Next issue expected on Sunday, January 3rd 2021. 


Well, another year is almost over and Christmas is upon us. This issue is a later than usual or earlier than usual depending upon your point of view ! The next issue will be in the first days of January 2021.

Let me thank all my contributors for 2020 without which this  page would be but a shadow of what it has become.

Sorry if some may not like my festive background but I do want to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2021.

As I write this Editorial I find myself in Tier 4 and so our Christmas will be a very quiet one , just my wife and myself as our family cannot visit us. Sad but I suppose necessary as we witness the dramatic increase in cases of Covid-19 and a newly reported more virulent strain of the virus, especially prevalent in the South East!

I met a man the other day who said his house borders Buckinghamshire/Oxford so he will spend Christmas day in the half which is in Oxfordshire!

There is much to interest my readers in this issue with many contributions from supporters varying from old to new, near and far!

On the old side Michael Wadman sends more memories of our area, Gavin Francis provides pictures of the days when hired in RTs worked in Reading and other memories from Kevin Fuller, other contributions include news on the latest deliveries and departures involving the Oxford tube, a visit to Pompey and the Isle of Wight by James Freeman, Several Gold buses loaned by Stagecoach West to Midlands by Martyn Sacaloff, the sale  of four Interdeckers by Oxford Bus to a dealership by Jack Cooper and the regular contributions of fleets in our area.

RT 360 in Reading. - First Hants & Dorset in Pompey and four of the five Gold buses on loan to Northampton.

Richard Sharman has provided an number of interesting pictures.

Only one new Volvo can be seen in Gloucester Green on December 12th.

Due to the delayed publication of this issue we have a few more pictures from December 21st and 22nd which reveal that Arriva have recognised the 90th Anniversary of Green Line.

Detail of the display on 7201 seen in London on December 22nd by Gavin Francis.

Well your Editor and many of us in the south east are, as from Saturday, in Tier 4 which means life is very restricted.

For the first time in many years there will be no services on Christmas Day, including the Oxford tube which  since it inception has always run on the day. Of course according to the rules people should not travel into or out of Tier 4 areas. It is also suggested that this Tier 4 lockdown could continue until the Covid-19 vaccine is widely in use, which maybe some months.

Oxfordshire is not included still being in Tier 2 but the new virus strain seems to spread much more easily. Many European countries are closing their borders to the UK which has some serious implications.

Let us hope that this situation is long lasting as I hear in my area that more people are reporting infringements to the police, who then turn up on ones doorstep asking questions. 

Oxford Tube services will be temporarily suspended from last coach on Christmas Eve

Full details link:  


This picture by Richard Sharman shows markings on the city pavements which may one day become a piece of history from 2020.

VCS during the Pandemic in December 2020 by Gavin Francis

This picture taken on December 12th with very limited services.

On December 20th services were limited as can be seen from the departure boards.


Fleet news and developments

Delighted to see a recognition of 90 years by Arriva on their Green Line coaches.

Gavin Francis

MB Tourismo 7201 seen in London on December 22nd bearing the Anniversary logo.

Nick Ross

D1 branded Arriva Optare 0441 on the D1 picking up a good load in Billington Road early on December 14th 2020.

From Phil Southall, Managing Director, Oxford Bus, Thames Travel, Carousel and Oxford City Sightseeing

We have an indicative fleet allocation for 4 January, but it is all still a bit fluid at the moment.

We are using some of the PMU sprinters on staff shuttles for Bicester Village, this is expected to last for the rest of December.

These appear to be BV3 in bus times.

An update on the current fleet.

Phil Southall

856 is having major work done to it but it is still a Carousel vehicle. 860 is also away for repaint and will return to Carousel for service 1 (it was only on loan to TT).

I have now acquired two additional DDs as predicted. They are ex Go Ahead London (Metrobus) 968 and 969. They will be 943 and 944 here but they are not expected to enter service immediately. They will go to Thames Travel when ready: 

943 YT59DYO &  944 YT59DYP

Pictures from Gavin Francis of these two with Metrobus

968 and 969 pictured when in service with Metrobus between 2013 and 2018.


From January 3rd 2021, the current cityX13, providing the through service between Abingdon, Oxford City Centre,…

Gavin Francis

Recent pictures from Oxford.

Scania 220 with a 35 road working in St Aldates on December 12th.

MMC 603 appeared in Gloucester Green on December 21st.

StreetDeck 683 brings a brighter note into Oxford on December 12th.

839 and 847 with 11X workings in St Aldates on December 12th.

Richard Sharman

Recovery of 366 from Magdalen Street East is seen in this picture by Richard Sharman on December 12th.

Always a striking sight is a City 8&9 branded StreetDeck, with 687 seen at Westgate on December 12th.

Simon Caygill

These buses always look so long, 376 is seen at Queens Lane with a U1 service on December 13th.

MMC 612 was working the U5 at the same location on the same day.

Ciaran Bird

Problems happen in the best of regulated operations. Tourismo 37 required the replacement of a tyre at Gloucester Green on December 7th.

Gavin Francis

An opportune picture of Airline Tourismos in Gloucester Green displaying all the destination variations.
Taken on December 21st by Gavin Francis.

Jack Cooper

I have some extra pictures for you, ex Airline 63 prior to leaving Cowley House yesterday, December 16th.


Procters Coach and Bus Sales has since listed four Interdecks on Facebook which I have screenshot for you. These are 61, 62, 63 and 65.

Matthew Vivash


Richard Sharman 

Scania part open top 201 is seen with a City Sightseeing working on December 12th.

Gavin Francis 

Scania 213 is seen with an 11 working in St Aldates, this duty seems to vary between 206, 209 and 213 run out of Cowley House.
Seen on December 12th.

Richard Sharman

Thames Travel 850 is operating the 11(the last time this service run on a Sunday was with Go Ride a good few years back).

This is another Thames Travel duty run out of Cowley House. Ed.

Simon Caygill 

Last new StreetDeck delivery 909 is seen at Queens Lane with an X2 service on December 13th.

Jim Wright

Optare XFE Demonstrator - OP07ARE - on loan to Johnsons in Stratford on December 15th.

Gavin Francis

Destined for a part of country many of us love so well, Edwards BU18OTA is seen waiting time near VCS on December 21st.

Woods run this coach on behalf of NEx, BX65WBZ between trips on December 21st.

Stansted based Levante III SH256, BF68LCA is seen with a 560 working in London on December 22nd.
This used to be a Stagecoach Yorkshire working didn't it? 

Ciaran Bird

Solo SR YJ65EUY is caught with an X8 woking on December 14th.

Jim Wright

Witney Market place sees CC70BUS seen on December 15th

Rhys Cutting

A picture from Monday, December 14th 2020 of PulhamsCoaches'

Optare Solo 'YJ14 BWH' at Sainsbury's in Witney beginning the 12:10 trip to Chipping Norton on Route X9.
The colours and setting are really nice. Ed.

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

The first repaint into ruby 10 colours on bus 411 returned on Friday, looking very smart indeed. This is part of our slimmed down programme of repaints to raise the profile of the former greenwave routes. We know that some of the newer pink and bronze single deckers look very faded in places, but can’t sort out everything at the moment.

Bus 206 is nearing the completion of it’s hybrid gearbox conversion, repaint and refurbishment and is expected back at the end of this week in the new yellow 26 colours. 201, 202 and 207 are also away being worked on, of which we might just see 207 back before Christmas.

Scania 805 has now been repaired and is back on the road. We are hoping to have the in-house repairs to 806 completed during January.

Lastly, we continue to have a Newbury & District double decker on loan in Reading to help provide extra capacity for social distancing whilst some private school contracts in Newbury are running at reduced levels. We are allocating it to the journeys on tiger 7 which carry a lot of school children to enable social distancing for the public without using a duplicate, and using the Tiger bus to cover school duplicates on single deck route lime 2 before returning to the tiger route off peak.

Picture by Robert Williams.

Gavin Francis

MMC 760 in the revised Green Line for the 702 is seen heading for Legoland from London on December 22nd.

Simon Caygill

Coincidentally a picture from Simon shows 1110 in Reading on December 13th.
This relates to the picture further down of 1109 at Binders Yard on December 15th by Gavin Francis.


Jim Wright

Rotala GN14LPL on route 229 in Stratford on December 15th.

Ciaran Bird

11236 with an S7, 11244 with an S1 and 11253 with an S2 service all in Witney on December 14th.
The bold branding on some buses is an improvement now that "Gold" is no more.

Solo SR 47833 is seen in Witney with a 233 service to Woodstock from Witney on December 14th.

Back in the Woodstock area 15835 is seen with a 7 working on December 17th.

Gavin Francis

E400 10070, so often working the 700 is seen with a 1 working in St Aldates on December 12th.

MMC 11238 is seen in George Street, Oxford with an S1 to Carterton on December 12th.

Jim Wright

Witney Market place with 11231 on December 11th with an S1 service.

Daniel Harwood

X5 coach 54303 shows off Seasons Greetings as it arrives in Gloucester Green on December 13th. 

See details of loaned West Gold buses under West. 

Jim Wright

Taken in Stratford upon Avon on December 10th showing Stagecoach Midlands operation.

10033 from the uni fleet.

Now elderly Trident 18403 is seen in Stratford centre.

Bill McCartney from Stagecoach West

Just to confirm, 19165, 19166 and 19167 are now all in service carrying the new local livery. 

15857, 15858, 15968, 15969 and 15970 have been loan to Northampton as our College services aren't in this week.

We will have them back before 4th January 4th.

Martyn Sacaloff

Martyn caught up with the loaned bus at Northampton following their arrival.


Pictures from December 13th. 

Richard Sharman

Recently repainted 28684 is seen working an 853 service into Oxford on December 12th.

Oxford Tube services will be temporarily suspended from last coach on Christmas Eve

Full details link:

Further new coaches to arrive are 50438-50440. It appears these will be the last for 2020.

Andy Churchill

Seen shortly after arrival at Horspath depot on December 18th.

50439 and 50440 had their first day in service on Monday, December 21st.

Gavin Francis 

50426, 50427, 50429 & 50432 seen at work during December 2020.

50436 and 50437 seen following delivery on December 13th to Horspath depot.

50269 seen at Horspath depot on December 13th, near the end of its career with the tube.

Not every coach gets to its new home trouble free as Graham Cochrane reports on 50277, the one with a new drivers seat!!

Jim Wright

Panorama 50428 at Woodstock on December 12th working the morning S3 school bus, Yarnton-Woodstock.

50428 at speed by Wootton turn.

Jim adds "The odd Astromega & Hybrid have been used on this school bus, first time l have seen a Panorama though."

Thanks Jim for some interesting pictures. I understand that Panoramas are not to be used on this service so a good scoop by you !

Daniel Harwood

50434 seen heading up St Aldates bound for London on December 13th.

Ken Aveyard

A fortuitous visit to Weymouth on Saturday, December 12th 2020 saw some rail replacement vehicles outside the station. Included in them was this ex Stagecoach Van Hool now in service with Barry's of Weymouth. It showed signs of the removal of the vinyl stickers for the X77 Glasgow to Ayr service and had been reregistered with one of Barry's private plates. We did find the Stagecoach number still visible at the rear of the top deck which identified it as 50209 originally new to Oxford Tube as OU09FNC, and subsequently X77SCA with Western Scottish.

For those who remember 50209 !

Many thanks to Ken for that catch up on an old friend.

Richard Sharman

Recently updated livery 54272 "NIMBUS 2000" is seen in Oxford with an M34 working on December 12th. 

West Oxfordshire Community Transport

Ciaran Bird

The Witney Weaver seen in Witney using Mercedes WX55OHT on December 14th.

London operators

Gavin Francis

SEe10 with a stand out livery working the 507 at Victoria on December 22nd.

LT668 with a wrap for "The Rythm of Korea", working route 211 on December 22nd opposite VCS.

Michael Wadman and his weekly memories

A few more photos of the Northern Division of Alder Valley in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties. 

Eastern National BPU 22B was on loan to Alder Valley from June to September 1979, caught by Keith Newton in Newbury bus station.
It was a Bristol MW6G / ECW new to Tillings Transport as a coach, converted to a bus by Eastern National in 1974. 

Alder Valley no 09 (GGM 69W), Leyland Leopard / Plaxton, in Victoria Coach Station on express service X3 to Reading in 1981 

Alder Valley no 301 (LCY 301X). Bedford errm, well different sources quote it as YMQ, YMQ/S, or YMP, or YMP/Q,
and Wikipedia reckons it must be a YMP/S. So whatever. Lex bodywork anyway.
On loan from South Wales Transport in 1984 before being acquired later that year. Passing Wokingham station on service 196. Photo by Keith Newton. 

Alder Valley no 1211 (A211 DPB), Leyland Tiger / Plaxton, in Victoria Coach Station on express service X1 to Newbury, October
7th 1985.

Thanks to Michael and Keith for these pictures. At the time this National Express livery seemed very Avant-Garde.

Kevin Fuller

In the absence of any recent photos this week from the Slough area, I thought you and your readers might like a couple of pictures from the past. 

I've enjoyed the pictures of Thames Valley vehicles in the last few posts. As my residence in this area only dates back to the mid 1980's, I can't go back any further than the Alder Valley NBC era, but hope you find them of interest: 

HPK501N is seen on the forecourt of Maidenhead garage in August 1985, displaying the MAP 'Thamesline' decals. 

TBL172M is seen by Windsor Castle on a snowy February 1986 day, after arrival from High Wycombe.
This vehicle has the 'Chilternlink' branding applied to Wycombe based vehicles at this time.

Many thanks to Kevin for these nostalgic memories.  

Gavin Francis shares some library pictures of RT buses when hired in Reading

RT3252 in Reading.

RTs 3252 and 4102 passing the station in 1974.

RT4767 in central Reading in 1974.

RT 4549 at the Alder Valley depot in Reading on July 2nd 1973.

Canada again by Paul Bateson

GO Transit 8398, ADL Enviro500 SuperLo, has gained a partial wrap marking the 50th anniversary of the GO Transit bus system. 
It was pictured at Mississauga, Square One on Tuesday, December 15th 2020.
 I rode 8398 to Bramalea GO Station and managed this grab shot as the bus prepared to turn right on to Steeles Avenue. 

At Bramalea Terminal, GO Transit 2470, an MCI D4500, pulled in on route 36B. 
This bus carries a wrap inspired by the pandemic and the need to keep the buses spotlessly clean.  Note the seasonal destination!

Thank you Paul for some interesting pictures.

A Christmas puzzle by Paul Bateson

Back in the early 1970s, my brother Alastair worked for the National Westminster Bank and he had to attend the bank's training college in Oxfordshire.  At that time he lived in Hexham, Northumberland and I must have followed him south to make sure he reached his destination in his Morris Minor. 

So here is my question?  Where did I take this picture based on the clues provided by the road signs in the background?

Gary Seamarks in Peterborough

A few from Peterborough for you, from Monday, December 12th. was a rail trip for me more than bus but wanted to get my last two Peterborough photos, 10868/9 which duly appeared. Then off to station for 3 hours... weather foggy and awful hope these OK, don't even ask re-yellow E200 ! Few loans here from Cambridge 19611/6 and couple of Excels.


Very smart E400 City

Nice to get the new Delaine E200, by luck I will add, the Decker and Dews coaches were on an emergency Rail Replacement due to fatality at Stevenage, once line opened we had three Edinburgh trains through in 15 minutes with delays of 196, 136 and 16 minutes, others had been cancelled.



Many thanks to Gary for these most interesting pictures. 

James Freeman visits the south coast & Isle of Wight

First Hants & Dorset MMCs on December 5th.

19063 now 404DCD was MX56FSP and seen in Portsmouth on December 5th.

E300 27868 also seen in Portsmouth on December 5th.

A selection of the island double decks around Ryde. Gavin and I had a boisterous ride on one like 1146 to Newport.

Vectis Blue double decks often used on private hire work.

Vectis Blue Solo SRs at Ryde depot on December 5th.

Some of the island coach fleet including a selection of ex Shearings coaches in the yard at Ryde.

Many thanks to James for some interesting pictures bringing back memories to myself and Gavin, with whom I had a few trips in summers past to the Isle of Wight.

Gavin Francis visited Binders Yard near High Wycombe on December 15th..

Renamed Chiltern Automotive customers now appear to have current buses for work as seen above including Reading 1109.
The second picture shows this bus in service at Reading when new in 2008.
The grey double deck Scania in the background I think is ex-Reading 1109. This bus started life as a bio-ethanol bus bus has been repainted into generic livery and probably converted to diesel.

NSL Gatwick used these E200s on Airport Transfer Services. Their future is unknown.p>

Also at Binders Yard was this uno Citaro.

These buses were used for the London Olympics in 2012.

Later they appeared on Green Line services to Victoria in 2015 and 2013 respectively including the one at Binders Yard.

The yard is always interesting as it contains much to see including sightseeing Routemasters, local coach operators and others.