Saturday, 30 May 2015


FirstGroup, the leading transport operator in the UK and North America, has announced that its bus division has ordered 385 new vehicles worth £77.7m* for delivery in the current financial year. 

First Bus’ order underlines its commitment to provide high quality bus services for its customers and stakeholder partners and reflects increasing passenger and revenue growth across its operations. It brings the company’s investment to nearly £385m over five years, enabling the replacement of some 2,200 vehicles, around a third of its fleet. 

The new vehicles, which feature a mixture of double deckers, single deckers, and midis, will all come fitted with leather seats, CCTV and Wi-Fi providing customers with free internet access. In addition to the dedicated space for wheelchair users, FirstGroup will also provide extra space for pushchairs and trial the installation of USB charging points on some vehicles. 

Of the 385 vehicle order, more than 90% (355) of the new buses will be fitted with Euro 6 engines, the biggest investment (£73m) in Euro 6 buses in the UK to date. Test results show that running eight Euro 6 buses produces the same amount of certain exhaust emissions, including Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM), as running one bus with a Euro 5 engine**. With the majority of its businesses across the UK set to benefit from the introduction of Euro 6 buses, there will be a positive impact on air quality in town and city centres. 

Some 99% of the 385 vehicles in the First Bus order are Department for Transport ‘low carbon certified’, making them amongst the most fuel efficient buses on the market. Adding these to the 273 low carbon certified Wrightbus StreetLites purchased in 2014, First Bus will shortly be saving an estimated 9,500 tonnes of CO2 per year. The 2015/16 investment will bring the company’s fleet of low carbon certified vehicles to more than 750, thought to be the largest in the UK. 

The order is a big boost to British manufacturing supporting hundreds of UK jobs. Ballymena based Wrightbus will manufacture 248 vehicles. Falkirk’s ADL has secured an order for 117 vehicles, while Volvo has won a contract to build 20 double decker chassis in Sweden, with the bodies manufactured by Wrightbus. 

Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said: “This is great news for First Bus customers across the UK. In five years we’ve invested around £385m in new vehicles. Our £77.7m investment this year underlines our continuing determination to provide ever better bus services for our customers and reflects the increasing passenger numbers that we are seeing across First Bus. 

“I’m delighted the overwhelming majority of our new vehicles will be fitted with Euro 6 engines. The advances in engineering are remarkable and our investment represents one of the most environmentally friendly bus orders ever placed. I’m proud that our Euro 6 order is the largest on record in the UK so far and will support efforts from our local authority partners to improve air quality in towns and cities across the UK.” 

Wrights Group Chairman and CEO, Mark Nodder, said: “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with FirstGroup, and look forward to delivering more vehicles which are best in class for fuel efficiency and low emissions. This is the largest order taken by Wrightbus for Euro 6 buses, a strong endorsement of the new technology and innovative design.” 

Colin Robertson, Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis Limited, said: “We are delighted to have won this very significant order and to be continuing our long-established and thriving relationship with FirstGroup. This latest order is a huge endorsement of our new-generation, market-leading midi and double deck buses and a further demonstration of FirstGroup’s commitment to the green technologies of tomorrow. In addition, it should not be forgotten that orders like this support 2,000 ADL jobs in the UK and thousands more in our extensive supplier network.” 

Phil Owen, Commercial sales Director at Volvo Bus said: “We have worked closely with First Bus for many years and welcome their uptake of Euro 6 Hybrid vehicles. Euro 6 can make a real difference on air quality in Britain’s towns and cities, while our hybrid technology delivers significant greenhouse gas savings. We are proud to continue our relationship with First.” 

Amongst the First Bus order are: 
· Two ‘virtual electric’ (part hybrid, part electric) buses, which will enter service in Bristol from December as part of FirstGroup’s support of Bristol Green Capital. 
· Five double deck buses, scheduled to operate in Stirling, will be fitted with flywheel technology originating from Formula 1. The technology is designed to recapture energy that would otherwise be lost during braking so it can later be used to help accelerate the bus and save fuel. 

Full details of the First Bus order: Manufacturer Model Quantity
Volvo B5LH 20
Wrightbus StreetDeck 65
Wrightbus StreetLite 183
ADL Enviro 200 MMC 63
ADL Enviro 400 MMC 47
ADL Enviro 400 MMC GK 5
ADL Enviro 400 MMC Virtual Electric 2

*Green Bus Funding
First Bus’ £77.7m order includes around £3m worth of funding from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund, Bristol City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and the DfT.

**Of the 385 vehicle order, 30 buses will feature Euro 5 engines and 355 will feature Euro 6 engines. Tests by First Bus’ manufacturing partners Wrightbus compared emissions from buses with a Euro 6 engine against buses with a Euro 5 engine. The results showed:
· a 99% reduction in Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions
· an 87% reduction in Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) emissions
· and 87% reduction in Particulate Matter (PM) emissions.

Friday, 29 May 2015


To celebrate 100 years of public transport across Sussex & South East Hampshire, Stagecoach South have launched two special bus liveries, based on the colours of the famous bus & coach company 'Southdown Motor Services'.
As part of the centenary celebrations, a special bus rally will take place on Sunday 7th June on Southsea Common with approximately 120 modern and vintage buses on display, plus free bus rides across the local area.
The two buses were unveiled by Stagecoach South's Commercial Director, Mark Turner and Engineering Director, Richard Alexander, pictured above with Bob Jackson, Operations Manager.


Visitors to the annual POPS event (Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society), in Stoke-on-Trent could be forgiven if they thought that they had been transported back to the era of the National Bus Company. Amongst the vehicle attendees were at least fifteen assorted bus and coaches in full NBC livery. The first of a short series of albums illustrating the event based at the Britannia football ground (home of Stoke City FC), can be viewed by clicking here

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Switzerland: Rail company deploys 'lawnmower sheep'

The Skudde sheep were at risk of extinction in the 1970s and are now a protected breed 
When train passengers in Switzerland look out of the window this spring they may spot the state railway company's newest recruits - a flock of Skudde sheep.

The animals are acting as four-legged lawnmowers for Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), helping to keep the grass along its tracks tidy, The Local Local website reports. They're particularly handy on steep embankments, which mechanical lawnmowers find harder to reach. Switzerland's famous railway system covers more than 3,000km (1,864 miles) of track, with many routes crossing mountainous terrain. The sheep are kept safe while they graze thanks to netting and electrified rope fencing, SBB says on its website. Anyone wanting to follow their progress can do so via an online map, which is updated with the flock's most recent location.
The company has been singing the praises of its new helpers, who began work this month. It says the sheep are "superior to conventional lawnmowers" because they pick what they eat carefully "instead of just mowing everything down like a machine", sparing many wildflowers. As well as being environmentally friendly, the animals are extremely efficient, pausing for only a couple of hours a day to sleep. And the company says, compared to a standard lawnmower, they're "much more fun to watch!" 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Reading Buses 'cow poo bus' sets speed record


A bus powered by cow manure has set a land speed record for a regular bus by driving at 77mph.
Reading Buses' "Bus Hound" (image here from the company), was recorded doing a lap speed of 76.785mph (123.57km/h) at Bedford's Millbrook Proving Ground.
It runs on biomethane compressed natural gas and is painted black and white like a Friesian cow. It normally carries passengers around Reading.
The UK Timing Association confirmed the new record.

Trevor Duckworth, the association's chief timekeeper, said this was the first time a bus had been on Millbrook Proving Ground and described it as "quite a sight".
The bus is normally speed limited to 56mph (90km/h).
Martijn Gilbert, chief executive of Reading Buses, said it would not be recognised as a Guinness World Record unless it reached speeds above 150mph (241km/h).

Chief engineer John Bickerton said the company wanted the "world's first service bus speed record" to bring to light the viability, power and credibility of buses fuelled by cow poo.
"We've laid down a challenge for other bus operators to best our record and we had to make it a bit hard for them.
"Most importantly we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow. We're modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation.
"It was an impressive sight as it swept by on the track. It sounded like a Vulcan bomber - the aerodynamics aren't designed for going 80mph."
Its fuel is made from animal waste which is broken down in a process called anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, which is then liquefied, Mr Gilbert said.
It is stored in seven tanks fixed inside the roof of the bus.
The vehicle's name was inspired by the British Bloodhound super-sonic car which aims to go beyond 1,000mph in 2016.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Cunard liners mark 175th anniversary in Liverpool


Three famous ocean liners have sailed together in Liverpool for the first time to mark Cunard's 175th anniversary.
The Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth saluted the city where Samuel Cunard began his transatlantic line in 1840.
Thousands of people lined the River Mersey to watch the "three queens" perform a synchronised sailing display.
As the fleet completed its manoeuvres, the Red Arrows performed a fly-past.
Captain Christopher Wells, who was at the helm of the Queen Mary 2, said it was a "very special weekend".
"It allows us to celebrate our anniversary in the city where the company was founded.
"To have that celebration is very important not only to us, but also to the city," he said.

The display was part of a three-day celebration, which ends on today, marking the company's first transatlantic crossing from Liverpool.
Sir Samuel Cunard, who founded the service, sailed aboard the RMS Britannia to Boston on its maiden voyage on 4 July 1840.
The Cunard company revolutionised travel in the 19th Century with its steam ships which added speed and safety to journeys which had previously been made on less reliable sailing ships.
By the early part of the 20th Century, the company's "big three" liners - Mauretania, Berengaria and Aquitania - were the primary means of passenger transport across the Atlantic
The shipping company moved its headquarters from the Cunard Building on Liverpool's waterfront to Southampton in 1965.

Monday, 25 May 2015


Plans for Dingwall Road loop to deliver extra passenger capacity and improved reliability
  • Supporting Croydon town centre redevelopment
  • Part of plans to increase tram capacity by an extra 1,600 passengers an hour
  • Passenger numbers expected to double to 60m by 2030
Transport for London (TfL) has published more detailed plans of the proposed new tram loop in Croydon, the next step of improvements to the tram network designed to meet increasing passenger demand.

The proposed Dingwall Road loop would see the trams routed anticlockwise via Dingwall Road and Lansdowne Road, which was the most popular option following a public consultation in November 2014.  Views are now sought on these more detailed plans which add important passenger capacity without contributing additional congestion in Croydon town centre.
The Dingwall Road loop has been developed closely with Croydon Council, and would support one of the largest town centre regeneration projects in London.  The development is expected to create over 5,000 permanent local job opportunities and deliver between 400 and 600 new homes, with the number of passengers using the tram network in the area expected to double by 2030.  The Dingwall Road loop is the next stage of a long term strategy to improve reliability and increase the tram capacity in Croydon by over a third, enabling an extra 1,600 passengers an hour to travel in each direction.
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Director of Strategy and Service Development, said:  “The success of the tram network since it began 15 years ago is outstanding, with passenger numbers expected to double by 2030.  To support this growth it is important to plan for the future. The Dingwall Road loop is the next step of a series of improvements that will deliver extra passenger capacity and increased reliability to the whole of the tram network.” 

Sunday, 24 May 2015


One final touching tribute for D-Day veteran Bernard Jordan as a bus is named after the Great Escaper

  • Former navy officer escaped from care home to attend D-Day celebrations 
  • His exploits made headlines around the world and captured nation's hearts
  • Mr Jordan died aged 90 on December 30 - a week later his widow Irene died
  • Brighton and Hove's WW1 Heritage Bus now been named in his honour
A bus has been named after the Great Escaper Bernard Jordan in a touching tribute to the D-Day veteran who captured the nation's hearts last year.
The former navy officer hit the headlines when he absconded from his carers, caught a ferry to Caen and turned up in Normandy to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day events.
On his return, Mr Jordan was made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove and on his 90th birthday he was inundated with 2,500 cards from wellwishers around the world.
Now in a final tribute, Brighton and Hove's World War One Heritage Bus has been named in his honour. 

Tribute: A World War One Heritage Bus in Brighton and Hove has been named in honour of Bernard Jordan
Fond farewell: The former navy officer hit headlines last year when he escaped his care home to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day celebrations
Popular: After returning back from Normandy, Mr Jordan was  inundated with 2,500 cards from wellwishers around the world to mark his 90th birthday
Mayor Brian Fitch, his wife Norah, and Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, revealed the newly named bus with a ceremony- but it did not all go to plan.
As the city mayor went to pull back the sticky tape covering the white block letters, the piece of string he was using snapped.
After a momentary pause in the proceedings, a ladder was fetched and the grand unveiling was completed. 
Mr Jordan died aged 90 on December 30 last year and a week later his widow Irene passed away. 
He was a 19-year-old Royal Navy lieutenant when on June 6, 1944, he was on a tank-landing craft in the first wave of boats to hit the Normandy beaches.  
He had already taken part in the Battle of the Atlantic - the cat-and-mouse conflict between Allied ships and German U-boats over the vital supply routes from Europe to the United States.
At one stage he was part of the boarding party that captured one of the Enigma coding machines, used by the Nazis to scramble messages, from an enemy submarine.

Great escaper: Without telling anyone, the plucky pensioner caught a ferry to Caen in Normandy and made his own way to the service wearing his war medals and grey mac
After the war, Mr Jordan entered local politics and served as a town councillor for 23 years in his hometown of Hove, East Sussex.  
He was a a city councillor for two years and was mayor of the town from 1995 to 1996.
Mr Jordan sparked a police search when he sneaked out of the Pines nursing home in Hove in June last year before the 70th anniversary D-Day celebrations.
Without telling anyone, the plucky pensioner caught a ferry to Caen in Normandy and made his own way to the service wearing his war medals and grey mac.
Tricky: At the ceremony, the string used to pull back the sticky tape snapped, which led to a pause in the proceedings 

A month after his escapade in France, Mr Jordan was made an honorary alderman of Brighton and Hove during a reception at Brighton Town Hall.
The honour, which saw him join a select band of more than 30 men and women since 1997, was to mark his 'exceptional contribution to the work of the newly-formed Brighton and Hove Council and the former Hove Borough Council and to the community'. 
More than 150 mourners turned out to pay their respects to Mr Jordan at a joint funeral service for him and Irene held in Brighton on January 30.
His medals, sold after his death, comprising the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star with French and German clasp, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal, raised £1,650 for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution). 
He and his wife, who married in 1946, had no immediate family and left £600,000 to the RNLI in their will.  

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Contributor Jeff Lloyd has provided yet another fine set of images, this time from the Taunton Vintage Bus Day event held during May. An album has been created and can be viewed by clicking here

Saturday, 23 May 2015


Well known operator and bus dealership Ensignbus have recognised the sacrifices made by people from around the part of Essex, wherein their fleet of buses operate and serve the local population,

and Steve Newman has kindly provided the following:

"As you know we have been based in and around Purfleet for 35 years and the family here both individually and through the company are a supporter of military charities as an example locally we have restored five memorials that were in poor shape. We wanted though to do something local based for the centenary commemorations of the Great War, not just a generic 1914-2014 type bus.

So we decided to name the buses after the 26 (well there's actually 25 but whilst researching we found another one) on the Purfleet war memorial. Whilst many commemorations started in August of last year we launched our commemoration on May 4, 2015, to commemorate 100 years since the first soldier from Purfleet was killed. He was killed at Gallipoli which was obviously also very topical that week with the commemorations that had taken place in Turkey.

Not only though are the buses named outside but we also tell their story inside the bus. The interior posters give a brief outline to where and how the man was lost and already we have had a lot of comments from people commuting to work saying how much it makes them think reading the different stories. Of course the buses are used on routes in the local area, passing many of the soldiers homes, schools and work places, as well as the war memorial will ensure its a very local way of remembering these men.


There was too much we found out about the men to fit it all on the interior posters of the buses so we have been written it up in a booklet, printed 150 copies at our cost which we have given to the Purfleet Heritage Centre so that they can sell copies with all proceeds going to raise funds for the museum.

For the launch at the Purfleet Heritage Centre, one of our new Volvos named John Northmore after the first chap lost, was joined by a very special guest vehicle. London Transport Museum's original World War One 'Battle Bus' made the journey east to be put on display and reflect on the brave crews who operated these at the front in a number of roles.

We had the Minister for Armed Forces Mark Francois MP, the local MP Jackie Doyle-Price, the mayor, museum curator, Peter and I speak at the launch event as well as representatives from the Gurkhas and veterans groups who joined us on the day. The weather was great and hundreds attended making it one of the busiest the museum had ever experienced.

Staff have also taken to the event, with many buying a copy of the book and our traffic office noting that it was 100 years to the day of the second soldier lost, rescheduled the vehicle to run on the 44's so it was in Purfleet for much of the day, which was a nice touch and purely at the initiative of our staff.

All 26 named buses entered service the next day and as we don't carry any advertising the plaques are perhaps more prominent than they would be on other operators fleets. They will all proudly carry the name and date the soldier was lost until 11 November 2018."

The Focus Transport team extend our grateful thanks to Steve and the rest of the Newman Family for this most timely initiative.

Can we also direct you to another website, that of John Lidstone who has a fine selection of images of the B-type, that can now be viewed by clicking here


Ken Jones has been on his travels again and a selection of his images taken earlier this year can now be found on the Features site, and viewed by clicking  here

Friday, 22 May 2015


Night Tube news from Transport for London

The Night Tube network will support London's vibrant night-time economy and boost businesses, jobs and leisure opportunities. It will also support and help maintain London's status as a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit.


Summary of the night-time service

  • Central line: Trains will run between Ealing Broadway and Hainault / Loughton (no service between North Acton and West Ruislip; Loughton and Epping; or Woodford and Hainault)
  • Jubilee line: Trains will run on the entire line
  • Northern line: Trains will run on the entire line except on the Mill Hill East and Bank branches
  • Piccadilly line: There will be a service between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5 (no service on the Terminal 4 loop, or between Acton Town and Uxbridge via Rayners Lane)
  • Victoria line: Trains will run on the entire line

The frequency of the Night Tube service may vary by line and by branch, but on average there will be a train every 10 minutes or less. There is no plan to charge different fares and every station on the Night Tube network will be visibly staffed when trains are running.
The exact routes served are shown in the map on this page. All stations shown will be served, subject to engineering works.
The new service will complement existing 24-hour and night bus services. Additionally, by 2017 night services could operate on London Overground services and by 2021 on the Docklands Light Railway. Night Tube services will also be expanded to the Metropolitan, Circle, District, and Hammersmith and City lines once our modernisation programmes are complete.

Why now?

When designing the Night Tube network, we considered where there's likely to be the highest demand for overnight travel, informed by the existing Night bus network usage figures on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are no plans to reduce or withdraw Night bus routes due to Night Tube, although service frequencies may change to reflect customer demand.

Safety and noise

We are sensitive to the potential of additional noise and disturbance created by Night Tube. However, we do expect this disturbance to be limited.
We will carry out a thorough assessment of noise issues before the introduction of Night Tube, and will undertake works to improve the condition of the track.
Once Night Tube is operational, we will of course continue to work with residents to investigate any issues regarding noise, and look at action needed to help resolve the situation.
We will also continue to deliver upgrade and maintenance work, and when possible we plan to do this overnight between Sunday and Thursday on the Night Tube lines.
The safety of our customers and staff is our highest priority. We are working closely with the British Transport Police to ensure that the deployment of existing or extra overnight staff best supports the overnight operation of London Underground.

London's Night Tube economy research

Volterra has been commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) and London First to assess the impact of the Night Tube service on London's night-time economy.
Since 2003, there has been a 50% increase in demand for Tube services after 21:00 on Saturday evenings.
The service will open up London's night-time economy to a whole host of new opportunities, altering the way that people behave and the way that businesses choose to operate. It will support and help maintain London's status as a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit.

Quantifiable benefits

  • An estimated 1,965 permanent jobs will be supported by the Night Tube - 265 through direct operation of the service and 1,700 indirectly in the night-time economy, taking into account impacts on London's night-time economy and the additional London Underground staff that would be required
  • The net additional output produced as a result equates to a extra £360m over 30 years
  • Time savings will be on average 20 minutes but up to an hour will be saved on some routes
  • Standard business case shows that for each £1 spent on delivering Night Tube, benefits will be £2.70
  • Adding in wider economic impacts increases this benefit by £1.20 for every pound spent

Unquantifiable benefits

  • Reduced demand for illegal minicabs, thus improved safety in taxis at night
  • Improved commuter journeys for many people who work during the night-time in central London but live further out
  • Potential for longer operating hours for bars, clubs, restaurants, bowling alleys, cinemas, museums, art galleries and attractions
  • Reduced congestion at stations after events at entertainment venues like the O2 as people are not in such a rush to leave to catch the last tube as events finish
  • Improved accessibility to Heathrow for passengers flying before 07:00 at the weekend
This would all contribute towards a more vibrant night-time economy in London, with a greater range of uses and a wider demographic, and help to retain London's attractiveness to visitors, residents and businesses.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Changes to Night Bus services to complement Night Tube from September 2015


Faster journey times, more travel choices and new night bus routes

Night Bus services in London have increased beyond recognition in the last 30 years. This reflects and supports changes to London’s vibrant night time economy. The current comprehensive Night Bus network means that most of zones 1 and 2 are within walking distance of a Night Bus route, and London’s suburban Night Bus service is also amongst the most comprehensive in the world.
There is every indication that night time travel in London will continue to grow. From September 2015, we will be running a Friday and Saturday Night Tube service on the Jubilee, Victoria and most of the Piccadilly, Central and Northern lines. This means that many of our customers will now have a choice between Night Tube or Night Bus. Our analysis indicates that customers who take the tube instead of the bus for all or part of their journey will save 20 minutes on average, and in some cases up to an hour.

When Night Tube starts, we are proposing to continue all Night Bus services, and introduce up to 20 new services and one extended service, to help customers travel to and from Night Tube stations. This would continue the expansion of the network. If our proposals go ahead, they will contribute to another year on year increase in the number of Night Buses on the road at weekends. This increase would include improvements during this year to other services not affected by Night Tube.
Many suburban Night Tube stations are already well connected to surrounding areas by existing Night Buses. Of our 20 proposed new Night Bus services, 17 would run on Friday and Saturday nights, with three running seven nights a week. These would help passengers start or finish their Night Tube journeys, as well as providing new travel opportunities to and from suburban local centres. All these new services would follow the same route and run between the same points as the day service.

On some Night Bus services extra buses run on Friday and Saturday nights to meet increased weekend demand. On 17 out of 117 existing Night Bus routes, where we have forecast that some passengers will chose to use Night Tube instead, it would no longer be necessary to run as many extra buses at weekends. This is based on detailed analysis of Oyster card and passenger survey data. These 17 services would continue to operate at their standard weekday frequency or more, providing a local, fully accessible service to all stops along the route.


Current routes to become 24-hour services on Friday and Saturday nights:

34      High Barnet & Walthamstow
47      Shoreditch High Street & Canada Water Bus Station

114    Mill Hill & Ruislip Station

123    Wood Green & Ilford

132    North Greenwich & Bexleyheath

145    Leytonstone & Dagenham

154    Morden Station & West Croydon

158    Stratford & Chingford Mount

183    Golders Green & Pinner

296    Ilford & Romford

307    Barnet Hospital & Brimsdown

319    Sloane Square & Streatham Hill

486    North Greenwich & Bexleyheath

E1      Ealing Broadway & Greenford Broadway

H32   Hounslow & Southall

H37   Hounslow & Richmond

W3    Northumberland Park Station & Finsbury Park Station

W7    Muswell Hill Broadway & Finsbury Park Station

All to be run at 30-minute frequencies apart from the W7 to be every 20-minutes

New 7-days a week Nighttime routes:

222    Uxbridge & Hounslow

238    Stratford Bus Station & Barking Station

Both routes to be run at 30-minute frequencies 

Other changes:

N47   Route withdrawn and replaced by 24-hour 47 and new N199

N199 New Nighttime route Trafalgar Square via London Bridge to Canada Water Station then as  
          per current route 199 to Bellingham. Then onwards via Bromley and Orpington to St.Mary 

188    Nightime element re-routed to serve Canada Water Bus Station

N1     Re-routed via Evelyn Way in Deptford, withdrawn from Plough Way and Grove Street

N133 Extended from Mitcham via daytime route 118 to Morden Station

N381 Re-routed to serve Canada Water Bus Station

Frequency changes on the following routes: 

14, 88, 94, 134, N5, N8, N9, N20, N29, N38, N73, N91, N97, N98, N155, N207


      Contributor Jeff Lloyd visited the Fenland Vintage Vehicle Gathering held at Whittlesea. A selection of the buses and coaches present have been placed into an album and can now be viewed by clicking here

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Todmorden Curve opens: First train journey to Manchester from Burnley in more than 40-years

The route was open to the public for the first time in more than 40 years and around 100 rail enthusiasts, community leaders and shoppers gathered for its maiden voyage.
The commute, which will take just over one hour, is now possible after the reinstatement of 500m of rail track known as the Todmorden Curve.
The stops include Moston, Castleton, Rochdale, Littleborough, Todmorden, Burnley and Accrington.
On weekdays the first train from Manchester Victoria will set off at 5.50am with the last train will leaving at 10.50pm.
On Saturdays the first train will leave at 6.56am and the last train at 11.01pm, and on Sunday they will begin at 8.40am with the final one at 9.50pm.
The new service will run hourly and commuters will no longer have to change at stations such as Preston.
Northern Rail said this will improve journey times to Manchester from East Lancashire and provide a catalyst for jobs, economic growth and the visitor economy.
The project will also put places like Burnley and Accrington within commuting distance of Manchester and open up job prospects, as well as tourist and leisure opportunities.
The £8.8m scheme has been hit by a series of delays including a lack of rolling stock.
The ten-year project has been a partnership between Northern Rail, Network Rail, Lancashire County Council and Burnley Council.

First train to arrive at new station in Ebbw Vale

The station, which will serve the town centre, is part of an £11.5m project funded by the Welsh government.
Delivered by Network Rail, it features a new station building, 150m platform to fit up to six carriages, a car park, a waiting shelter and bicycle storage.
The 07:38 BST Cardiff Central to Ebbw Vale Town was the first train to arrive at 08:41 BST.
The station is located on the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line and will be served by the existing hourly service.
Transport Minister Edwina Hart said: "The Ebbw Vale railway line is very popular, with some 300,000 journeys annually.
"Together with our investment in the track, the new Ebbw Vale Town station will improve access to jobs and services for more people along this busy route."

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


Digital Sign technology extended to more bus stations in London
·         State-of-the-art real-time digital information screens now installed at five bus stations and Victoria Coach station
·         Latest improvements build on TfL and the Mayor’s commitment to make London’s transport network even more accessible 
Transport for London (TfL) has announced today that five bus stations and Victoria Coach station are now being served by state-of-the-art real-time digital information screens, or Digital Sign technology.
The ‘Bus Station Digital Sign’ is a TfL service which displays TfL’s live bus arrival information for multiple routes serving stops at bus stations.  The information displayed is the same as on all other TfL Live Bus Arrivals services and includes details of service disruptions affecting local routes to the bus station.
Having all of this information set out clearly and in one place will make it much easier for passengers to navigate their way around large interchanges and make an informed choice of route for their destination.  Nine of these screens have been installed in total with two signs in Harrow, Walthamstow and North Greenwich bus stations and one sign in Vauxhall, East Croydon, Victoria Coach station.

Digital Sign technology is being introduced to bus stations because they are key interchange environments, where it is often more complex to display bus arrival information than at standard bus stops due to the number of routes and bus stops converging.  Together with Trueform, TfL has developed a means of displaying the sign in a robust, secure and weather proofed structure that is fit for purpose in exposed environments. 
Simon Reed, TfL’s Head of Technical Services Group, said: “The Digital Sign technology is part of TfL’s continued commitment to make London’s transport network even more accessible by giving up-to-date and clear travel information to our passengers.”
Jonathan Morley, Trueform’s Group Managing Director, said: “Trueform has been working closely with TfL on the development of digital totems, stops and shelters and has successfully completed a number of installations throughout London.  We look forward to continuing with this work by installing these at more sites, and in parallel, continuing with the development and production of more digital totem, bus shelter and bus stop products for TfL’s customers to benefit from.” 
Canada Water and Hatton Cross are the next stations to get these Digital Signs installed with dates to be confirmed soon.
In 2011, TfL delivered its Countdown system enabling passengers to access bus arrival information for every one of the 19,500 bus stops across around 700 bus routes in London, via the internet and mobile phones.  This service was complemented by 2,500 new on-street Countdown signs, supplied and funded by TfL, which provide bus arrival information at bus stops in London. 
Live bus arrival information is also available in the public domain through a documented, scalable application program interface (API), enabling third party developers to develop Smartphone apps as well as many other innovative products.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Birmingham New Street station: 31 escalators need repairs

All 52 escalators at Birmingham’s £600 million New Street Station are already being repaired – five months before the showpiece development fully opens.
Network Rail bosses have identified a faulty part which has caused several to break down, causing repeated problems for travellers using platforms already in service.
Checks revealed issues with eight escalators but the component is being replaced on all 52 as a precaution.
A Network Rail spokesman said the manufacturer was bearing the cost of the repairs, which will be carried out over the next few months.
He said: “There’s a manufacturing fault with a part – the chain that runs the length of the escalator and pulls the stairs up and down.
“A fault has been identified and as a precaution we are replacing it in all 52 escalators.

“It’s not costing any public money, although it is frustrating for us and passengers.”
The redevelopment of the station is due to be completed in September.
The work will also see the shopping centre above the station refurbished.
Named Grand Central, it will feature about 40 shops, including the flagship John Lewis store and 20 restaurants.
Rachel Groves, from Network Rail, said it was "doing everything" it could to fix the escalator faults as soon as possible.