This week's page includes various items but two are of some importance, one an Obituary and the other of Showbus 2019 which is fast approaching. Also noted are the acquisition by Stagecoach of South Gloucester Bus & Coach. Also very late news as the fact that Wright Group has entered administration.

Obituary - Clive King of Arriva-Green Line.

Clive King  1951-2019

Clive King was a life long enthusiast and latterly had become a  good friend of mine. We often had lunch at a restaurant near Tring and the conversation was always wide ranging. His knowledge of the bus industry was phenomenal, memories we could both share during these lunches.

He had been Business Development Manager at Arriva The Shires and was much involved with The London Green Line Coach Station, Bulleid Way, Victoria and his loss is felt very much by all the staff who knew him.

He was often to be seen at the various rallies up and down the country and greeted one with a cheery smile. He had a significant collection of books and was most particular when buying them that they were absolutely perfect !

Always on the go, one felt that he would be with us always. Life is inevitable that, it will, one day end for all but with this end is a loss of so much knowledge and information. I hope that his photographs and books find a nice home and will be appreciated.

Clive died after a short illness, with his wife Jo and his children Christopher and Caroline, also Christopher's partner Helen, by his side. Born February 25th 1951 Clive passed peacefully around 9pm on September 20th 2019. R i P Clive.

Sunday, September 29th 2019
at The Hertfordshire Showground.

Full details will be found art the link below and I am sure many of you who read this page will be attending.



click logo to visit the site


23 Sep 2019

Stagecoach has announced an exciting development to its bus operation in the West of England with the acquisition of South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach, enabling further growth into one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.

Stagecoach has been working in partnership with the Bristol-based family bus and coach company for the past two years and now that the owners have decided to step down, a mutual agreement has been made to buy the business and its assets. The operation will become part of Stagecoach West, which covers nearly 25 million passenger journeys a year.

As one of the UK’s leading smart cities, with a focus on delivering better air quality and improved traffic flows, Bristol is seeing growing levels of employment and has predicted growth of 20% in the next five years among the 16-25 year old population.

Stagecoach’s plans for Bristol will help to deliver improved connectivity for the city and support the region’s aspirations for economic growth, in getting people to work, and bringing shoppers and visitors to the city.

Stagecoach has invested significantly to improve the experience for its customers, with the roll out of the country’s biggest bus contactless ticketing project and industry-leading investment in greener buses. Stagecoach West, in the last year alone, has invested around £4.8million in 19 brand new double-decker buses to link Swindon, Faringdon and Oxford and to serve Cheltenham Park & Ride.

Megabus services provide access to and from Bristol to almost 70 destinations on its intercity coach network including London, Plymouth, Exeter, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Liverpool.

Rupert Cox, Managing Director for Stagecoach West, said: “This is a really exciting development for passengers in the West of England. We’ve been working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for some time now and they’ve also been a very reliable and trustworthy contractor for our megabus services.

“This provides us with a great opportunity for more flexibility and offers a diverse mix of services to complement our existing routes. And with the 16-25 year old population predicted to grow by 20% in the next five years in Bristol, now’s a great time to look at expanding our services even further into this exciting market and to support the region’s aspirations for economic growth.

“We’d like to thank the team at South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for their support and we look forward to developing the services even further.”

Mark Venables, Managing Director for megabus, added: “This is a great step forward for megabus. We’ve enjoyed a really close partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for over two years and with the owning family deciding to step away after many successful years of operation, we’re happy to continue with their legacy in taking the business forward.

“With our megabus services allowing access to and from Bristol to almost 70 destinations on our intercity coach network, it provides great opportunities for greater connectivity with this important city.”

As well as its depot in Bristol, the business includes the 100 employees working for South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach and its fleet of 53 buses and coaches. The operation runs commercial bus services, school contracts, private hire services and is one of the lead contractors for Stagecoach’s megabus business, operating services across a national network of coaches.

All services currently operated by South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach will continue to run as planned, and all staff currently working for the business will transfer to Stagecoach West.

Exchange of contracts took place on Friday 20 September with completion expected in late October.

The vehicles expected to transfer to Stagecoach, in addition to the Stagecoach-owned/leased Megabus vehicles operating with South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach are:

Caetano Levante: BN64FKP/R/S/T/U/V/W, T100/200SGB
Scania/Van Hool: T37CNN, L300/555/600/777/800SGB
Volvo Citybus: N305/306/307/308CLV, N271/77CKB, L562/64YCU, G614OTV, S828OFT
Mercedes-Benz minibus: Y347VKH, Y196GBO, S856JSR

More information will be published as it becomes available but readers will remember that SGBC have been using a large umber of ex megabus coaches in recent months, all of which one assumes will revert to the main fleet. The current situation is recorded under the megabus heading below.

The sad news the Wrights Group had entered administration was released yesterday morning, September 25th with the loss of around 1400 jobs at the Ballymena plant. Rescue plans had failed but it is still hoped that as a buyer can be found. It is recorded that a reduction in the supply of buses to the U.K. market had caused part of the problem but if the company is finally wound up it will be a sad day for the industry.

Founded inn 1946 the company had remained a family company and was renowned for producing the New Routemaster during Boris Johnson's time as London Mayor.

An interesting wrap for M & S is seen covering LT487 working route 11 on September 25th by Gavin Francis.
These LTs are London's buses and the more recent arrival are buses which can be seen anywhere. These cannot!

The New Routemasters were criticised for being expensive and attracted embarrassing publicity, such as the failing batteries on a large number of vehicles. Further purchases were cancelled by Sadiq Khan, Johnson’s successor as mayor, in 2016. One wonders if this, in anyway, contributed to the loss of sales, even in London? Only time will tell. It is however interesting that the other major producer, Alexander Dennis, have recently been acquired by a Canadian Company. Sad, as once upon a time, one could see complete British buses in many parts of the world and its continents.

Revealing the latest from Courtney-Thames Valley

click to see a larger image.

More details under the Reading heading below.

Weavaway Travel Group investment continues

A new livery and logo is set to underline the investment being made in Oxfordshire-based Weavaway Travel Group fleet

Full details can be found at the link below written by Richard Sharman


Nick Ross reporting from Tenerife

titsa with midi bus 5545 on service 355 linking Buenvista with Santiago del Tede via the spectacular twisty road in the North west of Tenerife

In Los Gigantes on 170919 is titsa service 494 which terminates at Los Gigantes with vehicle 4155

Nick writes "Tenerife buses are clean, modern and well kept, cheap too!"

That High Wycombe Running Day again !

Michael Wadman

I was interested in the recent items in OCBP on the origins of the High Wycombe Running Day. Unfortunately I missed that first event in 1997, but there was a similar event the following year on October 11th 1998 and I thought you might like to see some photos from it ?

Yes please Michael

RML 2411 at Hazelmere & Penn on October 11th 1998

RML 2412 at Wycombe and then at West Wycombe on October 11th 1998.

RT 1790 heading for and then at Beaconsfield on October 11th 1998.

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

September 19th.

Taken on September 19th in Glasgow.
33441 - SN66WGP in First Glasgow Livery  seen on route 60.
Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC ex First Scotland East Livingston depot based.

33440 - SN66WGO First Scotland East Midland Bluebird Livery.

September 20th.

Swiss Postbuses Enviro 500 Super Lo
at Alexander Dennis Falkirk is seen
leaving Falkirk factory on a three hour test drive
 It was supposed to leave on its delivery run to the ferry port the following day.

September 21st.

Taken today at Musselburgh Race Course shuttle buses from Tranent and Wallyford to Racecourse. My son was doing the half marathon running event.

Lothian Motorcoaches and Lothian were doing shuttle work.

Lothian Motorcoaches, MXZ1756 Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini and line up of buses awaiting passengers.

Lothian Longstone Bus depot Lothian Country just repainted
577 - SJ67MFU and 578 - SJ67MFV
Volvo B5LH Wright
Gemini 3, Ex Skylink blue and white new to Longstone depot.

Request for parts

Marcus Lapthorn

A friend of mine in Malta has asked me the following question:   

“Marcus do you know someone in U.K. - maybe from where I can get some parts for my Bedford OB ? Thanks”

Could you possibly know where he can get parts still? Thanks. 

Fleet news and developments

James Allum

Not having been there for sometime, I visited Hemel yesterday 20/09/19 and got the following photos of a surprise three out of four White StreetLites on hire to Arriva Hemel after the shortage of buses following  the possible collapse of Wrightbus who Arriva had put an order in with. 

The only route they can be used on is the 2 to Woodhall Farm and Bennetts End due to settings on the LED blinds. Also the fleet numbers in the windscreens stated were HH SP1 to HH SP4 (thanks to Tony Simpson for the info)

SK68TXM  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX18141674  Wt AR163  B45F  12/2018  Wright,Ballymena  Loaned to First South Yorkshire from new 
SK68TXN  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX18141675  Wt AR164  B45F  12/2018  Wright,Ballymena  Loaned to First South Yorkshire from new 
SK68TXP  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX18141677  Wt AR166  B45F  12/2018  Wright,Ballymena  Loaned to Go North East from new 

Three of the four StreetLites on service 2 in Hemel Hempstead by James Allum.

One wonders what will happen now that Wrights have gone into administration. (September 24th.) See item above on Wrights.

Paul Dodge

I attach an unusual working which you may wish to include in your news page, although maybe Milton Keynes is on the edge of your area.

Arriva MK Route 7 is usually operated by electric StreetLites. However in recent weeks other vehicles have appeared quite frequently On Monday 23rd September a DAF double decker was on the route. 4722 is seen at Wolverton Church Street. Is it normal to have TWO Arriva logos on the front?

And now a few pictures I took ion High Wycombe last weekend, mainly to show the updated destination blinds now appearing on the Arriva Wycombe buses.

A heavier typeface is being used on the final destination and route number which does look much better. Well done Arriva !
Citaro 3918 is seen leaving with an 800 service to Reading on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

StreetLite 2318 is seen arriving with 33 service to Totteridge on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

Solo SR 2509 seen working a route 31 to Penn on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

I really did think we seen the last of this small Dart but like a bad penny it keeps turning up as seen on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

Arriva 2708 (Y348 UON) a DAF/Wright Cadet in HinckleyBus livery, standing forlornly in the withdrawn area at Cressex depot.
In its earlier days it was in service at Telford with Arriva Midlands.

Guy Watts

GWR invasion over at Didcot at lunchtime on September 18th.

First South West 43907
is en route to Reading via Wallingford to continue it's GWR roadshow. whilst Thames Travel 221 is hanging about.

On the 17th the bus was at Oxford Parkway. Note the appropriate registration.
This is the GWR bike bus. 

Citaro 877 has been on loan to Oxford the last few days on routes such as X3. Scania 222 remains at High Wycombe fully employed.

Citaro 858 is seen departing for Chesham - Pond Park Estate on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

Citaro 876 is seen arriving from Uxbridge with a 101 - Chiltern Hundreds Service on September 21st - Malcolm Crowe.

Sorry about the reflections but  at least it is something. 

Late news is that 980 has returned to Oxford and presently 709 is being used on the J&J Contract. I am told that loading have increased and 980 was too small!

From Luke Marion Oxford Bus

FYI coach 2 has been sold to MP Travel.

220 back in Oxford - first service day 190919, and also 219 has returned to the fold whereas 222 is still at Carousel.

Terry O'Neill

Here is the photo of Y27OXF with Crawley Luxury Coaches  taken in November 2013 where it was taken on the A24 London Road in Dorking but don't know if they still operate the coach on their fleet.

This was taken on November 7th 2013 and as far as I can ascertain it is still with Crawley registered LIW9272. Picture by Terry O'Neill.
It also appears that it has received the latest livery. Anyone any pictures please?

Jack Cooper

Carousel 877 is currently at Oxford on September 23rd and it was my X3 home from Oxford. On September 24th it is working 4 road.

838 was out at Cowley House on September 24th, when I was last up there, it was in the paint shop. I will get a picture of it next time I am up there (which will be some point this week. 

Quite a few odd workings September 24th - pictures from Jack Cooper

687 on the X3

226 on the 8 and 679 on 5 road. No pictures sadly.

306 on the 500 (pointed out to me by Ciaran Bird - see the picture in the comments of this post)
Picture by Ciaran Bird.

667 on the 35B (again pointed out to me by Ciaran Bird) which then went onto the 35 - picture by Jack Cooper.

On Thursday, September 25th from Jack Cooper

669 was on the morning 35A and then went onto 4 road 

225 was on City 5 

877 has gone back to Carousel. I note that it currently on the Chiltern Hundreds 105 service between High Wycombe and Hemel Hempstead (1700 26/9). 222 is still with Carousel on the 36.

Another unexpected find on 2 road was as seen in the picture below.

This time with a 2A - 302 was seen on September 18th by Guy Watts.

Oxford Bus has been quite good in recent years at avoiding putting branded buses on the wrong routes !

PMU's latest bus is 979 caught in the rain in the centre of Oxford on September 24th by Ciaran Bird.

Hugh Jaeger

I have now managed to photograph one of Thames Travel's longer-wheelbase Enviro200 MMC's on route ST1. Please feel welcome to publish the photos if you wish.

I agree with you that criticising vinyl on windows can be a delicate matter and few years ago Bus Users nationally criticised ContraVision and received a furious reaction from the head of the company that makes ContraVision. But we stood our ground, and Bus Users members wrote in to our magazine agreeing with our position. 

Since then I have seen Ray Stenning criticise Nottingham City Transport on Twitter for vinyl adverts covering bus rear windows. NCT's response was an apology and a commitment not to cover windows in future!

Phil Southall is good to us and it is always wise to keep him on side. Whether you publish any comments at all, and if so how you phrase them, is entirely your choice. You are under no pressure from me. 

with with &

Here is the unveiling of the new livery for the recently acquired Courtney Buses and the existing Thames Valley operation.

Click to see the full size image

Here is a message from Robert Williams, the CEO of the Reading "Group"

"The next exciting stage of development in Slough will be starting as we approach our second anniversary - we will be merging our Slough operation with Courtney Buses’ Slough services from 3 November.

Courtney routes 2, 10 and 15 will move to Slough and will be renamed as ‘Thames Valley Buses’ using an updated ‘Thames Valley’ brand. This will also be applied to three new buses arriving for existing Thames Valley route 5 in October, in response to its continued growth.

In exchange, the Green Line 703 vehicles will be based in Bracknell, and the Courtney team will take on responsibility for the overall management and customer communications for all our services in Windsor and Slough to provide a single local point of contact for both employees and customers. The only exception will be Green Line 702 which will continue to run from Reading.

Rebranding Courtney Buses As Courtney becomes Thames Valley, the logo will be changed to include a re-styled bird image to reflect the current Courtney logo and match the recently introduced Newbury & District logo. This evolution creates an easily recognisable logo for the current Courtney customers so they can see the evolution and modernisation of Courtney buses.

Our plan is to gradually re-brand Courtney Buses as Thames Valley Buses in areas over the next few years, as and when parts of the network are reviewed or local authority contracts come up for re-tender. We are aiming to attract more customers with a locally focused team that is as self-sufficient as possible, and to continue submitting great value bids for tenders and contracts that the new identity will help to support.

One of the reasons why Reading Buses has been successful is having a team focused on all of the detail behind providing amazing services in Reading. The aim is to retain teams at Courtney and N&D that aspire to replicate this approach in their areas, and ensure Reading can also continue to do that as well.

Enhancing services to Heathrow The starting point in Slough has come about as part of a project to enhance services to Heathrow Airport, coordinate timetables between Dedworth and Windsor and fares between Windsor and Slough, which will start from 3 November. A new simplyWindsor&Slough ticket zone will be introduced to harmonise pricing between Thames Valley Buses, Courtney Buses and Green Line on common sections of route. This will include Heathrow but exclude Legoland."

With delivery of new ADL Enviro 400MMCs now taking place to Stagecoach Midlands at Leamington we would expect deliveries of 11233-53 to this fleet (21 buses for Witney) to start in mid-October.

Theo Freeman

Posters popped up on all buses in Banbury last week advertising the 100 years celebrations and Stagecoach have put it out on their website:

Also, new scanners are be installed on ticket machines in Banbury for mobile tickets.

Managed to get a photo of 37401 at the depot and E200 36768.

The new staff transport for Oxford depot -  93655 - SJ69NBX - is a Hyundai 1800 SE CRDI - seen at the depot by Gavin Francis on September 25th.

Now in the Strategic Reserve Fleet and stored at Ely are Mercedes-Benz Sprinters 44005/06/09, whilst Volvo B10M training coach 52398 from Peterborough is now withdrawn for disposal.

Another former Stagecoach London Scania OmniCity now in service at Cambridge is 15089.

The transfer of Enviro 400s 19695/97 from Cambridge to Peterborough had taken place by 19th September, however 19694 was still operating from Cambridge on 21st September.

Eleven of the 17 new ADL Enviro 400MMCs have been delivered to Leamington with the remainder due by the end of next week. Currently we understand four have been branded for the Unibus services, 11216-19 and are available for service.

An interesting branding of the standard livery - Courtesy Stagecoach Midlands.

Look out for the imminent withdrawal of a number of Tridents from the fleet as they are replaced by Enviro 400s 10032-41 which are being displaced from Unibus work.

Reserve Fleet Dart SLF 35175, which is nominally a Northampton vehicle, remains operational from Kettering depot where it is providing cover for 35181 which is delicenced for repairs. Following repairs Trident 18108 has returned to service at Northampton.

Dart SLFs 34772, 34818/24 and 35218 have been sold to Ensign Bus whilst the remains of Optare Solo 47340 has been scrapped. 

By now, most if not all, of the new E400MMCs should have been delivered. Gordon Scott provided two pictures taken on  September 25th of the last two almost ready at ADL Falkirk.

Pictures by Gordon Scott.

Stagecoach Headquarters announced the acquisition of South Gloucester Bus & Coach on September 23rd (see article under main heading above)

Rupert Cox, Managing Director for Stagecoach West, said: “This is a really exciting development for passengers in the West of England. We’ve been working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for some time now and they’ve also been a very reliable and trustworthy contractor for our megabus services.

“This provides us with a great opportunity for more flexibility and offers a diverse mix of services to complement our existing routes. And with the 16-25 year old population predicted to grow by 20% in the next five years in Bristol, now’s a great time to look at expanding our services even further into this exciting market and to support the region’s aspirations for economic growth.

“We’d like to thank the team at South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for their support and we look forward to developing the services even further.”  

Of major note is that SGBC are being taken over and absorbed into Stagecoach West. SGBC operate a number of megabus coaches:

South Gloucester Bus & Coach (30)

Volvo B11R - Plaxton Interdeck LHD SG27 (55028) SG28 (55023) SG29 (55024) SG30 (55025) SG31 (55026) SG32 (55027) SG41 (55022) SG42 (55021)

Volvo B11R - Plaxton Interdeck RHD SG52 (54211)

Van Hool Altano - LHD SG33 (55011) SG34 (55012) SG35 (55013) SG36 (55016) SG37 (55008) SG38 (55010) SG39 (55009) SG40 (55015)

Van Hool (ex Sleeper) UK SG46 (50302) SG47 (50303) SG48 (50304) SG49 (50306) SG50 (50307) SG51 (50308)

Caetano Levante SG20 SG21 SG22 SG23 SG24 SG25 SG26  (BN64FKP/R/S/T/U/V/W)  ex National Express and now in Megabus livery.

Astromega 50246, seen in Bulleid Way - Victoria on September 25th by Gavin Francis, is based at Cumbernauld. 

Smaller operators and London developments

This ex Wallace Arnold coach, W617FUM, is presently run by M&M Coaches of High Wycombe but I am told is for sale.
It looks very clean and tidy ! Picture taken on September 21st by Malcolm Crowe.

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