Issue nr. 195
Tuesday, March 15th 2022


This has been a pleasant week with much better weather and so many photographs included in this issue are showing well kept buses and coaches.

A nice evening picture of Scania 944 at Oxford Train Station by Jack Cooper.

I hope no one takes offence at a couple of maybe flippant remarks in the fleet section. It is well meant and variety is the spice of life and makes the page what it is !

There are some significant developments to report this week as you will read below.

Stagecoach withdraws support for National Express merger

Stagecoach has withdrawn its support for a planned merger with National Express after it received a rival bid from German asset manager DWS.

The operator said today that it no longer plans to recommend the £470m planned takeover by National Express, announced in December, after agreeing to be bought by an infrastructure fund managed by DWS Infrastructure, which also manages Belgian bus operator Hansea.

The deal is worth £594.9m, or 105p in cash for each Stagecoach share.

“Stagecoach is a leading multi-modal public transport operator and the proposed offer presents a major opportunity to maximise the significant growth potential ahead as governments seek to deliver economic recovery, level up communities, provide better health outcomes for citizens, and transition to a net zero future,” says Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths. “We believe it will open a new and exciting chapter for Stagecoach, backed by a team who share our vision for a more sustainable future.

“We also believe it will deliver positive outcomes both now and in the long-term for all of our key stakeholders: The customers and the communities we serve, the people who deliver our high-quality transport services, our partners in national and local government, and the investors who have supported our continued success over many decades.”

Stagecoach and National express had previously agreed an all-share deal in December that would have merged Stagecoach’s UK bus operations with National Express’s coach network, creating a workforce of some 70,000 people and a fleet of 40,000 vehicles.

Update on Developments

Nothing further to report at publication on March 15th. 

Bus recovery funding in England gets six-month extension

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that the bus industry in England will receive a further six months’ recovery funding beyond the planned end date for the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) on 6 April.

Over £150m has been allocated. It captures both the bus and light rail sectors in England. DfT says that the money “represents the final tranche of pandemic-related support to operators,” and adds that is intended to help them and local transport authorities to adapt to changing travel patterns and help the continued delivery of Enhanced Partnerships and Bus Service Improvement Plans as part of National Bus Strategy for England work.

No details of how the new funding will be apportioned have yet been confirmed but the government says that they will follow in due course. However, it is understood that BRG terms and conditions will initially be rolled over, with caveats around designing financially-sustainable and passenger-friendly networks.

Adds Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps: “The funding I have announced today will ensure millions of us can continue to use vital public transport services, and brings the total that we have provided to the sector to keep services running throughout the pandemic to over £2bn.

“Not only that – as we look ahead and continue our work to overhaul services and build back better from the pandemic, this funding will also help authorities and operators to work together to provide even better services for people right across the country.”

Further funding beyond BRG had been cautiously expected by the bus industry in England after operators had articulated that heavy service reductions would be inevitable once BRG expires otherwise. Oxford Bus Company had even said that the city’s park-and-ride network would be withdrawn without further measures from the government to provide revenue support.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport has applauded Mr Shapps’ announcement. Says CEO Graham Vidler: “This welcome funding will help operators to have the certainty they need to run an extensive network of services over the coming months as we all adjust to life after the pandemic.

“In the longer term, the bus network will need to adapt to meet passengers’ new travel patterns. Over the coming months, operators will be working closely with local authorities to plan future bus networks and introduce plans to grow passenger numbers. To aid these local efforts, we look forward to working with the government to loudly promote bus travel.”

Bus services in England avoid cliff edge as Government pledges over £150m of funding


March 8th

The new deal will ensure services continue running as operators and local authorities work towards a sustainable future A package worth over £150m is to be provided by the Government to support bus and light rail services across the country.

OBC Airline service offers Ukrainian refugees free travel

Oxford Bus Company is assisting Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK with free travel on its Airline service.

The coach provides connections between Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Oxford and High Wycombe.

Ukrainian nationals, many of whom are fleeing after Ukraine was invaded by Russia on 24 February, are able to use the service on presentation of a valid Ukrainian passport.

“In line with many major travel operators across Europe we are offering all Ukrainian nationals free travel on our airline service to help them reach safety at the difficult time,” says Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director. “If any Ukrainian national needs to use our airline service all they need to do is simply show their passport to the driver to board” 

We await further news with interest. Ed.

General news and developments

More on 22 plate arrivals

Jack Cooper

Barnes coaches have 2 vehicles in their fleet with a 22 reg plate.  

YT22 EXB - Irizar 

BV22 WPF - Mercedes Tourismo 

I know the Irizar was mentioned in this week's page, just not too sure if you are aware of the Mercedes.  

I had seen this when someone had shared their Facebook post on the new coaches - 

Jack Cooper

Scania 229 seen working rive rapids X40 over Wallingford Bridge on March 9th.

Nick Ross

First Norwich Volvo fleet number 36209 (possibly) is city bound crossing the River Wensum outside Norwich station on March 9th 2022. 


Coach visitors to Oxford

David Beynon

Caledonian Travel's NH18EGH and  Catteralls K10PGL both in Oxford on March 13th and both Tourismos ! 

A story of a failure in Central London

We featured the building of The Mound at Marble Arch which predicted to become a famous London attraction. Sadly it is now being demolished after ending a failure. Finally one did not even have to pay to climb this "white elephant".

One wonders just how much money was spent altogether on this feature? 

A big thank you to all contributors.

Fleet news and developments


David Hillas

 I am enclosing a photo of a broken down Arriva bus which I took this morning in Heath End Road, Great Kingshill whilst working on route 41 from Great Missenden to High Wycombe. It is 3918 (BV58MKP) a 2008 Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530 / Mercedes-Benz NC42F. You may wish to mention it on the Oxford and Chilterns Bus website page. In fact, I and a few others were travelling on that bus. Fortunately, I was able to ring my wife to pick me up. Others on the bus had to ring for a taxi to take them into HW.  The next bus after that was 70 minutes later as shown on the Arrivabus website:

Picture by David Hillas.

Gavin Francis

... majority of pictures taken in Oxford Street, High Wycombe on March 11th.

StreetLite 2325 is seen with a service 33, 2401 with a 300 and 2786 again with a 33 working.

Citaro variety with 3015 in the rain  with a 1A, 3027 has a 32 and 3027 is also working the 32.

Two pictures of a 30 working by 3032 which appears to be midway having a repaint into the new livery!

3923 is working the 41, lacking a proper destination display. These 58 plate Citaros must have a significant mileage by now.

Now in the latest livery 3925 is seen heading for Bourne End with route 37.

GreenLine livery adorns Tourismo 7213 passing the remains of The Mound at Marble Arch on March 7th,

Gavin Francis

... again the majority of pictures taken in Oxford Street, High Wycombe on March 11th.

Scania 243 is seen working the 36 with 941 working the 27.

401 works the 103 whilst 405 has The One in Oxford Street.

Citaros 860 with The One and 869 working the 39.

ex LG WDL1 (the unique Wrights DAF LX58CWG) now 938 is seen providing a 36 service to Bourne End.

I was wondering why we had not seen 975 in recent weeks and when Gavin visited Wycombe low and behold the bus working the 34.

After appearing in Oxford on March 2nd working 5 and 400 roads, 431 has not reappeared in service with in Oxford or Wycombe. 

David Beynon

It appears that the Sunday workings on 6 and 35 road still use the same buses but are not timed through.
668 is seen heading for Abingdon with a 35 road service on March 13th and will later work 6 road.

Jack Cooper

Scania 222 is seen working an 11 road service on March 8th, unusual now for deckers and usually run by two Citaros.

Scania 228 seen working river rapids X39 on March 9th.

Brookes 371 with a U1 heading for Wheatley Campus passes Carfax Tower on March 8th.

Brooks MMC 603 seen working river rapids X40 in Westgate on March 9th.

Working a Brookes U6 in High Street, 608 is seen on March 8th.

city5 branded 657 Sarah Waugh is seen in The High on March 9th.

X3 branded 663 is seen with a 4 road service inn Westgate on March 9th.

X3 branded 664 is seen in St Aldates working a 400 service on March 11th.

city6 668 is seen in Magdalen Street West on March 9th.

670 and 671 are seen working the remaining Park & Ride service on March 9th and 12th respectively.

Yellow 685 is passing The Carfax Tower with a 15 road working on March 8th.

Sister 687 in 8/9 road livery seen in Westgate with an 8 road working on March 9th.

Back from Covid vaccination duties, Citaro 841 is seen working 15 road duties in High Street on March 8th.
This bus also spent a  day working Park & Ride 400 services.

845 is seen back working 4 road along St Aldates on March 9th.

901  near Abingdon then passes 902 in St Aldates whilst working X3 road on March 11th.

901 and 903 in St Aldates on March 8th. 

Jack Cooper

Looking spruce and tidy Tourismo 34 is seen in Gloucester Green with a Gatwick service on March 8th.

As I publish this issue all four remaining Interdecks are in use working Airline services on March 15th.
Above 69 is seen in The High on March 9th.

I have not published any pictures of 198 recently and here it is High Street on March 9th.

Scania 203 is seen with a respectable load in St Giles on March 12th.
I know that it is descriptive of the Guide but they would hardly have a Dead Guide would they !!!!
Maybe a Personal Guide might be better ? Please excuse my humour. 

David Beynon

908 is seen looking immaculate with the X2 in St Aldates on March 13th.

Gavin Francis

.... caught up with Thames Travel at the Carousel depot in High Wycombe recently.

865 is seen at Carousel on March 11th, the  reason is not known.

Jack Cooper

Seemingly Didcot depot still some duties on the X38 as seen by 854 in Wallingford along with 855 on March 13th.
One has to admit that variety is the spice of life.

Two Scanias, 206 and 212 work the X1 on March 11th both seen in Abingdon, the latter heading for Headington !!

Citaros 866 on the 11th with 868 two days earlier working the X1.

When a service is operated by buses in the same livery it looks good, 224 - 226 - 227 - 231 and 623 all bear the same grey livery on March 11th. 

However on the same day 248 and 944 were also employed plus 621 working the X2.

Also the X2 saw ex London 935 with an X2 on March 8th seen in Abingdon.

Scania 913, looking very smart in The High on March 9th with an X32 for the J R.

441 is seen in Oxford Road, Abingdon with a 34 service on March 11th.

Jack Cooper

Long E20D 454 is seen in Broad Street and then along Longwall working the ST1 on March 9th. 

Gavin Francis

I see ex-Motts MB07BUS has ended up with Dilwyn's Deiniolen now registered YG07AUF.

This is the bus I started my 2008 trip to Lands End from Stokenchurch.

Oh, happy days ! Ed.

Gavin Francis

Chalfont's BV69KPR at Marble Arch on March 7th working the A11 to Northampton.

Skills operate this Levante III seen at Marble Arch with a 450 working to Nottingham on March 7th. 

Jack Cooper

Oxford Bus have reinstated National Express branding for coach 56 working the 737 service in Gloucester Green on March 8th.
For a period of time the company, whilst the 737 was suspended due to Covid, ran this coach in white on various contract work. 

Stagecoach UK Bus

In a surprise move, Stagecoach announced on 9th March 2022 that it is no longer recommending acceptance of the National Express merger offer to its shareholders. The merger is now off the table at Stagecoach where the Directors are now recommending that shareholders accept an offer from Inframobility UK Bidco Limited.

Dave & Deric about West

We have just received the Period 11 Fleet Card for Stagecoach West and have summarised it for you as follows. Changes relating to Thames Transit are highlighted in yellow.

Transfers                   27705             Gloucester                to         Banbury (confirmation of previous report)

To Reserve               47621             Cheltenham              to         Reserve

Sold/Gone                    18090             Disposal                    to         Gone (Dealer)

                                    35212             Disposal                    to         Gone (Dealer)

We’ve picked up the following changes to the Stagecoach Oxford fleet:

Transfers                   28746             Banbury                     to         Gloucester (confirmation of previous report)

Sold/Gone                34471             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                34472             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                34832             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                39683             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                39685             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                39699             Disposal                    to         Gone
                                47451             Disposal                    to         Gone

In addition, not yet officially confirmed, five  ADL E200 36734-38 transferred this week from Stagecoach West Scotland. They will probably be allocated to Stroud and Swindon to replace Pointer Darts.

You will no doubt be aware that it is the Cheltenham Gold Cup Race Meeting next week. We will let you have a list of buses on loan for the Races in due course.

Frazer Peddle

This one turned up at Horspath Road on March 14th. It was on it's way to Cheltenham but it was diverted to our depot due to mechanical issues.

Thomas Walker-Werth

I caught one of the former X5 Plaxton Elites on the Falcon in Bristol on Sunday. I thought you might like it for the site!

I've also included two bus photos from Cirencester on my way home as well, as that's more in your area.

Once at Oxford 10686 is now seen in Cirencester working the 58.

15976 is seen again in Cirencester this time working the 51.

More photos from the trip are at: 

David Beynon

Well, 15757 in the new local livery looks clean working the 7 to Woodstock on Sunday, March 13th.

Jack Cooper

MMC 106778 is seen in Magdalen Street West out of service on March 12th.

Gold 15759 manages to appear working the S5, its branded route, in Oxford on March 12th.

However on March 9th the same cannot be said for 15760 which is seen working the 2A service from Oxford.

Now a regular sight working the S4, 27701 is seen in Oxford on March 12th. Gold 28744 has not appeared since March 11th,
so it may be being made ready for transfer to West?

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Banbury's 37630 out on Banbury town routes instead of the usual 505 March 11th. 

50274 is notable by its absence in recent weeks  although I am advised it is still around Horspath Road depot. 50233, 5 and 50 are no longer recorded as being at Oxford.

Also note under megabus below 50264 and 50266.

Gavin Francis

50439 is seen heading through Notting Hill Gate towards Victoria on March 7th, looking a credit to Stagecoach.

Jack Cooper

Seen boarding in The High, Oxford Panorama 50424 gleams in the sun on March 9th, certainly a credit to the company.

50425 in equally well presented appearance is seen in Gloucester Green ready for loading on March 8th. 

Stagecoach Megabus/Joint Venture

Volvo B11Rs 54259/61/62 are now allocated to Cumbernauld (Stagecoach West Scotland), whilst Van Hool ‘Sleeper’ coaches 50305/10/11 currently delicensed for repairs are not expected to re-enter service at Cumbernauld.
Reserve Fleet Van Hool Astromega with Stagecoach East Scotland, 50266, has returned to main fleet service at Perth with 50264 stood down for repairs. 

London operators

Andrew Webb

The Sonic 2 movie, set for release on 1 April, is the subject of the latest all over advert campaign in London. 

LT755 shows the offside treatment as it sets off from Archway with another journey on route 17 through to London Bridge. 

LT965 displays the nearside as it arrives at Marble Arch after another trip from Streatham on route 137.

The latest DKNY advert in London, first seen in the last OCBP, features a different colour scheme. 

Stagecoach's LT369 shows off both designs at Tottenham Court Road station.

Just two of the hydrogen double deckers have made it back into service after the fleet (along with others in Aberdeen and Birmingham) were grounded last month following the discovery of problems with a bracket.  Route 7 between Oxford Circus and East Acton is consequently now in the hands of older hybrid vehicles which have now gained blinds to aid intending passengers. 

VWH2043 rounds Marble Arch on 12 March bound for its suburban destination.

Gavin Francis

LT969 wrapped for Michael Kors at Marble Arch on March 7th.

London United LT123 seen in Notting Hill Gate with a wrap for Rare Beauty on March 7th.

London United (now with prominent RATP branding) BCE47039 seen in Notting Hill Gate on March 7th.

The branding is now RATP as 71 plate 47087 again with a 148 and  much older VH45119 with a 28 both in Notting Hill Gate.

Metroline variety with LT800 on the 16, VWH2233 with a 328 and VWH2366 working the 98.

Stagecoach London now operates City Sightseeing London tours as seen with 19132 passing The Mound at Marble Arch. 

Michael Wadman around Cheltenham some years ago

National 2 374 seen working the 94 in Cheltenham on April 6th 1996.

This time a C&D coach in National Express livery at Cheltenham, G548LWU on April 6th 1996.

Mercedes 649 again on April 6th 1996.

Mercedes 707 working route C in Cheltenham, again on April 6th 1996.

847 "Pride of Northway" registered M847HDF in Cheltenham working service 41, again on April 6th 1996. 

Paul Bateson

Canadian Pride - GO Transit 8452 7925BL Pride - Richmond Hill, Transit Terminal on March 8th by Paul Bateson.

This follows the pictures of Oxford tube 50272 with "Pride" livery. 

Barry Holman

Can anyone solve this query? I always believed COMS never had any Leyland Nationals in its fleet, yet a fellow member of the Maidstone and District group insists that M&D bought two from COMS in 1992, NRD147M and TBL169M and they listed as such in the M&D fleet list. I've lived in Oxford since 1977 and don't remember ever seeing any, even with South Midland after privatisation. I do remember M&D buying two Leyland Lynx from COMS formerly with coach bodies used on the X90, but these aren't the ones in question.

I think I have an answer but others are better qualified than me. Ed. 

Andrew Webb in Dartford

Go Coach launched route AZ in a flurry of publicity during August 2021.  Linking Dartford with Gravesend via the huge new Amazon LCY3 warehouse on the site of the former Littlebrook Power Station, the 24/7 route was designed to ferry workers as well as being open to the general public.  From 1 April it is being quietly withdrawn and replaced by an Arriva operated service focused on shift changeovers at the warehouse. 

Go Coach acquired a batch of former Abellio E400s for the operation, decking them out in a promotional livery for the job opportunities Amazon offer. 

9507 is seen arriving in Dartford on 12 March, complete with blue blinds as seen on 'express' routes in LT days. 

Go Coach retained the Abellio fleet numbers, as shown with the same bus being seen when new at Putney Bridge on 22 May 2020.

Go Coach also operate routes Dart 1 and Dart 2 around Dartford, interworked on 12 March by this Solo SR. 

The former Routemaster cherished plate disguises that this bus is approaching 13 years in service
after starting life with Eastonways in Ramsgate as YJ59GGF.