Monday 31 December 2012

Routemasters newly arrived in Canada

For the last several years the Stagecoach Stonegravels depot in Chesterfield has been the home to five stored ex London Routemasters. Over the last couple of months four of them were prepared to travel to pastures new, leaving Chesterfield during the second week of November for Liverpool for shipping to Canada. (17/11/2012)

Line up in SG 31/10/2012.  RML 2392 (JJD 392D); RML 2303 (CUV 303C); RML 2399 (JJD 399D; RML 2437 (JJD437D).
Bill Jarvis posted the following on the Transpire forum

Dec.19.2012 -- This afternoon, I saw JJD399D and JJD437D passing through Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. They were on board a freight train, heading from Halifax, Nova Scotia towards Montreal, Quebec. (Their ultimate destination could be elsewhere.)  I assume they were imported through Autoport, Darmouth, Nova Scotia (on Halifax Harbour), which is a major facility for importing and exporting vehicles by ship.

My thanks to Stagecoach management, for permitting me access to photograph them at Stonegravels.

Free WiFi for Scottish Train Passengers

Express trains linking Scotland's cities will have free wi-fi equipment installed by the end of next year, it has been announced.

The move is the result of a £2m investment from the Scottish government.
All 59 of ScotRail's class-170 trains will be upgraded to offer the internet connections.
It follows a successful trial on four trains running mainly on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street line.
After the trial, 77% of users were happy with the speed and performance of the wi-fi.
All trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh will now have wi-fi equipment installed, as will services on Edinburgh/Glasgow to Aberdeen/Inverness routes, the Aberdeen to Inverness service, the Glasgow/Edinburgh to Stirling/Alloa routes and on the Fife circle.
It will allow travellers to check emails, browse the internet and access social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Business leaders welcomed the move, with David Birrell, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, saying: "Increasing wi-fi access on trains will undoubtedly enhance the ability for business people to stay connected and therefore improve productivity during transit. That can only be welcomed."
The number of trains with wi-fi should steadily increase from March, with plans to fit the technology on about five or six trains a month.
Announcing the move, Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "We have an absolute commitment to bringing better connectivity to every corner of Scotland and I have been highly encouraged by the success of ScotRail pilot scheme.
"A major challenge for the transport industry is embracing new technologies to meet the demands of passengers and help them get on with their evermore busy lives while travelling.
"Just like our roads and railways, the internet is a vital part of Scotland's infrastructure. It is essential that people throughout Scotland have online access to enable our economy to thrive, which is why we are already forming plans to further expand wi-fi provision across the rail network."
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: "We are confident the installation of free wi-fi will be warmly welcomed by our customers. More journeys are made on our class-170s than any other of our trains, so it makes sense to begin the roll-out on this fleet.
"We will be fitting wi-fi during planned weekend maintenance, to avoid taking trains out of service."
An ethernet "backbone" is fitted to the trains, with a wi-fi router mounted in the roof space close to the antennae. Inter-vehicle "jumpers" are then used to allow internet access in all carriages.
There will still be areas where wi-fi is not available, due to variations in mobile-signal strength along the rail network.

Sunday 30 December 2012

New Elite i On The Road

 54206  SF62 CRK Approaches Newcastle Walkergate Depot
Stagecoach Newcastle have received a new Plaxton Elite i at Walkergate depot for driver training purposes. I was invited to photograph the vehicle earlier this week.

The coach didn't look too large in comparison with other vehicles parked nearby and it seems much more in proportion compared to the 15 metre long Plaxton Panthers bought over the past few years for megabus work

The new vehicles are expected to be introduced into service on the M20 route during January.

 At the top of the front stairs is a chrome bar that pulls out to prevent access to the lower
 front driver and passenger area.
 The aisle has a cut out section at the top of the steps leading to the washroom, so at this point the aisle is quite narrow.

 The vehicle is being used for driver training purposes and it is seen here entering Walkergate Depot having returned from a short trip around the local area

More pictures on   FocusFlickr

Saturday 29 December 2012

Competition with 'Red Arrow'

Yourbus has registered a new limited stop 'Citylink' service wef 18/2/13 from Nottingham to Derby, running 7 days a week.
Presumably creating 'head to head' competition with the 'Red Arrow'.
Tony Wilson


Darting Around Chesterfield 2

Following the recent Darting Around Chesterfield item Tony Wilson has sent pictures and information about the vehicles during use with the original operators.

 Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer (V329 KMY) is a sister of V327 and
was one of ten acquired in 1999 by Metrobus of Orpington, Kent to
operate on Transport for London contracted routes in South London. 329
seen above in August 2004 at East Croydon with the main railway station
in the background and the Croydon tram tracks to the left of the picture.

 The two actual East Lancs bodied Darts now with DW Coaches
are shown above and below in their original form with Rossendale Transport of
Rawtenstall. Numbers 112 and 113 as they were when found at work in Rochdale in October 1998.

The origins of Universitybus started as an in-house operation to
provide transport for students at the Hertfordshire University,
between their various locations spread far and wide throughout the
county. Much of the campus based is in the Hatfield area, but students
are drawn from a wide area including Greater London. Over time the
route network has grown to include most main towns in Hertfordshire
and also provides links to the rail and tube network in North West
London. A wide variety of buses are now used and included for a while
five Wright Crusader bodied Dart SLF. Included was one registered P664
PNM now with DW Coaches as shown below in original condition at Wall
Hall College grounds at Aldenham near Watford in April 1997.

 A similar vehicle from the same batch illustrates the current
livery applied to the fleet. A fleet numbering system has since been
applied and number 665 is shown belowin May 2008 near to the main
campus area at Hatfield. Buses operate nowadays using the trading name uno (with a small 'u').

Tomorrow on this website - Pictures of the new Plaxton Interdecker  
Elite i Takes to the Road

Friday 28 December 2012

Deliveries of Sheffield E400's Commence.

The first of the 62 plate Enviro 400H (Hybrid) buses has arrived at Chesterfield (all 19 are expected by the end of January) they will work out of Stagecoach Sheffields Holbrook depot. This will then take the total number of Hybrid's being operated by Stagecoach in Sheffield to 40.

Recently delivered YN62 BBX stands in Stonegravels depot Chesterfield.

Darting Around Chesterfield

A former Universitybus (Hertfordshire) Dennis Dart/Wright Crusader SLF (P664 PNM) has been acquired and repainted into the livery of DW Coaches, and now operates on the company's DerbysCC contracted services. Shown here in Elder Way, Chesterfield yesterday when on the 78 route.
That makes three different sorts of bodywork on their fleet of four Dennis Darts, East Lancs, Plaxton and now Wright.  

Tony Wilson

 East Lancs (above) originally one of two with Rossendale. Plaxton one (below) is ex.Metrobus, Surrey;

Please Note,

The first photo was taken recently and the other photos taken within the first couple of days of the commencement of the contract. All DW Coaches vehicles have been fitted with electronic destinations.
Two Darts stand on Cavendish Street Chesterfield on 20th December 2012.

Thursday 27 December 2012

Longest High Speed Rail Route Opens

China has officially opened the world's longest high-speed rail route, linking the capital Beijing with the southern commercial hub of Guangzhou.

The first bullet train left Beijing on Wednesday morning. Trains will initially travel at 300km/h (187mph), more than halving travel time.
A Chinese official has described the route - parts of which were already in operation - as "one of the most technically advanced in the world".
The 2,298km route will have 35 stops.
They include such major cities as Wuhan and Changsha.
The previously 22-hour journey will now take less than 10 hours.
The decision was taken to start the passenger service on 26 December to commemorate the birth of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, state media said.
China is currently expanding its high-speed rail network across the vast country.
The world's longest line consists of four main divisions, running between the capital, Beijing, the central transport hub Zhengzhou in Henan province, Wuhan in central China, and Guangzhou. The line connecting Wuhan and Guangzhou opened in 2009, and the one between Beijing and Zhengzhou held its first trial run over the weekend.
The line stops in 35 cities and will eventually reach Hong Kong. According to the state news service, Xinhua, 155 pairs of trains will run every day. Older trains connecting the two cities will remain in service.
Business-class tickets on the line sell for £270, more than a month's salary for many of Beijing's low-level white-collar workers. Standard seats cost £86, about twice as much as a bunk on an older train though slightly cheaper than most flights.
China's high-speed rail programme was established in 2007, and its first line, connecting Beijing and nearby Tianjin, opened just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The system now has more than 5,780 miles of track.
But the ambitious project has not been free from controversy.
Forty people died last summer in a crash on a rapid train line in eastern Zhejiang province and the entire high-speed scheme has been dogged with reports of corruption.

Links from Colin Sellers

Volunteers run free bus service in Workington

Volunteers have put on a free hourly bus service for people in Cumbria on Boxing Day.
The service, provided by volunteers at the Workington Transport Heritage Trust, was for people needing public transport to and from Workington.

The service linked the town's bus station, Seaton, Moorclose, Salterbeck and Harrington.
Alistair Grey, the trust's secretary who started the service in 2004, said 230 people used the service in 2011.
He said: "We run this service every year as a thank-you to the community for their support throughout the year."
A memorable year for Mr Grey came in 2009 when Cumbria was hit with floods.
He said: "The town was split in two by the floods. We had two buses in operation - one running north from the temporary Barkers Crossing footbridge to Seaton and Maryport, with another connecting on the south side to the town centre, and estates towards Harrington.
Mr McKenzie became a fan of buses in the 1950s
"There were 567 passenger journeys were recorded between the two buses that year."
One of the volunteers, Bill McKenzie, has been a fan of buses since he was five years old when he father worked as a conductor.
He said: "I've always maintained an interest in buses, particularly when a new model came along, both as a child and later as an adult.
"As I have recently retired it seemed an ideal opportunity to volunteer with Workington Transport Heritage Trust so that I could spend some time chatting with like-minded individuals as well as restoring and occasionally driving some of the vehicles owned.
"I am looking forward to Workington Transport Heritage Trust hopefully moving to more permanent premises at some point in the future when there might be scope to introduce other types of vehicles, as this would add interest from the point of view of establishing a transport museum.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Free Travel for LM Passengers

Train passengers hit by weeks of cancellations and delays because of a London Midland (LM) driver shortage are set to be offered free travel.
More than 950 services were affected between 14 October and 10 December.
The government has told LM to offer a £7m package of benefits, which includes season ticket holders getting five days of free travel passes.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said the firm had fallen short of its franchise obligations.
The government has also secured 500,000 additional cheap advance tickets for passengers on key routes serving London, Birmingham, Northampton, Crewe and Liverpool and a commitment to invest in infrastructure improvements.
Mr Baker said: "London Midland has cancelled or delayed hundreds of services in recent months.
"On repeated occasions, they were not able to provide enough drivers and some services had to be cancelled, with severe delays to services, and they have fallen short both of everyone's expectations and their franchise obligations.
"Securing these benefits for passengers represents a firm yellow card for London Midland and some financial benefit for those who have been hardest hit by their poor performance."
Mr Baker said he was confident the firm had now rectified the driver shortage but added the government would continue to monitor its performance and "take firmer action if necessary".
The firm, which will continue to operate the routes until at least September 2015, has apologised for its problems and said it had seen a higher than normal turnover of drivers.

Train drivers' basic annual gross salary in West Midlands

  • Arriva Cross Country..£53,171
  • Virgin Trains...................£49,620
  • Chiltern Railways..........£45,305
  • London Midland..........£42,619

Tuesday 25 December 2012



↓ Classic Park & Ride 

Classic Park & Ride

During the weekend of 15th and 16th December two vehicles operated by Cumbria Classic Coaches ran on a park & ride service in Barnard Castle.

The Bowes Museum expanded their popular Christmas market to two days and hired two double deck vehicles to run a service from the GlaxoSmithKline car park in the town’s Harmire Road to the Museum.
Parking at the museum is normally free but for the two days of the event a parking charge of £5 was levied, encouraging visitors to use the free park & ride service.
From 10am on Saturday and Sunday the two buses were kept busy until 4.30pm. Drivers and conductors were relieved at lunchtime and were welcomed into the staff room where they were treated to hot drinks and an excellent range of sandwiches.
Many visitors said how much the free service had added to the enjoyment of their day with younger visitors being particularly excited, although we did note that some Grandfathers and Fathers had also been equally enthusiastic! It was noticeable how well the traffic flowed through Barnard Castle on both days with no build ups experienced, due to the fact that so many cars used the GSK free car park.
The event was extremely popular and was well organised, the staff at the Bowes Museum being keen to plan ahead and respond to visitors requirements on both days.

David Gambles

Monday 24 December 2012

Festive Advertising Panels

Illuminated Advertising panels have been a feature on buses for many years. With the advent of LED's, buses have taken on a new form of illuminated panel, particularly suited to Christmas adverts. I have seen examples in operation run by Stagecoach and Go Ahead but have found them quite elusive and therefore difficult to photograph. If you have any examples in your area we would be pleased to consider publishing photographs, which should be sent to In the meantime here are some examples of what we have managed to photograph.

 Seen in Manchester, a Stagecoach Enviro 400 running on the X50 (above & below)

 In Newcastle upon Tyne NK57 DWG 19202 in the Stagecoach fleet on route 12 to Walker (above & below)

Sunday 23 December 2012

Steam Train Test on London Underground

A steam train built more than 100 years ago took to London's Underground system last weekend.

Transport for London is operating a service on 13 January to commemorate 150 years since the first London Tube journey.
A test run took place in the early hours of a Sunday morning in preparation for the 300 passengers who applied for tickets through a ballot.
Peter Hendy of Transport for London, Sam Mullins of London Transport Museum and train driver Jeffrey Phelps feature in the report by BBC London's Sonja Jessup.

Link from Tony Wilson