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The Leyland Lynx Era

written by Frank Brown

Successors to the National [in all their incarnations] the Leyland Lynx never proved quite as popular with operators as their predecessors, perhaps due to the mid 80's fragmentation of the NBC dinosaur into smaller privatised units resulting in smaller orders.

The rather 'box like' looking Lynxes debued in High Wycombe in October 1988 when the then Berks Bucks bus Company trading as Beeline [previously Alder Valley North], took delivery of a batch of five, 401-5 [F556-60 NJM] in their new yellow livery, for the rather arduous town services 303/4.

Oxford took control of High Wycombe in 1990 forming The Wycombe Bus Co, the five Lynxes becoming 1401-5 for a short time before being renumbered 301-5 under the Go-Ahead wing. A Corgi model appeared based on No 305 [F560 NJM] in the GA corporate colour scheme.

Another change in ownership for the Thames Valley outpost at High Wycombe occurred in December 2000 when Arriva the Shires took over, already running the old London Country services from a new base in Cressex. The WBC fleet was renumber, the Lynxes becoming 3806-10, the Go Ahead colour scheme replaced by Arriva's cream and turquoise.

In August 2002 Arriva consolidated the Cressex operation into High Wycombe bus station. Newer G and H registration Lynxes [3602/3/7-70/2/4/6,3344/5] had been drafted into Cressex, displaced from elsewhere in the Arriva empire to replace the ageing Leyland Nationals, superseded 3806-10 the original five Wycombe Lynxes which were withdrawn and sold. At this time, High Wycombe was the last bastion of Arriva the Shires Lynx operation.

The Leyland Lynx Era
Arriva 3345 [H255 GEV] a 1990 Leyland Lynx leaves the Totteridge terminus on High Wycombe town service 33 bound for Desborough [Castlefield], October 2003 [Photo by Frank Brown].

March 2005 and the 'writing is on the wall' for the trusty Lynxes in High Wycombe. Carousel still have two for service LX 78/558, kept running at the expense of the other three LX 75/559/1283, robbed of parts and reduced to hulks. Arriva's HW allocation succumbed several months ago [August 2004], except for one retained for driver training - 3067 [H407 ERO] in all over white livery, which lingered on until early December 2004.

It is perhaps fitting that Carousel's LX558 [F558 NJM] survives in use today, having never left the town of High Wycombe since new to Beeline in 1988 [ as 403 ], knocking up an amazing 17 years of sterling local service with four careful owners (and at the time of writing still going strong). Surely a candidate for future preservation. Carousel's other active Lynx [F78 DDA] has just passed its MOT which secures the short term future operation of the type, usually employed on routes 333/334 [High Wycombe - Speen] with occasional appearances on Route 1 [High Wycombe - Bourne End] and various school services.

De-licensed LX1283 [G283 EOG] is being used as a temporary canteen [tea bus] in the new over-spill yard adjacent to the main Desborough Road garage.

The Leyland Lynx Era
Carousel's Leyland Lynx LX 558 on the 339 to Land End at Booker [Clayhill] 9/6/04 [Photo by Frank Brown]