Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (2024)

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (1)

Bus Fayre: Volume 46 Issue 2:

Edited by John Podgorski BA Hons, MSC, CMILT.

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Above: Safeguard of Guildford celebrates its centenary in 2024. AEC Reliance/Burlingham 200 APB of 1956, with VDL Bova GU64 SAF at Guildford Cathedral for the 90th Anniversary event in March 2014. There is a feature on the 100th anniversary event in this issue of Bus Fayre. (Safeguard Coaches).

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Above: Andrew Fieldsend provides an article on Reynolds of Caister, a well known (and now missed) Norfolk independent which closed in 2018. Back in April 1990 the fleet included DPD 33T, a Duple Dominant C45F-bodied Bedford YLQ that was new to Safeguard of Guildford. It makes an interesting contrast to SCX 626P, a Bedford YRT with Plaxton Panorama Elite C53F body first owned by Green, Brierley Hill. (Andrew Fieldsend).

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Above: One of Roger Pope’s expeditions in the mid 1970s took him into East Anglia. At the Haverhill depot of Premier Travel was found former City of Oxford AEC Bridgemaster 326 NJO on 29/7/1975. (Roger Pope).

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Above: And a fine study by Roger Pope of Midland Red BMMO D9 5299 (6299 HA) in Rugby on 9/4/1974. See more in his ‘Bedsit Land’ article.

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Above: Lothian Buses Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 953 (SN11 EAC) on the shores of the Firth of Forth at Granton on 5/1/24. (Richard Walter).

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Above: Bright Bus ADL/Enviro 300 SN62 AOZ on the recently introduced Aiport Express service. Pictured Edinburgh Airport, 3/1/24, overlooked by replica Spitfire “gate guard” aircraft. (Richard Walter).


Welcome to Bus Fayre Spring 2024 – and a bumper edition. This is one of the advantages about transitioning to on line, and the overcoming of space limitations which printed paper brings.

In this issue, we continue to combine current affairs with nostalgia. The extra space now afforded has allowed an increase in coverage of manufacturers plus overseas topics and other items of general interest.

Two of these latter items are: (1): The redevelopment of a former bus garage and one time theatre (with family connections to the editor) into a digital hub. (2): Remembering the terrorist bomb attack on a coach carrying military pesonnel in Lancashire, 50 years ago.

Features this time, include reminiscences from Roger Pope about his student days, combining living in bedsits with bus watching, while Andrew Fieldsend looks back at Reynolds of Caister – a well know independent coach operator in north east Norfolk. Keith A Jenkinson provides us with the story of a quirky conversion of a Bristol JO5G single deck bus – from a conventional half cab rear loader, to a front entrance OPO equipped contraption (retaining its front engine !). Picture features include the Golden Jubilee of Stephensons of Essex and Centenary of Safeguard of Guildford; Southampton – a year on from the exit of First, an update on happenings at The Transport Museum Wythall and the regular Irish Insight into goings on around the Emerald Isle. And of course all the “regulars”, such as Scene Around, Dealers & Breakers and Book Reviews.

And the first 24 registration pcvs have appeared on our roads, the changeover being from the 1st of March.

Finally, We are on the cusp of a major event in the UK bus industry. The launch of Tranche Two if the Bee Network in Greater Manchester – covering Oldham, Rochdale, the rest of Bury, further parts of Salford and north Manchester. The successful franchisees are Diamond North West, First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester. This actually happens on Sunday 24th March; so will appear in full detail in the Summer 2024 Bus Fayre.

Enjoy Bus Fayre Spring 2024. And thank you for your ongoing support and embracing the evolution of this magazine.

With thanks to the following contributors: AAA Coaches, ADL, Amberley Publishing, David Arnold, Arriva, Simon Austin, Bath Bus Company, Terry Blackman, CBW, Denis Chick, James Cole, Diamond Bus North West, Nigel Eadon Clarke, Ensign, Eve Coaches, Andrew Fieldsend, First, Flixbus, Malcolm Flynn, Go North East, Go South Coast, Keith A Jenkinson, Lothian, Mc Gill’s, Newport Buses, Pelican, Roger Pope, Clive Porter, Reading Buses (and subsidaries), Reptons, Route One, Safeguard Coaches, Paul Savage, Silver Fox, Stagecoach, Stephensons of Essex, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London, Transport for West Midlands, Transport Museum Wythall, Richard Walter, WrightBus – all of whose assistance/material has helped to produce this edition of Bus Fayre.

Copyright Courtworth Publications 2024.

Contact at: j.podgorski1@ntlworld.com

Bus Fayre is published quarterly on the third Thursday of March, June, September and December.

Any views expressed within Bus Fayre are the personal views of the contributor and do not neccessarily reflect the views of the editor, Courtworth Publications or the companies mentioned within its pages.

ISSN 1043 9162

In this issue:

News Round Up. (Including Preservation and the Past, Tramway Update, Manufacturers and International developments).

Bedsit Life 1971-1975 or (The Good, the Bad and The Unusual), by Roger Pope.

Scene Around.

Irish Insight, with Paul Savage.

Safeguard Coaches of Guildford Celebrates its Centenary.

Stephensons of Essex Golden Jubilee.

Reynolds Coaches of Caister – 108 years of history, by Andrew Fieldsend.

Southampton – One Year On (from the exit of First).

The 30-foot Bristol JO5G, by Keith A Jenkinson.

News from Transport Museum, Wythall, by Denis Chick.

London Happenings.

Dealers and Breakers.

Book Reviews.

Obitutary. Dai Powell, former Welsh miner who ultimately became CEO of HCT Group.

Small Adverts.


Seven operators combine to create bus association in Cambridgeshire:

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Above: Stagecoach East battery electric Volvo BZL 86027 (BV23 NTK), on Mill Road, Cambridge on 23/9/23. (John Podgorski).

Seven bus operators serving Cambridgeshire have linked up to form a new association aimed at improving the region’s network.

The CP Bus Alliance is formed of A2B of Babraham, Delaine Buses of Bourne, Dews Coaches of Somersham, Stagecoach East, Stephenson’s, Vectare and Whippet of Swavesey, and intend to work with Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson, who is bidding to revamp the county’s bus services.

David Boden, Director of Business Development at Stagecoach East, is the Alliance’s first Chair. Mr Boden said: “By working together with the Mayor, we can work through the detail needed to deliver on those priorities and, most importantly, start to deliver results for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We intend to ensure that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents can see something real and tangible in terms of change.

“This partnership, though, does need, on the part of the Mayor, CPCA (Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority) and other local authorities, support in delivering a road network on which we can deliver punctual services. We are ready, willing, and able to be held accountable for the aspect of reliability we can control – providing a bus and a driver when we say we will. “But, let me be clear: once the bus leaves the depot early in a morning, its performance throughout the rest of the day is overwhelmingly dictated by issues like congestion, parking enforcement and roadworks, none of which are in bus operators’power to change. We all know that these issues cause daily problems for our customers with delayed and cancelled services, and are also a significant barrier to encouraging more people to travel by bus. “From our perspective, we will work to clearly understand the wants and needs of our customers, local officials and the Mayor and his team, so we can deliver real tangible results which people can see soon. By working together, in the spirit of co-operation, we can get Cambridgeshire and Peterborough moving.”

On 31st January 2024, the CPCA Board approved a tripling of the mayoral precept to fund an £11 million bus improvement package for Cambridgeshire. The increase – equivalent to £12 to £36 per year for a council tax band-D property – will be used to improve or create dozens of bus routes. Meanwhile, the Board also approved a Budget which included £3.85 million for reduced bus fares for under-25s.

The Board’s decision was taken after a public consultation in which 52% of the 450 plus residents who responded supported the £36 precept and 70% were willing to pay more better bus services. Suggested service improvements include new orbital routes from Cambridge and Peterborough and three new demand-responsive transport schemes. These will be reviewed with a decision to be taken later this year.

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Above: Whippet mini ADL/Enviro 200 WS318 departs Drummer Street Bus Station, Cambridge on 24/6/24. (John Podgorski).

£140m Stockport TfGM Interchange opens:

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham officially opened the £140 million Stockport Interchange bus station on Tuesday 19/3/24. With 18 bus stands and capacity for 164 departures per hour, the Interchange has been designed with future integration with the Metrolink tram and light rail network in mind. The completion of the redevelopment of the 130-acre brownfield site comes ahead Stockport joining the franchised Bee Network in January 2025. The Interchange has a covered passenger concourse with seated waiting areas and bus and train travel information screens. Above it is a two-acre park, claimed to be the first park to have been built on top of a transport hub.


Sale by DB to I Squared Approved:

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Arriva by I Squared Capital Advisors, paving the way for the sale of the German state railway-owned company, following the agreement reached in October 2023.

The deal is expected to be completed later in 2024, and DB says the sale will allow it to focus on its Strong Rail Group strategy to target resources at its core domestic business and enable additional growth in rail transport in its home market.

Welsh 20 mph speed limit affects bus services:

The impact on bus services of the new 20mph default speed limit in Wales is being reviewed by the Welsh Government. This was in response to questions over widespread service reductions for North Wales announced by Arriva. The operator said these changes were necessary due to the effect of the 20mph limit on the overall speed of the service, since the speed became law in September 2023. Among the service changes, which were phased in throughout January 2024, the X51 controversially bypassed the village of Llandegla in Denbighshire from Sunday 14th January onwards.

As well as the effect of the new law, Arriva Wales cited a lack of funding from Welsh Government for the changes. A statement said: “The withdrawal of this service in Llandegla is due to the impact of 20mph on the 51 and X51 services. To be clear this is not to say that Llandegla and its speed limits are the issue but now the service overall is taking longer to operate due to reduced speeds across the network”.

“The consequences of this change in speed has been severe and has caused increased lost mileage and reduced punctuality. We have been open in raising our concerns with Transport for Wales, the Welsh government and local authorities. There have also been press statements and questions raised in the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) about this on the basis of our concerns and the consequences.

“As a response to reducing speed of buses there are these options to reduce frequency: (1) speed up buses by withdrawing the service from an area or (2) increase the amount of resource in the bus service. This service is already operating at a low frequency and there is no funding to support increased resource going into services so we have had to amend the route with the time saved by not operating in the village. This time has been reinvested into the service to help it operate to time. These changes have taken place based upon a review of patronage and estimated time savings”.

Meanwhile in South Wales; Adventure Travel cited the new default 20 mph limitfor service changes in November 2023, while Cardiff Bus and Stagecoach South Wales made adjustments to their networks in the build-up to the law change.

Arriva Midlands:

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Above: Sapphire branded Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 4208 (FJ58 KXF) in Central Leicester on an inbound X3 on 5/3/16. This bus is now with Arriva Kent & Surrey. (John Podgorski).

Arriva and Stagecoach have partnered to accept each other’s tickets on two routes between Leicester and Market Harborough. The change affecting the Arriva X3 and Stagecoach X7 services is part of the Leicester Bus Partnership, which has involvedcollaborative effortsto improve the bus user experience in the city. The offer applies to adult and children day, week and four-week tickets, every day of the week.

Arriva and Stagecoach alternate in providing a service every half an hour at peak times between Leicester and Market Harborough. The two operators have already linked up to introduce a simpler, more coordinated, more reliable timetable for buses between Nuneaton, Hinckley and Leicester on routes 148 and 158.

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Above: Arriva Midlands Wright StreetLite 3315 (FJ64 EUC) arrives at St Margarets Bus Station, Leicester on a 158 journey on 4/6/16. This bus has since moved to Arriva The Shires. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Route 53/53A branded VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar 3808 (MX61 AWV) departs Leicester on a Hinckley bound 158 on 5/3/16. (John Podgorski).

Arriva North East:

Durham’s new bus station opened to the public on Sunday 7th January 2024. The new facility is located on the same site as the previous bus station and has been designed to be a modern transport hub that offers a safe and welcoming space for residents and visitors. It offers increased space for passengers and new facilities including toilets and baby changing space, improved information displays and additional seating in the passenger waiting area, plus an office space where security, cleaning, neighbourhood warden staff, representatives from Durham Constabulary and local operator Arriva will all be based.

Works continued on the city’s North Road to reinstate the road and footpath where temporary bus stops had been in place during the rebuilding works; the reinstatement is expected to be completed in the spring.

As a result of the reopening, all services departing from the temporary North Road stops which previously operated from the bus station reverted to using the bus station from 7th January. Arriva said it had also made some small changes to a number of services to accommodate the new stand allocations and assist in the removal of stand clashes between services.

Arriva The Shires:

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Above: Route 757 Mercedes Tourismo 7208 (BV20 HRL) at Baker Street on 19/9/22. (John Podgorski).

Arriva will continue to operate the Greenline 757 coach service between central London and Luton via Luton Airport for at least a further five years after successfully retaining its contract with the air travel gateway. The new contract began in March 2024. In addition to the five-year core term, it includes a potential extension of a further two years. Arriva and its predecessors have connected these two locations since Luton Airport opened in 1938. Route 757 has existed for over 40 years. Arriva currently runs it with a fleet of Mercedes-Benz Tourismos and a dedicated 27-strong driving team from its Luton depot.

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Above: Usually, the only Arriva buses to be seen on Hale Lane, Edgware are the Arriva London North ones on TfL221 (Turnpike Lane-Edgware). On 27/1/24, Arriva The Shires ADL/Enviro 400 5468 (SN15 LPY) was working the Saracens Shuttle. Saracens is a rugby club based in Hendon. On home match days, free shuttle buses are provided to/from the railway stations at Edgware, Mill Hill Broadway and Mill Hill East. Arriva London North is the main contractor, with others helping as required – including fellow Arriva companies and Metroline. (John Podgorski).


Jersey’s first regular electric buses entered service with Tower Transit-owned LibertyBus in December 2023: The Mellor Sigma 8s are 3001/02 (J153001, J143002). They include USB charging points at all 26 seats, a passenger announcement system and passenger information display which w provides details of bus departures from the main Liberation Station bus station, as well as flight departures from Jersey Airport, an induction loop to help people with a hearing impairment, and a camera mirror system in place of conventional mirrors to help reduce the risk of accidents in Jersey’s narrower streets. They carry a livery of white and green, with “greener” vinyls on their sides.

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Above: Back on 27/9/17, LibertyBus had mini ADL/Enviro 200 MMC demonstrator YX17 NXA on loan, with local registration J137715. It is pictured at the depot. (David Arnold).


In mid February 2024, ground transport management specialist CMAC Group of Accrington was bought by ComfortDelGro for £80.2 million. The purchase was completed by UK-based ComfortDelGro subsidiary CityFleet Networks. That business also operates taxis and private hire vehicles in Aberdeen, Chester, and on Merseyside.

In the UK and Ireland, ComfortDelGro additionally owns bus operators Adventure Travel and Metroline and coach operator Westbus, and has interests in the Megabus, Scottish Citylink and Irish Citylink scheduled coach networks.

(About CMAC):

CMAC are experts in ground transport and accommodation solutions. With access to an extensive network of approved and certified suppliers, and the unique ability to handle any level of scale or operational complexity, CMAC is the go-to provider for both planned and demand-responsive travel requirements.

CMAC has access to over 2.5 million vehicles, including taxis, MPV’s, coaches and electric vehicles. Our unique access to the most extensive fleet in the managed ground travel market means vehicles can be booked in seconds through our user-friendly platform and travellers can be picked-up quickly from any place at any time.


Acquisition of York Pullman:

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Above: Volvo B10M/Van Hool 888 NXO in Cambridge on 22/10/16. (John Podgorski).

Agreement has been reached for FirstGroup to purchase York Pullman Bus Company. Completion of the deal for the 130-vehicle independent coach and bus operator was completed in late February 2024.

First describes York Pullman as “a high performing well-established business,” noting that in addition to its established coach and bus services, Pullman has a strong position in business-to-business operations in York and North Yorkshire. Once complete, the acquisition will enhance FirstGroup’s footprint in North Yorkshire, “and provide growth opportunities in adjacent markets and development of its private hire capability.”

Under the leadership of Managing Director Tom James, York Pullman has become a well-respected organisation. It can trace its name back for almost 100 years, although the current undertaking was formed by Mr James in 2007. He will remain involved with the business post-takeover and continue to run it on a standalone basis with the existing York Pullman management, alongside the First Bus executive team. In addition, Mr James will contribute to the development of the First Bus coach service growth strategy.

The York Pullman name goes back to the early 1920s when garage owner Norman Pearce started operating a service between York and Stamford Bridge. He was joined by Hartas Foxton in 1926 to establish the York Pullman Bus Company, which adopted a maroon, yellow and cream livery reminiscent of old Pullman railway carriages.

By 1938 it had outgrown its three garages in Lead Mill Lane, James Street and Piccadilly, and acquired a large area of derelict land in Navigation Road, where it constructed a new depot on the site of a former glassworks factory. With the onset of war in 1939, the Piccadilly garage was requisitioned and would never fully return to Pullman use.

York Pullman continued to provide bus services throughout the war years and in 1951 moved into new premises, making Bootham Tower its new home. By the 1970s it was carrying over 1,000,000 passengers annually and had expanded from bus work to offer an extensive day excursion programme as well as holidays.

In 1985, the business was sold to Reynard Coaches, but in 1990 the York Pullman name was sold to Hull City Transport along with 20 coaches from the fleet (Reynard was acquired by Yorkshire Rider the same year), but the identity of the then-defunct company was resurrected by former employee Tom James of K&J Travel of York in April 2007.

More third party battery vehicle charging:

First Bus will grant BT owned broadband network provider Openreach access to battery-electric charging infrastructure at bus depots across the UK, starting in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Leicester. Openreach joins DPDand Police Scotland in such work with First Bus. The partnership’s initial phase will see up to 30 of Openreach’s vehicles charge at those three locations while buses are in service.

First Aircoach: has taken delivery of 17 Volvo B8RLEs with MCV Evora bodywork for use on behalf of the Dublin Airport Authority. They were supplied by Volvo Bus UK and Ireland, and have replaced a mixed fleet of Euro III buses. They are configured to suit airport operation and have front and centre doors along with luggage racks. Utilisation is on a mixture of passenger and staff car park shuttles that operate 24/7. Support is provided by nearby dealership Irish Commercials. That outlet delivers servicing and parts and is located 3km from Dublin Airport.

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Above: One of the new B8RLE/EvoRas at Dublin Airport. This is 23-D-26778. (First).

First Eastern Counties: Norwich is now receiving new Wright StreetDeck Electroliners. Buses displaced are Volvo B9TL/Wright Geminis – which have moved to Lowestoft and Volvo B7TL/Presidents – which have been withdrawn. Volvo B7TL/ALX400s have also been indirectly replaced.

First Essex:

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Above: Ex First Cymru Wright StreetLite 47679 (SL15 RVW) at Crouch Street, Colchestr on 4/1/24. This is one of three, the others being 47680/82 (SL15 RVX, RWX). All were initially delivered to Hadleigh, with 47682 then being very briefly used at Colchester, before settling at Firsat Eastern Counties (Ipswich). 47679/80 settled at Colchester. All have since lost their Neath & Port Talbot branding. (John Podgorski).

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Above: 33689 (SN12 AFZ) is a former First Games Transport ex First Manchester ADL/Enviro 400, which is one of several being imported to replace Volvo B7TLs. It was pictured at Southway, Colchester on 15/2/24. So far, 33684/89, 33705/13/14 have come to First Essex. (John Podgorski).

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Above: On loan from First Eastern Counties; Wright StreetDeck 35911 (BN72 TVC) at High Street, Colchester on 19/2/24. 35921/22 (BN72 TVT/U) were also on loan at this time. Colchester and Ipswich depots now share each others’ engineering, hence these appearances. (John Podgorski).

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Above: First Essex Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis 37010 (WX55 VHV), 37015 (WX55 VJC) mingle with First Eastern Counties Wright StreetDecks 35917 (BN72 TVL), 35925 (BN72 TVX) at Ipswich depot on 30/12/23. (John Podgorski).

First Hampshire & Dorset: The city of Portsmouth has more bus services. First’s 2 between Paulsgrove and Portsmouth’s The Hard interchange has been extended to operate 24 hours a day.Other routes across the city have also been increased to operate more frequently during the week and at weekends as part of these improvements, which took effect on 18th February 2024 and were financed by £48m of Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding. The funding for these services runs until March 2026, and First has agreed to continue to run them for a further eight months to the end of that year, (December 2026).

A ‘hopper’ product that gives 90 minutes’ bus travel in Portsmouth for £3 was among ticketing changes that formed the latest batch of Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) measures in the city, effective from February 2024. The Hoppa90 ticket was one of three new offerings that were developed in collaboration with First Solent and Stagecoach South. Each is valid on all the city’s buses and can be purchased either via the respective operator’s app or from the driver. The other new tickets were a Pompey Group for up to five people, and a Pompey Night Owl, valid from 1900-0400hrs.

First Bus and Portsmouth City Council officially unveiled their new electric bus fleet to the public on 11th March 2024, ahead of a service launch in April. The 62 new Wrightbus vehicles have been funded via a collaboration between Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council, and First, with £12.7m from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and £15.9m from First to create an electric bus depot at Hoeford. (The first of these new buses – Wright GB Kites – were being delivered when Bus Fayre went to press).

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Above: Wright GB Kite 63603 (BK73 ANP), at Gosport with the famous Spinnaker Tower across the water at Portsmouth as a backdrop. Unlike recent deliveries to First’s subsidiaries in Leeds, Norwich and York, where the relatively recently-introduced local identities have again been replaced by a standardised purple and grey colour scheme, the new buses for Portsmouth retain the blue colours which First has adopted in the city, which was at the request of the city council to retain the strong local brand. (First Bus).

First Manchester: First Bus has made a £750,000 investment in a Rochdale bus depot and the creation of up to 50 jobs as it prepared to take on responsibility for running Bee Network services in the area from 24th March2024. The former Transdev (Rosso) site on Corporation Street has enhanced engineering facilities, including a new double-height workshop bay, as well as an improved yard area. Meanwhile, the operator ran a campaignto recruit more than 30 drivers and 12 engineers to supplement employees who transferred from Transdev. Additionally, First Bus’s existing depot in Oldham transferred to Stagecoach , who took over services thereunder the second tranche of bus franchising in Greater Manchester.

First South West: The park and ride service in Taunton, which has been operated by First’s Buses of Somerset since 2021, is to move to Stagecoach after First gave notice of its intention to cease operating the route. Buses of Somerset has been operating services from both the Gateway and Silk Mills park and ride sites in the town since July 2021, when it was awarded a five-year contract by Somerset County Council. However, First has stated that that it is no longer viable for it to run the service, despite reported recent increases in passenger numbers. New operator Stagecoach says that it will also work with the town’s Musgrove Park Hospital to improve the service to better suit the needs of the hospital’s staff. The service currently operates every 15 minutes Monday to Friday between 0635 and 1930hrs and every 20 minutes between 0815 and 1830hrs on Saturdays. To encourage use of public transport, Somerset Council has used money from its £11.9m BSIP funding to cap park & ride fares at £1 single and £2 return until 31 March 2025, prompting an increase in use.

Meanwhile, the route between Wells and Weston-super-Mare, described as ‘essential’ but which was withdrawn in October 2022 due to low passenger numbers, has been reinstated. The 126 was re-introduced with Government funding and partnership working between North Somerset Council and Somerset Council. First West of England began running the service from 2nd January 2024 after winning the contract. The two councils are jointly subsidising the route from their Bus Service Improvement Plan funds. It operates from Monday to Saturday, approximately every two hours, and replaces a shorter 126 between Wells and Axbridge operated by Libra Travel, which Somerset Council had been funding since September 2022. There were other associated changes in North Somerset, to routes 9 and 10 as a result.

First West Yorkshire will complete introduction of a 57-strong battery-electric bus fleet at Bramley depot in Leeds by the end of March 2024 and more will follow in the summer. The £29 million project was achieved with a mix of funding from the operator and the first round of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, via a bid submitted by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA). Of the initial batch of 57 buses, 32 Wrightbus GB Kite Electroliner single-deckers were delivered by February and the first of 25 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers arrived in early March. Charging is via Heliox 150kW units that can deliver a full replenishment in 2.5 hours. In advance of this, Volvo BZL demonstrator BV23 NNT was trialled on service PR3 with temporary fleet no 39601.

First York introduced the final battery-electric buses to its University of York routes in mid January. The specially branded StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers of the batch 36520-29 (MF23 ZWJ, ML73 DZG/H/J/K/M/N/D/R), are operating on the 66 and 67 (Sport Village and Campus East-York Railway Station). The buses are part of an order of 53 from Wrightbus, which also includes GB Kite Electroliner single-deckers and which began to arrive in August 2023. York depot became fully electric in March 2024.


The Go-Ahead Group has purchased the Eastbourne Sightseeing open-top operation from Seven Sisters Bus and Coach. The business has become part of Brighton and Hove. The owner of Seven Sisters intends to retire.

Eastbourne Sightseeing is based in Ringmer near Lewes. It owns nine open-top buses that are used seasonally to provide tours around Eastbourne, and into the South Downs, including Beachy Head, Birling Gap and the surrounding areas.

Go-Ahead says that the Eastbourne Sightseeing brand will be retained and that its website and marketing knowledge will be used “to build demand for the tour in the future.” Opening partnership marketing opportunities with Go-Ahead/Govia train operating company Southern also forms part of aspirations for the open-top business.

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Above: A Volvo B7TL/Ayats Bravo of Eastbourne Sightseeing. ADL/Enviro 400 and Trident/EL open toppers are also operated. (Go-Ahead).

Go East Anglia:

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Above: YN58 BCE is one of three former Brighton & Hove Scania Omnicities transferred to Hedingham & Chambers; the others being YN56 BCF/K. They have received GEA fleet numbers 465-467. 465 was pictured at Kelvedon depot on 19/12/23. The trio were initially delivered to the Chambers depot at Sudbury, and then allocated to Clacton. 465 was reallocated via Kelvedon. 467 later returned to Sudbury. (Laurence Kinsella Ilott).

(Hedingham & Chambers): Scania N230UD/Optare Olympuses 870-877 (PN09 ELO/U, EMK/V, ENC/E/F/O) are losing their ‘Boomerang’ branding for the Colchester-Sudbury-Bury St Edmunds routes, with 872 being the first. The remaining active Dart SLF/Pointers are 256 (EU55 BWC), 258/59/60 (EU56 FLN/P/R). By January 2024, mini Pointer 287 (HW54 BUE) was VOR, but not listed as withdrawn. 256/59/60 all retain the “classic” Hedingham red and cream livery, while 258 has the new livery and 287 is in Konectbus blue. 287 then returned to traffic in mid-March. Meanwhile, Volvo B7TL/Presidents 573 (W491 WGH) and 587 (PL51 LDU) are still going strong, with 587 retaining East Yorkshire colours.

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Above: Scania N230UD/Optare Olympus 871 with Boomerang branding – seen on 13/7/21. Most unusually it was on loan from Sudbury to Kelvedon depot and pictured at Thomas Lord Audley School, Colchester working the afternoon return journey to West Mersea. (John Podgorski).

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Above: 287 at Lakelands, Stanway, Colchester on 1/7/21. It is on Monday to Friday peak hours only service Essex CC 15 (Marks Tey Railway Station-Stanway). (John Podgorski).

Go North East (GNE) plans to recruit and train up to 200 bus drivers through what it says is an expansion of Britain’s most ambitious recruitment campaign for that role. That will see the introduction of the Elite Bus Driver Academy concept in North East England, following similar work byGo North West in 2023, ahead of that taking up two of the large Bee Network bus franchise contracts in Greater Manchester.

Again using the ‘Be an Elite Driver’ strapline, the GNE campaign will continue the use of fighter pilot-style uniforms and imagery. Pictures of drivers will be displayed on the operator’s fleet and recruits will undergo a six-week training programme. It is open to existing category D PCV licence holders and those who do not hold the relevant entitlement. The recruitment drive follows conclusion of an earlier period of industrial actionat Go North East, that saw drivers’ rates of pay increase to £14.27 per hour from January 2024.

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Above: Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 6158 (LJ62 KYA) promoting driver recruitment in Newcastle upon Tyne on 26/1/24. This is one of a large number of ex London WVLClass buses now with GNE. (Richard Walter).

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Above: Yutong DD10 demonstrater YD73 FTP was on trial with GNE during January and was seen in central Newcastle on 26/1/24. (Richard Walter).

Oxford Bus Company: The Oxford electric bus project was officially launched on 16/1/24. It is a joint venture with Stagecoach and the local council. To celebrate this historic development, key stakeholders gathered for a launch event at Divinity School in central Oxford, where some of the new electric buses were showcased and key representatives delivered speeches.

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Above: Oxford Bus Company Wright StreetDeck Electroliner 722 (BJ73 WXK) on its first day in revenue service, 18/1/24. (Richard Sharman).

City Sightseeing Oxford completed conversion of its entire fleet to zero-emissions with the introduction of eight new battery-electric open-top buses i n mid March 2024. The Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliners represent an investment of £4 million and join. three buses repowered from diesel. It is claimed to be the first hop-on hop-off bus company with a fleet of fully electric buses. They form part of a wider order of 104 battery-electric busesfrom parent company Go-Ahead for the Oxford Bus Company fleet, which was partly funded by Oxfordshire County Council’s successful Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas bid. The buses include features such as glazed staircases and roof lights to improve passengers’ views of the city’s sights, as well as digital camera mirror systems.

Pulhams Coaches’ focus on growth under Go-Ahead Group ownership has seen the establishment of a training academy at the Bourton-on-the-Water business. Pulhams also launched a new bus service on 19/2/24. Route R runs between Bishop’s Cleeve and Cheltenham, hourly Mon to Sat daytimes under contract to Gloucestershire County Council. Vehicular arrivals are new Irizar i6 Efficient PC73 PUL; ex Carousel Buses Mercedes Sprinter 513 988 (RX23 CYG) and Oxford Bus Company Wright StreetDecks 371/72 (OX68 MBA, OBU). The StretDecks were reregisterd K99, L99 NHS and branded for route 99.

Thames Travel has commenced a three-month trial of a new bus service between Oxford city centre and The Oxford Science Park, a facility that is described as one of Europe’s leading locations for life science and technology companies.

The 3X route begins at Oxford railway station and serves the city centre, Redbridge park-and-ride site and Heyford Hill before heading to the science park. Eight trips per day in each direction operate, with an end-to-end journey time of around 30 minutes.

The route is covered by the £2 capped fare scheme, and its timetable includes journeys at core travel to and from work periods, and at lunchtimes.

Collaboration between the two parties builds upon an existing partnership that also includes Oxford Bus Company. The 3X route has been developed to provide faster and more reliable links to the campus for its occupiers, visitors, and local communities.


Ipswich Buses: ADL/Enviro 400 MMC demonstrator YY73 OGW was on loan at the end of 2023. It then went on loan to Stephensons of Essex at Rochford.

Lothian Buses:

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Above: Eve Coaches Mercedes Tourismo BL16 FZH. (Eve Coaches).

In a surprise move, Lothian Buses purchased Dunbar operator Eve Coaches in mid February 2024, for an undisclosed amount. The deal brings all of Eve Coaches’ work under the new owner’s umbrella, including local bus services, private hire, tours, and home-to-school transport.

Eve Coaches’ brand will be maintained, and the business’s premises in Dunbar and entire fleet were included in the sale. The Spott Road depot will continue to be used for Eve operations and staff transferred under TUPE. Eve Coaches was formed in 1978 and operates a modern fleet of coaches and buses, with an international O-Licence for 30 vehicles.

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Above: Airlink liveried Volvo B8L/Enviro 400 XLB 1128 (SB19 GLY) in Edinburgh city centre on a wet and windy 23/1/24. This is a revised Airlink colour scheme, in response to the competition from Brightbus.1130 (SB19 GME) also wears this scheme. (Richard Walter).

Newport Transport officially confirmed an order in late February 2024, or seven Yutong GT12 Euro VI diesel coaches, earmarked for its expanding FlixBus routes.

The GT12s will be fully compliant with PSVAR, seat 53 , have full air conditioning, and substantial luggage space, aligning with the requirements of Newport Transport’s designated routes. They are due early spring, on time to launch the new routes for the summer.

Growth with the intercity coach work, started with the Swansea to London FlixBus routes in August 2023, prompted the expansion of Newport’s long distance services. The introduction of the new coaches is set to cater to increased demand, with plans to boost frequencies to London and launch a Swansea to Birmingham route in the summer of 2024.

The enhanced partnership will see increased daily frequencies on services between Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Wales and the South West. Newport Transport’s new Yutong vehicles will also be seen operating between Swansea and Birmingham, a new route for the brand. Newport Transport says the expansion will create 22 new jobs in the South Wales area.

Additionally, Newport Transport is collaborating with Flixbus in the trial of a battery electric Yutong Tce12 – (also see Flixbus in ‘State of Independence’).

Nottingham City Transport will take delivery of at least 48 Yutong E10 and E12 battery-electric buses as part of a successful bid by Nottingham City Council to the first round of Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding. The opening batch has already been delivered to Nottingham (See Bus Fayre Winter 2023), with the next 12 due by April 2024 and the remaining 24 in March 2025. NCT plans to replace all of its remaining diesel buses over the next four years to leave it with biogas and battery-electric as its bus power sources.

The new Yutongs delivered so far are E12s 201-212 (YD73 FSH/J/E/F/G/K/L/O/P/S/U/V). 201/02 are in Red Line colours; 203-04 Pink Line, 206-10 Blue Line and 211/12 in NCT generic fleet livery. They have yet to enter service.

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Above: NCT Yutong E12s lined up at Trent Bridge depot. Pink Line 205 (YD73 FSG); Red Line 202 (YD73 FSJ); Blue Line 210 (YD73 FSS). (NCT) .

Reading Buses: Has new ADL/Enviro 400 City 241-248 (YX73 PHA/F/K/N/O/U/V/W), which are are in Lion livery for the Reading-Wokingham-Bracknell 4 and X4 routes, and 249 (YX73 PHX) which is in generic silver. These buses feature coffee-shop style flooring and tables, glazed staircases, skylights, USB and wireless charging, seatback phone holders, tables for working, tinted windows, and an air-chill system upstairs. Replaced by the new arrivals are Classic ADL/Enviro 400s 211-217 (SN11 BVS-Y), 121 (KX59 GNV).

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Above: 241, 242 and 244 on display at Wokingham Market Place on 12/2/24. (Reading Buses).

Reading Buseshas also put some of its 14 plate Scania/ADL gas buses onto itsnew look service 9. The route has been rebranded as Buzz 9 using funding obtained for Reading Borough Council’s bus service improvement plan, (which was extended in January 2024). The updated Buzz brand is being used for routes in Reading that are financially supported by the council. The additional buses for the 9 also feature refurbished interiors with coffee shop-style flooring and USB charging sockets.

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Above: 438 (YP14 TGJ) at Green Park railway station at the Buzz launch on 21/2/24. (Reading Buses).

Newbury & District has taken delivery of four Volvo B8Rs – 1422-25 (YX73 MUP/U/V, MVA), with Plaxton Panther bodywork for its services to Heathrow Airport. The PSVAR-compliant vehicles will serve the Reading Buses subsidiary’s Flightline 730 and 731 routes which began operationbetween Basingstoke and the airport’s Terminal 5 last summer. They replace double-decker buses on the limited-stop service, which also serves Frimley, Camberley, and Bagshot.

Thames Valley Buses has four new Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMCs, which entered service in mid January on the 171 and 172 circular routes in south Bracknell. They are 684-687 (YX73 PGZ, PHZ, OYN, TV73 BUS).

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Above: 684-687 lined up at Bracknell depot. (Thames Valley).


National Express Coaches:

National Express is the inaugural UK scheduled coach operator to trial Yutong’s GTe14 tri-axle battery-electric coach.

YD24 EUB commenced operations from 7/3/24 on the high-frequency ‘A’ routes connecting Stansted Airport with London – over four weeks. This trial followed a successful 2020 pilot of Yutong’s TCe12 model on the A9 service.

National Express said it will potentially save up to 160 tonnes of CO2e annually on its London-Stansted Airport routes, which complete an average 139.8k miles each year. When used between London and Stansted, the GTe14 was charged via temporary provision at the airport. (Also see Yutong in Manufacturers and Suppliers).

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Above: Yutong GTe14 YD24 EUB at Pelican Bus and Coach, Castleford in February2024. (Pelican).

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Above and below: Since the closure of Lower Sydenham depot, the Clarkes liveried coaches have widened their remit. Mercedes Tourismo BF67 WJM was seen *(above) at Stratford on 3/2/24, on a Jubilee Line North Greenwich to Stratford RRP, and working from Start Hill depot. Below shows Mb Tourismo BF67 WKB at Start Hill depot on 24/2/24 alongside standard NX Scania K410EB6/Caetao Levante IIIs. (Both: John Podgorski).

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In mid March 2024, National Expres unveiled the first of 25 Van Hool TDX21 Altano ‘overdeckers’ that will enter service with partner operators Edwards Coaches (10) and Selwyn’s of Runcorn (15). The initial 25 will be deployed by Edwards on route 040 between Bristol and London, and by Selwyn’s on service 540 between Manchester and the capital. In the former case, they will displace Caetano Boa Vista double-deckers. In the latter, they will increase capacity on what National Expresssays is a “rapidly growing axis”.

NX West Midlands: says it welcomed the arrest of a 20 year old man and a 17 year old youth who were detained in Solihull on 8/1/24, on suspicion of arson following a number of recent attacks on its inter-suburban route 49 (Solihull-Rubery), which caused significant damage to vehicles and disruption for passengers. At approximately 1645hrs on Monday 8th January, the driver of a service 49 contacted emergency services after two people had attempted to set fire to seats on the top deck of the bus. West Midlands Police subsequently carried out a search of the area, where the two people had alighted at Shirley Park – and detained a man and teenager. They were arrested on suspicion of arson and were also questioned about three other fires that had taken place on NX West Midlands buses in Solihull over recent weeks. They were then released on bail while police continued their enquiries. Route 49 uses a mix of ADL/Enviro 400s, Volvo B7TL/Geminis and Trident/ALX400s from Yardley Wood garage.

Dudley’s 1980s bus stationclosedto regular operations after the last services departed on Saturday 13 January. West Midlands Combined Authority(WMCA) plans to demolish the existing site and construct the town’s new Transport Interchange accommodating both buses and West Midlands Metro in its place, funded by the DfT’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement. Until the latter is complete in 2025, buses serving the town will use on-street stops on the opposite side of the main shopping area. A one-way traffic system and alternative temporary bus stands have been put in place on surrounding roads for the duration of the work.The now closed site, completed in 1986, provided four level drive through lanes at 90 degrees to its steeply-graded predecessor which had been the location of a number of serious runaway incidents. The new interchange will feature a saw tooth style bus station parallel to the Metro.

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Above: Artist’s impression of the new Dudley bus/tram Interchange. (TfWM).

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has bought Walsall (WA) depot. It is being leased back to NX. In the longer term, this move could be used in “facilitating future bus franchising options”.


Bath Bus Company has new ADL/Enviro 400 MMC YX23 DWJ, for its Air Decker route linking Bath with Bristol Airport. It is the first ADL bus for this operator.

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Above: YX23 DWJ at Bristol Airport in January 2024. (Bath Bus Company).


Rotala completed its move into private ownership on 17th January 2024 after receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals via anacceleration of that process. On 15th January, the Court of Justice in England and Wales made an order sanctioning the sale, which saw Rotala PLC delisted from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and transfer to the ownership of new entity Rotala Group.

Diamond Bus North West (DNBW):

Further new buses have entered service on the Bee Network in Greater Manchester as part of the 67 Alexander Dennis Enviro200s ordered for those duties by Rotala Group. When deliveries are complete, 60 of them will be used on DBNW’s work under tranche one of franchising in the conurbation. The other seven are for tranche two services, whichcommenced on 24/3/24. Of the tranche one batch, 25 are 9.7m examples and already in use. The other 35 are 11.8m models. 12 entered service during early March 2024. The rest are to arrive “over the coming weeks,” says Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). For tranche two, seven 10.8m E200s will be supplied later in 2024. All the buses are finished to Bee Network specification. That includes space for two wheelchair users, audio-visual passenger information, and a new radio system to improve communication with drivers.

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Above: Some of the new DBNW Bee Network ADL/Enviro 200 MMCs with YX24 MMA in the foreground. (DBNW).


Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire: Optare Solo 47001 (KX51 CRU) is now a Heritage vehicle.

Stagecoach East:

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Above: Distance liveried ADL/Enviro 400 MMC 10872 (YX67 VDJ) was an unusual visitor to service 905 on 24/2/24. Pictured departing Cambridge. Standard liveried E400s are the usual traction. (John Podgorski).

On 19/2/24, Stagecoach East launched a newhalf-hourly servicethat linksStevenage and Bedford, connecting these two towns for the first time. The number9A/B/C/D service also serves Shortstown, Cotton End, Haynes, Shefford, Clifton, Henlow, Arlesey, Ickleford and Hitchin. This is an extension of the existing service from Bedford to Hitchin. The extended service is a result of Stagecoach East’s partnership with Hertfordshire County Council. (There is also no direct railway link between Bedford and Stevenage).

The southern section of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway was reopened on 30th March 2024, after a lengthy closure. One direction of the route A between Cambridge Railway Station and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus had been closed since February 2022 to allow a temporary fence to be installed for safety reasons. On 12/2/24, work actually began on the installation of this new fence ! In the interim period, the diverted journey between the station and the campus had been taking more than 30 minutes at peak times due to congestion, while the Busway allowed the trip to be made in less than five minutes. A safety review into the Busway had been ordered following the deaths of two pedestrians and a cyclist on the route, which runs alongside a mixed-use path and maintenance access, between 2015 and 2022. In 2023, Stagecoach East installed pioneeringintelligent speed assistance (ISA) technologyon their Busway fleet, The system uses geofenced “gateways” to curtail speed to maximum limits via the retarder and throttle.

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Above: Volvo B8RLE/MCV EvoRa 21366 (BU69 XXD) at Hills Road, Cambridge on 23/9/23. Only single deckers operate along the southern section of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, due to several low bridges, along what used to be the trackbed of the long closed Cambridge to Sandy railway line. (John Podgorski).

Stagecoach East Midlands: Has confirmed that it is to replace its popular Skegness Seasider fleet for the 2024 season. The open top buses carried around one million passengers during the main 2023 season with buses linking Skegness transport interchange with the town’s sea front, Butlins, Fantasy Island theme park and a number of caravan parks.

The existing fleet of Dennis Tridents and Volvo B7TLs is being retired and the sole Alexander Dennis Enviro400 19169 (TIL 7901), which had been in use will be transferred to become the Lincoln tour bus.

The oldest Tridents date from 1999 and are from the first batch of Tridents bought by Stagecoach and placed in service in London. Also included are Dennis Tridents which were new to Stagecoach’s Grimsby-Cleethorpes operation in 1999.

They are being replaced by ADL Enviro400H hybrid vehicles which are being transferred from Manchester and will be converted to open top. These are 12029/34 (MX10 MVT/Z), 12036-38/41/45-48 (MX60 BVB/D/E/H/M-P). The use of these hybrid vehicles will provide a significant reduction in kerbside carbon emissions in the busy tourist areas of central Skegness and along the sea front as well as reduced fuel consumption.

Stagecoach says it is finalising the specification for the converted hybrid vehicles, which will continue the character theme that has proved highly successful for the area. Under consideration is improving the luggage stowage area on board and also providing an additional wheelchair area on each vehicle.

Meanwhile, further new ADL/Enviro 400 MMCs are 11762-69 (YX73OZK-P/R/S).

And the last of the former Road Car Volvo B7TL/EL Vykings have been withdrawn; they were 16919/18 (FX54 AOF, FX55 AZU).

Stagecoach East Scotland:

ADL/Enviro 200 MMCs 26166-171 (SN67 WWL/M/O/P/R/S) have recived Jetlink 747 colours.

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Above: JET 747 liveried ADL/Enviro 200 MMC 26167 (SN67 WWM) at Edinburgh Airport on 5/1/24. (Richard Walter).

Stagecoach Manchester: ADL/Enviro 400 MMC 11254 (SN69 ZFO) has received an overall blue NHS livery, and toured the UK as part of the ‘NHS Bus-ting Cancer Tour’.

Stagecoach Midlands:

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Above: ADL/Enviro 300 27684 (KX60 AZL) in Leicester on 4/6/16. (John Podgorski).

Stagecoach has partnered with Arriva to accept each other’s tickets on two routes between Leicester and Market Harborough. The change affecting the Arriva X3 and Stagecoach X7 services is part of the Leicester Bus Partnership, The offer applies to adult and children day, week and four-week tickets, 7 days a week. Stagecoach and Arriva alternate in providing a half hourly service at peak times between Leicester and Market Harborough. The two operators have already linked up to introduce a a simpler, more coordinated, more reliable timetable for buses between Nuneaton, Hinckley and Leicester on routes 148 and 158.

The University of Northampton changed its bus transport provider to Stagecoach from 11/3/24, taking over from Uno, which began operating the services in 2012. The university said the decision had been made as a result of “The changing public transport landscape and a growing desire to better integrate transport services at the University of Northampton with the local town and beyond. By becoming part of the local bus network, the University of Northampton would be in a position to offer its staff, students and wider community improved links with Northampton and its neighbouring towns”.

Stagecoach North East: New are Yutong E12s 73024-043 at Sunderland.

Stagecoach North Scotland: Unite the union has demanded more legal protection for transport staff after the death of Stagecoach North Scotland (Bluebird) driver Keith Rollinson, 58, following an alleged assault in Elgin bus station. A 15-year-old male was arrested after the incident late on Friday 2nd February 2024. Mr Rollinson was taken to hospital, where he later died. The teenager was charged in connection with Mr Rollinson’s death and appeared at Elgin Sheriff’s Court on Monday 5th February, where he was remanded in custody.

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Above: The scene at Elgin Bus Station on 3/2/24. Mr Rollinson was assaulted in the passenger waiting area just ahead of the Volvo B11R/Plaxton Elite coach. The bus station was closed for all of the Saturday, while police forensic work took place. (via STV News).

Stagecoach Highlands has increased its fleet of Volvo B8RLE MCV Evoras with the delivery of another 20. 16 are 12.9m models, and the remainder are 10.8m variants. The 12.9m ones are 21401-21416 (SJ73 HTO/P/T/U/V/X/Y/Z, HUA/H/K/O/P/U/V/Y) – all allocated to Inverness.

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Above: New Volvo B8RLE/MCV EvoRa 12.9m 21406 (SJ73 HTX) in Inverness. (Andrew Chalmers).

Stagecoach South: Due are Optare Solo SRs 48101-04, 48115-18 at Andover and 48112-14 at Chichester.

The city of Portsmouth has more bus services. Stagecoach has improved its route 23, between Leigh Park and Southsea to run 24/7. Other routes across the city have increased to operate more frequently during the week and at weekends, with this all taking effect from 18th February 2024. It was made possible by £48m of Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding. The funding for these services runs until March 2026, and Stagecoach has agreed to continue to run them for a further eight months to the end of that year, (December 2026).

A ‘hopper’ product that gives 90 minutes’ bus travel in Portsmouth for £3 was among ticketing changes that formed the latest group of Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) measures in the city, effective from February 2024.

The Hoppa90 ticket was one of three new offerings that were developed in collaboration with First Solent and Stagecoach South. Each is valid on all the city’s buses and can be purchased either via the respective operator’s app or from the driver. The other new tickets are a Pompey Group for up to five people, and a Pompey Night Owl, valid from 1900-0400hrs.

Stagecoach South East: Due are Optare Solo SRs 48149-55 at at Dover, 48156/57 at Hastings.

Stagecoach South Wales: New are Optare Solo SRs 48121-29 at Cwmbran.Blackwood has lost its remaining contract working, but continues as a bodyshop, engineering facility, driver training centre and vehicle storage location. Brymawr continues as a 2 minibus outstation for Fflecsi.

Stagecoach West: The Oxford electric bus project was officially launched on 16/1/24. It is joint with Go-Ahead and the local council. To celebrate this historic development, key stakeholders gathered for a launch event at Divinity School in Oxford city centre, where some of the new electric buses were showcased and key representatives delivered speeches.

Alexander Dennis then delivered the first example of its next generation battery-electric bus to a UK customer in March 2024, with the arrival of “new look” Enviro400EV 80002 (SK24 XPC). The bus is the first of 55 for Stagecoach Oxfordshire that are part-funded by a successful bid by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to the first round of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme. It carries a new green and blue-based livery with Electro branding.

All of the buses will be used on urban services in Oxford as part full electrification of local bus routes operated in the city’s Smart Zone. That is a partnership with OCC and Go-Ahead Group subsidiary Oxford Bus Company. Entry to service of the new Enviro400EV fleet will come later in spring 2024, when infrastructure installation is complete. Each bus is 11.1m long and 4.2m high, with seating for 69 passengers and an overall capacity of 83. Two wheelchair user spaces are provided along with high-backed seats including USB-A and USB-C charging points. With 472kWh of energy storage, the Enviro400EV was recently certified by Zemo Partneshipas the most energy efficient battery-electric double-decker on the market.

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Above: 80002 at Oxford depot. (Stagecoach).


Keighley Bus Company increased its Aireline (Keighley-Leeds) route to three buses per hour (from two) from 17/3/24, after seeing a significant rise in passenger numbers. This was thanks to West Yorkshire Combined Authority support worth £2.7 million over three years to deliver improvements aimed at attracting more bus useage.

Transdev Airport Services has the 1,000thYutong for the UK market. YE73 JBX is one of a batch of E12 battery-electrics for use at Heathrow Airport. These are the first of the model with dual doors supplied to a UK buyer. They each come with 422kW/h of battery storage and are equipped with luggage racks for car park shuttle use, and staff transport. The entire contingent is YE73 JBO/U/V/X/Z, JCJ/O/U/V/X/Z, JDF/J/K/O/U/X.

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(Pelican Bus & Coach).

York & Country: A new eco friendly bus depot was opened at Rawcliffe (north York) in mid March. Boasting a 28% reduction in carbon emissions, the depot utilises renewable energy sources, including solar panels and air source heat pumps. Biodiversity is encouraged through the inclusion of bird and bat nesting boxes and extensive planting. There is also an in-house training academy. And the site is prepared for future expansion, with light electric vehicle charging points and provisions for a complete electrification of the bus fleet. The new facilty houses buses from York & Country, Coastliner and York City Sightseeing.


AAA Coaches of Kirknewton has two new Yutong TC9s. JR24 AAA is illustrated.

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(AAA Coaches).

APT Coaches, Rayleigh: Following its acquisition by REL Capital, this operator has been absorbed into the REL Davian, Edmonton fleet, but retaining its Essex base (at Rawreth near Rayleigh), which has become Davian’s new base. Volvo B8R/Sunsundegui Siderals R27 APT, Y27 APT have received the new REL Davian livery.

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Above: Volvo B8R/Sunsundegui Y27 APT at Ingatestone on 10/2/24. (David Arnold).

Avis Budget UK added the first five of 13 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with EVM Cityline low-entry bodywork to its fleet during late 2023. They are for use at Heathrow airport and have been supplied by EVM and Dawsongroup Bus and Coach. Each has 12 passenger seats that are trimmed in leather and have additional padding. USB charging points have been specified along with a large luggage rack. Entry is via a Masats double-leaf door that is 120cm wide, and the minibuses are each equipped with a fold-out lightweight ramp from the same supplier.

A 12kW Autoclima saloon air-conditioning unit is mounted on the roof and complemented by convector heaters in the saloon. Tarabus non-slip flooring is installed, while a set of Hanover destination displays are fitted at the front and to both sides. Entertainment is from a Mercedes-Benz Pro unit including a communications module. Speakers are integrated into the saloon roof, while the minibuses are also equipped with a reversing camera and Provision CCTV. Externally, the bumpers, side skirts and mouldings and grille are all colour coded. Power in each vehicle comes from an OM 654 four-cylinder engine coupled to a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox.

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Above: Newly delivered Mb Sprinter/EVMs RX73 TYF and TYY at Heathrow depot in November 2023. (Avis Budget UK).

Barfordian, Bedford: A visit in late February 2024 found the Goldington depot of this former operator now a small industrial estate. The original garage in the nearby village of Great Barford, disappeared under new housing in 2002. The website of this company is still up, but has not been updated since late 2012.

Carver, Ellesmere Port: The driver of Scania K320IB4/Irizar YN15 EKL, which crashed on the M53 motorway died from natural causes, a coroner has said. Stephen Shrimpton, 40, died when the coach he was driving crashed on 29/9/23 as he was taking children to West Kirby and Calday Grange grammar schools on The Wirral. 17 passengers were injured. Jessica Baker, 15, one of about 50 students onboard, was killed in the crash. On Friday 15/3/24, a spokeswoman forLiverpoolCoroner’s Office said Mr Shrimpton’s case had been closed as it was found to be a natural cause of death. CCTV footage showed Mr Shrimpton slump to his left while driving the coach, which at the same time left the carriageway and went up an embankment before ending up on its side.

Central Connect, Stansted: The fleet has been renumbered into the Vectare series, and Vectare two tone blue livery is being introduced – with Central Conect fleet names. The Vectare southern regional office has been established at Start Hill depot. Short ADL/Enviro 200 MMC CC21 GAL has gone on loan to Vectare at Long Eaton.

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Above: A variety of Central Connect, Galleon Travel and Vectare vehicles at Stansted (Start Hill) depot on 24/2/24. (John Podgorski).

CT4N (Nottingham Community Transport):

Three bus services supported by Nottingham City Council (NCC) will be retained for the 2024/25 financial year, after proposals had been discussed to remove funding. The council, which was looking to save £50m, said the Medilink, LocalLink and EasyLink – known collectively as Linkbus – would be retained by using alternative funding sources. However, funding for Medilink will be removed from April 2025. In the meantime, alternative funding streams will be sought.

Currently, more than 50% of the Medilink service is paid for by NCC, with the remainder funded by the NHS. However, the plan is to “work with the NHS Trust to develop an alternative operating model for the service”. Medilink serves medical facilities and park-and-ride sites, EasyLink provides acceessible minibus transport and LocalLink connects areas not reached by the commercial network. All three are operated by C4

Denwell Mini Coaches, Wooton Bassett: The 25-vehicle standard national O-Licence was revoked from 31st March, 2024, with the transport manager and sole director being disqualified for a year from the same date. The revocation order was made due to maintenance issues, lack of finance, and a lack of continuous and effective management at the operator. The revocation followed a submission at a Public Inquiry (PI) by Wiltshire Council around its difficulties in sourcing home to school (H2S) transport. Then on 8/2/24 a coach fire led to an “about-turn” by the local authority. A day after the incident, the Council announced it would immediately cease using Denwell Mini Coaches for H2S services. Alternative providers were quickly arranged for the afternoon of Friday 9 February, with permanent replacements following the February half term.The coach that caught fire was Scania K400EB4/Irizar i4 JFZ 7013; operated by the associated igobus of Gloucester fleet – and happened A417 at Cowley, near Cirencester. The coach was a write off.

Dolphin Autos (Norwich): Vehicle maintenance and driver control problems resulted in the O-Licence held by by this Norfolk operator, having its vehicle authorisation cut from 56 vehicles to 40 by Eastern Traffic Commissioner Richard Turfitt, following a PI at Cambridge in January 2024.

Edwards Coaches, Llantrisant has announced details of a major fleet investment plan. It will see the arrival of 86 new coaches worth £32 million as the South Wales business observes “a positive outlook in 2024.”

The bulk of the order is 68 Caetano Levante IIIA bodied Scania K410EB6s that will be deployed on Edwards’ National Express services. That represents a spend of £25.7 million. The first of these Levantes were delivered towards the end of 2023, for use from the depots in Llantrisant and Swansea. The remainder will arrive “throughout the course of 2024,” the operator said.

In a notable further development, Edwards has ordered 10 Van Hool Altano overdeck coaches, also for use on National Express work. Such a purchase marks a return to the National Express fold for Van Hool after many years away. Each of the Altanos will cost £480,000 and they are expected to arrive in June 2024.

Separate to Edwards’ National Express portfolio, the business is also enhancing its holiday fleet. That has seen the arrival of four Mercedes-Benz Tourismos with two more on order. Also due are a pair of Neoplan Tourliners.

Among the Tourismos already delivered is a further flagship Red Dragon example, followingan earlier such vehicle. The new coach carries a slightly amended livery that remains based around the symbol of Wales.

This major investment comes as Edwards Coaches prepares for its centenary in 2025.

Ember: The Scottish electric inter-city operator has started a new urban route in Dundee, and increased the number of journeys on its Edinburgh and Glasgow services from the city.

From 11th January 2024, the company launched what it said was a short but useful service from Dundee city centre to the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc on the east side of Dundee. Ember said the route, numbered E10, will offer over 40 services per day in each direction, with three stops along the way, all of which can be pre-booked to keep journeys quick.

From the same date, the operator made changes to its routes from Dundee to Edinburgh and Glasgow, increasing the frequency to 21 services per day each way on each route, offering an average of an hourly frequency throughout the day. The company previously ran 17 services per day to Edinburgh, and 14 services to Glasgow. Changes are also being made to running times, and the start/end point for the Glasgow route moved from the existing stop outside Malmaison to a stop outside the Dundee science centre at Greenmarket, the same stop used by its services to Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh services now only serve Kinross as a pre-booked stop, with booking required at least 10 minutes ahead, allowing Ember to speed up journeys when there aren’t any passengers boarding there.

Overnight services now also call at Edinburgh Airport directly; daytime services continue to provide a connection to the tram, included in the fare. Buses arriving in Dundee also now drop off at the railway station, rather than the existing stop at Greenmarket.

Ember says that its new E10 service, is designed to connect with its Edinburgh and Glasgow services, with the possibility of through ticketing in the future.

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Above: Yutong Tce12 SG23 ORU in Edinburgh on 19/1/24. (Richard Walter).

Flagfinders: Vectare bought a 75% share in this Essex independent in mid February 2024. Flagfinders Coach Travel Bereau was established in 1976 out of Cooks Coaches of Braintree. Expansion came in the 2010s with the acquisition of Florida of Halstead and Grahams of Kelvedon. Prior to Grahams, there was also briefly an outstation at Tollesbury.

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Above: Scania Omnidekka YN53 RYD at Colchester on emergency rail replacement on 15/8/23. (John Podgorski).

FlixBus has expanded its partnership with Belle Vue of Stockport, which has ordered three new Yutong GT12 coaches. offering additional express services between Manchester, York, Birmingham and Leicester.

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Above: One of the new Yutong GT12s, pictured at Pelican, Castleford – the UK agent for Yutong. (Flixbus).

FlixBus UK has announced the launch of its inaugural zero-emission long-distance coach service. It will introduce a battery-electric coach on a service between London, Bristol and Newport as part of a three-month pilot program in collaboration with Newport Transport. The Yutong TCe12, equipped with a battery capacity of 281kW/h giving an estimated range of 200 miles, will be fitted with 46 seats and offer passengers (the now standard) USB charging points, complimentary wi-fi, and an onboard toilet. Charging will take place at Newport Transport’s depot and in London. As part of the project, Transport UK London Bus (formerly Abellio) will allow use of its Battersea depot as a charging hub. The trial is due to initially run from March to June 2024.

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Above: The Yutong TCe12 being used on the Flixbus trial. (Flixbus).

Flixbus has also announced a significant expansion of its partnership with Mc Gill’s. (See below).

Godiva Travel of Coventry has added AOS Grand Toro midicoach GU73 PLO to its fleet, supplied by EVM. It is a 37-seater. The vehicle has a Cummins B4.5 engine mounted behind the front axle coupled to an Allison six-speed automatic gearbox. As a result of that driveline placement, a large boot is provided. Side lockers permit further luggage storage. EVM provides a two-year/200,000km warranty conversion on the model, which sits next to the larger and rear-engined Visigo in itsAOS-branded range.

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(Godiva Travel).

Hardhill Executive Travel of Bathgate has taken delivery of W13 HET, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 19 seat hi spec minicoach with Altas Tourline bodywork, supplied by EVM.

Harry Shaw has taken delivery of three Irizar i4 integral 70-seater coaches. They are for use on a home-to-college contract delivered from the Coventry operator’s satellite depot in Stoke-on-Trent.

Houston’s Coaches of Lockerbie: Has four new B8RLEs with MCV Evora bodywork. Three of the buses are 10.8m examples and one is a 12.1m variant. They are utilised on long-distance services 101, 101A and 102 between Dumfries and Edinburgh. The smaller of the buses each seat 39 and the larger model, 47.

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Above: Brand new 12.1 m Volvo B8RLE/MCV EvoRa SJ73 HVD in Edinburgh in December 2023. (Richard Walter).

InterChoice Limited, Sedgley: This West Midlands operator, which had been offering coach trips for a quarter of a century and won a best operator award at the 2018 Group Leisure and Travel Awards, entered liquidation in mid January 2024. Director John Evitt, said the business, which specialised in over-55s travel, was no longer trading, partly due to the impact of Covid-19, and clarified that the liquidation did not affect InterChoice Holidays, a related but separate company also based in Sedgley, near Dudley.

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Above: InterChoice Scania EB4/Irizar YN54 WDL. (InterChoice).

Lakeside Coaches, Ellesmere, Shropshire: Has new Enviro200 8.9m YX73OYN/O.

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(Lakeside Coaches).

Llew Jones, Llanwrst: Battery-electric buses entered service on the TrawsCymru network in North Wales during February 2024, after Transport for Wales (TfW) and Gwynedd Council confirmed that Llew Jones Coaches would use Yutong E12s CK73 ATF/N/U/V on new route T22 between Caernarfon and Blaenau Ffestiniog. They are the first zero-emission buses in Gwynedd. The T22 service runs every hour between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog, and every other hour to Caernarfon. TfW says that the contract award makes Llew Jones Coaches the first independent operator in Wales to deliver a zero-emission scheduled local bus service. The six E12s actually arrived during 2021 in a green-fronted livery. Most have been stored since then, although two are now used by Newport Bus on TrawsCymru route T7 between Bristol and Chepstow. These have gained the red-fronted livery applied toeight other Yutong E12s of First Cymruthat are used on route T1 between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen. By the way, start of the TrawsCymru T22 service was heavily delayed by infrastructure difficulties.

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Above: CE72 YDM is one of the new Yutong E12s for the T22. (TfW).


McGill’s Bus Group has announced it will significantly increase the scale of its partnership with FlixBus for 2024. Following an expansion in 2023 which saw more journeys and services across Scotland as well as increased cross-border services, the company says it is proud to expand again. It plans to invest £7.5m into the expansion, bringing more new coaches into its fleet. This will begin in spring 2024, ahead of the summer peak, and 19 new Yutong coaches, incorporating a bespoke FlixBus green interior design, will come into service, bringing the operator’s total FlixBus fleet to more than 40 vehicles.

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Above: ADL/Enviro 300 for the Bright Bus Airport Express, pictured at Edinburgh Airport. (McGill’s).

Bright Bus began its new Airport Express route from 1st January 2024. The Edinburgh Airport to city centre service runs up to every 10 minutes during the early morning peak and competes with the established Airlink 100 of Lothian Buses. The Airport Express route connects with Bright Bus Tours’ open-top departures in the Scottish capital and offers cheaper tickets than the competition, with an adult single at £4 and a return at £6.50. Lothian’s fares are £5.50 and £8 respectively on its Airlink 100 service. The Airport Express commences at 0330hrs seven days per week, with a 15-minute frequency during daytime hours. The competing Lothian Airlink 100 operates 24/7, with a broadly 10-minute daytime frequency. The buses for the Airport Express are ex Midland Bluebird ADL/Enviro 300s 8477/85/86/95 (SN62 AOA, AYJ, AOZ, ASZ) and ex Eastern Scottish 8478-81/83/84 (SN62 AOC, ANR/U, AXW, AYA/B).

McGill’s Group has expanded into the coach holiday market by launching Loch Lomond Travel. Pick-up locations in Scotland will include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, while Carlisle is the only one in England. Tours currently being offered include the North Coast 500, Lewis and Harris, In Search of the Northern Lights and The Greatest Railway Journey in the World on the Jacobite Train from Fort William to Mallaig. However, the business intends to expand throughout the UK. In addition to the 25 new vehicles, the operation will have access to the 100-plus coaches of McGill’s other subsidiaries.

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Above: Loch Lomond Yutong GT12. (Mc Gill’s).

McLeans Coaches: Ace Travel of Airdrie and its McLeans Coaches operation have a pair of new Irizar i6S Efficient integrals, M21 MCL, M22 MCL. Both coaches will be used on a contract held by Ace Travel to provide vehicles for Megabus services,

N N Cresswell Coach Hire, Evesham: has taken delivery of NM73 NNC, a Volvo B8R with Plaxton Panther bodywork.

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Above: NM73 NNC on depot when brand new in February 2024. (NN Cresswell).

North Essex Travel is a new operator with its registered office at Clacton. Initially, its operating centre was at Colchester, but then relocated to the Panther Travel depot at Parkeston. The fleet is Dart SLF/Caetano Compass KX03 PGZ and Volvo B10M/Van Hool V64 PSX. Private charters and rail replacement are the staple work.

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Above: KX03 PGZ on Greater Anglia rail replacement to/from Newbury Park at Ingatestone on 10/2/24. (John Podgorski).

Panther Travel, Parkeston: Plaxton Enterpise Primo SB07 PAN has been reinstated for use on a ferry foot passngers’ shuttle at Harwich International Port. This bus is one of very few Primos still active. Ex First Cymru ADL/Enviro 200 CU08 ADZ has been acquired and reregistered VB08 PAN. Sold are ADL/Enviro 200 AB10 PAN – to Turners, Great Barton; Volvo B7TL/ALX400 BIG 7758 (orig W758 DWX) – to Lawsons, Corby; unused spares only Volvo B12BT/Plaxton Panther SJ57 AAY to MC Tractors for scrap (also see Dealers and Breakers).

Peoples Bus, Aintree: A new livery of green/yellow has been introduced and applied to ADL/Enviro 400 LK60 AHC which is now V1 BUS. Acquired from Stagecoach are Trident/ALX400s WA04 FOD/F. From 22nd January 2024, service 686 serving St Edmund Arrowsmith school in Whiston, transferred from Stagecoach Merseyside to Peoplesbus.

Peter Carol Coaches, Bristol closed its doors at the end of 2023 after founders Peter and Carol Collis retired.

It follows 60 years in business for the company, which was known for its maroon coaches and a fleet in which the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo was latterly prominent. In a statement on the operator’s website, Mr and Mrs Collis noted that they have taken “a very late retirement” and thanked customers for many years of support.

Former General Manager Richard Stephens has moved on to found Chauffeur Elite. In recognising Mr Stephens’ pedigree, the Chauffeur Elite website notes that “the core values of Peter Carol live on” in his “dedication to quality, service and excellence.”

During the 1980s and 1990s Peter Carol operated several notable coaches. Among them was a Van Hool Astrobel-bodied DAF double-decker to a very high specification and with a reputed capacity of just 30 passengers.

Another was a Volvo B12BT with Jonckheere Monaco double-deck bodywork, new in 1994 as a 42-seater and christened the Ascot Suite. Various other lower-capacity, VIP-specification vehicles passed through the fleet.

Naming continued on later coaches, with the business at its closure holding a standard international O-Licence for six vehicles.

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Above: Peter Carol Coaches Yutong Tc9 BV19 SZL. (Peter Carol Coaches).

PTS Group (Wright’s), Hoveton: This Norfolk operator is back in business, having latterly been a travel agency/broker only. It was granted a new 5 vehicle O licence in December 2023. The previous one had been terminated in October 2021. During the interim, Scania Omnicity ‘deckers R70 PTS, Y70 PTS; Volvo B11RT/Plaxton Panorama Y25 PTS, Mercedes Tourino W25 PTS; Mercedes Tourismo X25 PTShad been on hire to Angies Tours, Lowestoft.

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Above: Mercedes Tourismo X25 PTS departs Colchester railway station on 27/1/24, on a Greater Anglia rail replacement journey to Ipswich. (David Arnold).

Ratho Coaches of Newbridge: has taken delivery of its first battery-electric coach, in the form of Yutong TCe12 SG73 TZE. It comes ahead of what the Central Belt operator hopes will be further zero-emission vehicles via the second tranche of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus challenge fund.

Redwing Coaches, Croydon & Gravesend: is to beone of thelaunch customersfor thenew Volvo B8R-based MCV eVoTor.The six new Volvos will join a 35-strong fleet of coaches.

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Above: Mercedes Tourismo BV19 YHH is in traditional Redwing livery, but with the REL logo added at the rear. Seen at Newbury Park on 10/2/24. (John Podgorski).

REL Davian, Rayleigh: The Edmonton, north London depot has been vacated, with operations now centred on the old APT premises at Rawreth near Rayleigh, Essex.

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Above: New liveried Scania EB6/Caetano Levante BV17 GPK at Ingatestone on 3/2/24. This is one of several ex De Courcey of Coventry/ex NX contract coaches operated. (David Arnold).

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Above: Mercedes Tourismo BN17 JBY retains the base colour of its previous operator, the now defunct Eclipse Travel of Royston (Hertfordshire). Pictured at Witham on 24/2/24. (John Podgorski).

Reptons Coaches of Bookham: has new Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMC 10.8m SL73 REP. It replaced Dart SLF/MAini Pointer SL52 REP, which reverted to its original KU52 RXX and sold.

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Roselyn, Par: This Cornish operator, which has been in business for over 90 years, including the last 60 in the ownership of the same family, has recently introduced a refreshed colour scheme of two tone green. This incorporates a revised style of fleet name and dark green “flashes”. The previous livery was allover light green, with a dark green fleet name, which featured “wings” on the ‘R’.

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Above: The new livery on VDL Bova 2804 RC. (Roselyn Coaches).

Shuttle Buses, Kilwinning: Is working with supplier VEV on the electrification of its bus fleet. Charging infrastructure using 100% renewable energy and the VEV-IQ smart charging platform are already installed, while solar panels and battery storage are set to follow. Employee-owned Shuttle Buses already operates an EVM e-Cityline battery-electric minibus andtwo Mellor Sigma 8 single-deckers. It also hasan Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV on orderas the first independent operator to purchase to that model.

Silver Fox Coaches of Renfrew has taken delivery of SF23 SFC, a 12.9m, 57-seat DAF powered Irizar i6 integral.

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(Silver Fox).

Simonds, Diss: New is Volvo B8RLE/MCV EvoRa 10.8 m BV73 MSO.

Southgate and Finchley Coaches, London N11: has taken delivery of its first PSVAR-compliant coach; a Plaxton Leopard bodied Volvo B8R registered YX73 NYE.

Stephensons of Essex: Has acquired ex Mistral Rentals short ADL/Enviro 200s 428/29 (YX17 NYX/Z), which arrived in plain white, and then getting fleet livery. ADL/Enviro 400 MMC demonstrator YY73 TGZ was on loan during February, having come from Ipswich Buses. It then went to Border Bus, Beccles, with Stephensons also loaning Galloway liveried Volvo B7TL/EL 704 (PO54 ACY) to them. Dart SLF/Mini Pointer 404 (EU03 CFY) went for scrap at the close of 2023. Of significance is that it was one of the first two buses bought brand new by Stephensons, back in 2003. It and its sister 403 (EU03 CFX) were originally used on the the 90 ‘Blackwater Link’ route between Maldon and Witham. Meanwhile, the last Dart active, SLF/MPD 407 (EU07 FRN), was withdrawn in February and subsequently sold via ebay.

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Above: 404 at Haverhill depot on 23/9/23. (John Podgorski).

Swans Travel, Chadderton has established its first operating centre outside North West England with the deployment of 10 coaches and buses onto a mixture of contract and private hire work in Cheltenham. Most of those undertake services for a government agency, with the remainder being used to establish a private hire portfolio in the area. Swans Travel is currently renting premises in Cheltenham, which were established in December 2023.

Thomas of Rhondda has taken delivery of YT73 JBV, a 14m tri-axle Irizar i6S integral 57 seat PSVAR compliant coach – pictured below in January 2024.

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(Irizar UK).

Thornes Independent of Hemingbrough, near Selby has taken delivery of of Volvo B8R/Plaxton Leopards BU73 AEC, TH73 AEC. Both are the shorter 12.2m length and PSVAR compliant. One carries 53 passengers, while the other is a 70-seater using a 3+2 layout. Delivery of the Leopards comes as Thornes celebrates its 75thanniversary in 2024.

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Timberbush Tours of Edinburgh has taken delivery of SK24 YNM/S – the first two of 16 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 517s with UNVI bodyworkand has diversified with the launch of a chauffeur-driven car service, Balmoral Executive Travel.Market demand has influenced the latter.

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Above: Mercedes Sprinter/UNVI SN19 KWB, one of the Timberbush minicoach fleet. (Timberbush).

Travel SOS Birmingham: has new Yutong TC9 TR24 SOS.

Travelsure, Belford: Following this Northumberland operator’s closure, its fleet has been offered for sale via Odyssey Coach Sales.

Tyrers Coaches, Chorley: Has its first Neoplan Tourliner. OY73 BJV is a 13.1m, two-axle P10 model supplied by MAN Truck and Bus UK.

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Above: OY73 BJV when newly delivered. (Armani Crompton).

Uno, Hatfield: The Northampton University services passed to Stagecoach from 11/3/24. These were the 18 between Waterside Campus andSixfields, 19 and 19A between Waterside and the Scholars Green halls of residence at Kingsthorpe and 21 between Rectory Farm and the town centre via Weston Favell. Uno had begun running in Northampton in 2012. Displaced Uno staff were offered new roles with Stagecoach.

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Above: Uno Optare Solo OS401 (YJ05 XNB) in Northampton on 5/4/14. The concrete barrier on the far left, blocks the entrance to the (then) recently closed Greyfriars Bus Station which was replaced by the nearby Bus Interchange. Route 21 links Rectory Farm with the town centre and was branded as the Lilac Line under Uno. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Uno Dart SLF/Pointer DP 119 (KE04 UMB) in Northampton on 7/9/13. Uno based its buses at the University of Northampton. (John Podgorski).

BYD K8SR battery electric double decker BYD1475 (LJ16 EZR) has been withdrawn to provide spare parts to its sisters.

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Above and below: One of the BYDs now with Uno, pictured when brand new with Metroline. BYD1472 (LJ16 EZN) at Russell Square, London WC on 20/5/16. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Vectare Mercedes Sprinter/EVM City 203 (RX20 RDV) at Basildon on 3/6/23. (John Podgorski).

Vectare launches ‘Bigger Business, Better Buses’ strategy: This business has seen rapid growth across a wide area, and plans to continue growing whilst maintaining a focus on service delivery, investment, recruitment and retention.

A five million pound investment and strategic staff appointments will underpin Vectare’s next phase of growth as it plans the next stage of its expansion. The fast-growing provider of mobility and transport technology solutions has launched its ‘Bigger Business – Better Buses’ strategy, setting out its plans for its next phase of growth.

The business was founded in Loughborough in 2016 by young entrepreneurs Dominic Kalantary and Peter Nathanail, and has grown to employ 200 staff and operate a fleet of 100 buses, coaches and minibuses. It works in partnership with 125 schools and 80 partner coach operators to deliver more than 600 daily home to school transport routes.

Vectare began operating buses in 2018, starting with a single minibus engaged in ad-hoc work. Growth came through some acquisitions, Gardners of Chelmsford, Galleon Travel/Central Connect in Essex, and most recently Flagfinders (also in Essex). Peter Nathanail, Commercial and Operations Director, explained where the business is headed next: “Having quickly reached the milestone of 100 vehicles, my team and I have worked very hard to develop a strategy that will support our transition from a small, independent operator into the medium sized regional operator that we are quickly becoming. We’re investing £5 million in brand new fleet in 2024 to improve the quality of journey we deliver to our customers, restructuring our management team to bolster our resource levels, and analysing every aspect of our customers’ journey with us to identify opportunities to make journeys more reliable, more consistent and more enjoyable.”

£3m of the announced investment will see Vectare add 15 8.9m ADL Enviro200 MMC single-deck service buses to a bespoke interior specification. These are due for delivery in May 2024. The remaining £2m will be spent on a combination of minibuses and single- and double-deck buses, with manufacturers and models not yet announced.

Vectare’s approach has been to operate bus services wherever it sees that a gap in the market, tendered or commercial, exists for it to do so. This has led to the operator’s vehicles ending up in a wide range of places, and, says the company, allows the business to punch above its weight in terms of geographical coverage. Vectare’s operations stretch from Derbyshire in the west to the east coast of England, encompassing 13 different local transport authority areas.

Peter is clear that there are no plans to shrink this patch or condense operations, but that a focus on increasing the concentration of network coverage is now coming. “In order to achieve growth, we’ve taken opportunities across a huge geographic area, setting up new depots and outstations as required,” he explained. “This is mainly because we’ve not wanted to engage in head to head commercial competition. We believe that it is wasteful, and does not lead to sustainable transport services for passengers. We will compete where we feel we can offer a genuinely better or more innovative service, but our main focus has been on identifying new opportunities to support business growth without being destructive towards the networks of older, more established operators. Now that our business has matured, we’re going to focus on developing networks in the areas where we already operate, by filling gaps and working closely with local authorities to introduce new services using Section 106, BSIP+ and de-minimis funding.”

The most recent development was the acqusition in mid February 2024, of a 75% share in Flagfinders Coaches; a mid Essex based bus and coach operator with three depots at Braintree, Halstead and Kelvedon.

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Above: Vectare is the contractor for the Chelmsford Park and Ride. ADL/Enviro 200 MMC 311 (YX22 OGW) at the Chelmer Valley P&R Interchange on 2/8/22. (John Podgorski).

Viscount Travel, Pickering: Is a new operator, reviving the identity used by the Peterborough part of Cambus back in the pre-Stagecoach early1990s era. It has ex Stagecoach Midlands MAN 18.240/Enviro 300 KX09 BHE, with its core woirk being rail replacement and other contracts.

Voel Coaches, Dyserth: This north Wales operator celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024.

Watermill Coaches, Fraserburgh: Has a new Yutong GT12, with distinctive cherished registration WC73 LLL.

West Coast Motors will introduce its 10 open-top Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliner battery-electric double-deckers to the City Sightseeing Glasgow operation over the coming spring and summer. The first of those12401 ( SV73 WHL), was delivered in February 2024 and subsequently r registered to E1 WCM. Their purchase has been supported by £2.4 million from the initial round of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus challenge fund. When all are in service, they will permit conversion of the operator’s year-round red route to zero-emission.

Whippet, Swavesey:

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Above: Volvo B8RLE/Wright WG108 (BT66 WVG), now displaced from Busway use by the new electric Mellor Sigmas; at Cambridge Drummer Street Bus Station on 24/2/24, working service 18 to St Neots. Note it has only been partially debranded, but the busway guidewheels have been removed. (John Podgorski).

Xelabus, Eastleigh: The Xelacoach division has added a pair of AOS Grand Toro midicoaches (GU73 PKA/B) to its fleet, which now numbers 11. They have been supplied under a long-term operating lease arrangement by Dawsongroup Bus and Coach, with EVM as the vehicle dealership. Each Grand Toro seats 35 and the operator says that they have “already proved perfect for small group travel, as well as newly awarded school contracts.” (Xelabus had previously ran coaches when it had Seaview Services of Ryde in its portfolio for a short period).

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Zeelo has purchased Kura, a specialist in home-to-school services and safeguarding software. This deal represents Zeelo’s first expansion by acquisition. Combined, the two companies will have over 220 corporate and education customers and more than 450 coach and bus operator partners that collectively transport 40,000 passengers daily.

Campaign to bar schools from using Section 19 permits accelerates:

A campaign to end the operation of minibuses by schools and colleges using Section 19 permits is gaining political backing after an Early Day Motion was tabled by Sarah Edwards MP in its support.. The Motion was put forward on 28/2/24and it recognised the 30thanniversary on 18th November 2023 of the M40 school minibus crash in which 12 children and a teacher died, when a Ford Transit crew bus (BNR 758Y) collided with the rear of a highways maintenance lorry and burst into flames. The circ*mstances of this tragedy were that on the afternoon of 17/11/93, Eleanor Fry—a 35-year-old teacher at Hagley Roman Catholic High School, Worcestershire drove a group of 12 and 13-year-old students to London to attend a concert at the Royal Albert Hall (a round trip of approx 250 miles). On the return journey, shortly after midnight, the minibus struck the back of a Bedford TL 12 tonne motorway maintenance truck parked on the hard shoulder of an unlit stretch of the M40 near junction 15 in Warwickshire. The truck’s hazard lights were flashing. The minibus was estimated to have been travelling at 73–84 miles per hour (117–135km/h) at the time of the collision. Only two of the minibus occupants survived, escaping with minor injuries after being rescued by the road maintenance crew. Pathological evidence later showed that Miss Fry “had been distracted, possibly by taking off or putting on her spectacles” immediately before the collision. It was suggested that the casualty toll was made worse by the fact that the minibus had a ‘crew bus’ layout of inward facing bench seats, with no seat belts, meaning the occupants were thrown into the front of the interior of the vehicle upon impact. This type of seating layout in minibuses has now been phased out.

Ms Edwards said that there “was still no legislation to ensure best practice in the use of school minibuses, and a repeat of that tragedy is a distinct possibility.” She called upon the government to ensure that all schools and colleges that use minibuses are required to hold an O-Licence, Ms Edwards also wants a common approach across state-funded and private educational establishments. This is backed by unions GMB, Unison and Unite, who with. NASUWT published ajoint guidance documenton the use of minibuses by schools and colleges. They collectively say that the Section 19 regime “is not fit for purpose” when utilised by those establishments.

Stressed in the guidance is how the unions “strongly advise members not to drive school or college minibuses,” and that such tasks “should not be part of a teacher’s or support staff member’s contractual duty unless there is an explicit requirement to do so within their contract of employment.” Driving of minibuses outside the UK by school and college staff should be refused “under all circ*mstances,” the document continues. Unions involved additionally advise their members in education to take advice from their respective representative body “immediately” should they be concerned about transporting pupils via any motor vehicle.

To accompany release of the guidance, NASUWT published figures that showed around 10% of its teacher members had driven a minibus in the last year. Of those, almost 25% said that they were sometimes pressurised to do so, and 12% said that they drove more than 50 miles after a full day of teaching “at least sometimes.” 26% said that they at least sometimes felt tired when driving a minibus.

NASUWT accepts that “much has been done” to improve the safety of school and college minibuses since the M40 tragedy, but it says that it is “deeply concerned” that the fundamental cause of that accident – a teacher driving when they should not have been, (ie without sufficient rest) – “remains unresolved.”

General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach added that some of the union’s members driving children in minibuses were not trained to do so (ie did not hold D1 minibus driving entitlement or had not received additional training if on “grandfather rights”) and that the overall situation “could not be allowed to continue.” Dr Roach wants “concerted action” by ministers to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

Thérèse Coffey MP (on 24th February 2024), told Parliamentthat she intended to deploy a “Brexit bonus” to allow holders of all category B car driving licences to once more receive automatic entitlement to drive minibuses under category D1, and small goods vehicles via category C1. Such entitlement currently only applies to those who passed a category B test before 1997. Ms Coffey said that her step would “support rural communities and… unlock economic growth opportunities,” with particular relevance to community transport operators.

The guidance issued by the four unions on minibus use by schools and colleges notes that D1 entitlement should be a minimum requirement to drive a minibus and that a category B car licence is “insufficient in all circ*mstances.”

(The issue here is the Section 19 permits are intended for use by “social, charitable and non profit organisations”. These are essentially community transport operations, whose work is local in nature. Those involved in driving community minibuses are solely engaged in that task. However, some bodies see Section 19 as being a “legal way to by-pass the bereaucracies of O licencing”. Section 19 does not come under the regulations on things like drivers hours, which O licensing does. The Guidance effectively states that school minibuses should only be driven by a suitably licensed person, ie a professional pcv driver, who is employed specifically for that role. Regarding the M40 tragedy, if an O licence holder had been involved, then they would have been prosecuted (for something like Manslaughter by Gross Negligence) and had their O licence revoked. – Ed).


FoKAB given cash boost by amateur dramatics society:

Amateur dramatics society theWorthy Playershas presented a£500 chequeto theFriends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) after that charity suffered a disastrous fire in December 2023. Members of the Worthy Players joined FoKAB for a cheque presentation ceremony in Winchester Broadway, with the Players later being treated to a ride on a 1929 Leyland Lion. The theatre group makes a charity donation each year and has a close connection with FoKAB.

Eight historic buses and coaches were destroyed inthe blaze in an industrial unit near Andover. Among them was a 1950 Leyland Olympic belonging to FoKAB* and a double-decker owned by FoKAB member Richard Aldous who is also in the Worthy Players. Richard had spent 15 years restoring his bus to its former glory. Both organisations celebrated milestone anniversaries last year. The Worthy Players was marking its 50th birthday while it was 50 years since the last King Alfred bus made its journey through the city.

FoKAB’s Original King Alfred Running Day will take place this year on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May 2024, with more than a dozen traditional King Alfred buses, supported by up to 25 historic visiting buses and coaches giving free rides around thecity.

*It is hoped that the Olympic could be rebuilt with a reproduction body, as the chassis and running units escaped significant damage.

Keighley Bus Museum now has a secure future:

After years facing an uncertain future, and at one point even being served an eviction notice, the Keighley Bus Museum Trust (KBMT) has finally been able to buy its premises.

This means that the 130 vehicles kept at the West Yorkshire museum, of which around 100 are coaches and buses, have a secure home. Cars and commercial vehicles are also part of the collection.

In 2022 an eviction notice was served on the museum, but thankfully things changed: “After discussions and changes on the museum board, the landlord, Steve Greenwood, really supported us and we’d like to thank him,”the KBMT said.

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Above: Officially Bradford’s last trolleybus in March 1972, FWX 914, a 1948 Sunbeam F4 rebodied by East Lancs in 1962, is among Keighley the museum’s exhibits. (KBMT).

Work begins on £6.25m revamp project of former bus garage site in Colchester:

Work officially started on 9th January 2024 to turn a derelict former bus garage site into a £6.25million digital workspace in Colchester.

The former Eastern National latterly First Essex bus depot at 43 Queen Street had remained vacant since August 2015 after First Bus relocated to Quayside,with the building being demolished in January 2023.

The new Digital Working Hub will serve as a collaborative space for digital artists, entrepreneurs, and tech creatives in the area and is expected to be completed early in 2025.

The four-storey, 1,200 square metrebuilding is designed to echo the aesthetics of the Theatre Royal, a staple of early 1900s Colchester, which was replaced by the bus garage.

Colchester Council, along with government grants and investments from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funded the project.

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Above: Concept image of the new digital hub building.(Image: inkpendownie.co.uk).

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Above: The Theatre Royal. The Bus Fayre editor’s great great grandfather, Henry Nunn, part owned this theatre. (via Colchester Gazette).

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Above: The building site on 7/1/24: This is the rear of the former bus depot. (John Podgorski).

The former First Essex bus depot in Harwich has gone up for sale. The building, on Station Approach and adjacent to the bus station and railway station, had stood vacant afterFirst closed the site in June 2014.It has now gone up for sale for £400,000 withlocal estate agents Whybrow & Dodds Ltd. The listing says the site would be suitable for a “range of uses” and boasts17m wide loading doors and an office along with a forecourt and side yard.Back in 2016, Harwich Town Brewing Company had applied to covert the old building into a brewing space, pub and off-license.but this never materialised. Harwich had been opened by Eastern National in 1972 and replaced the previous garage on Kingsway, Dovercourt, which was converted into a public library – a role which it fulfills to this day. Harwich inherited the ‘DT’ depot code.

M62 coach bombing: Hundreds of people attend 50th anniversary memorial service at Hartshead Moor services.

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Above: The memorial in Oldham. (Kieron Oldham-Wikipedia).

Families, friends and comrades of the victims met for a service to remember the victims. Twelve people died in February 1974 when a coach carrying Army personnel and their families was blown up by the IRA on the M62 motorway. Nine were soldiers. A soldier’s wife and their two children also died. The event is remembered every year by the regiments and the families involved.

To mark the 50th anniversary, there was an extended parade, special memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony at Hartshead Moor Services (Westbound), in the memorial garden. The service was conducted by Terry Brewis of the Royal British Legion Spenborough branch.

The bombed coach had been specially commissioned to carry British Army and Royal Air Force personnel—on weekend leave with their families—to and from the bases atCatterickandDarlingtonduring a period of railway strike action.The vehicle itself, a Plaxton Panorama bodied Bedford VAM had departed fromManchester in the late evening of Sunday 3rd February 1974 and was travelling at approximately 60mph along the M62 motorway en route to Catterick Garrison.Shortly after midnight, as most of those aboard were sleeping and when the coach was between junctions 26 and 27 on the M62, the bomb—concealed within a package inside the coach’s rear luggage compartment—exploded.

The explosion destroyed the back of the coach, trapping several casualties within the debris. The coach travelled for more than 200 yards before the driver, 39-year-old Roland Handley (himself injured by flying glass), was able to steer onto the hard shoulder.

The M62 coach bomb has been described as “one of the IRA’s worstmainlandterror attacks” and remains one of the deadliest mainland acts ofthe Troubles. 25-year-old Judith Wardwas later convicted of the bombing, and sentenced to life imprisonment. She was released after 17 years on the grounds of a wrongful conviction. The actual perpetrator or perpetrators of the M62 coach bombing were never arrested or convicted.

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Above: The wreckage of the bombed coach. (Via Rochdale On Line).

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Above: The memorial at Hartshead Moor. (2 Lines of K303 – Wikipedia).


Metrolink, Manchester:

It was announced in February 2024 that more than £20m will be invested to improve the Metrolink network over the next 12 months, to ensure services remain safe and reliable for years to come.The UK’s largest light rail network has 99 stops across 64 miles of track – more than 700 million journeys have been made on the trams since opening in 1992.

The £21.4m funding is from the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS). It was approved by the Bee Network committee on 22/2/24, and is part of a planned £147m package to maintain, upgrade and improve the network up to 2027.

Immediate priorities for summer 2024 include track replacement in several parts of the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens and London Road, and on parts of the Altrincham and Bury Lines. This will mean quicker and smoother journeys.Plans also include a programme of modifications to the Bombardier M5000 trams themselves, installing state-of-the art systems to keep passengers safe. These include sensors in the middle of double tram consists (2 single M5000s working in multiple) and speed warning devices.New electrical substations are being added along parts of the Bury Line, providing additional power feeds, so that more double tram combinations can run along there in the future.

Metrolink is also replacing much of the communications network critical to the operation of its signalling and control systems.Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is also looking into the replacement of overhead lines on some of the older parts of the network such as the Bury Line, which caused several prolonged disruptions in 2023.

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Above: Metrolink Bombardier M5000 single tram 3008 at Media City. (TfGM).

Nottingham Express Transit (NET): Alsthom Ciadis tram 222 has been named ‘Mary Earps’, a famous woman footballer who was born in Nottingham. 222 has carried the names of other Nottingham figures in the past.

Sheffield Supertram: While it remains to be seen whether the Supertram in Sheffield coming back under public control will prove to be a good “deal” for taxpayers, it does present the opportunity to invest in the network.

The 29km network has not made a profit since 2019, due to a significant drop in passenger numbers, and millions of pounds of funding is needed to upgrade the tracks, trams and other infrastructure.

Stagecoach, which has run the light rail network since 1997, handed over control to a company set up and owned by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) in March 2024.

Undoubtedly it is going to be a long journey to turn around the Supertram with the new company, South Yorkshire Future Trams Limited (SYFTL), predicting £6.3m loss in 2024/25.

However, financial pressures are expected to ease in the coming years as energy prices, which represent 20 per cent of total costs, fall and ticket sales increase.

Tramlink Croydon:

Transport for London confirmed at the end of December 2023 that it is to replace its oldest trams, with procurement to begin in 2024. The Croydon Tramlink network opened in 2000, and the original fleet of 24 Bomardier-built trams have already passed their expected service life period,with increasingly frequent withdrawals of vehicles for urgent repairs and upgrades.

(Of the original 24 Bombardier CR4000 trams that came into service 23 years ago, two are not in operation. This includes 2551, the tram involved in the Sandilands derailment in November 2016, when seven passengers died).

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Above: CR4000 2549 at Mitcham Junction on 13/1/24. (John Podgorski).

Tyne & Wear Metro: New Stadler Class 555s are arriving to replace the original Metrocars.

West Midlands Metro:

It looks like the end of the line for West Midlands Metro tram conductors – who will be given new roles, to make way for a proposed public transport card ‘tap and go’ scheme.

No starting date has yet been announced for the £18 million integrated system which is proposed to see Metro, bus and train passengers use contactless cards to pay fares, similar to London’s Oyster, introduced.

Tram operator Midland Metro Alliance and system owner Transport for West Midlands said the changes were part of the work under way to improve the network including phase one of the Wednesbury to Brierly Hill tram extension (which is underway) and the Dudley Interchange scheme. Customers would be updated ahead of any changes coming into force.

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Above: CAF Urbos 3 no34 approaches St Chads, Birmingham on 6/8/16. (John Podgorski).

Abellio (now Transport UK) Rail: (Merseyrail): The very last Class 508 EMU was withdrawn on 16/1/24. The remaining Class 507 EMUs are due to be retired in late spring 2024.

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Above: 508126 at Ellesmere Port in January 2013. (John Podgorski).

Arriva Rail London: The London Overground is being rebranded and divided into six lines with their own names and colours. The six lines will be renamed Liberty, Lioness, Mildmay, Suffragette, Weaver, and Windrush .

The Liberty line, covering the Romford and Upminster branch, recognises how the Havering Borough historically had more self-governance through a royal liberty.

Lioness – between Euston and Watford Junction – is in tribute to the success of England’s women footballers.

Mildmay references a Shoreditch hospital that treats patients with HIV-related illnesses and will cover the Stratford and Richmond/Clapham Junction stretch.

The Suffragette line – between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside – is in tribute to suffragette Annie Huggett, who lived in the area.

The Weaver line – in east London and Essex – references links to the textile trade.

Windrushhonours the generation who arrived from the Caribbean and will be the new name for the Highbury & Islington and south London section.

“Giving each of the Overground lines distinct colours and identities will make it simpler and easier for passengers to get around,” said Mayor of London Mr Khan.

Six thousand station direction signs and tannoy announcements will need replacing, as well as thousands of new Tube maps. The changes are estimated to cost £6.3m. The rebranding will take place in autumn 2024. (which leaves the question: how strapped for cash actually is TfL ? -Ed).

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Above: London Overground Bombardier Aventra 710110 at London Liverpool Street on 17/2/24. (John Podgorski).

Glasgow Subway: The first of the new Stadler 4 car EMUs entered revenue service on 11/12/24. They are numbered 301-317 and are replacing the 1980 vintage trains.



Around 400 workers at the Alexander Dennis bus manufacturing plant at Falkirk started a two-week period of strike action on Monday 22/1/24. Unite said its members, which include coach builders and spray painters, had rejected the latest pay offer from management.

It is the second time workers have taken industrial action in this dispute, following a two-week-long strike in December. Union officials said the pay offer of 4.5% for 2023 and and 4% 2024 failed to meet workers’ demands. During December’s strike, Alexander Dennis Ltd said it was “extremely disappointed” at the decision to down tools. It also said at the time: “Our latest offer would take the hourly rate of a vehicle builder to £19.04 by April 2024, considerably higher than our primary domestic competitor, reflecting the high regard we have for the skills of our workforce. “Despite the challenges that the bus manufacturing industry continues to navigate, we have invested heavily in upgraded facilities and new products that will underpin our long-term future. “However, we also must recognise that we operate in a highly commercial environment with ongoing competitive pressure from manufacturers in lower-security economies.

At a time when there has been lots of focus on electric bus fires, in March 2024, around 105 Alexander Dennis Enviro200 and Enviro400 buses were affected by a recall concerning low-voltage systems which form part of the heating and air-conditioning system. The recall notice issued by the DVSA stated that ‘the low voltage harness connector of the control module may experience fatigue if subjected to excessive mating cycles leading to a localised thermal incident.’ However, ADL stressed that no link had been found between the recent fires in London, and that the main high-voltage traction systems were not affected.

A spokesperson for Alexander Dennis told national media: “Following an incident earlier this year, Alexander Dennis, BYD and other relevant parties have identified that there is a potential issue relating to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for some BYD-Alexander Dennis electric buses.

”The investigation is still ongoing and the root cause has not yet been identified. As the safety of our customers’ team members, bus drivers and passengers is of the utmost importance to us, a safety bulletin has been issued to all affected operators with temporary precautionary measures to ensure the highest levels of safety are met. “Further updates will be provided to operators on conclusion of the investigation by Alexander Dennis, BYD and impacted suppliers, in consultation with the DVSA, when we expect to provide a permanent fix to resolve the issue. As far as is currently known, the issue does not directly affect core driveline components such as electric motors or traction batteries. Neither is there currently any suggestion that the issue is linked to other bus fires that recently received media attention as these involved different vehicle types and technologies.’

Arrival UK Ltd and Arrival Automotive UK Ltd: In mid February 2024, announced the appointment of administrators, who explored options for the sale of the business and assets of these two companies, including the electric vehicle platform, software, intellectual property and R&D assets, for the benefit of creditors. The move followed a notification of trading suspension and delisting from the USA based NASDAQ stock market from 30th January 2024.This affected only the UK division of Arrival, with its other subsidaries, (in Germany, Israel, Russia and the Netherlands) trading as normal.

Arrivalis an electric vehiclemanufacturer, with its HQ in Luxembourg. In June 2020, Arrival had announced a new passenger bus designed for coronavirus-era social distancing. Arrival claimed that their electric vehicles are the first EVs that cost the same as petrol and diesel equivalents.

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Above: Arrival’s passenger bus. Pictured at their UK Bicester facility. (Richard Sharman).

New ioki Route designed to ease rail replacement and bus routes:

ioki, a tech company specialising in digital public transport, is launching a product designed tosimplify the navigationand route management ofbuses and rail replacementservices.

Using the new ioki Route software, the company is focussing on reducing accidents and driving the wrong-way. Measures can be implemented on an ad-hoc basis, as is often necessary in rail replacement services. It has also been developed with personnel driving on unknown routes in mind.

ioki Route incorporates an app for drivers and a separate control-centre system. Initially only developed for the German market, the software is set to be rolled out across Europe during 2024.

The system should provide precise route navigation and route adjustments in real time, the aim being to simplify training and ensure increased safety for drivers on new routes. In addition, ioki Route helps to avoid low bridge collisions.

The ioki Route app currently runs on all commercially available Android smartphones and is based on familiar navigation apps. The software has been designed to ensure that routes can be created and changed quickly and seamlessly.

(Looks like a very useful tool – Ed).

Wrightbus: A batch of left hand drive Wrightbus Kite Hydroliner buses for Cologne operator RVK is close to completion, with images (below) of the buses on the finishing lines at the Ballymena factory. With a claimed ‘best-In-Industry’ range of 1.030km, the buses feature a flat floor throughout and are compliant with Germany’s VDV standards.

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Pelican Bus and Coach unveiled the long-anticipated Yutong GTe14 battery-electric tri-axle coach on 28th February 2024. The dealership said that the GTe14 opened further parts of the coach market to zero-emission, with discussions already underway with several potential buyers.

The GTe14 is 13.97m long and seats a maximum of 61. Pelican said that its introduction followed industry feedback calling for a larger zero-emission coach than the established two-axle TCe12, with capacity for more passengers and luggage and an extended range.

The GTe14 is powered by a 140kW charger. It incorporates battery packs with a capacity of 563kWh, designed to offer an estimated range of 250-300 miles.



De Lijn choses BYD for latest e-bus order:

Flemish operator De Lijn has ordered 92 12-metre electric buses from BYD Europe in an order worth over €43m.Manufactured in Komarom, Hungary, these electric buses will be delivered from early 2025 onwards.


Transdev marks success in world’s largest ski area:

Transdev Savoie has been chosen by the town of Les Allues to operate Méribel area shuttles under a four-year contract, strengthening the operator’s presence in the Tarentaise region and making it the mobility operator for the world’s largest ski area, known as the 3 Valleys, with its 3 international resorts of Courchevel and Les Belleville (Val Thorens / Les Menuires), where Transdev already has contracts to run services, as well as Méribel.

Skibus services operate daily, providing free connections to all key points in the resorts via several routes. Transdev has enhanced its fleet in Méribel with 12 new or refurbished buses, manned by a team of 28 dedicated drivers and four dispatchers.

“This new challenge is part of a strong commitment to investing in human capital throughout the region, with the current recruitment of 80 seasonal drivers in the three valleys, benefiting from housing and attractive remuneration conditions,” the operator said.


10,000th Setra leaves Neu Ulm factory:

Unser Roter Bus, based in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, has acquired the 10,000th Setra ComfortClass/TopClass 500 series coach produced at its plant in Neu-Ulm, a facelifted S 516 HD. Equipped with 48 seats, the 13.1 m long, three-axle vehicle has the latest driver and safety assistance systems on board.

London-themed Citaro joins Spillmann fleet:

The latest four Mercedes Citaro hybrid buses to emerge from the company’s ‘creative workshop’ consist of three which have themed variations on a base silver livery, plus one which takes the theme to the next level. Having previously used an American school bus theme, this time the operator, based in Bietigheim-Bissingen, has chosen a London double-decker as the inspiration.

Head of Public Transport Sales at Daimler Buses Germany Rüdiger Kappel handed over the latest four purchases to Spillman Managing Director Bülent Menekse, who is the creative mind behind the designs, which are designed to surprise passengers and enhance the image of bus travel.

Potsdam selects Ebusco to decarbonise buses:

Ebusco has signed a contract with Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam (ViP) for 10 Ebusco 3.0 12-metre buses, and 13 Ebusco 3.0 18-metre articulated buses.

The 12-metre, three-door buses will be powered by a battery pack of over 350kWh, and the 18-metre buses will be equipped with four doors and a battery pack offering over 500kWh. Unusually, each bus will be equipped with a pantograph, setting them apart from any other Ebusco 3.0 produced to date. The buses are scheduled to commence service in 2025 and will operate in the Potsdam area, to the south-west of Berlin.

Wrightbus to supply 28 Kite Hydroliners to Saarbahn in Germany:

Wrightbus will supply 28 Kite Hydroliner hydrogen fuel cell-electric single-decker buses to Saarbahn in the Saarland region of Germany. The order represents further success for the manufacturer in the German market and it has been placed following what the customer describes as “a Europe-wide tender.”

Five of the buses will be delivered this year, Saarbahn has said. A tender process for a hydrogen filling station has also been completed and it will be “built parallel to the delivery of the buses.” Around €5 million is being invested in fuelling infrastructure by the operator.


FlixBus enters India as company’s 43rd country served:

FlixBus extended its reach to a 43rdcountry on 6th February 2024 when it launched a network in India. That provision captured an initial 46 cities, using Delhi as a central hub.

Five coach operators in Delhi have formed partnerships with FlixBus to deliver services on its behalf. Flixbus says that it expects further growth in India later and notes that the country represents the world’s second-largest intercity coach market, with an estimated value of €30 billion per annum.

No FlixBus coach will be over three years old in India and there will be a strong focus on road safety in the delivery of its services there. That will see the deployment of a 24/7 traffic control and response team, driver training, and numerous on-vehicle safety features.

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Above: A Volvo 9600 coach posed in FlixBus livery, ahead of the launch. This model is specifically for the Indian market. FlixBus services in the country will utilise coaches fitted with sleeper and “semi-sleeper” seats. (Flixbus).


Major Rome order for Iveco:

Iveco Bus has won another contract in Italy, this time for 411 E-Way buses for operator ATAC Rome. The order will give Rome’s public transport company the largest fleet of Iveco electric buses in the country. The delivery of the first batch of 110 e-buses is expected to start in the last quarter of 2024, with all buses delivered by April 2026. The order includes both 12m and 18m long vehicles, which will be equipped with NMC battery technology with a single-unit capacity of 69.3kWh.

Record Trollino order for Solaris:

Operator AMT Genova has placed a record order with Solaris for the delivery of a total of 112 18-metre Trollino trolleybuses as part of a contract worth over €100 million.

In addition to traditional electric propulsion, the trolleybuses for Genoa will also be equipped with traction batteries, which will be charged from the overhead wires using In-Motion Charging (IMC) technology and allow them to cover short distances without the need to connect to overhead traction system.

Genoa is currently taking steps to improve its public transport infrastructure, including the construction of a new trolleybus route, as part of a broader plan by the operator to transition to a fully electric urban fleet by 2025.


First MCV Volvo 7900s head to Luxembourg:

Luxembourg operator Demy Schandeler has ordered 15 Volvo 7900 Electric buses to operate on inter-city and regional routes. The order will be the first for Volvo electric buses with its 7900 Electric bodies built by Egyptian manufacturer MCV. The buses set to be delivered in spring 2025. The 12-metre buses will feature a 470kWh battery configuration.


Irizar i8 Efficient coach makes global debut in Mexico:

The Irizar i8 Efficient coach has made its global debut in Mexico. The manufacturer says that the vehicle – a development of its established range-topping i8 – will deliver a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of more than 8%. That uplift in efficiency has been enabled by a combination of a 550kg weight reduction and a drag coefficient that has improved by 25%. Design changes to reduce drag include work to the front, rear and roof of the i8 Efficient, along with to windscreen curvature. An image of the coach shows what looks to be a slightly more bulbous aspect to the lower front panel, but with the distinctive i8 appearance retained.


Van Hool supplies 112 battery buses to Qbuzz:

Van Hool has signed a contract with operator Qbuzz for the supply of 112 battery-electric A13LE E and A15LE E buses, made up of 56 45-seat 13m A13LE 56 51-seat 15m A15LE examples. The buses will be used by Qbuzz on its services run under the South Holland North (ZHN) concession in the Netherlands from 15th December 2024. The order, the largest yet for the Van Hool A-series city bus, comes less than a year after an earlier order of 54 by the operator, and will be used on high-quality routes.

The buses are powered by a 310kW motor, supplied by 578kWh LFP type batteries. In cold weather, the buses are automatically preheated prior to the first journey. The bus has a sound system (AVAS), so that pedestrians can hear a slow-moving and otherwise silent electric bus approaching.

The extra-long vehicles have upgraded seats with individually switchable seat heating, extra legroom so a laptop can be fully opened on the large, extendible folding tables with cup holder. The headrests have mobile phone holders with induction chargers, and USB connections are also fitted, as is free WiFi.

The driver benefits from a swiveling and automatically adjustable seat with two armrests and a three-point seatbelt, as well as a climate package for cooling and heating the seat. Cameras with wide-angle lenses replace exterior mirrors, and a driver assistance system (ADAS) with acoustic and visual signals supports the driver. The buses have a laminated and green-tinted windscreen with heating and an electrically adjustable opaque, wide sun blind, and the interior lighting is switched in four separate zones to prevent reflection in the windscreen.


Electric buses boost Transdev AveiroBus fleet:

Transdev has invested €4.5 million to reinforce its AveiroBus fleet of electric buses in the town of Aveiro with an additional 10 vehicles, which entered service from 23rd November 2023, allowing the operator to reduce its carbon footprint to around 383 tons/year.

The investment includes new charging infrastructure consisting of five double chargers; thermal cameras were also installed to detect possible initial fires, and barriers were created to prevent the spread of flames in an emergency.

The buses have sufficient battery capacity to allow them to operate for a full day and be recharged during off-peak hours, minimising costs and the load on the electrical grid. The buses also come equipped with a blind spot detection system, which promises to significantly reduce the risk of accidents on urban roads. The delivery is a strategic moment for the Municipality of Aveiro and its public transport network, which in 2018 received the first three electric buses and now has a fleet of 14 vehicles with zero CO2 emissions. CMA has made several investments in terms of sustainable mobility, namely with the new 100% Portuguese electric ferryboat, which will connect São Jacinto, in Aveiro, and Fort da Barra, in Ílhavo, and which is currently undergoing testing.


Senegal success for Iveco:

Following on from a contract signed in May, Iveco Bus has delivered the first batches of an order for 370 Crossway buses to modernise transport in the Dakar metropolitan area. The remaining vehicles are expected to be delivered by February. Iveco says the Crossway is ideally suited to operator Dakar Dem Dikk’s vision to provide a modern and efficient public transport service.

The buses supplied to Dakar will include examples of the Crossway and Crossway LE low entry models, and will be powered by Iveco’s 310-hp Cursor 8 Euro III engine. The high-floor Crossways will offer 55 seats while the low-entry LE version accommodates 34 seated and 72 standing passengers, and includes wheelchair ramps.


Alsa takes over Geneva services:

Spanish mobility company Alsa, part of the Mobico (formerly National Express) Group, has begun a contract to operate six new routes in Geneva with a fleet of electric vehicles, becoming Transports Publics Genevois’ first urban operator that uses zero-emission buses. The new services, awarded to Alsa last year, saw the business invest in 22 new electric vehicles and four reserve hybrid buses, and new facilities in Satigny, equipped with sufficient recharging infrastructure for the new electric fleet and for future growth.

Alsa began operating in Geneva city in 2018 with two routes, and with the addition of the new services has grown to provide travel for more than 3 million passengers per year, using a fleet of 200 vehicles and more than 300 employees.

The business has created a mobility hub with a diversified portfolio of services; in addition to urban public transport, it operates Alpine transfers, school transport, tourist services and discretionary services as well as international routes from Switzerland to Spain and other European countries.


NY signs biggest ever contract for Prevost:

American coach and bus manufacturer Prevost, a Volvo Group subsidiary, has announced the largest contract in its history thanks to a major order from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York State. The MTA has awarded Prevost a contract to manufacture up to 381 coaches, including a firm order for 250 to be delivered between 2025 and 2026, as well as options to purchase an additional 131.

Sound Transit orders 33 Alexander Dennis Enviro500EVs:

Alexander Dennis has taken an order from Washington State transport agency Sound Transit for 33 examples of its latest-generation Enviro500EV battery-electric double-decker. The agreement represents a first order for that vehicle type in the United States, although a handful of previous-generation Enviro500EV models were sold there.

The Sound Transit examples will be delivered in 2026. They will be used on two new Stride bus rapid transit routes that are being developed along the Interstate 405 corridor to the east of Seattle to connect communities and light railway stations. Assembly will be in Nevada by Big Rig Manufacturing, which is Alexander Dennis’spartner for Enviro 500 production in North Amnerica. Notably, the buses will be equipped with wireless, inductive on-route charging supplied by Pennsylvania company InductEV. That will enhance range and operational performance and be a first for double-decker buses in North America.

Sound Transit was an early adopter of double-decker buses in the United States. It currently operates 50 diesel-powered Enviro500s on express routes in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Alexander Dennis takes 12 Enviro500EV order from Foothill Transit:

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Alexander Dennis has taken a further order for the battery-electric Enviro500EV tri-axle double-decker in the United States, with California agency Foothill Transit returning for 12 more of the type.

The new examples will be used to upgrade Foothill Transit’s Silver Streak bus rapid transit (BRT) route between downtown Los Angeles and cities in the San Gabriel Valley. They will enter service in 2026. That route uses the El Monte Busway and operates 24/7, currently with articulated vehicles.

Foothill Transit has already purchased zero-emission buses from Alexander Dennis sister company New Flyer, including 33 hydrogen fuel cell-electric examples.


Bedsit life 1971-1975 or (The Good, the bad and the Unusual): words and pictures by Roger Pope.

This episode in my life begins in July 1971 and changes in August 1975. Malcolm and I decided to rent a bedsit each and share a small kitchen as part of a household in Livingstone Road, off Birchfield Road in Perry Barr, to the north of Birmingham.

Our first challenge was to decide on the best way to reach our respective schools. I had two options-Outer Circle and service 67, or bus into city (33, 51,107 and 118 routes) and then 67 or 967 out to Castle Vale. Eventually, the latter won.

Having just looked through the hundreds of pictures I took during this period, I think the best way of dealing with my bus spotting and travelling activities over this period is to divide it up into trips, usually undertaken with Malcolm and perhaps Neil; holidays; goings on with United Counties at my home town of Bedford; and the bad and unusual sights that I came across.

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Above: United Counties ex Birch Leyland Leopard 239 (92 FXD) at Bedford on 10/4/1974.

Most holidays during this time I spent time with my parents in Bedford. Up to 1973 I worked for Bedford Borough Council doing a variety of activities. From 1974 I undertook work for an organisation called Council for Colony Holidays for School Children where I was a leader for small groups of boys at holiday centres for up to nine days at a time.

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Above: United Counties ex Red & White Bristol LD 921 (LAX 625) in Luton on 9/4/1972.

United Counties was having difficulties of varying sorts, but was acquiring second hand buses and hiring buses from several companies, to help with a shortage of serviceable vehicles thanks to the acquisition of the poorly maintained Luton Corporation fleet that UCOC acquired in 1970. This, of course, kept me busy with my camera. Court Line Coaches’ bus services and a few Ford coaches were taken over in 1974, and I was able to travel to Luton and Hemel Hempstead to view them. Holidays were arranged each year, often with buses in mind. 1971 saw the three of us touring South Wales.

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Above: United Counties ex Courtline Ford R226/Plaxton Panorama Elite 196 (LXD 424K) in Dunstable on 23/7/1975. (The Bus Fayre editor remembers seeing these in Colchester on summer extras at that time).

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Above: The Northern General ‘Wearsider’ Routemaster OPO conversion at Philidelphia garage on 14/8/1973.

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Above: Morecambe & Heysham AEC Regent 61 (KTF 590) on the seafront at Morecambe on 17/8/1973.

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Above: Standerwick Bristol VRL 52 (LRN 52J) at Preston on 19/8/1973.

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Above: Stevensons of Uttoxeter former Sheffield Corporation Leyland Leopard L1 6307 W at Burton on Trent on 27/10/1973.

1972 saw the three of us again travelling by car round East Anglia, the East Midlands and places further north. In 1973 our friend Neil departed the scene in order to get married, and Malcolm and I spent a week in the north of England, travelling the North East’s buses based in Durham and then we crossed the Pennines to travel the North West’s buses based at Lancaster and Preston. This holiday was spent travelling homewards on a Standerwick double deck coach. 1974 saw us taking short stays at different places, but my main holiday with friends was to the Isle of Man where we stayed in a hotel on the Douglas seafront. I thoroughly enjoyed all there was to see on the island, and hoped it would be repeated in later years.

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Above: Douglas Corporation AEC Regent 62 (JMN 726) in its home town on 13/8/1974.

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Above: Isle of Man Road Services Leyland Tiger Cub 88 at the Sound on 17/8/1974.

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Above: Blackpool OMO tram no 6 at The Tower on 25/8/1974.

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Above: Silcox of Pembroke Dock former Bristol Omnibus Bristol LS XHW 422 pictured here on 25/5/1975.

The following year was the last of bedsit land and it was a year of lots of relatively short stays in places such as Fairbourne in Wales, or Blackpool. I made a new, sadly short-lived friend, from Bedford and we took many a trip in his VW Beetle to spot buses. It was also the year in which I made a visit over the English Channel to the Rhur district of Germany. This was a two day trip where the only sleep I got was on a coach!

During 1974 and 1975, as well as the next two years, I was still doing CCHS work, but it was the goings on with WMPTE that interested me most! The former fleets operated by Birmingham CT, Walsall CT, West Bromwich CT, Wolverhampton CT, Coventry CY and the west midland area of Midland Red, were vastly different, and the PTE was in need of new vehicles to help standardise its operations.

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Above: Ex Wolverhampton Guy Arab 51N (4051 JW) at Willenhall on 20/11/72.

As the PTE’s new vehicles were beginning to appear, the better maintained older vehicles from Birmingham, Coventry and West Bromwich were being sent out to the former Midland Red depots at Harts Hill, Dudley, Sutton Coldfield, Stourbridge and Oldbury, where the BMMO vehicles were falling fowl of spare parts and consequent early withdrawal.

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Above: BMMO S10 5725 at Stourbridge on 12/1/1974.

My outings round the west midlands were generally round trips often taking in the ex-BMMO depots at Stourbridge and Dudley. Sadly, my notebook doesn’t detail it, but on one of my trips in early 1974 I was travelling from Stourbridge to Dudley on service 245.

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Above: Guy Arab 3227 at Dudley on 18/5/1974.

The bus I boarded, excitedly, was an ex-Birmingham CT Daimler CVG6. Clearly, former BMMO drivers were not given any training with regard the pre-selector types that BCT used. The driver found it so difficult to handle and rarely got out of first or second gear, that when he got to Harts Hill depot, he stopped and stormed off with very bad language and came back out with a BMMO D9. I finished the journey to Dudley in a properly driven bus!

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Above: BMMO D9 5327 at Oldbury on 22/3/1975.

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Above: Oldbury depot on 18/1/1975. Featuring ex Coventry Daimler CVG6 1225 (VWK 225) and an ex Wolverhampton Daimler Roadliner.

My camera recorded loads of ‘foreign’ buses on my travels and the former BMMO depot at Oldbury regularly hosted buses from Birmingham, Coventry and even Wolverhampton. However, Fleetlines and Atlanteans from Birmingham and Coventry were soon used to maintain services from former Midland Red depots, no doubt pleasing to drivers.

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Above: Daimler Fleetline 6126 at Kinver on 7/6/1975.

Before new buses started arriving in larger numbers to the WMPTE fleet, progress was being made in one- person bus operation. The PTE was busy fitting out its fleet of suitable vehicles for o-p-o operation, and a number of former Walsall CT Fleetlines were awfully adapted such that the lower front was rectangular leaving the upper front curved. I am afraid I regarded them as ‘abortions’.

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Above: Ex Walsall Daimler Fleetline 29L on 11/3/1973.

From January 1974 a large part of Midland Red’s operation was taken over by the PTE and Midland Red used some of the money from the sale to gobble up bus companies without the PTE area. Harper Brothers of Heath Hayes, Green Bus of Rugeley and a number of operators in the Telford area were absorbed.

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Above: Midland Red ex Harper Brothers Leyland Titan PD2 SBF 233.

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Above: Midland Red ex Harper Brothers Seddon Pennine FRF 762K in central Birmingham.

I deplored the setting up of the PTE, but there were a few good things to come out of it. Of all the PTEs that politicians set up, the West Midlands had the best livery-a shame they decided to delete the mustard roof. In October 1972, and sold in the lower decks of converted Daimler and Guy ex-BCT half cabs, was the Travelcard. For £4 a month you could travel all over the area and of course the former Midland Red routes from 1974. I was never without my travelcard.

My travel to work on Castle Vale on the edge of Birmingham generally involved a trip on the 967 express service using the new Aston Expressway up to Spaghetti Junction. The first vehicles used on this were former BCT Fords-very noisy vehicles-but these were soon replaced by equally noisy Leyland Nationals.

However, in 1972 along came 4242 (EOF242L), a Metro Scania, locally produced by MCW in Birmingham. 4242 was a lovely and quiet bus to ride on, which I did a great deal. Apparently its fuel consumption wasn’t as economical as the horrible National so it remained unique in the PTE’s fleet.

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Above: Leyland National 4504 at Walsall on 29/11/1974.

So, after four years in bedsit land a more permanent residence was desired. Eventually a property in Ward End Birmingham was purchased by the pair of us and we moved in during August 1975.

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Above: Commer KCF 4241 EOF 241L on the Centrebus circular in central Birmingham on 26/2/1973. These were subsequently replaced by single deck Daimlar Fleetlines, and later by Leyland Nationals.


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Above: In early January 2024, Wraysbury was badly affected by floods, affecting transport in the area. This view shows First Berks ex First London Dennis Dart SLF/Marshall Capital 41170 (R170 TLM) in the village back in May 2009. Route 60 (Slough-Eton Wick) is now Thames Valley Buses service 15. Wraysbury is prone to floods due to its proximity to the River Thames, a lake and reservoirs. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Mulleys of Ixworth ex Dublin Bus Volvo B7TL/ALX400 LW51 ZHJ orig 01-D-10215, approaches Mildenhall on 18/1/24. 355 is the main route to there from Bury St Edmunds. (James Cole).

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Above: Fragers Gaming of Ardleigh, Essex operates a number of buses converted to mobile exhibtion units for computing. On 27/1/24, Scania Omnidekka YN03 PZZ was visiting the Bell View Social Club in Colchester. (John Podgorski).

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Above and below: XLP org.uk have two former London double deckers as mobile youth centres. They are based at St Mary Cray Rugby Club. Ex Metroline ADL/Enviro 400 LK58 KGN and ex RATP Scania Omnicity YT59 PBU. (Both: Nigel Eadon Clarke on 10/2/24).

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Above: Transpora Bus (Dorset) ex Stagecoach London Scania Omnicity LX58 CEV at Southampton Central on 20/2/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Xelabus of Eastleigh Volvo B9TL tri-axle/Optare Olympus ODL 678 in central Southampton on 20/2/24. (John Podgorski).


With Paul Savage:

Pictures by Paul Savage:

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Above: Citybus (Metro) Scania K360/Irizar i6 138 (NFZ 9138) in Belfast city centre on schools duty in December 2023. Prior to its recent transfer to Metro from Ulsterbus’s Scottish base at Stranraer, it had worn first National Express colours then Scottish Citylink, both better than its present scheme.

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Above and below: John McGinley Coaches is based at Magheroarty in north Co. Donegal. A we’ll-respected operator, its vehicles can be found across Ireland on tours and private hire, as well as Co. Donegal – Dublin express services. Here we see Volvo B8R/Plaxton Panther 221 DL 1188 and Volvo B11R/Jonckheere 141 DL 1526 on layover in Belfast city centre in December 2023.

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Above: First Northern Ireland has recently placed four of these Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coaches in service on route 705x between Londonderry and Dublin via Belfast where F59 (BV72 YCF) is seen arriving at Glengall Street, Belfast in December 2023.

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Above: Not quite coaching, film location facilities company Movie-Go of Carrowdore, Co. Down uses XXI 1446, an ex Ulsterbus Leyland Tiger/Alexander ‘Q’, as a dining bus.Pictured in Belfast in December 2023.

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Here are two pics take in Bangor, Co. Down around 4pm on Christmas Day when I was out for a walk. The line-up of buses (above) includes examples of the Volvo B7R, B7TL and B9TL, Wright StreetDeck and Scania K230UB.

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Above: The view of Bangor railway station shows three Northern Ireland Railways CAF C3K sets at rest. The buses in the other pic are reversed in against the set on the right of this one.(CAF are of course also a well know tram manufacturer – ed).

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Above: On 13/1/24, Belfast City Sightseeing placed in service former Abellio London Enviro400 LJ09 CDO, which had been acquired in late 2023 from Birmingham Bus Works (dealer).So far, this is the only Enviro 400 in Northern Ireland.

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Above: Ulsterbus Wright GB Kite Electroliner 2657 (BYZ 5657) in Londonderry in February 2024.

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Above: Ulsterbus Switch Solo EV 0035 (BYZ 3585) in Coleraine in February 2024.


Safeguard Coaches celebrates it’s Centenary with a free community event with six heritage buses running on the day:

Safeguard Coacheshas operated from a base in Guildford, Surrey for 100 years. In 1988 Farnham Coaches was acquired, enabling the company to deliver coach hire services to customers in North Hampshire and beyond. Our coaches bear the distinctive red and cream livery of ‘Safeguard Coaches’ and ‘Farnham Coaches’ and are a familiar sight on UK and European roads.

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Safeguard Coaches celebrated 100 years of being in the bus and coach business with a free celebratory event at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 16th March 2024 between 12 noon and 4pm. Not only was entry free, but so was a ride to the event on a heritage bus, as a fleet of 6 were running on the day.

The buses providing free services were:

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Above:London Transport Country Area liveried 1949 prototype AEC Regal IV UMP 227. (Pictured by Richard Hastings).

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Above:Aldershot and District 1950 Dennis Lancet III/Strachan 178 (HOU 904). (Pictured by Adrian Palmer).

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Above:London Transport Country Area 1953 AEC Regal IV RF-type RF600 (NLE 600). (Pictured in March 2022 by John Roberts).

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Above:London Transport Country Area 1954 AEC Regent III RT-type RT4779 (OLD 566). (Pictured by Peter Osborn at the Safeguard 90th Celebration at Guildford Cathedral in 2014).

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Above: King Alfred Motor Services 1964 AEC Renown/Park Royal 595 LCG. (Pictured by S Bigley at Sutton Scotney in September 2023).

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Above: King Alfred Motor Services 1970 Leyland Panther/Plaxton Derwent 417 (UOU 417H). (Pictured at Sutton Scotney on the Running Day of 1st January 2024. (Image courtesy Friends of King Alfred Buses).

The buses were provided by London Bus Museum and private owners. The event also included a whole host of transport-related activities including bus washing, a heritage bus display, arts and crafts, talks and stalls.

Andrew Halliday, Managing Director at Safeguard Coaches said, “We’re all so proud to have reached this incredible milestone and want to share the celebration transport enthusiasts from all over England”.

Attendees on the day got the chance to purchase an exclusive centenary celebration book, proceeds from which supported The Fountain Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The charity was chosen by the Safeguard team who lost a cherished member of staff to cancer last year.

The event was opened by Guildford’s Mayor, Councillor Musak Miah, compered by broadcaster and transport enthusiast Dave Guest, and include a presentation by local historian David Rose.

As parking was not available at the Cathedral, the heritage buses transported visitors to the event from Guildford town centre, railway station and Onslow Park & Ride as well as from Park Barn – which Safeguard Coaches has served since it was built in the 1950’s.

To find out more about the event visitwww.safeguardcoaches.co.uk.

(With thanks to Orchid PR, James Vallance and the photographers of the images in this feature).

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Above: Optare Versa YJ10EZT departs Guildford Friary Bus Station on a Park Barn service on 30/4/16. (John Podgorski).


Stephensons Golden Jubilee:

Stephensons of Essex was established in Southend in 1973 by John Stephenson, as a one coach, spare time operation. It then slowly grew, becoming a limited company in 1978. In 1995, local accountant and bus enthusiast Lyn Watson joined as co-director, and there was an expansion in local bus activity. Bill Hiron, the current Managing Director, bought the remaining shares from John Stephenson in 2001. Lyn Watson passed away in 2017.

Stephensons has expanded over the years. Firstly, Simiens of Canvey was acquired in the early 1990s, and later the school bus side of Fargo, Braintree (in 2008). Then in 2011, the local bus activities of Burtons of Haverhill were taken on, following the collapse of Burtons. More recent acquisitions were of Galloway European Coachlines of Mendlesham (in 2016); Nelsons Independent Bus Service (NIBS) of Wickford (in 2019) and the school bus operations on New Horizon, Frating (in January 2022). These all come under the umbrella of Eastern Transport Holdings. A further development was the taking over of some bus services in east Cambridgshire/south west Suffolk, given up by Stagecoach, (from November 2022).

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Above: Ex Yourbus, Nottingham ADL/Enviro 200 468 (SN66 WKG) on the unadopted Audley Way in Frinton on Sea on 28/7/22, in the last week of Stephensons operation of route 9, before it passed to Go East Anglia (Hedingham) on council retender. Service 9 was a “back road” service between Walton on the Naze and Great Holland via Frinton, Frinton Homelands and Kirby Cross. Hedingham subsequently extended the 9 to/from Great Holland and Clacton. 468 was transferred to Stephenson’s Haverhill depot, having been previously based at Boreham for maintenance, but running from the ex New Horizon base at Frating. (John Podgorski).

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Above: ADL/Enviro 200 449 (YX10 FFK) at Southchurch Road, Southend on 9/8/22. One of a batch ex Abellio London. It is working route 14 from Southend Travel Centre to Shoeburyness East Beach, via Great Wakering. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Scania N250UD/Enviro 400 MMC 621 (EU23 BZL) in Central Southend on 14/6/23, working service 17 to Leigh on Sea. This was the last of its type to be built. (Simon Austin).

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Above: The most easterly location currently served by Stephensons is Frinton on Sea, with registered schools service 702 to/from Colchester and Clacton. Scania N230UD/Olympus 501 (EU58 BRX) was pictured at Frinton Homelands on 15/6/23. This was the first double decker to be bought brand new by Stephensons and is named after the late Lyn Watson, co-director from 1995 until 2017. (John Podgorski).

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Above: ‘Three Rivers’ service 38/38A links Witham, Braintree and Halstead. It was launched in November 2015, when Stephensons took over the route from First, with whom it had been numbered 131/132. A batch of specially branded ADL/Enviro 200s was bought; 471-475 (EU65 EOG-M), later joined by 476 (EU66 AVB). 474 was pictured between Silver End and Cressing on 6/7/23. Interestingly, this location shows the route on diversion; due to the closure of Polecat Road in Cressing Village. The 38 and 38A only differ in that the 38 serves Braintree Village Shopping Centre, while the 38A runs via Cressing Road and Stubbs Lane (servivng the Alec Hunter Academy). 474 was on a Witham to Braintree short working when photographed. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Dart SLF/Mini Pointer 407 at Bishop’s Stortford Interchange on 27/12/23. This was the last of its type in service with Stephensons, and was new to Excel Passenger Logistics (in which Stephensons had a minority share). It was withdrawn in February 2024, and then sold via ebay. The council contracted 7 and 7A link Bishop’s Stortford and Stansted Airport via the settlements of Birchanger, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Henham, Gaunts End and Molehill Green. The only variation is that the 7A does a circle around the Bentfield Estate in Stansted Mountfitchet. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Optare Solo 326 at Wimbish Green on 28/12/23. The 313 and its associated 314 are Essex CC contracted deep rural services linking Saffron Walden, Thaxted and Great Dunmow, via intermediate communities. 313 serves Little Easton and Wimbish Green, while 314 runs via Great Easton and Carver Barracks. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Driver recruitment advert on ADL/Enviro 200 466. Colne Road, Halstead, 5/2/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Since November 2022, Stephensons has operated in east Cambridgeshire on routes given up by Stagecoach, using the Greys Coaches depot at Ely as a base. Here ADL/Enviro 200 469 (SN66 WLL) arrives at Cambridge from Newmarket on 24/2/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: NIBS Buses ADL/Enviro 200 no 450 in Basildon on 3/6/23. This is another of the ex Abellio London batch. Route 374 (Basildon-Grays) was a Thurrock Council sponsored service, which ceased a few weeks after this picture was taken. The NIBS identity is actually older than Stephensons, having been established by the late Bill Nelson in 1969. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Galloway Optare Solo SR 333 (YJ65 EWG) in Stowmarket on Saturday 23/5/20. Galloway is managed separately from Stephensons and NIBS, and now focuses on coaches (including some National Express contracts). It has a small amount of local bus work in its portfolio, although this now utilises Stephensons buses (outbased at Mendlesham) driven by Galloway staff, (the previous Optare Solos have now been sold although there is a handful of service buses retained for schools). The remaining bus routes are 384/385 (Stowupland-Bury St Edmunds) which now operate Mon to Fri schooldays only. Galloway was founded in 1965 as a travel agency; becoming a coach operator in 1978 upon acquisition of AF Braybrooke, Mendlesham. (John Podgorski).


Reynolds Coaches of Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk: 108 years of history: words and pictures by Andrew Fieldsend.

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Above: The Reynolds Coaches premises on 1 August 2018 with the petrol filling station at the front (“Attended service, we serve you”) and coach parking at the rear. Impeccably tidy, the improvements since 1990 are evident from a comparison with the photograph of FUJ 903V – see later in this article.

August 2018 saw the closure of Reynold’s Coaches of Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, a company which would have been much more widely known if ever it had operated any scheduled bus services during its long history. This article recounting the story of the company and its final days is compiled from information gathered from the Internet, including the following websites: BBC, Bus and Coach Buyer, the Eastern Daily Press and the company’s own website (http://reynolds-coaches.com/), which is now offline, plus some of my own reminiscences of the company and its coach fleet.

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Above: Probably the entire fleet seen in Reynolds’ yard in 1975. From left to right are SPW 999 and three Bedford SB with Duple C41F bodies, of which two were new in 1965, to Salopia of Whitchurch (CUX) and Hornsby of Ashby (DBE 415C) respectively, plus JEX 640.

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Above: Five members of the immaculate fleet in the yard on 4 August 2018, including the three Mercedes Tourismo coaches. In the centre is GR16 REY, which carries a C55Ft body and was bought new in 2016. It was the newest coach in the fleet by a margin of six years.

At the time of its demise, Reynolds Coaches of Caister-on-Sea was Norfolk’s oldest established coach operator. Although it can officially go back to 1910, the business was established just after the turn of the Century by Newman Charles Reynolds, the grandfather of the final owner, Charles Reynolds. It was based in the High Street, in the centre of Caister-on-Sea, the business telephone number was Caister-on-Sea 5 (the final business telephone number was 01493 720312). Another depot was added in Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth.

The business was started with horse-drawn carriages, but carried out a variety of operations including passenger transport, haulage, taxis and building development; indeed Reynolds Avenue in Caister-on-Sea was named after Newman, with him having developed properties along the road. When automation took off, Newman added a Model T charabanc to the fleet.

It could run as a 14-seater in summer to carry holiday makers or converted into a truck for haulage work to make it pay its way in the winter. Charles said “I remember my grandfather said he took a group down to London for the first time in it. He got there and he had never seen so much motorised traffic. He ended up dropping his passengers off at a Tube station, saying they could catch the train in and out of the city. Now, London is such a state that people are considering doing the same thing again”.

The business progressed and land was purchased and rented out for farming and housing development, but the main concentration was on transport, and continued to thrive until the commencement of the Second World War.

Newman Charles Reynolds died in 1944. He had two sons, Steven and Leonard, and two daughters, Mildred and Kathleen. Kathleen married and took no further interest in the business, but Mildred took over the land interests, Steven operated the taxi business and, after seeing active service in the RAF, Leonard and his wife Grace took over the haulage and passenger transport section. After the end of the Second World War the business re-located to its final site at The Garage, Ormesby Road, Caister-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

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Above: New in 1959 to Currie, Bexleyheath, WLO 687 was a Bedford SB3 with Duple Vega C41F body. It was photographed in Reynolds’ yard on the same day as FEX 707 in 1972. One of a batch of four when new, sister vehicle WLO 685 (never owned by Reynolds), is preserved.

The haulage operation was closed in the mid-1970s to concentrate on coaches. It was at this time the company started to get school contracts, as the county council was closing village schools, meaning children were having to travel further. Where previously the coaching was done in the summer and trucking was carried out in the winter, the coach side became a year- round operation. Charles said “We went from there and started building up.”

Charles was born next door to the depot, in the family home. He was just six years old when he first got involved with the family business, helping to man the petrol pumps. In 1977, after engineering training with Mann Egerton & Company, he formally joined his father’s business.

He became a Partner in 1984 and on Leonard’s death in 1996 became sole owner. Between the mid-1990s and the present day the coach fleet expanded from eight coaches to its final complement of 20. In 2007 Reynolds became a Limited Company.

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Above: By May 1998, the company was being marketed as Norfolk’s oldest-established coach operator. New to Squirrel’s of Hitcham in 1985, B620 ODX, a Plaxton Paramount C53F- bodied Bedford YNT named Lady Heather Jane, carries the revised livery with yellow bands.

One of the most lucrative services Reynolds ran was ferrying passengers to and from holiday camps in the area, including Caister Camp, which was located just opposite the garage.

Charles said “I remember coming home once with £700 in notes. The fare was peanuts too!

This was in the ‘80s”. At one stage, there were six coaches on these services. “The real peak of it was from the mid-80s to the late-80s. Great Yarmouth had eight theatres at one point. If you counted the 6pm and 8.30pm shows, you had 16,000 theatre seats available. They were full every night. The stars would arrive there in June and stay there until September.”

Over the years of providing transport to these shows, Charles was able to meet some of the performers. He said “Morecambe and Wise, Bruce Forsyth; they became part of the community here. Ken Dodd used to come from down the road for petrol. One of my best friends is Des O’Connor, who I know from the theatres.” He fondly reminisced of his times with the stars: “It was just such good fun. Two to three times a year, they would have a night off and we would take them in a coach to the Norfolk Broads.” His eyes sparkled as he remembered one instance: “We took Rus Abbott once and what a character he was. He threw one of the comediennes that came with us into a river!”

It did not last though. As overseas holidays became more prevalent, seaside vacations waned in popularity. “The holidays just faded away. Sadly, all seaside resorts have declined. I caught the tail end of things. We were doing so well financially and people were lovely to deal with.

Now it’s all got harder and more competitive.” He said “Our excursion trade has declined from 40,000 people a year to 5,500 last year. People have changed their holiday habits”.

I must have first become aware of Reynold’s Coaches in the early 1960s, when my grandparents moved to Caister-on-Sea and we frequently visited them for family holidays.

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Above: Duple Super Vega-bodied Bedford SB3 FEX 707 was new to Felix Coaches (W.J. Haylett & Sons), Great Yarmouth in 1961, but had passed to Reynolds by 1972. Alongside it is Duple C29F-bodied Bedford VAS1 246 EFW that was new to Hunt, Alford in July 1963.

The garage, with a petrol filling station in the forecourt, was located only about one third of a mile from my grandparent’s bungalow and was therefore visited regularly, firstly to record registration numbers and later to take photographs. In those days, the fleet strength was four,being mostly second-hand Bedford SBs with Duple Vega or Super Vega bodies, such as FEX 707, ex-Felix Coaches of Great Yarmouth, and latterly Bedford SBs with Duple Bella Vega bodies. The fleet livery was mid-blue and grey. There would be one shorter-length Bedford coach, presumably a C4. In the background of one of my photographs from around 1970 is a Bedford lorry registered 7693 AH, part of the haulage fleet that was disbanded a few years later. My favourite coach was SPW 999, a 1955-vintage ‘butterfly front’ Bedford SB which was kept until around 1991. The yard was littered with some old cars and other vehicles in an advanced state of neglect. On one of my later visits (possibly November 1996 or May 1998) which time they had all disappeared, together with SPW 999, one employee I spoke to referred to “the old man’s museum”. Presumably the “old man” was Leonard, who clearly had plans, never realised, to restore these derelict wrecks, and maybe SPW 999 was destined for the museum as well. Charles, it seems, adopted a different approach to running the business.

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Above: Road haulage continued alongside coach operation until the mid-1970s and a Bedford S Type lorry is seen parked in the yard next to long-serving SPW 999, a Bedford SBG with Duple C38F body which was new to East Coast Motor Co (Orange Coaches), Cromer in May 1955.

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Above: Another acquisition from Felix Coaches was JEX 640, seen here at Reynolds’ premises in 1974. The pennant above the windscreen was a feature of the Felix fleet. JEX 640 was a Bedford SB8 with Duple Bella Vega C41F body and was bought new by Felix in July 1963.

By the time I stopped visiting Caister-on-Sea frequently, in 1979, the fleet still consisted of second-hand lightweight coaches. By late 1996, the fleet was beginning to appear much more presentable, with many Plaxton Paramount bodied vehicles in evidence. The blue had been darkened, and yellow bands had been added to the livery. Each vehicle carried a lady’s name, a tradition that continued until the end of operations. According to what is written on the Internet, Charles said “It started years ago by naming them after ex-girlfriends”. “Then Lady Diana got popular, then family members. We get requests for them every now and again”.

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Above: On the garage forecourt, also in April 1990, was FUJ 903V. Named Lady Merroney, this was a Bedford YMT with Duple Dominant C53F body that was new to Whittle Coaches of Highley. Evidently by this date the fleet had expanded beyond its longstanding four coaches.

After 2002, I did not visit Reynold’s Coaches again until 2018, when I stayed with my sister in Great Yarmouth for a few days and, at the earliest opportunity, on the morning of 1 August, went up to the garage. I asked if I could take some photographs and the person I asked, who I subsequently discovered to be Charles, said yes, and immediately added “we’re closing, you know”, before going to serve a customer with petrol as the petrol station still provided attended service. This was unwelcome news for me, of course, but a nice surprise was the absolutely immaculate fleet of well-specified coaches, a far cry from that of the 1970s. The Internet said that the business was “to close from 31 July” but I visited the garage on four consecutive mornings at the very beginning of August and coach movements were still happening, which allowed me to photograph most, if not all, of the fleet. The livery was now all-over silver, but with a blue and yellow fleetname that reflected the earlier colour scheme.

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Above: By 2 August 2018 the name Lady Merroney had been transferred to FJ03 VMG, probably via several intervening vehicles. This vehicle, another 70-seater, was new to Norfolk County Council in June 2003. The Dennis Javelin chassis carries a Caetano Cutlass body.

In fact, much of the fleet was quite elderly, but the age was obscured in some instances by so- called ‘cherished’ registrations, mostly in the ‘BIG’ series, such as BIG 9853. By contrast, the newest coach was registered GR16 REY. The high seating capacity of many coaches may be noted, reflecting their suitability for school contracts. Dennis Javelins with Plaxton bodies were predominant in the fleet, although the newest coaches were Mercedes.

Charles decided to close the company after being diagnosed with lung cancer in the latter part of 2017. He said “During and after my illness, what has become clear is the fact that I can no longer continue doing 80/90 hour, six and a half day weeks, which my business requires to continue to be a success, and provide you with the service that you have come to expect. I start work at 5am every day; the first coach goes out at 6am. Although I have one daughter, she lives with her husband and two young children in the south west, and they have their own property and leisure business, so very sadly I have no one to succeed me. I have also looked for a suitable company who would continue to offer my customers a high level of service, to take over Reynolds Coaches, but again sadly without success. Although the company Reynolds Coaches Ltd will continue to function for some time to come until all is settled, coach operation will cease effectively from 31 July 2018”.

Thus, the company honoured its 14 Norfolk County Council school contracts until the end of July.

The auction of the company’s assets, from £200,000 coaches to spare brooms, duly got under way at the firm’s yard at 10.00 on Saturday 11 August, with a viewing the day before.

Charles said that seeing the workshop laid out with all the equipment ready for the auctioneers was totally surreal. He said “I never knew I had so many parts and tools. It’s just incredible. I found a Model T spark spanner that belonged to my grandfather and a couple of other Ford Model T parts which must go back to the days of the old charabancs. It’s something you can’t throw away”. The auction was attended by 300 people with 100 more bidding online, and was a great success, with all 20 coaches up for auction were sold. “The coaches are going to owners all over the country, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – and they are all going to good homes,” said Charles. He was a bit more coy when asked how much the sale had raised.

“That’s between me and the Chancellor who will get a fair share, no doubt,” he said. When asked about some of the most stand-out moments, Charles said “My father pioneered coaching to Switzerland from the UK. This was in 1954. The headmaster of a Caister school said he was thinking of going to Switzerland. My dad didn’t know how to price that. It involved two nights across France and then into Switzerland. They had a wonderful time and it became a yearly thing. They took other people, mums and dads, friends. It went on until the mid-70s. Then the currency conversion rate of the Swiss franc and pound got terrible”.

“I’ve handled some things probably out of my league in my time. Beecham Group held a conference here and it saw 2,500 people come in from all over the country. They asked me to pull together a whole transport package for it. They passed it on to me and I came back with a figure. I spent a lot of time putting the whole thing together; I got everything within a 20- minute window. This was about 35 years ago. I got a cheque for £28,000, which was a fortune. How pleased they were. We’ve done sport tours like that too. There was a rugby event in Great Yarmouth and we had 16 coaches bringing kids in from all over the country”.

Despite the happy memories, running Reynolds has been a hard task, said Charles. “I think the big thing for us is that I try to achieve constant reinvestment without getting into too much debt. If you don’t put yourself under financial pressure, you can stand the idiots that come along. You get the ones that start up and invariably in two years they are finished and gone.

I’ve seen several in my lifetime. If you want the job done professionally, you have to have the right rate to do it”.

But it was not the hard work that made him take the decision to close the operation. Charles said “The main thing is this illness I’ve had.

Drivers and staff have been very good about it. I’ve got first class staff here, full and part time. They took it very well. We did it all properly, and they have been very good. It’s cost us a lot in redundancy. Even those who did not get redundancy, they didn’t walk away from the company. Over the years, we have had little staff turnover. I think I’ve gained a reputation to be a nice chap to work for and they’re not driving rubbish”. One Internet source put the number of staff involved in the business at 24.

What is the key to Charles’ success over the years? He said “You have to be good at something. I’ve built a first-class reputation with schools. Even though I’m not the cheapest, I still get the work. I might not have got it right 100% every time, but I know I’ve done the job well. It’s been great fun. I see myself as a classic family-type coach operator. I’m very proud in what we have achieved”. Having followed the development of the company for around half its lifetime, i.e. more than 50 years, I know that Charles had every right to be proud. The company in 2018 was almost unrecognisable from the one that I first got to know in the 1960s, and it is sad to realise that the Reynolds Coaches story has come to an end. I am just pleased that I was able to visit Caister-on-Sea one more time before it was too late.

Postscript: Charles Reynolds’ wife, Julie, died in September 2018 and Charles himself passed away early the following month. The company premises are now occupied by a tyre business.

Andrew Fieldsend

18 December 2022

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Above: KBZ 3617, a Dennis Javelin with Caetano Algarve II body, could seat 70 passengers. Photographed in the yard on 1 August 2018, it is thought to have been new to Dawson Rentals in 1996 and passed from Reynolds to Rollesby-based Jubilee Coaches for further service.


Southampton – One Year On:

The Southampton bus scene post the exit of First’s City Red:

(Pictures by John Podgorski on 20/2/24).

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Above:Former London ex Go North East Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini 6907 (LX06 EBJ) at Bargate Street on service 3 (Southampton-Eastleigh).

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Above: With Southern Vectis fleet names, Former Go-Ahead London General ADL/Enviro 400/Optare Olympus DOE2 (LX58 CWD) at Town Quay (near Southampton Docks) on service 19 (City and Lordshill), which is a regular allocation for this type.

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Above: DOE30 (LX58 CXM) has Bluestar branding and is pictured in the city centre at Vincents Walk.

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Above: Loaned from Southern Vectis Scania Omnicity 2004 (HF58 HTK) at Pound Tree Road.

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Above: Morebus ADL/Enviro 200 MMC 259 (HF18 CKE) at West Park Road. Apart from being a “visitor from the west” (Bournemouth), single deckers are unusual on route 19 anyway.

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Above: The only First service running into Southampton now is the X4 from Fareham. First Solent Wright StreetLite DF 63303 (SN65 OLG) has just crossed the Itchen Bridge.

Where are they now ? Ex First Southampton City Red fleet disposition:

First Berks: Wright StreetLites 47686-697. First Cymru: Wright StreetLites 47661-64/70/73-76. First Essex: Wright StreetLites 47421/27/30, 47595-608, 47665-669, 63061/63-65. First Solent: Wright StreetDecks 35112/15/36/39/64, 35204/06/12. First South West: Wright StreetLites 47610/11. First West of England: Wright StreetLites 47671/72.


THE 30ft LONG BRISTOL JO5Gby Keith A Jenkinson:

At a time when, unlike today, most large bus companies had central workshops, it was not uncommon for a number of them to undertake experimental work on some of their vehicles for a variety of reasons.

Amongst these operators was West Yorkshire Road Car Co who had over 200 pre-war Bristol JO5Gs and L5Gs which, in the early 1950s were reaching the end of their lives and in the need of replacing. After purchasing post 1946 Bristol Ls, LLs and LWLs, and seeing that Bristol was now starting to turn its attention to underfloor-engined models, West Yorkshire decided to look at the possibility of rebuilding its pre-war single deckers in a way that they could be used for OMO when future legislation might allow this, and thus save the cost of purchasing new, and largely untried, underfloor engine buses.

With this in mind, in April 1952 the company took one of its 1937 JO5Gs (BWT760), which had suffered accident damage two months earlier, into its workshops to be lengthened to 30ft with its entrance and engine placed forward of its front axle. Although it is said that this work was undertaken, it is believed that it was, in fact, the chassis of an already withdrawn 1935 JO5G (AWW174) that was used and was fitted with the body of BWT760, although this has always remained unproved. In the event, however, the chassis was lengthened and a new full fronted section was built and added to the body to give it a more modern appearance. BWT’s seating was increased from 32 to 44, and the Gardner 5LW engine was now located inside the bus alongside the driver who was seated directly opposite the power-operated jack knife door. The emergency exit remained centrally in the rear bulkhead, and all the original interior lights were left unchanged as too were the half drop windows, while the unladen weight was increased from that of a standard JO5G (6-8-1) to 7-6-0. Surprisingly retaining fleet number 965, although this was never applied to the vehicle, and given registration number BWT760 (back in 1952 bus operators did not re-register their vehicles with dateless or private numbers), it entered service in its new form on 1st August at Leeds depot on the service to Boston Spa, but after a few weeks was transferred to Harrogate depot from where it spent most of its life on route 8 to Scriven, thus enabling it to be fairly close to the company’s central works for modifications based on its in service trials. These including a reduction in seating from 44 to 43 and then 42, and the replacement of its half drop windows with sliding ventilators. During this time it was always crew operated with OMO not yet being permitted.

Although it was taken out of service in October 1957, it was surprisingly retained by the company for occasional summer use as a passenger waiting room in Leeds until it was ultimately sold to dealer Fleet Car Sales at Dunchurch in December 1960 where it was eventually scrapped in June 1961. By the time of its withdrawal from service in 1957, West Yorkshire was already purchasing new underfloor-engined Bristol LSs, thus making further conversions from standard JO5Gs and L5Gs unnecessary.

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J1 West Yorkshire 1935 ECOC-bodied Bristol JO5G 934 which provided chassis parts for BWT760.

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J2 An offside view of the lengthened Bristol JO5G, now fitted with sliding windows.

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J3 A rear view showing its centre emergency exit and original half-drop windows.

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J4 The front entrance showing its awkward steps and driver’s position.

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J5 An interior view towards the front showing the rear facing front seat.

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J6 A substitute view for J1 showing a sister bus to BWT760.

All photos are from K.A.Jenkinson collection.


News from Transport Museum Wythall words and pictures by Denis Chick (unless otherwise credited).

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Above: A Midland Red selection at Wythall.


·Two major anniversaries celebrated in 2024

o85thanniversary of the iconic Bedford OB coach

o120thanniversary of the founding of Midland Red

·75thanniversary of Birmingham City Transport’s 50 route

·Wythall BusFest@Gaydon back for its third year

·Ten themed events across the year

·8 museum buses join the running fleet for 2024

·….all following a record 2023 for TMW

Transport Museum Wythall opens its doors on March 27th2024 to an exciting programme of events new and old, including two significant anniversaries – 85 years of the Bedford OB coach and 120 years since the founding of Midland Red. Both events will feature extensive displays of vehicles plus timetabled services enabling enthusiasts and families alike to experience riding on examples of Britain’s iconic vehicles of the past.

2024 follows a record 2023 for TMW

In 2023 17,200 visitors visited TMW, over 2,000 up on 2022. With the cost of living crisis bearing down on family budgets, our visitors were pleased to be offered a great value day out for all the family, as ourTrip Advisor Traveller’s Choice 2023award testifies. As a 100% volunteer-run organisation, TMW would like to thank all those that came to visit in 2023 and of course, our dedicated members for all their efforts in running and maintaining the museum, helping us to not only cover our costs but also continue to invest in the site and the vehicle collection.

Wide variety of themed events in 2024

In addition to Bedford OB 85 and MR 120, six themed events will feature in the 2024 programme including the well-established Bristol Owners Gathering, London Comes to Wythall, Wythall Busfest@Gaydon, the 75thanniversary of the number 50 route, introduced by Birmingham City Transport in 1949 and the Great British Bank Holiday-themed August event.

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Bedford OB Gathering (May 18/19) and Midland Red 120 (October 6) – the big names in 2024

The iconic Bedford OB coach celebrates its 85thbirthday in 2024. Introduced in 1939 and co-developed with Duple, only 73 were produced before the onset of WWII but post-war went on to almost 13,000 built by 1951, becoming one of the most popular public service vehicles of its type.

TMW is working in partnership with the Bedford OB Gathering group to bring as many Bedford OBs as possible to Wythall for the event on Saturday and Sunday May 18thand 19th. The 70thand 75thanniversary events were held at Vauxhall Motors in Luton and were attended by around 30 examples. The brainchild of Tim Wootton, the leading light in OB preservation, these Gatherings were curtailed following Tim’s untimely death in 2017. This event is being held in his memory and will include several surprise OBs, new to the rally circuit, in an attempt to gather well over 30 vehicles.

A wide variety of companies, big and small, operated the iconic Miss Marple countryside coach across the UK and beyond, immortalised in an equally wide-range of diecast models from Corgi and EFE across recent decades. We’re expecting a bumper number of visiting OBs on parade and offering rides around the local country lanes. Not to be missed!

One of the largest English bus companies, Midland Red, as the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company, was formed in 1904 to operate motor bus services in Birmingham and started operations in this name in July 1905. Midland Red lived up to its slogan of ‘all over the midlands’, designing, building and operating its own buses to all four points of the midlands’ compass.

MR went on to build a wide variety of buses and coaches, many innovations being incorporated into their design including lightweight construction, disk brakes as early as the 1950s and the widely acclaimed ‘motorway express’ coaches running at up to 100mph on the M1 to London.

TMW will celebrate with its acclaimed collection of Midland Red vehicles, single and double-deck examples, spanning most decades of Midland Red operation, on Sunday October 6th2024. We anticipate lots of visiting ‘Reds’ too, including examples of its early coaching fleet.

The humble number 50 route at 75 on Spring Bank holiday Sunday and Monday May 26/27.

Established in 1949 to cover the south side of the city of Birmingham with 36 stops to Druids Heath, the 50 still runs under National Express ownership and is one of the busiest bus routes in Europe. TMW’s collection features a number of vehicles that ran on this route so here is the chance to ride the 50 on BCT, West Midlands PTE and National Express.

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Above: NX West Midlands ADL/Enviro 400 MMC 6125 (SN15 LGU) on route 50 at Digbeth, Birmingham on 6/8/16. (John Podgorski).

Wythall Miniature Railway Gala on July 13/14

In addition to bus themed events, the Wythall Miniature Railway, a main feature of the museum site for children, is running a gala weekend on July 13/14 with visiting locomotives and an intensive service of both passenger and freight trains. Visitwww.wythallsteamrail.comfor more information.

Buses returning to the operational fleet in 2024

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Above: Midland Red Leyland Titan PD2/12/Leyland Farington LD8 4031 (SHA 431).

Following time off on static display or following rectification/restoration work are eight of the TMW fleet, four to support Midland Red 120:

Midland Red – 1950 S12 NHA 744, 1953 LD8 SHA 431, 1960 D10 prototype 943 KHA and 1965 D9 BHA 399C.

Others: 1950 BCT Leyland Tiger PS2/1 JOJ 489, 1953 Walsall Corporation Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1, PDH 808, 1984 WM Travel Metrobus MkII B811 AOP and 1965 Green Line Routemaster CUV 219C, which will attend RM 70 in London.

The full list of themed events for 2024

Sunday and Monday March 31/April 1

Easter bank holiday including Bristol Owners Spring Gathering

Sunday and Monday May 18/19

Bedford OB 75thanniversary gathering

Sunday and Monday May 26/27

75 years of Birmingham’s number 50 bus route

Saturday and Sunday June 15/16

London comes to Wythall in partnership with the Routemaster Association. Ride the capital’s iconic vehicles north of Watford

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Above: London comes to Wythall.

Saturday July 6th

Wythall BusFest@Gaydon – year 3

Saturday and Sunday July 13/14

Wythall Miniature Railway Gala

Sunday and Monday August 25/26

The Great British Bank Holiday with Devon cream teas and open top bus rides

Sunday October 6th

Midland Red 120

Saturday and Sunday October 12/13

Stationary engines and engineering miscellania with the J40 Pedal Car Club annual event on Sunday

Sunday October 27th

Finishing a busy year with the firm favourite, Twilight Running Day when we take atmospheric bus rides into Autumnal darkness

These events plus information on a number of classic vehicle club meetings and ‘Drop In and Drive’ Sunday classic vehicle events can be found at wythall.org.uk, where you will also find more information on prices, opening times and connecting bus and train services where applicable.

Public information is available at:

Transport Museum Wythall:

Phone: 01564 826471

Email:enquiries@wythall.org.uk Website:www.wythall.org.uk


Transport for London (TfL) awarded a contract (in mid March 2023), worth £160m over 10 years for the replacement of its existing automatic vehicle location system (iBus) to INIT. As part of the contract, INIT will provide both the replacement of on-board hardware and the back-office services for all buses and trams in the TfL fleet. The current system, operated by Trapeze, has been in operation across London buses for 17 years, and on the city’s trams for two. The next generation of iBus will provide new service control tools for operators, and will integrate with the current voice radio, payments and performance management systems. It will also build on the abilities of the current system, with reliability and accuracy of real-time passenger information to be enhanced by including disruption and diversion information both on and off the bus, and available to customers via the bus customer information boards and audio-visual announcements, as well as on TfL’s Go app.

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Above: Stagecoach East London ADL/Enviro 40H City 12542 at Hoe Street, Bakers Arms on 10/2/24. (John Podgorski).

TfL: Due to a shortage of trains on the London Underground Central Line, extra buses were introduced on TfL 150 (Hainault-Ilford) – contracted to Arriva London North, and TfL 20 (Debden-Walthamstow Central) – contracted to Stagecoach East London, to provide an alternative route into central London for passengers living at the eastern end of this tube railway. Additionally a shuttle bus from Epping to Chingford Railway Station via Loughton (also run by Arriva London North) started running from 7/2/24, enabling customers to switch onto the London Overground route into Liverpool Street. The problem has been caused by the need to replace worn-out motors on the 1992 Tube Stock, which dates from 1994.Since December 2023, there have been times when less than 50 out of the pvr of 78 trains has been available for service. This coincides with a planned refurbishment programme to extend the life of the BREL/ABB built fleet, titled the CLIP (Central Line Improvement Programme), which is expected to be completed in 2029.

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Above: 1992 Tube Stock at Leyton on 3/2/24, with 91173 heading for Epping. (John Podgorski).

Meanwhile, on February 8th 2024, the London Assembly called on TfL to restore a ‘frequent, daily bus link’ between Waltham Abbey and Chingford either by extending Stagecoach operated TfL routes 215 (Walthamstow-Lea Valley Campsite), 379 (Chingford-Yarley Lane Estate) or both, to at least Waltham Abbey Town Centre. The “missing link” is through the village of Sewardstone. Arriva withdrew the former route 505, between Harlow and Chingford and serving Waltham Abbey, in 2015 due to a lack of passenger demand. The service was then taken over by Trusty Bus (later Central Connect) on Essex CC tender. The 505 then had its frequency cut to Saturdays only, before it ceased completely after 3rd April 2021. Then the 505 reappeared from 17/4/23, running as Harlow-Waltham Abbey-Waltham Cross, operated by Vectare, to replace the withdrawn Arriva 86 service.

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Above: Arriva Mercedes Vario/Plaxton Beaver 2190 (R190 DNM) in Sewardstone in October 2006. (John Podgorski).

Abellio London/Transport UK: Abellio London formally changed its name to Transport UK London Bus from 2nd March 2024.

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Above: With the new Transport UK branding, ADL/Enviro 40D MMC 2527 (YX15 OWV) at Elephant & Castle on 20/1/24. (John Podgorski).

The rebranding of this fleet as Transport UK began in December 2023. New is Wright GB Kite Electroliner saloon 1701 (LV73 FGU) – the first of 24 (1702-24), with more arriving during January/February 2024. Several of these GB Kites saw use on Elizabeth Line weekend railway replacement work between Stratford and Romford. They are the first of the type to be used in London, and are eventually intended for use on route E7 (Ruisliop-Ealing) from Southall (GW).Further new Switch Metrocity MC870EVs are 1012-1024 (YJ73 BWA-H/K-O). TfL133 (Streatham-Holborn) was gained from Arriva from 20/1/24 with new Wright Streetdeck Electroliner double-deckers 3059-3085 due for it.

By mid-March, over half of Transport UK’s first batch of Wright GB Kite electric single-deckers (1705-1712) were in service on route R70 from Fulwell/Twickenham (TF). This batch had been intended for route E7 from Southall (GW), with later batch 1725-1736 earmarked for the R70.(Also see text above and picture below).

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Above: Wright StreetDeck Electroliner 3047 (LV73 FHU) at Holborn on 20/1/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: New Wright GB Kite Electroliner 1712 (LV73 FHJ) in Stratford on 3/2/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: One of the original New Routemasters, former Metroline LT20, at Effra Road, Brixton on 6/1/24. This and its sisters are normally used on TfL24 (Pimlico-Hampstead Heath), which they transferred over with when it was gained by Abellio in November 2019. TfL415 Tulse Hill-Old Kent Road) is usually worked by “native” Abellio LTs in the 16xx fleet number series. By the way, the location to the left is the site of the old Orange Luxury Coaches garage and coach station, which was downgraded by Grey Green (who had bought Orange in 1953), to an outbase in 1976 and closed completely in 1981, partly due to the Brixton riots. (John Podgorski).

From 2/3/24, TfL S4 was revised on retender to run between Waddon Marsh and Sutton. It was extended from Roundshaw to Waddon Marsh to replace part of withdrawn Go-Ahead Metrobus contracted TfL455 (Wallington-Reedham Old Lodge Lane), while the section from Sutton to St Helier ceased.

Arriva London.

Arriva London has placed a further order for battery-electric buses with Wrightbus. It will see an additional 76 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers, and 11 GB Kite Electroliner single-deckers. The vehicles will arrive in the capital from July.

(Arriva London North): New for TfL377 (Ponders End-Oakwood) are Switch Metrocity MC870EVs EMN1-4 (YJ73 BVB-E). They entered traffic from 4/1/24. From 24th February 2024, Stamford Hill (SF) garage reopened to work TfL 254 (Holloway-Aldgate). Arriva thus no longer uses Ash Grove (AE), although this location continues with Stagecoach East London (as HK). Also from 24th February, TfL 242 (Homerton Hospital-Aldgate) passed from Arriva London at Clapton (CT) to Stagecoach East London. These changes mean that CT and SF become the first two London garages to operate only LT-class buses. From 2/3/24, New Superloop route SL2 (Walthamstow Central-North Woolwich began), while TfL325 (Beckton-Prince Regent) passed to Go-Ahead on retender. ADL/Enviro 400H City HA37-50 were transferred from Arriva London South at Brixton to Barking (DX) for the SL2, while ADL/Enviro 200s ENL61-75 displaced from TfL325, went to Arriva London South at Croydon. Re TfL248 (Romford-Cranham, although offiicially LT Class New Routemaster allocated, in practice it is mixed LT and DW Class VDL DB300/Wright Gemini (from Grays (GY) garage). From 23/3/24, TfL76 (Tottenham-Waterloo) was gained from Go-Ahead and was moved into Stamford Hill. No buses or staff moved over however, with Arriva utilising existing resources.

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Above: HA45 at North Woolwich on the first day of SL2, 2/3/24. (Nigel Eadon Clarke). (Anyone who was a teen or twenty something in the 1990s might recall a rave/dance band called SL2, whose signature hit tune was ‘On a Ragga Tip – ed).

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Above: Enfield allocated New Routemaster LT567 (LTZ 1567) at Mill Hill on the free shuttle for Saracens Rugby Club, linking it with the local railway stations at Edgware, Mill Hill Broadway, Mill Hill East and the Saracens StoneX stadium at Hendon. On 27/1/24, Saracens Men had a home game with Exeter Chiefs. Arriva London North is the main contractor for this shuttle on home match days. Headway is approx every 10 minutes between 1440 and 2130, (for a match kick off at 1730). (John Podgorski).

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Above: ENX12 at Monks Orchard on 3/2/24. (Nigel Eadon Clarke).

(Arriva London South): Saturday 3rd Feb 2024 saw the start of another new Superloop route. The SL5 runs from Bromley North to Croydon and (uniquely so far) uses single-deckers. These are ENX-class ADL/Enviro 200s, released from the 289 (Elmers End-Purley) at Thornton Heath (TH) by the temporary reinstatement of some recently-withdrawn T-class ADL/Enviro 400s. Meanwhile some of the early HV-class Volvo B5LH/Wright Gemini buses, released from Brixton (BN) by the loss of routes 133 and 333 , have moved across to Arriva London North at Dartford (DT). From 2/3/24, TfL312 (Norwood Junction-South Croydon Garage) was extended to Kenley. ADL/Enviro 200s ENL61-75 were transferred in from Arriva London North for this.

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Above: One of the temporary double deckers for TfL289. ADL/Enviro 400 T123 (LJ10 HVC) at West Croydon on 2/3/24. (John Podgorski).

Big Bus Tours has doubled in size its contract with Equipmake of Snetterton for the repower to battery-electric of some diesel open-top double-deckers in its London fleet. The deal will now see all 20 of its Anhui Ankais converted by the supplier, with 327kW/h of installed energy storage to give a range of 120 miles. The project is due to be completed by January 2025. The buses involved are AN327-346 (LJ12 GKL, GSZ, JSX, GTZ, JUO, JSY, JWA, LX12 AZL, LJ12 LJL, JUT, LX12 AZF, AYN, LF12 AHE, LJ12 JVL/Z, LF12 ACZ, ADU, LJ12 MYG/H respectively).

Go-Ahead London:

A new major component exchange facility has been opened at River Road depot. It replaces locations previously dotted around Go-Ahead London. For example, the engine rebuild department has moved from Camberwell.

Plans have been submitted for a new electric bus depot at Garth Road in Lower Morden. This could see up to 43 buses housed in the proposed facilty, for TfL contracts S2 (Highdown-Sutton Common) – currently worked from Sutton, 118 (Morden-Brixton) – currently worked from Stockwell, and 157 (Morden-Crystal Palace) – currently worked from Merton. However, local residents have already expressed concerns that the depot would bring seven-day-a-week traffic to an area that already has a large industrial estate and is served by RATP operated TfL293 (Epsom-Morden), along with the depot’s proximity to a number of residential properties. Fears over the safety of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were also raised. The proposed site at 220 Garth Road was previously occupied by a glass manufacturer.

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Above: Garth Road site in February 2024. (Harrison Galliven).

(Blue Triangle): TfL325 (Beckton-Prince Regent) was gained from Arriva on retender on 2/3/24. Some ADL/Enviro 200s were transferred from London General for this – SE130/31, 272, 276, but they will ultimately be replaced by new SEe Class electrics.

ADL/Enviro 400H MMC EH161 was destroyed by fire at North Woolwich (and close to Henley Road (DS) depot) on 12/1/24.

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Above: BYD ADL/Enviro 400 EV Ee224 (LG73 FDF) on TfL185 at Terminus Place, Victoria on 2/3/24. (John Podgorski).

(London Central): TfL40 (Dulwich-Clerkenwell) and TfL185 (Lewisham-Victoria) have been restocked/electrified with new Ee Class BYD ADL/Enviro 400EVs, releasing MHV Class Volvo B5H/MCV EvoSeti hybrids from Camberwell (Q) to elsewhere in Go-Ahead London; including Bexleyheath (BX). From 29/1/24, schools TfL601 (Thamesmead-Dartford Heath) was gained from Stagecoach and is run by Bexleyheath (BX). Some of the new electric buses intended for Go-Ahead London route P12 (Brockley Rise-Surrey Quays) (SEe260-271) are temporarily being used on routes 100 (Shadwell-St Pauls) (Q), 265 (Putney Bridge-Tolworth) (AF/London General) and 450 (Lower Sydenham-West Croydon) (C/Metrobus). Ee173-176 entered traffic at Camberwell in March, having been stored at Morden Wharf (MG) since receipt in July 2023. They had been intended for TfL151 (Sutton-Worcester Park) at London General, but were diverted, due the 151 being (as yet) unable to accept Ee Class buses.

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Above: TfL355 (Brixton-Mitcham) mostly uses Wright StreetLites which were transferred with the route from Metrobus in September 2023. WS101 at Brixton on 6/1/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: SEe223 at Putney Bridge on 20/1/24. (John Podgorski).

(London General): From 5/1/24, TfL265 (Putney Bridge-Tolworth) went over to full electric operation using BYD ADL/Enviro 200 EVs SEe220-232 which had been initially used by Blue Triangle on TfL366 (Beckton-Redbridge). Optare Metrodecker EV Me12 (YJ21 EYP) caught fire at Wimbledon Hill Road on a Raynes Park bound TfL200 on the morning of 11/1/24. It was later recovered to Goat Road, Mitcham (GM) sub depot, where it was parked in isolation, with fire brigade attendance, in case of battery reignition. All of the other buses (and staff) normally based at GM were temporarily moved to the premises of the Volvo agent at Croydon. By 13/1/24, Goat Road was back in use, with Me12 having been removed for investigation work. As a result of this incident, all of the Me fleet was taken out of service as a safety precaution. TfL200 (Mitcham-Raynes Park) was worked (initially) at a reduced frequency with straight diesel buses borrowed from around Go-Ahead London. These included SEs from Merton; Es from New Cross, Peckham and Stockwell, WVLs from Stockwell and a WVN from Northumberland Park. At the time of publication (late March 2024), the Me Class had yet to return to service, with the 200 still being maintained mostly by SEs, with a few Es and WVLs sprinkled in, and even a SOE being observed.

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Above: Loaned from Peckham ADL/Enviro 400 E204 (SN61 BKL) working a Raynes Park bound 200 at the same spot as the fire, on Wimbledon Hill Road on 13/1/24. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Temporary ADL/Enviro 200 SE134 on a Mitcham bound 200 in central Wimbledon on 13/1/24. (John Podgorski).

From 20/1/24, TfL333 (Elephant & Castle-Tooting) was gained from Arriva on retender. Go-Ahead had previously run this, and this time MHV Class Volvo B5LH/MCV EvoSeti hybrids were introduced at Stockwell (SW) with the new contract, having been displaced from Camberwell (Q) by new Ees. Due to this, TfL91 (Trafalgar Square-Crouch End)/N91 (Trafalgar Square-co*ckfosters) and its EHVs were moved from SW to Northumberland Park (NP). (The depot transfer of service 91 makes more sense for a route in north London – Ed).

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Above: Volvo B5H/MCV EvoSeti MHV72 at Elephant & Castle on 20/1/24. This was one of several transferred to Stockwell from London Central at Camberwell. (John Podgorski).

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Above: A rather temporary looking ADL/Enviro 400 E121 (LX09 FBU) on TfL157 (Morden-Crystal Palace) at West Croydon on 2/3/24. Go-Ahead gained this contract from Arriva in December 2023. (John Podgorski).

On 24/1/24, BYD ADL/Enviro 200EV SEe232 caught fire in Putney (AF) depot– the third electric/hybrid bus to burst into flames in just 2 weeks in London. Go Ahead confirmed a single-deck electric bus caught fire and added that everyone at the garage was safely evacuated and the fire was promptly extinguished, by the London Fire Brigade – however the bus was severely damaged.

A Volvo BZL with London-spec double-deck MCV bodywork was noted at the Volvo premises at Cambridge early in January 2024. It had Go-Ahead London logos and carried fleetnumber MVB1 (reg LF73 DXZ). It then moved to Sutton Garage (A) for trials.

From 2/3/24, new TfL route S2 (Epsom-St Helier Station) replaced parts of the existing London General contracted 80 (Highdown-Belmont section) and Transport UK contracted S4 (Belmont-Sutton Common section). S2 used brand new SEe-class busesfrom Sutton (A) garage (SEe304-312 batch).

From 23/3/24. TfL76 (Tottenham-Waterloo) passed to Arriva London on retender.

The batch of new BYD ADL/Enviro 200EVs for route 152 (SEe276-290) remains in store at Go-Ahead Swindon.

A Go-Ahead London driver who killed a woman at Victoria Bus Station on 10/8/21, by mistakenly speeding up his bus has avoided jail after admitting causing death by careless driving . Waterloo depot based Olusofa Popoola pressed the accelerator pedal on BYD ADL/Enviro 200EV SEe49 (LJ66 CJV) rather than the brake, causing his bus to shunt forward into a stationary SEe Class bus, which in turn hit Melissa Burr. Ms Burr, 32, from Rainham in Kent, died from multiple injuries. At the Old Bailey on 5/1/24, Popoola, aged 61, from Peckham, south east London (and who had driven buses for 20 years), was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 140 hours of unpaid work and was handed a three-year driving ban. It came after a retrial at the same court where the defendant was cleared of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to the other driver Diane Mathuranayagum who suffered a fractured eye socket.

(Metrobus): New route TfL439 (Whyteleaf South-Waddon Marsh) commenced on 2/3/24. TfL455 (Reedham-Wallington) ceased from the same date. 439 has SEe-class electrics. Existing route S1 has the OM-class Optare MetroCity buses previously used on now-withdrawn 455.

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Above: SEe249 (LG73 FYK) is one of the BYD ADL/Enviro 200EVs in temporary use at Metrobus and awaiting deployment to London Central. Seen at West Croydon on 2/3/24. (John Podgorski).

Golden Tours, Alperton: Following on from its work with Big Bus, Equipmake has secured a contract worth £2 million with Golden Tours to repower a number of its diesel buses with zero-emission drivetrain. The project is due in 2025.

Golden Tours was established in 1984 and specialises in London sightseeing and UK tourism, providing open top tours around the capital and Windsor and day trips to popular locations such as Stonehenge and Bath. It also has a partnership with Gray Line, and is the supplier for the Warner Bros Studio Tour London and the Harry Potter Experience, for which it provides specially liveried closed top double deckers.

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Above: Windsor Tour branded Volvo B5L/MCV EvoSeti BD16 YEL at Bullied Way, London Victoria on 17/12/23. (John Podgorski).

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Above: Harry Potter wrapped Volvo B8L/MCV EvoSeti LF20 AXJ at Bullied Way on 10/12/22, (John Podgorski).


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Above: Volvo BZL VMSL2855 (LF73 DXV) in Edgware on 27/1/24. (John Podgorski).

From 8/1/24, TfL251 (Edgware-Arnos Grove) was progressively converted to electric operation using the first VMSL Class Volvo BZL saloons – also the first in London. They are powered by 200 kW low-loss electric motors matched with a two-stage automated gearbox designed to help increase wheel torque at low speed and even out current peaks, which in turn reduces energy usage and driveline wear. There are 14 for 251. Then from 12/1/24, TfL384 (co*ckfosters-Edgware) was progressively electrified using the shorter VMSS Class Volvo BZLs. These BZLs are also the first Metroline buses to have four letter class codes. School route TfL603 (Muswell Hill-Swiss Cottage) was gained from Sullivan Buses from15/1/24. TfL228 (Park Royal-Maida Hill) was gained from RATP on 20/1/24 and uses using DEL-class E20D buses transferred from Edgware (EW), where they had been released from route 251 by the entry into service of the VMSL class Volvo BZL electrics (see above). On 27/1/24, TfL9 (Hammersmith-Aldwych) was gained from RATP London and run from Brentford (AH), using Metroline’s existing LT-class buses. As a result, TfL306 (Acton Vale-Sands End) was moved from AH to Holloway (HT).

The solitary Optare MetroCity electric single-decker (OEM2750) has been off the road since January 2024, with its duties on route PB1 (Potters Bar circular) being covered by elderly Optare Solo OS68 or a DES-class Enviro 200 from the PB allocation.

Demonstrator 10.3m BYD/ADL E400EV LD72 XZS was at Holloway (HT) for route trials during January 2024. It was fitted with a large extension to its rear bumper (to make it up to 10.6m?) and marked as a Route Test Vehicle.

A motorcyclist who made false claims against Metroline totalling over £50,000 when his vehicle was damaged in a collision with one of its buses was jailed for nine months in December 2023, after refusing to engage with contempt proceedings brought by the operator. Diego Barbosa Araujo was also ordered in his absence to pay £60,000 in costs to Metroline after the bus company used up “substantial resources” on multiple adjourned hearings.

Mr Araujo had claimed £50,237 as the pre-accident value of his motorcycle, the hire costs of a replacement between the incident in January 2019 and November of that year, and other charges. He also claimed £649 for a mobile phone and helmet that he said were damaged in the accident. When asked to provide the damaged bike for inspection, Mr Araujo falsely claimed that it had been sold and scrapped. Metroline used on-bus CCTV to demonstrate that damage could not have been caused by the collision. The claimant discontinued his case as a result.

Metroline then brought contempt proceedings against Mr Araujo on the basis that his claim was fraudulent. The operator says that the collision was “minor.” Mr Araujo was convicted of six counts of contempt after failing to engage with what the bus operator said was “a lengthy court case.” It was found that Mr Araujo had knowingly made false statements and interfered with the due administration of justice.

Judge Richard Roberts ruled that the harm caused to Metroline by Mr Araujo was high and that the operator incurred over £96,000 of costs in defending his claims. Substantial judicial resource was also wasted on adjourned hearings. His Honour Judge Roberts noted that there had been “no acceptance of responsibility, no apology, and no contrition” from Mr Araujo, adding that the guilty party aggravated his contempt by failing to attend five hearings and avoiding arrest after a warrant was issued.

A spokesperson for Metroline said that the operator “absolutely will not tolerate fraudulent claims,” adding that the sentence “serves as a strong message demonstrating the potential consequences for people if they attempt to make a fraudulent claim against Metroline.

(Excellent to see that one of these “cash for crash” fraudsters has had their comeuppance. A menace for many (especially urban) bus operators – Ed).

RATP London:

(London United): TfL235 (Brentford-Lower Sunbury) became fully electric in December 2023, using BE Class BYD ADL/Enviro 200EVs. On 27/1/24, TfL9 (Hammersmith-Aldwych) passed to Metroline on retender, and to fill the gap, TfL218 (Hammersmith-North Acton) was transferred from Westbourne Park (X) to Stamford Brook (V).

(RATP Dev Transit): On 29/1/24, Volvo B5LH/MCV EvoSeti VMH45323 (LJ17 WRD) crashed at Terminus Place, Victoria resulting in the death of a female pedestrian and injuries to the female bus driver. The bus was terminating on the 0903 arrival 13 journey from North Finchley (departed 0726), when it collided with the rear of the bus shelters serving the stands for routes 38 and 390.

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Above: The damaged bus shelters on 2/3/24. (John Podgorski).

(Tootbus): Has confirmed further details of work to move its open-top sightseeing buses in London to zero-emission, with the appointment of supplier VEV to manage the battery-electric fleet and develop an overall bus electrification plan. This operator already has a small number of battery-electrics in service in the capital. By 2029 it will have converted more than 30 buses to that power source and achieved a fully zero-emission fleet in London via a combination of repoweredand new vehicles.

Starting from January 2024, VEV is enabling Tootbus to power its current battery-electric fleet with 100% renewable energy, and installing the first 10 charging units at Wandsworth (Jews Row) depot (WD). In the future, and subject to planning permission and surveys, VEV will install solar panels on the roof of WD depot, which it says will generate 65MW/h of electricity per annum and power the bus fleet for 60,000km. Tootbus is currently having 15 of its 11 plate VXE Class Volvo B9TL/Olympus tri-axles repowered from straight diesel to battery-electric by Magtec.

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Above: Wandsworth depot on 24/9/22. On the left is Volvo B9TL/Optare Visionaire tri-axle VXE724 (YJ11 TVE) with ex Arriva London DAF DB250/President DLP244 (Y544 UGC) to the right. Note that VXE 724 has a ‘Planet Friendly’ sticker in the top nearside of its front upper deck window. (John Podgorski).

Stagecoach London:

In February 2024, Stagecoach ordered another 16 zero-emission vehicles from Wrightbus for its London operations. The battery-electric StreetDeck double-deck buses will be put into service across the capital as part of Stagecoach’s strategy to have a zero-emission bus fleet across all of its operations by 2035.

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Above: 15001 (LX58 CDV), numerically the first of the Scania Omnicity ‘deckers, at Leyton Station on 3/2/24. This is one of a batch which were new to Rainham for TfL248 (Romford-Cranham). Following the loss of 248 to Arriva on retender, these early Omnicities were redistributed in Stagecoach London, with 15001 going to West Ham. The contract for route 97 was renewed with Stagecoach on the 2nd March 2024, with the route transferred from WH to LI later in the month (30th). This may spell the end for the few remaining Scania OmniCity buses.(John Podgorski).

(East London): TfL242 (Homerton Hospital-Aldgate) was gained from Arriva from 24/2/24 – operated from Ash Grove (HK) and with new Volvo BZL/MCV electric double-deckers to be used once delivered. New are Switch Metrocity MC950EVs 67013-22 for TfL W11 (Walthamstow-Chingford Hall Estate) and Switch Metrocity MC870EVs 45009-12 for TfL W5 (Archway-Harringay) and new contract TfL 379 (Chingford-Yardley Lane Estate). TfL379 was gained from Go-Ahead on retender on 9/3/24. Prior to this, 3 of the MC870s were used on TfL339 (Leytonstone-Shadwell) from Lea Interchange and initally, the 379 also has ADL/Enviro 20Ds temporarily. Also from 9th March, operation of TfL W5 was moved from Hackney (HK) to Walthamstow Avenue (AW) to join the 379, while TfL497 (Harold Wood Station-Harold Hill) ceased, being replaced by an extension of TfL346 to/from Upminster.

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Above: ADL/Enviro 200 MMC 37540 (YW19 VUC) at Harold Wood on 2/3/24, in the last week of route 497 operation. (John Podgorski).

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Above: The new Metrocities for TfL W5 have replaced ex HCT Group Optare Solos, including 47990 (YJ60 PFO), pictured at Archway on 21/1/23. (John Podgorski).

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Above: On 5/3/24, New Routemaster LT255 (LTZ 1255) collided with a shop front on New Oxford Street, while working an eastbound service 8. 2 people were slightly injured. Here is the bus being recovered back to Bow garage. (Via The Independent).

(Lea Interchange Bus Company): A number of Wright StreetDeck Electroliners were stored here prior to them entering traffic with East London and Selkent. Additionally, some Enviro 200s and Optare Solos from East London were stored there, following electric route conversions and contract changes.

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Above: Ex route W5 Optare Solos 47998 (YJ12 GVY) and 47996 (YJ12 GVW) stored at Lea Interchange depot on 10/2/24. (John Podgorski).

(Selkent): From 29/1/24, schools TfL601 (Thamesmead-Dartford Heath) passed to Go-Ahead on retender. From 24/2/24, Superloop SL3 (Bromley North-Thamesmead) commenced, using ex RATP LTs, which previously been on TfL9 from Stamford Brook (V). TfL124 (Catford-Eltham) was electrified from 26/2/24 (see below). TfL47 (Bellingham-Shoreditch) was due to receive Wright StreetDeck Electroliners during March.

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Above: Ready for Superloop SL3; ex RATP LT130 at Bromley depot on 10/2/24. (Nigel Eadon Clarke).

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Above: LT135, as received from RATP at Bromley depot on 10/2/24. Ignore the route 61 blind by the way. (Nigel Eadon Clarke).

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Above: Day two of electrics on route 124 (Eltham-Catford) – 27/2/24. The first day out for Switch Electrocity EV 45005 (YJ23 EHW) and this was the end of its very first journey and departure for the first return to Catford. Whilst it’s very difficult to photograph the full led blind display when it’s moving there is no doubt that the display is excellent to the naked eye. (Nigel Eadon Clarke).

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Above: ADL/Enviro 40H 12362 (SN64 OHO), substituting for a LT on the SL3 at Bickley on 16/3/24. (John Podgorski).

TOP VIEW SIGHTSEEING: The London fleet is ex Metroline ADL/Enviro 400s 401-410 (SN12 EHT/D/V/W, EGY/Z, EHR/F/J/K respectively); ex RATP London Scania Omnicity ‘deckers 411-425 (YT09 ZCO, BJX, YT59 RXS, YR59 FYZ, FZC/F, YT59 PBX, YT10 UWG, XBX/Y, UWH, XBU/V, YT59 RYF, YT10 XBW respectively).



CARLTON BREAKERS PVS & WIGLEYS wish to make enthusiasts aware that they will not be permitted to enter their premises under any circ*mstances.

Alpha Recovery, Weetslade: For scrap: Ex Arriva North East ADL/Enviro 300 NK05 JXG; ADL/Enviro 300NG YN63 BXE; Optare Solos YJ08 XBL/T, YJ59 GJY,GKE, YJ11 OHX/Z, OJA/D; VDL SB200/Wright Crusader CX06 BHK; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini LJ51 DHP. Ex Go North East ADL/Enviro 200 MMC NK69 FBA (fire damaged); Optare Versa NK09 FVG; Mb Citaros NK08 CFX, CGE/G; Scania Omnicity saloon NK56 KKC; Volvo B7TL/Wright LX06ECD.. Ex Stagecoach North East Alexander Dennis Enviro300/Alexander Dennis NK05JXG; MAN 14.240/Enviro 200s NK58 AGZ, NK09 EHB.

BASE, Leyland: For resale: Ex Stringers, Pontefract Bova Futura FHD YJ11 ANU.

BCA (British Car Auctions, Edinburgh): For resale: Ex Durness Bus Ford Transits J100 TDB, N77 JDB.

Bus & Coach Centre, Forest Hill: For resale: Ex Whippet Scania K410EB6/Caetano Levantes BV17 GSU, BL17 XAW-Z, XBA/B, BV67 JZH/J/L-N/P/R/T/O. Resold: BV67 JZH to Forge, Maesteg.

Bus & Coach Sales, Yaxley: For resale: Former Translink Metro ex Hectares, Jonesborough Volvo B7TL/ALX400s BYZ 8701, BEZ 8966/67/73. Resold: BYZ 8701, BEZ 8966/67/73 to Cooper, Killamarsh.

The Bus Doctor, Swanley: For resale: Ex Abellio London ADL/Enviro 400H SN12 AJU.

The Bus Works, Birmingham: For resale: ADL/E200 YX11 CNY. Ex Green Bus ADL/E400s LJ09 CDV/Y, OLO. Ex Stagecoach East Scotland Trident/ALX400s SP04 DBX/Y, WA04 CRZ ex DAZ 1561, WA04 CSU, DCX, WA04 FOD/F/H/J, MX55 KOV. Ex Whippet, Swavesey Volvo B7RLE/Plaxton Centro WS327. Resold: WA04 FOD/F to Peoplesbus, Aintree. Ex Abellio London ADL/Enviro 400 LJ09 CDO to Belfast City Sightseeing. Ex NX West Midlands Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis BX54 DFJ/Z to Swanbrook, Cheltenham. Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini BX54 XRJ to Fourways, Chelmsford. Trident/ALX400s BU04 BJZ, BKA to JD Travel, Oxford.

Campbell, Dumbarton: For breaking: Ex.First Glasgow Alexander Dennis E40H/Alexander Dennis SN61BFM. Ex.Glasgow Kids Playbus, Glasgow Bristol VRTR/ECW HWJ931W.

Car Mart, Peterborough: For resale: Ex Ember Core, Dundee Ford Transit SC16 LVY.

Chartwell, Horsham: For resale: ADL/E200 MMC YX68 UJO. Ex Falcon, Byfleet ADL/E200 KX58 GWE; Scania Omnilink YT13 HKZ; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban SK07 CFP. Ex Lodge, High Easter Trident/EL Lolyne C20 DGE. Ex Panther, Parkeston ADL/Enviro 200 AS09 PAN; Volvo B7TL/ALX400 BIG 7758. Ex Safeguard, Guildford Optare Tempo YJ06 FXM. Ex Selwyns, Runcorn Scania N230UD/Olympus PN09 EMX. Ex Stantons, Stoke ADL/Enviro 200 LJ09 KPK; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini SN56 AEE. Ex Vision, Blackrod ADL/E200 YX11 AEO; ADL/short E200 YX13 EHH; Optare Versa YJ62 FSE. Ex Weardale, Stanhope Scania Omicity ‘decker YN08 DHG. Ex White Bus, Windsor ADL/Enviro 200 YX18 KUC. Ex Whippet, Swavesey Volvo B7RLE/Plaxton Centro YX59 BZF. Resold: PN09 EMX to A2B, Melbourn.

Close Brothers: For resale: Ex Metroline Volvo B5LH/Wright Geminis BV10 WVP, LSO/U, WVN/O.

Clyde Metal Recycling, Greenock: For scrap: Ex Eastern Scottish Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans MX06 VNZ, YXP/R. Ex First Glasgow Optare Solo M780SE YJ56 EPP. Ex McGill’s Dart SLF/Pointers LR02 BDZ, NK04 NPE; Optare Solo M1020 YJ55 BHA; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban SF57 NPK. Ex Midland Bluebird Scania Omnidekka SN55 KKE; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban SF06 GZN; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini SF54 OUC. Ex Xplore Dundee Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis SP54 CHG/H/K, CGX, BX54 XPN, BU06 CWT.

Coachtraders, Whitburn: For resale: Ex Radical Travel, Edinburgh Mb 0816D/UNVI PO62 CCE ex UAS 278. Resold: PO62 CCE to Whitestar, Neilston.

Davies Motors, Ruthin: For scrap: Ex Eagles, Gwernymynydd MAN 13.220/Marcopolo PF52 SZN. Ex Ridgeway Coaches, Port Talbot Volvo B12M/Berkfhof ED03 GHA. Ex Wheadon’s, Cardiff Irisbus 150E24/Vehixel Scholarbus DC05 DKE.

Dawsongroup, Hellaby: Off loan: Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban BD14 KXX from Thames Valley Buses.

Drew Wilson, Carluke: For resale: Ex Bay Travel, Lochgelly Mercedes OC500/Caetano CT650 BF63 ZTE ex R700 BAY; Volvo B9R/Caetano FJ11MKO. Ex Edinburgh Coach Lines Volvo B13RT/Plaxton Panther SG11 ZXW ex OIG 1543, LSK 877. Ex Go North East Optare Solo M890SR NK61 FEX. Ex Golden Eagle, Salsburgh MAN 18.360/Plaxton Panther YN07 EAY ex RIJ 774, UO 6929. Ex Hairy Haggis Tours, Bathgate Optare Solo M850 KX55 PFN. Ex JP Coaches, Forfar Bova Futura FHD SP07 KZA orig T8 OVA; Iveco Daily 50C15/Euromotive AE57 LXT; Optare Solo M9000SR KX14 FJP. Ex.Stuarts, Carluke Optare Solos YJ65EVK/L. Resold: SG11 ZXW to Fishers, Dundee. NK61 FEX to Evans, Tergaron and now WIG 8915.

Ensign, Purfleet: For resale: Ex First Aberdeen Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans SV07 EHF, SV57 EYH, SN57 JDJ, HZZ, SV08 FHC/G. Ex First Glasgow ADL/Enviro 400Hs SN61 BFK-M/O/P/U/V/X-Z – (ex storage at Campbell, Dumbarton). Ex First South Yorkshire Wright StreetLites SM13 NEU, SK63 KGP/U/Y. Ex Sullivan Buses, South Mimms Scania Omnicity ‘deckers LX59 COU, CPZ, LX10 AUE, ALU, LX59 CNK/N/O/U, YT59 DYH. On loan: ADL/Enviro 500 SN09 CAU to First Eastern Counties.

Finnie, Inverness: For scrap: Ex Stagecoach North Scotland Volvo B9R/Plaxton Panther SV61 CUH; Alexander Dennis Enviro/Alexander Dennis SV57BYS; Volvo B9R/Plaxton MSU463 (orig. SV61CTX).

Fishwick, Colne: For resale: Ex MacDonald, Balallan, Lewis Ford Transit YJ69 VKP.

G&A Car Spares, Great Yarmouth: For scrap: Ex Ambassador Travel, Great Yarmouth Optare Solo M850 MX54 KYA.

GRC Recyclers, Dundee: For scrap: Ex Fishers Tours, Dundee Volvo B10M/VH Alizee E664 XUG orig E656 UNE , F95 OTT orig F805 TMD.

Hamill, Ahoghill: For scrap: Ex Translink Ulsterbus Scania L94UB/Wright Solars CYZ 4091 ex FXI 410, GEZ 7826/29/44/45, KEZ 7475 ex HXI 475.

Hardwick, Carlton: For scrap: Ex Alpine, Llandudno Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premiere T501 EUB ex WDZ 1232. Ex Arriva North East ADL/Enviro 200 YX10 EBZ; Optare Solos YJ08 XBP, YJ11 OJC/E; VDL SB120/Plaxton Centro YJ57 BVB. Ex Arriva North West & Wales Alexander Dennis Enviro300/Alexander Dennis CX58EVT; VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar CX58EUT, MX59 AAZ, MX61AUJ. Ex Stagecoach East Midlands Dart SLF/Pointers GX04 EYC, FX06 AED, YN56 HAO, HBC/L, GZZ. Trident/Presidents MX53 FLF/L, FMK; Volvo B7TL/EL Vyking FX55 AZV; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban FX05 GXM. Ex SS Suncruisers, Scarborough MCW Metrobus B198WUL.

Hectares Plant Sales, Jonesborough: For resale: Ex Translink Ulsterbus Scania L94UB/Wright Solars GEZ 7830/42/43/46/47, KEZ 7477ex HXI 477; Volvo B7TL/ALX400s EEZ 2876/77 ex CYZ 3522, EEZ 2882. Resold: EEZ 2876/77 to Celtic Journey Tours, Dunboyne. EEZ 2884, EEZ 2895/97, 2983 to Kavanagh, Urlingford. GEZ 7843 to Hendersons Driver Training. GEZ 8646 to Lloyds School of Motoring, Belfast. Ex Ulsterbus Scania L94UB/Wright Solars BYZ 7620 ex GXI 420 to Irish School of Motoring, Dublin. BYZ 7634, 8035 to Ticknock Bus Hire, Dublin. FGZ 2234, VCZ 8815 to Kavanagh, Urlingford. KEZ 7464 to Finegan, Carrickmacross. KEZ 7466 to McNamee, Oldcastle. Volvo B7TL/ALX400 EEZ 2996 to O’Callaghan, Coachford and now 05 D 123439.

JAB93, Bridgend: For scrap: Ex Bradford, Bargoed DAF MB230/Van Hools F548/9RJX.

John Hill Coach Sales, Melton Mowbray: For resale: Ex Williams, Brecon Scania K360IB4/Irizar YN14 EDR ex WIL 3944. Resold: YN14 EDR – exported to Cyprus.

Llesbus, Pyle: Resold: Mercedes Sprinter 516/Ilesbus CN21 XJH to Diamond South East as no 20992.

Looms, Spondon: For scrap: Ex TM Travel Scania L94UB/Wright Solar FN04 HSD.

JAB93, Bridgend: For scrap: Ex Watts, Bonvislton Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premiere S51 UBO ex TIL 7907.

Kelly’s, Wicklow: For scrap: Ex Dublin Bus Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 12 D 38797; ADL/Enviro 400ERs 212 D 20118, 21759 – (all fire damaged).

Looms, Spondon: For scrap: Ex Trent Barton ADL/Enviro 200 MMC YY18 TPO (fire damaged); Optare Versa YJ12 PHX.

M&R Commercials, Fforestfach: For scrap: Ex Hayward, Carmarthen Bova FHD12 SG52ZKE; DAF SB4000/Van Hool YJ05PWE.

MC Tractors, Ramsey: For scrap: Ex Arriva the Shires Dennis Trident/Alexander W445XKX; Dart SLF/Pointers KE53KBP, KE53NFD. Scania L94UB/Wright Solar KE55CVG; Volvo B7RLE/WrightEclipse Urban FJ58HYL; Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini FJ58KXR. Ex Panther Travel, Parkeston Volvo B12BT/Plaxton Panther SJ57 AAY.

Morris Leslie Auctions, Errol: For resale: Ex Order of Malta, Stirling Citroen Relay BG65 FHF.

North West Bus Sales, Bolton: For resale: Ex Metroline ADL/Enviro 200s LK08 DWW, LK08 FNG/H; ADL/Enviro 400s LK10 BZX/Y, LK60 AEZ; Volvo B9TL/Wright Geminis BV10 WVT, BF10 LSV/X/Y.

Odyssey Coach Sales, Wigan: For resale: Dennis Javelin/Plaxton Profile YN09 DYD. Ford Transits VKL 549, HV70 LVZ. Irisbus Eurorider PB61 MTB. Mb OC500/Caetano CT650 FJ10 EZL. Mb Sprinter/EVMs WUI 7599, RX17 OYN. Mb Tourismo BK13 XYP. Optare Versa GX08 YGF. Scania Omniexpress YP10 VZF. Temsa HD12 Safari YJ19 AXR. Volvo B12BT/Jonckherre FX58 SXD. Yutong Tc9 YA66 JHJ. Ex Andrews, Tideswell Neoplan Euroliner J5 AOT. Ex Apple Travel, Slough Dennis Javelin/Plaxton Profile T33 APL.Ex Atlantic Travel, Bolton Volvo B9TL/MCV D103 BV13 ZCZ; Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini BN61 MXH. Ex Austin Travel Beaulas Glory KSU 175; Beaulas Mythos NKH 819. Ex Ava Coach, Leyland Neoplan Tourliner F10 AVA; Yutong Tc12 F6 AVA. Ex Bibbys, Ingleton Seddon Pennine/Plaxton Supreme OPP 222P; Temsa HD12 Safari YJ16 EKY. Ex Boyd’s, Glasgow Mb Sprinter P300 MCF. Ex Buchanans, Hereford Mb 0C500/Caetano C650 tri-axle FJ60 KUO. Ex Calne Travel BMC Karisma BX59 KVS; Neoplan Tourliner ML60 HYY; Temsa Opalin YJ08 DZZ. Ex CJJ Coaches Ford Transit HJ18 YPM; Neoplan Tourliner MX59 BYM; Scania Interlink K123 CJJ; Yutong Tc9 K31 CJJ. Ex Cranberry Coachways, Great Harwood VH TD921 Altano tri-axle T90 CBY. Ex GPT Travel VDL Bova tri-axle ST16 GHH. Ex Grange Travel, Gravesend Mb Sprinter/EVM X-clusive 29 GT, Ex JH Coaches, Birtley Volvo B7TL/President LK04 NNM; Wright StreetLite WF MX60 BXD. Ex Ken Muckle Coach Hire Ford Transit KM62 MCH. Ex KIS Coaches, Northampton Mb Atego1023L/Indcar K19 COA. Ex Leger Holidays VDL Bova tri-axle VO16 VHT. Ex Lew Jones, Llanwrst Beaulas Aura KC08 KTC; Scania K320EB4/Irizar i4 FE12 LKX. Ex Mayne, Buckie Iveco Daily 70C18/Indcar Y90 GSM; MAN 19.290 Mobi People Explorer N25 GSM; MAN 19.360/Beaulas Cygnus N99 GSM. Ex Millbank Coaches, Peterhead Mb Sprinter/UNVI Vega ML11 BAN; Mb Atego/UNVI Voyager 1021L T26 MBC; VH TX16 Alicron L23 MBC. Ex Pegasus Coaches Ford Transit SO56 PEG. Ex Phil Anslow, Pontypool Optare Solo YJ60 LTZ. Ex Ranj Coach Tours Neoplan Starliner BT14 LCT. Ex Reays, Wigton Temsa MD9 YJ68 CJY; Temsa HD12 9 HXN. Ex Redline Travel Volvo B12B/Sunsundegui Sideral 15 RED. Ex SBC Leisufre, Basildon Scania K400EB6/Irizar i6 HC14 SBC. Ex Silverdale, Nottingham Scania K340EB4/Caetano Levante FJ10 EZU. Ex Simpsons, Rosehearty Mb Sprinter/EVM PL13 BUS. Ex Stanley Travel VH TX16 Alicron TX63 STX. Ex Star Tours, London Mb Sprinter/EVM X-clusive RK15 DOU; VDL Bova YD19 GPO. Ex Starline Mb Sprinter/Paramount SN70 OVV. Ex Swans, Chadderton ADL/E400 MMC SN66 WKW; Irizar i8 YT71 GJ; VDL Futura tri-axle WJ16 KAE. Ex Taylors, Yeovil Iveco Daily 70C18/Indcar Wing WJ19 HPV; VH T916 Acron tri-axle K22 TCT. Ex Three Star, Luton Scania K410EB6/Irizar i6 TC16 TSC; Volvo B9R/Sunsundegui Sideral BX62 BBV. Ex TJs Travel, Leeds Temsa MD9 YJ69 AJO; Yutong Tc9s YF17 LTJ, YJ17 DDA; Yutong Tc12 YG16 EAE. Ex Travelsure ADL/short E200s YX11 CRV/Z, MX13 AZW, SN65 OHD; Dennis Javelin/Plaxton Profile 697 BYU; Ford Transits FX13 WJN, FG16 LLC; Irisbus Eurorider/Marcopolo PN07 EHH; Irisbus Eurorider/Plaxton Paragon 648 WHK; Mb 0814D/Plaxton Cheetah YN54 WWO; Mb Tourismo tri-axle BT15 KNE; Optare Solo M880SLs YJ10 OAE, SP60 CLP; Optare Solo M950 YN09 LCM, MX10 DXP; Setra S416 ODY 553Y; VDL Bova OO15 TSH; Yutong Tc9 YC16 XAD. Ex Tyrers, Farnworth DAF DB250/ALX400s JRZ 3268, SHZ 8496; Scania Omnicity ‘decker LX59 CME. Ex VV Link, Hayes VH TX16 Alicron M15 VVL. Ex Whitestar, Glasgow Irizar i6 IRZ 181; VH TX15 Alicron S50 WSC. Ex YMS Travel, Canterbury DAF DB250/Wright Gemini Y3 YMS; VDL SB120/Wright Cadet YG52 CLO.

Parnell, Honiton: For resale: Mb Sprinter/Ferqui Soroco LN15 RYD. Mb Sprinter/EVM Elegance KT17 YON. Mb Sprinter PK67 YOH.

Parton, Carlton: For scrap: Ex Arriva Yorkshire VDL SB200/Wright YJ57 BVV. Ex Bucklebury Farm Park, Reading (Playbus) MCW Metrobus SND 135X.

Pelican, Castleford: For resale: Ex AVA Coach, Leyland Scania Omniexpress PT10 AVA.

Procter, Leeming Bar: For resale: Ex Airsym, Colnbrook Mb Sprinter 516/Ilesbus WP21 XFB. Ex Avacab, Leyland ADL/Enviro 300 SN08 AAJ ex PT57 AVA; Mb 0816D/UNVI BC08 EBC ex PT07 AVA; Scania K40EB6/Irizar WD13 KPY ex PT13 AVA, YN63 BYY ex PT63 AVA. Ex Clarkes, Sydenham Yutong Tc9 YE18 FMD. Ex Heyfordian, Bicester Neoplan Tourliner OU17 OSE. Ex Monmouthshire CC ADL/Enviro 300 SN06 JVX. Ex Ross Travel, Featherstone Temsa HD12 YJ18 AYN. Resold: SN06 JVX to Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough. OU17 OSE to Acorn Travel, Deri. YE18 FMD to Sim, Boot. YJ18 AYN to ASA Travel, Birmingham. WP21 XFB to Lloyd, Machynlleth.

PVS, Carlton: For scrap: Ex Aintree Coachline Trident/President SN04 ACZ. Ex Blackburn Bus Company Volvo B7TL/Plaxton YD02UM ; Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis PJ05 ZWA/B; Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown PO51 MVA. Ex Burnley Bus Company Optare Solo M710SE YJ57 UFH; Optare Solo M780SL MX07 BCO; Trident/President LN51 GKD; VDL SB200/Wright Commander YJ57 BVU; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini YC53 MXT ex X7 VTD; Volvo B10BLE/Wright PO51MUP. Ex Cherry, Maghull Transbus Dennis Trident/Transbus SN04 ACZ/AEF. Ex First Aberdeen (via Ensign, dealer) Volvo B7RLE/Wright SV07 EHF, SV57 EYH/JDJ/HZZ, SV08 FHC/G. Ex First Cymru (via Ensign, dealer) Alexander Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Dennis CU08 ACZ; Volvo B7RLE/Wright CU08 AHV. Ex First Glasgow (via Ensign, dealer) Alexander Dennis E40H/Alexander Dennis SN61 BFK/L/M/O/P/U/V/X/Y/Z. Ex First South West (via Ensign, dealer) Optare Solo YJ56 AOT, Volvo B7TL/Wright YN06URE; Volvo B10BLE/ALX300 W597 RFS; Trident/East Lancs WJ55CRZ. Ex First South Yorkshire Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans KX05 MJE, MHJ, MX06 YXS. Ex First West Yorkshire Volvo B7TL/Wright YJ06 XLE. Ex Keighley Bus Company Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renowns V208-10 EBV, W561/616 CWX, X562 YUG; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini PJ05 ZWB; Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presidents LK51 XGV, YD02 UMZ. Ex NX West Midlands Volvo B7TL/ALX400s BJ03 EWR, EXL, BU53 UMR; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini BX54 DFN; Trident/ALX400s BJ03 EUM/Z. Ex Stagecoach Manchester ADL/Enviro 400 NK57 DXE; Trident/ALX400 VU06 JCY. Ex Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire ADL/Enviro 300s GX06 DZB/D; MAN 18.240/Enviro 300s PO59 HXW, MXG/N/R; Optare Solo MX08 UPH. Ex Stagecoach Yorkshire MAN 18.240/ADL/Enviro 300s YN57 MXS/V/X/Y, MYA, SF08 GPZ, YN08 JFX, JGZ, JHA, YN58 CEV, CFF/J. Ex Team Pennine Optare Solos YJ08 XBF, YK08 ETD/J; Optare Tempos MX06 EDV, YJ09 EYA/C; VDL SB200/Plaxton Centro YJ08 DWM; Volvo B7TL/EL Myllenium Vyking PG04 WGV; Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President V74 MOA. Ex Tetley, Leeds Trident/ALX400 LX03 ORU. Ex Transport for Greater Manchester Optare Solo YJ60 KCX. Ex University Bus, Hatfield Mercedes Benz 0530 BV57 YHG. Ex Warrington’s Own Buses DAF SB120/Wright Cadet J5 BUS ex YJ54 CFM; Optare Versa YJ13 HKD; VDL SB120/Wright Cadet DK07 EZJ; Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis LX53 AZZ, LK04 HXV.

Ripley, Carlton: For scrap: Ex Confidence, Leicester DAF DB250/ALX400s S213/14 JUA. Ex First South West Volvo B7TL/Wright FS07 FDU. Ex Metroline ADL/Enviro 200s LK08 DWV, YX58 DWU, FOT; Volvo B9TL/Wright Geminis BF10 LTA, BV10 WVS, BK10 MFJ, BV10 WVX. Ex Hulley, Baslow Alexander Dennis Dart SLF/MCV LK58 CRV. Ex Hunter, Leeds VDL DB250/Wright Gemini LJ04 LFE. Ex Murgatroyd Thruscross Scania L914B/Van Hool W586 RNP; Scania/Irizar YG04 NJE. Ex Stagecoach London Alexander Dennis E40H/Alexander Dennis YX16 OGL (fire damaged). Ex Swanbrook, Cheltenham Dennis Trident/Alexander V159/66 DFT, X315NNO. Ex Teal, Hutton Cranswick Mercedes Benz 0814D/Onyx MX06 OOC. Ex Weardale, Stanhope Trident/President PN03 UMF. Resold: Volvo B7TLWright Gemini SF54 OUD – to Alpine, Llandudno for spares only.

Scania, Worksop: For resale: Ex Watts, Bonviston VDL Futuras WJ16 KAE, WJ17 EZK. Resold: WJ17 EZK to Swans, Chadderton.

Scrapped in house: Ambassador Travel, Great Yarmouth Optare Versas AU08 DKL/N; Optare Solo MX54 KYA. Borderbus, Beccles Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini LF52 ZPB. Go-Ahead London Volvo B5LH/Wright Gemini LJ61 GVW. Hunter, Leeds Dart SLF/Pointer MV54 EEN; Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini BX55 XNT. Norfolk Coachways, Attleborough Irisbus Eurorider/Plaxton Paragon YN54 WWM ex TUI 889, N14 DHH. Skills, Nottingham Irisbus EuroRider/Beaulas Stergo YN55 KWR; Mb Sprinter 413/Frank Guy LX55 CFD; Scania K114EB4/Berkhof Axial ET06 LCT; Volvo B7TL/ALX400 06-D-30453 (spares only); Volvo B9R/Caetano Levante FJ61 EWW. Stagecoach North Scotland ADL/Enviro 400 NK57 DXB (fire damaged). Stagecoach South West ADL/Enviro 400 MX07 HMK.Stagecoach West Scotland MAN 18.220/ALX300 SP06 DBY. Stanley Travel, Oxhill Optare Solo YJ56 WVG ex R6 STX; Volvo B7TL/ALX400s V102/46 LGC ex S2, S5 STX; Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presient YX51 AYH. Watts, Bonvilston Scania K124EB6/Irizar PG06 YSA ex J60 WNN.

Shears, Winkleigh: For scrap: Ex Go South Coast ADL/Enviro 400 HW63 FHH (fire damaged); Ex Go South West ADL/Enviro 400s LX06 EZN, FKO, ETE/V, EUA.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (225)

Above: Go East Anglia Mercedes Touros BX55 FYJ/H at Sible Hedingham depot, prior to them going for scrap. (Robert Mc Gregor).

Shelton Motors, Ramsey: For scrap: Ex Arriva London Wright Gemini 2DL integral LJ11 AFA. Ex Arriva Midlands Optare Solo M880 YJ57 EKC; Optare Solo M890SR YJ58 CCO; Optare Versa YJ09 MKC. Ex Arriva North West & Wales Optare Solo M890SR YJ09 MMF. Ex Arriva Southern Counties ADL/Enviro 200s GN07 DLV, GN58 BUO, GN09 AWW; DAF DB250/EL Myllenium Lowlander FD02 UKO; Mercedes Citaros BV58 MLV, BK58 URR; VDL SB200/Wright Pulsars YJ08 DZB/C; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban KX11 PUJ; Volvo B7TL/ALX400s GN04 UDZ, UEZ, UFD/G/K/S; Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis LJ51 DHC/G/K/L, FJ06 ZPX. Ex Arriva The Shires Optare Versa YJ09 MKD; Optare Solo KE54 OSU; Scania L94UB/Wright Solar YN55 PZY; VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar YJ08 DZB; Wright StreetLite DF LK14 FTN. Ex Go East Anglia Dart SLF/Pointers EU05 AUT, EU56 FLM; Mercedes Touros BX55 FYH/J; Volvo B7TL/President PJ02 RBY.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (226)

Above: EU05 AUT at Hedingham & Chambers Clacton depot on 29/7/23; shortly after withdrawal by Go East Anglia. (John Podgorski).

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (227)

Above: Arriva Southern Counties ADL/Enviro 200 GN58 BUO awaits the inevitable at Colchester depot on 21/12/23. (John Podgorski).

Spall, Dallinghoo: For scrap: Ex Stephensons of Essex Dart SLF/Mini Pointer EU03 CFY.

Stafford Bus Centre, Stone: For resale: Ex Dilwyn’s, Deiniolen Trident/ALX400 LX03 BWJ; Yutong TC9 YJ16 UTK. Ex LA, Tamworth ADL/Enviro 300 SN55 HSF. Resold: LX03 BWJ, YJ16 UTK to Warwickshire Travel, Binkley Woods. SN55 HSF to Tanat Valley.

Sweeney Kincaid Auctions, Glasgow: For resale: Ex Dunn, Airdrie Optare Solo M920 YJ08 PKU.

Temsa, Cleckheaton: For resale: Ex Watts, Bonvilston Mb Tourismo BN12 CNK ex L8 CJT; VDL Futura J60 WNN ex WA14 DUH. Resold: BN12 CNK to Simpson, Rosehearty.

Unknown dealers: For scrap: Ex A1 Coaches, Skelmesdale Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis LF02 PVL/O. Ex Andrews, Tideswell Trident/EL Lolyne PJ03 TFZ ex T4 FEG, Y26 ACT (fire damaged). Ex Arriva Yorkshire VDLSB200/Wtight Commanders YJ56 JYF, YJ57 BVV/X/Z. Ex Ashcroft, Speke DAF DB250/EL Lowlander L600 BTS ex FMN 299J.Ex Carousel Buses Mb Citaros VF/WF56 OXF. Ex Carver, Ellesmere Port Scania K320IB4/Irizar YN15 EKL (accident damaged). Ex Connexions Buses, Tockwith Scania Omnidekka YN04 GNV ex IUI 6411. Ex Diamond North West Optare Solo M1020 YJ10 MBV. Ex DRM, Bromyard Scania Omnicity’decker YN55 RCY ex DM55 DRM; ScaniaOmnilink YN07 LDY, YR09 GXP ex UK09 DRM. Ex Eifon’s. Gwalchmai MAN 14.240/Enviro 200 CX60 AEC; Optare Solo M920SL CX56 TMY. Ex First Cymru Dart SLF/Pointer CU54 HYZ; Optare Solo M9700SR YJ14 BVE (fire damaged); Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans MX56 AFF/N. Ex First Eastern Counties Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President LT02 ZCF. Ex First Midlands West Mb Citaros LK07 CCF/J/V. Ex First Potteries Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini KP54 AZA. Ex First West Yorkshire BMC Condors YK07 FTP, FUB. Dart SLF/Marshall Capital RL02 FYX; Volvo B7TL/Wright Geminis YJ54 XUD/G/H, YJ06 XKT, XLS. Ex Gillen/Glen, Greenock Bova Futura OAZ 9372 ex WC08 GRA; Volvo B12B/Jonckherre MistralOB02 OXF ex KXA 394. Ex Goodsir, Holyhead Plaxton Primo YX60 DXE. Ex Harris, Feur de Lis Volvo B10M/Berkhof Axial R294 RJM ex WJZ 2932; Volvo B10B/Plaxton Verde N613 FJO; Optare Solo M850 MX04 VMH; Volvo B7R/Plaxton Prima T110 JBC ex WJZ 2934/333 SXU. Ex Harrogate Bus Company Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban YK04 JYP ex H10 ESU; Volvo B7TL/Prsidents V34 MOA, W118 DOP. Ex Lothian Buses Volov 7900H BT14 DJV. Ex McCall, Lockerbie MAN 14.220/MCV Evolution YN56 OSU. Ex Nefyn Coaches Optare Solo M970SL YJ13 HKT ex TC10 TVC (accident damaged). Ex Redroute Buses, Gravesend Volvo Olympian/Alexander RH P786 SWC ex 97 D 344. Trident/ALX400 T657 KPU. Ex SD Travel, Whitburn Volvo Olympian/Alexander RL R114 EVX ex YIL 9116; Volvo Olympian/Alexander RH T471 TBA ex SUI 5706, T291 BRM ex K18 DSB/B6 CWR orig 99 D 535; Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premiere T798 FRU ex XIL 676/B10 MGR orig A15 XEL; Scania K124IB4/VH Alizee Y605 JSH ex M90 XON orig B19 DWA; Trident/President SK52 OGZ; Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon PX03 KCV ex YSL 334/YIL 8340. Ex Simpson, Roseheary Temsa Safari YJ14 BYL ex 367 NHA (fire damaged). Ex Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire Trident/ALX400s MX55 KPV, KRO. Ex Stagecoach East Scotland ADL/Enviro 300s SV57 BYW ex VLT183, BYX ex WLT 427; Optare Solo M850s SP55 CXG/O, SP05 ECJ, SP55 DND, PX06 FYC, SP06 FNC; Trident/ALX400 SF55 NOH. Ex Stagecoach Manchester MAN 18.240/Enviro 300 SF08 GOK. Ex Stagecoach North Scotland ADL/Enviro 200 SV07 FCD; ADL/Enviro 300 SV57 BYS; Optare Solo M880s SV08 FZM/O/R/S; Volvo B7TL/ALX400s X122 HKY ex ESK 934/P125 YST orig 00 D 4007, LW51 ZGU ex 127 ASV/P9 YST orig 01 D 10214, SJ02 AJA ex TSU 642/P16 YST orig 02 D 10256. Volvo B9TL/EL Olympuses SY07 CVA/B, CUW/X. Ex Stagecoach West Dart SLF/Pointers PX06 DWA, VU06 HZX; Optare Solo M880 AJ58 RBF; Trident/ALX400 PX04 DPV. Ex Thames Travel Mb Citaros PF/RF56 OXF. Ex Watts, Bonvilston MAN 18.400/Noge Catalan YN07 EBX; Volvo B7TL/Presidents LJ53 BDY, BFL; Volvo B10M/Berkhof Axial W367 SJM ex 7646 RU..

Wigley, Carlton: For scrap: Ex Amvale, Grimsby Volvo B10M/Plaxtons DAZ 1556, M63WEB. Ex Arriva Yorkshire VDL DB250/EL Myllenium Lowlanders YJ06 WMF, WWZ. Ex Coopers Tourmaster, Bedlington Scania K124IB6/Irizar V100 LCT. Ex First Aberdeen Volvo B7RLE/Wright SV06 GRX. Ex First Essex Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban YJ05 VVA. Ex First Hampshire & Dorset Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President open topper MIG 3842 ex LT02 ZCL Ex First South West Volvo B7TL/Wright SF54 TKC. Ex First West of England Volvo B7TL/Wright SN55HEJ.; Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini SV08 FXX. Ex Hornsby, Ashby Scania L94UD/East Lancs YN53 FMX. Ex Howells, Deri DAF SB3000/Van Hool R37 RCW, R64 GNW. Ex Mills, Mapplewell Bova FHD MR02 FEN. Ex Safeway, Batley Volvo B10M/Caetano Y797 GDV. Ex Stagecoach North East MAN 14.240/Enviro 200s NK58 AFJ, AGX, NK09 EGX; MAN 18.220/Enviro 300 NK55 AJX; MAN 18.240/Enviro 300 YN07 KSF. Ex Stagecoach North West Optare Solo PX54 EPU.

Willenhall Commercials: For scrap: Ex Diamond Midlands Volvo B7RLE/Plaxton Centro YN08 NXL; Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans YJ56 YDO, PAO.

BOOK REVIEWS by Keith A Jenkinson:

DEMONSTRATION, TRIAL & EXPERIMENTAL BUSES by Malcolm Batten. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (228)

Looking back through history, when bus and coach manufacturers launched new models, and after displaying them at exhibitions etc they would often loan them to operators in the hope that they would place an order for the new design. Many of those from 1972 are illustrated within this book at exhibitions, while being demonstrated to operators and after their sale. Amongst them are some ‘one-offs’ such as a Shelvoke & Drewry airport bus, an ultra low Dennis Loline double decker and an AEC Sabre while bringing the book up to date are some alternative fuel buses and several models which have now become familiar across the UK. Divided into 7 chapters, this is an interesting book that will bring back memories of the past as well as looking towards the future.

LONDONS SCANIA BUSES by David Beddall & Liam Farrer Bedall. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (229)

As its title indicates, this book looks at London’s double and single deck buses from this Swedish manufacturer. Starting with the examples built in conjunction with Metropolitan Cammel Weymann, illustrated are all the different batches of step entrance and low-floor double and single deck buses purchased by the various London operators. Although the majority of these wear London’s standard red livery, a few are shown in Metrobus two-tone blue. A book that will perhaps appeal mainly to London bus enthusiasts, it is nevertheless interesting for the bodies from different manufacturers and should be considered.

SOUTHDOWN OUT OF GREEN & CREAM by Simon Stanford. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (230)

Covering the period from the late 1960s through to 1989 when the company was acquired by Stagecoach, this book takes a look at most of the different liveries applied to Southdown’s buses and coaches. Despite many of the photographs being of Bristol VRs, Queen Mary Leyland PD3s, and Leyland Nationals adorned in over-all advert liveries, others wear different adaptations of the company’s familiar green and cream while its coaches are to be seen wearing a number of different route branded and private hire schemes. Full of interest and recapturing many memories of the past, this is a book that can be wholly recommended to enthusiasts across the UK whether or not they are familiar with the company.

MIDLANDS HALF-CAB BUSES – THE TWILIGHT YEARS by Mike Rhodes. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (231)

Starting in the 1970s and recalling the past, this book looks at the wide range of half cab buses that were to be seen in the midlands until the early 1980s. While around 50% of the illustrations feature cream and blue liveried West Midlands PTE vehicles, a number of these had started life in the municipal fleets of Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall, West Bromwich as well as some D9s from Midland Red, while moving further afield, to complete the picture the various makes and models of the half cab buses of municipals Derby, East Staffs. Leicester, Northampton and Nottingham are also illustrated. A brilliant book full of excellent photographs, it can be highly recommended and is one that will be looked at time and time again.

HONG KONG BUSES AND TRAMS 1976-1997, THE FINAL BRITISH YEARS by Philip Wallis. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (232)

Recounting the final twenty-one years of British rule of Hong Kong and its numerous bus operators, this book looks specifically at the buses operated in the territory that had a British connection. While a large number were constructed on British-built chassis, the majority of these also featured bodies from several UK coachbuilders who often supplied them in ckd form. Added to these were several hundred double deckers purchased secondhand from British operators including London Transport, Ribble, Southdown, Yorkshire Woollen District, Clydeside 2000, and several others. Some of these, including a few half-cab buses, retained their original bodies, while a small number were given new ones, and even a trio of Routemasters made an appearance. Divided into chapters relating to their new Hong Kong owners, this is a fascinating book filled with excellent photographs accompanied by detailed captions, and single deckers are also included as too are some minibuses. Everyone should purchase a copy, and not one will be disappointed.

LOTHIAN BUSES IN HISTORIC EDINBURGH by Mike Rhodes. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (233)

This is a somewhat different book to what some might expect, as rather than being solely devoted to Lothian’s buses, it is equally concerned with the architecture and buildings in this historic city. Although a bus features on every photograph, the captions relate more strongly to the buildings in the view, with details of the architect who built them (together with the date of his birth and death), the style in which they were designed and the material used, and the date when they were constructed or opened. A large number of the properties shown are listed buildings with many of them dating from the late eighteenth century, although almost all of the photographs were taken after 2010. The buses depicted do, however, each receive a brief description as too do the services upon which they are shown operating with details relating to recent changes that have taken place. Overall, white it might not totally appeal to the dedicated bus enthusiast, it is nevertheless interesting and should be given consideration.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (234)

BUSES IN GREATER LONDON by Peter Tucker. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99. Broadly speaking, Greater London is contained within the orbital M25 motorway and consists of 32 boroughs, all of which are served by the capitals red buses. Although this book takes a look at the buses to be seen in each borough between 1993 and 2023, there are unfortunately only a small handful taken before the start of the new millennium with the majority being caught by the camera in 2014 and 2022/3, thus reducing the number of different types to be seen, and surprisingly, despite being operated in a number of boroughs during the period covered, not a single bendibus is featured. The photographic captions include a great deal about the architecture and characteristics relating to the location, and as such illustrate the differences between the various boroughs. An interesting book which could have been even more so if it had included several buses of the pre low-floor era, it is nevertheless worthy of consideration.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (235)

BUSES OF WILTSHIRE AND DORSET PAST AND PRESENT by Richard Stubbings. Published by Amberley Publishing, 234mm x 165mm, soft cover, 96pp, £15.99. This book takes a past and present look at the counties named in the title, in which much has changed over the past 50 or so years. The photographic content illustrates the change of ownership of some of the operators included, the change of liveries, and the change of vehicle types and makes. Looking at the pictures of Swindon with its municipal buses and the post and privatised NBC era, Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses and several independent operators bring memories flooding back to life while today’s scene proves how much has changed in less than half a century. This is a book that will be looked at time and time again with every picture telling a story, and is one that can be heartily recommended to all bus enthusiasts whether or not they have a particular interest in the area covered.


Dai Powell, former HCT Group Chief Executive:

Dai Powell, former coal miner, volunteer bus cleaner and most recently Chief Executive of social enterprise bus and minibus operator HCT Group, died in February 2024. He was 68.

A Welshman by birth, Mr Powell’s career began in mining. He joined Hackney-based HCT first as a volunteer and became its Chief Executive in 1993. Mr Powell was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to disabled people.

Over many years of leading HCT Group, he came good on his original aspiration and grew it significantly from being a small community transport organisation to a national social enterprise. He was credited with significantly expanding HCT’s geographical reach in the UK. That took it into many areas (both inside and outside the Capital) and the operation of mainstream bus services, including on behalf of Transport for London; as a contractor on the Bristol Metrobus network (as Bristol Community Transport); My bus school transport in Wakefield (for West Yorkshire Metro); CT Plus Yorkshire (including Powells Bus; Manchester Community Transport (contracting to TfGM); plus on the Channel Islands (as Buses GG on Guernsey and LibertyBus on Jersey). The Park and Ride in Hull was also operated at one time.

Revenue from those commercial undertakings was used to fund socially valuable transport services as well as provide training and work opportunities.

Mr Powellretired in 2020 and HCT ceased trading in 2022. The legacy lives on however – through the operators who took over HCT’s portfolio.

Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (236)

Above: One of the earliest forays into local bus work by HCT was on TfL contracts (under the title of CT Plus). The first was route 388 (originally Hackney Wick to Mansion House) which commenced in January 2003. Dennis Trident/EL Myllenium HTL10 (PF52 TFX) was pictured at Bishopsgate in December 2003. 388 was extended westwards to Blackfriars in September 2004. During 2008, while Blackfriars Station was rebuilt for Thameslink, the 388 was temporarily extended to Temple and then Embankment, before returning to Blackfriars in March 2012. Then in December 2013, it was extended eastwards to Stratford City. Then in 2017, the 388 was extended south to Elephant and Castle. The final alteration to the 388 (and making it into its current form) happened in Octoner 2019, when the Liverpool Stret to Elephant and Castle section was withdrawn and it was rerouted to run via Bank to London Bridge Station, to replace part of the withdrawn TfL route 48. In August 2022, 388 pased to Stagecoach East London, as part of the sale by HCT of its TfL contracts. (John Podgorski).


Classified advertisem*nts are accepted at 30p per word (minimum 22 words). Box numbers available at £6.00. Boxed adverts areaccepted a £8.00 per 30 words and thereafter at 34p per word with discounted offer for multiple insertions. All adverts must be pre-paid to Courtworth Publications, 31, Maldon Road, Colchester, Essex, CO3 3AQ and will be inserted in the next available issue after receipt. Advertisers are reminded to observe the provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act and the Business Advertisem*nts Disclosure Order.


TRIMMING DOWN my collection of bus die-casts to free up more room in my congested bungalow. E.F.E., Corgi, OOC. I have dozens of models to dispose of. Also, an exciting selection of my own black/white and colour photos, including Colchester, Ipswich, Midlands area, United Counties, Provincial, etc etc that I have taken over the years from the 1960’s to the present day. Please phone : Clive on 07594259410


Our monthly bulletin includes Stagecoach North West, Transdev Blackburn and Burnley Bus Companies and numerous north-west independent operators. Visits, extensive photographic service, publications and second-hand department. Join today and enjoy Ribble country. Details from M.J. Yates, 23 Richmond Road, Hindley Green, Wigan, WN2 4ND.
Interested in buses on Merseyside and the surrounding area ? Monthly meetings with guest speakers in Liverpool, tours to places of transport interest, annual week-long holiday tour and postal photo-sales. For membership details and free copy of our bi-monthly Review, contact Dave Mitchell, 16 Allington Street, Liverpool, L17 7AD.
THE M&D AND EAST KENT BUS CLUB provides the fullest information
on all operators in Kent and East Sussex. Membership facilities include news-sheet, publications, photographs, outings, meetings and vehicle preservation. Our widely acclaimed Fleet History of Maidstone & District including 260 illustrations remains available at £22.60 including carriage. Details from 42 St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP3 9NG.
THE SOUTHDOWN ENTHUSIASTS CLUB provides a monthly journal with topical news and information on the fleets of Stagecoach South, Brighton & Hove, First Hampshire & Dorset and other local operators. Publications are issued on a regular basis including annual fleet lists and a Southdown Fleet History series.. Photographic and book sales, winter evening meetings and a variety of tours are also part of the club’s activities. For details send SAE to Hon.Sec, 11 High Cross Fields, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 2SN.
THE NORTHERN GROUP ENTHUSIASTS CLUB keeps you up to date with changes and developments throughout the whole of the Go-Ahead Group as well as Stagecoach North East and Arriva North East. For details send SAE to Ian Athey, ‘Valley View’, Causeyway, Kip Hill, Stanley, Co Durham, DH9 8RN.
INTERESTED IN CROSVILLE then why not join the Crosville Enthusiasts Club ? We publish a monthly ‘Review’ covering Arriva Cymru and the former Crosville Motor Services area (including the erstwhile Chester,
Potteries, Midland Red North, Stevensons and North Western), as well as several minor operators and also run tours during each year. Send large SAE for details to CEC Secretary, 13 Wepre Lane, Connahs Quay, Deeside, Clywyd, CH5 4JR.
Keep up to date with all the latest changes in the Stagecoach Western Buses and Stagecoach Glasgow fleets as well as those of Arriva Scotland West and several independent operators with our bi-monthly news sheets (with histories). Details from G.W. Bain, 12 Brisbane Street, Greenock, PA16 8LN.

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Bus Fayre Spring 2024. (2024)
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