Friday, 20 July 2018

Stockport Interchange

Plans to build a multimillion-pound bus station below a new park in Stockport have been given the go-ahead.
Part of a £1bn investment in the town centre, the plans also include a residential block and an upgrading of a section of the Trans Pennine Trail.
They were passed at a meeting of Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
The region's mayor Andy Burnham said they "demonstrate a clear ambition" for the town to "become a key urban centre in South Manchester".

A Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) spokesman said the plans included "enhanced CCTV across the interchange", 20 bus stands and a covered concourse for passengers.
They would see the Trans Pennine Trail, a route for walkers and cyclists, upgraded alongside the River Mersey and the bus station.

Stockport Council leader Alex Ganotis said it was "such an important project... and will take our transformation of the town centre to the next level".
"We believe that the creation of a new park, new homes and modern public transport facilities will all be great additions," he added.
Mr Burnham said the proposals were also "a fantastic example of integrated town centre planning, with TfGM and Stockport Council working together to build something that will benefit an entire community".

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Nottingham City's Transport & Clean Air Zone

No Clean Air Zone for Nottingham as plans render it unnecessary

Nottingham City Council recently announced that citywide measures already under way to improve air quality mean a Clean Air Zone is no longer being considered.
Cllr Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, told full council on Monday, July 9 that existing measures would reduce air pollution to below the legal limit, without the need for a Clean Air Zone.
Projects include retrofitting 180 NCT buses with clean exhaust technology, requiring every taxi and private hire vehicle in the city to low emission, and the council replacing its own heavy vehicles – such as bin lorries – with electric or other low emission vehicles.
Cllr Longford said: “Results of air quality modelling showed these measures will have a significant effect in reducing emissions, bringing Nottingham into compliance by 2020. Although we considered a Class B Clean Air Zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive impact across the whole city, rather than just in one area.
“Our priority has always been the health of our citizens, rather than meeting government targets, and this hasn’t changed. Road vehicles are one of the largest contributors to air pollution, and it’s thanks to the council’s significant and sustained investment in green public transport, like the trams and low emission buses, that we are in a really strong position to be able to improve air quality.
“We have one of the UK’s largest all-electric park and ride fleets, an electric tram that carries more than 17 million people every year and NCT has the world’s largest fleet of low emission bio-gas buses. These measures have already gone a long way to achieving cleaner air in the city.”

Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts, and can contribute to the onset of heart disease and cancer. It particularly affects the most vulnerable – children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions.
The City Council has been directed by the government to take action to meet legal air quality limits as soon as possible, and is required to submit a local plan to DEFRA in September.

The council’s Executive Board will consider the following proposals later this month:
  • Delivering the retrofitting programme for NCT’s older buses with clean exhaust technology to meet Euro VI standards
  • Enforcing the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Strategy age policy to reduce the age of hackney carriage and private hire fleet, supported with the introduction of an incentives package to shift the taxi fleet to ward low emission vehicles, including a ‘try before you buy’ leasing scheme
  • Delivering the council’s own fleet renewal programme to purchase new EVs in its specialist/heavy fleet
The board will also be asked to approve, in principle, further measures, including amending the city’s two Air Quality Management Areas to cover the whole city, and seeking to enforce anti-idling legislation.

If agreed, a public consultation will take place in August, before the city’s final local air quality plan is submitted.
Councillor Longford said: “We know from earlier consultation there is a lot of support for prioritising measures to improve air quality, and we’re looking to go beyond the minimum requirements of the Air Quality Directive to introduce further measures.
“These include seeking to amend our existing Air Quality Management Areas to cover the whole city, and to enforce anti-idling legislation. We’re also looking at revising the city centre Clear Zone, introducing emissions criteria for some classes of vehicle, including a taxi permit scheme.”

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Edinburgh Tram firm loses appeal to keep files secret

The company at the centre of the Edinburgh trams inquiry has lost an appeal to have documents it provided to the probe kept secret.
Bilfinger UK had instructed lawyers to return to the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking a ruling from appeal judges over a decision made by their colleague Lord Tyre earlier this year.
The firm wanted judges to block moves to publish paperwork.
It said the documents were commercially sensitive and could help competitors.
Lord Tyre refused to allow the company permission to stop the inquiry publishing the documents which includes monthly reports made during the tram project to the firm's German HQ.
Lawyers acting for the company argued Lord Tyre had incorrectly interpreted the law.
However the appeal judges Lord Carloway, Lord Menzies and Lord Malcolm ruled Lord Tyre had acted correctly.

Contractual restraints

In a ruling written by Lord Carloway, Scotland's most senior judge, the appeal judges concluded the documents did not contain sensitive information which could damage the business's interests.

The Edinburgh trams project, which caused massive disruption to the capital, was delivered years late and more than £400m over budget.
The contract to bring trams back to Edinburgh was an "extremely poor deal for the council" which should never have been made, the inquiry has heard.
Douglas Fairley, a lawyer representing directors of the tram delivery company Tie, said it allowed the contractor to hold the employer to ransom.
Edinburgh's trams were delivered years late, hundreds of millions of pounds over budget on a shortened route.
The inquiry into what went wrong has run for three years and cost £7m.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A German visit

Following on from Terry Wong Min's visit last year to Wuppertal (see album on the Flickr site by clicking here ), Haydn Davies recently visited Germany and has provided a small but perfectly formed set of pictures accompanied by text as follows:

After many visits to Wuppertal, have now managed to get the classic shot in sun of the Schwebebahn at the Vohwinkel end of the line where it runs above the main shopping street for half a mile (the rest of the 8 mile route is mainly above the river Wupper). There was only one spot where you can get about the same height as the tram - the first floor of a Netto store, and because of a double gantry (seen on the left) there is a bigger gap before the next gantry so that the whole of the tram fits in. Because the original building next door is demolished and now a car park, sunlight now gets onto the whole structure and the tram. It has to be an early morning shot, as very soon the tram is covered in shadow from the overhead.

The new trams on the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal are very bland compared to the old. At the moment, about half the trams are old, and half new, with about half of the old ones being in advert livery. All the new trams have an advert on the centre section, and the underneath only.

The ex-Docklands trains are still running in Essen, and are now in 3 slightly different liveries. The nearest unit is in the first livery (with blue bands). The furthest unit is in the 3rd livery (a brighter yellow with no bands). The 2nd livery just had some blue above the windows.

Dusseldorf Airport has a Skytrain to access the terminals and car parks, seen here with the control tower in the background. Everything at this airport seems to be in various shades of grey !

Dortmund University is a huge campus, and there is a 3-line H-bahn to enable students to access the different sites and halls of residence.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Macmillan Cancer Support bus

Bright green 86 bus running from Romford to Stratford unveiled in honour of ‘much-loved’ driver who died of cancer.

From the Romford Recorder

A new bright green 86 bus that will travel throughout east London honouring the memory of a much-loved bus driver has been unveiled this week

The Stagecoach bus, sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support, has been rebranded in honour of former driver Martyn Henderson, who lost his own battle with cancer in July 2017 – it even bears his name in large lettering down the side of the vehicle.
Martyn, who had become Assistant Garage Operations Manager at the Romford garage in North Street before he died, was supported throughout his treatment by the charity, and to commemorate his passing, Stagecoach and Macmillan have announced a new £50,000 partnership over the next two years.
The bus, which is just a small part of a public awareness campaign the two organisations have planned, was unveiled at a special ceremony at the Romford depot on Monday, July 9.
The emerald 86 bus will soon be seen travelling from Romford through Chadwell Heath to Ilford and then onto Stratford, and vice versa.
Bill Daly, Romford Garage Operations Manager and close friend of Martyn Henderson, said: “Martyn worked for bus and coach companies for most of his career and for Stagecoach since 2008.
“So, we are delighted to be honouring him in this way, with his own special bus.
“We are all looking forward to getting involved in lots of fundraising events for Macmillan over the coming months to raise money for the charity that supported Martyn throughout his treatment.”
Martyn’s brother Brian also attended the unveiling ceremony with his wife Jean.
Carole Heffernan, Macmillan Area Fundraising Manager for London, added: “Every day, more than 90 Londoners hear the devastating news they have cancer – that’s enough people to fill a Number 86 bus.
“And with that number set to possibly double by 2030, Macmillan Cancer Support will be needed more than ever to help people with cancer find their best way through.
“This exciting new partnership with Stagecoach sees the launch of a Macmillan-branded bus commemorating a much-loved colleague, Martyn Henderson.
“It will also see Stagecoach employees undertaking fundraising challenges and events to raise money in Martyn’s memory over the next two years.”

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 22nd July - Billericay

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Development Works for Electrification of the Midland Main Line

HS2 Ltd has been asked by the Department for Transport to begin preparatory works for the future electrification of a 25km section of the Midland Main Line from Clay Cross to Sheffield Midland Station.

 East Midlands Trains Meridian unit approaches
Chesterfield on a Sheffield to London Service
Following the government’s announcement last summer that the preferred HS2 route would include a spur into Sheffield via Chesterfield, the Secretary of State has asked that electrification of this section of the Midland Main Line be included within the next hybrid Bill for HS2.

HS2 Ltd will begin its preparatory works with a series of land surveys to further inform the work programme. A public consultation on the works required for electrification will be undertaken at a later date, prior to any hybrid Bill being brought to Parliament.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said:

"The benefits that HS2 will deliver are significant and should not be underestimated. The new railway will play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; driving business growth, creating jobs and securing investment right across the country.

 Arriva Cross Country Voyager unit in the Amber Valley 

Ensuring the Midland Main Line is electrified between Clay Cross and Sheffield Midland Station will enable Chesterfield and the wider Sheffield City Region to benefit from direct services on the new high speed trains."

The new option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a spur off the new north-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield Midland station using the existing railway line. These trains therefore could potentially also call at Chesterfield.

There is also the future option of HS2 services extending onwards to the existing Meadowhall station, Rotherham, or Barnsley.

 East Midlands Trains  Meridian unit at Unstone, between
Sheffield and Chesterfield
A city centre station solution for Sheffield high speed services would allow the main HS2 line to be built east of the previously proposed route, through less densely populated areas that would avoid the complexities of building a line via Meadowhall.

The newly proposed route would cut journey times on services heading to Leeds, York and Newcastle, and would also reduce the cost of the project by around £1billion.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Mercedes eCitaro

After the showing of a prototype in March this year, Mercedes-Benz has revealed the new eCitaro - a ready for production vehicle for which Mercedes-Benz has signed the first orders for delivery this year.

The new eCitaro has design elements from the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, but it still is a Citaro. The front has the Mercedes-Benz star in its circle together with two horizontal lines to emphasise the corporate identity as in the passenger cars and the trucks. Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses, referred to the criticism Daimler was facing because of the delay in introducing an electric city bus where competitors already are delivering fleets of hundreds. "We no longer place a question mark after electric mobility for trucks and buses. With our world premiere of the eCitaro today, we are shaping the future of the public transport network."

The new eCitaro is based on the conventional Citaro, only this one has lithium-ion batteries (NMC) with a total capacity up to 243 kWh. They are modular in design. With the maximum complement of ten battery modules - four in he rear of the bus and up to six on the roof - the eCitaro in standard specification weighs 13.44 tonnes. In conjunction with a gross vehicle weight rating of 19.5 tonnes, this corresponds to a payload of more than six tonnes or around 88 passengers. The range will be at least 150 kilometres according to Mercedes-Benz but 250 kilometres should be possible. Within two or three years a new generation of batteries with a larger capacity should be available. As a third step Mercedes-Benz is planning a solid state battery of 250 kWh produced by the French company BolorĂ© which will give even more power and also is lighter but has as disadvantage that no high power charging is possible. 

This battery will become available in about four years. To increase even further Mercedes-Benz is planning a fuel cell as range extender. This technology eliminates the need for opportunity charging and the complex infrastructure required for it. For the start of series production, plug-in charging is intended through a Combo 2 plug. There will also be an option to charge the eCitaro via a pantograph.


Compared with the current Citaro with combustion engine, the energy requirement for heating, ventilation and climate control has fallen by about 40%.

The first Mercedes-Benz eCitaro's will be delivered at the end of the year


By contrast the latest album on the site focuses attention on a much older form of transport, in the shape of the Soller Mountain Railway in Mallorca. Shayne Howarth has kindly provided a set of pictures which can now be viewed by clicking  here

Friday, 13 July 2018

Derby Railway Station

This is what 79 days of major rail engineering work at Derby station will mean

Forthcoming disruption to rail services on Cross-Country and East Midlands Trains between 22nd July and 7th October.
Up to 79 days of major disruption at Derby Midland Station this summer will bring faster trains and shorter waiting when it is complete, according to rail bosses.

But, while the £200 million project is going on, passengers will have to travel from Derby to Burton, Chesterfield and other stations in coaches.
The major engineering works will start on Sunday, July 22, and bosses from Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and Cross Country Trains, which are working together on the project, believe the disruption will be worth it in the long run to improve the station for the future.
Kevin Newman, project sponsor for Network Rail, said: "If you look at the lines that are in place at the moment they are pretty much unchanged from Victorian times.
"Things have changed now, passenger numbers have increased massively in the last few years and the station needs to adapt to that.
"These changes will have huge benefits for the city with faster trains to London and across the country.
"There will be a lot of train disruptions but we have been working with the train companies to see what we can do to limit this."
Construction of a new platform at the station has already begun. This is expected to be completed by the time signal and track work starts.
Mr Newman said: "The new platform will be ready by the time the work starts and we are also putting on coaches for other services that will be affected.
"I am from Derby myself, I know this is going to be a great thing for the city once it is all complete."
While the station itself was modernised in 2013, the existing track layout has not been improved since it was installed nearly 50 years ago and is considered to be nearing the end of its operational life. The signalling has not been upgraded since it was installed in the 1960s.
The Derby 2018 project is being hailed as a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to improve the rail network.

The out-dated 1960s signals box is also being changed as part of the redevelopment

The out-dated 1960s signals box is also being changed as part of the redevelopment
Signals are set to be replaced right across the station all the way out to Pear Tree and Spondon and 17km of track is also due to be laid during the 79 days.
The work, which has been five years in the planning, is being carried out in two stages.
The first part will focus on the south side of the station and will be completed by September 4. The north side will then begin and should be completed by October 8.
Dan Grover, programme leader at East Midlands Trains, said: "As consequences of the works, there will be an impact to our timetable and these will vary across the 79 days.
"The first thing I would advise people to do to check out the website where there is already a set of timetables telling passengers how it may affect them.

Work has already begun on building a new platform at the station

Work has already begun on building a new platform at the station
"Wherever we are unable to run a train, we will be providing rail replacement opportunities. Coaches will be running to other stations where people will be able to pick up their journey.
"We have worked together with CrossCountry Trains and Network Rail and we are delivering one unified rail replacement operation so there should be a better provision for passengers."
To find out more about the timetables visit
Timetables will also be available in stations over the coming weeks and months, with travellers able to pick up a leaflet, speak to a member of staff or follow #DBY2018 on twitter for more information.

Click on this diagram to enlarge for details

Before and after 

More detail from the Rail Engineer publication can be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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

51    (Woolwich & Orpington Station) LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead Metrobus using existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with Scania double-decks from Plumstead (PD) Garage (contract start date 8th December 2018)

61    (Bromley North Station & Chislehurst) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using 2013 existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks currently on route 261 (1st December 2018)

261  (Lewisham & Princess Royal University Hospital) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using a mixture of existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks and new Euro-VI low voltage hybrid double-decks (1st December 2018)

R5/R10  (Orpington Station & Knockholt circulars Mon-Sat) LBSL contracts awarded to Go-Ahead Metrobus using existing fleet diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with Alexander Dennis E20D single-decks from Bromley (TB) Garage (contract start date 8th December 2018)

207   (White City & Hayes By-pass) LBSL contract awarded to Abellio West London with a mixture of 2012 existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks and new Euro-VI low voltage hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Metroline West with VW-class Volvo B9TL double-decks from Greenford (G) Garage (6th April 2019)

607   (White City & Uxbridge Station Express) LBSL contract re-awarded to Metroline West with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (6th April 2019)

N207  (Holborn & Uxbridge Station Nightly) LBSL contract awarded to Abellio West London using existing fleet Euro-VI hybrid double-decks currently on route 427. Currently operated by Metroline West with VWH-class Volvo double-decks from Uxbridge (UX) Garage (6th April 2019)

All routes are a Daily operation unless otherwise stated and Euro-V vehicles will be upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards.


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, 11 July 2018

Enviro200's for Q-Park

Q-Park Limited, the company that operates Purple Parking at Heathrow and Gatwick airports on behalf of Holiday Extras, has introduced a fleet of five new Enviro200 single decks built by Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL).

The new Euro6 vehicles are all 8.9m models fitted with extensive luggage racks and can carry up to 50 passengers, comprising 26 seated and 24 standees. They replace a fleet of Mercedes Sprinters and are now operating from Purple Park’s major facility at Bath Road, Heathrow, providing passenger transport services to and from Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Jim Betchley, Transport Manager at Q-Park Limited, commented: “As the business grows and passenger numbers increase steadily it is important that we continue to review demand and the best way to move people quickly and efficiently between our parking facilities and the various terminals.

“The Enviro200 has a reputation second to none, offering outstanding passenger capacity and luggage space. Another important issue for us was the vehicle’s turning circle and overall manoeuvrability, factors that are critical when operating in restricted car parking areas and busy airport terminals.

“We are delighted with our Enviro200s, which fit the bill perfectly.”

Q-Park’s five new vehicles are rented from Dawson Group Bus and Coach on a full contract basis.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Hitachi and Bombardier Confirm Joint Venture for HS2 Bid & Dates for the Diary

Two international giants Hitachi and Bombardier, who employ over 5,000 people in Britain, have confirmed they intend to submit a joint bid to design, build, deliver a fleet of bespoke state-of-the-art high speed trains for HS2.

The proposed partnership, building upon recent high speed success in Italy, offers HS2 a world class team that has established manufacturing and servicing centres in Britain. The collaboration brings together a deep understanding of very high speed rail with a strong reputation for building and maintaining highly reliable, cutting-edge and iconic trains.

The team can deliver the most efficient and advanced rolling stock for Europe’s most demanding and exciting transport project. The trains will run on a new high speed network and connect 8 out of 10 of Britain’s largest cities, increasing capacity, delivering greater comfort, faster journeys, while contributing to prosperity and growth.

The joint bid would support the UK Government’s aims of boosting UK jobs, skills and British supply chain. Bombardier and Hitachi’s combined UK operations include train factories in Derby and Newton Aycliffe, extensive UK supply chains, together with a network of maintenance facilities across England, Scotland and Wales. The companies are already developing a new generation of engineers and mechanical skills, with a focus on diversity and inclusion to attract new talent into the rail industry. The joint HS2 project would provide a launch pad for new investment in education and learning, adding to their existing partnerships with local schools and the 200 apprentices and graduates who are already employed.

Hitachi and Bombardier are a tried and tested high speed team, having already successfully delivered one of Europe’s fastest trains in Italy. With a top speed of 398km/h, the ETR 1000 for Trenitalia – also known as the ‘Red Arrow’ (Frecciarossa) – not only whisks passengers to their destination very quickly, but also offers them great comfort and style; with interiors designed by Bertone, who have worked on classic super-cars, including Lamborghini and Aston Martin. 

The partnership between the two UK-based firms is built on an impressive depth of experience delivering high speed internationally. Hitachi built the original Shinkansen bullet train in Japan in 1964, and, boasting an impeccable safety and reliability record, continues to pioneer the most recent incarnations of the iconic trains. 

Bombardier offers a depth of experience having built over 3,000 high speed train carriages for China, including the most recent Zefiro 380

In the UK, Hitachi maintains the country’s only domestic high speed fleet, the Class 395 Javelins, which it built and introduced ahead of the London 2012 Games. 

The trains, which have run from Ashford to London St Pancras at a top speed of 140mph for almost a decade, are one of the most reliable and popular services in the country. While in Europe, Bombardier has enabled some of the most prestigious very high speed developments across the continent, including four TGV series in France, the AVE S-102 and AVE S-130 in Spain, the ICE family in Germany and the ETR 500 in Italy.

The two companies are also making responsible procurement a cornerstone of their approach, in terms of long-term employment and reducing environmental impact. The ETR 1000 train used 85% recycled materials and the joint bid for HS2 would deploy the latest noise reduction technology.

The £2.75bn contract on offer is for a minimum fleet of 54 units that will run on Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands. The newly designed rolling stock will also be uniquely ‘classic compatible’ so that they can travel on the current network to cities such as York, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The formal tendering process is due to start later this year, with contract award in late 2019.

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday/Sunday 14/15 July - Cleethorpes

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 15th July - Nottingham