Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 2 - 30th August 2009

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Well here is issue nr 2 and thanks to everyone who wrote saying how much they liked the idea.


Ben Morroll writes "The ex Go-Ahead Plaxton President seen on the M40 near junc. 3 on Tuesday 18th August just before 05:30 heading north. I saw this bus pass me as well, minus any fleet names or ownership indications and noted that it had no rear lights whatsoever. Although the dawn was breaking it was rather poor light and it did have lights on the front. I wonder where it was going to?"


Glenn Knight noted on the 7th August that the 1440 Luton - Aylesbury was operated by ex Stevenage Norton Green Scania 3197 R197RBM. still with 100/101 route branding in place. Indeed I notice that the two Olympians at Wycombe transferred from Hemel with 5/6 branding are still carrying that branding.

Peter Cabin notes "Volvo
3851 R371.TWR. is now in active service at High Wycombe and has received a repaint. This bus was working the 13.45pm 800 to reading today 17/08/09. The other import, 3454 W454.XKX. was on Green route 31 Downley-Penn. Aylesbury depot sent Scania 3166 N716.EUR.out on service 300 to High Wycombe. This bus now has electronic blinds installed and was seen leaving Wycombe at 13.55pm.

Pete also found himself behind this bus in high Wycombe. The bus was on the 52 to Hemel. Maybe Green Line might consider running a London service again from High Wycombe?

Picture by Pete Cabin.

On 21st August Pete reports that "Not 1 300 but 2 300s came into High Wycombe today, one behind the other at 12.15. Double decker Olympian 5157 -  S157KNK. was the first followed bye newer Citaro 3923 - BK58URR."

26th August saw some unusual workings around Hemel reported by Adam Green. 3234 was on the 51 to Flaunden. Over near Bovingdon Way Olympian 5136 was on route 5 going up to Bennetts End.

The batch of Volvo B7RLEs at Harlow are being repainted and one or two even carry super rear ads for Air Berlin. These buses were delivered ahead of the batch of similar buses at Wycombe which are badly in need of a repaint. One is 3859.

Andrew Morgan reports that on 28th August he saw a Plaxton bodied DAF coach on the 797, once coming from London and once to London, newly painted in Arriva express livery (same livery as old 300/301 branded buses) but plain without route branding . Gavin Francis confirms this sighting and advises the coach in question is DAF 4367.

Centrebus, Luton

Glenn Knight writes to advise "A new Centro arrived today for Centrebus Luton. Its on a MAN chassis licence plate will be  ??59 ??? . I saw online the 10s in Luton are becoming more frequent so will this be a extra bus."

I understand from Andrew Morgan that Centrebus purchased Trustybus on 28th August but he is not sure if this include Galleon Travel. 

First Capital Connect.

A further Citaro 503G has arrived this time registered KR52ZTN. One wonder if this will gain a cherished registration like its two sisters?

Heyfordian - Tappins

Ken MacKenzie has provided us with the registration numbers of the vehicles lost in the recent fire at the Didcot premises.

They are:  

2185 NU (ex B246NVN) Leyland Olympian with ECW bodywork - Tappin (was this the one in full Tappins livery?)

YAY537 (ex F483OFT) Volvo B10M-60 with Van Hool bodywork - Heyfordian 

KUI9417 (ex G417YAY) Volvo B10M-60 with Plaxton bodywork - Tappin 

B17TCL (ex T991JNW)  Volvo B10M-62 with Van Hool bodywork - Tappin

National Express

Ian Brown reports that on 21 August Abingdon coaches were working the 737 Oxford-Stansted service with YN07LKJ.

I notice that the Levante coaches based at Stansted are losing the S prefix and now carry just C** fleet numbers. An interesting arrival in the National Express Levante fleet is CO95 - FJ57KHP which has come from Bruce Coaches, Salsburgh, where six tri-axles from Stansted have seemingly replaced this and its fellow Volvo FJ57KHR which has become CO96.

Further renumberings of the fleet at Stansted means that SC40,41,43,44,45and 46 have become CO52,53,54,55,56 and 57. Note that SC42 is not so far included as it is not in the allocation at Stansted. The size of numbers used on the offside window is much bigger than in the past. More details in the full issue of OCBP now under preparation. I am told that all the coaches will be renumbered throughout the NEx fleet.

This week has seen a hired coach working on service 737. It is from South Gloucestershire, L555SGB one of the Van Hools once run by The Birmingham Coach Company.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

On the 10th August Alexander noted a Solo on service S2 and a Trident on the 7C.

The remaining Neoplans in use on the Oxford Tube are 50101, 50102, 50105, 50106, 50108, 50109, 50114, 50116, 50108, 50122 and 50125. New Van Hools are 50201-15 to be followed by eleven more towards the end of September and early October.

The new Gold Line Enviro 400 double decks expected early next week will be the following:

15533-15537  -  VX59JCU/JCY/JCZ/JDF/JDJ.  They follow the twelve similar buses which will enter service on Stagecoach route 94 Cheltenham to Gloucester where there will be a special launch as follows:

Stagecoach West

Launch of Stagecoach Gold and Celebration of 80th Anniversary of Cheltenham District Traction, Saturday, 12 September 2009

As part of the joint celebration, a number of journeys on this date will be operated by our new Stagecoach Gold double deckers which are scheduled to enter everyday service on the 94 route from Sunday, 13 September 2009.

In addition, a number of historic buses of types which operated in this area over the last 70 years will be used on a mixture of normal and special services. All vehicles are subject to availability on the day.

*Stagecoach Gold double deckers will operate the following journeys on

Service 94: (Normal Fares Apply)

From Cheltenham Promenade: 1140, 1200, 1220, 1240, 1300, 1310, 1330, 1350, 1410, 1430, 1440, 1500, 1520, 1540, 1600, 1640, 1700, 1720, 1800.

From Gloucester Market Parade: 1220, 1240, 1300, 1320, 1340, 1350, 1410, 1430, 1450, 1510, 1520, 1540, 1600, 1620, 1640, 1700, 1720, 1740, 1800, 1840.

*Cheltenham District Traction Bristol FSF6G/ECW 6037 will work the following journeys on Service 94:

From Cheltenham Promenade: 1150, 1320, 1450, 1610, 1730

From Gloucester Market Parade: 1230, 1400, 1530, 1650, 1810

*Stagecoach East Bristol FLF6G 19953 (JPW 553D) will work the following journeys on Service 94:

From Cheltenham Promenade: 1250, 1420, 1550, 1710

From Gloucester Market Parade: 1330, 1500, 1630, 1750

*Bristol Omnibus Bristol LD6G 8515 (969 EHW) will work the following journeys on Service 94:

From Cheltenham Promenade: 1230, 1400, 1530, 1650

From Gloucester Market Parade: 1310, 1440, 1610, 1730

*Stagecoach South (ex Cheltenham District Traction) Bristol VR 15160 will work the following journeys on Service 94:

From Cheltenham Promenade: 1340, 1510, 1630

From Gloucester Market Parade: 1420, 1550, 1710

*Services 97/98 will be operated by a selection of four Bristol REs between approximately 1110 and 1740 from Gloucester Bus Station and 1205 and 1835 from Cheltenham Promenade.

Expected buses Bristol OAE 954M, Bristol Omnibus 2062 (WHW 374H), Cheltenham District Traction 1000 (KHW 306E), Cheltenham District Traction 1003 (KHW 309E)

Normal Fares Apply.

*A special free bus service will run between Cheltenham Racecourse close to old GWR steam railway station via Albert Road, Albion Street, Town Centre, Railway Station and Hatherley to Arle Court (Hatherley Lane) using a selection of almost a dozen preserved vehicles from approximately 1100 and 1730 hours.

The best way to enjoy travel on Services 94/97/98 for the day is to buy a Day Rider Plus ticket at £4.70 (Adult only) or if travelling from further afield an Explorer Ticket at £5.50 Adult, £4.00 Child, £11.00 Family.


Network Rail proposed option for High Speed trains via High Wycombe

In an announcement last Wednesday Network Rail revealed that a super high speed train service running at up to 225mph train may run through High Wycombe, which will cause concerns from fears of its impact on the town.

The owner and operator of Britain’s railway infrastructure said running the trains from High Wycombe to Northolt Junction was one of four options that should be considered.

Up to sixteen trains daily could provide an hourly service between London and Scotland along the new line with end to end journey times of two hours and twenty minutes. The first stop after London would be in Birmingham. 

Details of the actual route have not yet been announced. The other options for the approach into London are the lines into Euston and St Pancras. The following link gives more detail of the planning stages :

Network Rail said the new service was needed to provide capacity for the ever increasing numbers using the rail services.

Wycombe MP Paul Goodman said: “While a high-speed line is a good scheme in principle, routing it through the Chilterns looks impossible in practice. “Were the route to run through Wycombe, for example, there'd be huge problems relating to practicality, cost, blight, the environment and, not least, the effect on commuter services.”

Aylesbury MP David Lidington said: “It shows there are other options available. I would clearly prefer it not to run through the Chilterns."

Conservation boss Steve Rodrick said today’s report will create further uncertainty as the High Speed 2 company is already looking into it with the plans to the North West only.

This was set up by the Government and will report in January. The firm is believed to favour running the line through the Buckinghamshire countryside.

In a statement Sir David Rowlands, Chairman of High Speed 2, said: “This is a useful contribution to the much more detailed work which HS2 is doing on route and station options to the West Midlands, including Heathrow, and on corridor options beyond going north to Scotland together with a comprehensive business case covering all the costs and benefits.

We will be including all of this in our report to Government at the end of the year”.

As I publish this report I have just seen a two set Virgin Voyager passing London bound through High Wycombe.

Torbay Running Day on Sunday September 6th.

James Pratt advises "Not long now until the 1st Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day that is being organised by myself and colleagues at the Devon and Dorset Group, first of all I would like to extend a huge thanks to my friends at Torbay Council and Stagecoach South West for huge amounts of assistance, both organisations have been extremely helpful and without there offers of help and assistance this event simply would not be happening!

The entries for the day are growing, we have an excellent variety of both local vehicles and vehicles from further afield, PSV’s of all types are promised and we look forward to welcoming all of them to the event. 

We have a basic network of three routes: 

28A – Torquay Sea Front to Hesketh Crescent, via Torquay Harbour, this will have a small layover at Hesketh Crescent to allow enough time for photo taking etc at this very scenic location for photos, or you might like to stroll down to Meadfoot Beach and enjoy the views before returning on another bus a little later. 

136 – Torquay Sea Front to Paignton, the service to Paignton had to be included as we feel that the trunk route between Torquay and Paignton has a significant historical importance, the service will run to the Town Centre and will stop at Hyde Road, for a short layover before returning to Torquay, it will serve the Harbour area on its return to the Sea Front for those wishing to alight or board after taking in the delights of the busy harbour area. 

109 – Torquay Sea Front to Occombe Farm, this service will be terminating in the Car Park for Occombe Farm, this is a local farm that has a small shop selling locally produced goods, as well as a Coffee Shop and restaurant for those looking for a leisurely lunch on the day, and for those visiting as a family, you might like to have a wonder round and enjoy the farm animals that can be visited on site, this service operates via Headland Road and Preston Down Road, this service will offer some spectacular views across the Bay that are best viewed from the top deck of a bus, this route really is not to be missed! 

The above service will operate on a regular service throughout the day! 

We are also operating two further routes that will operate only a few times throughout the day, so try not to miss these routes!!!  

18 – Torquay Sea Front to Broadsands Viaduct, this service will operate via Paignton Sea Front and will terminate at the old terminus of the old open top route at Broadsands, the vehicle will park as close to the viaduct as possible and will present some excellent photographic opportunities. 

50 – Torquay Sea Front to St Marychurch, it is hoped that this route will be operated with smaller vehicles, as this will run to Hesketh Crescent and then carry on along Meadfoot Beach, Ilsham Valley, Wellswood before rejoining the main road before turning off and running right along Babbacombe Downs, on a clear day you can see right across towards Portland and Weymouth, so some great views can be taken in, this service will stop at Furrough Cross in St Marychurch before returning down teh main road and back around Ilsham, Meadfoot, Hesketh Crescent and back towards Torquay Sea Front. 

All routes should have a wide variety of vehicles running on them from minibuses to half cab double deckers and lots in between and with a bit of luck one or two open top vehicles as well hopefully! 

Our principal sponsors Stagecoach South West are hoping to bring along one of the brand new Optare Versa vehicles for display to the public, as well as some other vehicles from the fleet. 

We will also be pleased to welcome some of the children from the local special needs play group, these children suffer from a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, and would not normally be able to access public transport, but they will be having there very own preserved bus for a ride around Torquay, this is in line with our ‘giving it a community feel’ principals, having been and visited the children, I just know they will really enjoy this part of the event! 

The event will have a static display of vehicles at our Shedden Hill Car Park site on the day but the running buses will start and finish on the Sea Front itself, right opposite the high flyer balloon. 

We hope that you are considering coming along on the day and if you do, then please, do purchase one of our souvenir programme, these are priced at only £3 per copy and will give you a list of the vehicles and brief histories of the vehicles attending on the day as well as your timetables and various other interesting bits and bobs. 

If you are a vehicle owner and have not yet entered then please get your entry in ASAP, entry forms can be downloaded from our website.

And if any of you out there would like to offer some assistance on the day then please drop me a mail, doesn’t matter how much time you can contribute on the day, whether its an hour or all day, your help is always appreciated, so why not offer some time and come along and see how these events are organised and how much effort goes into the preparation for the day as well as the day itself, or maybe you might like to be a navigator on the day?  Some of our entries for the running day itself wont be too familiar with Torbay, but you might be, if so, then volunteer to help!!!!


Anyway, I will post another update a few days before the event, but in the meantime check out the website which is constantly being updated with entries, news etc it can be found at:"

The UK coach Rally - 2010 -

Ann Cousins of Coach Displays Ltd who organise The UK coach Rally writes to say "We just wanted to let you know that there are changes ahead for the 56th 2010 Rally, we will be moving from Brighton to The East of England Showground at Peterborough. This is hot news and will be in the coaching trade press from this week.

There will be more news and changes to come over the next few months.

Please keep an eye on our site."

Buses in the South Hams by James May

A nice link was sent to me by James May and some readers may be interested.

Lyme Regis + Charmouth   

Kingsbridge + Surrounding areas   

Dartmouth + Torcross       

Brixham + Totnes