Saturday, 21 October 2017

Belfast Glider Unveiled

The new Belfast Glider service will come into operation during 2018 and is set to transform public transport in the city. It will offer passengers a modern, efficient public transport service with shorter, more reliable journey times and high frequency services.  

Glider services will operate every 7-8 minutes throughout the working day, linking East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre.  The 18metre articulated Glider vehicles will use the latest diesel-electric hybrid engine technology delivering a smoother take off from halts, lower noise, reduced vibration and lower emissions.  Each Glider vehicle will carry 105 passengers and will feature real time passenger information, audio next stop and destination announcements, CCTV, free Wi-Fi, USB charging facilities and air conditioning.  
Ciarán de Búrca, Department for Infrastructure Director of Transport Projects said: “Today we see a very significant step forward for the £90m flagship Belfast Rapid Transit project, with the launch of the Glider vehicle and brand. 
“The new Glider vehicles, which have been specifically designed for Belfast, will start arriving in Belfast later this year. They will provide a new, modern, improved public transport experience for everyone who lives, works, socialises or visits the city.

Ciarán de Búrca, added: “The new Glider service will help to meet the future transport needs of our modern, fast growing city. Glider will not only improve connectivity and social interaction across the city but will encourage active travel choices, supporting the growth of sustainable transport”
“I congratulate Van Hool on this magnificent new vehicle which I know will be a valuable asset to Belfast for many years to come”.
The new Glider service will be operated by Translink and Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “Glider is the iconic new face of public transport in Belfast, helping to energise the city. Our customers can expect a modern, high-capacity and high-frequency rapid transit service which integrates with our existing bus and rail network. With additional features such as on-board Wi-Fi, USB charging facilities and a new innovative and easy-to-use, off-vehicle ticketing system, Glider will deliver quicker boarding times and offer excellent value for money fares.  
“Glider is a transformational development for public transport in Belfast. We’d like to thank the Department for Infrastructure for essential funding to deliver this major project and look forward to the arrival of the first vehicles in Northern Ireland later this year.”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, who helped to formally unveil the Glider vehicle, said: “As part of Belfast City Council’s Belfast Agenda we have committed to work in partnership to progress the transport infrastructure and create a modern and efficient transport system for Belfast.  This investment by the Department of Infrastructure will help to ensure that our transport infrastructure will be a catalyst for growth, not a constraint to it; and will increase Belfast’s ability to attract future inward investment.
“Belfast - like all strong and vibrant cities - needs a transport system that is befitting a global city, and I believe the new Glider service will help to deliver that for Belfast and its residents, workers and visitors.  The Glider service will encourage more people to opt for public transport which in turn helps to ease congestion and improve air quality, so it’s a win-win situation for business, the economy, the environment and public health.”

Van Hool has supplied Exqui.City vehicles to public transport systems across Europe including Barcelona, Luxembourg, Malmo, Bergen and Metz. This order for the Exqui.City is Van Hool’s first in the UK & Ireland and the first time they have supplied a right-hand drive vehicle.
The Van Hool Exqui City on display at Bus World Kortrijk
The Exqui.City’s elegant design clearly distinguishes it from traditional buses. It emphasises smooth and safe travel through the modern urban environment. The use of diffused lighting and an advanced ergonomic interior are all crucial to making the trip a relaxing experience for passengers. Spacious entrances and exits, a low floor, and wide corridors throughout the vehicle secure the optimal passenger flow and make it accessible for everyone.
The Glider vehicles provide easy boarding for people with reduced mobility and parents with pushchairs as well as a mix of standing and seating areas with good legroom. They have 3 sets of double doors and good circulation room to enable rapid boarding and alighting, minimising the time spent at halts and therefore reducing journey times. The Glider vehicles are also equipped with CCTV for both passenger and driver safety.
The first phase of Glider services will connect East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre.  To date work has been completed on the new 520 space Dundonald Park & Ride facility and on the following sections of the route:
•         Upper Newtownards Road between Sandown Road and Knock Road – completed March 2015;
•         Falls Road between Grosvenor Road and Whiterock Road – completed October 2015;
•         Upper Newtownards Road between Albertbridge Road and Sandown Road – completed May 2016;
•         Divis Street/Falls Road between Millfield and Grosvenor Road – completed February 2017;
•         Andersonstown Road/Stewartstown Road between Finaghy Road North and Michael Ferguson Roundabout – completed April 2017; and
•         Albertbridge Road between Castlereagh Street and Newtownards Road – completed August 2017.

    Works are ongoing on the following section of the route:
•         Upper Newtownards Road between Knock Road and Dunlady Road;
•         Stewartstown Road between Michael Ferguson Roundabout and McKinstry Road Roundabout;
•         Andersonstown Road/Falls Road between Whiterock Road and Finaghy Road North; 
•         Colin Town Centre Transport Hub & Public Square; and
•         CITI route in the city centre and Titanic Quarter.
   More information on BRT and Glider can be found at www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/topics/transport-initiatives/brt and www.translink.co.uk  
   Video and vehicle images can be viewed on the Department for Infrastructure Flickr collection: www.flickr.com/photos/niexecutive/collections (or you tube)

Friday, 20 October 2017

Crowd easing technology on London Overground


Commuters hail innovative new technology trial showing how busy London Overground trains will be


Commuters hailed an innovative new scheme designed to show London Overground passengers how busy their trains will be.
The software, which Transport for London installed on Monday 16th October, is currently being trialled at Shoreditch High Street Overground station in east London.
If successful, TfL has said more funding could be sought to expand the project to other stations.
The new screen, placed at the entrance to the platform, shows customers a visual indication in green, amber or red to tell them which carriages will be busiest.


TfL is trialing the new technology at Shoreditch High Street (TfL)
The technology works by analysing a year's worth of "loadweigh" data from the trains, alongside back-office information on station entry and exits, all compiled to produce an estimate of each carriage's capacity.
Commuter Izzy Jones, 32, of East Dulwich, said: "This is absolutely brilliant. I love that feeling of picking out the right carriage and am always left feeling frustrated when I get lumbered with a really busy one."
Anthony Davids, 54, who commutes into London from Watford, said: "I think it's a marvellous idea. Hopefully it will make getting that rush hour train just a little more bearable.
"It wouldn't hurt to make it better signposted though - I'm not sure I would have noticed it if I was in a hurry."
But not everyone was impressed. Alexander Pelling-Bruce, 26, of Kilburn, said he couldn't see the point of the service.
He said: "Isn't this just completely unnecessary? I don't see why anyone would need to use this. Just use your eyes."
Regular commuter Jan Bowman, from Deptford, thought otherwise: "What a fabulous idea. I usually just stand at the end of the platform, where the emptier carriages tend to come in, but I can see how this would really benefit a lot of people."


Jonathan Fox, TfL's director for rail and sponsored services, said: "As the popularity of London Overground continues to grow, we want to make customers' journeys easier and more comfortable.
"The new technology and customer information being trialled at Shoreditch High Street will mean customers can board more quickly and easily and we can minimise delays."
The program will be on trial at the station until December.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

New Chester Bus Station

Chester’s controversial new bus interchange at Gorse Stacks is now an award winner.
The interchange was named the winner of the Medium Category at the North West Institute Structural Awards during a ceremony in Manchester.
The £13.5m development provides a strategic link to Chester and the wider area while also acting as a transport node to the proposed £300m Northgate development.

The interchange expects to serve 1,020 bus movements per day, including national coach journeys, with an anticipated reduction in congestion and an improved user interface for rail users, pedestrians and cyclists.
The striking design incorporates glulam timber beams to create a curved roof form, providing visual interest from within the passenger waiting environment.
The roof itself is covered with an extensive sedum system which adds an element of green space to complement the nearby Cathedral.
Project director for the project Phillip Pollington said: “Chester Interchange deserves to win an award not only for its striking design but also for its vital role in improving the public transport infrastructure of Chester. It’s really exciting for Jefferson Sheard to be part of this development, which is just the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Chester.”



Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Bombardier Selected to Manufacture West Midlands Trains

Bombardier Trains has been selected as one of the companies to build new trains for the next West Midlands franchise.
The new trains will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services into Birmingham and London.
The 107 trains will cost £680 million and will be built in Derby.


Bombardier will manufacture them alongside Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.




West Midlands Trains is a joint venture between Dutch firm Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co which was awarded a nine-year tenure in August.
It will take over the West Midlands franchise on December 10 from incumbent operator London Midland to run routes such as the Cross City line between Redditch and Lichfield via New Street station.

Being selected for this important order is another huge endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture here in the UK. Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times.
– RICHARD HUNTER, UK MANAGING DIRECTOR, BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Intercity Express Train's first proper outing.......


 ........and all did not go to plan

From the Daily Telegraph

The launch of a new £5.7 billion fleet of high-speed trains descended into farce as the first journey was overcrowded, hit by delays and faulty air conditioning - all while the Transport Secretary was on board.
The new fleet was hailed by Chris Grayling before the maiden journey departed as "a fantastic service" but he swiftly found himself trapped on a train packed with frustrated commuters.
The fleet launched with great fanfare but the first journey was largely overshadowed as water poured from the air conditioning and the train was delayed by approximately 40 minutes.
The new Hitachi-built Intercity Express train had been due to leave Bristol Temple Meads for London Paddington at 6am sharp but the Great Western Railway service did not depart until 6.25am because of unspecified 'technical issues'.
Passengers were forced to stand despite claims that capacity on the new trains had been increased by 20 per cent. 
Meanwhile, the air conditioning had to be turned off and passengers who paid £204 for a standard return to London were left uncomfortably warm thanks to the unseasonably mild weather.
One commuter had their laptop damaged as water from the air conditioning poured into one of the carriages with some people having to vacate their drenched seats. 
The problems undermined what was supposed to be a triumphant launch for the new trains which are supposed to deliver a better, more comfortable experience for passengers with more plug sockets and Wi-Fi throughout. 
But disgruntled passengers complained on social media that they would have settled for a train with seating they could sit on and that ran on time. 
Mr Grayling, who was on the first service, said before departure: "These are the smartest trains in the country, probably the best we have ever had in the country.
"This is going to be a fantastic service, really regular trains and far more capacity."
Karen Boswell, the managing director of Hitachi, was on board the delayed service alongside Mr Grayling and she apologised to commuters. 
She said: "I want to say to passengers that we are really sorry that the first service from Bristol didn't go as planned today.
"I was actually on the train and the delay and water leak meant that it was not the standard of service we expect and are known for.
"She said the train company “can and will do better” and that Hitachi was investigating the “root causes” of the problems.
A GWR spokesman said: "Unfortunately, the train was delayed this morning due to a minor technical matter that was quickly resolved at the depot.
“These trains have been running successfully on UK tracks for over two years and recently passed the industry standard 5,000 miles running without a fault. Hitachi will be investigating this matter thoroughly.
"There was a fault with an air conditioning unit. Hitachi engineers were on board the service to fix it.
"The first Intercity Express Train was always likely to be very popular as people seek to be a passenger on the first ever train, and this did mean it carried more people than it usually would, particularly between Reading and Paddington. In normal conditions, this train will provide enough seats to more than accommodate the number of people that would usually travel on this train.”


Not the actual train concerned, but one similar (Mike Harris)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Leeds Metrodecker EV Bus Trial

Following a successful trial in York, First Leeds has launched its trial of a new fully electric double decker bus.

The “Metrodecker EV” is being trialled by local bus operator First Leeds and will be seen serving the Park & Ride sites at Elland Road and Temple Green.



The zero-emission and fully electric bus has the capacity to carry 99 passengers and has a range of nearly 150 miles from one overnight charge. The new vehicle is being trialled as part of First Leeds’s commitment to investing £71m in 284 new ultra-low emissions buses for the city.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director at First Leeds, said: “As one of the major bus operators in Leeds, we understand the vital role we play in working with the Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Bus 18 initiative, to find solutions to reduce air pollution in the city. Allied to our commitment to invest in 284 new vehicles in Leeds with the latest engine technologies that significantly reduce pollutants, I’m thrilled to welcome the trial of a fully electric double decker bus into the city.”

Speaking about the trial, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair, Cllr Keith Wakefield, adds: “The Combined Authority is committed to improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions across West Yorkshire and is, through the Bus 18 initiative, working with the county’s main bus operators on the introduction of cleaner buses.

“We are also committed to monitoring the development of electric vehicle technology, such as we are seeing today and I am pleased that this ground-breaking bus has been developed by a Leeds City Region company, Optare.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor, Judith Blake, said: “As part of our new transport strategy for Leeds we are committed to not only offering the best possible public transport for the city but also doing everything we can to improve our air quality. Working with First Leeds and the other bus operators we are focused on making that happen so this new zero emissions vehicle is just the start with much more to follow.”

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “It is very pleasing to see this, locally-built, first fully electric and zero emissions bus being trialled in Leeds and we look forward to seeing it in action on our park and ride services. We know that the future is electric vehicles with no tailpipe emissions; this is the beginning of a revolution in bus travel.”

Optare unveiled its long-awaited zero-emission Metrodecker EV in 2016, and with its range projected to rise to 200 miles on a single charge within a year the manufacturer has signalled a move away from its previous mid-day charging strategy. The vehicle was first trialled last month in York on the city’s successful Park & Ride schemes.

Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, Optare added: “After the success of the Optare electric Metrodecker trial in York I am delighted to see the bus being put through its paces once again in Leeds. The trial in York demonstrated the Metrodecker’s ability to carry out a day’s service without compromising passenger capacity or the need for opportunity charging. These trials are the first of a purpose built electric double deck bus outside London and an important step forward in improving air quality in all our towns and cities. Following the Leeds assessments, the Metrodecker will begin further trials in London.”

This news follows First Leeds’s announcement that it is holding customer consultation events across the city to allow its customers to feedback on the new designs and technologies that will be introduced on its new vehicles over the coming years.

 The vehicle has recently been operated in York. Photo Haydn Davies

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Scottish Citylink

New 24/7 bus between Glasgow and Edinburgh


A coach service between Glasgow and Edinburgh has been extended to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Most Scottish Citylink's late-night services in both directions will also stop at Edinburgh Airport.
The firm said the move was in response to growing passenger demand for an overnight service.
Services will operate at least every 15 minutes during the daytime, half hourly between 19:30 and midnight, with a further six early-hour departures.
Peter Knight, of Scottish Citylink, said: "The 900 service has gone from strength to strength over recent years.
"With a growing number of business travellers, commuters and leisure users using the service between two of our largest cities, there has been great demand to increase our overnight connections throughout the week.
"By adding a late night stop at Edinburgh Airport it also means that Citylink is proving 24 hour a day transport to and from one of our most important transport hubs."
Some of the new late night services will also stop at Maxim Office Park, near the M8 motorway, about 12 miles from Glasgow city centre.
Park director Craig Ritchie said: "The growth of Maxim Office Park and Eurocentral has resulted in a huge demand for increased public transport links to the area."

Saturday, 14 October 2017

London Tube news

London Underground capacity upgrade programme ‘paused’


Planned upgrades to increase service frequencies on London Underground’s Jubilee and Northern lines, including the procurement of additional trainsets, have been temporarily ‘paused’, Transport for London has confirmed.
TfL said the decision to pause the World Class Capacity project had been taken in the light of other ongoing upgrades and changes to travel patterns expected when the Crossrail Elizabeth Line opens.
‘The benefits from the largest investment programme in the Tube's history, combined with the huge capacity increases coming soon from the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, means that we are temporarily pausing our plans to buy more trains for the Jubilee and Northern lines’, according to London Underground’s Director for Strategy & Network Development David Hughes.


‘Our modernisation programme and in-depth technical work by our new combined engineering division has improved performance and reliability’, Hughes said. ‘This means we can increase the frequency of our existing trains without the immediate need for new trains’.
TfL said new timetables to be brought in from January would boost capacity and extend the peak service hours. A refurbishment of the existing Northern Line fleet was completed in 2015, and the Jubilee Line fleet is currently being refurbished.
TfL predicts that the Elizabeth Line will ‘transform’ how passengers get around London, and as a result it is expecting nearly 10,000 fewer eastbound Jubilee Line trips being made each day, and 5,500 fewer trips from Stratford to Canary Wharf. In addition, the return of a full Thameslink rail service to London Bridge station once the Thameslink Programme of upgrades is completed is expected to reduce westbound demand on the Jubilee Line from Canada Water.






Friday, 13 October 2017

Environmentally friendly buses

BYD/ADL BUSES SAVE NEARLY 900 TONS OF CO2



The 51-strong fleet of single-decker electric buses which operate out of Go-Ahead’s Waterloo depot, have made a major contribution to tackling the air quality crisis.


After a year in service — and approximately 62 million miles — London’s first and Europe’s largest fleet of zero-emission pure electric buses, operated by Go-Ahead London for TfL — have saved Londoners nearly 900 tons of harmful CO2 pollution. The buses are built in Britain by the BYD/ADL electric bus partnership.
The 51-strong fleet of single-decker buses, which operate out of Go-Ahead’s Waterloo depot, have made a major contribution to tackling the air quality crisis on the streets of the capital and have already led to further quantities of buses from the BYD/ADL partnership being ordered for other London routes.
In total there are 157 BYD/ADL single-decker buses in service, or on order, for London operators with a further fleet due to enter service soon in Liverpool, with the partnership now working on a range of new products.
In addition, BYD single deckers are in service in Nottingham and five BYD double deckers are fully in service on TfL’s Route 98 operated by Metroline.


 





Thursday, 12 October 2017

West Midlands Bus Alliance Renewed

The West Midlands Bus Alliance has been renewed, after its members gathered for the signing at the Coach & Bus UK Show at the NEC.
The alliance aims to build on the success of its first two years and ensure further commitment from its partners towards enhancements to the bus network across the region up to 2020.


Cllr Roger Lawrence, Lead Member for Transport for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) said: “Four out of five public transport journeys made here are by bus – that’s an enormous number of people.
“The bus network is of fundamental importance to this region, which is why continuing investment in the network by ourselves and operators is so important.
“In doing so, we will enable people to go about their lives supporting and contributing to the local economy and creating a vibrant and integrated region.
“The bus alliance has been a great success and I welcome the further improvements that will be brought under this new agreement.”



The aims set out under the new agreement are:
  • Improve bus emission standards;
  • Make bus travel more attractive for young people;
  • Make bus journeys better value;
  • Tackle congestion and speed up bus journeys;
  • Make it easier to buy a ticket;
  • Make it easier to catch a bus;
  • Shape the bus network to improve economic growth; and
  • Make it more pleasant to travel by bus.
The West Midlands Bus Alliance was the first of its kind in the UK when launched in 2015.
It consists of Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Transport for West Midlands (the transport arm of the WMCA), the Safer Travel Partnership, watchdog bodies Transport Focus and the Confederation of Passenger Transport, local highways authorities and local bus operators including National Express West Midlands (NXWM), Stagecoach Midlands and Central Buses.



Since its launch, the Alliance has overseen £7.3m invested in highways schemes to improve bus journey times, 570 new and refurbished buses, £3.5m of successful funding bids to improve vehicle emission standards, more than £1m of funding committed by the WMCA to assist contracted operators to provide cleaner vehicles on subsidised services and £550,000 of investment from the owners of Merry Hill shopping centre Intu, to modernise the bus station.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

More Picures from the Show

We reported live from Coach & Bus UK last week during the two days of the show.
Below are more pictures taken at the event.

Iriza's range of electrically powered vehicles range from lengths of 10.8m and 12m. They are powered by Sodium Nickel batteries which are claimed to have a ten year working life. Irizar claim that overall fuel and maintenance cost are 70% lower than for conventional vehicles.

 JH Coaches Ayats Eclipse on a Scania chassis

Arriva Bus and Coach (ABC) showed a right-hand drive example of the Van Hool EX15H.
Built in Skopje, Macedonia, the EX represents a cost-effective alternative to the established
Belgian-made EX range. The vehicle is 12.5m long.

 Temsa Safari as shown on the Arriva Bus & Coach stand

 Yutong TC12 coach for Ashcrofts

 New right hand drive Mercedes Tourismo

 The previous Tourismo now replaced by the new model shown above
More reports from the show
here
here
here
here



Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Crossrail news update

TfL to enhance frequency on the Elizabeth line

 


Services on the Elizabeth line are set to be even more extensive and frequent than originally planned when the line becomes fully operational in December 2019, Transport for London (TfL) announced.

Off-peak services between Paddington and Whitechapel will be increased from 16 trains as previously planned, to 20 trains per hour - a 25 per cent increase. An additional two trains per hour will run between Paddington and Shenfield and a further two trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood will also be introduced in the off-peak.
Peak services to destinations west of Paddington will be boosted significantly, with services from Reading doubled from 2 trains per hour to 4 trains per hour, and services to Maidenhead increased from 4 trains per hour to 6 trains per hour.
The improved frequency of trains has been announced following collaboration with the DfT, Network Rail and the train operating companies on a final timetable for services.
Trains will now also call at Heathrow Terminal 5 – meaning all Heathrow Terminals will be served by the Elizabeth line. A total of six Elizabeth line trains per hour will serve Heathrow Terminals from December 2019. Four will go to Terminals 2, 3 and 4 and two will go to Terminals 2, 3 and 5. This will also increase services to Ealing Broadway, Southall and Hayes & Harlington.
These improvements will provide additional capacity and help ease pressure on other public transport services.


To enable the additional services, TfL will be increasing the number of trains that will operate on the Elizabeth line from 66 to 70 trains.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London, with new state-of-the-art trains moving passengers quickly across key parts of London and the South East. I am delighted that we can today announce that Elizabeth line services will be more frequent than originally planned, making journeys even more convenient for people travelling in and out of London, and helping ease pressure on other parts of our busy transport network. With more regular services connecting central London with key locations like Heathrow Airport, the benefits will be felt directly by millions of commuters, tourists, and businesses every year.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, said: “It’s great news there will be more services on the Elizabeth line, meaning more passengers can travel with greater convenience across London and beyond on trains which are an example of British engineering at its best. The Elizabeth line will transform the way people travel across London and beyond, bringing better and faster journeys, while boosting jobs and driving economic growth.”

Mike Brown MVO, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “We want to deliver the very best service for customers from day one of the Elizabeth line. The timetable improvements that we have been developing ahead of full opening of the line in December 2019 will see additional services to destinations west of Paddington, including Reading, Maidenhead and Heathrow Terminal 5, as well as increased off-peak frequencies in central London. This will make journeys on the new accessible line even easier and more convenient for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to use it each day.”
TfL and the Department for Transport, the joint sponsors of the Crossrail project, have been working closely with Network Rail to ensure the best use of the shared railway infrastructure in west London and beyond. Five Great Western Railway services will be replaced with Elizabeth line services. This will provide the same or greater, frequency and the same journey times for the majority of passengers, with the added benefit of being able to continue directly into central London on the Elizabeth line.
From May 2018, new ticket readers will be installed at Heathrow, meaning passengers using Heathrow Express and TfL Rail between Paddington and Heathrow will be able to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device.
Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line will change the way people travel around London and the South East and add much needed new capacity to London's transport infrastructure. A fleet of brand new 200 metre long trains will run on the Elizabeth line, featuring nine walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV and real-time travel information.
The line will boost central London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent, connecting Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will connect people and places, providing faster journey times with up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak and 20 trains per hour off-peak.

NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE




Sunday 8th October the London Bus Museum organised a London Bus Heritage Day, which comprised AEC Routemaster and Regent RM and RT-class operation in free service on various routes.

Bus routes operated were 11 (Hammersmith/Chelsea & Aldwych/Liverpool Street), 3 (Trafalgar Square & Brixton), 15 (feeder journey from/to Poplar), 24 (Hampstead Heath & Pimlico), 31 (with Dennis Dart and Mercedes-Benz midibuses Chelsea & Westbourne Park Station/Camden Town) and 38 (Victoria & Rosebery Avenue).  About 20 vintage buses were in service and a selection photographed by David Heath, Mark Lyons, Matthew Wharmby & Russell Young. These are now in an album which can be viewed by clicking  here

Monday, 9 October 2017

Stagecoach news

Market report: Stagecoach gets a tow from upgrade after bumpy ride



Shares in buses and trains operator Stagecoach have not so much ground to a halt this year as slammed into reverse.
Unable to grow revenues in its bus division and hit by hefty charges from its East Coast rail franchise, it has seen investors steer clear of the shares, which are down 24% in three months.
While not overly bullish on the outlook, broker Liberum gave the beleaguered shares a jump-start today — they rose 7.44p, or 4.7%, to 166p — as it upgraded from Sell to Hold.
Analyst Gerald Khoo said: “Despite our concerns about earnings momentum, industry headwinds and bus re-regulation, we believe these risks are now better reflected in the current share price.”
One boost Stagecoach could get is from the East Coast franchise, he argues.


When it bid for the line, it paid a higher premium to the Department for Transport based on additional and enhanced capacity being made available in 2019 to “help generate significant revenue growth” — improvements Network Rail now looks unlikely to deliver on time.
“We believe this forms the basis for a variation to the East Coast franchise contract, to reflect the current reality of infrastructure capacity,” Khoo said.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Optare announce 114 bus deal for the Antipodes

Optare has marked its recent rebirth in the Australasian market with the announcement of a major order for more than 100 buses to service the Greater Wellington region in New Zealand.


Optare announce 114 bus deal
Tranzit Coachlines has placed a major order for 114 Optare Metrocity buses similar to the one above

The huge deal was announced by Australasian Optare distributor Bus Corp Oceania recently. The order of 114 Optare Metrocity buses, worth more than $36 million, is from New Zealand bus operator Tranzit Coaches.
The will be buses deployed throughout the Greater Wellington region from the CBD all the way up to Palmerston North.
 The first of the Optare Metrocity buses is due to be delivered and on the roads in New Zealand in March 2018, with the entire 114 bus order set to be fulfilled by June 2018.
The order is Optare's biggest ever single export order of 114 for the Euro-6 Optare Metrocity buses, which were chosen by Tranzit Coaches for their low weight as well as their ability to generate significant tax and fuel savings and the overall low cost of operation.
Bus Corp Oceania general manager Jason Pecotic says the low weight from the monocoque construction means the Metrocity offers 30 per cent more seating capacity, while still fitting within New Zealand's 12-tonne GVM tax bracket.
"Optare's monocoque design saves around 900kg in weight, meaning it generates more pay-load while saving the operator money," he says.
"In this case we estimate that the Metrocity will deliver savings of around $4000 per bus per year for Tranzit before taking into account double digit savings in fuel consumption and operating costs."
The order will see a mix of 10.1 and 10.8-metre Metrocity buses deployed on a wide range of routes including city, suburban and semi-rural operations.
The Optare’s use the latest technology Mercedes Benz drivelines, ensuring low emissions and the highest levels of efficiency and are eco-friendly.
Tranzit Coachlines has operated for more than 90 years and is New Zealand's largest family-owned coach company and currently operates a fleet of more than of 1000 buses.
BCO has also announced it has appointed Trucks & Trailers NZ as the service dealer and parts distributor for Optare buses in New Zealand.
"With Optare's Euro VI buses running Mercedes Benz drivelines, particularly this large new order for Tranzit, it was vital that we ensure the correct back up and after sales support for our bus customers across New Zealand and Trucks & Trailers is the perfect fit as our partner in New Zealand," Pecotic says.
In other Optare news; Bus Corp Oceania has announced the appointment of Ross Thompson as after sales manager.
Ross Thompson comes to the role after 13 years with Volgren, where he fulfilled a number of roles, most recently as national after sales manager, responsible for all Volgren and Marcopolo after sales as well as managing the company's Victorian workshop and parts facility.
"Ross has an exceptional reputation in the bus industry and the knowledge and expertise which he has gained working with major fleets around the country and in overseas markets will be invaluable as Optare builds its market presence in Australia and New Zealand," Pecotic says.
"At BCO we have identified after sales service as the cornerstone for our Optare bus operations in Australia and New Zealand and Ross Thompson will spearhead that strategy."
Thompson is a qualified diesel mechanic and completed his training in the Australian Defence Force. After leaving the army he spent 15 years at a truck and trailer repair workshop rising from mechanic to field service, then in to service reception and then service manager.
He began with Volgren in 2004, managing its Dandenong service centre before moving to the role of technical manager for its Marcopolo brand, which included quality inspections on vehicles as they came off the line.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Green Bus Funding in Scotland

Seventh round of Scottish Green Bus Funding awarded


A further £1.4 million has been awarded through the Scottish Green Bus Fund (SGBF) as part of the Scottish Government’s bold new ambition to encourage growth of ultra-low emission vehicles and reduce transport emissions.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced the details of this latest round of funding for public bus services during a visit to Lothian Buses in Edinburgh.


Mr Yousaf said:
“I am delighted to announce that £1.4 million has been awarded in the latest round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund, to support the purchase of 47 new buses between four companies.
“Through seven rounds of the SGBF, the Scottish Government has awarded £16.2 million, resulting in 362 new low carbon emission buses within the Scottish fleet.


“This is all part of our commitment to reduce carbon emissions in transport and improve air quality. We are committed to increasing the use of public transport in Scotland and to meeting our ambitious climate change target of reducing carbon emissions by 42 % by 2020.
“It is incredibly encouraging to see the steps that are being taken by the industry to get more Euro 6 engine and electric vehicles on to the road. We know that a Euro 6 bus produces 95% less Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), than a Euro 5 and the particulate emissions are also better.
“I hope that many more bus operators continue to take advantage of similar funding in the future, so that companies and communities can both benefit from modern low emission vehicles.”
Deveron Coaches, Lothian Buses, HITRANS and First Glasgow were all successful in 2017.




Further details on the SGBF, including previous grant awards, can be found at http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/public-transport/scottish-green-bus-fund

NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE


The last two albums from the 2017 Showbus event at Donington have now been added and feature buses and coaches as they departed from the site. As in all good Showbus tradition, yes there was an element of precipitation towards the end of the day, but few photographers if any were deterred and continued to capture the entrants. Focus Transport's examples can now be viewed by clicking  here  and  here