This is an extremely comprehensive issue with much variety and for those who have the time many interesting links. I hope the issue gives impetus to readers to make their own travels and see what they find.

Buses and Coaches we know and remember can still be found in so many places in the U.K.

A taster for 156

The past week has been notable for the weather and the amount of rain. However we still have an excellent selection from contributors. I really do thank all for their support sometimes in very difficult circumstances.

Ciaran Bird

Here is Gold 15966 "playing with puddles" as Ciaran remarked.
It is working an S3 diverted service to Oxford approaching Combe Gate on May 18th.

Jack Cooper

StreetDeck 653 in 5 livery turns at Carfax Corner, the rain making reflections on May 17th.

Times of Old

Apart from the regular contribution from Michael Wadman in Times of Old this week we have a great contribution from Paul Bateson of Oxford when National Bus (Oxford South Midland) ruled the waves.

Not the best picture but one of interest since the livery was hand painted by a man called Cummings. No vinyls in those days !
Bristol VR 483 is seen in Queen Street working the 501 (originally the 1 before National Bus) on March 4th 1983.
Carfax Travel was what had been City of Oxford Travel Services at Carfax.

Martyn Sacaloff

Pictures from Martyn reflecting his "round Britain journey.

Newport Mon bus station seen on May 6th dominated by Newport Buses, notable are the electrics.

Many more pictures from Martyn covering Cardiff, Carlisle, Cwmbran, Dundee, Lothian, The Lakes, Wigan, Staffordshire and others under Readers Visits outside our area.

by Martyn Sacaloff

Excellent pictures from Martyn taken at Northampton Stagecoach depot emphasising the weather we had during the past week.

FlixBus to double UK routes

One month after its relaunch on British roads on April 15th, FlixBus has committed itself to further UK expansion after it promised to double the number of domestic routes across the country from May 20th.

It means 40 direct routes will now make up FlixBus’s domestic UK networks, compared to 18 in April.

Eight new destinations will mean 20 cities across England and Wales are served, with Liverpool, York, Nottingham, Northampton, Warrington, Stoke-on-Trent, Chester and Bridgend joining the list. Tickets start from 99p.

Consistent growth in demand has precipitated the expansion. FlixBus’s busiest corridor, the London-Bristol route, will soon have nine daily departures in each direction. FlixBus UK Managing Director Andreas Schörling says the growth is part of a wider plan to grow the UK’s largest coach network: “People are seizing the opportunity to move around the country again and there is a great demand for a new, value for money travel alternative in the UK,” he says.

“Since we have restarted our network, we have seen a strong growth every week in the number of passengers travelling with us. Our website data shows that interest towards our domestic routes is tripling as restrictions are being removed in May.

“FlixBus has built a smart system that quickly reacts to passenger needs. We will continue to grow our offer in the UK. Our plan is to build the country’s largest coach network by 2025.”

More journeys will become available as restrictions ease. Vehicles are currently operating at half capacity.


In this issue are 198 photographs from 22 contributors. It has taken a lot of effort and the next issue may be less challenging!!

Fleet news and developments

Transport giant Arriva faces being broken up


Simon Mathieson

Your readers correctly noted the return of the X30 from May 17th.  This is being run between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough only at the moment rather than returning all the way to Aylesbury.  High Wycombe depot are operating this. 

From May 30th there are further changes with the reduction of the Aylesbury 8 to a school journey only but an increase to the 9 to every 10 minutes due to capacity concerns with the current 15 minute frequency.  The 150 returns on a Sunday (every 2 hours) from the same date and there are minor changes to the Monday to Saturday timetable as well.  To round off the changes from May 30th there are extra evening journeys on the 500 at the request of Hertfordshire County Council.

With Simon keeping us up to speed with 3038 during body repairs and repaint here is the final picture.

Citaro 3038 at Derby after repaint on May 18th.

Tony Bungay

Just a short e-mail, more bus service changes on Buckinghamshire Council website. Re part of one of my recent posts Arriva 8 withdrawn!

Enhancements on other services on a more positive note


A number of Arriva services are for school children only and carry the S prefix as seen here on Arriva 5465
working S500 about to enter Aylesbury Bus Station on May 20th.

Also on the 20th in Aylesbury, not quite certain what was actually happening but it seemed 3813 had taken over a 150 duty from a failed 4028?
 judging by the fact that the  former displays 9c Bus Full later 150.
A little later an Arriva service van turned up, but without appearing doing anything, 4028? Went on it’s way

Seen in the rain 3012 waits in Princes Risborough High Street on May 21st,
a little later it set off back to High Wycombe completely empty. From observations it seems a mix of vehicles operate this service.
The most unexpected one I have seen was a StreetLite on Wednesday 19th but unfortunately I was not in a position to take a photo!

Jack Cooper

Looking "down at heel" 3798 is seen outside The Westgate with a 280 service on May 18th.

Kevin Fuller

I managed to dodge the showers to get a few pictures  this week from the Loudwater and Flackwell Heath areas. 

Arriva 2786, a DAF SB120 / Wright Cadet, pick up passengers in Wycombe Lane, on its way from Bourne End to High Wycombe, on May 13th. 

Arriva 3918, a Mercedes Citaro passes through Station Road in Loudwater
whilst working a rote 37 service from High Wycombe to Maidenhead, on May 20th.

Malcolm Crowe

With a visit to Cressex depot on May 22nd

It seems that Arriva is now painting out fleet names and numbers prior to disposal as seen on May 22nd.
3532, 9558 and 2748 plus two I could not identify line the fence along the road by the depot. 

Nigel Peach

I came across several local buses seemingly stuck near Frogmoor on May 20th. 

When I got to the other side of the buses I discovered the cause - a badly parked car which meant that the buses could not pass one another. Queues then started to form and horns sounded, but it must have been about 15 minutes later I saw 3915 appear in the bus station. 

Hopefully 3915 will be repainted soon, and will acquire a Mercedes badge on the front. This bus is quite distinctive without its badge. 

Caught up in the same queue was 2509 which has received replacement panels at both front and back in the new livery.... whilst the rest of the bus remains in the old livery!!

Sometimes car drivers parking beggars belief !!


Ciaran Bird

A nice sparkling Tourismo CT19SAP heading through Woodstock on May 17th. Turn out is a credit to Cheney ! 

Malcolm Crowe

E400 LK56FHH now always seems to bear the route DCH4 as seen in the yard on May 18th.

Jim Wright

I took a trip to Legoland and Windsor on May 8th.

Windsor duck tour Q46PDV on May 8th

Jim Wright

From May 17th 2021,Stagecoach buses will be back to virtual full capacity. Apart from front seat by driver, any rear facing seats,2 open pushchairs or 1 with a wheelchair user. This will be a real help, as buses getting a lot busier already.

First 69392 in Windsor on May 8th. 

Geoff Wilcock

First Eastern Counties 32059 : Volvo B7TL in Great Yarmouth Heritage livery. Now the oldest vehicle in the fleet and with the demise of its sister in Lowestoft livery.

W219XBD ALX 400
 I had the pleasure travelling on this old lady this week - can be seen regular in service around Great Yarmouth. 

Contractors providing capacity for Flixbus include Turners and Whippet on Elizabeth Bridge, May 19th by Gavin Francis. 

Kevin Fuller

I managed to dodge the showers to get a few pictures  this week from the Loudwater and Flackwell Heath areas. 

Carousel 941, a Volvo B7TL / Wright Gemini is seen in Flackwell Heath,
working route 36 from High Wycombe to Bourne End, on May 20th.

Nigel Peach

I came across Arriva 3915 and Carousel 242 seemingly stuck near Frogmoor on May 20th. 

When I got to the other side of the buses I discovered the cause - a badly parked car which meant that the buses could not pass one another. Queues then started to form and horns sounded, but it must have been about 15 minutes later I saw 3915 appear in the bus station.  

Jack Cooper

Hybrid trio working 4 road variety by The Westgate on May 18th.

Working its branded route, 309 is also seen by The Westgate on May 18th.

354 is seen working its old route, the 5 at the top of New Road on May 18th.

I am sure there was a reason that 360 was taking a rest in Gloucester Green on May 16th.

A drier time as 663 is seen with an X3 in Oxford Road, Abingdon on May 20th.

Tony Gaze

Paid a visit to Oxford yesterday (18th). Attached is a small selection of photos which may be of interest 

Oxford 963 out on training on May 18th in Park End Street.

Bob Chalmers

It seems that 4 road buses also fit in the 33C during their days duties. Here 303 is seen in Culham in the rain on May 17th.

Jack Cooper

All three routes noting that the 300 and 400s no longer use Queen Street. May 18th and 19th.

 Jack Cooper

The Airline service to Heathrow is now back to hourly requiring five coaches to maintain the service daily.

Tourismos 34 and  36 were in use on May 18th as seen above. 

Jack Cooper

Scania 203 is seen in service at the top of New Road on May 18th. 

Ben Studley

454 leaving Didcot Parkway with a nice destination display changed immediately after to the correct X2 !

Daniel Harwood

For the past two weeks Mill Street in Wantage has been closed, resulting in the 67 being diverted along Mably Way and Denchworth Road. I have attached some photos.

Scania 213, Volvos 934 and 935 are seen in Denchworth Road working route 67 on diversion during May.

Volvos 934 and 937 are seen in Mably Way working route 67 on diversion during May.

Jack Cooper

Scanias 225 and 226 seen at either end of the X2 route on May 19th  and 20th.

Looking striking Scania 251 is seen by The  Westgate on May 18th with an inbound X38 service.

Citaro 844 is seen in St Aldates with an 11 working on May 17th.

Mercedes 874 is seen heading along Caldecott Road, Abingdon with a 41 working on May 20th. 

Gavin Francis

Edwards BV67JYE with a 507 working to Swansea in Semley Place on May 19th.

Levante III SH255 working the A4 and waiting time on Elizabeth Bridge on May 19th.

Martyn Sacaloff

Parks BV20GPE at the depot in Hamilton in May 2021. 

including Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Free open top bus tours, incorporating the renowned Banksy mural at Reading Gaol, are announced today by Reading Buses.

The tours are designed to help celebrate the town’s ongoing reopening this half term.   

The exciting news has been revealed by Reading Buses who will operate the ‘Banksy and Two Bridges’ open top tour on Saturdays May 29 and June 5. 

The circular tour will run every 30 minutes between 10.00am and 5.30pm starting on Friar Street at the bus stop outside the IBIS and Novotel Hotels, before taking in the following sights a few minutes later:  

Blagrave Street - for the Station and Town Hall

Jackson’s Corner - for the Oracle

Huntley & Palmers - by Reading Gaol for Banksy

Hills Meadow - for Reading Bridge

Central Caversham

Caversham Bridge 

Passengers may get on and off at any of these stops to enjoy the various sites. 

The best news is that the service will be totally free to use. Instead, Reading Buses will be requesting donations for their charity of the year – mental health sports charity, Sport in Mind. 

Robert Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses, said today: “We wanted to find a way to help encourage visitors back to Reading’s excellent town centre, and provide a new reason to visit.  

“Having been forced to cancel our annual family open day this year due to Covid-19, we wanted to organise a creative opportunity to raise money for our charity of the year Sport in Mind. 

“If people can’t make the tours they can still support the charity by texting SIM2 to 70085 to donate £2 to Sport in Mind.” 

Neil Harris, CEO at Sport in Mind, said: “The open top bus tour will provide a unique way to view the Banksy mural and perhaps inspire people to come outside and explore the local area. 

“Any physical activity can really help improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems.” 

Said Alexa Volker, Head of Operations, Reading Central and Abbey Quarter Business Improvement Districts: “What a great initiative by Reading Buses!  I am sure it will encourage people back to Reading town centre and help with the growing return to a normality we all look forward to.” 

In the event of poor weather, the company says its dedicated Sport in Mind bus will provide the service instead.

520, one of open top buses of Reading.

Jim Wright

Reading bus 759 & 761 at Legoland on May 8th. 

Tony Bungay

Hope you have managed to keep reasonably dry this week. It has not been the best for photography, hence the quality of some of these are not as good as I would like, but have enclosed them as the title suggests  they differ to the usual.

Redline Enviro 200 in the unappealing passenger waiting area of the tunnel by Aylesbury Bus Station,
used by a number of Town services. Certainly the vehicle is not on service 335!

Nick Ross

An image if you need one of  Red Rose's Scania E15 RRT heading along Wing Road in Linslade with the 0920 101 from Leighton Buzzard to Aylesbury on May 17th 2021. This new service (started on May 10th) is the only bus that runs this section of Wing Road, other services going via the station or the parallel Mentmore Road. Loadings at the Leighton end seem light so far.


Martyn Sacaloff

Two SC directors cars at Perth HQ on May 14th with cherished and most appropriate registrations.



Martyn Sacaloff caught up with some of the new Scania double decks at Bens, Leyland

These four buses, 15350-3 should have arrived in Gloucester by the time you read this.
Taken on May 17th.


Ciaran Bird

Pictures from Ciaran which are interesting.

Taken on May 7th

34829 on an 800 at the JR

 10678 (2B) at Anderson's Close,

15835 in Woodstock on an S3

Taken on May 18th

10781 on the B4437 on a diverted S3, temporary bus stop sign on Longore in Stonesfield and 15832 later seen on the return S3.
Taken at the sight of the location where Jeremy Clarkson let his Peugeot roll into a field
and James May drove his into a ditch in Series 22, Episode 5 of Top Gear.
Here's a link to the episode if you're curious!

15760 was followed back through Woodstock by the Engineering Van MM19UFL.
The bus drove to Yarnton where supposedly the driver swapped buses with a spare driver on the bus covering his latter and final trip of the day to Chippy.

Jack Cooper

Gold MMC 10785 providing extra luxury to service 8 users passing the Westgate on May 18th.

More correctly Gold 10787 is seen at the top of New Road with an inbound S9 which also avoids Queen Street now, on May 18th.

Normally a double deck route for both participants, E200 36769 is seen with a 9 passing The Westgate on May 18th.

A "Vaccination Bus" E200 36926 is working the 3A past The Westgate on May 18th.

Jim Wright

From May 17th,Stagecoach buses will be back to virtual full capacity. Apart from front seat by driver, any rear facing seats, two open pushchairs or one with a wheelchair user. This will be a real help, as buses getting a lot busier already. I had a trip to Legoland& Windsor on May 17th.

36771 at Wootton turn circle.

Tony Gaze

Paid a visit to Oxford yesterday (18th). Attached is a small selection of photos which may be of interest 

Stagecoach 36109 (also saw 36113) recent transfers?? 

Bill Brown

Heading for Perth with an X7, 13045 leaves Dundee on May 19th. 

Martyn visited Wigan on his way back from Scotland.

magic buses 19168 and 19185 parked up at Wigan on May 17th.

27822 also in the depot at Wigan.

More pictures from Wigan under megabus below. 

Martyn Sacaloff

Seen at Northampton depot on May 19th is trainer 34627.

Again at the same depot is hired 80081 on May 18th.

Martyn Sacaloff

Martyn visited the Lake District during his round Britain trip.

En route south Martyn passed 10555 dressed in Lakes livery which is most eye catching on May 10th.

In Kendal depot he caught up with new open top fleet including 13802 with 13801 on May 10th.

Here 13802 is seen working the 599 in Grasmere on May 10th.

13806 is seen in Windermere on the same day.

The new livery applied to Scania 15726 at Barrow in Furness.

Elderly ALX400 17489 seen at Keswick Bus Station on May 10th.

E200 36419 seen outside Kendal depot in Lakes livery.

E200 37095 immediately after repaint at Carlisle depot, can't see the Lakes livery being replaced by this one!!!

North West has this Routemaster - maybe this will get a new livery !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Martyn Sacaloff

Ex Oxford Golds at Cwmbran on May 7th


Jack Cooper

Panorama 50424 is seen nearing the end of its journey from London passing The Westgate on May 18th.

Tony Gaze

Paid a visit to Oxford yesterday (18th). Attached is a small selection of photos which may be of interest 

Oxford Tube 50423/424 YX70 LUE/F not carrying TUBE reg's yet ????

50233 out as well on the same day.

Bill Brown

A coach I will remember having taken it brand new to Showbus 2014 at Duxford Bill caught it now repainted in Stagecoach Distance livery, this coach normally would work the X76 or X77.

Astromega 50284, based at Kilmarnock, is seen arriving in Dundee with an M9 service to Glasgow on May 19th.
Note the silver destination lettering tried but not adopted in Oxford. 

In the last issue we noted the changes to megabus and its Bournemouth services.

Mega 'N' Harry, Al Bus Dumbledore and Queen Elizabus II all ready and waiting to start our new service between London and Bournemouth on Friday.

So exciting. We've partnered with our good friends Yellow Coaches to bring this service to the south coast. Welcome to the mega team.

Gavin Francis

Darcy Bussell, 54603 with a Cardiff service in Semley Place on May 19th.

Bus to  Rymes 54606 is seen in Elizabeth Bridge after arriving in VCS on May 19th.

Martyn visited Wigan on his way back from Scotland.


Quite a variety of left hand drive Van Hools and Plaxtons
stored out of service at Wigan have previously been used on European services.

Daniel Harwood

E20D MMC YX69NWA in Wantage Road, Didcot on May 10th.

London operators

         City Sightseeing London

City Sightseeing was created in 1999 in Seville, Spain and this tour is still the back bone of our worldwide operations. Starting with just four tours in 2000 and initially as a joint venture between UK based Ensign Bus and newly established City Sightseeing Spain, City Sightseeing is now a well-known feature in almost 100 locations worldwide which span six of the seven continents. Our bright, cheerful and fun-filled red open top buses are sought after by tourists and visitors to some of the world’s top destinations. This London operation is a combination of companies including Stagecoach who provide the buses and Julia Tours which has a Spanish background and it was this operation which was sold to The Original Tour a few years ago.

London City Tour Y149NLK when first operating these tours on April 17th 2015 by Gavin Francis.
The bus was  former Metroline VPL200 Volvo B7TL Plaxton body new 2001

Gavin Francis caught up with the operation on May 19th and 20th.

First seen on May 19th during training, Stagecoach 19131 was a megabus sightseeing bus.

The first day of services for the public saw 19136 on May 20th.

Gavin also provided pictures of 19131 and 19136 in their previous lives.

19131 working the 61 at Bromley North Station on September 1st 2015.

19136 in megabus livery at Waterloo on June 6th 2019.

RM191 back on the road after the Pandemic with some happy riders on May 19th.

VXE 727 seen outside the hotel on Buckingham Palace Road on May 19th.

Gavin Francis with TfL operators

New and not so new - variety and questions raised - i.e. Why has L%55 no branding or fleet names etc? 

Michael Wadman

Having finished looking at Red Rose, here are a few photos of another of the Aylesbury Reds, Red Eagle. A comparative newcomer, Red Eagle has been operating since 2009. 

T946 BNN – a former Trent Motor Traction Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton,
on service R17 at Carpenders Park (Fairfield Avenue) on July 3rd 2013. 

KN04 XCU – Dennis Dart SLF / Alexander, new to Guide Friday at Stratford for the County Links services,
on service W20 in Watford High Street on November 4th 2016. 

KN04 XCU on the W20 again, at Watford (Beechen Grove) on November 4th 2016. 

NK51 MJX – a former Go Wear Buses Dennis Dart SLF / Alexander, on service R2 in Watford High Street on November 4th 2016. 

W407 UGM – a Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton, new to Capital Coaches of Twickenham, on route 319 at Watford (Market Street) on 4th November 2016. 

MX10 KNR – an ADL Enviro 200 new to Coachmasters of Norden, on service W2 at Watford (Market Street) on
10th January 2019. 

Y962 KRX – a Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton, new to Armchair Coaches of Brentford,
at Watford (Beechen Grove) on January 11th 2019.

Now again from Michael, this time Gloucester.

Cheltenham & Gloucester no 3061 (TAE 643S)
Former Cheltenham District Traction Leyland National
Service 94
Gloucester bus station on November 7th 1992

Cheltenham & Gloucester no 632 (C632 SFH) Ford Transit / Alexander Service 2 Gloucester (Clarence Street)  November 7th 1992

Paul Bateson - Oxford 1983

The 190 fleet in 1983 included coach 10 (with rebuilt front) 15, 25, 29 and 33 all on March 4th 1983.
This livery, with specific branding, was one of the first to deviate from standard "local coach" with white and red.
These coaches all had body problems which required warranty work sometime after entering service.

ECW Bristol Res 85 and 89 are seen at Gloucester Green on March 4th 1983.
This was the normal dual purpose livery for National Bus.

Bristol VRT2/ECW DP single door 106 intended for the London service by this date had received standard poppy red bus livery.
This ended up with Ryan of Bath, open top and has since been scrapped.

National Bus developed a unified route number scheme and routes with a long history lost identity in standardisation.
Olympian 202 passing Carfax works the 420 to Blenheim Palace whilst 222 is heading for Abingdon with a 570 from St Aldates.

Achieving popularity a few years earlier the Daimler Fleetline with various body builders was also part of the COMS fleet.
Alexander bodied numerous examples for the BET fleets as seen above with 410 and 414 in March 1983.

Around the same time Fleetlines were sourced by COMS with Northern Counties bodies as seen by 429 in St Aldates on March 4th 1983.

The Bristol VR/ECW was popular with COMS and above is 461 with advertising livery for the 190
which was rather clever using the lower deck as a basis for the REs often used on the service.
Mr Cummings again used his artistic abilities to produce what would now be a vinyl wrap!

Part of  the large fleet of nearly 100 Bristol VR/ECWs delivered between April 1970 and July 1981.
463, 473, 498, 499 and 510 represent the varied deliveries of that period. All seen on March 4th 1983.

The NBC saw transfers between operators (maybe purchases?) such as this RE dual door bus 681 YHY581J.
This was delivered new to Cheltenham & District in December 1970 as 1201,
 gaining various liveries including red before green and a move to Oxford !

August 1972 Daimler Fleetlines with MCW DMS style bodywork as 1274 and 1275 purchased from LT in 1979
by COMS and painted in NBC red but by 1983 was in Park & Ride livery for the still successful services in Oxford in 2021.

I remember during my time working in London taking a ride on the 100 service worked by this classic open stair AEC ST922
seen here by Covent Garden on March 2nd 1983. It was run by the then Obsolete Fleet and is now in the London Bus Museum.

With many thanks to Paul for these recently scanned colour slides from his home in Canada. 

Paul Coley

Seems, according to Notices and Proceedings, 3 weeks after reducing their service to a few workings on weekdays, Arriva have thrown the towel in on route 8 to Halton Camp. Once a 20 minute frequency, it is yet another miserable end on 30th May to yet another Arriva Aylesbury service. Entirely predictable when they amalgamated the Halton and Bedgrove services, more so when the heat was turned up by Red Rose operating both, rightly, as separate services with newer and/or better presented vehicles. Oh, and cheaper fares too. 

At the same time, desperate to hold on to their only remaining town service, they think a 10 minute frequency on the 9 compared to Red Rose’s 15 minute frequency will help them cling on to what few passengers travel on either operators’ buses. I think their 9 will end the same way, given time, but I hope I am proved wrong. Red Rose generally operate route-dedicated buses to their competing service, whilst Arriva operates anything from a minibus to a double decker, in various Arriva liveries. 

Personally, if I were Arriva, I would re-focus my efforts on delivering reliable services, with clean and decent looking vehicles. I would also be asking why passengers chose to desert them on the Halton and Bedgrove services.

Or, was it just that Red Rose actually did it better?  

It will be interesting to see the Aylesbury ‘Reds’ next move in this game of chess. At the moment, there have been two winners - the passengers and Red Rose/ Red Line.  

Mike Walker

I have to take issue with your observation that: Hundreds of coach operators have invested in PSVAR-compliant vehicles and are ready to go with one call, it might take some organising by the train operators, but surely its better to keep people moving than just saying don't travel?”

If that was the case why has the DfT got to issue derogations to the TOCs to use non-compliant vehicles on RRP operations?  There may be hundreds of compliant buses but very few fully compliant coaches.  This has been a major issue within the rail industry for several years.  Attempts have been made to enforce the use of compliant vehicles only but it has proved impossible and therefore one derogation after another is allowed.

The current issue was unforeseen and unprecedented.  It first came to light late at night during routine maintenance work at Stoke Gifford depot.  The cracks are not visible externally and in their early stages are hidden by the paint that flexes and they are in such a position that they can only be seen using a mirror.  After the initial find, others were checked and more found resulting in the decision, mandated by the ORR, to ground the fleet at 05:00 the following morning.  Given the timescales I defy anyone to arrange RRP provision on the scale required and the time.  Even if there were “hundreds of vehicles” available (which I repeat, there were not) where are the equal hundreds of drivers sat twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen?  Even when small local, unplanned disruptions occur, TOCs can seldom rustle up RR at very short notice.  Again, vehicles may be available but not drivers. 

Remember too that in this case we are talking about a large part of the national Inter City rail network being stopped.  Roughly 1000 vehicles are involved which normally operate services over hundreds of miles often cruising at 125mph.  How could that possibly be covered by a fleet of 1000 buses flogging up and down the motorway? 

After several days of herculean efforts by engineers at Hitachi, the TOCs and Ricardo Rail (brought in as independent assessors) plus the, literally, cutting up of two GWR carriages for analysis by the Welding Institute here and its counterpart in Japan we now have a better understanding of the issue and roughly ¾ of the GWR sets are now back in action and a similar situation on LNER.  All have to pass daily inspections and enhanced inspections every 30 days.  A repair programme is being devised which is expected to take 18 months to 2 years to carry out -  each repair requires all the electronics to be removed before any welding can take place then it has to be refitted and tested.  Thanks to the cooperation of the entire industry and, it must be said, the unions, extra resources are being moved into GWR and urgent training and certification work is being done (not easy in Covid conditions) to allow, for example, Class 387s to extend their normal range of operation from Didcot to Cardiff.  This alone requires driver and guard training on a type and/or route they’ve never seen before plus route gauging and certification for the type.  Unlike your lot, you can’t just stick a train on the track with a driver and send it off wherever you want – something famously forgotten or ignored by Stagefright when the first took on the SWT franchise! 

As of today, GWR are hoping to run 99% of their advertised service.  Some trains may be short formed or of a different type to what might be expected, but it’s down to sheer hard work by all concerned.

Mike makes some very interesting points, especially at this time of problems for the railways. 

Sally-Anne Spring

Polperro Trams are a unique bus service situated in Polperro. They are the only electric vehicles in Cornwall with P.S.V licences to carry fare paying passengers on the public highway. Not only are they a novelty ride but an essential service in Polperro.

Some pictures taken by my daughter when this bus was at the depot on May 22nd.

The Polperro tram regularly runs through the narrow and picturesque streets during the summer months.

Pictures of The Polperro Tram Co

Martyn on his travels in Scotland, Wales and England


A selection of Xplore Dundee buses recently disposed of by National Express on May 14th.
It is now a subsidiary of McGill’s Buses. 


Some old friends from Bedfordshire and Manchester at Wishaw on May 11th.

Volvo B8L/Enviro 400LXB 1126 seen in white livery in Edinburgh on May 16th.


& South Wales


Not too often seen these days, a bendi bus, CN06GFO on route 30 in Cardiff on May 6th.


Working up in Manchester on hired services for Go North West, BV67JYA on May 17th.
I wonder if this coach is still with Edwards?

Edwards YW68PDO with a 100 working in Pontypridd on May 6th.


New Adventure Citaro MB172 BF67WGY with an X1 in Cardiff on May 6th.

Very smart E400s with Newport on May 6th.


On the return journey south.

        Vision Bus

Once the pride and joy of Thames Travel, Martyn found this bus at the Vision depot in Bolton on May 17th.


This National 2 was in Stanways yard at Cheddleton and is of interest since it originated with British Airways as an Airside Coach. - B361LOY.
It has doors on both sides - see the picture below.
(Preserved Leyland National 2 B 361 LOY was new to British Airways and is pictured at a rally at Peak Rail's Rowsley South station on June 15th 2014. )

Reliance Bus Works - Staffs

An old LT Bristol LH BN45 under repair at Reliance on May 18th.

These pictures just show how much there is to photograph on such a journey.

Martyn's photos of recent outings