Apologies for the delay until Wednesday, February 27th


Well, already nearly March and Spring is nearly here. Developments in the world of the North West is that Go-Ahead come into the Manchester scene with negotiations all but finalised to acquire the Queens Road garage from First. By the time are next issue comes on line this may well complete.

Locally media reports note that Stagecoach will cease running the 11 service from Oxford to Witney during April. This route runs through a number of country villages including Hanborough, the home of the Oxford Bus Museum, Eynsham and Freeland. This may well deprive the elderly of a link to Oxford and Witney but does make me wonder if there were, in fact, too many concession passes and too few revenue passengers?


After our acquisition of Newbury & District in September, we have been working on how we bring the two organisations closer together. A new look is needed to distance the new operation from the previous owner’s ongoing brands and underline the new future of the business. Equally, we don’t want to throw away a well-established brand, and want to introduce some commonality with jet black and Kennections. This will also help modernise and future-proof the business.

Buses - The smart black exterior will be staying. A new core colour of lime green will freshen up the image and make the fleet look more modern. It also gives a nod to Kennections and the West Berkshire corporate colour.

Logo – A new logo includes a bird image. The old Newbury & District logo was a wave shape which was a bit like a bird, and this evolution gives an easy to recognise image to celebrate the connection of rural areas and towns, and the freedom to travel much like you would see birds flying between places. A curved shape has also been included to create a visual similarity to the Reading Buses family style and reflect the bird’s tail.

Strap line – We will be retaining “since 1932” on the rear of the vehicles to celebrate our combined heritage. “The word on the street in …..” has been used by Weavaway in the past, and as the silly song goes – “The bird bird bird, bird is the Word”!!



The first vehicle has gone for full repaint and is expected back at N&D on Friday. Others will be vinyled over Easter.

Memories from the past from Paul Bateson

Whilst many readers who are old enough to think back to the '60s and '70s our younger readers will, I hope be interested and even fascinated by the buses and coaches of that era which my generation remember as the norm' and in our turn had memories going back to'40s and '50s. One thing which many will remember that prior to the "luxury" of digital photography one purchased film and took the pictures (in the very early days limited to 8 or 10 pictures )and then sent the pictures off to be developed. If one was capable one could take the pictures and then develop the films and process same. This changed when 35mm film become available and one could take a roll of 36 slides/pictures but by standards then it was quite expensive, Home processing was not so easy.

Thus from the foregoing it may explain to those from this digital age why there are not so many pictures from the earlier days. Quite a difference to cameras and SD cards which can take upwards of 3000 pictures on one card. Time travel would be great if one could go back in time with batteries to last and snap everything in sight. Chose one's own year!!!!

This week there is an emphasis on Oxford.

Anyway, on now to a selection from Paul which I hope you all enjoy?

306 306MFC is an AEC Bridgemaster 2B3RA121, with Park Royal bodywork seen at Gloucester Green on July 1st 1968 was new in December 1961.

629 GJO629F an AEC Swift with Marshall bodywork seen on July 1st 1968 delivered during 1967.

796 - 796TJO is an AEC Reliance with Willowbrook bodywork seen at Gloucester Green again seen on July 1st 1968 delivered in February 1964.

903 - OFC903H was a Bristol VR with ECW highbridge bodywork delivered in April 1970 but ordered by Southern Vectis.
As it had a height to great to pass under the Botley Road railway bridge this and two sisters had 9xx fleet numbers to differentiate the type.
It is seen in Gloucester Green on June 8th 1970 working a service to Bicester.

And now for a few from Thames Valley.

D56 on the 28 to High Wycombe with coach seated 838 both seen at Quoiting Square on September 22nd 1968.
D56 had been delivered in the February of 1968 and looked nice and new eight months later.

S341 SHN730 a Bristol LS5G with ECW bodywork acquired from United Automobile in February of 1968 and seen at Maidenhead on September 22nd 1968.

197, 669COD is a Bristol SUS4A acquired from Western National in January 1970 and seen here in on route 18 on May 13th 1970.

This was at time when Thames Valley seemed to acquire buses from all over the place!!

Some pictures from Theo Freeman on a visit to Cornwall

I managed to get some photos down in Camborne (and one in Penzance) as well as Horspath, so here we go.

First Kernow

Dart 42942 on the 17 to Troon in Camborne

E400MMC 33465 on the T2 to St Ives in Camborne

ALX400 30279 at Camborne Bus Station

Dennis Trident 33142 on the A17 to Pendeen in Penzance

Thanks to Theo for those pictures from the southern end of The British Isles!

Review of a book on "Early Independents of the Henley & Marlow Area" by Paul Lacey

I found this book very interesting to some extent because I am not a local to this area having originated in Manchester where I spent the first 30 years of my life. After five years in Staffordshire/Birmingham we moved to Stokenchurch in 1975 in time to see the developments of the Alder Valley company formed in 1972 when Thames Valley and Aldershot & District had been merged. In some ways the old loyalties seemed to have got mixed up with new loyalties. London Transport or London Country NW as it became provided some added interest and in my case locally City of Oxford ran through our village from London. However We did go to Henley and Marlow and the area seemed to provide some opportunities as again COMS ran through Henley on their way to London.

So, about this new book, an enormous amount of research by the author, Paul Lacey, has provided readers with a significant insight into how life and passenger transport was in the '20s and '30s. The book combines knowledge of what the vehicles looked like, day to day operations, timetables with fares and examples of tickets. The 96 pictures illustrating the book are have in most cases never been published before.

In many cases the book deals with small operators offering very local service often associated with market days in the two near towns to the larger operators such as Thames Valley and City of Oxford.

Something which I found fascinating were the number of operators in the two towns featured. There were five operators in Marlow each offering a variety of services. These included local bus services and excursions. The GWR had a local service to Marlow which served Maidenhead and High Wycombe. In those, now far off days, a bus journey from Marlow to High Wycombe entailed a long hill climb in both directions as both towns were situated in valleys, which doubtless challenged all who attempted same. In the latter years Marlow & District were an operator to the forefront and did operate on the Marlow-High Wycombe route which sometimes required triplicate operation of a departure! By 1929 Marlow & district was owned by Thames Valley but seemingly continued a semi-independent existence for some time thereafter.

There were ten minor operators in the Henley area but the main operators were City of Oxford, who with Thames Valley had a mutual agreement to serve the town, Butlers Crimson Coaches and Venture Coaches, the two latter based in Henley. One thing which was delightful was that Venture ran a service from Hambleden to Henley and Reading. Hambleden is a delightful village in a valley of to the north from the River Thames. Today the only way public transport will take you there is using the Arriva 800/850 service from either High Wycombe or Henley to Mill End and then walking up the Skirmett Road. This road lacks footpaths and care needs to be taken!

Before The Great War started in 1914, the book records service to Nettlebed and in fact local residents could spend some 3 hours in Reading.

Another prominent company in those early day was Butlers and readers will see that they ran excursions to the coast and in the summer of 1926, Butlers Crimson Coaches ran to Brighton for a return fare of 11/0 which in today's money is around 55p. Also in that year they ran to the Oxford Tattoo for 6/0 which is around 30p and was an evening excursion.

There is so much more in the book and some excellent pictures of the buses, coaches and charabancs used in those now for oft days. It is well produced on nice paper with an attractive cover.

For those looking for a student project maybe this could prove and interesting reference book and for the transport enthusiast a record of times gone in era which modern people may find hard to imagine.

The book is priced at £15.00 post free from Paul Lacey but you should mention the OCBP for the post free option. http://www.paullaceytransportbooks.co.uk/

Local operators

A surprise bus working on the 280 was this Wrights double deck caught by James Freeman.


James also provided further pictures of 280 workings for our interest. These were taken near the M40 services overbridge at Wheatley and show good use of the branded fleet when taken on February 20th.

5463 on a short working to Haddenham, 5464 en route to Aylesbury and 5466 heading for Oxford.

3798, again heading for Aylesbury on the 280, these buses originally being used on the X8 to Thame during the off peak.

Ralph Adams writes "A week last Saturday I took a trip to Aylesbury. Outbound on a Citaro, uncomfortable thin leather seats. Return on VDL/Wright – leather seats, reasonably comfortable.

Other pictures

Freshly painted 5459 with a 280 service turns Carfax Corner of February 21st by David Gray.

Renumbered Citaro 3031 (3931) with a short working 280 at Oxford Train Station on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

The Green Line coaches on the 757 now carry Megabus branding as seen on 7011 in London on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

Paul Hawkins visits Dublin and contributes pictures of the Go-Ahead operation

Go-Dublin 06D12360 Wright Gemini ex London is now a trainer as seen in this picture by Paul Hawkins taken in February 2019.
Interestingly it still has a London blind in the nearside destination!

Brand new to Go Ahead in Dublin is this StreetLite 12138 182D18067 working the 111 in this picture by Paul Hawkins taken in February 2019.

The two Gemini's are ex Dublin bus transferred with the routes note they still have the classic front with angled windscreen only ordered by Dublin Bus.

During the school half term it seems that some buses were loaned to Oxford as mentioned below.

On Tuesday, February 26th a StreetLite, 407, was on the Link 40 between High Wycombe and Thame which is quite unusual. Branded 424 is still not back in service.


One thing that interested me on Sunday, February 25th was that due to very heavy traffic on the M40 after junction 5 London bound, I saw either X90 branded coach 81 or 82 heading through Stokenchurch on an LHR service, which then turned down the Marlow Road cutting out the inevitable queue through West Wycombe. It was gone before I could get my camera out so I only have my visual record!

From Ralph Adams

Float bus 870 has been with COMS for about 2 months, photo showing it on 5 road last week. It has now gone back to TT again.

Carousel 220 photo on 2 road on Tuesday. 219 also in Oxford (School holidays of course).

Citaro 845 has a new small rear destination blind, photo enclosed.

The ex London Citaros have a small rear destination box showing just the route number. The previous Citaros all have a full size blind showing the destination and route number. 845 has had a replacement small box  fitted but still has the large display so all that is visible is ood F.  Of course as it is route branded bus that is not a problem as long as it stays on route 4. I tried over 3 days to take a TT bus, but each time it was 881 and the whole area is caked in dirt so unable to see the size of the box, and certainly not what was displayed.

Odd rear blinds and a Thames Travel Citaro on the 5 all by Ralph Adams

Carousel's 220 works the 2 by Debenhams on February 19th by Ralph Adams.

From Theo Freeman

67 on the X90 by Westgate

Park & Ride 671 on the 500 at Water Eaton, Woodstock bound in February by Theo Freeman.

From Ralph Adams

Notices & Proceedings 14/02/19 - Tom Tappin Ltd has now changed its operating centre from Osney Mead to Garsington Road (COMS garage). 


From Ralph Adams

On a recent bus trip from Wallingford, there were 2 pushchairs (with children) and 5 shopping trolleys. It took some while to fit them all in the available bays. The driver lent out of the cab and took a photo of how they had packed all in and still leave the gangway clear! 

Carousel Solo 713 is on route 99 at GWP. 

Report from Ralph Adams on the TT move from Wallingford to Didcot.

Thames Travel have now relocated their operating centre to Collet, Southmead, Didcot the weekend of February 23rd and 24th 2019. 

On the Saturday, Tappins moved all their vehicles to the far side lined up as previously permitting all vehicles to leave easily. At the bottom of the parking area, there are some containers, also at the bottom side behind the last three coaches. The three green deckers were parked behind the workshop area.

By the afternoon, six TT buses had arrived, all parked one behind another but next to the central  raised area. An immediate problem was that on the parking area was a large mound of soil with a mini excavator and barriers around. 

On Sunday at 9:45, the Wallingford yard had quite a few buses plus two Kardos flatbeds. One was in use and appeared to have various workshop equipment that had been loaded. Also was the new COMS service van at the far side (I could not see the fleet number from my vantage point)

At 12:00, three buses left in convoy, but it appeared that 852 disgraced itself as it waited and then reversed back into the yard. By this time at Didcot there was a considerable numbered parked up as on Saturday, but the first three buses from Saturday had all gone out in service leaving an unfilled space. Simon was making some adjustments to his coaches with rubber ramps positioned, apparently so that drivers would see how far back they could go.

At 17:00, Didcot was very congested. The space behind the workshop still only had the three green buses plus an assortment of cars etc. The bus wash had a TT bus parked in the entrance and because of the soil mound some buses were parked at right angles. I expect this will be changed when the soil is removed.

At Wallingford, the gates were shut and no buses were there. 

These observations were all from the road and I did not speak to any staff as they were busy and none of my regular contacts were seen. 

At present I do not know how the building will be allocated. I have been told that the downstairs office will be for Tappins and on my visits in recent years the door used was facing the yard into this office. I have been told that the upstairs will be for Thames Travel and is easily self contained with a front entrance facing the gate. The workshop bays (5 I believe) and the bus wash will be divided but I have no information yet on who has what. The workshop bay doors were all shut, the bus wash has no doors. 

Of the Tappins Fleet, I counted 24  vehicles and missing were the preserved Bedford YNT NMW329X, ex Kings Ferry coach (last seen still in old livery) BKZ70, the two open toppers, two white coaches (on hire to Newbury) X70/90OXF and DAF V11OOL That means three coaches absent, probably on private hires or in the workshop. 

The area around has very limited on street parking. The side road at the bottom has been the home for many mobile homes from eastern Europe with signs “no overnight sleeping” in various languages which I think were ignored! However in the past month, double yellow lines have been painted and there were no vehicles on my visits this weekend. Where will all the staff park? Tappins staff parked behind the workshop, the flat land has been expanded but will it be enough for all staff of both companies?

I am indebted to Ralph for those notes and am only sorry that he was unable to get any pictures on the day.

Sadly the blind didn't come out on 253 when working the 99 and seen at Didcot Station on the morning of February 20th taken by Bertram Nonam. 

From Paul Hawkins

Ex National Express, Swords 09D124951  with a 507 to Swords Manor in February 2019.

I am somewhat confused since oui livery is still carried but any lettering now blanked out.
This is Clarkes of London BF67WJY working the 6619 from Amsterdam on February 19th when seen by Gavin Francis.

Galloway's BF68LCL working a 481 service seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

I thought this picture of interest since the fleet number has appeared on the front dome. Lucketts BU18OSP seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

Parks BF68LFH with a 504 service seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.
When I travelled in 2008 on the 504 from Penzance it was operated by First!

Now one of the older coach with Parks LSK835 will work the 540 service to East Lancashire when seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.


From Robert Morley

Many unusual bus working on the Jet Black service between Reading and Newbury over the past few weeks. 

One of the more unusual was on February 20th with Reading Buses gas powered service 17 dedicated bus number 706.
Above is a picture of it in Turnpike Lane, Newbury on a return journey to Reading taken on the day.

Attached is another picture of an unusual visitor on the Reading Buses service 1 Jet Black.
This time it was on February 21st and a single decker generic liveried 421 seen in Kiln Road, Newbury on a Reading bound journey early afternoon. 

We have had a couple of these buses on the service over the years but it is the first time I have seen this one.

Many thanks to Bob for those excellent pictures of the unusual.

Is it nearly a year since the wedding? 757 working the 702 seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 20th by Gavin Francis.

Operation of the Heritage service on route 15 using Routemasters, between Tower Gateway and Trafalgar Square, will end on weekdays after operation on Friday 1stMarch 2019. The tourist service will then only operate on weekends and Bank Holidays from the last Saturday in March until the last weekend in September each year. The change comes as Transport for London (TfL) seeks to reduce the costs of operation.

The service is currently operated by Stagecoach London, who have a fleet of ten Routemasters provided by Transport for London. Five buses have been required on weekdays with four at weekends. TfL says the changes will reduce operating costs from around £1.2m a year to £400,000 and are being made against falling ridership. Figures show that in early 2018 just 300 journeys were being made on weekdays increasing to 450 on weekends. These ridership figures are significantly down on those for 2015 when 850 journeys were made on weekdays increasing to 1,000 at weekends. TfL also says that the subsidy per passenger is £9 against 48p per passenger on the main 15 route and 23p per passenger across all TfL routes.

Stagecoach London operates the service from its West Ham depot. The heritage service requires 12 drivers and 12 customer/platform assistants. We understand that Stagecoach will look to find alternative work for the staff who are displaced. No decision has been made on the future of the vehicles, some of which have been refreshed in recent years at Hants & Dorset trim, as we understand that the number required at West Ham will be reduced.

Currently the Routemasters allocated to West Ham are:


Gavin Francis has contributed a number of pictures of these buses in the last week before the service was cut back.

Pictures by Gavin Francis taken on February 21st 2019. 

From Theo Freeman


B10M 20933 still hard at work on Driver Training.

E400MMC's, E400H and an E200 in the yard

E400's 10071 and 10067 at Water Eaton both working the 700.

E400 15934 with a 2C at Magdalen Street.

Further Stagecoach pictures.

MMC 10784 working a 2A outside Debenhams on February 20th when seen by Gavin Francis.

MMC 10786 working the S3, heading for its terminus outside Oxford Train Station when seen on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

Here is a Gold on the 2, 10784 outside Debenhams on February 21st by David Gray. Hope the Guy can fold his bike!!

Gold 15753 branded for the S5 but working the 2 outside Debenhams on February 21st by David Gray.

This time an S3 branded Gold, 15834, gets to work on a 2A outside Debenhams on February 21st by David Gray.

Un route branded 15934, again on a 2, this time the 2B outside Debenhams on February 21st by David Gray.

And to finalise odd buses on the 2 routes, E200 36981heading into Oxford with a 2A on February 21st by David Gray.

Now, far be it for me to say but really is no one trying to keep Gold buses to Gold routes anymore? 

From Gary Seamarks

Bedford bits, loaned X5 coach does not have fleet number but was HSK656 when with Parks.


Now the front destination screen IS working in spite of the paper X5 sticker, East's SB12NMZ on Magdalen Street East on February 21st by David Gray.


E200 36934 SN63KFO, is still impounded AFAIK, after being involved in an accident just before Christmas 2017, while on Park and Ride duties.

29101 - Picture courtesy Steven Knight Media.

Currently on loan at Cambridge, for display at a Greater Cambridge Partnership event, is Stagecoach South ADL/BYD Enviro 200EV 29101 which was made available for a photo shoot for Steven Knight Media.

West's Gold 15968 with an S6 to Swindon leaving Gloucester Green on February 20th by Gavin Francis. 

From Theo Freeman

Tube 50269 to Horspath 

Tube 50266 by Westgate

These coaches look well presented considering their near 5 year age! 

From Gary Seamarks - "Former Tube 50211 is now with Herbert's of Bedford, seems still in as disposal livery from the X77, not seen yet myself." 

54609 MegaTron with an M12 for Leeds  seen on Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

South Gloucester are still using some of the displaced left hand drive Van Hools as seen by SG42 crossing Elizabeth Bridge on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

54272 leaves EDINBURGH for LONDON on February 23rd by Gordon Scott.


Other operators and those out of our area.

Go-London LT503 on the 11 with a Wrap for Florida seen on February 19th by Gavin Francis.

Unusually an East London LT941 works a 15 on February 21st by Gavin Francis.

South Gloucester SG15 NX57AAA which was FJ60HYW seen in Oxford on February 20th by Gavin Francis.

Dublin Bus AV155 00-D-70155, now a Trainer in February 2019 by Paul Hawkins.

Go-Transit Canada Enviro Super Lo 500 -8464 at ADL in Falkirk on February 22nd by Gordon Scott.

Lothian 1094 SJ19OXL at ADL in Falkirk on February 22nd by Gordon Scott. OUR FIRST 19 PLATE!