As ever this week's issue has some more contributors with some interesting visits in areas around the UK. In spite of the lockdown many contributors find a way to provide photographs of interest for those of us not so lucky who like me are confined to barracks in these difficult times.

Look our for the Christmas Light Bus 

A sparkly festive bus (with fantastic mobile artwork!) will be touring Oxford on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November as part of the Oxford’s Christmas Lights  Festival.
Don’t miss it when it’s on your street!

Check this link below.


The bus on its first outing in Oxford - November 20th by James Freeman.

Gavin Francis found time to visit Slough and his pictures show the considerable variety of buses and liveries to be seen in this location. Paul Hawkins updates us matters north of the border and Gary Seamarks provides some news from Bedford and Cambridge.

The new tube coaches are being used for training now and readers may have seen one or two around. A full report is included under the Oxford tube heading below. A further three have now been delivered, these being 50423, 50424 and 50525 which arrived last Friday.

50423, 50424 and 50425 at Horspath depot having arrived from Scarborough on November 14th by Gavin Francis.

It is interesting that the Queen Street, Oxford road closure is still in place as the pictures below show.

Here is the notice and the road on November 14th by Gavin Francis, some seven days after it should have reopened !

Ciaran Bird has sent some interesting pictures from the City, most seen under the relevant headings.

StreetDeck 673 seen by the Westgate on November 19th.

St Aldates on November 13th showing a line up of Oxford Bus Hybrid and MMC models waiting time on St Aldates.

We also have news from Mike Walker regarding the rebuilding of the GWR Marlow branch line with a bus replacement service. This shows the importance of this line in the normal scheme of things.

Marlow terminus on November 14th by Phil Searle.

See more under Readers Write below.

Also Michael Wadman and Chris Loddington have provided interesting pictures from many years ago now from our area.

Greater Manchester Franchising Development

Check this link.

Greater Manchester bus reform - November 20th 2020

Thursday morning I received a letter from the Department of Health about those, like me, who are clinically extremely vulnerable and at the highest risk of becoming very unwell if one catches COVID-19. Well anytime I have to go out for shopping or for medical reasons I always wear a mask, wash my hands often and carry a sanitiser to  protect myself. I do find it strange how many people still do not wear masks, though I do have to say that at the Supermarket the rules are enforced. The odd thing is that the letter was dated November 4th and as I write this today it is November 18th. So it has taken 14 days to get here !!!

However one must take care as both a daughter and granddaughter who work at the local care home have both caught Covid-19 but are now clear after 14 days isolation which just shows how careful we all must be.

Several coach services have now reinstated a "lockdown" schedule such as the Oxford tube and from the Slough pictures mentioned above suggest that RailAir to Reading is also reduced. 

Fleet news and developments

A few pictures this week from readers in Aylesbury and Oxford.

Ciaran Bird

Citaro 3019 seen working a 280 service to Aylesbury on November 13th.

E400's 5461, 5464 and 5469 are seen working the 280 service to Aylesbury on November 13th.

Jack Cooper

Arriva Wright Pulsar bodied VDL 3798 FL63DWY seen in Oxford on November 19th.

Tony Bungay

2965 is seen working the 500 in Aylesbury on November 7th, now some 17 years old!

Nick Ross

Since the early days of the pandemic deckers have become regular performers on some Aylesbury - Milton Keynes 150 turns.

Here's Arriva Gemini 4019 - UUI 2945 complete with poppy on Armistice Day, November 11th 2020 seen in Leighton Buzzard.

Kevin Fuller

A couple of pictures taken on Friday, November 13th of two Volvo B7RL  / Wright Eclipse vehicles, recently repainted in orange / purple for service 4 (Maidenhead-Heathrow via Slough).

Both were photographed on the A4 Bath Road at Taplow, 69386 heading for Maidenhead, whilst 69387 is travelling in the opposite direction towards Heathrow (unfortunately, the destination screen on the latter has not been captured in my photo).


These buses have been acquired from First Hampshire, where they were most recently branded for Southampton on their 3 service. When new, they were based in Portsmouth for 'Zip' branded services in that city. Originally transferred to Slough a few months back for school 'duplicates', these two at least now appear to now be permanent additions to the local fleet, adding to the vehicle variety in Slough. They are additional to some existing orange liveried / 4 branded Mercedes Citaros already on the route.


Gavin Francis

Seemingly replacing one of the two usual branded buses 884 is seen at Stokenchurch on November 20th.

Malcolm Crowe

Citaro 882 is seen near the depot in High Wycombe on November 16th.
Of interest is that the destination glass has been replaced but the black bordering has not been!! 

Jack Cooper advises the 35 will be on diversion this weekend following the division I mentioned a few weeks ago due to roadworks in Kennington.


A nice selection of pictures this week from various contributors.

Ciaran Bird


Hybrids 303, 308, 310, 311, 314 and 316 seen working a variety of routes in Oxford on November 13th.

376 is seen in Westgate with a U1 service on November 13th.

Chiltern Railways by Arriva wrapped 602 is seen with a 35 heading for Wolvercote on November 13th.

StreetDecks 680, 688 and 682 are seen working City services on November 13th.

Jack Cooper from November 19th

Volvo B5LH Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 362 seen in New Road working 5 road.

Wright StreetDeck Micro Hybrid 374 heading for Wheatley on a U1 working. This bus did not report for many many months on www.bustimes.org

StreetDeck 659 working its branded route by the Westgate in the strong autumn sun.

The current service implemented recently due to lockdown now only requires two coach per day to complete the service. Sensibly the selection moves across the Tourismo fleet.

Jack Cooper

On November 19th, 32 and 33 were the two selected coaches working the Heathrow 2 hourly service in Gloucester Green.

Gavin Francis

E400 231 is seen in St Aldates with an X32 service on November 14th.

Citaro 851 in St Aldates heading for Watlington with a route 11 service on November 14th.

Jack Cooper on November 19th.

River Rapids 229 is seen at Redbridge with an ST1 service.

Citaro 854 speeds past Redbridge Park & Ride on its way to Reading with an X40 working.

An interesting picture with Connector 904 heading for the Park & Ride stop at Redbridge whilst 840 is on an 11X working. 

Currently there are no longer any services through Oxford's Gloucester Green.

It is interesting that in the pictures of buses and coaches around Gavin Francis caught up with an ex NEx coach now with Walters of Wheatley. 

Ciaran Bird

An unusual working of the 63 was this Citaro PC18BUS on November 13th, more normally seen working a hospital services in Cheltenham.

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

A number of Reading Group buses can be seen in the article from Gavin Francis's visit to Slough below. 


Tony Bungay

An interesting picture of a recent addition to this fleet

Another ex Metroline E400 in the area is ex TE672 seen in Aylesbury working service 4 on November 12th. 

Here is a picture from Gavin Francis of the same bus in London on March 21st 2015!

Ciaran Bird

No longer the preserve of a 275 route branded bus YX61FZH is seen arriving in Oxford on November 13th.

Frideswide Square will be closed for works from November 19th until 27th. Full details at the following link - stge.co/X5rh50CmMZ5 

A nice selection  from contributors this week again.

Ciaran Bird

MMC 10442 turns into Speedwell Street, 10684 heading for The Leys and 10686 to the Station all on November 13th.

MMC 10670 working the 9 and 10672 with an 8 both in Speedwell Street on November 13th.

Gold MMC 10787 is seen in Speedwell Street with an S9 to Wantage on November 13th.

Flagship of the SC Hybrid fleet and the first in Oxford, 12001 is seen in Speedwell Street with a route 10 service on November 13th.

Two more Hybrids, 12003 and 12011 with route 10 services laying over in Butterwyke Place on November 13th.
Also somewhat off route is 15757 in the same location with the same service.

Well travelled Gold 15533 is seen bringing added luxury to Blackbird Leys on November 13th.

Neil Bridges

Hybrid 12004 working the S3 Yarnton-Woodstock school service on November 18th.
This is unusual for a Hybrid !

Pete Weymann

Caught these two parked up together at Bicester outstation on Monday night, November 16th. I don't think I have seen a picture of 15933 & 15934 parked together especially on your website.


Jack Cooper

The X5 continues to see buses not branded and somewhat away from their normal haunts.

I am told that this and other similar buses have been transferred to Bedford from SCE reserve.

54301 and 54310 are seen in Oxford on November 19th.

Sad news comes of two recent problems with East vehicles.

13912 was damaged in a low bridge incident near the Southern Busway in Cambridge and X5 coach 54304 was also involved in an incident on its way to Bedford last week.

13912 and 54303 in happier times by Gary Seamarks.

Alan Field

After crossing the English/Welsh border on its way to Hereford, the X3 service passes through the small Herefordshire village of Pontrilas. It is here that some journeys connect with Yeomans service 440 which is contracted by Herefordshire Council to feed passengers into the X3 from the villages of Ewyas Harold and Abbey Dore.

The two services are seen here connecting in Pontrilas on July 14th 2020. Photo: Allan Field

Jack Cooper

Gold MMCs 10982, 10995 and 10996 are seen with S6 workings on November 19th.

The latest coaches now number five with more in the way in the coming weeks. Several pictures are to hand from contributors and there was a very low key publicity event in Broad Street earlier this week.

Chris Coleman, MD SCO is to the left and Rob Hough the Manager third from the right in this publicity picture from November 18th.

Ciaran Bird

This picture show driver training with 50421 reversing off Gloucester Green on November 19th.

Gavin Francis

A selection of pictures from the depot and training.

The day after arrival 50435, 4 & 5 are seen at the depot on November 15th

50422 seen in Broad Street on November 18th.

Different scrolls on 50421 and the unladen weight on 50425 on November 16th.

The cycle stowage on 50422. This was specifically designed by Plaxton for the Oxford tube.

Jack Cooper

50421 whilst training at Gloucester Green on November 19th.

Now a selection of the remaining older coaches in the remaining days in service. I am told that 50281-50284 are going to Scotland, probably Kilmarnock. If so they will join 50285 and 50286 already there!

Jim Wright

50424 with 50284 at Horspath on November 16th.

Andy Churchill

Andy was involved in checking 50281-50284 were ready for transfer.

50281 on November 17th ready for Scotland.

Ciaran Bird

50233, 50266, 50271 and 50274 all caught in Speedwell Street on November 13th.

Gavin Francis

50235 seen in Park Lane heading for Victoria and the pavement now covers the underpass to the west side.
November 14th

Re-registered 50261 and 50263 with their new registrations.

The old and the new at Horspath depot on November 18th.

Jack Cooper

50233, 50264 (re-reg), 50268 and 50272 all in service on November 19th.

Finally 50280 leaves for London Victoria from Gloucester Green on November 19th.

One must comment that these older coaches still look clean and tidy considering their daily use for six years on the arduous Oxford-London service.

A possible revised livery is being prepared but details are not to hand as this issue was finalised. 

This company is involved in rail replacement services for the Marlow branch line using two vehicles previously mentioned in these pages.

YN56SGHO seen in Marlow on November 17th by Gavin Francis.

The same coach seen first in London and then Oxford's Gloucester Green when working for National Express.
One is on July 8th 2010 and the second on August 21st 2008.  Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Ex Go Ahead LX54GYV waiting time by Marlow Station on November 17th. After London service this bus ran for Go-Ahead North East.

As ever we have a piece from Michael Wadman with some more now obscure operators

Michael Wadman

A few shots of the 290 service between High Wycombe and London after it withdrawn by Arriva in January 1998. A replacement service was started by Magpie Travel, which ran until April 2001, when it was taken over by Beckwith Coaches of Monks Risborough who ran it for a while until final withdrawal. 

Magpie Travel L334 HFU, Mercedes 814D / Autobus Classique, new to Birkett (Lakeland Coaches) of Kendal, passing Centre Point on July 1st 1998.
It is on the return journey of the peak-hour 293 variation which started from Marlow and ran through to the City. 

Magpie Travel K5 JFS (formerly K721 GBE), a Mercedes 814D / Autobus Classique, new to Fishwick, Leyland, on Bulleid Way, Victoria on 8th August 8th 1998.
After starting in white, the regular Magpie vehicles were repainted into Green Line livery 

Magpie Travel L345 HFU, a Mercedes 814D / Autobus Classique, new to Aztec Minibuses of Bristol, on Buckingham Palace Road on May 27th 1999. 

Beckwith Coaches’ XIB 2679 (formerly XUF 535Y), a former Southdown Leyland Tiger / Plaxton in Finsbury Square on September 5th 2001.
Beckwith numbered the whole service as 290 but some peak-hour journeys continued to be extended to the City.

Certainly a fascinating piece and with one operator, Beckwith, which I do not remember!  Many thanks Michael. 

Another piece this week is from Chris Loddington who steps back in time with Thames Valley and South Midland

Hope this email finds you well in these difficult times. Things such as your weekly bus page gives me and no doubt many others something to look forward to each week.

One thing the current situation has allowed me to do, and no doubt many others, is to sort out my negatives/prints, which has been my intention for a few years. Consequently I have come across a small number of photographs which I thought might be of interest to you and possibly for inclusion in your bus page. Maybe they might be a bit old for many readers now, and the quality is not the best but please use them if you think they are suitable.

I have selected six photos, three of which are attached with this email, and I will send the other three with a following email. They were all taken on what looks like a very dark and wet October 18th 1968, (Some things don’t change)! And all at High Wycombe bus station. I presume that was on a different site to where it is now, and it looks like the railway embankment is behind. They are all of Thames Valley vehicles.

The first photo is of LD6B 811 (PRX929) and KSW6B 652 (HBL54),

The second of LD6B 794 (JCY992), which must have originated in South Wales judging by its registration.
This along with many other second hand buses helped TV through a difficult patch. Ed.

The third LWL6B 629 (GJB 267).

Three more photos attached,

The next being of Thames Valley FLF6G 834 (UJB200), taken at the Samuelsons depot at Victoria Coach Station on April 17th 1965.
It looks like it is just about to take up a working to Reading on the ‘B’ service.

The second photo is of South Midland (Super Vega)? 864 (518ABL) at Victoria Coach Station on August 28th 1967.
 How coaches have changed since then!

The third photo is of Thames Valley FLF6G D52 (LBL 852E) at Aylesbury, Kingsbury Square on June 30th 1968.
It was working the service to/from High Wycombe, I can’t remember what the route number was, but it appears to end in ‘1A’ on the blind.
I believe the service was 21A. Ed.

Chris readers may remember is now based in the north west. 

No more former Stagecoach Yorkshire/Oxfordshire Gold E400s have come to Merseyside, as mentioned before there are four examples – 15535/609/610/611. 15609 (OU10 BHA) entered service here towards the end of October, about five or six weeks after it arrived here. I haven’t been able to see/photograph it yet, and I suppose it will be sometime yet before I can.

Finally, does anyone know David Beddall? He has written a detailed book, published by Pen and Sword, about United Counties, which I recently purchased. I am currently enjoying reading it, even though the company’s history has already been extensively documented. Apparently he was born and grew up in Kempston, Bedford, where I lived tor ten years.

So, very many thanks to Chris for a most interesting article. 

Mike Walker writes about rail replacement services in Marlow.

The branch line between Bourne End and Marlow is shut for two weeks for a total rebuild, new track, new sub-structure, new crossings, the lot. Good to see such "backwaters" getting some TLC although in the eyes of Mark Hopwood the branch is the most important part of the whole GWR network (having grown up in Marlow).

Rail replacement buses are in operation between Bourne and Marlow with additional M-F peak hour direct runs between Marlow and Maidenhead. Over the weekend Reading Buses got the gig using Enviro 200 653 YX64VLW but yesterday (and it appears today) it was this Volvo/Plaxton 'decker LX54GYV which I snapped passing the Walker residence yesterday afternoon forming the 14:15 Bourne End to Marlow.


I contacted our mutual friend feeling sure he'd tell me who it belonged to and he did reply instantly telling me it was new to London General then a spell with Go North East which I'd already deduced via Google!

Later sources advised that it was now working for Walters of Wheatley.

The Branch Line  is closed for two weeks, November 14-29 inclusive, for a total rebuild. They’re not just replacing the track but are also replacing the formation it sits on and renewing all the crossings – there are 10 in 2¾ miles! It’s not easy an easy job as there is no way materials can be brought in by rail due to the layout at Bourne End. They did bring a rail-mounted crane in on Saturday evening but even that meant losing three round trips between Maidenhead and BE. This was the first time a Freightliner Class 66 has been up the branch and we all missed it – so much for all the tools available on the web these days. L

So all the rail, sleepers and ballast is brought in by road and the only access points for that are Marina LC in BE, Spade Oak and at Marlow where they’ve removed the fence and set up a compound in the grounds of the Crown Plaza hotel complete with stacks of 60’ track panels (both new ones and the old) and a huge mountain of new ballast. Apart from the crane the other plant is all road-rail so can get to/from site via the two crossings. The new track comes in pre-assembled 60’ lengths and is welded once laid in position. Simply bringing those in by road was a major logistical effort and, of course, they’ve got to take the old ones out again afterwards! 

Another picture by me taken at “Vineyard Crossing” here at LM on Sunday showing the aforementioned crane changing the panels over. Unfortunately they’ve closed the crossings so I couldn’t get across to the river side and get a better view.

Many thanks to Mike for an interesting discourse.  

North of the Border from Paul Hawkins

Managed to catch a couple of repaints into the new distance livery and a ex X5 coach in Elgin.

53715 is seen with a route 10 in Inverness on November 15th.

Interdeck 54243 has gained local coach livery when seen with an X63 in Aberdeen on November 15th.

once the pride of the X5 Cambridge-Oxford service 53609 and 53610 are now with Bluebird seen in Elgin on November 15th.

A very smart Panorama of Parks for citylink services T4SCC on November 15th.

Many thanks to Paul for some very interesting pictures. 

Gavin Francis visits Slough to reveal the variety of operators and colours

The pictures show the variety in Slough of operators and liveries. I know it is in our area but I wanted to include the pictures under one heading.

Our old fiend 423 is seen with its now regular duty on the 337 to Amersham.

Wright's 69386 and 69389 in Slough. Some of these transfers have been repainted for service 4.

This picture of 69387 by Paul Bateson was taken in Southampton back in March 2018.

Another surprise arrival in Slough is this Leicester Tramways liveried 5 which is actually 66965 new to First Midland Red, Worcester
and latterly with First Leicester.

E200 44509 heads for High Wycombe whilst 44562 displays TRADER livery for route 12.

Citaros in a variety of colours, 64017 now a driver trainer, 64030 in 6 colours and 64036 in the old livery heading for Heathrow.

Volvo 7900 Hybrids 69926 and 69931 originally used for the Sevens and now still to be seen on the Maidenhead-Heathrow corridor.

Bluebird 60 seat 68002 new in 2002 to First and still working school services, seen at the depot in Slough.

Following the closure of Bracknell depot these coaches now appear to be under Slough control.

The long running LT 81 service now worked by Metroline terminates at Slough with VW 1379 and  1399 laying over at Slough.

including Courtney & Thames Valley

1212 DU61FVY Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 new to Lloyd of Machynlleth and still showing its Welsh routes by its registration,
is seen working the 703 and is now based with Courtney.

MMC 760 is seen boarding for Central London bearing its latest greenline livery.

BYD demonstrator 600 working the 4a to Cippenham.

664, 667, 676  and 677 show the liveries on the  E20 MMCs now used on Thames Valley services in Slough.

part of

Birmingham  registered BF68ZFB works a special service in Slough.

The company operates the Wexham Park Hospital service from Slough with a branded bus.

Very many thanks to Gavin for an excellent selection of services and vehicles.