Saturday, 26 March 2011

Ringwood today

In my continuing quest to photograph buses in the towns of Southern Hampshire in, today I spent an hour in Ringwood. Ringwood is home to a Wilts & Dorset bus depot, also seeing Thompson's buses and weekday Damory service, along with Greyhound and NatEx coach services.

My number one target today was former Marchwood Motorways DAF/Ikarus 506 (T186AUA). 506 is usually allocated on the Bournemouth to Verwood route 36, and was again found on this route today. I featured sister 508 on this blog last week.

The main route in Ringwood is Wilts & Dorset's X3, which connects Bournemouth with Salisbury at a frequency of every 30 minutes during weekdays and Saturdays. The X3 is usually operated by Scania Omnicity double deckers, as illustrated here. Firstly, we see a view of 1120 (HF58GYZ) heading into Meeting House Lane heading for Bournemouth on the X3. In the second photo, 1123 (HF58GZC) is pictured turning into The Furlong at Ringwood, arriving from Bournemouth around lunchtime. These vehicles don't often see service on other routes, although unbranded 1118 sometimes operates the 36.

Three Solos are operated by Ringwood depot - native 2615 and two former Go North East examples - one of which is 2696 (NK54DEU). The Solos operate a mixture of routes 38 (to Ferndown) or 175/6 (to Christchurch), but sometimes one deputises for an Excel on the 36 - such as 2696 is doing in this photo. It is pictured loading passengers at Meeting House Lane.

Ringwood depot operates a lot of local school and college services, and therefore has an surprising amount of buses allocated to the depot for the ordinary services it operates. I counted 6 Leyland Olympians, and 3127 (L127ELJ), the last step-entry Spectra outside of Salisbury, is also allocated to Ringwood. In this view are also two Volvo B10Bs new to Solent Blue Line - I'm not sure what these are used for although I think it is specific school duties as well. The Leyland Olympians may sometimes be used on the 175 or 176, but this is also rare.

Finally, Thompson's also operate the 136/137 Ringwood - Poulner town service, using Excel P429AHR amongst other buses. Thompson's may cease operating this route in the near future - I know they've got a court hearing and there is a possibility the tender could go to another operator. Incidentally, Wilts & Dorset still display their timetable for the 136/137 even though they haven't operated it for nearly a year.

Sighting summary:
X3: Scanias 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124
36: Solo 2696, DAF 506
38: Solo 2697
175/176: expected to be 2615
Leyland Olympian: 707 (unconfirmed), 713, 726, 728, 735, 741
DAF/Optare Spectra: 3127
Volvo B10B: 528, 526
Scania Omnicity: 1118


  1. I like Ringwood - you can sit on the seats in Meeting House Lane and watch the world go by.

    Also, as the main coach and bus accessible road near to the town centre it is used by vehicles on non public services, such as the Brittania Parking fleet from Bournemouth and college buses from Sparsholt and Brockenhurst. These all add to the variety.

    I must admit that I have used Ringwood as a Park & Ride for Bournemouth before - with two X3s and a 36 each hour it's ideally placed.

    The downside is the total lack of bus services to the east, although there has been mention of a second version of the New Forest tour for this summer which will reportedly link Ringwood to Lyndhurst.

    Nice photo's James, as usual!

  2. Yes, I agree with you Andy. Ringwood is a good place for photos - just a shame there are relatively few buses.

    It would be nice to have a version of the X5 or 35 still - but as you say news of this "Red" New Forest Tour will be interesting. (One of the 401-4 batch with branding added from Poole at a guess?!).

  3. Resurrecting a old post, unfortunately the bus roster for the 36 has long changed, and not long since the 506 died and was no longer seen again on the route. It overheated and I've never seen it since, and I use the route daily.

    It's been replaced with Optare Excels and Solos, with numbers 3612, and 3601 (Excels) and 2696 (Solo) being used. Although I would rather have the 506 back as it was comfier and didn't have the overcrowding problems that comes with the Solos....

  4. Ah right, thank you very much for the information. If more Excels are in use I may nip back down - with the Tempos entering service in Poole, I reckon the Excels will be cascaded to other depots and Damory anyway.

  5. Well another little update for you, It seems that 3612, 3608, 3604 and 3601 all operate around the area (they are certainly used on my route) and I also believe there is now four solos based there, but can't confirm that. The olympians are still there, but less of them 726 is the main one used on the 175 service (176 service since being dropped) although a solo is also used. There is also a Optare Tempo is service there, 2503, which seems to be used on the X3, 36 and college services, depending on what is broken. There is still a Spectra there, but don't believe its the same one.
    The volvos have since disappeared as far as I can tell, they certainly haven't been on the routes I use.
    If you happen to come across 506 at all when taking photos, please let me know, as I would certainly be interested in its where abouts.