Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 28 - June 15th 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

I have to report that contributions for the page are reaching all record levels and there is no exception for this issue. The arrival of twenty new double deckers for Oxford bus has generated some intense activity by many readers and I have an excellent selection to include in this issue.

Oxford's 213 runs down St Aldates in its first days in service on 5 road. Gavin Francis.

The first signs of the new fleet for Stagecoach in Oxfordshire has also surfaced with the visit of an ADL Hybrid chassis to the Horspath depot last Thursday.

The chassis was used for training purposes at Oxford where it was on site for just one day.
It is quite different from a normal bus in that it does not have a gearbox and only a small engine to act as generator power. M Crowe.

A fire more or less destroyed a local service bus in High Wycombe just over a week ago.

Changes at the top in the management of First Bus have caused some surprise in bus circles.

Tuesday sees the first meeting of the Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society which takes place at the South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street, Oxford between 1930-2130pm.

I am also pleased to have Spottings from several readers which nicely record the current bus scene in our area.

I understand that the new Volvo B9R/Plaxton Elite coaches for the NEx 737 Oxford-Stansted service are expected in the third week of July.

So I do hope everyone enjoys this latest issue which I would like to think will give a rattling good read!

Oh and I forgot to mention that Gavin and I had a day out (Busman's Holiday 2010) on the Isle of Wight. There is limited time to include our report in this issue and this will be published in a future edition.

First view of the Island bus scene after we had arrived on the Hovercraft at Ryde. Picture by Gavin Francis.

George Street roadworks cause problems for services using Gloucester Green

Over the past week or so roadworks in George Street have caused "problems" for coach and bus services using Gloucester Green Bus Station in Oxford.

Diversions of services took place on a number of days when services had to route round "the block" using Beaumont Street and Hythe Bridge Street to regain their normal line of route up New Road. Gavin took a number of interesting pictures showing coaches on diversion.

From Gavin Francis.

Gavin took the above pictures from St Giles. The Ashmolean makes a nice background.

Tube 50205 finds it hard work to get round the corner of George Street before the diversion was put in place.

The work caused some overspill problems in Gloucester Green when it was almost impossible not to have extra coaches using the bus station. On one occasion no fewer than fourteen Airline and espress coaches were seen in Gloucester Green at one time and on another time four Oxford tube coaches which could not stop in George Street and had nowhere else to go.

Your Editor witnessed another incident when a National Express Levante tri-axle on the 539 tried to get out of Gloucester Green into Worcester Street, got stuck at exactly the same moment that a police car and ambulance car on "blues" were trying to get round the corner up into George Street. The noise of sirens, cars, buses, coaches and other people trying to get out of the way had to be seen to be believed. Sadly I was driving a Tube at the time and was unable to record the event for the page!!!!

Stokenchurch interlude

Even in a small village the variety of buses can be amazing. I am showing a selection of photos taken by Gavin Francis in just the first 10 days of June 2010.

The selection of pictures show just what variety there is in this small village on the edge of the Chilterns.
The York Pullman coaches were seen pulling out of George road. Does any readers know why there were in our village?
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Oxfordshire Bus Society – first meeting details 

From an idea by John Hammond for an Interest Group in Oxford, John now writes to advise:

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society will hold its initial meeting on Tuesday 15th June 2010 at the South Oxford Community Centre, Lake Street, Oxford between 1930-2130pm.
At the meeting, I hope that we can cover the aims of the society and establish a few committee posts to allow the society to function in future so that regular meetings can be held. It will also allow us to try out the venue for its suitability. To end the evening, I will do a photo talk based on my collection of bus pictures covering several areas of the UK between 1997 to date.  
Everybody is welcome to come along to the meeting, for more information people can visit or email

(I will be going along and look forward to meeting a number of my readers - Editor.)

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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - June 15th 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 Adam Baker 

Enclosed are a few photos I have taken in the last week or so of various Spottings and perhaps points of interest.

Photo Notes – 20.05.2010 

From a visit to Swindon on 10.05.2010: 

The various liveries of Swindon town, with a couple of interesting extras. 

Former Lothian no. 207, operating as no. 351 for Thamesdown Transport.

Stagecoach in Swindon 33943 (V943DFH) operates on the Popin branded route 6.

Wilts and Dorset 1136 (HF09BJU) operates from Pewsey on route 96.  Until recently this used to be a route 5/6 from Salisbury.

Former Stagecoach in Oxford bus 33808, now with Stagecoach in Swindon, operating on Popin branded route 8, in an unbranded bus.

Thamesdown Transport no. 186 (S186BMR) en route to Stratton Park.

Stagecoach in Swindon 22624 (VX08FTE) operating the recently rebranded route 66,
however, notice the spelling mistake on the destination … ! Shirvenham, not Shrivenham.

Former Lothian no. 892, now with Thamesdown Transport as no. 313 in their School Bus livery.

While looking through my archives, I came across a shot of this vehicle I took outside The Marine Depot in Edinburgh when it was with Lothian Buses in their livery.  The photo is dated 3rd April 2007.  Thought I would send this across to add with the picture of the same bus now with Thamesdown in the Swindon photos I sent.


From a Travel About on 19.05.2010 – Oxford/Northampton: 

Some general pictures taken through the day 

Thames Travel no. 106 (PF06ENO) operating route 125 towards Wallingford, a rare sighting given the limited level of service on the route.

Oxford Bus no. 864 (EF57OXF) making its way out of Oxford on route X13 to Abingdon.

Thames Travel no. 1057 (AE57LYO) operates on route X32.

Stagecoach in Oxford 18199 (KN54ZXP), route branded for the S5, but, operating route X30 to Wantage instead.

Stagecoach United Counties 53606 (KN58NBO) between Bicester and Oxford.

Stagecoach United Counties 15449 (MX08GHU) in the recently revised X4 route branding, as it heads for Northampton Bus Station

Arriva/MK Metro 3623 (YN06JXJ) operates route 33 to Milton Keynes, despite being branded for Milton Keynes local service route 5.

Former Stagecoach in Oxford 22921 (S921CFC), now with Stagecoach United Counties branded for Northampton local route 8.

Arriva/MK Metro 3534 (T408LGP) making Arriva's corporate presence more active in Northampton. 

And finally …. 

Stagecoach in Oxford, National Express liveried 59213 (FJ56OCA) makes its way towards Oxford, on 19.05.2010, as it passes opposite the Heyfordian depot in High Wycombe. 

From Michael Bennett

I must congratulate Michael on the fact that his photos are presented with captions in the format I use which help cuts down time in preparing the page. Thank you!

"Sorry for the long gap between submissions for the OCBP.  I have been in Oxford nearly every week this year and I am now making use of the improved service on the 66 from Swindon. I have been riding around on the bus services that go away from Oxford in all directions, but on Thursday 27th I was in St Aldates when this bus appeared in front of me."

Michael goes on to add. 

I have been in Oxford twice this week to try to capture some views of the new OBC double-deckers but with varying success.  Tuesday was wet – followed by rain and then showers.  I was even persuaded to buy a new light shower coat as the old one was 30 years old and no longer very waterproof.

Tuesday June 8th.  
I arrived in Oxford on Stagecoach Swindon 22623 (yes, one of the MAN / E300 bought for the route !), at 1330 and saw new OBC Scania N230UD / Enviro400 no 226 – RF10 OXF waiting at the railway station to depart on the service 5.  It was raining heavily so I made no effort to catch it then, but made my way to High Street to photograph it on its way back into the city, and later waited in St Aldates for it to reappear on it’s next outward journey at 1500.  I rode out to Cowley Templars Square and got some shots of it as it returned from Blackbird Leys – by which time the destination indicators were not illuminated.

In High St and at Templars Square.

The weather looked as though we were due for a downpour so I jumped onto OBC 808 and came back into the city.  The weather duly obliged and there were a lot of really wet people getting on the bus along Cowley Road.  OBC 814 passed by on suspended tow heading for the OBC depot.

I got off 808 at Carfax and walked through to Magdalen Street East.  OBC 212 – AF10 OXF appeared so I waited for it to move round to Magdalen Street and rode on it to Summertown Shops, where it stood for several minutes whilst the driver checked out a minor problem.  This gave me plenty of time to cross the road to get some photos before it moved off.  Almost immediately OBC 224 – OF10 OXF, came past me on its way back into the city on service 2, and I just managed a rear shot.

In Summertown.

I unexpectedly met up with my wife at the bus stop in Summertown and we came back into the city on the “Jericho Voyager”, Stagecoach Slimline Solo 47363, as she had not been on that route around Jericho before.

We got back to the bus station in time for the 1815 service 66 to Watchfield.  

Thursday June 10th.
The weather was much better, and having arrived in Gloucester Green on another MAN / E300 at around 1330, I walked through to Magdalen Street to find OBC 224 ready to leave on a service 2.  I quickly got on and sat upstairs at the front. This allowed me to photograph OBC 212 just south of Summertown Shops, heading for the city on a 2B, as we went on our way to Kidlington.  I got off in Kidlington High Street and photographed 224 before it moved off on it’s return to the city.

I came back into Summertown on a Citaro and took many photographs in that area, including 224 again on it’s next journey out to Kidlington.  Another new Scania soon appeared, this time OBC 213 – BF10 OXF, going north out of the city.  
It was now time to see what was on offer on the routes to the east of the city, so I rode in to Magdalen Street East on OBC 794 operating a service 2, the first time I had seen one of these ex Brighton buses on the Kidlington route.  Also one of this batch was waiting in Magdalen Street to go north on a service 6 to Wolvercote – again a first for me.

In Summertown and in Magdalen Street.

I walked through to High Street and was soon able to photograph OBC Scania 214 – CF10 OXF on a service 5 to the Railway Station.  I went further down High Street to stop K3 and waited for something interesting to come along.  I was not disappointed, as after a few minutes OBC 215 – DF10 OXF arrived.  I was slightly surprised to see that it was operating a service 400 to Thornhill, and as I had taken some interesting photos there last year I decided to take the bus to the Park & Ride terminus.

In High Street.

I took quite a few shots, including some unusual views, plus several inside the bus, of course with the permission of the driver.

Approaching the Queens Lane stop and others at Thornhill.

It was time to head back into the city, so I got onto 215 for the journey back to High Street.  As I was walking towards Carfax corner OBC 214 passed me and I got the chance to photograph it, preceded by 215.

Having rounded the corner into St Aldates I saw OBC 820 newly painted into Park & Ride livery.

I was soon passed by OBC 227 – SF10 OXF, proclaiming that it was “Not in Service”.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see the same bus coming towards me in Queen Street a few minutes later.  The indicator was blank but there were passengers on board – as it passed I could see the rear indicator showing route 8 to Barton.

I had now seen seven of the new Scanias in service over the two days and I can confirm the following registrations.

Now it really was time to head for the bus station and to meet up with my wife for the journey home to Watchfield.  Was the service 66 at 1815 operated by a MAN – again no, but a Dennis Dart that should have been running on the 54s to Wootton Bassett. We have used that service twice a week since the route went half hourly to avoid the long trek around Appleton on the 1745, and the bus used has been anything but a MAN on most occasions.  On Tuesday it had been Trident 18182, but we have had all 3 of the new Enviro200s, bought for the Swindon town route 6.

More pictures of these new buses can be found under the company heading further down this page.

From John Hammond 

- who visited Wallingford area which revealed a lot of variety. 

Whites Coaches Solo MX53 FDK on the Friday market day 133 to Ipsden. 

Heyfordian OU08 AYF on the 134 to Goring 

Tappins TIL 1184 on crew layover at the Big H cafe at Berinsfield.

More from Friday around Wheatley 

Arriva Shires E400 SN58EOG heading through Wheatley to Oxford. 

BrookesBus 201 (AF09 OXF) heading towards Wheatley Campus 

Heyfordian KX07KOE heading towards Oxford on the 103 

Motts Solo MA07BUS passes through Forest Hill on the 108. 

Seen at Walters Coaches, Forest Hill. 


Various buses & coaches out of service at Walters Yard including Excel P334NHJ - now being used for spare parts. 

J245MFP - Dennis / Plaxton 

T107KGP undergoing refurbishment to body panels on June 4th.


Gavin Francis
recorded the same bus back in service looking very smart on the X88 on June 7th. 


From Friday 4th June 2010 

Walters Optimo UJI1765 on the X88 

X5 Volvo 53609 

Arriva R196RBM on 16 route to Aylesbury 

Stagecoach KX08KZB 

Heyfordian YJ59NNG & YJ59NNP 

Some from Saturday 5th June



Various RH buses taken at the Witney depot can be seen under the RH heading further down this page.

For the second time now I've met a Safeguard vehicle at a preserved railway in Oxfordshire.

This time it was immaculate looking Leopard/Duple OPC26R at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway on Sunday.

From Perverel

A quick update for you as I live in Kidlington (Kiddy). 

Friday 4th June: rode home on 214 (CF10OXF) on the 2A around 6pm. Saw 224 (OF10OXF) going into town at the same sort of time just before Summertown.

Nothing noted on Sat or Sun, though I did not see either full run-out. 

Mon 7th June: Rode 212 (AF10OXF) into town at 6-45am from Kiddy. No others noted on route at that time and 214 (CF10OXF) my steed home again at 6-45pm.

11a.m. on Mon 7th June, 226 (RF10OXF) noted going along past the ice rink towards stn not in service.

Noted again heading for town in service on the 2 just before 7pm.

Those are the four I've seen so far, and have managed photo's of 212 & 214 only at the moment. 

Will keep my eyes peeled as far as I can.

Tue 8th June. 

Today's comings and goings were 212, 214 and 224 all working on the 2s this evening (only saw 212 this morning peak). 226 was running around, apparently on a 5 but it didn't actually say so on the blinds when I saw it. Suppose it could have been on an 8 - but I feel it was a 5.

Attached pictured in Kiddy after bashing a fair few trees along Evans Lane on the trip round the back. I do hope they fix the rattly destination boxes on these Malcolm, it's quite wearing on the old brainbox along the Banbury Rd.

Peverel goes on to add.

Great times eh - it's getting really interesting again. Just think, in a year's time it all be fairly humdrum - such is our hobby. 

Today's report is little different to usual on the 2 - haven't managed to see anything but a rear end at distance on the 5 around Speedwell Street.

The 2 then had three of the usual suspects - 212, 214, 226 and 213 BF10OXF which I definitely saw tonight around 5.40pm heading into town at Summertown. I think yesterdays report of seeing this on the 5 was probably correct in the event.

Lots of coach activity this evening in Beaumont Street - three Motts Coaches and one Grand Tourer (Shearings?) all in a line. Impressive indeed.

At Oxpens, I wait with baited breath for the accident which is bound to happen before long. Another foreign coach (?French) missed the turning into the coach park heading from the station. Promptly tried to turn right into the adjoining car park, failed in the manoeuvre  -decided to turn it into a three point turn - no chance. Finally disappeared up the road only to return the right way within minutes and gain the coach park with a left turn - after two tries. Woman driver and all.

Malcolm - why on earth isn't there a big sign on the side of the road indicating the coach park on the right? Some of the antics I see each day are starting to get me really worried - especially the motorcycle that went onto the pavement to avoid a suddenly reversing coach. Somebody is going to get seriously hurt here before long.

11th and 12th June. 

Three to report for Friday and Saturday.(11 and 12 June) Friday saw 227 (SF10OXF) on the 5 along with others previously reported, and rather timely, 228 (TF10OXF) on the 2 - which later became my steed home.  

Saturday morning I did a quick run-out check in Kiddy and along with regulars (now) 212 & 214, I noted 227 (from yesterday on the 5) and brand new 229 (UF10OXF)!. 

Three pictures attached Malcolm - I hope and assume you are coping with them being zipped. If not, let me know as I can send separately.

I also have the two new Oly's (809.810) with RH to photograph - which I see almost daily on the 700 but I'm always on the bus travelling the other way when I see them. No rush there though, I will catch them unawares at some point.

Interestingly, on Friday morning RH had a coach out on this - none other than Ex-S/C MAN Marco Polo 50047, T47BBW!. I noted the fleet number on this as 803 - which I thought was an ex-London Scania - or was that 802? Whatever, I am sure I have photographed an 803 with them before, but as something different. Very frustrating to follow this the length of Kiddy to the P&R and not be able to graph it. Still, there'll be other chances.

I have also seen a list of the booked reg's for S/C Hybrids 12001-12026 bound for Oxford for July. Have you seen this? Suspect you have, but if not, I can forward a copy to you. (Readers can see the list under Stagecoach further down the page. Ed.) Also states that 12027-12056 are the Manchester batch to follow delivery of ours.

Pictures from Peverel.


From John Bristow 

A few weeks ago I managed to visit the Chilterns area and thought that you would be interested in the attached photos.  I was surprised how much bus activity there was in Wallingford. The Star Travel Solo in Aylesbury could be a new service.

From Gez in Lancaster. 

"Regarding those two Springfield ONs at Jeffs - a note on one of them. The Ribble Enthusiasts Club note that 384 has been sold to Robertson, Biggleswade for preservation and similar 383 has passed to 59 preservation Group, Corby."

From Michael Penn 

A point about S&J 27 - most of Glenn Knight's photographs said to be taken in Waltham Cross were actually taken in Harlow.  Although TWH do run into Waltham Cross SM Coaches do not so that may give a misleading  impression to your readers.

(Sorry to all who were misled. Ed.) 

As I happened to be in East London last weekend I decided to take advantage of the good weather (and my bus pass) to catch up with a few oddities on the transport scene and visited Ilford and Stratford.  Here are some of the photos. 

East London has a small batch of Optare Tempos for route 276, though there appeared to be only one of them in service on the day.  29001 (VLT14) is seen at Stratford, showing off its green credentials.

East London also has a small batch of Optare Versas for route 396.  37014 (LX 09 AAN) is seen at Ilford.

Bendy buses are not confined to Central London.  Here is East London Mercedes Citaro 23063 (630 DYE) at Ilford, one of a small number re-registered with former Routemaster marks.

London Central has a small presence at Stratford on cross river route 108.  This was operated until recently by London General and prior to that by East Thames buses.  DWL30 (FJ 54 ZTY) is a Wright bodied VDL which originated with East Thames Buses.

Arriva London North operate a small number of routes in Ilford, mostly using Alexander bodied DAF double decks or Plaxton Pointer bodied Darts.  T12 (LJ 08 CVG) was the only one of their Enviro 400s seen on the day.

First Capital VNL32323 (LK 03 NJV) is a Transbus bodied B7TL which still carries the yellow and white relief which is gradually being phased out.  It is seen at Stratford on a rail replacement service.

First Capital DN33572 (SN 58 CHO) is one of a growing number of Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400s in the fleet and is seen at Ilford.

Blue Triangle is now part of the Go Ahead group with vehicles numbered in the London Central/London General series.
SE34 (SN 57 DXA) is an Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 seen at Ilford.

WVL348 (LX 59 DFJ) is an Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400 in a special livery for the East London Transit group of routes.  It is seen at Ilford.

Docklands Buses is also part of the Go Ahead group, and until recently was named Docklands Minibuses.  The original name would have been rather inappropriate considering the size of the vehicles operated now!

SO2 (BV 55 UCU) is an East Lancs bodied Scania previously operated by Blue Triangle.  It is seen at Stratford.

SOC9 (LX 08 ECY) ia a Scania OmniCity, also seen at Stratford.

ED23 (LX 07 BYO) is an MCV Evolution bodied Dart, seen at Ilford.

After my weekend in East London I decided to make a stop on the way home at the Pump House and Steam Transport Museum at Walthamstow where there was an exhibition marking the centenary of the B type bus.  The only B type actually present was the museum's own 2/3 scale replica but to make up for that the star of the day was a replica of Walter Hancock's 1833 steam bus which was giving rides on the road outside.  It rather looks as if there should be a horse in front!  The turning circle has to be seen to be believed!


From Stephen Le Bras 

"I was up in London today (Sat 5th June)  but no sign of Derby Day open top buses - probably as several roads around Victoria are closed or blocked. You can now catch a 16 or 82 around the corner from stop T besidep Grosvenor Gardens, rather than having to change buses. Long may it stay.

Stagecoach 50231 was on the Manchester run."

From James May

The Coastliner route 700 is being upgraded today. It is every 15minutes all the way from Portsmouth to Brighton, with extra journeys still between Littlehampton and Brighton, which bring the frequency up to every 10minutes here.

Worthing are receiving a large number of Enviro300 single decks to help this increase, and the majority that will be allocated to route 700 are being branded as illustrated here. 15604 (GX10HBO) is obviously different, a Scania N230UD/E400, but shows the new branding on the front. 

From Samuel Wong 

My name is Samuel Wong and I am interested in buses since little. I am a fan of your site and wish to keep getting the latest news from your site. I am on holiday in Oxford at the moment and I have been doing some spotting. So nice to meet you and have a good day. 

ps. I have got my own bus website which is called the Samuelsbus, and it is mainly based in Hong Kong but with some of the UK buses and coaches photos. Sorry for some of the information is in Chinese.  

Here is the link: 

And so on to fleet news with individual company happenings.

The coaches transferred from Arriva Midlands have been given different fleet numbers to those originally advised so here they are again

VDL SB4000 Van Hool T9 Alizee C49FT

4070 YJ55KZS ex Arriva Midlands 3204

4071 YJ54CFE ex Arriva Midlands 3203

4072 YJ53VFY ex Arriva Midlands 3206

4073 YJ03PFX ex Arriva Midlands 3202

4074 YJ04BKF ex Arriva Midlands 3207

4075 YJ54CFF ex Arriva Midlands 3208

4076 YJ05PVT ex Arriva Midlands 3201

Scania K340EB4 Caetano Levante C49FT

4104 FJ56PCX ex Arriva Midlands 3251

4105 FJ56PCY ex Arriva Midlands 3250

4106 FJ56PCZ ex Arriva Midlands 3252

4107 FJ56PDK ex Arriva Midlands 3253

4108 FJ56PDO ex Arriva Midlands 3254

4109 FJ56OBP ex Arriva Midlands 3255

DAF SB3000 Van Hool T9 Alizee C51FT

4360 T209 XVO ex Arriva Midlands 4699 (This has been very recently re-registered from 815 DYE)

From Arriva London have come the following Dennis Dart SLFs 3223 (S308 JUA) ex DDL8 3224 (S307JUA) ex DDL7 and 3370 (S309 JUA) ex DDL9. the first two are at Garston whilst 3370 is at Hemel.

Allocation changes have been 2461 WE - WB: 2462 WE - AY: 3186 GR - GRw: 3190 WB - HH: 3368, 3369 HA - HAu: 3842, 3844, 3853 WB - WBw: 5097 AYw - AY: 5121 WBw - AYw: 5132 WB - WBw: 

From Michael Penn 

Michael remarks that "there's an oddity with recently acquired buses. I was at Watford on Friday and I saw that Arriva The Shires has two ex Arriva Southend Dennis Darts 3186 and 3204 (P186/204 LKJ).  As you will see they duplicate the fleet numbers of P186 SRO and R204 RBM but it doesn't appear to be the case that they simply haven't got round to changing them.  They have certainly been repainted very recently into the new style Arriva livery (I suspect after the transfer) as I photographed one of them at Southend in April when it was in the original Arriva livery.  They also have some ex Arriva London Darts 3222-4 (S316/08/07 JUA) and 3370 (S309 JUA).  They are certainly doing some strange things with fleet numbers."

From Peter Cabin. 

On “shed” at Wycombe 120610 

Buses parked up at Arriva High Wycombe garage Saturday 12th June 2010. 

SCANIAS N695EUR.   N708EUR.   N712EUR.   

VOLVOS P601RGS.   W452XKX.   W453XKX.(fire victim) N414NRG.   N623FJO.   R370TWR.   KE05FMX.   KE05FMM.  

DAFs.   KE55CKU.   T490KGB. T494KGB.   

DARTS R210GMJ.   W482YGS.  

OLYMPIAN.   H202GRO. and two unidentified buses in the workshops.  However W482YGS. returned to service later on in the day.

From Glenn Knight 

3204 - P204LJK  Ex-Arriva Southend

3224 S307JUA  Ex-Arriva London

3223 S308JUA  Ex-Arriva London

3370 S309JUA  Ex-Arriva London

3574 KX09GZC has recently been re-painted into Interurban livery at Milton Keynes.

5431 W431XKX at RAF Halton Open Day.(11th June) all over ad for  Mix 96

From Andrew Morgan 

ARRIVA BUS OF THE FUTURE (or now should it be BUS OF THE PAST as this year it is 8 years old ?) in Hemel on route 500.

Pictures from readers.

A number of interesting pictures have been submitted by readers.

Following the accident earlier this year to one of the Park & Ride fleet in Wycombe other buses often substitute on the 100 service.
3863, the unbranded Volvo is often used as seen in this picture from Gavin Francis taken on June 10th 2010.

No one was injured in the fire which engulfed Volvo 3453 at Handy Cross last week.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Wycombe depot often sees vehicles from other local depots in for engineering work.
however the visit of a National Express Levante from MK is perhaps unusual.
0424, FJ09DXR is seen on 10th June at Cressex depot by Gavin Francis.

Branded buses straying off their designated route is always one for the camera.
In the picture above Gavin Francis caught Aylesbury based Trident 5431 on the 280 in Oxford, far from its 500 Watford branded route.

From Noel Clark

"Readers may be aware of the RTA at Handy Cross on Friday afternoon that brought much of the area to a standstill, here’s a picture I took on the phone at 17:33 in the bus station just as the evening peak should have been in full swing – only L556 present. Most surreal!"

From Glenn Knight

Scania 748 on the 311 to Waltham Cross by Glenn Knight.

Charlton Services 

From Alex Rose 

I just thought I would send in a photo of Charlton Services Y372 KNB taken on a recent trip to Legoland....

From John Hammond

Seen on a recent visit to this company.

FIL 6689 - on the ramps -
(I remember driving this coach on a trip to Scotland some five or more years ago. It performed faultlessly. Ed.)

B9 BST & G648 EVV

YJI 5277 - Leyland Tiger now being used for spares

Leyland Tiger H459 FLD

M40 BUS & GAZ 8573 make an interesting fleet profile contrast.

S822 NNV - Mercedes mini coach in the livery of Country Lion of Northampton.

R848 JGD - Mercedes Vario

Y372 KNB - Volvo

Gavin Francis sent a nice picture of a Charlton coach in St Giles on June 8th working their only local bus service, the 94.


From Glenn Knight 

An operator that I had not heard of before.
WU54 DYX Mercedes Benz on the 327 in Luton. For a number of years the contracted vehicle was a Dart.


Steve Warwick notes the following changes:-

FJ05 ANX Volvo B12M Ssg re-registered to C6 HTL on 18/5/2010

YC02 CHJ Volvo B12M Ssg re-registered to C7 HTL on 20/5/2010

Little Jims 

From Glenn Knight 

The current bus being used by this company on its 502 service, Mercedes Vario W806 PKS.


A Caetano Levante at SR is C102 (FJ10 EZV). A couple of depot swaps C002 SR - SH: C063 SR - CY: C065 SH - SR

One of the latest additions to the Selwyn's fleet caught in London by Gavin Francis.
Service 418 is a newish service from London to Wrexham via Llangollen.

One of the South Gloucester Levante tri-axles caught in London by Gavin Francis.
The super rear ad for Eastnor Castle is a new addition.

Details of the new batch of 20 Scania deckers are as follows. (with thanks to Oxford bus for the information.) These buses are now entering service on various routes in Oxford. so far no branding has been applied and they really do look "straight out of the box".

212    AF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868444    ADL Enviro400    9425/1    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

213    BF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868445    ADL Enviro400    9425/2    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

214    CF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868446    ADL Enviro400    9425/3    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

215    DF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868544    ADL Enviro400    9425/4    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

216    EF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868545    ADL Enviro400    9425/5    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

217    FF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868546    ADL Enviro400    9425/6    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

218    GF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868547    ADL Enviro400    9425/7    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

219    HF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868639    ADL Enviro400    9425/8    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

220    JF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868640    ADL Enviro400    9425/9    H51/29F    Jun-10 City

221    KF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868759    ADL Enviro400    9425/10  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

222    LF10 OXF    Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868760    ADL Enviro400    9425/11  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

223    MF10 OXF   Scania N230UD    SZAN4X20001868753    ADL Enviro400    9425/12  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

224    OF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868853    ADL Enviro400    9425/13  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

225    PF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868854    ADL Enviro400    9425/14  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

226    RF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868751    ADL Enviro400    9425/15  H51/29F    Jun-10 City

227   SF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868955    ADL Enviro400    9425/16   H51/29F    Jun-10 City

228   TF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868956    ADL Enviro400    9425/17   H51/29F    Jun-10 City

229   UF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868957    ADL Enviro400    9425/18   H51/29F    Jun-10 City

230   VF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868958    ADL Enviro400    9425/19   H51/29F    Jun-10 City

231  WF10 OXF    Scania N230UD   SZAN4X20001868959    ADL Enviro400    9425/20   H51/29F    Jun-10 City

From Hugh Jaeger 

In Spottings & Jottings 27 you mention the first of Oxford Bus Co's Enviro400's reaching Scania at Abingdon. This morning more than one of them has entered service on route 2.
I took the attached photo's at the Summertown Shops northbound stop.

Pictures by Hugh Jaeger

They were only quick snaps as at the same time I was looking out for the Stagecoach 17 to take me home and it was running late. If I get a chance I will try to take better photo's of a new OBC Scania in good light, with the sun the right way round, with the right graduated filter and all. However I am unlikely to find time this week, so if you get time take some good photo's before I do, please do!
I wish you success in launching the Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts' Society. I will tell Bus Users UK members in Oxfordshire in my next monthly mailing to them. A few of my members are enthusiasts as well as campaigners so they may be interested.
Likewise if OBES attracts any members who want also to campaign for better bus services, please will you tell them about Bus Users UK?

From Richard Sharman 

909 passing Weston on the Green on the A34 Northbound with O Licence and Ticket machine removed on Saturday the 5th of June heading for a new home.
Picture by Richard Sharman.

Brand new 213 waits for time in Grovelands in this picture from Richard Sharman taken on 13th June.

An unusual working by Citaro 855, branded for Abingdon services was on June 5th when 855 was seen on 300 road at St Giles.

A selection of the new Enviro 400s taken by Gavin Francis over the past few days.

The old and the new, 102 working 500 road passes brand new Enviro 214 on 2 road. Picture by Gavin Francis taken on June 5th.

The days of the remaining three Dart SLFs is numbered and above Gavin Francis caught 408 outside the Randolph on 6 road (5th June).

The new double decks are set to replace the Citaros on 2 road and therefore the branding is being removed form the batch so far used on that route.
Picture by Gavin Francis on June 12th.

I am most grateful to John Carter for providing pictures of ex Oxford espress coaches now working in Ireland. Their livery seems most suited to this "green" country. They were sold as a batch (18-22) in May 2008 to Padraig Naughton & O’Neachtain Tours and are still giving good service as can be seen. I am unaware of the original fleet numbers of the coaches in detail but the pictures reveal something.

Coach 22 (W22OXF) is seen in the above picture in its new home.

Not sure about the original details on this one as the fleet number is no longer in place in the window.

I must recommend readers to the following web site and look at the tours page. I think they used a Corgi model for the advert?


From Glenn Knight 

V119 LGC has returned back from re-spray

My wife and I went to Aylesbury for lunch yesterday and past the Red Rose depot on the Thame Road. I was surprised to see a Red Line decker in the depot???

Red Rose

From Glenn Knight 

YX08HBZ on the 343 in Dunstable.
(Saw this bus near Thame yesterday Ed.)

From Andrew Morgan 

still in EAST YORKSHIRE colours and with name still over second offside window.

Gavin Francis caught the Red Rose decker coming through Stokenchurch on June 11th.
I wonder if this bus would ever appear on the 275 to Oxford!


R H BusesFr

From John Hammond

............................who visited the RH depot in Witney on the 4th June.


Y363UOM & W996JNF



MX05OTJ in Railbus livery.



New Hybrid deckers – fleet details. The first complete buses are already around with one being reported in Guildford. On Thursday 10th June a group of local officials visited the depot at Horspath to see one of the new Hybrid chassis and to have the working details explained. It is reported that all were most impressed.

The chassis is seen on the previous evening being used for Engineering staff training.
One can notice the changed front axle. This chassis is the third from the Manchester order and is set to become 12029 in that fleet.

These chassis are moved from Guildford to the body builders two at a time on transporters.
Thus two were left for 24 hours at Oxford and the other was one of the more normal Enviro 400s in a further Manchester order.
It is seen in the yard at Horspath waiting collection with the Hybrid.

I am pleased to be able to reveal details of the Oxford order for 26 Hybrid buses. They take the Stagecoach fleet number series originally reserved for ex London Routemasters. The continuing use of Oxford registration numbers is noteworthy.

From Robert Williams  

Fleet Number

ADL Enviro 400 Hybrid
Cummins Engine

Chassis Number

Body Number

Registration Number


Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)





Oxfordshire (Oxford)




Further new deliveries are of two Optare Solos for the recently gained contracts including route 20.

SCO 47735 on route 12 during its first day in service, 14th June 2010. Photos by Peverel.

SCO 47736 waits for entry into service in this picture from Gavin Francis.

The two buses are 47735, OU10 GFE and 47736 OU10 GFG.

From Richard Sharman 

Former Oxford Tube coach 18,H69CFJ- the first New Volvo brought for the service has returned to Oxfordshire and is now with McLeans at Witney, it was latterly operating as MUD 490 with McColl, Gartochan. 

From Marcus Lapthorn 

The 7 long wheelbase M A N 's that were obtained for the 66 route about 2 years ago have turned out to be the least reliable buses operated by Stagecoach West ever! On one day recently all seven had failed so I wonder what operated the route that day! Already two of the seven have needed to have replacement engines fitted!

The gear box problems are being tackled by downloading a new piece of software onto each bus. This should ensure that the most appropriate gear shift takes place and not necessarily the next gear up or down. 

All seven will need replacement radiators and the fan speed is going to have to be reset. 

The short wheelbase M A N's at Gloucester are not suffering from the problems being experienced by their long wheelbase brothers. 

The problems are not confined to Stagecoach West, as Stagecoach in East Kent are also suffering with these issues on their long wheelbase M A N s/ds.

The problems are taking a long time to resolve, in part allegedly because  MAN factories in Germany are only working a 3 day week!

22624 pictured by Richard Sharman.

Richard caught 33957 working a turn on the 66 on June 5th.

Other Oxford news

Oxford depot often sees new buses heading for the south coast and last week was no exception when two new Enviro 300s called for fuel on their way down from the distribution centre at Leyland near Preston. Chris Maxfield took the pictures.

Another transfer to Oxford from Banbury sees one of the ex Manchester Volvo B6s, once prolific at Oxford, return for use on the 16.

Again Chris Maxfield took this picture of 31331 which joins 31320 in bringing the Volvo B6 back to Oxford.

Last week saw problems beset one of the National Express Levantes used by SC Oxford on the 737 route to Luton and Stansted. 59211 will be off the road for sometime to come and a temporary replacement may be sourced from another operator pending the arrival of the new Volvo/Plaxton Elites now said to be arriving the third week in July. The five Levantes (59211-5) are then due to move to Stagecoach East Kent at Dover.

Gavin Francis caught Dart 34471 on a 59 working in Oxford showing off its new destination display on June 5th.

The ex Warwickshire batch of Darts, 33650-5, are being repainted after body overhauls and 33650 is seen in Oxford on June 5th by Gavin Francis.

In a move allowing the Volvo training coaches to be sold, some Alexander PS service buses are finding their way into Stagecoach training fleets.
One such bus is 20933 which has come to Oxford from Manchester and is expected to be joined by another shortly.
Picture taken on June 12th by Gavin Francis.

A surprise allocation to the Sunday S3 provided by SC Warwickshire was this Olympian in unirider livery, 16619 operated the service last Sunday, 13th June.
Picture by Andrew Johnson.


Some recent workings on the Megabus services from Scotland to Victoria, London were recorded by Gavin Francis. The coaches being used were generally not in Megabus livery and added colour to the bus scene in London.

Who would have believed that Megabus have an Asda contract in London.
One of two recent Astromegas deliveries in London, 50231 heads for VCs and is later seen leaving en route to Manchester.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

From Stephen Simister 

"Just doing some web searches & see that this got a mention in your recent issue 24 as being disposed of by Stagecoach Warwickshire. If it's of interest, this has turned up recently with Regal Busways of Cooksmill Green, Chelmsford (Essex)."

I can confirm it's a fit little machine, put in a good turn of speed coming back on the A12 from Brentwood...!

From Tim Hall, Swindon. 

I enclose two photos of former stagecoach oxford buses ,now in different parts of the group first photo is of Olympian 16507 in Manchester as a magic bus and the other is of dart 32165 now with stagecoach Devon  in Exeter.


From Glenn Knight

BX54ECZ Ex-Bedfordshire County Council

Thames Travel

Three new ADL Enviro 200s have entered the fleet 110 (SN10 CCX), 210 (SN10 CCY) and 310 (SN10 CCZ). Also due are eight Optare Solos for use on Bracknell services, the first being YJ10 MFA.

From Mark E Lyons

I attach a couple of photographs showing the new order on those routes recently taken over from First Berkshire by Thames Travel.

All of the road-side publicity I saw had been updated.  There were also notices explaining the transitional arrangements for holders of First's period tickets. 

My understanding is that the Bracknell network will be covered by the Solos and the E200s will be used elsewhere.  That said, not all of the former had arrived in time so the three new E200s were drafted in pro tem.  TT's network is certainly expanding - it now stretches from Slough, by way of Bracknell, Maidenhead and Reading, to Oxford. 

From John Hammond

Some pictures from a visit to Thames Travel's Wallingford yard on Friday 4th June.

Two of the new Solos.

In Wallingford Sq and the old 501 which seems at the end of its career with Thames Travel.

Some white Darts which may be on temporary loan, see below.

M A N 857 on a 32 working in Wantage.

Present were two newly delivered Solo's (YJ10 MFP & YJ10 MFU), these are for the batch required with the newly won Bracknell routes. Also in the yard were three plain white Caetano Darts (HV52 WTK, KU02 YBA, KU02 YBF) which looked like they were on loan, they were being inspected by Dawson Rentals and I guess were on hire until the Solo's go out on the road.  

Also in the yard was ex OBC Dart 501, looks like it has finally been withdrawn. 

Tourex – School Bus Co. 

From John Hammond

A recent visit to the yard provided some interesting photos from John. 

LWL 743/4W  

M132 DEC 

RML 2340 & F86 TDL  

C17 OST, 966 MKE & PIL 6579 - all Tigers 

PIL 6578


From Andrew Morgan 

All UNO buses are to be fitted with digital route displays ( many uno staff think that it was a waste of time and money that the Tridents were not done first as they had to have new blinds made to fit them when they were repainted ) plus UNO PLAXTON POINTER 2 DENNIS DART MPD 8.8m DMP105 (KC03 PGU) carries its new type code (DMP) on all four sides along with the new white fleet numbers this is the only buses at the minute fitted like this all others only have the one with the fleet number under the drivers window . 

Some news on UNO WRIGHT CADET DAF SB120 773 (X773 EVS) which is back with uno after being impounded by the police since a accident last July.

VOLVO OLYMPIAN 252 (N430 FKK) has not been sold it is still in the corner of the yard at Hatfield for sale.

The final type code is as follows :

SNL=SCANIA OMNILINK (fleet no.353-354) 

Finally found it out as saw 353 today (1/6/10) and it is now carrying the new code with the new white fleet numbers.

Also last Tuesday (25/5/10) there was a bus fire just outside Stevenage bus station involving one of Arriva's Stevenage based ENVIRO 300s. I do not know which one or on which route or how it started but do know that nobody was hurt. I had heard about the fire last week but did not know at that time any further details until today.

From Glenn Knight

DC153 UN55UNO in St Albans showing the PlusBus livery.


The three Leyland Olympians that were acquired from Jeffs, Helmdon in November last year, SCK226X, WWL211X and DBV137Y have gone to Wigley, Carlton (dealer).

Just to re-cap on the current state of the Neoplan Skyliners, and the registrations they currently carry (SF56TYC) now W50OOW, (KSK953) now W70OOW, (SF56OLM) now W90OOW, (OO02TEN) now W30OOW, (MAC96P) now W40OOW and (W11WAY) now W60OOW.

From John Hammond 

Weavaway vehicles helping out Didcot this morning, 9th June, following the signal power failure.


End of an era for Oxfordshire operator.

WORTH'S Coaches, of Enstone, withdrew its No 69 Chipping Norton-Charlbury-Witney bus service on Saturday, May 29.

The firm says that it is unable to compete with RH Buses’ X9 service, which is subsidised by Oxfordshire County Council.

The firm also ended its No 71 Chipping Norton-Banbury services, which ran on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Worth’s private hire and contract coach services are not affected by the changes and will continue to operate as usual.

On a personal note your Editor remembers pictures of an ex North Western Bristol K5G double decker working the Enstone-Oxford service. I remember this bus before and after rebodying when working in Cheshire when I was so much younger than now!

It would be nice to have some pictures of the last day of operations. Did anyone record anything?


Major news

Optare wins £8.5m orders 

Despite the current tough trading conditions all manufacturers are facing in the new bus market, Optare has just announced that it is receiving strong support from the independent sector with orders for 75 buses received so far in the second quarter, to a value of around £8.5 million.

“This shows that the independent sector is continuing to invest despite difficult trading conditions,” says Optare’s commercial director, Glenn Saint. “Much of this is repeat business resulting from the long-standing and close working relationship we have with independent operators, and particularly some of the larger companies.

“They value our flexibility in producing buses that are tailored to their operating needs and the choice we are able to offer in terms of engines and alternative fuel systems. And their comments are very positive in respect of build quality, low cost of operation - particularly good fuel efficiency, and after-sales support.”

The orders cover every model in the Optare range from Slimline Solos to Olympus double-deckers. And, while the majority are to a standard specification, there are some unusual vehicles including a trio of three-door Tempos for airport transfer work.

While Solo in its various guises remains numerically the best-selling bus with independent operators, Versa is proving to be increasingly popular. Operators ordering this model include Webberus, which is taking eight for the ‘Taunton Flyer’ park and ride service starting in the autumn.

An order from Nottingham City Transport (NCT) for a further eight Scania-chassied Omni-Dekkas follows hard on the heels of 10 delivered just two months ago. NCT, which has been the only customer for this former East Lancs product, now has more than 150 in its fleet.

Ipswich Buses has ordered a pair of Olympus double-deckers and Transdev LUT will take eight Tempos for its services in Lancashire.

Shaw quits First, as O’Toole gets No. 2 job 

In a shock announcement to the Stock Exchange this morning, FirstGroup has revealed that Nicola Shaw Director UK Bus, Ireland and Germany is quitting First to “pursue alternative business interests.” She leaves two weeks today (30 June 2010).

Instead, Tim O'Toole – MD of London Underground until 2009 - joins, taking on the new posts of Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, starting on Monday (14 June).

Ms Shaw had been widely tipped as a potential successor to Chief Executive Sir Moir Lockhead, following the 2009 departure of ‘heir apparent’ Dean Finch, who recently became National Express Group CEO.

Replacing Ms Shaw on an “interim basis” is Mary Grant, MD of First’s Rail division, who will extend her current role and assume responsibility for the Group's Bus division.

Dave Kaye resigns from First 

In a surprise announcement, FirstGroup Bus Division Chief Operating Officer Dave Kaye, has resigned to take up a “new opportunity” with an undisclosed competitor operator. He has been with First for more than 30 years.

The news of his resignation revealed today (Thursday), is said not be linked to yesterday's that FirstGroup Director UK Bus, Ireland and Germany Nicola Shaw is leaving the PLC on 30 June 2010, while former London Underground MD, Tim O'Toole joins to become Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive.

Making the announcement this morning Mary Grant, MD of First’s Rail division who is now responsible on an interim basis for the Group's Bus division, said: “As a result, I will be reviewing the organisational structure of the bus division.”

East London Bus Group sale 

The board of East London Bus Group has confirmed the proposed sale of the business. Chief Executive Officer Jon Gatfield says that it “will offer the best solution given the urgency of our situation. We can’t risk further disruption to the public or TfL and consequent financial damage to the company if there is an alternative approach.”

Oxfordshire County Council's changes to subsidised bus services in the Oxford and Abingdon 

From Hugh Jaeger, Oxford Chairman, Bus Users UK. 

Hugh writes "Changes to various areas were implemented this week. I haven't been able to get round all of them but here are two of the most significant."
Route 12 Sunday service
Sunday 6th June was the first day of the new Sunday service on route 12, which was campaigned for by residents and particularly elderly people in Greater Leys. I unfortunately was unable to be there to witness the first day of Sunday services. The best I can offer you is the attached photo of a Stagecoach 20 that I took back in February 2009.
New route 20 Monday - Saturday
Nothing was going to stop me from taking part in the launch of the new route 20 between Rose Hill and Cowley!
Routes 3 and 4 give Rose Hill very frequent links with Iffley Road, the city centre and Oxford railway station, but the only direct bus link between Rose Hill and Cowley was the 87 making one journey per day, two days per week. Rose Hill residents campaigned tirelessly for a better bus link with Cowley, lobbying local councillors, Oxfordshire County Council and I expect the bus companies too. Last year Rose Hill Tenants' and Residents' Association asked me to add Bus Users UK's name to the campaign.
I was delighted to help. I met members of the TRA and heard what they wanted. I looked at Oxford City Council's plans to regenerate economically disadvantaged areas of east Oxford including Rose Hill and saw how a better bus link would help those plans. Rose Hill is one of a small number of Oxford neighbourhoods with a relatively high unemployment rate, and I noted that although it had good bus links with central Oxford it had no bus links to any major centre of employment in east Oxford. I noted also that it had no bus link with east Oxford's main Tesco at Oxford Retail Park.
I note also that Cowley's Templars Square shopping centre has a lot of empty and boarded up shops, and the fact that a number of areas in east Oxford had poor bus links with Cowley was not helping retailing in Cowley to recover from the recession.
Oxfordshire County Council was reviewing the bus services that it subsidises in the Oxford area. Both Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company had managed to increase ridership on a number of routes to the point at which they no longer needed revenue support. Therefore there was a few hundred thousand pounds per annum available to redistribute to enhance other services. I proposed a number of improvements, but I proposed that the highest priority should be a new service six days per week, once every hour to link Rose Hill not only with the main shops in Cowley. I suggested that the route should continue past Oxford Business Park to the BMW factory and Oxford Retail Park.
Oxfordshire County Council deliberated. A suggestion filtered out unofficially that it could introduce a daily service during off-peak hours only at minimal cost, because this could make use a bus that was currently on the road during peak hours only. Rose Hill residents said no: the suggestion would be better than nothing but it would not help anyone to get to and from work. I said the same.
The County Council deliberated some more. Finally white smoke emerged from the Vatican and the College of Cardinals announced "Habeas omnibum". Rose Hill would have a new hourly bus link with Cowley, that during Monday to Friday morning and evening peak hours it will extend past Oxford Business Park and BMW to Unipart, and on Saturdays certain journeys will extend to Oxford Retail Park. The route would even have a hail and ride loop around Rose Hill estate to get close to the homes of as many residents as possible. The new service is pretty much everything that I and the residents of Rose Hill wanted it to be.
However, one detail bothered me. The proposal was to continue calling it route 87: the number of the previous service that it was to replace. In Oxfordshire, all routes numbered 71 to 90A are minimal subsidised services making one or two journeys per day, one or two days per week. Routes in Oxford that run once or more per hour, six or seven days per week are all numbered from 1 to 17C. Should the new service be re-numbered to make it seem more like Oxford's other city routes?
I e-mailed Oxfordshire County Council's subsidised bus manager Allan Field and Stagecoach in Oxfordshire manager Martin Sutton. I welcomed the planned new service but tentatively suggested that keeping "87" gave the wrong idea and a much lower number might make the new route more catchy. Also announcing it as an entirely new service with a different number would make it more of a new departure.
I pointed out that there were several vacancies in the 20's, and especially since Stagecoach had renumbered routes 20 and 27 to S3 and S5. Martin quickly replied that choosing the right number for a route could help and the idea was worth considering. A few weeks later the County Council and Stagecoach happily announced that it would indeed be Route 20.
Soon after the announcement, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire marketing manager Chris Child was in touch with me about promoting the launch of the new service. He said they would certainly consider delivering a route 20 timetable to every home in Rose Hill, and that type of delivery was not a big expense. I was keen for a launch with as much enticement as possible for the local news media to report it. Never pay a newspaper to advertise you if you can get its news editor to publicise you for free! Chris and I sent our respective news releases to the Oxford Mail, whose transport reporter Chris Walker gave us excellent coverage.
The launch itself was at The Oval in Rose Hill. Stagecoach parked a spare Optare Solo on the grass, garlanded with balloons in Stagecoach colours. Tables appeared with a generous and tasty cold buffet. Councillors, council officers and Stagecoach managers and drivers rubbed shoulders with delighted residents. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire managing director Martin Sutton and Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for transport Cllr. Rodney Rose made their speeches. Then Martin introduced two of the drivers who will regularly operate the route, and the ribbons (plural, one in each colour of Stagecoach's livery) were ceremonially cut.
This is not quite the end of route 20's launch. Within the next few days Stagecoach in Oxfordshire expects delivery of two brand new Optare Solos: one each for routes 17 and 20. As well as meeting current EU emissions limits the new vehicles will have Real Time Information equipment, which I have long argued is particularly needed on low-frequency routes.
Martin issued an invitation to every passenger. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire wants the 20's new bus to have a name. Everyone is invited to propose a name, and the winner will win a year's free travel on Stagecoach in Oxfordshire!
Shown below are a few of the photo's that I took at the launch.

Launch of new route 20 by Hugh Jaeger

The Oxford Mail prominently featured the launch of route 20 and reminded readers about the new Sunday service on route 12:
Two Stagecoach drivers in my photo's who will be operating the new route 20 are Tej Limbu and Matt Egerton.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire recognises that low-frequency community bus routes are more attractive to passengers if they have a short rota worked mostly by a small number of regular drivers who not only get to know the route very well but also get to know regular passengers and become part of their extended community. This is part of the charm of the 17 serving Jericho and Cutteslowe, and Martin Sutton and his management team have deliberately applied a similar formula to the new route 20.
Since I e-mailed you the weather's been very grey every day so I still haven't managed to take a brighter photo of one of Oxford Bus Co's new Enviro400's. I am also on the lookout for Stagecoach's two brand new Optare Solos, one each for routes 17 and 20. The BBC predicts "sunny intervals" for Saturday and Sunday. If I manage to be in the right place at the right time and the right bus turns up, you'll be the first to know!

The launch of the new service when Martin Sutton, various local dignitaries and the two drivers mentioned above were shown at the launch. Pictures by Hugh Jaeger.

47316 operates route 20 on its first day. Picture by Hugh Jaeger.

A wider view of events by Chris Maxfield.

Huge bus blaze at Handy Cross

A HUGE bus fire on the Handy Cross roundabout forced the closure of the A404 on Saturday 5th June.

An out-of-service Arriva bus was heading back to High Wycombe from Henley when it caught fire at around 8.10pm, spitting flames more than 20ft into the air.

The vehicle was not carrying passengers at the time and the bus driver escaped unharmed.

Fire-fighters spent more than 90 minutes tackling the blaze, which closed the northbound carriageway of the A404 between Marlow and Handy Cross.

Police re-opened most of the carriageway at 9.45pm but the lane in which the bus caught fire remains closed.

The Highways Agency and Transport for Buckinghamshire are currently at the scene carrying out repairs to the lane which was badly damaged in the fire.

Watch manager Andy Ward from High Wycombe fire station said: “It looks like an electrical fault caused the fire.

The bus driver smelt the smoke, he pulled over on the roundabout, switched off the vehicle, looked at the engine and it was well alight. He was fine, he took it all in his stride.”

Marlow Bottom resident Mark Chapman was driving home up Marlow Hill when he saw the billowing smoke at around 8.30pm. He sent in these dramatic photos.

He said: “It was pretty spectacular. We were driving home from the High Wycombe direction and as we came up Marlow Hill we saw the smoke but not the fire. As we drove up to the roundabout we then saw the bus, with flames shooting up about 20ft or

more into the air.  The fire-fighters and police had just got onto the scene and were closing the roads off."

The driver remarked to a passing motorist who stopped that he thought the bus was overheating. He said he stopped the bus to have a look and the next minute it was up in flames.


From David Percy 

1. Cheddar Gorge 1977, the sign speaks for itself, I wonder if it is still there! 

2. London Country had a handful of Nat Ex liveried coaches for private hire work, no fleet numbers, but SPK205M is seen at Cheddar Gorge in 1977. 

3. Classic Cheltenham, again 1977. an Eastern Scottish coach rubs shoulders with some local favorites. 

4. Again, classic Cheltenham, round the back of the coach station, prior to the 15.00 departure time. 

5. 1978, two images taken from Carfax tower, note not just the buses, but the delightful period vehicles! 

I used to buy my pipe tobacco from the (long closed) shop on the right!

Now some pictures taken in Gloucester Green in 1975.

1. Just off the 290 from London via High Wycombe, COMS Bristol RE/ECW DP nr 77.
I remember travelling on these from Uxbridge to Stokenchurch. It was always a most satisfying experience.
They were warm, comfortable and very fast. Ed.

2. The COMS unique Daimler Roadliner 640 with Alexander bodywork.

3. One of the lightweight Fords, 662, used by COMS and seen in Gloucester Green.

4. Finally United Counties reached Oxford from far off places like Bedford and as seen here Bletchley.
Wonder how you would get to Bletchley now. Ed.

From Mick Payne 

Congratulations on maintaining the high standard of your bus pages. Thought you might like a bit of local nostalgia I snapped at the Quainton Bus Rally on Bank Holiday Monday. Lodekka KBD712D was the last half cab decker in service with United Counties at Luton. Remember this bus from when we moved to Bletchley in the 70s. Was then based at Stony Stratford but spent most of its time out stationed at Bletchley for the Town service. Westcliff-on-Sea's pre-war K5G evokes memories of those Eastern National /United Counties contemporaries (in green, of course) based at Aylesbury in the 50s. A survivor, GNO699 I recall was still at work when I was at school in the early sixties. Lastly, it was good to see the little GS turned out in LT livery for the 397. Amersham Garage had a dozen or so of these that roamed the hills between Penn and Tring on routes 348 Chesham - Buckland Common/St Leonards, 397 Chesham -Tring and 398 Amersham - Beaconsfield which interworked with a route (number of which escapes me) between Beaconsfield and Penn. Nowadays, of course, you are lucky to come across a bus on a lot of these roads.

Pictured at Quainton road by Mick Payne.

From Keith Shayshutt 

A short story about ex COMS VR AUD460R

Back in the late seventies I used to drive for Midland Red at Digbeth, Birmingham. My usual Sunday late shift was the X50 from Birmingham to Oxford, 1640 ex Birmingham and 2100 ex Oxford with a Leopard. The corresponding working was worked by a Chipping Norton VR and we always used to pass at Stratford as I went southbound and Long Compton as I returned northbound. Usually this VR was AUD460R.

Yesterday, Saturday 5 June 2010, I was driving for Norfolk Green in The Fens on route 56 from Wisbech to March. This parallels, and in fact competes with, Emblings 380 between the same two towns. To my surprise yesterday Emblings had allocated Bristol VR AUD460R. We passed each other about three or four times during the course of the day. Sadly I was unable to get a photo.

I would never have believed that over 30 years later I would be sharing the same route with AUD460R again! 

From Glenn Knight

Glenn has contributed some excellent pictures of an elderly Bristol VR still giving service of sorts at Booker Airfield near High Wycombe. 

Bristol VR ECW VVV951W ex-United Counties 951 & Luton & District/Arriva 5051 still going strong at Booker Airfield
but with damage around rear, front & sides. the doors have to be manually opened and closed. 

From Jim Tonge. 

Geoff Cunliffe pointed me towards your web page covering the Oxford Tube, which I find fascinating, and that led me on to the Oxford-Chiltern Bus page and the attached photograph. I was pleased to note that you recalled this bus when it was new. At that time my grandmother lived in Craig-y-Don and I spent three weeks of the summer holiday there before I joined the Royal Navy as an Artificer Apprentice, but that is another story. Crosville Motor Services at that time were running ECW bodied Leyland PD1s supported by some PD2s between Llandudno and Rhyl and we were seeing Leyland Tiger TS7s being rebuilt together with Leyland Lions making the long trek to ECW for new bodies. Happy days indeed. 

The picture not only revived memories of the Great Orme bus service but also took me back to the Dennis Toastracks which, if I remember correctly were still going at that time. You might have found the photograph scary but it made me feel positively ancient! 

My thanks for two very interesting items and thanks also for reviving the memories.

We try to please. Ed.

Upcoming events, Trips & Running Days 

Olympian trip in our area on Saturday 24th July 2010

From Chris Martin

I'm writing to you as the provider of all information in the local area via your superb Oxford and Chiltern Bus Page to tell you about a trip I'm running in the area in a couple of months time. Firstly a bit of background; I organise trips for an online group dedicated to Leyland Olympians and we have previously visited Confidence in Leicester, Redfern in Mansfield and Alpine in Llandudno. We concentrate on the older Olympians (eg ECW bodywork) as these are so scarce in service now and our next trip will be based in High Wycombe where Heyfordian will be conveying us around the area for the day, we should ride on four different Olympians during the day and a visit to the Motts depot in Aylesbury is also included. If you would be kind enough to mention our trip on the Oxford and Chiltern bus page we would be very grateful, we tend to attract a handful of "locals" when we run these trips which provide a useful boost in numbers to our Olympian fans which come from far and wide. 

On SATURDAY JULY 24th I have arranged that we will visit Heyfordian for a day of activity on the often overlooked collection of old Leyland Olympians in the fleet there. Following a similar formula to our four previous trips on the old Olympians we will undertake a series of mini excursions around the area stopping on each trip to get our photos of the vehicle.

We will be aiming to ride on at least FOUR different Olympians from the collection of former North East area ECW bodied Olympians. 

The day will start and finish in High Wycombe and we will leave the Heyfordian depot in West Wycombe at 0945, picking up in Castle Street (ideal for rail station) in High Wycombe at 0955. Our first trip will take us out via Great Missenden to the Motts depot in Aylesbury where we have been kindly allowed to visit to see and photograph the vehicles there. We return to High Wycombe via Princess Risborough.

After swapping over buses we will head out through Stokenchurch to the small Heyfordian outbase in Yarnton which is just north of Oxford. This allows us to enjoy a long run on the bus and see and photograph the other Heyfordian vehicles. We will borrow one of the Yarnton vehicles for a trip into Oxford where we will take a one hour lunch break before returning the bus to Yarnton and running back to High Wycombe.

After another change of bus we will embark on a circular tour around Wycombe Marsh, Bourne End and Marlow- this trip will drop off in Castle Street in High Wycombe on the way back at around 1755 and our day will conclude at the depot in West Wycombe at around 1805. Each excursion has been planned so that we have plenty of time to stop a couple of times for photos of the bus away from the depot environment. 

As a courtesy to Motts Travel's helpfulness can I request that a hi-viz vest be worn at all times when within the depot. 

The price for a full day of unlimited travel is set at £15.00 per person, accompanied kids can ride for just £5.00. There is also a concessions fare of £12.50 available to any National Concession Card holder, and passengers who joined us on the Redfern/Johnsons Trip in Mansfield on May 1st can bring their pink leaflets with the discount voucher to claim £1.50 off any of those prices. 

THERE IS NO NEED TO PRE-BOOK, NOR IS THERE A NEED FOR AN "INVITATION", NOR IS THERE A REQUIREMENT TO BE A MEMBER OF THE LEYLAND OLYMPIANS YAHOO GROUP TO JOIN US. Sorry about the shouting bit, there does seem to be some confusion over that point! All you need to do is simply turn up on the day, hop on the bus and your friendly conductor will collect your fare during the journey. 

More information will be posted in the week before the date of our trip, so look out for updates. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have if you e-mail me at

I sincerely look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on this trip, please forward this message onto anyone else who you think may be interested and please cut and paste into other news groups- you don't need to be a member of the Leyland Olympians Yahoo group to join us and the success of these trips depends on getting enough passengers.

More pictures from Slough Running Day - inside an STL!

Wonderfully evocative pictures of the STL, 441 at Windsor and Slough by M Parsons.

Marcus Lapthorn visits South Wales. 

Had a brief trip to Wales where English concessionary passes are not valid of course! 

Richards Brothers seem to be the dominant local operator in the Cardigan area. Richard Bros have been operating buses since 1943 - their first bus a Bedford OWB utility bus had wooden seats. The company has been offering a superior service ever since. They now operate the bus services for the local regions including the Pembrokeshire Coast. 

Pic 479 at Haverfordwest railway station.

All in the area of Cardigan or at Cardigan bus station on Wed 9 June 2010 

The Poppit Rocket bus runs on recycled vegetable oil.

Running Days

Uxbridge Running Day by Peter Cartwright.

Just to let you and website readers know that programmes for the Uxbridge Running Day on 27 June are now available at £5 from the Tourist Information Centre in HW library in the Eden Centre. They can also be purchased on our website:  or for £5.50 including postage by post from me at 54 Guinions Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, HP13 7NX.  They sell for £6 on the day. 

HCVS The Ridgeway Run on Sunday 27th June 2010


A timely note to remind readers of the annual run from Windsor to Quainton Road.  Last year this produced a notable collection of vintage vehicles running via Marlow, Stokenchurch, Chinnor and Aylesbury.

The recent Slough Running Day From Malcolm Parsons. 

Sorry to be late with these but I noticed you haven't so far mentioned Slough running day so, although I'm sure many have already been submitted, here are a few pictures of STL441.

Last year, I recall, one of your correspondents was unable to travel on the vehicle and wondered what the interior is like. Hopefully, he got a ride this year, but in case not - and for others who missed out - here are a couple of interior shots of the upstairs. In the first the blinds are being changed - at High Wycombe bus station, notice the reflection of the bus on the glass 'walls' of the bus station.

The second interior shows the unusual single, bucket seats at the rear. Living in the right direction I was lucky enough to travel on the bus on its first and last journeys - to and from Staines. On the return run a stop was made at the traditional stand by Windsor Castle alongside a 'preserved' Air Mail Letter Box.

Buses in the Landscape 

From James May

I have a few buses in the landscape for you. Last year you may remember I supplied a few photos from Swanage, and I’ve been back down in the lovely Dorset town today. Please excuse the file sizes – some are large – but I thought if I send the originals then you can amend and edit as necessary. 

First photo – 1401 (HF09FVU) pictured at Swanage (Shore Road), along the seafront. The sun annoyingly went in just as the bus arrived.

Second photo – 1405 (HF09FVY) pictured in the same location, along Swanage seafront. It really is a lovely location for photography. 

Furthermore, I am not sure if you are aware but, in conjunction with Dorset County Council, First Hants & Dorset and Wilts & Dorset are operating a joint “X43” this summer, a new route that will connect Weymouth and Swanage. The service will operate daily from 24th July until 5th September, serving Corfe Castle, Wareham, Wool, Lulworth Cove and Osmington between the termini. I’ve been informed by sources within First H&D that the intended operation for the X43 are single deckers, which is a shame as one would expect some fantastic views from double deckers. Timetable available at 

Please feel no obligation to add these photos to your page, I understand that you have several themes and Swanage is quite out of area for a page focusing on Swanage! All photos at:

Just to quickly add something regarding my point on the new X43: 

I’ve just been informed that a meeting between Dorset CC and First Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset has taken place, and the offending trees will be cut back. Therefore double deckers will be used on this service.


Marcus adds a nice picture following recent contributions on Malta.

Model buses of a different variety in Malta.


From Peverel

I also manage a few photo's each weekday at Oxpens and can supply coach photo's from time to time if you like. Today, for instance, there were two brand new Clark's Merc Tourismo's BV10ZKE, ZKF (2 of ten they have I was told). An all white tri-axle Van Hool coach YJ10DCV and a brand new Barnes Bova WA10CFZ. 

Assorted others of course, but 10 regs are getting much more frequent at Oxpens now.


No not a tube with graffiti but a French visitor. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Chelsea Flower Show 2010 saw the usual special service operated by London General and one of the buses this year was RML2472.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Picture by Gavin Francis.

Forthcoming Events

Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day

Graeme Selway of the Devon & Dorset Group sent reminder that this year’s Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day will be on 20 June at Weymouth College from 10am.  Full details on our website at

As last year, there will be a free shuttle bus to the site from the railway station forecourt in the town centre, the first departures being 0955, 1045, 1115, 1145 then roughly hourly.  This facility may also be of use to people who prefer to park the car in the town centre car parks.  Buses will return to the railway station throughout the afternoon ahead of scheduled train departure times.  At the current time there do not appear to be any planned engineering works on the Weymouth lines on 20 June but please check with South West Trains or First Great Western before you travel.

Anyone who is still thinking about entering a vehicle for the event, please do so sooner rather than later if you wish get it in the programme before it goes to print!

Hopefully we will see you there for what should be another cracking day.  If you can’t make it (and even if you can!), don’t forget Torbay on 5 September

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.