Last week's issue seems to have proved a great success, especially since many of my readers appreciated the article on Route 66. It generated responses from as far away as New Zealand. Here Andrew Dyer wrote remembering his early days with this route, as the Managing Director of Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus, when at the end of 1993 the company was acquired by Stagecoach! Further pictures have come to light and it seems that this history may well justify a page all of its own in due course. So, again, if anyone has more pictures, information and memories please do let me have them.

A development of some significance is that I have been advised that Stagecoach will operate a Park & Ride service from the nearby Car Park to Bicester Village.  This started on November 23rd and will last for five to six weeks. Some double deckers will be used from Stroud depot of Stagecoach West. No further details were known at the time of writing but it appears that these buses will looked after by Oxford depot, probably for fuelling and cleaning. More details of the buses involved and updates are to be found below and under the Stagecoach in Oxfordshire heading.

Update on the 66 story

I received several emails following the article in the last issue.

First is one from Andrew Dyer, now in New Zealand, who until recently was Managing Director of Stagecoach South.

Andrew writes "Thanks as ever for another great weekly news page and I was interested to read the piece about the 66.

Perhaps I can give some more info about the mid 1990s “breakthrough”.

I was appointed MD of Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus in 1993 and the Stagecoach takeover came at the end of that year. Clive Norman my Commercial Officer and I were keen to take opportunities to develop routes with potential and we got great support from Stagecoach centrally.

Our first project was to increase the frequency of Cheltenham-Gloucester route 94, followed by Swindon -Cheltenham route 51 where we created a proper hourly frequency with new Volvo B10Ms supported by the newly created Government Rural Development fund. 

Passenger growth on the 51 was amazing and spurred on by this, we then turned our attention to the 66 which at that time was an irregular timetable with most journeys following different routes. We planned and introduced a standard hourly frequency with all journeys going the same way! Three new Dennis Darts P901-3 SMR were purchased for the operation. This upset people in places like Hinton Waldrist which we no longer diverted to serve, but passenger growth overall was over 50%.

Swindon 902 to be 32902 - P902SMR with a 66, the branding showing service to Marlborough seen on March 3rd 1998 by Malcolm Crowe.

Along with lots of new housing along the route, this laid the foundation for the huge success the 66 has become."

The second came from Raymond James who

Raymond writes as under.

1) There was a period in the mid 90s where the 65 & 66 was operated by Thamesdown Transport using a mixture of Duple bodied Dennis Lancets and Leyland Tiger coaches with Plaxton 3200 bodywork. The Lancets came from Merseyside and the Tigers from BA/London Country.

2) When Stagecoach took the route back over, it was operated by a mixture of buses including Leyland Nationals and Volvo B6s. The B6s and Dennis Darts as shown in your article carried joint branding for the 66 and Swindon service 70 to Marlborough and the buses changed service at Swindon. The 66 also had the first low floor Volvo B6LEs in use at Swindon before the launch of local services 6, 7 & 8.

Swindon's 852 to be 31852 - P852SMR, a Volvo B6BLE/E200, with a 66 service but branded for service to Wroughton,
leaves Gloucester Green on March 21st 1998 seen by Malcolm Crowe.

3) Thames Transit took over the 65 service and operated it alongside the 65A from Swindon to Wantage. They operated it at the time that Stagecoach took over and various Mercedes minibuses and darts operated on it.

Also of note is that a local operator which has long since ceased trading called Coachman operated a 67A from Swindon via Highworth, Shrivenham and Faringdon to if my memory is right Stanford-in-the-Vale, usually operated by a VR or Titan but they did have an interesting vehicle in the guise of the Alexander bodied Iveco TurboCity double decker.

The double deck Coachman fleet seen on April 24th 2007 by Marcus Lapthorn.

A local import was COMS Bristol VR HUD497 again seen on April 24th 2007 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Now I wonder if anyone has pictures of Thamesdown buses working the 65 & 66?

Ralph Adams also contributed more information of interest regarding the route.

"Under Stagecoach, the route has been operated by Swindon.

In early 1990s, there was a staff problem at the garage so Darts 901/902 were for a short while under Oxford control. They were driven by Oxford controllers empty to Swindon daily to start service and return empty in the evening. The fuel tanks were not sufficient for the day so the buses would pull onto a service station in service to fill up and paid from the cash takings.

At the time, Oxford already had a 901/2, Lance buses operating to Chipping Norton so had two bus numbers duplicated on the daily fueling lists.

The 66 was allowed only 70 minutes for the journey and I believe interworked with the Marlborough service."

Marcus Lapthorn has also added some more information including some pictures of Coachman vehicles.

Marcus writes remembering news he sent me in 2011 regarding the long M A N buses then used on the 66.

March 11 2011

Stagecoach West have withdrawn all the MAN's from the 66 route! There are two theories doing the rounds about this: 
The 66 route is now operated entirely by Darts including the 54 route branded Darts that used to operate from Swindon to Wootton Bassett. Occasionally a double decker may also be on the route. So quite a change around for the Swindon to Oxford route.

Of course within a few months of that in early 2012 a fleet of Scania Gold buses were launched on the route as described in last week's issue. This may have had something to do with the above non-use of the M A N s.

West's Olympain16055 with a 65 service in Stanford in the Vale on March 24th 2007 by Marcus Lapthorn.

West's Olympian 16110 with a 65 en-route to Faringdon on August 1st 2012 by Marcus Lapthorn.

SC One missed from last week was this excellent picture of 22745, seemingly borrowed on its way to South to work the 66 on January 12th 2017.
Marcus Lapthorn caught this one on the service.

Further updates and details will be published as these become available. 

Changes in those serving Bicester Park & Ride

Stagecoach started to run the Bicester Park & Ride to Bicester Village service from November 23rd. I was delighted that Ralph Adams had taken time on Friday last to photograph this service and that from Bicester North Station to the Village currently run by Hallmark. They still run the odd bus in Rotala Bristol livery!

Stagecoach moved in three Tridents from West. Ralph got pictures of all three as can be seen below plus various Hallmark buses working on the 23rd.

Stagecoach buses.

 18090, 18315 and 18321 at Bicester Park & Ride having arrived from Bicester Village on November 23rd as seen by Ralph Adams.

Hallmark buses.

Hallmark 40625 BJ14KTC, still in Bristol livery, on November 23rd as seen by Ralph Adams.

Hallmark LJ04LFD, which is ex Arriva, on November 23rd as seen by Ralph Adams.

These two Scania Omnidekka's are both ex Stagecoach London and were working in Bristol suitably branded, pictures again by Ralph Adams.

Hallmark's YX09HYZ suitably branded for the 557 Addlestone-Sunbury route is seen in Bicester Village, again by Ralph Adams.

Two hired Newbury & District MMC's are seen on Friday being 786 and 787 (fleet number only applied to one so far) and looking rather smart.
Pictures by Ralph Adams on November 23rd.

On November 24th Stagecoach used Stagecoach Oxford buses E400s 10067/70/71 plus Gold Scania 15613 as advised by Ralph.

Further information and pictures will be posted as they become available.

Buses in Alesund, Norway by Paul Hubbert

I am also pleased to include a few pictures of buses in Alesund Norway from Paul Hubbert. Readers may remember that in issue XX I included one picture of an unusual tour bus also from Paul.

A City Sightseeing mini coach seen on August 31st 2016 by Paul Hubbert.

FRAM EKSPRESS's three coaches at Alesund Bus Stn, Norway on September 2nd 2016 by Paul Hubbert.

Coaches from north of the border by Gordon Scott & Malcolm Crowe

Gordon has contributed a picture from Scotland which will interest readers.

Seen at Kings after repaint out of Megabus livery, SC 54205 - SF62CPV Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i ex Stagecoach Midland, Rugby
on November 20th by Gordon Scott. This coach with 54206 - SF62CRK will both be based at Thurso depot.

54204 which is the original Silverstone coach is still working Megabus services as seen by Gavin Francis only a couple of days ago.

Just around the corner from where I used to live I found Lothian Motorcoaches SN18CVX in Cavendish Rd Bowdon on November 27th by Malcolm Crowe.


It is sad to report that Wycombe Citaro 3928 was destroyed by a fire at Hazlemere Crossroads on Saturday, November 3rd. As can be seen by the picture this is one bus that will not see service again.

This is one which will not take to the road again. 3928 after the fire.

The Volvo/Wrights which ran from new in High Wycombe are now being repainted in the latest livery.

3866 with a 500 working in Aylesbury on November 21st by Tony Bungay.

Paul Swann of Arriva advises that some of the fleet is having to be renumbered because of a change to the Fuel System programmes. Tamworth started the weekend of November 24/25 and the South Depots will follow over the first three weeks of December. The details are below:

Depot Location Current Fleet Number Vehicle Type  Reg Number New Fleet Number
Aylesbury 3908 Merc Citaro BU06HSN 3038
Aylesbury 3909 Merc Citaro BU06HSO 3039
Aylesbury 3930 Merc Citaro BD12DHG 3030
Aylesbury 3931 Merc Citaro BD12DHJ 3031
Aylesbury 3932 Merc Citaro BD12DHK 3032
High Wycombe 2518-TS Streetlite WF  LK15FFS 2318
High Wycombe 2525-TS Streetlite WF  LK15FFT 2325
High Wycombe 2526-TS Streetlite WF  LK15FFU 2326
High Wycombe 2527-TS Streetlite WF  LK15FFV 2327
High Wycombe 2528-TS Streetlite WF  LK15FFW 2328
High Wycombe 3912-TS Merc Citaro BV58MLF 3042
High Wycombe 3913-TS Merc Citaro BV58MLJ 3043
High Wycombe 3927-TS Merc Citaro BG59FCX 3027
High Wycombe 3929-TS Merc Citaro BG59FCZ 3029
High Wycombe 4517-TS SB120 KL52CWJ 2757
High Wycombe 3746-TS MAN Evolution AE56MDX 3646
High Wycombe 6004-TS DB250 - ALX  KL52CWT 4824
High Wycombe 6010-TS DB250 - ALX  KL52CXB 4819
Luton 2513-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNZ 2313
Luton 2514-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JOA 2314
Luton 2515-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JOH 2315
Luton 2516-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JOJ 2316
Luton 2517-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JOU 2317
Luton 2519-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JPF 2319
Luton 2520-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNK 2320
Luton 2521-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNL 2321
Luton 2522-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNN 2322
Luton 2523-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNO 2323
Luton 2524-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNU 2324
Milton Keynes 2511-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNV 2311
Milton Keynes 2512-TS Streetlite WF  LM64JNX 2312
Milton Keynes 3732-TS SB120 YJ07JVU 2782
Milton Keynes 3733-TS SB120 YJ07JVV 2783
Milton Keynes 3736-TS SB120 YJ07JVY 2786
Milton Keynes 3737-TS SB120 YJ07JVZ 2787
Milton Keynes 3767-TS SB200 MX12KWV 3867
Milton Keynes 3768-TS SB200 MX12KWW 3868
Milton Keynes 3769-TS SB200 MX12KWY 3869
Milton Keynes 3770-TS SB200 MX12KWZ 3870
Milton Keynes 3771-TS SB200 MX12KXA 3871
Milton Keynes 3772-TS SB200 MX12KXB 3872
Milton Keynes 3773-TS SB200 MX13ALO 3873
Milton Keynes 3774-TS SB200 MX13ALU 3874
Milton Keynes 3775-TS SB200 MX13AMK 3875
Milton Keynes 3776-TS SB200 MX13AMO 3876
Milton Keynes 3777-TS SB200 MX13AMU 3877
Milton Keynes 3778-TS SB200 MX13AMV 3878
Milton Keynes 4516-TS SB120 KE51PVK 2756
Milton Keynes 4519-TS SB120 KE03OUN 2759
Milton Keynes 4520-TS SB120 KE03OUP 2760
Milton Keynes 4525-TS SB120 KE03OUM 2765
Milton Keynes 4532-TS SB120 LJ51DFE 2762
Milton Keynes 5001-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TDU 2301
Milton Keynes 5002-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TDV 2302
Milton Keynes 5003-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TDX 2303
Milton Keynes 5004-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TDZ 2304
Milton Keynes 5005-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TEJ 2305
Milton Keynes 5006-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TEO 2306
Milton Keynes 5007-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TEU 2307
Milton Keynes 5008-TS Streetlite WF- Electric KP63TEV 2308
Tamworth 3867-MD Volvo B7RLE KE05FMM 3927
Tamworth 3868-MD Volvo B7RLE KE07EVX 3928
Tamworth 3869-MD Volvo B7RLE KE07EVY 3929
Tamworth 3870-MD Volvo B7RLE KE07EWA 3930
Tamworth 3871-MD Volvo B7RLE KE07EWB 3931
Tamworth 3872-MD Volvo B7RLE KE07EWC 3932

So lots to look out for and photograph.

Nigel Peach writes "Carousel's 418 AE59AWH an MCV Evolution has lost its Route 1 branding. It's a while since I've seen this bus so I don't know how long ago this happened. Will try and get a picture!"

Cranberry Coachways of Great Harwood now have T111DBW seen on rail replacement in Manchester on November 24th by Paul Sykes.

All branding has now been removed from 65 seen on a SNAP service to Birmingham by Gavin Francis on November 25th.

Road works in Magdalen Street East in Oxford have resulted in diversions for southbound services terminating in Oxford or even passing through.

So this Redbridge bound service operated by 663will not pass down George Street, by Gavin Francis on November 23rd.

On the same day 839 is seen with a 6 road service making the round the block to work northwards - by Gavin Francis.

A wet day and its passengers make use of the cover, 201 is seen in Beaumont Street on November 27th by Gavin Francis.

977 RF68FLX prior to repaint.

Oxford Bus Company adds two EVM Citylines

Go-Ahead Group subsidiary Oxford Bus Company (OBC) has added two Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with Cityline low-floor conversions, supplied by EVM Direct

They are for OBC’s growing PickMeUp demand-responsive transport service in the city’s eastern arc and they will be repainted into a dark blue livery before use.

Each one has 15 Kiel Ligero seats along with a Masats 120cm wide double-leaf rapid sliding door. EVM’s moulded side skirts are fitted and its chrome package has been added.

In-dash air-conditioning is included along with a saloon heater booster and double-glazed side windows.

They will be 977 RF68FLC and 978 RF68FLX which will enter service next month.

Neoplan OU17ORX in Oxford on November 27th by Gavin Francis.

Now with Heyfordian PO17EJY ex is ex Whitestar of Neilstone in Oxford on November 27th by Gavin Francis.

M A N Beulas WJ17EYX in Oxford on November 27th by Gavin Francis.

770 Emerald with a 702 working nearing the end of its journey on November 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Optare MetroDecker 899 seen in Bulleid Way on November 19th by Gavin Francis. The five for Reading are due in May/June 2019.

Disturbing news is the fine of £2.34 million against Midland Red South/Stagecoach following the fatal accident with a Trident in Coventry during October 2015. The outcome is that Stagecoach are now suggesting that drivers capability should be age limited! Equally this should apply to PCV and HGV drivers.

in Oxfordshire

The buses provided by Stagecoach West for the service from Bicester Park&Ride to Bicester Village as as follows:

Trident/ALX400 18090 VX04GHY, 18315 KX05TWN and 18321 MX05WHN.
Pictures of these can be seen in the Editorial above.

These buses variously originated in West and Manchester but more recently have seen service on Races Specials in Cheltenham.

Trident 18321 at Horspath depot on November 27th by Gavin Francis. Note this is branded for a West local route.

The diversion in Magdalen Street East has seen various re-routings.

The hole keeping traffic out of this street.

15757 is seen using the Broad Street diversion to achieve its pick up point by Debenhams on November 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Four pictures by Theo Freeman of buses in Banbury depot on November 17th with 28743, 34436, 36764 and 47736.


Now with Merseyside and South Lancashire 15746 lately off the X4 Northampton service is seen at Gilmoss depot, Liverpool on November 24th by Les Burton.


The new order for the S6 shown by 10985 leaving Gloucester Green on November 25th by Gavin Francis. 

Megabus 54269 in Hythe Bridge St Oxford on November 25th working the M34 service by Gavin Francis.

Newest Plaxton elite i 54610 is seen with an M15 Liverpool service on November 26th by Gavin Francis.
Note this coach is called Jenson Busson! 

Other operators of interest including London.

GO London TA1 works route 12 in London on November 27th by Graham Low.
 The BCI Enterprise 2HD, with Vantage Power supplying the hybrid tech is built in China with Australian technical support. This is the first modern tri-axle double-decker local service bus to enter service in London.

Afternoon Tea buses for Christmas in VCS on November 27th by Gavin Francis.

GO London LT511 works the 11 with a Wrap for TALKTALK opposite VCS on November 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Original Sightseeing VXE723 with a WRAP for Christmas on November 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Ebley Coaches of Stroud's Solo CN07KZS in St Giles Oxford on November 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Thomas built School Bus K873EMO at Witney Auction on November 22nd by Gerry Gregory.