Sunday 31 August 2014

Look at Life Videos

Ken Jones has drawn our attention to a collection of videos under the title of 'Look at Life'. Most have a transport theme and show life in the 50's and 60's. The film quality is excellent and we recommend you have a look, maybe starting here with the video entitled 'Talking of Coaches'


Saturday 30 August 2014

DfT - Pacers to Stay and be Modernised

The Government has been slammed for backtracking on its pledge to get rid of Pacer trains which operate across the North.

The dilapidated vehicles, some of which are 30 years old, were to be replaced as part of the new franchise for local lines due to be introduced by 2016.
But in an apparent U-turn, the Department for Transport (DfT) has now said the Pacers could be “modernised” instead, to keep them running for at least another decade.
In a Commons debate earlier this year, then-rail minister Stephen Hammond had said: “We expect to ask bidders for the Northern franchise to put forward proposals for the removal of Pacers from the area.”
The Pacers were originally introduced as a stop-gap in the mid-1980s and consist of a bus body mounted on a freight wagon chassis.
Passengers have long complained they are noisy, cold and uncomfortable with a tendency to break down.

The U-turn is reportedly being considered because the new trains may not all be ready for 2020, when the 90 remaining Pacers will in violation of disability discrimination laws.
To add to the Government’s embarrassment, Chancellor George Osborne has made transforming the down-at-heel Northern rail network a personal priority to help turn the region into a ‘Northern Powerhouse’’.
The Campaign for Better Transport said it was “ludicrous” to contemplate re-fitting the Pacers – especially when billions are being spent on new trains for the Thameslink and CrossRail routes, in London.
In a statement, a DfT spokesman said: “We recognise that they fall short of many passengers’ expectations.”
But he added: “We will specifically ask bidders for the franchise how they will replace, or modernise, these trains to give passengers a better experience.”

Edinburgh Tram & Bus Collide

The accident happened on West Maitland Street, Edinburgh at about 07:45. Both vehicles were travelling east towards Princes Street.
Police said no-one was injured and the tram was not derailed.
The bus, owned by First, was travelling on route X38.

The tram and bus were eventually separated and removed, but traffic was seriously disrupted with long delays before the road was reopened two hours later.

Press Report and Pictures


It is also reported that a 14-year-old stepped out in front of a tram on Princes Street, taking a “glancing blow” that sent her sprawling to the ground.
She initially declined medical treatment but it is believed the youngster has since sought a check-up with her GP.
An alert tram driver may have averted more serious consequences by slamming on the brakes and reducing his speed to around 17mph before the collision occurred. Passengers were removed from the tram involved at Shandwick Place and moved to another tram before continuing their journey.
An inspection of the tram was later launched at the Gogar depot and it is understood transport chiefs and police have examined CCTV of the accident. Witnesses suggest the female casualty may have been wearing headphones when the accident occurred.
Network chiefs confirmed an investigation was under way.

Friday 29 August 2014

ADL Deliver PolskiBus Vehicles

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has made its most significant move yet into mainland Europe with the launch of the Plaxton Elite i into the fleet of They say that the move marks another meaningful step in their strategy to identify opportunities in new markets and grow the business and to produce innovative vehicles which offer significant benefits. The Elite i’s capacity of 75 seats and the promise of class leading economy has now been well proven in service across the UK.

 The vehicles are built on a Volvo B11R chassis
Colin Robertson, Chief Executive of ADL, described the latest orders as a massive vote of confidence in ADL’s ability to provide “the right products, at the right price, at the right time.”
He commented: “This marks a pivotal moment for the ADL group; the order represents an important break-through, taking us into mainland Europe in a significant way – and with a company that is one of the fastest-growing, inter-city coach operators on the Continent. Having been won in the face of fierce competition, it is a strong endorsement from a major player in the European marketplace.”

 Network Map - click to enlarge
Barry Pybis, Chief Executive of – a business that has carried over five million passengers since its launch in June 2011 – said: “The reputation of ADL’s Elitei inter-deck coach has spread quickly and we are delighted to be launching these vehicles today. We are a fast-moving company and these 20 new coaches will add significantly to our existing fleet of 73 vehicles.”
“Our aim is to align ourselves to suppliers with similar business values and quality standards and these vehicles are opening up that relationship with ADL. All 20 of the new vehicles will operate on the major inter-city routes we’re announcing today.” 

Three new cities have been added to the service network: Vilnius, Szczecin and Gorzów Wielkopolski. In addition it has increased the frequency on many of its existing routes. Since the start of its operations 3 years ago, it has served more than 8 million passengers, created 730 new jobs, and expanded the fleet to 132 buses which will perform more than 300 journeys a day reaching 22 Polish cities and 5 European capitals.

Kevin Wood, Director of Business Development for the ADL coach brand, Plaxton, said, “This is a particularly exciting day for ADL, these represent the first Plaxton coaches to enter service with a European operator for a generation and we will be continuing the work we have done with to ensure their expectations of these milestone vehicles are fully realised. We are actively pursuing opportunities with a number of other potential customers, Elite i does of course offer significant potential benefits and we firmly believe it can satisfy a niche where high capacity is a demand”

Visit the website here and here 

Thursday 28 August 2014


Haymarket tunnel  
The site above the tunnels will be home to The Haymarket, a £200m development of retail, offices and hotels, with an underground car park.

Contractors strengthening Edinburgh's Haymarket railway tunnels ahead of a regeneration project have released images of the underground works.
A team of up to 40 specialists is working through the night over 14 months.
The site above the tunnels will be home to The Haymarket, a £200m development of retail, offices and hotels, with an underground car park.
It is being developed by Edinburgh Haymarket Developments Ltd.
It is a joint venture between Interserve, the international support services and construction group, and Tiger Developments.
It is one of Edinburgh's biggest commercial projects of the last 10 years and is expected to create about 3,500 jobs.
David Westwater, Interserve development director, said: "This work is the main challenge before we can begin construction above ground.

Haymarket tunnel  
A team of up to 40 specialists is working through the night over 14 months
"It will be early next year before we can do that, but then people will soon start to see the development taking shape.
"After such a long time as a gap site, we're very excited about what The Haymarket has to offer and how it will help to create a real gateway at Edinburgh's west end."
Angus MacGregor, BAM Ritchies' project manager, said: "We are very well experienced in complex rail projects but every situation is unique, so we've had to develop a very specific approach for this work based on the skills and knowledge of our team.
"There are many constraints to working on this site, but we have made good progress so far thanks to the working relationship we have with our client and Network Rail."

Haymarket tunnel  
The strengthening work will allow contractors to begin building the foundations for the development
Gary Walker, from Network Rail Asset Protection, said: "Clearly our priority is to ensure that the works are carried out safely and with no disruption to rail passengers on this extremely busy section of the network.
"We have worked closely with Edinburgh Haymarket Developments and BAM throughout the design process over the last 12 months and it is pleasing to see work being carried out as planned."
The strengthening work will allow contractors to begin building the foundations for the development.
It includes grouting between the tunnel lining and the surrounding ground, and drilling and inserting metal bars within the brick lining.
Currently, engineers are only able to work in the north tunnel from midnight until 05:00 four nights a week and in the south tunnel from 01:00 to 09:30 one night a week.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Malta Buses - Preferred Bidder Selected

The Malta Transport Ministry has confirmed that negotiations will officially start with preferred bidder Autobuses Urbanos de Leon, on the concession for Malta's public transport system. 

 A vehicle in service with Spanish operator  Autobuses Urbanos de Leon
The Spanish offer was said to have been €20 million cheaper than the offer made by Island Malta Buses Ltd, which requested an annual subsidy of some €42 million. 

Island Malta Buses Ltd is a consortium formed by eight private and bus coach operators. 
Island Buses Malta Limited (IBML) said it would not contest the government's choice of preferred bidder.

In April, three companies submitted their bids to operate Malta’s public transport service and included Gozo First Travel, which according to The Times was only interested to operate the service in Gozo.

It remains unknown how much government is paying for the temporary service being provided before the new operator is selected.

The public transport service was nationalised in the beginning of 2014 after Arriva transferred its assets to government. From information tabled in parliament, it was revealed that in the first two months, Malta Public Transport Services Ltd made €7,272,138 in operational expenses.

When the national public transport company took over the Arriva Malta operations for a nominal €1, Malta Public Transport Services Ltd absorbed €7.9 million in total debts.             

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Stagecoach Interim Management Statement

Stagecoach Group plc has today published an 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 material change to expected adjusted earnings per share for the year ending 30 April 2015. 

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 20 July 2014              +4.0%

UK Bus (London)                    - twelve weeks ended 20 July 2014                +14.4%

UK Rail                                    - twelve weeks ended 20 July 2014                   +4.9%

North America                         - three months ended 31 July 2014                 +4.9%

Virgin Rail Group                     - twelve weeks ended 20 July 2014                +5.7%

UK Bus (regional operations)

The UK Bus (regional operations) Division has continued to grow both passenger volume and revenue year-on-year.  Like-for-like passenger volume growth for the twelve week period was 0.9%.  Higher commercial revenue (i.e. revenue earned directly from fare-paying passengers) has contributed most to overall revenue growth, with concessionary, contract, tendered and school revenue also continuing to grow.  As expected, local authorities continue to seek to minimise concessionary reimbursement amounts and the company therefore continue their endeavours to deliver good growth in commercial revenue to offset inflationary cost increases.

UK Bus (London)

Revenue growth in UK Bus (London) Division has been strong during the period due to the commencement of two new contracts and the continuing effect of contracts won last year.  Revenue growth has, however, been a little less than expected due to quality incentive income being adversely affected by traffic disruption related to continuing road works.  Excluding the uplift in contract prices to compensate for the cessation of Bus Service Operators' Grant (a rebate of fuel duty), revenue increased by 8.7%.  The focus remains on keeping costs under control and bidding competitively to retain existing and win new contracts.

UK Rail

The financial performance of the UK Rail Division is in line with our expectations, as we continue to focus on growing revenue and controlling costs to mitigate the substantial increases in premia payments to the Department for Transport ("DfT").   The company continue to discuss with the DfT the planned extensions to the South West Trains and East Midlands Trains franchises, and now expect that these will be formally awarded shortly after the UK General Election in May 2015.

Stagecoach say "We were disappointed not to have been selected to operate the Docklands Light Railway franchise, but remain optimistic about our prospects in UK Rail.  We have submitted a bid with Virgin as one of three shortlisted bidders for the new East Coast franchise and we expect the DfT to confirm the operator of that franchise later in 2014.  Earlier this month, the DfT also confirmed that we are one of three shortlisted bidders for a new TransPennine Express rail franchise.  It is our intention to bid selectively on future rail franchises where we believe there is the right risk-reward profile and we can add value to our shareholders."

North America (including

Revenue growth in North America remains encouraging, reflecting the continued expansion of services. increased revenue by 14.9% in the three months ended 31 July 2014.  The company "Were satisfied with the progress of our Florida network, where operations began in May 2014.  The operating environment in North America is competitive, but we remain positive on the division's prospects and the market opportunity."

 Virgin Rail Group

The new West Coast Trains franchise commenced on 22 June 2014 and is planned to run until at least 31 March 2017.  The DfT has the discretion to extend the contract, on pre-agreed terms, by an additional year to 31 March 2018.  While it is still early in the new franchise, trading to date has been strong.

Twin America

The company and their joint venture partners remain in discussion with the US Department of Justice and the New York Attorney General to conclude the previously reported litigation relating to our Twin America joint venture.

The New York sightseeing market remains highly competitive, with current trading challenging.

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, increased from 30 April 2014, reflecting additional investment in the bus fleet and the reversal of some favourable working capital timing differences in the previous financial year, offset by continued strong cash generation from operations.


Although there are a number of challenges to growing profit in the year ending 30 April 2015, overall current trading is satisfactory and the company remains on course to meet expectations for the year.

Monday 25 August 2014


Plans for the long-awaited extension of the Bakerloo line are set to take a significant step forward next month. Transport bosses will start a ten-week public consultation on extending the line to parts of south-east London historically poorly served by the Tube. Proposals to build the line by 2040 at a cost of £2.6 billion have been included in the Mayor’s infrastructure plan outlining essential transport projects to be delivered by 2050. The line, which currently runs from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle, would be extended via Old Kent Road and Lewisham to Hayes and Beckenham Junction. It would operate a peak service of 27 trains per hour as far as Catford Bridge, with 15 trains per hour to Hayes and 6 trains per hour to Beckenham Junction.

The extension The Mayor believes it would relieve congestion on national rail routes into London Bridge and generate £400million in annual economic benefits. In his “London Infrastructure Plan 2050” the Mayor has also made the case for a £450million upgrade to the rest of the Bakerloo line by 2045, increasing capacity by 33 per cent. The TfL consultation will gauge local support for the extension, as well as identify any problems. Results are  due in Spring 2015.  Although it has no legal standing, it is seen as a step towards firm commitment to the scheme. It will consist of an online survey, with a website also providing background information, including a summary of TfL’s work looking at various options. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat chair of the London Assembly transport committee, said: “Extending the Tube into Southwark, Lewisham and Bromley would unleash huge economic opportunities. “After decades of being left behind it is time south-east London was given the transport links it needs to truly unleash its potential.” A spokesperson for the Mayor, said: “The Mayor believes that south London deserves greater investment in transport infrastructure, which is why he is seeking more control over suburban rail services... and exploring the possibility of extending the Bakerloo line.”

Sunday 24 August 2014

Northampton Bus Station - STILL NOT SORTED

Following our March reports about the traffic gridlock in Northampton when the new bus station opened, here's an update from a local bus user. It doesn't sound good!

Our new bus station continues to prove the inadequacies of the design, location and layout. Indeed, much of the time it only works because of the goodwill of drivers. It is particularly annoying when buses are unable to access stands and therefore passengers are held captive on the buses until the stand becomes free – frustrating when you sit and watch your next bus leave the bus station without you because you couldn’t alight from your arriving service.

 Gridlock when the new bus station opened in March 2014
Since the opening chaos the town has been gridlocked again when a set of traffic lights failed.  Enforcement by police, wardens and Council Officials that was in place following the opening chaos has largely stopped, so things have deteriorated.

There is a lack of any layover provision and the roads around the area are often littered with buses. There is no real provision for visiting coaches now that Victoria Street is the National Express stop and usually well occupied with Stagecoach buses on layover or awaiting crew changes.

Meridian Bus are withdrawing their service 29 to Gladstone Road and quote the bus station as the principal cause for their decision. They say that delays caused by accessing and leaving the bus station mean the service cannot operate to the registered timetable without an additional bus in the cycle which would then make it uneconomic.

The footpaths to access the bus station from Drapery and the town centre still have temporary crowd control barriers and the footpaths are not wide enough to accommodate the pedestrian movements. It is difficult to pass an approaching pedestrian. Intending passengers waiting at stops on Drapery – particularly for the busy service 9/9A – obstruct movement along the street.

Buses still have to wait for stands to become free and this sometimes means buses obstructing the main road. Drivers unable to access their correct stand sometimes use nearby ones and it is easy to miss your bus as this is not reflected in the bus station displays.

Today, Thursday 21 August 2014, I was waiting for a Kingsthorpe service and the service 17 bus was waiting behind a service 8 on the run through road for stands to become free. He waited and waited and.. eventually driving through the bus station to stop on a roadside stop to unload. I boarded at this point, not wishing to miss my bus. After a short while the driver lapped the bus station and re-entered only to find all the stands still occupied and he was now behind the service 16 that should have been following him. We waited and waited and the stand eventually became free and the service 16 bus pulled onto it! We again drove through and stopped on the roadside stop whilst the driver went off to find the supervisor. He returned and, yes you’ve guessed it, we lapped the bus station and re-entered it for a third time and managed to access the stand. We left considerably late and out of sequence. How can the public be expected to have any confidence in using public transport when this sort of the situation happens and how can the bus companies be expected to operate an efficient service?   

March reports here and here

Focus Comment    

This a serious situation and requires immediate attention by those responsible and those that should be enforcing the traffic regulations. If you are being inconvenienced in Northampton in a similar way to the correspondent above please let us know and we will consider publishing your comments. If you have photos illustrating the problems please send them to us.


Martin Arrand has sent us the pictures below, taken in Lincoln. 
More can be seen on Martin's website here and on the FocusFlickr site here


Saturday 23 August 2014

15m Scania Irizar i6 for megabus

The UK's first 15-metre overall length Scania Irizar i6 coach is set to enter service later this month when it embarks upon long-term trials on a route. 

The initial trial will run for six months, during which time the vehicle is to be based at Stagecoach's Rugby depot and will operate on routes across the UK.
Based on a Scania K 410 EB 6x2 4 rear-steer chassis, the vehicle features Scania's 13-litre DC13-115 engine, which complies with the Euro 6 exhaust emissions standard using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) only. Power output is 410 horsepower at 1,900 r/min and the unit delivers 2,150Nm of torque at 1,000 - 1,300 r/min. Transmission is by way of Scania's GR875R eight-speed gearbox with integral retarder and Scania Opticruise fully-automated gear selection system. The vehicle is also equipped with Scania's C200 OnBoard fleet management system.
In addition to being the UK's first 15-metre Scania Irizar i6, the vehicle is also the first to be equipped with a 13-litre Euro 6 engine, a front wheelchair lift (PLS and Magic Floor) and a full height emergency door with fold-out cassette steps.
Inside, the coach provides seating for 61 passengers on Irizar PB passenger seats with three-point seatbelts, leather headrests and centre armrests. Seating capacity is reduced to 59 if the vehicle's NMI Magic seats for wheelchair passengers are in use. Three-pin electrical sockets and USB charging sockets are provided at each double seat. Other interior fitments include Hannover DDA-compliant destination equipment, a Synetics CCTV system and a rear offside surface-mounted Shades freshwater toilet.

"Scania has long enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial business relationship with Stagecoach and we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to prove this exciting new vehicle on its service," comments Tony Tomsett, Bus, Coach and Engine Sales Director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited. "The Scania Irizar i6 is highly appointed, provides exceptional levels of passenger comfort and undoubtedly has the wow factor. We are therefore confident it will be extremely well received both by and its customers." Managing Director Elizabeth Esnouf said: “We are always keen to look at new options that have the potential to enhance our fleet and deliver a continued high standard of service for our customers. This is potentially an exciting new vehicle for us and we look forward to the results of this trial.”

Friday 22 August 2014


Whitby locomotives mark opening of second platform


Two steam trains have stood side by side at Whitby station for the first time in 50 years to mark the opening of North Yorkshire Moors Railway's (NYMR) second platform.
Locomotives Eric Treacy and Chiru departed earlier from the new platform, which opens to the public on Saturday.
NYMR operates steam trains on its line between Pickering, Grosmont and Whitby.
The charity said the number of steam trains serving the seaside town would increase from three to five.
The platform was built at a cost of nearly £2m and was funded by Network Rail and the government's Coastal Communities grant.
NYMR hopes it will see an extra 30,000 passengers at Whitby every year, generating an annual £6.5m for the local economy.
Managing director Philip Benham, said: "We are delighted that we are now in a position to increase the number of NYMR trains serving Whitby to cater for the growing popularity of visitors to travel to and from the resort by heritage steam trains.
"This project and the support we have received, reflects great confidence in the importance of NYMR to the local tourist economy."
On Tuesday the 12th August, the heritage railway charity carried out a test run of its new platform with 400 passengers onboard one of its trains ahead of its officially opening.
NYMR crews are the only volunteers in the country allowed to use the Network Rail track.

See also a report on the story in the Daily Mail Online which can now be viewed here

Thursday 21 August 2014

Rail Companies Shortlisted for Northern & TransPennine Express

Train companies that are in the running to transform rail services across the north have been announced.
Three companies have been shortlisted to run the Northern franchise, while 3 companies are being considered for the TransPennine Express franchise. All of these companies have successfully passed the pre-qualification stage, and will now be asked to develop their plans for the franchises before they receive the government’s invitation to tender in December.
Bidders will be expected to show how they will make the most of the government’s £1 billion investment programme for the rail network in the north of England, which will provide faster and more reliable journeys, more capacity, better trains and improved connections for passengers across the region.
The shortlisted bidders to run the 2 franchises are:

  • Northern:
    • Abellio Northern Ltd
    • Arriva Rail North Limited
    • Govia Northern Limited

  • TransPennine Express:
    • First Trans Pennine Express Limited
    • Keolis Go-Ahead Limited
    • Stagecoach Trans Pennine Express Trains Limited

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:
The north is undergoing a real rail renaissance, and we will be asking these companies to come up with innovative and ambitious proposals that will ensure a truly world-class rail network for the region.
Building a railway that is fit for the 21st century is a vital part of our long term economic plan, connecting businesses and communities, generating jobs and boosting growth, and we need strong private sector partners to help us achieve this ambition.
The new operator will also be expected to work closely with Rail North, which represents the region’s local authorities, to ensure local rail users will have more influence in how their train services are run.
Sir Richard Leese, for Rail North, said:
The companies on the shortlists demonstrate the interest there is in meeting Rail North’s desire to see the railway acting as an economic driver in the north of England.
We look forward to working with the bidders to deliver strong franchises for passengers, which reflect the aims and objectives of our long term rail strategy and the predicted growth in patronage.
Both franchises are due to be awarded by October 2015 and as they develop their bids each of the bidders will need to set out how they will capitalise on the biggest programme of rail modernisation ever.
Over the next 5 years, thanks to government investment, more than £1 billion will be spent on the rail network in the north. This includes the £600 million for the Northern Hub project, and the electrification projects in the north-west and across the Trans-Pennine routes.
The potential operators will need to demonstrate how they will use these projects to increase capacity in order to tackle crowding and meet future passenger demand; provide faster and more frequent services; and upgrade rolling stock, including proposals to replace Pacer trains on the Northern franchise. Bidders will also need to improve customer service and passenger satisfaction.
The new franchises will lay the foundations for a transformation of rail travel in the north, including the Chancellor’s plans for a high-speed network linking some of the region’s biggest cities, which he unveiled earlier this year.
The Northern and TransPennine Express franchises carried more than 110 million passengers last year, covering inter-urban, commuter and rural routes. The franchises connect passengers travelling into and between the key strategic cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, and onwards to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A public consultation into the future of rail services in the north closed on 18 August 2014 and responses will be taken into account as the franchise proposals are developed further ahead of the invitations to tender in December.

Wednesday 20 August 2014


All aboard the orbital railway! Plans afoot for £200bn metro-style train link around London's suburbs with Barking to become the new Piccadilly Circus in 100 years time

  • London Mayor Boris Johnson announced project in Infrastructure 2050 Plan
  • New railway will connect London suburbs and even put Barking on the map
  • The orbital railway will also reach as far as Sutton, Hounslow and Neasden
  • £200bn needs to be pumped into transport to keep capital moving
  • As the population soars, demand for rail services will rise by 80 per cent
Plans are being drawn up for a new high-speed orbital railway connecting London's zone three suburbs in a bid to keep the capital's soaring population moving over the next few decades.
London mayor Boris Johnson revealed the scheme in his London Infrastructure 2050 plan and predicted the capital would see a population shift to the east with Barking possibly becoming the next Piccadilly Circus within 100 years time.
He said about £200bn of spending on transport infrastructure alone would be needed in the capital by 2050 to keep suburbs like Barking, Walthamstow, Bexley Heath, Hounslow, Neasden and Harringay up to speed and connected with the heart of the city.
The Mayor of London's plans for a £200bn orbital railway would connect London's suburbs in zone three and beyond and even transform Barking into the next Piccadilly Circus

The idea for an additional rail service has grown from the success of London Overground which has helped regenerate areas and decongest tube lines.
But where London Overground largely connects zone two, the orbital railway will link suburbs in zones three and four including Harringay and Barking - and even Sutton in zone five.

As London's population grows over the next few decades, demand for rail transport is expected to increase by 80 per cent.
Mr Johnson was in the east London borough to launch his plan, which he described as ‘a real wake-up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century’.
He said: ‘Without a long-term plan for investment and the political will to implement it, this city will falter. Londoners need to know they will get the homes, water, energy, schools, transport, digital connectivity and better quality of life that they expect.’
The Overground mainly covers London areas in zone two but the new orbital railway would extend from zone three right through to the outskirts encompassing some zone five areas like Sutton


Barking was historically a fishing settlement on the River Roding in the county of Essex.
But when the railway arrived in 1854 the 5,000 strong population was given access to other forms of work in the centre of London.
And when the tube arrived in 1908, the population swelled to around 37,000, taking advantage of the suburb's transport links.
Barking is nine miles from central London with a current population of 187,000, the majority of which are within the Becontree estate
The major has earmarked the area for further regeneration and the former industrial lands to the south are being redeveloped as Barking Riverside, with plans to build more than 10,000 homes.
Office suites, shops and restaurants will also be built in a bid to bring more jobs to the area.
But planning permission has been granted for only a fraction of that until the new rail links arrive.
It is hoped the new orbital railway will bring prosperity to areas in the east that have been earmarked for new homes.
Barking Riverside, a piece of former industrial land sandwiched between the A13 and the Thames, has been marked for almost 11,000 new homes but planning permission has been granted for only a fraction of that until new rail links arrive.
Mr Johnson toured the new area after launching his new plans for the capital’s infrastructure.
He said: ‘This will be Piccadilly Circus here in 100 years' time.
‘Transport infrastructure makes all the difference to the prospects of a community.’
And he reckons 50,000 new homes will need to be built in the capital to meet the needs of Londoners.
He said: ‘Population growth is unstoppable. You've got to go with the grain of how people want to live their lives.
'If they want to live in the greatest city in the world, there's no point in trying to fight them off with a pitchfork.’
But he ruled out building on the green belt, explaining that green infrastructure is just as important as the city’s other utilities and called for an extra 9000 hectares to be provided.

Read more:

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Danger Warning Due To Faster Trains on GNGE Line

People are being warned to take extra care on level crossings because work to upgrade the Great Northern Great Eastern line is making trains faster and quieter.
Network Rail says it is transforming the Victorian infrastructure of the (GNGE) line into a modern railway.

Track has been replaced from Peterborough to Doncaster, with much of the line running through Lincolnshire.
Trains will increase to speeds of up to 65mph from 31 August.
Mark Walker, a consultant for Network Rail, said: "We want people along that route in those communities to be aware that this means trains will be able to travel faster, and they will be quieter.

"It is noticeable how much quieter the trains are, and that means if you have tended to view this as a very quiet and little-used railway we want to make people aware that may not be the case in the future."
The work is part of a £280m government-funded modernisation of the GNGE line.
Network Rail is creating additional capacity on the line, so passenger and freight train operators can run additional trains.
Mr Walker said: "Our railways have been growing over the last several years at quite an extraordinary rate in terms of numbers of passengers and the amount of freight carried, and we are really opening up the potential for Lincolnshire to share in those benefits."
The line is being closed between Doncaster and Gainsborough for two weeks, from 16 August to 1 September, so engineers can replace and repair bridges and lower tracks.
This will allow taller containers to travel along the line.

Passengers are being warned to check National Rail Enquiries for details of replacement buses and alternative trains.

Monday 18 August 2014

Brislington Running Day

Bristol Vintage Bus Group, a registered charity, held their running day at Flowers Hill, Brislington, on Sunday 10th August.
Free bus trips operated in and around Bristol using vintage buses from the BVBG collection
The majority of their collection of 15 vintage buses and coaches were manufactured by Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd, but they also have four London buses in the collection.
New members are welcome to get involved in restoration and maintenance, or just support the group as a member. For more information, visit or pop in to see the group on a Sunday morning.

Ken Jones attended the event and has sent the following pictures

Additional pictures can be seen on Ken's picture site here

Sunday 17 August 2014


A steam special once more took to the tracks of the London Underground system on the 2nd of August. This was to commemorate the 150th year since the opening of the Hammersmith & City Line, the train running three return journeys from Hammersmith to Moorgate and back. 
At one end was Metropolitan steam engine No.1, at the other Metropolitan electric No.12 Sarah Siddons.

The following images and a link to a video have kindly been provided by John Scragg.

A splendid video from John can now be viewed on You Tube by clicking here


Burton-upon-Trent was recently visited by the Focus Transport team and some 'classic' vehicles passed before the lens of the Box Brownie. A set of images can now be found by clicking here


Two other sets of images have also been added. These illustrate buses in and around Bakewell during the annual countryside show. These can now be found by clicking here and here

And if you are curious as to the illustration above, during the event there is a Park-&-Ride service that utilizes the former local railway trackbed.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Routemaster in Service in Ipswich

Bus passengers in Ipswich will be able to take a nostalgic trip back in time this summer when an iconic Routemaster enters service in the town.

To mark the Celebrate Ipswich festival, First Eastern Counties AEC Routemaster will run on the First Bus 77 service from Ipswich to Felixstowe on Sunday, August 17.

This is the first time the Routemaster will run on service in Ipswich. It will leave the Old Cattle Market at 1030 and arrive in Felixstowe, outside the Landguard Visitor Centre at 1125. It will then depart for Ipswich town centre at 1131.

Chris Speed, Business Manager for First Eastern Counties, said: "We are thrilled that the Routemaster will be running on service to mark the Celebrate Ipswich festival. We chose the 77 service as it is one of our oldest, most established routes and it seemed fitting for our heritage vehicle.

"I hope as many people as possible manage to ride the Routemaster " it is usually reserved for private hire and special occasions. Our vintage vehicles are very popular " passengers love to travel on them and our drivers love driving them.'

First will also run its modern retro-liveried bus which will duplicate the journey. 

The iconic bus is celebrating its diamond anniversary this year. The first Routemaster prototype was built in 1954 and they entered service in 1956 before they were withdrawn in 2005. More than 2,800 Routemasters were built, fewer than half of which are still in existence.

Friday 15 August 2014

Great Western Main Line Electrification Begins

Work to erect overhead electrification cables on the Great Western Main Line has begun.

Network Rail is using a specially-designed factory train called Brunel which works at night so trains can keep running during the day.
The train works up to five times faster than conventional gangs of track workers.
The team will work westwards at one mile a night, reaching Oxford, Newbury, Swindon and eventually Bristol and south Wales at the end of 2016.  

Hitachi High Speed Trains have been ordered for the newly electrified line