Continuing news of increasing Covid-19 problems are reported in the news every day and one wonders if another lock-down is on the way. For my generation it would appear that we may be advised to self isolate once again, so this weekly page will become even more important for my sanity!!

The excellent news this week is that the long awaited new coaches for the Oxford tube look set to appear before Christmas and you can see the latest press release below.

I am finishing part two of the Showbus Fly-By which started a week ago and a special link is also shown below.

Showbus Fly-by main page-2 091020.html

Congratulations on the first 40 years from The Oxford Chiltern Bus Page and Editor, Malcolm Crowe.
see the timeline pdf below.


Click on the two pictures for a better view of the front and rear of these fin e coaches.

Stagecoach continues major investment in Europe’s most frequent express coach service as new Oxford tube fleet takes to the road

Ongoing commitment to British manufacturing with £13m investment
34 new coaches to upgrade entire Oxford Tube fleet
Largest single order of coaches ever for Stagecoach as company marks forty successful years
Solar panels trialled on a number of the coaches as part of Stagecoach’s continued investment in greener services

  • A £13million investment by Stagecoach will start to deliver major improvements for Europe’s most frequent express coach service as the first new coaches launch into service before Christmas on the Oxford tube.

    As Stagecoach celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, this major investment will see 34 new coaches starting to be rolled out in the company’s largest ever coach order.

    The investment marks a major upgrade for the Oxford Tube service, representing Stagecoach’s ongoing commitment to improving the customer experience even during the difficult circumstances of recent months.

    In addition to providing a service for people commuting to London, Oxford tube also encourages visitors to Oxford, helping to boost the local economy.

    The 34 new coaches will offer passengers at seat charging and reading lights, free Wi-Fi, foot-rests for added comfort and three point seat belts.

    In addition, the coaches will have the leanest diesel Euro 6 engines which limit exhaust emissions. Stagecoach continues to lead the deployment of cleaner technologies, including electric, hybrid electric and hydrogen-fuelled buses. It has investment more than 7,000 in new greener vehicles in the past decade, more than any other operator in the UK.

    With sustainability being key to Stagecoaches operations and values, 5 of the 34 coaches are being fitted with solar panel systems by the multi-award-winning UK company, TRAILAR. The 3mm solar panels will be fitted to provide clean solar energy to power all on-board electrical equipment, reducing the vehicles requirement to create electrical energy via the burning of diesel. The technology, which is the first for Stagecoach will aim to save over 1,500 litres of fuel and over 4 tonnes of CO2 per bus. Across the 5 vehicles fitted, their combined annual saving of over 7,500 litres of fuel and 20 tonnes of CO2, would require 331 trees being planted and grown for 10 years in order to obtain this level of carbon offsetting impact.

    Chris Coleman, Managing Director at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire said: “This major investment into Europe’s most frequent express coach service will ensure that we can provide our customers with a more comfortable and modern service.

    “The last eight months have been amongst the most difficult we have ever faced – COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and public transport continues to be impacted. But we are committed to continuing to invest in areas where we believe it’s important and we are delighted to be launching the first of our new coaches today.

    “Public transport will continue to play a huge role in the country’s economic and sustainable recovery. We are confident that this continued investment will help us to encourage more people to ditch their cars and use our comfortable new coaches for their journeys between Oxford and London.”

    The new premium coaches will have the latest in passenger comfort with on board features including wireless and USB charging, reading lights and extendable tables complete with mobile device and cup holders throughout. This, in addition to extra leg room and reclining seats, ensures that the service can continue to offer the best customer service.

    New on board information screens will be fitted and used to keep customers up to date with changes to their journey and estimated times of arrival. Customers will also benefit from the enhanced complimentary WiFi service available throughout.

    In addition, the new coaches have been designed to improve the service for those with additional accessibility needs with a more seamless boarding process for wheelchair users.

    The 34 Plaxton Panorama coaches have been built by Alexander Dennis in Scarborough.

    Mark Ballam, Coach Commercial Manager at Alexander Dennis said: “We are proud to have worked closely with our long-standing partner Stagecoach on the design and specification of these new coaches for the Oxford Tube, making sure they provide an outstanding experience for customers.

    “This order is a boost to UK manufacturing as Plaxton continues over a century of British coach building tradition at our factory in Scarborough.”


    Aaron Thomas, Co-founder and Managing Director at TRAILAR said “We are excited to be working with Stagecoach and supporting them in their green agenda by further reducing their environmental impact and operating costs, through reduced fuel and maintenance spend. TRAILAR offer solar solutions across a wide range of commercial vehicles such as trucks, trailers, refuse trucks and of course buses and coaches. TRAILAR is committed to delivering sustainable transport for all and achieving zero emissions sooner with solar!”.



    As described above these are very highly specified coaches following a 20 year history of double deck coaches for this prime 24 hour service. There are a number of special facilities including loading for bicycles which is a long term facility offered by Oxford tube. Fleet numbers 50421-50454 are allocated to these coaches with the first five being registered T40/44/50/55/60UBE, the remained taking 70 plate registrations.

    I hope to bring you pictures of the actual vehicles shortly so keep a look out in coming editions. 

    There are upcoming changes rumoured to be from next week. It may mean more difficulties for travellers but one must admit the bus companies have done all; possible to make travel safe.

    These adverts are appearing over Oxfordshire. 

    Fleet news and developments


    Pictures in Cambridge by Gary Seamarks from September 16th

    Variety is the spice of life, there are several colours in use on this company's buses but green seems to be the latest.
    Some buses have come from Manchester Community Transport
     like MX62AWG above.

    An excellent selection of Arriva pictures in Luton by Gary Seamarks from September 29th

    From the oldest to the newest in single deckers.

    Wrights variety at Luton.

    Three of the ageing fleet of deckers still in use.

    Green Line is changing and has new as well as older coaches on the 757.

    Nick Ross

    Congratulations on getting your website on a bus panel, recognition is nice. Looks like an awful lot of work in the last update, well done!  Thank you Nick, much appreciated. Ed.

    Arriva Sprinter 1008 BF67WGC having a lunch break at Leighton Buzzard station on a soggy October 3rd 2020. 

    Tony Bungay

    X60 branded Citaro working a High Wycombe local, caught between vehicles doing their Showbus run to Beaconsfield
     on September 27th.

    Enviro 400 5469 operating a turn on Service 150 near the end of its run from Milton Keynes, in Aylesbury on October 6th.

    An excellent selection of Centrebus pictures in Luton by Gary Seamarks from September 29th

    The variety from Centrebus is reflected in the pictures above.
    The fleet is very varied.

    The recently acquired E400 now has a much better blind display and looks the part.

    Picture by your Editor on October 8th - Malcolm Crowe.

    Kevin Fuller 

    Just outside of your core area, I know, but might be of interest to you and your readers: 

    Our local First depot in Slough has acquired / borrowed 4 Volvo / Wright Eclipse single deckers from Southampton, still coloured red, and branded for 'The Three' route in that city. 

    I believe that they are intended for use on school duplicates on routes 3, 6, 7 and 12, such services prefixed with 'S', but occasionally 'escape' onto other regular services as well.

    They also have a similar vehicle from Leicester depot decorated in the Leicester City Transport heritage livery. 

    Photo of 69390 - HY09AOS, waiting time at Burnham village with the 07.50 S12 for Slough on Friday, September 25th.

    Very many thanks to Kevin who I hope keeps us posted on Slough events for the future ?

    Peter Edgar 

    A well travelled Citaro, south coast, east coast and the Chilterns!
    886 is about to make the long climb from Lewknor to Stokenchurch on September 27th.

    Gavin Francis

    Sunday's have always been a good day for a change working link40 through Stokenchurch and Gavin Francis caught up with the two incumbents on October 4th, one week after Showbus - weren't we lucky?

    It was tipping it down when 859 and 879 were on this duty.

    Malcolm Crowe

    When I have the opportunity I like to pass by the depot on a Monday to see what is going on.

    October 5th sees green and blue 860 alongside 869 with 942 hiding on the left!

    It was the turn of two ex London Citaros, on October 9th, recently transferred from Oxford, 883 and 882, as yet devoid of route branding.
    883 was always a regular on the 250 !

    Pictures received from a number of sources as noted hereunder.

    Jack Cooper

    Flagship 301 of the once Park & ride Oxford fleet, now in blue 4 road livery but since the 4 was split and the east part numbered 15
    these buses have been appearing on that route. October 2nd.

    659 has not been active according to www.bustimes.org since March 3rd at 2045 ! I presume it must have a ticket machine fault????
    It is seen here with a 400 road working on October 4th.
    The off route buses were due to the fact quite a lot of the Park & Ride fleet were needed on Rail Replacement between Oxford and Didcot Parkway.

    Jack Cooper

    Interdeck 68 at Gloucester Green on October 4th
    . I believe it was its second day in service since being "sorn" in March.

    Tourismo 35 heads for Gatwick on October 2nd.

    Jack Cooper

    Not too many riders on such a wet day as 204 heads off with its tour on October 2nd.

    Jack Cooper

    201-205 having been open topped, 206 is now the oldest in original form seen at Queens Lane on September 28th.

    A real classic picture with the Citaro 855 in the foreground on October 2nd.

    Simon Caygill

    Blue City4 Citaros pressed into use in Didcot on October 6th.

    Coach 45 is seen with a 98 working on October 3rd.

    Langston & Tasker

    Volvo B7TLs LT52WWA/WWB; Volvo B7RLEs RIG6496/6497: Langston and Tasker, Steeple Claydon, Bucks

    Solo YJ57EJE: Acquired from Ensign by Little Jim’s, Berkhamstead, Herts

    In a sylvan setting YG68THK is seen at Stokenchurch on October 1st by Gavin Francis.

    Nick Ross
    provided this picture of Former London Transport but now Masons DAF LJ03 MVD working an Aylesbury - M. Keynes schools
     along the Linslade Western bypass on September 11th 2020

    Pictures taken by Gary Seamarks on September 16th

    Start Hill works this 491 service seen near Drummer Street.

    Whippet Coaches works this Levante on behalf of NEx 727 service, which may have reverted to National Express own operation now.

    Gavin Francis

    Stagecoach Yorkshire's 54401 - Levante seen laying over on October 1st in Elizabeth Bridge, Victoria.

    Gavin Francis

    762 displaying its new livery in London on October 1st.


    Now sold is former Stagecoach London Trident 18469, which has gone to Ensign Bus.


    SCO past

    Olympian 16419 with a 20 service leaves GG on July 18th 2004.

    Gavin Francis

    The one remaining bus from the old training fleet - 20933 - seen outside the depot on October 1st.
    This is now joined by two of the three M A N with just 22418 to come.

    Jack Cooper

    MMC 11234 on a very wet day leaves with an S1 Carterton service on October 2nd.

    Gold 15533 is seen working the 7 in Magdalen Street East on September 29th.

    E200 36982 is seen  working to the Railway Station with a 14A service on October 2nd.

    Gold 15761 with S5 branding is seen with an S8 service by Christchurch on September 28th. 

     Cambridge by Gary Seamarks from September 16th.

    Colour variety brightens the scene in the city with Park & Ride featuring different liveries.

    The single decks which were used on the X5 for a period due to Covid-19 are now back on the Busway services.

    The X5 between Cambridge and Bedford has become the 905 operated by double decks.


    For those of you who would like further information on Stagecoach East the latest fleet book from SKM should answer many of your questions and for £6.50 is a bargain.

    Click on the link to purchase

    Volvos BJ11DSX/DTZ/DZZ/EAO/EBL; Enviro 400s SN13CHC/CHK/CHH, LK08DXP, LK08NVF on loan from Ensign Bus.

    Jim Wright

    MMC 37618 with an 853 service outside the Ashmolean on October 8th 


    To facilitate the removal of the subway underneath Park Lane, our London bound coach stop at Marble Arch will be closed from October 7th, for 14 days.

    Gavin Francis

    50235 rounds the corner to Elizabeth Bridge making its way to Oxford on October 1st.

    50261, flag ship of the Astromega 14 plate fleet is due to loose its registration to 50421 in the coming weeks, all being well?
    Seen ready for Oxford on October 1st in Buckingham Palace Road.

    Jack Cooper

    Ex megabus 50237 recognisable by its red roof heads for London on October 2nd.

    Mark Wakefield 

    Sleepers 50301/3/4/6/8 have gone to Hull for the Amazon contract via Lincoln Depot.

    I mentioned last week on the page that I would appreciate pictures of the fleet of megabus coaches being used on school services in Manchester. I am delighted to have received two pictures of his "event".

    Here is the fleet presently out-stationed at Hazel Grove Park & Ride taken on October 9th by Les Burton.
    Is anyone able to provide the fleet numbers involved?

    Russell Young 

    I noticed you were after a pic of one of the Megabus coaches running from the Hazel Grove P&R outstation. 

    Interdecker 54267 duplicating the 1524 Manchester Piccadilly - Woodford 42B service in Oxford Road, Manchester
     on September 17th by Russell Young.

    These are restricted to school students only. The lead (scheduled) bus refuses to let students board and the driver directs them to the duplicate behind. Normal passengers are directed to the bus in front if they try to board the duplicate, so keeping the 2 groups separate. The buses two should stay together throughout the journey.

    I travelled on the following scheduled 42B trip, an E400MMC duped by a Magic Bus E400 and that's what happened, seemed to work OK, even along the busy Oxford Road.

    This feedback and pictures is very much appreciated. Thank you both.



    uno in Luton by Gary Seamarks from September 29th

    The company is well represented by a modern fleet of buses.


     Cambridge by Gary Seamarks from September 16th.

    Several operators have used this bus before including Hulley's of Baslow.

    Originally with Roberts of Leicestershire, this Centro has been with Whippet for a number of years.

    Lothian, Edinburgh operated this bus when new but it still  looks fresh with Whippet.

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

    Michael Wadman

    Fluck’s Luxury Coaches of Stow-on-the-Wold ran into Cheltenham on Thursdays and Saturdays when I lived there. In those days I didn’t keep detailed records of my photos so I’ve no idea which service this coach is on but in any case they never showed anything resembling a destination display, and, just to confuse enthusiasts joining the return journey, the two services that ran on each day met up at Notgrove Crossroads and transferred passengers if, as was usually the case, loadings were insufficient to require two vehicles, so that as a rule only one coach actually reached Cheltenham. These photos were all taken at Royal Well in 1981, and as you can see they had a varied fleet. 

    CYH301H - Bedford SB5 / Plaxton, new to Ruxley Coaches of Tolworth 

    HMO323N - Bristol LHL6L / Plaxton, new to Smith & Webb (Taylor’s Coaches), Marlow 

    NWE456K - Seddon Pennine VI / Plaxton, new to Musselwhite, Mosborough 

    GFH20V - Ford R1114 / Duple bought new. Cotswoldian was another fleetname used by Fluck’s on some of their vehicles

    Very many thanks to Michael for another interesting record.

    David Gray

    I had a couple of productive trips to Oxford in September 2012 and have just sent a folder containing some of the photos obtained. In the space of 8 years there have been quite a few changes to the fleets!



    OU57FHA Later went to Carousel and was sold to Konectbus in January 2018

    R624 CTX Withdrawn January 2013

    R151 CRW Withdrawn June 2015

    T806 RFG Withdrawn March 2013; to UK Coachways Horwich July 2013; Withdrawn January 2018

    AE57LYH To Ensignbus (dealer) October 2012; Go Bus Hamilton New Zealand November 2012

    SP51AMO to East Kent in November 2012; To Wigley Carlton (dealer) July 2018

    T101 DBW Later to Carousel; To PVS Carlton (dealer) December 2016

    S940CFC To Yorkshire Traction December 2013; Withdrawn July 2015; To PVS Carlton (dealer) September 2015

    Trident 116 in Brookes livery on a special service.

    Oxford Scanias 221 and 227 looking very different from their present presentations.

    Another Park & Ride E400H 307 in September 2012. This was one of three lost to fires in later years.

    When new the Citaros presented a very impressive appearance in September 2012.

    A very similar bus to Oxford's 307 was this ADL E400H electric hybrid, 12014 part of a large fleet for Stagecoach in 2010.
    Many of this batch have now moved to Manchester and 12009 has been lost to fire damage.

    Interestingly Stagecoach Stratford provided buses on the S3 on Sundays, 15671 is seen during September 2012 in Oxford.

    Many thanks to David for some pictures providing memories for many.  

    Andrew Tyldsley 

    You mentioned these two buses in the latest edition - latterly Go North East 6920 & 6921. 

    I've attached a photo of each with Go North East - 6920 on 3rd February 2019 & 6921 on 5th August 2019.
    They never received Go North East livery. 

    Thank you Andrew.  

    Paul Bateson looks back at the North West – North East route 685.

    I enjoy reading the weekly briefing and I would like to pass on my thanks to Malcolm Crowe for the hard work and time that he must spend putting the briefing together.

    Trevor Wilson is absolutely correct in saying that I am the other Brampton correspondent.  I live in Brampton, Ontario and edit British Buses Abroad, the quarterly magazine published by Buses Worldwide.  The original Town of Brampton was incorporated in 1873 when it was settled by John Elliott and William Lawson who immigrated from Brampton, Cumberland.  The City of Brampton is now Canada’s ninth largest city with a population of over 600,000.

    Hexham is my spiritual hometown although I was born in Birmingham.  I lived in Hexham between 1951 and 1957 and again from 1960 to 1962.  At this time the bus route between Newcastle and Carlisle was numbered 34 and operated by United Automobile Services using a fleet of Willowbrook-bodied Leyland PS1 buses.  The company had a fleet of 50 numbered LP 1 – 50 (HHN 291 – 340).  Although I had been a bus enthusiast since 1948, I did not take photographs and this activity did not start until June 1957.

    The LP buses were later replaced by ECW-bodied Bristol LS buses that formed the BU class.  I think it was in 1954 when I observed something that looked a little different on route 34.  It was an ECW-bodied Leyland Royal Tiger and one of five that were numbered LU 1 to 5 (RHN 763 – 767).  These LU buses were subsequently sold to Cumberland Motor Services who already operated Leyland Royal Tigers.

    The route number was later changed from 34 to 334 which I think was to tie in with the route numbers used by United.  The route was operated entirely by United until 31 December 1968.  Effective 1 January 1969 the Carlisle operations of United were transferred to Ribble Motor Services and the transferred buses received appropriate Ribble fleet numbers in its single-deck series.  The fleet name was neatly changed to Ribble and initially the buses continued with the United red livery.  The United buses operated from the Scotch Street Bus Station and it was later with redevelopment of the area that all routes were transferred to the Ribble / Cumberland bus station.

    The route number was changed from 334 to 685 after the Ribble take over to fit in with the Ribble route numbering system.  The rest of the story of this interesting route is well covered in Trevor Wilson’s excellent article in the last briefing.


    United BU 213 (213 CHN) is seen in Hexham Bus Station on 24 June 1957.


    United BU 52 (SHN 742) on route 34 at the Scotch Street Bus Station in Carlisle on 7 May 1959.


    United LU 1 (RHN 763) is seen at the Marlborough Crescent Bus Station in Newcastle assigned to a route 34 Duplicate to Throckley on 1 April 1961
    Cumberland MS Leyland Royal Tiger / ECW was one of 162-6 (RHN 763-7) (ex United AS LU1-5).



    The United buses in Carlisle operated from the Scotch Street Bus Station.  Note the prominent display of United in this view taken on 27 December 1968.


    United 2697 (8697 HN) in Carlisle on 31 December 1968, the final day of United’s Carlisle operations.


    Scotch Street Bus Station with the United name removed and seen on 11 March 1969.


    Former United U271 (271 EHN), repainted into Ribble livery, fleet number 263, and seen in Carlisle on 26 March 1971.


    Ribble 912 (FCK 912F) on route 334 at Hexham Bus Station on 30 September 1971.


    Ribble 611 (CCK 611C) on route 334 at Hexham Bus Station on 25 March 1972.


    United 6006 (RHN 270F), ECW-bodied Bristol RE, in Carlisle Bus Station on 8 April 1972.


    On its way to Carlisle at Greenhead, Cottage Gates on 6 November 1974 is Ribble 892 (ECK 892E).


    With thanks to Paul for an interesting piece with some of the buses I remember.


    North of the Border with Gordon Scott - our man in Drum Brae!

    Gordon had taken a break north of Edinburgh for these pictures.

    Stagecoach Bluebird Alexander Dennis E40D on route 35 with Eco Driving Award logo Top UK Depot 2016 to 2019 to Macduff depot.

    11165 - SK19 EKH seen in Cullen on  route 35 Elgin to Aberdeen on October 2nd.

    11172 - SK19 EKT seen in Buckie on route 35 Aberdeen to
    Elgin. on September 28th.

    Stagecoach Bluebird  26133 - SK68 LVT
    Alexander Dennis E20D on route 33C seen in Lossiemouth to Elgin. Taken September 27th.

    Stagecoach Bluebird 53641 - KX61GEK
    Volvo B9R Plaxton Panther on route 10 Inverness to Aberdeen taken in Nairn.
    New to Stagecoach Midland Red South in Megabus livery. Taken September 29th.

    Thank you to Gordon for some interesting pictures of which one has local interest for our readers.