Issue nr. 229
Wednesday, November 23rd 2022


A number of different contributions for this issue which have resulted in an interesting issue.

Dave Allen  visits a TimeLine Events night in London

STAGECOACH LEADS UK BUS AWARDS, SCOOPING 20 AWARDS with the Oxford tube winning Gold for the Top express coach operation.

Peter Edgar records the 240A recreated.

Michael Wadman relates the tale of a day in Hertfordshire on September 21st.

Reading Buses are strengthening their driver training

We have a memory from Grahame Wareham and others on OBC 229 plus more pictures of 228.

Gavin Francis spent a pleasant day at the Florida Disney World area capturing the buses in use.

Double deckers - Ensignbus Hire

Dave Allen has provided some excellent pictures taken in the early hours of last Sunday morning in London.

Saturday night in London. I went on a Night Shoot (midnight till 0400 hrs). Lots of great photo opportunities  Had forgotten just how busy London is at that time in the morning!! Thoroughly recommended. Stay safe and take care David

Just checking location on map and the Christmas tree is in Waterloo Place. There is no Lower Regent Street although it is actually at the bottom of Regent Street below Piccadilly. 



Video of old RT buses 191122 D

Gavin Francis

One of the pictures from Dave Allan was RT 624 (JXC 432) which was the last RT in London service on Route 62 on 7th April 1979.  

Oxford Bus Christmas Lights Open topper

Jack Cooper

The Christmas Light Bus had returned on Saturday 19th November, as part of the Oxford Christmas Light Festival.


The Bus had stopped at :

Blackbird Leys (Leisure Centre)

Rose Hill (Community Centre)

Littlemore (Catholic Church)

Florence Park (Campbell Road Bus Stop)

Wood Farm (Atkyns Road Shops Bus Stop)

Risinghurst (Downside Road Post Office Bus Stop)

Barton (Underhill Circus) 


After Barton it then headed back to Cowley House, however going via Headington, Oxford City Centre, Kennington, Radley, Abingdon and Hinksey Hill. 

Route 240A recreated

Peter Edgar

Photographs attached of todays event when Timebus Travel’s TD 89 recreated route 240A Edgware to Mill Hill East Station, the route it once operated on until 60 years ago.



Michael Wadman

Back in September I wrote about Chiltern Automotive withdrawing their Abbots Langley route 318 and mentioned that they had also surrendered their Hertfordshire contracted services in the Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield area. A friend and I decided to visit the area to see the operation during what was supposed to be their last week. In the event it seems that they had already stopped running, but the day wasn’t entirely wasted. 

We arranged to meet at Birchwood Tesco’s, an out-of-town supermarket to the north of Hatfield, to photograph and ride on service 312. Bizarrely, the cheapest and most convenient way for me to get there was by setting off in totally the wrong direction, by catching an X26 to Heathrow and a 724 to Hatfield. The X26 is the successor to the famous Green Line southern orbital 725, nowadays a TfL service truncated to run between Croydon and Heathrow only; the 724 was its northern orbital counterpart, still operated by Arriva between Heathrow and Harlow but no longer branded as Green Line.

3771 (FL63 DXB), a VDL SB200 with Wright body, is seen at Hatfield station having just set me down.
 From there it was a short walk to the Tesco store along what is still called the Great North Road despite being,
in places, a narrow country lane, access to industrial units, and a footbridge over the railway!

Once it was obvious that the 312 wasn’t going to turn up we decided to catch an Arriva 302 to St Albans, from where Chiltern Automotive’s 230 was due to depart in the early afternoon, although as it was clearly worked by the same vehicle as the 312 we didn’t seriously expect to see it. But St Albans is always interesting bus-wise and I hadn’t been there for some time. 

Buses in St Albans stop in St Peter’s Street, a traffic-ridden thoroughfare plagued with a traffic-light-controlled crossroads at one end, a roundabout at the other, and several sets of pedestrian traffic-lights between the two, all of which cause traffic tailbacks. This can make photography frustrating, but the variety of operators to be seen can also make it well worthwhile.  

Most of the town services are currently operated by Red Eagle
and Enviro 200 YX10 FFB, formerly with Abellio, was on service S1.  

Red Eagle also operate country service 361 to Bricket Wood, on which was LJ08 CZT, another former Abellio Enviro 200.

Other country services are operated by Universitybus (Enviro 400MMC no 256 (YX67 VFW) on service 601)

Arriva, whose Wright-bodied VDL SB200 no 3758 (YJ08 DZH) on route 302 still showed clear signs of its transfer from Guildford 3½ years earlier.

There was of course no sign of the 230.

Route 84 was recently taken on by Sullivan Buses following its withdrawal by Metroline.

Enviro 400s E35 (SN59 AWG) and sister E37 (SN59 AVR), both new to Travel London

They were acquired from Go-Coachhire of Otford, were in Sullivan’s ‘country area’ green livery although the 84 was of course traditionally a central area red route. The attempted clever nearside shot of E37 amongst the trees was perhaps a little optimistic for my ancient camera in the awkward light, with horrible reflections on the side panels. Ugh !

We decided to return homewards by riding on the 84 to Potters Bar station,
where WVL10 (LF52 UOT) from Sullivan’s red fleet was on the 398 to Borehamwood.

This Wright-bodied Volvo B7TL was formerly Arriva London North VLW120. Arriva operate TfL route 313 to Chingford, to which LT class vehicles are officially allocated.

Other types appear such as Enviro 400 T249 (LJ61 LKZ), which, rather surprisingly, has been based at Enfield ever since new in 2012.

We were rather surprised to find Metroline’s Potters Bar town service PB1 being operated by
elderly Optare Solo OS68 (YJ06 YRP) instead of the expected new electric thingie.
OS68 was new to Arriva The Shires for use on the Hampstead Garden Suburb routes.

After a late lunch in Wetherspoons conveniently close to the station (named after Admiral Byng, infamously executed on his quarterdeck pour encourager les autres), we planned to return to London by catching the 298 to Cockfosters and the Piccadilly Line.

In the event the Universitybus 610 came along first. Although this parallels the 298 all the way to Cockfosters it confusingly goes from a different stand at the station. Being a commercial service it doesn’t accept Oyster cards which seemed to confuse several of the passengers that we picked up en route. Our Freedom Passes were of course valid on it. 

     Fleet News and developments   


Neil Gow

Arriva are also prone to accuracy on what its fleet area doing. It’s quite common when a vehicle moves between fleets or sometimes just between depots, or a defective baseplate had to be replaced, for an Arriva bus to track with the wrong identity for a few days.

Tony Bungay

There are a few mainly minor timetable changes coming up, details of which can be found on Transport for Buckinghamshire website. 

Caught 4400 performing duty on service 500 19/11/22, not noteworthy in itself
as any Arriva vehicle at Aylesbury can appear on this route or so it seems!

However I forwarded photo to illustrate the new order on the 500 since end of October of now only working to Hemel Hempstead all day, previously this tended to apply to evening journeys.

I may well be wrong, but this change may well be the first time the through Aylesbury – Watford service has been severed since the days it was operated by  National which predated formation of London Transport! 

215 appears to no longer be at Carousel but I have no further information regarding its whereabouts.  

Bob Chalmers

674 finally back in service on its first day (Tuesday 22nd) - albeit a bit 'naked'- but thought it made some interesting pictures - seen in Ock St, Abingdon - assume its new branding will happen shortly.


Incidentally all five X1 liveried buses were on X1/4A duty this morning.

Jack Cooper

674 has also returned from repaint, and is awaiting branding. These pictures were taken last Saturday. 

955 / 956 were last seen in September when they were doing the route learning for X1 / 34s. 

Seen on November 17th variety in St Aldates.

660 in New Road on the 18th.

665 is at Cowley House the day after, the 19th.


Yesterday 674 was out and about for the first time in almost a month  on the X1 and 4A without the branding decals for now. 


Jack Cooper

These Interdeckers are due for replacement with new Tourismos next year. 

Jack Cooper

E20 451 is seen turning in Broad Street with an ST1 on November 17th.

Scania 208 in St Aldates on November 17th.

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley


An expanded driver training fleet has been announced by Reading Buses. 

“With our award-winning training academy now supporting employees joining Reading Buses, Newbury & District and Thames Valley Buses, we felt that the time was right to expand the size of our training fleet,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Williams said. 

As the Reading Buses Academy embarks upon its latest training programme, the new single deck training bus offers the opportunity to train new drivers on vehicles of a type they plan to keep running in their fleet for many years to come.  

“The extra bus will help us out as we look for friendly, caring and confident people who are passionate about customer service to join our amazing team as bus drivers across the Thames Valley,” said Robert. 

“Later in the year we are planning to unveil bio-methane fuelled training buses, which may be another national first. 

“For those who are interested in a change of career, full details and how to apply to be a bus driver can be found on our website”, he added.

Paul Coley

Last Wednesday, it appears that Red Rose borrowed a Red Line E200 YX08MDV for at least part of the day.
It is seen in use on route 10, parked up at Hawkslade Farm while the driver popped to the shop.

No markings to suggest it was on hire to Red Rose, so I assume vehicles can be swapped between companies as they are under the same ‘umbrella’ owner? 

Neil Gow

Regarding the Red Rose fleet numbers on , these are more accurately the ID numbers of the ticket machine baseplates (the bit that stays in the bus). Most fleets will have these match the fleet numbers (if they have them) but Red Rose, it seems, do not. Not only do the five digit numbers in not match the new two digit fleet numbers but they don’t even match the old five digit fleet numbers of the vehicles that still have them. Some of the numbers are the same but on the wrong vehicles. The most likely reason is that they have never been reprogrammed if moved between vehicles in the past. So I would take the Red Rose “fleet numbers” on with a large block of salt!

Paul Coley

YX58DTY taken on the evening of November 18th, is more common fayre on route 10, seen in Orwell. 

Dave and Deric

Here is our analysis of the Period 7 Fleet Card dated 11/11/2022 for Stagecoach West. 



Gloucester (Driver Trainer)


Cheltenham (Driver Trainer)






Out of Reserve


Reserve (RTA)




For Disposal







































Gone (to Stagecoach North West for component recovery)






27554 has just been converted to a driver trainer. It has been allocated to Cheltenham allowing the disposal of Volvo B10M 20280 to Stagecoach North West who wish to use it for component recovery. 

These are the changes we have found relating to the Stagecoach Oxford Fleet 

Out of Reserve






To Reserve















Jack Cooper

The change in the Hybrid fleet as above means that MMCs are also seen working the 10, as above on November 17th in St Aldates.


Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus operator, led the industry at the 2022 UK Bus Awards in London, picking up more awards than any other business.

Top express coach operation – Stagecoach Oxford tube winning gold

Rob Hough and Geoff Irvine at the Awards event on November 15th.

Congratulations from OCBP !

Jack Cooper

50425 shows its newly gained cherished registration at Gloucester Green on November 17th. 

Look out next week for some interesting reallocations.  

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Retailer JD Sports has applied this advert to several New Routemasters. 

Arriva's LT498 pauses in New Oxford Street whilst working route 38. 

The nearside is seen on Abellio's LT776 in Stratford, taking a break from its usual haunts whilst working a rail replacement service from Romford. 

Another advert to use illuminated lettering is this one for Jean Paul Gaultier.  Go Ahead's LT845 rounds St George's Circus heading for Penge on route 176.

The nearside of the Jean Paul Gaultier is illustrated by RATP's LT73 scurrying through Victoria. 

Abellio's LT705 is the first recipient of an advert for Meta Quest 2, a 'virtual reality' headset on which users can play games, including an Iron Man themed challenge. 

LT705 is seen at Elephant & Castle whilst bound for West Norwood on route 68.

Back Market specialise in refurbishing unwanted tech and reselling it for a new.  Whether an unwanted phone will match the legendary 9 lives of a cat is debatable, but the message on the side of Stagecoach's LT246 raises awareness of the company.

LT 246 at Tottenham Court Road as it sets out with another trip on route 8. 

Grahame Wareham

229 seen in May 1989.

229 was the final member of the five vehicle batch of Leyland Olympians with Alexander RL bodies specifically ordered for Oxford's Park & Ride services. Delivered in May 1988 in plain white livery and registered E229CFC

229 was to receive unibus advertising for The Oxford Covered Market in 1989.
Later receiving advertising for the Westgate Shopping Centre in 1992, sponsored also by Oxford City Council,
229 then also had destination equipment installed.

In 1995 the new Go-Ahead Park & Ride green livery was applied complete with rear advertising for Fox FM lasting until June 1999.

Then it was called into the Oxford body shop for centre exit removal prior to transfer to Wycombe Bus.

It was repainted at this time into a commemorative version of the Thames Valley Tilling Red and Cream livery to celebrate 75 years of that company which at one time owned High Wycombe depot. prior to NBC and privatisation.


In 2000 229 unfortunately got itself into trouble with a low bridge and was sent to Mainline, Rotherham for a replacement from their withdrawn Dennis Dominator 2182 NKU182X (image attached).

Herewith 229 images in Wycombe bus care, Also a shot of First Mainline 2182 NKU182X which donated its roof to repair the damage to 229 after its bridge accident. Do we know which bridge it hit?


When it arrived back it was still in the Thames Valley livery but lacked the front upper deck cream band which made it look rather shabby. By the end of 2000 Arriva, Shires and Essex had purchased Wycombe Bus from Go-Ahead so 5829 had a new coat of Arriva paint in 3/02 refurbished at Derby: repainted to turquoise/cream and allocated to Wycombe; 10/02 transferred to Luton-Dunstable ; 11/02

Transferred to Wycombe; 8/03 transferred to Aylesbury; 4/05 transferred to Garston and then Southend renumbered 5883

Exported to Garden of Eden, Ghaxaq, Malta and sold to City Sightseeing, Melbourne, Australia, as O47/30F
reregistered 8515AO, 11/ had its roof removed for the second time!
Picture from Alan Brown via Paul Bateson.

Gavin Francis

with pictures of the current 229

These pictures show Scania-E400 from June 2010 to April 2021 in its various guises.

Kevin Fuller

Oxford / Wycombe bus Olympian/Alexander 229, which was painted into 'Thames Valley' livery: 

An immaculately turned out 229 waits time at Great Missenden railway station
before departing with a route 27 service to High Wycombe on a bright sunny 7th May 2000. 

 On 31st March 2001, by now in Arriva ownership as its 5829, 229 is at Maidenhead Bridge Avenue
pausing at the end of route 316 before returning to High Wycombe.
Note that the OBC / WBC fleet numbers are still intact, with the Arriva numbers applied above/next to them.

Malcolm Crowe

Seen in West Wycombe on one of the running days.

Nigel Peach

When  225-229 were transferred from Oxford to Wycombe Bus Company, 229 appeared in a very smart Thames Valley livery, complete with the two cream bands between the decks. My pictures don't really do the livery justice.

It is seen at Limmer Lane, Booker on the Wycombe Running Day on 7th May 2000, recreating the old Thames Valley route 81 which terminated there.  

The second picture shows it a year later at the Running Day on 27th May 2001 outside the old Newlands Bus Station.
Wycombe Bus had by now been sold to Arriva, and the bus now renumbered 5829.
Still then in its Thames Valley livery, it was one of the last to be repainted in Arriva colours. 

Paul Bateson

The picture above is not my photograph.  I think that it is one that I sent to you due to its Oxford heritage, credited to ALAN BROWN.  This photograph was published in British Buses Abroad 41, June 2019, page 27.

Here is the caption:  City Sightseeing Melbourne 8514 AO is an Alexander-bodied Leyland Olympian with Garden of Eden fleet name on the windscreen.  It was new to City of Oxford as 229 (E229 CFC) and was seen in Melbourne City Centre on February  2nd 2019.  Alan Brown photo.

More on 228 from Gavin Francis with the current Scania 228

These pictures show Scania-E400 from February 2011 to August 2020 in its various guises. 

and Kevin Fuller with the Olympian 228

I have a follow up to Grahame Wareham's article on OBC Leyland Olympian 228, after it had passed to Arriva ownership, and working in the Wycombe area: 

~Painted, but not yet with vinyls applied for its all over advert livery for 'Swan FM', 5828 is seen at the Flackwell Heath terminus of route 301 on 16th September 2002. 

A few days later, on 20th September 2002, with livery completed, 5828 is seen at the same location, also working  301 service to High Wycombe.

Theme Parks in Florida

Florida - November 2022 from Gavin Francis

Gavin spent a pleasant day at the Florida Attraction area capturing the buses in use.

Picture locations are:  Disney Springs Bus Terminal - Grand Floridian Hotel - Magic Kingdom - Riviera Resort - Hollywood Film Studios - Fort Wilderness

Disney Springs Bus Terminal 

Grand Floridian Hotel 

The Magic Kingdom

Riviera Resort 

Hollywood Film Studios Bus Terminal

Fort Wilderness Bus Terminal

My thanks to Gavin for some most interesting pictures. Ed.