Oxford Chiltern Bus Page

Spottings & Jottings*

Part two (Jottings)

Issue nr 48-2  : July 25th  2011

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Current archives from October 2002

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Well after a short delay herewith Jottings for Issue 48. A major event in the past few days has been the launch of The Oxford Smart Zone which started on Sunday 24th July. We report on this launch and have photos from various readers.

This year there have been an extremely large number of summer school students and this has impacted on many services , even towards the end of last week. Saturday was unbelievably busy in Oxford with a large number of coaches bringing foreign students from other areas of the U.K.

Pictures below show that Oxpens and Westgate were full of coaches and coaches were observed parked up along the ring road in lay-bys and even on the cycle track on the southern by-pass.

Kingston Coaches 6020 (MJI 7514, previously W184 CDN), a DAF SB3000/Van Hool Alizee T9, in Oxpens Coach Park, Oxford.
It was in 1997, that Kingston was sold to Wilts & Dorset.
The fleet of eight coaches were moved to that company's Salisbury bus depot and Wilts & Dorset gained the valuable contracts that came with the business.
The former Kingston Coaches depot in Middle Winterslow has been re-developed as an area of private housing.

Many coaches were parked in an overflow parking area at Westgate.
Pictures by Gavin Francis & Malcolm Crowe.

One poor French coach driver left his coach overnight in London and was doubtless horrified
to see what vandals had done to it when he returned on Saturday morning.
It was quite the talk of the coach park!
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Alexcars of Cirencester en masse at Oxpens on Saturday July 23rd
Picture by Gavin Francis

Impact ONT46 at Oxpens on Saturday July 23rd
Picture by Gavin Francis

Urquhart Travel FEZ 7682 at Oxpens on Saturday July 23rd
Picture by Gavin Francis


Sunday July 24th saw the launch of the Oxford Smart zone with close cooperation between the two major companies in the city and the joint working of the Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill, Barton and Kidlington services.

It was good that it started on a Sunday as it gave everyone chance to bed the services in. One observer said it was very strange to see so few buses on the roads. For example between Headington and the City on Sunday morning not one bus was seen in either direction. However early on a Sunday morning the service is only every twenty minutes.

Various pictures show the new destination displays on various buses in the city and a line of forlorn looking people waiting for a number 8 in Castle Street, again on Sunday morning.

Although not part of the zone routes one reader saw an Oxford Bus Citaro with the destination display not working and with a paper blind on route 4. This is most unusual, if not a first, that Oxford Bus run a vehicle with a defective display.

The old order on Saturday July 23rd. Pictures by Gavin Francis

Interesting because this is ex Brighton 799 on route 6 last Saturday, 23rd July.
This could be the last time we shall see 798 above in Gavin's pictures and 799. They may return to Brighton as their sisters did.
Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

The new order takes the road with pictures from Richard Sharman.

Various buses on Sunday morning, some looking quite odd with different route numbers on their blinds.
Pictures by Richard Sharman.

A number 8 loads in Castle Street on Sunday afternoon. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Scots motorists ditch cars for luxury express coach serviceJump to top navigation Jump to site services


Scots motorists are ditching their cars to travel by luxury express coach with first-class rail style travel, according to new research.

Scottish Citylink’s Gold service, which marks its first birthday this month, operates six services a day on two routes linking Glasgow with Aberdeen and Inverness. It has attracted more than 130,000 passengers in just 12 months.

Passengers travel on 15-metre air-conditioned coaches with free wi-fi and at-seat refreshments provided by customer service hosts. Fast journey times match the train between Glasgow and the Highlands and north-east Scotland.

Latest Scottish Citylink research found the quick journey times and choice of departures has attracted people out of their cars and away from trains. Some 36% of customers used to travel by car, with 31% previously going by rail.

The survey also found:

Scottish Citylink Managing Director Bob Montgomery said: “Citylink Gold has really taken off and has been particularly popular with commuters and business travellers, who love the fast journey times, at-seat refreshments and competitive fares.

“Instead of the stress and rising cost of going by car, people are being attracted by the convenient, stress-free journey and free WiFi, which means they relax or can catch up on work on the coach.”

Journey times between Glasgow and Aberdeen are less than two hours and 40 minutes, while services between Inverness and Glasgow take as little as three hours and 23 minutes.

Scottish Citylink is a joint venture between Stagecoach and international transport group ComfortDelGro. Following the first year’s success, it will be increasing the service on the Glasgow-Aberdeen route to every two hours from this winter.

Citylink Gold coaches, which can carry 54 passengers, are equipped with leather seats, mahogany table trays, a servery and toilet. They also feature some of the greenest engines in Europe with low carbon emissions. Customer service hosts provide passengers with first-class at-seat rail-style service, with free hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks, including scones with jam for early morning travellers.

Bookings and further information for Citylink Gold services are available online at www.citylinkgold.co.uk

Citylink Gold factfile

Cambridge Guided Busway 

Marcus Lapthorn writes to attach a link about the Cambridge Guided Busway which commences service on 7th August 2011.



From Marcus Lapthorn

Marcus writes to reveal the first days of Malta's new bus services and also include a number of pictures from his last visit whilst the old buses were still on the road..

EBY 537 - The last day as a Malta route bus and its' wonderful driver whom I have journeyed with on many times

Pictures of an era now but a memory - Malta in June 2011 by Marcus Lapthorn.



As the colourful fleet of buses makes way for more modern vehicles, Sarah Carabott joins Joseph Valletta, a bus driver for 55 years, on a journey through time.

Known as Ta’ Lazzru, Mr Valletta walks in pitch darkness towards Etienne Garage, Ta’ Bajadira, in Qormi at 4.45 a.m. Smartly dressed and ready for the long day ahead, he pulls open the heavy metal garage door, revealing the snout of one of Malta’s classic buses.

The 1956 Thames was initially built in wood but was restructured in metal some years later. It has been passed on from owner to owner and is now the property of Anthony Falzon from Qormi.

Mr Valletta, 73, hops on the bus and drives uphill through the deserted streets towards Naxxar, overlooking a sleeping Malta. The landscape, dimly lit by the very first streaks of grey sunrise, is dotted with bright orange lights.

The aged but clean bus weaves through narrow streets on its way to Għargħur to pick up the early birds on their way to work. It pulls up under a blue bus stage sign, in the shadow of a new Arriva sign that will guide commuters as from tomorrow.

Mr Valletta lifts up the seating bench adjacent to the dashboard and pulls out two placards bearing the number 5 to slide them in the bus-number frame behind the windscreen.

After informing the bus inspector on duty about his arrival, he gets back behind the wheel just as the soothing velvety colours of sunrise blanket the village. Mr Valletta loves driving.

At 12, he started out as a bus conductor. He got his driving licence at 18 and a special licence that would permit him to drive buses a few months later. Around 42 years ago he drove the bus, known as “Tax-Xejp”. He later got his own bus, which was passed on to one of his sons, and about seven years ago he started driving this same Tax-Xejp bus again.

Passengers on board are welcomed by Mr Valletta’s sweet nature, held to be one of the rarest characteristics on Maltese roads. He thanks every single person who dumps the 47c fare on the man’s small outstretched palm. When he’s lucky, he gets to keep the 3c change from the 50c coin as a tip.

Muttering the words “let’s start” as the church bells chime 5.30 a.m., Mr Valletta starts the engine.

Vegetables hawkers are mounting their stalls. Languid sun rays tickle the passengers awake as some of them start bellowing out the “news of the day”. The topic on today’s agenda is without doubt the mystifying “Arriva buses”.

The passengers get noisier as the day grows older. Small talk suddenly sparks off a loud debate about “l-Unjoni Ewropeja”, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and his colleagues.

When the driver has to deviate from his ordinary route, which is closed for traffic, the passengers eagerly guide him through. Clearly, the driver has no say in this matter. He nods, amused.

“They don’t bother me,” he says, “but when I notice that things are heating up I ask them to calm down as this is not a band club.”

In between the moans and groans of commuters, Mr Valletta gives directions to a lost passenger and gives a free lift to the old lady who needs to catch a bus to Mater Dei Hospital from a bus stop further down the road.

The “żomm waħda Chalie” (hang on Charlie) and the “minuta Pawl!” (just a minute, Paul) are never missing as workers stumble up the steps out of breath and sweaty but relieved they did not miss the first bus of the day. Some annoyed passenger shots: “Ejja ħa mmorru Ġuż!” (Let’s get going, Joe).

As the passengers yawn their way to Valletta, the driver sits up straight, concentrating hard on the road ahead, which is being gradually swallowed up by cars.

After the return journey from Naxxar and his second cup of tea for the day, Mr Valletta sweeps the bus clean of any tickets thrown on the floor by careless passengers.

Under the present system, drivers usually get to drive the same route for the day but are assigned different daily routes. Although a bus driver’s day could last from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., they work on alternate days.

Nonetheless, sometimes Mr Valletta has had to skip his days off, especially over the past weeks when the number of bus drivers thinned out as some joined Arriva.

“But I’m happy I could make the most out of the last few days. It had never dawned on me that the Maltese bus service would come to an end,” he adds, his gaze drifting over the red flag imprinted with a white Maltese cross flying proudly at the tip of the bus’ snout.

When the driver’s corner was once enclosed like a cabin, it had its own little shrine. Now, only a couple of holy pictures, accompanied by a Make Christ The Centre Of Your Life slogan are displayed on top of the windscreen.

Smiling, Mr Valletta says the bus is sometimes hired to escort people during weddings and he has no intention of retiring yet.

The day’s trip might be the last one the bus will make as a public transport vehicle but, starting soon, it will be taking groups of tourists around the bumpy Maltese roads.

Piece by Times of Malta 

04 July 2011 - Statement by Arriva Malta on current situation

Arriva Malta this morning advised passengers to be prepared for some delays after 56 drivers failed to report for duty. Spokesman Piers Marlow, a director of Arriva Malta, said, "While this is less than yesterday, and we are already working to reduce the net impact, it is inevitable that it will have a significant impact on services. There will be network disruption with some journeys missing and some delays. I apologise to passengers and assure you that we are working hard to run all routes and will make every effort to get passengers moving around the island as quickly as possible."

"We are in this position because a number of drivers have decided not to turn up for work, but would ask passengers to please appreciate that the majority of the people working for Arriva Malta are working hard and trying their very best, in a challenging situation not of their making. We will continue to keep you updated throughout the day."

"We continued to experience network disruption further to our update earlier today that we were running with driver shortages, which affected our ability to provide all scheduled services.

"We have again prioritised getting buses on the road to run the routes and take passengers where they want to go, but timetables have suffered.

"We experienced some loading problems at Valletta and sent extra resource. I would like to thank passengers for their continued patience at this challenging time and assure them we are committed to delivering service improvements going forward. We will be seeing the introduction of additional staff starting tomorrow which we hope will start to reduce the delays.

"We continued to experience network disruption further to our update earlier today that we were running with driver shortages, which affected our ability to provide all scheduled services.

"We have again prioritised getting buses on the road to run the routes and take passengers where they want to go, but timetables have suffered.

"We experienced some loading problems at Valletta and sent extra resource. I would like to thank passengers for their continued patience at this challenging time and assure them we are committed to delivering service improvements going forward. We will be seeing the introduction of additional staff starting tomorrow which we hope will start to reduce the delays.

" Apologies once more to those who have experienced disruption."

05 July 2011 - Service Update : 06:30a.m.

Services continue to be disrupted this morning, although are slightly better than yesterday as trainees and additional drivers come through to replace those who didn't report for duty over the last few days. The majority of issues are centered around the Floriana depot.

Spokesman Piers Marlow said, "We are expecting another difficult day, but we are seeing signs of improvement. I would like to apologise for the continued disruption and ask our passengers to bear with us as we try to implement a better quality standard of service." 

Malta Historic Vehicle Trust building at Hal Far 

Marcus Lapthorn writes "On my recent trip to Malta I met up with Johann Tonna at the Malta Historic Vehicle Trust building at the former Hal Far airport.

I attach a number of photos of some of the vehicles that are currently stored there. The only bus there at present is the former 1956 Malta Medical Health Dept., Bedford A4LZG/Mulliner (Mighty Master) that originally carried the registration number 17000. Johann co owns the bus with James Schembri. Restoration work is on going and searching the world for spare parts is an ongoing issue!

Pictures by Marcus Lapthorn 


Glastonbury festival buses 2011 report by John Hammond.

Between 23rd & 27th June, the massive transport operation for Glastonbury festival took place again with large numbers of buses on feeder services from mainline rail stations and huge numbers of visiting coaches bringing in bands and festival staff and visitors. Once again I was down at the festival working for Bath Bus company on a couple of the days. On Wednesday and Thursday, I was driving the rail & ride shuttle service between Castle Cary station and the festival site. Over 10,000 people arrived by train over the two days and transporting them requires an intensive operation with huge peaks and troughs in requirement. Using a bus reduces the capacity because the lower deck is used for luggage and the upper deck for passengers. Buses have to be loaded carefully as there is a 14% hill at Prestleigh and if the buses are too heavy, they struggle to make the climb up the hill.

On Sunday I was working a local feeder from Midsomer Norton bringing in the local day pass holders and taking them home again that evening. Monday was a return to the rail and ride shuttle work, the difference being that twice as many people leave the site that day and therefore even more buses are hired in.

Local operators pick up most of this work including Abus, Bath Bus Co, North Somerset Coaches, Centurion of Midsomer Norton and Smiths of Pylle supported by the Chepstow Classic fleet of elderly VR's which still give sterling service although their numbers are in decline each year. Other operators cover the Bristol shuttle and in recent years this has been Go South Coast's event fleet and subcontracted operators.

Bath Bus Co RM1978 unloads during Wednesday rain at the Pilton site.

Bath Bus Co RML2665 at Pilton

ABus Optare Spectra L124 ELJ arrives at Pilton

Visiting coaches unload festival fans in the National Express coach park

A Neoplan N516SHD of Grayscroft, Hertfordshire.

Bath Bus Routemasters wait at Castle Cary station.

RM1978 arrives on site.

The number of Leyland Olympians running this year increased as Chepstow Classic modernise their fleet.
K238 NHC is a former Stagecoach South Leyland Olympian.

A view taken out of RML2665 shows traffic queuing on the A361 to join the A37 at Pylle.
In front is a Paramount bodied Tiger of local operator Smiths of Pylle.

 RM's still showing at the festival, with RM1978, RML 2665 of Bath Bus Co joined by RMA65 owned by John Letts of Gillingham, Dorset.

L131 ELJ despite appearances, this ex Wilts & Dorset Spectra is now with Velvet of Eastleigh,
 and was working on the Go South Coast run to Bristol.
Don't you just love the destination display!!! Ed.

M645 RCP of Wilts & Dorset arrives at the festival site.

F309 MYJ of Velvet arrives on the festival site.
I remember riding on these buses when new to Southdown, running between Brighton and Worthing.
They were a very comfortable and fast bus. Ed.

CJJ 677W of Chepstow Classic arrives at the festival, it was new to East Kent.

R818 YJC of local operator Libra Travel runs through the site.

AHW 201V is newly restored into Bristol NBC livery with a white band for a unibus advert to be applied.
Owned by Martin and Tom Curtis, it was hired to Bath Bus Company for use on the Sunday and Monday.

A Ford Transit minibus, one of several used inside the site.

A line up of Chepstow Classic vehicles are seen at the Bath & West showground site taking a break.
The flat screen VR is the accommodation bus.

A line up of coaches from the Bakers Dolphin fleet are joined by John Lett's ex Blackpool Leyland Titan PD3.

3090 - A line up of Weavaway Neoplan Skyliners at the Bath & West showground.
These buses have come up for the day to do a local run to the site and back again.

A Go Ahead events fleet Volvo B7/President Y746 TGH.

A Go Ahead events fleet Volvo B7/President

Former London General DP Olympian R379 LGH has recently acquired Tourist Coaches livery.

C775 SFS of Westward Travel - ex Lothian Transport, Edinburgh.

L829 LNE of Eastville, Bristol

F310 MYJ of Eastville

843 AYA of Smiths Coaches of nearby Pylle, a Leyland Tiger/Plaxton.

X572 EGK of London Central, its previous use still showing on the destination blind

ex East Kent VR with Chepstow Classic

Due to brake problems, RM1978 was subbed by Bath Bus Company Volvo B7/Ayats half open topper EU05 VBP which I drove on Monday

Local coaches from Centurion of Midsomer Norton load up

G185 JHG - an ex Ribble Stagecoach spec LWB Olympian/Alexander R type now with Chepstow Classic

Bristol convoy - Preserved Olympian A954 SAE leads in newly preserved BOC VR AHW 201V,
both owned by Martin & Tom Curtis and hired to Bath Bus Co. 

Ex Eastern National and Badgerline VR STW 33W, with Chepstow Classic bus

ABus Solo AP03 BUZ in use as control room on Monday, and for ABus drivers to have a break

BN08 OOU of Mayday Travel, South London showing some of the visiting coaches -
 I pity the poor drivers who had to keep such modern vehicles clean!

Former Ribble A138 MRN now with Chepstow Classic bus.

Cyprus in 2011 by Andrew Webb 

A week's visit to Cyprus in early June gave a little opportunity to explore the nation's bus network. Staying in the tourist area of Limassol, the local operator EMEL has a large fleet of King Long XMQ6127Cs as illustrated by one working the popular route 30 which links the hotels, Old Town and New Port. Also evident on some less frequent services were elderly Izuzu buses with unidentified bodywork.


Further along the coast is the pretty town of Paphos, with services provided by Osypa. A fleet of Mercedes Citaros and Hispano Habit VDLs maintain a network of services in and around the town.


Larnaka is a town with several different operators serving it from other towns. Unlike other town it doesn't have one central focus for buses, each operator appearing to serve a different part of the centre. One interesting vehicle to appear was a Mercedes Citaro working with EMAN. Noticeable as being the only "Mk1" Citaro seen all week and also for have "First" logos above the front door and driver's window. Did this vehicle ever operate with First, or has someone got a little creative? 

The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is notable for being the sole remaining divided capital in the world, with a border half way along the high street to cross from Greek Cyprus into Turkish Cyprus.

Services in on the Greek side are provided by OSEL using Citaros on city services and Hispano Intea Mercedes OC500Fs on longer distance services.

Within the Greek side of the walled Old Town a yellow Iveco Dormobile operates a free circular shuttle, apparently operated by the local council. Did this once operate with a British operator?

Crossing the border into the Turkish controlled area is a straightforward affair. The main bus station is a fair walk from the border, but closer to it a "Coaster" style minibus and a Duple Caribbean give a flavour of operations in the north.

Cyprus' equivalent of National Express or Megabus is operated by Intercity Buses who operate a reasonably frequent network of services connecting the main settlements. Most services are operated by green Toyota Coasters or Hinos examples of which are seen in Limassol. The busier services in Larnaka employ Irizar Century Scanias, whilst other vehicles also appear, such as this purple Mercedes and unidentified blue coach on layover in Limassol.

Rally news


Buses in the Landscape

Paul Dudfield writes "I have just returned from a holiday in Norway. One of the "must do" attractions there is the 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour. This is a circular journey by scheduled public transport involving a bus, a boat and 2 trains. The bus leg runs between Voss and Gudvangen and the highlight is the descent at Stalheimskleiva. This stretch of road descends at 1 in 5.5 and includes 13 hairpin bends. The road is closed in winter and nowadays is one way only. Buses return to Voss through a tunnel. Despite the demands of the road, the drivers maintain a commentary in English and stop or slow down during the descent to allow passengers to admire the view.

The tour is very popular and the day I travelled there were at least 3 buses working the 10am departure from Voss. All were Mercedes Integros operated by Skyss. I was on the second bus in the convoy and took the enclosed picture through the exit door showing the first bus 3 hairpins further down the hill.

Alex Brown, Loughton, Essex writes "Thought this may be appropriate for your Buses in the Landscape feature (see attached image).

The picture was taken at Alexandra Palace in north London, with views of London in the background.

The bus in the picture is Arriva London North's Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini VLW80 (LF52USU) on route W3 (Northumberland Park - Finsbury Park).

p.s I'm a big fan of your Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page, even though I am slightly outside of the area covered."

From Barry

A few more from me whilst I've been out and about working and relaxing. Hope they're good enough to make the site. 

First up... 

Wilts and Dorset Spectra 3182 seen at speed climbing into Marlborough from the Ogbournes on the X5 on a Swindon to Pewsey short working.

Buses in the old W&D livery are now becoming rare.

Two elderly Mercedes 811s now working for Castle Garage at Llandovery,
 though both look as if they're coming to the end of their days. Only the H reg was taxed.
H210CVU was originally delivered to Dennis's in Greater Manchester,
one of the many firms that started up after de-reg but lasted longer than most.
J844NOD was the only new vehicle delivered to Red Bus Services (not the Cawlett firm) in South Devon,
 where it was exquisitely turned out. Wouldn't be surprised if a SW preservationist or two is on watch for this? 

Stagecoach Cymru 52502 fighting through the medieval streets of Chepstow en route to Bristol

Here's another Welsh one. 

Seen just outside Brecon with the peaks of Cribyn and Pen y Fan in the background is a Veolia Volvo, in their customary condition! 

Another Spectra in the rain. Branded for the X7, 3160 is near Alderbury on the A36 heading for Southampton.

This was visiting the First Northampton depot last week.


Clarkes BV10ZKJ, last year's Mercedes Tourismo waits fro its passengers in Beaumont St on July 23rd.
Picture by Gavin Francis.

Myalls G842VAY - a Duple 425 - at Oxpens on July 24th pictured by Gavin Francis.


More from Geoff Cunliffe’s cobweb corner 

Following the success of my Carlisle archive in S&J number 47, I have been looking through my colour slides again. I had three holidays on the south coast in 1958 & 1959, covering that portion between Land’s End and Southampton. As I mentioned last time, in pre-digital days you tended only to take shots which could justify the expense, because a colour slide could cost you a shilling,- a not inconsiderable amount to a youngster.

However, here we go. I have a selection of both Tilling & non-Tilling vehicles. Starting with the Tilling ones, I found Lymington Bus Station a good site. In those days, there were no Jobsworths trying to spoil your fun because you had violated some unknown Regulation or acted contrary to Company Policy!

Standard vehicles found there included 1285, KEL 728 (image 133), a 1951 55-seater KSW6B contrasting with narrower 1161, HLJ 18 (image 137), a 1948 K6A with what appears to be an unused slip-board across its radiator. I always thought the narrower Ks were better proportioned than the KWs which seemed just that bit chunky. Fine looking vehicles though in both widths. Then there was new 1416, XEL 550 (image 134), a 1959 LD6B and finally 767, GLJ 996, (image 139), a 1948 L5G looking pristine and, because of its age, presumably straight out of the paint shop (after its second CoF inspection?). But if you are in to details, look at its front destination box. Not standard Tilling.

Besides their pretty standard vehicles, Tilling fleets had their curiosities, and Hants & Dorset was no exception. Take their H1223 (H for highbridge?), JEL 500 (image 130).

I have pondered how these get into the fleet given that they were 1949 all-Leyland PD2/1s and the 1948 Transport Act imposed the well-known restrictions on vehicle acquisitions. Mind you, in that year, they also took six Northern Counties Regent IIIs and three Bedford OBs! My long-standing mate Jim Tonge, as much of a Leyland man as me, has come up with the following theory:

The 1948 Act may have shut the door to non-Bristol vehicles, but it only closed slowly. Crosville, for instance, sneaked in 25 lowbridge PD2s after the deadline, at least some of which should have gone to Cumberland, complete with their unique destination blind layout and Cumberland HRM registration numbers.

The Hants & Dorset PD2s came from a frustrated export order which was due to sail from Southampton Docks. The vehicles got as far as Southampton before the plug was pulled, so the vehicles were stuck there. King Alfred pounced on one, chassis number 491280, whilst H & D took six. The King Alfred chassis number was in the H & D batch although Leyland rarely got their chassis numbers in strictly sequential order. The PD2 in my slide shows signs of having had some body repairs. A none-too-clear photo in the King Alfred book shows JEL 498 in original condition with half drop windows and raised waist panels, a Leyland standard. JEL 500 has sliding windows and flat panels and it does seem to have had some heavy panel repairs at some time. The H & D destination display on JEL 500 with it's “lazy blind” is identical to that on the King Alfred vehicle and my guess is that this was specified by the original customer.

Around this time, Hants & Dorset were famous for their open-top Bristol K-type rebuilds. I photographed two, (images 140 & 141). They were respectively 1121 & 1106, GLJ 964 & FRU 303, a 1947 K5G and a 1844 K6A. They were converted in 1953 & 1952 to FO31/28R. I understand there were at least six of these rebuilds, all slightly different, possibly because of variations in their original bodies. These two were bodied by Strachan and ECW. As they thundered along the B3058 Cliff Road at Milford-on-Sea, their intermediate blinds showed, in red, a curious message which was something along the lines of “Not on service to Bournemouth Corporation passengers”.

Another Hants & Dorset vehicle was 679, KEL 407, a 1950 Portsmouth Aviation C28F bodied Bristol L6G (image 131) complete with red hub caps and yellow spot light.

 Finally for Hants & Dorset was GLJ 363, another, standard, lowbridge, 1947 K5G photographed at Sandbanks (image 129).

Aside from Hants & Dorset, I was in the area whilst Bournemouth were still running their trolleybuses. First was 235, KLJ 335, a Weymann dual door three-axle BUT 9641T of 1950 (image 138) and 262, WRU 262, a Weymann dual-door Sunbeam MF2B of 1958 (image 143). Such a modern vehicle that it makes you wonder why the system was scrapped. You can see Bournemouth trolleybuses on the move on YouTube.


The town of Budleigh Salterton in Devon had been the base for Hart’s Bus Service & Hart’s Tours since 1927. In 1958 it was near the end of its existence as Mr. Hart had died several years previously and the business was continued by Mrs. Hart. I understand that she sold out to Devon General in 1959. But in 1958, it was still a fascinating little operation. Most of the stage carriage work had been lost except for a town circular, and they also operated a number of day and afternoon tours. The town circular was operated usually by a 1946 Duple-bodied Bedford OWB (image 165), down-seated to carry 20, the maximum for OMO at that time, although occasionally a gem of a vehicle, a 1936 Tiverton bodied Bedford WTB (image 162), worked the route. The WTB still had to its original floor, seats and roof; that canvas roof meant that no emergency exit was necessary. I apologise for the quality of this picture but I have included it because of its historic interest.

Their eight vehicle fleet included a standard 1948 OB (image 164) and a 1952 Tiverton-bodied Albion Victor FT3 (image 163) for their tours. The Victor seemed to be very underpowered and hills were taken at a painful pace.

If our editor will permit me even more space, I would like to reproduce a short section from a monograph I wrote about Hart’s which is both amusing and shows how country bus services ran at that time. It refers to the fare collection on the town circular:- 

There seemed to be no official stops, passengers getting on or off wherever they pleased. They paid either when getting on or off, whichever suited them best. Tickets were of the Bell Punch design, printed by Williamson, Ticket Printer, Ashton, and in receipt for money, tickets were offered, unpunched (no punch appeared to be carried) or,- as was more often the case,- were dropped, by the driver, in to a used ticket box immediately. Tickets offered did not necessarily tally with the fare tendered as there were no 7d or 8d tickets, nor are there any 2d tickets for the special Sunday morning church circular service.

I only took one Devon General photograph around Budleigh Salterton,- and it foxed me for a long time. Ultimately a couple of fellows from the Devon General Society identified the vehicle for me in a quick, helpful and courteous way. I am most grateful to Terry Bennett and Phil Platt of the Society. The vehicle was SC758, ROD 758, a Beadle bodied CommerTS3 from 1956, heading for the summer terminus of Ladram Bay (image 145), the service being cut back to Otterton out of season and was probably a former Hart’s route.

As an eleven year old about to go to Grammar School, I went to school camp at Ladram Bay with my prep school. This was 1951 and I went on a Harts bus from Ladram Bay to Budleigh Salterton. I have vague memories of a half cab Albion but better memories of the Sidmouth & Dagworthy toastracks used on the Peak Hill service, which i rode on during the same camp. Ed.

My holidays were a little too far west to take in much Southdown territory but I did grab a couple of shots. The first, 466, GUF 166 (image 144), was a Guy Arab II, new in 1945 with Park Royal body which was converted to open top as early as 1950. Its 5LW was replaced by a 6LW in 1957. Thirty three of the batch of one hundred utility Arabs were converted to open top and many served in to the 1960s. The second was 159, EUF 159 (image 147), a TD5 originally fitted with a Beadle body but re-bodied by East Lancs in 1950.

Finally, a milk float for you. I kid you not. EFJ 568 started life with Exeter Corporation in 1938 as a Cravens bodied Leyland TS8. It was withdrawn in 1957 and, within twelve months, was being used to deliver milk (image 101)! Magnification of the slide and playing with the contrast reveals it carries the message “Quality Milk Refrigerated Delivery Service” where the destination display would have been. It appeared to have had all its windows over-panelled. I regret I don’t have any record of where I took the slide.

Colin Shears has similar 66 in his west of England collection which I remember driving around Exeter back in 1962-3. Ed.

There you are – another selection from my long forgotten colour slides, which I hope has brought a little enjoyment and nostalgic recollection to some of you. Vehicle descriptions are from my own records and from the web, but some of the information there seems to be clearly wrong. I have tried to filter that out. Obviously I believe the descriptions to be correct but I would be very happy to receive notification of any errors.

Trust the above will be of interest to readers? 

I am sure it will be Geoff and I hope we may receive more of your pictures for future issues.