Sunday, 31 December 2017

Warsaw Takes 18 metre Long Electric Solaris Urbino's

The Municipal Bus Company in Warsaw has just leased an 18-metre-long Solaris Urbino 18 electric. It is the first vehicle of that kind in the capital and one of the first electric articulated buses in Europe. 

The batteries in the articulated buses can be charged either by means of a plug-in connector or via a pantograph. The bus has been equipped with air-conditioning, an electronic passenger information system, a vehicle monitoring system and fire prevention systems. The vehicle is fitted with two 120 kW e-engines integrated into the drive axle and high capacity Solaris High Energy batteries, which allow for a travel distance of more than 200 kilometres per charge. The Municipal Bus Company has some experience in operating electric buses, the first battery vehicles having been tested five years ago, and in 2015 the first batch of ten electric buses being ordered. Currently, the Solaris Urbino 12 Electric buses provide services on line no. 222 which runs predominantly along the Royal Route. Until last July the vehicles were charged only by means of a plug-in connector, which allowed for a travel distance of around 130-150 kilometres. 
 A Solaris Urbino 12 showing pantograph charging 
After putting into operation the street charging station at the Spartańska bus terminal, the vehicles can now recharge their batteries by pantograph and thus cover much longer distances. Two years of operating the buses has shown, that they are very energy-efficient; fuel costs are much lower in comparison to the cost of diesel engines and they work well in winter. In spring of 2018, another batch of ten Solaris electric buses will arrive in Warsaw. These will be fourth generation Urbino 12 electric buses which will also be put to use on the Royal Route.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

High Speed WiFi for Rail Passengers

Rail passengers could soon have access to high-speed Wi-Fi on trains under new Government plans.
Faster connections would mean that every commuter on board could watch videos simultaneously during their journey.
It comes after Ministers made fast broadband a legal right for every household by 2020.

Now internet connectivity on trains could be ‘dramatically improved’ on all mainline routes by 2025, creating a ‘world-class’ service for passengers.
Currently, internet and mobile signals are supplied by mobile phone networks around the country, meaning they are often patchy or non-existent.
Under the new plans, fibre optic cables will be laid along rail tracks and through tunnels, and wireless devices will be mounted on mobile masts.
Minimum standards for mobile connectivity are already being introduced on new rail franchises.
The improvements are part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s 5G strategy.
Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: ‘We want people to be able to get connected where they live, work and travel. This means improving connections on Britain’s railways now, and making sure they are fit for the future.
‘We’ve got a long way to travel but our destination is world-class signal for passengers. This will not only make journeys more enjoyable and productive, but will help improve the operation and safety of the railway and deliver economic benefits for the whole of the UK.’
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling added: ‘Improved mobile connectivity will help passengers to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online while on the move, as we continue to build and develop a railway fit for the twenty-first century.’
Earlier this month, Ministers announced plans to give every home the legal right to demand high-speed broadband.
All homes and businesses in the UK will have access to speeds of at least 10 Mbps (megabits per second) by 2020, they pledged.
Transport Minister Chris Grayling (pictured) said that 'improved mobile connectivity will help passengers keep up with work'
Transport Minister Chris Grayling (pictured) said that 'improved mobile connectivity will help passengers keep up with work'
The plans mean broadband providers now face a legal requirement to provide high-speed internet access when a household requests it.
Britain currently lags behind most of Europe and the world in providing access to the fastest internet speeds available.
There are more than 1.1million ‘forgotten’ homes and businesses in the UK which do not have access to decent broadband speeds.
The plans to provide better Wi-Fi and mobile signals on trains follow on from this announcement.
Each train could get speeds of around 1 Gigabit Per Second (Gbps), allowing several hundred travellers to stream video at the same time.
Bruce Williamson, from campaign group Railfuture, welcomed the plans.
He said: ‘It should become absolutely standard for all trains on the British railway network to have seamless connectivity, as it’s essential for attracting the smartphone connected generation to rail, as well as the business traveller working on the move.
‘Very soon, trains without Wi-Fi will become unthinkable, and rail passengers will look forward to the day when the phone doesn’t cut out in tunnels.’
Work has already begun on a trial on the trans-Pennine route between Manchester and York, in partnership with Network Rail.
The pilot is part of a £31billion National Productivity Investment Fund, which will include £1billion for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Reading bus usage

One Million More Bus Trips Last Year

THE total number of bus journeys in Reading soared by one million trips last year – once again bucking the national trend of a fall in bus use.
Bus journeys in Reading increased again in 2016/17, this time by 4.9%. It is the fifth year in succession bus trips have increased in Reading.
Reading Borough again sits in third position in the national league table in terms of the number of bus journeys per head of population in England outside of London. The number of bus trips per head of population is now at 131, up from 126 the previous year.
In contrast, the latest Department for Transport figures released last week show the average number of trips per head of population in England was down from 82.3 to 80.3. Bus usage also fell in London.  All other parts of Berkshire similarly saw a fall in numbers of bus trips per head of population. In Slough the figure is 32, in West Berkshire at 21, Bracknell 15.2, Wokingham 14.7 and Windsor & Maidenhead 11.0.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“These latest figures show that Reading is once again outperforming nearly every other bus service in England. A rise of one million passenger trips at a time when bus use is falling across the country is testament to both the town’s excellent Council-owned bus service, and the tremendous efforts of our colleagues at Reading Buses.
“A busy town like Reading has many competing demands for limited road space and limited scope to expand that road capacity. The only sustainable way to cope with demand is to continue to invest in public transport and public transport infrastructure to give people easy, quick and reliable bus services.
“The coming year will see the Council continue to focus efforts on improving public transport. Park and Ride Buses from Mereoak are now using the newly opened bus lane on the A33, there are plans to build a bus, pedestrian and cycle only route in east Reading and major investment in cycle infrastructure through the Route 422 scheme. We will also continue to make bus services even more reliable through the introduction of a Red Route along the length of the Route 17 bus corridor, the first phase of which is expected to go live in February.”

Martijn Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses, said:

“Put simply, these figures show that buses in Reading work! Our region is growing so it’s essential that we get more people on-board buses and help keep Reading moving and prospering. We’re delighted to play an integral part, in partnership with the Borough Council, in delivering another year of growth in the use of the local bus network that outstrips national trends, especially against a backdrop of decline in many other parts of the UK.

“This, we believe, is testament to a combination of our ongoing focus on investing and improving services where demand exists, and the Council’s focus on highways schemes, including Park & Rides and Mass Rapid Transit lanes.
“These figures demonstrate that locally managed and delivered bus services, supported by strong partnerships’ with local authorities, truly work and we are very fortunate to benefit from such an approach here in Reading.
“A great example is our popular purple 17 route which will see investment in a brand new fleet of bio-gas buses over the coming weeks, alongside the Council’s forthcoming Red Route scheme, to make services even more attractive to our local community.”
The latest Department for Transport figures can be found at
The top performing local authority areas were Brighton & Hove with 171.8 trips per year per head of population, Nottingham with 149.4 and Reading with 131.3.
Reading Borough concessionary trips also remained stable at 4.8m per year, equating to 23% of total journeys. This is in line with the England average of 22%.


Complementing this news, a fine selection of colourful buses from the Reading Buses fleet, courtesy of Mark Lyons, has now been placed into an album on the site, which can now be viewed by clicking  here


Saturday 23rd December 2018 saw First in Berkshire cease operation of the Green Line route 702 (London & Windsor/Bracknell), and Reading Buses took over a new operation from Wednesday 27th. However, apart from no services on the Christmas or Boxing Days 25th/26th, this left a gap on Christmas Eve, Sunday 24th December.
Thus Reading Buses organised a limited hourly free service between London Victoria & Windsor via Hammersmith and Slough, with a separate hourly service onwards to Bracknell. The bonus of this was a splendid variety of buses and coaches in all shapes and sizes. Almost all were captured and kindly supplied to the website by intrepid photographers David Heath, Mark Lyons and Martin Ruthe.

These are now in an album, which can be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Vivarail to invest £100,000 in New Co Durham Site

 Vivarail is to open a plant on the Spectrum Business Park at Seaham in County Durham where it will assemble powerpacks and wiring looms for the D Train multiple-units which it plans to produce using bodyshells and bogies from withdrawn London Underground D78 trainsets.

Vivarail is investing 'up to £100 000' in the Seaham site, and is being supported by economic development organisation Business Durham on behalf of Durham County Council. ‘By investing in County Durham and pledging to use regional suppliers where possible, Vivarail is expected to have a real impact on the rail industry and the economy’, said Peter Rippingale, inward investment manager at Business Durham.
Three types of powerpack would be assembled at the new plant, including a battery-only system which Vivarail is developing with £640 000 of grant funding from innovation agency Innovate UK.
Once operational and subject to future orders, Vivarail’s Seaham site could expand to include the refurbishment of a number of other train parts, such as the bogies.
'As Vivarail looked to expand and open a new site, the North East was a very attractive location for us, most notably because of its highly skilled pool of engineering and manufacturing workers’, said Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter on December 11. ‘The region already has a strong rail industry and we want to tap into this and look to buy locally where we can. Plus, we also have the opportunity to expand further here, depending on the speed and scale of future orders.'

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Extra Carriages Being Added to Borders Trains to Tackle Overcrowding

Extra carriages are being added to trains in response to recent complaints about passengers either being turned away or forced to stand in cramped conditions during journeys between Edinburgh and the Borders.

ScotRail has come in for criticism over the last few months for failing to increase passenger capacity at times of high demand.
To tackle that problem, the transport operator is now redeploying British Rail Class 170 diesel trains previously used on the Edinburgh-Falkirk-Glasgow route but now due to be replaced by Class 380 electric trains, increasing the number of seats available.
On weekdays, 21 services on the Edinburgh-Tweedbank line will offer more carriages and seven will have fewer.
On Saturdays, 28 services will have more carriages and three will have fewer.
And on Sundays, three trains will have more carriages and two will have fewer.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton has raised the issue of overcrowding on the 30-mile line with Scottish Government transport minister Humza Yousaf previously, so she is delighted to see progress now being made.
“I am pleased that ScotRail will make a number of improvements to the Borders Railway and help get every passenger a seat.
“It’s reassuring that ScotRail has listened to the criticism and will now work to put on more carriages and increase the number of seats.
“I will continue to keep an eye on the Borders Railway and fight for improvements to the line.”
ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “The number of carriages on that route has significantly increased.
“This means there are more seats for customers, including during the busiest times.
“The Borders Railway has been a huge success, opening up a wealth of tourism and employment opportunities for the area.
“We are building the best railway Scotland has ever had, and that applies to the whole of Scotland.”
Mr Yousaf added: “Overcrowding tells a story of growth in passenger numbers. Since 2007, our railways have become 33% more popular.
“On top of that, we have increased the amount of rolling stock, including the number of carriages, on our network.
“From 2007 through to our ambitious plans in 2019, 50% more capacity will be added to the network.
“In 2007, 140 carriages were added, and between now and 2019, we will add another 200 carriages.
“We are doing what we can to increase capacity. We will always look for opportunities to increase capacity and add more rolling stock.”
The Campaign for Borders Rail has also welcomed the overall increase in carriages on services on the £350m line, opened in 2015, but is calling for further improvements to follow.
Nick Bethune, its secretary, said: “We welcome moves to increase capacity on the Borders Railway with the introduction of additional coaches on some services.
“We hope that the rollout of the three-coach Class 170 trains can continue as more become available to include all Borders Railway services in the near future.
“Both Alex Hynes and Rachael Hamilton were guests at our annual general meeting in Hawick in October, and it is pleasing to see the dialogue between the two that is producing results.
“Looking to the future, we would like to see a firm commitment to fund capacity improvements over congested tracks on the final approaches to Edinburgh, including doubling the single-track junction at Portobello where Borders trains join the east coast main line.
“Investment in this area will cut delays and lead to a more reliable service for Borderers.”

Focus Comment
The Borders Line has been a tremendous success with passenger numbers far exceeding those forecast. Sadly the line is single track for many miles and it will be difficult to provide double track capacity in the future.
There are distant hopes of extending the line south following the course of the Waverley route but the the line has limited capacity for the thirty miles that has already been re-opened, which will restrict overall capacity for evermore.
Message to those responsible - find a more reliable method of forecasting passenger numbers and don't skimp on the overall finances. Build in future capacity.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Festive cheer at Euston railway station

London Euston rail station holds Christmas lunch for 200 homeless people

London Euston: The station's concourse was lined with tables and chairs ahead of the occasion
London Euston: The station's concourse was lined with tables and chairs ahead of the occasion Network Rail
London Euston station hosted a full Christmas lunch for 200 homeless people today.
Volunteers worked overnight after the last train left the busy transport hub on Christmas Eve.
The station’s concourse was lined with tables and chairs before guests arrive for food, clothes and toiletries at 11am.
About 45 Network Rail volunteers along with charities St Mungo’s and Street Kitchen helped out at Euston on Monday.
Those prepping the four-course meal of smoked salmon, soup, a festive roast and Christmas pudding have been tweeting their efforts using the #EustonChristmas hashtag.
Almost 50 different businesses and organisations donated items including food, drinks and thermal clothes, to the event.
Steve Naybour, a Network Rail engineer who helped out, said guests would have a "great feast”.
"We're going to give them the best day that they probably didn't expect a few days ago," he told the BBC.
He was one of four employees at Network Rail who suggested Euston be turned into a shelter for the day.
"It's amazing to see the concourse looking so festive, which would normally be packed with commuters.”

Mr Naybour, who goes back to work on Boxing Day, said he had been "blown away" by the generosity.
He added: "We've got a whole department store of clothes we're waiting to give out.”
Beth Nordon, community and events manager for St Mungo's, said: "Many people become homeless because of relationship breakdowns so Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for some of our residents."

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Greetings

   ↓   ↓  Scroll Down for the Focus Transport Christmas Posting   ↓   

Azuma Reaches the Highlands

One of Virgin's new Azuma trains has travelled to the Highlands for the first time on a test run.
The journey took it north of Edinburgh to Inverness on Friday, before travelling back to its depot in Doncaster on Saturday morning.
Virgin said the train, which takes its name from the Japanese word for "east", will be rolled out on the east coast main line from next year.

The test run by manufacturer Hitachi is part of a programme to prepare Scotland for the arrival of the 65-strong Azuma fleet.
David Horne, Virgin Trains' managing director on the east coast route, said: "Azuma will bring a new era of style in long distance rail travel and we're excited to see preparations gather pace that will help transform services for passengers across Scotland."
The first of the trains is expected to enter service in December next year as part of a two-year rollout programme, with Azuma services due to operate from five Scottish cities from 2019.
Andy Rogers, programme director for Hitachi Rail Europe, added: "Our rigorous test programme is moving apace ahead of the trains entering service next year.
"Over the next 12 months, passengers and enthusiasts will be seeing plenty more of our British-built Azuma trains testing in Scotland."

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Railway stations worth lingering at

While most railway stations in England are places to scurry through on the way to get somewhere else, there are some which are worth lingering a little longer at. BBC News recently suggested some everyday stops that offer commuters a little more than hurrying hordes and characterless coffee shops. Here are some more, this time recommended by readers.

Mind the cat


Huddersfield railway station has much to recommend it. It is located upon an attractive pedestrianised square complete with a statue of Harold Wilson, has two pubs within its facade and architecturally impressive - the frontage was once described by poet John Betjeman as "the most splendid in England".

Perhaps best of all, it has its own cat, called Felix, who was understandably annoyed about being left out of the original list.

Felix, who has the official title of Senior Pest Controller and her own hi-visibility jacket, keeps the station free from rodents, using her personal cat-flap to bypass the ticket barriers. She's also happy to allow friendly travellers to give her a stroke.
There's even a range of charity merchandise featuring her image, including a calendar and a colouring book.

Buffet on the buffers

Stalybridge railway station in Greater Manchester offers the traveller the chance to step back in time and relax in the Victorian buffet bar at the end of platform four.
It opened in 1885 and still has the original marble-topped bar and fittings.
It's no longer frowned upon for ladies and gentlemen to mix while waiting for a train and the females' first class waiting room has been integrated into the premises.
Therefore men and women alike can admire its ornate ceiling while downing a pint or two - it is after all on the Transpennine Ale Trail - before embarking on the onward journey.

Reading between the lines

The development of Britain's railways also shaped the world of fiction with the publication of special cheap editions of books to read on the train, so it's appropriate to feature a bookshop on a platform.
Situated between the hills and the sea, Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria was transformed in Victorian and Edwardian times into a fashionable seaside resort.
The railway station - with its sandstone dressings and Westmorland slate roof - is Grade II listed. The platforms are shielded by glass canopies on ironwork columns and ornamental brackets, all painted in white, green and red.
The station booking office is on the "up" (Lancaster) platform, while the "down" (Barrow) platform is where you can find Over-Sands second-hand bookshop, which specialises in British topography, Cumbria, and appropriately, railways.

Going underground

The station at Great Malvern, Worcestershire, retains an aura of wealth and sophistication. Its tea shop was once the exclusive waiting room of Lady Emily Foley, a key sponsor of the building. But she was not the only person to have a special hideaway at the station.
A newspaper article from 1862 describes how first class passengers would reach the Imperial Hotel: "On alighting from the railway carriage at the station the intending visitor will be directed to a covered way leading from the platform to the hotel. Unpleasant exposure to wind, rain, or other inclemency of weather will thus be prevented."
Although the hotel is no longer - the building was taken over by a private girls' school - the Grade II listed tunnel remains.
Known as the Worm, it is usually closed to the public, but the entrance can be seen and there is a campaign to have the passage renovated and permanently reopened.
It's also worth having a look at the cast-iron girders holding up the canopies which are decorated with mouldings of leaves and flowers.

Station master(pieces)

Irlam is the busiest unmanned station in Greater Manchester and its station house was reopened in 2015 after a £2m makeover, restoring it to its former glory after being left derelict for nearly 25 years. The renovation recreated how it looked when it was first built, including paintwork in the original London, Midland and Scottish Railways colour scheme.
Inside, there are artefacts and displays from the station's 124-year history, and seating areas in the style of a train carriage from the 1920s.
The platform features a life-sized metal sculpture of a flat-capped commuter sitting on a bench, ripe for a selfie, and artwork including a painting of a train full of local people who've become famous. They include singer Russell Watson and the brilliantly-named Max Shacklady, a boxer known as the "Eccles steamroller", who competed in the 1948 Olympics.

Track list

People wishing to linger at Cromford railway station in Derbyshire can do so overnight, as the waiting room is now a holiday cottage.
The stone building, with the original pitched roof, is situated on the now disused southbound platform.
It was used by Oasis on the cover for their 1995 single Some Might Say.
Lyrics include, "Cos I've been standing at the station/In need of education in the rain", so take on board the advice from the Gallagher brothers and remember your deckchair, book and umbrella.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Go-Ahead Group - Bluestar developments

University of Southampton announces new Unilink bus contract for award-winning Bluestar

The University of Southampton has extended its successful partnership with Go-Ahead Group owned Bluestar, which will see the bus operator run the city’s Unilink service for another 10 years.
Students, workers and leisure customers will continue to enjoy Unilink’s specially-designed university bus routes across the city until at least 2028, following an intensive tender exercise.
The news follows success for the firm’s Eastleigh base in the recent UK Bus Awards - where it was named Top National Depot.
“Unilink has been a real success for the University,” said University of Southampton transport manager, Adam Tewkesbury. “And we are delighted to continue working with Bluestar to develop new innovations for our passengers over the next contract period.”
Andrew Wickham, managing director of Bluestar, added: “Since 2008, we have worked closely with our counterparts at the University of Southampton to provide high quality bus services linking its campuses to other key areas of the city - and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to further enhance our offering here.
“The Bluestar and Unilink depot in Eastleigh was this month named the very best in the country in the UK Bus Awards. And that is due in no small part to the dedication and hard work of our wonderful team here.

“Now we are looking to the future, and have placed an order for 32 brand new buses to join our Unilink fleet in Southampton. The vehicles carry the very latest Euro 6 engines - underlining our commitment to helping lower emissions in-and-around Southampton.
“To have been awarded this tender is a huge privilege, and our team is very much looking forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the University over the coming years.”
For information about Unilink, please visit

Friday, 22 December 2017

The busiest and the quietest railway stations

1. UK's busiest railway stations, as Waterloo named top with 99million journeys

Nine of the UK’s top 10 busiest stations last year were in London, new figures have revealed with the country’s most crowded station totting up nearly 100 million journeys a year.
Waterloo topped the list as Britain's busiest rail station for the 14th year in a row, with 99.4 million entries and exits in 2016/17.
On average, it means more than a quarter of a million people use the station every day.
Ranked second in the list of the UK's busiest stations was Victoria, which saw more than 75 million journeys made last year - an average of 207,000 passengers a day.

Nine of the top 10 train stations in the UK were in London. (Office of Rail and Road)

Third was commuter hub Liverpool Street which saw 184,000 journeys made a day and fourth was London Bridge with a daily footfall of 131,000.
Fifth was Euston which saw just over 120,000 entries and exits a day.
Birmingham New Street was rated Britain’s sixth busiest station, the only entry outside of London to make the list.

Stratford station, which was ranked sixth busiest last year, dropped to seventh place although its overall footfall rose by over a million.

Top 10 stations with the most interchanges

1. Clapham Junction - 27,330,398 interchanges
2. East Croydon - 6,521,665
3. Waterloo - 6,105,768
4. Birmingham New Street - 5,791,187
5. Victoria - 5,734,424
6. St Pancras - 4,584,114
7. Reading - 4,108,908
8. Stratford - 3,872,501
9. Highbury and Islington - 3,837,080
10. Lewisham 3,756,221
The figures were released on Friday 1st December by the Office of Rail and Road, which found there were 2.9 billion entries and exits in 2016/17.

Estimates of station usage are based on ticket sales, but the stats exclude certain train operators including the Eurostar and Heathrow Express.

Glasgow Central kept its title as the busiest station in Scotland, with passengers passing through it 32 million times this year, and Cardiff Central was top in Wales with more than 12.5 million entries and exits.
The station with the most interchanges is Clapham Junction, which recorded a mammoth 27.3 million interchanges, more than four times the amount of the next busiest station to change trains at, East Croydon.

Journeys on the Gospel Oak to Barking stretch of the London Overground line plummeted by 10 per cent because of engineering works which saw part of the route closed for four months.

2. The quietest station, until................................

Shippea Hill station: How mince pies gave the least used station a boost

Once the loneliest rail station in Britain, with just 12 passengers in a year, Shippea Hill has now seen the biggest percentage growth in Britain.
Visits to the station rocketed 1,200%, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
It said there were 156 entries and exits at the station in 2016-17.
Great British Bake Off finalist Ian Cumming offered mince pies to people who disembarked at the station on Christmas Eve 2016.
The station in Cambridgeshire has just two trains a day, 12 hours apart.
Yet thanks to publicity surrounding its lonely status, the station saw the biggest percentage growth of any on the rail network.

The mince pie event at Shippea Hill attracted 16 people - more than the number that visited the station in the last year

Mr Cumming encouraged people to join him at the station by promising them mince pies, some with a Viennese topping.
That resulted in 16 people visiting Shippea Hill on 24 December, more than it had had in the whole of 2015-16.
Mr Cumming, from Great Wilbraham in Cambridgeshire, said he was "delighted to have skewed some official statistics".
"I had never been there in my life until last Christmas Eve and just decided we should give that station some love," he said.
"There's a good reason it's the loneliest station, though. It's flat. The horizon goes on and on and there's nothing to do there."
He said he took his bicycle and he and his fellow passengers then cycled away as otherwise they would have been waiting 12 hours until 19:27 GMT.
In June 2017, more than 20 people visited as part of a challenge set by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe, who were attempting to visit 2,563 stations in three months.
However, that effort would not count in the 156 visits to Shippea Hill as the figures only go up to the end of March 2017.
The station was first opened in 1845.
The loneliest station in Britain is now Barry Links in Scotland, which had 24 entries and exits. England's quietest station was Teesside Airport, with 30 entries and exits, down from 98 the year before. Shippea Hill is now the 14th quietest station. London's Waterloo station is the busiest with more than 99 million entries and exits.


A miscellany of images from the producers of the Bristol type bus now in an album, which can be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 21 December 2017

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 24th December

Special FREE service on Christmas Eve 

First will finish operating the established Green Line route 702 (London & Windsor) at the end of Saturday 23rd December, leaving Christmas Eve Sunday before Reading Buses' full service starts. As this is likely to be quite a quiet day they will be co-ordinating a free vintage bus service along the route using volunteer drivers/conductors and their vehicles who will operate in aid of our Reading Buses Charity of the Year, Red Balloon Learner Centre - all donations welcome!
This will run to a special timetable as shown below, with buses running between London Victoria and Windsor with a second shuttle service operating between Windsor and Bracknell

 Click on timetable above for larger version

Examples of the buses that will hopefully appear are kindly supplied by Mark Lyons.

Note also the possible appearance of vehicles supplied by Ensignbus (an Astromega coach and RT type AEC Regent) and something from Reading Buses themselves.

The new Reading Buses Green Line 702.

From 27th December we are taking over Green Line 702 from First. All existing season and period tickets will still be valid and, for now, the timetable will stay broadly the same, although all London bound journeys will run 5 minutes earlier to make sure we don’t run late leaving London.
Because we’re not taking over the previous fleet of buses, for the next 8-9 months we will be using a mix of suitable vehicles from the existing Reading Buses fleet which have high back coach-style seats and some temporary vehicles hired in, including a small number of full-specification coaches. All vehicles will, of course, be fitted with free WiFi.

looking forward

We have ambitious plans to develop the route and will be evaluating a number of new vehicle types during January and February 2018, with a view to ordering a brand new fleet of modern coaches. We’ll also be watching closely over the coming months to see how the current timetable performs, how good the fares are, and see what opportunities there are to market and improve this useful service to increase use and make it a success for the long term. Most importantly, we’ll be listening to you, our customers. Thanks in advance for your custom and being understanding while we find our feet with this new venture and trial options to suit your needs for the future.

We would really appreciate any customer feedback about the route to help us learn - you can email us at with your thoughts on the route if you currently use it.

new timetables

We have decided to keep the timetables very similar to current to start with as this will allow us to see how the service currently operates. We have taken the opportunity to do a few tweaks though so it is worth checking if you currently use the service.
We have also extended a few journeys to and from Reading. These are aimed at commuters and shoppers.

don't leave it to chance, get the app

As we seek to understand the timetables that we are running, we realise there may be parts of certain journeys that don't quite work for some people. For that reason, we are developing our own green line 702 app that will allow you to track your coach live on a map meaning you don't have to worry about waiting at bus stops in the cold - simply track the coach in the comfort of your home or work and leave when you need to!
The app will be released very soon, so keep checking our website and Twitter feeds for info!

fares and ticketing

Again, fares will broadly be the same as current. All existing season tickets and passes will still be valid and accepted on our Green Line 702 service.
Please note, in the interest of keeping things simple for current customers, we will be launching with Adult and Child fares - we will not be extending our Boost scheme to this service. Child fares will only be available for customers ages 5-15.

more ways to pay

We like to make life easy here at Reading Buses, so our handy green line 702 app will have mobile ticket (mTicket) availability meaning you can buy tickets on your phone! 
We will also be accepting contactless payments on board for fares of less than £30. 
For single and return fares, please come back soon to see our full fares table.

Green line season tickets

The tickets in the table below are only available for purchase on a green line 702 vehicle, but can be used on any Reading Buses or First Berkshire service. (Please note, the day and week options are also available from the First and Arriva travel shops in Slough and London Victoria). The tickets on our app may be cheaper! 

 All day 7 days  30 days  Annual
 adult  £16  £50  £180  £1600
 child  £8  £25  n/a  n/a


greenline group ticket

Can only be bought and used on green line 702 vehicles and is valid for up to four people travelling together - just £40, saving you up to 30%!


simplyNetwork group ticket

Travel as a group and save on Green Line outside of London. Up to 4 people travel together (any combination of adults and children) for £15 before 9.30am Monday to Friday or £10 at all other times and on school and public holidays. This ticket is only valid for travel on Green Line 702 outside of London and on all Reading Buses services.  

Monday, 18 December 2017

Welsh bus company closes down

Bus company to cease trading – arrangements made to cover Wrexham school buses but ‘disruption inevitable’

Bus company D Jones & Son ‘cease trading’ from Saturday 16th December.
Wrexham Council had been made aware of the situation, with arrangements in place to cover school bus service contracts from today Monday 18th December.
Buses had been the family trade since the late 1960’s, and is most recently known with their familiar blue and white livery. The Acrefair based company ran over 20 vehicles in the Wrexham area.
In a statement Councillor David A Bithell, the Council’s Lead Member for Transport said: “In the last 24 hours Wrexham County Borough Council has received notification that the local bus operator D Jones & Son of Acrefair, Wrexham will cease trading with effect from Sunday 17th December 2017.
“This news has come without any prior warning, and the Council’s immediate priority is to ensure that statutory contracted education transport is provided. Despite the late notice, the Council has been able to secure alternative transport arrangements for entitles students for next week.
“Disruption to local bus services formally operated by D Jones & Son is inevitable. The Council has enacted its contingency plan with a view to securing as many replacement bus services as soon as we possibly can.”

Denbighshire Council also issued a notice informing people of school transport changes, that said: “D Jones & Son, the bus company, has informed us that they will cease trading after last operation on Saturday December 16th, 2017.”
“This affects school and public transport in the Llangollen area. The County Council has made arrangements to cover the school bus from the Chirk & Froncysyllte area to Ysgol Dinas Brân on and from Monday December 18th until the end of term with alternative operator E Jones & Son.”
“Bus services will continue to operate between Llangollen and Wrexham on service 5 (Arriva) and service Traws Cymru T3 (Lloyd’s Coaches).”
“Pupils who catch buses from the Wrexham direction who normally use D Jones service 5/5C are warned that there may be insufficient seats at school times to and from Ysgol Dinas Brân. Arriva services continue to operate every 40 minutes.”
Various routes around Wrexham could be affected including industrial estate and prison routes.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Transdev to acquire Rossendale

£3 million investment promised for Rossendale bus users as Transdev announces takeover plan for council-owned operator

Bus passengers in Rossendale, Bury and Rochdale could soon benefit from a multi-million-pound investment in new buses after plans were announced today for the local authority-owned bus operator Rosso to join the Transdev Blazefield group of companies.
Subject to approval from Council Members at a meeting on Wednesday (December 20, 2017) and to finalisation of the detailed terms of the deal, Rossendale Borough Council has reached an agreement in principle to sell its shares in Rosso to Transdev.
As part of the outline agreement, Transdev is planning to invest significantly in Rosso including spending in the region of £3 million in the year following the proposed deal on  state-of-the-art new buses to be placed on the busiest routes to benefit the most people and the most communities.

Rosso currently runs a network of bus routes around Rossendale and beyond to Ramsbottom, Bury and Rochdale. Its services connect to other local towns including Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton.
Following the proposed deal, Transdev plans to keep the local Rosso brand alongside more new local identities, and intends to make effective use of the new bus station currently being built in Rawtenstall.
Transdev also plans to introduce integrated ticketing across both networks and improve information to customers in a bid to get more people on board the bus.
As part of the proposed deal, the Council will retain the Haslingden depot in support of its commercial investment strategy.
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Council, said: “The proposed sale  is a great deal for the Council and for the borough that will see significant investment into the Rosso company to make sure we continue to get a great bus service locally. It's not about resolving the Council's financial challenges, we are looking at other ways of closing our budget gap and ensuring continuous improvement in public services.

“Transdev is an award-winning company with a strong reputation for quality services and investment that gets more people on board buses. Residents will benefit from that the fact that the new service will be able to join up routes right across the local sub-region. We would not be selling our shares if we didn't think they could deliver an even better service than we have now.”
Alex Hornby, Chief Executive, Transdev said: “Following approval and finalisation of the proposed deal, we are looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Rosso into the Transdev Blazefield family. Our track record in Lancashire and across the north is one of growth, innovation and creating buses that people want to be seen on, and we have exciting plans including investment in new, hi-spec buses to benefit the people of Rossendale and Greater Manchester.
“From day one, we will be talking and listening to staff, customers and stakeholders about our strategy to ensure we deliver attractive bus services that reflect the needs of local communities and strengthen local economies.”

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Alexander Dennis

ADL celebrates 10,000-bus milestone with executive Enviro400

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) celebrated a major milestone with the roll-out of its 10,000th two-axle, low floor double deck bus. The landmark Enviro400 is emblematic of how ADL has influenced the progressive shift by the UK bus industry to high quality, low floor, easy access buses over the last two decades.

The 78-seat executive Enviro400 will join ADL’s demonstration fleet as the company continues to promote high specification double decks as an attractive option for premium services. It comes complete with leather seats, wood effect flooring, seat belts, Wi-Fi, USB charging points, mobile phone holders, skylight roof panels as well as next-stop audio and visual announcement systems.
The high specification options of the Enviro400, which have a proven track record of driving patronage growth on scheduled services, have broadened the type’s appeal beyond traditional bus work.

Colin Robertson, ADL’s Chief Executive, commented: “There is a trend towards high quality buses that combine capacity and comfort. They raise the bar and are helping operators win business, particularly in terms of private hires, special events, corporate work and even school contracts.”
It is a niche market ADL has created in the past two years with impressive business wins involving companies such as Go Goodwins, Hams Travel, Imperial Coaches, Skills Coaches, Swans Travel, Weavaway, Westway Coaches and Wheelers Travel.
Colin Robertson: “This trend is a far cry from two decades ago when buses were fairly down-to-earth, no frills vehicles and it is fitting that we celebrate this 10,000 landmark with a double deck that demonstrates the huge strides we have made in taking product options to a whole new level.”

The milestone number of 10,000 two-axle, low floor double deck buses not only includes the current and previous Enviro400 models but also their trendsetting predecessor which brought low floor technology to the mainstream of UK bus operation.
The Dennis Trident 2 chassis was launched in 1997 and, along with the Dart SLF (Super Low Floor) midi bus, sparked a revolution in the UK bus industry. Their focus on easy access not only made public transport available to wheelchair users and passengers with reduced mobility who had previously found high-step entrances prohibitive but vastly improved accessibility for parents travelling with children in pushchairs.
In 2005 ADL took double deck technology to another new level, launching the Enviro400, an integrally designed complete vehicle providing a one-stop solution for operators. It was an immediate success and has subsequently been the UK’s best-selling bus for more than a decade.
Colin Robertson commented: “This 10,000th low floor double deck bus is a milestone for everyone at ADL. The extraordinary success of our Enviro400 is a reflection of the ingenuity, commitment and dedication of teams drawn from right across our business. No one ‘wins the league’ this consistently without having the right people and the right approach to delight customers.
“We have had many landmark moments with the Enviro400, from the launch in 2005 to the facelift in 2009, the major model change in 2014 and the introduction of the City version in October 2015. We have also seen it lead the way as a fuel-efficient, low emission diesel, as a diesel-electric hybrid and as a gas bus.

“While it was designed as an integral vehicle – and has enjoyed the vast majority of its success as such – we have also bodied it on Volvo and Scania chassis. In addition, although it was mainly intended for the UK market, we have had significant business wins with the Enviro400 in Hong Kong and New York.”

Colin Robertson added: “The overriding fact is that the success of vehicles like this help us support apprenticeships, career development opportunities, 2,500 jobs across ADL, 1,500 more in our various collaborative ventures,
and a further 5,000 in our supply chain network. It also gives us the impetus to stay at the forefront of technology and maintain our world-leading position in the bus and coach manufacturing sector.”