Here we are in November already and there are only 54 days until Christmas, these days all of them shopping days!!

Following a small operation I have been unable to visit the show at the NEC for the first time in many years but I have a few items of interest concerning the event. You will see these further down the page.

A news report of some interest to me, since my eldest daughter lives in Gwynedd is the sentencing of the Directors of Express Motors who served the area until losing their licence at the beginning of this year. I mention this report of the trial as it seems a salutary warning to those companies who use the Concession Scheme to make money illegally!

During my earlier holidays I often included pictures of the buses of Express Motors as shown below.

Long Solo CX12EWS with a service 85 at Bangor Y Felinheli Cloc on December 16th 2017. This was shortly before the company was closed down.

Scania OmniCity CX64EWS passing Bangor, Y Felinheli Cloc, working route 9 on December 17th 2016.

Ex Stagecoach M A N - ALX300, R243KRG with the 9A loads at Bangor, Y Felinheli Cloc, on June 26th 2015.

Ex Oxford Bus 813,  T813CBW, working the Snowdon Sherpa at Betws y Coed on May 7th 2016 by S. Thomas.
This still looked a very tidy motor. Does anyone know where it is now? 

Express Motors fraud gang jailed for a total of 29 years!

Five men have been jailed for a total of 29 years for a scam where hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash was claimed for bus journeys that never took place.

Family members were in tears as Eric, Ian, Kevin and Keith Jones were jailed for fraud by false representation. A fifth man, former bus driver Rheinallt Williams, was also jailed.

Eric Wyn Jones, of Bontnewydd, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years, as was his son Ian Wyn Jones. Brothers Kevin Wyn Jones and Keith Jones were given seven and six year terms.
Rheinallt Williams must serve a 12 month prison term.

The Wyn Jones' family were described as 'breathtakingly arrogant' by Judge Timothy Petts.

Eric Wyn Jones, 77, of Gerallt, Bontnewydd near Caernarfon, was described in Mold Crown Court this morning as an "elderly man in poor health which affects his mobility". Lawyers for Jones said custody is going to be difficult for him. John Philpotts, defending Eric Jones, said he was “demonstrably ill” with two hospital appointments already booked, and was sole carer for his sick wife Jean, who was a partner in the business.

The judge said his wife was also a victim in the case. His sons Kevin, Ian and Keith, were also found guilty of the charges by a jury after a four week trial at Caernarfon Crown Court earlier this month.
Ian Wyn Jones, 53, of Carmel Road, Penygroes was jailed for seven and a half years and Kevin Wyn Jones, 55, of Llwyn Beuno, Bontnewydd was jailed for seven years.

During the hearing Ian Jones also admitted possessing £840 in fake bank notes. Dealing with the fake cash Prosecutor Mathew Dunford said police found what appeared to be cash in Jones’ home during a search of the property on July 30th 2014. On closer inspection they were found to be counterfeit.
Mr Dunford says Jones made admissions they were fake during a police interview. Andrew Jebb, defending Ian Jones, said he was married with three children and they would suffer greatly when he was jail. "It will be his first custodial sentence and will have a considerable impact upon him," said Mr Jebb. John Wyn Williams, defending Kevin Jones, said: “Express Motors has been going for many years and it's tragic for the local community which is losing this facility.” Mr Williams said Jones accepted his part in the demise of the company would be paid for by a jail sentence. 
A third son, Keith Jones, 51, of Caer Berllan, Llanddaniel, Anglesey was handed a six year prison sentence. 
Rheinallt Williams, 44, of Rhyd Fadog Estate, Deiniolen was a driver at Express Motors. He admitted a charge of conspiring with others to commit fraud by making false representations to make a financial gain before the trial began. Williams was jailed for 12 months. Brett Williamson, defending Williams, said he was married with three young children. He might have been guilty of misguided loyalty and feared losing his job, said Mr Williamson, and was “simply devastated that he has placed in jeopardy all that he holds dear”. 

Sentencing the judge said someone at the firm realised a fraud was possible and each fraudulent swipe was “quite literally money in the bank for Express Motors. The fraud was one of breathtaking arrogance,” the judge said. 

The Jones' were said to have instructed others to increase the number of concessionary passes swiped; excessively swiping concessionary cards and submitted false  concessionary payments scheme claim forms to Gwynedd council. The scam involved using lost or stolen concessionary bus passes to tot up bogus trips and then claiming the cash from the council. In all 88,000 bogus journeys were made using 32 such cards. One of the cards belonged to a man who had died and the jury heard the card continued to be used fraudulently for some months after his death. Eric Jones' own pass was used to make bogus claims although he claimed he had mislaid it for a few weeks and didn't know it was being used fraudulently.

Volvo and MCV's keenly-priced, entry-level coach

A surprise unveiling at Euro Bus Expo was Project 523, the first coach spawned by the Volvo and MCV partnership in the UK

The coach has already generated eight orders from London-based Golden Tours

Pictures by MCV

Volvo has added what it describes as “a competitively-priced, fixed-specification” coach to its already extensive retail line-up thanks to an extension of its burgeoning relationship with Egyptian bodybuilder partner MCV.

Mounted on a two-axle B11R chassis, the as-yet unnamed product has been given the working name of Project 523.

It is made of stainless steel, and it is a completely new body; Volvo is at pains to stress that it has not been adapted from an existing product that MCV supplies to its core markets of Africa and the Middle East.

Project 523 is 12.65m long and 3.60m high. It comes with 53 Brusa Create 120 half-leather seats that also include USB charging points, drop-down tables, magazine nets and three-point belts. Volvo quotes the retail price as £215,000.

The new body debuts this week at Euro Bus Expo, with a example in the colours of Golden Tours on Volvo’s stand. Golden Tours has ordered eight, with all planned to be in service by Q1 2019.

Addition of the MCV-bodied B11R represents further growth for what is unquestionably the widest range of coaches in the market. What is Volvo’s thinking behind the new model?

Entry-level coach

Retail Sales Director James Hyde explains Volvo’s belief that the MCV-bodied B11R will not cannibalise sales that the manufacturer would otherwise have made in conjunction with existing bodybuilder partners Jonckheere, Plaxton or Sunsundegui.

Instead, it is an entry-level product, but it is well-suited to many tasks, says Mr Hyde; although some buyers may purchase it for shorter-distance duties, the relatively generous specification will also suit higher-mileage use.

“The demand for a competitively-priced, fixed-specification coach that can undertake a wide range of work is growing, and the B11R MCV has been developed to bring more value and choice to operators,” he says. “Introduction of Project 523 has been driven by a very competitive marketplace. It completes our range in the UK and we believe that it is another string to our bow.”

ADL Falkirk's contributions by Gordon Scott to the NEC Show

Gordon sent me a few pictures at the end of last week warning me that they could not be posted before the show. So here below are those few pictures.

ADL BYD LJ68BYO a Pure electric for show at Falkirk on October 26th by Gordon Scott.

NEx Dundee 6687 having just returned from NEC Show in Birmingham on November 2nd 2018 by Gordon Scott.

Remembrance Day is fast approaching

With this year's Remembrance Day only a week or so away, this year has a special significance as one hundred years ago at 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 the First World War ended.

There are numerous buses around commemorating the day and one very special one is shown below in a picture taken by Gordon Scott.

Lothian 551 seen on November 1st in Edinburgh.

Stagecoach South do have two E300s and South East an E400 all with Poppy branding but I don't have any pictures so far. A challenge for m y readers to send pictures of Poppy buses for next week's issue.

Green ‘plates for green vehicles?

This example is purely for illustrative purposes and the final version will be part of the consultative process.

The government is to consult on whether green-backed number plates should be introduced for zero-emission (ZE) vehicles. They are already used in Norway, Canada and China and could help to encourage the take-up of ZE vehicles

As well as promoting ZE vehicles, green ‘plates could help support local incentives such as access to bus or low emission vehicle lanes, electric charging bays or ultra-low-emission-zones.

Shopping centre boost to Oxford Park & Ride

Oxford Bus Company’s Park & Ride service has carried more than three million passengers since the Westgate Shopping Centre opened in the city centre a year ago.

That is 50,000 more passenger journeys than the total in the previous 12 months, and follows improvements to the service ahead of the centre’s opening.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company’s Managing Director commented “The increase in passenger growth on our Park & Ride services is encouraging after significant investment in the fleet and branding, along with improved timetables, ticketing and staff training.”

West Midlands variety & changes by Dylan Jones

Once again I am giving some space to a report on matters West Midlands from Dylan Jones. It may tempt some readers to have a look at this area which does have great variety.

Dylan writes "Been a few weeks since I last sent some photos in - I have been very busy of late but still been getting out on the weekends."

First up, I thought I would mention the various rumours going around at the moment as to where the new Platinums will be allocated. Xplore Dundee are gaining their own batch in a Emerald livery - you may have seen a photo of one.  Indeed we have had pictures of these buses on last week's page and for this issue Gordon Scott has provided one of these returning from Birmingham to ADL Falkirk after the Birmingham Show. Ed.

Pensnett routes 9, X10 and 126 to receive new Platinums Yardley Wood Route 50 upgraded to Platinum.  All 48 standard E400MMCs 6101-48 to Acocks Green for the Outer Circle Wright Gemini’s to be debranded and displace older ALX400s 6701-6718s. Their fate has not been mentioned but the above is taken as a pinch of salt.

The main development of recent is that of 2012 build Volvo B7RLE 2102 BX12DDO gaining the livery carried by the Dual Purpose Leyland Nationals in the 80's; It's first full day after a peak hour working on Prime route 9 on Friday was on the 8 between Wollaston Farm and Wrens Nest on Saturday. This is the renumbered version of the last remnant of the former Midland Red X96 service.

Below are some pictures of 2102 at Merry Hill en route.


The 126 was reduced to just the Dudley to Birmingham section in the recent changes. 6119 is one of 24 of the standard Enviro 400 MMCs based at Pensnett depot, pictured on the Hagley Road at Bearwood as it heads for Dudley

The new X7 and X8 routes take different routes between Dudley and Birmingham and are using the Platinums previously found on the 126. The X8 follows the existing 125 as far as Bearwood, where it continues onto Quinton, then Blackheath and onto Dudley. Here is 6775 at Bearwood.

3303 is one of 5 Wright StreetDecks in the fleet, as pictured at Bearwood heading for Stourbridge on the 9.

6718 is the last of the Scarborough built Platinums new in 2015. Pictured at Merry Hill it was new to Birmingham Central for the 900/957 routes (now X1/X2) and is now based at Pensett for the X10 between Gornal Wood and Birmingham via Merry Hill, where it is pictured. As mentioned above it could soon be on the move again.

Looking immaculate is 804 that is a recent repaint into the crimson livery. Here it is at Merry Hill with a 7 to Wollaston Junction. This bus was new on now ceased route 99 between Birmingham and Halesowen via the QE hospital, Harborne and Quinton. NXWM It was withdrawn due to reliability issues and replaced by the 244, now 19.

Diamond 31102 is the only of the two longer Hanson’s E200s still in the Midlands, with 31101 having moved with a former Central Buses example to Stanwell depot, near Heathrow. Here is 31102 with a 287 working to Stourbridge.

30411 is one of a batch of former Transdev Lancashire United Volvo B7RLEs that Diamond purchased when they went off lease up north. Mainly used on the value branded routes 4/H, 16/W, 50 and 002, some now carry

 4/H branding. Pictured at Halesowen with a 4H working to Walsall.

The other former value branded route, still with branding, is the 002. This operates from Merry Hill to Weoley Castle via Lye, Halesowen and Bartley Green. It has long been one of Diamonds most profitable routes, providing a key link from Halesowen towards South Birmingham, that is not available from a direct NXWM route. Former Whippet of Swavesey, 30952 AE59EHP was formerly used on the Cambridge Busway.

2110 climbs into Stourbridge Interchange with an 8 working. Had I have been earlier, this was my location of choice for a photo of 2102.

Outer Circle branded 4511 passes the former Selly Oak Garage with an 11A, as viewed from a higher positioned retail park.

From Simon Caygill

From your recent page I can recollect writing to you about unusual bodied coach during July Didcot Rail replacement I am sure this must be the VNZ 4460,
Also mention ex London United Darts 726 ending DVV that or one very similar seems to have replaced a broken down Solo on Didcot town service 94 by Whites of Culham. 

Fleet News

From Luke Braham

Two more ex-High Wycombe Wright Eclipses have recently entered service at Aylesbury depot. These being 3861 KE05 FMX and 3864 KE05 FMU with 3864 being repainted into the latest livery after a period off the road. They are both seen while operating the 300/X30 rota between Aylesbury and High Wycombe on 1st November.

These are extremely atmospheric pictures. Ed.

DAF/Alexander ALX400 6309 Y509 UGC has since returned to service at Aylesbury depot after spending some time at High Wycombe and being loaned briefly to Milton Keynes.

Arriva are certainly getting their moneys' worth out of these buses!

Now pictures from other contributors.

Once part of the Wycombe fleet, 3864 with a 300 arrives in Aylesbury on October 26th by Tony Bungay.

The X30 is a quicker service between High Wycombe and Aylesbury and above 3926 is seen in Aylesbury on October 26th by Tony Bungay.

On a recent visit to hospital in Reading, driven by Gavin, I took this picture of 3912 passing 3012 (numerical coincidence) heading for Caversham
on October 30th by Malcolm Crowe. 

                  Southern Counties  

320 route branded MMC 6523 is seen in Bulleid Way with a 758 service on October 31st by Gavin Francis.

When one of the orange branded Link 40 buses is off, we recently seem to get Solo 713 but on November 2nd in the bright late afternoon sun, 421 is seen heading for Thame. 

First glimpse of the Cancer wrap was captured by James Freeman. 368 N1OXF is seen standing in the yard at Watlington Road depot.

Gavin Francis was able to record this bus in service on November 4th as seen above.

Sister 367 is seen on a Fireworks Special to South Park loading in Thornhill on November 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Ex Brookes all grey 602 is seen with a 2A service in Magdalen Street East on October 31st by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 883 is seen loading a Wolvercote service 6 on October 31st by Gavin Francis. 

A picture from Theo Freeman of 971 near the train station.

We mentioned those from the acquired fleet now expected to be retained by Oxford Bus are shown below. The remainder of the fleet are to be replaced by Oxford's 201-205.

These will be 2058, 2059, 2902, 2903, 2904 and 2908. This includes T110 and 115TBW ex Oxford Park & ride 110 and 115.

Volvo V7TL East Lancashire Myllennium Vyking 2055 PO55 NXU 2005
Volvo V7TL East Lancashire Myllennium Vyking 2056 PO56 JEJ 2006
Dennis Trident SFD134BR2 Alexander ALX400 2906     LY02 OAE 2002  
Dennis Trident SFD134BR2 Alexander ALX400 2907     LY02 OBK 2002  

Gavin Francis caught generic 44 with the 1545 Bristol service on November 3rd leaving Gloucester Green.

Ralph Adams has provided us with some interesting facts regarding services centred on Oxford.

From Ralph Adams

I have just been looking in more detail with the Sn-ap services 








































































































































































































COMS provide two coaches every day to Bristol and Birmingham. On Mondays / Thursday only one trip each day with a day time trip between Bristol & Birmingham. At weekends, the Bristol / Birmingham service is provided by someone else but they need two coaches as the vehicles cross over mid journey. They cannot be covered by the COMS coaches. It does not appear to  be National Express or Megabus and I cannot find any other coach operator between these two cities. 

Sn-ap also provide a service between Oxford & London. This is a logical service as they book six seats on a scheduled service so the cost is minimal. If no passengers, they probably pay nothing.

The picture shown last week of new 621 working a T1 service to Watlington was I am assured a once only event, so good on James Freeman for getting that picture!

Scania 229 seen loading an X38 working in St Aldates on November 3rd by Gavin Francis.
Note the blind is Wallingford for Henley and Reading to draw attention to passengers that this is not a direct Reading service.

Start Hill based SH249 BF68LDK with an A7 working by Elizabeth Bridge on November 3rd by Gavin Francis.
Note the Poppy almost always carried by National Express coaches at this time of year. Would that other operators did something similar.

Gavin Francis spent time in Newbury this week and his efforts are shown below. It seems appropriate to record these days since much may change in the coming months.

I was also in Reading and a few pictures taken are included under the Reading heading.


Reading 201 MRD1 turns into Tilehurst Rd on September 28th by Malcolm Crowe. I think this was a nr 1 working.

Pink 421 is seen with a 25 working in Peppard Road on October 30th by Malcolm Crowe.

Ex London LJ04LDL, Reading's 527 is seen in Caversham with a 22 working on October 30th by Malcolm Crowe.

And now on to matters Newbury. The bus station seen is to be replaced by a new bus station located on the site of a bus station from many years ago.

How many readers remember the Bovril advert with the three children standing in order of height?

The fleet of branded buses for the jetblack service are split between Reading and Newbury (Mill Street) with one duty each day which starts or finishes in Newbury. This allows for change over/maintenance etc.

Fleet pictures by Gavin Francis taken on October 30th 2018

1202 (two pictures, 1205 and 1207 all seen in Newbury on the Jet Black 1 service.

Now diesel powered but once Hybrid, 219 SN61BAA, in generic livery with a 1 working in NEWBURY.

More often pictured on the 702 in London, Gavin caught the same bus working the nr 1 to Reading leaving Newbury. 

Welcome to Kennections the name for your local services in Newbury, Hungerford and the Kennet Valley!

Fleet pictures by Gavin Francis.

We have had pictures of 164 previously but this bus did feature working the day that Gavin visited. The rear is very plain!

165 is seen working the route 6 waiting for passengers in the bus station.

Scania 1105 is seen again in the bus station loading for service 2. 

VODAFONE Bus Service

Reading/Newbury provides a special bus service to Vodafone Headquarters numbered V1. Buses used are based at Mill Street, Newbury.

Fleet comprises 4 (spare), 21-26, 191-192, 781-782, 1104. These buses are painted plain red with no other branding.

Fleet pictures by Gavin Francis.

A very smart Irizar nr 23 YN17ONH with a V1 service.

An equally smart 66 plate MMC also working the V1, nr 781 SN66WRC.

The renumbering of the Newbury & District fleet which so far has not taken place, is intended to be as hereunder. This plan neatly fits into the main Reading fleet. Reading 840 is shown and this is away being repainted black at the time we went to press. GR is Greenham Common and DT was Didcot.

Ex Weavaway owned all based at Greenham Business Park
Fleet nr Registration Type Livery Depot Seating New Comments
175 C15 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 10-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWM
176 C16 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 10-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWP
177 C17 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 10-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWT
178 C18 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 10-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWV
179 C19 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 09-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWX
180 C20 TCL Optare Solo M950 Newbury & District / Black GR B33F 02-2004 09-2017 Former Reg: YN53 ZWZ
650 YX63 ZVR Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Newbury & District / Black GR B39F 01-2014 01-2014
655 YX65 RWV Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Kennetbus / Black GR B39F 01-2016 01-2016
656 YX65 RWW Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Kennetbus / Black GR B39F 01-2016 01-2016
657 YY66 PFF Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Kennetbus / Black GR B39F 01-2017 01-2017
658 RX66 PTZ Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Kennetbus / Black GR B39F 01-2017 01-2017 Former Reg: YY66 PFG
783 SN16 OHA Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
784 SN16 OHB Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
785 SN16 OHC Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
786 SN16 OHD Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
787 SN16 OHE Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016  
788 SN16 OHF Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Newbury & District / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016  
789 SN16 OHG Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Countywide / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016 Basingstoke Area Rapid Transit lettering
790 SN16 OHH Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Countywide / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016 Basingstoke Area Rapid Transit lettering
791 SN16 OHJ Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Countywide / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016 Basingstoke Area Rapid Transit lettering
792 SN16 OHK Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 South Midland / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
793 SN16 OHL Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 South Midland / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016  
794 SN16 OHO Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 South Midland / Black GR H49/37F 03-2016 03-2016
840 YN07 LFG Scania N230UD / East Lancs Olympus to be Black H51/28F 13/07/2007 was Reading Buses Sky Blue 15 & 16
1406 BK15AJX Volvo B8R/Caetano Levante White C48FLt 08-2015    

I am advised that 852 and 853, still in Midland Classic livery, should also be included. For a picture see link below:

Fleet pictures by Gavin Francis.

Solo C15TCL to 175 under the renumbering is seen leaving on a 103b service resplendent in red and black.

Soon to be 177, 178 and 179 with various routes in Newbury.

Soon to be 650 YX63 is seen on 1C to Thatcham Broadway.

Soon to be 655 is seen with a 123 working.

Seen variously with a 124 and then a 1A, soon to be 657 is seen around Newbury.

Soon to be 788 in the Reading fleet list, SN16OHF is seen with a 1D working leaving Newbury.

Other operators seen in Newbury

ReadiBus 29 DK57JJV seen in Newbury.

Stagecoach South 27833 and 27834 working the Link to Basingstoke.

A rather elderly Dart from Stagecoach South 35123 working the 7 to Andover.

Weavaway VDL WA64CVY in Newbury.

Wilfreda Beehive YN17OJD with a Warners Holidays tour in Newbury.

in Oxfordshire

Nice to have a few more pictures from Theo Freeman shown below.

Theo caught an E300 Gold, 28744, working the B6 in Banbury on November 1st.


James Freeman caught up with a branded ALX400 at Northampton. Its 18155 PX04DPU seen on October 19th with an overall for Hits Radio!. 


I rather liked this picture, taken I guess from an upper deck of another bus, we see 10989 leaving Gloucester Green for the long run to Swindon on November 1st.
A picture by Theo Freeman.

From Carl Berry

I thought you might be interested in a picture of ex Oxford Tube 50206 OU09FMY now happily advertising the Scottish X76 service to passengers in Bristol whilst helping with the local rail replacements that are going on this month.

Once 50206 in the tube fleet the coach is seen at Bristol Parkway, now owned by Coach Miles of Thatcham on October 30th. Picture by Carl Berry.

Not everything goes to plan and even tube coaches get punctures. Here is 50275 in Wycombe Coachway receiving attention.
Taken by Gavin Francis on October 29th.

New Megabus 54609, now named mega-tron, laying prior to working an M12 service to Newcastle on October 31st by Gavin Francis.

Two of these new coaches, 54601 and 54603 are now stationed at Ayr for work on the X77. They are to be repainted into standard Stagecoach livery and branded appropriately.

London Operators

This recently pictured Electric sightseeing bus spent all day at rest due to technical problems. October 31st by Gavin Francis.

New buses have appeared on the C1 and here is London United's BE37032 by VCS on October 31st taken by Gavin Francis.
This is another Enviro 200EV Electric Bus.