Issue nr. 220
Wednesday, September 21st 2022
(postponed from September 14th)


After the sad event of the last week one can now return to some sense of normality. One must say that the whole event was covered exceptionally well on TV and watching the journey from Northolt to Buckingham Palace I found myself looking fore an Oxford tube on the A40, I did see one!!

Jack Cooper provided a few more pictures of OBC buses displaying a tribute to our Queen in the destination display which, for the sake of good order , I show hereunder.

I have to compliment Oxford Bus in their prompt response to the sad passing of H M The Queen.

Grahame Wareham

I have attached a picture of 360 in Iffley Road my daughter Emily took today whilst coming home from work which represents a poignant reminder of someone we have 'known' for a long time!

Remembering H M Queen Elizabeth II on September 9th.

This past two weeks have produced more contributions than I have room for in this issue and so some items have been held over until the next issue. 

40 years of driving buses and coaches- part-2
by Gavin Francis 

It is now the first week of June 2004 and I have started working at Stagecoach Oxford. The first day was spent in the classroom mainly learning the features of a Wayfarer Ticket Machine. Having never used a ticket machine before and not knowing the Oxford area it took a while to understand everything but somehow I mastered it by the end of the day. The next day I was out on the road with a mentor. At that time all drivers had to learn the 4 core city routes to Barton, Kidlington, Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys.

After 2 weeks I was out on my own and spent the next 3 months running these services. At that time the fleet was mainly single deck with a mixture of M.A.N. Lowliners and Alexander Darts.

Picture and captions.

22914 in Queen Street on Rte 7C followed by an OBC bus on Rte 8. Many years later the
two companies run a combined service as Rte 8.

22917 in Oxford Depot being rubbed down in preparation for a repaint.

22923 arrives in St. Giles from Kidlington

22925 branded for Rte 7 in Queen Street

3821 in Bonn Square operating a Rte 5A service

33822 at Carfax operating Rte 10.

Two Lowliners were painted in special liveries, 22053 for using on tours of the BMW Mini Factory
and 22054 in Brookes Bus livery which SC had the contract to run at that time.

After three months I was able to apply to work on The Oxford Tube and was accepted so in September 2004 I moved over. Again it was a day in the classroom and type training. At that time the Neoplan Skyliners had started to enter service (fleet numbers 50101-50125). I had 2 days of mentor training and then it was on my own. I found it a lot easier than learning Oxford City routes as I had been driving to work in London for 30 years along the M40 and A40 and across London so knew the roads very well.

50044. Nearing the end of irs life as an Oxford Tube coach 50044 waits outside Victoria Coac Station on 2nd August 2004.

50101 When the Neoplans arrived they had publicity around the top windows were driven around the City Centre
and left at the entrance to the depot so they could be seen by the public.

50101 The weather could be bad at times and here I have arrived at Lewknor in April 2008 on the way to London.
I seem to recall I carried
one pax that day.

  I arrive in New Road, Oxford after another run back from London (Chris Maxfield)

50124. When new your editor took 50124 to Showbus 2005 and I am pleased to say it won an award.

50125. The last five coaches carried cherished number plates and 50125 had been T60UBE.
Just prior to transfer these plates were retained and different plates applied in this case OX04BZR pictures at Excel Logistics in 30th May 2009.

Unfortunately the Neoplans did not prove to be a very reliable coach and within a year we had to call on coaches from other Stagecoach divisions to help us out. The first ones to appear were three ex-Oxford Tubes now working for Megabus

50046/50047 and 50058 parked at Excel Logistics, Oxford. They are in Megabus livery but with simple branding to show they are working for Oxford Tube.

13652. A very unusual arrival was 13652 in South West Trains livery again with simple Oxford Tube branding.

50133 We did have a Neoplan arrive in the form of 50133 in local bus livery.

My time on The Oxford Tube was interrupted at the beginning of 2007 when SC Oxford was awarded the contract for running National Express service 737 between Oxford and Stansted Airport. This involved recruiting and training 12 drivers to operate the service and as I was now a mentor on The Tube I was asked to do the same for the 737 drivers. Not only did I do the training but also acted as back up driver for holidays etc when the usual drivers were not available. Five coaches were used (fleet numbers 59211-59215).

59211. This was the first of the National express coaches and it is seen at Oxford Depot on 13th February 2007 the day of its arrival.

59215. The last of the fleet was 59215 seen here at Luton Airport on 5th September 2009.

In 2009 after five years of running the Neoplans the fleet was due for replacement and this time there was a change of supplier. 26 coaches (fleet numbers 50201-50226) were ordered this time from Van Hool with Paccar Euro V engines. These were very lively performers with a gearbox much more suited to the type of work they were to be used for. They proved to be very reliable and popular with the drivers.

59201. Pictured at Buckingham Palace Road when it was brand new on 3rd September 2009. Behind it is one of the Neoplans which was still in use.

59225 Each morning Monday to Friday two Tube coaches used to go to Bicester to run the S5 service to Oxford.
50225 is pictured at the start point at Caversfield.

50209. Almost at the end of the journey 50209 arrives at the Buckingham Palace Road stop on 9th September 2011

In 2010 it was decided to change the 737 National Express fleet from Caetano Levantes to Plaxton Elites (fleet numbers 53701-53705). These entered service on 21st July and remained until the contract was lost in 2015.


The first day of Plaxton Elite operation was 21st July 2010 and 53701 is pictured approaching High Wycombe Bus Station.

The trip from Oxford to Stansted Airport was about 4hrs and 53702 is pictured at Stansted Airport soon after entry into service.

The next year to be covered will be 2012..a year with a difference.

To be continued…

Spottings & Jottings from Alexander

Congratulations on your latest update, as always it was A pleasure to read. The new X1 service is indeed interlinked with the 4A and the 34, and uses purple P&R busses as they've been displaced from the 400 which was combined with the U1 from the same date that the changes were made to the 3 aforesaid routes. The P&R busses aren't the only ones that have been displaced following the changes as the ones branded for the 4/4A/4B and 35 have as well, due to the fact that those routes aren't ran by OBC anymore. They're being used on other routes now the way 301 was used on the new 13, as pictured by Bob Chalmers. 301 has also been used on the 5A service this week on 2 occasions while 309, branded for the 35, was on the 5 yesterday when I saw it. With regards to your question about the suspension of the Oxford Tube, that notice was from 2 years ago when we went into lockdown at Christmas, hence the service was suspended for the 3 months thereafter. That picture of when Stagecoach ran the Brookes service is A memory for me as well as I remember busses like that working the Brookes service at that time. Why did the bus have A sign saying 'Magic Bus' beneath the destination screen?  

Over the last few days, I noticed A few oddities: on Tuesday I saw 1 of the 5 branded busses on the 300 and an X3 starting from Redbridge, on Wednesday 1 of Thames Travel's Citaros was broken down on Headington Hill and today, A Gold bus operating the 10 was broken down on St Aldate's. 

I'm not surprised as there have been a lot of cancellations following the passing of our Queen, which happened yesterday. It all happened very quickly as I heard in the afternoon from 1 of my friends that she was dying then in the evening my father told me she was dead. She was an amazing woman who dedicated her life to serving her country and it's sad that she's gone, especially when she had her Platinum Jubilee only 3 months ago. 

Gavin Francis

London United has a wide variety of wraps working the 94 as seen at Acton Green.

     Fleet News and developments   


Jack Cooper

4400 seen on September 17th and 5464 on September 7th both in St Aldates.

Nigel Peach

There has been much disquiet in Flackwell Heath following the take over of route 36 by Arriva from Carousel at the beginning of September. What nobody had realised was that instead of two buses an hour there is now only one bus an hour. It is only a few months since route 35 was scrapped; until then we had three buses an hour into the village.  

Here is 4212, recently transferred from MK, on route 36B, a school special, at the main roundabout in Flackwell Heath.
The bus is full, as indicated on the destination screen.

I would also mention the strike! And from what I've heard, even on the days they are not on strike, some journeys have not run. I was talking to someone who doesn't know what to do. She brings her child to school in FH on the bus, but cannot now get back to where she works in Cressex in time for her 10am start. 

Tony Bungay


Service 500 is being split at Hemel Hempstead, with the Watford section becoming Service 508. There is some discussion of this on the Bus section of UK Rail Forum as well as being listed in the October changes of Hertfordshire County Council Intalink site.

Interestingly the 508 number on this road is not totally new, the number first appearing in October 1986 for a peak hour Tring – Hemel- Watford, presumably using former Green Line 708 stops to give a slightly faster journey over the regular 501 formally 301. 

Bob Chalmers

221 in Abingdon heading towards Oxford on the X1 yesterday evening (14/09/22) -
getting plenty of varied liveries on this route now - also seems to be well supported too now - which is good news

Ock Street, Abingdon on September 15th 364 heading towards Wantage

and then various shots of newly re-liveried 670 - looking very smart.

687 on X3 duty to Abingdon Saturday lunchtime, September 17th, at Canning Crescent.

Yellow 682 was on X1 duty as well during the week! (Didn't get a pic unfortunately). So it makes it interesting to see these buses in unusual route locations. The bus stops around Abingdon/Oxford still need updating showing incorrect info on route numbers and Abingdon Road, Oxford stops still labelled as 35 service instead of 13 !!

Daniel Harwood

Oxford Bus Company’s 670 in its new livery for the X1, on September 16th on Denchworth Road, Wantage.


Jack Cooper

221 seen in St Aldates working the X40

223 has been painted into city red, like 602. It had entered service on the 16th September on the 100.
The branding on 223 is 'buy tickets on your mobile!'

253 makes a colourful sight as it turns into St Aldates with an X40 working..

311 and 314 in St Aldates in early September.

The 13 now runs from Northway to Abingdon replacing the 35 as seen by 352nin early September.

At present the X1 ís worked by a variety of vehicles as seen by 359 in St Aldates on September 6th.

362 is working its branded route, the 3 when seen in High Street on September 12th.

372 is working the 400 which now serves all of the U1 route including the 400 as was.

The 46 is served by the two E200MMCs seen in early September.

The branding on 602 is 'fast  frequent  great value'
 seen on September 12th working the 5A.

Following the amalgamation of the U1 and 400 older MMCs are often used on the route.

683 passes 655 in St Aldates on September 12th with coincidence of both showing the TRIBUTE as mentioned in the Editorial above.

660 is seen in Marcham working the X1 on September 7th.

Now there are fewer StreetDecks in Park & Ride livery as seen by 673 and 679 on September 6th.

I like these yellow StreetDecks which look bright and inviting now working 15 road.

The StreetDecks also feature 8/9 branding as seen above.

670 has now gained full branding for the cityX1.

Seen on September 18th in St Aldates working the  X1.

On its return from Hants & Dorset Trim in the new X1 livery on September 12th it made its first outing working the 11X. 

The branding on 670 is as follows:

Near side    Straight into the city - Enjoy life in the bus lane! 

Off side     Relax & recharge - USB chargers at every seat! 

Rear        Your journey made easier

Search for 'Oxford Bus app' 

These blue Citaros are seen mainly working 11 and 11X roads in Oxford.

It is unusual to see the 90*s working the 300seen abovde on September 6th.

Ex Carouse; 962 has been with the Driving School for some years now but has gained revised branding
as seen in St Aldates on September 12th.

Jack Cooper

Tri-axle Levante 57 is seen with a 737 service in Gloucester Green on September 9th.

Still giving good service Interdeck 67 is seen in Gloucester Green with a Gatwick service on September 9th. 

Jack Cooper

632 also in Gloucester Green on September 9th, a nice sunny day.

Rhys Cutting

I doubt I'll be the first to notify you of this smaller update, but Oxford Bus Group 223 [MF10 OXF] has been repainted into the single colour (red) generic city livery and is at this time awaiting branding once returned from Hants & Dorset Trim. Supposedly, there's no plans to repaint 228 [TF10 OXF] and 229 [UF10 OXF] into the same scheme at this time. The repaint is apparently due to a slight decrease in PVR for X39, X40, and NX40. The 'River Rapids' brand is apparently here to stay too. 

Jack Cooper

231 in connector livery is seen in St Aldates with an X2 service on September 7th.

Seen in Broad Street on September 6th and one wonders where they will go when Broad Street is pedestrianised?

Citaro 852 in St Aldates working an X32 in a livery which is now disappearing.

Still giving good service are the Scania's new to Thames Travel when ownede privately,912 is seen in St Aldates on September 17th.

Jack Cooper

On Thursday I had taken a trip to Cheltenham on the S2 to catch up on the scene around there, then had taken the 51 to Swindon, and ended on the S6 back to Oxford.

In Swindon there is more of a presence of Swindon Bus Company in the bus station, which I do not recall from visits before, I believe that this is due to the closure of Fleming Way.

Pictures from Jack.

I like the use of Western diesel names on some of the buses. Ed. 

Jack Cooper

A new E200, YX22OHV is seen in Cheltenham on September 15th.

Jonathan Ray

I wondered if you could ask your readers regarding this Caetano Levante that NX are running on the A6. It’s the only one I’m aware of and I have no idea why it’s in black. What’s it supposed to represent/celebrate? Apologies for the poor quality photos. Spotted in VCS.


Here is the answer

Andrew Webb

No problems, subsequently it has appeared here: 

Jack Cooper

MCV KP12BUS seen in Cheltenham working the 801 on September 15th.

Also in Cheltenham, Citaro L99NHS works the 99 from Cheltenham in September 15th.

Sprinter MB71BUS seen in Cheltenham on September 15th. 


Jack Cooper

On Thursday I had taken a trip to Cheltenham on the S2 to catch up on the scene around there, then had taken the 51 to Swindon, and ended on the S6 back to Oxford. Was originally going to Gloucester to see the ex Banbury Scania's however, there was only 1 out in service! Was surprised to see single decks on the 94, usually operated by Stagecoach Gold Enviro 400mmc's. There seemed to be less 10 and 94 services, from visits before I recall them being every 10 minutes. In Swindon there is more of a presence of Swindon Bus Company in the bus station, which I do not recall from visits before, I believe that this is due to the closure of Fleming Way.

Pictures from Jack.



An interesting  variety of buses in Cheltenham including buses used for the 853.

Now the S2 in Cheltenham worked by 11236 on September 15th.



An interesting  variety of buses in Swindon and note ex Oxford 36769 and 10687 above.

Many thanks to Jack for providing these updates. 

Jack Cooper

Normally the haunt of remaining Hybrids 10069 is seen in St Aldates working the 10 on September 17th.

Gold 10781 working the S9 on September 6th.

Hybrid 12008 on September 6th working the 2 in Broad Street.

Ex Gold 15753 seen at Carfax working the 10 on September 12th.

Also off route, 15835 is seen working the 10 on September 10th.

E200 36933 in Magdalen Street East working a 14A on September 7th. 

Jack Cooper

50425 leaves Oxford on September 12th.

Last of the line, 50444 is seen in Gloucester Green on September 9th. 

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Another new overall advert campaign is for Marks and Spencer. 
Arriva's LT321 shows the offside as it pauses at Hyde Park Corner on September 17th.

London Fashion Week is a 5 day event running from 16 - 20 September, with all shows on 19 September cancelled as a mark of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II.  Several fashion companies are advertising their brands using all over wraps on London's buses. 

The most mainstream company is long established Marks and Spencer who are using a black based advert. 

Metroline's LT763 displays the nearside version at Kings Cross.

More vivid is the campaign for Valentino, using a vivid pink emblazoned with barely visible models. 

The offside is seen on Stagecoach's LT382 as it arrives at a shady Oxford Circus after a long trip from Walthamstow. 

The nearside is seen in autumn sunshine as Abellio's LT163 turns at Paddington,
the bus seemingly having a penchant for pink as this advert replaces one carried for Wizz Air.

Cos have several stores across London, but it is the Regent Street store which features on both versions of an overall wrap. 

Arriva's LT972 shows both sides of a female version at Marble Arch,

With a male version shown on Go Ahead London's LT504 as it arrives at Vauxhall bus station. 

Gavin Francis

From a 295 bus on September 6th I noticed this ad !!
From memory I think this service finished in about 2016 the coaches being repainted and some of them went to Westbus.

London variety on September 6th.

abellio Caetanos 1513 and 1522 in Victoria.

London United has a wide variety of wraps working the 94 as seen at Acton Green.

Metroline also have wraps as seen above.

More Metroline, this time working the 52 at Ladbrook Grove.

Livery variety from RATP with route 23 workings at Ladbrook Grove.

Dhillon also seen at Ladbrook Grove with this Tourismo.

It seems rather sad now to see Queen's Jubilee celebration buses and here is Golden Tours at Marble Arch. 

Continuing our Weekly recap regarding COMS/OBC buses with fleet number equating to the Weekly Briefing Issue number.

Grahame Wareham

Delivered in December 82 but not licensed until January 83

Repainted as a unibus advert for P.J.Jones, Langford Lane, Kidlington Body repairers in 10/87 including blue and yellow lower panels.

Repowered with a Gardner 6LXCT in 6/91 and fitted with tachograph.
The Gardner 6LXCT modification certainly gave these last five Olympians a bit more grunt which saw these regularly used again on London reliefs at weekends.

Transferred to Wycombe Bus 11/98 returning to OBC during 6/99.

Transferred to Q Buster duties for summer student transport in Oxford.

Loaned to Truronian 4/01 to 5/01 and Sold to Worths, Enstone 9/02 who did not paint it. It was not used a great deal but merely as a back up vehicle for schools. Sold again to Griffin, Gravesend who repainted it in 2/06

Believed to have been broken up by Griffinbus after suffering engine failure.

David Ive

Taken on September 1st 1999, it shows Wycombe Bus 220 on a route 332 working at Saunderton.

This was formerly an Oxford vehicle, identified by the presence of centre doors. I seem to recall this was a Peak Hour only route from Wycombe to Princes Risborough. At that time few buses ran direct via Saunderton. Something of a contrast to the present 6 buses an hour!

Gavin Francis

Gavin has sent this selection of pictures of 220 over the years.

Various guises from 2011 to 2016.

In 2017 and then 2018 it gained two liveries whilst with Carousel.

From 2020 through until the present day the bus returned to Oxford again with branding changes. 


Nick Ross

A few photos you may enjoy from a trip to Guernsey .Nice island, good bus system although driver shortages is an issue there 

050922 On the island of Sark there are no cars only tractors!

Here a Renault tractor bus which has just thrashed up the steep climb with 20 odd passengers aboard takes a breather at Sark village 

040922 Wright StreetLites form the basis of Guernsey bus these days.

Here's 1971 49679 with a 41 for St Peters Port near Grandes Rocques 

070922 Posing nicely at St Peter Port is DART 1117 70077 between turns, one 2 DARTs seen in service all week 

070922 At St Peter Port holding bays is DART  1120 77056 between turns 

There are also some Sherpas which overload badly at least in Summer.

A nice report from Nick with some interesting pictures. Ed. 

Andrew Webb

Buckie Model Centre have commissioned a model of a former Oxford Tube Van Hool YJ14LFT in the new Stagecoach long distance livery.

David Smith

A nice contribution from David.

The dates of the photos are 16th October 2017 @ 15.20 for the Arriva bus going to Aylesbury and same day at 11.37 for the Oxford Tube picture.

50286 was transferred to West Scotland shortly after and now has yellow distance livery. Ed.

Julian Walker

Re issue 219: that Tube notice that Gavin Francis spotted in Oxford - I am 99% sure this dates back to the end of 2020, just before England went into its second Covid-19 lockdown. Prior to this London had gone into Tier 4 restrictions, which meant many people had to cancel their Christmas and New Year travel plans as they could no longer meet other people indoors. Grim times indeed.  


Gordon Scott

McGill's takeover of First East Scotland on September 21st consists of four depots below,

Livingston - West Lothian area.

Larbert - Falkirk area.

Bannockburn - Stirling area..

Balfron - Glasgow area.

First East Scotland 69285 - SN57 JCV 
Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse with takeover tomorrow by McGill's with new fleet number 2283. |
Taken in Princess
Street Edinburgh on route 38 to Stirling on September 19th.

Taken in Aberdeen Stagecoach Bluebird 14048 - LC71KVO ADL BYD Enviro 400 EV on route 727

taken at Aberdeen Airport on September 17th.

Taken in Aberdeen First
39725 - SV22 UZB Wright StreetDeck FCEV Hydrogen bus on route 1B in Castle Street Aberdeen.
This is a
second order of this type taken September 16th.


I apologise to Tony Bungay but I have run out of time for his visit to York which will be in the next issue.