saloons off the 63/64 on fill in trips on Leamington town services, so may have worked in from Banbury earlier.

Either way, Banbury based vehicles are an extreme rarity around Southam."

I am told that these diversions were caused by problems in Banbury on the day in question resulting in a lot of unusual workings.  Ed

Richard Sharman was on hand in Cheltenham to take a picture of 10071 on Gold Cup Race duties on March 19th.

Unusually Solo SR 47834 was on the 17 on April 1st as seen by Gavin Francis.


Marcus Lapthorn writes "Further to your excellent coverage of the opening day at Stagecoach Swindon’s new depot, I thought that I would add to your piece by photographing the depot on a Sunday, when many vehicles are parked up. Prior to doing that however I re-visited the old depot at Eastcott Road. As you will se it is now up for sale with potential for residential redevelopment, which is no surprise as it was in the centre of densely packed housing. 

I hope that your readers enjoy seeing the new depot on an operating day."

Marcus adds " about 1735 on Tuesday 15 March I noted that a s/d Stagecoach West MAN bus was on the 66 route going toward Southmoor from Oxford.


Derek Wiggins writes "Herewith a photo of the last bus to enter service from the old garage in Swindon on March 6th. The trip was out to Coate, the the bus station and was the first service bus into the new garage.

During the afternoon all the spare buses were moved to the new facility followed by the tools and spares during the rest of the day.

The new depot commenced operation first thing on March 7th and the remainder of items moved over in the remainder of the following week."

LAST DAY JOU160P by the gate of the old depot on March 6th by Derek Wiggins.

The above link will take you to a very informative web site and Stagecoach have put two buses on the road in commemorative liveries.

Thanks to two local Kent enthusiasts I can bring you pictures of a Scania decker suitably adorned in a pseudo East Kent livery. This is interesting for those in our area as the bus was, when new, in the Oxford fleet and only left when the Chipping Norton route was converted to Gold standard as the S3. Indeed quite a few Oxford buses and coaches end up with SC East Kent including the five Volvo/Plaxton Elites once used on  the 737 and now seen on the NEx 007 and 021 out of Victoria.

Pictures by Chris Rouse

Pictures by Neil Hogbin who drove this bus to the South East Bus Show, the second on showing the bus immediately after it was branded.

The five Astromegas, originally used on the X25 in Scotland after Tube service, which have been based in Cwmbran since Autumn last year, are still giving stirling service on various Megabus diagrams.

Many will remember 50223, which attended Showbus in 2009 when new. This coach still has to gain Megabus livery and is often seen on a diagram taking it to Leeds. My picture shows it leaving Victoria at the start of its journey northwards on March 29th last. It looks clean and smart in its 6th year.

A member opf the current Tube fleet, 50275, is overtaken by 61 plate 50242, again on March 29th by Malcolm Crowe.

50286, the last of the current batch, is seen leaving the Park Lane stop, heading for Oxford on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Busy times in Buckingham Palace Road with one Tube ready to leave and one waiting to join the line by Gavin Francis.

Stagecoach 53637 KX61 GDV was still at Kings on March 11th repainted ex Megabus
livery by Gordon Scott.
These coaches should by now be entering service from their new homes.

50247 is seen heading round to departures on  April 1st  to load for the long haul to Glasgow. Picture by Gavin Francis.

When last seen this coach was branded for the X74 service but  has now received a fresh coat of paint for Megabus services.
54078 was seen by Gavin Francis in Bulleid Way on April 10th.

Megabus 55005 heads away from VCS out of service on March 26th by Malcolm Crowe.

Megabus 55011 is bound for Nottingham when seen at Marble Arch on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
There are now some intriguing workings for these left hand drive Van Hools when in the U.K.

Hamilton's Neoplan OU15ZVW is seen leaving VCS on a Megabus service on March 26th by Malcolm Crowe.

Watts Coaches Bonvilston YP14HCD Irizar i6 Integral on hire to Megabus near VCS on March 29th by Malcolm Crowe. 


Jack Cooper reports seeing Oxford Bus company's 214 on loan to Thames travel recently working on the X40. This can of course happen as a number of TT services come out of Cowley depot.

Please refer to Carousel above for a number of inter-company transfers.

Ex Carousel Mercedes OC500LE 874 with MCV Evolution bodywork is seen on the X40 heading through the building works into Castle Street on April 1st by Gavin Francis.

No less than ten Alexander Dennis E40D / Enviro 400MMC double decks have been delivered. ‘A’ to ‘F’ have Newbury & District fleet names, whilst the rest carry South Midland

SN16OHA  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18768  AD F443/1  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHB  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18769  AD F443/2  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHC  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18770  AD F443/3  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHD  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18771  AD F443/4  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHE  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18772  AD F443/5  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHF  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18773  AD F443/6  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHG  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18774  AD F443/7  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHH  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18775  AD F443/8  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHJ  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18776  AD F443/9  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHK  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18777  AD F443/10  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHL  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18778  AD F443/11  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 
SN16OHO  AD E40D SFDA11BR2GGX18779  AD F443/12  H41/35F  3/2016  Weavaway,Newbury 

These will replace the various Olympians, many of which are in Noah Vale livery.

I look forward to pictures of these in service.





Stagecoach Group today (11 April 2016) announced new vehicle orders worth £97million.

A new fleet of around 480 vehicles, many equipped with free Wi-Fi, will be introduced in the coming 2016-17 financial year as the company continues its policy of reinvesting profits in improving services for customers.

The latest announcement takes Stagecoach Group's total orders of new buses and coaches to more than £1billion since 2006/07, delivering more than 6,500 new vehicles for passengers.

This year’s orders mean around £82million of new buses and coaches will be introduced in Stagecoach's regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales. There is also a £10million order for new buses for London and around £4.5million will be spent on coaches for the Group’s operations.

Most of the new vehicles are set to be built in the UK, helping to support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs and smaller businesses in the supply chain who produce key components from drivers' seats and toilets to wheelchair lifts and destination displays*. All of the new vehicles meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

All of the new vehicles will be fitted with CCTV while most will also have wi-fi installed, giving customers free internet access during their journeys.

The latest orders follow an annual competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles will be delivered from Spring 2016.

Highlights of the latest investment are almost 280 low-floor double-decker vehicles to go into service across the UK, ensuring that Stagecoach work has met its requirements under the UK Disability Discrimination Act deadline for double deck vehicles. The company previously met the DDA deadline for smaller vehicles.

There are also almost 100 single decker and midi vehicles and 14 coaches for UK Bus express service, as well as 13 new coaches for and 36 minibuses for local regional companies.  Around 65 of the new buses will be used for Stagecoach Gold services.

In London, Stagecoach has placed a £10million order for more than 50 new vehicles.

Stagecoach has also made a multi-million pound investment in digital technology and recently launched a transformational new, fully mobile, UK Bus website which lets customers check live running times for their services and buy travel from their smartphone.

Along with the country's other major bus operators, Stagecoach has also invested heavily to complete the introduction of smart multi-operator bus ticketing in all nine of England's smart city regions with support from local transport authorities.

Britain’s five main bus operators – including Stagecoach – are also working together to produce a business case for the introduction of contactless technology on every bus in Britain. The business case is expected to be completed by late spring 2016 and the scheme, funded predominantly by the private sector, could see new EMV contactless technology installed on every one of the UK’s 32,000-plus buses outside London. It would offer cashless travel for those who want it and capped pay-as-you-go-fares in all urban areas.

Stagecoach was rated by customers as the best value major bus operator in the UK for the third consecutive year in the most recent Bus Passenger Satisfaction survey carried out by Transport Focus.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “Everything we do is about making travel even better for our customers. We are investing in state-of-the-art, cleaner, greener vehicles, digital technology and smart ticketing to raise the bar and deliver an even higher standard of service. These latest vehicle orders are an important part of our strategy to encourage even more people to take the bus.

“Local bus services are the backbone of the country’s transport networks. Stagecoach provides millions of people every day with a greener way to access work, health, education and leisure and we offer the best value bus fares in Britain.”

Details of the new orders are as follows:





From Gavin Francis

Gavin Francis recently enjoyed one of his bi-annual visits to Florida and took a number of pictures including three pictures of American coaches outside a hotel. Nice to see a Van Hool amongst them.


Paul Bateson gave us an address in Orlando where there was a former Bristol Omnibus Lodekka number C7294 so we took a ride to Orange Avenue and found it. Not a goer this one. Have attached some pictures of it.


From Paul Bateson on a trip down to the USA

I went to bed early on Sunday evening in readiness for an early start on Monday morning and my trip to Nappanee, Indiana.  The Spring weather had returned to Winter as the forecast called for up to 20 cms of snow.  In fact the snow had started around 4.30 p.m. Sunday so it looked grim for Monday morning. 

I had arranged to meet my contacts at 6.30 a.m. at Acadian Driveaway, 185 Carrier Drive, Toronto which under normal circumstances would take about 15 minutes to reach. I set my alarm for 4.30 a.m. and the first thing I did was look out of the window.  Indeed there had been a lot of snow and the roads were snow covered.  I left home at 5.30 a.m. and with careful driving it took me just over 30 minutes to reach my destination.  It was pretty easy as on the three lanes available drivers insisted in driving in the extreme left lane and the middle lane leaving the kerb lane unobstructed.  Agreed it was a bit snow covered compared to the other lanes but my car with its manual gearbox handled it beautifully plus, of course, my own skills!! 

When I arrived at the yard, one of my contacts had already arrived.  He had travelled in from Welland which he told me took 3 hours instead of an 1 ½ hours.  A tractor-trailer had jack knifed in front of him blocking the road for a while.  I introduced myself to him only to discover during our conversation that we had spoken to each other many years ago when I was Transit Co-ordinator at Brampton Transit and he was a despatcher with Vaughan Transit as we jointly operated a bus route between Bramalea and Finch Subway Station.  It’s a small world as it became apparent we both knew many of the same people in the local transit businesses. 

My other contact did not arrived until 7.00 a.m. as he had to drive in from Ajax.  The two contacts were called Jim and Ren.  Jim would drive the shuttle vehicle, otherwise known as The Chaser.  This was a minibus decaled in Acadian Driveaway livery.  We finally left at 7.15 a.m. and made good progress with a straight through drive to the Canada / US border at Sarnia that took just over 3 hours.  The border crossing went smoothly and we entered the State of Michigan.  What a change in road surfaces.  Michigan’s roads are in rough condition or so it seemed!  We took a short rest break at a Pilot Travel Centre at Kimball Township before continuing onwards to Goshen, Indiana, a travel time of about 4 ½ hours.  It would appear that the drivers take minimal breaks and just like to keep going! 

After checking in to our hotel we continued on to Nappanee and ABC Ameritrans where the Alexander Dennis double-deckers are being assembled.  This part of the trip turned out to be highly successful.  Jim and Ren are well known by the staff at ABC and we just walked into the building.  What amazed me was that there was no problem for the three of us to walk around the assembly area and I could take as many photographs as I wished.  I spoke to a number of employees and they were a really friendly bunch of people.  These included some Scottish people who have been sent over by ADL. 

It was interesting seeing the bare chassis, bodies under assembly and completed buses.  What pleased me was that I had no problem in getting the VIN to add to my list of Enviros delivered to North America! 

We were scheduled to collect OC Transpo 8129 but the bus was not ready so it was agreed that we would come back in the morning to collect it. 

I managed to photograph some buses for Strathcona County Transit (Alberta) that were parked outside.  Of interest was an ADL demonstrator that I had seen a few years ago.  This particular unit was the same one that demonstrated in South Korea about a year ago. 

Jim and Ren took me to a nice family restaurant for an early dinner and then we retired to our hotel for the night.  I was pretty tired after a long day so turned in early as I had to be up at 5.45 a.m. 

I had a good night’s sleep although noise from freight trains during the night did wake me up at least once!  After breakfast we were back at the factory by 8.00 a.m. and our bus, OC Transpo 8129, was parked outside.  Ren started checking out the bus but there was a warning light on the dash for the ABS which required a technician to fix.  Today’s buses are so hi-tech, aren’t they? 

We left Nappanee just after 9.00 a.m. and apart from a five minute comfort stop near Lansing Michigan on I-69, Ren drove straight through to Kimball Township and the Pilot Travel Centre where we took a short lunch break.  Rather interestingly, the chaser vehicle that should be following us was never seen again after leaving Nappanee which I found a little strange but it was not up to me question where he might be!  I let Ren make his comments!!


At the border, Ren had to produce the paperwork for exporting the bus from the US into Canada but all of this was in order.  Our crossing at Sarnia went very smoothly and we made good progress along Highways 402 and 401 towards Toronto.  We finally reached Acadian’s base at about 6.00 p.m.  It was here that I said my farewell to Ren and thanked him very much for inviting me along for this trip. 

He left with 8129 for Ajax where he would park the bus for the night as he lives in this town.  Today, Wednesday, he would complete the delivery to Ottawa and I believe meet up with Jim, the chaser!

It was a great experience and the first time I had been on a delivery trip.  Ren has promised to keep in touch and I am hoping to make another trip when the first of GO Transit’s massive order start coming off the production line. 

Paul adds in a mail to me on April 10th

Are you aware of OFC 395 being repatriated by the Oxford Bus Museum?  I found this AEC Regent in 2008 when it was in pretty good condition.  Unfortunately sitting outside doesn’t do a bus any favours.  I have attached a photograph taken in Mayville, New York on 29 August 2012.    The Oxford Bus Museum became aware of this bus and after several months of negotiating finally agreed a purchase price and acquired the bus.  It returned last year.

Interesting to see the old moquette in the lower deck.

My next issue of the British Buses Abroad magazine (June 2016) will have a former Oxford bus on the cover, that of another 395 (MJO 395H), Northern Counties-bodied Fleetline found in Tallahassee, Florida.  A photograph is attached. 

British Buses Abroad - Paul A. Bateson,

Wythall Museum by Marcus Lapthorn

We visited the excellent Wythall Bus Museum on Easter day and I shall be sending you a number of e-mails with ‘photo’s attached. The museum was set up on its current site in February 1978. The land was previously part of the former Wythall RAF air base built in 1939. Since them the museum has gone from strength to strength and now offers a great day out for enthusiasts and families.  An £11 adult entry ticket gives access to all of the museum and unlimited bus rides on special event days such as Easter. The site also has a narrow gauge steam railway. The museum owns about 100 hundred buses and also a collection of some commercial vehicles too. 

Various Birmingham City & West Midlands buses.


Midland Red variety, including a PD2 your Editor once drove at Harpers.


A well travelled Bristol VR, once with COMS.




The museum is well worth a visit.


Steve Gee  writes to send some very nice pictures from Gloucestershire


Stagecoach 15522 VX09NBE Route 94 seen in Market Parade


Stagecoach 15980 YN14OWX one of several of this batch of vehicles with vinyl wraps at work in Gloucester


Stagecoach 22622, VX08FTC one time Swindon based but a regular on route 66, seen in Market Parade on a local service.

Swanbrook StreetLite MX14FTY seen in Market Parade DSC

Stagecoach 18313 KX05TWL picking up in the bus station wearing Route 63/ Forest Green Rovers branding.



Ex Nottingham City Transport Scania 218 Now with Mikes Travel, Oldbury on Severn, 33 YN54AHO
 leaves the bus station for Thornbury You can still make out where the route branding was from when it was in use in Nottingham above the offside windows.



Stagecoach 18090 VX04GHY on Route 9 in Clarence St


Stagecoach 22847 VX09BDE on Route 1 to Matson in Clarence St.


Incidentally, I was overtaken on the M42 today by a new tri axle National Express Caetano Levante, reg. BX16CHO. Don't know the operator but was heading south/ west towards Bromsgrove, with National Express scrolling on it's blinds. (See under National Express section for this coach. Ed)

Many thanks to both Marcus and Steve for these interesting reports and pictures.

A visit to Staines in pictures by Gavin Francis.

Abellio variety.

Bear Buses DP1029 KP02PVN on the 305 in Staines - bus ex Armchair - March 30th.

London United variety on the 203.


Matt Bullock writes "In response to the “History and Questions” items in the latest S&J, here are a few bits of information I am able to offer:

Eagle Coach Company, Faringdon

“Eagle Motors” was the trading name of TH Clare, who was based in Station Road, Faringdon. The earliest vehicle I have recorded is RX 9323, a Bedford WTB acquired new in October 1931, though the business may have existed before this. In April 1948, a limited company was formed and the operations were transferred to Eagle Line (Faringdon) Limited.

The Eagle Line business moved to Coxwell Road in January 1973. There were also two subsidiaries based in Swindon and Highworth which were fully owned by the Faringdon company. Eagle Line, Swindon, was acquired in 1960 as Blue and Ivory Coaches, and used this fleet name until May 1963. Highworth Motor Co was acquired from Drew, Highworth in August 1962. The vehicles based at Upper Stratton and Highworth were licenced in the Western Traffic Area but vehicles were allocated randomly to the three depots. No new vehicles were acquired for the subsidiary companies from 1965 as these two fleets were gradually wound down and the whole fleet allocated to the Faringdon base. 

In February 1983 the company left Faringdon and moved its fleet of 19 coaches to Dores Road, Upper Stratton, Swindon; Eagle Line of Swindon, as it became, ceased trading altogether in November 1985.

Luxicars, Oxford

As your correspondent Andy Hunt suggests, this company can trace its roots back to 1917 when it was a car and taxi operator. The first record of the business as a PSV operator (from PSVC records) is in April 1986 when a licence for 2 vehicles was granted (PK1238) at its address at 108 St Aldates (behind what is now the St Aldates Tavern pub). The first vehicle I have recorded is XLF 32X, a 16-seat Ford Transit acquired from KF Cars, Gatwick, in April 1986. 

I understand – and if anyone can corroborate this, I’d be grateful – that the taxi side of the business was sold in April 1992 to 001 Hire of Headington, who then occupied the St Aldates offices (as they do today); Luxicars moved to Minns Trading Estate at Botley, and when that was redeveloped, to Bankside in Kidlington in September 2001. 

Any information on Oxfordshire operators (and those in areas of Berkshire that became part of Oxfordshire in 1974) always welcomed. "

Graham Low writes "Here are a few views from my talk as you requested. There were 196 others! They are taken in Preston (RELL6L), Oxford (VRLLH), Liverpool (TD5) and Stockport (VRTSL).

This link gives an update on the Hygienic Laundry shown on the blind of the Ribble RE

The sight and sound of AECs were a delight last night as the Oxford Bus Museum ran services around the city in the dusk and dark. Here are 760 and L169."


Blackpool full fronted Leylands

Geoff Cunliffe writes "On past occasions, both of you have expressed interest in the PD2/5 central entrance, full-fronted Titans which Leyland and Burlingham built for Blackpool Corporation.

The Fylde Bus Blog on the web has just provided an update concerning the restoration of the last of these, fleet number 300. It can be accessed at :


As promised in our introduction we now have a selection of current overall wraps appearing on New Routemaster operating throughout London.


Pictures by Gavin Francis and Malcolm Crowe. Gavin is now kept fully occupied trying to catch everyone one!! Quite a challenge.

Other London deckers on service.

London United VH45160 new on the 94 at Marble Arch on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Another recent Wrights is Metroline VWH2093 on the 98 at Marble Arch on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

First 16 plates seen, Tower Transit VH38121 and 38122 on the 328 at Notting Hill Gate on April 7th by Gavin Francis.

The horses head and Arriva LT340 at Marble Arch on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
I rather liked the composition on this one!!!

Recent new single decks in London.

New E200 MMCs recently introduced on the C10. Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

Some pictures with variety.

The Eden Bus Station in Wycombe and Marble Arch with a variety of vehicles by Malcolm Crowe.

De Polder Autocars Antwerp 1-CSC-290 Park Lane on March 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Galleon Travel YN62DNO Park Lane on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

Millionaire Executive M100EXC on March 26th by Malcolm Crowe.

Schumacher-Reisen of Duren DE DN S 6000 in Park Lane on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

Bus Eireann Expressway SE34 at Marble Arch on March 17th by Malcolm Crowe.

Not wishing to be political but this Zac Goldsmith promobus ex Plymouth Citybus Ltd (420 W509WGH) seen on Park Lane on March 15th by your Editor was interesting.

Interesting innovation by Guide Friday is a "Meadows and Bridges" tour. Here ex Oxford 110 is seen on this tour on April 5th by Gavin Francis.


Reviews of new books

I have received a book for review which I found well produced and most interesting.


This may well one of the last of these handy books to be produced and you can get copies at most rally events such  as Brooklands this coming Sunday.