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April 2004

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Demonstrations Continue


Following the departure of 200 on the 22nd, a Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse started demonstration on 23rd. Registered FJ04 ETY is has appeared on the Loddon Bridge Park and Ride, as is expected to depart on the 30th. This recent spate of demonstrators is to allow the company to decide upon a new standard single deck type for future purchases.

FJ04 ETY on 28 April 2004 (41721 bytes)

FJ04 ETY in Friar Street yesterday.

Scania Surprise


In addition to the Scania / Irizar Centurys that are currently arriving in the Reading area, a Scania OmniCity demonstrator has appeared in service with Reading Buses / Goldline today. Registered YN04 AHA it has been given fleet number 200, and was operating the Loddon Bridge Park and Ride. It has been fitted with a ticket machine and vault, so may see service on other routes in the coming days.

200 on 14 April 2004 (45463 bytes)

200 in Butter Market this evening.

More Scanias Arriving


Goldline having recently taken delivery of Scania / Irizar Centurys 212/3 are expecting similar 214/5 to arrive this week. Meanwhile First have also taken delivery of their three remaining Scanias for the RailAir service. These differ from the last five by the addition of electronic destination displays, and national fleet numbers. Reports state that Slough have now renumbered their entire fleet, whilst Bracknell still appears to be using the old numbers for the time being - apart now from these new coaches.

23013 on 13 April 2004 (56683 bytes)

23013 is YN04 AJU at Reading Station this evening. In the previous numbering system it would have become 713.

Reading Real Time, Coming Online


The first parts of Reading's town-wide real time bus information system were activated this week (by Monday 5th April). At the moment it only appears to be stop CS at St. Marys Butts that is in use, displaying information about the Loddon Bridge Park and Ride and DayTrack services (no mention of the Madejski Stadium Park and Ride operated by First). It remains to be seen exactly how the system works, but judging by the number of people already seen consulting the display, it should certainly prove popular.

CS on 5th April 2004 (28128 bytes)

Stop CS on 5th April. A DayTrack Spectra appeared soon after.

Citaros Off the Road - and what is replacing them


Two local operators, First in Berkshire and the Oxford Bus Company took their fleet of Mercedes-Benz Citaros off the road last week following a series of fires on similar articulated versions in London. Oxford Bus took their vehicles off on the afternoon of Wednesday 24th, and First in Berkshire followed from around the same time.

Oxford Bus have maintained a full service by reinstating Dennis Darts 512, 515, 517 and Volvo 644 from reserve and Dart T5 from the training fleet. First in Berkshire appear to have done the same, but through some more complicated fleet transfers:

On loan from Bracknell to Slough are:
812, 815, 816 specifically for route 75 along with native Slough vehicles
110, 218, 219, 220 to cover native Slough vehicles operating the 75
On loan from First Leeds to Bracknell are Leyland Olympian / Roe:
30589 (5001) - JHU 900X - First Barbie2 livery (H47/29F, ex First Badgerline)
30595 (5023) - CUB 23Y - First Barbie2 livery (H47/29F, ex West Yorkshire PTE)
30601 (5037) - CUB 37Y - First Barbie2 livery (H47/29F, ex West Yorkshire PTE)
30764 (5506) - B506 RWY - Leeds Citylink livery (H47/27F, ex West Yorkshire PTE)

The only reported sightings of these so far have been on the 19x routes into Reading. The numbers shown in brackets are the local Leeds fleet numbers, the five digit number being the national code.

The Oxford Citaros started reappearing in service from 30th, with one or two more appearing each day until they were all back by the 6th. First's examples were all back on Friday 2nd.

Thanks to Mac Head and Brian Coney for forwarding reports on First in Berkshire.

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