Another page , another week and nearly the end of the year. Publication dates over the next few weeks are :

 Tuesday, December 10th
Sunday, December 22nd
Thursday, January 3rd 2020

Items for inclusion should reach me no later than two days before these issues. Thanks for your help on this one.

Much of interest is happening, not least of which is the repainting of megabus coaches for Oxford tube and the first coach  to go away from Oxford Bus to become a Carousel Chiltern Hundreds coach.

Most of the new MMCs for Stagecoach Witney are now in service and all of the older Gold buses in the 155** and 156** have now left for their new homes in the north.

 However the new Temsa coaches for Arriva Green Line have yet to arrive and the new double deck coaches for Reading's Green Line 7xx services will not enter service until January.

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 10 December, at the West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road, Oxford, OX2 0BT, starting at 7.30 p.m. 

Simon Hedwings, our chair, will be presenting the annual Grand Christmas Quiz, with an amazing prize for the winner. There will also be more time than usual for social chat. The hall is booked from 7 p.m.  

There is fairly limited parking on site. The car park at Seacourt is an alternative, as is Oxford Station. Many bus and train services serve Oxford Station which is a 5 minute walk away and in addition COMS City4 series routes, and Stagecoach routes S1, S6 and S9 pass the door. 

We suggest that people bring their own drinks. The society will provide mince pies. 

If we continue to use this venue we would need to change our regular night to a Monday. Please let us know what you think about changing to a Monday. 

As always non members are very welcome at our meetings.

Pictures OBES. 

There are several items of interest on this site under Fleet News Ramblings

click on the logo above


Alice in the Palace, a Wonderland like no other

New for 2019, Blenheim Palace is where everything becomes curiouser and curiouser. The magic of Alice in Wonderland will be exquisitely captured in an enchanting day time experience for all the family.

The scene is set as you step between the pages of a larger-than-life storybook into Alice's amazingly topsy-turvy world. Wander down the rabbit-hole corridor, through the Hall of Mirrors, along the Hall of Doors and into historic rooms, sometimes grand, sometimes dainty, but always filled with hidden surprises.

The sights and sounds around you conjure up a wild assortment of curious characters; The White Rabbit is in his sitting room – he mustn't be late, you know. The world of the Caterpillar is filled with flowers, foliage and of course a rather large mushroom, the Cheshire Cat might leave you with a grin whilst the room filled with crystal drops and shimmering light must be home to the Pool of Tears. Sometimes things are bigger than they should be and sometimes smaller. Are you a small person in a huge place or a tall person in a tiny space? Or is it all an illusion?

There's no mistaking The Queen of Hearts and her giant jam tarts, surrounded by pink flamingos, rambling roses and hedgehogs. The Long Library, complete with sparkling giant peacocks, is transformed into the perfectly scrumptious setting for a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It's a wonderful world of make believe.

Don't forget to visit The Stables to rummage through the dressing up box. Become a White Rabbit, Queen, Knave or Alice herself. Once in your finery recreate your very own adventure for a selfie or two.

Ciaran Bird has provided some pictures of buses supporting this event saying "On Dec 1st 2 of the 3 Brookes vehicles used for Blenheim Shuttle. The other vehicle was 613 with a while solo, possibly 709, within the grounds doing a loop."

Brookes 372 and 373 seen on December 1st by Ciaran Bird.

A piece of history from Gavin Francis

Many of you will  have seen SMA8 this year as above at Showbus. What a beautiful restoration.

Gavin records it in a previous life.

SMA8 with Prestwood many years ago, following service with Green Line.
Pictures from Gavin Francis. 

Paul Lacey has a new book out shortly which is not to be missed. Even if one does not know the area there are always some interesting items and facts in these books.

click to see the detail


North of the Border with Gordon Scott

Gordon Scott has contributed some interesting pictures this week from above the border.

Shots attached taken at Edinburgh Bus Station on November 27th.

Border Buses Three routes together, with much colour!

This a really nice informative video on youtube regarding Borders new route 253.

Maybe this a solution for the next generation Oxford tube coaches?

Stagecoach East Scotland Fife.
Volvo B9R Caetano Levantes - 53735 - BF63ZRT on route X60.  53738 - BF63ZRX on route X58.

Taken 28/11 at Wester Hailes Edinburgh.- New Lothian full advert buses.

Lothian 856 - SN5 DFJ Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini
seen in Edinburgh City Centre advert was Macmillan Cancer Support - Hamish full advert bus, on route 3.

Lothian 420 - BN64CSO Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3
another third one in Glenfiddich full advert on route 33.

Perth - November 30th

Stagecoach East Scotland
Mercedes Benz Sprinter City 45 44016 - BV66GUA seen on route 4 Perth City Centre.

Many thanks to Gordon for his regular contributions, some of which are in other areas on this issue. 

Fleet news and developments

Following my piece on the new Watford minibus on demand service I received the following from one of our readers.

Andrew Simmonds

Since Arriva and the companies before them started winning tendered London routes and allocating them to Garston the local services have been in terminal decline with many reductions and withdrawals of routes over that time period.  

The promotion of the shopping centre and direct links to the M1 from the car parks have encouraged car use together with centralisation of Hospital services at Watford from a large surrounding area have encouraged car use. 

The whole area suffers from horrendous traffic jams every day but especially on Saturdays when Watford FC are at home and Xmas Shopping. The 500 to Aylesbury can often run up to an hour late with big gaps in service. 

Now Watford local services are provided out of Hemel garage. Watford Town Centre has been continually dug up and buses are pushed away and the waiting environment for buses in Watford is confused ad diabolical. Buses stop at wrong stops due to congestion and most of the bus stops have no clear marking as to what routes actually stop there etc. No is there no clear map displayed of any stops 

I can't wonder bus usage has declined in Watford and it is ironic that Arriva are now being paid to provide an alternative. 

Arriva Citaro 3924 working the 100 in Milton Keynes on December 3rd by Andrew Simmonds who says:
"I haven't seen new Red Rose 100 yet but I have attached an example of Arriva's route 100 in Milton Keynes."

Nick Ross

"With the 150 Aylesbury - Milton Keynes and 250 short turn being rerouted via Leighton Buzzard rail station regular Decker operations here have returned. The evening 250 appears to be a solid Decker turn as seen here with Gemini decker 6043 at Leighton Buzzard rail station with the 1720 250 from Aylesbury  on November 29th 2019"

Picture by Nick Ross. 

I don't feel very well, even though I've come home. Part of me is missing!

Once the pride of Wycombe, 3862 lies forlorn in the depot at Cressex on December 5th by Malcolm Crowe.
I'm not sure where this bus has been but it looks like the end of the road now!

Late information from Arriva regarding the Temsa coaches  for Green Line, is that they are somewhere in Swansea, South Wales having DDA Mods and other equipment fitted.

Carousel Fleet List - November 2019

As mentioned in the Editorial the first X90 coach - nr 75 - left last Monday to Hants & Dorset Trim to be prepared in the colours of Chiltern Hundreds (Carousel) 102 route.

Phil Southall (Oxford Bus's MD) advises that the next coaches to go are expected to be 73 and 74.

Phil also advised that a further Volvo B7TL/Wrights Gemini double deck has been acquired for Carousel. This is WVL240 - LX06DZZ which I believe has most recently been at Croydon. Doubtless this will be corrected if I am wrong! It is to be Carousel 942 and I briefly saw the bus on the A40 near West Wycombe last Friday, November 29th. It was still  in LG livery with grey skirt and yellow trim.

Citaro 876 has returned to Carousel from Thames Travel but 877 is still away.

Solo 709 has been absent for a few days whilst working at Blenheim Palace (see above). 

Oxford Bus Fleet List - November 2019

Jack Cooper

Jack has sent some interesting comments and pictures shown below.

300 seen in Magdalen Street East on November 30th by Jack Cooper.
Further down the page is a very similar colour under Stagecoach East !!!!!!
Enviro Hybrid 300 has now got a new rear advert for Genesis Care.  I am advised by Ciaran Bird that 224 has got the same rear advert. 

On Thursday 28th November bus 688 (City 8 and 9) worked one return from Barton to City Centre and back
 before doing five X3 trips, two journeys to Abingdon and three journeys to Oxford,
with it's last trip being my journey to College that day.
It then did 13 trips on the 300 starting at Redbridge and then ending at Pear Tree.
After that it then did three trips on 8s, starting in Oxford and finishing there too. 

Also on 28th November Park & Ride bus 672 was on City 3 which I managed to picture,
also Park & Ride bus 664 was on City 13 working 5 trips starting at the JR Hospital finishing in Oxford City.
Unfortunately I am not sure how many trips 672 did as it is not showing up on bus times. 

Bus 367 (City Pride) has recently had new Mobitec destination blinds fitted, they are currently being trailed, as well new Mobitec AV announcements are also on trial, however I am yet to have been on it since they have been fitted. Currently Oxford Bus Company vehicles have Hanover blinds and announcements.

Pictures by Jack Cooper.

On Wednesday December 4th StreetDeck 679 (Park & Ride) was on City 5 seen in High Street by Jack Cooper.

More pictures from Contributors

Scania 220 is seen working 2 road on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

City 5 653 is seen working 6 road in Magdalen Street East by James Lambeth on November 29th. 

Jason Kew
provided these two pictures of 651 working 4 road at Wood Farm on December 5th.

Gavin Francis caught up with two of the new E200s working the ST2 seen on November 26th.

Following its use at Blenheim last weekend, 709 is seen here working a Thames Travel Faringdon service, on December 3rd by Alex Horwood.

I note that 213 seems not to been out for along time now and this is maybe because it is recorded as Euro 4 in the latest fleet list?

Thames Travel Fleet List - November 2019

Two pictures from Mark Turner showing the Watford operation on December 2nd.

A recent picture of Stagecoach Yorkshire's 54411 ready for a service to Barnsley on November 29th by GavinFrancis.

Parks Caetano 3 BF68LFG waiting time on Elizabeth Bridge - the date November 26th by Gavin Francis.
These coaches have been predominant on the 540 since new.

Brent Ricketts writes saying  "Here are three new 69 plate Enviro 200s for our new 606 service from Chipping Campden to Cheltenham."

And then he followed with this bus today, December 2nd 2019, which he was driving, taken in Cheltenham.

Pulhams E200MMC YX69NZE working the 606 seen in Cheltenham on December 2nd by Brent Ricketts.
Personally I think the Pulhams livery is really smart !

Whilst many buses are coming out of ADL Falkirk in the traditional livery at least one BYD for Manchester is in the same colour as the Cambridge tri-axles. The ADL Enviro 400 City EV/BYD vehicle has been seen on test, carrying registration mark LF69UYC. A picture can be seen at this link: https://cbwmagazine.com/new-stagecoach-adl-byd-enviro400ev-spotted/.

Maybe the green livery represents greener smarter travel ?

Also a late delivery  is shown in this picture by Gordon Scott taken at ADL Falkirk. I am unable to find out currently who this bus is for!

Picture taken on November 28th by Gordon Scott.

As mentioned in the Editorial most of the new buses at Witney are now in service but at the time of writing 11247, 11251 and 11253 have not yet been seen.

Late news and pictures from Gavin Francis taken on December 5th show the three buses awaiting entry into service. They are seen at Network Oxford parking area.

December 5th at Network Oxford by Gavin Francis.

Hugh Jaeger writes "I was in Abingdon today. A new Enviro 400MMC turned up on route 15 from Witney! I assume the usual Enviro200 was unavailable. I apologise for the poor light. The bus took me by surprise and I had to quickly get the best angles I could before it departed!" On checking www.bustimes.org I note that one of the new MMCs works the 15 most days.

11233 is seen at the stop in Abingdon with a 15 service to Witney on November 29th by Hugh Jaeger.



Ben Studley sent these two pictures of 11252 working route S1 and seen in Witney on November 29th.

11234 seen with an S2 working in Gloucester Green on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

11240 seen with an S1 working in George Street on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

11248 seen with an S1 working in George Street on November 26th by Gavin Francis.
According to www.bustimes.org this bus hasn't moved from Network Oxford as seen below.
Also I wonder what has happened to 11247, 11251 and 11253?

Click to see a large view. Taken December 4th.

E200 36761 seen working an S2 service in George Street on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

Theo Freeman writes to advise "I’m sure you have heard of the news that a Banbury depot will be operating a new Brackley to Bicester service in the new year. I have been able to find some information which you may find handy for the page."

 The service starts on the 12th of January (which is odd, as it would have seen quite a bit of use for those going to Bicester Village this time of year).

 One bus will operate on the route, shared between three drivers (most likely to be on a E200MMC). It will start/finish at Brackley Market Place and Bicester Village Station

 The route will be numbered 505 and has been risked-assessed. There is no timetable available at the moment though. As another bus will be needed at Banbury, I would assume 34471 will return from Witney?

Stagecoach E400 10067 at Banbury depot and 34471 is back at Banbury temporarily to have a gearbox change and will go back to Witney when finished. Also 28745 undergoing maintenance last week.

Pictures by Theo Freeman taken on November 30th. 

The new Volvo B8L/ADL E400LXBs have started to arrive with 13901 and 13903 already at Cambridge for training, subject to the re-opening of the Busway between Histon and Orchard Park they could carry their first passengers in February next year. The Busway has been closed due to the construction work on the A14 trunk road which is due to be completed shortly.

Stagecoach East says that it intends to re-launch its Busway operations and central to its plans are 18 new buses representing investment of £5 million. 
12 of the buses are the 13.4 metre-long try-axle ADL Enviro 400XLBs whilst the remaining six will be Volvo B8RLEs with MCV eVora bodywork, which will be delivered in early 2020. Similar vehicles are already successfully operated by Lothian Buses in Edinburgh.

The introduction of the longer double deck buses means that the A and B services will swap the routes they take into Central Cambridge with the B routes via the Science Park and the A operating via Shire Hall. It is also proposed that some journeys on the B will extend beyond Drummer Street Bus Station in Cambridge to serve the main Cambridge Rail Station.
At Drummer Street the plan is for Bay 10 to be used, with Bay 11 then taken out of use to allow the longer buses to access the stand and reverse off it.

The Enviro 400XLBs are able to carry 134 passengers with 98 of them seated, an increase of 26 seats over most of the existing double decks used on the route. meeting the latest in emissions standards we estimate that each new double deck could replace between 50 and 75 cars on the roads. These new buses also have bell pushes on the backs of each seat, USB charging facilities, WiFi and air chill. Glazed areas give a brighter feel to the staircase area. Driving mirrors are also replaced by high definition cameras. (This extract courtesy Steven Knight Media.)

Steven has also provided some excellent pictures of the the first new buses on training on part of the Busway. The pictures were taken on November 29th by Steven Knight.

These are impressive buses and one wonders if this is part of the new livery for Stagecoach in the '20s.

Seen in the bus station the destination shows the A service. Note the guide wheel behind the front offside wheel.

Now showing the B service display, 13901 is now on part of the Busway.

West's 15343 seen with an S6 working in Gloucester Green on November 26th by Gavin Francis.

We are still awaiting the return of the ex megabus coaches from repaint with at least three in Chesterfield.. I wonder how far forward they are? The new timetable starts on January 6th 2020, so only about a month to go!


Gordon Scott, as ever, has provided a picture of one of the new Panoramas in service.

Taken at Broxden Park & Ride Perth New Stagecoach West Scotland 50406 - YX69LCJ Volvo B11R Plaxton Panorama named "Ozzy"
seen on Megabus M9 Dundee - Perth - Glasgow on November 30th.

London developments

A recent wrap caught on camera by Gavin Francis on November 26th being Go London LT484 advertising Hugo Boss. 

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