Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Class 484 Vivarail Trains for the Isle of Wight


A £26m package of investment in the worn-out Isle of Wight railway line has been unveiled by the government. Class 484 Vivarail trains will be acquired to run on the Island Line.




Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris visited Brading Station to make the announcement as the Department for Transport will principally fund South Western Railway’s proposals to improve the sustainability of the railway linking Ryde to Shanklin.

This follows a recent multi-million investment announcement by Network Rail into improvements to renew Ryde Railway Pier where trains connect with ferries to Portsmouth.

The proposals were developed in partnership with key stakeholders on the island, including Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. They have agreed to jointly contribute £1 million to fund a new passing loop at Brading, helping to deliver an even interval half-hourly service to the pier.

The Department will support the investment into improving the tracks and other infrastructure to support the new trains.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“The current trains have diligently served passengers since 1938 – coinciding with the first ever edition of the Beano and the maiden voyage of the record-setting Mallard steam train – so this upgrade is a long overdue boost. 
The railway uses ex London Underground trains because of the restricted height of Ryde tunnel.

“This investment in the Class 484 trains means more punctual, reliable trains services and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism. This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.”

Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said:

“This is a great day for the Isle of Wight. I want to pay tribute to our team at Island Line who have kept the current 1938 stock going for so long and to all of the stakeholders who helped us develop our proposals. I look forward to our continuing partnership as we deliver the next exciting chapter in Island Line’s history.”

Responding to the news Isle of Wight Council leader Dave Stewart said:

“I am really pleased to welcome the decision by the Department for Transport to invest millions into Island Line. Today’s announcement follows a long and detailed process involving South Western Railway, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the Isle of Wight Council and our MP Bob Seely aimed at securing a long term solution to Island Line.

“Islanders can now look forward to new electric trains, major infrastructure improvement and track upgrades, including a passing loop at Brading, enabling the synchronisation of services with the ferries – all of which supports our desire for sustainable and environmental friendly contribution to our Island connectivity.

“This is great news for the Island, great news for South Western Railway and most importantly great news for the users of Island Line. A big thanks to the government for listening and supporting the island once again.”

Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said:

“It is a great privilege for Vivarail to be part of the wholesale upgrade of the Island Line. Vivarail will be building three-rail trains to make best use of Island Line’s electrified track, this follows on from our diesel units for West Midlands Railway and battery/diesel trains for Transport for Wales – and is an example of how flexible the train is. I look forward to taking the first ride and enjoying the picturesque views of the Isle of Wight from the comfort of the new trains.”

The first train is expected to arrive on test in early summer 2020, with track improvement works due to take place over the winter of that year.


Vivarail, pioneers of emission-free trains, has recently run the UK’s first ever passenger-carrying diesel/battery hybrid train on the national network. Vivarail trains are converted from ex London Underground stock and are capable of running a variety of power sources. On offer are DMU, EMU, battery or battery hybrid with minimal changes to the base specification.


David Dickson, Director Network Rail Southern Region, said:

“Our plans for the Isle of Wight will see us making a multi-million pound investment to improve the island’s infrastructure rail infrastructure and include refurbishing Ryde Pier. We are looking forward to working with SWR to deliver these improvements and to ensuring that together we continue to provide a train service for passengers for years to come.”

Island Line is restricted in terms of the size of units that can run on it and so SWR has chosen Vivarail’s Class 484 trains. These totally refurbished former London Underground trains will provide more capacity, better accessibility, passenger information systems and wi-fi. The two carriage trains will also have connecting gangways allowing guards to move freely throughout the whole train, collecting revenue and providing passenger assistance.


The proposals submitted to the DfT followed an initial stakeholder consultation back in the autumn of 2017. Feedback from that consultation was then considered by the Island Forum, made of stakeholders including: IOW Commuity Rail Partnership, IOW Steam Railway, the IOW Bus and Rail Users Group, Southern Vectis, KILF, Wightlink and Hovertravel, with detailed proposals reported back to a steering group.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely said: “This is great news for the Isle of Wight. With the support of local campaign groups, I am grateful to my colleagues in Government for supporting our local train service, and particularly to the Rail Minister for visiting the Island today to make this announcement with SWR.

“This represents the first significant upgrade to the route for over 50 years, and I look forward to liaising with SWR, Network Rail and the DfT to ensure that the benefits are delivered in a timely manner, with minimal disruption. Island Line serves residents, commuters, visitors and students on a daily basis – and I know how much these rail users will welcome this overdue announcement.”

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Enviro200's for Lloyds Coaches


Lloyds Coaches, a family business that in 18 years has grown from a fledgling company to one of the leading providers of quality bus and coach services in Wales, has added a further two Enviro200 single decks from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) to its fleet of over 60 vehicles.



The latest additions are both high specification 10.8m, 41-seat models powered by Cummins engines and Allison 2100 transmissions. They have safety-belted leather seats with under-seat lighting, USB charging points, and sophisticated visual and audio destination systems.

Both buses have gone straight into service on the high profile T12 route that operates between Machynlleth, in Mid Wales, where the company is based, to Newtown, Welshpool, Oswestry and Wrexham.

The route forms part of TrawsCymruConnect, a flagship initiative that links key towns and cities spanning a 90-mile stretch across Mid and North Wales. 



The latest Enviro200s join a series of 80-seat Enviro400 double decks which Lloyds Coaches run on their prestigious X28 Coastliner route. Together, both the Enviro200 single and Enviro400 double deck buses are a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the introduction of low emission, easy access buses.

Wyn Lloyd, Managing Director and founder of the business, commented: “We have come a long way in 18 years and remain committed to providing quality, best-in-class services. Our investment strategy will therefore remain focused on products and technology that provide stylish, passenger-friendly vehicles, while also reducing emissions and enhancing the environment. Our new Enviro200s do just that.”

Monday, 16 September 2019

Free Buses in Dunkirk a Success


The decision to make public transport free in the French town of Dunkirk (Nord) has been hailed a success after a rise in passenger use, and “new dynamism” in the city centre.



The town made public transport 100% free in October 2018. Now, the results of the first evaluation appear positive, and show a considerable increase in passenger numbers.

Free transport has been seen as a social, economic, and ecological step forward for the town, which was the first of its size in Europe to roll out such a scheme.

Mayor Patrice Vergriete chose to encourage residents to use greener forms of transport, rather than punish them for not doing so. The measure was also intended to help people get out of the house more easily, so that they feel less isolated.

He said: “We need to move transport forward. Rather than do it with limitations, we wanted to do it with incentives. Encouraging people to accept this ecological transition.”

Figures show bus use during the week rose by 70%, and by 140% during the weekends.






The free network has now been expanded, and more roads have bus-only lanes to encourage smoother transit. The town has also brought in 14 new buses, of which three are electric.

Shopkeepers in the centre of town have also reported an increase in business due to more people coming into the city.

One Dunkirk said: “Before, I never took the bus, I always took the car. Now, I leave the car at home and I get to work more easily by bus. There is a bus every 10 minutes just down the road from my house. It is a lot more practical.”

The “free” transport costs the city €15 million per year, and is partly funded by business taxes. The town has also renounced other costly projects in favour of free transport, such as a new sports and culture centre.

Dunkirk’s success is said to be prompting interest in the scheme from other towns and cities, including Clermont-Ferrand, Calais, and even Paris.

Children already travel free in Paris, and around 30 other smaller towns in France have already offered a free bus scheme.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Grand Union Trains Apply to Run Scotland to Euston Trains via West Coast Main Line


Grand Union Trains have submitted a notification to the Office of Rail and Road to run the service which would run from Stirling via Larbert and on to Motherwell before joining the West Coast Main Line to London.

A daily service of around three to four trains per day in each direction between Stirling and London Euston is proposed using Class 91 electric trains, with up to nine coaches, which are currently operated by LNER on the east coast mainline and are due to be replaced by the new Azuma trains.




Open Access Operator Grand Union Trains – a company running a service on infrastructure owned by a third party which buys access on a chosen route – is also proposing to start running a Llanelli to London service via Cardiff in 2021.

Grand Union Trains chief executive Ian Yeowart this week pointed out the application process would take 18 months.

He added: “We have started discussions with stakeholders about making this become a reality.




“We are focusing on delivering a number of new direct journey opportunities including linking a number of central Scotland stations (Stirling, Larbert, Greenfaulds and Whifflet) directly with London. We are very grateful for the positive response we have received.”

Open Access Operator Grand Central Trains is currently offering similar services from Sunderland and Hartlepool via York and from Bradford and Halifax via Doncaster, both linking with the East Coast Main Line to London Kings Cross.

Mr Yeowart emphasised that Grand Union Trains’ proposed Stirling-London service would compete on prices and quality.

He said: “It’s a long journey – five and a half hours each way to and from Stirling –and so the seating has to be comfortable.

“There will be competition for passengers between Stirling and other stations like Edinburgh and Glasgow and pressure on prices as well as providing a quality service.

“We believe we have a unique selling point with full size trains with between seven to nine coaches.

“And we expect the Stirling service to drive up usage at stations further afield which is one of the things we found occurred with the North East and West Yorkshire open access routes.”

The Grand Union Trains application for the Stirling-London service to the Office of Rail and Road pointed to three to four trains daily in each direction.

It stated: ‘Depending on final pathing, first up service (Stirling to London) would depart at around 5.30am, then operate roughly every three to four hours (depending on number operated) with last up service around 4.30pm.

`First down service (London to Stirling) at around 8.33am would then operate roughly every three to four hours (depending on number operated) with last down service around 4.38pm.’

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Edinburgh Masterplan Could See Bus Stops Axed


Fears have been raised about the future of Edinburgh’s bus services following the announcement of a 
£314m plan to reshape the city centre.

The revamp will see a series of roads closed to traffic, including Waverley Bridge, in order to cut the amount of traffic in the city centre by a third and make it more pedestrian and cycle friendly.

A Lothian 100 service departing from its stop on Waverley Bridge


The 10-year city centre transformation strategy proposals drawn-up by Edinburgh City Council have been welcomed for taking action to cut air pollution in the Capital and encourage active travel.

But plans for a cull of bus stops in order to speed up journey times and uncertainty over the number of buses which will be allowed to travel through the city centre has raised concern.

Councillor Jo Mowat, the city centre councillor for the Conservatives, has called for greater clarity of the impact of the proposals in general and their effect on residents travelling about the city.


She said: “There’s talk about a rationalisation of bus stops which seems to be a reduction in the number of bus stops, there’s no two-ways about that.”



 Lothian are renowned for running excellent regular cross city services such as the 22 from Ocean Terminal where Britannia is on display, to Gayle Centre, a major retail centre.

There was “no clarity” from the City Chambers on how many stops, services and routes might be caught up in any cull, she added.


She said there was an expectation of a reduction in buses on Leith Walk as part of the original tram works but called for clarification on whether any more are at risk.


“The big question, and they’re quite disingenuous in the papers, is are they talking about any increase in that reduction of services serving Princes Street and, if they are, what are those?

 A first Group vehicle on Princess Street


“There’re plenty of pretty pictures, but I’m not one for pretty pictures, I’m more one for practical implementation.”

Cllr Mowat called for greater detail on exactly how the council intends to cut city centre traffic by nearly a third with cuts to bus services and routes “hugely controversial.”


She added: “I think people will be anxious about how they get to work and how they take weekly trips - like getting the children to scouts or visiting family.”

 Stagecoach operate numerous services into the city.This vehicle is seen 40 miles from Edinburgh, in Biggar on route 101 to Edinburgh. All of the out of town services need
to access the city centre with minimal delays.
A Stagecoach  X55 service to Dunfermline leaving Edinburgh's bus station on
York Place, prior to travelling the 18 mile  journey via Rosyth.


Cllr Mowat was responding to the 10-year city centre transformation strategy to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists at a cost of £314m to implement in full.


Read about the council's £314m plan to reshape the city centre. here

Focus Comment

The above news comes at a time when the First Minister has announced significant government funding to improve infrastructure for buses.

Lothian say "As an industry we have always demonstrated that bus travel creates modal shift and encourages active travel journeys whilst delivering long term health, environmental and economic benefits.
However the impacts of ever increasing congestion must now be dealt with to ensure that bus can deliver against the positive announcement from Scottish Government. This will give the opportunity of additional investment to enhance measures already being implemented by operators to encourage active travel and modal shift"

The two announcements seem to contradict each other, as on one hand, Edinburgh Council are talking road closures and fewer bus stops compared to the Scottish Government wanting to invest in improved infrastructure for buses.

Watch this space!

Friday, 13 September 2019

TfL Invests in Outer London Bus Routes


Travel options for residents of south east London will be improved from October as Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that, after a public consultation, a second new bus route will be introduced in the area.



The 335 aims to better connect new homes in Kidbrooke to the key transport hub in North Greenwich. This builds on the recent introduction of the route 301, which launched in June, improving journeys between Bexleyheath and Abbey Wood.

These two new routes are part of a major programme of improvements to outer London bus services – the biggest investment in over a decade. Alongside the 335 and 301, TfL intends to introduce five new routes in outer London before the end of the year:
218 from Hammersmith to North Acton;
278 from Ruislip to Heathrow;
306 from Acton to Sands End;
497 from Harold Wood to Harold Hill; and
X140 from Harrow to Heathrow.

These seven new routes will make sustainable travel easier for outer London residents, helping to achieve the Mayor’s ambition of 80% of trips made by bicycle, on foot or by public transport by 2041. 





TfL has undertaken an ambitious programme of work to grow the bus network in outer London and create faster connections, better coverage, and more direct, frequent services. The new routes complement TfL’s other recent investments in the outer London bus network, including increased frequencies on more than 25 routes and extensions to five routes. 
For example, from Saturday 31 August TfL will increase the frequency of the route 158, which runs from Stratford to Chingford Mount via Blackhorse Road, allowing more people to use this sustainable and affordable mode of transport in Waltham Forest.

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “I’m really pleased that the new route 335 between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich will be in service from October, with a further five new routes in operation by the end of the year. This boost to outer London routes, together with more frequent, direct services, is all part of the Mayor’s commitment to provide a good public transport experience for all Londoners.”

Geoff Hobbs, Director of Public Service Planning at TfL, said: “We are committed to improving and growing the bus network in outer London and introducing more convenient routes to help our customers connect to key local amenities more easily. The confirmation of the route 335 is great news for our customers in south east London, giving a frequent direct link between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich, and by the end of the year we should have delivered seven new routes in outer London.”





The new high frequency 335 will use double-deck buses, running every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday day times, and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays.

Reallocating resources from central London can take time, so the Mayor provided additional funding from London’s business rates to speed up investment in outer London. This funding is what has allowed TfL to deliver the new 335 in a growth area in outer London earlier than planned.

TfL’s ongoing improvements will help achieve its planned five million km increase in outer London bus services over the next five years.


Thursday, 12 September 2019

Hull Trains Reveals Name for New Fleet


Hull Trains has officially named its £60m new fleet of trains which will revolutionise travel between Hull and London.


The five Hitachi trains will form Hull Trains’ Paragon fleet – a name chosen due to its stand-alone meaning and its significance in Hull.

A Paragon means someone or something which is the very best. It is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as a model of excellence – which is exactly what these high-tech five trains will be when they arrive on the tracks later this year.

Named after Paragon Interchange

Paragon is also a name which grew strong roots in Hull as early as 1802 when Paragon Street was named - which then led to the name Paragon Station being used when it was built in 1848.

Since its original construction, Paragon Station – renamed Paragon Interchange in 2007 - has been regarded as being at the heart of the city, as something of a spectacle landmark.

Today Paragon Interchange is still the gateway to the city – a jewel in Hull’s crown and a historical beacon which has served the people of Hull for more than 165 years.




Hull Trains – the only train operator in the country which has named a company after the city it serves - has chosen to name its fleet after the station in nod to what is arguably one of the city’s most important features on the skyline.

The new fleet name was suggested by On-Board Experience Manager Patrick Tobin and approved by the board after careful deliberations.

Louise Cheeseman, Managing Director at Hull Trains said: “We are delighted to be able to release the name of our new fleet.

“To name our fleet after a station which has served the city we serve for so many years and stood the test of time seems very fitting.

“And the name Paragon aligns perfectly with Hull Trains’ core values of setting high standards, being accountable for performance, safety, continuous improvement and the commitment to its customers are at the heart of everything it does.

“Even the famous Paragon diamond, turned upside down, closely resembles the Hull Trains heart, so this name well represents the new fleet.

“Paragon will help our new trains stand out above the rest and show our customers we are committed to providing the best service, as our name now shows.”

The Paragon fleet of state-of-the-art trains will be amongst the fastest, most modern and high-tech trains on the UK network – and are on schedule to arrive in Hull later this year.


 Louise Cheeseman, managing director of Hull Trains inspects one of the
new trains at the Hitachi factory in Italy

Currently being produced by Hitachi Rail in Pistoia, Italy, having been built in Japan, these trains will transform rail travel from Hull and East Yorkshire to the capital.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Lothian 1 Million Taps on Contactless Cards Since Introduction


Lothian says its customers have hit a milestone of one million taps for its new contactless-payment system in Edinburgh.

Developed by fare collection specialist Flowbird Transport Intelligence, the technology logged its one millionth ‘tap’ on August 27 – little over a month since its introduction.




Launched for the Edinburgh Festivals season, the scheme was Scotland’s first ‘contactless and capped’ payment system, where passengers can ‘tap and go’ with a contactless bank card or mobile device. Fares are capped at the best day ticket price after three or more taps.

The system is fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry security standards and uses encryption to protect card data at the point of use.

Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence, says: “To have reached one million taps in such a short period of time demonstrates how popular this facility is.



“As a long-term technology partner for Lothian, we share its vision of making public transport as accessible as possible.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Quick Delivery of Enviro200's Gets New Transdev Services in York On The Road

ADL have announced that the quick supply of five Enviro200 has allowed Transdev to take up its recently won contracts in York with brand new buses from the first day of operation. Alexander Dennis provided the buses from its stock, completing the repaint into York & Country colours and delivering them in just three weeks.



Transdev took over services 24, 25 and 26 on Sunday, 31st August along with weekend and
evening journeys on two further routes, following a successful bid for the City of York Council tendered services.

Alex Hornby, CEO of Transdev Blazefield, says: “Even in the first few days of running these new routes, our customers are giving great feedback about the new buses. They are proving ideal for our new long-term partnership with City of York Council, helping us to meet the Euro 6 requirement as well as bringing the right kind of quality to impress our new customers.”

Transdev’s new Enviro200 are powered by low emission Euro 6 engines, helping to improve air quality. The 8.9m long midibuses are fitted with the comfortable Alexander Dennis SmartSeat and were built in Yorkshire at the Alexander Dennis factory in Scarborough.



Richard Matthews, Retail Sales Director Bus & Coach at Alexander Dennis, comments: “We are delighted that we have been able to help Transdev offer the best start for customers by providing brand new buses ready for day one. With our immediately available Enviro200 stock, Alexander Dennis is always ready to get new routes on the road.”

Monday, 9 September 2019

Class 170 Trains for Wales


Transport for Wales have announced that Twelve 'new' trains will start running in Wales by the end of the year



The first of the Class 170 trains which have been cascaded from Greater Anglia, have already arrived at the Transport for Wales' Canton depot.


The three-car train has 186 seats and is set to be joined by a further seven three-car-units and four two-car units that each provide seating for 110 passengers.

The Class 170 Greater Anglia Turbostar 's are being displaced by brand new Stadler Class 755's that are running on the Norwich to Cambridge line.


The 170's will run on the Cheltenham to Maesteg line from December.


Transport for Wales is also considering using the 170's on its Ebbw Vale and Heart of Wales lines.


Training for Transport for Wales drivers on the 100mph units will start on September 16.


Rolling stock director Sara Holland said: “The Class 170s provide a more modern and reliable service with air conditioning and power sockets.

"These are comfortable trains that will significantly improve capacity and provide a high standard of on-board customer experience.

“With the support of our industry partners, our fleet colleagues are working incredibly hard to introduce new rolling stock, refurbish existing trains and carry out much needed modification works.

"This is an £800 million programme that will transform the experience for our customers and colleagues alike; the average age of the fleet will drop from 25 years to seven years by 2024 and 95% of journeys will be made on a new fleet of 148 trains by 2023.”

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Introduction of New Trains by Northern to Serve Blackpool.


From Monday 9 September brand-new Class 331 electric trains will start to operate between Blackpool and Liverpool with further introductions to come before the end of the year for services between Blackpool and York and Blackpool and Hazel Grove via Bolton.

Blackpool is one of the first towns in the North to receive Northern’s new trains and the state-of-the-art fleet will connect the town with key cities and region across the network.




Paul Maynard MP for Blackpool North and Minister for Transport joined Northern and other community leaders and representatives at Blackpool North for an event and ride out on the new trains.

Paul said: ““The rollout of new, modern trains across the Northern network is a landmark moment in delivering better journeys for passengers.

“We want to see significant improvements in performance across the north to get trains running on time. The government is investing heavily in transforming services, Northern has started to retire the first Pacers, and we have already seen an extra 2,000 services introduced every week. There’s still much to do, but this is a great start.”

These new trains feature free 
Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information/media screens with real-time information. They are also more spacious for customers and are fully accessible with spaces for wheel chairs and cycles.

Northern has ordered 101 new trains as part of a £500m investment in rail in the North. There are already 15 trains operating on a number of routes and more will follow throughout 2019 and into 2020.

David Brown, Northern’s Managing Director said: “The Northern network is busier than it has been for a generation – more than 100 million customer journeys will be made on Northern services in 2019 – and the introduction of new trains is at the heart of our transformation for customers.

“We are delighted therefore that customers travelling to and from Blackpool will now be served by brand new trains.

“These fantastic trains are a true step-change in travelling experience and we are extremely proud to be delivering a £500m investment.

“From early September we will have 20 brand new trains carrying customers, with more to come throughout 2019 and into 2020.”

John Blackledge, Director of Community and Environment at Blackpool Council, who was also at the launch said: “I am delighted that Northern’s new trains will be soon be operating to and from Blackpool and across the north of England. They have been long awaited and no doubt there have been challenges, but they are fantastic vehicles that will make a real difference to everyone’s travelling experience.

“The new trains, coupled with investment and transformation of local bus and tram services, means Blackpool is better connected than ever before and residents of – and visitors to – our great town now have fantastic transport options.

“Northern’s new trains will enable better access to employment, to business and to education and will no doubt support our critical tourism market. They are a vital step to a better connected Blackpool and north of England.”



Northern’s new trains are part of the largest modernisation programme in a generation that is transforming travel in the north of England. It is currently fully refurbishing its existing fleet of 243 trains, improving its stations and has introduced more than 2,000 extra services every week since 2016.

Friday 30 August marked the switch on the Blackpool Illuminations of which Northern is delighted to be a Sponsoring Partner.


Update The class 331 electric trains have also begun running on the Airedale and Wharfedale lines.
Northern is operating the Class 331s between Leeds and Skipton/Ilkley, calling at Bradford Forster Square.
Steve Hopkinson, Northern regional director, said: "We promised our customers improved trains and there can be no doubt we have started to deliver on that promise.
"The new trains now run alongside existing Class 333s, which themselves have been refurbished and updated.
"So now, wherever our customers travel between Leeds and Skipton/Ilkley, they will have a much better journey experience than ever before."
The operator says the move is part of a £500 million investment.
Fifteen of the new trains are now running on a number of routes, with more to follow throughout this year and next.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Stagecoach Expands into North Bristol and South Gloucester


Stagecoach West has launched its network expansion in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The transport operator will run a series of new routes in partnership with Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire County Councils. Included is the X5 previously run by First Bus. The X5 
connects Weston-super-Mare with Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Cribbs Causeway.



Services will provide new links from surrounding villages to and from Bristol, Thornbury and Yate.

The expansion also sees the opening of a new depot in North Bristol, shared with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach Company.

From Monday 4th September, the following enhancements will be introduced:


Service 77 will run hourly between Thornbury and Bristol city centre, providing great connections to Aztec West, Bristol Parkway Station & Southmead Hospital. This new link across Thornbury replaces the former local Service 615.

Service 622 will run every 90 minutes between Cribbs Causeway and Chipping Sodbury, via Almondsbury, Tockington, Alveston, Thornbury, Tytherington and Yate.

These new Stagecoach links join existing Services 60 & 62 to Gloucester, 69 & 620 to Stroud and Bath, and 84, 85 & 86 around Yate. 


Stagecoach operate 300 buses on 100 different routes across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Herefordshire with some journeys extending into Wales and Oxfordshire.
Rupert Cox, Managing Director, said: “We hope that our new links encourage customers to try out the bus, travel green and play a part in reducing traffic congestion.”

Stagecoach West anticipates that around 12,000 passengers will benefit from their Services weekly.

The expansion will also create 35 new driving jobs in the area. With just a handful of positions left, Stagecoach West are asking for applications

Friday, 6 September 2019

Go Ahead Results for Year Ending 29th June 2019


Go-Ahead have announced their Full Year Results for the year ending 29th June in which they say

"Full year results slightly ahead of our expectations in both bus and rail divisions. Strong performance in our London & International bus division more than offset a lower result in our regional bus business. Rail operating profit was slightly ahead of expectations, driven by strong performance at Southeastern, but was lower than the prior year which included a part year of operating the London Midland franchise."








List of Bus Companies




David Brown Group Chief Executive commented

“Our commitment to provide better services for our customers has delivered improvements in reliability and satisfaction in our bus and rail businesses, many of which reached record levels during the year. In rail, Southern’s customer satisfaction increased by 12 percentage points to 81 per cent while our regional bus business, once again, topped the league tables with an industry record of 92 per cent satisfaction. Also in regional bus, we were pleased to drive up our passenger journey growth of 3.3 per cent in a challenging UK market. Bus travel brings great benefits to the economy, society and the environment and we are calling for a national bus strategy to maximise these benefits.


“During the year, we began contracts in three new countries and won four more international contracts. Our continual focus on innovation resulted in the introduction of the UK’s first air-filtering bus and passenger benefits being developed through our Billion Journey Project incubator. Our balance sheet remains strong and we have maintained our dividend.


UK Train Companies



“We are disappointed that the DfT took the decision to terminate the new South Eastern franchise competition. We submitted a strong bid designed to provide value for passengers and taxpayers and to build on the significant improvements we have delivered in our 13 years of operating the franchise. We will continue to focus on delivering excellent service for our customers as we operate the contract under an extension up until 1 April 2020, and we are engaging with the DfT regarding the future of the franchise beyond this point.

“Overall for 2020, we are confident that the Group will deliver another robust performance in line with our expectations as we continue to execute our clear and well-defined strategy; strengthening our core business, diversifying into international markets and developing new ways of responding to a changing world.”

Thursday, 5 September 2019

8th September RT and RF Celebration - Epping & Ongar Railway

The event based at the Railway's North Weald Station will feature new routes operating to local towns and villages. The regular route 339 will also run connecting Epping Underground station (Central Line, zone 6) with North Weald at regular intervals. 
Greenline RT buses

Vehicles

All routes will be operated by RT family and RF vehicles. Expect some visiting vehicles and possibly a surprise or two!
Vehicles expected include: RT1, RT8, RTW75, RT113, RTL1076, RTL1105, RTL1256, RT1499, RT1702, RT3062, RT3228, RT3238 and RT3254 and many others!.
RT1 RT8 RT3238

Road Run and Line up

At the end of the day expect a truly memorable road run featuring up to 30 RT and RF type vehicles, with excellent opportunities for photos, concluding with a line up of all the vehicles! 

Routes

Services will operate the following routes: 
  • 20A - North Weald - Wake Arms - Loughton Station
  • 205A - North Weald - Waltham Abbey
  • 250 - North Weald - Wake Arms - Theydon Bois
  • 718 - North Weald - Wake Arms - Chingford
  • 720 - North Weald - Harlow
There will also be a High Beech tour, and a road run at the end of the day. 
A link to services to the Lodge Coaches open day at High Easter will run departing North Weald at 11.45 and arriving back at 14.15.
You can download a copy of the timetable below. 
RT Buses RF Buses

Pop Up Shop - EFE Buses

A special Pop Up shop will be open at North Weald Station selling new and second hand EFE London buses. There will probably be the largest selection of London buses in the world at competitive prices - so bring your 'wants' list.
Also on sale at the Pop Up Shop and at the Gift Shop will be London themed new and second hand bus books, DVDs and other related bus merchandise.

Timetable

The timetable for the trains and 339 and 381 bus services can be found here.
The bus timetable for the additional services can be downloaded here. Bus allocations will be added nearer to the event. 

Fares

Standard fares apply, giving unlimited travel on all trains and buses (including the additional routes) all day.
Adult £14; Concession £13; Child £7. Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children) £36.
Select 8 September, and "All Day Rover" from the options below.
If you do not want to travel on the trains, the popular "bus only" rover will also available closer to the event priced at £10 (Child: £5). This will allow travel on all of our additional bus services and our route 339 and 381 buses linking Epping Underground and North Weald stations. 
Access to the site at North Weald will be restricted to passengers in possession of a valid All Day rover, or Bus only rover, ticket. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Metrodecker +EV Electric Bus Trial for Jersey


An electric double decker bus is operating in Jersey for the first time.


 The demonstration bus, now with a Jersey registration, will operate
with LibertyBus on route 15

The six week trial is taking place on the number 15 route between St Helier and the airport.




The Optare Metrodecker +EV is being loaned to LibertyBus 
who will collect feedback on its punctuality, reliability and the experience on board.

Politicians in the island are hoping that the trial will help with the government's aims of making Jersey carbon neutral by 2030.

Jersey's government declared a 'climate change emergency' back in May

The Optare Metrodecker +EV has previously been demonstrated in various UK locations, one of which was with FirstBus in York.

Metrodecker +EV in York 

Thanks to a significant investment by First York and funding secured by City of York Council from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) York will soon be home to one of the biggest fleets of double deck electric buses outside of London.


The innovative Metrodecker EV has been developed from the wheels up by Leeds manufacturer Optare, with support from its customers, vendors and partners. 
The unique integral space frame design of the Metrodecker EV means it weighs in at only a few hundred Kilos more than the diesel equivalent and has a plated GVW of 18000kg.  


Following trials, 68 of the new electric double-deckers have been ordered to operate in London and will carry over 90 passengers with a range of over 150 miles on a single charge.

 The Metrodecker EV in-service trials in Leeds last year
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