Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 23 - 22nd March 2010

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

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I am sorry that it has been a few weeks since the last update but it does rather depend upon my shift patterns. Last week I worked my first stint on last bus (sign on at 21.00 and off at 07.00 next morning.). It is a nice shift but rather tiring and one does not feel like sitting at a computer afterwards.

However the break has resulted in a bumper issue this time and I must thank all of you who have contributed, including Gavin Francis who has been in Malta for a week but still found time to send a few pictures, two of which are reproduced below. He tells me he has taken some 1500 pictures, some going in a week!

A very happy holidaymaker - Gavin and a rather elderly bus in Valetta, March 15th 2010. Picture by Ed Snook.

Many readers will be aware that an equally elderly ex COMS AEC is still at work in the island.
Gavin caught up with it in Valetta on March 15th.

Geoff Cunliffe has lunch with the Editor

"As he mentioned in the edition 22 of Spottings & Jottings, Margaret and I met our Editor for lunch in Oxford on Wednesday 3rd. March. 

As usual, we went in to the City from Pear Tree. I regret to say we have found the timings of the 300 somewhat unreliable of late. Last time we left Oxford, there was a long delay before one turned up. On this occasion, as we arrived at Pear Tree, there was a very long queue indeed boarding the first of two Tridents there. We caught the second one which left only a couple of minutes after the first, and a third was only yards from the site as we pulled out into the traffic, suggesting there must have been significant delays somewhere. It could simply have been the road works caused by the laying of a gas main working outwards up the Woodstock Road from St. Margaret’s Road for a considerable distance and controlled by temporary lights. Of course, us bus enthusiasts know only too well that keeping time in modern traffic conditions can be virtually impossible; other passengers may have been less forgiving. 

On arrival in the City, we were blocked from exiting Magdalen Street into Broad Street by a Christian Salvesen truck stuck with a flat battery and being jump started by a van from Grayline, (a Kardos agent) which had to park alongside it for his jump leads to reach. Our driver kindly opened his doors to allow waiting passengers to alight whilst the truck was started.  

We had about an hour to spare before we were due to rendezvous with our Editor, so I hung about at Broad Street long enough to catch a Tube, 50207, doing the Magdalen Street loop to turn round, presumably having unloaded in George Street with Gloucester Green already having two Astromegas on stand. 

Down to the High Street where I just missed a shot of 790 & 791 both at Carfax but travelling in opposite directions. It would have been nice to catch both together but somewhat of a difficult photograph to obtain probably. In the end, I had to settle for one of 791 turning into St. Aldates from the High Street. I must say they look superb almost straight out of the paint shop and I think that Wright body has quite attractive lines anyway. I am still not a fan of what I think of as those plastic push-on Halfords-type wheel discs, but they are infinitely preferably to not having any or simply spraying wheels silver which discolours within days. 

Whilst in the High, I realized that the road works there were causing considerable disruption. I photographed 3 Citaros and a Solo stuck at Carfax (why has 865 a red offside mirror – have some been knocked off and replaced?) 

In one of the queues, Caetano Levante 59213 stopped alongside me, and I must admit I had not realized just how sculptured the backs are. It was on our Editor’s old route, the 737 to Stansted. 

1pm saw me joining my wife at Marks & Spencer's and meeting our Editor who had only snatched an indecently small amount of sleep after his overnight duty before returning to the City. We spent a couple of very pleasant hours together with a conversation ranging from buses (all sorts, all places), trams at Blackpool and Llandudno, ballroom dancing, bird photography, old age and its ills, having your photograph taken in bus cabs at an early age, and so on. We also discovered we had a shared admiration for those ladies who wear long boots! 

Malcolm dashed off to retrieve his car from the Waitrose car park and we picked up a 300 back to Pear Tree. We didn’t have to wait too long before one arrived, but the length of the queue outside Debenhams suggested it had been some time since the last one passed that way. It had been an extremely enjoyable lunchtime. 

Finally something a little different for you. When we visit Oxford, we usually do so from our holiday base in the Cotswolds at Stow-on-the-Wold. Stow used to be served by COMS whose delightful Willowbrook-bodied Regal IIIs connected the town to Chipping Norton. Stow has an excellent monthly magazine, The Stow Times, with a contact address of P.O. Box 6, Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1WD." 

A letter from Mr. A.J. Clark of Bledington (though born in Stow) in the March issue caught my eye. If you think we are emerging from a bad winter, have a read of this:- 

“We had only a week of snow. I can remember the worst winter we had on the Cotswolds was 1947 when snow was 12ft deep on the Stow-Moreton road. Most of the Cotswolds was 10ft deep. One could easily touch the ‘phone wires. 

We had 8-10 weeks of snow. Men in the building trade had to sign on at Stow Town Hall for snow digging. German prisoners of war had to help dig out along the Evesham road which was 10ft deep – no such things as JCB diggers then, just farm tractors. We didn’t have 4x4s, no snow ploughs or salt for the roads either – only gravel. The only 4x4s about then were USA jeeps and trucks. 

I went to work for Scarrots (Charlie) at Stow at age 15. We had an ex. USA truck and put skid chains on the front, skid chains on the back and we had a 50 yard winch on the front. My, we helped some vehicles then! 

The buses up at Rissington were left out one night – the next morning we couldn’t see them. 

I hope people of my age can remember these 78 year memories of snow.”

A visit to Oxford by John Marsh 

I was in Oxford recently for the first time since we moved to Lincolnshire three years ago. I may be wrong but nothing seemed to have changed much other than the state of the High St!

Thought you might like some of my photographic impressions, all of which will soon appear on my fotopic site

I found the pictures most interesting and liked the unusual angles etc. The tricycle in front of the bus in the roadworks tells a tale to be sure.


From Terry Wong Min on Rail Replacement at Clapham Junction.

Terry writes "A selection of the action with SWT rail replacements down in SW London between Clapham Junction and Surbiton.  Ex Oxford Olympians R423/5XFC amongst other deckers from Stagecoach South were aiding.  Weavaway pushing out some of their modern coach fleet (with an interesting blind).  Some photos taken along the route.  Quite a luxury seeing Weavaway's fleet along SW London's streets."

The Olympian is of interest as this was once based at Oxford and worked into London on Megabus on several occasions.
The two Neoplans with Weavaway are ex National Express.

You can see many more buses and coaches involved on this work at :

From Matt Cooper on matters in the South Midlands. 

Matt writes "It's been some time since I last contacted you (Showbus was the last time I saw you and your team from Oxford)  So I thought I'd put a few words and pictures together!  I'm still with Stagecoach in Warwickshire at Rugby in the commercial office at the mo, lots on with the competition commission etc  I hope that the Tube is treating you well, I've yet to drive one of the new Van Hools but all those I have spoken to rave about them.  Anyway, here's a selection of pictures I took on Monday 8th March when I took a 'tour' of the area.  I had booked a couple of days off work as it was my 30th on the Friday, so will call the day 'An old man's day out with his bus pass!' albeit the pass being a staff privilege pass!"


The Stagecoach competing service between Rugby and Daventry is the 72 which has featured on your page before and here
we see ex London Dart 34133 V133MVX which is suitably branded loading at Dunchurch Square Daventry bound.

It must also be noted that at this stop there is a relic bus stop flag, spot the current stickers!

The Unibus Volvo Olympians soldier on and here we see one time Oxford 16514 R414XFC loading in Upper Parade Leamington. 
Between 8.30 and 9 am when I was waiting for my 77/277 bus to Banbury the Parade is a hive of activity and the surrounding buildings
are very pleasing on the eye compared to most high streets. 

Looking a bit more the standard is 16615 S915ANH a Midland Red South vehicle all its life and
seen on the 'U12' AM peak variation to Warwick Uni which runs through Kenilworth as opposed to direct on the A46.

Competition on this busy corridor is with Travel Coventry and here we see 4397 BV52OBM loading on their 12 service which runs through to Coventry.
Note that it is declaring that their bus fares are frozen, as were most of the passengers at the stop as despite the sunny appearance to the day it was actually rather cold that morning!

You can still travel on a Leyland in Warwickshire, just!  Leamington's only example is 14023 F623MSL new to Northampton Depot in 1988 as 623 and often used on peak hour additional journeys on the U1 Unibus.

Banbury was next and the busy town centre hub is seen here with Solo 47239 KX55RCF loading on a B1 journey.
Banbury is a real crossroads for rural and interurban services and there are a considerable number of places one can travel too, plus the town boasts a reliable and frequent rail service. 

Geoff Amos runs without competition on the Daventry to Banbury part of 'The Great Central Connection'
and here 53 AM05 BUS is resting between journeys before making the long trek back to Rugby.

After a very enjoyable trip on the 488 to Chippy next was the S3 to Oxford, and Scania 15437 KX08KZE. 
These buses, which also now operate the X4 service a bit closer to my home are far better suited to the 'open road' sections of route
where the Tridents always sounded like they were being thrashed. 

The back end of several buses and coaches at Gloucester Green!  Full all bar one bay. 
I always enjoy spending a bit of time here and watching the hustle and bustle! 
When I lived at High Wycombe and used to visit Oxford I was always so surprised at how busy their buses and coaches were compared to ours! 

The X5 fleet is now far better than it ever has been and here one of the batch is seen Oxford bound at MK Rail Station. 
Drivers also look smart in their X5 uniforms.  I remember this route starting in 1993 with the ex Wallace Arnold Volvo B10M's ! 

New competition in MK is from On a Mission coaches who are running Wolverton to Bletchley Lakes Estate using the old MK Citybus route numbers. 
I don't envy any new operator and its always good to mix things up with competition but I just don't like scenes like this, it just brings the industry down somewhat,
and although us enthusiasts like the older types of bus would Joe Bloggs of MK with his 2 or 3 car family home be tempted to the bus by this? 
Anyway, it is good to see some competition in MK, and again will recount the days when R&I of London had a go in MK in the early 90's See an old man with his bus pass and his memories!

From Mark Turner regarding Mullany's Buses in Watford. 

Three pictures of Mullany's Buses In Watford and includes a new route started by this company. Picture 364 is a new bus for Mullany’s which is a longer bus to the other buses they have got.

including picture 364, the last of the three.

Haddenham Station Forecourt closure

On the following Sunday, Chiltern Railways are running a large Rail Replacement service from Haddenham & Thame Parkway Station forecourt. The last time this occurred it caused problems and delays to service 280. Therefore for the dates below Arriva have decided to not serve the Station forecourt, running direct via Thame Road. Passengers will still be able to board and alight for the station at the stops by the Station Bridge in Thame Road, only a few yards away from the Station.

Date:- Sunday 17th April.

I am sure this will present some interesting opportunities to take a variety of buses on rail replacement services.

An idea from John Hammond for an Interest Group in Oxford 

“I am interested in trying to establish a group to offer monthly meeting for bus enthusiasts in the Oxford area. A suggestion is that these meetings would be fixed on an evening once a month and would be based on a format of either members or visiting guests offering a monthly slide or photo show on bus related topics each month in subjects or areas that may be of particular interest to them. Such an arrangement has been taking place in Cambridge for many years organised by the Cambridge Omnibus Society. 

To gauge interest in such an  event taking place in future, I would like to propose an initial meeting for people interested in joining up to form a bus enthusiasts meeting in Oxfordshire. Anybody who is interested is welcomed to contact John Hammond ( in the first instance. If enough interest is received, an initial meeting will be arranged in the near future and hopefully with regular meetings following in future. A venue close to Oxford City Centre has already been found and can be booked for certain evenings each month for a very low cost.“

I am sure this could be a most interesting project and I remember the enjoyable evening I had and many still have with a similar group organised by The PSV Circle in Manchester. Ed.

Finally and as always, my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - 22nd March 2010.

A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.

Some bus drivers do object to their pictures being taken, even though the photographer is taking the bus and not the driver.
So I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
Now that we live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.



Dave Godley writes that Girling have vacated their premises at Lee Mill. The vehicles are currently parked across the A38 in David Rowland's yard until permanent premises are obtained. This is of interest to readers as a picture is included of Volvo B6 M729OMJ is the only one in the yard without an O disc. This bus was once with Arriva in Hertfordshire.

Andrew Morgan sent three pictures taken on March 18th at Hertford bus station. They are of another ARRIVA GREENLINE Citaro (3909) which has been repainted.

Daniel Bailey wrote to include some interesting pictures taken in Milton Keynes.

3573 on service 4a at Wolverton

3737 displaying Arriva Shires welcome aboard at Bletchley bus stn

Arriva at MK have got DAF 344? which was parked in Arden Park recently, with Sorry Not in Service on blind, 

Daniel comments that a lot more buses are receiving Arriva Interurban livery.  

Enviro 300, 3575 has received a super rear-ad. (I look forward to a picture. Ed.) 

Optare excel 3002 is now back on the road, repainted and with a new engine fitted, after fire damage.

More interesting pictures are shown below. 


The 8th March saw Solo 2496 in trouble at Stokenchurch and after some 30 minutes DAF 4429 arrived to rescue the passengers
and continue the journey to Thame. Just recently the Solos seem to have more than their fair share of problems
and when my wife travelled into Wycombe and back passengers were complaining and saying how often buses were breaking down.

This nice picture of a branded bus on the correct route shows a Scania in blue route livery on the 32 at Lane End on March 13th.

Arriva The shires run one of the most successful routes for TfL, the U9 and provide a trio of Dart MPDs for the job.
3837 is seen at Cressex depot, basking in the spring sunshine, on March 7th.

A selection of buses out of use at Cressex depot including one of the very last older Volvo B6s in service until recently at Wycombe.

Daniel Bailey writes "In the Centrebus new livery is Dart 189 N389KVR on route 46 in Hemel Hempstead." (photo seen below.)


Andrew Morgan contributed this picture of 547 AE06HBU (ex-TRUSTLINE/TRUSTYBUS) taken on 13th March in Stevenage during a layover from route 700 Stevenage - Stansted airport.

Picture by Andrew Morgan.

Another Centrebus vehicle, taken this time by
J Norman showing one of the elderly members of the fleet.

Steve Warwick writes "Volvo B10M Van Hool  - R415 EOS re-registered to 4827 WD recently and is now in the new livery."

Hedley Shanks writes "Just a couple of bits of info on Motts, S5MTT (S575KJF) & S599KJF sold to Cheney Coaches, Banbury. Metrobus F763 & F766EKM sold to J&L Travel, St Leonard's (Chesham) & 5723MT (N4GLF) Volvo B9M Van Hool sold to Style Travel, Peterlee (this was a super little vehicle).

On order for late April is a Volvo B7 Sunsundegui Sideral 10 C38Ft, replacement for 5723MT, I expect this to be registered GT10MTT (we couldn't secure MT10MTT).

Still on the TV is MT09MTT on the Channel 4 Coach Trip programme."

The first 10 plate Levante was captured by Gavin Francis in London belonging to Silverdale for work on the 450.
The driver commented that the seats were difficult to keep clean.

We have not had a very good picture of C101 before but Gavin Francis took this earlier this month in London.

A nice picture of one the Stagecoach ex East midlands Volvos in Oxford, 52677 on the 310 taken by Gavin Francis.

I was yet again trying out my night photography skills and caught this SC East Kent Volvo leaving VCS a week or so ago.
53015 was working the 007 to dover.

Brian Marsden writes "A couple of observations from this past week: 

908/909 are back on the 8/9 circuit this week. The 792-799 batch filled the remaining diagrams. 

790 and 791 have suddenly appeared on the 400 service - quite a surprise as I had expected them to be on the 500... 


Volvo coach 29 is seen heading for London on a recent Sunday morning.

Ex Brighton 799 is seen on a Sunday working on 8 road.

Citaro 865 pauses outside the Thai Orchid on Mother's Day 2010.

A good picture of Trident 103 resplendent in Brookes livery seen from the rear nearside. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Another super rear for Brookes seen on 107 by Gavin Francis.

Red Rose

A good shot of FJ06URR working the 275 into Oxford from High Wycombe. Picture by Richard Sharman.

Training for the new ticket machines is in full swing and the classroom used is this ex London DAF.

Whilst working show up duties recently I had a pleasurable experience when asked to work a S3 service to Woodstock one Sunday afternoon. M steed was 22052 and this bus is seen when I returned to Oxford at the end of the trip.

On the next duty I was asked to take Scania 15432 to Chippy and return with 15434 which was required for service. The two buses in question are seen below and I especially like the picture taken in Woodstock centre on my way back from Chippy.

One of the things about  show up duties is that one gets to drive a variety of buses, albeit mainly shunting them around. some of these are seen below.

New M A N 22770 is seen awaiting refuelling at Horspath depot.

22930 is also in line.

31320 is now a regular on the 16 and is seen at Horspath depot awaiting its next duty.

A brand new Scania is seen after refuelling and washing at Horspath depot.
15614 had only just been delivered.

When all prepared for service the new Scanias, all twelve, were stored at Network Oxford prior to going to Cheltenham for Gold Cup duties.

Richard Sharman
took two rears of interest, one a new super rear on an M A N  and the other an S5 branded bu on the X30 in Wantage.

22937 is seen in the picture by Gavin Francis and whilst branded for the 3 is actually working an X30 service.

Two Astromegas take time in Buckingham Palace Road before returning to Oxford late on the 11 March.

How unlucky can one be, 50227 (Megabus) had problems with its door and I had 50226 on service to Oxford.
I took second to get a picture which was not the best and will have to try again.

Half the tube fleet are parked at Network Oxford, their home when not in service.

Brian Marsden writes that 22938 (branded for route 3) was on the 31 service on Wednesday, 3rd March but I can advise that this bus is now off the road awaiting repairs following accident damage.

Noam Bleicher wrote saying "It is a little poignant to see R64UFC laid up awaiting a new owner or scrapping. From 1999-2001 I worked in Wantage and commuted every day from Oxford on Stagecoach’s 31/X31 service as it was then. This service was operated by a variety of vehicles, but this R***UFC batch of Darts was the fastest of the lot. They were only a couple of years old at the time and outperformed other batches of Darts. In the hands of certain drivers, there was no trouble keeping to time, and I recall some belting runs along the A415 and A338, through glorious countryside especially in the summer. Happy days!"

Two buses at the end of their time with Stagecoach Devon awaiting disposal at Wellington on 27th February.
One of interest is the Dart which started life with Thames Transit in Oxford. Picture by Dave Godley.

SC East Midlands 52446 is seen leaving VCS for Manchester in this recent picture by Gavin Francis.

Andrew Morgan writes "Saw UNO ex-CENTREBUS 578 (W578XRO) 15/03/10 and it has been fitted with a digital route display plus it has had one added to the inside of the rear window as they had no fitting for blinds at the rear.

Darts 563-565 (V563-565JBH) do have at the back a fitting where they had route numbers fitted and two of them have been fitted with digital displays but one at the back has it like the W---XRO batch and in the back window but one has it where the blind box is.

I do not know if any or all the other buses without digital displays will have them fitted or not and if they do I would have thought that the Tridents would have had them fitted when they were repainted?

Also a
picture taken 09/02/10 of Trident 272 (first one repainted) as it has had the blind layout switched round to match 270 and 271 . plus will send pics pointing out the livery differences i have noticed on them?"

A member of the Woottens team wrote saying "Delighted to spot the positive comments from one of your readers regarding our Tiger Line T2 service, vehicles, drivers and fares. We have a few recent developments that may be of interest to you and your readers!"

Service Changes, Starting Monday 19th April 2010

We are making some changes to our local bus Service T1 and T1X - The 0900 Monday-Friday departure from Chesham Broadway to Aylesbury Service T1X will now run as Service T1 via Wendover and Worlds End Garden Centre, instead of the Wendover By-Pass. This follows customer requests in this area.

To improve on reliability in the afternoon, the 1545 Monday-Friday departure from Aylesbury to Bovingdon, HMP The Mount, will terminate at Chesham Broadway at 1620. For the same reason, the 1645 Monday-Friday departure from Bovingdon, HMP The Mount, to Aylesbury will now start from Chesham Broadway at 1700.

Changes to Service T2

An additional Monday-Friday bus from Chesham at 0810, which will run via the Ashlyns School during term time at 0823. The bus will then continue to Berkhamsted 0827, Hemel Hempstead departing at 0848, arriving at Watford for 0926. There will also be an additional journey in the other direction from Watford at 0915, arriving Hemel at 0954. The 1500 Monday-Friday bus from Watford Town Centre to Hemel Hempstead will extend beyond Hemel to Berkhamsted arriving 1533, then via Ashlyns School during term time at 1537, terminating at Chesham 1549. The 1638 Monday-Friday service from Watford to Chesham, will terminate at Hemel Hempstead, arriving at 1718.

Two additional late afternoon buses have been added, as a result of public demand. A new Monday-Friday bus will leave Hemel Hempstead at 1718, arriving Watford 1804. A new later return bus will leave Watford at 1810, arriving Hemel Hempstead 1850, Berkhamsted 1905, Chesham at 1919. From Saturday 24th April 2010, we will be introducing a new hourly Saturday service between Watford and Hemel Hempstead. Buses will leave Hemel Hempstead Bus Station at 0848 and hourly until 1548, with buses from Watford Town Centre 0930 and hourly to 1630. There will be two buses starting at Chesham at 0816 and 0916 via Berkhamsted, and the last two buses from Watford will continue to Chesham.

Vehicle News

Our Preserved Bristol RELL6L/ECW W54 (SWC24K) has been sold to Dreadnought Coaches, Northumberland.
A new-to-us acquisition is W64 (CUD 222Y), a Leyland Olympian/ECW last with Fords Coaches, Althorne. This was purchased by us late last month, but received Tiger Line Buses lettering last weekend. This bus is the first to get the new web domain name, across the back. It carries slightly revised Tiger Line Buses logos. This bus is intended as an engineering spare, and has already made it out onto the T3/106/321 one day this week (as has the former Oxford Titan!)
Speaking of which, some of your readers may also be interested to hear of the former Oxford Leyland Titan, W53 (A869 SUL). This bus has recently received new-style Tiger Line Buses lettering.
Both these have new manually-wound destination blinds – we have had new destination blinds made for them, along with new number/letter strips.


The pictures of W53 and W64, both taken by MJW, were in the yard recently.

Web News
As mentioned, our new Tiger Line Buses website is proving popular. We now have a presence on Facebook too –


Takeover offer for Arriva

 Arriva has revealed that it has received an approach from an unnamed suitor about a potential takeover bid for the company. 

It follows the ending of merger talks with Keolis a fortnight ago; this effectively hoisted the ‘for sale’ sign above Arriva.

City speculation suggests that German rail and bus operator Deutsche Bahn is a possible bidder, with the first rumours of a potential £7 a share offer emerging from German brokerages yesterday afternoon.

Another suitor in the frame is thought to be Singapore’s ComfortDelGro. However, its existing London Metroline business, when combined with Arriva, would fall foul of competition regulators as the two groups would control a third of the London market.

“There can be no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming. A further announcement will be made when appropriate,” Arriva said in a statement today.

Arriva shares were up 12.2% at £6.50 this lunchtime, their highest level since November 2008, valuing the company at around £1.2bn. This follows a 3% price rise yesterday.

Earlier this month Arriva, which operates transport groups in 12 different countries around Europe, said 2009 pre-tax profits had slumped by 19% to £121.7m.

All change in MK

Bus services in Milton Keynes 2010

Arriva/MK Metro are currently carrying out a review of their commercial local bus services in Milton Keynes.

The review is intended to provide a more effective bus network for the city   Arriva’s main objectives are

Arriva/MK Metro and Milton Keynes Council are working together on MK Star project because of the potential impact on the services that MKC subsidise.

It is intended that the new network will be implemented during April 2010.

Bus regs to change

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan has announced to the House of Commons that he is proposing a raft of “small” changes to the current bus legislation, to improve the lot of passengers.

A 37-page consultation document has been published, but the main points are: extending the 56-days notice period for bus service changes, setting a minimum three-months period for new services, statutory requirements to inform passengers of service changes, exempt rail replacement services from statutory notification, changes to de minimus limits, limits on maximum fares and changes to driver conduct regulations. Some of these measures are already in force in Scotland.

Go Ahead buys Konectbus 

Go Ahead Group has bought Konectbus based in Dereham, Norfolk. Konectbus was founded by former Eastern Counties managers Steve Challis and Julian Paterson at Saham Toney in 1999. It has an O-Licence for 35 vehicles and operates local bus services covering Dereham, Watton, Wymondham and Swaffham. It also runs into Norwich where it’s responsible for the Costessey and Thickthorn park and rider services adding the Harford park and ride route from March.

Luton Busway Plans

Where will the Busway go?

The Busway will travel between Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis in both directions.

Click to follow for maps etc: Luton Busway Plans

The main part of the Busway network will be the specially constructed guideway from Houghton Regis to Dunstable and Luton town centres and then will travel on roads to London Luton Airport, via Luton Airport Parkway Station.

Future extensions
Once the first phase of the Busway is up and running, we will carefully monitor the service to ensure that it meets the travel needs of local people. We will then consider other services.

Whilst an extension of the guideway to Leighton Buzzard is unlikely because some sections of the old railway line which ran on from Dunstable to Leighton Buzzard have been built over, existing express bus services to Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes will be able to use the Busway within Luton and Dunstable.

Much of the ability to deliver the new growth area (43,000 new houses and 26,000 new jobs) is based on the provision of the Busway. Major developments proposed as part of the emerging Core Strategy for the Luton and South Bedfordshire Growth Area can be served by public transport through potential extensions to the Busway infrastructure.


From the 28th March passengers on the S1 and S2 bus routes will see both an improved timetable and the introduction of 12 new high spec Gold buses.

The route which runs from Carterton to Oxford via Witney and Eynsham will see the improvements following several months of consultation with passengers.

The consultation started when a ‘proposed timetable’ was published on-line. Passengers were encouraged to write to the company or turn up to one of the public meetings held around the Witney area.

Trevor Bayliss, manager for the S1 and S2 said “we were very please with the level of response, publishing a timetable before it’s finalised is a great way to encourage people to tell you how they feel about it and the areas they would like to see improved”

The new timetable includes:

  • A new evening service to Shilton Park from Monday to Saturday
  • Increased frequency on route S1 at commuter periods
  • New early morning journeys into Oxford from Witney

The new double deck buses will use state-of-the-art euro 5 environmental engines, have low level floors for easy access, high back leather seats and free Wi-Fi on board.

Talking about the new buses Trevor said, “They are great, people really love the free Wi-Fi and with Oxfordshire being so environmentally conscious these buses should go down very well”

The new timetable is available online now or you can pick up a hard copy from the driver from the 15th March.

Cheltenham Gold

Rob McCaffery writes "Playing a major role in the service from Cheltenham Station and the town centre to Prestbury Park today were Stagecoach Oxfordshire's new Enviro 400-bodied Scanias to augment their Stagecoach Gold services S1 & S2."

15610, OU10BHD returning to Pittville Street by Rob McCaffery

15609, OU10BHA heading off to the races along Pittville Street by Rob McCaffery

Another picture by Rob showing a bus new to Oxford and until recently with Manchester, 16501 on race duty.

Rob adds "By the way I’m also web publishing in a small way now with a blog which includes a recent trip to Oxford."

Blackpool Tram update by Geoff Cunliffe 

"Thought readers may be interested to see a photograph of the contentious new tram depot sited at Starr Gate. I photographed it yesterday through the dirty top deck window of an inbound Blackpool Transport East Lancs bodied Dennis Trident held up by the traffic lights at Starr Gate corner. 

No wonder the residents complained. Although the site cabins are on the former turning loop, I understand this is to be reinstated - unlike the very popular car park which Blackpool Council were prepared to sacrifice unlike the "sensible" one in Blundell Street!"

The new depot photographed by Geoff Cunliffe.


Steve Warwick writes "Last Saturday Malcolm Hyland and I went to collect our restored Bristol RE, UEL564J. She looks brilliant and excellent job done by Mark Owen at Central Bus Works nr Stafford.

All ready for her first trip out to Cobham on April 11th."

Coming Events 

The Kemble Steam Extravaganza once again this year, which is taking place at the Cotswold Airport from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th August. 

Record bus and coach displays at South-West's largest festival of transport

The Gloucestershire Steam & Vintage Extravaganza makes a welcome return to Cotswold Airport (previously known as Kemble Airfield) this year from Friday 6th - Sunday 8th August 2010, taking the show in to its 36th year.

The show was originally conceived for steam enthusiasts, but the range of exhibits has grown year on year. It now boasts a huge array of vintage transport, including buses, coaches, motorcycles, military vehicles, classic cars, tractors, aircraft, commercial vehicles, traction engines and historic caravans. A live action arena, interactive demonstrations, rare breeds, shire horses, trade stands and a vintage fun fair along with hundreds of curiosity stalls ranging from Victorian memorabilia, antique sewing and knitting machines to model dolls houses, petrol pumps, vintage garden tools and 1940s – 1950’s home wares makes this three day extravaganza one of the UK's best value family outdoor shows.

Widely regarded as a show within a show, the bus section has grown from humble beginnings to a vintage vehicle rally in its own right. Attracting exhibits from the length of the land as well as from foreign climes as far as china, the line up of vehicles is as colourful as it is impressive.

Buses of every shape, size and configuration will be represented, with highlights including a Bristol built double-decker once operated by Lincolnshire Road Car.  You can also expect to find an array of preserved buses that you would have perhaps once travelled on as a child, such as classic Bedford OBs. The section is certainly a nostalgia trip not to be missed!

John Hitchings of the bus and coach section of Gloucestershire Steam & Vintage Extravaganza says: "Everybody enjoys seeing old buses and coaches because we each remember special journeys made on them. A ride on a vintage bus is a trip heavy with nostalgia."

A free vintage bus service will be operating to and from Kemble railway station throughout the show to connect with selected First Great Western Trains. A courtesy bus will also shuttle guests to the Bristol Aero collection. Formed in 1990, this collection records 95 years of Bristol aviation and space heritage. Based in a large wartime hangar, the collection includes aircraft, helicopters, missiles and engines. For details of the bus schedule, please refer to the website  Buses will depart from outside the main show entrance.

Pictures from last year's event

Admission Information: 

Discounted tickets are available to buy online, please visit

Discounted tickets are also available from Local Tourist Information Centres including: Stroud, Cirencester, Chippenham, Swindon, Malmesbury, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cotswolds and Tetbury. 

Prices on the Gate:

Adult:                          Friday: £7, Saturday or Sunday: £10, Weekender: £15

Concessions:            Friday: £6, Saturday or Sunday: £9, Weekender: £13

Juniors:                      Friday: £4, Saturday or Sunday: £5, Weekender: £8

Under 5’s free of charge 

Friday family ticket: £18 (2 adults & 2 children)

Saturday or Sunday family ticket:  £25 (2 adults & 2 children) 

Gates open: Friday – Sunday, 10.00am         Public enquiries contact: 01453 890891

All profits donated to the Cobalt Appeal Fund, Diabetes UK & The County Air Ambulance.



Gavin Francis caught up with Finglands team coach for Manchester City on March 10th in Oxpens.

The Mainline Platinum coach is a brand new Scania Irizar PB with Scania Tri-axle Euro 5 chassis. It has a 12 litre 480 b.h.p diesel engine and 8 speed automated manual gearbox.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Echoing the new Oxford Tube coaches this similar coach is owned by B M Coaches. Gavin Francis to the picture.

Another local operator is Bakers who have this rather strange looking Mercedes mini coach. Picture by Gavin Francis.

This nice picture of a 10 plate for Pulhams was taken at the Oxford Bus Museum by C Powell.

A visiting Neoplan from Germany seen in Oxpens one night recently.