Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 24 - 4th April 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

A lot has been going on in recent weeks including the launch of another twelve Stagecoach "Gold" Scania deckers based at Witney and various other changes to local fleets. I have also received more pictures of the Gold buses in Cheltenham for the Gold Cup.

This issue contains more information on developments in Blackpool with their tramway system, part one of a report by Gavin Francis on his recent visit to Malta. A further ten million pounds has been earmarked by government for more "green" buses and Unite has proposed new driving hours for local bus drivers in line with E U rules. Also included are details of services changes by Arriva in Aylesbury. Additionally changes are set for services around High Wycombe from mid April.

There is also news of a National Express coach catching fire whilst operating route 707 between Northampton and Gatwick via Heathrow. The coach involved is said to have been a Scania.

Don't forget Cobham on Sunday 11th April

Stagecoach Gold for Witney

From the 28th March passengers on the S1 and S2 bus routes saw 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 sees the improvements following several months of consultation with passengers.

You can read all about Stagecoach Gold and see many pictures of the new buses in service around Oxfordshire and whilst working at Cheltenham on The Gold Cup week. I also include a few pictures of the older buses the new ones replace.

S&J 24 supplement for Stagecoach Gold at Witney.htm

More changes ahead for bus services in the High Wycombe area

From Sunday 18th April there are several changes to bus services operated by Arriva in the Wycombe area.

The 31 (Downley & Penn) will see a revised timetable and reductions to early and late journeys. The Saturday frequency will be reduced to every 20 minutes from 15 minutes. The evening and Sunday services are retained on Bucks CC tender but Sunday evening buses will finish earlier at about 20.30.

The 32 (Micklefield & Lane End) will have a revised timetable with a reduction to the early and late journeys. The service is withdrawn between Booker and Lane end except that the evening and Sunday Bucks CC contracted journeys will still continue to Lane End.

The 33 (Totteridge & Castlefield) has a revised timetable with a reduction to early and late journeys. The Saturday service will be reduced to 15 minutes from 12 minutes.

The 331 (Chinnor & High Wycombe via Bledlow ridge) has been withdrawn.

The 340 is a new route between Stokenchurch & high Wycombe which will operate hourly but with gaps at peaks. It will operate via Cadmore End, Bolter End and Lane End.

Interestingly this revives a route number long unused and supplements the Line 40 which operates via the main road.

Stokenchurch is becoming an increasingly well served destination in this area with Carousel 2A and 2C, Arriva Line 40 and now 340 plus the Red Rose 275 and National Express 737.

Stokenchurch is becoming an increasingly well served destination in this area with Carousel 2A and 2C - pictures by Gavin Francis.

Twenty minutes in Didcot by Keith Shayshutt 

Keith writes "A quick spare 20 minutes in Didcot on Saturday 27 March produced the attached three photographs which you may be interested to use in Spottings & Jottings. "

Problems on the M40

Recent days have seen many problems on the M40 including overnight closures between junction 4 and 3 which are set to continue in April.

Last week we had a full closure between 5 and 6 and v.v. which caused long delays in the morning peak.

Haddenham Station Forecourt closure

On Sunday 17th April 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.

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 evenings 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 - 4th April 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.


Readers varied contributions 

From Gavin Francis 

There was a security alert at Victoria Station on a bendy bus thus closing the area. Lots of buses appeared all over the place.

Buses somewhat off route as a result. Pictures by Gavin Francis

From Glenn Knight 

Our Duty Manager said about a coach crash in Milton Keynes on Friday - - On a Mission coaches used on the MK - College service

Spotted at Luton Airport yesterday 27/03/2010 First Capital Connect Train 2 Plane Volvo/Wright  T6FCC  fleet number 19031 

Seen at Travelodge Luton (02/04/2010)

T800NDY Neoplan N122/3 WAG3012261SP32429 Au CH57/18CT 1222817 Ex-National Express YN51 XML

MIJ Volvo B10M-53 009570 Jonckheere CH54/13DT 19656 (B705 E0F) 

Services to Wolverhampton & Gravesend 

From Stephen Le Bras 

I see that the Levantes are being moved around so that all the Scania ones are with East Kent and Oxford as well as Yorkshire and East Midlands are getting new 10 reg Volvos. The news about the Levantes comes from both M&D and East Kent Bus Club and Southdown Enthusiasts Club- in their March news sheets. 

I also noticed an article in the digital Route One that route 74 Hw-Slough and Slough/Staines -Heathrow services may be getting extra funding. It did not say if this was for the Arriva or the First 74. 

The route 74 upgrade is explained in my latest local newspaper. The 3x per hour service will be increased to 4x per hour, with 2x per hour being express services. It is part of the government's Kick Start programme. 

There were 4 journeys each way on the 58 service today. I hope that they were well patronised. Certainly shoppers seemed to be out in large quantities today!

In Slough, today 3rd April, route 58 is being operated for the first time on bank holiday for many a long year. Hopefully, plenty of people will use it. 


From Andrew Morgan

(27/03/10) of ARRIVA Hemel Volvo B10M 4050 (R450SKX) in Welwyn Garden City bus station on route 300 to Hemel. Andrew Morgan.

From Nigel Peach 

More of the withdrawn buses have been cleared away from the Wycombe depot including Volvo B6s 3127 and 3137.

I wonder if the ex Oxford Volvo B10Ms will be the next to depart. Just four of the original seven remain - the other three being accident/fire victims. Of these four, 3854 is parked up in what is usually the "withdrawn" row and I couldn't see 3842 or 3844 on the listings when I was last in the bus station. This just leaves 3853 (the only one of that quartet not branded with the "Thames Valley Line" for the Reading route). which I have seen quite a lot recently. I had thought that these buses would survive much longer than all their former Oxford sisters - maybe I will be wrong! 

Glenn Knight visited High Wycombe and took some interesting pictures, some relating to the comments by Nigel.

Pictures by Glenn Knight.

Some more pictures were taken by Gavin Francis and myself in High Wycombe as seen below.

A new super rear on the Citaro contrasts with the rear of 3205 looking rather forlorn. Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Pictures taken at Cressex by Malcolm

From Daniel Bailey 

Here are just a few pictures I took over the last week.

3733 on route 4 in Wolverton.

3626 on route 5 in Wolverton.

Solo 2451 on route 14 to Wiken taken in central Milton Keynes.

Vario 2177 with a super rear-ad in Hemel bus stn.

From Adam Green 

Here is a list of buses which I saw at Hemel Garage in late March.

4054-R454SKX Learner

4064-P201RWR Learner

4044-R909BKO Learner








3276 The bus that was on fire in Tring some months ago.






From Glenn Knight

3874 on the 724 at Heathrow, an unusual working for this Harlow based bus normally found on the 501 to Stansted.

From Harold Atkins 

Further to the announcement in your 22 March Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page that there will be extensive changes to MK bus services. Details of services to each estate or district, and timetables and route diagrams for most of the Arriva commercial bus services can now be viewed on . The changes come into effect from 25 April and details of the MK Council tendered services for fill in routes not covered commercially will follow.

Citaros MB51 and MB53 at the depot showing 51 with very fancy wheel trims. Malcolm Crowe.

One of the two new M A N s EVO12, the other is EVO15. These are yet to gain livery. Malcolm Crowe.

I mentioned in my last issue that the ex West Midlands deckers had gained Contract Services lettering. It is nicely done and blends with the WM livery.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Some of the ex London General EVLs have not been given electronic displays but retain London style ones.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Andrew Morgan contributed these pictures of two new Solos in service at Hertford.

Pictures by Andrew Morgan.

Hedley Shanks writes "We are just finalizing how we are going to apply MT09’s livery to them as they have no back windows and, because they are B12m’s, the extra grills etc on the nearside. Since my last e-mail, we ordered two more vehicles, ET10MTT Scania K400 Omniexpress Lahden C63Ft 14.1m, coming on April 1st, I will be entering it at the UK Coach Rally at Peterborough, and also a Mercedes 0816 UNVI Riada GT C29F. (Reg unknown)

We have also secured the next two series of Channel 4’s Coach Trip programme which are being filmed back to back from May until September with just a week off in between, this will keep MT09MTT occupied all summer, they were very pleased with her and she didn't miss a beat on the last series."

I saw MT09MTT and MT05MTT on the M40 London bound on Good Friday, MT09MTT was in normal fleet livery at this time.

Gavin Francis writes "on 27th March he went to Colchester to watch Wycombe Wanderers. They played very well against a side in a play-off position and equalised in the 93rd minute. Player admitted he handled it to put it in. Don't see a problem with that. It counted! 

Motts had a couple of coaches there including the second of their recent acquisitions."

From Hemel Hempstead Gazette newspaper website: 

A driver was a hero after he evacuated passengers from a coach which burst into flames on its way to Heathrow Airport.

The National Express driver assisted around 40 people off the single-decker Scania and rescued their luggage after a fire started in the roof at around 11.05am today (March 30) on the B487 Hemel Hempstead road, Redbourn.

The road was closed as crews from St Albans, Harpenden and Redbourn smashed a window to let smoke out as the fire engulfed the vehicle.

From Andrew Morgan

DHILLON coaches coach in Hemel filling in on the 787 to Cambridge on March 30th.

From Glenn Knight

Taken on Thursday 24th in Hemel Hempstead Arriva FJ09DXK (0419) on the offside had Nation Expects.

This coach is owned by Travellers Choice, Carnforth and works the 570 service. Picture by Gavin Francis.

This Ausden Clark coach worked through Oxford on the 310 taken by Gavin Francis.

Citaro on the 9 taken by Gavin Francis.

Both 114 and 818 have gained adverts for Oxford Playhouse. Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Unusual workings with 795 on the X2 instead of Barton/Risinghurst services and 815 on the 300. Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Differing adverts on the rear of Park & Ride Tridents as seen through the lens of Richard Sharman.


Glenn Knight writes to advise Redline Buses changes: 

Milton Keynes:

6   (Saturday)   to be withdrawn

3E  (Mon-Sat Eve) to be withdrawn

7   (Saturday) commencing April 24 takeover from M.K. Metro PVR-4

7E  (Mon-Sat Eve) commencing April takeover from Vale Travel 


583 (Mon-Sat) commencing May takeover from Jason's Tours 

Due to leave the fleet on Saturday (3rd April) was Ex-Airlinks T507TOL Volvo B6 up to Stafford Bus Centre.

Two more Dennis Dart Marshalls are due in replacment.

Red Rose

John Hammond writes to include a picture saying "Here is a picture of the ex Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian recently acquired by Red Rose. It has been reregistered T309ORP"

The recently added Olympian once with Dublin Bus. Picture by John Hammond.

Richard Sharman writes "Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Trident/ALX300's 18137,18394 +one other where seen leaving Oxfordshire early on Saturday Morning.....destination unknown! "

I am sure the good people of Barton need to know about the Wantage Duo. Rarely see this bus on the X30 or 31.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

At last a decent picture of 31320 in service. Been a bit elusive.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

New Scottish Citylink 54069. My pictures only go up to 54061 so where are the rest? (All in Scotland I believe Ed.)
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

From Glenn Knight 

On the 17:30 VT99 Milton Keynes to Luton service (30-03-2010) was Stagecoach East 16223 S753DRP Volvo Olympian.
I've never seen a decker on the X99 Ed.
Picture by Glenn Knight.

Disposals list for Stagecoach in Warwickshire - March 2010

Fleet No

Reg No

Reg Date



Chassis Make/Model

Body Make/Model




Double Deck


Leyland Olympian

Alexander RL




Double Deck


Leyland Olympian

Northern Counties Palatine




Single Deck


Volvo B10M

Alexander PS




Single Deck


Volvo B10M

Alexander PS




Single Deck


Volvo B10M

Alexander PS




Single Deck


Volvo B10M

Alexander PS




Single Deck


Volvo B10M

Alexander PS




Single Deck


Dennis Dart

Plaxton Pointer













Volvo B10M

Berkhof Excellence ex Oxford Tube






Volvo B10M

Plaxton Expressliner 2

I thought it interesting to see that Leylands are being withdrawn and an Oxford Tube coach is mentioned. Ed.

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.

A selection of pictures I took last week of various Stagecoach buses in and around Oxford and at Horspath. M Crowe.

Sullivan's buses

Andrew Morgan writes "I enclose pictures of Sullivan’s new ENVIRO 200 AE1 (MS10SUL) on its second day on 200 series routes but first day in Welwyn Garden City"


Another £10m for green buses

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has announced that local authorities and bus operators will have the opportunity to bid for an additional £10m to buy new low carbon buses. 

The ‘Green Bus Fund Competition 2’ will require State aid clearance.

This is an extension to the existing scheme which is delivering around 350 low carbon buses in England. 

The plan is part of the Department for Transport’s wider strategy to encourage a radical shift to low carbon transport and improve air quality in our cities, which has seen it announce £30m funding for low carbon transport

It also includes £3.7m to develop a telematics facility at MIRA, Nuneaton, to test, develop and demonstrate new intelligent transport technologies and become a self-sustaining test centre.

National Express coach catches fire near Hemel

Both Ian Brown of Hemel Hempstead and Glenn Knight reported that a National Express coach had caught fire. The sent me the report from the local paper on March 30th. 

From Hemel Hempstead Gazette newspaper website: 

A driver was a hero after he evacuated passengers from a coach which burst into flames on its way to Heathrow Airport.

The National Express driver assisted around 40 people off the single-decker Scania and rescued their luggage after a fire started in the roof at around 11.05am today (March 30) on the B487 Hemel Hempstead road, Redbourn.

The road was closed as crews from St Albans, Harpenden and Redbourn smashed a window to let smoke out as the fire engulfed the vehicle.

UK bus driver working times need to be cut on safety grounds


25th March 2010

Unite, the largest union in the country, has launched a campaign to shave at least an hour off the driving time of the UK’s bus drivers on grounds of safety, and with no loss of pay.

100,000 Unite members are being mobilised around a Bus workers’ Charter that puts similar demands for improvements to working conditions for all workers in the sector, including ancillary staff, such as maintenance and clerical staff, and even tram workers.

Unite’s campaign is mainly aimed at bringing bus drivers into line with the rest of the European Union (EU). Ironically, UK coach and road haulage drivers currently enjoy the protection of the EU regulations.

Unite wants this anomaly ironed out and has written to Simon Posner, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) UK, the trade association for the industry, for talks on this issue. The CPT has responded that it will not negotiate, putting the ball back in the union’s court.

A major campaign to involve union members in winning support amongst the public is to ensue and even a national ballot across the industry to determine how Unite’s members want to act has not been ruled out.

Unite’s national organiser for the transport sector, Graham Stevenson, said: ”British bus drivers are presently driving longer than their European counterparts. This is wrong on grounds of safety because the deepening congestion on Britain’s roads makes their job increasingly stressful and hazardous.“

The British Driving Hours Regulations currently provide for bus drivers to work for up to five and a half hours without any breaks, and up to 16 hours in a whole day. To conform to the spirit of EU regulations, Unite wants:

The union acknowledges that employers will argue that the cost to introduce such reforms will be expensive.

But Graham Stevenson argues: ”You can’t put a financial price on the safety of drivers and the millions of passengers they carry throughout the year – the most precious cargo of all. In any case, if all operators apply the same decent rules, this will cost all of them equally – and shorter driving spells will inhibit a race to the bottom, which has finally got so bad as to force our members to say enough is enough.”

Changes to Arriva services around Aylesbury

Aylesbury Service update as from May 9th 2010 

There will be revisions to services 4, 9, 60, 61 and 500 from w/c 9th May, as follows:-

4 – Revised timetable from 1500 until finish on Monday to Friday, with a slight increase in running time.

9 – Revised timetable from 1500 until 2000 on Monday to Friday with a slight increase in running time. At all times, buses from Stoke Mandeville Hospital towards the Bus Station will no longer run via Station Boulevard, running instead directly along Friarage Road and into Great Western Street.

60 – First return journey to Buckingham on Monday to Friday will run about 7 minutes earlier

61 – Timetable change on Monday to Saturday to fit in with revised 500. Slight increase in off peak running time and bigger increase in peak hour running time.

500 – Major change to timetable. Apart from journeys at times of start and finish of Tring School, route withdrawn from Station Road and Cow Lane in Tring and instead will run direct via London Road. Most journeys to and from Aylesbury withdrawn from Cassiobury Estate in Watford and will run direct along Hempstead Road. Buses going towards Aylesbury will no longer serve Marlowes on leaving Hemel Bus Station but will run direct back along Waterhouse Street. Journeys no longer serve Kings Langley School. Increased running time at certain times of the day. Still basically every 30 minutes between Aylesbury and Watford, not via Cassiobury Estate, but now an extra 30 minute service added on Monday to Friday between Hemel Bus Station and Watford but via Cassiobury Estate. Together with the service 550 which has a co-ordinated 30 minute service between Hemel and Watford, this will mean we offer a 10 minute service between Hemel and Watford.

Note that services 61 and 500 will have an added timing point at Tring Road, Bedgrove Turn, so please check this on your duty boards. As changes occur we are adding Station Boulevard and /or High Street times onto timetables and duty boards. From this date they have been added to services 2,4,9, 61 and 500. other services will follow when their timetables next change.

There are several bay changes planned from the same date in Aylesbury Bus Station, including the 4 and 9 moving onto bays 4 and 5 to avoid the need for these services to reverse off the bays, thereby, added to the other changes above, helping to speed up the services and increase reliability.

There is no change at present to the 280 service but we are currently discussing and planning changes to this service and would hope to introduce a new timetable in the autumn to resolve the issues with this service and improve it where possible. 

There will be a complete re-cut of duties for 9th May but few rota line and rest day changes are expected.

Bicester, Bure Place Bus Station and the surrounding area is due to be re-developed. Work will commence in Manorsfield Road to divert a stream and utilities from 25th April. When work commences later in the summer in Bure Place itself, the bus station will close and the bus stands will move to a temporary home in Market Square. Further details nearer the time.


From Tuesday 6th April to Monday 12th April, part of Quainton Road in Waddesdon will be closed for “sewer connection to a demarcation chamber”.

Therefore service 16 journeys that serve Quainton will need to divert via Waddesdon High Street and A41 and then turn right into Station Road and ahead at the crossroads by the Railway Centre, returning by the same diversion in the reverse direction.

Thus bus stops in Quainton Road will be unserved for the duration. 

Arriva takes over as the name for their services in MK

Well, say goodbye to the MK Metro name, From 25th April all services will officially be run by “Arriva Buses” - of course for staff, they all transferred on the 1st Jan, This just makes it official.

Route maps are now available on the Arriva MK minisite as well as a Town guide for commercial routes.

Town Guide >>>>> Click Here

Route 1 Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 2 Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 3 Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 4/4A Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 5/5A Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 7/7A Map >>>>> Click Here

Route 8/8A Map >>>>> Click Here

« MK Star Network – MK Metro Service Changes

Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe 

After a difficult winter, Blackpool trams are back in service from tomorrow. Tonight’s newspaper carries a photograph of two cars on test runs passing by the Tower. 

The winter stoppage has, of course, been to allow parts of the track to be replaced in a £100m upgrade. A full service will resume at 8am on Good Friday between the Pleasure Beach and Cleveleys. Vandalism has prevented the reopening of the section between Cleveleys and Ash Street in Fleetwood for at least six weeks after  £135,000 worth of cable needed for the overhead was stolen. 

During the winter, more than seven miles of track have been replaced and the overhead line has been replaced between the Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham. Work has also been carried out to upgrade some signal junctions to improve journey times on the new line. 

The weather meant that the planned works to replace the track at Talbot Square could not take place and this has been put back until next winter. In a simplification of the trackwork, the short three-track section outside the Tower has now become two track with a simple crossover. The facility was used for posing trams and for ‘turning’ short workings. 

There are also small work sites along the way which are new platforms being built in readiness for the new trams, Eventually they will have shelters but they won’t be in use until the new trams enter service in 2012. 

The system will shut down again at the end of this year’s illuminations for further work, and the section between the Pleasure Beach and Starr Gate will remain closed until the new trams enter service.

Car 641 leaves Cleveleys on its return to Blackpool. This is one of the East Lancs bodied Centenary cars to retain its original windscreens.

Also home-built Jubilee (based on a mid-30s Balloon double decker), car 761 approaching the Lowther Avenue stop between Bispham and The Cabin.

Malta Story by Gavin Francis – March 2010 (Part 1)

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

After a period of 28 years since my last visit and with the proposed withdrawal of the traditional Maltese buses I decided it was time to revisit the island to sample some of these icons of public transport. So on March 14th a party of 4 of us set off for Malta and with the help of an excellent flight from Stelios Airways soon found ourselves on an overcast and windy island. 

My knowledge about these buses was very limited but with the purchase of Malta Buses fleet books and the personal knowledge of my colleague Chris Maxfield I was armed with enough information to try and both see and sample as many of the fleet as possible. 

Basically there are 508 route buses numbered from DBY 300-470, EBY 471-640 and FBY 641-807.  On any day approximately 300 buses are required to operate the services which means that only just over half the buses are on the road on any particular day. The age and type of vehicle are freely mixed and not numbered in batches and a system of virtually any bus on any route is operated. This means it is possible to make your journey on a modern King Long low-floor bus and return on a 50 year bus based on a lorry chassis. 

The operating conditions are not easy as during the summer months the temperatures can reach 40 degrees and the road surfaces on some of the routes are not much more than tracks where speeds of not much more than walking pace are possible. 

Travel is very cheap. We bought a seven day pass which cost us 14 Euros each which equates to less than £2 a day. I noticed that notes are not accepted by the drivers and no return tickets issued. What also seemed strange was the number of inspectors that boarded the buses. From my experience one boarded at least every other trip. 

Because of the small size of the island most routes are less than 1 hour in length, the longest which coincidentally was the route which went from Valletta to our hotel in Mellieha and onto the ferry port for Gozo is about 75mins long. 

Here are a selection of pictures showing a representation of what I consider to be classic Malta buses and brief details of each one. Most are taken in the bus station in Valletta unless otherwise stated. I was among many people taking pictures there and spoke to a group of 20 who were there covering the whole island. The drivers were great with no problem taking pictures and as many are the buses owners were more than happy to talk about their vehicles history. 


DBY 306.
This bus has a 1973 body built by Aquilina based on a 1953 Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/16 chassis originally Southdown 1650.


DBY 322. The chassis of this bus is a 1933 Fordson and the body was built in 1964 by Tonna.


DBY 329. This has a 1964 body by Gauci and is built on a 1947 Bedford OB chassis and is pictured in the Bus Station in Rabat.


DBY 346.  This bus has a 1965 body by Zammit and is built on a 1948 AEC Regal III chassis.


DBY 361. This bus has a 1958 body by Sammut and is built on a Bedford QLD 4x4 dropside military chassis of 1944 vintage.


DBY 368. This bus has a 1955 body by Sammut and is built on a 1939 Reo Speedwagon chassis. The interior picture shows that it has acquired a Bedford Steering Wheel and column. The heat, noise and smell that comes from this type of cab layout must be a challenge for drivers to endure particularly during the summer months.


DBY 381. This AEC Mercury lorry chassis of 1967 was bodied by Brincat in 1967.


DBY 397. This bus has a Xuereb body built in 1954 and is mounted on a 1943 GMC military lorry chassis.


DBY 401. This bus has a 1965 body by Debono and is built on a 1932 Leyland TS4 chassis. Was possibly once a DD from NE England.


DBY 434. This bus has a Aquilina body rebuilt in 2007 and is mounted on an Indiana 1938 chassis.


DBY 445.  This bus has a 1960 Albion chassis which was stored until 1967 when it was bodied by Barbara.


EBY 486. This bus has a 1944 Ford V8 War Department chassis and body by Vella in 1959.

EBY 498. This bus has a 1956 AEC Reliance chassis originally carrying a coach body for Sheffield United Tours with body by Aquilina in 1973.


EBY 506. Another bus built on a Ford V8 chassis dating from 1941 with Casha 1949 body. It is photographed outside Mosta Cathedral.

EBY 536. This is a 1959 Dodge with body by Casha.

EBY 537. The chassis of this bus is a 1952 Ford Thames E17 bodied by Micallef in 1953. The only normal control bus I saw operating and a must for preservation when the end comes. Immaculately maintained by its owner driver.


EBY 555. This bus has a 1957 AEC Mercury lorry chassis which was held in Customs until 1964 after which it was bodied by Brincat in 1967.


EBY 584. This bus has a 1956 Bedford SL chassis with Falzon 1965 body.


EBY 603. This bus has a 1951 ex-RAF AEC Matador chassis with Gauci 1965 body.


EBY 620. This bus has a Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/13 chassis from 1954 and Caruana 1979 body. Chassis was originally Bournemouth 92.


EBY 632. This bus has a Bedford SL 1956 chassis and 1966 Zammit body and is pictured at Rabat Bus Station.


FBY 645. This bus has a 1951 RAF Bedford SB chassis with Aquilina 1970 body.


FBY 659. This bus has a AEC Mustang GM6RH lorry chassis and 1968 Aquilina body.


FBY 695. This bus has a Ford 6 chassis dating form 1945 and a Barbara body from 1963. It contrasts with a 2003 King Long alongside which it operates.


FBY 750. This bus is a 1972 Aquilina body on a Dodge KR900 1966 lorry chassis.


FBY 803. This bus has a 1960 Bedford SLCO chassis with Barbara 1973 bodywork. 

In Part 2 I will cover the large fleet of ex-London Swift buses which still operate there.

Bournemouth & Southampton by John Hammond 

Had a brief visit to Bournemouth & Southampton over the weekend, the aim of the trip was to catch two Leyland operated routes in service including the change to ride on a Leyland National still in service and with its original engine.

We started out in Bournemouth early to catch the 8.30am 238 to Salisbury operated by Thompson's Tours of Christchurch. Thompson's started this Saturday only route via Ringwood replacing an old H&D route. The W&D X3 route offers a more direct route but Thompson's offer a regular selection of their preserved fleet. Our trip was in the hands of WFX257S a DP National preserved in Peoples Provincial livery. This bus still retains its charismatic Leyland 0.510 engine and it was a very enjoyable trip through to Ringwood with a very pleasant driver giving us lots of information about the operation.

We changed at Ringwood because we wanted to carry onto Southampton, the route being the Dorset Sprinter operated X5/X55 which has been operated by a trio of lime green Mk2 Lynxes new to Cardiff Bus. J267UDW arrived to take us through to Southampton, a fine blast through the New Forest and along the M27 to Southampton, reminded me of travelling on Sovereign's Lynx fleet in the mid 1990's around Stevenage. Whilst waiting at Ringwood, we saw the other Thompson's bus on the 238 in the form of ex Western National Leyland Olympian A989XAF which has a convertible ECW body. I understand that in the summer, this bus will be operated as an open topper. A little Wilts & Dorset variety to be found at Ringwood in the form of Optare Excels and Solos with the odd Spectra
in pre Go Ahead takeover livery.

On arrival in Southampton, I caught up with an old colleague from my days at Stagecoach in Warwickshire's Rugby commercial department, we decided to have a trip around the wider Southampton area using a Solent day travel card. First have a mixed variety of buses in Southampton with a lot of cast off ex London step entrance double deckers and buses from other parts of the First empire. We took a trip on our third Leyland of the day in the form of K628LAE, an ex Bristol CityLine Leyland Olympian. It looked rather down at heel inside having not seen a makeover from its days in Bristol. After a return to Southampton we took a trip on a Blue Star Volvo B7 which had recently been refurbished and looked a much more attractive product than the reject from Bristol. We arrived in Eastleigh, which is now split between Blue Star and Velvet Travel. Velvet is run by former Blue Star MD Phil Stockley and the company has now expanded its network around Eastleigh. We missed our chance for a 4th Leyland trip, whilst Velvet had 2 ex Lothian Olympians out, both were being used as staff shuttle vehicles. We took a Velvet A to Hedge End, operated by one of the former Dome shuttle DAF/EL Millenniums V11 GMT. At Hedge End we bailed out to get a bus back to Southampton centre so we could get our train home again.

The familiar yellow buses of Bournemouth

Thompsons WFX257S arrives into Bournemouth ready to take up service, with Transdev Yellow Buses & W&D More branded buses waiting on stands.

An Optare Spectra of W&D seen in Ringwood in the pre Go Ahead takeover livery.

Thompsons WFX257S at Ringwood.

HF03HJY is an Optare Excel of Wilts & Dorset in the latest W&D livery. Seen in Ringwood

YG52CLO is a Blue Star VDL Cadet seen here in Southampton

M259VWW is a Dennis Dart / Alexander Dash new to Yorkshire Rider, but not operating for First in Southampton.

K238LAE is an ex Bristol City Line Leyland Olympian now in the First H&D fleet

Brijan Tours run several supported services into Southampton, here is a Wright Handybus bodied Dennis Dart. 


The Oxford Bus Museum recently held an open day to launch a new book on Oxford's older buses. Richard Sharman took some nice pictures on the day.

Pictures of the various exhibits on display.

Visiting buses conveyed visitors.

David Percy writes "I have hundreds of archive photos in my loft, are you interested for the O&C pages? All unpublished, from 1972 - 1982ish."

Scotland, c1976.


YWS612, a PD Leyland, it was a very rare peak time only vehicle, and in it's last few months in service.


MSF467P, a tidy looking Leyland Atlantean, seen in Princes Street.


GSX118N, a Bedford, with the timeless Alexander Y type bodywork, taken at Waverley station.


Leyland PD3 EWS828D seen on route 12 in Princess Street. 

HVS52N, our tour vehicle parked up at the entrance to Edinburgh Waverley station, from memory it was a B58 Volvo, with a Plaxton body,
 it was the top of the range vehicle for it's day, and Parks were (and indeed still are) a major tour company in Scotland.  

Our tour coach HVS52N  parked outside our B&B in Haymarket, being overtaken by a Leyland Atlantean, in the ever smart Madder and White livery of Lothian Regional Transport.

"Somewhere, I had a few days out in Oxford c1976, and will root around for those pictures for a future edition of S&J!"

I am sure many readers will appreciate this "blast from the past" and I look forward to further contributions from David. ED. 

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 found this interesting window display in the Falklands Tourist Office in London.

Parrked outside the Castle in Oxford was this ex First L639PWR Scania N113CRB 1823358 B48F 51994 Yorkshire Rider 863.
Does anyone know what it was doing there?
Picture by Gavin Francis.

/Former Arriva Yorkshire 254 now with Bicester Gliding Club. Richard Sharman to the picture.