Sunday, 31 July 2011


From Colin Sellars

In another place

Last week two articles were added to the Focus Transport web site
Last bus to Manchester describes a journey from Chesterfield to Manchester on the last day of Hulleys service 67 together with a history of this service which once ran from Lincoln to Liverpool.
No longer in usual service (Part 2)  A further look at some more examples of buses and coaches, which have served out their initial revenue-earning time and moved on to other duties.

Last week three photo sets were added to Flickr
The dams route 222 Hulleys Of Baslow are now running the Saturday & Sunday route 222 for Derbyshire County Council. The Route was previously operated by TM Travel.
Land's End to John O' Groats complements the report on this blog.
Focus on Lincoln Predominantly Stagecoach. what a variety of vehicles Lincoln has. Lots of newish vehicles Enviro 200, 300 & 400s. plus lots of older vehicles including ex Chesterfield, Worksop & Hull Olympians. Also Bio Methane gas powered Optare Solos with the distinguishing roof mounted gas tanks.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Sheffield and 'Optio'

There is a lot of head to head competition in Sheffield between First and Stagecoach and each operator issues their own day and weekly tickets. On one corridor from Fulwood to Halfway, new interavailable tickets have been introduced under the brand name Optio. However none of the buses in these pictures accept Optio tickets.

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It is 10:20 precisely and the driver for the 10:20 X17 from Chesterfield to Sheffield has strolled across to his bus. Even though there were few cash fares to collect it was 10:23 before the bus departed. On my return journey I arrived in Chesterfield at 18:30 expecting to see trent barton's Red Arrow disappearing round the corner but no, the bus hadn't even pulled onto the stand. It also left three minutes late and arrived in Ripley seven minutes late. Had I paid a cash fare, would have been eligable for a refund?
In response to the comment, I find it difficult to believe that drivers are not allowed time to collect fares, particularly on double deckers. If this is not the case then late departures are inevitable which will lead to customer complaints.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Preston Bid for £9m Government Tram Funding

Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council are hoping to have the 'Guild Tram Line' open as early as 2012. They are working with Preston Trampower who are promoting the idea of a four-line network, which will connect many key parts of the city with Park & Ride stations outside the city centre. It will also connect areas of the city to the railway station, retail parks, hospitals, football stadium and the University. It is proposed that initially a demonstration track will run from the West View Leisure Centre.
Preston Trampower will be inviting schools, local businesses and residents, who will all be able to experience the benefits of the tram network and learn how trams operate by taking a ride on the demonstrator line.
The Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has given his support to the scheme which apparently has already received planning consent from Preston City Council.
This is an interesting scheme which has support from many directions and it will be interesting to see whether the required funding is forthcoming, or, whether, like many such proposals, it falls by the wayside, a victim to lack of confidence and funding.

David Gambles

Changes in Sheffield

As previously reported TM Travel have taken over Veolia's services (but not vehicles) in South Yorkshire including the half hourly A1 from Sheffield to Rotherham. This is a former trent barton Excel.

This versa was new to TM Travel.

First have taken over the city centre FeeBee from TM Travel using new but smaller buses with the same 7 minute headway.

A TM VDL Plaxton Centro of the type formerly used on the FreeBee and a First Enviro 200 side by side on Pond Street bus station.

Another ex trent barton excel. This time with Powells.
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Thursday, 28 July 2011


Ken Jones took these two shots of an air ambulance as it came in to land near Wirksworth on Sunday.

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Pink bus
Not sure about this from the Metro, even if it was front wheel drive surely there would have been more damage to the road and the rear of the bus.
Colin Sellars

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

John O' Groats to Land's End

Richard Steadall and his travelling companions passed through Derbyshire yesterday. They arrived in Chesterfield at 13:23 on Stagecoach X17 from Sheffield. Colin Sellars has also published some pictures on Flickr.

In Chesterfield they were met by Cherryl Holland, brand manager of Red Arrow, and Mr Mango.

They travelled south to Derby on the 13:50 Red Arrow.

Cherryl explained their mission to all the passengers and then went round the bus with a tray of cakes and a collecting box.

On arrival in Derby they were helped with their luggage...

...and more pictures were taken...

... and then escorted to the 13:05 Skylink to Leicester.

Is this the first time that Mr Mango has been on a Kinch bus?

Ready for departure.
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Monday, 25 July 2011

Wirksworth Railway yesterday

Ken Jones has sent these pictures of the Bus Gala at the Ecclesbourne Railway (For more pictures see Flickr).

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

New NCT Optare Versas

This picture of one of NCTs new Optare Versas which enter service today was taken from NCT's facebook page.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Freightlin​er loco in Pennsylvan​ia

Posted by PicasaBob Carter who emigrated to the USA many years ago has sent these pictures from Enola, Pennsylvania.

Phil G knows the reason:
"Hi Richard
Re your latest focus blog post, the reason that the Freightliner loco is back in the USA is because it was "dropped, whilst being unloaded from the boat in the UK !
"70012 was being offloaded off the MV Beluga Endurance at Newport Docks when the Chains conveying the loco snapped (due to weight) dropping 70012 from 15ft in the air back into the ship's hold. The damage is quite serious. 70012 has been sent back to the US for assessment of damage".
The word "Ouch" springs to mind !
Phil G"

Friday, 22 July 2011

Langley Mill

I caught the 14:17 Rapid 1 from Nottingham yesterday and the red bus was changed for a blue one at Langley Mill giving me the chance to get a couple of pictures through the window.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Hull Trains have experienced some persistent and fairly major electrical problems with their Class 180 Adelante trains and the company have apologised to their regular customers for having to run a reduced timetable of 11 daily services for at least the next two weeks instead its advertised timetable of 14 services a day.
The First group company has four Class 180's and needs three of them in service to be able to run 14 daily services on its route between Hull and London Kings Cross.
The company had explored the possibility of leasing a train to bolster its fleet but had been unable to find suitable vehicles. "There are simply no spare trains available in the UK that are easily acquirable," said Chief executive Cath Bellamy.

There are 14 Class 180 trains in the UK, operated originally by First Great Western and numbered 180101-180114. There are five cars per unit. Each unit consists of two Standard Class Driving Motor, two Standard Class Intermediate Motor and a First Class Intermediate Motor. All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine which develops 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm identical to that found in the family of Voyager DEMUs as well as in the Siemens Class 185 DMUs used by First Transpennine Express.
Unusually for such a fast train, they feature a three speed hydraulic transmission supplied by Voith. One bogie per coach is powered, with both axles driven. Total vehicle weight is 278 tonnes
When the units were introduced they were plagued with delays and unreliability, missing various planned introduction dates before finally entering service in December 2001 but still being unreliable in service.

This eventually led First Great Western to lose patience with the class and instead to acquire extra refurbished HST sets towards the end of 2007 as replacements to operate the express commuter services
As a consequence, First Great Western returned most of the Class 180 fleet to the leasing company in early 2008

David Gambles


Engine management systems

I took this picture because there are proposals for service 90 to be extended from Ripley to Derby as service 9.4 I think that this is a great idea. We will then have 7 buses per hour from Ripley to Derby which is the same as Saturdays in the 1950s when there was a 10 minute frequency on service 1 from Alfreton and an hourly service 44 from Chesterfield. Incidentally there was no through service from Derby to Mansfield in those days.
Whilst taking the picture I noticed that the bus had been standing with its engine running for several minutes and that it still had 10 minutes to wait before the scheduled departure time. 
Most buses in the UK are now being fitted with devices to encourage drivers to drive economically. Is there scope for a similar device to switch the engine off if a vehicle has been stationary for perhaps a minute?
Richard Lomas

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I saw two of these buses in Manchester on Saturday. £1 buses don't seem as popular as Pound Shops and they can't cut costs by reducing the number of biscuits in the packet.
We have Bargain Bus in Nottingham and these in Manchester. Are there any others?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Top Gear

The BBC's Top Gear program last night featured a train race on the Great Central from near Leicester to near Loughborough in an attempt to make train travel cheaper, faster and more interesting.

Bus service changes

We have now learnt that the takeover of Veolia's Rotherham based services by TM Travel will be next Sunday the 24th July. The same day as other changes to tendered services in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
NCT are also making some changes in Nottingham the same day including a new GoTo blue line 39 to Carlton Valley. (Does anyone else remember that the Carlton trolleybus service was also 39). Details on NCT's web site. On Friday the mayor of Broxtowe cut the ribbon for The Big Orange Bus. (Yourbus introduced new Merceded Citarios on its competing service a few weeks ago).
Premiere have announced 11 new or variations to routes in September on their facebook page. Red5 from Friar Lane to New Sawley will operate every 20 minutes for 7 days a week and a new service, Red8 to Hucknall is promised. We will report further details when they are announced.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Land's End - John O'Groats and Return by Service Bus

We have been informed of the following which may be of interest to visitors of the Focus / Transpire websites.

A small band of hardy travellers set out on a journey on 15th July 2011 to travel from Land's End to John O'Groats - and back again by service buses only ! 
Over the course of two weeks they will be using nothing but registered local bus routes.  There are three reasons that they are doing the trip :

-  To raise as much money as possible for Oxfam - they are aiming for at least £5000
-  To raise awareness of just what is possible when using bus services
-  In memory of Heather Stedall, who died in hospital in June 2009.

If you want to see how they plan to do it or follow their progress, check out their website at

The organiser, Richard Stedall is a well known South West transport enthusiast and we are sure he would be impressed if there was a reception committee waiting to greet him at any points on the trip. For instance, when he transfers at Chesterfield from the X17 Stagecoach service from Sheffield to the Red Arrow on day 12 (Tuesday 26th July) on the southbound leg of the journey, or as he passes through Newcastle upon Tyne on day 11.
If you do manage to meet up with him why not send us photos, which we will endevour to show on one of the Focus sites.

Friday, 15 July 2011

District Line Trains to Harrogate!

A remarkable scheme to utilise the so-called "sub-surface" electric trains from London Transport to ease a lack of capacity on the route between Leeds, York & Harrogate has been reported by the BBC News website.
The scheme has been given full support by Harrogate business leaders. District Line trains - commonly referred to as 'sub-surface stock' which are due for replacement and which were overhauled five years ago are being put forward as the solution to the lack of capacity on the line to Harrogate.
The trains run on a "four rail" system whereby two extra lines would need to be added, not a " couple of feet above the track" as reported by the BBC! and this could prove expensive and unreliable in the much colder, damp climate of Harrogate, compared to the kinder weather conditions of outer London.
In October 2010 many District line trains were withdrawn from service for checks and repairs following scares about the power collector shoes working loose and getting trapped under wheels. Whether Network Rail have been consulted on the scheme it doesn't say, but the costs of having to lay the extra two tracks and the associated maintenance at a time when the third rail rail system has been under review following last winters poor performance would make it very unlikely that this scheme will be successful.
However, if the trains could be modified to collect power from conventional overhead cables this would have more merit, as the track and infrastructure could then be used eventually by conventional electric rolling stock.

David Gambles