Well, another week passed which has been a busy one with a significant number of pictures from contributors and other news on our fleets of interest. History is not forgotten with a record of Thomas (Swanbrook) subsequently Swanbrook featuring the many coaches used on the Cheltenham-Oxford route and also pictures of the new incumbent operator, Stagecoach West, from their first day on July 27th. Now, Scania/ADL Enviro 300 dual purpose buses, not as comfortable as Swanbrook's coaches they replace.

Branded for the 41 service to Tewkesbury Scania Enviro 300 28683 is seen in Gloucester on Day 3 of the revised service.
Picture by Theo Freeman.

An announcement from SKM

Like many small businesses we have felt the effect of the COVID-19 ‘lockdown’. Specifically this meant we had to delay the publication of Stagecoach East Midlands and Stagecoach Oxfordshire Fleet Handbooks (now due in August 2020) and the Stagecoach East Fleet Handbook (which we expect to publish in October 2020).
We had planned to publish these three books in March 2020 and the publication delays are also as a result of short notice changes to the fleets and the cancellation of investment plans in new vehicles.
A number of retailers through whom we sell our books were also closed. All are now open and we thank them for their continued support.
As a result of these challenges and their effects on us we have reluctantly taken the decision to cease publication of commercially-produced Fleet Handbooks and other publications once the Stagecoach East Fleet Handbook is published.
We will continue to provide updates to the Stagecoach, Go North East and East Yorkshire Fleets through Fleet Ramblings on our website and will also, for the foreseeable future, continue to produce the monthly allocation documents. We will also be continuing with our media and PR work but feel the time is now right to start the journey towards full retirement.

More news on Arriva the Shires as the three ADL/Enviro 300 's recently arrived at High Wycombe are not from Derby, but Arriva Southern Counties at Hemel. their 35** fleet numbers are replaced whilst Wycombe by 36** numbers to avoid confusion with the Derby fleet!!!! Last time they were seen the still carried 35** fleet numbers. Also details of the new coaches due at Stansted for the East London service are now showing 20 plate registration on http://www.buslistsontheweb.co.uk/ !!!

BV20HRA MB Tourismo WEB41054523001825 MB C??FL /2020 7200
BV20HRC MB Tourismo WEB41054523001826 MB C??FL /2020 7201
BV20HRD MB Tourismo WEB41054523001827 MB C??FL /2020 7202
BV20HRE MB Tourismo WEB41054523001828 MB C??FL /2020 7203
BV20HRF MB Tourismo WEB41054523001829 MB C??FL /2020 7204
BV20HRG MB Tourismo WEB41054523001830 MB C??FL /2020 7205
BV20HRJ MB Tourismo WEB41054523001831 MB C??FL /2020 7206
BV20HRK MB Tourismo WEB41054523001832 MB C??FL /2020 7207
BV20HRL MB Tourismo WEB41054523001833 MB C??FL /2020 7208
BV20HRM MB Tourismo WEB41054523001834 MB C??FL /2020 7209
BV20HRN MB Tourismo WEB41054523001835 MB C??FL /2020 7210
BV20HRO MB Tourismo WEB41054523001836 MB C??FL /2020 7211
BV20HRP MB Tourismo WEB41054523001837 MB C??FL /2020 7212
BV20HRR MB Tourismo WEB41054523001838 MB C??FL /2020 7213
BV20HRU MB Tourismo WEB41054523001839 MB C??FL /2020 7214
BV20HRW MB Tourismo WEB41054523001840 MB C??FL /2020 7215

Finally apologies for the delay of 24 hours in posting this page but Friday was a scorcher and not conducive to sitting at my computer!!

So, the latest news as I prepare this page to go on line (Friday July 31st) is that there are now several U.K. areas which are seeing a wave in Covid-19 cases including Greater Manchester. This does make one wonder if we are to experience a further serious wave throughout the land? This will not help the industry of our interest with the additional news that more people want to work from home. Thus the commuter traffic which companies rely on will not be returning soon!

We have a picture from Gordon Scott who managed a quick visit to Falkirk and the picture below of the ADL yard.

As readers can see the yard,  which is normally full of new buses is looking rather bleak
and just this week ADL have announced job cuts at their plants in the U.K as noted below.

Gordon also notes "There was one E40D MMC in burgundy and gold markings moving about in the yard also."

It is also reported in Route One that up to 650 jobs have been placed at risk at Alexander Dennis (ADL) and Plaxton because of a “significant decline” in UK demand for new coaches and buses, the manufacturer has announced.

ADL says it has been forced to initiate a restructuring programme to counteract difficult market conditions. It had already utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), implemented salary and working hours reductions and introduced “stringent” cost saving measures across all business functions. Those steps have proved insufficient to align its cost base to economic reality, it adds.

A formal consultation on the restructuring programme will begin in the coming weeks. Jobs are at risk at all of ADL’s facilities in the UK. The restructuring will move ADL towards “a leaner, more flexible manufacturing model that maintains its strong customer focus and best-in-class aftermarket support.”

Equally under the Reading heading below news is released that the Optare Metrodecks ordered two years ago for the Green Line London services have been cancelled.

It is a brave person who predicts a rosy future just yet.

Park Lane-Marble Arch cycle lane.

We have commented on the cycle lane along Park Lane and round to Marble Arch and here are two pictures from Gavin Francis giving a further idea of the lack of use by the very people the design layout has changed.

Taken by Gavin on July 23rd before there are any significant tour bus operations or other coach traffic.

Honk for Hope

In the last issue we featured the rally to London "Honk for Hope" where coach operators from all over the country drive to Parliament Square to press for help from the government in an hour of great need.

Initial feelings were that nothing would be the outcome and that response caused anguish within the industry. However even before more recent news broke, which has led to a rekindling of hopes for government backing, one operator that was present at the meeting believed that the gathering did not mark an end to the industry’s quest for help.

Candice Mason is Business Development Manager of Masons Minibus and Coach Hire, based in Cheddington, Masons has put a lot of effort into preparing itself for a restart that has thankfully now begun, albeit slowly. But the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on its business is clear.

Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham (centre) has supported Masons through the crisis that has hit the coach industry, including at Honk for Hope
Picture courtesy Route One.

While CPT has not yet been able to reveal full details of what a second proposal to Transport Minister Baroness Vere contains, Mrs Mason is clear about what she believes the industry needs if a solid future is to be assured. A bail out !

Adam Green's pictures of coaches involved in the Honk for Hope in London on July 20th

Mason's of Cheddington.

Big Ben and City Circle.

Crosskeys, Dhilon, Ferris and Jones.

Let us hope that the demonstration brings positive results for the U.K. operators.

Another service restarted is the 707 through Hemel Hempstead where this Chalfont of Southall Levante is seen on July 29th by Adam Green. 

An interesting collection of pictures from the past for this week's issue which I hope readers will enjoy.

This week Michael Wadman reveal more than 15 years of pictures of Swanbrook on the 53 and 853.

Michael Wadman

Some pictures to mark the end of Swanbrook’s operation of the Oxford – Cheltenham service. Much to my continued annoyance, even though I was living in Cheltenham at the time, for some reason I never photographed Carterton Coaches’ Van Hools on the service (nor even the Bedford SB / Duple Vega that turned up instead one day), so these are all from after Swanbrook inherited the service when they purchased Carterton Cs in 1981. 

D120 EFH was one of a pair of Duple 425s acquired to operate the service during the extension to London, at Aldwych on November 16th 1991. 

Somewhat less exotic, Bedford YMT / Plaxton FDD 109T at St Giles on February 19th 1994,
reminds us that at one time some journeys ran through to Tewkesbury. 

SIB 4458 (formerly C179 LWB), a Volvo B10M-61 / Plaxton new to Clarkes Coaches of Penge, in Cheltenham on April 6th 1996

TIB 6411 (formerly A214 SAE), a Leyland Tiger / Plaxton new to Cheltenham & Gloucester, in Cheltenham on May 25th 1996. 

A111 MUD, Leyland Tiger / Plaxton, former City of Oxford 111, in Northleach on March 21st 1997

A111 MUD again, after repaint, in Gloucester bus station on June 15th 1999.

B120 UUD, Leyland Tiger / Plaxton, former City of Oxford 120, in Cheltenham on July 14th 1999

UJI 1761 (formerly H957 DRJ), former Shearings Volvo B10M-60 / Plaxton, in Northleach on June 30th 2001
I remember driving this and the other ex Shearings coaches when I started on the X90 with Oxford Bus! Ed.

T35 CNN, former Dunn-Line Scania L94IB / Irizar, at St Giles on October 8th 2004 

M409 BFG, former East Kent Volvo B10M-62 / Plaxton, in Cheltenham on November 27th 2010

Sister M407 BFG at St Giles on May 18th 2013

FJ07 DWP, Scania K340EB4 / Caetano new to Hayton’s of Burnage at St Giles on October 3rd 2013

On another matter.

Also y
ou seem to be collecting photos of MW17, so here’s my contribution, with Brue Travel of Bruton, Somerset, in Warminster on November 3rd 2004.

Very many thanks to Michael for a tug at our memory strings! 

Nick Ross

Arriva lost the Bucks CC tendered 18 from Buckingham to Bicester not long after this photo of "Mercedes" N907 ETM passing Buckingham Castle on April 26th 2005. Langton & Tasker still operate the 18 today.

Picture by Nick Ross.  

Kevin Nicol in Canada

Ontario Northland has always been one of my favorite intercity bus companies. They have cut service a little during this pandemic but most routes are still operating, albeit with a reduced number of trips. If you remember back in September 2012, the Northlander train between Cochrane and Toronto was cancelled and the Ontario Liberal government at the time was looking to divest itself of the bus company as well. It did not look good for the long term future of the company which had started in the mid-1930s.  However, the Government received many complaints from the northern Ontario residents who felt that their “Toronto centric” policy was discriminating against the residents of the north. The complaints worked and talk of selling the company quickly disappeared. 

Since that time, Ontario Northland has actually expanded quite a bit. In 2018, a trial service to Manitoulin Island was added using a leased 35’ Temsa TS-35. This service lasted for a little over a year until it was cancelled earlier in 2020. Service west of Sudbury to Espanola, Sault Sainte Marie, Wawa and White River was added in January 2019 after Greyhound Canada had cancelled their service to the same area in October 2018.

On May 17th 2020 of this year, Ontario Northland expanded even further west to Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Their fleet has undergone a bit of change in the past year as they have taken delivery of 35’ units for the lower ridership western Ontario routes. Ontario Northland currently has seven Temsa TS-35 buses (L1911-L1914, 2001-2003) and 1 MCI J3500 (B1910). The three leased Temsa buses from last year (L1907-L1909) appear to be no longer on the roster but I was not able to confirm this. I did not see any of these buses during my visit to their garage in North Bay, which is their main garage. Ontario Northland even has two leased 45’ Temsa buses, which was definitely a bit of a surprise. 

All of the photos attached were taken during my northern trip last week. In Sault Sainte Marie, I was lucky to get photos of both the 45’ Temsa buses and the MCI J3500. The shot of the J3500, at the garage in SSM, is not ideal so hopefully I will get a better shot at some point in the future.

Temsa 1308 was the bus on the overnight trip from Thunder Bay to SSM arriving on Thursday morning.

I did not see any of the 35’ Temsa buses in service but was able to get shots of L1912, 2001 and 2003 at the garage in North Bay.


The garage was very full and as a result, I was not able to get many photos. However, the friendly staff at the garage did pose one of the new Temsa TS-35 buses (# 2001) in the sun for me. By the way, I did wear a mask during my garage visit just to be safe.

Other attached shots include 1901 and 5333 in Sudbury, 1902 in Orillia, 1903 in North Bay, B5608 in Sault Sainte Marie and 1906 in Barrie.

Finally, I have attached one of my old scans of an Ontario Northland MC8, # 202, taken at the old Gray Coach Lines garage at Front and Sherbourne in Toronto. Note the “Timmins Sleeper” destination sign. When the MC8 buses were brand new, they had a special sleeper configuration and were used on overnight trips between Toronto and Timmins.

Many thanks to Kevin for these interesting comments and pictures.


Now a memory but here is Devon General 2019 from Julian Walker

Julian thought readers might like a reminder of a rally, in this case the 2019 one celebrating the DG Centenary at Newton Abbott.

I've just seen my article on the page - I hope the other readers enjoy it! Thank you for all your hard work in putting it together.

It's coming up to a year since the Devon General Centenary Rally and Running Day of 4th August 2019, so I expect my next contribution will be a photo feature from the event. A small compensation for all the rallies and running days that have had to be cancelled this year.

Here are the first photos from the event - these concentrate on Devon General.

Open-top AEC Regent OD 7457 alongside Leyland Atlantean "Sea Dog" convertible open-topper 925 "Admiral Blake".
The Regent dates back to 1934 and was one of a batch of 21 bought to replace trams in Torquay.
These had long lives and six were converted to open-top in 1955, lasting in service until 1961 when they were replaced by the "Sea Dogs" Atlanteans.  

A collection of AEC Regents with Weymann bodywork. From left: DR818 (VDV 818), new in 1955 and withdrawn in 1971;
 DRD765 (ROD 765), new in 1955 and withdrawn in 1968; DR705 (ETT 995), new in 1937, rebodied by Weymann in 1953 and withdrawn in 1963;
and DR585 (KOD 585), new in 1949 and withdrawn in 1961.

AEC Reliance/Weymann no. 23 (CTT 23C), new in 1965 and withdrawn in 1977. It is blinded for the 46 Exeter-Torquay express, a route which no longer runs.  

Devon General also had a coaching subsidiary, Grey Cars. Seen here are TCR960 (960 HTT), a Willowbrook-bodied AEC Reliance new in 1962,
and AEC Reliance 890 ADV, the latter was only 7' 6" wide so it could operate tours on Dartmoor.  

Publicity was important to a company operating in a holiday area. 
This Morris Van V30 (MUO 656F) was used by Devon General's Publicity Department,
which was based at the Newton Road Depot in Torquay and also produced and maintained bus stop plates and timetable displays.  

Representing the National Bus Company era is Bristol VR 584 (VDV 123S) in traditional DG colours but with NBC-style fleet names.
Alongside are two convertible open-top VRs including 137 (VDV 137S) which replaced the "Sea Dogs" Atlanteans in Torquay in the mid-1970s.

A more mixed bag of vehicles exhibited at the rally. 

Recalling the Harry Blundred post-privatisation minibus era, 748 (C748 FFJ) was one of the 16-seater Mellor-bodied Ford Transits
 that revolutionised Exeter's city routes from 1986 onwards.

Bringing us up to date, Stagecoach South West displayed representative vehicles from each of its four "Hop"-branded routes
- Scanias 15898 in Hop 2 purple, 15316 in Hop 12 red and 15863 in Hop 22 green with open-top Trident 18186 in seasonal Hop 122 yellow. 

City of Exeter had its own municipal fleet until it sold out to Devon General in April 1970.  Marshall-bodied Leyland Panther 217 (TDV 217J) was ordered by City of Exeter
 and delivered in their livery, but to Devon General. It is now owned by the Westcountry Historic Omnibus & Transit Trust and used as a mobile exhibition. 

Plymouth also had its own municipally-owned fleet until 2009 when Plymouth CityBus was acquired by the Go-Ahead group.
Representing the Plymouth City Transport era of the 1980s is Roe-bodied Leyland Atlantean 131 (STK 131T),
blinded up for route 82, a Summer-only service across Dartmoor that was supported by Devon County Council but no longer runs.   

Crosville Motor Services CRG103 (AFM 103G), an ECW-bodied Bristol RE with Gardner engine was bought for Motorway Express services
 between Merseyside and London Victoria, but would also have been used on Summer holiday routes to Devon.  

Yelloway Motor Services of Rochdale would have been a familiar sight in Devon with their holiday express routes from the Lancashire Mill Towns.
AEC Reliance/Plaxton Supreme IV 562 (WDK 562T) new in 1979 is blinded for the X5, the Torquay-Rochdale service. 

The last few from the static exhibits then I move on to vehicles used on the Running Day event. 


A visitor from the OCBP area!
This ALX400-bodied Trident is now 536 in the Reading Buses fleet, but was new to Stagecoach South West in 2004 as its 18062 for Torbay route 12.
Reading acquired it from Stagecoach South when it took over the Reading-Fleet section of route 7 in April 2018.
The vehicle was entered by Reading Buses CEO Robert Williams who has previously worked with Stagecoach South West.

Stagecoach South West gave considerable support to the event and sent along their centenary-liveried Scania/Enviro400 15893.
This vehicle saw service at Torquay and Matford (Exeter) Depots during 2019 and is currently at Torquay again where it is a regular performer on route 22.

A line-up from the Running Day at Newton Abbot Racecourse, led by SR487 (HTT 487),
an AEC Regent with 35-seater Weymann bodywork new in 1946.
Behind is lowbridge Leyland Titan PD2/1 DL640 (MTT 640), one of six new in 1951 for the Exeter-Tiverton route
 on which there was a low railway bridge, although this was demolished before the buses entered service.

A unique vehicle -
DR679 (NTT 679) is an AEC Regent III that was given a prototype all-metal "Aurora" bodywork and exhibited at the 1952 Commercial Motor Show in London.
The Aurora never went into production as it was superseded by the Orion. 

Seen at Newton Abbot Railway Station, DL872 (872 ATA) was numerically the first of 17 high-capacity Metro-Cammell Leyland Atlanteans
 ordered as a gamble in 1959 for Torquay services.
They were instantly liked by crews and passengers, although they caused the engineering department considerable headaches.

The last few odds-and-sods from the Running Day. 

Representing the late-NBC era is Eastern Coach Works-bodied Leyland Olympian 1814 (A686 KDV) new in 1983.
 This was the last chassis to be built at the Bristol Commercial Vehicles works in Brislington.

Car no. 1 indeed! Grey Cars Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance 1 RDV, seen here during a photo-stop in Ipplepen Village,
was the first vehicle in Devon General's new numbering system adopted in 1964.
This vehicle was favoured by Devon General's Directors and was used when they toured the Company's depots. 

1220 (270 KTA) is an Eastern Coach Works-bodied Bristol SUL new in 1962 to Devon General's neighbour,
Western National, which was partly-owned by the Great Western Railway.
The 173 route still operates between Exeter and Moretonhampstead and is in the hands of Dartline.  

3547 (FDV 803V), a Leyland Leopard with 45-seat Plaxton bodywork, was delivered to Western National in 1980 for National Express work.
It carried Royal Blue fleet names and decals commemorating 100 years of Royal Blue.

ECW-bodied Bristol VR UWW 614S was new to Southdown Motor Services in 1977.
In 2000 it was purchased by Dart Pleasure Cruises Ltd who used it for an incredible 16 years on their Rail River Link service,
linking with the steam railway at Paignton and river cruises at Totnes.

To round off, superbly-restored Leyland Atlantean 42 (1013 MW) of celebrated independent operator Silver Star, whose striking livery was once a familiar sight in the Salisbury area. It was new to Silver Star in 1959.

Many thanks to Julian for that excellent article.

Fleet news and developments

As mentioned in the Editorial the details of the new coaches for Stansted are shown at that point. Delivery has not yet commenced.

Paul Swann - Fleet Planning Manager

The following vehicles at High Wycombe are on loan from Southern Counties at Hemel and not Derby

3567-SC  KX09GYU temp fleet no 3667

3569-SC  KX09GYW temp fleet no 3669

3570-SC   KX09GYY temp fleet no 3670

Coach 7103  YJ69AAX arrived at Luton on Tuesday, just leaves 7105 outstanding

Many thanks to Paul for that welcome update. So far no one has seen 3567 !!! It is suggested that it is REVERSING somewhere !!!!!

Nigel Peach

Cressex, July 27th.

Citaro 3915. This bus is quite distinctive as it has no Mercedes badge on the front.
According to bustimes.org, this bus hasn't been around much lately, but I've seen it running in Wycombe a number of times.

A general view of the depot.

Rear view of Citaro 3042.

The line up by the fence: recent addition 3569, 2159, 3919 and 2731. Of these just 2731 is withdrawn, unless 2159 has come to the end of its days at last !!

From Adam Green

Citaro 3019, looking fresh, at Hemel with a 500 service on July 25th.

Wrights 4019, 4020 and 4021 at Hemel on July 23rd.

One time stalwart at Wycombe, 4824 is seen in Hemel with the 500 service on July 23rd.

It is rumoured that the company is to start a service from Oxford to London via Baker Street in due course. Anyone know anything? If it is that should put the cat amongst the pigeons !!!!

Picture from Gavin Francis

Flixbus BK15AKG working the 023 to Manchester owned by BM Coaches seen on July 26th.

An error from the last issue on the service changes and advised by Phil Southall is that the 577 should have read 560 which is to be interworked with the 27 in Wycombe.

Solo 710 is seen turning out of Bridge Street with a 27 working on July 27th by Malcolm Crowe. 

Pictures from Daniel Harwood

Branded 364 is out of service in St Aldates on July 23rd.

Yellow 682 StreetDeck is seen near Queen Street on July 23rd.

Pictures from Gavin Francis

Changes ahead for the 35 and 309 is seen in St Aldates on July 26th.

Hybrid 311 and MMC 606 seen working 6 road on July 26th and 27th respectively.

Hybrids working a variety of routes on July 26th, 351, 354, 356 and 357.

StreetDecks 660 and 661 at work on July 29th and 26th respectively.

StreetDeck 668 seen at Peartree with a 300 road working on July 29th.

Orange 686 is seen with an 8 road service in High Street on July 27th.

Last issue we mentioned the new 11X service and above are photos of Citaros working this route.

The company van 1900 seen attending in Gloucester Green on July 26th.

Somewhat out of area but relative to the Citaros purchased from GAL, Gavin provides pictures taken in Blackheath on July 23rd showing some of the remaining ones left from the original batch at work in London.

It seems strange that many of their fellows are spread across the Thames Valley!

Pictures from Jack Cooper

MMC 604 working X32 in St Aldates on July 29th.

Giles Woodforde

I took this outside Kidlington Tesco this afternoon. Bus looks nicely presented. Mind you, it’s much more of a rarity to see a blue designated 2 these days, most of them  seem to have gone to TT.....


Picture from Daniel Harwood

Tourismo 36 is seen near the end of its journey in St Aldates on July 23rd.

Pictures from Jack Cooper

These pictures show the destination blinds on the buses now. Taken on July 29th. 

Pictures from Daniel Harwood

Scania 251 (intended for Go South Coast) with  an X40 arrival on July 23rd. 

Pictures from Gavin Francis

Scania's 212 and 213 are seen in St Aldates on July 25th and 26th respectively working the X40 service.

Wrights 936 is seen heading for departure in The High with an X2 working on July 27th.

Scania 231 is seen loading in St Aldates on July 25th with an X2 working to Wallingford.

Now the regular bus for the 11 to Watlington via Chalgrove, Chiltern Railways wrap 602 is seen in St Aldates on July 27th.

I believe these buses are all based at Cowley House with 551 above seen with an ST2 working in George Street on July 27th.

Pictures from James Freeman

Seen in High Street the two railway wraps  602 and 221 are seen on July 23rd.

Gavin Francis caught up with E200 MX61BCO in Pioneer Square on July 29th./span> 

Gavin Francis

Seen in Oxford SM19KKO is ready to depart to Bicester with a 250 working on July 27th.

SM19KKS is seen in Bicester ready for its run to Oxford on July 29th.

Neil Bridges

Neil caught up with this 20 plate working the 250 in Oxford on July 30th.
I wonder if they are getting all 20 plates for the service? 

BD20ODM Wt Streetlite DF SA9DSRXXX19141829 Wt AS348 B41F 3/2020 Hallmark 32311


Langston & Tasker

Pictures from Gavin Francis 

Whilst Gavin Francis was in Bicester on July 29th he caught up with the current bus used for route 18 seen in Pioneer Square.

Gavin provided pictures of this bus when in London service with First as their DM44266 on route 339.
Picture taken at Leytonstone on September 2nd 2016.

It is suggested that the 737 service from Oxford to Stansted will restart on August 7th but no operator is specified. Below is a link to the timetables. It will operate via Milton Keynes and Luton as before and now terminates in Cambridge !!!!! My best guess is that the service will be operated by Stansted depot SH of National Express.


Gavin Francis

Coming through Elephant & Castle working the 022 is BX65WCE which I think is with Kings Ferry. Seen on July 23rd.

Selwyn's BV19XRZ, the regular for this 212 working leaves Gloucester Green on July 26th.

Parks BV67JYT working the 501 and seen in Bulleid Way on July 27th. 

NatEx's own SH242 with an A6 working which is probably returning to Stansted as the A7 on July 27th.


A few pictures of Pulhams operation were sent in by Brent Ricketts

This ex demonstrator, BN68XTE, is seen at the depot on July 25th being prepared for service. 

The link below will take you to another operator using this bus.


Finally a picture from Jack Cooper and Theo Freeman

Hospital service 99 worked by Citaro PC18BUS is seen in Cheltenham on July 29th. JC

Volvo eVolution AP12BUS with a distinctive blind display seen in Cheltenham on July 29th. TF 

The CEO states that in his note to employees issued yesterday I outlined the significant financial challenge we face as a result of Covid-19. Covid-19 has accelerated recent trends towards more home working (especially on the hi-tech M4 corridor we sit on) and internet shopping, both of which reduce demand for bus travel.

People have been forced to find alternatives and it will be very difficult to attract them back.

We need to maintain as many services (and therefore revenue and jobs) as possible to have the best chance of rebuilding. We will also have to accept that it will no longer be possible to do or have everything we would normally want to, if we are to survive. We have therefore developed a cost saving plan that attempts to start addressing the issues, but with so many uncertainties around the future it is difficult to be precise.

Depending how the discussions around some of the other aspects of the plan go, and how government funding and customer numbers develop, we may have to make significant further reductions to services, which would then lead to substantial job losses.

I appreciate that these changes will be difficult and unsettling, but I cannot overstate the size of the challenge. It is well beyond anything that we could have predicted. I hope that this does at least provide some reassurance that we are acting to ensure that as many jobs are protected as possible by trying to make the company more efficient and productive.

In some good news, National Express confirmed with Reading last Tuesday that they would like the Woking 925 to resume operation from Monday 10 August, with only one very minor alteration to the normal timetable. This brings them back to join Reading RailAir and Guildford RailAir which both resumed partial timetables a few weeks ago, and of course our Green Line 703 and Thames Valley 459 which have been running throughout.

It is now over two years since the order for five Optare MetroDeckers for Green Line 702 was placed. A combination of ongoing production delays, an inability to provide a delivery schedule, mixed reviews regarding the demonstrator and our very difficult financial situation due to Covid-19 means that we have taken the decision to cancel the order.

This may be disappointing given the significant amount of time and energy that has gone into developing these bespoke customer focused vehicles. When we do get back to a position where we can start considering fleet investment again, we will start a new process to select the best vehicles for the route.

In the meantime, three Emerald vehicles 760/1/2 released by the recent frequency reductions will become temporary Green Line vehicles with modestly amended branding. The Green Line brand has a remarkably wide reach with visitors to the area. Whilst the seats in these vehicles are not the best for long distance journeys, they are high back with USB charging etc, and of course the buses themselves are modern and reliable.

This in turn will release similar generic vehicles 756/7/9 back into the main fleet to replace the blue Tridents which have been sold and are awaiting collection by their new owner.

Demonstrator 899 is being returned to Optare, and has been to Courtney bodyworks to be repainted out of Green Line colours prior to departure.

Picture from Gavin Francis

Taken in June this year, YX61FZH is the neighbour of the Langston & Tasker one shown above. 

We will be increasing some of our services across Banbury, Oxford and Witney from Sunday, August 2nd with pre-Covid times being restored where possible. Click on the graphic to see the changes.

A number of pictures this week which show the current situation in Oxfordshire.

Gavin Francis taken between July 26th and 29th

Gold 15762 from the rear with an S% working outside The Randolph Hotel in Oxford on July 26th.

MMC 36981 working the 16 route in St Aldates on July 25th.

One time stalwart on the 700, 10070 is working a 2B service by Debenhams in Oxford on July 27th.

MMC 10683 seen in high Street with a 3A service to Oxford Science Park on July 27th.

Hybrid 12007 loading in St Aldates with a route 10 service on July 27th.

On a damp day in George Street, new MMC 11248 waiting time with an S! service on July 27th.

10670 and 10671 seen in Pioneer Square, Bicester with S5 workings on July 29th. 

Gold's 15753, 15761 and 15762 seen in Pioneer Square, Bicester with S5 workings on July 29th.
I remember when I was on an as required tube duty I spent that Sunday with 15761 on the S5. Happy days!

Gold 15758 heading for Oxford on an S5 working on July 29th.

E200 36984 in Pioneer Square, Bicester with local service 26 to Kingsmere on July 29th.

Picture from Daniel Harwood

Scania/E300 28745 is seen heading for Banbury out of Oxford with an S4 working on July 23rd.

Picture from Jack Cooper

Scania 28743 heads into Oxford, along St Giles, from Banbury on July 29th.

Comments have been made that these buses are in an awful state with bashes etc. all over. I suppose they will reemerge with the new livery at some stage! 


A further Enviro 200 to return to service at Peterborough is 37220.

We understand that there are now no plans for any of the Volvo B9R coaches at Stagecoach South East  (53702/03/04/05/06/08/16) displaced from the M2 service to transfer here as replacements for the Volvo B9R coaches at Bedford (53612/13/15/16/17/18) which were, prior to ‘lockdown’, used on the 99 Milton Keynes-Luton service.

We believe that 53702/03/04/05/06/08/16 will for the time being remain in the 
Stagecoach South East fleet. 

Gavin Francis

Volvo eVoRa 21363 is seen running into Bicester with an X5 working on July 29th. 

Hugh Jaeger

I photographed a Stagecoach West bus on route 853 at Wolvercote Roundabout today. It is a 2014-registered Scania N230UB with Alexander Dennis Enviro300 body, branded for route 41 between Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Northway. Please help yourself to the photos attached.


It is a bus with standard interior and upholstery, the seats do not have high backs or headrests, and it is branded for the wrong route. Route 853 is a strategic route with a well-established identity and reputation for comfort. I fear that its loyal passengers will be disappointed.

Stagecoach West's commercial manager James O'Neill has told me "We only have the option of buses at the moment, although in other circumstances this probably would be different. We have similar long routes with reasonable end-to-end patronage, but I'm aware there will be a different expectation here given the history and customer base. It's something we're aware of but will have to see how it goes once we start."

I guess this must be why the new Stagecoach timetable is slower than the Swanbrook one it replaces. Off-peak, Swanbrook allowed 90 minutes in either direction between Cheltenham and Oxford. Stagecoach has lengthened this to 100 minutes from Oxford to Cheltenham and 105 minutes from Cheltenham to Oxford.

In the morning and afternoon peak periods Swanbrook allowed 95 minutes from Cheltenham to Oxford. Stagecoach allows 115 minutes in the morning peak and sticks to its standard 105 minutes in the afternoon peak.

In the afternoon peak Swanbrook allowed a standard 90 minutes from Oxford to Cheltenham. Stagecoach extends that to 105 minutes.

Stagecoach has reduced layover times at both termini but added a three-minute layover in either direction at Witney. And as you pointed out, it has registered the service in two separate parts, meeting end-on at Witney.

On the other hand, Stagecoach West's new webpage for the route lists tickets that combine route 853 with unlimited travel on Stagecoach West in Gloucestershire, or Stagecoach in Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, or both.

The webpage does not mention Swindon or Wiltshire. This matters because the last 853 from Oxford to Cheltenham leaves at 1805 in the afternoon. Anyone from Cheltenham who wants to stay later in Oxford might want to return via an S6 to Swindon and then a 51 to Cheltenham.

On Twitter today a bus enthusiast asked Stagecoach West about this. SW replied that the relevant route 853 tickets would be valid via Swindon.


Integrating route 853 into the Stagecoach networks at either end of the route is an important benefit to passengers. I just hope it will offset their disappointment at the switch from coaches to slower, less comfortable, less quiet buses.

Many thanks to Hugh for his comprehensive report and pictures.

More pictures on the service change using the Scanias are seen below.

Charles Powell
sent this picture of 2868 on the first day at Cheltenham to work the 16** departure to Oxford.

Jack Cooper sent these two pictures, 28683 in Oxford and 28685 in Cheltenham taken on July 29th.

More pictures of other West buses taken in Cheltenham by Jack Cooper are shown below.

Cheltenham working a 51 service on July 29th.

Another recent Gold is 10994 working the 94 to Gloucester is seen in Cheltenham on July 29th.

Many Cheltenham services are numbered with letters and here is 37241 working service F on July 29th.

The rear blind on this recent E200 MMC 37627 seen in Cheltenham on July 29th. 37630 is due to work on Banbury 505 shortly.

West buses taken in Cheltenham by Theo Freeman are shown below.

MMC 15978 seen in Cheltenham on July 29th appears to have a revised overall wrap???

Now a few weeks ago trainer 20940 was pictured in Oxford but here it is Cheltenham depot on July 29th.

Picture from James Freeman

E200 37246 working route D in Cheltenham on July 25th. The retro livery is nice!

Astromega 50278 seen in Oxford on July 23rd by Daniel Harwood.

Astromega 50279 is seen at Gloucester Green on July 26th with a busier scene than previously by Gavin Francis.

Pictures by Gavin Francis

MP Travel are working on behalf of megabus from Manchester to London - service M11 - seen here in Bulleid Way on July 25th.

Pictures of Swanbrook's last day on the 853 are shown below. These were taken by James Freeman.

The date is July 25th and the Levante pictured above by Michael Wadman has received a change of livery and seen in the pictures at Northleach and then Oxford.

Smaller operators and London developments 

Gavin Francis

Solo MX57BZY seen in Bicester on July 29th was or is owned by Star Travel of Aylesbury

London from Gavin Francis

Abellio's 1524 & 1532 near Elephant & Castle on July 23rd.

Brigit's RM191 seen in VCS on July 25th

GAL E11 working the 108 in Bexleyheath on July 23rd.

WHV 70 with a 2020 service at Crystal Palace on July 23rd.

Metroline LT748 showing off a recent wrap for RIGHT GUARD whilst working 390 at Marble Arch on July 23rd.

Metroline VWH2355 is seen at Ruislip Station with a 202 working on July 23rd.