Another issue with much to interest readers including the latest news from Oxford tube concerning operation after January 6th 2020.

We also have a nice piece from Joshua Sammons on a revised 442 service at Heathrow Terminal 5. It appears that LHR is funding a lot more new and current service increases.

Dylan Jones provides us with an update on matters in the West Midlands where I note that WM drivers since 2016 are qualifying for a "Master Driver" qualification. They get a nice badge and a special uniform!! More details can be found at this link: https://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/news/national-express-master-driver-may-2016

Tony Bungay has provided some interesting pictures from the early day of the Oxford Park & Ride services which for older readers may bring back memories.

The new Witney MMCs are entering service, if rather slowly and there are still a few to go.

Much effort is being put into bus services throughout the UK and wonders what the upcoming General Election will bring when we know the winners. Oh and I am still hoping someone will provide me with pictures of the other battle buses following last week's picture of the LibDems bus.

Joshua Sammons reports on route 442 at Heathrow

I writes regarding a route that began recently, its route 442 operated by a smaller sized operator called Carlone Limited of Wraysbury. I believe that the 442 started in late Dec 2016 following the termination of Route 591. They use these Mercedes minibuses on the route which caters to those working at Heathrow and living in the village of Stanwell. There are also a large number of OAP users this gives a community feel onboard.

Along with the 442 that serves Stanwell village it also serves Stanwell Moor and Staines Elmsleigh bus station. Very recently Carlone started an express version of the route X442 (August 10th 2019 per the timetable), this bypasses Stanwell village for a more direct route via the A3044.

Pictures of the timetable I was given today

Picture below show the standard 442 and thanks to a very kind driver he also displayed the X442 for pictures.

Thanks to Joshua for those notes from an area where I spent much of my working life.

Dylan Jones reports on matters West Midlands

Dylan Jones

Kev’s of Bromsgrove have taken on routes 19, 38 and 42 in South Birmingham with newly leased Enviro 200 MMCs. A batch of 5 new buses run the 19 from Maypole to Rubery, with the 38/42 utilising a single bus each, normally an older 66 plate example.

This is YX69NLR at Maypole during the first week of operation, awaiting departure.

Airport operations can easily go unnoticed in our hobby - APH and Airpark operate at many airports across the country. Airparks have favoured the Chinese King Long XMQ6127J single decker, with BX17ELU visible in an updated livery. They operate a batch of 3 such buses on the shuttle to their facility at Garretts Green. I understand Luton Airport also has some of these APH have favoured the Optare Metrocity.

YJ67GBZ smartly repressing their operation to Hams Hall.

This example was new to their Sharston, Manchester operation and appears to be a recent transfer, let’s just say that the Birmingham fleet are a little less well presented!

NXWM continue to provide interest with both newer and older vehicles. 4306 is now the oldest active Trident (if you exclude heritage liveried Travel West Midlands 4125 at Walsall) and is based at Yardley Wood.
It has transferred in from Pensnett depot in Dudley, but has spent most of its life at Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Pictured here departing it’s new home with an 18 for Bartley Green.

A number of unusual loans have occurred in the last few months - Birmingham Central depot has not had any Volvo B7TLs for a number of years now, but 4240 and 4271 managed to change that in October. 4271 lasted a few weeks after drivers were type trained for it, being employed on the 61/63 Bristol Road, 45/47 Pershore Road and 14/97 routes to Chelmsley Wood. Here 4271 lays over at Frankley Holly Hill terminus, with a 63 for Birmingham.

The normal allocation of Volvo B5LHs is shown by 5501 departing alongside.

A very interesting sight on the 17th of October was the use of Walsall Enviro 200 860 on the trunk Platinum X51 service through to Cannock. The extension from Walsall was added at a 20 minute frequency earlier in 2019. It didn’t last a full day on the route but was captured departing Birmingham.

Walsall Enviro 200 860 on the trunk Platinum X51.
Memories of happy days when I drove for Harpers of Heath Hayes on the Cannock-Birmingham services!

The Scania Omnilink is not a common sight in general, but NXWM built up a large fleet from 2007 till 2010. Yardley Wood have 11 of the type for route 27 from Maypole to Harborne. 1915 is pictured on Quinton Road, Harborne, with a Maypole bound service.

1915 is pictured on Quinton Road, Harborne, with a Maypole bound service.

The seven Enviro 200s based at Birmingham Central for City Council contracts are not normally used in regular service - 4 of these are MMC200s leases from Dawsons, 3 are 61 plates moved in from London. Problems with two of the three StreetLites normally employed forced use of 765 YX18KZE for several days, and 767 SK68LZP also spent a day on the 10S route - then Northfield to Quinton Tesco though now curtailed to Selly Oak. Readers may recognise 765 from its time at Thames Valley in Slough as 135. Note the lack of destination display and a ticket machine was also absent, an exceptional circumstance from a big company. 765 is pictured on Sedgehill Avenue, Harborne heading for Quinton Tesco.

765 is pictured on Sedgehill Avenue, Harborne heading for Quinton Tesco.

Rail Replacements on the Redditch branch saw Midland Classic of Burton using their Optare Metrocity and Scania L94UB single decks. 7 YJ66AOZ is one of four purchased new in 2016, as seen waiting to depart for Barnt Green. Testing of new equipment by Network Rail was the reason for these replacements.

7 YJ66AOZ is one of four purchased new in 2016, as seen waiting to depart for Barnt Green. 

Route 6 from Birmingham to Solihull has now been converted to Platinum operation after capacity issues with the MMC200s. Newly delivered 7518-38 make up the main allocation but slightly older examples like 6893 also appear, all based at Yardley Wood. The new Platinums intended for the 6 are actually due to be displaced elsewhere in the new year, when electric BYD deckers take over on the 6.

6893 is pictured at the Carrs Lane terminus on Birmingham.

Many thanks to Dylan for that comprehensive update. 

A touch of Park & Ride history from Paul Bungay

As you did a feature on Oxford Park and Ride the other week, thought some photos of previous buses on this service may be of use. It I think will be correct in saying that many of these will have appeared on the bus page as news!

From the top

996 Ex London Transport DMS 1348 in late 1980’s

368 an Ex Southend Transport vehicle in summer 1985.

Dennis Tridents 104, 106, 108 early 21stcentury!
One sporting Queen Golden Jubilee livery

One time demonstrator 929. This was similar to the actual batch  of Tridents which entered service in 1999.

Many thanks to Tony for some interesting pictures. 

Paul Bateson visits an exhibition by New Buses in Toronto

 The Enviro 500 Super Low is of interest seen by Paul on November 15th, an ADL Demonstrator.
Maybe this reflects on the new Canadian ownership  of ADL.

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

Stagecoach West Scotland 50288 - YJ16EJF Van Hool Astromega with rear Citylink Advert seen arriving from Glasgow on Citylink 900.
Taken on Thursday 14th November.

Stagecoach Midland Red 54607 - YX68UAP Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i -  seen leaving Edinburgh Bus Station on M20 to London.
Taken on Thursday 14th November.

Taken on Thursday 14th November.

Taken in Corstorphine Edinburgh on November 17th and 18th new and first day of Lothian Country X38 route Edinburgh - Regent Road to Linlithgow Bridge.

Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse ex Lothian Buses.180 - SN13BEY and 185 - SN13BFK.

New Lothian Country route X38 Edinburgh to Linlithgow using ex Lothian Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse repainted and upgraded to Euro 6 spec. Taken today on a cold and frosty day with buses getting dirty very quick.

Linlithgow Bridge Terminus  178 - SN13BEO & 183 - SN13BFF.

Kirkliston - 180 - SN13BEY.

One of them 181 - SN13BFA  which was also converted to Euro 6 in this batch for Lothian Country had an engine fire on 6th November whilst in service in Livingstone not to sure how bad it is damaged.

The ten Stagecoach Cambridge 400 XLB,s are all stored in the yard area and they are not being delivered until early January 2020 with only a couple awaiting new camera mirrors to be fitted.

Fleet news and developments

Tony Bungay

As  one of your other viewers commented on your current newsletter that High Wycombe now seems to be doing more duties on X30/300 Service, 

Caught this the other day 3013 on temporary layover outside Aylesbury Bus station
 as the recent increase of buses using the station is producing at times the problem of no bays being available.
As the first shot was against the light and therefore a bit dark, I took a second to compensate, it was only afterwards that I found the destination had changed.

Nothing unusual in that, except Aylesbury seems to have now got a Service 800 extension!!! I know in the past a driver could by mistake wind the blind to the wrong position or it would slip, but this is first time I have seen an electronic destination sporting an incorrect display. Though I would imagine it is probably very easy to do.

Repainted Milton Keynes former Sapphire 3769 on the other side of the road approaches Aylesbury Bus station,
on an inward 150 journey with vestiges of Autumn colour remaining behind.

Seen in Oxford City centre on November 17th, both 5459 and 5460, both former sapphire liveried vehicles,

wearing rather imaginative recruitment adverts and relevant adaption of www Arriva strapline. 

Various pictures from Malcolm Crowe.

Two interesting pictures last Saturday, November 16th when the yard was host to three DAFs, two training buses
and from the rear picture two staff transports. 2708 was still there. 

M A N 14-240/E200 420 replaced Wright StreetLite MAX 409 on Saturday morning, November 16th and remained on this route for the rest of the day. 

420 pictured at Cressex Park & Ride by Malcolm Crowe.

November 18th

I notice that 941 has been working on the 8 for most of the day between school runs on the BB18. Most unusual to have a 'decker on this route.

Also M A N 14-240/MCV Evolution 418 has been working the Link 40 with 423 as the branded 424 is presently receiving mechanical attention.

Phil Southall advises that 876 and 877 are presently on loan to Thames Travel. 402 is awaiting an engine as you say and 422/424 are both off receiving mechanical attention. 

Yellow 682 was seen working a late night X3 on Saturday, November 16th.

Phil Southall writes "I can update you as best I can. Most of the OBC vehicles you refer to are still about, they are just off the road for mechanical attention. 74, 226 and 672 are not long term and have only been off for a few days. Coach 39 is in Coventry following it being involved in an incident as you say and we are expecting this back during December. Bus 655 is waiting an Engine and this should be back on the road this week. 62 seems to be suffering a number of issues and it is off the road until Volvo can sort them out."

Graham Low writes "I'm travelling by 367 on the X3 . It has white destination displays outside and white next stop inside as well as voice announcements."

367 by Graham Low. November 19th.

"StreetDecks 682 to 685 now tell you to stay in your seat until the bus stops, in words, but not in voice announcements."

Some pictures from Jack Cooper.

city 2 branded 227 is seen working a 3 road service in St Aldates by Jack Cooper on November 14th.

GWR branded 662 is seen in Oxford City Centre with a 2B working by Jack Cooper on November 14th.

city 3 branded 683 is unusually seen working a 13 road service in St Aldates by Jack Cooper on November 14th.

Citaro ANIMAL branded 870  is seen in Oxford City Centre with a 6 road working by Jack Cooper on November 14th.

Oxford's Citaro 846 surprisingly working the 250 on November 16th by Guy Watts.
Tonight as I finalise this page, this bus has been working 5 road this afternoon (November 21st.)

Park & Ride 673, with Orange 688, have been working 35 road services today, November 21st.

Coach Miles are now running ex X90, KF61OXF which was 81 seen at the Train Station in Oxford on November 15th by James Freeman. 

November 18th

Phil Southall advises that "876 and 877 are presently on loan to Thames Travel from Carousel.

At Thames the only long term ones are 207 and 861 and they should both be back soon. All the others are more short term and will be returning soon."

876 seen with an X40 working in St Aldates by Jack Cooper on November 14th.

452 and 511 pass in Broad Street on November 14th by Jack Cooper.

Michael Wadman

As you may have heard, First West of England have been hiring in from various operators to help out on routes to the University of Bath, including Tappins Coaches of Didcot.

My friend Keith Newton took these photos on October 21st, of :

452 “McGarry” (CW52 TOP, formerly LJ53 BCU) and no 453 “Snort” (CW53 TOP, formerly LJ04 YWE) at the University,

and no 452 again on North Parade

Both are Volvo B7TL / Transbus, formerly Arriva London South VLA42 and VLA73 respectively.

Pictures by Keith Newton via Michael Wadman.

As you know, Tappins Coaches are part of the Weavaway empire and I presume the livery is the latest manifestation of Mr Weaver’s sense of humour: they’re branded as Camberwick ‘coz, y’know, they’re green.

Many thanks to both Michael and Keith for this report and pictures. 

At Stagecoach West and its acquisition of South Gloucester Bus & Coach, of particular interest the one time SC Oxford's 59212 FJ56OBZ was in the fleet acquired by West and given the fleet number 59221. It could have reverted to 59212 since this number is long been unused!

Tony Bungay

Lastly a more nocturnal shot of Stagecoach Oxford Enviro 400MMC 11234 on November 17th working the S1 in George Street.

Pictures from other contributors.

As mentioned elsewhere 10672 was sent to Cheltenham for the weekend races and is seen above having returned to Oxford on November 17th.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

New MMC 11246 seen at Network Oxford on November 15th by Gavin Francis.
This bus entered service on the same day, its first working was the 1140 to Carterton with an S2 duty.

I am, personally delighted to see, 15966 along with 15965 has returned to Oxford doubtless in exchange for a new MMC.
Its first Oxford duty was working 2's on November 11th from 0900.
Picture taken by Gavin Francis - November 15th.
I remember driving this bus  on a number of occasions training drivers for the SW1.

The new MMCs are entering service slowly with 11248 reported in service today (November 21st. Still to enter service are 11245, 11249, 11250, 11251, 11252 and 11253.

Perhaps readers can advise me when they note any of those in service ? 

Now transferred to the Strategic Reserve Fleet from Bedford are Tridents 18336 and 18423. There are now no operational Tridents in this fleet.

Now repainted into corporate livery, from Coasthopper livery, is Enviro 200MMC 34731.

The recently withdrawn Tridents here - 18334/49, 18419-24 - are now for disposal and also Volvo B10M training coach 52647 has been transferred from Cambridge to Fenstanton.

David Gray

Yesterday saw the entry into service of the first of a batch of Alexander- Dennis Enviro 200MMCs at Basingstoke: 26295/6, 26300/2-4 and 26322. A total of 32 are expected for South..


They were all noted in service on route 2 to Baughurst with the previous buses used on the route being transferred on to other services.

Route 1 branded 27828-32 have been stood down and are at Winchester for rebranding prior to entry into service at Andover.

Very fluid situation at Basingstoke at the moment with 27565 departing for Guildford today and another MMC entering service.

Details of the full batch are shown below.

26294 SN69ZHW  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27694  AD K203/1  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26295 SN69ZHX  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27701  AD K203/2  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26296 SN69ZHY  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27709  AD K203/3  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26297 SN69ZHZ  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27686  AD K203/4  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26298 SN69ZJE  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27688  AD K203/5  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26299 SN69ZJJ  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27695  AD K203/6  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26300 SN69ZJK  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27700  AD K203/7  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26301 SN69ZJO  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27704  AD K203/8  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26302 SN69ZJU  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27707  AD K203/9  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26303 SN69ZJV  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27710  AD K203/10  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26304 SN69ZJX  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27711  AD K203/11  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26305 SN69ZJY  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27702  AD K203/12  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26306 SN69ZJZ  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27705  AD K203/13  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26307 SN69ZKA  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27712  AD K203/14  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26308 SN69ZKB  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27715  AD K203/15  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26309 SN69ZKC  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27721  AD K203/16  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26310 SN69ZKD  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27725  AD K203/17  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26311 SN69ZKE  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27730  AD K203/18  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26312 SN69ZKF  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27722  AD K203/19  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26313 SN69ZKG  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27736  AD K203/20  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26314 SN69ZKH  AD E20D   AD K203/21  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26315 SN69ZKJ  AD E20D   AD K203/22  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26316 SN69ZKK  AD E20D   AD K203/23  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26317 SN69ZKL  AD E20D   AD K203/24  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26318 SN69ZKM  AD E20D   AD K203/25  B43F  /2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26319 SN69ZKO  AD E20D   AD K203/26  B43F  11/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26320 SN69ZKP  AD E20D   AD K203/27  B43F  /2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26321 SN69ZKR  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27713  AD K203/28  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26322 SN69ZKS  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27723  AD K203/29  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26323 SN69ZKT  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27726  AD K203/30  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26324 SN69ZKU  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27732  AD K203/31  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 
26325 SN69ZKV  AD E20D SFDDWCBR9KGY27734  AD K203/32  B43F  10/2019  Stagecoach (South) 

Thanks to David for that information and pictures. Readers may remember we had a picture from Gordon Scott of 26306 leaving ADL, Falkirk on October 26th in Issue 79

I hope someone can give us the full allocation list ?

This last weekend also saw a busy race card at Cheltenham Races, although the number of vehicles on loan from other Stagecoach companies was much reduced on previous years with the following vehicles loaned.

All were Enviro 400MMCs with the exception of Scania/Enviro 400 15988
Stagecoach Manchester: 11264/65
Stagecoach Midlands: 10726, 11219/20
Stagecoach Oxford: 10672
Stagecoach South: 10764, 10894, 15988
Stagecoach South West: 10693/94
Many of the double decks used from the main Stagecoach West fleet were Gold-spec vehicles.

Gavin Francis took this picture of 10672 after its return to Oxford at Horspath Road depot on November 17th.

Of some interest is the final takeover of South Gloucester Bus & Coach. Its vehicles can be seen in detail at:

South Gloucester vehicles acquired fleet list

Of particular interest the one time SC Oxford's 59212 FJ56OBZ has been acquired by West and given the fleet number 59221. It could have reverted to 59212 since this number is long been unused!

As readers will be aware changes to the Oxford tube operation are planned for January 2020 following the withdrawal of the Oxford X90 services. For those readers interested please check the link hereunder to see the new timetable effective Monday, January 6th 2020.

Oxford tube timetables from January 6th 2020

The main change is that (Mondays to Fridays) there are express journeys via Baker Street in and outbound.

As already advised the service will increase from 25 coaches to 31 for the new timetable.


Coaches already here are 50233, 50235, 50245 and 50247 as shown in the picture above.

The remaining coaches expected for the tube :

For cascade to Stagecoach Oxfordshire Van Hool Astromega 50244 50246 50250 The vehicles for cascade are presently at: Cumbernauld 50244 50246 50250.

These coaches no longer appear on Stagecoach West Scotland's allocations at Cumbernauld but are as indicated for cascade to Oxford.

Richard Sharman

An amazing survivor from the former Oxford tube fleet is Volvo B10M/ Jonckheere L156LBW which was numbered 29,
it is now with J.V.A Sunseeker. Bath taken in Oxford on November 19th. 

For cascade to Stagecoach Oxfordshire Van Hool Astromega 50244 50246 50250 The vehicles for cascade are at: Cumbernauld 50244 50246 50250.

Smaller operators and London developments

London United LT675 (which has seen service with Arriva and Abellio)
now has a wrap for Pandora seen working the 211 on November 18th by Gavin Francis.

Last Christmas, The Original Tour applied snow flakes to many of their tour buses
and this is seen carried by VXE723 on November 18th by Gavin Francis.

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