Well, it was just 20 years ago this month, that I took over the Oxford Bus Page from David Root. David, at that time was a student at Hertford College Oxford, and was looking for someone to take over his page. I knew nothing about Web Page design and he patiently taught me the rudiments of design which have stood me in good stead over these past twenty years.

David Root at the wheel of 642 on August 15th 1998 by Malcolm Crowe.

For a few years I was even Editor for the Oxford Bus Company on their web page, often burning the midnight oil in my efforts to ensure that it was up to date. Having a website which people could buy tickets was outside my remit and it was then taken over by an outside company.

I changed the name of my web page to The Oxford Chiltern Bus Page in 2002 and my first page can be found at this link. http://www.oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk/011002.htm  Previous pages were on Geocities and sadly many of these pages have got lost when Geocities changed its' policy.

I have enjoyed Editing the OCBP over these past years, having made many friends and contacts as a result. My Digital photo library goes back to 1998 and many photos taken by me have appeared over the past twenty years, including those from overseas visits.

Starting with the present IP (Internet Provider) 1&1 in October 2002, for a number of years I ran the page as News Page and before changing to Spottings & Jottings reached 294 in September 2009. S&J reached 108 by March 2018 and then a change was made to Weekly Briefing from March 2018 and this issue is 37. So a Grand total of 439 pages which is, I feel, something of an achievement!

However, it has been  a labour of love and there is enough to write a record running to several editions. Of course the early Geocities editions from December 1998 have sadly disappeared but you will find some of the pictures which appeared prior to 2002 below, which I hope gives readers some idea of life in the "last century"! 

CCS 301 M301BAV with the 75 at Stokenchurch on April 5th 1999 by Malcolm Crowe.

Following a breakdown of the CCS coach Wycombe Bus substituted this DP Olympian, 241 D823UTF for the return to Oxford.
241 is seen leaving Gloucester Green with a couple of 75 leaflets as a destination!!! The date was February 7th 1999. Picture by the Editor.

Chiltern Rover National Greenway 3052 with a 300 service in Stokenchurch on September 9th 1998 by Malcolm Crowe.

London Pride's 416 C906GUD which was ex COMS 906 seen in Park Lane London on August 11th 1999 by Malcolm Crowe.

There used to be a direct service to Reading in 1998 operated by Reading Buses as seen above by 514 N514YTF in Queen St Oxford.
The date was October 11th 1998 seen by Malcolm Crowe.

Here's something to surprise a few readers when Stagecoach United Counties operated an Oxford-Nottingham service, the X6.
On this day, February 27th 1999 it was the turn of Olympian 759 S759DRP seen in George Street,  Oxford by Malcolm Crowe.
This bus was a dual purpose seating 45/32 and became 16229 in the National renumbering seemingly remaining at Bedford for most of its working life.

Stagecoach in Oxford retained the original fleet numbers on take over from Thames Transit and the early minibuses had Devon registrations.
Mercedes 332 F769FDV was working the 63 to Faringdon when seen in George Street, Oxford on September 19th 1999 by Malcolm Crowe.

These three Mercedes buses with bodies by Marshall were specifically obtained to work the 390 service from Oxford to London via Wallingford.
Thames Transit 203 N203CUD is seen with her sisters at Horspath on March 8th 1998 by Malcolm Crowe
Of note is that 203 is ready to work the 65 to Faringdon.

The Stagecoach name had been applied to the windscreen of Mercedes 329 F766FDV, still in full Thames Transit livery,
 when seen with a 65 service in Cornmarket on May 31st 1998 by Malcolm Crowe.

I hope readers will have enjoyed these pictures from around 20 years ago and for the older readers maybe some memories have been brought back?

Oxford Bus Company can't serve Pear Tree park-and-ride due to children 'running in front of buses'

A BUS company will not serve a park-and-ride after children 'ran into the path' of buses and travellers harassed drivers.

Oxford Bus Company has decided it can't safely access the park-and-ride bus stop 'until further notice'.

Earlier Oxford City Council was intending to ask the court to seek a warrant to apply for the removal of the travellers in the latest attempt to move the group on.

It comes as drivers who regularly use the car park have spoken of their fear for their safety as they walk past the encampment to reach their cars, especially at night.

In a tweet Oxford Bus Company said Tuesday had been a 'particularly challenging' day for its 300 drivers as well as for passengers.

It added: "The temporary residents within the car park were giving our drivers a very hard time and, with children running around in the path of our buses, the car park was deemed as unsafe."

Buses are now only stopping on the Woodstock Road at the entrance to the park-and-ride 'until further notice'.

Updates on Route 66

Graham Low writes "I attach a couple of my snaps of BOC vehicles on the 466 (i.e. pre 66)in the 1960s, for your interest. Both are at Gloucester Green and are of a Bristol MW6G and a Bristol RELH6L, both with dual purpose ECW bodies." 

Bristol's MW 2030, HAE262D with a 74 working in the mid 60s seen at Gloucester Green by Graham Low .

Delivered in June 1967 this Bristol RELHL 2043 KHW312E had a Leyland engine which gave a very powerful ride.
It is seen with a 466 working at Gloucester Green in the late 60s when photographed by Graham Low, having ben delivered in this dual purpose livery. 

Swindon's National II, SN3521 AAE665V with a 68 working in Oxford's Gloucester Green in the early late 80s by Tony Bungay.

Swindon's Black & White branded Leyland Tiger (look at that badge!) 2214 A214SAE with a 68 working to Swindon sometime after October 1983,
seen at Gloucester Green by Tony Bungay.

The same coach which by 1986 had been rebranded in the relaxation by National Express, thereby allowing more local liveries.
2214 A214SAE is seen with a 68 in Faringdon heading for Oxford. This was later in 1986 by Tony Bungay.

Another picture of a coach on the 68 was this Leopard of South Midland, nr 5 LWL5S seen in Gloucester Green in the late '80s by Tony Bungay.

Finally Tony supplied this picture of Thamesdown's 319 A106EPA ex Green Line TP6 at Swindon depot in the 90s.

Michael Wadman writes "I saw your comment on the website about Thamesdown’s operation of the Swindon – Oxford service, which I have to admit I’d totally forgotten about, and as it happens I’ve scanned all my Thamesdown photos, including Leyland Tiger / Plaxton A106 EPA, former LCBS TP6, in Oxford.


Photos from a visit to Oxfordshire last month by Michael Wadman

I caught a surprisingly cheap Chiltern Railways train to Oxford Parkway and a bus into Kidlington, where I photographed vehicles on service 2 (photos 1 and 2) whilst waiting for the Ourbus Bartons community bus (photo 3) on its service 9, on which I had a very pleasant ride through the lanes to Middle Barton. As this was effectively the back working I wasn’t surprised to be the only passenger; the inbound journey had carried a good load. 

Oxford Bus 226 RF10OXF with route 2 in Kidlington on November 6th by Michael Wadman.

Stagecoach's MMC 10668 SN16OYP on the 2 in Kidlington  on November 6th by Michael Wadman.

Anyone thinking of tracing my steps should be aware that in Kidlington the bus stops at the main bus stop in front of Tesco’s – not in the car park round the back as Traveline thinks!!!

Photo 4 is at the operating centre at Middle Barton. YX10 AXZ is a Volkswagen Transporter with body conversion by Bluebird Accessible of Scarborough, and was new to the Risborough Area Community Bus. Unfortunately it is fitted with the type of destination display that doesn’t come out in photos, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word about the route numbers. A flat fare of £3 per single journey is charged passengers without a free pass.


I then rode on the bus’s next journey, on service 4b to Deddington (photo 5), where it connected with the Stagecoach S4 to Banbury.

In Banbury I was a little confused by Stagecoach’s operation on the town services. Although most of them were, as I had expected, operated by Midland Red South, the vehicles on the B5 belonged, if their discs and legals were to be believed, to Thames Transit. Particularly surprising was 34468 (photo 6) as the PSVC had recorded that as sold by Midland Red South in August 2017!


I appreciated Michael's story which I hope readers will also enjoy?

Some pictures from the past provided by Michael Wadman and taken by Keith Newton

Michael wrote with some very interesting pictures and some questions.? Readers are invited to send their thoughts to me -  malcolmcrowe@oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk

I attach a few photos that were recently sent to me by a friend. Whilst he takes good photos his documentation is not all that it could be, so I was wondering if you could post them on OCBP and invite comments from your readers as to where the photos were taken and what the vehicles might have been doing at the time? 

First we have BSB 311C, a Bedford VAS1 / Duple Midland of House of Watlington, taken it is believed in 1981 by Keith Newton. I have no idea where this is (other than being three miles from Fawley), and although it claims to be a school bus my guess is that it was on a timetabled service or Keith wouldn’t have known to stand in the middle of no-where to wait for it.


Second is BCS 994S, a former Western SMT Daimler Fleetline / Alexander with Motts, also taken in 1981. Presumably on one of their bus routes, but which one and where?


Third is another of Motts’, former South Wales Transport Leyland Leopard / Willowbrook LCY 101X on service M11 to Lane End. Unfortunately the M11 suffered an unreasonably high number of route alterations during its life and with no date to go on (other than that Motts owned the vehicle from September 1992 until August 1995) I haven’t been able to determine the location.


Finally we have Tappins’ former Cardiff Corporation AEC Swift / Alexander MBO 519F photographed in 1981. Keith thinks that it is somewhere near Upton, I would guess it’s on a bus route despite the absence of any indication to that effect, and presumably that is Didcot Power Station in the background.


So if anyone can provide any information about these photos, it would be very helpful. 

I hope that readers can answer some if not all of Michael's questions.

Michael has also added an interesting picture from the mid nineties saying "Meanwhile, it’s not really on-topic but I did find something you might find interesting.

In 1993 Cross Country Ltd won a couple of tendered journeys on City of Oxford service 42 being the 1850 ex-Faringdon and 2300 ex-Oxford on Fridays and Saturdays only. A little later their associated company Telford Travel took over part of service 75 between Swindon and Fairford. For operational reasons it was convenient to work the 42 journeys off the 75 so on FS the 17:00 ex-Swindon was extended in service from Fairford over otherwise unserved roads to Faringdon to pick up the 18:50 42 journey, the result being a most bizarre through Swindon – Oxford service. 

Here is HFG 192T, a former Southdown Leyland Leopard / Plaxton, in Fairford heading for Oxford. It is route-branded for a totally different service.

An interesting railway picture from Gary Seamarks

Vivarail 230003, a conversion of LT78 Stock for Bedford-Bletchley line seen on November 30th by Gary Seamarks.


Remembering last week's pictures from Ralph Adams, he caught up with the Staff Shuttle from Hallmark on the 24th at Bicester Village.

Fleet news

This week's fleet news is limited due to time constraints but hope everyone enjoys what is there?





in Oxfordshire

From Theo Freeman

Theo writes with a picture and some developments in the Banbury area.

Banbury's 28745 (e300 Gold) on the B6

In other news, Banbury Gateway Shopping Park have requested the B6, (which is a short 7-10 minutes route) that is normally on an Optare Solo, should use E300 Golds!

Also on Wednesday E200 36763 was sent from Banbury back to Oxford due to a missing bus. In return we now have 34466 (No surprise there!)

Now a few more pictures from Ralph Adams regarding the Bicester Village service by Stagecoach.

E400 10067 at Bicester Village on November 24th by Ralph Adams.

The rear of 10071 in Bicester Village on the same day again by Ralph Adams.

A Gold bus from Witney depot in a hurry at Bicester Village on November 24th by Ralph Adams.


From Gary Seamarks

Revisions at Stagecoach Bedford from December 30th, they have given up on 53 from Wootton - Cranfield section (1 bus work) with victory to UNO !

On service 42 to Ampthill - Flitwick Hourly schedule withdrawn but replaced with one bus per hour on Park and Ride extended to Flitwick (thus saving one Bus).

71 and 72 to Hitchin Incorporated into Town 9's to Shortstown (Cardington) with longer route in Bedford extended on journeys of 12 minutes past Shortstown (thus saving two buses).

Other cuts save what's equal to another buses' work. 

The X5 timings are to be revised with added running time and mid point layovers cut. 

Indeed Midlands have revisions at most depots in next few weeks, not a good picture.

Hopefully Gary can provide more details of those cuts as well. Of interest is that 54208 is scheduled to spend three months on loan for the X5 and should already be seen in Oxford.

From Theo Freeman

Theo has provided some interesting pictures from Leamington for this issue.

Leamington's 37315 (E200 ex-Wales) on the G1 but broken down with hazards switched on!

Leamington's 10036 (E400 Unibus) on the U1

Leamington's 36942 (E200) on the 67A

All above pictures by Theo Freeman.