Friday, 31 October 2014


Celebrities voice London travel announcements for Poppy Day


  Joanna Lumley recording her announcements 

Joanna Lumley will be heard at stations including Stockwell, Tower Hill, Bank and Bond Street
The voices of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Barbara Windsor and Joanna Lumley will echo across trains and buses as part of London Poppy Day.
Manager Arsene Wenger and footballers Joey Barton, Andros Townsend and John Terry will voice the announcements at stations near their football stadiums.
There will also be special performances by X Factor group Rough Copy and magician Troy.
It is all in aid of the Royal British Legion's annual appeal.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, Transport for London has created a special poppy design incorporating the line from the famous poem by John McCrae, In Flanders fields the poppies blow.
The design will be displayed on all Tube and Docklands Light Railway trains, the Emirates Air Line cabins and trams.

Brian Blessed  

Actor Brian Blessed will be heard at Waterloo

Two Tube trains, one on the Metropolitan line and one other on the Circle line; a London overground train and 10 London buses will also be completely wrapped in the design.
Visitors to Covent Garden will be able to see the world's only operational B-type bus, which was used to transport troops during the war.

London's transport commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: "This time of year is always poignant as the nation remembers those who made such profound sacrifices, and this year is particularly important as we mark the centenary of the start of the Great War.


"People living and working in London will see our specially wrapped trains and buses displaying the poppy design, in honour of the 4,500 transport workers who gave their lives in both World Wars and other conflicts."

Bus images here and above supplied by Graham Smith and below by Malcolm Conway

Celebrity Tube stations voice will appear at
Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Mikel Arteta Arsenal, Holloway Road, Finsbury Park
Brian Blessed Waterloo, Cannon Street, St James's Park, Theydon Bois, Liverpool Street
Barbara Windsor Great Portland Street, Baker Street, Leytonstone, Aldgate, Paddington, Northwick Park, Blackfriars
Michael Portillo Pimlico, South Kensington, Sloane Sq
Trevor Nelson Barbican, Oval, Green Park, Old Street, Rayners Lane
Sir Terry Wogan Charing Cross, Ealing Broadway, Embankment, Hammersmith (Hammersmith & City and Circle line) Goldhawk Road, Latimer Road, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park, Royal Oak, Paddington (Suburban)
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson London Bridge, Angel, Islington
Emma Freud Notting Hill Gate, Marylebone, Shepherd's Bush, Knightsbridge
Joanna Lumley Stockwell, Canary Wharf, Tower Hill, Bank, Hyde Park Corner, Bond Street, North Greenwich
Stephen Fry Westminster, Victoria, Covent Garden, Southwark, Hammersmith (District & Piccadilly line)
Peter Dickson (Voice of X Factor) Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, South Kenton
Tottenham Hotspur's Andros Townsend and Ben Davies Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale, Tottenham Court Road
Queens Park Rangers' Joey Barton and Rob Green White City, Wood Lane, Shepherd's Bush Market
Marcus Bentley (Voice of Big Brother) Euston, Monument, Temple
Fulham's Scott Parker and Dan Burn Putney Bridge, Parson's Green
Chelsea's John Terry Fulham Broadway, Earl's Court, West Brompton 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Stagecoach Trading Update

 Stagecoach Group plc has issued an update on trading in advance of a series of meetings with analysts.

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)
- twenty four weeks ended 12 October 2014                 

UK Bus (London)               
- twenty four weeks ended 12 October 2014                

UK Rail
- twenty four weeks ended 12 October 2014                

North America     
- five months ended 30 September 2014

Virgin Rail Group                
- twenty four weeks ended 12 October 2014                

UK Bus (regional operations)

Our UK Bus (regional operations) Division has continued to perform satisfactorily.

The division has grown both passenger volume and revenue year-on-year. Like-for-like revenue growth for the twenty four week period of 3.2% excludes the revenue earned from contracts to provide transport for the Commonwealth Games.  Passenger volume growth on an equivalent basis was 0.7%.  Higher commercial revenue (i.e. revenue earned directly from fare-paying passengers) has contributed most to overall revenue growth, with concessionary, tendered and school revenue also growing.  In the equivalent period last year, revenue was earned from providing additional bus services to replace train services that were affected by major railway resignalling work.  As a result, revenue growth in the twelve weeks ended 12 October 2014 was lower than for the preceding twelve weeks.  

Stagecoach were disappointed but not surprised at the decision by the North East Combined Authority earlier this month to refer proposals to implement a bus contracting system in Tyne and Wear to a Quality Contracts Review Board.   These proposals are to be subject to more rigorous examination by a properly constituted independent board that should not be motivated by political considerations and who will take appropriate, impartial, professional advice in reaching a decision. The Review Board has a duty to determine whether the proposals meet the five statutory public interest criteria that have to be met to support the introduction of the contracting scheme. The operators do not believe these tests have been met and will present robust evidence to the Review Board to demonstrate this.   Stagecoach say that they will discuss with the Review Board the significant flaws in the proposed contracting scheme, and at the same time and continue to review their legal options.   The voluntary partnership agreement proposed by the local bus operators would be far more effective at delivering customer service improvements and generating savings for the public sector without the huge financial risks of the proposed contracting scheme to the region's taxpayers.   

Stagecoach have been pleased with the progress of their inter-city coach operations in continental Europe and are now planning to extend the network further.   They will introduce more European services over the remainder of the year ending 30 April 2015, building on the success of in the UK and North America.  This is an exciting prospect for the medium-term but will result in a few million pounds of new start-up losses in the year ending 30 April 2015 and around £20m of additional capital expenditure, primarily in acquiring new vehicles.

UK Bus (London)
Revenue growth in our UK Bus (London) Division has been good during the period.  Traffic disruption from ongoing road works has continued to adversely impact on the quality incentive income, which has moderated revenue growth.  Excluding the uplift in contract prices to compensate for the cessation of Bus Service Operators' Grant (a rebate of fuel duty), revenue increased by 9.4%. 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 expectations, reflecting the focus on growing revenue and controlling costs to mitigate the substantial increases in premia payments to the Department for Transport ("DfT"). As expected, the rate of revenue growth is higher than that reported for the first twelve weeks of the financial year, which is partly due to the effect of prior year resignalling work in the Nottingham area.

 North America

Revenue growth in North America is encouraging. increased revenue by 13.5% in the five months ended 30 September 2014. Stagecoach are satisfied with the progress of the 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. Trading to date under the new franchise has been strong.

Twin America

Stagecoach and their joint venture partners are in ongoing discussions with the US Department of Justice and the New York Attorney General to conclude the previously reported litigation relating to the Twin America joint venture.
The New York sightseeing market remains highly competitive, with current trading still challenging.

Bank re-financing

The Group has entered into £535m of new bank facilities.  The new facilities have been committed for a period of five years to October 2019 with the potential for them to be extended by up to a further two years.  These facilities replace previous bank facilities that were due to expire in February 2016.


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 are on course to meet expectations for the year.

Interim results

The Group plans to announce its interim results for the six months ended 31 October 2014 on 10 December 2014.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Historic RT buses return to London
  • 20 RT-Type buses to operate for one day only on route 11
  • All heritage buses will be free, except the original 1939 prototype ‘RT1’

In celebration of London’s Year of the Bus, Transport for London (TfL) and the London Bus Museum, are operating 20 historic RT buses on route 11 on Sunday 2 November between 10am and 5pm.                  

London’s iconic red buses have provided a vital daily service to millions of people since the first bus service was introduced in 1829.  The RT bus, which first ran in London 75 years ago, is the father of the famous Routemaster.  After the war, London Transport built up the largest bus fleet in the world and by the mid-1950s virtually every bus operating in London was an RT.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “Over the years bus designs have changed but the role of buses in keeping London moving remains just as vital to London today.  This event is a celebration of the RT’s valuable contribution to the capital and gives people the chance to travel back in time and glide round our great city in a piece of automotive history.”

Peter Osborn, London Bus Museum, said: “It is important to keep our transport heritage alive and working – all these buses are at least 60 years old and a real tribute to British engineering.  When we are out and about, the delight on the faces of passengers and passers-by confirms that these buses hold a special place in the hearts of Londoners.”

The fleet of 20 RT buses will run alongside the normal service of their modern day contemporaries, the New Routemaster, which operate on route 11.  Buses will run from Liverpool Street Station via Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament to Chelsea, with some buses continuing to Hammersmith. 

All the RT buses are at least 60 years old and restored to the highest standard. Each will be operated by a traditional driver and conductor team and commemorative tickets will be issued.  All heritage buses will be free, except the original 1939 prototype RT1 that will charge a fare of £5. 

The RT1 is a 75-year old bus that has been restored to the distinctive livery it was launched to the press in, during the summer of 1939, as ‘London’s new RT bus’.

Events and activities are being held throughout 2014 to celebrate TfL’s Year of the Bus, in partnership with the London Transport Museum and the capital’s bus operators – specifically the role that London buses, bus drivers and the staff who support them play in keeping the capital moving.  The Year of the Bus also marks a number of important anniversaries including 60 years since the creation of the original and iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.

During the Year of the Bus, TfL has worked on a number of high profile collaborations including with the world-famous Fender guitar manufacturer whose Stratocaster guitar celebrated its 60th anniversary this year; with LEGO to install an operational bus stop and shelter on Regent Street made entirely out of LEGO and a special Routemaster Google Doodle on the homepage.  The Year of the Bus has also seen the first ever series of live music performances on board a New Routemaster bus as part of Oxjam, and ‘bus stop top’ exhibitions along the Strand from renowned photographers Juergen Teller and David LaChapelle.

  • London Bus Museum at Brooklands near Weybridge holds the world’s largest collection of historic London buses, most in full working order.  The Museum is open every day except at Christmas, more details at
  • A time table for the special heritage service on route 11 can be found at:
  • When it was introduced the RT-Type set new standards for the bus industry as a whole and confirmed London’s place at the forefront of modern bus design.  With advanced, streamlined styling, bright interior, comfortable seating, smooth new diesel engine, modern air brakes and a pre selector gearbox it really led the way -with more than 7,000 operating on the capital’s streets between 1939 and 1979. The father of the later Routemaster, it laid the foundation for bus travel in the capital.
  • Route 11 is one of London’s most famous bus routes, passing the Bank of England, St Paul’s Cathedral, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Victoria, Sloane Square and Chelsea’s Kings Road. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


'Night Tube': London Underground to run all-night trains at weekends from September 2015

Six trains an hour on weekend nights 'will give London a boost'


London's "Night Tube" will launch on 12th September 2015 a week before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in the capital, it was announced today.

Trains will run through the night on Fridays and Saturdays on five lines to coincide with the tournament to ensure it starts amid a party atmosphere as fans stay out late to watch the games.
With less than a year go until the historic, first 24-hour Tube operations, transport chiefs unveiled details of the service.

Frequency of Night Tube has been increased to six trains an hour - one every ten minutes - though central London on the Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly, Central and eight trains an hour on the busiest section of the the Northern line.

Passengers are expected to flock to the Night Tube with 180,000 trips forecast from 00:30 and 6am over the two nights. Half of the passengers will switch from using the bus or taxi to get home in the small hours and the remainder will be newly-generated journeys.


Key lines: the weekend extension will only run on main Tube lines such as the Central, Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly and Jubilee  

By switching from bus to the Tube, night time journeys will be cut by an average 20 minutes and by up to an hour on some routes, according to according to an economic impact study by Volterra commissioned by Transport for London

The 24-hour service will give a £360m boost to the economy over the next 30 years with clubs, bars, restaurants, casinos and theatres among the big winners. 
Almost 2,000 jobs will be created, with 265 hired to run the Night Tube and 1700 employed indirectly in London's night-time economy.
The Night Tube will be self-funding as a projected £291m in additional fare revenue will cover the £287m operational and capital costs, according to TfL.

Other Night Tube benefits include an end to the stampede for the last train at the O2 Arena, and trains for those catching one of Heathrow's 60 pre-dawn flights.
West End stations will be the busiest but North Greenwich, Brixton, Stratford, Hammersmith and Highbury are also in the top 20 stations where passengers will start the nighttime journey home.


New hubs will be created on Night Tube lines Wembley Park, Stanmore, High Barnet and Brixton where weary passengers end up.


London Underground managing director Mike Brown said: "This is a great prize for London and anyone who lives and works in the city will recognise that. We are paying back London with more jobs and growth so it continues to compete with the great cities of the world." He added: "over time we will see a net increase in fare income as people make more discretionary journeys which is more money we can invest or use to keep fares down."

Negotiations will start between LU management and train drivers' unions on Thursday on Night Tube terms. An extra 85 drivers are required and 180 station staff, many part-time.
Finn Brennan of Aslef said: "LU are reducing the number of part time staff who work during peak hours Monday to Friday. Those positions are being got rid of and instead they will recruit station staff who will work Saturdays and Sunday nights which will have a major impact on work-life balance."
The Night Tube announcement comes as the RMT starts an overtime ban in protest at Tube ticket office closures, resulting in almost 1000 job losses.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: "the night tube plans are not properly thought through, are being used to divert attention from the massive cuts programme and are a disaster waiting to happen."

The Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines are due next to go 24-hour although this will not until 2019 as LU sorts out a bungled signalling upgrade.
Mr Brown, who shortly takes control of Crossrail,  would also operate 24-hours eventually.
London mayor Boris Johnson said: “London is a bustling, 24-hour global city and by this time next year we’ll have a 24-hour Tube service to match. Running trains all through the night was once thought impossible, but with the huge investment we’ve put in and upgrades that have been delivered we stand ready to take the Tube to the next level."

Monday, 27 October 2014


Little Harry Croft who has autism was in tears when he heard the family would be away and unable to attend the latest Reading Buses open day.
But six year old Harry’s tears have been replaced by smiles thanks to Reading Buses Academy Manager Mick Hughes.
For when Sandy Onofrio, a member of staff at Emmer Green Primary School , wrote and told Reading Buses that they had a young boy with an absolute fascination for pink bus 23, Mick readily agreed to arrange for the family to make a special visit to the Great Knollys Street depot.
Harry’s mum Mrudula, 44, a hospital pharmacist, said today the family couldn’t thank Reading Buses enough for ‘making a little boy’s dream come true.’
“The special visit really has been a dream come true for Harry who has autism and is obsessed with Reading Buses because of the different colours of the buses,” she explained.

“We have to plan all our trips around him catching the pink 23 and when he was able to sit in the driver’s seat of his favourite colour bus and also be taken through the bus wash it was absolutely fantastic.

“Mick had even arranged for Harry’s name to be displayed on top of the bus and I cannot explain what that meant to him.
“It was all quite emotional and the visit which Mick so kindly arranged for us was so much more than we expected.  So much thought went into the visit which also included the workshop and men working underneath the buses which was very interesting.
“Harry couldn’t contain his excitement.  He was overwhelmed.  There isn’t a day when he doesn’t talk about the visit and he wants to go again.”
Mrudula said it was a real family occasion with her husband, Matthew, 43, an accountant, and daughter Holly, 5, also making the visit from their home in Caversham.
She added:  “It was so much more than we expected and we cannot thank Reading Buses – and especially Mick – enough for what they have done to make Harry so happy.”

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Campaign for Investment on Norwich to London Line

Commuters using a troubled rail line are being asked to join a campaign for more investment to allow faster trains.
Travellers on the line between Norwich and London often face delays caused by ageing signalling and power lines.
Campaign leaflets left on the seats of trains on the line explain how commuters can help lobby government.

The Great Eastern Rail Campaign wants them to register their support for more investment to cut travel times between Norwich and London to 90 minutes.
Campaigners want travel times of 60 minutes between London and Ipswich and 40 minutes from the capital to Colchester.
Current journey times are two hours to Norwich, 80 minutes to Ipswich and about 60 minutes to Colchester.
Many business leaders, universities, colleges and MPs in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have already registered support on a campaign website.
A report is to be presented to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chancellor George Osborne outlining economic and business benefits of faster trains.
 Jamie Burles, managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia, said: "It is important we make the strongest case possible to government to secure major improvements to infrastructure and rolling stock."
Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP and co-chair of the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce, said: "This is a big call to action and our biggest opportunity to make our voice heard loud and clear in Westminster."
A Passenger Focus survey earlier this year covering the south east of England revealed 75% of passengers were satisfied with their train service.
After several days disruption on the line last October Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South, said the east of England had "challenges dealing with an ageing infrastructure".
"It's a long term investment challenge but we need to get to grips with it now or it will never happen."
Mr Wright's call for investment was backed by local Conservative MPs Chloe Smith, Simon Burns and Richard Bacon.

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Major redevelopment of West Croydon bus station to get underway
  • Passengers to reap benefits of a new, modern and accessible bus station
  • Planned works, which started on Saturday 4th October, will improve future bus services and reduce delays
  • Local routes will be affected by the improvement works - passengers are advised to plan ahead

Major works to completely transform the site of West Croydon bus station began on Saturday (4th October) as part of a continuing £50m investment to improve the town’s public realm and transport infrastructure.

Transport for London (TfL) has worked closely with Croydon Council to develop the plans, which are fully integrated with the ‘Connected Croydon’ urban realm development programme. Supported by an £18m investment by the Mayor of London, ‘Connected Croydon’ is a £50m programme of high street, public space and transport improvements to transform the town centre by creating a more attractive environment to live, work, socialise and do business.

Around eight million passengers use West Croydon bus station each year and the improvement plans, which include better lighting and a more spacious environment with better customer information systems, have been developed specifically with them in mind. The works are scheduled to end in early 2016 after which bus passengers will benefit from a number of other improved facilities, such as fully accessible bus stops and modern CCTV coverage for continued passenger safety.

The bus station, built in 1983, is used by 150 buses per hour and is a popular interchange between Croydon Tramlink, London Overground and buses. 

(This image taken 17th May 1985 by John Parkin)

The new design will also enable it to manage a 20 per cent increase in passenger footfall, anticipated as a result of town centre improvements by the London Borough of Croydon.


Bus passengers travelling through or near the bus station will see changes to their bus routes from Saturday 4th October as the works get underway.

(This image taken 3rd October 2014 by John Parkin)

Passengers are encouraged to plan ahead and the works will affect local bus routes as follows:
  • No buses will serve the bus station itself during the closure;
  • The last bus stop for buses that currently terminate at the bus station will be on St Michael’s Road – a two minute walk away. (Routes 154, 166, 194, 367, 403, 405, 412, 450, 689, T33);
  • Buses that normally stop at the bus station will pick up from the next available stop on line of route during the closure;
  • Buses that currently serve the bus station from Tamworth Road will be diverted by Poplar Walk and resume normal line of routing. Routes 264, 407, and 410 will pick up and drop passengers at Poplar Walk. Routes 157 and 455 will stop at Wellesley Road.

Dana Skelley, TfL’s Director of Asset Management, said: “Our passengers are very much at the heart of this redevelopment. The transformation of West Croydon bus station means that they will see significant improvements in the long term. We apologise in advance to any of our passengers who may be inconvenienced by these works.

Councillor Toni Letts, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The redevelopment of West Croydon bus station is a key part of our plans to regenerate the town centre.

“As a result of the improvements we are making to Croydon, there will be more people coming to visit. Therefore it's essential we have the right transport infrastructure in place to meet this demand.”

Additional staff will be at the bus station prior to, and after the closure, to help passengers plan their journey.

Details of stopping arrangements and route changes during the works will also be available at local bus stops and on the Transport for London (TfL) website –

Friday, 24 October 2014

New Cumbria Classic Route Registered

Cumbria Classic Coaches recently ran a free bus service to test the interest in a service to Kendal from Brough & Kirkby Stephen. see here This follows the withdrawal of financial support by Cumbria County Council and subsequent cancellation of the existing regular service previously operated by Grand Prix Coaches.
A Mondays only service has now been registered which will use one of the classic vehicles. Publicity has been produced to promote the new service which commences on Monday 27th October.
This compliments the well established all year round Wednesday market day service to Barnard Castle and the Easter to October service to Hawes.

↓New Chesterfield Buses for Stagecoach


Recently delivered to Stagecoach's Stonegravels depot at Chesterfield, the first examples of a further small batch of ADL Enviro200 single-decks as illustrated by 37181 on the Vicar Lane stand of route 51 to Clay Cross.

Also due soon a batch of new Enviro400 models for route X17 (Sheffield-Chesterfield-Matlock). These will replace the existing Scania models already assigned to the route, and upgrade it to the company's nationwide Gold standard.

Here we provide a preview of one of the new double-decks. Scania 15190 was seen yesterday at a Sheffield location prior to delivery to Chesterfield.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Go Ahead Interim Management Statement October 2014

 Overall trading robust; full year expectations unchanged

Go-Ahead has announced its Interim Management Statement for the period from 29 June 2014 to 20 October 2014 ahead of its Annual General Meeting on 24 October 2014.
The first quarter growth rates reported in this statement are for the period from 29 June 2014 to 27 September 2014.
David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said:
“Trading in the first quarter has been robust and our full year expectations for both bus and rail operations remain unchanged.

“This has been a busy period for our rail business, during which we launched GTR and began Southeastern’s direct award contract. Our experienced teams are focused on working closely with industry partners to deliver high quality services for our passengers.
“Delivering excellent levels of customer service is important to us and I’m proud our bus division achieved its highest ever satisfaction score of 92%. Even at these levels, there is always room for improvement and we will continue to listen to customers and local community groups to keep on improving our services.”
“Our London and regional bus operations continue to perform well and we remain on course to achieve our operating profit target of £100m by 2015/16.”


Regional bus has seen good growth in revenue in the first quarter of the year. This has largely been driven by increased contract revenue, where associated journeys are not recorded. Commercial and concessionary passengers numbers are broadly flat year on year, with weakness in the north east, as previously reported.
During the period, the proposal for a bus contract scheme in Tyne & Wear was endorsed by the sub-committees of the North East Combined Authority. This remains an ongoing process and we continue to believe that a voluntary partnership agreement is the best outcome for passengers and taxpayers.
First quarter growth rates:

Revenue Passenger journeys
c.5% c.0%

Revenue growth in London bus business of around 5% has been driven by the reallocation of bus service operators grant (BSOG) of 4.9%. Mileage operated fell in line with expectations, following the previous year’s good growth on the back of contract wins. Rail replacement work has been delivered at similar levels year on year. Due to known contract wins that will begin later this year, it is expected that mileage will increase and be broadly flat year on year.

First quarter growth rates:

Revenue Mileage
c.5% c.-2%


The rail division operates the Southern (including Gatwick Express), Southeastern, London Midland and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) franchises through a 65% owned subsidiary Govia.
First quarter growth rates:
Passenger revenue Passenger journeys
Southern  c.6.5% c.2%
Southeastern  c.10% c.6.5%
London Midland  c.2.5% c.1%

Trading in Southern remains in line with expectations and is in receipt of 80% revenue support. The franchise will continue on existing terms for the duration of the current year before being incorporated into the GTR franchise in July 2015.
Southeastern has delivered a strong trading performance in the first quarter of the year, with strong underlying revenue growth of around 8.5%. Total passenger revenue growth includes the impact of one-off travelcard allocations. The franchise began operating under a direct award contract on 12 October, and is no longer receiving revenue support. The contract will run, under new franchise terms, until July 2018.
The London Midland franchise has been severely affected by engineering works during the quarter. This has had no impact on profit but has resulted in lower than expected revenue. Adjusting for this, revenue growth would have been around 5.5%. The franchise will continue on its original contract terms for the remainder of the year, and will begin a seven-month extension on the same terms in September 2015. The company look forward to working with the DfT regarding a potential direct award contract from March 2016 to June 2017.
GTR began operating on 14 September and, five weeks into the franchise, no significant variations to the bid model have been identified. Trading performance for GTR will be reported in February 2015, in our half year results.


Overall, trading across the Group has been robust and expectations for the full year are unchanged.
The Group remains in a good financial position with strong cash generation and a robust balance sheet, supporting progressive dividend policy and allowing flexibility to pursue value-adding opportunities both within and outside our traditional markets. The company continue to focus on key strengths of providing high quality, locally-focused transport services.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Nexus' Contract Scheme Pushes Forward

 Nexus House might become much busier if the
Quality Contract scheme is approved. Many local
 authority run organisations seem to relish the
idea of building large teams of people to shuffle
paper and micro manage without actually
achieving quality.

Here is a statement from NEBOA on yesterday's decision by the Leadership Board of the North East Combined Authority to proceed to the next stage of Nexus' contract scheme:

Kevin Carr, Chair of the North East Bus Operators' Association (NEBOA),
said: "We are very disappointed, but not surprised, at the decision to
press on with the contract scheme. Nexus has convinced the leaders to take a huge gamble, needing an £80 million contingency fund on top of £51 million in guaranteed funding every year. It’s not the best way of securing vital bus services for communities in Tyne and Wear.

"This is the third set of bus contracts proposals and every one has been
riddled with mistakes and financial flaws. The latest Nexus proposals don't offer a single extra bus or any expansion of the bus network. Bus
passengers in Tyne and Wear deserve better than this scheme, which will
lead to higher fares, worse bus services and higher council tax bills.

"In contrast, bus operators have made a clear offer to work constructively
with the authority and local councils. We have promised to deliver smart
ticketing, lower fares, more buses, a greater say for local people in their
bus network, as well as saving money for local taxpayers. We stand by that offer. The fact that we are already delivering many elements of it shows how committed we are to putting passengers first."

Following the decision by the North East Combined Authority (NECA), the bus contracts proposals will be referred to an independent board chaired by a traffic commissioner and supported by two industry experts. The board will rule on whether the correct process has been followed in developing the bus contracts scheme and if the plans pass five key public interest tests.

Mr Carr added: "Today's decision is not final. We expect a far more
rigorous examination of the bus contracts proposals by the independent
review board. The board has a duty to determine whether these plans meet key legal, economic and value for money tests. We do not believe these tests have been met and we will make robust arguments to the review board to demonstrate this. Unless all of the tests have been met, the bus contracts scheme as it stands cannot be implemented.

"In any case, there is no evidence that the current system of delivering
bus services has failed the North East. On the contrary, it has one of the
highest levels of bus use and customer satisfaction in the country. Our
plans would make the bus network even stronger."

Focus Comment 
The not unexpected decision to refer the proposed scheme to the next stage, moves closer to the day when taxpayers could be saddled with the financial risks of running all bus services in Tyne & Wear.
At a time when many local authorities are abandoning the subsidy of local bus services, those promoting this scheme seem to have found large sums of public money to promote it, using facts and figures that can (and will) be challenged. 
It could be argued that they should have focused on spending the money sensibly, on supporting local services that fall outside the scope of those run commercially. In doing so they would serve the local communities in ways that give direct benefits to their taxpayers and not come up with ideas that appear to take them beyond their capabilities.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

No Extra Trains on £45m Redoubled Railway

There are renewed calls for more trains to be run on the newly redoubled track between Swindon and Kemble.
The redoubling, which cost £45m, has increased capacity, but no extra trains will run on the route until a new service franchise agreement in 2017.
Conservative MP for the Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, said it was "not very good" to have no more trains available.
First Great Western said it was "not feasible" to run additional services.
Mr Clifton-Brown said: "First Great Western have had plenty of time.
"What is the point in the Government putting in a £45m investment, only to say to us we've got to wait at least two years before you're going to see any improvements whatsoever in service?"

James Davis, from First Great Western, said: "The improvement in service can only be delivered where we have a rolling stock to be able do that.
"That's coming through the Government's investment in the Intercity Express Programme, with those additional trains coming into service from 2017 onwards.
"There are huge demands on our rolling stock across the network.
"We run over 1,500 services a day, so to be able to put on additional services straight away on this line is just not a feasible option."
Mr Clifton-Brown said he was also concerned there could be extra delays on the route now the re-doubling was complete.
"First Great Western have told me they are going to be using this line for diversionary services when they do rail improvements into Wales.
"I think we want to be really sure that we're... not going to have delays on the existing services."

The line was reduced to a single track in the 1960s as a cost-saving measure by British Rail.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Further Delays To Tram Works Cause Resident's Anger

A pre-arranged party to celebrate the reopening of a road after 19 months of tram works instead marked another missed deadline.
Residents and businesses gathered in Chilwell Road in Nottingham for the pre-arranged event that should have coincided with the end of the network extension to Beeston.

MP Anna Soubry said the lack of communication and constant mistakes was "dreadful".

Contractor Taylor Woodrow Alstom apologised for the inconvenience.
Chilwell Road, which is home to dozens of businesses, was closed in March last year for the extension to the city tram network.
The work should have been completed shortly after Christmas 2013 but several delays mean the road is now not due to open fully until the end of November.
Julie Cameron, owner of Cameron House, was angry she will now only get a month to sell her Christmas stock.

"I went from wanting to cry and being really upset and then being really angry and then frustration," she said.

"I was advised the road would reopen [on Monday] and nothing had changed only two or three weeks ago. I planned my business on that information."
Ms Soubry, MP for Broxtowe, said: "They have had 19 months of pretty dreadful stuff and yet another broken deadline, and yet another broken promise.
"And yet this awful, dreadful lack of communication is unacceptable."
A spokesman for Taylor Woodrow Alstom said the delay was caused by work on the water mains.
"We understand the works have caused significant disruption, and apologise for any inconvenience," he said.

"However, most of the construction in Chilwell Road will soon be complete and we would like to assure local residents and businesses that every effort is being made to ensure that the remaining works do not take any longer than necessary."     OXFORD PICTURES