Saturday 2 December 2023

Grand Central Trains Given Permission to Serve Peterborough

Grand Central has announced plans to bring its long-distance rail services to Peterborough for the very first time.

In a major boost for regional connectivity, Arriva’s award-winning open access operator will introduce four new stops at Peterborough Station from early in the new year.

Peterborough’s new services will provide customers with fast and reliable links through to destinations including Sunderland, Bradford and London.

In addition to the new direct travel opportunities, these services will mean significantly faster and more efficient connections for customers, with some journeys from Yorkshire, the North East and London being cut by up to an hour.

This is a major milestone for Grand Central, which prides itself on reaching parts of the country other services don’t – providing vital direct links for towns and cities across the North of England.

Sean English, Grand Central’s Chief Operating Officer, said “We’re delighted and proud to be bringing Grand Central trains to Peterborough. As an open-access operator, we’re always looking to innovate and bring new connections to areas that are underserved by the regular timetable. The decision to approve our application is recognition of the benefits that competition on the railway can deliver, both for customers and the taxpayer.”

Grand Central Railway Company Limited is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.

Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company was named as Britain's favourite train operating company in the Spring 2020 National Rail Passenger Survey.

Grand Central operates West Riding services between Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London King’s Cross. The rail operator also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London King’s Cross.

Grand Central is part of the Arriva group. Arriva is one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe, employing over 53,000 people and delivering 2 billion passenger journeys a year across 14 European countries. We are part of Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the world’s leading passenger and logistics companies, and are responsible for DB's regional passenger transport services outside Germany.

Friday 1 December 2023

20 Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV's For Launch Customer Stagecoach

Alexander Dennis, yesterday confirmed Stagecoach as the launch customer for its recently-launched Enviro100EV small zero-emission bus. The purchase has been supported by the Scottish Zero-Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).

The Enviro100EV was unveiled earlier this month alongside the Enviro400EV, as part of the manufacturer’s next generation of battery-electric buses. 
The Enviro100EV is highly manoeuvrable at just 8.5m length and 2.35m width and seats up to 25 passengers in the same comfort and style as larger buses with a bright and spacious interior and generous 2+2 seating.

Powered by the Voith Electrical Drive System, the energy stored in its 354kWh batteries gives it a class-leading range of up to 285 miles, making it a versatile performer even on longer, rural routes.

The battery system was developed for Alexander Dennis by its partner Impact Clean Power Technology. Particular attention has been paid to making it future-proof by allowing easy battery replacement with newer batteries in later life without a need for vehicle modifications.

Stagecoach placed its order for 20 Enviro100EV ahead of the type’s launch and production is now under way with deliveries expected in the first half of 2024. The purchase has been supported by the Scottish Government’s ScotZEB challenge fund and the vehicles are expected to be allocated to operating companies in Scotland.

Sam Greer, Chief Operating Officer for Stagecoach, said: “Acquiring the new Enviro100EV reaffirms our commitment to our customers experience while also bringing us a step closer to realising our goal of being fully Net Zero by 2050. 

As a part of the fabric of daily life in the UK, we will continue to build on our work to tackle climate change and become more energy efficient. Having been involved with these battery-electric buses from the concept phase, we are sure they will establish themselves as a long-serving staple of the Stagecoach fleet.”

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to have Stagecoach on board as the launch customer for our Enviro100EV ‘big small bus’. We really valued their input as we worked closely with them through the concept phase. 
These next-generation electric buses will be versatile assets for Stagecoach, their expansive range and diminutive road footprint making them equally suited to narrow town streets as winding country lanes.

“It’s a significant technical challenge packaging 354kWh of battery capacity and up to 285 miles of range into such a small vehicle but our engineers have pulled out the Top Trump card once again. 
The Enviro100EV is best-in-class by some distance and with its future-proof battery system and the next generation of aftermarket support from AD24, this new fleet of small buses is destined to enjoy long, productive working lives in the Stagecoach fleet.”

Details of the November launch of the Enviro400EV and Enviro100EV here

The battery system was developed for Alexander Dennis by its partner Impact Clean Power Technology, website here

Thursday 30 November 2023

Stagecoach West Celebrates 30 Years in Operation

Bus operator Stagecoach West has celebrated 30 years in operation with company-wide celebratory events.

To commemorate the 30-year milestone, staff members enjoyed quizzes, gifts, cupcakes and cake at each depot.

Formed in November 1993, Stagecoach West resulted from the merger of Western Travel, which included Cheltenham, Gloucester Omnibus Company, and the National Bus Company’s Swindon and District operation.

Over the years, the company has expanded its operations, acquiring the Bristol Depot in 2019 and merging with Stagecoach Oxfordshire in 2021.

The company reached its 30 year anniversary on November 25, and the company plays a crucial role, connecting people to their jobs, schools, and various other activities.

Managing director of Stagecoach West, Rachel Geliamassi said: "I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful teams and customers for making Stagecoach West the success it is today.

"We play a vital role in thousands of people’s lives every day, taking them to work or school, to appointments or holidays and days out – a role we value and care about."

She added: "So, here’s to the next 30 years and all the exciting challenges ahead - a time of change with the introduction of more electric vehicles to our fleet, adopting new technologies and continuing to put our customers at the heart of everything we do."

Wednesday 29 November 2023

ScotRail Class 380 Trains To Run Between Barrhead and Glasgow Central Following Electrification of The Route

ScotRail customers along the route between Barrhead and Glasgow Central will see the introduction of electric trains as part of the train operator’s upcoming timetable change. 

From Sunday, 10 December, ScotRail will operate modern Class 380 trains on its local services between Barrhead and Glasgow Central. The recent electrification of the route has paved the way for more sustainable, eco-friendly journeys, ensuring that customers benefit from a more comfortable and reliable service. 

The timetable change will also see an hourly service operate on the Cathcart Circle throughout the day Monday to Saturday. This improvement will nearly double the number of services calling at Langside, Pollokshaws East, Shawlands, Maxwell Park, and Pollokshields West. It will provide passengers at other stations in south Glasgow with more options and flexibility, making it easier to plan their daily journeys and leisure trips. 

Eighteen additional limited stop services will be introduced on the route between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Shotts each day, Monday to Saturday. This will provide customers at Livingston South, West Calder, and Shotts with fast journey opportunities and more convenient connections to both Edinburgh and Glasgow.  

Sundays will also become even more accessible and convenient for customers traveling between Gourock and Glasgow with the introduction of additional trains. Recognising the demand for weekend travel, a new half-hourly service will operate between Gourock and Glasgow Central on Sundays. 

The new timetable will see changes between Dundee and Inverurie, delivering improvements to service reliability, particularly at local stations between Dundee and Aberdeen.  

Additional stops are being added to services between Glasgow Queen Street and Aberdeen, and between Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen, creating new direct journey opportunities between communities in Angus and Aberdeenshire.  

The change will see a reduction in local services for customers in the northeast, however, the timetable introduced in December will better connect them with Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, and Glasgow whilst maintaining the overall number of journey opportunities. 

Customers in East Lothian will benefit from ScotRail’s Dunbar to Edinburgh services calling additionally at Wallyford to access the mobility hub there, as well as East Linton when the new station opens.  

A later service will operate between Inverness and Elgin on a trial basis to benefit customers in Moray. This will depart Inverness at 22:12. The 21:34 Inverness to Aberdeen service will continue to operate as at present.  

The new timetable is introduced during the train operator’s off-peak all day fares trial which started on 2 October and will run for six months.

With the new timetable coming into place, customers are encouraged to check their journey on the ScotRail website, mobile app, and through social media channels as train times may have changed. 

Customers can check train times at and on the ScotRail app. Timetables will also be available to download from the ScotRail website.  

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said: 

"Our December timetable change represents another step in our ongoing commitment to deliver the best service we can, and encourage more people to choose rail travel instead of using the car, particularly during our off-peak all day fares trial. 

“From the introduction of electric trains to increased frequency on key routes and enhanced service reliability, we are dedicated to making Scotland’s Railway more accessible and efficient. 

Platform 3 bay platform was extended to accommodate the longer four-carriage electric trains.
This involved moving the current buffers and rebuilding the access paths

“There is a lot of ongoing investment in our network with decarbonisation continuing, and improvements across the network. This new timetable is an important part of that.” 

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Apple Travel Adds Two New Plaxton Panthers and Confirms Leopard Order

Alexander Dennis has announced that it has handed over two new Plaxton Panther coaches to Berkshire operator Apple Travel.

The new coaches are built on the dependable Volvo B8R chassis with I-Shift transmission. One has 59 comfortable seats, the other 61. They are prepared to later be fitted with wheelchair lifts as well as side and rear displays to comply with PSV Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR), ensuring that they can easily be adapted to changing operational requirements throughout long working lives.

They join two similar Plaxton Panther coaches purchased in 2021 and 2022 as well as several Plaxton Leopard in a fleet dominated by Scarborough-built vehicles. An order has already been confirmed for a further 72-seat Plaxton Leopard to be delivered next year.

Directors Sam and Joel Sweeney were joined by their daughter Millie when inspecting the new coaches at the Plaxton factory and said: “We’re delighted to continue to invest for our customers by further upgrading our fleet. Plaxton coaches are the backbone of our operation thanks to specifications that are exactly matched to our requirements for a variety of work and the excellent support we get from Mark and the whole Alexander Dennis and Plaxton team.”

Mark Taylor, Regional Sales Manager at Alexander Dennis, commented: “It is a joy working with family businesses like Apple Travel and it’s great to see the next generation of Sweeneys already taking an interest with Millie joining us in Scarborough. These new Panthers will be a real boost for the Apple Travel fleet and I look forward to building on that next year with another Plaxton Leopard.”

Alexander Dennis Regional Sales Manager Mark Taylor (left) with Millie Sweeney, daughter of Apple Travel directors Sam and Joel Sweeney, at the Scarborough factory.

Apple travel Fleet details here

Plaxton coaches are regarded by the company as the backbone of their operation

Monday 27 November 2023

New Piccadilly Line Train Test Report.

Siemens Mobility are building 94 new trains for Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Piccadilly line. The first train is under test at the Test and Validation Centre in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany.

The line's existing trains have been in use since 1975 and are set to be replaced with the new models in 2025.

The first nine-carriage train came off the production line in Vienna at the end of July before being transported to the Test and Validation Centre. Meanwhile, work to complete Siemens Mobility's new site in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where around half the trains will be assembled, is nearing completion.

Geoff Marshall visited the test track in Germany to see one of the first trains being tested,
view his detailed report here

Sunday 26 November 2023

Oxford Launch 21 Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliners

Oxford continues charge to net zero with launch of Wrightbus fully electric buses

Zero-emission electric buses manufactured by Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus have been launched in Oxford.

The first of a fleet of 21 StreetDeck Electroliners - the world's most efficient double deck battery-electric bus - has been launched as part of the city’s ambitious drive to achieve net zero by 2040.

The vehicles have been branded in partnership with Oxford Brookes University and were unveiled at the University’s Headington Campus.

The new BROOKESbus fleet, which is owned and run by Oxford Bus Company, will replace the existing fleet of diesel buses and will prevent up to an estimated 850 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into Oxford per year. On a full charge of power, they can travel up to 300 miles.

It’s Oxford’s first ever electric bus service and all the vehicles are expected to be in service by the end of the year. They will benefit not only students and staff, but the local community and visitors to the city.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be working with Oxford Brookes and the Oxford Bus Company in their commitment to offering zero-emission public transport in the city and can’t wait to see even more of our buses in operation.

“Wrightbus’s ambition is to reduce the environmental impact of public transport ​​and we continue to invest in ground-breaking technology as a driver to developing cleaner, more efficient transport solutions.

“We are the only manufacturer in Europe to offer a complete suite of zero-emission buses, with both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell single and double decks.

“These have a vital role to play in decarbonising public transport and in enabling operators, local authorities and governments to meet their carbon reduction targets.”

All of the energy used to charge the buses will be from renewable sources, and a full charge of a bus will take approximately three and a half hours. As electric buses are much quieter than diesel buses, the new buses will emit an artificial sound while travelling at low speeds for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Speaking at the launch event, Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said: “The launch of these new, fully electric BROOKESbuses is an important step towards our ambition of delivering net zero by 2040, something we know is very important to our students, staff and wider community. We are also very proud that these new buses will be charged from renewable sources.

“We recognise the critical role that the BROOKESbus service plays for students, staff and the city’s community and visitors. In 2022, for instance, we amalgamated the service with some of Oxford’s local Park and Ride Services and provided a much-needed bus route from Blackbird Leys to the University.

“We know the impact of the cost of living on students’ lives. That is why I am particularly excited that this new cleaner bus service offers free journeys for the vast majority of our students.”

Luke Marion, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first BROOKESbus branded electric vehicles arrive as part of our exciting journey towards delivering an all-electric fleet of city buses.

“Oxford Brookes University is equally committed to using innovation to enhance sustainability and we’re proud to deliver this milestone for our community via our long-standing partnership.

“Our investment in net zero vehicles and the associated infrastructure will further help improve air quality and make bus travel an even more sustainable option for Brookes students, staff, and the wider public to travel around Oxford.”

Saturday 25 November 2023

Abellio’s New single deck EV Fleet Hits The London Roads On Route 433

Abellio continues its rollout in London as it celebrates the official rollout of a new fleet of single-deck Caetano e.City Gold buses on Route 433.

Route 433 operates on behalf of Transport for London from Abellio’s Beddington depot near Croydon, it runs between Addington Village interchange and East Croydon, providing a vital service for Londoners.

The Caetano e.City Gold buses are state-of-the-art, fully EV, no emission, low-body buses. Designed and fitted in partnership with Abellio, they continue our vision to provide a high-quality bus interior that ensures sustainable and comfortable journeys for our customers.

Comfort and accessibility for customers are at the heart of Abellio's vision for bus in London. Priority seats are clearly highlighted, and digital signage on board shares a range of real-time information, including the time to the next stop, disruptions, space on the next bus, and service updates for Tube, Overground, and DLR services. There is dedicated signage for the wheelchair area, making it easier for customers in this space to access the information they need.

Abellio is proud to support the Mayor of London’s vision to reduce carbon emissions in London. The growth of our EV fleet and continued investment in infrastructure across our depots will make London’s streets cleaner and greener.

Alastair Willis, Head of Commercial, Abellio London, said:

‘’Abellio is at the forefront of providing customers with cleaner, zero-emission journeys. We are absolutely delighted to bring another fully EV route to London as the 433 rolls out with these innovative new Caetano buses.”

One of the original batch of Caetano vehicles seen in operation at Victoria in November 2021

Friday 24 November 2023

Enviro200AV wins Vehicle of the Year as Alexander Dennis and Partners Gain Top Honour at Self-Driving Industry Awards

Alexander Dennis, has announced that its Enviro200AV autonomous bus for the CAVForth project has been recognised as Vehicle of the Year at the UK’s first dedicated awards for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Winners of the Self-Driving Industry Awards 2023 were announced by Cars of the Future at a ceremony at the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate on 17th November 2023.

In a collaborative achievement, bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, autonomous system provider Fusion Processing, and public transport operator Stagecoach clinched the prestigious Vehicle of the Year award. 

The recognition highlights the importance of public transport when considering what the future of mobility could look like and honours the partners’ effort in launching the UK’s first full-size autonomous bus service.

The award-winning bus is a standard Alexander Dennis single decker that has been fitted with cutting-edge technology and an eye-catching livery. Five of these autonomous buses have been in service in Scotland since May 2023 as part of the CAVForth project, carrying thousands of passengers and covering over 70,000 miles in autonomous mode.

Matthew Lawrence, Fleet Sales Director at Alexander Dennis, accepted the award on behalf of the engineering team and said: “We are honoured to receive the Vehicle of the Year award at the inaugural Self-Driving Industry Awards for our first fleet of Enviro200AV. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our engineering team and partners. Together, we are driving the future of autonomous transportation, setting new benchmarks for passenger experience, safety, efficiency, and sustainability.”

Peter Stephens, Policy and External Affairs Director for Stagecoach, said: “We are proud to have provided the first autonomous bus fleet to the UK and the first service to our local communities in East Scotland. This Self-Driving Industry Award stands as a testament to the belief of our partners, our staff, and our customers, who have all put their trust in our vision. The service is live, and we invite anyone to come experience AB1, autonomous bus no.1, for themselves!”

The Self-Driving Industry Awards are presented by Cars of the Future ( They recognise outstanding contributions to developing and implementing self-driving technology across various sectors. The partners’ success shows their leadership in driving innovation and fostering a future where autonomous transportation is a reality.

CAVForth is a collaborative project part-funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Led by Fusion Processing Ltd, it involves Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University, Bristol Robotics Lab, and the University of the West of England.

The 14-mile CAVForth service from Fife into Edinburgh across the Forth Road Bridge was launched to the public in May 2023. It will continue to be developed with the follow-up CAVForth2 project, which will extend the route into Dunfermline city centre and add an electric Alexander Dennis Enviro100AEV small bus to the fleet.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Magtec to Repower 15 Open Top Tourist Buses in London

Tootbus has engaged Rotherham based drive systems specialist Magtec to repower a fleet of 15 open top double-decker buses for its sightseeing services in central London. 
Tootbus (RATP Group) aims to have a fully electric fleet by 2030 in line with the Mayor of London’s net zero ambitions for the capital.

 Magtec will equip the 23-tonne tri-axle buses with high-tech electric drive trains including 280 kWh battery system.
Each vehicle will be operating hop-on, hop-off routes past world-famous landmarks and covering more than 70 miles per day in and around Westminster.

Magtec highlights that it has previously supplied an electric drive system for one of Tootbus’ smaller vehicles, an 18-tonne dual axle bus.

Andrew Gilligan, managing director of Magtec, said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our partnership with Tootbus to support its drive to green services and provide an even bigger ‘wow factor’ for its customers. As a UK company, we are proud to be flying the flag for UK manufacturing and helping to improve air quality in the heart of our capital city.

Gavin Brooking, managing director of Tootbus UK, said: “This agreement enables us to continue to deliver on our commitment to a truly sustainable service. We are the first clean energy sightseeing bus company, and remain driven to push the boundaries of green tourism at an accelerated rate – indeed our recent Sustainable Tourism Barometer showed that operators need to make it easier for consumers to adopt greener options. Magtec’s market-leading battery technology will underpin these efforts.”

Tootbus website here

Also see the posting from 5th October here covering Big Bus Tours vehicles being re-powered

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Design Team Required for Major Upgrade of Crewe Heritage Centre

Crewe Town Council is seeking a design team for a major upgrade of the Crewe Heritage Centre railway museum [Deadline: 7 December 2023]

The winner of the estimated £45,000 contract will carry out a feasibility study looking at options to transform the former railway works which is now a visitor attraction featuring several open signal boxes, a miniature railway and British Rail’s only surviving experimental APT-P train.

The project aims to deliver a new ‘modern heritage leisure attraction’ on the site next to Crewe Station' which currently receives around 30,000 visitors a year – celebrating local railway heritage and social history.

The search for a design team comes just three months after Crewe Town Council announced it was seeking a consultant for a conservation area review of Crewe, focussing on understanding the Cheshire town’s ‘built heritage, its context, impact and value.

According to the brief: ‘The council has been working with Crewe Heritage Trust and progressing work seeking to achieve museum status for the site as well as supporting their operational transition as they adopt new working practices'.

‘The project is to develop a feasibility study and business case for the provision of a modern heritage leisure attraction in Crewe, leading to the capital investment and redevelopment of the site'.

‘The feasibility study and business case end product will be the engagement of large-scale external funding agencies with the aim of securing the necessary funding for the final delivery of a destination attraction that reflects Crewe’s position in national rail and engineering heritage as well as the local social heritage context.’

Crewe is a large town of around 76,000 inhabitants located 237km north of London. The settlement was historically a major centre of railway manufacturing and is currently earmarked for a new Grimshaw-designed hub station connecting existing rail services with the north-western spur of HS2.

 Bids to deliver the latest contract will be evaluated 60 per cent on quality and 40 per cent on cost. Applicants must hold employer’s liability insurance of £10 million, public liability insurance of £10 million and professional indemnity insurance of £1 million.

The APT is displayed at Crewe Heritage Centre, more details and photos on the Crewe Heritage Supporters site here

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Abellio London Orders GB Kite Electroliners and Streetdeck Electroliners from Wrightbus

 Wrightbus has secured further orders with transport operator Abellio.
Abellio, part of the Transport UK Group, has placed new orders for 80 electric buses with the Northern Ireland-based firm.

The orders consist of 24 single-deck GB Kite Electroliners and 56 StreetDeck Electroliners - the world’s most efficient battery electric double-deck bus.

The new-look 2024 Kite single deckers come with a number of safety features to make them compliant with Transport for London’s bus safety standards, including front and nearside blindspot warnings, tyre pressure monitoring system, automated emergency braking system, and dynamic stability test.

These state-of-the-art, fully EV buses will be rolled out across the Capital in 2024 and will be operated by Abellio on behalf of Transport for London, enabling Londoners to enjoy greener, cleaner journeys.

The deal also takes Abellio’s total order of StreetDeck Electroliners with Wrightbus to over 100 - a significant landmark in the operator's investment into an EV fleet and infrastructure that has placed it at the forefront of EV in London.

The bus interiors have been designed in partnership with Abellio to provide increased comfort for customers.

They are fitted with Lazzerini high back seats throughout, and a wood-effect floor adds to the cutting-edge design. USB chargers and mobile phone holders in the seats mean passengers can work or relax more easily. Priority seats feature a contrasting colour scheme, and the vehicles also have a larger wheelchair and buggy area, improving accessibility.

The buses are being manufactured at the Wrightbus headquarters and manufacturing plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, supporting hundreds of high-skilled jobs to help level up and grow the economy.

Jon Eardley, Managing Director of Abellio, said:

“Abellio sits at the forefront of EV bus technology in London, leading the way with the introduction of zero-emission buses across our six London depots.

“We are proud to support Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s goals to decarbonise London’s streets.

“Abellio’s investment in state-of-the-art EV fleet and comprehensive infrastructure has already provided millions of customers with comfortable, cleaner, and greener journeys.

“We are very excited about the future as we energise all six of our London depots and work in partnership with Wrightbus to serve our customers with innovative zero-emission journeys.”

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said:

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Abellio to further demonstrate their commitment to offering even more zero-emission public transport in London.

“It has been a real team effort between Wrightbus and Abellio to deliver these orders, which will help customers enjoy cleaner transport.

“We’re immensely proud of the reputation we have forged in the zero-emission transport sector and the important role we are playing in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

“All of the buses will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”

The StreetDeck Electroliner is the perfect combination of range and efficiency, maximising power and offering class-leading recharge times.

Official assessments undertaken at UTAC using the ZEMO-accredited Ultra Low Emission Bus (ULEB) test showed that the Electronlier achieved a result of 0.69 kWh/km - around half the energy consumed by its closest BEV double deck UK rival and significantly better than all other BEV single deck bus results published on the ZEMO website.

Wrightbus has been at the forefront of the movement to decarbonise public transport across the UK and Ireland with the Electroliner alongside its world-first hydrogen double deck, the StreetDeck Hydroliner.

Monday 20 November 2023

New Look Gatwick Airport

 Network Rail has been delivering a massive vital upgrade to Gatwick Airport Railway Station to relieve crowding, improve accessibility and reduce delays for commuters and leisure travellers across the South East.

The new look Gatwick Airport station is set to open to passengers on Tuesday 21 November, transforming the journey from train to plane and giving passengers easier, faster and more reliable train journeys.

With the number of customers visiting the station set to grow, this important investment will upgrade the railway station and help the airport to play an even bigger role in the local economy’s growth as a hub for international visitors.

The upgrade has:

  1. Doubled the size of the station concourse through the construction of a new concourse above platforms 5, 6 and 7, the refit of the existing station concourse and the construction of a new separate staff building to create more space for customers
  2. Improved customer access, especially for wheelchair users and those with luggage by building five new lifts, eight new escalators, new staircases and improved wayfinding throughout the station buildings
  3. Reduced platform overcrowding and reduce train delays across the network by widening platforms 5 and 6, through adding a new lift and set of stairs on platforms 3 & 4 and new lifts, escalators and stairs on platforms 5, 6 and 7. 
  4. This will make it much faster for passengers to board and alight trains and clear platforms, helping our team to dispatch trains quickly and keep services running on time

To enable the work, the station will need to be managed differently. A change in walking routes has been adopted at the station, to ensure that every customer is supported during this exciting time at the airport. This includes ensuring that step-free access to and from the platforms is available at all times.

Read the Network Rail report here


Sunday 19 November 2023

£356 Million Being Spent on Central Line London Tube

Significant improvements to the Central line that will improve the quality and reliability of services are taking place.

TfL is investing £356 million as part of the Central Line Improvement Programme that includes the replacement of old traction motors on the fleet, to help reduce delays on the line, the trains being increasingly unreliable due to the deteriorating condition of the rolling stock.

All 85 trains on the line – the longest on the London Underground at 46 miles – will undergo a comprehensive 10-week makeover that will include the long-awaited introduction of CCTV cameras and new “moquette” seating.

The five identical trains that run on the Waterloo and City Line are also being refurbished.

The Central line trains first entered service in 1992. The upgrade will extend their lives by “15 to 20 years”, with the first refurbished train entering service by the end of November. .

The programme also includes accessibility enhancements for passengers, including more space for wheelchair users, audio and visual passenger information, and colour-contrasting features.

These improvements will be complete by 2024. In the longer term, TfL will replace the current 92' Stock train fleet with the next generation of trains as part of the Deep Tube Upgrade Programme.

TfL will of course continue to seek opportunities to maximise the frequency of services within the capability of the current fleet size.

Read more on the Ian Visits website here

Saturday 18 November 2023

Go South Coast Upgrades Morebus and Southern Vectis fleets With 35 New Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Low-Emission Buses

Alexander Dennis has announced that it is in the process of delivering a fleet of 35 new Enviro400 double deckers to Go South Coast.

The Go-Ahead Group company, which operates a fleet of over 850 vehicles on over 140 local and long-distance routes across Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, has allocated the new low-emission buses to its morebus and Southern Vectis operating units.

28 buses at morebus have recently upgraded the frequent m1 and m2 routes in Bournemouth and Poole to double deck operation, offering additional seats to passengers on the conurbation’s busiest bus service.

Another seven new Enviro400's will shortly join Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight.

Each of the 35 buses seats up to 75 passengers and provides a comfortable journey experience for passengers with Alexander Dennis SmartSeats, mobile device charging and free wi-fi. Drivers benefit from cameras instead of traditional external mirrors, improving visibility in low light.

Go South Coast Managing Director, Andrew Wickham, said: “Our aim is to help reduce congestion across the region – and we believe making sustainable transport even more attractive is key to that. Just one fully-loaded double decker has the potential to take up to 75 cars off our roads, so we believe we have made the right decision, adding these impressive new buses to our fleet.”

Matthew Lawrence, Fleet Sales Director at Alexander Dennis, said: “Go South Coast’s investment in 35 new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double deckers is great news for passengers in Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Air quality will benefit, too, with the buses fitted with our SmartPack efficiency technology and certified as low-emission buses. We’re looking forward to continuing the partnership with Go South Coast not just through our AD24 aftermarket but also with another 44 Enviro400 already on order for next year.”

At a launch event in Newport, Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Southern Vectis, told the County Press: "We're really pleased with them. They're state of the art.Read the Isle of Wight County Press report here