Issue nr. 221
Wednesday, September 28th 2022


This past week so much of interest for readers including Carousel launched its PICKUPSERVICE in High Wycombe on September 27th and this is fully reported below.

The very last Showbus on Sunday, September 25th. Contributors have provide a large number of pictures and I have included as many as possible to record this final event.

Gavin Francis has provided Part 3 of his driving years with reference to the 2012 Olympics, an event in which he was much involved. Is it 10 years since this event?

Andrew Webb was on hand to record a celebration at Victoria Coach Station concerning National Express 50th and the 90th of VCS.

We also have another history of COMS/Oxford Bus, this time featuring 221, from Grahame Wareham with support from other contributors.

There are reports of reductions in service by a number of operators including Stagecoach who cancelled their Falcon registration at the end of October.

Tony Bungay has provided pictures of his visit to Yorkshire which  I include in upcoming issues as well as this one.

PickMeUp - High Wycombe's on-demand minibus service - Carousel Buses

PICKMEUP is an on-demand ride-sharing minibus service. Download the app and tell us where you want your journey to begin. We’ll pick you up from a ‘virtual bus stop’ or a physical bus stop within a short walkable distance of where you are. The intelligent software works out the best way to take you and our other passengers to your chosen destinations.

Simply register your credit or debit card, pay via PayPal or choose to pay the driver when they get to you, and we’ll PickYouUp! You can think of it like a car pool, only bigger - and you never have to drive yourself! It’s good value for money and comes whenever you want it.

You can also pre-book your future journey using the app.

On September 28th 973 and 975 are awaiting the call and 974 is at the station.

Sprinters 971-976 are being used for the new service with appropriate branding.

Image result for showbus 2022
The SHOWBUS Website Homepage

Last Sunday, September 25th, saw the final Showbus after 50 years. Several contributors have provided pictures of the entrants for this final year. I am sure we will all miss the annual event and I have many pleasant memories of the event.

Andy Churchill

Here is a selection of the attendees at the last Showbus at the Hertfordshire show ground on the September 25th even the weather was pretty good it was well attended with over 200 entries it bowed out in style. We will certainly miss it! 



Andrew Webb

Sunday 25 September saw the 50th and final staging of the Showbus rally after organiser Dr Martin Isles decided to retire from organising what started as a university 'Rag Week' event at Brunel Polytechnic.

Staged at the Hertfordshire Showground the rally was blessed by dry sunny weather and a large number of buses which helped the event live up to its boast of being the world's largest bus rally.

Stagecoach in Oxford finished on a high with this Enviro 400MMc scooping the prize for best bus from the 2010s. It is seen earlier in the day catching the attention of a young enthusiast.

Representing an earlier era of Oxford bus was this beautifully preserved Bristol VR which once served the city as part of the National Bus Company's South Midland fleet.

Red Rose, itself celebrating 30 years in the industry, has long supported the event and sent this East Lancs Dart SLF for display.  It wears its 21 years very well.  The company also operate a commercial route providing a link to St Albans City railway station.  This MCV Evolution Dart SLF is seen on layover in the bus station area.


Jack Cooper

I've tried to select pictures which are of other vehicles attending.


Tony Bungay

A small selection from Showbus 2022, the 50th and last. The photo display was on the side of totally restored Arriva 6200

The 2 Routemaster’s of which you will probably get loads of submissions, are part of the relaunched Routemaster Heritage route in London on October 15th

A varied group here, it was slightly ironic that while Stagecoach and on here First and Nottingham sent their Jubilee buses. Arriva who has one only down the road at Hemel did not! 


From your Editor

I appreciate that readers may prefer to have a description of each picture but sadly time is not on my side. As most of you will be aware the registration number applied in Google or similar will normally ;provide full details of the vehicle involved.

I hope that I covered many of the etrants and this link will advise you of which were winners in the last Showbus.

SHOWBUS5O Prize Winners 

40 years of driving buses and coaches – Part III
by Gavin Francis

It is now 2012, a year with a difference. Back on 6th July 2005 London had been awarded The Olympic Games and this led to 7 years of preparation including the regeneration of a large area of East London.

An important part of The Games is transportation and Stagecoach was awarded the contract to carry all of the competitors and officials. Stagecoach have the experience of large events as they have for many years operated the transport at Cheltenham Races and The British Grand Prix but nothing on this scale.

In 2011 all SC staff were asked if we wished to apply to work at The Games and I decided as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity I would apply. There were a lot of background checks on everybody and courses to go but eventually the day to go drew close.

After a few false starts, on July 5th my colleague Joanne and I went on The Oxford Tube to London and to the former London Buses Depot at West Ham (U). When we got there it was virtually deserted with just a few buses in there and a handful of staff, clearly we had been instructed to go to the wrong place!

Amongst the buses parked in the garage were these Solos which had been used on The Olympic Torch Relay around the UK.

Eventually a car picked us up and drove us to one of the two Olympic Depots which had been set up, this one being at Royal Docks coded BDM (Bus Depot Media) and it was situated directly opposite London City Airport. It was a massive area already starting to fill up with long lines of buses.

Stagecoach pictures 27564, 27601, 19565, 27736, 19688, 10036, 27644, 27741, 19570, 19324, 53112, 27756

Stagecoach supplied the vast majority of buses for The Games coming from all around the country. This meant that many local liveries were to be seen.

Arriva  DLA 47, DLA 37. DW 111, Metroline DE 1335, TE 1316, TA 650, Go-Ahead MEC 33, E 248, PVL 222, WVL 456, Sullivan Buses EL04SLK.

Other London operators supplied buses including Arriva, Metroline, Sullivan Buses and Go-Ahead. 

Oxford 45, 32, 33 and Red Rose MX61BAU and Redline MX60GXJ

Local operator Oxford Bus Company had some coaches there as did local bus operators Redline and Red Rose

Ulsterbus Gold REZ 9786, Thamesdown 413, Stephensons YN07LHU, Ulsterbus 2248 and 2336

There were also buses from other operators from around the country including Northern Ireland.

For the rest of the day it was an endless stream of buses and drivers arriving and to say the least it was a bit chaotic. At this time we had no idea where we were going to live, I must admit I and others were looking at 2 cruise ships moored alongside the depot which were to be used for accommodation  but as the day wore on I found myself on a bus heading off for my new home. This turned out to be a brand new build student accommodation (SCAPE) near Mile End Tube Station. Being a hot summer evening the windows were open and I could not believe that all night emergency service sirens were going by and along with a rock hard bed made sleeping virtually impossible.

A view of BDM taken from one of the cruise ships by Joanne showing about a third of the size of the depot.

The next morning a bus picked us up at 07.00 and took us back to BDM. Again finding out what to do was difficult but in the end I was with a bus load of drivers going to The Olympic Park. This was the start of route training and also learning the layout of The Park. A basic problem now which was consistent throughout was that drivers had come from all over the country including Scotland and Northern Ireland and had never been to London and being sat on the top deck towards the back was no way to learn the streets of London. Added to this many of the mentors we had were also not familiar with London which did not make teaching easy. I never understood why there were many of us with a vast experience of London were not asked to take these roles.

The main bus parking area for The Olympic Park was Eton Manor. From here when required they went into The Park to do the services each time having to pass through the security checks

Within a few days drivers started to disappear as they felt they could not find their way around and that number steadily increased day by day.

Without doubt the route they most feared was from The Olympic Park to Heathrow Airport. This involved crossing London and then mastering the complexities of all the terminals at Heathrow – again no chance from the upper deck of a bus.

For Heathrow the parking area was called The Northern Staging Area.

We knew that we would not be at SCAPE for long and on the 16th July we were moved to Emily Bowes Student Accommodation owned by UNITE right alongside Tottenham Hale Station. Having escaped the all night sirens at Mile End it was now continuous station announcements “The train now arriving at Platform 4 is the……” a case of out of the frying pan into the fire.

Emily Bowes is situated right alongside the platforms of Tottenham Hale Station and The Bus Station.

The time came to start allocating drivers to the routes they would be working on and somehow I was suddenly drafted into the mentoring team. I was given no training in what to say but given a book of maps, a group of drivers and told to go out and teach them the process.

I must admit I was lucky in that I had mainly London based drivers from companies such as Metroline and Sullivan Buses so at least they had some knowledge.

So it was 2 weeks of training drivers all over London from Heathrow in the West, to Lea Valley Aquatic Centre in the North to Brands Hatch in the South. As each day went by the organization gradually improved until finally the opening day Friday, July 27th ceremony arrived.

Early on in the process we were all asked which shift pattern we would like to work and I asked for early as this was my normal work pattern. Early duty here meant a 04.00 start so it was set the alarm for 02.30 each day, get up, shower, dress and walk along the road where staff transport would pick you up to get to the depot on time.

Having been a mentor I was not allocated a regular duty but became a spare driver. So every morning it was arrive at the depot sign on and see what was needed. Of course as all the drivers are not at home so nobody will be calling in sick, no cars not starting, nobody oversleeping so most days there was nobody to cover so I was sent to the canteen and in there I spent many days watching The Olympics on TV getting up occasionally for a walk around the depot. From time to time there was a journey to The Excel Centre or Wembley or Heathrow. Somehow I ended up doing some work in the evenings picking up at the Athletes Village drive to Heathrow and back again. Virtually every evening I carried nobody in either direction. 

To be continued…. 


Victoria Coach Station's 90th birthday and the 50th of National Express

Andrew Webb

To celebrate Victoria Coach Station's 90th birthday and the 50th of National Express a display of 12 coaches occupied 3 lanes of the iconic station on September 24th.  A selection are seen on display. 



YX72LUP Vo B8R YV3T7U521NA207879 Pn C72FL 9/2022 Horseman, Reading

AT72ALP Vo B8R YV3T7U527NA207868 Pn C59FL 9/2022 Apple, Slough

BV72XZH MB Tourismo WEB41054523001966 MB C??F 9/2022 Airsym, Colnbrook

YT72GNX Ir i4 VS914AD00N1016010 Ir C??F 9/2022 Johnsons, Henley-in-Arden

SK72CWE AD E40D SFDA17ER5NGX11944 AD H??/??F 9/2022 Universitybus, Hatfield 263
SK72CWF AD E40D SFDA17ER5NGX11945 AD H??/??F 9/2022 Universitybus, Hatfield 264
SK72CWG AD E40D SFDA17ER5NGX11946 AD H??/??F 9/2022 Universitybus, Hatfield 265

Oxford 599 with Christchurch providing the background in ST Aldates on September 22nd by Jack Cooper. 

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon describes this very smart Irizar as a "cuckoo in the nest" on September 23rd. 

     Fleet News and developments   

Jack Cooper

5460 carries a special wrap promoting OXFORD as seen in St Aldates on September 29th.

Malcolm Crowe

Cressex yard on September 10th, 2495 appears to have left Wycombe now.

Michael Wadman

Chiltern Automotive of High Wycombe recently surrendered their Hertfordshire contracted services in the Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield area, and withdrew their commercial route 318 in Watford. 

The 318 was started by Metroline in March 2008 to provide a fast link between Abbots Langley and Watford.

It was normally operated by Solos such as NSM662 (YK05 CCJ), but RMC1513 put in an appearance on the first day, seen at the Abbots Langley terminus in South Way.


In February 2009 the route was taken over by Mullany’s Coaches, initially using two Metroline Solos; YK05 CCJ again seen on the first day of Mullany’s operation. Mullany’s adopted Metroline’s livery and used a variety of vehicles: KX10 DVL was an Enviro 200 new to Renown of Bexhill-on-Sea, YJ13 HJK was a Solo SR acquired new, and LX06 FAO was an ADL Dart SLF, originally London Central LDP284.


Mullany’s withdrew the 318 in March this year, whereupon in was briefly taken over by Chiltern, whose Optare Solo MX58 AAJ, new to Horsburgh of Pumpherston, is seen at the South Way terminus on 2nd August, a few weeks before the route was finally withdrawn.

Many thanks to Michael for this interesting piece. Ed.

Luke Marion -

670-674 will be going into the X1 livery. 

978, 979 and 980 are primarily used on a private corporate contract we have at Carousel, which uses 3 vehicles. This contract runs at peak times only, so you will start to see some of these vehicles being used to cover breaks on PickMeUp going forwards. 

We were supposed to get the first of the ex-London Deckers back last week, but these did not return as expected. We are following up with suppliers on these and expect to see them back shortly. 

Malcolm Crowe

975 and 977 seen on September 24th by which time 972 had also arrived.

The overflow yard on the same day now rather empty6 following the departure of some deckers to Thames Travel.

972, recently arrived from Oxford is seen at The Eden Bus Station between duties on September 28th.

Nigel Peach

I noticed that with the recent route changes, Carousel's 938 and 940 have transferred to Thames Travel, leaving just 941 of the ex London buses still with Carousel. This is the only one that was converted to single door and repainted.  

Also, the original four Citaros brought in from TT a few years ago for The One route have all gone. 856 and 859 back to TT and, I read in the latest The London Bus magazine that 857 and 858 (both out of service for a long time) have gone for scrap. (regular climbing of Amersham Hill obviously took its toll!) 

Bob Chalmers

Newly reliveried 671 and looking very smart too. Taken in Wootton Road Abingdon on September 26th.

Wonder if 672 might be next as it's not been in service since 14th of September and would be logical to keep the sequence rolling? 

607 taken in Ock Street on the morning of the September 22nd - heading towards Oxford on the X1.

Another 'stranger' on the X1 route - 300 - taken on the morning of September 27th in Ock Street, Abingdon  - heading towards Wantage. 

Gavin Francis

Reading the last page I see OBC has now been painted 602 into City livery. This was the Chiltern Railways wrap first applied in February 2019 so it carried it for three and half years which is a very long time for a wrap. Previously it had been stripped of its Brookes branding ready for the wrap. (Pictures below).


Jack Cooper

671 had returned from repaint into cityX1 livery on the 22nd September on the 400, it made its first X1 on the 23rd.


The branding on 671 is as follows

Off side / near side: Bargain hunting? We'll take you straight to the shops!

Rear: You Tap, We Cap! (advert for Freeflow). 

222 is seen at Carfax on September 21st working an X40 service.

251 is seen at the same location on September 19th also with  an X40.

Working an X39 service 253 is seen heading down St Aldates on September 22nd.

Back to its old route, Hybrid 310 is seen with a 300 service on September 20th.

3734 is seen in St Aldates with a 400 service on September 22nd.

602 now red after its stint as an overall advert for Chiltern Railways and seen in Abingdon with a 13 road service on September 24th.

605 is seen at Carfax working an X1 on September 19th.

Citaro 846 working an 11X in St Aldates on September 22nd.

Lewis Parker

Thought it may be worth providing some more information with regards to the new X1 livery as I have seen it mentioned in the previous issue

It is being rolled out on to vehicles 670-674 and I have added various taglines/branding to the livery as follows: 

670 - Relax & recharge / Straight into the city / mobile app

671 - Bargain hunting / freeflow

672 - mobile app

673 - freeflow

674 - environment (travel calculator) 

Jack Cooper

850 working a 33 service in Abingdon on September 24th.

Scania 944 seen at Carfax working an X2 on September 21st.

Sadly so far route 40 services are not appearing on , I wonder why? 

Jack Cooper

MMC 10675 is seen by The Randolph with an S5 working on September 20th.

Hybrids 12006 and 12012 working route 10 in St Aldates on September 22nd.  

Mike Arnold

Stagecoach E400 at Thornhill on 8th September. Kidlington via Heddington (in Wiltshire) is probably a round trip of about 140 miles !!! 

Tony Bungay

I see both on UK Rail Forum and UK Bus user websites, that Stagecoach East have announced a large number of service withdrawals, including routes Cambridge – Newmarket, Newmarket – Ely, Bedford – Biggleswade, and combining two routes from Luton to Milton Keynes into one.

Jack Cooper

Panorama 50424 looking pristine in St Aldates on September 22nd.

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Fashion brands continue to dominate the new adverts hitting the capital's streets this week, with Michael Kors, K-Way and Moncler all launching campaigns on TfL buses.

Abellio's LT609 is one recipient of the Michael Kors advert,
seen on 24 September at Oxford Circus ready for departure on route 159. 

K-Way specialise in waterproof jackets, including a range which are packable and reversible. 
It is this range that is promoted on LT384 as it arrives at Oxford Circus with a route 55 journey.

Moncler is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and are marking the event with this advert carried by Abellio's LT605 at Paddington.

London's sightseeing operators are also following the trend for fashion based adverts. 

Guess is promoted on this Big Bus Enviro 400, seen heading away from Oxford Circus. 999999999

Golden Tours have this bus promoting Maje with the help of Taylor Hill, seen passing the Oxford Tube stop at Victoria. 

Away from fashion, two consecutively numbered WHVs in the Go Ahead fleet carry this advert for tourism in Switzerland.  The camera toting gentleman on the side is tennis ace Roger Federer.  Following is retirement from the game's top flight he is arguably in need of a well earned holiday. 

WHV124 is seen at Oxford Circus. 

Grahame Wareham

221 CUD221Y was delivered at the beginning of December 1982, but like the others in the last batch along with 215, was not licensed until January 1983.


In standard NBC poppy red it gained a unibus advert for Humphries Nissan dealership at Rose Hill in August 84 which lasted until its next repaint in January 87 which was to coincide with the new OBC fleet names which were applied until the new livery was finalised and applied in 1990. 221 partially deroofed itself under Horspath railway bridge on 24/12/87 and received new windows and nearside roof structure at Leyland Bus South West at Bristol.

In November 89 221 received a repower with a Gardner 6LXCT engine and was subsequently fitted with a tachograph. It reverted back to normal speedometer sometime during 1994 when the cost of tacho recalibrations increased dramatically. In January 1995 221 received accident repairs and received modified front lower panels with square headlamps in similar fashion to 204 and 236.


In July 1998 221 received a vinyl wrap for Comtel, the broadband provider and installer but it retained its red OBC front which lasted until its final OBC repaint with new 'Radcliffe Camera' fleet names later just simplified to Oxford Bus in February 2001.It became a reserve vehicle being used on Q Buster duties but was loaned to Metrobus at Godstone from 13/4/01 until 21/5/01 retaining its fleet number 221.


Withdrawn at the end of August 2003 221 was sold to Confidence of Oadby, Leicester as their 61and served them well for a further eighteen years, joining ex. Worth's 205 and 216 by then in the Confidence fleet, and finally being exported to Spain for conversion to a mobile cafe in April 2021.

Anyone got any pictures of 221 inSpain?? Ed. 

Gavin Francis



Gavin Francis - and his visit to Van Hool in Florida on September 20th



Seemingly no megabus Astromegas as in years gone by. Ed. 

Gordon Scott

Fom Aberdeen on September 16th. 

Aberdeen Bus Station 

Stagecoach West Scotland
  Van Hool Astromega 50279 - YJ14LFR on Megabus M9 Glasgow to Aberdeen at Aberdeen Bus Station. 

Stagecoach Bluebird
  Volvo B7TL Alexander Dennis ALX400 16975 -127ASV ex 01D10214, LW51ZGU, P9YST D&E  Inverness. 

Stagecoach Bluebird
ADL Enviro 350H  29018 - SP12DYU New to Stagecoach East Scotland Perth.

Wright Demo
 Wrights Electroliner Electric Battery Demo LY71 GJE.

Stagecoach East Scotland
Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i, 54259 - YY65 SXW. In Citylink 6 Cities livery,
awaiting return trip to
Edinburgh on M92.

Stagecoach Bluebird Volvo B9R Plaxton Panther 2, 53641 - KX61GEK New as Midland Red Megabus livery.
Seen in Union Street Aberdeen.

First East Scotland Livingston depot based 8951-SN66 WHB ADL Enviro 400 MMC ex First 33449 in Eastern Scottish green based livery.
Other three depots Balfron, Larbert, Bannockburn White based with Midland Bluebird branding.
Shot taken on September 27th of the first repainted McGill's bus on local service.


Very many thanks to. Gordon for these interesting pictures. Ed.

Tony Bungay

.... visited Yorkshire

Transdev Blazefield will bring its Cityzap express service brand to an end when the route between Leeds and York is withdrawn after 19 November.

Transdev Blazefield to end Cityzap brand in November - routeone (  

This service is pictured in the article below. Ed.

From a Bus perspective York is a  meeting point for four of the larger groups First, Arriva, Go Ahead and Transdev, the only major player that seems missing is Stagecoach, though they are not too far as their nearest area of operation is Hull.

In National Bus Company days, the main companies operating were York-West Yorkshire, West Riding, East Yorkshire and a smaller presence from United Automobile. 

Seen in Micklegate is Reliance number 17 Alexander Denis 200mmc,
this vehicle was originally an Alexander Dennis Demonstrator.

At the same location is Yorkshire Coastliner Enviro 200 754 working service 24  

rkshire Coastliner Enviro 400mmc 2017 wearing ZAP colour scheme for the fast York – Leeds Fast Service

Again another Yorkshire Coastliner Enviro 400mmc 2019, Wearing Spirit of the North scheme,
turning into Rougier Street, not the best of photos as it was a spur of the moment shot.

Like many Cities York operates Park and Ride Services, most operated by Optare Electric Double Deckers, but older Mercedes Citaro Articulated vehicles also are used.

11101 is seen near the City Wall and slightly later turning towards Bootham Bar on Service 2,
whilst in the City Centre 11102 is on Park and Ride 8

In Pickering East Yorkshire Volvo MCV 382 and 395 meet working services 128/X28 Scarborough - Pickering – Kirkbymoorside – Helmsley
Viewed from top deck of a Weight Streetdeck is earlier Volvo/Wright 2780 originally with Burnley and Pendle,
now in Coastliner colours at Malton Bus Station, adjoining.

At same location is Coastliner (York and Country)  Optare Versa 211 originally with Harrogate and District leaving on Service 194

By the City Walls in livery for contactless is First Volvo/Wright 37069

Entering Micklegate with York City Walls and Rail Station in the background is First Volvo/Wright 69360 with Northern Ireland style Advert panels.

Two classic designs 1930’s Odeon building with former London Transport AEC Routemaster RM 1101 passing, now in use on Ghostbuster Tours

Two First York Volvo/Wright vehicles working city services 37065 and 69362 with Micklegate Bar behind.