Issue nr. 189
Monday, January 31st 2022


The weather has been kinder in our neck of the woods but I am relieved not to be living in the north of the U.K. My sympathies to all those affected.

We have a nice selection of pictures and items this week with notice of an upcoming event and a further report from the recent farewell Dart tour from Banbury.

Jack Cooper has provided a wide selection of pictures from the past week including this one of 6377, now thought to have returned to the north east.

Seen outside Queens College in The High heading to turn round for its next journey to Reading on January 27th.
Its last working with OBC was on January 28th with an X40 service.

Contributions continue very strong and as ever I am most grateful to my supporters. Thank you all !

Imberbus 2022 from Sir Peter Hendy CBE

I’m delighted to say we have agreed with the military a date for 2022 which is SATURDAY, AUGUST 20th 2022. It will again be a car free day, which made it so much easier in 2021. 

Regulator investigates £1.9bn National Express-Stagecoach merger

Stagecoach believes that a planned sale of parts of its inter-city coach businesses would satisfy any competition concerns but the CMA's action currently prevents that deal from going through.

The National Express takeover of Stagecoach is facing an investigation by the competition regulator, it has been announced.

The all-share deal, which would value the combined business at about £1.9bn, was confirmed last month after a few delays.

It would bring together the country's biggest bus and coach operator in Stagecoach, which includes the Megabus brand in its stable, and National Express which is best known for its long-distance UK coach services.
It also has operations abroad in the US, Spain and Germany.



After a break we are glad to tell you that we have arranged for three meetings this Spring, as shown below. They will be at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford, OX4 4EY. Meals are available at the bar before the meetings.  

Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings.

 Tuesday 15 February at 7 p.m.

“Lucky Dip” with Paul Statham as he delves into his vast collection of pictures

Tuesday 15 March at 7 p.m.

Victoria Coach Station – a spotter’s paradise in the 1960s to 1980s by Graham Low

Tuesday 19 April at 7 p.m.

Strachans (Coachbuilders) Ltd - A Dip in the Official Photo Archive by Richard Morgan

A mystery location solved

Anthony Spencer

I'm trying to identify the location of these two stills from a film made in 1960. The film is called "Snowdrop"

If my research is correct the bus in the first one is a Thames Valley Traction Bristol L6B. The two open tops with a different livery in the second one are a puzzle though. It looks to me like even a low deck d/d would be a very tight squeeze through that opening..

1                                            2                                              3

Gordon Jackson (pic #3) in the lead role. Kenneth Griffith as the bus conductor (pic #1).  Dennis Waterman, in his second film, as Jackson's son (pic #3). 

The film is Snowball produced by Independent Artists. 

Is this actually a bus garage, and if so, where?

It looks too rural, but the built environment has changed immeasurably from 60 years ago.

Many thanks for the info about Stokenchurch which explains everything including the non-urban look.

I wasn't aware that TVT had a garage there. This pic from your pages is the conclusive evidence I've been looking for.

The fence on the right (left in pic #3), the bush, and the telegraph pole clinch it. 

Remarkably there is still a pole in situ 60 years on!  

The information and screen shots came from this site -

Any credit belongs to them.

Replies to the puzzle

Mike Walker

Having studied those two b&w photos closely I’m drawn to the conclusion (would you believe?) it’s Stokenchurch dormy shed!

This picture from Mike shows the depot as I first remembered it when we moved to Stokenchurch in 1975! Ed. 

The clues are:  the 41 was the Ibstone service so the L would be appropriate and Paul Lacey states the open toppers were stored there during the winter months.  Also the style of the wall on the left matches that in a photo I took years ago (attached).  The open topper nearest the camera is 770, CAP206, which is the one used by South Midland for tours of Oxford and trips out to Blenheim – it can be identified by the maroon panel on the side which bore the SM fleetname, the other 3 TV ones had the fleetname directly on the cream bodyside.

Robert Turner

My suggestion for the mystery photos is Stokenchurch dormy shed of Thames Valley, the first shot showing a Bristol L on route 41 Wycombe-Stokenchurch-Ibstone, and the second shot showing two of the TV open toppers in South Midland livery that were stored there during the winter period when the Thames side route did not operate.

Michael Wadman

I’m afraid that I’m no expert on Thames Valley, but I understand that service 41 (which the Bristol L in the first photo appears to be operating) was High Wycombe – Ibstone, so I wonder whether it’s Wycombe Marsh? Unfortunately the area opposite the garage has been totally redeveloped so I can’t match the building across the road. 

If indeed it is a Thames Valley garage then the ‘deckers in the second photo might be two of the open-toppers for the Riverside Express, at least two of which had flared skirt panels like the rear vehicle. From what I can find out they were stored in September at the end of the 1959 season and sold in July 1960. If the film was indeed made in 1960 then they would be in store, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out where they were stored.

Paul Lacey

The location is Stokenchurch Dormy Shed and the film was Snowball, on TV only very recently, mostly filmed there, at a time when all four O/T K5G's were in store pending a decision whether to resume the Riverside Service for 1960, the L6B's were withdrawn pending sale to United Welsh and in store also.

I must recommend the books published by Paul Lacey for Thames Valley which confirm all this foregoing.

Next week's issue will include some pictures of the location in 2022. Ed. 

A morning in Henley

Kevin Fuller

I had a morning in Henley on Thames on Thursday, and took a few pictures for the newsletter: 

All pictures taken on January 27th:

1) This Heyfordian MAN / Plaxton coach was parked up next to Henley railway station. 

2) Arriva Mercedes Citaro 3024 picks up passengers at the Hart Street stop whilst working a High Wycombe - Reading journey on route 850.
This route runs hourly via Wargrave and Twyford.
This bus recently arrived from Southern Counties. Ed 

3) Another Arriva Citaro, fleet number 3015 works service 800 in the opposite direction, and is seen at the main town centre bus stop in Bell Street.

4) TK Travel of Reading operate the Henley town service which consists of 3 circular routes each hour, beginning and ending in the town centre.
This Mellor Strata bodied Mercedes minibus was the rostered vehicle, seen awaiting departure time in Henley Market Place. 

5) Thames Travel 850, a Mercedes Citaro, is seen in Henley town centre, whilst working the hourly X38 shuttle between Henley and Wallingford.

Thanks to Kevin for an interesting selection. Ed. 

Still the variance in mask wearing continues with various transport operations and supermarkets still requiring the use thereof. 

Fleet news and developments

Gavin Francis

3030 at Oxford Train Station working the 280 on January 25th.

Jack Cooper

This week I have seen an Arriva bus with Oxford branding on, 5460 was the fleet number. I wonder how long it has been branded like this, as I had only really seen it around Oxford in December onwards? 

E400 5460 on January 26th in Speedwell Street with a 280 service.

3030 this time seen on January 26th in Speedwell Street again with a 280 service.

Paul Webb

As a regular reader of your blog Oxford/children bus page, I would like you and your readers to know (all though you probably know already) that Arriva will be joining the Oxford smartzone ticket scheme from 30th January. 

Link to Arriva press release; 

Tony Bungay

Arriva Citaro 3030 obviously had an inoperative destination display as evidenced by the paper sticker, on January 20th.

Another Citaro was also seen, but unfortunately in the dark which prevented photography on service 9, but sporting High Wycombe – Chesham Pond Park route branding! 

The two new ADL E20D s mentioned a few issues ago are listed below.

YX71OJF AD E20D SFD9L1ERAMGY18191 AD B30F 1/2022 Grant Palmer, Flitwick
YX71OJG AD E20D SFD9L1ERAMGY18192 AD B30F 1/2022 Grant Palmer, Flitwick

Jack Cooper

City Sightseeing electric buses 199 and 200 have spent most of this week in service, with the Scania E400s spending most of this week off. 


A cross section of the current fleet. 241 has been off the road for several days now.

There is very specific interworking of routes connected with the link40  which means that we have at least three different buses each day. January 30th saw 401, 860 and 870.

The interworking also includes the 36, 39 and even The ONE !

Citaros 886 and 887 although "off fleet" were still in the overflow yard at Wycombe on January 27th, sad and maybe no one wants them now ?

LATE NEWS : January 31st  902 appeared working route 8 today !!

Gavin Francis

317 appeared working the 5A in St Aldates on January 24th.

254 has been off the road for many weeks but with 251 has now returned to service out of Cowley House,
seen above with an X39 service in High Street on January 27th.

Whilst one of the 66* were off the road 300 filled in working 6 road on and around January 27th.

Note quite 13 road, 352 takes a turn working 4 road on January 25th.

This was rather unusual when instead of the usual fodder for the X3, Brookes 608 was seen on January 27th.

661 was seen with a 5A service in High Street on January 27th.

The blue Citaros turn up working a variety of routes as seen below.

January 27th saw 845 inn High Street with a 13 road service whilst 847 was working 35 road in St Aldates.

Graham Low

As Phil Southall foreshadowed in your last Page, de-hybridised 316 has now made a fair number of trips on the X39/X40. This is a view of it entering Henley Avenue from Rose Hill onn January 29th.

Jack Cooper

254 is seen looking clean and tidy with an X39 on January 25th.

Ex Hybrid 316  is seen with a 4 road service on January 26th.

Another surprise working the X3 on January 25th was 357 with Carfax Tower in the background.

362 was working the 3 on January 27th heading for Rose Hill from the City.

Still impressive buses the Brookes StreetDeck Micro Hybrids, seen here is 372, hold sway working the U1 on January 26th.

Anice clear shot of 5 road 658 turning out from New Road on January 26th.

668 now working its designated route, 6 road, on January 27th.

684 with road dirt showing where City 3 can be seen, now rostered to 15 road in High Street on January 27th.

Orange 690 is in High Street with an 8 road working from Barton on January 26th.

Citaro 846 is seen with an 11 road service in High Street on January 27th.

Loaned 6377 with an X39 in The High on January 27th. 

671, 677 and 681 working the two remaining Park & Ride routes in the City in Janaury.

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 34 is seen  with a Heathrow service at Queens Lane on January 27th.

Seemingly due to the absence of at least three Tourismos the older Interdecks are being used in service almost every day. 71 appears the most popular !

68 was seen working the Heathrow service on January 26th.

71 is seen in Gloucester Green from the rear with another Heathrow service on January 24th. 

Graham Low

Some views at Didcot station of two Scania N230UDs which have joined Thames Travel in recent times and which are finished in their current livery:

247  with East Lancs body, ex Brighton and Hove

9944 with Scania (Poland) body, ex Metrobus.

943 still has not appeared in service at the time of writing. Ed

Jack Cooper

Scania 207 is seen in Oxford with an X2 on January 26th.

224 was caught at Didcot Parkway with the same service on January 27th.

441 is seen at Didcot Parkway in the darkening evening light working the 98 on January 28th.

Also at Didcot Parkway, now a regular for the X36, 454 is seen on January 27th.

Working the X2 Milton Park branded 621 is seen in Abingdon on January 26th.

Citaro variety, 849 with a 98, 854 with the 34 and 862 working the X32 in late January.

905 is seen in Abingdon with an X2 on January 24th.

Milton Park branded 907 working X36 by Didcot Parkway on January 27th.

908 is also working the X36 at Didcot Parkway on January 28th.

Thames Travel originals 912-914 seen at work in late January looking very trim and tidy.

937 is seen in Wallingford waiting departure to RAF Benson with teh 136 on January 27th.

two of several faces of 944, looking nice and clean with a service 41 on January 26th in Abingdon. 

Gavin Francis

Bruce have this new 71 plate coach for NEx working seen in VCS on January 25th.
The  national flag of Scotland adorns the rear of this coach.

Another fairly new coach is BF21CYK working the A6 to Stansted on January 25th.
This is 306 in the West Midlands allocation.

Stagecoach provide very limited operations for NEx at this time, as seen with 54408 in VCS with the 564 to Halifax on January 25th.

Tony Bungay

A selection of photos which may be of use, taken in Aylesbury over the past fortnight, as a number of your contributors have commented in the current news page, the bright sun has either made photography a bit difficult, or the road dirt has made vehicles grubby.

Redline's ex TfL E400 LK55KKL now in full livery works a service 50 in Aylesbury on January 20th.

Two of the Ensign fleet buses to join Redline have gained company livery - PO58NPJ and NPP on January 20th. 

Tony Bungay

I believe ex Bournemouth  HJ02HFF looks rather grubby in the sunlight of January 20th with a 50 working. 

Nothing specific to report except that only two of the ADL Transbus Enviro 300 have been exchanged with Banbury for the Scania Golds.

15966 is still at Bristol working the Amazon contract for which it was transferred.

Gavin Francis

E200 36933 is seen at Oxford Train Station working the 14A on January 25th. 

Jack Cooper

S stands for Superior (i.e Gold) but with the demise of this brand anything goes.
10431 is seen heading for Wantage with a service to Wantage on January 26th.

Now in service 15758 has returned from repaint into the new local livery showing the white down to street level is not the best colour scheme!!!!
Working the 8 to Barton the bus is seen on January 27th in central Oxford.

Another example of the unsuitability of white is seen with an unusual working of 36730 with an S4 into Oxford on January 23rd.
This bus is normally rostered to the 505 Bicester Village service.

Theo Freeman

36768 is in Blackburn for repaint, which is quite a way to go! 34481 was to be sent to Witney outstation on Friday but was still in service yesterday.


Farewell to 34472


The pictures are of 34472 outside the depot, Deddington, Wantage, St Giles and Bletchingdon. 72 performed flawlessly throughout despite getting a little hot before the end. We raised £150 in total and I thank all who came along for the day.


A very nice record of the tour and its locations. 

Gavin Francis

235, 237 and 250 now all off fleet just leaving 233 of the Megabuses. 

Late news from Gavin, 50438 has gained a full destination screen on the rear. Pictures next week.

Jack Cooper

50274 rather proves my point !  Here seen on January 24th with a London working from Gloucester Green.

Panorama 50435 is seen out of service in the City on January 26th.

Similar 50436 is seen heading for London on January 26th by Westgate. 

Gavin Francis

megabus Astromega 50287 is seen in Bulleid Way after a journey down from Scotland on January 25th.
Nearly 400 miles and it still looks presentable. 

Michael Wadman


This week we look at a couple of coach operators who ran bus services into Swindon, and I’m afraid that this now concludes my photographic survey of independents in the OCBP area, at least for the time being – you never know what might emerge from the backlog of films awaiting printing or what Keith may send me in the future. 

Athelstan Coaches of Malmesbury had some long-standing bus services in the Malmesbury area including a route into Swindon. Bedford VAM70 / Plaxton UJU7H, new to Chapel End Coaches of Nuneaton.

Laying over in the old Swindon bus station in 1981 plus CJB590J mentioned below.

This service was later designated route 19 by Wiltshire County Council, and Keith Newton caught CJB 590J, a former Thames Valley Bristol RELH6G / Plaxton, leaving the new bus station circa 1987. Around this time the company rebranded as “Overland and County”. An attempt to run an express service to London in 1990 was unsuccessful and they ceased trading in August that year. 

Ellison’s Coaches of Ashton Keynes had no history of bus operation, apart from a few infrequent tendered services in the late ‘eighties. During November and December in 1997 to 1999 they ran a Saturday Park + Ride service in Swindon, and two coaches are seen on 22nd November 1997 at the parking site on Groundwell Industrial Estate.

B205 FMW was a Duple-bodied Leyland Tiger, and WAM 519T a Bedford YMT, also with Duple body. Both coaches were new to the operator. 

It was  something of a surprise when in November 1998 when Ellison’s won the Gloucestershire tender for a new service E35, a delightfully scenic 85-minute rural trundle from Lechlade to Cirencester.

Dennis Dart / Plaxton P212 RWR, new to Jaraonda Travel of Cawood, is seen in Cirencester on 30th June 2001, and en route near Eastleach on 25th February 1999.

Days gone is always a great read from Michael. 

Steven Knight SKM

I was doing some pic research and came across the following image, which as taken twenty years ago on February 22nd 2002.

It is of one of three Volvo B10M/Berkhof coaches which were new in April 1996 (as N43MJO) and operated on the  Oxford Tube  It was later re-registered 3063VC. This was one of a number of cherished registration plates that included 'VC" - commonly thought to represent 'Virgin Coach' but which were in use on vehicles operated by Vanguard Coaches of Bedworth, Warwickshire when it was taken over by Western Travel in the pre-Stagecoach era.

It Moved to Stagecoach Midland Red South in May 1999 for use on the Virgin Trains Rail Link between Coventry and Stratford.

3063VC was then transferred to Stagecoach East (United Counties) at Bedford in October 2000 and continued in use on the Virgin Rail links operation being used on the Milton Keynes-Luton Airport operation.

During 2002, Virgin Trains was launching its Voyager train fleet whilst also previewing its plans for West Coast Pendolino operations. This included numerous high-profile train launches and train naming events. To convey guests between station venues and hotels where press conferences were held I arranged to 'borrow' Virgin-branded coaches from Bedford and Nuneaton depots.

We certainly took a Bedford coach to Cardiff, Swansea, Bournemouth, Penzance, Exeter and Oxford and Derby. After using a coach in Manchester a circuitous route back to Bedford was via Stoke, Derby, Leicester and Peterborough!

The attached photograph was taken outside a hotel in Exeter on 22nd February 2002!

Steve's contribution is very much appreciated.

By the Clyde

Nick Ross

grey Glasgow on January 26th 2022 as a very new McGill Yutong E12 electric bus crosses the Clyde bridge,
 heading South out of the city

McGill's certainly have received a very large fleet of these buses. Ed.

James Freeman

My flickr album of the oxford united v Sheffield Wednesday