Thursday, 12 December 2019

Farewell Tours for ScotRail Class 314's


It’s the end of the line for ScotRail’s Class 314 fleet, as the train operator has confirmed it is withdrawing the last of the trains from service.

As a final send-off, ScotRail is putting on a special farewell tour around Strathclyde after the trains retire from passenger service.



The last Class 314 will make its farewell journey on Wednesday, 18 December, on routes around Strathclyde that haven’t seen the trains for a number of years, and on routes that have never seen them.

ScotRail is opening the tours to the public, and in exchange for travel on the final voyage, the train operator is asking for donations to its charity partner, MND Scotland.


Three journeys will depart from Glasgow Central over the course of the day at:


1010 Glasgow Central – Ayr return (limited customer capacity).
1230 Glasgow Central – Glasgow Central via Motherwell / Carstairs / Cumbernauld.
1610 Glasgow Central – Helensburgh return.




ScotRail’s withdrawal of its Class 314 trains, which have served Scotland’s Railway for 40 years, has been made possible by the introduction of a fleet brand-new electric trains.

The state-of-the-art Hitachi Class 385 trains are part of ScotRail’s £475 million rolling stock investment, and offer customers bright, modern and spacious carriages with free WiFi.

Syeda Ghufran, ScotRail Engineering Director, said:

“Our fleet of Class 314s have served Scotland’s Railway well for the past 40 years, but it’s time to say goodbye.

“These trains are now being withdrawn from service as we introduce newer trains across our network.

“As a final send off, we have arranged a farewell tour on routes around Strathclyde and look forward to welcoming people on board for one last time.”

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

New Enviro's for Plymouth


Plymouth Citybus has launched 11 new, cleaner and more advanced buses on some of the city’s busiest routes in an investment worth £2.6million.

The state-of-the-art ADL Enviro400 buses have ultra low carbon emissions and will travel through areas affected by poorer air quality.




They are also fitted with free WiFi and USB charging sockets as well as comfortable executive seating, helping make passengers’ journeys more convenient and enjoyable.

The 11 buses will run on the busy service 42 and Park & Ride 3 routes which take in Derriford Hospital, Tavistock Road, the city centre and Mutley Plain - areas where air quality is closely monitored.

Research shows the new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 vehicles are 10 times cleaner per passenger than a new diesel car. They will take to the roads on Sunday 8th December – a day which also marks 10 years since Plymouth Citybus became part of the Go-Ahead Group.

Plymouth Citybus Managing Director Richard Stevens said: “We’re committed to helping reduce pollution in Plymouth and these buses represent a substantial investment in improving air quality in problem areas.

“Our popular service 42 route takes in Mutley Plain, the only area in Plymouth where air quality is below Government targets - and we know pollution from exhausts is the primary reason for this.

“By running cleaner, better quality buses we not only hope to encourage more people to leave their cars at home but are also making sure our journeys have a much smaller impact on our community’s air quality.

“We also hope this investment will go some way to reducing pollution outside Derriford Hospital.”

The low carbon emission-certified buses are the same model as the 16 Spark buses that were introduced in Plymouth in 2017.

They can carry 106 passengers, which is a higher capacity than the current vehicles serving the 42 and PR3 routes.

Mr Stevens added: “We’re delighted to mark 10 years of joining the Go-Ahead Group with such a significant investment - worth some £2.6million.



“It underlines our commitment to Plymouth and to giving our passengers the best possible experience.”

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Farewell Event for Go North East Scanias 15th December


Go North East is holding a farewell event between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 15 December to mark the imminent retirement of its once large fleet of Scania L94 buses, a type that has served the North East for nearly 20 years.

 The Scania L94UB Wright Solar's have operated on many routes during their period of operation with Go North East. The accompanying pictures above and below show a selection of liveries carried

The first Scania, fleet number 4926, entered service with the operator in March 2001 and the fleet grew to a total of 87 of the type, including 4 articulated Solar Fusions, the last of which entered service in 2006.

The 43 seat workhorses have plied the streets of Gateshead & Newcastle and beyond on many front-line routes including the Angel 21, before double deckers were introduced in today’s brand, the loop 93 and 94 and the Green Arrow 97.

Major year-on-year investment in brand new state of the art low emission buses has seen the type reduced to the final 7 operating in and around Gateshead and 11 also running in nearby Sunderland. Whilst a small residual fleet is likely to continue in ad-hoc service for another few months, most of this bus type in Gateshead are expected to be retired from front line service in the coming weeks.



This once iconic fleet, with their smiley face front styling, is now in its final months of service, so before the next batch are withdrawn the company is holding a running day based at its Saltmeadows Road depot which will include a line up display of different coloured bus brands from its current operations, a small selection of memorabilia and exhibition stands, as well as refreshments.

There will also be a specially branded commemorative bus themed ale at the Central Bar on Half Moon Lane in Gateshead and a free shuttle bus operating every 20 minutes between Gateshead Interchange Stand D, the Central Bar and Saltmeadows Road depot.

Whilst the event is free to enter, donations will be collected for Gateshead Foodbank at this particularly critical time of year in the run up to Christmas. Colleagues from across Go North East will be volunteering their time in support of this.



Scania L94 buses will also operate on the regular Go North East loop 93 and 94 bus service around Gateshead. Normal bus fares will apply.

Commenting on the event Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Go North East, said: “These buses have been the backbone of a sizeable part of our company’s operations for many years. They have a loyal following but sadly all good things must come to an end. They are being replaced by the next generation of more efficient and low emission buses to ensure that our services keep pace with today’s trends and technology in order to our give customers an even better public transport service.



“We are proud of our 106 year and growing history as the region’s largest bus operator and it’s only right that we take time to recognise how much this great fleet of buses have played in our success, whilst also supporting a good local charitable cause by raising funds for Gateshead Foodbank in the run up to the critical festive season for them.”

Mark Oliver, Scania (Great Britain) Limited, added: “It is testament to the durability of Scania’s bus and coach products that nearly twenty years on these buses are still delivering good quality bus services in daily service. We are immensely proud to have served Go North East over many years, including the recent intake and further order for coaches for its East Yorkshire subsidiary.



“Scania’s products have continued to evolve to deliver robust, fuel efficient and low environmental-impact modern public transport solutions and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Go North East, including a planned trial of our latest double deck product on its X9 and X10 route soon.”

The free entry event will be open to the public from 11am until 4pm on Sunday 15 December at Go North East’s Saltmeadows Road depot which is located in the industrial area between the River Tyne and A184 Felling bypass, NE8 3AH. There is no parking on-site but the free ‘L94’ shuttle bus service will run every 20 minutes between 11am and 4pm (at 00, 20 and 40 minutes past each hour) from Stand D at Gateshead Interchange. The depot is also served by the loop 93 and 94 with each route operating every half an hour throughout the day.

Both buses pass the Central Bar on Half Moon Lane in Gateshead where the special commemorative bus ale will be available for purchase all day, alongside their usual range of great food and drink.

Monday, 9 December 2019

2.5 Million Page Views Monday 9th December

Today we reach our 2.5 million page view mark, 
since the launch of the website in 2011.


Many thanks to our regular readers and contributors for helping us currently achieve between 800 and 1,100 page views per day, whilst covering the wide field of public transport. 
We offer daily postings that cover topical news items and events in the transport world. 
We are always pleased to receive photographs that are relevant to our area of coverage which should be sent to focustransport2011@gmail.com

Links below from the early days of the website show what we doing way back in 2011. 
The late Richard Lomas who started the site, was always on his travels with his wife Kath, sending back postings and comments about interesting vehicles.
What has remained constant is our desire to keep readers up to date about the constantly changing transport scene and is what we will continue to do. 
Also we're not a mouthpiece for outspoken critics of the transport industry, instead preferring to concentrate on the positives - there's too much focus on the negatives within the mainstream media, so we aim to strike a balance. 
Thank you again for your interest and support.

https://www.focustransport.org/2011/07/two-dutch-city-buses.html

https://www.focustransport.org/2011/07/some-buses-in-iasi.html

https://www.focustransport.org/2011/06/cambridge-busway-facts.html

https://www.focustransport.org/2011/05/railway-scenes-from-north-yorkshire.html

https://www.focustransport.org/2011/06/blog-post_20.html

Finally, there's a link below to our 'Two Years On' posting telling the story so far as May 2000. We have changed direction in some ways but most of the original theme is still retained. Words from Oliver Foreman are particularly appreciated as he started the original Focus Transport website.

We use the viewing figures as a guide and during the past month have achieved almost 28,000 page views, giving us the confidence that we are bringing you the right mix of subjects.

If you have any feedback please drop a line to focustransport2011@gmail.com

Two Years On  https://www.focustransport.org/2013/05/two-years-on.html




..


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Goodbye Virgin

It seems incredible that with the loss of the West Coast main line franchise Virgin will no longer operate trains in the UK. The company were stripped of its right to operate due to the refusal to take on the responsibilities of the UK rail pension funds.


Red Lights for Virgin

Virgin were happy to pay contributions for its current workforce, but felt that ill-defined responsibility for part of the pensions deficit across the rail industry was a risk too far in these uncertain times.


It is not the first time that the company have been let down by the DfT who, in August 2012, tried to award the West Coast franchise to First.
The DfT eventually backed down when it was proven that the process had been illegal and Virgin were re-awarded the franchise.
Virgin / Stagecoach will be taking the DfT to court during early 2020 to fight their corner this time around so watch this space!

 The Pendolinos have been stripped of their Virgin graphics in readiness
for the new Avanti livery
The onboard teams, the platform staff and back-office managers will continue to deliver excellent service when they wear the new uniforms of Avanti – the brand for the partnership involving FirstGroup and the Italian state railways, Trenitalia. But the spirit and success of Virgin Trains will be a hard act to follow.

It has been said if franchises had been awarded on who best looked after customers and who wisely invested in the industry then Virgin Trains would have been welcomed by the Dft to run the next West Coast Franchise.


Virgin Trains recorded the highest passenger satisfaction rating of any franchised train operator in Britain in the most recent survey by watchdog Transport Focus.
Almost 500 million journeys have been made with Virgin, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Stagecoach.
Virgin Trains launched a series of innovations on Britain’s railways, including automatic delay compensation payments, an entertainment system allowing passengers to stream films and TV programmes on demand using their own devices, and making digital tickets available for all fare types.

The last Virgin Trains northbound departure (to Wolverhampton) left London Euston at 9.42pm on Saturday 7th September, and the final arrival in the capital was scheduled to be at 11pm the same evening.

From today, Virgin Trains will find its universe reduced to a concise Florida network comprising Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.


Virgin started out with old carriages and motive power and ended up with the modern Pendolinos of today. If you have photos of the early days of Virgin Trains please send them to focustransport2011@gmail.com
We plan to show the early days of the company so please help if you can.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Front Boarding Only for 'New Routemasters'

Following a Freedom of Information request to Transport for London, it has been disclosed that all New Routemasters are to be modified to allow the driver to open the front doors only forcing passengers to board through the front entrance door.




Currently the doors are set up to open on one control button only, but due to high fare evasion on these vehicles TfL have agreed to have the whole fleet of 1,000 buses modified.

A separate front door control button will be installed in the cab "thus enabling the front door opening signal to be decoupled from the mid and rear door opening signal"



Following trials with a front door only boarding scheme on Route 8 and N8 it was confirmed that fare evasion dropped sharply. It is estimated that £3.6 million is lost each year on fare evasion on New Routemasters and as a result the whole fleet will be modified to force passengers to board from the front only

TfL have declined to disclose costs of the scheme. They hope to have the conversions completed by early 2020 but the closure and subsequent takeover of Wrightbus will have had an effect on the final dates.




Originally the New Routemasters operated with the rear door open and
with a member of staff who supervised the platform area
Originally conductors were carried on the vehicles when new. The conductors were dispensed with to reduce operating costs. On routes 9,10,11,24,38 and 390 around £10 million per year was saved by withdrawal of conductors. 
This happened at a time when TfL's direct income from central Government was reducing and TfL was moving to be an entirely self-funding public body.

Above, Excerpts from the Freedom of Information document

According to answers received in the freedom from information document TfL say that they have no further plans to purchase new buses with three doors and two staircases.

Also when asked about the withdrawal of the bendy buses on the grounds of reducing fare evasion TfL said that the decision was made based on a Mayoralty priority.
..

Friday, 6 December 2019

Luton Dart Bridge Lifted Into Place


A 1,000 tonne bridge has been lowered into place as part of Luton airport’s Direct Air-Rail Transit (Dart) project to connect Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.

The steel truss structure that spans 80m was constructed offline and installed over Airport Way, the main road into the terminal area.

The bridge was constructed offline, and driven 500m down the A1081 dual carriageway and lifted onto abutments on either side of the road.




The move, which was planned using computer simulation tools, took two hours.

London Luton Airport Ltd programme delivery director Ciaran Scanlon said: “This has been an exciting achievement and a hugely significant milestone in the delivery of the innovative DART scheme.

“The whole project has been full of engineering challenges and to move an object of this size ranks as one of the biggest. To see such a large object calmly trundle down the A1081 under complete control was a great testimony to both the vision of the project and the technical expertise of our contractor, Volker Fitzpatrick Kier (VFK).”

Once operational in 2021, the £225M Luton Dart will transport travellers from Luton Airport Parkway station to the terminal of London Luton Airport in under four minutes.

DART will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover (APM) based on latest system technology and design innovation, and capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The 2.1km route will run between two purpose-built stations at Bartlett Square and the airport terminal, crossing a new gateway bridge over Airport Way. In peak time, a service will leave each station every four minutes.

It will allow passengers to travel between St Pancras and London Luton Airport in just 30 minutes.





VFK project director at the Luton Dart Phil Hobson added: “This was an especially challenging project milestone to reach and required a huge collaborative effort between all parties. The team worked incredibly well together to successfully install the bridge.

“Every aspect of the installation was specialised and complex. From setting up the temporary ramps to moving the bridge, which took us over two hours. Each operation over the weekend was expertly planned and we are really pleased to have reached this vital point in construction of the project.”

The 1,000t asymmetric Gateway Bridge, designed by Knight Architects, has a structural truss in the central spine, the top chord of which traces a parabola rising from the deck. The spine is designed to take the live load when a train passes over the bridge.

The project is being funded and delivered by Luton Council’s airport company, London Luton Airport Ltd.

In addition to main contractor VFK, Tony Gee & Partners are acting as lead designer and lead geotechnical consultant with Coffey subcontracted as an additional geotechnical consultant.

The scheme design was carried out by Arup, and Doppelmayr Cable Car is supplying the cable-driven autonomous transportation system, which was selected for its low environmental impact.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Reading & Maidenhead Now on Latest Tube Map


TfL has released its latest version of the tube map which includes several new stations.

It's the first tube map to show Crossrail — officially known as the TfL Rail — branching out to Reading. Previously, the Heathrow branch of what will soon be Crossrail — and eventually the Elizabeth line — was on there, but the nine stations from West Drayton to Reading were absent.




Does this mean Crossrail's opening is imminent? Unfortunately we're not going to travel the Elizabeth line until at least 2021. However, certain sections of the route are up and running, and are being managed as TfL Rail.

The western Paddington to Heathrow and eastern Liverpool Street to Shenfield sections have been operating as TfL Rail for sometime now. It's the central section running underneath London that is incomplete. 

Bond Street and Whitechapel stations are both still unfinished, a year after they were originally scheduled to open, and other issues such as signal testing have caused further delays.

TfL Rail officially takes over the Paddington-Reading route on 15 December 2019 — hence its addition to the tube map — but the new Crossrail trains are already in use on this route, a few weeks early. Also, the trains have been in use on the Shenfield-Liverpool Street and Paddington-Hayes & Harlington routes for quite some time.

One of the new Crossrail trains in use on the service

The new additions to the tube map mean that its geography is now sketchier than ever. Northolt and Reading — towns located about 30 miles apart — now appear closer together than, say, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, a distance of under a mile.

Under TfL Rail, West Drayton is the last station at which Oyster cards are valid. 
Stations between Iver and Reading will not be accepting Oyster cards (that's Iver, Langley, Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading). 
However, from 3 January all stations will be accepting contactless, with automatic capping to follow a couple of months later.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

New Reading Buses Route to Heathrow

Reading buses are operating a new route between Iver, Colnbrook and Heathrow Airport. 

The company have been working in partnership with Slough Borough Council and Heathrow Airport to introduce the new route to help commuters and holiday makers from those areas have a sustainable link to the airport. 
The new route will be implemented in three phases as different bus types are trialled.
The new route is numbered 459 and runs through Poyle, Colnbrook, Langley and Iver to Heathrow Terminal 5.

Initially, the service will be free until the full timetable is introduced in early 2020. 

Phase one - electric power

The first of the three phases of the new Reading Buses 459 service is up and running until December 20.


The initial timetable will operate Monday to Friday between approximately 9.30am and 2.30pm – and will be completely free to use. This first phase will be trialled using a full electric bus.

Phase two - using gas knowledge

For phase two, one of Reading's single deck buses that run on compressed natural gas will be used - this phase will run between January 2 and January 31.

Phase three - full timetable

Once the the electric and gas buses have been trialled, Reading Buses will be in a position to implement the full timetable from February 3 - which will include a service running from 3am until after midnight and, of course, include weekends. From phase three, full fares will be in operation, with these communicated well before they start. 
The service will be run by a  Euro 6 diesel engine bus – which has fewer emissions than even a single occupancy modern car.
Reading Buses hope that customers try out this new service and give feedback on what works, and what doesn't work so they can ensure this route runs well into the future.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

NCT Acquire Ten Enviro200's from ADL


Alexander Dennis Limited has announced that it has supplied ten Enviro200 buses to

Nottingham City Transport (NCT) which will complete the operator’s upgrade to a fully

Euro 6 fleet in accordance with Nottingham City Council’s clean air plan.




The new single deck vehicles began service this week on the busy urban Bridgford to Nottingham Bus routes.
The light, spacious buses feature on-board Wi-Fi, USB chargers, comfortable seating and double passenger information screens which NCT have on trial.



NCT will operate a fully Euro 6 environment-friendly fleet from January 2020, which is no mean feat, given the company didn’t own any Euro 6 vehicles in May 2017. The new buses also reduce the average age of the fleet from six years to four and a half years which brings with it the benefit of reliability, easier maintenance, increased uptime and higher passenger satisfaction.

Recently crowned UK Bus Operator of the Year at the UK Bus Awards, NCT enjoys an

excellent relationship with ADL and has exclusively bought ADL products for the last six years.

NCT MD, Mark Fowles, commented: “We chose the Enviro200s because they best met our

requirements in terms of specification and they came in at the right price point. The support

we receive from ADL as a long-term partner is brilliant.”

Monday, 2 December 2019

First Volvo 9900 in Scotland for Whitelaws


One of Scotland’s leading coach operators, Whitelaws Coaches, has taken delivery of a new Volvo integral B11R 9900. This is the first 9900 premium coach for the Stonehouse based company and the first to be delivered to an operator north of the border.





A long established Volvo customer over many years, Whitelaws owns and operates a number of Volvo integral 9700s, the forerunner of the 9900, within its fleet.

Sandra Whitelaw, Managing Director of Whitelaws, explains: “We were the first Scottish operator to take delivery of the original 9700 all those years ago and we are pleased and proud to bring the first 9900 coach to Scotland. While we do have vehicles featuring bodywork from other manufacturers, our preferred choice is to have the Volvo integral coach as we believe this delivers the complete package for us with its aesthetic appearance and fuel economy.

“Along with the proven B11R chassis that has been so successful for us in terms of operational performance and fuel efficiency, the new 9900 has a very different and impressive look with the ‘Z’ shaped styling on the windows that our passengers really like when they see it for the first time. We see adding this superior coach to our fleet as a natural progression for us as our strong partnership with Volvo continues.

“As a long standing Volvo customer, we have always enjoyed a good experience when working with Volvo. They never take any operator’s custom for granted and always work hard to provide us with the best possible vehicles and aftersales support we need to keep our business successful in today’s competitive marketplace.”

Craig Connolly, Retail Bus & Coach Sales Manager for Volvo Bus, said: “It is great to be working with Sandra and her team again and to be seeing them add their first 9900 to their fleet.

“While the first 9900s have been arriving and going into service across the UK throughout this year, they have been operating across Europe for some time now and are a thoroughly tried and tested premium coach for today’s market. We are confident that Whitelaws will be pleased with all aspects of their new 9900.”

Whitelaws Coaches is a family owned and operated business and provides a range of coach and bus route services throughout Scotland.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Trains in Hayle Cornwall

A selection of pictures taken by Ken Jones in Hayle, Cornwall recently. including 4 car HST sets + 2 power cars being used on Penzance to Plymouth services and class 800 sets on services to and from London


















..

Saturday, 30 November 2019

New Trains Enter service on Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge Line


Brand new longer trains with more seats have entered passenger service on Tuesday 26th November on Greater Anglia’s busiest regional route.

One of the company’s new state-of-the-art Class 755 Swiss-built trains is now in service on the line between Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, which is used for over 1 million passenger journeys a year.



New three and four carriage trains are replacing the existing one, two and three carriage trains which currently run on the route.

Over the coming weeks more new trains will be introduced on the route replacing all the existing old trains. Last week new trains came into passenger service on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line



The new trains have more seats, plug and USB sockets, free fast wifi, air conditioning, better passenger information screens and improved accessibility features.

They are powered by diesel and electricity, and are much greener than the existing diesel trains, with lower emissions, and modern brakes which release less brake dust into the environment.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “The Ipswich to Cambridge route is our busiest regional route.

“We were really keen to introduce longer trains on the route as soon as we could to improve our customers’ journeys.

“We are now offering intercity quality on a regional service – ideal for people travelling to work, school, university and for leisure.

Martino Celeghini, technical project manager at Stadler, said: “These new trains, with their ability to switch seamlessly between electricity and diesel, are highly suited for routes such as this one.

“As it becomes ever more important for business and government to help combat climate change, I am pleased that the trains we are producing for the Greater Anglia network offer an environmentally sustainable solution for travel.”

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train on its network with brand new trains. The roll-out started in July this year on regional routes.

New trains are now in service on the Norwich to Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Sheringham and Ipswich to Felixstowe lines.



The train company is getting 58 trains from Stadler, including 38 bi-mode trains and 20 electric trains – ten for the intercity route between Norwich and London and ten for the Stansted Express route.

Safety and performance tests are being carried out on the Stadler electric trains on both the Norwich - London and Stansted Airport - London routes.

A total of 111 trains are being made by UK train manufacturer Bombardier, who have now made over 20 of Greater Anglia’s new electric commuter trains which will run on routes between Liverpool Street and Essex, Ipswich, Cambridge and Hertfordshire.

The bi-mode trains are part of a £600m investment in new Stadler trains for the region which have been financed by Rock Rail East Anglia and will be leased to Greater Anglia for the life of the franchise.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Bristol Clean Air Zone to Ban All Diesels in the Centre


Bristol could be the first city in the country to introduce a Clean Air Zone which bans all diesel vehicles in the centre and sees a wider charge zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles.

The delayed plans have been published by Bristol City Council following threat of legal action by the Government after the council missed deadlines to tackle air pollution.

The council cabinet is being asked to approve the plans which would come into force in March 2021.

The plans revealed radical proposals to introduce a zone which bans all diesel cars from 7am to 3pm.

The wider zone will also see a high charge for non-compliant commercial vehicles like HGVs, Buses and Coaches.




Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees says the plans would give the 'fastest possible improvement to the city's air pollution problem'.

The radical proposals to cut air pollution include charging the most polluting vehicles like buses and lorries £100 a day to enter the city centre.

During the consultation period, there were two proposals, a Clean Air Zone (referred to as Option 1) with charges for non-compliant commercial vehicles (private cars not charged) and a part-time diesel car ban (referred to as Option 2).

The new proposals would combine both options.





Private diesel cars would be included in the small area ban but would escape the wider congestion charge zone.

The radical proposals to cut air pollution include charging the most polluting vehicles like buses and lorries £100 a day to enter the city centre.

During the consultation period, there were two proposals, a Clean Air Zone (referred to as Option 1) with charges for non-compliant commercial vehicles (private cars not charged) and a part-time diesel car ban (referred to as Option 2).

The new proposals would combine both options.

Private diesel cars would be included in the small area ban but would escape the wider congestion charge zone.

A six week consultation was held over summer which laid out the two options.




There were in excess of 5,000 responses from those asked their views about the impact of air pollution on our health.

66% of Bristol respondents said they were 'very concerned' about the health impacts of poor air quality.

However, The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders has said that a blanket ban on Diesel vehicles will be counter-productive and other options should be taken into consideration.

Industry wants to see all cities, including Bristol, meet their targets and continues to invest in ever more advanced technology to help improve our environment. 

However, this proposed blanket ban, which goes against government’s guidelines, fails to distinguish between modern vehicles and decades-old technologies and will only cause confusion for drivers while also undermining efforts to boost air quality. 

Instead, a clear and consistent national approach is required to clean air zones that encourages uptake of the latest, low emission vehicles, including new Euro 6 diesels, which are the cleanest ever produced, alongside improvements to traffic flow and investment in charging infrastructure.



Thursday, 28 November 2019

Hull Trains Welcome New 802 Bi-mode Trains

Hull Trains have welcomed the arrival of the first of the brand-new Hitachi Rail Paragon trains.

It comes as part of a £60m investment into five state-of-the-art, bi-mode intercity trains, known as Class 802s, bringing a transformed service from Hull to London.

Hull trains, which currently operates 92 services and employs 127 people, recently appointed a new customer experience director.


  L-R Steve Montgomery MD First Rail Louise Cheeseman MD Hull Trains Richard Vernon Fleet Project Engineer Hull Trains Jim Brewin Project Director Hitachi Susan

Built using Japanese bullet train technology, the new fleet will provide more space and seating from longer carriages, a sleek, modern design and faster acceleration.

The trains will offer 5,500 additional seats per week, a quieter and smoother rise and better reliability for passengers.

The full roll out will be staggered, with the full fleet expected to be in service by early 2020.

Managing director, Louise Cheeseman, said:

“We have made a significant investment in these hi-tech trains which will completely overhaul the current service as our customers know it”

“Not only will these trains give a smoother ride, they will be a lot more reliable than our existing trains, they will include complimentary Wi-Fi, plug and USB sockets throughout, a brand new at-seat trolley service and an even greater choice and improved quality of hot and cold food. We are increasing capacity on our trains by 22% which means more people are able to travel too.”

The Paragon fleet have the ability to switch between electric and diesel power, with more than two thirds of the journey from Hull to the capital using electric power, providing a more environmentally friendly service.

In the part of the journey that uses diesel power, the modern engines reduce harmful emissions (PM10 and NOx) by up to 90% compared to existing trains.

Andy Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail said:

“These new trains designed using advanced bullet train technology have proven extremely popular, becoming the intercity train of choice on Britain’s rail network. The trains' many benefits include no more diesel emissions when running on electric power, fast and free Wi-Fi, and greater comfort for passengers. With over 25,000 smart sensors on board each train allowing real-time monitoring, our maintenance team can ensure a reliable and efficient service for people travelling to and from Hull and beyond.”