Wednesday, 28 September 2022

A Trip on The Leigh Busway

For people in Greater Manchester, it's a vital way of getting into the city centre. With no Metrolink or railway station, the guided busway is essential for many people living in Leigh.

It's also a popular way of getting into Manchester for others along the route - through Atherton, Tyldesley and parts of Salford.  

Services are operated by Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LH hybrid double-decker buses


A petition has been set up demanding improvements to the V1 and V2 bus services along the route.

Some passengers say the services can become full, particularly at key times, and there aren't enough buses running on the route to meet demand. They say buses sometimes drive past busy stops because they are too full to pick anyone else up, meaning passengers are stuck waiting to get to work or appointments.

It comes at a time where people across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to swap their cars for public transport, with buses a key part of that.

Here's a link to a trip on the Leigh Busway

Click here 
If you like this video please click 'like'

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

MAN Lion's City E is International Bus of the Year 2023

The International Bus and Coach Jury has chosen the MAN Lion's City E as International Bus of the Year 2023. The award was handed over at the IAA Awards Night by Tom Terjesen, President of the jury, to Rudi Kuchta, Senior Vice President MAN Truck & Bus SE. The MAN Lion's City E was the winner in the International Bus Euro Test held in May this year in Limerick Ireland.

The 23 journalists from 23 European countries representing the jury-members, the trade magazines, decided as criterion that only electrically driven buses could participate in this years Bus Euro Test. 

Five candidates took part: Higer Azure, Karsan eATA, MAN Lion's City E, Mercedes-Benz eCitaro and Volvo BZL Electric with a MCV body. 

After several days of intensive checks, test drives, measurements, and expert discussion, the jury voted for the MAN Lion's City E as the International Bus of the Year 2023. 

Although the MAN Lion's City E is introduced a few years ago, just before the pandemic, this Bavarian city bus is still among the newer ones on the market, which is evident both in its modern exterior and in the passenger compartment, which is considered one of the best.


 The German manufacturer managed to combine very well all the different drivelines that they offer in one model, without the external appearance of the bus suffering because of this - the bus is visually refined in every version. Inside the bus, the driver's workplace deserves an excellent rating, the materials used are of good quality, the driver can adjust the steering wheel well along with the adjustable dashboard, and the gauges are also very clear.

The award was handed over at the IAA Awards Night by Tom Terjesen, President of the jury, to Rudi Kuchta, Senior Vice President MAN Truck & Bus SE

MAN is equipped with six battery packs, all of them are mounted on the roof of the bus, and with 480 kilowatts it offered the highest capacity of the five tested buses. As a result, tests show that it is possible to drive more than five hundred kilometres with it without intermediate charging, and thus it can provide the daily needs of most carriers. 

For batteries, they offer two strategies, one is adapted to the greatest possible range, and the other is to achieve the longest possible battery life.


Noise measurements in the passenger compartment showed that the MAN was the quietest when driving, and the engineers managed to set the suspension so that the mass of the roof mounted batteries is not felt while driving. 

The adjustment of the electric motor is also good, the acceleration is smooth and comfortable for the passengers, and the driver can adjust the regeneration levels with the steering wheel lever. 

“The Bus of the Year 2023 applies to bus passenger today and tomorrow. It is a modern looking vehicle and with an environmentally friendly driveline. Inside the bright colours make you feel welcome. You get the feeling of space, and calm. Just sit down and enjoy the ride”, said Tom Terjesen. 


He continues: “The MAN Lion's City has also one of the best working space on the market. To sit behind the steering wheel in this bus, you are the big boss. You have a corner office with excellent view, and very few blind spots. You can feel safe with several safety build in solution and a lot of preventive electronic safety equipment.”

Monday, 26 September 2022

City Zap to Cease Running on November 19th


Transdev has said its Cityzap Leeds to York service will run for the final time on November 19th



An announcement on their website says

"We created Cityzap as a fresh new concept in city to city travel back in 2016.

It captured the imagination of car users, rail travellers and more as it reinvented travel between Leeds and York. In that time we’ve carried over a million customer journeys. So confident in its future, we made the decision at the start of 2020 to invest over £1.4million in our new SkyClass fleet.

Then, COVID happened.

None of us could predict the scale in which our lives changed. This affected travel patterns and how, and when, people made their journeys. Working from home has severely impacted the demand for commuting into cities regularly, and many concessionary customers are still yet to return to bus travel as often as they used to.

This has had a profound impact on Cityzap. Customer recovery on many routes is as much as 110% compared to 2019 where we have encouraged people back to bus – and new users too - but on Cityzap it has been as low as 50% in recent months. As you can imagine, this trend can’t continue and is unsustainable to manage.


Like every business at the moment, our fuel and energy costs are rising fast - while even at our value for money fares - which are much cheaper than the train between York and Leeds - leisure customers are now less likely to make fewer discretionary trips for shopping, days out and so on.

This could not have been anticipated when we introduced Cityzap in 2016, nor as we moved beyond the pandemic, but is the reality we now must respond to. The combined impact of the Covid pandemic and sharply rising energy costs are being felt by every bus operator in the country.

This all means - sadly - that Cityzap will no longer run after 19 November. The SkyClass fleet will begin to disappear from Cityzap after 25 September to prepare them for use elsewhere. Comfortable buses will replace them for now until 19 November. Our investment will not be wasted and will see use elsewhere within West Yorkshire as we make the most of our investment in public transport and seek to keep elements of our vision alive that the demand for fast travel into our key cities is there.

We thank our colleagues for making Cityzap an award winning pioneer and delivering for each day. They will all continue to have secure jobs with us. And, most of all, we thank you - our amazing customers - for zapping with us. It’s been a great journey - and we hope we’ll continue to see you on Coastliner which will serve Leeds and York as normal"

Check the Coastliner timetable here.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Scottish Order for 74 Electric buses From ADL and Yutong

74 Electric buses have been ordered from ADL and Yutong following an award of  £18.6m from the first round of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus challenge fund.

First will contribute £35m to the 74 buses and their associated infrastructure, with the BYD ADL batch accounting for £19.7m and the Yutong deliveries £8.4m the first buses being due to arrive following the installation of rapid charging points.

The orders will see 50% of the First Aberdeen fleet become zero-emission. The Yutongs will operate there alongside two batches of Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers. (see below)


The 50 BYD ADL buses that form part of the latest order will take First’s operation in Glasgow to 40% battery-electric in conjunction with extensive work at its Caledonia depot.


The new order represents a further significant step on the group’s quest to have an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2035. It follows the order with Wrightbus for 193 battery-electric buses for First Bus fleets in England. see here

 

Saturday, 24 September 2022

GWR Launches Long Weekender Leisure Ticket

Great Western Railway has responded to a change in customer travel habits by launching a new Long Weekender ticket offering savings of more than 60% to leisure travellers.

While changes in work patterns have seen commuter journeys fall when compared with pre-pandemic levels, GWR has seen significant growth opportunities in leisure travel.



Sundays have become particularly busy, so, to free up services on that day, customers using the Long Weekender will depart at any time on a Friday or Saturday, and return at any time on a Monday.

Available to book exclusively on GWR.com, the Long Weekender will initially trial on routes from London Paddington to the wider Bristol area and South Wales.

The ticket provides full flexibility and offers savings of more than 60% compared to peak Anytime return fares:



GWR Interim Sales & Marketing Director Lee Edworthy said: “Changing customer patterns have provided a clear opportunity for us to expand our leisure offering, particularly on a Monday.

“We’ve been working closely with destination management organisations like Visit Bristol, Visit Bath and Visit Cardiff to help promote the Long Weekender and they are really supportive of this ticket.



“The GWR Long Weekender offers great savings if you’re heading for rest in the West, either staying at a hotel or B&B, or visiting friends and family. And if you need to catch up on those work emails on the way home on Monday, you can do so from the comfort of the train.”

If the trial of the Long Weekender proves successful, it will be extended to other parts of the network.


Click here for details and how to book

Friday, 23 September 2022

Transport for Greater Manchester Orders 50 Alexander Dennis Zero-emission Buses for Franchised Bee Network

Alexander Dennis ( “ADL”),  has announced that Transport for Greater Manchester has ordered 50 zero-emission double deck buses from Alexander Dennis for the first phase of the franchised Bee Network bus system which will launch in September 2023.


The electric buses will be built in Britain at Alexander Dennis’s factory in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and are due to operate in Wigan and Bolton, where bus franchising will be rolled out on 17 September 2023, ahead of other parts of Greater Manchester following in 2024 and 2025.

The Alexander Dennis zero-emission buses will be the first to bear the branding of the new Bee Network – Greater Manchester’s bold ambition for a fully integrated, London-style integrated transport system comprising buses, trams, walking and cycling, and eventually trains. The distinctive black and yellow design was unveiled by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.



The 50 new buses will be funded from the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, with around 300 more electric buses to be delivered from 2024 through to 2027.

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Transport for Greater Manchester as supplier for the first tranche of zero-emission buses for the new Bee Network. 
We look forward to playing our part in transforming bus services in Wigan and Bolton with these iconic buses, which will be built in the North of England at our factory in Scarborough and supported locally from our AD24 aftermarket hub in Skelmersdale.

“Choosing Alexander Dennis shows Transport for Greater Manchester and the Mayor’s commitment to building buses locally in the United Kingdom, for which we are grateful. The new livery will inspire pride in Manchester’s Bee Network and the improvements it will deliver for the region.”


Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The countdown to bringing buses back under local control for the first time in 36 years is well and truly on. With the order placed for our first 50 new electric buses and strong interest from operators who want to run the first franchised services a year from now, the Bee Network is gathering real momentum.

"I am also delighted to unveil a sneak peek of what the Bee Network is going to look like. We’re building on Manchester’s symbolic bee and Metrolink colours – both of which are synonymous with our city-region – to deliver something modern and iconic that reflects the first-class transport network it will become.”

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Links to Current News

Two links to current news items

Wrightbus Fuel Cell Vehicles for Australia here

Britannia Bus to Scrap all Milton Keynes Services here

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Serial Coradia iLint travels 1,175 kilometres (730 miles) Without Having to Refuel

Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, has demonstrated the effectiveness of its hydrogen powered solutions for long distance transportation.

During a long-distance journey, 
travelling through Hesse, Bavaria and on to Burghausen which is close to the German Austrian border before reaching its final stop in Munich,
an unmodified serially-produced Coradia iLint train covered 1,175 kilometres without refuelling the hydrogen tank, only emitting water and operating with very low levels of noise.


The vehicle used for this journey comes from the fleet belonging to LNVG (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen), the transport authority of Lower Saxony, and has been in regular passenger operation on the network of evb (Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser GmbH) since mid-August.

For the project, Alstom has partnered with the gas and engineering company Linde.

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Alstom said:

“We are pleased to be leading innovation in this area as the first railway manufacturer in the world to offer a passenger train based on hydrogen technology. With this journey, we have provided further proof that our hydrogen trains have all the prerequisites to replace diesel vehicles”


“We are immensely proud of the pioneering work we have done in introducing hydrogen to rail transport.”

The journey began in Bremervorde and followed a route which saw the Coradia iLint travel right across Germany from Lower Saxony where Alstom created the hydrogen-fuelled train.
 

 The impressive journey does not end there, as the train will next head for Berlin where it will undertake several trips as part of InnoTrans 2022 which is a premier International Trade Fair for Transport Technology and will take place from the 20th to the 23rd of September.

Further information here on the Coradia iLint trains in service.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

CAVForth Autonomous Enviro200 Shown at Millbrook

Alexander Dennis Limited, (“ADL”) has said that an autonomous Enviro200 bus for the CAVForth project – widely viewed as the world’s most ambitious and complex autonomous bus pilot – was exhibited by project lead Fusion Processing at the Cenex-CAM industry event held at the Millbrook proving ground, while on-road testing continues ahead of a service launch later this year. 


Project CAVForth, which is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and project partners Fusion Processing, Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Edinburgh Napier University and Transport Scotland, will see five autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single deck buses operating at SAE Autonomous Level 4 on a 14-mile route that includes the iconic Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh, Scotland. 
The service will form part of Stagecoach East Scotland’s scheduled bus network. The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s CAVStar® autonomous system.


While on-road testing continues in Scotland ahead of the public passenger service’s launch later this year, Fusion Processing has exhibited one of the vehicles at leading industry event Cenex-CAM on 7th and 8th September 2022 at the UTAC proving ground in Millbrook, England. 
Cenex-CAM and the associated Cenex-LCV event brought an international audience together to hear from speakers from government and industry updating on the policy, technology and market developments that are spearheading progress with low carbon vehicles (LCV) and Connected Automated Mobility (CAM).


Further ongoing preparations for the public service include Stagecoach’s recruitment of over 20 specially trained ‘Autonomous Bus Professionals’ from its East Scotland business. These experienced bus drivers will monitor the autonomous system alongside a bus ‘captain’ who will move around the saloon, talking to passengers about the service and answering any questions they may have, demonstrating what a future service might feel like when the staff member is able to leave the cab while the computer does the driving.

Transport Scotland earlier this year opened a section of actively managed hard shoulder for all buses on the eastbound M8 motorway, which improves journey time reliability for all buses of 24 seats or more on approach to Edinburgh and supports the delivery of Project CAVForth which will operate on the 14-mile route across the Forth Road Bridge between Fife and Edinburgh.

See previous posting here

Monday, 19 September 2022

Channel Islands' Bus Companies Sold to New Owner Tower Transit

HCT Group has announced the sale of LibertyBus in Jersey and and CT Plus in Guernsey to Tower Transit, a part of Australia’s largest integrated multi-modal transport provider and tourism operator, Kelsian Group Limited (Kelsian).

The HCT Group have closed down or sold various companies during the past few weeks following serious financial difficulties.


HCT have run Guernsey's bus services since April 2012 and Jersey's since January 2013.

“We are very proud of the work we’ve done in Jersey and Guernsey and we believe that the services there could not be in better hands” said Lynn McClelland, HCT Group Chief Executive. “Tower Transit and Kelsian are noted for their high-quality services, their international reach and resources, and their extensive experience with the electrification of bus services and other sustainable technologies, currently high on everybody’s agenda.


“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the people of the Channel Islands for the past ten years. We are grateful to the Government of Jersey for the spirit of partnership that has characterised our work together. We are certain that we leave behind a strong foundation for the future development of the bus service.”


Samuel Ribeiro, Managing Director of Tower Transit, said, “The Group is delighted to take over the reins of LibertyBus and thank HCT Group for their commitment and their positive collaboration with the Government of Jersey over the years. 
Our aim is to maintain a business-as-usual approach whilst drawing on the experience and capabilities of the Group in the future. We proudly serve several Island communities in Australia and look forward to extending this high-quality service to the people of Jersey”.

Kevin Hart, Director of Channel Islands, said “We are confident that the transition will occur without any disruption to services and that there are no plans to change routes or tickets or branding. The aim is to maintain the existing teams in place with their extensive local experience and track record of success.”

Also, see here

 

Sunday, 18 September 2022

New sponsor for the London Cable Car

Technology company IFS will sponsor the London Cable Car for a minimum of two years from October.The new name will be the IFS Cloud Cable Car and the two terminals either side of the river will be known as "IFS Cloud Royal Docks" and "IFS Cloud Greenwich Peninsula."

London Cable Car (previously Emirates Air Line) recently celebrated 10 years of serving Londoners and tourists


Ten years after opening, the London Cable Car continues to be a success with Londoners and visitors to the capital. Initially popular for journeys between London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games events at The O2 and ExCeL London, it is now a top London attraction with increasing leisure and sightseeing trips, as well as being used for travel between the north and south of the River Thames. 
The proximity of the cable car to a multitude of hotels, restaurants and services on both sides of the river opens the city up for people to explore both sides of the river.


With positive reviews online and on social media, the London Cable Car continues to add great value as a London attraction. It has also seen a large increase in younger visitors, featuring heavily in TikTok and Instagram content as a top place to visit. Last month, cabins and terminals were also transformed in partnership with Pokémon for the Pokémon World Championships.


Providing the highest views directly above the River Thames at 90 metres, the London Cable Car has also previously hosted famous faces such as 2022 Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic, boxer David Haye, singer-songwriter and podcaster Jessie Ware, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 



It has also hosted champagne flights, live music performances, family events, speed dating, sky-high dining, book launches, marriage proposals and even transported the Rugby World Cup and the ATP Finals tennis trophies.

With one-way journeys starting from just £5 for adults, £2.50 for children, and under-5s travelling for free, it provides a unique day out for families, groups, couples and individuals. Groups of up to ten people can travel in their own private cabin at no extra charge.

The London Cable Car will now be sponsored by technology company IFS for a minimum of two years and will be called the IFS Cloud Cable Car. The two cable car terminals will also be renamed IFS Cloud Greenwich Peninsula and IFS Cloud Royal Docks. The rebranding from the previous sponsor is set to be completed by October.

There have been tens of millions of journeys made on the London Cable Car since opening in 2012, supporting major regeneration in both the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula. It links with the new Elizabeth line station at Custom House just a short walk away for services towards Paddington or Abbey Wood, or with DLR services from Royal Victoria or Custom House for ExCeL London. 
The cable car now also provides a direct route to the new City Hall based beside the north terminal in Newham.


Josh Crompton, TfL's Head of the London Cable Car, said:

'Over the last ten years, we have seen the London Cable Car attract tens of millions of visitors and secure its place as a must-visit UK attraction. The partnership with IFS is an exciting opportunity to continue to build on the success of the most unique part of London's skyline.'

Oliver Pilgerstorfer, Chief Marketing Officer at IFS, said:

'IFS is a rapidly growing global technology company and the opportunity to have our brand intrinsically linked with a visible part of the London transport system is fantastic. As well as being iconic, the IFS Cloud Cable Car will proudly serve a diverse customer base of Londoners, tourists and business travellers from around the world on a practical level.

'The opportunity to showcase the IFS brand on this platform makes a lot of sense - our software is behind the construction and running of the IFS Cloud Cable Car which makes for a truly authentic partnership.'

Saturday, 17 September 2022

East Lancs Railway Autumn Diesel Gala

The East Lancashire Railway has announced that TransPennine Express Class 68 No. 68030 ‘Black Douglas’ will be visiting them this coming weekend for their Autumn Diesel Gala.


The East Lancs website says
"Join us this autumn for another corking celebration of all things diesel, featuring iconic locomotives from our own highly regarded home fleet and even a couple of guests! The engines will be running intensive passenger services throughout the two days".

Not only that, there will also be a Beer-Ex running on the Friday and Saturday evening for those who like to sup in style!

Diesel Traction Line Up:Class 68, 68030 “Black Douglas” – Appearing courtesy of TransPennine Express and Direct Rail Services
Class 14, D9531 “Ernest”
Class 24, D5054 “Phil Southern”


Class 25, 25279
Class 26, 26007 – Appearing courtesy of Victor Korzeniewicz
Class 33, 33109 “Captain Bill Smith”
Class 37, 37109
Class 40, D345
Class 42, 832 “Onslaught”
Class 45, 45108
Class 47, 47765

Photo - Gary Nightingale

Class 50, 50015 “Valiant”
DMU, Class 105
Pacer, 144009

The East Lancs Railway have confirmed that following the death of Queen Elizabeth II that the Diesel Gala will still go ahead. see here

Friday, 16 September 2022

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway 2022


The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (RH&DR) is a 15 in (381 mm) gauge light railway in Kent, operating steam and internal combustion locomotives. The 13 ½  mile (21.7 km) line runs from the Cinque Port of Hythe via Dymchurch, St. Mary's Bay, New Romney and Romney Sands to Dungeness, close to Dungeness Lighthouse.
Ken Jones recently visited the 2022 Bus Rally, held at the RHDR and has sent the following photos.




















Many thanks to Ken for his photos. If you've attended a transport event this year why not send your photos to focustransport2011@gmail.com