Issue nr. 250
Wednesday, May 10th 2023


A busy few days with the Coronation, Rail Replacement and now the closure of part of the Oxford Ring Road on certain weekends.

We have good coverage of the Coronation acknowledgements and pictures plus a Street Party report from Gavin Francis.

National Express Group PLC, a leading international transport provider, announces that it will change its name to Mobico Group PLC, effective from early June 2023. 

Readers Letters ask interesting questions and this coming weekend, a report regarding a celebration of South Midland with a road run.

Interest is added with news of a new batch of PMU Sprinters for Carousel in process of delivery.

There is also a nice piece about Routemasters in Stokenchurch working school services.

Finally The Showbus FlyBy is only just over a month away. 


How the bus industry celebrated
plus route changes

Andrew Webb

Most London advert campaigns feature batches of 5 or 10 buses promoting a product or service, but occasionally isolated adverts appear on just one bus.  One example is American Pistachios which is worn by Arriva's HV115 as it passes through Finsbury Park on Coronation morning.  It will 'turn short' at Tottenham Court Road as the usual Trafalgar Square terminus was unavailable for the duration of the Coronation. 


Another route which was curtailed during the Coronation was the 94 which only ventured as far as Oxford Circus. 

It is here that London United's BCE47014 is seen advertising Evian mineral water, so far, the only bus to do so. 

Unaffected by royal ceremonies, route 55 was able to ply its usual course between Oxford Circus and Walthamstow Central. 

Seen early on Coronation morning at Oxford Circus, LT388 is one of several buses advertising Levi 501 jeans. 

John Lewis has recently launched this campaign for its children's wear range.   Route 390 was another route curtailed by the ceremony, venturing no further than Marble Arch.

Metroline's LT766 is one recipient, seen passing University College Hospital on Coronation day.

Four of the five special Coronation buses were on the road on Coronation day, the exception being Abellio's 3006 featured in last week's page. 

The buses chosen operate on routes which pass close to royal palaces and were turned out in four different colours. 

Metroline's LT190 is no stranger to commemorative liveries having carried silver for 'Year of the Bus' in 2014. 

It is one of two in the red variant of the livery and usually found on route 390 which passes the back of Buckingham Palace on a normal day.  It is seen at Tottenham Court Road in the damp conditions which did little to quell the enthusiasm of the crowds.   

The second bus to carry the red variant is Go Ahead's LT511 from Stockwell garage meaning it can be found on routes 11 or 87, both of which pass Parliament Square near Buckingham Palace. 

It is on the latter route that it is seen at Vauxhall bus station whilst heading for the temporary terminus of Lambeth Bridge, close to Lambeth Palace the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned His Majesty.  The driver was not in celebratory mood, claiming taking this photo was illegal whilst (illegally) using the horn to summon two bemused TfL officials to her bus to complain! Another bus which has previously carried a commemorative livery is London United's LT70, which was the only Routemaster to carry the Platinum Jubilee livery in 2022. 

This year it has been decked out in a blue version of the Coronation livery, seen here at Park Lane on the evening of Coronation day.  Usually, to be found on route 148 which passes the back of Buckingham Palace, this was the only route in London to be suspended entirely during the proceedings. 

Stagecoach's electric 84148 is the final bus, carrying a dark blue version.  It can usually be found on route 160 between Catford and Sidcup, a route which passes close to Eltham Palace, once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence.  It is seen at New Eltham station.

Selected sightseeing buses have also gained branding for the Coronation, such as VXE728 from Tootbus seen in Park Lane. 

The handful of passengers have wisely decided to sit in the front covered section to avoid the frequent showers. 

Whilst most eyes were on the hose drawn coaches used by the Royal Family, a significant number of diesel coaches transported troops and police from across the UK into the capital.  The MOD, or one of their contractors, make extensive use of these plain white Plaxton Leopard coaches which carry no fleet names or legal lettering. 

One is seen in Victoria, a search on Google yielding no information about the operator. 

After a long day policing the Coronation a coach load of officers is seen aboard this Johnsons coach at Marble Arch. 

Not an entry for the most bizarre piece of lost property or confirmation as to where the Queen bought her Coronation robe, this crown atop a bus stop at Oxford Circus is one of three dotted along the West End artery to celebrate the Coronation.

Abellio's 3006 ventured out of the garage on 7 May, meaning all 5 Coronation buses saw service over the weekend.  It is seen in suburban Heston.

Gavin Francis

Gavin caught up with various Coronation wraps.

Gavin Francis

Recent visits to London have provided some interesting pictures.

Jack Cooper

Oxford Bus acknowledged the Coronation on their destination displays.

Kevin Fuller

Coronation Concert at Windsor

I was in Windsor yesterday (Sunday) and saw the attached First bus double-deckers in Windsor coach park, awaiting service on a Park & Ride for the Coronation concert that took place at Windsor castle in the evening.

They show newly acquired from Glasgow Enviro 400 MMC's in various liveries - from as acquired,
through repainted with no branding, to the full Beeline livery with route branding.
Also, visible in the first picture is Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse 37585 borrowed from First Hampshire.

Nigel Eaton-Clarke

This Brigit's RML celebrates from April 28th.

Reading Buses


A new Royal livery has been commissioned by Reading Buses to mark the Coronation of King Charles lll. 

The newly created design will replace the current Jubilee livery which was devised to honour the late Queen Elizabeth ll. 

The new design depicts flowers to represent the four nations of the United Kingdom – the rose of England, the daffodil of Wales, the thistle of Scotland and the shamrock of Northern Island. It also features the official emblem of the King’s coronation to mark the occasion. 

The bus is one of the company’s generic vehicles which means it can be used on any route across the network and could even appear outside Windsor Castle or on Buckingham Palace Road on the Green Line 702 service.  

Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer Robert Williams said today: “We felt that given the magnitude of this Coronation, the first in many people’s lifetimes, it would be a fitting tribute to his Majesty to represent the four nations of the UK and honour the new King.  

“We are excited to see people’s reactions to this new design, especially in the prime tourist spots of Windsor and London. We hope many people take some amazing photos and share them with us!”

Seen on May 4th 758 is a nice contribution from Reading.

Coronation Street Party
by Gavin Francis

Following The Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6th May there were many street parties held in towns across the country. A colleague and myself were asked to supply 2 buses to be parked at the end of a street to add to the atmosphere and also provide a bit of entertainment for the small children in attendance.


So on Sunday morning it was off down the M40, M25 and M4 using RF 525 and RTL 554 to West London and after negotiating some narrow residential streets near Chiswick Station we arrived at the party street. 


RTL 554 is already blinded for Route 65 as it will be taking part in The Running Day on that route on June 11th. Overall a very enjoyable day and I am sure the buses gave much pleasure to a lot of people.

National Express Group PLC, a leading international transport provider,
announces that it will change its name to Mobico Group PLC, effective from early June 2023.

The Board of Directors believes that the Mobico name better reflects the Group's international nature and its diverse range of mobility services, as it continues to lead the modal shift to mass transit.

The Group's operating subsidiaries will retain their well-known customer-facing brands and National Express will still be used in connection with the Group's UK national coach network and certain other businesses. All significant brand names used across the Group's global operations including Alsa, WeDriveU, Peterman and Durham School Services will also be retained. 

The new corporate name will not involve any operational or structural changes to the Group or any of its subsidiaries and will be implemented in a cost effective way. A further announcement will be made in due course when the name change becomes effective at which point the Group will adopt a new stock ticker, "MCG". Until such an announcement is made, trading will continue under the existing "NEX" ticker.

Ignacio Garat, National Express Group Chief Executive, said:;"Whilst National Express is a highly valued consumer brand, Mobico better represents our multi-modal operations, global reach and future ambitions. We remain focused on providing best-in-class services and delivering our Evolve strategy, with the intent of establishing Mobico Group as the world's premier shared mobility operator."

Rail Replacement at Didcot & Oxford

Jack Cooper 

London Bus Group RG0018 at Didcot on May 1st.

David Beynon

Rail replacement is a lot better than it used to be, most of the time, among other highlights today were a 23 plate South Staffs Temsa and Stagecoach 50447.


See others under Barnes and Oxford tube. Ed.

   A link worth your attention

from James Freeman


A34 closures planned due to Wolvercote viaduct repairs

Parts of the A34 will be closed from Thursday onwards due to essential repairs to the Wolvercote viaduct.

National Highways has announced the road will need to be closed over a series of weekends.

The A34 will be closed southbound between the Peartree and Botley Interchanges:

• Overnight – 9pm Thursday, May 11 to 6am Friday, May 12

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, May 12 to 6am Monday, May 15

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, May 19 to 6am Monday, May 22

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, June 2 to 6am Monday, June 5

• Overnight – 9pm Tuesday, June 6 to 6am Wednesday, June 7

The A34 will be closed northbound between the Botley and Peartree Interchanges:

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, June 9 to 6am Monday, June 12

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, June 16 to 6am Monday, June 19

• Weekend – 9pm Friday, June 23 to 6am Monday, June 26

National Highways has confirmed that a fully signed diversion will be in place via Eastern Bypass Road, A40 and A44 between the Peartree and Hinksey Hill Interchanges.

This will cause problems for the bus companies. Ed.

Routemaster on Special Service

from Gavin Francis 

This week a special service has been operated by RML 2508 each morning from Stokenchurch.

It is pictured in the mist outside The Kings Hotel and then also when operating with Metroline in Edgware Road in February 2004.

Jack Cooper

Wonder if anyone might know the answer to this ?  I have noticed an Oxford Tube branded Van Hool coach parked alongside the rail line at Aynho on the Oxford - Banbury line. Might you know what one it is? I haven't been able to catch the fleet number or reg plate when going past on the train. 

With regards to Oxford 602 mentioned in last weeks page (249), the wrap on the rear was a temporary thing to promote the Brand the Bus competition, of which the bus is now wrapped for. The advert was by Jack FM who had sponsored the competition.  

Here are some photos of 602 prior to gaining the wrap for charity See Saw, where it was in city red, with the Jack FM / Brand the Bus advert on the rear

Tony Bungay

Spotted this by a lay by alongside the A49 in Shropshire, an adapted Leyland Atlantean/Park Royal or Roe? Complete with chimney for it’s non PSV role. From what I could see no clues as to with whom it was operated by in it’s first life. Maybe a reader will know the answer!

   Dates for your Diary  

South Midland Road Run on Sunday, May  14th

Bristol RELH – 60th Anniversary Road Run

Picture by Paul Bateson.

Participating coaches intending to participate represent the types plying the route for SOUTH MIDLAND over several decades:

Reg No






Bristol LS-6G



Royal Blue


Bristol MW-6G



Royal Blue


Bristol RELH-6G





Bristol MW-6G



Hants & Dorset


Bristol RELH-6L



Red & White 


Sunday 18th June 2023

           SHOWBUS displays

 be carried but the coach run will provide an interesting spectacle for photographers and bystanders.

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon

This trio of Applegate's (Taylors Travel) were parked outside the Said Business School
on May 3rd.

May 7th’s visitors for Oxford United v Accrington Stanley, the team coach was another ex Eavesway
Van Hool belonging to Orion Travel.

     Fleet News and developments   

Toby J France CMILT, CMgr MCMI
Head of Commercial – East & South Midlands - Arriva UK Bus 


Some more information on the point made by Tony Bungay in this week’s issue (249). 

The X8 short journeys between Oxford and Thame that operated historically were part funded through the Thame Park development.  The limited amount of local movement between Thame Park and Thame town centre is now catered for by the tendered 121 service, with 280 continuing to provide the Aylesbury connection at school/college times as well as the 15 minute frequency between the town centre and Oxford. 

280/X8 continue to be impacted by the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Oxford, where the introduction of the ‘traffic filters’ (bus gates) that should have gone hand-in-hand has been delayed due to the Botley Road closure.  We are led to believe that the County Council is working to separate out the St Clement’s scheme to allow it to go ahead independently of Botley Road, which should have a significant impact in punctuality of buses through Headington. 

Showbus Flyby June 18th 2023

SHOWBUS displays 

Arriva are pleased to be supporting the Showbus Flyby on Sunday 18 June in and around High Wycombe, continuing our sponsorship which goes back to the Castle Donnington events. 

An enhanced frequency will run on route 300 between High Wycombe Bus Station and RAF High Wycombe for the event, details at

Gavin Francis

Green Line Tourismo 7212 seen in Victoria with a 757 service on May 2nd.

2979 and 2982 on May 10th mentioned below by Nigel Peach

Gary Seamarks

4090 seen in Orpington on April 29th.

Nigel Peach

At Cressex withdrawn 4748 and behind that is 4217, which although still showing on, looks to be very much withdrawn! 

3923 is the last survivor at Wycombe of the batch of 13 "58" plates, all of which were based at Wycombe at some time.
It doesn't see service very often now. Three of this batch (3914, 3915 and 3920) are all still working, back at Aylesbury. 

Arriva have received two more Optare Versas from Midlands 2979 (YJ09 MKV) and 2982 (YJ09 MLE). They have replaced (surprisingly) two of the StreetLites. 2318 has already transferred to Luton, and 2328 is expected to follow. That will leave just three buses based at Wycombe (StreetLites 2325-7) which have been there since new.

Jack Cooper 

Working Rail Replacement YT69DWN seen at Didcot on May 2nd.

Jack Cooper

Current update

842 and 847 have been working out of Didcot this week, mainly on the 23 or 98.  

451-4 have now received wraps for Harwell Campus and are branded as follows:

451 / 452 - Harwell Fast (ST1) and are allocated to Oxford.

They seemed to have initially worked out of Didcot for some reason once they were wrapped, but now they are back working out of Oxford where they should be. 

453 / 454 - Harwell (Didcot - Great Western Park - Harwell Campus) for the 98 and are allocated to Didcot. 

I am yet to get photos of 451 and 454 since these have been wrapped, and I am yet to get a photo of 452 on the ST1.  

Nigel Peach

I've had nothing to report in recent weeks, but still look forward to your weekly updates. I've been particularly interested in Stephen Archer's memories of driving for Motts/Yellow Bus and remember a number of the buses he refers to. 

This morning I spotted that Carousel have a new PMU Sprinter, so as I was paying a rare visit to Wycombe today anyway, I visited their depot and struck lucky. It pulled in just after I got there! 

Six pictures attached: 

New Sprinter 985 (RX23 TYS) on its first day with Carousel, alongside recent acquisition 461 and StreetLite 409.
Slight bodywork differences can be seen between new 985 and five year old 976.
StreetLite 405 has been parked in this corner since before Christmas! I wonder what is wrong with it! 

Withdrawn 856 in the overflow yard alongside RML896 and preserved Citaro CB53 BUS - which is now nearly 20 years old! 

Luke Marion
Managing Director

TT 921-923 have some remaining engine / gearbox related repairs to be done.

We now have three of the new PMUs over at High Wycombe, these are 985, 987 and 988. 980 is off the road with engine trouble at the moment and so is away being repaired. The new sprinters for Carousel are the following:

981   RX23TYH
982   RX23TYK
983   RX23TYO
984   RX23TYP
985   RX23TYS
986   RX23TYU
987   RX23TYF
988   RX23TYG 

In terms of the new Airline coaches we expect to see the first four of these landing with us early next week, with a further three due in June. I don't have the registrations for these yet. 

On the EVs, the orders have all now been placed and we expect to see these starting to appear with us from October. Deliveries will continue through to June 2024 as per the current plan.

971 has appeared in Oxford again working the Blenheim Palace shuttle.  

Gavin Francis

870 seen again with Carousel and two earlier pictures of the  bus in service in Oxford.

985 at the depot on May 10th.

Bob Chalmers 

Running around 45 mins late on an X1 service to Wantage - Friday 5th of May - mainly due to congestion in Oxford (inbound and outbound), Abingdon Road.

Jack Cooper 

39 has been off the road for weeks leaving 40 to promote the attraction. Also seen is elite 69.

No longer branded but used on various routes 302 and 308 are seen turning into Speedwell Street.

The StreetDecks are the mainstay of the current fleet.

David Beynon

452 also seen on May 4th.

Jack Cooper 

Variety working the Didcot routes on May 2nd.

The new branding applied tp buses working the ST1.

Whilst the E200s were being rebranded two Citaros were loaned from Oxford as above.

The variety of liveries carried by the fleet as seen above.

A selection of double decks in Didcot and Oxford.

Gavin Francis

Recent visits to London have provided some interesting pictures.

Group coaches seen in London on May 2nd.

Tony Bungay

One of the Redline former First London later Yellow Buses Enviro 200 vehicles on May 10th, sporting an interesting advert on the rear lower panel,
a bit closer scrutiny  will indicate that it must have been in place for some while! 

Gavin Francis

Now and then ARZ seen inb its first incarnation and now with Red Rose working the 40 on May 6th.

YX10BGV works the only 275 to run via Stokenchurch to Oxford in the morning on May 9th. 

Tates Coaches - Luton

Gary Seamarks

Tates of Luton deckers at MKC on a rail replacement on Sunday, April 30th.

Jack Cooper 

10677 works the 10 on May 4th.

S3 branded Gold 15837 works the 8 in St Aldates on May 4th.

Dave and Deric

Oxford Tube 50267 is missing from the Fleet Card, so we presume it has been sold. There are no other changes listed.

Gavin Francis

Where are they now ?

Seen on May 7th 2023 this ex tube 50120 is with a company in Aylesbury.

After leaving the tube  many of these coaches were painted white including 50120 ready for resale.
The 2nd and 3rd pictures were taken at Beaconsfield service on April 19th 2015.

Jack Cooper

I have noticed that 50447 has entered service recently on the Tube having being repainted out of Scottish Citylink livery. I am yet to get any photos of it, as I have not had a chance to whilst it has been in Gloucester Green!

Always looking pristine 50423 turns out of St Aldates on May 4th.

The tube coaches cover one duty per weekday for Rail Replacement as seen by 50437 in Didcot on May 2nd.

     London operations    

Gavin Francis

Recent visits to London have provided some interesting pictures.

Plenty of variety in wraps and route variations.

The open top tour buses always provide interest.


Coaches to be seen always provide interest.

Gary Seamarks

Few from London on April 29th - locations are Woolwich, Eltham, Orpington and Clapham Junction.


This one is intriguing !!! 

Neil Gow

I’ve added a few more pictures of Motts Yellow (and occasionally white!) Buses operating on the contracted and commercial bus routes, which haven’t featured yet. 

One of those unpopular Fleetlines, OKW 517R was put to work in white livery and seen on a contracted service at Wheatley in September 1991.
Although looking like a standard London DMS, this was new to South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

Also new to SYPTE, MCW Metrobus JHE 142W was acquired from Stephenson’s. I wonder if the ex Stephenson’s vehicles
inspired Motts to adopt a yellow livery for its bus operations. It’s pictured in Lane End in September 1991.

was a Willowbrook bodied Leyland Leopard new to Crosville, that had acquired bus seats at some time
(probably more comfortable than the so-called coach seats they replaced!).  
It’s pictured in Wycombe on 30
th September 1993, with a massive great space behind where the Stewart & Arnold chocolate factory used to be.
This area is now part of the Eden Bus Station.

Mark II Metrobus CUB 539Y was new to the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. It was pictured in Oxford in September 1994
prior to returning to Aylesbury with a 280 service competing with Oxford Bus Company.

The former playbus Leyland Olympian F506 OYW remained in as acquired white livery whilst with Motts.
It was pictured heading for Aylesbury in July 1995.

Some tendered operations continued following the sale of commercial operations to LDT.
Plaxton Bustler bodied Leyland Leopard OWG 368X was retained by Motts and was pictured at Reading in July 1996.

Another of the unpopular Leyland Fleetlines retained for school contracts was OJD 463R, ex London DMS2463,
pictured at Princes Risborough in February 1997.