Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 33 - September 7th 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

This issue covers a number of incidents involving vehicles in our area of interest. Two fires and a very disturbed young man who caused an Oxford Tube to overturn on the M40. On a more positive note the first 60 plates are appearing and we have a report on four new buses for Carousel giving me pictures of my first 60 plate.

We have an update from Geoff Cunliffe on the Blackpool scene and a rather unusual picture of a London "bendi" by eleven year old Liam.

An interesting loan of a National Express coach took place last month when one of the new Elites from Oxford was sent on loan to Stagecoach Gloucester when they were temporarily short of coaches for their 444 service to London.

Picture taken by Matt Turley of Stagecoach Gloucester.

Contributions have been really good once again and I hope everyone will enjoy this latest issue.

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

John Hammond writes that The Folly Bridge Inn is the location for the remaining meetings of 2010 and the dates are confirmed as:

John adds "I've moved December forward to the 2nd Tuesday because of Christmas party events etc later in the month."

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal

monthly social meeting in  Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held

on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture  show with local and guest

speakers.  A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually

around £1 per person per meeting depending on numbers.

Next meeting: 21st September 2010.

19.00 - 21.30pm

Meetings are held at:


Upstairs Function Room

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road


A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following look and we hope more of you will attend future meetings.

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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - September 7th 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.
It is interesting to note that a change in official attitudes to pictures is changing and even companies will not support bus drivers who are abusive or threatening!


Readers varied contributions

Neil Gow writes "Took an opportunity to go out and sample Tiger Line during the first week of the T5 and enclose some pictures."

Also saw Arriva the Shires ex City of Oxford Volvo B10B 3853 at Chesham.

Carousel ex London Volvo B7TL EVL4 at Chesham.

Arriva Dennis Dart SLF 3228 at Chesham

Our first Tiger of the day, Tiger Line UXI 1376 at Chesham on the T5. 
These Alexander Belfast built (the former Potters factory) vehicles give a smooth ride, although they rattle a bit more than the Mylleniums.

Alexander Q-type WXI 4384 at Hemel, working the company's T2 service to Watford.

The recently acquired Leyland Olympian that was once with City of Oxford, CUD 222Y is a backup vehicle for the T2.  It is used quite often, as it has a regular driver. 
This bus is fantastically well turned out for its age - a real credit to the company (and the previous owners)
and in marked contrast to the On a Mission vehicles featured on your last page.  It was pictured in Watford.

Also in Watford, Arriva's ex Southern Counties Dart SLF 3380 now has the correct fleet number applied.

A little later in the day, Tiger Line UXI 1377 was photographed in St. Albans

The T5 competes with Arriva's frequent service 300/301 over the Hemel Hempstead - Hatfield section. 
Arriva use route branded Alexander Dennis Enviros such as 3565 on the service.

Arriva still run a considerable number of Leyland Olympians at Aylesbury and Luton. 
Two of these, native 5086 and ex City of Oxford 5835 were seen on Luton town services at Runfold. 
5835 is probably the last Gardner engined bus in the fleet.

Seen three weeks earlier on 24th July was one of the Aylesbury based Olympians, 5099 at Buckingham.

And here's a picture of the Heyfordian Olympian that ran the Olympian tour on 24th July.  We just happened to be in the area as it came by.

Glenn Knight was out and about and sent several interesting pictures from operators in and outside our area.

Cedar Coaches, Bedford:

T682 KPU in Bedford on 152 to St. Neots Ex-East London

Stagecoach Cambus  Cowley Road Depot:


R109 XNO 16109

R113 OPS 52423 - Driver Training

R539 GSF 52440 - Driver Training

R541 GSF 52441 - Driver Training

R706 YUD 33806

R802 YUD 33802

S352 WVW 95127 - Crew Shuttle

T678 KPU 17078

Ralph Adams writes "The next round of council tenders is Witney. This includes:

X9 - Battle against Worth's who lost but the loadings do not look good at present with just RH

X15 - Half commercial, (Abingdon - north Southmoor). I use it on occasions and normally only 1 or 2 cash paying passengers, others are students or concessionaries (like me). Max passengers 8, often only 1 or 2, only once 15 when past Southmoor. I image it survives with Abingdon & Witney college subsidy.

Richard Sharman sent a number of interesting pictures taken in London & Oxford. 

Tube on a early Saturday Morning departure

Ex Oxford Levante

A former North West Stagecoach vehicle now in the South

Another Stagecoach Mistral on Megabus


London & Binders Yard Interlude by Gavin Francis

King Alfred Leyland Panther & Southern National 1159 in Binders Yard.

RM 577. This has been preserved to make it look like the original Silver Lady RM 664.
This bus has been chosen because it has the body originally carrying the stock number RM 664.
Just to add to the confusion I believe RM 664 still exists now reregistered 860 UXC so that could be preserved to be a twin!
So not only could this bus be preserved in Red and Silver but also in 1988 it was Southend No. 103
and by 1994 had become Reading Mainline No. 6 so 2 more possible liveries for it to wear!

Two more RMs seen by Gavin in binders Yard (Ward Jones) last month.

This Parks of  Hamilton Neoplan turned up at Victoria the other night. Thought we had seen the last of them a long time ago.
Not sure what the Rte. No. 4B is all about.
Also included is this bus when in operation on NEx services in September 2008.
Also I thought all the Parks Neoplans had gone?? Ed. 

RT 8
. Great to see the pictures of RT 8 on your page.
Look forward to seeing it ‘in the flesh’ soon possibly at Showbus. Looks like a real credit to the skilled staff at Ensigns.
I have attached 2 pictures of it.
One shows it operating on Rte 177 from New Cross Garage about 1953 and the other whilst possibly on loan to Streatham Garage at Epsom.
These two pictures are from Gavin's collection but sadly we don't know who took them. Ed.

An interesting coach from Bowens seen in Bulleid Way recently.

Some readers will remember my interest in Boris's bikes in London. Most nights when I pass by the above location it is full of bikes.
what a surprise when Gavin passed by the other day and there were no bikes at all.
does this mean the scheme is now a fantastic success?

Pictures all from Gavin Francis.


And so on to fleet news with individual company happenings.

It is sad to note that 3204 was totally destroyed by fire recently and the full story is under Jottings below.

Chris Farmer wrote about the operations at Harlow are reported being moved to TGM operation, but the situation is very clouded at the moment, so hopefully I will have more details for next time. Two Excel Scanias N169 PUT and N176 PUT have been noted along with a pair of Darts from Network Colchester S31 JUA and S313 JUA. Elsewhere Olympians 5110 an d5128 have finally left Aylesbury for scrap. Also leaving for the scrap man have been Volvo B10B 3089 and B6 3132, 3854 and 4491 are being used for spares at Wycombe and will not see service again. 

Chris adds "Just to let you know of some big changes in Harlow, that maybe of interest to your readers. 

Over the last few weeks, notices have started to appear on Arriva vehicles, stating that from the 16th August, Network Harlow would start operation and the services for the Town and surrounding areas would be rum by Arriva owned T.G.M Ltd. I have enclosed some pictures of the material that was put out on bus stands etc. The fare structure was also revised and saw most fares reduced on the old Arriva routes. 

The whole Town route system has seem a shake up, with some routes being taken over by new operators and others revised. Again I have enclosed some links to this information. 

Buses in the new livery have also started to appear as well, along with others that have been imported into the Town.

What will become of the more modern fleet over there remains to be seen but it seems that Arriva are looking to make the Town a "Value Bus" operation in response to some strong competition from some of the indies, in the form of new routes and running parallel to the existing Arriva routes."

Chris notes today (6th September) that Keith Valla's web site has a number of photos of Harlow operation including a nice picture of their 3417 (A Dart in red but with Arriva style fleet numbers, which readers may like to browse.

I note that the pictures on Keith's page show a wide variety of livery details and that the bus in red, 3417, is carrying TGM legals and using Arriva style fleet numbers!!!!

Nigel Peach writes "I notice that Park and Ride 3702 has returned to service, after its accident in Cressex during the snow. Also back in service is fire damaged Dart 3213 - the damage must have been more superficial than it looked - I'd expected it to be a write off."

Roland Clausen-Thue writes "Thanks for printing my note about the deckers on the 32 at Wycombe.  Ironically last Monday (23rd) they went one better, when five of the six workings were covered by 5147/50/1/3/62 along with 4429, and this time I can verify all five either by riding on them or observation." 

Adam Green writes with sightings on September 1st in Hemel Hempstead:

4365 was on 500 to Aylesbury
3834 was on 550 to Watford
3836 was on 320 to Maple Cross
668 was on 634 to Rail Station

Hemel news from James Allum

Saturday 4th Sept
3234 was on route 2 displaying Woodhall Farm only on blind
3834 is back in Hemel and was on route 3 but whether it has a Hemel blind or not is interesting as it was only displaying a Dayglow blank.

Monday 6th Sept
3190 on route 52
3196 on route 500
3234 on route 320
3175 on route s 4 and 5
3834 on route s 4 and 5

Another Hemel based bus has been repainted and is now back in service. First it was 3236 and now 3209 is back and was on the route 3 today (6th Sept).

Also to add to that 5455 was on the route 2 today (06/10) and 3176 is now been repainted too.

Does anyone have a paper copy of the following Hemel buses: 3175 (before repaint into Red and Cream), 3236 (before repaint), 3176 (before repaint), 3834, as is and 2179, in mid Tesco livery before wording?

Gavin Francis took these pictures of buses operating the 321 in recent days, Dart 3379 transferred from Southern counties and Olympian 5146.
I have only once seen a decker on the 321 some 12 months ago.

I took this picture of Solo 2497, normally working Line 40 but here seen on the 39 on the morning of September 1st.

Here we see red Dart 3838 basking in the Sunday sunshine at Cressex depot on August 30th.

Another Sunday shot of Cressex depot showing a visiting trainer in the corner.

Most times the destination displays don't come out but this one did, showing Olympian 5148 (STILL with 5&6 branding) leaving Wycombe for Marlow on September 1st.

The company surprised many of us on September 1st when it launched four brand new M A N 14.220 single deckers with ADL Enviro 200 bodywork. They took to the road fully branded for Line 4 Wycombe - Amersham/Chesham looking very smart indeed.

Details of the fleet numbers and registrations are as follows:

ENV16     RX60 DLY

ENV17     RX60 DLZ

ENV18     RX60 DME

ENV19     RX60 DMF

I was able to take a number of pictures on the first morning which are shown here.

I understand that a number of older buses are to be withdrawn but as yet the company has not confirmed details.

Many readers including Glenn Knight and Stuart Harvey sent emails and pictures reporting these new buses.

When I visited their premises on September 1st the recovery truck had arrived to take away the Metrobus with a hole in side recently used in filming.

The RML in Baker St yard is confirmed by Steve Burns as RML2457. Also Steve advised that he just purchased ex London Transport V2, latterly with Black Prince. He hopes to have this back on the road by the New Year.

I took a few other pictures included for readers below.

Stuart Harvey writes "Whilst travelling home this evening (Sep 1), on EVL7 of Carousel on the 740 I saw the back of what looked like an Enviro 200 in full Carousel livery heading off London Road towards Bourne End."

"Now the schools are back we see 8 buses on the service (barring changes etc) and that was on the journey that after arriving in Wycombe at about 8.50 doesn't appear on the service group again. Not sure if that is the official way, but that's what I have seen from observation." 

"So far today on the group I have seen;


EVO12 - which was my bus to work



Unfortunately due to traffic we were too late through Gerrards Cross so I missed seeing the 8.30 off Uxbridge on the A30. It also appeared as though a MB class was on Line 1 this morning."

Stuart later wrote "I saw ENV18 again this evening on the 4, also on the 4 was DPL479, hadn't seen this for about a month." 

Others on the 740/A40/A30 group today were




I missed the other working. EVO12 was replaced on its last journey with the Primo which was packed!

Also of note Carousel, fares rise on Sunday.

The next day Stuart reported "Another update, from a quick visit into town, it would appear Olympian L510, F510 NJE is now withdrawn as it has no tax disc etc in the holders. 

The Dennis Dart used for filming that has occupied the corner of the Baker Street compound is no longer there."

and later still "ENV18 was again on the same journey on the 740 on Monday 6th September."

Ace photographer, Mark E Lyons, sent this picture of ENV16 passing through Amersham. The offside centre emergency exit is shown to good effect.


Andrew Morgan (Herts) writes "a picture taken today (02/09/10) of ex-National Express Coventry Optare Solo 276 (S276 AOX) now with Centrebus in Stevenage.  I do not know its Centrebus fleet number but it still had 276 on the back so that maybe its the Centrebus fleet number as well. I am unaware of there already being a 276 ?"

Picture by Andrew Morgan.


Paul Davis writes "The First revisions to their version of the 74 took place over the Bank Holiday weekend. The X74 uses the same eclectic mix of vehicles as before, two of which are seen in Wycombe 31Aug.

Pictures by Paul Davis.

A far cry from the Routemaster days when it was 441 (1977 picture below).

Picture by Paul Davis.

Stephen Le Bras reports that "Former Legoland all over advert 42644 is now at Slough."

Picture Stephen LB


Steve Warwick advises of two double decks recently acquired by the company as follows:

R872 MDY Optare Spectra DAF DE02RSDB250 XMGDE02RS0H006472 - Optare 8637 H48/29F 6/1998

R874 MDY Optare Spectra DAF DE02RSDB250 XMGDE02RS0H006474 - Optare 8637 H48/29F 6/1998

National Express have awarded the contract for services running between Gloucester and Heathrow / Gatwick airports to Bennett's Coaches commencing November. The service is currently operated by First Somerset & Avon and its loss will bring to an end operation of National Express routes after the 403 service was awarded to South Gloucester in August. 

Silverdale (Nottingham: Local newspaper adverts have the company looking to recruit 15 drivers for working on National Express routes.  The remaining diagrams on the 450 service have been taken over from Stagecoach 

South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach (Patchway): Ex National Express FJ57 KHH Scania K340EB Irizar C61FT joined the fleet in July. Delivery of some of the new batch of National Express ordered Caetano Levantes are expected here very soon and Y469 HUA ex Selwyn's is now with South Gloucester, still operating National Express services. This coach regularly lays over in Bulleid Way overnight.

Gavin Francis took this picture of another ex Selwyn's coach now with SGCB for use on the 040 and 403.
It is seen in Bulleid Way on overnight layover.
Gavin's second picture shows it in old NEx livery when operating the 305 in July 2007.

Stephen Le Bras reports


Stephen also sent a picture of this coach working the 007 last Saturday. It is seen "running round" at VCS.
It is ex SC Oxford's 59212.


More pictures from Gavin Francis.

Heyfordian have been filling in on Eurolines service and their C8HTL is seen leaving VCS.


Another Levante with Armed Forces Day branding, Lucketts X4966, seen near VCS.


SC East Kent has four of the five Levantes from Oxford now in service and above we see 59214, somehow missing full branding on its rear.


New Elite 53704 receives a wash at Horspath depot after a trip to Stansted on September 3rd.


I thought that all the Levantes within Stagecoach were to move to East Kent but this one, 59205, was operating the 310 through Oxford on September 6th.


Each night the 421 service calls in Oxford in both directions on the London-Blackpool service. Once operated by Neoplan Skyliners
it is now operated by 15m Volvo tri-axles as seen above on August 25th around 0100hrs.

One of the latest Levantes, now on Volvo B9R chassis ready to leave VCS on a Leicester working. Photo by Richard Sharman.

Finally Richard Sharman sent this picture of 59213 working the 007 to Dover, this coach now being with East Kent.

On a Mission

Chris Lowe writes "Further news regarding the former MK Dons team coach, Ayats Bravo (MK56 DON) formerly with On A Mission Coaches, is that it is still in the yard of Santander Used Vehicle Sales in Trafford Park, but all branding and graphics for its former use now look to have been removed and the coach is now basically in all over silver livery, as seen in the attached photo."

Gavin Francis also took some pictures of On A Mission vehicles some months ago which show the fleet in its latter days.

A coach taken in Oxford's Oxpens in July 2008, happier days for the company.

Some of the elderly double decks employed in the last days of operation. 

 Pictures all from Gavin Francis.


Phil Gates sent this nice picture of 601 Seen at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent in July 2010, now with Farleigh coaches.
Your Editor remember driving many happy miles in this fine bus when it was Oxford Bus to Cardiff, Rugby, Farnborough, Wimbledon etc etc. 

Ralph Adams writes "I have been noting what buses are missing from Oxford Bus company recently. I have not see the following Park & Ride buses for the past month - 113, 116, 118. Where are they?

The U5X is due to start shortly and will require 3 additional Brookes buses to operate the service.
COMS had 20 new Scanias, then withdrew 3 Darts, 8 9xx Tridents, 10 Volvo B10BLE. 21 less buses. Then 4 9xx Tridents came back from West Bromwich and the above 3 buses disappeared."

I expect all will become clear in due course Ed.
Ken Aveyard, Data Coordinator Dorset, Traveline South West writes "On 24 August 2010 I attended the first of two days of training on new software for Traveline South West, based at their offices in the Plymouth Citybus head office at Milehouse. During the lunch break I was able to walk around the depot in glorious sunshine taking pictures and came across three ex Oxford single deckers." 

Here are
two pictures of Citybus 216 which is ex Oxford R408FFC almost complete,
whilst 215 ex 402 and 214 which had no visible registration were being prepared for painting within the workshops.
Pictures by Ken Aveyard 

Rachel writes "Whilst in Peterborough yesterday I saw Kimes Buses, V929 FMS working a service to Oakham (Rutland)."

Rachel adds "I was interested to find the history of this Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400 and discovered it was originally a demonstrator for Alexander's and delivered in silver/blue livery on July 18th 2000 to Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company for inspection only. It has been with City of Oxford Motor Services and used on Park and Ride services. Also University of Portsmouth had this vehicle for some time but in which order, I'm not sure?"

Reading Buses

News of an old fleet member now sold by Ensign Bus is Olympian E912DRD to the Ministry of Defence, Salisbury.

The Oxford Tube involved in the incident on the M40 was 50214. Very little damage was sustained to the coach although some additional damage inevitably resulted when the coach was righted during recovery. Indeed the strength of the design was shown by the way in which only one passenger was hurt and then was seemingly not wearing a seat belt. So quite a tribute to Van Hool.

This issue sees quite a lot of interest in other fleets in the group and these are recorded below. 

SC Manchester

Chris Lowe wrote on 25/8 "I have also just been informed that the first Manchester Hybrid (12028) has turned up this morning at Stagecoach Manchester's Princess Road garage for driver training. Although at least eight of them have been delivered with the other seven (12027/9-34) at Hyde Road garage." 

"The Hybrid in use at PS on driver training duties at the moment only has fleet numbers and possibly legal lettering applied, there is no branding yet so I can show you."

The new buses are seen awaiting entry into service in the large yard at the back of Hyde road Depot in Manchester.
Pictures by Chris Lowe.

Some days later Chris added "I managed to get the following three pictures of some of them just after delivery, ironically the first one arrived the day I went to Oxford and was photographing their examples. Manchester's examples delivered are 12027-34 (MX10 MVR/S/T/U/V/W/Y/Z) and the remaining 22 are expected to be 60 plates."

SC Cheltenham & Gloucester

Matt Turley, Controller - Stagecoach Gloucester reports "New Elite 53704 was loaned to Gloucester over the bank holiday weekend to cover for the unavailability of two of our Levantes. It operated the 1015 to London and the 1500 return on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday."

Matt adds that Gloucester's Routemaster 12657 is going to be attending SHOWBUS this year and is up for judging as they have recently finished a complete interior refurbishment.

Dave & Deric report
"Owing to several of Cheltenham & Gloucester's Scania/Caetano being off the road, Stagecoach Oxford Volvo/Plaxton Elite 53704 (OU10 GYN) has been on loan for three days to operate National Express Service 444
Gloucester/Cheltenham - London."

"C & G has also had transferred two MAN/ALX300 from Cambridgeshire, believed to be 22457/8 (S457/8 OFT), based at Gloucester for service changes starting September 1st."

"The ex A1 Tridents, 18017-20 now in corporate livery, also officially entered service at Gloucester recently. 18018/9 were loaned to South Wales for driver/engineering familiarisation prior to the Ryder Golf Tournament operation."

"Volvo Olympian 16207 has received a branded livery to operate new Service 101 around Gloucester City Centre."

SC Yorkshire Bus

Ian writes to report an update on recent arrivals and forthcoming departures at the NEX Coaching unit at Chesterfield depot:

In to the fleet:

Volvo B12M/Transbus Paragon 53012/3/4 (VU03 VVW/X/Y) from Stagecoach East Kent

Volvo B9R/Plaxton Elite 53712-16 (YN60 ABX/ACF/J/O/U) - these are the first SC coaches on 60 plates.

Due to leave the fleet are:

Scania/Levante 59201-6 (FJ56 PDX/PEO/PFA/PFD/OBR/OBS) to move to East Kent. (see picture under NEx of 59205 on September 6th. Ed.)

Volvo/Plaxtons 52526 (1737 HE, ex Y966 PHL), 52567 (PHE 692, ex Y967 PHL), 53028 (HE 8054 ex YS02 YXR) and 53029 (3030 HE, ex YS02 YXT) to be re-deployed elsewhere in the Group on Megabus work. 

SC South

Andy Gilmour reports "The Stagecoach Dennis Tridents used on the Activ8 service alongside Wilts & Dorset's Scania OmniCitys have all been repainted and rebranded recently. Below is a picture of 18504 and the rear of 18502."

Andy adds that further Tridents are now in the colour scheme for 'The Rivers' - the new branding for the main trunk routes across Hampshire - X64/X65 Winchester - Alton - Guildford, 69 Winchester - Fareham, 76 Andover - Basingstoke and 86 Winchester - Basingstoke. It's been applied to 18510-5/9-21/4-7, all ex 700 Coastliner buses."

SC Yorkshire

Fanofmetros writes regarding the ex Oxford M A Ns now in Yorkshire.

Ex-Oxford ALX300s reported in South Yorkshire now are: 

22203, T203TND, at Ecclesfield Depot, Sheffield.

22205, T205TND, at Ecclesfield Depot, Sheffield.

22207, T207TND, not known as of yet.

22209, T209TND, not known as of yet.

22914, S914CFC, not known as of yet.

22918, S918CFC, not known as of yet.

22927, S927CFC, at Barnsley Depot, believe to be a loan.

22938, S938CFC at Barnsley Depot, believe to be a loan. 

The ones at Ecclesfield are used on services 78 (Chapeltown-Sheffield) and 123 (Crystal Peaks-Walkley) and the ones at Barnsley, anything really. 22927 did have a spell on loan to Shafton as well.

Interesting pictures can be found at the following links:

SC East Kent 

Once an Oxford based bus, Volvo B10M 20542 (P542 ESA) is now at Folkestone from Yorkshire, where it replaces 20637 which has suffered a gear box failure. 

SC Devon

Picture by Steve White, a Trident in Blackpool

SC Midlands

The fleet has been updated with the following changes.



Flt No.

Reg No.




Scania E400

New to Reserve



Scania E400

New to Reserve



Scania E400

New to Reserve



Scania E400

New to Reserve


S753 DRP

Volvo Olympian

Kettering to Reserve


P150 KWJ

Volvo Olympian

S/C Yorkshire to Kettering



Volvo B10M (trg)

Kettering to Leamington



K670 UNH

Leyland Olympian



P217 HBD

Volvo B10M



P218 HBD

Volvo B10M



R223 CRW

Volvo B10M



N816 DNE

Volvo B10M



P852 GND

Volvo B10M



R914 XVM

Volvo B10M






83 CBD



On loan from East


NFX 667



On loan from South


411 DCD



On loan from South


SC Merseyside

Chris Maxfield sent a number of interesting pictures of the North West based fleet.

Of special interest is the fleet number on 34474 above (34474T) which relates to TIDAL as this bus was involved in the flood at Carlisle depot a few years ago. Also various crew buses which come from far and wide. Equally interesting is the recovery truck and the elderly Olympians.


Stuart Curwen writes "... below are full details of the 8 Optare Versa's about the enter service with Thamesdown Transport."


Fleet no.

Reg. No.

Chassis Type & Number

 No Body Numbers


Date New




Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320267 Integral



Queen Elizabeth



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320268 Integral



King George Vl



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320269 Integral



King Edward Vlll



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320270 Integral



King George V



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320271 Integral



King Edward Vll



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320272 Integral



Queen Victoria



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320273 Integral



King William lV



Optare Versa V1110 / SABWW5ACEAL 320274 Integral



King George lV


Stuart then adds on September 2nd "New Optare Versa's have started to enter service in Swindon with Thamesdown Transport. Fleet Numbers 401 (WX60EEB) & 402 (WX60EEA) were driver training today."



Major news

Coach overturns on M40 Motorway

On Monday 30th August the 01.10 Oxford tube service operated by Van Hool Astromega 50214 left Gloucester Green and after picking up at the various stops along the way to Thornhill set out on its journey to London Victoria. There were twelve passengers on board and the driver thought all had settled down to the 90 minute journey.

Passing junction three of the M40, around 02.00, he was surprised by a male passenger who came down from upstairs demanding to be let off the coach. Naturally the driver asked the man to return to a seat but the man refused and suddenly grabbed the steering wheel. Although the driver started to brake and tried to fend the passenger off, the coach veered to the left mounting the embankment which goes up at that point. The coach then went over at an angle and toppled on to its side blocking part of lane one of the M40. The incident happened just a short way past junction three.

Only one passenger was suspected of having suffered injury and the male had not been wearing a seatbelt. All the others, including the driver had been wearing seat belts which helped reduce any potential injuries.

The passengers had to leave the coach by the roof emergency escape hatches and quite quickly the male passenger who had caused the accident, but seem not to be injured, ran off but was soon apprehended by the police helicopter.

Rebecca Webber, a spokesman for Thames Valley Police, said: “Following the crash one man was arrested."

“He had been a passenger on the coach and was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and assault."

Two lanes on the M40 were shut until 9.45am that morning, causing delays of about ten minutes, according to The Highways Agency.

Firefighters helped South Central Ambulance Service.

Thames Valley Police were also on the scene.

A following service picked up the passengers and took them on to London.

The coach driver was praised for his "brave actions" during the incident.

Stagecoach said although nobody was seriously hurt, its 48-year driver suffered a shoulder injury.

In a statement the bus driver said: "I thought 'Oh my God. This is it.' I was struggling to keep the coach on the road and braking really hard.

"I saw the coach go up the banking and I could feel it was about to topple over.

"My right shoulder went through the side window and I was convinced I was going to get thrown out. I was absolutely petrified."

The driver said the passengers "were absolutely brilliant".

'Very calm' passengers

"There was no screaming or shouting... I was amazed everyone walked out of there. I still can't believe it", he said.

A statement from Stagecoach said: "We understand one passenger was taken to hospital as a precaution for a possible spinal injury, but was discharged later the same day.

"We would like to commend the driver for his brave actions in minimising what could have been a far more serious accident.

"Despite his injuries, he followed our procedures and made sure everyone was in a safe location outside the coach."

The company went on to say the "passengers remained very calm throughout the incident" and it had provided police with "on-board CCTV footage to assist their investigation".

Coach recovered

The coach was towed back to Oxford by Kardos followed by a second Kardos with a long jib needed to upright the coach. The damage on the offside was by the drivers cab - not extensive.

Bus blaze caused Handy Cross delays - 4:50pm Thursday 2nd September 2010

THE A404 was closed in both directions following a bus fire on the Handy Cross roundabout which caused traffic delays on September 2nd.

The fire on board the Arriva bus started at about 4.10pm on the northbound carriageway of the A404.

The emergency services raced to the scene and cordoned off the A404 in both directions while firefighters tackled the blaze. All lanes re-opened at 5pm.

No-one was injured in the fire, which watch manager John Franklin of High Wycombe fire station said started at the engine-end of the bus.

He said: “By the time we battled through the traffic, the fire was going very well by then.

"The driver, who looked like he was a mechanic by the way he was dressed, was well out of the way.”

An out of service Arriva bus burst into flames in almost the same spot on the High Wycombe roundabout in June (see link).

The bus involved was a Scania/East Lancs 3204 seen here in the V O R bus line at Arriva's Cressex depot on September 5th.
Also sent are pictures of 3204 in happy times.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

More pictures were received from other readers including this one taken by Nigel Peach. This shows the total destruction of the interior.

Finally, my  picture shows the rear of the bus alongside a withdrawn Volvo B10B, 3843, originally with Oxford Bus.

Another London Bendi goes up in smoke 

Glenn Knight writes "At 08:40 this morning (Saturday 4th Sep) a Mercedes Benz Bendy Bus BX55 FVZ  MA122 caught fire at Victoria Bus Station on route 73. Cause of fire was electrical. pictures are attached. I arrived at Victoria 5minutes after fire broke out then returned again at 1800 with pictures of the aftermath."

Citaro 530G MA 122 seen at the height of the blaze and later when it was being made safe. Pictures all from Glenn Knight.

Stephen Le Bras writes "Victoria Bus station: MA122 on the 73 caught fire around 8.40am this morning (Sat 4/9/10) while I was standing outside VCS. The black plume of smoke was huge and I waited for the fire engine and police car go by before I caught an 11 bus to see what was going on. It is very badly damaged and is unlikely to run again.

MA122 was parked in the 73 bay, whilst DW248 was in the 38 bay. As the latter was driven away, I checked to see if there was any damage but it seemed OK.

Two wreckers, a low loader parked nearby and even an Evobus van were parked nearby.

Both bays remained out of use while I was in the area." 

Richard Sharman was on hand also to take pictures and I thought this example was a good one for London.

One had believe that the fire problems had been resolved by Mercedes Benz, apparently not!

Other items

Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe 

I thought it was time I brought you up to date about happenings in Blackpool.  

First news comes from my mole, Bob Fergusson. He confirms my guess that the stretch if track between the Pleasure Beach and the new depot at Starr Gate, which is to remain closed to public service until the new trams launch the new, upgraded service at Easter 2012, is to be used next year for driver training and testing the new trams.  

Bob also tells met that the 125 year celebrations, scheduled for the end of this September, seem to be becoming more and more muted. A big disappointment is that there are no double deck trams coming from Crich (Blackpool Standard 40, Johannesburg, Leeds 399 and an LCC car) because of potential tree damage in Derbyshire (!!!). Blackpool & Fleetwood 2 is coming as is the Oporto tram.

The local Blackpool paper has been giving some space to the progress on that controversial new depot at Starr Gate, said to be "one of Blackpool's most iconic contemporary structures". Apparently 30 contractors could well finish the building by Christmas, although formal completion date is May 2011. The paper goes on "the first of the new fleet of bespoke Bombardier trams arrive soon after, along with specialist expertise of the manufacturers designing the trams to the town's exacting requirements, the aim being that these light rail vehicles will brave the elements, bracing sea winds, driving rain, sand, salt, the usual joys of a typical Blackpool summer day, beyond anything their chic city-style wimpy cousins endure on the continent." 

The item says how the new trams will have to operate in tandem with the heritage, vintage and the special illuminated trams - but it doesn't say how. It does point out that loading platforms and 'mini-stations' are being built along the route to make the cars accessible to more people. 

In the new depot there will apparently be "cranes which lift whole trams off tracks, enabling be taken off for maintenance, Even wheels can be re-shaped by high-tech lathe". I thought they had been doing that for a considerable time! "There are pits of varying depths for maintenance, some narrow, others deep, beneath, alongside, gantries above for other precision work. It is a far cry from the Rigby Road depot....." the article continues, perhaps not too accurately. 

It will certainly be interesting to see when the first of the new units arrives, although it will be some time yet. As last year, the entire tramway system will close after the finish of the illuminations in November to permit further infrastructure upgrades, re-opening, hopefully at Easter 2011. That will then be the final season for the "proper" Blackpool trams before the new, Supertrams take over at Easter 2012. 

Incidentally, there has been a confusing newspaper report about the Trampower unit which caught fire whilst on test on Blackpool Promenade. It was sent to East Lancs at Blackburn for rebuilding, and is reportedly going to operate a trial service in Preston, using part of the old Preston-Longridge train line, between the West View Leisure Centre on Ribbleton Lane and the Miley Playground near the University's Campus in Corporation Street. Most of it is through a long tunnel and it is hard to understand what the purpose of this is going to be. 

I attach a photo of the unit taken outside the Rigby Road depot in Blackpool some time ago. It may have been rejected on the grounds that it represented old technology, but I bet it would have been cheaper than the new Bombardier units. Anyway, some of the most reliable cars in Blackpool have been the 1930s very conventional English Electric and Brush cars - is there a moral there?


A young persons efforts 

This shot was passed to me (Gary Seamarks) who said feel free to publish. It was taken by 11 year old Liam in London on Sat 5th September.

One has to ask if it the ultimate in London Bendis ???.

Nice shot and for someone so young a credit me thinks....

Concession travel

A day in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire by Stephen Le Bras 

I have not been feeling well lately so I planned a route to Oxford from Windsor - by bus which would not leave me too far from a rail station.

After reaching Slough by 71 bus, I caught the first X74 from Slough to High Wycombe, driven by Mat Wool. The bus was red 64005, a regular on the route.

Here is the X74 with Mat Wool at the wheel at High Wycombe- again I have 2 but the other is a bit duller.

Before we took to the M40, Mat asked if anyone wanted Beaconsfield to get off and catch the 74 as we would be taking the fast route! (one chap did indeed get off).

Next it was on to Arriva 3853 on the 850 to Reading- a lovely jaunt down country roads with a busy section via Twyford.

At Reading, I had just missed an X40 so waited for the X39 Thames Travel 104 at 10.05. The bus was far too small for the number of passengers, the front display was hardly readable and even a woman with a pushchair and 4 kids got on at Wallingford making it even more crowded. I note that the next departure was a 'decker.

I did hope to get a picture of 53701 on the 737 at Oxford but the exit route has been changed as the t/t leaflets have all the points in Oxford scrawled out. After a walk around the city, I paid my fare on the Tube back to London and 53702 appeared inbound just as the bus left. Maybe next time!

What did concern me, apart from broken down Oxford 84 being towed away from the Park and Ride site, was the fact that the main road between Lewknor and the P&R site is still being repaired with traffic slowing to a walking pace. Surely, after so many months of disruption, the road could have been cleared of obstructions- it was not as if anyone was actually doing any work on the road!

Back in Victoria and no crane! A Stagecoach 15m coach from Scotland arrived 54069 just before I caught the 702 home.

Incidentally, it occurred to me on my journey home to ask if, on a night service, any of your passengers oversleep and miss their stop. I am taken by the fact that, even on early morning buses, people sit down, their heads rest on the window and some of them even snore!

Arrived back from London and I was concerned to read about the Oxford Tube which turned over on the M40 around 2am this morning when a passenger grabbed the steering wheel. I hope that the driver was not too shocked along with the passengers.

53704 was on the 444 this afternoon inbound and parked in Bulleid Way. It had a slip of paper in the screen which attracted my attention.
The coach is seen in this picture parked up in Bulleid Way.

Manchester Trident 19529 was parked in Bulleid Way until 11am when it took off somewhere and did not re-appear.

History & Discussion


David Mant writes "Surely one of the most interesting participants this year was newly restored pre-war Albion LJ9501 which was fitted with a new Harrington body in 1947."

Picture by David Mant

Trips & Running Days 

Trips & Rallies

A Devon Cream Tea in the sunshine by James

James writes that the Devon & Dorset Group held a in Torquay last Sunday. Torbay Council and event sponsors Stagecoach South West provided an excellent venue and day for the event following what has turned out be after a wet start at 0730 but cleared up later.

Overall everything went very well, a few minor changes on the day but nothing that got us too flustered and hopefully all of those that came along enjoyed themselves!

James took a number of pictures of Torquay and buses we would like to remember.

Pictures by James (Exeter).


A nice photo link for those interested in Manchester

Buses in the Landscape

Nothing to show in this issue.



A picture of interest:


Bullocks of Manchester today have a Wright Gemini 2 bodied Hybrid in use along Oxford Road on their service 147 for which they are expecting some Hybrid vehicles.
The vehicle in question is BK10 MGV and was though initially to only be on loan for today, but seeing as it has legal lettering applied and destinations programmed in,
might be a slightly longer stay here than first expected, luckily I got a picture of it this morning passing the University.

Upcoming Events

Showbus 2010 at Duxford - September 26th