Edited by John Podgorski BA Hons, MSc, CMILT.
Welcome to the round up for July.
The start of the month saw two significant happenings on the local bus scene.
In the London area, from 6/7/14 fares went “cashless”. This meant that all bus tickets had to be pre-paid/bought before travel. The majority of bus journeys in Greater London now utilise Oyster or Travelcards anyway, with cash fares falling to a negligible amount – 1% of total journeys. Fares can also be tendered with contactless bank (credit or debit) cards, and facility is available where if one is out of credit on their Oyster Card, they have a “spare journey” available, before they need to top up again. Transport for London reckon a saving of £24 million will be made from the abolition of cash fares. However, some “cross border” TfL routes will still take cash transactions; for example the Essex sections of 370, 372 and 498, and the 84 in Hertfordshire.
Meanwhile, just for the day, on 7/7/14 the Tour De France came to Essex, on its stage three, from Cambridge to Buckingham Palace. The cyclists raced through the county in a “zig zag”, passing Saffron Walden, then south east through Finchingfield to Braintree; then sharp west to Felstead, before striking to south to Chelmsford, the county town. After this, the western path was regained, towards Epping, though Loughton and on into the Metropolis. Not surprisingly, there were significant alterations to bus services along the “tour” route, with curtailments and some suspensions.
Over the weekend of 12th to 13th July, there was a celebration of six decades of the London Routemaster, with the ‘Routemaster 60’ event at Finsbury Park. It must be remembered that Routemasters were common in Metropolitan Essex up to the mid 1980s (route 86 from Limehouse to Romford was one of their last haunts) – in the case of the red RMs, while their green RML country cousins lasted until 1979 – latterly around Grays. Red Routemasters also used to visit rural Essex hinterlands, such as Lambourne End, in days past. ‘Busmopolitan’ (just) managed to get to Finsbury Park, to admire the Routemaster extravaganza, before the event closed on the Sunday.
Later in the month, it was “the end of an era” in Colchester, with the cessetation of bus operations from the Hedingham Omnibuses outbase at Little Tey. This was the former C and R Coaches depot, which Hedingham bought in January 1982. The Church Lane site had continued as a “full depot” until 2001, when most activity moved to Kelvedon, and it became a 2 vehicle “dormy shed”. Mr and Mrs Copeman, son and daughter in law of one of the C and R founders have now decided to retire; their Stanway School runs joining the Tollesbury fold from September. The old C and R premises survive as workshops – for JD Racing and the Copeman’s own classic military vehicle and tractor engineering business.
C and R stood for Copeman and Raven, being founded in 1953. Mr Raven only stayed in the partnership for two years. The base at Little Tey was established in 1955.
Hedingham’s outbase at Parkeston also closed. This was a relic of Partridge Coaches, who Hedingham acquired in 1989. Back then, there was a school bus outstation on some wasteland (now built on) at Harwich Bathside. Hedingham then moved the 2 vehicles to Harwich Bus Station, until a yard off Europa Way at Parkeston became available in the early 2000s. The work at Parkeston was partly lost and partly transferred to Panther Travel, along with the 2 staff.
321442 has been named ‘Crouch Valley – 1889-2014’; to celebrate 125 years of the Wickford-Southminster line.
From 21/7/14, a new Cambridge to Stansted Airport service began; complementing that already provided by Cross Country, from the Midlands.
New branding on stock by the end of July, looked something like this:
All of the Class 90 + DVT sets; the Class 153, 156, 170 DMUs and Class 317, 321, 379 EMUs had been rebranded. Some of the Class 360 emus were being rebranded at this time, while all of the Class 315 EMUs had no branding at all – possibly reflecting the changes to this type’s operation in the not too distant future.
DVT 82103 has been outshopped in the new AGA livery, ex ONE.
Above: Cross Country Turbostar DMU 170638, calls at Audley End on a Birmingham-Stansted Airport service in August 2008.
Above: With the latest ‘AGA’ branding, Spinter DMU 156409 at Marks Tey on 26/6/14; awaiting departure for Sudbury.
For the expanding Ambus operation are ex RATP London United ADL/Enviro 200s SK07 HLN/V. They were sourced via Ensign.
“Short” ADL/Enviro 200 KX58 BGY has returned to Dawsonrentals, off loan.
BMC 1100 yellowschool bus BX07 OPH is ex Bishops Burton College, East Yorks.
ARRIVA KENT THAMESIDE (GRAYS).
Transferred from Arriva London North, is Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini LF02 PSU.
ARRIVA KENT THAMESIDE (SOUTHEND).
Received from Arriva Medway Towns are Optare Versas 4224/5 (KX62 JNV, JPJ).
Open top Leyland Olympian/Alexander RHs OA323/5 (J323/5 BSH), have been resold via Ensign, to Mc Gill’s of Glasgow.
Above: Leyland Olympian J325 BSH, in its OLST days; at Tooley Street in May 2005.
Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini WVL91 (LF52 ZNZ), which had been returned to London General; has now passed to Ensign.
Bought from a preservationist is ARC PRV ‘RML’ Routemaster NML 613E.
CARTERS, CAPEL ST MARY.
Volvo Olympian/NC Countybus P915 RYO, is ex Bowden and Slater of Torquay.
Received from Hedingham is Trident/EL 726 (W826 NNJ).
Transferred from Konect is Trident/EL 727 (W827 NNJ).
On loan from Hedingham was Trident/EL 702 (T802 RFG); this was returned at the end of July.
Withdrawn are the last Volvo Olympians; NC bodied 92 (P910 RYO) and 96 (R552 LGH).
Above: In pre Go-Ahead days, Chambers Volvo Olympian/NC P901 RYO picks up at Head Street, Colchester in August 2005.
Dart SLF/Mini Pointer DPS2 (BU05 HFG) has been withdrawn due to fire damage.
DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY.
Units 83 and 88 were specially reliveried for the finish of Tour De France stage 3 in London.
83 was repainted yellow, and 88 green. These were the colours worn by the two leaders at the start of stage 3; neither of whom unfortunately completed the race.
Volvo B10A/Plaxton Expressliner 401 (P671 LWB) is on loan to Swallow Coaches, Rainham (Essex).
Heritage fleet Leyland Tiger/Harrington DUF 179 is delicensed due to engine failure.
Dennis Trident/Plaxton Presidents TNL32901/2 (W901/2 VLN) have been cannibalised by Ensign.
FIRST EASTERN COUNTIES (IPSWICH).
On loan from First Hants and Dorset, for rail work are Scania K340EB4/Irizar coaches 23312/4 (YN54 NYT/V).
Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 32479 (AU53 HJV) is now in post privatisation “heritage” livery.
ADL/Enviro 200 44519 (YX09 ADO) and Volvo B7RLE/Wright 69008 (AU05 DMV) have appeared in a revised “Refreshed” livery – featuring a ‘charcoal’ front.
Volvo B7RLE/Wright 66959 (WX55 TZM) has been transferred in from Norwich.
All the Volvo B10BLE/Wrights have left Basildon, and been dispersed amongst Braintree (66165/8-W365/8 EOW), Chelmsford (60809-S660 RNA, 66169-W369 EOW), Clacton (60766-N644 CVR, 60811/63/5-S662 RNA, R641/3 CVR), Colchester (60767-S667 RNA, 66177/9-W377/9 EOW).
Those at Clacton are all stored, along with 66165 at BE, while 60809 is Reserve cum crew ferry at CF.
On 13/7/14, there was an attempted theft of Scania L94/Wright 65631 (V831 FSC) from Magdalen Street yard, Colchester. The bus ended up across the road outside, facing into the building opposite. Minor damage was caused.
Withdrawn are Dart SLF/Marshall 41239 (S239 KLM) and Volvo B10BLE/Wrights 60810/65 (S661 RNA, R643 CVR).
Volvo Olympian/NC 43014 (P554 EFL) has gone to Alpha for scrap.
Bluebird staff bus 68000 (Q275 LBA) is now with First Aberdeen.
Service 193 (Ardleigh-East Bergholt), was de-registered from 27/7/14. This was a schooldays only operation.
There were changes to the Colchester United football shuttles from 26/7/14. The 123 route (St Michaels Estate-Community Stadium) ceased, and was replaced by the existing 120/1 (Bruff Close-Community Stadium) routes.
Above: First Essex Scania/Wrights parked at Magdalen Street depot in Colchester in December 2012. The incident described above, happened in the yard to the left of where this picture was taken.
Above: Now withdrawn First Essex Volvo Olympian/Alexander RL 34288, passes through Lawford on a morning journey of route 193, in May 2005. The bus was working from Harwich depot at the time; also now closed.
FLORIDA COACHES, HALSTEAD.
Withdrawn is Volvo B10M/Caetano J663 CDT.
Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Super Pointer 308 (R80 PSW) has been re-registered back to its original R925 RAU; prior to sale.
GRAHAMS OF KELVEDON.
The only stage service worked by this operator; 383 (New Rickstones Academy-Witham) ceased after 25/7/14. In practice, this was a school contract registered as a local bus service.
Above: The regular vehicle on the 383 was “dual purpose” Mercedes 811D/Plaxton Beaver N376 EAK.
However, this view shows in on a wedding charter at Bocking in May 2008.
HAILSTONE TRAVEL, WICKFORD.
Sold is Iveco 45C minibus MX57 FGD, to Mortons of Little London, Hants.
Little Tey outstation closed after 22/7/14. The final allocation was Volvo Olympian/NCs 65 (L109 LHL), 71 (R626 MNU).
Parkeston outbase also ceased at this time, with Optare Excels 200/3 (R835 FNG, V203 ENU) being the last buses active there. Panther Travel has taken over the work and staff at Parkeston.
Transferred from Anglian, is Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 743 (X386 NNO).
Dennis Trident/EL 702 (T802 RFG) has moved from HD to CN, along with being loaned to Chambers (qv).
Sold to Panther Travel (as dealer) are Leyland Olympian/Alexander RLs 61, 62 (K508/10 ESS) and Optare Excels 200/1/3 (R835 FNG, S169 UAL, V203 ENU); Dennis Lance SLF/Wright 212 (M211 WHJ) and Dart SLF/Mini Pointer 286 (X346 YGU).
LODGE, HIGH EASTER.
Scania K94/Irizar E20 DGE has passed to Weaver of Newbury, Berkshire.
All Leyland Olympian G294 UYK is now a playbus in Birmingham.
There have been calls to increae the frequency of TfL108 (Stratford-Lewisham), due to serious peak overcrowding problems. One suggestion is to introduce aditional North Greenwich-Lewisham short workings; thus reintroducing a sort of route 108A, which last ran in 1970.
The last self propelled working of C stock occurred on 9/7/14, when 5721 + 5531 + 5578 were moved from Hammersmith H and C depot to Ealing Common District depot.
5721 has joined the London Transport Museum Collection, at Acton depot; while 5701/29 were donated to Royal Greenwich University Technical College.
The remainder all went (by road), to Booth Roe at Rotherham for scrap.
MALCOLMS BUS SERVICE, CLACTON.
Mercedes 709D/Plaxton Beaver L887 VHT, has come from Blue Diamond of Harlow.
NATIONAL EXPRESS OPERATIONS.
New are Scania K410EB6/Caetano Levantes SH176-9 (BK14 LFP/R/S/T).
P and M COACHLINES, WICKFORD.
Former Lothian Leyland Olympian/Alexander RH (J849 TSC) is ex Brown of Basildon.
Ex Yorkshire Tiger is former Preston Bus all Leyland Olympian J114 KCW.
Plaxton Primo YX07 GVD is from Bebbs of South Wales.
Leyland National YEV 307S has been re-acquired from a preservationist.
On loan to Purple Parking, Southall are Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premiere BIG 611, and Volvo B7R/Plaxton Prima BIG 6002.
On hire to Regal Busways are Leyland Olympian/Alexander RL BIG 7758 ex F640 LMJ; Dennis Dart/Alexander Dash BIG 8843 ex P390 LPS and Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer SIL 6719 ex P508 RYM.
Above: Panther Travel Leyland Olympian/Alexander RL BIG 7596, ex F639 LMJ, at Hedingham Tollesbury depot in March 2014.
RICHARDS TRAVEL, GREAT BADDOW.
Arrivals are VH T917 integral YJ06 LGC, from Evesway of Manchester, and Setra S415 BK08 XYG ex Wheadon of Ely.
Scania K114/Irizar PB YN55 PZB has been named ‘RAF Earls Colne’.
More new ADL/Enviro 40D hybrids at Bow are 12315-27 (SN14 TYS/T/U/V, SK14 CSX/Y/Z, CTE/U, SL14 LRO, LNP/R/T).
Two more New Routemasters for TFL8 (Bow-Tottenham Court Road) are LT271/2 (LTZ 1271/2).
Ex Selkent is Scania Omnicity 15089 (LX09 AGV).
Further Tridents moved from Bow to Leyton are 17751-4/81/2 (LX03 BTF/U/V/Y, BVT/U) 17785 (LX03 BVY), 17855 (LX03 NEU).
Trident 18217 (LX04 FXE) has transferred to Stagecoach Western (Scotland).
A large number of Tridents were loaned for use at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow;
17451/2/60/93/4/9, 17501/9/16/20-24/75/8, 17740-44/86/7, 18202-10/12-16/18-31/4/5.
Tridents 17400/6 (Y514/7 NHK) are now with Southern Transit, Brighton – via Ensign.
One time Tridents 17069/70 (T669/70 KPU) – latterly with Brighton and Hove; have been resold by Ensign to Wheeler’s Travel of Southampton.
Above: Stagecoach East London silver New Routemaster LT272, passes The Old Bailey on 30/7/14.
STAN’S OF GREAT TOTHAM.
This operator is “down sizing”, and will run only a couple of school contracts in the next academic year.
Bova Futura VWH 836 has been sold to Acme Travel of Molehill Green.
STEPHENSONS OF ESSEX.
Leyland Olympian/Alexander RH 972 (K872 CSF) has passed to a private owner at Tunbridge Wells, Kent – for conversion into a mobile recording studio ! NC bodied Leyland Olympian 866 (J566 HAT) has also been sold.
From 28/7/14, a circular shuttle service was provided around Tiptree; centred on Maypole Road (north end), and running anti-clockwise via Church Road, Station Road, Kelvedon Road and Oak Road. This was a daily operation, linking into First routes 75/A (Colchester-Tiptree/Maldon) at ‘The New Times’, and ran 0700 to 1900 M-Sat and 0900 to 2200 Suns/hols.
This was due to roadworks on the B1022 Maldon Road between Smythes Green and Tiptree, and was scheduled to run until 31/8/14. No fares were charged.
Above: The frontage of Stephenson’s new Boreham depot, seen on 13/7/14.
Withdrawn are AEC PRV Routemaster RML2429 (JJD 429D) and “Short” Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbuses DN3, DN4 (DN, SC02 SUL).
New are Volvo B12T/Sunsundegui SC7s BL14 LSV/X.
They are operated by Excalibur Coaches of London.
Ex London United is 8.8m ADL/Enviro 200 SK07 HLR.
Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer RX51 FNU is now with Travel Express of Wolverhampton, via Ensign.