Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 35 - October 17th 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

My driving duties have made the production of this page somewhat later than intended. However there have been some important news items which are now included in this issue.

Oxford Bus has been successful in gaining seventeen Hybrid buses in the next tranche of Government awards. So far there are only limited details to hand and as to what routes they will operate there is only some unconfirmed speculation which I will not even include at this stage.

Stagecoach surprised everyone with the purchase of East London from the Macquarie Group. Full details of this unexpected acquisition are to be found under the Jottings section.

Carole Morgan and a number of other contributors supplied pictures and details of the massive Stagecoach operation in support of the Ryder Cup which took place in South Wales. Full details can be found further down this page.

Geoff Cunliffe provides a wonderful account of the weekend celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Blackpool's trams with some superb pictures of the even.

As ever there is a great deal of information and many pictures contributed by readers which always add so much to the page. Indeed in this issue a record 290+ pictures. Thank you all.

Amersham Running Day

The weather was no kinder to this event than that at the recent Showbus at Duxford. I was pleased to receive a number of pictures from readers.

From Mark E. Lyons

Mark says "a few pictures from a rather wet Amersham event that may be of use.  I spent most of the day riding rather than photographing as it was somewhat drier! Amersham never operated Routemasters but my shots of RML2323 and RMC1486 (which is, of course, really RMC1500) give a flavour of what might have been..."

From Andrew Morgan (Northants) who owns RM1368.

Andrew Morgan (Northants.) says "Here are a few shots from last weekend at Amersham. With the inclement weather, I arrived quite late with my RM (1368), but as you may be able to see from the attached photographs, the weather did improve quite dramatically."

Do you remember decimalisation in 1969? 

From Phil Smith 

I'm getting in touch from Unique - we're a production company currently making an Archive On 4 for BBC Radio 4.

During some internet research, I came across your Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page, and it struck me that it would be nice to hear from a bus driver or transport worker who recalls the build-up to and completion of decimalisation in the UK (February 1971).

Perhaps there are colleagues or former staff members or archivists who recall the everyday impact of decimalisation? 

My contact email address - - and invite any readers who may recall working through decimalisation to send me a message.

A question on intellectual rights from Geoff Cunliffe 

As you probably know, I have a passing interest in what has happened to that lovely old Leyland scroll which used to adorn literature and vehicles from the greatest manufacturer in the world. It keeps turning up here and there and it has now appeared on the Leyland Town Map leaflet issued by South Ribble Borough Council.


I wonder who does own the copyright. If it says on the leaflet, I cannot find it. Perhaps the Leyland Museum?

US Megabus by Andrew D Webb 

Good to meet you at Showbus and put a face to the name!
As promised I have attached photos of the double deck Van Hools' that Megabus use in North America.
The first view shows a Megabus in central New York, close to Madison Square Gardens.  The second shows one heading through Harlem, bound for Boston.

Finally a picture of a Boltbus.  This is a brand that First have developed to provide a "premium" service to their Greyhound operation, whilst retaining the budget prices.  The level of service on Boltbus is similar to that offered by the Greyhound brand in the UK.  The picture shows the coach loading close to Madison Square Gardens.

I will sort out a selection of ex British buses in use on sight seeing duties across the US and send them to you eventually, there are around about 100 photos of varying quality for me to sift through.

A word about digital photos

I receive many pictures for inclusion on the page and notice that some contributors do not have the date set up on their cameras. It would really help if you could check this and if your date is not set it would be most appreciated if you could do this within the camera set up.

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:

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: 19th October 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 - October 17th 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!


Frogmoor High Wycombe Closure dates

 Due to repairs to the railway bridge, Frogmoor, High Wycombe will be closed to bus services. 

The closure is from Monday 22 November until Sunday 28 November between 0800 & 1630 each day.

Services will need to use Archway in both directions during the closures.

Inbound the last stop before the bus station will be the Beaconsfield Arms (buses will not we able to use Temple End).

Outbound the first stop after the bus station will be Morrison's.

To simplify the information to passengers the diversion route should be followed as shown;

Monday to Friday:

Service 31 from Penn – from first bus until 1700 ex bus station.

Service 31 from Downley – from first bus until 1643 ex Downley.

Service 300 from Wycombe – from first bus until 1702 ex bus station.

Service 300 from Aylesbury – from first bus until 1620 ex Aylesbury.

Service 333/334 – all journeys in both directions.


Service 31 from Penn – from first bus until 1720 ex bus station.

Service 31 from Downley – from first bus until 1705 ex Downley.

Service 300 from Wycombe – from first bus until 1715 ex bus station.

Service 300 from Aylesbury – from first bus until 1615 ex Aylesbury.


Service 31 from Penn – from first bus until 1713 ex bus station.

Service 31 from Downley – from first bus until 1726 ex Downley.

Service 300 from Wycombe – from first bus until 1700 ex bus station.

Service 300 from Aylesbury – from first bus until 1610 ex Aylesbury.

Please note:  the Buses Only restriction at the entrance to Oxford Street will be suspended to allow other vehicles access.  It is unclear, but this suspension maybe for the week of the works rather than the periods of actual closures. 



Readers varied contributions

Florida Interlude by Gavin Francis

A selection of typical American buses on local services.

When Gavin first went to Florida he found this Bristol in a garage for sale, this time he found a NABI Solo for sale.

Finally a most interesting photo of the unique Antonov 225, the world's largest aircraft, at Charlotte Airport. People travel miles to see this behemoth!

Pictures all from Gavin Francis.


And so on to fleet news with individual company happenings.

Readers varied contributions

From Barry Gilbert

Stagecoach 47236 (KX55RBV)

Aberdare September 2010


Stagecoach 21028 (P636FFC)

Stagecoach in South Wales has P636FFC (21028), which was acquired with the Islwyn business in January and has recently received corporate livery.
It is seen in June at Blackwood last June.


1st Call Travel of Merthyr Tydfil.  This company replaced Silverline of Merthyr Tydfil, who also operated M509 & 514 VJO.
Taken in Swansea in July 2010.

Former Oxford 635 (P635FFC)

Now with Harris of Fleur-de-Lys, near Blackwood, for use on school contracts.  Photograph taken in Newport in September 2010. 

From Richard Sharman

Some recent sightings by Richard.

S5 branded 18399 on the 3.

Top Screen stickers distinguish the E400s transferred to Aylesbury from Hemel and now used on the 280.

Tube Double Up

A fairly deserted scene

True Blue!

New Swanbrook livery on ex East Kent Premiere

Spot the changes to updated Levante


Veolia Paul James Holidays

From Steve Gee

You may remember that I emailed you recently with news of a couple of new Stagecoach routes from Leamington to Banbury & Daventry. I said I had some pics taken in Leamington, and that I'd attempt to get some of the vehicles on the new routes. 

I finally managed to find time to use the new service 66 to Banbury last Saturday, (2/10/10) I have around 25 pictures of various operators, and attach some of them. I hope you will find them of interest. 

I use Picsa 3 as my photo database and have labelled them using that system, but I list them separately as follows:

Red Line Aylesbury Plaxton Primo MX56ABV

Heyfordian Dart/ Plaxton Pointer L268ULX

Geoff Amos MAN/ MCV Evolution AM05BUS

Excelsior, Bournemouth Caetano Levante 914 FJ60EHB on Nat Exp service 310 to Bradford

Johnsons, Henley In Arden Optare YJ59GFA. 

Stagecoach's Dennis Dart 34098 S498BWC has been transferred to Leamington, from I think Northampton. It was in use on the Leamington- Banbury route on 2/10/10, but failed in Southam in the afternoon, with I was told, low oil pressure, dickey electrics and an overheated engine. Passengers were transferred to one of Leamington's Optare Verso's  (25240, YJ09EZN) working a short Leamington- Long Itchington service 63 trip, before a replacement vehicle arrived in the shape of Goldline liveried Optare Solo 47651, KX58AYE. The Dart started out life with East London, but Stagecoach in Bedford lettering can still be made out above the doors. 

Other than that, I noted Stratford based Dennis Trident 17076, T676KPU out of service well away from base, between Daventry and Southam a few days back. It was heading in a homebound direction but had a blank display, with it's blinds wound off. 

Hope this is of interest, I can email you some more in the next day or so if you like. I have some of 34098 on the 66 and others taken around Leamington, which you may like. 

I attach some more pics taken recently in or around Southam of ops on the new Leamington- Banbury service.

During the last week, I have noted a Volvo Alexander PS saloon, 20227 R227CRW in use on this route, and today, Saturday 9th October saw a couple of deckers in service with ex Oxford Unibus liveried Volvo 16517, R417XFC working the 07:35 Leamington- Banbury, 08:50 return service and also the 11:40 Leamington- Banbury, returning at 12:50. Ex London Volvo 16872, P903 RYO was put to work on the 09:40 Leamington- Banbury and 10:50 return service. (See the attached picture of 16517)

Photo details are:

Dart 34098 S498BWC at The Wharf, Fenny Compton 2/10/10 on the 14:50 Banbury- Leamington

Optare Verso 25240 YJ09EZN on route 63,picking up passengers from the defective 34098 in Southam, 2/10/10

Optare Solo 47651 in Goldrider livery about to take over the 66 service from 34098 in Southam 2/10/10

Volvo Olympian 16517 R417XFC in Unibus livery near Fenny Compton on the 11:40 Leamington- Banbury 9/10/10

From Carl Berry 

On the 26th October five Greyhound coaches met at VCS for the first time for many years. There was a bit of an Oxford connection as City of Oxford 32 (OD02OXF) also visited at the same time. The pictures also feature the rear end of 2150/FHW156D.


From Mike Bennett 

I had just got off an X5 in Gloucester Green, after an afternoon interlude in Bicester on Thursday this week, when I met up with your esteemed editor Malcolm Crowe.  He was about to start duty but had a few minutes to spare for a chat.  He had just mentioned that some of the MAN / Enviro300s of Stagecoach-Swindon had been fitted with larger grilles on the rear engine cover to combat the overheating problem that this batch of seven buses had been experiencing, when, right on cue, 22620 swung onto Bay 12.  Malcolm took me out onto the apron to inspect and photograph the modification, and I have been able to compare it to the original version, shown here on 22622 taken in May this year.  Hopefully this change will help overcome the problem, although it will now be next summer before we know the full outcome.  I have been on a MAN / E300 on several occasions when it has overheated - twice on the Oxford City batch previously used on route 1.

Marcus Lapthorn also noted this change to 22620 and sent a picture of another pair of the same series.

From Glenn Knight 

Taken on 23/09/2010 

Grant Palmer:

YJ60KFP  taken in Leighton Buzzard on 36C -
what a "nobby" little bus these are. Ed.

N117YHH taken in MK on 10 Ex-Stagecoach North West  40017

N126YRM taken in MK on X34 Flitwick Ex-Stagecoach North West 40026

Arriva MK:

Arriva 3524 HDZ2604 in MK

5103 G653UPP in Bedford on 1C to Milton Keynes -
these buses must be some the oldest deckers in service with a major group operator? Ed.


W83NDW at Kingston on 18 to MK City Centre

Other pictures.

LSK 819 Neoplan Skyliner Ex- National Express/Trathens taken in Glasgow Bus Station on Sat 2nd Oct. This was also my coach from Glasgow to Dundee on service M9. 

KSK 981 Volvo B12T Jonckherre is ex- National Express, this was also operating the M9 to Aberdeen. 

Seen in Manchester 04/10/10 was ex-Oxford Bus co N620FJO with Travelmaster. 

Arriva Luton latest repaint 3619 - KE55CVA 


Operating on the 11:55 Bicester - Oxford X5 was R34TAC 16209 (ex-R703DNH, WLT528)
This is a surprise working as this bus was once trialled as the future of the X5 before the Volvo coaches arrived. Ed. 

From Daniel Bailey 

Noted at Hemel were some ex Green Line coaches and also 4064 P201RWR and M949??? from Hemel in training bus livery. Also noted was R455SKX ex Stevenage Green Line also in training bus. 

At Milton Keynes noted 320 R202RBM which was parked face in next to 3844 N524FJO at Arden Park depot MK. As the picture shows this bus is now red.

(Nigel Peach adds "October BUSES, 3844 has been repainted red and donated to a sports concern in MK. It's probably the only one of the Wycombe ones to see further service." )

p.s fire damaged Volvo B10M 3267 V267HBH is back on the road at Luton garage now and 3170 N32KGS is parked at Luton depot awaiting a new engine and work to be done on it.

Wycombe Park & Ride - from Monday November 1st this service will be renumbered to PR1. There will be a revised timetable with extra running time and as a result wider headways in the peaks. (Does this mean a reduction in service in another way of saying. Ed.)

Route branding has been applied to DAFs 3273, 3275, 3279, 4427 and 4428 for route 321 to run alongside the Citaros. (Is there a problem with the Citaros? Ed)

Hemel news FROM  James Allum
21/09/10 on loan Scania 3148 was on the 4 and 5
22/09/10 2180 was on the 3
Also Hemel has been loaned Milton Keynes based Optare Excel 3003 and was on the 4 and 5 yesterday (22/09/10) 

12/10/10 - The following Hemel buses have been repainted into Arriva's inter urban livery:
P176 SRO (3176)
P177 SRO (3177)
V235 HBH  (3235)
V236 HBH  (3236)
V237 HBH  (3237)
R209 GMJ  (3209)
The latest bus to go for repaint this week is 3207 (R207GMJ)
Also Hemel's Green Line coach 4051 was on Rail Replacement in Aylesbury last Sunday (10/10/10) it was running from Aylesbury to Bicester North and Banbury. Arriva livered 4367 was also on the same journeys with an unidentified Hemel Green Line coach.

News from Trident 

Additional school contract having been won in the Aylesbury area has led to the allocation of DAF coaches 4362, 4363 and 4367 to the town, from Stevenage, where coincidentally, work has been lost.  

A couple of other moves 3241 SV - HA: 3213 WBu - WB: 3379 LU - GR: 3702 Bu - WB: 3834 AY- HH: 5136 HH - AY: Up at MK Metro M-B Varios 2195 and 2197 have been scrapped, along with Dennis Dart 3334. 

TGM Group: Still not much clearer as regards Harlow, other than that buses are now using TGM O discs, however buses are still running around with on hire stickers depending which routes they are operating. 3417 (P417 HVX), 3439 (R169 GNW) and 3440 (R170GNW) have been repainted all over red, with Network Harlow fleet names and branding for route 1. A blue livery adorns Volvo B6BLE 3250 (V250 HBH) for route 2. 

From Pete Cabin 

3178 P178SRO has returned to High Wycombe seen today on service 32 Micklefield to Booker Asda. When last in Wycombe it was route branded for service 33 Totteridge Castlefield then moved on to Aylesbury but I think it also ended up at Milton Keynes not sure if it’s a loan or a transfer to Wycombe?

Picture of this bus seen on October 1st by Gavin Francis.

3413 P833HVX a Dennis Dart step entrance bus has found its way into the High Wycombe depot seen today out on service 340 and then on the 977 service. It was last at Harlow.

From Ant 

Maybe of interest is that former Arriva London MA105 - BX55 FVF -  was outside Hants & Dorset Trim in Eastleigh being prepared for Arriva Malta a couple of weeks ago, freshly painted in "old style" Arriva livery. Best shot I could get, sorry.


From Dan Bailey 

N524FJO ex Arriva High Wycombe and parked in MK yard at Arden Park.
I've used the rather fuzzy picture as its the only one I've got of this bus. Any other pictures would be much appreciated. Ed.

Arriva 3294 V294HBH on route 3 in Woburn Sands. 

Nigel Peach writes "I notice that Arriva 3853, the last of the ex Oxford Volvos, is now parked with all the withdrawn vehicles at Cressex, suggesting it has now ended its days in service. If so, it's the end of an era. October BUSES, 3844 has been repainted red and donated to a sports concern in MK. It's probably the only one of the Wycombe ones to see further service." 

Andrew Morgan (Herts) writes "two pics taken on 8th October in Hemel of Arriva Optare Excels 3002 (V392KVY) on local route 4 and 3003 (V393KVY) on route 500 both ex-ARRIVA MK METRO" Are these loans or transfers?"

Some pictures from Andrew of the Excels working in Hemel.

Mike Bennett writes "On your latest OCBP you mentioned that two Arriva Enviro 400s, 5452 & 5453, had been transferred to Aylesbury depot for use on route 280 to Oxford.  On Saturday September 25th I managed to ride on 5453 from Oxford Station right through to Aylesbury for my first proper visit to the town for several years.  I photographed it as it left Aylesbury later in the day at 1500.  It is seen in Friarage Road, having just left the much improved but still dingy bus station, hidden on the left under the Friars Square shopping centre.  Interesting to note is the wavy edged vinyl to the lower edge of the upper windscreen, another chance to advertise the name of the company."

Some pictures taken by me in recent days.

The burnt out remains of 3452 still at Cressex.

3850 and 5147 in service at Wycombe.

Gavin Francis had one more picture to publish. Volvo B6 3298 works a 340 service at Stokenchurch.

Carousel observations from Nigel Peach: 

Green Dennis Dart / Marshall DMS23 (S523 KFL) has popped up in a TV campaign about the switchover to Digital TV. I've seen it (among all the trailers!) on BBC1 this week. 

I've been wondering which buses have been displaced following the arrival of the new buses. I've not seen DAF 981 (R981 FNW) nor the Plaxton Primo RK07 BNF lately, so I wonder if they are still around. 

They also seem to have cleared out some of the withdrawn buses from the yard. Metrobuses EYE 336V and KYV 703X appear to have gone and likewise Ailsa A431 VNY. 

Metrobus GYE 598W, Ailsa A971 YSX and Olympian F510 NLE look as though they are withdrawn, leaving only four ex London Metrobuses still in service (M524 758 1386 and 1432). 

Dart H125 THE (bought some years ago for a film) has also disappeared from the yard, but I'd heard that this might soon be done up in yet another different livery.

Some pictures from Gavin Francis taken on October 1st.

Grant Palmer

Glenn Knight writes "Seen at the Grant Palmer depot yesterday (22/9)  was Optare Solo YJ60KFP in all over white livery."

with Tappins

Peter Leyman writes "I have sent you some pictures of the new Heyfordian Volvo Eurolines coach which will be running from Victoria Coach Station to Amsterdam. I hope you like them?"

Full detailed pictures of the new coach. One wonders if this replaces the On A Mission coaches used on Eurolines services?

Interesting acquisitions for school work are several of these deckers from Arriva Midlands. Picture by your Editor.

A couple of changes C053 (FJ57 KHO) SR-SH: C089 (Y322 HUA) CY-SR: 8351 SR-CY

Johnson Bros (Hodthorpe): Operation of National Express route 350 Liverpool - Cambridge, has been taken over. A pair of Volvo B9R / Caetano Levante C48FTL are in use FJ60EGE and FJ60EGF.

South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach (Patchway): Two vehicles have been acquired from Selwyn’s, Runcorn in the shape of 352 STG (ex Y469 HUA) and Y467 HUA DAF SB3000 Van Hool C49FT. No strangers to National Express work. Another acquisition is FE02 FBL Volvo B10M-62 / Plaxton C53F from Kim, New Malden. The first two of the Volvo B9 / Caetano Levantes had been delivered, FJ60HYR and FJ60HYW. 

Martin White writes "The remaining NX work with First Devon & Cornwall as moved to Parks Hamilton Plymouth ( Trathens ). Also in October Stagecoach Yorkshire lose their diagrams on the 310 Bradford - Poole and 335 Halifax - Poole to Excelsior coaches." 

David Ballantyne writes "13/7/10  Vo B12B Plaxton Panther seen in Bristol"

Stephen LB writes "Sat Oct 9th- Just waiting for my coach home at 3.45pm from Victoria when new 60 plate FJ60HYR appeared inbound on the NX 403.

Crane again in BP Road- wonder how many more weeks we have to put up with this?"

SC Oxford 53704 arrives last Saturday on a 737 service from Stansted. 


News of the week is that OBC have gained 17 new Hybrid buses in the latest round of Government grants.


A spokesman for Oxford Bus Company said “We’re delighted to have won the funding. We will be announcing  later exactly which routes the new buses will be used on.”

Various pictures are to hand of OBC buses which show the fleet to good advantage.

Autumn is upon us, as the leaves on the tree outside Nuffield College bely.

Ralph Adams writes "ADL 900 - I saw this bus again today (01/10) on U5. Not seen since last semester but not visible on COMS open day a few weeks ago, so mystery to me where it has been for 3 months."

Two rather nice pictures of Brookes Scanias in Wheatley by Gavin Francis.

Glenn Knight writes "New addition to the Redline Fleet N543 LHG Volvo Northern Counties in a grey & white livery."

I suspect that the livery is that used by Go-Ahead in London for training buses. Ed.


Red Rose

John Hammond writes "It looks like Red Rose got their N744XDV from Stafford Bus Centre who have it still shown on their website. In addition two Mercedes 709D's are shown which came from the Red Rose fleet including N803 GRV which had been a regular on the evening 275 for a while."

The very smart deckers seen at Duxford.


M A N s leaving for Yorkshire have been 22909, 22913, 22914, 22915, 22916, 22918, 22919, 22928, 22930, 22931 and 22937. Reserve fleet Solos 47315 and 47316 have been noted in South Wales in late September.

More recently moved to Yorkshire were 22923, 22924, 22929 and 22932.

The older M A N s still remaining at Oxford as at early October are:

22925, 22926, 22933, 22934, 22935, 22936, 22940 and 22941.

One additional ADL double deck for the S3 is expected shortly.

Other Stagecoach news.


Nuneaton had the following new ADL Enviro 200s ready for service on the 48 route,

36153 KX60 DPO 36157 KX60 DPZ 36161 KX60 DSE 36165 KX60 DSY

36154 KX60 DPU 36158 KX60 DRO 36162 KX60 DSO 36166 KX60 DSZ

36155 KX60 DPV 36159 KX60 DRV 36163 KX60 DSU 36167 KX60 DTU

36156 KX60 DPY 36160 KX60 DRZ 36164 KX60 DSV

I expect this will lead to a cascade around the company ending in Volvo B6LEs being disposed of.

Three Volvo Olympians have arrived from Chesterfield 16459 (P159 KAK) to Kettering with Corby getting 16460 (P160 KAK) and 16495 (P145 KWJ). This has allowed Leyland Olympians 14043 and 14494 to move to disposal. This leaves just two left in the operational fleet 14034 at Rugby and 14054 at Kettering. Three of the new Scania / ADL Enviro 400s are in service at Leamington 15676 (KX10 KTF), 15677 (KX10 KTG) and 15678 (KX10 KTG). Three Dennis Dart SLFs have arrived from East 33323 (P323 EFL), 33324 (P324 EFL) and 34098 (S498 BWC), the latter being allocated to Leamington. A couple of transfers 16873 LN - RY: 20213 res - RY: 20221 LN - SF: 31321 RY - res: 31324 RY - dis: 47010 SF - LN: 47354 SF - S/C East:


Marcus Lapthorn reports "Of the seven MAN's nominally allocated to the 66 route between Swindon & Oxford, five are route branded. The two unbranded buses are no's 22620 and  22621. These two are slightly different to the other five in another respect to. If you take a look at the rear end you can see that the two venting slots to the engine are deeper than on the other five which are narrower. Thee are other points of detail differences in the rear end treatment if you look closely.

Now I wonder if anyone can explain this? It could just be  a point of detail and that the first two of the batch of seven were from an older manufacturers batch, even though they were all registered at the same time. Alternatively as there have been so many problems with these buses maybe the first two have been modified? These two performers 22620 & 22621 do seem to seen on the route perhaps more often than not, which may indicate greater reliability. Any ideas? 

See the item further up the page. Ed. 

Attached:  Two photographs detailing the difference between 22620/1 and the other five.



Barrie Gilbert writes "I'm attaching a shot of Solo 47316, which is a recent transfer from the Oxford to the South Wales fleet, and was in use on Saturday on Ryder Cup driving staff transfer duties." 

Barrie Gilbert attributed the copyright.  


From November 1st new services are being introduced in Sheffield 79 Ecclesfield - Batemoor, 87 High Green – Low Edges and Super Tram Link 2 Malin Bridge - Stannington. The current 83 and 88 services will be withdrawn in their current format with the 25, 52, 78, 120 and 123 services also being revised.

The garage at Ecclesfield is being extended to accommodate an increase in buses when these services commence. More MANs arriving from Oxford have been 22209, 22914 and 22928, in use on Sheffield services from Ecclesfield garage. Awaiting entry in to service are other 22913, 22918, 22919, 22930 and 22931. 


Barnstaple Rail station - Wednesday 22 Sept 2010

47445 and 'Louisa Joy' otherwise known as 18132! Pictures by Marcus Lapthorn.

Stuart Curwen writes "Tuesday 21st September is when i took the last of the buses sold to Ensign Bus Purfleet namely S162BMR a Dennis Dart SLF. On arrival at South Mimms services (photo attached) brekkie was partaken. On arrival at Ensign Bus i parked S162BMR next to the companies newest member of the fleet an ex-East London Bus Group Dennis Trident (Photo attached). 

I drove the Trident all the way from Purfleet to Swindon with one stop at Reading Services with not one problem. 

On arrival at Barnfield Depot in Swindon (Photo Attached) the Trident was parked up for a well earned rest before the repaint into company livery and seating changed from Stagecoach to Thamesdown is commenced."

Ken Gladstone writes "New arrival with Thames Travel is the AD Enviro 400 which was part funded by the Green Fund and the same as Stagecoach Oxford's Hybrids.

160  SN60BXW  AD Enviro 400   SFD4BRBBAGXD5526  AD A403/1  H??/??F  10/10

If anyone can confirm the seating I'll be grateful at"

I am delighted to include a picture of this bus taken by Mark E. Lyons.

Andrew Morgan writes to advise that "uno ALEXANDER VOLVO OLYMPIAN 251 (N430FKK) has rejoined 250 (N429FKK) and 252 (N431FKK) at SOUTHERN TRANSIT."

Any pictures of these buses in their new home would be appreciated.

Andrew adds "UNO have won green bus funding for two Hybrids of an unknown type and for what route. They have also purchased six ex-meteor parking OPTARE SOLOS YA02 YRR/S/T, YJ55 YGE/F AND YJ56 APF. They are 9.2m and wide unlike SOLOS 401-405 (YJ05 XNB, YK05 CCY, MX57 BZY, YJ58 PHN/O) which are 8.8m and narrow they are said to being going to be numbered 406-411 and also said to be going to be up seated from N25F with luggage racks to N33F.

Maybe they are to replace WRIGHT CRUSADER DENNIS DARTS SLF 650-652, 664-665 and 668 (R650/1/2 VBM, P664/5/8 PNM) which are said to be going at some point ."


John Hammond advise that a Whites Solo was involved in a collision in Henley on Friday, a week ago. Details may be found at the following link.


Mercedes-Benz Citaro BU53ZWZ has been sold to Western Greyhound for Bude services 599 and 576. Any pictures of this bus in its new home would be appreciated.



Major news

Stagecoach buys East London Bus Group


Key highlights

Commenting on the acquisition, Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach, said,

"We operated a successful bus business in London for several years and are pleased to re-enter the London bus market at what we consider to be an attractive price. Whilst we do not underestimate the challenges we face in driving up the financial performance of the acquired business, we relish the opportunity to apply our expertise in managing UK bus businesses to create value from a turnaround situation."


Stagecoach is pleased to confirm that its subsidiary, Stagecoach Bus Holdings Limited ("SBHL"), has completed the acquisition of the bus business formerly owned by East London Bus Group Limited (in administration). SBHL has acquired four companies that together operate the acquired business.

The cash paid in respect of the acquisition was £59.5m, inclusive of amounts to settle inter-company liabilities payable by the acquired business to its former parent company. The consideration payable was calculated on the basis that the acquired business had aggregate cash balances of approximately £6.7m at close of business on the day prior to completion, giving a transaction enterprise value of £52.8m.

Rationale for the acquisition

Following the disposal by SBHL of the East London bus business in 2006, the divested business experienced a decline in profitability but maintained a strong share of the London bus market. We believe that there is a compelling rationale for acquiring the business at the price paid. Building on recent steps to improve operational performance, we believe there is an opportunity to add value through a turnaround of the under-performing business and through synergies with Stagecoach. Through our previous ownership of the business, we are familiar with the regulated London tender environment and have a track-record of operating successfully and profitably in this market.

Information on the acquired business

The acquired business is the third largest bus operator in the London market, and has an estimated 15% share of that market. 99% of its revenue is from Transport for London. The business operates bus services under contract to Transport for London whereby it receives a fixed fee (subject to adjustment for certain inflation indices) for operating the services and takes the cost and capital risk.

The business operates from 10 depots and has a fleet of around 1,400 buses.

For the year ended 2 April 2010, the acquired business generated unaudited consolidated revenue of £253.5m and profit before exceptional items, interest and taxation of £9.0m, although that level of profit is not expected to be maintained for the year to March 2011. As at 2 April 2010 the unaudited, consolidated gross assets were £150.8m.

Financial effects

The cash paid in respect of the acquisition has been satisfied from the Group's existing surplus cash balances and existing undrawn, committed, bank facilities.

The transaction is expected to be modestly earnings accretive in the first full year of ownership.

Plans for the acquired business

We intend to operate the acquired business as a standalone business unit within the Group, whilst realising the synergies deliverable from integrating its back office activities with the rest of the Group.

We plan to finance the majority of new vehicles for the business with operating leases that match the related contracts with Transport for London. The operating lease model will increase the London business' costs. However, it will mean that the fleet strategy of our non-London UK Bus operations is less dictated by owned vehicles that are no longer required by the London business being forced upon the non-London business. This should in turn avoid any dilution to our successful strategy for our non-London UK Bus operations.

Green Bus 2 grants announced

Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced the winners of £15m Government funding for the second round of the English Green Bus Fund.

It will fund 169 vehicles, to operate in most main cities and some rural areas by March 2012.

The funding will help towards the additional up-front cost of buying low carbon buses.

The winners for the second round include Transport for London (54 buses); Stagecoach North East (26); Stagecoach Yorkshire (21); Greater Manchester PTE (19); Oxford Bus Company (17); East Yorkshire Motor Services (8); First Bristol Somerset and Avon (8); Manchester Airport Group (5); Bakerbus (3); Nottingham City Council (2); Dorset County Council (2); University Bus St Albans (2); Reading Transport Limited (1); Johnsons for Stratford-upon-Avon P&R (1).

A spokesman for Oxford Bus Company said “We’re delighted to have won the funding. We will be announcing  later exactly which routes the new buses will be used on.”

BUS operator Stagecoach announces major expansion plans in Sheffield – creating three new routes including second Supertram Link service

BUS operator Stagecoach has announced major expansion plans in Sheffield – creating three new routes including a second Supertram Link service and 80 new jobs.

The new services are a number 79 serving Ecclesfield, the city centre and Batemoor, up to every 10 minutes during the day from Monday to Friday and up to every 12 minutes on Saturday.

School girl taken to hospital after freak bus accident on A4155

Friday 15th October 2010

A SCHOOL girl was taken to hospital with facial injuries after a freak bus accident on the A4155 this morning.

The 800 Arriva bus from High Wycombe to Reading was caught by outstretched tree branches smashing the top-deck front windows.

Broken glass was catapulted down the aisle as the shocked passengers ducked for cover.

Two police cars and an ambulance were called to the scene between Marlow and Henley and a replacement bus later arrived.

“The girl was traumatised, she was screaming but the ambulance quickly came to pick her up,” said passenger Jack Buckley, 17, who attends Henley College.

“Another girl was hurt and her dad collected her shortly afterwards.” 


Stagecoach introduces smartcard travel across Oxfordshire

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Stagecoach has today (30 September 2010) launched smartcard travel across Oxfordshire, using the latest technology to give passengers a quicker, easier and good value way to catch the bus.

Passengers in Oxfordshire can sign up from today for the new StagecoachSmart travel card, offering unlimited bus travel in Oxford for as little as £1.32 a day.

Once registered online at, they can start storing great value multi-journey Megarider tickets on their card from 18 October and then use it to travel.

The electronic card has a chip that stores Stagecoach tickets for use on the bus. Smartcard enabled readers, which use the Government's preferred ITSO technology, have been installed on all 160 Stagecoach vehicles in Oxfordshire.

Passengers simply hold the card with the loaded ticket over the reader when they board and their journey will be registered.

Customers will also be able to use the same electronic card when multi-operator smartcard ticketing goes live in Oxford early next year without having to get a new one.

Stagecoach is also introducing a brand new Megarider Xtra ticket, which provides passengers with an even smarter way to pay for their travel.

Megarider Xtra offers the same unlimited bus travel as the current tickets. However, it allows customers to pay for their travel through hassle-free automatic payments which are debited from their debit/credit card on an agreed date every month, meaning they no longer have to renew their ticket manually.

Martin Sutton, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: "We know that value for money and convenience are vital if we are to encourage more people to switch from the car to our greener, smarter bus services. StagecoachSmart is a major step towards the introduction of co-ordinated timetables and multi-operator smartcard ticketing."

Stagecoach drivers to get fleece jackets made from recycled plastic bottles

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Transport group Stagecoach is to issue its bus drivers across the UK with new greener clothing made from recycled plastic bottles.

Incorporatewear, which designs and supplies the company’s uniform, has developed a new fleece which is now being rolled out to staff across Stagecoach’s UK Bus division.

Stagecoach, which employs more than 14,000 bus drivers across the UK, has adopted the unusual garment as part of its commitment to becoming a more sustainable business. By introducing the new fleeces to all drivers, the company could save around 350,000 plastic bottles being disposed of in landfill sites*.

This project is the latest in a series of innovative environmental schemes introduced by Stagecoach. The Perth-based transport operator has launched a sustainability strategy and is investing £11 million in a range of measures to meet ambitious environmental targets across all of its businesses. Stagecoach already operates the UK’s first Bio-buses, which run on 100% bio-fuel, and the company recently launched the UK’s largest investment in green electric-hybrid bus technology.

The new fleece is based on a core fabric of recycled PET polyester, a type of plastic that is used as a raw material for making packaging materials such as bottles and containers, and is one of the most common consumer plastics used. In the UK alone, an estimated 13 billion plastic bottles are disposed of each year, and the plastic can take up to 400 years to break down in landfill sites.

Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, Les Warneford, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our business. As well as working hard to attract more people out of their cars and on to our greener, smarter bus services, we also have a responsibility to become a greener business ourselves. This project is a great example of the benefits of recycling and we look forward to rolling this out to all of our UK Bus drivers.”

Incorporatewear supplies corporate clothing for 14,000 Stagecoach employees, believes sustainability will become a more important force in work wear. It has, in the past, developed new garment innovations including buttons from seedpods, recycled polyester linings and bamboo charcoal fabric technology.

Earlier this year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions.

Stagecoach is the first Scottish-based transport group – and one of only two listed UK public transport operators – to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark. 

Optare wins three year deal 

Optare has announced that trent barton has named Optare as its preferred supplier for the next three years. 

The decision means that Optare will supply 65 buses over that period with a contract value of £8.1 million.

The agreement calls for the supply of 39 Tempos, 9 Versas and 17 Solos for delivery over the three years.

They will be specifically tailored for trent barton’s individual route applications.

Optare Commercial Director Glenn Saint says: “trent barton are market leaders in the British bus operating scene, their innovative approach to vehicle design and passenger environment often leads to new concepts which are mimicked by others. It’s no coincidence that is a multi-award winning organisation. For them to demonstrate their faith in Optare and our products for this long-term deal underlines the considerable standing Optare now has in the market.”

Stagecoach Group commended for climate change disclosureJump to top navigationJump to site services

Stagecoach Group is one of a small number of listed companies in the UK highlighted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its approach to climate change disclosure.

The Group is the only UK public transport group in the FTSE350 selected for the CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index.

A total of 37 companies have been included in the Index, representing the top scoring 10% of the FTSE350. Compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of CDP, it provides an evaluation tool for institutional investors.

The CDP represents 534 institutional investors with $64 trillion in assets under management. The leadership index is based on analysis of the responses to CDP’s 2010 questionnaire, which focused on greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reduction targets and risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Constituent companies included in the leadership index have displayed the most professional approach to corporate governance in respect of climate change disclosure practices. Companies are scored on their climate change disclosure and high scores indicate good internal data management and understanding of climate change related issues affecting the company.

Stagecoach Group was also the highest rated for disclosure among its public transport peer group in CDP’s annual FTSE 350 Report. On a 100-point scale, the ratings of the major public transport groups were:

Stagecoach Group






Go-Ahead Group


National Express Group


Steven Stewart, Stagecoach Group Director of Corporate Communications, said: “Public transport is well placed to play a key role in meeting the global challenge of climate change as well as supporting economic recovery. We are delighted to have been selected for inclusion in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index, which recognises our focus on good corporate governance on climate change, as well as the risks and opportunities for our business.”

Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: “The Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index recognises companies that demonstrate good internal data management practices for understanding greenhouse gas emissions, including energy use. Companies that make this index have also demonstrated clear consideration of how climate change is and will impact their business. As companies’ understanding of climate change issues grows, they are better placed to take positive action to manage and mitigate its risks.”

In April, Stagecoach Group launched a new sustainability strategy and £11million investment programme to reduce further the carbon emissions from its transport operations in the UK and North America. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2e emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions.

Stagecoach Group has been awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard for its British bus and rail operations. It is the first Scottish-based transport group - and one of only two listed UK public transport operators - to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark

Earlier this month, Stagecoach Group was included in the FTSE4Good socially responsible investment index for the 10th consecutive year. Companies included in the FTSE4Good Index Series must meet stringent social, ethical and environmental criteria.

The CDP FTSE 350 Report, including names of companies featured in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index, can be found at Stagecoach Group’s sustainability strategy can be accessed online at

Trips and events

Keith Shayshutt visits Warwickshire & North Oxfordshire 

A day was spent in the north of the Oxford & Chilterns Website area on Friday 15 October 2010. The itinerary was as follows:

0915 Rugby (Station) - Banbury 1105 - Geoff Amos GA01/02 -  AM05 BUS
1200 Banbury - Brackley 1255 - Tex Cars & Coaches 508 - T110 KGP
1337 Brackley - Bicester 1415 - Walters Limousines X88 - T107 KGP
1427 Bicester - Aylesbury 1543 - Arriva Shires 16 - R207 VPU
1610 Aylesbury - Leighton Buzzard 1656 - Z&S International 165 - YJ06 YPY
1743 Leighton Buzzard - Milton Keynes 1856 - Grant Palmer 10A - N193 EMJ

Photos of each of the buses travelled on are attached

1 - Geoff Amos MAN Evolution AM05 BUS at Banbury (Bus Station)

2 - Tex Cars & Coaches Darts T110KGP at Brackley

3 & 4 - Walters Limousines Dart T107KGP at Brackley

5 - Arriva T107VPU at Bicester

6 - Z&S Spectra YJ06YPY at Leighton Buzzard

7 - Grant Palmer Mercedes 709D N193EMJ at Leighton Buzzard

Marcus Lapthorn visits Albania

I was in Albania recently and just had time to take a couple of shots of local buses at Butrint. Hope you like them. The roads around there were just gravel. 

Did not see many buses at all as we were in a fairly remote spot (or so it seemed!)

However I have now attached as per your request some more shots:

862 shows a name board at the port, Saranda, from whence we set out by coach to Butrint. 

864 shows the state of the road taken from the coach. (When Kath pulled on the seat belt to try and secure the belt, the whole assembly came out of the floor!)

865 shows what the Government do when you build without planning permission! Thee were loads of half built and then half demolished buildings all the way along the road to Butrint.

885 shows a guard at Butrint.

From Paul Davis 

Whilst on holiday in Switzerland we came across this restored PTT 1946 Saurer when driving through the Grimselpass 17Sept. Unfortunately the weather was poor. Right Hand Drive (as was the norm for mountain buses in those days!)


The couple were really serious.  Where the modern road had tunnelled through mountains, they took the original roads if possible as you can see in the 2nd picture. 

From Adam Green who visited Great Yarmouth

There was an Old Bus on the A11 yesterday on its way to the Norfolk Showground 

Two of the Routemasters are still at great Yarmouth but they do not run on the route anymore

66126 was being washes in the garage

43478 drove past on while I was going to the Bus Garage

37565 was on the X1 to Peterborough Via Norwich

37578 was on the X1 to Peterborough Via Norwich

34111 was on the 3 to Hemsby Beach

60810 was on the 10 to Lowestoft

43447 was on a Town service

43481 was Not In service parked in the bus Station

43441 was on the 7 to Belton 

Caernarfon in 2010 by Marcus Lapthorn

Marcus spent a few days in North Wales and sent a selection of current buses in the area, mainly in Caernarfon.

Tavistock from Dave Godley

Tavistock Goose Fair was blessed with good weather today which encouraged a large turnout of visitors. There were around 50 visiting coaches - difficult to work out as the coach parking areas soon filled and coaches turning up after 12.00 had to park in lay-bys outside of the town.

The Park & Ride was in the hands of First. Whilst the journey in from the P&R site on the Oakhampton side of town was OK, the return journey (at around 1500 hrs) was woefully inadequate, with a solitary Dart (42948) struggling to shift hundreds of people.


David Fuller "I write to say I have attached a few pictures from Showbus 2010, if you want to include any on your next page. Although the weather wasn't great, it provided a nice backdrop for some vehicles in particular. I was lucky enough to have a ride on the Chalfont, the Friday before the event, and also recently their tri-axle WA10ENK. They are both lovely vehicles. I didn't expect to see the new Carousel, must have been a late entry."

Richard Sharman sent a nice picture of the Stokenchurch Solo which works a daily weekday service to Reading. Oh boy, did it rain!!!


Oxford Bus Museum - Sunday 17tth October by Brian Matthews

Thought you might like to consider a few images for the O&C web jottings page from the rally field today at London (Oxford) Airport.   The Midland Red may appear to be travelling at 'Xpress speed' but that's an optical illusion !

Richard Sharman also contributed pictures from this event which was blessed with nice weather.

Cambridge Bus Guideway

Marcus Lapthorn writes "The link below may be worth publicising for your readers?" 

A further link that is interesting!

Ryder Cup 2010 

Ralph Adams writes "Here is a list, believed accurate, of the Stagecoach vehicles in use. Of interest is that South Wales has not supplied any as they only have three double deckers but all are step entrance. I gather the buses operate from Llanwern steel works site." 



Scania Omnidecker




Scania U230 E400




Scania U230 E400





North West




North West




East Kent



Scania N270 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N270 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N270 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent



Scania N230 - ADL E400

East Kent




North West




North West



Scania E400




Scania E400




Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania U230 E400

South West



Scania E400




Scania E400




Scania E400




Scania E400




Scania E400





North West




North West



Scania U230 E400




Scania U230 E400




Volvo B7TL East Lancs

East Midlands



Dennis Trident ALX 400

East Midlands



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis Trident Plaxton President

East Midlands



Dennis Trident Plaxton President

East Midlands



Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident ALX 400

East Midlands



Dennis Trident ALX 400

East Midlands



Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis Trident 2

North West



Dennis Trident 3

North West







Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400







K 05 TWJ





Dennis  ALX 400




Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident 2

North West



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis ALX 400

West Scotland



Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400

East Midlands



Dennis Trident/ALX400

East Midlands



Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




Dennis Trident/ALX400




















Dennis Trident E400

East Midlands



Dennis Trident E400

East Midlands




North East




North East




North East




North East



ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL E400




ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay




North East




North East



ADL  E400




ADL E400




ADL E400




ADL  E400





North East




North East



ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL E400




ADL E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400




ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay



ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay



ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay



ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay



ADL  E400

Fife & Strathtay



ADL E400




ADL E400


Mark Priest writes "I got this shot on 25 Sep, on the M5 between J2 and J3. Just 'Ryder Cup' looked like stuck on the front destination glass."

Carole Morgan CMILT, Operations Manager, Aberdare, Merthyr and Brecon, Stagecoach in South Wales writes "Thought you might appreciate these few pics as I have access to all bus sites and have a camera!  I have taken nearly 200 pics so far but at this stage haven't got time to really sort through them in any great detail."


Marcus Lapthorn writes "On our way north on Tuesday 5 October on  the M5/M6 we saw quite a few Stagecoach double deckers from Manchester, Cumbria and others that were not specified. I spoke to one driver who was parked up at a service station and he told me that he had been at the Ryder Cup event in South Wales where 27,000 people were moved by 140 buses in just one hour. 

No photographs I am afraid, but I saw 15683 (PX60 BDL) from Cumbria which was route branded for the 300 route from Carlisle to Workington. Also Manchester had supplied 18138 & 18139."

Blackpool 125th Anniversary of Trams by Geoff Cunliffe 

Just nipped into Blackpool this afternoon to see if anything was happening with the trams - not that I really expected much because the week's festivities are only due to kick off this evening with a Welcome Evening and Fun Quiz at Uncle Tom's Cabin tonight. 

At the depot, the only nice picture I could get, given that you cannot actually get in, was of restored Marton Standard 147 flanked by Boat 604 and Engineering Car 654 (which doesn't seem to have recovered from having wintered in the open at North Pier last year) just visible behind MetroRider 512, now a Permanent Way vehicle. 

Interestingly, the Blackpool Tramways concrete sign is still outside the main Blundell Street offices and there is a mock bus stop proclaiming the town to be the home of the famous Blackpool Trams outside their Enquiry Office door. 

Next activity is due of Saturday with a vintage tram service then on Sunday we have both that service again and the Depot open day. I have a feeling that this may be the last time ordinary anoraks will be able to get inside the depot before the facilities are radically changed (slimmed down?) as the trams operation moves (mostly) to Starr Gate for 2012. 

The weekend of 25th/26th. September was particularly nice in Blackpool, especially if you could hide from the pretty chilly north wind and into the plentiful sunshine. True you could see Barrow across Morecambe Bay, a portent of bad weather to come in two or three days, but, hey, live for the day because Blackpool Transport Services were celebrating the 125th. Anniversary of the introduction of trams running along the Promenade in 1885. 

Celebrations actually started on Thursday 23rd but the weekend saw vintage and visiting trams intermingling with normal service cars, and on Sunday the depot complex was open to the public,- a rare event in itself and it has now been confirmed that this main depot will not be opened to the public again. With the introduction of the new Bombardier trams for 2012 and the construction of a new depot for these vehicles at Starr Gate, the existing Rigby Road-based facilities will contract and be downsized. The new cars will not require the skills and techniques that have kept 75 year old cars working so successfully, and should someone come up with an offer to buy a substantial piece of real estate close to Blackpool town centre, there could be significant changes. 

But, as I said, let’s enjoy the day,- or the weekend to be precise. 

Visiting or vintage cars seen in service included the following:-

Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 (Image 01) of 1914, owned by the Tramway Museum Society, Crich

Blackpool 147 (Image 02) of 1924 owned by Blackpool Transport 

Marton Box 31 (Image 03) of 1901 on loan from Beamish Museum 

Sheffield 513 (Image 04) of 1950, on long term loan from Beamish Museum 

Stockport Corporation 5 (Image 05) owned by the Stockport 5 Tramcar Trust and a Blackpool resident 

Manchester 765 (Image 06) owned by the Manchester Museum of Transport (Heaton Park Tramway) 

Liverpool 762 (Image 07) of 1931 owned by Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society (Birkenhead Tramway) 

Blackpool’s own trams in service on the Promenade over the weekend included:-

Double deckers  (“Balloon”) 701 (Image 08) 711 (Image 09), 715,  (Image 10), 717 (Image 11) 719 (Image 12), 723 (Image 13)

Twin-car sets 672/682 (Image 15),

Centenary cars 641 (Image 16), 642 (Image 17), 643 (Image 18), 644 (Image 19), 648 (Image 20)

Millennium cars (rebuilt Balloons)  707 (Image 21), 709 (Image 22), 724 (Image 23) 

Jubilee car (rebuilt Balloon) 762 (Image 24) 

Open Boat 600 (Image 25) of 1934 

Margaret and I had a ride on Balloon 726 to the Pleasure Beach and back. The cars were doing good business with most leaving principal destinations with 3-bell loads, making joining them at intermediate points very problematic. It was very nostalgic to be greeted by not one but two conductors, offering gems like “It would be appreciated if those who can climb to the top deck do so”,  “Room for six more on top”, “Next stop will be Talbot Square, North Pier”, and so on. 

Some features of 726 were totally authentic and seventy-five years old, like the flip-over seats which conductors have to turn at each terminus without a turning loop, and seventy-five years of treacly varnish on the75 year old timber trim. Naturally it had the original Z-type controller (Image 26), exposed lighting (Image 27). Because the fleet is rotated, not all are fitted with two-way radios and portable units are used, carried in a “Radio Resepticle”(!!!) (Image 28). 

All in all, Saturday was a good day.


Sunday’s Depot Open Day found the Blundell Street site overrun with enthusiasts and those simply wanting something different to do on a very pleasant Sunday. There was a collection of visiting buses, mostly old favourites, displayed outside East Depot:-

three former Blackpool PD3s, (Image 201),

former Blackpool 521 Routemaster (RM583) & Blackpool AEC Swift 570 (Image 202),

Portsmouth 8 Open Top PD2 (Image 203),

former Liverpool Atlantean 1070 (Image 204),

former Lytham St.Annes 10 all Leyland PD2/1 & Fylde coach seated 45 Atlantean AN68D/1R (Image 205),

South Yorkshire M3 PD3 wrecker (Image 206), PMT BET-bodied Leopard (Image 207),

and part of Barrow Atlantean 104, Fishwick’s PD2/5, Ribble’s Burlingham-bodied TD5 2057,  Ribble’s ECW bodied Atlantean 1451 & Ribble’s MCW-bodied PD3 1775 (Image 208).
Oh my goodness, I drove these 45 years ago!!!!! Ed.

I paid for a Workshops Tour which started in the Paint Shop where up to four vehicles can be hand-painted at once (there are no spray facilities at Blackpool),
although it was admitted that the silver and red swoop on the new livery was a vinyl (Image 209).

Someone asked why they had not reverted to the lovely old green and cream livery, and one employee retorted that it would have been too expensive. Somewhat hard to believe, and I think it is more a case of modern management philosophy of “never look back”.

Next to the Body Shop which, like the Paint Shop, serves buses and the trams. It was interesting to compare a couple of double-deckers (Image 210). 700, on the left, was being restored to wartime mainly green livery with fixtures and fittings as near as possible to its original. In contrast, 713 has received many modifications including simplified windscreens to both the cab and top deck, the destination display and the lighting arrangement.

Both had been fitted with the revised front lower dash with the lifeguards removed. The effect is not too displeasing


The main Engineering Shop found an Millennium car 718 having its central entrances widened to access the new loading platforms being built along the route for the new Bombardier units

A selection of bogies in various stages of rebuild, 57hp  electric motors, air brake reservoirs, a pile of tram tyres (which last about 10 years – I know, it depends how often you use the tram) and the wheel lathe were there for visitors to see. 

Across the yard and in a corner of the main running shed, just past the Tramcar Location board  was the electrical section. Just outside this were some partially assembled pantographs (Blackpool makes its own), and a stock of overhead paraphernalia for the upgrading of the infrastructure required for the Bombardiers which, incidentally, will take considerably more current (shades of the Vambacs?). Here we found restored OMO-car 8 (Image 215), now owned by the Lancastrian Transport Trust, undergoing work, and we could see one of the eight sub-stations used to feed the system.


Final stop on the tour was the south Bus Workshop with a selection of vehicles including two Solos and two Excels (Image 216) and a brand new Volvo B7BLE on the lift for all to see (Image 217).


The main bus depot contained the usual enthusiasts and trade stands. One of the hottest selling items appeared to be blank (yellow) indicator blind lengths which left me pondering what possible use it could be to so many people.  There were plenty of working models of trams, some quite superb (Images 218, 219 & 220), and I couldn’t resist photographs of a model of the former Blackpool Coliseum Bus Station which our editor visited professionally many years ago.


Back outside, there were the trams on the depot fan to see. The restored Western Train was a popular attraction with the kids (Images 221 & 223)). Others on the fan were Blackpool & Fleetwood 2  and Box Car 40 (Image 224), Oporto 273 (Image 225), Blackpool Pantograph car 167 (Image 226) alongside Blackpool Standard 143 (Image 227) being restored by the Lancastrian Transport Trust, and Coronation 305, the ‘Salvage Squad’ tram (Image 228).


Incidentally, there appear to be three Coronation Vambac trams left. Blackpool Transport has retained  what became 660, although it is now fitted with a standard Z-type controller; un-restored 327, renumbered to 663, is with the Lancastrian Transport Trust, and then there is 305, the Salvage Squad tram with a new Vambac controller. 

You could only gaze into the main Tram Depot with long-focus lenses, but it was worth it. At one side, there were two unserviceable Brush cars (Image 230) but there were also several cars which saw service on the Promenade.


Another vehicle much in evidence for the weekend was 939, a 2002 Mercedes Benz Unimog with bucket hoist, road/rail maintenance units (Image 229), pictured at Manchester Square. 

All in all, it was a most enjoyable Open Day. The final part of the celebrations was the Cavalcade of Trams on the anniversary day itself. 

Remember that I said you could see Barrow across Morecambe Bay on Saturday? The old wives’ tale worked and Wednesday 29th. September dawned in a decidedly wet manner - well, it was a total downpour actually. You don’t need complex and expensive weather forecasting gear on the Fylde Coast - just look if you can see Barrow, or look across the Ribble Estuary to see if you can make out the Llandegla moors in North Wales.  If you can, it will rain in three or four days time - infallible! 

Fortunately, by 2pm, the clouds were just beginning to lift as the final public event in the celebration of 125 years of trams in Blackpool was a cavalcade of trams from the Pleasure Beach to Bispham and return.

The trams were lined up in good time on the outer loop at the Pleasure Beach (image 301) and on the spur leading to Starr Gate

Several lists had been issued, but the final make up for the cavalcade was as follows:- 

1.       Blackpool & Fleetwood Crossbench Car 2 of 1898, owned by the Tramway Museum Society, Crich

2.       Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 of 1914, owned by the Tramway Museum Society, Crich

3.       Marton Box Car 31 of 1901, on loan from Beamish Museum

4.       Standard 147 of 1924 owned by Blackpool Transport

5.       Open Boat 600 of 1934 owned by Blackpool Transport

6.       Princess Alice, 706 (ex. 243), of 1934 owned by Blackpool Transport

7.       Coronation  car 660 of 1953 owned by Blackpool Transport

Although it had stopped raining by the time the cavalcade departed, it was a pretty wretched afternoon. Fortunately those on exposed vehicles seemed to have come prepared for what must have been a chilly ride. Mind you, in the early days of the Fleetwood Tramroad, the breezy ride along the cliff top was prompted as “one of the joys of life is a ride on the Blackpool & Fleetwood cars”.  No doubt these days, the cars would be classed as not fit for purpose! How things change. 

In the evening, there was an Anniversary Dinner with official speakers to wrap up a week of celebrations. There was also much discussion about the new trams and their operation from Easter 2012 onwards. The new vehicles will be costly to run - more powerful motors - crew staffing (depending on fare system). Passenger and visitor numbers have been falling annually, and apart from the high season & illuminations, there are no peak loading times, such as city/town rush hours, and the resident population is not high enough to support intensive journey times (a 10 minute frequency has been suggested).  Maybe future extensions to Squires Gate and North Station will help. Apparently Bombardier seem optimistic, but they would, wouldn't they? 

We may have seen the last of the traditional Blackpool depot open days. Maybe there will be one to show us all the new depot at Starr Gate and to promote the new, sleek, faster service which we are being promised. We’ll see. 


Ed Maun writes "Good to see Thames Valley 616 GJB 254 out and about again after residing in the Oxford Bus Museum for years. However, service 27 never went to Maidenhead – Great Missenden would have been more appropriate!"

Buses in the Landscape

John Marsh writes saying is this the ultimate "Bus in the Landscape"

A First Leeds (I guess) Wright Gemini taken from a Boeing coming in to land at Leeds-Bradford Airport.

John adds "I wonder if any of your readers can identify the exact location?"

Neil writes "Firstly congratulations on a great page, you have my admiration for such extensive updates between your driving shifts.

In the latest issue of Spottings & Jottings, you have a picture from John Marsh taken from a plane approaching Leeds Bradford Airport and wondering where the bus is. Looking at the bus' shadow, it is apparent the plane is travelling west with the photo looking north. Going to Google Maps and heading east from the end of LBA's runway, looking at the road pattern it is easy to spot that the bus is on Silk Mill Drive in the Tinshill area, close to the junction with Silk Mill Way. Again from Google Maps, the bus is just passing (or perhaps stopped at) the "Tinshill, Silk Mill Drive Silk Mill Avenue, Stop 45011523 (On Silk Mill Drive)". The click-through link from the bus stop symbol on Google Maps to Transportdirect shows that this is a number 6 bus heading to Holt Park Shopping Centre.  

Hope this helps, keep up the good work."

From Richard Griffin 

John Marsh's photo taken from an aircraft coming into land at Leeds-Bradford, at the foot of your Spottings & Jottings nr 34.

I cannot resist a puzzle like that, but it was very simple.  A couple of minutes in Google Earth, and I identified the location as being Silk Mill Drive, Horsforth.

Bing Maps has aerial photos that provide conclusive proof:
(scroll and zoom slightly to centre the road on the correct road, then select the "Bird's Eye" Aerial photo).

One in Italy from John Marsh.


Barry writes "Here's a couple for Buses in the Countryside for Stagecoach in Swindon - acknowledgment and copyright to DepotPic.

Enviro 300 22620 at Southmoor 

Enviro 400 15649 trundling through Avebury stone circle 

Here's a couple more.  Copyright and acknowledgment to DepotPic again.

Can't quite ID (think its V559JBH) but the location is Spratton near Northampton

And here's some too far away to ID - Ryder Cup Park and Ride near Usk


Somewhat appropriate to finish with for what has been the largest ever issue! Ed.