Delayed by 24hrs due to the Editor watching World Cup games !!!

Issue nr. 17

Welcome to this week's issue of Weekly Briefing. Publishing the page every week one certainly notices the time fly! Indeed here we are over half way through 2018 and enjoying a heatwave. I must confess that this has made completing the page not that easy!! Hence the delay of one day to finalise.

Many of you have been kind enough to say how much you enjoy the new format and also on the content including service developments. Indeed it has prompted Tony Bungay to write with comments on matter around our area and the withdrawal of services by certain operators.

From Tony Bungay to the Editor

Some time ago I commented that as well as giving news on operators and vehicles, your web page was also a very useful source on service developments, and I have to say last weeks Briefing certainly did just that.

Olympian 5102 from Aylesbury with route 61 at Luton Airport on March 6th 2012 by Gavin Francis.

Although I have wondered for a couple of years how much longer Arriva would carry on operating some of their services. The fact that Aylesbury area services 8, 50, and 61 have been registered for cancellation was still a surprise. In past year the 8 and the 50 were reduced from half hourly to hourly on Saturday, and the fact that the 50 in the week is generally double deck operated with loads outside peaks of seemingly less than 10 people seemed an over provision. In addition to this both the 8 and the 50 are routes in fairly affluent areas and from what I have seen many passengers are concessions.

The 61 was again reduced from hourly to two hourly and cut back to Dunstable but in a rather odd bit of time tabling for me, journeys departed at the same time as Redline's 164, which followed the same route to the other side of Tring. Not helpful in terms of passenger loadings!

If one goes back to the 1980's, in the era of United Counties/Luton and District, the equivalent to service 8 was half hourly, operated by Leyland Nationals and later hoppanstopper minibuses. The equivalent to the 50 with variations was three times an hour and hourly, I think, on Sundays. The 61 was hourly at the start of the 80's but an MAP project had it cut to two hourly. This route features in one of the Bus Pass Britain paperback books which now may disappear.

I would imagine that Bucks County Council will support some form of replacement especially on the 8 and the 50. The 61 is more difficult to guess as Aylesbury to Tring is well covered. It could be that a replacement will only go as far as Ivinghoe for example, unless an operator was to take a commercial risk.

If these routes do become tendered services and Arriva not the winning operator, that must mean a reduction in vehicles at Aylesbury. I do feel that it may not end here as I can think of possibly two other services Arriva operate that could be at risk.

I am not familiar with the High Wycombe changes or routes, though the withdrawal of the 74 is noteworthy. (this has been replaced by Carousel's 104. Ed.) Coupled with the fact that the Enviro 200s are leaving Wycombe does make me wonder whether Arriva Midlands would like to dispose of some bits. Certainly these sort of happenings to my mind seem to be like the run-down of Arriva operations in Crawley or First in Northampton.

I have to stress apart the cancellation notices and a little bit of history, everything else are my own thoughts and not from any other sources. I hope readers find this e-mail gives an interesting viewpoint, as you yourself have worked in the bus industry and have a number of contacts you are better placed for accurate information. (Indeed sometimes I do but matters seem fast moving at present. Ed.)

(Red Rose have taken one of the Arriva withdrawn routes, the 650 school service and so one wonders? Ed.)

Its a far cry from 1986 – 1988 when first an X61 limited stop service and the later 505 joint service with COMS, Oxford – Bicester – Aylesbury – Luton – Luton Airport run.

The fact that Arriva is not possibly going to run this as a tendered service by my calculations means a reduction of four to five vehicles, since just after the turn of the century including the above it means they have for one reason or another lost 11 services that they operated from Aylesbury.

I mentioned changes in other areas to which Tony responded.

In addition First is in a state with probably more interest in what bit will go next, my estimate Worcester and Slough, simply as they are now two stand alone bits. Also whether they are reasonably profitable or not. The possible news about StreetLites at Wycombe does indeed have a parallel with what Arriva did in Crawley, newer vehicles taken away to be replaced by old London Metrobuses!

Doing this is likely to lead to staff leaving as no doubt rumours will circulate and cause service problems, shades of the closure of HE (High Wycombe) and Green Line's 711 in 1977.

Even with Aylesbury which has the successful Sapphire 280 the Max 150 and 300, it is having its late evening service cuts and of course coupled with the above reductions, no matter how profitable a service, it’s profits will be impacted by the costs of it’s operating base. It is also worth remembering before the mid 1990’s three of Arriva’s trunk routes from Aylesbury were operated from other garages.

If for the sake of speculation some events do occur and a successor is Reading transport is a scenario prior 1972 High Wycombe Thames Valley traction Company anybody!!!!

Tony wishes to stress that these are his own personal observations and musings but they are, nevertheless an interesting viewpoint and a interesting recollection of historical facts.

When I worked on the National Express 737 service to Stansted, I always found it interesting that the Arriva 61 could be seen at Luton Airport offering a service to Aylesbury and the area often not served by other means of public service other than taxis.

Olympian 5158 working the 61 at Luton Airport on April 3rd 2011 by Glenn Knight.

I seem to be missing a picture of route 50 at RAF Halton, can anyone oblige?

From Ian Williamson

Yesterday saw probably the first (and most likely the last) appearance by a Routemaster in Sandringham Road, Maidenhead thanks to one of my neighbours organising transport for an end of year school prom. My picture shows RM188 looking immaculate waiting for its passengers caught to the side with some of the elegant passengers - but will they still look quite so when they are approaching 60 years old?

Reading Buses hosted an open day last Sunday, July 1st, where Autism was the selected charity. It was well attended and there was a great deal on offer. This was especially the case for children who are, after all, the customers of the future. Martijn Gilbert the CEO was on hand to welcome visitors and the Deputy Mayor, assisted by a young boy cut the ribbon to open the day's events. My pictres are shown below with appropriate captions where approrpiate.

The CEO and Deputy Mayor at the opening.

Visitors included Ray Stenning - MD of Best Impressions who are responsible for the variety of liveries used on the buses
and Mark E. Lyons whom many will know for his photographic contributors to Buses Magazine and a book on photography.
The book is most useful to all budding photographers as it answers some of the question many of us have when we see our results.

The first bus of interest was the MetroDecker demonstrator, which is here for a year, now fully revealed in the Green Line livery to be carried by a fleet of upmarket
similar vehicle but which will have full coach seating, seat belts, WiFi and power points and a few tables on each deck.
These "coaches" are due shortly and will enable the 702 to once again have an impact on its' market.

Route livery line up which is most impressive.

Days Gone, evoking memories in the older generation and maybe some wonder from the younger generation.
One wonders what a surprise it would be for a youngster to drive the oldest AEC decker there, no power steering and incredibly heavy to steer.
After a 10 hour shift not only your arms but also your left leg with the clutch would know what a job it was!!!

Two forms of alternative traction, an original trolley bus 181 and bus 530 a gas powered bus originally with Arriva!!

Open top 520 in front of purple 706 were in the entrance for arriving visitors to see.

A training bus in appropriate livery and branding.

The attractive livery on single decker 430 with Leopard branding.  The Southdown open topper PD3 looked lovely.

This wonderful purple 17 branded 67 plate was giving rides through the bus wash.

The ride through the bus wash, price £1 for the charity, enabled pictures to be taken of the other yard which was off limits for visitors.
Now I could see Thames Travel 848 and ex Stagecoach 537 in close up !!!!

Tours of the excellent control room (really high tech) were arranged.

A view of the yard when one was leaving to go home. The Levante coach and the Routemaster are of significance.

1209 (WE ARE READING) was operating a shuttle service for visitors.

One cannot but admire this operation and I hope to produce a more detailed report on how things are done and the logic behind the multi coloured variations.

A piece of history from 50 years ago

R W ROUSE's Bedford OB HTF586 in STRATFORD-ON-AVON on October 26th 1968 taken by Paul Bateson.

This coach is now in the Manchester Bus Museum branded for Warburton's Coaches.

Paul writes "It was photographed in service with R. W. Rouse, Oxhill, Warwickshire and it was taken in Stratford-upon-Avon on October 26th 1968.  My records show it as ex-Warburton, Tottington and carrying an S.M.T. body."

The S.M.T body is interesting as they built under licence to Duple of Hendon who could not meet demand in the early days after World War 2, when coaches were in very short supply.

Manchester Museum of Transport where HTF586 is seen on April 18th by Malcolm Crowe.
Little has changed, except of course the reversion to the Warburton's livery. Is it really 50 years, now I do feel old.

From Phil Roberts 

Sorry to trouble you but I am after any information but specifically the whereabouts of a bus!

Its the Citaro Registration MB52OXF Fleet no. 823 of Oxford Bus.

I’ve checked through a few fleet lists to find its omission on one dated may 2018, and cross referenced these with information contained in the recent Buses magazines and found that the sister vehicles have either been sent back to the lease holder, re-registered or now designated as driver trainers. However I have no record of 823.

Are you able to assist as to its whereabouts or any information about its past (Accidents etc), or maybe give me further avenues to go down.

Kind regards

Phil Roberts

My only information is that it was sold to a private buyer. Ed.

From Mark Turner 

I'm not sure if anyone would be in the fact that Mullany's Coaches have brought an RMA - RMA22.  I got a Link from Mullany's Website for you which I include in this email. 

"This link also shows pictures of it in London days & the History of the RMA 22 right UP to Current date. It's being restored by Mullany's to go back on the road in near future."

From David Gray

Further to my previous report regarding the Abellio vehicles stored at Walters Limousines I have received a news-sheet from PSV Circle which confirms the following were stored on behalf of an unknown dealer.


 9547 SN 12 AOU

 9548 SN 12 AOV

 9549 SN 12 AOW

 9551 SN 12 AOY

 9553 SN 12 APF

 9555 SN 12 APO

 9556 SN 12 APU

 9557 SN 12 APV

 9558 SN 12 APX


This confirms a few queries from my report - the only one I didn’t see, therefore, was 9553.

Further to weekly briefing 14, I notice Andrew Webb kindly provided photographs at Walters yard.


I took a couple of similar photos and have been doing some research which may help.


"An Alexander double deck probably an Olympian but with no obvious origins." (this is J866 TSC ex Prentice Westwood, West Calder)


"I couldn't see the registration on this so presume it is near original layout with "tropical" windows and narrow doors. This suggests Hong Kong." (this is B10 MBD which was at one time operated by the School Bus Company, Kingston Bagpuize).

From Grahame Wareham

My latest acquisition is from Middlewich and taken to Reliance Bus Works, Stoke for chassis repairs............................a bus that should be familiar to Harwell, OBC and Wycombe Bus followers, 239. It currently has few seats but I have been busy scouring the country and have managed to acquire all the missing seats I need. It looks a bit tatty but apparently drives well and needs some TLC. Hopefully it will arrive back at our base soon. The intention is to restore it back to Harwell condition.

I hope to publish pictures of these buses when they first arrived at Cowley road. Ed.

Following reports from readers concerning the departure of the newest Wycombe buses, ADL E20 MMC's to Wigston, a few still remain, a selection of elderly and not very new buses are being received in excahnge.

Picture Files

Solo SL 2509 YJ58CCK has arrived from Derby and is working the 30 in Oxford Street, High Wycombe on June 29th by Gavin Francis.

DAF SB120- Cadet 2704 BU02URY also from Derby and is working the 32 in Oxford Street, High Wycombe on June 29th by Gavin Francis.

DAF SB120- Cadet 3539 LF52UOB, this time from Thurmaston, working the 32 in the Eden Bus Station, High Wycombe on June 29th by Gavin Francis.
The rear number plate looks dangerously in line to disappear!

Another pair of transferred elderly buses seen in Wycombe is Dart SLF 2159 LJ51DCF and 2162 LF52UOM which, I believe both cam from Derby.
Is it a fair swop that new MMCs are taken from Wycombe to be replaced by such elderly buses? What must customers think?

Still at Wycombe when the picture was taken is MMC 3108 working the 48  in Oxford Road, High Wycombe on June 29th by Gavin Francis.
These buses were intended to work the 32 but this is not the case for 3108!

Pictures below all taken by Gavin Francis on June 29th.

The Citaros are good buses for the local work and I hope Wycombe retains them. 3007 is branded for the 800/850 routes but is seen here on the 31 to Penn.

This time on the 30 to Downley, 3018 is also branded for the 800/850 routes.

Wycombe is not the only garage to use branded buses on the wrong routes as seen above with 3909 working the 300 from Aylesbury.
When new this bus and its near brothers worked the Green Line 724 route - ah, how the mighty are fallen!

DAF 6309 works the 37 to Bourne End seen in Oxford Street on June 29th. Oxford St WYC 290618 G Francis.

Gary Seamarks provided some more pictures of Arriva around Luton which are shown below. All pictures taken one June 27th.

Transbus Dart 2211 SN03LGE in Luton, looking less than pristine!

Arriva 5429 W429XKX working route 25 near Luton having since new born various route branding, 38 and 500 for example.

They certainly get around. On a day out in the Shires area one is almost certain to see one of these trainers.
MCV 9557 AE56MBV in Luton showing off the striking livery.

Finally one of the well looked after Green Line Mercedes Tourismo coaches, 7007 BP17URR near Luton.

   Southern Counties    

There has been much speculation as to why the four coaches have been seen infrequently working their dedicated 758 route.
Well now over the past week or so we have seen 9000, 9001 as seen above, and 9003.  This makes a change from the MMC 320 branded deckers so often used.
Picture by Gavin Francis on June 26th in Victoria.

Bear Bus Feltham

From Gary Seamarks.

The Red Trident is Bear Buses of Feltham on a Thameslink rail replace standby, the chaos seems to have dropped down of late but still issues.

Bear Buses of Feltham LT52XAH on a Thameslink rail replacement standby on June 27th by Gary Seamarks.

Gary Seamarks writes "Did a 45 minute bash at Luton Interchange on June 27th.  Of note the recently acquired GP decker, the wheel trim on the older one 704 BU54WAY now claims to be a Scania.!"

Grant Palmer's 707 LX06EAW working route C to Dunstable.

Gary also writes "Have put together a bit on Grant Palmer for you, as you perhaps know they are picking up a lot of what others cannot be bothered with, yes, they are subsided but they are investing and trying ' locally' based to boot. Note the fleet list may include a couple recently withdrawn as some new arrivals have appeared. Also unsure if the second Gemini is to replace the accident damaged Scania or just an extra vehicle. A Centrebus Scania had been on loan and we thought was being fitted with CCTV at GP's depot so a bit unsure on what is going on.  Last Weds Two Gemini and BU52WAY was on Busway, then on Friday BU53WAY was working in Bedford minus guide wheels, so...............................

Dart SLF 208 SK52OJC in Luton on June 1st.

E200 212 YX12DHG works the 44 in Luton on June 1st.

E200 YX18KNE with a 68 working in Bedford Bus Station on May 12th.

This operator's loss of its premises in nearby West Wycombe has resulted in their coaches appearing in odd locations apart from the current depot just north of Hazelmere.

This very smart Auwarter Tourliner tri-axle OU17OTE is seen in Bellfield Road West near to Carpetright's store on June 29th by Gavin Francis.

Oxford group

The Chiltern Hundreds continue and customers are now getting used to the rebranding. Gavin Francis got a number of pictures in Wycombe on June 29th which are included below.

StreetLite 401 (what happened to the fleet numbers?) with a 101 in Oxford Street and also the rear view seen in the Eden Bus Station.
These pictures convey the impact of the new branding.

Mercedes 874 with a 104 working seen in The Eden Bus Station.

Now a surprise which has got everyone guessing what happens next was the re-registration of the three E200 (551-3) back to their original registration from C1-2-3WYC now AJ58PZS/OU57FKB and AE59AWM.

Great excitement locally one some thinking maybe new buses in sight!! Well, maybe not - my best guess is for 873-5 which would be nice.

A decker on the 39 is unusual, here 220 is seen in Oxford Street on its way to Totteridge.

More usual is E200 420 working the same route. Of course 423 and 424 were branded for the 39 in orange!!!

StreetLite 409 working the PR1 in Oxford Street with revised route details on the side.

Solo 712 (minus any fleet numbers) leaves the Eden Bus Station bound for Watford on the 103. This Solo has Chiltern Hundreds branding.
I think the all red livery rather suits this type when compared to the picture below.

Solo 713 with the 103 in Oxford Street on its way to Watford some 80 minutes away! Quite a long journey in a Solo.

Citaro, one of the few remaining at Wycombe with Carousel, 878 on the way to Uxbridge only now that the Heathrow section is discontinued.
The lack of any branding is disappointing but maybe this suggest that the Citaros will be moving away.

Re-registered 551 is seen with a 105 working on June 27th, the picture provided by Oscar Longman.
Oscar writes "MCV Evo/Dart 551 on route 105 to Hemel Hempstead at Amersham Stanley Hill School".


Gavin Francis, has as ever produced quite a few pictures of Oxford Bus vehicles.

Interdeck 65 is seen threading its way through heavy traffic around Victoria with an X90 service on June 26th.

Coach 82 is seen making the right turn by The Bag O'Nails into Buckingham Palace Road on June 26th.

Graham Low caught up with dark blue liveried Citaro 838, seen here in Castle Street working the 3A on June 28th.
My sources advise that this will be branded to promote the PICKMEUP services. A useful promotional bus as such.

691 seen waiting time, with an 8 road working, at Headington Shops on June 29th by Malcolm Crowe.

To ensure that intending customers get a prompt service from the east end of Oxford, there is generally one of the buses waiting at Thornhill.
There is also the possibility that customers arriving on the express services could benefit from this opportunity.

Day 1 of the operation and 976 passes another mini bus service operated for the Science Park. June 25th by Richard Sharman.

972 busy on St Aldates on July 3rd in this picture by Graham Low.

Earlier this week Thames Travel seem to have suffered from a number of service cancellations but this seems to have been eradicated and services have returned to normal.

Blue 223 has been transferred from City 2 and is now decked out in River Rapids livery when seen here by Richard Sharman on June 25th.

Other group companies

Due to time constraints the interesting contribution and pictures from Derek Wiggins will be featured on the next issue. Apologies for that.

Oxford Bus's Levante coach 56 seemingly dwarfing the StreetLite beside it, when on its way through High Wycombe to Stansted on a 737 working.
This was seen on June 29th by Gavin Francis.


I am delighted to have received some Pulhams pictures from Geoff Cunliffe who was down for a stay at the Stow Lodge Hotel, Stow on the Wold.

A Mercedes Citaro 0295, new in May 2018, PC18BUS working route 801 seen in Stow Square on June 29th by Geoff Cunliffe.

Very often it is only by chance that someone catches the irregular and Adam Green did just that when in London last week. My sources advise that this unusual use of an MMC short wheel base bus was done to avoid a non-operation due to an earlier failure of the service bus.

Reading Thames Valley 135, from Slough Outstation, working a 702 service and seen in Bulleid Way on June 29th by Adam Green.

Emerald 761 seen working the 702 through Hammersmith on July 3rd by Gavin Francis.

A multi route use 759 is seen entering Bulleid Way with a 702 working on June 26th by Gavin Francis.

More on Reading can be seen i the introduction to this page and the Open Day which took place on Sunday, July 1st.

Nick Cherry with his regular bus, 50537 E1RRT, on the 275 in Oxford slowing down for Richard Sharman on June 25th.

Hybrid 12008 has been mentioned as under repair after a fire in the rear some 12 months+ ago. This bus has now retuned to full service and a nice picture was received this morning from Graham Low.

Hybrid 12008 now in service with a route 10 working in the High Street on July 3rd. The remaining SC Oxford Hybrids will be so painted in due course.


Following the recent fire damage to 50281 and as recently advised Megabus 50237 has returned to Oxford for an indefinite period of loan.

Seen on June 27th by Gavin Francis, readers can see that the front has been painted red with Oxford tube logs on the front.
To the uninformed it looks quite like a normal tube and it advertises Megabus.

Richard Sharman writes "The M34 is now one journey each way Monday to Thursday, but retains two trips a day from Friday to Sunday and Megabus 54205 is seen operating the M34 in the first Week of the reduced service."

Another early member of the Megabus Interdeck fleet, 54205.

Gavin Francis remarked how good the fleet of Interdecks looked and here is an early version, 54203, with Silverstone branding still intact on June 26th.

Little Jim's Bus Service with a route from Hemel Hempstead have hired in a uno bus for an undefined period to operate their service.

Little Jim - HH hired uno 119 KE04UMB for route 532 seen on June 12th by James Allum.

Gary Seamarks provided a picture of the Dragonfly route Citaros.

uno Dragonfly Mercedes Citaro 360 LF18AWH in Luton on June 27th by Gary Seamarks.

Gavin Francis was confronted by two Z&S coaches in Stokenchurch recently whilst out walking his dog, Lucy.

 Volvo/Jonckheere BY18XZS in George Rd Stokenchurch on June 28th by Gavin Francis.

Gavin thought the registration of this Volvo familiar and when he looked up FJ05AOK found it has originally been with Plastow of Wheatly..

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