Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 8 - 12th October 2009

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Welcome to issue number 8 and may I say how pleased I am to continue to receive so many contributions from all my correspondents. I could nearly stay in a locked room and still produce a worthwhile page each week, such is the level of contribution from so many of my readers.

The weather over this past week has been better with some good sunny days and with a high settling over the U.K. a further week of decent weather seems likely over the Chilterns and surrounding areas.

Last Thursday I visited Coach & Bus Live 2009 at the NEC in Birmingham. I met up with Alistair Liddle and we enjoyed a pleasant day meeting with a number of other acquaintances who were also at the event. Prominent in the outside parking area was the first of the Oxford Tube Neoplans to be released by Stagecoach for sale by Dawson Rentals. The coach in question was 50103 and this brought back memories of one day in Stuttgart in May 2004 when I visited the Neoplan factory and was lucky to be given a tour of the build line. What a coincidence that it should be the first coach to go.

No one has yet come forward to admit to being the person dressed in black who was taking photos of the 04:10 service a week ago on the Magdalen Bridge. Any takers?????

I am grateful to Stuart Harvey for providing a comprehensive update on the Carousel fleet. I saw the A30 approaching Chesham on Saturday evening with a reasonable loading and driven by a smart young lady.




Thanks to Pete Cabin I can note that the High Wycombe "Thame" Solos, 2496 and 2497, are now appearing on the 305 service to Uxbridge, their place on the A40 being taken by somewhat larger Darts or Volvo B6s. Last Saturday Gavin Francis noted that the two buses in use were Dart 3208 and Volvo B6 3298 which was also seen earlier in the week by Pete Cabin. As mentioned before Line 40 between High Wycombe and Thame suffers from significant overcrowding on daytime services, especially market days in Thame and shopping times in High Wycombe. My wife travelled into Wycombe last Tuesday when the service was operated by a Solo on which the doors could not be closed. The bus proceeded to Wycombe with the doors open despite being fully loaded!!


Trevor Wilson writes "The rugby season has now started again and this year Arriva HW have the London Wasps free shuttle bus contract (1) between Cressex Park&Ride and Adams Park and (2) High Wycombe rail and bus stations and Adams Park.  Vehicles noted included an S-SNK registered Northern Counties Palatine II Olympian (one week ago this was the Watford route 5&6 branded bus with much evidence of tree damage along the near side upper deck), an older Northern Counties Palatine I bodied Olympian and a single decker (this week a very recent Wrights bodied saloon).  Last season the contract was with Motts."


Glenn Knight sent a picture of interest taken in Hemel Hempstead.

Arriva 5136 N36JPP a Volvo Northern Counties on route 5 to Grovehill West. Picture by Glenn Knight.

Unusually Enviro 400 5452, with route 6 branding, was working 500 on 101009 Glenn Knight.

Dart 3214 has received a super rear ad as seen in the picture above by M Crowe.

Stuart Harvey wrote regarding the current Carousel fleet.


Firstly the A30/A40/740 services seem to have settled down to be the Citaro's / Agoralines / 1 B7TL and STL9 on a daily basis.

Secondly in the latter half of this week STL9 has lost its flashing roof light.

Other news there has been a clear out of some of the withdrawn stock from Baker Street with the following all missing today.

P202BNR - Excel
F511NJE - Oly / NC

I presume these have departed for scrap.

Volvo Ailsa A971YSX now has a VOR in the windscreen and doesn't appeared to have moved for several weeks at least.

The other Ailsa A431VNY is still in use and has gained a red panel at the rear.

From observations over the past three weeks the current operational fleet appears to be the following,

Single Deck

AL1       C 1 WYC    Iribus Agouraline    Agoraline
AL2       C 2 WYC    Iribus Agouraline    Agoraline
AL3       C 3 WYC    Iribus Agouraline    Agoraline
DAF976  R976 FNW    DAF SB220LT    Plaxton Prestige
DAF981  R981 FNW    DAF SB220LT    Plaxton Prestige
DMS6     R706 MEW    Dennis Dart SLF    Marshall
DMS8     R708 MEW    Dennis Dart SLF    Marshall
DMS13   S513 KFL    Dennis Dart SLF    Marshall
DMS14   S514 KFL    Dennis Dart SLF    Marshall
DMS23   S523 KFL    Dennis Dart SLF    Marshall
DPL423   P423 MLE    Dennis Dart SLF    Plaxton Pointer
DPL479   P479 MLE    Dennis Dart SLF    Plaxton Pointer
DPL480   P480 MLE    Dennis Dart SLF    Plaxton Pointer
MB51     CB 51 BUS    Mercedes Benz Citaro    Mercedes Benz
MB52     CB 52 BUS    Mercedes Benz Citaro    Mercedes Benz
MB53     CB 53 BUS    Mercedes Benz Citaro    Mercedes Benz
STL9      AF 53 GCX    MAN             MCV Stirling
VDL54    CB 54 BUS    VDL SB120             Wright
            RK 07 BNF    Enterprise Bus    Plaxton Primo
            P232 AAP    Volvo B6LE    Wright
            P236 AAP    Volvo B6LE    Wright
            AF 53 GCY    MAN    MCV Stirling
            AF 53 GCZ    MAN    MCV Stirling

Double Deck

EVL4    PN02 XBZ    Volvo B7TL    East Lancs
EVL5    PN02 XCA    Volvo B7TL    East Lancs
EVL6    PN02 XCK    Volvo B7TL    East Lancs
EVL7    PN02 XCS    Volvo B7TL    East Lancs
EVL8    PN02 XCT    Volvo B7TL    East Lancs
L530    G530 VBB    Leyland Olympian    Northern Counties
L534    G534 VBB    Leyland Olympian    Northern Counties
L556    H556 GKX    Leyland Olympian    Leyland
L563    H563 GKX    Leyland Olympian    Leyland
L564    H564 GKX    Leyland Olympian    Leyland
M1356  C356 BUV    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M1386  C386 BUV    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M1432  C432 BUV    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M336    EYE 336V    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M524    GYE 524W    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M703    KYV 703X    MCW Metrobus    MCW
M758    KYV 758X    MCW Metrobus    MCW
A431 VNY    Volvo Ailsa    Northern Counties
F510 NJE    Leyland Olympian    Northern Counties

Plus the two Routemasters.

Metrobuses GYE598W and C345BUV and Ailsa A971YSX seem to all be on the current death row.

Hope this helps, of course there could be further vehicles away at the moment or in the garage I haven't seen."

Trevor Wilson writes "We picked up a new leaflet being distributed locally for the Carousel Buses A30/A40/740 and noted it carried a TfL Mayor of London logo."


Glenn Knight sent a picture of interest taken in Hemel Hempstead.


Centrebus 348 - YJ05XMZ - an Optare Solo on H11 Town Service. Picture by Glenn Knight.

The first time I have seen this Ayats Bravo working one of the Airport by Coach services at Stansted.
The coach was working an X6 diagram on 12th October - picture by M Crowe.

Sightings of the new Greyhound services at Victoria suggest that loadings are not that good. When I checked on their web site this week prices of 2.50 per trip were possible for a journey from London to Southampton return on Monday morning 12th October. Prices from Southampton to London and return were much higher.

Picture by Gavin Francis.

A further picture of a Kings Ferry coach operating on NEx services from Crawley has come to hand.

A Kings Ferry coach, now C101 running the 025 service from Victoria.
12th October by Gavin Francis.

Arriva 0419 operating a 707 diagram last
Sunday shortly after England lost their match!!!!
Picture by M Crowe.

Another South Gloucestershire coach on the 040 to Bristol - picture by Gavin Francis.


The recently acquired Volvo B10BLEs from Brighton are now fully in service, looking very smart indeed. Gavin Francis has provided a number of pictures including a couple, when they were in service in Brighton, taken in 2007.


The B10BLEs when in service in Brighton taken by Gavin Francis.


An interesting selection of the ex BH&D Volvos in service taken last week. Pictures by Gavin Francis.

For comparison and also of two celebration livery vehicles caught together in Castle Street by Gavin Francis.
Native Volvo B10BLEs 816 and 817.

Richard Sharman provided a picture of 797 working 5 road on 13th October.

Red Rose of Aylesbury

A bus originally purchased for County supported route 275 between High Wycombe and Oxford is now often found in Hemel on route H10.
Picture by G Knight.

 As mentioned above, the Neoplans reign in Oxford is coming to an end with only three remaining in service, all the other coaches having now been delivered to Plaxtons at Anston for preparation for return to Dawson Rentals. The first completed coach, 50103, was displayed at Coach & Bus Live at the NEC and 50107 is also ready at Anston but not yet released by Stagecoach.

A nicely composed picture of 22940 on a 10 service working looked on one of Oxford's Dreaming Spires.- Picture by Richard Sharman.


I am told that the two Tridents "in Store" at Banbury, 18129 and 18130, are actually expected to go to SC Fife and are waiting to have their S series branding removed.


Tridents 18198 and 18199 now carry S series branding.


M A N saloons 22932 and 22933 are now in fleet livery having lost their overall Southern Electric advertising livery. This particular advertising must have been some of the most ugly ever applied to a bus.


Megabus continue to place new coaches in service and Gavin Francis caught up with the latest, a Volvo B12B 54060, nominally based at Rugby.

Despite the new coaches the occasional Neoplan still makes it to London, the one above, 50147, towing a baggage trailer.
Pictures above by Gavin Francis.



Glenn Knight sent some further pictures of the new Citaros which now show more examples of the rear branding.


Pictures by
Glenn Knight



Coach & Bus Live - Impressions and pictures from your Editor and other sources

Thursday saw me in Birmingham at the NEC for the second day of Coach & Bus Live. Whilst this is always a smaller show than the bi-annual main event, it was for me nevertheless interesting and I also had the company of Alistair Liddle who often contributes to these pages.

Both Alexander Dennis and Optare had stands displaying their latest products and I must say that the livery applied to the Enviro 400 and 200 models on the main stand should win a prize for an excellent livery. I did hear some derogatory comments about the use of the Union flag on a "Scottish" product but I thought that rather unfair.

I include a number of photos below which I hope capture the flavour of this event.

Part of the offerings from Alexander Dennis - pictures by M Crowe and A Liddle.

A Plaxton Elite tri-axle on Volvo B12B chassis in the demonstration park.

A new Van Hool Acron T9 tri-axle for Chalfont Coaches.

Part of the Optare stand showing a Versa and an Olympus.

Johnsons had this fine Ayats Bravo in the show.

All but one of the Neoplans once the mainstay of the Oxford Tube London service have been withdrawn.
They have been sent to Plaxtons at Anston for refurbishing and the first to be released to dealer Dawson Rentals is 50103 pictured above.

All the pictures above are by M Crowe.

National Express - decisions on future imminent

D day is this coming Friday and an announcement on the future of the group may be expected following a second extension of the deadline. One wonders if this will happen?

Traffic lights in our cities and towns

I am moved to write about the frustration of the ever increasing numbers of traffic lights in our country. One is minded to ask "is someone in the council offices also an owner of a traffic light manufacturers?"

Of even more frustration is the seemingly mindless way the phasing is set and the lack of an ability to either rephase or even switch off during the night hours. In Germany and other European countries they have a system whereby the lights flash amber in both directions in the quiet hours obviating the need for waiting, burning fuel and further polluting the atmosphere by waiting for the lights to change, even though there is no other traffic about.

Of course, maybe the powers that be do not think we are able to cope with such procedures, I wonder why?

Oxford's Queen Street in pictures by BBC Oxford

Geoff Cunliffe writes "The BBC Oxford web site has, I think, thirteen historic photographs of Queen Street taken over the years."

"Now I don't want to question the BBC, but I think some of the photographs are of the High Street rather than Queen Street. I must say that I am not sufficiently familiar with Oxford to be totally sure.


Your followers may be interested given the recent controversy about the pedestrianisation"