The first Olympians (80-84) were to coach specification arrived in 1986. The second batch of ten was originally to be split into 5 coaches and 5 buses, but it was later decided to have 7 buses and 3 coaches which arrived in 1988. The buses were dual door and numbered 11 to 17 and the coaches were single door and numbered 85-7. This is 13 in September 2000 finishing Theale Green School service 92:
The buses have always been used on town services, and seemed well suited to the various ColourBus liveries that have been applied to them over the years. During 1999 and 2000 all of the Olympians were re-seated using seats from withdrawn Metrobuses, 11-17 also loosing their centre doors, and 82-7 loosing their coach features. Below is 14 illustrating the rather basic job that was done to patch up the centre door, it was pictured on 24th January 2006:
Below is 15 at Reading Station on 21st December 2001 newly repainted into fleet livery from a ColourBus advertising livery. By the start of May 2003 it's rear lamp units were replaced by new LED tail lights.
The coaches were initially used on London express services, originally Goldline X1, and later The London Line, before being cascaded to town work as Spectra and Bova coaches arrived for The London Line. In April 1994, coaches 80 and 81 were withdrawn, passing to Midland Fox via Stephensons of Uttoxeter (dealer). From there 80 went to Confidence of Leicester in 2003 where it was broken for spares. 81 passed to Ensign (dealer) by April 1998, then to Aintree Coaches in May 1998 and then by auction to Stephensons of Essex (dealer) on 27th July 2005. Stephensons loaned it to Excel, Standstead Airport from September 2005 until November 2005 when it was purchased for preservation.
This is 82 in January 1999:
83 travelling along Friar Street in August 1998.
11 and 13 have regularly been used on driving training duties throughout their years with the company. By June 2003 both had even received special slots so that L plates could easily be added and removed! In July 2003, the most frequent trainer of the two, 11 received all round adverts for driver recruitment. The adverts are in a similar style to past and present recruitment MegaRears applied to various Reading based Optare Solos. 11 is seen below on ordinary services on 23rd July 2003 and 27th March 2006:
In early December 2004 11 and 13 were designated as a full time driver training vehicles and renumbered 311 and 313, although they remain available for use during the morning and evening peaks.
From time to time vehicles have been loaned from Reading to Newbury to help out when vehicles are off the road:
- 86 went for a few days in November or December 2004
82-5 were put into virtual reserve at the end of July 2005 (i.e. not in reserve, but intentionally kept out of service wherever possible), and then following an order for 16 Scania OmniDekkas for delivery in March 2006, the entire Olympian fleet (12, 14-17, 82-7, 311, 313) was put up for sale. 83-7 were subsequently sold to Shamrock Buses, Poole during August 2005, departing on 31st. Meanwhile 82 returned to service by 7th September pending the arrival of the OmniDekkas, but also to passed to Shamrock Buses on 19th or 20th May 2006. From Shamrock Buses 83/4 were sent to Wigley, Carlton for scrap in June 2009, and 85 was sold to Griffin Bus in September 2010. It is seen below with them in Tunbridge Wells in April 2011. Thanks to Graham Low for this photo:
From there 85 passed to members of Transport Preservation, West Yorkshire in May 2011, then to Bus Pimps, Banbury in July 2011 before being sold to somewhere in the North in September 2011, and appearing on ebay in February 2012. By December 2014 it was in use as a mobile tea and coffee shop in Northallerton, North Yorkshire wearing all over red.
11-17 (11 as 311 and 13 as 313) were withdrawn on approximately 23rd May 2006 following the entry into service of Scania OmniDekkas 819-34 and Wright Solars 1021-30. As the new vehicles came on stream over the preceding weeks the Olympians only saw use as emergency standby vehicles. They were sold to Ensign (dealer) and departed on 26th May 2006.
From Ensign (3)11 and 12 passed to Wippet Coaches, Fenstanton on 13th June 2006. Upon arrival 11 went straight into their paint shop, whilst 12 entered service in full Reading Buses livery on 14th. 11 entered service on 30th, at which point 12 went in for painting. Upon repaint each gained four seats in the area where the centre door was, although the window area is still blanked off without a window. 11 is seen below with Whippet on 1st July 2006. Thanks to Richard Haughey for this photo:
11 was scrapped by November 2009, whilst 12 was sold to Ensignbus (dealer) during 2009. From there 12 was sold to the Ministry of Defence, Salisbury in July 2010.
(3)13 passed from Ensign to Manns Travel, Gravesend during June 2006, but had returned to Ensign by 5th September 2006. It then passed from Ensign to Eastonways, Ramsgate in April 2007. 14, 15 and 17 passed to Peter Godward Coaches, Chelmsford in the second half of September 2006. 15 is seen below passing New Barnet Station on rail replacement work on 20th May 2007. Thanks to Simon Oliver for this photo:
By early 2009 15 had returned to Ensign and saw use as a loan vehicle before being sold to Qualiti Conversions, Southampton in April 2009 having also been seen advertised for sale by a company in Woodham Ferrers, Essex that month passing to OPAL (Older People’s Area Link), Winchester in June 2009. It is seen below at the Brijan Tours open day at Curdridge on 16th April 2011 having been converted for it's role as a mobile information and advice centre for the elderly in the South Hampshire area. Thanks to David Smith for this photo:
Olympian 16 went on loan from Ensignbus (dealer) to RH Transport, Witney in November 2007 to cover for one of their ex-GoNorthEast Optare Spectras. It is seen below on 7th November 2007. Thanks to Richard Sharman for this photo:
It was eventually sold to Eastonways, Ramsgate in January 2008.
17 passed from Ensign to Moxtons Tours, Worksop in August 2008. It is seen below whilst running an enthusiast tour on 26th February 2011. Thanks to Steve Simister for this photo:
Last updated: 31-12-14
Former Vehicle Fleet List