Spottings & Jottings nr. 95 - 18th May 2016

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

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April 21st 2016 marked the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen and I was pleasantly surprised to see that National Express have made the congratulations to The Queen with an appropriate logo on their coaches as shown below.

I would like to add the congratulations of OCBP to those shown.

Her Majesty's official birthday is on Saturday June 11th, when Trooping the Colour takes place on Horse Guards Parade.

May The Queen enjoy more years of health and happiness!

Roadworks, seemingly ever present in and around Oxford continue unabated! Recently the works at Peartree caused unbelievable delays with journeys of a few minutes taking over one hour. As ever the main complaint recorded in the local press mentioned the apparent lack of anything happening.  The works surrounding the rebuilding of Westgate also add to the delays and often it can taken more than a 5 minute wait before the contraflow traffic lights change in ones favour. This is not doing anything  to enhance our bus and coach services and if anything visitor numbers are down.

The flow of new buses to operations in our City have now reduced and only limited items of interest appear. One of special mention is the overall wrap for Oxford Bus and a new service by the airline to Birmingham Airport commencing from July 2nd . Further details can be found by clicking on the banner below.

Click here to book tickets

This is the latest new express service offered to local residents. Obviously connections can be made from local services and also from Lewknor on the inbound airline services.

Late news: Volvo Interdecker 61 appeared last weekend repainted in dark blue airline livery with Birmingham added to the Gatwick and Heathrow branding. I am told 62-4 are also to receive similar treatment.

Oxford's 61, in its new livery, serving Lewknor on a Gatwick bound service. May 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

The coaches which are being considered for the service are within the batch 21-25 as there are some tight turns in Warwick which might cause problems for the Interdeckers, time will tell.

To promote this new service E400 231 has been given an overall wrap which is most impressive. Pictures from Gavin Francis, taken on its first day in service are shown below.

Pictures taken on 27th April 2016 by Gavin Francis.

Further down the page I have included more pictures of overall wraps on LTs and other types in London.

I was delighted to receive pictures from Trevor Wilson of a bus I once drove in Oxford on the 700. This is 22764 now in and around Carlisle.

Gavin Francis attended this spring's Brooklands event and has provided some nice pictures and Marcus Lapthorn recently visited Gibraltar and we can share his findings on this outpost of the U.K.

Gordon Scott has been busy north of the border recording happenings and of course new buses at Alexander's Falkirk factory.

Finally I had a pleasant outing to Plaxtons at Anston near Sheffield and found some interesting vehicles awaiting buyers. 

This issue with its various worldwide locations might truly be thought of as an International Edition of OCBP. 

Running Days

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

The programme for 2016.


Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society 

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal monthly social meeting in  Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture  show with local and guest speakers.  A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually around £1 for members per meeting depending on numbers.  For non-members a charge of £3 per head is made.


the location of the meetings

The Tree Hotel

63 Church Way



The restaurant is open well before the meeting and serves a wide variety of British and Indian dishes.


 The Tree Hotel is about 5 minutes walk from bus stops on Iffley Road served by frequent bus service number 3 (jointly operated by Oxford Bus/Stagecoach).

 For the walking route from the nearest bus stop, here is a MAP 

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


When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


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


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


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


May I please ask readers to do two things?


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


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


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


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


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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 18th May 2016



Observations and pictures

A recent wet day in Edinburgh when Gordon Scott took these shots of two left hand drive Van Hool Astromegas seen at Edinburgh Castle today with visiting tourists.

Demerstee BE JEY003 and Dutax Reizen BX-ND-27 Van Hool Astromegas in Edinburgh on April 12th by Gordon Scott

Stagecoach Bluebird 54243 YX65ZKC on trial with Ayr for the X77 on April 13th by Gordon Scott

Stagecoach Bluebird 54243 YX65 ZKC Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i in Buchan route branding for route operated in Aberdeen area is on loan / trial with Stagecoach West Scotland seen on X77 leaving Glasgow heading for Ayr.  No further information on the trial on route X77 Elite I’s, they are still using Van Hool coaches on this route. 

Stagecoach North Norfolk 37437 SN16ORG Enviro 200MMC in Coast Hopper livery, seen on a test run
on April 18th by Gordon Scott.

Shots taken on April 27th at Falkirk factory of new Stagecoach Bluebird Alexander Dennis
Enviro 400 MMC
one of eight 10528 SN16OMS in smart Jet 727 livery taken on a test run before delivery on April 27th by Gordon Scott.

Took two shots on April 29th at Falkirk of Enviro 400 MMC buses shots attached.

10542 SN16ONH is seen leaving Falkirk leaving heading for Gillmoss Merseyside on April 29th by Gordon Scott.

10521 SN16OMH is for West Scotland Cumbernauld depot, they are to get 18 Enviro 400 MMC's
and a few are being used on X25 from this Monday with route branding April 29th by Gordon Scott.

Shots taken 11th May of Stagecoach West Scotland - Cumbernauld based - seen working route 900 Edinburgh to Glasgow 54071 SV59CHL route branded, these are now spare with the arrival of new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC,s now on 25 / 28 Cumbernauld routes. ( note queue at bus stop )

Also Parks Hamilton Volvo Plaxton re registered SG11ZXF as they do before resale also operating 900 all shots taken at Drum Brae Edinburgh.

Now three shots of new Stagecoach West Scotland Cumbernauld based Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC Buses a batch of 18 some route branded for route 25 and 28 Glasgow to Cumbernauld area.

10511 SN16OLU and 10514 SN16OLX.

Report from Graham Low.

"I was in Southampton a few days ago and noted the new and long wheelbase Bluestar ADL E20DMMCs on route 18, as well as shorter First City Red Wright StreetLites, as attached. Although outside our area these views may be of interest to you."

First City Red Wright StreetLites 47601 in Southampton on April 8th by Graham Low.

Go Bluestar 2734 Southampton on April 8th by Graham Low.

Carl Berry writes "April 25th was the first day of Crosville (Weston)'s new express coach services which replace Kings Ferry's commuter services from North Somerset to North Bristol." (previously mentioned in these pages.)

Here is YC15WDF in Filton on 25th April by Carl Berry.

Paul Hawkins writes "Had a couple of hours in Manchester waiting for a train and managed to catch some of the First Manchester Busway services marketed as Vantage using Volvo B5LH Hybrids with Wright StreetDeck bodywork."


"Stagecoach Glasgow have introduced into service a batch of E400MMC'S onto the X25/X25A services between Glasgow and Cumbernauld."


"In addition Plaxton coach 54123 has been repainted into a advertising livery for this years T IN THE Park with Scottish Citylink being the official transport provider to the event in july at Strathallan which usually involves many different operators with both buses and coaches."

Dave Harrison writes "Abingdon-based social enterprise Go Ride CIC have taken delivery of a brand new Mellor Orion vehicle for their services in Essex. The Fiat-based low floor vehicle seats 16 passengers and will be used on the commercial network centred on Clacton on Sea, including routes to Brightlingsea and Colchester. The Euro 6-engined vehicle was built at the Mellor Coachworks plant in Rochdale.

The company was also the first to announce its intentions in relation to its subsidised network in Oxfordshire, following the County Council's decision to cease funding for local bus services. Lightly used services based on Charlbury and Woodstock will be withdrawn, but routes in Kidlington and Wallingford will continue on more limited timetables and with higher fares. At the same time, the Hungerford to Lambourn service will cease due to funding cuts by West Berkshire Council. The future of the Lambourn to Swindon section is as yet undecided."

Go Ride Clacton's SJ16BFM by Dave Harrison.

Lewis Nagle writes regarding changes in Wycombe for Arriva, Carousel and First "Upcoming changes which start on the 5th June involve the withdrawal of the Sunday service of the 74, replaced to Beaconsfield by a new short 740 and the First X74 will hold the full Slough service. The 63/68 services are also withdrawn between Slough and Maidenhead, and route 40 gains a few extra journeys in the evening and on Sundays. Finally, it appears Carousel have won Sunday route 48A from Vale in council tenders and will begin operation of that on the 5th between Wycombe and Great Missenden." 

Gavin Francis writes "3703 pictured on your page had an electrical fire in Slough on 30th March. Unusually for Arriva it was not completely burnt out."

Neil Gow writes "And here is a shot of a Max Citaro on the 280."

 3931 on the 280 in Oxford on April 23rd by Neil Gow.

Nick Ross made some welcome contributions.

A bus in the Landscape !

Nick Ross writes
"Arriva 500 in the Chilterns. DAF 6004 (not confirmed) approaches Tring with a late afternoon service from Watford on 210416."

Nigel Peach writes "Very little to report on the local scene in Wycombe, though I did notice when I was at the Arriva depot in Cressex recently that there were no withdrawn buses parked up against the fence. Volvo 3268 and Dart 3482 have therefore gone; that would mean that 3482 was the final Dart to leave the depot. I can't remember a time when there were no withdrawn buses at Cressex!"

Luke Braham writes "Mercedes Benz Citaro 3019 BD12 DJF has arrived at Aylesbury from Arriva Midlands’ Tamworth depot. It is here for an increase in the PVR on the X60 which required an extra bus as of the 1st May. This has also increased the amount of Citaros at Aylesbury to 16 with this being the only example in Arriva’s standard livery. Ex Tamworth depot, the last of a batch of 20 based there."

3019 on the 150 on April 30th by Luke Braham and a similar bus at the Northern Staging - LHR area (on Olympic duty) when new on August 26th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

Caetano 2863 (FJ56PDO) used for a time on the 757 Luton service has returned to Arriva Southern Counties.

Once a stalwart of the 280 Aylesbury-Oxford service E400 5435 is seen here working a 758 service in London on May 9th by Gavin Francis.
As one can see it is branded for the 320 service! 

Ian Rivett  writes "I believe that the three Carousel StreetLites 407-409 were registered by Wrightbus on May 9th as SK16GXX/Y/Z."


This is indeed correct as advised by Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus and Alistair Liddle, a regular visitor to Heysham Docks, where he has seen these buses.


They were incorrectly given City of Oxford legals by Wrights and these have been changed by Oxford Bus whilst branding has been applied for the P&R service.


Pictures from Alistair Liddle.

Phil Southall advises "We hope to have all three vinyled up at OBC by the end of the week to enter service next week leading to 417 and 2 Tempo's coming off service."

Lewis Nagle writes "The blue StreetLites were spotted in Ballymena last week (12th May) and have since been delivered to Oxford. There they are most likely currently being stickered up ready for the Park & Ride service. They feature a new interior moquette as well as next-stop announcements. 

Once they've been stickered up, the StreetLites currently on the PR1 (403-5) will be debranded and then have the Link livery applied for service on the 40/730/740/A40 services.

A late report from Nick Aris advises as follows:

StreetLites 407,408 and 409 will be at Carousel this weekend (21-22 May) ready for use next week.

 Older StreetLites 403,404 and 405 will be rebranded Link on Monday 23rd

MAN 12-220 MCV Evolution 417 is up for sale

Optare Tempo 1260X 801 and 807 will be transferred to Oxford to be used as training buses.

Picture file

A nice picture of Trident 101 at Stokenchurch on the 40 short working on April 28th by Gavin Francis.

118 in Wycombe Bus Station on May 4th by Gavin Francis.

406 working a Link 40 service at the Stokenchurch terminus on May 11th by Gavin Francis.
We can expect to see the new blue P&R ones on this service as they use it as a fill-in for the P&R!

It is most unusual to see one of these on the Link 40, 418 turns out of New Road on May 10th by Gavin Francis.

553 turns off the M40 slip road at Lewknor on its way to Thame on April 28th by Gavin Francis.

May 13th saw another unusual working on Link 40 when Citaro 872 is seen heading for Wycombe by Gavin Francis. 


First Berkshire 34258 N528LHG Volvo Olympian-NCME open top in Windsor on April 17th by Stephen Le Bras.

We occasionally see these Citaros in Wycombe but here First 64044 is on the 76 on the Colnbrook By-Pass on April 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Competition is hotting up on all fronts with Flixbus now offering Brussels and Dusseldorf which means that they will be going head to head with both National Express and Megabus. Also Ouibus on Paris.

The company is also using double deck coaches increasing capacity on their routes. These routes also offer connections to many other European destinations.

Being a German company, the coaches are German registered.
Flixbus D NR 7500 at Victoria on April 30th by Gavin Francis.

Flixbus DD-UM-1519 at Victoria on April 30th by Gavin Francis. 

School bus Olympian 2482NX at its terminus in Stokenchurch, not sure where this one came from? May 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


NEx Silverdale FJ61EWP with wrap for Armed Forces Day at VICTORIA on May 5th by Gavin Francis.

As the competition hots up on Stansted a number of new super rears are appearing taken by Gavin Francis.

Edwards have new coaches in NEx livery and have been repainting older coaches in their Edwards livery
FJ11GNN on a 507 working leaves VCS on May 8th caught by Gavin Francis.

Another company to re-livery NEx coaches is Stotts of Oldham seen above FJ60EGC at VICTORIA on May 5th by Gavin Francis.

As many will know there are large batches of Caetano tri-axles entering service with 65 and 16 plate registrations. These coaches offer 55 seats against the 48 seats of the two axle versions. 


John Goodwin writes, following a recent visit to Oxford saying "Thought I would share some of my work from a recent trip to Oxford."  His link is below.

Oxford Bus Company (21.04.2016) - Buspix 

In my last issue I stated that four StreetLites were due for Oxford. This was incorrect for which I apologise. StreetLites SK16 GXH/J/M/N, credited to OBC are actually at Rotala, Diamond Bus and are B40F.

Phil Southall, MD of Oxford Bus writes "231 is now in an overall advert livery for Airline and entered service on the X3 on April 27th."

Seen by your Editor on 4 road on May 17th!

Gavin Francis was on the ball and took the pictures in the Editorial. One of his pictures also appears in the latest issue of buses. Well Done Gavin!

Readers will also see pictures of the repainted Interdecker branded for Birmingham as well as Heathrow and Gatwick.

Graham Low writes "It is now common for the two COMS red Streetdecks 660/1, as well as loaned 932, to be on the City 3 at weekends. Here is 661 at the new (and temporary, while building the new Westgate) terminus of route 3 in Queen Street.

Picture file

A big surprise is this super rear on Park & Ride 302 caught on the camera of Gavin Francis on April 30th.

I thought this to be one of the best pictures from Gavin when 226 is seen in Magdalen Street East on May 8th. 


Graham Low writes "I saw this new Volvo/Panther Cub of Pearce’s outside Schools on April 20th. For comparison I attach a Panther Cub, MCTD 69, from a previous era - at Piccadilly, Manchester!"


Redline SK52MPU r 621 Schools- turns off the A40 into Muds Bank on its way to Radnage on April 21st by GavinFrancis.
This bus is former London United VA 295

Redline LJ03MJF - ex Arriva VLW111 see inset pic - on the 321 in Wycombe Bus Station on May 4th by Gavin Francis (both).


Nick Ross writes "Tring Station's service 387 to Tring town and New Mill is augmented to 3 buses per hour in the evening peak. Red Rose Y842TGH is the first to leave Tring station with commuters on April 21st."


"When I was in Thame on 19 April the local town service operated by Vale Travel had an original Dennis Dart with step entrance. Couldn't get a photo unfortunately. To be fair the driver made a big effort to help with shopping trollies on boarding the vintage L116HHV. I'm not a Thame regular so not sure if its the regular vehicle but Oxford emissions control probably wouldn't like it!!"

50526 on the 275 in Wycombe Bus Station on May 4th by Gavin Francis.

An interesting comparison 50520 - Y358LCK on the 275 in STOKENCHURCH on April; 27th by Gavin G Francis.


I am always pleased to hear about buses which once worked in Oxfordshire and Trevor Wilson has obliged.

Trevor Wilson writes "I have some photos of Stagecoach Cumbria ex Oxford 27764 OU58GKE  which is now based at Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire Carlisle depot." 

Seen here working Carlisle Citi service 67, on April 16th, which is normally worked by 14 plate ADL E200s.

"Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancs MAN E300 22764 OU58GKE now allocated to Carlisle depot.  This is one of three ex Stagecoach Oxford vehicles now in Carlisle, the others being 22761 OU09BZR and 22763 OU58GKD.  (For info, 22762 OU58GKC is allocated to Morecambe.)  Also allocated to Carlisle is 22873 SP09DPK, 22887 SP09DOH and 22889 SP09DOU ex Stagecoach Scotland (East Scotland?).  (The rest of the SP09 allocation being at Morecambe.)  These 2 groups of MAN E300s were cascaded in to replace older (X reg? MAN E300) in order to meet the January 2016 disability requirements.  The 4 MAN E300 at Carlisle are temporary.  During the great floods of late 2015, a section of the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick was washed away (at Dunmail Rise and Thirlmere - 4km of road badly affected) and thus severely disrupting the flagship 555 Lancaster-Kendal-Windermere-Ambleside-Keswick service operated by Scania d/ds.  For several weeks the 555 operated as 2 sections, Lancaster-Grasmere and a temporary Kendal-Penrith via M6 to connect with the X4/X5 Penrith-Keswick-Cockermouth-Workington.  The various highways authorities then put in place a partial temporary single track roadway around the worst washout and utilising a single track c class road along the wrong side of Thirlmere a temporary 555 shuttle service commenced between Grasmere and Keswick.  Due to the temporary road, the service operated initially with 2 x Solos transferred from Carlisle to Kendal depot, then 4 x Solos (2 more Carlisle to Keswick transfer) and currently 4 x E200 (4 E200 from Carlisle to Kendal and the 4 x Solos go back to Carlisle) thus providing capacity equivalent to the Scania d/ds.  So the OU58 and SP09 E300 MANs at Carlisle are temporary to cover the allocation shortfall. 

These E300 MANs are normally seen on the 79/179 Carlisle-Longtown-Gretna-Annan-Dumfries (also operated by PX59 E300 MANs) or 67 Carlisle Citi service (normally operated by YX14 E200) or 61/61A Carlisle Citi services (normally operated by YJ15 Solos)."

I was especially pleased to hear of these buses as I spent two weeks, following the demise of RH Buses, driving these E300s on the 700 route. Ed.

Jack Cooper writes " Oxford's Solo named Rosie was operating the X15 and Witney's Gold 15966 was on the X15 as well. Interestingly Witney's SRs have also operated the X15."

Picture File

10070 and 15996 on the Wantage routes in St Aldates on May 8th by Gavin Francis.

The use of Hybrids on the 10 takes place every Sunday and here 12019 is seen in St Aldates on May 8th by Gavin Francis.

E200 36771with new super rear for Trail Blazer seen at Horspath depot on May 5th by Gavin Francis.

36981 with new super rear for "Fostering and Adoption" on route 10 in St Aldates on April 13th by Gavin Francis.

A nice shot of 47834 on the 17 in New Rd with Thames Transit's 716 on route 63 in the background on May 9th by Gavin Francis.
Both these routes will loose County funding on July 20th.



Marcus Lapthorn reports that 28685, Scania Enviro 300 DP43F, was on the 1747 departure from Faringdon to Oxford today – Tues 19 April. 

Raymond James writes "Swindon no longer has any MANs in its fleet. The bus seen would of been one of three Scania K230UB E300s for the 51A service from Cheltenham that we have."

Yesterday 19th May, a 55 branded E400 was on the 66 all day !

New deliveries for later this year are Alexander Dennis E40D / Enviro 400 MMCs 10749 to 10759 for Cheltenham (Gold).

Several Astromegas have acquired different size and font fleet numbers on the front. These are 50266, 50269, 50273 and 50285.

A less usual view at Lewknor with 50262 Oxford bound on April 28th by Gavin Francis.


Another coach, London bound 50282, seen at Lewknor on May 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

Megabus have now got a lot of competition as Flixbus ramp up their operations out of Germany with UK services.

I well remember taking this coach to Kilmarnock nearly two years ago and it was last but one of the Glasgow based X25 fleet to be painted into Megabus livery.
It worked in Stagecoach corporate livery until very recently, 50204 on April 25th by Malcolm Crowe.

50223 is the last to reappear in Megabus colours when Gavin Francis took a nice picture on May 19th.

A coach which I saw during my visit to Plaxtons at Anston was this Megabus tri-axle now working out of Rugby.
Volvo B12B 54077 turns into Elizabeth Bridge on May 9th by Gavin Francis.

Raymond James writes "Also it may be of interest to your readers Swindon's other operator Thamesdown have just taken delivery of four ADL E200 Darts which will be 16 plate buses with another six due by end of 2017."

Stuart Curwen writes "We have four new E20Ds at Thamesdown Transport are now registered and will enter service soon.

Fleet Number

 Reg Number

 Chassis Number

 Body Number





ADL Enviro200 F282/1 





ADL Enviro200 F282/2





ADL Enviro200 F2A2/1




 ADL E20D SFD6F3BR6GGY254499

ADL Enviro200 F2A2/2


The buses enjoy appropriate names and all pictures were provided by Stuart Curwen

You can find lout more about the Thamesdown fleet as the link below.

John Goodwin writes "I've created a snapshot of Thames Transit at the link below ":

Jack Cooper writes "Last night while I was waiting for the beacon to be lit I cause a few pictures with the town hall and a hybrid and an eviro400 they are not that good because I forgot to pick up my camera."

This is the first picture I've received from Jack and look forward to further submissions.

Jack then adds "Carouse 120 (branded in Blue Bus livery) was on lone to TT and was operating the 114 and has a yellow board fitted displaying that is a school bus. Also TT 106 was also fitted with a yellow board and it displays that it is a school bus every morning but it is a public bus that has lots of school kids on."

I do find these Citaros rather attractive in  their grey livery. 866 works the X1 from St Aldates on April 30th by Gavin Francis.

Wantage competition.
Mercedes873 r X32 with Tube 50267 on route 31 St Aldates at 0608 on April 26th by Malcolm Crowe.

The Weavaway E400MMCs SN16 OHA-OHH/OHJ-OHL/OHO are H49/37F - 86 seaters (standard build for the 11.3m model), not H41/35F.



Gas 'decker debut is imminent, confirms Scania

Scania and Alexander Dennis have completed assembly of the world’s first gas-fuelled double-decker, and the vehicle has now moved to Sweden for two months’ testing.

Scania and Alexander Dennis have completed assembly of the world’s first gas-fuelled double-decker, and the vehicle has now moved to Sweden for two months’ testing before it is released into the market.

“There is a significant interest with operators throughout the UK, and a number of serious inquiries are being processed by Scania Great Britain and Alexander Dennis,” says Mark Oliver, Bus and Coach Fleet Sales Manager for Scania Great Britain.

Reading Buses has become the first operator to commit to the gas ‘decker, which is made up of a Scania N 280 UD chassis with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC body. Fuel storage is split between an area under the stairs, and tanks above the engine compartment.

Accommodating the gas tanks wasn’t Scania’s only challenge for the development of the innovative bus, as engineers also had to fit the gas engine into the double-decker’s smaller engine compartment and deal with increased heat output, says Tudor Clipii, Assignment Manager for the project. “The engine produces much more heat than the diesel one, and this presented a unique challenge.”

While in Södertälje, the bus will undergo numerous tests in which, among other things, the engine software and fuel consumption will be optimised. It was driven the 400km from the port of Gothenburg.

Scania Gas Bus DD16GAS leaving ADL Falkirk on test on 18th April 2016 taken by Gordon Scott.


Manchester and Hong Kong with Paul Hawkins 

Had a couple of hours in Manchester waiting for a train and managed to catch some of the First Manchester Busway services marketed as Vantage using Volvo B5LH Hybrids with Wright Streetdeck bodywork I believe.

SC Manchester's 19328 in Chinese livery in April 2016 by Paul Hawkins.

First Manchester have a new Vantage route operated by Wright Streetdeck Hybrids as seen above taken by Paul Hawkins.

I was also in Hong Kong from 4th to 13th April and enclose photographs taken during my visit.

(More details of each vehicle can be found by putting the registration and HKG buses in your web browser. Ed.)


Citybus 603 HM3980, 970 HR8002 and 8283 RS7728 - April 2016

Citybus 1582 TV2703 and 1817 RR5725 - April 2016

Citybus 2257 HZ7065 and 6304 - April 2016

Citybus 8278 RS3394, 9123 SF4867 and 9537 TZ2389 - April 2016

Kowloon Motor Bus

KMB ATENU434 TE8082, DENNIS DRAGON 9-9m with Duple Metsec-JC3752 and JS7257 - April 2016

KMB JZ3403, LR8403, PV7278 and KMB SH8653 - April 2016

KMB Super Olympian HS9585, TV4012, RH3664 and RK4247 - April 2016

KMB 3ASV246 KG4410, AVBE57 NA4013 and AVBWU226 RE1291 - April 2016

New World First Bus

NWFB 5540 PV8086, 5618 TN1550 and 6011 JV3169 - April 2016

(The foregoing show the great variety in Hong Kong, making it a really excellent location to visit for UK enthusiasts. Ed.)

Gibraltar by Marcus Lapthorn 

Have just spent a few days in Gibraltar where the top temperature was 23c and came back to 3c here! There are two principal bus companies in Gibraltar with the Government operating nearly all routes with 20 Euro 6 Caetano MAN Lion’s City midi single deckers. These appear to be very well cared for and they have to have short wheel based buses for there are very narrow roads and lots of parking, causing it to be a tight squeeze for the buses to get around. These buses seem to have a fairly high failure rate which seems to be solely due to problems with the doors. Gibraltar has numerous bus stops and the opening doors therefore take quite a hammering being operated every 3 or 4 minutes.

MAN midibus 9504 120416, MAN midibus 9516 route 2 at Europa Point 120416 and 9517 all taken on 12th April.

Lion City 5146, 872 and 8992 all taken on April 13th.

The other operator is Calypso Transport Ltd trading as Citibus and they operate route 5 between the airport/Spanish frontier and the city centre. This route operates a high frequency service which runs right across the airport runway! When a plane is about to land or take off, the road is closed by barriers and traffic lights and ‘stingers’ are placed on the edge of the runway to prevent vehicles from driving through the barriers and onto the runway.


They own a 1980 ECW bodied Leyland B45 former Baghdad demonstrator, which is currently awaiting a new MOT certificate, having been overhauled. Two employees (father & son) have had to make replacement parts for the engine which now runs very sweetly.


Citibus also own  a 1981 Willowbrook bodied Leyland Atlantean, which had been built for Baghdad, but never operated there. This is out of service and has been for some time now. 


Another job for the mechanics is to work on former Gibraltar Bus Co Caetano Nimbus Darts. They purchased 14 and are endeavouring to make 10 of these roadworthy, with the rest going for scrap. 


Citibus also operate 2 ex Berlin MAN deckers plus air conditioned (lovely!) MAN low floor single deckers from Germany, Lichtenstein, Austria and Switzerland.



To end I thought that this was a real classic for buses in Gib!

Gibraltar is a nice place to visit with a very relaxed atmosphere about it. 

Check out the routes and the island at:

Oxford Bus Company in pictures by John Goodwin 

Thought I would share some of my work from a recent trip to Oxford - click on the link below:

Oxford Bus Company (21.04.2016) - Buspix

X90 – old and new by Richard Griffin


It's well over a decade since I last drove a bus or coach in passenger service -- nowadays I drive even larger, heavier vehicles, namely 8-car Metropolitan Line trains, and will shortly be a driver-instructor too -- but it's great to catch up from time to time.  Your website is invaluable.


During a 12-minute layover at Baker Street a while ago I popped upstairs and was able to capture X90 Interdecker no.72 negotiating the turn into Baker Street on its way to Victoria.  I made that turn hundreds of times, but never in a 15-metre behemoth like that one!


On Sunday 1 May my brother Rupert and I attended the Abingdon air & country fair, better known as the Abingdon Airshow.  Among many ground-based attractions there were a couple of OBC vehicles;  one was a modern low-floor red double-decker I didn't pay much attention to -- sorry -- but the other was an old friend!  I knew her as Coach 16 (V16 OXF, re-delivered to Cowley Road Bus Garage ex refurbishment in partial "espress" livery in February 2004, see photo).  Coach 16 was even my steed for my morning X90 trip on my last-ever shift at OBC back in November 2004 (see photo).



Your pages show that she became became an OBC training vehicle back in mid-2007, direct out of front-line X90 service.  I seem to recall there was some legislation introduced around then that required the training vehicles to be of a particular standard, but I forget the details (tachographs possibly), does anyone recall?


Anyway, V284SBW was at Abingdon Airshow with an instructor, and for a small donation to charity members of the public could have a drive round a short loop of somewhat lumpy tarmac.  Of course I did!  I was wondering if I should let about on my experience... when I got in the seat the instructor's first question was "Have you driven a large vehicle before?"

so I had to admit "Yes, this actual coach, I was an X90 driver for 4 years!" to which he smirked and said "I'd better keep quiet and let you get on with it then!".


I must confess it was a thrill to get back into the seat and turn the key, and feel the solid clunk of the starter-solenoid and the understated growl as the Volvo B10M stirred beneath me.  The air-brakes took a bit of getting used to once again, but on my last lap I even applied kick-down on the short straight section of old runway:  it felt like I'd never been away. :)  My brother then had a go too -- he would undoubtedly have commuted on this coach in the early 2000s -- and despite zero experience he soon got the hang of it.


Afterwards I had a look round the coach.  Only the front 4 (right) and 5(left) rows of minty-green "espress" seats have been retained, so behind them there's an empty saloon with just scuff-marks and power-points indicating where the seats used to be;  a window has been replaced with a non-tinted version, and the toilet door has been plated shut presumably to avoid having to maintain the facility.



Not to be missed was the Thames Valley Air Ambulance which does such good work four our community.


A fine trip down memory lane, and top marks to Oxford Bus for providing this opportunity to the community.

Your Editor goes to Yorkshire

An Astromega of Oxford tube needed to be collected from Plaxton at Anston near Sheffield and I was asked to go to get it. The coach was 50266 and it had been there for repair work after following accident damage some weeks ago. The journey northbound was on Cross Country from Oxford to Sheffield and then on First Bus's X5 service to the Plaxton site. A pleasant journey (on Time) was taken and then about 40 minutes at Sheffield Interchange. Plaxton's proved very interesting as there we several coaches on site of interest to our area. A large batch of coaches from Weavaway Group were of especial; interest.

Stagecoach variety in the Interchange with Gold 15194 branded for the X17 service to Chesterfield.
Stagecoach has a fleet of Hybrids for use on the joint with First 120.


My steed for the journey to Anston was a 58 plate Volvo nr 37516 seen loading for the journey to Dinnington.


My first glimpse of Plaxtons with 50266 ready for collection. The yard of second hand coaches can be seen in the background.


A left hand drive E500 in the yard, I know not wherefore.


Three of the four Scan ia/Levante tri-axles from Megabus and once the pride of SC Gloucester for 444 National Express service.
I spent a pleasant two days at Gloucester working the 444 with 59301 seen in the middle of the line above.


Yet another coach I have driven was this ex Noah Vale Scania once the pride of Oxford Bus on the X90 as their nr 3.
This was new when I was working for OBC and they were very fine coaches.


An interesting line up of ex Weavaway Group coaches including some of the ex National Express(Parks) Skyliners.


Finally a few new buses for Go Ahead and Stagecoach London.


A most enjoyable day and a return journey with 50266 in just under four hours, including long delays through Birmingham on the M42. And... 50266 ran like a dream, a lovely coach indeed.


British Buses in Florida February 2016 

By Paul Bateson and Gavin Francis.

RTL 129.

Entered service at Barking in February 1949 and spent most of its working life in East London before being withdrawn in April 1962.
It was then exported to New York City and is now located at McGuires Irish Pub in Pensacola.

 RT 3983


Entered service at Brixton in December 1950 and withdrawn from service in May 1971.
Exported to Houston, Texas in January 1972 like the RTL it is now with McGuires Irish Pub.
It is also pictured in London service at Clare Hall Hospital on 5th October 1970. 

Western Welsh 977


This is a 1951 Leyland PD2/1 with Leyland L27/26RD bodywork. Photographed whilst on hire with Southend Transport and now resides in Destin. 

United Counties 967

New in May 1953 it is Bristol KSW6B with E.C.W. L27/26RD bodywork. Withdrawn in 1973 it is now located in Pensacola. 

Southern Vectis 604

This E.C.W. bodied Bristol FLF now belongs to Capt’n Jacks in Tarpon Springs, Florida. It is Fleet Number 604 but the registration is incorrect for this bus. 

Alexander Northern NRA 96

This bus was new to Sutherland, Peterhead as fleet number 111. It is a Leyland PD1A with Leyland L27/26RD bodywork.
It subsequently became Alexander Northern NRA 96. It was exported to Nashville, Tennessee in 1973 and now is resident at McGuires Irish Bar in Pensacola, Florida.

Here are further details of DSA 848.

It was new in 1948

To J. Sutherland, Peterhead 111

W. Alexander & Sons, Falkirk RA 96 1/3/50

W. Alexander & Sons (Northern), Aberdeen NRA 96 5/61

Telefilms (dealer), Preston 10/70

Harrison, Tunstall date not known as staff bus

Omnibus Promotions, London 7/73 and exported to USA.

Blackpool by Geoff Cunliffe

At last I have run to earth the guy who edits the Fylde Bus Blog on the web. He is quite happy for you to reproduce his photographs of the Blackpool Titans as is grateful that we took the trouble to ask him. A suggested acknowledgement would be:- 

Centre entrance PD2s 291 and 298 at the 'Showground' terminus of the three days a year service 17 in 1968. (Brian Turner)

Centre Entrance PD2 274 heads towards Midgeland Road on the 6B in 1968 (Brian Turner)

The centre loaders still looked smart in their latter days, 277 and 293 stand in the depot yard in 1965 (Brian Turner)

In 1967 300 displays the graceful lines of the Centre Entrance PD2 - especially set against the upright profile of the bus infront (Brian Turner)

300 visited Fleetwood for the first tram Sunday in 1985. It is being passed by Dreadnought 59 - withdrawn in Luff's modernisation plan,
but hidden away in store until dusted off for restoration in 1960;(Brian Turner)

“Photographs by Brian Turner reproduced from the Fylde Bus Blog, courtesy of Paul Turner” 

During the 1950s the streamliners were found across the Blackpool network but with the onset of the rear entrance buses introduced by Luff's successor Joe Franklin, they became restricted to the quieter routes. Withdrawals commenced in 1963 with accident victim 217, followed by 281 in 1964. Routine withdrawals commenced in 1965 with 16 replaced and another 13 left in 1966, 42 in 1967 and 23 in 1968. 1969 dawned with just 291, 294, 295, 298 and 300 in service - and all were withdrawn by the spring.
300 became a driver trainer on withdrawal, renumbered 8 and then joined sister 246 as PW Mess bus numbered 298 in 1973. Withdrawn in 1976 it was purchased by John Hinchliffe of Huddersfield. Initially moved to Marsh near Huddersfield but was later stored at Sandtoft Trolleybus museum and later still Slaithwaite where it suffered damage from falling masonry. In the early 1980s it moved to the railway arches in Huddersfield until moving to the Wakefield area in 2014.

Some local readers may remember one of these buses parked near junction 3 of the M40 behind a garage on the A40. Did anyone get a picture? 

Running Days

Brooklands Spring 2016

Gavin Francis visited Brooklands for the Spring Running Day an d Rally. A selection of his pictures are shown below.

A general view of the site.








The weather was much better than forecast and a fine selection of vehicles graced the day. 

Red Arrow remembered by Gavin Francis

MBA444 is seen with MEC50 at Horseferry Road 

To remember the livery MEC50 gained a similar livery in April 2016.

MBA444 seen at the celebration launch and in picture three Leon Daniels is seen.


London in pictures by Gavin Francis

London United coach VL 8 completely destroyed by fire whilst on the A6 on the 26th March. 

Doom wraps from Abellio and Metroline. Note these are some of the few wraps not on LT class vehicles.

Abellio LT708 on the 3 at Westminster con 18th April and LT771 on delivery on 11th May. I wonder how many intending passengers were left behind???

A variety of LT wraps. Not surprisingly, new London Mayor, Sadiq Kahn has announced no more LTs will be puircahsed.

One of the very latest wraps on LT501.

Abellio 8861 comes of a Thames bridge on its way to Victoria on the C10.

Metroline DE1593 LK08FLF at Hillingdon on the U2 28th April.

Go London EB1 route 521 near London Bridge on 18th April by Gavin Francis

SC London 25308 route 62 on 18th Arpil by Gavin Francis

LUL ADE41 route 81 on the Colnbrook By-Pass April 6th by Malcolm Crowe

Other buses and coaches in London.

A surprise survivor is RATP Original Sightseeing MXT179 - a 1983 MCW Super Metrobus new to Hong Kong operator China Motor Bus
 as their fleet no ML16 - reg. CY 9368 060516 Malcolm Crowe

The old and the new in VICTORIA on 5th May by Gavin Francis.

Elizabeth out of water and in the Thames near Westminster by Gavin Francis on 18th April

Coach UK UK06MTT ex Motts on Buckingham Palace Road - 11th May by Gavin Francis.

Edward Thomas have a large fleet of Premiers and here ex STAGECOACH GLASGOW 112 R112OPS is seen by Westminster
18th April by Gavin Francis.

Kings Ferry YJ64AVK on LONDON BRIDGE 28th April by Gavin Francis


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