Final Day for Newbury Buses
In June it was announced that Newbury Buses would cease to run local bus services from their depot in Newbury after this weekend, mainly due to the failure of the re-launched 8/8A to Greenham and 12 to Glendale Avenue to attract enough passengers to make them financially viable. With these routes taken out of the picture, the 6/6A and The Link couldn't really continue on their own. Vodafone services will however continue to be run from Newbury with their dedicated fleet of buses and team of drivers.
609 running the last ever Newbury Buses departure from Newbury Bus Station.
From Tuesday 30th, operation of the 6/6A will be sub-let to Weavaway Newbury & District, who have also won new West Berkshire contracts to run replacement services for the 8/8A and 12 which will become the 8 and 2 respectively. The 30 minute frequency will be retained on the 2 but reduced to hourly on the 8. The promotional £1 fares will no longer apply. Operation of Newbury Buses half of "The Link" will pass to Stagecoach who will be adding some additional journeys at peak periods.
Newbury Buses Solo 125 double flanked by Solos from the new order - C1-3 OXF from Weavaway and KX04 HPV from Heyfordian.
Disposals of the six buses in the Newbury Buses fleet started with "The Link" branded Scania OmniDekka 818 which has already been sold to Beestons of Hadleigh. Reading Wright Solar 1028 has been on loan to run The Link since approx 8th August. Solo 125 and Darts 607-9 will also now be sold, but surprisingly 610, which joined the fleet 8 months later than the others, is to be retained for use on Reading Borough Council route 28 (and its associated routes) in place of a Wright Solar.
1028 preparing to run the final Newbury Buses journey on The Link to Basingstoke.
In other recent Newbury news, Steventon Transport Services recently went into administration with Stagecoach stepping in to take over the contract for the Cango C21/C23 services from Newbury to Woolton Hill and Burghclere at short notice from 18th August.
Now a very rare type within Stagecoach, Mercedes-Benz 709D / Alexander AM Sprint 40896 on the Cango service today.
Pink Routes Unveiled
The first vehicle to be repainted into the new 'Pink Routes' livery for Caversham routes 22, 23 and 24 re-entered service today. The new look will be gradually rolled out as vehicles are repainted ahead of the introduction of new timetables from 26 September which will see an improved service to Caversham Park and reductions to Caversham Heights to better match the level of use in each of these areas.
1101 outside Apex Plaza today. Thanks to John Wheeler for this photo.
Two New RailAir Coaches
In addition to their investment in new vehicles for the Greenline service, First have also put two new Volvo B9R / Plaxton Panther 2s into service on the Reading-Heathrow RailAir link. They have entered service in standard First corporate livery to allow their use at an event elsewhere within the group, and will receive RailAir branding later in the year.
20807 arriving at Reading Station today.
The rear arrangement with full size destination display.
Oxford Road Roadworks
Reading Borough Council's annual summer resurfacing programme saw the complete closure of Oxford Road for most of last week, causing disruption to bus services and some unusual diversions. Work started on Saturday 30th July, but buses were allowed to run as normal until Monday 1st when buses towards Tilehurst were diverted via Beresford Road and Portman Road, whilst buses towards Reading were diverted via Grovelands Road, Water Road, Tilehurst Road and Western Elms Avenue. The diversions applied between 0800 and 2200 each day.
Some tweaks were needed over the weekend as the works progressed, mainly with regard to bus stop locations when the work blocked access to the normal locations, but by and large disruption was kept to a minimum given the scale of the work.
843 making its way into town. Thanks to Richard Mallett for this photo.
1105 amidst the roadworks. Thanks to Richard Mallett for this.
Services returned to normal in the evening of Thursday 4th.
First Berkshire Greenline Gemini 2 Preview
The three new Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2s for First Berkshire's Greenline 702 service have now arrived in Slough and are being prepared for service. In the meantime, the three were observed at Heysham Docks on 31st July on their delivery run from Northern Ireland.
37985-7 on delivery on 31st July. Thanks to Gerald Nicholls for this photo.