Monday, 22 August 2011

Go Ahead's Latest Addition

Go Ahead have purchased new and expanded a number of their existing companies in the recent years. Their most recent acquisition is Thames Travel, an operator which operates the key Oxford - Reading and Oxford - Didcot services, the Wokingham town services, and last year took over nearly all of the Bracknell tendered town services.

The company use a largely young fleet of low floor single deckers with five double deckers. The double decks are 3 Scania Omncities along with unique Scania Omnidekka 154, as illustrated below, and a hybrid Enviro400. A variety of single decks are used, such as Scania Omnitowns, Enviro 200s, Optare Solos or MAN/MCV Evolutions, such as these illustrated in Oxford. Pictured are 857 (AE57LYP) and 1057 (AE57LYD), operating the two Oxford "super express" services. They are pictured standing along St Aldate's in Oxford city centre. Both buses, and indeed all that I saw on Friday, carried the Go Ahead logo in the window.

I've only mananged to capture on double deck so far - this one is 154 (OU54PGZ) pictured at Reading rail station prior to Go Ahead takeover. As can be seen, the livery has been retained so far by Go Ahead - maybe in the next year or so a Ray Stenning inspired livery could be introduced - certainly the colours and Stenning's style could be easily adapted.

Another one of Thames Travel's numerous Evolutions - this one is 1157 (AE57LYR). I haven't quite got my head around the fleetnumbers yet - Thames Travel tend to have a digit or two, and then the number in the registration. Hence, this bus is the 11th numbered bus with a 57 registration - 1157. Pictured at Reading rail station with a service for Wokingham.

This now means that Thames Travel are working alongside the Oxford Bus Company (OBC) in Oxford, both under Go Ahead ownership. It will be interesting to see if long distance OBC routes (such as the X2 to Didcot) become branded as Thames Travel, or of course nothing could happen. Go Ahead have pledged to maintain Thames Travel as a separate company from OBC, which makes sense due to the wide geographical spread of Thames Travel's network. Pictured above-right is Evolution 205 (AE05EUZ) on an X39 for Reading.

I will certainly have to get to Wokingham and Bracknell soon to photograph Thames Travel's operations there - I've always enjoyed photographing this operator and hopefully I will be able to bring you more photos of their operation in the future.


  1. Let us hope that GoAhead at least remove the elements of the livery that have been applied across the windows on the vehicles pictured!

    Although I have yet to sample Thames Travel I have heard a lot of good things from friends who have - hence a livery that involves obscuring the view out for customers is a bit of a surprise (or perhaps disappointment...).

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