Sunday, 26 May 2019

DalesRail Service Resumes


A rail service linking Lancashire with some of the north’s most picturesque routes resumed on May 19th.

The DalesRail service between Blackpool and Carlisle returned on Sunday May 19th and will re-link Lancashire with the Ribble Valley, Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley.






The route leaves Blackpool via Preston and will operate every Sunday until September 9 taking in the famous Settle to Carlisle line and Yorkshire Dales.

Community group Community Rail Lancashire has helped bring the route back after its success last season and will be recommending country walks to tie in the with service.













Richard Watts, chairman of Community Rail Lancashire said: “DalesRail is simply the best way to enjoy the iconic Settle Carlisle line with direct trains from Lancashire. What’s more, it also offers the opportunity to keep fit with over 50 guided walks available over the 17 Sundays. These walks will be led by experienced volunteer walk leaders from Lancashire Rail Ramblers.”


Martin Keating, interim stakeholder manager for Northern, said: “I would like to thank Community Rail Lancashire, the Settle and Carlisle Community Rail Partnership and the Lancashire Rail Ramblers in working with Northern on delivery DalesRail. This is an offering we’re proud of and will offer a direct link to some exciting leisure opportunities for our customers.”

Saturday, 25 May 2019

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Wednesday 5th June - English Channel

Something rather different from our usual daily news, Dakotas over the English Channel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Channel Crossing the day before D-Day. Reports have suggested a significant number of the type will be in attendance.





Friday, 24 May 2019

Alexander Dennis Open Day


An estimated 3,000 people attended the open day at the Alexander Dennis bus

chassis factory in Guildford on Saturday 11th May. The opportunity to look behind the

scenes at Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer was enthusiastically embraced by local

residents as well as visitors from as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore.





Tours of the plant, vehicle displays and rides, specialist talks on electrical systems and
hybrid technology, and build-a-bus activities for children were just some of the attractions organised for visitors by a team of 40 volunteers from the company’s Guildford team.

The event was held in support of two local charities, Challengers and Phyllis Tuckwell
Hospice Care, with just short of £1,600 raised for their causes.Vintage vehicles displayed the breadth of the engineering and manufacturing heritage of Dennis, with lorries, lawn mowers, preserved buses and fire engines on show.


A 1936 open-top Dennis Ace fire appliance lovingly known as ‘the Pig’ – in service until 1997 as the Dennis works’ own fire engine – offered rides around the local area that drew long queues.


Park and ride buses and shuttles to railway stations were provided by preserved and modern buses with the kind support of vehicle owners and local bus operators including Stagecoach, Arriva, Cardinal Buses, Mortons Travel, Reptons Coaches, Safeguard Coaches, Southern Transit and White Bus Services.

Production supervisor Claire Barrett, who led the organisation team, commented: “I feel very
honoured to have been involved in the open day, seeing so many people enjoying
themselves, taking part in the activities, being curious and asking questions about the
products and systems we use.
The balance of content about the past, present and future of the company was just right and enjoyed by all. Many of our colleagues came along with their families and it was lovely to witness their pride at working for such an iconic company.”

..

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Stagecoach Order Allocation Update



Further to our posting earlier this week covering the announcement of the new £80m Stagecoach bus orders for 2019/20, here are details of proposed allocations to provincial fleets.



131 ADL Enviro 400MMCs
11139-11156 Morecambe [Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire]
11157 Carlisle [Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire]
11158 Carlisle but currently with Stagecoach UK Bus for IT cloud evaluation [Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire]


11161-11162 Elgin [Stagecoach North Scotland]
11163-11175 Macduff [Stagecoach North Scotland]
11176-11191 Aberhill [Stagecoach East Scotland]
11192-11201 Hull [Stagecoach East Midlands]
(17) Northampton [Stagecoach Midlands]
(21) Witney [Stagecoach Oxfordshire]
(18) Sharston [Stagecoach Manchester]





95 ADL Enviro 200MMC (11.8m)
(24) Thanet [Stagecoach South East]
(21) Hull [Stagecoach East Midlands]
(18) Stockton [Stagecoach North East]
(32) Basingstoke [Stagecoach South]






28 ADL Enviro 200 MMC (10.8m)
37602-37615 Holbrook [Stagecoach Yorkshire]
37616-37629 Cheltenham [Stagecoach West]





12 Volvo B8RLE/ADL Enviro 400MMC XLB

13901-13912 Fenstanton/Busway [Stagecoach East]

32 BYD/ADL Enviro 400 400 electric

(32) Sharston [Stagecoach Manchester]

12 Optare Metrocity electric
(12) Caerphilly [Stagecoach South Wales]

4 Optare Solo electric

(4) Caerphilly [Stagecoach South Wales]

3 Optare Solo SR slimline
48041-48043 Merthyr [Stagecoach South Wales]

12 Volvo B8RLE/MCV

​(12) Merthyr [Stagecoach South Wales]

14 Volvo B11RlE double deck coaches

50406-50411 Megabus/Cumbernauld [Stagecoach West Scotland]
50412-50419 CityLink/Cumbernauld [Stagecoach West Scotland]

8 Volvo B11R/Caetano Levate III coaches
54404-54411 National Express duties/Chesterfield [Stagecoach Yorkshire]

In a statement Stagecoach said its planned new vehicle orders are worth more than £80million to help tackle the twin challenges of car congestion and air quality.
A new fleet of 351 cleaner, greener vehicles, will be introduced in the coming 2019/20 financial year as the company invests further in to improve services for customers in communities across the UK.






The brand new buses and coaches will be introduced in Stagecoach's regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the company’s megabus.com network in the UK.
The planned orders include 48 electric buses which are being part-funded by the UK Government’s Green Bus Fund and - once orders are finalised - will go into service in Manchester and South Wales.

Virtually all of the new vehicles meet the Government’s Low Carbon Emission Bus specification, with a mixture of electric vehicle technology and the latest Euro 6 emissions standard engines.
Most of the new vehicles are set to be built in the UK, helping to support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs and smaller businesses in the supply chain.

Around three quarters of the new vehicles will be fitted with audio visual display systems which provide next-stop information. Each of the new vehicles will also be fitted with CCTV, and USB charging points, while most will also have wi-fi installed, giving customers free internet access during their journeys.  

A number of vehicles from the order have already been delivered and are in service with Stagecoach East Scotland, Stagecoach North Scotland, Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire, Stagecoach Yorkshire. The 20 Enviro 200MMCs delivered to Stagecoach West Scotland earlier this year are not included in the totals and are presumed to be an addition to last years orders.

The latest investment includes 131 low-floor double-decker vehicles to go into service across the UK, as well as around 95 single deck vehicles and 28 midibuses.
Also included are a fleet of 12 new double deck vehicles for the Cambridge Guided Busway, delivering more capacity than ever before, carrying 100 passengers. 
There are also 22 coaches for the Group’s UK Bus, Scottish Citylink and megabus.com operations.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “This is a huge investment by the private sector in providing better mobility and better air quality in local communities. It follows other significant investment that we’ve made in smart ticketing, improved information for customers and digital technology.
“Delivering better bus services is a shared responsibility and it is absolutely essential that this commitment is matched by urgent action by local authorities to address the growing gridlock in our towns and cities. Without action on congestion, local people will not enjoy the full benefits of this investment and people’s quality of life, health and our economy will continue to be damaged by too many cars on the road.”


Stagecoach East
Twelve high capacity ADL Enviro 400MMC XLB double deck buses are on order for Cambridge Busway work and will be allocated to Fenstanton depot.

Lothian ADL Enviro 400MMC XLB operating on Princess Street Edinburgh. 
One of these vehicles has been evaluated on the Cambridge Busway and
as a result orders for 12 have been placed for operation on the Busway

The order follows the evaluation of one of the Lothian vehicles earlier this year. Delivery is expected later this year.
The buses will enable an increase in seats on the Busway to cater for increasing loadings.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

115,000 Extra Seats on ScotRail Trains


The new timetable improvements from ScotRail have added thousands of extra seats for customers, with more new trains meaning there are now 115,000 seats more every day than at the start of the franchise.

 Interior of a new class 385

With the introduction of its timetable from 19 May 2019, ScotRail said it is enhancing services with the introduction of more high-speed trains and brand-new class 385 electric trains.




With 20,000 seats being added to services, the total number of weekday seats available for customers is now 625,000 – a massive increase of 115,000 since the start of the franchise.


The completion of the electrification of the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts line provides even more improvements with a new hourly service at Breich, and more than 3,500 extra seats on weekdays.







The rail operator will also withdraw more class 314s from service as part of the continuing process of delivering a better standard of service for customers. The 314's entered service in 1979.








Some of the other improvements include:












Glasgow to East Kilbride: the first phase of enhancements on the route with more peak services operating with six carriages, providing more than 1,000 additional seats on weekday services.

Glasgow to Barrhead: strengthening of some services to four carriages during peak periods and an additional 3,000 seats on weekdays.

West Highland Line: additional services added to the West Highland Line on Sundays through the winter period between Glasgow, Fort William and Mallaig.


Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts: almost all services operated with electric trains, providing an extra 3,500 seats on weekdays.


Glasgow to Lanark: the introduction of brand-new class 385 electric trains providing more comfortable journeys on the majority of services.


Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High: more 42-minute journeys and an average journey time of just 47 minutes on weekdays.


Edinburgh to Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane: all services will be operated by brand-new class 385 electric trains, with faster journey times and 1,500 extra weekday seats.


Glasgow to Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane: all services will be operated by brand-new class 385 electric trains, with faster journey times and 4,000 extra weekday seats.



Further timetable improvements will be delivered in December 2019.


ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes said:

“The timetable changes we are making will see even more improvements on Scotland’s Railway, with the unprecedented investment in new trains and infrastructure delivering faster journeys, more seats and more services for our customers.


“We are now providing 115,000 extra seats every day since the start of the franchise, and everyone across the ScotRail Alliance is working hard to deliver the service that our customers expect and deserve.”

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Orders Worth £80million Placed by Stagecoach

Stagecoach Group has announced planned new vehicle orders worth more than £80million to help tackle the twin challenges of car congestion and air quality.

A new fleet of 351 cleaner, greener vehicles, will be introduced in the coming 2019-20 financial year as the company invests further in to improve services for customers in communities across the UK.




The brand new buses and coaches will be introduced in Stagecoach's regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the company’s megabus.com network in the UK.




The planned orders include 48 electric buses which are being part-funded by the UK Government’s Green Bus Fund and – once orders are finalised – will go into service in Manchester and South Wales.

Virtually all of the new vehicles meet the Government’s Low Carbon Emission Bus specification, with a mixture of electric vehicle technology and the latest Euro 6 emissions standard engines.




Most of the new vehicles are set to be built in the UK, helping to support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs and smaller businesses in the supply chain.

Around three quarters of the new vehicles will be fitted with audio visual display systems which provide next-stop information. Each of the new vehicles will also be fitted with CCTV, and USB charging points, while most will also have wi-fi installed, giving customers free internet access during their journeys. The new vehicles are expected to go into service this year.

The latest investment includes 131 low-floor double-decker vehicles to go into service across the UK, as well as around 95 single deck vehicles and 28 midibuses.

Also included are a fleet of 12 new double deck vehicles for the Cambridge Guided Busway, delivering more capacity than ever before, carrying 100 passengers. There are also 22 coaches for the Group’s UK Bus, Scottish Citylink and megabus.com operations.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “This is a huge investment by the private sector in providing better mobility and better air quality in local communities. It follows other significant investment that we’ve made in smart ticketing, improved information for customers and digital technology.

“Delivering better bus services is a shared responsibility and it is absolutely essential that this commitment is matched by urgent action by local authorities to address the growing gridlock in our towns and cities. Without action on congestion, local people will not enjoy the full benefits of this investment and people’s quality of life, health and our economy will continue to be damaged by too many cars on the road.”

Details of the new orders are as follows:


131 ADL MMC Enviro400 double-deckers
95 ADL MMC Enviro200 single-deckers
28 ADL MMC Enviro200 midibuses
12 ADL MMC Enviro400 XLB Volvo B8L double deckers
32 ADL MMC City Enviro400 BYD Electric Bus double deckers
12 Optare Metrocity Electric Bus single deckers
4 Optare Solo Electric Bus mini-buses
14 Plaxton Panorama Volvo B11Rle double deck coaches
8 Caetano Levante Volvo B11R coaches
12 MCV Volco B8RLE single deckers
3 Optare Solo mini-buses


In the most recent Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey carried out by independent watchdog Transport Focus reported that 90% of Stagecoach customers in England, and 92% of Stagecoach customers in Scotland, were satisfied with their journey.

Monday, 20 May 2019

224mph Bullet Train Launched


The world's fastest bullet train with a 72ft nose is unveiled in Japan, as experts say the 224mph locomotive will be operational by 2030




Dubbed the Alfa-X, it is capable of reaching speeds of up to 224mph and consists of ten carriages.

Its sleek silver design is matched by its long and pointed nose which stretches out 72 feet in front of it.

The locomotive begins thee years of testing as the country prepares to expand its bullet train network.

Sapporo, the main city in Japan's northern Hokkaido region, will be connected to the rest of the ultra-fast network and, if the train achieves its proposed speed, a trip between Tokyo and Sapporo would be nearly halved to four and a half hours.

It comes equipped with a host of other technology as well as its exceptional speed.

It is also fitted with an air brakes. Dampers and air suspension will also be used to keep it stable and conformable.

'The development of the next-generation Shinkansen is based on the key concepts of superior performance, a high level of comfort, a superior operating environment and innovative maintenance,' says the East Japan Railway, better known as JR East.

The Alfa-X comes with other features deigned to make it less susceptible to earthquakes.

Alfa-X's nose is designed to reduce noise and pressure at the extreme speeds and make it safer heading into tunnels.

Currently, the fastest conventional trains in the world can reach 200mph - also in Japan, as well as France.

Eurostar, which connects France and England by rail, has a top speed of just 185mph

This continues Japan's push into bullet train technology, but magnetic rivals are in operation which beat it in terms of raw speed.

These Maglev trains, which work by levitating via magnetism above the rails, can reach 268mph, enabling it to cover a 19-mile distance in just seven minutes and 20 seconds.

Shanghai currently uses these trains, the fastest in commercial operation in the world.

click here to see a video of the new Alfa-X train

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Eurostar & Deutsche Bahn Trying to Resolve Ticketing Issue


Eurostar is working with Deutsche Bahn to resolve a ticketing system compatibility issue which will prevent the German national operator from selling through tickets between Germany and the UK.


The through-tickets allow passengers to take the train from London St Pancras to Brussels Midi, and change there to German high-speed trains, for less than the cost of so-called “summated fares” – adding together the component prices for each sector.





Prices start at under €60 (£51) one way for shorter trips, with tickets to Berlin, Munich and other more distant destinations for under €70 (£60). These are competitive with fares on British Airways, easyJet and Eurowings, the Lufthansa subsidiary.



Over quarter of a million people have travelled from London to
Amsterdam, the equivalent of more than 1,000 plane loads
 

Unlike some other connecting journeys, passengers travel on a single booking – making rescheduling straightforward in the event of disruption.

Last year Eurostar awarded Dutch software company Sqills a contract to provide its S3 Passenger sales, distribution and reservation suite by early 2020.




On May 6 DB said the deployment of the new Eurostar ticketing system meant that through tickets would no longer be available from 9th November 2019, but it was working with Eurostar to develop a solution.

Eurostar confirmed that it would unable to offer DB the ability to sell its through fares while it transferred to the new sales system. However, a spokesman said ‘we are committed to this product range and are working with DB to resolve this’.

In the interim, the operator pointed out that passengers would be able to combine tickets from Eurostar and DB sales channels.


Saturday, 18 May 2019

New Stagecoach open-top route for Hastings




The all new open top ‘route 66’ bus will be hitting the streets of Hastings on Saturday 25th May - for the first time ever!

The route will start at Harley Shute, serving Combe Haven Holiday Park, down to the The Bo-Peep Pub and along the seafront, as far as The Stade.





There’s plenty to do and see along the route! Here are a few ideas:
Take a look into the world of Serial Killers, Forensics, Gangsters, Prisoners and much more at the True Crime Museum.
Go back in time and visit Hastings Castle, built by William the Conqueror himself – it’s nearly 1,000 years old!
Listen to the "Smugglers Adventure" story, including interactive displays & life-size characters!
Ride the East Hill lift, the UK's steepest funicular railway.
Take a shot at Hastings Adventure Golf, it features no less than 3 separate 18 hole courses! So bring one, bring all, play one, play all!
Get creative with some contemporary British art at the Jerwood Gallery, soon to be Hastings Contemporary.
Get up close to countless species of marine life at Blue Reef Aquarium – from sharks and stingrays to seahorses and clownfish.

Hop on and off all day with an adult dayrider, it costs just £4.50 on the bus - it’s even cheaper at £4.20 if you buy it on our app. With an adult dayrider you can add a kid for a quid, bargain! You can add up to four kids for £1 each. Hastings and South East megarider tickets are valid on the route at all times and concession passes can be used within the usual times of validity.




Look out for the bus! It will be in a special colourful design featuring all the fun things you can do along the route.

And finally.......................

Not the first time Hastings has had a dedicated open-top bus service. Several decades ago in the last century (!), Maidstone & District operated just such using a couple of AEC Regal single-decks with Beadle bodywork.


June 1976 and fleet number 4003 (HKL 436) heads for the seafront ready for the first trip around the town. Originally SO26 in the National Bus Company subsidiary M&D fleet from 1947 as a closed top bus, it was converted during 1958 to open-top form.


 

Ten years on and 4003 had become 436 in the post NBC privatised Hastings & District fleet. Repainted with the green replaced by red on the livery, 436 made an appearance at the annual Southsea Spectacular bus rally and illustrated here as it headed a parade of vintage buses around the common area during June 1986.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Go North East Launches X-Lines


Go North East is launching a new standard of express buses on a reinvigorated X20 route from Monday 20 May, giving customers a fast and direct service between Durham and Sunderland under a new ‘X-lines’ brand, which is around 25% faster than the normal bus service.




X-lines buses are painted in a striking gold colour scheme to ensure they really stand out from your average traditional bus and feature the latest high quality standards for customers including comfortable high back leather seats, free onboard Wi-Fi, USB charging points, next-stop audio-visual announcements and even have complimentary newspapers on board. The buses are also environmentally friendly with low carbon emissions.

The X20 service will run up to every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday, complementing sister service Prince Bishops 20 which runs up to every 12 minutes, serving Durham, Belmont, Carrville, Rainton Bridge, Houghton-le-Spring, East Herrington and Sunderland. Journey times are around 25% faster than traditional bus routes in the area due to the usage of bus lanes along Durham Road in Sunderland and heading into Durham, as well as running non-stop between Rainton Bridge and Carrville.



A weekly ticket is just £25 on the Go North East app and offers unlimited travel on the X-lines X20 service.

Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Go North East, said: “We’re delighted to launch the first of our new high standard X-lines buses on routes serving Sunderland and Durham. This is just the start of us reinvigorating, improving and investing in our network of fast and direct commuter bus links to key towns and cities across our region that are also great for shopping, leisure, onward transport connections and more.

“X-lines buses are gold in colour and really do set out to provide a gold standard of service, but at great value fares that make them a viable alternative to the hassle of driving and parking. The on board ambience and facilities provide a productive and connected working environment as much as a comfortable relaxing environment for leisure travellers alike. With X-lines buses there’s never been a better time to give the bus a try!”

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Latest London Bus contract awards and news of double deck hydrogen powered double deck vehicles.


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


C10 (Victoria & Canada Water bus station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Abellio London with new electric single-decks, currently with ADL E20D single-decks (Contract start date 21st March 2020)


P5 (Elephant & Castle & Nine Elms Patmore Estate) LBSL contract awarded to Abellio London with new electric single-decks. Currently operated by various types of diesel single-decks (2nd May 2020)



Metroline Travel will be operating hydrogen powered double deck vehicles supplied by Wrightbus out of one of their two Perivale Garages.
Twenty have been ordered by TfL. The technology from the Northern Ireland company provides a zero-emission drive system which encompasses a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack to power the vehicle. The combination of these two features makes the continuous daily operation of the public transport vehicle feasible

Although hydrogen-fuelled single-decker buses have been running in London and cities elsewhere for years, TfL said the new double-deckers would be a world first.
They will operate on route 7 (Russell Square & East Acton) and N7 (Russell Square & Northolt Station).
This route is currently operated with VWH-class Wrightbus Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LH; and 245 (Alperton & Golders Green) with Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL.


 An unregistered hydrogen powered vehicle at Tower Transit's Lea Interchange garage


A hydrogen powered decker alongside one of two Van Hool A330FC 12.0m
 hydrogen single-decks

 Hydrogen powered single deck vehicles have been used on route RV1 for some years.
Here one of eight existing VDL SB200 with Wrightbus Pulsar 2 11.9m hydrogen
 single-decks currently on route RV1 (Covent Garden & Tower Gateway Station).


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.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Caledonian Sleeper Update


Caledonian Sleeper are phasing in their long awaited new Mk 5 sleeper trains following 
their inaugural revenue earning trip on Sunday 28th April 2019, on the Lowlander Sleeper route from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow.




Their introduction on to the Highlander route between London, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Fort William will follow in the coming weeks.


The new trains offer accommodation ranging from completely new comfort seats for the budget traveller to rooms with double beds and en-suites – for the first time in the history of Caledonian Sleeper.



Accommodation includes:
Completely new redesigned comfort seats with personal locker, reading light and charging point
Classic Rooms (solo or shared use with an option of interconnecting rooms, toiletries included)
Club Rooms (solo or shared use with en-suite, station lounge access, breakfast, luxury toiletries included)
Caledonian Double (double bed with en-suite, station lounge access, breakfast, luxury toiletries included)
Accessible Rooms (double or twin, toiletries included and directly adjacent to accessible toilet)



The fleet, partly funded by the UK Central Government alongside capital grants from Scottish Ministers, is designed to accommodate the ‘modern-day traveller’. Offering a large variety of accommodation; ranging from comfy seats for the budget traveller, to rooms with double beds and en-suites (a first for the Caledonian Sleeper).

Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said:

“Our new trains have been years in the making and to see them make their debut is a huge moment for everyone involved in making this dream a reality.

“The overriding ambition has been to deliver on our vision of a Caledonian Sleeper service fit for today’s traveller, one that combines the modern facilities people expect with that feeling of nostalgia that comes from long-distance railway travel. We want guests to have a magical journey with us, whether they are travelling for business or for pleasure.”


In addition to introducing its new fleet of carriages, Caledonian Sleeper has also launched a new marketing campaign which will inspire potential guests to 
'Dream Big'
Debuting across digital, social and outdoor advertising platforms, it is designed to encourage a new audience to discover Caledonian Sleeper and the world of possibilities it unlocks.






Also launched is a range of specially commissioned rail posters to commemorate the exciting transition to the new trains. "The series provides a visual celebration of the unique destinations we are honoured to deliver our guests to, of course adorned with our approaching new trains."

https://www.sleeper.scot/new-trains-posters/




















































Caledonian Sleeper website here
..

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Arrriva and the East Midlands


Now Arriva sues government over East Midlands franchise

 


Rail giant Arriva is suing the government after it lost its bid to run the East Midlands railway franchise. The firm, owned by Germany's state-backed Deutsche Bahn, said it wanted more information on how the Department for Transport assessed the bids.

The move comes after rival Stagecoach, which was banned from rebidding, announced it was taking legal action. Stagecoach refused to accept the potential pension risks that the DfT required operators to bear. The full extent of the risks in relation to the three new franchises is unknown but estimated to be well in excess of £1 billion.


The Department for Transport (DfT) said it had "total confidence" in its franchise competition process.

The East Midlands line operates a network including routes north to south between Yorkshire and London, and east to west as far as Norwich and Liverpool.



The DfT said in April that Dutch government-owned firm Abellio would take over the running of the East Midlands railway franchise for eight years, starting in August. On Sunday, the DfT said it would "robustly defend decisions that were taken fairly following a thorough and impartial evaluation process".

But Arriva said it was "seeking to obtain more information relating to how the bids for the East Midlands franchise were assessed".

Abellio already operates five other rail franchises, including Scotrail and Greater Anglia services between Norwich and London.

Stagecoach, the current owner of the franchise was disqualified from re-bidding after the DfT raised concerns about its pension commitments. It was also barred from bidding for the South Eastern and West Coast Partnership franchises after the DfT said it "knowingly submitted non-compliant bids on all competitions".

Sir Richard, whose Virgin Trains is 49% owned by Stagecoach, said at the time that he was "devastated" by the disqualification.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, said on Wednesday that the company had "no option" but to pursue legal action to examine DfT's "opaque decision-making. We remain deeply concerned at [DfT's] procurement of the three most recent rail franchise competitions and the rationale behind its decisions. Despite our continued requests for full transparency around these matters, many fundamental questions remain unanswered."

Monday, 13 May 2019

Union Pacific 'Big Boy' Finally Restored & On The Move


A Union Pacific 'Big Boy' is finally moving under its own power following a lengthy restoration. The Big Boy locomotive was large when it was brand new in 1941–and still looks colossal next to modern trains. 
Coal-powered Big Boys weigh 600-tons and are so long that they are articulated so they can get around curves. They haven’t operated in service since 1959, and the remaining ones in existence were mothballed or museum’d. Today there are eight in existence, and now, there is one that can move under its own power.


Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) between 1941 and 1944, in two groups of ten and one of five. All burned coal, with large, 150-square-foot grates to burn the low-quality Wyoming coal from mines owned by the railroad. They were designed to pull long, heavy freight trains (maximum rated tonnage of 4,040 tons) at a sustained speed of 60 mph once past the Wasatch Range mountain grades on UP’s main line between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne. 
Peak horsepower was reached at about 35 mph; optimal tractive effort at about 10 mph. They produced 6,300 horsepower when new.

No. 844 was parked in a California rail museum in 1962, then driven back to Union Pacific’s workshops in Cheyenne, Wyoming, about six years ago to start the project.



In March, Union Pacific announced that Big Boy and another steam engine known as Living Legend 844 would be going out on tour this year.

Big Boy 4014 left Cheyenne, Wyoming on April 27  and will be on display at Ogden Union Station during May.

Of the eight still in existence, No. 4014 is the world’s only operating Big Boy locomotive. A christening ceremony will take place at the historic Cheyenne Depot and the engine will arrive in Ogden for the May 9 celebratory event at Ogden Union Station. The Big Boy also will make several whistle-stops in communities along its route.

You can keep tabs of No. 4014’s travels in real time via GPS trackingor see its schedule on Union Pacific’s site. If you suddenly find yourself interested in old trains or Big Boy 4014 in particular, you can dig into this restoration project even more on Union Pacific’s video playlist.


Union Pacific 4014 1st Test Run" on YouTube https://youtu.be/mhZ0o8jNd0A


Sunday, 12 May 2019

Latest London Bus contract awards



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


323 (Mile End Station & Canning Town Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach East London with new all-electric single-decks (contract start date 11th January 2020)



533 (Hammersmith Bus Station & Castelnau) New temporary route owing to closure of Hammersmith Bridge to all traffic, the long way round via Hogarth Roundabout and Chalkers Corner. LBSL contract awarded to Metroline using existing fleet 2009 Euro-V diesel single-decks upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards, from Brentford (AH) Garage (18th May 2019)

640 (South Harrow Station & Harrow Weald, schooldays-only) LBSL contract awarded to Sullivan Buses using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards. Currently operated by Metroline with diesel double-decks from Harrow Weald (HD) Garage (31st August 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