Issue nr. 181
Monday, November 29th 2021


The past few days have been extremely cold and I can well understand the fewer photographs submitted this week.

Items of interest include the use of Thames Travel buses on Oxford City service and the many changes planned for January 2022 from both Oxford Bus and Stagecoach which many of you have written to me concerning these matters.

Those photos we do have are of much interest and Jack Cooper is making a fine art out of buses after dark. 

Oxfordshire Network Review - Introduced from 2nd January 2022

Oxfordshire County Council has been undertaking a detailed review of the Oxfordshire bus network with the major operators, which includes Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel. This follows a clause in the National Bus Strategy that encouraged local authorities to work with its operators to try and remove as much ‘wasteful duplication’ in the network as government spending on buses increases - both through recovery funding and the Bus Service Improvement Plan.

After extensive negotiations, we’re pleased to say that this network review has now been concluded and it will be introduced by Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Stagecoach from Sunday 2nd January 2022. Details are as follows and more detailed timetables will be published in due course.

Services 3 and 3A

Stagecoach services 3 and 3A will cease to operate and Stagecoach will no longer serve the Iffley Road, Rose Hill or Littlemore. Oxford Bus Company will be providing an increased timetable on the city3 (every 15 minutes) and city3A (every 30 minutes). Thames Travel River Rapids services X39 and X40 will also continue to serve the Iffley Road (every 30 minutes). Between them, these services will ensure that an appropriate level of service continues to be offered on the Iffley Road corridor and for Rose Hill, Littlemore and Sandford, with an improved evening service for Littlemore and Sandford between services city3A and X40.

City3A will see its route amended, to serve a greater proportion of Greater Leys due to the withdrawal of Stagecoach service 12. The section of the city3A route between the Oxford City Centre and Oxford Rail Station will be withdrawn.

Service city5A

Stagecoach services 12 and 16 will cease to operate. A new city5A service operated by Oxford Bus Company will commence replacing elements of these services and will operate every 30 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays, and every 60 minutes on Sundays between Minchery Farm, Cowley Centre, Cowley Road and Oxford City Centre. Florence Park is covered by the revised Oxford Bus Company city20 service on a more limited basis and Donnington Bridge Road is served by the Thames Travel service ST1.

Services X1 and X32

Stagecoach service S8 will cease to operate. A new Thames Travel service X1 will be introduced, connecting Wantage, East Hanney, Marcham, Abingdon and Oxford, with most journeys extending to Headington to provide connections between the Oxford City Centre and the Nuffield Orthopedic Centre (mainly at off-peak times). The service will also provide direct connections to Harwell Campus for residents of Grove and East Hanney as the X1 will interwork with the X32 service on arrival in Wantage, which will be retimed as a result.

Service 34

Stagecoach service 34 will cease to operate. A new Thames Travel service 34 will be introduced, providing Monday to Friday peak-time commuter journeys between Abingdon and Harwell Campus.

Services 91 and 92

Whites Coaches’ Didcot town services 91, 92 and 93 will cease to operate. New Thames Travel services 91 and 92 will be introduced to provide a replacement for the majority of the withdrawn services on Mondays to Fridays daytimes. The route will be amended to provide connections to Southmead Industrial Estate and to provide an improved service for residents of the Sandringham Road area.

Services X36 and 38

Thames Travel service X36 will be extended to serve Willowbrook Park and Southmead Industrial Estate in Didcot, and to serve the Charlton area of Wantage at off-peak times. As a result, Thames Travel service 38 will cease to operate.

Service 97

Following the long-awaited completion of the bus gate at Great Western Park south, a new Thames Travel service 97 will commence operation, providing connections from Great Western Park South and the Park Road area to Didcot town centre and Didcot Parkway.

Services 33, 98, 99A/99C

Thames Travel services 33, 98 and 99A/99C will be retimed to improve reliability and to ensure improved spacing of journeys between Didcot Parkway and Milton Park following the changes to the X36 and X32 services.

Services 11 and River Rapids X39/X40

Thames Travel River Rapids services X39/X40, and service 11 will transfer to be operated by the Oxford Bus Company. Service 11 will see an additional journey to Watlington added to the timetable as a result of this change, while the timetables for the X39 and X40 services will continue unchanged.

Service city6

The Oxford Bus Company city6 service will be enhanced to operate every 15 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays. The route in Wolvercote village will be amended to no longer serve Home Close and Clifford Place, with services now terminating in Baynhams Drive in the new Wolvercote Mill development.

Service city2

The Oxford Bus Company city2 service will cease to operate and thus we will no longer serve the Banbury Road and Kidlington. Stagecoach will be continuing to operate their service 2 between Kidlington and Oxford and will be introducing a revised timetable on this corridor.

Service park&ride500

The Oxford Bus Company park&ride500 service from Oxford Parkway will cease to operate. Stagecoach will be amending the route of their service 7 to serve the Oxford Parkway Park&Ride car park. In addition, frequent services from Oxford Parkway will continue to operate to both Kidlington and Oxford.

Any Oxford Bus Company customers on the city2 and park&ride500 who hold tickets with ongoing validity after 2nd January 2022 are advised to contact them via , by phone at 01865 785400 or at their travel shop at Gloucester Green coach station, to request a refund. These will be given pro-rata to any remaining time on the ticket, and no administration fees will be charged for refunds resulting from service changes associated with this network review.

We appreciate that elements of this review may come as a surprise to some of our customers. However, these changes are necessary to protect as many services as possible and better position the local bus operators for what the future may hold.

The result of a major review of Oxford’s bus network, carried out to secure services in the face of an unprecedented set of challenges, has been announced today (Thursday 25 November).

Oxfordshire County Council worked closely with Oxford’s main bus providers on the review, which was prompted by lower than usual passenger numbers, reduced government funding, and a national shortage of driving staff. It looked at how best to balance the available resources with the areas of greatest need.

As recommended in the government’s national bus strategy, the council worked proactively with operators to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies through the reduction of unnecessary duplication, with the aim of placing the network on a more secure financial footing while minimising impact on passengers. The changes will come into effect in the new year.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The bus companies have done astonishingly well to maintain services during these unprecedented times, but government decisions and the pandemic have created a perfect storm and our local operators have had to act. They need to counter the reduction in government funding, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger numbers, and the challenging situation for recruitment of bus drivers.

“We are pleased to have been able to get the parties together to sort out a coordinated approach to tackle these issues facing the bus companies. Public transport is key to our plans to get more people out of their cars. That is why we need to first get the network on to a more secure financial footing while we try to secure £56 million from the government’s national bus strategy fund to improve services in the long term.”

Among the most significant changes will be a more integrated approach to services on the main radial corridors from north and south Oxford, with a single operator providing the principal bus services to Kidlington (route 2) and Rose Hill (route 3). Routes to the city centre from Littlemore and Greater Leys will also be consolidated to provide a more sustainable level of service better matched to passenger numbers.

The dedicated park and ride 500 service from Woodstock and Oxford Parkway will no longer run. However, Stagecoach service 7 will divert into the park and ride site to provide the same frequency. Additional services operate from bus stops on Oxford Road every few minutes for most of the day, a short walk from the car park.

Services between Oxford, Abingdon, Harwell Campus and Wantage will also change, with new Thames Travel routes X1 and 34 replacing Stagecoach service S8 and 34.

There will also be an improved Stagecoach S9 service between Wantage and Oxford with an increased frequency during the daytime, in the evenings and on Sundays. This follows significant housing development in the area and a tendering process overseen by the county council.

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “We very much appreciate the proactive approach taken by Oxfordshire County Council in seeking to support operators to stabilise the bus network in the county in what continue to be very difficult times for the public transport industry. The changes announced today will secure the future of many important routes and will also see several new journey possibilities opened up for bus users.

“Three in four bus users in Oxfordshire have now returned to travelling by bus after the COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, and we are looking forward to seeing more customers returning in the new year, as well as to welcoming new customers to our services in the near future.”

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, said: “We are encouraged to see more of our customers return, however we have to be realistic and address the effects that COVID-19 has had on how and when our customers travel into and around the city.

“Stagecoach is very much still in support of the Oxford SmartZone scheme to provide flexibility of ticket offering for customers. We have welcomed the opportunity to engage with Oxfordshire County Council to consider and agree alternative solutions to how we operate our routes. We will be sad to say goodbye to some of our most loyal customers and know that our drivers will be equally disappointed as they have been proud to serve our customers in the areas we will no longer be operating in.”

Most changes will take place from 2 January 2022. Further details of the review, including timetables, maps and information on any ticket changes or refunds that may be required, can be found at the operator websites:

Gavin Francis

Gavin took this picture following the announcement as such a picture after January 2nd 2022 will not be possible.

662 seen with a 2 road working on November.

Further pictures of working which will change from January would be appreciated.

I also wonder if the changes relate to the impending introduction of electric buses by both companies and on going staff shortages ? Does anyone have thoughts relating ?

 Oxford U's vs Rotherham United - a goal less draw  

James Freeman was on  hand to record buses and coaches supporting this event on November 27th.

Thames Travel provide a number of service to The Kassam on match days.

The team coach for Rotherham was provided by Wilfreda as seen above.

Cawthorne's coaches.

Expressway were also bringing supporters.

Go2 Travel sent this smart Van Hool.

Gordon's and Marsland were also involved.

Thanks to James for some interesting pictures. 

Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Polar Express

David Allen

Thames Travel Park and Ride service in Wallingford for Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Polar Express services pictures from last week for interest.

on November 28th 247 was one of the buses in use for the Park & Ride at Wallingford.

An engine with a foreign look at Wallingford.

David Taylor

Arriva provide service for Saracens home matches.  The service runs from Edgware  Mill Hill Broadway and Mill Hill East stations to the ground. Up to a dozen vehicles are used including 5467 my  bus for today. Buses at break in RATP Sovereign garage at Edgware.

The bus mentioned by David above on November 28th.

Many thanks to David for an interesting report. 

Bus drivers are leaving the industry

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “This survey reveals that bus drivers are leaving the industry in droves due to low pay, poor working conditions and long hours. Bus companies have got to stop trying to sweep driver shortages under the carpet and start tackling the fundamental problems in the industry."

Tony Bungay

A couple of photos of Waddesdon Manor’s Wright StreetLites passing by the special display put in place for November 11th.   One photo included to give an indication of the display of silhouette poppy wreaths and soldiers that extended up the hillside.

A nice memory for this year's Remembrance Day 2021.


Pictures from the M4

James Freeman

... sent his flickr album of coaches on the M4 at Calcot-Reading on Saturday, November 20th. 

Something to look forward to is a comprehensive article about the United Counties story by Tony Bungay. I intend publishing this for Christmas reading.

This company featured strongly in our area until late NBC days.

Kevin Fuller

In bright winter sun on November 25th, one of First's Volvo 7900 Hybrids
crosses the River Thames at Maidenhead with a service 4 Maidenhead - Heathrow service.

Jack Cooper

Oxcity 691 working route 8 in the late afternoon of November 27th on High Street.

A great pictur showing of the building lining The High  in Oxford with 229 working the X40 on November 27th.


As ever many thanks to all my contributors and of course to readers wherever they maybe. 

Well, it appears that we may be going back to wearing masks in shops and public transport due the latest Covid variant. Only two cases in the UK so far so let's see what happens. 

Fleet news and developments

Simon Mathieson

A couple of things: 

Jack Cooper

E400 5465 is seen in St Aldates working a 280 service on November 24th.

New coaches for this fleet's National Express rosters.

BV71GYJ Vo B11RT YV3T2U827LA201592 Co F203043021 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYK Vo B11RT YV3T2U822LA201595 Co F203043022 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYN Vo B11RT YV3T2U824LA201730 Co F203043023 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYO Vo B11RT YV3T2U82XLA201733 Co F203043024 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYP Vo B11RT YV3T2U825LA201736 Co F203043025 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYR Vo B11RT YV3T2U825LA201770 Co F203043026 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV71GYS Vo B11RT YV3T2U820LA201773 Co F203043027 C55FLt 11/2021 Edwards,Llantrisant


Gavin Francis

Noticed in November Buses this bus has been sold from Beestons, Hadleigh to Ipswich Buses.

This ex-Carousel bus 505 has been withdrawn by Go East Anglia. This picture from September 26th 2016.

Jack Cooper

Due to the amount of buses required for Bicester Village Park & Ride services on Friday (which was Black Friday), 3 Thames Travel buses were loaned to Oxford Bus. 212 was operating the 400, 512 was operating the 11X and 942 was operating the 2.

Jack caught 942 in Magdalen Street East whilst working 2 road as mentioned above.  

At Bicester there have been Park & Ride services running to the A41 Park & Ride site as well as Bicester Heritage.

Jack has also provided a number of pictures for this issue.

316 converted to diesel now seems to spend quite a lot of time working 4 as seen above on November 24th. 

355, still in the older OBC livery is seen working 15 road in St Aldates on November 24th.

MMC's 604 servicing the U5, with 608 working the U1 both in St Aldates on November 24th.

On the 24th variety was in action with 5 road as although 657 in 5 road livery,
also there were 661 and 662 showing the mix of liveries to these buses.

651 was working 5 road on November 26th.

666 is seen from the offside rear working its branded X3 service on November 24th.

Above we have 673 working the 300 Park & ride service to Pear Tree on November 24th.

Yellow 682 with a 3 and 688 running the 8 are seen in St Aldates on November 24th.

Citaro 846 is seen with a 15 road service on November 26th whilst two days earlier 847 was rostered to 35 road.

Wrights 902 is seen on November 23rd neat the Peachcroft Roundabout with a northbound X3 service.

A day later the same is seen in Oxford working the same route but this time to Abingdon at the opposite end of the route.

James Freeman

Scania 222 is seen arriving at Cowley House on November 22nd after working 20 road.

A nice catch from James of 3 road branded 687 seen in Cowley working the 11X on November 22nd.

The Mercedes Sprinters are now mainly used working the 11X as seen below.

971 seen from the rear and 972 the front both in St Aldates on November 24th. 

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 34 looks very clean and tidy in St Aldates returning from the airport on November 26th.

An interesting angle for this shot, 37 in Westgate (Castle Street) with a Gatwick service on November 22nd. 

Jack Cooper

200 DXZ 7120 is a Volvo B7TL electric-powered /. Plaxton President. O45/24F. with CitySightseeing Oxford,
This bus is ex London Central PVL358 and of note is that this registration was used on Park & Ride Dennis 120 when with Carousel.

Jack Cooper

Above seen in St Aldates 512 is working an 11X duty on November 26th.

Resplendent in Milton Park livery 621 is seen in St Aldates with a n X2 on November 24th.

Citaro 849 is seen turning into Speedwell Street with service 11 on November 24th.

connector livery adorns this Citaro, 868 seen with an X32 in St Aldates on November 24th.


James Freeman

TT 512 with an 11X in Cowley on November 26th. 

Gavin Francis

NEx seem to have started a new route the A11. Normally A routes go to airports but this one goes to Northampton. ???
The coach is operated by Chalfont Coaches and the A11 is the A1 extended from Luton Aiport/


I show a link below for this service which operates via Luton Airport.


A new arrival for this fleet.

PC71BUS MB 516CDI W1V9076572P350413 Ilesbus C21F 10/2021 Pulham, Bourton-on-the-Water

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Andy Pang

Newbury and District he took these pictures whilst at the football..

Newbury & District MMC 787 is seen at Reading's ground on November 20th.

New bus for Thames Valley.

YX71OJE AD E20D SFDDPCBRALGY27925 AD B43F 11/2021 Thames Valley 681

Gavin Francis

It seems that a number of routes once the haunt of E200 are now being worked by MMCs.
This picture of 10438 working the 14A is seen in George Street o November 24th.

Jack Cooper

MMC 10433 seen working its accustomed route 1 turning into Speedwell Street on November 24th.

Gold 10787 is seen over the brow of Castle Street turning into Westgate with service 1 on November 22nd.
Pictures such as this highlight the ups and down in Oxford.

Gavin Francis

At last East have had the remaining branding applied to 10803 which looks much better.
Seen in Gloucester Green on November 24th.

10878 has an interesting destination display ready for Christmas and with BACK TO BUS and the ultimate it seems quite confusing.
Seen in George Street on November 24th. 

Sunday, November 28th saw the Plaxton Panorama's entering service exactly a year ago to the day.

Jack Cooper

Also turning into Speedwell Street Panorama 50440 is seen on November 24th.

50272 and 50274 have yet to re- enter service with the tube and the older Astromegas are still seeing regular use when there are insufficient new coaches for the roster. 

Michael Wadman

Thamesdown had a dedicated school bus fleet painted in this yellow and value livery, comprised mainly of elderly Fleetlines, both indigenous and second-hand from Bournemouth.

On February 16th 2008 one of the latter, no 264 (GRU 164V) with Alexander body, was on Fleming Way working service 12 to mark the end of Fleetline operation by the undertaking. 

Also taking part in the event was Fleetline no 299 (UMR 199T), with ECW body, which was retained by Thamesdown in fleet livery as a semi-preserved vehicle until 2012. 

Another heritage vehicle kept by Thamesdown is Daimler CVG-30 / Northern Counties no 145 (JAM 145E). Keith Newton photographed it in Devizes on service 49
– unfortunately I don’t have a date for this, but I don’t think it was a regular event! 

Something that was a regular event during the summer for a couple of years was the use of open-top Daimler Fleetline / ECW no 175 “I K Brunel” on service 49,
seen in Devizes on August 2nd 1997. I think that the word for a ride upstairs over the Downs on this would be ‘bracing’!

... and some more pictures of Swindon & District back in early Stagecoach days.

915 R915GMW in Swindon on March 24th 1999.

812 J412PRW seen working the 20A in Marlborough on April 14th 1999.

Mercedes 715 seen in Swindon Bus Station on April 14th 1999.  

Paul Bateson

As you know I was living in England in 1985.  In November 1985, Sue and I had a trip to Canada so that she could visit her parents and other family members.  We stayed with her parents in Peterborough.  I knew that RM 1909 had recently been purchased by Copperfield Roadhouses in Belleville and took a drive there to find this bus. 

This made for a good contact as I was then informed the bus would be in the Santa Claus parade in Peterborough
on December 1st and I would be welcome to participate by riding the bus. 

Obviously during the Canadian trip I visited Double Deck Tours in Niagara Falls.  It was the end of November and there had been a heavy snow fall.  At this time the ex-London RT and recently acquired Routemasters were parked outside and consequently the fronts were snow covered.  As I knew the Watson family, I was even able to arrange for RM 1548 to be reversed out of the garage for a picture.  

Andrew Dyer

Thanks for another great issue. Michael Wadman’s photo of P903 SMR, reminds me of when this bus and its two siblings were new in Swindon and they were delivered in early 1997 specifically for Route 66 to Oxford.  

Prior to this, the 66 timetable was an erratic affair serving different villages on different trips with no regular frequency. We redesigned the timetable to give a standard route and a clock face hourly headway. Passenger growth was substantial (although we probably upset people in places like Hinton Waldrist that no longer had a service) and this was the beginning of the success story that is a high frequency route today. So, the S6 wouldn’t be what it is without P901, 2 & 3 SMR! 

John Wood

OCBP 178 mentioned minor changes to the 8 & 9 times from the 31 Oct. What was not made clear was that Stagecoach withdrew their 9 to Risinghurst. That just leaves the hourly   Oxford Bus 9  I gather that the locals are not happy ! 

Paul Statham

Concerning last week's issue.

I am almost certain that the Heyfordian photo is a 70-seat Volvo which was new to Tappins (possibly after Heyfordian bought them, I don’t know the dates).  

It’s fleet number was 5370, 53 year new and 70 seats was Rob Gomm’s regular motor

Sadly none this week.