Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 5 - 20th September 2009

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Welcome to issue number 5 which preceeds the issue of Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles published hopefully tomorrow. I have had a week's leave which will has allowed me to catch up on many outstanding matters.


Ed Maun writes "I was in High Wycombe for a short while on Wednesday whilst my car was being MOT’d. I happened to walk past the 'Bridge Street café' and was intrigued to see above its window across the front of the shop images of buses including a Thames Valley Bristol KSW double deck and a couple of London Transport RFs. Does anyone know the significance of this display?"


I was also pleased to see Carousel’s Thames Valley liveried Leyland Olympian still in service although perhaps past its best."


Adam Green writes saying "3272 V272HBH now has 500 brandings on one side and this photo captures it in Riverside on Route 5 in Hemel Hempstead."

Note the very small fleet numbers on the front of this bus. Photo by Adam Green.

Mark Turner writes "I attach some more pictures of Arriva buses taken in Hemel bus station on (19 sept) which includes freshly painted Trident 5421 (W421XKX) with the updated 500 route branding. This only appears on the left side of the bus and not the driver's side."

Picture by Mark Turner.


Stuart Harvey sent some nice pictures of Carousel buses taken on 12th September. He writes "If I see anything else of note, I will let you know, but will definitely give you an update after the timetable changes."


I do like the picture of MB51 very much.


Pictures by Stuart Harvey.


Several readers have mentioned the following item but Ralph Adams sent a well worded item saying "Did you hear about the First Greyhound coach that ran out of "petrol". On board was a senior representative being interviewed live for a Radio programme. Oh dear. The passengers were taken by minibus to Victoria.

It appears very strange to me as First have been using these coaches for several years on express duties so they know what the fuel tank is. Apparently they are refuelled at Victoria.
Petrol was the reference by the newspaper reporter."

Oh dear, I do have some sympathy with the driver, we can all make a mistake. I heard also that it was on Radio 4.

I also note from the latest issue of Buses magazine that a model of the Irizar PB in Greyhound colours will be available in the not too distant future.



Glenn Knight writes to advise of two new additions to the Red Line fleet.

V112LGC Volvo Alexander ALX400 H43/17F Ex-London General AVL12

V119LGC Volvo Alexander ALX400 H43/17F Ex-London General AVL19


Picture of V119LGC by Glenn Knight.


As of Friday 18th September they were aiting still for V112LGC, both Volvo's originating from Camberwell depot.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

Latest news on our ex Brookes bus Tridents which have spent the summer in Devon.

Terry Partridge writes "Autumn is a-coming so low sun and plenty of shadows. Still these are the two operating the 15min free service from the Big Sheep to the Pill at Bideford. I gather all the Brookes buses have been in Barnstaple - two covering this event but others to cover vehicle shortages and I also gather they go North on Sunday."


Dave Godley writes "With Bideford Quay closed for the Tour of Britain today the service buses were using The Pill again after a long absence. Brookes Buses 18051 & 18053 were in use on the Big Sheep P&R and 18054 was in use on the 21. There was a 4th Brooke Bus at Barnstaple but it was out of service with a broken window.


The other pair were due to arrive at Barnstaple shortly for work and thereafter all six are due to to go to Worksop, probably on Sunday."

18054 arrives at The Pill on the 21.
Pictures by Dave Godley, Devon.

Ken Baker closes this episode in the lives of these Tridents as today they left for Worksop. "The six Brookes liveried buses that were temporarily at Barnstaple departed this morning (Sunday 20th) for Worksop."


Here is the convoy leaving the industrial estate.
Picture by Ken Baker.


Vito 60002 followed to bring back the drivers I believe.

Ken added two more pictures saying "The first is 18053 and 18056 leaving Barnstaple and the second, 8055 with 18052 in Exeter Coach stn last Thursday"


This was the last use of these buses in Devon and reports on their future will need come from the East Midlands in the months to come.


Arriva lose 261 service to Z&S of Aylesbury

I am told that Z&S have been awarded the 261 Thame-Oxford service with effect from 17th October. The local independents seem to be gaining at Arriva's expense.

Z & S have also won tenders for the under mentioned routes.

                      17 Bicester

                      33 Milton Keynes - Northampton

Esker in liquidation

Ireland-based minibus conversion specialist KVC and its associated dealership, Esker, are the first major coach and bus industry casualties of the recession.

Both businesses went into liquidation last Friday (11 September) following a protracted period of difficult trading.

Although Esker’s UK dealership in Worksop continues to trade, the developments in Ireland casts serious doubt over its future and customers have been warned that vehicles on order may be at best subject to delay.

Photographing Greyhound buses

A source tells me that It is illegal, under Federal Law in the USA, to photograph Greyhound buses (as they're known over there). Something to do with passengers' rights to privacy, apparently. Let us hope that is not going to happen in the U.K.

Stagecoach enjoys a boost in its share price

Expectations of an excellent result from its bus operations, with profits boosted by fare increases, cost cuts and savings in fuel bills from hedging, encouraged support for public transport group Stagecoach last Wednesday.

The share price rose 11p to 170¼p as Morgan Stanley upgraded its profit forecasts by 40 per cent for both 2011 and 2012.

It added: “Next year could be a stellar one for UK bus. Stagecoach can maintain operating profit at 2009 levels from fare increases and cost savings. In 2011 it should have lower-than-normal wage cost inflation thanks to deals struck in the deflationary environment, is locked into a £16million reduction in its fuel bill, and has the freedom to increase fares.”

Other bus operators Arriva and First Group also rose 26p to 508p and 17p to 436p.

A heritage weekend in Oxford by Colin Cooke

Photo report if you are interested...........
Half cabs mixed with the variety of new equipment around the streets of Oxford on Saturday as part of the Oxford open door Heritage day. The Oxford Bus Museum sent out three of their AEC Regents to transport passengers. With almost unbroken sunshine, they looked just the 'best' buses in Oxford for the day ! turning heads even on the excellent City Sightseeing tour bus I was riding......

Pictures by Colin Cooke.

The Winton Train by Bob Stanger

You may have recently read of the above which recreated a journey of 70 years ago from Prague to Liverpool Street. This was to recognise the efforts of Sir Nicholas Winton who arranged for 669 children to escape from the German occupation.
Four London Heritage buses were used to transport passengers from Liverpool Street station to the Czech Embassy.

Vehicles used were RT1, STL2377, RT1431 and RT4421

Tornado, the magnificent new steam engine, hauled the train from Harwich to Liverpool Street.
Pictures by Bob Stanger.

Don't forget Showbus, Duxford next Sunday 27th September. I hope to be there.