Issue nr 278
Thursday November 29th, 2023

From the Editor

Bridge Works on the Botley Road by Jack Cooper

Upcoming changes to services of Arriva The Shires

The Go-Ahead Group creating world-leading electric charging hub in Oxford

A day in Swindon by Richard Sharman

Thames Valley Park Shuttle Service by Martin Dowling

Buses in the Bristol Landscape

Coach Visitors to Oxford

Fleet News and Developments

London Operations by Gavin Francis

Christmas overall advert on Scottish Panorama

Jack Cooper visits Brighton, Crawley and Bristol

Bridge Works on the Botley Road by Jack Cooper

The works so far.

A good question. 

Stagecoach using the Botley Road turning circle. 

from Matt King, Network Manager – Midlands

Upcoming changes to  services of Arriva The Shires

Trust you’re keeping well and thank you once again for your continued reporting on the Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page. Thought it’d be worthwhile dropping a note to update your readers on forthcoming service changes in Buckinghamshire from 7 January 2024. More information can be found here for Aylesbury and here for High Wycombe. 

We’re making some exciting changes to the Buckinghamshire network from Sunday 7 January, bringing a new identity to our wide-reaching interurban network linking towns and cities across the region with Aylesbury serving as the key interchange point.  

Our ambition for and the wider Buckinghamshire network is to provide an interurban, hub-and-spoke network of services that feel more cohesive and joined-up to our customers. Providing seamless connections to allow for easier transition between our services is a catalyst for growth that we've seen elsewhere in the country. Evidently, this approach has been remarkably successful when applied in an urban market in High Wycombe, with patronage growing significantly since the introduction of the new services which has supported the longer-term sustainability of the network. 

We also need to respond to the changing travel demands of our customers as well as to significantly improve our on-time performance, one of (if not the) most important driver of customer satisfaction for bus users. This is challenging on any interurban route, but certainly one that has been compounded on the Aylesbury to Oxford corridor. As Toby France discussed in August, through a lengthy period of data-gathering, we've now a better understanding of the impacts of LTNs and improving bus priority in Oxford on real-world running times. These both mean that we're confident in delivering a realistic and achievable timetable on this busy corridor. 

Are we going to get everything right first time? No - but these timetables give us the solid platform or foundation to build up and improve from. These changes perform the hard reset on the network which provides a stable baseline that refines slowly over time; a network that's adaptable from a strong starting position. High Wycombe's network is one step ahead in this principle, with the forthcoming changes in January being almost entirely built up from customers' feedback, something we promised to do back in September. The other influence being robust on time performance data, leading to small tweaks and refinements which are far easier to deliver with the simpler network that we launched earlier in the autumn; a process we can emulate for Aylesbury. We actively encourage constructive feedback through Arriva's usual channels - we see every suggestion made, and if not achievable, we will always explain why. 

We've had a very insightful and interesting debate internally on the best nomenclature of the new services. The desire is to create a simple, cohesive network of interurban services that is both easy to transition for our current customer base as well as being a fresh proposition for potential new bus customers has, in our view, been achieved in the "X" unifier, with our future customer messaging focused on this theme. This'll always be subjective in this community and that's always going to be a creative discussion, but there's no right answer - for us, it's about what is right for our customers, and the ambition to attract new users to bus is a desire for any company, so we've applied a logic that is tried and tested. 

Here’s what’s changing: 




We're DOUBLING the number of buses on route X7 on Sundays, enhancing the frequency to every 30 minutes between Oxford and Thame. We’re also adding an additional later evening service, leaving at 23:00 on Monday to Saturday. Following our customer feedback, we’ve completed a top-down review of our timetable to help improve our timekeeping. We've also retimed journeys to better serve scholars at Aylesbury High, Sir Henry Floyd and Lord Williams's Schools. This directly replaces route 280 and the “old” X8. 

As previously mentioned, we’re also making substantial improvements to the High Wycombe town network, including DOUBLING frequencies of buses to Downley and Bourne End on Sundays. As we promised, every route in High Wycombe has been in focus as we listen and respond to our customer’s feedback, such as providing earlier journeys to Booker from the town centre and later buses to Totteridge and Castlefield. We’re also building in some tweaks to better serve schools in the area. With the cooperation and support of the local parish council, some tree cutting in Binfield Heath will allow us greater flexibility to allocate more double deckers to routes 800/850 to give more seats per hour at the busiest times. We’ll continue this pattern of refinement

Tony Bungay also alerted me to these changes.

Interesting times to come. Ed.

The Go-Ahead Group creating world-leading electric charging hub in Oxford


The Go-Ahead Group has commenced work to install one of the biggest electric charging hubs in the UK at the depot of its Oxford Bus Company operation.

Zenobē, the UK’s leading fleet electrification specialist, has begun work to install extensive charging infrastructure at Cowley House.

The 104 charging points, each offering 150kw of DC power, are being installed ahead of Oxford Bus Company receiving the first delivery of electric buses later this year.

The hub will be supplied by an 8 Megawatt (MW) electrical connection, which will provide enough electricity to charge all 104 buses, enough for each bus to drive over 170 miles per day. The charging hub will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of:

  • More than 16,000 average family homes
  • More than 130,000 TVs simultaneously
  • Boiling 2,700 kettles continuously

With co-funding from Go Ahead Group, Oxfordshire County Council and the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, Oxford Bus Company has ordered 104 new electric buses to begin arriving on Oxford’s streets in late 2023.

A consortium of bus operators, including the Oxford Bus Company, pledged £43.7M towards the scheme; the government committed £32.8M and Oxfordshire County Council £6M. In total, the combined investment will result in 159 new battery electric buses serving Oxford. Oxfordshire was one of only 12 local authorities to successfully apply for ZEBRA funding and is one of the biggest schemes in the country.

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director, said: “This is another exciting step forward in our extensive infrastructure scope of works in preparation for transforming our city services to electric. Partnering with Zenobē ensures we will receive the best-in-class advice and technology to fully equip us with a market leading charging solution that meets our needs.

“We’re looking forward to introducing the first tranche of electric buses later in the year, which will help improve air quality and make bus travel an even more attractive option for people to travel around Oxford.”

The Oxford Bus Company’s owner, Go-Ahead, is one of the UK’s largest bus and rail operators. Under a strategy called ‘The Next Billion Journeys’, Go-Ahead has pledged to convert its 5,500-strong bus fleet nationwide to zero emission energy.

Christian Schreyer, Group Chief Executive, said: “Customers in Oxford can look forward to clean, green, comfortable buses when this work is complete. This is a great example of bus operators working in partnership with local and national government to deliver zero-emission transport.” 

The commencement of works is the latest stage in the ambitious urban decarbonisation project, Energy Superhub Oxford. The four-year project has seen innovations such as the creation of a first-of-a-kind battery storage system, a high-power private wire charging network, and an electric vehicle (EV) charging hub at Redbridge Park & Ride.

To enable the buses to charge overnight, the depot charging infrastructure being installed by Zenobē will be powered by an EDF Renewables UK substation at Oxford Bus Company’s Watlington Road depot.

Steven Meersman, Co-Founder Director of Zenobē, said: “This is a flagship project for Zenobē. It is an example of what an ambitious operator can do with a strong vision and local support.  We have worked on more than 50 electrification projects globally, and this one stands out for its scale and for the level of collaboration with other operators and the government.  It has been great collaborating with Luke Marion and his team: we are happy to have started work and are looking forward to seeing the first buses on the road later this year."

In 2020, Oxford Bus Company introduced the first double deck electric bus to Oxford via its City Sightseeing Oxford fleet. It now has three retrofitted electric vehicles in its fleet, which were delivered in partnership with Oxford City Council.

The arrival of the fleet of electric buses is expected to support a further drop in NOx levels to help clean up Oxford’s air pollution as part of wider aims for Oxfordshire to become a net carbon zero county by 2025.

All the new buses are being manufactured in the UK and are expected to arrive by June 2024. The Go-Ahead Group is an international provider of public transport services, and its Oxford division includes Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel, City Sightseeing Oxford, Carousel Buses and Pulhams Coaches.

A day in Swindon by Richard Sharman

Swindon Bus Company had a number of DOE class former Go-Ahead London deckers on loan to cover for ADL E200MMCs that went on loan to Go North West.

These started to return at the end of October/ start of November and thus the DOE's are now being withdrawn at Swindon. As of this week only DOE24/5 and 9 remain in use on service 5, complete with the correct blinds. 

A number of comments seem to suggest that service 5 does require double deckers, and observations at evening peaks certainly seem to support that single decks do struggle.

Withdrawn DOE3 and 13 were both observed heading towards Oxford Bus Company's depot on 22/11.

Most of Swindon Bus Company's fleet has now been fitted with the new 'Part of Go-Ahead' branding.


Stagecoach West's Swindon depot still plays host to a number of Alexander ALX400-bodied Dennis Tridents, including three in 'Specialist livery'.


A real treat for ALX400 fans. Ed. 

Thames Valley Park Shuttle Service by Martin Dowling
Thames Valley Park

Thames Valley Park is a business park on the outskirts of Reading which has a bespoke bus service to and from Reading station.  Stewarts of Mortimer have had the contract for some years using 62 plate Citaros, but recently I have noticed fully electric minibuses working during the day.  The main flows are in the morning and evening peaks, but a service is operated all day long with much lighter loadings. 

Here are a few photos taken earlier this morning outside the station.  In the background of one you can see the building that caught fire last week when workmen were dramatically rescued in a cage lifted by a crane.   

I am not sure what these vehicles are.  They are listed as Altas if you check the tax status on the .gov website, but I imagine they are based on another manufacturer's chassis and bodywork.

This suggests that they have been around since October.  There are several photos there and they look very luxurious with 2+1 seating.   It also mentions that two larger electric buses are on order so that the entire fleet will be electrified 'early next year'.

Latest News - Thames Valley Park   

Gavin Francis on Electric buses in Oxford and a timetable in High Wycombe

Over 5 years ago they had a single decker Yutong for a couple of weeks. (Picture attached). This bus did the rounds as a demonstrator and I believe it is now in the Newport Bus fleet.

Must admit when I read that I thought it was not right.  Mike Walker

Have you noticed the bus map outside ASDA at Wycombe.?

It still shows all the routes as being colour co-ordinated, it must be years since we had a route coloured bus in Wycombe. 

Of course to make matters worse all the route numbers have been changed so good luck to anybody wanting to get bus information for the area from this map. 

Neil Gow reminds us that the first electric buses in Oxford were between 20 and 30 years.

With new electric buses hitting the streets of Oxford, here’s a reminder of the previous generation – the four battery electric Optare Metroriders that were operated on the City Circuit service by Oxford Bus Company for four years between 1993 and 1997. Here are 801 at the rail station in December 2003 with 803 seen on the charger on the same day, then 802 in St Giles in June 1996 and 804 arriving at the station in July 1997.

I believe some of these buses ended up in Jersey. Ed.

Peter Cartwright on Running Days past and future

Firstly may endorse Gavin's report on the Finchley Running Day.  I too found it a most enjoyable event and rode on a number of buses during the day as well as well as  making contact with many I have known for some time and meeting new enthusiasts. Having travelled to Uxbridge from Wycombe Marsh on a very busy Carousel 102 ex Wycombe at 07.20 and returned from Uxbridge on an equally busy 102 at 18.20 , I was surprised how busy the Metropolitan Line was on a Sunday as were a number of the Routemasters I travelled on during the day. 

The Amersham & District Motorbus Society has decided on four dates for  Running Days in 2024 namely: 

Sunday 7 April HERTFORD 

Sunday 2 June HIGH WYCOMBE 

Sunday 28 July WINDSOR - marking 40 years since the closure of WR garage. 

Sunday 6 October CHESHAM

I also note that Arriva are to make significant changes in the Aylesbury area from 7 January 2024 as we say goodbye to 150, 250, 280, 300 , 500 and X30 whist welcoming X4, X40, X5, X6, X7, X9 AND X90. X8 remains but as a much enhanced service. Details are on the Arriva website.

High Wycombe also has changes from the same date but this appears to be rectifying gaps in the service which had already been highlighted following the "Glow Up" introduced in September 2023.


RML2440 will, once more, be traversing route 159 on Saturday 9 December 2023. It does not seem 18 years since I drove it over  route 159  ( route 711 blinds displayed) just before RM2217 which was the last bus into Brixton garage that day. The 159 event is organised by the Routemaster Association and we meet at the Ace Cafe on the North Circular Road for a late breakfast before embarking on our trip through Central London and view the lights upon return from South London.  711 RELIEF blinds will once again be displayed as we leave High Wycombe bus station circa 09.00.  

Jack Cooper

SC West's 10749 SN66VXT passes below the Clifton Suspension Bridge near Bristol on November 22nd working route 9.
The duties are worked out of North Bristol where many of the Witney E40MMCs are going. 11233 and 11234 have now gone. Ed.

      Coach visitors to Oxfordshire     

David Beynon

Visitor variety at the end of November 2023

In the city.

At Redbridge.

     Fleet News and developments   


Gavin Francis

7210 seen picking up in Park Lane with a 757 service on November 27th.

Jack Cooper

E400 5465 with an X8 service in Oxford on November 20th.

Kevin Fuller

A couple of Arriva pictures for you this week from Bourne End station on a wet Sunday 26th November: 

1) Citaro 3920 works the 13.35 route 7A to High Wycombe. 

2) Versa 2955 arrives at the station, ready for the 14.35 7A departure to High Wycombe.

Paul Weal

Arriva E400 4401 at The Hare, Southcott Village with an Aylesbury bound 150.

The 150 is shortly to be renumbered X4 despite there being no change to the route or timetable. It is neither a limited stop or express service and all of the extensive roadside publicity will need replacing. Even worse, the X60 becomes the X6 for no apparent reason. There is already an X6 in Milton Keynes! 

There is an old adage, don't change things unless you need to as it confuses your passengers. I guess the main beneficiaries of Arriva's Aylesbury renumbering's will be the Red group.   

In better news, BSIP funding has helped Arriva to provide a later evening service on Monday to Saturday on the F70/F77. The Sunday service is doubled to hourly.

Latest news
Festive Bus & Coach Services - 2023/2024
Special timetables will operate over the festive period between 24th December 2023 and 2nd January 2024.


Gavin Francis

216 at the depot on November 25th.

%32 in Oxford with a 275 service on November 29th.

The new Electroliner Fleet as at November 30th.

BJ73WWE Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000429 Wt AV164 H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 701
BJ73WWF Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000430 Wt AV165 H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 702
BJ73WWG Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000431 Wt AV166 H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 703
BJ73WWH Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000432 Wt AV167 H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 704
BJ73WWK Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000433 Wt AV168 H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 705
BJ73WWL Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000434 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 706
BJ73WWM Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000435 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 707
BJ73WWN Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000436 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 708
BJ73WWO Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000437 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 709
BJ73WWP Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000438 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 710
BJ73WWR Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000439 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 711
BJ73WWS Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000440 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 712
BJ73WWT Wt StDk Elr SC5DDREXU23000441 Wt H70F 11/2023 City of Oxford 713

Gavin Francis

252 seen in St Aldates with a 5A on November 29th.

311, 666 and 673 in St Aldates on November 29th.

702 working the 400 on November 29th.

Seen at the JRH 702 is working the 100 on November 29th.

847seen in St Aldates with a 35 on November 29th.

901 working an X3 at the JRH on November 29th.

Sprinter 975 working the recently introduced 108 service in St Aldates on November 29th.

DOE13 seen in St Aldates with a 35 on November 29th.

Graham Low

I have just seen that Thames Travel 253/4 have had their River Rapids branding newly restored after some months of running in plain blue (together with similar 251/2) on other routes. 253 is on the X40 today.

I attach a view of the first Wright StreetDeck Electroliner 701 at Oxford Station today the 29th.

Jack Cooper

29 seen at Gatwick on November 24th.

376 is in Speedwell Street with a 400 service on November 24th.

604seen in St Aldates with a 400 on November 29th.

682 is seen turning into Speedwell Street with a 15 road service on November 29th.

Peter Edgar

Oxford Bus Company 701 in Castle Street on November 29th.


OX 701 departs Osney Island after finishing a 4A trip from Westminster Way ready to go work a 400 on the 28th. 

704 seen in Park End Street on November 30th, its first day in service working the 400.

Ryan Butler

Ex-London DOE13 has recently transferred from Sailsbury to Oxford, with saying it first ran in Oxford on Friday (24th November).

I've managed to catch it today (Monday 26th November) on the 6 road


701 departs Osney Island after finishing a 4A trip from Westminster Way ready to go work a 400 on November 28th.

First day in service 704 in Park End Street on November 30th.


Charles Powell


The weekend just gone we were helping with the Bicester village park and ride.
We had five deckers on it each day over the weekend. Here’s some pictures from the weekend. 

One presumes that this operation will go through to Christmas. Ed.

Colin Pidgeon

Go Ahead Pulhams have re-started operating Service 64 Swindon-Witney after an absence of 7 years. 

Here is FF73BUS at Swindon Bus Station.
These buses were built at the same time as those for Redline. Ed.

Gavin Francis

934, 863 and 907 seen in St Aldates on November 29th.

922 is seen at CAROUSEL on November 25th and previously was GA London WVN24seen in August 2012.

855 seen in St Aldates and 863 at Osney on November 29th.

Gavin Francis

The uber branded Levante III 328 with an A6 at Marble Arch on November 27th.


Gavin Francis

Redline YX12AZN with an X20 in High St, Oxford with YX63LJE in St Aldates on November 29th.

Paul Weal

Red Line E200 YX09FMC (originally with Metroline I believe) in Wing Road Linslade
with the Tuesday only 167 now operated by Red Rose.
 November 28th.

Gavin Francis

E10RRT in Stokenchurch on November 24th and a previous holder of this registration August 14th 2020.
Before E10 in the first picture this bus was YX58DTY originally with Travel London as seen in August 2013.

Two other E200s now Y22 and 23RRT working the 40 on November 28th. 

Gavin Francis

15343 with an S6 on November 29th in Oxford (Osney) flanked by5 branded Oxford 656.

Latest news from Witney depot, November 30th.

11233 and 11234 are in Bristol. 11747-11754 are in service in Witney. With 11755 and 11756 awaiting PDI. 11243-11247 are working in Oxford.

11747   YX73OYS AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32266 AD N445/1 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11748   YX73OYU AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32267 AD N445/2 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11749   YX73OYV AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32268 AD N445/3 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11750   YX73OYW AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32269 AD N445/4 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11751   YX73OYY AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32270 AD N445/5 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11752   YX73OYZ AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32271 AD N445/6 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11753   YX73OZA AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32272 AD N445/7 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11754   YX73OZB AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32274 AD N445/8 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11755   YX73OZC AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32275 AD N445/9 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11756   YX73OZD AD E40D SFD938ER7PGX32276 AD N445/10 H47/32F 11/2023 Thames Transit
11757   YX73OZE AD E40D AD N445/11 H47/32F /2023 Thames Transit
11758   YX73OZF AD E40D AD N445/12 H47/32F /2023 Thames Transit
11759   YX73OZG AD E40D AD N445/13 H47/32F /2023 Thames Transit
11760   YX73OZH AD E40D AD N445/14 H47/32F /2023 Thames Transit
11761   YX73OZJ AD E40D AD N445/15 H47/32F /2023 Thames Transit


Gavin Francis

Variety at the Rail Station and St Aldates on November 29th.

Graham Low

One of the new Stagecoach West's ADL Enviro400MMCs at Witney is 11747, seen here on 25 November in George Street.

Stagecoach ADL E400MMC (11752) nearby. I saw an ex Witney E400 on route 8 today, 

James Lambeth

Witney's brand new E400MMC 11754 / YX73 OZB out on the S1 in Oxford last night,

this is currently tracking as 11233 (which transferred to Bristol yesterday) 28/11/2023

Peter Edgar

Stagecoach 11752 at Oxford Railway Station.

Jack Cooper

10800 in difficulty at Gloucester Green on November 21st..

Gavin Francis

The old order 50274 heads up St Aldates on November 29th.

The newer in London with 50449 and 50454 on November 27th.

     London operations    

Gavin Francis

A gathering of wraps at Marble Arch on November 27th.

RATP offers colour variety on similar buses working the 94 on November 27th.

A choice of open top tour operators on November 27th.

Update on Flixbus at Marble Arch on November 27th. 

  Reader's visits outside our area 

by Gordon Scott

Taken today at  Edinburgh Bus Station Parks of Hamilton
HSK 659 Volvo B11R Plaxton Panorama
 with full Xmas overall advert for route 900 Edinburgh to Glasgow.

by Jack Cooper

Brighton and Crawley

Jack has been on a day trip via Gatwick to Brighton  calling at Crawley on November 24th.





Great variety for the enthusiast in this fleet. 


Jack has been on a day trip to Bristol on November 22nd,