Monday, 30 April 2012

South West Trains Signs Alliance with Network Rail

Stagecoach Group plc has announced that its subsidiary, Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd ("SSWT"), has signed an agreement with Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd ("NRIL"), entering into an alliance to deliver rail services in the south and south-west of England.
A single senior joint management team is now responsible for both train and track on the Wessex route operating out of London Waterloo with the aim of delivering a better service for passengers and a more efficient, lower-cost railway through more collaborative working, better decision-making and fully aligned incentives.
The alliance, a first for the UK rail industry, has been formally approved by the Department for Transport ("DfT") and the Office of Rail Regulation ("ORR").
Sir Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "This new model is a real opportunity to deliver change that will benefit both passengers and taxpayers and support our objective of growing the railway.
"Safety will continue to be our top priority and will remain at the core of the way we run the railway. In addition, by working more closely with Network Rail than ever before, and with aligned incentives, we can deliver a more customer-focused and more efficient railway for the long-term."
David Higgins, Chief Executive, Network Rail, said: "This marks a new phase in the evolution of Network Rail as we continue to push decision making away from the centre, empowering our front-line managers to run the railway more effectively, and forging closer working relationships with our customers, the train operators.
"Network Rail will continue to focus on delivering our obligations to all parties, protecting the interests of all customers whilst maintaining the seamless operation of the whole network."
The alliance has been set up to run until 4 February 2017, the expiry date of the SSWT franchise agreement.
Background and key principles
The alliance is consistent with the objectives of the McNulty Report of 2011 to reduce inefficiencies in the UK rail system, as well as the aspirations in the Government's Command Paper of March 2012, which signalled encouragement for closer co-operation between operations and infrastructure. Strong health and safety systems currently in place at SSWT and NRIL will remain under the alliance. A detailed organisational change and safety validation process has been undertaken, with independent scrutiny and ORR involvement. All aspects have been satisfactorily concluded.
The alliance builds on the existing joint working between SSWT and NRIL through the Wessex Integrated Control Centre at London Waterloo, which co-ordinates the operational response to incidents on the route, as well as recent moves by NRIL to devolve operational responsibility to regional units.
Both SSWT and NRIL will seek to achieve improvements to performance and customer service through the new structure. The combined management team will consider the "whole railway" perspective in making decisions on matters such as management and timing of infrastructure work and response to disruption.
The alliance will have responsibility for the safe, reliable and punctual operation of the Wessex network and SSWT services; maintenance of the Wessex infrastructure assets; maintenance, cleaning and servicing of the SSWT train fleet; and the operation and maintenance of all stations on the Wessex network.
Key principles of the alliance are:
• Both SSWT and NRIL will remain separate entities
• Employees will continue to have the same employer
• No changes to employee terms and conditions of employment or collective argaining agreements with recognised trade unions
• Each company continues to be ultimately accountable for its own areas of responsibility
• The interests of other passenger rail companies and freight operators are protected
Executive management team and governance board
The alliance senior management team will be headed by Tim Shoveller, currently Managing Director of Stagecoach South Western Trains.  The executive team has more than 200 years' experience in the UK rail industry covering train service delivery, rail infrastructure management and train fleet manufacturing. It includes:
• Managing Director - Tim Shoveller
• Infrastructure Director - Jim Morgan
• Operations Director - Mark Steward
• Fleet Director - Christian Roth
• Safety & Assurance Director - Brian Cook
•Human Resources Director - Kelly Barlow
• Commercial Director - Sam McCarthy
• Customer Service Director - Jake Kelly
• Finance Director - Andy West
A governance board, with equal representation of both organisations, will oversee the operation of the alliance and take major business decisions.
Financial arrangements
The alliance includes an agreed financial baseline for the costs andrevenues of its activities, with cost savings and other out-performance relative to the financial baseline being shared equally between SSWT and NRIL. The agreement also includes a "taxpayer benefit" whereby the DfT takes a share of any financial upside generated by the alliance in excess of agreed financial thresholds.

T68 Trams Being Withdrawn from Manchester

The first of the Italian built T68 Manchester trams (1011) has been officially withdrawn. Introduced in April 1992 the Firema T68's were designed to have a working life of 30 years but recently their reliability has been poor and they are being replaced by the new Bombardier M5000's more of which are being introduced to the Manchester fleet.
26 T68's were built (1001 - 1026) to serve the first phase of Metrolink from Bury to Altringham. Later six Ansaldo built T68A's were introduced (2001 - 2006) in 1999 to serve the extension to Eccles. Three of the A68's were modified to run on the Eccles line and can operate throughout the network.
Metrolink is currently undergoing a £1.4bn expansion that will see new lines opening to Oldham, Rochdale, Ashton East Didsbury and Manchester Airport. The next stage of the expansion project has been hit by delays due to problems with a new computer system that will control points and signals and pinpoint the location of every tram.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Addison Lee Update

An update to our posting on 20th April is that Transport for London has won a High Court victory in its battle to stop a minicab firm using bus lanes.
Mr Justice Eder called it “necessary, just and convenient” to grant TfL a temporary injunction preventing Addison Lee encouraging its drivers to enter the lanes until a judicial review, possibly before the Olympics. Europe’s largest minicab firm, with 3,700 vehicles,  wants equal right with black cabs to use the bus lanes. TfL says this will be detrimental to bus passengers because routes will become more congested. About 60 Addison Lee drivers have each been fined £130 for using bus lanes. The judge feared all 60,000 minicab drivers could use bus lanes if the protest spread, saying: “Without an injunction there is a substantial risk of significant problems.”
Adison Lee also advertise coaches for hire on their website
The court said the firm can legally reimburse any driver fined. It has also become apparent this week that government contracts with Addison Lee will not be renewed.
Health, education, work and pensions, the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office have all used the firm in the past.
Link from Tony Wilson 

Jubilee Liveries.

Following the publication of John Moore's photos of the Jubilee liveried Yellow bus, we would like to show more jubilee liveried vehicles on this site. If you would like to contribute then contact us at


Go North east are well known for their colourful branding of services and so far the simple designs and colour combinations have been pleasing to the eye. However, the latest version of the 'Crusader' which runs between Newcastle and South Shields via Jarrow has come in for some criticism.

 The new version above and below

The original version is shown below. Is the new livery an improvement?

David Gambles

Saturday, 28 April 2012

New Livery for HN Rail 20314

Photographed in the yard at Barrowhill today Class 20 314 looking splendid in orange, black & yellow.

Buses should be an election issue, say NE Operators

North East Bus Operators Association, the umbrella organisation for the region’s bus operators, has
taken the argument over the future of Tyne and Wear’s buses to the county’s aspiring councillors.
Nexus and the Integrated Transport Authority are considering options for introducing either a
contract scheme or a method of working in partnership with bus companies to deliver better bus
North East Bus Operators say the proposed contract scheme would lead to higher costs, fewer services and
is unworkable.
 Should Nexus run buses or stick to maintaining bus stops?
Now they’ve written to candidates in the forthcoming local elections to highlight the issues involved.
Tom Dodds, secretary of NEBOA, said: “We think it’s important that every councillor and aspiring
councillor is made very aware of the responsibilities that would be forced upon them by a contract
“Contracts are being promoted as a ‘dream solution’ to funding problems confronting Nexus and
the ITA. The truth is that nine out of ten bus services in the county are already provided without
any call on Tyne and Wear’s council tax payers. Our fares are already amongst the cheapest in the
“Seizing control of the county’s bus services simply moves the financial risk from the private sector
into the public sector, at a time when public sector finances are already facing swingeing cuts.”
“Working in partnership, where bus operators work together with local councils, Nexus and the ITA
to find real, affordable solutions to providing better bus services, is the only logical answer.”

The briefing document being sent to election candidates and sitting councillors points out that
when bus services were last under direct control in the 1980s, the cost to council tax payers was
spiralling out of control, almost doubling between 1977 and 1985. But costs have dropped
dramatically up to 2011, falling to about one quarter of the 1985 figure.
Mr Dodds said: “Transport is a major issue in the mayoral election in London and it is one of the
major areas of responsibility for our local councillors. Local voters ought to be asking very tough
questions of their candidates in our local elections. If the contract scheme goes ahead, it’s local
people who will have to pick up the bill.
“We estimate that the contract scheme could add up to £180 to every council tax bill in the county.
That’s just unaffordable, particularly when a partnership agreement could provide equally
effective bus services without having to call on extra public finances.
“A partnership agreement would enable local authorities, Nexus and the ITA to work together with
bus companies to provide real, measurable and sustainable improvements through a formally
agreed commitment.”

Clan Line Arrives at Swanage

Clan Line, the 1940s steam locomotive has arrived at a Dorset seaside resort, 46 years after it was banned from travelling along the route because of its bulk.
In 1966, Clan Line, which weighed 150 tonnes, was prevented from travelling past Wareham as it was too heavy for the single branch line to Swanage.
Smaller locomotives hauled trains to the resort instead.
Swanage Railway Company chairman Peter Sills called it "the greatest preserved Southern Railway steam locomotive".
The journey can be made today because under-bridges on the rebuilt Swanage Railway were strengthened during the early 1990s to carry Merchant Navy class steam locomotives.
Before the journey Mr Sills said: "It will be great to finally welcome Clan Line to Corfe Castle and Swanage 46 years after it was prevented from running down the branch line from Wareham because of the British Railways locomotive weight restriction policy of the time.
"Named after Merchant Navy shipping companies, locomotives like Clan Line hauled long express trains from the capital to the coast, so this 12-coach excursion train from London to Swanage is very fitting and has great historical resonance."
The train arrived in Swanage at 13:53 BST, on schedule.

Link from Tony Wilson

Friday, 27 April 2012

Stagecoach Yorkshire, finalists in Green Awards

ADL Enviro400H 12104 YN61 BGZ works route 52
Stagecoach Yorkshire, have reached the finals of the Yorkshire Post Environment Awards. The company which runs 21 of the hybrids in Sheffield, have a further 19 on order for route 52.
Stagecoach have just put five new Enviro 200 single deckers into service in Grimsby and here we show pictures by Malcolm Hall of two of the vehicles.

Thanks to Ken Jones for forwarding the pictures

Tube Train Strikes Tunnel Wall

Thousands of commuters faced delays yesterday after a Tube train struck a bulge in the tunnel wall underneath the Thames.
The Bakerloo line was partly suspended as structural engineers rushed to the scene and there were severe delays across the rest of the line.

The incident sparked a full alert amid fears of a tunnel collapse but London Underground (LU) robustly stressed this would not happen.
The bulge in the wall’s steel plates smashed the train's indicator lights.
The train driver immediately raised the alarm and the line was suspended between Elephant & Castle and Piccadilly Circus.
Structural engineers and emergency services rushed to the scene.
They found a bulge in the wall protruding several inches; it is at a point where four of the huge steel sections of tunnel lining are bolted together.
One theory being investigated by engineers is that a build-up of rainwater - not water from the Thames - following recent storms had raised the water table under London and may have seeped in forcing the plates to bend.
It is understood there has been some recent work on the tunnel walls.
Nigel Holness, LU operations director, stressed: “There is no tunnel collapse in the Bakerloo line, nor is there any flooding or any injuries. It is wrong and irresponsible to suggest otherwise.
“Our engineers and Emergency Response Unit are on site assessing the situation and have advised there is no flooding or risk of flooding or any collapse of the tunnel.
“We are working to resolve the issue and restore Tube services as soon as possible.”

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Jubilee Livery for Yellow Buses Enviro200

Yellow Buses 31 YX61 EMV

John Moore recently photographed this Jubilee liveried vehicle while on holiday.

More Pics Here

20 years on - The north west

Hampshire Bus Link Opens

A £20m rapid bus transit route in Hampshire has opened and is carrying its first passengers.
The Bus Rapid Transit scheme links Gosport to Fareham along a disused railway line.
It means buses can bypass the congested A32 and the route links housing estates with the two town centres.
Many locals objected to the plans, arguing the track had become a wildlife haven and an important route used by bats to reach feeding grounds.
Construction finally started after the council won the case at the Supreme Court.
First have launched 14 brand new Volvo B7RLEs onto the route, with new services E1 and E2 combining to provide a 7/8 minute frequency Monday to Saturday daytime and 15 minute frequency evenings and Sundays. The buses are fitted with leather seats and have wi-fi.
 click to enlarge
Originally a tram was planned, which was to go through a tunnel beneath Portsmouth Harbour, but the proposal proved too expensive.
Planting and acoustic fencing has been installed on the route to reduce the impact on residents.

David Gambles

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

20 years on - Bartons (2)

The first 3 pictures are in Melton Mowbray and the 4th in Derby.
It is interesting to note that Barton's longest route from Nottingham to Oakham and Trent's from Nottingham to Manchester are now operated by CentreBus.

Edinburgh Airport Sold

Edinburgh Airport is to be bought by the group that runs Gatwick and London City airports.
Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will pay £807.2 m to take over Edinburgh from current operator BAA which was forced to sell off the Scottish airport by the Competition Commission.
GIP said it hoped to complete the deal by the end of May.
GIP is an independent infrastructure fund manager.
Adebayo Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner of GIP, said: "Edinburgh Airport is a high-quality infrastructure asset. Its acquisition is a landmark deal for GIP.
Colin Matthews, BAA’s chief executive, said on Monday that the company would “continue to focus on improving passengers’ journeys at Heathrow and its other airports”. The company is fighting an order by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted and is waiting to hear whether it will be allowed to appeal the latest ruling against it.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

20 years on - Bartons

Anglian Buses Sold

Go-Ahead has bought Beccles-based Anglian Buses.
The Suffolk firm operates 71 buses on routes from the Suffolk coast to/from and within Norwich, as well as in Yarmouth, Lowestoft and on the Suffolk coastal strip down to Ipswich.
The business has two depots, in Beccles and Rackheath, and 133 staff including 100 bus drivers. It operates a mix of commercial routes and school and local bus contracts.

The business was established in 1981 by David and Christine Pursey, both of whom will now retire.
Andrew Pursey will stay with the business and become Managing Director. The company name and brand will remain in place.

Aldridge Open Day

AMRTM now based in Aldridge, held it's first open day earlier this month. 

Ken Jones

Monday, 23 April 2012

Baring, Stagecoach drivers raise over £3,000

for The Children's Hospital, Sheffield.

3 of the 21 Stagecoach Yorkshire, Holbrook depot, drivers pose with their calendars.

The Childrens Hospital, Sheffield, have been presented with a cheque for over £3,000 raised after group of drivers posed (tastefully) naked for a calender. 

 Story & pic

Stagecoach Trading Update

Stagecoach Group plc is today publishing a trading update in advance of a series of meetings with analysts.
The overall profitability of the Group has remained good.

Like-for-like revenue growth for the financial year to date in each of the Group's main businesses is provided below.
UK Bus - forty eight weeks ended 1 April 2012 +2.7%
(regional operations)
UK Rail - forty eight weeks ended 1 April 2012 +8.8%
(excluding tram businesses)
North America - eleven months ended 31 March 2012 +14.0%
Virgin Rail Group - forty eight weeks ended 1 April 2012 +7.9%

Overall current trading remains good. "We believe the prospects for the Group remain positive and that each of the Group's wholly owned divisions remain well placed to at least maintain their level of operating profit in the year to 30 April 2013".

The Group intends to announce its preliminary results for the year to 30 April 2012 on Tuesday 26 June 2012.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Barrow Hill Line Up

We have been forwarded these photos taken by John Scragg of a steam line up Barrow Hill. The five engines make a fine sight. More pictures of the event can be seen on FocusFlickr.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

20 years on (3)

Leicester City Bus were taken over by First.
Bartons operated an hourly service 12 to Nottingham which has now disappeared.
Two typical Nottingham buses. Who could have imagined that this now a tram line?
Stevensons were a family business that expanded rapidly under new maagement taking over Burton Corporation and then Swadlincote depot of Midland Fox.

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RATP Take Epsom Coaches

 Quality Line MCL12    © Terry Wong Min

Following rumours circulating during the week it was confirmed that RATP have taken over Epsom Coaches, which includes the bus operations run as Epsom Coaches Quality Line in London and Surrey (South London).
 Epsom Coaches Setra at Sidmouth
click to enlarge picture

"With a fleet of 85 buses and 25 coaches, the company operates 14 routes on behalf of Transport for London and four bus routes in Surrey, but also services for coach recreational services and other delegates," says the statement.

The brand 'Epsom Coaches' will continue to operate as an independent division of RATP group and will be led by Steve Whiteway. The acquisition was completed by RATP Dev, a subsidiary whose mission is to develop transportation operations and maintenance activities of the group outside the network operated in the Ile-de-France.
Quality Line Enviro 400   © Eamonn Kentell 
Quality Line MCL9 Sandy Lane Teddington   © Mark Lyons
Quality Line Enviro 200 Dart SD51 Sutton Lane Belmont    © Mark Lyons