Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 25 - 21st April 2010

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

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Firstly may I apologise for the rather long gap between issues. This has been caused by my shift patterns plus a very pleasant interlude at Cobham a week or so ago. Your contributions have continued to flow in and for this issue we will have a great deal to interest all readers.

During the intervening days between issues I have had many thoughts and Cobham took me back some years to earlier days, resulting in my seeing many older buses and also noting books on sale with pictures of earlier times. I noted with interest the new book by Mark Lyons on Bus Photography in this digital age. I was reminded of my first efforts with the inevitable Kodak Box Brownie 127 purchased in 1952. One got 12 exposures per roll of 127 film and I well remember going to my local Boots to get a film developed. No chance of seeing instantly what one had taken in those far off days, just a patient wait and disappointment if the results we not good. January 24th 1952 saw my very first effort which is included below. It was taken from my bedroom window in a place called Hale near Manchester. The camera was a birthday present from my parents.

The next picture is rather more interesting and was taken in early 1952 at the North Western Road Car depot in Altrincham. It shows three buses, one of the rebodied Bristol JO5Gs with Brush bodies, 737, Altrincham having a large allocation of these buses at that time and next to it a Bristol L5G from the immediate pre war deliveries bodied by ECW, 923. Hidden in the shadows to the right is a hired Ribble Leyland TD5, part of a number hired in to cover the rebodying of Bristol K5G deckers with Willowbrook bodies in the early 1950s.

It is only when we consider present day photography, complete with digital cameras which can take over 1000 high quality pictures, that we realise just how far things have come. what a wish come true if one could just go back for a day to those now far off times, complete with modern digital camera, then returning with the results!

This issue has a special supplement dedicated to Cobham on Sunday 11th April. I was lucky enough to be allowed to take one of the new Stagecoach gold Scanias, 15617, complete with 10 plate registration, to this annual event. This year it celebrated 80 years of Green Line but as always there was a significant collection of buses and coaches on view. To go to the special page click the link below.

Cobham on Sunday 11th April 2010

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 - 21st 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 

B. M. Coaches have bought out Golden Tours who are based in Bullied Way. Thought I had not seen Golden Tour coaches lately. Pictures of one new coach in combined livery and another B M Coach for Golden Tours.

I recently saw three different coaches in Truronian/First livery in Victoria Coach Station. It is very unusual to see even one! Also still lots of Hookway coaches about.

Although Hookways are now a NEx operator they do use coaches in their own livery quite often.

I popped into Wycombe this morning (9th April 2010) and then on to Binders Yard where Ward Jones had a rather nice Devon General bus in for work.

Finally on 19th and 20th, as you can imagine, VCS is very busy at the moment due to the closure of many of Britain's airports. There are large numbers of additional coaches from all over Europe plus loads of dupes on NEx and Megabus services. 

Some of the many foreign visitors to Victoria.

Large numbers of passengers swelled the normal count in VCS.

Megabus dupe.

Stagecoach are not the only UK operator to run Van Hool Astromegas as thi9s picture of a Westway example shows.

Pictures by Gavin Francis

From Nigel Peach 

"We had a few days away in Norwich last week - chose the right weather!"

The bus on the Norwich City Sightseeing Tour was G520VBB (sister of 530 and 534 owned by Carousel), seen here near the castle.
Picture by Nigel Peach

From Steve Buckley

Hunters Coaches, Daventry

A recent visit to their depot revealed that these now have ex Tube MAN T42BBW in stock (apparently its been here for over a year) and have removed the toilet from it so as to increase the seating capacity.

Keep up the good work on your excellent site, it really is an interesting read each week.

From Brian Marsden

Yesterday (19th April) there was no sign of Oxford Bus 908/909 on the 8/9 routes, but 815 was in use. I saw an OBC double-decker vehicle pass at speed along the eastern bypass this evening going south towards green road roundabout. Perhaps it was 909 or 908 and was being used on the 2 road.
Today I had a shock whilst walking to work as I saw 900. This appears to be an Enviro 400 short-term loan vehicle. The livery is not one I recognised and the legal lettering was for OBC. Interestingly it has received U5 vinyls on the side which makes sense given that it is numbered in the 900-series (i.e. won't fit under Botley Road railway bridge). I'm sure you already know about this vehicle and probably already have a photo... I've just noticed that it is in the recent fleet list on the OBC web site (date 14th April). It would appear that this vehicle plus 800 are on loan due to warranty work on other vehicles.
Finally, I saw an Oxford tube coach on the eastern bypass a few minutes after the 900-series OBC vehicle, again going south. I did not catch the number but the driver was clearly wearing a Stagecoach uniform of some sort. A strange direction for a tube coach to be travelling, I thought.

From James Pratt

Found this today around the corner from me when collecting my little girl from school. Formerly BFS14L and until about 18 months ago was with Tappins used on the Oxford City Sightseeing Tour.

The bus which James Pratt saw with one from Gavin Francis of the bus operating in Oxford.

Had a look around it and it looks really tidy, well presented inside and outside, proper use of destination blinds, and will be in service in Paignton from May 1st on a new service 500 with a new operator, it will also be living with 1215, this was collected from refurbishment in Stoke this morning.

Classic buses take to Paignton

Classic vehicles, including a 1961 former Devon General open top bus and a 1960 Leyland double decker, will be used on the new Service 500 Coastal Explorer, which will operate seven days a week from Saturday, May 1.

Adding to the nostalgia will be the drivers and conductors, who will all be wearing uniforms in keeping with the buses dating from the 1950s and 1960s.

The new timetable has been drawn up by Devonian Motor Services in consultation with Torbay Council, which has been keen to introduce a service from Paignton to Broadsands for local residents and visitors.

Devonian Motor Services is run by Richard McAllister, who has been in the bus industry for 25 years, having worked his way up from being a conductor to an operations manager with Stagecoach.

Said Richard: "For many years, I have had a passion and enthusiasm for classic and vintage buses, and now my dream of turning a hobby into a business using lovingly restored vehicles has become a reality."

Patrick Carney, from Torbay Council, said: "We work hard to promote the use of public transport, and we are pleased that we have been able to help introduce a new route to serve the Broadsands area of Paignton.

"We are sure many people are looking forward to seeing these classic buses out and about on Torbay's roads once again now that the vehicles have been given a new lease of life."

Vehicles run by Devonian Motor Services are:

- Admiral Blake, a 1961 former Devon General open top bus

- a rare 1956 Foden double decker, which last carried fare paying passengers in 1972 and which has been in a museum for the last 15 years

- a 1960 Leyland double decker last in service in Bournemouth, and formerly used as an exhibition unit

- ‘Black Prince’, a 1973 Leyland open top bus formerly in service in Edinburgh

- a 1961 Western National local bus

The new route will include Torbay Road, Paignton Zoo, Penwill Way/Quay West, Broadsands Promenade, Goodrington Road for Beverley Park, and Grange Road for Hoburne Park. Concessionary passes will be accepted.


See an important news item regarding Arriva under Jottings below.

Arriva launched a new service to Stokenchurch this week which sees route number 340 reused for the route which runs via Lane End to serve the villages along that direction.

340 High Wycombe - Sands - Lane End - Stokenchurch  commencing 19/04/10

This means that Stokenchurch and surrounding villages now have an almost unrivalled bus service for a community of their size.

Services are Arriva Line 40 and 340, Carousel 2A and 2C, National Express 737 plus Red Rose 104 and 275. Around 1500hrs on Monday I counted buses on all of these routes (except 2A) heading for High Wycombe.


From Gavin Francis

(All pictures under this heading by Gavin.)

As mentioned in the previous news issue another Solo has arrived at High Wycombe from Ware depot. It has been used on the Line 40 and Park & Ride 100.

Pictures of 2461 on Line 40 and P&R 100 plus a previous one in Hertford taken in August 2006.
Looks like the 340 will be a one bus operation so maybe that's why 2461 is here. 

When the 340 starts Monday it leaves Stokenchurch at 42mins past the hour. This Route number revives an old number used only a few years ago.

The first day's service on the 340 saw 3452 in charge whilst on Wednesday 21st Scania 3143 was on the route.

A little bit of history from the last time the 340 appeared at Stokenchurch before Line 40 started.
The picture shows Olympian 5130 newly repainted after a stint as The Chimes Shopping Centre, Uxbridge overall ad bus.
I believe not long after this it hit a low bridge and was scrapped!.
The picture taken on 19th April 2006, four years ago to the day before the new service began. 

Service 32A was withdrawn last week, this route being the only one to serve the road from Sands to Lane End. I took several pictures of the last operation of the route, 32A.

The bus used was Optare Versa 2401 and it is seen heading along Park Lane towards Lane End and then prior to its return to High Wycombe.

Finally a picture of Dart 3190 on 52/62 on 10th April. Don't think I have seen this bus in Wycombe before.

From Peter Cabin

Saw 3161 N711EUR on 7th April in High Wycombe returning from Slough on service 74, I'm not sure if its an import or a loan job (This bus is shown as based at Aylesbury in the February allocation list Ed.). Also noted on 7th April on service 37 to Maidenhead, 3147 N697EUR (This bus is shown as based at Luton in the February allocation list Ed.) - both buses have as yet to receive electronic destinations.

On 8th April another Solo noted has arrived in High Wycombe, this one is 2461 KE55FDG complete with electronic blinds. This bus is or was based in Ware. it was on route 32 to Lane End on 08/04/10. 

From Daniel Bailey

Some pictures I took recently.

3640, KX59ACJ outside the depot on Colts Holm Road, Old Wolverton on 31st March.

2505, YJ58PKU in Caldecotte on route 12 -
Wolverton - Central Milton Keynes - Caldecotte,  on Saturday afternoon, April 3rd.

2445, YN03NEF at the bus stand on Elder Gate, MK.

Here is a picture of MK 2441, KU02JXT, which caught fire a few weeks ago on the A5 whilst travelling dead from Wolverton depot.

A chance shot of the fire damaged Solo, 2441, being removed from old Wolverton depot a few weeks ago.

From Glenn Knight

who writes that on 080410 seen in Milton Keynes

3620, S340SET seen working route 7A

Optare 3002, V392KVY in CMK.

Both having received the latest Interurban livery

MK Metro took over all of Arriva Midlands Group NEx Contracts from 1st April 2010.


From Richard Sharman

Here we see MK Metro Levantes operating what was a Arriva Midlands contract leaving VCS.

From Nigel Peach

who writes "another Scania has appeared in Wycombe. 3161 (N711EUR), previously at Aylesbury and in Interurban livery was running the 37 today (130410) . It still has conventional blinds but no doubt that will soon change if this is a permanent move.

We now have 9 of these buses in Wycombe. Are these N reg vehicles replacing the ex Oxford Volvo B10Bs - also N reg!"

From Steve Buckley

Milton Keynes Metro

Milton Keynes, may be loosing their identity but it seems that the way things are going at the moment, there won't be much left of the identity to remove, as about 4-5 vehicles a week are being repainted into Arriva livery. Virtually every vehicle type now being done, most Solo's that are not in route branded colours are done, including 2435 S903DUB, which was the first complete Solo built.

Steve sent us a number of pictures from the MK area.


From Gavin Francis

13/4 - First time I have seen an EVL on the 2. Took lots of pictures so you have a choice.

EVL4 seen on the 2C at Stokenchurch on 13th April. This type is rarely seen as far west!

More regular performers on the 2A or 2C are these ex Birmingham airport M A N s. I am told they have excellent fuel consumption.

An Olympian, L530, which for a long time ran without blinds of any sort is seen on a 2A working in Stokenchurch on 19th April.

One of the ex West midlands Metrobuses now carrying Carousel lettering.

All above pictures by Gavin Francis.

The Carousel yard on Saturday 17th April with all EVLs on site plus other interesting fleet members. Picture by M Crowe.

From Glenn Knight

New addition to Luton fleet : L161 XRH Dennis Dart Plaxton transferred from Harlow (Trustybus)


Centrebus 547 at Stansted on 15th April. Picture by
Gavin Francis.

From Gavin Francis

The red Tridents at Bracknell are now painted in Barbie livery. Disturbed the driver and got him to put the scroll on the front. Very nice man.!

8th April by Gavin Francis.

Got a few pictures of other Tridents with a nice one to compliment the First Trident picture above.

Wycombe and a 74 route Trident on 9th April by Gavin Francis.

Readers write regarding the reregistered Solo now in use by Heyfordian.

From Gavin Francis

Just managed to get this shot of 2185NU, got delayed by a question from a pedestrian then it moved off before I could get the front.

From John Hammond

Spotted recently is a Heyfordian Solo working on the 103 registered 2185NU. Spotted it from the top deck of a bus I was travelling on through Wheatley before Easter and unfortunately the rain on the window has ruined the picture somewhat.

Gavin Francis writes "Motts mini coach was operating M1 service."

Another picture from Gavin Francis shows one of the ex Dublin Bus Olympians working a football service to Wycombe Wanderers game.

From Mark Webster

Have been catching up with the latest news page on your website. I see that Motts Travel have got a brand new Scania K400/OmniExpress Lahden due. 

I thought the following photo might be of some good to use on your website. It was taken at Scania in Worksop on Saturday 10th April 2010.

I have another photo of it on my fotopic site and is here 


From Hedley Shanks of Motts

Hedley writes "Here are pictures of ET10MTT Scania K400 Omniexpress Lahden C63Ft 14.1m, on April 16th"

This is an impressive coach and I look forward to more pictures including some of the interior.

From Gavin Francis

8th April and I had my first view of one of the 10 plate Levantes now carrying this Irish based livery. It is operated by Silverdale of Nottingham on their NEx diagrams into London Victoria.

The Irish Levante is of course the same one I photographed a few weeks ago in the NEx livery so a bit of bad planning there.

Silverdale operate diagrams on the 440 and 450 service.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Gavin has provided a number of other pictures of NEx operations in the last weeks.

Excel (GSU 348/NL52XZY) DAF SB4000 Van Hool Alizee T9 on the 010 service to Cambridge on 20th April. Picture by Gavin Francis.

It seems that NEx Stansted maybe short of coaches as this hired coach was in use on the 797. 15th April by Gavin Francis.

South Mimms filling in on a NEx departure from Victoria on 19th April by Gavin Francis.

Not everything goes well for coaches and from time to time things go very wrong.
Here an Irizar PB on a Birmingham service has failed on the M40 and was caught by Gavin who was travelling passenger on a Tube service.
I later saw the same coach on suspended tow en route homewards.

Bringing back memories of weekend working the 44 service from Gloucester to London Scania tri-axle 59302 is seen on the M40 heading for Gloucester last Sunday, 18th April.

Some interesting changes have taken place and these are recorded by the company. Pictures of the DAF SB220 and Enviro 400 are to hand.

800 seen in service around Oxford and Wood Farm in these pictures by Gavin Francis taken on 15th April.

A new contributor, N Parker, sent this picture of 900 which is the only one I, as yet, I have to  hand.

Enthusiast Update

This update is designed to keep enthusiasts informed of changes to our bus and coach fleet.

14 April 2010

Vehicles on loan:

800 YJ58FFM DAF SB220 Plaxton Centro B45F new 09/08

900 SN59AWV ADL Enviro 400 ADL Enviro 400 H37/27F new 10/09

These vehicles are on short-term loan to cover for the absence of Mercedes Citaro single decks and Scania/ADL double decks which are away for warranty work with their manufacturers.

26 March 2010

Vehicles Sold (3/10):

632 – Harris Coaches, Blackwood

640/2 – Dews Coaches, Cambridge

This completes the disposal of the 600 series.

John Hammond notes earlier in the week, it was announced in Route One magazine that 153 ‘EEV’ Citaros are being recalled for modifications to the heater system.

Both John and Ralph Adams advised me of the short term loans.


Citaro 866 in St Aldates on the 17th April taken by Gavin Francis.

Coach 4 on the M40 Oxford bound on Sunday 17th April. Picture by M Crowe.


From Glenn Knight 

Redline's latest addition

T427AGP Dennis Dart Marshall Capital B30F Ex-Go Ahead NE 596 & London Central DML27.

T429AGP Dennis Dart Ex- Go Ahead

SN53LWR Transbus Dart in new revised livery

On the subject of new buses here is the latest situation as advised by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire.

fleet movements last period






Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney



Scania E400 - New to Witney






Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon



Dennis Trident - Witney to Devon

The first three Richard saw were going to Bristol for repaint before entering service with SC Devon. There were still a number undergoing work at Oxford as recently as last Friday.

Glenn Knight writes  "Pictured in St Ives, Cambs yesterday (100410) N376 JGS 40182 as staff rest area"

In St Ives by Glenn Knight 

Steve Buckley writes "I've just read the latest update on your Excellent O&C website, very interesting as usual, however may I point out that the list of withdrawn vehicles from Stagecoach Warwickshire is in actual fact the list for Stagecoach in Northamptonshire.

The only Olympian withdrawn from Warwickshire at present I believe is 14027 F627MSL, which has been replaced at Rugby by ex Stagecoach North East Volvo Olympian 16702 N702LTN, which has transferred across from Leamington. although there are rumours that some other Volvo Olympians that have just been withdrawn may transfer across from Cambridge to replace the remaining Leylands with both Northants and Warwickshire.

However, I must own up to a mistake myself, the list of withdrawals is from United Counties as a whole, not just Northants, as the three Volvo B10M buses 20816/852/914, these were regular's on the "Pluto" P1 service from Bedford to Northampton,  and the two Driver Trainers are (or where)  all Bedford vehicles, whilst the two Olympian's were formally at Northampton & Kettering respectively, and 20217 & 218 were both Northampton vehicles branded for the X7 to Leicester.

I'm not sure if it is within your area as such, but it may be of interest to you to know that former X4 Tridents 18407 & 18408 have moved to Northampton after being returned from being used at the Cheltenham Festival.

Recent new arrivals with United Counties are Scania/Enviro 400's 15606-8 KX59BBN/O/BGY, whilst these were not delivered to Kettering Depot until 2nd March, they had already been taxed and Registered at the Scania Dealers in Wellingborough, so have kept their "59" plates when all others numbered around them have "10" plates. of these only 15606 has received X4 vinyls whilst the other two carry normal Stagecoach Livery, however all three are usually found on the X4 to Milton Keynes."

Picture by Steve Buckley.


Following the appearance of 22914 on a regular basis on the 7 to Barton it has now returned to the Wantage routes. Picture by Gavin Francis taken on 17th April.

M A N 22057 has received a repaint and lost its 1 branding although it was still in place on the front nearside window when this picture was taken.
Picture by Gavin Francis on 7th April.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire have regained the 600 service and the picture above reminds us that they ran the route in the early days.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken on 7th June 2004.

Megabus Volvo, one of the first tri-axles in the Stagecoach group seen in London at the end of a run in from south Wales. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Pictures of the Astromegas now in service with Oxford tube and seen on the M40 by M Crowe.

Stagecoach Bedford

Gary Seamarks writes “I had a visit with Anglia Bus Forum to Bedford last Mon 12th".

An extra vehicle is being added to VT99 Luton- MK because of M1 works. the two B10M PS at Bedford will be gone by next year, they are needed as X5 back up at present, (mostly toward Cambridge it would seem) 14000 F110NES) is for Brian Souter's preservation fleet and as such will go to Scotland after Silverstone, its not been used for 2 months.
(This is nice to hear as this bus has a significance to Stagecoach in that it was the first 100 seater always known as Nessy! Ed.)

Tridents are banned from X5 due to reliability issues and also VT99. It was stated the Tridents were and still are unsuited to the X4 being underpowered for the high speed sections this is why Scanias have now being delivered.
The debranding of the Mars Darts was due to them having a lower mileage and wear than the town Darts. a town Dart does 70000 per year a Mars one 50000.

53610 has the highest mileage of the X5 fleet. (120000 miles already) and 53614 is classed as written off, damage is estimated at £165000, it cost £207000 when new, it seemed that a legal battle is still on going re road conditions on the day. Had a B10M been involved the accident would not had been as bad due to a B9 having no chassis members forward of the front wheels because of the wheelchair lift. The car would have bounced off and not got jammed under the coach.

Leylands 14035/8/42/54 are not due to depart yet, 14054 needs a new floor.

16680 is VOR with chassis rebuild at present, it was stated that the Leyland ONs are in better chassis state than the Volvos.

16223 was repainted to give more flexibility in its use and as such save a bus.

16209 was only returning 4mpg on the X5, they had worked on 6mpg when rebuilding it, even the larger fuel tanks were not enough for a complete duty.

The school bus conversions cost £30000 per bus. 52369 is now the only school bus not in the new colours. The missing Vinyls on school buses have now been attached. 52124 is also due into school bus colours they hope to do both in May

Beds councils rate all school contracts on an ABC scale
A= coach CCTV etc
B= coach no CCTV but belts
C= Decker  saloon
and they are costed as such.

On the subject of MOTs and batches, the following was said re 53601-17 the first MOT's were started in March last year, when 8 weeks old, to spread the work the same applied to the Darts in 34419-44 batch and Mars.

It was also commented that a poorly driven Mercedes minibus would do 16 mph and a well driven Solo only does 9 mpg - so where are the green credits in that !!!!."

All pictures by Gary Seamarks on 12th April 2010.

A coach line up.

Nessy at Bedford depot.

14038, one of the few remaining Olympians in the Stagecoach group fleet.

Volvo Alexander PS 20915 R915RVM once with Manchester, undergoing maintenance at Bedford.

Gary could not resist this picture in workshop.

One of the school bus conversions 52155 L155JNH in the yard.

More school buses including 52368 - P168KBD.

52373 complete with big yellow schoolbus branding in the workshops.

A nice and oft taken view of workshops which has been a favourite for many years.

Can you add my thanks to Stagecoach in Bedford for allowing us round their facility. It was most interesting. 

Gary adds that are we aware that the 50 new Enviros are almost all on the road at Cambridge but the Busway still looks about 6 weeks off completion.


Andrew Morgan writes "Just an update UNO have sold the last Volvo Olympian 251 (N430FKK) and Mercedes Benz Plaxton Beaver 2 429 (Y129TBF) do not know who to but this now means the whole of the fleet is now in the pink and purple livery plus 100% low floor plus UNO Dennis Dart SLF Caetano nimbus 153 (UN55 UNO) has an allover ad for plusbus ."


From Andrew Morgan who has been busy taking pictures of recent Woottens double deck operations.

Two pictures of Woottens Olympians on rail replacement at Stevenage, their ECW bodied (W64) one was in use then later when I returned to Stevenage. It had been switched with the Alexander bodied (W31) one.

Two more pictures (not sure how good they will look as had to get a new camera as old one packed up near the end of day at Cobham) of Tigerline (Woottens) Leyland Titan W53 (A869SUL) taken today (16/04/10) one in Hemel the other in Watford on route T2.

So it seems that the company is using deckers on the T2 now.


John Hammond writes "Z&S Mercedes Vario S455LGN in Thame whilst working on one of the Bucks CC contracted services on 18th April."


Phil White joins Stagecoach

Stagecoach Group plc has appointed former National Express Group (NEG) Chief Executive Phil White as a non-executive director, with effect from 1 June.

A chartered accountant, Phil White was NEG’s CEO for nearly 10 years until his retirement in 2006. He is currently Chairman of Lookers plc, Kier Group plc and Unite Group plc.

Stagecoach Chairman Robert Speirs says: “Phil’s sector-specific operational and financial expertise together with his extensive experience across a range of sectors will enable him to make a valuable contribution to the company.”

DB confirms £1.5bn Arriva takeover offer

Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) supervisory board has today (Wednesday) approved a £1.5bn bid for Arriva

The German rail operator has called a news conference for 1000hrs on 22nd April when the proposed deal for the Sunderland-based company is expected to be unveiled.     

On Monday reports said that DB was preparing a £7.75 per share offer and Arriva later confirmed it was in “advanced talks” with the state-owned German firm on a deal that would also give its shareholders a final dividend of 18.8p.     

DB Chief Executive Ruediger Grube told Reuters this afternoon that he was “very pleased” with the board decision.

Asked about criticism that the price is too high, Mr Grube said: “If it was too expensive, we would not have done it.”

It now seems unlikely that a higher counter offer, such as from French state-owned rail and bus operator SNCF, will be made.

Fall-out from Volcano brings travel chaos in the air but benefits to surface transport

It is now six days (Tuesday, 20th April) since UK flights were suspended and although there have been a few flights from airport in the north of our country flights from airports in the south have not operated and passengers have been left to find alternative ways to travel. Stagecoach reports that its Megabus services have seen a significant increase in demand.

Demand for cross-border coach services up 70% whilst UK flight disruption continued

The UK's market-leading budget coach operator today (19 April 2010) reported a 70% increase in passenger numbers on its cross-border services as flight disruption continues at UK airports., operated by transport giant Stagecoach Group, offers more cross-border services than any other coach operator and has added hundreds of extra seats a day since the start of the impact of the volcanic eruption in Iceland last week.

Between Thursday (15 April) and yesterday (Sunday 18 April), ran 42 additional vehicles on services between Scotland and England, carrying around 2,100 more passengers than normal. is planning to continue to offer extra capacity this week to help stranded Britons get home as the majority of UK flights remain suspended.

Ian Laing, Operations Manager, said: "Demand for our cross-border services has gone through the roof since last Thursday and we expect the pattern to continue this week".

"We are the main operator of cross-border coach services in the UK and we are determined to play our part in keeping Britain moving at what is a very difficult time for the travelling public. Our team will continue to monitor the situation closely and add as many vehicles as we can to our schedules to meet the demand and help get people home."

Coaches run empty on airport services

On the negative side coach services to and from major southern airport are running almost or completely empty and one local operator carried only seventeen passengers on day two. Edgar Tiburcio took an interest picture at Heathrow Central Bus Station saying "this picture might be of interest to you and readers of OCBP. Taken on Sunday 18th April, Oxford Airline coach 97 is waiting for passengers on the 17:50 departure from Heathrow to Oxford. However, no such luck, none turned up." Edgar adds "just before I left, not a single soul in the station apart from me and my coach."

Here we see an X70 service last Sunday heading for Oxford which as it went by, I could see, carried no passengers. Photo by M Crowe.

When watching the TV news programmes it is worrying to see just how much people are having to spend to get home, some having paid thousands of Pounds or Euros to get to the Channel ports. The fall-out from this disaster may be very far reaching for people and companies alike.

Not surprisingly Oxford bus has adjusted it airport services for the duration of the flight suspensions and this is what there web site said on Tuesday afternoon, 20th April 2010.


Coach service levels to and from Heathrow have been temporarily reduced.

For times from Oxford - click here.

For times from Heathrow Central Bus Station - click here

For times from Heathrow T5 - click here

Gatwick services remain unchanged but will operate via Heathrow Airport.

Click here for latest National Air Traffic Services update.

Passengers with e-tickets valid for coach departures since 12 noon on 15th April should click here for our current policy.

Passengers are advised to check with their carriers before travelling.

National Express help out Eurolines during the crises

Sources within NEx advise that two Scania/Levante tri-axles from Stansted with Start Hill drivers operated to Paris to help out Eurolines during the difficulties. No further details were available as we went to press.

Wednesday 21st April update

Flights were resumed from and to all UK airports early that morning meaning that full coach services were resumed.

Changes in Milton Keynes

Timetables and full details of the very extensive bus service changes in Milton Keynes from 25 April are now available online at:

Runaway bus in Harlow

Chris writes "Saw this incident on the Public Log of Essex Fire Service. Looks like a bus has escaped from the parking area outside Harlow Garage which is next door to the Fire Station." 

Incident No: 7581

Date: 18-04-2010

Time: 02:43

Details: Crews find runaway bus

Address: Fourth Avenue, Harlow

Attendance: 2 x Harlow

Fire-fighters returning to their station following a multi-agency exercise in the Bell Common Tunnel on the M25 alerted Police after they came across a runaway bus which had crashed into a central reservation. It appears the parked vehicle had been left with its handbrake off and strayed across the road. There was no sign of casualties, so fire-fighters alerted Police and left the vehicle in their care.

No action was needed by Fire Service crews, who left the scene at 02:59 hrs.

Buses in the Landscape 

Keith Shayshutt writes "A candidate for 'Bus in the Landscape' for you. A TM Travel ex Dublin DD on the 214 from Matlock to Sheffield with Chatsworth House in the background. Taken on Saturday 10 April 2010."

Andrew D Webb writes "I took a couple of photos for your Buses in the Landscape feature."

The first shows Transdev London VA94 passing Norwood Green, Southall whilst heading towards Hounslow on route 120 on 5/4/10.

The second shows Southern Vectis Volvo B7TL 191 heading down Ryde High Street towards Ryde Bus Station on 6 April this year.

Also currently on loan to Vectis are several (4 I believe) Wilts and Dorset B7TLs in Bournemouth Unlinx livery."

From Steve Buckley.

A couple of pictures for your excellent "Buses in the Landscape" feature.

Stagecoach in the landscape by Steve Buckley.




Gavin Francis , whilst attending a recent Wycombe Wanderers game saw this team coach.

A sightseeing operation in London run by a smart looking Routemaster.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

General Election 2010 style - seen in Oxpens last week. Pictures by M Crowe.

Road Runner on rail replacement in Hertfordshire recently. Andrew Morgan to the picture.



Brighton Coach Rally 1960s style with a local operator. I remember driving these coaches, they had an incredible turning circle.

GRAYLINE COACHES OUD553F at the BRIGHTON COACH RALLY on 20th April 1969 pictured by Gavin Francis.

Forthcoming Events

6th Slough Vintage Bus Running Day - Sunday 9 May 2010

Peter Cartwright, Running Days Organiser writes to advise "Programmes for this event - the last in the soon to be demolished Brunel Bus Station have now been printed.

They can be purchased on line 

OR from Peter Cartwright
           54 Guinions Road
           HIGH WYCOMBE
           HP13 7NX              at £5.50 including postage - cheques payable to Amersham & District Motorbus Society 

OR from Enquiry Office at Slough Bus Station at £5

OR from Tourist Information Centre in High Wycombe Central Library in Eden Centre at £5

OR at Slough Bus Stn on the day for £6.

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.