Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 4 - 14th September 2009

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Welcome to issue number 4 which preceeds the full issue of Company & Fleet News which will be published along with Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles later this week. I have a week's leave which will allow me to catch up on outstanding matters.

I am also pleased to advise that an Oxford tube from the new Van Hool fleet will be at Showbus on 27th September and has been invited to take part in the Celebration Run to mark the 60th Anniversary of Buses Magazine. This will take place from Cambridge (Trumpington Park & Ride) to Duxford prior to the main event. Full details at this link:

 There is still a great deal of information to impart and this will be included in further issues of the News Page later this week.


Glenn Knight reports that on 9th September seen at Van Hool Wellingborough were Megabus 50227/8/9/30 . Build nrs. 53422/3/4/5 for services between Scotland and London. No licence plates were applied when seen. Another Oxford Tube due on the 9th with a further 10 soon.

Indeed Jamie from the confirms that the first for the Oxford Tube has arrived at Wellingborough (see full details of the next batch below). He sent the picture below and runs the web page linked here. I think this one should be 50220, OU59 AUR.

The build number is YE2927SD358D53426.


Pete Cabin writes "Seen yesterday 3162 - N712EUR sporting blue route 32 colours so I guess this a transfer into High Wycombe."


I noticed one of the recent arrivals at Wycombe nicely repainted in Interurban livery in the Eden Bus Station last Friday, 3852 transferred in from Stevenage and now working the 800/850 Reading services.



Noel Clark reports that Citaro MB53 returned from the paint shop on 11th September and MB52 went up in its place, marking the end of silver bus operation for Carousel. All three Citaros will be branded for the new A30/740/A40 group of services before the new routes commence on Monday 28th September.


Centrebus, Luton

Glenn Knight reports that the new Centrebus MAN 14.224 Plaxton Centro FJ59 FYS was in service last Thursday on 19A's in Luton.

I note many changes over at Stansted with Centrebus appearing on some routes at the airport using what appear to be ex Telling Golden Miller buses and an occasional bus in full Centrebus livery.


Gavin Francis was on hand in London last Friday to witness the arrival of FIVE First Greyhound PBs at Green Line. They were on route training prior to the service starting today, 14th September.

First Greyhound Irizar PBs 23315 and 23322 training in London last Friday - pictures by Gavin Francis.

I noticed a Trident in Wycombe last Friday on route 74 in full First London livery.

National Express

I may have mis-reported the renumbering of other operators coaches into the new system. The Irizar PB Gavin Francis pictured was ex NXL32 which has been renumbered C058. Certainly the V class shown below has gained a CO number. I am unable to work out how this renumbering is being done as the Scania/Caetano coaches at Stansted have been renumbered but not all in order with the ex Heathrow Sibson Road gaining the numbers C052-056 ex SC40/1/3/4/5 and I was told that there were two C052s, one being at Sibson Road.

Sibson road based Volvo "LK" type C045 which was V37, seen at Stansted on route 797.
This coach is on the 11:45 diagram from Cambridge to Gatwick, a Sibson Road working. Picture by your Editor.

The Irizar mentioned above, indeed the only one left in NEx ownership, C058 once NXL32 working a 540 service in London.
This coach is working the 09:30 London - Bolton diagram which is a Sibson road working. This coach will make the 15:50 return service.
 Picture by Gavin Francis.

R H Buses

I noted an ex London General Trident, PDL28, last reported as allocated to Stockwell working the 700 service in Headington last week. It carried no indication of RH ownership.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

The first four of the new Stagecoach Gold Enviro 400 double decks were prepared for service last week at Horspath depot and were delivered to collected last Sunday by drivers from Witney ready for introduction into service on route S2.  This service started this morning, Monday and the buses are out there for my readers to see.

The Stagecoach Gold Scanias waiting to go to Witney and seen at Horspath depot on Sunday.

The remaining Van Hool Oxford Tube coaches are now expected with dates indicated below. . They are as follows.

Fleet Number Registration Mark due for delivery
50216 OU59 AVC after 08 Oct
50217 OU59 AVD after 08 Oct
50218 OU59 AVE after 15 Oct
50219 OU59 AUO after 15 Oct
50220 0O59 AUR after 10 Sep
50221 OU59 AUT after 17 Sep
50222 OU59 AUV after 17 Sep
50223 OU59 AUW after 24 Sep
50224 OU59 AUX after 24 Sep
50225 OU59 AUY after 01 Oct
50226 OU59 AVB after 01 Oct


Bus Driver of the Year, Blackpool, 6th September

Jim Wright pictured with one of the Scania buses used on the S3 - picture by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire.

A Stagecoach bus driver has been named the best in Oxfordshire and 2nd best in the whole country.

Jim Wright who has worked for Stagecoach for 9 years on the S3 route from Oxford to Chipping Norton/Charlbury via Woodstock came second at the National Bus Drivers awards held in Blackpool on Sunday.

Bus companies entered from around the UK including Oxford.

The event is designed to; raise the standard of passenger care and comfort, to increase the skills of drivers engaged in local and inter-urban road passenger carrying operations, and to promote pride in carrying out those duties.

Martin Sutton Managing Director of Stagecoach said, “well done to Jim who put in a fantastic effort. He is a credit to the company and continually proves to be both outstanding at driving and at customer care”

Jim Wright from near Chipping Norton said “It is an honour to be so highly ranked amongst all bus drivers and particularly good to be the best in Oxfordshire”.

Amersham 2009

Amersham & District Motorbus Society presents its



Sunday 4 October 2009 - 09.35 – 17.40

Frequent departures from King George V Road with connecting services to/from Aylesbury, Uxbridge, High Wycombe, Slough & Windsor, Hertford & St. Albans, Watford, Berkhamsted & London area. First bus from High Wycombe Bus Stn Bay 18 08.45, Marlow 08.25, Hazlemere 08.59, Holmer Green 09.05.  About 28 buses in operation.

Full programmes at £5 now available from Tourist Information Office at Library, Eden Centre, High Wycombe or  




No shelter for passengers

One small problem has come to light in that there is very limited provision for waiting passengers in New Road for westbound services. In times gone only very few services picked up outside the council offices, mainly the 300 Park & Ride service bound for Peartree. With Transform Oxford now a reality another stop has materialised for passengers bound for Botley road and beyond. This stop has no shelter and it was distressing to see elderly people the other day trying to find some shelter from an unexpected downpour. I wonder if something is planned?

Waiting passengers in New Road showing the lack of a shelter. On the day Gavin Francis took this picture it was sunny.

Intalink have now joined 'Twitter' meaning we can provide you with up-to-date travel news directly to your computer or mobile phone. To receive this information (including updates and service disruptions) simply go to:

The following publications will be available soon:

These publications are well worth the effort to obtain and give clear and concise details of services throughout Hertfordshire. There have been many changes recently and these will all be included.

National Express update

With just six minutes remaining until the deadline for a formal offer to be made for a takeover of National Express Group (NEG), the beleaguered bus, coach, rail and tram operator announced it has secured a fortnight’s extension to the Takeover Panel’s ‘put up or shut up’ deadline of 1700hrs last Friday.  

The new deadline is 1700hrs on 25 September. This is to allow NEG more time to “discuss proposals for a sale” which could lead to a formal takeover bid being made.

However, NEG still argues that shareholders would benefit from pumping more cash into the debt-laden company, but this now appears to be a ‘plan B’.

The final decision depends largely on the views of major institutional shareholders.

Today’s deadline was imposed by the Takeover Panel on 5 August after representations to it by NEG, in an attempt to end speculation over the group’s future.

Last Thursday (3 September) a consortium of venture capitalists CVC Capital Partners and the Cosmen family (which has an 18% stake in NEG and a seat on its board) made a final improved proposal buy all NEG’s shares for £5 a share, valuing NEG at £765m.

However, the consortium has yet to produce a formal offer - as required by the Takeover Panel - due to ongoing discussions with NEG about the amount of due diligence required.

But NEG is now taking the consortium’s proposal seriously, despite reports that the board is not unanimous in its view, hence NEG’s application for a new Takeover Panel deadline.

A nice photo link

Richard Thomas writes " I have a photo collection of shots taken on Tuesday this week covering High Wycombe and Oxford. Here is the link.


Of note was the way drivers (In Oxford in particular) were very friendly and plenty made it known they had no problem in my taking a shot of them and the bus, by smiling and commenting that had I asked, could have had a smile earlier in their approach towards the camera."