Spottings & Jottings nr. 98 - October 9th 2016

fully updated on October 16th - now complete

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

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Time seems to flash by, someone told me it's as you get older, like being on a slippery downward slope! Well the slope got steeper in the last month and so apologies for the delay in producing this page.

A great deal has happened since the last issue, with a considerable number of new buses, events such as Buses Festival at Gaydon and Showbus at Donnington Park. Also several of my contributors have made visits to various events and parts of the world and a record of these is included in this issue. Paul Bateson has also produced some interesting pictures of ex UK buses extant in the USA and Canada, one of which turns out to be an Oxford Bristol VR 480!! A picture is included for those interested.

Don't be confused by the registration, applied to confirm to local requirements, it is 480 and Paul saw the fleet number inside.

Next January sees the enforcement of DDA standards for double deck buses and coaches in the UK, the result of which will be the withdrawal of a number of older types such as the one time Oxford Park & Ride fleet of Tridents which are in use with Carousel and Thames Travel. On a sad note a bus which I knew from brand new to recent use by Carousel, 101, recently had an engine fire in High Wycombe and is now withdrawn. More on this matter under the Carousel heading below.

101 seen on a short working of the 40 at Stokenchurch on September 6th
and then at the depot on the 22nd shortly after the fire incident.
A sad end for a very nice bus which had been converted to single door and had the seats retrimmed.

Some late news from Carousel is that they have two loan buses, one is WVL26 in from Go-Ahead London on loan until the end of 2016. This replaces 101 mentioned above.

The second is a Wright StreetLite forward - B37F demonstrator on loan from Wrights whilst 401 is having some repair work done. This appeared in Stokenchurch on the afternoon of October 3rd, on the hourly short working I have called the 40s. It is interesting to note that this bus had previously been used on Vodafone work for Reading Buses at Newbury. How the world turns on its axis!!

Pictures from Gavin Francis. 

Stagecoach has now placed a fleet of 21 new ADL MMC double decks in service and a number of Hybrids have migrated north to Manchester. Full details of fleet changes are included below but those going to Manchester are the second half of the batch of 26 delivered in 2010.

The last of the original batch, 12026, is seen in central Manchester by Graham Low on September 26th.

I read with some concern about a CT Transport Hybrid which, it is claimed, caught fire with "a little explosion" whilst on service 26 by Liverpool Street Station in London. Full details can be read at the link below.

I am aware that there have been various problems with Hybrid buses up and down the UK but this seems to be more than those problems.

Oxford Buds have a Tourismo demonstrator on express services. I believe the first day in service was September 11th.

19 BV66GVJ on the X90 leaves the Park Lane stop on September 16th seen by Malcolm Crowe.
At this time the coach lacked formal branding. 

The fair in St Giles, Oxford which takes place in early September each year results in the closure of that area with subsequent diversions. One victim of the closure was the Megabus M34 service which operated through Gloucester Green for several days, as it's normal pick up points in Beaumont Street were inaccessible.

Interdeck 54216 on the M34 is seen pulling onto stand at Gloucester Green on September 5th by Malcolm Crowe.

An operator who growing in recent months is Red Eagle who are mentioned under the Arriva heading in a report from James Allum. Quite recently, I think with the new school year, they have taken over the 28 from Carousel on the route from High Wycombe to Ibstone via Stokenchurch.

Gavin Francis took this nice picture of YX10TAT on the 28 in Stokenchurch on September 22nd. It is on the afternoon school run from High Wycombe schools
and is now, unless I'm wrong, the only public service to Ibstone? The Red Eagle buses are well presented with an excellent livery.
This bus came from Tates Travel of Barnsley and was new to JPT Travel at VT10JPT, which was Walsh of Middleton. Delivered in July 2010.
JPT ( Janet and Peter Walsh) was taken over by Stagecoach Manchester on April 25th 2014 when operations ceased.

Tendered services

The fall out from the withdrawal of funding for many tendered services in Oxfordshire is beginning to be felt with significant dissatisfaction from many people left stranded or with a long walk as a result.

Berinsfield is a case in question where elderly people and youngsters are left with a very busy fast moving main road to cross to access service to Oxford. There are also complaints about the loss of a direct service to Cowley Centre from the village. There are other examples which could be mentioned but I felt this one was a good example of what travellers are having to contend with.


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.


I do very much appreciate the contributions, without which, this page would not be so well read and enjoyed.

Thanks to all.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - October 16th 2016



Observations and pictures

Gordon Scott has, as ever, sent a number of interesting pictures. Gordon visits Alexander's at Falkirk on a regular basis and catches quite a number of new buses leaving the works on test or delivery.

Here are two shots taken at Alexander Dennis Falkirk in August of two Enviro 400 MMC's seen on a test run. SN16 OZS and SN16 OXL.

SCGMS 10629and SC Busways 10653 leave ADL Falkirk on August 12th by Gordon Scott.

Gordon writes further "I was on a Scottish O.S. branch tour of Carlisle and Dumfries area on Saturday September 3rd.

Here are three taken at Stagecoach Cumbria Lillyhall depot of Pointer Dart 34616 in Lakes livery, Plaxton Interurban 52414 and Alexander P.S type 20219.


Three shots taken in Carlisle on the O.S. trip to Stagecoach Buses.

Optare Solo 47954 YJ15AEE in Carlisle city centre on September 3rd.

Scania ADL Enviro 400 15921 PX13DMF Stagecoach Gold Carlisle Bus Station again on September 3rd.

Three more shots taken from Sat, O.S. trip Dumfries depot and town.

Optare Versa 25228 PX08FMZ in depot, once again on September 3rd.

Volvo Jonckheere Bendi 51092 T640KCS Megabus livery with half bunk beds and half seating. Other one parked alongside it is 51097 T97JHN withdrawn in depot,
again on September 3rd.

MAN Alexander Enviro 300 22389 SF55VUP taken in Dumfries town, again on September 3rd.
The revised livery certainly brightens up these now rather elderly buses! Ed.

East Coast Buses taken over from First by Lothian.

An official press release states as follows:

East Coast Buses to operate from 14 August

Threatened bus service provision in East Lothian is set to continue following a rescue package put together by East Coast Buses Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lothian Buses Ltd. 

Earlier this year First Scotland East Ltd announced it was to close its operations and withdraw services from 14 August 2016. An agreement has been reached which will see East Coast Buses Ltd purchase the company’s Musselburgh and North Berwick properties with all staff having the opportunity to be transferred over to East Coast Buses Ltd under TUPE.

East Coast Buses will be making significant investment to improve services, including refurbishment works to Musselburgh garage, increasing the number of vehicles and deploying a new fleet of vehicles. 

Gordon continues "Shots attached of East Coast Buses taken over First East Scotland, East Lothian/span> depots Musselburgh and North Berwick routes from September."

Route 107 08.30 Edinburgh to Dunbar, Volvo Wright 10106 - RIG6496 ex Arriva Southern Counties 3811 - GN06EVR.

Route 124 09.02 Edinburgh to North Berwick, Volvo Wright 10104 - RIG6494 ex Arriva Southern Counties 3808 - GN06EVM.

Shot taken in Musselburgh route 124 10199 LB62BUS ex Lothian Country Buses. 

Gordon adds "Lothian Buses has moved in and bought both North Berwick and Musselburgh depots as First East Scotland have pulled out of East Lothian. They bought the six ex Arriva Volvo BRLE Wright buses and are using some of the ex Lothian Country single deckers which were in a green and white livery. Lothian have also moved six of their 51 plate Dennis Trident Plaxton President deckers for school route contracts in this area they will be based at Musselburgh depot."

The use of ex Arriva Volvos from nearer our area is rather interesting and begs the question why these buses? Ed.

More pictures from Alexander's. 

Falkirk Alexander factory on September 6th is Scania Alexander Enviro 400 MMC demonstrator YN16CFU seen on a test run.

Alexander Dennis Falkirk factory and Stagecoach's Oxford 10686 with South West's 10694 ,
both taken on September 9th.

First West Lothian Enviro 400 MMC, 33444 SN66WGW for local Livingston depot route branded. September 9th.

New Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC for National Express West Midlands 6776 SN66WBX seen on a test run.
I think these are in use on the 126 service passing through Dudley? Ed.

In Regent Road Edinburgh New Scania K410EB6 Irizar i8 161-MN-1152 first one delivered to an Irish operator Matthews, Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan.
A most impressive vehicle. Ed.

More Lothian 

Lothian put six of their New Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3 Open toppers into service today in City Sightseeing livery.

Shots taken on September 22nd at Holyrood Edinburgh of Lothian Edinburgh Tours livery,

New Volvo B5L Wright Gemini 3,
232 SJ16CTU and 240 SJ16ZZD, open toppers first day in service.
Wrights first attempt at a purpose built new open top bus. Ed.

23/9 at Falkirk factory seen leaving on their delivery run.

Arriva Kent - Thameside 6513 SN66WJK Enviro 400 MMC.

Go Ahead London SEe21 LJ66CFZ Enviro 200EV MMC. 

Also shot attached of Blackpool Enviro City 400 MMC 406 - SN16OVG taken on route 9 at town terminus stopped on the way back from Showbus on Monday.

Stagecoach Cumbria Enviro 400 MMC Lakes livery 10553 - SN16ONV taken in Kendal on Tuesday.

That's all for now from Gordon Scott with many thanks. It is interesting to see the significant output from Alexander's whose vehicles seem almost everywhere.

Mike Keen writes "I met you at Gaydon on Sunday and promised you some photos from Herne Bay Bus Rally. The attached photos are the most people free from the several I took, hope they can be of use to you."



James Lambeth writes "Here are some more photos that your readers may find interesting. I visited the IKEA store in Reading yesterday, but was not intending to see any buses! The first photo shows Reading Buses 1111 - YN08MMJ outside the store yesterday afternoon, with 861 behind."

The other photo is one from my friend and fellow enthusiast James Freeman, who has given me permission to forward to OCBP. It shows Oxford Bus Company's 870/LF57OXF this morning with what seems to be a new advertising vinyl for the Story Museum!


Bob Morley of the Newbury & District Transport Group writes "A picture of a bus not in your area but I thought the readers would be amused by the change of ownership livery. No prizes for guessing the previous owner !

Picture taken at Havant Bus Station on Wednesday, August 24. Ex-Arriva Dart now with the Emsworth & District company. 

Nick Ross writes to send some more interesting pictures taken on August 12th an newish arrivals for Red Kite's non school services.

Ex Stagecoach Kent's  P285VPN at Leighton Buzzard High St prior to working the 1040 162 to Dagnall on August 12th 2016. 

On Stagecoach Northampton’s last day of Olympian operation 16696 and 16699 worked various routes on Saturday August 20th.
16696 is seen at Milton Keynes point after arrival with the 1130 X7 from Northampton, she ran well all day.

Frazer Peddle writes to contribute.

An AEC Regal I, FV4548, saw at the Beaulieu International Autojumble on Sunday 4th September.

From the Editor - This was owned by the Grand Edwardian Touring (Wild Rose Connections Ltd)
It was new to Salisbury of Blackpool in 1934 with a Beadle body and subsequently was absorbed into the Standerwick fleet - part of Ribble.
In around 1937 it acquired a Leyland coach body which it still carries. It saw war service in the 2nd world war and returned to Ribble thereafter.

Paul Hawkins writes "Lothian and First Scotland East have introduced new buses into service with Lothian having 30 new open top buses for the many tours including City Sightseeing, Majestic Tour and the Edinburgh tour. I believe they are straight Diesel Volvo B5L with Wright Gemini 3 bodies. First have a batch of E400MMC which are probably the highest spec buses in the Lothian's with usb charging used on the 27/28 service from Bathgate-Livingston-Edinburgh."

Craig Campbeltown on the Edinburgh Airport route from Glasgow on August 10th by Paul Hawkins.
The destination seems to follow a style established by Oxford Bus.

First Glasgow 67100 SN16OSG on the 500 to Glasgow Airport on August 10th by Paul Hawkins.

First West Lothian SN66WGG on the 28 in Edinburgh on August 10th by Paul Hawkins.

Gary Seamarks on September 16th advised he passed an Elite i X90 on A64 at Tadcaster (Yorks)  yesterday morning (number 68), believe registration was X90YES, heading away from Plaxtons.

Richard Sharman reports on a new shuttle service in Oxford operating for Trip Advisor Staff is seemingly causing chaos on St. Aldates at Times.

Trip Advisor service from the City Centre to Oxford Science Park parallels the new joint 3A service!


YP15UJW is numbered M4, shown as a thumbnail on the main picture.

Graham Low sent some recent views in Durham. of an ex COMS Volvo B10BLE with Go Northern as well as two of their new and branded StreetDeck and StreetLite buses.

Go North East 5170 (ex COMS 820) on route 15A in Durham on August 3rd by Graham Low.

6305 on the X21 in Durham with some rather fine branding - August 3rd by Graham Low.

5421 on the 20A in Durham - August 3rd by Graham Low.

Paul Francis writes about two bendi-buses in Orkney. They are operated by J & V Coaches and ensure quick transfers for passengers arriving by the ferry services. You can refer to the link below for details of this company.

The two passing.

The Wrights bus in the countryside.

The first picture is of a Citaro from Stagecoach London, once used on the 25 from Aldgate. It was 23034 and is registered LX03HEU. This bus was new in 2003.


The second picture is of a Wrights bendi-bus once owned by Doigs of Glasgow. This bus was new in 2001.

Mike Lewis writes "A few photos from Oxford today that you may want to include in your next Oxford Chiltern web page.

FJ60EKD A Volvo B13RT that belongs to Heyfordian Travel and was on rail replacement in Oxford, this was new in Eurolines livery and spent the majority of the time on the continent doing Eurolines services.

Y236LRR Optare Solo of Charlton Services seen at the bus rally at Oxford Parkway station, this was new to Nottingham Transport 236.

Also now in the Oxford Bus Museum is N605FJO, new to Oxford bus company as 605 and came from Sun N Fun, Cambridgeshire in August.

James Lambeth writes "I have been busy recently including a holiday in the SW where I have taken many photos of buses from that area. Due to the limited size of attachments that can be sent by email, I am attaching some photos from my trip to Oxford today which may be of greater interest." 

The first one shows ex CityLink Gold SH61HGU on loan to Oxford Bus Company working a service into the city at Hythe Bridge Street.

This coach was on loan from Plaxtons whilst rectification work was undertaken on some Interdeckers.

The second photo shows one of the new MMCs for Oxford, SN16 OYR at Speedwell Street just before leaving to operate a route 3 service.

The new order - 10669 on the 3 and 12004 on the 10 in Butterwick Place on August 21st by James Lambeth.
With the arrival of these new MMCs, the E200s have been replaced on all 10 services by Hybrids instead of just at weekends. Ed.

The third photo shows Reading Buses YR13PNK + YR13PNF at the long stay car park at Oxford railway station having a break after working rail replacement services.

Unusual to see Gas buses on longer distance work! Ed.

The final photo shows National Express YN11AYD at St Giles working service 304 to Weymouth. I believe that a National Express Elite is a rare sight in Oxford, as I have only seen them working between Bristol and London on the M4/5 (note that the red in the photo is a reflection, and not a part of the Elite's livery!).

This coach is operated by Selwyn's and represents a challenge to National Express by a few operators who did not like the Levante coaches! Ed.

Thanks to James for these pictures which I am sure readers will appreciate.

Specific Operators


The X8 Sapphire is operated by 3795/6/7 (VDL / Wright) with dual branding of X8 and 280. All 3 seen in Oxford but only 2 are needed on a daily basis, a fact noted by Ralph Adams.

3796 on the 280 displays the new branding on September 20th taken by Gavin Francis.

3797 on an X8 working in Thame by September 8th taken by Gavin Francis.

3798 on a 280 working in Thame by September 8th taken by Gavin Francis.

These buses started life in Cannock, an area which I am familiar with having driven for Harpers on their Cannock-Birmingham service many moons ago!

Nigel Peach reports that Arriva Midlands 2725 Y346 UON, a Wright Cadet bodied DAF SB120 in the old Arriva livery was operating Wycombe's route 37 today (5th Sept).

 2725 on the 32 in Wycombe Bus Station on September 23rd by Malcolm Crowe.

He adds "As you will know, the 800/850 upgrade to MAX with suitably branded Citaros from Tamworth launched yesterday (4th Sept). Ironic therefore that the first such branded bus I saw working that day ... was on route 35 to Flackwell Heath!"

You will no doubt have better pictures of the Citaros than this one attached taken 1st Sept of 3012 in Eden Bus station.
(I used this as it shows one off the branded route. Ed.)

Most of the Citaros seem to have arrived from Tamworth now meaning that many Volvo B7RLE's will have moved in the opposite direction. However 3866 (KE05 FMO) is still around.

Also I saw Volvo Wright Renown 3266 (V266 HBH) on route 1 on Monday 19th. This has latterly been at Aylesbury - I guess it is on loan? Aylesbury's examples from that batch (3261-8) were made DDA compliant before the end of last year, but none of Wycombe's were - they were all withdrawn.

Many thanks to Nigel Peach for those notes.


A report from Pete Cabin.


When the Citaros arrived at Wycombe from the Midlands they were pressed into service on a number of routes. 3008 BJ12YPT 3011BJ12YPW were both on Cressex circular and 3012 BJ12YPX on service 800 to Reading. 

September 5th saw 3010 on the 74 to Slough and it was at the stop at Wycombe Marsh when caught on camera by Pete Cabin.

Arriva like to keep up to tradition putting route branded buses on other routes than those intended!

Pete advises "another transfer to High Wycombe is 2527 Y346UON this was on service 37 to Bourne End."

I caught up with this bus on September 23rd when it was on a 32 working, looking rather old fashioned in this original livery! Ed.

Sunday September 4th  2016 at Wycombe Marsh was 3743 AE56MBF had apparently broken down and was left for a mechanic to come and get it back to the garage as seen below.


On September 14th 3839 KE53NFC on service X30 outbound to Aylesbury made a welcome return be it only temporary.

With thanks to Pete Cabin for the foregoing.

James Allum writes "Some updates from Hemel for the Bus Page:


Watford Route 10 Versa's 3413, 3417 and 3419 were spotted in Hemel working the following routes when observed in the Marlowes bus interchange:

2 - Woodhall Farm - Bennetts Gate via Town Centre

3  -Town Centre - Chaulden via Gadebridge

101 - Tesco Bus Town Centre - Jarman Park Tesco

Reports suggest that Hemel is swapping buses with Watford for mechanical reasons etc.

Also in Hemel, Arriva are shortly to lose the route 1 to Red Eagle! Could this be the start of Arriva's demise in the Hemel area with the ML1 Rail Station - Hemel Estates - Maylands Avenue also being given up by Arriva and taken over by Red Eagle with promises of a better service, time will tell?

On Saturday 20/08/16 - due to drainage work on the Watford to St Albans Abbey line buses replaced trains with a mix of Sullivan and Uno vehicles. Also seen was 3571 on loan to Watford on the route 10 heading to Woodside and 3419 is back at Watford after a short spell at Hemel Hempstead Garage.


Also seen on the rail replacement was a ex Metrobus Scania single deck now with Galleon travel.


Today 21/08/16 I visited Whipsnade Zoo and now ex Watford and Hemel Hempstead 3215 R215GMJ is now in full Whipsnade livery with Blue basing and pictures of different sea animals.

I took a ride on it and noticed a few Arriva stickers and original CCTV and dot matrix info roll screen which were installed brand new at Watford.

3215 featured heavily on the route 7 ( Watford - Borehamwood when new at Watford then later at Hemel when used on the route 2/3 ( Woodhall Farm - Long Chaulden) and the routes 4/5 (Grovehill West) Good to see the bus wasn't scrapped unlike it's former classmates.

Most of my photos can be seen on my Flickr page, here is the link to it if anyone is interested:

With thanks to James Allum for the foregoing, readers will find some very interesting pictures on the link above.

Luke Braham sent an interesting report with pictures.

Mercedes Benz Citaro 3018 BD12 DJE, a High Wycombe allocation, made a surprise appearance on the 280 on the 17th August. It appeared to have only been on loan for the day as it has not been seen in Aylesbury since.

Before branding was applied. One wonders if it was being used on a "delivery run" and I wonder if a VolvoB7RLE made the return working? Ed.

Wright Pulsar 2s 3796-8 FL63 DWW/X/Y have returned from Sapphire refurbishment with 3796 being the first to arrive on the 22nd August with 3797 arriving on the 24th August and 3798 arriving on the 30th August. All three of them were refurbished by Thornton Brothers near Ashington. 3797 and 3798 both entered service on the 1st September. 3797 was allocated to route 50 until it was swapped to work route 55 with sister 3798 being allocated to the 280. 3796 was first noted in service on the 3rd September.

The first day, 5th September, of new Sapphire X8 saw Pulsars 3796 FL63 DWW and 3767 FL63 DWX operating the service. The X8 serves Thame and Oxford hourly with two peak-time journeys in the morning and evening also serving Aylesbury. Instead of having USB sockets and plugs on the walls, Arriva have now decided not to have plugs on the Sapphire buses and just USB sockets which can be found on the back of the seat in front. The rest of the specification of the Pulsars is the same as the Enviro400s allocated to the 280.

3796 FL63DWW and 3797 FL63DWX on X8 workings, the first day, seen in Thame on September 5th by Luke Braham.

3797 FL63DWX was used on the from Aylesbury to Chesham route 55 before the X8 started and is seen above in this picture taken by Luke Braham on September 1st.

3798 FL63DWY on the 280
in this picture taken by Luke Braham on September 1st.

I saw 3839 on the X8 on October 8th heading into Oxford !!

The X30 between Aylesbury and High Wycombe also began operating on the 5th September. This service has also been added to the list of MAX services operated from Aylesbury depot as the route interworks with the 300. This means that some buses run out of Aylesbury as a 300 with them returning as an X30. This is also the case for buses running as an X30 to High Wycombe with them returning to Aylesbury as a 300. Although, I am lead to believe that some buses will run into and out of Aylesbury as 300s. No extra buses were needed for the 300/X30 as one of the 300 workings every hour in each direction was withdrawn and replaced by an X30 leaving either Aylesbury or High Wycombe at the same time.

3924 BK58URS on the first day of the X30 is seen in Aylesbury having returned from Wycombe. September 5th by Luke Braham.
I also saw a dead working out of Wycombe one evening, is this scheduled? Ed.

Thanks to Luke for the foregoing.

The Thames Valley and Aldershot Bus Interest Circle news letter for October enables me to report on the allocation situation at High Wycombe.

Twelve Citaros have been transferred from Tamworth for service on the 800/850 routes . They are as follows:

3007-14 (BJ12YPR/T-Z) : 3015-17 (BJ12DHX-Z and 3018 (BJ12DJE)
Some or all of these when new were used at the 2012 London Olympics before allocation to their then home depot!

In exchange Volvo B7s 3861-72 appear to have been swopped to Tamworth in exchange for the above mentioned Citaros.
However it is also noted that 3863/5 are at Luton.

Pictureview of Arriva.

3016 on a 32 working leaves The Eden Bus Station in Wycombe on August 26th taken by Gavin Francis.

3018 on its branded route 800 leaves The Eden Bus Station in Wycombe bound for Reading on August 26th taken by Gavin Francis.
This bus is shown earlier on the 300 unbranded! Ed.

3266 on route X30 leaves The Eden Bus Station in Wycombe bound for Aylesbury on September 26th taken by Gavin Francis.

6008 arrives in High Wycombe on a 300 working. It is not regular to see double decks on this route. Picture by Gavin Francis on August 26th.
The overall wrap is colourful!

3970 on a 758 working picks up at Marble Arch stop 14 on September 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
One of these local service bus works on the 758 each weekday.

From Arriva Southern Counties, 4386 YJ58FFW on a 758 working picks up at Marble Arch stop 14 on September 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
Of course this coach started life on the 757 and was painted overall for easyBus and Hemel now comes under Southern Counties.

I had occasion to drop off one of my daughters at High Wycombe station where I took the above picture.
The station now boasts a proper interchange where two Arriva buses are picking up. Its September 2nd by MC.


Nigel Peach writes "Purple 417 with two Blue Bus Tridents on 31st August were in the overflow yard. Sister 415 was inside the depot. I'm told it is being brought back into service here. They will need the extra buses now that schools have restarted. I am also told that the Tridents will all have to go by the end of this year due to new disability requirements. So if anyone wants to buy one...."

114 with Oxford branding in the yard with Tempo 804 on 31st August. 114 is actually a Thames Travel bus, and was there for maintenance.
Photo by Nigel Peach

505 on 20th August waiting time outside Beaconsfield station.

Philip Southall writes "Tempos flt no 801 and 807 are now training buses at Oxford Bus Company.

I can let you know that all of the Tridents will be removed by the end of this year due to not being DDA compliant but I do not know what will be replacing them yet.

Mercedes OCU500 873 874 and 875 now in use at Oxford will return to Carousel in the new year.

Enviro 200 504 transferred back to Thames Travel.

Man Stirling 415 has now been put back on the road after MOT, after being in reserve for nine months and back in service at Carousel. Sister bus 417 to be sold."

Another source advises that the bus involved in a fire incident in High Wycombe was 101. It was in the engine compartment and the fire was quickly put out with nobody hurt which is the main thing. 101 was  recovered back to Carousel but due to age and the fact they are all coming out of service in December it will not be repaired as it is not economically viable.

Carousel Pictureview

104 on a 36 working leaves Wycombe bus station on September 23rd by Malcolm Crowe.

 423 on a 40 working from Thame crosses Downley Turn on its way back to Wycombe on September 23rd by Malcolm Crowe.
The 39 now sees Solos and these E200s seem to be the regulars on the 40.

Carousel Tridents in the new parking area at Wycombe depot on September 9th by Malcolm Crowe.


First has been quiet in our area but I can report the new arrivals to First in Berkshire are two E200 saloons, 44527/9 (SN62AYU/Z) from First Hampshire and Dorset. Seemingly this was in connection with recent changes in Slough from September 25th. This might mean that unrequired Citaros may be going in the opposite direction.

Route 7 Slough to Uxbridge saw Citaro 64020 on its last day of working, September 24th.

Both Gavin and I were surprised by the appearance of Legoland branded bus on the X74 on more than one occasion.

33181 on the X74 in Wycombe BS on September 9th by Malcolm Crowe.

Gavin was better placed on September 26th to get a more traditional view of 33181 on the X74 on September 26th leaving the bus station. 


News about this operator surrounds the reintroduction of double deck coaches after many years of abstinence. This followed the overturning of a Skyliner on the M4/M25 slip road many years ago.

It is suggested that from October 29th the A1 service will see the introduction of a Caetano "Levante style" decker. A picture of one of these coaches on delivery to the UK is seen below. Thanks to Brian Madge for this picture.

National Express took one of their new double deck coaches to Birmingham Coach Station recently for various trials. Pictures are shown below.

Scania K410UD6 (YS2K6X20001899246) with Caetano double deck coach body, seating at present unknown.

I have seen another on delivery on the M40 heading northwards near Oxford on Sunday September 25th. That one was without any branding in just plain white.

First Caetano 66 plae, NEx Skills  BV66WPD at VCS on the 440 on September 16th by Gavin Francis.

Now taken over by Go-Ahead, Coliseum  JIL8230 on NEx route B8 leaves Gloucester Green on August 15th by Gavin Francis. 

Perhaps the most significant item this month is the arrival of a demonstrator, a Mercedes Tourismo chassis WEB63247523000766 with 54 seat bodywork, registration BV66GVJ.


I am told that the company will trial a number of different coaches in the coming months to decide upon future orders. I believe the last time they operated a Tourismo was back in 2005.


The coach was first used on the airport services but has now been more frequently seen on the X90. It has received branding similar to that used on the white Scanias 41-47. Pictures below show its various stages of incarnation.

Oxford Bus are trialling a brand new Mercedes Benz Tourismo tri-axle on their express service and you can see this coach in my picture below, taken a few weeks ago in London. This coach has now received multi route white base branding and pictures from Gavin Francis are included under the OBC heading below.

Numbered 19, BV66GVJ, is seen on an LHR working on September 11th leaving Gloucester Green.
Also to be seen a rear near side view, an interior view (showing the 3 point seatbelts (not at all popular with passengers, especially the elderly.)
and a view of the drivers cab area. I think this was its first day in service.

By October 1st the coach had received appropriate branding.





Ralph Adams reports "Bus 900 left the fleet about 6/8 weeks ago so no highbridge  buses now in the fleet.


There are six spare buses (201-206) available for the summer vacation which have been used on various City services, but the next semester started on 17 September. With the loss of 207/208 (above), vehicle allocations will be very tight for COMS – unless something else arrives before that date. (Maybe the Carousel Mercedes made up for that? Ed)

The coffee shop (now closed) next to the passage to Gloucester Green bus station has been taken by COMS. One of the side windows will be taken out and made into a ticket booth, so attracting passengers before they reach the coaches. The shop will become a travel shop to enable the Debenhams shop to be closed.

COMS had a coach on hire

Numbered 10,  SH61HGU was a Volvo – Plaxton Elite, previously Citylink Gold (faintly visible on the sides) so must have been with Parks of Hamilton.  It is only on hire to cover an Interdecker away for rectification work but we not aware which one.

This coach left the fleet a week ago. Pictures of its life with Oxford Bus are included below.

Coach 10 SH61HGU ex LSK473 Parks on the first day in service - its first trip at 0615 to LGW - August 15th by Malcolm Crowe.
The Citylink Gold branding can clearly be seen in the third picture.

Now at Thames Travel, 208 is seen in heavy rain on a 3A working on August 20th by Gavin Francis.

One of the recent operational difficulties in Oxford was the one way system involving Park End Street (westbound) and Hythe Bridge St (eastbound).
Here we have 844 on diversion on a 4 road service turning into Worcester Street, something which happened around 15+ years ago
 - the date September 23rd by Gavin Francis.

A surprise in Oxford was the appearance of the Carousel MB500C trio on City services.
They had been on loan to Thames Travel and we are told will return to Carousel early in the new year, 2017.
873 and 875 are seen in the pictures by Gavin Francis taken on September 5th.
It is interesting to note thast the route number is on the wrong side, this should be on the side nearest the pavement!

David Rouse took a rear picture of 873 on the 13 in St Aldates on September 8th.

By September 7th Scania 207 had moved to Thames Travel and is seen here in this picture by James Lambeth taken on September 7th.

217 passing the ever growing New Westgate Centre on September 2nd taken by Richard Sharman.

Interesting picture of Airline branded 231 on a 4 road service on Wootten Road on September 15th by Jack Cooper.

COMS preserved

M513VJO This Marshall bodied Dart has just been sold by Autocar for preservation. It was built as a dual door but is now single door. I do not know if the second door will be reinstated.

Whilst in London I saw a Pulham's coach each morning and include two such vehicles below. It really is a very smart fleet.




As mentioned above, this company is expanding very quickly and has an immaculate fleet now. You can see their operations at the link below:


Red Eagle YX10TAT on the 334 ex Tates - the date September 22nd - the picture by Malcolm Crowe.



Redline X154FBB on the 110 in Thame on September 8th by Gavin Francis.


Nick Cherry sent some interesting pictures which are included below.


Redline MX09HHN new Green livery on August 11th and in original livery on service some time earlier both by Nick Cherry.


Redline YX09FMK ex London Metroline DES1702 and First London 44408 on August 10th by Nick Cherry.

For services see the link below: 


The company had two brand new E200s at Showbus in a revised livery. They looked very smart indeed.

New E200s T25RRT and W25RRT at Showbus on September 25th - brand new and not entered service!
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

For services see the link below: 



The last official fleet information gives the following detail. New vehicles and disposals are of interest.

fleet movements vehicles awaiting disposal
10667 SN16 OYO ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
10668 SN16 OYP ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford
10669 SN16 OYR ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
10670 SN16 OPS ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
10671 SN16 OYT ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford   36453 OU61 AVC To East Midlands Ox
10672 SN16 OYU ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford   36454 OU61 AVD To East Midlands Ox
10674 SN16 OYW ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford   36451 OU61 AUY To East Midlands BY
10675 SN16 OYX ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford   34466 KV53 NHA For sale BY
10676 SN16 OYY ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford 12020 OU10 GFJ To Manchester Ox
10677 SN16 OYZ ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford 12022 OU10 GFO To Manchester Ox
10678 SN16 OZA ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford 47658 AJ58 RBF To East Scotland Ox
10679 SN16 OZB ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford    
10680 SN16 OZJ ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford
12015 OU10 GHF ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester
12016 OU10 GHG ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester
12023 OU10 GFV ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester
12026 OU10 GFZ ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester
These were the first Hybrids to go to Manchester
on August 20th.
10681 SN16 OZK ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford    
10682 SN16 OZL ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford    
10683 SN16 OZM ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford    
10684 SN66WHC ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford    
10685 SN66WHD ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
10686 SN66WHE ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
10687 SN66WHG ADL E400 MMC new to Oxford          
12021 OU10 GFK ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester    
12025 OU10 GFY ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester        
12018 OU10 GHJ ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester    
12019 OU10 GHK ADL E400H - Oxford to Manchester vehicles in reserve
36453 OU61 AVC ADL E200 - Oxford to Disposal 34471 KV53 NHF Dennis Pointer Dart  Ox
36454 OU61 AVD ADL E200 - Oxford to Disposal 47451 KX56 TXP Optare Solo Ox
36451 OU61 AUY ADL E200 - Banbury to Disposal    
47451 KX56 TXP Optare Solo - Witney to Reserve  
47658 AJ58 RBF Optare Solo - Oxford to Disposal
34466 KV53 NHA Dennis Dart - Banbury to Disposal    
36763 OU62 BHV ADL E200 - Oxford to Banbury    
36764 OU62 BKZ ADL E200 - Oxford to Banbury    
15838 OU62 CJX Scania E400 Gold - Witney to Oxford    
15966 YN14 PKZ Scania E400 Gold - Witney to Oxford        
15995 YN64 XSZ  Scania E400 - Oxford to West Scotland  

Below are pictures of the new double decks in service and following delivery.


10667 having its vinyl's applied following delivery - August 15th by Gavin Francis and then in service the following day by Graham Low.


10683 on the 8 loading in St Aldates on September 5th by Gavin Francis.


The new buses are predominately used on the 2, 3, 8 and 9 services.


The transfer of almost half the Hybrid fleet to Manchester proceeds apace.


Hybrid now in Manchester show 12015 by Chris Lowe on September 29th.
These buses are being repainted prior to entering service. The Oxford vinyl's are removed before leaving Oxford.



The Elm Farm outstation is almost ready to replace Harwell Campus. It was then found that the 106xx have a longer wheelbase and ground on the entrance. It is today being changed to make it available to the buses. The Stagecoach training bus also grounded on entering.

In Ayrshire for the next chapter of its Stagecoach career 15995 along with 15994 and 15996 please refer to the link below. Newly arrived at Kilmarnock and still with its Stagecoach in Oxfordshire vinyls is 15995 YN64XSZ, It arrived along with 15994 and 15996, seemingly destined for Cumbernauld depot

12013 is seen working the new 3A which rosters Hybrids on match days and on other occasions due to operational requirements.
Picture taken on August 20th by Gavin Francis.

MMC 10677 on the 9 followed by 10667 on the 8 head down High Street on September 2nd seen by Richard Sharman.

Now intend to be operated by the new MMCs, 12001 is seen on route 2 on September 2nd seen by Richard Sharman.

Replacing the Thames Travel T2, following the County Tendered changes, 36983 is seen on the new 3A
to the Oxford Science Park on September 2nd seen by Richard Sharman.
This route is operated in conjunction with the joint 3 by Oxford and Stagecoach.

36771 display a recently added super rear whilst working the 14A service on September 2nd seen by Richard Sharman.

10667 is seen turning into Speedwell St on 3 working on August 16th by Graham Lowe.

The change of bus operating the 10 on weekdays is shown in this picture by James Lambeth with Hybrid 12004 on the 10
preceded by 10669 on the 3 in Butterwick Place waiting for their next journeys on August 21st.


We mentioned above about the diversions inbound to Gloucester Green using a temporary one way Hythe Bridge Street. Below is a picture of an Oxford tube using this change.

50263 on the diversion on August 23rd by Gavin Francis.

There are two S5 EXPRESS services operated by Oxford tube coaches each morning between Bicester and Oxford.
They follow the X5 route on the A34 and the Woodstock Road.
Above we can see one of the services operated by 50268 which is passing 1757, a normal S5 service in St Giles.
The date is September 2nd and the picture taken by Richard Sharman.

In recent weeks, due to traffic delays coming out of London, an additional short working has been operated between Lewknor and Oxford
each weekday morning. This is normally operated by a Gold Bus and the picture above shows 15756 on this working
last Friday, October 7th waiting for passengers at Lewknor.
(Apologies for the poor quality but it was rather dark !!) 


As mentioned above St Giles Fair in Oxford brings diversions during its time and diversions are required. The M34 Megabus service was one victim this year when it operated through Gloucester Green for a few days using bay 3, normally a tube stop.

Here 54216 reverse off on its journey to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and it will be back later in the day on its way to the south coast.
September 5th by Malcolm Crowe.

Whilst carrying out monitoring at Marble Arch I caught up with 50224 on its way to Leeds on September 12th - Malcolm Crowe.


Marcus Lapthorn writes "The revised 67 timetable since the subsidy was withdrawn has resulted in larger/longer buses being used on the Faringdon to Wantage through route, (i.e. no diversions now through villages). This can include double deckers and the number of passengers seems to be very low, with fewer than 5 being the norm and often Nil." 

863 is seen in the Market Square, Faringdon. The second photo’ shows it fighting with cars
which is frequently the case as the bus is very long for our old town square. 

861 is seen at high speed in Park Road, running 15 minutes late!

Bill J also sent a picture of this service as seen below.

865 in Faringdon at the terminus on August 11th by Bill J. 

Ralph Adams reports:


Thames travel outstation at Launton (Bicester) closed on 3 September when routes 22 and 23 are withdrawn. The 25A is already operated by Oxford

TT outstation at Elms Farm (Grove) has already closed.

TT outstation at COMS Oxford now has 8 buses – three on T1, two on 25A and three on Didcot group.

207 and 208 have been transferred from COMS to Thames travel, both remaining red at present but with new fleet names on the vehicles unlike temporary hires where a laminated card is displayed. No obvious withdrawals yet as the 5 Tridents (school buses) were all in the yard at Wallingford today. I have not seem 912 recently but both it and 913 went away for repaint. 913 has returned a while ago and looks very smart, the same style as 914.

The company has gained three double decks, obviously for a specific need. It appears that 2 are for route 136 which in addition to normal passengers, now has many school children with season tickets paid by the County. Whilst the County no longer subsidise services, the education section are using route buses instead of coach contracts in certain circumstances which helps to keep rural services been maintained.

Andrew Tyldsley, Head of Commercial for Go North East writes "I don't know if you will have picked this up locally, but Go North East are acquiring up to 15 Optare Solo from Thames Travel.

TT 701 to 704 arrived last month at our Saltmeadows Road workshops in Gateshead. Interestingly these are retaining the same fleet numbers with Go North East.

Show below are photos of Thames Travel 701, 702, 703 & 704 which arrived at our Saltmeadows bodyshop yesterday (8th September) - up to 15 Optare Solo are being acquired from Thames Travel, these four and 705 are keeping the same fleet numbers with Go North East.

Above are pictures of 701, 702 and 703 & 4 at Saltmeadows on September 8th by Andrew Tyldsley.

701 is seen outside the Saltmeadows facility, 702 is seen along with withdrawn Volvo B10BLE and DAF SB120 from the Go North East fleet which are awaiting disposal and 703 & 704 are parked at the rear of the facility, along with various withdrawn buses awaiting disposal. These will be replacing Dennis Dart MPD.

701-705 will be running alongside our new Optare Solo which entered service yesterday, I have attached a photo of 688 on its second trip on the first morning which may be of interest to your readers. 701-705 will be gaining the same livery.

Go North East 688 NK66 CXD at Rickleton on September 8th by Andrew Tyldsley.

Andrew writes again September 23rd "Further to my email of a couple of weeks ago, work on preparing 701 to 704 for service is now progressing. 

Apart from the repaint into our "indiGo" livery, the vehicles are being fitted with Hanover destination blinds (in lieu of Mobitec) - as can be seen in the photo of 701, and are having 3 fixed internal seats replaced by 3 tips-ups in order to create a "buggy" bay, in line with standard on the rest of our fleet (see before and after photos).



The difference between pre and post can be seen in he photo 70x (it is 704 still in TT livery, the other might be 703).

Branding should be applied from Thursday onwards, with the buses entering service in early October.

Again on October 7th "A further 5 x Optare Solo have arrived from TT today (TT 705-708, 720) with TT 721 due to arrive early next week."

701-704 have now entered service at Washington Depot - I haven't taken any photos myself yet (hope to get some over the next few days), but my friend Stephen Hodgson has, links below:

James Lambeth writes "Attached are some photos, regarding Thames Travel as they seem to be having quite a few changes.

The first two photos are of SK66HRO, a new Wright StreetLite for their route 98.
Taken on September 7th by James Lambeth

There have also been quite a few transfers from OBC. I have seen so far 207, 208 and 230 now on what seems to be a long term transfer to Thames Travel (as the OBC branding has been removed).

I have also noted that AE61EWO/EWP/EWR have now transferred from TT to OBC, sadly I haven't got a photo yet. (see above under Oxford. Ed.)

As mentioned earlier the Tridents days are numbered and Jack Cooper got a nice shot of 120 on Wootten Road on September 15th.

Solos 704 and 707 at Harwell Village on August 12th by Bill J. Nice pictures of buses no longer with TT.

TT 720 at Harwell Village on September 5th by Bill J. A month later this bus has moved north, see above.
It seems sad that these relatively new buses are moving away.

Ralph Adams writes re the "uno" operation in Oxford

UNO Oxford

New minibuses

101 KX66 USE  MB WDB9066552P309261  B16F

102 KX66 USW MB WDB9066552P309259

103. KX66 URS. MB WDB9066552P309257

104 KX66 ULM MB. WDB9066552P3092584

106 KX66 USL                                                              Driver would not let me look inside the cab


Also in use on Monday was KP64 RZZ which did not have a fleet number.

102 has vinyl's (or similar) over the Windows advertising the 2 routes that are operated.

Today I spoke to the manager. Eight new buses have arrived, the 9th and final one will arrive next week. All of the earlier buses have now gone. The buses have a 6 weekly service at Cassington MB dealer, not as reported elsewhere that the service was done at Hatfield.

I have received various pictures of the ones in use until now.

Science Park Shuttle KX66ULM Oxford with route branding on October 4th by Gavin Francis.

uno HK65RUA-ScienceTransitShuttle-Uno-V on August 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Other 14 and 64 plate buses in use during August and taken by Peverel.



Weavaway South Midland SN16OHG seen in Oxford on August 20th by Gavin Francis.
I feel that it's stretching a point to say "we've come a long way since 1921" as the parent Weavaway have hardly been in business that long!



Z & S MX03YCY on the 113 to Brill seen in Thame on September 8th by Gavin Francis 


Jottings - posted October 16th

Excelsior Coaches is bought by Go-Ahead

Go South Coast completed the acquisition of Excelsior Coaches Ltd on October 4th.

The Go Ahead-owned firm, which operates Poole-based Morebus, stepped in to buy Excelsior after the decision by former owner Ken Robins, 69, to retire and exit the business.

One of Excelsior's newest coaches is seen in London on December 11th 2015 by Gavin Francis.






Trips & Running Days

History made at Lytham St.Annes by Geoff Cunliffe

As has become customary, the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Group provided transport to and from Lytham Hall on August Bank Holiday Monday for their Open Day since there is negligible public parking space at the Hall.

Every year the provision is better than the last, and this year saw a ten minute free service from the Hall to Lytham Square then on to Fairhaven Lake and St. Anne's Square.

The vehicles tend to be ones which are familiar locally, supplemented by a number from the Blackpool-based Lancastrian Transport Trust.

New vehicles on display this year included an ex. Yelloway coach, based on their usual AEC Reliance chassis, a Blackpool “standard” East Lancs bodied Atlantean and Ribble’s prototype Olympian.

However, star of the show for me was the 1934 Leyland LT5A Lion, a former demonstrator which was bought by Lytham St.Annes Corporation for whom it worked until 1957. Followers of your page will recall earlier photographs of the vehicle, completely derelict, in Canada. Now owned by Derek Calrow of Bolton, it has been re-imported and totally restored. Last year it was a static exhibit; this year it took its turn on the round trip to St. Anne's and I was fortunate enough to catch a photograph of it loading passengers in St. Anne’s Square for the first time in 59 years! It was being driven by Keith Severn who seemed determined to be photographed with his charge! (Keith owns the ex. Alan Rydeheard Lytham No.10, an all Leyland PD2/1 of 1948).

The best of my outtakes from that Park & Ride day on Bank Holiday Monday are:

Ribble 1995, now open top and masquerading as an Eastern Counties vehicle. It is an ECW bodied VRT/SL6G

Pristine Fishwick’s 5, a Weymann bodied PD2/40 of 1958

Blackpool 512, MCW bodied PD3A/1of 1967

Blackpool 554, Marshall B46D bodied AEC Swift MP2R of 1969

Lytham Hall lineup of three Ribble's, Harrington bodied L2T Leopard 1036 of 1961,
Weymann DP bodied PSU3/3R Leopard 811 of 1965, and 1052, Duple Dominant I bodied PSU3B/4R of 1974

Another Lytham Hall lineup of Southern National RDV 419H, an ECW bodied RELH6G  of 1970,
the 11 metre Yelloway Reliance 6U3ZR with Panorama Elite III body of 1973 and Blackpool 353, an East Lancs bodied AN68A/2R of 1982

A largely Ribble miscellany including the first production Olympian 2101, the chassis of which was, curiously, built at Bristol,
 1775, Met-Cam bodied PD3/5 of 1962, RWU 534R a Plaxton Derwent bodied Leopard of 1976,
Ribble 452, a 1954 PSUC1/1T with Saro B44F body, and Ribble 1397, a Park Royal bodied AN68/1R of 1976.

Another photo or three you may like, with nothing to do with either Lytham Hall or Oxford,
were when the new Blackpool deckers were displayed to the public just before they entered service

I was somewhat surprised that the lower deck was extremely narrow between the nearside wheelarch and the stairs unit, such that several disability scooters which tried the vehicle access found they could only just squeeze in. I know every inch counts to the bodybuilders, but it does to the disabled also.  

I thought the cab was somewhat plain, but I guess this is ‘just’ a service bus and not a prestige coach. The engine compartment is a bit of a surprise. You can make out the smallish, red 6·5 litre turbocharged Cummins engine in the bottom left but much of the other visible gubbins is required for the Euro6 emission control.


Back to the Lytham Lion for a further comment, and I think there is some mismatch on the transmission components now. I remember the vehicle in service (though it pains me to admit it), and it was possible to start off and drive it quite ‘normally’ - something you would have had to do for eight or more hours in your shift. I can best describe to current situation as being as if the flywheel is too large (or heavy). The engine takes an inordinate amount of time to slow down when you are changing up, and the bus has nearly stopped before you can change from 2nd to 3rd unless you cheat slightly, engage 3rd too quickly and crunch the box. I realize it has been rebuilt from a shell with all manner of parts missing, but I wonder if the engine and gearbox are as originally fitted. If they are, wherever have they come from? The engine, on tickover, doesn’t sound quite authentic, but then how well can you remember engine sounds from sixty years ago

Many thanks to Geoff for this comprehensive report and pictures.

Buses Festival at Gaydon 2016

Many readers will have attended the 2016 event at Gaydon, which was blessed with good weather and an excellent turn out. Somehow Gaydon lends itself to this event although space is somewhat limited. There is plenty to see at the Museum and catering is excellent.

Below are a selection of photos which I hope are self explanatory and the takers are clearly indicated.

From Clive Middleton


From Dave Allen

General views of the event

A very local bit of history, HOT339 - Tanners of Banbury at Gaydon August 21st by Dave Allen

Oxford's 231 local very pristine with Stagecoach Oxford 10674, on its first day out, working one of the three services provided for visitors.

10674 called at Banbury en route to pick up a few colleagues. I think this is the first time an MMC has been to the town?

Walsall 56 at Gaydon.

In 1968 Daimler was looking for a UK operator to try out the massive CRC6-36 chassis, prior to shipping 16 to South Africa.

Walsall Corporation Transport’s General Manager, Ronald Edgley Cox, was eager to innovate and ensured a Walsall bus was always exhibited at the Commercial Motor Show. This giant was the 1968 showstopper.

The Cummins engine was mounted in the rear offside corner and, at 36' (11 metres) long, there could be 86 seats despite a second staircase and door at the very rear. It was intended as a driver only bus and a closed circuit TV system monitored the rear exit. 1968 technology meant the CCTV was unreliable so the bus always ran with a conductor.

MCW Metroliner 400GT. New in 1988 to Yorkshire Traction for National Express work as E99 AAK. Subsequently registered HE 8899. Relegated to private hire and excursion duties after 7 years, and repainted blue for at some point. Sold to Ensign Bus by Stagecoach in 2007 where it became 404 (304 CLT). It later operated for Red Route Buses and WJC Coaches (where it became E9 WJC) and then was sold to Invincible Coaches of Tamworth, and to Future Limo Buses of Aberdeen in 2013, neither of the last two operating it in service. It was acquired by Richard Cranmer in August 2015, and is now based at Jurby Transport Museum on the Isle of Man. Buses Festival will be its first appearance after National Express Rapide vinyls are fitted, work due to take place on August 20th.

Manx Heritage Transport Festival - 27-31 July 2016

Marcus Lapthorn sent this report and pictures./span> 

2016 marks the 140th anniversary of the inauguration of Horse Trams on the Isle of Man! In addition to the horse drawn  trams there were electric trams, steam narrow gauge railways, a transport museum, heritage buses and of course the normal modern service buses operating. A large number of special events were organised such as a vintage bus tour of closed railway lines, sunset dinner on Snaefell which is the highest point on the island @ 2036 feet, access to which was via the mountain railway and many many more events. We attended as I am a Member of the Modelstone Bus Club and Peter Gascoigne organised a week’s visit to the IOM for a group of over 20 Members. It was an excellent week which we greatly enjoyed.

I have attached a number of photographs which may interest your readers.

Photo’s 1 (Manx Electric Railway.) and 2 were taken at Laxey where one can change to the Snaefell Mountain Railway. Photos 3 and 4 were taken at Ramsey.


Pictures below of buses at Douglas and Ramsey.





Photos below were taken at a privately owned bus garage, which was opened up especially for our group. Sorry about the camera shake on the first photo.


Photos below all taken at Jurby Isle of Man Transport Museum.




The wonderfully evocative picture of a MetCam PD3 seen on the TT racetrack over the mountain tops on 29 July. 


The horse trams are a very special reason to visit the Island and face problems as the Government will no longer finance them and Douglas Corporation have taken them on for a limited period of two years only. The third picture shows the interchange with the Manx Electric Railway


What superb pictures this are! 

With many thanks to Marcus for these wonderful pictures which I hope will encourage many of you to visit the Island in 2017. Ed.

Spain from your roving reporter

Marcus Lapthorn writes "We recently spent a week in Spain and I have attached photos of some of he buses that we saw."


The Mercedes Citaro is ubiquitous on so many parts of the world


Photo 4 at Granada shows tourists loading up the minibus service to the world famous Alhambra Palace. There is a 5 minute frequency on service C3.



The Irizar is prevalent here.





At the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare

Another trip by Marcus Lapthorn

I attended the above event which this year was held at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare. I understand that this rally was held at the Crosville depot in previous years.

I was shocked to discover that their was an entrance charge of £10 which one had to pay in order to gain access to the static display of buses parked up on the runway. One had to pass through the helicopter museum before slipping out through a side gate to view the buses.

It was a pleasant day out with plenty of sunshine in the morning and one could ride on a variety of buses around Weston. 

I have attached photos for your readers. (Now many of you will know the various participants shown below but for those who have questions just put the registration number into Google, no space please, where you will find many pictures and a lot of detail which should satisfy your questions. Ed.)



A very fine display of vehicles well presented through the pictures of Marcus Lapthorn.

Berlin from David Beynon


Flixbus ZS182FC loads for Stettin on September 21st by David Beynon.
Flixbus works in a similar way to National Express with many contracted operators providing the coaches.

East Kent days

Pictures by Mike Keen

A real classic AEC with a great registration, 6801 FN was delivered new to 'East Kent' in 1963. It remains the oldest half cab 'East Kent' Regent V in preservation.

Celebrating East Kent 100, this splendidly turned out E400 looks great.

Herne Bay on August 7th by Clive Middleton

Stagecoach 17528 open top - just shows what can be done with a "bog standard" bus!

Stagecoach 20622 an Alexander PS in stripey livery - still a few left around the group - we have two trainers at Oxford.

Several members of National Bus had these buses including one at Oxford.

These are great pictures, if you look long enough you could actually be there!

how many older readers will have leapt on or from a moving back ender? I know I did. Looking back, a very dangerous action!
Ah well such is life.

Showbus 2016

A new venue this year at Donnington Race Circuit. Plenty of variety but not quite like Duxford. Maybe next year will be better?

Some pictures from Gavin Francis. I am sure you will have seen more than enough pictures by now but I felt these were worth showing.

 Barton 580 KNN254 and 966 966RVO

Birmingham 1107 - still a head turner.

Chesterfield Transport, 3 is 283 URB, a 1982 Leyland Tiger TRCTL11/3R with Plaxton Supreme VI coachwork.
I know one of my readers is an avid Plaxton fan!! I wonder who that is?

Crosville Cymru EOG207, C207 GTU a Leyland Olympian with ECW CH42/29F recalling the one time Coastliner livery.
This was a very striking livery and for those travelling from Chester along the coast a great day out.

I could tell a tale about missing my turn in the mid '60s driving a Ribble Leyland Leopard on the X20 Coventry - Glasgow service! - I've been to Biddulph Moor!!!!!
Plaxton Pointer Dennis Dart new in January 1992 as PMT MDC917. For those of my generation the saving of such buses is still strange!
But, one must realise that this is now 24 years ago and in 1960 we were wanting to keep 1940's buses.

Still on the Stagecoach books as a heritage vehicle, and based in Chesterfield, their last Daimler Fleetline 15513 MBE613R


Nigel Lukowski writes "Oxford a long time ago - Four images attached, know which was which then...?"

Some readers will remember that City of Oxford Motor Services trialled some MAN artics in 1982 with limited success. They later ran for Midland Red at Cannock.

Oxford with its narrow streets has not proved successful for artics and very long buses.

COMS 2002 DAK302V MAN artic on the 1 at Carfax in Summer 1982 by Nigel Lukowski

COMS 2003 DAK303V MAN artic on the 1 in Cowley Road outside the old COMS depot in Summer 1982
by Nigel Lukowski

COMS 2004 DAK304V MAN artic on the P&R service turns into Cornmarket in Summer 1982
by Nigel Lukowski

The rear nearside view of the Kelly Family's AEC Regent/East Lancs L199 (199 KFC) dates from March 1980 and the Grey-Green organised Tulip Rally in Volendam, Holland. This bus was not a rally entrant but parked at the hotel whose car park was used for the rally!  A Goggle search provides a lot of info on fast-food in the Oxford area, but little on who and what were the Kelly Family - any ideas?

Lastly, a 'teaser' view from the gliding club at RAF Bicester, this is May 1982 and the two buses converted to winches are AEC Regent V's from Southampton and West Bridgford.  More views coming soon, landing soon?

I am sure readers will also look forward to more views from Nigel.

Buses in the Landscape

A very nice picture in Wales by John Bristow

Lloyds Coaches Dart at Machynlleth on July 13th by John Bristow

You can find out all about this company at this link:


Nigel Lukowski writes "The two modern shots are the two Stagecoach Oxford buses loaned to South for the BMW PGA Golf at Wentworth (Surrey) in late May. These are, in standard Stagecoach livery, Alexander Dennis E40D 10070 (SK63 AUT) and in Stagecoach Gold livery Scania N230UD/Alexander Dennis E400 15964 (YN14 PKX)."


"Depot shots I'm afraid, work precluding my getting over to Wentworth.  These, and other vehicles hired from London, Manchester and Merseyside, operated Park & Ride services for the tournament.  I see a mention on the site but no pictures."

Pictureview from various contributors

Gavin Francis catches up with the London & Oxford scene

BIG BUS publicity bus LK03CFG on September 5th by Gavin Francis

New BYD electrics for the 507 and 521 by Gavin Francis.
Thios releases a number of MECs which will go to other routes or operators.

Perhaps the most colourful examples of overall wraps is Go London LT424 at WATERLOO for DELIVEROO on September 29th by Gavin Francis

Another newcomer to the London scene - CT Plus 2515 at WATERLOO on September 29th by Gavin Francis.
One of these new buses was involved in a serious fire shortly after entering service!

East Yorkshire 89 A6EYC at VICTORIA on September 21st by Gavin Francis. A rather smart coach I think!

UNITED SL65013 FJ58AJU ex Selwyn's in Oxford on September 17th by Gavin Francis

Oxford Rail replacement by Gavin Francis

Just a very small selection of coaches on the rail closure replacement in August on the 14th taken by Gavin Francis.

Various by Malcolm Crowe.

London United LT152 on the 10 in Park Lane Marble Arch with Coca Cola wrap on September 12th by Malcolm Crowe

Metroline LT799 and 800 on the 16 in Park Lane. I wonder how long it will be before we can see LT900?

During five days Monitoring at Marble Arch this was the only bus I saw in non conforming TfL livery,
Metroline TE950 ron the 82 passes Marble Arch stop 14 on September 14th by Malcolm Crowe.

Quite a veteran on London tour work is Original Tour DLP245 on the T6 passing stop 14 on September 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Go London PVL161 on training duties on September 15th by Malcolm Crowe.

Go2 Travel BV66GVO on Park Lane on September 12th by Malcolm Crowe. This was one of a few 66 plate coaches seen on my 5 days.

Recent newcomer to the London tour bus scene is City Tour. They now have a few part closed buses as seen above.
City Tour London KV02USN in Park Lane on September 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

Long time operator Big Bus AN345 on Park Lane in the pouring rain earlier on September 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

Paul Bateson contributes old English buses still in use in the USA and Canada.

Carriage Co. 310 LFJ884W - Philadelphia, 12th St and Filbert St - July 23rd by Paul Bateson

Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours 103 ex C432BUV - Philadelphia, Independence Mall East - June 213rd by Paul Bateson

Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours 105 ex B81WUV - Philadelphia Arch Street - July 24th by Paul Bateson

Trentway-Wagar 709 SMK709F - Montreal, Rue du Square Dorchester July 26th by Paul Bateson

Paul is much involved in Buses Worldwide which I can recommend to my readers.


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