Thursday, 21 June 2018

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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


43 (24-hours) (Friern Barnet & London Bridge Station)  LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Metroline Travel with new BYD/Alexander Dennis all-electric double-decks (contract start date 2nd February 2019)(see ADL press release below)

122   (Plumstead & Crystal Palace)  LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (9th February 2019)

134 (24-hours) (North Finchley & Tottenham Court Road) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Metroline Travel with new Optare Metrodekker all-electric double-decks (contract start date 2nd February 2019)

It is believed this may well be the design of the buses ordered for route 134.  Shown here is a demonstrator previously used by First Group on services in York

228   (Maida Hill & Park Royal) LBSL (QC) contract awarded to Tower Transit with a mixture of new and existing fleet Euro-VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Metroline West with DE-class ADL E20D diesel single-decks from Willesden (WJ) Garage (19th January)


262   (Stratford & East Beckton) LBSL (QC) contract awarded to Tower Transit with double-deck type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Stagecoach East London with ADL Trident and Scania double-decks from West Ham (WH) Garage (30th March 2109)

372   (Hornchurch & Lakeside) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Stagecoach East London using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (30th March 2019)

396   (Ilford & King George Hospital) LBSL (QC) contract awarded to Go-Ahead Blue Triangle using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel single-decks upgraded to Euro-VI (30th March 2019)


472 (24-hours) (North Greenwich & Thamesmead) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (9th February 2019)

473   (Stratford & North Woolwich) LBSL (QC) contract awarded to Tower Transit with double-deck type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Stagecoach East London with ADL Trident and Scania double-decks from West Ham (WH) Garage (30th March 2109)


486   (North Greenwich & Bexleyheath) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks upgraded to Euro-VI (23rd February 2019)

601   (Thamesmead & Wilmington Hall School)  LBSL (TG) contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel double-decks upgraded to Euro-VI (26th January 2019)

602   (Thamesmead & Bexleyheath)  LBSL (TG) contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel double-decks upgraded to Euro-VI (26th January 2019)

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

 

Press release from Alexander Dennis



BYD ADL partnership continues the electric revolution in London with biggest part of London’s first order for pure electric double deckers



The winning team of BYD and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has scooped the largest part of London’s first order for fully electric double deckers. Thirty seven BYD ADL Enviro400EV buses will enter service with Transport for London (TfL) operator Metroline in the second quarter of 2019.
Using the proven combination of BYD electric technology and batteries and stylish bodywork and passenger-centric interior by ADL, the UK’s double deck market leader, the BYD ADL Enviro400EV is a brand new concept, designed at ADL’s facility in Scotland and BYD’s R&D Centre in Shenzhen, China. The finished buses will be assembled in Britain by ADL as are all BYD ADL joint products.
The 10.9m long electric double deckers will feature ADL’s eye-catching City style bodywork with a glazed staircase and will be built to TfL’s comprehensive specification. They will use BYD’s Iron-Phosphate battery technology which enables the buses to run all day on a single charge using cost effective off-peak electricity.
The buses, based at Metroline’s Holloway Garage in north London, will serve the intensive Route 43 running through the heart of the City of London from London Bridge in the south to Friern Barnet in the north.
Holloway garage was opened in 1907 as a tram depot, later switching over to trolleybuses and later still to diesel buses. The chargers, managed by BYD’s smart charging battery management system, will not only service the new double deckers but also Metroline’s fleet of 23 10.8m single deck BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses when they enter service in the middle of this year.
In October 2015 BYD supplied Metroline with five Chinese-built double deckers – the first in the world. These pilot vehicles have performed well on TfL’s Route 98 which spans the length of Oxford Street. They are estimated to have clocked up over 100,000 miles of trouble free service, saving 140 tonnes of harmful emissions.


Metroline’s Chief Executive Officer, Jaspal Singh said: "Operating zero-emission all electric buses on route 43 confirms Metroline’s continued commitment to London, our customers and Transport for London. The 37 new BYD ADL Enviro400EV’s have very impressive environmental credentials and will deliver significant benefits for Londoners. Metroline’s latest investment underscores our resolve to lead the industry and continually deliver the very best service for London."
"Our joint team has made tremendous progress in winning tenders for TfL routes across the capital with our 10.8m and 12m single deckers. But with 6,800 double deckers on London streets, their full electrification is the key to making maximum beneficial impact on air quality for Londoners. We are delighted, in the face of intensifying competition, to win the largest first order for electric double deck buses in London and to retain our position at the top of the electric bus sales league," said Isbrand Ho, Managing Director, BYD Europe.
"So far the Enviro200EV single decks have delivered in excess of 1.5 million miles of zero emission transport in the UK. This new contract for double decks takes the BYD ADL collaboration to a whole new level in every sense. We look forward to continuing our journey of improving air quality, while responding to the operational demands of our customers and the requirements of their passengers with this brand new vehicle," said Colin Robertson, ADL Chief Executive.


 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Emirates Introduces Virtual Windows


Emirates has introduced virtual windows for first class passengers on board its latest aircraft.

Rather than being able to see directly outside, passengers will see images projected in from outside the plane using fibre-optic cameras.

Removing windows from planes makes them lighter and faster and has the potential to reduce fuel costs.

It was predicted that fuel prices will increase by 25 per cent this year at last week’s Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), so it’s no surprise that airlines are thinking of creative ways to keep costs down.

Emirates president said that the images were “so good, it’s better than with the natural eye,” and that the eventual aim was to have planes with no windows at all.

“Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows.

“Now you have one fuselage which has no structural weaknesses because of windows. The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher,” he said.

Some concerns have been raised about the safety of this proposal. Aviation safety expert, Professor Graham Braithwaite of Cranfield University, said: “Being able to see outside the aircraft in an emergency is important, especially if an emergency evacuation has to take place.

“Flight attendants would need to check outside the aircraft in an emergency, for example for fire, before opening a door and commencing an evacuation – and anything that needed power to do this may not be easy to get certified by an aviation safety regulator.”

The European Aviation Safety Agency, which is responsible for civil aviation safety, said: “We do not see any specific challenge that could not be overcome to ensure a level of safety equivalent to the one of an aircraft fitted with cabin windows.”

The virtual windows can be found in the first class cabin of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777-3000ER aircraft.



NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE



From high up in the skies to low down on the high seas. The latest album on the flickr site is something a little different. For a change the focus this time is a selection of shipping cruise, ferry and freighter, seen on the Solent from the Bembridge side of the Isle of Wight. Varying contrast owing to times of day and weather conditions, most at distance, thus a little iffy in content. However, may appeal to some and can now be viewed by clicking  here.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

East Yorkshire Motor Services

Go-Ahead welcomes East Yorkshire Motor Services


Hull-based East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS), including Scarborough and District Motor Services, have been acquired by award-winning bus operator Go North East, part of the international transport organisation Go-Ahead Group Plc.
Established in 1926 and owned and operated for the last three decades by the Shipp family, EYMS transports over 17 million passengers annually, has a workforce of 700 staff and runs over 300 buses and coaches throughout Hull, East Riding and the North Yorkshire Coast.



For over 100 years, Go North East has run bus services connecting the region's towns and villages with the cities of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland. Currently operating across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and into Tees Valley, it is one of 10 regional subsidiary bus companies within the Go-Ahead Group.
“We are excited to welcome the EYMS team into the Go-Ahead family,” says David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead. “Like Go North East, the company is well established in the local communities it serves and shares the same values of excellent customer service and strong employee engagement.
“Bringing companies like EYMS into the Group draws us ever-closer to our vision of a world where every journey is taken care of, while meeting our strategic objective of building a sustainable business that meets the needs of our customers and communities.”


Peter Shipp, Owner and Chairman of EYMS who has been with the company for 38 years, commented: “At the age of 74 and after 56 years in the bus industry I think it is time for me to hand over the business, and I am delighted to be doing so to an organisation with such a strong reputation caring for its people, customers and communities. It has the scale required to invest in the assets, both people and buses, to take EYMS forward in a healthy and successful way.”
EYMS will operate as a stand-alone company within Go North East, overseen by the Go North East executive director team.
For more information about Go North East, visit www.gonortheast.co.uk or EYMS visit: https://www.eyms.co.uk/



NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE


Staying with the Go-Ahead Group a recent visit to the Isle of Wight by one of the editors, allowed him to observe and photograph buses and the odd coach operated by the established Southern Vectis subsidiary. Pictures are in an album which can now be viewed by clicking  here

Monday, 18 June 2018

East Anglia Transport Museum




The million-pound development at the East Anglia Transport Museum, based in Carlton Colville, will see the attraction’s current premises almost double in size.
Included in the plans are new storage and exhibition depots, the most notable of which will be devoted to the legacy of Lowestoft’s Eastern Coach Works, which once employed as many as 1,200 workers before its closure in 1987.
The existing tram, railway and trolleybus tracks will be extended, and a station built to cater for the longer rides. Much-needed space for the attraction’s numerous rallies and displays will also be provided, as well as a staff car park.
With the museum having acquired a plot of adjacent land at the end of 2016, Waveney District Council’s (WDC) planning committee has now permitted the registered charity to go ahead with the expansion.


Speaking in light of the unanimous approval, museum new land committee member, Tim Major, said: “We’re very pleased with the decision. The expansion will provide the accommodation we need for our vehicles because the collection has grown so much over the years.
“Several vehicles have been built since the museum was formed and an important part of that is to have facilities that contribute towards the history of the coach works, which was obviously a big local business years ago.
“It has to be emphasised that the museum is a volunteer-run organisation, and of course funding is going to be the next thing to think about.”
Since opening in 1972, the transport museum has welcomed more than 700,000 visitors through its doors, with more than 550,000 arriving as either holidaymakers or day-trippers. Nearly 15,000 people have visited from overseas.
The venue is therefore deemed to be hugely beneficial to the region’s tourism industry, contributing approximately £450,000 to the East of England economy in 2016 according to the Association of Independent Museums.


WDC planning committee chairman, Paul Ashdown, said the expansion would be “very favourable to the area”.
Two residential properties backing onto the land had lodged objections on the grounds of noise pollution, but an environmental health officer was satisfied that it can be minimised using noise-reducing fencing.

NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE


Staying on a London theme one of the latest albums on the site focuses on the former London Underground 1938 stock operated on the Northern Line, which now comprise the fleet of the Island Line. Oper ated by South Western Railway on the Isle of Wight this ageing fleet is showing its age as they run from Ryde Pierhead via Brading and Sandown to Shanklin. A set of pictures can now be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday, 17 June 2018

European Train Comparison Report


Switzerland’s national railway offers the best overall service in Europe, according to a new report looking at how the continent’s major train companies benefit different kinds of traveller, including families and passengers with disabilities.

The Great Train Comparison Report, commissioned by online train booking service Loco2, surveyed all but one of the European rail companies that offer high-speed, long-distance daytime trains, with journeys of at least 400km.




Sixteen rail companies, including Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS), Deutsche Bahn (DB), Eurostar and Virgin Trains, were asked to respond to a 100-point survey detailing the facilities and amenities they provide for different types of passengers.

For families, Swiss Federal Railways took the top spot; as well as family-friendly zones and carriages, the operator has created play areas for children on the top deck of its inter-city trains. While, Deutsche Bahn, which came second, offers the services of experienced child-minders.

The Swiss operator, along with Spain’s state rail company, Renfe, offered the best service for disabled passengers, providing a “sophisticated” and “carefully coordinated” assistance to passengers with a range of needs. Eurostar, which gives a complimentary upgrade from standard class to standard premier to wheelchair passengers, came third.



The report praised Deutsch Bahn for its clear sustainability policy, from sourcing food responsibly to favouring green energy for its electric trains. Passengers on the German railway also get a discount on hot drinks if they provide their own cup.





Deutsche Bahn and Austrian Railways (ÖBB) came first and second respectively for backpackers, with neither operator requiring seat reservations or charges for those travelling on Interrail or Eurail passes, as well as offering free wifi and plenty of space for larger rucksacks.

Though UK train operators struggled to make it into the top three in most categories, they excelled when it came to supporting passengers travelling with pets. Virgin East Coast  was found to be best in this category, followed by Great Western Railway and Cross Country Trains, all of which allow passengers to bring their pets at no extra cost.





Overall, Swiss Federal Railways came out top after taking first place in four categories; best for families, disabled passengers, cyclists and winter sports. It was followed closely by German rail operator Duetsche Bahn (DB) and ÖBB Austrian Railways, which came joint second with a strong performance across all categories.


Friday, 15 June 2018

Alstom & Eversholt to Offer Hydrogen Powered Trains

Plans to fit hydrogen fuel cells to redundant electric multiple units were announced by Alstom on May 14. Confirming that ‘hydrogen technologies and solutions will play a key role in our global vision for the future’, the manufacturer said it was working with rolling stock leasing company Eversholt Rail on what it calls ‘the first substantive industry response to the government's challenge to remove diesel rolling stock by 2040’.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail are looking to ‘upcycle’ Class 321 EMUs which will be rendered surplus to requirements following the delivery of a complete new rolling stock fleet for the Greater Anglia franchise over the next two years.
Described as ‘some of the best proven electric trains on the network’, the four-car Class 321s were built at the former British Rail Engineering Ltd works in York between 1988 and 1991. 
Eversholt had placed a contract in 2015 for Wabtec to refurbish 30 units under its Renatus programme, and to fit new three-phase traction equipment from Kiepe.
The trains would be fitted with hydrogen storage tanks and fuel cells similar to those used on Alstom’s prototype iLint multiple-unit now on test in Germany, for which series orders have already been placed.
'We think the potential long-term application of hydrogen in the UK is very significant’, said Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland. ‘Less than 50% of the UK network is electrified. Starting with this conversion, we think hydrogen could offer the right zero carbon solution for many parts of the network.’
At present, around a third of the UK passenger train fleet is diesel-powered, and most existing stock would need to be replaced or refurbished if the government’s objective of eliminating diesel-only rail vehicles by 2040 is to be achieved.
‘Not only are hydrogen trains zero carbon, they are near-silent and emit no particulates’, added Crossfield. ‘This means they offer substantial air quality and noise pollution benefits. On cost, hydrogen trains can help to avoid the necessity for line electrification, which represents a significant investment.

TfL Trial on Bus Passenger Counting

TfL is beginning a three-month trial to identify how best to automatically count passengers on buses. The trial, which will begin on Friday 8 June, will assess which techniques capture passenger numbers in real time with the most accuracy. This could enable TfL to improve its services, provide better real-time travel information and help prioritise investment - all while being cheaper and more reliable than current manual counts.


TfL say a better understanding of how full London's buses are could mean:
  • Customers are provided with improved real-time information for better journey planning and information such the available accessible space
  • More effective management of the bus network, helping to ensure any unplanned diversions minimise passenger disruption
  • Better bus planning and forecasting for the future, including allowing buses to better support London's growth

The trial will run on seven buses and will assess the following automatic counting techniques:

  • Cameras aimed across the bus floor observing the footsteps of passengers getting on and off the bus
  • Real-time analysis of existing safety camera footage
  • Sensors over each door of the bus
  • Analysis of the changes to the buses weight and air pressure
  • Use of depersonalised WiFi connection data

All WiFi data collected during the trial will be automatically depersonalised at the point of collection. No browsing data will be collected and no individuals will be identified. Buses trialling the CCTV, sensors or WiFi techniques will display posters to ensure passengers are aware of the trial and further information is available on TfL's website.
Simon Reed, Head of Surface Technology and Data at TfL, said: "Technology is transforming our lives and creating huge potential to improve how we use and operate public transport. This short trial is an exciting opportunity to make it easier for everyone to use buses in London.
"We use a range of methods, such as ticketing data and manual paper surveys, to understand how customers travel across London, but we cannot measure in real time the number of people on a given bus. We hope this trial will show us the best way to identify real-time bus usage, which in turn could help us plan our network better, run it more effectively and greatly enhance live customer information."


Steve Chambers, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: "It is really good to see the latest bus technology being trialled in London with the potential to allow passengers to make informed choices about their journeys based on how busy each upcoming bus will be.
"Disabled passengers who require the accessible space could have the most to gain from the deployment of enhanced passenger information following the successful conclusion of this trial."
TfL is committed to harnessing the power of open data so all information is publicly available, unless there are overriding reasons not to do so, for example personal data. This approach has transformed the way that Londoners receive transport information. More than 40% of Londoners currently use an app or website powered by TfL data to plan their journeys, ranging from live bus times and locations to information on air quality and walking times between stations. Depersonalised bus usage data could add a new and useful data source to enhance Londoners' transport.

NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE


Steve Maskell recently visited an event in South Wales organised by the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group. A Festival of Transport was held at The Bus Depot, Barry Island and a set of pictures can now be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Hull Trains Reveals AT300 Details

Open access operator Hull Trains has revealed the appearance of its future fleet of five Hitachi AT300 trainsets, following the completion of the engineering and design phase and the sign-off for production to begin.
The £60m order for five five-car inter-city electro-diesel multiple-units was placed by leasing company Angel Trains in November 2016, after Hull Trains secured a 10-year track access agreement for its East Yorkshire to London route. The trainsets are to be built at Hitachi’s plant at Pistoia in Italy, with entry into service planned for December 2019.
Hull Trains said it had had ‘significant input’ into the design of the fleet, which will be similar to vehicles ordered by franchised operators TransPennine Express and Great Western Railway.
The new trainsets will offer more capacity that Hull Trains’ current fleet of four Alstom Class 180 inter-city DMUs, including more first class seating to meet a growth in demand for first class travel which the operator has seen since launching in 2000.

‘Decisions have now been made on the new interiors which will be brighter and much more spacious and streamlined’, said Project Director Phil Cameron on May 10. ‘Our industry partners have also commented on how luxurious and aesthetically appealing the interiors are and so we are very excited to show this to our customers in due course.
‘The next phase is to focus on our people and commence the relevant training plans in readiness for the launch of the trains now that the engineering plans and processes have been finalised.’
The electro-diesel trainsets will be able to use the 25 kV 50 Hz electrification on the East Coast Main Line, switching to diesel power for the non-electrified route from Doncaster to Hull and Beverley. Hull Trains pointed out it would also be able to continue to operate in the event of damage to the overhead electrification equipment.

NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE

Two albums have been added recently of different modes of transport. First up is a running day held in Reading with pictures supplied by Mark Lyons and can be viewed by clicking  here.


The second is another running day, but over the rails of the privately-owned Statfold Barn Railway near Tamworth in Staffordshire. These pictures have been supplied by Stephen Read and once again can be viewed by clicking  here.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

TransPennine Nova 1 Delivered to UK

The first of 19 Nova 1 Hitachi Rail bi-modes destined for TransPennine Express was unloaded at Southampton Docks on June 11

Five-car 802201 will begin testing across the North this summer, ahead of entering passenger service in summer 2019. 

The modern Japanese bullet train inspired fleet is being built by Hitachi and financed by Angel Trains.

From 2019 this fleet will support the Great North Rail Project by connecting major cities in the North of England and Scotland and will run from Manchester and Liverpool, across the Pennines to cities such as Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The trains will provide 161 additional seats per train compared to the existing trains on the popular intercity route. Customers will benefit from spacious carriages, providing extra legroom and additional luggage space and the experience on-board will be completely transformed.

Each new train will offer fast, free Wi-Fi in both Standard and First Class as well as complimentary on-board entertainment system, Exstream, allowing customers to stream the latest movies and TV shows during their journey.

Passengers will see further improvements following the upgrade of the Transpennine route between Manchester, Leeds and York.

The investment in these new trains is supporting thousands of jobs across the UK through Hitachi’s decision to choose over 30 UK firms to supply key components. Businesses chosen include Lucchini Unipart Rail (LUR), whose Manchester factory will build wheel sets for the trains.

The fleet will also support long-term jobs at depots along the route, including Hitachi’s newly built £80million depot in Doncaster.

Hitachi is using its famous Japanese-bullet train technology to make the new Nova 1 fleet light and aerodynamic. The 19 trains will all be hybrid, meaning they can switch seamlessly mid-journey between electric and diesel power. The trains, will be able to run in either five or ten carriage formation, capable of speeds of up to 140mph in electric mode and 125 mph using diesel engines.

By using modern MTU engines from Rolls-Royce, the trains will cut harmful emissions under diesel power by up to 90%.

Berry Sas, Projects Director for Hitachi Rail Europe said:

“We are excited to bring Japanese bullet train technology to the North and look forward to our fleet transforming journeys on this busy route. Our decision to use British businesses to supply parts for the new trains is a multi-million pound boost to the economy, supporting jobs at production sites around the country”

TransPennine Express Managing Director Leo Goodwin said:

“We are very excited that the first test train of our Nova 1 fleet has now arrived in the UK.

“TransPennine Express is delivering an investment of £500million in the next two years in additional services, more seats and not one but three brand new train fleets.”

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Self Driving Bus in Paris

Paris operator RATP has made a small start on automation, and a move towards buying only low- and zero-emission examples by 2025
RATP has an Iveco that drives itself within depot confines, but it is pushing on with the bus2025 programme that will see battery electric or biogas power all new purchases by 2025.



The automation project involves three parties: RATP, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, and Iveco. A 12m Urbanway hybrid has been fitted with cameras for navigation of Lagny depot, and it has five radar sensors for obstacle detection.
Lagny is a multi-level underground facility and GPS use is difficult. The on-bus control system thus includes a pre-programmed map of the depot and several distinctive murals are painted in various locations to allow the cameras to calibrate their position.
The result is a self-driving bus. Lagny is organised with numbered reverse-in parking spaces, and the Urbanway can proceed autonomously from the street access point to a number of them, and vice-versa.
As a proof-of-concept exercise, a driver is present while those manoeuvres take place. However, during a recent press demonstration, the Urbanway found its way to Lagny’s basement and parked itself perfectly between two of its sisters.
Development of a self-driving capacity is part of the EU’s European Bus System of the Future project, from where some funding has been received by RATP. On-bus control equipment means that it is dedicated to the trial, but prior to selection it was a regular member of RATP’s fleet.
Although the Urbanway can drive itself, RATP has no aspiration to take that capability to the streets. Instead, it sees autonomy as a means of making more efficient use of the driver resource, says Project Manager Autonomous Vehicle Clément Lucchesi.
A further gain is an end to damage that can occur during tricky manoeuvring.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Class 230 Vivarail Trains for Wales & Borders

Vivarail has been chosen as preferred bidder to supply a fleet of Class 230 D-Trains to KeolisAmey for the Wales and Borders franchise.  The trains will be the first to come into service as part of the new franchise and will demonstrate KeolisAmey’s commitment to providing new, high quality rolling stock to Welsh passengers.


Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said “This is a very exciting day for us and we are proud to be supplying the first of the new trains for Wales.
“We know that KeolisAmey want to bring the best new trains to their passengers so our interior layout has been designed to do exactly that.  As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a Universal Access Toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and 3-pin sockets.  There will be a range of seating layouts and plenty of space for bikes and luggage.  With KeolisAmey we have been determined to give passengers the very best travelling experience and the trains they deserve: modern, comfortable, reliable and environmentally-friendly.
“In conjunction with our partners at Creactive we have worked on a livery design that will be seen across the whole fleet.

“Our aim has always been to provide innovative solutions for operators and to that end I’m delighted to announce that our trains will be built as battery/diesel hybrids to cut down on emissions and make use of the exciting new technology we have developed over the past two years.  As the UK’s leading battery train manufacturer we know that emission-free trains are the future and we will continue to spearhead that development.  With this hybrid fleet we will deliver a train that is clean, green and reliable making use of GPS systems to cut out the engines in stations and environmentally-sensitive areas.
“Our trains will come into service in summer 2019 and will form the flagship fleet for Wales and Borders and I look forward to taking the first journey in North Wales next year.
“I would like to congratulate KeolisAmey in their successful bid and thank our many friends from across Wales for their active support over the last few years.”
Colin Lea, Mobilisation Director, KeolisAmey Wales Cymru, said: “We are proud to announce that KeolisAmey and Vivarail will provide a step-change in passenger comfort and service quality on three North Wales routes (Wrexham-Bidston, Conwy Valley, Chester-Crewe) by introducing these units, fitted with the latest passenger comfort appliances such as power supply at all seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, air-cooling, bike spaces, and a brand new seating layout reflecting the needs of the passengers on these routes.

“In addition, these innovative hybrid trains fitted with state of the art monitoring systems, will provide a significant change in performance and reliability, helping KeolisAmey to deliver a more reliable service for its customers.”
Design and build of the 3-car trains is already underway at Vivarail’s two sites and orders have been placed with the leading supplier of Universal Access Toilets based in Cwmbran.   The fleet of 5 trains will move to Wales for final testing and commissioning in early 2019.

Vivarail Further News

Vivarail has completed its first entirely battery powered train and is making progress with the first diesel-powered class 230 set for West Midlands Trains.


Prototype battery-powered class 230 unit 230 002
at Vivarail’s base at Long Marston on May 10. 
Photo: Keith Fender 


The new battery-powered train has been developed by Vivarail. The train is equipped with battery modules, each containing 60 24V Valence Lithium-ion batteries supplied by Lithiumwerks, which replace the diesel power-packs used on the diesel version.

The battery train has no diesel fuel tanks but otherwise features the same traction 
equipment, motors and bogies as the diesel variant. Two battery packs are fitted to each car instead of four diesel power units, giving a similar net weight, although the diesel train has to carry the added weight of the fuel tank and fuel.

Following test running and public display/demonstration passenger service at the Rail Live event at Quinton Rail Technology Centre at Long Marston in June, Vivarail expects to begin testing the battery train on the main line network.

The battery train is designed for relatively short distances with an anticipated range of 48km between charging cycles, which can be completed in around five minutes. Vivarail has developed a rapid charging system incorporating power supply via a conductor rail, which is only live when the train is stationary above it.

Early test running has demonstrated that the battery train can accelerate at around twice the rate of the diesel variant.



 The first vehicle for the West Midland Trains class 230 order
was delivered back to Vivarail at Long Marston on May 10
after painting in Derby. 
Photo: Keith Fender 


Vivarail says the diesel train can be converted to battery (or vice versa) in one day using a fork lift truck as both diesel and battery modules are designed around standard forklift pallet sizes. The diesel fuel tank can be added or removed as required as part of this conversion.






Vivarail has developed a diesel/battery hybrid design for the D-Train and is also working with British industrial gas specialist BOC to develop a hydrogen fuel cell version of the class 230. The company is seeking government research funding to develop a prototype train.

Meanwhile Vivarail has also commenced work on all three class 230 DMUs ordered by West Midlands Trains for use on the Bedford - Bletchley line. These are based on the original diesel Vivarail class 230 prototype.

The three trains will be available for driver training by August with entry into passenger service scheduled for December 2018.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

2 Million Page Views

Today we reach our 2 million pageview milestone on the Focus Transport Website. 
Many thanks to all readers of our website and many thanks also to our growing list of contributors. Focus Transport began on a website operated by Oliver Foreman supported by contributions from a small team of like minded people. 
In 2011 when Oliver wasn’t able to continue with the original website it was decided to re-launch into what we have today and the job of designing and launching the revised site was taken on by Richard Lomas. The new site was launched on 14th May 2011.
Sadly Richard’s health deteriorated so the role of editing the site passed to the writer. When Richard Passed away in 2012 no immediate help on the editorial side was at hand but eventually Tony Wilson was persuaded to come on board, bringing with him his photography expertise and life long interest in the transport scene. 
Since then the editorial team of two has remained, supported originally by long term stalwarts Martin Arrand and Colin Sellers and aided by a growing number of photography contributors. Richard’s widow Kath has continued Richard’s Tram Blog as a tribute to him and has also contributed pictures for this website during her travels. The Blog can be found here http://tramways.blogspot.co.uk/
We aim to issue a posting each day and this is mostly achieved, with daily page views hovering around the 1,000 mark depending on news content. Providing we have connection with the internet modern technology allows us to release postings from wherever we might be and in the past both of us have worked from a variety of locations. This posting is being released from Edinburgh. A onetime favourite location was at the home of Cumbria Classic Coaches in Ravenstonedale Cumbria, where we both enjoyed being part of the friendly team of staff. Many an article has been written from this idyllic location but time has moved on and we now operate from other equally picturesque parts of the UK.
The website has changed somewhat since 2011 evolving into what we have today and for now it will continue in its present form, but as always we appreciate any suggestions and contributions.
We are marking this this day by stepping back in time and showing a small selection of pictures taken during the lifetime of the website.


David Gambles

Focus Flickr

During 2014 the Focus Flickr site was re-modelled to become the New Focus Flickr site, able to be accessed on the right hand side of the Home page of this website. It began with a modest selection of subjects; mostly bus orientated and gradually grew as other albums were added. 
We reached our first million views after quite a period of time, but as news spread and the number of followers grew so did the number of albums added to the site. It was then just a matter of time that the 2 and 3-million marks were passed and sometime later this year it is anticipated we shall have our 4-millionth view.
We hope to continue this trend as the variety of albums increase throughout the years ahead.

Tony Wilson

















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