The past week has seen some pretty awful weather with flooding, closed roads and landslides. Our area has not been too badly affected and last Sunday's Showbus event was for the main part dry with even some sunshine. Needless to say my inbox has been full of pictures from the event and I am going to have to tread carefully in what I select for this page!

Of local interest is the fact that Oxford City is planning more bus gates which is revealed in the article below. This could be interesting as it seems that the council h as made quite a lot of money out of the High Street bus gate so far!

All the preceeding Stagecoach E400MMC orders have now been delivered and I am reliably informed that the Witney batch are due over the next few weeks. Indeed the first one may arrive on the day of publication of this issue? 

A late piece of news of great significance is the news that the X90 Oxford-London service will be withdrawn from January 4th 2020 !

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society 

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 8 October at The Tree Hotel, Church Way, Iffley, Oxford, OX4 4EY at 7.30 p.m. when Paul Lacey will talk about the history of South Midland Motor Services, which was a well-known Oxford-based operator of express services to London and holiday tours. This subject is of particular topical interest with today's announcement of the withdrawal of the X90 service (in January), which is the successor to South Midland's long-established services to London on the A40. Paul is the publisher of a detailed history by David Flitton called "50 Years of South Midland 1921-1970" 

Everyone is very welcome to attend our meetings which are free of charge at the present time. A wide variety of food and drink is available before the meeting. 


Oxford Bus Company will be withdrawing the X90 Service from January 4th 2020.

A memory.

This coach displays branding of 20 years ago, to signify 24 hour operation the moon and sun were used,
As an operator using VCS, some coaches received this VCS branding. 163 was one of three coaches which, I believe, came from Shearings,
registered H961DRJ, thereafter this coach went to Swanbrook, often returning to Oxford on their service.
I remember driving these coaches, they were seemingly powerful and gave a very smooth and steady ride.

Interdeck 72 is seen heading for London in central Oxford on October 4th by Jack Cooper.
One wonders what will happen to this fleet of coaches after January 4th 2020?

The decision has not been taken lightly and the company will be doing everything possible to minimise the impact on customers and colleagues up to the withdrawal date. Season tickets and 12-trip passes will continue to be valid up until the service stops and from January 4, unused tickets will be eligible for a pro-rata refund.

The X90 coach service between Oxford and London has a long and proud history, which can be tracked back as early as the 1920s. The current express service has operated for more than 40 years and has carried millions of customers.

Falling passenger numbers due to new rail competition and worsening congestion have made maintaining the X90 service challenging. This has seen the time it takes to complete a journey between Oxford and London worsen by up to 50% in two years and passenger numbers drop by 35% since 2015.

Oxford Bus Company introduced several measures to adapt to the challenges, including new timetables and lower fares, but it is with regret that it is no longer viable to operate the X90 service. All X90 drivers will be redeployed to other roles within the business and Oxford Bus Company aims to keep job losses relating to the withdrawal of the service to a minimum.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director said: “We would like to thank everyone who has travelled with the X90 and our colleagues who have worked with us throughout this time. The withdrawal of the service is no reflection on the performance of colleagues, and we are grateful to everyone who has travelled on the service. We are aware that we have many loyal customers who will be inconvenienced.

“This was a difficult decision that was taken to safeguard the overall sustainability of the company. Unfortunately, the service makes a significant annual loss, which cannot be sustained. We have tried to develop a niche for the service by offering a high-quality service at more affordable fares to better compete in the market, but this has not been successful.”

Derbyshire-based Yourbus has announced that it has ceased trading

The company operated bus services in and around Derbyshire as well as a coach unit that offered day tours.

A short posting on the company’s social media pages said: “We regret to inform our passengers that unfortunately Yourbus has ceased trading effective October 4th 2019.

“We would like to thank all our customers for their support and custom over the years.”

By 0900hrs the post had received 539 shares and 201 comments on its Facebook page.

Trent Barton, which operates in the same area, responded by posting on its social media pages: “We will be accepting all valid Yourbus tickets and products today to help get customers where they need to be – just show our drivers your product or ticket and hop on.”

Arriva Midlands East also posted on social media: “We will be accepting all valid Yourbus tickets on all Arriva services in Derby today.”

It does not seem a great time for so many companies. Seems Rotala may have applied to operate in their place. 

Showbus 2019

This was the first time the event had been held at The Hertfordshire Showground between Hemel and Luton. I have to say that the location proved good and even with some poor weather, being on a sloping ground, the underfoot conditions were reasonable. There were a few people who found entering vehicles less than welcome as the grass had been mowed and loose cuttings abounded !

Gavin Francis was able to obtain several pictures of buses running shuttle services, such as Carousel from High Wycombe and Arriva from Luton.

Arriva and Red Rose services at the Showground.

The best I have of the Carousel 1S heading back to Wycombe. It is bus 421 taken by Malcolm Crowe.

However Gavin took one at the bus loading area. Carousel's 421 is seen with passengers - Gavin Francis.

It was interesting to find that my pictures included a number of rear pictures which so often get forgotten. I have tried to spread the coverage evenly so please don't be offended if I have not used some of your pictures.

The results are shown below and I can well appreciate the Stagecoach team's feelings when the won a Best in Show Award with the heritage liveried 37401.

Here it is, "ready to roll" outside Banbury depot early that morning. Picture by Theo Freeman.

Gordon Scott took this picture soon after the arrival of 37401 and Phil Pointer is still behind the wheel.

The driver for the day was Phil Pointer, a long serving member of Banbury depot seen with Jack McKeevor and the trophies.
Picture by Andy Churchill.

Showbus pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

The following selection is from those I took and appreciated seeing. More will follow from other contributors in the next issue.

Happy memories of Wallace Arnold were revived by the lovely example of what the presentation of this fleet was.
This coach won a 3rd prize in the judging but I hoped it would get a first, it was in wonderful condition.

This bus revived happy memories of my early childhood, when we travelled on a similar bus to visit my Grandparents.
This was during the war around 1944 when North Western Road Car ran this type of bus between Manchester and Northwich.
The rear upper deck emergency window was not quite the same and most of the NWRCC batch had coach seats and curtains.
Nevertheless the bus recalled memories of childhood and happy summer days. The bus was always packed full
and often a duplicate was required on the service we used.

You can have an idea of the NWRCC ones at the link below.


These buses were rebodied by Willowbrook in the early fifties and one still exists in the Manchester Museum of Transport. Sadly the pre war luxury was lost in the rebody with normal bus seats and certainly no curtains.

From the rear one would expect a Bedford OB but no, it was a Leyland Comet.
The Leyland Comet chassis for MHY765 was built in 1948 but it did not receive a body until 1950. It was operated by Orient Coaches of Kingswood, Gloucestershire until 1968.

The Oxford Bus Company was represented by a Volvo B5LH Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, 368 promoting OPCSG.

Stagecoach were represented, though with many fewer vehicles than in times past.

Transferred to Stagecoach Midlands from SC London, 36301 is normally at Bedford depot.

Talking of Bedford OB's this nice representative of the Royal Blue ones arrived on a trailer and so looks pristine.

Lodge Coaches had a nice selection of their preserved fleet reminding me of the 1950s.

Always a favourite of mine, being a northerner, was the RTW and the 8ft width is well shown in this picture of two RTWs with the S between.

Not at all like a Green Line coach, this AEC Swift with Alexander body, SMA8, was one of a batch of 21 dual purpose buses new in March 1972.

Pictures from Gavin Francis.

Gavin spent time taking pictures all round including the interior which shows this "little bus" fully kitted out for service.

Reading Buses have been repainting many buses and 791 - ex Weavaway - is in the jet black livery for service between Newbury and Reading.

Arriva Southern Counties sent this new StreetLite, 1663, from Hemel Hempstead.

Arriva the Shires sent this StreetLite, 2992, from High Wycombe. 

More pictures in the next issue of The Weekly Briefing.

Premier Operator Award - Cozy Coaches

Shillibeer Award entry 97 Todmorden Leyland Tiger Northern Counties
Doyen Single deck entry LATE ENTRY Green Line AEC Swift Alexander SMA8
Doyen Double deck entry 323 AEC Routemaster RM1699
Best Modern vehicle post 2009 entry 125 Stagecoach Midland Red Alexander Dennis Enviro200MMC in Midland Red Centenary livery
Top former NBC vehicles entry 46 United Counties Bristol VRTSL3 ECW 882

Best Modern bus post 2009 entry 7 The Delaine Volvo B5TL Wright 163
Best Modern coach post 2009 entry 9 Elgar Coaches Setra HEK965
Pre 1950 & before vehicle entry 98 Todmorden highbridge PD2 2
Best 1951-59 vehicle entry 37 Lodge Coaches Bedford SBG Duple MJB481
Best 1960-69 vehicle entry 36 Lodge Coaches Bedford SB13 Duple EAD685C
Best 1970-79 vehicle entry 116 Dews Bedford VAL70 Plaxton UFX360L
Best 1980-1989 vehicle entry 6 The Delaine Leyland Tiger Duple Dominant 100
Best 1990-1999 vehicle entry 127 Stagecoach Midland Red Volvo B10M Alexander

Coach & Bus at The NEC

Originally I had intended my visit to be on Thursday but the household authorities had other ideas for Thursday, so I went for half a day on Wednesday. Pictures and thoughts are included below. As I find walking very difficult these days I opted to take a Scooter Hire which turned out to be very successful. My legs and feet would never have survived the day on hard floors.

Oh happy days!

I was able to "scoot" around and get a lot of pictures. A vehicle of interest to me was the Plaxton Panorama, which might be considered for use by The Oxford tube! I found one point of significant interest and that was the luggage facilities and the ramp for disability use. These details can be seen in the pictures below.

Exterior detail of the Panorama.

The nearside detail of the rear passenger entrance and the luggage facilities.

As someone who was much involved in the Oxford tube coaches, both as a driver and trainer from 2005 to 2015, the loading area on this coach for luggage, bicycles, wheelchairs folded if not needed and the steps, height of the door etc sadly gave the impression of not nearly as usable compared to the Astromega. You can say that the height of the flap would not be so high against the pavement but, sorry Guys, more often than not there is no pavement. I also wonder how they are going to load bicycles, often not folding, which predominate on commuter services. I think the coach is beautiful to look at but is it so practical on a service which has numerous stops en route between the two cities?

Go North East has this ADL E200MMC on the ADL stand.
However I found myself comparing this livery with the current Stagecoach local bus livery!
The use of an illuminated fleet name on the front panel was interesting and the bus looked inviting for intending passengers.

Dawson Group displayed this ADL E400MMC on their stand, which shows the clean lines of this model.

As a man who cut his long distance teeth working on hire to Yelloway, I was immediately attracted to this coach.
Traditional and yet modern, this Beulas Cygnus coach certainly looked the business.

All above pictures by your Editor.

More pictures in the next issue of The Weekly Briefing.

Some thoughts from Matt Cooper including memories of Wycombe Running Day in 2001-2002

I hope that you are well.  I did look out for you at Showbus yesterday, we were with the United counties Leyland Olympian 654.  I had not been to Showbus since 2011 and had an enjoyable day, even a trip to the zoo! Hadn't been there since childhood and now I'm taking my own family round!

I'll send some more pics and maybe an article very soon.  But having read about the HW Running days, here are some of the pieces I kept from the 2002 event!

I brought along Wycombe associated (TPD118X) which was by then owned by Jeff's Coaches, and followed an outing in the same vehicle to Showbus Duxford in 2001.  I believe the bus went on to be an exhibition vehicle, I assume now scrapped.  She ran faultlessly to both events.  Having moved away from Wycombe in 1996 it was nice to return and bring a bus into the old bus station! I spent a lot of time there during the years we lived in Wycombe and got to know a lot of the staff who worked there.

Attached are the certificate given to us by Richard Bond, the timetable for the day and the tachograph from TPD118X.  I did miss filing in the 'analogue' tachographs in later years when the 'digicard' took over!

We have had a couple of events in Northampton recently and I will keep you posted on forthcoming events for next year.  I hope that you and your family are well.  Keep up the excellent work with OCBP.  It must take up a great of time to collate but the record and reference material we have to access has to be one of the UKs most comprehensive (and well illustrated)

The introduction of new bus gates in Oxford is revealed

The introduction of new bus-only zones to cut congestion in Oxford would force more traffic onto the ring road and the overburdened A34, a city councillor has warned.

As part of Connecting Oxford, a raft of congestion-busting measures being considered by the councils, more of the so-called 'bus gates' could be added, along with restrictions on side roads.

The existing camera-enforced bus gate in High Street allows access to buses, taxis and emergency vehicles only between 7.30am and 6.30pm and in 2017/2018 over 27,200 penalty charges were handed out to motorists who drove though the restrictions. This resulted in £288,000 in fines for the county council.

The new bus gates would be in Worcester Street, Oxpens Road/Thames Street, Marston Ferry Road, Hollow Way and South Parks Road/St Cross Road – but it is not yet clear if they would all be introduced at once or individually over a period of time.

From Gordon Scott, north of the border

Seen at Alexander Dennis, Falkirk on October 4th.

Stagecoach Oxford Witney E40D seen out on a test run. There is still no news on registrations for these buses.

Stagecoach E20D out on a test run and two of the new
Stagecoach Cambridge E400XLB's in the yard one seen in the background.

One of three for Border Buses E20D SN69 ZNC out on a test run. 

Fleet news and developments

This week's Fleet News is somewhat curtailed due to time constraints. I'll catch up in the next issue.

Significant news is the transfer announced on Friday, September 27th concerning the transfer of the Green Line services at Hemel Hempstead, being 748, 755, 758 and 759 to Luton, thereby focusing all current Green Line service, especially those into London, on Luton.

I am told that the four Van Hool TX17 Astron - 9000-9003 - are on loan from Southern Counties and may be replaced by new coaches in 2020. In addition the Shires have two loan coaches at Luton as shown below. These are from Arriva/Van Hool being WJ16KBN and YJ16EPX which was a Van Hool demonstrator when new.

Not surprisingly on October 1st 757 branded Tourismo 7004 worked the 1110 758 service to London. However, not unexpectedly work is in hand to rebrand the services so that multi-use can be achieved.

757 branded 7004 is seen with the 758 at 11:10 to London Victoria. Photo Taken on Woodhall Farm on October 1st by Adam Green.

This Coach is on Loan as the Service 758 usual batch were Van Hool TX17 Astron 9000-3 apparently withdrawn due to arrival of new Coaches. See my comments above which update these from Adam Green.

 WJ16KBN on the 758 to London Victoria at 09:40  to London Victoria. Photo Taken on Woodhall Farm on October 1st by Adam Green.

WJ16KBN is a Van Hool TX16 Acron C53Ft coach, new to Storbrook (Premier Transport), Crawley, West Sussex in May 2016. It worked in plain white and tour operators such as Travellers whose branding it carried.

This link was taken on this Van Hool by a fellow enthusiast:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X78T0-E5tFI

This coach was seen by me on Sunday, September 29th working a 759 service as seen below.

A2B Travel ran this demonstrator when very new. Seen on the 759 by Malcolm Crowe.

All the 280 branded E400s, recently repainted, were also upgraded to Euro 6 standards along with 3796-8 three single decks branded for the 280, the work being completed at Aylesbury depot by Eminox. 

709 is still in use on the J&J contract and nothing further has been advised by the company. Equally 22 still remains and 941 has still not returned from conversion and repaint. Of note is that 939 operated the late short working Line 40 to Stokenchurch on September 28th. It was mainly on the 35 route all that day before finding itself on an excursion to our village !!  

Oxford Bus sent Wrights 366 to Showbus which made an interesting sight.

Oxford continues to use branded buses on the wrong routes. 

205, still with Brookes branding, is seen at Thornhill with a 400 road working on October 3rd by Gavin Francis.

226 and 602 are working the  300 through the city centre on October 3rd by Gavin Francis.

Here 355 is seen with a 300 service to Pear Tree on September 29th by Gavin Francis.

Here 308 is seen with a 5 road service on October 1st by Ciaran Bird.

The first picture of a new Witney E40D is shown under the Gordon Scott piece above.

Both 50237 and 50265 are back in service after longish break off road.

megabus launched their seat reservation service last Monday.

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