This page created 11th April 2012.
Optare Excels: Tillingbourne, Safeguard, Countryliner
TillingbourneTillingbourne liked Optare buses. In July 2000 the company borrowed the well-travelled Optare demonstrator R98HUA, which it used for a month or two. Then in September they bought another of the Optare demonstrators, P446SWX, which had spent some time with Harris Bus. This one they reregistered with a TIL mark.
Two new Excel2s arrived before the end of 2000, in October and December. They were dressed in Tillingbourne's dark blue and yellow.
But they were not to work for Tillingbourne for long. In March 2001 the company went into administration. The ex-demonstrator was sold via a dealer to Andybus of Malmesbury. The two new buses, after a period in store for the administrators, were bought by Safeguard of Guildford.
SafeguardSafeguard repainted the two ex-Tillingbourne buses in its traditional style maroon and red livery - and kept them. They seem to have been well regarded, as they - plus another - were regular rally and Showbus attendees for the company for the next few years.
Safeguard even bought another in 2003, which seems to have been as well-liked as the other two.
CountrylinerCountryliner bought two Excel L1150s in May 2008 from Bennetts, Gloucester. It kept one (R100PAR) at Guildford, which remained white. It was used for a schools duty to Chobham (87), and between times was a driver ferry at Farnborough.
The other (R200PAR) was sent for work in East Sussex, suitably adorned in Countryliner livery.
Both were transferred to associated company C&S at Heathfield in December 2008. They retained their livery, and in 2011 were reseated with 2+3 seating for schools work, now seating 57 smaller sized people.
Both went to Wheelers of Southampton on Countryliner close-down in October 2012.
Bus HistoriesThese histories are incomplete. They are being assembled as I garner information from a variety of sources. Particularly useful have been:
R98 HUA 1/98 Optare Excel2 L1150, Optare 9212 1/98 new to Optare, Crossgates: demonstrator 1/98 on loan to East Yorkshire Motor Services: blue/silver */98 on loan to MK Metro: blue/silver */98 on loan to Eastbourne 7/98 on loan to Blackpool Transport 12/98 on loan to Warrington: blue/silver 1/99 hired by Choice Travel, Walsall: blue/silver 5/99 on loan to Ipswich: blue/silver 7/00 hired by Tillingbourne: white 9/00 still on hire 7/01 delicensed P446 SWX 3/97 Optare Excel L1000, Optare 9072, B32F 3/97 new to Optare, Crossgates: demonstrator 2/98 loaned by Blackpool Transport 3/98 returned to Optare loaned to Harris Bus: red, grey, white (like London United) 12/98 used on 384 2/99 used on 383 12/99 returned off-hire 9/00 acquired by Tillingbourne, Cranleigh TIL 6877 12/00 reregistered 3/01 Tillingbourne into administration 4/01 sold to Bob Vale by 7/01 bought by Andybus, Yate: orange/white P429 AHR 10/05 reregistered 12/05 bought by Classic Buses, Annfield Plain #7803 4/07 Classic Buses, Annfield Plain #7803 1/08 Classic Buses, Annfield Plain 8/08 acquired by Burtons of Haverhill 6/09 Network Colchester 10/09 bought by A.Barham, Harlow 3/10 acquired by Thompson's, Christchurch: white 8/10 Thompson's 6/11 Thompsons 3/12 bought by Filer's, Ilfracombe 7/12 in service, Filers: white $ JFZ 8261 1/13 reregistered 7/13 in service, Filers: white, blue skirt $ bought by EOS London 1/15 in service on 66 to Waltham Cross: white, blue skirt $ 761 2/15 numbered, EOS 2/15 in service on 66: white, blue skirt $ 3/15 in service on HC1 to Harlow College $ 6/15 in service on 66 $ 307 X307 CBT 10/00 Optare Excel2 L1100, Optare 9509, B39F 10/00 new to Tillingbourne, Cranleigh 3/01 Tillingbourne into administration 4/01 into store by Somerbus at Stanton Wick 10/01 bought by Safeguard, Guildford: maroon/cream */02 at Southsea Rally 9/02 at Showbus 2002 4/03 at Cobham Museum Open Day 8/06 in service, Safeguard 9/06 in service, Safeguard 1/09 in service, Safeguard 2/09 in service, Safeguard 3/09 in service, Safeguard 6/09 in service, Safeguard 11/09 in service, Safeguard 4/10 in service, Safeguard 1/15 at H&D Eastleigh for DDA mods 4/15 at Cobham Bus Gathering, Brooklands 308 X308 CBT 12/00 Optare Excel2 L1100, Optare 9510, B39F 12/00 new to Tillingbourne, Cranleigh 3/01 Tillingbourne into administration 4/01 into store by Somerbus at Stanton Wick 10/01 bought by Safeguard, Guildford: maroon/cream 9/05 at Showbus 2005 $ 9/06 in service, Safeguard $ 7/08 in service, Safeguard $ 9/08 at Showbus 2008 $ 1/09 in service, Safeguard $ 6/09 in service, Safeguard $ 7/10 in service, Safeguard $ */15 at H&D Eastleigh for DDA mods YJ03 UMM 4/03 Optare Excel L1150, Optare 180595, B41F 4/03 new to Safeguard, Guildford */03 at Southsea Rally $ 9/03 at Showbus 2003 $ 9/04 at Showbus 2004 $ 6/06 in service, Safeguard $ 9/06 in service, Safeguard $ 3/10 in service, Safeguard $ R100 PAR 10/97 Optare Excel L1150 VN9181 Optare 9181, B40F 10/97 new to Swanbrook, Cheltenham 7/99 on Cheltenham P&R: green/gold $ 2/00 on Cheltenham P&R $ 10/00 on Cheltenham P&R $ 11/04 in service, Swanbrook: turquoise 12/04 in service, Swanbrook: turquoise 5/08 bought by Countryliner 12/08 transfer to C&S, Heathfield 2/10 in service on 266 to Maidstone $ 4/11 reseated to B57F 7/11 C&S closed: presumably transferred to Guildford 8/12 used for driver ferry: white $ 9/12 in service on 87 to Chobham: white $ bought by Wheelers, Southampton 4/14 in service, Wheelers: white/orange $ R200 PAR 11/97 Optare Excel L1150 VN9182 Optare 9182, B40F 11/97 new to Swanbrook, Cheltenham */04 on Cheltenham P&R: green/gold $ 4/06 in service, Swanbrook: turquoise 5/08 bought by Countryliner repainted cream/green 5/08 in service on 266 to Maidstone $ 12/08 transfer to C&S, Heathfield 4/09 in service on 293 to Rye Rail Station $ 4/11 reseated to B57F 7/11 C&S closed: presumably transferred to Sussex operations 10/11 in service on 197 to Eastbourne $ 10/12 in service, Lewes bought by Wheelers, Southampton 7/13 in service, Wheelers: white/orange $ 12/14 in service, Wheelers: white/orange $
A key to the references is in the bibliography.
Tillingbourne 308 X308 CBT TLB437 p41 12/00 on 21 to Guildford, Dorking