Completed in full on June 25th.

This week the briefing is one day earlier than planned to relate to the start of the new PICKMEUP service which starts tomorrow on June 25th. It will be most interesting to follow the progress of this innovative service, in the City of Oxford, in the coming weeks.

There are a number of additions to this page made on June 25th plus all the usual fleet news etc.

973, a Mercedes Sprinter City seating 17 with four tip up seats - the others are listed below.

Fleet number and registrations are as follows:

971       BU18 YRN
972       BU18YRO
973       BU18 YRP
974       BU18 YRR
975       BU18 YRS
976       BU18 YRT 

Grahame Wareham just sent an interesting report on an event on Saturday, June 23rd which I am sure readers will find of interest.

The Cherwell Bus Preservation Group were invited to take a vehicle along to the launch of their new PICKMEUP service at Barton Community Centre yesterday. I attended with Bristol VR/ECW DP 105, owned by Dave Clements, and took some pictures on my phone of the two Mercedes Sprinters present, 971 and 973.


The service starts tomorrow and they seem to be well geared up for it."

I wonder who will be the first to send me pictures on day one? Also if someone uses the service let us have you report and pictures please.

So, what else is in the news this week.

Reading’s Brand Manager wins

Nikki Ball, Reading Buses Marketing and Brand Manager, has been named winner of the Marketing & PR category of the Santander Venus Thames Valley Awards 2018.

Nikki said: “I’m so proud to have been recognised at these prestigious awards for my determination and fun approach to marketing.

Our company’s marketing and PR has seen huge changes over the past 10 years culminating in this win that marks a great team effort on the part of our wonderful marketing team and our drivers as the face of the brand.”

One must admit that Reading has a state of the art approach to its marketing strategy and reports suggest that buses which are route branded encourage customers to feel that it is their route and their buses. Even when the company has to use unbranded buses - generic -  these employ a, thought to be, unique way to explain to customers where their own bus is!

The generic livery and explanation for use of the bus on a route.

Oxford Station’s problems

The upcoming closure of the train station for improvements seem not to answer critics.

Secretary of Railfuture's regional branch, Andrew McCallum said the station was no longer fit for purpose and urged local councils and Network Rail to take action.

He said: "It really could do with being completely rebuilt. It was recently named one of the worst stations in the country in a survey of regular train users - and I'm not in the least bit surprised.

It's no longer fit for purpose for a city of the global status of Oxford and the number of both visitors and regular commuters using the station."

However it is difficult to imagine the problems which might arise if this was to happen.

Whilst the coach journey to London is often fraught with traffic problems, at least coaches can divert to avoid the worst delays and frequency certainly outshines that of the railway!

One wonders if all the bus services will continue to serve the station with little or no train service? 

Mike Walker responded and I am publishing his letter in full for the record.


I note your comments on Oxford station in this week’s OCBP and feel I should respond. 

The rail industry, both Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies are only too aware of the shortcomings in the present station and a number of proposals have been put forward over the years, the most radical of which was to relocate the station to a new site south of Botley Road however the biggest stumbling block has been the attitudes and procrastination of Oxford City Council which has opposed every proposal, however minor, put forward by the industry – it even opposed for some time the replacement of the train crew amenity building which delayed the arrival of Chiltern into the city station by over a year. It has indicated it will oppose any plan by the industry to relocate the station despite having already made the same proposal itself! Presumably it wants to follow the DfT line that civil servants know better what the railways need than the train operators which has resulted in us being lumbered with the Super Hitachi Intercity Trains for the next 26 years! It was also its opposition to “unsightly” overhead electrification that led to the “pausing” of the works north of Didcot. Martin Sutton ruefully mused they have form on that front which is why Oxford Tramways went straight from horse trams to motor buses! 

The works this summer will see considerable alteration to the track layout between the station and Wolvercote Junction which becomes a four track railway and the completion of the double track Chiltern route into the city station. The whole area from Appleford through to Charlbury and Heyford will be resignalled with control transferred away from Oxford PSB to the TVSC at Didcot. Whilst there will no additional platforms, both the existing through platforms will become bi-directionally signalled increasing the operational flexibility of the layout. Additionally, passive provision will be provided in the works of platform 5 which is proposed to be created by converting the present down platform (4) into an island. This however will require the provision of an additional span over Botley Road on the west side which OCC is currently opposed to. It will be required for capacity reasons once East-West Rail opens to Bletchley and, possibly, beyond. The current works are something of a stop-gap. Network Rail delayed them as long as possible but with OCC seemingly unable to decide what to do, it is undertaking what is in many ways a minimal scheme. Understandably, it was reluctant to spend huge sums on a scheme which might be ripped out in just a few years. 

The coach service to London may be more frequent but is it any more reliable? One understands that loadings on the coach services have been considerably reducing over the past year or so which may be attributed to a combination of the increasing congestion on the M40/A40 with its consequent effect on coach time keeping and the arrival of Chiltern Railways at Oxford Parkway despite their Achilles Heel of poor onward connectivity from Marylebone. 

The Oxford – Paddington timetable will be revamped from December 2019 when Crossrail opens and the larger GWR main line and Thames Valley timetables will be completely rewritten. The service would have been even better if OCC had not been so obstinate. 

Therefore direct any complaints to the City Council not the rail industry! 


Mike Walker. 

Many thanks to Mike Walker for his comments.

Go-Ahead buys EYMS from the Shipp family

Hull-headquartered East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS), including Scarborough and District Motor Services, has been bought by Go North East, part of the international transport organisation Go-Ahead Group Plc, for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 1926 and owned and operated for the last three decades by the Shipp family, EYMS transports over 17 million passengers annually, has a workforce of 700 staff and runs over 300 buses and coaches throughout Hull, East Riding and the North Yorkshire Coast.

For over 100 years, Go North East has run bus services connecting the region's towns and villages with the cities of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland. Currently operating across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and into Tees Valley, it is one of 10 regional subsidiary bus companies within the Go-Ahead Group.

“We are excited to welcome the EYMS team into the Go-Ahead family,” says David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead. “Like Go North East, the company is well established in the local communities it serves and shares the same values of excellent customer service and strong employee engagement"

“Bringing companies like EYMS into the Group draws us ever-closer to our vision of a world where every journey is taken care of, while meeting our strategic objective of building a sustainable business that meets the needs of our customers and communities.”

Andrew Webb writes "East Yorkshire operate National Express contracts as illustrated by this Levante calling at Stamford on Saturday evening, June 23rd."

Picture by Andrew Webb.

Latest Northcord model release

This is a really nice model of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire's MMC 10684 on route 3 to Rose Hill. Detail is significant.
Check with your dealer to find out when you can get this model.

Published on Monday, June 25th.

From Nigel Peach

I have seen the following news items concerning Arriva the Shires.

Fleet Changes:

Volvo / Wright 3861 (ex Luton?) was parked in Aylesbury Bus Station a few days ago. 

The Arriva Midlands Enthusiasts Facebook group is reporting that 3794 and also Wycombe's 3105 & 3106 have gone to Midlands depots, with the remainder of Wycombe's E200 MMCs (3107-11) to move north imminently. Possibly Wigston.  They are not sure what is replacing them at Wycombe.

(From another source I have heard that Arriva has secured a Nottingham University contract which will require less than 12 month old buses - hence the move of the E200 MMC's - Ed.)

Route changes:

From looking up on today’s date and the Eastern area.... a few changes for Aylesbury & Wycombe routes

From 29 July....Cancelled:

8 - Aylesbury - Bedgrove
50 - Aylesbury - Halton
61 - Aylesbury - Dunstable
650 - Aylesbury - Cottlesloe School 
48 - Great Missenden to Lane End via High Wycombe.

"Registered" (so new or change to existing)

30 - High Wycombe to Downley
31 - High Wycombe to Penn
32 - Booker to Micklefield
33 - Totteridge/Micklefield to Desborough Castle
35 - High Wycombe to Bourne End
41 - High Wycombe to Great Missenden
48 - High Wycombe to Lane End

Based on the registration numbers, the 41 and 48 are new registrations (splitting the cancelled 48 into two separate routes), the others are modifications to existing registrations.

I'd noticed (possibly last week), a registration for 650 by Red Rose. 

Without knowing the details, I'd not be surprised if the Wycombe changes include frequency cuts.

As for the Aylesbury changes, those cancellations are quite significant, leaving some areas of town without a service. I suspect the county council will hope one of the local operators (e.g. Z&S, Star Travel, one of the "reds") takes them on in some form without needing any subsidy. 

I have noticed (presumably in place of 3105 and 3106) a couple of elderly replacements at Wycombe:

DAF SB120s 3539 (LF52UOB) (originally a London bus) and 2704 (BU02URY) from Arriva Midlands. Also around is Dart 2159 (LF51DCT) also ex Midlands.

Very many thanks to Nigel for all of this. Indeed how sad that we've only had the MMCs for a short time and now we face locally a lot of elderly buses to replace same. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Gavin also reports that he saw three of MMCs in convoy northbound on the M40 on June 24th!!!!!!

Southern  Counties 

Ian Hardy writes to say "Re the comment about the Arriva SC coaches on the 758, 9003 was at Bullied Place at about 08:15 this morning (20th June), 6527 was going down Grosvenor Place at 08:30 on the next 758 arrival from Hemel."


Obviously readers will be aware from the earlier notes that East Yorkshire has been taken over by Go North East and Andrew Tyldsley has sent a few pictures, taken recently, of EYMS buses.

One of the oldest EYMS buses to pass into Go Ahead ownership is Volvo B7TL 658. Parked up in Beverley Sow Hill Bus Station, it was EYMS first low floor double deck, originally registered  W658WKH.

EYMS Enviro 200 503 (MX12CFG) was new to Ace, Aintree and carries branding for the Flemingate Centre, Beverley.

The Volvo B8RLE hasn't sold in big numbers, but EYMS have a few - 394 BU16OYG is seen leaving Beverley Bus Station.

The next pictures were all taken in Hull.

EYMS 773 YX59FGZ is one of a large number of Wright Gemini bodied Volvo double decks, in this case a B9TL.

EYMS is one of the few provincial operators to take the MCV EVoSeti body on Volvo B5TL chassis, 811 was one of a dozen new in 2017 that were the last new buses purchased under the Shipp family ownership.

EYMS Enviro 400 909 started life as a hybrid, but is now converted to normal diesel power.

Many thanks to Andrew for those pictures. My memories of East Yorkshire was during a holiday in Scarborough in the early '50s and seeing Beverley Bar Leyland PD2 double deck semi-coaches in blue and cream.

Also received were some pictures from Mike Penn.

Here are some East Yorkshire photos taken at the beginning of this month.  Mostly in Scarborough but with a couple (the Lodekka and the trainer) taken in Bridlington at the end of the East Coast Run.

The livery reminds me of those PD2's - East Yorkshire 645 80EYC ex 866NHT (from Bristol I think Ed.)

East Yorkshire 361 YX58CWA on the 64 service.

East Yorkshire 390 SN65ZGL works the 8 with the Scarborough Harbour in the background.

East Yorkshire's 881 A10EYD ex X579EGK and 883 897EYX ex X591EGK both with Scarborough & district for seafront services.

Readers may remember the TV programmes featuring East Yorkshire's buses sometime ago. I much appreciate the contribution from Mike which bring back happy memories of childhood holidays.

From Nigel Peach

551 (C1 WYC), MCV bodied Alexander Dennis has reverted to its original registration number AJ58PZS. Likewise 553 has reverted to AE59AWM. I guess 552 will also have lost its cherished plate?

I wonder which buses will take over the C1-3WYC plates. I attach a picture of 873 advertising new route 104 Wycombe - Slough. Pleased to note that 873 was actually on route 104 when I took the picture on 21st June!

Mercedes 873 working the 104 and showing rear branding - June 21st by Nigel Peach.

Again good news for photographers. 

I am advised by the company the following information regarding fleet movements.

Go Ahead Dublin operations have taken ten Citaros from Oxford. These are:

826, 827, 829-836

If any reader has pictures of these buses in Dublin these would be much appreciated. Ed.

Pictures from Gavin Francis on June 25th.

Scania coach 44 with an X90 London service in the High Street on June 25th.

661 works 5 road in Frideswide Square on June 25th.

663 with a 500 service but oddly the blind now has the 500 on the off side! I wonder why? 

2905 V905FEC has transferred to Plymouth Citybus.

Scania 201 is being converted to open top for City Sightseeing and is expected back in the autumn.

I think Gavin Francis was the first person to secure a picture of one of the new buses in service - at 0720 on Monday morning, June 25th! Well done Gavin. It turned out to be 0723 at Thornhill.

971 at Thornhill at 0723.

Next pictures are at Oxford Train Station with 972 from many angles including an interior shot all by Gavin Francis on June 25th.


 Plaxton President Dennis Trident T885KLF on a school run near Oakley - Beds on June 22nd by Gary Seamarks.
The child on the upper deck front seat takes one back to the days when many of us would have enjoyed those seats as children!!

This company is based at Cardington near Bedford and operate a variety of services and, of course, private hires. They have a very good website as noted above.

Gary Seamarks sent a few pictures of their vehicles operating a school service near Oakley taken on June 22nd. The Plaxton coach is interesting since it spent much of its Stagecoach life working the X5 service between Cambridge and Oxford via Bedford.

The vehicles look in excellent condition and I remember including a visit to their depot in an issue in 2007 -
At that time the company was based near Shefford and since then vehicle presentation and the company profile has significantly improved.

What is also scary is the fact that your Editor arrived at RAF Cardington in February 1958 to begin his RAF regular service. We even travelled by special train from Cardington to Bridgnorth to be trained in the luxury of square bashing!!!! That February was one of the coldest winters experienced.

An Emerald branded bus 764 is seen with a 702 service in Bulleid Way, Victoria on June 25th working through to Reading at 1700hrs.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Bure Park Primary School held a Fayre in June and Stagecoach in Oxfordshire attended with a Gold bus which attracted a lot of interest.

Photo by George Irvine.

Jim Wright wrote to me with a picture "An unusual visitor to Horspath on June 20th was trainer 25214 from West in an unusual orange livery."

West's Optare Versa, recently reported in Gloucester, visited Horspath depot on June 20th as seen by Jim Wright.

Gary Seamarks writes "Sending a few taken at Oakley Beds, today on school 'home' runs. (More pictures under their operator headings.)

The "Stagie" E20D was a surprise, as it was one of the Kings Lynn batch and was the first day on the road post repaint."

Midlands 37436 SN16ORGworks school 828, newly repainted, near Oakley - Beds on June 22nd by Gary Seamarks.

A nice picture of Gold 15349 with a 66 working in Frideswide Square on June 25th.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Seemingly due to a shortage of coaches and the impending departure of 50285 and 50286, once again a spare Megabus Astromega has  appeared in Oxford again.

Seen at Horspath depot on the evening of June 25th - by Gavin Francis.


Pieces of history from Nigel Lukowski

These are some great views from Nigel which should evoke memories of older readers.

395  -  A rather battered Leyland Leopard / Alexander from the S M Emerton fleet, taken at the Cranfield depot May 1982. I have this bus as being the former Western B1926.

441  -  May 1980, Southdown 734 (SCD 734N), one of the fine Leyland Atlantean / PRV taken into several NBC fleets is found on Bramber (West Sussex) on the Steyning-Brighton service 100. Behind the bus are the remains of Bramber Castle and the complete and still active St Nicholas Church.

514  -  Oxford in green, former Bristol Omnibus RELL / ECW turns from the High Street while in use with COMS as its number 680.  This was April 1983.

521  -  Hastings in September 1983, with the East Cliff and English Channel in the back-ground, if you look closely there's a Hastings & District Bristol VR on the A259, passing the busy coach park.

530  -  Reading Bus Station in April 1983.  From left to right, two Alder Valley Bristol VRT's, XMO 541H (AV 914) and GGM 78W (608), next is Alder Valley's Londonlink Leyland Leopard /Plaxton
GGM 69W (AV's 09) and contrasting Southdown Leyland Leopard / Duple RYJ 883R (Southdown 1283).  The Southdown Leopard is about to work the lengthy 762 to Brighton via Aldershot, Dorking, Guildford, Crawley/Gatwick... '762 - The Coach for You' as the timetable used to proclaim.

If the NBC symbol on the front (and just visible on the side) of the Southdown Leopard look odd its because its pointing upwards rather than forward.  This was to mark the award to Southdown of the 1981 NBC Chairman's Award for Innovation, for the Company's work on computerising fare charts.

From out of our area

Mike Penn has kindly provided some interesting pictures from Llandudno saying "know it’s a bit late but I thought you might like to see some photos from the Llandudno Transport Festival last month. The last couple of times I went there the two evening road runs were cancelled because of the state of the rally field following heavy rain but there was no problem this year, so I was able to get plenty of good photos."

First here were two buses converted to mobile caravans but both restored to original liveries.

Former Southern Vectis ECW bodied Bristol LS JDL 760

and former Eastbourne East Lancs bodied Leyland PD2 BJK675D.

Two former Crosville vehicles – Beadle/Bedford chassisless JFM 990 (only one other of this type still exists) – this was converted to a mobile office late in its life and has recently been restored to this form.

Also, ECW bodied Bristol L6B LFM 753 nicely restored in dual purpose livery.

Two Duple bodied Bedford OBs – CCF 669 which was new to Chambers of Bures (I last saw this at the 1978 Southend bus rally!).

Also, LTT 913 – new to Sunbeam of Torquay.

Two Foden coaches – KMA 553 with Plaxton body that was new to Bullock of Cheadle (I had a ride on it in 1971 and this is the first time I have seen it since!)

Also, MTU 296 with Metalcraft body that was new to Coppenhall of Sandbach.

Two former Llandudno UDC buses – Waveney bodied Commer PN3 JC 4557 and Dennis bodied Dennis Pax V FJC 736F.
The Dennis has a ratchet brake for climbing up the Great Orme, protecting it from rolling back.

Former Southport Corporation (but new to Ribble) Burlingham bodied Leyland PS2 CRN 993 converted to open top for seafront duties.

This started life as a normal single decker with Ribble Motor Services, Preston.

Duple bodied Bedford SB DCC 125 new to Williams of Waunfawr.

Harrington Wayfarer bodied Seddon Mk19 VHO 200, new to Liss and District.

Former St. Helens Corporation East Lancs bodied Leyland PD2 MDJ 555E – the first time I have seen this in preservation.
Surely this must be one of the nicest liveries of the period.

Former Ribble (but new to Hampshire Bus) Duple bodied Dennis Javelin F135 SPX.

What a wonderful selection of vehicles, seemingly now from Times Past !

A weekly contribution from Gordon Scott

Lothian Motor coaches taken in Corstorphine Edinburgh 9004 SN18CVW on June 24th by Gordon Scott.