Publication dates over the next few weeks are :

Sunday, December 22nd
Thursday, January 3rd 2020

This issue will be rather shorter than usual as I have several personal commitments which are limiting my time for the page at present.

The weather has been somewhat kinder in the Chilterns in recent days, cold but with some sun and not so much rain. I hope no one in the coming months warns of a water shortage!!

I hope contributors remembered that today, December 10th is publication day and I have waited until the last minute to include all sent. If I did not receive your mail in time then items will be in the December 22nd issue.

Date for your diary - X90 Celebration - by Jonathan Radley

Now we’re into December 2019, our old friend the Oxford London X90 service has less than a month left, before it’s last day of operation on Saturday January 4th 2020.

I’ve just set-up a Facebook group called: Oxford London X90 at the link below:


Perhaps you could raise awareness of this group through your excellent website. It would be great for others to add pictures, memories, personal stories of the Oxford London express service over its many decades to this Facebook group.

Plans are being made to celebrate the last day of the X90 with a farewell event in Oxford on Saturday January 4th 2020. I shall take my Bristol RELH coach (OAX 9F) into the city - the prototype RELH (521 ABL) spent its entire working life in Oxford working mainly on the London services and RE's were the mainstay of the Oxford London services during much of the 1960's and 1970's. Dave Clements will take his Bristol VRT dual-purpose bus (NUD 105L) to represent the various deckers that have operated the route.

Remember the vast MCW Metroliners of the 1980s?

COMS 901 heading for London and 902 having arrived at Gloucester Green both working service 190.
It is rumoured that out of the eight coaches it was never possible to have all in service due to reliability.
It is also interesting to record that some of these coaches ended their life as open top buses with Original Sightseeing in London.
(pictures are scanned from my  old pictures - Malcolm Crowe.)

We plan to operate an hourly free shuttle service from Gloucester Green to Thornhill Park&Ride in celebration of the X90's last day. It would be great to have the support of your readers on this day!

Coach 3, seen at Victoria Coach Station on January 29th 1999 - over 20 years ago.

Shearings had some nice coaches in the '90s and this was one of them purchased by Oxford, repainted and suitably branded.
They were really nice coaches to drive and very powerful, give taxis a run for their money!!
59 was re-registered UJI 1759 by Oxford having previously been H959DRJ, a Volvo B10M-60 which was retained until 2000.
Notice the moon and sun to indicate 24hour service, introduced by the then Marketing Manager - Jonathan Radley!!

It certainly seems a world away when your Editor worked part time for Oxford Bus, mainly on the express services to London, Heathrow and Gatwick. I even ran the Oxford Bus Company Web Page for a time at the turn of the century!!

Nearing the end of its life with the X90, coach 76 is seen in Bulleid Way on December 5th 2019 by Gavin Francis.

Hopefully see readers in Oxford on January 4th.

Not part of our normal news but one which I though worth mentioning hereunder.

Virgin Trains last day of operation on the West Coast Main Line was on Saturday 7th December, as of Sunday 8th December the service will be rebranded Avanti West Coast operated by First Trenitalia. The last few weeks of Virgin Pendolino operation saw the trains running in an unbranded grey livery in preparation for the franchise change. Virgin Voyagers could still be seen operating in the Virgin colour scheme, although mostly without the Virgin name on the side.

Theo Freeman

 Jack Cooper went with me to Milton Keynes on Friday, December 6th to see the last of Virgin operating the West Coast Mainline franchise. The new operator Avanti West Coast took the next day.

Pendolino 390 126 at Milton Keynes having arrived from Coventry on December 6th by Theo Freeman.
How very sad to see the Virgin branding gone after 22 years !

Although not a rail buff, I have used Virgin Trains to Glasgow and Manchester being most impressed by the service levels and reliability. I hope Avanti West Coast will be as good or better, time will tell.

Gary Seamarks passes by Dawson's Yard

This shot was taken at Dawsons Yard, Weds 4/12/19 into a low sun hence shadows, I was outside the locked yard and taken the it through the gates, hence awful image ! The vehicle is the mock-up NBFL, that is only partly fitted out inside, the registration does not appear in either Tax Disc online or BLOTW so either a mock-up or never registered, its been there for about 3 weeks that I know of, hopefully may get in there soon !

 Also in the yard were two brand new E400MMC that are yet to go on the road as part of a 'new' hire fleet, think one was shown at the recent Birmingham Show, 3 Routemaster were on-site along with some ex London Presidents, E200's and various minibuses, Dawson and Ventura (also a Dawson company) trade from the site.

Thanks to Gary for this interesting report and pictures. 

A question from Alexander?

In the days of Oxford South Midland why was there A 542, 543 and 545 but no 544?  

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

As it's only a  short page this week just one from Gordon with a London link!

Taken at Calendar, Carrs of Loch Lomond's nr. 10 - YN55NKD - a Scania N94UD with East Lancs body ex Transdev - London Sovereign SLE 35.

Picture by Gordon Scott. 

Fleet news and developments

The latest allocation lists for Arriva Midlands & The Shires, which is an Microsoft Excel file, can be found at this link:

Enthusiast Fleet 2 December 2nd 2019

Theo Freeman writes "Jack Cooper went with me to Milton Keynes on Friday to see the last of Virgin operating the West Coast Mainline franchise. The new operator Avanti West Coast took over today. "

We took some pictures of the Arriva buses seen there.

DAF SB120/ Wright Cadet 2765 working a staff shuttle.

Scania L94UB/Wright Solar 3619 seen on the 6 

Gavin Francis has kindly provided a picture, of upcoming 942, when in service with Go Ahead London Central working the 36 to Queens Park in Park Lane.

Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse WVL240 seen on April 9th 2015. Soon to be 942.

Nigel Peach

Carousel's 941 has eluded me so far, and for some reason it only seems to run schools services.

It is descending Plomer Hill on December 9th. It looks very smart. Apologies for all the reflection!

Included in the upcoming service changes, one is  being made on our local route -Link40 - to improve running times.

A revised timetable will be introduced on the link40 service to improve reliability. At the request of Thame Town Council, there will be a revised route in Thame. Rather than diverting to serve King's Road and Queen's Road, buses will remain on Kingsey Road and serve the new stops at Churchill Crescent and the stops near Orchard Close.

There will be no change to the Sunday timetable.

Click on the graphic for more details and the new timetable.

For other changes and updates link to the main web site: https://www.carouselbuses.co.uk/  

A regular bus working 250 road is this ex London Citaro, 883 often with sister 882.

It is seen here in Magdalen Street East, waiting time for its next run to Bicester.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken on December 3rd. Just behind is 201 from the City Sightseeing fleet.

316 and 357 are seen with 400 road services at Thornhill Park & Ride on December 4th  by Gavin Francis.

Tim Jones writes " I managed to snap this on Cowley road last weds (4th Dec). Wanted to try and get the view from the front but the bus pulled away as I took the pic from the side."

Pictures by Tim Jones on December 4th.

Tim also wonder if the X90 coaches maybe cascaded to the Airline services where they could replace coaches 21-25 and 61-65? Nothing has so far emerged about this matter.


Bus Group News

Four of the new ADL Enviro 400 City EV/BYD double deck vehicles have now been seen on delivery or on test in the Scarborough area.

Registrations are LF69UXX, LFUYA/C/K. It is believed that these vehicles are destined for Stagecoach Manchester. All four are in the pale green colour scheme, the same as the SC East tri-axle deckers!!

LF69UXX  BYD DD   AD   H??/??F  /2019  Greater Manchester South 
LF69UYA  BYD DD   AD   H??/??F  /2019  Greater Manchester South 
LF69UYC  BYD DD   AD   H??/??F  /2019  Greater Manchester South 
LF69UYK  BYD DD   AD   H??/??F  /2019  Greater Manchester South 

The new ADL decker featured in the last issue leaving Falkirk is part of a batch for Lincolnshire as shown below.

SN69ZPE is to be East Midlands/Lincolnshire 11278.

11274  SN69ZNZ  AD E40D SFD938ER4KGX31239  AD K439/1  H??/??F  11/2019  Lincolnshire 
11275  SN69ZPB  AD E40D SFD938ER4KGX31240  AD K439/2  H??/??F  11/2019  Lincolnshire 
11276  SN69ZPC  AD E40D SFD938ER4KGX31241  AD K439/3  H??/??F  11/2019  Lincolnshire 
11277  SN69ZPD  AD E40D SFD938ER4KGX31242  AD K439/4  H??/??F  12/2019  Lincolnshire 
11278  SN69ZPE  AD E40D SFD938ER4KGX31243  AD K439/5  H??/??F  12/2019  Lincolnshire 

Although stated elsewhere that 15754 had moved north, this was an error on someone's part in SC Oxfordshire and it will be returned from SC East Midlands, probably in exchange for 15616. This bus had a gearbox fault which is now resolved

This excellent picture of 15754 was taken earlier this month in Hull by Ian Knott.©

15613 is however still at Oxford waiting to have a problem resolved when it will also then go north! Also 15536 is still at Oxford but is due to be transferred away soon.

Regarding the new buses for Witney as already mentioned 11247, 11251 and 11253 had yet to enter service and by Saturday, December 7th both 11251 and 11253 had entered service. (their first day) . By the time you read this, it is expected that 11247 will also have entered service.

11238 is presently receiving rectification work by ADL following a slight problem after service.

It is understood that 15964 and 15965 will be leaving the fleet but so far their destination has not been confirmed. As already recorded 15966 has returned to Oxford and all three were seat belt and tacho fitted when new so are quite useful vehicles.

Theo Freeman advises that Banbury E400 10067 was used on the Bicester Village Park & Ride services on Saturday, December 7th and returned later.

Optare Solo 47658 as at Banbury for a gearbox change as Witney have no lifting jacks.
December 7th by Theo Freeman.

Many of the new tri-axles for the Cambridge Busway have been delivered and below is a list of these buses.

13901  BU69XYA  Vo B8L YV3U2U527KA198684  AD K414/1  H98D  12/2019  Cambus 
13902  BU69XYB  Vo B8L YV3U2U525KA198683  AD K414/2  H98D  12/2019  Cambus 
13903  BU69XYC  Vo B8L YV3U2U520KA198686  AD K414/3  H98D  12/2019  Cambus 
13904  BU69XYD  Vo B8L YV3U2U529KA198685  AD K414/4  H98D  12/2019  Cambus 
13905  BU69XYE  Vo B8L YV3U2U524KA198738  AD K414/5  H98D  12/2019  Cambus 
13906  BU69XYF  Vo B8L YV3U2U526KA198739  AD K414/6  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13907  BU69XYG  Vo B8L YV3U2U522KA198740  AD K414/7  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13908  BU69XYH  Vo B8L YV3U2U524KA198741  AD K414/8  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13909  BU69XYJ  Vo B8L YV3U2U52XLA198812  AD K414/9  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13910  BU69XYK  Vo B8L YV3U2U521LA198813  AD K414/10  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13911  BU69XYL  Vo B8L YV3U2U526LA198841  AD K414/11  H98D  /2019  Cambus 
13912  BU69XYM  Vo B8L YV3U2U528LA198811  AD K414/12  H98D  /2019  Cambus 

Driver training continues using the new Volvo B8L/ADL Enviro 400XLBs with 13905 on training duties in the Peterborough area on December 9th.

Photo courtesy Steven Knight Media.©

It is suggested that one of the new tri-axles was used on Trumpington Park&Ride on December 9th. Can anyone confirm this?  

Two brand new ADL E40Ds have arrived at Bedford on loan, they maybe finally for Lincolnshire. They follow on from the batch mentioned earlier.

11279  SN69ZPF  AD E40D SFD938ER  AD K439/6  H??/??F  12/2019  ON LOAN SCE Bedford 
11280  SN69ZPG  AD E40D SFD938ER  AD K439/7  H??/??F  12/2019  ON LOAN SCE Bedford 

These are to help replacing the X5 coaches which are to receive servicing work at Rugby in the coming months.

Theo Freeman writes "Jack Cooper went with me to Milton Keynes on Friday to see the last of Virgin operating the West Coast Mainline franchise. The new operator Avanti West Coast took over today. "

We got some photos of the Stagecoach buses there.

East's Plaxton Panther 53616 on the 99

East's E300 27644 on the 99

Pictures at Milton Keynes by Theo Freeman.


click on this banner for the complete Oxford tube website

One of the first pictures received is of the ex South Gloucester fleet coaches now absorbed into Stagecoach West, working out of Bristol. This is one of several LHD coaches in use on UK Domestic services.

Megabus 55025 is seen with an M10 service passing VCS on December 5th by Gavin Francis. 

Nick Ross sent a nice picture for this issue.

An immaculate looking and sounding Z & S Dart T305 JRH in Leighton Buzzard High St on December 7th
after working the 1235 165 service from Stoke Mandeville

London developments

Another colourful New Routemaster, this time London United's LT665 advertising Israel. December 5th by Gavin Francis.


School holidays are coming and so drivers & vehicles will have peace from their young passengers !

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