Saturday, 31 August 2013


Steven Hodgson has sent us the following pictures of the new "Coaster" livery from Go North East

The new service begins on Sunday 1st September


Friday, 30 August 2013

Malta Bendy Buses Withdrawn Due to Fires

The doomed bendy buses decommissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson and shipped to Malta have been taken off the roads by the Maltese government after three burst into flames in as many days.

The fleet of 68 of the so-called “chariots of fire” have been temporarily suspended while an investigation into the causes of the blazes is carried out.
So far this year nine bendy buses have caught fire, with Malta’s transport ministry instructing operator Arriva to remove the unpopular vehicles.
No-one has been injured, but the incidents have prompted a barrage of complaints from the public already angered that the 18-metre buses have been brought in to negotiate Malta’s narrow and winding historic roads.
The Maltese fleet was bought from London in 2011 after being phased out by the Mayor who replaced them with a new-generation Routemaster.
They had a chequered history in the capital, with a number of fires breaking out and cyclists complaining they were unsafe for other road users.
Decommissioning the vehicles, Mr Johnson said: “These writhing whales of the road have swung their hefty rear ends round our corners for the final time.”
In a statement, Arriva said: “The safety of our passengers, employees and vehicles is central to our operations. To have incidents occur so closely together is extremely rare and as a result we are taking the precautionary step of bringing our vehicles in for a series of checks before returning them into active service.
“While these checks take place we have appointed another transport operator to support the delivery of day-to-day services and reduce the impact for our customers. We are ensuring that all routes are covered. We apologise for the disruption but ask passengers to bear with us while we conclude these important checks. We would like to reassure them that we are looking to resolve the disruption as soon as possible.”
Arriva said it expects it to take up to five weeks for all vehicles to be checked.

Tram Incident at Middleton Railway

A woman was seriously injured when she was run over by a restored horse-drawn tram on its first outing for 112 years.
The accident happened on Monday at the Middleton Railway Festival of Transport in Leeds where the vehicle was being unveiled after its restoration.
A groom leading the two horses which were pulling the four-tonne vehicle became trapped under its wheels, suffering serious leg injuries.
She was released by firefighters and taken to Leeds General Infirmary.
The woman is understood to have undergone surgery on her legs on Monday night, but her condition is not known.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has started an investigation into the incident.
Monday's event had been organised by the Leeds Transport Historical Society, which raised thousands of pounds for the tram's eight-year restoration.
Restoration project manager Jamie Guest said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the lady in hospital."
The tram was restored after spending many years being used as a summer house at East End Park in Leeds.
The last remaining horse tram in Leeds, it was built in 1898 and is due to go to the National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire to become part of the national collection.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Stagecoach Interim Management Statement Aug 2013

Stagecoach Group plc has today published the following interim management statement, covering available information for the period to the date of this announcement.

Financial performance

The overall profitability of the Group has remained satisfactory, and there has been no significant change to our expected adjusted earnings per share for the year ending 30 April 2014. 

Like-for-like revenue growth for the financial year to date in each of the Group's main businesses is provided below.

UK Bus (regional operations) - twelve weeks ended 21 July 2013                4.5%

UK Bus (London)                    - twelve weeks ended 21 July 2013                (0.6)%

UK Rail                                    - twelve weeks ended 21 July 2013                6.5%

North America                         - three months ended 31 July 2013                5.7%

Virgin Rail Group                     - twelve weeks ended 21 July 2013                5.8%

UK Bus (regional operations)

Our UK Bus (regional operations) division has performed strongly during the period. Passenger volumes have increased year-on-year, which we believe is partly attributable to better weather.  Strongest growth continues to be achieved in our commercial revenue, with concessionary, tendered and school revenue growing at a lower rate.

UK Bus (London)

Our UK Bus (London) division has continued to perform well, as we remain focused on keeping tight control of costs to ensure we can compete effectively for contracts.  The small reduction in revenue during the period is in line with our expectations, and is anticipated to reverse in the second half of the financial year as we begin to benefit from the nine new contracts won last financial year.

UK Rail

The financial performance of our rail businesses is in line with our expectations. As we expected, revenue growth rates since 21 July 2013 have fallen, partly reflecting the incremental revenue during the period of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

 We continue to discuss with the Department for Transport (DfT) the planned extensions to our South Western Trains and East Midlands Trains franchises.  We also continue to progress our bids for the Thameslink and Docklands Light Railway franchises, and the announcements of the winning bidders for those franchises are expected in Spring 2014.

North America (including in North America is the fastest-growing part of the Group, increasing revenue by 21.8% in the three months ended 31 July 2013.  This reflects further growth in existing services, as well as contributions from our Texas and California networks launched during 2012/13.  Overall, the North American business remains on track to deliver a significant step up in its operating profit in 2013/14 when compared to 2012/13.

Virgin Rail Group

Virgin Rail Group (VRG) continues to earn a fee equivalent to 1% of revenue with the DfT taking the risk that revenue and/or costs differ from those expected.  VRG and the DfT are discussing revised commercial terms that could see VRG take greater revenue and cost risk for the period from a date to be agreed through to April 2017 for a commensurate financial return.

Twin America

Sightseeing revenue at our Twin America joint venture has reduced year-on-year in an increasingly competitive New York sightseeing market. 

Financial position

The Group maintains a strong financial position with investment grade credit ratings and appropriate headroom under its debt facilities.  Consolidated net debt has, as expected, remained broadly consistent with 30 April 2013 reflecting continued strong cash generation, offset by the reversal of favourable working capital timing differences in the previous financial year.


Overall current trading is good and the prospects for the Group remain positive.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

London Tridents for Derbyshire

By the commencement of the new school and college year in early September, several former London operated Dennis Tridents will have transferred into the North East Derbyshire area. One will be operated by Hulleys of Baslow, whilst six transfer within the Stagecoach empire from Devon to the Stonegravels depot at Chesterfield.

They are 10.5m long Alexander bodied versions and apart from the Hulleys version, were originally configured as H45/24D, but later during their London lives, downseated to H45/23D, for dual-door operation. Their early time from delivery in 1999 onwards was spent as they operated routes throughout the suburbs of East London and the City of London’s financial districts. The modern high rise developments around Canary Wharf and the Docklands were also areas that they served, so their early years were quite varied and hard working in densely populated and worker filled areas.

The buses have been identified as former TA-class TA 4/7/8/9/50/2 (registered S804/7/8/9 BWC, T650/2 KPU) for Chesterfield and TA 414 (registered LX51 FJA) bound for Hulleys. These all were subsequently re-numbered into the Stagecoach nationwide system respectively as 17004/7/8/9/50/2 and 17414

The Stagecoach buses have already been converted to single-door configuration, completed prior to their transfer out of London some years ago, some initially to Cambridge and then all down to Devon. The bus bound for Hulleys though is currently in the process of conversion at the premises of Essex-based Ensignbus, prolific providers of ex.London buses to all sorts of companies both home and abroad.

A selection of images follow of some of the respective buses earlier years.

First up a couple of the buses due for operation from the Chesterfield depot of Stagecoach. 

The offside aspect of TA 8 (17008) is shown during April 1999 as the bus headed east through Hoxton bound for Leyton on route 55 (Oxford Circus-Leyton). These were some of the very first low-floor double-deck buses to be employed in the Capital and indeed in the country itself. Around the same time Arriva’s London subsidiary introduced similarly bodied buses but on DAF chassis and mechanics. (Tony Wilson)

In the same area and time TA 4 (17004) illustrates the nearside and the dual-door design, but this time on the 48 (Walthamstow-London Bridge). During the period 1999-2004 946 of the Trident/Alexander ALX400 combination were constructed and delivered to Stagecoach’s London operations. 712 to 10.5m and 234 a shorter 9.9m length, later ones built under the TransBus name. (Tony Wilson)

After their time in London ended, one or two were transferred north up the M11 motorway to the Cambridge area subsidiary, to operate on the city’s Park&Ride network. They were painted into blue, green or red livery for the respective routes and 17008 gained the blue colours for the Trumpington route out to the south west of the city. (Colin Lloyd)

Number 17009 also gained the blue livery and is illustrated en route to Trumpington in July 2004 still with the second door intact. Almost all the earlier batches of the 10.5m long versions up to and including number 17341 have transferred out of London, most to Stagecoach subsidiaries, but several to other operators. (Colin Lloyd)

TA 414 (17414) the bus bound for Hulleys, first entered London service in 2001 from Leyton Garage and stayed there for just over 9-years in the downseated H45/23D configuration and the offside aspect is illustrated as the bus passed along Newgate Street in the City of London in March 2005 bound for St.Bartholemew’s Hospital on the long 56 route from Whipps Cross. The backdrop building is the Central Criminal Court, better known as the ‘Old Bailey’. In 2010 after a period of withdrawal, it moved south of the River Thames for a period of operation from Plumstead then Catford Garage with the Selkent subsidiary before final withdrawal from London service in August 2012, and sold the following month to Ensignbus. (Colin Lloyd)

The nearside aspect of the same bus is shown here as it passed south along Wood Green High Road two years later in September 2006. This time it was on the cross-North London route 230 to Walthamstow. The two-door layout is visible, the second door pushed back towards the rear wheels. Later versions had the doorway more in the centre of the bus. (Colin Lloyd)

And finally. The Dennis Trident is currently in the premises of those fine and friendly bus people Ensignbus based at Purfleet in Essex and this image shows the bus in the early stages of conversion. Grateful thanks are due to Ross Newman of Ensignbus for this illustration and indeed my other contributor Colin Lloyd.

All we need now are some images of the buses in operation with their respective new companies. No doubt that merry band of local omnibological paparazzi will capture them for posterity in due course.

Tony Wilson

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New woes at Nottingham

Train services between Nottingham and Newark Castle have been suspended after a freight train derailment.
The delay has come only a day after the revamped Nottingham railway station reopened after five weeks of track and signal work.
East Midlands Trains said services to Lincoln and Peterborough were also disrupted by the derailment in Carlton.
The station was virtually closed during the upgrade with buses taking people to other stations for onward travel.

Train services to London, Leicester, Derby and other locations are not affected.
"A freight train has derailed in Nottingham so we are using replacement buses between Nottingham and Newark Castle, and passengers are facing delays of up to an hour," an East Midlands Trains spokesman said.
The freight train was travelling between a Humber oil refinery and Tamworth when two of 30 carriages derailed, a Network Rail spokesman said.
The two carriages remained upright, the spokesman added.
British Transport Police and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch are at the scene of the accident.
There are related traffic delays on Station Road in Carlton where the road is blocked near Victoria Road and Midland Road because the railway barriers are down.
For the 12 days between 29 July and 9 August there were no services to the east of Nottingham, to and via Newark or Grantham.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Luton Busway

The £91 million Luton Dunstable Busway will officially open on Wednesday September 25.
Billed as “fast, frequent and reliable”, the busway will provide services between Luton and Dunstable as often as every seven minutes at peak times, with the journey taking 15 minutes.
Arriva, Centrebus and Grant Palmer bus companies will operate four new routes on the busway, crossing 6.1 miles of segregated bus-only road between Blackburn Road in Houghton Regis and Luton town centre.
Councillor Dave Taylor said: “After 20 years in the planning and three years in construction, it’s incredibly exciting to be announcing the opening date of the Luton Dunstable Busway.
“People in Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis have been waiting a long time for a significant improvement to the public transport network. These journey times are not only extremely fast, in some cases more than twice as quick, but also frequent and reliable, and therefore offer a high quality and real alternative to the frustrating traffic queues we all know.”

Within the 6.1 miles of bus-only road, a 4.8-mile section of concrete guideway has been built along the disused Luton-Dunstable railway corridor so that standard buses fitted with two small guide wheels can join and leave the track, and travel on it in both directions smoothly and safely at speeds of up to 50mph.
Councillor Nigel Young, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “The Luton Dunstable Busway is far more flexible than rail could ever be, and quicker and more reliable than conventional bus services, which makes it absolutely the best way to travel between Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton.
“The great benefits are faster journey times and improved connections for businesses, from as early as 5.30am until late on weekdays. By working together so closely, the councils and operators have delivered four great routes and ensured that the Busway will open up a wealth of opportunities for hassle-free journeys to work, college, shopping, the theatre or just catching up with friends.”
The busway is the second-longest in the world and the longest in an urban environment, and has taken three years to complete.
A major engineering project, six bridges were demolished and rebuilt and three new ones added, plus more than 4,500 concrete beams each weighing 4.8 tonnes being laid.
Information for passengers:
All bus stops have new high-quality, well-lit shelters with level boarding to make journeys easier for wheelchair users and those with puschairs.
Real-time passenger information (RTPI) displays provided at Busway stops and elsewhere show when the next buses are due to arrive.
Operators will charge the same on their Busway services as they do for the equivalent trip using current road routes.
Passengers can pay the driver when boarding, and single tickets btween Luton and Dunstable cost from £2, and returns from £3.50.
There is also a range of day and weekly tickets on offer.
A new ‘shared-use’ path runs along side the busway for cyclists and walkers, although this was criticised by cyclists who feared the ‘crushed limestone’ finish would be dangerous. Timetables are being finalised and will be available shortly. Bus services using the Busway will be:
* Service A operated by Arriva from Parkside, Houghton Regis, to London Luton Airport via Dunstable and Luton Station Interchange, seven days a week – featuring Monday to Saturday services approximately every 15 minutes at peak times (hourly in the late evening) plus regular Sunday service.
* Service B operated by Centrebus from Downside estate to Luton Station Interchange via Dunstable, seven days a week – featuring Monday to Saturday services approximately every half an hour at peak times plus regular Sunday service.
* Service C operated by Grant Palmer from Beecroft estate to Luton Station Interchange via Dunstable, six days a week – featuring Monday to Saturday services approximately every half-hour at peak times.
* And service E operated by Centrebus from Toddington Green to Luton Galaxy Centre via Dunstable White Lion, six a days a week – featuring Monday to Friday services approximately every half-hour at peak times, plus regular Saturday service.
Via the new bus-rail interchange at Luton Station, Luton Airport Parkway and London Luton Airport there are quick and easy onward connections available to the capital, and regional, national and international destinations.

This feature from the Luton Today: Luton News Herald & Post at

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Transport related viewing

TV listings for next week are worth noting for Thursday 29th August 2013.

Channel 5 at 7.00pm Monster Moves: a new series (6 episodes) with episode 1 the movement of two A4 Pacifics steam locos across America and the Atlantic to the NRM at York. This was in order to take part in the Great Gathering, previous postings of which can be found at

 A4 Pacific 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National Railway Museum in August 2013

A4 Pacific 4489 Dominion of Canada at the National Railway Museum in August2013

Same channel 8.00pm another new series (12 episodes) The Railway: First Great Western, following the work of the Train Operating Company.

First Great Western HST 43148 at Cardiff Central June 2013 courtesy of Gerard Butler

First Great Western DMU 160205 at Bedwyn in August 2013 courtesy of John Parkin

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Nottingham Station to re-open soon

It has been called a modern transport hub for the East Midlands.
And, according to Network Rail, the £100m redevelopment of Nottingham Station will improve reliability, reduce delays and help it cope with the station's ever-growing number of passengers.
But before then, passengers are enduring what transport groups are calling "five weeks of pain", with most services suspended between 20 July and 25 August.
So what do the closures mean for passengers? And will the gain be worth the pain?

Week five - station set to reopen

East Midlands Trains  
Some services have resumed at the station, which is otherwise closed for maintenance
Network Rail has said it expects there to be "no major problems" as it aims to reopen Nottingham Station on Bank Holiday Monday, as planned.
Services to Skegness and Lincoln, which have resumed after a two-week suspension, will close again on 24 and 25 August, before all services reopen.
Much of the work, which involved laying track, modernising signals and building a new platform, has been completed.
The final week will see the new system tested piece by piece before the station is reopened.
Even after the station reopens, work will continue until 2014 to complete the station's new concourse and tram connection.

Why has the station closed?

The station is undergoing two major facelifts - both to the building itself and the tracks and signals.
They are the first large-scale refurbishments to take place there since 1904.
The building redesign has been ongoing since October 2012 and is due to finish in winter 2014.

Five weeks of work in numbers

  • One new platform
  • 143 new signals
  • Six miles of new track
  • Four signal boxes closed and replaced with two new workstations at Derby signalling centre
  • Two level crossings renewed
  • Two level crossings closed and replaced with footbridges
  • All signalling is designed with electrification in mind so disruption will be reduced when the wires come to Nottingham
The whole station is also being cleaned and glass panels are being inserted into the platform canopies.
Extensive changes are also being carried out on the station's porch - currently a taxi rank. It will become a passenger walkway with new flooring and cafes.
But most of these very obvious refurbishments have not caused any major difference to services.
Instead, it is the five weeks of "unseen changes" currently taking place - less spectacular refurbishments such as signalling and level crossing improvements - that has seen the station close to all but a few services.
Network Rail claims this work will make a big difference to efficiency.
"Everything from the track to the signals is being dug up and replaced with new and better kit, not just at the station but in both directions," said spokesman Chris Denham.
"That will allow us to run things much more reliably and run everything much more smoothly."
He said the project is running to schedule and the new signalling system in Beeston has been switched on.
All signalling is designed with electrification in mind so disruption will be reduced when the track is upgraded by 2019.
A new platform at Nottingham is also being built.
"The platform will allow us to run more trains, more reliably through this station," added Mr Denham.

A more full report and interviews can be found at the following link here

Friday, 23 August 2013

Trent & YourBus at loggerheads

The local Derbyshire media has reported that a row has broken out between rival bus companies in Heanor after one accused the other of using underhand tactics to claim customers.
Managing director of trent barton Jeff Counsell has questioned why competitor YourBus, based less than a mile away, has begun accepting his firm’s Zig Zag tickets on its services.
The £5 tickets entitle holders to a day’s unlimited travel on trent barton buses, which operate across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Now Mr Counsell believes YourBus’s tactic can only be damaging to both firms.
He said: “We totally accept competition as it’s a free market- and we welcome good competition as it grows the market place.
“But this doesn’t - and when they start accepting our day tickets we have to wonder what this is about.”
The move by YourBus comes weeks after it launched the Y1 service, which stops at Market Place in Heanor and runs through Smalley towards Derby - a similar the route to trent barton’s H1.

It also arrives in Heanor five minutes earlier than the trent barton bus.
Mr Counsell believes the tactics are a clear attempt muscle in on the same customer base.
He continued: “The way they have registered the service in front of our established services and by accepting out tickets for travel - it seems to us this is just a blatant attempt to take our customers and is actually not broadening the market at all.”
He continued: “At the moment my customers are getting a better deal, but surely YourBus can’t continue to accept tickets and not get any revenue from it.
“As they are they won’t be making any money, so they can’t survive.
“All that will happen is we will split the customers.”
This week managing director of YourBus Scott Dunn justified the firm’s tactics, saying the bus war is good news for passengers.
He said: “There has been very little or no competition on certain bus routes around the area.
“We believe the market needed quality competition and over the last four years we have introduced routes offering quality vehicles and drivers, whilst offering good value fares.
“This can only be good for the passengers and the community.”
Mr Counsell said that trent barton has already reacted to the heightened competition.
Earlier in the month it dished out free coffee and croissants to its morning passengers and is beginning to offer its regular customers a seven day travel package for 20p,
From September 8 the buses will run more frequently through the day at 15, rather than 20 minute intervals.
He said: “What we are doing is going that extra mile with our customers - we pride ourselves on great customer service.”
YourBus, based at Heanor Gate Industrial Estate launched in 2009. The Trent bus company, which merged with Barton Transport Ltd in 1989, is celebrating it’s centenary year this year.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Going cashless on London's buses

From TfL Website

Transport for London (TfL) is proposing to go cashless on its bus services in 2014. If, after consultation, the proposal is approved the option to pay by cash will be removed on all TfL bus services.
Since the introduction of the Oyster card in 2003 and the launch of contactless payment cards (CPC) on London buses last year, more and more passengers are now appreciating the convenience and value for money these options offer. This year cash fares are expected to fall to less than 1% of total bus journeys, down from 20% ten years ago. With such low levels of cash use and the cost to TfL of providing for cash payment, alongside the cheaper alternative payment options Oyster and CPC, TfL has decided that now is the time to ask for peoples views on going cashless.

Why are we consulting?

If we go cashless we will remove the delays with cash that will benefit everyone.
Cash payers would benefit from a cheaper fare, saving around £1 a trip as they switch to pay as you go (PAYG) Oyster or CPC.
The cost of collecting such low levels of cash is high. TfL would save £24m a year by 2020 that would be reinvested into the transport network for the benefit of everyone.
By removing cash, people with an Oyster card or CPC will need to remember their card and have enough credit on it.
Paying with Oyster or CPC guarantees the cheapest fare. But if people don’t have enough credit on their Oyster card TfL is considering introducing a new Oyster feature that will allow passengers to make one more bus journey, helping them get home or to the nearest station or Oyster Ticket Stop. This negative balance on their card would be removed on the next successful pay-as-you-go top-up.

What are we proposing?

We are proposing to remove the option to pay by cash on TfL bus services in 2014.

A link can be found at

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nottingham - Derby Bus War

A "bus war" between two companies in Derbyshire may be bad for passengers, travel campaigners say.
The Derbyshire and Peak District Campaign for Better Transport said the two firms - Trent Barton and Yourbus - were competing for business on the same routes.
One company offered free breakfasts to commuters who chose its buses.
Trent Barton said it was sustaining its customer service, while Yourbus declined to comment.
Trent Barton, which has been operating for more than 100 years, runs a number of services between Derby, Nottingham, Long Eaton, Ilkeston and Heanor.
Yourbus, which formed in 2009, has started running on some of the same routes, within a few minutes of the Trent Barton vehicles.
On 7 August, Yourbus started accepting discounted tickets issued by Trent Barton.
On the same day, Trent Barton gave passengers free breakfasts on some of their routes.
"We don't object to competition," said Jim Froggatt, chairman of the campaign, "but we do wonder whether there is enough of a market for two players.
"We are worried we will end up in a position where both are carrying half a load and neither are making money on these routes."
He said that would mean there would be no reinvestment in the service.
Jeff Counsell, managing director of Trent Barton, said the campaign's concerns were "quite understandable".
He said: "If profits aren't at a given level, we can't sustain investment. But we are working hard to sustain a service for customers."
He said the company had offered coffee, orange juice and croissants to customers "one day last week".
"It's something we have been doing for many years as a 'thank-you' to customers for travelling with us," he said.
"Yourbus obviously won't get any revenue from accepting our tickets. They are just trying this in an attempt to pick up a few more customers."

Monday, 19 August 2013

Yorkshire Terrier (Holbrook depot) plan to add two bay maintenence shed.

Existing engineering workshops @ Stagecoach's Holbrook Depot

Stagecoach Yorkshire have submitted plans to Sheffield City Council's Planning Office to build an additional engineering workshop at its Holbrook Depot.

It is proposed that the Stagecoach Holbrook depot in Sheffield will expand its maintenance facilities by adding a new two bay engineering workshop with two pits adjacent to its existing 4 bay workshop. The new shed will be built on the car parking area to the left of the photograph.

To view the site in Google Maps Click here

The Depot is home to Sheffield's 40 Enviro400 Hybrid DD vehicles. 8 Enviro 200's & 5 Supertram link Solos along with a variety of others.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Stranger in the Peak

The August summertime jaunt by Chesterfield bus enthusiasts was with something quite different. The vehicle used was a Dennis PAX, one of two supplied in 1968 to Llandudno DC and duly made the Great Orme one of its regular haunts. All 33 seats were filled on the trip and the vehicle journeyed to a small restored quarry railway at Steeple Grange near Wirksworth.

This required the bus to travel from Chesterfield along the route of the X17 to Matlock and the 6 via Matlock Bath and Cromford, and anyone who knows the area will appreciate this took in several challenging ascents and descents.

Here the bus is shown outside the town hall about to depart from Chesterfield, with the Spire church steeple and the market hall as background.

Amongst the ascents was the infamous Slack Hill. Actually the vehicle crawled so slow up the hill one was able to walk ahead and get several images. Rather bizarre. Incidentally the vehicle still had a blind inserted that read "St Tudno's Church", from the Orme days, and the bus probably felt a bit at home with the steep climbs. 

But the vehicle coped admirably and duly returned the passengers back from whence they had come. And all credit goes to the crew for whom the bus must have been something of a challenge itself, let alone the hills. Smiling faces look out from inside the bus, or were they grimaces?

The bus is now apparently unique inasmuch that the other one built (FJC 737F), has gone to the great bus garage in the sky.

However, the surviving bus (FJC 736F), was no stranger to Chesterfield. Back in the mid 90s there was a mini bus war (not a minibus war), in the town between Chesterfield Transport and incomer Peakbus. The latter used anything and everything it could get its hands on and provided an interesting period in Chesterfield's transport history, albeit short-lived. 

The PAX was hired in for a few weeks and known locally in a variety of terms. Here the bus was seen as it circumnavigated the Holywell Cross roundabout in September 1995 as it returned to the town centre from the Newbold area on the northern outskirts. Suffice to say the Dennis company based at Guildford in Surrey had a variety of vehicles in production at the same time, that included fire engines and dust carts.

Tony Wilson

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Nottingham Station - Bus Replacement Services

Double-deck buses and taxicabs jostled for road space in Nottingham during the planned closure of the main railway station for around six weeks over the school summer holiday period. As already posted here replacement bus services operated from Nottingham ostensibly to Alfreton, Beeston, Derby, East Midlands Parkway, Grantham, Langley Mill, Newark and along the length of the Robin Hood Line through Mansfield to Worksop.
Incoming buses all dropped off their passengers at Queens Road on the south side of the station, whilst departures were mostly from Station Street with some from Trent Street on the north side of the station.
Maps, diagrams and posters were in evidence around the area, along with customer assistants to help passengers and guide them to their respective bus services as illustrated below.

Three examples of the publicity prolific around the area

A customer assistant and bus inspector consult with the driver of this Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL operated by the Notts & Derby subsidiary of Wellglade in the departure area at Station Street. Number 30 in the fleet retained the dual-door configuration from its days when originally employed by the London United company on a variety of Transport for London contracted bus routes.

A similar combination of Volvo and Plaxton appeared here but this time from the Scottish capital city, on a former Lothian Buses vehicle, one of five supplied in 2000. In this case though the vehicle was single-door, one bay longer and featured gasket window style. Here number 33 turned out of Station Street into Carrington Street as it set off to East Midlands Parkway.

At the same location but a quite different vehicle. Johnson Brothers subsidiary Redfern Travel supplied a variety of vehicles, which included this Mercedes-Benz high specification midi-coach. Variety was certainly the watchword as illustrated by the following trio of coaches.

A tri-axled Auwerter Neoplan operated by local operator Silverdale

Another local area operator Abbey Travel, another Neoplan, but this time a MAN version

Whilst the two previous coaches were from locally based operators, this Plaxton bodied coach was probably one sourced from the furthest distance. KTs Coaches a firm based in Kendal, Cumbria supplied several coaches, one shown here at Station Street bound for Langley Mill under the auspices of First.

With the railway station 'gift-wrapped' by the contractors, one of several former London area operated Dennis Tridents passed by the main passenger entrance in Carrington Street. This Plaxton President bodied bus by now with Nottingham City Transport, had by now received a silver grey livery as it headed out towards East Midlands Parkway. One of the large information signs can be observed on the hoarding in front of the station as passengers pass by.

 Another double-decker from Nottingham City Transport one of a huge fleet of Scania OmniDekkas supplied new over recent years. Number 965 usually dedicated to the city's park&ride network passed along Trent Street towards the junction with Station Street.

Notts & Derby number 13 was another double-decker that was sourced from the Lothian Buses fleet in Edinburgh. This time though an earlier step-entrance version in the shape of the Olympian/Alexander combination. The Nottingham tram system infrastructure can be observed as the background, with major works in progress to extend the network out over the railway station to the south west extremities of the city.

Another low-floor Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident, this time one with PC Coaches from Lincoln, waited time on the stands in Trent Street before it transported passengers out to Newark. The bus was originally one of fifteen supplied to Go-Ahead Northern.

So what was all this rail replacement service about?

Part of the closure was due to the re-laying and re-alignment of around one mile of track. Note also the large modern bridge structure across the the lines and platforms. This is in relation to the southern extensions of the Nottingham tram network.

As well as the line changes six miles of signalling was in the process of upgrade and attention.

And finally, once again the first part of the rail replacement services can be found here

Tony Wilson

Friday, 16 August 2013

A Stranger at Carlisle - Class 350

350252 visited Carlisle on 7th August and was photographed by David Little. The rare sight of London Midland emu which is currently on loan to First Transpennine Express for driver training in preparation for delivery of new Class 350/4s.

YouTubeVideo here

Thursday, 15 August 2013

New to Hulleys of Baslow no11

New at Hulleys of Baslow as fleet number 11 is Enviro 200 b37f - MX09 HJF - new to Countryliner, Surrey via Mistral (dealer). It entered service on 7 Aug in fleet livery but without fleet names to assist in the extra requirements for Bakewell show (3 buses on Park and Ride)

 The hired Enviro 200 - MX10 DXW was kept a little longer than expected, returning to Mistral on 6th August