Saturday, 3 June 2023

£20m Reading Green Park Station Opens To The Public

Reading Green Park Station welcomed passengers on 27th May.

The new station has two platforms, two car parks, a bus interchange, a taxi rank and cycle parking facilities.

It is Reading's first new station since the opening of Reading West on 1 July 1906 and has been built by the council, Network Rail and Great Western Railway.

Half-hourly services will run north to Reading and south to Basingstoke.

The station will also help to ease congestion on the A33 road and unlock growth potential in the south of Reading.

Reading Borough Council previously said the station would provide another option for football fans heading to Reading FC's Madejski Stadium on match days.


The station includes:Two fully-accessible platforms

An overbridge providing access to both platforms via stairs and lifts

A bus interchange and cycle parking facilities

Two car parks (managed by Reading Borough Council), including 12 blue badge spaces and drop-off parking

A ticket hall, complete with toilets, ticket gates and ticket machines

Live train departure screens

Help points

Making the work happen

The station has been delivered by Reading Borough Council, with support from Network Rail and Great Western railway, with funding support from:Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, 
Great Western Railway, Department for Transport, Network Rail Plus Local Developer Contributions

Friday, 2 June 2023

Turntide Technologies Named Preferred Supplier for Design and Supply of Traction Battery Systems for Hitachi Rail

 Turntide Technologies, the North East-based developer of breakthrough electrification and sustainable operations technologies, has been named the preferred supplier for the design and supply of traction battery systems for Hitachi’s intercity battery train trial.

The North East England partnership is working towards a UK trial to demonstrate how its battery technology can simultaneously reduce emissions and fuel costs. This pioneering technology stands to make the UK a global leader in intercity battery train technology.

This agreement and the potential mass production of the Hitachi battery management system would lead to high-quality production line jobs at Turntide’s design and production facilities in Gateshead, Sunderland and Cramlington in the North East and represents Hitachi’s commitment to engaging, where possible, with local suppliers in close proximity to its County Durham manufacturing base.

It also represents a significant development in building a supply chain cluster in the region to support the electrification of transport outside of passenger cars, which can support UK and international decarbonisation ambitions.

In addition to being named as a preferred supplier, Turntide received the Hitachi Rail Partner Award for Sustainability. The award recognises Turntide’s outstanding work developing and manufacturing the battery system prototype for Hitachi’s reduced emissions bi-mode and tri-mode trains.

Installing battery technology on a Hitachi intercity train will help cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions by at least 20%. Battery and hybrid trains provide a much faster, more affordable alternative to electrifying tens of thousands of kilometers of track across the UK or millions of kilometers globally.

These trains can switch seamlessly between diesel power, overhead electric power, or battery power. They can run on battery power alone, effectively bridging between electrified stretches of track or when entering/existing stations.

“The innovation and ingenuity that Turntide brings to electrification is exemplary, and we are delighted to name the company as our preferred battery systems supplier,” said Jim Brewin, chief director for UK & Ireland, Hitachi Rail.

“We also recognise the importance of building local supply chains, which makes this appointment even more significant and highlights the role North East England has to play in electrification.”

He added: “The electric car industry has already proved battery solutions. The real challenge has been to scale this technology designed to power a two-tonne vehicle for a 200 to 400-tonne train. It’s not as simple as just making the battery bigger. Hitachi Rail’s engineers, in collaboration with Turntide, have been working for more than a year on creating the necessary algorithms and software to achieve this upscaling.”

Mark Cox, general manager of Turntide’s transport business unit, said, “Recognition for the development of this battery system speaks to the level of collaboration and expertise the Turntide team brings to complex electrification projects. We possess the advanced skills necessary to assist clients such as Hitachi Rail in overcoming the technical challenges associated with electrifying passenger rail cars and decreasing carbon emissions in the railway sector.”

The electrification of passenger trains is a crucial step towards reducing carbon emissions and achieving net-zero goals. Hitachi and Turntide’s partnership and commitment to innovation will help create a sustainable future for the UK and decarbonise the transportation industry.

Turntide’s transport division offers a world-class suite of high-performance electrification components, including batteries, inverters, fans, pumps, and EV motors. 
With more than 60 years of electrification expertise and 300,000+ vehicles in the field, Turntide is a trusted partner to leading OEMs in construction, agriculture, trucks, buses, marine, rail, and hypercars. 
From initial concept and prototyping to validation, Turntide’s end-to-end approach reduces supply chain risks and speeds time to market by working with a single supplier.

Thursday, 1 June 2023

North Western 100 Centenary

Ken Jones visited the North Western 100, a special event that celebrated the centenary of the North Western Road Car Company.

The North Western company was once a familiar presence across much of Greater Manchester, Cheshire and the Peak District. It was split up in the 1970s, but it’s still remembered fondly and this event celebrated the days of red and cream North Western vehicles.

As well as visiting vehicles, there were displays about the old company including photographs, documents, uniforms and other memorabilia; as well as free heritage bus rides using preserved North Western buses, and buses that ran in the North Western area.

Ken's photos below show some of vehicles that were in attendance.

Many thanks to Ken Jones for the photos. If you attend any transport events during 2023 please feel free to send photos to

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Wrightbus 'GB Kite Electroliner' Classed As The Most Efficient On UK’s Roads.

Wrightbus has hit another green milestone after its single deck Zero Emission Bus was classed as the most efficient on the UK’s roads.

Official assessments undertaken at UTAC’s Millbrook proving ground, using the ZEMO-accredited Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) test showed that the GB Kite Electroliner achieved a result of 0.66 kWh/km. 
This is around three-quarters of the energy consumed by its closest electric single deck UK rival.

Not only is it more energy-efficient, but according to ZEB test calculations, the GB Kite Electroliner also produces an impressive 86 per cent less CO2 per km than the diesel baseline.

The results mean operators using the GB Kite over its rivals could prevent 3.8 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year for each bus in their fleet, as well as saving over £4,300 per bus in running costs.

For a fleet of 100 buses, over a 15-year lifecycle, that is the equivalent of a reduction of 5,650 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and a saving of £6.5 million.

Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive at Wrightbus, said: “We are rightly proud that our Streetdeck Electroliner is recognised as the world’s most efficient electric double deck bus, and we have taken that technology into the development of our single decks.

“The GB Kite, which we unveiled at the end of 2021, shares 85% of the components and technology that make up the Streetdeck and the rationale behind this is borne out by the impressive results from UTAC.

“We have a tremendous reputation for our zero-emissions fleet, both BEV and hydrogen fuel cell, and we continue to build on that. We have the best brains in the business working at Wrightbus and we will take these innovations forward as we develop the next generation of zero emission buses.”

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Bus Partnership Celebrates First Year of Progress

 A PIONEERING partnership between local bus operators and Leicester City Council has already made 75 per cent of its planned improvements to services and routes within its first year.

The Leicester Bus Partnership was launched in May 2022 to bring together all local bus operators and the council, working and investing together under an agreed long-term plan.

It set out 100 key improvements to be made by 2025, focusing on making bus travel electric, reliable, frequent, easy and great value to use.

A year on from its launch, 75 of those pledges have been delivered, with the rest on track by summer 2024.

The improvements already made include:Award-winning contactless ticketing, giving travellers a capped best value fare for any combination of trips undertaken over a day or week – a UK first outside London

Six Greenlines routes with 24 brand new electric buses, including the recent free Hop! city centre circular
The brand-new eco-friendly St Margaret’s Bus and Coach Station
Over 600 real time displays and 450 new shelters at key bus stops
An optimised bus network with co-ordinated timetables and duplicated services removed
Discounted ticketing for unemployed people, Park and Ride users, eligible pupils and health workers
New bus lanes in the city centre, Groby Road, Melton Road and Abbey Park Road
A new website with ticketing and service information across all operators

Improvements due to be delivered over the next year include:86 electric buses over the First network, with most coming in from May to September this year

24 electric buses on key Arriva routes

Significant bus priority on Abbey Lane, Anstey Lane and Bennion Road
More real-time information displays on key routes

By the end of the year, half of all Leicester’s bus travellers could be using electric buses along routes which have been significantly improved to make them far easier and better value to use.

Leicester deputy city mayor for transportation, climate emergency and clean air, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “This is fantastic progress, and shows what can be gained by working together on a common goal to improve transport across the city and nearby areas.

“The partnership approach has enabled us to look at what changes would really benefit passengers, and to support the bus operators in making improvements as part of an overall plan for the city.

“It’s been a very positive process, as shown by the amount of work we’ve achieved already as a partnership. It has enabled us to work together on taking a big step forward in making Leicester’s public transport greener, more reliable and more easily accessible for all users.”

Chair of the Leicester Bus Partnership Forum, Dawn Badminton-Capps, added: “Despite the lack of Government funding, Leicester City Council Enhanced Partnership has achieved some excellent results in just its first year.

“The board and its partners will continue to build on this success and strive to deliver the best services possible for Leicester's buses.”

First’s Interim Managing Director for Midlands and South Yorkshire, Mike Watson, said: “It is a privilege for First to be involved in this pioneering partnership and it shows what can be achieved with a combination of exceptional civic leadership, highly-skilled officers and collaborative industry partners.”

More information is available on the Leicester Buses website here.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Translink Unveils New Zero Emission Foyle Metro Bus Fleet

Translink has unveiled its new zero emission Foyle Metro bus fleet at a special preview event in Derry~Londonderry.

State-of-the-art Wrightbus single decker and double decker buses were on display at Guildhall Square, providing key stakeholders and members of the public with the opportunity to step on board and experience the future of public transport first hand.

The 38-vehicle fleet made up of 
GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV's will be in operation later this year, making Derry~Londonderry one of the first cities in the UK and Ireland to run a fully zero emission urban bus service.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Sandra Duffy, said: “We are delighted that the Foyle Metro fleet will soon become a zero emission fleet. As the first Council in the North to declare a climate emergency, this step fully aligns with our aspirations to meaningfully tackle this important issue. I would encourage all of our citizens to make the most of this service and leave the car at home where possible.”

Ian Campbell, Director of Service Operations, Translink, said: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to showcase this new fleet and I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came along and to the Department for Infrastructure for essential funding to deliver these new buses.

“Transport has a significant role to play in tackling the climate crisis. This project supports Translink’s vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and operate a zero emissions fleet across Northern Ireland by 2040 – all of which is vital for tackling the climate emergency and driving change for a better quality of life for future generations.

“More people making the switch to cleaner, greener public transport and active travel will help deliver a better future for our people, our planet and our prosperity. As a new era in emissions-free public transport emerges, we look forward to welcoming you on board the new zero emission Foyle Metro service later this year,” said Ian.

The buses are being supplied by Northern Ireland-based manufacturer Wrightbus.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Translink in the drive to transform transport in Northern Ireland and help build a more sustainable future.

“Our electric buses - the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV - are manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.

“We’re proud to say our StreetDeck Electroliner BEV is the world’s most efficient double deck battery-electric bus and we have taken that technology into the development of our single deck which has also been classed as the most efficient on the UK’s roads.

“We’ve created the most efficient vehicles by combining optimum power with a class-leading rapid charge, meaning our electric buses spend more time on the road than any other.

“We’re confident passengers in Derry~Londonderry will enjoy the experience.”

Work is also underway to install 22 electric vehicle chargers in the Pennyburn Garage, enabling 44 buses to be charged sequentially overnight, with future proofing for an additional 19 bus charging stations.

The zero emission Foyle Metro project forms part of Translink’s transformational plans to support the decarbonisation of transport in Northern Ireland.

For more information visit: and follow @Translink_NI #BetterConnected.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

London Underground 160th Birthday Special Trains Using 1938 Stock

 Celebrate 160 years of London Underground with journeys on a vintage Tube train

In 1863, the world’s first underground railway opened in London. Since then, London Underground has grown to become an iconic part of London life for residents and visitors alike.

To commemorate the Tube’s 160th birthday this year, LT are running return journeys from Acton Town to Heathrow T4, and journeys via Heathrow T4 to Northfields, on the beautifully restored Art Deco style 1938 Stock train - a relic of London’s transport past and one of the capital’s longest serving Tube trains.

Activities will take place at Acton Town station before embarking the trip. Chat to costumed actors to be transported to key moments in the Underground’s history, take a selfie with our #LoveTheTube wall, get crafty making an Oyster card holder, and check out transport collectibles and ephemera at London Transport Museum’s Friends stall.

Refreshments are available from local cafes in Acton Town. Please note that no food or drink can be taken onto the train.

About the 1938 Stock

The 1938 Stock was the first kind of Tube train to have all of the electrical equipment underneath the floor, combining the latest technology of the era with quintessential late 1930s style.

These trains served London, on several deep-level Tube lines, for half a century. The beautifully restored electrified train is made up of four cars complete with green and red moquette seating, grab handles and distinctive Art Deco light fittings.


Departure times

The route for this event is between Acton Town station and Heathrow Terminal 4 (return). There are four journeys per day.

Please note that the second journey each day will travel from Acton Town to Heathrow Terminal 4, then terminate at Northfields station, rather than continuing through to Acton Town.
Journey departure times and routes Saturday 10 June 10:49 – 11:49 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
12:35 – 13:25 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Northfields
14:45 – 15:39 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
16:05 – 16:59 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town

Journey departure times and routes Sunday 11 June10:57 – 11:58 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
12:38 – 13:33 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Northfields
14:58 – 15:58 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
16:18 – 17:18 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town

Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the departure time on your ticket.

Stewards will be on board the train throughout the journey.

Saturday, 27 May 2023

More Frequent Trains and New Journey Options Mark One Year of Elizabeth Line Operation

The full peak Elizabeth line timetable was introduced on Sunday 21 May 2023 resulting in trains running roughly every two and a half minutes between Paddington and Whitechapel at peak time, with frequencies increased to up to 24 trains per hour in both directions with new timetable.

Services will also run all day between Shenfield and Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5) for the first time, with two trains per hour providing direct connectivity between Essex, east London and west London. In total, six Elizabeth trains per hour will run all day
Unfortunately the plan to run direct trains between Reading and Shenfield will not now take place in these latest timetable changes.

Peak time frequencies will increase from 22 to up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, with 16 trains per hour running off-peak. There will be 12 trains per hour running between Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood in the peak, restoring the frequency that was in place between May and November 2022 to a train around every five minutes. The peak will also now last for longer, increasing capacity even further.

 There is also the addition of more services at peak time between Liverpool Street National Rail station (platforms 15 -17) and Gidea Park, providing a faster route for those exiting to Bishopsgate.

In the west, there will be an increase in peak services from Reading, with some trains that were previously operated by Great Western Railway transferring to become Elizabeth line services with reduced stops.

There will also be the removal of any significant pauses for trains between Paddington and Acton Main Line, as has been the case with some trains waiting between the stations since November 2022 while they waited to join Network Rail tracks or enter Elizabeth line tunnels. These pauses were built into the timetable, but customers on these services should see reduced journey times between Reading and Paddington and improved journey times for customers travelling from the west into central London.

Customers will receive more frequent services to and from Heathrow Airport as part of this timetable. The airport overall will receive six Elizabeth trains per hour all day. All Heathrow trains stop at Terminal 2&3, with four per hour continuing to Terminal 4, and two per hour continuing to Terminal 5.

Heathrow Airport has also improved signage at the airport, which should make it clearer for customers, particularly those visiting London or using the Elizabeth line for the first time.

Wednesday 24 May also marks one year of Transport for London (TfL) operating the Elizabeth line, and more than 140 million customer journeys have taken place so far, with around 600,000 journeys now being made each weekday.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Delivering the Elizabeth line has been transformational for our city, with hundreds of thousands of Londoners and visitors now enjoying the fast and reliable trains each day. The introduction of the final timetable next month marks the last milestone of the Crossrail project and will enable the Elizabeth line to provide even more frequent, speedier journeys and better connect the capital."

Andy Lord, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "The Elizabeth line has transformed the lives of Londoners and the experience for visitors to the city in just under a year of TfL operating the service. With this new timetable, those travelling through central London will have a train arriving around every two and a half minutes, those using Heathrow Airport will have more regular services, and time will be shaved off many journeys from Reading, Heathrow and into central London. Those on the east will also benefit from twice hourly services to the airport, linking Essex and west London on the line for the first time."

The introduction of this timetable will mark the final milestone of the Crossrail project and provide higher frequencies, greater connectivity and faster journey times for those using the Elizabeth line. Step-free access is available at all 41 stations on the route.

Friday, 26 May 2023

National Express Carrying More Manchester Passengers to London Than Ever Before

National Express has announced that more people than ever before are travelling on its Manchester - London services.

The UK’s leading scheduled coach operator has seen an 83%* increase in passengers than it used to before the pandemic. It now operates 12 services a day to London from Chorlton Street coach station, with advance tickets from £8.90 one way, offering customers an affordable, reliable and greener way to travel to the capital.

Caetano Levante IIIA fitted with Orlaco’s ‘Mirroreye’ system, replacing conventional mirrors

Andy Leonard, National Express’ Senior Coach Station Manager for the North, said: “We know many of our passengers have had a difficult time on the West Coast Mainline recently and have chosen to travel on our coaches, some for the first time.

“It’s great to see that customers are switching to us and enjoying hassle-free, great value travel. As a result we’re putting on more coaches than ever before to serve the growing demand.”

National Express is also expanding its Transpennine network. From 5 May, the 170 and 171 services linking Leeds, Manchester, Manchester Airport and Liverpool will increase from eight to 13 services a day. The company has also invested in three new vehicles to serve this route.

Passengers can expect a safe and comfortable experience on board, with leather reclining seats, free wi-fi, air conditioning, USB power sockets and a generous luggage allowance of up to 20kg.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund Phase Two Launched at Alexander Dennis Headquarters in Larbert

Alexander Dennis, a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. has announced that it hosted the launch of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund phase two (ScotZEB 2).
The Scottish Government launched the second phase of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund at the Alexander Dennis global headquarters and factory in Larbert, where it was announced that ScotZEB 2 will have up to £58 million available in grant funding.

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies (2nd from left) and Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart (centre) with Alexander Dennis apprentices Matthew Calderwood, Ben Malcolm and Luke Przybylinski, who are about to embark on support function roles in Quality, Process Engineering and Continuous Improvement for the next generation of Alexander Dennis electric vehicles, which will be built in Larbert. They are all completing a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at Forth Valley College.

Introduced in 2021, the aim of the ScotZEB challenge fund is to encourage significant change in the bus market in favour of zero-emission technologies, creating sustainable and inclusive growth. By supporting the swift transition to zero emission vehicles and infrastructure, ScotZEB aims to help achieve targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to the delivery of Low Emission Zones, encourage inward investment and growth in the supply chain of zero carbon vehicle and energy solutions in Scotland, with associated employment, economic and social benefits.

This second phase of the challenge fund expands eligibility to include financiers, manufacturers, community groups and others in the industry to work together collaboratively on applications to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses.

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to host the Scottish Government’s launch of ScotZEB 2 right here in our Larbert facility, which we are currently upgrading to make it a manufacturing centre of excellence for our zero-emission buses. As a proud member of the bus decarbonisation taskforce, we have stepped up to the mark and delivered on the ask to create a small electric bus with our Enviro100EV. We are committed to supporting the just transition of decarbonising transport and funding from ScotZEB will be a welcome support for the jobs the industry offers in our communities if it benefits us and other Scottish suppliers.

“The Enviro100EV is a real all-rounder, offering an unbeatable 354kWh of battery capacity delivering a range of up to 285 miles in a manoeuvrable vehicle that will be just as much at home in housing estates of bigger cities as it will be in the more rural parts of Scotland. Alongside this big small bus available for delivery in 2024 we have our next-generation Enviro400EV double decker, creating the perfect proposition for bus operators of all sizes looking to electrify their fleets.”

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: “The Scottish Government has already invested £113 million towards 548 zero-emission buses and supporting infrastructure, and I’m really pleased to now be making a further £58 million available.

“Launching the second phase of the ScotZEB Challenge Fund honours this Government’s pledge to drive forward a fully decarbonised future for Scotland’s buses; supporting operators of all sizes, including community transport, school bus and coach operators to transform their vehicles to zero-emissions and install infrastructure which can be shared with other fleets to help them make the switch too.

“We all have a part to play in tackling the global climate emergency. Bus is currently one of the most climate friendly transport choices the public can make, and I want to keep it that way for communities across all of Scotland.

“I will continue to challenge the bus and finance sectors to deliver excellence for Scotland and by launching ScotZEB 2, I hope to see truly transformational, collaborative change in the bus market towards a zero-emission future.”


Wednesday, 24 May 2023

National Express Coventry Trialling Yutong E12 Electric Single Decker Bus

National Express Coventry is trialling a fully electric Yutong bus on the city’s roads this month.

Yutong’s single decker E12 bus can carry up to 70 passengers and is currently on loan to National Express from Welsh bus operator Newport Transport.

It is in service on National Express Coventry’s 20, 20A and 20B services between Coventry, Bedworth and Nuneaton from Tuesday 16 May 2023.

Customers boarding the bus can expect to notice the super smooth and quiet journey, as well as features such as air conditioning and USB chargers.

National Express Coventry’s trial period will enable the local bus operator to gather driver and customer feedback while testing the E12’s zero-emission capabilities.

The region’s largest bus operator is already leading from the front with its transition to zero-emission vehicles. In 2019 National Express announced it had bought its last diesel bus and pledged to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2030.

It currently has over 100 fully electric double decker buses serving routes across Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry. A further 20 hydrogen double decker buses operate on its 51 service between Birmingham and Walsall.

In January this year National Express announced it was investing a further £150 million in 300 UK-made electric zero emission buses to be deployed across the West Midlands. The brand-new buses will be delivered by the end of 2024.

David Bradford, Managing Director of National Express Coventry, said:

“Buses are the most used form of transport here in the West Midlands. Not only do our bus services play a key role in keeping people connected, they are also critical to driving down harmful emissions.

“Getting more people to ditch their cars and switch to the bus is vital to tackling climate change and we’re proud to be leading the way with more and more sustainable transport choices for our new and existing customers.

“We’re grateful to Newport Transport for allowing us to borrow their Yutong bus and look forward to testing it on our routes operating out of Coventry so we can better understand capabilities and efficiencies under our usual operating conditions.”

Official tests show that Yutong’s E12 single decker bus can operate up to 250 miles on a single charge. It takes less than two and a half hours to fully charge the vehicle.

To date, Yutong’s zero emission vehicles have travelled over 21.2 billion miles and claim to be the most tried, tested and proven zero emission bus in the world.

See here to read the posting about the National Express Coventry trial of the eCitaro that took place earlier this year

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Biggest Timetable Shake-up As GWR Responds to Changes in Passenger Travel Patterns

Following an extensive review to give those travelling the right services at the times they wish to travel, the new spring timetable will deliver almost a 5% increase in train services every day across the GWR network.

As part of these improvements, 65 extra trains a week will be provided in South Wales, and 44 additional train services every day will serve the wider Bristol area.

The changes will help deliver on long-planned ambitions across the network and will see around 20% of all trains retimed to better suit passenger needs, providing greater value for money for taxpayers and leaner and greener travel options on public transport.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “I am really excited to say that this new timetable provides the biggest shake-up in service levels since the introduction of Intercity Express trains – providing more trains where they are needed most and reflecting changes in travel patterns.

“We will deliver more train services, serving even more stations, and providing greater value for money for taxpayers.”

This includes changes to London and Thames Valley services, bringing greater connectivity with Elizabeth Line destinations; a significant number of extra trains in South Wales better connecting Carmarthen to Swansea and beyond towards London. Further enhancements as part of the MetroWest scheme will take place, doubling GWR services between Gloucester and Bristol, and adding an extra train an hour between Westbury and Bristol.

The number of GWR services on an average weekday will increase from 1643 in May 2019 to 1720 in May 2023.

Passengers will also benefit from carbon reductions from changes in the type of train used on some routes. 

Detailed service changes are now available in online journey planners and through GWR’s Journey Check service and those used to catching a specific train should check their journey in advance.

Monday, 22 May 2023

Stagecoach Launch The First of Thirty New Electric Buses in Cambridge

Passengers have begun to travel on the first of 30 new Volvo BZL Electric double-deck buses – the first of their kind to be delivered into a UK customer’s fleet – as part of the largest investment in Cambridge’s bus network in a decade. The new vehicles will help to tackle air pollution and encourage more people to travel by bus.

The zero tailpipe emission buses are being introduced into service between 14 May and mid-June, across multiple Park and Ride sites. At this point the five Cambridge Park and Ride and Citi 2 services will be fully electrified, and Stagecoach’s Cambridge bus fleet will be 31 per cent electric.

 The launch of the vehicles took place in Duxford on 12 May, signifying a major milestone in the commitment to a rolling bus replacement programme to replace 30 vehicles a year across the Combined Authority area, with an ambition to convert the region’s entire bus fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2030.

From left - Cllr Rosy Moore, Gwen Jones Operations manager of Stagecoach, Steve Zanker Commercial Director of Stagecoach, Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Cllr Ian Bates, Rachel Stopard Chief Executive of Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cllr Tim Bick


Each vehicle has been funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Stagecoach East and the Department for Transport following a successful bid to the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.

 Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “It’s fantastic to finally see these buses in Cambridge. This is a landmark moment for our bus network, and these 30 electric vehicles are marking a turning point for public transport in the region.

“Removing 30 diesel buses from our historic city and replacing them with these new vehicles will not only have a positive impact on the health of our region by reducing air and noise pollution, but will also help in the broader fight against climate change as we embrace these new and exciting technologies. I look forward to seeing these buses on our roads and to the next steps we will be taking to ensure that all buses and taxis operating within the Combined Authority area are zero emissions by 2030.”


Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “Everything about the design, build and specification of our new 100% electric buses is premium, and these first 30 vehicles are ready to deliver the cleanest, quietest, and most comfortable journeys of any vehicle in the Stagecoach East fleet. For the local community and drivers alike, they mark a real upgrade in service, and we are confident they will play a key role in supporting Stagecoach East’s ambitious sustainability goals.”


Cllr Elisa Meschini, Chair of the GCP’s Executive Board, said: “This new fleet of vehicles is a major step forward in transforming the bus network and demonstrates our collective commitment to improving journeys and tackling the climate challenge.

 “We hope these cleaner, greener vehicles will encourage more people to get out of their car and take the bus to work, school or to see friends – helping to cut congestion and improve air quality to make our city a better place to live, work and visit.”


Darren Roe, Managing Director at Stagecoach East, said: “Cambridgeshire has always led the way when it comes to encouraging a greener and cleaner approach to transport. That’s why we're thrilled that this fleet of electric buses will give people a greener way to travel. It means nearly a third of our Cambridge fleet is now electric. It’s a big investment and part of Stagecoach’s sustainability strategy as we work alongside councils and other partners to decarbonise our nationwide bus network and transition to a 100% electric bus fleet by 2035. Everyone who switches to zero emission buses is doing their bit to tackle air pollution and helping to cut carbon emissions across our communities."


The Volvo BZL Electric buses provide a fantastic passenger experience, with zero tailpipe emissions and near-silent journeys. Drivers will also benefit from a calm and quiet workspace, which reduces stress and improves comfort, aided by a world-class ergonomic design and logical layout.


Volvo’s chassis makes the most of the smooth electric propulsion, resulting in less vibration when driving. Plus, for residents and business situated along the routes, they benefit from cleaner air and reduced noise.


The driveline has been developed entirely by Volvo using the Group’s breadth of experience in zero tailpipe emission technologies, including for trucks, construction equipment, marine and industrial power units. It uses a 200 kW electric motor coupled to a two-stage automated gearbox, which increases wheel torque at low speed and evens out current peaks, thereby reducing energy consumption and sustaining motor and battery health. This ensures optimum performance for Stagecoach East’s busy operations.


Like the Volvo BZL Electric single deck buses already in service within other parts of the Stagecoach operation, Volvo Buses has worked in close partnership with MCV Bus and Coach to develop the aluminium double-deck bodywork for the new range, tailoring it specifically for UK fleets. 

 To accommodate its expanding fleet, Stagecoach East is also investing £2 million into charging infrastructure for its Cambridge depot, to provide smart charging overnight.

Sunday, 21 May 2023 and Jet2holidays Celebrate Brand-New Airbus A321 neo Aircraft Coming Into Operation and Jet2holidays have celebrated the first of their brand-new Airbus A321 neo aircraft coming into service/

To support their ongoing growth and to refresh their existing fleet, Jet2 plc has purchased 98 firm ordered Airbus A321/A320 neo aircraft, which could eventually extend to 146 aircraft. With a capacity of 232 passengers. The new Airbus A321 neo aircraft enables and Jet2holidays to grow more sustainably in line with the demand for award-winning flights and holidays.

To celebrate the first of their new Airbus A321 neo aircraft coming into operation, the airline and package holiday specialist surprised customers on a flight from Manchester Airport to Malaga with a voucher offering them £100 per booking off their next package holiday with Jet2holidays. Customers also received a VIP welcome at Manchester Airport with a red-carpet, as well as refreshments and goodie bags handed out to them at the departure gate.

The new Airbus A321 neo aircraft demonstrates Jet2’s commitment to sustainability and its vision to become one of the leading brands in sustainable air traveli and package holidays, as they deliver an almost 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per seat against previous generation single aisle aircraft models.

The flight follows the recent announcement by Jet2 plc that it is making a major investment into a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production plant to be constructed in the North West of England – one of the first such deals in UK aviation. 
The agreement will see Jet2 plc invest an equity stake in the Fulcrum NorthPoint facility and expect to receive more than 200 million litres of SAF over a 15-year period, which would be one of the longest SAF supply agreements currently.

As well as further reducing emissions per passenger, the fleet of new aircraft will support the ongoing growth at and Jet2holidays, which has seen the companies put their biggest ever flights and holidays programme on sale for Summer 2023. 
This summer, a fleet of 119 aircraft will operate from across the companies’ ten UK bases, flying to 56 sunshine destinations. This represents 15.2 million seats on sale for Summer 23, a capacity increase of over 7% when compared to Summer 22.

Steve Heapy, CEO at & Jet2holidays said: “The first of the brand-new Airbus A321 neo aircraft to come into operation this week is a real milestone in the history of and Jet2holidays. 
As more of these new aircraft come into our fleet, they will play a huge role in supporting our continued growth, whilst providing more choice, comfort and quality than ever before for our customers.”

He added: “As well as ensuring that we continue to deliver our award-winning customer experience, in our view the Airbus A321 neo is one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class. 
As such, these aircraft are ensuring that we deliver a VIP customer service whilst further reducing emissions per passenger. This makes this week a very exciting time for and Jet2holidays as we welcome the first of the brand-new aircraft into the fleet, and we look forward to welcoming even more customers onboard.”

Saturday, 20 May 2023

Taunton's Berrys Coaches Partners with FlixBus to Offer New Routes to Northern Cities

A Somerset coach company has agreed a new partnership to offer new routes to the North of England.

Berrys Coaches has doubled its partnership with FixBus ahead of summer to offer a new route between Taunton and Newcastle. The new daily service, which launched on April 27, offers journeys to cities including Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol University of West England and Bristol city centre.

Berrys, Established in 1920, began working with FlixBus in 2021 and made the partnership official in April 2022, with Berrys joining the green FlixBus network to launch the Plymouth-London line. Berrys Coaches is now expanding its fleet with the brand.

Andreas Schorling, managing director of FlixBus UK said: “This is a fantastic partnership, based on our shared values and entrepreneurial spirit of the Berrys team. The company has significant experience in express coaches which means they consistently deliver high quality.

“We’re delighted that Berrys has doubled their commitment to our network, bolstering the long-term partnership with new connections in line with passenger demand. We look forward to working together for decades to come!”

In addition to FlixBus work, Berrys has a diverse portfolio, including day tours, coach hire as well as a superfast service to London from Somerset and Wiltshire, which launched in 1983.

James Berry, transport and general manager of Berrys Coaches added: “FlixBus’ vision for long-term expansion appealed to us from the off and we’re witnessing their ambition to become the UK’s largest coach provider coming to life! Berrys has extensive experience in long-distance express work, which has helped us to assess the Flix model as the right choice.

“We have had a really enjoyable year building a truly equal relationship, and we’re looking forward to delivering more routes than ever before. Embarking on a partnership at an early stage in FlixBus’ growth journey has proved a strong strategic decision for Berrys, and we’re proud to be a part of the revolution of the UK coach industry.”

The recent network expansion, which coincided with FlixBus’ second anniversary in the UK, means that the sustainable travel tech company now serves 50 destinations across England, Scotland and Wales.

Flixbus website here 
Berrys website here