Issue nr. 199
Saturday, April 16th 2022


I must apologise for the delay to this issue but this has been caused by a period of poor health by both my wife and I. Even this issue may be delayed until Sunday as there is much to include being some three days late.

I trust readers will appreciate the inclusion of late contributions. Actually early if you follow my thoughts !!

An interesting development, recorded below is the use of Contractors by National Express and megabus in greater numbers and the apparent demise of Flixbus who are less in London these days.

The use of other operators coaches remind me of the old Yelloway service to Devon and the South Coast back in the early '60s where at the weekend one could see as many as 90 dupes between Rochdale-Manchester-Torquay when it seemed that anything with 4 wheels could be used! Eve in those days a driver could only work as far as Bristol where another driver would take the coach to Torquay and back to Bristol where the first driver would be waiting to continue to Manchester. I know as I worked this duty on many occasions in 1963.

Andrew Dyer

Attached a number-appropriate picture for issue number 199. I think every young bus spotter has his or her favourite bus and this was mine in the mid 60's!


COMS 199 (199 KFC) was allocated to Bicester depot for a good part of its life and so made very regular appearances on Route 95 from Ardley to Oxford, which I used every day to travel to and from school. Here it is in the old Gloucester Green Bus Station when nearly new. It was part of COMS' last delivery of low-height AEC Regents. The East Lancs body had the sunken gangway design to achieve the low height capable of going under Oxford station bridge. (Photographer unknown)

I really appreciate the contribution from Andrew, now in far away New Zealand. 

Oxford's 354 is seen working an X39 service on April 6th along the Dorchester By-pass. Jack Cooper

Recent Arriva 3975 seen having a change with Rail Replacement on April 15th approaching Hemel Hempstead station. Hazel Richardson

Carousel Citaro 860 is seen heading east through Stokenchurch with a link40 service on April 9th. Malcolm Crowe

A change from the three quarter view without obstruction, Thames Travel's 939 with a 45 near Abingdon on April 14th. Bob Chalmers

Oxford receives funding to speed up buses

A fleet of 159 electric buses is set to serve Oxford and its surrounding areas after the city’s bid for Government funding was approved

Oxfordshire County Council has been awarded £32.8 million from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. Along with £6m from the council itself and £43.7m from Stagecoach and Go-Ahead Group-owned Oxford Bus Company, the scheme will deliver the electric buses and the infrastructure to charge them in a package worth a total of £82.5m.

This funding will support plans to create a zero carbon transport network in Oxford, following updated proposals to introduce a city-wide workplace parking levy, traffic filters and a wider zero-emission zone.

Proposed new traffic filters are expected to help reduce bus journey times by at least 10%, with consultations on the plans set for the summer and a decision due in the autumn. The commitment from bus operators is dependent on reduced bus journey times, and the county council will receive its funding after its Cabinet has made a decision on the proposed traffic filters.

The new buses will be used on bus routes operating wholly within the Oxford Smart Zone and are expected to prevent an estimated 9,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Bill Cotton, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Environment and Place, said: “This is wonderful news for Oxfordshire and a major leap forward for transport decarbonisation and cleaner air in the county. Along with other transport schemes proposed in Oxford, this new fleet of electric buses will transform our public transport system and encourage more people to travel by bus.

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Group said: “This is excellent news and a pivotal step in our collective aim to radically improve air quality in Oxford. Go-Ahead Group, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel have always been at the forefront of introducing sustainable low-carbon technology in the UK and Oxfordshire bus operators have committed £43m to the electric programme. However, to make a fleet transition financially viable we need to speed up bus journey times by 10%.

“We now look forward to the public consultation on transport and connectivity in Oxford this summer. We are committed to a zero-emission future, but the cost of delivery makes it critical we all work together to ensure it is delivered effectively. If this can be done, we can provide 159 electric buses in two years.”

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director at Stagecoach West, said: “We welcome the announcement, which will complement the significant investment and initiatives by operators as we work together to transition to a zero-emission bus fleet and help the country achieve its net zero ambitions.

“Stagecoach has already started its journey towards our target of a fully zero-emission UK bus fleet by 2035, and there is also a major opportunity to deliver cleaner air by people switching to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking. Britain’s buses have an exciting future ahead, helping decarbonise the country, as well as driving economic recovery and levelling up our communities.”

Of the 159 new electric buses, Oxford Bus Group will operate 104 and Stagecoach West 55.

Graham Low

Thank you very much for the continuing flow of interesting news. I'm intrigued that you seem not to have commented on the significant news that Oxford is going to be funded to have 159 electric buses - double and single deck. I read about it in the local and trade press about a fortnight ago. They will be used on city routes, plus such places as Kidlington and Sandford. Managers of both companies are quoted and it seems likely that this is a programme for 2023/4. I have seen no details of types of bus or routes or frequencies but clearly there will be a mass clearance of todays buses to other operators. I have read that a Wright electric StreetDeck will be trialled here - presumably by Oxford Bus. 

Interesting news indeed and this introduction will add much to the enthusiast scene in the coming months. Now all fully commented on !

Nick Ross with pictures from the Lewes Running Day

Two  photos from the very enjoyable Bus running day at Lewes for the Ukraine relief fund on Sunday April 3rd.  

Leyland Olympian C395DML leaves Sheffield Park station on the Bluebell after working a service 3 from Lewes 

Looking good Bristol VR XAP 642S arrives at Lewes bus station prior to working the 1400 service 1 to Seaford  

Tony Bungay's visit to the rally on April 10th 2022 recorded in pictures

As you can see I went to Brooklands and pleased to report that it seemed my concerns about fuel supply issues did not appear to have any effect on vehicle attendance, there being a good selection of vehicles new and not so new. The weather was pleasant if a touch chilly.

Photos are self explanatory and on this e-mail includes Sullivan Buses Enviro 400 with advert promoting recently taken on Route 84

The rear  shot of RML2760 shows the poster that featured in the first series of Secrets of the Transport Museum, that showed it’s creative process.

The London and Country vehicle would have been of the type, that showed the then new London & Country livery
at what was then the Cobham Bus Museums  April gathering in 1989, held in the Co-op car park Addlestone across the road from Addlestone bus garage

Two Thames Valley vehicles in, to my mind. one of the more attractive modern liveries.

Further pictures give a flavour of the event which was of great interest.


Surely one of the most iconic buses of all time - RT1.

The selection was varied and in the case of Stagecoach surprising !

The opportunity to take pictures of attendees in front of Concord was a nice touch.

For someone who is now in his '80s this Guildford is a real treat and so pleasing to see under restoration. Ed.

Many thanks to Tony for this great selection which I enjoyed very much and hope readers do too. Ed. 

An Electric move in Oxford

Gavin Francis

Oxford Council have bought this really old milk float and have spent a lot of money on it. It now patrols the streets jet washing them clean. Being electric it is good for The City environment, pity the pressure washer runs off a constantly running diesel engine!


Kevin Fitzpatrick

A surprise visitor - University of Northampton's E4 BUS parked up in the Banbury coach park overnight on April 15th.


David Beynon 

Some of April 10th's rail replacement vehicles including an ex OBC Plaxton.

Weavaway were also in use. 

The Mound at Marble Arch - update

Gavin Francis records the latest view of the Mound at Marble Arch under demolition on April 8th. 

Coach visitors to Oxford

David Beynon

Delta Coaches Y26BUS in Broad Street on April 6th.

Jack Cooper

I Coaches BJ15BDZ in St Giles on April 8th.

Olympia Travel BV69LMM in St Giles on April 8th. 

Fleet news and developments

Below we have the latest allocation list from Paul Swann of Arriva.

Arriva fleet lists/SR FLEET 11.04.22.xlsx

Jack Cooper

Wrights 3797 is seen at the top of New Road woking the 280 on April 6th.

Jack also visited Reading on April 5th.

The two Wycombe-Reading routes are shown by 3010 with the 800 and 3015 with the 850 on April 5th.

Malcolm Crowe

Recent pictures from Cressex depot. I had understood that 4819 and 6000 are to be replaced with some deckers from Midlands but so far they remain in service.

Both have been seen in service over the past week.

some Citaros are still in MAX livery as seen above by 3922 on April 9th.

Thomas Walker 

A picture of an Arriva driver trainer in CMK on April 6th. - Arriva Midlands. Scania/Irizar Training Vehicle 6764M 9559, ex Telling-Golden-Miller.
This is now allocated to Milton Keynes.

Tony Bungay

Taken in Aylesbury in past week.

A chance shot older style and newer style Enviro 400 vehicles, with Aylesbury’s Sapphire branded 5461 actually on it’s branded route!
Followed by Hemel’s 6488 on the 500, it was a pity it was not one of Hemel’s 320 branded vehicles on this occasion to fully complete the comparison!

Lastly looking again to have recently come out the paint shop is Citaro 3031 on the 300

Gavin Francis

Still; to be seen around Victoria are BlaBlaCar as above with FJ819WT heading for France on April 11th.

Thomas Walker

Following on from my post about the launch of the new MK route 440

I've now sampled Britannia Bus's other new route in MK, the 450 a once daily route.

Wright MX05CHO on April 6th.
This restores a service to Woburn Sands, which lost all its services in April 2021.

It interworks with route 89 from the Northamptonshire villages.

 Full details of the new service can be found at the link under the logo above. 

Jack Cooper

Still busy with the 250 to Bicester BX70GHN is seen in Oxford on April 8th.


Gavin Francis

Changes appear to be taking place with seemingly less services in recent weeks.

L29URG seen on May 25th 2021 has now moved operators.

Ridleys are still working for Flixbus as seen above on April 5th.

Turners are also still working the services, YJ19BBN on April 5th.

I should qualify my comments that this reduction is an impression only based on sightings.


Malcolm  Crowe

A transfer of note is that 974 now is based at Carousel as seen on April 16th.

432 and 242 are seen on April 9th.

938 (now with fleet number) and 244 seen in the overflow yard in Wycombe on April 9th.

Carousel variety on April 9th.

Citaro 883  is seen heading for Thame through Stokenchurch with a link40 service on April 9th.

Nigel Peach

StreetLite 404 is seen at the depot on April 7th.

979 and 980 also on April 7th.

Compared to the picture above from MC, Citaro is no longer 871 but MB51 back to Carousel when new but is not there at present.
I understand it is with a local owner who intends restoring this bus to its original livery.

As is now the norm. Carousel has transferred two Scania deckers to Oxford for use there during the Easter school holidays. We have some pictures again in this issue of these buses working Oxford routes.

Gavin Francis 

 Gavin caught 217 working the 11 from St Aldates on April 15th. Interesting as Watlington is close to Lewknor which the link40 serves!

15 road's 683 unusually seen working the 35 on April 6th. It will bring a splash of colour to the customers.

668 with a 35 in St Aldates on April 10th.

Graham Mildenhall

On April 8th Carousel's 218 is seen in Abingdon  working the 35. 

Jack Cooper

airline 33 is seen in St Aldates on April 9th looking very trim and tidy.

Again in St Aldates working 35 road 214 was once with Carousel and 218 is in Oxford on loan in the early days of April.

GWR branded 221 is seen in St Aldates with a 5A working on April 9th. Then 317, converted Hybrid, on April 8th.

Scania 251 shows the change to the riverrapids branding with the removal of the X38 replaced by the NX40 here on April 6th.

354 is seen working 3 road in St Aldates on April 9th.

367 is very clean and tidy when working an X3 in St Aldates on April 9th.

602 in Westgate with a 4A and 657 at the same spot both on April 6th.

X3 branded 665 working the X40 with 687 from the back both on April 6th.

After its work for the NHS 840 is back working city routes as seen above heading for Abingdon on April 6th.

Sister 845 is working 15 road in St Aldates on April 8th.

Jack Cooper

Also looking clean and tidy, 210 is seen in St Aldates with an X32 working on April 9th.

Unusually 454 is seen with an X3 service in Abingdon on April 6th.

This time in Reading  861 is working the 143 to Goring on April 5th. 

Andrew Webb

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Bus Company unifying long distance coach services under the 'National Express' banner, arguably the most enduring legacy of the NBC era. 

Some coaches are now receiving this discreet logo adjacent to the door.

Gavin Francis 

An operator using a further variety of Contractors is NEx. 

Acklams here with an Irizar YN71ZYD ready to work a 540 service to Manchester on April 10th.

Horseman of Reading also provide coaches for NEx here with an A6 service on April 12th.

Here use three of their coaches in April for A6 services to Stansted.

To my surprise a National Express Levante III 280 was also working the A6 on April 5th.

Working a 409 service is Levante III 335 on April 5th.

Edwards run this 22 plate Levante III, BV22VTX here with a 403 on April 5th.

As can be seen above most pictures are taken on April 5th and 6th showing the wide variety of operators for National Express.

Jack Cooper

Travelstar NE67TSE seen with a 210 service in Oxford on April 6th. 

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Gavin Francis

758 with Platinum Jubilee livery working the 702 in Buckingham Palace Road on April 5th.

Jack Cooper

Jack visited Reading on April 5th.

201 bearing the once Mayoral registration MRD1 with a 33 service.

207 with a 26 in yellow and 218 with a 16 in blue.

Scania K270UB's 406, 414 and 419 showing the livery variety used on these buses for local routes in Reading.

Another livery is that used on 679 for the berries route here showing 29.

Further variety with 750 working the 50 and 711 on its usual branded route 17.

754 is in claret route livery heading for Lower Early on route 21.

jetblack 791 working the 1 to Newbury. A pleasant route to travel on.

reading 906 not Thames Travel this time with orange 13 to Woodley.

An interesting wrap for sport 1202 works the 16.

Many thanks to Jack for his interesting update. 

Tony Bungay

All taken in Aylesbury in past week, recently repainted Transbus Dennis Dart of Redline, this vehicle the past week has been regular on Service 110,
sadly the destination did not come out on the first photo, although the second taken on a misty morning,
between passing cars shows it fully, as well as the gleaming paintwork reflecting a car slightly behind!

Much work on presentation is taking place at Redline producing to interesting vehicles.

Some of the older buses are now being replaced. 

Gavin Francis

Gavin has provided notes regarding proposed changes to the Hospital services in Oxford, currently 700, 800 and 900. The pictures tell the tale.

The 700 was inherited from an operator which closed.

MMC Witney based 11233 now carries this super rear advert seen on April 15th in Magdalen Street West.

Gold luxury for Blackbird Leys route 1 with 15934 seen on April 15th in Frideswide Square..

Jack Cooper

10431 working a 1 with 10685 an 8 on April 9th, the previous day 12012 was seen working the 8.

Variety in Banbury on April 9th, 27704 with a 500, 36111 battle scarred with a B9 and 36764 looking better with a B3.

E200s 36930 and 36932 working local town routes in Banbury on April 9th.

Gavin Francis

citi branded 10871 is seen leaving Gloucester Green with an X5 service on April 5th.
It is branded as being a Peterborough bus.

Andrew Webb

Ongoing work to redevelop the office building above Bullied Way saw the Oxford Tube stop move round the corner onto Elizabeth Bridge. 

50440 and 50439 await return to their home city on April 10th, against the backdrop of the redevelopment.

Gavin Francis

There was a serious accident involving a cyclist near to our stop on BPR so we were unable to turn left onto Elizabeth Bridge so we had to use VCS to get back on route on BPR as seen below.

 On April 6th a road closure resulted in tube services using VCS to regain their normal line of route instead of Bulleid Way.

The above pictures show recent destination screen changes ready for the future.
Previous displays such as Oxford have been changed and now present a small Oxford which does not present a good image.

Jack Cooper

Panorama 50431 heads down St Aldates showing the very poor destination display on April 8th. 

Gavin Francis

Ex NEx South Gloucester 59225 seen along Buckingham Palace Road on April 5th.

One of the oldest Interdecks still in service 54212 seen leaving Gloucester Green with an M34 on April 12th.

A surprise for Gavin was 50243 seen above on July 24th 2013 which appeared in VCS on April 15th 2022
now with a company called Keeping ( but working again for megabus from Glasgow.

Not so long ago this Linburg Coach L29URG was working for Flixbus but now in megabus blue
working the M45 near VCS on April 6th.

New Adventure B11PLX has now reappeared in service with megabus here with an M7 on April 6th.
This coach was new as YY14AEZ seen in Beaumont Street, Oxford on August 11th 2018 in  the first picture above.

Spencer Graham are also providing coaches for megabus service like SG20BUS in Bulleid Way on April 12th.

Seen in Elizabeth Street another megabus contractor is Bouden with an M15 on April 11th.

MPT in the same location with MP21MPT working an M15 service on April 15th.

So a good many contractors are now involved with megabus which adds much to the interest of that operator.   

Tony Bungay

PA04CYK in Vale livery on a School Service - April 4th 2022.

Walters OY21CCU, a Neoplan seen by The Ashmolean on April 8th. 

London operators

Andrew Webb

Stagecoach have recently cascaded some 08 plate Scanias onto their City Sightseeing London operation.  They have been converted to partial open top and lost their London blinds in favour of an electronic destination display.  They are believed to be for an enhanced service and to replace the two Cambridge City Sightseeing Volvos which have been on loan for the last couple of years. 

15027 is seen in Whitehall soaking up the sun whilst splashing through the remnants of the rain which deluged the area minutes earlier.

Gavin Francis

Gavin's contribution features some of the latest wraps in London/

abellio CAETANO 1520 is seen working a C10 on April 6th.

Looking impressive, Golden Tours use this Volvo for Harry Potter tours, LF20AXC in Victoria on April 5th.

Metroline LT464 wrapped for Rare Beauty working the 390 on April 5th.

Metroline LT775 also working the 390 this time wrapped for Sonic on April 8th.

RATP BCE47092 with an x140 to Heathrow in Harrow on April 8th.

RATP BCE47025 with a 94 at Acton covered for OVO on April 8th.

RATP BE37047 with a C1 in Buckingham Palace Road on April 8th.

RATP BME27015 with an H9 in Harrow on April 8th.

RATP BCE47106 working a 183 to Pinner in Harrow on April 8th.

RATP LT664 working the 211 on April 8th wrapped for ZAPP.

RATP TDE90072 carrying out driver training in Acton on April 8th.

Gavin has also provided before and after pictures of the recently arrived Stagecoach Scanias now seen working City Sightseeing services.

Stagecoach 15024 in Romford - June 23rd 2015, 15026 working the 252 in Hornchurch  - August 28th 2018
and 15026 in Buckingham Palace Road on April 5th.

The competition is still active as seen with this TOOTBus DLP248 in Buckingham Palace Road on April 5th.

Michael Wadman

I note that there seems to be a bit of confusion over the photos of Cheltenham District vehicles that I’ve been posting on south west photo group recently, so hopefully the following historical info may be helpful.

Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus Co Ltd took over the operations of the Bristol Omnibus Co at Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud, and Swindon in June 1983 and was purchased by Western Travel in November 1986.

Subsequently Swindon depot was transferred to a new company, Swindon & District Bus Company Ltd, in December 1991.

Cheltenham Depot was transferred to a new company, Cheltenham District Traction Co Ltd, in August 1993. This revived the name of an old Balfour Beattie company that had been run as a subsidiary of Bristol Tramways / Omnibus Co from 1950 until March 1980 when it ceased trading as such and was absorbed by Bristol OC – but it was not the same company.

All three companies passed to Stagecoach in December 1993 when they acquired Western Travel.

Cheltenham District and Swindon & District both ceased trading and their operations were re-absorbed by Cheltenham & Gloucester in October 2014 as part of a Stagecoach re-organisation of their subsidiary companies.

Therefore the photos that I’m currently posting are of vehicles that were at the time operating for Cheltenham District Traction Co Ltd.

So, here are some more pictures by Michael from those now far off days.

Cheltenham District 201 in Cheltenham on August 11th 1999.

Cheltenham District 615 and 616 in Cheltenham on July 14th 1999.

Cheltenham District 920 in Cheltenham on July 14th 1999.

Cheltenham District 929  in Cheltenham on July 14th 1999.

937 working service 2 in Cheltenham on July 14th 1999. 

David Gray

I visited Andover yesterday as I was aware that the Stagecoach South depot had a couple of route branded vehicles on loan from other depots on the south, 10952 and 36827. I believe these acquisitions are to cover vehicles undergoing servicing but also to cover additional Active8 services where Go Ahead are suffering from staff shortages.


There are a number of vehicles of interest e.g. two of the oldest Optare Solos in the fleet and also a couple of veteran Darts.

Some of the oldest deckers as well as later ones have recieved the new local livery.
Some readers may remember that your Editor used the activ8 for his trip to Lands End in 2008.

A further selection of single decks.

Some of the oldest SC Solos are still at work with South.

The Solo SR is also well represented in Andover.

Many thanks to David for some very interesting photographs.

James Freeman

My flickr album of Plymouth citybus and here is the album.