Sunday, December 22nd 2019


First of all may I wish all my readers and contributors a very pleasant Christmas break and a peaceful and successful New Year 2020.

At this time of year it seems that rain or strong sunlight makes photography difficult and I am delighted that many of you have sent photographs to me for this issue.

We are now in our 22nd year having started the page back in November 1998. I took over the original Oxford Bus Page in the month and surprise myself that I am still going strong entering my 80th year !!

All of the new E40D MMCs are now in service at Witney and other new buses continue to arrive in our area as recorded below.

Sir Brian Souter steps down as Chairman of Stagecoach

Stagecoach co-founder and billionaire businessman Sir Brian Souter will leave his position as chairman from the beginning of next year.

Sir Brian Souter and sister Ann Gloag.

He will stay on the firm's board, but his position as chairman will be taken by Ray O'Toole.

Brother-and-sister team Sir Brian and Dame Ann Gloag, who will retire from the board completely, set up Stagecoach.

The siblings helped grow the business into what is now claimed to be Britain's biggest bus, coach and tram operator, employing 24,000 people across the country and with a fleet of more than 8,300 vehicles.

Sir Brian said: "At the age of 65, the time is right for me to step down as Stagecoach chairman to spend time on my other interests and with my family, including my three young grandchildren. My family and I continue to have a significant shareholding in Stagecoach and I have every confidence in the management team, our strategy and the positive prospects of the business. I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of stakeholders as a non-executive director on the board."

Dame Ann Gloag and Sir Ewan Brown, both long-serving non-executive directors, will retire from the board on 31 December 2019.

Mr O'Toole said: "The contributions of Sir Brian Souter and Dame Ann Gloag both to the public transport industry and to Stagecoach as co-founders, senior executives and directors cannot be overstated.

The insight and wisdom of Sir Ewan Brown over his many years as a director of the company have also been key in its success.

On behalf of the company, I extend my sincere thanks to all three of them and I look forward to continuing to work with Sir Brian and having access to his insight on the board.

I am delighted to have the privilege of succeeding Sir Brian as Chairman of Stagecoach, a company which continues to innovate and lead the sector, and deliver consistently for its customers.

Most of my career has been in public transport and I am confident about the prospects for sustainable mass transit and for Stagecoach."


Coming in 2020.

I have three most interesting pieces to be published in the New Year.

Paul Bateson visited Argentina in South America and has contributed a large number of pictures of his trip.

Kevin Nicol spent a number of weeks in Switzerland also contributed many photos from areas across the country.

I intend publishing these contributions over a number of issues which I hope will prove interesting for readers.

Nick Aris has sent a number of pictures from Spain which I am sure readers will find of interest.

Urban Transit Fleets in Canada

click on the logo above to visit the web site.

Paul Bateson, who provides pictures both past and present, has asked me once again to let readers know about a recent publication which he is involved with. Having studied this book I must say that it is very comprehensive indeed. It takes readers on a visit to Urban Transit Fleets in Canada, with 64 pictures in colour of the vehicles, providing the reader with an excellent idea of the fleets involved. There is also much more information on the operations, buses and of course fleet lists. Especially useful if anyone is intending a visit to Canada. You will also find the many  pages on heritage operations, including tramways extremely useful.

A better idea of what the book is like.

If you have Adobe Acrobat open this link to order: Order Form_2019 SSG_MEB.pdf

Isn't it surprising how much detail there is worldwide about buses and transport for people who follow this subject. 


January 3rd and 4th should prove special for everyone as these dates see the end of the X90 service which should provide much interest in the following issue.

From January 6th the Oxford tube will provide increased services to London with a new express service on weekdays serving Baker Street on the way to Victoria. These expresses will run in both directions. some Astromegas previously with megabus. During the  past few weeks these coaches have been repainted and branded into Oxford tube livery and the service will see 32 coaches maintaining the increased service.

The tube will run the London service on Christmas Day.

North of the Border with Gordon Scott

Gordon has been busy catching interesting items in Scotland which are much appreciated.

These are the Panoramas for Citylink 900 Edinburgh to Glasgow. See a picture at this link :

50412  YX69LBK  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U825LA199406  Pn KD02/01  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50413  YX69LBL  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U820LA199409  Pn KD02/02  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50414  YX69LBN  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U820LA199412  Pn KD02/03  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50415  YX69LBO  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U828LA199450  Pn KD02/04  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50416  YX69LBP  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U823LA199453  Pn KD02/05  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50417  YX69LBU  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U829LA199456  Pn KD02/06  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50418  YX69LBV  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U828LA199481  Pn KD02/07  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 
50419  YX69LBZ  Vo B11RLET YV3T2U823LA199484  Pn KD02/08  CH??/??Dt  /2019  Western Buses 

These coaches are due to enter service on January 7th 2020.

We had strong winds on December 10th in Scotland and 19666 was blown off the road into a ditch. There are two photos on flicker site tonight of Stagecoach East Scotland Fife 19666 - SP60DPK Alexander Enviro 400 Dunfermline depot based the one that is painted in 100 tears livery red and white. with the actual bus at: Bus blown off the road at Kingseat, Cowdenbeath

Two Coaches of Parks of Hamilton on Citylink 900 route painted in Xmas adverts. Volvo B13R Plaxton Elites KSK978 in Princess Street Edinburgh and KSK981 taken at Edinburgh Bus Station.


Pictures from December 16th at Alexander Dennis Falkirk factory seen on a test run.

First Eastern Counties Excel 39419 - YN69DWL Scania E40D City.

Stagecoach East Scotland Fife Rennies 53108 - PSU375
seen in Glasgow on private hire.
New to Stagecoach Highland Country Citylink 53108 - SV09EGY.
December 16th.

Taken at Glasgow on December 17th.

First Glasgow  37206 - 693AFU.
Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini route X1 branded ex SF57MKC.  

Red Bus Bistro JJD407D ex RML2407 London Buses.

Taken on the night of December 18th in Princess Street Edinburgh beside the gardens with Xmas festival.

Lothian 586 - SJ67MGY Volvo B5LH Wright Gemini 3 was new in Skylink livery seen on route 22.

Lothian 706 - SN55BKE Volvo B7TL Wright Gemini one of the oldest still running seen on route 44.

Lothian 1151 - LX11CWP Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini Seen on route 4 was new to Go Ahead London Central as WVL410.

Taken on December 19th at the Alexander Dennis Falkirk factory.

New and second order for National Express Xplore Dundee 6683 - SN69ZNV Alexander Dennis E40D MMC seen out on a test run.
These are going into service at a launch in January 2020.

Fleet news and developments

Locally Tony Bungay sent a nice picture of an X60 service leaving Aylesbury saying "Aylesbury seems to have regained a couple of Alexander bodied double deckers, one 6403 is seen here in Aylesbury High Street in the rain working an X60 journey on December 17th."

North Wales interlude by your Editor. 

My bi-annual visit to Bangor, North Wales was made in awful weather conditions not at all providing time for photographs. However I did get two from my daughters house which are shown below.

Arriva Wales Solo 696 working the 67L to Bethesda on December 14th by Malcolm Crowe.
The following day this bus was working the Great Orme shuttle at Llandudno!

Arriva Cymru Coastliner 3178 seen heading for Llandudno West Shore with a  service 5 on December 16th by Malcolm Crowe.

A very nice touch but sadly without pictures was that every bus had alternating destination displays with Happy Christmas to our customers in English and Welsh. 

The ex Go-Ahead London Volvo decker 942, having worked a few days for Carousel is now being prepared for single door conversion and repaint into Carousel livery.

Citaro 877 is presently off the road for repairs, following an accident in Reading whilst on loan to Thames Travel.

X90 coaches 85 and 76 are away for repaint ready for the extended Carousel service 102. When this service starts on December 29th X90 coaches 67-69 will stand in until mid January. Their X90 branding is being removed and they will have suitable vinyls applied for the interim.

Passing the depot on December 20th I came upon 304 being taken away by Ripleys.
R I P 304

859 shows the new side branding for The ONE on December 20th by Malcolm Crowe.

Jack Gannon got a clearer picture, of the branding, in The Eden Bus Station on December 17th.

Gavin Francis saw 215 heading to Thame on the 40 near Lewknor through the M40 cutting on the afternoon of December 21st. My check found that 421 had failed when leaving Wycombe earlier in the day.

I wonder if anyone got a picture of this as it is most unusual for a decker to work the 40 beyond Stokenchurch ? 

Working 2 road, 224 is seen heading out of the city with a super rear for Genesis Care on December 17th by Gavin Francis

Solo 709 is on loan at OBC doing Blenheim Palace pleasure gardens shuttles, it did go to Thames for a while due to a road closure on the 67 service. 

See note regarding repainting of the Interdecks for Carousel.

After 4th January 2020, we will be withdrawing the X90 service
Please find below the timetable of the last journeys.

X90 Last Journeys Timetable - Valid only 3rd & 4th January 2020.

Oxford Bus Company’s on-demand ride-sharing service is to expand its zone into Horspath next year.

The app-based 
PickMeUp service will serve Horspath from January 5th due to popular demand and thanks to funding from Horspath Parish Council. It will serve the village on a six-month pilot scheme, returning public transport to Horspath for the first time since bus services were withdrawn following Oxfordshire County Council subsidy cuts in 2016

PickMeUp operates between 6am and 11pm Monday to Friday, between 7am and midnight on Saturday and 9am to 9pm on Sundays, with an average response time of ten to 15 minutes.

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company said: “It is great news to be extending the PickMeUp zone to serve the Horspath community. It will provide vital connectivity for people living and working in Horspath. This is as a direct result of Horspath Parish Council working in partnership with us to introduce the service on a trial basis. Such support from other key stakeholders remains crucial to help the service grow as we enter the final phase of the pilot scheme in 2020.”

Citaro 877 was involved in a fatal accident where a taxi drove at speed into the back of the bus, which was stationary at a bus stop in Reading. It will be back service in the New Year. 

Revised timetable, for the 737 service, from December 16th 2019 as per attached link:

Of more importance are changes from February 10th 2020. From that date this service will route Oxford-Milton Keynes-Luton-Stansted. Stokenchurch, High Wycombe and Hemel Hempstead will no longer be served.

This, I am told, is part of a wider range of service changes planned by National Express on its Network.

It appears that Oxford's Tourismo worked the 737 last week but only within Oxford.

Richard Sharman writes with a picture saying "Bennetts of Gloucester Levante BK14 LDY is seen operating the new variation of the 444 heading for Woodstock and Chipping Norton showing the Cotswold's stops on the destination."

Pictures copyright Richard Sharman - December 17th.

Tony Bungay writes - "A Redline Enviro ex London United, an outline of the original fleetname can still be seen above the drivers cab window! And the original fleet number still extant on the back, working an Aylesbury local service in November."

Pictures copyright Tony Bungay - December 17th. 

Tony Bungay writes - "At the beginning of December Red Rose launched an Express Service to Milton Keynes using the 100 number, at least one of their Enviros has received some route branding as can be on these two photos taken December 18th in Aylesbury High Street on a Milton Keynes bound journey."

Pictures copyright Tony Bungay - December 18th.

Group News

Much rumour abounds regarding the proposed new liveries to be revealed in January. It seems that Park & Ride and special services will use a peppermint green livery as shown in the pictures below from Allan Hollis.

These buses are for Cambus.

This colour has already been seen on Cambus tri-axles and Manchester double decks. We await the New Year with gathering interest since the new megabus livery also seems to have been revealed. 

Note that seat belted Golds 15964 and 15965 have been withdrawn from service pending transfer to pastures new, maybe in Wales?

My friend Theo Freeman sent a picture of Solo SR 47832 in Banbury depot.

Witney Solo SR 47832 at Banbury for maintenance on December 19th by Theo Freeman.

Driver Training at Stagecoach Oxford.

Training new drivers at Oxford has been in the hands of two Volvo Alexander PS's from Manchester 20933 and 20936 with Volvo coach 52424 for a number of years now. The time has come to source newer vehicles for this important task and one double deck has arrived from London in the shape of a Trident ALX400 as shown below.

18484 is seen when new at Surrey Keys working the 199 on April 11th 2006 by Gavin Francis.

The same bus seen at Horspath depot on December 11th 2019 by Frazer Peddle. The bus has been in use for training recently.

As seen in the picture above from Gavin Francis, 52424 is in Engineering and will soon be removed from the fleet.
I drove this bus from Liverpool to Oxford some years ago and also carried out CPC Training as it was converted to a mobile classroom.

Pictures from Richard Sharman

MMC 11252 seen in Witney with an S1 service to Carterton on December 5th by Richard Sharman.

Seat belted Gold 15965 is seen with an S1 service on December 5th by Richard Sharman.

Loaned from Banbury, 34471 is seen with a 19 working on December 5th by Richard Sharman.

Solo 47451 is now the only M A N engined Solo in this fleet and is seen with a 233 service on December 5th by Richard Sharman.

Solo SR 47834 is seen in Witney working the 233 on December 5th by Richard Sharman.

I received a few pictures of the effects of the X5 Volvos being taken to Rugby for engineering work and their replacements.

54305 is seen in Rugby depot on December 17th by Martin Sacaloff.

 10053 SN12EHO working the X5 between Bedford and Cambridge on December 20th.

Brand new 11279, the other is 11280, from Cambridge working the X5 between Bedford and Cambridge on December 20th.
Gary Seamarks provided the two pictures.  

Marcus Lapthorn

The A420 has been closed on several occasions this past week due to accidents. This has caused lots of problems for the S6 service with the police not taking into account the fact that buses cannot just be diverted like cars are. Consequently buses have had to face great difficulty in trying to turn. Here is what happened to one bus as below.

It does present problems when the police are obliged to close a road which sees buses working a route. Indeed diversions are often totally impractical.

Stagecoach Wests 37629 SN69ZGZ Alexander Dennis E20D on test from Falkirk seen on December 16th by Gordon Scott. 

The second hand ex megabus Astromegas are now returning from repaint into full Oxford tube colours and branding. Gavin Francis has provided a number of pictures to illustrate these coaches.

50245 being prepared for service. Note the black roof as new and the unusual position of the fleet number.

50247 has returned but is seen here with fleet numbers and missing wheel trims!! The upper deck near side trim is in a bit of state.

50250 is also back but with a red roof as is 50244 both with red rooves and 250's fleet number unreplaced in its megabus position.

So it would appear that 50233, 50235, 50246, 50248 and 50249 are still awaited. 50246 appeared to have never been used by Cumbernauld since mid August, some four months ago. I wonder where that one is? 

From Gordon Scott

Taken at Buchanan Bus Station Glasgow on December 17th.

Stagecoach West Scotland 50411 - YX69LCA
Volvo B11R Plaxton Panorama named "Aberdeen Angus"
 seen on Megabus M11 leaving Glasgow on 07.15 from Aberdeen.

Stagecoach Midland Red 54601 - YX68UAJ Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite i seen leaving Glasgow on
Megabus M20 to London.

From Mark Wakefield

54211 is at Plymouth and is going to Falcon

MP Travel ME69MPT "Bussy Galore" at VCS on December 16th by Mark Wakefield.

Snowdons Coaches at VCS working a megabus service on December 16th by Mark Wakefield.

It will be most interesting see how megabus develops in 2020!

Smaller operators and London Developments

From Richard Sharman

West Oxfordshire Community Transport operate a number of town services on routes that were previously subsidised, these routes were are well used and are vital to the community.

Examples of the small buses used taken by Richard Sharman on December 16th. 

A very interesting company with a long history. See this link for details :

From Lewis Nagle

Although it's slightly outside your area I thought readers might be interested to know that the two Optare Versas (nrs 64 and 65) have been swapped for two brand new Enviro200 MMCs which were delivered on Friday. Registration nrs YY69TLV (to become 64) and YY69TLX (65). These will go onto service 446 displacing older E200s onto service 01.

Picture attached pre-livery application, I will update once the livery has been applied in the new year!

64  YY69TLV  AD E20D SFDCL1ER9JGY17283  AD J225/3  B41F  /2019  Jeatt, Winkfield 
65  YY69TLX  AD E20D SFDCL1ER9JGY17286  AD J225/4  B41F  /2019  Jeatt, Winkfield 

Catteralls Coaches

My friend Theo Freeman sent a nice picture of a coach on a local route.

UUI 4918 with a 503 service near Banbury on December 19th by Theo Freeman.

From Nick Ross

An image for possible inclusion on your excellent website 

Metroline Volvo Gemini VWH2430 working the 98 under the festive lights of Oxford St on December 13th 2019 by Nick Ross. 

From Gavin Francis

Arriva LT975 working route 137 at Marble Arch on December 19th by Gavin Francis.

Metroline VWH2092 working the 390 in Park Lane on December 19th by Gavin Francis.

LT100 with a 390 by KINGS CROSS on November 24th 2014 by Gavin Francis.

This time over 5 years later, LT100 is still working the 390 but with a new wrap. Gavin Francis by Marble Arch on December 19th.

Premium Tours RML registered JSJ746 ready to leave VCS on its tour on December 19th by Gavin Francis.

Next issue Thursday, January 3rd 2020


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