Issue nr. 187
Monday, January 17th 2022


Following a better week except for some very foggy days at least the rain kept off in The Chilterns and contributors provided some interesting pictures.

THE item of news for the week was the arrival of a Go Ahead North East StreetDeck for trials with Oxford Bus and much is included hereunder about this bus and pictures of it working the now OBC X40 to and from Reading with an occasional trip working the X39. The bus with a larger than usual engine is here for trials.

The bus in question was caught in Westgate by Tony Gaze working an X39 inbound service on January 14th.

Michael  Wadman has provided a very nice article on route 408 in Surrey to be seen further down this page.

Grahame Wareham has, under Readers Write, answered and corrected some matters concerning the changes in route 2 - Oxford to Kidlington.

Richard Sharman spent time in Oxford recording the changes to be seen in the City in these early days of2022. I have grouped various operators under one heading below.

As ever Gavin Francis and Jack Cooper have been busy keeping us up to date with current workings. Jack also visited Reading on January 12th.

A panorama of the company bus depot.

Finally further allocation changes for Stagecoach West & Oxford are recorded by Steve Knight.


At long last the first of the two returned Astromegas from Scotland have made it to London. 50272 has still not appeared although it is in Oxford.

Looking care worn and hardly a good example of the Oxford tube.


In mid-December 2021, ADL Enviro 300 27701 has transferred from Gloucester to Banbury in exchange for Scania/Enviro 300 28742.

ADL Enviro 400MMCs 10686/87 had returned to Oxford by mid-December 2021 following a period on loan at Swindon, then Enviro 400MMCs 10686/87 returned to Swindon after a short period operating back at Oxford during December 2021.

10786 seen working the S6 from Oxford on January 11th by Gavin Francis.

The reduction in vehicle requirement at Oxford will see four Enviro 200s transferred to Banbury as replacements for the four remaining Dart SLFs there (34471/72 and 34881/82). A charity tour took place over several Banbury routes using one of the remaining Dart SLFs from the depot on 16th January 2022. 34472 is due to be withdrawn after 16th January 2022.

34472 seen in Banbury depot ready for its "Swan Song" taken by Theo Freeman.

The first fleet changes were reported on 7th January 2022 when Dart SLF 34471 was withdrawn and moved to Witney for storage with Enviro 200s 36930/32 transferred from Oxford to Banbury.

Also due to transfer to Banbury from Oxford (as replacement for 34881/82) are 36931 and 36982.

Other Enviro 200s due to move from Oxford are 36769/70 to Swindon and 36928/29 to Stroud.

Private Hire Levante 59307 at North Bristol is now in the Reserve Fleet.

Vehicles authorised for disposal are Trident 18090 (Gloucester); Dart SLFs 34733/40 (Swindon) and 35193 (Stroud) along with Optare Solo 47451 (Reserve Fleet, Witney).

Withdrawn vehicles sold are Trident 18085, Enviro 200 37010 and Optare Solos 47241/44 and 47556.

We hope to have pictures of the final tour of 34472 for the next Weekly Briefing.

James Lambeth

This rather perfect picture of the Magdalen Bridge in Oxford hosts a visitor to the City.

Go North East 6377 / NK20BYV, the only Wright StreetDeck in England to be fitted with Daimler's 6-cylinder OM936 engine,
passes under the Magdalen College bell tower in Oxford on January 12th. 
Currently on demonstration with Oxford Bus Company on long-distance "River Rapids" routes X39/X40.

Richard Sharman comments

Go North East has taken delivery of the first Wrightbus StreetDeck in the UK to be fitted with the 7.7-litre 6-cylinder Daimler OM936 engine.

The engine, which is the same as fitted to the current Mercedes-Benz Citaro C2, will deliver more power compared to the standard 5.1-litre 4-cylinder Daimler OM934 engine. It will also allow for the top speed to be increased from the current 50mph with the OM934 engine.

The engine compartment by D. Graham.

NK70BYV will be trialled on Go North East’s interurban ‘X’ routes to compare against the native OM934-engined Wrightbus StreetDecks already in use. 

Many more pictures of this bus appear under the Oxford Bus heading below.

A day in Oxford with variety

Richard Sharman

Richard has provided a selection of interesting pictures from recent days in and around Oxford.

The two active Van Hools remain busy performing multiple trips, racking up LEZ charges?
No sign of the two Euro VI 14-plates entering service as yet. 50235 and  50250.

StreetLite 441 escaped the confines of Didcot for a trip to Oxford on the X2 last Saturday.

The lack of Enviro200s in the City is certainly noticeable now. 36760 is seen working the 14A.
Some years ago there were complaints from residents about the use of double decks !

Bedford's 10875 decided it didn't want to go on Saturday morning and came to a halt next to the Odeon.
Within 20mins an Oxford depot fitter appeared with a laptop and solved the problem, by this time 10874 had caught up with it.

With the current cold and wintery weather conditions it's difficult to keep vehicles clean, especially on country routes.
15756 is seen having arrived on a 7 from Woodstock, although it probably originated from Chipping Norton earlier in the day.

A number of Bedford's Enviro400MMCs are now carrying full 'Longer' livery vinyls including 10872.

The last of Bedford's Enviro400MMCs to be repainted is former Stagecoach South West 10499.

 Just what Oxford needs, another hotel !!

Prospect Coaches are currently operating the M34 service from Nottingham to Southampton via Oxford,
 Thursday to Monday using Irizar i6 coaches. Two of which are 71-plates.

Some variety on the Arriva 280 with VDL 3816 seen at Carfax Corner.

Many thanks to Richard who also provided the excellent captions. 

Jack Cooper visits Reading and catches up with various operators

Aldermaston Coach Lines and Jack saw these two vehicles on January 9th.

The same day and Barnes had an Irizar i6 YT69DWM working rail replacement on January 9th.

Another "RR" bus in use was this  NPC MMC SL69XWW seen in Reading on January 9th.

The battle of Aylesbury

Paul Coley

Interesting that an Arriva 300 travelling to Aylesbury turned up with no one on board and left with one person, followed 5 minutes later by a Red Line 130 with 7 people on board and left with 13 (everyone waited for it, rather than getting on the 300). Wonder who’s winning this battle?

Arriva's 3798 nearing the end of its journey from High Wycombe on January 12th.

Redlines AE07DZC with the 130 from Wycombe on the same day.

Paul finds interesting news on this area.

Well, at long last the Omicron infection rates seem to be dropping and it is suggested that many restrictions will be lifted and we might just be able to get back to some form of normality ! So fingers crossed. 

Fleet news and developments

Gavin Francis

7213 is seen in Buckingham Palace Road with a 757 working on January 10th.

A report elsewhere suggests that 7209 is out of use.

Jack Cooper

Seen in Reading is 3918, still minus any fleet numbers working the 850 on January 12th.

Nick Ross

A foggy day at Leighton Buzzard with 3895 working an F70 on January 15th. 

Of interest, courtesy Gez, disposals are of significant.

Midlands & The Shires

Vehicle disposals

Optare Solo M950 2451 (YJ08 XDK), 2498 (YJ58 PKC):   I think 2498 may have been at Wycombe when new ?
VDL Bus SB120 2702 (YJ54 CKF), 2704 (BU02 URY), 2737 (CX04 EHZ):
Scania CN94UB 3579 (YN05 HGC), 3580 (YN04 AHA):
VDL Bus SB200 3740 (YJ57 AZT):
Volvo B7RLE 3861, 3864
Volvo B7TL 4003 (FJ06 ZPV), 4017 (UUI 2913), 4018 (UUI2910), 4019 (UUI 2945), 4021 (UUI 2951), 4022 (UUI 2950):
All sold to Shelton Motors (dealer) for scrap

DAF DB250 4757 (FJ06 ZTD):
Mercedes-Benz O530G 5001 (BX04 MXG), 5003 (BX04 MYA), 5006 (BX04 NDU)
Sold to Shelton Motors (dealer) for scrap

Optare Solo M850 6009 (FJ54 OTX):  Returned to Shropshire County Council

DAF DB250 6046, 6061 (FD02 UKP):
Sold to Shelton Motors (dealer) for scrap

Jack Cooper

On his visit to Reading caught up with this railair coach on January 9th.

Kevin Fuller

A few pictures taken today, 15th January, in a foggy Slough, of some current First vehicles, which hopefully are of interest to readers: 

Volvo hybrid 69921 collects passengers outside of Slough bus station whilst working route 7 between Langley and Britwell.

Enviro 200 44561 in 'Trader' livery for routes passing through Slough Trading Estate, lays over between duties on route 12 to Burnham. 

Also on route 7, Volvo B7RLE 69391 pauses on Wellington Street with a Slough - Britwell shuttle.

Kevin's pictures certainly highlight the foggy days we have seen in recent weeks. 

Grant Palmer gets two new Enviro200s

Independent bus operator Grant Palmer Limited, of Bedfordshire, has invested over £250,000 in two new ADL Enviro200 buses. Operating 35 buses across the county and in to Luton, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire, GPL has been serving Bedfordshire since 1999.

The new buses have high-backed seats with seatbelts and USB charging points. The new buses follow GPL’s recent investment in contactless payment ticket machines and will be ready fitted with tap on, tap off card readers.

Does anyone have details or pictures of these two buses? They maybe ex Alexander stock vehicles.

Jack Cooper

Go North East's 6377 is currently on loan to Oxford Bus for evaluation on the River Rapids X39/X40. What makes this bus different is the engine, it had a Daimler OM936 engine, the other StreetDecks have a Daimler OM934 engine. 6377 is the only 6 cylinder StreetDeck in England so it makes it very unique! 6377 is in a generic version of the Xlines livery.  

Go North East are also getting rid of their Interdecks (7150-7156), they are going off lese and the X9/X10 services will be operated by Enviro 400mmc's, I am unsure the fleet numbers that will be branded for the X9/X10. 

Many more pictures from Jack are to be found under various operator headings.

Recently acquired 431 is still out of service, I am told awaiting a new engine. StreetLites have recently been used on Link40 but the Citaro is now the normal allocation, which should be 869 and 870.

Gavin Francis

The first picture I received of this bus was from Gavin on January 12th.

356 is seen with a 5A working in High Street on January 11th.

3 road now sees some blue buses and even a Brookes Bus, 363 in Westgate, 366 in High Street as it Brookes 603.

I think a most unusual working was of Brookes 376 showing 15 road in High Street on January 11th.

StreetDeck Micro hybrid 901 also in High Street with an X3 heading for Abingdon on January 11th. 

Jack Cooper

Oxford 220 seen in Wallingford with an X40 working on January 12th.

222 also seen in Wallingford heading for Reading with the X40 on January 9th.

Oxford's 223 and 252  with services in Reading on January 12th.

A 5A working in Butterwyke Place on January 10th.

6377 seen in Reading on January 12th.

The same bus seen in Westgate on January 12th.

Interior pictures taken at the depot on January 11th.

This rear view might suggest that this bus is away from home on January 12th.

James  Freeman

Unusually 660 is seen working the 11 to WATLINGTON near Lidl on January 15th.

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 38 seen in Westgate with an inbound Airport service on January 12th. 

I also note that maybe due to a shortage of serviceable Tourismo coaches the old ex X90 coach such as 68, 70 and  71 are seemingly more regular use mainly to Gatwick.

Gavin Francis

Bruce's BU18OSV with the 590 seen in Bulleid Way on January 10th.

One of Edwards latest acquisitions BV71GYR with a 509 also in Bulleid Way on January 14th.

Another contractor, Selwyns had BF21DCX in Bulleid Way with a notable destination screen on January 13th.

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Jack Cooper

Reading's 233 seen with route 13 on January 12th.

Gas buses 419 with an 11 and 424 with a 3 on January 12th.

Still giving service to Reading is ex Stagecoach WA04CSX with a 23 on January 12th.

E200 651 working little oranges 19a on January 12th.

MMC City 717 working its branded 17 service on January 12th

758 is seen in Stanshawe Road, heading towards the depot on January 12th. We believe this was driven by Robert Turner.

Green Line livery adorns 760 seen in Buckingham Palace Road on January 13th.

Now in JetBlack livery 789 is seen with route 1 on January 12th.

StreetDeck 906 is working the 13 on January 9th. 

Paul Coley

The Spryte Y358LCK out in service on January 12th, working the two hour round trip to Chesham.
Seen at Stoke Mandeville Hospital,  with no one seemingly wanting to make the trip.

Allocation changes are recorded within the Editorial of this issue. 

Andy Churchill

Here 15758 has now returned from repaint at SC Bristol and should enter service soon - January 14th.

Gavin Francis

Now with paint job which is nearly 12 years old, 12004 is seen in High Street working route 10 on January 11th.

Local livery is seen covering 36763 working the S4 in Magdalen Street East on January 12th.

Jack Cooper

MMC 10677 is seen in Speedwell Street on January 15th, I'm not sure about the destination !!

As mentioned under STOP PRESS Astromega 50274 made it to London on January 17th but 50272 is still not in service. 

megabus services are now being operated by a number of sub contractors as our pictures each week show.

Gavin Francis

54276 is seen near VCS on January 10th.

Jack Cooper

Goldwings of Hayes operate this Tourismo - BV70UAP - for megabus seen with an M7 to Cardiff on January 13th. 

London operators

Jack Cooper

Jack caught this Caetano, abellio 1534, in Buckingham Palace Road with a C10 working on January 13th.

Grahame Wareham

I just thought I would drop you a line to apologise for the errors that crept in on my article on 2 road. I did compile it in rather hurry which a fact not an excuse for the mistakes! 

Alexander points out the first one regarding the 22 City Centre - Risinghurst, I should have typed Kidlington, not Risinghurst as the 22 was a combination of 20/21 service in the evenings and on Sundays. Copy of a time table attached. The 20 also changed to a 21A later on so somewhat complicated. 

The service along The Moors in Kidlington did get suspended for a period until Oxfordshire CC coughed up some support money but the Begbroke Yarnton Kidlington service 4 Minibus service did cater for locals who lived in the Moors with 4 trips per day. The severe speed humps along The Moors absolutely played havoc with Bristol VR springs, they were vicious and are still there. 

TThe last point he made the picture of 604, again I have got the date wrong, when you take colour neg film from a small camera it can take ages to use the film up so I only had the processing date. As luck would have I keep a record of all the COMS/OBC bus driving duties I have carried out since 1975 on a spread sheet so it was easy to find. The date should have read 5th September 2004 but I would also point out, as I was driving that bus, that indeed it was going to Oxford Rail Station, most of the 601-620 batch of Verde's had older blinds fitted as normally a 644-656 Paladin was used on this service and these showed Banbury Road Oxford Rail Station. 

Thanks to Thomas Knowles also for providing some older historic information about the services. It was certainly simpler then.

My thanks to Grahame for these corrections. 

Michael Wadman with a 408 memory day

On 16th November 1921 the East Surrey Traction Company started route S6B between Guildford and Epsom. The following year it was extended to Sutton and renumbered S8, in 1923 it was extended to West Croydon, and in 1924 it was renumbered 408 under the Bassom system.  

On 16th November 2021 the London Bus Museum marked the centenary of what became the 408 by running RT3491 and RT4779 on a free journey Epsom – Guildford – West Croydon – Epsom. The buses are seen in Epsom, Guildford, and West Croydon bus station. 


A memory of the classic days of the 408 as I remember them: London Country RT3530 in Merrow in June 1972, shortly before the route was taken over by Atlanteans (although I’m not sure why it displays the via blind for short journeys) (photo by Keith Newton).

Those were the days !! 

In the mid-seventies London Country suffered a severe vehicle shortage which resulted in the hiring of several buses from a number of operators, which is why Bournemouth’s Daimler Fleetline no 195 (CRU 195C) was in Guildford on the 408 in December 1975.  The blue and white hoardings behind the bus surround the building site for the Friary shopping centre and bus station (photo by Keith Newton).

With the breakup on London Country in 1986 the 408 found itself operated by London Country South West, which later adopted the name “London & Country”, although Guildford Garage, which provided some of the vehicles for the route, became a separate subsidiary “Guildford & West Surrey Buses” that also included the former Alder Valley operations in the town. 

AN223 (EPH 23V), a Roe-bodied Leyland Atlantean, was typical of the London Country ‘deckers that operated the route after 1972, seen on layover in West Croydon bus station on 13th February 1993.


Much less typical was this Bristol VRT found lurking at Leatherhead Garage on 25th October 1993. GTX 740W was new to National Welsh and came to Guildford & West Surrey from Southend.


RM1183 also came from Southend, acquired by London & Country in 1993 for a school service. On the five Saturdays leading up to Christmas that year it ran as a duplicate on route 406 and 408 journeys, and is seen here in Guildford bus station on a rather wet 18th December still in Southend livery.


RM1183 ran on the 408 again on a couple of Saturdays in April 1994, by which time it had been repainted into fleet livery. Seen on 2nd April in Guildford bus station.

The 408 went low-floor in 1995 with a batch of Wright-bodied Dennis Lance SLFs part-funded by Surrey County Council. LSL5 (M517 KPA) is opposite Leatherhead Garage on 9th August 1997, and LSL9 (N527 SPA) in Guildford on 13th July 1996. 

Some journeys continued to be operated by step-entrance vehicles, such as Leyland National East Lancs Greenway rebuild no 430 (KPA 380P), seen outside Leatherhead Garage on 11th February 1995. This was a former Alder Valley vehicle that came with Alder Valley South’s Guildford operations in 1990. 

An unusual happening in the history of the 408 took place in the late ‘nineties when the Nostalgiabus vehicle used on summer Sundays Surrey Hills Leisure Bus 433 from Guildford ran its positioning journeys in service on the route. Former London Transport GS67 awaits departure of the morning journey in Cheam Broadway on 18th May 1997, and former Grey-Green Bedford OB KYE 905 is in Guildford with the afternoon return working on 5th May 1997.


The 408 suffered from straddling the boundary between Greater London and the rest of the country, with their very different approaches towards bus operations. An attempt to run the section within Greater London as limited stop was unsuccessful and ultimately the route was withdrawn east of Epsom. Nowadays the 408 only runs between Epsom and Effingham, the section on to Guildford being covered by the 479. If one wants to follow the traditional 408 route from West Croydon to Guildford today, one must use five buses: 407 to Sutton, 151 or 213 to Cheam, 470 to Epsom, 408 to Effingham, and 479 to Guildford. 

Until recently, the truncated 408 was operated by Epsom Coaches.  Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton V943 DNB, originally a Mistral hire vehicle, at Epsom Clock Tower on 16th January 2004; Optare Solo YE52 FGU in Leatherhead on 31st July 2013; and Solo E7 HRR, formerly YN53 SVO, also in Leatherhead on 5th January 2015.


Following Epsom Coaches’ withdrawal from Surrey bus services, the 408 was assumed by Falcon Coaches, who normally use ADL Enviro 200s. YX70 OKV was in Leatherhead on 31st August 2021, and YX68 UJR in Epsom on 16th November 2021, the 100th anniversary of the route which takes us back to where we started.  


Very many thanks to Michael who has provided a most interesting article.