Issue nr. 224
Wednesday, October 19th 2022


Not an easy week for your Editor as I have had to pend quite a few contributions until the next issue. My apologies if your submissions are missing.

We have the final episode of 40 years driving from Gavin Francis and a record of buses in Abingdon on Fair Day from Jack Cooper.

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society announce their first meeting in many months and the local news reports problems in Oxford with a shortage of bus drivers.

Sad news is the passing of Richard Worth well known for his leadership of Worth's Coaches, Enstone. There is. an Obituary below.

Coverage of the Routemaster heritage service in London and other London items are also included with pictures from Eire by Nick Ross.

Finally we have the final part of Tony Bungay's visit to York and Whitby.

40 years of driving buses and coaches – Part VI
By Gavin Francis


It is now 2017 and in the early part of the year 3 Oxford Tube drivers were asked by our manager if we would be willing to take part in the years UK Coach Awards. We would be entered in the Top UK Express Driver category. This involved a lot of paperwork, taking photos and when we were told we were down to the last few it also involved having a secret passenger on board which was a bit worrying for the next few weeks.

The awards were held in a hotel in Manchester in late May and after going through the nominations for our section I am pleased to say I was announced as the winner.

The trophy was presented by BBC Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood and overall was a very enjoyable evening.

I receive the award from Carol Kirkwood, alongside me is Oxford Tube Manager Dave Rouse

We now move onto 2020 and the time had again come to renew The Oxford Tube fleet and it was to be a change of supplier. Plaxton had by now designed a double deck coach based on the Interdecker which it had been producing for many years, indeed Stagecoach had bought nearly 100 of them for its Megabus services so it made it logical to buy a new coach where the supplier would remain common.

An initial order was placed for 34 coaches, this would be the largest fleet The Oxford Tube had ever had. Since the last order was placed the X90 service run by Oxford Bus had ceased and Oxford Tube were now covering their journeys. Fleet numbers 50421-50454 were allocated and on the 6th November 2020 the first one appeared at Oxford depot.

50421 parked in engineering on the day it arrived.

As always these coaches had new features and these included individual charging points at every seat, table top charging points and although bikes had always been carried this time the coach had a specially designed storage area for them

Each seat now had not only USB charging points but also wireless charging, a coat hanger, pull down table and individual reading lights.

Because by now there were Covid restrictions in place there was a small launch ceremony held in Broad Street on November 18th where a 50424 was parked for some time for the public to view.

The first coach ran in service on the morning of 28th November 2020 and appropriately numerically the first coach 50421 was used.

50421 at Lewknor on the first Plaxton coach trip to London.

Over the next few weeks more new coaches started to appear but in the background a major worldwide problem had begun to appear with the 2nd wave of Covid sweeping across the country and it was decided to suspend the service for 3 months starting at the beginning of 2021. By then 24 new coaches had been delivered and the balance were diverted for use in Scotland. This was because when the service restarted it operated at a reduced level until passenger numbers increased enough to warrant more coaches.

Since then passenger numbers have more or less returned to pre-Covid levels with services at the weekend being particularly busy and even more so on train strike days of which there have been many recently.

We have never seen the 10 coaches which went to Scotland so instead have a small number of Van Hools to supplement the service at busy times.

From time to time the chance came to get involved in special duties which could vary from single day events to as described in earlier articles many days away. These included Silverstone Grand Prix, Cheltenham Races, Fairford Air Show and occasional events such as The Ryder Cup.

On the January 22nd 2022 Stagecoach organized an Oxfordshire Local Heroes Day where we took many people who had been involved in the Covid pandemic on a trip to London, a tour round the sights and then afternoon tea at The Mandarin Palace Hotel in Piccadilly.

50431 at Thornhill Park and Ride collecting passengers  and parked outside The Mandarin Palace Hotel.

Over the years Oxford Tube have sent a coach to Showbus but decided in 2021 to attend a local event so on the 31st May my colleague Martin and myself took 50444 to Quainton Railway Centre for their Bank Holiday Bus and Coach rally.

50444 leaves Quainton at the end of the day followed in complete contrast by RT 1777 about 70 years its senior.

Publicity is an important part of promoting The Oxford Tube and on 8th June 2021 I spent the day with a professional photographer not only taking pictures of the coach but also at lots of locations all around Oxford City Centre.

50437 poses at Network Oxford for publicity shots.

This year it was decided that we should make a short film for social media so over two days a professional film crew was brought in and I worked with them to produce a short film (about 30secs) to show off the service which was subsequently used on Facebook etc.

The first day was mainly in Central London with endless trips around Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner to try and get unobstructed views.

The second day a team of actors was brought in to highlight the interior features of the coach.

Some of the exterior shots were taken at Thornhill Park and Ride.

A lot of the interior shots were taken on the move to highlight the speed of the coach through the windows.

My last day working at Oxford was to be Sunday August 21st 2022 and I was given Duty 804 a bit of an unusual one as it is only 1 round trip, so started at 04.53 and finished at 10.15.

I was allocated coach 50432 for my last trip and here it waits at Gloucester Green before departing last trip to London.

I am pleased to say the trip went without incident so it was time to bid farewell to my colleagues for the last time and make my way home

One last look back at Oxford Depot as I left and it was all over.

40 years seems to have gone by in no time and working in the bus industry gave me the opportunity to go to a lot of places and meet many colleagues who I hope will remain friends for a long time to come.

I have renewed my license for another year so let’s see what happens!!!

Nigel Peach

Can I also say a big thank you to Gavin for the "40 years of driving buses and coaches" articles each week. I haven't always been able to read them straight away, but had a spare evening last week and caught up. Very interesting and fascinating to read - especially your experiences at the Olympics. Much appreciated.

Well that readers up to date with Gavin's 40 year career which In hope you have all enjoyed. Ed. 

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

Tuesday, November 15th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Norman Brown Room 1 at Rose Hill Community Centre, Carole's Way, Oxford OX4 4HF, 

Matt Bullock will give a talk on:

"Recent Photographic Discoveries - Oxfordshire and beyond 1950-1990" 

There is a bar at the centre where we can meet before the talk. 

Oxford Bus Co Route 3 passes the door, and Routes 3A and X40 pass along Rose Hill (5 min walk). There is parking at the Community Centre.

We hope to see you on November 15th.

Bus driver shortages in Oxford  


Abingdon Fair bus routing from Jack Cooper

Abingdon Fair 

666 turning from Radley Road to Oxford Road, to work normal route from Our Lady's Abingdon Oxford Road stops.  

369 working down the Oxford Road, about to make the left turn onto the Radley Road
to pick up the normal 13 route towards Oxford from Our Lady's Abingdon.  

909 making the left turn out of Bath Street onto Stratton Way having operated
via Spring Road / Faringdon Road / Bath Street as Ock Street and the top of Stratton Way are home to the fair.  

907 making the right turn from Stratton Way to Bath Street. A turn that is usually not possible due to the no right turn from Stratton Way to Bath Street.  

855 waiting time at Bridge Street heading towards Didcot.
Usually the 33 would wait time on the High Street and Stratton Way, however both roads were closed. 

859 seen making the turn from East St Helens Street to St Helen's Wharf also a 33 towards Oxford. 

905 and 672 both on the Faringdon Road, at the Godwyn Close stop.
672 would turn left onto the Wootton Road to pick up normal route, and 905 would turn right onto Bath Street. 

These pictures show how many diversions are required for this event. Ed. 


Richard Edmund Worth  August 12th 1942 - October 15th 2022

It is with great sadness that I have been informed of the passing of Richard 'Dickie' Worth aka 'The Old Chap' this morning, 15th October 2022. As the proprietor and Managing Director of Worth;s Motor Services at Enstone, I had known Richard for over 42 years since I sold him ex. COMS TJO56K in 1980. Always looking for a bargain he continued our relationship and went on to purchase over a dozen more 'quality' examples of used buses from the COMS/OBC fleet over the years and always with the added sarcasm but genuine satisfaction of receiving a good deal. I'm sure he will be very much missed by his loyal staff and not least his family who I'm sure will strive to see this famous and important independent operator of North Oxfordshire survive these ever changing challenges that confront the bus and coach industry. It has been a pleasure for me to have been a small part in Richard's contribution to his business and I express my sincere condolences to his family, as I hope all the followers of the O&CBP will also.

I am indebted to Paul Worth who invited myself and my wife to take part in Worth's Centenary celebrations at Hook Norton Brewery on 12th August this year which included Richard's 80th Birthday where we were able to once again able to share and exchange a bit of the usual banter, as we used to!

A very genuine character who valued the people around him and a sad day for many !

Jack Cooper

Some nice pictures from Jack taken over the past week.

Oxford and Abingdon between October 9th and 14th

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon.

One of Johnsons latest acquisitions seen on October 13th.

Jack Cooper

Fastline YN12BNZ in St-Aldates on October 10th. 

     Fleet News and developments   


Pleased to include the latest allocation list.

Arriva fleet lists/Arriva period 9.ods
save and use excel

Nigel Peach

I paid my first visit for some months to Arriva's Cressex depot this afternoon. I was surprised to see that there are lots of withdrawn buses still there including DAFs 2782/6/7, burnt out Citaro 3043 and the last two of the DAF double deckers 4819 and 6000. 

Picture attached of withdrawn DAFs 4819 and 6000, and Citaro 3925 which was receiving attention. 

Nigel Peach

I don't know if you have come across the website "Next Door". We subscribe to it, but it is usually people going on particular bad experiences with this or that, or complaining about the government or local council.

Occasionally though there is good news, and I thought I'd share this post with someone saying how wonderful Carousel's PickMeUp service is. I've copied the link, so hopefully you can read it yourself, though I appreciate you wouldn't be able to share much of this on your pages. of Wycombe PMU

Back at the beginning of August, the main road through Flackwell Heath (Straight Bit) was closed for a few days and buses were diverted. A friend form one of the nearby cul-de-sacs was surprised to see a bus in his road, and sent me this picture. 

Carousel's 940 (now with Thames Travel), on the 36 (since transferred to Arriva) and had taken the wrong road when using the diversion.  

Gavin Francis

The picture of OBC 599 on your latest page reminded me that not long ago there was another identical 599 which OBC had when the ST routes began.

Seen on July 18th 2019 working the ST2.  

Jack Cooper

I am not sure if it has been reported in recent weeks but ex hybrids 300, 302 and 306 have all recently returned to service from conversion. 300 has been back a few weeks now. 302 and 306 have returned to service this week and still have
city4/city35 branding on them when I had last seen them earlier on this week. 


222 working an X40 

Variety in St Aldates on October 10th.

More variety on the same day. Also some off branded route.

One wonders how long these will last? 

Jack Cooper

The five remaining Interdeks are getting very regular use until the new Tourismos arrive.

Jack Cooper

The first of the remaining Scanias not converted to open top.

873 in Thames Travel livery on October 14th. 

Jack Cooper

TSE uses this Levante on services including the 160


Mark Turner

Harry Potter buses at Watford Junction

Harry Potter Bus on Monday, October 17th LG22AYA heading back towards Harry Potter after pulling out from Watford Junction. 

Gavin Francis

More variety working the 40 here E17RRT on October 15th in Stokenchurch. 

According to www.bustimes 47904 and 47910 are still based at Witney unused for many weeks .

Christopher Lowe

Recently former Oxford Hybrids, 12015, 12018, 12023, 12024 and 12025 were all reinstated from Stagecoach Manchester reserve fleet but have re-entered service at Sharston Garage not Hyde Road as they were previously.

Jack Cooper

Stagecoach also use a variety of buses on city routes as seen above on October 10th.

The S3 sees variety as well with unbranded 10684 leaving Gloucester Green on October 12th.

Jack Cooper

Wet weather and 50269 makes a trip out on October 14th.

A sunny day sees 50427 in St Aldates inbound from London on October 10th. 

Jack Cooper

Mighty Travels Birmingham OW15 WKE was working a Megabus M34 through Oxford on Wednesday. This coach is one of the ex Oxford Bus Interdeck, formerly 77 (OX15 BUS) and then later used at Go North East on the Xlines X9 / X10 given fleet number 7155 and reg plate X10 LNE. OW15 WKE still wears the base Xlines livery.  


     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Fashion brands continue to dominate the overall adverts being applied to London's buses.  Levis' new store in Regent Street is now open, promoted on several New Routemasters with this blue based scheme. 

London United's LT673 shows off the advert as it passes Hyde Park Corner on 15 October. 

Gant is an American Swedish clothing brand. 

Go Ahead's LT875 is one of several to carry this busy design promoting the brand, seen on The Strand on 15 October. 

Stuart Weitzman is a luxury footwear brand. 

Go Ahead LT438 carries this wrap, seen at Tottenham Court Road ready to head for Penge on route 176 on 15 October.

Away from the fashion scene other sectors also advertise on London buses. 

London United's BCE47016 is the only bus to carry this wrap for Codorníu, the oldest and second-largest producer of Cava. 

It is seen at Shepherd's Bush on 15 October at the start of a trip to Clapham Junction on route 49.  It is notable that the wrap covers the front of the bus, most adverts applied to vehicles other than New Routemasters retain the red front. 

The red front is still visible on the front of Stagecoach's StreetDeck 18905 at Stratford on 15 October.

It is carrying an advert for apprenticeship provider MetaGedu.  This is one of the vehicles which joined the Stagecoach fleet following the company's takeover of Tower Transit, whose fleet name is still prominent.

Manchester Bus Tours, trading as 'Londoner Buses', started Route A on 15 October.  The commercial venture links Waterloo with Piccadilly Circus via Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square to offer tourists a view of the capital's key sights. 

RM1941, once at home on the TfL 15H, is seen at Waterloo on the first day ready to work a short to Trafalgar Square. 

Route B is an unadvertised alternative route for times when Route A is unable to be served owing to road closures.  It connects Waterloo with St Paul's via Waterloo Bridge.  Two or three journeys operated on the route during the first day including one run by RM871 seen after arrival back at Waterloo. 

RM 871 Its ultimate blind has already been reset for a journey on Route A. 

The modern interpretation of the Routemaster in the form of LT128 passes, making for a comparison of designs spanning 60 years.

Single decker buses on sightseeing routes are comparatively rare, the main draw of the routes being the chance to view the sights of a city from the (often open) top deck of a bus.  Stagecoach's City Sightseeing London operation has recently introduced the Green Shuttle linking the London Eye with the hotels around Tavistock Square. 

Two Enviro 200s have been branded for the service,
including 36369 seen rounding the IMAX Cinema at Waterloo on final approaches to the London Eye on 15 October.

Gavin Francis

Gavinn has also provided a significant number of pictures some of which  will have to be held over for a future issue. However Gavin got some more pictures of the Routemasters mentioned above. Ed.

The three buses in use on the tours showing them in a previous life.
The picture of the RM in Carlisle should be attributed to Paul Bateson

This is the legal used on these tour buses. 

Michael Wadman

A few photos I took early one Sunday morning in August when, having time to kill before my train left, I found a fine collection of coaches parked on Buckingham Palace Road either having just arrived or waiting their next turn on various express services. Unfortunately the light was a bit awkward so there are some nasty reflections. 

Weavaway IRZ 707, an Irizar i6s, waiting to work National Express service 550 to Liverpool.

Horseman Coaches (of Royal Berkshire, no less) YX68 UAV, a Volvo B8R / Plaxton Panther.
The windscreen label was for National Express service A6 to Stansted Airport, which it was apparently waiting for its next duty on.

Goldwings Executive of Hayes  YT19 KUK, an Irizar i6, having apparently worked an early morning service from Nottingham on Megabus M22.

Turners of Bristol  YJ67 CXO, a Van Hool EX16H, having apparently worked an early morning service from its home city on Flixbus 041.

Hearns of Harrow Weald   BF21 EOP, a Mercedes Benz Tourismo, waiting to work Flixbus service 002 to Bradford.

An interesting selection working for major operators. Ed. 

Grahame Wareham

224 CUD224Y was the final Olympian ECW delivered under NBC contract ON040 in December 1982. Licenced in January 1983 224 joined the rest of the batch based at Cowley Road Garage and used on mainly routes to the west of the City. It also displaced Bristol VRT 442 which was released to join the Western National fleet as part of the contract for the additional twelve Olympians. 

224 visited Bonn, West Germany on February 27th 1989 as part of Oxford City’s Civic twin town celebrations for that year.

Fitted with Gardner 6LXCT engine and tachograph in January 1990.

224 was the first vehicle to be repainted into the OBC new red, white and black livery in 1990 with sign written'

224 was transferred to Wycombe Bus from November 1998 until April 2000.

224 was loaned to Go-Ahead North East at Chester-Le-Street from 9/01 to 30/11/01.

224 was loaned to Metrobus at Godstone from 8/02 to 11/02 and received fleet number 884 by Metrobus.

In July 2002 224 was given a repaint and paid a visit back to its birthplace in Lowestoft whist taking part in the ECW closure anniversary celebrations.

In October 2003 224 was withdrawn and sold along with 223 to Hedingham Omnibuses staying there until September 2011 when it joined the fleet of L.C.Transport, (Ladycars), Grays along with most of the remaining ex. Hedingham/Oxford Olympians.


Once again I can only assume that 224 finished its days as scrap after L.C. Transport ceased trading............unless anyone knows otherwise!

Andy Churchill

Here is a photo of Leyland Olympian 224 (CUD224Y) the last of the batch of 5 to arrive in 01/1983 and seen here on route 443 in Queen Street in Oxford heading for Rose Hill.

Gavin Francis

.......... has provided pictures of the current 224.

In original condition from 2010 to 2015.

Between 2015 and 2020 224 carried 2 road branding.

Cu,rrently enjoying connector livery this is the bus in 2022.

Malcolm Crowe

Olympian 224 was still in service when I was driving part time for Oxford Bus.

Ah - Happy Days in 2000. 

Nick Ross

West Coast of Ireland in October 2022 between the downpours! 

Volvo Coach VB473 on the 440 at Claremorris, 061022 

Decker PAD109 parked up at Galway bus station 

Ex Dublin Bus Volvo B7 04-D-20373 on a schools duty at Moycullen, West of Galway 

Decker 11-G-9065 looking good at Eyre Square, Galway. 


Congratulations on your latest update, as always it was A pleasure to read. I enjoyed reading about the C1, it's indeed formed from the 35A school service according to but why does it lay over at Radley in between? It certainly is quite A unique service and, like the 35A, does use all sorts of strange vehicles as they probably just use whatever they've available. Does the same bus normally do the 35A in both directions? I also enjoyed reading about 223 and the last day of Olympian operation. I remember reading about it at the time but didn't realize that Grahame Wareham was the driver, why did Phil Clark arrange for that to be the case and for it to operate 35E card then return to the garage for cleaning before going out again on 2X card? 

Tony Bungay

Bank Holiday Sunday, I decided to make another trip further afield. I was interested in taking a trip to Whitby, but as the Coastliner service on Sunday is at a lower frequency and I could not make the earlier journey, I opted to go via Scarborough, the only decision whether to use the slower Yorkshire Coastliner service or the train. In the end I opted for the Coastliner service and the driver usefully as it turned out sold me an all routes ticket (for Yorkshire Coastliner services to avoid misunderstanding) cost £19.00. At Scarborough a short wait ensured for the arrival of the Arriva X94 service to Whitby, which gives good views of the surrounding countryside and eventually the sea, more so as it drops down a fairly steep hill into Robin Hoods Bay (the start or the finish point of Alfred Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk). The vehicle I was on was a Volvo/Wight in the latest Sapphire Livery, but as the following photos will show a variety of vehicles were in use. Being a Bank Holiday and fine weather Whitby was very busy, and this and the position of the sun at full brightness did not make for easy photography of the Buses! 

Leaving Whitby Town Centre is Volvo/Alexander 7426 on an outward X94 to Scarborough.
This vehicle was new to Arriva London South as VLA 154, in what appears quite a rarity for Arriva it is in a distinctive Livery. 

The second Volvo/Alexander wearing this distinctive Livery is 7424, again a former Arriva London South VLA 152, seen here entering the Bus station, which is located to one side of the Railway station frontage. Buses have to proceed to the roundabout near the harbour and turn round to enter the Bus station. The last time I visited 30 plus years ago, if my memory is correct the Bus station was further along the Harbour, although still in vicinity of the Rail station, and the Station itself seemed way to large for the then single track that remained for the picturesque but infrequent Esk Valley line service. Since then the whole area has been revamped.

Getting pictures of 7424/26 with the destination visible or coming out proved a bit difficult! 

Obviously being a popular destination, and to make parking easier a couple of Park and Ride services are operated, in this instance by Arriva,

Wearing special livery for this Volvo/Wright possibly 7610 prepares to turn into the Town Centre.

As mentioned earlier I purchased an all Yorkshire Coastliner ticket, which I used on Wright StreetDeck 3633, seen here loading for the last journey of the day back to Leeds via Pickering – Malton and York. While these vehicles feature voice announcements for all stops, on the section from Whitby to Pickering, it featured added commentary pointing out points of interest and suggested photo opportunities from the Bus, in particular the double run to serve the village of Goathland informed passengers of it’s starring role in productions on the Big and Small screen. 

View of the entrance of First York’s Garage, a couple of the Mercedes Citaro Articulated Buses can be seen, in distance the present Garage is not that far from the former West Yorkshire York Garage.

The Sapphire vehicle I travelled on from Scarborough to Whitby Volvo/Wright 7402.

A general view of Whitby Bus station with StreetLite 1563 loading for an X94  journey to Scarborough
and Volvo/Wright 7405 despite it’s branding working a Whitby Park and Ride. As can be seen not easy to photograph if sun is in the wrong place! 

A general view across the road showing the parking area with Malton Bus station and Yorkshire Coastliner garage behind.
Front view of Yorkshire Coastliner’s Malton Garage, with Bus station at the side, originally West Yorkshire, this must be now quite a rare survivor 

The attractive town of Pickering is just outside the North York Moors National Park, so therefore makes it a focal point for Sunday and Bank Holiday Moors Bus services, as well as some regular ones. 

York Pullman Enviro 200 on a Moors Bus Service, but wearing branding for Route 37 
In now older East Yorkshire Livery is Volvo/Wright 735 on Service 128 

Looking to be quite an upmarket vehicle compared to the other Moor Buses, is Easy Yorkshire E400mmc 916 

Working in the opposite direction to 735, is Coastliner branded Scarborough – Bridlington Volvo/Wright 781 again on service 128 to the attractive town of Hemsley