Friday 30 September 2011

Lough Swilly

These pictures were taken at Easter 1992. Perhaps someone can identify the buses. I seem to remember that one was ex Trent.

The Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company still operates cross border bus services in Northern Ireland and Donegal using two currencies. When I last visited about five years ago they still used Setright machines and simply stopped at the side of the road at the border and made up their waybills.
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Thursday 29 September 2011

Silver Service

Seen outside the Novotel in Reims at 7:30 on Sunday morning. Sadly there is no connection between this coach and the former Silver Service of Darley Dale.
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Wednesday 28 September 2011

Sheffield's New Hybrids

 12092 One of the newly introduced Stagecoach Hybrids
Sheffield's 21 newly introduced ADL Enviro 400 Hybrids are getting press coverage this week. Stagecoach are operating them on service 120, which travels through Fulwood, Ranmoor, Broomhill, the city centre, Manor Top, Frecheville, Waterthorpe and Halfway. An official launch is planned for Thursday which will take place in Sheffield city centre.
The extra costs of purchasing the hybrids compared to conventional buses were covered by a Green Bus Funding Grant
Keep checking our FocusFlickr site to see more pictures of the new hybrids in action in Sheffield.

Colin Sellers

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Monday 26 September 2011

Let battle commence

Ken fires a broadside at Boris in the opening rounds of the battle to be the Mayor of London at the next election.

Some trek this

An amazing trek set off from London this morning on an epic round the world journey.  
Their website

Sunday 25 September 2011

Battery or Flywheel Hybrid - The Future?

 New Solo EV on Heathrow Service
An Optare Solo EV battery powered bus has entered service at Heathrow Airport where it operates between Terminal 5 and BA Headquarters at Waterside. This is the first electric powered bus to operate at Heathrow where the 25 seater is scheduled to travel between 50 and 60 miles each day.
 The one active Solo EV out of a batch of three, which run
40 and 40A services in Durham
The Solo EV is in use at various locations in the UK, amongst them is Durham, where three vehicles were acquired for the short service linking the Railway station & Coach Park with the Cathedral. 
 Unfortunately the Solos are struggling to achieve the daily mileage required of them and when I visited Durham just over a week ago only one vehicle was in service. One has been returned to Optare and the other vehicle was out of service. A back up diesel powered Solo was sharing the service with the one active Solo EV.

Clearly technology needs to move on before this type of vehicle can be relied upon and on that basis a company called Torotrack has developed a Flywheel Hybrid drive system which is being tested in an Optare Solo. The system uses a Ricardo Kinergy flywheel, which can run at 60,000 revs per minute, to store energy produced from braking. The flywheel is combined with a Torotrack continuously variable transmission system to transfer energy to the road wheels. Initial costings suggest that the system could be available for a fraction of the coast of current hybrid systems and would provide fuel savings of up to 10%.
Flywheel propulsion isn't new to the UK, with two Parry People Movers railcars, which use flywheel technology, having been in service since 2009 on the Network Rail Stourbridge Branch. They have achieved 99.5% reliability and during 2010 they operated almost 70,000 services carrying 465,000 passengers.
 Parry People Mover at Stourbridge

David Gambles

Saturday 24 September 2011

Hulleys New Decker

From a reliable source:
'I can now confirm that Hulleys new decker is a V registered Volvo B7L with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork, believed to be from First in London, though i'm not sure of the exact registration yet.
It is being painted by Volvo who hope to have it on their stand at Coach and Bus live at the NEC on the 8th October and having seen a photoshop mock up of it I think it will look very smart.'

Friday 23 September 2011

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Colin Sellers visited Duxford at the weekend and will be posting his photos on our FocusFlickr site. Keep checking on
Also recently posted are pictures from Meadowhall and from a trip to the North East

A few French buses in Strasbourg

First 2 on city services. Note the triangular shaped window behind the front axle.

Regional buses - Alsace is Department number 67.

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Tuesday 20 September 2011

Strasbourg Station

This is Strasbourg Station - the front has been covered by a large conservatory.

TGV train

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Keswick to Penrith Railway Re-opening?

CKP Railways plc has made an application in the second round of the Regional Growth Fund for a grant towards the eventual re-opening of the Keswick to Penrith Railway.
Funding is sought to get through the next legal and development stages, then hopefully begin work on the ground.
According to the CKP website "The application seeks funding to build on the technical and environmental work paid for by our supporters so far"
About £400,000 has been raised to date

 Keswick Station Buildings
The line only closed in 1972 and most of the earthworks and bridges are still in place. In the few areas where the line has been blocked by development, plans have been drawn up for re-alignment of the track, which in each case appears to be quite feasable.
Keswick Station has survived almost intact and is a constant reminder of when the line was active.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Two preserved buses in Den Haag

An NZH Leyland Royal Tiger. Did it have a front mounted radiator?

Veolia CNG buses

City buses and trams in Den Haag are operated by HTM but suburban bus services are provided by Veolia. For pictures of the trams see Richards Tram Blog. These bus run on compressed natural gas.
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Saturday 17 September 2011


Richard and Kath are going to Holland and France.
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Will Designlines Ever Run Again?

The ten Designline electric buses are still stored out of use at the Stagecoach Walker Gate depot and it is rumored that the batteries are no longer being charged. The hybrid vehicles were bought six years ago by Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and Nexus (Tyne & Wear PTE) to run on the prestigious Quayside routes, but the buses soon gained a reputation for unreliability as the batteries were unable to cope with the steep roads leading to the riverside on both the Newcastle and Gateshead sides of the Tyne. The hybrid buses were fitted with high speed turbine motors which seemed incapable of re-charging the batteries quickly enough to keep the vehicles running and it was not unusual for at least three or four of the buses to be replaced in service each day by conventional diesel buses, usually step entrance Dennis Darts.
Stagecoach operated them as part of their five year Quayside contract but wisely never owned them and when the contract came up for renewal Go North East won the tender for next five years, based on using brand new Optare Versas. Stagecoach were asked to find a use for the Designlines and tried them briefly on their 18 route but the unreliable nature of the buses saw them abandoned at various points of the route due to low battery problems and the route returned to operation by conventional buses.
 Designline in action on route Q2
61008 has just passed under the famous Tyne Bridge
and is just about to make the steep climb to Newcastle city centre
Now the batteries are not being charged there is little chance of them ever returning to service and they are  a reminder of how the road to find a reliable method of electric propulsion for buses is littered with failures.
It is pleasing to see the latest generation of hybrid vehicles in daily use in Newcastle without exhibiting such problems and it is to be hoped that battery life won't turn out to be an issue for these later generation vehicles.

David Gambles

Thursday 15 September 2011

Wolverhampton trolleybuses

These two pictures were taken at the Black Country Museum on Tuesday. Trolleybuses have not operated this year because of damage to the overhead line but plans to rectify this are in hand. There are currently 4 trolleybuses at the museum: 2 from Wolverhampton, 1 from Walsall and 1 from Bradford.

East Yorkshire buys second hand London double-deckers

East Yorkshire Motor Services are allegedly in the process of acquiring five former London Central Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President low-floor double-deckers. In their sights are PVL 179/83/91/3/4 in the London company, which EYMS intend to number 881-885 in that order. One such vehicle PVL 194 is illustrated in London service. It appears that their destiny is to lose their lids and become open-topped to replace the current step entrance double-deckers at Scarborough on the seafront service.
Incidentally as an aside the other Scarborough seafront operator Seaside Suncruisers, have apparently acquired two former London United Volvo B7TL double-deckers. However, the bodywork is unknown at present, but would be either Alexander ALX400 or Plaxton President version.
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Wednesday 14 September 2011

More New Hybrids Launched

Lothian Transport launched their new Hybrid buses on 10th September on Castle Street, Edinburgh. The event was visited by over 3000 passers-by who were eager to find out more about the new vehicles.
The 15 Enviro 400H buses have been purchased with help from the Scottish Government's Green Bus Fund and are manufactured by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk.

The Newcastle launch of the Stagecoach Enviro 400H
The Enviro 400H is fast becoming the market leader in the UK. During July, Stagecoach North East launched the first of their 26 Enviro 400H vehicles at a ceremony at Newcastle's Quayside. Now all 26 buses are in service and are said to be offering good fuel savings when compared to conventional buses.
The Enviro 400H is powered by a BAE Systems HybriDrive unit combined with a Cummins 4.5 litre ISBe4, Euro4 diesel engine developing 138kW (185 bhp) . It has an unladen weight of 11,590 Kg and a gross vehicle weight of 17,800kg.