Minor updates Sunday, October 25th


The days are drawing in and soon we will change our clocks to GMT. Then photography will be come more challenging and I may take the opportunity to take a week off. However we are expecting the arrival of the new Oxford tube coaches in the coming weeks, so there will hopefully be a large number of pictures to use on the page.

This week many contributors have provided a record of recent days in our area including the recent weekend when road transport provided the necessary alternative to the rail services. I have received many pictures of this event both in Didcot and Oxford.

As seen above a number of operators were involved on the weekend mentioned seen in this picture by Jack Cooper.

Weavaway used a variety of different buses and coaches in this picture in Oxford by Jack Cooper.

As usual we have number of interesting pictures and reports including some great pictures of buses in the '90s in our area received from Michael Wadman remembering earlier times with Marshalls of Leighton Buzzard.

Gavin Francis, whilst taking pictures of rail replacement in Oxford came upon the car shown below and noted that Paul Bateson on a recent visit to Niagara Falls, Canada took a picture of RM797 still in service. The two pictures taken this month show RM797 is somehow still a live on both sides of the Atlantic !

The car in Oxford on October 18th 2020 and RM797 in Canada in July 27th 2019.

We also have had pictures of the remaining ex megabus Oxford tube coaches from various contributors.

Astromega 50233, displaying its fleet number in an unusual offside position heading for London on October 15th.
Picture taken by Ciaran Bird.

Andrew Morgan wrote saying "I was hoping to see some photos of my RM out on the run, bus alas none so far, so here is one I took myself when I jumped out of the driver’s cab in High Wycombe with the sole RT type that participated."

The picture Andrew took in High Wycombe on Showbus day.

I'm sorry that I missed this vehicle but was somewhat over-faced with pictures and he does make a point. 

Andrew also mentioned that "....There was a rumour that you would be in Stokenchurch with rally plaques, but alas I did not see you!"

I asked Martin Isles who said that Arriva had agreed to produce the plaques but withdrew their offer prior to the event. He was not sure how I was involved in the handing out at Stokenchurch but such is life. 

One item which I found interesting, reflecting the current situation of reduced traffic and lack of people in the cities is shown in the picture below from Ciaran Bird.

This is a view of St Aldates on October 15th at 1254 significant due to the lack of any traffic during this time.

Another item of interest from the current period is the sad news that, yet again, National Express have withdrawn the 737 Oxford-Cambridge service from last Sunday, October 18th. Pictures of the final departure are included under the Oxford Bus heading when coach 60 left Gloucester Green in the last afternoon. Of interest in this section are pictures of the interior of coach 60 showing the social distancing etc.

I appreciate the confirmation of this from Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus, the operators of this service saying "National Express has advised us that the service is suspended again 'until further notice'. They don't have a target date for reinstating either so we will have to wait and see."

The current route to Stansted is shown as via London connecting with the National Express services from there.

One wonders if this service will recommence next year? Picture taken by Jack Cooper. 

Fleet news and developments

Contributions this issue from Gavin Francis who spent a morning in High Wycombe on October 19th.

DAF SB120 Wright Cadets 2732 working route 32 followed by 3537 working the 33 both in Oxford Street.

VDL SB200 with Plaxton Centro bodywork 3813 - YJ58FFC working the 300 Aylesbury service.
This bus spent time in Malta as BUS311 as seen at this link: https://maltabuses.piwigo.com/picture?/6361
At the time it was painted in Arriva blue from 2011-2014.

Citaro 3925 branded for THE ONE and working the route ahead of ADL ALX400 6002 with a 41 working.
6002 is now one of only three Arriva deckers at Wycombe !!

4020 is former Arriva North London VLW12 a Volvo Wright Eclipse Gemini, seen working the 300 from The Eden Bus Station.
This bus new in October 2001 is now one of the oldest buses in the area.

Tourismo 7013 with a 748 service seen in Buckingham Palace Road on October 16th.
Interesting to see the megabus.com advert on the rear! Picture from Gavin Francis.

Still in regular use with Charlton is this Solo Y236LRR waiting time outside the Ashmolean in Oxford on October 16th by Gavin Francis.

Mark Doggett

Pictures of the new minicoach are attached courtesy Phil Vockins, Groups Co-ordinator of Crusader Holidays

A very nice looking vehicle with a spacious luggage boot seen on October 18th.

Gavin Francis

First StreetLite 63313 working the X74 in Oxford Street, High Wycombe on October 19th.

I feel I must congratulate the group in our area in doing all possible to ensure branded buses are working the routes they are vinyled for! Ed.

Contributions this issue from Gavin Francis who spent a morning in High Wycombe on October 19th.

StreetLite 406 is seen in Oxford Street boarding customers for the 102 to Uxbridge.

Not always out in service, Solo 710 is seen with a 27 service in Oxford Road. This is often a double decker.
However 710 did appear working link40 for one journey on Wednesday, October 21st !

Ex London General MEC 41 now with Carousel as 878 working the inbound X103 in High Street.

Ex London Central WVL 917 now with Carousel seen here in Oxford Street with a 36 service to Bourne End.
Sadly it is missing any Carousel branding except the fleet number. 

Various contributors as indicated with a nice update on matters Oxford.

Ciaran Bird

Yellow StreetDeck 683 is seen heading down St Aldates with a 3 road service on October 16th. 

Daniel Harwood

Orange StreetDeck 690 is seen heading up St Aldates with an 8 road service on October 17th.

Brookes Uni buses 376 and 609 cross Magdalen Bridge heading into the City on October 17th.

Citaro is seen heading eastwards on The High with an 11X service on October 17th. 

Daryl Major

Here in a similar area, Park & ride is seen with an 11X service October 16th.
I personally have not seen one of these deckers working the 11X road.

Gavin Francis

Hybrid 316 is seen in Magdalen Street west with a 35 road service to Wolvercote on October 16th.

Jack Cooper

Hybrid 301 is seen turning out of New Road with a branded 4 service working on October 18th.
Queen Street is closed until November.

Hybrid 305 branded for the 35 is seen turning out of New Road on October 18th, avoiding Queen Street which is closed until November.

Here a 4A is seen heading for Elms Rise on October 18th.

Once part of the X90 fleet, 69 and 70 are seen here at Cowley House on October 19th.

It seems that these coaches will not be seen on the 737 service in the foreseeable future.
Seen at Cowley House on October 19th.

Returned to the Oxford Bus Company after being on loan to East Yorkshire  are Mercedes-Benz, Sprinters 973 (returned on October 9th 2020) and 971 (returned on October 16th 2020).

A development in Didcot giving Thames Travel more presence.

Milton Park, one of the leading science and technology communities in Oxfordshire, has partnered with Thames Travel to provide its new shuttle bus service between Didcot Parkway and the Park.

Plus, thanks to additional funding from Oxfordshire County Council it will also provide an increased number of fast bus services from Oxford (including the East of the city and Headington’s Life Sciences District) and Wantage to the Park and more areas within Didcot to benefit the Park’s occupiers, its visitors and the local communities.

The new contract will commence in January 2021 and will offer Milton Park’s occupiers further travel options with more frequent buses between the train station and the Park, longer operating hours to suit new and differing work patterns as a result of Covid-19 and unlimited free bus use all year round to Didcot Parkway, therefore making people’s commute easier.

Currently three shuttle buses operate between 7am and 7pm running every 10 minutes at peak times and 15 minutes off peak. The new service will operate between 6am and 1130pm and offer a peak time frequency bus every eight minutes and 10 minutes off peak.

Due to the investment from MEPC, Milton Park will continue to offer an annual £20 bus pass for its occupiers from Didcot Parkway, but will also now extend this to the whole of a new “Didcot Zone” which covers Great Western Park as well as other areas around Didcot town. This subsidised pass will entitle Milton Park occupiers to unlimited free bus use all year round. There will be two Milton Park-branded buses dedicated to the route through the Park and will all clearly state that they are stopping at the Park.

The extended local bus service will see additional services from Oxford and Wantage with buses every 30 minutes, rather than every hour, and a new faster route to and from Wantage and Grove. The partnership will also include an app to help people know about when their bus will be available and estimated arrival time.

There will be 22 ultra-low emission Euro VI buses on these routes and will also have WIFI, USB charging points, contactless ‘free flow’ tap in and out machines and fare caps so people are always charged the cheapest fare.

Phil Southall seen with Veronica Reynolds pictured for the announcement.

Phil Southall, managing director, Thames Travel said: “To have been awarded the new contract with Milton Park to provide frequent shuttle bus services to the park from Didcot Parkway Rail Station makes us very proud. This new partnership has also allowed us to connect Milton Park directly with East Oxford and Headington’s Life Sciences District, provide more local and later connections within Didcot and to surrounding villages, and provide a new, faster link to Wantage within our 'Connector' brand of services.

“The significant investment that MEPC is making in the new contract will be supplemented by further funding we have been able to obtain from local housing developments in Didcot’s Garden Town with helpful assistance from Oxfordshire County Council.

“All of this will ensure that Milton Park will now have unrivalled direct bus connections to a wider range of places, with faster journey times, improved ticketing options and more frequent services, to make travelling to the park by bus easier and better than ever to encourage more sustainable travel. Around 15 new jobs will be created at our Didcot depot to operate these new services and we very much look forward to working with Milton Park on achieving its sustainable travel ambitions and its 2040 Vision."

Phil added for OCBP "No major shift around required as the fleet has already been moved around and new deliveries made. We do have a new E200MMC coming in December (to be numbered 454) but other than that, it will be about getting Mercedes Citaro already allocated back on the road."

Veronica Reynolds, sustainable travel advisor, Milton Park said: “Bus travel between Milton Park and the station and other areas of Oxfordshire is integral to our sustainable travel 2040 Vision ambitions to support vital local services.

“Following consultations with our Milton Park Travel Forum, which consists of representatives from most of the major businesses on the Park, it was clear that more comprehensive bus services were a priority for many of our occupiers and key workers. Our investment and the changes will give occupiers even more sustainable travel options from neighbouring towns and villages and into Oxford. 

"In addition to the recent introduction of e-bikes to our successful bike loan scheme, an improved pedestrian and cycleway route and imminent plans to reduce the speed limit throughout the Park to 20mph, the new bus contract will benefit both occupiers and visitors to Milton Park. We would like to thank our current provider Courtney Coaches which has provided a loyal and really valued service over the years.”

The new contract will replace the current shuttle bus contract which is held with Courtney Coaches.

Thames Travel believes that TUPE will apply on the transfer of the Milton Park shuttle bus contract from Courtney Coaches.

Phil Southall added: “Any current Courtney Coaches driver working on the Milton Park shuttle service will be offered the opportunity to join Thames Travel and we look forward to welcoming them into our business.

“Any colleagues who join us under TUPE have the option of remaining on their existing terms and conditions of employment or transferring to the Thames Travel terms and conditions if they consider these to be more favourable.

“Now that the change in contractor has been confirmed, we will be working with Courtney Coaches to establish their position with regards to TUPE. Following these discussions, we will be in touch directly with the affected drivers to advise them on the next steps and to discuss any questions or concerns they may have in relation to this change.”

Subject to approval by the County Traffic Commissioner, the new timetables are due to be published in December 2020. 

Various contributors as indicated with a nice update on matters Thames Travel.

Ciaran Bird

Citaro 851 with its fleet number in an unusual place is seen with an X40 working in St Aldates on October 15th.

This time Scania 913, the blind also failed, which seems not to show on www.bustimes.org since October 5th
is heading into St Aldates, maybe with an X32 on October 15th. I wonder why?

Daniel Harwood

Ready for journey to Reading working X40 road is 253 seen at Queens Lane on October 17th.

Jack Cooper

StreetDeck Micro-Hybrid 907 makes a nice picture heading into Abingdon with an X2 service on October 16th.

Simon Caygill

Scania 229 is seen at rest in Didcot on October 18th. 

Gavin Francis

Still finding working days is this long serving member of the fleet.

Seen in High Wycombe, Volvo/Jonckheere H18HTL eludes me in finding its history. Pictured on October 19th.
New to Shearings in March 1996 as 731 - N731UVR.

David Nutton

No prizes for guessing its Ex Red Kite (new to East Kent) now with Masons, Long Marston. A Leyland Olympian now 30 years old and I came across it parked up around lunchtime, presumably in readiness for working a school service later on.

Masons H804BKK with schools 006 in Aylesbury on October 13th. The bus still looks tidy for a 30 year old !

As mentioned earlier the 737 service operated by Oxford Bus has been withdrawn with no restart date.

Jack Cooper

The last journey for the present worked by coach 60 is seen at Gloucester Green on October 18th at 1800.

As will be seen under Thames Travel, Courtney have lots the Milton Park contract to TT who are expected to start in January 2021.

Simon Caygill in Reading

807, YN54AEY, is a Scania/East Lancs Omnidecker normally seen on the claret spritzer Uni route as seen on October 18th.

East Lancs Omnidekka bodied Scania YT59OZO ex Nottingham and now 864 in the Reading fleet, seen on October 18th.

Gavin Francis in London on October 16th

MMC 758 working the 702 service is in the generic livery used by Reading for buses filling in for branded buses. 

34881 has been working on the 800 J R service on October 23rd.

Ciaran Bird in Witney on October 19th

MMC 10439 is seen near its home depot of Witney "not in service".

Newer MMC 11251 is seen heading for Carterton and RAF Brize Norton with an S7 working from the JR Hospital.

Daniel Harwood in Oxford on October 17th

A dull day sees Hybrid 12013, remaining in its original livery, crossing Magdalen Bridge with a 10 service.

Gavin Francis in Oxford

Network Oxford ready for service, an MMC, two repainted Hybrids, two original livery Hybrids and an MMC
at Network Oxford on Sunday, October 18th.

MMC 37402 is seen working the S4 to Banbury in Magdalen Street West on October 16th.

Jack Cooper

Now one of the oldest deckers in the fleet and allocated to Banbury is seen with a 500 service on October 17th.

MMC 10432 is seen heading out of New Road with a service 1 on October 18th.

Most unusually Gold 15753 is seen with a service 12 on a wet October 20th.

Heading for Wantage via Marcham, 15831 is seen on a sunnier day October 16th.

Once a regular with express service SW1 to the Tower of London, when new, here is seat belted Gold 15966 on local service 2A on October 17th.

With many thanks to the above contributors.

Daryl Major

Daryl caught up with a Manchester magic bus presently working for West in Swindon.

19165 is seen in Swindon working the 10 service on October 15th.

Gavin Francis

This Gold, 15857 seems somewhat off route going by its branding, when seen on October 16th.
It is once again working the S6 on October 23rd !!

Jack Cooper

Gold 10983 departing from Gloucester Green for Swindon on October 17th.

Recent news suggests that the first three Panoramas are expected between the second and third weeks of November and so may enter service in December.

I received a number of pictures of the remaining ex megabus coaches still in service. As these are Euro V they are, I am told, more lively to drive than the Euro VI 14 plate ones. A regular passenger noted that the driver's seats are looking very tatty now!

Ciaran Bird

50233 is looking very trim and tidy when seen in Oxford on October 15th.

Daniel Harwood

50263, 50265 seen in The High and 50273 seen in St Aldates all on October 17th.

Gavin Francis

A rear view of 50265 at rest in Buckingham Palace Road on October 16th.

Jack Cooper

50237, one of the longest extra coaches at Oxford, is seen in Speedwell Street with its red roof on October 20th.

50269, with an Express working to Oxford, is seen in St Aldates on October 20th.

Finally I learn that two of the coaches recently transferred to Scotland took their break on the way up at Gretna services. 

It appears that the megabus coaches on loan to Manchester for school relief are returning south to their home depots during the two week half term in the north west.

Mark Wakefield

Here is 54217 at Knutsford services (M6) on October 21st.

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

Michael Wadman has contributed some pictures of Marshalls of Leighton Buzzard.

Michael Wadman

In the last OCBP you mentioned Marshalls of Leighton Buzzard and their commuter services, one of the few still running from north of London, so I thought you might like a few photos of that operation. 

H608 SWG  a Volvo B10M-60 / Ikarus working service T2 by Victoria on 11
th April 1996 

GSU 384 (formerly XNV 138W)  Volvo B58-61 / Jonckheere, new to Panatlas, W3

Marshalls inherited the Newbourne Coaches fleetname from Transauto of Chesham, whom they took over in 1993

Seen in Victoria Street, before its evening run service H1 on 12th July 1995
SJI 8103 (formerly B43 KAL)
a Volvo B10M-61 / Jonckheere, new to Skills of Nottingham seen in Victoria Street.

MJI 6253
(formerly B500 GBD)
a Scania K112CRB / Jonckheere with service H1 in Victoria Street on 14th May 1996
Ronsway of Hemel Hempstead was another operator whom Marshalls acquired and whose fleetname they retained.

an Iveco 391E.12.35 / Beulas with service M2 in Finsbury Square on 5th September 2001 

SJI 8103 (formerly HSK 650) Volvo B12M / Jonckheere, new to Parks of Hamilton
working service 772 in Finsbury Square on 13th October 2011

As ever many thanks to Michael for some interesting history in pictures.

Paul Bateson

A few from Paul dating back many years of buses and coaches in Oxford's Gloucester Green during 1984.

Two COMS vehicles, Olympian 214 working the 420 to Woodstock and coach 114 off anX70 from Heathrow.
Taken on February 2nd 1984.

Also seen on February 12th Leyland National 2 580 NRP580V working service 131 to Bedford on February 12th 1984.

A significant Tiger, A638OEG, the 1000th model seen in Gloucester Green on  February 12th 1984.

Finally from the Brighton Coach Rally of 1984.

An odd looking double deck coach which started life as a DMS in London originally Park Royal bodied MLK 590L
Londoners of Nunhead A741TTW at the Brighton Coach Rally on April 14th 1984.
A 1984 Ensign Enterprise CH43/22C. Originally built 1973 as London Transport DMS590.

Mike Harris 

"I appreciate you requesting permission and I am happy for you to use the photo in your briefing, and assuming you can use the image as it is provided, then my website copyright watermark is embedded. I trust you are happy with using that image."

LCBS SM375 on Route 325. For information it is indeed in Beaconsfield, at the Saracen’s Head, taken on 15
th May 1979.

Thanks to Mike, his website link is:   https://www.mike-harris.co.uk/index.php  I found a number of most interesting pictures a his site. 

Gavin Francis

Referring to a picture of Abbey Coaches minibus in Wycombe included with the last issue, Gavin found a number of Abbey Coaches pictures I will be using in the coming weeks.

This one was interesting, seen at Binders Yard on June 5th 2010, YJB69T a Leyland Titan with Park Royal body, started life with Reading Transport.
Some of these with single doors even worked the London service when new !

Gavin Francis

"Just looking at the latest TLB and I see this one has ended up in Africa!!! "

Red Rose Dart W411UGM seen at STOKENCHURCH on November 11th 2010 by Gavin Francis.

Gavin goes on to add some interesting pictures of RM84 to be seen in various guises!

"Afternoon Tea have another Routemaster. This time it is RM 84. This was converted by LT to open top and extended to become an ERM. It was sold to Mac Tours in Edinburgh and when they had finished with it, it came back to London with Premium Tours. They must have sold it to Afternoon Tea who have reroofed it. Will keep an eye out for some pictures."

RM84 on driver training at Shepherd's Bush on July 26th 1979,  41 years ago ending its service in London.
40 years later in Buckingham Palace Road now ERM 84 is seen with Premium Tours on June 26th 2019.

So if anyone has some updated pictures of this bus with its latest owner such would be welcome.

Nick Ross

Nick was somewhat off his usual area in sending this picture.

Diamond's FJ57CYU on the 42 from Kidderminster to Redditch on October 16th 2020. The bus has just passed under the M5 near Bromsgrove. 


Various contributors caught up with a wide selection of vehicles in use on these two days.

Gavin Francis on October 18th at Oxford

This operator supplied several coaches for the days work.

Under the same umbrella Didcot depot of Weavaway provided some these nicely presented ALX400s.

An unusual variation was the appearance of Park & Ride 679 with a suitable destination for its work.

Ex National Express Levante FJ12EXE looked very smart in Walters colours.

This smart but dark coach, YJ09CYY, started life with EAVSWAY and may have passed through Oxford in their colours.
The livery is non descript but doubtless answers the needs of customers for this type of coach.

An IRIZAR YN08HZH was originally with Wallingford Coaches called "ELIZABETH" used on work for the physically challenged.

One of the Stagecoach contributions to the work.

From Jack Cooper in Oxford

Aldermaston Coaches

Aldermaston Coaches P12VAR heads for the parking area. Ex First Aberdeen 20370 (CV55AGY) which was new to First Cymru.

Two Brookes liveried MMCs 603 and 608 wait in the loading area for their next duty.

MMC 604 is turning into the loading area ready for its next duty whilst 607 sets off with rail passengers.

Simon Caygill in Didcot

MMCs 10679 and 10685 ready to load for their next journey.

Impressive Irizar i6s IRZ818 is also seen with another waiting for their next duty.

E20D MMC YX69NWB is seen laying over at Didcot.

Altogether a most interesting working for a number of operators, mainly local. With thanks to the three photographers who provided the above records.