Tuesday, 4 August 2020

New and Upgraded Vehicles for Go North East X45, X46 & X47 Routes

Go North East is upgrading its X45, X46 and X47 services that soar through red kite country, serving Consett, Rowlands Gill, Metrocentre and Newcastle, with buses running directly up to every 10 minutes.

The services, which support the region’s recovery from lockdown, are the latest to join Go North East’s premium X-lines brand, that take the route you would in your car and are instantly recognisable with their striking gold colour scheme.

These upgraded double-deck buses offer more space on board and also come with free Wi-Fi, USB charging, next-stop audio-visual announcements and tables on the upper-deck.

The modern, environmentally friendly buses will be complemented by the arrival of six brand-new state-of-the-art buses soon, which were ordered prior to the UK lockdown, and also feature all the latest onboard creature comforts.

Go North East has ensured that the red kite is still pride of place, featuring prominently on the outside of the buses and includes fun facts about red kites on the inside, as well as promotion of the red kite trail along the route which the company has promoted over the years alongside the Friends of Red Kites.

The company has additionally introduced a range of flexible tickets called Flexi 5 to help those working part-time or sharing time between home working and offices catering for the flexible style of working the region is seeing at the moment.

Go North East’s commercial director, Stephen King, said: “We’re delighted to be introducing the next instalment of our new high-standard X-lines buses on our services between Consett and Newcastle. Operating direct down the Derwent Valley and red kite country, they also offer the perfect way to head out along the Derwent Walk.

“This is the continuation of us reinvigorating, improving and investing in our network of fast and direct bus links to key towns and cities across our region support the region’s economy as we back on our feet after lockdown.
“With great value fares and buses that are clean, safe and comfortable, this is a great time to give the bus a try.”

Monday, 3 August 2020

Metrodecker Zero Emission Fleet Launched in York

THE biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the UK has been launched in York.

The first of 21 new all-electric double-deckers enter service on the York Park & Ride network, a partnership between First York and City of York Council, starting with the Askham Bar corridor to the south west of the city.

The full order of Metrodecker EVs, manufactured by Optare in Yorkshire, will be brought into operation this summer, replacing existing diesel vehicles in an investment totalling £9.3 million and expanding the fully electric fleet on York Park & Ride to 33 buses.

These are the first new vehicles to be introduced by First Bus anywhere in the country since the company announced on July 8th its commitment to achieve a zero carbon fleet by 2035.

Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First York, said: "We’re proud to be the operator of the biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the country as we continue to partner with City of York Council to improve air quality in York.

“This is an important stage in our shared ambition to expand sustainable transport in the city. We are determined to attract more customers to using buses and realising the real impact this has in reducing congestion, creating cleaner air and supporting the local economy, not least as York continues its revival from the pandemic.”

The buses can carry 98 passengers (currently restricted due to social distancing) and have a range of 160 miles from one overnight charge, which means they can operate on the network all day without recharging.

Optare issued a press release saying "We were thrilled to be with First York and the City of York Council to help celebrate this landmark event.

We have worked with First York and the City of York Council since 2014 when we introduced the battery electric Versa running on a Park and Ride service.

In 2014, the Versa was the state-of-the-art electric single deck with a range of 70 miles. We have been developing the product alongside York in a successful operation and over the last 6 years, those buses have now completed over 1 million miles.

Technology does not stand still, and we see the future of public transport in lightweight, efficient zero emission battery electric buses.

Since 2014 there have been changes in battery technology and we introduced the Metrodecker EV in 2016.

The team in York were the initial operators of the Metrodecker and the trial was very successful. It proved the concept of the bus as a means of delivering very high zero emission passenger loading to support further growth of Park & Ride.

The first generation of the Metrodecker EV had a winter range of 120 miles. With rapid changes in electric drive technology, by 2018 we were able to offer the same bus at the same price with a 160-mile range and this is the bus that you see today. Again, York were the first to operate this bus in service.

This bus has lots of unique features which were created alongside the team at First York. We hope these will delight customers on Park & Ride for many years to come and hope these buses are the next step on the road to York’s zero emission future".

Sunday, 2 August 2020

North Yorkshire Moors Railway is Open

The North Yorkshire Moors railway has re-opened, operating services from Saturday 1st August in line with Government guidance.

A statement on the NYMR website says

"The pandemic has impacted the railway and we have lost vital income from not being able to operate during the 2020 season. Please help to keep us steaming by purchasing a ticket to travel. Your support makes and enormous difference and will help us keep the railway secure for the future.

As part of a phased reopening, we are offering pre-booked, non-stop steam-hauled, services with limited capacity. Services will operate between Pickering and Levisham, Grosmont and Goathland return 7 days per week. Services are approx. 60 minutes. 

Advance tickets are now available to purchase online and passengers will be able to travel from Saturday 1st August, Yorkshire Day. Tickets will be released in two-week blocks, as we closely monitor the situation. Passengers can book either a private compartment (max 6) or travel in a standard TSO Carriage (min 2/max 4) with social distancing measures in place. Passengers include children from 1 years old.

Although we won't be opening our Tea Rooms or station shops as usual, there will be an opportunity to get refreshments before you board the train. Visit the Tea Room at Grosmont, or on Platform 2 at Pickering, where you will find a selection of hot and cold drinks and delicious snacks for you to take on board.

Services 1st to 14th August

Pickering & Grosmont Departures: 09:30, 11:30, 13:30 & 15:30*, non-stop return services.

Standard Tickets:
Compartment: £100 (max 6 people)
Family: £80 (min 2/max 4 people)
Duo: £40 (min 2 people)
Single: £25 (only available on the 15:30* Pickering service)

Covid-19 Control measures in place at the NYMR

Advanced booking required. To help us maintain capacity we are asking all guests to book online in advance.
Enhanced cleaning regimes. We will be cleaning carriages and compartments after each service.
Hand Sanitiser Stations will be provided for you to use.
Contactless payments for all refreshment and retail purchases.
We will be asking our guests to maintain social distancing whilst using our facilities.
Toilets are available at Pickering and Grosmont Stations. There will be no onboard toilets available.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to visit the following areas at this time: All Booking Offices, Pickering Tea Room & Gift Shop, All Facilities at Levisham & Goathland and Grosmont Gift Shop. 

Passenger responsibilities

We ask for your co-operation and that you always follow Government advice and local mitigations at all times including:
Wear a face covering/mask whilst moving around the railway and on the train. These may be removed whilst seated in a compartment.
Wash Your Hands often and use the hand wash stations provided.
Avoid touching your face.
Observe social distancing.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you up to date with any changes, either from the Government or from our own plans. We can't wait to get back to doing what we do best – operating Britain’s busiest heritage railway.

*15:30 Pickering service will be mixed traction. Steam hauled to Levisham & Diesel hauled to Pickering. 50% discount for members and 20% discount for non-members. 

Statement from Chris Price, General Manager: “We are delighted to be welcoming back passengers, staff and volunteers to the railway from the 1st August. It’s great to see activity up and down the line, preparing for re-opening on Yorkshire Day.”

“The railway’s fundraising initiatives and the ‘Welcome Back’ services are part of the railway’s phased re-opening and sustainability programme. As part of phase one, our primary objective was to get the railway operational. Behind the scenes this has been a major undertaking. The majority of staff have been furloughed and continue to be under the government scheme. The decision of operating with shorter journeys was due to a mix of factors and was the best option to kick-start the attraction.”

“Every heritage railway has different operational requirements and varying levels of resource. A major challenge has been to manage the operational requirements, implement Covid-19 mitigations, control the railway’s funds and deliver a great passenger experience. All these factors have played a major part in the railway’s decision-making process.”

“The railway’s operating costs are extremely high and along with limiting ticket capacity, prices are having to reflect this. To help support the charity, to ensure it is sustainable for the immediate future, come and travel on a ‘Welcome Back’ service. Your ticket is a donation and will support not only the railway but the wider community.”

“The second phase of re-opening is to enhance our public offering. Therefore, we have only released tickets in a two-week period. We are currently exploring alternative services and our goal is to re-open the entire line, including all stations.”

“During lockdown we have spent the past few months closed to passengers, however behind the scenes we have been focussed on fundraising initiatives and have so far raised £400,000 to help keep the heritage attraction on track. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far, whether you have given a donation or bought a ticket to travel along the line. We still have a challenge in front of us, however we will still continue to pushforward.”

Saturday, 1 August 2020

South Western Looking for New Homes for 1938 IOW Trains

South Western's 5 Class 483 trains, built in 1938 for the London Underground, have been serving the Isle of Wight since 1989. However, as announced in September 2019, following a £26m investment to secure the future of Island Line, the current fleet is due to be replaced by the Class 484 trains.

South Western Railway is looking for new homes for the trains as soon as possible, to make room for the arrival of the first Class 484s for testing this year. SWR has already received several expressions of interest from preservation groups, including the neighbouring Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Organisations interested in adopting a soon to be former Island Line train will need to demonstrate the capacity and financial security to remove and look after the train, as well as providing a suitable long-term physical location for the train. They may also need to prepare a plan to manage potentially hazardous substances where these remain on the units, which will need to meet the satisfaction of the Office of Rail & Road and other statutory bodies.

The trains are also subject to a statutory Designation Notice following the decision of the Board of Trustees’ of the Science Museum on 4 March 2020. Prior to ownership transferring, SWR would need to ensure the future plans for some or all of the vehicles were acceptable to the Board of Trustees.

The trains are in varying states of repair, with two of them having been used largely for spares in recent years.

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director for South Western Railway said: “The Class 483 trains have been running for 82 years, serving passengers first on London Underground and most recently on the Isle of Wight. Despite their age our team at Ryde St John Depot has worked miracles keeping these trains going to provide a vital service for the island.

“With new trains arriving, now is the time for these trains to find new homes, for a well-deserved retirement.”.

Organisations interested in rehoming a former Island Line train should express their interest by emailing 484Project@swrailway.com. The deadline for expressing interest is Wednesday 12 August.

The history of the Class 483s

Originally built in 1938, these trains operated London Underground’s Northern Line until they were withdrawn from service in the late 1980s.

In July 1989, the first of the 1938 stock, now the Class 483, arrived on the Isle of Wight to operate the 8.5-mile Island Line, from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin.

The trains have now seen over 80 years of passenger service, 30 of which have been on Island Line

In September 2019, South Western Railway announced £26m of investment in Island Line that would see the Class 483 replaced by VivaRail’s Class 484 trains, as well as improvements in infrastructure allowing for a trains service at regular 30 minute intervals.

In keeping with Island Line’s tradition of former London Underground trains, the new trains will be refurbished former District Line trains, but with modern features including WiFi, passenger information screens and dedicated wheelchair spaces.

See last years announcement on Vivarail trains for IOW here

Friday, 31 July 2020

Go-Ahead Innovation Reward to Swiftly

The Go-Ahead Group has announced Swiftly as the 2020 winner for its annual innovation programme, the Billion Journey Project.

The Billion Journey Project – named because Go-Ahead provides more than a billion journeys a year to bus and rail passengers – is a programme that attracts innovative start-ups and SMEs from across the world.

The proof-of-concept programme gives companies the opportunity to test their technology in Go-Ahead’s bus and rail companies over 12 weeks.

This year, nine companies took part. 

San Francisco-based company Swiftly, the world’s first big data platform for public transport, partnered with Go-Ahead bus operator Go South Coast, with the aim to improve customer experience and timetabling.

Go South Coast – who provide bus services in Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole – examined efficiencies across bus routes, including shortening running times and changing bus frequencies.

Swiftly tracked 100,000 bus departures a week as well as 38 routes on the Bluestar line in Southampton. The company’s platform sped up access to key data sets which reduced scheduling processes from three days to just five seconds.

Through collaboration, Swiftly recognised that performance could be improved by 15 per cent through operational changes – meaning passengers could benefit from more reliable services.

Craig Nelson, Swiftly’s European Business Development Manager said: "The Swiftly team is honoured to be the winner of this year's Billion Journey Project. We are proud of what we achieved with Go South Coast over 12 weeks and are excited to work further with Go-Ahead Group to improve the efficiencies of their services and ultimately improve the overall passenger experience - especially during Covid-19.”

Katy Taylor, Go-Ahead’s Commercial and Customer Director said: “Innovation is critical for us to stay ahead of customer expectations, both now and in the future. All the start-up companies and SMEs who worked with us this year provided valuable insight into how we can improve passenger journeys further.”

"The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted bus services and usage significantly. Innovation is helping us respond to the needs of the Government and customers and to provide clean and safe services that passengers feel confident to use".

This included Esoterix - a specialist provider of flexible season ticket technology, Peakon - an employee engagement and feedback portal and Aclima, who measure and track air quality across the globe at hyper-local street level.

All participants presented their ideas at a ‘demo showcase’ virtual event. More than 150 Go-Ahead colleagues viewed pitches from start-ups, such as BetterPoints – who drive behavior change by rewarding passengers with ‘points’ for taking public transport – and Optibus – who use artificial intelligence to track bus supply and passenger demand.

At the virtual event, big data analytics and visualisation company Emu Analytics received ‘People’s Choice award’. The company had partnered with Plymouth CityBus to track real-time location and movement data of bus fleets to gain insights into delays that can impact services.

Other participants of the project included Concured, a content platform based on artificial intelligence and Pulsar – a social listening and audience intelligence platform.

The Billion Journey Project is a partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and innovation disruptor Co:Cubed, a London-based innovation agency, which specialises in running partnership programmes to connect corporate challenges with start-up solutions.

Previous successes of the project include Passenger Assist – a “life-changing” app for disabled transport users, and CitySwift, who recently launched “When2Travel”, a transport tool that uses artificial intelligence to help passengers socially distance by indicating how full each bus will be.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Scotrail to Increase Services

ScotRail have announced that they will increase the number of services it operates from Monday, 3 August

More than 90 per cent of normal services will operate from next week. All routes will have normal early morning, late night, and peak services. One hundred per cent of normal capacity will be provided during peak travel hours, although many seats will need to remain empty to maintain physical distancing.

The increase in services comes ahead of the expected reopening of schools on 11 August, which could result in an increase in the number of people travelling on ScotRail services.

The suspension of driver training during lockdown, due to physical distancing rules making it impossible for two people to sit in the driver’s cab at the same time, means it’s not yet possible for a full service to operate. Where ScotRail must operate a reduced service, it will be at the times of the day when fewest people travel. A video setting out the challenges faced by ScotRail can be viewed on ScotRail’s YouTube channel.

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

 A number of measures have been introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the busiest stations in the country. Face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

Platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines are supporting station announcements and messages on customer information screens, to help customers during their journey.

Customers are reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported.  All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

In recent days, Scotland’s Railway announced a move to a minimum of one metre physical distancing on trains and at stations, which came into effect on Monday, 27 July.

David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said:

“Thanks to the hard work of staff across Scotland’s Railway, we’ll operate as close to a normal timetable as possible from Monday, 3 August. Like businesses across the world, we continue to face challenges caused by coronavirus, but we will have every available train in service from 3 August.

“We do need everybody to continue taking personal responsibility for their travel choices, because physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. Customers who do travel with ScotRail should follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations.”

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Steam Trains to Return to East Lancs Railway


The East Lancashire Railway has announced that they will begin running limited services from Saturday 1st August. They will be following Government guidelines to ensure the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff.

Their news page says "We wouldn’t have made it this far without the compassion and support of our community, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Now we ask that you help keep us on track by supporting our re-opening and picking up one of our travel tickets!"

This is the first stage of a phased re-opening that will see the railway running on 1st, 2nd,

8th and 9 August.
The railway hope to keep operating past the above dates and say "we will be reviewing the approach going forwards. In the meantime you can purchase one of the advance tickets and join the railway on what we do best, steaming through the Irwell Valley!"

About The East Lancashire Railway

The East Lancashire Railway is a 12-mile heritage railway that runs steam and diesel train services through the beautiful Irwell Valley, from Heywood in the east to Rawtenstall in the north.

The railway has a rich history dating back to 1846 when it was first opened to link Manchester with Bury and Rawtenstall during the industrious 19th century.

Thanks to a determined group of pioneers, the railway re-opened its doors back in 1987 and began running leisure services. Today, over thirty years later, the railway is run by a small paid team and over 750 working volunteers and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the North West, welcoming over 200,000 visitors each year.
Find timetable information, prices and book your tickets here.


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

ADL Announces Restructuring Programme Due to Impact of COVID-19

ADL moves to leaner manufacturing model as falling demand for new buses and coaches forces company to adjust

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”) has announced that as a result of the significant decline in UK demand for new buses and coaches, it is forced to initiate a restructuring programme which places up to 650 jobs at risk.
With many UK customers not in a position to place orders for new vehicles following the impact of lockdown, social distancing and low passenger numbers, ADL has utilised the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme as well as implementing salary reductions and reduced working hours for non-furloughed staff, along with stringent cost saving measures across all business functions. However, the steps taken so far are insufficient to align the company’s cost base to the current economic reality and it now seeks to move to a leaner, more flexible manufacturing model that maintains its strong customer focus and best-in-class aftermarket support.

A formal consultation will begin in the coming weeks on the restructuring programme, which places up to 650 jobs at risk across all functions and at all of ADL’s facilities in the UK.
Colin Robertson, who is transitioning from his role as ADL’s Chief Executive to join NFI’s Board as Vice Chair, said: “A few short months ago, we were looking at a record year of sales, reaping the benefits of all our investment in new technology, new products and new markets. All of this changed with the impact of COVID-19.
“Since March, we have been in constant dialogue with the UK and Scottish Governments to make them aware of the unprecedented crisis facing our industry. We are deeply grateful for the support offered by the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme, and we are heartened by the Prime Minister’s reiteration earlier this month of the pledge he made in February to bring 4,000 new green buses into service. We continue to call upon both Governments to act now to prevent further job cuts and preserve the UK’s world-leading bus and coach manufacturing industry.”

ADL remains firmly committed to working with its customers and supporting the bus and coach operating industry which itself is battling an unprecedented crisis. Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, explains: “As the UK’s leading bus builder and the world leader in double deck buses, we aim to continue to play a key role in delivering on Governments’ congestion, decarbonisation and clean air targets. We have the technology, experience, skilled workforce, capacity and commitment to deliver thousands of new green buses.”

The changes at ADL are part of a wider restructuring programme announced by NFI, affecting ADL’s sister companies in the United States and Canada along with the consolidation of ADL’s spare parts business in North America into NFI Parts.


Monday, 27 July 2020

Transpennine Funding Boost & New Council to Accelerate Vital Infrastructure Projects

To kickstart work on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, £589 million has been confirmed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The establishment of a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council dedicated to accelerating vital infrastructure projects and better connecting communities across the north’s towns and cities has also been announced.

The most congested section of the route will be doubled from 2 to 4 tracks, allowing fast trains to overtake slower ones, improving journey times and reliability for passengers across the north. Most of the line will be electrified, the ambition is to go further. Full electrification, digital signalling, more multi-tracking and improved freight capacity are now under consideration as part of an ‘Integrated Rail Plan’ due to report in December.

These improvements will allow all-electric services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle, bring longer and more frequent trains, and create significantly more local capacity along the line.

Improvements to allow more freight on the route, replacing thousands of diesel lorry journeys with electric freight trains, will also be considered in the plan.

 The days of diesel trains running under the wires will disappear as full electrification, digital signalling and more multi-tracking are now on the cards

Work is also underway to tackle the bottlenecks at either end of the route without which the upgrade’s potential cannot be fulfilled. Leeds station is being resignalled and a new platform is being built. In central Manchester, development funding was awarded last month to tackle rail congestion.

The council launched today will ensure northern leaders have a direct line to ministers and has been formed with the desire to cut bureaucracy and red tape so passengers can get the modern, reliable transport network they deserve as quickly as possible.

As part of the government’s wider strategy to level up communities and strengthen devolution, the council’s work will engage with DfT staff based in northern cities and dedicated to delivering for the north.

This follows the announcement of a range of investments to level-up infrastructure across the north including £20 million to deliver infrastructure renewals on the Tyne and Wear Metro, following the announcement of £15 million to upgrade Horden, Darlington and Middlesbrough stations.

Transport Secretary and Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps said:

People across the north rightly expect action, progress and ambition and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure.

We are determined to build back better at pace, and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said:

Levelling-up opportunity will be key in our recovery from coronavirus and our long-term success will rely on having world-class infrastructure in all parts of the country. The Transpennine rail upgrade shows we are delivering on our promises to the north.

The Northern Transport Acceleration Council will hold its first meeting in September and will be made up of mayors and council leaders with the Transport Secretary as chair. It will work closely with the Northern Powerhouse Growth Body to improve outcomes for people and places in the north.

Its establishment and the announcement of funds for upgrade works are the latest in a range of investments this government has put into northern transport.

In March, the DfT took over the running of rail services on the northern network to deliver vital improvements and ensure that passengers are given the level of service they deserve.

At Budget the Chancellor confirmed over £720 million investment in local transport across the north through the Transforming Cities Fund.

In May ministers gave the go-ahead to the A63 Castle Street scheme, which will better connect Hull’s city centre with the city’s retail and docks area and help boost economic growth in the region.

And earlier this month the government provided £1 million to fund a business case to transform the
Queensbury Tunnel into a greenway cycling and pedestrian link between Halifax and Bradford.

At the end of this year the government will publish the Integrated Rail Plan, specifically looking at how to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 and other rail needs as quickly and efficiently as possible for the north.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Class 230 Vivarail Train Arrives in Wales

Passengers are getting a glimpse of the new Class 230 train that will finally be running on an important North Wales commuter line.

Transport for Wales (TfW) have brought one of the five three car battery-operated Class 230 D-Trains from Stratford-upon-Avon-based Vivarail to Wrexham for gauging trials.

 The Class 230 (left) alongside a Class 150 which it
 will replace on the route
Photo © George Jones

The three-carriage trains, which use the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of withdrawn London Underground trains, were due to have entered service on the Wrexham to Bidston line last year, but their introduction was postponed after "slippage" with the conversion and testing programme.

A new launch date of last December was also missed.

The train arrived at Wrexham General station on 22nd July and was stabled in the bay platform alongside a Class 150 diesel unit which it will replace in service. The bay platforms are where the new trains will be serviced overnight when in service.

The three car trains are electrically powered, with two lithium-ion batteries in the two driving vehicles and a diesel genset in the centre car. The gensets are 'eco fenced' which means that they are programmed not to run whilst the train is in stations or other designated built up areas.

 The first two completed Wales and Borders trains outside together for the first time. 230006 has been undergoing extensive testing on the Cotswold line to ensure all the systems are working


Saturday, 25 July 2020

12 Urbino Electrics Using Inverted Pantographs for Malbork, Poland

Municipal operator MZK Malbork and Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. have signed a contract for the delivery of six electric buses. Newly commissioned Urbino 12 electric buses will start the electrification of the city’s public transport by September 2021 at the latest.

Having won the tender, Solaris will produce six low-floor 12-metre electric buses for the operator MZK Malbork. Following the investment in electric vehicles the city’s public transport services will become one of the most modern in Europe, putting city dwellers’ comfort and urban air quality in the foreground.

 A 12-meter electric bus on test by MZK Malbork

Petros Spinaris, deputy CEO of Solaris commented “It is impressive to see the network of electric transport in Poland developing so dynamically. Malbork is joining the European avant-garde as regards the investments in innovative and green solutions in urban transport that is the basis for sustainable urban centres. Emission-free Urbino electric buses will certainly be noticed by the residents of Malbork who will definitely appreciate comfortable and quiet ride in the city”
The buses will be fitted with Solaris High Energy batteries with a total capacity of 240 kWh. Throughout the day they will be recharged using fast pantograph chargers that are to be set up at the bus termini in Piaski and at the municipal cemetery in Malbork. 

 The pantograph is lowered onto the bus for charging

Malbork has opted for inverted pantographs, i. e. devices integrated in the charging station that are lowered onto the bus roof to recharge the batteries. 
At the end of each day the buses will be connected to plug-in charging devices at the bus depot.

There will be 26 seats in the air-conditioned passenger compartment. 10 of them will be accessible from the low floor, which is particularly important for passengers with reduced mobility. 
The buses will feature special bays for wheelchair passengers or those travelling with prams or pushchairs. 

An electric axle with two integrated electric motors boasting a power of 125 kW each will ensure a smooth ride for drivers and passengers, whereas a video surveillance system and a modern passenger information system aboard each bus will improve passengers’ comfort and safety.

So far, Solaris has delivered nearly 500 electric buses to customers in 18 countries. Another 500 battery buses are being manufactured. 
In the European league table of having the highest number of electric buses in service, Poland is fifth.

 Malbork is 50 km south of Gdansk

Friday, 24 July 2020

Enviro200's for Go Goodwins

ADL have announced the delivery of three Enviro200 midibuses to Manchester operator Go Goodwins for its Little Gem-branded bus services.

Little Gem Buses have been operating in North West England since 2019, when family-owned Go Goodwins re-entered the local bus market. Building up a network of quality routes, the award of new contracts by Cheshire East Council for two routes between Stockport and Macclesfield required an increase in fleet strength.

ADL had the right buses for the job, with three 9.7m long Enviro200 midibuses available quickly from stock. Accommodating 36 passengers on comfortable ADL SmartSeats with seat belts, the buses have been painted into Little Gem colours and branded for the new services.

Go Goodwins Director Wes Goodwin adds: “We have been buying new ADL buses since 2011. The versatile Enviro200 is exactly what we need for our bus operations, which is why we prefer them to other manufacturers – and it is always a pleasure to deal with Richard Matthews and Charlie Miller as our contacts at ADL.”

Richard Matthews, ADL Retail Sales Director, comments: “It’s easy to see why the Enviro200 is Britain’s favourite midibus – it’s manoeuvrable, efficient and comfortable. Combined with excellent availability for immediate delivery, we are proud to support Go Goodwins’ Little Gem Buses on their new services for Cheshire East Council.”

History of Go Goodwins here


Thursday, 23 July 2020

Honk for Hope Protest Convoy

Funding has been put in place to assist the running of bus and rail operations which have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but the coach industry has been totally ignored. Sadly more operators will go bust if financial help is not forthcoming.

'Honk for Hope' has been created to draw attention to the plight of UK operators.

On Monday 20th July the Honk For Hope convoy took place in London. It’s estimated that up to 500 coaches took part from ALL corners of the UK except N Ireland. 

Coaches met at service areas around the M25 then headed towards Heston on the M4 for 9.45am. From here the convoy headed into London via A4, Earls Court, Chelsea Embankment to Parliament Square. 
Then via Embankment to Tower Hill then return as outward.

At Parliament Square air horns were sounded. The noise was so much at one point that the Police threatened to fine the drivers.
Whilst there was some media coverage the national media failed to recognise this event.  Maybe if monuments had been defaced or disturbances created that would have been different. 

The organiser of the protest was Jenna Rush from North East Coach Travel of Seaton Burn. Their is much coverage on the H F H site with plenty of video and pictures.
Jenna commented “We know that we will not move again until next year, and we cannot meet our finance payments for the rest of the year without some form of government support.

“I have got a coach now where I still owe £160,000 finance, but because of Covid the coach has depreciated to around £100,000.

“So if that (loan) company does not give me any help, and I can’t pay, they will repossess and take it away.

“But there will still be a shortfall of £60,000.

“Because I have a personal guarantee, they’ll then come to me and possibly take my home.

“Every operator is in the position, it’s not just the risk of losing the business, it’s the risk of losing everything.”

The coach industry is largely ignored and it rarely appreciated what this sector of the transport industry achieves. As well as serving the tourist industry, coaches provide home to school services as well as Monday to Friday commuter services in and out of London and other major cities.
Scheduled coach services such as Megabus and National Express are responsible for moving thousands of passengers between numerous locations, including long distance UK cross border trips.
This industry needs support for the major players as well as the numerous small operators who are contracted to run services. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Chile Adds 150 New BYD Electric Buses to The Fleet

As part of the push for electrification in the Chilean public transport system,150 new BYD electric buses were incorporated into the RED system. 

Operated by the transit company Metbus, which currently has the largest fleet of electric buses in the Americas, these buses will be incorporated in services that run through Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins, known as the Alameda, the historic central avenue in the Chilean capital.

With a total of 455 buses in operation, BYD is firmly a leader in the country's electric bus market, with a 65% share.

The new BYD electric buses will be operated by the transport company Metbus (Photo: Enel)

The new BYD buses are increasing the fleet of RED standard buses, which in the coming months will be operating 2,219 high-standard, eco-friendly vehicles, including pure electric or diesel Euro VI, with air conditioning, Wi-Fi connection and USB chargers, 

Santiago's electric bus fleet will reach almost 800 units by the end of this year.

RED Mobility is the standard which was implemented by Chile's Ministry of Transportation in late 2018, which seeks to establish a new level of quality for city transport, which also began with the launching of the first 100 BYD buses in Chile. Its final objective is the total electrification of public transportation by the year 2040.

The renewal of the fleet will enable it to cover Santiago's most important bus route and also allows for a change of operator, since the new BYD buses operated by Metbus replace 20% of the fleet from the Colombian operator Express, who did not obtain the contract renewal for this part of the city.

“This process of continuously improving public transportation is a direct benefit for the people. Since last year, the gradual increase in the circulation of high-standard buses in Greater Santiago has improved the service quality as well as feedback from users of the city's public transit system. We will continue to incorporate more changes in this direction with the next tenders and with the extension of the network to other cities”, highlighted the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Gloria Hutt.

"This new fleet of 150 BYD electric buses will bring citizens more quality trips while improving Santiago's air quality,” said Tamara Berríos, Country Manager of BYD Chile. “The Alameda project is of great importance due to its visibility as the transformation of the capital's central avenue. We are convinced that it is necessary to continue promoting the transformation of public transport through electromobility, and BYD will continue to advance in this way."

The 150 new buses are added to the existing fleet in Santiago, totaling 455 BYD electric buses in operation

With 455 buses operating in the Chilean capital, projects in other regions of the country and its secure participation in the tender for the system, BYD Chile is currently an established leader in electrified public transportation across Latin America. 

So much so that in April 2019, the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, made an exclusive visit to BYD's global headquarters in Shenzhen as part of a state visit to China, emphasizing the “unlimited opportunities” for future cooperation between his country and BYD.

BYD's electric buses are currently successfully serving markets in many Latin American countries, including Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay. Globally, BYD's electric buses and taxis have spread to more than 300 cities, in more than 50 countries and regions.