Monday, 31 July 2017

The lengths some people will go !

Down under in search of Regents

During 2015 Richard journeyed halfway around the world, but not necessarily to find ex.London buses. Well that's what he told his good lady wife when they visited New Zealand.
So let us leave Richard to explain what this is all about.

Quite an interesting story behind this picture. I had already located former London Transport's Weymann bodied AEC Regent RLH 50 in Parakai on the North Island (it has since moved to the South Island) and next on my list was RLH 45. I had been in contact with the owner (Robbies Fun Bus) prior to flying out to New Zealand and was advised that the bus would be on Waiheke Island, a 35-minute ferry trip from Auckland. My only problem was that Robbie had been unable to tell me where on the island it could be found and I was unable to contact him on arrival in NZ. Never one to let such a minor issue get in the way, I ventured out to Waiheke, thinking someone must know where a red double decker could be found.
The island is larger than it looks on the map and my first thought on arrival at Matiatia Ferry terminal was to ask the driver of a local service bus, thinking he would probably be the person to know. Everyone I had met up until now had been exceedingly friendly, but this particular driver was the exception to the rule, so I departed on route 1, none the wiser as to where the Regent could be found. Having travelled through some familiar place names such as Blackpool, I left the bus in Ostend and made further enquiries. I was advised that it could be found near Onetangi, a little bit further East, and was given some street name that I have since forgotten. Upon arrival, I soon realised that I was walking up a very pleasant residential street and although anything can be found anywhere in New Zealand, it did not look particularly promising with regard to the Regent. There was no sign of it anywhere, but just as I was about to return to the main road to make further enquiries, this couple came walking down the road. I asked if they knew of any red double-deckers in the area and much to my surprise they said they had seen it out and about in Onetangi the previous day. Alas, they did not know where the vehicle was kept. I also had one other other problem - my mobile phone battery was now flat. I had a telephone number for Robbie, so out of desperation I asked the couple if I could borrow their mobile to contact Robbie. Without a moments hesitation they dialled the number and much to my surprise Robbie answered. I thought he would be on the mainland, but he was staying at his house on the island. He said he was a bit busy, but if I could wait an hour he would come and pick me up and take me to the bus. I can think of far worse places to wait than Onetangi Beach, so I thanked the couple who had lent me their phone and waited. True to his word, Robbie turned up 60 minutes later (he had no trouble in picking out the pasty white Englishman by the side of the road) and drove me back to Ostend where the bus was in a locked compound. Robbie unlocked the compound, started the bus and reversed out to pose the bus up for the nearside picture above.

He then took me for a quick 5-minute spin around Ostend, posed the vehicle up for an offside shot, insisted that I admire the interior of the vehicle, before putting the bus away. His hospitality didn't end there, as he then drove me up to his rather nice house and offered me a beer. I had a chat and discovered that Robbie hails from Glasgow. He knows the UK bus scene quite well and has a number of other ex.UK half cabs and suchlike, which he keeps on the North Island. By the sound of it, his "fun bus" business would appear to do quite well.

Bearing in mind I made this visit on a Sunday, Robbie could not have been more accommodating - he even gave me a lift back into Ostend, so I could continue my travels around the island, before returning on Mr.Souter's ferry to the mainland. Having travelled halfway around the world to photograph the vehicle, I cannot express how grateful I was to Robbie and the time and trouble he took on my behalf.
Already mentioned was similar London Transport bus RLH 50 in the then owner's back yard. The bus has been in New Zealand for 45-years. Yet again, the owners could not have been more accommodating when I travelled north from Auckland to photograph the bus.

Since this picture was taken back in January 2015, the bus has since migrated to the South Island and was acquired by Road Trips Marlborough at Blenheim with the intention of working tours of the local vineyards and wineries! It is currently in the hands of Gary Wright (Road Trips) undergoing a slow renovation on his premises, so it may be a while before we actually see her back on the road.

Focus Transport is very grateful to Richard for allowing us to post this, and show the lengths that some of us go for a hobby, albeit by the excuse of a holiday, to locate and photograph buses old and new.

Focus Transport comment:

The London Transport RLH-class was made up eventually of 76-buses in two batches RLH 1-20 (KYY 501-520) and RLH 21-76 (MXX221-276). They were AEC Regent III with Lowbride Weymann L56R bodywork and supplied first in 1950 to the ‘green’ Country Area and later in 1952 to the ‘red’ Central Area of London Transport (LT). Their purpose to provide double-deck bus operation where low bridges and other height issues precluded the standard highbridge type of operation.

In 1950 Midland General had ordered a batch of the lowbridge type, but in the end only required ten such models. The production company were left with a surfeit of 20-buses, which were duly acquired by LT and initially placed into revenue-earning service on Country Area routes to the south of London. Later others were placed into service on Central Area routes, where there were height restrictions.
However, in 1966 major re-shaping changes were under way, especially in the Central Area and the type was removed from the Country Area during 1970 and the Central Area in 1971.
A handful of the type remain in preservationist hands including one (RLH 44), which was converted to a uniform store.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Woes continue to rumble on the Cambridgeshire busway

Council takes legal action over £36m busway 'defects'

Cambridgeshire County Council is taking legal action against the developers of the guided busway.
They say there are defects in the design and construction of the project which could cost up to £36 million to repair.

The busway linking St Ives and Cambridge opened in 2011 and cost more than £150 million.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: "The County Council has agreed to proceed with legal action against BAM Nuttall in respect of defects in the design and construction of the guided busway.
"Our legal and technical advisers are preparing the County Council's formal claim, which will be a public document, so it would be inappropriate to comment in advance of that."


The second part of a recent visit to Leeds by the Focus Transport team focuses this time on buses in the city centre operated by Arriva. These are in an album which can now be viewed by clicking  here

Saturday, 29 July 2017

VAMOOZ heads south


A positive breakthrough for public transport in the south of England – that’s how a new bus travel app is being described by Reading Buses.
At the launch of the new crowdfunded bus app on Wednesday 27th July, Martijn Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses, said it was a ‘groundbreaking solution’ which would bring a new dimension to affordable and green travel beyond the traditional local bus network, leading to many more journey opportunities.
The new technology, which is a smartphone app called VAMOOZ, has been created by Harrogate-based bus operator Transdev Blazefield, who launched the concept in May with three sold-out trips to the One Love Manchester concert, and it quickly became a sell-out success with summer holiday trips to destinations in the north being snapped up.
Now the VAMOOZ concept is coming to the south of England , thanks to a unique partnership between between the two companies.

Said Martijn:  “We are delighted to be launching VAMOOZ in Reading and the surrounding area because we think it will be great for our customers and potentially could even path the way for new bus services. Our initial day trip program for the summer will especially be great for the school holidays, but we'll see many more trips coming on stream as the app grows in popularity.”
He said the initial schedule for the school summer holidays will see trips running to Brighton on Mondays, Thorpe Park & Legoland on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Chessington World of Adventures on Wednesdays and Portsmouth on Fridays.  The first trip runs this coming Monday July 31 and is available to book now.
Prices will be around £10-15 per seat, depending on the destination and distance, and payment is made securely via the app, with the final price for everyone falling as more people sign up to join each trip.
Said Martijn:  “This is the crowd funded nature which encourages people to share details of their trips on social media to encourage their friends and family to book too.
“The whole point of the initiative is to harness the latest technology and crowdfunded approaches through the smartphone app.  However, we'll also be selling seats through our BusShop in the Broad Street Mall at fixed prices for those who can't access the app - £12 to Legoland or Thorpe Park , £14 to Chessington and £17.50 to Brighton or Portsmouth .”
Buses will pick up from Central Reading , outside the station, Cemetary Junction and in Bracknell Bus Station - all places that are well connected through the main Reading Buses network.
Full details of the destinations, dates, times and current prices are shown in the app and users can also suggest new destinations for the future.
VAMOOZ Manager Rebecca Reeve-Burnett said:  “One of the most exciting things about VAMOOZ is it gives everyone the ability to go where they choose, when they choose.
“The customer feedback we have had from our VAMOOZ trips so far has been fantastic and I am certain the concept will prove every bit as popular in the Reading area.
“It truly is a first for public transport in the UK and we are excited to see it being taken forward by Reading Buses, another of the UK ’s most innovative bus operators.”
Martijn added:  “The app based and crowdfunded nature of VAMOOZ is also a great fit with our technology and innovation agenda at Reading Buses. We look forward to welcoming people onboard our bright purple double decker bus as we embark on the next step forward in the evolution of bus travel.”
The VAMOOZ app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or on Google Play and currently offers a £5 discount for all new users.

And finally. Here's a nice kind of link......................


On the subject of Transdev, amongst the many images on the flickr site the latest feature buses from the various operating subsidiaries which serve routes in and out of Leeds. These are now in an album which can be accessed by clicking  here

Friday, 28 July 2017

Concerns over rail investment

Crossrail 2: City mayors criticise government backing

Two city mayors have criticised the government's decision to back Crossrail 2, days after it scrapped rail electrification plans in Wales, the Midlands and the north of England.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said there would be "widespread anger" at the decision to back the railway line, which will run through London.
Liverpool City Region's mayor said there needed to be "balanced spending".
The government said it was spending billions on infrastructure elsewhere.
Crossrail 2, a north-east to south-west railway, which would tunnel beneath central London, could be running by 2033.
It is estimated the scheme will cost about £30bn at 2014 prices and construction could start in the early 2020s.
It would link Hertfordshire and Surrey, passing through Tottenham Hale, Euston-St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria and Clapham Junction.

Announcing the decision to back Crossrail 2, the Department for Transport (DfT) said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had agreed there was "no doubt London needs new infrastructure to support its growth and ensure it continues as the UK's economic powerhouse".
Mr Grayling said: "I am a supporter of Crossrail 2, but given its price tag we have to ensure that we get this right.
"The mayor and I have agreed to work together on it over the coming months to develop plans that are as strong as possible, so that the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer."
Last week, the government was criticised for scrapping the planned electrification of railway lines in parts of England and Wales.
At the time, Mr Grayling said the government would instead introduce faster trains with more seats and better on-board facilities.
On Monday Mr Burnham tweeted: "On Friday, Tories say they can't afford rail schemes in the North.
"On Monday, they find billions more for London. Are these 2 things linked?"

He said: "People here have had to put up with sub-standard rail services for decades and will simply not accept that spending billions more on London is the country's highest priority for transport investment.".
He added that the fact the announcement had been made after Parliament had broken up for the summer was "denying any real scrutiny" of the decision.
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said that while he did not "begrudge" the investment in London and the South East, there needed to be balanced spending to "support growth in the North as well".
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Crossrail 2 is essential for the future prosperity of London and the South East, so I'm pleased that the transport secretary and I have reached an agreement to take this vital project forward."
A DfT spokesman said that while it had agreed to work further with Transport for London on Crossrail 2, it said London needed to pay half of the upfront construction costs and that the government had not committed any public funding yet.
The spokesman added that the government was spending £57bn on HS2, £1bn to improve rail infrastructure in the north of England and £800m on new road schemes.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

New open-toppers in the Lake District

Staying with the Volvo/Wright combination.

Stagecoach route 599 (Grasmere & Bowness-on-Windermere), through the centre of the Lakes, has recently been the recipient of a major upgrade with a complete new fleet of purpose-built Wright Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5TL open-toppers.

However, one of the buses 13802, has been on a kind of minor promotional tour in the North West England areas of Liverpool, Manchester and Preston. The bus operated over a small number of routes including as shown here the on the 192 Levenshulme and the 250 at the 'Magic Kingdom' of the Trafford Centre (both images courtesy of Russell Young)


Prior to these new buses the 599 has been host to a variety of other open-toppers and so a new set of images on the flickr site illustrates the types from Leyland Atlanteans to Dennis Tridents from 1990. This album can now be viewed by clicking  here

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Lothian Invests in New Pollution Busting Fleet

Lothian has launched a fleet of 30 brand new, low emission buses serving one of Edinburgh’s busiest roads, at an investment of over £7m. 

Presented to the city in a parade from Princes Street to Edinburgh Zoo, the new Euro 6 vehicles are operating on Service 26. 

This service connects communities from the west of the city to East Lothian, travelling along St John’s Road in Corstorphine, which is one of Edinburgh’s air quality management zones. Once hailed as the ‘most polluted road in Scotland’, Lothian will convert its final service along this corridor to Euro 6 by the end of 2018 and with this latest investment all its buses on this key artery into the city will meet a minimum of Euro 5 emission standards, providing its residents and commuters with the greenest fleet in the city. 

The service also travels through air quality management zones in Princes Street and Musselburgh High Street.

The engines on the new buses will have much lower CO2 emissions, with the combined reductions in the new fleet equivalent to that of 164 cars per year. 

The custom-built specification for Lothian features USB charging points, high-back seats, increased glazing for visibility and media screens with next stop audio and visual announcements all designed to enhance and improve the customer experience.

The Euro 6 Volvo double deckers, with Wrightbus Gemini 3 bodies manufactured in Northern Ireland will reduce Co2 emissions by 25%, nitrous oxides by up to 98% and particulates by around 75%, compared with the existing fleet.

Over 7.5m journeys were taken on Service 26 across 2016, an average of 150,000 journeys per week.

By the end of 2017, 76% of Lothian’s fleet will be at Euro 5 emission standards or above. Fully committed to measuring and improving the environmental impact of its operations the company plans to introduce 86 new vehicles this year in an investment worth £20.9 million.

 The new vehicles travelled in convoy from Princess Street to Edinburgh Zoo

Richard HallManaging Director, Lothian said: “We fully support the City of Edinburgh Council’s and the Scottish Government’s strategies to improve local air quality. St John’s Road has always been a main artery within the city that we had earmarked for improvement and investment. The introduction of 30 new low emission buses to this route, combined with our on-going fleet replacement strategy BUS2020, ensures that we as a business are doing our part to improve air quality across the city.

Buses are the lifeblood of the city and economy, transporting thousands of customers everyday"

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “We welcome this investment by Lothian, which will significantly impact emissions in areas of poorer air quality across the city as part of a continued effort to convert to cleaner, greener vehicles.

As a Council we are committed to improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions via a range of measures, but it is only with the support of companies like Lothian that we will be able to achieve this.”

Barbara Smith, Chief Executive, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, added: “We are very excited to see the new fleet of Lothian's buses hit the road. The number 26 bus route is now synonymous with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and it is great to see this vital transport link become even more environmentally friendly.

We believe that protecting the environment and promoting sustainability go hand in hand. Thanks to our partnership with Lothian, we hope to encourage plenty more visitors to help improve air quality and reducing emissions by travelling to the Zoo by bus.”

Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Scotland added: “‘We welcome Lothian’s launch of a cleaner 26 route along the St John’s Rd corridor, which is Edinburgh’s most polluted street. Air pollution is still a public health crisis in Scotland, responsible for over 2500 early deaths each year. Buses are a key part of the solution to air pollution and are essential for the majority of Edinburgh residents who do not travel by car. 

One full double decker bus can hold the equivalent number of passengers as 75 cars can, so buses are a clear winner when it comes to tackling congestion and toxic air pollution, especially when they offer a clean and comfortable experience.”

Lothian’s environmental programme began in 2011 and has so far seen over £44million invested in hybrid and Euro 6 vehicles, with support from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund. It currently has 85 hybrid vehicles and with the latest deliveries, will have 152 Euro 6 buses. 
A selection of similar Wright bodied double-deck buses already in the fleet can be viewed on the New Focus Flickr site by clicking here and  here

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Rail time checks

UK rail firms bring in new system for checking punctuality of trains

Rail firms are introducing a new standard for train punctuality which they claim will be the most transparent in Europe.

Arrival times are to be recorded to the exact minute rather than the existing measure of whether services arrive within five or 10 minutes of the timetable.
There are also plans to note punctuality at every station on a train's journey instead of the current set-up which only sees the time recorded at the final stop.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), representing train operators and Network Rail, said: "By adopting the most transparent measure in Europe, we want passengers to know that rail companies are putting an even greater focus on ensuring that trains are meeting the timetable, arriving to the minute and at stations along a journey.
"We are pushing ourselves to drive better punctuality because it will help to deliver a more reliable railway for the whole of Britain."

Alex Hayman, a managing director at consumer group Which?, said: "This could be a positive first step for passengers but only if it results in rail companies making more trains run on time.
"Our analysis has found passenger satisfaction with the punctuality of trains is at a decade low."
Latest punctuality figures show that in the past 12 months 88% of trains arrived at their final destination within five minutes of their schedule for commuter services and 10 minutes for long-distance trips.
Separate right-time performance figures show 63% of trains were no more than 59 seconds late.
The new punctuality standard will display 10 measurements showing passengers how likely trains are to be: early; on time; within 3, 5, 10 and 15 minutes late; more than 15, 20 and 30 minutes late and cancelled.
National figures will be published on the RDG website and individual operators are expected to display their own performance online by April next year.
In April 2019 the data is expected to become one of the official measures of punctuality for Network Rail - which runs the railway infrastructure - when its next funding period begins.
Passenger watchdog Transport Focus welcomed the shake-up of how punctuality is measured.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Passengers want a reliable, on time train service. How that performance is measured and reported should, our research shows, closely mirror passengers' real life experience, otherwise trust will not be built up.
"So it is good to see the rail industry reporting on time performance at many more stations."
Train punctuality can only be measured to the minute at around 80% of stations due to technological restrains, the RDG said.
Before the new measurement is adopted, the rail industry will work to improve this figure, including the possible use of GPS data from trains.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Air travel increases

UK air traffic controllers warn of over-crowded skies

Air traffic controllers are warning that UK skies are running out of room for record numbers of planes.
Friday 21st July 2017 was probably the busiest day of the year, with air traffic controllers expected to have handled more than 8,800 flights - a record number.
They have called for a drastic modernisation in the way aircraft are guided across UK airspace.
It comes as the government launches a discussion to shape the UK's aviation industry for the next 30 years.

Air traffic controllers expect to manage a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace over the summer - 40,000 more than last year.
But the ability of the the UK's National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) to deal with this surge is being stretched to the limit, it is claimed.
NATS director Jamie Hutchison said: "In the last few weeks we have already safely managed record-breaking daily traffic levels, but the ageing design of UK airspace means we will soon reach the limits of what can be managed without delays rising significantly."
The Department for Transport estimates that, if airspace management remains unchanged, there will be 3,100 days' worth of flight delays by 2030 - that is 50 times the amount seen in 2015 - along with 8,000 flight cancellations a year.
The government wants the public to submit ideas on a wide range of subjects, from airport bag check-ins in town centres to noise reduction targets.
The six themes it will consult on over the coming months are:
  • Customer service
  • Safety and security
  • Global connectivity
  • Competitive markets
  • Supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts
  • Innovation, technology and skills
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation.
"It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.
"Our vision puts the passenger at the heart of what we do, but also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment."

Meanwhile, airport capacity is expanding way beyond Heathrow's new runway.
Friday also marked the start of a £1bn investment programme to double the size of Manchester Airport's Terminal 2.
The number of planes taking off and landing at Stansted has gone up every month for almost four years.
Cardiff Airport has seen an 11% rise in traffic, and Luton is recording growth of 7% this year alone.
The problem of volume has been complicated by shifts in travel patterns.
Destinations including Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia have lost out to Spain, Italy and the US, which means major changes in the flows of traffic into UK airspace.

NATS itself is rolling out a new £600m ($747m) computer system known as iTec that could result in more flights and fewer delays.
But Juliet Kennedy, Nats operations director, said: "What is needed is a clear and stable UK policy that recognises how important our airspace is as a critical part of our national infrastructure.
"It is essential that we are able to balance the needs of airspace users with the environment and, of course, with the communities who experience aircraft noise."

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Trams in London

Staying in London for today's posting, 65-years ago on the 6th July 1952, the last trams ran on the old system in London.

Some 92-years earlier the first horse-drawn trams were operated in the Croydon area, but it was not until 1863 that electric trams were tested on a route between Acton and Kew in west London. However, it took many more years before electric trams were introduced properly in the Croydon area from 1901. Electric trams were then introduced gradually over the whole system and were successful, that was until 1935 when diesel powered buses and electric trolleybuses began to phase out the whole system.

The very last tram was operated on the 6th July 1952, with huge celebrations as it entered New Cross depot.

Several examples of the London tram still exist and have been preserved in the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft in Suffolk and the National tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire.

A 'Last week of the Trams' ticket still owned by the rider, a member of the Focus Transport Team when but a callow youth, his identity not disclosed in order to maintain his guilt.

But the story does not really end there. By quite some quirk of fate, there is now modern day system that operates in the Croydon area where it all began. This commenced operation in May 2000 with lines to Beckenham, Elmers End, New Addington and Wimbledon and isoperated today under the auspices of Transport for London as London Tramlink.

Two types of modern tram are used the initial batch of twenty-four, Bombardier Eurorail CR4000 built in 1998/9, joined later between 2012-2015 by twelve Stadier Variobahn models.

A nice touch in the fleet numbering was the first 2530, which follows on in sequence from the last original tram's number 2529.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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

99       (Woolwich & Bexleyheath)  Awarded to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2011-2013 Euro-V diesel double-decks currently on route 253. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with ADL E40D and E40H double-decks from Plumstead (PD) Garage (contract start date 20th January 2018)
269     (Bexleyheath & Bromley North Station) Awarded to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2011-2013 Euro-V diesel double-decks currently on route 253. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with Dennis Trident double-decks from Bromley (TB) Garage (20th January 2018)
401     (Thamesmead & Bexleyheath) Awarded to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2011-2013 Euro-V diesel double-decks currently on route 253. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London Central with ADL E40D and Volvo B7TL double-decks from Bexleyheath (BX) Garage (20th January 2018)
422     (North Greenwich & Bexleyheath Garage) Awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with a mixture of existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks from route 99 and new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London Central with ADL E40D and Volvo B7TL double-decks from Bexleyheath (BX) Garage (20th January 2018)

423     (Heathrow Terminal 5 & Hounslow)  Re-awarded to London United using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V ADL E20D diesel single-decks (3rd March 2018)

635     (Brentford & Sunbury, schooldays-only) Re-awarded to London United using double-decks type to confirmed (13th January 2018)
B14    (Bexleyheath & Orpington Station) Awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI diesel double-decks. Currently operated Go-Ahead London Central with ADL E20D single-decks from Bexleyheath (BX) Garage (3rd February 2018)
B16    (Kidbrooke Station & Bexleyheath Garage) Re-awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2010 Euro-V diesel single-decks (20th January 2018)
H22    (Manor Cross, Richmond & Hounslow) Re-awarded to London United using existing fleet diesel single-decks (3rd March 2018)
H28    (Hayes & Osterley) Re-awarded to Abellio using existing a mixture of existing fleet 2012 Euro-V ADL E20D diesel single-decks and one new Euro-V diesel single-deck (24th February 2018)
H37    (Hounslow & Manor Cross, Richmond) Re-awarded to London United with single-deck buses type to be confirmed (3rd march 2018)

H98    (Hayes End & Hounslow) Re-awarded to London United using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V ADL E20D diesel single-decks, plus a small number of existing fleet 2014 electric-powered ADL E20D single-decks. Route to become 24-hour at weekends (17th March 2018)

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

Friday, 21 July 2017

Rail electrification projects cancelled

New improvements for rail passengers in Wales, the Midlands and the North

The Department for Transport announces plans for new bi-mode trains for passengers with more seats and better on-board facilities.
The government today also published the consultation for the next East Midlands franchise, which will deliver reduced journey times for intercity services and more seats for long distance passengers at peak hours, as well as dedicated services and more capacity for commuters coming into London. The franchise will maximise the benefits of the upgrade of the Midland Main Line — the biggest investment in the route since it was completed in 1870.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and upgrading services across the country, including in Wales, the midlands and the north.
Passengers expect and deserve high quality rail services and we are committed to using the best available technology for each part of the network, delivering significant benefits for those who use our railways.

Benefits along the specific routes include:

Cardiff to Swansea

From Autumn 2017, passengers in Wales will benefit from new Intercity Express trains which will each deliver over 130 extra seats, faster journey times and improved connectivity for South Wales to London with 40% more seats in the morning peak once the full fleet is in service.
Network Rail will also develop additional options to improve journeys for passengers in Wales. These will include:
  • improving journeys times and connections between Swansea and Cardiff, and South Wales, Bristol and London
  • improving journeys times and connections across North Wales
  • direct services from Pembroke Dock to London via Carmarthen on new, state of the art Intercity Express trains
  • station improvements at Cardiff Station
  • station improvements in and around Swansea including looking at the case for additional provision
The Secretary of State also welcomed a proposal for Wales’ first privately funded railway station at St Mellons. The department will work with the promoters of the scheme as they develop their plans to the next stage.
The first new Intercity Express trains will enter service from this Autumn and once the whole fleet is introduced and electrification to Cardiff is complete journey times between Swansea, London and other stations along the route will be approximately 15 minutes shorter.

Midland Main Line

The next operator will be required to deliver modern, fast and efficient intercity and commuter trains, including a brand new set of bi-mode intercity trains from 2022, maximising the benefits of the largest upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it opened in 1870. This will improve journeys sooner, without the need for wires and masts on the whole route, with further investment to come to ensure Sheffield is ready for HS2.

Benefits include reducing journey times on long distance services from Nottingham and Sheffield by up to 20 minutes in the peak and delivering over 1000 additional seats an hour in the peak into London, an increase of more than 50%.

Oxenholme to Windermere

Passengers in the Lake District will benefit from 4 direct services a day in each direction between Windermere and Manchester Airport from May 2018.
The government has announced plans to ensure passengers enjoy brand new trains from December 2019. Journeys between Windermere and Manchester Airport will be improved sooner and with less disruption to services and local communities. It also means there is no need to construct intrusive wires and masts in this National Park.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Great Western Railway

First Great Western passengers could see train delays cut by 15 per cent thanks to system update

Train delays could be cut by 15 per cent thanks to a system upgrade, Network Rail has said.
A new “traffic management system”, designed to better monitor trains and flag up disruption, is being introduced on the Great Western main line from London Paddington to Bristol.
A one-year trial of the system is due to be launched between the two destinations in June 2018.
It is being paid for by an innovative funding agreement between Network Rail and British technology firm Resonate.
The latter will pay most of the cost of installing and running the system. If the expected reduction in delays is achieved, Network Rail will pay less compensation to train operators and share the savings with Resonate.
It should make it easier for the rail company to act to minimise knock-on delays.

David Waboso, group managing director for Digital Railway at Network Rail, said: "Thousands of passengers will benefit from the introduction of this cutting edge technology that could reduce train delays by up to 15 per cent on the main lines out of London Paddington.
"We need our partners in the supply chain to be 100 per cent invested in the products they provide for us, so why not share the costs and share the benefits? That's the way to produce first-rate improvements to the railway."
Services between London and Bristol are operated by Great Western Railway.
The rail firm also operates trains to Ealing Broadway, Redhill, Heathrow and Gatwick Airport.
Almost a quarter of its long distance trains failed to arrive at their final destination within 10 minutes of the scheduled time between May 28 and June 4.
Rail minister Paul Maynard said digital railway technology will "allow us to safely and securely put more trains on our network".
He added: "This means more service, more space and more choice for passengers."


Another day another town. This time it is Newbury in Berkshire which recently became the focus of attention. A selection of buses and coaches have been added to an album and can now be viewed by clicking  here