It seems that some readers were confused by the start of my Editorial for last week's issue (nr.46) and felt that it lacked a title or obvious start. Apologies for that but I felt that it was all self explanatory.

Currently it seems to have been a quiet week blessed by reasonable weather. The only matter seems to be motorists who drive down off slip roads on to the M40 against the flow of traffic. This has been highlighted by the damage to No Entry signs at junction 5 off slip road from Oxford where two of the four very large no entry signs have been hit and since removed leaving a temporary large no entry sign in place for the time being.

Sadly it seems to be the elderly motorists who are causing the problem and one wonders, as an elderly motorist, how long it will be before some drastic action is taken by the police and DVLA? One lady is reported to have handed in her driving licence after such an experience! Another crash which happened, was on the on slip at Junction 2 Oxford bound where four cars ran into each other, one being pushed up in the air and the drivers of the cars were not all elderly.

Another matter of some interest to the enthusiast fraternity is the application of specific route branding on buses which then appear on anything but the route declared by the branding. No one company is blameless and surely such branding costs a great deal of money. One also wonders how many travellers are gained by such branding substantiating this expense? On this matter it is apparent that Arriva are no longer pushing MAX branding but will they retain the present route branding on so many MAX buses? Whilst a great number people will appreciate the route and colour brandings, when the bus doesn't turn up due to, maybe mechanical defect, traffic delays or staff shortages, I can imagine that any bus, any colour, any route, which turns up will be gratefully received, especially if said "customers" are enjoying a wet and windy bus stop lacking even the barest essentials of shelter. Maybe readers might like to comment on my thoughts?

Arriva 3030 on the 280. Oxford 303 on the 5 both by Gavin Francis and Stagecoach standard on Gold route S9 by Jack Cooper
all taken in the last 14 days! 

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

Unfortunately it has not been possible to arrange a speaker for our meeting on Tuesday, February 19th and I am unable to be present myself. Although the meeting room booking has been cancelled, you are of course welcome to meet at The Tree Hotel for a social gathering. 

News of future meetings will be circulated as soon as possible. With apologies Matt (Chair)

Hybrid Citaro on trial in Blackpool

A Mercedes-Benz Citaro 0530 Hybrid (BF68ZHB), built as a demonstrator for EvoBus of Coventry, is currently on loan to Blackpool Transport. The bus commenced its two week trial period by operating on service 5 between Victoria Hospital and Halfway House.

The Citaro Hybrid approaching Victoria Hospital along Whinney Heys Road on February 15th 
© Alan Robson

More memories from  the past from Paul Bateson

Another week and more pictures from Paul Bateson now living in Canada. His excellent web site should give readers many happy hours of browsing. Paul's current major interest is British Buses Abroad which can be seen at this link:

Buses World Wide by Paul Bateson

I've chosen pictures from Paul's collection which reflect our local areas. Pictures which are Taken in September 1968 were on an Omnibus Society Tour using Thames Valley DP Lodekka 838.

Daimler Roadliner demonstrator thereafter purchased by Oxford as their 639 seen in Gloucester Green on June 8th 1970. © Paul Bateson

Stratford Blue nr 10 NAC416F working the 44 to Stratford seen at Gloucester Green on July 1st 1968.  © Paul Bateson

Thames Valley 103 HBL83 working the 22 from Maidenhead on July 16th 1970.  © Paul Bateson

Thames Valley 149 KWN795, which came from United Welsh Services Limited, Swansea, working a 49 to Camberley seen in Newbury on July 16th 1970.  © Paul Bateson

This started life with South Midland and won various trophies at the British coach Rally in Brighton 1958, seen now downgraded with a new fleet number 162
working a 24 local service in Maidenhead 12 years later on May 13th 1970. © Paul Bateson

S330-JCY996 came from United Welsh and is seen with a 36 working in Wycombe's parking area on September 22nd 1968.  © Paul Bateson

Bristol RE S331 LJB331F with a 17 service to Henley from Maidenhead on September 22nd 1968. © Paul Bateson

I hope that readers have enjoyed these pictures and append a couple of observations from last week's issue.

Peter Cartwright

A few comments on the old photos from Paul Bateson. 

RF22 - this coach was never allocated to High Wycombe garage but was based at Victoria (GM) garage as a spare to cover breakdowns in the Central area - hence the reduced blind display as this covered all Green Line routes in Central London. It does display HE running numbers but I cannot fathom where the photo was taken. This former Private Hire coach was shorter than a Green Line RF and had 4 fewer seats and would have been withdrawn by 1963. 

Thames Valley 621 on local service 33 is NOT captured at the Wycombe Marsh depot as buses went down into the garage from Micklefield Road. In wet weather the garage was often flooded. This looks like the former garage in Desborough Road - now long gone. 

RF563 on the 706 in Aylesbury is a big surprise as this bus was never allocated to Tring (TG - the code "chalked"?) on the side. I remember it at Windsor around this time and in about 1969 was outshopped in red livery and finished its working life in the Central Area. 

Until quite recently I spent seven and a half weeks in India and the bus scene there has to be seen to be believed!  Travelling by bus there is quite an experience. It was not easy to take photos as the volume of traffic there is unbelievable.

Ed Maun

Good to see some more old photos in issue 46.     

May  I be allowed a correction;  Thames Valley Bristol LWL 621 GJB 259 on service 33 is actually  outside the Thames Valley Desborough Road garage.       

You can also see the rear corner of Bristol FLF 838. Why is this in High Wycombe as it is one of the coach seated Lodekka’s (hence dual purpose livery) and would normally be on the Reading to London services?

As mentioned above, it was on an Omnibus Society Tour. Ed.

Mike Walker

Just caught up with this week’s page which brought back some memories, not least Paul Bateson’s shot of 198 at Maidenhead bus station. The 18 was our local route and my memories go back even further to the SC4LKs which arrived just months before we moved to Little Marlow. For a five year old used to travelling on RTs when we lived at Potters Bar, trips to the shops on those monstrous heaps of shivering tin was quite a shock. The occasional times I had to use it in the SU era wasn’t much better!

I asked Mike for some memories and pictures and he replied:

Remember? Do I half. It was partly pressure from the Marlow Maidenhead Passengers’ Association (I was on the committee at the time) along with Marlow Town and Bisham Parish Councils to restore direct bus service into town via Bisham that led to Awful Valley acquiring them. This was before the general minibus revolution and the Leyland 440EA Ascough Clubman was one of the few options. The SUs had fallen apart a few years earlier and with the opening of the A404 Marlow by-pass the opportunity was taken to send the 18 that way.

Thames Valley's S304 NBL734 with an 18 service in Marlow(Quoiting Square) on September 22nd 1968. ©
Paul Bateson

 The first 501, UJB501N, was exhibited at the 1974 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court where I was amused that all references to Marlow on the blind were spelt “Morlow” – well, they were built in Ireland – which despite me pointing it out to the sales staff, wasn’t, I’m told, corrected until after delivery. They had to have special blinds made as the standard ones were too big. The other two were delayed and reregistered before entering service as they fell foul of the centralisation of vehicle registrations. They entered service in February 1975.

As you say, they were not the most reliable of vehicles partly because the chassis was unsuited to the task of all day stage carriage work and the challenge of Bisham Hill. But then that had also proved an obstacle for each generation of “Marlow Bridge Buses”. Whilst the drivers never liked them and tended to treat them somewhat roughly adding to their reliability issues, initially the passengers did but the novelty soon wore off as the bodies started to rattle and shake themselves to pieces. They were known as “Bread Vans” and one driver told me that he pulled up at a stop where an elderly lady was waiting. She failed to board initially as she had mistaken its approach for a Walls sausage delivery van!

501 on display outside Court Garden in Marlow at a MMPA event just after delivery.

The inside, obviously!
501 made its maiden public journey on February 2nd 1975.

501 in Bourne End on the very short-lived 42 which, I think ran up through Hedsor to Wooburn Moor.

503, by now renumbered 553, dumped in the yard at Maidenhead garage around the time of withdrawal in 1979.

Their successors were, in some ways, even worse. Having tried out one of Midland Red’s shortened Ford/Plaxtons, AV had them do the same cut-and-shut job on three of the Ford/ECWs, 797-799, TRD723-725N. These were a disaster as all the weight was at the front with nothing over the rear, driven, wheels. They were a nightmare in wet or icy conditions and it wasn’t long before Brother Bond (you remember Alan) and his comrades in the local branch of the TGWU “blacked” them having served for less than a year. The 18 returned to the A404 with REs or Nationals and Bisham lost its bus link into Marlow once again – never to return. 

A photo of 799 in Quoiting Square, Marlow.

Also what really caught my eye was the shot of AV 1102 on the X4 not only sporting Londonlink branding but also “London – Marlow Motorway Express”. This would have been for a short-lived joint AV-Green Line service 754 which started/terminated at the junction of Henley Road and Spinfield Lane in Marlow. The attached photo shows 1183 picking up a customer at Blind Lane turning in Bourne End on a miserable day. Regrettably I don’t have a note of the date and it would be interesting if any of your readers can confirm the period this service operated.

Picture of 1183

An additional couple of pictures provided by Mike are of Stokenchurch and Fingest garages from the mid '70s which are classic. For those interested in matters Thames Valley it is most definitely worth referring to the excellent books by Paul Lacey mentioned below. They cover so many aspect of the operations of Thames Valley it is advisable to have all three volume, if you do not already have same.

Stokenchurch & Fingest garages in mid 1975 by Mike Walker.
Fingest is long gone, the site being occupied by a house and Stokenchurch whilst recognisable is a base for a commercial firm

A point of note for Fingest Dormy shed was that sometimes in the winter two coaches would be stored at the back. When it opened in 1929 it replaced an unusual arrangement whereby the crews, not being local men, needed to staff the two buses which were parked overnight in The Kings Arms at Skirmett from sometime in 1928, said crews stayed overnight in The Kings Arms and doubtless changed over at some point after a day or more when they arrived either in Henley or High Wycombe. For younger readers most buses after those times, even single deckers, had a driver and conductor. I must thank Paul Lacey for this interesting aside.

Paul Lacey has this poster about his books and how to obtain them. The main book pictured is a brand new publication and full of information and pictures of our local Chiltern's area. The book is £15.00 Post Free provided you mention the OCBP.

Paul Lacey's brand new book full of history of the area. It is post free provided you quote the OCBP.

With many thanks for those contributions and this is what makes the OCBP a special record of buses near and around The Chilterns.  Ed.

Gavin Francis visits This Bus at Binders Yard, High Wycombe.

 This Bus ceased trading in December but the buses are still in the yard. RML has black ribbons and a wreath with R.I.P. on it. 

Fleet News

Paul Swann, Fleet Planning Manager advises "New Ticket Machines will go live this weekend at Aylesbury and Luton"  

They are Ticketer -   https://www.ticketer.co.uk/products/

I said to Paul that this may mean that the 300 service from WYC - AYL will have different machines and Paul responded "Yes for a week Wycombe changes next week then Leicester And Derby the2/3 March then over to the West Oswestry goes a week after the West."

Now, we have some pictures from various sources.

DAF/Wright Cadet 3537 passes Penn Pond with a lunchtime service 31 from Wycombe on February 13th by Nick Ross.

MAX branded Citaro 3030 with a 280 service at Oxford Train Station on February 16th by Gavin Francis.

E400 5468 working the 280 branded Sapphire for this route and seen  at Oxford Train Station on February 16th by Gavin Francis. 

E400 5464 with a 280 in Castle Street on February 4th by Jack Cooper.

Carousel have had to lend one of their Solos to Thames Travel thereby providing cover for a diversion of the 67 service which runs from Wantage to Faringdon.

This may provide one area of need but of course 710 was damaged in a bollard accident in Watford some weeks ago and now there are only two Solos with Carousel, 711 and 712, for the time being.

Airport service 226 with a 2D by Debenhams on February 12th by Gavin Francis.

MMC's 611 and 613 with special U1X services for a Brookes Open Day on February 16th by Gavin Francis.

654 with a 5 road service on February 17th by Gavin Francis
Fortunately one cannot see both sides at the same time - Anyone know why?

Oxford's 601 heading along St Giles on February 4th by Jack Cooper. It is most annoying when blinds don't come out.
I think it is often necessary to take a "string" of pictures to get the blind setting.

When the sun is low of directly on the bus it is often better to get a change of position to avoid the glare.
Branded 658 is working a 5 road service at Castle Street on February 4th by Jack Cooper.

PMU 975 near Frideswide Square on February 16th by Gavin Francis.

I received a nice piece from Lewis Parker regarding problems with the Wantage-Faringdon service including some pictures as shown below.

Lewis writes "After seeing that there would be a diversion in Wantage where the 67 runs, which also meant that they could not run connecting buses between the 67 and X32, I was interested in seeing which bus would run this tight diversion route. 

At Wantage, after a quick driver change between 713 and 230, which had been awaiting the arrival of the 67 into Wantage, we started our tour of the Stockham housing estate, which was the diversion planned and definitely unsuitable for any of Thames-Travels usual fleet as it involved driving partially on the pavement to avoid badly parked cars on the narrow estate. 

I think that bringing Solos back to the 67 and 38 more often, especially on the 38 which runs in direct competition to the more frequent S8 and S9 services would help Thames Travel reduce its costs and therefore avoid the need to cut back on services providing the means for people without cars to get about."

Pictures by Lewis Parker of Solo 713 operating on loan to Thames Travel on February 16th.

Citaro 869 is seen ready to work a 250 service to Bicester when seen by Gavin Francis on February 12th in Magdalen Street East.

Some interesting pictures from Gavin Francis shown below.

NEx SH204 BG65TGK parked on Elizabeth Bridge, the date February 16th by Gavin Francis.

SH 243 BF68LCZ parked on Elizabeth Bridge, the date February 16th by Gavin Francis.

I am told that the first of the new Caetano IIIs for the 737 service has arrived at Oxford's depot. Pictures would be appreciated.

Theo Freeman writes "I have taken some more pictures for the page but am away for the next week or so."

Redline E200 on the 132 to Buckingham at Banbury (not sure of fleet number/reg)

Stagecoach E200 36767 and 36448 (only one left that was originally delivered to Banbury)

Stagecoach 37173 at Banbury bus station (used for the Saturday only 501/502 to Harbury/Leamington)

Now we have some pictures from various readers.

Gavin Francis wanted to mention that new Guildford Park & Ride Electric, 29108, is not the first time that fleet number had been used!
 Trainer 29108 seen at BMW, OXFORD on June 11th 2005 by Gavin Francis.

 Gold MMC 10785with an S9 service to Wantage seen in Frideswide Square on February 17th by Gavin Francis.

The remaining Oxford Hybrids are now being painted in corporate colours. First body work is done before they are painted.
Above 12006 is seen with new panelling at Horspath and will shortly be going away for repaint. February 18th by Gavin Francis. 

Volvo B7RLE 21227 is still operating from Cambridge suggesting its transfer to Fenstanton has still to take place or has been cancelled.

The X5, worked by 54306, was diverted down Botley Road on Saturday February 16th and is seen passing the Train Station in these pictures by Gavin Francis.

Last based at Rugby, Catch22Bus's KP04GZR is seen in Westbourne Road, Cleveleys on February 7th. © Alan Robson

Generic Gold livery is now carried by Scania/Enviro 400s 15765-77, whilst the advertising wrap for Megabus on Enviro 200 37008 has now been removed and the vehicle returned to corporate livery.

Gavin Francis took some interesting pictures of West's Gold MMCs which are first glance looks like one is towing the other!

West's 10990 and 10993 in Park End Street on February 16th by Gavin Francis.

West's 10984 with an S6 in Frideswide Square on February 17th by Gavin Francis. 

Ed Tuburcio writes "We went to Isle of Mull in 2018 and saw this coach parked at Fionnphort ready to work a cross-island service to and from Craignure. I wondered if this had been an Oxford tube coach?"

Ex Megabus 50227 at Fionnphort on August 3rd 2018 by Ed Tuburcio.

Ed, I'm sorry to say that despite best hopes this was in its prime a Megabus coach operating between Scotland and London. The relevant Oxford tubes were 50201-50226 either 09 or 59 plates.

Seen last week on this page, now Megabus 54610 is working the M22 when seen by Gavin Francis on February 12th near VCS.

Same place, different day, 54608 "Wheely Wonka goes round to departures at VCS to work an M20 Edinburgh service on February 18th again by Gavin Francis.

Other operators

David Beynon has been in Windsor and sent some pictures of coaches to be seen in that tourist location.

Anderson Travel's Mercedes Mini coach PO66DHK in Windsor on February 9th by David Beynon.

A company that I've never seen, Insight Vacations operated by Quinn coaches YX17OCM, a Plaxton, is seen  in Windsor on February 9th by David Beynon.
Quinn's come from Newry, Northern Ireland and the coach is a Volvo B11R with Plaxton body.

Travellers Choice of Carnforth's Volvo/Jonckheere PO18EEU  is seen  in Windsor on February 9th by David Beynon.