Issue nr. 247
Sunday, April9th 2023

updated and completed April 10th


We have a great deal of interest for readers in this delayed issue! Nuneham Bridge over the Thames has hit the headlines with Didcot-Oxford rail line closed whilst repairs are effected.

This is added to by the closure for rebuilding of the rail bridge over Botley Road. So lots of changes to bus services upcoming.

Fleet News includes the arrival of the ex East Yorkshire E200 as 461 with Carousel entering service on April 5th working the 41.

Oxford Bus Company has launched its latest eye-catching bus backing good local causes, with a double-decker emblazoned in SeeSaw branding. 602 has been wrapped in the colours of SeeSaw, after the Oxford-based good cause won the latest “Brand the Bus!” competition. The charity provides grief support for children, young people and their families in Oxfordshire. It scooped the “Brand the Bus!” first prize worth £50,000, which includes £20,000 worth of radio advertising on JACKfm.
50448 has made its first return trip to London after repaint on April 9th.
Also included are articles about Yellow Bus (Motts), Orlando Airport coaches and visits outside our area.

Didcot Parkway - Oxford rail line shut until 'late April' for viaduct checks

A report from Mike Walker

As you may have heard, Nuneham Viaduct which carries the railway over the Thames between Culham and Radley has partially collapsed closing the line between Didcot and Oxford for the foreseeable future.  Publically, 23 April is being given as a possible reopening date but in truth it is likely to be late June or early July.  This will have a major impact not only on local and national rail operations (the line is of strategic importance to freight operations serving Southampton docks) but also on bus and coach services. 

The viaduct consists of two steel spans with a central pier in the river.  It was rebuilt circa 1906 and as part of that work the only part of the original Brunel-era structure retained was the south abutment which was brick faced to match the new north one and central pier.  In early December last year cracks were noticed in the south abutment but it was thought these involved only the brick facing but a 50mph temporary speed restriction (TSR) was imposed as a precaution.  By February there was a noticeable sag in the south span so the TSR was reduced to 20mph.  Last week it became much worse and the TSR was down to 5mph then came the partial collapse at the start of this week causing the line to be closed.  It seems the whole of the abutment has collapsed thought to be a combination of underscoring of the foundations by the river and saturation caused by the abnormally heavy rainfall in March.  Network Rail will now have to rebuild the complete south half of the structure hence the lengthy timescales being contemplated. 

GWR’s North Cotswold services to Worcester and Hereford will now start from Oxford not Paddington whilst the Didcot – Oxford shuttles are being worked in two halves, Didcot to Culham and Radley to Oxford (possible as the line is bi-directionally signalled).  Cross Country services are being split and turned at Oxford and Didcot with a bus link between them.  However, I hear that Oxford City Council are not happy about all the extra coaches in the city for a long term and there are issues in obtaining sufficient that are ULEZ compliant so they may run between Reading and Banbury with the trains turning there.  Sadly, it is not possible to divert GWR services over the Chiltern line as was done in day of old with HSTs.  The 80x IETs are not cleared for the route and even if they were there are other issues including having to re-programme their management systems – welcome to world of super-complex modern trains!  Chiltern said they could not resource more or longer trains to Oxford but I did see one passing through High Wycombe this morning formed of 8 rather than 4 cars.  No doubt the Oxford Tube can look forward to a considerable uptick in business for the coming few months. 

As stated above, the line’s importance as a freight route is probably greater than that for passengers.  In normal times there are many container trains using the route daily to and from Southampton Docks conveying exports and imports that have to run to tight schedules to meet sailings and just-in-time requirements here in the UK, there are also several export car trains daily conveying JLR products to Southampton and Minis from Cowley to Thames Gateway and Purfleet.  With the exception of the last, these are initially being diverted via the West Coast and Great Western Main Lines through West London but in May the new timetable starts with the full Elizabeth Line service which will mean that many of these paths will no longer be available.  NR are urgently looking for alternatives, none of which are attractive. 

This collapse follows that of a road bridge near Charlbury a couple of months ago and the nature of both is very similar.  The question being asked is: how many more are in danger of collapse?  The chickens of decades of deferred maintenance are coming home to roost.

Andrew Webb writes "At about 10:30 on 3 April the Nuneham Viaduct which carries the railway between Didcot Parkway and Oxford across the River Thames was closed to all trains after discovery of significant subsidence.  

Passengers arriving at Didcot Parkway were initially directed to local buses which accepted rail tickets.  These were soon overwhelmed, with a lengthy queue forming at Didcot Parkway as this view of Thames Travel Wright Volvo 929 shows. 

Replacement coaches were sourced by 12:30 and quickly cleared the queue.  TK Travel, Bakers and Plastow's all sent vehicles, no doubt the school holidays helped availability of vehicles and drivers.  Mini coaches were also seen, presumably to maintain services at the intermediate stations. 

Network Rail are reporting this closure will continue until at least 23 April.

Andrew took the pictures below at Didcot on April 3rd.

The private operators in use as mentioned above.

Thames Travel's 929 working an X2 service which is mentioned as accepting rail tickets between Didcot and Reading.

Gavin Francis also took pictures of Rail Replacement coaches on April 6th.

The double deck with its current owners and with Go Ahead London.


Gavin adds "Just to confirm white Wright decker is former Go-Ahead WVL 250 (picture on wetransfer file). Now owned by Horseferry Coaches and previously Imperial Coaches and TW09TDW also owned by Horseferry."  

Botley Road Railway Bridge update

Botley Road closure update: Network Rail plans to replace the rail bridge over the Botley Road as part of its project to expand the station on the western side. The road will remain open, but traffic will not be able to drive under the rail bridge3. The original start date for the 12-month closure was 09 January 2023, but it was scrapped due to concerns about rerouting utility cables5. A possible or likely scenario is for the road to be closed from March to August/September 2023, then for four to six months in the middle of 2024

Gavin Francis

Pictures from Oxford on April 6th showing one of the last days of The Station bridge, and a few buses. under the Botley Road Bridge.


A nice memory for the future. Ed

Bob Chalmers with more on the Didcot-Oxford rail closure.

With the announcement yesterday that the rail line has been closed due to a subsiding bridge over the Thames near Culham (which may be for this month and beyond) - it throws up some interesting issues re local bus services. Currently the rail replacement service is running once an hour (both ways) between Oxford and Didcot - which will never have the capacity and frequency to carry all 'terminating' passengers who require onward travel. I note that arrangements have been made with Thames Travel for their X2 & X32 services to accept valid rail tickets between Oxford and Didcot. All very well, but this could lead to major overcrowding for the X2 service in particular (which runs every 20 mins during the day) and prevent 'regular' bus passengers being able to board. Both Didcot and Oxford could have up to 500+ passengers arriving off terminating trains every hour, which would totally swamp the local bus services. Should be interesting to see what happens. 

In the pictures on TV news, you can see quite a significant 'drop' of the trackbed on one of the spans where it meets the parapet - which looks like quite a serious amount of work required to repair it. Of course, if it's still subject to on going movement then that needs to be stabilised too. I suspect it could be closed for quite some time. If you add in the closure of the Botley Road from next week too, then Abingdon Road could become really busy as well.

Jack Cooper with more on the Didcot-Oxford rail closure replacement buses.

Thames Travel's 224, 226 and 692 were used on Oxford to Didcot Parkway Rail Replacement on April 2nd.  

Events | Amersham & District Motorbus Society (


Andrew Webb

The Amersham and District Motorbus Society held a running day on April 2nd operating a range of routes High Wycombe bus station, giving the chance to ride vehicles of  previous eras. 

GS13 and RF600 represented single decker buses of the 1950s and 60s. 

RF600 is seen heading through the town centre with a trip on route 305 to Beaconsfield, whilst GS13 leaves the bus station on local route 442.

The standard London double deckers of the 1950s and 60s were represented by the RT and RML. 

RT1700 is seen leaving the bus station bound for Amersham on route 362, whilst RML2440 is heading for Sands on town service 326.

When the National Bus Company took over in the 1970s the standard single decker was the Leyland National.   

The original model featured a distinctive roof pod at the rear as modelled by SNB312 arriving at the bus station after working route 362.   

SNB449 represents an example of the 'B Series' which omitted the pod and other more complicated aspects of the original model to make a cheaper version. 

It is seen at Micklefield Estate awaiting return to the town centre on route 326. 

The 1980s were not represented by operating buses,
but this preserved Strathtay Alexander TE Tiger spent some time parked in the bus station during the day.

The 1990s saw the introduction of low floor buses, with the Plaxton Pointer Dennis Dart SLF being the model that made the concept affordable to many operators.  Arriva operated several of the type around High Wycombe for many years.  Two preserved examples, albeit not ones which originally ran in the town, took part in the running day. 

P288FPK is preserved in a commemorative livery it acquired in 2012 to mark the centenary of Aldershot and District. 
It is seen heading away from the bus station on route 332 to Chinnor. 

Bound for Speen on route 334 is R301CMV which carries branding promoting
Arriva's high frequency services linking Guildford bus station with the University of Surrey.

Jack Cooper

In the National Bus MAP scheme local names were used.

RF673 seen in The Eden Bus Station.

Peter Cartwright's RML2440.

RT1700 seen in Amersham.

Nigel Peach

I attended the High Wycombe Classic Bus Running Day today, organised by the Amersham and District Motorbus Society.  As usual, there was a good programme of recreated bus routes with about 13 buses performing the duties. Well organised by Peter Cartwright, and well attended; plenty to keep us old enthusiasts entertained. And, although it was wasn't that warm, the sun shone later. A happy day spent visiting places in the area.

GS13 at the Hicks Farm Rise terminus of the 442. 

GS13 outside the site of the old London Transport garage at the bottom of Marlow Hill. 

A selection of old buses lined up at Eden Bus Station..... 


.... and a selection of current buses. 

Ex Arriva Guildford and West Surrey Dennis Dart 3101 outside the King William IV at Speen.  

An aerial picture of the bus station. 

RML2412 at The Packhorse Gerrards Cross. (This bus was new to High Wycombe garage in early 1966.
I know because I was one of the excited schoolboys who went to see it there before it entered service!) 

Ex Arriva Guildford and West Surrey Dennis Dart 3088 in Aldershot and District centenary livery at Downley Common. 

~RML2440 (owned by Peter Cartwright) in Hillbottom Road Sands (near Wycombe Wanderers' ground at Adams Park). 

Everyone is welcome to Statfold Barn Railway

Dave Allen

Statfold Barn Railway event on April 2nd. It is near Tamworth. Lots of trains etc and a few nice buses.

Various pictures:


David provided an interesting selection of pictures from this event. Most are midlands and north of England. Ed. 

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society upcoming meeting


Ian Tompson will give a fascinating talk about staircases and upper deck seating on double deck buses, on Tuesday, April 18th.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Norman Brown Room 2, Rose Hill Community Centre, Carole’s Way, Oxford OX4 4HF. All very welcome. No entrance fee.


Incredible re-mastered footage of London streets and Buckingham Palace in 1920. Imagine if you could go back in a time machine just for 10 minutes to look around and take it all in.


Jack Cooper

West Berkshire CT EY66XAZ leaves Swindon  Bus Station on March 31st

Nick Ross

Bristol GRP 260D heads through Wellingborough with a return Wollaston shuttle on April 1st 2023, the first of the 2 day Wellingborough Rally

Former London transport Olympian R372 LGH during an Earls Barton photo stop during the enjoyable Wellingborough Bus Rally on April 1st 2023. 

Peter Brown

I passed by Binders Yard last weekend for the first time in a long while and noted three  ex Uno Scania/East Lancs Olympus  deckers (YN07 LFA/B/D) up there in the yards of Chiltern Automotive and Harlequin Travel which I believe may be affiliated companies.  Not sure if they are there just for refurbishment at Chiltern Automotive or whether they now form part of their respective schools fleets. 

Also noted in the yards  were Plaxton President IIG 9286 and Wright Gemini LX53 BJK which I believe are both on Volvo B7TL chassis and have been previously reported. 

Jack Cooper

623 seen in Abingdon on March 30th. This shows the cottage nature of this area.

Lewis Hawkins

Here are two Oxford Bus Company Wright StreetDecks In City X1 and CityX3  

665 City X3 (Pic 2) and 674 City X1 (Pic 1)Both sighted approaching Abingdon High Street
with Flowers And Clear Blue Skies giving it the Spring Atmosphere.   

     Fleet News and developments   

The latest Midlands and South fleet is provided by Toby France.

Arriva fleet lists P3 2023

Gavin Francis

On April 6th double decks were maintained for the 280 to Oxford's train station.

The 8th saw these buses in service at Bridge Street.

Jack Cooper

On April 2nd, the Rally day, regular services were maintained in Wycombe as shown above

Michael Penn

Arriva at Luton now only have two Tridents left with the arrival of four Volvo B7TLs from Maidstone.  Although mainly intended for school services they sometimes appear in normal service especially in school holidays as can be seen here.

One of the Tridents remaining in service is 5425 (W425XKX) which has been in this “I Love Luton” for the last 9 years – and it shows! 

Two of the replacements are seen here on the 27.  These are 6448 (GN04UFU) and 6449 (GN 04 UFV) while 6439 (GN04UFH) is seen on the 31.

Nigel Peach

A picture of Arriva 3027, still branded for "the one" - a route which Arriva ceased operating more than six months ago!

Nick Ross

Arriva Evora 3976 storms along the Leighton Buzzard bypass near Stanbridgeford with a Luton bound F70 on March 30th 2023. 

Michael Penn

Centrebus 554 (MX12DZG) is one of two Enviro 200s acquired from CT Plus of Holbeck last year. 
It is seen here at Luton Station on route 366 which is to be withdrawn after April 16th. 

Centrebus 552 (FL13AAX, originally WW13PSW) is one of three Enviro 200s acquired from Winson of Loughborough last year.
Up until March 26th it was used mainly on the 36C local service in Leighton Buzzard
but now that service has been withdrawn it is used on other services as seen here on the 80 at Stevenage.

Centrebus 595 (YX18KNZ) is an Enviro 200 MMC acquired from Yellow Coaches of Hurn, an associate company of Xelabus. 
As can be seen it is awaiting a repaint into fleet livery.
It is seen at Stevenage on service 390 (Stevenage to Hertford), a
service that Centrebus started running on 19
th February. 

This service was previously operated by Richmonds.

Andrew Webb

Bus passengers in Slough could be forgiven for getting confused as to where they are following the cascade of vehicles from other parts of First's empire !!

StreetLite 47691 still advertises the now withdrawn route 7 in Southampton.

Enviro 400MMC 34384 still carries a Glasgow fleet name.

Gavin Francis

Variety from First, 69924 in The Eden Bus Station with an X74 on April 8th.

Jack Cooper

On April 2nd, ex cityred seen working  the X74 in Wycombe.

Botley Road Closure - Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel


Gavin Francis

StreetLites at work on April 8th.

Citaro 860 seen with a 39 working in Bridge Street on April 8th.

Latest to join this fleet, 461 working the 41 on April 8th.

Jack Cooper

Citaros at work on April 2nd.

Sprinter 977 in The Eden on April 2nd. 

Gavin Francis

602 has received a "Brand the Bus livery as seen on April 6th.
Oxford Bus Company launch Brand the Bus! competition winning double decker - Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel

StreetDecks 660 and 687 on April 6th.

Jack Cooper

An E400, two Eclipse Gemini's and a StreetDeck at work in St Aldates on March 27th.

359 and 901 seen at work in Abingdon on March 30th.

Scania 913 seen at work in Abingdon on March 30th. 


Also on the 5th, 602 appears in the new Brand The Bus livery seen at St Aldates on the X3 on April 5th. 

Jack Cooper

254 and 621 seen in St Aldates on March 27th.


316 works the ST1 seen at Broad Street today, April 4th.

On the 4th, 316 works the ST1 seen at Broad Street

Later in the afternoon of April 5th, 312 works the X2 seen at the Train Station

Jack Cooper

A picture from Swindon Bus Station on Friday, when I was waiting for an S6.  

Salisbury Reds also serve Swindon as seen on March 31st.

Jack Cooper

Pictures from Swindon Bus Station on Friday, when I was waiting for an S6.  

Saloon variety in Swindon on March 31st. 


Gavin Francis

The 130 sees variety and here is AE07DZB in Oxford Road on April 6th.

Ex Bournemouth YX12AZN seen working the 130 in High Wycombe on April 6th. 

The yellow bus in Wycombe on April 7th started life as First 44233 then to Bournemouth and now Redline.

Jack Cooper

MX61BAU started life with Red Rose and is now seen with Redline working the 130 in Wycombe on April 2nd.


On the 4th, another Yellow Buses Enviro 200 works the X20 seen at Westgate. YX12AZN.

Gavin Francis

E3RRT with a 40 service in Oxford Road on April 8th.

On the 8th and 9th YX16FZH was the bus working the 40 seen at Stokenchurch the second day.

Neil Gow

Here is my current list for the three fleets. The IDs of the latest E200MMCs from Whitelaws and the two Red Rose re-registrations at Red Rose have come from your pages, so I should certainly give something back! We think WH 66 BUS may also be due here, it left Whitelaws around the same time. I used to pick up quite a lot of info in a Facebook group from an enthusiast  driver at Red Rose, but he left to work for Masons instead. I also check the tax/MOT status of all vehicles on the DVLA website 2-3 times a year, which identifies withdrawals and potential reregistration's. And of course I make personal observations on trips to and through Aylesbury.

Thanks for following up. I picked it up later in the year, but it’s good to see the confirmation they still have it since two of them have moved to Red Rose as shown on your pages. 

I never sent that list of Red Rose fuelling identity numbers (an employee told me they’re not fleet numbers). Was hoping to get it more complete but failed to add any more when over there last week so here is the version from December. The recent E200 acquisitions and the two E200MMCs transferred from Redline don’t seem to have any yet. 

E  1 RRT


E 13 RRT






E  2 RRT


E 14 RRT






E  3 RRT


E 15 RRT






E  4 RRT


E 16 RRT






E  5 RRT


E 17 RRT






E  6 RRT


E 18 RRT






E  7 RRT


E 19 RRT






E  8 RRT


E 20 RRT






E  9 RRT


W495 WGH






E 11 RRT


W496 WGH






E 12 RRT


Y359 LCK






I think we can take a pretty good guess at E14 RRT and E18 RRT - but not actually seen them. 

Oxford's seven month Botley Road closure to have major impact on city's Stagecoach bus services - Oxfordshire Live

Stagecoach Oxfordshire (@Stagecoach_Ox) / Twitter

Dave and Deric

We have been through the Stagecoach West Fleet Card for Period 12 dated 31/03/2023 and as we expected, there are a lot changes. These result from major service changes in Bristol which included Stagecoach West winning the contract for two of the Park & Ride services. These require Euro6 vehicles, hence the temporary transfer of Stagecoach Gold liveried buses from Cheltenham and Swindon. These will return to their home depots later this year when they will be replaced by cascaded Enviro400MMC from Witney depot. These will be cascaded when Witney receive their new buses.


This time, as they are so inter related, we have shown the West and Oxford changes together. For information, changes affecting Oxford depots are shown with yellow highlight. We have summarised the changes as follows:






North Bristol





North Bristol





North Bristol



North Bristol







North Bristol



North Bristol















Stagecoach South





Stagecoach South





North Bristol





North Bristol





North Bristol





North Bristol








Out of Reserve

























For Disposal




For Disposal








For Disposal





For Disposal










North Bristol


Stagecoach South



North Bristol


Stagecoach South



North Bristol


Stagecoach South



North Bristol








 In addition to the above, there are three vehicles on temporary loan at Oxford. These are 15359 from Gloucester, 15858 from Swindon and 15879 from Stroud. 

Gavin Francis

10988 and 10991 in Frideswide Sq working the S6 on April 6th.

Jack Cooper

Pictures from Swindon Bus Station on Friday, when I was waiting for an S6.

Quite a lot of variety in Swindon althou,gh not exactly up to date on March 31st.

10990 is seen at the lights in George Street with an  S6 on March 28th.

Tony Gaze

Popped down to Bristol today to have a look at the Park & Ride (to Brislington and Portway) following Stagecoach take-over. 

Services started 2 April as 'Service 9' and 12 'Gold' MMCs have transferred to Patchway from Cheltenham and Swindon.   

They are as follows:

10749/50/51/2 (SN66 VXT/U/V/W), still branded on arrival for the 94 (Cheltenham - Gloucester),

unbranded 10902/3 (YX67 VBL/M)

~and, S6 branded (Swindon - Oxford), 10982-7 (SN18 KUO/P/R-U).  

Also looks like the 'Falcon' branding has been replaced by 'Megabus'

ex Stagecoach South 15982-986 have transferred from Guildford to West. So we have University of Surrey vehicles running about! 

15982/83 are working from Cheltenham and can be seen on 94/94X (see attached both taken in Cheltenham on 27 March

15984-86 are working from Swindon (mostly on S6).

This has been recorded in these pages. Ed. 

Gavin Francis

A threatening sky sets the background for 10442 working the 1 on April 6th.

Two West buses working Oxford routes on April 6th. 15359 and 15736.

E200 36933 working the 14 in Frideswide Square on April 6th. 

Jack Cooper

St Aldates sees 10668 with a 1 on March 27th. 

Neil Bridges

Couple of vehicles I've driven on loan 15879 Wednesday 5th April on S7 sorry on pic

and today 6th April 15359 again on S7 Ox-Witney a really nice bus to drive. 


On the 5th, 15359 works the 10 seen at St Aldates.

50448 made its first journey to London on April 9th following its repaint into tube livery.

Seen here working its first return journey to Oxford at Lewknor after repaint on April 9th

Jack Cooper

Traffic delays affecting the M40 saw Oxford tube services using the A40 via Wycombe centre on April 2nd.  

     London operations    

Andrew Webb

Italian lingerie brand Intimissimi has selected Jennifer Lopez as the face of a new campaign on London's buses. 

London United's LT677 is one of five to carry the advert, seen here at the south end of Westminster Bridge on 1 April
as it approaches the Waterloo terminus of route 211. 

The nearside is seen on Go Ahead's LT506 as it departs the stand at Liverpool Street for another run on route 11. 

The light sabre shines brightly on the side of LT857 which is promoting 'Jedi Survivor' at Borough station on 1 April. 
This is a Star Wars inspired video game launching at the end of the month. 

A subtle change to an increasing number of Big Bus vehicles is the change of fleet name from 'Big Bus London' to 'Big'. 

The new branding is clearly visible on this Optare Volvo,
which started life with competitor Golden Tours, as it rounds Trafalgar Square.  


Motts Yellow Bus Memories - 1 by Stephen Archer.



Stephen Archer was a part-time driver for Motts Yellow Bus between 1993 and 1995. Now - nearly 30 years later and living in the USA - he looks back fondly to those years when he spent Saturdays driving buses around Oxford and the Chilterns.

Stephen writes "Having been a reader of the excellent Oxford and Chilterns Bus Page for many years, I wondered if you would be interested in this submission? Obviously, my story is too long to be published in one piece. So I’ve broken it down into several segments. Please use your editorial rights to further segment as required! Also, please note that my American word processing software keeps wanting to use “US” rather than “real” English. I apologise in advance for those errors I’ve been unable to eliminate!" 


How It Started


My association with Motts Yellow Bus started at Duxford airfield. That was the setting for Showbus 1993 and - somewhere deep in the 300 plus buses at the event - was a Mercedes minibus. It was not the sort of bus that normally attracted my interest, however the bright yellow livery with Yellow Bus markings did.

Michael Wadman provided this picture of a Mercedes K184GOU working the M1 Reading-Watlington service on June 11th 1993.


Living near Princes Risborough at the time, I was familiar with Motts Yellow Bus vehicles passing through town. Having been an “anorak” since a young child, I had recently achieved a lifetime’s ambition by obtaining a PCV license and hoped to put it to use by driving as a part-timer somehow, fitting around my regular Monday-to-Friday job.


Spotting people in that Mercedes, I walked up to the open door and was greeted by a friendly gentlemen. “If you want to drive for Yellow Bus, phone Roger Mott,” he said in reply to my question. “Motts is always looking for drivers.”


Later I was to realize that that helpful chap was Martin Isles, not only the organizer of Showbus, but also an occasional driver for Motts Yellow Bus himself.


It was good advice. The subsequent phone conversation led to me visiting the Yellow Bus garage in Station Road, Stoke Mandeville. There I was greeted by Angus Munday, a genial Scot who at that time was Motts’ Bus Manager.


Angus was an ex-London Transport man. I’d like to think that he was impressed that I had trained as a bus driver on Routemasters in central London. But probably he was just relieved to find someone who could help him cover Saturday duties. Reliable bus drivers were thin on the ground at that time.


So we climbed into a Metrobus and Angus drove me to a convenient layby on the main A4010 road back towards Risborough. “Now it’s your turn,” he said. This was the moment of truth,



Having trained on Routemasters, I was not familiar with a driving position ahead of the front wheels. Angus undoubtedly understood that. However, I took the wheel and piloted us back to the garage following Angus’s route directions. “Can you start next Saturday?” asked Angus, once we were back at the garage.


So, on Saturday 14 August 1993, I was at the somewhat less than salubrious Stoke Mandeville garage bright and early, ready to take Duty 609 that signed-on at 8.50 AM. As I was to discover later, this was a remarkably civilized starting time. In future, anything after 6.30 AM would be a “late start” for me!


The first bus I drove in service for Motts was a Metrobus, JHE 141W on the M1 route from Aylesbury to Lane End, High Wycombe. This was one of the Rolls Royce-engined models that had been new to South Yorkshire PTE. After a lunch break I drove DDM 33X, a 36-Foot long Willowbrook-bodied Leopard that had been new to Crosville. Again it was back and forth on the M1 route.



Sign-off was at 19.57 PM for a “Pay Time” of 9 hours 25 minutes. You were only paid for the time you drove, not for any layovers. Is it still the same today? I have to imagine so.


As you can probably imagine, that was a very tough day for me, even though the M1 route was one with which I was basically familiar from my local enthusiast’s knowledge. The experience of driving past the “Buses Only” sign to enter Aylesbury bus station for the first time was one that I’ve not forgotten to this day. Yes, I really was a bus driver now!


Although I had had my brief fling with a Metrobus with Angus, it was totally different running the thing on my own that first day. Then, after Lunch, I picked up the Leopard mid-route on the M1 from Wycombe at the change-over point nearest to Stoke Mandeville garage. The incoming driver got out and went for his break, leaving me to take the bus forward to Aylesbury.


At this point I should say that I had never even ridden in a 36-Foot Leopard in my life before, let alone driven one. And, of course, it was so much longer than the Metrobus.


Now here I was having to work-out VERY rapidly how to drive the thing without looking like a total fool to the passengers. Thank goodness they didn’t know the truth!


There were more challenges, too…


I was completely new to the whole fare-collection experience. Suddenly I had to be conversant with the fare stage chart, calculating the ticket costs and operating the machine to issue them. This had to be done fast enough to avoid falling behind schedule too - another case of instant on-the-job learning.


Immediately I also learned that passengers sometimes had different names for the same bus stop. Of course, they expected me to know where they meant, even if it wasn’t the name I knew or the one printed on the fare chart!


Then, of course, I did not know on my first day that the company did not issue drivers a “float” of small change. Aaghh!!!! The following week I had my invaluable float of coins and never left home without it in future.


That “dive into the deep end” was how I started with Yellow Bus. I just loved it and drove for the company every Saturday I could until 22 July 1995, the last day of Motts Yellow Bus operations before they were sold to Arriva.


I’d like to thank Roger Mott for giving me a chance to fulfill one of the ambitions of my lifetime. I’m delighted that his company is still thriving, although not in the way that I knew it so long ago.


In future parts, I’ll cover Yellow Bus routes and vehicles.


Thanks for reading. I hope that others who remember Motts Yellow Bus, or - better still - were involved in the operations - will add their stories and photographs too.


At the time, Yellow Bus was covered quite extensively in the Oxford (not Chilterns in those days) Bus Page. However, sadly, these editions seem no longer to exist and much information of interest has been lost. Perhaps some of the history of Yellow Bus can be re-created now, before it all becomes lost in the mists of time…


Many thanks to Stephen for this first part. If anyone has Yellow Bus pictures from the period under reference please let me have them. Ed. 

Gavin Francis

...................... from Orlando Airport at the end of his break in Florida - April 4th.

Ready to take us home. BA Boeing 777-236.

Mears coaches at the airport.


Somehow these US coaches are getting a more European look. Ed. 

Gordon Scott

Two shots taken in Dunfermline.

Stagecoach East Scotland Fife and Houston's in Edinburgh. 

Alexander Dennis BYD Enviro 200E Electric Bus on route 2 with Dunfermline Electric Bus Branding 30026 - LG23 FHT.

Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i on Citylink M92 54261 - YY65 SXZ
taken at Halbeath Park & Ride. 

Houston's of Dumfries has taken over Stagecoach Western route 101 Edinburgh - Bigger - Dumfries from April 1st.

Seen in Princess Street Edinburgh Houston's KP12 BUS
Volvo B7RLE MCV Evolution on route 101.

Two Volvo ELZ MCV Electric Demos one single deck been here for a month and the other double deck type arrived this week.

BV72KPF taken at Cannonmills Edinburgh, on route 23.

BV23NNT taken at the Mound Edinburgh, on route 23.

Good to hear from Gordon who always provides excellent pictures from north of the border. Ed.

South Coast - I o W.

Jack Cooper

I am back from my weeks holiday, and thought I would do a report for you. Each photo link will be for that specific day. There will be quite a bit of text too, so do feel free to use as much as you like in the page, and future ones if you use parts for different weeks. I have also added some photos which I thought might be interesting, based on your visit to the Isle of Wight with Gavin in 2016, Spottings & Jottings 96 & 97. 

Wednesday 22nd March

On Wednesday I had started off my day by travelling from Sandown to Ventnor on the 3 before spending a couple of hours in Ventnor.


 I had travelled on route 6 to Newport which I am sure is a nice route, but there was quite a bit of fog so did not end up seeing much!


I had then travelled to Ryde on the 9 to get some photos of the Hovercraft in the light, as well as the Island Line Train by South Western Railway.  

After spending a bit of time in Ryde I thought it would be nice to visit East Cowes, so had travelled there on the 4.


From there I went to Cowes, travelling on the 5 to Newport and then the 1 to Cowes. The Cowes floating bridge is currently out of action. In Cowes, the 1 has had a change of terminus, it used to terminate at the Red Jet terminal, however it now terminates at Carvel Lane which is a couple of minutes walk away. This change happened during the pandemic, when deckers were put on the 1 as opposed to the baby Enviro 200s, as the turn into Cowes Red Jet is famously tight!  

From there I travelled back to Newport on the 1, before getting the 3 back to Sandown after some dinner.  

Thursday 23rd March 

Thursday was my last day on the Island, and had to be in Yarmouth for my ferry crossing which left at 15:05. I had walked along the seafront to Shanklin before taking a trip on the Island Line to Ryde. The Island Line has recently had an upgrade from the old 1938 London Underground stock numbered the class 483, to newer ex London Underground stock, the sub surface D stock, numbered the class 484. The former District Line trains entered service on the Island in late 2021, with the line shut from January 2021 onwards for the upgrade works to take place. These consisted of making the platforms higher, reinstating the 2nd platform at Brading and works to the tunnel at Ryde for taller trains. Currently Ryde Pier is shut for works, so the trains were terminating at Ryde Esplanade.  

After a trip on the Island Line, it was time to make my way to Yarmouth doing so on the 9 and then 7.  


From the bright morning, the afternoon was rather wet! But still managed to get some last photos of Southern Vectis Buses before my ferry back. 

My ferry back was on the Wightlink Yarmouth to Lymington route, with my boat being the Wight Sky, although the actual weather was more like grey sky! The crossing takes 40 minutes, arriving into Lymington at 15:45. 

 I had just under an hour to wait for my X2 in Lymington, so enjoyed walking from the ferry terminal around to the Town Centre, there is also a handy train service which operated from Lymington Pier Station to Lymington Town Station, then onwards to Brockenhurst.  

The X2 to Bournemouth was just under 2 hours, and was a nice journey, it is slightly quicker than the X1 which I had taken a trip on in November.  

to be continued

Vehicles in stock on changeover;  



Dennis Tridents; KN04XJK, WJ55NLZ, **TSU639 339 


Scania N94; YV03RBF, PZX 

Scania Omnilink; YT13HKZ, HKY, YN63BYP. 

Scania Omnicity; NK56KHH, KHJ, KHL, KKL, NK07GJO 

Scania Omnicity Deckers; YR59FYS, FZE, YT59SGX, SGY 

Scania i4; JFZ7028 

Routemaster; SMK742F. 

American Buses; MTABUS, RTABUS 

** Denotes vehicle(s) are on loan to main fleet.  

Sales vehicles into stock under First;  

From Go Ahead London: 

From Stagecoach East Kent: 

From Stagecoach Midlands

From Stagecoach Scotland

From Stagecoach London

From Metroline

From RATP: 

From Bath Bus:

Vehicles Sold

Vehicles to MC Tractors

Mc Gills;  



London Hire

Salvation Army Hadleigh: 

Oddball Trucks, Bristol – Exported to France: 

Driftlimits, Bovingdon 

Brighton Horizon