Saturday, 17 November 2018

DATE FOR THE DIARY - 25th November - Finchley Bus Running Day

This running day  commemorates the sad occasion of 25 years since Finchley bus garage closed in November 1993 one of the many  garages closed around that time .

Originally opened in 1898 as a tram depot by the Metropolitan Electric Tramways, between 1936 and 1938 it converted to Trolleybus operation and in 1961 to motorbus operation, but in 1993 became a victim of the cuts and privatisation of London buses. 

RML 901 Finchley Garage April 1969 

The main claims to fame were the operation of the 1961 trial batch of extended length Routemasters (RMLs) on the 104 route which was formerly the 609.

Special buses will run again on 25/11/18 on the 104 which operated from 8th august 1961 to 3rd August 1985, between Archway and Barnet church.

See timetables below

Also operating is the 104A a short lived offshoot running from Barnet Church to Golders Green running via route 102 to Golders Green between 1966 and 1971.
Finchley Bus Garage was subsequently demolished and a Homebase store now occupies the site, 

The Homebase Manager has kindly agreed to a small static display of buses on the site. 

 RML 903 Finsbury Square March1969

Due to short days this time of year and major roadworks at Highbury Corner the 104 will run from Archway to Barnet church only enabling maximum riding and photography opportunities! Morning feeder journeys will depart from Moorgate, and return at finish of the day. 

The organisers hope you have a great day whether riding or photographing or both !  
Whilst we have Transport for London have approved the running these free services they are not responsible for them.

The event is a chance to go out and enjoy riding buses as they used to be.


Latest London Bus contract awards

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

94 (24-hour route) (Acton Green & Piccadilly Circus) LBSL (QC) contrat re-awarded to RATP London United with double-deck buses type yet to be confirmed (contract start date 7 December 2019)

208 (Lewisham & Orpington) LBSL (QC) contract awarded to Go-Ahead Metrobus with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with Alexander Dennis E40D from Bromley (TB) Garage. (27 July 2019)

240 (Edgware Station & Golders Green Station) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Metroline using existing fleet 2011 Euro-IV double-decks upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards (27 April 2019)

286 (Greenwich & Sidcup) LBSL (QC) contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI diesel single-decks (13 July 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

Friday, 16 November 2018

New CEO for First Group & Results for Six Months to September 2018

Following the departure of Tim O’Toole after FirstGroup plc reported substantial losses over the year, the company has announced that it has appointed Matthew Gregory as Chief Executive with immediate effect. Matthew Gregory was previously the group’s Chief Financial Officer and also performed the role of Interim Chief Operating Officer.

FirstGroup Chairman, Wolfhart Hauser, commented on the appointment:

“Having conducted a thorough selection process, which considered external and internal candidates, the Board unanimously concluded that Matthew is the right person to take on the role of Chief Executive. Matthew’s comprehensive knowledge of the Group, his experience in previous roles and leadership capabilities are precisely the qualities needed to drive the Group’s value mobilisation strategy at pace, and I look forward to the Group making further progress under Matthew’s leadership.”

The group has also announced that Steve Gunning has been appointed to the Board as an independent Non-Executive Director.
In addition to the directorate changes announced, FirstGroup has also published its half-year report.

Trading in the first half is in line with the objectives outlined at the beginning of the financial year. As a result, the full year outlook remains unchanged.

For the six months to September 30, adjusted profit before tax increased 37.7% to £42 million. Equally, revenues rose 19.2% to £3.3 billion.

Revenue growth was assisted by First Rail’s strong performance. Like-for-like passenger revenue increased by 5.5%. Great Western Rail provided a strong financial contribution, despite recent rail chaos. 

The results did reveal that South Western Rail had experienced “challenging” trading in this period. 

This is as a result of infrastructure reliability issues and problems with industrial relations. The group revealed that it was working with industry partners to resolve these problems.

First Rail revenues increased by 80.7% to £1.22 billion during this period.

However, FirstGroup’s statutory loss before tax grew to £4.6 million from £1.9 million the previous year.

Newly appointed Chief Executive of FirstGroup, Matthew Gregory, commented on the results:

“We have made good progress in the first half delivering on our plans to strengthen the Group, generating sustained cash flow to further reduce leverage and deploy to targeted growth. 

First Student’s bid season success will see our largest business return to growth as planned, while maintaining our disciplined approach to pricing. 
In September, First Bus completed the rollout of contactless payment across the UK on schedule, becoming the first of the UK’s principal bus operators to do so. 

Together with other revenue and cost actions this helped First Bus to achieve strong margin improvement in the period. 
Meanwhile our First Rail operations continued to focus on improving services for our passengers while maintaining overall profitability in a more challenging industry environment during the period.”

“In summary, we are getting on with delivering our plans to improve performance in our divisions. Although conditions in our markets remain challenging, our performance to date underpins the confidence we have in our unchanged outlook for the full year.”

In its latest statement to the Stock Exchange for the six months to 30 September this year, First warns that the forecast profits from SWR are now ‘uncertain’, while SWR is also continuing its efforts to improve performance and settle the continuing dispute over on-train staffing with the RMT. This dispute makes its own contribution to reducing performance levels when services are disrupted by strikes.

Matthew Gregory has highlighted problems with the Central London Employment clause, which plays a part in controlling the levels of premium or subsidy for operators on London rail commuter routes.
It is the Central London Employment mechanism which appears to be causing much of the current concern. The CLE clause is intended to share the risks equably between the DfT and franchisees, but SWR is the second franchise to question its effectiveness within a few weeks, because Greater Anglia is also unhappy for the same reason.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Order for 276 Citaro's for Madrid

Madrid Transport operator EMT has placed an order for another 276 Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT urban buses.

With this latest order there will be a total of 672 environmentally friendly Citaro NGT buses in service in the city from 2020. This is the fourth major order from Madrid in quick succession.

EMT placed its first order two years ago for 82 the then newly launched Citaro NGT. The following year, the company ordered another 314 buses.
The vehicles now on order are two-door 12 metre solo buses with a Mercedes-Benz OM 936 G natural gas engine which delivers maximum torque of 1200 Nm. According to Mercedes-Benz in some situations the engine undercuts the Euro 6 emissions limit, for CO2 emissions by 10% below those of a diesel engine, with biogas it will almost be CO2-neutral. Noise emissions are up to 4 dB(A) lower.
The Citaro NGT buses destined for EMT (Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid) are of an unusual specification. The rear end is closed, with the usual large rear window omitted. Passengers enter the bus at the front via an inward folding door and in the middle via an electrically powered swivelling-sliding door. Both a cassette ramp and a folding ramp are provided for wheelchair users. Passengers sit on sculpted seats where there are five double USB sockets available for charging their portable devices.


Staying in continental Europe, a small selection of buses, trams and trolleybuses in Sfia, Bulgaria have been placed into an album. Provided by Steve Maskell, these can now be viewed by clicking   here

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

First Glasgow launches new buses

First Glasgow unveiled the first of 75 new buses recently with a unique bus-in-a-box event in the city's George Square.

All 75 new buses are built by Alexander Dennis in Scotland, supporting jobs and the local economy. Passengers will enjoy comfortable high-backed seats, wifi and USB chargers, and air quality in the city will benefit from low emission Euro 6 engines.

The buses were launched by First Bus Scotland Managing Director Andrew Jarvis, Glasgow Councillor and City Convener for Sustainability & Carbon Reduction Anna Richardson, and Des Clarke of Capital FM Scotland.

Read more about First Glasgow's new buses here:

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

LNER seat news

London North Eastern Railway installs 'world-first' sensors to show passengers which seats are free on trains

Sensors which show whether a seat is free on have been rolled out across a UK train fleet running between London and Scotland in a world first. London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has begun using the technology above seats on all its trains to make it easier for passengers to avoid having to stand.

Seat Sensor is now live on all LNER trains displaying reservations above the seats using a traffic light system. The system, which was first trialled in August, detects which seats are occupied by activating beam sensors twice between each station the train stops at.
Passengers can view digital maps showing which seats are free by connecting their smartphones to the onboard wi-fi. This means passengers will not need to walk through the train to find a green or amber seat. Instead they can view a map of each coach and the seat status from their phone. The sensor also records the future status of a seat's availability.

A traffic light system has been installed above seats to display whether they are free, or will be free in future.

This consists of:

  • Green when a seat is unreserved for the whole journey
  • Amber when a seat is reserved for part of the journey
  • Red when a seat is reserved for the whole journey
LNER took over the operation of trains on the East Coast Main Line from Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) on June 24, returning the route to public ownership.

LNER commercial director Suzanne Donnelly said: "We know some of our customers can become anxious when they are trying to find a seat, whether they are asking for their reserved seat back from another passenger or struggling to find an available unreserved space. The innovative seat sensor technology addresses this by making it much easier for all of our customers to find a seat. We hope this improves their overall journey experience."

Monday, 12 November 2018

Buses on Parade

Two of the last surviving London buses to serve during the First World War took part in A Nation’s Thank You - The People’s Procession to mark the centenary of the Armistice. This was the first time B-type buses which served as military vehicles between 1914 and 1918 have appeared in an Armistice Day parade since the 1960s.

A hundred years ago, London’s camouflaged khaki-green Battle Buses returned from the Western Front. In 1914, around 1000 red London B-type buses were commandeered by the War Office for military service. Many were sent to the front lines in France and Flanders, and as far off as Greece. Others remained in Britain, carrying troops and wounded soldiers. In 1917 alone, the drivers of these buses drove 1.2 million men nearly 3 million miles. Only four of these B-type buses are now left in the world. Two are part of London Transport Museum’s collection. On Sunday 11 November, both took part in A Nation’s Thank You - The People’s Procession on The Mall from 09:00 to 15:00.

Bus B2737 – known as Battle Bus – could be seen in khaki-green livery. Restored thanks to National Lottery funding, Battle Bus reveals how London’s recognisable red buses were transformed into military vehicles.
Bus B340, which carried wounded troops in the Capital during the First World War, appeared in its post-war civilian red and cream livery.
The presence of the buses paid tribute to the contribution and sacrifice made by men from across Britain who enlisted and served as drivers during the First World War.

One such hero was Joe Clough. Born in Jamaica in 1886, Joe moved to England in 1906 where he became a London bus driver, before moving to Bedford. After the outbreak of war, Joe joined the Army Service Corps in 1915, leaving his wife Margaret and two daughters at home. Joe went from having driven a B-type bus in East London to driving a B-type bus converted into a military ambulance in France. Under the constant threat of battle, Joe and other drivers carried wounded soldiers from the front lines to nearby army field hospitals. After the war, Joe returned home to his family. During the interwar years, he would drive a B-type bus decorated with poppies in the Bedfordshire Remembrance Day parade.

Sam Mullins, Director of London Transport Museum, said: “As the nation commemorates the centenary of the Armistice, we are proud to see these historic B-type buses take to the Capital’s streets once more, paying tribute to the brave sacrifice made by their drivers.”

By contrast, today's modern equivalent passing by the Cenotaph in the shape of the New Routemaster dubbed the 'Borismaster'.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Armistice Day

We will remember them....................

Despite what some might purport it to be, the poppy is not a political or religious symbol. It is a message of Remembrance and Peace.


Why do we have Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day is an opportunity to pay respect to and honour those who lost their lives serving their country. It also gives the public a chance to remember family and friends who lost their lives fighting wars. Finally, it gives people a chance to consider the cost of war.


Why do we wear poppies on Remembrance Day?

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers. In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe's heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts.

The poppy was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.

As the years have progressed, so has the wearing of the poppy, not only by the population but also in other ways. One impressive fashion is the overall displays applied to buses, especially in London, along with larger versions of the traditional poppy on the frontal aspects of other vehicles and modes of transport.

Today we wear the poppies and often read the poem each November in memory of those who served in war.


The poem "In Flanders Field"

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Leeds Considering Hydrogen Powered Buses

Hydrogen-powered buses could one day take to the streets of Leeds, according to a new report. 
West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee are about to meet to discuss how the region can halve carbon emissions over the next two decades. The report adds work is underway to find out which ideas can be put to use, with fleets of hydrogen-powered buses and infrastructure for electric charging vehicles thought to be the most effective ways of reducing emissions. 

 Hydrogen Powered bus as shown at the recent
Euro Bus Expo  Exhibition in Birmingham
Other projects include so-called “hyperhubs” – large refuelling stations for different alternative fuels, focussed on larger vehicles. 
Car parks in park and ride schemes could also see canopies covered with solar panels, along with electric buses for the routes. 
The report added that work to reduce air pollution in the city region could generate around 100,000 new jobs. It also estimates that benefits of meeting the CO2 reduction target of 53 percent by 2036 could bring in an extra £11bn worth of public spending in the region. It states: “It is worth stating that at this moment in time the above is based on estimates and a range of assumptions.

 West Yorkshire bus operators are continually
investing in their fleets, helping to improve air quality
in town and city centres
The majority of the projects needed to meet the science based target are also not fully developed with allocated funding to deliver them. “While the projects identified to date would not achieve the target, the majority of these interventions are currently led and implemented by the public sector only. 
There are likely to be significant additional emissions savings available through private sector programmes. “Future CO2 scenario modelling undertaken to understand the benefits of meeting the 53 percent reduction target has indicated that doing so could generate approximately 100,000 jobs and be worth over £11 billion in GVA. “The capital spend to achieve these outcomes is estimated to be between £46 and £50 billion of public and private sector investment.”

Friday, 9 November 2018

Alexander Dennis & Lothian

100 seats for Lothian in new three-axle ADL Enviro400XLB on Volvo chassis

Announced by Alexander Dennis on the 8 November

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has unveiled the brand new 100-seat Enviro400XLB three-axle double decker, developed in close collaboration with Lothian and chassis manufacturer Volvo. 42 of these high-capacity buses will enter service in Edinburgh from January onwards. They are manufactured in Falkirk, securing jobs and adding value to the Scottish economy directly and via the extensive local supply chain.

With Lothian’s services in the Scottish capital seeing consistent patronage growth, the operator collaborated with Alexander Dennis to develop the 13.4m Enviro400XLB. Offering 100 seats and able to carry up to 131 passengers in total, it delivers unrivalled capacity for busy routes in the capital, while its front and middle doors will speed-up dwell times at bus stops. It has been built to even higher standards than bus users in Edinburgh are familiar with, with comfortable high-backed seating, wifi, USB charging, mood lighting and audio-visual stop announcements.

Alexander Dennis’s Enviro400XLB is the first bus for the United Kingdom to be mounted on Volvo’s recently launched three-axle B8L chassis, powered by the efficient 350hp Euro 6 D8K engine.

ADL Chief Executive Colin Robertson handed over the first bus to Lothian Managing Director Richard Hall on 8th November in a ceremony at the manufacturer’s Falkirk plant that was attended by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson, and representatives of Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and CPT Scotland.

Richard Hall, Managing Director of Lothian, said: “Buses are the lifeblood of Edinburgh and the Lothians, transporting over 350,000 customers every day and are integral to the local economy. We are delighted to be able to work with other businesses who share our passion for innovation with a commitment to deliver a high quality, reliable and unique product for our operations in Scotland, which could be utilised in the wider UK market. We look forward to continuing to build on our strong relationships with both Alexander Dennis and Volvo and are excited about the future of public transport in our country.”

Colin Robertson, ADL Chief Executive, said: “Customer collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Alexander Dennis and we are proud to work with Lothian to meet their exacting requirements as they are renowned as a leader in delivering an outstanding customer experience. As a company headquartered in Scotland, building buses again for Edinburgh is a great source of pride for the employees at our Falkirk factory and we look forward to further developing our relationship with Lothian.”

Nick Page, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK, said: “The Volvo B8L is already a well-proven chassis in demanding environments in a number of cities in Asia Pacific. I am delighted and proud that long-standing customer Lothian has once again worked with Volvo Bus to bring further innovation to the streets of Edinburgh in the form of a high specification, high capacity double deck bus. The new vehicles will help to reduce road congestion and with it further improve air quality, both of which are key to driving the quality of life in Scotland’s capital city.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I am pleased that Lothian continues to invest in their bus fleet in partnership with Alexander Dennis. These 42 brand new Euro 6 vehicles will help improve air quality in Edinburgh and provide modern amenities, making an attractive offer to customers. The partnership with Alexander Dennis is yet another success story for the business, who already enjoy an outstanding reputation as the world’s largest double deck bus manufacturer. Taking the bus is a more sustainable form of travel than taking the car, and I welcome today’s announcement, which supports the Scottish Government’s ambitions to encourage sustainable and lower carbon transportation across Scotland.”

Updated 12noon on 9 November

It was a really momentous day at our Falkirk factory yesterday as we rolled out the first Enviro400XLB for Lothian, made in Scotland for Scotland’s capital city. Our Chief Executive Colin Robertson handed over the symbolic keys to Lothian Managing Director Richard Hall, and paid tribute to the way the entire Alexander Dennis team came together to design, build and deliver this project in just over six months. Building buses again for Edinburgh is a great source of pride for everyone involved and many proud faces joined the team photo!


A second helping from the annual autumnal transport event organised by Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society and the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum at North Hykeham in Lincoln. This time the focus of attention is on preserved buses and coaches previously operated by the Lincolnshire Road Car Company and can can be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 8 November 2018

ScotRail Alliance marks 100-years of Remembrance

The ScotRail Alliance has unveiled commemorative trains as part of its activity to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Five of ScotRail’s Class 170 trains have been branded with a specially designed logo depicting soldiers charging on the front line above the words “Remembrance 100”.

The trains are the latest demonstration of the ScotRail Alliance’s support for Poppyscotland.

Last year the ScotRail Alliance’s customers and employees supported the campaign nationally, raising a record total of £95,293 for Poppyscotland – an increase of more than 50 per cent on the previous year.

This year, the ScotRail Alliance is hoping to raise even more. Stations across Scotland have collection tins for donation. Customers are invited to join the ScotRail Alliance in a two-minute silence at 11am on Sunday 11 November 2018. ScotRail, along with train operating companies across the UK, is supporting Danny Boyle’s ‘Pages of the Sea’ event by providing hundreds of volunteers with travel to and from beaches around the country, including Ayr. Poppyscotland volunteers have been provided with free on-duty travel on the ScotRail network.

An Armistice Day memorial service will also take place at Ayr station at 2pm on Sunday, 11 November.

ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes said: “This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and we’re proud to do our bit to support the Scottish Poppy Appeal once again. It’s important that we support our service men and women - past and present - and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for their country. We hope these trains will encourage people across the country to not just to remember our service men and women, but to show their support in practical ways.”

Edinburgh Waverley station team member Craig (left) and Mark (right) with Poppyscotland volunteer Lois (centre).


Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal and Poppyscotland’s year-round fundraising enables them to deliver support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland by providing tailored funding and assistance. The charity also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.

Pages of the Sea

On 11 November 2018, communities will gather on beaches across the UK to say goodbye and thank you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

On selected beaches around the UK, over the course of several hours, a portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises, be washed away as we take a moment to say a collective goodbye. More information at:


From on the rails to on the roads and by contrast the latest album focuses attention on buses with liveries adjusted to honour the Fallen and remember them on Armistice Day. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

New Enviro for Quayconnect

Bluestar and Red Funnel Ferries have together unveiled a brand new double decker bus to serve their Quayconnect partnership.

Quayconnect is a bus service operated by Bluestar on behalf of Red Funnel, which links Southampton Central Station with the city’s ferry terminals.

 Richard Tyldsley of Bluestar & Murray Carter, of Red Funnel

The new ADL Enviro 400 City bus offers more comfortable seating, free WiFi and striking new livery.

Bluestar General Manager, Richard Tyldsley, has said:

“We’re delighted by the popularity of this long-established bus service. With an increase in passenger numbers over recent years, Quayconnect has gone from strength-to-strength. So we have made a significant investment in this new double decker vehicle, to allow for more passengers and further improve integration between ferries and trains.”

Murray Carter, customer services director at Red Funnel, added:

“Red Funnel very much welcomes this investment by Bluestar in Quayconnect. As well as providing a superior travel experience and extra passenger capacity to cope with growing demand for our ferry services, the new double decker is equipped with a Euro 6 low emissions engine – which will help improve air quality in Southampton.

“The upgrade to a Euro 6 bus was also one of the commitments outlined in our new ‘Red goes Green’ environmental strategy.”

For more information about Quayconnect, visit

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Transport for London consultation - Sutton & Merton

Transport for London (TfL) are consulting on proposals for a new, direct and quicker transport link between Sutton and Merton. It has been called the Sutton Link. This would create a high-capacity route for people travelling between Sutton town centre and Merton using zero-emission vehicles. Connections would be made with other major transport services into central London and across south London, including National Rail, London Underground, existing tram and bus services. It would make journeys by public transport quicker and more attractive, and reduce the need for trips by private car.

Many of the neighbourhoods along the proposed routes have limited public transport options. The Sutton Link would support new homes being built and would improve access to jobs, services, major transport hubs and leisure opportunities across both boroughs and beyond. The work is at a stage in order to guage views about three potential routes and whether to consider a tram or ‘bus rapid transit’ (BRT).

There are three potential routes

These have been narrowed down to three routes for the purposes of consultation. Two of the potential routes would run on-street, with the third mainly replacing an existing rail line.


Route assessment

Based on the work carried out so far, it is considered that either Option 1 or Option 2 best achieves the aims of the project. Option 3 is least effective at achieving the aims of the project by improving public transport in Merton and Sutton. It would also need to be closely coordinated with the proposed Crossrail 2 station in Wimbledon to minimise disruption to Wimbledon town centre. This may result in delaying the delivery of the Sutton Link project by several years to coincide with the Crossrail 2 construction programme.

Trams and bus rapid transit

Tram – suitable for all route options

The existing London Trams network is a quick, frequent, fully accessible and reliable tram service through central Croydon to Wimbledon in the west and Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington in the east. An extension of the network to Sutton would be operated to the same standards as the existing network, including passenger facilities and high quality, spacious vehicles. Trams are electric so passengers switching from cars to use trams could help address poor air quality along the route. New trams would be purchased to operate a Sutton extension, that would be compatible with the existing network. Additional depot facilities would also be needed to keep and maintain these new vehicles. Potential locations for providing additional depot facilities across the tram network are being assessed.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – suitable for route options 1 and 2 only

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can take many different forms, with a range of potential vehicles, passenger facilities and guidance systems. The possible BRT for the Sutton Link would be a ‘tram on rubber tyres’, with vehicles very different from the types currently used on the local bus network. It would be a modern, high quality system with the same level of separation from other traffic as a tram. Specially engineered BRT running lanes would be constructed so that BRT vehicles provide a smooth, comfortable ride. This would enable similarly fast journey times and overall capacity of service as a tram extension. Like trams, the BRT proposed for the Sutton Link would have platforms at stops to provide step-free access and stops would be further apart than standard bus stops. The vehicles would be zero emission so passengers switching from cars to use BRT services could help address poor air quality along the route. A new depot facility would be needed to keep and maintain the new BRT vehicles. Potential locations along the route of the Sutton Link for a new depot facility are again being assessed.

Tram and BRT comparison

Some elements of a tram and BRT service would be similar, but there are some key differences. The study is looking to provide the same level of service, in terms of the number of passengers per hour each option could carry.


  • Stop infrastructure, facilities and information for passengers
  • Level of separation from general traffic and priority at junctions with general traffic
  • Interchange provided with existing tram line
  • Quality of vehicles and smoothness of ride
  • Fully accessible to all users
  • Overall number of people carried each hour
  • Zero emission vehicles (electric or equivalent)
There are also some differences between tram and BRT options. These differences are mainly between the vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to operate them.


  • Each tram would be longer and would carry around 220 people, compared to around 120 on a BRT vehicle
  • Trams would come around every eight minutes in peak service, whereas the BRT would need to run more frequently at potentially every five minutes, because each vehicle can carry fewer passengers
  • BRT is expected to have a greater negative impact on traffic congestion because of the more frequent services
  • Trams would run on rails with overhead electric lines. BRT would run on a road surface, needing less fixed infrastructure
  • BRT may have less impact on utilities buried underground, reducing costs and disruption during construction
  • A BRT scheme could open sooner and may be easier to extend in the future
  • Constructing a tram route is more expensive initially, but the operating cost over the long term could be lower as fewer vehicles and drivers would be needed.


Both route options 1 and 2 are expected to have similar costs. If delivered as a tram the cost of these options is currently estimated to cost in the region of £425m, whereas BRT options for these routes are currently estimated to cost in the region of £275m.

Route option 3 could be delivered for a lower cost than other tram options and is currently estimated to cost in the region of £300m, but could only be delivered at a later date, potentially at the same time as Crossrail 2.

These estimated costs are in today’s prices and do not account for future inflation which would be incurred prior to completion. The estimates are based on initial feasibility work and for one potential alignment currently assumed for each option, which is likely to change as we investigate any chosen option in more detail. We will therefore have a much firmer idea on a cost estimate once this more detailed development has been undertaken.

The cost of operating and maintaining a BRT service is expected to be higher than for a tram service, particularly because more vehicles and drivers are required to provide the more frequent service required.

The earliest date that construction could start is in 2022 with services commencing not sooner than 2025.