Issue nr. 236
Thursday, January
19th 2023


I'm sorry this issue is 12 hours late due to unexpected operating reasons, however better late than never !!

The are a number of interesting articles including a visit to Heathrow from Jack Cooper, A redesigned EV from ADL and applications are now  open for Stagecoach's Graduate Training Programme.

This issue has good coverage of local operators and as ever the latest London wraps which  are most colourful.

Finally Grahame Wareham's report for 236 shows the Harwell Olympians which were purchased by Oxford Bus in the '90s. 

Jack Cooper visits Heathrow

January 9th 2023

As Editor I was interested to see the changes which are happening at Heathrow, where I worked for some 30 years.


My thanks to Jack for some very interesting pictures. Ed.

Labour private school VAT plans ‘will hurt coach industry’

Attention has been drawn to potential damage to coach operators that carry out work for the private school sector if Labour’s pledge to remove a VAT exemption from fees at those establishments goes ahead in the long-term.

Such a step has been Labour policy for some time as part of a plan to reform tax breaks applied to private schools. Robinson Kimbolton Managing Director Charles Robinson has written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying that a likely reduction in pupil numbers from the policy could harm businesses including coach companies.

The Cambridgeshire operator draws much of its work from a nearby private school. Eight of its 11 coaches carry out home-to-school movements for that establishment and it is central to around 80% of the business’s private hires.

The Independent Schools Council has claimed that removal of the VAT exemption could lead to pupil numbers dropping and even threaten the survival of the smallest private schools.

“For our operation, this change would be the last thing we need,” says Mr Robinson. “If it was to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for some parents, it could have a big impact on our business and that of many other coach operators.”

He notes that some home-to-school services operated by Robinson Kimbolton extend “far and wide,” and that a reduction in pupil numbers could lead them to be consolidated into fewer routes.

“I believe that addition of VAT to private school fees could reduce our income by at least 10-20%,” he continues.

Mr Robinson notes that children potentially displaced by the change would be absorbed by state establishments and existing home-to-school services, leading to a net loss of income to the coach and bus industry. He believes that there would be of no benefit to public finances from the policy as they would have to absorb the costs of those displaced pupils’ education.

Mr Robinson’s letter to Sir Keir has been passed to the Confederation of Passenger Transport. He is calling on other coach operators to consider whether their businesses could be negatively affected by the policy.

Our area has a number of operators who rely upon such work. Ed. 

Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV: Small bus redefined?

As the smallest member of the latest-generation Alexander Dennis battery-electric bus range, the Enviro100EV is what the manufacturer describes as “a white space product.” That is because it has effectively been designed on a clean sheet of paper.

The OEM believes that the Enviro100EV – at 8.5m long and 2.35m wide and with a door forward layout – will satisfy what Head of Concepts and Advanced Engineering Jamie Wilson believes is “a lot of pent-up demand” for such a product.

The Enviro100EV will be seen in the metal later this year. The first example will be a test and evaluation vehicle and the second a demonstrator. Although Alexander Dennis is coy on orders, it has confirmed that at least one deal has been completed. The first customer bus will thus also debut in 2023.

To begin with, Alexander Dennis is focusing the Enviro100EV on the domestic provincial market. But design provision has been made for a Transport for London-compliant version to follow – potentially in mid-2024 – and interest has already been received from both right- and left-hand drive export markets.

Enviro100EV is versatile bus for provincial market

Jamie points at two factors that he believes make the Enviro100EV ideally suited to provincial use cases. One is its size; a compact footprint will see it appeal to smaller, retail customers in addition to larger buyers. The other relates to increasing political awareness of the importance of first- and last mile transport in the decarbonisation space, an area that the OEM says the model will suit.

Applications open for Stagecoach graduate training programme

Stagecoach has opened applications for new graduates to join its UK-wide business from September.

Ten people will have the opportunity to join the operator’s two-year training programme for future managers and leaders. Successful applicants will spend time in operations, engineering, financial, marketing and commercial departments, at a range of locations up and down the country from Inverness to Exeter.

The business is working with Sanctuary Graduates, a leading graduate recruitment agency, which works with over 200 universities in the UK and across Europe.

Sean Algar, Interim Head of Resourcing for Stagecoach, says: “Our business is built on our people and they are fundamental to our success. We are proud to have a diverse, high-quality team that reflects the communities we serve, and it’s important that we continue to build on that by nurturing the next generation of talent to support our business.

“We’re very proud of our track record of not only developing graduates into managers and leaders through this programme, but also offering continued progression within our business.”

The scheme counts a number of Stagecoach’s senior team among its participants, including one Regional Director, five Managing Directors and 10 other Directors. They include Matthew Cranwell, who joined the scheme in 2004, and became Managing Director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, and more recently for Stagecoach East Midlands, and Zach McAskill (pictured, right) who started his Stagecoach career on the graduate scheme in 2018 before becoming Operations Manager for Stagecoach Manchester.


Peter Cartwright

I was interested to see the three places Toby France has visited whilst on holiday. All three, I believe, I have visited over the years. The trolleybuses remind me of Eastern Europe and whilst I have ridden on those in the Czech Republic, I have not ridden on one in this photograph which I believe to be in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. I have visited Bucharest (when I organised tours). We stayed in Poiana Brasov and travelled around the Brasov area by local bus and train which was very inexpensive. 

The second one which has a destination display in French is in Colmar in Alsace, France. I recognised the name of the bus company and visited this last town when staying in Germany. This region has, of course, been part of France and Germany over the years and a number of towns and villages, although in France for many years, have Germanic sounding names. 

The third place is in a country which I visited before its invasion by Turkey in the 70s.  Although I stayed in Kyrenia in the Turkish part of Cyprus, as a British citizen, I was permitted to travel to the southern part of the island into the Greek Cypriot sector where I met the family of two sisters living in High Wycombe at the time. The family lived in Limassol and whilst there I visited another coastal resort, Paphos - which I remember only too well as a pelican came towards me as I was eating a meal and stole most of the fish from my plate. 

My own travels have taken me far and wide as I organised about 150 holidays over a 30 year period to 2018 ( encouraged to do this initially by staff at London Country as originally I used Green Line Private Hire coaches) and visited much of  the UK, Ireland and Europe. 

But due to failing health I have been nowhere since December 2019 except for 3 days in Blackpool in 2021.  I mainly take photos of people and places but here are three of buses - but have you been to any one of these three places - I did indeed travel on three buses in these photos and what an experience!  


On a totally different topic - has anyone a classic bus of a type which would have operated in the Wycombe area and would be willing to operate it in service on the High Wycombe Running Day on Sunday 2 April?  I am currently working on schedules for a variety of routes - many which have no service on a Sunday - and these include areas previously served by London Transport, Thames Valley and City of Oxford. 

Another idea which is being pursued by the Amersham & District Motorbus Society is a Route 441 Running Day. The 441, once an extremely busy trunk route operated from High Wycombe to Staines via Beaconsfield, Slough, Windsor and Egham and whilst we may not cover the former 441A to Britwell, the 441B to Langley Village, 441C to Englefield Green and 441D to Virginia Water are very much on the cards and we are also exploring the possibility of running to the former Old Windsor Hospital and Eton (served before the closure of Windsor Bridge). Journeys to Hedgerley Hill are also proposed. 

David Beynon

Re Mark Doggett’s comment in this weeks briefing, the VDL shown was not the team coach, that was K100 BCT an ex Eavesway Van Hool as stated. Apologies for any confusion.


I noticed A few oddities over the festive period which I'd like to share with you: 

On NYE 1 of the StreetDecks branded for the 15 was operating the 8 or 9 when I saw it in St Aldate's.

A no. S3 bus stopped at the St Aldate's bus stop on the 28th, 29th or 30th Dec. Don't know what it was doing as the S3 doesn't normally go to St Aldate's.

On Dec 29th 1 of the River Rapids busses made a rare appearance on the 3.

On NYE I travelled on the X2 between Abingdon and Oxford. For some reason it was displaying NX2 Didcot.

On several occasions I saw Stagecoach busses displaying 'Returning to Depot', something I've never seen before. Do you know why they've started doing that?

Did you hear how many people were caught out by the special timetables running on Boxing Day, Dec 27th (the substitute for Christmas Day as it fell on a Sunday), NYE and New Year's Day? I saw it for myself on Boxing Day, Dec 27th and New Year's Day, and heard on Twitter that it happened on Boxing Day and NYE.  

Nick Ross

Arriva Volvo B7 3768 LT63UNM between turns by the river in Hemel Hempstead on Friday January, 13th 2023. 

     Fleet News and developments   

Gavin Francis

January 16th.

Still much variety in the town

A selection of the recently transferred Versas all of which are now in service each day.

Double decks still to be seen on various routes.

Another Versa we had in Wycombe in 2015 was 2964 pictured at the old Park and Ride,
may have been from the same batch as the ones just arrived. December 22nd 2015.

Three withdrawn buses 3506, 3915 and 3925 at the garage this morning, January 15th.

Jack Cooper

On January 9th Jack visited High Wycombe and took some interesting pictures.

The StreetLites are still in regular service

Also recorded were the newly arrived Versas.

The Citaros are still much in evidence.

4210 seen in Wycombe bus station.

5468 is seen in Oxford working the 280 on January 14th.

Kevin Fuller

I've managed a few pictures for you from Slough and Maidenhead: 

At Frascati Way, Arriva 4212, a Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini, sets out for High Wycombe working route 37.
January 12th 2023.

Lewis Hawkins  

3020 Arriva The Shires Citaro Idles at Henley-on-Thames Working an 800 service To Reading Via Marlow
 on January 14th. 

Gavin Francis

The X74 still provides much variety as seen in Wycombe on January 16th.

Kevin Fuller

I've managed a few pictures for you from Slough and Maidenhead: 

Seen on Wellington Street in Slough, laying over between trips to Heathrow via Windsor and Staines on route 8, is First's 69392, a Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse.

Taken on a very wet 10th January. 

At Maidenhead railway station on the 12th January, First 69932, Volvo 7900 hybrid, starts its route 4 journey to Heathrow,  

Luke Marion named permanent Oxford Bus Co MD

Luke Marion (pictured) has been appointed Managing Director on a permanent basis of Oxford Bus Company,
including the Carousel Buses, City Sightseeing Oxford and Thames Travel businesses.

Mr Marion held the position on an interim basis since April 2022 following former MD Phil Southall’s secondment to parent company the Go-Ahead Group. Mr Southall’s move has now been made permanent, the group has confirmed.

Prior to becoming Interim MD, Mr Marion had been Finance Director for 10 years. He is a chartered accountant by trade, having qualified at Ernst and Young, and worked at Reckitt Benckiser before joining the bus industry. Mr Marion is also Director of Oxfordshire’s Low Carbon Hub. As MD he is responsible for 600 employees.

Speaking about the appointment, Go-Ahead Managing Director, Regional Bus, Martin Dean says: “I am delighted that Luke Marion will be taking on the role of MD permanently in Oxford. He has done a great job steering the commercial aspects of the business and he is the ideal person to take the company forward.

“I would like to thank Phil for his outstanding leadership in Oxford and wish him well in his group role.”

The OCBP also congratulates Luke in gaining this deserved promotion. Ed.

Jack Cooper

223 has been at Carousel this week. 

300 / 301 / 302 worked Thames Travel football buses on Monday, when Oxford United had played Arsenal. 

OX2 - 301 

OX3 - 300

OX7 - 302

300 / 302 were back at Oxford Bus on Tuesday, however 301 has remained at Thames.  

228 / 229 / 251 / 252 / 253 / 254 have moved from Oxford Bus to Thames following the River Rapids moving over to Thames. They have all gained Thames logos. 251 and 254 have also worked the 98 this week. Since the Rapids have moved over the route has seen generic Thames Scania's, B7s and Omnicity's (both original Thames and ex London ones). 

As of Thursday, January 19th 301 is back at Oxford. Ed.

Gavin Francis

January 16th.


Lately a decker has been used to work the Park & Ride when 938 is seen in Wycombe.

Jack Cooper

January 9th




Versa 431 has been off the road for several weeks but is now back in service. Ed

Currently working at Wycombe is 223 seen here on route 27.

Jack Cooper


City Sightseeing still carries on regardless of the weather.


303 returns to service after being out for a while to be converted to diesel.

Here it is on its second day in service at the Rail Station on the 4A. 

Jack Cooper

at Gloucester Green, Wycombe and Heathrow

These pictures give a different focus to these fine coaches.


Bob Chalmers

Interesting to note that since the service changes earlier in the week - OBC seem to have no cancellations due to driver shortages. Or at least if they have, they're not reporting them on their website or app. I realise that they have lost several services which would appear to involve around 12 buses and therefore maybe 24 to 30 drivers per day (River Rapids) 9 and 13 etc. If this is really the case then it's a good move for them and should improve reliability. Strange that even before the changes, TT never seemed to have daily cancellations. A few unexpected transfers of vehicles too - 301 to TT, 206 still with OBC etc. 

Jack Cooper

River Rapids is back with Thames Travel.

An interesting display that I do think we have shown before.

Lewis Hawkins  

254 Approaches Wallingford Working An X39 Bound To Oxford 

863 Mercedes Benz Citaro Working The 23 To Henley-on-Thames at Wallingford 

Thames Travel Connector Enviro 200MMC 454 works the X36 to Didcot seen leaving Didcot Parkway Station.


On the 16th, 924 operated the X40 heading to Wallingford after it finished the BB1A to Rose Hill here it is at Westgate. 

Gavin Francis

A couple of pictures taken in Pearson Close, Aylesbury. Former First 32021 W821PAE and former Lothian 854 Wright/Volvo SN57DFF now both with Marshalls.


Jack Cooper

at Heathrow

Taken on January 9th. 

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Jack Cooper

I include this picture of 901 as it is an excellent picture. Ed.

Kevin Fuller

I've managed a few pictures for you from Slough and Maidenhead: 

Passing the same stop is Thames Valley 129, an Optare Solo, working a route 7 service from Cox Green.

Also at Frascati Way, Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMC 664 in the Thames Valley fleet is working on route 7 to Woodlands Park. 

Another E200 MMC, a short version, Thames Valley 673 pauses on its route 53 journey from Bracknell to Wexham Park Hospital. 

Jack Cooper

red eagle use this Dart most days in High Wycombe.

Jack Cooper

The 130 is a very regular service and here is YX10FFJ in The Eden Bus Station on January 9th. 

Gavin Francis

E5RRT taken on January 9th. It arrived in white livery from Arriva Yorkshire as YX08HBZ. In 2012 it was branded for The Queens Diamond Jubilee.

The 11th saw an unusual appearance of E11RRT working the 40 before Red Rose this bus was Metrobus 618.

The 15th saw the appearance of YX61FZC working the 40 an seen with Tower Transit in 2016.

Jack Cooper

E20RRT seen in Wycombe on January 9th with a 40 working which was before JW65GSW. 

Dave & Deric

This is our summary of the Period 9 Stagecoach West changes as at 06/01/2023. You will see that 10903 has returned from Oxford to Cheltenham and 36111 from Gloucester to Oxford. 





Cheltenham (See below)










North Bristol





Oxford (See below)











Out of Reserve




North Bristol (Driver Trainer)











To Reserve










For Disposal



































These are the other changes we have found relating to the Stagecoach Oxford Fleet 





Cheltenham (See above)





Oxford (See above)











Tony Gaze

A few from Cheltenham over the past week, plus 36108 in Gloucester. 


Cheltenham - 15976 on 51, Trainer 25214, 15871 (Newent School branding) on 10


Cheltenham - newly converted trainer 27554


Cheltenham - 

15638 (Cirencester College branding) on 10, 37008 on 66, 10993 (S6 branded on 51)

Gloucester - 

36108 on 9 (Gloucester-Tuffley)

Bennetts have taken over the 93 (Cheltenham - Arle Court P&R) (using ex Kingsferry 20 seater MMC darts)

Both taken in Cheltenham

10686 on S2 (12 Dec 2022)

10687 on 51 (2 Dec 2022)


Jack Cooper

I had noticed Enviro 200 36111 working the 8 on Monday, I would guess that this is an extra bus for the 14 given the increase in PVR from the extension to Risinghurst.

One of the few still remaining in service 12004 working the 10 on January 14th.

Pete Leyman

36111 MX59 JDK ex Manchester on loan at Oxford depot, this bus has been working out of Bicester outstation all week, not sure how long the vehicle is here for.

Note the new livery is coming off at the rear of the bus and starting to show the old livery. 

Photos were taken at Arncott 13/1/23 heading towards Bullingdon Prison on the 29 service. 

Also we have MMC 10903 taken in Magdalen street east on the S5 route taken on 30/12/22.

This bus comes with, low bridge warning system in the cab to alert the driver and also when the hand break is applied and the doors open to let passengers on or off the engine immediately cuts out to save on fuel. Top deck there are no grab rails for passengers to hold on to which does reduce noise in the bus when the vehicle is in motion. 

Gavin Francis

50271 seen in London on January 12th when no record of its working was recorded in

Jack Cooper

Citylink Panorama 50446 is reportedly away for a repaint into Oxford Tube livery. 50448 has lost the Citylink branding from the offside, it was branded when I had last seen it in December. Still yet to see 50447 out in service.  

This is correct as 50446 has gone to a location near Bristol for repaint into tube livery Ed.


50448 with 6 cities branding now removed in New Road on January 16th. 

Jack Cooper

At Heathrow on January 9th. 

54211 seen in Gloucester Green on January 15th with an M34 service.

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

New Year is often a time for change and new beginnings, so the advert applied to Metroline's VWH2296 is timely.  Whilst at first glance it would appear to be encouraging people to ditch outdated fashion, it is actually promoting the Current Account Switching Service when seen at Oxford Circus on 14 January. 

whilst standing in for a hydrogen bus on route 7.  Supply chain issues with hydrogen have meant these stand ins have been regular occurrences recently.

The popularity of Harry Potter shows now sign of waning, with the launch of a 'Hogwarts Legacy' game scheduled for February 10.  Five New Routemasters have been wrapped in five different adverts for the game set in Hogwarts School. 

Go Ahead's LT862 is in a generic advert for the game, seen passing Bank on a gloomy 15 January.

The remaining adverts are each themed after one of the four houses at Hogwarts School, the name being carried on the front dome. 

Slytherin is carried by Stagecoach LT239, seen at Tottenham Court Road ready to head to Bow Garage on route 8.

LT506 from Go Ahead is Gryffindor, seen passing Nine Elms station whilst on route 87.

Passing the Imperial War Museum is Abellio's LT705 which promotes Ravenclaw

Metroline's LT763, captured at Elephant and Castle, is a member of Hufflepuff. 

This anonymous Higer bodied Scania is part of the Weavaway fleet.
It is seen passing Bank whilst working a journey on National Express' route A8 linking Whitechapel with Stansted Airport.

Gavin Francis

January 12th 2023

at Marble Arch 

LT 957 Moncler 

OME 46030 Butternut Box 

LT 763 Hogwarts 


B M Coaches operate several of these ADL MMCs.

LT 73 Jean Paul Gautier 

on Bayswater Road 

BCE 47006 & BCE 47026 Lenovo at Acton Green

BCE 47007.

Metroline VMH2531 r 113 Marble Arch.

Mullanys YT17EZU Marble Arch.

Arriva LT967 working route 137.

The RATP markings are now much larger as seen on LT83. 

Grahame Wareham

Back in the good old days, circa 1955 onwards, the Government's 'secret' experimental station at former RAF Harwell, near Didcot, was developing further forms of nuclear science since the splitting of the atom some years before. This was called the Atomic Energy Research Establishment and provided many jobs in the area which, due to the 'delicate' nature of the business, required a certain amount of 'protection' from the general public. One way in which this was achieved was that it provided transport for the majority of its workforce from outlying districts such as Abingdon, Wantage, Oxford, Didcot, Newbury, Reading, Faringdon and for this purpose a fleet of approximately thirty buses were owned. Harwell operated a shift system for many of its 'hands on' staff and it also provided school transport for the many children living within the confines of AERE's own housing development. The majority of the buses owned were purchased new by the relative Government Transport department and could be recognised by their distinctive blue and grey livery which was certainly unique to AERE but did not stand out as to advertise what they were, although during the seventies and eighties they carried the name HARWELL on the sides and in the destination boxes. This was removed from many vehicles prior to the finish of the establishment as more and more anti-nuclear protests were becoming the norm. 


The last double deck buses that AERE had purchased were a batch of four standard NBC spec Leyland Olympian's with ECW bodies which had followed on from their previous seven Bristol VRT/ECW and four Leyland National 2 purchases over the last few years. These four Olympians were the first of what Leyland proclaimed at the time to be a 'lightweight' version of the model as first introduced in 1980, and included the positioning of the fuel tanks on each side of the chassis frame and certain reductions in metal thicknesses and an option of deleting some of the splash panels on the bodywork, all in the view of weight saving...............(I will give my personal view on this when we get to issue 239!). The four buses were registered FWL778-781Y and delivered in March 1983. They had their side fleet names removed soon after delivery and over the next eight years I occasionally got a phone call at work requesting engineering advice or just the remote spare parts enquiry but as such these were well looked after and reliable vehicles.  

The operations and activities of AERE were being gradually wound down by the end of the 1980's prior to the Government's privatisation of that business and the bus fleet had dramatically reduced with the final AEC Regent V's and most of the single deck fleet being disposed of. Oxford Bus Company, as it had now become from its former C.O.M.S. formation, had provided, through AERE contracts, quite a lot of transport to the facility mainly operated from Wantage depot but a few from Oxford so a good relationship with regards to offering assistance had been developed and during the final rundown of AERE as a transport provider I had kept an eye on their last four purchases as to their possible sale. As with all Government departments of this nature the vehicles were being sold by tender and as can be expected there was a lot of interest in their four 'low mileage as new condition buses! There was much interest from some of the bigger neighbouring companies such as Hampshire Bus, Wilts & Dorset and even Eastern Counties. An offer was made, slightly above guideline price, bur the result was positive and in June 1991 the vehicles were collected and quickly put through the OBC workshops and became OBC's 236-239. As they were halfway through their natural expected life they also received a retrim in NBC moquette which replaced the basic but perfect spice brown leathercloth seats that had been specified from new. The buses looked new and on entry into service they replaced four Atlanteans which had been acquired from Northern General a few years earlier.


The second of the quartet out of the paintshop was 236 FWL778Y and I took it for its first run on an evening 35 road duty to Abingdon, a route they would get accustomed to along with Aylesbury, Carterton, and Reading. As they were semi-automatic and had wide ratio LVS GB458 gearboxes they required a bit more concentration than the previous Olympians which were all fully auto and had close ratio gearboxes but were a vast improvement on the Atlantean's. As they were only single door front entrance/exit they were more suited to the longer distance runs and offered a lot more passenger comfort than the buses they replaced.

During 1993 236 received revised lower front panels with square headlamps following accident damage as per 204 and 221.

236 was later transferred to Wycombe Bus in 10/95 and and was renumbered 1778 then 1825 but renumbered back to 236 after a matter of days.

It received a retrim in Go-Ahead group standard grey rainbow trim prior to dispatch to High Wycombe.

236 was returned to Oxford Bus in December 2000 and used briefly on Park & Ride services until January 2001
when it was sold to Hedingham Omnibuses becoming their L316 allocated to Tollesbury depot which originally belonging to local operator G.W.Osborne & Son.

Ten and a half years later in September 2011 it passed to L.C. Transport (Ladycars), Grays, Essex being used on Palmers College, Grays school contracts, still retaining Hedingham livery. It was disposed of in March 2013 after the demise of Ladycars but its fate is unknown, so presume scrapped as by then it had achieved thirty years service! 

Kevin Fuller

late pictures.

Three of the 5830- 5835 batch, whilst in service at High Wycombe: 

233 / Arriva 5833 is seen in Maidenhead Bridge Avenue on 14th April 2001, with a 316 service for High Wycombe. 

234 / Arriva 5834 still shows dual identity on 9th January 2001, at the Penn pond terminus of route 363. 

235 / Arriva 5835 outside Newlands bus station in High Wycombe on 19th March 2001 is in full Arriva livery.