Another week and we are now well into January with quite a lot going on! Contributions are gaining momentum again so we have several items of interest for this issue.

One item that I feel strongly about is the cleanliness of wheels, many buses have great paint jobs but look poor due to dirty wheels! I wonder how many pictures in this issue confirm my point?

Now, short notice for which I'm sorry but there is an interesting meeting on Tuesday with a talk by Graham Low at the monthly gathering as below:

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

From Matt Bullock - Chair

We begin our  programme for 2019 with a talk arranged at very short notice, when Graham Low will give us an illustrated talk on:

Sixty Years of Looking at European Buses

In particular he will talk about the many British-built buses that were once used by many European bus operators.

Just to wet your appetites!

The meeting will start at 7.15 p.m. on Tuesday 15 January at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford, OX4 4EY. Members and non-members are very welcome. A wide range of meals and drinks is available in the bar before the meeting. 

Matt says "I look forward to seeing you at the meeting."

News items and photographs of Days Gone

First Railair introduced new coaches on the Reading-Heathrow route from today (Monday, January 14th) which are Scania K360EB4 with Irizar bodywork. Seating capacity was not known as this issue went to press. One presumes that these coaches will be based at Reading Transport's main garage in Knollys Road. There is a nice picture taken for First Railair which is shown below. The full details of these coaches is also provided below thanks to Bus Lists on the Web

Credit: First Railair Twitter account.

23601  YT68GXA  Sca K360EB4 YS2K4X20001910793  Ir   C??F  1/2019  First Beeline 
23602  YT68GXB  Sca K360EB4 YS2K4X20001910834  Ir   C??F  1/2019  First Beeline 
23603  YT68GXC  Sca K360EB4 YS2K4X20001910848  Ir   C??F  12/2018  First Beeline 
23604  YT68GXD  Sca K360EB4 YS2K4X20001910827  Ir   C??F  12/2018  First Beeline 
23605  YT68GXE  Sca K360EB4 YS2K4X20001910850  Ir   C??F  12/2018  First Beeline 

Richard Sharman advises "the identities of the nine Scania/ Irizar i6s for First Beeline Buses Railair service which are: 23601-9 YT68GXA-H/J"

Interesting report from Ralph Adams on matters local

Buses fail, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. Last night (Thursday, January 10th) at 22:00 I saw the Oxford Bus service van with hazards on attending to an X40 Citaro south of Nuneham Courtney. At that time of night, it is an hourly service and Thames Travel normally do not have spare drivers. I fear that the passengers on board may have had to wait an hour for the next bus unless COMS had been able to assist (possibly a Pick Me Up which are still working in the evening)  

602 did not receive the blue livery that I had been told but in Chiltern trains in a similar style to some taxis that I have seen. Note the Brookes Bus name is still visible on the rear.

602 with its new wrap in pictures taken by Ralph Adams.

Thames Travel now have two buses starting in service at Reading but it appears at present at least the drivers still start in Wallingford and take a bus Not in Service to start in Reading. There are staff living in Reading who would like to cover so what is the reason? Any knowledgeable comments please. Two start in Oxford – do they also come from Wallingford or from COMS garage? 

New garage at Didcot. Every driver has a different view on what will happen so the rumour mill is very active. I do believe that TT will move to the Tappins yard either late March or shortly afterwards but that is all. Where will Tappins go – that is also part of the rumour comments. 

I went to Great Western Park North today. No one else on board and the driver has only had one passenger on her driving. The area has bus stops with shelters so good planning plus for TT, section 106 money to ensure services are provided. I also went on 621 to Harwell Campus, the bus having been purchased from a dealer. The seat colour and pattern was a disappointment and not being ordered direct may be difficult to obtain further material when wear requires replacement. At present still in pristine condition but often older buses have a mix of different seat material which I fell gives a very poor impression. Note Scanias 912-914

White Solo 709 is now with Thames Travel but usage unknown. It passed me (NIS) going to Didcot at about 14:30 followed by the Didcot school buses. Destination blind showed 136 which is way off route but indicates that it may have been used on this service. During the midday period, a Solo is ample for 136 but not for the school trips. 

Milton Park. In use at lunch time were YX18KNC and SN66WLK, both dedicated for Milton park. Previously seen was YX67HDO. Three buses are needed in peak but only two at lunchtime. I presume that SN63VTY / VTZ have now come off the contract – sold or reallocated by Courtney coaches elsewhere?

Many thanks for that informative and interesting report from Ralph.  Ed.

Re question on Bristol Lodekka at Ward Jones, High Wycombe.

Ed Maun

Further to my email I can now confirm the identity of the red Lodekka at Ward Jones’s is OCY955 new to United Welsh and which became Thames Valley 620.

It is currently owned by Brockham Scouts in Surrey.

"Days gone around us" - by Tony Bungay

Following last weeks bus of many colours, now bus company of many colours South Midland between 1984 – 1988

444 freshly painted Central Oxford May 1985,

Leyland Titan  702 Sheep Street Bicester March 1988

93 Kingsbury Square Aylesbury mid 1985

Early days September 1984 at Banbury 312.

28 Gloucester Green 1986.

And 451 in Kingsbury Square Aylesbury  1985

Here we have 311 in Central Oxford Early March 1986

603 Kingsbury Square Aylesbury Spring 1986

467 same location but 1987.

Lastly 316 at Gloucester Green early March 1986

623 in Shuttle livery at Showbus in 1986

466 in Buckingham Street Aylesbury in 1985/6

316 in Oxford in summer of 1985 not the snow of early March

In late 1984 312 again this time Buckingham Street Aylesbury, across the road from the now long gone Bus Garage.

SM 804 in a different livery again at Wantage, ready to do occasional Service 307 to Faringdon July 1986

Many thank to Tony for the excellent selection of pictures from some 30 years ago. Longer than some readers will have been around!

Snap expects growth with its intercity coach model

At a recent conference the CEO of snap Thomas Ableman said that providers are chosen based solely on their review ratings from previous snap customers. snap handles bookings and contracts operators to run the service Mr Ableman said that in the quarter four of 2018 usage rose by over 100% with one area which saw a significant increase being the number of university students. These are a major traffic generator from an operator’s perspective. snap is flexible and allows them to bid on as many or as few trips as they choose.    

Currently snap links London with Bristol Cardiff Oxford and cities in the Midlands. Mr Ableman was speaking at last Mondays Coach Marque Conference and hinted the other non-stop London routes will be added. snap expects to be serving 14 cities by the end of 2019. It currently prices journeys with operators on the basis of a round trip but is examining the possibility of offering single leg journeys to take advantage of coaches that would otherwise undertake empty journeys to and from the depots

snap's pricing model only suits full-size vehicles despite it having examined the feasibility of using smaller coaches  Mr Ableman said “We haven’t been able to make the economics of those vehicles work because the running costs are similar to large coaches.”

In our area Oxford Bus provides snap services to London, Birmingham and Bristol.

These pictures provided by Gavin Francis. 

Local Area fleet news

Service changes

From February 19th 2019

280/X8 Arriva Aylesbury - Haddenham - Thame - Oxford: Revised 280 timetable with frequency between Aylesbury and Oxford reduced to run every 30 minutes Monday to Saturdays and hourly on Sundays. Additional journeys will operate between Haddenham & Thame Parkway Station and Oxford to provide a service every 15 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays. Service X8 revised to operate between Aylesbury and Oxford on all journeys but reduced to operate during peak hours only, mornings towards Oxford, afternoons towards Aylesbury.

8/8A Arriva RAF Halton - Wendover - Bedgrove - Aylesbury: Revised timetable including one additional morning journey between Aylesbury and RAF Halton and one journey extended to start from RAF Halton instead of Wendover. One 8A journey in each direction is extended to serve Aylesbury College. Other minor timing changes to improve reliability.

Only X8 journeys are in the peaks, the Haddenham – Oxford section looks to have two journeys an hour which along with the Aylesbury – Oxford now half hourly gives that section a 15 minute frequency. Sunday perhaps predictably back to hourly!

Tony Bungay writes "Not looked at timetable in close detail, but perhaps in part this may give the new housing developments on the Chinnor side of Thame more frequent Service too, as I said I have not looked into that aspect. 

Wonder if this will impact on the X8 branded vehicles however?"

We also note that customers have recently been complaining that the route has seen older buses and single decks used on peak services and this should now resolve itself. Some problems were created by the loss of three E400s with engine problems all at the same time. Interestingly one of these was 5459 recorded last week on the 300 in High Wycombe!

Arriva Pictureview by Gavin Francis.
all taken on January 10th

One of the problems with branding is the presentation following any accidents.

2479 has had a varied life since new, in 2009 on New Year's Day it was working a 321 at Luton Airport in spite of the branding
And now it has arrived at High Wycombe with a more standard presentation.
According to the most recent allocation list this Solo should be at Milton Keynes.

Citaro 3013 with a 300 service by Queen Alexandra Road.

3018 and 3043 working service 1 routes in Queen Alexandra Road.

A spare bus from Group which is helping at Wycombe whilst paint work is done, Cadet 3539 with a 34 service.

In spite of having branded 300 route buses at Wycombe, 3619 is working the 300 to Aylesbury.

Two Citaros are seen on local routes in Wycombe, both in the latest livery.

4824 in the first picture has been renumbered from the 6*** series and 6310 is one of the oldest Y plates in regular use.  

As mentioned in the editorial by Ralph Adams white Solo 709 has now moved to Thames Travel.

Carousel Pictureview by Gavin Francis.
All pictures taken on January 10th

Carousel runs routes under the Chiltern Hundreds banner and the 102, 103 and 104 are seen above.

Carousel runs the Chesham route in cooperation with Arriva. Above is Citaro 858 on a 1A service.

The Scania deckers are mainly seen on the 35 and 36 services as with 219 above.

As recorded above 602 has now been fully branded with a Chiltern Trains wrap and has been seen on the 2 group, X3 and 4 roads so far. A number of contributors pictures are shown below.

The first picture received of 602 was from James Freeman when the bus was working the X3 at Carfax Corner on January 9th.

An atmospheric picture of 602 with a 2A service in Kidlington on January 11th by Giles Woodforde.

602 is seen outside Debenhams with a 2 service on January 11th by Neil Beckley.

Various other pictures have been provided as shown by each caption.

Unusually Scania 204 was working the 6 on January 13th whereas 883 is the more regular choice for this route. Gavin Francis.

MMC 608 is seen with a 400 service in St. Aldates on January 12th by Gavin Francis.

Also seen on January 9th by James Freeman, the yard at Oxford Bus is host to two white delicenced coaches including 43 until recently stored at Carousel.

Ex Oxford Bus FF08OXF,
now owned by Merlin Travel of Dunfermline Fife, at Buchanan Bus Stn in Glasgow
 prior to operating a Rail Replacement service from Glasgow to Dundee taken by Paul Hawkins. January 12th.

As noted in the Editorial Solo 709 is now with this operator.

Seemingly, its now regular haunt, 214 is seen with a T1 service going through to Watlington on January 12th by Gavin Francis. 

New coaches to report with East Yorkshire are shown below.

BF68LFB  Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001909536  Co   C59FLt  11/2018  East Yorkshire 
BF68LFD  Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001909540  Co   C59FLt  11/2018  East Yorkshire 
BF68LFE  Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001909590  Co   C59FLt  11/2018  East Yorkshire 

Stansted based SH182 BK14LFW showing "FOR OUR FORCES" on the destination screen on January 11th by Gavin Francis.

xPlore Dundee by Paul Hawkins.

XPLORE Dundee 6698 SK68MBX branded for Service 22 to NEx Platinum Specification on January 12th.

XPLORE Dundee 6690 SK68LZU unbranded also with a 22 service, the bus to NEx Platinum Specification seen on January 12th.

Both Taken Outside Seagate Bus Station by Paul Hawkins. 

High quality coach operator from High Wycombe not featured in these pages before. Click on  their logo for more details.

Scania/Irizar YN13EHE seen at Downley, high above Wycombe on January 10th by Gavin Francis. 

Look out for the nine new Railair coaches based at Knollys Road.

Emerald 770 with a 702 working in Bulleid Way on January 8th by Gavin Francis. 

Current fleet strength - January 2019 - total 174

Banbury (25)

Scania/E300 (Gold) 28742 28743 28744 28745 28746
Dart SLF 34467 34468 34471 34472
ADL E20D/Enviro 200 36448 36763 36764 36765 36766 36767 36768 36769 36770
ADL E20D/Enviro 200MMC 37401 37402 37403 37404 37405
Optare Solo 47735 47736

Oxford (95)

ADL E40D/Enviro 400 10067 10068 10069 10070 10071
ADL E40D/E400MMC 10431 10432 10433 10434 10435 10436 10437 10438 10439 10440 10441 10442 10667 10668 10669 10670 10671 10672 10673 10674 10675 10676 10677 10678 10679 10680 10681
10682 10683 10684 10685 10686 10687
ADL E400H/E400 Hybd 12001 12002 12003 12004 12005 12006 12007 12008 12009 12010 12011 12012 12013
Scania/E400 (Gold) 15752 15753 15755 15756 15757 15758 15759 15760 15761 15762 15830 15831 15832 15833 15834 15835 15836 15837 15933 15934 15966
ADL E400MMC (Gold) 10779 10780 10781 10782 10783 10784 10785 10786 10787 10788
ADL E20D/Enviro 200 36771 36926 36927 36928 36929 36930 36931 36932 36933 36981 36982 36983 36984

Witney (30)

Scania/E400 (Gold) 15533 15534 15535 15536 15537 15609 15610 15611 15612 15613 15614 15615 15616 15617 15618 15619 15620 15754 15838 15964 15965
ADL E20D/Enviro 200 36760 36761 36762
Optare Solo 47451 47658
Optare Solo SR 47831 47832 47833 47834

Oxford tube (24)
Van Hool Astromega 50237 50261 50262 50263 50264 50265 50266 50267 50268 50269 50270 50271 50272 50273 50274 50275 50276 50277 50278 50279 50280 50282 50283 50284

Training Fleet (3)

Volvo B10M Coach 52424
Volvo B10M Bus 20933 20936
The training fleet is based at Oxford.

Reserve Fleet (3)
Dart SLF 34436 34437 34466

Delicenced Fleet (1)

Van Hool Astromega 50281 (Oxford)

On Loan from SC South Wales (1)

Van Hool Astromega 50237 (Oxford) 

Stagecoach Oxford is host to Stagecoach East London Dennis Trident 18469 (LX55EPZ) - a Romford depot bus
which is to be used by a Charity Group.

 18469 at Horspath Rd depot on January 11th by Gavin Francis. It must be many a year since a Trident was based at Oxford.
Of course other than the three loaned Tridents just before Christmas which have now long gone.

18469 seen at ROMFORD STATION on June 23rd 2015 by Gavin Francis.

From Theo Freeman

47736 and 36764 at Banbury Depot.

36764 with various destination screens:

City Shuttle N1

Fairport Cropredy

New route B4 Hardwick Hill

36763 on the B9 (not sure on the one behind)

34467, with broken destination blind, on 65 working.

All taken by Theo on January 12th. 

To provide cover whilst the fleet Volvo B11R/Plaxton elite coaches receive modifications at Plaxton’s Ely depot, Volvo B9R/Plaxton elite SB12NMZ is currently on loan at Bedford depot for use on the X5 Cambridge-Oxford service.

The only picture was has so far come to light of this coach is one provided by Richard Sharman on January 10th

Former Stagecoach South West Scania/Enviro 400 15667 has now entered service here and is allocated to Northampton.

Optare Solos back in service following repairs are 47418 at Kettering and 47518 at Northampton. Dart SLF 35223 is also back in use at Kettering with 35224 now undergoing repairs.

Also out of service at Kettering for repairs are Optare Solo 47407 and Trident 18150.

The company reports that Dart SLF 34626 is a further example of the type here to be converted for driver training use whilst Optare Solo 47340 is reported as being scrapped.

Major Northants revisions from Sunday, with many changes and a few cuts, but the X91 MK- Brackley survives !, for now at least.  

A point of interest with the current Oxford tube fleet is that most are now approaching 920,000 kms in their near five years life which means that those which have achieved 900,000 have run about 4500 round trips to London. Quite something I think readers will appreciate. An aside is that Megabus 50237 has now achieved approx. 1,750,000 kms and is three years older than the tube fleet. 

Now in service at Cwmbran is Volvo B11R 54211 whilst Cwmbran-allocated training bus, Volvo Astromega 50238, is now withdrawn.

Volvo B11Rs 54604/07 are now allocated to the Megabus Joint Venture fleet at Rugby with Volvo B12Bs 54077 and 54079 now in the Megabus Reserve Fleet at Rugby.

Van Hool Astromega 50253 is in use at Cumbernauld.

Megabus 54277 with the M34 in Beaumont St on January 13th by Gavin Francis. 

Other operators including London

A new wrap in London is seen adorning LT605 with a 211 working to Waterloo.
The wrap is for KURT GEIGER and is seen on January 11th by Gavin Francis.