Contributors are noted in bold red. 


First of all may I apologise for the absence of a post last week but I was away on holiday in North Wales. These days one does not like to advertise an absence from home. Life is not as easy these days as it was many years ago and house breaking is popular these days!

During my absence some of the new Oxford Airline coaches took to the road and, of course, my ever watchful correspondents kept me updated. Graham Low provided a picture of new number 30 at Thornhill on the 13th. The coach was heading for Heathrow at 1205 from the Park & Ride. Thereafter pictures arrived daily showing a number of the coaches under the Oxford heading below.

New Mercedes Tourismo nr 30 at Thornhill on July 13th by Graham Low.

As we drove northwards on the M40 heading for North Wales on July 11th I noted a new Airline coach heading towards Oxford but could not get the registration.

North Wales proved interesting and over the next few issue I will post some of the pictures taken including a new operator in Bangor, Dilwyn's Coaches

and and update on Alpine at Llandudno who still have at least one ex Oxford Bus coach in use on schools service. More to follow on Alpine in the next issue. 

More news of interest is the impending acquisition from First Group by various operators including Go Ahead and Stagecoach to mention a few.

Finally in this section is the report on the significant delays to all services when the section of Worcester Street to New Road was closed for several days, in addition traffic was prohibited from crossing Worcester Street from Hythe Bridge Street meaning that buses and coaches wishing to access the coach station or stops in the City Centre had to make the circuitous diversion to achieve what was needed. Some pictures of buses on diversion are included in the operators section.

The closure seen on July 17th by Gavin Francis.

News from Tony Bungay

 I looked on the Mix 96 website which had an article headlined popular Bus Service saved. The service in question  being the 60, which will be Council supported operated by Red Rose. 

The article stated that between 30 to 40 passengers a day used the service. It stated that Arriva operated 8 journeys a day on it, so that would seem to average out at 5 passengers per journey!

I think it is probably correct to say that probably the morning and afternoon peaks are the most used, probably the bulk being school children and concessions.

Therefore it is understandable  from an economic point of view that Arriva gave up the route. 

Whether two X60’s an hour to Milton Keynes is sustainable remains to be seen, and from Buckingham that becomes four if Stagecoach X5 is factored in. 

A MASSIVE £1 million roadworks project on the A40 is set to cause weeks of delays started on Monday, July 22nd

This extensive maintenance project will include resurfacing of the westbound carriageway between Thornhill Park & Ride and Ridgeway Road, draining repairs, duct installation and new kerbs to be fitted.

The work is expected to last up to four weeks and, although there will be disruption during this period, it is hoped that the new surface will not need further structural maintenance for many years to come.

Oxfordshire County Council
 said it has designed traffic management for the project to minimise impact on residents, businesses and all road users affected by these works. The authority said this will include lane closures, speed limit reductions and night-time working.

Delays are likely throughout the works and commuters are being asked to review their daily route, mode of transport and time of travel and where possible consider alternatives. The authority said the aim of the works was to 'improve the road surface of an extremely busy route into Oxford... accommodating local bus routes and coaches to and from London... meaning that no major road reconstruction will be required on this stretch of road for many years to come'.

So, one must expect quite a few problems for the coach services to and from London and the Airports. Indeed, on Monday, July 22nd - the first day - inbound Oxford tube coaches were accruing 45 minute delays as a result of single line working and long tailbacks to Wheatley.

New afternoon tea dining bus by Gavin Francis

Golden Tours have launched a new afternoon tea tour of London. The bus used started life with Stagecoach London as fleet number 17154. It is an Alexander/Trident registered V154MEV and when withdrawn was sold along with many similar buses to Golden Tours who converted it to part open top to form the initial fleet for their Round London Sightseeing Tour.


It continued in this role until the new EVoSeti/Volvos arrived and was then put into store.

It has now been converted into a Dining Bus with a full translucent roof fitted. The standard of finish is very high with plenty of room for the 39 seat capacity.


There is a wide choice of menus including, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal. They all include sandwiches, wraps and sweets. There are 3 levels of pricing being based on the seats location, lower deck, upper deck and front seats upper deck.


The tour takes in all the expected London sights and takes about 90mins. Full details can be found at : -

This type of tour has proved very popular with the Routemasters of The Afternoon Tea Bus being regularly seen around the streets of London and this new tour will provide another option for tourists who like a traditional tea whilst viewing the sights of London.

Some six years earlier in June 2013, Golden Tours were running this bus in its first reincarnation. Picture by Gavin Francis. 

Dilwyn's Coaches on the 67S by Malcolm Crowe.

Dilwyn's operate three vehicles of which two are as follows: ADL E200 YY64YKJ and Optare Solo MX05ELU. There is one further vehicle which I have not seen and am awaiting details of. The E200 was new to TLC Travel Ltd in Yorkshire and the Solo came from local operator Gwynfor Coaches but was new to Transdev.

I took the opportunity to ride on the 67 from Bangor to Gerlan on Sunday, July 14th with Dilwyn driving. The route takes many narrow roads to the north and south of the A5 on its way to Gerlan which is just beyond Bethesda, once the home of Purple Motors. You can see the route of the service at the link below.

67S Bangor-Gerlan

The service was well used for a Sunday and obviously provides a much needed service to outlying villages in the area of Snowdonia.

My pictures show the E200 in Bethesda and then at the terminus in Gerlan before returning to Bangor.

John Owen remembers his days with COMS in the '60s

It was summer 1965 in Bournemouth I’m not sure about the no1. Bus but I think it was 1964? It was summer 1965 in Bournemouth I’m not sure about the no1 bus but I think it was 1964?


The return of two once members of the Oxford tube fleet

Gavin Francis was on hand recently when two coaches from the 2009 fleet appeared in Oxford from Cambridge on July 7th. Andrews are running several of these coaches and speak highly of them. In fact I was told they would like more of them if they knew where to get them!

P24MBC in Oxford. This was once 50207 and had been to Scotland in the meanwhile!

Bearing several registrations in its life so far, P27MBC was once 50202 in the tube and SC fleets.


Fleet news and developments

Rather than split Arriva Southern Counties - Hemel from Arriva The Shires I'm including both in this issue.

Noted on Friday, July 19th working the 32 service was 3617 now inn the new Arriva blue livery. It currently is the only one of this type at Wycombe.

Taken this afternoon, July 23rd, this bus is proving illusive so apologies for no blind visible. M Crowe.
This bus sounded awful, engine noise included nasty knocking!

Adam Green

Just to let u know 3271 had a Bad Fire on the A41 last week it is a write-off !

Gavin Francis

July 17th, Arriva 6516 arrives on the 758 from Hemel and is from Arriva Southern Counties in Southend. TLB shows 6516 as off the road with accident damage and its place at Southend being taken by 6529 from Hemel !

This is an odd one - maybe they are planning a changeover in GLCS, London.

Citaro 3029 recently repainted with a number 1 and proving the clean wheels can improve the overall appearance of 3039 unrepainted. 

Nick Ross

"Arriva VDL 200 3873 (MX13 ALO) arrives at Leighton Buzzard with the 0645 150 service to Aylesbury.
This was one of 3 MK based VDL 200s on the 150 on July 9th 2019."

Tony Bungay

A new sapphire liveried vehicle appeared with service 150 on July 15th, 3867  is seen in Exchange Street Aylesbury.

5462 in Exchange Street Aylesbury, heading for Hemel Hempstead.


Bakers Mercedes BB16MTB in St. Giles on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

Volvo/Alexander PS P835FVU is still giving good service to Charlton and is seen above working a school service
by Wheatley on July 11th taken by Gavin Francis.

With the sale of many elements  of the First Bus up and down the UK one wonders if Slough could be on the list. Reading Bus and Go Ahead seem to be on the acquisition trail!!

Nick Freeman from First Weymouth depot

Volvo B7RLE's 69552 (on route 2), 69554 (on route 10), 69550 (on route 4) 

It appears that Flixbus and Eurolines are to be one. Some months ago FlixBus, the German startup backed by Daimler, General Atlantic, Silver Lake and others that has built an Uber-like network to manage bus logistics, drivers and passengers on intercity routes, announced that it is entering a deal to acquire Eurolines, a competing service currently owned by Transdev, a European public transport giant.

FlixBus is active in nearly 30 countries, including the U.S., but this is aimed at expanding services specifically in Europe.

Astromega 1-SAG-737 with an 815 working to Koln leaves VCS on July 2nd by Gavin Francis.

A French Iveco Flixbus EX-206-Q runs round to departures for a Grenoble service on July 2nd by Gavin Francis.

So, it seems that Flixbus have won all the battles and now become dominant in Europe for long distance economy coach travel.


Phil Southall, MD of the Oxford Group writes "new coaches with six into service so far with the other five to follow in the next week or so. 

Of the older coaches being replaced, so far only 3 and 82 have actually left the depot to Mercedes but 1, 4, 5, 7, 51 and 81 have been withdrawn from service and are being prepared for departure. Four from this list were expected to depart on Friday, July 19th. 

On the PMU fleet we have a white EVM vehicle on loan now at Oxford (fleet 968 but not carried) and an 'executive minibus' at Carousel on loan for the Johnson & Johnson contract. Not sure of registrations. Both of these will be replaced by two new EVM vehicles due in the next 2 to 3 weeks (to be 979 and 980) so we will finally have 10 liveried PMU vehicles (although one will be on loan to Carousel in white for the foreseeable future for J&J),

204 has gone to H&D trim to be converted to open top. " 


An 'executive minibus' is at Carousel on loan for the Johnson & Johnson contract. When the two new PMU EVMs are delivered to Oxford one will remain in white on loan to Carousel for the foreseeable future for the J&J contract.

217 looking pristine working the 39 on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 857, also looking good, with a 1A on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Orange 423 is seen leaving the M40 on its way to Thame as recently as July 15th by Gavin Francis.

222, temporarily back in service in Wycombe and here not in service on July 19th by Malcolm Crowe.


New coaches caught on camera are shown below and have not been reported in some cases. Coaches seen and pictured are 30, 37, 38, 39 and 40 all by Gavin Francis.




Ciaran Bird provided more pictures of 30 and also 33.


38 in service on its way Heathrow by David Beynon on July 17th. 

Phil Southall

"Of the older coaches being replaced, so far only 3 and 82 have actually left the depot to Mercedes but 1, 4, 5, 7, 51 and 81 have been withdrawn from service and are being prepared for departure. Four from this list were expected to depart on Friday, July 19th. "

Scania nr 1 leaving the M40 at Lewknor with maybe one of its last journeys on July 15th by Gavin Francis.

Due to the closure of Worcester Street diversions were the order of the day.
Arriving coaches to Oxford had to travel "round the block via Beaumont Street and George Street.
Above is 81 on July 17th shortly before withdrawal, taken by Gavin Francis.

Michael Wadman

Its identity is hidden by the cherished plate, but CLC 553T is actually former City of Oxford MS Volvo B10M-62 / Plaxton no 26 (Y26 OXF), with Crawley Luxury Coaches at Haywards Heath station on GRT rail replacement on March 2nd 2019.

These were great coaches to drive Ed.

Pictures from Gavin Francis

Has anyone noticed this picture of 604 working route 6 on July 19th is going to Wolvercote Roundabout?
Now we've not seen that one for sometime and above 605 is also working 6 road on July 10th.

Oxford 61 is seen leaving the M40 on its way to Oxford as recently as July 15th by Gavin Francis.
According to web site this coach  has not been in service in recent months but it may have something wrong with the ticket machine?

606 is seen with a 500 service heading for the station on July 17th.

675 is seen heading up Hythe Bridge Street heading for Peartree but will have to run round to regain its normal line of route
in the City Centre, No traffic was allowed to cross Worcester Street into George Street causing significant traffic delays.

From Richard Sharman at Silverstone

Panther Travel AB61PAN which is ex OF61OXF more recently coach 41 seen at the F1 Silverstone event on July 14th.
When new this was coach 13 in full Airline livery.

Phil Southall

"204 has gone to H&D trim to be converted to open top." 

Phil Southall

On the PMU fleet we have a white EVM vehicle on loan now at Oxford (fleet 968 but not carried)

When the two new PMU EVMs, 979/980 are delivered to Oxford one will remain in white on loan to Carousel for the foreseeable future for the J&J contract.


At odd times a double decker has appeared on the ST1 but it is not a regular occurrence. Also, there is no photographic evidence of this.

Matthew Searle

Monday 15 July was the first day on which Thames Travel operated the Science Transit shuttle. Carousel StreetLites 403/4/6 for the ST1 Oxford (Broad Street) to Harwell service, are branded "I'm on loan to Science Transit Shuttle until your shiny new buses arrive". The ST2 hourly service Wytham to the JR Hospital got off to a poor start, running half an hour late by the middle of the first day.

My photographs taken on South Parks Road in the Oxford science area show 404 eastbound on the ST1 (passing the Inorganic Chemistry laboratory) and 599 westbound on the ST2. As a valedictory, I append a last week picture in George Street of one of the Uno-operated minibuses used on the predecessor services.


From James Freeman

These pictures, taken on day one of the service show loaned SK17HHN once loaned to Carousel and all seen above on July 15th.

On July 18th loaned 598 and 599 are seen in Gavin Francis's pictures. These will be replaced by brand new short E200's due by September. 

I've noticed on M40 there have been a number of the new Caetano III coaches showing destinations with the route number on the right hand side which is contrary to the regulations which require the route number to be on the left side!

New for NEx service with operator Edwards of Llantwit Fardre are Levante IIIs noted below.

  BV19XRN  Sca K410EB6   Caetano Levante III   C55FLt  7/2019 
   BV19XRP  Sca K410EB6   Caetano Levante III   C55FLt  7/2019 
   BV19XRS  Sca K410EB6   Caetano Levante III  C55FLt  7/2019 

"XRS" is seen working an 030 service leaving V C S on July 17th by Gavin Francis.

Once nr 55 in the Oxford fleet for the 737 but replaced by new Levante IIIs and now with Go South Coast. Picture from Gavin Francis on July 18th by Gavin Francis..

A recovery was needed when a Caetano broke down at the head of Elizabeth Street on July 16th by Gavin Francis..

Bob Morley

Still getting unusual buses on the Reading Buses route 1 Jet Black Reading to Newbury service. 

Attached picture:

Countrywide Travel liveried 791 seen Reading bound in Newbury on Saturday, July 20 on Reading Buses Jet Black service.
It was also on this service the day before.  It is reported that this bus was on the X4 Reading to Bracknell service on Thursday, July 18th.

Pictures from Gavin Francis

Claret 751 is seen leaving GLCS for Legoland direct on July 17th.

Grey 757 is seen arriving at Green Line with a 702 service on July 18th.

Red Eagle have buses being sisters to Red Rose vehicles shown by W407UGM with a 28 service to Ibstone (School Days only)
Taken on July 15th by Gavin Francis.

Red Rose W408UGM is seen with a 275 service towards Oxford on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

A late evening picture of the last service on weekdays from Oxford with the 275 taken by Malcolm Crowe. The date is July 8th.

Caetano FJ07DWP with an 853 working on July 2nd by Gavin Francis.

YP14HCF with an 853 service takes layover in St Giles on June 2nd by Gavin Francis



Nick Freeman

I've been to Weymouth and Oxford recently but before the photos, I have some news about Banbury depot.

The depot turns 100 years old this year and there will be celebrations to go with it. Four heritage buses will be on display with one operation the B6 to Gateway Shopping park. 

Also, E200MMC 37401 is to be re-painted into the original Midland Red livery to celebrate in the next two weeks. We will be taking this to the BUSES festival on August 18th.

Charles Powell

Thought you might like this picture of former Thames Transit Dart M63VJO which is parked next to myself in Pulhams UK19PUL at the RAF Fairford Air Tattoo on Sunday July 21st.  

It was a nice surprise to come back to the coach and to see it parked next to myself.

Pictures by Gavin Francis.

10438 is seen working a 7 on July 13th.

Most unusually MMC 10685 was seen working the 800 at Thornhill on July 22nd by Gavin Francis.
This is normally a single deck working along with the 900 !

MMC 10783 is seen working the 7 to Woodstock, part of the S3 rostering, in the City Centre on July 22nd by Gavin Francis.

Oh dear, 15759 is not heading for Bicester Village but is working a 2 to Kidlington on July 10th by Gavin Francis.

I don't think all these people want a 2B, 36983 waits to load on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

The first Scania OmniCity, 15083, has arrived at Cambridge following single door conversion and repaint at ADL Anston. It is now being prepared with the fitting of branding and for service. The vehicle carries traditional double deck Stagecoach livery, whereas those converted at Ferrymill Motors for Stagecoach East Scotland carry the later Enviro 400MMC-style livery.

Details of seating layout following conversion are awaited.

A further Trident to be repainted here in preparation for its transfer within Stagecoach UK Bus is 18415

Open Top Bristol FLF 19952 was taken out of storage at Ely on July 22nd and has been moved to Bedford for servicing prior to its use on the shuttle services which will operate in connection with the Bedford Depot open day on Saturday 10th August 2019.

54302 is seen on diversion leaving Beaumont Street on July 18th by Gavin Francis.


Now repainted out of Corby Star livery into corporate livery is Scania SLF/East Lancs 15404.

Silverstone British F1 Grand Prix 2019

The Silverstone British Grand Prix took place on Sunday, July 14th. Not only were thousands of Formula 1 fans in attendance, many to see Lewis Hamilton win a record sixth British Grand Prix, but also a large fleet of Stagecoach vehicles to take the fans to and from the track from various Park & Ride sites and by special express services from Milton Keynes and Northampton over the three days.

The number of vehicles operated reached the 250 mark, which also included the team and media shuttle services which departed from the centre of the circuit.

As with many previous years, Stagecoach provided an eclectic mix of vehicles from all over the country, with a good amount not being in corporate livery. The Volvo Olympians that could once be seen here in large numbers are now gone, even the Dennis Trident was less evident this year, with the Enviro400 now dominating.

All vehicles operated on hire to Stagecoach Midlands with their Commercial Director, Pat Stringer being the man with clipboard on race day, who, along with a large team did an excellent job in dealing with the 250 buses arriving from early morning to late afternoon before departures recommenced at 1530hrs.

Adam Green

"I was in Northampton and MK Friday and got some photos of the Shuttle buses for Silverstone at The British F! Grand Prix weekend."



15445 on the MK1

10730 on the MK1

Richard Sharman was at Silverstone and sent a selection of pictures with SC Oxford's buses and Golds.

Organisation was very good with running numbers for each service - H for the Park & Ride on the Oxford buses.



I think this is the first time a single decker has been used, albeit from Banbury?

Included here are two pictures of Oxford interest with 53703 and 53704 in use from Kent on the Megabus GP1 service and a chance to see the livery in use with branding on these once National Express/SC Oxford 737 operation.


With many thanks to Richard for these excellent pictures.

Hot off the press from First West of England:   Two routes will transfer to Stagecoach West from September 1st 2019, these two routes being Severn Express from Newport to Bristol via Chepstow and the X5 from Weston to Cribbs Causeway via Clevedon and Portishead.

This may surprise many people! Unable to make the routes profitable is the reason. The Severn Express won’t have been helped by the forced removal of the two buses that used to sleep overnight in Bulwark near Chepstow due to diesel thefts.

Pictures from Gavin Francis

Recent appearances on the S6 from Swindon, sadly still showing the use of odd buses
 in spite of the delivery of a new fleet of Gold buses specifically for the S6 of which one only shown above. 

Andrew Webb

This Gold bus was seen arriving in Victoria  on July 13th with a Tube service from Oxford.

From Andrew Churchill

50237 back from repaint at Horspath on July 15th.

50274 picks up at Lewknor on July 21st by Gavin Francis. has launched a new seat reservation system.

The new system will allow customers to either sit together or pick a seat with a view, such as upstairs at the front of a double-decker or inter-deck coach. After a successful trial on services between London and Norwich, the system is now to be rolled out network-wide.

Managing Director of, Mark Venables said: “We have been astonished at how quickly the seats are snapped up and how popular the pilot has been, so we’re really happy to now offer reserved seating across our network. This is another step towards making coaches increasingly attractive, both to existing customers and to people who don’t usually consider megabus.

“We are proud to have improved the quality of megabus services in recent years and we’re excited at this latest development for customers – we know some people like to guarantee sitting together if possible, and some people favour specific seats, so this is a great way of helping people to do just that.”

The new system is now available to book on journeys departing from 30 September 2019.

Volvo B11R 54265 from the Stagecoach Midlands fleet at Rugby has been delicenced for repairs and as a result SG43 (54207) from the South Gloucester Bus & Coach fleet is currently on loan at Rugby.

South Gloucester, now a major contractor for was using SG24 on a private hire on July 20th
seen outside the Ashmolean Museum by Gavin Francis.

Two pictures from Gavin Francis show some of the current fleet used on schools on July 11th.

Olympian L952MSC new to Lothian as their 952 now converted to single door.

R358XVX a Volvo Olympian/East Lancs was new to Harris in West Thurrock and appeared at Showbus 1997, Duxford. 

Smaller operators and London developments

Parks 3RWM waits time in St. Giles on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

On a promotional tour, once RML2464 stops in Oxford for a while on July 13th by Gavin Francis.

I have had to leave a lot out of this issue as time is fast passing by and I must publish today, Wednesday July 24th, albeit two days later than my target. Sorry to those whose items I have held over until next week.