Issue nr. 242
Wednesday, March 1st


Another issue with a wide variety of news, information, history and pictures. As ever my thanks to all who have contributed, especially the wide selection of pictures featuring those three Olympian coaches which spent much of their lives at High Wycombe.

There two new book reviews with details of local interest.

I felt that the day out with Graham Mildenhall provides interest now that the better days are coming.

Transport UK Group MBO of Abellio UK completes

3417 is seen by Kings Cross with a 63 working on February 28th by Gavin Francis

A management buyout of Abellio UK from Dutch shareholder Nederlandse Spoorwegen to create Transport UK Group completed on 28 February. The deal captures all existing Abellio operations here, including over 60 bus routes delivered on behalf of Transport for London and rail replacement and Event Connect work.

Agreement on the MBO was reached in August 2022. It has since been awaiting regulatory approval. In addition to coach and bus services, Transport UK Group also runs a number of railway contracts.

The Abellio brand will remain in operation in the short term for parts of the business, including via Abellio London Bus, the company says in a statement. It has underlined its long-term commitment to both bus and rail services, and adds that it will contribute to the debate on wider rail industry reform.

Managing Director Dominic Booth led the deal. Mr Booth – who previously described himself as “having been a railwayman all my life” – took up leadership of Abellio UK in 2007. He has enjoyed a 36-year career in public transport and counts British Rail, Connex, Prism Rail and National Express as previous employers.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen is entirely owned by the Dutch government. Approval for the MBO has been received from partners including the Department for Transport, Transport for London, and Merseytravel. Consent from the Office for Rail and Road is expected within 28 days of the deal closing.

Speaking about completion of the buyout, Mr Booth says: “We are thrilled to return key public transport services back into UK ownership.

“While our name will change to Transport UK Group, our values remain the same. We will continue to play a key role in the country’s transport sector, ensuring the provision of our award-winning services to passengers around the UK and driving innovation to develop a low-emission UK transport network.”

New books review

Paul Lacey Books

Website 2022 (

This book centres on the iconic trio of local bus operators surviving in the historic town of Windsor after the 1930 Road Traffic Act and London Transport Act of 1933, Blue Bus, Borough Bus and Imperial. Researched over 50 years, 112 pages A4, softback with over 500 photographs, mainly in black and white but some in colour. Location maps and fleet lists included inside.

This publication is part of a series covering the Operators recorded in the PSV Circle Area news sheets (area 3).  It gives details of the known current fleets of all known bus and coach operators in Berkshire (BK) and Oxfordshire (OX).

This book offers a snapshot of all material published up to PSV Circle News Sheet 997 (February 2023).

Editors review

An excellent publication encompassing much of our area of interest. The usual index of registrations makes this a very useful quick reference guide. There are a number of colour pictures including one of Duck Tours GM DUKWs emerging from the River Thames at Windsor. A major benefit is the coverage of the many smaller operators in the two counties. At £12 it offers excellent value for the  enthusiast. Ed. 

A day out in Oxfordshire with Graham Mildenhall

i had a day out travelling around trying to get some images of new/soon to disappear/unusual/lesser seen vehicles and routes, will split into several emails and hope that you might find at least some of sufficient interest for your next update. 

Firstly in Bicester was an ex London General Volvo B7 now operated by Grayline and still with what appears to be London style blinds.

Continuing the Grayline theme they appear to have a new acquisition for the 24 service now.

SK68TWN a Street Lite DF all white and carrying no legals, two pictures of it in Oxford.

The Street Lite WF in Elmsbrook colours I sent you a picture of last week seems to have returned to serving the Elmsbrook estate (route E1) in Bicester now. 

Moving to Stagecoach,

15767 is seen in Oxford operating a 7 to Woodstock via Oxford Parkway, a service that is due to change on 5
th March.

This will change to being an S7 and which will no longer serve the Park & Ride at Parkway, running instead via the main road to Oxford Airport then Woodstock and then on to Witney via the current 233 route which will be withdrawn at the same time. 

Lastly for this mail, Oxford Tube Astromega with “pride” colours is seen in Oxford
passing over the “pride” pedestrian crossing near Westgate. A chance shot as I was walking into the city centre!

Made it to Witney now.

Two shots of WODC vehicles used on local shoppers services to local villages and estates.

Pulhams operate some services here in addition to Stagecoach.

 BB70BUS a Volvo B8 arrived as a service 19 (Witney to Witney via a number of local villages) then became the 15 to Abingdon (pictured).

Whereas the Solo was working the regular X9 service to/from Chipping Norton.

– boring Stagecoach but three of interest as the Solo’s are on the 233 to and in Woodstock (will be the S7 from 5th March) and 11251 because I quite liked the picture! 

11251, 47735 and 47834 all in Witney, 47833 in Woodstock after I travelled there on it.

I've published this as an article which gives a more logical use of the story. Ed.

Nigel Peach

I particularly enjoy Grahame Wareham's weekly contributions about the bus numbers corresponding with the weekly page numbers. His detailed knowledge of the individual history of each bus is interesting and fascinating. Most of the recent buses featured were based in Wycombe for some of their lives and I remember them all well. The D reg Olympians (240-242) being different, stood out somewhat at Wycombe and I remember we were among a group of people who travelled on one of these buses once - someone on this particular committee (I think it was the village Millennium committee!) was also a driver at Wycombe and he procured this bus (241/D823 I think) for an outing. I was very impressed! 

Also the quality of some of the pictures is amazing - I must single out Jack Cooper, but it's not just him. 

I did visit Carousel's depot a couple of weeks ago, and had planned to send you pictures, but then discovered that you had also visited a day or two before - my pictures were too similar to yours! 

I've just thought.... I've got pics of Carousel's current 242!! 

Two pictures attached of 242, fresh in service with Carousel, at Bourne End on 6th January 2021.

Mike Walker

Another roof with a bird hitching a ride

The attached was taken at Bristol on 18 May 2019 (the last day of proper GWR HST operation) and the IET was moving when the picture was taken.  It got up to the maximum allowed 30mph through the station throat before the stowaway lost its bottle and jumped ship.

GWR 800304 Bristol Temple Meads 180519 M Walker

One day I was on Charing Cross station when a Circle Line train drew in.  The doors opened and a pigeon hopped off and waddled across the platform towards the exit.  He was obviously commuting to Trafalgar Square and couldn’t be bothered to fly, probably too well fed by tourists!

Brian Butler

Demand Responsive Transport scheme for the Aylesbury area

I attach some email exchanges with Buckinghamshire Council regarding the proposed Demand Responsive Transport scheme for the Aylesbury area which it was originally envisaged would follow on quite quickly from the Pick-me-Up scheme in High Wycombe. As you will see from the emails this has now been deferred as the successful bidder(Arriva)withdrew. 

Please feel free to include (or not) whatever you feel is appropriate from this information in your weekly page which I very much enjoy reading. 

We now wait with bated breath, and perhaps some trepidation, to see what emerges in terms of scope of the revised scheme and operator later in the year. 

Many thanks for the information you have provided. It is obviously disappointing, though perfectly understandable, given the cost pressures existing that the bidder withdrew from the contract. 

I hope that you will be able to revise the scheme in a such a way that it provides a boost to public transport in areas currently under-served and will be attractive to potential bidders. 

I look forward to seeing an outcome to the process later in the year. 

From Amanda Covington. BCC - Public Transport Team, Transport Services Communities Directorate - Buckinghamshire Council 

Hi Brian, thank you for getting in touch. Just to give you some background for the delay: the DRT scheme for Aylesbury was procured during 2022 and it was anticipated that the scheme would launch in the months following the start of the High Wycombe scheme. We had a successful bidder and entered negotiations with the Council for the award of the contract. 

Disappointingly, the bidder withdrew from this process and advised that they are no longer able to provide the scheme, citing increased operational costs, including increases in fuel and wage costs, as the reason that they are unable to honour their original bid. 

As part of the re-procurement process for a provider to operate the Aylesbury area DRT pilot, we are reviewing and carefully considering the scope of the scheme and options available to ensure that it is affordable and commercially viable, given current wider market pressures.  

The re-procurement process has started and it is anticipated that the process will be completed by May 2023, with the scheme then commencing in the late summer/early autumn of 2023.  

To Amanda...  

Perhaps you could update me as to whether there is any further information about when the DRT scheme for the Aylesbury area will be implemented.

From Amanda...

Thanks for you response. I cannot now recall where I saw the "later this autumn" comment, but I note that the Leader Decision note stated that both schemes would start in the summer of 2022.

As you suggest I will monitor the Services Changes page. Hopefully it will not be too far into next year when the service commences.

From Amanda...

We don’t yet a have a confirmed start date for the Demand Responsive Transport service in Aylesbury, but this is likely to be next year now. Please can you advise where you saw the information saying “later this autumn” so we can get this adjusted. As our customer service team advises once we have a start date we will publicise this and get the information on our website this will be on our Service Changes page and will add it to the information on the DRT page (currently only showing the Wycombe Pick Me Up details)

Well I wonder how this will develop ? Ed.


Memories and questions

I do remember that Cambridge Coach Services used to run the 757 service from Cambridge to Oxford via High Wycombe, although in those days it was the 75; it only became the 757 after Jetlink took over and removed many of the stops. Then of course it became National Express who for some reason changed the service number to 737 back in 2006. Why was it that Wycombe Bus provided A replacement when A coach failed in High Wycombe. Normally if A bus breaks down A replacement is provided by the same operator. Why did 677 paid an unexpected visit to GG on Feb 13th? Also, In your weekly briefing published on Feb 8th why is 36111 displaying '14A JR Hospital' when the 14A doesn't exist anymore, and showing no via points?

Have any other OBC routes such as the 300 and 500 ever changed drivers in George St the way the 2A/2B/2C/2D and 14/14A did?

Andrew Dyer

I wonder if one of your learned readers can answer a question generated by a discussion with some of my old Oxford school mates.

As  a schoolboy, I remember the Cutteslowe No 2 route turning off the Banbury Road and doing a loop around Carlton/Wolsey/Aldrich/Wentworth roads.  

Obviously that route wasn’t possible when the Cutteslowe Walls were in place, so how did the buses serve the estate before the Walls were demolished in March 1959? Did the route go out on to the by-pass and enter the estate via Jackson Road? I’d be fascinated to know!

We would be very interested to hear from any reader who can answer this question. Ed.

Jack Cooper 

A real cracker, 31 passes Christ Church on February 25th.

With Christ Church making the  background 671 heads for Wantage with an X1 on February 25th. 

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon

At the Kassam for the visit of Bristol Rovers, the team coach was a Peter Carol Mercedes Tourismo.

Barnes VDL WJ18EAE visits Oxford on February 28th.

     Fleet News and developments   

Gavin Francis

2953 leaves the Eden for Micklefield with a 32 working on February 24th.

Jack Cooper

Variety showing 280 workings on February 25th - 3816 and 5461,

Tony Bungay

Caught in the depths of Aylesbury Bus station on Monday 27/2/23 in one of the darker corners, hence not perhaps the  best of photos

 is former Guildford and West Surrey DSL 88 later Arriva 3088. It was still in there today Tuesday 28/2

On a different Arriva note, although you probably have already heard, Arriva is to shut it’s depots at Macclesfield, Winsford and Oswestry, where next would seem to be a pertinent question ? 

Gavin Francis

Citaro 877 in The Eden Bus Station on February 24th.

Citaro 881 in The Eden Bus Station with a 102 on February 24th.

Sprinter 979 in The Eden Bus Station working the PMU service. on February 24th. 

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 38 awaits departure from Gloucester Green on February 24th.

Interdeck  69 awaits departure to Gatwick from Gloucester Green on February 26th.

CSS 202 and 631 in  Gloucester Green on February 23rd and 22nd respectively.

364 seen with a 35 road service on February 25th.

 671. 684 and 688 in St Aldates on February 25th. 688 was out of service from November until the last week.


844 works the 5X to Blackbird Leys College and 353 works the return of the 5X heading to the Rail Station and returning to the depot.

5 branded 654 works a 3 road service on February 25th.

On the 28th, 366 works the 300 seen at Westgate.

Later in the evening of the 28th 689 works the 5X seen near the railway station.

On the 1st of March 690 works the X3 seen at St Aldates heading to Barton.

Also on the 1st 362 works the 400 also seen at St Aldates heading to Wheatley.


Citaro 842 works an X32 service on February 25th.  

Another new arrival.

YT23HYP Irizar ?  Ir C??F     /2023 Johnsons, Henley-in-Arden

Gavin Francis

Now a regular for the 130 service WH66BUS is seen in Oxford Road on February 24th. 

Gavin Francis

E3RRT brings variety to the 40 on February 26th whilst also/ seen in Milton Keynes on June 15th 2020.

When new E3RRT was with GHA and branded for the 88 from Altrincham to Macclesfield. Taken by Stan Butler.

E5RRT seen in The Eden with a 275 service on February 24th.

Somewhat far off its branded route JW16BUS is seen working the 40 on February 25th. 

Brent Ricketts

Pictures of our Shearings liveried coach which is a Mercedes Tourismo. it does was once silver colour
but now in Shearings colours for when the Season starts at the end of April . 

Jack Cooper

50447 has at last entered service after several months out of service as seen above on February 23rd.

50446 is now at Graysons, Birmingham, one supposes for Air Conditioning work whilst 50448 is still under repaint at Yate.

     London operations    

Gavin Francis

abellio 3402 and 3424 at Kings Cross with two wraps on February 28th.

Metroline VMH2593 at Uxbridge on February 21st.

Go Ahead E10 seen by Kings Cross on February 28th.

Go Ahead WVL294 seen by Kings Cross on February 28th. Sister buses have already moved to Thames Travel.

Metroline BEL2505 seen by Kings Cross on February 28th.

Stagecoach LT251 working route 8 in Roman Road on February 28th.

Ruislip also sets the scene for BME27022 working the 398 on February 28th. 

Grahame Wareham

Follow up from T W W Knowles in the last issue.

Before I send you Issue 242's scribe I though I would follow up on Thomas Knowles's picture of COMS AEC's at Edwards, Joys Green. 


I used to visit Edwards premises with Nick Taylor way back in 1971 when they first were thinking about replacing their Regent III OFC376 as we were interested in buying it for preservation. Unfortunately we couldn't raise the £200 he wanted for it at the time and it went for scrap. I remember we used to get invited in to his nice warm house for a hot tea and home made cakes in the wilds of Lydbrook before we drove back to Oxford.


We did stay in touch and helped him to secure the four Regent V's he purchased from COMS back then and I attach some of the images I have scanned from slides I took back in the day, including two subsequent disposals of 198KFC to Dobson's, Widnes in a Barnsley scrap yard and 199KFC to the Kelly Family who toured Europe in it.

I wonder how those Regent V's coped with the hilly terrain of the area as I remember when driving the Oxford training bus 200KFC it was fairly gutless. One day I had to use 200 to deliver some wheels to Wantage depot and going up the hill out of Steventon I got overtaken by a JCB!, such was the performance from its meagre AV470 engine. I may have mentioned before that the chassis for 196-200KFC were diverted from a Rhondda order to cover for the late delivery of Bridgemaster's and I expect that these would have been 'opened up' a little more for the terrain of the 'Valleys' but their life in Oxford was far more sedate!

We almost purchased 200KFC for preservation but were advised that a fractured chassis was not in out interest and offered 975CWL from Hants & Dorset.............which will storm up the hills!

I passed my PCV Driving Test on 200 and 48 years later am just renewing it for another year so I have quite an affection for this batch.................but we can't save them all!

242 with COMS

Well we have got to the end of the Olympian fleet numbers corresponding with your weekly updates. I do have something up my sleeve for issue 243 just to finish off with but hope readers have enjoyed what has already been published.


1824 D824UTF was acquired with the the business of Berks and Bucks Bus Company, High Wycombe depot on 22/11/90 and its fleet number. was 824 new in 1986 to Alder Valley as fleet number 1624, this the last of three being rare normal wheelbase coach spec Olympians, originally intended for Southern Vectis as their 705,

In 1994 1824 received overall advertising for Top Drawer People computer supplies using a white/blue/black livery.

In 1996 1824 had its front dome rebuilt with ECW bus style units, as per 1823 at Bristol Bus & Coach, Lawrence Hill, Bristol.

In 1996 1824 was renumbered 242
In 1997 242 was upseated to CH39/25F by the addition of two seats over the lower deck wheelarch.
In September 1999 242 swapped rear axles with 978 in order that the former could negotiate the more difficult inclines in High Wycombe.

242 was transferred to Arriva The Shires, and renumbered 5824, with the sale of Wycombe Bus on 13th December 2000.

In February 2003 5824 was withdrawn and sold to Western Greyhound, Summercourt near Newquay but it didn't stay very long being withdrawn in 2007. I haven't got any subsequent disposal after this but Western Greyhound certainly didn't keep it very long.

Michael Penn

 .... more on 242

Pictures from early days to its last operator Western Greyhound.

David Ive

More regarding the three Olympian coaches

I note the articles about the three Coach Spec Olympians and have attached a couple of images of 1824 (242), the next one to be discussed. Both photos were taken in Princes Risborough.

The photo of it in yellow X14/X15 livery was taken on 23/03/91.

The red/white photo was taken on 14/09/91.  

Aylesbury Bus also had a vehicle branded with “The Chilterns Connection”, Alexander bodied Olympian 624.

I have also attached  an image of this vehicle leaving Princes Risborough on 03/03/1990 (Nearly 33 years ago – frightening…).

Graham Low

Those three Olympians when new

The three Bee Line Olympian coaches 1622-4 illustrated in today's issue began work at Bracknell in late 1986 on Londonlink work in the final and striking version of NBC livery, as shown by these pictures.

One is of the three in Bracknell Garage before they entered service.

The others are at Bracknell Bus Station when still new.