I AM CHRISTOPHER LEACH THE ARTIST. I started this blog so that I can share with everyone my vast collection of transport photographs showing a personal and nostalgic view of the industry with images that span some 45 years taking in the U.K and some of Europe. I have no darkroom and so rather than being the perfectionist after tidying them up I upload the images warts and all, and even those that won't scan squarely or are scratched. In a way it adds age and character. You are all free to download these for your personal use but please remember I still own them and you are not just free to use them without prior permission for any knd of publishing. Click on images to enlarge them and if you want to see more leave your comments or visit my website for the mother-site with galleries including those Buses & Girls: PICTUREWORLD

Sunday, 4 March 2018

If Willam Shakespeare was alive today he'd white a ode to this Coney Island

People go to Spalding for the Bulb Festival at tulip time but I don't suppose visitors come to Stratford on Avon to see the plentiful traffic cones. They have become one of those things that sum up modern heaving Britain today as just their presence means either annoying road diversions or slow going often for miles and miles. However all the other motorists seemed happy enough to follow B124 UUD a City of Oxford Plaxton Paramount bodied Leyland Tiger in smart City Link livery as it threaded it's way through on the long limited-stop X50 service which linked Birmingham to Oxford via Stratford.


Ross said...

By the time you took this photo, Christopher, the X50 as we knew it had ceased to exist.

When COMS was split up ready for privatisation, the "traditional" X50 went (with the X59) to South Midland, who pulled out sometime after deregulation (probably because it was bought by Harry Blundred's Thames Transit who were more interested in competing in Oxford city).

The X50 then went through stages of vanishing, reappearing with a new operator and vanishing again.
Midland Red South tried running it alone but gave up; COMS introduced a version between Oxford and Stratford (the subject of your photo) which also failed, indeed I seem to recall that the COMS X50 was a retrenchment from a London - Oxford - Stratford extension of the "original" 190 London - Oxford Citylink service.
Later Stagecoach Midland Red (Mrs again) tried to reintroduce the Birmingham - Oxford X50 as a Stagecoach Express service, but that failed too.

Today Birmingham - Stratford is operated by Johnsons as the X20, Stratford - Chipping Norton is covered by a few trips on the Stagecoach Warwickshire 50, and Chippy - Oxford is Stagecoach Oxford's "gold" service S3.

I wish we still had routes like the X50 but it seems to me that interurban express coach services have pretty much had their day, with National Express having massively retrenched from the network I remember finding so interesting in the early 1980s, and Transdev's successful Manchester - Burnley/Blackburn expresses very much being the exception to a sad story of decline.

christopher said...

Ross, Harry Blundred's minibuses would have been better put to use on the Oxfordshire country roads than clogging up the city. I'm afraid Deregulation saw the end of a proper bus service and Oxford was a good example as CMOS like other similar companies had relied on the profitable town work to cover rural losses. CMOS was unusual in that apart from Oxford itself everything was rural and even it's garages were tiny with the biggest Witney only having eighteen buses. EYMS was another one with just one big garage in Hull but at least it some of it was semi-urban ulike Oxon.