Issue nr. 232
Wednesday, December 14th 2022


Again a more local issue of the Weekly Briefing with plenty of local news and pictures.

Perhaps star of the week has been the entry into service of Oxford Bus 516 replacing loaned 599 as seen below;

Seen in Castle Street in full city livery 516 on December 11th by Lewis Hawkins.
Many other pictures appear under the company heading below.

Diamond's 250 service appears under threat and we also have a steam interlude provided by David Allen and Frank Brown

Andrew Webb and Gavin Francis provide pictures of the latest all over wraps which have appeared in London in the past week.

Once again Grahame Wareham relates the story of OBC 232 with pictures from various readers.

More contributions from outside our area wraps up this issue.


Oxfordshire buses: DRT service for villages scrapped

Campaigners have welcomed the decision not to replace a village bus service with a bookable alternative.

Oxfordshire County Council proposed cutting its hourly 250 bus and replacing travel to and from Oxford with Demand Responsive Transport (DRT).

However, it has now proposed to split the route into two separate services after the plans fell through. Kirtlington resident Nick Woods said villagers would still fight to retain the 250.

The 250 bus travels to and from Bicester and the centre of Oxford, taking in villages such as Middleton Stoney, Lower Heyford, Kirtlington, Bletchingdon, and Hampton Poyle.

It is paid for by contributions from Dorchester Living, which is developing at nearby Heyford Park, but the subsidy is set to expire. The council said the 250 is covering less than 50% of the costs it takes to run it.

Steam Interlude

Frank Brown

The half size replica of  1898 0-4-4T Met no.1 plus two early 1900s Ashbury teak coaches positioned at Amersham Oakfield Corner since September 2021 gained a seasonal flavour recently with SNOW and Santa in the locomotive driving seat!  The model was commissioned by Amersham Town Council and built by the 1st Chesham Bois Scout Group, denoting the town’s historic railway connection.    

Reflecting the sudden change in the weather! 

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Cholsey and Wallingford Railway
- THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride Chosley and Wallingford (

David Allen

David has provided a picture of the actual train in service reflecting the pictures of the Thames Travel link service.


Jack Cooper

Arriva serves Henley with services 800 and 850.

Christmas lights reflect in 301 working the 9 in High Street on December 7th. 

Bob Chalmers

Interesting to read that Network Rail have now changed their plans for the closure of Botley Road Bridge next year. To most 'normal' people this was always going to be a chaotic disaster and totally unnecessary - and here we are a month before the 'shutdown' date and they suddenly realise this. So all the work the bus companies are doing to re plan their timetables has been wasted. January 8th was the planned date to the Botley Road service changes - if OBC/TT/Stagecoach have paid out on having new timetables printed then they should send the bills to Network Rail for total incompetence. 

Toby Francis of Arriva writes in response to the comments in the last issue.

I was interested to read the musings of armchair enthusiast and regular correspondent Peter Cartwright in Briefing 231, and his reminiscence on the bygone era of London Country Bus Services in the days of Network Support Grant.

A lot has changed since the days of LCBS, or even LCNW and Wycombe Bus; putting the pandemic aside we have seen an exponential increase in car ownership, dramatic changes in high street retail, the birth of the internet and online shopping, and of course the fundamental shift of the country's economy from a primarily manufacturing focus to the service industries. 

I'm not sure where the misconception comes from that somebody who 'knows nothing about the local area' sits in an office in Thurmaston and makes decisions 'by looking at on bus receipts'.  None of these things are true, and I think Peter is perhaps confusing the correspondence address of the operators' licence with where that person actually works. 

Fortunately ticketing technology has come on leaps and bounds since the years Peter was a Councillor, and we can not only see exactly how many passengers board each individual journey on a stop-by-stop basis we also know the passenger type (ie Adult, Child, etc), what sort of ticket they're travelling with (ie Single, Return, Day, Week, etc), the season ticket zone (ie if they're using a multi-journey product), how they purchase their ticket (ie cash, contactless, smartcard, direct debit, mobile ticket app, etc)... cash taken on-bus is such a negligible part of the picture that it simply isn't relevant to network planning in the modern age. 

The availability and richness of this data allows us to look not just at individual journeys in the way on-bus surveys may have allowed in the past, but to aggregate data over weeks and months and identify patterns and trends.  All of this helps to support the decision maker on the ground in Buckinghamshire who lives and breathes their bus network and can put the data and the local context together. 

A similar approach applies to scheduling, where buses report their position every 20 seconds and point-to-point running times can be adjusted to reflect changing traffic conditions - such as the forthcoming changes to the 30, 32, and 33 routes. 

The 41 Great Missenden service doesn't self-cycle and has interworked with the 48 Lane End service for many years.  Traffic levels have changed over time to the point that those two services won't go round in the 'magic hour' hence the current 70 minute headway which is less than ideal.  Those who keep abreast of N&P will have seen that the loss-making 41 was actually withdrawn back in October, and that Arriva have kept it going in the short term thanks to financial support from Buckinghamshire Council.


The 'new' Carousel 41 will interwork with a slightly shortened 39 from January, giving a vehicle cycle that works on an hourly frequency without costing an additional bus.  It also allows Arriva to get the 48 back to a regular hourly headway, so the partnership working between the individual operators and the Council has delivered a win-win scenario.  The gap between the last two evening journeys on the 48 is nothing new and broadly mirrors the existing timetable, the last journey being one of those supported by Buckinghamshire Council.


Most journeys of the 800 will run along the A4155 between Shiplake and Play Hatch from January, missing the narrow section of route through Binfield Heath.  Arriva don't receive any subsidy for these villages at present, although they have partnered with Oxfordshire County Council to continue running a limited service around commuter and shopper movements at times matched with when people are actually boarding/alighting on this part of the route.  The journey through to Reading should certainly feel more direct than crawling around the lanes, and with the timetable written to avoid buses having to pass on the village detour there should be a reduction in the body damage inflicted to the nearside of buses on this route.

Dead mileage is a perennial consideration for interurban routes with the depot at one end, and there is a balance between the cost of running these positioning trips in service (ie the extended running time of a live journey following the normal route through Marlow and Henley vs going non-stop along the A404 and Bath Road) and the likely patronage.  Is there enough demand for a departure from Wycombe before 0530 to stack up - no.  Is there demand for the 0615 bus off Reading - undoubtedly.

Do readers have any further comments ? Ed. 

     Fleet News and developments   

Gavin Francis

....... visited Wycombe on December 13th.

Seen heading out of Bridge Street, 2325, 2790, 3029, 4212 and 5466 on various services.

VDL/Plaxton Centro 3812, the last one in white, has ot been seen in service since November 24th suggesting it may have gone away for repaint. Ed

Jack Cooper

850 Reading bound Citaro 3016 leaves Henley over the Thames on December 5th.

Gavin Francis High Wycombe on December 13th.

63313 and 69394 from Slough heading out of Bridge Street, High Wycombe.

I understand that 215 and am advised it’s had a complete engine rebuild and is awaiting a few final adjustments from a specialist team.

Gavin Francis

....... visited Wycombe on December 13th.

Seen heading out of Bridge Street, 216, 241, 401, 404, 878 and 883 on various services.

Wrights Eclipse Scania 940 has returned from Thames Travel as seen at the depot.

The PMU services seem to be busy.

Mercedes Sprinters 971, 973, 975 and 976 were all involved on December 13th.

980 is seemingly the favorite for Staff Shuttle duties but often is employed on PMU duties from noon onwards. 

Bob Chalmers

Friday lunchtime and X3 (667) and 13 (364) heading into Abingdon centre along Ock Street with services back to Oxford.
No idea why they were being diverted.

Jack Cooper

516 had entered service today on the 46, it is currently tracking as 599. It was delivered about 2 weeks ago now. The registration for 516 is YX72OFP. 

516 as seen by Jack in St Aldates on December 11th.

352 in Magdalen Street with a 13 road working on December 11th.

601, 603 and 606 in central Oxford on December 11th.

Unusual working of 6 road, Brookes 606 in Magdalen Street West on December 9th.

671 on the 9th in St Adates and 903 seen on December 6th working t he X1 and X3.

There are now just enough Park & Ride liveried StreetDecks for the 300 service as seen by 678 and 679. 

Lewis Hawkins

Here Is 516 Making Its Appearance In Public For The First Time On City46 sighted at Westgate On December 11th.



Saturday was the final day for 599 in Oxford as 516 is now out! Here is 516 seen at Westgate heading to Great Milton on the 11th

683 makes an appearance on the 4A before it becomes the X1 and heads to Wantage.

674 back in service after getting its branding for the X1 on the 5 to Blackbird Leys.
Here it is seen at the Rail Station, Cowley Centre and Park End Street. 

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 36 seen by Westgate heading for Gatwick on December 7th.

elite 68 in Gloucester Green on December 9th.

Jack Cooper

921 and 922 are still numbered the same. I have no idea why someone has changed them on bustimes to a different fleet number. showed them as 928 and 929 for a few days.

The X2 on December 5th was served by 206 and 226 seen at Didcot Parkway.

Didcot again with 227 working the X32 and 441 the 97 on December 5th.

451 turning in Broad Street with an ST1 on December 7th.

454 is seen by Didcot station entrance on December 5th.

621 is seen in St Aldates working an X2 on December 9th.

Citaro 850 and Mercedes 874 seen in Henley with the 23 service on December 5th.

Mercedes 873 seen working the 63 on December 7th.

Milton Park 907 is seen leaving Didcot Parkway for Wantage on December 5th. 

Gavin Francis

....... visited Wycombe on December 13th.

red eagle YX09FMK in The Eden Bus Station having a break. 

Gavin Francis

....... visited Wycombe on December 13th.

Three Redline's working the 130 in Oxford Road.

A nice surprise was the appearance of ex Nottingham YX13BNV working the 130.
A long way to go to respond the the super rear advert ! 

Gavin Francis

A surprise use of Y359LCK working the 40 on December 9th.
The last time we saw this bus in Stokenchurch was on May 6th 2010 !

....... visited Wycombe on December 13th.

E19RRT arrives and departs with  a 40 service in High Wycombe.

On December 14th, a change of bus, saw SF66ARW with 45 above the fuel filler calling at Stokenchurch. 

Jack Cooper

Last week Andy Churchill had mentioned the 15 new buses for Witney depot due next year, and that 11233-53 will be replaced, surely some of these mmc's will stay at Witney? If all of them were to go that would mean Witney would be seeing a decrease in PVR. It will be interesting to see where the current mmc's end up, as it seems very early on to replace them, given that the Scania's they replaced were at Witney for around 9 (maybe more) years! 

Memories of Gaydon for me with 10441 in Speedwell Street having a small problem on December 7th.

Gold 10785 working the 2 in Magdalen Street West on December 9th.

Gold 10903 out of "Chippy" with an S3 in Gloucester Green on December 6th.
The ticket machine on this bus is still not set up correctly as it shows it working the 94 in Cheltenham !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Jack Cooper

I had seen Oxford Tube 50272 for the first time this week in quite a while, I am on the understanding that this has been away for quite a while. Unfortunately not got any photos of it back out in service, however it is one of the few Van Hool coaches to have the new font on the destination displays.  

50446 seen in Gloucester Green on December 6th.
It is expected that these coaches will gain tube livery in the New Year. 

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

TfL have once again got into a festive mood with a revised version of the 'Let's do London' advert campaign being applied to several buses.  These are seen on December 10th.

Arriva's HV248 is seen on 10 December carrying revellers to the hipster delights of Shoreditch. 

For many families Christmas is a time to watch TV together, with a huge range of channels and streaming services meaning that there is (theoretically) more choice than ever before.  Two streaming services are currently promoting themselves on London's buses. 

Go Ahead's LT854 carries an advert for itvX, the rebranded ITV Hub. 
It is seen at Bank whilst, despite what the blind says, heading for Lewisham on route 21.  

Catching some winter sun in Tottenham Court Road is Arriva's LT744 which is advertising Hayu.

This is an NBCUniversal streaming service specialising in reality TV including 'Below Deck' which charts the life of crews on private superyachts.  For the avoidance of doubt NBCUniversal is an American broadcasting company and not the long-lost remnant of a state owned bus operator! 

Also catching winter sun is Go Ahead's LT875 in Whitehall.  The advert makes it very clear which fashion brand is being promoted.

Gavin Francis

Arriva's LT728 with a 137 working at Marble Arch carrying a wrap for UNIQLO on December 10th. 

Grahame Wareham

Delivered in March 1990 232 was registered G232VWL and was received without fleet names which were added before entry into service.


In October 1995 it had the centre exit removed and converted to H47/30F being transferred to Wycombe Bus

232 was transferred to Arriva The Shires, and renumbered 5832 with the sale of Wycombe Bus on 13/12/2000.

Arriva Shires 5832 G232VWL 8/01 repainted in turquoise/cream in August 2001 and allocated to Wycombe; In July 2003 it was transferred to Aylesbury; 12/08 finally being withdrawn withdrawn from Aylesbury in December 2008. It was then sold immediately to Ensign Bus and then Alpine, Llandudno the same month.

Malcolm Crowe

2000 double deck variety in Wycombe Newlands Bus Station/depot with 232 at the centre.

More pictures from 229, 230  and 231.

In the early 2000's 229, 5830 and 5831 by Malcolm Crowe

Gavin Francis

5832 is seen in Milton Keynes on October 23rd 2006.

Neil Gow

Noting there was no picture of 231 during its time in Arriva livery, I found this one

5831, taken at High Wycombe in October 2003. Sorry I missed issue 231. 

David Allen

.... found a few pictures in the archive that may be of interest as you have such a wide circulation of  readers. 

Taken on 2007 outside KWVR station. Preserved Bradford City buses on a shuttle service.
Quite like the blue on the RT!! 

The trolley was taken at a bus rally in Huddersfield some years earlier.  

Jack Cooper

A few comments from last weeks page which I thought might be worth mentioning. 

With regards to Bluestar taking over from First Southampton from February 2023, I have seen an article on BBC News that Bluestar are hoping to recruit 100 new drivers, and all drivers at First will be offered a job at Bluestar.  

James Allum

Thank you for putting my article up and a massive thank you thus far to Shaun Tucker and Gavin Francis for your help, I'm am in deep gratitude for this assistance. 

Today I'm planning on getting out and about (ice and coldness permitting) so will hopefully be able to send some decent North East shots your way. 

For now I attach a lovely photo I took heading to Newcastle on the top deck of a GNE 21 at Low Fell
looking towards a Arriva X12 and another GNE 21 through a steamed window.

Chester - Le- Street in County Durham and included is a ex London President and the more up to date North East offerings.

Pictures from James Allum taken on November 23rd 2022

Gordon Scott

New Stagecoach East Scotland 54366 to 54368 based at Perth depot. 

Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite 54367 - SJ72HNP seen leaving
Edinburgh Bus Station  on Citylink M90 to Perth.

Parks of Hamilton HSK651 Volvo B11R Plaxton Paramount
on Citylink 900 Edinburgh to Glasgow
taken at Drum Brae
Edinburgh with added Xmas Holly.