Thursday, 29 June 2017

Test Posting

Test test

Stagecoach Group

Stagecoach Group plc – Preliminary Results for the year ended 30th April 2017

Adjusted earnings per share in line with expectations
  • Adjusted earnings per share of 24.4 pence (2016: 27.7 pence) in line with our expectations
  • Basic earnings per share of 5.5 pence (2016: 17.1 pence) reflect exceptional charges
  • Dividend per share for the year up 4.4% to 11.9 pence (2016: 11.4 pence)
  • Substantial further investment – net capital expenditure of £157.3m (2016: £187.0m)
  • Our expectation of 2017/18 earnings per share is broadly unchanged
Operational developments
  • Engaged in discussions with Department for Transport on contractual matters at Virgin Trains East Coast, including implications of Network Rail’s reprioritised infrastructure programme
    • £84.1m exceptional charge to provide for anticipated losses under current contract, over the next two years
    • Business expected to be profitable from 2019
    • £44.8m non-cash exceptional impairment of franchise intangible asset
    • High customer satisfaction and around £525m to date in premium payments to taxpayer - average monthly payments around 30% more than made by Directly Operated Railways
  • Shortlisted for new East Midlands and South Eastern rail franchises
  • New joint venture with Virgin and SNCF shortlisted to bid for West Coast Partnership rail franchise
  • Management action taken across our bus operations in response to period of subdued revenue trends – targeted network, pricing and management changes
  • Improving revenue trends and contract opportunities in North America
  • Progress with digital and technology programme, including new initiatives outside of our core operating divisions
Financial summary

Results excluding intangible asset
expenses and exceptional items
Statutory results
2017 2016 2017 2016
Revenue (£m) 3,941.2 3,871.1 3,941.2 3,871.1
Total operating profit (£m) 192.8 228.8 47.3 171.1
Non-operating exceptional items (£m) - - 4.7 (2.0)
Net finance charges (£m) (34.1) (41.4) (34.1) (64.7)
Profit before taxation (£m) 158.7 187.4 17.9 104.4
Earnings per share (pence) 24.4p 27.7p 5.5p 17.1p
Proposed final dividend per share (pence) 8.1p 7.9p 8.1p 7.9p
Full year dividend per share (pence) 11.9p 11.4p 11.9p 11.4p

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, said:

“I am pleased to report adjusted earnings per share for the year in line with our expectations and a further increase in our dividend per share. We continue to manage the business with a focus on sustainable growth over the long-term.
"Our multi-million pound investment in greener vehicles, smart technology and skilled employees is delivering a better and easier travel experience for our customers. Bus and rail services are an important part of achieving long-term growth for our communities and regional economies. We are working closely with public sector partners to deliver the full benefits of high quality public transport for customers and our business.
“We are delivering on our promised improvement programmes for customers and our significant financial commitments to the taxpayer across our existing rail portfolio. There are a number of forthcoming rail opportunities.

“We are engaged in discussions with the Department for Transport regarding our respective contractual rights and obligations under the current Virgin Trains East Coast franchise and reflecting the reprioritisation of Network Rail's infrastructure programme. However, separately we have made financial provisions to reflect the short-term outlook for that business over the next two years, including in view of the weak growth environment affecting the UK rail sector as a whole. We are disappointed to report losses at Virgin Trains East Coast. However, I am confident that we can return the business to profitability and build on the significant benefits we have delivered to date for customers and taxpayers.
“Overall, we believe in the long-term prospects for the business and public transport remain positive.”

and on the subject of the East Coast and Edinburgh.....................


Album 5 has been added to the list and features the other bus types operated by Lothian Buses in Edinburgh. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Derby bus station

Derby's bus station set to be extended to cope with city's population growth

Derby's bus station is set to be expanded to help it cope with the city centre's rising population.
The residential market in Derby is booming, with nearly 2,400 new properties built, or in construction – and thousands more are planned at sites including Castleward and the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site.
Council chiefs say it means the bus station, at Derby Riverlights, will need further capacity – and so has decided to retain "at least part of" the grassed land next to it, so that further bays can be built. The decision is seen as a set-back for London-based Moorfield Group, which owns Riverlights and wanted to snap up the grassed-over land to extend the complex.
In 2015, Moorfield told the Derby Telegraph the land had the potential to become the new front of Riverlights, and argued its development – dubbed Riverlights 2 – was the key to unlocking the overall site's potential.
But speaking at the Derby Property Summit, held on the 21st June at Pride Park Stadium, the council's head of regeneration Greg Jennings said the authority had decided not to sell the land.


Derby Bus Station is set to be expanded onto neighbouring grassed land, Jennings told an audience of over 300 property professionals: "I often get asked about the bit of land at the back of the bus station at Riverlights. We're actually going to hold onto that. We were looking at whether to put that on the market but I think we're going to need to expand the bus station over the coming years to deal with the needs of the city."
Afterwards, Councillor Martin Rawson, the cabinet member for city centre regeneration, told the Derby Telegraph it was unlikely the council will retain 100% of the land. He said: "It makes sense for us to prioritise the land nearest the bus station and inner ring road for the bus station extension. That then leaves the land closest to river available for other development, possibly residential."
In light of the housing growth in the DE1 area, the council commissioned a study into the city centre's future public transport needs last Autumn.
Mr Rawson said: "The work looked at what is the best option for coping with increased bus usage. The report came back and said the best option was to extend the bus station, rather than build a new one.
"It makes sense for the council to use at least part of the land for the extention."

Derby City Council's head of regeneration Greg Jennings announced the authority's plan to Mr Rawson and the council has submitted a £5m bid to the Department for Transport to help cover the cost of the extension, which he said is likely to take place in the next "five to 10 years".
During the summit itself, Mr Rawson admitted that "for too long Derby has turned its back" on the River Derwent.
For years, there have been calls for more bars, restaurants and apartments to be built along the river banks through the city centre.
When asked whether the council's decision on the land would thwart that vibrant vision, Mr Rawson insisted "no".
He said: "We've probably got quite a good compromise (with Moorfield). We're able to increase the bus station to meet further demand. But there will also be an opportunity to redevelop the land that looks onto the river, possibly for a residential scheme.
"There's potential to meet both objectives."


The Edinburgh albums has reached Part 4, the two new Lothian Buses subsidiaries Lothian Country on route 43 out to Queensferry, and East Coast Buses on routes that serve East Lothian. A small set which can now be viewed by clicking  here

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Alternative fuel

Wake up and smell the coffee

Green entrepreneur Arthur Kay wants the red buses that have become a landmark of London to run on fuel generated by coffee waste.
He runs Biobean, a start-up which is gathering waste from coffee chains such as Costa and converting it into liquid fuel.
The firm is due to unveil a coffee-run bus in the capital in a few weeks.
In London, the need to get cleaner air is vital - the dense road network coupled with high buildings make it one of the most polluted places in the UK.

"We are going through a period of energy divergence where we are moving from a fossil-fuel based society to one that is increasingly diversified. Bio-fuel will be crucial to that," said Mr Kay.

The biochemical method by which oil is extracted from a pile of coffee grounds is patented but uses a process which evaporates the grounds via something known as hexane extraction.
It extracts around 15 to 20% of oil and the remaining mass is turned into bio-mass pellets which can be burnt as fuel in wood burners.
And, said Mr Kay, there is always a ready supply of ingredients.
"As long as people are still drinking coffee, there will be coffee waste.
"In the UK, people consume 500,000 tonnes of coffee each year, and if we could use all of it we could power a city such as Manchester," he said
Lots of countries are starting to see the benefits of bio-fuel, which can be made out of anything from chocolate to sewage.
Sweden created some unwanted headlines a few years ago when it used the carcasses of rabbits - being culled due to over-population - to make fuel.
But before that, Sweden had a long history of using bio-fuels and in the capital, Stockholm, 15,000 cars - many of which are taxis - and 300 buses are now run on bio-gas.
Initially bio-fuel was created from ethanol - which is generated from Brazilian sugar cane - but following concerns in the mid 1990s that this was unsustainable because it was also a food source - the country focused more on bio-gas, made as a by-product of methane in sewage.
In order to increase the use of bio-fuel, it converted the city's own vehicles which encouraged petrol stations to introduce bio-fuel pumps.
"Now we are examining new ways to generate bio-gas from food waste," said Gustaf Landahl, head of Stockholm's smart cities project.
That includes providing households with different coloured bags to allow them to sort organic waste more easily.
"The city air quality is much better now but there are still some streets that have a problem," he said.
That is due in part to the rise in popularity of diesel cars in recent years and the use of studded tyres, popular in Sweden during the winter months, which can also release pollutants.
In 2009 the EU decided that by 2020, 10% of transport in member nations should be powered by renewable energy but since then there has been a backlash about how sustainable some of these sources are.
"There have been concerns about certain bio-fuels, such as ethanol which is generated from corn or rape-seed because they are also edible and so there is a conflict with using the crops for food," explained Dr Cecilia Mondelli, a lecturer for the Advanced Catalysis Engineering group at ETH Zurich.
Making such material at scale is also problematic because it requires land to grow, added Dr Mondelli.
As a result, more attention has been focused on bio-fuel that can be generated from waste products such as coffee grounds.
"Even if you use a waste, this does not ensure that its conversion process has a mild ecologic impact. One needs to take into account other aspects, mainly the energy and chemical auxiliaries required and the waste produced, to estimate the sustainability of the process in a meaningful manner," said Dr Mondelli.
She believes that bio-fuels will remain "a fraction of our future energy system" alongside other sources such as hydrogen, methanol and renewables such as solar.

Some cities are choosing more conventional routes to improving air quality with many pursuing policies that favour electric vehicles.

Beiiing is the latest to announce plans to convert its fleet of 70,000 taxis to electric, starting this year at a cost of around 9 billion yen.
Norway currently boasts the world's highest number of electric cars per capita and in March announced that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far this year. Sales of electric cars accounted for more than 17% of new vehicle registrations in January, and hybrid vehicles 33.8%.
Cars with combustion engines are heavily taxed in Norway while electric vehicles are exempt from almost all taxes. Owners also get free access to toll roads, ferries and parking at public car parks.
Back in London, car-maker Ford is partnering with Transport for London to pilot electric-only vans in the city.
The number of commercial vehicles has increased by 12% in cities as more and more people rely on fast deliveries of online goods.


Part 3 of the Edinburgh albums is now on the flickr site and features the fleet of  Volvo/Wright double-decks, and how they vary dependant upon design, livery and advertisement application. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Monday, 26 June 2017

First Bristol to Operate Bristol MetroBus Route

The joint Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset MetroBus team has confirmed that the first bus operator to start running part of the MetroBus service is First Bristol. First Bristol will start running the MetroBus route from Ashton Vale to Temple Meads as soon as infrastructure works are completed and roadside facilities are installed.

Progress on the first MetroBus route to open is going well. The bus guideway with its associated cycle and pedestrian track is well under construction, the skew bridge that guides MetroBus over the Bristol to Portishead railway line and under the elevated section of the A370 is nearly complete. In addition the £3.8million refurbishment of Ashton Avenue Bridge is finished and it is now open to pedestrians and cyclists, and the second bridge at Bathurst Basin that doubles the road space available to all vehicles and provides new space for cyclists and pedestrians is also progressing well.

Cllr Colin Hunt, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and the Strategic Environment at South Gloucestershire Council said: “I am delighted to welcome First Bus as the operator of our first MetroBus service, with their support for the new off bus ticketing system alongside their investment in brand new, high quality, low emission vehicles together we’ll be setting a new high standard for bus travel in the area”

James Freeman, Managing Director of First Bristol said: “MetroBus marks the start of an exciting new era for public transport in and around Bristol, with even lower-emission vehicles, faster boarding and dedicated sections of priority highway.  It will be an entirely new way of travelling with one of the main features that the public will notice being that MetroBus only offers off-bus ticketing, which means that customers will buy their tickets before they board the vehicle which will result in a noticeably faster journey.”

Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Public Transport at Bristol City Council added: “I am very much looking forward to MetroBus services starting that will benefit from the segregation and bus priority measures. These measures and new smart ticketing will generate a noticeable uplift of quality and reliability to the public transport network.”

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, Deputy Leader at North Somerset Council and Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Highways and Transport added: “MetroBus is opening up new public transport corridors that also benefit general traffic flow so it’s a win-win situation for all. This is great news for our region’s economy and will really help to tackle congestion.”

Buses for the first route to open are on order and are on track to arrive well before services start, allowing sufficient time for extensive vehicle testing and training to familiarise drivers with the route and the use of guidewheels on the busway. This also includes training for Bristol Airport Flyer drivers who will be using the busway with a new fleet of vehicles providing prompt and reliable journey times between the city of Bristol and the Airport. The Airport also intends to maintain transport links with Bedminster to ensure continued access for staff and passengers living along the current route.

How MetroBus services will operate - how the Quality Partnership Scheme works.

The councils are not contracting with or paying bus operators to run MetroBus services. The operators are commercial companies running commercial services and they will take the business risk.  MetroBus is a scheme open to any operator at any time, provided they meet the requirements of the Quality Partnership Scheme and associated Voluntary Partnership Agreement.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils and the Department for Transport have funded the improvements to the network and put in place new MetroBus only facilities, such as the busway from Long Ashton Park and Ride and the new bus-only junction on and off the M32, segregated routes, separate junctions, new bus lanes, improvements at junctions, 92 new bus stops all of which will have interactive information points which will provide a range of tickets. Together with twin sets of doors, the fully off-bus ticket system will allow MetroBus to provide a reliable, predictable service minimising the time spent at stops to benefit journey times.

Some of these facilities are only available to MetroBus operators that agree to the terms of a sub agreement (known as a Voluntary Partnership Agreement) to the Quality Partnership Scheme (QPS). Others, such as the new layout in the city centre, provide journey time reliability for the benefit of all buses in the city, as well as providing additional road space for buses and cyclists and improved journey time reliability for all traffic.

The QPS sets out the minimum standards MetroBus operators must meet, including vehicle quality, vehicle emissions, branding, maximum fares, minimum service frequencies and how often the buses are cleaned. The full QPS will be published on the website.

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) confirms the services that an operator will provide and sets the framework for the monitoring of both services and the facilities. Under the VPA, the MetroBus operator is responsible for the vehicles and the running of the bus services. The Councils are responsible for the MetroBus road network, roadside infrastructure and facilities including bus shelters and interactive information points, online MetroBus sales and information channels.

Regular meetings of operators and the councils at the MetroBus Performance Group will monitor the services and facilities to ensure standards on both sides are maintained as agreed in the VPA and QPS.  A jointly agreed MetroBus Performance Report will also be published on the website.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Order for 600 Mercedes Benz Citaro Buses

The Saudi bus operator SAPTCO (Saudi Public Transport Company), in a joint venture with the French transport operator RATP – Dev (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), has placed an order for 600 Mercedes Benz Citaro buses.

This represents the largest single order for Mercedes Benz Citaro city buses in the history of Daimler Buses. The contract signing took place at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Montreal.

The initial batch of around 200 Mercedes Benz Citaro G and Mercedes Benz Citaro Solo buses will be handed over to the customers as early as 2018. The remaining 400 vehicles will then be delivered up to 2020. The vehicles are to be deployed in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where for the most part they will operate on newly established BRT routes. The large order will be processed via the Daimler Commercial Vehicle Regional Centre for the Middle East and North Africa, which is headquartered in Dubai.
"We are delighted to cooperate with our long-standing partner SAPTCO to provide high-standard services to the local public transport in Riyadh", explains Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses. "We are honoured by this trust, the Saudi bus operator placed in us. It once again reflects the fact that thanks to our high-quality products, we are also continuing to grow profitable beyond our core markets."
The agreement is an important milestone in the partnership between Daimler Buses and the two bus operators SAPTCO and RATP   Dev. SAPTCO is already a long-standing customer for touring coaches and in 2016 purchased more than 200 Mercedes Benz Travego 15 SHD touring coaches. The order for 600 Mercedes Benz Citaro buses is the first major order in the city bus sector.
Special vehicle configurations for operation in the desert
The 400 Mercedes Benz Citaro G and 200 Mercedes Benz Citaro Solo buses will be specially adapted for operation in the hot desert region of Saudi Arabia. The equipment package comprises such items as an uprated air conditioning system, circulating air blowers in the doors and also double-glazed, darkened side windows. The interior and exterior design of the vehicles has been desigend specifically for the customer requirements of the municipal authorities in Riyadh.
The vehicles are fitted with state-of-the-art IT systems. All buses are equipped with WiFi, 18 inch flat screens in the passenger compartement and systems for cashless payments.


Part 2 of images from Edinburgh features buses and coaches operated by both First & Stagecoach 
and can now be viewed by clicking  here

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Participants Named for West Coast and South Eastern Franchises

The government has announced the names of the companies in the running for the new West Coast Partnership (WCP) rail franchise and the next South Eastern franchise.
This is an exciting time for both franchises, which are changing to ensure passengers are at the heart of their services. The winner of the WCP franchise will be expected to work with HS2 Ltd to launch the first services on HS2, taking advantage of the extra space it will provide for commuters on the West Coast Main Line. The winner of the South Eastern franchise will need to work as one team with Network Rail to ensure passengers experience better journeys and provide longer trains with more space.

West Coast Partnership franchise

The West Coast Partnership will be responsible for services on the West Coast Main Line from April 2019 and will design and run the initial HS2 high speed services between London and Birmingham from 2026. The shortlist contains bidding consortia which sees UK rail network experts working in partnership with companies that operate high speed railways around the globe, supported by businesses which have an excellent track record in customer services.
They are:
  • First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Limited and Trenitalia SpA
  • MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UKLtd and Guangshen Railway Company), with the following Key Sub-Contractors: Deloitte MCS Ltd, Panasonic Systems Europe, Snowfall AB, Ltd and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure that HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s railways.
This will create more seats for passengers, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on existing rail lines and generate jobs and economic growth throughout the country. I look forward to seeing the bidders’ innovative ideas to put passengers at the heart of the railway.
The winning bidder will collaborate with HS2 Ltd to design, launch and operate the initial HS2 services and deliver the transition of the timetable on the West Coast Main Line as it is revised to take advantage of the extra capacity provided by HS2. There are significant benefits in bringing the 2 projects closer together to ensure the best outcomes for passengers both before and after the start of the HS2 services.
The new operator will also be expected to work closely with local transport authorities, Transport Scotland and the Welsh government to ensure passengers receive the excellent experience they demand from the West Coast Main Line.

South Eastern franchise

The companies which want to run the next South Eastern franchise are:
  • South Eastern Holdings Limited, a joint venture company that on franchise award will be wholly owned by Abellio Transport Group Limited and East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Limited
  • London and South East Passenger Rail Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia Limited
  • Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group plc
  • Trenitalia UK Limited, wholly owned by Trenitalia SpA
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
South Eastern is one of the busiest franchises in the UK, running almost 2,000 services every weekday. We want passengers to be at the heart of everything that the new operator does, enjoying modern, spacious trains on a more punctual and reliable service. We will listen to what passengers say in the current public consultation, and we will seek to make changes and improvements only with their support.
The Secretary of State has been clear that his ambitions for the franchise include:
  • creating more space for passengers on modern comfortable trains
  • increasing the reliability of trains by using the latest technology while reducing delays by encouraging the operator to work closely with Network Rail
  • improving passenger compensation arrangements and supporting smart ticketing
  • improving customer service, with staff able to respond quickly and effectively, including during disruption

New companies enter the market

Two companies have also applied for a pre-qualification questionnaire passport to allow them to enter the bidding process. These firms are now eligible to express an interest in all upcoming rail franchise competitions until September 2019. These companies are:
  • Amey Rail Limited
  • SNCF C3

Friday, 23 June 2017

First Bus to Extend Successful Park & Ride Partnership in York

City of York Council and First York are set to extend their partnership delivering York’s Park & Ride service after the bus operator successfully bid for the seven year contract commencing in early 2018.

The new partnership agreement will see fully electric buses operating on three of the six routes, with brand new Euro 6 diesel buses completing the Park & Ride fleet. To help make journeys quicker and easier for passengers, First York have committed to complement the existing range of cash, smartcard and mobile ticket options with contactless bank-card technology.

Alongside this the new buses will also have displays providing useful information for passengers including details about the next bus stop, service data and other useful local information.

Overnight parking will also be introduced at the Askham Bar and Monks Cross Park & Ride sites giving visitors the ability to park at the site en-route to their hotel accommodation, or to access the rail network for a journey elsewhere lasting more than one day.

Executive member for transport and planning, Cllr Ian Gillies, said: “Since 2016 we have seen over 4.6 million passenger journeys on the city’s Park & Ride service. This new agreement between the council and First Bus York will help to reaffirm our position as having one of the best and most well used Park & Ride services in the country.”

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, said: “We’re proud to have been selected to continue to operate the York Park & Ride scheme, which is one of the most successful in the country. We will continue to offer customers a high quality and reliable service through the strong and effective partnership that we hold with City of York Council. In line with the new contract, we will be introducing new ultra-low emission vehicles onto the network which will improve air quality for York residents.

“We will be trialling a new electric double decker over the next month with a view to introducing these to Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar in the New Year, as we continue to support the council in its aim to improve air quality by reducing emissions and encouraging car users to switch to bus travel.”

The bid was approved by the executive at a council meeting on Thursday 18 May and the new contract arrangements are set to commence in February 2018.

The competitive tender process took place earlier this year with bus operators given the opportunity to bid for the new contract.

York is one of only a handful of P&R operations which returns  revenue (income) back to the council, generating £39k in 2017/8. However, because the income will be lower in 2018/19 than in previous years, the council will need to allocate an additional £85k in its budget in that year.

For more information about York’s Park & Ride service visit


The first set of a veritable miscellany of pictures from a recent visit to Edinburgh have been placed into an album on the flickr site, which can now be viewed by clicking  here

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Latest London Bus Contract awards

The latest awards have recently been announced by Transport for London as follows:

138      (Bromley North Station & Coney Hall) Re-awarded to Go-Ahead Metrobus using existing fleet 2013 Euro-V diesel single-decks (contract start date 17th March)

Metrobus SE289 in Bromley High Street is one of three 8.9m long ADL E20D Enviro200 single-decks assigned to the route from 2016, which will remain in service when the new contract commences (David Heath)

161      (North |Greenwich Station & Chislehurst) Awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Metrobus with a mix of ADL E40D, Scania and Volvo B7TL double-decks from Orpington (MB) Garage (17th March)

Metrobus 897 an Optare Olympus bodied Scania N94UD OmniCity arrives at North Greenwich bus station which also serves the Jubilee Underground Line (Martin Ruthe)

181      (Lewisham & Grove Park Station) Awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Metrobus with a mixture of ADL E20D and Scania single-decks from Orpington (MB) Garage (17th March)

284      (Lewisham & Grove Park Cemetery) Awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Metrobus with ADL E20D single-decks from Orpington (MB) Garage (17th March)

Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 25th June - Basildon

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Bombardier news

Derby's Bombardier lands South West Trains order worth almost £900million

Yesterday (20th June), First Group/MTR, the new franchisee of South West Trains, announced that it had selected the Litchurch Lane firm to supply 750 carriages. The deal, worth £895 million represents the third largest contract the Derby site has won since 2014.
It has previously secured deals worth £1 billion to provide trains for the Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail) and East Anglia. The train that Bombardier will be supplying will be the Aventra - the same train that the firm is supplying to the Elizabeth Line and East Anglia.

But with 750 carriages to deliver, the First Group/MTR deal represents the largest ever single Aventra train order. First Group/MTR, a consortium comprising of First Group and Hong Kong state-owned metro operator MTR, said the trains will be supplied in both five-carriage and 10-carriage configurations.
It has also chosen Bombardier to maintain its trains throughout the duration of its seven-year franchise, which starts in August. Richard Hunter, UK managing director at Bombardier Transportation, said the firm was "thrilled" at winning the contract. He said: "It demonstrates further confidence placed in this market leading rolling stock, designed and built in Britain.

"Aventra offers enhanced performance and increased passenger capacity, which will play an important part in helping First/MTR satisfy continued levels of passenger growth on the South Western network. The contract builds upon our strong credentials, following the selection of Aventra for Crossrail, as well as for the East Anglia franchise. We look forward to deepening our collaborative relationship with First/MTR."
Steve Montgomery, First Rail managing director said: "We have exciting plans for the South Western rail franchise and these new trains are an important step on the way to delivering an improved journey experience for our passengers. We know from listening to passengers and stakeholders that alongside improved performance, what they want to see is additional seats and we will deliver this via these state-of-the-art trains."
The trains Bombardier are set to provide will feature wide-open gangways between carriages, air conditioning, WiFi, USB sockets at seat locations, universal toilets and improved passenger information system.
South West Trains is one of Britain's biggest and busiest commuter networks. The new trains will operate on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes. They will start to come into service from mid-2019 and will all be in place by December 2020.
The First Group/MTR deal is the third major contract Bombardier's Litchurch Lane site has won since 2014.Winning the deal is yet another huge boost for Bombardier's Litchurch Lane site - and the companies in its supply chain, many of which are based in and around Derby. Three years ago, the firm secured a £1 billion deal to supply 65 trains for Crossrail (now the Elizabeth Line).
And last year, the Litchurch Lane factory secured another £1 billion contract to build 660 carriages for Abellio's East Anglia franchise. The Derby factory is currently busy delivering trains for the Elizabeth Line, the first of which should go into passenger service this month.
And the East Anglia deal, which secured the future of around 1,000 staff at Litchurch Lane, is set to sustain the factory well into the 2020s. But Litchurch Lane is a huge site with plenty of capacity to take on extra work such as the South West Trains contract.
It is certainly all a far cry from 2011, when there was a very real danger that Litchurch Lane - which at the time was the UK's last train manufacturing site - could have closed due to a lack of orders. The workforce had suffered the bitter blow of missing out on two huge deals to overseas competition.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

London Underground

Campaign to open new Bakerloo line station between Borough and Old Kent Road

Campaigners are calling for a new Bakerloo line station to be built in an “expensive but deprived” part of south London.
Thousands have signed a petition demanding the £3.1billion extension to Lewisham includes a new station at the Bricklayers Arms roundabout between Elephant and Castle and Old Kent Road.
Transport for London, who will be handed the petition on Friday, is currently planning two stations on Old Kent Road, a stop at existing overground hub New Cross Gate and another in Lewisham.
But Suhel Ahmed, chair of the Tower Bridge Road Alliance and owner of the Tower Tandoori restaurant, said his area is "desperate" for a transport hub after years of campaigning.

                              The planned extension of the Bakerloo line

He went on to say "We have become a deprived area. People don't really venture here unless they have to so we never get any passing trade.
"A Tube station would benefit everyone including bars, pubs and small businesses. There's so much opportunity if there was a transport hub here.
"These roads have never seen the kind of development and social improvement that you see in all the other parts of London which are just a stone's throw away."
Mr Ahmed, whose family have owned the restaurant for decades, added: “The rents are as high as areas that are fully developed because we're in Zone 1 and SE1, but there’s no transport hub here.”
Lib Dem councillors in Southwark have also backed the proposed station, while former Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes has been campaigning on the issue as well.
Mr Hughes, who was deputy leader of the Lib Dems from 2010-14, said: "Residents local to the Bricklayers Arms roundabout have long suffered from overcrowded and overstretched bus routes. Liberal Democrats want to ensure that all residents reap the benefits of the new Bakerloo line extension bringing with it fast and efficient transport links to Central London.
"We will continue to fight residents' corner in demanding an additional station be built at the Bricklayers Arms roundabout."

The Bricklayers Arms roundabout was initially proposed as one of two possible sites for a ventilation shaft for the new line, but not a station, the other being Faraday Gardens in Walworth.
TfL predicts the Bakerloo line extension, due to be completed by 2030, will bring at least 25,000 new homes to the boroughs of Southward and Lewisham.
It plans to run a service every two to three minutes between Lewisham and central London.
Matthew Yates, TfL’s Head of Transport Planning and Projects, said:  “We did carefully consider the Bricklayers Arms junction as a possible station location for one of the Old Kent Road stations, but with insufficient unoccupied land available for construction and the area already well served by nearby Elephant & Castle stations and local bus services, it was decided it wasn't suitable.
"Following the conclusion of the recent public consultation we will now carefully review our plans for the Bakerloo line extension, whilst continuing to liaise closely with the local community."


The annual Peak Bus Rally took place at the Peak Rail's Rowsley Station recently and a set of images can now be viewed by clicking   here

Monday, 19 June 2017

London Tramlink

Croydon tram crash: TfL to add warning systems to trams

Transport for London (TfL) is to introduce speed monitoring devices on its trams to tell drivers if they are exceeding the speed limit and to apply the brake.
It comes in the wake of the Croydon tram crash in November. The derailment killed seven people and injured more than 50.
TfL said it was seeking interest from industry to help supply the onboard speed monitoring systems.
Union Aslef welcomed the new system but said it was "belated".
An investigation by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB) found the crashed tram had been travelling at 43.5mph in a 12mph zone and found no evidence of any track defects or obstructions.
Last month London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to the RAIB to raise his concerns following allegations tram drivers have fallen asleep at the controls after the BBC revealed four former tram drivers fell asleep while operating trams in Croydon.
Three trams have been recorded speeding since the Croydon crash.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Tackle Congestion say Stagecoach

Stagecoach have issued a press release criticizing lack of action on tackling traffic congestion.

"The reality is that the biggest issue facing many of our towns and cities is the crippling and worsening traffic congestion which is plaguing almost every part of the country, damaging mobility in all its forms: the bus network, public transport more generally, as well as all other road users. Growing gridlock - particularly at peak commuter times - is strangling our towns and cities.

In an independent study by respected transport expert David Begg, this perilous situation was described as a "disease". Average traffic speeds have fallen to below 10mph in Britain’s busiest towns and cities and bus journey times are currently increasing by 10% per decade. If left untreated, the study estimates it will cost an estimated 5,000 jobs per year, bus passenger numbers will drop by between 10% and 14% every 10 years, and the future of the country's bus sector will be under threat.
That is on top of the £13b a year congestion costs the UK economy and the worsening impact it has on air quality, which is already responsible for around 29,000 premature deaths a year across the country.
Statistics issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) earlier this year showed that traffic on Britain's roads reached its highest ever level last year and congestion has continued to rise. Total traffic has increased by 2.2% with van traffic up 6.1% and car traffic up 1.7%.  Separate DfT congestion figures show that average speeds on A roads during the morning peak have fallen for almost four years.
At current rates between now and March 2020, congestion will have wasted around £50b - enough to fund the entire cost of the HS2 high speed rail project that is seen as a crucial part of the drive for the Northern Powerhouse.
Against this toxic environment - where congestion pushes up the cost and damages the reliability and competitiveness of bus travel - as well as a period in which public sector investment in buses is being cut dramatically, it is no wonder that bus use has been impacted. 
Mr Begg’s report highlighted the growth in online shopping leading to more delivery vans on the road as partly to blame for the rise in congestion, with the surge in Uber drivers also contributing to a rise in car use.
The situation is set to get worse, with traffic on our roads expected to grow by up to 55% by 2040, and morning and evening ‘rush hour’ periods already lengthening as traffic volumes reach saturation point in cities like London, Manchester and Bristol.
Buses carry more commuters than all other forms of public transport combined and help to generate £64bn per year for local economies, while helping vulnerable people across the country stay connected with their communities. In London, where planned roadworks have increased by 362% in three years, bus speeds on some routes have fallen so dramatically that it is almost quicker to walk than take the bus, according to the independent study, commissioned by sustainable transport group Greener Journeys.
So what’s the answer to the country’s on-going battle with road congestion? Well, buses could themselves hold the answer. If more people travelled by bus, there would be fewer cars on the road, leading to greater reliability of bus services, happier customers and more people turning to public transport.
But this will only work as a solution if our politicians take bold, comprehensive action to tackle the scourge of road congestion that is holding buses back from delivering on their full potential.
It is said in Mr Begg’s report that official targets for average bus speeds and the national introduction of contactless payments by 2019, three years earlier than planned, could help to tackle ease congestion. Other measures to be considered include charging van drivers making deliveries during peak hours; introducing more road schemes such as bus lanes; and encouraging bus companies to provide more up-to-date travel information for passengers, says the report.
The Local Government Association has suggested that Councils should be given more powers to charge utility companies for the time they spend digging up busy roads. It called on the government to grant all councils the power to introduce a daily rate for companies, in an effort to reduce road delays.
It seems logical that the bus, which is the mode of transport that carries the most amount of people using the smallest amount of road space, should be given priority where appropriate. Bus priority measures also offer good value for money to taxpayers too, with research showing that targeted investment in local bus infrastructure and selective priority measures will typically generate £3.32 of net economic benefit for each £1 of cost incurred.
Experience from bus priority schemes around the UK shows that bus lanes can reduce bus travel times by up to seven to nine minutes along a 10 kilometre congested route and also improve their reliability. Previous research has also found that more than a third of car users would use buses more if they were faster.
There appears to be a clear focus on the environmental challenges the country faces as car manufacturers are investing heavily in electric and hybrid vehicles. While these vehicles will continue to assist in tackling climate change, they do not help reduce the number of cars on our roads.
Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director Robert Montgomery said: “Bus operators across the UK are working incredibly hard to deliver service improvements for customers through brand new vehicles, huge investment in new technology and better customer information but there is one thing that we constantly come up against – reliability issues caused by traffic congestion.
“It is high time our politicians turned their attention to addressing this problem, which is a ball and chain around the ankles of Britain’s bus operators and other road users. Local authorities have the power to do something about this and we would urge them to tackle the problem of road congestion as a priority and help get Britain moving again."

Saturday, 17 June 2017

USA News Proterra Delivers 100th All Electric Bus

American electric bus manufacturer Proterra has announced that it has now delivered its 100th all-electric bus — passing the milestone with the delivery of a battery-electric bus to San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) in Stockton, California.

Proterra has captured more than 60% of the market since its creation and has now supplied 36 different municipal, commercial, and university transit customers — spread across 20 different states — with all-electric buses.
Many of the transit agencies serving these communities have also completed third and fourth orders for Proterra buses including San Joaquin RTD, King County Metro in Seattle, and Foothill Transit in Pomona, California.”
So far, Proterra buses have completed over 3,100,000 miles in revenue service, which according to Proterra "Equates to ~ 6,000 tons of GHG emissions reduced and over $2M saved in fuel and maintenance costs" On a total cost of ownership basis, these vehicles can save transit agencies up to $459,000 per bus over diesel-hybrid vehicles and up to $448,000 vs. diesel vehicles over their lifetime. Combined with the environmental benefits of a more efficient technology at 21 mpg, vs. 4 mpg for diesel, and zero tailpipe emissions, this argument for transit electrification has attracted sizeable orders from customers like Seattle’s King County Metro, which placed the largest order of battery-electric buses to date by committing to 73 Proterra vehicles.
“We’re no longer at the dawn of the electric mass transportation revolution, we’re in the midst of it, and this milestone delivery to RTD proves that Proterra continues to lead the way as the industry charges forward,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “As we deliver more buses, forge new partnerships and follow through on more repeat orders, we will continue to do our part as the North American market leader and will champion innovation throughout the electric mobility ecosystem.”

Friday, 16 June 2017

Proposals for Reading's first 'Red Route'

From Reading Council comes the news of an informal consultation on creating Reading’s first ever Red Route – running the length of the Number 17 bus route – began on the 12th June.

A Red Route is a ‘no stopping’ restriction which has been successfully used on major bus routes in London for many years, helping keep key public transport moving, preventing delays for bus passengers and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
In Reading, the proposal is for a Red Route to be introduced along the length of the ‘purple’ 17 bus route. Existing parking bays along the route would be maintained wherever possible, and new ones would be added where they benefit local businesses or residents.
‘Purple’ 17 is Reading’s busiest and best-used bus route. Last year over 4.5 million individual journeys were made along the route – more than 90,000 trips per week. The bus route runs from Tilehurst in the west, along Norcot Road and the Oxford Road, crosses the Town Centre, before running east along the Kings Road, through Cemetery Junction and along the Wokingham Road. The introduction of a Red Route would help prevent illegal stopping or parking along the busy route which disrupts the flow of traffic for buses and for other road users.
The Council also regularly lobbied on safety concerns from residents and road users relating to vehicles double-parking along the busy route, or cars illegally parking or part-parking on pavements. The introduction of a Red Route will help prevent this through more effective enforcement, which will create a safer environment for local residents, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Council’s proposed Red Route restriction would be made up of a combination of double red and single red lines. These would mirror the current double yellow and single yellow lines along the length of the route.
Where double red lines are marked, vehicles cannot stop at any time – Monday to Sunday – including for short periods of loading or unloading. Only disabled blue badge holders and Hackney Carriages (black cabs) would be permitted to stop to allow for boarding and alighting, as well as emergency services.
Where single red lines are marked, drivers would only be able to stop or park in accordance with the signed restrictions. For both double red and single red lines, restrictions would be enforced by CCTV cameras.

Importantly, a key element of the Council’s proposed scheme is to retain all existing parking, loading and disabled bays along the length of the route wherever possible. Through the informal consultation process the Council will additionally seek to identify opportunities to add additional parking bays, and more flexible parking along certain sections of the route, where they would benefit local businesses and residents.
Maintaining existing parking bays and identifying further parking provision is a key focus of the 6-week informal consultation exercise, which opened on June 12, and runs until Friday July 21st. Details of the proposed scheme and how to respond can be found at

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“Red Routes have been successfully used in London for many years now, and with great success. Keeping key bus routes clear and free from delays is essential in a busy town like Reading. ‘Purple’ route 17 is by far Reading’s best used bus service. A properly enforced Red Route is the next logical step in further speeding up journey times for bus passengers, and making the service even more reliable.
“A Red Route will also create a much safer environment for local residents who live along the route, cyclists and pedestrians, all of whom regularly complain to the Council about having to manoeuvre around illegally parked vehicles, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
“The success of the Red Route however, will be in designing a scheme which works for residents and local businesses along the route, as well as for road users.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Latest London Bus Contract awards

The latest awards have recently been announced by Transport for London as follows:

46    (St.Bartholemews Hospital & Lancaster Gate Station) Re-awarded to Metroline Travel with bus type yet to be confirmed. Route to be cut back to terminate at Paddington (Contract start date 23rd June 2018)

Metroline Travel's ADL E20D Enviro200 number DE1167 as it turned from Euston Road into Pancras Road between King's Cross and St.Pancras main line railway stations. Bringing up the rear one of Metroline's older Dennis Darts on route 214 (Tony Wilson)

153  (Finsbury Park Station & Moorgate) Awarded to Go-Ahead London General with bus type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by CT Plus with ADL E20D Enviro200 single-decks from Ash Grove (HK) Garage (3rd February 2018)

214/N214 (Moorgate & Highbury Village) Awarded to Go-Ahead London General with bus type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with ADL E20D Enviro200 single-decks from King's Cross (KC) Garage (note start date of 17th August 2019)

274   (Islington Angel & Lancaster Gate Station) Re-awarded to Metroline Travel with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks replacing the current single-deck operation.  (23rd June 2018)

An earlier aloocation to route 274 was a small fleet of Plaxton Pointer Dennis Darts, represented here by DLD706 as its circumnavigated its way around Marble Arch. Currently operated with ADL E20D Enviro200 (Tony Wilson)

These contract awards have been brought forward with the intention that single-deck routes in the central area be specified for all-electric powered buses. However, a proposal was put forward that route 274 be operated by double-deck buses. This so as to negate the number of extra buses required for the summer season, being as the route serves London Zoo. TfL appear to have accepted this option.
Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Vivarail Begins Testing Again

Visitors to Rail Live will be able to travel by train right to the show, courtesy of Vivarail’s D-Train.

The Class 230 DEMU prototype was scheduled to begin its next set of testing on 14th June travelling between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh on the Cotswold line throughout the day. 

For Rail Live on 21st and 22nd June the train will leave the Quinton Rail Technology Centre at 11.39 to go to Moreton-in-Marsh, from there it will make several trips back and forth.
The Vivarail team will be on board to analyse performance to collect important data whilst the train accumulates mileage.
Passenger shuttles will run between Honeybourne station and a special platform inside the showground at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC). This will be the first time the Class 230 has been in passenger service. The prototype ‘230’ was built and tested at QRTC, and this will be a unique opportunity to see and experience the train first-hand.

Visit Rail Live 2017, the largest outdoor rail show in Europe to see what’s happening in the rail sector. With everything from traction & rolling stock, rail plant and infrastructure, electrification and signalling demonstrations; to displays of engineering, rail maintenance materials & product development/testing safety, digital products and innovation.
List of exhibitors here