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As I Was Going To Aylesbury

written by Frank Brown

363 Commemorative RML 40th anniversary run Totteridge - Penn/Holtspur, 19th February 2006.

As I Was Going To Aylesbury
Two former High Wycombe garage [HE] Routemasters RML 2440 and RML 2412 reach the summit of Totteridge Hill on the 363, recreated almost 40 years to the day since the type were introduced on 21st February 1966 replacing RTs at HE. [Frank Brown].


The traditional market town of Aylesbury is the second largest in Buckinghamshire, neighbouring High Wycombe some twenty miles away being the largest. Despite this Aylesbury has County town status and is home to a variety of bus operators.

In my bus spotting youth during the mid 1970s the areas big boy was NBC owned United Counties Omnibus Co supplemented by smaller independent Red Rover [Keith Coaches] which as a name implied used a [dark] red livery. UCOC operated a standard fleet of leaf green liveried ECW bodied Bristols alongside the then new Leyland National single deckers, whilst Red Rover utilised a mixture of second hand acquisitions including 13 former London RTs + 2 RTLs and later 7 DMS types. Aylesbury was of course the Western most outpost for LTs country area network.

During the sixties, in LT days Tring [TG] mainly fed with bus and Greenline coach routes using RTs and RFs along the A41 corridor.

The NBCs new London Country took over from I/1/70 and soon consolidated operations into Hemel Hempstead [HH] with Leyland Nationals [LNB/SNB] plus Plaxton bodied Reliances [RS] then Tigers [TD/TP/TPL] taking over. In addition Alder Valley [formally Thames Valley] and Oxford South Midland [both under NBC control] infiltrated the town from High Wycombe and Oxford respectively.

Thirty odd years later things have changed, gone is the NBC dinosaur, eventually swallowed up in Aylesbury by corporate giant Arrive [the Shires] who operate a mixed fleet of Dennis Darts, Volvo B6s, Scania L113s, mini buses and elderly Leyland Olympians in their turquoise & stone livery over former UCOC, LCBS, AV and COMS turf.

Red Rover are long gone too, in their place numerous independent operators thrive on lucrative BCC school contracts, private hire and rail replacement work.

Nowadays school children are generally provided with dedicated services as opposed to using 'normal' service buses. In Aylesbury the young are spoilt for choice with Olympians [Arriva], Titans [Z&S], Bristol VRs [Taylors] and M11 Metrobuses [Motts] all on offer depending on which school is attended. Completing the picture is Star Travel who work a town service with Mercedes Minibuses.

As with most places these days town centre bus garages are a thing of the past, buses usually being found based in newish out lying industrial area sites. Aylesbury is no exception to the rule with Arrive, Taylors and Z&S International all within a mile of each other in the Gatehouse Road area off the A41 to Bicester.

Long established Motts Travel has brought all their operations under one roof to a new purpose built depot in the Stocklake Industrial Estate to the East of the town. Red Roses' yard backs onto the railway just North of Aylesbury and can be clearly seen from the Quainton Bank Holiday shuttles, [the only passenger trains departing North from Aylesbury these days] on the left hand side heading out. The Red Rose Fleetname was inspired by a former garage business in Wendover.