A day later than planned but there were other matters of importance so I hope my readers will excuse the 24 hour delay.

The Christmas Tree in the Oxford Bus information office on December 6th.

We have a large number of pictures again this week, plus news of some further new arrivals for the Oxford tube fleet.

Panorama 50437 seen at Horspath depot on December 11th by Andy Churchill.

Also another four Astromegas have moved north to Scotland as noted under the operator heading below. I wonder if any of my readers from north of the border have seen any of these arrivals?

More information on Stagecoach, such as half year results and changes to Bicester services are included under the operator heading.

Jack Cooper as always has provided some interesting pictures from Oxford.

MMC Brookes 612 is seen passing MMC Gold 10783 with an S9 service on December 8th.

Changes are planed for the Carousel and Thames Travel fleets and these are recorded under the appropriate operator headings. Indeed some of the ex National Express coaches from the Oxford fleet have reappeared in plain white on a special service for Brookes University.

Christmas is fast approaching and are we all aware that it a week next Friday!! I shall be taking a break over Christmas and after next week's issue on December 18th my next posting will be on January 2nd 2021 !

Any contributions for the next issue, 135, would therefore be most welcome up to Thursday, December 17th by early afternoon. 

Christmas coach services get £3m boost


Christmas coach services will be boosted with £3 million of Government funding, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced. The support will enable coach timetables to be expanded across Britain during the five-day travel window which opens on December 23.

Operators are currently running reduced services due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department for Transport said its funding will enable firms such as National Express and Megabus to ramp up their networks to 75% of normal levels, making 80,000 more seats available over the festive period.

This is aimed at providing an alternative travel option with the rail network coming under pressure due to social distancing requirements and engineering work.

A positive story is about students and travel by coach. The story from Route One is most interesting.

National Express has seen demand for its scheduled coach services more than double during the first stages of the student travel window for homeward-bound university attendees, which it says has vindicated its decision to add capacity to a reduced network.

During the first four days of the travel window between 3-6 December, which coincided with the relaxation of restrictions in England, overall patronage rose by 122% when compared to the same period for the previous week.

The increase in travel demand was predictably much higher for locations with large student populations, says National Express. In Leicester it grew by 147%, in Birmingham by 159%, in Nottingham by 166% and in Bristol by 173%. National Express Coach Commercial Director John Boughton adds that bookings for the final days of the travel window show an overall increase of around 160%.

Additional capacity will also serve general growth in demand for coach travel during December. National Express says that traffic to its website has seen an increase, with a “noticeable trend” in searches for journeys to and from London in December. Other popular destinations include major cities.

National Express continues to liaise with the Department for Transport in regard to a need for a “national coach network” when making decisions on where further capacity will be provided, it adds.

Pictures from Jack Cooper show that Brookes University has arranged an extra coach operation for students wishing to go to Oxford Train Station.

This service is running to the Rail Station and 56 is seen working the Student Shuttle Service on December 5th by Jack Cooper.

Generally there are more people around and pictures in the national press of large crowds in shopping areas.

School services are still running with extra capacity as seen in Manchester in the picture below.

Les Burton took this picture on December 10th at Wythenshawe Forum, Manchester of megabus 54217 having completed a school extra. 

Fleet news and developments

I am pleased to provide the latest allocation lists for Midlands and Southern Counties. Click on the links below.

Enthusiast Fleet  7 Dec 20 .xlsx

SC Enthusiast 7 Dec 20.xlsx

Many thanks to Paul Swann who is Fleet Planning Manager for Arriva Midlands who adds "2990 now permanently at HW, 2495 gone to Aylesbury and 3829 Delicenced."

Tony Bungay

Enviro 400 5467 turns in towards Aylesbury Bus Station at the end of it’s 280 journey from Oxford.
The driver has changed the destination, to display a touching tribute to a long serving Arriva driver who sadly had recently passed away.

Jack Cooper

Enviro400 5469 with a 280 service in Park End Street, Oxford on December 8th.

Nigel Peach

"Occasionally I travel up Holtspur Lane from Wooburn Green to the A40 at Holtspur. Just as you come out of Wooburn there is a small Trading Estate on the left. One of the companies there is called Arriva Fragrances, which has always amused me, and this week I stopped to take a couple of pictures (enclosed). I do wonder what sort of Arriva Fragrances they might produce - the 37 from High Wycombe to Bourne End passes quite close. Maybe Diesel No 5??!

The other picture is of Arriva's 3921 at Cressex on Wednesday, December 2nd.

"Thanks for the Arriva allocations - much appreciated, and the additional info from Paul Swann. My one comment is that Citaro 3043 is still shown as WYC, whereas bustimes shows it at AYL - and I think that on this occasion bustimes is correct! You have shown pictures of it running from Aylesbury - it's the bus that is still in Sapphire livery. " 

Blakes Coaches Ltd, East Anstey, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 9JJ

Gavin Francis

Gavin caught up with a coach visiting Oxford, a little unusual in the days of Covid-19.

BC16DMB, an M A N 26.480 Beulas Mythos, waiting outside The Ashmolean on December 9th. 

Nigel Peach

Peter Cartwright very kindly dropped in the latest Amersham & District newsletter in to me this morning. Under the Carousel news, the bits I didn't already know are 

"Stored E200 424 (RX60 FKF) revived with a "new" engine taken from accident victim sister bus 420. 

Acquired: 241/2 (YN56 FFD/T) ex Brighton Buses 904/16, 2006 Scania N94UD East Lancs OmniDekkas." 

Very interesting - I wonder if that means the remaining Solos are on the way out.

Following those comments from Nigel Peach I checked out with Phil Southall who advises "Yes, 424 is going to be back on the road soon. Three MANs have a temporary reprieve due to the school duplicates situation. 

We are trying to source two additional double deckers but they are not likely to be from Brighton and Hove. I can let you know once the deal is over the line!

Acquired: 241/2 (YN56FFD/T) ex Brighton Buses 904/16, 2006 Scania N94UD East Lancs OmniDekkas." 

241/2 are going away for repaint into Carousel livery, these will displace 941 and 942 to Thames Travel."

I wonder who will be the first to record 241 or 242 when the enter service? 

The two ex Brighton buses when in service in Brighton.

To be 241 - 904 seen in Churchill Square on March 4th 2018 by Paul Bateson.
I think FFD means Freedom from Defects!!!!

To be 242 - 916 also seen in Churchill Square on July 19th 2007 by Gavin Francis.


Jim Wright noted Oxford training coach 961 - V284SBW was seen on tow going for scrap to PVS Carlton on December 9th. It used to be in passenger service with fleet number 16, registration mark R16OXF.

Some nice pictures from contributors again this week.

Jack Cooper

Scania 226 is seen from the nearside in Broad Street with a 2 road working on on December 4th.

Hybrid 35 shows the current routing of this service down New Road to  Wolvercote on December 8th.

MMC 612 is seen by The Oxford Castle with a U1 service to Harcourt Hill on December 8th.

Flagship of the 5 fleet is 651 seen heading for Blackbird Leys from the train station on December 5th.

Also working 5 road is 660 seen at the top of New Road on December 8th. 

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 35 heads up New Road towards Heathrow on December 8th.

In the same area, Ashmolean branded 40 is bound for Gatwick on December 8th.

Jack caught up with 69 at the depot on December 9th.

Referring to my Editorial above, various coaches have been used on the Brookes station shuttle.

39 appears to have taken a turn on December 6th. 

As indicated under the Carousel heading Volvos 941 and 942 are due here from Carousel and one wonders if these may replace some older deckers?

Pictures from contributors as indicated.

Daniel Harwood

I attached a photo of the interior of Thames Travel's 21 on a duplicate route X32 on the 1st of December at around 1630.

Coach 21 from the inside working an X32 on December 6th.

Wrights 623 working the 33 in The Hendreds on December 6th.

Citaro 870, still with Carousel branding carrying out Driver Training on December 10th, seen in Wantage Market Place.

Jack Cooper

Another picture of Driver Trainer 870 now seen in Worcester Street, Oxford on December 7th.

This bus certainly gets about ! 

Levante tri-axle BV17GRF working the 400 opposite to VCS on December 9th by Gavin Francis.

Edwards double deck Caetanos seen in VCS, one working the 502 and the other on the more usual 040.
December 9th by Gavin Francis.

See the latest results to October 2020


We are making considerable changes to the services operating in and around Bicester from January, including the introduction of two new services with improved links to the Eastern Arc in Oxford. Get all the details here:


Various pictures from our contributors as indicated.

Daniel Harwood

S3 branded Gold 15830 is seen working an S9 service in Grove Road, Wantage on December 6th.

Gavin Francis

E200 36982 is seen in Magdalen Street West with a number 7 to Woodstock.
Gavin was told this is an Oxford depot roster, seen on December 9th.

Jack Cooper

An interesting picture showing 10431, having a day away from Blackbird Leys, seen in Cumnor
with an S9 working on December 10th.

37402 was seen in Magdalen Street West with an S4 to Banbury on December 4th.

New MMC 37630 in the latest local livery is seen at Bicester on December 7th working the 505. 

Ciaran Bird

B7RLE 21221 on an X5 in its newly repainted Ocean Green at Gloucester Green on December 9th. 

ALX400ALX400-bodied Trident 17738 at Mansfield has been delicensed as a result of low bridge accident damage

The same bus caught by Gavin Francis on June 21st 2007 at Mansfield depot. 

Enviro 400 19166 at Swindon has lost its Manchester ‘Magicbus’ livery and now carries Stagecoach ‘Local’ livery.  Also in Stagecoach ‘Local’ livery is Enviro 200 37238 at Gloucester,
We also understand the repaint of Enviro 400 19167 out of ‘Magicbus’ livery is imminent if it has now already started.

With thanks to SKM 

50261 is now at Perth

50244,5,6,7 still at Dunfermline believed to be with Rennies working an Amazon contract.

Andy Churchill

who notes "Four new coaches arrived at Oxford on December 10th 2020 being 50435-50438 and departing the fleet on the same day were Van Hools 50266-50269 heading Scotland bound."

Gavin Francis

Gavin advises that 50269 was still at Oxford on December 13th!

Gavin recorded new 50425 having arrived at Gloucester Green on December 9th.
It had suffered a broken window on its way from London.

Jack Cooper

50425 leaves for London on December 5th.

50426 and 50430 are seen ready for service in Gloucester Green on December 5th.

50427 is seen rounding Marble Arch heading for Oxford on December 5th. 

I thought I'd give my opinion on the Panoramas on the Tube seeing as I have now travelled on two. 

They are very nice looking coaches, both inside and out. The interior in my opinion looks better when you see it in person, although the seats were very comfortable, perfect for the 2 hour journey. The technology on them is brilliant too and a big upgrade to the Van Hool's. The engine is also very quiet, certainly when sat at the front on the top deck. The screen was very nice with the layout showing you the progress of your journey. The only negative I have for them is the brightness of the screen with the blue mood lighting, the Oxford to London / London to Oxford screen is very bright with the white background, although it's something that's quite simple to fix. 

On the topic of the Panoramas, do you have any ideas what ones will have the solar panels and the T** UBE plates?

Pictures of older Astromegas seen on December 5th and which some have already left the fleet for Scotland on December 10th.

The remaining older ex megabus coaches including 50235 and 50237 seen on on December 5th will soon be the only Astromegas left in Oxford.

50266 and 50268 seen on December 5th left the Oxford fleet on December 10th headed for Scotland.
See the note above from Andy Churchill. 

Note the picture from Les Burton under Covid-19 update above. p class="auto-style1"

London London operators

Gavin Francis

LT 100 the other day. here is a caption to go with it:- 

Normally at this time of year there is a large number of London buses wrapped with adverts but this year the number is minimal. One of those to be done is LT 100. When this bus was new it was wrapped to celebrate 60 years of Fender Stratocaster Guitars and it carried it for many years probably the longest a London bus has carried the same advert. Subsequently it has carried other wraps including last year one for Ketel One Vodka. This year the advert is for Discovery +. It is pictured here in Buckingham Palace Road near its terminus on the station forecourt. A similar wrap is carried by London United LT 140 on route 148. With LT 100 being wrapped for such long periods I would suggest that the number of pictures of it as a red bus are minimal. 


I have sent two additional pictures.


Well, this bus has had a significant number of wraps. 

Jack Cooper

London December 5th


BYD/ADL SEe48 is seen working a 507 service near Victoria ready for its journey to Waterloo.

LT798 is seen with a 189 working at Marble Arch.

Volvo bodied MCV EVoSeti VMH2477 is seen rounding Marble Arch with a 274 on its way to Lancaster Gate.

Nick Ross

Two from Central London on December 7th still very quiet for people, plenty buses though!


Under some festive lights close to Trafalgar Square Metroline Volvo B5 LK15 CXU ,
fleet no VWH 2119 on the 8 to Aldwych.

In the shadow of the Monument  CT Plus Enviro 400 SN16 OHS ,
fleet no 2503 on a 388 to Stratford near Fenchurch St. 

Michael Wadman

I’ve been enjoying the photographs of Thames Valley buses that have been on OCBP recently. Unfortunately Thames Valley had gone before I started photography, but I do have some photos of the Northern division of Alder Valley. 

XNU 416 – Alder Valley 226, ex-Thames Valley 124, was former Midland General Bristol LS6G / ECW, in Windsor on service 48 in 1972.
Photo by my friend Keith Newton 

FBL 114K – Alder Valley 922. Bristol VRT / ECW, in Victoria Coach Station on express service A in 1972 

 During 1973-5 Alder Valley suffered a serious vehicle shortage which resulted in a considerable number of hired vehicles. This doesn’t seem to have been as well documented as it should, but I’ve found that during this period they hired at least 134 vehicles from 19 operators.

Here is LCBS RT4781 OLD568  in Wokingham heading for Reading in September 1973.
Five RTs were on loan from LCBS in total, plus three others and an RTL from other operators.
I wonder how the Alder Valley drivers got on with those gearboxes. Photo by Keith Newton.  

566 ERR – Alder Valley 588. Former Mansfield District Bristol FS6G / ECW.
Although transferred to Thames Valley late in 1971 it was numbered directly into the forthcoming Alder Valley scheme.
In the gloom of Reading bus station in 1975

Very many thanks to Michael and his friend Keith Newton for this article and pictures. 

OLD AND NEW IN TORONTO from Paul Bateson

GO Transit operates commuter bus services connecting Toronto to its suburban communities.  Rail service started in May 1967 and bus services commenced in September 1970.  The service has become an essential part of the transportation scene and over the years has expanded to cover a wide area in southern Ontario, bounded by Niagara Falls, Kitchener, Barrie, Peterborough and Oshawa.

In 2003, The Union Station Bus Terminal was opened on the east side of Bay Street, south of Front Street and closed after service on 4 December 2020.  There was limited protection from the elements for passengers.

The terminal was replaced by a new bus terminal located to the south of the railway tracks on the north-east corner of Lakeshore Road and Bay Street on 5 December 2020.  The new terminal is part of a large business development and has two levels.  There are walkways linking the terminal to the Scotiabank Arena, Union Station and the PATH network of underground walkways in downtown Toronto.


It was very wet with a rain – snow mix on Friday, 4 December 2020, the last day of  operation of the Union Station Bus Terminal.

GO Transit
8331, an ADL Enviro500 SuperLo.  The terminal was quiet because of the pandemic and reduction in services. 
At least I could step into the roadway to take the driver’s side view!

GO Transit 2561 is an MCI D4500. 

This view, with 8384 at the platform, looks west through the deserted terminal.
Visibility was not good but look carefully and the CN Tower can just be seen in the background.

There was a small waiting room to shelter customers from the elements and a poster advertising the opening of the new terminal.

I boarded 8375 for a ride to Mississauga, Square One. 
This gave me the opportunity to see how the interior of the SuperLo has been modified to give physical distancing. 
Plastic dividers have been fitted to seats and the seating capacity has been reduced to H51/19F.

The new Union Station Bus terminal opened on Saturday, 5 December 2020.  The building is on two levels and this is the view from Lakeshore Road.

GO Transit 8457 is pictured turning off Lakeshore Road and proceeding into the new terminal. 
Lakeshore Road is a divided road passing underneath the Gardiner Expressway.

A view into the lower level of the new terminal.  The double-decker in the distance is heading for the ramp to the upper level.

The design of the new terminal is much like being at an airport.  The waiting room areas are divided into zones with A-B on the ground floor and C-D on the upper level.  There are 7 platforms (or gates) on each level.  Screens advise passengers where to board their buses.

This certainly puts so many UK bus terminal in perspective !!

Passengers can only board buses when the doors are opened. 
The bottom half is frosted glass but by holding my digital camera as high as possible
 I was able to photograph 2461 parked in a layover bay on the upper level.

Views of buses arriving and departing from the terminal.

2519 on Lakeshore after exiting the terminal.

8331 on Lakeshore after exiting the terminal.

2484 on Lakeshore after exiting the terminal.

8303 turning off Lakeshore and about to enter the new terminal.

2510 making the right turn off Lakeshore.  Note the bike rack on the front of this MCI D4500.

2567 about to enter the new terminal.

This view clearly shows the seven bus bays inside the new bus terminal on the ground level. 
Note the doors preventing passengers from straying out on to the platform area.

8457 has just departed from the terminal on to Lakeshore Road whilst 8516 is seen entering the new terminal.

A close-up of the information screens showing routes, zones and gate plus other information.  It is very legible.

2480 arriving and 2535 departing from the new terminal.

Paul Bateson photos.

Very many thank to Paul for a most interesting piece. Also great so see the ADL Enviro 500s which are well used in Toronto. 

Richard Sharman

I thought your followers would like to know that next weeks edition of CBW magazine is a special one. I have written in-depth feature about the history of coaches used on the Oxford Tube since 1987. 


Many of you will know that I wrote a book to celebrate 25 years which may still be available.



Tony Bungay

Enjoyed the selection of Thames Valley photos the other week, and how lockdown makes getting different bus photos easier, shown by the couple of photos taken in Oxford. Hope you are keeping warm also.

As a follow on to the Green Line Coach stop photo the other week, have included this almost timeless photo of an RF standing by an appropriate stop flag. Once again not a recent photo, taken October 1999 on an Amersham and District running day, nonetheless these stop flags were still looking in good condition and extant nearly 30 years after LT was here!  At least two years ago there was still an LT flag still extant at another location by now looking very much the worse for wear. 

David Gray

Regarding the photograph of the above in the latest edition, I have just had a look at PSV Circle records.

They record that YJ58VBK and YJ58VBL were owned by Cymru Coaches, Waunarlwydd and were sold to White's Culham in February 2020.

Many thanks to David for that update.

Jack Cooper

603 Model

I have had a personal commission made of 603, with the model made by Suffolk Coachworks, this model was previously a BlueStar E400mmc, UKbus 6507A (Route 1 to Winchester). I had to get a donor model for this, it was then painted red and vinyls added. I have included pictures of it next to 201, the previous Brookes model and the BlueStar model it previously was as well as it next to 608 at Cowley House yesterday. The blind is set for the U6 which runs between the Plain and Harcourt Hill via Cowley Road, Hollow Way, Headington Campus and the City. The blind on 608 was also set for that although because I was focusing on the model it isn't very clear. 

A very nice piece. 

Joel Foray report's on the new electric buses in Newcastle.

Go North East (GNE) has launched Voltra, a new fleet of nine battery-electric buses. It is believed to be the first fully electric bus fleet in the North East of England.

The nine Yutong E10 single-deck buses, supplied by Pelican Bus and Coach, will operate from the company’s Gateshead depot. They will work the 53 and 54 services between Gateshead, Saltwell Park and Newcastle.

The E10 uses water-cooled batteries rated at 422Kw/h with a daily claimed operation range over 300km on a single charge. Vehicles are charged overnight at the Gateshead site.

Go North East's circular route 53/54 has been upgraded with a fleet of nine Yutong ZK6118BEVG E10 electric buses, branded "Voltra".  Fleet details are :



















8801-8808 are in silver/black/green "Voltra 53/54" livery whilst 8809 is in a silver/black/red livery with generic "Voltra" branding.  8809 will be used as a spare on the 53/54 and also the QuayLink services.

8801 in Newcastle on November 30th.

8802 - 8804 in Newcastle on November 30th.

8807 and 8808 in Newcastle on November 30th.

Many thanks to Joel for these interesting pictures.

With our thanks to Ross at Ensign Bus for details of activity at the dealership during November 2020

Vehicles in
From Lothian Buses:
From Go-Ahead London:
Volvo B7TL LX06EAP; Enviro 200s LX07BXJ/BXM, SN57DWX, YX11FYZ;
Scania YN08OAX;
Enviro 400s LK08FLH/FLM, LX56ETL
From Metroline:
Enviro 400H LK58CPV;
Volvo B7TL LK54FWP
From Galleon Travel:
Optare Tempo’s YJ10MDE/MDU.
From Tower Transit:

Vehicles Out
Enviro 200s LK08DWO YX58DWC: Avondale, Glasgow.
Enviro 200 LK58CTU: PCV Training Ltd, London EC1.
Enviro 200s YX58FPD, LK08FLC, LK08FKW : Squarepeg Buses, Leeds
Enviro 200 YX58DWN: Panther Travel, Harwich, Essex.
Enviro 200s YX58DWG/DWM: Canavan Travel, Glasgow.
Enviro 200s LK58CNC/CTF: Hattons Travel, Merseyside.
Enviro 200 YX58DUA: Gloucester Minibus.
Enviro 200s YX10BDE/BFK: A2B Travel, Ely, Cambs.
StreetLites SN64CVO/CVM/CVP: Centrebus Ltd.
Optare Versa’s YJ12PKX/PKY/PLF: Galleon Travel, Roydon, Essex.
Volvo B11RTs BV66WOJ/WNX: Catteralls Coaches , Southam, Warwicks.
Volvo B7TL BX55XMB: Price Coaches, Wrexham.
Enviro 400 LK58KGN: XLP Limited, London , EC2.
MANs LK07AYF/AYH: Wealden PSV, Tonbridge, Kent.
Optare Tempos YJ10MDE/MDU;
Trident KX04RVJ; Optare Versa YJ60KGE: Brylaine Travel, Boston, Lincs.
Enviro 400 LK58KHL: First Devon and Cornwall , converted to part open top.
Volvo B9TL BJ11EAM: Farleigh Coaches , Rochester, Kent.
Scania YN05HGA: Dons Coaches, Dunmow, Essex.
Volvo B7RLEs SN58BYP/BYS: A Line coaches, Newcastle.
Volvo B7RLEs SN58BYO/BYT: Als Coaches, Liverpool.
Volvo B7RLE SK07CFP: Aintree Coaches.
Volvo B7RLE SK07CFO: Robinson Coaches, Huntingdon.
Volvo SN57DCY: Oakley Coaches , Plymouth.
Routemaster RM1650: Mr P Jones, Redhill Surrey.

The following to Shelton Motors for scrap:
Enviro 200s LK08FLW/FLZ, YX58FPC, YX11FYZ, LX07BXJ, LK58CPN;
Trident LX03BFU; Volvo B7L MV02VEH;
Scania YN08OAX; Enviro 400s LK58CPV/CPU/CPN, SN08AAO;
Volvo B7TLs LK54FWP, FX54AOA, Dart WX05RVR

Ensign Fleet
Enviro 200s 714 and 715 sold to Centrebus.
Volvo B9TL 126 sold to Grant Palmer, Dunstable.
Temporary Transport for London (TfL) schools fleet Enviro 400s 976/ 977 sold to Sullivan Buses.
Volvo B9TLs BJ11DVV and BJ11DVW have replaced 976 and 977 in the TfL schools fleet.
Once this contract is over they will be single door converted and join the main operational fleet, so are numbered 136 and 137 accordingly.
Volvo B9TL BJ11EAG now single door and blue/silver, numbered 135.

For those who enjoyed this calendar last year here is one for 2021.

Click on the thumbnail for more details.