delayed until April 20th 2021


Well, we are now nicely on our way out of lockdown and the public are slowly returning to public transport. However this past week has seen a couple of unfortunate issues in our area as outlined below.

Ciaran Bird reports on a chimney fire in Charlbury saying "A chimney fire caused the main road out of Charlbury Town Centre to be blocked off, resulting in 4 buses being blocked. SCO 10782 with Pulhams SN66VZD, YJ65EUY and YJ57EGV were blocked for the majority of the blockage, with SCO 10680 SN16OZJ being stuck for the final 20 mins, after I left."

The closed road by Ciaran Bird on April 14th.

Jack Cooper as ever has provided a nice picture amongst many others of Oxford's 601 climbing Lodge Hill heading for Oxford on April 12th.

Frank Brown and Nigel Peach both report on a bus fire in Flackwell Heath which has almost certainly resulted in the demise of a Citaro.

A sad sight as 884 is seen being recovered after the fire in Flackwell Heath on April 16th.
The first picture by Frank Brown and the second by Nigel Peach.

In addition to our regular contributors Andrew Webb, Charles Powell and Simon Mathieson have also provided information and pictures for this issue.

In particular Andrew attended the London Bus Museum Running Day on April 11th and provided some lovely pictures for readers to get a feel of the day's event.

This RT, 1658, looks immaculate and readers will see an Oxford Bus Museum entry in the report further down this issue.

Under the Flixbus heading you will be able to see their return to service within the U.K. in a significant way. Several operators are providing coaches to operate the new range of services.

Whippet Coaches have repainted an ex National Express tri-axle Levantes, BV67JZO, as one of their coaches used.] for Flixbus.
More pictures and details of Flixbus operation under their heading further down this issue.
Picture courtesy Whippet Coaches.

Andrew Dyer, Grahame Wareham and Paul Dudfield have provided more details and pictures on the Oxford "Queens" reported in the last issue.

Paul Dudfield sent this picture of his model of a COMS "Queen", 975.

Gavin Francis has further illustrations regarding the RLH class AEC double decks featured in the article by Paul Bateson in the last issue and Michael Wadman reveals more photographs of Red Rose in years gone by.

RLH61 when still in Canada. It is seen with Paul Bateson at the wheel in Myrtle, Ontario on May 17th 2004.

Here is the same bus repatriated to the U.K. seen in Victoria just over one year later on October 28th 2005 caught by Gavin Francis.

New serious incident reporting system for bus and coach operators

Coach and bus operators will be able to report serious incidents to the DVSA with greater ease from April 6th through a new online form accessible on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The DVSA said it has worked with the PSV industry on the new PSV112 form to make it easier for operators to report an incident and help it manage the case.

The new online form will be available from 6 April at

Operators will receive confirmation that the report has been submitted and the DVSA will aim to be in contact within two working days to confirm if the vehicle needs to be inspected.

DVSA Director of Enforcement Marian Kitson said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. Bus and coach operators must report serious incidents to us immediately so we can help prevent further incidents where possible. If in doubt report an incident anyway. We will take action against operators who fail to make a report where damage or failure risk passenger or road safety.”

By law PSV operators should report incidents which involve fatalities; serious injuries (such as broken bones, damage to major organs or overnight hospitalisation); a safety critical system failure (such as brake failure or wheel loss); significant body damage (such as a bridge strike); a vehicle fire (including arson), and; a suspected serious safety defect.

Failure to inform DVSA of a reportable incident may result in enforcement action and operators are reminded that they should not use or repair an affected vehicle before DVSA responds to the report.


So, a great issue again, thanks to all supporters and again nearly 150 pictures to enjoy.

Not much to report of special interest this week as many operators are returning to normal services.

One to mention is the continuing Oxford Airline LHR service still restricted use with no LGW service at this time. It appears that this may restart in May ? 

Fleet news and developments

Simon Mathieson

Latest High Wycombe repaint in Derby being prepped. 3038

Simon has sent pictures of another Wycombe bus under repaint at Derby.

Ex Arriva Sales white 2790 is now seen in full Arriva colours after repaint at Derby on April 12th.

Simon also advises that Citaro 3926, out of use for sometime now will return to service after parts are received. I wonder if this is because of the UK/EU changes on parts from Germany?

He also notes that when the Solo in the previous issue was shown to be so dirty, the wash at Aylesbury was out of service!

Nigel Peach

Nothing has changed in the row up against the fence since I was last there two weeks ago, but the view from inside the yard is a bit different. 

Citaro 3926 seems to be under cannibalisation. Withdrawn 3646 is also in the picture. A double decker is also parked up. I think this is 4819 which has not seen service since March 31st according to  

Optare Solo 2509 has not seen service since the middle of March, probably waiting its turn in the workshop behind Citaro 3015.

I saw 3646 working the 32 last Saturday morning and as reported above by Simon 3926 is awaiting parts. 2509 is out today, April 20th, working the 32. 4819 was last in service on April 14th. How things change!

Nick Ross

Wrights 3962 seen working an F70 at Stanbridgeford on April 16th.

Tony Bungay

A number of timetable changes occurred from April 11th, I don’t know if you have looked at the Buckinghamshire Council timetable page but it looks to me that Arriva 8/8A has been heavily reduced.

Another Wrights, this time in Aylesbury with a service 500, 3647 is seen heading out on April 17th.

This time a recent transfer to Aylesbury is this Wrights 3927 working the 300 to High Wycombe on April16th.
This bus has an interesting history as it started life in High Wycombe as 3867 KE05FMM a Volvo B7RLE Wrightbus Eclipse Urban.

It was renumbered to avoid a clash at its last depot, Milton Keynes, with another 3867, MX12KWV!  

Gavin Francis

E200 44560 is seen in Uxbridge with a route 3 service on April 13th.

Kevin Fuller

First's Wright Streetlite Max 63316 is seen on its branded route, waiting for the green traffic light outside Slough bus station, having just started its 'fast' trip to High Wycombe on the X74.

StreetLite 63316 ;eaves Slough with an X74 working on April 13th.

Various U K operators are being contracted to provide service from April 15th.

Gavin Francis

Pictures of this company's coaches operating for Flixbus

L28URG and L29URG operating the 005 service to their home base in Derby on April 18th.

Thandi are one of the operators and they have provided a brand new fleet of 21 plate coaches by Van Hool for the contract. "NDY" is shown twice from which maybe be a typo!

TH21NDX VH EX17H VH C??FL 4/2021 Thandi Executive,Smethwick
TH21NDY VH EX17H VH C??FL 4/2021 Thandi Executive,Smethwick
TH21NDY? VH EX17H VH C??FL 4/2021 Thandi Executive,Smethwick
TH21NND VH EX17H VH C??FL 4/2021 Thandi Executive,Smethwick
TH21NOY VH EX17H VH C??FL 4/2021 Thandi Executive,Smethwick

TH21NDX in full Flixbus livery working the 023 seen resting by Elizabeth Bridge on April 15th by Gavin Francis.

TH21NDY seen during a layover on Elizabeth Bridge on April 15th by Gavin Francis.

Turners have ex Arriva Coach dealers Van Hools including YJ67CZX heading for Bristol with an 041 service on April 15th by Gavin Francis.

YJ67CXO is another addition to the Turners fleet seen operating the 005 on April 18th by Gavin Francis.

Not all Whippet's ex NEx coaches have as yet received a repaint.

Working the 042 is Levante nr 23 BL17XBB, by VCS on April 15th - Gavin Francis.

Working the 002 to Bradford, Whippet's BV67JZH is seen in VCS on April 15th by Gavin Francis.

Developments with Flixbus will be watched with keen interest, not only by Enthusiasts but I am sure National Express and other operators.

Gavin saw a convoy of Flixbus coaches, around 10 in number heading up the M40, northwards on April 14th, which he thought might be from BM Coaches?

Jack Cooper comments on local issues. "A surprise to me on Monday was that 601 had received branding for the cityX3! 601 has gained side advert "Bargain hunting" ? We'll take you straight to the shops !

"With Bicester Village returning on Monday 901-903 are required on Park & Ride duties, with the 3 additional buses required by their absence being Brookes Enviro 400mmc's or Volvo B5LH's.  

"I have noticed that buses are being used better these days, with a journey on 665 around lunchtime into Oxford on Tuesday being half full, the most passengers I have seen on an X3 for a while now! For Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel you can see how many seats are free on a very handy feature!

"I have noticed the capacity shown is the higher of the two reduced capacities on Oxford Bus Group vehicles. Hopefully it encourages bus travel even more! I do wonder how many other operators will follow suit? I am aware that Go North East have been showing this feature for some time now."  

Service changes from April 17th

From Saturday, April 17th 2021, the 8/X8, 35/36/36A/36B and 39/39A services reverted to fully normal timetables. This means that the special COVID-19 Saturday timetables were withdrawn.

Gavin Francis

Seen in Uxbridge 219, 402 and 403 working the 104 and 105 services from High Wycombe on April 13th.

This delightful little E200, 514, works the Uxbridge 581 and 583 services also on April 13th.
This bus was intended for the Bicester Village service but now may prove too small for the BV1.

And now a couple more pictures of the incident with 884 at Flackwell Heath !

Frank Brown

The aftermath of a fire which encompassed Carousel Mercedes Citaro 884 (HF55JYX) at Flackwell Heath whilst working a 36 on Friday, April 16th. No human casualties!

884 looking rather the worse for wear!

Nigel Peach

My wife spotted on Facebook at lunchtime that a bus had caught fire in Flackwell Heath, at the layby opposite The Green Dragon (terminus of route 35). There are pictures on Facebook and also on the Bucks Free Press website at this link:  suggests that 884 on the 36 had ascended Blind Lane from Bourne End on its way back to Wycombe and pulled in to this bus stop layby. I have just walked along (at 2.40pm) and saw the sorry remains of the bus, which was in the stages of being recovered. I could still smell the smoke!  

The task of recovery is never easy under such circumstances! 

Numerous pictures for this issue from my super contributors.

Ciaran Bird

BROOKESbus MMCs 608 - April 12th and 607 on the 13th both working the 500 at Woodstock.

Gavin Francis

During a visit to The JR Gavin caught 354 (still not repainted into 13 livery) and  BROOKESbus 605 and liveried 666 all with X3 services on April 16th.

During the visit to The JR Gavin saw BROOKESbus 606 with an 13 service on April 16th.

Recently repainted and branded 601 is seen in St Aldates with an Abingdon bound service on April 18th.

Yellow 683 is seen on April 18th with a 3A service heading for the train station.

At the train station citypride 367 is also seen with a 3A road service on April 11th.

Jack Cooper

354 seen in Abingdon with an X3 on April 16th.

X3 branded 601 is seen from the nearside and rear in Abingdon on April 12th.

Chilternrailways branded 602 heads for the JR on April 14th.

Park&Ride 669 and BROOKESbus 606 and 607 seen at Bladon and Woodstock on April 13th.

X3 branded 665 is seen heading for The JR in St Aldates on April 12th.

James Freeman

James was the first with a picture of 601 on its first day in service.

April 12th in St Aldates.

city 5 branded 653 is about to reenter service after many months off the road. Seen at Cowley House on April 13th.

Here is the video shot of 653 in Blackbird Leys on the morning of April 13th.


Indeed a fine collection of photographs which do credit to my contributors, thank you ! 

Whilst services remain at "Covid-19" levels only one coach at a time is seen at Gloucester Green. Gavin Francis caught coach 33 with an interesting destination display!

The coach station looks somewhat deserted on April 11th. 


Gavin Francis

Scania 209 is seen in the afternoon sunlight in St Aldates with an X40 to Reading on April 18th.

During his visit to The JRH, Gavin caught 513 with an ST2 to Wytham on April 16th.

Citaro 866 provided a change with a super rear for Fostering whilst working an X32 again on April 16th.

Jack Cooper

Didcot Parkway is a good place to see Thames Travel
and above we have variety in 904 with an X36, 4412 with a 98, 871 with a 94 and 875 with a 95B on April 12th.
I wonder if 871 will return to Carousel to replace 884 ?

connector Scania 230 heading out of Abingdon for Oxford with an X2 on April 14th.

905 is also seen heading for Oxford with an X2 on April 12th.

Ciaran Bird caught up with this operator in Woodstock as  his two pictures show. Look here for the timetables.

Mercedes KU64FDM and Volkswagen Transporter/Bluebird YX10AXZ new to Risborough Area Community Bus both in Woodstock on April 12th

It looks to be a really interesting operation. Thanks to Ciaran, I don't think this company has been featured on my pages? 

Charles Powell has provided some pictures of buses he was driving recently.

On April 11th he enjoyed working the 623 with AA68BUS seen in Oxford.

By April 12th the weather had changed as his pictures of the same bus and route show, rather snowy to everyone's surprise.

Ciaran Bird was on hand in Wootton when a chimney fire caused delays and diversions.

Delayed services waiting for the road to be cleared in Wootton on April 14th. 

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

The 702 is back in action again as seen in the pictures below.

Gavin Francis

Fully branded 762 is seen on April 14th and then 774 a day later both turning onto Elizabeth Bridge.

Kevin Fuller

Reading Buses recently reinstated the Greenline 702 service from Legoland / Windsor to London. Alexander Dennis Enviro 400MMC 761 turns out of Slough bus station with a morning trip from Victoria to Legoland. 

greenline livery on 761 taken in Slough on Tuesday, April 13th. 

Gavin Francis

Arriva ENL 36 - This is the one Redline have now on Campus Link in April 2021. 


Tony Bungay

Former First London and Tower Transit (DM44262) E16RRT (former YX61FZE) in service at Aylesbury.

E200 E16RRT is seen with a service 50 near Aylesbury train station on April 16th.

Stagecoach announces new Managing Director for west of England and Oxfordshire 

Stagecoach has announced the appointment of Rachel Geliamassi as new Managing Director of its businesses in the west of England and throughout Oxfordshire.

Rachel Geliamassi

Following the announcement of a new structure providing a management team responsible for all bus and coach services across the west of England and Oxfordshire, the operator carried out an extensive recruitment process for the new Managing Director position.

Rachel Geliamassi, 39, will take up the role with immediate effect. Rachel joined Stagecoach as part of its graduate training scheme in 2007 and has been Operations Manager at a number of locations around the country before becoming Operations Director of Stagecoach West in 2014. Rachel is mum to a little boy and lives in Gloucester.

She will be responsible for 1,500 employees and more than 500 buses enabling around 44 million journeys a year, in addition to Oxford tube coach services.

Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach, said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Rachel Geliamassi as new Managing Director responsible for all our services across the west of England covering key towns and cities such as Cheltenham, Gloucester, Ross, Swindon, Stroud and Bristol as well as Oxford and Oxfordshire.

“Our people are at the heart of what we do, and as a former graduate of the Stagecoach training scheme, it’s great to see people like Rachel getting the opportunity to develop even further in such a crucial role for our business.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and with the recent publication of the National Bus Strategy, there are great opportunities ahead to work closely with our partners across the region to harness the huge potential of the bus in tackling climate change, delivering better air quality and providing improved mobility for our communities. Rachel’s vast experience in the bus industry will ensure we are in the best position to maximise these significant opportunities ahead.”

So, the upcoming changes should prove most interesting for enthusiasts with some transfers from West to Oxfordshire having already taken place.


This will be the last issue where I report Oxfordshire and West separately but they will be our first company report under West inc Oxfordshire. This could change if Stagecoach advise another name.


A very nice selection of photographs from contributors again providing much interest.

Ciaran Bird

The fire in Charlbury caused a line up of buses held until the road cleared led above by 10782 on April 14th.

Gold 15833 is seen at Wootton Turn on April 11th.  Under South Wales you will find a picture of 15838 in Bristol !!!

Gold 15934 is seen approaching Bladon roundabout with an S3 to Charlbury on April 13th.

My old friend 15966 is seen leaving Chipping Norton outstation on April 4th.

Chipping Norton outstation again on April4th.

Daniel Harwood

MMC 10677 working route 1 by Carfax on April 6th.

Gavin Francis

E400 10068 is seen looking clean and tidy in St Aldates on April 18th.

Also seen in St Aldates on April 18th is Gold MMC 10787 working an S9 to Wantage.

Scania God 15833 with S3 branding is seen working to Kidlington with local 2A on April 15th.

Gavin visited the JR on April 16th and here is MMC 11239 arriving from Witney with service H2.

The Hybrids tend to always operate the 10 to the JR.

Between the JR and Headington there is a barrier protected road which is used by a number of hospital services.
12005 and 12008 are seen outside the JR, whilst 12007 and 12010 are at the barrier all on April 16th.

E200 36764 is seen with an S4 service outside The Randolph hotel in Oxford on April 11th sporting an NHS super rear.

One of the M A N/E200s 39699 next to ADL/E200 36448 on the fence at Horspath on April 17th.
The difference in height of the M A N compared to the ADL is quite noticeable.

Jack Cooper

Gold MMC 10782 seen this time working route 7 near Woodstock on April13th.

MMC 11238 is seen in Magdalen Street East having worked an S2X from Witney on April 15th.

Scania Gold 15836 is seen in Woodstock by the tulips with an S3 on April 13th.

Gold Scania E300 28743 seen in Magdalen Street East having worked an S4 from Banbury on April 12th.
Most of the Banbury S4 Golds are looking somewhat battle scarred.

Short E200 36079 is seen working a B3 local in Banbury. This bus was recently transferred from West but has an interesting history.
New to Henderson of Hamilton in July 2007 it went later to Rotala's Wessex Connect in Bristol
being acquired by West when Wessex Connect was taken over in August 2018.
Interesting link:

Solo SR 47834 is seen leaving Bladon with a 233 service on April 13th.

Kevin Fitzpatrick

36079 again, this time in Banbury Bus Station on April 16th.

Theo Freeman

Some news with regards to the Banbury fleet this week. Two MAN E200s are now at Oxford, being 39699 as mentioned last week and 39685 has now joined it. 39683 is still at Banbury and had been in the workshop for the past month or so, so not sure what is happening with that. Dart 34618 is being prepared for service and the other short E200 36079 entered service on Thursday.


I also caught 28746 working the 200 on April 17th, which I believe is the first time a Gold E300 has been on the 200, seen in Badby.

Gavin Francis

elite 54303 is seen leaving Gloucester Green for Bedford with an X5 service on April 14th.

Gary Seamarks

11279 seen on Saturday, the 17th whilst working the 53 Bedford-Wootton, its perhaps the closest that it will go to the Late Sir Tom Moore's former home, he lived about 4 miles from here at Marston where the 53 used to serve when it ran as far as Cranfield until a few years back.

MMC 11279, freshly repainted into the new local colours, seen working the 53 in Bedford on April 17th. 

Martyn Sacaloff

Northampton depot on April 16th with this early morning picture by Martyn. 

Barry Gilbert

The five Scania N230UDs now based at Stagecoach in South Wales's Cwmbran depot - 15613, 15743, 15838, 15964 and 15965 - have recently lost Gold livery in favour of the new corporate colours.  They seem to be mostly confined to school contracts at present, though they are starting to venture out again on Service X3 (Hereford-Abergavenny-Pontypool-Cwmbran-Cardiff). 

Attached is a shot of 15838 that I took in Cardiff on April 17th.
This makes an interesting comparison to some of the same batch under the Oxfordshire heading !

Daniel Harwood

Gold MMC 10992 is seen turning into Worcester Street with an S6 on April 6th.
Shouldn't the blind read Faringdon for Swindon ???

Jim Wright

Working the S6 on Sunday, April 18th were Scanias 15858,15968,15971 & 15976 rarely see one rostered for the S6 but four is most unusual !

Gavin Francis

Gavin was at Gloucester Green to record two of these Scania buses, including 15974 not mentioned by Jim. So, this  makes FIVE !!

Gold 15968, old livery 15974 both at Gloucester Green on April 18th.

Earlier in the week Gavin caught up with another "off route" Gold in Gloucester Green.

55 branded 15343 is seen with an S6 working on April 11th. 

Things are improving as the days pass with growing load factors.

Gavin Francis

Panorama 50433 is seen at Thornhill on April 18th. 

The company  is gradually getting back into its stride with more services.

Gavin Francis

I have noticed that the Megabus Paramount's have tow bars fitted !


This time it is 50408 with the Edinburgh service seen in VCS on April 14th. 

We are excited to announce the next chapter in our 100+ year history as we commence operations with Flixbus on Thursday, April 15th 2021 look out for us on routes around the UK including London, Bradford, Leeds, Swansea, Cardiff and Sheffield.

One of the ex National Express Levantes operated on behalf of Flixbus from April 15th.
More pictures and operators can be found under the Flixbus heading above.

It is while since we featured this company and Ciaran has corrected that.

Ciaran Bird 

April 9th - Worth's Garage, Enstone:

On site were YC02DHM, WM55BUS, W5WMS, S6WMS, R8WMS, V9WMS, YJ03VOG and VKX510

A nice selection of coaches with details noted above.

London operators

Gavin Francis

Another GAL LT, 60, working the 11 still carrying a heritage  livery on April 11th in Buckingham Palace Road.

Kevin Fuller writes "Metroline run the 81 service from Hounslow - Slough, and the regular vehicles allocated are Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini double deckers. VW1249 is seen in Slough High Street, pausing to pick up passengers at the Observatory shopping centre, having just started its return journey to Hounslow bus station."

Taken on April 13th in Slough. 

Michael Wadman continues his revelations of Red Rose in years now passed.

Some more Red Rose photos. 

RR02 BUS was a Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton body new in 2002
that was painted in what I thought was one of the best, or maybe even the very best,
of the special liveries for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee that year.
Alas this photo of it in Watford High Street on local service W19 on a rather dull June 22nd doesn't really do it justice: this bus looked superb. 

Later it was painted in a special livery for the Chiltern Rambler summer Sunday route 327,
but on March 31st 2007 it was back on the W19, passing Watford Junction.
Unfortunately it was burnt out in the depot fire later that year. 

Optare MetroRider V108 LVH, bought new in 1999, on service 26E in central Milton Keynes, July 7th 2002. 

V108 LVH in revised livery on service W19 in Watford High Street, April 2nd 2009 

Y359 LCK was one of a pair of Dennis Dart SLF with East Lancs bodies bought new in 2001.
On June 22nd 2002 it was in Watford High Street on service R8.

Many thanks to Michael for the lovely reminders of how things were. We covered ten to twenty years ago!! 

Gavin Francis with some follow up pictures to Paul Bateson's article on the RLH

Timebus RLH23 at Brooklands on April 21st 2013.

RLH29 at Aldenham works on September 16th 1979.

RLH 32 in its London Country livery on October 1st 2006 and then at Chesham in Samuel Ledgard livery on October 6th 2019.

RLH44 as 581J at Showbus, Duxford on September 18th 2011.

RLH48 seen at Brooklands on April 19th 2015.

Paul Bateson

In October 2020 I reported that MacNab Transit Sales, Ingersoll, Ontario had been retained by Double Deck Tours, Niagara Falls to sell seven Routemasters 

The seven Routemasters were not sold and are now being offered at a reduced price - $20,000 lower.  The advertisement is below. 

The seven buses for sale are RM 1102 (DDT 19), 1618 (DDT 10), 2162 (DDT 14), 2165 (DDT 04), RCL 2252 (DDT 02), 2255 (DDT 1) and RML 2467 (DDT 24).  Two DDT buses remain in Halifax, Nova Scotia - RML 2501 (DDT 15) and 2555 (DDT 23). 

Operations were scheduled to restart next month but with the current shut down and stay-at-home order in Ontario, I rather think that this will not happen.  The company is certainly facing an uncertain future. 

Grahame Wareham

976 is seen in High Street, Oxford in December 1963 and then 977 is at the station, in June 1968, always indicated as the destination Stations.
Pictures from Grahame Wareham.

Andy Dyer has stirred my conscious somewhat, especially as my ex. boss, Peter Lanfranchi, 'stuck his neck out' and got 975 transferred back to COMS for my benefit! I can imagine that back in NBC days that probably caused a few questions to be asked around the boardroom table!

He even drove me down to Southampton to view it and road test before I agreed to have it. It was the only one they were prepared to sell as the others had already been sold to a dealer by Provincial......I still have the letter on file somewhere.

Anyway I must progress 975 as soon as I am able..............Olympian's 201, 239 and Leopard VUD30X need to get more work completed first and they are far more sophisticated beasts than 975, which is so simple in comparison. I certainly wouldn't have been able to tackle the complexity of an Olympian if I hadn't of worked with and on them during my career but I still view them as the best of the vehicles I have had the pleasure to work long as they were looked after. The difference in 201, which I brought straight from OBC service in 2001, and ex. Harwell 239 which had been through two subsequent operators, one of which had a very good reputation amongst the enthusiast circles, has to be seen to be believed. If I had carried out a thorough inspection on it before purchase I certainly wouldn't have saved it..............a very far cry from the condition it was i when I collected it from Harwell back in May 1991! Part of the work yet to be completed is the insertion of a new piece of chassis frame over the offside front wheelarch which has simply rotted away through lack of effective maintenance over the latter part of its life. There is also partly a design fault in its construction whereby Leyland Bus were trying to save weight............BUT was it expected to last 35 years............I think not! 727 was a mere 22 years old when I first purchased it! I have great respect for the Olympian/Titan design and they were certainly a better design than their predecessors, the VRT and Fleetline, which were very labour intensive in the mechanical areas. I have four Olympian's and I wonder whether they would have been represented if I hadn't have had some 'weak' moments!

I would add that I am also helping Mike Bridges get 194 194BFC up and running in order that further restoration can commence................and that was towed to Oxford via Barnsley from near Ardrossan! That involves fitting a engine, rear differential, vacuum tank and associated pipework, fuel lines etc which had all been removed for scrap. The upper deck floor is rotten and the lower deck is not much better........together with the back end is stoved in with accident damage. Mike is 75 and I am 71 so we have to get a move on! Luckily we are both retired and relatively in good health at the minute but the recent lockdown has put us behind by about a year now.

Thanks for the photo of 974, I took a similar view of it at Gloucester Green where at least one 'Queen' could always be found resting between peak journeys. It is annoying that the only one I never photographed was 975 as I have slides of all of them apart from the one I own! There was always one 'nail' in a batch and I suspect that 975 was the 'black sheep'.

I will endeavour to keep you posted either through our Cherwell Bus Preservation Group 'Facebook' page or through Malcolm's OCBP. 

Paul Dudfield

The OCBP goes from strength to strength and I have been very interested in the contributions from Andrew Dyer and Grahame Wareham about the COMS “Queens”. As Andrew says, they were brilliant buses and they made a great impression me when I first saw them as a 10 year old boy 63 years ago. To me, the Park Royal Queen remains the best bus ever. Bus 975 is a particular favourite as it was an 8 road bus so I would have travelled on it home from school in central Oxford. (Journeys to school were on a scheduled relief journey which was always operated by a side gangway lowbridge bus).

Picture from Paul Dudfield.   

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of 975 for Grahame but I do have one of 974 which is enclosed in case it is of interest. I have made a model of 975 and a photo of this is also enclosed. The model is a heavily modified body shell of a resin kit of an East Kent “Puffin” full front, forward entrance Regent V with an EFE Regent V bonnet.  

I wish Grahame well in his continued restoration of 975.  

Marcus Lapthorn

The highlights of your pages for me are the oldies! Paul Bateson’s RLH story was fascinating. 

But Graham Wareham’s story about COMS 975 gave a very detailed history of those very comfortable  and impressive looking deckers.

I can recall travelling on them from Summertown into the city centre. What a great job he carried out on restoring 975.hen When I became a teenage bus spotter in Portsmouth fleets were so interestingly varied. Modern buses are for me, boring by comparison. 

Andrew Webb reminds us of the recent Running Day by The London Bus Museum on Sunday, April 11th 2021. He has provided some beautiful photographs of some of the participants. It makes me very sorry to have missed this excellent event !

For the second consecutive year Covid 19 meant that the annual Spring Gathering could not take place at The London Bus Museum's Brooklands site.  This year the museum organised an excellent running day covering route 65 between Argyle Road, Ealing and Leatherhead featuring a wide range of London vehicles and some provincial vehicles. 

In the latter category is Oxford Bus Museum's former COMS Weymann AEC Regent III 166,
seen here approaching Haven Green in Ealing at the start of the lengthy trek to Leatherhead.

Royal Blue LS crossing Haven Green and RF26 passing South Ealing Station represent coaches from the 1950s,
whilst Falcon's Yutong setting out from Scotch Common demonstrates what the contemporary coach passenger can enjoy.

Route 65 has never seen scheduled single deck workings and odd workings with single deckers are rare. The running day did, however, see single decker buses running. 

RF395 and a relatively rare Quality Line short Citaro illustrate single decker development over the last half century as they cross Haven Green. 

Further contrast is provided on Castlebar Road by GS42 and a Falcon Buses Enviro 200MMC

Organiser's, The London Bus Museum, sent STL2377 recreating a scene which have been common on route 65
during the 1940s at Haven Green bound for Chessington Zoo. 

21st Century passengers heading for the same destination need to change at Kingston for a route 71, with the zoo being a small part of the much bigger 'Chessington World of Adventures' theme park. 

Another vehicle treated to a recent repaint is RM2208, gleaming in the sunshine as it crosses Haven Green bound for Leatherhead. 
It carries adverts for what, in the 1980s, was cutting edge technology, but now seems quaint in the era of streaming and smartphones.

After about 30 years in store, RT 1658 has been repainted and restored to the operational fleet of The London Bus Company. 

Bound for Hook, it crosses Haven Green at the start of the day whilst on its return working,
 it is seen passing Ensignbus RT1431 at South Ealing station.

One other Enviro 400 joined the running day, Go Ahead's EN1. 

This started life with First at Northumberland Park, operating routes such as the 191.  When First sold out in London, Northumberland Park and its buses were sold to Go Ahead and continued to operate unchanged.  Now transferred to the Go Ahead Commercial Services operation, it has been repainted into 'General' livery and treated to a digital display.  The rear, however, betrays its origins, still displaying a 191 number!  Paused for the benefit of photographers in Castlebar Road, Ealing, it completed the full length of the route.

London and Country temporarily ran the route between 29 September 1990 and 26 January 1991 as Armchair were not ready to take over owing to late delivery of new vehicles. 

By this time London and Country were using a tone tone green livery with red relief rather than this bright green incarnation of the livery used in the 1970s.

Go Coach have recreated this 1970s livery on an Enviro 400, nowadays normally found working around Sevenoaks. 

The bus was delivered new to Epsom Buses for routes 406 and 411, part of the RATP group who, from London United's Fulwell garage are the current operators of the route.

Routemasters were once standard fare on route 65, although more likely to be painted red than the green carried by RML2440
as it passes across Haven Green, Ealing with a blind showing it to be on tour from High Wycombe Garage.