What a beautiful weekend  which, as you may imagine, demanded my attention to the garden! So this issue is delayed somewhat but has much of interest to commend reading to you all.

David Gray attended the Winchester Bus event on May 6th, David Allen has been busy trawling his photo archives for more interesting pictures, Paul Bateson has been to the USA and visited Las Vegas and The Hoover Dam and I visited Bedford last week on Thursday to meet friends on a day that was very different to the current pleasant "summer" weather. At one point it rained so hard I barely could see where I was going!

Graham Low attended an open day at ADL Guildford providing some interesting pictures of chassis building which many of us may not have seen before.

Some of the biggest changes continue with TfL awarded contract and change of operators. This does provide pictures of new 19 plate buses east of our main area.

The new Tourismo coaches for Oxford coach services seem not to be arriving soon and it is notable that one Euro 5 coach, nr 65, has been appearing almost daily on the X90 in recent weeks.

Updates on Ramblings are on hold at present but the latest fleet lists can be found at the following link.


Some personal memories

Well, it is now almost 80 years since yours truly first saw the light of day in those wartimes of early 1940 when trams still ran around Manchester and these were not the present day smart vehicles but in many cases rather elderly and care worn examples of Edwardian England interspersed with more modern Pilcher designs which found ready homes in other cities when Manchester dispensed with its trams. The buses I remember were also in many cases not new and it was not until 1946 that I saw my first new bus, a Daimler CWA6/Brush bodied example, with relaxed wartime specifications, giving a not too good ride, since I was used to pre-war Daimler COG5s and Leyland TD5s with typical streamlined bodywork giving a smooth ride and the odd Crossley not my favourite bus.

Our house was hit by an incendiary bomb in late 1940 during heavy bombing around Manchester and amazingly said bomb failed to detonate and bounced off our roof into the front garden. I honestly cannot remember this event but my early memories were of trips into Manchester on the Daimler COG5s and visits to my grandparents using North Western with luxurious Bristol K5Gs with coach seated ECW lowbridge bodywork. The sounds of these buses remain with me even after all these years and also the lovely summer days of the final months of World War 2. Then the return home of my father who had been in the Middle East for four years. It was very strange seeing this man who had been no more than a picture in a photo frame in our house. No phone calls in those days and letter written many weeks previously. I had never heard his voice until I was six.

Youngsters in modern times cannot imagine how life was then but have their own problems to contend with now. No child of 5 years old would today be allowed to ride off some distance from home to bus spot, it was quite safe, not so in modern times. The buses and coaches we look at are very different than  those of yesteryear but one advantage is that some of these buses can be seen at Rallies so often recorded in these pages. 

......and so onto this week's page with thanks to all those who contributed. 

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society - next meeting

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 21 May, starting at 7.15 p.m., at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford, OX4 4EY. We begin with our Annual General Meeting with the following agenda: 

1 Chairs report

2 Treasurers report

3 Visits report 

4 Election of chair and treasurer

5 Plans for 2019-2020. Please think about how you would like our meetings to be arranged and what you would like to hear about or discuss.  

6 Any other business

This will be followed by an illustrated talk by Graham Low on the recent Alexander Dennis open day at their Guildford factory, as well as other members' pictures.

Paul Bateson visits Las Vegas and The Hoover Dam USA - all pictures are copyright to Paul

Paul travels the world looking for British Buses Abroad, the title of his regular magazine. His latest visit to the USA has provided some interesting pictures for readers to enjoy.

Paul writes "I went to Las Vegas for the Motor Bus Society’s Spring Meeting.  I have attached the MBS itinerary with details of our activities which you should be able to tie up with the pictures.  The only change is that on the Saturday we did not go to Bullhead City but stayed in Laughlin."

For those who maybe interested Paul's file is at the link below  which a Acrobat .pdf file.

MBS Spring 2019 - Itinerary Package.pdf

Ex Manchester Daimler Fleetline 4721 now in Las Vegas seen on April 25th.

Greater Manchester Transport 3135 now in Las Vegas seen on April 25th.

Once with MOORES of Kelvedon 20PVX seen in Las Vegas on April 23rd.

050 of The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada seen working through Las Vegas Boulevard on April 24th.

I will be adding more pictures in the next issue.

Malcolm Crowe was in Bedford - pictures copyright to Malcolm.

As mentioned in the introduction I visited Bedford last week using the Park & Ride from Elstow into the town centre. Details can be found at the link below and a pleasant surprise was that the parking was free!


One thing I found strange was that since me last visit to this area many years most of the roads and signs for same have changed and at times I really wondered why I was on , let's say the A5, which those years ago I would not have used.

My ride into the town centre was on an ex Norfolk Green bus, 37436 - SN16ORF now repainted into Stagecoach colours. These are some the newest buses with Stagecoach Bedford and do provide a nice ride. My return to the Elstow was more mundane since my bus was an elderly Dart, 34428 - KV53EZE, which was heading for Flitwick via Elstow P&R. It was standing room only after we left the outskirts of Bedford and the rattling bodywork at the rear had to be experienced to be believed!

A selection of pictures including other operators in Bedford.

Some of these buses are used on The Elstow Park & Ride service. Above 47434 still in Norfolk Coasthopper livery.

The Bus Station in Bedford.

The X5 service is operated out of Bedford and above we see 54301 heading for Cambridge whilst 54315 is heading for Oxford.

It was suggested that Bedford gets Cambridge cast offs and above we see 19889 working a 9A service.
However it seems this bus has always been in Bedford?

Dart 34825 is seen on layover at Bedford before working a number 6 to Brickhill.

Solo SR 47835, also from Norfolk Green, is seen heading off on a number 4 working.

Other operators to be seen include Grant Palmer whose 201 is seen readying itself for a run on the 25 to Harrold.

Pointer Dart 210 has doubtless come from GHA Travel, Wales but is now in full GP livery.

216 is an E200 new in 2016 and seen leaving on a 42 service to Toddington.

Dart 547 is seen leaving on a 74 service to Biggleswade in the white and purple livery.

uno now run to Milton Keynes with new StreetLites as seen above by WS58 on the C1. This is a Cranfield service.

My day of a few hours in Bedford finished with my return ride to Elstow Park & Ride, this time on a much older bus actually going through Flitwick. The P&R service has been combined with the Flitwick service and at peak times carries good loads. The bus provided was however much older than the inbound journey being some 16 years old!

A good load on 34428 heading for Flitwick via Elstow.

34428 setting down at Elstow P&R leaving plenty of room for the few travelling on to Flitwick.

Bedford seem much changed from my last visit in February 1958 when spending my first few days at RAF Cardington. My last trip in was on Birch Brothers Guy double deck on the 203!

Graham Low reports on ADL's open day at Guildford Works - photos copyright to Graham Low

Alexander Dennis held an open day at its Guildford factory on May 11th with suitable heritage vehicles invited. These were displayed alongside the manufacturer’s own collection.

The event also included factory tours with chassis vehicles of types E200, E400H and E500 on display,

Pictures from Graham Low 

David Gray records Winchester on May Bank Holiday 2019 - photos copyright to David Gray

Friends of King Alfred staged a successful Running Day on May Bank Holiday Monday and David Gray went along to provide us with some pictures of this event.

He writes "Many thanks for you comments regarding my Bournemouth photos - your captions certainly added much to my photos. I attended the Winchester bus rally on May 6th and have sent a selection of the photos."

Of interest was the repainting of the Brighton and Hove Bristol FLF into red and cream livery and 596 LCG in NBC red and white livery.

The inevitable star of any FoKAB Running Day has to be this Dennis which always runs with full loads!

Dennis was also represented by these two Dennis double decks from Aldershot & District's fleet.
Who would have though when these buses were built that Dennis would build the Loline, a licenced version of the Bristol third in line.

One Bedford OB from the wartime, looking almost brand new and one later one from the erstwhile Hants & Sussex company, a post war version!

Hollinshead's Foden PVRF6 rear engined Metalcraft bodied 41 seat NTU125, looking very spruce for a coach built in 1951!
Oh how we youngsters of those days wanted to ride in the front seat next to the driver.

How things had changed by 1958 when this AEC Reliance with Yeates Europa front entrance bodywork, VBT191, took to the road.

Long distance visitors were these two Glasgow Corporation buses, the Leyland also having an Albion badge implanted in the grill badge!

Reading acquired some ex LT Routemasters for local service and above is ex RM1990 also looking trim and tidy.

Portraying the National Bus Company livery for Hants and Dorset, a Bristol FLF6B with ECW bodywork owned by Dekkabus.

Many thanks to David Gray for the pictures provided.

Paul Bateson with some UK memories - pictures copyright to Paul.

Some more pictures from Paul Bateson's library of UK bus pictures which many of you enjoy.

I remember these coaches looking good when clean, 786 operated the Bracknell-London services, this picture from May 7th 1993.

Also in Bracknell, 174 looked quite clean and for those lovers of this type of bus a memory
for younger readers of maybe the first buses they remember. this picture from May 7th 1993.

Somehow to me, a better looking Leyland of the time, a Lynx from August 1992 seen some months later
again in Bracknell on this picture from May 7th 1993.

A nice line up in Reading, including a Dennis Loline behind this Bristol RE, 277 with Strachans bodywork from September 1968
taken October 29th 1974.

An Optare of Newbury Buses, 803, seen ready to depart for Basingstoke working the 32 on May 4th 1993.

A foretaste of things to come, Stagecoach Hampshire Bus's 538-J538GCD with service 30 to Winchester leaves Newbury on May 4th 1993.
The national fleet numbering system had yet to come in these early days of SC, each company using its own system.

Ex Singapore Leyland Olympian 999 of Oxford Bus is seen at Redbridge Park & Ride on May 4th 1993.
This bus is now preserved.

Also at Redbridge in the days before Stagecoach acquired Thames Transit, Ford Iveco minibus 2028
is working competing service 9 to the city again on May 4th 1993.

When the Oxford tube was owned by Thames Transit, the originators of this service, a Leyland Tiger/Plaxton C49FT
having come from Southern National and continuing the tubes offer of toilets on the London service long before Oxford Bus followed.

Ten years ago in 2009, one could find these ex Kowloon Motor Bus open tops at work, still with tropical windows on the lower deck and
narrow entrance and exit imported to work for Big Bus, when E356NUV was seen in London on May 25th 2009.

Further pictures will follow from Paul in the coming weeks.

David Allen with Stagecoach in Oxford memories

David Allen has provided us with some more pictures from the early days of Stagecoach in Oxford and other areas including Routemasters in London.

Driver training took place using these ex Dodge buses with normal gearboxes and which I am told where far from easy to drive.

In 1999 the M A N Jonckheeres arrived and here 38 is flanked by a loaned London TA431 as mentioned below.

Been at the archives again and came up with these that might interest you. Of particular interest the London tridents on loan for use on the Brookes service: Victoria bus station as it used to be: the RT on sight seeing circa late ‘80s I think and Buzz Lines neoplasm on trial for Oxford Tube duties. Quality a bit iffy on some I’m afraid.

TA433 with a Brookes service using temporary blinds.
The London buses came to us, brand new, for 4 or 5 months as I remember to cover increased Brookes services. After use with SCO they finally moved to London.

Fully garbed for Oxford service 77, 528 is seen at a Brookes location.

The M A N coaches had their fair share of troubles when in tube service and here 45 is being recovered in London.

New M A N Alexander ALX300's appeared in the late '90s following take over by Stagecoach and two are shown above.

The time had come by 2004 to replace the M A N coaches and the Neoplan Skyliner was chosen
 with some trials being undertaken using a Buzz Lines coach. It did not work in service.

The Skyliners duly arrived in late 2004 and 50108 and 50113 are seen at Horspath depot after a days service.

Showbus 2005 provided an opportunity to show off the new coaches and your Editor is seen with Harvey Cullimore and 50124
having won a trophy at Duxford that year.

The RT (4169) was pictured in Trafalgar Square I think about 1990ish as near as I can remember. Sorry I didn’t note dates in those days.

RML2401 works a 38 service from Victoria.

I have some more from David which I will include in the next issue. 

I should mention that the Olympian picture in a recent issue stated early 1990s when I should have said late 1990s. Apologies and thanks to Alexander for drawing my attention to this matter.

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

Gordon Scott has provided a few pictures from his area which I know interest readers.

Four more Lothian Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini from Go Ahead London noted two LX60DXG and LX11CVS at Seafield today.

Lothian 203 - LB61HYB Repaint from Ferrymill at Seafield.

Lothian Country are now using some ex Bullocks of Manchester buses on their routes.

Taken May 9th in George Street Edinburgh Quinns
OIB898 Van Hool Astromega
ex Richmond Coaches
, Lisburn. (Was BFZ9999, 449GTU and WP06JGU.

Readers questions

From Alexander.

Why do some buses in Oxford display the route number on the left and some have it on the right?  

Fleet news and developments

From Tony Bungay

Here are a couple of photos this week which you may find useful.

Solo 2452 seen in Aylesbury High Street on 11/5/19 working the 2 hourly 60 Service,
being one of the few routes in Buckinghamshire operated by Arriva but paid for by the Council.

Unbranded MAX Citaro 3031 on outskirts of Aylesbury working X8, and Enviro 400 Sapphire livery 5463 working it’s branded route again on May 11th.

5463 on its branded 280 route, shortly after repaint, seen on May 11th.

Pictures from Gavin Francis taken on May 10th.

Solo 2495 works the Downley Circular, route 30.

Citaro 3007, in new blue, is seen heading for Aylesbury.

Citaro 3018, off branded route 800/850 heads for Chesham on route 1.

Wycombe based 3914 with a 300 from Aylesbury but having 150 branding.

3920 with 300 branding works a 32 to Micklefield.

All MAX are losing this livery which should seen the end of branded buses on wrong routes.

4019 heads into Wycombe on a 300 service.

6043 was seen in use working the 32 service but lacking blinds and a paper substitute was used.
This bus was seen heading through Stokenchurch towards the northbound M40 a day later.

A better picture of the staff bus presently in use at Wycombe.
The previous one by me was far from satisfactory as the driver "shot out" of the bus station!!

5466, as yet in the original livery, is seen with a 280 short working to Haddenham on May 13th. 

Now with Berkshire, 47434 was originally with Solent and is seen on an X74 working in High Wycombe on May 10th by Gavin Francis.

From Phil Southall on May 14th

"The situation regarding 219 to 222 is 219 is on loan to Thames Travel and 220 to 222 should be allocated to Oxford. Carousel's 938 to 941 are having their centre door filled in and the first of these is underway now here at Cowley House (not sure which one)."

Where reports on movements between the three fleet occurs I will report this as a heading in future issues. 

Pictures taken by Gavin Francis on May 10th.

A difficult picture but one to show the end of the first World War in 1918 still enabled on the buses. This is 215.

216 is on its way to Totteridge but seems to be missing branding on the front.

Smartly turned out 419 is on the 35 to Flackwell Heath.

859 is seen on the 1A to Pond Park Estate, Chesham. Also very clean!

874 is on a 104 2chiltern hundreds" service to Slough.

877, still devoid of any branding, is off to Uxbridge on a 102 service. 

Gavin Francis reports that he saw a StreetLite heading London bound on the M40 this morning, May 15th, but having 5 Blackbird Leys on the blind. Wonder what's happening as this was a Demonstrator?

From Ian Stewart in Dublin

This refers to the picture in the last issue of 826.

Ex Oxford Citaro Dublin fleet numbers so far with Oxford Bus number second : 

8101 - 826 dual door

8102 - 823 dual door

8103 -  829 single door

8104 - 830 single door

8106 - 832 single door (still red)

I am now awaiting pictures promised from Ian.

From Graham Low

A view of COMS 369 in Oxfordshire Girl Guiding livery, taken on May 7th in Oxford High Street.

COMS 222 has been fully "city" branded and at work every day recently.

Pictures from Gavin Francis

220 with a 4A service at Queens Lane on May 14th.

Hybrid 312 on the 2A to Kidlington on May 11th.

Hybrid 313, in Park End Street, with the 400 to Thornhill on May 13th.

Wrapped for GWR with a 2 road service to Kidlington on May 13th, maybe the fleet number should be dark green?

Citaro 883, looking very trim, with a 2A to Kidlington on May 13th.

Coach 5 leaves for Heathrow on May 12th at Gloucester Green.

I had wondered if SNAP was still going and now we see coach 25 leaving for Bristol on May 12th.

201 leaves Gloucester Green on May 13th with some happy punters! I like the LIVE GUIDE but how else would one say this?

From Chris Jennings

Further to your request for info on the whereabouts of Carousel bus 219 (HF10 OXF) - it has now transferred to Thames Travel.

Please see their latest fleet list - dated May 2019.


Phil Southall advised only this morning (May 14th) that 219 is only on loan to Thames Travel !!

Citaro 864, connector branded is seen away from Didcot working the 250 to Bicester on May 13th by Gavin Francis. 

I am told that the bus wash at Horspath Depot has been out of service for the past few weeks and new parts were needed, ordered and work is now in hand to repair same. This accounts for the rather scruffy appearance of many in the fleet, doubtless made worse by the dry sunny recent days!

Picture by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 12003 is seen with a 2C to Kidlington on May 13th. This service goes to Andersons Avenue.

Pictures of operations in Bedford are in my article above.

Flagship of the X5, 54301 is seen leaving Oxford - Gloucester Green - for Cambridge on May 12th by Gavin Francis.

Currently on loan at Cambridge is Stagecoach London E200 driver training vehicle 36562. From SKM Media May 10th.

​Training fleet Dart SLF 34421 has returned to Peterborough following a period on loan to Bedford. However, it is currently in normal service at Peterborough and is operating from Long Sutton. Similar 34422, from Cambridge, remains on loan at Bedford

It appears that coach 50272 is still off the road with engine problems. 

Two of many Megabus adverts appearing around London.

54607, Lord Bussington, arrives in Oxford from Newcastle en route to Portsmouth on May 12th by Gavin Francis.

54610, Jenson Busson, on the same service again but this time a day earlier on May 11th from Gavin Francis. 

Smaller operators and London developments

From Gavin Francis

There was a Rail Replacement over the weekend all the way from Hillingdon to Uxbridge. Cannot believe coaches came from as far away as Ridleys at Leamington Spa.

The most interesting bus was today former Nottingham and then another owner before now being with Trustybus West Yorkshire National Bus Company liveried Scania. This was the best I could do for a picture. Look closely and you will see how tatty it is.

Taken on May 12th.

Hotel Hoppa at Heathrow by Theo Freeman

8321 on an H1 service with wrap branding.

8338 with an H9 service.

8345 with an H1 service. National Express logos have been removed from these vehicles.