Friday, 9 December 2016

First in Leeds

New First in Leeds low-emission bus fleet pledged by 2020

A fleet of 284 low-emission buses is to be introduced by one of Leeds' largest bus operators by the end of 2020.
Operator First West Yorkshire has pledged £71m to provide the low or zero-emissions vehicles, Leeds City Council said.
This is hoped to improve air quality in the city by reducing nitrogen oxides and dioxides emissions by 87%, it said.
It follows an announcement on Monday of three new railway stations in the city.

About 250,000 daily bus trips are made in the city and the aim is to double passenger numbers within 10 years, said the council.
About one in three of households in the city are without a car, according to council figures.
The council also announced improvements at Leeds Bus Station and a continued expansion of the existing Elland Road park and ride service.

A new park and ride site at Stourton and a further one in north Leeds was also announced.
A planned 1,000-space park and ride at Temple Green in east Leeds near Junction 45 of the M1 is now due to open next year.
The Leeds Transport Strategy is to see a total of £270m of improvements made to public transport, according to Leeds City Council.
These proposals are to be considered by senior councillors on 14 December and if approved will then go to the Department of Transport for its consideration.

First in Manchester

More than 80 jobs under threat as First Manchester announce closure plans for bus depot in Rochdale Road, Bury

MORE than 80 workers could be at risk of losing their jobs after plans were announced to close a bus depot in Bury.
First Manchester announced proposals today to to move operations, including all of its drivers, from its Bury and Tameside locations to three of its other depots.

After the firm conducted a comprehensive review of its network, operations at the Rochdale Road depot are now under threat and could be transferred to centres in Manchester, Oldham, and Bolton.
Currently, 320 employees work from Bury and 92 from Tameside. All 328 driver roles at both sites are safe, but 84 non-driving staff members have been warned they could face redundancy.
The company said that staff in Bury had done "a terrific job" and that as many depot workers and engineers as possible would be offered alternative roles.
Adrian Worsfold, Director of Operations at First Manchester, said: “Over the last two years we have been reviewing our depot network as part of a strategic review designed to make our business a more sustainable one and to help protect jobs in the long term.
“Our decision to relocate will not impact our customers – they should continue to expect high quality and reliable bus services.
“My colleagues in Bury and Tameside have done a terrific job and we will ensure that they are fully supported throughout the coming weeks.
“We have begun communicating with our colleagues and have shared our proposal with the trade unions to ensure their views are considered as part of this process. If the proposal goes ahead, we will of course be doing everything we can to assist those affected by the changes.”
First Manchester will shortly commence consultation with trade union representatives and a 45-day collective consultation process will then begin. If the proposal proceeds as detailed, then the Bury and Tameside operations will be relocated by April 2017.
Mr Worsfold added: “Under the proposals, all 328 drivers roles at our Bury and Tameside depots will transfer. As we work through the consultation, it will become clear how many of our 84 non driving employees will be at risk.
"We will do everything we can to offer alternative roles to as many of our depot and engineering colleagues as possible and do our utmost to ensure any redundancies are kept to a minimum."

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Stagecoach Interim Results for Half Year Ended 29th Oct 2016

Earnings per share in line with expectations, investing for growth

  • Adjusted earnings per share 14.4 pence (2016: 17.0 pence)
  • Interim dividend per share up 8.6% to 3.8 pence (2016: 3.5 pence)
  • Profit before tax £89.5m (2016: £90.8m)
  • Further investment in new vehicles and technology
  • net capital expenditure* £125.5m (2016: £83.9m)
  • Bid for new South Western rail franchise submitted, current franchise extended to August 2017
  • Our expectation of 2016/17 adjusted earnings per share broadly unchanged

Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, said:
“We are pleased with the performance of the business in the face of a challenging and uncertain political and economic environment. We have met our expectations of earnings per share for the first half of the year.
“We see positive long-term prospects for public transport and have increased the interim dividend by 8.6%. We have a growth strategy built on continued investment, value-for-money travel and high customer satisfaction and we have made further significant investments to improve our bus and rail services for customers now and in the future. There is a large market opportunity for modal shift from cars to public transport against a backdrop of population growth, urbanisation, technological advancements, and increasing pressure to tackle road congestion and improve air quality.
“We remain confident that we can continue to deliver long-term value to our customers and shareholders. The prospects for growth in public transport in the UK and North America remain good and we are continuing to invest to ensure that our businesses are a central part of that growth.”


The now annual vintage bus running day was held by Ensignbus on Saturday 3rd December. As usual there was a varied selection of interesting buses and coaches out on service from both within the company's own 'heritage' fleet plus one or two invited guests. In addition there was the usual 'surprise'. A set of images have been supplied by Haydn Davies, David Heath and Russell Young and provide a splendid flavour of the day's events. These can now be viewed by clicking here

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Network Rail news

Train and track operations to be reunited in rail revamp


The way that England's railway network is run is set to be overhauled under plans outlined by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
He wants each rail franchise to be run by joint management teams, including representatives from both the train operating company and Network Rail.
Mr Grayling said: "I intend to start bringing back together the operation of track and train on our railways."
The changes will start when each franchise is renewed in the future.
The minister said he wanted the changes to improve services for passengers, who are travelling on an increasingly crowded and expensive network.
"We need to change the relationship between the tracks and the trains on the railway," Mr Grayling said.
"In my experience passengers don't understand the division between the two.
"They just want someone to be in charge. They want their train to work. I agree with them," he added.
Each franchise will be run by one joint team, but the franchise owners and Network Rail will continue to exist separately.
The first new joint management teams will come into operation when the South Eastern and the East Midlands franchises are re-let in 2018.

Network Rail's chief executive, Mark Carne, said the new plan would "bring more joined-up working within the industry".
Lianna Etkind, of the Campaign for Better Transport, gave the proposal a cautious welcome.
"Rail passengers are not interested in the finer details of the management of the railways, they just want trains that are punctual, safe and reliable and don't cost the earth to use," she said.
"We hope that these reforms will work, but ultimately they will be judged on whether they actually deliver better and cheaper services for passengers."

The establishment of railway franchises, separate from the network infrastructure, goes back to the privatisation of British Rail in 1993 by John Major's Conservative government.
This separation, which is still in force, is held by some critics to be a significant source of delays to management decisions, repairs and train services.
Rail privatisation was partly reversed in 2002 when the previous infrastructure owner, the privately-owned Railtrack, was taken over by the government-controlled Network Rail in the wake of the Hatfield rail crash.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT rail union, told the BBC the proposed changes were "a slippery slope to privatisation and the break-up of Network Rail" and that the union was "deeply concerned".
"We don't want to go back to the Railtrack days," he said. "It's quite clear they want to break up Network Rail, they want to privatise the rail infrastructure.
"We don't want to go back to the days of [rail disasters] Hatfield and Potters Bar - that's what happens when you get the private sector in charge of our infrastructure."
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald told the BBC that what the government "appears to be contemplating is yet further complexity, yet further fragmentation, and more opportunities for private entities to extract value out of our railway system".
He said that franchises should be brought back under public ownership as they come to be renewed.
However, Mr Grayling said the changes were "not about privatising Network Rail, it's not about handing over control of the track to train operating companies, it's about forging partnership alliances between the two".

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Proposed changes to bus routes to improve reliability and reduce congestion

"These proposals respond to the changing way people travel across central London and will do in the future"said Gareth Powell Transport for London's (TfL) Director of Strategy and Contracted Services
TfL has today launched a consultation on proposed changes to 23 central London bus routes to better match bus services with demand from passengers.
The changes would improve the reliability of a number of bus routes that currently get caught up in congestion along Oxford Street, and improve air quality and safety on the street.
TfL wants to match bus services with demand in London in a smarter way. As it does so in central London, additional services will be provided to support residential growth areas across the Capital, particularly in outer London.

Travel patterns have changed

The forthcoming Business Plan - subject to sign-off by the TfL Board - will see total bus mileage maintained across the Capital over the five year life of the plan.
As Londoners' travel patterns have changed, passenger journeys on bus routes outside zone 1 have increased by 23% over the last 10 years.
Overall, bus journeys entering zone 1 have increased at a much slower rate of just over 6%t. On some central London routes passenger numbers have fallen.
A number of other factors are being considered, including a faster and more reliable Tube, with the Victoria and Northern lines now among the highest frequency services in Europe with a train every two minutes.
Bus route 73, which closely follows the route of the Victoria Line, has seen up to eleven per cent fewer customers this year compared to 2011‎ as customers choose the Tube and other forms of travel.

New travel options

The Night Tube is also providing new travel options to and from the West End, and the opening of the Elizabeth line in late 2018 is significant as it will transform how people travel across central London.
When fully open, the Elizabeth line will boost rail capacity in central London by 10% and provide a key new east-west link across the Capital, with 24 trains per hour in each direction serving step-free stations at the heart of London. Many people will choose to use these services rather than taking a bus.
The Elizabeth line will have two new stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street and will therefore play a particular role reducing bus demand on Oxford Street.
The Mayor is already working with City of Westminster to make Oxford Street more pedestrian friendly and the proposals for changes to bus services in central London are designed to start reducing the number of buses running along Oxford Street.
The proposals in the consultation would reduce the number of buses going along Oxford Street by around 40%.

New Hopper fare

A small number of customers would need to change buses to complete their journeys, but the new Hopper fare, introduced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, means that the second journey would be free.
All buses are fully accessible and the proposals would ensure that, where possible, customers can change buses at the same stop to complete their journey.
Gareth Powell, TfL's Director of Strategy and Contracted Services, said: 'These proposals ‎respond to the changing way people travel across central London and will do in the future.
'When the Elizabeth line services begin many more people will choose rail rather than road to get to and through the West End.
'By making these changes to bus services we can provide the right level of service and in the process we can make Oxford Street a safer and healthier place.'

Reduce congestion

Jace Tyrrell, CEO of New West End Company, said: 'We welcome Transport for London's proposal to reduce the number of buses across the West End, which will greatly help reduce congestion and improve air quality in London's retail heartland.
'Ahead of the arrival of the Elizabeth line in 2018, which is expected to bring 60 million visits to the West End annually, it is essential that there is genuine traffic reduction to ensure the West End retains its position as a world class retail destination.'
TfL's proposals would see more bus routes ‎starting and finishing at Park Lane, Trafalgar Square and Tottenham Court Road rather than moving at very low speed along Oxford Street, one of the country's most important retail hubs. Examples of the changes include:

On route 3 - it is proposed that services would be re-routed to Russell Square, serving Charing Cross Road and Great Russell Street. This would make it easier to travel between Millbank, the British Museum and the Russell Square area. It would also improve travel between Millbank and Tottenham Court Road station for passengers wishing to access Tube and Elizabeth line services

On route 137 - it is proposed that buses would be re-routed to run between Streatham Hill (Telford Avenue) and the Marble Arch / Park Lane area, and not continue on to Oxford Circus. The termination of the route at Marble Arch would mean a more reliable service on the rest of the route

On route 390 - it is proposed that buses would be re-routed to run to and from Victoria instead of Notting Hill Gate. The frequency of this route would be increased so that buses run every six minutes instead of every eight, during the day Monday to Saturday

The bus routes affected by the proposed changes are: 3, 6, 8, 15, 22, 23, 25, 46, 73, 137, 172, 242, 332, 390, 425, 452, C2, N2, N3, N8, N15, N22 and N73.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Vivarail Update - Class 230 Heads for Mainline

Less than two years after the first D78 arrived at Long Marston the brand new Class 230 is heading to the mainline …

230-001 set off by road on 24th November from the Quinton Rail Technology Centre heading to Tyseley Locomotive Works where it will be based for its mainline testing – the final piece of the approvals demonstration. Following the testing and some mileage accumulation it will be ready for train crew training  prior to entering service on the Coventry to Nuneaton line.
Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said, “This is a very proud day for the whole team who have worked tirelessly to prepare our prototype train.   We have had a few setbacks along the way, unsurprising on a project of this scale, but today shows what can be achieved with determination, skill and pure hard work.  Our team of engineers, under the leadership of General Manager Steve Rowell, has pulled out all the stops to reach this milestone.
“In this short space of time we have built a brand new train, using only the bodyshell and bogies from the excellent D78s.  Along the way we have developed new systems which I hope will become standard in the rail industry from now on.  Our stop-start engines will save fuel and make the platform environment more pleasant for passengers. Not to mention the modular engines which have been designed to make the train maintainable trackside again saving fuel lost to empty mileage as well as making life easier for operators, particularly those of branch line services.
“What we are providing is a brand new, state of the art train, made affordable by re-using the bodyshells and bogies, and able to be in service six months after order.  It’s the train I dreamt of commissioning years ago!”

On completion of the testing, the Class 230 will have demonstrated compliance with the relevant standards and legislation. The 2-car unit will shortly be joined by the third middle car which has been designed to showcase a variety of interior layouts, including a Universal Access Toilet, with different seating and door styles.

The other two cars will retain their original ‘crowd-busting’ layout.   The various features demonstrated in the train are compliant with the PRM-TSI and will allow operation of Class 230s beyond 2020. Passenger feedback will be sought and welcomed whilst the train is running on the Coventry to Nuneaton line.
Vivarail continues to work closely as part of the consortium, headed by the West Midlands Combined Authority, and including Coventry City Council, Warwickshire Council, and London Midland in preparing to jointly operate a trial to increase capacity on the recently upgraded NUCKLE line.


The last two albums of images from the 2016 Showbus event held at Donington Park, have now been added to the Flickr site. These can now be viewed under the Preserved National Bus Company heading by clicking here and The Big 3 - Arriva, First & Stagecoach by clicking here

Sunday, 4 December 2016

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday 17th December - Salisbury

An invitation from Go-Ahead South Coast

The Salisbury Spectra Swansong

Go-Ahead South Coast would like to invite you all to Salisbury on the 17th December 2016 to commemorate the imminent departure of the Optare Spectra type from the Go South Coast fleet. We will be duplicating Salisbury Reds services with various examples of the Spectra, giving the opportunity to ride these vehicles for one last time. Accessibility regulations mean most of the remaining Spectra buses have to be withdrawn by the end of the year.


Ticket Information

Standard fares apply on all duplicate routes. To make the most of your day, we recommend you purchase an explorer ticket (£8.50 for an Adult and £5.50 for a child) which is the best value ticket if you are joining us for the day. If you will be using buses to get to the event, remember you can purchase your day on any Go South Coast route (excluding tours) for use to travel to the event.
Local fares are also available, and details of all the tickets on offer on the day are given here.
Valid passes are accepted for travel on the Spectra workings, although we would invite donations to the Stars appeal if you are using a free pass - donation tins will be available on the bus.

Buses in service

At this stage we anticipate three or four Spectras will be in service on the day. Two confirmed vehicles booked for service are 1668 (Y168 FEL) and 1681 (HJ52 VFX) from the Salisbury fleet.
In addition to the extra Spectra workings provided for this event, a standard Saturday service will operate on the rest of the Salisbury Reds and Morebus network.
Your day ticket is valid on the entire Salisbury Reds or Morebus network for the day (excluding tours), which gives the opportunity to extend your day to ride other vehicle types if you so wish.

Routes and Times

At this stage, the routes and timings are still being finalised and as such we ask that you check back on this page closer to the event. We will aim to cover the core routes that the Spectra would have operated at Salisbury, such as Amesbury, Woodfalls, Porton, or Romsey.
The day will start approximately 0930 and will start to wrap up at around 1630.
Whilst we endeavour to operate all of the advertised additional services, this may not be possible due to circumstances outside of our control.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

London Emissions news & Latest London Bus Contract Awards

Simple technology swap boosts NOx removal from 35% to 85% on London city buses

In June, Amminex announced that it has won a major order from the London bus operator Metroline Travel to replace existing AdBlue® emissions technology on 55 vehicles with an Amminex ASDS™ solution. Installations have now begun and the goal is to retrofit five vehicles and finalize the entire project in only a few months from now on the buses based at the Brentford (AH) Garage..

The buses are Volvo B9TL / Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 2 type allocated to routes 237 (White City & Hounslow Heath), E2 (Greenford Broadway & Brentford) and E8 (Ealing Broadway Station & Brentford).
Prior to securing the contract, extensive testing has shown that NOx reduction increases from approximately 35% to 85% simply by swapping AdBlue® systems to ASDS™ with no changes done to the existing catalyst or engine. This is primarily because the gaseous ammonia used in Amminex' enhances NOx reduction performance with no compromises in terms of extra fuel consumption. This makes it a fast, affordable and also CO2 friendly way to instantly improve air quality in cities.
Engineering Director at Metroline, Ian Foster, confirms:
“As a large fleet operator we see this system as the next step forward in exhaust emission reduction, and a considerable improvement of current urea based injection systems. When we upgraded from AdBlue® to ASDS™ we got a major decrease in NOx emissions and the system is proving extremely stable in terms of daily operation. Commonly recurring issues with AdBlue®, such as the formation of solid deposits in the exhaust system, has been completely eliminated.”

Latest London Bus Contract Awards

The latest awards have recently been announced by Transport for London as follows:

70      (Acton & South Kensington Station) Awarded to London United with new but as yet to be announced single-decks. Currently operated by Tower Transit with ADL Enviro200 single-decks from Westbourne Park (X) Garage (new contract date commences 24th June 2017).
120    (Greenford & Hounslow) Awarded to Metroline with new Euro VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by London United with ADL and Scania double-decks from Hounslow (AV) Garage (24th June 2017).
C1      (Victoria Station & White City) Re-awarded to London United with new but as yet to be announced single-decks (1st July 2017).
R68    (Hampton Court Station & Kew) Re-awarded to London United with new Euro-VI diesel engine single-decks (24th June 2017).
R70    (Manor Circus & Nurserylands) Re-awarded to London United with new Euro-VI diesel engine single-decks (24th June 2017).

Friday, 2 December 2016

Oxford-Cambridge rail link gets £110m funding

The government has announced £110m of funding for an east-west rail link between Oxford and Cambridge.
It will use part of the former Varsity Line that was decommissioned in the 1960s and will also connect Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Bedford.

In the Autumn Statement, the chancellor said £100m would be spent to "accelerate" the building of the Oxford to Bedford link.
It also allocated £10m to explore options for Bedford to Cambridge.
The government also announced the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway will receive £27m of funding.
The "brain belt" would link existing roads between the two cities and is due to be delivered by the 2020s.
The East West Rail Consortium (EWRC) welcomed the news and has predicted the new line will reduce congestion in London.
Consortium member and Oxfordshire County Council deputy leader Rodney Road said he hoped the western section would be completed by 2019.
Network Rail has also welcomed the the planned restoration of the Varsity Line.
The Campaign for Better Transport said the east-west rail link provided a "real opportunity to embrace truly sustainable development for the 21st century".
But it criticised the proposed expressway as a "missed opportunity" and predicted it would only increase traffic.


Two further albums have been added from the Showbus 2016 event held at Donington Park. These feature preserved single-decks which can now be viewed here, and preserved coaches accessed here

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Double-Deck for London


Press release from the Wrights Group

London’s City Hall was the venue for the launch yesterday (30 November 2016) of the new Wrightbus – zero-emission double deck bus.  The zero-emission vehicle debuts a new hydrogen fuel cell driveline from Wrightbus which will rapidly become available to power both single deck and double deck buses as it becomes fully production ready next year.

The new technology from the Northern Ireland company provides a zero-emission drive system which encompasses a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack to power the vehicle. The combination of these two technologies makes the continuous daily operation of the public transport vehicle feasible.

Offering a reliable system with no emissions, all Wrightbus hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will feature an electric drive axle packaged to allow a full flat floor throughout the bus, a zero-emission heating/cooling system, the ability for overnight charging if the operator desires, and remote diagnostics. Key to the success of this concept are the lightweight hydrogen storage tanks, and the automatic battery management system which continuously monitors and balances the stored power while the vehicle is in service.

Image courtesy of the Wrights Group

Dr William Wright CBE, Co-Founder & Director of Wrights Group, said: “Wrightbus is a company where innovation and technology is at the core of everything we do, and we have led the way in the practical development of clean vehicle technology in buses over many years. This vehicle joins the recently launched StreetAir EV and brings an interesting new dimension to zero-emission bus technology offering transport operators a responsible choice to help address the world’s environmental challenges.”

Adding to Dr Wrights sentiment’s, Wrights Group Chairman and CEO Mark Nodder OBE, said: “This exciting new zero-emissions driveline technology, developed with support from our partner Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC), is the pinnacle of our on-going work to deliver highly innovative buses with the best possible fuel consumption and environmental credentials that are supported throughout a long and productive operational life.”

The project has been part funded by the APC under a grant for common platforms and assembly methods for Ultra Low Emission Buses.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bus stops designed to fight killer pollution in London

Pollution-fighting bus stops have been designed to zap exhaust fume particles and pump out fresh air for pedestrians.
Airlabs, a Piccadilly-based start-up, believes adding its oxidation filters to bus stops, the sides of buildings and on Tube platforms could help people breathe more easily and save lives.
It is claimed that the technology,  costing from £4,000, is most effective in high-density areas with the worst  pollution, such as Oxford Street and Farringdon Street in the City.

The system has been installed in European factories and at the Danish embassy in Beijing, and Airlabs believes it could be used to fight toxic air on London streets.
The start-up is backed by SGO, whose chairman Lord Malloch-Brown is among speakers at today’s 2016 Global Innovation Summit event, by Imperial College and the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils.
Airlabs chief executive Sophie Power said their technology is particularly beneficial for people close to exhaust level on the road, neutralising harmful chemicals and providing clean air.
She said: “We take in air through the unit, which is then passed out to provide clean air where people need it.
“This method is low energy and low maintenance, so well suited to city infrastructure.”

The system is effective against pollutants in exhaust fumes, including nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5, particulates which have been linked to respiratory diseases that contribute to the deaths of nearly 9,500 Londoners every year.
Independent tests on the Airlabs  system were conducted in Marylebone Road by the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London.
David Green, who led the research, called results from the kerbside tests “promising” after they showed 87 per cent of NO2 was removed from the air.
Ms Power said the units have been tweaked to now remove “almost all” nitrogen dioxide.
A further test unit is planned for Oxford Street, where pollution breached the legal limit for a whole year after just four days in 2015.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

South West of England railway news

Government announces £10 million funding for rail resilience in the South West

Additional £10 million to help strengthen the resilience of the railway line from Exeter to Newton Abbot via Dawlish confirmed.
The government has recently (17 November 2016) confirmed an additional £10 million to help strengthen the resilience of the railway line from Exeter to Newton Abbot via Dawlish.
The funding comes as Network Rail publish a report which sets out their proposals for strengthening the route, which was significantly damaged by extreme weather in the winter of 2014.
A section of the sea wall was washed away, leaving the tracks hanging in space, and there was also a major landslip on the cliffs at Teignmouth while the line was closed. The closure of the line was estimated to cost the South West economy more than £1 billion pounds.
The funding is for Network Rail to carry out further planning for how to keep the track better protected from extreme weather.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
It is vital that we do all we can to prepare our transport system for extreme weather.
Never has the impact of nature been better demonstrated than at Dawlish and it is important that we make our railways strong enough to weather any storm. The further funding we have today announced will help to make sure that this vital link remains open.

In their report Network Rail identify 3 priority areas where action is needed to prevent the main Exeter to Plymouth railway line being blocked by further extreme weather. These are:
  • the risk of landslip from the steep cliffs between Teignmouth and Parson’s Tunnel which would block the main Exeter to Plymouth railway line
  • rock falls from the cliffs above the Parson’s Tunnel north entrance
  • flooding from the sea of the railway and the road at Marine Parade between Dawlish station and Kennaway Tunnel

The £10 million funding will allow Network Rail to continue their development work on mitigation against these risks from 2017, when the current funding comes to an end.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route said:
Keeping the South West connected to the rest of the country by rail is vital to the economy of the region.
We very much welcome the additional £10 million in funds announced today to help us build on the work we’ve already done to prevent this crucial line being blocked in the case of extreme weather.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train scheme delayed further

The UK's first tram-train scheme has been delayed until summer 2018, the BBC understands.
The £58m pilot project will enable trams to run on existing train tracks between Sheffield and Rotherham as well as on tram lines on the city streets.
The service was due to start in 2015 but has been subject to a number of delays.
Richard Wright from the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce said he was "pretty disgusted" by the latest delay.

He said: "This is going on and on. We're trying to join the region up.This is one of the good pilots that would have done that and instead of talking about what more trams we want the around region, we're actually talking about delays on the first bit we've done to try and take it out of Sheffield."
In a statement, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) said: "Network Rail, in discussion with the Department for Transport, is in the process of completing a thorough review of the current programme of works needed to adapt infrastructure to operate tram-train vehicles between Meadowhall South and Rotherham Parkgate.

"SYPTE hopes to receive confirmation on the rescheduled programme and an expected passenger service start date from Network Rail before the end of the year."
Network Rail said that the "next steps will be announced in due course".
SYPTE added that the seven train-tram vehicles, which were delivered last November, would run on the existing tram lines from Spring 2017.


The annual Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum's open day in 2016 took place on the 6th November. Weather was mixed and decidedly wet at times, but did not appear to dampen the spirits of the many visitors to this event. The usual mix of LVVS-owned and visiting vehicles provided much interest, and many were used on a variety of services throughout the day.
Two new sets have been added to the albums and can now be viewed here and here

Sunday, 27 November 2016

London Underground disruption

Piccadilly Line delays: Chaos to continue for days as trains taken out of service

Passengers fear delays and cancellations on the Piccadilly Line could last for days as work continues to fix faulty wheels caused by wet leaves.
Commuters have faced major delays on the Tube as one in two trains on the Piccadilly Line were taken out of service.
Transport for London said wheels on trains serving the Underground’s fourth busiest line had been damaged as a result of slippery rails.
When tracks become too slippery wheels on Tube trains lock while braking, causing excess wear and rendering them unsafe to use.

Although fixing a wheel is a small job, the intricacy means the task is time-consuming, TfL said.
The problems on Friday morning meant trains between Acton Town and Uxbridge were cancelled and severe delays hit the rest of the line after a week of disruption.
It was not known when the line’s trains will be back in service but TfL warned delays could stretch into next week.
A spokesman told the Standard repairs have been happening all week but Friday had seen the worst of the problems. He added it is not known when the trains will be back in service.
The Tube trains are currently being repaired at depots at Cockfosters and Northfields.
A spokesman for TfL said it “sincerely apologises” to customers for the disruption.
Tony Matthews, general manager for the Piccadilly Line, said: “We have had to take some Piccadilly Line trains out of service to repair their wheels, which unfortunately means we do not have a full fleet available.
“We’re working around the clock to fix the trains so that we can return to a good service as quickly as possible.”
Delays plagued the Piccadilly Line repeatedly this week, with commuters taking to social media to complain.

Tube drivers on the Piccadilly Line are set to walk-out in a 24-hour strike on December 6 and 7.
A TfL spokesman said the Piccadilly is the only Tube line affected by the wheel locking problem from wet leaves. The trains spend a lot of time overground and are older so more susceptible to the problem, he said.

The Focus Transport's own potential disruptions to service appear to have passed without incident, and hopefully normal service will continue uninterrupted.