Friday, 20 May 2022

TransPennine Express (TPE) New Rail Link Between Saltburn and Manchester Airport

Customers in the North East can now benefit from a new rail link between Saltburn and Manchester Airport, providing direct travel between cities including York, Leeds and Manchester.

Sharon Wilson, Saltburn Town Crier & Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council celebrate new TPE rail link

Rail operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has now extended a number of its services on this route to Saltburn in a boost to connectivity for communities across the region.

Those travelling to or from Saltburn will now be able to make their journeys onboard TPE’s modern trains featuring spacious interiors, free Wi-Fi in Standard and First Class and access to free entertainment system, Exstream.

Representatives from the local community, including Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor Philip Thomson and Sharon Wilson, Saltburn Town Crier were on hand to formally welcome the first TPE passenger train out of Saltburn earlier this week.

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express said: “We are thrilled to have been able to extend our Manchester Airport to Redcar Central service to Saltburn in a boost to connectivity for those travelling to York, Leeds and Manchester.

“While we have been able to extend some of our services through to Saltburn, we have plans to make further improvements to this, later this year.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a fantastic result and one I’ve been campaigning on for years. It’s great to hear that this work is paying off and the first train is finally pulling out of the station. 
This service will help give the people of Saltburn and East Cleveland the direct, reliable connections that they deserve, linking them with York, Leeds and Manchester. It’s a welcome move now coronavirus restrictions are entirely lifted and people are starting to have the confidence to travel once more. 
It will help businesses forge new connections, people to easily meet friends and family and drive tourism to our coast.”

Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is excellent news. Better public transport is crucial not only for the convenience of our residents and visitors but also for our economy as it helps us attract further investment. It also helps the environment as it encourages more people to leave the car behind more often. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: Visitors and residents will be able to take advantage of TransPennine Express new services connecting Saltburn to Yarm, Northallerton, Thirsk, York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester. 
And by December that timetable is planned to be boosted to provide an hourly service to and from Saltburn and Manchester. This is great news for Saltburn's tourism sector allowing visitors to come to our region and giving residents direct access to these major towns and cities across the North of England. 
This is the kind of progress we should all welcome. The better our connections to the rest of the UK, the better the opportunities for our part of the world."

The following TPE services now run to/from Saltburn on weekdays:0554 Saltburn – Manchester Airport
2008 Saltburn – York
2310 Saltburn – York
1640 Manchester Airport – Saltburn
1938 Manchester Airport – Saltburn

Customers travelling to Saltburn in Standard Class can travel for as little as £12.00 from York, £14.60 from Leeds or from Manchester Airport, £20.40.

Tickets can be purchased online via our website or using the TPExpress App where people can pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal. E-tickets are also available allowing customers to use their phone instead of a paper ticket.

Enhanced cleaning remains in place on TPE trains and at stations so that customers can travel with confidence.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Zenobē Announces Partnership with Airsym for Yutong TCe12 Electric Coach.

Zenobē announces a partnership with Airsym to launch into service a brand-new Yutong TCe12 electric coach.

Zenobē, an EV fleet and battery storage specialist, has announced a partnership with Airsym, a transport provider for airlines, airports and ground handling companies, to launch into service a brand-new Yutong TCe12 electric coach.

The coach will be used as part of a shuttle service for McClaren Automotive, transporting staff from Woking train station to the company’s headquarters during the working week. On the weekends, it will be the first electric coach to operate airside at London Heathrow airport, shuttling airline crew to local hotels.

In its first step into the coach sector, Zenobē will be providing the financing and a managed service for the on-coach battery over the course of eight years.

With the coach sector only at the beginning of its electrification journey, despite ambitious commitments from the industry and government to reach net zero by 2050, this project marks an important step towards greener, cleaner transport.

The decarbonisation of the coach industry will play a crucial role in the UK’s journey to net zero and in cleaning the air of the nation. Coaches already provide a sustainable travel option, taking personal vehicles off roads. Transitioning coach fleets to zero emission alternatives will save around 56,000 tonnes of carbon over the next decade and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides equivalent to £225m in public health damage cost savings[1].


Steven Meersman, Co-Founder and Director of Zenobē, said:

“We’re thrilled to be expanding into the coach sector and embarking on this journey together with Airsym. The coach industry faces several unique challenges to decarbonisation but through the right partnerships, it can today make the first step on this journey.

 Allen Jey, Managing Director of Airsym, said:

“We’re delighted to add this new electric coach to our fleet and offer our customers a cleaner way to travel. Electrification is clearly the direction the industry is moving in, and we look forward to working with Zenobē, drawing on its expertise and extensive experience, to make a step on this journey.”

Phil Hodgson, Area Sales Manager at Pelican Bus and Coach, said:

“Pelican is delighted that Zenobē has provided vehicle financing on a new asset class of vehicles in the UK by financing a Yutong zero emission electric coach to Airsym. We see this as a fantastic enabler to begin to transition the coach industry to net zero. Yutong has over 133,000 zero emission vehicles in service, operating over 29.3 billion kms. Our vehicles are tried, tested and proven.”

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Vivarail Sends Second Class 230 Battery Train to The US

Vivarail has sent a second set of battery train stock across the Atlantic, as the US looks set to break new ground with the “Pop-Up Metro” concept.

Two cars were shipped to Baltimore to join their sisters in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, later this month for testing and demonstrations.

The intention is to lease the trains for use in underutilised lines across the US to pursue “Pop-Up Metro” routes, offering lower cost, lower risk, faster starts of rail-based transit services in the Americas.

Henry Posner III, Chairman of Vivarail shareholder Railroad Development Corporation said:

“There’s a lot of excitement about the possibilities that our Pop-Up Metro proposition brings to the Americas.

“With two trains we are now positioned to act on multiple opportunities at the same time. This is critical in positioning Pop-Up Metro as an alternative for the industry at a time when both rail access and decarbonisation have become national priorities. It also helps that the trains are stylish and comfortable.”

The class 230 wrapped and ready for shipment to the USA

Steve McBride, Managing Director of Vivarail said:

“We’re incredibly proud that the technology we created in the UK is leading the way for battery-powered train operations in the Americas. “This opens up a new market for Vivarail’s technology and shows that battery-power is a viable and efficient solution to decarbonise the railway. Vivarail’s train is believed to be the first lithium iron phosphate powered train to run in the US. ”

Vivarail, was founded in 2012 by UK entrepreneur Adrian Shooter and US railway investment and management company Railroad Development Corp. UK Based in Southam, the company aims to become a world-class innovator and provider of zero-emission mobility solutions for the benefit of future generations across the globe. 

The trains use the bodyshell and bogies of the London Transport D78 Tube stock as part of Vivarail’s commitment to useful life extension and saving waste, energy and materials.

The trains are essentially brand new with everything replaced or upgraded, depending on customer requirements.

 In 2021, the company provided a demonstration train at COP26 and its train became the first emission-free train to go over the Forth Bridge. 

 Vivarail is working with Great Western Railways to deliver the first UK battery train in regular passenger service on the Greenford West Ealing route later this year. It will include another ‘first’ which will be the installation of an automatic fast charging facility.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Winchester King Alfred Buses Running Day 2022

Winchester-based Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) held their Original King Alfred Buses Running Day which took place in and around the city on Monday 2nd May 2022.

Up to 12 traditional King Alfred buses ranging in age from 91- to 52-years-old were in attendance on 2 May 2022, in company with several heritage buses and coaches originating from other local operators.

Free bus services operated, based on Winchester Broadway and the St Catherine’s Park & Ride car park, covering most of the traditional King Alfred routes, plus those of neighbouring historic companies such as Aldershot & District and Hants & Dorset.

The King Alfred sales stand was open in the Broadway near to Winchester Guildhall, whilst at St Catherine’s there was a static display of historic vehicles with a frequent free bus service to/from central Winchester.

Thanks to Ken Jones for the photos below.

If you attend an event please feel free to send your photos to

Monday, 16 May 2022

Platinum Jubilee Bus Wraps for Transport for London’s Celebrations

Eight london buses with special commemorative wraps are now in service across the capital as Transport for London's celebrations to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee get underway.

The platinum buses will be in operation on selected routes passing by some of the iconic central London locations associated with the Royal family including Kensington Palace and Westminster Abbey, and Royal Parks such as Hyde Park and Green Park. Bus operators Arriva, RATP, Abellio, Go-Ahead, Metroline and Stagecoach have funded the special wraps rather than TfL.

The Tube has a longstanding history with the Royal Family, with the Queen became the first reigning monarch to use the Underground when she opened the Victoria line in March 1969.

Andy Lord, TfL's chief operating officer, said: "We are delighted to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen's incredible achievement of becoming the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee."

Customers using the Jubilee line, Elizabeth line or stations that have a Royal link in their name will see and hear special celebratory messages during the four day Platinum Jubilee weekend which takes place from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June.

Station announcements and platform digital display boards will help Londoners and visitors get into the party spirit from Queen's Road Overground station in Walthamstow, to Queensbury Underground and Royal Victoria DLR - and beyond.

Throughout the Jubilee weekend, all of the TfL's public transport will be running with no planned closures, Night Tube services will be running on the Central, Jubilee & Victoria lines on Friday 3 June & Saturday 4 June and a special service will be in operation on the Elizabeth line on Sunday 5 June.

Large-scale events during the weekend will involve road closures in central London, which are expected to cause travel disruption, delays and bus route changes. People should avoid driving in Central London and use routes that avoid the area if they are not attending the events.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Irish Operator McGinley Coach Travel Takes Delivery Of Four New Plaxton Panther Coaches From ADL

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has supplied four new Plaxton Panther coaches to Irish operator McGinley Coach Travel.

The new coaches are 12.8m long and built on Volvo B8R chassis. They are each fitted with 53 seats and a toilet mounted at the continental door in the centre of the vehicle.

New ADL customer McGinley Coach Travel is a family-owned company operating a wide variety of transport operations from express coach services to European tours from its main base in County Donegal.

Director James McGinley said: “We’re delighted to take delivery of these four brand new vehicles which will be welcomed by our customers I’m sure and will be an excellent addition to our already modern and comfortable fleet.”

Lee Gibson, ADL’s Regional Sales Manager in Ireland, added: “These are high-specification coaches and it’s been a pleasure working with the team at McGinley Travel to make sure they have the kind of modern, high-quality and reliable coaches they want for their operations.”

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Contract for 940 MAN Deutsche Bahn Buses

Deutsche Bahn has awarded a framework contract for around 940 buses to MAN Truck & Bus as part of the modernisation of its bus fleet. The city and intercity buses will be delivered to Deutsche Bahn AG over the next four years if the contracts are fully utilised, with the first vehicles expected to be delivered in 2023.

Vehicles with MAN EfficientHybrid technology also significantly reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions

Once again, MAN was able to win a tender from Deutsche Bahn. A total of approximately 940 buses are to be delivered by 2026 with full use of the contracts, these include MAN Lion's City in all length variants as well as MAN Lion's Intercity LE. 

For the MAN Lion's City city buses, Deutsche Bahn is also relying on a wide range of drive variants: Diesel as well as CNG and EfficientHybrid.

With around 420 million passengers in 2021, Deutsche Bahn is the largest provider of bus transport in Germany. DB Regio operates more than 10,000 buses in almost 300 districts and independent cities. 

The awarding of the contract focused, among other things, on life cycle costs and thus vehicles with low fuel consumption. The new MAN buses will be used throughout Germany in the future. MAN Truck & Bus is also a second supplier of electric buses.

"The award of the framework agreement by Deutsche Bahn for such a high number of MAN buses confirms that our city and intercity buses as well as our services are convincing in practice," says Christoph Huber, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH.

The MAN Lion's City series impresses with numerous technical details inside and out. The multiple award-winning design language also makes the MAN city bus series the perfect bus in urban areas. The clear focus is on efficiency, comfort and ergonomics.

A high proportion of the buses in the framework agreement are also equipped with the MAN EfficientHybrid system including automatic stop-start. This technology reduces the environmental impact in three ways: fuel consumption is reduced by storing braking energy, fewer pollutants are emitted by completely switching off the combustion engine and noise emissions are considerably lower as a result. 

The main component of MAN EfficientHybrid technology is a robust, wear-free and maintenance-free electric motor that is installed in the driveline between the engine and transmission. When overrun or braking, the crankshaft starter-generator works as a generator (alternator) and conversely also as a starter (starter motor).

With the MAN CNG buses of the Lion's City series, pollutant emissions are also significantly reduced. Particularly environmentally friendly: the MAN Lion's City G can also be fuelled with biomethane. This fuel variant leads to a further substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. The smoother running also means less engine noise than with a comparable diesel engine.

The MAN Lion's Intercity LE, which was introduced last year, sets standards in the low-entry class as well as with minimal "total cost of ownership". The latest MAN bus model also impresses with a progressive, modern look that blends in well with the urban image of a modern city. The high proportion of glass and the large glass roof hatches let in plenty of natural daylight, creating a panoramic effect. The generous glass surfaces and the integral and lightweight construction also make the vehicle significantly lighter and more efficient.

The modern lighting concept of the MAN Lion's Intercity LE with direct, warm white LED lighting also creates a pleasant, inviting and contemporary ambience in the passenger compartment.

"We are extremely pleased that our long-standing partnership with Deutsche Bahn can now be continued. It is particularly pleasing that our recently introduced new MAN Lion's Intercity LE intercity bus has already been so well received on the market after just a few months and scored points directly in the DB tender," adds Frank Krämer, Head of Bus Sales, MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Rotala Given Right to Appeal Decision on Bus Reform

Bus operator Rotala has won the right to appeal the decision which had cleared the road for bus reform in Greater Manchester. An unwelcome hurdle to Andy Burnham's plans to transform the bus network in move to a franchising. The hearing is expected to now take place this summer.

It was planned that the first franchised bus services would start from next year and serve the whole city-region by the end of 2024.

In March a judge ruled against firms Stagecoach and Rotala, who claimed the process taken by leaders to move to a franchising system, where operators had to bid to run services under public control, was 'irrational' and 'unlawful'.
Their arguments against the process included how changes wrought by Covid on the public transport network might impact the case for reform.

Greater Manchester had set their sights on a London-style network, where they set fares and routes with operators tendering to operate them.
Ironically The London style way of running buses is now struggling to survive the realities of life. Routes are being cut and Transport for London is being baled out by government assistance.
So now, Rotala has been given the chance to appeal the decision in March which has now been overturned when, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Julian Knowles ruled against the operators, adding: "Whilst I granted the plaintiffs permission to bring the review I dismiss the claims. In my judgement the mayor's decision and the process by which the Greater Manchester Combined Authority came to recommend the scheme was lawful."

Since Rotala sought permission at the Court of Appeal, the company has now been granted leave to appeal "certain aspects of the case".

The appeal case is expected to take place before August of this year.

Diamond Bus website here

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Amberley Museum May 2022

Ken Jones has been on his travels again, this time visiting amberley Museum for a bus event. Here's a selection of photos taken on 1st May.

Thanks to Ken for photos of his frequent visits to transport events. If you attend an event in 2022 please feel free to send photos to