Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr 56 - March 28th 2012

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Current archives from October 2002

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I must apologise for the long delay in publishing this issue. As many of you will know I was much involved in the 25th anniversary celebrations on Oxford Tube and then the book launch. This was followed by an intensive period of work and on my few days off trying to cope with a severe head cold. Anyway I'm now back in action this issue promises to be a super edition.

Launch of Oxford Tube book at Oxford bus Museum

Simon Hewings writes "I'm sure you will be inundated with pictures from today but I hope you find these of interest. I really enjoyed the day today and I am looking forward to reading my signed book - thank you. I hope the book does really well."


Luke Braham writes "It was a great day at the book launch yesterday and the weather was great it couldn't of been better.

My family members and I all agree the day was enjoyable for everyone. Mum loved the Oxford Tube cake and I'm hoping to have one for my birthday next year. The cake tasted delicious as well. The ride on the Tube was very good and made me smile with happiness.

Here are some pictures I took at the book launch.

The Oxford Tube 25 today Cake

Oxford Tube OU59 AVB at Woodstock 

Mike Bennett writes "I took this photo last Sunday at the Bus Museum and thought you would like copies."

The book launch was something quite special and I was delighted to meet many contributors to OCBP. If you didn't manage to get along to the launch and have not yet got your copy then contact Presbus Publishing and they will be pleased to supply you with a copy. Just click on the advert below for details.

So much has been happening in the last weeks and nearly all is covered in this issue. Highlights are the take over of Carousel Buses by Go-Ahead, the launch of the new look X90 coaches on the Oxford-London service, further developments with Thames Travel, another take over, this time of Hedingham by Go-Ahead. The launch of Megabus on continental routes, the arrival of the Chinese open topper with big bus and much more.

The weather in the last days has been excellent and I am sure many of you will have been able to take some great photographs.

Another point of significance is that the 12 plate makes its appearance in this issue.

I hope that you will all enjoy this issue.

New London bus takes the road


Ian Brown, Hemel Hempstead writes "Here are a few words and one picture of my trip on the Borismaster. The photograph, taken on Friday March 23rd, shows the vehicle at the end of its run in Hackney.

The Borismaster at Hackney by Ian Brown 

Fancy a day out in London, and a trip on the new Borismaster? 

Well here`s some guidance and tips. The Borismaster, or LT2 to give it it`s official fleet number, runs from Victoria Railway Station bus station (note, not Victoria Coach Station) which is about 5 minutes walk from Buckingham Palace Road where the Oxford Tube and Green Lines arrive. Simply walk  towards Victoria Station and you will see numerous red London buses queuing there in single lanes. Go to the enquiry office which is located at the head of the queue of buses. Ask there when the Borismaster is due. I saw it arrive shortly after 11.30am and within 30 minutes we were off. Once aboard, I tried about 4 different seats. The best, in my view, is the rearmost pair on the lower deck, near side. You sit facing back with a superb view of where you`ve been – not where you`re going ! The crew consists of, of course, a driver plus a `conductor` or better title might have been driver`s mate/assistant/second driver. This particular conductor was obviously a qualified driver as he moved the bus forward a few yards at Victoria. Interestingly and mysteriously, there appeared to be an Arriva fitter (dressed with yellow tabard) riding too. He may have been making use of his free travel; I suspect he was there to cope with any embarrassing hitches on this famous London icon. The big minus on this journey was that, despite it being an unusually hot March day,  the heating was on full blast. In fact, my brief stay in an upstairs seat was thoroughly unpleasant due to lack of cool air. The `conductor` explained that this was because of a fault. When I enquired why it couldn`t be rectified, he explained that the bus `had to be` on the diagram. Some sort of contractual agreement, I suspect. Another worrying point was the open rear entrance. Passenger were, just like the old days, gathering on the rear platform whilst the bus was moving. Call me an old pessimist, but I can just see someone going head first out of the moving bus. I`m baffled why the Health & Safety man has not had his notebook out ! So the journey heads through central London and then eastwards on to Islington and Dalston and ending in Hackney. Journey time was about 50 mins. My friendly and helpful `conductor` suggested I walk across the road and wait and he`d be back in 20 minutes thereabouts for the return journey. I decided instead to use one of Arriva`s older vehicles on the 38 back to Victoria.

Don`t worry about being approached by the `jobs worth` when you take some photographs. This particular bus, and its crew, must be more photographed than the Tower of London !

More pictures of the new bus

from Gavin Francis who has given us the chance to see the inside


From Adam Green.


Running days

Dates for your diary 

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

Nearly nine years ago and on 5 October 2003, RLH48 takes a happy group of enthusiasts on a run to Berkhamsted - Malcolm Crowe.

Running Days 2012

Sunday 20 May  SLOUGH based at Brunel Way adjoining new bus station and near railway station.

Sunday 24 June UXBRIDGE based at Chippendale Way, R/0 The Chimes Shopping Centre, as previously

Sunday 19 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD based at bus station, Waterhouse Street

Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station 


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.


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

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - March 28th 2012


Observations and pictures

Services in High Wycombe will be affected by works to repair a collapsed sewer in Hughenden Road, High Wycombe at the junction with Coates Lane and Green Hill. Work will commence on Saturday 31st March and is expected to last for between 7 and 14 days.

'Wheatley closure Sat 31st March and until 18:00 on Sun1st April,' The bridge over the A40 at Park Hill, [close to Holton Turn] Wheatley is to be closed on Saturday 31st March and until 18:00 on Sunday 1st April, for repairs to the bridge expansion plates.

During this closure, service 280 will not be able to serve Wheatley EASTBOUND, i.e. towards Aylesbury.

Stephen Le Bras reported on February 16th saying "I decided to make a diversion from my route home and call into Heathrow central bus station. The Oxford coaches now show OXF and LHR route numbers since Sunday. I don't know if the VCS ones will show VCS or continue as X90. (Yes, Stephen, the new look service retains the X90 brand.)

Anyway, I wanted to have a ride on one of the new Carousel Mercedes/MCV single deckers so I was pleased when MBA28 turned up to take me to Uxbridge. I did have a good look around the bus and somehow MCV has managed to fix the rather haphazard layout of seating in the Evobus all German Citaro. However, not all was well as, like many new buses, there was a fair old rattling noise above my head."

Alexander, an observant young enthusiast notes as follows: 

14th Feb.
Route 14A went the opposite way round Marston Village towards JR Hospital to minimise delays caused by roadworks from 10:00 onwards.
Due to A power cut at the JR Hospital the 10 was unable to use the barriers and used the old route via Headley Way from 12:40-16:07.

15th Feb.
Cowley Rd was shut due to a house fire from 16:28-17:30 and routes 1, 10 and 12 were diverted via Iffley Rd and Between Towns Rd and routes 5 and U5 were going out of town from The Plain via Iffley Rd and Between Towns Rd where normal route was resumed and vice versa.

20th Feb. 

From 14:06-15:06 the 6 was unable to serve Godstow Rd due to parked cars limiting their ability to navigate the road. The service terminated at Mere Rd while the police resolved the matter.

The 11:00 LHR from Oxford City broke down and the passengers were transferred to the 11:15 LGW which detoured to Heathrow but went to Terminal 5 only so passengers for Central Bus Stn had to alight at Terminal 5 and transfer to Heathrow's internal train system for their respective terminals. The 12:15 from Heathrow also couldn't run because of the breakdown. 

21st Feb.

For A short while, until 17:46, due to an accident on Woodstock Rd at Wolvercote Roundabout, the 300 was serving Woodstock Rd as far as Canterbury Rd then diverting onto Banbury Rd towards the Sainsbury's Roundabout by Kidlington to bypass the accident to get to Pear Tree. Passengers wishing to board at South Parade had to walk to South Parade on Banbury Rd where the 300 was stopping to collect passengers for Pear Tree. They were unable to make diversions on the 6 so there were heavy delays on that route. When they started returning to normal route at 17:46 but there were delays due to traffic build up. Before they started diverting there were heavy delays on the 6 and 300.

25th February

The U5 was unable to serve Headington Campus at 11:10 due to a large number of cars parked in and around the bus stop area.

26th February

From 14:43-15:16 Cowley Rd was closed, due to an accident, from The Regal to the City Center and routes 1, 10 and 12 used Iffley Rd and between Towns Rd. Services were still subject to delays at 15:16 and the 10 suffered delays of up to 15 mins. The 5 and U5 were also affected from 14:43-15:16.

Richard Sharman notes that Bicester's Bure Place Bus Station is now closed for redevelopment, a new Sainsbury's and Cinema is currently being built for 2013 completion on this land.

All Bus Stops have now been moved to the Market Place.

Bure Place in February 2012

Another point of pick up in Bicester
Richard sent more pictures shown below.

Recently acquired is former Go North East Pointer S726 KNV, numbered 612 with RH Buses.

Tube showing revised Destination display, larger Oxford and no scrolling, now pages.

A rare Trident working on the 116

Recent new Service Van for COMS

New Westbus Van Hool with barely readable from Destination due to limo glass.

117 reinstated for busy Saturday Service

Gold E400 basks in 20 degree sun which turns the blue to purple or so it seems.

12 plate NX Levante with John Shaw on new(?) route 341 to Burnley

Ian Connick writes regarding the piece in the last issue: 

Richard Wellesley Memorial Transport

Richard Wellesley Memorial Transport operate a service (RWMT 01), from Buckland to Faringdon on Tuesdays and Fridays only. The bus departs Buckland @ 0930 and on the second Tuesday of each month it continues beyond Faringdon to Wantage. The OCC pocket timetable dated December 2011 shows the bus as going to Swindon, but that is incorrect. On the fourth Tuesday of the month it continues beyond Faringdon to Witney.

Ian says "Unfortunately, the company did not realise (?) they had to tell anyone about changes to their service, and the Swindon extension is still the registered route. I understand they are contacting the Traffic Commissioner for advice."

Nigel Peach writes saying "Thanks as always for the recent S & J. One thing does concern me though. I quote from it:

"a picture of XCT 550 which Heyfordian have now scrapped with Mr Steven Warwick at the wheel!"

I read that and though it was a bit unfair on poor Mr Warwick - obviously it was felt that he was past his sell by date and he had to go!!!!!

Hmmmm!!!!  Very amusing Nigel. I do believe Mr Warwick escaped a trip to the scrap yard and is still fully operational unlike XCT550!!

Steve Gee who often writes with things seen on his travels says "three sightings over the last 10 days or so that may be of interest to you.

14th or 15th Feb,

Go Ahead Oxford Citaro saloon 863 was on tow northwards on the M40 by Banbury at approx 09:00. It looked to be missing the offside saloon window just behind the front wheel.

Secondly, 21st Feb, Redline ex Go Ahead Dennis Dart T413 AGP was being towed north up the M1 near Jc 22 at approx 08:00.

Lastly noted in Telford on schools/ college contract work S484 UAK, Dennis Javelin, which I believe is ex Whites of Oxford. It's just possible to see where the "Whites Oxford" lettering was on the rear end if I read it correctly. Don't know the new owner, as I was following it.

26th Feb

Arriva Shires DAF/ Plaxton coach 4050 R450SKX, and Heyfordian Jonckheere B13 HTL, both on Rail Replacement duties at Leamington Spa station at 12:45.

Luke Braham sent some pictures shown below. He says "Here is Red Rose FJ06 URR on route 8A and Arriva BG59 FCY on route 300 all in Milton Keynes."

Steve Doel notes "An older coaching visitor to Oxford recently was this - C141 KFL, a DAF SB2300 / Jonckheere Jubilee from Young's of Cambridge. Some 27 years old, it was looking immaculate"


Steve Oxbrow writes "The attached pair of photos might be of interest to you and your readers.

I was in Skipton last Saturday (3rd March) and managed to get a couple of photos of one time Thames Transit (and Stagecoach Oxford) N54 KBW now D16 with Pennine of Skipton. The front photo shows it parked next to a Burnley and Pendle Volvo B7RLE and the rear photo shows the Transit Holdings spec destination screen, now panelled over."


Chris Farmer writes "Thought you might like to see this photo of an ex London Titan, that Keith Stenhouse took in Miami. What a nice retirement home."


Andrew Webb reports "Two photographs of coaches once resident in the area."

The first shows ex Tube T35DFC, now with Merseypride, arriving at Wembley for the Carling Cup final on 26 February.

Captured in a damp Aldwych on St Patrick's Day was GH Watts Skyliner, SF56TYC. New to Trathens for National Express contracts,
it subsequently spent some time with Weavaway. 

Alex Horwood writes "I have attached a few photos of various vehicles"

22279 having received all over advertising vinyls for gap

404 'coolent' a higher resolution photo and the bus itself 

407 being the only M A N in the fleet to have all blue lower frontage all the rest have a panel saying evolution

RX58 HVJ Alexander Dennis enviro400 Optare Olympus looking very smart in the new livery for the MEPC shuttle PN10 FNO is also in this livery

CE12 CKG the Stanford in the Vale village community bus on its possible first run!

Arriva logo

Volvo 3457 damaged by fire some months ago is being repaired and is expected to return to High Wycombe shortly.

Scania 3191 has finally been withdrawn. Enviro 400 5437, involved in an accident is currently away being repaired.

Nigel Peach writes "The last of the red Darts (3838) has been repainted. It looks as though Volvo 3248 has been withdrawn, and I haven't seen the extra Optare (2438) lately - I think it's gone - it was only around for a while.

Those R reg Scanias are holding on - one from Hemel was in Wycombe today (21st). I think it was 3193. 3199 is still working at Wycombe and 3195? is often in on the 300 from Aylesbury."

Adam Green writes on February 15th saying 3003 came back from Enfield after being repaired and was on the 4 & 5 during that week.

Scania 3192 was on the 300/301 to Stevenage on the Tuesday of that week.

On 26th March Adam writes "YJ54CFE has arrived for Greenline service it is parked in Hemel Garage looks smart in its new livery and 3199 has been on the 4&5 for the full week last week ."

Readers can see a picture of 4071 at the following link : http://www.flickr.com/photos/21611052@N02/4815704218/

Pete Cabin reports that at Wycombe Scania 4429 S429MCC and 4490 T490KGB have been repainted in interurban colours. Olympian 5141 N41JPP has once again returned to High Wycombe with sister bus 5146 S146SNK departing in a straight swop.

4429 is seen in the bus station in High Wycombe on March 3rd - Malcolm Crowe.

The railway viaduct dominates the landscape around High Wycombe.
Here we see an Aylesbury based Citaro on service 300.

Another Citaro, this time on service 321 at Luton Airport displays a new super rear advert.
It is 3916 seen on February 27th by Gavin Francis.

Arriva Olympian 5102 from Aylesbury on route 61 at Luton Airport on March 6th.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 4048 rests in Hemel bus station after a 658 School service on March 23rd.
Picture by M Richardson. 

THE GO-AHEAD GROUP PLC acquires Carousel Buses Limited 

Go-Ahead Group is pleased to announced the acquisition of Carousel Buses Limited, based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.  The acquisition took place on Saturday 3 March 2012. 

Carousel currently operates around 50 buses in the Wycombe area and runs services to Heathrow Airport, Uxbridge, Chesham and Watford.  The company mainly operates a mix of commercial bus services and schools bus contracts. 

David Brown, Group Chief Executive said: “Carousel fits perfectly with our strategy of acquiring innovative, well-managed businesses which have a strong commercial core and can provide a solid basis for increasing passenger numbers.  We are pleased to be taking on a bus company which prides itself on running a safe, reliable, affordable and customer focused service. 

"In 2011 we acquired Thames Travel which was a similar size business and has been highly successful since joining the group, with significant tender wins. It has also successfully converted several services which were subsidised by local authorities into commercial services.  Thames Travel has retained its own identity and prospers under our devolved business model.  I am confident that we can repeat this success with the purchase of Carousel." 

The current owners of Carousel, Steve Burns and John Robinson, will step back from day-to-day operation on acquisition, and will act as advisers to the new owners.  Carousel will be run by the Oxford Bus Company director team under the leadership of Managing Director Philip Kirk.  The company will retain its existing brand identity.


The heritage fleet used by the company has not been retained by the new owners and may well be used for wedding and private hires. The buses involved are Routemasters RM 2198 and RML 896 plus RTs 981 and 2253 though not all are roadworthy.

Ralph Adams writes "Four ex London Volvos are on their way to Carousel via Oxford. They are for High Wycombe to replace the Metrobuses there of which I have nine allocated, but several are apparently not in service."

Pete Cabin writes "A couple of British Legion members I no informed me that they went in the Carousel customer services office in the bus station enquiring about the route and timetable change on service 27. They were informed that this bus service would operate via Castle Street, Totteridge Road, Bowerdean Crossroads and Gordon Road then back onto the London Road on its normal route to Rayners Avenue via Cock Lane starting on April 16th 2012.

More transfers or loans to arrive at Carousel from Go-Ahead London are Presidents W458WGH and W491WGH. Not in Carousels yard today were S513KFL and P236AAP these have been out of service for several months now.

5th March

Two days gone now since Go-Ahead started operating Carousel Bus services. Seen in their Baker Street yard were two Plaxton Presidents, not from the Oxford fleet but red with a black skirting reg Y811TGH and Y801TGH (PVL210). Most of the double deckers were parked up with the two imports mentioned. Darts S513/514KFL and Volvos P232/236AAP were there but there was no sign of R708MEW or S523KFL. However to my amazement DAF 976 R976FNW WAS working the service 27, this bus being rather too long for the turn around at Lance Way in Cock Lane, yet the shorter DAF54 CB54BUS was on the 1s with sister bus DAF 981 R981FNW also on the nr 1s.

Carousel PVLs 91 210 and 58 in Baker St yard on March 10th by Malcolm Crowe.

Carousel PVL 91 in Baker St on March 10th by Malcolm Crowe.

When in service with London Central, PVL210 is seen near Victoria Station. The date is August 14th 2009.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

As mentioned elsewhere the legal address for Carousel is now in Oxford as seen in the insert mini on EVL4 March 8th by M Crowe.

The new depot for Carousel is in Hughenden Avenue as seen above on March 3rd by M Crowe.

The "last day" of Carousel under its old management was celebrated by the use of Metrobuses on the 1.
This route will cease on April 16th

It seems that the town is shedding a tear for Carousel as it was!
High Wycombe centre on Saturday March 3rd.

23rd March

Seen on hire to Carousel is Wilts & Dorset Optare Tempo 2501 (YJ06FXW). It was on service 336 to Watford yesterday (22.03.12.)

I am led to understand that the services 1 & 2 will be withdrawn on April 16th and that increases in service levels on the 4 and 740 will be made. This means that Stokenchurch will lose quite a number of services during the day time, especially considering the loss of the 275 Oxford service for much of every weekday.

Carousel EVL7 with new legals at Baker St on March 12th by Gavin Francis.

Carousel A744WVP in Baker St yard on March 12th by G Francis

City Sightseeing

Steve Doel writes "Conversion to Open-Top is now underway on the new Volvo at CSS Oxford (PJ53 NKC). When in service the vehicle will carry fleet number 57. A photo from the workshop recently......"


Wilf Lewis writes "I work for Heyfordian / Tappins at Bicester ( office based ) and would like to submit photos from time to time.........here is the first one

Wycombe based 4827 WD ( R415 EOS ) awaits it's  PMI at Bicester in it's recently applied new livery. 

SJI 4428 now withdrawn and awaiting disposal. Photo attached

Final day of service for this old-timer:- Friday 16th March 2012. Photographed just prior to withdrawal.

Following a long and illustrious career, supplied new to West Kingsdown, then on to Astons of Kempsey, finally Heyfordian from March 1995.

Vehicle Info:-

Chassis Type:- Scania K112 CRS
Chassis No:- 1807035
Body Type;- Jonckheere Jubilee P599
Body No:- 19293
Seating;- C51FT
Regn New:- 01 / 1985
Regn Nos;- B505 CBD, RDU 4, SJI 4428

Supplied New To:- West Kingsdown

Vehicle info:- Kind permission Heyfordian Travel.

It is good to have further correspondent for happenings at this company. 

Steve Warwick has provided the latest fleet list from Heyfordian. He also sends a picture saying "Here is a photo of today's visitor to Wycombe
 just staying the night."

Heyfordian B10HTL in High Wycombe on March 21st by Steve Warwick.
ID Reg No Chassis Chassis No Type Body Body No Seats Year Comments
34 1435 VZ Vo 041058 B10M Je 23391 C53F 4/94 Ex Durham City, Brandon 02. (ex L752 YGE, 6/10/06)
117 2185 NU Oe VN6469 M850 Oe 6469 B34F 5/00 ex Reading Transport 118 (ex W118 SRX 3/10)
35 2482 NX Vo 017093 B10M VH 13099 C49Ft 4/88 E743 TCS, 439 BUS. Ex Lewis, Greenwich 00. E418 JKS
3 2622 NU Vo 061035 B10M Je 25006 C49Ft 3/99 From Winson, Loughborough (LE) 3/03. Ex LSK 830, Ex T723 UOS, 6/06
118 2779 UE Oe VN6330 M850 Oe 6330 B30F 1/00 ex Reading Transport 114, ex V114 DCF 09/10
5 4078 NU Vo 061044 B10M Je 25008 C49Ft 3/99 From Park, Hamilton (SW) Ex LSK 832, ex T725 UOS, 6/06
55 481 HYE MAN 4691398G086014 11.190 Co 359010 C33Ft 3/94 L26 CAY. Ex 9467 MU, ex L26 CAY 4.07
6 4827 WD Vo 060587 B10M VH 33085 C49FT 3/98 LSK 502, Ex Park, Hamilton 02. (ex R415 EOS 1/10)
12 6595 KV Vo 042181 B10M VH 32207 C53Ft 2/95 ex Shearings (GM) 4/03 (C46Ft) ex M634 KVU,04.07
63 7209 RU Ld ON10108 On ECW 26365 CH42/30F 5/86 ex C266 XEF
57 7298 RU Ld ON10098 On ECW 26364 CH42/30F 5/86 Ex Arriva Durham County 9/01 (ex C265 XEF)
16 7396 LJ Vo 031704 B10M Je 23062 C53F 5/93 Ex Turner, Bristol 99. K906 RGE
14 7845 LJ Vo 040934 B10M Je 23382 C49Ft 3/94 Ex Park, Hamilton 95. (ex L740 YGE 29/7.06)
64 7958 NU Ld ON1724 On ECW 26131 H45/32F 3/85 (ex B245 NVN) Ex Hoar & Savage, Tilsworth (BD) 5/02
75 8216 FN Vo 044460 B10M Je 23995 C53Ft 2/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft ex N726 UVR 08/11
20 868 AVO Sca 1806320 K112 Je 18998 C49Ft 5/84 A52 JLW, 7/91. Ex O'Sullivan, Huyton (MY) 12/92.
11 9467 MU Vo 042219 B10M VH 32212 C53Ft 2/95 ex Shearings (GM) 4/03 ex M639 KVU, 04.07
72 9862 FH Sca 1806431 K112 Je 19244 C53F 3/85 new B157 YBW, ex 1264 LG
91 B10 HTL Vo 000335 B12M Je 26093 C51F 3/02 Ex Park Hamilton ex HSK 649, ex SN02 NGL, 4/08
90 B11 HTL Vo 000131 B12M Je 25956 C51Ft 3/02 Ex Parks, Hamilton, ex SA02 UCE 4/08
95 B12 HTL Vo 011726 B12M Je 26796 B51Ft 3/04 ex Park, Hamilton, LSK 873, 4/07, ex SJ04 KAK, 4/08
94 B13 HTL Vo 011745 B12M Je 26797 B51Ft 3/04 ex Park, Hamilton, LSK 874, 4/07, ex SJ04 KAE, 4/08
8 B14 HTL Vo 044265 B10M Je 23796 C53F 2/96 ex Parks, Hamilton, Ex Jeffs, Helmdon 02., ex N802 HNS 2/09
10 B15 HTL Vo 044272 B10M Je 23803 C51Ft 3/96 ex Parks, Hamilton, Ex Johnson, Hodthorpe 98., ex N809 HNS 2/09
7 B16 HTL Vo 044266 B10M Je 23797 C53F 2/96 ex Parks, Hamilton, Ex Jeffs, Helmdon 02., ex N803 HNS
9 B17 HTL Vo 044271 B10M Je 23802 C55F 2/96 ex Parks, Hamilton, Ex Jeffs, Helmdon 02, ex N808 NHS 2/09
107 B739 GCN Ld ON1831 Ld ECW 26007 H45/32F 4/85 ex Go Coastline (TW) 3739
82 C10 HTL Vo 044493 B10M Je 24004 C55F 3/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft (ex N735 UVR 7/10)
76 C10 TCL Vo 044461 B10M Je 23996 C53Ft 2/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft, ex N727 UVR to Tappins 9/10
81 C11 HTL Vo 044492 B10M Je 24003 C53Ft 3/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft (ex N734 UVR 6/10)
80 C12 HTL Vo 044491 B10M Je 24002 C55F 3/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft (ex N733 UVR 7/10)
120 C13 HTL Vo 000464 B12M Ssg B-2326 C53F 5/02 ex Wallace Arnold/Shearings, ex YC02 CHJ
78 C13 TCL Vo 044489 B10M Je 24000 C53Ft 3/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft
74 C14 HTL Vo 044373 B10M Je 23993 C53Ft 2/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft (ex N724 UVR 8/10)
15 C15 TCL Vo 041079 B10M Je 23062 C53F 3/94 Ex Park, Hamilton. 2/96 (ex L745 YGE, 9/10/06) ex 2779 UE
123 C6 HTL Vo 103449 B12M Ssg B-3084 C49FT 3/06 ex Doigs, Glasgow, (ex FJ05 ANX 8/10)
119 C7 HTL Vo 000462 B12M Ssg B-2324 C53F 5/02 ex Wallace Arnold/Shearings (ex YC02 CHG 6/10)
124 C8 HTL Vo 053375 B10M Je 25949 C51FT 5/01 ex Hookways, Meeth, (ex Y164 EAY 6/10)
122 C9 HTL Vo 052686 B10M Je
C53FT 12/01 ex Renton, Kirknewton (ex SN51 AAA 7/10)
37 ESU 940 Sca 1806142 K112 Je 18844 C51Ft 3/84 A60 JLW 5/95.Ex Clark & Ellwood,Chatteris (CM) 1/94
140 FJ60 EKD Vo YV3T2P523A1140941 B13R Vo 101629 C55FT 10/10 New
111 G802 THA Ds DDA1032/1021 Dom EL A9802 H47/29F 7/90 ex Midland Red North 802
89 H10 HJC Vo 023956 B10M Je 21990 C51Ft 8/90 ex Home James,Heather,Ruckinge,3/05(ex H10 HJC,H48 VNH,ex 8779KV
105 H510 BND MB WDB6680632P008827 609D MM
C24F 8/90 ex Regent, Whitstable (KT) 6/08
110 H804 AHA Ds DDA1031/1023 Dom EL A9708 H47/29F 8/90 ex Midland Red North 804
148 KX03 KYU Oe SAB19000000001169 M920 Oe 001169 B29F B33F ex United Counties (NO) 47031, 9/11
97 KX07 KOE AD 111AR17GY10327 Dt AD 7201/4 B29F 5/07 new
98 KX07 KOH AD 111AR17GY10328 Dt AD 7201/5 B29F 5/07 new
102 KX08 OMP MAN WMAA76ZZ38C010507 12.240 Pn DA7576 B38F 5/08 new
103 KX08 OMR MAN WMAA76ZZ38C010510 12.240 Pn DA7577 B45F 5/08 new
142 KX09 CKC Etpr TS9EB03GS7P130082 Plasma Pn 007.9BBR7451 B28F 5/09 New
141 KX58 LJC Etpr TS9EB03GS7P13044 Plasma Pn 007.9BBR7519 B28F 4/08 ex KX08 HMJ 12/08, OFJ Connections (LN)
93 L268 ULX Ds 9SDL3011/1335 Dt Pn 939HMN1224 B35F 9/93 ex Belle Vue, Heaton Chapel 3/07, ex L2 NCP
88 L409 GPY Vo 05246 B6 Pn 93102VWN1953 B40F 2/94 ex OK Motor Services, to Tappins
83 L584 JSA Vo 031110 B10M Pn 9312VCM1440 C53F 9/93 ex Bluebird Buses (SN) 52174
86 L584 JSA Vo 032110 B10M Pn 9312VCM1440 C53F 9/93 ex Bluebird Buses (SN) 52174 (ex WLT 526 12/04, L584 JSA 7/99)
84 L585 JSA Vo 032111 B10M Pn 9312VCM1441 C57F 9/93 ex Bluebird Buses (SN) 52175 (ex NSU 132 12/04, L585 JSA 3/01)
85 L587 JSA Vo 032113 B10M Pn 9312VCM1443 C57F 9/93 ex Bluebird Buses (SN) 52177 (ex ESU 435 12/04, L587 JSA 3/01)
33 L743 YGE Vo 041036 B10M Je 23388 C53F 3/94 Ex Park, Hamilton (SW) 12/95, (ex L743 YGE, 27/07/06) (ex 8252 MX, 1/08)
18 LDZ 2502 Sca 1810746 K112 Je 20279 C51Ft 2/87 Ex Gillespie Kelty 92. D313 VVV
19 LDZ 2503 Sca 1809052 K112 Je 20278 C51Ft 2/87 Ex Buddens, Romsey 92. D312 VVV
32 M833 HNS Vo 041705 B10M VH 31862 C53F 2/95 LSK504,M833 HNS,WT 3667, Ex Wickson, Walsall Wood 02.
13 M993 HHS Vo 042256 B10M Je 23558 C53F 2/95 KSK 986. Ex Compass Royston, Stockton 02.
77 N728 UVR Vo 044462 B10M Je 23997 C53Ft 2/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft ex N731 UVR to Tappins 9/10
79 N732 UVR Vo 044990 B10M Je 24001 C55F 3/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft
99 OU07 JWD As 46VU355A031183 MAN 460 Bravo 1
CH65/17CT 7/07 New
150 P417 KSX Vo YN2RV18Z4YV3YNA413TC026948 On Ar 9415/24 H51/30F 10/96 ex Ellaway & Bjelobaba, Soulbury(BK) 3/11
151 P421 KSX Vo YN2RV18Z4YN3YNA419TC026906 On Ar 9415/20 H51/30F 10/96 ex Ellaway & Bjelobaba, Soulbury(BK) 3/11
149 P568 SWC Vo VC027561 On ArB
H47/??F 6/97 ex Dublin Bus RV340, EnsignBus (ex 97D340)
113 R507 YWC MB 670374-2N-067779 O814D Pn 9785MXV7750 B31F 12/97 Ex Selkent MB7
112 R509 YWC MB 670374-2N-067710 O814D Pn 9785MXV7752 B31F 12/97 Ex Selkent MB9
135 R872 MDY Oe XMGDEO2RSOH006472 DB250 Oe 8637 H48/29F 6/98 Ex Eastbourne Buses
136 R874 MDY Oe XMGDEO2RSOH006474 DB250 Oe 8639 H48/29F 6/98 Ex Eastbourne Buses
40 SJI 4428 Sca 1807035 K112 Je 19293 C51Ft 2/85 Ex Constable, Long Melford 95. B505 CBD, RDU 4, B989 MAB.
100 SL52 CPX Ds 6BACR32GW86976 Dt SLF Pn 2023/7 B29F 1/03 ex Stuarts, Carluke (SW) 7/07
152 TIL 9262 Vo YV31MGD10LA023623 B10M Pn 9112VCB0071 C53F 4/91 ex Tappin, Didcot. (ex H262 GRY, 4/01)
48 VSF 438 Ta 0001092 HDB30R Co 051051 C14FT 5/92 ex Hitchcox, Kidlington (OX) 9/98
101 VUD 348H Ld PSU3A/4R7000112 Ld Pn 709116 C52F 70 Wdn 02 (ex FIL 7662)
92 WX06 SLV As 46VU355A031136 MAN 460 Bravo 1 10263 CH65/17F 4/06 New
73 XCT 550 Vo 044371 B10M Je 23991 C53Ft 2/96 ex Shearings, C46Ft, (ex N722 UVR 1/12)
134 YAY 537 Vo 14036 B10M VH 121524 C49FT 5/89 ex Durham City, Brandon (ex F483 OFT, 4/96)
145 YJ11 EJN Oe SABCN2ABOBL193780 M710 Oe 193780 B22F 08/11 New
146 YJ11 EJO Oe SABEN3AFOBL193811 M880 Oe 193811 B29F 07/11 New
147 YJ11 EJU Oe SABEN3AFOBC193811 M880 Oe 193812 B29F 07/11 New
131 YJ59 GFV Oe SABEW3AF09L193101 M850 Oe 193101 B23F 12/09 New
133 YJ59 NMX Oe SABEN3AF09L 193480 M850 Oe 193480 B25F 01/10 New
125 YJ59 NNG Oe SABEW3AF09L193542 M850 Oe 193542 B29F 12/09 New
127 YJ59 NNH Oe SABEW3AF09L193543 M850 Oe 193543 B29F 12/09 New
126 YJ59 NNL Oe SABEW3AF09L193568 M850 Oe 193568 B29F 12/09 New
128 YJ59 NNM Oe SABEW3AF09L193569 M850 Oe 193569 B29F 12/09 New
130 YJ59 NNO Oe SABEW3AF09L193570 M850 Oe 193570 B29F 12/09 New
129 YJ59 NNP Oe SABEW3AF09L193571 M850 Oe 193571 B29F 12/09 New
144 YR58 RUA Sca YS2K4X200018761185 K340EB4 Ir 104702 C49Ft 11/08 ex Buzzlines, Hythe
143 YR58 RUJ Sca YS2K4X200018761352 K340EB4 Ir 104711 C49Ft 10/08 ex Buzzlines, Hythe

Heyfordian P568SWC at Bicester ready for service on March 21st by Steve Warwick.

Heyfordian R872MDY at Bicester depot on March 21st by Steve Warwick

M & M High Wycombe 

Gavin Francis writes "Herewith a picture of latest addition to M & M fleet taken in Stokenchurch with Mick driving.


Mark Turner writes "I thought I'd let you know that Mullany's buses will be starting a new route from Watford Junction to Leavesden Studios from March 31st.

This is where the new Harry Potter experience will be located and this will open at the end of March.

The company will also extend the 318 route to Hemel Hempstead (Mon-Fri only) which started on March 12th but the Saturday service on the 318 reamins the same running from Abbotts Langley to Watford Town Centre every hour."

Mullany's NSM664 on extended route 318 in Hemel bus station on March 23rd by M Richardson.


Andrew P Tyldsley, a regular correspondent from the North East writes "From the 27th of this month Go North East will no longer be operating the 304 Liverpool to Weymouth service, as the cross country service from Newcastle to Liverpool its linked with is extensively revised.

We understand that the 304 is passing to Selwyn's.

Our 332 Newcastle-Gloucester (which was only extended from Birmingham relatively recently) is extended to Swindon.

National Express is giving those smaller independent operators a shot at the long distance service work, which one imagines is very welcome.

After the loss of four diagrams on the Trans-Pennine services to TGM-Classic towards the end of 2010 we'd 14 coaches (9 Scania Levante and 5 Volvo Plaxton)
although the oldest Volvo 7087 was only retained as a "spare" for the seasonal work to Skegness.

In the end 7087 stayed longer than expected as Scania 7101 was badly damaged in an accident and only recently returned to service.
From the 8th Jan this year we won two new diagrams from TGM-Classic (326 Newcastle to Cambridge) and bought two new coaches (Volvo B9R/Caetano
7103 and 7104
Cherished registrations JCN 822, 574 CPT 48 seat) giving us 16 coaches for 13 diagrams.
(7087 still retained as in the summer Trans-Pennine needs an extra coach to extend to Pwlheli and we do the 663 to Skegness).

However from 27th Feb with the Trans-Pennine changes we lose a diagram overall (304 loss of 2, gain 1 on the new 380 580), and will drop to 14 coaches 
for 12 diagrams as although we'll still do Skegness the extra summer coach on Pwlheli won't be needed.

7087 and 7091 will be disposed of, 7090 being retained as the "extra" spare for Skegness.

Mark Dutton writes with news of new coaches with contractor The Travellers Choice (Carnforth) 

They are as follows:


Volvo B9R 12.8M

Caetano Levante II

National Express


Volvo B9R 12.8M

Caetano Levante II

National Express


Volvo B9R 12.8M

Caetano Levante II

National Express

Mark has  some pictures:

Friday 9th March, 13.00 341 Departure to Southsea PO12GWG of John Shaw. 

Friday 9th March, 11.00 330 Departure to Penzance FJ61EWY(975) Premiere Travel. 

Friday 9th March, 11.00 323 to Liverpool FJ61EWH Selwyns. 

Friday 9th March, 11.00 319 to Bradford FJ61GZA Travelstar European. 

Friday 9th March, 12.45 328 to Blackpool HSK651 Parks of Hamilton.


Hugh Jaeger, Oxford Group Chairman, bus users UK writes "Your readers will almost certainly know that on 28th February Oxford Bus Co relaunched its X90 coach service between Oxford and London. If I understand correctly, the coaches are Plaxton Panthers that have been cascaded from the Oxford — Heathrow and Oxford — Gatwick Airline services and refurbished. OBC has given the route a new livery and discontinued the Espress brand name.

All of the refurbished Plaxton Panthers have access for a wheelchair or mobility scooter. This is by a retractable lift, operation of which is rather slow and time-consuming. However, it works smoothly and the wheelchair space seems well-appointed.

I attended the relaunch, which was in one of the yards of Oxford Castle. Attached re some of the photo's that I took, plus a couple of photo's of the new Plaxton Panthers on the Airline services for Heathrow and Gatwick. Please feel free to publish any of them on your website, as long as you credit me and give a mention to Bus Users UK Oxford Group. There are some more photo's in the set; I will send them to you in a second e-mail.


You may recognise some of the people in the photo's. They are:

Cllr. Elise Benjamin, Lord Mayor of Oxford — with the chain of office and long dark hair
Louisa Weeks, Operations Director of Oxford Bus Co — with the suit and blonde hair
Anthony Church BEM, Town Crier of Oxford — with the tricorn hat, green coat, etc.
Gwynneth Pedler, Vice Chair of Oxfordshire Unlimited — in the mobility scooter

You may know that Oxfordshire Unlimited is a local campaign group for disabled people. Extending equal access to public transport is a big part of Oxfordshire Unlimited's campaign work, which is why the group is now affiliated to Bus Users UK.

I am sorry that I don't know the name of the coach driver shown operating the wheelchair lift.

The pink ribbon and giant pink scissors are to represent the pink details in the X90's new livery."

Coach 86 turns into George St on its very first journey to London on March 5th as seen by Gavin Francis.

Better connections with coach 89 and non stop on the M40 with coach 99, both on March 5th through the lens of Gavin Francis.

99 now seen at Thornhill Park & Ride en route to London on March 7th by Gavin Francis.

Trident 118 on route U5X at The Plain on March 7th by Gavin Francis.

Ralph Adams comments that 107 and 112 have been traced - back again with COMS at Oxford but this time in red livery. This is to cover the extra vehicle on the Barton service. This was decided due to a lack of capacity on this joint city route.

Alex Horwood reports as under.

"107 and 112 have returned to COMS from Thames Travel."  

107 looking shiny on the 500

I was working at Gloucester Green on March 6th and saw this all white coach with fleet number 81.
I was told it was to carry a special livery.

By the 20th March the coach had been renumbered 51 and carried branding for the Ashmolean Museum as seen above.
I understand it is now a multi route coach, hence the fleet number. Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.



Red Line

Redline T375JJC on the 340 on March 25th at Stokenchurch was new to Thomas of Caernarfon in April 1999.
Picture by Gavin Francis.


Richard Sharman was lucky to be around when Oxfordshire 31331 - P331JND left the county....for good, on the end of a tow truck.


Cheltenham & Gloucester

Andy Mitchell writes "Cheltenham has started to see an influx of Stagecoach buses from around the country to operate the shuttle service from the railway station to the racecourse for this year's big horse racing event.  

NC Palatine 1 - bodied Olympian 16680 is seen arriving at Cheltenham railway station, where the car park is now a bus stabling area.

Many more images can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amitch/sets/72157629207527238/

The same event was covered by David Wiltshire who sent a large batch of pictures of buses and coaches involved.

Marchants BIG9803 a 2006 Neoplan Skyliner 83 seater ex YN56BGE.

Llew Jones brand new Caetano LJ12LLJ seen at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day.

Jeffs LLZ5719
seen at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day.

Gavin Francis had been to Northampton by car earlier in the week and on his return found a large batch of Stagecoach buses en route to Cheltenham for Gold Cup duty.



Alex Brown, Canterbury writes "This week I noticed a couple of fairly new ex-Stagecoach Oxfordshire buses operating on routes around East Kent.

I saw Enviro400 19659 (OU60CVA) on the 652 (Ashford-Canterbury). Was surprised to see this on this fairly infrequent route, as usually this service is operated by a mixture of older buses. I think the 652 is operated from Ashford garage.

On 17th February, I saw N230UD/Enviro400 15443 (KX08KZK) operating route 17 (Canterbury-Folkestone). This joins other buses of the same type which operate the 16/16A/17 routes."

Mike writes "Ex Stagecoach Oxford Tube T56BBW is now sat in a water works outside the village of Cayton near Scarborough. I have it as Carvers of Ellesmere Port as its last owner and it is still in their colours but does anyone know who has bought it off them?" 

Simon Nicholas writes "There`s some sort of event on in Cardiff today which requires a large fleet of coaches on shuttle duties. 

It seems to be an NAT contract (their coaches are all over the place), with hire ins from Watts, VR and Edwards. 

Of some surprise was an ex. Stagecoach Oxford Tube Neoplan Skyliner, complete with standard NAT vinyls, registration something like OU04 BZP." 

Alex Horwood writes "Just found this ex Stagecoach Skyliner on Dawson Rentals web site and wondered if it was a former tube coach?"


Yes it is and was 50107. Ed

Andrew D Webb writes with a picture of another visitor to Wembley was N48MJO, now with Castell Coaches in Caerphilly.

March 7th saw the 25th Anniversary of Oxford Tube. This was celebrated in fine style with the serving of pieces of birthday cake to all passengers on board the coaches between Gloucester Green and Thornhill and v.v. Six young people were employed to serve the cake and a nice card was also produced showing the development of the coaches used on the service.

A small ceremony was held at the depot involving the Managing Director, Martin Sutton and a long time passenger of Oxford Tube, Phil Rumsby, who cut a cake to mark the anniversary.


As readers can see the coach destinations alternated with the words 25 today! which everyone thought a very nice touch.

50205 seen at Thornhill heading back to Oxford from London. Picture by Gavin Francis.


See below for details of the new continental services using the ten Plaxton coaches including 53643 shown below.

Following the report in the last issue Bobert writes "54046 (448 GWL) is not based at Rapsons but is an Aberdeen allocated bus. It's the only Citylink coach at our depot. For some reason Stagecoach Bluebird likes spending lots of money on personalised number plates!"  

Stephen Le Bras notes that 50243 was in service to Bristol on Saturday 3rd March. (This coach has been used for type training for sometime until now and as such has been absent from London duties.)

Mark Dutton writes with a picture "Friday 9th March Birmingham city centre, 12.00 Megabus to London KX61GEY."


All the Astromegas are now in service from the Cwmbran batch and present a regular sight in London.

A great picture was gained by Dave Allen with four Astromegas in Sammy's a few weeks ago.

Ralph Adams writes "I have just returned from Wallingford where Thames travel have kindly given me a fleet list of PCVs under the new number system which is part of the COMS fleet number list. Of note is that Tridents 107 and 112 are no longer on the list.

109     T109DBW    Dennis Trident     Alexander ALX400. H47/27F
401     AF 53 EUV     MAN 14.220.     MCV B39F
402     AE 05 EUX     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
403     AE 05 EUZ     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
404     AE 56 OUF     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
405     AE 57 LYH     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
406     AE 57 LYJ      MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
407     AE 57 LYK     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
408     AE 57 LYO     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
409     AE 57 LYP     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
410     AE 57 LYR     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
411     AE 57 LYS     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
412     AE 08 DLD     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
413     AE 08 DKX     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
414     AE 08 DKY     MAN 14.220.     MCV B40F
451     PF 06 ENL     Scania N94UD     EL B31F
452     PF 06 ENM     Scania N94UD    EL B31F
453     PF 06 ENN     Scania N94UD     EL B31F
454     PF 06 ENO     Scania N94UD     EL B31F
501     OU 04 FMV     Dart SLF           Tb B29F
502     OU 57 FGV     Dart SLF           AD B29F
503     OU 57 FGX     Dart SLF         AD B29F
504     OU 57 FGZ     Dart SLF         AD B29F
505     OU 57 FHA     Dart SLF         AD B29F
506     SN 10 CCX     AD Dart         AD B29F
507     SN 10 CCY     AD Dart         AD B29F
508     SN 10 CCZ     AD Dart         AD B29F
551     AJ 58 PZS      AD Dart         MCV B40F
552     OU 57 FKB     AD Dart         AD B38F
553     AE 59 AWM    AD Dart         AD B40F
701     YJ10 MFA     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
702     YJ10 MFE     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
703     YJ10 MFF     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
704     YJ10 MFK     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
705     YJ10 MFN     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
706     YJ10 MFO     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
707     YJ10 MFP     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
708     YJ10 MFU     Optare Solo Optare Solo B29F
900     SN 60 BXW     AD Hybrid AD H45/31F
911     OU 54 PGZ     Scania N94UD EL CH47/33F
912     OU 08 HGM     Scania N230UD Scania H45/30F
913     OU 08 HGN     Scania N230UD Scania H45/30F
914     OU 08 HGO     Scania N230UD Scania H45/30F
915     T806 RFG Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne H47/31F
916     T807 RFG Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne H47/31F
917     T809 RFG Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne H47/31F

Alex Horwood writes "Thames Travel have completely re-numbered their fleet. I also understand that Tridents 112 and 107 have returned to OBC. I have attached some photos of some buses with the new fleet numbers with others as well.

ADL E400H number 900 formerly 160 25/2/12

Scania Omnicity number 912 formerly 408 23/2/12

Optare solo number 706 formerly 910 25/2/12

Scania N94 number 452 formerly 206 25/2

ADL E200 dart 504 formerly 457 

551 Dennis dart SLF with MCV Evolution body formerly 158 on the X32 at didcot station

917 Dennis trident with East Lancs Lolyne body on the 32 at Didcot station.

Could I ask that a link to my flickr is on S&J 56 to show that it is not an account of one of those photo thieves. I have quite a lot of photos I have sent to you on there at:


The biogas-fuelled MAN EcoCity demonstrator bus that has been in service with Thames Travel


The biogas-fuelled MAN EcoCity demonstrator bus that has been in service with Thames Travel on routes X39, X40, 101 and 106 between Oxford has attracted favourable news coverage in the Oxford Mail, Oxfordshire Guardian and I think the Oxford Journal. Thames Travel's new General Manager Max McCarthy says the EcoCity is reliable and he is very pleased with it.

I've ridden the EcoCity on route 101. The rear seats are disturbed by a noisy ventilation fan but the front seats are quiet. The interior is a restful mixture of greys and blues. The seats are very German: upholstered firmly but so well-shaped that I found them very comfortable. The demonstrator's seat layout has too little legroom for someone of my height (6' 3").

The livery is peculiar: a dull dark grey-blue with pale green and pale blue bubbles all over it.

Attached is a set of photo's of the EcoCity that I took in Oxford. Please feel free to publish any of them on your website, as long as you credit me and give a mention to Bus Users UK Oxford Group.

Hugh Jaeger
Oxford Group Chairman
bus users UK


BSOG reform: decision is made

Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced changes to funding for buses in England - including reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) - on Monday last.

It is a package of measures that he says “will see better buses, more innovative services, and greater value for money.”

He also addresses the Competition Commission’s findings.

The measures will also “give greater control to transport authorities in dealing with bus issues at a local level.”

He adds: “This cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. Each local bus market has its own issues and challenges. The focus over the coming months is on guiding, empowering and encouraging local partners to be efficient, innovative and creative in coming up with solutions to the transport needs of local people.”

The reforms include BSOG paid directly to local authorities for tendered services, and where ‘Better Bus Areas’ - new local authority and operator partnerships - are created.

Otherwise, the existing BSOG rate stays in place, as do uplifts for green buses, smart ticketing and GPS.

Also, competition barriers “will be eliminated and new regulations developed to prevent anti-competitive practices by bus operators,” while multi-operator ticketing will be encouraged, backed by changes to legislation if voluntary arrangements don’t happen.

Significantly, Mr Baker has announced an extra £15m to small and medium-sized bus operators to help install smart ticketing.

Norman Baker announces £101m bus grants

Transport Minister Norman Baker has just announced the winning bidders for the Better Bus Area Fund (BBAF) and third round of Green Bus Fund (GBF) competitions in England, launched before Christmas 2011.

In a statement to the House of Commons he said the quality of bids for both funds were “excellent” and that “because of the prudent financial management of the Department’s funds by the Secretary of State and her Ministerial team,” Mr Baker has been able to increase the allocations previously announced, from £20m to £31m for the GBF, and from £50m to £70m for the BBAF.

In total, 24 lead local transport authorities across England will benefit from BBAF - for projects such as smartcards, passenger information and traffic light priority - and 26 bus companies have been awarded GBF grants.

Stagecoach expands budget coach network to Continental Europe

07 Mar 2012

·         megabus.com to offer fares from £1* to France, Belgium and Netherlands

·         New routes give UK low-cost transport link to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam

·         Easy connections for customers in Scotland, England and Wales

·         Dedicated Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam service included in new European network

·         Journeys benefit from £2.5m investment in new coaches with free wi-fi and toilets

Budget coach operator megabus.com is to expand its low-cost network by offering fares from £1 for travel from the UK to key locations in Continental Europe.

megabus.com, which already carries millions of passengers in the UK and North America every year, will serve locations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands from next month.

The market-leading company, part of Stagecoach Group, has invested £2.5 million in a fleet of 10 new coaches, equipped with free wi-fi and toilets, to offer new routes linking Paris, Boulogne, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Bookings for the new services through www.megabus.com open from tomorrow (8 March 2012), with the first services running from Monday 16 April 2012. French and Dutch language websites trading in Euros will also be launched soon.

Day and night services will operate on the new network, providing a new welcome low-cost link to the Continent through London as family budgets remain tight and people look to make their cash go further. Fares will include the cost of ferry crossings across the Channel.

megabus.com will offer three routes on its new European network:

·         Birmingham-Coventry-London-Boulogne-Paris

·         Leicester-Milton Keynes-London-Brussels-Amsterdam

·         Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam

Connections will be available on other megabus.com services from other locations in England - including Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – as well as from Scotland and Wales.

Sir Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “megabus.com has already transformed inter-city travel in the UK and North America with great value fares and high-quality coaches. Our new network in Europe will bring our brand to a huge new market at a time when everyone is looking to make their money go further.

“Whether you are a student heading off back-packing, a family looking for a low-cost holiday, or a tourist looking to see some of Europe’s great cities, fares from just £1 mean megabus.com offers unbeatable value. We are really excited about taking megabus.com to the next stage and we’re sure it will be as popular in France, Belgium and the Netherlands as we’ve seen it be elsewhere.”

megabus.com, the award-winning budget travel operator, already covers around 60 locations in the UK and more than 70 major cities in the United States and Canada.

The low fares coach service runs in and out of the heart of major cities, avoiding extra transfers and waiting associated with air travel. Clear low-cost pricing, with no extra fees for luggage or airport taxes, contrasts with budget airlines criticised for pricey add-ons to basic fares.

megabus.com – which offers daily, express travel for as low as £1 in the UK and from $1 in North America – was launched in Scotland in 2003 and expanded to the United States in 2006.

The popular service provides carries around 3 million passengers in the UK every year. More than 16 million customers have travelled with megabus.com in North America since the launch in April 2006 and the service has expanded rapidly over the past 12 months through the success of its six key hubs.

Visit www.megabus.com for information about services, stops, schedules, arrival and departure times and fares.

OCBP understands that the launch date is April 16th 2012. 

Peter Huntley

Barry Grice writes "Former Go North East MD Peter Huntley has sadly passed away. He was a very well liked and approachable MD who always had time to speak to everyone. He brought 'Route Branding' to the North East and played a vital part in turning Go North East's fortunes around to once again become the major player in and around Newcastle.

Peter had a major involvement in moving the Volvo's from Oxford Bus to the North East.

Please see the comments below from Kevin Carr."

Tributes paid to bus boss Peter Huntley

Former Go North East Managing Director Peter Huntley died yesterday in a tragic accident whilst out walking in Cumbria. It is understood that he fell from a ledge near Blea Water and despite the efforts of the Penrith Mountain Rescue team, the air ambulance and RAF Kinloss, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Peter Huntley was managing Director of Go North East from 2006 to December 2011 when he stepped down to pursue other interests.

He was due to walk to the North Pole in a charity fundraising expedition for national transport charity Transaid in April this year.

Go North East Managing Director Kevin Carr advised Go North East’s 2200 employees:

“It is with great sadness that I announce the tragic death of former Managing Director Peter Huntley, as a result of an accident in the Lake District yesterday. This has come as a great shock to myself and to my colleagues.

“Peter worked tirelessly for more than 5 years to lead Go North East through a turnaround in style and fortunes, re-establishing the company at the top of UK bus businesses.

Kevin Carr continued,
“Peter was universally recognised by all staff for his open and accessible communications and his endeavours to ensure that the valuable views of staff are taken into account. He was frequently seen at depots, interchanges and on our services, or simply out on his bike watching operations. As a result he was known personally to many staff. As a great supporter of the charitable efforts of Go North East staff, Peter walked, climbed and canoed alongside many staff to help raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance and many other local charities.

“Above all Peter was a lover of life and lived it to the full. His next great adventure was to be his charity expedition to the North Pole and he was in training for this when this terrible accident occurred.

“He will be sadly missed by us all.”


Stagecoach invests £60m in new buses for local communities

20 Feb 2012

• Fleet of 390 buses and coaches for Scotland, England and Wales

• New coach model for megabus.com budget services in UK

• Extra buses powered by 100% biofuel on world’s longest guided busway

• More than £370m invested in new vehicles over past five years 

Stagecoach Group  on Monday 20 February announced it is to invest around £60million in hundreds of new greener vehicles for local communities across the UK.

The Perth-based transport group has placed initial orders for 390 buses and coaches for the 2012-13 financial year for its regional bus networks outside London. Further orders will be placed later in the year.

It follows an annual competitive tendering process and brings Stagecoach’s total investment in new vehicles for its regional bus operations over the past five years to more than £370m.

The first of the new vehicles will be delivered from May 2012. All of the new vehicles meet the latest Euro 5 emissions standards, further driving up the quality of bus travel for local people in Scotland, England and Wales.

Included in the fleet are the UK’s first orders for new 15m state-of-the-art interdeck coaches, which will run on Stagecoach Group’s growing megabus.com budget coach operations in the UK.

The new orders come only weeks after independent research again officially recognised Stagecoach as Britain’s best value major bus operator. Transport specialists TAS found weekly travel with Stagecoach was on average 17.5% cheaper than other bus operators. 

Recent research by Stagecoach also found that travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers around £150 a month1

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This latest multi-million-pound investment is part of our commitment to give local communities high-quality, good value bus travel. With sky-high fuel prices and the increasing cost of running a car, it makes more sense than ever to switch to greener, smarter bus travel.”

The latest orders include:

11 Volvo B11 Plaxton Interdeck coaches, a new model for the UK. The 72-seat coaches are designed to allow level access wheelchair boarding. The coaches will be introduced on Stagecoach’s megabus.com services in the UK, which carry more than 3million passengers a year.

8 more vehicles for the highly successful Cambridgeshire Guided Busway - the longest in the world - which has now been used by more than a million passengers since it opened in August last year. The new buses – three ADL 400 Scania double-deckers and five Wrightbbus Eclipse Scania single-deckers - will run on 100% recycled biofuel on the transport link between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge.

• 19 hybrid-electric vehicles, as previously announced, which are due to go into service in Perth and Aberdeen this summer. The ADL Enviro E350 single deck hybrid buses, which are also a new model to the UK, have been purchased through the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund at a total cost of £5.3 million, including a grant of £1.8million from the fund.

Vehicle manufacturers ADL, Scania, Plaxton, Volvo, Optare, Wrightbus and Van Hool will supply a total of 95 double-deckers, 87 single-deckers, 141 midi-buses, 11 mini-buses, 37 coaches and 19 Hybrid vehicles. All of the new vehicles are expected to go into service by January 2013.

Details of the new orders are as follows:

• 19 ADL Enviro 350H single-deckers (9 for Perth, 10 for Aberdeen)

• 38 ADL Enviro 400 Dennis Chassis double-deckers

• 57 ADL Enviro 400 Scania Chassis double-deckers

• 54 ADL Enviro 300 Dennis Chassis single-deckers

• 28 ADL Enviro 300 Scania Chassis single-deckers

• 5 Wrightbus Eclipse Volvo single-deckers

• 140 ADL Enviro 200 midi-buses

• 1 Optare Versa midi-bus

• 11 Optare Solo mini-buses

• 9 Plaxton Elite Volvo B13R coaches (15m)

• 10 Plaxton Panther Volvo B13R coaches (15m)

• 11 Plaxton Interdeck Volvo B11 coaches

• 7 Van Hool Astromega coaches

Stagecoach is already the UK’s biggest investor in green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard buses. In the past year, Stagecoach has purchased 123 green hybrid electric buses at a cost of £23.5million to go into service at its operations in England, with a further £11million of funding coming from the Government’s Green Bus Fund.

A total of 26 ADL Enviro E400 hybrid buses are in operation in Oxford with a further 30 already serving passengers in Manchester. In addition, 21 of the state-of-the-art vehicles are in service in Sheffield, and 26 now operate in Newcastle. An additional 20 ADL Enviro E400 buses have also been ordered for Manchester and are due to go into operation in March this year. 

Arriva places £26.7m orders for 98 new greener buses

23 March 2012

Bus passengers will benefit from ‘greener’ transport thanks to Arriva’s plans to introduce more than £26.7m of new low carbon emission buses to its UK fleet.

This investment represents the UK’s largest orders both for Volvo hybrid buses and for MAN EcoCity gas buses.

Arriva is funding £22.2m of the investment with the remainder secured through successful bids by the group to the government’s Green Bus Fund which were announced today.

The buses, comprising 77 hybrid electric double deck vehicles and 21 carbon-neutral biogas-fuelled single decks, will offer greater comfort and greener bus travel for passengers in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Kent.

The Green Bus Fund aims to help bus companies and local authorities in England buy new low carbon buses to increase the number of eco-friendly buses on England’s roads.

Mike Cooper, managing director, Arriva UK Bus, said: “We welcome the minister’s announcement. The Green Bus Fund is helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon emission buses across England and supports investment by the bus industry aimed at further improving bus travel’s environmental credential as one of the greenest modes of transport .

“This investment is excellent news for our customers as it will offer them state-of-the-art new buses and a more comfortable journey. The cleaner fuelled vehicles will also play an important role in delivering more sustainable transport in the communities we serve and positively contribute towards the air quality action plans that our local authority partners are working hard to achieve.

“Arriva is committed to investing heavily and our teams put forward strong bids, which resulted in us winning a significant share of the funding allocation in this round. During the bidding we worked in close partnership with our local authority stakeholders. They were very supportive and helped ensure our proposals aligned with their environmental objectives and contributed to our aspirations to continue to improve the quality of our local public transport services.”

Orders have been placed for the 98 new low carbon emission buses which will enter service over the next 12 months. The MAN Ecocity gas buses will be fuelled by carbon-neutral biomethane. The Volvo diesel-electric hybrids produce 40 to 50 per cent lower exhaust emissions and use up to 37 per cent less fuel than standard diesel buses. Arriva was the operator of the world’s first hybrid double deck bus and the group has pioneered the trialling and introduction of alternative fuels in its fleets across Europe.

The new vehicles are part of Arriva’s ongoing investment programme which is enabling the business to withdraw some of the oldest buses in its fleet. They also complement the Arriva group’s wider eco-driving initiative which is reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions across its UK and mainland European operations through innovative fuel indicator technology and progressive driver training techniques.

The new buses will operate as follows:

Arriva Southern Counties. The 11 new Volvo hybrid buses will be used on service 71 from Arriva’s Maidstone Garage. This is a busy service (10 minute Monday-Friday daytime frequency) with growing traffic arising from major housing development along the route. The buses will form the basis for a Quality Partnership with Maidstone Borough Council and serve areas identified in the council’s Air Quality Action Plan as pollutant hotspots. This service would also form part of a proposed quality partnership with Kent County Council.

Arriva North West (Liverpool). 33 new Volvo hybrid buses will be used to convert the high frequency group of cross river services (407, 432, 433, 437, 464, 472 and night 23, 37) that operate between Liverpool and the Wirral via the Mersey Tunnel, from Birkenhead. Air quality is a major issue within the tunnels. The Liverpool side of the tunnel exits directly into the Liverpool City Centre Air Quality Management Area, where reducing bus emissions will play a part in improving air quality. The hybrid buses will support delivery of the Liverpool City Council Air Quality Action Plan, the emission reduction goals in the Merseyside Local Transport Plan, and the environmental priorities of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority and the Passenger Transport Executive.

It is also proposed to use the 10 new MAN Ecocity single deck gas buses on Runcorn local services 1 and 2 (Runcorn East to Halton Lea Circulars) and 3A/3C (Halton Lea – Runcorn – Weston Point). These services make extensive use of the Runcorn Busway. These are intensive services providing essential links for employment, shopping and onward travel at Runcorn’s stations for people living in Runcorn Central, Castlefields, and Halton Lea. The proposals support Halton Borough Council’s Carbon Management Programme, and will assist with delivering the recommendations of the detailed Health Impact Assessment that was produced as part of the local authority’s Local Transport Plan.

Arriva North West (Manchester). 11 new Volvo hybrid double deck buses will be used on the busy service 10, which operates a frequent (12 minute) service between Manchester and Salford. Virtually all of this route operates within areas which currently have relatively low air quality, and are situated in the designated Manchester and Salford Air Quality Management Areas. The service provides essential links from deprived areas in Salford such as Brookhouse and Lower Broughton to local centres at Eccles and Pendleton; to Manchester City Centre; and to Salford Royal Hospital. It also serves the area around Salford Shopping City, which is due for major regeneration. The proposal was supported by Transport for Greater Manchester, and is consistent with the aims of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities’ Local Transport Plan, to utilise emerging low-emissions technology.

Arriva North East. 10 new Volvo hybrid double deck buses will operate on service 308 which is a busy trunk service operating through Blyth town centre and a designated Air Quality Management Area by Northumberland Country Council with transport emissions a key target for improvement. The route also operates into the Newcastle City Council Air Quality Management Area which includes key access routes as well as the city centre. The Green Bus Fund application was supported by Tyne& Wear Passenger Transport Executive Nexus and Northumberland County Council.

In Darlington, Arriva will introduce 11 new MAN Ecocity gas buses on the busy local services 2, 11 and 12. These buses would operate using 100 per cent biomethane and would contribute to achieving the emissions reduction aims of Darlington’s Strategic Environmental Assessment and Local Transport Plan.

Arriva Yorkshire. 12 new Volvo hybrid double deck buses will be introduced to services 163 and 166, which link Castleford with Leeds via Kippax, Garforth and Cross Gates. These are busy trunk services, every 15 minutes Mondays to Saturdays (30 minutes on Sundays) from Arriva’s Castleford Garage. The services operate through designated Air Quality Management Areas at Castleford and Leeds, and the proposals support the ambition of the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan to encourage cleaner technologies.

• An additional Green Bus Fund award to Milton Keynes Council will support the provision of eight electric buses which will be operated by Arriva on its Bletchley – Milton Keynes– Wolverton service 7.

Britain’s busiest regional bus route goes greener

23 Mar 2012

·         Fleet of 40 hybrid electric buses for Stagecoach 192 route in Manchester

·         New greener buses with regenerative braking also set for Sheffield

·         £12.2m investment by Stagecoach backed by £4.6m from Green Bus Fund

·         New buses to be manufactured in UK by Alexander Dennis Limited

·         Stagecoach leads way as UK’s biggest investor in hybrid electric buses

Stagecoach announced on 23 March 2012 that Britain’s busiest regional bus route is to go greener with the introduction of a fleet of 40 hybrid electric vehicles in Manchester.

The 192 route, which carries nearly 10 million passengers a year, connects Manchester city centre with Stockport and Hazel Grove. High-frequency services run up to every 2 minutes at peak times and the Stagecoach route will be served entirely by hybrid electric buses.

The investment follows confirmation from the Department for Transport today of several successful bids for part-funding of new low carbon vehicles from its Green Bus Fund.

A fleet of 19 hybrid electric vehicles will also be introduced by Stagecoach on its Sheffield 52 route. It carries around 3 million passengers a year, connecting the densely populated suburbs of Hillsborough, Crookes, Attercliffe, Darnall and Woodhouse.

Stagecoach is investing a total £12.2million in the new greener buses for Manchester and Sheffield, matched by a grant of £4.6million from the Green Bus Fund. The new vehicles are expected to go into service in early 2013.

The Perth-based transport group is already the UK’s biggest investor in green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard vehicles. The new fleet will increase the number of hybrid buses Stagecoach has in service or on order by more than 40%.

A total of 123 hybrid electric buses are already in operation in Stagecoach’s regional bus operations in several English cities: Manchester (50), Oxford (26), Newcastle (26) and Sheffield (21). A further 19 hybrid electric buses will go into service in Stagecoach networks in Scotland this summer.

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This latest multi-million-pound investment will make the busiest bus route in Britain also the greenest. The new buses are great news for bus passengers in Manchester and in Sheffield. They will also support these two cities in the drive to get people out of their cars and improve local air quality.

"Stagecoach is leading the way in investing in buses with this state-of-the-art technology. We are also committed to providing local communities with high-quality, good value bus travel. With sky-high fuel prices and the increasing cost of running a car, it makes more sense than ever to switch to greener, smarter bus travel."

UK-based manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited will supply Stagecoach with 59 of the Enviro 400H double-decker buses, which incorporate regenerative braking technology.

The 192 route in Manchester is part of Greater Manchester’s first Statutory Quality Bus Partnership Scheme (SQP). It involves a joint commitment by Stagecoach, Transport for Greater Manchester, Manchester City Council and Stockport Council to take steps to help reduce congestion, improve punctuality and deliver better air quality. The new vehicles will replace existing low emissions vehicles, bringing the number of Stagecoach hybrid electric buses in Manchester to 90.

The Stagecoach 52 service in Sheffield links the main shopping centre, Sheffield University and the Children’s Hospital. The route is part of a partnership agreement with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Sheffield City Council and First South Yorkshire, which offers integrated ticketing and high frequency services.

Last month. Stagecoach Group announced it is investing around £60million in hundreds of new greener vehicles for local communities across the UK. The Perth-based transport group placed initial orders for 390 buses and coaches for the 2012-13 financial year for its regional bus networks outside London. The 59 new buses brings the orders for 2012-13 to 449 vehicles.

In the last five years, including today’s new orders, Stagecoach has invested a total of more than £380m in new buses for its regional bus operations in Scotland, England and Wales.

Earlier this year, independent research again officially recognised Stagecoach as Britain’s best value major bus operator. Transport specialists TAS found weekly travel with Stagecoach was on average 17.5% cheaper than other bus operators.

Recent research by Stagecoach also found that travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers around £150 a month1

Go-Ahead buys Hedingham

Go-Ahead has bought Essex-based company Hedingham Omnibuses.

Founded in 1960, the Colchester-based company run 86 buses in north Essex and Suffolk, with five depots at Clacton, Hedingham, Kelvedon, Sudbury and Tollesbury.

It principally operates a mix of school and local bus contracts and commercial routes.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive says: “I am delighted that we have acquired Hedingham Omnibuses. Go-Ahead is committed to operating high quality bus businesses in areas of growth, so this acquisition fits extremely well with that approach.

“The MacGregor family and their staff have done an excellent job building Hedingham into what it is today. We look forward to working with them and to continuing to deliver an excellent service to our customers.”

The existing management team led by Managing Director Robert MacGregor will continue to run the business. The company name and brand will remain in place.

Stagecoach to buy First North Devon

Stagecoach Devon Ltd, has signed an agreement with First Devon and Cornwall to acquire its business and assets in North Devon and Torridge for a gross consideration of £2.8m.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, which is being sought from the Office of Fair Trading.

First’s North Devon business, which has around 100 employees and a fleet of more than 30 buses, includes a small depot at Barnstaple.

Stagecoach has run services from a depot in Barnstaple since 2006, currently operating 48 vehicles and employing 120 staff.

Stagecoach UK Bus MD Les Warneford says: “We believe our acquisition of the North Devon business would deliver a more sustainable combined bus network for the long term. It would protect and improve services for the local community, help support future investment in better vehicles and offer good value fares for customers.”

Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe

Today, Monday 20th February, ‘heritage’ double deckers (Balloons) 709 & 723 have made a couple of runs between Bispham and Cleveleys. Apparently this was to check the overhead. Also today, Bombardiers 001, 003 and 004 have been out on driver training and testing. This news from the “Buses Train Traction Engine and Tram Blog” (http://busestractionengines.blogspot.com/) which I thoroughly recommend as it is updated almost daily.

Earlier information from that source shows unit 007 arriving on 16th February with a missing window which had, apparently, fallen out “whilst travelling to England”. Shades of latter day Northern Counties bodies on Atlanteans for Manchester where the lower deck windows had bracing pieces added because so many fell out on Manchester’s questionable road surfaces.

My mate Bob Fergusson has picked up on the fact that no new trams other than 001 have any numbers on them, prompting speculation that they may well be renumbered after the initial hype. Several people have commented that there are problems with some uneven paving slabs between the tracks and Bob has pointed out that the gradients at the pedestrian ramps on the new stops are having to be remade since they are now considered to be too steep for wheelchair users. (who is managing this project?)

News about Fleetwood is that the new sub-station outside the North Euston by the Ferry terminus is unlikely to be ready for Easter. Also there has to be work realigning the overhead at the Ferry and elsewhere because the County Council has altered the road layouts. (Who is....?) Once again it looks as if Ash Street (Fisherman’s Walk) is likely to be the Fleetwood terminus when the service starts at Easter.

Given that we are nearly at the end of February, and the service starts (in full?) at Easter, we haven’t much time to get in the rest of the fleet, test them, train the crews and rectify the worrying number of infrastructure defects which seem to be appearing, should we be worried?

Briefly, Blackpool seems to have a penchant for acquiring East Lancs-bodied vehicles. They took a number from Blackburn when they were taken over since they were not standard vehicles for Lancashire United (how dare they use that name?)

A little throw-away comment from Bob Fergusson when I was chatting to him recently. He had seem some Flexities on the Prom the other day in a rain and sand storm.”Where” he asked” are so many of the ‘works?” In the roof voids, just like the Coronations – and we all know what trouble they had with the Vambac controllers filling up with sand and you-know-what!

The first concerns the stop at Norbreck North, whose residents seem to have just woken up to the fact that their stop has moved.

Next is both interesting and confusing, with Bryan Lindop confirming that some of the heritage fleet will be running this year. However, there is the curious reference to “once the new system opens, vintage trams will no longer legally to be able to operate in conventional stage carriage service and they will, therefore, become a pleasure ride”. What does this mean? Are they only doing Pleasure Beach – Little Bispham non-stop ‘tours’ which you have to board at the Pleasure Beach? Surely not. I await further clarification.

It has now been officially confirmed on the Blackpool Transport website that the new tram service will commence on Wednesday 4th. April and that heritage tram tours will operate on Bank Holidays, weekends (April-October), and every day during the summer school holidays and every evening during the illuminations.

One of my favourite web sites for updates, http://busestractionengines.blogspot.com/

Their report says:-

“Today has witnessed Blackpool Transport announce the long awaited timetable for the Flexities and Widended Balloons. One of the most eye catching things about the new table is that trams will take around 50 Minutes to get to Fleetwood. The first tram to the leave the depot for service will be at 5:00 am and will return to the depot at 12:45am Sunday to Thursday. Saturday the service is really good with the first tram leaving the depot at 6:00am and departs Fleetwood at 7:55am. Friday and Saturday night see's the last tram from Fleetwood at 12:25am final returning to the Depot at 1:15am.The Morning frequency of the trams will be 30 minutes until 8am where it then changes to a 20 minute frequency to deal with the crowds.”

From that useful Buses, Trains, Traction Engines & Tram blog page (http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/), I see things are getting ready for the start of service. The cars were photographed at Starr Gate. Apparently four Flexities have been to Fleetwood in the last two days.

Geoff Cunliffe


Stagecoach launches 'Panda Express' to Edinburgh Zoo
27 Feb 2012 
To view the press release, go to: http://www.stagecoach.com/media/news-releases/

Paul Hawkins writes "I am sending three 3 photos of the Panda buses now operating in Edinburgh. Two Neoplans from Stagecoach 50144 from bluebird operating
the Panda Express from Aberdeen, Dundee and Fife and 50134 from SC Western operating from Ayr, Kilmarnock, Hamilton and East Kilbride daily to the zoo to see 
the only pair of giant pandas in the U K. The third photo shows Lothian buses fleet no 900 in its meet the giants contravision on its normal route 26 which passes the zoo
and joins the ten previously branded buses with penguins, rainbow, lorikeets, tigers, chimps and zebras as part of the ZOOM TO THE ZOO BY LOTHIAN BUS campaign.

If these are any use to you feel free to show them on your website."



Barry (Markov Zorro) writes "I do hope people appreciate the photos. I've recently returned from a weekend break in Cornwall and have some shots taken around Looe and Polperro. Hope they are ok though taking on board your comments about sharpness of images, the mist that swept into Looe on Friday probably did me no favours.

An unidentified Western Greyhound Vario about to undertake the long journey from Looe to Plymouth. It is crossing the bridge from West to East Looe.

The mist came down and shrouded Looe. Another unidentified Western Greyhound Vario is also crossing the bridge into East Looe on the frequent 573 service from Polperro to Liskeard.


Western Greyhound's Varios are the predominant mode of public transport in the Liskeard and Looe area. Another example about to climb from West Looe (the less commercial part of the town) up to Hannafore Point on a loop before heading to Polperro


Last Vario.... a few days later and the weather was better in Looe. Another WG Vario heads to Polperro.


First maintain a respectable presence in central and West Cornwall, having largely surrendered from operations in the Newquay and St Austell areas whilst Western Greyhound have become the main operator instead.

Helston is an area that First have traditionally had an outstation (and WNOC a depot in the town before that) yet Truronian and Western Greyhound have recently dominated (with the former selling up to First). However, First have won recently won a substantial number of tenders in Penzance and Helston at the expense of WG, beginning in April. A former Essex Solo is seen in Coinagehall Street in Helston on a service to Truro.


Last photo in Cornwall... and at the southernmost point at the Lizard.

This route, the 537, will shortly return to First operation from Western Greyhound as from April under Cornwall Council tendering. This route is, I believe, the first motor bus route in the country, having been originally operated by the GWR. Since then, it then became a Western National route (declining to operation on only certain days of the week) before Truronian started regular bus operation with new Darts in the early 1990's. It is now hourly with nearly new Solos though who knows what First will use.

First Somerset Volvo B6BLE 40591 is seen climbing the hill into Kingswood on the edge of Bristol, with the hills of the Cotswold escarpment in the background

The notorious Dorset County Council tenders resulted in Damory and a few other firms benefitting whilst a number of longstanding operators lost their work. Shaftesbury and District lost much of their tendered work but still operate some work for Wiltshire Council.

LEZ4624 is a Mercedes in excellent condition, and seen in the centre of Mere in Wiltshire on a market day service from Frome to Gillingham, Somerset to Dorset via Wiltshire.


One of the firms to have done well from the Dorset CC exercise is South West Coaches. The 158 is a Dorset supported service from Gillingham to Shaftesbury operating via Mere, the only frequent service in the area. It was operated by First until the 2011 changes.

As well as different locations, one of the good things of having a section like BITC is that it gets away from the standard, three quarter shot taken at the end of a bus station concourse. It actually puts buses into context in their operating conditions; there was a site on fotopic (might be on Flickr now) that had Midland Red West Nationals photo'ed in the Black Country and whilst the background wasn't pretty, the shots showed the vehicles doing what they do.

Stagecoach Northampton 39700 seen at Blisworth; a truly multi-modal view

Possibly for inclusion in the main body of the OBCP (though they are both in the countryside)

E200 36450 is seen between Farthinghoe and Brackley on the 500

E400 Gold 15765 seen heading for Oxford at Besselsleigh

I have more pictures from the same source which are further down the page. Ed.

A few photos from a recent trip to Watlington from Mike Bennett.

On Thursday 15 March I made one of my usual afternoon trips to a destination not far from Oxford. Having arrived in St Aldates at around 1340, I caught the Thames Travel service 106C for the journey out to Watlington, the bus being one of the 2007 MAN/MCV Evolutions with the new number 407. The trip took almost an hour, half of which is taken getting clear of Oxford. Arriving at 1450, I quickly photographed the bus, and found somewhere to have a cup of tea and a bun, followed by a walk around the town centre. It was soon time to get back to the bus stop by the Library, and at 1545 the next bus appeared in the distance, but it stayed there. Looking through the camera and using the lens on telephoto, I could see that the bus was prevented from coming along the High Street. It was trying to get past a lorry making a delivery, but could not get through because of a protruding shop-front awning. The two photos show the situation! Anyway, the problem was soon sorted and the bus, one of the 2007 E200s with the Periodic Table livery, made it to the stop, and following a quick photo, I made the journey back into the City, arriving at 1645.

( Photos DSC 8987, 8999, 9001, and 9010 - in that order )

ThamesTravel_OU57 FGZ_504_Watlington-High St

Thames-Travel_AE57 LYK_407_Watlington Library


Marcus Lapthorn writes "This former Tilling Group bus stop is still giving valuable service in Middleton Stoney showing details of the 25 route services provided by Heyfordian Travel."

Steve Warwick writes "Sorting through my photos found two of my Trafalgar days taken in Eastbourne I think."

Buses in the Landscape

More from Barry (Markov Zorro) who writes "Another couple from the first day of Gold in Faringdon"


A couple taken from my hotel room in Manchester. One shot taken as dusk fell.... and the other as the morning arrived!


Been a little tardy in sending some through to you. I've got some more photos from the Buses in the Countryside, again from across the country. Even if I do say so myself, they're probably some of my favourites of all. The first three are all the same vehicle, the first shot being a very patient one, the second one was a lucky bonus shot, and the third one was after I sprinted through the village.... it was the bus I needed to catch to go back to Swansea.

The first two comprise First Cymru E200 44506 at Rhossilli on the Gower Peninsula.

Another one from Somerset...

Wessex Connect MCV Evolution AE10 CUC seen on the 121 at Wrington on the back road service between Bristol and Weston super Mare

Back to the countryside...

First Somerset and Avon 69500 climbing towards Bristol Airport with the city spreading out in the background.

First 41195, another ex London Marshall Dart heading towards Oystermouth sea front.

First Cymru 41173 about to head from Oystermouth around Limeslade Bay

Not strictly in the countryside but First Cymru 41183 with Swansea Castle in the background

First Cymru Transbus Dart 42679 seen at the terminus at Rhossilli.

This is a route that was traditionally SWT but was recently lost to Veolia Cymru. However, their vacation from much of South Wales has seen First return back to the Gower.

Squeezing back to the bus stand at Rhossilli is 44506, having visited the Worms Head car park and another shot of 44506

Alex Brown, Canterbury writes "Thought you might want this picture for your 'Buses In The Landscape' section.

It is Stagecoach East Kent Scania N230UD/Alexander Dennis Enviro400 15541 (GN59EWP) on route 6A heading for Canterbury Bus Station (not Herne Bay as the blinds say).

It is passing through Westgate Towers, which will be banned to traffic from 27th March 2012."



Variety in Oxpens by Dave Allen.

Ace Travel Dennis Dominator-East Lancs K37XNE in High Wycombe on March 3rd by M Crowe

Links & Publications

Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures

You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website - http://166emj.piwigo.com/index?/category/50-beds_bucks_and_herts_photographs_2000

One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.

The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.

Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.

Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.

Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.

Many other independents are also represented. 

Mike Penn

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.