Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr 60 - July 26th 2012

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

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After a rather long gap here is the latest page. The main reason is that I've been working a lot and have not had sufficient time to get a page prepared.

At this time there is a great deal going on, not the least of which is the run up to the Olympics, now nearing its conclusion. All the major companies are involved and Stagecoach has a major role as seen in the press release quoted below. This is in addition to the company's commitment to the Torch Relay programme.


Stagecoach bus and rail employees from across the UK are playing a key role in supporting the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Employees from Orkney in Scotland to Porth in Wales and Dover in England play an important part in delivering public transport for the global sporting event this summer.

More than 2,630 Stagecoach bus drivers and support staff help provide transport for athletes and media throughout the Games after the transport operator was selected by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to deliver one of the largest transport contracts for the event.

And Stagecoach Group’s rail franchises – South West Trains and East Midlands Trains – are among the UK rail operators providing additional services and extra capacity throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as special tickets for Olympic Games spectators.

With more than 14,700 athletes and 21,000 media representatives heading to London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Stagecoach’s UK Bus Project Team has been involved in detailed preparations with LOCOG for over a year. The transport group provides around half of the 1000 buses needed to deliver the contract, with the remaining vehicles being provided by other bus and coach operators in the UK.

Stagecoach’s involvement requires varying levels of support from its regional bus companies across the UK. The vehicles provided by Stagecoach are a mixture of brand new buses and existing vehicles from its fleet which have been released for Olympic duty while at the same time allowing the company to continue running all of its normal services for passengers across the country.

Almost all of Stagecoach’s 100 depots across the UK have help to provide resources for the Games – with staff heading to London from as far afield as Orkney.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Sir Brian Souter said: “The London 2012 Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity for our people to be involved in a global event on this scale. We are proud to be involved in the Games and look forward to helping make the event a success for spectators and athletes alike. We also send our best wishes to the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. The whole country is behind them and we all hope they are among the medals when the competition starts."

Stagecoach is managing two bus depots throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games – one at West Ham and one at Beckton. Stagecoach West Scotland Operations Director Rob Jones and Stagecoach East Midlands Operations Director Richard Kay have been appointed as depot General Managers, while Stagecoach Midlands Operations Director Elizabeth Esnouf was seconded to the role of Olympic Project Director in 2011.

More than eight million people are expected to travel to the London 2012 Games venues and Stagecoach’s rail franchises are instrumental in providing fast, frequent, reliable and affordable rail journeys into the capital city.

Special Games train tickets are still available exclusively to Olympic and Paralympic spectators through a dedicated website, www.nationalrailgamestravel.co.uk. The 2012 Games Train Tickets are designed to allow more flexibility by enabling spectators to change the time they return should an event be unexpectedly rescheduled, or if they simply wish to stay longer.

Stagecoach Group has a wealth of experience in providing transport to high profile, global events including the Ryder Cup, the British Grand Prix, the Wimbledon tennis championships and the 2010 Papal visit to Glasgow.

The Olympic Games run from 27 July to 12 August, with the Paralympic Games taking place between 29 August and 9 September.

For further information about Stagecoach UK Bus visit www.stagecoachbus.com or to find out more about booking rail tickets visit www.nationalrailgamestravel.co.uk

For more information about LOCOG visit – www.london2012.com

More updates on matters "Olympic" are given under a separate heading below. 

Olympic Torch Relay

Various reports and pictures have been received from readers and our own George Irvin, who is one of the drivers on the StreetLites has been keeping us up to date with pictures and reports. He says it is probably the most interesting and exhilarating things he has ever done!

From Dave Walker 

A relatively large number of Ulsterbus Coaches are being loaned to Stagecoach for the Olympics. Whilst I do not know an exact number, I believe its around 20. Some of these are being used to add additional capacity to the Megabus network during the Olympic period. 12 Coaches arrived at Western’s, Kilmarnock Depot on Friday straight off the ferry at Cairnryan. These being REZ9772/3/4/7/9/80/1/2/3/4/6 and oddball SCZ6104. 7 of these (not sure which) left for London this morning whilst 5 remain at Killie. Others known about being on loan are SCZ6106 currently being used by Rugby on the Megabus network, but there are others who can confirm more about the examples being used down south. 



In addition to this lot, Highlands Olympic contingent of 8 E400s arrived at Kilmarnock this morning for onward transit to London. These being 19369/70/1/2/3/7/541/2.


From Richard Morgan

9 July - Approaching M1 Jc11 along Dunstable Road outside school this morning. 

Heading for Dunstable, then MK and onto Aylesbury driven by George Irvine of Stagecoach Oxford. Picture by Richard Morgan.

John Marsh recorded the Olympic Torch convoy in Market Deeping.



Stagecoach service 242 / Olympic torch at Blenheim Palace

Graham Gough writes "Yesterday, 9th July, saw the Olympic torch visiting Blenheim Palace, which drew larger numbers of travellers to Stagecoach Service 242 between Witney and Woodstock than would normally be the case.

The Solo departing Witney at 1345 soon filled, and ‘Sorry, bus full’ was being displayed when the bus arrived in Bladon, just six minutes from it’s Woodstock destination. More muscle was needed, and 15617 was drafted in. The photograph shows the rare sight of a double-decker (and a Gold, no less!) leaving Bladon on it’s final (1850) journey back to Witney."

Picture by Graham Gough

Wimbledon 2012

Its that time of year again and various contributors have sent pictures.

From Martin White

Various pictures of the buses involved in London General special services.


From Gavin Francis

Gavin went to Wimbledon to see the various vehicles in use, these included some ex Oxford X90 coaches!




The Oxford coaches in use on Wimbledon 2012


and to end Gavin's contribution !


Thames Valley history final part

The latest book on Thames Valley is now available from Paul Lacey at a special price to readers of £20.00 + £3 post and packing. Just quote the OCBP when ordering. More details at the bottom of this page.

Running days

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.

Dates for your diary

Other Running Days in 2012

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

Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station 


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:

18th September    Martin Shaw slide collection TBC

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.

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



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 - July 26th 2012


Observations and pictures

Stephen Le Bras writes from Saturday 6th July, "Following the complete closure of the M4 between Junction 1 and 3, my journey from Windsor to London on the GreenLine 702 took TWO hours on Saturday. Even at what I would describe as off peak travelling, the number of cars and slow moving lorries, not to mention the odd emergency vehicle made for a tedious run.

Green Line have announced a special emergency timetable for the 702 to maintain some sort of service until Wednesday when the work is supposed to be completed.

What and where next I wonder, Bow Flyover near Stratford? 

Not just Greenline, but NEx, Megabus and all the tourist coaches are being badly delayed, apart from two Polish coaches which I observed travelling at speed westbound as we eventually re-joined the M4 at Junction 3. I didn't know you could access the M4 via the service area from a nearby road...?

As for the coaches, 54027 Megabus arrived at Sammy's with the Giant Panda mosaic.

I did see three more Levantes FJ12FYD,FYG on the 509 with Edwards and NEx's own SR136 FJ12FYL on the 540. More Elites turned up on the SW England services withPark's KSK984 which smelt new and First's 23204, rather more elderly on the 508.

Now this morning, I hear that the A40 is suffering severe delays- another day of grief.

Incidentally, I asked RAC for a route to go from Windsor to London Victoria, in case they "suggested" the M4. They did however show a route via Brentford."

The restrictions remain in place on the M4 for heavy vehicles between 3 and 2 and 1 and 3 as at 25/7. Ed.

(To my knowledge there are certain over bridges on the M40 which require to be rebuilt due to concrete degradation built in the '70s and as such there must be many more. Ed.)

From Richard Sharman

A Tappins Van Hool awaits vinyls after a fresh white repaint.
I believe that this coach is one of the many coaches in use at the Olympics. Ed.

John Marsh sent this contribution

's latest acquisition.

Mark Atkinson sent some pictures of a new Van Hool Astron with M A N units for New Bharat and an Altano with DAF running units for Hnos Arriaga Eurolines.

Note the change in various design items, such as headlight and taillight clusters , on these 2012 style coaches.

Gavin Francis had to take NEx coach 53703 to Grayson at Birmingham today for air-conditioning servicing. There were some Arriva buses there as they do upgrades and modifications for many of the London Bus operators.

Former Arriva London Buses 4024 and 4027 were there. 4027 was formerly VLW 19 and attached are pictures of them including a very topical picture of 4027 on London service.


Gavin adds that every other bus on the 25 route seems to be an overall ad bus, most of them are for Samsung (both First and Stagecoach) but there are three for West End shows and pictures of all of them are shown below. 

026 and 028. Yet more wrap ads this time on the 38.

010. LT 7 has arrived.

Richard Sharman writes "An interesting addition to Witney's Angela's Travel's small School Contract fleet(most of the fleet is Taxi's) is Olympian J721 GAP, latterly with Stagecoach South to Charlton Services!"

Sold to York Pullman then back to Oxfordshire with Angela's!
Martin White reports "heard that First are Hiring some Gemini Deckers from Ulsterbus as they have won a Football contract in Scotland & needs buses for it!!!"

Arriva logo and TGM

Gavin Francis writes "Yet another hire coach from Panther Travel on the X5. I think this coach was originally with First."

Peter Cabin writes "at Arriva's High Wycombe depot yesterday (29.06.12.) noted in the dreaded back row were the following buses:

trainer L509CPJ - 3849 R369TWR - 3850 R370TWR - 3852 R372TWR - 3248 R604WMJ - 3240 P601RGS & 3202 R202RBM

Not quite in the back row but nearby were 3299 R608CNM and 3245 R603WMJ and in the maintenance area were at least three of the Volvo B10BLE XKX range unidentified

A few observations Tuesday 17th July 2012 popped up to Arriva's High Wycombe depot well all Scanias have now left the depot the back row hosts a selection of Volvos :

3240 P601RGS 3245 R603WMJ 3248 R604WMJ  3849 R369TWR 3850 R370TWR 3852 R372TWR

Buses below are not on the boards down at the bus station so I'm not sure if there transferred or withdrawn:

3241 R602WMJ  3298 R607WMJ 3299 R608CNM & 3851 R371TWR which was in service up till last week.  

3299 R606CNM is reinstated and I travelled on this bus today 24.07.12. on blue route 32.

Change of operators and timetable changes start next week on routes 27 38 39 306 (see Carousel's web site.)

Arriva NDZ7921 being towed away from Wycombe Bus Station on June 1st by Pete Cabin.

Nigel Peach writes "On the local scene it seems very quiet and not much to report. I have heard that Solo 2438 has moved from Wycombe to Hemel.

All the Green Route branded Volvo B7s 3861-67 have now been repainted and lost their branding, except 3865 which I've not seen for about four months (listed in the bus station among the vehicles "Off Road").

Volvo 3457 was reinstated after fire damage some months ago, but I've not seen it at all (also on same list)."

Arriva 3903 r 724 Uxbridge 24th June 2012 by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 4490 r 340 Stokenchurch on the very last 340 weekday operation by Arriva, the service having been withdrawn - June 7th by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 3452 on r 850 approaches Henley on May 29th by M Crowe.

I am pleased to be able to include various updates on happenings at Carousel thanks to John Hammond.
Three further Optare Tempos have been collected from Wilts & Dorset and are undergoing preparation for service with Carousel.
These buses are:
YJ56 WUC - 803
YJ56 WUE - 805
YJ56 WVS - 806
YJ56 WUD which was one of original batch of three has been renumbered 804 from 803 to keep the registration sequence in line with the fleet numbering.
The Volvo Olympians 928-931 have now entered service today and are for use on school & contract services, they carry a new blue livery for school buses
and have 'The Blue Bus' branding applied to them and are dedicated to schools services around High Wycombe. The school themed equations/quotes are different
on all four buses. The messages over the sides at the back are different on all four buses.
This shot shows 928

Loaned Volvo B7/Plaxton Presidents PVLs 58, 91, 210 and 211 are now surplus to requirements at Carousel and have returned to London for use as Olympics reserves with Go Ahead London. The two loaned to Thames Travel have also gone back to London.

DAF SB220/Plaxton 'DAF976' (R976 FNW) has also been withdrawn from service now. (This bus is now on long term loan to Thames Travel.)

Devoid of any markings, 976 is seen on Thames Travel 146 in Reading on July 2nd 2012 by Richard Morgan.

23 June 2012

DMS8 (R708 MEW) has been sold to I&S Coaches of Hereford

Purple Routes Dart 562 withdrawn and for disposal. Dart 562 withdrawn a few weeks ago has now passed to ASM of Aylesbury for scrap.

PVLs 58, 91, 210 and 211 were returned to London last Sunday (17 June) off loan.

Pete Cabin reports that apparently Carousel are giving up route 27 Rayners Avenue via Cock Lane. 

New operator is either Red Rose or Red Eagle,  not to sure yet!

Carousel 481 r 655 Stokenchurch 140612 G Francis.

Carousel 918 r 643 Stokenchurch 140612 G Francis.

Carousel 930 r 981 at depot 170712 G Francis.

A most unusual event on June 28th was Carousel's 930 running the Thames Travel 600 at Thornhill seen by Gavin Francis.

Carousel 929 and 931 at Wycombe depot on 060712 by Richard Sharman.

Carousel's Service Van CE57DSY on 060712 by Richard Sharman.


First RM 1218 on the 9 but unusually traversing Buckingham Palace Road on June 4th by Gavin Francis.

London route 25 has many overall ad buses in use as seen above from Gavin Francis.

Heyfordian H804AHA Stokenchurch 140612 G Francis

Heyfordian SL52CPX on route 44 recently gained in George St on June 12th by M Crowe

Tappins ANZ1325 at Wycombe in June 2012 by Richard Sharman


Star Travel of Aylesbury are now running the ex Motts Solo, MA07BUS caught by Luke Braham.


Parks Plymouth depot is now receiving a large number of Elites replacing a number of tri-axles.
KSK985 is seen on the 504 at VCS on July 4th.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

NEx Premiere Travel FJ61EWY with super rear in London on June 27th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

NEx SC East Kent FJ56OBX on route 022 with super rear for Latitude on June 7th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

Nex SC Oxford 53702 sporting new super rear branding on July 23rd 2012 at Gloucester Green by Malcolm Crowe.

John Hammond advises that an ex Brighton & hove Volvo B10BLE is now training bus 964. It has been reregistered from R225HCD to L1OXF. This registration was on one of the Scania/Irizar coaches until recently.

Martin White writes to say "Seen today in Wimbledon being used by Go-Ahead London using Docklands Buses Legals on the Tennis Shuttles were these two ex Oxford X90 coaches.

43 BF53OXF

44 CF53OXF

Quite a shock to see these in use by Go-Ahead London, other vehicles in use were normal PVL's and two O/T NV's. Also in use were four of their Routemasters.


Tim Hall from Swindon sent four photos of ex Oxford Bus Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown single decks taken on Tyneside on the 7th of June 2012 in three different liveries

I remember driving 803 when brand new on 5 road back in 1999. really nice buses. Ed.

Steve Doel of Calne, Wiltshire writes "Last week I was speaking at a Transport Conference in Birmingham along with Ian Mack from The Green Bus Co. One thing led to another and I ended up being invited along to see the workings of this enthusiast friendly operator first hand. I attach some photos of recently acquired ex COMS 908 R8OXF awaiting entry into service.

This bus was reregistered before leaving COMS back to NK51UCX. Ed.

If anyone fancies spending some money, Ian tells me he has the ex Harrow, ex Reading/Newbury Metrobuses coming out of service in July @ £2k each.

Trainer 965 P1OXF ex Brighton and Hove, seen at Oxford depot on June 16th by Richard Morgan.

Trainer 961 V284SBW at work in Oxford on June 28th by Gavin Francis.

Q busters at work on June 28th as seen by Gavin Francis.

Life for any company never goes according to plan and all have breakdowns from time to time.
Oxford's 99 is seen being recovered to the depot on June 16th.

The Volvo and Scanias seen elsewhere on this page are seen at the depot being prepared for their summer work in London.
Taken on July 2nd 2012.

Oxford's 103 and 116 at work on June 9th by Richard Sharman. 

Red Rose

Red Rose Y358LCK and P264NRH on school service from Gillots school - Henley on June 29th 2012 by M Crowe.

One of the new E200's is in use at the Olympics, minus any fleet names, and was seen at Marble Arch last week.

R H Buses

Richard Sharman has sent a few pictures of interest to readers.

Former Plymouth CityBus Dart/Pointer and MAN/EOS 712.

Stagecoach & Megabus at the 2012 F1 at Silverstone by Richard Sharman




Vehicles shown above include some ex Oxford and current Oxford buses.


Jay Houlden reports that on the evening of June 23rd 2012, Dart 33653 was on Route 1.

Quite taking one back to the early years of the 21st century!

SCO 12022 electric and pedal power on June 28th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

SCO 22054 with newish super rear on June 28th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

The reserve M A N s are now back in service again replacing some E300s which have gone south to replace Cummins engined E300s at the Olympics.
Picture taken on June 28th by Gavin Francis.

Gavin asks can one have two "Solos"! SCO 47454 and RH 408 in Oxford on June 27th.

Finally the staff bus has had a repaint and looks very smart in this picture by Gavin Francis on June 28th 2012.

SCO 20933 and 20936 the new training fleet 090612 M Crowe 


Marcus Lapthorn writes "I travelled into Swindon on the 66 route bus from Faringdon to Swindon arriving about 0935. I was staggered to see the length of the queue of intending passengers waiting to board the 0945 departure to Oxford! There must have been at least 30 passengers and when I returned on the 1015 departure for Faringdon yet again there were over 30 people waiting to board! The introduction of Gold d/d's onto the 66 route would seem to have attracted many more passengers to this route. Thee has been no change in frequency from when single deckers were on this route, so perhaps it indicates that people love to ride on double deckers as they can see views that they would not see from their cars.  

Very good to see that Stagecoach West's investment in new vehicles is paying off."

A Stagecoach Swindon Dart 33955 with contravision by Tim Hall.



SC Midlands 28621 a new Scania on route 8 from Bicester to Northampton on 270612 M Crowe

Richard Sharman writes "Some of the former Stagecoach in Oxfordshire's Volvo Olympians now at Warwickshire have been withdrawn, while other soldier on. At least one appears to be about to gain a lower deck repaint, whilst others lay engineless."

Stagecoach Volvo Olympian: 16516 R416XFC  in Unibus Livery In Leamington Spa shortly to be replaced by Enviro 400s in course of delivery and preparation.

16514 and 18398 both based at Leamington and caught in the lens of Richard Sharman on June 23rd.

 "All three of course new to Oxford."


KP04GJK  was also in Oxpens on May 26th caught on camera by Gavin Francis.

Two nice pictures including the Astromega coaches taken by Dave Allen.

One time Tube now with Air Shuttle T43BBW in July 2012 by Richard Sharman


A number of Volvo B12BT tri-axle coaches have been transferred to Rugby, painted in Megabus blue and this is one of them , 54046 seen in an earlier guise.

A surprise coach on Megabus duties was this ex NEx Bruce FJ58AKY, a tri-axle Levante
seen in Bulleid Way on June 5th by Gavin Francis.

SC 54097 Mega-sleeper T97JHN in Bulleid Way on June 2nd by Gavin Francis.

SC 54027 is currently working out of Rugby and is seen here in London by Gavin Francis on June 28th.

Working the Cheltenham Megabus service is 15524 on June 4th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

Astromega 50237 leaves Victoria en route to Newcastle on June 21st by Malcolm Crowe.

June 21st again and Volvo 54071 leaves for Edinburgh - Malcolm Crowe.

SC Western 52464 on Megabus duty in Bulleid Way on July 2nd 2012. - Malcolm Crowe.

Hamilton's MJ61AVT on service M1 to Birmingham leaves VS on June 21st by Malcolm Crowe.


Stuart Curwen reports that six 6 New StreetLite DFs have been involved in Driver Training and after a short period of service in Swindon will, in mid July, head up
to London to take part in the Olympics transporting people around the capital.
Details of the buses are: 



Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141112

Wright StreetLite DF / AG417





Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141113

Wright StreetLite DF / AG418





Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141114

Wright StreetLite DF / AG419





Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141115

Wright StreetLite DF / AG420





Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141116

Wright StreetLite DF / AG421





Wrightbus / SA9DSRXXX12141117

Wright StreetLite DF / AG422



Tim Hall from Swindon writes to enclose a photo of a new Thamesdown Wrights DF StreetLites taken today 30-06-12.

Thamesdown 412 Swindon 060712 R Sharman

Ken McKenzie reports recent additions from Damory Coaches are the following Solo's-
709  MX08 MYV
710  MX08 MYY
711  MX58 AAF
712  MX58 AAS
713  MX58 AAN
Two of these are in operation on the recently taken over 116 service.
Pictures by Richard Sharman

TT 710 r 106C Oxford 070612 G Francis



25 Jul 2012

·         New and expanded services to deliver vital bus links in North Devon

·         Improvements to be launched in September, creating some new jobs

·         Pledge to build on track-record of investment and good value travel

Stagecoach announced today (25 July 2012) that it is to launch an expanded bus network in Devon in September, providing new services and creating a small number of additional jobs.

The new network will provide vital bus links in North Devon and build on the company's track-record of investment and good value travel in the south-west.

Stagecoach employs around 900 people and operates more than 320 buses on around 120 routes across Devon and Somerset, and in the past three years has invested more than £13 million in new buses for the region.

The new and expanded services will be operated out of the company's depot in Barnstaple, which currently employs around 120 staff and runs around 50 buses. Around a dozen extra vehicles will be added to the fleet and Stagecoach will also be recruiting new drivers.

From Monday 24 September, the following enhancements will be introduced:

·         Service X7, an express direct service, will run hourly between South Molton and Barnstaple Bus Station

·         Service X9 will provide a link between Bude, Holswothy, Okehampton and Exeter, with services running approximately every two hours.

·         Service 21 will now operate between Westward Ho!, Bideford, Instow Quay, Fremington, Barnstaple, Braunton, and Ilfracombe.

·         Service 21A will now operate between Appledore, Bideford, East the Water, Fremington, Barnstaple and Braunton.

The expanded network will bring a boost to people in North Devon, whose services are currently under threat after First announced the closure of its Barnstaple depot. Stagecoach will provide:

·         A 20min daytime service from Westward Ho!, Bideford and Barnstaple to Ilfracombe with a 30min evening and Sunday service.

·         More links from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple Rail Station, particularly during the evening and on Sundays.

·         A 10min service between Northam, Bideford, Barnstaple and Braunton, with a 30min evening and Sunday service.

·         A 20min daytime service from Westward Ho! Bideford, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe to Instow Quay and hourly during the evening and on Sundays.

·         A 20min daytime service from Braunton, Barnstaple and Bideford to Appledore and a new hourly evening and Sunday service which extends to Ilfracombe.

·         A 20min daytime service from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Instow and Bideford to Westward Ho! plus an hourly evening and Sunday service.

·         A 20min daytime service from Appledore, Bideford, East the Water and Barnstaple to Braunton and West Meadow Road.

Michelle Hargreaves, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, said: "We have a long tradition of operating high quality services for people in the south-west of England and attracting people out of their cars and on to greener, smarter bus travel.

"It has been our ambition for some time to provide a more comprehensive network for passengers across the wider Devon region to improve services and connections for the local community. To that end, we announced in March that we had reached an agreement to acquire First Group's North Devon operations. This would have allowed us to deliver a range of improvements to the wider bus network.

"However, we decided we could not justify further management time and expense on pursuing the acquisition following the decision by the Office of Fair Trading to refer what was a relatively small transaction to the Competition Commission. Instead, we have now registered new commercial Stagecoach services that will extend our network in the North Devon area and provide more journey options for our customers.

"The new services, which have been registered with the Traffic Commissioner, will start in September. We look forward to providing local people on our new routes with a high quality bus service and value-for-money fares."

Coach driver praised for calm response to M6 toll motorway incident

06 Jul 2012

·         Megabus.com driver recounts role in helping police during "scary" security alert

·         Father-of-two thanks passengers and police for their co-operation during ordeal

The driver of a megabus.com coach which was caught up in a security alert on the M6 toll motorway yesterday was praised by bosses today (6 July 2012) for his "calm and professional" response to the incident.

Married father-of-two David Myerscough (38) helped officers ensure people on the coach disembarked safely one by one after a passenger had called police to report concerns about vapour escaping from a bag.

Ian Laing, General Manager of megabus.com, said: "We would like to thank David for his calm and professional response to the incident and the police for their support. While it later emerged it was a false alarm, we can understand how everyone on the coach must have felt when events were unfolding at the time.

"Safety and security is our absolute priority. David followed all of our procedures correctly and kept a calm head, as did the passengers on board. The rest of the megabus.com team did a great job in making sure everyone got to their chosen destination after the police investigation was completed."

David was operating the 5.10am service from Preston to London when the situation began around 8.20am. He followed police instructions relayed via megabus.com control staff and also directly by phone. David was instructed by police to go through the toll and pull on to the hard shoulder at the M6 toll plaza.

"Once we pulled over, the police told me to make sure nobody left the bus under any circumstances. After a while, we realised that the road beside us had actually been closed and cars had stopped going past us," he said.

"Then we saw the armed response team arrive. Just before that, a few passengers had started to get a bit agitated, but when they saw what was happening they calmed down and realised that we were going to have to go with it.

"I was instructed to take the passengers off the bus one by one. I had to wait at the front of the bus until the armed police gave me the signal to bring the next passenger off, and I was to tell them not to put their hands in their pockets and just to walk out slowly. Once one passenger was off, I'd then get the next one.

"Once we were all off the bus we sat on the tarmac and nobody was allowed to use their phones. After a while, we were moved on to a replacement vehicle. The police then said they wanted to move the megabus.com coach so I drove it to the new location and the passengers followed in the police coach.

"There, all the passengers had to identify their belongings. Then they were told that those who wanted to go to London could continue on the megabus.com coach and those who wanted to return to Preston, Manchester or Bolton could go on the police bus."

David added: "It was a scary thing for a lot of people and it was a very long and tiring day. We were all in it together and when you're faced with armed police you can't really do anything else other than follow their instructions.

"The police were really professional. I always thought we would be alright. Fortunately, what could have been a terrible situation turned out to be OK. Most people got to where they wanted to be in the end. A few people had important appointments that they had missed, but we tried to help them as much as possible.

David, who has been given today off, has worked with Stagecoach, operator of megabus.com, for five years. He is a standby driver based at Preston depot and stepped in to work the shift yesterday due to the sickness of a colleague.

"When I rang my wife, I said there had been an incident and that we might be on the news. She was a bit worried, but I always felt it was going to be OK and I'd be coming home," he said.

"Some of the passengers said thanks to me and they were all really nice. I was just doing my job and I wanted to do it well. I just followed the instructions I was given. Once the call is made to the police, they have to do their jobs. I'm glad everything turned out to be OK in the end." 

megabus.com provides thousands of extra seats to London this summer

03 Jul 2012

· Additional vehicles to serve London during July, August and September
· Bargain seats available now at

Market leading budget coach provider megabus.com is offering thousands of extra bargain seats to London this summer for people attending the many events taking place in the capital.

The low-cost operator – which is part of Stagecoach Group - is providing almost 5,000 extra seats on its network every day during the period of the Olympic Games in July and August from locations across the UK including Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Norwich, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol and Exeter.

And megabus.com will provide almost 1500 additional seats each day on its services to and from London during the period of the Paralympic Games from 20 August until 9 September.

Full details of megabus.com services to and from London can be found on the website at www.megabus.com

megabus.com General Manager Ian Laing said: “With the world’s biggest sporting event taking place in London this summer, it will be a busy time for travel. We have significantly increased our service capacity during this period to provide a low-cost option for those who want to travel to London on a budget.

"As well as the pre-determined additional capacity, megabus.com will also react to further demand wherever possible during the summer by adding extra vehicles to services when required. "

megabus.com was launched in the UK in 2003 and revolutionised coach travel by offering fares from just £1* via a simple online booking system. Almost five million passengers now use megabus.com services in the UK every year, travelling between more than 60 towns and cities across the country.

In 2006, Stagecoach launched megabus.com in North America where it has now been used by more than 18 million passengers.

Bookings for the new services can be made now. For more information about megabus.com services visit www.megabus.com

Buses drive jobs and growth, says major report as bus companies announce plan for discounted travel for unemployed young people

03 Jul 2012

Bus travel is a key contributor to economic and social well-being, according to a new report published today:

·         Bus commuters generate over £64 billion of economic output every year.

·         People use the bus to make shopping and leisure trips with an annual value of £27.2 billion a year.

·         1 in 10 bus commuters would be forced to look for another job if they could no longer commute by bus.

·         More than 50% of students are frequent bus users and depend on the bus to access education or training.

The Buses & Economic Growth Report, published today, was undertaken by the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds1. It brings together for the first time an assessment of the economic contribution of the bus in growing the economy, connecting people with jobs, helping businesses and supporting the vitality of city centres. It also highlights the significant direct contribution of the bus industry itself in creating employment and investment.

The report’s publication coincides with today’s announcement by Greener Journeys2 to develop a discounted travel scheme to help the one million unemployed young people3 access jobs, education and training more easily. Details of the scheme being developed by the leading bus operators will be announced in the autumn4.

Sir Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "For many young people, the bus is the only form of affordable transport available to them and they depend on it to get to their education or training. The discounted travel scheme being developed by the leading bus operators could make the vital difference between a life of worklessness and getting a job, helping more young people to make a better start in life. This shows just how important the bus is to the future of our country."

The report highlights the vital role the bus plays in the wider economy:

·         More than five billion bus journeys are made in the UK each year – at least one billion of those bus journeys are made to work.

·         More people commute by bus than all other forms of public transport combined.

·         Bus commuters generate £64 billion of economic output every year.

·         People use the bus to make shopping and leisure trips with an annual value of £27.2 billion, of which £21.5 billion is spent in towns or cities centres.

·         1 in 10 bus commuters would be forced to look for another job if they could no longer commute by bus.

·         More than 50% of students are frequent bus users and depend on the bus to get to their education or training.

·         An estimated 400,000 people are in work or in a better job because of the availability of a bus service, equating to £400 million additional gross value added (GVA)5 per annum.

·         Bus users recognise a greater personal monetary value to the services they use over what they currently spend and said they would be willing to contribute more to maintain their service - £60 for regular users and £38 for infrequent users (per annum). This amounts to an annual aggregated gross option value of £700 million.

·         The bus industry is a major employer and sizeable contributor to the national economy. It directly employs over 170,000 people, spends £2.5 billion in its supply chain, and supports a further 83,000 jobs through its supply chain, which includes British-based bus manufacturers Alexander Dennis and Optare.

The report was commissioned by Greener Journeys, an alliance of the UK's leading bus companies and other public transport supporters committed to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said: “This report shows the value of the bus in generating sustainable economic growth. Buses play a crucial role in oiling the wheels of the economy as well as reducing carbon emissions, helping maintain the fabric of our communities and providing essential transport for the 25% of households without access to a car."

The report’s author, Professor Peter Mackie of the University of Leeds, said: "The Report demonstrates that buses have a key role to play in growing the economy. The bus is a familiar part of everyday urban life. It receives a fraction of the attention given to rail and car, yet despite being taken for granted it is a vital cog in the wider economy bringing access to jobs and training, facilitating retail spend, and supporting the vitality of our towns and city centres." 

Guided busway could be extended into central Cambridge

The guided busway could be extended into the centre of Cambridge to tempt travellers out of their cars.

Transport chiefs believe ambitious improvements must be made to the city’s travel network to prevent journey times increasing by half over the next decade.

One idea to avert gridlock is to lengthen the busway, which already carries more than 200,000 passengers a month between St Ives, Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s.

A report by Cambridgeshire County Council suggests a new route heading north from the railway station and a busway along Newmarket Road.

Lynette Gilbert, chairman of Riverside Area Residents’ Association, said: “Having buses down the middle of Newmarket Road seems like a potentially creative way to make it easier for buses and cycles to share the road.”

An options paper to be consulted on this summer says the busway would be a more attractive option for commuters and visitors if services, which currently have

to use clogged-up roads between the north of the city and the train station, could stay on a guideway all the way through.

The report, produced to accompany Cambridge City Council’s forthcoming consultation on up to 25,000 new homes, said Newmarket Road could be widened between East Road and the football stadium to provide a “central busway or bus lanes” and “segregated cycle facilities”.

In the consultation, the council will ask residents if a more radical approach should be taken to transport planning. 

ADL buys Oz bus builder

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has bought Sydney-based Custom Coaches. Founded in 1955 it has a 24% share of the Australian bus market.

With annual sales of around £55m, it employs 400 people at factories in Sydney, New South Wales, and Adelaide, South Australia.

ADL Chief Executive Colin Robertson says: “This is another significant step in our strategy to diversify and grow the business. It will see our group turnover increase to around £500 million per annum - a three-fold multiple in just five years - and position us well to become a major player in the southern hemisphere.”

“This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both Custom and ADL. It will build on the progress ADL has made in New Zealand in the last two years where our manufacturing partnership with Kiwi Bus has established us as market leader and a major supplier to cities such as Auckland and Wellington.”

Stagecoach Group plc – Preliminary Results for the year ended 30 April 2012

26 Jun 2012

Business highlights

Maximising shareholder returns

·         Adjusted earnings per share* up 6.7% to 25.4 pence (2011: 23.8 pence)

·         Full year dividend up almost 10% to 7.8 pence (2011: 7.1 pence)

·         c.£340m cash return to shareholders in October 2011

Leading the way in improving transport for passengers

·         Growth underpinned by innovation, value for money, investment and operational delivery

·         Expansion of megabus.com in North America and Europe

·         New Alliance with Network Rail

Pursuit of new opportunities for growth

·         Like-for-like revenue up 6.9% across the Group

·         Virgin Rail Group’s bid for new West Coast rail franchise submitted May 2012

·         Shortlisted for two new UK rail franchises

·         US$134m planned acquisition of businesses and assets from Coach America

·         Further potential to grow operating profit at acquired London Bus business

Financial summary

Results excluding intangible asset
expenses and exceptional items*

Reported results

Year ended 30 April





Revenue (£m)





Total operating profit (£m)





Non-operating exceptional items (£m)





Net finance charges (£m)





Profit before taxation – continuing operations (£m)





Discontinued operations (£m)





Profit before taxation (£m)





Earnings per share (pence)





Proposed final dividend per share (pence)



Full year dividend per share (pence)



* see definitions in note 21 to the condensed financial statements

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive, Sir Brian Souter, said:

“We continue to see good organic growth in our bus and rail services in the UK and North America. This has been supported by our successful mix of innovation, value-for-money travel, continued investment in our services, and strong operational delivery.

“Our UK regional bus operations are delivering good returns with different management approaches applied to respond to the different conditions in each of the markets in which we operate. In London, our turnaround plan is progressing well and we have won new contracts on more acceptable profit margins.

“We are excited about the next phase of our growth plan for our budget coach brand, megabus.com. As well as testing the market in Europe, we are expanding to new locations in North America where the response to the product from consumers has been particularly strong.

“The planned acquisitions from Coach America will enable us to expand our US business at a reasonable price while further underpinning the development of megabus.com in targeted regions.

“In UK Rail, we are pleased that East Midlands Trains has returned to profit and South West Trains continues to perform well. We are involved in shortlisted bids for a number of new franchises. At South West Trains, we are moving forward with our alliance with Network Rail to deliver a more efficient railway and a better service for passengers. We believe this approach can be a model for future franchises and our pioneering work can give the Group first mover advantage.

“Across our business, our new ideas and partnerships are helping shape the future of public transport and the Stagecoach difference is delivering strong returns to our shareholders. We believe the outlook for our bus and rail services is positive and we look forward with confidence to the year ahead.”

Blackpool update by Geoff Cunliffe

My latest update for you from Blackpool. Please note that I have included two photographs, both from the local Buses, Trains, Traction Engine and Trams blog at


and they have been cleared for reproduction by you provided we acknowledge their source.

The pictures show tram 015 near The Cabin showing its advertisement for the Pleasure Beach Nikelodean Land and 016 parked at Bolton Services on the M61 awaiting its escort vehicle for the completion of its journey to Blackpool.


Friday/Saturday, 15th/16th. June 2012 - postscript:-

It would appear that chaos on the trams for the aborted Sir Elton John concert was more severe than previously reported in the local newspaper. Enthusiast blog groups on the web report that the North service often had four car sets queuing at Talbot Square, and some arrivals could not unload at the loading platforms because they were already occupied. Apparently passengers were getting off anywhere they could, which is okay so long as you were not in a wheelchair on otherwise disabled!

Friday 22nd. June, 2012:-

This was the day the Olympic Torch came to the Fylde Coast, to be greeted by heavy rain and strong winds. Part of the relay was to include a tram ride from the Rossall School stop to West Drive in Cleveleys. A boat car had originally been selected for the job but, due to the atrocious weather, it was wisely decided to use Standard 147 instead. A picture is attached, courtesy of http://blackpooltram.blogspot.co.uk/

Arriving at West Drive just after 5pm, the torch made it way by the usual relay into Blackpool. It was to arrive outside the Tower and be ‘danced’ by last year’s Strictly Come Dancing champions, Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani, into the Tower Ballroom. However, such was the appalling weather, the route took the torch further inland (although it still blew out at least once!) and was taken straight into the Tower Ballroom with minimal ceremony. Nevertheless, there was the usual disruption to the tram service along the Promenade which will now happen every time there is something of this nature taking place.

As an aside, if you think the torch relay is a pretty simple affair with the runners carried in a coach behind the flame and a Wright StreetLite following on behind, think again. This Friday night, they were all based at The Hilton where I happened to be having a meal. The operation must be costing thousands. There were 150 booked for a meal in a private room. Parked there were TWO Wright StreetLites (one was Stagecoach 43007), an artic with a huge large screen television on one side which goes ahead of the runners, a dozen or so Police motorbikes, numerous London-type taxis and I lost count of the number of new BMWs, both Series 5 and X5. Then there were the sponsors’ vehicles, all with custom bodywork and mostly quite elaborate.

Then there were the girls; the promo girls were off duty by the time I saw them, and they were all exquisitely and interestingly packaged, although I was minded to ask my two usual questions - can she cook, and what does she look like first thing in the morning? I also pondered whether such heavy makeup would fall off in chunks, like fibreglass filler which has not keyed properly to damaged body panels? It all amused an old(ish) man.

Saturday 23rd. June, 2012:-

The outdoor Tower Arena is not having a very good start. Its first concert with Sir Elton John, which caused extensive disruption to road and tram traffic, had a delayed start and an early finish due to atrocious weather. The second one, due today and featuring John Barrowman, was just cancelled, again due to the weather, but not until it had, once again, caused severe traffic disruption. It makes you wonder who approved the concept in the first place given the enormity of the upheaval to ordinary, non-concert members of the general public.

Saturday 23rd. June, 2012:-

Route 12:-

The heritage route, operated along Blackpool Promenade by Oakwood Travel and Classic Bus Northwest, has been criticized in the press for abstracting traffic from the new trams. Readers have been quick to defend it, saying that the new trams cannot cope with the number of passengers and that it is nice to travel on a piece of vintage transport. One reader wrote “where are our heritage trams? - Oh yes, overpriced and shut away” whilst another wrote “we have our own heritage trams which are now hibernating somewhere”. Blackpool Transport has both an image and operating problem at the moment. One of the excellent books about the proper Blackpool trams some years ago was called “Always a Tram in Sight”. There was,- but there isn’t now.


25th. June, 2012:-

Tram 016, the last and long awaited Flexity 2, was spotted at Bolton Services on 24th. June awaiting the relevant escort vehicles to complete its journey. It arrived at Blackpool the following day. After a slightly longer than usual unloading, due to having to back the brakes off on each wheel, 016 was finally driven into the depot at 1430.

1st. July, 2012:-

The long awaited high season tram timetable has been introduced offering a ten minute frequency during the day Monday-Friday (hurray at last), with a ridiculous 30 minute evening frequency. Sundays we are promised a 15 minute daytime frequency and the same 30 minute evening frequency. Presumably Sundays are the busiest days so the 15 minute frequency is curious; perhaps it will be an opportunity to use more of those proper trams retained for future service. However, given how appalling the present timekeeping seems to be at many times during the day, perhaps it is all a bit academic.

Open Golf Championships, 15-22nd. July:-

To serve the Championships, Blackpool Transport are operating two special bus services. The first, G01, will run from North Station Blackpool to St. Thomas’s Road in St. Annes, about ten minutes walk from the head of the course, basically at thirty minute intervals. The second, G02, will connect The Starr Gate tram terminus at the south end of the system with the same St. Thomas’s Road on a ten minute frequency. This second one should be interesting, given that the trams are over-full for most of the day already. Perhaps they will actually use some of their converted heritage double deckers to supplement the high season tram timetable.

In St. Annes itself, they will also operate three Park & Ride services, from local car parks. It would appear that these special services will be the last duties for the remainder of the ECW-bodied Olympians. This is a similar situation to when the Open was at St. Annes in 1996. Blackpool retained its fleet of a dozen Routemasters to operate special golf services then, withdrawing them immediately afterwards and selling (most of) them to Reading.

Just two of the surviving ECW bodied Leyland Olympians are now available for service - 405 and 417. 365 (Roe bodied) and 403 have now been wrapped for Golf Contracts with 410, 413 and 415 in progress and 416 awaiting treatment. Of these 365 and 416 were already in store, but 403, 410, 413 and 415 were taken out of use at the end of term and are not expected to see use until the golf championship. 405 and 417's days are likely to be numbered as they too are scheduled for wraps.

Also still in stock are withdrawn 402, 407, 408, 412 and 414 which are all likely to go for scrap with 412 and 414 likely to be the first to go.

The above news taken from the Fylde Bus Blog on 11th. June at http://fyldebus.blogspot.co.uk/

A report from Malta

Many of my readers will have been interested in events in Malta and I received an interesting report recently which suggest that all is not quite as it should be.

Read on!

Observations from Malta – June 2012

There is much to comment upon with the vastly changed Malta bus scene and here are some of the things that were seen or heard recently.

The Arriva run bus services are not popular with the Maltese public. It is very noticeable how  few Maltese people were on the buses. 

Meanwhile Arriva drivers are trying to break away from their current union, the GMU, in order to form their own union. The hourly rate for the English drivers employed by Arriva is said to be three times that paid to local Maltese drivers.

The ‘bendi buses’ formerly used in London, but now transferred to operate in Malta are generally in very poor condition already. Many of the Maltese roads are in a bad state and it may not be long before these vehicles are shaken to pieces! The rattles are numerous and very severe and breakdowns are common. The ex LT buses are said to be phased out upon delivery of new Euro 5 Mecedes.

In the formerly yellow King Long buses taken into stock by Arriva is a nice notice. It apologises for the poor state of the bus but promises that they will soon be refitted with air conditioning and new seats.

The new King Longs with smoked glass windows are comfortable especially when the air conditioning is working.

When the electronic destination system is working correctly, then it is good to see what the next stop will be and also to listen to an oral announcement.

New bus stop signs all over Malta are a big improvement on the past.

About 10% of the Arriva fleet appear to be in an all over white livery.

Buses seem to run about 10 minutes late on popular routes and bunching of buses is commonplace.

Two ticket inspectors board bendi buses to ensure that both halves of the bus are simultaneously checked for fare dodgers. On one occasion one man was detected and furious arguments broke out between the man, his two accomplices and one of the ticket inspectors. This culminated in all three men being removed from the bus and presumably at least one of the three being fined.

The new bus station at Valetta is smart but too small for the many routes. Buses consequently have to still use the Triton fountain area to offload passengers before proceeding to the new bus bays. Originally the Government said that the Triton fountain area would no longer be needed by buses and could be built upon!

Before inbound buses at Valetta can reach the Triton area, they have to pass the Arriva Inbound Inspector’s portakabin. Delays can occur here whilst the inspector decides which of the 20 or so drivers who are with him, should take over the bus! The bus may be full of passengers who just have to wait until this performance is concluded.

There is one Arriva leaflet which gives details of, ‘your bus travel guide to the main attractions’. This leaflet does not show details of all of the Arriva routes. When I asked at the Arriva information desk at Valetta for details of the other routes I was asked if I lived in Malta. After my negative answer I was not given the requested details. I then asked about the 131 and 132 routes which are not in the leaflet. I was then asked if I had a car and when I again replied “no”, I was told that I did not need to know about the 131 & 132 routes therefore! From this I concluded that they must be Park & Ride routes. This was a quite extraordinary exchange, where information was not being released!

Had a ride on the glorious old EBY 537 Heritage bus from Sliema to Golden Bay. Only 9 passengers boarded with other intending passengers being very wary of getting onto this ‘strange old yellow bus’!

On Gozo the former UK Fleetlines were said to be due for withdrawal by the end of June. We rode on ex Thamesdown 191 and it gave a terrible ride.

The electronic destination displays on Arriva buses appear to give lots of problems. For example one bus showed route 225 at the front, 222 on the side and rear but 81 internally! Myth has it that the Maltese bus destination displays are like this so as to confuse the devil!

On Sat 9 June we saw former yellow Plaxton bus FBY 050 at Bugibba, now painted in red and yellow.

The 222 route from Sliema to Gozo Ferry is only half hourly and consequently is always overloaded. It needs to be at least one every 20 minutes. On the day we tried to catch the 0950 bus from Sliema to Gozo, it did not turn  up at all. We had to wait for the 1020 bendi bus which only got as far as St. Paul’s Bay before it broke down!

We did not enjoy travelling around by bus and the new set up compares very unfavourably with the old yellow bus network that was loved by many.

Signed by Hector and Andromache


Trips & Events

Peak Park Preserved Bus Gathering – 17th June 2012

Held at Rowsley South Station on Peak Rail

All photographs © Doug Spencer

[449CLT] AEC Routemaster {2R2RH1445} / Park Royal {L4835*} H36/28R; new April 1963 as London Transport RM1449.

* The body number carried when new; obviously due to London Transport’s overhaul procedures this is not necessarily the body number still carried!

[3904WE] Leyland Titan PD3/1 {583140} / Roe {GO4877} H39/30R; new June 1959 as Sheffield #904.

[4227FM] Bristol Lodekka FS6G {214.133} / ECW {13767} H33/27RD; new May 1964 as Crosville DFG157.

Available as a Corgi Model {OM40809} See http://www.modelbuszone.co.uk/ooc/dd/om408/om40809.htm

[A658OCX] Leyland Olympian ONLXB/1R {ON1348} / ECW {25906} H45/32F; new June 1984 as Yorkshire Traction 658.

[ACH627] Daimler CVD6 {13532-37} / Brush H30/26R; new in 1947 as Derby Corporation Transport #27 (withdrawn in 1969).

[AJA144B] Leyland Leopard PSU3/3RT {L02726} / Alexander {26Y/563/5} C49F; new 1964 as North Western 144; Converted to tow-truck in December 1975

by Crosville Motor Services at Sealand Rd., Chester.

[ATS408] Cosy Coach Tours’ 1948 Bedford OB with 29-seat Duple Vista body; New to Meffan of Kirriemuir.

[CDB224] Leyland Titan PD2/1 {472868} with Leyland L53R body, new in 1947 as North Western 224. 224 is part of the Greater Manchester’s Museum of Transport collection.

Available as an EFE Model {16007} See http://www.modelbuszone.co.uk/efe/dd/158/16007.html

[CRC911] Crossley DD42/8A {95309} / Brush H30/26R; new 1952 as Derby Corporation Transport #111.

[CTT23C] AEC Reliance {2MU3RA5516} / Park Royal {B51696} B41F; new May 1965 as Devon General 23.


[9RDV] AEC Reliance {2U3RA4967} / Marshall {B3249} B53F; new June 1964 as Devon General 9.

[D278FAS] Leyland Tiger TRCTL11/3RH {8600438} / Alexander {28TE/2186/3} C53F; new May 1987 as Highland Scottish Z278.

[E64WDT] Leyland Lynx Series I LX112TL11ZR1 {LX1085} / Leyland B49F; new December 1987 as Chesterfield 64.

[EEH902Y] Leyland Olympian ONLXB/1R {ON712} / ECW {25626} H45/32F; new July 1983 as Midland Red North 1902.

[EOD524D] AEC Regent V {2D3RA1805} / MCCW {M1959}* H34/25F New 1966 as Devon General 524; *Completed by Metro-Cammell. Left Weymann February 66 as shell.

[F611RTC] Leyland Lynx Series I LX2R11C15Z4R {LX1454} / Leyland B49F; new June 1989 as Bristol 1611.

[FY02VCJ] Dennis Dart SLF {SFD3C2CR31GW16219} / Plaxton {0154/3} B37F; new May 2002 as Lincolnshire 527 now Stagecoach East Midlands (Mansfield) TB34400, wearing the original “Biscuit, Cream and Chocolate” (Chrome Yellow, Ivory and Dark Brown) East Midland Motor Services livery to commemorate the 85th anniversary of East Midland Motor Services.


[G215KRN] Leyland Lynx LX2R11C15Z4R {LX1607} / Leyland DP45F; new November 1989 as Preston 15.

[GAU728L] Leyland National type 1051/2R/0101 {00812} / LN B40D; new July 1973 as Nottingham 728; now used by Nottingham Heritage Vehicles as a mobile sales stand.

[GSO90V] Leyland Leopard PSU3E/4R {7903528} / Alexander {136AYS/1878/14} B53F; new January 1980 as Alexander (Northern) NPE90.

[HD7905] Leyland PS1 {480750} / Brush B34F; new March 1948 as Yorkshire Woollen 622.

[HDV638E] Bristol MW6G {233.160} / ECW {16323} C39F; new January 1967 as Western National 1433.

[HVH472D] Daimler CVG6LX.30DD {30411} / East Lancs {6381} H41/29F; new 1966 as Huddersfield 472.

Available as a Corgi Model {OM41102} See http://www.modelbuszone.co.uk/ooc/dd/om411/om41102.htm

[JOV738P] Volvo Ailsa B55-10 {75075} / Alexander {AV9/275/1} H44/35F; new January 1976 as West Midlands PTE 4738.

[KAU564V] Leyland Leopard PSU3E/4R {7930029} / Plaxton Supreme IV {8011LX539} C53F; new July 1980 as Barton Transport 564.

[KPC204P] Bedford YRQ {EW454064} / Plaxton {7510QC089} C45F; new October 1975 to Hardings Coaches, Bletchworth.

Preserved Bus Gathering, Sunday 17th June 2012 (© Doug Spencer)

[KRU55F] Daimler Roadliner SRC6 {36173} / Willowbrook {CF1478/66633} B49F; new September 1967 as Bournemouth 55.

[KWE374D] AEC Reliance {2U3RA6273} / Plaxton {669716} / C49F; new 1966 as Sheffield United Tours 374.

[LDB796] Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1/1 {595379} / Willowbrook {59347} DP43F; new 1960 as North Western #796.

[LEO734Y] Leyland Atlantean AN68D/1R {8201528} / Northern Counties {2476} H43/32F; new February 1983 as Barrow 103.

[LHL164F] Leyland Panther PSUR1/1 {702506} / Roe {GO6454} B51F new November 1967 as West Riding 164.

[MDT222] AEC Regal III {9621A588} / Roe {GO3666} B39F; new May 1953 as Doncaster 22; owned by Doncaster Omnibus & Light Railway Society (http://www.dolrs.org.uk/) and kept at Sandtoft.

[MFA703G] Daimler Fleetline SRG6LW {63134} / Willowbrook {CF1805/68017} B44F; new 1969 as Burton 103.

[MHY765] Leyland Comet ECPO/1R {484221} / Duple {48631} C32F; new February 1950 to Orient Coaches, Kingswood, Bristol.

[MVE400H] Bedford J2SZ10 {9T143502} / Plaxton {692023} C20F; new 1970 to Ely Hospital.

[NDB356] Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1/1 {584041} / Crossley B44F; new 1958 as Stockport 403.

[NNU123M] Daimler Fleetline CRL6-30 {67438} / Roe {GO7351} H42/29D; new August 1973 as Chesterfield #123 – Preserved in Chesterfield Corporation Livery by the Chesterfield 123 Preservation Group.

[NNU124M] Daimler Fleetline CRL6-30 {67439} / Roe {GO7349} H42/29D; new 8/1973 as Chesterfield Corporation #124. Preserved in the post-deregulation livery of Chesterfield Transport Limited by the Chesterfield 123 Preservation Group.

[NOC600R] Leyland Fleetline FE30AGR {7602519} / Park Royal {B61940} H43/33F; new November 1976 as West Midlands PTE 6600.

[ONN571P] Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R {7601555} / ECW {22032} H43/31F; new July 1976 as Trent 571; Rebodied 1977 by Willowbrook following being burnt out.

[OWT776M] Bristol RELL6L {RELL-3-1984} / ECW {20242} B53F; new May 1974 as West Yorkshire 1403. Available as an EFE Model {25106} See http://www.modelbuszone.co.uk/efe/sd/250/25106.html

[PYY28D] Bedford VAS5 {FT103932} / Duple {8507/0600} C16F; new June 1985 to the Royal Household, Kensington as KLP1D.

[RAU804M] South Notts single-deck Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R {7304429} / originally East Lancs {2516} H47/30D; new 1/1974 as Nottingham 555 – rebodied 1993 by East Lancs {B5201} B45F as Nottingham 55 [previously registered as OTO555M]. It was sold to Hulleys of Baslow in March 1999 and became their fleet number 21. See: http://nottinghamheritagevehicles728.weebly.com/oto555m-as-rau804m.html

[RDB846] AEC Reliance {2MU3RA3525} / Alexander {6665} DP41F; new May 1961 as North Western 846.

[RNA236J] Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB {65039} / Park Royal {B57745} H47/29D; new June 1971 as SELNEC #2236.

[SUX476X] 1982 Leyland Tiger TRCTL11/3R {8101282} / Plaxton {8212LTS5C023} C53F of Bassett’s Coachways; new February 1982 to Robinson, Great Harwood (LA) as LEC197X. Re-registered OIW7027 in March 1994, then SUX476X in July 1999.

[TEC599N] AEC Reliance {6MU4R28177} / Plaxton Elite Express III {7410AX501} C45F; new to Robinson, Appleby and now operated by Thornes Independent Limited, Heritage Transport Holidays.

[TNA496] Leyland Titan PD2/40 {572426} / Burlingham {6375} H37/28R; new February 1958 as Manchester City Transport 3496. Seen at the Peak Park Preserved Bus Gathering, Sunday 17th June 2012 (© Doug Spencer).


One of 50 Leyland PD2s with Burlingham bodywork of a design unique to Manchester. 3496 entered service from Parrs Wood Garage, East Didsbury, in February 1958 where it worked for 12 years. In 1970 it was transferred by SELNEC to Princes Road Garage in Moss Side, where it remained until its withdrawal by Greater Manchester Transport in October 1975. 3496 was sold to Manchester City Council’s Recreation Department in 1976. It was fitted out as a canteen/ workshop and lasted nearly seven years with the Department until it was bought for preservation. 3496 is currently painted in Manchester City Transport’s final livery, prior to the takeover by SELNEC in 1969. 3496 is part of the Greater Manchester’s Museum of Transport collection.

[UHG353Y] Leyland Atlantean AN68D/2R {8200555} / East Lancs {A3003} H49/36F; new July 1982 as Blackpool 353.

[UNB524] Leyland Titan PD2/40 {580004} / MCCW H37/28R; new October 1958 as Manchester City Transport #3524.

[URF677S] Bristol VRT/SL3/1194 {VRT/SL3/501} / ECW {22830} H43/31F; new February 1978 as Potteries 677.

Marcus Lapthorn visits Malta 

Whilst in Valetta on Saturday 2 June, I came across this beautifully restored travelling post office. 

When I visited Pembroke Park & Ride site in Malta on Sunday 3 June, I found 38 modern yellow buses stored there. All were in various stages of dilapidation having had parts removed and or windows broken. A very sorry site indeed.

Frazer Peddle visits Reading

Board the no22 from Bernard Close Caversham park, a nice pink bus paid 4 quid for a day ticket which takes you anywhere around the Reading area. Their buses have a destination prompt system which tells you what the next stop is, similar system to the London buses except it's a male voice. Alighted by Reading station. 

Next was a yellow no10 to Calcot the vehicle is Dennis Alexander hybrid like the ones in Oxford. The one I boarded was named "Joan Taylor" again the spec is a bit more superior, instead of the Locker next to staircase there is an extra seat, the staircase itself is a different shape instead of a spiral its a straight with a corner step top and bottom. The destination prompt screen by the top of the staircase and not on the front window like the previous bus. There is however a lot of rattles as we travel along some rough bits of road possibly something to do with the interior fittings. As I alight at Calcot Sainsbury's another no26 pulls up behind.

Not to mention it also has free Wi-Fi too.  

Next I got another bus back into Reading centre, it was jet black on the no1 from Newbury. Apart from the colour of the vehicle it's the first local service bus I've been on so far that has seat belts. The no.1 route takes a more direct route into town on Bath road. I alight at station road near the station. The bus itself is a normal diesel Dennis .

 Next bus is the no9 to Sheffield park red + cream in colour boarded at Station Road, using Wright Eclipse bodied Scanias. Where I got off was at a business park nothing much to observe apart from passing traffic.  So I hopped back on the next no9 back into town. Not an eventful journey as such it can take on a lot passengers outside the Royal Berkshire hospital. Alighted at Station Road.

Next I hopped on a claret bus the no.20 another Dennis hybrid. This goes to Lower early via the University. It does however pass the shopping park at Lower Early where I alight.

On my journey back to town after a visit to McDonalds I noticed part of the route which goes through a rather desirable housing estate is hail n ride, could be that residents don't like the bus stop flags outside their doorstep? I don't know! 

Anyways time to get the bus back to Caversham, I picked up the pink bus at station road opposite from where I alighted earlier, however the bus crossed Caversham bridge instead of Reading bridge I then realised I'm on the wrong bus oh well I thought being that I bought a day ticket I just stayed on the loop and get off in town. Caversham heights is a nice area by the way consisting of big old houses. After alighting in Friar Street I caught up with a no23 bus and went on my way back to the correct side of Caversham. One thing I noticed on their double decker fleet is the lack of handrail on the top half of the left side of the stairwell as you go up but that's maybe just me. 

Otherwise it's been a good day out in Reading examining their superior fleet of colourful buses, long gone are the days of the cream and Brown fleet of Metrobuses, Deltas and Vectors.

Germany by Marcus Lapthorn 

On Friday 29 June we travelled by Eurostar to Brussels and picture no 572 shows a typical Brussels tram outside of the rail station.


We then caught another train to Cologne, where we changed into our third train for the journey to Remagen. Unfortunately due to stormy weather the train service was disrupted with points failures and a tree across our line beyond Bonn, but before Remagen. Our train was therefore terminated at Bonn and we, along with many other travellers had to find alternative means of getting to our destination.

The available taxis were soon all taken and lengthy queues formed at the cab rank, as illustrated in pic no  574.


Pics 575 and 577 show trams passing by Bonn station.


Pic 578 was taken from our Mercedes taxi and gives an idea of what life is like when trams are unloading in the centre of the road and passengers with luggage are dodging the cars to get to the pavement!

Pic 579 shows the same tram, now on its central reservation as opposed to street running.


IOW Festival by Markov Zorro

Here's some more photos, taken over the Jubilee weekend on the Isle of Wight. Hope you and the readers like them?

There's more on http://www.flickr.com/photos/77751183@N07/sets/72157629741781173/ if you'd like to post the link.

SV's Island Breezers are open top services of which the best must be the routes to the Needles. An M reg Olympian labours up the hill.


With a lot going on in the background, with Ryde Pier, a hydrofoil and Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower is an unidentified Scania Omnidekka... taken from the top deck of another in Ryde High Street.

Here's MPD 3321 making the tight turn into Cowes before squeezing into the RedJet terminal.


Here's Southern Vectis 1109 en route to Ventnor from Newport via the pretty village and tourist trap of Godshill

Reading open Day by Luke Braham



Uxbridge Running Day by Gavin Francis.

Gavin attended and sent a number of interesting pictures.






There was a Royal Blue event leaving Wycombe on June 29th 2012.

Royal Blue EDV502D leaving High Wycombe 290612 M Crowe

Royal Blue LTA729 leaving High Wycombe 290612 M Crowe


Buses in the Landscape

Alex Brown, Canterbury writes "The picture was taken from Westgate Towers in Canterbury on 26th June 2012, and shows Stagecoach East Kent buses along St. Dunstan's Street.

The bus nearest the camera is Olympian/RL (R296HCD) on route 3A (Faversham-Canterbury). Also shown are a couple of Solos recently transferred from Hastings, as well as a Scania N230UD/Enviro400 on 'Triangle' route 6A and a Trident/ALX400 on a UNIBUS service."

And some by John Marsh.

A King's Ferry Caetano Levante leaves Dover docks whilst a number of Shearing's coaches wait to board the ferry to France

The same King's Ferry Caetano Levante on Dover seafront returning from a carp fishing holiday abroad.

Three Stagecoach buses and a car jostle for position seen through Canterbury's west gate recently closed to traffic.

A Stagecoach single decker seen from Dover castle in April 2012 by John Marsh.

A very wet Canterbury bus station in April 2012 by John Marsh.


Charlton K9NGH Oxford 150612 G Francis

D249FYM at Criers Hill 230612 and L252 in Newington Causeway, ELEPHANT and CASTLE on 10 May 2006 both by Gavin Francis

Fernhill PN09CXL New Rd Oxford 270612 G Francis

Old and new on Harry Potter tour by Gavin Francis.

Mortons H15BUS Van Hool bendi coach Oxpens 280612 G Francis

Watlington Taxibus Y219GBO at Lewknor 290612 G Francis

New at Silverstone before going to the Olympics, this bus will one day be on the Unibus service for Warwick University.
Picture by Mark Atkinson.

Guideline Coaches of Battersea FA12ENG Oxpens OX 220612 M Crowe

Simmonds Coaches Olympian H764KDY new to Citybus of Hong Kong as ET1163 nr Beaconsfield 290612 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.


Thames Valley - final part now available




ORDER NOW FOR £20+ £3 p&p

This final installment of the 4-volume 800-page history of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. brings the story to its conclusion on the last day of 1971.

All route developments and changes to the fleet are fully detailed, along with special appendices for the service vehicle fleet, garages and out-stations, a route map, garage allocations and working arrangements.

Profusely illustrated with 548 monochrome half-tone illustrations and a full-colour section of 45 photos, this provides a very comprehensive history of this interesting decade, including the numerous secondhand vehicles acquired during those years. Demand will be high, so

order now from: Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close

Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT

If you are local and wish to collect please call me on 0118 979 4097 and arrange a suitable time, but no casual callers please!


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 £12.50 + £3.00 post and packing for OCBP readers.

Just mention OCBP when ordering from:

Paul Lacey,
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.