Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Full Christmas Bus Service for Isle of Wight

Planes, trains and automobiles may all slow down on Christmas Day, but there is one part of the UK where a comprehensive bus service will be in operation.
Southern Vectis, part of The Go-Ahead Group, will run a comprehensive bus service across the Isle of Wight on December 25.

The island is one of the only parts of the UK to see normal transport run throughout the festive season, allowing residents to visit friends and family, get to work and those full of festive spirit to travel home safely.

The operator began running a few Christmas Day buses in 2008 and has gradually increased its services. Drivers sign-up for the festive shifts, and this year Southern Vectis was over-subscribed with drivers eager to don their Santa hats and festive jumpers before getting behind the wheel.

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Southern Vectis, said: “People on the Isle of Wight appreciate being able to get around on Christmas Day whether it’s to visit family, see friends or simply get out of the house for some fresh air. Passengers really appreciate the service, with many bringing sweet treats on board for our hard-working drivers.”

“Our services demonstrate the benefits of locally managed, commercial bus services which are able to react to meet the needs of local people. I pay tribute to my colleagues who work on Christmas Day to provide this essential service.”

Go-Ahead’s south coast operation will also run services in Southampton and across the region. Key routes - such as Southampton’s flagship Bluestar 1 – will be diverted to travel through smaller towns and villages. The popular Bluestar 18 will be extended to encompass local hospitals on their routes, ensuring that people with mobility issues, or lack of access to other vehicles, are able to visit friends and family in hospital, or farther afield on the big day. This same initiative will run on the M1 and M2 Morebus operations in Bournemouth and Poole, which will be extended to cover The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Christchurch.


DATE FOR THE DIARY - Friday 21st December - Warrington

Vintage Christmas Buses for Warrington

The town’s bus company will have its vintage Leyland PD2 & Volvo Olympian open top buses out and about for Christmas. During the day on Friday 21st December, the vintage and open top buses will operate journeys on The Cheshire Cat, The Pops & 16/16A.

The Leadership of the bus company will be on board, with Santa Claus, to welcome customers with a chocolate and the fares from those journeys will be given to St Roccos.

Chair of the company Cathy Mitchell said: “For a second year running, we will have our special buses out to spread some festive cheer. We’ve done a lot in the past 12 months to reduce fares and improve services and we have more to come in 2019. It is also fitting to make a donation to St Rocco’s Hospice as it is such a worthwhile charity”.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Councils Should Re-invest Car Parking Profits in Backing Buses

Stagecoach, one of Britain's biggest bus operator has called on councils across Britain to reinvest their hundreds of millions of pounds of profits from car parking in measures to back the country's bus networks.

 A Stagecoach Enviro 200 makes its way through a section of Glasgow city
centre where cars are banned

Stagecoach said the £925m annual surplus from car parking fees and enforcement shared by local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales could help bus passengers and tackle the growing congestion and air quality crisis in towns and cities across the UK.

Data published by the RAC Foundation shows that council profits from on-street and off-street parking car parking in England has risen by almost a third (32%) over the past four years and in 2017-18 stood at £867m.

In Wales, the surplus for 2017-18 was £14.4m, up 3% on 2016-17 and the fifth consecutive annual increase.

Statistics for 2017-18 covering councils in Scotland has not yet been published, but the equivalent figure for 2016-17 was £42.6m, an increase of 6% on 2015-16.

The increasing council profits from car parking is in stark contrast with the significant cuts to local authority spending on buses in recent years - despite the bus being Britain's most important and heaviest used mode of public transport.

Data published earlier this year by the Campaign for Better Transport shows that local authority bus budgets in England and Wales were cut by £20.5 million in 2017-18 - the eighth year in a row investment has been reduced.

Since 2010-11, 3,347 council funded bus services in England and Wales have been reduced, altered or withdrawn, with spending down 46% in England and 39% in Wales between 2010-11 and 2017-18.

 A Stagecoach Enviro 400 on a service to Newcastle city centre where it will share road space with private cars heading to city centre car parks

Mark Threapleton. Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus said: "Towns and cities across Britain are facing a congestion and air quality crisis, which is damaging the health of our bus networks, the health of our economy and the health of individuals.

"These figures show that councils are making huge profits from car parking every year, but instead of that money being reinvested in measures to help bus passengers and encourage modal shift to sustainable bus travel, bus budgets are being slashed.

"With around 30% of high street spending coming from bus users, these investment cuts are not just bad news for public transport, but bad news for local businesses.

"If local authorities are serious about addressing air quality, backing the high street and supporting local communities, we believe car parking profits should be ring-fenced to protect and improve Britain's buses. This is absolutely not about subsidies for bus companies, it is about targeted measures to help bus passengers.

"We could see a massive positive impact if that level of funding was used to promote sustainable bus travel, deliver better bus priority for passengers, and introduce traffic management measures to address congestion."

The car parking profits equate to more than four times the combined £204.5m budgeted spend by councils in England and Wales in 2018-19. Total budgeted spend for buses in England in 2018-19 is £189.7m and for Wales is £14.8m.

Buses account for around 60% of all public transport journeys, with around 5 billion journeys by bus in Britain every year.

Monday, 17 December 2018

A Classic Cumbrian Rally

21st Cumbria Easter Rally –
Kirkby Stephen & Brough – 20th & 21st April 2019

From the Cumbria Easter Rally group
We’re delighted to say that applications for 2019 are now open. Please visit to download application forms for next year’s Cumbria Easter Rally. Each exhibit requires a separate form.

Confirmations and full entry instructions will be issued close to the Rally date. Unfortunately, as in previous years, due to the Rally’s popularity, we may have to restrict the number and type of entries in categories, both as static and running vehicles, so pre 1980 and rarer models will have priority. As always, we ask please that you enclose an A5 s.a.e so that we can return your entry number.

Please feel free to download the flyer on the site for your social media pages or to share with your database.  This poster is for applications, we shall send out an event poster next year for spectators.

The Saturday evening road run last year, was again, very enjoyable and we look forward to the 2019 road run.  Please indicate if you want to join this.

PSV owners will be contacted separately when they enter vehicles to ascertain their suitability and eligibility for the Rally bus service. Please indicate on the entry form if you would like to join the bus service.

Also tell us if you need us to send you an HGV over-weight permit.

DATE FOR THE DIARY - 20th to 24th December - Norwich

Sunday, 16 December 2018

P2 New Build Update

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company has announced that their Motion Club has reached 100 members since it opened in April 2018.

The Motion Club aims to raise £210,000 to manufacture the motion for P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

In order to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales by the end of 2021, the project needed to order the heavy motion in 2018.

The Mikados’2-8-2's were the most powerful express locomotive in the UK. Designed in the 1930s by Sir Nigel Gresley, they were designed to haul 600-ton trains. The build has an estimated cost of £5 million and will use modern construction techniques, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Members of the Motion Club receive the following special benefits:
Opportunity to buy a ticket (seat already reserved) on one of the first trains hauled by No. 2007 Prince of Wales
Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
Opportunity to buy exclusive Motion Club badge
Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
First choice of other components to sponsor
Special Motion Club day with Tornado
Special limited-edition version (signed/numbered) of Stuart Black’s drawing of No. 2007 Prince of Wales
What did the officials say?

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, well over £3m has now been donated or pledged with half of the required £5m already received.

“We now want to turn our attention to the motion which is our next major manufacturing challenge. Given the level of support The Motion Club has received, we are confident we can raise the additional £85,000 needed to pay for the heavy motion and remain on-track for completion of new Gresley class P2 locomotive – No. 2007 Prince of Wales – in 2021.

“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a member of The Motion Club or a monthly ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ 

It’s time to get on board! Next year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”

Saturday, 15 December 2018

New VDL Electric Bus

Dutch manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach is introducing its new Low Entry variant of electric Citea bus in Europe. 

The new VDL Citea SLE-129 Electric already attracted first order from Finnish public transport company Tammelundin Liikenne Oy, which purchased two for routes 90 and 96 in the Vuosaari region of Helsinki.

According to the press release, the right size battery capacity (216 kWh) combined with charging at bus stops during operation (using roof-mounted pantograph with a power transfer capacity of 300 kW), enables it to stay in operation for 22 hours a day. The other two hours are needed to check and clean the bus (as well as charge at 50 kW to full), which proves that electric buses can replace the diesel equivalent without much hassle.

The major focus needs to be now on how to make the EV buses more affordable (higher upfront costs) and implement at scale to lower charging infrastructure costs per bus.
VDL Citeas SLE-129 Electric spec:
  • length of 12.9 metres
  • 40+3 seating configuration and a large passenger capacity of approximately 80 passengers
  • 216 kWh battery pack
  • 300 kW fast charging capability
More about the project:

In August 2019 the buses will be put in service on lines 90 and 96 in the Vuosaari region of Helsinki, as direct replacements for the current diesel buses on these lines. During the evening and night the buses will run to Helsinki Central Station.

VDL Citea SLE-129 Electric
The Citea Electric built as a Low Entry vehicle with a length of 12.9 metres, a 40+3 seating configuration and a large passenger capacity of approximately 80 passengers is very suitable for the Finnish market. The Citeas SLE-129 Electric for Tammelundin Liikenne are equipped with the new 216 kWh battery pack. During the day the buses are used for short distances of 2 and 5 kilometres and recharged at the metro station in Vuosaari. In the evening and at night the buses travel distances of 17 and 19 kilometres and are recharged at Helsinki Central Station. The buses are topped up during operation by means of a roof-mounted pantograph with a power transfer capacity of 300 kW. When out of service, the vehicles are also slow charged with 50 kW depot chargers using the CCS plug at the Tammelundin Liikenne depot. In total, the two VDL Citeas SLE-129 Electric for Tammelundin Liikenne are in operation 22 hours a day.

Launo Elers, Managing Director Tammelundin Liikenne Oy said:

“Making public transport more sustainable plays a major role in the transition to a healthier living environment. As a public transport company we believe it is important that we do our part to make Helsinki a sustainable city. It makes us proud to be the first public transport company in Finland to purchase electric buses on a commercial basis and to do so in collaboration with VDL Bus & Coach,”

Henrik Mikkola, Managing Director VDL Bus & Coach Finland Oy said:

“With this first order for the Citea SLE-129 Electric, Tammelundin Liikenne demonstrates its confidence in VDL Bus & Coach as a transition partner and market leader in the field of electric public transport. We are proud that in addition to the 22 VDL Citeas LLE the customer already has in operation we are now able to supply the first VDL Citeas SLE Electric, and look forward to further cooperation in the future to boost Helsinki’s sustainability,”.


Something for the weekend in the shape of a selection of buses and coaches, which span the period from the 1970s to the 2000s. Placed into an album, these can now be viewed by clicking  here 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Stagecoach Santa Buses

Stagecoach West’s specially-decorated Routemaster will bring Father Christmas and his elves to various locations in  Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon,
Visit Santa and his elves at the following locations from 11am - 3pm:
Monday 17th December - Cheltenham High Street
Tuesday 18th December - Cheltenham High Street

Wednesday 19th December - Gloucester Kings Square
Thursday 20th December - Swindon Wharf Green**
Friday 21st December - Gloucester Kings Square
**The vintage RM will stay in Swindon all day, greeting excited children and offering presents to them from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Rachael Youd, business development manager at inSwindon BID Company, said: “This is a great initiative by Stagecoach, who are one of our BID members.
“We would encourage shoppers to take their children along to visit Santa and his mischievous elves and make a donation to support the charities that provide much needed support in our communities.”
He’ll also be visiting Cheltenham and Gloucester twice, but only from 11am to 3pm each time.
The Santa bus attracted quite a crowd when Father Christmas arrived in town last year at the Orbital and his much-anticipated return is expected to be just as popular.
All the money raised during the trips will go to Friends of Swindon Young Carers and Gloucestershire Young Carers.
Stagecoach West’s managing director Rupert Cox said: “We are delighted to enter into the spirit of Christmas and help spread a little magic with our Stagecoach Santa Bus.
“Many young people do a fantastic job in support of ill or disabled family members and we hope the Santa Bus will raise lots of money to support the vital work of these two Young Carers organisations in our region.”
Parents and guardians who want their little ones to meet Santa will be asked for a minimum donation of £2.50 per child.
Swindon Young Carers provides a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member in the Swindon borough, where there are approximately 21,000 unpaid carers of all ages, including children and young people.
Swindon Carers Centre provides them with much-needed support.
Gloucestershire Young Carers is a local charity who provide a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member.
They currently support more than 1000 young people by providing a network of support, opportunities for young carers to enjoy their childhood and meet with peers in similar situations to themselves.
They enable young carers and their families to access support that minimises the physical and emotional impact of caring and that promotes health, well-being and resilience.
Illness has no boundaries and any one of us might find our family facing a health crisis. That's why it's so important to support Gloucestershire Young Carers and keep their support services going.

HE'S ALSO UP NORTH......................

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Transport for London

Major London Transport upgrades shelved amid TfL financial crisis

Sadiq Khan’s proposed pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has been abandoned - while a likely end to his fares freeze emerged as the biggest consequence of the financial crisis at Transport for London.

Long-awaited upgrades to Camden Town station and the “deep level” Tube lines such as the Piccadilly line have also been shelved as passengers were warned of an above-inflation hike in fares. TfL confirmed on the 12 December, that the £43m earmarked to pedestrianise the western end of Oxford Street had been reallocated to other “healthy streets” projects, such as the CS9 cycle superhighway in Chiswick, the CS4 superhighway in Greenwich and the CS1 in Hackney.

Pedestrianising Oxford Street was one of Sadiq Khan’s mayoral manifesto promises in 2016 but Westminster council blocked his plans in April. The Tory-run council has brought forward alternative plans to keep the street open to vehicles but “significantly reduce” the number of buses and potentially ban taxis and cars at peak times.

A TfL spokesman said: “Following Westminster City Council’s sudden, unexpected and unilateral decision to abandon our joint plans to transform Oxford Street and its district, we have now re-allocated funding which was allocated to the scheme to help accelerate a number of schemes across London designed to create safer, healthier and less polluted streets. These include new high-quality cycle routes in Greenwich, Hackney and Hounslow.”

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, said: “It is bitterly disappointing to have formal confirmation that the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has now been kicked into the long grass. Oxford Street will only prosper and remain a globally attractive shopping centre if it becomes a safe and attractive place to walk - and that means pedestrianising it.”

The changes emerge in TfL’s new five-year budget, which “assumes” there will be a fares hike equivalent to the RPI rate of inflation plus one per cent from 2021. RPI is currently 3.3 per cent. This could add at least 15p onto every Tube journey.

Mr Khan’s spokesman said any change in fares, most of which have been frozen since 2016, would be announced at a later date.

TfL commissioner Mike Brown said there were “three big external factors” behind the anticipated fares hike - the loss of the £700m a year Government subsidy, “macroeconomic conditions” that have reduced journeys, particularly off-peak bus travel, and the £600m black hole in TfL income caused by a delay of up to two years in opening Crossrail. About 2,000 jobs at TfL could be at risk as it seeks to cut running costs by 30 per cent.

Upgrades at Bank, Holborn and Elephant and Castle will proceed, as will step-free access at Finsbury Park, Hanger Lane and Wimbledon Park. Junctions such as Old Street, Vauxhall Gyratory and Highbury Corner will be made safer.

Referring to fares, Mr Brown said: “There is no question of changing anything until the next mayoralty. Clearly any new mayor, whether it’s the current one or another, would look at the overall conditions.”

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Network Rail in London at Christmas

One of London’s biggest ever Christmas rail shutdowns will see many stations and lines - including direct links to Heathrow and Gatwick - closed throughout the holiday season for much-needed upgrade work. Virtually all routes into Paddington, including TfL’s Heathrow Rail and potentially Heathrow Express services, will be cancelled or heavily reduced from midnight on December 23 until New Year’s Day.

Major works to replace worn track south of Victoria will disrupt Southern rail routes from December 22 to January 2, with buses replacing the local link to a “very busy” Clapham Junction. Gatwick Express services to and from Victoria will not run at all, with passengers diverted onto regular services from London Bridge and Blackfriars.Large-scale engineering improvements between Liverpool Street and Stratford means major timetable changes for Greater Anglia, Stansted Express, c2c and TfL Rail services.

Services will also be reduced at Euston including the Caledonian Sleeper, London Overground’s Watford line and Virgin Trains to Scotland and the Midlands.The last “Night Riviera” Sleeper service from Paddington to Penzance will run on December 21, and will then not restart until New Year’s Day.

On Christmas Eve there will be early shutdown - around 9pm - of many services leaving London. There are no rail services across the UK on Christmas Day and very few on Boxing Day.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chairman, welcomed the investment but demanded passengers are given at least 12 weeks to make alternative travel arrangements. He said: “Engineering work, the result of investment, is important, needs to be done and is good for the railway. Passengers must be given as much advance warning as possible and it must be as accurate and useful as possible so that people have a choice of how they can travel on alternative routes. Six weeks’ notice for some routes is totally unacceptable. We want to get back to 12 weeks as soon as we can. We also want to see lots of staff about on the stations over Christmas and the New Year to help passengers when they need it.”

Industry chiefs at National Rail Enquiries say fewer people than usual travel over the Christmas and New Year period making it the best time to close lines for much needed engineering work. They say: “Many train companies will also be making changes to their timetable to match services to the number of customers travelling and some train times may change. It is important to plan ahead and check if your journey is affected as some services will be added, some will be restricted and some will not be running during this period,

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) - more delay

£1.4bn bailout as autumn 2019 launch delayed

A £1.4bn bailout has been announced for Crossrail, as Europe's biggest infrastructure project is pushed back beyond its launch date of autumn 2019.

London’s £15bn route, to be known as the Elizabeth line, had originally been due to open this month. The rescue plan - the third this year - will be used to plug a predicted £2bn hole in the project's finances. The scheme will connect major landmarks such as Heathrow Airport and the Canary Wharf business district.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the deal means "Crossrail's new leadership can get the job done".

Transport for London (TfL) estimates it will miss out on at least £20m in revenue due to the delay. Between £1.6bn and £2bn is needed to complete the project, a review by accountancy firm KPMG indicate found. The scheme is currently running almost £600m over budget, and the previous bailouts have not come without criticism. The project received a £590m cash injection in July, followed by an "interim" £350m loan announced in October.

It was announced in August that the route was to open nine months after the original scheduled launch of December 2018 to allow more time for testing. TfL announced on Monday that the launch had once again been pushed back, and a new "robust and deliverable schedule" would be announced later.

When open, the project will help ease London's chronic congestion. Trains will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west through 13 miles of new tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, when fully operational. Crossrail says the new line will connect Paddington to Canary Wharf in 17 minutes and described the 10-year project as "hugely complex". An estimated 200m passengers will use the new underground line annually, increasing central London rail capacity by 10% - the largest increase since World War Two.

Under the new deal the Greater London Authority (GLA) will borrow up to £1.3bn from the Department for Transport, and provide an extra £100m itself.

The GLA will repay this loan from increased business rates.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Christmas Day bus service


On Christmas Day 2018 a free bus service will again run on route 430 between Roehampton and Putney Bridge. It will be staffed by volunteers using a 1950s vintage bus. It is run for fun and goodwill by the Vintage Bus Hire company.

The service will run hourly, leaving Roehampton from 09:30 until 15:30, and Putney Bridge from 10:07 until 16:07. It will stop at any normal route 430 bus stop along the way.

So if you’re visiting a pub on Christmas Day, going to church, visiting friends and family, or just want to take the children out for a ride, check their timetable. For Roehampton Hospital the route stops a short walk along Crestway to Dover House Road.
This is not a Transport for London or London General service. However the bus is run professionally under an operator’s licence, meeting current safety regulations. The bus is not fully accessible, but there will be a conductor to help passengers.

If you have any questions about this Christmas Day service, please email

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Stagecoach Now Offers Contactless Payments on Every UK Vehicle

  • Stagecoach is now offering contactless payments on every single one of its vehicles across the UK, following a multi-million pound investment for customers.

  • (L-R) Douglas Robertson, Commercial Director for Stagecoach East Scotland - David Frenz, Operations Director for Stagecoach East Scotland - Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity - Jon Oakey, Acting Managing Director for Stagecoach East Scotland
  • Millions of Stagecoach passengers now have access to contactless bus travel after the company completed the roll-out of the technology which now covers 7,400 vehicles operating within Stagecoach’s regional bus businesses in Scotland, England and Wales.

    The Stagecoach scheme is the single largest contactless merchant in Europe, after Transport for London.

  • During Stagecoach’s company-wide rollout of the technology, more than 100 depots were completed during the past 100 weeks, following an initial pilot. It includes all Stagecoach regional companies across the UK as well as coach operator Scottish Citylink.

(L-R) Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity and Jon Oakey, Acting Managing Director for Stagecoach East Scotland
Friday 6 December marked the completion of the scheme as contactless was launched across Stagecoach East Scotland by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson.

Welcoming the technology, he said: “Additional smart contactless payment means that more people can choose bus as their sustainable form of transport, knowing that this modern and easy option for buying tickets is now available.

“Contactless payment has quickly become a standard method of payment for many people and this investment by Stagecoach provides a simple and more convenient payment method for customers.

By completing this national roll out to transition to contactless payment, I’m pleased to see Stagecoach making it even easier for people to travel, whether purchasing on the bus, through an application or via tickets on their smartcard.”

The £12million Stagecoach programme allows all passengers to pay for their travel with a contactless credit or debit card, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay devices.

Contactless technology – which involves customers using their debit or credit card, or any other contactless device, to make a tap and go payment rather than a pin number – was introduced in the UK in 2007. Figures show that almost two-thirds (63%) of people in the UK now use contactless payments.

Already around a fifth of all on-bus Stagecoach transactions are being made using contactless payments, with some companies reporting up to 40% of on-bus transactions being made with the technology.

Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director for England and Wales, Mark Threapleton said: “We have the largest transit contactless payments scheme outside London, with hundreds of thousands of payments being made using contactless technology on our buses every week and the number of transactions continuing to grow.

“Along with traditional cash payments, our StagecoachSmart card and mobile ticketing through our Stagecoach Bus smartphone app, we are giving customers choice about how they want to buy their travel and making it even easier and more convenient to travel by bus. We now look forward to exploring the other ticketing options that this technology will allow us to deliver in the future for our passengers.”

Stagecoach also offers the Stagecoach Bus’ smartphone app which provides customers with journey planning, next-stop information and live bus tracking, and enables people to buy and download bus tickets straight to their mobile phone.

In addition, smart ticketing at all Stagecoach regional companies with more than two million StagecoachSmart cards in circulation and more than 330million smart transactions every year.


  • 7,400 vehicles outside London now equipped with tap and go payment technology
  • Stagecoach is single largest contactless transit merchant in Europe, outside London
  • Company-wide scheme roll-out included more than 100 depots completed in 100 weeks
  • East Scotland contactless scheme launched on 6 December by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson


A recent visit to Derby city centre on a rather murky misty day, produced a selection of buses from the local operators in not ideal conditions. However, they illustrate that photographic results can be mixed, as shown in the two albums, which can now be viewed by clicking  here  and  here

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Alexander Dennis & Hydrogen fuel

ADL adds hydrogen fuel cell technology to the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses

The image here taken by Andrew Macintosh, shows the prototype hydrogen fuel cell powered ADL Enviro400 during trials.

Alexander Dennis is adding hydrogen fuel cell buses to the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses. The technology, which requires separate fuelling infrastructures but could offer range benefits, has been developed on an Enviro400 double deck bus which has delivered best-in-class performance during route shadowing trials.

Already offering the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) firmly believes no one size fits all when it comes to making bus travel more sustainable. The company continually invests in research and development of new technologies to ensure it continues to support bus operators with technologies that will enable them to improve air quality and lower their carbon footprint.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology can offer long range zero emission capability if suitable infrastructure can be put in place with sustainably sourced hydrogen. This could offer particular benefits for high capacity double deck buses.

To explore the potential for this technology, ADL has been working on a hydrogen double deck bus for over two years. It is based on the market-leading Enviro400 and has been developed through extensive collaboration between ADL’s in-house Advanced Engineering teams and expert hydrogen and fuel cell system integrators Arcola Energy.

The hydrogen-powered Enviro400 has an electric driveline with axle-mounted motors. The on-board battery is charged by feeding hydrogen from secure tanks to a fuel cell system where it is converted to electricity. No external battery charging is required and the vehicle’s only emission is water vapour.

A prototype bus has been through several design iterations to optimise performance and ensure highest standards of regulatory and safety compliance. The prototype has successfully completed route shadowing trials in several UK cities, delivering what is believed to be the highest efficiency and therefore lowest fuel cost in its class. Operators supporting the route shadowing trials have commented positively on the performance achieved.

ADL is now taking orders for this product and will be working with cities, bus operators and other stakeholders around the UK to further explore the potential for hydrogen fuel cell buses through fleet trials. It will seek to demonstrate the same reliability and high degree of vehicle availability for which its products are renowned. As with any ADL products, it will be sold with class-leading aftermarket support as well as benefitting from local hydrogen and fuel cell expertise from the company’s partners.

The hydrogen fuel cell powered Enviro400 will be an addition to ADL’s range of low and zero emission buses and will not replace any existing products.

The hydrogen vehicles will benefit from ADL’s class-leading aftermarket support. Fuelling infrastructure and hydrogen supply can be provided from the company’s partners.

ADL Chief Executive Colin Robertson said: “ADL continues to support bus operators across the UK by collaborating to develop new technologies that help achieve environmental and operational targets. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is part of the mix of solutions and we are delighted to now offer this option to the industry".

Friday, 7 December 2018

Routemaster removal revealed

Anger at ‘secret’ plans to axe last daily service on Routemaster

The historic Routemaster bus is approaching the end of the road after “secret” plans emerged to withdraw the last vehicles from daily service. Transport for London wants to axe the daytime “heritage” service on route 15, which uses the 60-year-old buses between Trafalgar Square and Tower Gateway. Under the plans, the buses would appear only at weekends during the summer and on bank holidays. “Stakeholders” were asked to comment, but there has been no public consultation. No details were published on TfL’s website.

Enthusiasts are dismayed that transport bosses and Mayor Sadiq Khan is prepared to kill off a “London icon”. Andrew Morgan, chairman of the Routemaster Association, accused TfL of acting in a “secretive” way. He said: “We should be keeping them to attract tourists, but tourists don’t know about them. They are London’s biggest secret.” Mr Morgan said leaving the Routemasters unused in a garage was the “worst thing you can do with an old vehicle”. He added: “They will get them out at the last minute and they will break down. From an operator’s point of view, it’s going to cost more. They have not repainted them in the last few years and they are looking very unloved and shabby. It’s obvious they are driving them into the ground. They don’t advertise them — there is no publicity anywhere.”

TfL recently spent £200,000 refurbishing four of the buses. Last year the Mayor said: “They promote London as a key tourist destination.” Two heritage routes, shortened versions of routes 9 and 15, were launched in 2005 when Routemasters were phased out by Ken Livingstone after 50 years of service. The 9 heritage route was axed in 2014. TfL says the proposal to cut the 15 heritage service comes alongside the Mayor’s proposed cuts to 33 bus routes in central London, and will save £800,000 a year.

Passengers today spoke of their sadness. City worker Gareth Mason, 29, said: “It’s part of the heritage of London and should be kept going. It makes visiting London special.”
Joaquim Pelassa, 18, a business student at King’s College, said the buses were a factor in choosing to study here. “Every time I see the buses they turn my head. It’s what you think of when you think of London. People love it.”

TfL said: “The heritage buses provide an attraction for tourists that celebrates London’s transport heritage, but use of the service is low.” A spokesman said restricting the service to times of peak demand would “improve emissions while helping to reduce congestion”.