Well, we are now in June and the weather is presently nice, warm and sunny. Not the best weather for photography due to the reflections and indeed, Gavin did pick up on the reflections on the nearside view of the new Oxford Tourismo!! I said he would.

I haven't been able to get out to take so many pictures but I do read the newspapers and watch the TV news and so was interested to learn that First Group is indeed planning on breaking up and initially is hoping to dispose of Greyhound Coachlines in the USA. Also they are also talking about selling of the bus operations in the UK and retaining the Rail Franchises they have.

Now this means that Arriva and First could be up for sale at one ad the same time leading to all sorts of problems for the Monopolies and Mergers Commission who generally hate anything too powerful and "monopolistic". What does seem odd to an old person such is myself is that the ownership or operation of the UK's transport system seems to be heading towards a "monopolistic" situation of overseas companies.

Also a major problem for much of the industry, road and rail, is the heavy burden of pension debts which is why Stagecoach and Arriva are facing up to government pressure on this problem to which in my untrained eyes seems to be only the tip of the iceberg in our country.

This week we have some interesting pieces for readers enjoyment including buses in use on the Victoria-Chelsea Flower Show service, a record of the Chippenham Bus Event and an ex ADL Demonstrator SN59AWW which has been purchased by Reading Buses.

Herbert Porter sent this picture of SN59AWW at Reading's depot on May 23rd.

I read the the West Witney roundabout is to get new signs after a number of crashes which have happened over the past few months. One of the widespread problems now is the growth  of verges often obscuring the view of road users to approaching problems and of course the increased number of cyclists using the roads in this summer weather. One thing I would ask is that said cyclists wear high viz clothing of some description as they often blend into the background when the wear black lycra which may be trendy but frankly is asking for trouble! This is especially so in good daylight conditions but with sun facing you and tree casting shadows means they are often difficult to see.

If you are interested in Ensign purchases and sales do check the latest report on SKM. (https://www.stevenknightmedia.com/fleet-news-ramblings)

Finally an item not of bus interest but one of rail, the last HST through Oxford which I hope will interest many of you.

Gavin Francis records the buses in use on Chelsea Flower Show's connecting services

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, formally known as the Great Spring Show is a garden show held for five days in May by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Chelsea, London

Held at Chelsea since 1912, it is the most famous flower and landscape gardens show in the United Kingdom, and perhaps in the world. The show is attended by members of the British Royal Family and attracts visitors from all continents.

Highlights to the Chelsea Flower Show include the avant-garde show gardens designed by leading names with Floral Marquee at the centerpiece. The Show also features smaller gardens such as the Artisan and Urban Gardens.

This year the event was held from May 21st to May 25th and as always a connecting service from Victoria to the Show was provided by London General with a mixed fleet of buses and at least one coach. Gavin was on hand to record some of the buses and the coach used.

All pictures by Gavin Francis ©

London General's E14, now open top is seen heading for the show on May 24th.

London General's E12, still top covered is seen heading for the show on May 24th.

London General's E284, one of the latest members of the Private Hire fleet is seen heading for the show on May 24th.

London General's PVL391 now one of the oldest members of the Private Hire fleet is seen heading for the show on May 24th.

London General's WVL83 now one of the even older members of the Private Hire fleet is seen heading back to show for returning customers on May 24th.

RML2318 heads to Victoria for another load of visitors, note the blind specially printed for 2019!

Once a member of National Express A1 fleet for Stansted Airport, VC1 is seen on the Chelsea Flower Show service.

David Gray records Chippenham Bus Rally & running Day on May 26th 2019

The third Chippenham Bus Rally & Running Day was held on Sunday, May 26th and this year featured a display to celebrate 50 years since the formation of the National Bus Company – an important event in UK bus industry history.

As usual, there were buses and sales stands at the Wiltshire College & University Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, and an opportunity to ride free on vintage buses running a series of routes based on Chippenham Bus Station.

A free feeder bus service to the event ran from the Haymarket in Bristol (outside the Bristol Fashion pub) at 9.00am and from opposite Bath Bus Station on Dorchester Street at 9.30am. The bus returned from Chippenham Bus Station at 5.00pm.

From the late nineteen fifties until the mid nineteen sixties the Bristol MW with a five cylinder Gardner under-floor engine and a 45-seat Eastern Coach Works body was the standard single deck bus for Bristol Omnibus Company and, indeed, other former Tilling companies.

981 and 990EHY were found dry stored in a farmers’ barn in Lowland Scotland in 2009, along with at least one other (not Bristol Omnibus Company) Bristol MW, where they had been used since withdrawal in the nineteen seventies as fruit pickers’ transport.

981EHY was acquired for the Collection by Mike Walker and Alan Peters in June 2010 and then taken by Chepstow Classic Buses to The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, and subsequently to Winkleigh.

In the summer of 2011 the decision was taken to restore her, using some mechanical parts from 990EHY (which remains in the ownership of David Hoare) and, painted into OMO livery and carrying Bath Services fleet names, she entered the Rally Circuit at the Bristol Vintage Bus Group’s open day in March 2013.


869NHT was one of four Bristol FS-type double deck buses delivered to Bristol Omnibus Company in 1961 with removable roofs for sea front services at Weston-super-Mare.

She is of the “Lodekka” type with a 6-cylinder Gardner engine and a five speed manual gearbox, driving to a drop centre rear axle enabling a low overall height whilst retaining a low flat floor. When delivered she was in an all over cream livery, and at one time carried the Weston-super-Mare coat of arms on her side panels.

When she had finished her service in Weston she operated as an open top bus for several operators, before being acquired by Martin Curtis and Mike Walker. Towards the end of 2005 she was taken to the premises of Chris Brown in Shropshire where restoration is finished.


This 1985 LEYLAND on number plate C653 LJR was first registered on Thursday 1st of August 1985. The number plate C653LJR was first registered near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was painted yellow/white previously.

The bus started life with Northern General with fleet number 3653.


EDV505D is a Bristol MW6G/ECW which operated for Western National at Plymouth first and later on Royal Blue express services and touring work. In service from 1966 until withdrawal in November 1977.


Plaxton Panorama Elite II Bedford VAL RPR 738K new to Rendell, Parkstone 4/72 then to Attleborough (Norfolk Coachways) 5/77 (still there 4/80)


TUO497 - Bristol LS-ECW new to Southern National in 1957 with 5 HLW. Stored for over 20 years and restored to this condition by Martyn Hearson (Renown). She's fitted with a 6HLW motor and seen here at the Chippenham Running Day in May 2019.


 In service with Western National Omnibus Company Limited, Exeter (333)in 1940 then Converted to B35R in 1942 and in March 1950 was rebodied with Beadle B36R bodywork. Now owned by the 333 Bus Group.


MFM39 is a Bedford OB with a Duple Vista body. It was new in 1950 to the Crosville fleet in North Wales. It is preserved and known as 'Bosworth' following an appearance on television using that identity.


United Counties Bedford YRT / Willowbrook RBD111M was in store for 12 years before being restored to original condition.


National Welsh NS492 BUH240V, Leyland National 2  new in May 1980, The Leyland National 2 was, in many respects, what the LN should have been from the beginning. The troublesome 500 series engine was replaced with a derivative of the Leyland 680, together with the option of a Gardner 6HLXB; and the radiator has been moved to the front, which would have improved the weight distribution as well as the cooling. These three buses were of the short variety, but the extra length created by the front mounted radiator meant that they were around 35' long, so only marginally shorter than an RELL. A simplified heating system, that had already been available in the short B series version of the mark 1 National, means that the distinctive pod on the roof rear is no longer required.


C537 DAT is a Leyland Olympian ONLXB/1RH with Eastern Coach Works bodywork. It was new in 1986 as East Yorkshire 537, fitted with semi-coach seats. It is seen below in the National Express local coach livery.


Go South Coast 2005 ALEXANDER DENNIS HW54BUA was first registered on Tuesday, February 1st 2005. Seen in this attractive livery at the Chippenham Running Day in May 2019.


Jack Cooper "catches" the last HST through our area

"Here are my pictures from the last HST. The leading power car was 43002 Intercity 125 'Sir Kenneth Grange' with the rear power car being 43189 in GWR Green. "


"43002 will soon be in the National Railway Museum in York."

The You-tube video records another angle on the last HST


I realise that we are bus people but the HST is a part of many of our lives and I am told the new Class 800 types are not so comfortable.

Another video to watch is the one below of 43002 & 43198 The Flying Banana Last HST Farewell Tour 01/06/2019 1Z23 at Oxford Station.


Very many thanks to Jack for his interesting pictures. 

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

As usual Gordon has sent a number of interesting pictures from his area including one which is more "local" !

Taken at Johnston Terrace Edinburgh New to
Barnard Kavanagh Volvo 9900 191D33848 in CIE Tours livery.

Taken at Alexander Dennis Falkirk factory on May 31st, a new Enviro 400 MMC - SK19BYP  for Imperial Coaches near Slough
They got their first one in 2018 an 18 plate this is the second one for them same type. 

Taken on June 2nd in Corstorphine Edinburgh,
Lothian 1051 - SJ18NFA Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3
seen on route 98 to
Gardening Scotland event at Ingliston Show Ground.

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

You will be welcome at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 11th at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford, OX4 4EY, at 7.15 p.m. when Matt Bullock will talk on his specialist subject with the title:

"A miscellany of (mostly ceased) Oxfordshire Independents" 

At our AGM Simon Hewings was elected as our chair and Matt Bullock as our treasurer, with Graham Low continuing as secretary, and Geoff Bushell looking after our website.

As always a wide range of food is available at the Tree Hotel before our meetings.

How I sometimes I wish I could time travel, two great vehicles from local operators.
I think the talk by Matt Bullock will be well worth listening to.


Fleet news and developments

 StreetLite 2318 branded for the 33 but with a 37 service leaves The Eden HW on May 30th by Gavin Francis.

Branded for the X60 this Citaro, 3915, is seen working an X30 service to Aylesbury on May 30th by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 3919, branding for the 300-, leaves The Eden for Maidenhead on May 30th by Gavin Francis.

Recently repainted 5460 leaves The Eden heading for Aylesbury with a 300 service on May 30th by Gavin Francis.

 5467 also recently repainted is seen heading for Aylesbury with a 280 service on June 1st by Jack Cooper. 




Gavin Francis

This is the old Carousel depot in Wycombe. Now an office block made out of old containers!!

Citaro 878 leaves Eden Bus Station with a 102 service to Uxbridge on May 30th by Gavin Francis.

Ex London General Carousel's 939 still awaiting the middle door to be remove and seen on May 30th by Gavin Francis.
941 is nearing completion of the removal of the middle door.


Jack Cooper

"Soon after the recent pride event was over, 367 was back in service on the X3. All branded Volvos were working the X3 yesterday, 367, 368 and 369."

I imagine that all three wrapped buses on one route is maybe a record? ED.

Pictures by Jack Cooper showing 367 taking part in the Gay Pride march.

Later 367 was shown working the X3 on June 1st by Jack Cooper.

369 is seen at Queens Lane ready for an X3 service to Abingdon by Jack Cooper on June 1st.

608 is heading for Barton on June 1st by Jack Cooper.

609 is working the U5 on a Brookes service on June 1st by Jack Cooper.

Levante 51 with an inbound Airline service in St Aldates on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Levante tri-axle 56 with an inbound 737 service in St Aldates on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Tri-axle Volvo/Plaxton 75 is seen having a rear wheel changed in Gloucester Green on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

204 has minimum branding seen heading for Kidlington on June 1st by Gavin Francis.

222 is looking very clean and tidy with a 35 to Abingdon in St Aldates on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 317 is seen in St Aldates on route 4 but only as far as Morrell Avenue on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Brookes 608 is seen working a 400 service in St Aldates heading for Seacourt on June 23rd by Gavin Francis.

882 is seen working a 4C service near Carfax Corner on June 1st
and then the same Citaro with an interesting rear advert working 250 on June 3rd  both by Gavin Francis. 

219 with an X2 loading in St Aldates on June 1st by Gavin Francis.

223 is seen loading on an X2 service in St Aldates on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

A rather striking super rear advert 861 is seen by The Randolph en route to Bicester on route 250 on June 3rd by Gavin Francis.

StreetLite 441 seen outside Didcot Station working the 98 to Great Western Park on June 1st by Jack Cooper.

623 is seen working the X2 to Oxford on June 1st by Jack Cooper. 


PREMIUM COACHES BD14KYE turns into Buckingham Palace Road on August 24th 2014 by Gavin Francis.

The coach above has now been sold to Heyfordian as seen in St Aldates by Gavin Francis taken on June 1st 2019.

 MAN 18.440 Beulas C20HTL seen in St Aldates by Gavin Francis taken on June 1st 2019.


Stagecoach Yorkshire

As previously reported Volvo B11R/Caetano Levante III coaches 54404-10 are now at Chesterfield having displaced Volvo B9R/Caetano Levante coaches 53731-37 to Stagecoach East Scotland


BV19XPG  Vo B11RT YV3T2U825JA192064  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54404 
BV19XPH  Vo B11RT YV3T2U822JA192071  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54405 
BV19XPJ  Vo B11RT YV3T2U824KA192624  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54406 
BV19XPK  Vo B11RT YV3T2U82XKA192627  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54407 
BV19XPL  Vo B11RT YV3T2U82XKA192630  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54408 
BV19XPM  Vo B11RT YV3T2U825KA192678  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54409 
BV19XPN  Vo B11RT YV3T2U827KA192679  Co   C??FLt  5/2019  Yorkshire Traction  54410 


Herbert Porter

SN59AWW. Alexander Dennis Enviro E40H. SFD16MBRA7GXB4310: Alexander Dennis H37/27D: 7418/1: new to Alexander Dennis as a demonstrator and loaned to Reading in November 2009 has been acquired by Reading Bus. Also loaned to Oxford in early 2015 until mid 2016 as their 900 and painted in full fleet livery.


Bob Morley

An away-day for this Reading Buses Purple service gas bus 718 seen on the Reading bound Jet Black service in Thatcham Broadway on Tuesday, June 4th. Passengers must get confused by the “All Day and All Night” information on the bus side not available on the Jet Black route.

 Picture by Bob Morley.



Stagecoach South East

A further Volvo B9R transferred to this fleet is 53706 from East Scotland.

Stagecoach North Scotland

Former London megasightseeing.com open top Trident 18497 is now in the Seasonal Reserve Fleet at Orkney.


Theo Freeman

Banbury Dart 34467 in Banbury Depot and 34471 operating a B9 on it's last day in regular service? (Seen yesterday) 


Disposal to Ensign Dealer: Optare Solos YJ56AOM/AOS/AOP/AOR, YJ07EGE; Trident AE55DKJ

Further MAN/Enviro 300s recorded by the company as returning to service following Euro 6 engine conversion are 22744/53/54 at Stroud. They have displaced Trident 18377 and Enviro 400 19128 to the Reserve Fleet.

Reserve Fleet Trident 18315 is now allocated to Gloucester ousting similar 18180 to the Reserve Fleet.

Also at Gloucester is 8.9m Enviro 200 36080 from North Bristol which has been swapped with standard Enviro 200 36136.

Now for disposal is MAN/Enviro 300 22848 whilst vehicles sold are Dart SLF 34585; MAN/Enviro 300 22623 and Volvo B10M 52628.

West's 15969 leaves Gloucester Green with an S6 service on May 31st by Gavin Francis. 

Not everything always goes to plan and above we see 54274 having a new screen fitted at the depot.


Tetley of Leeds T888TET is working on hire to Megabus leaving VCS taken by Gavin Francis during May 31st.

Not in service, 54605 "Bus Lightyear" seen on May 31st by Gavin Francis. 


Smaller operators and London developments

R Sharman

Grayline Coaches have a new Wrightbus Streetlite WF for its contracted E1 service to Elmsbrook. SK19 EYJ is seen when two weeks old in Bicester.


Theo Freeman

Sorry for not sending anything in recently, not had time to get out but I do have a few photos from London and the local area.

BigBus Tours Dennis Trident LV51 YCH outside London Victoria station

Metroline VWH2332 Volvo B5TL operating a 52 to Waterloo

Go-Ahead E200 SE201 operating a 170 to Roehampton.
(All seen outside London Victoria Station on the 30th of May)


Optare Solo MX08MYO operating an 3A to Shipston-on-Stour by Theo Freeman

Optare YJ59GEU by Stratford market place by Theo Freeman.

Gavin Francis

LT502 shows off this wrap for 5G EE seen in Buckingham Palace Road with a route 11 service on May 31st by Gavin Francis.