Well, here we are at the very start of another year. Don't the years seem to flash by, especially as one gets older?

Perhaps the news of the week must be the appearance of the last of the two new Mercedes 978, for PICKMEUP to Carousel in High Wycombe, specifically for the Johnson & Johnson private contract and when not required for this duty it is used as the Staff Bus between the depot and the bus station.

Unbranded but legal owner shows 978 as owned by Carousel. Seen in the Eden Bus Station on December 27th by Malcolm Crowe.

A foggy day in Stokenchurch

M A N E200 421 is seen in the mist on December 30th by Gavin Francis. Sometimes it is low cloud rather than fog as this location is 800ft above sea level !

Oxford planning to be a Zero Emissions Zone by 2035

Local News reports comment on the efforts of the City Council to make the city area. The headline says:

OXFORD is 'on track' to become the first city in the world to implement a Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ), but competition is hotting up for the title.

This is planned to take effect in 2035 although Madrid is planning to be the world first in 2025. Maybe if EVERYONE used bicycles from 2024 Oxford could be first!!! It does seem that London looks most likely to compete with Oxford to implement the country’s first ZEZ. However your Editor may not be around to see this happen.

That London United Dart in Didcot

In the last issue we showed a picture and asked about a London United Dart which had been seen in Didcot? I am pleased to say that I have received a very comprehensive reply in this matter.

SN55DVU in Didcot on December 10th by Neil Beckley.

From Adrian Saunders

The ex-London United Dennis Dart DPS725, SN55DVU, photographed by Neil Beckley in Issue 39 is with White Coaches and used on Didcot Town services 91, 92, 93 and school service 145C from Woodcote to Henley. New to National Car Parks (NCP Challenger) in November 2005, for use on TfL services 33 (Hammersmith-Fulwell) and 419 (Hammersmith-Richmond) before being acquired by Transdev in 2009.  It was allocated to depots at Hounslow, Fulwell and Hounslow Heath until being withdrawn at Fulwell in June 2018, when replaced on TfL service 216 (Staines-Richmond) by Enviro200s.

A regular correspondent included in his contribution this week two interesting local operators about whom we do not receive very much current information.

From Richard Sharman

Oxford Taxis operate a small fleet of double deckers on school contracts, these also include ex London Gemini's.

Former Dublin Bus/ Swanbrook Olympians J908CEV and N657JNO are seen at rest between school duties on the A44 at Yarnton.
This company along with JD Travel also have three Olympians TIL6571, 6572 and 6573 all ex Hong Kong 119 seater tri-xles.

Long standing fleet member of Nostalgia Travel is Bedford OB LYB941. Seen on wedding duties on the 22/12.

Reading provides a large number of buses for the Bicester Village Park & Ride

A seemingly recent change is the increased use of hires from Reading Buses for the Bicester Park & Ride services, some of which were provided by Stagecoach Oxford for a short period before Christmas.

Correspondent James Freeman has provided a number of interesting pictures showing this operation on December 27th. The buses involved are shown in fleet number order.

From James Freeman



Qite a turn out for an operator somewhat removed from Bicester!



This issue contains a number of pictures from the various operators to record things "buses" at the end of 2018.

Renumbering of various members of the Shires fleet has been taking place, so for example the Wrights StreetLites in Wycombe have had the 5 replaced by a 3 becoming 2527 etc. Some of the Citaros have also been renumbered as the various pictures below show which I took on December 27th.

Dart SPD 23 seater 2159 working the 32 leaving The Eden Bus Station.

Dart 29 seater 2297 with a 32 in Bridge Street.

StreetLites 2318 and 2326 both sides now renumbered and seen as usual on the 33. The repair to the offside o 2326 is rather poor!

Solo SR 2509 heading for Maidenhead on a 37 working.

Optare Versa 2991 arrives at The Eden on a 32 working.

Citaros 3007, 3010 and 3011 with local workings not the branded route indicated!

Ironically 3027, once 3927, is seen on the 850 to Reading. One has to question the sense of branding for specific routes?

Citaro 3029, which until recently was 3929, leaves to Micklefield with a 32 service.

3032, recently 3932 and on loan to Derby, working the X30 ahead of 3039, recently 3909 and nominally allocated to Aylesbury
is seen working the 48 from Lane End and then leaving on the 31 later, oddly branded for the 150 which comes nowhere near Wycombe.

3042 which was 3912 as clearly indicated on the rear, leaves with a 41 service to Great Missenden still shows 321 branding again on the rear.

Once a stalwart on the Luton 27, now based in Wycombe, 3616 is seen leaving on the 30 Downley Circular route.

The one remaining MCV 3646 was recently 3746, the remaining buses have now all become Trainers.

Once the pride of Wycombe when new, 3866 was one of seven identical buses which worked the Green 31 route.
It has now been given the latest livery and is based in Aylesbury. The link below will take you the OCBP when they launched.

Launch of new Volvo buses for the Green 31

Not due to be renumbered, 3925 is seen unbranded on the 800 to Reading.

Now we have some pictures from Gavin Francis taken during late December 2018.

Citaro 3919, branded for the 300, works the 48 to Lane End.

Gavin managed to get a picture of a Trident which was once 6010 and seen here at the depot is now 4819. It looks rather folorn! 

This operator seems to have reverted to sending the X74 branded StreetLites to Wycombe again.

First 63316 leaves The Eden for Slough with an X74 working on December 27th by Malcolm Crowe. 

Please refer to the Editorial for the latest arrival.

The pictures below were taken by Malcolm Crowe on December 27th.

Mercedes staff shuttle 978 and Scania 218 at The Eden.

Scanias 219 with a 101 service, 220 on the 36 and 222 working the 36.
The only obvious difference is the lack of full branding on 222 which may suggest it could move elsewhere in the Oxford group.

405 leaves The Eden on its branded route, 102, to Uxbridge.

M A N 421 is seen on a 39 service to Totteridge.

Once branded for Orange 39 route, two M A N's 423 and 424 are now fully branded for Line 40 to Thame.

Citaro 877, presently unbranded devoid of any company indication, 877 leaves for Slough on Chiltern Hundreds 104.

When I first saw this StreetLite, 405, on December 28th, it was on New Road, Stokenchurch proclaiming its destination was Thame 40.
Later it came past me heading towards the M40 out of service. 

I am still awaiting pictures of 602 in Chiltern Trains overall branding, although a number of buses are carrying side adverts on the same theme.

312 with a Chiltern Trains Ad seen in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.
The Ad mentioning Arriva and in competition with the London coach services is rather odd.

And another Chiltern advert on Orange 8/9 690 in Castle St on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

A very nice picture showing the significant variety of colours now in Oxford.

Unusually, on recent days, a number of route branded buses have been seen off their designated services.

It was surprising to see 4 branded 303 working the X3 on December 22nd and seen by Richard Sharman.

MMC 605 in Brookes livery works a 9 service and passes 684 on its branded 3 road. December 28th by Gavin Francis.

605 is seen with a 2 road service four days earlier by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 313 with a 35 road service, with 317 working the X3 on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

367 on the 400 and 369 working the 300 indicating a lack of Park & Ride buses. December 24th by Gavin Francis.

35 branded 309 with a 35 service in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Blue 4 road branded 302 with a 4A to Wood Farm on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

Here 882 fully branded works the 13 in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Following the withdrawal from service, Scanias 41-44 are being dispersed around. As mentioned last week 43 is stored at Carousels overflow yard in High Wycombe.

42 is seen driven by an Engineer in Oxford on December 22nd by Richard Sharman.

41 - 44 are stored around the Oxford Group and 45 is due back on the road soon. (Info thanks to Phil Southall.)

46 is the only white Scania remaining and is seen here in Gloucester Green on December 22nd by Richard Sharman. 

As mentioned in the Editorial the new Mercedes 978 has been sent "unbranded" to Carousel for a local contract.

New 977 is seen in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis. 

Often 6 road, PMU branded 838 is seen here on the 13 in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis. 

623 with an X2 service in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 852 with an X38 in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 869 works the X39 from St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis. Sad about the missing Mercedes badge!

Ex London General 935 is seen with an X32 service in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

The next issue should see more details on the changes planned for Thames Travel. 

New Heyfordian MAN Mobipeople PO68BYH at Pear Tree Services on December 22nd by Richard Sharman.

Clarkes Mercedes Tourismo BT66UAJ works an A7 service to Stansted from VCS on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

Newell's TT07TRU with the 049 service is ex First Truronian and the Truro FC team coach. Seen on December 24th at Gavin Francis.

I understand that Reading has had, on one day alone, some 13 buses working on the Park & Ride contract for Bicester Village.

Also noted that Reading Bus Solo 185 RG54BUS which is gas powered and works the Henley town service 151, 152 and 153. I took a picture on December 21st but it was rubbish!!!

Rail Replacement at Hillingdon sees Reading's 761 and 755 on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

Reading is certainly going all out on hired work!

Redline SN53LWR with the 321 in Bridge Street, Wycombe on December 27th by Gavin Francis.

A quiet period for this company in the past week.

E400 10068 with a 7 service leaves Gloucester Green on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

MMC 10673 with an 8 service in Castle St on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

Hybrid 12013 on route 3 in Castle St on December 28th by Gavin Francis.

E200 36982 on the 10 in St Aldates on December 24th by Gavin Francis.

From Gary Seamarks

"The loan for X5 is coming from Plaxtons dealer stock, its for sale at £85k, in allover white, would assume a re-reg, perhaps Ex Parks of Hamilton one of the KSK*** that could have been on Citylink duties etc."

So Guys "keep a look out for a white coach on the X5." The last white coach of similar origin was for Oxford express services some months ago. 

It is rumoured that this company is dispensing with any casual drivers which seems to follow the recent problems and fine received by the company. This follows the tragic accident in Coventry some three years ago. 

The three Tridents loaned to Oxford plus the training bus 20280 have now returned from whence they came. 

Loaned Megabus 50237 remains with the Oxford tube until the coach involved 50281, some months ago with a fire on the M40, is returned from repair.

On the Saturday before Christmas the tube had one of their charming drivers handing out  mince pies at Thornhill as pictured below. It appears that their competitor followed this idea on on the recent Saturday before New Year! Certainly nice for the customers.

Oxford tube Deputy Controller Alina 

Following the news from the USA on  the disposal by the Group one is interested to see what will happen to the Megabus fleet?

On a home front subject Megabus have published a spotters list of their named coaches which might make an interesting subject for readers.

Names of Megabus coaches