Saturday, 17 August 2019

Virgin Takes Delivery of First Airbus A350-1000


Virgin Atlantic has become the second UK airline in the space of a few weeks to take delivery of an Airbus A350-1000, with the formal handing over of its first aircraft in Toulouse.




The airline states on social media: “We are the officially the proud owners of our first A350-1000, Red Velvet.”

The hand-over comes after its London-Heathrow based rival British Airways took delivery of its first A350-1000 in July and introduced the type into service last week. Click 
here for story.

Virgin’s first aircraft, registration G-VLUX, has been officially accepted at the Airbus delivery centre at Toulouse-Blagnacairport. 



It is the first of 12 of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered aircraft the airline has on order, with deliveries due through to 2021. Virgin says the new wide-body will initially operate between London Heathrow and New York John F Kennedy, with the inaugural flight due to be flown on 10 September. The airline has not yet confirmed any other routes.



A key new feature on Virgin’s A350-1000s is a revamped on-board bar dubbed “The Loft” Virgin says that “as the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends”.

Friday, 16 August 2019

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday & Sunday 31st August & 1st September - Seaton

A Jurassic Mule Reunion Gala Weekend is being held on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September, with free heritage services on the old 124 route as well as 2 other local services, all based out of Seaton's Underfleet Coach Park.

Although the event is free, passengers are encouraged to buy a programme, which contains timetables and vehicle details. The programmes can be bought on Ebay (details below)
Holders of programmes are entitled to a vehicle allocation supplement when they attend the event.




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Thursday, 15 August 2019

10th New Train for Northern


Northern has welcomed its tenth brand new train into customer service.


The Class 331 electric unit operated its maiden voyage 
on the Leeds to Doncaster route. 



Adding to the two new trains already carrying Northern’s customers between West and South Yorkshire, the new vehicle boasts free WiFi, air conditioning and at-seat charging.


 A new Northern 195 CAF diesel unit in service at Windermere station on 12th July

Seven other new trains, Class 195 diesels, are also operating between Cumbria and Manchester and Liverpool and Manchester Airport.



 Passengers waiting to board a new 195 unit at Windermere which has
 just arrived from  Manchester Airport





David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said:


“It’s fantastic to have these new trains serving our customers in Yorkshire and the North West, and this is just the start.

“Throughout the remainder of 2019 and into 2020 we will be bringing in 101 new trains – a £500m investment in local rail services in the north.”

“The new trains, funded by Eversholt and built by CAF, represent a huge improvement in design, quality and overall experience for our customers, and we are proud to be able to introduce them for the thousands of customers who’ll use them each day.”

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Snowdon Mountain Railway Orders Hybrid Locomotives from Clayton


Snowdon Mountain Railway has begun a programme of replacement for its existing diesel locomotives which began service in 1985.

The 123 year old railway began looking into replacement locomotives five years ago, after extensive market research and specification development, Clayton Equipment Limited has been chosen as the preferred supplier.



Clayton Equipment Limited are a UK based Locomotive manufacturer specialising in bespoke hybrid battery-diesel locomotives for use in tunnelling, metro and mining. The two new locomotives will be commissioned and ready for service for the start of the railways 2020 season in spring next year.

The new 800mm gauge hybrid locomotives will be driven by High Torque, maintenance free electric motors, and powered by traction battery and diesel generator. Snowdon Mountain Railway is an Abt Rack and Pinion Railway, the traction and braking is all taken through the pinions. On descent from the summit the diesel generator will be switched off whilst service braking recharges the battery ready for the locomotives next accent.

This configuration will lead to significant maintenance and fuel savings as the engines are lower power units than the existing diesel locomotives, are modern Euro Stage 5 compliant, will be quieter than the conventional diesel locomotives and with the lowered emissions, the reduced operating cycle will deliver significant fuel and carbon emission savings.



The new locomotives also allow for added passenger capacity. As part of the requirements specification process Snowdon Engineers and Operators investigated the possibility of carrying passengers on-board a larger locomotive. The Clayton proposal allows up to an extra 12 passengers per train, allowing Snowdon Mountain Railway to extend their existing service.

Mike Robertshaw, Senior Engineering Manager at Snowdon Mountain Railway said:

“The existing diesel Locomotives have been the backbone of Snowdon Mountain Railway since their introduction in 1985. Investing in these two new hybrid locomotives is a great opportunity for the railway to move the fleet forward into the next generation.



The proposal offered by Clayton allows us to push Snowdon Mountain Railway into a new era of fuel efficiency, emission reductions and take a radical step forward for the business.”
Clive Hannaford, Managing Director at Clayton Equipment Ltd said:

“We’re proud to support the Snowdon Mountain Railway with the introduction of the new locomotives.

The locomotives are the first of its type designed and built in the UK for over 27 years.”

The new locos will be commissioned & ready for service for the start of the 2020 season in spring. 


Clayton 40 tonne, low emission, diesel locomotives have been used on the 118km Crossrail project on the London Underground.  
The locomotives have been used to run trains for the installation of track, cable management systems, cross passage doors, ventilation, walkways, drainage, fire mains and lighting.

For more information about Clayton Equipment visit www.claytonequipment.co.uk

Further information will be released as the project progresses. Snowdon Mountain Railway can be contacted at marketing@snowdonrailway.co.uk


Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Plaxton Rally


Scarborough-based coachbuilder Plaxton, part of Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), hosted its first rally event to much anticipation on Thursday 8th August. 


42 Plaxton coaches from 32 operators participated in the competition and the winners were announced at a glitzy seaside-themed awards dinner at the Scarborough Spa that evening.



The event, held as a thank you to loyal customers and as a celebration of Plaxton’s 112-year history and diverse product range, welcomed 500 visitors throughout the day and raised a respectable £1,800 for its two chosen local charities: the RNLI to support Scarborough’s local lifeboat, named after the company’s founder Frederick William Plaxton, and Saint Catherine’s hospice.

Entrants were split into five age-based award categories as well as People’s Choice and Best in Rally before being judged by a panel of four industry experts. 



After the judging a cavalcade took place along Marine Drive which drew much attention from the local public.

After a closely fought competition, the winners were announced as follows:

 This 1996 Plaxton Excalibur was winner of the 1992 - 2010 category.
Henry Cooper Coaches are a long standing customer of Plaxton vehicles
and run an immaculate fleet based in Northumberland

Pre-1964: Johnson Bros., 1963 Panorama VAL


1965–1979: Kenzies Coaches, 1965 Panorama VAL


1980–1991: Sharpes of Nottingham, 1981 Supreme IV


1992–2010: Henry Cooper Coaches, 1996 Excalibur


2011–Present day: Country Lion, 2017 Elite


People’s Choice: Acklams Coaches, 2017 Elitei team coach


Best in Show: Johnson Bros., 1963 Panorama VAL



Winner of the pre-1964 section was this Johnson Bros., 1963 Panorama VAL


Richard Matthews, Retail Sales Director for Bus & Coach, said: “Congratulations to all the winners and a heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined us for this unique occasion! I couldn’t be more proud of the team for putting on such a fantastic event. It really was a celebration of what makes Plaxton great and we’re humbled by how much support we’ve received from the industry to make it happen.”



Visitors were given the opportunity to tour the Plaxton factory.
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Monday, 12 August 2019

Devon General Centenary Event

The Devon General Centenary Bus Rally & Running Day took place on Sunday 4 August at Newton Abbot Racecourse. Pictures taken at the event are shown below.

A century ago the Devon General Omnibus & Touring Company Ltd started operations in Exeter with three buses on two routes between Exeter and Torquay. With some changes, Stagecoach continues to operate both routes 100 years later. Hence a route 2 centenary run is one of the many events which the Devon General Society and Stagecoach organised for this year.

Five main events have been organised for 2019, the largest of which was the Centenary Bus Rally & Running Day on Sunday 4 August. 
An Open Day at Stagecoach’s Matford Depot in Exeter on Sunday 6 October will also take place. 
Click here to download a PDF of the full programme.



































Many thanks to Ken Jones and Kath Lomas King for their photographic contributions.
If you've attended a transport event recently please feel free to send a selection of pictures for inclusion on the Focus Transport website.
Send them to focustransport2011@gmail.com

Sunday, 11 August 2019

ADL Maintenance Contract for Enviro500's


Alexander Dennis has announced that it has signed a comprehensive contract to

provide maintenance services for the fleet of 90 Enviro500 used on Mexico City’s bus

rapid transit network, Metrobús. The five-year deal comes with the option to renew it

annually for the foreseeable operating life of the buses.





After 17 months in service on Metrobús Line 7, the 90 double deck buses have carried more

than 50 million passengers along the city’s iconic Paseo de la Reforma avenue, clocking up

nearly eight million kilometres in the process. Up to 150,000 people use the service every day.

Continuing from support provided to date, Alexander Dennis will now increase operating

efficiency by taking over preventative maintenance and daily checks from the fleet’s two

operating companies, Sky Bus Reforma and Operadora Línea 7. 
In leveraging economies of

scale by pooling the maintenance for both, Alexander Dennis will reduce the total cost of

ownership of the vehicles for Metrobús. Corrective maintenance is carried out as required,

while accident repairs will also be offered by Alexander Dennis on a competitive basis. The

operating companies remain in charge of cleaning, fuelling, and maintaining wheels and tyres.

Alexander Dennis has set up a facility at Maravillas bus depot, where a team of 14 mechanics and engineers will carry out the contracted services.

“With its comprehensive reach and long duration, this contract provides a sophisticated and
robust maintenance arrangement that surpasses everything provided to date in Mexico. It will demonstrate that in terms of total cost of ownership. 
Our Enviro500 double deck buses are a competitive solution in Mexico City and elsewhere,” says Gerardo Múgica, Director, Alexander Dennis Mexico.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Bear Cross Buses in Bournemouth

Residents and visitors to Bournemouth are able to take a five mile trip on a 1965 open top Daimler Fleetline which operates between the pier and Hengistbury Head.




The service is run by Bear Cross Bus who have operated the service for the last two years with a 1950 Leyland Titan Weymann bodied double decker. Restoration of the open top Fleetline has been completed, allowing it to enter service and give passengers the opportunity to appreciate the view of Bournemouth and Poole bays, Hengistbury Head and the Isle of Wight to the east together with the Purbeck Hills.




The regular Sunday route is:-

Route 12 – Bournemouth (Travel Interchange) / Bournemouth (Gervis Place) / Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier and Hengistbury Head

This route operates 5 return trips every Sunday until 25 August 2019.


Buses to/from Bournemouth Travel Interchange will use Stand B

Buses to/from Bournemouth (Gervis Place) will use Stand U

Buses to/from Bournemouth Pier will use Bus Stop HH, which the one closest to the BIC alongside the wall



Route 12 Return Fares Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head

Adult £7

Child £4

Family (2+3) £20

Senior £6


Other fares are available as passengers may travel between any stops along the route. 
A range of single and return fares are offered and for 2019 an adult day pass is offered at £13. All fares are cash only.


More information here

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Friday, 9 August 2019

Dutch Order for 20 Van Hool Fuel Cell Buses


As part of the concession for the northern part of the Netherlands earlier won by Dutch operator Qbuzz, the company have now placed an order for 20 fuel cell buses with Belgium manufacturer Van Hool. 

Also the transport authority OV-bureau Groningen Drenthe has granted Shell the order to build a hydrogen filling station in the city Groningen as well the contract to supply the hydrogen.



The transport authority OV-bureau, who are responsible for the franchise won by Qbuzz, has now given permission to Qbuzz to order these 20 fuel cell buses. Qbuzz had previously placed orders for a total of 164 electric buses. 
The 20 Van Hool fuel cell buses will come into operation in December 2020 and will have a range of 350 to 400 kilometre. The extended range will allow the 20 vehicles to operate on intercity routes in the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen.

Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool commented: "This is the second largest order for hydrogen buses, after the 40 hydrogen buses for Cologne-Wüppertal, since Van Hool started designing, developing and building hydrogen buses in 2005.” 



Van Hool has already built or is producing 131 hydrogen buses for North America (21) and Europe (110). The transport authority and Qbuzz already have been running a pilot project with two Van Hool fuel cell buses since December 2017.

In this northern part of the Netherlands there is now only one hydrogen filling station in the city of Delfzijl near 
Groningen, but this is an industrial plant owned by Nouryon, adapted to accommodate the fuel cell buses. 
To avoid having to drive 35 kilometres to the Nouryon filling station in Delfzijl, the transport authority has commissioned a filling station in the city Groningen for which Shell has won the contract.

The pilot project and the 20 new buses and filling station are financed by the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure, the EU via the project FCHJU (HighVLOCity en JIVE2) and the provinces Groningen and Drenthe.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

ADL Announce the Enviro400ER Electric Range Hybrid


Alexander Dennis (ADL) has announced that it is expanding the UK’s widest range of low and zero emission buses with the new Enviro400ER Electric Range hybrid double deck bus. 




Developed with BAE Systems, the Enviro400ER offers geofenced zero emission
capability, making it an ideal solution for pollution hotspots in towns and cities.

Based on the series hybrid technology proven in over 1,400 Alexander Dennis hybrid buses
in the UK, the new Enviro400ER provides an easy solution to meet local Ultra Low EmissionZones and zero emissions targets without the need for expensive charging infrastructure and without an impact on daily operational range.


The Enviro400ER can run for up to three miles in electric mode, with the exact distance depending on factors such as travel time and route profile. The vehicle utilises a 32kWh capacity energy storage system, comprising third generation lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery technology, as well as the same components as the latest generation Enviro400H hybrid bus. 
The battery does not need to be charged externally, avoiding costly infrastructure in depots or at termini.

 The Enviro400  is one of the UK's most popular double deck vehicles and has been continually improved since it was launched 


Arthur Whiteside, Managing Director UK Sales at Alexander Dennis, says: “Improving air
quality is on everyone’s agenda and Alexander Dennis supports these efforts with the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses. Our new Electric Range option offers a highly cost-effective way of introducing zero emissions capability with no need to change operational practices.”

Ian Wilson, Director of Business Development at BAE Systems, adds: “Our proven Electric Range hybrid technology provides an innovative and practical solution that is used in thousands of buses worldwide. This system delivers low emission operation wherever there is emerging demand for clean air zones, without the complication and expense of charging infrastructure.”

Brighton & Hove is the first UK bus operator to order the Enviro400ER. 30 Electric Range hybrid buses will join the Go-Ahead Group subsidiary’s fleet later this year for use on route 5, running in zero emissions mode in the centre of Brighton.



In July a fleet of fully electric BYD ADL Enviro400EV double deck buses were delivered to London bus operator, Metroline. See here for full details.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway which runs along the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border of the Cotswolds. 
The GWSR has restored and reopened around 14 miles of track, operating between Cheltenham Racecourse and recently to Broadway.
Ken Jones visited the recent Diesel Gala Event, pictures of which are shown below, together with pictures from a previous visit showing steam trains.


W51405 in carriage shed at Winchcombe 


 Diesels in the carriage shed, Class 20 D8137 in the foreground


5310 in ex works condition in Toddington yard 


Class 73/1 Diesel electric E6036 entering Winchcombe from Cheltenham 


45149 passes 47376


Awaiting token exchange at Winchcombe as a train approaches


79037903 Foremarke Hall - Modified Hall class,  being coaled
at Toddington before final trip of the day 


35006 35006 'Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co' - Rebuilt Merchant Navy class
 at Broadway ready to depart for Cheltenham Racecourse 


7903 meets 35006 at Toddington.  35006 was rescued from Barry in 1983 by its present owners who brought it to Toddington for restoration.

More information about the GWSR railway here at https://www.gwsr.com/

If you've visited a transport event this summer please feel free to submit a selection of your pictures to Focus Transport at focustransport2011@gmail.com. We will be publishing event pictures as part of our 'new look' Focus Transport site.

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