Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr 54 - January 27th 2012

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


As it is already 27 days into 2012 it does seem late to wish everyone a happy New Year but I will do so anyway. I hope it brings all that you would wish.

I am entering another year having just had my birthday and am looking forward to a most interesting year which with the Olympics now only months away should bring a lot of interest for our enthusiasms. Certainly the operators are gearing up for the mammoth task of handling the significant increase in passenger loadings and in some cases the provision of drivers and vehicles for specific Olympic duties.

Much of interest has been happening since the last issue including:

Picture by Stagecoach

Picture by Mark E. Lyons

Picture by Pete Cabin

Picture by Malcolm Crowe

Preparations are now starting for the Olympics which will place great demands on operators. TfL asked for an Oxford Tube Astromega to make some trial runs around London in connection with accessibility for the Olympic Route Networks and 50226 was placed at their disposal with your Editor as the driver. It was an interesting few hours!

Picture by Robert Hall - TfL

You will find a lot to interest you in this issue and one item of interest is the planned publication of my book on the history of Oxford Tube which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on March 7th. The book will be launched at The Oxford Bus Museum on Sunday March 11th and I hope many of you will come along and join me for that event.

Now on to the main business of the page.


When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.


Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!


I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.


May I please ask readers to do two things?


1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.


2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.


The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.


Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.



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 for members per meeting depending on numbers.  For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.

Next meeting: 21st Feb A talk by John Burch, deputy operations director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport.
"C.P.T. I’ve heard of them but what do they do? " It will feature background on his career in the bus/coach industry as well as a look at the work of the C.P.T.

19.30pm - 21.30pm

Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road



Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13 or 35 routes stop outside)

or a short walk from Oxford City Centre - For directions click HERE 


All meetings start at 19.30pm although you are welcome to come along beforehand for food in the bar.

Future meetings are planned as follows:

Upcoming Meetings from March 2012

· 20th March Bristol Omnibus “the green years” – by Mike Walker

· 17th April Society AGM followed by slides from Ian Thompson’s collection.

· 15th May Working on the buses – by Martin Roberts

· 19th June Clydeside Scottish ‘we tried to run a bus company’ – by George Watson

· 17th July Evening Outing, details TBC

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



The level of contribution to this page by readers remains excellent! Thank you all. 

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - January 27th 2012


Observations and pictures

Richard Sharman writes "Seen having just operated Service 806, a journey of an hour and a half from Bourton-on-the-Water is B10M/Alizee WDD 194. This is a Thursday Only service.

Other sightings

One of the new E200's on the 500 on December 15th 2011

One of the last few PS's left in Warwickshire on the 277.

Another rare sight is this Countylinks Solo that can normally be found on the Stratford Town Service but is seen here operating the 50A.

New COMS Scania/Panthers including pictures showing wide entrance, interior and destination detail.

Sunday S5 Service operated by a new Gold E400, note the new Generic service branding, ie Serving Towns & Villages to Oxford 
rather than the normal route branding.

A community interest company called Go Ride Bus have been operating the 101 service on Friday/Saturday Nights
plus a new Sunday service as a trail during December with a vehicle provided by OCC, info here-

TT E200 having a day away from Oxford for a change on the X40

Excelsior Sideral on National Express service

P&R in a busy Xmas Oxford 

Richard Sharman continues: 

Service changes in the Newbury area during December and the demise of Steventon Transport Services have resulted in Stagecoach in Hampshire gaining more work in the town.

Weavaway have four of these E200's

Recently liveried ex Stagecoach South West Solo with Heyfordian

One of the former Steventon fleet now with Stagecoach

Ex Oxford Dart on what used to be a jointly operated service with Newbury Buses between Newbury and Basingstoke.

One of the few Step Darts still with Stagecoach South

Heyfordian's ex Warwickshire County Council(X438 KON) Citaro in Newbury

Fleet Buzz are now owned by Stagecoach South, early signs of this are Stagecoach fleet numbers.

Whites Coaches ex Go-Ahead London MPD
SWT Rail Replacement between Reading-Wokingham included a number of Driver Trainers, ex Oxford VO's and SWT Liveried VO's

Whilst Richard was in Reading he took a number of interesting pictures of local bus operation.


Reading has a very very colourful fleet and well worth a visit

Arriva serves Reading from High Wycombe on the 800/850 services

Thames Travel can been seen on a variety of routes. Above is an Brighton Hove & District Trident.

Alex Horwood writes :

A  Stagecoach electric hybrid (12013) was on the 10 on 27/11/11.

Thames Travel's 108 on one of the first 32As to Oxford in 4 years. 11/12/11 

Stephen Le Bras writes "December 16th - off to Trafalgar Square to see the New Bus for London. Typically, I caught a Routemaster on the 9 from Hyde Park Corner. As we approached Piccadilly Circus, the 9 back to Kensington High Street headed towards us; the driver opened his door and mouthed something about a Routemaster. I was not to be disappointed as there it was parked by Nelson's column."


"I managed to climb on board with some friends and even shook hands with the mayor, although he probably wondered who I was. There were plenty of bystanders and thus photographs were difficult but patience paid off as they had to move it at some point and I did get a chance to take some pictures of the exterior."

"Dec 23rd: A rushed trip to Terminal 5 gave me a chance to see 7 and 14, new Plaxton bodied Scanias on the Airline service." 

Gavin Francis notes: 



Picture taken at Stansted.

Bus comes from Surrey Connect which are part of Rotala and was used on a small operation based around Gatwick.

Dhillon on the A6 yesterday and the Heyfordian Eurolines coach today 3/1/12


This is one of the 2 Citaros repainted from 724 Green Line livery for the 321.


ex Arriva Southern Counties Dart 3388 from Aylesbury at Luton

Daniel Morris notes that on a recent morning at 09:20,  whilst passing through Queens Lane,  Oxford Bus's 862 was seen parked up with an ambulance crew and police van, one person was on a stretcher with a full neck brace. 862 was still parked there later at 10:10, presumably the incident matching the seriousness of a few years ago when someone was pushed under one of COMS coaches.

Stuart Harvey writes "Seems to be a lot happening in Wycombe lately, Carousel EVL4 now has purple below the windscreen and as not previously noted on your site, all three of the STL's are now single door. I recently read that Carousel are expecting three MCV bodied Mercedes single deckers which I presume would be for the A30/A40 service.

MB52 has also not been seen for months, so I presume this is off long term. Also seemingly off are DMS14 and VWL236.

A great sight again yesterday was M758 on Route 1 heading into Wycombe.

As for Arriva, seems like they have more vehicles at Wycombe, recently noted in the last few days is 5146, and in the run up to Christmas, Scania's 3195 and 3199 arrived, although I have only seen 3195 in service, 3199 seems to only be used on Staff Bus duties. Since the end of the U9 TFL contract, all of the red Darts are in use mainly on the 32 and 33 routes. Also prior to Christmas I noted one of the F reg Alexander Olympians in use on Route 32. Apologies I can't remember the number.

Final arrivals also before Christmas are Darts P193 LKJ and P206 LKJ both in Interurban livery. 3217 has also been repainted into the current style. With all these arrivals I am not sure what has gone, as two of the Volvo B10B's 3850 and 3851 remain in use on the 800/850. Although I don't recall seeing any of the Alexander ALX bodied Volvo B10BLE's this week.

24th January

The long resident Plaxton Prestige DAF in the withdrawn line at Cressex was towed away on Monday morning. Of the former U9 darts, three are now back in service in Wycombe in normal Arriva colours, 3482, 3838 and 3839."

Roger Knott writes "Visited Oxford on Friday 13th January.

Unusual workings seen on ARRIVA route280 were Scania 3196 and Citaro 3919 with OXFORD BUS 81 at Gloucester Green. This has been down seated to 44!

STAGECOACH route 66 provided 22621and22623. Oxford's Gold livered 15754 was on S5 and I only saw one new bus on this route.

Scania 15433 was on local route 3.

Only old TRIDENTS seen. OXFORD 105 on 4A. 106 on X2 with SC 18398 on X30, 18198 on S3 and 18399 on S5."

(This was an interesting day to visit Oxford as by the following Monday SC Tridents 18198 and 18399 along with sister buses 18199 and 13198 were withdrawn pending transfer to Leamington. They had been replaced by Gold Scanias. Ed.) 

Arriva logo

Arriva extend the 55 by Mick Payne 

Just a note to say that following the demise of Tiger Line, Arriva route 55 is to be extended to Chesham from 3 January. 

Put on last Autumn with NHS support as a means of getting staff from Stoke Mandeville to Amersham hospitals, I gather Bucks CC has come up with the necessary for the Chesham extension. 

It means that it will still be possible to go by bus from Aylesbury to Chesham albeit by a longer route via Amersham. 

It would be good if Arriva/Bucks CC could be persuaded to include route 55 on bus stops and roadside timetables. 

The T1 never got much in the way of such acknowledgment which made me wonder if people even knew it existed. 

Stuart Harvey notes "On route 280, January 23rd, Dart MPD 3296 branded for route 2 and last week on same route Scanias 3195,3196 and 3197."

Previously Stuart had reported an update that Scania 3195 seems to have gone again from High Wycombe but sister 3199 is still running around, mainly as a shuttle from the Bus Station to the depot, although I have seen it once on the H1 service. (I also saw this bus on January 25th on the staff shuttle in Wycombe. Ed.)

 A report from Pete Cabin notes as follows:

High Wycombe December 15th - Dart 3217 S217XPP has been repainted in inter urban livery and two imports were also in town 3193 P193LKJ and 3206 P206LKJ. These buses are from Arriva Southern Counties. 3206 worked the H1 and 3193 worked the 74 to Slough. For me there is some mystery on their allocated fleet numbers as originally 3206 was R206GMJ 3193 was R193RBM unless I read them incorrectly.

(Both 3193 and 3206 Arriva SC were based at Maidstone. Ed.)

On December 22nd Peter notes "return of the Scania to High Wycombe with 3195 - R195RBM and 3199 - R199RBM,  probably on short term loan."

Peter further noted at the Arriva depot at Cressex was Arriva Southern Counties Dart 3181 - P181LKL and in the back row now is 3852 - R372TWR with an unusual visitor, Arriva Technical Training vehicle L509CPJ. - (a Dart/East Lancs once a stalwart of the Staines services Ed.)

"The ex U9 buses are fast being repainted into Arriva inter colours with 3839 - KE53NFC shown in the picture below."

3839KE53NFC has received an electronic destination board. 

Nigel Peach has sent in several reports as follows: 

I was very surprised to see Dart 3193 (P193 LKJ) in Wycombe bus station December 16th on a local service. Surprised because I didn't recognise the registration number. Further investigation has shown me that this is actually from Arriva Southern Counties and it's their fleet number. I guess it will keep that number as the original 3193 is from the batch of Scanias now being withdrawn (though reported as still in service in Luton on your latest S & J!).

By total coincidence, also in the bus station was one of those Scanias. It was either 3195 or 3197 - I didn't write the number down, and my memory being what it is....! Anyway, this was on the 45 to Missenden. As Wycombe's five examples from that batch have already been withdrawn (or in the case of 3201, now in Hemel), I imagine it has been brought in as a loan. There were a number of buses "off the road" according to the list in the bus station.

Volvo 3852 has joined 3849 parked up at Cressex, withdrawn. This just leaves 3850 and 3851 from this batch still running, and one of these was in the "off road" list. I think these are the only non low floor single deckers left in Wycombe - apart from the Scania mentioned above.

Also I note from the latest "Buses" that Olympian 5831 (G231 VWL) ex Oxford Bus and Wycombe Bus and latterly in Luton, has passed to Woottens (where it will have joined many other ex Oxford Olympians).

Finally, just to thank you again for your work for us addicts week by week. It's much appreciated!

Further to the above note, another Arriva Southern Counties Dart was at the Cressex depot today (Sun 18th). It was 3181 (P181 LKL). Now, this gives The Shires a problem - They already have a 3181... and it is based at Wycombe! It is also a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dart!

Slightly newer Dart 3217(S217 XPP) has been repainted into Interurban livery - about time too, it was looking quite scruffy. That and 3216 (not yet repainted) still had partial branding for a Hemel route, some four years since transferring to HW!

December 21st

Another Dart now working in Wycombe is P206 LKJ which is Arriva Southern Counties 3206.

December 23rd 

The different buses that appeared before Christmas would appear to have been mainly loans. Southern Counties Darts 3181 (very confusing as The Shires 3181 is also based at HW!), 3193 and 3206 were all at HW at some time during December, but have all disappeared again, as has 23 year old Luton based Olympian 5087 (F637 LMJ) which was running in HW just before Christmas.

We do appear to have gained Olympian 5146 (S146 KNK) and I wonder if that has replaced 5141 (N41 JPP), the bus that advertises recruitment for Arriva and has spent time at a number of different depots.

Another import is rather surprising. This is Scania 3199 (R199 RBM) from the batch where all five of the Wycombe examples have already been withdrawn! Whenever I see this bus it seems to be on "Special Contract" and is often used as a staff bus.

Arriva lost the contract for TfL Uxbridge local service U9 at the end of 2011, so there are five red Wycombe based Darts now displaced. 3837-9 were the main buses, with 3482 and 3226 providing backup. All five of these buses are now at work on Wycombe local services, and 3482 has already been repainted into standard Arriva livery. That bus has been repainted more than most, having been standard Arriva, then red, then back to standard when it was decided in didn't meet the required levels for a TfL route, then back to red when they relented, and now the interurban livery! When I saw it this week (around 19th Jan), it still had a destination blind rather than an electronic display.

Another surprising appearance is that of ex Arriva London double decker DLA85 at the Cressex depot. It was there on Saturday 14th January and was in the same position a week later. Unfortunately it had a car parked in front of it so I couldn't confirm its reg no, but it did have DLA85 (if I can trust my eyesight!) at blind level. It is in standard Arriva livery, with no blinds, but I note from searching, that DLA85 was transferred from Arriva London to Southern Counties in early 2011 as its 6242. It's an Alexander ALX400 bodied DAF (S285 JUA). I wonder what it is doing in HW?

The withdrawn row at Cressex has been fairly static just lately, comprising seven vehicles, Volvos 3849/52, 3240, Scanias 3202/03, DAF 4491 and trainer T007 Dart L509 CPJ."

Paul Coley writes "With the never ending 'last Arriva Alexander Olympian' debate coming to a head, thought I would send a couple of pictures of 5102 taken in Aylesbury today (21st December). I haven't seen either other Olympians (5097 and 5100) out and about since the end of the school term.

Whilst the lower front has been treated to a recent repaint, the lack of a working original dot matrix destination (note the route 2 on a bit of white paper on the dash) would indicate
that she is not going to be around for much longer.
From what I can see, 5102 has been at Aylesbury for her entire working life which, as she entered service with Luton and District in December 1989, makes her exactly 22 years old.
Not sure many other local Arriva buses (or anyone else's for that matter) can have that claim to fame - same garage allocation for 22 years. 
Although, I am sure someone will prove me wrong!
Keep up the good work"

Adam Green writes

Mark Turner writes "I saw the following Arriva Shires Bus 3238 (V238 HBH) in Watford Town Centre Today (5th Jan 2012), it had a LED destination display fitted and it was on the short 500 route from Watford to Hemel."

Mark would like a picture of this bus if anyone can help?

Steve Gee writes "On the 8th January Arriva Shires DAF Plaxton coach 4051 R451 SKX was a little way from home on rail replacement duties at Leamington Spa. It was parked outside the station at 13:30 as I drove past."

Adam Green reports "3233 had a new LED destination display and 3201 was on the 500 to Aylesbury noted in Hemel recently.

On January 10th I visited Hemel Garage. Buses not on the road were 3003,4052 appears to be ready for scrap with 3176 also for scrap. Coaches parked up 4047,4049,4364,4053 and Trident 5421 was parked up with seats inside it!

The following buses were on the pits in Hemel depot being 5455, 2419 and 3568.

On the same day Dart 3238 was on the 3 on Hemel Town Service and there has been another Optare Solo arrived,  2434 which has been on the 2&3 all week.

NEx coach SR49 was on the 787 to Cambridge.

Olympians 5149-5152 have been on the 2&3 in the evenings.

There is a report that 3201 R201RBM is for scrap and 3176 has now left Hemel garage for scrap - noted above.

New arrivals to Hemel Garage are 3206 and 2434.

3192 from Luton it has been in the 320 twice in recent weeks.

Coach 4367 was used on the 500 service on the evening of 25th January" 

Richard Sharman writes "A rare working on the 16 was 3387, latterly at Maidstone then Milton Keynes, so this is either a transfer to Aylesbury or was there for a service and put out on the road thereafter?"


I noticed a Trident parked up at Wycombe which has been mentioned above by Nigel Peach, DLA 85, indeed obscured by parked cars, converted from dual door and painted in Inter-urban livery and now Gavin has come up with a picture of it when in service in London. He says it is one of his first digital pictures.

DLA 85 now and then with pictures by Malcolm Crowe and Gavin Francis.

Two significant items of note are that buses transferred in from Arriva SC are retaining their fleet numbers in spite of a clash with existing vehicles and Aylesbury are putting out very elderly single deckers on the 280, a route which boasts leather seats and improved service with the 200 express, also operated one of the elderly Scanias last week!!! We are used to seeing other types on the 280 but only at weekends when the deckers go on rail replacement services.

Arriva Versa 2401 on the 39 leaving Wycombe Bus Station on January 27th 2012 from Gavin Francis

Arriva Solo 2438 on new route H1 leaving Wycombe Bus Station on January 27th 2012 from Gavin Francis

Arriva Scania 3195 on loan to Wycombe in the bus station on December 20th 2011 by Gavin Francis

Seemingly replacing 3195, 3199 is seen on staff bus duties in Wycombe but still with Luton blinds on January 27th 2012 by Gavin Gavin Francis

Arriva 3452 showing off new route branding for the Reading service at Wycombe on January 27th by Gavin Francis

Arriva Dart 3822 working Line 40 at Stokenchurch on January 20th by Gavin Francis

Arriva Dart MPD 3837 purchased new for the U9 which Arriva have lost to Abellio has been repainted and is seen
on a 32 working on January 27th by Gavin Francis

Arriva 3838 also new for the U9 is seen on January 27th un-repainted but on a 33 working by Gavin Francis

Note that both these buses have received electronic blinds now that they are no longer used on TfL services.

Arriva Citaro 3921 on a 300 working in Wycombe on January 27th by Gavin Francis

More usually a single deck working Olympian 5153 is seen on a 340 working in Stokenchurch on January 20th 2012 by Gavin Francis

Arriva Dart 3180 on a 52 working leaving Wycombe for Hemel on January 25th 2012 by Malcolm Crowe

Arriva Scania 3196 as mentioned above on a 280 working in Park End St Oxford on January 20th 2012 by Malcolm Crowe

Arriva 3299 on Line 40 heading into town on the West Wycombe Rd on January 27th 2012 by Malcolm Crowe

Somewhat off its branded beat, the 100, DAF 3447 is seen on route 16 in Bicester Bure Place on January 16th by Malcolm Crowe

Oh dear, not another fire, Volvo 3457 is seen languishing at Cressex depot January 27th by Malcolm Crowe

The Olympian 5146 at Cressex depot on January 27th. This bus has changed places with 5141 which has gone to Garston. Picture by Malcolm Crowe 

Noel Clark, Operations Manager, Carousel Buses Limited writes "FYI we have received our three new Mercedes-Benz OC500U/MCV C124RLE Evolution vehicles for the A30/A40/740 services. Details as follows:

F/No Reg




The new buses will be liveried by the end of January and I’ll forward some photos when they are done.

Citaro MB52 has been withdrawn and disposed of as it did not comply with the tighter LEZ requirements which came into force at the beginning of January.

MB51 and MB53 are both still here and as they were fitted with additional abatement equipment from new still comply with the tighter requirements for the LEZ that came into effect at the beginning of the month. As they are Link branded they will remain on the A30/A40/740 services.

EVO12 and EVO15 are being branded at the same time as MBA26-28 which will be nice. 

Volvo Ailsa V451 (A971 YSX) has been moved to offsite storage and MCW Metrobus M2707 (A707 UOE) to ASM, Aylesbury for scrap.

Steve Burns, the Director, kindly allowed me to take pictures of the rear of MBA27 which was in the process of bring branded on January 27th.

I include some interior pictures and hope we can have in service pictures in the next issue.

Noel Clark of Carousel has provided a picture of the buses ready for service. They will be on the road on Monday 30th January 2012.

John Hammond wrote from a recent day out with pictures as below. 

RX60 DMF - Man 14.240 with ADL E200 bodywork in Chesham

R981 FNW seen in Chesham

Link branded Mercedes Citaro in Chesham

A view of RX60 DMF in Chesham

Some more pictures of Carousel Buses follow.

Carousel A102SUU ex Black Prince in Baker St yard on January 27th by Gavin Francis

Carousel DAF54 on route 2C in Stokenchurch on January 12th by Gavin Francis

Carousel DMS8 on route 2C in Stokenchurch on January 18th by Malcolm Crowe. Recently this bus has been a regular in the village

Carousel EVL8 and 5 in Baker St yard on January 27th by Malcolm Crowe 

City Sightseeing

Steve Doel writes "Hope you might be interested in a couple of photos of the latest addition to the Oxford City Sightseeing fleet. Freshly arrived is 57, PJ53 NKC, Volvo B7TL / Plaxton President, awaiting conversion to Open Top

Sadly, Atlantean 928 has moved on to pastures new ending many years of Leyland Atlaneans in Oxford. It will be greatly missed by me!

Photos of the new acquired bus taken in the depot today, 21st January 2012."


Charlton Services

An interesting decker now used on the 94 service by the company was once a pride of the UCOC fleet at Bedford.

G648EVV on route 94 at St Giles, Gavin Francis

First 64005 on route X74 leaving High Wycombe, now single door following conversion, 27th January 2012 - Gavin Francis

Steve Warwick writes "XCT 550 (B504 CBD) Scania/Je has been scrapped, still on the premises though at Bicester. XCT 550 reg is going onto N722 UVR Volvo/Je from 09/01/2012.

Wycombe has had two new additions Volvo B12M B10 HTL (ex SN02 NGL) & Volvo B10M Plaxton TIL 9262 (ex H262 GRY) from Tappins."

Heyfordian B10HTL at Wycombe depot on January 16th by Steve Warwick

FK60EKD, a Volvo 9700 running the Eurolines contract between London and Amsterdam on January 3rd 2012 - Gavin Francis


Martin White writes "Had a quick chat yesterday with Stagecoach Gloucester driver in Vic, the 444 Diagrams move over this weekend to SGBC with a few drivers transferring over as well. 

Some have decided to remain with Stagecoach and go back on to Local service work. 

SGBC are opening a small depot in Gloucester in order to operate the Diagrams. 

The Stagecoach Scania Levantes that operate the route are owned & the talk around Gloucester was that they are moving to Chesterfield to replace older coaches."

59301 - 59305 FJ08KNY/KOA/KOE/KOH/KNH.  

Jevon Smith writes "Following Stagecoach losing legs on 444 to South Gloucestershire Coaches. three new Levante bodied-B9R's so far have arrived at SGBC Gypsy Patch Lane depot in National Express livery and are FJ61GZF/G/H.

National Express are also making network revisions to long distance services from the first weekend in March with many stop breaks shortened, certain sevices with additional stoppings, routes finishing at other destinations as well as re-numberings.

South Gloucestershire B9R FJ61GZE is also now on the road

I can confirm Dunn Motors have also started operating the 040 leg into Bristol on the evenings, returning into London Victoria at around 11:00am as well as both directions on 324.

Their B9R's operated the following:

4017 FJ11GLY Monday 09/01/2011 324 southbound.
4034 FJ61EXS Sunday 08/01/2011 sole 040 by them westbound for sole 040 by them Monday 09/01/2011 eastbound (This was the first operating after contract revision).
4006 FJ60EGZ Monday 09/01/2011 sole 040 by them westbound for sole 040 by them Tuesday 10/01/2011 eastbound.

Various pictures now follow.

Silverdale FJ61EWW on the 767 at Stansted on January 13th by Gavin Francis

Chalfont Line's new Van Hool WA61AKP on a 509 working laying over in Bulleid Way London on January 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Galloway's 2086PP and 2513PP on two East Anglian working in Victoria Coach Station on January 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Lucketts Levante FJ58AHO on direct special 654 to Portsmouth's Continental Ferry Terminal leaving VCS on January 17th by Malcolm Crowe
I  wonder why it is in plain white?

South Gloucester (SGBC) now work the 444 to Gloucester and their FJ61 GZE is seen at VCS January 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Still going strong and one of very few Irizar PBs still in National Express service, ST 58, once NXL32, is seen on an A6 working
at victoria coach Station on January 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Wilts and Dorset's Levante 7061 - FJ61EVX on an 033 working unloads in Sammy's  on January 13th by Malcolm Crowe

Another Go-Ahead group coach, Go Northern 7090 is seen on a 304 working to Weymouth
at Oxford's Gloucester Green bus station on January 6th 2012 by Malcolm Crowe

Bill writes "Oxford Trident T112DBW is now being used by Thames Travel. I've travelled on it twice recently on Route 32. It is still in Park & Ride colours but now sports a Thames Travel logo on the front (and Oxford logos removed elsewhere). Unchanged inside as far as I can tell. The middle door is not in use - to the confusion of some alighting passengers.

Not clear whether this is a temporary or more permanent move. Maybe just one Go Ahead company aiding another with a short-term fleet shortage?

Sorry - no picture. Will grab one if I see a chance."

More pictures of Oxford's fleet follow.

New Scania nr 10 is seen on its first day in service at Gloucester Green on December 24th 2011 by Malcolm Crowe
Note that these coaches sport a number of messages on their rear panels, also included is an interior picture

Four new Mercedes staff buses are in use carrying registrations originally on Volvo/Excalibur coaches.
V14 OXF is seen in The High on December 16th 2011 by Malcolm Crowe

Significant traffic delays on January 23rd were probably the reason for this new Airline coach ending up on an X90 working and seen by Gavin Francis in London

A view of the drivers office on one of the new coaches by Gavin Francis.

red line

Optare Alero YX04LXG was sold last September plus it appears that YX04LXF has also departed.

This company took over the workings on the 321 service from 28th December replacing Tiger Lines work on the 106/321/T3 services.

Red Line ex London Trident V112LGC is seen on a 321 working leaving Wycombe with full blind displays on January 27th by Gavin Francis

Red Line work the Sunday 340 service from Stokenchurch to Wycombe and their V262BNV is seen on this working on January 3rd. Malcolm Crowe

Red Eagle

This company has taken over all the workings on the 333 High Wycombe-Speen services.

Red Rose

John Hammond sent pictures of Red Rose buses taken recently: 

N772 RVK in Chesham

FJ06 URR in Chesham in latest fleet livery

Mercedes Vario R102 TKO in Hemel Hempstead

SLF Dart P264 NRH leaving Hemel Hempstead

OU07 FKH in the latest fleet livery in Watford

As mentioned in the introduction above, the 275 service has been rerouted from early January and now only the first High Wycombe-Oxford and last Oxford-High Wycombe services run via Stokenchurch. The remaining services operate via Bledlow Ridge and Chinnor replacing the 104 and 105 services now withdrawn. Whether this rerouting produces sufficient passenger numbers to justify retention of this "long established" service remains to be seen.

Red Rose V904KAG on a 275 working leaves Wycombe on January 27th showing the new routing
and we include a picture when the same bus was working for Transdev, both pictures from Gavin Francis

RH Transport

Richard Sharman reports: Some additions to our fleet have arrived. They where former Leaside Travel/Arriva OLST Leyland Olympian(re-powered with Iveco Tector Engine)/Alexander RH J350-2 BSH to assist with new contracts. they are currently on loan from Ensign Bus.

Currently on loan from Ensignbus are Iveco Tector engined Olympians J350-2 BSH to operate additional School Contracts.
Pictured having just arrived in Oxfordshire by Richard Sharman. 

Significant investment has been made by the group for services in our area of interest. Apart from the batch of Enviro 200s for Banbury depot, new Gold Buses have been placed in service on the X4 from Northampton to Milton Keynes, the S5 from Oxford to Bicester and the 66 from Swindon to Oxford. This must make Oxford the largest operating centre for Gold Scanias.


Following the launch of the Scania Gold buses on the S5, a number of deckers have been transferred to other depots. Tridents 18198, 18199, 183908 and 18399 have moved to Leamington where the K* plates will seem more at home.

15441 on New Year's Eve by St Giles. Malcolm Crowe

15440-3 and 19659 went to Kent with 19659 reported as arriving in Ashford on January 22nd. The whereabouts of 15440-3 are still awaited.

15442 and 19659 in the first picture and 15440 on the morning of January 22nd when they left Oxford for Kent. Malcolm Crowe

This means that Oxfordshire has had 34 Tridents in and out of the fleet since 2003.

The latest fleet status concerning withdrawn and reserve vehicles is as follows:

fleet movements last period
31319 P321 EFL Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31320 P320 EFL Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31331 P331 JND Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31353 P353 JND Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31852 P852 SMR Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31853 P853 SMR Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
31854 P854 SMR Volvo B6LE - Banbury to Disposal
33822 R822 YUD Dennis Dart SLF - Banbury to Reserve
vehicles in reserve
22925 S925 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22926 S926 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22933 S933 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22934 S934 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22935 S935 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22936 S936 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22940 S940 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
22941 S941 CFC MAN 18.220 ALX300 OX
33822 R822 YUD Dennis Dart SLF OX

The new buses replacing the above mentioned were reported in the last S&J 53. It also means that most of the fleet now have Oxfordshire registrations.

36449 on Service 500 in Brackley, Northants Sat 7th. Picture by Richard Sharman.

SCO 15753 on the X30 to Wantage seen on The High, Oxford prior to its very first service on December 16th 2011 by Malcolm Crowe

15755 at the yard in Network Oxford prior to entering service on December 16th 2011 by Malcolm Crowe

The Envior 200s at Banbury have now been branded and above we see 36452 which runs on the S4 service and having arrived in Oxford on December 31st 2012 by Malcolm Crowe 

Gold launch in Bicester

January 14th saw the launch of the Gold buses in Bicester. 15752 was present with several members of management including the Oxford Operations Manager, Carole Stevens. Pictures of the event were supplied by Richard Morgan.

Carole is seen above handing out balloons to the children.

The fleet went into service from the following day and the new timetable includes two morning peak hour workings, at 0725 and 0745, by Oxford tube coaches.

15758 is seen heading towards Oxford having left the A34 for Kidlington. Picture Malcolm Crowe.

15755 and 15752 wait their next services in Magdalen St East in late January by Malcolm Crowe

15752 makes its way to the start point for another run to Bicester from Oxford. By Malcolm Crowe

15753 and then 15754 and 15755 in Bicester, Bure Place, on December 26th. David Benyon

The new stop on Buckingham Rd where the S5 express service starts, seen during a training run on January 12th. Malcolm Crowe

Bicester, Bure Place will only be served until the end of January after which services will run by Market Square where new stops
are being established. 50220 is seen in Bure place on a training run on January 16th. Malcolm Crowe

Other Stagecoach pictures.

Towards the end of Oxford career 18199 is seen on December 23rd on an S5 working Oxford. Gavin Francis

The Enviro 300s are now rostered for route 10 workings and 22761 is seen here in St Aldates. Gavin Francis.

36454 is seen in Oxford having arrived from Banbury on an S4 working on December 23rd. Gavin Francis

Scania 15443 on route 3, where these now departed buses were used to give additional Christmas shoppers capacity, no longer being required for the S5.
The bus is seen by Carfax Tower on December 18th 2011. Richard Sharman

Whilst covering much about Bicester one should not forget the long nr 8 route which goes to Northampton.
Enviro 300, 22838 is seen on an 8 working on December 24th. Richard Sharman


The first FULL day of Gold d/d's on the 66 route from Swindon to Oxford was delayed until Saturday 21 January and is reported in detail below.

Gold bus launch on route 66 by Marcus Lapthorn

I attended the official launch party at Sudbury House Hotel, Faringdon for the new Stagecoach West Gold buses for the Swindon to Oxford 66 route today.

About 30 people attended and after speeches those who wished could go for a ride on one of the three double deckers that were at the event. In addition to the Mayor of Faringdon, the Mayor of Swindon also attended along with councillors from both Faringdon Town council, Swindon Council and Oxfordshire County Council. Managing Directors from both Stagecoach West and Stagecoach Oxfordshire were in attendance.

I have attached four photographs and can report that since the 66 route went half hourly, there has been a 50% increase in passengers carried!


The 66 route has turned into a great success story for Stagecoach West.

The displaced MAN's will enter service on the 8 route in Swindon, replacing Darts.

Apparently the Volvo B10's on the 51 and 65 routes will continue in service. Two or three newer B10's have joined the Swindon fleet from other parts of the Stagecoach empire to replace older B10's, that have been disposed of.

Other news

Marcus Lapthorn reports "Trevor Wigley (dealer) has once again purchased redundant Volvo B10M 20684 (N404 LDF). Quite a few allocation changes as buses are cascaded through the fleet following the arrival of the new Scania double decks at Swindon, 20685 disposal to S/C Wales: 20687,Gloucester to reserve. Not long now and they will all be gone I believe."

"Stagecoach West will be holding the official launch party for the new buses on the 55 Chippenham to Swindon route, at Wooton Basset on Friday 27 January. As readers will know these new Scanias actually entered service before Xmas 2011."

Ralph Adams writes "I rarely have a camera with me and even less frequently see anything worth photographing. Well this time it is not even a bus but a lorry promoting route 66."


Tim Hall from Swindon writes "I was able to take pictures on the first day of the 66 going Gold!"

Stagecoach Gold 15767 on the very first journey from Swindon at 09-15 from Swindon to Oxford on January 22nd 2012.
Picture by Tim Hall.

Also displaced M A N 22623 was on Swindon town route 13 (these buses are staying in Swindon)
Picture by Tim Hall.

More pictures of Stagecoach Swindon's buses

15767 arrived at Oxford on the first service of Gold buses on January 22nd 2012 and is seen leaving Oxford on the first Oxford-Swindon service!
The next day Gavin recorded both sides of this bus when it returned to Oxford. Gavin Francis

15763 passing through Farringdon on January 27th by Stuart Curwen

An ex 66 route Enviro 300 on the intended route 8 on January 27th by Stuart Curwen

Route 55 is mentioned and Stuart Curwen sent a nice picture of 15735 in Calne with excellent branding.

Visiting Horspath depot on a training run this SC East Volvo has seen days on the X5 as the thumbnail shows - Gavin Francis


Steve Thorpe writes "Hard to believe that our very first batch of E200s here at Stagecoach South have been through their 1st repaint programme, yes where have those 1st four years gone!!

The Winchester E200s from 2007 which carried the 'Switch' branding from new have recently received new branding, following the repainting, for the Winchester 'Flock' network, i.e. the city routes.

Keeping with the sheep theme the branding has been updated and various sheep characters are used throughout. I attached some photographs for your website.


Please find attached a couple of photographs from the launch of the new Aldershot based E200s which will be running around the South Surrey network including Guildford. As you can see we have recognised, through on bus branding, the fact that the chassis were built locally at Guildford.

Pictures by Steve Thorpe.

Jevon Smith writes "Stagecoach 34525 was the Dart tree damaged in Surrey if you didn't see the new year article in The Sun news where the registration was clearly confirmed."

The Skyliner coaches now appearing in service on Dublin Coach services from Dublin to Portlaoise (http://dublincoach.ie/) are as follows:

KP04GJG once 50103

KP04GJV once 50107

KP04GJZ once 50110

KP04GKD once 50113

KP04GKG once 50116

KP04GKL once 50119

It is interesting to note that 50103 was the coach I saw at the factory in Stuttgart back in 2004!

I hope to be able to secure the Irish registrations in the future at some point. KP04GKD is now 04KE11340 and three others are registered 04KE11346/51/2. If any reader can help it would be appreciated.


The first one appeared at Duxford where many people would have taken pictures.


The interiors have been transformed by the application of red leather seating. Malcolm Crowe

50226 on Park Lane during the TfL London ORN trials. January 13th. Malcolm Crowe

50225 with a number of other Tube coaches in Bulleid Way on New Year's morning waiting for their turn to join the 15 minute service back to Oxford - Gavin Francis


On 7th Jan a reader noted 52654 from Stagecoach in South Wales having broken down around 8.25am at VCS finally being towed away at 2.30pm past Harrods.

Another reader wrote to say "The new Astromega coaches, 50223-243 should enter service on February 28th but prior to that driver training has take place for drivers not only based at Cwmbran but also Barnsley and Newcastle. Nine of the eleven are already on hand at Van Hool, Wellingborough as the picture below shows.

Cwmbran current B12BT's 54001/2/3/4/5/6/7 and B13BT will be moving to Rugby and the older ones will be repainted before entering service from Rugby.

Other megabus.com coach movements due is that Chesterfield have received three Scania Levante tri-axles from Gloucester, following the loss of the 444, to replace three ex YTC B12Bs which will be moving to Hull. I think 53030/1/4 will be joining 53033 at Hull.

Also the remaining two Gloucester Levantes will be moving south to replace 53021/32. 53021/32 will then move up to Hull for megabusplus.

Megabus Rugby B10ms 52649/57/58 have move to Rennies with 52647/8 moving to Glasgow. (52647 is currently parked at Kilmarnock for a make over.....just waiting to see if this is having a repaint.

Another Volvo Artic, 51097, is currently in Plaxtons been turned into a further sleeper coach."

Dave Godley writes "Megabus are currently taking  delivery of a batch of Van Hool TD927 double decker coaches.

50234 is currently in Exeter for a few days for type training, although I understand their use in service in the South West will only be during February.

Note the use of fleet numbers the same size as those used on the Oxford Tube coaches. Dave Godley.

Quite difficult to achieve is a picture of a Tube and a Megabus Astromega with consecutive fleet numbers.
Here 50226 is next to 50227 in Sammy's on January 13th. Malcolm Crowe

50231 has just arrived from the north and has unloaded in Sammy's on December 21st 2011. Malcolm Crowe

Now transferred northwards as recorded above, 52647 is seen by VCS on December 15th 2011. Malcolm Crowe

Variety on Megabus is provided by the oft-appearance of Citylink 15 metre Plaxtons such as 54069 seen above on December 22nd. Malcolm Crowe

Volvo 52567 is seen in late December, laying over in Bulleid Way, a good place to see coaches waiting to take up service from VCS. Gavin Francis

Currently the third and last sleeper coach is 51096 but we record that 51097 is at Plaxtons for conversion.
The service must be going well. January 8th 2012. Gavin Francis

It seems that 2012 is going to be the year of megabus.com! 

Three ex Brighton & Hove Tridents have been transferred to this company and a number of pictures have been provided by readers.

They are Brighton 807/7/9 T806/7/9 RFG. 806 is now numbered 915, 807 is now 916, and 809 is now 917. They are resplendent in full Thames Travel livery. 

Gavin Francis caught 915 in the rain in Oxford on January 23rd.

Richard Sharman took this shot of 916 at the depot in Wallingford on December 28th 2011.

Both Daniel Morris and Gavin Francis report that the company is trialling a M A N ecocity bus and Gavin has provided pictures as seen below.

A trial bus has been on loan and a picture was caught by Gavin Francis on January 23rd 2011.

John Hammond writes "As Tiger Line finish their bus operations on 23rd December, I have been out on their services recently taking the following pictures."

Tiger Line UXI 1372 at Chesham Broadway.

L456 JCK in Hemel Hempstead bus station

Tiger UXI 1376 at Hemel Hempstead bus station

Tiger WXI 4384 at Hemel Hempstead bus station

WXI 4384 leaves Hemel Hempstead

WXI 4384 outside the Palace Theatre in Watford


Paul Coley writes "A few pictures taken in Aylesbury today (23rd December) the final day of the T1. W65 was the bus in use on the T1 today, as it has been for some time.

First six were taken opposite the bus station (1135 arrival in to Aylesbury and the 1145 departure). Final picture was taken at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on the final Journey to Chesham (ex 1745), which appeared empty. Apologies for the poor quality – strong wind, rain and a slightly moving bus."



We are sorry to see the demise of this challenge to the established services but maybe the use of non low floor buses, for a clientele who were often elderly, was part of the reason for closure.

I wonder what will happen to the fleet now?  


Euro5 derogation expected next year 

There will be a Euro5 derogation when Euro6 emission standards are introduced. 

If a chassis has a Certificate of Conformity before 30 September 2013 then there will be an 18-month window for registration by which time the vehicle must be complete. The same deadline is expected for integrals. A practical limitation is that the complete chassis/body will have to be funded as work in progress. 

Bus passengers to get a better deal 

Measures to give bus passengers a better deal are to be be outlined by competition chiefs. 

In provisional findings in its investigation into the UK local bus market, the Competition Commission (CC) found that in many areas the largest bus operators faced little or no competition. 

This had led to passengers facing less-frequent services and, in some cases, higher fares than where there was some form of rivalry. 

In its final report, the CC will publish remedies designed to give passengers better bus services, more competition, improved passenger information and better ticketing. 

Although bus patronage is growing in Scotland and Wales, it is declining in England, despite increasing numbers who are using London buses. 

Publishing proposed remedies in October this year, the CC's local bus market investigation group chairman Jeremy Peat said: "These measures aim to get to the heart of the problems we have identified and open up local bus markets to entry and expansion - so reducing the number of areas where the main operator faces little or no competition. Together these measures are designed to address the specific factors which prevent competition developing and being sustained at a local level and lead to passengers losing out." 

He went on: "This is a comprehensive set of practical and sensible measures which will help encourage more competition and benefit passengers. Given the number and diversity of bus markets we are looking to give local transport authorities (LTAs) enhanced powers to tailor some of these measures to particular local conditions. For example, we are proposing that LTAs be given greater powers to introduce and reform multi-operator ticketing schemes in their local area." 

New independent research confirms Stagecoach is Britain’s best value bus operator

·         Stagecoach provides regular passengers with lowest cost weekly bus travel

·         Weekly travel on average 17.5% cheaper, saving passengers £150 a year

·         Major survey of nearly 1,100 bus routes in England, Scotland and Wales

Stagecoach has again been confirmed as Britain’s best value bus operator, according to new independent research1.

Research just published by transport specialists TAS found weekly bus travel with Stagecoach is on average 17.5% cheaper than other bus operators. The difference could save passengers an average of nearly £150 a year.

Stagecoach's average weekly ticket price of £13.27 - the lowest in the survey - was nearly £3 cheaper than the £16.09 average for other operators. TAS also found Stagecoach was up to 20% cheaper than other operators for weekly travel.

The findings come only weeks after research by Stagecoach showed that travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers around £150 a month.

TAS analysed nearly 1,100 fares across different regions, area types and operators for its National Fares Survey 2011. The research covered Stagecoach, First, Go Ahead, Veolia Transdev, National Express, Arriva, independent operators, and municipal bus companies.

The last TAS National Fares Survey, published in 2009, also found Stagecoach was the best value major bus operator.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Sir Brian Souter said: “This independent survey proves what our own regular passengers have known for a long time – Stagecoach is Britain’s best value bus operator.

“At a time when sky-high motoring costs and rising household bills are squeezing living standards for many families across Britain, it makes more sense than ever to switch to the bus. We are leading the way in providing good-value, high-quality travel and making sure the bus is an affordable transport option, particularly for people who are less well off.”

The TAS 2011 survey also found that Stagecoach has:

·         Six out of seven of the lowest single fares in the sample

·         Half of the 12 lowest day ticket prices

·         Seven out of 11 of the lowest weekly ticket prices

·         The lowest average urban and non-urban single fares of the other major UK bus groups -  Arriva, First, Go Ahead and National Express - and also lower than Veolia Transdev

·         Lower than inflation fare increases over the last two years 

TAS also carried out more detailed analysis of a sample of fares in its main report. It looked at bus fares charged by Stagecoach, Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, Veolia Transdev UK, and municipal bus companies on journey lengths of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 miles.

It found that Stagecoach has the lowest average fare of any of the main major operators (Arriva, FirstGroup and Go-Ahead) on nearly all journey lengths. This includes journeys of 5 miles, which the Department for Transport’s most recent National Travel Survey found is the average local bus journey distance.

The TAS report adds that “Stagecoach consistently has the lowest weekly ticket price and gives the highest discount compared to single fares" over two miles

School coach firm has run out of road

McLeans closes

A coach company which has transported thousands of children to school over three decades has closed.

McLeans Coaches, in Windrush Park Road, Witney, operated school bus journeys in west Oxfordshire and excursions throughout the UK.

The company, founded in 1982, was put into liquidation by its owners on Friday, making its 22 employees redundant.

Managers denied action against the firm by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa) over 153 alleged safety and licensing failings had affected the decision.

Business manager Roger Alder, who has been with the firm for 20 years, said the industry was having a tough time at the moment and blamed high insurance costs for the decision.

He said the firm’s premium had this year risen to £60,000, compared with £43,000 last year.

Mr Alder said: “We couldn’t afford it and they would not negotiate from it, because they said the transport industry was high-risk.

“Our broker went out to several other insurance companies and said a lot of them were not interested at all.

“I’m feeling very, very sore at the moment but we took the commercial decision and sadly it was not viable to the company.

“Making 22 employees redundant was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.”

Mr. Alder said McLeans was financially solvent and if the insurance premium had been lower, the company could have survived.

He said the company’s 23 vehicles would either go back to the finance company which owned them or would be sold.

The company had 19 contracts with Oxfordshire County Council to run school bus routes in west Oxfordshire.

Council spokesman Gemma Watts said: “All the contracts have been covered from Monday by alternative providers.”

A court case brought by Vosa against McLeans over 153 alleged safety and licensing failings was due to be held at Banbury Magistrates’ Court last Friday, It was adjourned until March 30 at the request of Vosa, which declined to comment.

Mr. Alder added: “The decision to close definitely had nothing to do with the court case.” 


Geoff Cunliffe has sent us a link to keep up to date. 

The latest edition of this Newsletter is now on line at:-


Once again I have found another site which gives details of the Blackpool happenings, past and present. 

The main web page is 


If you follow the 2011 Blog Archive (half way down in the right hand margin), there is a link named ‘Enter 005’ which shows the unloading of Bombardier 005 from a long lowloader at Starr Gate. This is at: 


Comments about the fleet in 2012 are interesting – and hopefully accurate!

The web site is worth spending some time with if you have any to spare. It shows various cars departing for pastures new and covers various happenings throughout last year.

Ashok Leyland in Optare takeover

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja Group flagship in India, together with its associate companies, has agreed to increase its stake in Optare plc, to 75.1% (subject to approval by Optare shareholders).

It means that Ashok Leyland will be the majority shareholder and have the majority of voting rights - effectively controlling the company.

It follows a re-financing agreement, under which Ashok Leyland will facilitate a credit-line to support Optare’s re-banking options and providing a “substantially improved” working capital facility for the business.

As a result, Ashok Leyland will buy £4m of newly-created shares, at 0.27p per share. This is an 80% discount on yesterday’s (Monday) 1.375p closing share price.

Ashok Leyland initially bought a 26% stake in Optare in July 2010 as part of a long-term strategic partnership.

Optare CEO Jim Sumner says: “This is great news for Optare’s customers, employees and suppliers and secures stability and the long-term future of the business. The re-banking represents a defining moment in the company’s three-year turnaround plan which started in June 2009.”

Optare told the Stock Exchange today: “Following discussions with the company’s current bank and other banks the Board has, as yet, been unable to find a solution to the re-banking of the company on a standalone basis.

“Accordingly, Ashok has confirmed that it would be prepared to facilitate, through its own banking relationships, the company’s re-banking with a credit line of £12 million. However, in order to be in a position to do this, the Ashok companies indicated to the Board that they require voting control of at least 75.10% of the company’s share capital.”

It adds that this is “the only course presently available” and that if shareholders reject the deal “the company does not have, at this stage, alternative means with which to finance its ongoing operations and thus will not be able to continue to trade.”

However, Optare’s board says it is “very confident that the Resolutions will be approved at the General Meeting,” and that it already has the support of shareholders (other than Ashok Leyland) holding 30% of votes.

The shareholders’ General Meeting is scheduled for 9 January, with the new funding starting once a ‘yes’ vote is made.

ADL also pondered bidding but withdrew leaving the way clear for Ashok.

Malta update by Ian Brown 

The activities of Malta buses still attract considerable interest in Maltese newspapers and on Malta television. 

Readers’ letters continue in much the same format; overcrowded buses, traffic congestion caused by `bendies` and confusion over routes. 

Arriva, a name unknown in Malta 12 months ago must be just about the best known brand on the island...and possibly the brand everyone loves to hate. 

Many of the vehicles have lost their route branding.  

Good! This avoids confusing everyone - tourists especially - when a route-branded bus is off route. 

Arriva operated a fairly full service on Christmas Day and New Year`s Day. 

Advertisements were published stating that on both days the service would be `wound down` between 11.30 and 15.30 to enable staff to spend `quality time` with their families. 

Valletta bus station is having railings installed around each stand to, no doubt, suppress the Maltese habit `free-for-all` entry to a bus. 

The old habit of having large route number cards in the front window appears to be returning. 

The Olympics and ORN (Olympic Route Network)

The following links may prove of interest for those of you wondering what traffic in London may be like during the upcoming Olympics.



Brown announces Scottish Green Bus Fund

A second round of Scottish Green Bus Funding (SGBF), worth £2m, has been announced this morning (Tuesday) by Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown.

It builds on the success of last year’s SGBF, in which five operators introduced 48 new hybrid buses.

Says Transport Scotland: “This scheme provides further opportunities to add eco-friendly vehicles to bus fleets. It will also help stimulate demand for green technology in Scotland.”

Operators, local authorities and regional transport partnerships are invited to apply for funding to help with the additional up-front costs of buying low carbon buses.

Changes to Aylesbury operated services by Colin Richardson

From the above date the following routes are to be altered.  All bar two services are operated by Arriva.  These are routes 2,3,4, 5, 9, 16/18. 50, 60, 100/150, 300 & 321
Route 2 - timing changes, 
Route 3 - timing changes 
Route 4 - timing changes, reduced frequency and route extended to Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Route 5 - Timing changes
Route 9 - Timing Changes and reduced frequency
Route 16 - The route will terminate at Steeple Claydon and operate hourly Monday - Friday and two hourly on Saturdays.
               One journey Aylesbury - Bicester in early morning and returning in the early evening by Langston & Tasker
Route 18 - Five journeys to be operated the whole length o Monday to Friday only by Langston & Tasker
Route 50 - Timing changes
Route 60  - Timing changes
Routes 100/150 - Routing changes in Milton Keynes

Route 300 - All; journeys to operate via Little Kimble, Monday - Friday frequency to be increased to every 15 minutes off peak
           and about every 18 minutes during peak times.

Route 321 - Operated by Redline and to be operated between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury via Butlers Cross. 
                 This routing will be served Monday - Friday only with five journeys by Redline and two by Arriva.
                 Full timing details are provided on buckscc@gov.uk and in the bus timetables sections.


Protoype LT/Osborne's Renown worth saving? 

This has been doing the rounds since November, so apologies if you've seen it, but I promised to forward it to anyone who might be interested. I remember this rallied in concours LT green in the '80s, and to see it in now is disheartening. We can't save everything, and unfortunately demonstrators are largely ignored by enthusiasts because no one remembers travelling on them, but in view of its long service with Osborne's, I'm giving it wide circulation to colleagues in Essex. For before and after pictures, Google 8071ML and BE-57-34. John R.

This is Russell Howard from Weesp in the Netherlands. Over the years I have contributed small snippets to CB but have be unable to do so recently because of illness and a bereavement. I have been working with PSV
s/PCVs since 1964 and still do a bit for Bovo Tours, Roelofarendsveen but a Mercedes Tourismo is hardly the same as the Bristol L6B that I took my first test on.

However - enough about me. The reason for this Mail is to tell everyone about BE-57-34 or as it better known 8071ML. The prototype AEC Renown, built 1961 and as of yesterday
still alive and kicking !! Yesterday at 14.38; the rebuilt power unit yes a 590 was fired up in the vehicle for the first time.

The vehicle has had a long history it appeared at the 61 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court painted LT Country Area Green. It operated as a Demonstrator (RX1) from Dartford Garage vis-à-vis the Model from EFE and then was sold to G.W. Osborne & Sons of Tollesbury in Essex to join 80WMH and 2211MK; also Ex AEC Demonstrators. This is where I drove it for the first time. The history of this Fleet has been well documented by G.R. Mills but it was very much LT/AEC in Essex with RTs and RFs which we drove without a second thought.

After Osbornes 8071ML went to a member of the Oxford Bus Museum; where it was repainted Lincoln Green and appeared at Rallies in that guise. Because of internal politics at the museum the vehicle was rejected from the collection (It wasnt a COMS Bus) and was sold by its owner to Phil Munson (as Dealer) of Beestons of Hadleigh in Suffolk.

This is where Hans Sjoerds (the present owner) comes into the picture. He saw the vehicle and realised that being a Low Height it could operate in the Netherlands. (We have a 4 metre height restriction here) he bought it and had it shipped to Hilversum.. It remained in Lincoln Green and was sold on to Ton Egbers, the Rover Dealer in Breda where it became a rolling advertisement for London. It had a Policeman on it Big Ben A Union Jack etc. (I sent a photo of it to CB years ago. It may still be in your archives. I may still have the negs downstairs).

With the demise of Rover, Egbers sold the vehicle back to Hans Sjoerds and it stood in Hans Yard dead unwanted for a couple of years until it was spotted by the advertising department of Rochdale Homes. The seats were removed and stored yes, weve still got em) and the vehicle was transformed into a mobile sales unit driving to green-field housing developments all over the Netherlands. It has 240v Electricity, a kitchen and Toilet. Upstairs is a seating area with desks for computer terminals etc etc. It must have cost a fortune to convert. It was professionally repainted Red, White and Blue (The Dutch Flag) but the basic structure of the vehicle remains original. By this time the power unit was getting tired and was smoking badly then the inevitable happened a piston seized scoring the block. Rochdale tried, unsuccessfully, to find a replacement power unit and finally the vehicle came back to Hans Sjoerds who contacted me where he can I find another AEC Engine? I knew that it was a 590 and I discovered a company in Clitheroe (Lancs) that would rebuild AEC Engines. In the first instance the Short Engine was sent to Clitheroe and a complete rebuild was carried out. It was returned to NL and a professional company was engaged to re-install it. They messed the job up rendering the original block useless. The complete engine was then sent back to Clitheroe. Another block was sourced and this is now installed. 

Classic coaches of High Wycombe by Michael Wadman

A potted history of this most interesting operator - now long gone! 

For a few years in the mid-‘nineties, Buckinghamshire County Council funded a small network of summer Sunday leisure services operated with heritage vehicles by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe. It seems amazing nowadays that a local authority would have money to spare for such things. 

The operation started in 1994 with two circular services based on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway: service 77 from Chinnor station via Princes Risborough, Quainton Road, Aylesbury, Wendover, and Princes Risborough; and service 78 which did the same circuit in reverse. Each service required one vehicle. 

Former Leeds City Transport AEC Reliance / Roe ANW 710C in Wendover and Chinnor on service 77 on
31st July 1994.

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe - WWN 191 - Former Neath & Cardiff AEC Reliance / Harrington at Chinnor on Service 78 -
31st July 1994

WWN 191, former Neath & Cardiff AEC Reliance / Harrington on service 78

ANW 710C, former Leeds City Transport AEC Reliance / Roe on service 77. 31st July 1994

I have to admit that I have no idea where these photos were taken; it was somewhere where the two coaches passed each other, they stopped for the drivers to have a chat and I nipped out to take some photos.

For the 1995 season, a much expanded operation of six routes requiring five vehicles ran on Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage services operated by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe:

66  Aylesbury – Winslow – Buckingham – Stowe Gardens

78  Aylesbury – Quainton Road station – Winslow – Bletchley – Woburn Abbey

79  High Wycombe – Chinnor – Princess Risborough

77  Aylesbury – Wendover – Princes Risborough – Chinnor – Thame – Haddenham – Quainton Road station – Aylesbury (one journey in this direction only)

88  Aylesbury – Princes Risborough – Wendover – Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Mentmore – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)

99  Aylesbury – Mentmore – Ivinghoe – Tring – Cholesbury – Weston Turville – Aylesbury (one journey in this direction only)

In addition the vehicle that worked the 79 also ran a positioning return journey from Maidenhead to High Wycombe and return over Wycombe Bus service 316 (09:23 ex-Maidenhead, 18:15 ex-High Wycombe)

Former West Riding AEC Reliance / Roe JHL 983 in High Wycombe after arrival on the morning journey

on route 316, and at Princes Risborough station on service 79, on 29th May 1995

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe - ANW 710C - Former Leeds City Transport AEC Reliance / Roe on Service 77 at Aylesbury on
29th May 1995

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe - WWN 191 - Former Neath & Cardiff AEC Reliance / Harrington
Service 66 at Aylesbury station on
29th May 1995

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe -LDV 847F - Former Southern National Bristol RELH6G / ECW
Service 78 at Quainton Road station on
29th May 1995

Classic Coaches must have been suffering a vehicle shortage on 28th August 1995, as the 316 / 79 duty was operated by
 former National Travel South West Leyland Leopard / Plaxton RKY 878R (formerly SDD 148R) from Abbey Cars,
seen on the morning 316 journey in Wooburn Green and at High Wycombe station.

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe - LDV 847F - Former Southern National Bristol RELH6G / ECW

Service 66 at Aylesbury and Stowe Gardens on
28th August 1995

The 1996 season of Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe was slightly reduced from the previous year’s, consisting of four services requiring four vehicles:

78  Aylesbury – Quainton Road station – Winslow – Bletchley – Milton Keynes - Woburn Abbey

79  High Wycombe – Chinnor – Princess Risborough – Stoke Mandeville - Aylesbury

77  Aylesbury –  Wendover - Princes Risborough – Chinnor – Thame – Haddenham – Quainton Road station – Aylesbury (two journeys in this direction only)

88  Aylesbury –  Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Mentmore – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)

In addition one of the vehicles on the 78 worked positioning journeys on service 325 from Princes Risborough at 08:08 via Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, and Bletchley to Milton Keynes; and at 17:50 from Bletchley via Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury, and Princes Risborough to High Wycombe.

This WWN 191, former Neath & Cardiff AEC Reliance / Harrington on service 79 at Princes Risborough station on 26th May 1996;
 and EDV 505D, former Western National Bristol MW6G / ECW, on service 78 at Bletchley bus station on 2nd June 1996.

Classic Coaches of High Wycombe - Former Colchester Corporation Bristol RELL6L / ECW
  SWC 24K
in the subterranean gloom of the ghastly Aylesbury bus station on service 78, a splendid 110-minute trek to Milton Keynes and Woburn Abbey
2nd June 1996

Highlight of the 1996 season of Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe was the use of Albion Valkyrie / Burlingham  GWT 630, new to South Yorks of Pontefract, on 7th July.

The coach is seen in Aylesbury awaiting departure on service 78 to Woburn Abbey
 - GWT 630 - Albion
Valkyrie / Burlingham, new to South Yorks of Pontefract on Service 78 at Woburn Abbey on 7th July 1996

The 1997 season of Buckinghamshire’s summer Sunday heritage operation by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe turned out to be the last. Operations were similar to 1996’s, consisting of four services requiring four vehicles. Service 97 did not reappear, and there were no extra journeys on other operators’ routes, but a new service 87 provided a link with the Metropolitan Line for the first time:

78  Aylesbury – Quainton Road station – Winslow – Bletchley – Milton Keynes - Woburn Abbey

79  High Wycombe – Chinnor – Princess Risborough – Stoke Mandeville - Aylesbury

87  Amersham – Chesham – Wendover Woods – Aylesbury (one return journey at 10:00 ex-Amersham, 18:20 ex-Aylesbury)

88  Aylesbury –  Tring – Whipsnade – Ivinghoe – Aylesbury (one journey in each direction)

Reliance / Harrington  HLP 10C, new to Surrey Motors, in Stoke Mandeville on service 79;
and AEC Reliance / Plaxton GUP 947H, new to OK, Bishop Auckland on service 79 in Aylesbury, both on 1st June 1997.

During the 1997 season, as well as the Buckinghamshire CC contracted summer Sunday Heritage operation, Classic Coaches of High Wycombe also ran a commercial service 80 between Beaconsfield and Marlow via High Wycombe, operated by ‘deckers.

The service required two vehicles; Leyland Titan PD3A / Roe HNW 366D, new to Farsley OC,
 and former Hebble AEC Regent V / Weymann LJX 198, were used on 1st June 1997, both seen in Marlow.

LJX 198 - Former Hebble AEC Regent V / Weymann on Service 80 at
Beaconsfield on 22nd June 1997

HLP 10C -
AEC Reliance / Harrington, new to Surrey Motors on Service 87 at Chesham on 22nd June 1997

LDV 847F - Former Southern National Bristol RELH6G / ECW on Service 78 at
Quainton Road station and Winslow on 22nd June 1997

It didn’t seem to take long before service 80 became at least partly operated by Bristol VRTs from Classic’s school contract & rail replacement fleet. Whilst it was doubtless appreciated by some members of the enthusiast fraternity, I’m not sure that Joe Public would have regarded these as vintage buses.

Former Southern Vectis NDL 637M, and no 911 (former Yorkshire Traction XAK 911T),

both in High Wycombe on 22nd June and 14th September 1997 respectively.

Former Bristol OC Bristol RELL6L / ECW at Winslow on Service 78 on
14th September 1997

GUP 947H -
AEC Reliance / Plaxton, new to OK, Bishop Auckland on Service 79 at High Wycombe on 14th September 1997

Nothing at all to do with the Buckinghamshire CC summer Sunday heritage operations, this is a sort of post-script, if you like. Classic Coaches returned to local bus operation in Bucks in 1999 when it won a number of tendered services.

MCW Metrorider  D462 PON, formerly Stanwell Buses (Westlink) MR2, in Marlow on service 356 on 11th March 1999.

Also on 11th March, the 386 was a commercial service from Haddenham to Princes Risborough, worked off a school contract. I had planned to ride on this, but unfortunately my train from Marylebone was delayed and I got to Haddenham & Thame Parkway too late to make the connection; so I had to be content with staying on the train to Princes Risborough and photographing its arrival there, worked by rather splendid Bedford YMT / Plaxton DKG 270V, new to Hills of Tredegar.

Sadly, before I could make another attempt, Classic Coaches had ceased trading.


The foregoing is a history of the Buckinghamshire Summer Sunday heritage services rather than of Classic Coaches as such, since Classic also had a school contract and rail replacement fleet. 

For a while they were regulars on Underground rail replacement (and thanks to which one day in 1998 I was able to board an Ailsa at Wembley Park, alight at West Hampstead, wait ten minutes, and catch a Bristol RE to Baker Street! – although VRTs and Leyland Nationals were the more usual fare) and even appeared on TfL route 60 during the “running days” there. 

Buses in the landscape

Dave Allen sent a couple of interesting pictures taken from the top of Carfax Tower in Oxford. You may ask "where have all the other buses gone?"

Kevin Fuller writes "As a regular reader of your newsletter, I wondered if you are interested in using the attached photo for the 'Buses in the Landscape' section, even although it is slightly out of the area which you normally cover.

Although more of a 'townscape' than landscape, and not so attractive as many of your readers submissions of vehicles in open countryside, it shows one of the First operated Green Line Volvo / Wright 'twin deck' coaches, loading in the centre of the rapidly changing Slough town, on a 702 service to London. The site of the recently demolished Brunel bus station is on the right, with the well known roundabout with the same name replaced with a forest of cones, street lights and traffic lights.

Hopefully the quality is good enough if you want to use it - I am probably one of the last people in the world still using roll film....so hope that this scanned image is OK!"

From Barry

Barry writes "Been a few months since I dropped you a line, but here's a few winter photos I've taken recently. Not strictly in the countryside but hope you may include in the OCBP. So first up.....

Arriva North East Solo 2851 with Darlington station in the background

A pair of Witch Way Geminis in Burnley on a cold Saturday morning

The three major groups all come together at Bolton with a rare MAN 18.220/EL Millennium at the front, originally delivered to Blue Bus

Johnsons of Henley in Arden Tempo seen on the A3400 near Shipston on Stour

Another Johnsons Tempo, this time in Chipping Camden

A Wessex Connect Dart seen climbing Whiteway estate in Bath.... in the background is Beckfords Tower,
a folly built by the profligate heir of a fortune who frittered it away

A First Somerset Dart heading for Bath through the village of Hinton Charterhouse at dusk

An early Sunday morning shot of a Network Colchester Dart at Mersea Island.
This was traditionally Eastern National territory and the large building on the right was originally the EN outstation shed (now heavily modified)

Dusk falling over a Christmas view of Darlington and one of Arriva's ageing Daf coaches heading for Middlesbrough on the X66

(Last one for 2011, and it's my home town.... many thanks for running the OCBP, Malcolm)

Seen in September 2011 with the last embers of summer, Arriva North East Solo 2824 leaves Richmond market place with a journey to Darlington

The originals of the above pictures are some of the crispest pictures I've seen, really great! Well done, Barry.

From John Marsh

First Alexander ALX400 crossing The Grand Union Canal at Westbourne Park September 23rd 2011 by John Marsh

First Wright hybrid
crossing The Grand Union Canal at Westbourne Park September 23rd 2011 by John Marsh

Metroline Dart crossing The Regents Canal by Little Venice September 23rd 2011 by John Marsh

Wright Eclipse at Paddington Basin on September 23rd 2011 by John Marsh

Stagecoach's 17846 on route 277 in Victoria Park Road, Tower Hamlets during December 2011 by John Marsh

From Neil Gow

Neil Gow writes "here's a picture you can use for Buses in the Landscape if you like. It's Friends of King Alfred Buses preserved AEC Renown 596 LCG at Sutton Scotney on New Year's Day. As you can see the landscape was very wet!"

I can confirm it was a very wet day, Ed.

Reference to the last page

Bicester Line replies


Can I please comment on the article by Gary Seamarks;

Oxford (North Junction) to Bicester London Road (The official name in railway working as Bicester Town is purely the station name) is not "One Engine in Steam" working but is in fact "Tokenless Block" working controlled by Oxford Panel. Beyond Bicester London Road to Claydon Junction it is a separate "Tokenless Block" section controlled by Claydon Junction Signal box in cooperation with the train crew who have to operate the London Road Barriers before getting the signal to proceed.

The date for he new Oxford to Marylebone service has been put back beyond 2013 as a planning issue is ongoing with the Bats Habitat in Wolvercote Tunnel.

The new line east of Bicester will not connect with the former GCR Marylebone - Banbury - Birmingham line. The line it will connect with is the current line of route but it is pure Great Western in the Bicester area and not GCR. The Lines from Marylebone via Aylesbury and on to Calvert and Claydon were GCR and Metropolitan Railway. The lines through High Wycombe and Princes Risborough to Ashendon Junction were GWR and GC Joint. From Ashendon Junction the GC ran to Grendon Underwood whilst the GWR ran on to Bicester and Aynho Junction. Bicester was therefore never GC and nor was the line at this point. As for Banbury and on to Birmingham (Snow Hill) this was pure GWR. The reference to the Marylebone - Banbury - Birmingham line as being old GCR is sadly well wide of the mark.

The contract for the Avon "Bin Liner" Refuge train expired well over a year ago. The refuge train via Bicester no longer runs. There is currently no booked rail traffic beyond Bicester London Road (Town) although Engineering Trains for weekend work can very occasionally be seen. The Northolt to Cavert (London's waste) Bin Liner that normally runs via High Wycombe , Princes Risborough and Aylesbury may divert via Oxford and Bicester but this is very very rare indeed.

The route of HS2 has not been finalised with much of the new build transiting fresh land. It is currently not shown to run exactly on the existing line through Calvert although it will not be far away. If it did run on the existing lines then this would impede Chiltern Railways plans for a service north of Aylesbury to connect with the new East West Link as the Oxford to Bedford and Cambridge scheme is called.

Finally, one can transit direct to Bedford off the Bletchley Flyover (done it many times when I was on the footplate and you still can today). At the Bedford end of the Flyover is Fenny Stratford Station still very much open and used by all Bletchley to Bedford services. The station is the junction where the line from Bletchley Station joins the Flyover line so from Fenny Stratford you can go down in to Bletchley Station and , when reopened, direct to the Bicester London Road and Oxford line. You do not need to run to Milton Keynes to reverse a multiple unit as the signalling already allows for reversal at Fenny Stratford. Trains to and from Oxford to Bedford could either reverse at Fenny Stratford and run down in to Bletchley or , more operationally sound, call at Fenny Stratford and continue to Bedford leaving a second service to work the Bletchley to Fenny Stratford and Bedford services. The train from Oxford could be Non Stop from Fenny Stratford to Bedford whilst the Bletchley to Bedford service (that runs now) forms the stopping service behind. With proper timetable planning customers changing at Fenny Stratford would not have long to wait for connections and customers on the core route ,Oxford to Bedford, get a fast service. IE Oxford , Water Eaton, Islip , Bicester Town , Winslow , Fenny Stratford - Bedford. The Bletchley starting service would follow and call all stations to Bedford. The same would apply in reverse with the stopper for Bletchley following the fast for Oxford from Bedford. 

from Mike Walker

A few observations regarding the report on the Oxford – Bicester – Bletchley rail line in S&J 53.

First the term “one train in steam” – there’s a blast from the past! Actually the term was “one engine in steam” and it hasn’t been used for years even on heritage railways. Today the term is “One Train Working” (OTW) or “One Train Working with Staff” (OT-S) but the signalling protocol and single line protection in use between Oxford North Junction and Claydon L&NE Junction is actually “Tokenless Block” (TB).

Chiltern’s plans to upgrade the section from Oxford to Bicester have been slightly derailed by bats! These apparently like to roost in the short Wolvercote Tunnel near Oxford and the tree-huggers fought their corner at the public enquiry saying they would be disturbed by the increased number of trains. The inspector has found in favour of the bats and put the application on hold whilst Chiltern come up with a credible plan to mitigate the effect on the bats. Chiltern had proposed a system which would have switched on powerful lighting as a train enters tunnel thereby encouraging them to leave. This of course was seen by the tree-huggers and inspector as only making the problem worse so it’s back to the drawing board. Chiltern apparently have ideas being worked up to submit to the reconvened enquiry early in the New Year and are hopeful of success but the delay means the Oxford – Marylebone service won’t start until 2014 or later.

The original plan for this upgrade was to reinstate double track over the entire section with 100mph capability. However this has now been scaled back in the face of escalating cost estimates and it will now remain largely single apart from a short double section at Bicester (including the new chord) and through the new station at Water Eaton adjacent to the P&R site. What effect this has on the planned timetable remains to be seen but there are many of us who feel the line might not fulfill the expectations Chiltern have for it. By next year FGW will have replaced the Class 165/166 units on the Oxford – Paddington fast trains almost exclusively with the returning Class 180 ‘Adelante’ units allowing a considerable acceleration of the service compared both to present timings and what Chiltern proposes between Oxford and London. Gavin and I were discussing the possible effect of the newcomer on both the Tube and your COMS rivals but Gavin felt it was unlikely to have a big impact as the Tube has a strong clientele that commuted from the east side of Oxford and preferred the convenience of the coach rather than getting right through Oxford city centre to the station or, for that matter, to Water Eaton. As for the leisure market, then cost is a big factor and with Chiltern’s fares already among the highest per mile in the country that’s not likely to change. The only time the new facility will come into its own is if either route to Oxford is blocked for any reason and henceforth passengers will have an alternative.

Turning to the Claydon to Bletchley section this has been out of use for years. Officially it’s “mothballed” but as Gary points out it is largely overgrown and much of the track has, or so I’m led to believe, been stolen – metal theft as usual! So reopening will require complete site clearance and reconstruction of, in effect, a new railway. The good news is that in his Autumn Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce the East-West Rail Link project would be going ahead and that £25 million had been ring-fenced in the 2015-16 FY towards it although that won’t go far! When (if) this is built, then Chiltern see it contributing to completion of double track between Oxford and Bicester. As far as I’m aware the train plan for the E-W line is a service between Oxford and Milton Keynes Central, I’m not sure if Bedford is included. Gary is right in saying there is no way of serving Bletchley. Previously there was a curve onto what is now the Down Fast line to access the station but I can’t see that returning as it would be too disruptive to WCML services. There has been talk of a high-level platform on the flyover but nothing set in concrete (ouch!).

On the section between Aylesbury and Claydon the current service is the hourly Chiltern service to their new Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and two or three daily “Binliners” plus an occasional spoil train in each direction to Calvert and Chiltern’s empty workings to and from Bicester. This section will not be subsumed by HS2. The current plan is for HS2 to swing around the west side of Aylesbury and join the old GC alignment just north of Quainton Road. It will however run parallel to the existing tracks not replace them.

from Mick Payne

Gary Seamark's piece on the East-West rail link made interesting reading.

Regarding Bletchley, the plan is to build a new platform where the viaduct descends on the east side of the station so there will be no need for the complicated manoeuvres that Gary fears.

At present I understand Chiltern Railways have indicated interest in extending their Marylebone - Amersham - Aylesbury Parkway service to Milton Keynes stopping at a new station at Winslow and the new platform at Bletchley.  

Doesn't restore the High Wycombe - Milton Keynes X15 link which is a shame.  


Comment on the report on the last day of TfL 207 bendi-buses

from George Manning

Just to take issue about the 207 route, you say you didn't see any fare evasion?

Nobody knows whether passengers have or haven't got a valid ticket in their possession but fare evasion is a big problem as it would be on any type of bus with open boarding. 

Where have all the bendis gone!



Eurolines Excalibur Irizar PB YT11 LRN in Bulleid Way London on 23rd December 2011 by  Gavin Francis

London United Scania SC01 YT11 LSC on loan from Scania UK on route 148 on January 10th by Gavin Francis

London United Volvo VLE 10 on route 9 with Thai overall advertising on January 23rd by Gavin Francis

An expensive way to advertise a programme now over!!! Metroline VPL181 with super rear for Big Brother - January 23rd by Gavin Francis

Eurolines Socitransa 6200GFD to Berlin loading at Victoria coach Station on January 17th by Malcolm Crowe

Metroline with super rear for the Olympics on TE667 on route C2 by VCS, January 9th by Malcolm Crowe

Winchester - The Editor's favourites
New Year's Day 2012 by Malcolm Crowe

A selection of interesting vehicles at the event.

Bournemouth 44 owned by Steve Morris of Quantock.

Burlingham AEC Regal on a short tour on the day.
Richard Morgan and I enjoyed a very spirited ride on this coach!!

My very first new coach that I saw in 1946 was the chassis of one of these AEC's for Sykes of Sale, near Manchester and it became their KLG37.
It stood outside their garage on the main road for many months waiting to go to the body builders Burlingham.

Martins H654VVV was UCOC 654 and looked very splendid.

Little and large, or v.v.

Another very nice Olympian

A study in rear ends, Winchester Bus Station still operational after all the talk.

The Park & Ride was very sparse for buses and coaches. The rain was heavy and we were quite pleased to set off home after these pictures were taken.

Links & Publications

Todays buses - Oxfordshire

This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.

The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.

Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.


Newbury & District History now available

Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury & District.

The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding areas.

A Guy Arab on the Oxford service and seen at Gloucester Green.

Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford & London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when both owned by Red & White.

The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.

The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.

One of the constituent companies was Denham's.

Apart from the archaic Leylands, the company ran some AEC Regals after the war.
These were rebodied with ECOC/ECW bodies purchased from North Western Road Car, Stockport via dealers.
They had been new in 1936 on Bristol Jo5G chassis which were rebodied with Brush bodies in 1946 to a similar design.
Your Editor must have travelled on one of these buses, when in NWRCC service, as a small boy.
They would have doubtless run on service to Highclere, now well known as the house is featured in Downton Abbey.

The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special price of £20.00 for OCBP readers.

Just mention OCBP when ordering from:

Paul Lacey,
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.