Well, the  past week has been a very busy one since not only do you have this issue but also a special issue for Showbus Fly-by 2020 which can be seen at a link below.

Click logo for special page on this event

We have some great pictures from Showbus and I did much appreciate the one promoting this webpage.

Picture by Malcolm Crowe. Nice one Oxford Bus!

There are also a goodly number of contributions from other readers which highlight local and less local happenings over the past week, not forgetting another contribution from Michael Wadman for OCBP Times of Old.

Readers Write has received a number of replies to questions from the last issue, nr 123.

For those who may have missed their summer holidays we can bring you some nice pictures of Devon and Cornwall from Gary Seamarks and Julian Walker.

Torpoint Ferry with a Go Ahead double deck crossing the river by Gary Seamarks on September 11th.

By the Dart with a Stagecoach E200 on September 12th by Gary Seamarks.

Go Ahead buses on September 27th by Julian Walker.

Richard Denny has provided pictures of the loan buses of Stagecoach Midlands from Ensign.

Part of the hired in fleet on September 21st at Northampton.

Chris Loddington has provided pictures of ex Oxford Gold buses now with Stagecoach Merseyside. See under SC Oxford heading.

Nigel Peach writes "Oxford United's journey to Accrington at the weekend stalled when an alcohol-based spray used to disinfect the coach affected the vehicle's sensors. The coach's inbuilt system detects alcohol to prevent drink-driving and Oxford had to make their way to The Wham Stadium in cars. "A spray inside the bus sends out a fine antibacterial mist - it got stuck in the sensors". manager Karl Robinson said."

Oh dear, what a performance.

Randolph Hotel to close for six months and make staff redundant
STAFF at Oxford's Randolph Hotel are being made redundant as its new American owner closes it for about six months for a major revamp.

On a sad note !


And so on to this week's news. I have received several favorable comments about the changed layout, thank you.


I read in the Daily Telegraph of Thursday that Masons Coaches are now very concerned about the future.


One has to wonder how many other companies are in a similar situation, especially as the end of Covid seems a way off at present ?

Oxford risking lockdown as city nears 'red alert'

OXFORD is edging towards 'red alert' and 'tough' local lockdown measures following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.  

Fleet news and developments

Not too much to report this week but there are a number of pictures.

Ciaran Bird

Aylesbury's E400 5469 is seen at Oxford Train Station ready to depart on September 27th.

Gavin Francis

Somewhat adrift from its branded route, 5462 is seen leaving Wycombe towards Aylesbury on September 27th.

Nigel Peach

Citaro 3016 heads for Bourne End with a 37A on September 27th.

Making way for the Showbus Fly-by three Citaros wait the next duty on September 27th. 

The company has continued with the branding of buses either not having branding or that have recently been transferred.

So far transferred 870  retains its Animal branding on September 27th.

877, on September 27th and 878 have gained Chiltern Hundreds branding although on September 30th 878 was in use on Link40.
It did three morning trips to Thame but later was replaced by 887 from 1300.

A pleasant surprise on Showbus day was the return of 423 to Link40 for the day with 887. By the following week 423 was back on the 337!

Nigel Peach

Apart from a Carousel logo on the front dash, 882 has as yet to be rebranded for work in Wycombe.
Seen on September 27th. 

The company had gone to some trouble on Showbus Fly-by to feature OCBP on the destination screen as it came into Stokenchurch.

Photographs from this week have been held over until the next issue since there are some on the Showbus Fly-by link.

Airline coach 24 is still appearing on services in Didcot.

Simon Caygill

Simon caught up with 845, still working from Didcot, with a 94 service on September 28th.

For some obscure reason new 909 is still not registering on www.bustimes.org after some weeks in service. I wonder why.


Adam Green

792 - LJ56ONS working the 532 to Northchurch is on hire from Ensignbus when seen in Hemel Hempstead on September 23rd.

Red Eagle Y962KRX has gone for preservation !!

This bus is seen in Clarendon Rd, Watford on June 23rd 2008 by Gavin Francis. It was with Metroline at the time.

Interesting times at Oxford as three of the recently arrived Darts have yet to enter service. However 34882 seems gainfully employed at Banbury working the 488 each day.

Taken on October 1st, the picture shows 34829, 34881 and 34832 as yet not in service flanking Driver Trainer 22416.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Frazer Peddle provides this excellent night shot of 10681 working the 1 at Oxford Train Station on October 1st.

Chris Loddington

A couple more photos of the ex Stagecoach Oxford Gold E400s taken in Chester today. The first is 15535 (VX59JCZ) having just arrived at Chester Bus Interchange on route 1 from Liverpool, and the second is of 15611 (OU10BHE) crossing Hoole Road Railway bridge on the X1 from Liverpool. 15535 and 15609 made their way from Stagecoach Yorkshire at Barnsley to Rock Ferry depot in Birkenhead on Sunday 20 September, and 15535 entered service there on 24 September. 15609 has yet to enter service. They are mainly used on the 1/X1 routes, but quite often appear on the lengthy route 38, Bromborough/Eastham Ferry – West Kirby, and occasionally on the 471/2, Liverpool – Heswall routes. I have to say though, they look very bland without any lettering or route branding.

Taken on September 29th by Chris Loddington. 

Jim Wright

Working the X5 into Oxford, 54302 passes along Magdalen Street East heading to Gloucester Green on September 24th. 

With thanks to SKM.

Temporary fleet numbers are now being allocated to the hire fleet at Northampton. Reported so far are:
80071 LK08DXP
80072 LK08NVF
80073 SN13CHC
80079 BJ11DTZ
80081 BJ11EBL
80082 BJ11AEO

I am delighted to have received from the following:

Richard Denny

Some very interesting news from Northampton Stagecoach where 12 buses have been hired from Ensign to help cover a shortage of double deckers on the busier routes in town. They are a pair of ex East Coast Gemini's plus plus five each of E400s and Gemini's that were formerly Tower Transit and Metroline. These commenced service on the September 28th carrying 800xx numbers which denote hire buses.


I attach some photos, three are at the bus station and the large lineup is at the depot  and hope these will be of interest.


Some of the hired fleet outside Northampton depot on September 21st.


80074 is seen with a special on September 28th.
New as Centrewest DN33795 in June 2013. It later passed to Tower Transit with First's London operations


Wright/Gemini 80077, was East Coast Buses 20800, seen branded for route 7on September 28th.


Another Wright 80079 this time, which was Tower Transit 36134,not giving much indication  where it is off to on September 28th. 

Nothing to report this week.

I am still hoping to receive pictures of the coaches now based at Hazel Grove (Rising Sun Park & Ride site). Les Burton, has promised to get pictures for me but so far no luck!!!!!!

Gavin Francis

Walters have bought PVL 406 and PVL 407 from Go North East.  These two pictures show these buses when in service with Go-Ahead London.
406 is seen on September 9th 2011 and 407 on May 17th 2016.

I wonder if anyone has pictures of these buses in service with GNE or Walters? 

Smaller operators and London developments

Andrew P Webb

Very few modern buses survive with their original operator for 23 years, especially in London where tendering leads to change of operators and the kinds of buses permitted.  This step entrance Metroline step entrance Dart is an exception to this.  Delivered to MTL London in May 1997, the company was taken over by Metroline just over a year later in August 1998.  It survives with the company, albeit in a quieter role as a driver rest room.  Photographed on September 27th at the bus turning circle in Northolt, giving drivers on routes 90 and 120 a place to unwind before setting out for another journey to Feltham or Hounslow.


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

Michael Wadman

Here are a few more lesser-known operators from the Oxford & Chilterns area. I’m pretty sure that these have all either ceased trading altogether or no longer operate local bus services.

McLeans Coaches of Witney ran Carterton town services for a while.

C652XDF was a  former Cheltenham & Gloucester Mercedes L508D / Alexander, on service C3 on December 7th 1996.

Margaret's Minibus was Mrs Beechey of Henley-on-Thames.

D214GLJ, a former Shamrock & Rambler Freight Rover / Dormobile was on service 134 to Russells Water on March 26th 1994.

Execubus of Booker Common.

P338PDE was a LDV 400 / Pentagon, new to Collins of Roch, seen outside the old High Wycombe bus station on April 2nd 2004.

I’m not sure what service this was on. Following Bucks CC retendering at the beginning of 2001, Execubus ended up with two services into High Wycombe on Fridays: 355 from Hambledon and 359 from Littleworth Common, so in the absence of any form of destination display this could be either.

Redcars of Buckingham.

J347UOC was a DAF 400 / Autobus Classique, new to Becketts of Mursley, picking up at Buckingham Tesco on service 46 on July 8th 2000.

As ever many thanks Michael for some very interesting pictures. 

Andrew P Tyldsley on Brampton - Cumbria

Thanks for the mention in the latest edition. 

I enjoyed reading Trevor Wilson's history of the cross Pennine 685 service - I thought you might be interested in a photo I took in Hexham yesterday (September 25th) of Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire ADL Enviro 400MMC 11158 (YX68UXJ) <mentioned in the article>. 

It has left the new Bus Station and is approaching the site of the old one
whilst operating the extra "scholars" journey on the 685 from Hexham to Brampton.

I am sure Paul in Brampton, Canada will enjoy this picture. 

Also no sign of the interdecks yet but I am led to understand they are being upseated prior to entering service.

McLeans via Ken McKenzie in answer to a question in the last issue

Vehicle details as requested; 

OU20 DVF. Volvo/Plaxton Panther. Chassis number: YV3T7U527LA199879 Body number: KP12/01

OU20 DVG. Volvo/Plaxton Panther. Chassis number: YV3T7U527LA199901 Body number: KP12/02


Tony Bungay

One of your contributors asked a question in last week newsletter concerning an Oxford – Worcester Service, while I do not have full details. I believe the Service started in 1983 and initially in some instances operated Worcester – Pershore – Evesham – Broadway – Moreton in Marsh – Chipping Norton – Oxford and then onto London. The London part was cut back to Oxford in 1984 and the Service withdrawn in 1985. Certainly in the early days it was operated jointly with Oxford South Midland, and was numbered aptly 191, as photo of Midland Red Leyland Leopard/Plaxton 665 shows, taken September 1983 at Gloucester Green.

Picture by Tony Bungay

I did have a timetable for this route, but donated it to The Bus Archive last year. 

Keith Shayshutt

I write in response to a question in Readers Write in the latest edition about joint services with Midland Red. I can confirm that the X50 was operated by the Birmingham Digbeth garage. This applied when there were just two through journeys a day when drivers kissed and turned at Tredington with the buses working through and also when the new four through journeys a day timetable was introduced. Then both Digbeth and Chipping Norton drivers kept their own buses and worked all the way through end to end, each company doing two round trips each.


Incidentally under the earlier two journeys a day operation Midland Red had a vehicle on permanent loan with COMS for the X50 as MR drivers didn’t like driving a COMS bus on the Tredington changeover. It changed over daily.


When Digbeth depot closed to bus operations (It becoming National Express only) the X50 transferred to Stratford depot.

I was a regular driver at Digbeth for the X50 in those days. My favourite route of all time. 


Paul Danks 

I see that Gary Seamarks has a query on Midland Red Trips on the X50 and X59 services. 

I dug out my Midland Red (South) March 26th 1983 timetable book as an example for that time. It can be seen that Stratford would indeed have worked the X50 trips at that time. You can see the journeys tie in with X20 trips running between Stratford and Birmingham to run to and from the garage at the either end of the day. 

With regard to the X59 it would have been run by Banbury garage as all MR(S) trips seem to with start and finish in Banbury or Deddington with nothing from the Coventry end. 

Hope this helps. Thanks for another interesting weekly report!


The X59 was operated from Banbury garage, one of the most isolated Midland Red garages, whilst the X50 was indeed operated from Stratford.


With many thanks to those correspondents for their updates and memories.


Some interesting pictures of Devon from Devon by Julian Walker

Julian Walker 

Thank you for the latest Oxford & Chiltern Bus page. I really like your idea of putting out-of-area news at the end of the page; as its focus is on Oxford and the Chilterns it makes sense to keep the focus primarily on the area, whilst still having the other contributions available for those who are interested to read them.   

Which brings me on to my latest contribution, a look at recent loans to Plymouth CityBus.   

The bus scene in Plymouth has been enlivened in recent weeks by the presence of loaned buses from other Go-Ahead subsidiaries. These are operating on Plymouth CityBus routes, whilst their own buses are on loan to the new Transport for Cornwall operation pending the delayed delivery of new ADL Enviro200 MMCs and ADL Enviro400 MMCs. Loaned buses started appearing at Milehouse Depot in March ready for the planned introduction of Transport for Cornwall on the 29th of the month, but remained unused as covid-19 saw only a limited service introduced whilst Plymouth CityBus services were drastically reduced. However by the end of May passenger numbers recovered sufficiently to justify introducing the full Transport for Cornwall timetables and there was also a significant uplift on Plymouth CityBus. 

A quick trip to Plymouth and Derriford Hospital on Tuesday, September 8th - my first visit to the city since lockdown in March - gave me a flavour of the loaned buses, mostly Scania saloons from the Go South Coast's Bluestar and Morebus fleets and from Go North East. The vehicles seem to be deployed mainly on route 34 (City Centre - Devonport - Derriford Hospital) and 50/51 (City Centre and Derriford circulars). The delayed ADL orders are now arriving so the loaned buses will not be around for much longer - indeed I was too late to capture Brighton & Hove Scania OmniDekkas which were needed back in their home city for an uplift of services at the beginning of September.  

Photo 01: Scania Saloons from Bluestar, Morebus and Go North East in the linear bus station at Derriford Hospital.
The Hospital in North Plymouth is the largest in the region and a focal point for several of the City's bus routes.   

Photo 02: Go North East Wright Solar-bodied Scania 375 (NK55 OLM) at Derriford Hospital on route 34,
which gives residents of Devonport and Stonehouse a direct link to the Hospital without needing to travel into the City Centre. 

Photo 03: Go South Coast (Morebus) Wright Solar-bodied Scania 1012 (HF54 HFX) in Royal Parade, Plymouth City Centre.
It is working the circular service 50 via St Budeaux, Derriford Hospita1003 (HF58 HTJ)l and Estover.  

Photo 04: Go South Coast (Bluestar) Scania OmniCity 1003 (HF58 HTJ) in Royal Parade operating route 34. 

Photo 05: As well as the loaned buses, several withdrawn Plymouth CityBus vehicles have been reinstated temporarily.
These include 433 (X501 EGK), a Plaxton President-bodied Volvo B7TL that was originally PVL 201 in the Go-Ahead London General fleet.
It is seen arriving at Royal Parade on the 34 route.  

And a couple of other interesting sights whilst I was in Plymouth that day: 

Photo 06: Whilst in Plymouth I captured this part open-top ADL Enviro400 in Ocean City Sights livery,
one of two in the fleet. This was for a tour route that operated in the Summer of 2019 but was not successful;
the vehicles were instead deployed on the short circular route 25 that operates to Barbican and The Hoe
and offers superb views over Plymouth Sound. LX06 EZE was originally E30 in the Go-Ahead London General fleet.  

Photo 07: Tally Ho! of Kingsbridge operates this new Mellor Strata-bodied Mercedes midibus
 on Devon County Council-contracted routes 49 (Plymouth-Heybrook Bay) and 94 (Plymouth-Noss Mayo).
The two routes are operated with a single vehicle and driver.

It is nice to visit the south coast of Devon if only in photographs, thanks to Julian.  

A visit to Devon & Cornwall by Gary Seamarks

Another pleasant interlude to remind us of summer days from Gary with much to interest readers.

Gary writes "...these are from our Cornwall trip, started in Minehead two nights, three nights Newquay and three nights in Paignton and as it was a holiday buses took a step back in places. I have added the locations in captions, the two unknown... the Open topper is between St Ives and Lands End, and the Scania was somewhere near Kingsbridge (Devon) on an industrial estate, this is ex Nottingham and it did appear at Showbus a few years back (Duxford) with a latter owner, Travel Wright. "

En route

Ex First Manchester SN12ADC is seen in Wells with a 174 service which runs from Wells to Bath. 33743 is seen in Wells.
Timetables for the 174

Worth looking at is this link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8htaV7rEig

And into Devon

Ex Southport and looking very trim in Torquay on September 13th.
I remember these in service in Southport back in the '50s and when staying with family
in Manchester Road by the church and the bus stop, the noise of the bell ringing to go
Would wake one up in the very late evening!!

And then Cornwall

First movements in Truro on September 11th.

In full Transport for Cornwall branding  E20D MMC 2420 is seen in Truro on September 11th.

Go Cornwall 461 (Plymouth City Bus) heads to the bus station in Truro and E200 146 in Looe on September 11th.
Go Ahead London Central WVL196 (LX06EZN)  was the original operator.

In Atlantic Coaster livery First 37058 is seen on September 10th.
This was new as 37058 YJ06XMK to First West Yorkshire in Bradford.

Three Volvo/Wrights in use at Perranporth on September 10th.
New to First Glasgow as 32549 - SF54OSM
New to First Glasgow as 32624 - SF54TMO
New in December 2005 as First Bristol 37018

Seen on the Torpoint Ferry is Go Ahead 535 with a 70A to Cremyll on September 11th.

And back to Devon

Not unsurprisingly Gary has sent several Devon pictures which are, to me, very interesting.

Scania 15881 is seen in Ilfracombe, North Devon on September 7th.

Seen in Dawlish on September 13th, Scanias 15865, 15898 and Trident 18306 with an open top service.
18306 is Dennis Trident/Alexander Dennis ALX400 new to South West in 2005.

Scania's 15306 and Gold 15932 both seen in Torquay on local routes.

Seen in Torquay on September 13th, Trident 18306 with an open top service.
18306 is Dennis Trident/Alexander Dennis ALX400 new to South West in 2005.

Gold Scania 15251 is seen in Seaton with a 9A on September 14th.

Smaller operators and item of interest.

Hatch Green run the Seaton Town Service with this Solo SR - YJ64DHG seen on September 14th.

This double deck was located on an Industrial Estate on September 12th.
 From Travel Wright Alexander RH bodied Scania N113DRB G 378 NRC was originally numbered 378 in the Nottingham City Transport fleet

So many thanks to Gary for a visit to the south west coast and seaside. Happy memories from my 2008 trip to Lands End.