Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Hydrogen Train Enters Enters Service

The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train has entered service. The Coradia iLint, built by Alstom in Salzgitter, Germany, is equipped with fuel cells which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion. Two trains have entered commercial service in Lower Saxony.

 Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, on Monday began running a 62 mile (100km) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany – a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
Travellers in EVB’s Elbe-Weser network are experiencing a world-first journey on the low-noise, zero-emission trains that reach up to 140 km/h. The Coradia iLint trains are operating on nearly 100km of line running between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, replacing EVB’s existing diesel fleet. The new trains are fuelled at a mobile hydrogen filling station where gaseous hydrogen is pumped into the trains from a 40-foot-high steel container next to the tracks at Bremervörde station. With one tank and a range of 1000 km they can run throughout the network the whole day. A stationary filling station on EVB premises is scheduled to go into operation in 2021, when Alstom will deliver a further 14 Coradia iLint trains to LNVG.   

"This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train has entered passenger service and is ready for serial production,” emphasises Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom. “The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.”
Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economy and Transport, whose department has supported LNVG’s purchase of another 14 hydrogen trains with more than €81 million, is impressed: “Lower Saxony is performing real pioneering work in local transport in cooperation with Alstom and EVB. The emission-free drive technology of the Coradia iLint provides a climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains, particularly on non-electrified lines,” he explains. “In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future. The state government of Lower Saxony is proud of putting this trendsetting project on the track together with LNVG.”

The federal government has actively supported the development and testing of the new drive technology in Lower Saxony by providing funds from the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.
Enak Ferlemann, Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport and Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, puts it in a nutshell: “A world premiere in Germany. We are putting the first passenger train with fuel cell technology on the track. This is a strong sign for the mobility of the future. Hydrogen is a real, low-emission and efficient alternative to diesel. These trains can be operated cleanly and in an environmentally friendly way, especially on secondary lines where overhead lines are uneconomical or not available yet.” He added: “We therefore support and fund this technology, in order to expand it.”   
LNVG’s Managing Director looks further into the future: “We also do this because about 120 diesel trainsets in our vehicle pool will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning we will have to replace them. The experience gained with this project helps us find a sustainable and practical solution.”
With around 2 million rail passengers and around 4 million bus passengers per year, EVB figures among the largest mobility providers in the Elbe-Weser triangle. The traditional company, which boasts a history of more than 100 years and around 550 employees, is looking forward to the “train of the future”.  Dr. Marcel Frank, Managing Director of EVB, emphasizes: “It is a great milestone that we will use the world’s first hydrogen-powered train in our Elbe-Weser network in passenger service between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, not only for the region and for us, but also for passenger rail transport worldwide. For EVB, this is the entry to emission-free mobility.”  

Monday, 24 September 2018

Interim Summary of Section 19 and 22 Consultation

The full report into the use of vehicles under section 19 and 22 has been delayed but in the meantime the Government have issued an Interim summary of responses.

Concerns had been raised by private bus operators and others that some organisations operating under the permit system may be offering commercial services while benefiting from not-for-profit status. This brought to the fore the conflict as to whether "not-for-profit" equates to "non-commercial". 

The consultation set out Government proposals to address these concerns. These focused on updating existing guidance as to the interpretation of the exemptions from the Regulation to illustrate when the exemptions might apply, and on scope to amend existing domestic legislation to provide greater legal certainty.

 Western Dales run registered mini bus services which use volunteer drivers in a large area where very few commercial service operate. The bus is seen in Kendal
whilst operating on the Thursday only Kirkby Stephen to Kendal service.

Cumbria Classic Coaches have run commercial services to Kendal, Hawes, Barnard Castle and Penrith for many years. They have a full operators licence and use PCV drivers with CPC qualifications. Above Leyland PS1 CWG 286 has just arrived in Kendal on the Thursday commercial (non subsidised) service from Shap.

Cumbria Classic Coaches Bristol Lodekker 627 HFM on the Monday 571 service to Kendal.
In view of the excellent summer weather this year the convertible vehicle was sometimes used on the service as an open topper. These services are commercially registered and mostly operated by an Olympian.

The overall intention is to give clarity, so that those in the community transport sector motivated by compassion and philanthropy, rather than profit, can continue providing services that are invaluable to many elderly, isolated and disabled people.

The Department of Transport has advised that councils must ascertain whether S19 holders meet one of five definitions of "non commercial" which included services where there is no commercial market for that service. This could include where there were no bids from commercial operators.

The purpose of the summary report is to:

Present emerging findings from the Government's consultation on the use of section 19 and section 22 permits for road transport passengers in Great Britain; and set out the steps the Department will be taking over the coming months in order to determine the Government's final response to the consultation.

The Department for Transport received 494 written responses to the consultation which closed on 4 May, and over 550 people attended the workshops that the Department ran during the consultation period. The number of responses received, their length and complexity were unusual for consultations of this nature and the consultation analysis has been a more complex task than anticipated.

This interim summary therefore covers around 100 responses together with the feedback received from the workshops. In assessing written responses, the Department focused on local authorities as they had been relatively poorly represented at the workshops.

Themes arising so far include:
Further clarity on the proposed text of the guidance including real world or good practice examples of how to evaluate certain types of service
Differing views on whether “not-for-profit” operators fall within scope of the exemptions in regulation, with a particular focus on the “non-commercial” exemption

Many local authorities and community transport operators commented that the draft text for the guidance which prevents the "non-commercial" exemption applying if an operator also raises income through occasional private hire of vehicles would be a major issue for many community transport operators. 
This activity was often done to subsidise other services. Some noted that removing the ability to do this would result in many community transport operators reverting to a greater dependence on grants and donations, significantly affecting their continued viability. 
Some thought it should be possible for private hire to be carried out by permit holders as the overall purpose of the organisation was not to generate a profit. 

The interpretation of the law has been very clearly stated but in spite of this operators who comply fully with the licencing rules, using PCV drivers are complaining that councils are still awarding contracts to Section 19/22 companies. An example of this is that Erewash CT were awarded contracts by Nottingham shire County Council when they offered lower bids than commercial operators. Erewash CT have already been warned by DVSA that they are gaining contracts by ignoring the applicable legal requirements.

Others, particularly representatives of the commercial sector, were of the view that every organisation operating vehicles capable of carrying more than 8 passengers should be subject to the same rules, with some referring to an existing judgement in relation to the "non-commercial" carriage of goods to support their view. 
A number of respondents said that charging passengers for a service is "commercial", regardless of not-for-profit status. Some suggested that permit holders should be restricted to running a small maximum number of vehicles.

All remaining responses will be analysed to determine final approach to the guidance and draft regulations

Read the full Interim Report  here

Sunday, 23 September 2018

ADL Opens Singapore Workshops and Parts Centre

Alexander Dennis has opened a new facility in Singapore to support its continued growth across Asia Pacific. The new site includes a parts distribution and training centre for the wider South East Asian region in addition to offices for the local team working with customers and stakeholders in Singapore.

Alexander Dennis, the world’s largest manufacturer of double deck buses, has used its established presence as market leader in Hong Kong as a springboard to expand into new markets in South East Asia, breaking into Singapore in 2014 and Malaysia in 2015. Providing best-in-class aftermarket support is a core part of the organisation’s plans for further growth in Asia Pacific.

The new 25,000 square foot facility, in the north of Singapore close to the Woodlands border crossing to Malaysia, has a parts warehouse, inside bus workshop, as well as a state-of-the-art training room and offices. It is designed to support contract requirements defined by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority.

Alexander Dennis’s parts business in Singapore has grown significantly over the last couple of years and this new facility will serve as a hub to the South East Asian customer base.

Paul Davies, Managing Director for Alexander Dennis Asia Pacific, says: “Asia Pacific is a key area of strategic growth for Alexander Dennis. Building on our existing successes in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand, we look forward to further expansion of our activities. Our new facility in Singapore will support these ambitions by providing a first-class operating base for South East Asia.”

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Return of a Duchess

Duchess of Sutherland back in action after overhaul

With all pictures courtesy of Simon Kerry

A 1930s steam locomotive, once used to pull the Royal Train, is back in action after a £150,000 overhaul.

The 80-year-old Duchess of Sutherland, which has been repainted in its original crimson livery, left Swanwick Junction Station in Derbyshire en route to Kidderminster in Worcestershire.

In 2002, it became the first steam locomotive to haul the Royal Train for 35 years when it transported the Queen as part of her Golden Jubilee.

The engine is operated by The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust.


This set features a selection of buses and coaches that attended the Trans-Lancs Transport Show in Heaton Park during September. Kindly provided by Steve Maskell they can now be viewed by clicking  here

Friday, 21 September 2018

Stagecoach Trading Statement September 2018

Stagecoach Group plc has issued a trading update in respect of its financial year ending 27 April 2019, ahead of a series of meetings with analysts.

The company say they are pleased to have made a good start to the year and the forecast of the Group's adjusted earnings per share for the year is broadly unchanged from when the full year results were announced in June 2018.

Revenue growth

Like-for-like revenue growth for the financial year to date in each of the Group's main businesses is provided below.

UK Bus (regional operations) - sixteen weeks ended 18 August 2018 3.2%

UK Bus (London) - sixteen weeks ended 18 August 2018 (2.2)%

North America - four months ended 31 August 2018 (3.8)%

UK Rail (excluding Virgin Trains East Coast) - sixteen weeks ended 18 August 2018 2.1%

Virgin Rail Group - sixteen weeks ended 18 August 2018 5.3%

UK Bus (regional operations)

The UK Bus (regional operations) Division has performed well during the period, which is believed to be partly attributable to the favourable summer weather throughout the country. The company have also benefitted from revenue earned from providing additional bus services to replace train services that were affected by planned re-signalling work at Derby railway station. The expectation is that revenue growth will moderate over the remainder of the year, reflecting the one-off benefits in the year to date.

Like-for-like vehicle miles operated were 1.4% lower than in the previous year, consistent with the plan set out in June. Like-for-like revenue per vehicle mile grew 4.7% and like-for-like revenue per journey also increased 4.7%.

UK Bus (London)

The reported revenue decrease for the UK Bus (London) Division is in line with expectations and reflects the impact of contracts lost in the prior year. Operating costs are higher than budgeted due to the lag in fuel price rises being reflected in contract revenue, higher operating costs during the hot weather and the start-up costs of a new sightseeing service. 

Stagecoach are disappointed with performance on current year tenders for Transport for London contracts, which will result in an increase in the rate of revenue decline later on in the year. Nevertheless, they continue to see positive opportunities to improve the revenue and profitability of the Division over the longer term and they will maintain the discipline in bidding for new contracts.

North America

The like-for-like revenue decline of 3.8% for the Division includes 1.8% decline for megabus.com North America. megabus revenue per mile for the period was up 3.8%. Trading at the other businesses in North America remains in line with expectations. Like-for-like revenue at these businesses decreased by 4.7%, reflecting the benefit in the equivalent period last year from rail replacement contracts linked to train disruptions on New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road.

UK Rail and Virgin Rail Group

The financial performance of the rail businesses is broadly in line with expectations with continued good profitability at both East Midlands Trains and Virgin Rail Group's West Coast Trains.

As expected, revenue growth at the East Midlands Trains franchise has been suppressed, due to the effects of both the reduced services to accommodate changes to the Thameslink network effective May 2018 and the current year re-signalling programme at Derby railway station.

Interim results

The next planned update is the announcement of the Group's interim results for the half-year ended 27 October 2018 on 5 December 2018.


Three albums have been added to the site all from a recent weekend of events down in the South West. Two focus on the 11th Kingsbridge Bus Running Day, whilst the third illustrates a small number of buses used on a private run across Dartmoor. These can now be viewed by clicking  here  here  and  here

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Hitachi Begins Manufacture of Hull Trains New Fleet

Work to construct the first shell of Hull Trains’ new hi-tech Hitachi fleet has been completed, new pictures have unveiled.

The new trains, set to run from December 2019, form part of a £60 million investment Hull Trains is making to improve its services for customers. The operator will replace its current fleet of Class 180s with five new intercity Class 802 trains, financed by Angel Trains.

These hi-tech trains will operate using both diesel and electric traction, which means that Hull Trains customers will benefit from the East Coast Mainline’s electrified track. Hitachi has used its Japanese bullet train technology to make the trains light and aerodynamic. 

The trains speed and bi-mode capability contributes to reduced journey times and higher top speeds of 225 km/h. Customers will also benefit from 20% more seating capacity compared to current services, as well as new interiors for greater customer comfort.

Decisions have also been made to ensure the interiors are brighter, more spacious and streamlined, further adding to the positive experience that is the main focus of the Hull Trains team.

The new fleet will also be quieter and more environmentally friendly - the new trains reduce harmful emissions by up to 90% compared to other trains using the East Coast Mainline.

Louise Cheeseman, managing director of Hull Trains, said: “We’re very excited to confirm this latest development in the investment of our new fleet. Now that the body of our first Class 802 is complete, we can show passengers a first glimpse of what our new services will look like.

“These trains will really transform travel from Hull and East Yorkshire to the capital and we are delighted to see the progress made so far – the images bring the trains to life from the concepts that have been released.”

The shells of the new trains are being built at Hitachi Rail’s manufacturing plant in Kasado, Japan. The trains will then be completed at Hitachi’s site in Pistoia, Italy before being tested and shipped to the UK for use on the East Coast Mainline next year.

Louise added: “Following this investment we will be able to boast some of the most technologically advanced, fastest and most comfortable trains on the UK rail network. It is great news for our customers, who are always at the centre of our focus, and means we will provide more in terms of service, as well as potentially reduce journey times.”

REVISED DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 7th October - Chesham

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

New Greater Anglia Vehicles on Test

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with brand-new trains, which will start to come into service from summer 2019. In the meantime, people have been invited to visit five stations across the network to “step on-board” one of the new trains via a virtual reality headset. This has given people the chance to experience its brand-new trains through virtual reality, with a series of roadshows at some of its stations. 

Through the headsets, people have been able to walk onto a station platform where three of the new trains are parked – a Bombardier train and two Stadler trains.

The Bombardier trains will replace commuter trains which run to Liverpool Street from Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge and Ipswich. The Stadler trains will replace trains on the Intercity, Stansted Express and rural services.

Once “on board”, passengers have been able to look around and see the new seats, carpet, plug points, interior layout/décor, large picture windows and even visit the toilet. Accessibility arrangements have been on view and an opportunity to visit the “bistro” on the Intercity train and walk through the airy carriages.

 One of the completed Bombardier trains

Mike Kean, Deputy Managing Director, Greater Anglia, said: “We’re spending £1.4 billion on brand- new trains to replace every single train on our network. This major investment is going to transform rail travel in East Anglia.

“We’re really excited about this huge upgrade and we’re confident that when people experience our new trains through virtual reality they’ll be looking forward to their arrival as much as we are.”

Greater Anglia has involved customers and stakeholders, including rail user groups and accessibility groups, in deciding and finalising the design of the new trains. An online consultation saw over 1,000 people respond.

Greater Anglia has released photos showing their brand new trains on test at the Velim Rail Test Track in the Czech Republic.

 Above & below a Stadler Train on the Velim Rail
Test Track in the Czech Republic.

Stadler is building 58 new trains for Greater Anglia. However, before they are put into passenger service, they must be put through some thorough tests to make sure they are safe and are working well.

The bi-mode trains will run on regional routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, while the electric trains will replace the current Intercity and Stansted Express trains.

Once the trains are in the UK, people will see the trains around East Anglia for many months before they enter passenger service. This is to allow train crews to learn how everything works before allowing passengers onboard.

The first train is expected to enter passenger service in the middle of next year.

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, added:

“It’s really exciting to be able to see the first of our Stadler trains in action. We’re sure that these trains will transform train travel in East Anglia.

“With more seats, and all the facilities you expect on a modern train, they are definitely going to make travelling by rail a very attractive option across our region.”

Martino Celeghini, Project Manager for Stadler, said:

“Each of the 58 trains we are supplying are from the latest generation of our best-selling, highly successful FLIRT family. The FLIRT is Stadler’s flagship product, featuring low floor and level boarding for improved accessibility, passenger comfort and safety. The testing phase signifies a critical landmark in the process of making and finishing the trains, and it’s only by effective collaboration with our client that the project has been able to make such good progress.”

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Sheffield Bus Survey

The views of bus passengers in Sheffield are being sought as part of an inquiry into the decline in the number of people using public transport across the country.

Sheffield MP Clive Betts, who recently said the cost of public transport was a ‘major problem’ in the city, is part of the all-party House of Commons Transport Committee.

The group of MPs have launched an inquiry into people’s experiences and expectations about bus services and Mr Betts said it was ‘important that the voices of Sheffield and South Yorkshire people’ were heard.

The committee will look at reliability, how bus services are financed and examples of best practice.

Mr Betts said: “Local media has published a number of articles, including the views of local users, operators and politicians (including myself) about bus services in recent weeks.

“Now, the all-party House of Commons Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into people’s experiences of and expectations about bus services throughout the UK. It is important that the voices of Sheffield and South Yorkshire people are heard in this consultation.

“I invite everyone who is interested in trying to improve our local bus services to contribute.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) called for a redesign of the Government’s transport, housing and economic policy, after its research revealed public transport was 'holding back' low-income families from achieving a better standard of living.

Transport was consistently highlighted as a 'significant barrier' to work once the trade-off between the cost, reliability and speed of local public transport; and the prospect of low-wage, insecure work was considered, the study by researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University found.

One of its authors Ed Ferrari, director of the centre for regional economic and social research at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The report was very much about drawing up experience of bus users in Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow because these were the case studies, many of the issues are transferable not just across north but any part of the country outside London.

"The issues are particularly problematic in cities that have been most impacted by job losses over the last 20 years and you can certainly say Sheffield has.

"One of the issues we draw attention to in the report is that in most cases, city centres have become more vibrant in terms of employment but most are high-tech jobs and these kind of workers drive.

"Most low-paid jobs are now out of city centres on industrial estates and business parks and the bus services are poor and expensive."

Announcing the inquiry, chairman of the committee Lilian Greenwood said: “There are a number of reasons for the sharp decline in bus use in England outside London over the past 25 years.

“Congestion, car ownership, an increase in online shopping, and reductions in local authority subsidies all play a part.

“Our inquiry seeks to gather evidence about the health and future of the bus market.

“We will look at operational factors including the impact of congestion and reliability. We'll be asking about the most effective models for bus companies.

“The financing of buses, investment in services and value for money and progress since the Bus Services Act 2017 in metro and non-metro areas will all come under consideration.

“Buses are a vital lifeline in many communities but with funding streams falling and fares rising, their availability and attractiveness to the travelling public is under threat.

“A successful bus market can cut congestion, reduce social isolation, help the environment and offer a variety of economic benefits. I would encourage anyone with insight into this sector to submit evidence."

To take part in the consultation visit https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2017/health-of-bus-market-inquiry-launch-17-19.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 24.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Edinburgh Enviro400 Hybrids to be Converted to Conventional Power

Energy-saving hybrid buses have been withdrawn from a busy city route because Edinburgh’s hills were proving too much for them.
The fleet of 15 electric-diesel double-deckers, on Lothian Buses’ No 10 route from Western Harbour to Bonaly and Torphin, were recently withdrawn and replaced by diesel buses.

Sources in the company say the hybrid buses were having “battery issues” with the “hilly” route and most are now being retrofitted with diesel engines. The battery packs are expensive to replace so it is more cost effective to convert them to conventional diesel power.

 The hybrids were launched in 2011

The buses, the first hybrid double-decker fleet to operate in Scotland, were launched at Holyrood in 2011 by the then Transport Minister Keith Brown.

The fleet cost £5 million, of which £1m was funded by the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund and they were said to cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent.

The hybrid electric buses are driven by battery powered motors which are charged by a conventional internal combustion engine system. The batteries are also topped up by means of regenerative braking. When the brakes are applied energy is collected which is then re-used via the battery drive. The aim is to achieve better fuel economy and performance than a conventional vehicle. The models used in Edinburgh were Enviro 400H diesel-electric buses, manufactured by Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis.

 Route 10 is now being served by conventional diesel buses

In the first  year after introducing the Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400 hybrid double-decker electric-diesel buses, Lothian Buses said its hybrid buses had saved over 600 tonnes in CO2 emissions but also an estimated £200,000 in running costs.

Route 10 is now being served by conventional diesel buses.

Lothian Buses said the buses now operating on the No 10 route were the same age as the previous ones – and although they were diesel, their engines met higher pollution standards.

A spokeswoman said more than 76 per cent of their fleet is Euro 5 standard or higher with a mix of diesel, hybrid diesel and pure electric, including an investment in 99 additional hybrid diesel vehicles purchased since 2011.


A small but perfectly formed event with pictures kindly supplied by Russell Young can now be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Arriva Trains Wales

Backlash over lost wallet return charge

A rail firm is changing its policy following a backlash after a passenger was charged 10% of the cash found in his lost wallet for its return.
Adam Howells had to pay £8.60 commission - as well as a £2 administration fee - to have his wallet returned after he left it on a train.
Arriva Trains Wales said it would return the commission to him and change its policy immediately.
It comes after the fee was described as "outrageous" on social media.
The rail operator initially said its lost property charges were in line with other rail operators but a further statement issued on Friday said it was taking action following "feedback".
Mr Howells, 28, who left his wallet on a journey from Cardiff to Lydney in August, said: "I received a letter stating they had found my wallet and there would be a £2 release fee.
"It was only when I picked it up that they told me the money had been removed, put in their till and they would take 10%.

"I understand there's a set release fee but it's odd why there's a different charge if you have more money.
"A wallet with £2 inside and a wallet with £100 go through the same process.
"I think people are shocked by their [train operators'] policy."

Arriva Trains Wales said: "Our customers' feedback is really important to us and, following recent feedback on this issue, we will now be changing our policy with immediate effect.
"In this instance we are happy to refund the percentage that was charged to the customer who brought this to our attention.
"We are happy to begin the process of reviewing the Lost Property policy with customer groups and rail industry regulatory bodies.
"Tens of thousands of items are lost on the railway network every year.
"At Arriva Trains Wales, we charge the minimum amount possible and have done since the franchise began.
"In addition any unclaimed items that we receive are donated to charity or are recycled appropriately."
The company faced criticism on social media with many rail users unaware of the charges.

Lost property charges

Provided by Arriva Trains Wales
  • In addition to any courier or postal service fee, a lost property release fee will also be payable, varied depending on an item.
  • 10% of any cash recovered (Minimum of £2 up to a Maximum of £10)
  • Laptops £25
  • Camcorders £25
  • Mobile Phones £10
  • Small Bags £2
  • Rucksacks £3
  • Suitcases £3
  • Walking Sticks £2
  • Watches £3
  • Bracelets £3
  • Pushchairs £3
  • Bikes £3
  • Cycle Helmets £3
  • Skateboards £3
If a courier is requested to collect any item lost property charges will apply, as well as any courier fee (which has to be arranged independently).

Saturday, 15 September 2018

New route to Luton Airport given clearance for take off

Italian flair links London to the air


Italian flair links London to the air

Young Italian-born entrepreneur, Tazio Puri Negri, is setting up a shuttlebus service between north London and Luton Airport.
The operation, entitled BlueBus, was founded by Tazio and business partner, Joan Rodes. Work on setting the service up took place in December 2017. Tazio said: “I realised there was no really comfortable, direct way to the airport from London. And the taxi is super-expensive.”
The operation is due to go live in October and, staying true to his Italian roots, Tazio chose Fiat to lease the vehicls. Iveco Daily minibuses are to be used on the service: “On big buses, people don’t feel so comfortable,” said Tazio. “These are great minibus shuttles we have and they will drop you off as near to your home as we can.”
An Uber-style app is used by passengers to book the transport, matching customers to the closest pick-up point. All payments are made through the app, no cash is handled aboard the vehicles. The fare starts from £7.99. Tazio said: “We want it to be high quality, but accessible to all.”
Tazio has previous business experience working in the beauty and finance industries. The 25-year-old has chosen a specially designed uniform for BlueBus drivers, which is inspired by WWII aviation suits.
In setting up the operation, the most challenging thing for Tazio was gaining the licensing required. The plan is to expand the operation to other airports in the vicinity of the capital, including Stansted. Tazio said: “I’m very excited. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it is coming together slowly.”


Keeping the wheels on the ground and staying in London, the latest album focuses on that colourful period during the 1980s and 90s, when there were a variety of colourful liveries around on the LRT route network. The pictures can now be viewed by clicking  here

Friday, 14 September 2018

Glider Launched in Belfast

Following the official launch event for the new Belfast Rapid Transit Glider service, passenger services began on Monday 3rd September using the new Van Hool Exquicity vehicles.

The Department for Infrastructure has invested £90 million in the new innovative mode of travel, which will encourage people to use public transport.

Speaking at the launch event at Belfast City Hall, David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service said: “The Belfast Rapid Transit Glider service is all about customers and connectivity. It offers an enhanced customer experience and a joined up service.

“The current patterns of transport and our dependency on the private car are simply not sustainable. Working together we can reduce emissions and congestion levels. That’s why we have a very clear commitment in our Outcomes Delivery Plan to increase the percentage of journeys we make by public transport, walking and cycling.

“The new Glider service will offer quick, modern and efficient access into and across the city. It will also improve the city’s image and help to open up new development opportunities along its routes, linking and regenerating communities and transforming neighbourhoods.”

Glider offers a modern, high-capacity and high-frequency rapid transit service which integrates into the existing Translink bus and rail network. It also marks the first stage in delivering Translink’s new Future Ticketing System with off-board ticketing – another first for Northern Ireland.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “We’re transforming local public transport, providing modern, efficient services, vital for our economy to prosper, for social inclusion and the environment. With a record 81 million passenger journeys delivered last year, the highest in 20 years, Glider is a further significant step towards making public transport your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland.

“Glider is the new face of public transport in Belfast. The Eco Hybrid vehicles will help improve air quality in the city and can each carry up to 105 passengers, offering convenient features like free Wi-Fi and USB charging facilities. The new off-board ticketing system will facilitate faster journeys and offer the same excellent value tickets as Metro.

“Today marks the culmination of years of research, planning and development and I’d like to thank the Department for Infrastructure for the leadership necessary to deliver this major project, also Belfast City Council and the many stakeholders who have worked with us to deliver Glider for the City of Belfast.

“I’d like to pay tribute to everyone for your interest, enthusiasm, patience and support. We now look forward to welcoming all our customers on board their new Glider service from Monday,” said Chris.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “The introduction of the Glider is good news for Belfast and for Belfast City Council – it will help us as we work to achieve the aims of our Belfast Agenda the long-term development plan for the city.

“By 2035, our council aims to increase the number of residents in Belfast by 70,000, and create 50,000 more jobs. Fast, efficient public transport is vital to the success of the Belfast Agenda ensuring people can move freely and easily across the city. It is also essential in helping to attract companies to invest in Belfast so we are delighted to see that the service is ready to go live,” added the Lord Mayor.

Following the event key stakeholders involved in the major transformational project stepped on board Glider for special ceremonial journeys along the cross-city route that travels between east and west Belfast, linking into Titanic Quarter via the city centre.

Glider customers are encouraged to pick up a ‘Guide to Glide’ and service timetable online, in-station or from the Glider teams helping customers at halts during the first week of service. For more information on Glider visit www.translink.co.uk/gliderbelfast/ and follow @Translink_NI #GliderBelfast.

Glider facts

They are 59ft (18m) long and have three doors
They can carry 105 passengers
The service will operate every seven to eight minutes throughout the working day
More than 100 Glider halts have been installed
There are 30 vehicles servicing the route with free onboard wifi and USB charging facilities

Thursday, 13 September 2018

32 New Enviro's for Southampton Unilink

A MULTI-MILLION pound fleet of new low emission buses will be taking to the streets of Southampton on 19th September in a bid to help clean up pollution.

Unilink, which is operated by Bluestar, will welcome 32 brand new buses after investing £7 million in order to bring the firm up to speed with the new clean air zone restrictions.

Each of the Alexander Dennis E400 MMC vehicles has a smart new look and is fitted with the latest Euro 6 low emission engines.

The investment comes as Southampton City Council announced it was reviewing its clean air policy after being asked by the government to assess pollution in the area.
The city council has considered charging vehicles which do not adhere to clean air policies £100-a-day to enter the city.

However, the new buses will be within the regulation, dodging any potential fee to drive through Southampton.
Andrew Wickham, managing director of  Go-Ahead owned Bluestar, said the buses would comply with Southampton’s Clean Air Zone targets, which are being introduced in 2019.

He added: “We’re very proud to be operating this new fleet on behalf of the University of Southampton and we hope those who travel with us will agree that they offer a superior level of comfort.

“The aim is to make sustainable transport a more attractive proposition, in order to entice people out of their cars. One full double decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road - and this investment is a huge step in that direction, as there will now be 32 double deck vehicles in the Unilink fleet.”

The buses will have glass roofs, creating more light for passengers travelling upstairs, as well as on-board technology like free WiFi USB charging points and contactless payment facilities.

The fleet will be launched on September 19 and will be attended by representatives from local councils and from businesses across the region.

University of Southampton transport manager, Adam Tewkesbury said: “Unilink has been a real success for the university.

“They will offer additional comfort for every passenger travelling on our services - and they will also carry the latest low-emission engines, making them greener than ever.”

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, deputy leader and cabinet member for transport and public realm at the city council, said: “One of Southampton City Council’s key visions for the future of the city’s transport is to make Southampton a space where people can travel around easily on high quality public transport vehicles.

“The council is therefore delighted to see the continuing investment that Go South Coast are making in delivering new vehicles for the Unilink bus services across the city.”


A second small helping from the Reshaping Plan event held recently at the Epping & Ongar Railway with pictures kindly supplied by various photographers. These capture some extra vehicles that attended including some fine Green Line coaches. All can now be viewed by clicking  here


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

ScotRail 385's Launched on North Berwick Route

Further sets of the new ScotRail Hitachi Class 385 units have become available, allowing the new trains to be introduced onto the North Berwick and Dunbar route.
As many as 15 services will operate throughout the week, with a further 12 on Saturdays. The new electric six-carriage trains were introduced on Monday, 10 September.
  The new trains have been delayed due to the need to re-design the curved windscreens
which were causing reflections
The trains are part of ScotRail’s £475 million rolling stock investment, following the £858 million electrification of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow by Network Rail. Some of the new fleet are already operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High.
It’s the latest in a range of improvements to services in East Lothian, with many of the trains on the route already operating with six carriages, and the majority of peak-time trains expected to run with this increased capacity by the end of the year. Further class 385 trains are due to be introduced on the North Berwick line before the end of the year.

ScotRail's Chief Operating Officer Angus Thom said:
“I am delighted that we are able to introduce another brand new Hitachi class 385 train, this time to the North Berwick route. We know that our customers will really notice the difference.
“This is another step forward for ScotRail as we continue our commitment to building the best railway Scotland has ever had.
“The introduction of these trains will benefit customers all across the country, as they will allow us to move existing trains on this route out across the network. This will help us to deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services for our customers.”

Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail Bill Reeve said:
“This latest introduction of the class 385 fleet brings the benefits of our new electric trains to North Berwick and Dunbar services and is just the start of delivering more seats across peak services and improved facilities to passengers along this route.
“This is all part of an ongoing Scottish Government commitment to ensuring Scotland’s railways are a popular choice and demonstrates the real benefits of our extensive programme of electrification. Work continues to deliver the remainder of the fleet which, once in service, will increase overall seating capacity by more than 23% across the Scottish network.”