Already another week has passed, one does wonder where the time goes? The past days have seen continued excellent contributions from readers which are much appreciated. This, to be honest, is what makes the success of the OCBP, thank you!

The various local area companies appear to continue to have vehicle availability problems and it is not just restricted to Oxford. Gary Seamarks advises that Stagecoach in Bedford has a serious vehicle shortage. Indeed on one day it was reported that 29 vehicles were unfit for service, loans have included Darts from Fenstanton and Peterborough,34834 GX04EYH, 34882 AE06 HAO along with a MAN 22339 - AE51RZT   and E400 19706 AE60JSZ from PBO, Cambridge supplied a Trident, 17484 LX51FMC off the disposal fleet which was highbridge and as such restricted to town routes. The use of E400 on the X5 between Bedford and Cambridge appears now on a daily basis with more than one decker often in use. The 99 between MK and Luton Airport via M1 has seen E200’s in place of Panthers, Four E300/Alexander have appeared on loan from Eastbourne depot, they arrived in town on 19/4 and were in service the following day, these are 27520-4 GX06DZB/C/D/E.

East's 36937 SN63KFT with a 99 working at Milton Keynes on April 17th by Gary Seamarks .

The Oxford tube seems to have been affected in recent days with problems and one reader advised that on Wednesday, April 25th one coach was at Notting Hill Gate for quite a long period and another reader, a regular traveller between Oxford and London wrote to say that on two mornings running her coach brokedown, the first morning at Hillingdon and the second morning, April 25th on the M40 near Loudwater dip!!! She did not sound at all happy. Further reports advise that the X90 faced equal problems on April 25th with a breakdown at Hillingdon. Saturday, April 28th saw a Gold double decker working an Oxford tube service to London.

DVSA to enforce ‘historic’ offences

Fixed penalties issued at the roadside for historical offences, such as drivers hours’, are to be actively enforced from March.

New powers for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to issue fixed penalties for offences detected at the roadside, that have taken place in the last 28 days, come into force on 1 February, with DVSA actively enforcing the new rules from 5 March.

Most UK operators will see little change. The parameters for which DVSA will issue historical fixed penalties are the same as those currently applied to mounting a prosecution.

However, the new powers will offer DVSA more effective enforcement to take action against non-UK operators, against whom mounting a prosecution has been impractical in the past.

The powers - originally subject to consultation by the Department for Transport in 2014 - have been subject to numerous delays in their introduction, even as late as their passage through parliament last autumn.

The reason for the delay between the coming into force of the powers and commencement of active enforcement in March is that any historical offences must have taken place after the powers were granted in law.

So, it seems that these changes may well affect many drivers in the coming months.

Stagecoach’s ‘Little & Often’ network to drop Sprinters

Stagecoach’s pioneering ‘Little & Often’ network in Ashford, launched last February with 30 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 45s, is to be revised and see Optare Solos replace them.
The Sprinters, supplied by EvoBus (UK), are owned by Stagecoach and maintained under contract. They will be distributed around other non-South East group companies on yet-to-be determined low-usage routes. Stagecoach England and Wales Regional Director Michael Watson says:
“The project was really useful to stimulate demand, and now we need to go to the next level.”

The changes, from June 3rd, will see the ‘Little & Often’ brand applied to 17 Solos, obtained from within South East’s existing allocation as a result of other network changes. Ashford is served by four ‘Little & Often’ routes (B, C, E and G). All the routes connect suburbs with the town centre. In future, routes A, B, and C will be Solo operated, while E and G become part of other standard bus routes. Route A is currently operated by Darts. Route B drops back from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes.

Since the introduction of ‘Little & Often’, Stagecoach has seen 35% more passenger journeys. Of the new passengers, 60% previously travelled by car. Despite this success, a Stagecoach survey found that 45% of customers said they were not satisfied with the legroom and seat comfort, leading to the removal of the Sprinters.

So, it seems that this reintroduction of mini buses, once very popular in the 1980s has not proved so successful, as also Arriva have met with problems on their operations, with a number transferred from Kent to Hemel Hempstead.

Visit to Waltham Cross by Gavin Francis

Three routes were changing operators shortly, being the 317, 327 and 491. Gavin likes to keep up with operators and their areas and so visited Waltham Cross prior to the upcoming changes. The visit took place on Arpil 26th when most routes were observed.

Arriva Kent & Thameside's 6493 on the 310 and 6498 working the 251 seen at Waltham Cross Bus Stn.

EOS's 104 PN03ULY with a 66 working leaves Waltham Cross Bus Stn. The bus was new to CT Plus.

A general View of parked up buses at Waltham Cross Bus Stn. One can see the 217, 317 and 327.

Sullivan Buses have a fleet of ADL/MMC deckers all with cherished registration ending in SUL. Above is E81 WG17SUL working the 217 at Waltham Cross Bus Stn.

A little bit of history

From Tony Bungay

Thought you might find these pictures of interest as they come under historical.

There are two Bristol VRs, one painted up for Carfax travel and the other in a part 190 CityLink colour scheme. (This was a clever use of "graphics" which at a glance looked like a Bristol RE dual purpose coach used on the 190 at that time.)

The 190 livery was pictured in Gloucester Green, as it then was, with the destination of interest. The VR did not go to London.

The other three were taken at the old Cowley road garage open day in September 1981 in connection with COMS 100 years anniversary.


Also at the Cowley road open day is anniversary liveried Bristol VR and Ribble Olympian prototype. Due to the constrictions of the sight and lighting not all photos are as good as they may have been.


Other two photos are MCW Metroliner at Gloucester Green May 1985 and taken on a wet Saturday in September in 1986 a” bus jam” in Cornmarket Street, just to remind everybody what it used to be like. The two Bristol VRs which were on the previous e-mail o forgot to add were taken in mid 1985.

The picture of 903 at Gloucester Green after the coach was delivered the previous month in April 1985, now over 33 years ago.

Many thanks to Tony for these evocative pictures which older readers may well remember and younger readers will only wonder at those times of National Express livery rigidity!

From Marcus Lapthorn

Last year Marcus made visits to Malta and Manchester and his photos were overlooked by yours truly during the difficult months following my wife's illness. They should have appeared in Issue 107 which was somewhat curtailed, so here they are now.


Malta Bus withdrawn Solos on September 30th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Malta Supreme coaches causing a traffic jam outside of their depot on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Malta trip 377 - FBY 676 1934 built by Dodge in the UK in 1947, the chassis was extended and fitted new body built by Sultana
and In 1953 a Bedford OB front was fitted seen on on September 30th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

A sad sight for a once proud fleet of London buses, Arriva's Citaro "bendis" on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Several forlorn and then derelict Arriva Citaro "bendi's" on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Cancu SUPREME COACHES APY037 on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Cancu Supreme King Long EPY903 on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

EBY502 outside and inside on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

FBY659 with body by Aquilina on an AEC Mustang truck chassis on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Malta trip LXY 003 Classic Tours LXY003, a lovely Austin with Plaxton body on September 27th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

What an interesting place Malta always proves to be, sadly some of the older buses and coaches are no longer in service but the island still holds a fascination for enthusiasts.

Manchester Museum of Transport.

The museum continues to go from strength to strength and holds many very interesting exhibits. This makes it a very worthwhile visit.
These few pictures show the significant variety of liveries in pre amalgamation days.

Visit to Goodwins of Manchester.

What a gem! Goodwins ETC 760B a Bedford VAS2 with Plaxton Embassy C29F bodywork seen on August 13th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Of local interest to OCBP readers, Goodwins ex Spiers of Henley XOT104

Talking of Gem's above is Goodwins Little Gem Solo 1019 330GGX
on August 13th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.
This echo's the livery used by Greater Manchester Transport to compete with Bee Line Buses.

A recent arrival with the company, Goodwins immaculate ADL MMC YX66WLJ on August 13th 2017 by Marcus Lapthorn.

Other vehicles seen on Marcus's Manchester trip.

Stagecoach Manchester's recovery truck.

Now in model form by Oxford models, Belle Vue Duple Roadmaster LOE300 seen on August 13th by Marcus Lapthorn.

Diamond Bus YV03RBF seen on August 13th by Marcus Lapthorn.

Many thanks to Marcus for the excellent pictures and once again apologies for the time taken to publish them. 

A new fleet handbook from Steven Knight Media

As always very comprehensive and reasonably priced.

Follow this link : https://www.stevenknightmedia.com/our-books.html

ADL/MMC 6523 working the 758 in Bulleid Way on April 27th by Gavin Francis.

The line up on the fence at Cressex depot shows seemingly withdrawn DAF's 6300 - 6301- 6004 on April 28th by Malcolm Crowe.


Derek Wiggins writes "BARNES COACHES have four 18 plate coaches being  WJ18EAE  VDL FUTURA FDD2  94 SEAT  , WJ18DZV  VDL FUTURA , YN18ZNS and YN18ZNP  IRIZAR I6's"


Citaro 64019 works the X74 in High Wycombe on April 24th by Malcolm Crowe.

Notices & Proceedings extracts relative to local operators.

THE CITY OF OXFORD MOTOR SERVICES LTD, COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA From: Oxford Rail Station To: South Park Venue, Warneford Lane Via: High Street Name or No.: 450 Service type: Limited Stop Effective date: 26 May 2018 Other details: Saturdays and Sunday of Common People Event in Oxford This service will run annually for the Common People Event

THE CITY OF OXFORD MOTOR SERVICES LTD, COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA Operating between SEACOURT Car Park and THORNHILL Car Park given service number 400 effective from 26 May 2018. To amend Route and Stopping Places.

THAMES TRAVEL (WALLINGFORD) LTD, C/O COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA From: Wallingford, Market Place To: Reading, Friar Street Via: Name or No.: X38 Service type: Normal Stopping Effective date: 03 June 2018 Other details: Monday to Friday & Saturday

CAROUSEL BUSES LTD, COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA From: High Wycombe, Eden Bus Station To: Slough, Bus Station Via:   --  Name or No.: 104
Service type: Normal Stopping Effective date: 03 June 2018 Other details: Monday to Fridays and Saturdays

THAMES TRAVEL (WALLINGFORD) LTD, C/O COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA Operating between Oxford and Wallingford/Reading given service number X39 / X40 / X38 / NX40 effective from 03 June 2018. To amend Route and Timetable.

THAMES TRAVEL (WALLINGFORD) LTD, C/O COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA Operating between Oxford City Centre and Wallingford/Didcot given service number X2 / NX2 effective from 03 June 2018. To amend Route and Timetable.

THAMES TRAVEL (WALLINGFORD) LTD, C/O COWLEY HOUSE, WATLINGTON ROAD, COWLEY, OXFORD, OX4 6GA Operating between Oxford, St Aldates and Wantage Market Place given service number 32A / X32 effective from 03 June 2018. To amend Timetable. 

From Ralph Adams

Further to my note on the changes  on X38 Oxford – Henley, the following is taken from the Carousel Buses website.


Service X80 will be withdrawn due to insufficient demand. The section of route between Handy Cross Coachway and High Wycombe Town Centre will be replaced by the dedicated Park & Ride service PR1/PR2 (as above). The section of route between Henley-on-Thames and Reading will be replaced by an extension of Thames Travel service X38. The new X38 timetable will operate hourly and is designed to fit in as part of the River Rapids service. The current X80 journey from Reading timed to arrive at Henley in time for the start of the Henley College day and the corresponding return journey from Henley to Reading at the end of the college day will be replicated in the new X38 timetable. 

We will unfortunately be unable to provide a replacement service between Henley-on-Thames and High Wycombe via Marlow. This section of route is currently operated by an Arriva bus service. 

Carousel Buses general.

It should be noted that there are various other changes to local services. I went there on Wednesday and it appears that for a daily requirement of 39 buses, they only have 3 spare buses (lower than most operators). Solo 709 was in the garage during the day time but then came out in the afternoon, replacing a Scania used on off peak local services so that the Scania could go onto a school service. The service Uxbridge – Heathrow is also withdrawn. There is a considerable difficulty recruiting staff at High Wycombe, so the reductions will help reduce this problem.

These are disappointing times since Carousel started with such effort and inventiveness but circumstances seem to have caught up with them.

For full details of all the changes from June 3rd please refer to the link below:

 Carousel service changes from June 3rd 2018.

If feel it would be nice to record one journey from High Wycombe to Reading on a branded double deck for the record. Let's see if that can be achieved.

Various pictures

 221 on Regatta route X80 en route to High Wycombe on April 23rd b y Malcolm Crowe. The destination is rather nice and will be missed.
Not a great picture but better ones are a target for next week. The person who does the blinds makes an excellent job of the various routes.

914 and 217 at High Wycombe depot on April 24th by Malcolm Crowe. The Thames Travel livery is the only one left as 912 and 913 have returned to Wallingford.

215 and 876 at High Wycombe depot on April 24th by Malcolm Crowe. The ranks of Citaros are much slimmed now with only 876-878 left.

Oxford Bus try something new 

From Ralph Adams

Notices and proceedings were late on publication today being after lunch but the highlight is below.


From: Oxford Rail Station To: Oxford Rail Station

Via: Old Marston, Barton, Littlemore, New Hinksey

Name or No.: Pick Me Up Service type

Flexible Registration  

Effective date: 25 June 2018 Other details: Monday to Friday 0600 - 2300 Saturdays 0830 - 1930 Sundays 0830 - 1900

Full details will be in next week's issue.

Various pictures

Citaro 837 working the X13 from St Aldates on April 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 838 unusually works the 5 at Westgate Centre on April 23rd by Gavin Francis.

Optare 963 YJ56WVT once with Carousel now a Training Bus on April 23rd by Gavin Francis.
Was the paint shop under stormy conditions when the offside fleet number was applied?

From Graham Mildenhall of Upper Heyford

Thames Travel 250 (was 25A)

A 250 working with Citaro 853 is seen at its City Centre  pick up on April 25th by Gavin Francis.

"Regarding the above, I understand the change to my local service number is due to there now only being limited stops once the service reaches Banbury Road in Oxford both inbound and outbound. This change together with alterations to running times is supposed to improve reliability and timekeeping. I have noted on one occasion about 10 days after the change an early morning service still displaying 25A however!"


Ralph Adams notes "My fleet list still had dual door 827 at Wallingford although I have not seen it for a long while. Confirmed today that is has been sold (unknown destination, probably to a dismantler). 

Citaros 849 & 852 have gone away for repainting – new livery unknown, possibly still blue & green. 869 & 870 came from Oxford to cover.

912 & 913 came from Carousel to cover one  DD School contract.  869 returned to Oxford.

Wallingford now have PVR of 39 with a fleet of 45 buses (+ two away for repaint) 

Thames Travel outstation one Citaro bus at Reading buses garage for route BB3 / 143 at the present time. Will the extra bus also be out stationed at Reading?"

Notices & proceedings. Changing 5 June 2018

New route – X38 Wallingford & Reading  (X38 goes to Henley at present)

Changed route / timings  X2, X32, 32A X38, X39, X40

So, there is in my mind some confusion as to what will happen with the X38. Is it going to run Oxford-Wallingford-Henley-Reading or just Wallingford-Reading via Henley.


From Derek Wiggins

516 returned last week repainted (see Richard Sharman's picture below.)

414 was also repainted and Derek advises that another repaint 510 hit a bus shelter on Fleming Way on the night of January 3rd. So far it has not been repaired.

The latest fleet list has Scanias 501, 502, 503 and 510 stored and he notes 501 came to grief on Manchester Road on February 23rd.

Thamesdown 516 following repaint works the ! on April 20th - Derek Wiggins.

Richard Sharman also sent a number of pictures of this company.

Thamesdown - a study of rears at Swindon Bus Stn on April 15th by Richard Sharman.

Thamesdown - withdrawn SPDs at Barnfield Depot on April 15th by Richard Sharman.

Thamesdown 2780 works the 5 near Swindon Bus Stn on April 15th by Richard Sharman.

Thamesdown Swindon's 516 WX57TLO returning from repaint at Eastleigh on April 15th by Richard Sharman.

That's all for the Go-Ahead companies in our area.


Mark Turner writes to note "The company has sold DAF YJ03PKX & the lease of Optare YJ13 HJG/HJK has come to the end. However they have purchased another 06 plate Dart which will be repainted. This gives them two buses for the 318 (see the notes above from Gavin Francis) and two door AE56OUM for route with one of the three as a spare bus."

The recently acquired Dart ex London Central. Picture by Mark Turner.

ex Mullanys YJ13 HJG pictured somewhere in Milton Keynes in April 2018 by Mark Turner.

 Stansted based tri-axle SH202 BD65JFO with a new wrap for Amazon pay in VCS on April 27th by Gavin Francis. 

Ralph Adams writes about this company.

"The local service in Henley will probably be withdrawn – I have not seen more than 2 passengers at any time, often none. At present the X38 from Oxford at 7:10 and return at 16:30 requires a double deck The X80 from Reading also requires a double deck. A return trip will take 4 hours so the College buses from Reading and Oxford will be covered by the same 2 buses – so the extra bus will probably be a double deck."

We shall have to await further developments.

Gavin has continued to provide pictures of this company's vehicles working the 702 into London. He noted one of the Stagecoach tri-axles buses heading towards the A34 near Oxford. I wonder are these returning to their owners?

Reading 1402 FJ57KJU with a 702 working in Bulleid Way on April 27th by Gavin Francis. Also a picture of it when working from Stansted in the early years of its life in October 2009.
This was a surprise as we did not know that such vehicles were on the route.

More expected was 1208 in full Green Line livery working the 702 into Victoria on April 28th by Gavin Francis.

The Vamooz bus turned up on the same day, 1212 leaves for Bracknell on April 28th as seen by Gavin Francis.
Quite a colourful array of liveries in this picture.

Reading's 214 branded -the lion- with a Sunday Evening Bracknell-Reading Service on April 15th by Ricahrd Sharman.


A major development from the group.

A poster captured by Gavin Francis on April 25th.

Last week saw the launch of Stagecoach's new London sightseeing service. Gordon Lau wrote to tell us about the service and included some nice pictures.

From Gordon Lau

"Living in County Durham, I never thought I would ever write to you despite following the OCBP updates for many years now. Thanks for all your hard work and I hope you don't mind me contributing a few photographs in gratitude.

By sheer chance, a trip to London last week coincided with my three-year old son's first visit to the city and the inaugural service of the recently announced Stagecoach initiative.  On a cool but dry London morning, we arrived in good time at the stand on Belvedere Road, a stone's throw from the London Eye, slightly uncertain whether we were in the right place - as there were no signs.  A few minutes later, a distinctively-liveried converted Trident (Lord Nelson) arrived and all five passengers were welcomed aboard - and given a goody bag and a bottle of water.

megasightseeing - 18477 "Lord Nelson" on April 23rd by Gordon Lau.

We set off promptly at 1000 and proceeded to cross Waterloo Bridge and head east.  The tour is non-stop and there is recorded commentary.  Most tourists will not feel that they have missed any of the top attractions on the day - apart from Buckingham Palace which was closed for the clear up after the London Marathon the previous day.

megasightseeing - The London eye from megasightseeing - 18477 "Lord Nelson" by Gordon Lau.

megasightseeing - 18473 King Charles II by Gordon Lau.

A few observations.  Being non-stop, 1 hour 55 minutes without a loo-stop might be a stretch for some customers.  Our tour actually took 2 hours 25 minutes due to the traffic and this was a mid-Monday morning!  With the full length of the upper deck converted, it's going to be a bit of a squeeze if you need to take shelter from the rain downstairs.  Some might miss the flexibility of hop on-hop off, but for me, it was a decent whistle-stop tour of the City.  Needless to say, remarkably good value compared to the competition.

In summary, not for everyone, but definitely worth considering."

I very much appreciate Gordon taking time out to recount his day in London.

Gavin Francis also took a number of pictures of the buses on the new service. The destination screens do not photo well but one gets the idea.

megasightseeing 18475 King Henry VIII seen on April 23rd and again on April 28th by Gavin Francis.

megasightseeing 18482 "Sir Winston Churchill" again on April 28th by Gavin Francis.
Sid has a big camera don't you think?

The current weather belies the weather when this picture of 10071 working the 8 in St Aldates on April 22nd by Gavin Francis.

On the same day 15753, branded for the S5 is seen working the 7 to Woodstock again captured by Gavin Francis.

Branded buses away from their intend routes sees 36928 working the 14A, with Headington Connect branding, in the City on April 25th by Gavin Francis.
A further confusion is that the bus is going to the J R but not on the 900!

On April 26th Giles Woodforde caught loaned Gold 10905, this time on the 2 from Kidlington. New fares are announced on the yellow sticker.

Derek Wiggins writes "At the old Swindon Garage vehicles were stored when the new E400 MMC'S entered service. As the run-up to the races at CHELTENHAM more vehicles were stored, mostly comprising of West's Tridents. After the races the Tridents were still stored and for many weeks more turned up. Last week M A N 22378 and Tridents 18181 and 19128 arrived. Sunday I could see from the gate the following Tridents 17722,17728, 17729 , 18085 , 18088 , 18090 , 18181 , 18313 , 18315 , 18321 , 18377 , 18437 , 18444 , 18447 , 18450 , 18501  M A N  22378 and DARTS 34588, 34733."

West's 15343 with the 55 by Swindon Train Stn on April 15th taken by Richard Sharman.

Observed in London by Gavin Francis.

Original Sightseeing VXE735 YJ11TVW with a new wrap for M&Ms. "You were to eat him without me" !!!!

RML2440 from Brigit's Afternoon Tea operation is now adorned for the upcoming Royal Wedding. Seen by Gavin on April 27th.

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