Friday, 19 April 2019

Borders Buses

The company has acquired brand new bike friendly double-deck buses in the shape of three Alexander Dennis E40D Enviro400 MMC registered SK19 ELV/W/X. These custom built vehicles were designed with cyclists in mind and will operate on the route X62 between Edinburgh and Melrose.

Onboard features include free WiFi, contactless payment, comfortable seating and tables, wireless and USB charging points and device friendly seat backs.

The company are working with our app people so cyclist/passengers are able to track the respective bike friendly bus. In the meantime, the company intend to post on social media which journeys will be bike friendly. Their intentions were to have two bikes per vehicle, however based on passenger feedback they are expanding this to four by the end of May. If successful, they may add more bike friendly buses on this route.

The leader of Scottish Borders Council Shona Haslam and local cycling enthusiasts were delighted to see the new vehicles.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Latest London Bus contract awards

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

29 (Trafalgar Square & Wood Green Station) and
N29 (Trafalgar Square & Enfield Town) LBSL contracts re-awarded to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2013 Euro V hybrid double-decks (contracts start date 11th January 2020)

34 (Barnet Church & Walthamstow Central Station) LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London North using hybrid double-decks details to be confirmed. Currently operated by Metroline with double-decks from Potters Bar (PB) Garage (9th November)
52 24-hours (Willesden Garage & Victoria Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Metroline using existing fleet 2014 Euro VI hybrid double-decks (7th December)

102 24-hours (Brent Cross/Golders Green & Edmonton Green Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London North using hybrid double-decks details to be confirmed (9th November)

109 (Brixton Station & Croydon) and
N109 (Oxford Circus & Croydon) LBSL contracts re-awarded to Abellio London using existing fleet 2015 Euro VI hybrid double-decks (1st February)

192 (Enfield Town & Tottenham Hale Station) LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London North with new Euro VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London General with diesel single-decks from Northumberland Park (NP) Garage (9th November)

Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

First Glasgow Launches New Enviro400's on Airport Service

First Glasgow have launched 10 new ultra-low emission vehicles for their premium Glasgow Airport Express service as part of the on-going investment plans, which provides a 24/7 fast and frequent link from the city centre to the airport.

The 10 new Enviro400 City double decker buses built by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk will double the capacity on these popular services. The new vehicles have been in operation on the 500 service from Sunday, April 14th serving one of the busiest airports in the UK.

The buses come with luxury double padded seating, free 4G WIFI, USB charging points as well as new state-of-the-art wireless charging facilities on both the tables and seatbacks, luggage racks and most important of all, ultra-low emission Euro VI diesel engines.

All 10 vehicles have also been fitted with the state-of-the-art SmartVision system, which replaces the traditional wing mirrors with a CCTV system fitted within the Driver’s cab to provide extra vision and safety. This system was originally trialled on the 75 services when the new vehicles were originally launched last October and now First Glasgow has extended the trial to all 10 of its Glasgow Airport Express service vehicles.

The 500 service runs from Glasgow City Centre to the airport in as little as 15 minutes. This is one of the Glasgow operator’s most popular services carrying over 1.9 million passengers annually and an open return ticket on this frequent service is just £13.50, available on the First Bus App, when you plan your journey in advance.

The new buses went on display to the public at a special launch event with Capital FM presenter Garry Spence entertaining the crowd at George Square in Glasgow city centre on Saturday, April 13th prior to the 10 new vehicles going into active service.

The event saw First Glasgow bring summer to the city centre early with giant deck chairs, prize giveaways and exclusive offers to celebrate their launch.

Glasgow Airport staff were in attendance to mark the launch of these new premium vehicles as part of their on-going partnership with First Glasgow, along with Visit Scotland and Alexander Dennis.

Mark Johnston, Managing Director at Glasgow Airport, said: “We are proud to welcome this latest First Bus fleet into operation and I’m really impressed with the new ADL Enviro400 City model.

“As well as vastly improving capacity, the double-deckers offer a number of fantastic customer experience enhancements. I’m sure our passengers who choose to sit in the upper deck level will also appreciate the elevated views these new models bring.

“The First 500 Service provides vital connectivity between the airport and the city centre to millions of passengers each year and First Bus is to be congratulated for the significant investment made to introduce this new fleet.”

Marie Connell, Business Development Manager at Alexander Dennis Limited, stated: “I supported the launch of the initial Enviro200 fleet on the Glasgow Airport Express route in 2015 and am delighted that we are taking our collaboration with First Glasgow on this popular route to a whole new level with these 10 new Enviro400 City.

“First Glasgow gave us a challenging brief – low emission double decks, which meet the weight restrictions demanded of LEB compliant vehicles without compromising on passenger comfort. The premium interior specification of these low emission Enviro400 City buses ensures that all passengers will enjoy a first-class passenger experience travelling to and from the airport.”

Glasgow’s largest operator has now invested over £30 million in a total of 150 new ultra-low emission vehicles for Glasgow since October 2018. This highlights First Glasgow’s continuing commitment to improving the quality of offering to its customers while at the same time playing its role in improving air quality in the city.

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Glasgow, said: “It is exciting times for everyone at First Glasgow in being able to share these vehicles with the people of Glasgow and the rest of the world via our friends at Glasgow Airport. We have a great working relationship with the airport team and with these new state-of-the-art vehicles, we are providing their customers with a first-class experience on their journeys to and from the airport.

“This investment marks the end of our second phase of new bus launches linked with the Glasgow Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and takes us a long way toward compliance for phase 2. We are delighted to have delivered such a vast range of service improvements to our customers since October last year and these latest buses are the next level for our premium express airport service.”

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Flying Banana by GWR

Great Western Railway has announced ticket details for the upcoming Class 43 HST (full set) farewell tour.

The tour is to be divided up into several stages. Stage one will be Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington via Bath Spa, Chippenham, Swindon, Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.

The Second stage will be London Paddington to London Paddington via Carmarthen calling at Reading, Didcot Parkway, Oxford, Moreton-In-Marsh, Worcester Shrub Hill, Hereford, Newport South Wales, Port Talbot Parkway, CARMARTHEN, Swansea, Cardiff Central, Gloucester, Swindon, Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.

Then the final leg will be from London Paddington to Plymouth non-stop.

Provisional timings are below:


1Z22 (Leg 1)

Bristol TM dep 0524

Bath Spa dep 0537

Chippenham dep 0550

Swindon dep 0606

Didcot Parkway dep 0624

Reading dep 0640

Paddington arr 0706


1Z23 (Leg 2)

Paddington dep 0737

Didcot Parkway dep 0828

Oxford dep 0844

Charlbury dep 0906

Moreton-in-Marsh dep 0924

Worcester Shrub Hill dep 1004

Hereford dep 1053

Newport dep 1142

Cardiff Central dep 1200

Port Talbot Parkway dep 1231

Llanelli dep 1303

Carmarthen arr 1331


1Z24 (Leg 3)

Carmarthen dep 1349

Swansea arr 1428 dep 1443

Cardiff Central arr 1529 dep 1539

Gloucester dep 1637

Swindon arr 1715 dep 1718

Didcot Parkway arr 1734 dep 1736

Reading arr 1755 dep 1806

Paddington arr 1836


1Z25 (Leg 4)

Paddington dep 1857

Plymouth arr 2203

Tickets will be available for both individual legs or the entire trip. All of which will be non-refundable. There will be no part fares available for any of the stages.

Full inclusive tour STD ADULT £148 CHILD £74

Leg 1: Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington leg ONLY STD ADULT £85

Leg 2: London Paddington to London Paddington leg ONLY STD ADULT £125

Leg 3 London Paddington to Plymouth (NON STOP) leg ONLY STD ADULT £100

This is a charity charter and as such there will be NO railcard discounts and only tickets issued from this website along with supported photographic ID will be accepted on the entirety of this charter  by clicking  here

The tickets for the charter train will also be valid for journeys connecting in and out of the charter on Saturday 1st June and also travelling to Bristol Temple Meads on Friday 31st May and from Plymouth on Sunday 2nd June to ensure attendees can travel to and from the charter at no additional cost. These connecting journeys are only valid on GWR services.

Please note as of 1745 on Saturday 13th April 1st Class has sold out in its entirety.

Monday, 15 April 2019


At present four full length HSTs are still running with First Great Western Railway, but will be reduced on 29th April to just two sets.

However four sets will work the last day 18th May with last booked trains on that day:
  • 1803 Paddington to Plymouth (a)
  • 1815 Paddington to Cheltenham
  • 1822 Paddington to Hereford
  • 1830 Paddngton to Taunton (b)
a - connecting IEP provided from Plymouth to Penzance
b - retarded about 10 mins at Reading and specially extended beyond Taunton in service to Exeter.

An additional IEP will depart Paddington at 1832 and run in the normal timings of the 1830 from Reading onwards to Taunton.

It is understood that all four HSTs from Paddington should depart from Platforms 1-4 to enable photos of all four together.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Central London bus routes shake-up

Major changes to many bus routes in Central London have now been finalised. All the following changes to take place on the 15th June 2019 unless otherwise shown.

3 (Crystal Palace & Trafalgar Square) Withdrawn between Whitehall Place and Trafalgar Square. Route N3 would remain unchanged.

4 (Archway & Waterloo) Withdrawn between Waterloo and New Change and diverted to Blackfriars via Queen Victoria Street.

9 & N9 (Aldwych & Hammersmith Daytime and onwards to Heathrow Airport Nighttime)  Re-routed back via Piccadilly Circus instead of via Pall Mall. Pall Mall left unserved.

11 (Fulham Broadway & Liverpool Street Station)  The original plan to withdraw between Fulham Broadway and Victoria is not now going ahead.

14 (24-hours) (Putney Heath & Warren Street) Withdrawn between Tottenham Court Road and Warren Street, instead re-routed at Tottenham Court Road via British Museum/Great Russell Street to Russell Square.

19 (Finsbury Park Station & Battersea Bridge) The original plan to withdraw between Battersea Bridge and Holborn is now not going ahead.

22 (Putney Common & Oxford Circus) The original plan to divert the route from Green Park to Piccadilly Circus is now not going to take place.

26 (Hackney Wick & Waterloo) Frequency increase from every 10 minutes to every 7-8 minutes (12th October 2019)

35 (24-hours) (Shoreditch & Clapham Common) Peak hours only frequency increase to every 7-8 minutes.

40 (Dulwich & Aldwych) Withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Aldgate, instead re-routed via Blackfriars Bridge to Clerkenwell Green. Fenchurch Street left unserved.

45 (King's Cross & Clapham Park) Withdrawn between Elephant & Castle & King's Cross.

46 (St.Bartholemew's Hospital & Lancaster Gate) Extra morning journey to St Bartholomew's Hospital.

48 (Walthamstow & London Bridge Station) Route withdrawn (12th October 2019)

53 (24-hours) (Plumstead & Trafalgar Square) Withdrawn between Whitehall and County Hall. Night service renumbered N53 with no change to route or frequency. Daytime 53 reduced in frequency from every 7-8 to every 8 minutes.

55 (Oxford Circus & Leyton Green) Extended from Leyton Baker's Arms via current route 48 to Walthamstow Bus Station. (N55 unchanged) (12th October 2019)

59 (Streatham Hill & King's Cross) Withdrawn between Euston and King's Cross. Two northbound morning journeys withdrawn, however one additional southbound PM journey added.

67 (Wood Green & Aldgate) Withdrawn between Dalston Junction and Aldgate.

76 (24-hours) (Tottenham Hale & Waterloo) Re-routed via London Wall and New Change instead of via Bank

100 (Shadwell & Barbican) Route extended from Museum of London to St Paul's (12th October 2019)

134 (24-hours) (North Finchley & Tottenham Court Road Station) Withdrawn between Warren Street and Tottenham Court Road.

149 (24-hours) (Edmonton Green & London Bridge Station) Monday-Saturday daytime frequency increased from every 8-9 minutes to every 6 minutes. Additionally decreased Sunday daytime and Daily evening frequency from every 8 minutes to every 10 minutes.

171 (Catford Garage & Holborn) Withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Holborn.

172 (Catford Garage & Clerkenwell Green) Withdrawn between Aldwych and Clerkenwell Green.

205/N205 (Paddington & Bow Daytime and onwards to Leyton Nighttime): Re-routed direct via Marylebone Road, so it would no longer serve Melcombe Place/Marylebone Station. Daytime frequency decreased from every 8 minutes to every 9 minutes.

242 (24-hours) (Homerton Hospital & Tottenham Court Road). Daytime route 242 journeys are withdrawn between Shoreditch High Street and St Paul's and instead re-routed to Aldgate via Commercial Street. Frequency reduced from every 7 to every 8 minutes. Night service renumbered N242 to run as current 242 routing between between Homerton Hospital and St Paul's with an additional extension to Tottenham Court Road. (Route 242 change on 15th June 2019, route N242 change on 18th May 2019)

271 (24-hours) (Highgate Village & Finsbury Square) The original plan to withdraw the daily night service is now not going to take place.

311. The original plan to introduce a new route between Fulham Broadway and Oxford Circus is now not going to take place

341 (24-hours) (Waterloo & Angel Road) Re-routed between Royal Courts of Justice and junction of Roseberry Avenue/Farringdon Road via Farringdon Station. New Fetter Lane left unserved.

343 (New Cross & City Hall) Extended from City Hall to Aldgate via Tower Bridge.

388 (Stratford City & Elephant & Castle). Two changes to take place, the first on the 15th June where it is withdrawn between Liverpool Street Station and Liverpool Street Station (Bishopsgate). The second change takes place on the 12th October when re-routed from Liverpool Street to London Bridge.

468 (Euston & South Croydon) Last set down stop in Elephant & Castle revised to be in Borough Road.

476 (Northumberland Park & Euston) Withdrawn between King's Cross and Euston. Frequency reduced from every 8 minutes to every 10 minutes.

RV1 (Covent Garden & Tower Gateway) Route withdrawn.

Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Saturday, 13 April 2019

£15,000 for Vintage Poster

A 1932 London & North Eastern Railway poster for the Night Scotsman sleeper service between London and Scotland has sold for £15,000 at an auction in Edinburgh.

The vintage artwork, designed by artist Robert Bartlett and intended for a station platform nearly 90 years ago, shows the locomotive steaming along the tracks at night.

It was sold at Lyon & Turnbull to a UK-based rail enthusiast.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Stagecoach barred from rail franchise bids in pensions row

Stagecoach says it is "extremely concerned" after the Department for Transport (DfT) barred it from three UK rail franchise bids.

The DfT says the bids for the East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast franchises were "non-compliant" because they did not meet pensions rules.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, has called for an "urgent meeting" with the DfT.

Stagecoach had "repeatedly ignored established rules", the DfT said.

Mr Griffiths said in a statement: "We are extremely concerned at both the DfT's decision and its timing. The department has had full knowledge of these bids for a lengthy period and we are seeking an urgent meeting to discuss our significant concerns."

Bidders for the franchises have been asked to bear full long-term funding risk on relevant sections of the Railways Pension Scheme, Stagecoach said. The Pensions Regulator has estimated the UK rail industry needs an additional £5-6bn to plug the pensions shortfall, and the company said it was being asked to take on risks it "cannot control and manage".

Mr Griffiths said: "Forcing rail companies to take these risks could lead to the failure of more rail franchises and cannot be in the best long-term interests of either customers, employees, taxpayers or the investors the railway needs for it to prosper. It was more evidence that the current franchising model is not fit for purpose" and "further damages the already fragile investor confidence in the UK rail market".

Stagecoach had bid independently for the East Midlands franchise, had intended to partner with Alstom for the South Eastern operations, and was jointly bidding for the West Coast Partnership with Virgin and SNCF. A DfT spokesman said that other bidders had met its requirements, and also announced that the East Midlands franchise had now been awarded to Abellio "after they presented a strong, compliant bid". He said: "Stagecoach is an experienced bidder and fully aware of the rules of franchise competitions. It is regrettable that they submitted non-compliant bids for all current competitions which breached established rules and, in doing so, they are responsible for their own disqualification. Stagecoach chose to propose significant changes to the commercial terms for the East Midlands, West Coast Partnership and South Eastern contracts, leading to bids which proposed a significantly different deal to the ones on offer.

While Stagecoach has played an important role in the UK railways industry, "it is entirely for Stagecoach and their bidding partners to explain why they decided to repeatedly ignore established rules by rejecting the commercial terms on offer".

Stagecoach, which also has a huge bus division, currently operates the East Midlands rail franchise between London St Pancras International and destinations including Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

The company has a 49% share in Virgin Rail and also runs the Sheffield Supertram.

Stagecoach's East Coast franchise was renationalised last year following poor performance and mounting losses.

As a result of the above.....................

Virgin Trains 'could disappear' after franchise bar

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson says his train business could disappear from the UK after its partner Stagecoach was barred from three rail franchise bids. Sir Richard, whose Virgin Trains is 49% owned by Stagecoach, said he was "devastated" by the disqualification.

The Department for Transport (DfT) disallowed the bids because they did not meet pensions rules.

Virgin was bidding to renew the West Coast franchise in partnership with Stagecoach and France's SNCF.

In a blog on Virgin's corporate website, Sir Richard said Virgin Trains "could be gone from the UK in November". "We're baffled why the DfT did not tell us that we would be disqualified or even discuss the issue - they have known about this qualification in our bid on pensions for months," he wrote. "The pensions regulator has warned that more cash will be needed in the future, but no one knows how big that bill might eventually be and no responsible company could take that risk with pensions. We can't accept a risk we can't manage - this would have been reckless. This is an industry-wide issue and forcing rail companies to take these risks could lead to the failure of more rail franchises."

The deadline for bids is now closed, so any reopening of the process seems unlikely. There are thought to be two remaining bids left for the West Coast franchise.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

East Midlands Franchise

Abellio announced to run East Midlands Railway franchise from August 2019.

From the Department for Transport

Abellio has been announced as the successful bidder to run services on the East Midlands Railway from August 2019 until 2027 passengers to benefit from new trains with more peak-time seats, reduced journey times, and over £17 million of station improvements action on delivering more environmentally-friendly services, with a commitment to trials of hydrogen fuel cell trains and zero-carbon station pilots.

Abellio as the successful bidder will operate the East Midlands Railway franchise and be responsible for delivering new trains, smart ticketing and more frequent services for passengers. They will oversee the introduction of brand-new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with more reliable and comfortable trains. Passengers will benefit from an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St.Pancras. Passengers will also see faster journey times over long-distances, a new express service from Corby through Luton into London, the introduction of improved delay repay compensation and flexipass tickets to provide better value fares.

The East Midlands Railway will also be at the forefront of the government’s commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener rail network. Abellio will trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and will run zero-carbon pilots at 6 stations along the route.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Improving the experience for passengers is at the heart of this new franchise. Abellio will deliver state-of-the-art new trains, upgraded ticketing systems and improvements to stations. Through zero-carbon pilot schemes, trialling hydrogen fuel cell trains and delivering more seats on modern, spacious trains, the new franchise will also play a major role in building a railway fit for the future".

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: "Abellio is proud to have been selected as the Winning Bidder for the East Midlands franchise. We look forward to this franchise driving economic growth and delivering significant benefits for passengers. Abellio will invest £600 million in improvements to trains and stations, maximising the effect of the government’s £1.5 billion upgrade of the Midland Main Line, to make journeys easier, more reliable and comfortable for our passengers. Closer collaboration between East Midlands Railway and Network Rail will ensure that track and train are aligned to deliver vital enhancements to infrastructure and to put the interests of passengers first".

The current franchise is operated by Stagecoach as East Midland Trains.

Abellio will also oversee the introduction of:
  • more flexible and convenient smart ticketing options
  • free wifi and high quality mobile connectivity on board services
  • improved delay repay compensation for all passengers
  • a stations improvement fund of £16.8 million, including £6.9 million for accessibility improvements
  • £9.4 million of investment to deliver commercial and customer service improvements at stations
  • 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces
  • ticket buying facilities in place at all stations
The government is investing nearly £48 billion over the next 5 years to modernise the railway, including more than £1.5 billion to upgrade the Midland Main Line, the biggest upgrade of the line since it was completed in 1870. Alongside this, there is a root-and-branch review of the railway underway, independently chaired by Keith Williams. This will make ambitious recommendations before the end of the year to reform the structure of the whole rail industry to prioritise passengers’ and taxpayers’ interests.

The next East Midlands Railway franchise and the ongoing competitions include significant improvements for passengers and steps to bring track and train closer together. From 2020 further reforms, advised by the Rail Review, will be rolled out across the country. These will be guided by the approaches that deliver benefits to passengers soonest. Awarding the new East Midlands franchise is part of that strategy.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

EBUSCO Celebrates Order For 60 Electric Buses

Dutch bus manufacturer, EBUSCO has benefited from a share pf the huge order of electric buses placed by Qbuzz in the Netherlands. 
The EBUSCO part is significant – 60 12m electric buses with a range of up to 400 km (250 miles)
In total, 159 vehicles will be delivered by VDL Bus & Coach, Heuliez Bus and EBUSCO.

Thanks to Qbuzz, it seems that the Netherlands will become the biggest electric bus market in Europe.

”Travellers will really appreciate the new experience” says Steven van der Burg, who supervises the project from EBUSCO. “There are USB ports for telephone charging and comfortable seats are installed for long distance. There is also a lot of daylight in the bus and no engine noise.” For safety the buses have an exterior tram bell sound, which can be used at low speeds. Especially at stations and in densely populated areas, this will become the new characteristic sound.

The introduction of the comfortable electric regional bus is relatively new. To date, electric buses have often been focused on city routes, not on the outskirts. “This mainly has to do with the range of electric vehicles,” says Peter Bijvelds, director of EBUSCO. 

“The latest generation regional buses from EBUSCO have a range of up to 400 kilometers. This allows the buses to be charged via a plug, so there is no need of a fast charging infrastructure to be set up in the region. 
As a result, Qbuzz has been able to purchase more new electric buses and reduces more emissions.”

The introduction of the new bus fleet in December of this year is unique. Never before in Europe, have 60 electric buses been introduced at the same time. The northern part of the Netherlands will immediately benefit from a lowering of emissions and vehicle noise.

Qbuzz and EBUSCO have been working together for a long time to enable a quick transformation to quiet and clean cities. In Utrecht, there are already about ten buses on Bus Line 1. 

 The introduction of another 60 electric buses in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe underlines the initiative and success of both companies for a fast transition to clean, quiet and high-quality bus transport.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Plan to Extend Borders Railway to England Given Major Boost

The campaign to extend the Borders Railway has received a major boost as the UK Government announced its backing for a feasibility study.

The 30-mile Edinburgh-Tweedbank route opened in 2015 but calls for it to be stretched a further 18 miles to Hawick have grown in recent years, alongside the eventual aim of extending the line to Carlisle.

Campaigners claim that Hawick drastically lost out when the original 98-mile Waverley line from Edinburgh to Carlisle was closed in 1969.

 When the line re-opened to Tweedbank the original double track alignment was only 
constructed as single line, which immediately created capacity problems.
Further extension of the line can only add to this short sighted restriction.

Now Scottish secretary David Mundell has confirmed his government’s support for a feasibility study on the matter, in a letter to MP John Lamont.

It matches the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to extending the route, having recently published the Borders Transport Corridor Study, giving two potential routes for extending the line.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Scotland, Christine Grahame MSP asked when the UK Government would undertake an appraisal for the line south of the Scottish Border. Until then, a full appraisal in Scotland could not proceed.

Ms Grahame said: “The Borders Railway has been a fantastic success - boosting the economy, leading to new house building and supporting tourism in the region.

“My constituents will significantly benefit from any welcome extension to the existing Borders Railway, and I am sure they will welcome the news of a feasibility study into the benefits of extending the railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and Carlisle.

“The SNP has always backed a feasibility study for the Borders Railway extension, and has made a significant investment in the economic development of the Scottish Borders since being in Government.

“I am pleased that the Tories are now supportive of the Borders Railway line, given that they thought the money on the railway could be better spent, but times and views do thankfully change.”

Sunday, 7 April 2019

24 New Vehicles for McGill's

Bus operator McGill's has bought 26 new vehicles to serve Glasgow and the west of Scotland in a deal worth £4.75m

The buses were supplied by Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis and designed to meet European ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) standards.
Greenock-based McGill's said they also exceeded the Glasgow Low Emission Zone standard.
The vehicles will be used on two routes - Erskine to Glasgow and Glenburn/Nethercraigs to Paisley.
McGill's said the latest purchases brought its investment in new fleet over the past five years to nearly £24m.
Chief executive Ralph Roberts said: "This is a milestone investment for McGill's which benefits the environment, our passengers and in turn, serves the wider economy.
"Some campaigners claim that bus operators are not doing enough to tackle air pollution but this investment in 26 new vehicles brings our average bus age down to under seven years old - the youngest large private fleet in Scotland.
"It demonstrates that we're going the extra mile and taking a long-term approach to our operations."

Saturday, 6 April 2019

ArrivaClick in the Midlands

Leicester to benefit from sustainable travel scheme

Following a unique partnership with the landowner, the Drummond Estate, Arriva is set to introduce ArrivaClick, its innovative demand responsive ride-sharing service to the residents of New Lubbesthorpe from 29 April 2019.

Marking the first time in the UK that funding from a Section 106 agreement has been used to fund a digitalised Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service, ArrivaClick will be introduced at the development as part of Drummond Estate’s drive to provide a sustainable way to work, live, learn and play for those living in New Lubbesthorpe - a pioneering new community to the west of Leicester providing new homes, schools, community facilities and an employment park adjacent to the M1/M69.

Photograph courtesy of Arriva: (Left to right) Paul Hickingbottom from Arriva, with Martin Wood from Drummond and John Richards

Martin Ward on behalf of the Drummond Estate, explains: “This exciting development is delivering a new place to live, work, go to school and visit, with vibrant urban amenities, and it is important we provide sustainable transport options. This is just one of the initiatives we are delivering at New Lubbesthorpe to provide attractive and viable alternatives to using the car. An ‘on call’ service, it provides a high quality, easy and flexible solution to meet local travel needs and is one of the reasons this is such a pioneering development.”

Once in service, ArrivaClick will offer connections for New Lubbesthorpe residents, but also for retail, leisure and workplaces in Leicester city centre, the city’s University campuses as well as railway and bus stations, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Fosse Shopping Park, Grove Park, Meridian Business Park, Meridian Leisure Park, Narborough Rail station, Leicester Tigers and Leicester City Football Club.

The service will deliver shorter end-to-end journey times for customers. Booking by the ArrivaClick smartphone app, customers request an executive minibus from their pick-up point at a time they want and to a destination of their choosing, their journey is then matched with other people heading towards the same destination. Customers are then given a cost and pick-up time for the journey, and once the journey is accepted, are guaranteed a seat on the high-specification minibuses, which can accommodate up to 15 people (or 12 when including a wheelchair or pushchair using customer).

It is the third ArrivaClick scheme to be announced following successful launches in Kent and Liverpool, making Arriva the UK’s largest operator of demand responsive transport services of this type.

Paul Hickinbottom, General Manager from Arriva, added: “Public transport as we know it is evolving. There has been a huge shift in consumer behaviour which has seen people expecting a service that is bespoke and tailored specifically to their needs. ArrivaClick offers just that, prioritising punctuality of service and frequency. Its flexibility is the key to its success. It delivers on the unique and individual requirements of each costumer, providing a truly holistic approach to meeting their transport needs. ArrivaClick is entirely complementary to other forms of passenger transport by encouraging modal shift away from cars through offering attractive products that provide optimum convenience, first-and-last mile solutions, and an approach to service delivery which better represents modern lifestyles. By working alongside the Drummond Estate and Go Travel Solutions with our partners at Blaby District Council, Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council to bring ArrivaClick to Leicestershire, we are demonstrating a combined dedication to putting the customer’s needs first, whilst seeking to increase our County’s sustainability and environmental credentials.”

New Lubbesthorpe is an initiative of the Drummond Estate. A new £15 million motorway bridge has already opened to provide greater connectivity and the first phase of 500 homes is well underway. The first primary school will be open for September 2019 intake.
The proposals will be built-out over the next two decades and will grow into a truly sustainable 21st century new community. New Lubbesthorpe promises to be one of the most attractive places to live in the region, also providing 325 acres of new parklands for local residents to enjoy.
Sustainable transport is a cornerstone of the New Lubbesthorpe development, which covers the area from Leicester Forest East in the north to Enderby in the south, straddling the M69.

Drummond Estate has appointed sustainable travel consultants, Go Travel Solutions, to assist in promoting a range of sustainable transport options for those living and working in New Lubbesthorpe.

Robin Pointon, Managing Director of Go Travel Solutions, explained: “This is a new way of delivering sustainable travel solutions as part of new housing developments. ArrivaClick offers a totally different and exciting solution and will add significantly to our LocalGo offer to residents. With its track record of attracting car drivers as customers and its ability to flex to meet travel demands, it has every opportunity to be a long-term success.” 


Friday, 5 April 2019

Plaxton Elite Now Available on Volvo B8R

Two-axle versions of Plaxton’s flagship Elite coach are now available on the Volvo B8R chassis, combining distinctive design with fuel efficiency and offering 53 luxury seats at a vehicle length of 13.2m.
This new version increases luggage carrying capacity by half a tonne. Ten coaches built to this specification are joining the fleet of launch customer Logan’s Executive Travel of Dunloy for the 2019 season.

The Volvo B8R 4x2 chassis, powered by the eight-litre 350hp D8K engine matched to the I-Shift automated transmission, already is a highly popular choice when underpinning Plaxton’s Panther and Leopard models where it has a proven record for reliability and excellent value for money.

The B8R chassis is now available for the Plaxton Elite coach. At 13.2m length, it seats up to 53 passengers on comfortable recliners and offers a centre sunken toilet at the continental exit door. The increased wheelbase maximizes the luggage locker space available. This can be fully utilised thanks to the lighter chassis, which delivers an increase in luggage carrying capacity of around half a tonne compared with the 12.6m Plaxton Elite on B11R chassis.

A comprehensive range of specification options are available, including a PSVAR compliant entrance mounted wheelchair lift and full LED destination equipment.

Mark Ballam, Coach Commercial Manager at Alexander Dennis, says: “The British-built Plaxton Elite is perhaps the most distinctive coach on the road and is now winning more and more fans thanks to the new Volvo B8R chassis option. Like all Plaxton coaches, its stainless steel body structure contributes to its longevity and continued resale value.”

Logan’s Executive Travel of Dunloy in Co. Antrim has become the launch customer for this new model option, taking ten coaches for the 2019 season.

Director Sean Logan comments: “This is another model on offer in what is the finest stable of vehicles offered by any manufacturer in Europe. The engineering team led by the late Vaugn Bulmer could not have been more motivated and constructive in their help. But then, when you are part of the Plaxton family, you expect nothing less.”

The first of the new coaches will be shown at the UK Coach Rally in Blackpool on 6th and 7th April.