Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 18 - 25th January 2010

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

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid-week news please let me know

The past week has been a much quieter one since the weather is no longer a major talking point affecting bus services in our area. More is revealed on plans for bus travel in Oxford as you will see when scrolling down to the jottings section.

This issue sees some news on new buses in Milton Keynes which is covered in this piece from Adrian Lane.

ARRIVA MK Platinum Route 300 sees new Mercedes Citaros in service by Adrian Lane

No doubt someone may have already reported into you with this, however just in case no one has yet done so here is some news.

I had previously read on the Arriva web-site that due in early January there would be a upgrade and rebranding of Route 300 to MK Platinum Route 300 and that this would be operated by new Mercedes Citaros in branded livery of metallic silver, platinum and a bright lime green depicted on the web-site's pre-launch information - and full details of the new Service and places served.

Route 300 Links the MK Central Station with Magna Park , crossing central Milton Keynes.

Last Saturday (16th Jan) I popped over there to see what was in action, and attach a couple of jpegs for your information.

The new Arriva Citaros look very smart in metallic silver, platinum and a bright green though I am unsure how many vehicles are involved at this stage but the Arriva fleet numbers appear to continue from the last batch of Citaros within the Arriva operations, at Aylesbury. The bulk of these are, rather ironically branded as another route 300 !! (Aylesbury to High Wycombe).

One wonders about the confusion if these particular vehicles are used on  Aylesbury's Route 100 or 150 (to Milton Keynes), the Arriva Aylesbury 300  branded Citaros may find themselves "crossing swords" with the Arriva MK Platinum Route 300 Citaros !!!....... around the MK Station area. (Indeed the Aylesbury based ones are often seen on the 280 to Oxford. Ed.)

My two pictures show Citaro 3927 (BG59FCX), at about 15.30 - outside MK Station on Saturday 16th January 2010.

Pictures by Adrian Lane.


Some pictures from Glenn Knight taken in MK

Volvo Olympian P417KSX with On A Mission Route 44A

Red Rose OU08EHO MK Route 18

Redline T426AGP Dennis Dart on Route 6

Stagecoach East 16454 MX08GJP Route X4

London observations by the Editor

Following my return to work on Oxford tube I now have the opportunity to see goings on in London in the wee small hours!

One surprise last week was the use of two Hamiltons coaches on an 02.00 departure from Victoria Coach Station, both coaches carrying almost full loads. I'm not quite sure what had caused this and am unaware that Megabus operates anything so late from VCS.

I also found the scatter of National Express tri-axle Levantes in VCS, parked in a variety of angles and places rather strange and determined to get a photo at a later date.

Bayswater Road has road works taking place in Queensway with the junction controlled by temporary traffic lights. For reasons not quite understood by the writer there is three way working which causes significant delays during normal hours, how are operators to keep to the five minute rule laid down by authority?

It seems that the First Volvo which carried "Green Line" livery for work on the 701/702 group of routes has returned to all over white. Surprising since this coming year sees the 80th Anniversary of Green line!!

Gavin Francis
took two pictures of the coach mentioned above which now carries an all white livery.

New Oxfordshire Public Transport Map & Guide

After swimming at Thame Pool tonight I picked up a copy of the latest guide dated December 2009. On looking through this guide I was impressed by the number of operators now offering easy access wheel chair user buses on their services.  Therefore imagine my surprise when I noted that The Airline services X70 and X80 are not shown as offering w/c access!!!!  I wonder why?

Once again my thanks to all my readers, many of whom send me such pleasant notes on the work which goes into each edition of the OCBP and may I wish everyone a very peaceful and prosperous New Year 2010.


Glenn Knight writes "Yesterday - Saturday 16th - I was allowed privileged access into Arriva High Wycombe depot the following pictures are attached"

Pictures by Glenn Knight.

Volvo B6 - 3137 L43MEH

 Volvo B6 3139 - L923LJO

Volvo B10M 3330 - M234TBV

Volvo B6 3133 - M713OMJ

Volvo B6 3127 - M727OMJ

Volvo B10B 3842 - N623FJO

Volvo B10B 3851 - R371TWR

Volvo B10B 3852 - R372TWR

Dennis Dart 3217 - S217XPP

DAF SB220 4491 - T491KGB

Also included is a picture from Milton Keynes. (This reveals that there are at least three Platinum Citaros at MK. Ed.)

Arriva 3925 BG59FCU on 300 Platinum route.

A late picture from Glenn is of ex Greenline DAF 4361 - W361XKX on the 0935 Luton to Stevenage 102.

Nigel Peach writes "The number of withdrawn buses at Cressex appears to now number TWELVE! The last Northern Counties Paladin bodied Volvo B6s have been taken out of service. 3117/28/33 have therefore joined 3115/27/38/39. Too many to all be in that back row now! Plaxton bodied example 3137 (L43MEH) hasn't moved lately either. 3330, 3843 and 4491 have all been withdrawn for some months and now 5110 (G130YEV) the last of that batch of G registered Olympians is up there among them too.

Gavin Francis notes "Van Hool tri-axle 4376 is now in full easyBus livery matching 4385-7."  (This is interesting as it is only the minibus easyBus services which are leaving Arriva. Ed.)

Latest arrival at Wycombe is this Volvo, 3299 looking very smart after repaint on 18th January. Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Another Volvo B6 based at Wycombe is 3240 seen on 25th January working Line 40 at Stokenchurch.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Stuart Harvey writes "Just to confirm, the new MAN / MCV's are registered;


Both are still overall red, I presume these will gain the 'Links' branding as carried by the Citaro's.

B6 VWL236 P236AAP has gained appropriate blinds.

There is also a fourth ex West Midlands Metrobus, C887FON which I saw at the Baker Street yard yesterday. It was also appear Ailsa, A971YSX is back in use.

One question I would have, has anyone seen STL10 AF53GCY recently? I last saw it in early November.

In addition to the comments below, AE59AWH is numbered EVO12."

Noel Clark of Carousel writes in response "
The vehicles you note are new MCV Evolution bodied MANs, fleet numbers EVO12 and EVO15 (as we have DMS13 and DMS14 there is a gap). They will gain Link branding in due course and be employed primarily on the 740. 

Both VWLs now have full blind sets. 

STL10 is still in the fleet but is long term sick due to an engine problem that is proving problematic to cure. Hopefully it will return to service soon. 

The Ailsa (V451) mentioned is out of service and unlikely to return to service. The other Ailsa (V431) is still in use."

Seen ready for a local schools working, this Dart was in Wycombe on 18th January - picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Carousel has recently gained a number of new double deck buses to supplement or replace older buses. A selection is seen above including ex WM C887FON.
Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

Service X6 Stansted-Colchester withdrawn from 24th January 2010. This is not surprising since it seems not to have carried very many passengers at all.

John Hammond writes "I saw this Mercedes Citaro  on the 116 yesterday, 18th January."

Citaro 943YKN on 18th January by John Hammond.

Hedley Shanks advises CT07MTT is one of the recent acquisitions and used to be YN07OPK, ex Logans of Dunloy via Plaxton Coach Sales. They also have ET07MTT which was YN07OPC from the same source. Both are 12.8m long Volvo B12Ms. CT07 is C53Ft with small servery in front of the saloon mounted toilet, ET07 being C50Ft with full servery at rear of coach along side the toilet.

Gavin Francis attended the match last Saturday, 23rd January at Southend and sent two pictures of the coaches used by the Wycombe team and supporters.

Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Stephen Le Bras reports that on Saturday January 16th he braved the wet and wind to spot FJ59APF on the 030 which he confirms is X4966 of Lucketts.

Some further new Levantes are appearing, this one from Lucketts. Picture by Gavin Francis.

The company web site reports as follows.

20 January 2010 

Vehicles Acquired: 

790-1 R220/322HCD Volvo B10BLE Wrights Renown B46F ex Brighton & Hove 220/2. 

Withdrawn (12/09): 641/3 

Disposals: 641/3 Dews Coaches, Cambridge (01/10) (Pictures in service with Dews much appreciated. Ed.)

Repaints: 103/4/19/20 BrookesBus livery

This is the fourth time the livery of 120 has changed!!! 

16/1/10 Andrew Webb writes "Once again well done on an excellent page detailing all of the snow disruption.
Noted passing Cricklewood bus garage towards Victoria at lunchtime today (16/1) was Oxford Bus Company's Scania 36 (K1OXF).  Displaying blinds for the X90 and carrying passengers I'm assuming it was in service, if somewhat off route.  I can only guess that there was some sort of problem east of Hanger Lane on the A40 and that the driver took the North Circular Road from there to Staples Corner."

Wayne Bell took this picture of ex COMS 213 which has left the Hedingham fleet and is currently with dealer Ensign bus. The bus was taken in part exchange for a Ex Stagecoach Volvo Olympian last week.

Ex COMS 213 after service with Hedingham has been taken in part exchange by Ensign bus dealers. Picture by Wayne Bell.

Recent sightings.

908 on 300 again and 640 on 5 road again, both last week.

A nice picture of 22764 basking in a winter sunshine last week - picture by R. Sharman.

Robert Williams writes "Thames Travel had a new arrival in the form of 159 (AE59 AWM) in service by 2nd Jan. I believe that it is an Alexander Dennis Dart SLF / MCV Evolution and is to boost fleet strength following the win of a new Wokingham Borough Council contract to enhance new Reading Buses route 12 from Reading to Woodley Airfield from 10th January.

On 2nd Jan it was in Reading on route 127 to Maidenhead, and this week has been out on the X39/X40 through to Oxford. I attach a picture of same."

Picture by Robert Williams.

Andrew Morgan writes Repainted UNO 270 taken today (25/01/10) in Welwyn Garden City bus station . 270 and 272 have both kept there tree guards so it will be if 271 which is away getting repainted now gets one refitted ? plus on the glass as you go up the stairs on 272 it had London General (least i think it did as did not see it till already repainted but 271 and 272 did) on it but on each side a square of plain black label covering it up did not get to see if same on 270."

Z&S Buses

Glenn Knight reports that Silver Rider OU57EXN an Alexander Dennis E200 has been re-registered SR54ZNS.


Blueprint for greener bus network in OxfordJump to top navigationJump to site services

A more comprehensive report on plans for bus travel in Oxford comes courtesy Stagecoach.


Oxford's two main bus operators and Oxfordshire County Council have announced a new greener bus network for the city.

The ground-breaking agreement, the first of its kind in the UK, is the result of months of planning between Stagecoach, Oxford Bus Company, and transport officers from Oxfordshire County Council.

It is the latest element of the County Council's Transform Oxford plans and will deliver a better environment for pedestrians and people using public transport.

Planned to go live in autumn 2010, the new sustainable bus network will deliver

Oxford has one of the highest levels of bus use in the UK, with around 50 per cent of all journeys in and around the city being made by bus. As well as significantly improving the travelling experience for existing bus users, the new package of improvements will provide scope for more people to switch from car to bus, delivering safer, cleaner and less congested streets around Oxford.

A national first

It is understood to be the first use of new powers under the Local Transport Act 2008 designed to enable more effective partnership working between local transport authorities and bus operators to deliver more co-ordinated bus services.

Steve Howell, Head of Transport, Oxfordshire County Council, said: "This ground-breaking agreement is a first for the UK and is another important milestone in delivering our vision to transform the centre of Oxford for everyone using the city. It will ensure cleaner, safer streets, better air quality and a sustainable bus network for the future. We aim to have a quarter less buses on the High Street, delivering a significant cut in carbon emissions."

Martin Sutton, Managing Director, Stagecoach Oxfordshire, said: "Our partnership blueprint is a winning package for Oxford will deliver a greener, smarter bus network. We will be able to offer faster, more integrated travel using 21st century smartcard ticketing technology. Providing more seats using fewer buses will be better for the environment and the increased capacity will ensure we have the scope to attract more people out of their cars as part of our efforts to tackle climate change."

Philip Kirk, Managing Director, Oxford Bus Company, said: "Oxford already has one of the highest quality bus networks in the country and this joint multi-million investment will give the city the most modern and hi-tech bus fleet in Europe. We support the County Council's plans to enhance the city centre. Our plans will make bus travel better and our services easier to use."

Most advanced in Europe

Bus operators and Oxfordshire County Council are now working on the detailed operational plans required to ensure a seamless transition to the new network, including timetables, bus stops, and passenger information.

The high-frequency turn-up-and-go bus network will cover London Road, Cowley Road, Iffley Road and Banbury Road.

Smartcard technology will speed up boarding and allow passengers to seamlessly use either Stagecoach or Oxford Bus Company services without having to buy separate products.

The fleet of 46 new double-decker buses will be amongst the most advanced in Europe, delivering exceptionally high environmental performance.

The latest issue of Buses for February 2010 has an interesting editorial piece on the matter of OFT and competition which contrasts somewhat to the plans above.

The continuing Blackpool Saga from Geoff Cunliffe

Geoff wrote further on the continuing saga of Blackpool's trams saying - 

"According to tonight's Blackpool paper, the controversial new 20m tram depot can go ahead, after Government Planning Chiefs ruled the scheme does not have to go to public enquiry. 

A planning application was approved by councillors last Monday but Government Office North West then dramatically stepped in and put a hold on the process. Officers at regional level have now examined the documents and withdrawn their Article 14 direction meaning that the decision of the council's development control committee can stand. 

It is, of course, still a controversial building and the Starr Gate Residents' Association will be consulting their legal advisor with a view to pursuing the decision through the courts since the Government Office has not tested the legality of the documents but has just decided the application is not of national importance to merit a public enquiry. Whilst there is a lot of sympathy with the residents, one has to question the wisdom (and cost) of continuing to oppose the project. 

The council has a funding deadline of Easter 2012 from central government and requires the tram depot up and running by May 2011. 


Tonight's edition (Monday18th) of the Blackpool Evening Gazette gives a schedule of refurbishment for the rest of the tram track. It claims that the stretch between Central Pier and North Pier will be completed next month. This looks optimistic as quite a bit of the old track still has not even been lifted. 

North Pier to Gynn Square is due for completion by February 2011; Gynn Square to Little Bispham has already been done - quite badly on one stretch; Little Bispham to Thornton Gate by March 2011 and Thornton Gate to the start of Fleetwood's Lord Street by November this year. There seems to be some confusion about the timing of the upgrade in Fleetwood itself with some reports saying this will be done in one stage and another saying it will be done in two parts between January & July this year and January & July 2011. This makes it unclear just what trams will be operating this summer. 

Councillors are also calling for the heritage fleet to retain a strong presence between the Pleasure Beach and Cleveleys, even when the fleet of new super trams is delivered, although nobody seems to have worked out how the speedy new units can intermix with the slow, lumbering but delightful (mostly pre-war) heritage trams, especially given the small number of passing loops either existing or planned."


Dave Ballantyne took this picture of VR GGM108W at Lathalmond last August.
This bus was Alder Valley 628, ordered by Maidstone & District as 5894 - MKE894W.
A number of these buses worked in High Wycombe.

Gavin Francis watched Wycombe against Charlton on 16th January saying "We played very well again but just missed out. 
Reliance supplied the coaches for the Charlton fans and The Kings Ferry the Team Coach. Same model as other teams use."

"Cape Coaches supplied our coach from Stokenchurch. Whilst their coaches are quite old they are all very clean and tidy as shown by this Denis Javelin/Plaxton."
Picture by Gavin Francis.

A recent addition to the Catteralls fleet who operate into Banbury - picture by Richard Sharman.