Part One - with Part Two added on Tuesday, October 16th 2018
Do check through to be sure not to miss the Tuesday additions.


And so another week passes by with some of our weather being very difficult for operators and customers alike. The South and West seems badly hit with roads closed and flooding. Here in the South East things are not too bad and only the wind has been stronger than usual. This operators are seemingly keeping up to speed with their schedules.

This week's issue will be in two parts as I have run out of time for a whole issue on Sunday.

One item of interest within the Carousel operating area is the introduction of "the key" as reported below. This facility is much used throughout the Go-Ahead Group.

Bus company launches its own version of London's Oyster card system for passengers in Bucks

Carousel Buses says its new travel smartcard called 'the key' will save passengers time and money. Passengers will be able to pay for their travel in advance by putting credit on the pass online and in travel shops.

Cllr Mark Shaw, Bucks County Council's transport chief with Phil Southall, Carousel Buses Managing Director displaying the key..

They will work in a similar way to London's Oyster card system - with passengers tapping the
key onto a card reader when they board the bus. Passengers can use The Key for single and return journeys, or purchase 12 trip bundles, or weekly or monthly passes for various travel zones.

Phil Southall, Carousel Buses Managing Director, said: “This is the next step in our ongoing strategy to make bus travel as accessible and convenient as possible for passengers. Smartcards are a very popular product, easy to use and save time and money, so we’re delighted to be further improving our service to our customers."

Bucks County Council's transport chief, Cllr Mark Shaw, said: “The Key is Buckinghamshire’s first smartcard scheme on the buses and we are delighted that this technology will improve passengers’ journey experience and provide a more affordable and convenient way to travel. Buckinghamshire County Council continues to work with bus companies to help improve the quality of services on offer and encourage bus use.”

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 16 October, starting at 7.15 p.m. at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford OX4 4EY. 

There will  be a talk on "Isle of Wight Beer & Buses Weekend and other recent events", with a further talk about Showbus 2018 and the speakers recent travels around Yorkshire, Cheshire and Merseyside. 

As usual the restaurant will be serving a wide range of food and drink before the meeting.    

Pictures of school buses

An interesting subject but sometimes one fraught with difficulties! One has to be cautious as an individual taking pictures outside a school or when pupils are leaving the buses or coaches can be taken in the wrong way.

However there are some interesting vehicles to be sighted as seen below, when Gavin Francis caught up with an ex Dublin ALX400 on a school journey to Stokenchurch from High Wycombe. Dublin are disposing of a large fleet of these buses and so it not surprising if some should appear locally. However the current livery displayed, that of Dublin, is maybe a little more unusual.

An ex Dublin decker being used by Heyfordian on school contracts. The date was October 9th by Gavin Francis.

Recent County Council Meeting reported by Ralph Adams

I was at the transport review meeting this week and social inclusion came up. Part of this referred to the use of PickMeUp as a way of access for many in a similar manner to Dial A Ride. To me this would mean potentially more wheelchair users more often, longer spent on picking up with drivers needing to ensure passengers were safely stowed, but the downside would be other passengers might feel journey times are taking longer than with walk on passengers.

From Andrew Webb

"Thanks for another enjoyable and informative update.  I can offer a minor correction for the Allen's Tours Van Hool 'bendy'.  Whilst it did spend time with Morton's (where it was registered H15BUS), it was delivered new to Translink as DAZ3001 and so has effectively returned home."

Simon Caygill's travel to North Wales

Just a couple of pictures from Simon which are of interest, with the West Midlands one following last issues report from Dylan Jones.

A prime route for West Midlands, 6842 is on the X1 from Birmingham to Coventry via the NEC. September 11th by Simon Caygill.

On Arriva Cymru's number 1 service from Wrexham to Chester, 1000 - CX17BYA has full branding in Welsh on the offside,
the date September 11th by Simon Caygill.
These buses feature a panoramic glass roof which must add to the journey pleasure on this route.

STOP PRESS - Tuesday, October 16th. 

Head on crash on the northbound carriageway of the M40 between junctions 6 and 7 brings total chaos to surrounding roads

A 4x4 towing a caravan entered the A40 dual carriageway by Wheatley and headed towards London using the M40 in the wrong direction. Many motorists were able to avoid the 4x4 and caravan, said to be travelling in the fast lane against the flow of traffic but in the end midway between junctions 6 & 7. the inevitable happened, when the head on crash occurred around 1630 on Monday, October 15th. At the time of writing on Tuesday morning apart from video captures available on the internet no details of casualties have been released.

Needless to say, following the closure of the M40 in both directions coaches between Oxford and London were severely delayed and diverted. For part of the time the stops at Lewknor could not be served.

Fleet News

With many thanks to Gavin Francis for the pictures shown below. For a reason I haven't quite worked out Arriva do seem to predominate in high Wycombe these days.

Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer 29 seat 2297 is seen with a 33 service on October 10th by Gavin Francis.

Wrights StreetLite 2526, looking rather careworn, is seen on a 37 service to Maidenhead rather than its booked route 33 service on October 10th by Gavin Francis.

Once part of the Derby based fleet where its sisters remain, 2509 is working a 30 service on October 10th by Gavin Francis.

DAF DB240 with East Lancs Lowlander N44/29F 4722 is nominally an Aylesbury bus but is seen with a 41 service to Great Missenden Station on October 10th by Gavin Francis.

Charlton are still involved in local service 94 and the coach below appears on this service on October 12th.

S822NNV is a 1998 Mercedes Eurocoach by Gavin Francis. It came from Country Lion of Northampton.  

On Friday, October 12th, I noticed that the 0950 service on route 40 from Thame through Stokenchurch was running some 10+ minutes late with Solo 713 on the working. It appeared that nearly all seats were filled and so by West Wycombe it would have been a standing load. That service is always very popular being the first that concession pass users can board. 

Ralph Adams writes "The plan is that red Brookes buses are on U5 although there will always be grey ones as the PVR is greater than 6.

On Tuesday, October 9th, 672 (Park & Ride) was not available in the morning so a red bus substituted. 672 was later made serviceable and a route 5 (pink) went down. The only available bus was 672 so it was put on 5 road.

Another day and another place - 672 with a 400 service negotiates the High St/Carfax on October 13th taken by Gavin Francis.

In St Aldates, the top stop is 400, next is 5. A person was helping a wheelchair passenger onto 672 going to Blackbird Leys and something was said about Thornhill – she had seen the mauve livery. So she had to be taken off the bus, plus another three passengers when hearing the conversation also got off to go to the correct bus stop. Colour coding is a problem when vehicles are pressed into service after initial run out!"

I think the expression is "Needs must when the devil drives" !!! When I reflect I don't envy the allocator's job when correctly branded buses are not available. It is said "better a bus than no bus at all."

Simon Caygill writes on October 10th "Ex COMS X90 route L150HUD I have just seen at Didcot on rail replacement to Newbury, and in the Summer to Oxford/Reading there was strange bodied coach ... With a Z in registration but a rare body."

L150HUD is of course now with Walters of Wheatley having at one time been with Worth's of Enstone after its service with COMS.

From Joshua Sammons

A recent visit to Wales as Arriva is loosing the Arriva Trains Wales franchise on October 14th 2018. This gave me the opportunity to catch up with some ex Oxford buses from Harris Coaches in Aberbargoed where they have these school buses with Oxford bus signs in still place. As can be seen they are part of a large fleet of B10Bs once prevalent around Oxford.

ex Oxford Bus 608 and 635 with Harris Coaches taken by Joshua Sammons.
Harris Coaches web site

Airline 61 with an X90 working negotiates the High St/Carfax on October 13th taken by Gavin Francis.

68 arrives in London ready for a return with a sn-ap service on October 8th by Gavin Francis.
We assume that when sn-ap passengers are booked the destination screen reflects this fact??

204 with an X3 service and 205 with a U5 service on October 13th and 8th by Gavin Francis. Note that 205 still carries Brookes branding!

Hybrid 353 with a 5 road service picks up in St Aldates on October 8th by Gavin Francis.

All grey 602 with an X3 road service in St Aldates on October 8th by Gavin Francis. It seems to look strange somehow!

3 road 685 squeezes through the roadworks at High St/Carfax on October 13th by Gavin Francis.

Ralph Adams writes "Four more PickMeUp buses are on order for delivery next month."

This will be meet the reported demand and success of this service reported in the press recently. Ed. 

I am delighted to give readers a sneak preview of Scania 201 which is expected to return to Oxford shortly after a rebuild and refit with conversion to open top for City Sightseeing duties.

David Gray has kept me up to speed and referred me to the Hants & Dorset Facebook page which provided our pictures.

Pictures of 201 nearly ready for return to Oxford - courtesy Hants & Dorset Trim.

Jack Cooper has sent a picture of 201 fully branded and provided by Andy Morrison. It looks very smart.

With thanks to Andy Morison.

Ralph Adams reports "The new timetables have now been published and the T1 looks a lot better than the initial publicity. It now runs at about hourly frequency all day with more buses going to Watlington, with a few terminating at Chalgrove. Two buses are used all day with no departures to cover Didcot schools so an extra bus required. One appears to be operated from COMS garage and one from Wallingford. This does mean that BB1A which the second T1 bus disappeared to operate will now be just a school bus.

228 has the revised River Rapids map leaving just 254 still with the original map.

Roland informed me he saw four BB1 buses. The timetable only shows three but yesterday looking at Traveline I see that four are now scheduled. This means an extra bus plus a growing demand for Abingdon children to go to Didcot (the all girls school is very popular with some parents). This is in contrast with Our Lady’s at Abingdon which has gone from all girls to mixed.

The 250 is fully self contained with two buses and according to drivers never has more than 25 passengers, normally less than 15 maximum at the peaks. The T1 will require one Cowley bus all day, the second bus coming from Wallingford which does do X34 at 8:05. I have not seen the workings yet but I think the rest of the day from 9:16 at Watlington. the Wallingford bus is off a school trip. 

It would be sensible to have up to 3 Solos for these 2 routes (and keep them on those routes) with Citaros as spares if needed."

Many thanks to Ralph for those comprehensive notes which may answer some questions readers may have had.

New Volvo 621 is seen with an X2 working in St. Aldates on Saturday, October 13th by Gavin Francis.

Interesting news, hot of the press, is the entry into service of at least two new Scania/Caetano 59 seat coaches based at Stansted for London services. As ever Gavin Francis was on hand to ensure a record of one was available for this issue (Part 2 update).

BF68LCZ a Scania K410EB6/Caetano C59FLt at VCS on October 15th by Gavin Francis. A further example not seen is registered BF68LDA.
This new style bodywork is still comparatively rare but now further examples are entering service.

David Rouse writes regarding my last issue saying "Can I be really picky and say we don't have a bus fleet number 154. The kennections bus is actually 164.

David was of course quite correct and I have amended the original page and thank you. Corrections are always welcome.


As advised by Ralph Adams "One of the E40D buses is used on a contract from Our Lady’s to Goring, presumably then going to Newbury rather than to Didcot overnight."

Luke Braham writes "On Sunday 30th September, Red Rose of Aylesbury took East Lancs Vyking HJ02HFF, East Lancs Spryte Y359LCK and Enviro200 YX18 KOV to Showbus at Donington Park. The trio are seen in the depot before making the journey up the M1.


Later that morning, the trio are seen again parked up at Northampton services where we met with Arriva the Shires’ Luton depot who had entered Enviro200MMC 3114 YX17NMY.


HJ02HFF is seen upon arrival at Donington Park showing off Nick Cherry’s Showbus blinds.

On Sunday 30th September, Red Rose took over the Fairford Leys section of the Silver Rider in Aylesbury. The Buckingham Park section was incorporated into an extended Water Rider run by Redline Buses after Z&S Transport’s withdrawal. Enviro200s E4RRT (KX09 ACU) and E7RRT (OU08 EHP) were branded for the new service with E7RRT also being given the silver and red version of fleet livery. They are seen parked together in the Red Rose depot on the 30th September shortly before entering service on the Silver Rider. The pair are both seen in Aylesbury town centre during there first week of operating the Silver Rider.

Red Rose E4RRT was KX09ACU with the SR1 on October 5th by Luke Braham.

Red Rose E7RRT was OU08EHP with another SR1 on October 5th by Luke Braham

"Red Rose Enviro200 E1RRT has been off the road recently being prepared for it’s MOT meaning Dart W402UGM has been substituting on the 275 service. It is seen entering High Wycombe bus station on October 5th. Spryte Y358LCK also made an appearance on the 275 on October 2nd."


in Oxfordshire

Ralph Adams advises "There are timetable changes on 15 and 19 in 2 weeks with the journey time from Ducklington to Witney taking ONE minute longer, or 4 minutes longer on the last 15. No change on the outgoing services. Also the 19 at Carterton Crossroads will be set down only. Not a major change!"

MMC 10684 was involved in an accident in Headington and may be expected to be off the road for sometime now.

MMC 10431 with a number 1 at High St/Carfax on October 13th by Gavin Francis.

Heading in the opposite direction MMC 10441 is seen turning out of St Aldates on October 13th by Gavin Francis.

Newer MMC 10679 is seen turning into St Aldates, with an 8 working, on its way into town, the date is October 13th by Gavin Francis.

East Midlands

News of buses which were once part of the Oxford fleet, fully branded for Brookes services when new.

Just two Tridents now remain at Worksop, 18052 named the Harworth Belle and 18054 named the Doncaster Belle with the other two Bassetlaw Belles-branded Tridents at Lincoln (18055 the Bircoates Belle) and Hull. (18056 the Retford Belle) 18055 and 18056 are expected to lose their branding in due course.

18052 is seen in Worksop and readers may remember when these buses used to spend their summer VAC in Devon!!


A further Gold-spec ADL Enviro 400MMC in service from Kettering is 11130. 

South West

Former Stagecoach East Midlands Volvo B9R 53603 has emerged from the paint shop at Matford in corporate livery for service with Stagecoach South West.

Picture by Adrian Roberts.

Readers may remember that this coach was once part of the fleet used on the X5 service prior to the arrival of the current tri-axles.

West Scotland

Volvo B9R Plaxton Elite 53713 - YN60ACF ex National Express East Kent is seen on route 81 Dumfries to Lockerbie.

Picture by Gordon Scott taken on October 10th. This coach is based at Stranraer

Following the termination of work on the Rail Replacement services in Derby, a number of the 2009 Van Hool coaches have now appeared in various places. All of the 2009 fleet have now left Stagecoach and sightings of same would be much appreciated.

Choice of 9!!!
2009 Van Hool TD925 Astromega
87 seat DDA Compliant executive double deck coach
DAF Engine
ZF Astronic automatic gearbox
14m Tri axle
Twin entrance door
Twin staircase
Lower toilet
2 tables in lower deck
Digital destination screens
Air conditioned
Alcoa durabright alloy wheels
Only £82,500 each!
For more information please call Joe on 07739974066

ex 50217 - OU59AVD - with Proctors in September 2018. (Pictures by Proctors)

Van Hool Astromegas 50202/03/05/07/08 have been reported with Andrews, Foxton, Cambridgeshire where they have been re-registered. Further details are awaited.

Saturday saw delays in the centre of Oxford when outbound Oxford tube services were diverted long Queen Street due to the road works at Carfax Corner.

50270 in Queen Street on diversion, the date is October 13th taken by Gavin Francis.

50265 negotiates the two way working at High St/Carfax on October 13th taken by Gavin Francis.

A half marathon in London on Sunday, October 14th added to the diversions and delays on the Oxford tube services.

Megabus 54212 showing how the old £1 logos have been replaced by suitable branding and parked near VCS on October 12th by Gavin Francis.

Megabus 54287 named "Mega 'N' Harry" ready to work the M7 to Aberystwyth seen in Green Line on October 12th by Gavin Francis. 18467 LX55EPV named "King George V" in Victoria on October 13th by Gavin Francis.

New buses recently received are as listed.

56  SK68TNL  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX15141050  Wt AL990  B??F  9/2018  UNO,Hatfield 
57  SK68TNN  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX15141051  Wt AL991  B??F  9/2018  UNO,Hatfield 
58  SK68TNO  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX15141052  Wt AL992  B??F  9/2018  UNO,Hatfield 
59  SK68TNU  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX15141053  Wt AL993  B??F  9/2018  UNO,Hatfield 
60  SK68TNV  Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX15141054  Wt AL994  B??F  9/2018  UNO,Hatfield 

Operations in London

Now part of The Original Tour operations and using Original Tour vehicles interesting times are ahead. Tickets for each operator are valid on the other service.

Now using Original tour fleet numbers City Tour DLP257 LJ51DKE is seen outside Victoria Station on October 12th by Gavin Francis.

A "scoop" from London by Gavin Francis was an all electric sightseeing bus taken on Saturday October 13th. Most unusually this was in green!!! A week ago this bus was in red/white and blue.

A Volvo BT5L/Unvi claiming all electric on October 13th but on October 3rd it was not!! both by Gavin Francis.

Another Original Tour wrap is VXE735 now promoting M&M's World! Wraps are certainly very obvious when visiting London.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken on October 12th.

Other London operators with wraps

Abellio LT632 with wrap for John Lewis on October 12th by Gavin Francis

Arriva LT4 working the 38 service with a wrap for Tommy Hilfiger on October 12th by Gavin Francis.
I think this bus was in green and cream livery?

Go Ahead LT483 works route 11 with wrap for Ralph Lauren at the northbound VCS stop on October 12th by Gavin Francis.

Go Ahead LT504 with wrap for SONY Xperia XZ3 working an 11 service at the southbound VCS stop on October 8th by Gavin Francis.