Spottings & Jottings nr. 96 - 14th July 2016

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

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I expect some of you may have wondered what happened to June in the world of the OCBP? Well a long looked forward to holiday in North Wales came and went. Why do the good things go so quickly? Then there were several family matters to resolve and so it is already July, the summer seems to be intermittent, a bit like my web page! Anyway a lot has happened in the world of buses and coaches and there is much to report.

The Brexit Vote to leave the EU may have lasting impact on European - UK coach services, we shall have to wait and see. This added to the proposed Bus Services Bill may change much about our present services of 2016. (Click on the link to read more)

 Since the last page the new Airline service to Birmingham has launched, four new Interdeck coaches have arrived with Oxford Bus for the X90 service and work has taken place to repaint and rebrand some of the earlier Interdecks in full Airline livery. Carousel has introduced the three blue StreetLites to the Wycombe PR1 service and also receives mention for the upcoming launch of a new service, X80 REGATTA, between High Wycombe and Reading via Marlow and Henley, missing out Dunsden Green & Binfield Heath. This service commences on Monday, July 25th and will use rebranded StreetLites 403-405. Having now travelled a few times on these StreetLites, I must say they provide a very pleasant ride and on the Park & Ride ones free WiFi!

Full details of the new service can be found at the under mentioned link.

X80 Regatta timetable

The service runs from just after 0540 until 1845 on a more or less hourly frequency from High Wycombe and the last bus back from Reading is at 2015. Saturday has a similar service but starting later and finishing earlier and there is no service on Sundays.

Carousel has certainly made an impact on bus services in High Wycombe having also taken over the Sunday service, previously operated by Vale as the 48A, on the Stokenchurch route with five services per Sunday and they now operate the 48A to Great Missenden also taken over from Vale Transport.

News is now coming to hand that Stagecoach have sold their Megabus Europe operation (Commercially) to Flixbus and this is covered under Jottings below.

Read on for all your contributions, pictures and news.


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. 

A detailed programme of meetings 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.


Thanks to all who contribute to these pages. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 12th July 2016



Observations and pictures

Graham Low writes "Here are views of: 

A new Volvo Plaxton Panther of Pearce's in Iffley Turn seen on 11th May.

A new ADL E20D/E200MMC of Stagecoach SW on Park and Ride work in Plymouth seen on 6th May.

A former Thames Travel Scania/East Lancs on a local Plymouth Citybus/Cornwall Bus route in Looe on 6th May.

Luke Braham writes "A new arrival with Star Travel of Aylesbury is Optare Solo SR YJ13HJZ which has been acquired for use on new route 5A between Aylesbury Town Centre and the Berryfields housing estate. It is the first Solo SR in the Star Travel fleet and was acquired from Tyrers Bus who’s livery it retains. It entered service here on the 9th May 2016."


Ray James notes about Swindon area operators "Go-Ride will cease to operate the 90 between Swindon & Lambourne in June, but it will continue by returning to service 47 and be operated by West Berkshire Council directly with their own minibuses." 

Thamesdown have put the 4 new E200’s in service, and they are normally found on service 16 from the Town Centre to the Great Western Hospital, but can be seen on other services.

Another oddity is that a local Accessible Transport provider called Akcess has taken over operation of another sporadic country service in Swindon, the Friday only service 60 to Sutton Benger and it seems to use a non-DDA compliant Ford Transit minibus on this, despite having other vehicles with wheelchair lifts etc. in use for special needs transport and other contracts."

Gavin Francis has sent a number of pictures from various areas. 

The Chelsea Flower Show special service in pictures.


Surprise was the appearance of WHV 3 on 25th May.

Ex Terravision YN64AMX on in Victoria on 3rd June by Gavin Francis.

Excalibur Coaches, who were once predominant in London seemingly ceased trading in late February but I am told that drivers are not paid and there are little or no response from any enquiries. I wonder what has happened. Excalibur ran many services for Terravision.

Brand new Golden Tours Volvo B5TL-Wright Gemini 3. As it was on Harry Potter duty one can only assume it will be wrapped next time we see it.
Picture taken on 13th June by Gavin Francis.

Golden Tours 130 BD16YEJ from the new batch seen on 14th June by Gavin Francis.

Golden Tours WB12POT was nearly the first bus to operate Harry Potter tours and h as now appeared in Ghost Hunters overall wrap.
Taken in Victoria by Gavin Francis on 20th May.

M&M of High Wycombe have this 70-seater coach. Could it be ex-Stagecoach?
Seen on 15th June by Gavin Francis.

Filers of Ilfracombe have three 16 plate Streetlights, only two have fleet names at present:
4th June by Ken Baker.

Interesting notes from Gordon Scott, our man north of the border.

29011 SP12DYG Alexander Dennis Enviro 350H was Stagecoach Gold now repainted into current livery
and Park & Ride branding applied on route 301. 4th June by Gordon Scott.

Two pictures taken in Aberdeen ex Stagecoach Midlands Rugby Megabus Volvo B9R Plaxton Panthers
now working with Stagecoach Bluebird route branding.

53639 KX61GDZ and 53644 KX61GFA
4th June by Gordon Scott.

A rather "nobby" little vehicle in Scotland's Capital

Rabbies City Tours Edinburgh Mercedes Benz EVM bodywork
with retractable panoramic roof SN16BWO taken at High Street Edinburgh.
Pictured on 2nd June by Gordon Scott.

First Aberdeen Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMC 67088 SN65 ZGE Platinum livery on route 13 taken in Aberdeen.
Taken on 4th June by Gordon Scott.

Park of Hamilton New Volvo Plaxton Elite LSK 871 Citylink livery seen leaving Buchanan Bus Station Glasgow on M8 route.
Taken on 8th June by Gordon Scott.

Shots taken today at Falkirk factory, New Blackpool Transport smart Alexander
Dennis Enviro 400 City SN16 OVD seen on a test run.
Taken on 24th June by Gordon Scott.

Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancs Enviro 400 MMC 10562 SN16OOG in Lakes livery seen leaving on delivery run. (Note Lancs trade plates.)
Taken on 24th June by Gordon Scott. 

Jack Cooper writes "On Sunday I was in London at the transport museum and got there on the Oxford Tube (a diverted one). I don't know whether you know about it but it is because at Lancaster Gate there is a burst water main London bound so the coaches have to divert around what looked like a very tight crescent called Royal Crescent to use the Oxford bound stop, completely confusing the Oxford bound passengers. Then the coaches go back on to the A40 to Bakers Street then Oxford Street & (via a very tight turn) into Marble Arch. 

The burst water main is caused by a digger because of the works so that the Bayswater Road goes straight on at Lancaster Gate rather than round the diversion of Lancaster Terrace and Westbourne Street."

Yes, Jack, it was a difficult time for us and lasted until the Tuesday. There are still major roadwork around Lancaster Gate with single file traffic westbound often causing long delays. Life is never easy. Ed.

Bus Cuts by Jack Cooper

Abingdon town services (41,42,43) the 42 and 43 will no longer operate from the 20th July (I think) and according to the Abingdon blog the 41 will operate Monday to Friday every 2 hours. Why don't they role them all into one?

44 and 44A no service from 20th July (I think). This means that villages such as Sunningwell and Hinksey will have no bus connection what so ever!

Solo 706 on the 44 which ends on 20th July passes the Train Station in Oxford on 2nd June by Gavin Francis .

X1 will become the 32A from Abingdon to Wantage via Culham Village instead of Drayton and Didcot.  

T2 will not operate from the 23rd July. This will mean no Thames Travel buses to the Science Park and Kassam. As well as Berinsfield village well apart from the 114 full of school kids and the X40 and X39 from outside the village. 

The brand new 3A service oxford City Center, Iffley Road, Littlemore, Sandford, to the Science Park and Kassam every 30 minutes Monday to Friday and every hour on Saturday and no Sunday service. This means that Sandford has 1 more bus an hour on weekdays.

Further details on Thames Travel services can be found at the under mentioned link.


Steve Gee writes "Not sure if you cover bus operations in connection with the Grand Prix weekend, though I'm guessing that it's in your area geographically and that there may be vehicles from Oxford involved. Noted Leamington depots' Trident/ Enviro2 400 10032 KX12GXA in Unibus livery on the A5 leaving Towcester and heading towards Milton Keynes on service MK1 at about 1600 on Friday 8/7/16. I assume it's on loan to Northampton for the weekend."

I would certainly appreciate any details and pictures of buses on the F1 weekend services. Ed.

Bristol developments by Paul Hawkins

I much appreciate some pictures sent by Paul and shown below. The one time CEO of Reading Buses is now heading up operations in Bristol for First and his stamp is to be seen on new deliveries.


First Bristol 33965 on the 1 in Bristol on 21st June by Paul Hawkins.


First 35164 SK65PWJ on the 376 to Street via Wells on 21st June by Paul Hawkins.


A-bus BX54EBF Union Street, Bristol on X9 - This service is jointly run by A-bus and First Bristol n Avon. The Citaro is ex-Bennetts Gloucester via Somerbus.

Seen on 21st June by Paul Hawkins.


A Falcon leaves Bristol bound for Plymouth - South West's 54324  on 21st June by Paul Hawkins.


A surprise as I prepare this page is the arrival from the Arriva Midlands of a loan bus replacing 3703 away for repairs. This loan bus comes from Wednesfield and is still in the old livery. As with 3703 KE55CKP it is a DAF Wright Cadet but the longer 200 version with 44 seats. There is a clash of fleet number in the Arriva listing now that the Shires is merged with Midlands and they also have a 3703. What a pity the didn't send their 3703 !!! Both Nick Cherry and Pete Cabin sent pictures and details within an hour of each other. How's that for reporting?

Picture by Nick Cherry on 11th July.

Luke Braham writes "On the 27th May, local radio station Mix96 had borrowed Sapphire E400 5465 SN15LPU for the day to use as its ‘broadcasting bus’ as it travelled around the area including visits to Stoke Mandeville Village, Wendover and Haddenham. The said bus was pictured by myself outside Stoke Mandeville Combined School before continuing its road trip."

Taken on 27th May by Luke Braham. 

"Meanwhile, back on the 280 two Citaros had been allocated to the route to cover for maintenance and the use of 5465 with Mix96. This included the more usual choice of MAX-branded 3930 BD12DHG along with MAX 300-branded 3922 BK58URP. When other buses are needed to cover on the 280 the 12-plate Citaros are normally used as these are the only other buses that are LEZ Compliant for Oxford at the Aylesbury depot excluding D1-liveried Optare Solo 0441 YJ10LZV."

3930 BD12DHG and 3922 BK58URP seen in Aylesbury by Luke Braham on 27th May.

"Alexander ALX400 6008 KL52CWZ has been given an all-over advert for Home Sense store in Aylesbury."

6008 KL52CWZ seen in Aylesbury by Luke Braham on 9th June.

"In the past few months, it has become increasingly common to find one of the East Lancs Lowlanders transferred from Arriva Midlands operating route 150 (Aylesbury to Milton Keynes). This is because these are the only two double 'deckers at Aylesbury depot that are low enough to pass under the low bridge along the route at Linslade. Both 6061 FD02UKP and 6062 FD02UKE have been seen operating the route. "  Nearly got caught out by that bridge when we went to Showbus last year!!! Ed.

6061 FD02UKP on 13th May and 6062 FD02UKE on 1st June both by Luke Braham.

There’s not been much else to report from Arriva in Aylesbury over the last month although the Sapphire’s do keep appearing on other services with route X60 (Aylesbury to Milton Keynes) being one of the main routes that one can be found to be on.

Sapphire 5468 SN15LPY works the X60 on 1st June by Luke Braham.

Andy Churchill writes "Max liveried Citaro 3932 (BD12DHK) seen on route 280 on 8th June at 16.45 at Wheatley (Oxford bound)."

Pete Cabin writes "on 18th June seen on blue route 32 was 6004 KL52CWT which is an Aylesbury allocated bus, so not sure if its on loan or a transfer?

On another note I saw 6306 Y506UGC parked up in the bus station in High Wycombe on Saturday 4th June, this is also allocated to Aylesbury not sure if its a transfer or broken down on service 300."

Photo corner for Arriva.

3525 in a sorry state at Cressex depot on 15th June by Gavin Francis.
This bus was in an even sorrier state when I saw it on 7th July with many more bits missing as it is cannibilised to keep other similar buses running. Ed. 


As mentioned above the company will launch a new service, the X80, between High Wycombe and Reading using StreetLites 403-405. This will start on Monday, July 25th and the name REGATTA will be used, a nice touch I think.

The introduction of the new Park & Ride StreetLites also saw these buses being used on the hourly short working to Stokenchurch on the 40 and a number of pictures have appeared. However the 15:05 from Wycombe is normally operated by an ex Oxford Trident and runs dead back to Wycombe from Stokenchurch.

Carousel 409 on the Link 40 service at Stokenchurch on 24th May and 14th June by Gavin Francis.

Orange route 423 has been seen along with 424 working the Link 40 in recent weeks.
I am told that this is due to trials with Solos on the 39.

Similar but fleet liveried 422 on Link 40 short working to Stokenchurch, the date 6th June by Gavin Francis.


Neil Gow writes "First Berkshire are using open-top Routemaster RMC1510 and Olympian 34258 on the 200 Legoland Shuttle at weekends, with closed-top Routemaster RML2735 as a backup. Use is quite sporadic though, on Sunday 22nd  May a Trident and a Volvo hybrid single-decker were being used. The attached pictures show 34258 and RMC1510 in use on Saturday 14th May, also a picture of Courtney Coaches Volvo B7RLE BG14 OPB running a competing service.

The Olympian is expected to return to Weymouth in June when it will be needed there."


Courtney BG14OPB Legoland on 14th May by Neil Gow.

As mentioned earlier this company has assumed responsibility for Megabus Europe on a commercial basis.

The Flixbus fleet is varied and registered in many places in Germany.

This Setra double deck is registered in Hamburg - (Hansestadt Hamburg), HH-UM-1543 seen outside VCS on 1st June by Gavin Francis.
A list of the place codes can be found at the under mentioned link. 

In issue 95 I had a picture of Olympian P421KSX and Trevor Wilson writes to say "I think this is ex Lothian and was originally dual door. An example is on flickr:

Thus P421KSX Heyfordian Bicester would have been Lothian 421.  So depends on how many of these ex Lothian Volvo Olympians Heyfordian have?

Examples of 421 in original Lothian livery and dual door configuration can be found at these links:

Many thanks to Trevor for this useful feedback. I keep seeing 421 on the school run from Wycombe to Stokenchurch, so it must be the regular bus for this working. 


Luke Braham writes "The trio of Mercedes Benz Tourismos due at Motts Travel had all arrived by the 18th May with the last to arrive being MT16MTT. All three of them were delivered in plain white with GT16MTT being noted operating a school service on the 9th June still in plain white. The other of the trio is registered UK16MTT.

Motts Travel UK16MTT on route 871 on 9th June by Luke Braham .

Olympians N590 & 660BRH have been sold to Vision Travel in Merseyside. This is due to the entry into service of ex-Dublin ALX400s X800, 900MTT.

coach with Moots branding but in Crusader colours. I wonder why? Ed.ALX400 X900MTT was noted operating school services on the 9th June."

I briefly glimpsed a Motts coach with Motts branding in Oxford last week but it was in Crusader colours. I wonder why?


Martin White writes "You might have already heard this, info from a reliable source on NX Facebook Group page says that Deckers are to return to parts of the network later this year........


NEx Have already made an application to TfL to change the the vehicle type in use to 14.2mtr Deckers on routes A1, A3, A6, A7, A8 & A9, & also that they may also return to some South West - London / London - Scotland routes,


The later is interesting as that would be Parks operated routes & they were last operator of Deckers on the Network...


The news on the Grapevine say that there is possibility that they could be of the new Caetano Invictus Decker on Scania Chassis as recently built for Ulsterbus as NEx were looking at them whilst they were being built for Ulsterbus..

Photos courtesy Scania.


Interesting Times ahead here for the future with NX..."

Various pictures of current activities

London VCS queues for Glastonbury 2016 reminiscent of queues for coach travel after 2nd world war
22nd June by Gavin Francis.


Stansted based SH13 FN07BYX on route A7 leaves VCS on 2nd June and caught by Gavin Francis.
These now older coaches are being replaced by 16 plate examples.


Skills Nottingham BX16CGV on the 310 to Poole leaves Gloucester Green on 3rd July by Gavin Francis.


Selwyn's 174 on the 420  with Boom Town super rear on 2nd June by Gavin Francis.


Much of the current news is mentioned in the Editorial at the top of the page.

On 4th July Graham Low wrote "Here are pictures of one of the new COMS Volvo B11R/Plaxton Elite I X90 coaches, one of the earlier Airline Volvos on its first day on the BHX, showing the modified livery and lettering, and one showing the lettering now being introduced on the rear of the Airline fleet."


I haven't worked out why this coach is and still is operating with no branding on the offside.
Coach 1 with missing offside branding on 18th June by Gavin Francis.

OX 61 and 62 rear comparison having been repainted and rebranded seen at Gloucester Green on 10th June by Gavin Francis.
These coaches are normally to be seen on the Gatwick service.

43 PF61OXF with new rear branding seen
at Gloucester Green on 10th July by Gavin Francis.

2nd July sees the start of the Birmingham service and here Gavin Francis records the departure of the 1445 service, worked by coach 25, from Oxford.

A day later, on 3rd July, coach 21 works the same departure and is seen leaving Gloucester Green by Gavin Francis.

Oxford has received four new Interdeck coaches for the X90 London service, they are as follows:

67     X90APP
68     X90YES
69     X90PLS
  70     X90WAY

Most interesting use of registrations!

They are to allow four Airline coaches (from 21-25) to operate the Birmingham service. It also means that the majority of London services are now Interdeck operated. 

Brand new Interdecker nr 67 arrives in Oxford after her first trip from London on 26th June taken by Malcolm Crowe.

A comparison in rears with coach 67 from the rear alongside earlier 63 on 26th June taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Two more of the four new coaches, 69 and 70, show off their rears on 29th June taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Coach 70 leaves Oxford on its very first service to London at 08:45 with a charming lady driver at the wheel Taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Now having operated every route in Oxford, 231 is seen on the X3 entering Oxford Station on 2nd June taken by Gavin Francis.

965 a driver trainer heads through Stokenchurch on 6th June by Gavin Francis. 

Red Kite 

Nick Ross writes "Red Kite's M491ASW arrives at Leighton Buzzard with the 12:05 73 to Totternhoe on June 4th 2016. This fine machine had also worked the 162 to Dagnall earlier, The 73 was expected to be this Olympian's last service bus working with a school turn expected on June 6th then off the road for good!!


Olympian P262VPN gleams whilst parked up in Leighton Buzzard, High St prior to working the 1050 162 to Dagnall on May 27th 2016."


This short report and pictures are much appreciated. Red Kite has an interesting fleet and one wonders just how long Olympians will continue in services? Ed.  


An old London Trident ALX400 SK52MPU, is former Transdev London United VA295, seen on the 643 school service in Stokenchurch on 4th July by Gavin Francis.
The bus looks very smart indeed and has been converted to single door.


I learn that this company is expecting two new buses for new contracts in Milton Keynes.

Not a regular anymore on the 275 the Falcon was on the duty on 5th July seen by Malcolm Crowe.
The regular driver on the 275, Nick Cherry, is seen at the wheel.



Andy Churchill reports "E400 10070 (SK63AUT) and Gold Scania 15964 (YN14PKX) were both loaned to Stagecoach South at Aldershot between 24-29/05/16 to assist with the park and ride operations at BMW PGA Golf Championship at Wentworth operating between ascot and Sunningdale and on a service to and from Virginia water railway station , other Stagecoach operators including Manchester and Merseyside and London contributed vehicles also, totalling 17 buses being used by Aldershot and Basingstoke depots."


 Seen at Oxford depot quite often are Midlands training vehicles.


SCE 52434 Driver Trainer at Horspath depot on 26th May by Gavin Francis.


MMC 10441 on the X30 passes the train station in Oxford on 2nd June by Gavin Francis.


E200 36760 on an S2 working leaves Gloucester Green n 10th June by Gavin Francis.
It is most unusual to see such a bus on this Gold route.


E200 36771 with new super rear in George Street on 18th June by Gavin Francis.


Another service to be lost from Sunday 17th July is the 17C which serves Jericho. Here 47834 works this route on 27th May seen by Gavin Francis.Swindon


Raymond James writes "Non-Gold 15738 was on the 66 again on 21st May. I also forgot to mention an unusual panel replacement on 15841 which has a lower dark blue skirt around the registration plate and gold panel where a grill would be if it had a front radiator."

15736 on a 66 working on 13th June by Gavin Francis.


Difficult times for the service on 1st June when a fatal accident by Victoria Coach Station closed Buckingham Palace Road. Tube services had to start from Grosvenor Gardens, well actually from stop Q rather than our usual stop 10A. However stop 10A was used for out of service coaches.

50282 loads at stop Q on 1st June seen by Gavin Francis.

Three Tubes parked up on stop 10A  on 1st June seen by Gavin Francis.

A revised timetable is now in force and there are now only two express services (Thornhill to Marble Arch non-stop) each weekday morning.


Once a Tube Megabus 50222 is seen leaving VCS Edinburgh and Glasgow on 19th May by Gavin Francis.

50223, once a winner of Showbus in 2009, is seen on two differing services from London on 24th and 26th May by Gavin Francis.

Brand new 55022 on an ME2 Amsterdam working from London on 1st June and then by 12th July bearing Flixbus logos both by Gavin Francis.

Western 54128 - YN63NFT somewhat off route in Green Line LONDON on 19th May by Gavin Francis.


As mentioned above there are to be some major changes to the Thames Travel network from late July.

Not much to report vehicle wise but a couple of interesting pictures to include.

TT 707 on route 218 - ending 200716 and 721 on route 25A to continue from 240716 subject to contract seen on 31st May by Gavin Francis.

TT 720 on route 94 to end 230716 and seen in St Giles on 31st May by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 865 on route X32 at Didcot train station on 5th June by David Beynon.
At this time only minor timetable changes are indicated from late July.


Bill J writes "In the Red Rose section of your 18 May S&J you include"

"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!!"

I travelled on this bus on Vale Travel route 120 from Thame to Princes Risborough on my way to the start of a long walk on 18 June, and this bus still seems to be in regular use on the cluster of 120-ish services around the area (it arrived in Thame on the 123 before the driver shuffled the cards inside the windscreen!). The driver was indeed friendly and obviously used to helping people with their walkers and shopping trolleys. 

All these services are losing Oxfordshire funding and will be withdrawn on 23 July. Perhaps L116HHV will be as well! Incidentally, I gather it started life on the intensive C2 route in London - a long time ago.

I took a picture after I got off the bus in Princes Risborough, so here it is.

Vale Travel L116HHV on the 120 in Thame on 18th June by Bill J.

I've only sent you pictures once before (when the Thames Travel X32 started in 2008), but I'm a regular reader - so thanks again for all your hard work!"

Vale Travel Y982TGH on the 48 at Stokenchurch - now operated by Carousel and seen on 31st May by Gavin Francis.



Silcox Coaches ceases trading after 134 years

West Wales firm ceases trading after no buyer is found; other operators take up contract work. Silcox Coaches of Pembroke Dock ceased trading on Monday (6 June) after no buyer could be found for the business by administrators. It operated 65 vehicles. 

Top Oxford Bus Company driver  up for Everywoman award 

Driver of the Year nominee works on Oxford Bus Company’s X90 route

Oxford Bus Company driver Loretta Taylor is up for Driver of the Year at the FTA Everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards.

One of Oxford's long-standing coach drivers, Loretta Taylor is a finalist in the category and “a real credit to the company”, according to MD Phil Southall.

Adds Phil: “Loretta’s nomination will be no surprise to customers who’ve experienced her excellent service on our X90 route. She is a great role model for women looking to succeed in our industry and we’re really proud that she has been shortlisted for this prestigious award.”

The awards ceremony takes place on 26 May at the Hilton on London’s Park Lane.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of Everywoman, says: “Today’s announcement comes as the transport industry seeks to enhance its image as one that offers exciting opportunities to all women, from young women entering the workforce to those returning after a career break.

This year’s finalists are the role models who demonstrate the industry is open to all backgrounds and skillsets and that it welcomes talented and ambitious women.”

Oxontime goes live 

Nimbus Journey Information has delivered on a new contract with Oxford County Council to provide real-time passenger information across Oxfordshire.

Real-time passenger info live across Oxfordshire

Oxontime is a real-time central database and control system solution that shares live transport information about the bus network with passengers across Oxfordshire.

The service includes accompanying smartphone apps and a website, with an API and SMS service and an operator console.

Passengers can access or download the app to access live information about bus arrival and departure times,

NEW University Shuttle Bus Service

Andy Churchill writes "The university of Oxford has announced at the end of April 2016 that a new shuttle bus service is to be introduced on the 18th July 2016 which will link the key science campuses around Oxfordshire, the shuttle bus service will link the UNI of Oxford's science area in Parks Road with the Old Road Campus in Headington, close to the hospitals where the UNI has numbers of both students and staff based and the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus , the route will be known as the 'Science Transit Shuttle' and will run every 30 minutes on weekdays between and and will be run by an Oxford newcomer UNO of Hertfordshire a subsidiary of the University of Hertfordshire, the shuttle bus will initially be for the use of university students and staff and Harwell campus but the long term plan is to open it to the general public while funding is being sought from the Government local growth fund to secure buses which will be Zero-Emissions for the service." 

Trips & Rallies

Gavin and Malcolm visit the Isle of Wight


An enjoyable day out for both of us is our near annual trip to the island. Pictures are mostly by Gavin with one odd one from me. The date is 7th June 2016.


Our transport arrives from Ryde at the beginning of our day at Portsmouth - Clarence Pier.


The 1938 Piccadilly line tube stock is still active and provides a great way to get Shanklin from Ryde.


Gavin quickly took this picture of your Editor, saying thereafter, "now I'll take a proper picture of the train!!".


The number 3 runs via Shanklin and Ventnor to Newport.
As ever our upper deck seats provided excitement as various bits of overhanging trees were catapulted into our laps!


We had a short break in Ventnor before carrying on to Newport for lunch. Our steed for this part was on an E400 which started life on loan to Oxford Bus.


Before and after a welcome lunch we took pictures of various buses using the bus station. This included 16 plate Enviro 400s working the 9.


ADL Enviro 350H Demonstrator SN62DNJ on loan to Southern Vectis and working the 5 out of Newport.
This bus has been on loan to a number of operators throughout the UK since new.


As we have done before we then took a bus to Alum Bay and had a cream tea at the terminus.
We were able to see the open top service and other operations at Yarmouth ferry port.
(The third picture above is by Malcolm Crowe.)


Our return to Ryde was on the 9 route but as it was rush hour we did not have a new bus to ride on.
We passed a number of Newport bound services as seen above.


Our return to Portsmouth was by the Hovercraft soon to be replaced with new vessels and as we walked to the car park,
still working the connecting service was Stagecoach 36925, an immediate sister to similar buses working in Oxford.


Altogether an excellent day out. 


Marcus Lapthorn visits Jersey 

We spent the weekend in Jersey and I was delighted to find that former RTL 326 was in service operating on the Jersey War Tunnels route from St. Helier. The vehicle is in very good condition and the engine sounds wonderful!


RTL 326 entered service in 1949 at Tottenham garage on route 73, subsequently working from Seven Kings and Stockwell.  After disposal by LT she worked for West Herts Coaches and Kirby's Coaches of Hertfordshire.  In 1974 she was acquired by the East London Traction Society and restored by them, but was sold on in 1978. After several years of open storage at Billingshurst, she was moved in 1999 to the Leyland Museum at Preston, where more restoration work was undertaken. 

Prior to arriving in Jersey RTL 326 was prepared during April this year at Fifield. She is due to enter service shortly on a new route called ‘Atlantic tour’ which will run on 3 days each week (Sunday to Tuesday only). The tour will last 5 hours departing from Liberation Station at noon.


According to a driver the Jersey War Tunnels single decker used to operate in Jersey before being exported to Guernsey, then to Edinburgh, then London and back to Jersey.


The Bristol LH was apparently once in service with London Transport. It sounded very healthy and was in overall good condition.

Various other vehicles seen by Marcus are pictured below and show the variety and interest for visitors to the island.

Liberty Bus is the main bus operator on Jersey, a far cry from JMT which had some classic buses.

I don't think this Durrell is anything to do with the Durrell's series recently shown on TV!!

Tantivy have long been an operator on the island and now favour these delightful small coaches.

Waverley also enjoy similar small coaches.

Thanks to Marcus for that enjoyable report and pictures. 

TV&GWOT gathering at Didcot on 6th June


Mike Walker writes with a selection from yesterday's TV&GWOT gathering at Didcot. The Spitfire was from the RAF BBMF and did two quick passes and that was it!

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 BEP882 M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Burnley BCN 57 M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Crosville CMG103 M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 OK Services 129DPT M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Regent AEC Tanker KYF16 M Walker
Years gone by at Stokenchurch on the A40 were remembered as this tanker passed the end of my road on its way back from Didcot.

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Southdown 276 JWV976W M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Thamesdown 199 M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 Trent National 421 M Walker

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 TV 446 and 748 M Walker


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 TV 556 M Walker


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 060616 WNOC 1106 SFJ106R M Walker


 David Beynon also sent some very nice pictures from the same event.


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 1952 AEC Regal IV-Burlingham Scotts Grey's SHN301


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 COMS 105 and 703


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 Coventry 244


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 East Kent CFN104

TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 Midland Red 5056


TVandGWOT gathering at Didcot 050616 TV GRX140D and MO9324
What world of difference in the twenty plus years separating these two buses ages.


Western National Bristol DOD 518 


Tanner’s Services (Banbury) 1950 Bedford OB Duple C27F.
Seen here in the livery of Tanner’s Services of Banbury, she was new in 1950 to the fleet of Grace, Alresford – the town at the ‘country’ end of the Mid Hants line. 

Adam Green's photos from Hertford & Stevenage Running Day on 5th June

RM1699 Parked in Stevenage Bus Station going to Hertford

T792 Parked up in Hertford Bus Station running on the 393 

RM1 Working the 341 to Hatfield Station

RT3148 Parked up at Hatfield Station

RF 281 seen in Stevenage Bus Station.

TV&GWOT Royal Blue Commemorative Run on 17th June - Victoria 

Fourteen coaches completed the run with some joining at Reading. 

Pictures by Gavin Francis

TVandGWOT Royal Blue Run 170616 at VCS Royal Blue OTT98


LTA729 - 1250

 253KTA - 2270

Bristol Greyhound BHU92C

Wilts and Dorset 279  EMW284.

Tail-ends in Victoria - somewhat different to those of today! 

RTW Running Day pictured by Gavin Francis

On Saturday, 14th May the 50th Anniversary of the last RTWs in normal service was commemorated over former route 95 from Canon Street to Tooting via Brixton. Gavin Francis was in London to record events and his pictures are shown below.



Some RTLs also joined the days proceedings.

The London Leyland's were a combination of Lancashire production using the preselect gearbox of the London AEC's.
They were very nice to drive and I felt were better than the AEC. I drove both when working part-time for Harpers of Heath Hayes
on the Cannock-Birmingham services in the early '70s.

North Wales holiday with your Editor

We spent a pleasant week in North Wales at an hotel in Bangor which overlooks the Menai Straights. As always it was a pleasant interlude and this time I thought I would get some pictures of buses crossing the old and famous Menai Bridge. It is very narrow and each trip with an 8ft + wide bus is a challenge for the drivers.

Readers can view the challenge to drivers. Some literally creep through

Some of the routes and buses to be seen in Bangor.

Several bus services run along Beach Road, once the A5 to Holyhead, including this local route to Gerlan.
They pass my daughter's front door which always provides interest. Services include the Cymru Coastliner.

The depot in Bangor hosts varying buses including some older deckers which are used on schools.

We had a side trip to Llandudno where I caught a fairly new E400 on the 12 to Rhyl.
This terminus at West Shore was also the terminus of the tramway to Colwyn Bay which  rode on as  young boy at the end of the second world war.


London in pictures by Gavin Francis

Closure of Buckingham Palace Road following a fatal with pedestrian by a lorry on 1st June - Gavin Francis

London Retro Bus Hire OJD127R with ex DMS 2127 on 14th May by Gavin Francis.

RML2323 on a Wedding Special on 14th May by Gavin Francis.

Cruise on the Thames - a very pleasant way to an hour or so! - Gavin Francis.

Terravision YJ14CEF on the 850 for Stansted which I understand only connects to the link service from Kings Cross.
This coach was working in Belfast and I'm not sure who owns it now - 2nd June by Gavin Francis.

Arriva LT237 all over wrap for LIPTON on 270516

LT475 overall wrap for KETTLE CHIPS on 020616

Go-LG LT68 with new all over wrap for Red Bull on 030616

Metroline LT130 overall wrap for Michael Koors on 200516

Go-LG LT189 with new all over wrap for OLD MOUT CIDER on 070616

Metroline LT120 overall wrap for Cadbury on 200516

Something to end with and brighten your day - Ascot glamour at VCS on 17th June !!

Pictures outside London.

Whites Coaches YX64WBP passes through Stokenchurch on 14th June by Gavin Francis.

Nostalgia Travel Wedding bus with RM 1528 KGJ117A ex 527CLT in St Aldates, Oxford on 2nd July by Gavin Francis.


Reviews of new books

I have received another SKM fleet book for review which I found well produced, useful and most interesting.


This is well produced book and in a way is retro repeating the successful format of Ian Allan spotters books in the 1950s. Very good price for a very nice book, giving all the information you could ask for on operations and buses in Reading including new buses yet to be delivered.
Please mention the OCBP when ordering.

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