Foretaste of this issue

As always I give a taste of what is in this issue and take this opportunity to thank are contributors.

Our regulars are joined this week by Nigel Peach, Pete Cabin, Paul Villani and Stefan Schnell, whilst regulars have more local pictures. 

On a cold February 8th Gavin Francis caught 886 with a link40 working in Stokenchurch.

Nigel Peach caught 241 climbing Treadaway Hill with a 35 service on February 8th.

Carousel's 241 is seen with a 36 working in The Eden Bus Station on February 12th by Pete Cabin.
242 has not been seen now for several days and one wonders what the problem is?

Ex Oxford tube 50279 seen at Cumbernauld i9n new guise for megabus on February 8th by Paul Villani via Martyn Sacaloff.

Ex Oxford tube now in citylink livery, 50266 is seen working an M92 service at Broxbourne, Perth on February 5th by Stefan Schnell.
Since the last picture of this coach, it has now acquired fleet number. More pictures are under the Oxford tube heading below.

Jack Cooper brings us news on the X90 Interdecks now with Go North West.

New vehicle numbers are falling

In these difficult times one wonders if and when things will return to some kind of normality? So many people are working from home, so can this change? Companies it appears are happy to continue this for time to come so that the "commuter" could be a thing of the past. It may be months or even years before we might experience things as they were or in a worst case scenario things as they will become. To me this bodes ill for the future of commuter/community transport. Although I am now in my twilight years, I do feel for the youngsters who have missed so much schooling which may lead to a lost generation.

Some readers may comment that I am too old to appreciate the future and all that it holds, so may I say no to that feeling as we all have time to reflect on what is happening to our society.

For interests sake in our own hobby I note the following 2nd part comparison for new PCV registrations in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Plate year new registrations comment
68 1556 full half
69 1162 full half
70 574 to February 13th 2021

Thus registrations from two years ago are down by 62.6% in two years. Indeed 10 years ago for this quarter the figure was 1631. When we get to the end of February a full year comparison will be of further interest.

Even more concerning is the drop in now coach numbers/operators which will see another significant drop. Below are the figures for the last three years first half registrations.

Plate year new registrations comment
18 1678 full half
19 1724 full half
20 845 full half

This figure shows a 50.2% drop in two years, 2018 to 2020. The curtailing of many express services has also been significant.

Finally I don't wish to appear a harbinger of doom but the facts speak for themselves. I suggest we may not see a better increase in recovery before 2025.




Oxford Bus Company has confirmed Blue Skye Thinking as the winner of the eagerly contested Brand the Bus competition.

The children’s brain tumour charity has been invited to work with Oxford Bus Company to design a bus wrap featuring the brand colours, logo and messages of the organisation. It was selected by a judging panel from a top ten group of good causes which had earned the most public votes from 23 original entries.

Oxford Bus Company has also awarded the space on a bus rear for branding to second placed Abingdon Riding for the Disabled Association, a charity that enriches the lives of disabled adults and children via horses.

Reducing the Risk (of Domestic Abuse) came third and Against Breast Cancer fourth in the final placements and both will receive marketing support. The winners were decided by a judging panel, which included BBC Radio Oxford presenter Kat Orman, Grant Hayward from Collaborent and representatives from Oxford Bus Company.

The winner was revealed live on BBC Radio Oxford by Kat Orman.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director, said: “Congratulations to Blue Skye Thinking and to everyone who entered. It was an incredibly close call to select the final three and the overall winner from so many fantastic good causes. Blue Skye Thinking put a lot into their submission, including details of a wider marketing campaign involving the bus over a prolonged period. They also achieved the most public votes and so were worthy winners. We are looking forward to working with them on their design for a bus.

“The final decision was so close that we decided to award Abingdon Riding for the Disabled with a bus rear in recognition of the great work they do. We will also look at how we can support Reducing the Risk to raise the profile of the good work that they do.

The response to the competition has been overwhelming and is a timely reminder of the good causes in our community, especially during this challenging period. While it remains difficult for transport operators during the pandemic, we felt it was important to maintain the Brand the Bus competition to give something back and continue to support good causes at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

Blue Skye Thinking supports research into the treatment of childhood brain tumours, striving to give all children diagnosed a better chance of survivaland improved quality of life. It was set up on the family of Skye Hall who was diagnosed with a grade 4 medulloblastoma in 2013. Despite surgery and treatment Skye passed away a year later.

Sally Hall, Director of Blue Skye said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the winner. It was an honour to have received so many votes from our supporters to enable us to proudly stand alongside some of the big charities in Oxford that also strive to deliver so much to the community. “I watched the videos from all entries and certainly learned a lot from some of the smaller charities, and in such strained times, it just goes to show how proactive and incredible people can be to help others. Oxford Bus Company offers such a unique opportunity, and the impact it will have for Blue Skye Thinking and children with brain tumours will be very significant indeed.
Thank you to everyone who helped us and voted for us.”

Some 7,165 unique online votes were cast for the entries made by charities and good causes, almost 1,000 more votes than in the previous year’s competition.

The finalists were: Blue Skye Thinking, Abingdon Riding for the Disabled Group, Helen & Douglas House, Maggie’s Oxford, Against Breast Cancer, Shine Oxford, Sobell House Hospice, Reducing the Risk, Oxfordshire Mind and SeeSaw.

What a really super story and well done to all concerned. Ed.

  Interbus: Cross-border coach and bus services after Brexit

When the Brexit transitional period came to an end on 31 December 2020 the right of access to the European Union (EU) previously enjoyed by UK coach and bus operators was removed.

However, from January this year the UK became a member in its own right of the Interbus Agreement, which allows limited access to a number of countries, as Croner-i explains.

What does the Interbus Agreement allow?

The agreement allows the international occasional carriage of passengers by coach and bus, such as one-off tourist trips. Eligible occasional coach and bus services are exempt from authorisation and from any vehicle taxes or special taxes on transport operations levied by the contracting parties. The agreement does not yet allow regular (scheduled) or special regular services.

What about regular services?

A regular service follows a timetable and picks up and drops passengers at fixed points on a specified route. A Protocol to the Interbus Agreement regarding international regular and special regular services by coach and bus operators has been negotiated and the UK is expected to ratify it as soon as possible. As this will take some time, however, the EU Regulation establishes a temporary set of measures which will run until 30 June 2021 or until the Protocol is agreed, whichever is the sooner.

Which countries does the Agreement cover?

The agreement covers all EU Member States, Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, Turkey and Ukraine. The UK also has its own agreements with a number of countries – Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Russia, Serbia and Switzerland – that do not depend on Interbus.

However, an extra (free) permit is needed to pick up passengers in Belarus or Russia. This can be obtained by emailing the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) International Road Haulage Permits Office
at irhp@dvsa.gov.uk  Certain information will be required including the public service vehicle (PSV) Operator Licence number, the make of bus and its vehicle number plate.

Do any other EU laws continue to apply?

UK drivers must follow AETR rules on drivers’ hours and the use of tachographs, which are the same as those of the EU and which underpin the Interbus Agreement. Directives and Regulations on working time, and on drivers’ initial qualification and periodic training are set out in UK legislation and also have not changed.

What about Northern Ireland?

Services operating between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can continue with no changes. Operators will be able to transport passengers between two locations within the Republic as part of a service between Northern Ireland and its EU Member State neighbour.

I include this as we have covered European services from the U K in the past. Ed.

 Book review

A review of a book concerning local interest just published


The cover of the latest book following many other local fleet histories.

Paul writes "Here is my latest title and here are some photos contained therein. Please note there is a special deal to buy all three of "The Early Independents2 for £39 a saving of £6 when bought separately."


To see what these pictures are referring to your will enjoy the book being reviewed.


Like so many of the books written by Paul Lacey, this book contains many interesting pictures and fleet details. Some operators are long gone now whereas others are more recent.

Having only come to this area in 1975, I am not familiar with so many transport matters of local interest. However these books, including this latest offering, enable one to go back in time and even include coaches from my area of origin. An example is HTU93G with the Carters operation, which was new in 1969 (whilst I still lived in Manchester) to Shearings-Pleasureways--Ribblesdale a one time major national coach tour operator.

Another one from my local area can be seen above, being a Leyland PS1/1-Bellhouse Hartwell 33 seater new in July 1948 at a time when new coaches were only just coming into service after the second world war. It entered service with Spencer's of Oldham who later became part of Happiway Spencer another north west coach tour operator.

So even though one is reviewing local operators in our area, there is much to interest readers from all over the U.K.

Carters were on of the larger operators having a history from the late 1800s first known as Alpha. They offered large brakes for hire. These were horse drawn carts with bench seating popular for outings to places such as Burnham Beeches. Later and after the first world war, more modern modes of transport were provided and began to offer covered transport for various outings. Also being motorised they gave the opportunity to go further afield to destinations such as Bournemouth, Brighton and Southend for fares just over 10/0d return (equiv. to £6.50) in today's money. The average wage for the working man in those far off days was around £3 -£5 per week so custom must have been limited.

By the late 1980s Carters was nearing its end and was merged with another company.

However there is much to read in this book including details of local service to Henley and Windsor amongst others.

For me the book enables me to absorb those far off days when bus and coach travel was much used and valued. Maidenhead was located on the main west A4 road out of London to Bristol and was as such an old coaching road. Today the M4 has replaced the A4 for major inter city transit and the excellent selection of photos shows life as it used to be. I can recommend this volume to readers and at £15.00 represent value for money.

Malcolm Crowe. OCBP Editor.

The problem continues but we can now hear that over 12 million people have received their first jab in England. There is talk of Covid free passports which may begin to allow travel towards a more normal environment.

Bus companies have cut back on services in recent weeks and coach companies continue to struggle, especially since school traffic has yet to return to last year's levels during Covid.

Indeed one wonders just how the industry will eventually recover.

 Transport Select Committee to examine coach industry plight

The Transport Select Committee will soon convene a standalone, “deep dive” session to consider issues currently facing the coach industry. The development was announced by Committee member Greg Smith MP at a virtual political lobbying event on 10 February that was called to highlight coaching’s ongoing need for nationwide bespoke support.

Almost 400 people, including around 30 MPs, attended. Cross-party speakers joined three operators and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) in discussing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the industry.

Exactly what form the Transport Select Committee session on the coach industry will take, and when it will be held, will be disclosed in due course. Mr Smith says it will happen “no later” than March. CPT is to write to the Committee this week asking for the meeting to be convened as soon as possible.

Mr Smith adds that the Committee will be able to call on “responsible ministers” such as Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere and Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism Nigel Huddleston to attend the session. That work will allow “a clear public record” to be created of the issues facing the coach industry, he says.

It will also ensure that “government has heard” from the sector and that ministers can be questioned about “how we move forward and support the coach industry.”

In response to Mr Smith’s announcement, MP Emma Hardy – who hosted the lobbying event – joined him in urging members of the coach industry to submit evidence to the Transport Select Committee in advance. The Zoom gathering represented further work by Mrs Hardy to raise the coach industry’s political profile.

Shapps no-show despite Transport Select Committee decision

In a disappointing move, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps did not attend the lobbying event and nor did he send anyone in his place. Moreover, earlier comments made by Mr Shapps drew ire from attendees. He told the BBC that people in the UK should not yet book holidays, either at home or abroad, for this summer. A lot hinges on that season for many coach companies and those words are regarded as potentially damaging.

Operators speaking at the lobbying event told different, but similar, stories about how the pandemic has hit their businesses. The particular fragility of income streams for operators that do not carry out home-to-school contracts on behalf of local authorities (LAs) was exposed by Jenna Rush, Managing Director of North East Coach Travel.

The bulk of North East Coach Travel’s work is private hire, alongside one home-to-school service that is arranged directly with parents. No payment is received for the latter when it is not required, says Ms Rush.

The operator’s usual private hire workload is often carried out for schools, colleges and universities and sports teams. Uncertainty is in play about when those parties will return to the fray.

North East Coach Travel has received money through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), but the repayment and guarantee structure of CBILS is not ideal for businesses that have seen a massive drop in income, Ms Rush adds.

That is a concern shared by Candice Mason of Masons Minibus and Coach Hire. It too has received a CBILS loan. Repayments will begin soon, on “almost zero income,” she explains, and Masons will be making them for 10 years. In addition, Mrs Mason has concerns about the length of time that social distancing may be in place for and the reluctance or refusal of some attractions to accept coaches.

So let's hope we see a positive response and planning as without this possibility. Ed. 

Fleet news and developments

Nigel Peach

Another interesting update yesterday, thank you very much. It seems that any DAF SB120s still with Arriva are all finding their way to Wycombe!

Arriva Cressex depot on February 12th

Citaro 3921

Citaros 3915 and 3920. Both buses have been at Wycombe for over a year. I wonder why there has been no attempt to repaint these buses
(and others from this batch) out of their previous route branding ?

Citaro 3012

There appear to be six withdrawn buses parked up against the fence, to make way for the recent incoming "new" (i.e. 13 years old) buses.
In front of the fence are 2735 (which has been there a long time and never saw service at Wycombe),
Trainer 9558 (previously Wycombe's 3747) - this may not be withdrawn, 3539 and 3700. 

Behind them are 3537, 3532 and 2732. 

No sign of the two remaining Darts 2159 and 2297. They are no longer on bustimes.org, so I guess they have already gone.

Many thanks for that useful update.

Gavin Francis

Gavin was in Wycombe last week for his jab and took the opportunity to photograph some the buses in use on February 10th.

StreetLites on local routes seen turning out of Bridge Street. First 2318 and second 2326.

VDL Wrights 2704 is seen loading for Penn in Oxford Street with a 31 working.

2786 and 2787 also working local service out of Bridge Street.

Nearly one year ago Gavin caught 2786 working in Milton Keynes on June 15th 2020.

Citaro 3019 is seen heading for Aylesbury with a 300 working.

Citaro 3917, branded for the X60 even though it has been in Wycombe for a long time now,
first arriving with a 48 and then working the 1A.

Aylesbury based 6043 is seen returning to Aylesbury even though the blind suggest High Wycombe.
This started life with Arriva London Wright Pulsar Gemini  as DW80.

Nick Ross

Arriva Luton Volvo B7 3957 KX12GZU in Leighton Road, Leighton Buzzard with a Luton bound F77 on February 10th 2021. 

Gavin Francis

Gavin was in Wycombe last week for his jab and took the opportunity to photograph some the buses in use on February 10th running the X74 service, none of which were the branded buses for this service.

E200 44560 is seen arriving in Wycombe from Slough with an X74 working along Easton Street.
Until recently Easton Street was one way in the opposite direction towards Loudwater.

Citaro 64019 somewhat off branded route also seen with an X74.

69929, also off its branded route is seen with another X74 working. 

Jack Cooper writes "In other news, I have seen on Twitter that GNE drivers are being trained on the Interdecks, I have also seen pictures of them and they look rather smart! The interior is the same as Oxford except the addition of AV announcements and USB chargers on the seat backs. They have also gained personalised registration plates.

Here are fleet numbers / registrations of the Interdecks, I have included OBC ones too for you."

OBC fleet number / X90 registration / OW15 registration / GNE fleet number / GNE registration 

72 / X90 LDN / OW15 WJZ / 7150 / GO02 MBR

73 / X90 OBC / OW15 WKA / 7151 / Not Assigned at time of writing 

74 / X90 OFD / OW15 WKB / 7152 / XL09 NCL

75 / X90 OXD / OW15 WKC / 7153 / X10 NCL

76 / X90 SVC / OW15 WKD / 7154 / X9 XLS

77 / OX15 BUS / OW15 WKE / 7155 / X10 LNE

78 / OX15 LON / Ow15 WKF / 7156 / X10 XLS 

"Here are some Flickr links of pictures taken by Daniel Graham, he is the Commercial Projects Co-Coordinator for Go North East", which have acquired a number of the Oxford Interdecks off the X90.













The Interdecks will enter service on Monday, February 15th looking at Go North East's Twitter Page! 

Steven Knight writes "My contact at East Yorkshire has just advised that Mercedes minibus 975 (BU18YRS) is currently on loan from Oxford Bus Company. It is at Elloughton depot providing engineering cover and is expected to remain on loan for a couple of weeks."

Following last week's issue I was pleased to receive pictures of 241.

Nigel Peach

I spotted that Carousel 241 was rostered for the 35 to Flackwell Heath today (Monday, February 8th). An ideal opportunity for me to wander round the village and take pictures - except that it is very cold!! I notice that its fleet number on the front is further to the left than 242, otherwise no obvious differences!

241 working a Flackwell Heath service on a very cold winter's day, even with flecks of snow!

Citaro is unusually working the 35 in Flackwell Heath on February 10th.

Gavin Francis

Gavin was in Wycombe last week for his jab and took the opportunity to photograph some the buses in use on February 10th.

Whilst Gavin was in Wycombe he also caught Citaro 859 leaving for Flackwell Heath with service 35.

Scania 218 is seen in High Street with a 39 working to Totteridge.

The StreetLites are very busy as we see above with some services on February 10th.
404 and 405 are seen on various routes.

406 still lacking any fleet numbers heads for Uxbridge with a chilternhundreds 101 service.

One of the two remaining M A N 14-220's 421, often seen working the 337, seen at the depot.
So far nothing has been seen of 424 which I was told was going to return to service.

Recently repainted from Thames Travel green, 860 is seen heading for Hemel Hempstead with "The One" service.

Ex London Citaro 881 is seen turning out of Bridge Street on its way to Uxbridge with a 104 service.

Mercedes 977 and 979 are seen outside Wycombe depot, these two buses are not officially at this depot.

Branded service link40 Citaro 886 is seen in Stokenchurch on February 9th, The weather hardly makes for clean buses!

Another week for interesting pictures from contributors as indicated.

Jack Cooper from Abingdon

Original Oxford Hybrid 301 is seen in 4 branding in Abingdon on February 10th.

Volvo B5LH Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 367 is seen in Abingdon with a 4 road service on February 12th.

Wright StreetDeck 660 is seen with a 35 road service in Stratton Way on February 12th.

First of the repainted Park & Ride Wright StreetDecks is back in service.


663 in Abingdon and heading for Oxford on its first day back in service on February 12th.

Park & Ride StreetDecks 667, 671, 672 and 669 all working the X3 on February 7th, 8th and 12th.

Wright StreetDeck Micro Hybrid 903 is seen in Stratton Way on February 10th with a X3 working.

Seen again on February 12th, Optare 963 is seen in High Street, Abingdon looking pristine.

Service Update (BROOKESbus U1): From Saturday, February 20th until further notice, the stops on Westminster Way will be suspended towards Oxford City Centre due to roadworks. 


Again from various contributors Thames Travel buses in Abingdon and Didcot with services.

Although www.bustimes.org states 1652 (YN05GZO) it appears that the bus mentioned is 1650, so maybe Go ahead can provide the answer?

Daniel Harwood

An update on 839, it is no longer parked in Harwell Campus.

906 in Denchworth Road with an X36 working on January 27th.

Loaned Brighton & hove 650 (1650 - YN05GZJ) is seen with a service 98 on February 3rd.

Loaned Brighton & Hove 650 is seen in Wantage Market Place on February 8th with an X32 working.

Ex London 936 is seen in Didcot on February 10th with a 98 working.

Jack Cooper

This week 663 has been delivered from Hants & Dorset Trim, passing Abingdon on Thursday. I was very lucky to be given journey progress from my colleagues at OBC who were able to track it on the return journey!  

226 has also gained Connector livery and was also delivered yesterday!  

Scania 210 seen running along Lodge Hill with an X2 working on February 12th.

Jack caught up with 514 after delivery to Cowley House on January 21st.

Citaro 850  is seen working a 45 service along Stratton Way on February 10th.

Other than that, the 95/95B was on diversion until Thursday crossing Culham Bridge instead of going through Abingdon. Culham Bridge was open from Monday afternoon.  

Ex Carousel Mercedes-Benz OC500LE MCV Evolution 873, now working for Thames Travel, heads over Culham Bridge on February 10th.
The three buses 873-875 seem not to spend much time working. I wonder why?

Still bearing Carousel logos, 941 is seen heeling over as it crosses Culham Bridge on February 10th.

Volvo B5TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 622 heads up Lodge Hill with an X" heading for Oxford on February 12th.

So, some very interesting pictures including the latest updates on livery from Go-Ahead. 

Gavin Francis

Heyfordian's B13TCL seen in Queen Victoria Street, High Wycombe on February 10th.
B13 TCL (ex S810 MCC, XSU 653, S810 MCC)
Volvo B10M/Van Hool Alizee C49FT was new to Clynnog & Trefor.

Before selling the Tappins operation at Didcot to Weavaway, a number of the modern coaches were transferred to Bicester and repainted into Heyfordian livery but can still be recognised by their TCL (Tappins Coaches Ltd) registrations. 

Gavin Francis

Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer once operated by Turner's Tours, registered KX05KFF and now with Red Eagle and a regular in Wycombe. 

Gavin Francis

Red Rose YX61FZH (ex First London & ex Tower Transit) Enviro 200 with a 275 working from Oxford on February 10th. 

Andrew Churchill writes "From February 28th 2021 Banbury depot is ending its association with Midland Red (South) ltd when its registered services and its operator's Licence will be changing to Thames Transit Ltd finally at long last this is going to happen and that all of Oxfordshire will be under the control of Stagecoach Oxfordshire (Thames Transit Ltd) and that any buses from Witney or Oxford will no longer be on loan to Midland Red and so ends a 101 year chapter and another chapter to begin.

In addition the refurbish and repaint programme is to recommence from this month and the first buses to be done will be all the 'Gold ' Scania's so the end of the Gold livery is at hand and it is Expected that they will receive the new 'local' livery".

So a number of this weeks pictures from contributors highlight the number of Gold buses in service.

Ciaran Bird on February 9th

It will be sad to see the end of Gold livery which always seemed to put Stagecoach ahead of their competitors,
also it was in some ways replicated by the other Groups!!

Jack Cooper from Abingdon

Gold MMC 10780 is seen with an S8 working heading for Wantage by Peachcroft Roundabout on February 12th.

Seen in High Street, Abingdon also heading for Wantage, 15757 with an S8 on February 12th. 

Martyn Sacaloff

Another way to set up the destination blind seen here on February 9th is 37048 at Northampton depot. 

This week we have some interesting pictures from various contributors which I hope readers will appreciate.

Dave Allen

Interior views of Skyliner 50107 when almost new in 2005.

First generation Astromegas after a heavy snow fall at Network Oxford.

Paul Villani

A certain irony is ex tube 50279 now sporting megabus livery and seen at Cumbernauld on February 8th.

Stefan Schnell

50266 working the M92 at Broxbourne, Perth on February 5th.

I am grateful and pleased to able able to keep local readers up to date on the fate of "our" old Astromegas. Many thanks to our friends across the border. 

Amegabus flipped on its side on a grass verge just hours before a second bus crash on the same road.

Two people were rushed to hospital after the coach overturned on the A90, south of Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, around 2145 on the night of February 12th.

megabus 50406 having overturned working along the A90 on February 12th. (UNK via M Wakefield.)

As a result of this the following announcement was made on February 13th.

One has to sympathise with those north of the border where the weather is far worse than we have down here on The Chilterns. 

Michael Wadman/Keith Newton with Alder Valley's Southern Division

Yes, indeed. There’s an awful lot of information available out there, but it’s fragmented and scattered, different bits held by thousands of different people. Forums like OCBP do an immensely valuable job in bringing it together for everyone’s benefit. 

So, final batch of photos from Alder Valley’s southern division. 

No 388 (PHO 587G), ex-Aldershot & District AEC Reliance / Marshall, somewhere on service 213,

which I think was Alton - Haslemere, no idea where, in 1978. Photo by Keith Newton.  

No 856 (AAA 529C), ex-Aldershot & District Dennis Loline III / Weymann,
heads up North Street, Guildford on service 290 in August 1978. Photo by Keith Newton. 

No 375 (PHO 574G), ex-Aldershot & District AEC Reliance / Marshall,
outside the Prince of Wales in Hammervale on service 211 in May 1980. Photo by Keith Newton. 

Leyland National no 231 (KPA 382P) in Guildford Friary bus station on service 229 in 1981,
wearing a special livery for the 75th anniversary of Aldershot & District.. 

No 304 (B919 NPC), a short Bedford Y-series
(since no two sources agree on the correct designation of these chassis, I give up)
with Lex body in Alton High street on service 205 in 1985. Photo by Keith Newton.

As always thanks to Michael and Keith for some more interesting memories.

From Dave Allen making trips to the North West in the 1970s

The GM Atlantean is pictured in Manchester Piccadilly bus station c1978

The other picture in Uppermill, Saddleworth around 1975. Tow wagon was based at Oldham depot. 

From Andrew Dyer in New Zealand

What a lovely place to retire to, the RLH I mean. Ed.

Ex LT RLH45 is still in service on Waiheke Island NZ, doing private hires, wedding charters etc. The photo taken at Onetangi Beach is quite kind as it’s not in particularly good condition! It belongs to a company called Robbie’s Fun Bus which also owns an ex-WMPTE Fleetline, an ex-Crosville VR and an ex-Wilts and Dorset Bristol K. 

I understand that RLH 45 was always green in its London life, working in the Staines area, but once you get overseas British buses always have to be red!!

Another nice variety of pictures.


My first visit to London Airport was on a Wallace Arnold day trip from Leeds in 1963.  At that time, the area was quite primitive when compared to the subsequent development.  The central area was reached by a twin access tunnel from the Bath Road (A4) which passed under a runway.  There was no dedicated bus terminal but just regular bus stops, open-air car parking and one passenger terminal that later became Terminal 2.  London Airport was renamed Heathrow in 1966.  Over the last 60 years, the central area has been developed to handle the substantial increase in airline passenger traffic.  This has included the building of new terminal buildings, multi-storey car parks and a central bus station.

My day trip to London Airport was on 14 August 1963.  There was a fleet of 65 AEC Regal IVs with Park Royal bodies that were owned by British European Airways and operated on its behalf by London Transport between the Airport and Central London. 

The first picture shows MLL 727 on layover.
  In the background are visiting coaches including the Wallace Arnold coach on which I travelled. 

The second image is MLL 761 that was parked in front of an RT on route 140.
  There was an interesting selection of cars in the car park! 

The first permanent passenger terminal, later known as Terminal 2, was opened in 1955.
I was pleased to find London Transport RFW 12 (LUC 387),
one of 15 ECW-bodied AEC Regal IV coaches in the Private Hire fleet, waiting for its passengers.

A bus station was built in the central area of the airport but the Piccadilly Line extension from Hounslow West was still a few years away.
Passengers had to use express route A1 between the Airport and Hounslow West Station. 
MCW-bodied AEC Merlin, MBS 512 (VLW 512G), was photographed on 23 August 1969 in the Central Bus Station.

Green Line route 727 operated between Crawley and Luton via Gatwick and Heathrow.
Willowbrook-bodied AEC Reliance, RC 1 (CUV 59C), was seen on 23 August 1969.

BEA replaced its AEC Regal IV coaches with 65 forward-entrance AEC Routemasters.
These double-deckers towed luggage trailers and operated to and from the West London Air Terminal on Cromwell Road in Kensington. 
In the attractive BEA livery is KGJ 612D on 6 September 1969.

It was still possible to see RF coaches on the long route 727.
Modernised RF 47 (LYF 398) was new in 1951 and still in service on 6 September 1969.

I worked at Heathrow Airport between 1969 and 1973 and this gave me several opportunities to record the changing bus scene. 
RT 1994 (LUC 95) was operating on route 140 to Mill Hill on 26 October 1969.

On route 285 to Kingston with a good load of passengers on 31 May 1970 was RF 524 (MLL 942).

 Marshall-bodied AEC Swift, SM 32 (AML 32H), was pictured in the bus station on 31 May 1970
operating route 81B between the Airport and Hounslow.

A new livery was adopted by BEA for its bus fleet as demonstrated by NMY 645E parked in the lay-over area on 31 May 1970.
Note that the trailer remained in the original blue livery.

One long-standing member of the AEC Regal IV coaches with BEA was MLL 740 which was repainted into the latest livery.
It is a matter of opinion as to whether it improved its appearance!  ItIt was pictured on 17 August 1970.

Employees at Heathrow Airport had to park their cars in a staff car park on the perimeter of the airport.
Whyte's Coaches, Ashford had the contract to provide the staff shuttle between the staff car park and the central bus station.
ONK 253H was a Willowbrook-bodied Ford R192 and when seen on 17 August 1970
was working a "Spectator Service" back to the car park.

BEA operated a fleet of articulated buses on airside shuttle services. 
The motive unit was a Bedford J4A2 and the trailer bodywork was by BTC/Samlesbury.
Unlike the Routemasters, these buses did carry fleet numbers and this example was 6513 (900 ALR) and seen on 11 April 1971.

This Plaxton-bodied Bedford VAL14 had been new to Jackson, Altrincham but by 11 April 1971 it had become BEA 6559 (GMB 111C).

The review of Heathrow Airport will continue in part two in next week’s briefing.

Photographs by PAUL A. BATESON

Malcolm Crowe with some memories from 2002

At this time I was driving part time for Oxford Bus and this provided some opportunity to capture interesting vehicles.

Seen at Cowley Road garage on May 5th 2002.
At this time OBC were trialling various buses including this Scania L94UB Wright Solar 850, which ended up with First Eastern Counties.

Once 44 in the Oxford fleet but originally Parks of Hamilton this coach was sold to Jeffs.
Here it became XWG254 and received full Jeff's livery, seen at Helmdon on May 4th 2002.

Gloucester Green, Oxford on May 5th 2002.

In March 2002 much work was completed on the surface of the coach station which was closed in the intervening period.

During that time, Oxpens was converted into a temporary coach station with a Shuttle Bus from Gloucester Green.
Above on March 2nd 2002 we see Solo 613 working the Shuttle.

Again seen on March 2nd 2002
Many thought this a great idea as it provided much more room for manoeuvre.

Seen in May 2002, Pete's Travel operated the 50 service to Stratford with variety of buses.

Seen in VCS on May 5th 2002.
An interesting hangover from Cambridge Coach Service was this Leyland Olympian now operating the A6 Stansted service.

It was just before this time that Oxford Bus sold Wycombe Bus to Arriva and above are a variety of ex Oxford Bus Olympians and
AlAlder Valley ECW double deck coaches then based in High Wycombe on March 3rd 2002.

From Thomas W W Knowles

As I have not been in the Oxford area for well over a year, it is some time rather longer than that since our paths last crossed, but I am writing to you in the hopes that you, or someone you know, may be able to help me with a vehicle query. 

Over the years I have been a prolific photographer as you know, and the time has come to try and identify some of those buses and coaches operated by unknown undertakings. One such vehicle relates to Heyfordian where on 13th March 1998 I took a picture of ex Heyfordian PUD 371P in a pub yard at Weston Heath which lies between Newport Salop and Wolverhampton. I attach a scan where the coach looks as though it is still owned by Heyfordian, but that is clearly not the case since it was withdrawn by then and carried no operator disc. It does carry a schoolchildren sign. 

If anyone can assist I would be most grateful - I have searched PSV Circle records to no avail but it would be nice to knock off the vehicle from my query list.

IfIf you have an answer to the question please email me : malcolmcrowe@oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk.  Many thanks in advance.

From James Freeman

James writes that the video I told you about can be seen at the link below.


As ever a nice selection of letters and pictures with questions a reader may be able to answer.

From Tony Bungay 

Obviously no photos for you at present, but the reason for my e-mail concerns by chance an article that popped up on my Google page which is usually news headlines related to my browsing history. 

This was from Stroud News concerning a Bristol VRT FFL 463V that had just opened as a take away coffee shop. Interested to see who the original operator was, I Googled and found it had been a feature on your news page in 2019, in a submission by Marcus Lapthorn. Hence the point of this e-mail.