Sunday, 20 May 2018

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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

3       (Trafalgar Square & Crystal Palace) and
N3    (Oxford Circus & Bromley North Station) Both LBSL (QC) contracts re-awarded to Abellio using existing fleet 2016 Euro-VI New Routemaster double-decks (contracts start date 9th January 2019)

104   (Stratford & Manor Park Station)  LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead Docklands Buses using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks. Currently operated by Stagecoach East London ADL Trident and E40D diesel ouble-decks from West Ham (WH) Garage (8th December 2018)

300   (Canning Town & East Ham) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead Blue Triangle using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel single-decks (8th December 2018)

304   New LBSL (QC) contracted route from Manor Park to Custom House awarded to Go-Ahead Docklands Buses using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks (8th January 2019)

493   (Manor Cross & Tooting)  LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead London General using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel single-decks (30th March 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
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Stagecoach South West Falcon Celebrations

Stagecoach South West Falcon is celebrating carrying over half a million passengers, a fantastic achievement for a service that only sprang into being just over two years ago.
Passengers waiting for the 10:00 departure on 17th May were met by the Stagecoach team who were handing out millionaire’s shortbread, free tickets and Falcon goodies. Mascot Pat the Falcon was also there to pose for photos.

It has also won the silver award for ‘Top Express Operation’ at the UK Coach Awards. The award recognises excellent customer service, high operational and engineering standards and a rigorous approach to training, diversity and health and safety. There were just two awards, 

Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, commented: “I’m over the moon that we’ve won such a highly regarded industry award. It is testament to all the outstanding work undertaken by our team in keeping the Falcon flying 24/7 across the South West.

“Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our customers so to reach our half millionth passenger during the same month makes it a double celebration - and a huge validation of the service as a whole.”
The South West Falcon has made a donation to Taunton’s not-for-profit Peregrine Project. This will support the live streaming of a nesting pair of falcons who have taken up residence in the tower of St. Magdalene Church. 

Project Leader Michael Leigh-Mallory said: This generous donation will help support our website and streaming costs into 2019 and beyond. Funding from private companies forms an important part of the project’s vision into the future.”

Bob Dennison added “Supporting the Peregrine Project is a great way to help forge stronger links with the communities we serve. Of course, having a falcon as our mascot made the Peregrine Project an ideal fit for us!”

Launched on 14 February 2016 at a cost of £2.5m, the South West Falcon is the first dedicated 24/7 coach service to connect major locations across the South West. To help improve reliability over the busy summer period, a new timetable will come into effect from 21 May. Coaches will run at least every hour during the daytime and up to every 30 minutes at the busiest times over the weekend.

Customers can view the South West Falcon timetable and plan their journey by Falcon at or by downloading the new Stagecoach Bus app from App and Play stores.  

The Stagecoach team who were handing out millionaire’s shortbread, free tickets and Falcon goodies. Mascot Pat the Falcon was also there to pose for photos.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Heliox Fast Chargers To Power Schiphol VDL Electric Buses

Dutch fleet charging specialist Heliox has supplied 109 fast chargers to power a fleet of 100 battery-electric buses for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The articulated VDL Citeas e-buses will operate on a 24/7 basis on 6 lines in the environs of the airport, and are expected to drive a total of 30,000 km per day.

Heliox has deployed 23 of its OC 450 kW chargers at four opportunity charging points. These chargers use a roof-mounted pantograph system, and can top up the battery in 2-4 minutes as passengers board and exit. There will also be 84 Heliox Fast DC dual 30 kW chargers for overnight charging at two depots in Amsterdam and Amstelveen.
Heliox’s fast chargers are designed to communicate with any OCCP 1.6 back-office system a customer may choose.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

East Coast Main Line

East Coast train line to be put into public control

Rail services on the East Coast Main Line are being brought back under government control.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told Parliament that temporary state ownership would provide the smoothest transition to a new operator.
The service is being renamed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) a brand last used in the 1940s.
It is the third time in a just over a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise.
Mr Grayling told Parliament that after two months of analysis he had concluded that bringing the service back under the control of the Department of Transport was the best option.
The aim was to use a period of state control to establish a new public-private partnership from 2020, he said.
Mr Grayling said the new arrangements will not affect staff or passenger services.
The London to Edinburgh line has been run by a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin, since 2015.

The franchise was supposed to run until 2023, but at the end of last year it become clear it was running into trouble.
In February Mr Grayling said the franchise would end early, leading to accusations the government was bailing out the current operators.
However, he told Parliament that Stagecoach and Virgin have lost almost £200m, and there had not been a loss to taxpayers "at this time".
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell tweeted that he welcomed the move, which he said was implementing Labour's Manifesto promise to renationalise the railways.
Despite their failure on the East Coast Main Line, Virgin and Stagecoach will be allowed to be for future rail franchises.
After looking into problems on the service, Mr Grayling said he was advised "that there is no suggestion of either malpractice or malicious intent in what has happened".
He added that the firms have paid a "high financial and reputational price" in relation to the East Coast route.
Stagecoach said it had attempted to negotiate a new contract with the Department for Transport, without success.


The Mid Norfolk Railway held their now annual springtime Vintage Bus & Coach Day based at Dereham Station. Steve Maskell has provided a set of pictures to illustrate the event, which have been placed into an album, and can now be viewed by clicking  here

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Eversholt Rail Joins VLR Consortium

Eversholt Rail, one of the UK’s leading rolling stock owners, has announced that it has joined the industry consortium that will develop, manufacture and market the Revolution VLR (very light rail) vehicle.  The consortium, led by Transport Design International Ltd (TDI), includes WMG at the University of Warwick, Cummins and other companies from the automotive and rail sectors.

The Revolution VLR vehicle is ideally matched to the need for lightweight, energy-efficient system solutions to deliver affordable service growth and extension of the UK’s rail capacity.  A bi-directional, 18-metre-long railcar, with seating for 56 passengers and standing room for a further 60, Revolution VLR will use lightweight materials and a modular structure to achieve a tare weight of less than one tonne per linear metre.  This allows it to run on lightweight modular slab track. The vehicle will be self-propelled, achieving zero-emission launches from stations, with regenerative braking and optimised hybrid propulsion.
The consortium and programme will benefit from Eversholt Rail’s market knowledge and extensive experience in rolling stock through-life asset and project management, including the successful service introduction of many fleets of new trains. 

Eversholt Rail’s participation in the programme will provide the company with direct access to key light rail technologies, many of which draw upon automotive and aerospace industry best practice.
Mary Kenny, Eversholt Rail CEO, said "Eversholt Rail has a strong record of innovation in the UK rolling stock industry through introducing new products, technologies and manufacturers to the market.  Our investment in the Revolution VLR programme will extend this into the light rail sector and provide further opportunities for growth within the industry.”
Dr Nick Mallinson, WMG Programme Manager, said "WMG’s acknowledged expertise in the automotive sector covering lightweight structures, energy storage and powertrain is being applied into other transport sectors including rail.  As a founding member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, WMG is driving innovative low carbon mobility solutions within the Government’s Industrial Strategy with financial support from Innovate UK and the Department for Transport.  We look forward to helping make the UK a leader in very light rail manufacturing and operation.”
TDI Managing Director Martin Pemberton stated "The DfT, working through the RSSB, are investing over £3m in the project. We have been very active in promoting sustainable, lighter public transport solutions for many years now and it is gratifying to finally get recognition from government - especially in the light of a new initiative to try to revitalise some of the lines which were a casualty of the Beeching cuts.”

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

£4.75M for Cleaner West Yorkshire Buses

AROUND a quarter of West Yorkshire’s bus fleet is set to become ‘cleaner’ thanks to a £4.75 million project.

Plans to fit emission-reducing clean technology to more than 230 of the county’s buses have been approved at a meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The scheme, scheduled to be completed by March 2019, is to be funded by £4.21 million from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Clean Bus Technology Fund, secured by the Combined Authority and Leeds City Council, and more than £500,000 from bus operators.

The technology is forecast to remove 31 tonnes – the weight of around 19 cars – of harmful nitrogen oxides from buses per year and deliver £3.9 million in reduced environmental and health damage costs over a five-year period.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, chairman of the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said:

 “Now, as a result of successful bids to DEFRA by the Combined Authority and Leeds City Council and contributions by bus operators, we have the opportunity to invest £4.75 million in making the air that people across West Yorkshire are breathing, cleaner.”

 Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Transdev have invested over £23.5 in new, low-emission vehicles over the past 18 months in line with their Bus18 initiative pledge to reduce harmful emissions.”

 Local operators have invested over £23.5 in new vehicles


Monday, 14 May 2018

Go Ahead to Launch 'Pick Me Up' Ride-sharing in Oxford

The Go-Ahead Group is to launch the UK’s most ambitious demand-responsive bus service, allowing passengers to summon a bus to pick them up on a street corner of their choice.
From 25 June, workers, residents and students in a 12-square mile area around Oxford will be able to request a bus pick-up within minutes at a “virtual bus stop” at their convenience using a new mobile app.

The PickMeUp service, which is being piloted by the Oxford Bus Company on behalf of the Go-Ahead Group, aims to meet the changing needs of people in parts of the city where passenger numbers increase sharply at certain times of day, making it more difficult to manage through scheduled services.
The service has been developed in partnership
with Via who operate in New York City, Chicago
and Washington DC.

The new concept will be operated using 17-seat minibuses with free WiFi, USB charging points, wheelchair access and comfortable high-back seating. Front-end and back-end technology for the service has been developed in partnership with Via, a US leader in ride-sharing technology with its own operations in New York City, Chicago and Washington DC.

Employers in the Eastern Arc around Oxford are to be offered tailored subscription packages providing discounted or free travel for their staff, creating a quick, easy and convenient alternative to commuting by car.
Journeys - matched to others travelling on a similar route - will cost £2.50 per ride, but it will cost an extra £2.50 if the trip could be made via an existing bus route.
Experts estimate that the UK’s ride-sharing market will soon be heading for £2.6bn. International projections suggest that car ownership could drop by as much as 80% by 2030, with passengers migrating towards alternative models of transport.
PickMeUp builds on recent transport innovations by Go-Ahead, which is the largest operator of electric buses in Europe, and is the operator of UK’s only all-electric bus garage in central London.

In February, the company invested in a Frankfurt-based all-electric car sharing business Mobileeee, and Go-Ahead is set to pilot the UK’s first bus ticket system using iBeacons in the North East later this year.
Commenting on the new service, Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive David Brown said: “We’ve listened closely to what the local community has been asking for in Oxford. Passengers are keen for a quick, easy and flexible way to get to work or to college.
“PickMeUp is intended to be a partnership model with local businesses – we want to help them get their staff to work in a quick, simple, convenient and cost-effective way.
“On a broader level, we firmly believe that ride-sharing is part of the solution to congestion and pollution in our towns and cities. It’s essential that we provide services that will tempt people out of their cars and technology will be key to that challenge.”
Phil Southall, Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company said: “As an innovative company we are keen to devise new solutions to continue to meet the needs of our local communities. Connectivity has been a challenge for some to the east of Oxford and we believe our new service will help where traditional bus routes do not work commercially.
“The idea of PickMeUp is to provide a new way to get people around swiftly, efficiently and on demand. I hope this will further encourage people to leave their cars at home, help reduce pollution and improve accessibility in east Oxford.”
PickMeUp will launch on 25th June with an initial service of six modern buses which have a maximum capacity of 22 passengers. The service will run between 06.30 and 22.30 during the week and 09.00 to 20.00 on the weekend.

One of the most recently introduced new services utilising mini buses was the 'Little & Often' service in Kent. see here
Launched by Stagecoach in February of this year the service has become so popular that larger buses are being used on the service. Unlike the Go Ahead scheme the Little & Often buses run to a fixed timetable.


The annual King Alfred Running Day used to be held on the 1st January each year in Winchester. This has now moved to a better day during the rally calendar and Martin Arrand has supplied a fine set of pictures from this year's event held on May Day. Now in an album, these can be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Inverness Bus & Coach Company in £1m Fleet Expansion

RAPID expansion by a major transport operator has continued after it spent £1 million investment on new state-of-the-art vehicles to serve passengers across the Highlands.

D&E Coaches has also spent £200,000 on extending its base at Henderson Drive in Inverness to meet growing demand.
The new additions gives the firm a total fleet of 84 coaches – up from 50 just three years ago. 

“We have taken delivery of 13 new coaches in the past four months, each seating from 37 to 45 people,” managing director Donald Mathieson said.
“This is a significant investment for us and comes in response to a busy forward workload while also taking account of the latest trends. 
“Low-floor coaches have been introduced to meet disability discrimination legislation while we have also acquired our first four low-emission vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint.
“We see low emission coaches as the way forward to address the public’s concern and become as environmentally friendly as possible.” 
Mr Mathieson founded D&E in 1996, working from home with a minibus bought for £1000. It now has an annual turnover of £5 million and employs 115 staff. 
The company’s recent growth has been fuelled by new contracts with Highland Council alongside increasing private hire work. 
New routes D&E have taken on in recent weeks include the Ness Castle and Lochardil area in Inverness.

“Our coaches cover an area from Lairg and Ullapool in the west to Foyers and Whitebridge on Loch Ness-side. We try to place the emphasis firmly on a quality service,” Mr Mathieson said. 
The extension at the company’s Inverness base will include the construction of two additional bays in the workshop to help cope with increased demands on the maintenance team from the larger fleet.
D&E operate a wide range of modern vehicles, from 8-seats to 86-seats, executive Mercedes people carriers to minicoaches, midicoaches, and full size executive coaches.
The large coaches are equipped to executive standard with toilets, fridge, hot water, tinted glass, courier seat and most have air conditioning. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

ADL Series-E Hybrids for Go-Ahead London

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BAE Systems have delivered the first 39 Enviro400H double-deck buses with Series-E hybrid technology to launch customer Go-Ahead London.

Using ultra-capacitor energy storage to further reduce life cycle costs, this next generation hybrid bus has achieved Ultra Low Emission Bus certification with 37% lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional diesel buses. Series-E maintains the series hybrid system architecture – proven in over 1,300 existing Enviro400H hybrid buses – in which the diesel engine only acts as generator to produce energy for the electric drive. This now utilizes a lighter and more compact direct drive permanent magnet traction motor, which no longer requires a speed reducing gearbox, thereby increasing efficiency and minimising wear. An ultra-capacitor energy storage system replaces the previous generation’s batteries. 

Designed to last the lifetime of the bus, this ultra-capacitor storage will reduce total cost of ownership by not requiring mid-life replacement. Due to this and other improvements, a 53% reduction in the cost of parts and consumables is predicted over a ten-year period. There is no change for drivers as the new system matches its predecessor’s performance. 

Passengers continue to enjoy smooth acceleration and braking, while pedestrians and local residents continue to benefit from the arrive-and-go mode which turns off the Euro VI diesel engine at low speed and when stationary at bus stops, cutting out noise and emissions.

Neither is there a significant change to the maintenance regime, with the annual cleaning or change of a new filter on the energy storage system offset by reduced dirt ingress to a relocated hybrid unit cooler pack. Through its increased efficiency, the Enviro400H with Series-E hybrid technology has demonstrated best-in-class fuel economy in the LowCVP’s UK Bus test cycle, with fuel consumption 6% lower than its predecessor. Tank-to-wheel CO2 equivalent emissions of 684.9g/km are 37% lower than those of a conventional Euro VI diesel bus, making the Enviro400H with Series-E technology an Ultra Low Emission Bus and qualifying it for funding from the Department for Transport’s ongoing £48m Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme. 
Go-Ahead London is the pioneering launch customer for this next generation Enviro400H, with the first 39 buses entering service on Transport for London route 36 between Queen’s Park and New Cross Gate. 

Another 26 are on order for routes 77 and 87. Richard Harrington, Go-Ahead London Engineering Director, says: “With 245 Enviro400H already in our fleet, we know ADL and BAE Systems’ Enviro400H as a reliable bus that helps us improve London’s air quality. This experience gave us the confidence to place a volume order for the new Series-E version, and we look forward to recognising its improved fuel economy and lower cost of ownership.” 

Colin Robertson, ADL Chief Executive, comments: “We are delighted that Go-Ahead London have taken the bold step to embrace innovation with these orders. We appreciate the trust placed in us and our technology partner BAE Systems. Backed up by our class-leading aftermarket support, these hybrid buses will be an excellent value addition to the Go-Ahead London fleet and we look forward to realising these benefits with further operators.” 

Matthew Lawrence, BAE Systems Business Development Manager, explains: “With Ultra Low Emission Bus certification, the Enviro400H with Series-E technology and ultra-capacitor energy storage not only suits London operators, but gives bus companies around the country the opportunity to apply for Department for Transport funding with a proven solution supported by existing infrastructure.” ADL and BAE Systems have been working in partnership since 2008 and together have brought over 1,300 Enviro400H hybrid buses to the streets of London and other UK cities. With fully electric power transmission, the modular architecture of BAE Systems’ technology opens up the future possibility of offering the extended range Series-ER hybrid system if there is sufficient demand for this solution, which offers up to 10km zero-emission range without a need for plug-in charging. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

New tunnel under the River Thames

Silvertown Tunnel Thames crossing plans approved

Plans to build a new twin-road tunnel beneath the River Thames in east London have been approved by the Department for Transport.
The Silvertown Tunnel will link the Royal Docks north of the river with the Greenwich Peninsula in the south.

Map courtesy of Transport for London

Transport for London said the route will cut congestion and ease pressure on the Blackwall Tunnel, but opponents believe it will increase air pollution.
The tunnel, which will charge tolls, is expected to be operational from 2023.
The twin-tunnel crossing will connect to the A1020 Silvertown Way/Lower Lea Crossing and the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, following a similar path to the Emirates Air Line cable car.
Charges will apply for using the new crossing and the Blackwall Tunnel, which currently has no toll.
TfL said road users will be charged different amounts at peak and off-peak times to manage demand and help "ease the current serious congestion".

Image courtesy of Transport for London

"Drivers using the Blackwall Tunnel regularly get caught up in delays of 20 minutes or more during busy times, leading to around a million hours being wasted in queues every year", a TfL spokesperson said.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was "delighted" approval had been given for the crossing which "is vital for the future prosperity of east London".
He added he was "determined to ensure the Silvertown Tunnel doesn't have a detrimental impact on our environment."
The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the new crossing but said it was "vehemently opposed to a charge on the existing Blackwall Tunnel" because of the extra cost to small businesses.
Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell accused transport authorities of "ignoring our fears over worsening London's terrible air pollution".
"New roads attract new traffic, pollute the air and are incredibly expensive. Londoners need healthy streets where they can trust the air they breathe."
The 'No to Silvertown Tunnel' campaign group said the approval "sends a terrible message to the wider world: that London is closed to new thinking on how to deal with congestion".

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Rail ticketing news

End of the line for baffling train ticket pricing? Rail bosses admit 'split ticketing' is cheaper as 'overdue' consultation into simplifying system is announced

  • Rail travel plagued by delays, overcrowding and ever-rising season ticket prices
  • Passengers can pay high prices for long connecting journeys when cheaper exist
  • There are currently around 55 million different ticket fares which exist in the UK

With rail travel plagued by delays, overcrowding and ever-rising season ticket prices, the golden age of steam can seem like a long time ago.
But commuters have been given a rare boost after it was announced that the confusing system of wildly differing fares could be overhauled.
Passengers can pay high prices for long connecting journeys when there are quicker, cheaper alternatives – or more for a return than two singles.
 Currently around 55 million different fares exist, including long-standing anomalies such as charging a peak-time fare when half a trip is on an off-peak service. 

Meanwhile, ‘split ticketing’ – buying multiple tickets to cover different stages of a single journey – can be cheaper than buying just one ticket.
A public consultation will look at ways to simplify the system. It will lead to a report containing proposals for the Government to consider. 
A passenger group claimed reform is ‘overdue’.
In December, it emerged that more than two-thirds of ticket machines do not tell passengers how to get the cheapest fares. 
It came despite the Department for Transport pledging to ensure that machines tell passengers if they can save money by waiting a few minutes to buy an off-peak ticket or going to a ticket office.
Just one in three passengers said they were ‘very confident’ they had bought the best value ticket for their last journey, according to research by auditors KPMG commissioned by the industry.

Rail travel is plagued by delays, overcrowding and ever-rising season ticket prices
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents private train operators and Government-owned Network Rail, said the industry’s suggestions will aim to have no change in average fares and need no extra support from taxpayers.
The current ticketing system is underpinned by regulations unchanged from the mid-1990s, and has not kept pace with technology or how people travel.
Three decades ago it was assumed customers bought tickets from ticket offices, whereas now they can be bought at machines or online from a number of different providers. 
Each of the 2,500 stations in Britain must still sell tickets to every other station in the country, but further layers of complexity have been added through individual franchise agreements.
In February, a probe by the independent rail watchdog the Office of Rail and Road found one in five mystery shoppers selected a more expensive ticket than necessary or were at risk of a penalty fare when using a ticket machine. 
It urged train firms to refund commuters who overpaid. 
KPMG has outlined a number of principles for rail ticketing, including making it more transparent, predictable and easier to use, plus integrating it with other modes of transport and introducing more personalised and flexible fares.
Rail companies say they are trying to cut jargon and provide clearer information about peak and off-peak times.
Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said the industry is committed to reforming ‘well-meaning but outdated’ regulation, but warned there are ‘no quick and easy solutions’.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus – partnering with the RDG on the consultation – said: ‘Fares and ticketing systems need to suit the way we travel now.’
The consultation will open on June 4, with a report expected in late autumn.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Greater Anglia Update

Greater Anglia has promised passengers won't be suffering "ironing board" seats on new trains being rolled out next year.
The train operator has asked passengers for feedback and said it had hired an expert in train seat design to find the best seats available and advise on making them more comfortable. It is carrying out a major fleet replacement programme that will mean every train in the Greater Anglia fleet is replaced with brand new trains.

The £1.4bn investment in 169 new trains will also see every train fitted with free Wi-Fi, at-seat plugs and USB points, along with air conditioning.

Jason Brandon, brand manager for Greater Anglia, said, "We’re very aware of the problems that there have been in other parts of the country with seats on new trains and this is why we really listened to customers’ feedback and really wanted to avoid any mis-shaped seats or too hard a seat.
We’ve heard the feedback from customers, we’ve listened, and we care about them being as comfortable as possible so we’ve selected a seat which is far more comfortable for customers."

Commuters have previously complained about new seats on Thameslink services and being rolled out on Great Northern, saying they were like sitting on 

an ironing board.

Thameslink meanwhile has said various seat designs were tested with passengers and the Department for Transport-approved design met strict safety and capacity requirements, while offering the best comfort.

Andrew Schoenemann, of Schoenemann Design, has been brought on board to help Greater Anglia, having over 30 years’ experience designing trains.

He said: "We were presented with a range of seats to look at and we were able to find the best seat to fit the environment for our new trains and for the passengers."

The pledge from Greater Anglia comes after the train operator said yesterday the mass timetable shake-up later this month will mean thousands of extra seats for commuters.

Rail passengers in East Anglia were told they will benefit from more trains and over 7,000 extra seats per week when the new timetable starts on 20 May.

Greater Anglia is replacing all of its trains. 111 of them are being built by UK-based train company, Bombardier. Two production lines have been set up in the Derby factory and carriages from the first train are in various stages of assembly.

The aluminium pre-glazed body sides, roofs, floor and cabs are manufactured, wired, fitted out and painted before being bolted together on the line.

The Bombardier trains will be used for commuter services into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

 Greater Anglia Class 755/4 manufactured by Stadler

A further 58 trains are being made by Stadler, in Switzerland, to replace the current intercity, Stansted Express and rural line trains. The first four-car Class 755/4 bi-mode unit for Greater Anglia was unveiled to the press in Erlen, Switzerland on May 3.

All of Greater Anglia’s new trains will have more seats, plug and USB Points, air conditioning and fast free wifi.

 UK-based train company, Bombardier have set up two production lines in the Derby factory and carriages from the first Greater Anglia order are in various stages of assembly.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “It’s brilliant to see our brand new trains taking shape. We’re confident that they’ll make a big difference to customers travelling by train in East Anglia.

“These new trains will be more comfortable and reliable, helping us transform the railway in East Anglia.”

A Bombardier spokesperson said: “The first train for Greater Anglia is shaping up nicely at our Derby facility, and we are proud to be playing our part in helping transform the railway in East Anglia.”

Malcolm Brown, CEO of Angel Trains – the company procuring and financing the 665 vehicles – said: “We are delighted to see this fleet of Class 720 Aventra trains being assembled at Bombardier’s Derby factory. The £900m deal we signed in September 2016 to procure these new vehicles, one of the largest private investments into rolling stock in the last 20 years, will greatly increase capacity across East Anglia and significantly improve passenger experience.”

Take a virtual tour here inside one of the new Greater Anglia Trains

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 13th May - East Dereham

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Stagecoach Signs Five Year Deal with Bridgestone

Stagecoach has appointed a new tyre manufacturer for its bus fleet across the UK.

The Perth-based transport operator has agreed a five-year contract with Bridgestone UK, covering around 9,500 vehicles in total including all of Stagecoach’s UK bus and coach fleet and other company vehicles.

Stagecoach’s fleet will largely run on Bridgestone’s ‘best in class’ UAP-001 premium product and holistic Total Tyre Care package of tyre husbandry support.

The UAP-001 provides a high level of safety all-year round thanks to its improved grip and braking performance in all conditions, including winter and mud and fresh or melting snow, which have granted the M+S marking and Alpine symbol.

Sam Greer, Engineering Director for Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We are very pleased to award this contract to Bridgestone and look forward to working with them over the next five years. We are confident that the solutions and products they offer will help us maintain our fleet to the highest standard and continue to deliver high-quality, reliable journeys for the millions of people who use our services every day.”

Bridgestone has secured the Stagecoach contract from a previous long-term supplier of more than two decades and the agreement confirms Bridgestone’s status as the largest tyre provider in the UK bus and coach sector.

Greg Ward, Commercial Sales Director for Bridgestone, said: “This is a huge announcement and the beginning of an exciting new relationship with one of the UK’s most prestigious bus and coach operators. In terms of our European-based fleet contracts, this is our biggest ever. Stagecoach is continually working to increase the quality, reliability and frequency of its bus services and we are extremely proud to be in a position to play our part in this. It is a great responsibility and one we will not take for granted. We will be working with Stagecoach to ensure that every one of their millions of journeys per year is completed as smoothly as possible.”

The agreement between Stagecoach and Bridgestone formally took effect on 1 May 2018.


DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday 19th May - Dunfermline

Join us on Saturday 19 May between 10am and 4pm as we open the doors of Dunfermline Depot to celebrate 100 years of the bus/tram depot!

This May, our depot on St Leonards Street in Dunfermline marks 100 years of existence! Initially a functioning tram depot, then bus depot, this garage has been in use for a century! To celebrate this milestone we're opening our doors for a running day, packed full of heritage fleet displays.

Visit a wide range of stalls, sing-along with Kingdom FM presenters live on stage and check out our latest fleet introductions. Set to be a great day out with the family, our open day is free for all, with regular shuttle buses running from Dunfermline bus station and Halbeath P&R to the depot all day.

See full details, including how to get to the depot on our free shuttle bus>

Activities will include:

-A huge array of vintage vehicles on display
-Reminisce with a heritage livery display
-Display of new BR8LE Leopard coaches from our modern fleet
-An array of transport related stalls
-Your name in glorious technicolour on the front of one of our buses
-Show and tell with one of our expert engineers
-Take a ride through the bus wash (an experience not to be missed!)
-Kingdom FM breakfast presenters Dave and Vanessa will be on hand to provide some feel good tunes
-Fun for the kids with a face painter, balloon modeler and bouncy castle!
-Refreshments available

The event is free to attend and we'll be raising money for Kingdom Kids on the day too, there will be a full programme of events available to buy on the day with all proceeds donated to the charity.