Issue nr. 204
Wednesday, May 25th 2022


So, for this issue we have a number of interesting features including several contributions from the Didcot event which took place last week. Then as the Queens Platinum Jubilee draws nearer some pictures of buses in special liveries from two readers. This is followed by transport news regarding the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The sad news of a bus fire in Binfield Heath is preceded by the news of Wycombe Wanderers loss in the recent match at Wembley.

Finally we have Buses in The Landscape and picture file contributions of local transport interest from James Freeman.

This event is the 5th occasion TV&GWOT has supported the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre in organising a Vintage Bus Running Day alongside the Transport Rally. 
Information about previous events can be found 

I received numerous contributions from this event and include a selection below.

Andrew Simmonds

The selection above gives a good record of the vehicles present at the event.

Dave Allen

Another window on the event.

David Beynon

This Bristol is as old as me, or at least the chassis is - 1940.

A favourite body design of mine is this 1940s Weymann, this time a Daimler from Exeter.

How wonderful the old COMS livery was, especially when seen in bright sunshine with blue sky.

Thames Travel provided their newest decker at the event as seen by 909.

Jack Cooper

A lovely Dennis from Aldershot & District, nr 178 basking in the afternoon sunlight.

This Tilly looks as if only just delivered. Film makers note !

TTT's 909 very clean engine compartment.

Children had the opportunity to ride on these delightful little buses.

Bristol VR SFJ106R is seen in Wantage, a nice change from current users of this town.

I seem to remember that most drivers said how heavy on the steering these Fodens' were. An immaculate example.

Another arrival at Wantage of a type not unfamiliar in the town.

Finally for those of us who remember UK roads full of the ECW Bristol up and down the land, this picture recreated a memory.
This is an early post war version denoted by the squared off slider vents.

Thursday, June 2nd 2022

The next issue on June 1st, nr 205, will feature buses celebrating this and past Jubilees. If you have photos to contribute please send them to me.

I remember the Coronation in 1953 when most buses have at least a poster in the lower deck windows on both size celebrating the beginning of The Elizabeth Age. I wonder if anyone has a picture depicting this poster?

I am including here some of the latest Jubilee wraps from contributors.

Andrew Webb

The only example of the iconic New Routemaster to be decked out in TfL's Jubilee livery is the appropriately numbered LT70. 

After skirting the back garden of Buckingham Palace, HM The Queen's London residence,
it is seen on 21 May circumnavigating Hyde Park Corner on route 148 bound for the grittier environs of Shepherds Bush and White City. 

Another appropriate fleet number for a Jubilee wrap is Abellio's 2022, habitually used on route 270 linking Putney Bridge with Mitcham. 
It is seen at the former on 21 May whilst awaiting departure with another trip. 

Flagship of TfL's Jubilee fleet is London United's BCE47070, a second example with '70' in the fleet number.
It has been treated to the very appropriate cherished registration number ER70LXX,
which it displays to good effect leaving Hounslow bound for Tolworth on service 281 on May 22nd. 

Falcon Buses have this simple but effective branding on an Enviro 200 MMC,
seen at Hounslow station whilst working rail replacement services for South Western Railway on May 22nd.

Gavin Francis

Stagecoach have E400 12334 from Bow Garage and seen in Marylebone working the 205 on May 23rd.

Oxford Street dressed for a Royal occasion seen on May 20th.

Please find a draft version of a listing of the Stagecoach vehicles involved in the shuttle services for the Athletics event in Birmingham.

SKM/SKM/Birmingham Athletics May 2022 Stagecoach UK Bus.pdf

It remains work in progress and any further information towards producing a comprehensive and accurate list would be appreciated directly to Steve Knight at the address below.

It matters not who won or lost but how we played the game.

Nigel Peach

I was among the fans who went to Wembley on Saturday, with my two sons and two eldest grandsons. We had a great day, but sadly Wycombe Wanderers lost 2-0 to Sunderland in the League 1 Play Off Final, meaning it is Sunderland who will be playing in the Championship next season. 

Sunderland fans outnumbered the Wycombe Wanderers fans somewhat, as evidenced by this picture taken as we came out of Wembley Park tube station. And, oh look, I just happened to get a bus in the picture! The fans all mingled together in a good atmosphere.

Martin Dowling

Bus Fire at Binfield Heath

You probably know all about this, but just in case here are a couple of links.  No-one was hurt as the driver evacuated everyone from the 800 bus, apparently after a car driver alerted him to smoke coming from the engine. 

There was a fierce fire as you can see from the video on the BBC site here

which set fire to a telegraph pole as well, bringing cables down. 

The Oxford Mail site shows the aftermath with the bus completely destroyed 

Thanks for all of your work compiling your weekly news report.

Many thanks to Martin and other readers who commented regarding this event. The bus which caught fire and being totally destroyed was Citaro 3043 BV58MLJ Ed. 

Picture files of interest

James Freeman

James sent these two links with interesting pictures for readers to view. These include a variety of pictures, with buses, lorries, rail and the Royal Helicopter on a recent visit to Oxford.

Gavin Francis

A nice picture of a new Routemaster in Oxford Street on May 19th.

After many pictures from Gavin, there is just an image of a bus near Marble Arch with The Mound now completely removed.
This picture from May 20th.

Continuing the recent report on Rallies

Michael Wadman

It rather seems like the organisers of running days are making up for two years of lockdowns this year, as there appears to be something happening almost every weekend. 

So, I had what I’m pretty sure was my first ever ride in a Morris-Commercial last Saturday week, specifically this splendid vehicle which I’m sure you recognise as the Morris Motors Band bus from the Oxford Bus Museum.

I was surprised and delighted to find it taking part in the Isle of Wight Bus Museum’s Rydabus weekend,
and here it is basking in the sun during a photo stop on service 21 on East Cowes sea front.

Then the next day was of course the High Wycombe Running Day, where the weather wasn’t quite so good (but on the plus side didn’t have to worry about the sun being in the wrong place for photography), so here are some pictures I took on the day of the event.

GS13 on the 442 in Hicks Farm Estate and RF146 at Holmer Green on the 362A.

RF673 in Beaconsfield Old Town having just arrived on the 305,
with a blind change about to depart for Penn on the 373.

Coach visitors to Oxfordshire

David Beynon

Tetley's in Beaumont Street on May 18th.

These were taken during May 21st's walkabout, two in Beaumont Street and one in Woodstock Road.

May 23rd with two
VDLs for today and an earlier shot of the FASTLINE when it was engaged on rail replacement duties in 2018 with titles!

Johnsons YK20YSA outside the Ashmolean, St Giles on May 24th.

Gavin Francis

Tilley's Scania TIL 1253 in Oxford on May 19th.

Fleet news and developments

Not much to report this week apart from the previously mentioned demise of Citaro 3043.

Jack Cooper

In strong sunshine 5468 is seen in St Aldates on May 17th. 

Nigel Peach

Came home from John Lewis via Cressex today, May 25th. Five pictures attached for you to choose from. Very likely too late for this week's page.  (Just in Time Ed.)

Withdrawn DAF SB120 2782

The remains of Citaro 3043

Withdrawn DAF SB120 2787 with StreetLite 2328

Citaro 3915

Scania Omnilink 3506 hiding among other buses. According to the fleet list earlier this month, this bus is withdrawn.
It was suggested to me that this bus maybe returning to its original depot along with 3508. Ed.

Gavin Francis

Hearns BF21EOO seen working a 002 service heading for Bradford on May 20th.

Ridleys BV18AXR seen in Elizabeth Street on May 20th.

This is a surprise today, May 25th, Whippets FX23 - BL17XBB near VCS. 

I am told that Phil Southall,  the current Managing Director has been seconded to Go Ahead Group as Bus Performance Director.  My  colleague Luke Marion is acting as Interim Managing Director whilst I am gone.

I am sure we will miss Phil who has provided much information recently but I am Luke will assist?

Both Scanias, 217 and 218 have now returned to Wycombe. 

Gavin Francis 

A change from the norm', 661 is seen working 6 road on May 20th. 

Jack Cooper

Ex Hybrid 311 working the 400 and rebranded 360 with a 3 road service in St Aldates on May 17th.

Recently returned to service after repair, 601 is seen in St Aldates and then along Lodge Hill working the X3.

MMC 608 with Brookes branding is seen working a 5A service on May 17th.

The yellow livery brings a sunshine brightness to Oxford's streets when 685 is working 15 road in St Aldates on May 17th.

Now the oldest Citaro with The Oxford Bus Company, 840 is seen along Lode Hill on May 18th.

Jack Cooper

Reflecting life in Gloucester Green during a sunny afternoon, Tourismo 31 awaits its' next duty on May 16th.

May 21st and still the sun was shining when Tourismo 35 leaves for Heathrow.

Jack Cooper

Thames Travel Citaro 868 seen with a 98 service on May 22nd. 

Gavin Francis

Ambassador Travel's BK15AJU seen in Elizabeth Street with a 491 service on May 20th.

Galloway operating an 075 service seen in Elizabeth Street with a 491 service on May 19th.

Stotts with a 540 service to Manchester seen in Elizabeth Street with a 491 service on May 19th.

Jack Cooper

Oxford's 57 has regained full National Express livery seen here with a 737 on May 16th.

Philip Gates

Kings Ferry new livery a
s seen at their Open Day at the Gillingham depot on May 21st.

including Courtney, Newbury & District & Thames Valley

Kevin Fuller

As promised a few weeks ago, I finally managed to get to Bracknell to see the new Thames Valley single decker's - my first photos of 22-plate buses. On the day of my visit, 21st May, two of the three were in service, the remaining one 681, YX71OJE,being in the depot. 

Thames Valley 682, YX22OJF, an ADL Enviro 200 MMC is seen turning into Bracknell bus station with a 172 service. 

On the same day, similar 683 YX22OJG is on the stand in Bracknell bus station waiting its next departure time on route 194.

My thanks to Kevin for these pictures which I am pleased to publish. Ed. 

Kevin Fuller

A recent addition to the Red Eagle fleet is a an Alexander Dennis Enviro 200, acquired from Faresaver Buses in Chippenham, Wiltshire. 

Still carrying its previous owners livery, YX09AFJ is seen on May 17th
 whilst working the twice weekly 68 service from Slough to Maidenhead via Eton, Dorney and Cliveden
and is seen approaching Burnham on Taplow Common Road.

Gavin Francis

MMC 10989 working the S6 seen with East's 10871 with an X5 in Gloucester Green on May 20th. 

Gavin Francis

With the change of hospital services the 700 now serves Thornhill Park & Ride as seen by 10071 on May 20th.

It seems 15752 is being prepared for repaint when seen at Horspath depot on May 20th.

Gavin Francis

Distance livery adorns 10880 seen in Magdalen Street West with an X5 on May 20th. 

I hear a rumour that more new coaches may arrive in 2023, this is only a rumour. Certainly the service will busy over the upcoming Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Gavin Francis

Astromega made a foray into London on May 20th.

Still awaiting full repairs from an accident a few months ago is seen at Horspath on May 20th.

Jack Cooper

Panorama 50432 backs off stand in Gloucester Green for a journey to London on May 21st.

Gavin Francis

Interdecks 54281 and appropriately named 54288 are both seen in Bulleid Way on May 20th.

Darcey Bussell ready for service to Cardiff is seen in Buckingham Palace Road on May 19th.

Providing a nice change for an M20 service is 900 branded 50412 in VCS on May 20th.

Ex Neoplan demonstrator OU17ORL is seen in Elizabeth Street on May 20th. Operator for megabus unknown.

NAT Cardiff's BR19SGU is an ex Plaxton demonstrator working an M10 service on May 20th. 

London operators

There was a nasty fire involving an Electric Bus as reported in many areas of the press. 

I read a report from one correspondent which said "The batteries contain  lithium and magnesium phosphate so it's no wonder, when they catch fire, that it's a fairly lively reaction!".

One wonders how correct this is?

Andrew Webb

Reed have tapped into the Jubilee mood with this new advert campaign featuring Corgis, the dog beloved of HM The Queen, and a suitably regal strapline. 

Abellio's LT167 is seen turning into Eastbourne Terrace at Paddington on May 21st,
whilst heading for the bucolic sounding Chalk Farm on route 27.

Gavin Francis on May 23rd

Started at Acton Green with pictures of BCE 47006 the Evian wrap. 

Wraps are now appearing in numbers as above for evian BCE47006 working London United 94 on May 23rd.

Then moved onto Notting Hill. There were three wraps on the 27 running consecutively and they all arrived shortly afterwards. 

LT 167 Reed

Palack wrap of LT163 working route 27 at Notting Hill Gate on May 23rd.

 LT 159 Wizz Air 

As mentioned elsewhere in this issue Wizz Air are using wraps to  promote their service as shown by LT477 on May 19th.

More from Gavin

Abellio LT625 working route 159 in Cavendish Square with a wrap for UNIQLO wrap on May 20th.

Jack Apple wrap working the 73 with LT523 on May 20th.

Imperial Coaches oeprate a very modern fleet of buses and coaches as seen in London on May 23rd.

Metroline run this New Routemaster LT669 working the 211 in Buckingham Palace Road on May 20th.

A very prominent super rear seen by Metroline VWH2054 working route 67 on May 20th.

RML2556 seen operating a Private Hire in Elizabeth Street on May 20th.

A Sinbad Setra arrives in London en route to Leeds on May 20th. 

Coach operators in London

Marchants GL05MCS seen in Bulleid Way on May 20th.

A Marshalls Irizar YM19JJE seen by Marble Arch on May 20th.

Gavin Francis on May 25th

Today, May 25th, sees that start of The Chelsea Flower Show and here Go Ahead London's E283 is working 811 special along Buckingham Palace Road.

Grahame Wareham re issue 204

There were no pre-war vehicles numbered 204 in the COMS fleet and nothing altered to that in the 1952 renumbering so we have to jump to 1970 with the transfer of another ex James Bros/South Wales Weymann bodied Leyland Atlanteans UBX48 which became the first 204.

This was to be only one of three that I actually drove on service on May 10th 1975 which I managed to complete the duty with from 16.10 to 20.08 on 501's (now 5 road). I cannot remember much about the bus but I remember my conductor was not too impressed...........hopefully not with my driving but more to the fact that he was normally a 'kerby' so was issuing tickets on the front platform, which made us run late!


In March 1976, after returning to Cowley Road Garage from a stores delivery to Chipping Norton, I remember being greeted by Mr. Gerry Truran, whom I had known as a fellow bus enthusiast and who was now Chief Engineer of Derby City Transport, and he had come down to collect the last three remaining ex. South Wales Atlanteans to help prop up the Derby fleet following the devastating fire that had occurred at the former Blue Bus premises at Willington. Derby overhauled all three of them and fitted new fluid flywheels (Gerry was still surprised that these still retained their centrifugal clutches for so long!) and so 204 became Derby 61 for another two years and after that was a spares donor for the other two (206 & 212) for a number of years until 1982.


June 1982 saw another 204 enter the fleet as deliveries were continuing from ECW of new Leyland Olympians.


204 carried few advert liveries before receiving the new OBC colours and had its front lower panel rebuilt with a coach style front after receiving accident damage in 1992.

It was retained as a 'Q Buster' for a year after the main cull of ECW Olympians in 1999
and was sold to Jeffs Coaches, Helmdon in March 2000.

Notably it was one of five Olympians, including ex. Ribble 2126, which I was able to 'borrow' from Jeffs for the weekend to cover football specials owing to the 'grounding' of new Mercedes Citaro's on 27th March 2004.

Michael Wadman

back in the days of Cheltenham & District....

ALX400 17728 MK02EGX at Cheltenham and 18086 VH04GHK in Gloucester on May 8th 2004.

Trainer 26028 J728CYG and Wrights 32234 NDZ3134 both in Cheltenham on December 12th 2004.

An ex Thames Transit Dart 32086 and Dart 32963 both in Cheltenham on October 16th 2004.

Tony Bungay

A more historical contribution this time. Simply for the reason, in the report on last weeks High Wycombe running day, mention was made of the 400 service at one time operated by Carousel being one of the services operated.

I think that perhaps service 400 may be a bit older than Carousel as Chiltern Rover former LCBS AN 243 is seen heading away from High Wycombe High  Street in May 1997, sporting the 400 number.

Is it really 25 years ago that this picture was taken. Ed.

Hope this may be of interest and I got my facts more less right!