Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Crewe Heritage Centre Has Successfully Acquired the 8,000th Locomotive To Be Built At Crewe Works.

Thanks to a generous donation by Porterbrook, Crewe Heritage Centre has been able to secure a second HST Power Car (43 081) as a permanent exhibit at the museum. 
43 081 was built a short distance away from the Heritage Centre in March 1978 and is officially considered to be the 8,000 locomotive to be constructed at Crewe Locomotive Works.

43 081 arrived at the Heritage Centre on Monday 13th September, and team at the Heritage Centre say that they "really excited about our plans to restore this very special locomotive".

Its arrival also marks 45 years to the day (13 September 1976) that British Rail officially introduced the first High Speed Train into service (Source: BBC Archive).

Since entering service the HST’s have become a common sight throughout the country. The HST was originally developed as a low-cost stopgap whilst the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) was still in development. However the HST proved itself to be far more than a stopgap, successfully running for 45 years with numerous members of the fleet still in service today.

The HST's are still operated on frontline services by Cross Country, ScotRail and GWR as well as specialist companies such as Rail Charter Services.


Monday, 20 September 2021

Unique Rail Heritage Centre Officially Opened in Doncaster

Doncaster's Rail Heritage Centre which takes centre stage inside Danum Gallery, Library and Museum has been officially opened.

Doncaster Council, the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection and the National Railway Museum marked the occasion with a special ceremony.

The Rail Heritage Centre includes the Doncaster-built Green Arrow and Great Northern Railway ‘Atlantic’ locomotive no.251, loaned from the National Railway Museum, and masses of rail related exhibits and memorabilia from the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection. Many of these items are on display for the very first time and will be refreshed with additional exhibits at regular intervals.

The Centre showcases the importance of the rail industry and the pivotal role Doncaster and its world famous Plant Works have played in creating the history of rail.

Damian Allen, Chief Executive of Doncaster Council, who was present at the event, said:

“It is fantastic to welcome to Danum Gallery, Library and Museum the people who have contributed to making this astounding Rail Heritage Centre possible. It’s been a true partnership effort. Having two locomotives back home in Doncaster where they were built, complemented by an incredible array of rail related exhibits and artefacts is just incredible. Together they showcase the golden age of steam and the vital role Doncaster played in making it happen.”

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Culture and Planning, said:

“Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is a wonderful community asset and visitor attraction in Doncaster town centre. It features the restored frontage of the former Doncaster High School for Girls and many of its original features. It has modern libraries and educational facilities, fascinating museums, a great art gallery and, of course, a marvellous Rail Heritage Centre. The building offers visitors a remarkable experience as they are taken on a journey through Doncaster’s rich and varied history. It’s a place for people to learn and importantly enjoy. I thank everyone who contributed to this amazing Rail Heritage Centre.”

To mark the day, the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection have also released a new book titled: ‘Treasures in the Tower’. The book tells the story of the unique collection they built up over many decades. It’s available to purchase from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum shop and Doncaster Tourist Information Centre.’

Chris Barron, representing the DGSRC, commented:

“This is the result of a long, but successful, collaboration. The Trustees are delighted with the outstanding support we have received from the Council. We look forward to working alongside Heritage staff to make the collection better known and appreciated by local people and visitors from all over the world.”

Andrew McLean, Head Curator and Assistant Director at the National Railway Museum, said:

“The National Railway Museum is proud to partner with Doncaster Council to loan two of the most iconic of all Doncaster-built locomotives to add to the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum’s rich and fascinating displays. By celebrating Doncaster’s important contribution to the railways, I hope future generations will be inspired to make their own mark in continuing the engineering legacy of this great town.”

See our previous posting here

Sunday, 19 September 2021

ADL Delivers Six New ENVIRO200 Low Emission Buses to Atlantic Travel

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”) has announced that it has delivered six new Enviro200 low emission 41 seater single deck buses to Bolton-based operator Atlantic Travel (GB) Ltd.
The 10.8m long vehicles are equipped with ADL’s award-winning SmartPack* efficiency technology which enables Low Emission Bus certification, as well as belted ADL SmartSeats, a digital tachograph, white LED destination equipment and bonded glazing.

Atlantic Travel provides luxury coach travel across the UK as well as local bus services and has an extensive fleet of vehicles to meet these requirements. This is the company’s first order with ADL.

Director Yasser Dean said: “These buses are low carbon and will complement our existing fleet perfectly as we continue to grow and develop our offer to our customers.”

ADL Sales Account Manager Charlie Miller added: “We’re delighted to have delivered these buses to Atlantic Travel who are a new customer for us. The vehicles will be a high quality addition to their fleet and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

*SmartPack is centred on the smart management of alternator and air compressor, which are controlled to only charge during vehicle deceleration when they place no additional load on the engine. This is combined with engine stop/start technology, which ADL was the first manufacturer worldwide to bring to market in a diesel bus, as well as electrically-driven cooling fans and a vehicle mass reduction through structure optimisation. Enviro200 and Enviro400 buses with SmartPack are accredited as Low Emission Buses by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), in whose tests the technology delivers an 18% reduction in well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions compared with a Euro 5 bus on the Enviro400, and a 24% reduction on the Enviro200.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Scottish Bus Support Extended Until March 2022

The Scottish Government has approved funding of up to £42 million between 4 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 to enable bus operators to maintain services while patronage recovers from the effects of COVID-19.

This is in addition to maintaining concessionary reimbursement and bus service operator grant payments at pre-COVID levels.

Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said:

“Bus services played an essential role in keeping Scotland moving safely during the coronavirus pandemic – and have an equally important part to play as we gradually start to return to some sense of normality.

“Although passenger numbers have grown, additional support is still currently required. This funding of up to £42 million means we can continue to fund operators between October 2021 and March 2022, to fill the gap between the additional costs of running services due to COVID-19 and reduced ticket income as demand recovers.

“It is important that the public continue to plan their journeys in advance, allowing extra time to avoid busier services, and keep following the rules on the wearing of face coverings unless exempt. I’d also encourage people to keep up good habits by continuing to walk, wheel or cycle where possible. The virus hasn’t gone away, so we need everyone to play their part in keeping our transport system safe.”

Director for the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, Paul White said:

“CPT welcomes the Scottish Government’s continued recognition of the vital role the bus network plays and the requirement to extend support while the impact of Covid continues to suppress passenger numbers.

“CPT will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to ensure that bus services remain resilient and that the sector is best placed to facilitate increasing passenger journeys and play its part in other shared objectives such as decarbonisation, social inclusion and accessibility.”


Friday, 17 September 2021

Go North East and Car Club Team Up With New Shared Mobility Solution to Support Car-free Lifestyles

North East based businesses Go North East and Co-Wheels have collaborated to launch a dynamic new flexible mobility solution which blends the best bits of using both a bus and a car when you need them.

‘Flexility’ is a new smartcard-based season ticket which enables you to use a bus for your regular journeys and still have access to a car when needed without the need to own one – making sustainable lifestyles even easier.

Flexility can be used on Go North East buses but, in a UK first, it also includes car club membership on a single smartcard so it works as both a bus ticket and car club membership key.

The companies hope that the new product will play an important role in doing more to ease congestion and improve air quality.

It comes with a double headline for the North East and North of Tyne Combined Authority area as both businesses are locally based in Newcastle where the initiative is being launched, continuing to put the region on the map as a hotbed of both mobility and technology innovation.

The car club offer sits on top of a Go North East bus season ticket on a smartcard that includes free car club membership, £30 driving credit and no monthly subscription fees.

Existing Go North East smartcard holders can request a free upgrade to Flexility, and existing Co-Wheels subscribers are being offered a 15% discount on Go North East bus season tickets.

An easy-to-use online car club registration process checks driving licence eligibility and links the smartcard to a user’s account.

Commenting on the launch, Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Go North East, said: “The Flexility smartcard is something that we believe is a particularly good fit with the emerging new norm changes to peoples travel patterns and examples of things like blended home-office working where full-time car ownership is now even less financially viable for many people.

“Whilst not a completely new concept, the partnership between Go North East and Co-Wheels is a UK first and this latest generation offer gives an easy to use solution with a good coverage of cars and car sites available across Newcastle and Gateshead. It also comes at a time when using a shared mobility platform is becoming more acceptable as people re-think their travel needs following the pandemic.

“We need to be open-minded to finding and embracing creative new solutions to society’s mobility needs. Supporting our work to improve bus services with a flexible blended solution that includes an affordable car option for the occasional, more bespoke, journeys that are sometimes less easy by public transport will help enable more car-free lifestyles.

“These are the sort of behaviour changes that will make a real difference to reducing congestion and improving air quality by making use of low carbon public transport a viable alternative for even more journeys.

“I've been car free myself for over six-months now and trialling the test version of Flexility on my bus pass. I can personally highly recommend it!”

Richard Falconer, managing director of Co-Wheels, said: “Flexility is the ideal solution for those who commute by bus but need a car for the occasional shopping trip or days out.

“You get the best of both worlds – cheap bus travel and access to a car when you need it without the expense of owning one. We have wanted a scheme like this for a long time as we know car club members make much more use of buses for their daily travel needs so the two work together perfectly.

“We are delighted to be teaming up with a forward-thinking company like Go North East and hope it will leads to much more joint working in future as we try to cut peoples’ travel costs and at the same time reduce CO2 to combat climate change, especially as most of our cars are hybrid or electric.”

Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, added: “We need an integrated transport system. One which gives people the flexibility they need for work, education and leisure and at the same time is better for the environment.

“This new shared mobility solution, a collaboration between local businesses Go North East Buses and Co-Wheels, is going in the right direction. It will make low carbon public transport a more attractive option for most journeys and reduce the need for car ownership. All of us will benefit from the likely improvement in air quality and reduced congestion on our roads.

“Transport plays a key role in tackling the climate emergency and the Flexility scheme will make it much easier for people in Newcastle and Gateshead to make green travel choices.”

Thursday, 16 September 2021

AB Transitio, Tåg i Bergslagen Order Seven More Stadler Trains for Sweden

Representatives from AB Transitio, Tåg i Bergslagen and Stadler came together for a signing ceremony to mark the purchase of seven additional double-decker DOSTO trains for the Swedish market. 

The new trains will join the  53 trains of this type already in service in Sweden. DOSTO trains are characterised by high levels of passenger comfort and have proved popular with travellers.

A signing ceremony for seven more additional double-decker DOSTO trains was held in Stockholm and attended by executives from AB Transitio, who are buying the trains from Stadler, and also from Tåg i Bergslagen, the network on which the new trains will be operating. 
The four carriage trains are built to promote decarbonisation, accommodate the severe Swedish winters and to provide high levels of passenger comfort.  

Passenger comments secured by Mälardalstrafik MÄLAB AB, as well as from another individual member of the public, demonstrate that rail travellers in Sweden recognise the trains’ qualities, providing glowing testimonials and indicating that they appreciate the improved customer experience. One person said: ‘It is fantastic! The best train I have been on!’

Others like the quietness of the trains, with another claiming: “The new trains are perfect! It is very good to work during the train journey as it is quiet, calm and comfortable on board the train.” A second person added: “It is silent – fantastic!”

 The design of the seats is proving popular, with a person saying: “My back just love these chairs – perfect and firm.”

Others were happy with the capacity of the train, explaining: “I feel like the new trains have more seats. And so it is faster to get home to Eskilstuna, which I commute from every day.”

Passenger Comfort

Designed to maximise passenger comfort, these trains are spacious, stylish and modern. Saloons are light airy, entrance areas are generously proportioned and staircases are wide so that travellers can get on and off easily. 
There is more storage space than on most other trains. Individual reading lamps and two power sockets are built in at each seat. Carriages are ‘pressure-managed’ to avoid discomfort for passengers when travelling through tunnels and are sound-proofed. They feature a sliding step, to make getting on and off easier for wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility, luggage or push-chairs.

Cutting Carbon Emissions

To manage the trains’ carbon footprint, carriages are made of aluminium profile. This keeps trains relatively light in weight to minimise energy consumption and at the same time, meet all safety requirements, including crashworthiness. 
Up to four trains can be coupled together to promote environmental efficiency. Trains feature ‘regenerative braking’, which returns a large part of the energy used to the electrical braking system. Trains feature air-cooled, dry transformers, as opposed to ones powered by oil.

Built for Harsh Winters

The trains are designed to run in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees and with 80cm of snow on the track. They can do this thanks to inter-carriage connections with twin bellows, large snow ploughs, made specifically for the trains, as well as efficient floor- and wall-heating systems and specially adapted insulation. 
Trains are fitted with carpeting made from absorbent material, which dries quickly, thanks to the underfloor heating system. The underframes of the trains have been designed to reduce freezing and the accumulation of snow and ice. The pantograph has been developed to cope with winter conditions.

Ansgar Brockmeyer, head of sales at Stadler, commented: “We are delighted to have signed a contract for a further seven double-decker DOSTO trains for Sweden. Featuring high levels of passenger comfort, a focus on green technology and designed for harsh winters, they are tailormade for this country, and we are pleased that overall, passengers like the product.”

Magnus von Bahr, chief executive officer of AB Transitio, said: “We are happy to expand our fleet with another seven DOSTO trains to support Tåg i Bergslagen. These trains have proven to be robust, reliable and very appreciated by the passengers.”

Maja Rapp, CEO of Tåg i Bergslagen, added: “I can state that they run smoothly and nicely even on older tracks where our other vehicles run significantly worse. The fact that the DOSTO trains are also built for Swedish conditions and can withstand both minus degrees and snow on the tracks without problems feels reassuring.”

“That Tåg i Bergslagen will have the same vehicles that Mälardalstrafik already uses and is satisfied with feels good. It simplifies both for our passengers who will know their way around, and for Tåg i Bergslagen and Mälardalstrafik who get an increased opportunity for coordination with similar vehicles.”

The first order for double-decker DOSTO trains for Sweden was in 2016 for 33 vehicles. It was followed by others in 2018 and 2020. Stadler has now sold 60 of these trains in this market, and more than 420 DOSTO trains in 11 countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg. In total, Stadler has sold more than 8,500 units in 41 countries.

Since the very first order Stadler received for these trains five years ago, it and its Swedish clients have worked in partnership on their development to ensure maximum availability and reliability of services for the benefit of passengers.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Nexus Adds to Stadler Train Order

Nexus has confirmed an order for four additional trains for the new Tyne and Wear Metro fleet as manufacturing by Stadler has officially began.

The new order brings to 46 the number of trains Stadler will deliver as part of a £362m programme which will transform the journey experience for Metro customers.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the start of the manufacturing process was a historic moment – and begins the countdown to the first new train arriving for testing next year.

Stadler, the Swiss train builder, officially began the manufacturing process ahead of assembly at its factories at the end of the year. Scores of components are being supplied by firms in North East England, the UK and mainland Europe.

The first new train will arrive in 2022 and will enter passenger service in mid-2023, delivering a step-change in quality and reliability.

Nexus has ordered the four extra new trains after £95m was secured from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund for the Metro Flow programme. The investment will allow Nexus to increase service frequency, reduce journey times, and improve reliability on Metro by dualling three sections of line between Pelaw and South Shields. The Metro Flow project will start on site in September 2022.

Nexus will use some of the funding to buy four more new trains on top of the 42 which have already been ordered.

Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, John Fenwick, said: “I’m delighted to confirm that we have been able to order four extra new Metro trains on top of the 42 which are already on order, and that Stadler has now started the manufacturing process.

"Securing the funding to order these additional trains is the culmination of an enormous amount of work in successfully making the case for the Metro Flow project, which is a key tenet of our recovery plan as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The additional trains are required so that we can enhance the Metro timetable, delivering a more frequent and reliable service for our customers.

“The start of the manufacturing process is an exciting moment in the countdown to the new Metro trains, which are going to transform the journey experience for our customers.”

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I’m thrilled with the announcement that an additional four new Metro trains have been secured through the Transforming Cities Fund which is administered in our region by the North East Joint Transport Committee. This is more great news for passengers and these new trains will offer an even better experience for passengers, as well as a greater reliability of services.

“Metro Flow will be truly transformational for people using the service every day to get to work, education or leisure destinations across the region. It will offer improved journey times across the entire Metro system so I’m sure this will encourage more people to consider public transport as a clean, safe and reliable way to travel.”

Andreas Discher, project manager at Stadler said: “Nexus’ decision to top up the order is good news for passengers and stakeholders alike. Following the successful completion of the design phase, we are very pleased to have started the manufacturing process this summer, with bodyshells now being built. The first bodyshell is set to be ready by the end of the year, which will be another significant moment for both Stadler and Nexus.”

Stadler is building 46 new Metro trains for Nexus, which will be delivered up to 2024. They will be responsible for servicing and maintaining these trains for 35 years, underscoring their commitment to the regional economy.

The new trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including improved internet connectivity, charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.

Among new features will be an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.

Stadler is also in the process of building a new £70m Metro depot at Gosforth as part of the new fleet project.

The Metro Flow project will be carried out by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, who won a £55m tender for the construction stage of the project.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Signalling for the Werrington ‘dive-under’ Commissioned

Signalling for the Werrington ‘dive-under’ has been commissioned, ready for the new grade-separated junction to come into regular use before the end of the year.

Part of the £1.2 billion East Coast upgrade, the new facility north of Peterborough will enable trains to access the Great Northern/Great Eastern ‘Joint’ route without blocking the East Coast Main Line, thus increasing capacity. 
As well as increasing timetable resilience, the scheme is designed to allow the addition of two long-distance ECML services per hour.

Described by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris as an “outstanding engineering project”, the scheme has included building of an 11,000-tonne concrete ‘curved box’ on site. It was pushed into place in January.

Around five miles of track has been laid, with the new metals connected to the existing Stamford lines over the summer. The tunnel under the ECML running lines is accessed via two 940-metre-long approach ramps.

The new tunnel was formed by pushing a 155-metre curved concrete box
under the East Coast mainline

Other tasks have included slewing the Stamford lines to the west (completed January 2020), replacement of Cock Lane footbridge, and adding a span to the existing Lincoln Road bridge, plus diverting around a mile of Brook Drain as well as a section of the local Hurn Road. Work started in 2018.

“Our teams have completed the vast majority of this project, without any impact on train services,” said Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade Principal Programme Sponsor Ed Akers.

“It’ll bring faster, more frequent and more reliable services for passengers travelling between London, Peterborough, the North of England and Scotland.”

A similar project at Cambridge Junction (Hitchin) was completed in 2013, although in that case a flyover rather than a dive-under was chosen.

Other schemes in the East Coast upgrade include power supply enhancement, remodelling at London King’s Cross, and the building of a new bay platform at Stevenage.

Construction of the Werrington dive-under follows a resignalling and gauge enhancement project undertaken on the ‘Joint’ six years ago, to allow freight to avoid the ECML between Peterborough and Doncaster.

See previous posting here

Monday, 13 September 2021

AirSym Takes Delivery of Two New Plaxton Panther Coaches Financed by Mistral

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered two brand new Plaxton Panther coaches to Heathrow Airport-based operator AirSym Ltd with finance provided through ADL’s partner Mistral Bus and Coach.

The new PSVAR compliant single deck coaches were ordered by Mistral Bus and Coach and have subsequently been supplied to AirSym.

The 53-seat coaches have a bespoke Plaxton livery on their exterior.

AirSym provides transport services for airports, airlines and ground handling companies. Managing Director Allen Jay said: “We’re delighted to add these two new coaches into our fleet and look forward to using them to their full potential over the coming years.”

Mistral Bus and Coach Sales Manager Freddie Fuller added: “These coaches look great and will complement AirSym’s existing fleet perfectly.”

ADL Sales Account Manager Mark Taylor said: “It’s always a pleasure working with Mistral Bus & Coach and we’re pleased to have delivered these two high quality coaches to AirSym for use within their operations.”

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of double deck buses and is also the UK’s largest bus and coach manufacturer. ADL offers single and double deck vehicles under the brands of Alexander Dennis and Plaxton, and has over 31,000 vehicles in service in the UK, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Cracks on Hitachi Trains Caused by Fatigue & Stress Corrosion

Cracking that led to high-speed trains being withdrawn from service was down to fatigue and stress corrosion, a government report has found.

Around 180 Hitachi trains were taken out of service after cracks were found on trains used by Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) leading to severe delays and cancellations for travellers.

The Office of Rail and Road have published an interim review and  full report to find the "root cause" of the cracking will be published in December.

 The ORR report said the cracks found in the Hitachi Class 800 and 385 series lifting plates were the result of stress corrosion, and cracks in shock absorbers called yaw dampers were a result of fatigue.

GWR previously said the hairline cracks were "in areas where the suspension system attaches to the vehicle body on two trains".

The report said that the industry moved quickly to withdraw the trains once the problem was identified, and trains that were able to return to service have performed as expected with no unsafe conditions or harm arising from cracking.

However, Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser, said the decision to withdraw the trains had been "sensible".

He added: "Since then, the majority of trains have been put back into service with no unsafe conditions and no harm arising from the cracking."

GWR said it has not yet been informed of when the Hitachi IET trains will be repaired.

Manufacturer of the trains, Hitachi is contracted to provide GWR and LNER with enough trains each day to fulfil the timetable.

A Hitachi Rail spokesman said the interim report demonstrated the amount of "independently verified" assessments the firm had done to keep trains running safely.

He said: "Our enhanced maintenance regime is helping to deliver stable passenger service, while we work tirelessly with all partners on long-term solutions."

A GWR spokesman said it continues to operate at a "slightly reduced capacity" and had struggled with contingency stock.

Each time a train leaves the GWR depot, the cracks are inspected, and no worsening has been found, he added. Currently there are about 65 out of the 93-strong fleet.

The full report can be read here

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Class 777 Stadler Train Handed Over to Liverpool City Region

The first new Merseyrail Class 777 train has been handed over to the Liverpool City Region.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced the first of the region's 53 new trains has arrived from manufacturer Stadler.

The landmark moment means the Liverpool City Region will be the first in the country to own its new trains.

The new fleet is a key part of the Mayor’s plans for a London-style transport network that seeks to make it as quick, easy, and reliable for people to travel around the region by taking greater local control of public transport and linking different modes of transport together.

Testing of some of the new trains on the Merseyrail network has already attracted local interest but now events are being held to mark the official handover of the first train to the Liverpool City Region giving people the chance to step on board and experience the trains for themselves.

The complete fleet of Merseyrail Class 507/8 trains will be replaced by the new trains to offer enhanced rail services in the region.

Co-designed in consultation with local people, the modern trains boast a wide range of customer-focused features and functions including:

Pioneering sliding step technology, providing step free access for all

On board Wi-Fi

Improved passenger information screens

More space for wheelchairs, bicycles and prams.

A mock up of the 777 train was shown at Liverpool Lime Street Station

Over the coming months, Stadler will hand more trains to the Combined Authority, ahead of introduction into passenger service.

Matthias Hämmerle, Commercial Project Manager at Stadler, said: “ We are very pleased to have reached this highly symbolic moment in the programme, with one train officially transferring ownership from Stadler to the Liverpool City Region. 
These trains have been custom-made for the area and take into account not only the characteristics of the network itself, with its pronounced curves, tunnels and Victorian infrastructure, but the requirements and priorities of local people, as well.

“Over the last few years, we’ve worked closely with our client and other key stakeholders to come up with a train that really works for the Liverpool City Region. It’s this collaborative approach that’s enabled Stadler to produce a fleet that we are confident will go down well with passengers and serve the area for decades to come.”

Friday, 10 September 2021

Train Sets Off on 20,000km Trip Across Europe to Promote Rail Travel

The 'Connecting Europe Express' has left Lisbon station on a five week journey that will stop in more than 100 towns and cities.

This special train is aimed at highlighting the challenges preventing rail from being a more popular travel choice for Europeans.

It will take in 26 countries and clock up a distance of 20,000 kilometres, finishing in Paris on October 7.

The Connecting Europe Express initiative is the European Commission's flagship project for promoting the benefits of rail travel and raising awareness of the challenges that still need to be overcome.
"Rail has shaped our rich, common history. But, rail is also Europe's future, our route to mitigating climate change and powering economic recovery from the pandemic, as we build a carbon-neutral transport sector, " says European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.

"Over the coming weeks, the Connecting Europe Express will become a rolling conference, laboratory and forum for public debate on how to make rail the transport mode of choice for passengers and businesses alike."


Thursday, 9 September 2021

August Bank Holiday at Wythall

Wythall Transport Museum was originally set up by the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Trust, formed in 1977 as a registered charity. The museum site, based in Chapel Lane, Wythall, was acquired in February 1978. Buildings were opened in 1980, 1990, 2007 and 2012 to meet the Trust's determination to have a roof over all its vehicles.

The halls now accommodate one of the most significant collections of preserved buses in the country. In addition, two Birmingham fire engines and what is believed to be the finest collection of restored battery electric vehicles in the world are housed at Wythall.

Ken Jones visited the museum during the August Bank Holiday weekend when visiting vehicles were in attendance and sent the following photographs.

Wythall Transport museum organised a special run to Yardley Wood Garage where four
classic buses were posed in front of the building.


Wednesday, 8 September 2021

LUMO East Coast Mainline Service Announced by First

From 25th October a new, 100% electric rail service is to start running between London and Edinburgh with fares for as little as £14.90 in a bid to encourage greener and more affordable travel between the capitals.

Called Lumo, it will provide low-carbon, affordable long-distance travel for over 1 million passengers per year. Over 74,500 passengers currently fly between Edinburgh and London each month.

With single tickets between the capitals starting from just £14.90, Lumo will be a comfortable, convenient alternative to flying that is affordable for all. Some 60% of all single fares will be available at a cost of £30 or less.

Rail travel already generates six times fewer carbon emissions than travelling by plane, Lumo expects to be even more carbon efficient than the average rail service because its trains are 100% electric.

Services start on 25 October, with their frequency increasing over time to a maximum of ten services per day by early next year.

Helen Wylde, Managing Director for Lumo, said: “Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet.

The all one class trains have seats ergonomically designed and tested for longer journeys.
A new at-seat catering service will be on offer.

“We believe everyone has the right to travel in style. We are empowering people to make green travel choices that are genuinely affordable without compromising on comfort.”

Lumo trains will run on the East Coast Main Line and call at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage, helping to improve regional connectivity while offering alternatives to Newcastle and Luton airports.

As airports are seldom city centre destinations and frequently require onward travel arrangements, Lumo aims to encourage flyers to move to rail. Its trains are ergonomically designed for comfort and ease, helping passengers to work or play at their custom-designed seats, which all come with adjustable tray table, privacy wings and personal lighting.

Lumo aims to create over 13 million additional passenger journeys in the next decade as well as reducing carbon emissions by encouraging travellers to use greener, electric travel. It will contribute as much as £250m to the UK economy over ten years.

Owned by FirstGroup, Lumo has invested £15m on digital and IT infrastructure and £100m on the manufacture and maintenance of five brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains.

 One of the five brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 
intercity electric trains on test.

Lumo offers passengers a blueprint for low-carbon, affordable long-distance travel in the UK with seats ergonomically designed and tested for longer journeys. With a new at-seat catering service from high street brands called LumoEats, simplified fares, free Wi-Fi, paperless ticketing, a new entertainment system and a single class of quality service for all passengers, Lumo aims to reset standards for travel.

Helen Wylde added: “The reasons people choose different modes of travel are changing. People are now considering their impact on the environment very carefully. They also expect better service and catering. Lumo is a new rail travel experience that is kinder to the planet and better value for passengers, while never compromising on service.”

Lumo intends to publish its carbon emissions data on a regular basis to feed its carbon calculator, which allows passengers to calculate the carbon impact of their Lumo journey and compare it with other ways to travel.

In addition, over 50% of the on-board catering menu is plant-based; staff uniforms are responsibly sourced and can be entirely recycled; and paper waste has been dramatically reduced by being a digital-first business.

Helen Wylde commented: “Travelling by rail is already the greenest form of long-distance travel in the UK. Lumo will take this further, being the ‘greenest in class’ with state-of-the-art electric trains and a service to match. 
We have a commitment to finding greener, smarter and more comfortable ways to get people from A to B – and we welcome anyone’s perspective on that.”

Lumo has invested £2 million in a Training Academy to develop a fresh-thinking generation of rail colleagues, focused on passenger wellbeing and on-board customer service, harnessing new technology and caring for vulnerable passengers. This month, 15 customer driver apprentices will graduate from the Academy.