I hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas! Followers of my social media channels will already be aware of a few goings-on, but I just haven’t had the chance to update the main blog itself. Therefore, here is a little post-Christmas catch-up.
First off, a reminder that Christmas to New Year week service levels can be found by clicking here. A late amendment is that Hallmark are running a weekday service tomorrow, rather than the advertised Saturday service.
Stagecoach published a press release on 18th December about the new Park & Ride buses for Guildford. In a surprise move, the buses will bring an end to Surrey County Council’s oak leaf design for buses operating the service (when they aren’t off exploring the rest of the county that is!). When the design was introduced, Arriva ran two routes (100/200) with five buses, and Safeguard ran one route (300) with three buses. With a PVR of four and two respectively, this meant a branded spare each. Arriva’s Wright-bodied Volvos initially wore different colours – 3731 (GN54 MYO) was light green, 3732 (GN54 MYP) was blue, 3733 (GN54 MYR) was brown, 3734 (GN54 MYT) was pinky/purple, and 3735 (GN54 MYU) was dark green. All were later painted into an identical dark purple livery. Safeguard’s trio of East Lancs Myllennium-bodied Darts (LK06 BWB and LK07 CBO/U) wore a red variant. When Stagecoach won the Park & Ride contract, they took on the trio of East Lancs Darts and painted them in yet another dark pink/purple variant of the oak leaf scheme. With Arriva keeping their buses, Stagecoach made up their requirement (which now included a fourth route, the Onslow 400) with some 2006 Pointer-bodied Darts from Aldershot to Yateley route 3, wearing a bright pink variant of the livery. With a peak vehicle requirement of eight, nine brand-new electric Enviro 200MMCs will be entering service from 7th January. These feature a new ‘Glide’ brand name on the corporate Stagecoach livery. The vehicles are numbered 29101-9 and are being delivered with registrations YX68 UUO/P/R/S/T/V/W/Y/Z, however they are currently in the process of being re-registered with London area registration numbers. So far we can confirm 29103/5 are LJ68 CZC/E respectively, so perhaps we are looking at LJ68 CZA-J. You can read the full press release by clicking here.
Sticking with fleet news, Safeguard have acquired a 13th service bus. Their current active 12-strong bus fleet is dominated by Optare vehicles – 1x Dennis Dart, 1x Optare Tempo, 2x Optare Metrocity, 3x Optare Excel, and 5x Optare Versa. This is soon to change though, with a second Optare Tempo acquired and undergoing preparation for the new Bellfields 3s service commencing next month. YJ58 CEY has come from Lynx and is a 10.6m variant, with the current Tempo in the fleet -YJ06 FXM – being 11.3m in length. A pre-branding photo by Richard Kirwin can be viewed by clicking here.
I had reported on Farnborough-based D&P Coaches having had 51-seat Scania Touring YN18 SGO on demonstration earlier this month. This has now been followed up by 53-seat Scania Interlink YN18 SWO.
YN18 SWO with D&P Coaches – STEVE FOSTER
The final bit of news was an early Christmas present from Cardinal Buses, who let me loose for a few days on their route 661. Having passed my Category D test earlier in the year, it was great to finally put it to use. ADL Pointer-bodied Dart DP474 (LF06 YRK) was my chariot, pictured below at Hampton Court railway station after a dead run from the garage at the start of my first full duty on my own. Rest assured this will not influence my reporting on the operator in terms of this blog, however being mainly schools and rail replacement it isn’t one that crops up all too often anyway.
DP474 at Hampton Court – AUTHOR