Issue nr 246
due Wednesday, March 29th 2023
delayed due illness


An issue with less local pictures as two of my main supporters are on holiday. However there is much of interest to many readers.

The coming event at Detling this weekend  is cancelled due to waterlogged ground. We also have pictures from Bedfordshire. Last weekend saw an LBM event reliving the 174 and 175 routes.

There some interesting letters from readers and service changes to local routes in Buckinghamshire.

Reading Buses are also advising of service changes in their area.

We are told of new services from megabus covering Oxford and corrections regarding 999 from Grahame Wareham.

Paul Bateson writes with  pictures and his LETTER FROM CANADA.

Finally Jack Cooper tells us about the first two days of his holiday on the South Coast and Isle of Wight with more to come in future issues. 

Detling cancelled


We are very disappointed to have to announce that Kent County Agricultural Society had to take the decision this afternoon, following an inspection of the showground site, that the Heritage Transport Show and the South East Bus Festival due to take place in three days' time HAS BEEN CANCELLED as a result of the site being waterlogged and with more rain forecast.

Not only are the grass areas used for parking the buses too soft to stand the weight of heavy vehicles but the public car parks behind the showground are significantly waterlogged, rendering them unusable.

As you can imagine, this is extremely disappointing for us as a considerable amount of work has gone into organising the event and we were looking forward to giving everyone a great day out.

At this stage we need to get this message to as many people as possible, but there will separately be the need to deal with refunding any advance ticket sales, bookings for sales-stand and adverts in the souvenir programme.

We will also contact all those vehicle owners who have entered buses into the event and teh bus operators who were to provide the feeder services.

If you could help spread this message to any friends you have who might have been planning to come, or share this with any relevant Facebook pages, that would be a great help in ensuring that people know of the cancellation before they prepare to come to the event.

We are very sorry to have to bring you this news but nature has beaten us on this occasion. 

Gary Seamarks takes an afternoon out in Bedfordshire 

Gary Seamarks

Few buses on way to afternoon school jobs of Herberts, Tates were also covering this work it seemed.

The Uno's were on Cranfield Connects, C1= E400 and C10,  

Andrew Webb

The London Bus Museum's latest event to put historic buses onto the streets of the capital took place on 25 March when vintage vehicles supplemented the service on TfL routes 174 and 175 and recreated two historic routes.  Crowds of enthusiasts photographed and rode the vehicles, joined by members of the public who were surprised to see the buses in use. 

One the oldest vehicles in use was G351, representing a type seen on the route 175 in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 

It is seen at Romford station whilst heading for Dagenham. 

Another elderly vehicle was STL2377, seen at Romford on a route 174, recalling the 1940s and 1950s when they were the staple type on the route. 

LT414 on route 5 provides a comparison with a more modern style of bespoke London bus.

The ubiquitous RT and it's cousin the RTL both spent time working routes 174 and 175,
recreated by RT2150 and RTL605 taking a turn on route 175 at Romford station.

RT624 recalls RT operation on the 174. 

Lowheight RLH buses were never allocated to either route, but RLH53 gives a glimpse of what might have been
as it arrives at Romford station with the 'clippie' on the platform augmenting the indicators.

Successor to the RT was the Routemaster, which saw use on both routes. 

RM2208 is seen on route 174, with RM848 on route 175. 

In 1975 route 175 gained some notoriety when members of the RMA class were retired from an express route linking central London with Heathrow and redeployed to the route. 

Three members of the class duly recalled these operations. 

RMA9 from Timebus and Ensignbus RMA50 are both painted in the familiar red livery used on the route. 

RMA14, making its first public appearance for several years, is preserved in BEA livery which it wore when allocated to airport duties.

Express journeys, operated as route 174 but with different blinds, operated between 1955 and 1977 and again between 1986 and 1990.  These journeys were short workings between Harold Hill and Romford station. 

RT4275 recreates the first period of operation as it waits to turn onto the stand at Romford station. 

The second period of operation was with the Leyland Titan which became synonymous with east London.  T66 has been beautifully restored as the Aldenham Diplomat and carries General livery. 

It is seen arriving at Romford station to take up an Express 174, whilst later in the day it took a turn on route 175. 

The second recreated route was Green Line was route 712, a service originally linking Bishop's Stortford with Romford. 

RF600 was an appropriate vehicle to recall the operation. 

Preserved Capital Citybus Leyland Olympian worked route 175 during the day. 

Whilst Romford was a stronghold for the company they never worked the route, although they did work route 174 for one day on Boxing Day 1994.

Capital Citybus was sold to become part of First London which in turn was sold to Tower Transit who subsequently sold out to Stagecoach! 

Recalling the First / Tower Transit era was this preserved Marshall bodied Dart SLF
which was greeted with much cheering from younger enthusiasts as it arrived on route 175! 
The type never worked the route, but were a common site around Romford on other routes. 

Also making a debut (and almost certainly only a 1 day appearance) was this Scania Omnidekka from Reading Buses.

A great record of this special day blessed with fine weather. Ed.

Chris Huntingford

Chris writes: “Using stop T2 on Oxford High Street is often revealing as to how the bus system is used in practice. The Oxford network is superb, but as ever, anomalies occur, and here is an example. A remarkable number of people board route 3, and ask for the JR hospital, thinking it is a slow version of the X3. Similarly, many board the X3, thinking it is an express bus for Iffley. If there is ever a major reconfiguration of routes in Oxford, can we be careful with the numbering, as in the minds of many (especially visitors), “X” simply means a limited stop version of an identical route with the same number ?”   

Do other readers have any comments ? Ed.

Jamie Neil

I've been following your Oxford Chiltern bus page for a number of years now and I find it really interesting and informative of what's happening in the area, particularly as I no longer live in that part of the country nowadays. Keep up the great work you do.  

Just a quick correction on the caption about Reading Buses 801 Scania N94UD. 801 was new to Reading in October 2004 as YN54AEP. It was reregistered to X100RDG in the last few years. Come next year, it'll be 20 years old! Reading built up a fleet of 34 N94UD 801-34 OmniDekkas before purchasing 27 N230UD Olympus 835-61. The buy out Courtney Buses of Bracknell added a further N230UD Olympus, 862, before subsequently purchasing 4 secondhand N270UD OmniDekkas from Nottingham City Transport which became 863-66. The former Courtney example didn't stay in the fleet for too long.  

I hope this extra info helps or even adds to the content.  

Marcus Lapthorn

On Wednesday 22 March two Stagecoach West d/d buses were on the S6 route in Faringdon. They both had overall advertising for Guildford university! Presumably they had  come from a depot in the south. I think they were 15964 & 15965, but I may have misread the fleet numbers.

Seems these were the buses in question. (dated March 30th.)

15984 YN64 XSL S6 09:55 Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400
Stagecoach Beachball
University of Surrey Swindon
15985 YN64 XSM S6 06:45 Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400
Stagecoach Beachball
University of Surrey Swindon
15986 YN64 XSO S6 09:57 Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400
Stagecoach Beachball
University of Surrey Swindon

A driver has since told me that Swindon have had to transfer some environmentally friendly buses to Bristol, as Bristol is now a clean air zone. Chichester?  Have transferred buses to Swindon to compensate.

Pictures are included under the SC West heading below. Ed.

Mark Turner

Harry Potter Bus
taken on Thursday 23rd March at Watford Junction Train Station 

Tim Weatherup

I thought your readers might be interested in this picture I have come across on the internet, showing a double decker bus in the Bahamas in the 1970s. (Apologies if this has been commented on before and I have missed it).  

Could this be former Oxford 952 AJO? I wonder if any of your readers could comment on the history of this bus, please?

Paul Bateson

952 AJO is an AEC Regent V MD3RV309 / Weymann orig, H33/28RD new in 1957 as City of Oxford 952.  This bus went to the Oxford Preservation Group 5/69 after an accident.  Converted to open-top by them, and exported to Freeport, Bahamas 10/70.  Unfortunately I have no further information in the subsequent 63 years! 

Paul Hubbert

The report on heritage buses for comic relief ,brought memories, about the route 25 bus ,we used to travel on them in the 50/60s from Victoria to Becontree. 

I loved the old London buses, we used to go by train from oxford to Paddington then the under ground to Victoria. happy days .thanks for everything. 

Our local transport plan

An interesting link. Service changes in April 2023 included under the relevant operator headings. Ed. 

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon

I noticed that there are a lot of coach pics from Cheltenham Races on a site you mentioned some time ago; which you might like to refer your readers to.

St Giles hosts Golden Tours LF19FYG on March 21st.

Richard Sharman

It is good to see tourist coaches are now returning to Oxford in greater numbers as seen on March 27th. 

     Fleet News and developments   

Revised upcoming timetables for Aylesbury routes.

Route 9/9A/9C Arriva

Change: Monday to Saturday timetable changes with buses operating up to every 20 minutes. Buses arriving at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on Saturday will additionally serve the Ambulance Station stop on most journeys. Sunday 9C service withdrawn.

Revised timetable: Bus route 9 9A
Starting: Sunday 16 April 2023

Route 280 X8 Arriva

Change: Minor timing adjustment with no change to frequency for most of the day. Some 280 journeys will be renumbered as service X8 and will run direct between Stone and Thame. With some journeys which previously ran as X8s running as 280s and serving Haddenham.

Revised timetable: Bus route 280 X8
Starting: Sunday 16 April 2023

Route 300 X30 Arriva

Change: Service 300 will be increased to operate up to every 20 minutes on Monday to Saturday with service X30 reduced to providing occasional additional journeys. Late evening journeys from High Wycombe will alternate between service 300 and X30. Revised Sunday timetable with no change to frequency.

Revised timetable: Bus route 300 X30
Starting: Sunday 16 April 2023

Revised upcoming timetables for Slough routes.

Route 3 First Bus

Change: Revised Sunday timetable.

Revised timetable: Bus route 3
Starting: Sunday 2 April 2023

Route 4 First Bus

Change: Service revised to operate between Heathrow Airport to Cippenham so will no longer serve Buckinghamshire. Partially replaced between Slough and Maidenhead by new Service 6.

Starting: Sunday 2 April 2023

Route 6 First Bus

Change: New daily bus route running between Knolton Way in Wexham Court to Maidenhead via Slough and the Bath Road.

Revised timetable: Bus route 6
Starting: Sunday 2 April 2023

Route X74 First Bus

Change: Revised Sunday timetable.

Revised timetable: Bus route X74
Starting: Sunday 2 April 2023

Route 180 Carousel Buses

Change: This local school bus, previously operated by Red Rose Travel will now be run by Carousel Buses. The timetable will be slightly revised, but will continue to serve Little Kingshill, Great Kingshill, Prestwood, Great Missenden, South Heath & Hyde Heath with Amersham School & Dr Challoner’s Grammar School. Any annual tickets issued by Red Rose Travel will be accepted by Carousel until the end of the academic year. For term passes visit Carousel Buses website.

Revised timetable: Bus route 180
Starting: Monday 17 April

Change: Minor timetable change to one morning journey, which will run slightly earlier.

Revised timetable: Bus route 577
Starting: Monday 17 April


On the 29th, 313 makes an appearance on the 4A on its second day of its return to service after conversion to diesel.
Seen at Frideswide Square and Park End Street. 


453 operating the 98 in Didcot on March 22nd. 

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley


Timetable changes, mostly to help improve timekeeping and as a response to rising demand, are announced today by Reading Buses. 

The changes, which will mainly benefit the leopard 3 and greenwave 50 routes, will come into force from April 17. 

There are also minor changes throughout the day on jet black 1 and route 9 as well as to evening journeys on lion X4 and little oranges 19b. 

Extra buses on greenwave 50 will provide an increased frequency to Green Park every 10 minutes during peak times Mondays to Fridays as well as a more reliable timetable on Saturdays. 

Leopard 3 sees a re-worked timetable that offers improved peak time frequencies and better spacing to help reduce crowding.  

Additional evening journeys between Reading and the Royal Berkshire Hospital will replace evening journeys on little oranges 19b, and route 9 will be adjusted to better complement the busiest leopard journeys. 

The jet black 1 timetable has been re-worked to provide better reliability and timekeeping and continues with the same 30 minute daytime frequency between Reading and Newbury and number of journeys as present. 

Jet black 1 journeys towards Reading will serve an additional stop at Southdown Road in Newbury after departing West Berkshire Community Hospital. 

The 11.50 pm Monday to Saturday lion X4 journey from Bracknell which was introduced in January 2023 will no longer run with the last bus from Bracknell reverting to the 11.00pm lion 4. 

Reading Buses wish to clarify that the reviews of bus funding and service levels being publicised by Wokingham Borough Council do not affect the leopard 3 service. 

Since September 2022 only a small number of evening and Sunday journeys between Shinfield and Arborfield are funded by the council.  

The rest of the service is a self-sustaining part of the Reading Buses network that the operator says they are committed to developing in line with demand. 

The new timetables will be available online and on the Reading Buses app shortly. 

A greenwave 50 bus seen heading towards Green Park.
Peak times Mondays to Fridays from April 17th will see greenwave 50 buses run up to every 10 minutes.

Route 12 Thames Valley Buses

Change: Minor timetable change on Saturday evening journeys. Sunday service extended from Burnham to Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5.

Revised timetable: Bus route 12/13
Starting: Sunday 2 April

Route 16 Red Rose Travel

Change: Temporary timetable to operate due to a road closures in Steeple Claydon/Calvert area.

Revised timetable: Bus route 16 temporary timetable (PDF, 182 KB)

Starting: Monday 3 April 2023
Ending: Saturday 29 April 2023

Route 16 Red Rose Travel

Change: Minor timetable changes with peak time journeys additionally serving Aylesbury Vale Parkway. Some journeys will operate as service 17 or 617 from 11 April 2023.

Revised timetable: Bus route 16
Starting: Sunday 30 April

Route 17 and 617 Red Rose Travel

Change: Minor timetable revisions including some journeys that previously ran as Service 16. Introduction of service 617 which replaces the school day service between Aylesbury and Waddesdon School, which previously ran as route 16.

Revised timetable: Bus route 17
Starting: Tuesday 11 April

Route 60 and 60A Red Rose Travel

Change: Minor timetable revisions to Monday to Friday journeys.

Revised timetable: Bus route 60 60A
Starting: Tuesday 11 April

Route 613 Red Rose Travel

Change: This local school bus, previously operated by Red Rose Travel will be withdrawn, a replacement will be provided by our Client Transport Team.

View full details on the route 613 replacement service.
Starting: Monday 17 April

Graham Mildenhall

Sadly the anticipated special didn’t materialize on Saturday, GW16BUS being the incumbent all day as the previous Saturday, but to compensate there was a bit of entertainment for me on Friday morning (24th March). 

The 0802 departure from Heyford Park operated by E2RRT suffered some sort of problem
and when I went out at nearly 0900 was parked on the road apparently abandoned – see first picture.

I went to the local shop and on coming back 15 minutes later the troops had turned up in the shape of YX61FZC – see second picture.

Shortly after they both set off, E2RRT with passengers by now so don’t know what the issue was although an hour or so later I was at Bicester Village Station and YX61FZC turned up for the next rotation and seems to have been on the route for the rest of the day as I travelled home on it on the 1950 departure. 

Thought my tale might be of interest and certainly a first to have two Red Rose vehicles in Heyford at the same time! 

Following on from the item above from Marcus Lapthorn.


On the 29th, 15984 works the S6 also seen at Frideswide Square 

Richard Sharman

The three ADL Enviro400-bodied Scania's are seeing regular use on the S6, providing some free advertising for the University of Surrey in Oxford!.


Richard Sharman

Banbury E200 36768 admires the nearly completed building work on the former Boswells department store.

Banbury's ADL Enviro200MMC 37630 is seen having a day off from the 505 Brackley to Bicester service, with a Sunday S4 service into the city.

Whilst the hybrid era will soon be over and this batch of ADL Enviro400Hs will be heading for scrap,

12004 is seen making an extremely rare appearance on a 2 towards Kidlington last Saturday.


The recent services changes to the Stagecoach network have seen the S3 removed from Gloucester Green bus station, thus removing the easy transition for passengers going from London to Blenheim Palace and vice versa, in addition to the large groups of tourists that catch it from there. The nearest stop is now George Street B1, the same stop the 300 does its driver changeovers and drops off, as well as the S1. Stop B1 is situated on a narrow path, meaning that summers are going to get very interesting if this arrangement stays as it is!.

15757, which is trying to revert to Gold status, is seen at the stop on an early Sunday morning departure, a rare quiet time in this location.

50447 has now gone away for repaint in Yate. 50446 and 50448 have still not returned to service, 446 having not seen service for several weeks.

Richard Sharman

The front and rear profile of the Oxford Tube Plaxton Panorama on March 27th.

Richard Sharman

Monday 27th of March saw the expansion of the megabus network from Oxford, with departures increasing to 10 from 7.

The new departures see an 0730hrs departure for Swindon, Bristol and Bristol Airport operated by Prospect,
a new morning service to Portsmouth at 1100hrs and return operated by Linburg

And a 1230hrs departure to Birmingham- extended to Norwich Thursday to Monday, operated by Prospect on the return from Bristol Airport.

Look out for further details of the megabus network changes in Coach & Bus Week soon.  

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Obviously happy with the results of their 2022 campaign, Sainsbury's have launched a second campaign for their 'Tu' clothing range. 

The first recipient is Abellio's LT29 seen on 25 March. 
Crossing Euston Road at Warren Street is the location of the nearside shot, whilst the offside is seen as it rounds Trafalgar Square. 

Also seen in Trafalgar Square is this Plaxton Panther Volvo B8R of Hodgsons Coaches wrapped in an advert for William Hill's presence at the recent Cheltenham Festival.

James Freeman

flickr album of night buses in central London 

Grahame Wareham

I submitted five photos and quite a large write up about the story of 999 and how it came to be with OBC recently published. 

The final picture of it in Cityline livery was taken at Kidlington Grovelands terminus when it was my daily Q Buster duty for its final two months in service before I purchased it for preservation. It was however purchased initially to replace an accident damaged ex. LT DMS 995 that was a Park & Ride vehicle and being 'highbridge' was used on the 300 North-South route which would keep it away from Oxford Station bridge. Likewise the three ex. Southend Fleetlines were normally rostered for the 595 East-West route along with Fleetline 424.


As a matter of interest the ex.LT DMS 995 was repaired along with 997 which had also been in the wars. Both had new front ends grafted on to them from two ex. East Kent Fleetlines 5968 and 5969 which were transferred to Oxford for spares retrieval in July 1986. Pictures attached which shows the flat windscreens of the East Kent Park Royal bodies which were grafted on by COMS bodyshop staff. This gave them another two years service life. 

I also attach two images of ADD50Y that differ from the two submitted by Michael Penn showing it in Peak Tram livery with Hong Kong Citybus in 1992. My images depict it in January 2000 showing the rebuilt front end using Alexander fact the complete reverse of what we did with 999 at OBC in 1987!



Re 999 and what Neil Gow said about it not straying from P&R duties is incorrect as it was also used on 2 road later on when it was in standard OBC livery. 

An article relating to Yellow Bus (Motts) will appear in future issues compiled by Stephen Archer. Any reader who can provide pictures of this operation during the 1990s would be much appreciated.

Here is Paul Bateson's picture of UKE830X working the M1 in Reading on September 9th 1995. 

Paul Bateson


I enjoy reading the Briefing each week although I live in Brampton, Ontario, a city of 700,000 and continuing to grow very quickly.  It has been a cold winter and we received 20 cms of snow at the beginning of the month.  Bus photography is difficult with short daylight hours and dirty buses.  The clocks went forward an hour on the 12th March and Spring arrived this week with longer daylight hours and finally warmer temperatures.  On Tuesday, 21 March 2023 I took advantage of the good weather with a spontaneous day around the Toronto area.  I say "spontaneous" because when I head out I haven't a clue to where I am going!   

I headed into Toronto and decided to check on the status of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcar route 504 King which has been disrupted due to construction at the west end of the route.  At Dundas West subway station I found that the route was being operated by buses operating as far as Church Street in downtown.  The route number displayed was 504C, the letter indicating "Church".  I found that King Street East and Church Street was a good place for photographs of the Flexity streetcars (trams to you!) and buses on the 504C as well as 503. 

A few more pictures in the downtown area before heading north to the Regional Terminal at Finch Station.  Lighting was perfect and I snapped buses operated by GO Transit and York Region Transit (YRT).  YRT operates its rapid transit network as "Viva" with a route running north from the Finch Terminal to Newmarket using NovaBus articulated buses.  I rode one of these buses part way to the Richmond Hill Centre where I found a good vantage point to photograph YRT and GO buses, the latter including Alexander Dennis Enviro500 SuperLo buses that are only 12 feet 9 inches high. 

It was good to get out and about again and I hope that readers enjoy the pictures attached to this article.


Jack Cooper holidaying on the South Coast and Isel of Wight

Jack Cooper

Monday 20th March 


On Monday I had travelled down to the Isle of Wight, catching the Hovercraft from the mainland over to the Isle of Wight. The Hovercraft goes from Southsea to Ryde and is operated by Hovertravel. In total there are 3 Hovercrafts, Solent Flyer and Island Flyer as well as an older Hovercraft, Solent Express which I believe is still in service.  

To get down to Southsea I had travelled by train to Portsmouth & Southsea, changing at Southampton Central. I had left enough time to get some photos and have a walk around Portsmouth. I was aiming to get pictures of the Stagecoach 700 Coastliner, as well as the latest First rebrand to 'Solent', a blue based livery in a similar style to the Southampton City Red. Unusually I had seen one of the StreetLites branded for the Eclipse service between Gosport and Fareham, working a local service in Portsmouth but didn't have my camera to hand when I had seen it!



The time had come to cross over to the Isle of Wight, my Hovercraft had left Southsea at 14:30, arriving to Ryde at 14:40! From there I had taken the 2 from Ryde to Sandown where I would be staying.


Later on in the day I had ventured out to Newport, on the 3, a longer journey when travelling between Sandown and Newport, however it is a nice journey going via Ventnor then in land to Godshill before Newport. From Newport I had travelled back to Sandown via Ryde, catching the 9 and then an 8 to Sandown, which takes a slightly longer route than the 2 or 3 operating via Bembridge. 

The last picture is of a former coach depot in Ventnor which has been unused for years.

Tuesday 21st March


On Tuesday I had decided to visit the Needles and Alum Bay. To get there I had travelled on the 2 to Newport, which at 9:30 was very busy with shoppers going to Newport! From there I had a little wait at Newport Bus Station before the number 12 to Alum Bay which doesn't run very frequently, but does take a nice route to Alum Bay via Military Road which runs right along the coastline! A spectacular journey.  


After a few hours around Alum Bay, including getting some photos of the Needles Breezer on the way up to the Needles Battery, I had decided it was time to take a trip on the Needles Breezer myself! I had decided to board in Yarmouth to do a full circle in one go, in the current timetable the bus has a break of 55 minutes in Yarmouth between tours.  The Needles Breezer route is Yarmouth > Freshwater > Alum Bay > Needles Old Battery > Needles New Battery > Needles Old Battery > Alum Bay > Yarmouth, a route taking 1 hour 5 minutes, and it is a brilliant journey, one I would say is a Island must do! Despite it not being the cold breeze, I had still decided to sit on the open deck! 


Having arrived back in Yarmouth I enjoyed a nice walk around before catching my next bus which was a 7 to Newport via Shalfeet. After another wait in Newport I headed to Ryde for dinner, catching the 8, which takes almost 2 hours but it was a nice journey via Sandown and Bembridge, and nice to complete it in the light unlike my journey on it the day before! I had then headed back to Sandown later in the evening on the 3. 




A very nice piece from Jack with more to come in the next two issues. It brought back many from trips by Gavin and myself now some years ago.