Issue nr. 192
Tuesday, February 22nd 2022


Yet another week has passed though in recent days the weather has been really poor. We had fencing and tree blown over in our garden here on The Chilterns.

I feel that this issue gives some interesting pictures and information whilst mainly keeping to our local area. Many thanks to all Contributors. 

Martyn Sacaloff

Readers will find some interesting pictures at this link:

Click the arrow links to see all his pictures.

Current bus patronage recovery rate ‘hugely disappointing’

The rate of bus patronage recovery continues to show wide variance between operators, industry managers’ group the Ten Per Cent Club has revealed in a downbeat assessment of the likelihood of full-scale ridership return.

Fare-paying passengers on the commercial services operated by the Club’s members reached 78% of like-for-like pre-COVID-19 numbers in week ending 5 February, although variation in the rate of recovery in that demographic at individual operators extended from 94% to 69%.

Club Secretary Roger French adds that the average rate of return for fare-paying users on commercial services has not risen above 78% since September 2021, leading him to suggest that a patronage recovery to around that percentage “might have become the ‘new normal’ for many bus companies.”

Fare-paying passengers on tendered routes sat at 70% for the same period. In a further worrying finding, the rate of recovery for concessionary traveller numbers languishes some way behind that of fare-payers. On commercial services, the former group has recorded a rate of return of 57%, and on tendered routes just 50%.

When all is considered, including the recent relaxation of restrictions, the above data represents “a hugely disappointing result” for bus patronage return, says Mr French. “With government financial support [in England] still uncertain beyond the end of next month, it is not looking very good for a recovery.”

Data collected by the Department for Transport (DfT), which uses a different methodology to that of the Ten Per Cent Club, shows that the highest weekday overall return rate for bus patronage in Britain outside London in 2022 so far is 77%, seen on two occasions in early February.

October 2021 saw the peak in ongoing recovery according to DfT’s data, when multiple weekdays returned 80% or better, including two at what has thus far been a weekday high water mark in DfT’s figures of 84%.

Thanks to Route One for the foregoing which carries on comments from last week in this page.  Ed. 

Isle of Wight Beer & Buses event cancelled in 2022

It is with great sadness that The organisers of this event have had to decide to call time on this event.
However, it is not total blackness. The IW Bus Museum is still here and arranges events. All the good pubs on the Island are still open for business. We know of only ONE which has had to close permanently due to the Covid pandemic restrictions. We even have one addition to the list of pubs.

You can find a copy of the press release, which provides further details, on the Beer and Buses website:  

City Visitors 

readybus RD19BUS seen in St Giles on February 17th by Gavin Francis.

Yorkshire Rose D45YRC
Picture 1 by David Beynon picture 2 by Gavin Francis

Kevin Fuller

One of the door forward StreetLites operated by the National Trust at Waddesdon Manor,
MX11YJU heading downhill towards the car park, on February 9th 2022.

It would appear the from this coming Thursday, February 24th, we will see a relaxation of Covid rules, two years after many were introduced. 

Fleet news and developments

Jack Cooper

E400 4400 still bears visual indications of its origins in Derby when seen in High Street on February 16th.

5463 and 5468 are seen in St Aldates working the 280 on February 17th in better weather.

Nigel Peach

......... visited Cressex on February 16th and provides these interesting pictures of Arriva Wycombe at that time.

Nigel writes "Six pictures attached for you to choose from following my trip to Wycombe. Five taken at Cressex, and one in Oxford Road (but that would be obvious to you!)"

2740 and 2746 are recently withdrawn DAF Wrights at Cressex.

4819 and 2782 are receiving maintenance at the depot.

3042 is seen from the rear in the depot.
Citaro 3042 has been off the road for three weeks, parked behind withdrawn 3700 and 3039. 

A selection of Citaros, two still bearing outdated liveries.
Citaro Variety. 3914, 3032 (I like the unique appearance!) and 3918. 

5469 and 2408 are also at Cressex one imagines for M O T. These are of course Aylesbury based.
Surprised to see Aylesbury buses 5469 "Jessica Gadirova" (there for MOT?) and Optare Solo 2408 (probably now withdrawn). 

Finally in Bridge Street, 3816 leaves with a 300 service to Aylesbury on the same day.

Tony Bungay

Not really an original photo from me to be honest, as I have contributed photos of 3758 before, but the first time I have been able to get a photo with an informative destination, previously just not in service or school service being the display!

It is perhaps worth pondering if this vehicle is now one of few if not the only Arriva vehicle to indicate they used to operate in Guildford! Though this vehicle has been at Hemel since at least 2019!!

3758 is seen in Aylesbury working the 500 still with its one time home branding some distance from its current home at Hemel Hempstead.

Gavin  Francis

Ridleys BV69LPJ in full livery with an 023 on February 21st.

Another Ridleys, this time tri-axle Tourismo working the 021 on February 16th.

A "Jonck!" BV18AXR is seen in Elizabeth Street with the 021 on February 10th.

Whippet are still much involved with Flixbus as seen by 18 - BL17XAW in Buckingham Palace Road on February 16th with an 023 service.

M A N Plaxton YX63NFF seen in Oxford on February 16th.
Picture 1 by David Beynon picture 2 by Gavin Francis 


Gavin Francis

During the absence of 668 and later 669 for 6 road, the company uses a substitute such as 367 on February 17th.

Jack Cooper

Scania 214 is seen in Speedwell Street with its destination promoting new drivers. (See under heading above.)

219 is seen with an X39 in High Street on February 16th.

Blue River Rapids buses now predominate on the X39/X40  routes now operated by Cowley House.

358 working the 5A in Oxford City centre on February 17th.

Once the pride of 2 road the blue buses are now used for 3 road as seen above by 361 and 366.

Brookes 371 is passed by 691 in High Street on February 16th.

603 is seen working the 15 on February 17th.

It is unusual to see an X3 branded bu working the 11X but 664 was doing so on February 17th.

Still lacking a route number in the branding 682 is  seen working its new home route 15 on February 17th.

686 is seen with a good intending load in High Street working 8 road on February 16th.

Most weekdays one of the blue Citaros works the 35 as seen by 846 on February 17th.

974 is seen in St Aldates with an 11X working on February 17th.

James Freeman

Same day, same bus, 6634 leaves Cowley House to work an 11X duty on February 17th.

Jack Cooper

Tourismo 32 is seen in High Street heading for Gatwick on February 16th.

The above Fare Revisions would also appear to apply to Thames Travel.

Gavin Francis

E20D 513 is seen in Magdalen Street West working the ST2 on February 17th.

Jack Cooper

Scania 213 is seen in St Aldates on February 17th.

225 nicely displays its connector livery whilst working the X2 on February 17th.

874 is seen in High Street with an X1 service on February 16th. 

Gavin Francis

Levante III BF21CZT carries a new rear wrap seen working the A6 in VCS on February 16th.

Edwards Levante tri-axle BV17GVA is seen in Bulleid Way on February 21st.

Still in daily use with Edwards, X90APP is seen by VCS on February 17th.

Stagecoach still operate the Yorkshire 564 as seen by 54410 laying over on February 17th.

Selwyns BV67JXO with a 550 service near VCS on February 17th.

With an A1 Luton service SH253 is seen near VCS on February 17th. 

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley


Heathrow has warmly welcomed a package of extra Green Line 703 earlier and later journeys to support staff travelling to and from the airport. 

The new services, announced today, have been set up by Green Line operator Reading Buses in partnership with Heathrow. They take effect from Sunday March 13. 

“This is good news for Heathrow’s colleagues and passengers,” said Matthew Wooll, Route Development Lead for Heathrow Airport. 

“Getting to and from the airport very early in the morning and late at night is essential for many people and bus and coach services are one of the most sustainable ways to do so.” 

Green Line 703 connects Bracknell with Heathrow T5 via Windsor, Slough and Colnbrook running hourly, seven days a week. 

Two new morning journeys, from Slough to Heathrow, have been introduced at 3.26am and 4.26am. An additional late journey from Heathrow T5 to Windsor runs at 11.30pm. 

Matthew Wooll added: “The Green Line 703 is an important part of the public transport network, providing links to education, employment, shopping and leisure facilities. 

Photograph courtesy Gary Baxter via Reading Buses.

“The service helps to make Heathrow and the local communities a great place to live and work.” 

Said Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer Robert Williams: “We are delighted to work with Heathrow to enhance our Green Line 703 service and make travelling by public transport even easier.  

“Adding these extra journeys strengthens our network in the Thames Valley and provides extra choice to those looking to travel to and from the airport. 

“This is also great timing as we are in the process of launching two low emission, high-spec British built Alexander Dennis double deck buses onto the route. 

“Featuring new dedicated Green Line branding for Windsor & Heathrow, the buses will also provide high back leather trimmed seats, wood effect floors, free Wi-Fi and USB charging.” 

Heathrow staff can still also get 50% off a simply Slough and Windsor 28-day ticket under a deal that was introduced by Reading Buses during the pandemic. 

This offer is available exclusively through the Green Line mobile app for £31 – valid Heathrow ID is required when boarding the bus. 

updated February 23rd.

Gavin Francis

Golds working the S6, 15347 with 55 branding and 15970 seen in Oxford on February 17th and 16th respectively.

Tony Gaze

E400 15981 recently repainted into the latest livery seen working route A in Cheltenham on February 19th.

Ex Banbury S4 287423 is seen at work in Cheltenham with route 8 on February 19th. 

Andy Churchill

Dart 34881 still at work with a B3 in Banbury on February 17th.

Gavin Francis

MMC 10438 is seen working the 14A in Worcester Street on February 16th.

Not far behind the above picture is E200 36926 working normally double decked 1 on February 16th.

Ex Gloucester 27701 working the S4 from Banbury in Oxford on February 21st.

The Oxford Training fleet

M A N /ALX300 trainers 22416, 22417 and 22418 now make up the training fleet at Oxford.
Seen at Network Oxford on February 19th.

Jack Cooper

Sadly the Gold buses no longer seem to work S (Gold) routes as seen above on February 17th.

E200 36984 is seen in Butterwyke Place on February 17th.

Work is now underway to fit luggage racks to the ADL Enviro 400MMCs which will be allocated to Bedford depot for the X99 Milton Keynes-Luton Airport, X5 Bedford-Oxford services. Four vehicles are expected to receive large racks for use on the Airport route with others receiving a smaller width unit. The luggage racks will replace a number of tip-up seats.

Gavin Francis

10879  is seen working the X5 in Oxford on February 17th.

James Freeman

James provided some video of E200 s working the X5 during the recent high winds.


An unusual loss of service due to storms.


Storm Eunice, weather related disruptions - Friday, February 18th

The Met Office has issued a red weather warning for London between 1000-1500 today. As a result of this, services will be suspended during this time. 

The last departure times this morning as follows -
Oxford Gloucester Green 0700   London Victoria 0800

Gavin Francis

50442 shows an unusual  destination on February 21st and one wonders why SC have not followed the font arrangement of the actual logo?

Now withdrawn from regular tube service 50235 and 50250 are seen at Network Oxford on February 19th.

Jack Cooper

returned 50272 is still awaiting its oxford tube branding when seen on February 16th in High Street.

50442 again, this time in High Street heading for London on February February 16th.

Gavin Francis

Edinburgh Coachlines YR68NNF seen with a megabus service in Bulleid Way on February 17th.

54207 is seen in St Giles with an M34 working, these services have moved from this location to Gloucester Green from Monday 21st.

London operators

The changing face of London Victoria

I have not been in London since 2017 and some buses or wraps are very new to me. Gavin recorded some during his duty in London on February 21st.

Gavin Francis

abellio run a fleet of Caetano electric buses running the C10 as seen above.

Metroline who operate the 390 using this newly wrapped LT745 for DYINGLIGHT2.

Golden Tours have also got a number of wrapped buses as seen above with 133, a Volvo/MCV EVoSeti

Andrew Dyer

I thought I'd send a number-appropriate picture in advance for Issue 192. 

Ex-Southdown EUF192 was with Charlton-on-Otmoor Services from 1961 to 1964. It was a 1938 Beadle-bodied Leyland TD5. 

It is seen here parked outside the village shop in Charlton and the picture is unusual because of the destination display. In the late 1950s, Charlton Services took over the business of Morris' Coaches of Marsh Gibbon which included a Wednesday Market Day Service into Oxford, so this photo is probably the only one of a Charlton bus showing Marsh Gibbon as a destination! Photographer unknown.

The 1960 timetable shows, the normal Charlton timetable was extended to and from Marsh on Wednesdays to continue the facility.

It was obviously not well used as by the 1964 timetable this extension had been discontinued.

Many thanks to Andrew for an interesting recall. 

Neil Gow

The Volvo B7TL LX06DZY pictured at Stokenchurch in the last issue is ex Imperial of Slough/Colnbrook and one of five sold to the Ensign dealership in October last year. Another of these, LX06DZW, is also in our area as it was pictured at the premises of Chiltern Automotive, Cryers Hill in December.

Chiltern Automotive are both an operator and a dealer (they have taken over the Ward Jones business at Cryers Hill) so it is likely that they are hiring this bus to Chiltern Bus.

Thanks Neil. Ed. 

Brian Bell

January 2nd 2022

As it ended in early January, after a life of less than two years,  I went up to do the Hulleys X57 between Sheffield and Manchester via Snake Pass, on New Year's Eve. Annoyingly the tracker on bustimes was not working for Hulleys on my day of travel for some reason.  I guess this is the only UK bus service to link two tram networks ? 

I set out early from St Pancras in order to ensure that the train would be empty. Planned to go for the 0527 train, but when I  noticed my train from Cricklewood was cancelled (with in theory a last minute arranged replacement bus, that from past experience would probably not turn up), decided to have another hour in bed and aim instead for the 0630 from St Pancras. 

Had originally intended to do the trip next Saturday, but as my railway privilege fare card expired today, with no guarantee the new one would arrive in time for next Saturday (thanks to Covid), thought I had better go on January 2nd.

Information on the day

The outward X57 trip on the 0925 ex Sheffield was an MCV bodied Volvo, 21 (Y100 HOB)
(photo in Sheffield Interchange) that had a very nice single seat at the front. The day return fare was £10.50. 

Had expected a virtually empty bus on a slightly damp and grey winter's morning, but there were a number of other people. Just three from Sheffield Interchange, besides me but more got on at various stops in Sheffield and the suburbs. 

Six people got off at the former Snake Inn (now holiday accommodation), and two alighted at the Pennine Way on Snake Summit, where we were only just below the cloud cover. Luckily this did not spoil the great views towards Manchester on the way down. 

Only five others (besides me) remained on board beyond there, with three getting off in Glossop, and two going through to Manchester. In addition, there was one person locally in Glossop, and one from Hyde to Manchester. 

Pleasantly surprised that Derbyshire Council had erected bus stops along Snake Road, and even bus boarders at some stops, such as at Snake Summit.  

The scenery over Snake Pass is spectacular, and a ride this week is recommended,
in case the rumours about a summer service returning prove incorrect. 

Although I had ridden over Snake a few times on the old Peak District Summer Sunday network, including on a Maynes double decker on the 460, I had forgotten how lovely this part of the High Peak is. 

Our journey left Sheffield bang on time, and despite stopping five times to pick up (mostly cash fares, only two seniors), we were five minutes early leaving Snake Inn (probably too dangerous to wait for time there) and eight mins early into Glossop, where we waited for time. Although a minute late at Hyde,  arrival into Manchester was ten mins early.  

Although the timetable implies the use of only two buses, in fact three are used to allow for meal breaks.

The bus on the 1330 from Manchester was an all white former Stagecoach Devon Plaxton Pointer bodied Dart, 35153, now 14 in Hulleys Fleet (WA56 FKO). 

I was the only person from Manchester on this, and we got to Hyde five mins early, so plenty of time for a photo stop there in the modern bus station (as per attached photo). Leaving there on time, but still empty, we picked our first passenger up in Dinting Vale under the high railway viaduct, although was just a short rider into Glossop. The traffic was very queuing into Glossop, making us twelve mins late by the stop there.  

We had another local passenger in Glossop, and also picked up the same three passengers who had got off there on my earlier trip.  

The driver said this Dart was the best in the fleet for climbing up the Snake, and we did very well, making up eight mins to Snake Inn, and getting to Sheffield Interchange three minutes early.  

The weather on the way back over Snake was glorious, indeed too sunny to take photos of the great views on the right of the bus.  

The 257 currently replicates the X57 between Sheffield and Ladybower to give a joint hourly service. Despite us having no local passengers over this section, the 257 is being doubled to hourly, and introduced on Sundays to maintain the current level of service.  

This also doubles the Ladybower to Bakewell section of the 257 (and introduces a Sunday service over that section). I cannot help thinking that instead of these increases to Bakewell, the extra journeys could instead have run for no change in cost as X57s to Glossop, as there is clearly some demand over this section.  

Indeed, the drivers think a summer weekend X57 will be reintroduced, and someone on Instagram also thinks that half the 257 will be diverted to Glossop in the Summer.

So why not do it now, before the passengers are lost ?

Have just had an e-mail from the MD of Hulley's saying they plan to run their double decker on the last journey over Snake Pass on Sunday. So if it happens, I will include you in the distribution of my report of it. 

The 192 I think is one of the most frequent routes anywhere, indeed I believe when there was competition on the route, it was the most frequent, although of course not all go all the way to Hazel Grove.  

Very interesting that there was a regular double deck service over Snake Pass back in those days. Must have created some wonderful sound effects on the climb up!

January 7th 2022

Today both X57 buses got marooned in the snow on Snake Pass, and the whole service had to be suspended as the diversionary route over Woodhead was also closed.  Both roads were still showing as closed on the RAC web site at 1500. But forecast for weekend is much warmer. Fingers crossed.

January 12th 2022

Sheffield - Ladybower - Snake Pass - Glossop - Buxton - Middleton by Youlgreave - Bakewell - Ladybower - Herdings Park - Halfway - Malin Bridge

Sheffield - Grindleford - Bamford - Hope - Little Hucklow - Sparrowpit - Chapel Milton - Otterspool - Manchester Piccadilly - Diggle - Rotherham Masborough - Sheffield - Woodhead Pass - Ongdendale - Stockport - Chesterfield - London St Pancras


When it rains in the Peak District it certainly does.

Andrews seen in Sheffield on Rail Replacement.
Andrew's, Tideswell J1AOT. Neoplan Skyliner N122/3L new to Trathens of Plymouth in January 2007 as 290WE for National Express services.