Issue nr. 223
Wednesday, October 12th 2022


Some interesting pictures and news this week from quite a spread of contributors. Oxford Bus continues to provide much interest with repaints and the return of another Hybrid E400H from conversion.

Gavin has provided us with part 3 of his 40 years driving and this week highlights the arrival and use of the 14 plate Astromegas.

Quite a bit of interest is provided by Redline who have acquired two ex Nottingham E200s.

There is interesting news regarding young drivers in Route One to read follow this link:

Young driver 50km restriction 'hurting coach recruitment' - routeone (

We have more from York by Tony Bungay and Gary Seamarks has been to Sheffield.

Finally Gavin Francis visited London yesterday  and has provided many interesting pictures which I will include in the next issue. As a taster here is one to wet your appetites.

Wrapped for K-WAY clothing, LT462 heads for Hammersmith with a route 9 working on October 11th. 

40 years of driving buses and coaches – Part V
from Gavin Francis


It is now 2014 and it had become normal for The Oxford Tube to renew its fleet every five years. The previous fleet of Van Hools had been bought in 2009 and it was to be a second fleet of these coaches this time. This time they were given fleet numbers 50261-50286 the first 5 carrying the cherished registrations.

They came with two major changes. The reduced emission levels permitted in London meant that the engines had to be of Euro VI standard. The other change was to be the introduction of a sun roof. This ran about ¾ of the length of the coach and it allowed so much more light into the upper deck

50266 passes through Stokenchurch on the M40 and shows the sun roof.

On 13th June 2014, Malcolm, myself and George from our Training Department went to Arriva at Wellingborough to get our first sight of the new coach and to spend the day being trained on it by the Arriva staff. At the time Arriva were the import agents for Van Hool

The coaches were driven from Belgium on their local registration plates and 50261 still retains its.

50261 was subsequently registered T40UBE but before being transferred away it was reregistered OW14LTZ and its personal plate put on retention.

The new coaches were gradually delivered to Wellingborough so every few days a few of us would get in a car and collect another three coaches to be driven back to Oxford

50264 is seen leaving Arriva Wellingborough

As usual Stagecoach publicised the introduction of the new fleet this time in an unusual way. To emphasis the sun roof a light plane was hired and flown over Oxford City Centre on the 30th June 2014 to promote the start date of the new coaches 16th July 2014

The banner flown over Oxford publicising the new coaches.

Somebody has to be brave enough to take a brand new coach through the wash and Malcolm stepped forward to do the job.

As in previous years Malcolm took one of the new coaches to Showbus and this time it was the turn of 50284.

Oxford Tube often use the posters at bus stops to advertise the service and here 50262 passes a picture of itself in New Road.

Each morning two Oxford Tube coaches used to go to Bicester to run the S5 service into Oxford. Here 50281 waits in the town centre.

One of the busiest nights of the year was New Years Eve. The service ran up until about 22.30 then it was suspended until about 00.30. During that time virtually the entire Oxford Tube fleet assembled in Bulleid Way, Victoria ready to operate a 15mins service from 00.30 onwards back to Oxford.

Weather conditions could be really bad sometimes but it was very rare for Oxford Tube to cancel a service.
50282 waits at Thornhill Park and Ride ready to battle its way to London
in December 2017.

When the new fleet of Plaxton/Volvo coaches arrived the Van Hools were moved away to Scotland but a few came back as the service levels increased following the Covid pandemic.

One of them is 50272 which has been branded with Pride colours.

 To be continued… 

Kevin Fuller visits Uxbridge

I visited Uxbridge last Saturday, and attach a few pictures that I managed to get, despite the challenges of bright sun and shadows from buildings, street furniture etc. 

Abellio 3439, LG22ARU is a BYD / A-D Enviro 400EV, new earlier this year,
seen soon after leaving Uxbridge bus station with a U5 service to Hayes. 

At the same location, but heading in the opposite direction towards the bus station
is Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 LK09ENH, Metroline DE996, with a U1 service to West Drayton. 

Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 SN12ACF, Abellio 9535, pauses at the York Road stop whilst working route 427.

LK67CXN, Metroline VWH2355, a Volvo B5LH / Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 reaches the end of its journey
as it turns into the bus station at Uxbridge station. 

Carousel 431 YS65EVM is one of two Optare Versa's in the current fleet
and is seen passing the bus station at the end of its route 101 journey from High Wycombe. 

Alexander Dennis Enviro 200,YX63LLE, 44565 in the First Berkshire fleet,
already has its blind set for its return journey to Slough on route 3, as it turns into the bus station.

Developments in the east of our area by Gary Seamarks

As you have reported Uno have three new E400mmc’s for the Cranfield Connect and at present the Herts Pride Liveried E400mmc. 259 YX67VFS is also at Cranfield.

Grant Palmer has taken two ex Nottingham Scania Deckers YT61GOU and YT61GPX from Ensign as already reported, they arrived in their former owners livery, so assume are awaiting repaint.

Stagecoach East, as well as Northants have revisions from 30/10/22.

The key points of the Bedford ones are :

X5 will be hourly off peak and Sunday, but still every 30 across the peaks, Saturday is similar but less am peak journeys.

905 is similar on frequency to X5, but will revert to the old route direct from St. Neots to Cambridge, no longer serving either Cambourne or Science Park.

Bedford Towns, stay roughly as they are except route 1 goes from every 20 mins to every 15.

The 9 is reinstated hourly, most of the day to Shortstown, as the 9A, 9B to Hitchin which were both hourly between Bedford and Hitchin via differing routes are now 2 hourly off peak.

The 99 Milton Keynes- Luton Airport and 81 Luton (town) – Bedford are combined as MK1 which will also serve the Bedford Park and ride (instead of Elstow) on an hourly frequency, journey time is 2 hours 10 each way with 10 minutes layover at MK, runs hourly Mon-Sunday.

41 Bedford Northampton is reduced to one return trip am and pm, both 5.50 am/pm off Bedford and 7.30 am/pm off Northampton, the rest of the day its running to Turvey only (Bedford Borough boundary)  

53 Bedford Wootton reduced off peak to hourly from every 30 minutes, last journey is an hour earlier.  

71/2 Bedford Biggleswade, both presently hourly Mon-Sat, WITHDRAWN no replacement.  

After these revisions excluding the X5, 905, MK1 Bedford will have very little country work left with only the 9A/B and 41, the 50 to Kettering is worked by that depot (hourly) 51 and 53 in reality now are town routes as Bedford has grown.

Similar revisions are taking place across Cambridgeshire with Stagecoach exiting many smaller towns in the area.

Link to the new network for East 

East Bus Network | Stagecoach ( 

Oxford buildings make a fine background for pictures, here is 599 in St. Aldates on October 3rd by Jack Cooper. 

     Area Fleet News and developments    

Gavin Francis

October 5th.

It seems that all these StreetLites at Wycombe have now received the new livery as seen with 2327.

Now getting older, Citaro 3042 is seen working the 32.

Jack Cooper

Citaro 3021 is seen with  a 280 service in St Aldates on October 3rd.

Well travelled 4401 is seen here in St Aldates with a 280 working again on October 3rd.

5465 is seen heading up St Aldates bound for Aylesbury on the same day. 

Tony Bungay

Taken a few weeks back newly repainted ex Derby E400 4401 working service 500 

Very soon I understand once again Hemel Hempstead will not be working the soon to be truncated 500 service, so probably the chances of seeing a sapphire liveried StreetLite is highly unlikely.


Here 4331 which despite the destination is Watford bound!

Freshly repainted 6524, which I first noted this on the 500 on Monday, but only today was in a position to get some photos. As Martin Isles commented in last weeks post, in answer to my comment at Showbus about the no show of this vehicle in the Jubilee livery. Arriva promptly repainted the vehicle as appropriate to the sad turn of events.


Jack Cooper

The Abingdon Fair is on this week as well, with Abingdon High Street, Stratton Way and Ock Street closed. Here is a link to the diversions -

Several buses from  this operator are presently working for Thames Travel.

Gavin Francis

241 seems to highlight the length of these Scanias as 241 leaves the Eden Bus Station on October 5th.

403 is seen working the Park & Ride service when one of the two branded buses was not available.

Sprinter 971 shows  its Blenheim livery even though it is now based at Carousel. 

Bob Chalmers

Further to the pictures of 658 on the C1 service in Abingdon in the latest issue. This is indeed a 'strange' service and maybe unique in some respects. It seems to be formed from the 7.55 35A school service from Kennington to Elms Rise (Matthew Arnold School) and then presumably back to the depot - then it comes out again in the afternoon to do the reverse journey - 15.23 back to Kennington - then it lays over at Radley before heading to Abingdon to form the C1 service to Blackbird Leys at 16.30 ( via Abingdon College, Boars Hill, Donnington Bridge, and Rose Hill). Yet the C1 is service open to anyone to board (not a specific school service) - as the C1 only runs in one direction on School/College days in the week it must be considered a quite unique service.

Taken this afternoon (12/10) on the C1 service to Blackbird Leys in Wootton Road, Abingdon - this service seems to throw up all sorts 'strange' vehicles.

363 working the C1 on October 12th. 

Jack Cooper

672 had returned from repaint on Wednesday 5th October. The branding on 672 is "Your journey made easier", advertising the Oxford Bus Company app. 

Newly returned 672 is here compared with 671 showing the branding differences

368 is seen here with an X3 service in St Aldates.

Although branded for th e 100 MMC 607 was actually working 400 road when pictured.

610 was as is normally the case was working 400 road in St Aldates.

657 and 659 are seen working 5 road services.

660 is on the other hand working the X1 service in St Aldates.

Yellow 684 brightens up St Aldates with a 15 road service. 


For the first time I received the offer of pictures, these of 306 just returned to service after conversion from Hybrid and on its first day back in service, October 11th.


Jack Cooper

With many reflections, Tourismo 34 is seen heading for Gatwick along St Aldates. 

Jack Cooper

Scania 231 is seen heading for Didcot with an X32 service.

Carousel livery adorns 856 with The ONE branding as it works an X2 for Thames Travel.

Citaro 863 is seen in Oxford with an X33 service.

Also ex Carousel MCV 874 is seen in Oxford now with its two sisters adorned with TT livery.

Gary Seamarks

Grant Palmer now have the Biggleswade routes, from October 31st, timetables already on web-site, think news broke as I was doing this e-mail. 

Grant Palmer to take over local bus service (


Gavin Francis

Here is GW16BUS working the 130 in High Wycombe on October 5th.

One of Redlines' older saloons, KF52NBN also in High Wycombe on October 5th.

Hugh Jaeger

Today I was surprised by a 2013 Alexander Dennis Enviro200 in Nottingham Corporation colours, running on Redline route X20. I photographed it as it passed Sandhills on the A40. Someone on Twitter photographed the same bus on October 8th and says it is Taj Khan's latest acquisition.

YX13BNV seen near Sandhills on October 10th.

When Taj launched route X20 as a premium service with its own dedicated fleet of Enviro200 MMC's, I suspected that before long other, older buses from his fleet would start appearing on the route. Within months I was proved right: one or two of his more usual, older, red and white or red and silver buses have frequently been on the route. Unfortunately I was unable to photograph them for you when I saw them. 

Jack Cooper

E200 LJ09KPL is seen in St Aldates with an X20 service. 

Tony Bungay

Seen in the past two days is ex Nottingham E200 378, now being used by Redline, in this instance on an X20 journey. Neither photo is particularly good, but best I could get, I think they have more than one from Nottingham. No doubt you may already know!

YX13BNV seen in Aylesbury on October 7th.

Slight repeat of history here, as Redline/Red Rose are sister companies so to speak, Red Rose being in effect the spiritual successor to former Aylesbury independent operator Red Rover, who operated for just over 60 years until sale to what was then Luton and District. Red Rover sourced a number of secondhand vehicles from City of Nottingham over the years including AEC Renown's and Leyland Nationals. 

I notice there is another ex Nottingham E200 with Redline this being YX63LJE with both buses presently retaining their Nottingham liveries. Ed. 

Sadly the route 40 buses are still not showing on

Jack Cooper

Normally the haunt of the remaining Hybrids MMC 10671 is seen working the route on October 3rd.

Here 12005 is working the 10 on the same day.

Gold 15831 is seen in St Aldates again on the same day. 


Tony Bungay

Again on a different note, on what is becoming a more frequent occurrence, another Stagecoach East revision, if you have not already heard, the X5 is being reduced to hourly frequency off peak, as indeed it’s former eastern section the 905. While somewhat out the area the Bedford – Biggleswade service is being taken on by Grant Palmer, though on a lesser frequency, and the long established Bedford – Northampton  route latterly numbered 41, is reduced to a couple of through journeys, the rest being Bedford – Turvey only. At one time this corridor was hourly ‘Coachlinks’ X2/X3 going onto to serve Cambridge or Luton Airport initially, before that is was the long 128 service to Cambridge, with some journeys numbered 129 to go to and from Olney if my memory is correct!

Jack Cooper

As ever Horspath are keeping th e Panorama beautifully clean as shown by 50434 in St Aldates on October 3rd. 

    Reporting from London    

Andrew Webb

The iconic Battersea Power Station finally reopens to the public on 14 October, 44 years after electricity was last generated on the site.  It has, after years of dereliction, been regenerated into a development of luxury flats, offices and homes.  Arriva's LT969 is one of several buses to gain this wrap with the four chimneys featuring prominently. 

It is seen at Hyde Park Corner on 8 October.

OMC Global of Witney
specialise in executive transport using a range of different vehicles
including this Atlas Viator seen In Regents Street on October 8th,

Grahame Wareham

Herewith Olympian material for Issue 223. This is rather a memorable one for me as 223 CUD223Y was the last Olympian in OBC service and I was the last person to drive it on 3rd October which ironically it developed a fault where it would not throttle up and subsequently not change gear.

However I didn't want to disappoint those enthusiasts on board so, despite being given a Paladin 647 at the Rail Station, I persevered with it and managed to complete the duty albeit with a few jerky gear changes and with my family and friends waiting in Kidlington for their last historic ride on one of Leyland's finest!

I even ventured into the sudden downpour at Cowley Road Garage to photograph its departure with 224 on its way to Hedingham Omnibuses.

223 CUD223Y was delivered in December 1982 not being licensed until January 1983. It was a standard NBC poppy red bus for its entire COMS life and received the new OBC scheme sometime in 1992.

223 was fitted with a Gardner 6LXCT engine in February 1991 and tachograph.

223 was repainted white for its Fox FM Colourbus in April 96.

Then was repainted into the new Oxford Bus fleet livery in February 2001 for the start of the seasonal Q Buster duties. 223 was loaned to Go-Ahead North East at Chester-Le-Street from 9/01 to 30/11/01.In September 2002 and ~ it was also on loan to Thames Travel, Wallingford pending the arrival of 208 from OBC.


223 was the last Olympian to remain in normal service with OBC and retired at 20.27 into Cowley Road Garage on 3/10/03 after running two return trips to Kidlington airport on service 2A from Oxford Station. I had the honour of being asked to be the driver on both of these nostalgic journeys. I even fitted an NBC miniature fleet name to the front panel for the evening!

223 was sold together with 224 to Hedingham Omnibuses leaving Oxford for the last time on 6th October 2003 and was eventually converted to H47/32F after initially operating in dual door mode. It passed to L.C. Transport (Ladycars), Grays in June 2011 but didn't stay long being disposed of with the rest of the fleet in 2013. Presumably scrapped after that as no information seems to be available as to its current status but by then thirty years old!


Andy Churchill

223 seen in the earlier livery.

Gavin Francis

Gavin has provided pictures of the second 223, a Scania/ADL E400.

Between 2010 and 2015 is served OBC routes.

It than served Thames Travel on River Routes from 2018.

In 2022 it was repainted red !

Malcolm Crowe

223 seen in Cowley Road depot on June 7th 2000.

Neil Gow

I missed getting this to you in time for issue 222 but hopefully still of interest. Olympian 222 (CUD 222Y) operating on the Woottens “Tiger Line” T5 service at Hemel Hempstead on 12th August 2010.

Its fleet number with Woottens was W54.

I saw reference to 228 and possibly 235 also passing to Woottens. In fact the one I’ve pictured with them was former 227 (E227 CFC), was acquired from Arriva The Shires and was  numbered W31 by them.

Seen near at Princes Risborough on 3rd June 2011.

This is 223 (CUD 223Y), the last Leyland Olympian in service, on its final journey with COMS, a late morning return from Abingdon on the 35 road on 3rd October 2003. 

It was your tip-off on the Oxford and Chilterns Bus Page at the time that led me to take an extended lunch break and capture it on the Abingdon Road. I only wish I had a better quality digital camera at the time or I’d used my regular film SLR for the event.

Sheffield with Gary Seamarks

A few from Sheffield on 01 Oct, only took handful all day as was a Christmas Shopping trip, yes early but last full weekend we are both off together before December. Used Tram in from Meadowhall and had 399203 on the return trip, it had been on the tram-train route to Rotherham all day but due to the strike the service was withdrawn after about 6pm and we got the 6.30 back.


York visit part 3 from Tony Bungay


Yorkshire Coastliner Volvo/Wright 2780 caught me on the hop somewhat hence a more wide angle view in Bridge street, this vehicle was new to Burnley and Pendle and has been transferred to Yorkshire Coastliner, where amongst other tings it has the same seating as the newer StreetDecks  apparently.  For those readers who may not be aware Yorkshire Coastliner and First York, or rather the services were all part of the same company West Yorkshire Road Car Company some 30 plus years ago. The local services of York and Keighley carried the city/town name in front of the fleetname. With the privatisation of West Yorkshire the new owner split the company into the operating names of Harrogate and District, Keighley and District, Yorkshire Coastliner, York City and District and the remaining Leeds/Bradford operations retaining the West Yorkshire name.

The Leeds/Bradford area was soon sold to Yorkshire Rider which originally had been West Yorkshire PTE, they also acquired later York City and District. Later Yorkshire Rider would be acquired by First Group.

The other companies would later become part of Blazefield, formed after the original owner wished to dispose of their Bus interests, another company in this portfolio was what had been London Country North East, also split to form Sovereign at St Albans and Stevenage and County Bus and Coach at Harlow. Blazefield after selling it’s southern operations later was acquired by Transdev.

Coming out of Museum Street First York Volvo/Wright 37246

Heading ultimately for Hull on the X46 in Rougier Street is East Yorkshire E400  925

Pulling away from the City Walls is First York Volvo/Wright 37247

A view of two of the all Electric Optare MetroDeckers again by the City Wall, though in slightly different livery  style  39520  and 39514,
while obviously I cannot vouch for every vehicle, one of these I used carried a poster inside.
The Bus proclaiming a New clean Bus for York made in Yorkshire, adding it was built only some 20 or so miles away! 

At York Railway Station promoting partnership with University of York is Volvo/Wright 37069

Side view of unknown East Yorkshire E400 mmc showing branding for York – Hull service, slightly behind a First York Volvo/Wright 

York Pullman run a number of services in the area, here Volvo/MCV is seen on service to Tadcaster.

Yorkshire Coastliner Volvo/Wright 2428 on service to Scarborough via Malton, this vehicle was new to Coastliner as number 428 and wore  Blue Coastliner Livery,
it then moved to Transdev Rosso where presumably it gained the livery seen here known as ‘  Spirit of the North’.
Behind is First York Electric Optare MetroDecker 39516

Connexions Mercedes Citaro working service 13 to Haxby as the prominent branding says,
no destination probably means camera failed to catch it. This vehicle was new to YourBus.

East Yorkshire Scania/Levante III  number 4 heads away from York station having just done a National Express service from London.


A closer photo of Yorkshire Coastliner E400mmc 2017, having just set down at York Railway Station on a CityZap journey from Leeds

Tony Bungay - a bus from Barmouth

The not very local Lloyds coaches Optare Versa on layover in Barmouth, the destination display prompted the photo!