delayed due technical reasons until Saturday, October 31st.


The weather this week has hardly been good for photography but as ever many contributors have excelled themselves.

When I and many of you were young enthusiasts the best we could hope for was to be allowed to change the blind at the end of the route but one had to be careful visiting garages and other places.

Ben Studley however was hosted by Oxford Bus Company at Cowley House this past week and a photo he will doubtless remember is shown below. What a memory to take into the future.

I am sure that under the mask he is smiling greatly when seen in front of Park & Ride 666 with his name on the blind !

Gavin Francis had occasion to visit Brixton in the past week, on October 28th and his picture below captures a glimpse of the past.

Currently used by Arriva, their buses can be seen inside, the depot dates from LCC Tram days.
Built as an overflow tram depot at the top of Streatham Hill in 1923, it was unused after the last tram left in1951,
then taken over by Stratstone Garages until repurchased by London Buses when services increased under Ken Livingstone.

The tram lines in the interior are still in situ looking as if trams may still operate!

These pictures applied to my personal love of the past and I hope readers also enjoy them.

Tony Bungay sent a number of Arriva shots this week and the one below highlights some of the buses he saw. More can be seen under the Arriva heading below.

Looking to be a very busy Bus scene with 4190 leading, in actual fact being between 17.00 and 17.30 hours.
It was quite noticeable how few buses were in the Marlowes. A result of reduced services due to Covid-19 I expect.

Daniel Harwood also sent some interesting pictures for this issue including the one below which is doubtless taken before the X9 Oxford tube service departed on its fast run into Oxford.

The dawn is just rising in the eastern sky as 50235 waits time in Wantage Market Place on October 23rd before its 0725 departure.
I used to work this service often when with Stagecoach and it was a most pleasant route to drive.

Talking of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, Jack Cooper and others were out in force to record the use of elderly Darts on the 800 and 900 routes in Oxford this past week.

Darts 34829 working the 900 and 34882 the 800 seen at Thornhill on October 27th.
As these buses do not conform to the current Oxford LEZ rules they can only be used outside the city.

Jack also provided this picture of 680 and 902 at Redbridge Park & ride, well served by buses services on October 22nd.

Stagecoach have removed WiFi from many of its vehicles which is fully reported below under the Stagecoach heading.

In the last issue I mentioned that I was planning to take a week's break from the page but that is not just let so do keep sending your contributions.

Oxford moves into Tier 2 Covid restrictions from this Saturday, October 31st.

The city's residents will need to abide by Tier 2 new rules from this Saturday, October 31st.

Tier 2 restrictions mean:

  • People must not meet socially with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place like a restaurant.
  • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible. If taking public transport, they should plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes.

Rates per 100,000 in Oxford city rose to 137.1 for the week ending October 23.

For Oxfordshire as a whole, the rate was 117.5 for the same period.

The rest of Oxfordshire will remain under the relatively relaxed Tier 1 restrictions for now.

This may affect bus services in the area

One reads of bus services being still far below their pre-Covid levels in terms of passengers and now it is suggested on the news that the virus could still be with us next year. The link below shows reductions in services by Stagecoach from November 1st.

However Oxford Bus seem to be following a different path.

Talking to a local coach company's drivers the other day I was told that the only work around is school work and the job is very different to how it used to be. In fact I am told that companies, not the one referred to above can achieve good daily rates for school bus only work. One can only wonder how this will pan out in the longer term. 

Fleet news and developments

The company advises "Unfortunately, our High Wycombe travel shop will not be reopening and is now permanently closed. To plan your journey, track your bus or to buy tickets,
download our App or visit

Gavin Francis

........ was in High Wycombe on October 26th.

Seen above is 6002 working the 30 and 6043 heading back to Aylesbury with a 300 service. 

Tony Bungay

As you quite rightly stated in your last newsletter, you certainly have had a number of busy weeks, so a week off or so is well deserved. I can appreciate having submitted one or two bus history pieces to you, how intensive the concentration required is, and that’s just an article not a complete news page involving the collation and organising of many different items.

Too late for last weeks news page as these were all taking in fading light at Hemel Hempstead on Friday, October 23rd, today at the same time would be even more difficult!!! 

Still sporting it’s MAX Branding! 3758, I had just got off this vehicle but could not get across road quick enough
before the driver changed the destination from 302 Hemel Hempstead to out of Service!

3758 again being passed by Aylesbury based 6049

StreetLite 1665 on a Hemel local service

Optare Versa 4190 working an outward 302 to Welwyn Garden City.

3824 having just arrived from St Albans on a Service 300 working, again destination quickly went to Out of Service!

3861 another Aylesbury based vehicle working Service 500 back to it’s home base
When new this bus and its sisters were based at High Wycombe. 

Still in MAX Livery but no Branding 3753 working an outward bound 300 journey to St Albans

Obviously standing in for a Sapphire Liveried Enviro 400MMC, 6516 on Service 320 to Rickmansworth

Having a bit of Autumn Colour Enviro 400 5467 picks up in Haddenham on it’s Branded 280 service! On Saturday, October 24th. 

Gavin Francis

Another member of this fleet is WR02RVX seen by The Ashmolean in Oxford on October 23rd.

The company moved to new premises last Monday. These are near to West Wycombe and I was able to take a picture of four of the fleet.

Seen on October 26th, four of the present fleet in their new home including LRZ9940, a one time Start Hill National Express coach, SH162.

Jack Cooper

Johnson's Excelbus MMC SN65OJB heading for Stratford with a service 50A on October 27th seen in Banbury.

Gavin Francis

StreetLite 403 is seen leaving with a 101 service followed by Citaro 882 with a 104 and 941 with a 35 working,
all three on October 26th in central Wycombe.

Malcolm Crowe

Now the normal for link40 are two Citaros 886 and 887 with 886 here seen heading for High Wycombe from Stokenchurch on October 22nd


Tony Bungay

Carousel 860 on Service 1 from High Wycombe on October 23rd seen in Hemel Hempstead.

Andrew Webb

Carousel's Enviro 200 bodied MAN 14.240 423 branded for link40 is seen leaving Slough
with a route 37 working to Amersham on 26 October. This is now its regular duty.
I am really pleased with this picture which I had hoped would be provided.

Ben Studley

Ben provides this picture of 603 which somehow had "OCBP" on the nearside blind.

Gavin Francis

Optare trainer 962 was seen out on October 23rd in Park End Street.

Jack Cooper on October 23rd

601 & 602 have returned to Cowley House and are working Oxford based routes.

Various deckers on their correctly branded routes in St Aldates.

903 heads for the JR past the Police Station.

Different liveries on similar buses.

Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper caught up with coach 37 working a Heathrow service on October 27th.
This is a very nice picture. Ed 

Daniel Harwood

One of those that never got away to the south coast, 252 is seen in Wallingford with an X40 service on October 26th.

Gemini 934 is seen in Wallingford with a 136 service to Cholsey on October 26th.
There can be no doubt as to which company this is operating for!

StreetDecks 904 and 907 pass in Stratton Way, Abingdon with X2 workings on October 26th. 

Jack Cooper

StreetLite 441 with a service 45 in Abingdon on October 20th. I thought this was not the preserve of the ex Carousel Mercedes 0500s?

I remember driving this bus in the summer of 2004 on an X40 Heathrow duty for Carousel.
It still looks good after 16 years in its Thames Travel role on the 94 on October 22nd.

905 on October 20th and 907 on the 27th both working the X2 from St Aldates to Wallingford.

It would appear that even more operators are losing their National Express contracts, both Go-Ahead North East and Whippet being mentioned.

Jack Cooper

Seen in Witney, this eVoRa BB70BUS is seen working the 19 to Carterton on October 24th.

Pulhams Solo SR YJ14BWH working an X9 service past Finstock on October 23rd.

There are some interesting pictures from Slough under the article by Andrew Webb further down this issue.

Gavin Francis

MV59ASX with Maylands branding is seen with a service 28 school run to Stokenchurch on October 26th. 

Gavin Francis

The 275 continues from Wycombe to Oxford but we have not seen the branded bus for sometimes now. Here is E9RRT on October 26th.

Without much warning Stagecoach UK switched off the WiFi on most of its buses from 26th October 2020.

In defending the move the company said: “We are temporarily switching off Wi-Fi on many of our buses. Like many organisations, we’re reviewing all aspects of our operation as we continue through the Covid-19 pandemic with a focus to make sure we can continue running safe and reliable services for you. We’ve found that most customers are not using the bus WiFi, especially on shorter local bus journeys.

“On bus WiFi costs a significant amount to run, and so as most people are not using it we’ve temporarily turned off access to on bus WiFi. There are some exceptions and WiFi will continue to be available on buses used on the following services" :

Stagecoach East 
Cambridge Busway
Cambridge Park and Ride
Stagecoach East Scotland 
Edinburgh Airport - 747
Stagecoach East Midlands 
Pronto Services
Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire 
Liverpool - all routes (except service 22 Chester - West Kirby)
Preston - X2 Preston - Southport - Liverpool
Chester - Chester Park & Ride services
Stagecoach North East 
Tees Valley  - Tees Flex
Stagecoach Oxfordshire 
Oxford Tube 
Brackley - Bicester  -  505
Stagecoach South 
Winchester Park & Ride 
Guildford  - 1 & 2
Stagecoach South East 
Canterbury Park & Ride
Canterbury - UniBus
Stagecoach South Wales
Traws Cymru - T4 ,  T14 , X4
Stagecoach South West 
Stagecoach West Scotland
Kilmarnock - 1, 11, X76 
Ayr - X77
Dumfries - X74
Ardrossan - 11, X36/X34
Cumbernauld - X25/X28, X19.

As mentioned above the 505 service is to retain WiFi for customers. All other services such as the S1/S2/S3/S4/S5 etc. have been switched off as a cost saving exercise. This was effective October 26th.

Jim Wright

Withdrawn fire damaged 12009 is seen being hooked up to RS Recovery on October 27th.

Gavin Francis

RS Recovery are seen in the yard at Horspath on October 23rd.

Trainer 20933, the one remaining from the older fleet, is seen in Horspath depot on October 23rd.

MMC 11251 seen in George St with an S1 service on October 23rd.

One of two older Darts in use, 34881, at Thornhill working the 800 on October 27th.

Jack Cooper

MMC 11241 working the S1 in the centre of Witney on October 24th.

Pristine looking Hybrid 12006 is seen on a wet day in St Aldates working the 10 on October 20th.

Gold 15966, oh happy days, is this time seen with a 34 to Wantage at the Boundary House stop in Abingdon on October 27th.

Gold E300 28744 is ready for its next journey with an H4 to the J R on October 27th. Seen in Banbury Bus Station.

Dart 34467 passes 34482 in Bridge Street, Banbury both working local routes on October27th.

06 plate Dart 34829 working the 900 in Thornhill on October 27th.

E200 36769 with a B5 working in Banbury on October 27th.

E20 MMC 37402 is seen in Banbury with a B9 working to Hardwick on October 27th.

Solo 47658 with a 233 service and 47834 in Witney on October 24th.

Unusually 36929 is seen working service 9, normally the preserve of double decks on October 20th.

Theo Freeman

MMC 10438, now operating out of Witney depot is seen with an S1 service on October 24th.

Jack Cooper

A surprise working the X5 on October 25th was 21365 which one believed had returned to Cambridge.

Jack Cooper

Jack caught up with various buses on the 853 Cheltenham-Oxford service.

28682 in Witney, 28685 plus 28683 somewhat off its branded route by The Ashmolean.

Martin Sacaloff

Manchester magic bus 19167 is seen with a service 10 leaving Swindon on October 24th.

Mark Wakefield

Originally, 59306, was one of the coaches used on the 444 from Gloucester, 59306 went to SGCB rereg T100SGB
 and seen at the old SGCB depot, Bristol on October 26th.

As mentioned above the service is to retain WiFi for customers.

Martyn Sacaloff

Inbound from London on a very wet night, 50237 is seen at Thornhill on October 24th. 

Mark Wakefield

Once again Mark has provided a few interesting pictures of megabus coaches after school work.

Ex SGBC 59225 is seen heading for Rugby on the A6 near Chinley on October 26th.

Now at Rugby, these coaches are now laid up until the end of half term in Manchester.

I rather liked these two pictures as they suggest these megabus coaches, back at Rugby are working
the 11 to Altrincham, when in Manchester, for many years was my home town.

London developments by Gavin Francis

We've not had so much about London's buses recently but this wrap is I think worth recording.

LT765, with a chequered past of wraps, now carries one for Chiquita seen working the 390 in Victoria on October 28th.

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

Michael Wadman

... writes "A few more lesser-known operations in this area"

The Cressex Express was a Bucks CC initiative, operated by Ambassador Line
using Council-supplied Ford Transits such as KX53DNY, seen at High Wycombe station on March 29th 2004.
The trendy modern image that the vehicles portrayed was rather spoiled by the old mechanical Almex ticket machines with which they were fitted.

Rainbow's Coaches of Westbury, Bucks – IIL4820 (formerly BFH 621Y), a Ford R1114 / Plaxton, new to Perrett's of Shipton Oliffe,
rounds the corner of New Road into Castle Street, adjacent to the Council offices, on service 133 on March 9th 1996. 

Another of Rainbow's coaches – AAJ 61Y, a Ford R1114 / Duple, new to H Atkinson & Sons of Ingleby Arncliffe,
 at Didcot station on service 33, June 10th 1995. 

Harris Coachways of High Wycombe – C318URF, a former Midland Red North Ford Transit / Dormobile,
in Uxbridge on route 305 to Chalfont St Peter, August 2nd 1993.
They operated a few tendered early evening journeys on this service.

As always, many thanks to Michael for these delightful pictures of times of old.

Another member of the Marshalls fleet following last week's item on this company.
Neoplan AM03SJM seen at Marble Arch on May 2nd 2006 by Gavin Francis.

A day out with Andrew Webb in Slough & Staines

Monday, October 26th saw Reading Buses' Courtney Buses launch route 4a between Slough Bus Station and Cippenham.  The route operates hourly from 07:55 until the last departure at 17:55 and is run by an ADL electric bus.  Leaving the bus station it heads due west along the A4 before branching off into the Cippenham suburbia and terminating at a long established turning circle.  Judging by the number of cars parked on the turning circle it is a while since it has served its intended purpose!  Thankfully the bus was still able to navigate it without problem.


The bus is planned to stay until January, with the service operating free until December.  Joining the third departure it was pleasing to see several passengers already aboard plus a plentiful supply of timetable leaflets.  The other passengers alighted along the A4, leaving me as the only passenger to enjoy the ride into Cippenham where stand time is taken.  A similar pattern on the return journey, with several passengers joining along the A4.  Back in the town centre the bus initially bypasses the bus station for a double run along Wellington Street before finally reaching the bus station.


The bus is an ADL demonstrator, complete with the company legal lettering and 'on hire to Courtney Buses' legal lettering.  Inside the leather seats feature mobile charging ports, including wireless portals at the two tables.  Although not visible in the photo, the ceiling lights are 'mood lighting' and can change colours. 

The regular driver was very keen on the bus, getting used to the 'mirrors' being video screens in the cab rather than in the usual mirror position being the main challenge.

Following Reading Buses' decision to cancel the order for Optare MetroDeckers, their Green Line routes 702 and 703 are currently by Enviro 400 double deckers in a range of colour schemes, as this small selection taken in just over an hour at Slough illustrates.

Variety on the 702.

Continuity on the 703!

Royal Staines upon Thames (to use the town's full official name) is a frontier town between TfL services from Kingston and Hounslow and a wide range of commercial or Surrey County Council tendered services from other outlying towns. 

Passengers waiting in the town's functional bus station might think that award winning operator Ensignbus has expanded from serving the Thurrock area (coincidentally another frontier with TfL) to operate local route 305.  In reality, this former Abellio Enviro 200 is on loan to Bear Buses and is caught after arriving at its destination with another trip on the company's only public route, all other work being school and rail services.


London United's DE20061 looks every inch a bus earning its keep on TfL services, complete with the iconic roundel and TfL signage inside.  It is, however, the dedicated bus for route 400, operated on behalf of Surrey County Council.  The different ticket machine and digital blind display are the key indicators that Oyster cards are most definitely not accepted.

With many thanks to Andrew for an interesting selection and themes. 

John Tyler

uno buses in the past and thought I would mention that Tridents 283 and 284 have moved from Northampton to Hatfield and are being used alongside the Scanias on the 601.

Regarding Red Kite, I passed their depot  at Tilsworth recently and it was empty of buses apart from the Titan. It looked too neat and tidy for all the buses being out on duty. Is anyone aware of them relocating or closing down?

Nick Ross writes with a picture of a bus he found locally.

Former Arriva Merseyside and Ellie Rose of Hull, Volvo Olympian R315WVR seen parked up in a storage yard in Leighton Buzzard on October 25th  2020.
Whilst work is being done on her a PSV return looks unlikely to date.

Paul Bateson

"One of the problems of modern bus photography is bike racks obliterating part or all of the licence plate.  This happened to me when photographing a New Flyer XD40 with Brampton Transit, fleet number 1123.

"I photographed this bus on Team Canada Drive, Brampton June 5th 2020 only to discover that when viewing my pictures that it had been re-plated with the latest Ontario "BL" plate but the final number had been neatly blocked out by the bike rack.  It has taken me over four months to find this bus again - I think it had been out of service - but on Friday, October 23rd 2020 it was finally tracked to my local route, 17 Howden."

"I was able to ride on it and take a nearside shot of it at Trinity Common Terminal clearly showing the full licence plate - 339 3BL."  

Paul Bateson discovers Oxford and Thames Valley Buses Abroad

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.

Former Thames Valley 651 (HBL 53), Bristol KSW6B, was photographed providing tours around The Africa Lion Safari and Game Farm on 30 August 1973.
  It was sold many years later to a new owner in Geneseo, NY.

Former City of Oxford 184 (WJO 184), AEC Regent V, was a surprise discovery in Syracuse, NY on 27 April 1978.
  I never saw the bus again and no idea of its fate.

Hiawathaland Tours, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario operated this Bristol KSW6B that was new to Thames Valley as 642 (GJB 280) and pictured on 10 July 1982.
  The bus was scrapped in 2001.

It may be carrying a Darlington registration number but this Bristol KSW that was new to United Automobile Services later became Thames Valley 690 (PHN 821). 
It was operated by Hiawathaland Sightseeing Tours, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on 10 July 1982.  Sadly, it was scrapped several years later.

Sometimes detective work is required as this Bristol VR owned by Autobus Galland, Laval, QC was displaying the registration number VNV 759H 
but it was correctly identified as ex-City of Oxford 480 (HUD 480S) and pictured on 7 November 2004.
The bus was sold and I found it in Philadelphia, PA!

City of Oxford 480 (HUD 480S) was photographed on sightseeing service in Philadelphia on 25 August 2012.
This bus had been previously owned by Autobus Galland, Laval, QC and pictured above.

This Northern Counties-bodied Daimler Fleetline CRL6 had been new to City of Oxford as 422 (UFC 422K) and operated sightseeing tours in Montreal. 
By 7 August 2005, it was being used as a source of spare parts by Autocar Connoisseur.

During a visit to Malta I came across former City of Oxford 225 (E225 CFC) on 24 March 2009 being prepared for sightseeing tours on the island.
I remember with pleasure driving 224 on an X90 relief back in 2003! Ed

This Bristol VR, ex-City of Oxford 106 (NUD 106L) appeared to be out of use when seen on Malta on 25 March 2009.

It is good when a bus is rescued.  Former Thames Valley 593 (FMO 975) had become a derelict bus
until purchased for restoration by Charles Greaves, Gilford, Connecticut. 
It was under restoration when photographed on 24 March 2010.
It adopted the livery of Newcastle Corporation Transport as the owner had spent a lot of time in that city!

Former City of Oxford 395 (OFC 395), AEC Regent III / Weymann, was discovered in Mayville, NY and photographed on 29 August 2012. 
The bus was eventually sold and repatriated by the Oxford Bus Museum
although I do believe that its condition was worse than expected and restoration has not taken place?

I visited Five Star Limousine, Tallahassee, FL on 26 February 2016 and the owner very kindly took me for a ride.
City of Oxford 395 (MJO 395H), Northern Counties-bodied Daimler Fleetline.

Many  thanks to Paul for those excellent photographs.