Wednesday, 30 September 2015

More from Coach & Bus Live

The Wright Gemini 3 is being shown - a two door version to London specification and a direct competitor to the new Enviro 400H City launched today at the exhibition. (see posting below)

On display outside in the demonstration area, a new 65 registered Mercedes Citaro for Cardiff City Transport. The interior is attractively trimmed and the wheelchair bay has a horizontal backrest as an alternative to the more usual 'ironing board' design.

The show goes on, so tomorrow we will bring you more pictures and information.


Live Report and Pictures From Coach & Bus Live

Focus Transport is touring 
Coach & Bus Live 
in Birmingham. 

Below are pictures from the exhibition.

Alexander Dennis made a surprise announcement recently that they would launch a new version of the successful Enviro 400H. The 'City' is designed specifically with the London market in mind, this two door hybrid vehicle offering class leading economy.
The first nineteen production vehicles have been purchased by Arriva, all nineteen will join their Route 78 (Shoreditch Church-Nunhead) fleet later this year. 
The new vehicle was unveiled this morning at the exhibition, above & below.

Also on show on the ADL stand is one of the Plaxton Elite coaches that are to be used on the revised Red Arrow service which will run between Derby and Nottingham.

Check this website later to see more pictures from the exhibition.

Live - From Coach & Bus Live

Coach & bus Live opens today at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The two day show features over 200 sector leading exhibitors and offers everything needed to successfully operate a passenger-carrying fleet – from the latest vehicles, accessories and workshop equipment, to IT solutions and essential business services.

Alexander Dennis (ADL) is exhibiting a wide range of modern, fuel-efficient bus and coach products at Coach & Bus Live 2015, including revolutionary new vehicles powered by next-generation technology.  ADL’s exhibits will further enhance their reputation as the industry leader in terms of offering multiple low and zero-emission vehicles (stand H20).
At this year’s show, the stand from Arriva Bus and Coach is filled with new products.  They’ll be exhibiting a Van Hool EX 16H, Temsa MD9 and Temsa Safari HD Euro 6, along with a Van Hool TX model in the outdoor display area (stand A7).
Minis to Midis is displaying two examples of the now fully-productionised, ground-breaking Noone Turas 900 (with unique nearside entry for passengers and crew), alongside a high specification Turas 700 that is proving popular as a 29-seat Vario replacement.  Also showing: two top specification Sprinter-based Turas 500 models, one of which is a totally new 7.7 metres variant (stand M3).
New products from Moseley include the Sitcar Voyager and Indcar Next midi-coaches, MAN Beulas Mythos Super High 13.7m coach, a DAF engined Van Hool – which is new to the product range for 2016, and a VDL Futura2 13.1m luxury coach (stand K1).
Irizar UK will be exhibiting coaches for every occasion at this year’s Coach & Bus Live – the iconic i6 in two variants including the ground-breaking 13.2-metre tri-axle, plus a 70-seat i4 low-height.  Showcasing a range of new fabrics and options, the three vehicles – two of which will be on the Irizar UK stand – demonstrate that Irizar can create Integral coaches whether you need a midi-sized 10.8-metre or a 57-seat, two-axle tourer.  The versatile 70-seat i4 will be in the outside exhibition area, while Irizar UK’s usual stand – C1, to the left of the entrance to the show – will be dominated by the 13.2-metre i6 and the very popular 12.9-metre (stand C1).

UNVI Bus and Coach is exhibiting five vehicles at this year’s show.  These include two Voyager GTs, which have undergone revisions since the prototype launch.  The first is the 34-seat 4.2M2 with 700kg weight capacity, the second is the 19 VIP.  Both have power ratings of 230hp and automated gearboxes, ensuring plenty of smooth power (stand B30).
Nu-Track is launching the ‘City Dash’, the first of their new low floor buses, at this year’s show.  The vehicle is based on a Fiat Ducato chassis, with 16 seated passengers and the ability to accommodate up to 4 wheelchairs (stand E9.8).
Connaught PSV is exhibiting a 36-seat Atego 1224L Ferqui F5, the new Extended Soroco DL (with 16 seats and 2 tables), and a 16-seat Standard Soroco S3 with large boot.  Plus, brand new to the UK for 2016, the Ferqui Sunrise in 33-seat format on the Iveco 70C17 chassis (stand A5).
Starline Limo Bus is exhibiting two Starline Limo Buses from its latest collection, highlighting the impressive features that the vehicles sport both inside and under the bonnet.  Made from Mercedes Sprinters, these bespoke buses are IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) tested (stand A25).
Dawsonrentals bus and coach is displaying the new Plaxton Cheetah XL and the popular Mercedes Tourismo executive coach.  There will also be a VW Transporter Camper van on show, which attendees can win for a weekend (stand J31).

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Bus Camera Scheme Raises More Than £1m in Six Months

Fines for drivers using Cardiff’s bus lanes have made the city’s council more than £1m in their first six months.
The scheme, which saw seven cameras installed to monitor bus lanes across the city, came into force on December 1 last year.

Since then, 29,212 drivers have been caught by them - a rate of 160 per day.
Cardiff insists the scheme is not about generating income but ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in the city, and to encourage people to use public transport, walk or cycle.
Councillor Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “It’s not about making money. This is about allowing people to travel back and forth to their work places or city centre or whatever destination they want to get to as quickly as possible.
“It is essential that we keep the city moving, so we will be focussing on the main arterial routes into the city and the city centre, as well as schools, specifically focussing on bus lanes and yellow box junctions.

If caught, drivers have 21 days to pay their £35 fine before it rises to £70.
Since December 1, 27,781 drivers have paid their fine at the lower rate of £35.

Since the same date, 1,431 drivers have paid outside the reduced window and paid £70.

Monday, 28 September 2015


A link to The Derby Bus Depot website will provide further detail of this event by clicking  here

A few images of the vehicle type with Wellglade follow:

Friday, 25 September 2015


ScotRail to hire 100 new train drivers

ScotRail has announced plans to recruit up to 100 new train drivers.
The rail operator said recruiting trainees at depots across the country would support the expansion of timetables and roll-out "faster, bigger and greener" trains.

The roles will be based in Aberdeen, Ayr, Bathgate, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gourock, Helensburgh, Inverness, Perth, Stirling and Tweedbank.
Train drivers' union Aslef welcomed the announcement.
Trainees will be paid £24,559 during their first year.
This will gradually increase to £43,212, following a probationary period.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: "We're investing in Scotland's railways by modernising trains, expanding timetables and adding journey options - and recruiting a large group of new drivers is vital to make these improvements possible.
"We are proud to be supporting local communities and the Scottish economy by creating quality jobs that will make a real impact for customers."
ScotRail said it wanted to hear from "enthusiastic, reliable candidates with excellent attention spans, experience of safety-critical roles and a passion for customer service".
Scottish Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: "The Scottish government is investing record levels in Scotland's railways with a £5bn package to upgrade trains, track and services across the country.
"Key investment in infrastructure, such as the recent historic reopening of the Borders Railway and our substantial programme of electrification, are only part of the story.
"The staff who keep our railways running are a key asset and I am delighted to launch this unprecedented, nationwide recruitment drive that will create up to 100 new train driver jobs."
Kevin Lindsay, Scottish secretary of Aslef, said: "This is a great opportunity for all sections of our community to apply to join the railway.
"As a union, we look forwarded to continuing our good working relationship with the Scottish government and Abellio as we jointly develop and deliver Scotland's railways."

Thursday, 24 September 2015


After an absence of many moons, Sunday the 20th September saw the annual Showbus event return to Woburn. Regrettably a catalogue of late local decisions and incidents on the morning, conspired together to cause massive delays to arrivals of participants and the visiting general public.

However, that said the day was dry and warming and eventually there was a splendid array of vehicles of varying ages, and especially a turnout of 'Golden Oldies'.

The latter were of particular significance as they supported a mini event which took place during the day. Mike Sutcliffe MBE, he of the Mike Sutcliffe Collection has over the years gathered a collection together of around 15 vehicles, mainly buses of Leyland manufacture from the period 1908 to 1934. Most kindly he is in the process of passing some on to the London Transport Museum. Included will be the 1924 'Chocolate Express' Leyland LB5 registration mark XU 7498 to be handed over in 2016. Whilst this was not present on the day two others were that will eventually be exhibited in the LTM.

The two on display at Woburn were the 1914 London & North West Railway Company Leyland charabanc CC 1087 along with a 1908 London Central Leyland X2 type registered LN 7270 as shown below.

At one stage during the day though, the two buses were posed alongside a modern counterpart in the shape of Metroline Travel's 'New Routemaster' LT 190.

A more full set of other 'Golden Oldies' present have now been placed into an album on the New Focus Flickr site and can be viewed by clicking  here

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Birmingham New Street Opening

Further to our previous postings here and here Network Rail's new and improved Birmingham New Street station opened on Sunday 20th September.
Covered by a giant atrium allowing natural light throughout, the new concourse is three and a half times bigger, providing more space for the 170,000 passengers who use the station every day.  It has all the facilities you would expect including waiting areas and shops.
All 12 refurbished platforms are clearer with more space and are easily accessible via 15 new customer lifts, 36 new escalators and numerous staircases.
Cross Country Trains are asking customers who are travelling to or from Birmingham New Street, or making a connection there, to familiarise  themselves with the new layout and entrances and allow a little more time than usual when passing through. Customers are being reminded that Automatic ticket gates will be in operation and to have tickets ready when entering and exiting the station.

The redeveloped shopping centre above, aptly named Grand Central, includes a flagship John Lewis store - the biggest outside London, and will open on Thursday 24 September - four days after the new Birmingham New Street station was officially unveiled.

A video has been produced showing a fly through  fly through of the new station.

The strange thing is that connectivity is covered by showing the taxi rank and the tram stops. Trams currently don't visit the New Street area but buses do. There is only a fleeting glimpse of a bus in spite of the fact that buses bring many more passengers to Birmingham than cabs or trams. As usual it's a case of the bus being regarded as the poor relation. Birmingham would be lost without them!

Taxis are shown

So are trams

Spot the bus

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Borders Railway: Extra carriage bid to tackle overcrowding

ScotRail is adding extra carriages to some Borders Railway services after complaints of passengers being unable to board trains and overcrowding.
A number of customers have raised concerns about the two-carriage provision on the line.
ScotRail said it had tried to allow for the "novelty factor" of the Edinburgh to Tweedbank route but the level of interest had been "remarkable".
It said it was looking at doubling carriage numbers at some times.
Passengers posting on social media said they had been "packed like sardines" or unable to board some services at all.
The company said it was doing its best to try to tackle that situation.
However, it said the demand in recent days - particularly from families "making a day of it" at weekends - had been considerable.
A spokeswoman said: "We are continuing to monitor passenger numbers so we can tailor how to make best use of the carriages available to us.
"For example, we may have found a way to temporarily double the number of carriages on a Sunday, and aim to do the same on Saturdays during peak times.
"We are also planning to add carriages in the short term to one particularly busy service, the 16:24 from Edinburgh - Tweedbank which is key for commuters."
She added that the route was going to be very popular with "commuters and leisure travellers alike" and ScotRail remained committed to achieving the best balance so that customers had an "enjoyable experience".
The Campaign for Borders Rail said it had repeatedly warned that there would be "much more demand than was being planned for".
"We are delighted that the Borders Railway is already proving sceptics wrong, and that is to be celebrated," a spokesman said.
"However, we raised the issues of underestimating demand with the Scottish government and its Transport Scotland agency in advance of the opening and even before track laying commenced."
He said the "remarkable" demand did not come as any surprise and that his organisation had been assured all trains would have extra carriages in initial weeks but that was "clearly not the case".
"Were it not for the general shortage of trains, adding more rolling stock would be relatively easy - although we would not countenance the inconveniencing of passengers elsewhere," he added.
"The difficult part of the solution is the building of sufficient infrastructure - principally more double track - which was omitted on grounds of cost from the original specification.
"Our often repeated concerns over building structures which deliberately constricted the railway - such as road overbridges which permit just a single rail track to pass underneath - will become apparent sooner rather than later."

Monday, 21 September 2015


Millions of Londoners choosing contactless payments to get around the city

  • Over 180 million contactless journeys made in one year
  • More than 625,000 contactless journeys are made on the Capital’s transport network every day
Over 180 million journeys have been made using contactless payments on London’s transport network in the first year since its launch, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

The world-leading technology, which provides quicker and more convenient journeys, was developed in-house by TfL to make life easier for customers. It removes the need for customers to top-up, and fares are capped – with the best value fares calculated automatically.

Contactless payments can be used on London Underground, tram, DLR, London Overground, buses, TfL Rail, the Emirates Air Line and most National Rail services in London. Payments using the technology now account for a fifth of all pay as you go journeys. Customers using contactless pay the same adult-rate pay as you go fare as Oyster. 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It’s been an astonishing 12 months with so many Londoners embracing contactless technology on our transport network. It is clear passengers love using the payments to travel, and why on earth not – it’s quick, it’s easy and ensures you get the best fare. It’s yet another example of how we continue to invest in the latest technology to make getting around the Capital as easy as possible.”

Since launching on 16 September 2014:

-       One in seven of all contactless transactions in the UK now takes place on London transport;

-       Contactless payments now account for 20 per cent of all pay as you go journeys;

-       The busiest day for contactless payment journeys was on Friday 11th
 September 2015 when over 900,000 journeys were made;

-       Over 375,000 contactless journeys are made on Tube and Rail services and 250,000 on London Buses every day;

-       The top five London Underground stations where customers have made contactless payments are Oxford Circus, Kings Cross, London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.

TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, Shashi Verma, said: “The first year of contactless payments on TfL services has been a huge success. Introducing the technology is just one of the many ways we are making paying for transport easier for everyone travelling in London. Over 20 per cent of our pay as you go customers use contactless payment already because it is so quick and easy. There's no need to top-up, you just touch in and out with your credit or debit card.”

Graham Peacop, Chief Executive of The UK Cards Association, said: “Contactless payments in the UK have soared over the past 12 months, with spending in the first half of this year more than the whole of 2014 combined. We find that once people see how fast, easy and secure contactless is for travel, they then go on to use it in other places such as when shopping or eating out.”

Kevin Jenkins, MD Visa UK and Ireland, said: “TfL’s contactless service is based on world-leading technology developed in-house, which provides quicker and more convenient journeys making life easier for customers. It removes the need for customers to top-up, and fares are capped – with the best value fares calculated automatically.” 

Scott Abrahams, Head of Acceptance and Emerging Payments, MasterCard UK&I said: “Since last year when contactless was introduced to the TfL network, its adoption has taken off, as consumers enjoy the speed and convenience of touching in and out to pay when they travel. With Rugby World Cup 2015 starting this Friday, we should see even more customers using their contactless MasterCard cards to get to the matches in London. If they do so, they will also be entered into a draw to win tickets to Rugby World Cup 2015 matches.” 

Mike Jackson, VP & General Manager of Merchant Services UK at American Express, said: “The rapid growth in the use of contactless payments across TfL services shows how UK consumers, and more and more Londoners, have got on-board with the technology, enjoying a fast and convenient way to pay on transport across the city. We’re delighted to partner with TfL to deliver a successful first year for contactless payments on TfL services and we look forward to our continued journey together.” 

Tami Hargreaves, Head of Contactless, Barclaycard, said: “The introduction of contactless travel across the London transport network has transformed how commuters travel around the city. Barclaycard data shows a 33 per cent increase in the use of contactless for eligible transactions over the last year and this sharp rise is largely accounted for by the increase in popularity of contactless payments on London’s trains and buses. 

“Barclaycard was a key partner in TfL’s roll out of contactless travel and in the fifty years that we’ve been in business, we’ve seen consumers adopt many innovations in payments that have become part of our everyday lives. From the credit card and Chip & PIN to contactless and mobile payments, Brits are renowned as fast adopters of new technologies that make our lives easier. Every second counts to busy commuters and contactless cards and devices like our bPay wearables are fast becoming a favourite way to pay.” 

More information on contactless payments can be found at


Ian Moorcroft has supplied a set of images from a recent running day held in Sheffield. The results can now be found in an album, which can be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday, 20 September 2015


New Routemaster bus: TfL makes U-turn over windows


Transport for London (TfL) is putting a very brave and conciliatory face on what is not so much a U-turn as an almighty, screeching handbrake turn.
For years transport bosses insisted the New Routemaster buses did not need opening windows and for years the complaints about heat on the top deck kept on coming.
Now TfL will spend £2m resolving the problem, retro-fitting all the vehicles with opening windows on the top deck and two downstairs.
It said it had listened to passengers but it's not clear yet why it has had a change of heart.
TfL's director of buses, Mike Weston, said: "We don't think it will make the buses cooler on really hot days, but what it will do is it will create a bit of a breeze... so I think it will make customers feel a little bit more comfortable.
"I think it's the right design for London, we're just doing a bit of tweaking to make it even better."
Caroline Pidgeon, London Assembly leader of the Liberal Democrats, described the current buses as a "cauldron on wheels" and said "it simply beggars belief that such expensive buses were ever purchased by the mayor and TfL with such a basic design fault".
TfL had bought them for £350,000 each.
The introduction of the bus was used as a rallying call in Mayor Boris Johnson's 2008 election campaign, but his flagship transport project has had plenty of problems.
The batteries have sometimes failed, meaning they have had to rely on diesel, and some no longer have conductors meaning their unique selling point - the hop-on and hop-off aspect - is greatly restricted.

There are currently 550 on the streets of London and that is set to rise to 800.
Critics have called them a vanity project and said it would have been cheaper to buy hybrid buses off the peg.
Labour's London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross, said: "With passengers enduring years of suffocating journeys on overheated buses, these upgrades will be welcomed.
"But the paying public has been left to fork out £2m for more upgrades to what was supposed to be a state-of-the-art vehicle."
This is the transport system that keeps having snags.
While some love them, it does remind me of one industry insider who said to me years ago - politics and transport projects rarely mix.

Saturday, 19 September 2015


The latest livery to adorn buses assigned to the Transpeak (TP) route (Derby to Manchester via Belper, Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton and Stockport), has recently been revealed. Operated by the High Peak Bus Company based at Dove Holes north of Buxton, four brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single-decks are in the process of introduction onto the route.
Apparently the first one out is fleet number 525 and is illustrated in a set of images taken on the 17th September.

Number 525 pulls out onto the former A6 trunk road from the north end of the quaint Derbyshire Peak District village of Ashford-in-the-Water on a short run from Derby to Buxton and illustrates the offside aspect.

The nearside aspect is shown off with the bus travelling briskly further out in the sylvan countryside of the Peak District near to Chelmorton.

At the same location and a quick pan of the camera, the rear nearside aspect is shown here.

Four similar buses numbered 591-594 were delivered during the second half of 2014 and sported Centrebus livery with Transpeak route branding. This appeared to be at odds with the 50/50 joint venture between Centrebus and the Wellglade Group to run the service with suitably liveried green vehicles. These buses are in the process of having the route branding removed as the new green liveried buses take to the roads. These Centrebus liveried vehicles are understood to be cascaded to other operations within the empire. Number 594 rushes southwards along the A515 at Brierlow Bar.

Three further buses operate the route in an earlier green version of the Transpeak livery. One 748, is a Wright Solar bodied Scania here leaving the village of Taddington.

The other two are all-Scania OmniCity models as illustrated by number 789 as it paused by one of the southbound bus stops at Ashford-in-the-Water.

Number 525 is also shown at the same stop with the backdrop of typical locally stone constructed buildings.

By coincidence thirty years ago on the 16th August 1985 the TransPeak service looked a little different when operated by the Trent company. A small fleet of Leyland Leopards with Plaxton bodywork were operated in a livery that presumably represented the Dales and Peaks and the sky above. 
Back then the route was numbered 252 with the TransPeak branding and operated between Manchester and Nottingham.
Little appears to have changed with the surroundings when compared with the September 2015 image. Apart from the vehicles, the most visual changes are drainage pipes on the bus shelter and the mile post beside the vehicles.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Surprise Announcement of Enviro400 H City

A stunning new version of ADL’s market-leading Enviro400 double deck is to be unveiled at Coach & Bus Live, at the NEC, on September 30.
The stylish hybrid will be more fuel efficient, generate fewer emissions and be more competitively priced than any vehicle in its class, says Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL). It will initially go into service in London, backed by a multi-million order that will see the first 19 purchased by Arriva, all of which will join their Route 78 fleet later this year.
This is a spectacular, new-look vehicle that will bring a further dimension to transport in the suburbs and the city centre of London”, said Colin Robertson, CEO of ADL, adding: “It builds on the ‘London look’ with a glazed stairwell, wrap-over rear saloon windscreen and a series of unique design features that reduce solar gain. Significantly, it also represents an evolution of Britain’s best-selling hybrid bus, our Enviro400 double deck, which has a reputation second-to-none for fuel economy, reduced emissions, reliability and all-round performance, hence the reason that 850 ADL hybrids are already in operation in towns and cities across the UK”.
Peter Batty, Commercial Director at Arriva London, commented: “We are delighted to be working with ADL and Transport for London on this project. The new-look is stunning and brings together a whole range of passenger and driver advantages, including a wrap-around front windscreen and glazed stairwell.”

The new two-door bus, branded as the Enviro400H City, builds upon the Enviro400 MMC (major model change) that was introduced by ADL in the spring of last year, a vehicle that was developed over a three-year period in conjunction with dozens of operators, drivers, suppliers and transport organisations – and which was hailed at its’ launch as the bus “designed by the industry for the industry”.
Since then the Enviro400 has consolidated its position as Britain’s best-selling bus, both in diesel and hybrid-electric mode - and is now to be offered as a stylish 21st century, next-generation option. It combines a modern, dashing new look with unrivalled, proven BAE Hybridrive technology that has an outstanding reputation for reliability and durability.
The Enviro400H City brings together elegance and practicality and ushers in a contemporary new look that features a raft of sophisticated, yet pragmatic design solutions, all of which give it a real street presence while retaining the passenger comforts and dependability that are the hallmark of the best-selling Enviro400 range.
The 10.4m Enviro400H City will be capable of carrying 90 passengers and will be powered by the well proven Cummins four-cylinder, 4.5 litre iSBe engine. It will also feature the latest generation Lithium-ion battery technology.