Thursday 31 August 2017

Bakerloo Line extension

Mandela Way or Walworth East? Transport for London reveals the most popular names for new Bakerloo line stations

The most popular names put forward for the new Bakerloo line stations have been revealed - with Mandela Way among the favourites.
Transport for London has now published the findings of its two-month-long consultation on the extension from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham.
There are two new proposed stations, both located on the Old Kent Road, as well as Bakerloo line stops at current stations New Cross Gate and Lewisham. The precise locations of the new stations have not yet been decided.
Burgess Park was the most popular name for the first station, in honour of the nearby 56-acre park.

The locations of the two new stations on Old Kent Road
The second most popular option was to name the station after Nelson Mandela, as it will be located near the existing Mandela Way.
Another suggestion was Thomas A Becket after the historic pub, so-called because Sir Thomas Becket stayed in the area in the 12th century. The pub – now a Rock Island restaurant - is also famous as the place where boxer Henry Cooper trained.
Old Kent Road North, Walworth East and Albany Road and among the other names put forward by respondents for the station, which will either be located opposite the B&Q store or on Mandela Way.
The second station, further south on Old Kent Road, was given Peckham North, Peckham Park and Old Kent Road South as suggested names.

The most popular was Asylum Road, although one respondent specifically opposed adopting the name of the long road which leads to Queen’s Road in Peckham.
A TfL spokesman said they would consider the suggested names but admitted the final decision has to be "logical".
"It has to be logical so people can picture in their mind where the station is," he added.
The final decision on names will not be made for some time, with agreeing on the locations of stations and shafts the priority.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

More low emission vehicle (OLEV) awards

Cleaner journeys as government commits £11 million to greener buses

Bus users will benefit from cleaner and greener journeys with roll out of low emission buses in towns and cities across England.

Local authorities and bus companies in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire have been awarded the funding under the government’s ‘Low emission bus scheme’ to help them buy 153 cleaner buses.
The successful bidders will use the funding to buy new electric and gas buses, and to install stations to fuel or charge them.
The government is determined to clean up air in towns and cities across the country, and the investment in green buses comes after our air quality plan was published last month.
Transport Minister Paul Maynard said:
Low emission buses are an important part of our plans to make motoring cleaner and improve air quality across the country.
New greener buses will be more comfortable for passengers, they are cost efficient and are good for the environment.
I am pleased to announce this latest group of successful bidders, which should make a real difference to air quality in towns and cities across the country.
The successful bidders are:
  • Denbighshire County Council, Wales - £500,000 for 4 electric buses to be used on services in mid-Denbighshire
  • City of York Council - £3.3 million for 24 electric buses to be used on park and ride services in York
  • South Gloucestershire Council - £4.8 million for 110 gas buses for services around Bristol
  • Surrey County Council, Guildford – £1.5 million for 9 electric buses to be used on park and ride services in Guildford
  • The Big Lemon, £500,000 for 3 electric buses to be used in the Brighton area
  • Go South Coast / Wiltshire County Council – £500,000 for 3 electric buses to be used on park and ride services around Salisbury
The government’s support for low emission buses is one part of a £600 million package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 2020, plus £270 million announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement to support the roll out of low emission cars, taxis and buses and supporting infrastructure.
This follows an initial £30 million awarded to bus companies and local councils in July 2016 under the ‘Low emission bus scheme’ to help put over 300 more low emission buses on the country’s roads.
Later this year, the government will also publish plans for a second round of the ‘Low emission bus scheme’ with a view to putting even more of the cleanest buses on our streets.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

North South divide over rail services

Rail services connecting major towns and cities in the North are four times slower than in the South

  • Analysis by the Press Association has found the South East has the fastest trains
  • Route from Paddington to Reading travels at speed of 93mph, study showed
  • Slowest route was between Liverpool and Chester, which travels at 20mph 

Trains connecting Britain's major towns and cities are up to four times slower outside the South East, according to new research.
Press Association analysis of the quickest possible trains on 19 routes found that services from London travel at average speeds of 65-93mph, compared with just 20-60mph elsewhere.
The slowest route featured in the study was Liverpool Central to Chester, which takes 41 minutes to make the 14-mile journey (as the crow flies) at 20mph.

Average speed of fastest rail connection
(with distance as crow flies)

London Paddington to reading 37 miles 93mph
London Euston to Milton Keynes 46 miles 92mph
London to Ashford 50 miles 65mph
Leeds to York 22 miles 60mph
Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Piccadilly 30 miles 56mph
Edinburgh to Dundee 37 miles 34mph
Liverpool Lime Street to Preston 28 miles 31mph
Cardiff Central to Bristol Temple Meads 24 miles 30mph
Edinburgh to Perth 32 miles 25mph
Liverpool Central to Chester 14 miles 20mph
Press Association analysis of the quickest possible trains on 19 routes found that services from London travel at average speeds of 65-93mph, compared with just 20-60mph elsewhere.
Many of the slowest routes featured in the analysis are only served by trains with multiple stops
Passengers travelling from London Paddington to Reading cover a distance more than two-and-a-half times longer in 17 minutes' less time, at 93mph.
Other routes included in the research include Leeds to Sheffield (42mph), Cardiff Central to Bristol Temple Meads (30mph), and Edinburgh to Perth (25mph).

Passengers travelling from London to other major destinations often have the choice of non-stop trains - meaning lower journey times - or stopping services.
Many of the slowest routes featured in the analysis are only served by trains with multiple stops.
The research featured trains operating on Fridays.
Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, claimed the figures highlighted the 'investment deficit that is seriously undermining growth potential in the North'.
He said: 'You simply cannot deliver a Northern Powerhouse as long as the regions that delivered the Industrial Revolution are reliant on transport infrastructure that is operating on a 19th-century timetable'.
Think tank IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said slow journey times were 'down to decades of under-investment as the Government has just responded to congestion problems in London'.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked anger last month by supporting a new £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East
More than 85,000 people have signed the organisation's petition calling on the Government to boost east-west rail services in northern England.
The think tank claims £1,943 is being spent per person in London on current or planned transport projects compared with just £427 in the North.
Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport called on the Government to 'rebalance transport investment' by reversing the decision to cancel electrification projects.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked anger last month by supporting a new £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East, days after a series of rail electrification projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.

Political and business officials gathered at a transport summit in Leeds on Wednesday, with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham saying 'the patience of people in the North of England has run out'.
Bruce Williamson, spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said some journeys were 'painfully slow' and this makes the railways 'uncompetitive' against other forms of transport such as cars - with negative consequences for the economy and the environment.
'The business community of the North has recognised the need to improve journey times,' he said. 'It's desperately needed.'  

Monday 28 August 2017

Another contract for Bombardier

Bombardier to repower London Underground Central Line trainsets


London Underground has awarded Bombardier Transportation a contract to replace the DC traction motors on the 85 eight-car 1992 Stock trainsets used on the Central Line with its Mitrac AC traction and control equipment.
This is expected to reduce energy consumption while improving reliability and performance. The contract running to 2024 is worth £112·1m, including ongoing maintenance support, and has been awarded as part of London Underground’s wider Central Line Improvement Programme.
‘The Central line is one of the busiest and most important lines’, said London Underground Managing Director Mark Wild when the contract was announced on August 25. ‘We are making a number of improvements to reduce delays and make the line more reliable for our customers. Installing new motors is one of the most important parts of this work, and will mean we can deliver a more reliable service to our customers, which will in turn boost capacity.’
The project will be led from Bombardier's Västerås site in Sweden. Installation on the first trainset as well as associated integration works and testing will be undertaken at Bombardier's Derby site.
The contract win was ‘a ringing endorsement of our traction system business, following Mitrac’s strong performance on other London Underground lines’, said Richard Hunter, Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation UK.

Sunday 27 August 2017

London Underground Night Tube

Night Tube marks one-year anniversary with eight millionth journey

The Night Tube ran its eight millionth journey this weekend as the service marked its one-year anniversary.

Figures released to mark the milestone show that the 24-hour weekend service has boosted the capital's economy by £171m in its first year and is supporting more than 3,600 jobs.
New research by London First and EY predicted the Night Tube over 30 years will add £138m to London's economy every year which is a significant increase compared to the last forecast of £77m a year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has hailed the service as a "huge success" which has "significantly" boosted the night time economy.
Mr Khan said: "The Night Tube has been a huge success ever since the first train rolled out of Brixton station 12 months ago. "I remember the excitement of all the passengers boarding the train that night and I'm so pleased that the enthusiasm of Londoners has stayed strong ever since.
"It's significantly boosted our night-time economy, supported thousands of jobs and helped millions of people travel around our city at night safer and quicker than ever before. It truly demonstrates how London is open at all times of day and night."
The Night Tube - which has seen 6.5 million journeys since it began last year - only ran two lines when it was launched on 19 August last year but now operates on the Central, Victoria, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly routes.
The most popular stations are Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Brixton, Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Late-night revellers have enjoyed the service which sees 150,000 people a night on average.
Amy Lame, London's Night Czar, said: "The Night Tube has firmly established London's position as one of the most vibrant cities in the world after dark. You only have to talk to businesses, bars and venues to see what a boost it provides for them.
"It's been great for workers getting to and from night shifts, and great for Londoners and visitors who are making the most of everything our diverse nightlife has to offer."

The service was first proposed in November 2014 by former mayor Boris Johnson and was due to begin in September 2015.
But it faced difficulties as a series of strikes over pay delayed trains by nearly a year.
Transport for London (TfL) announced earlier this year that the Overground would be the sixth line to adopt the revolutionary Night Tube. The East London route will operate all night on Fridays and Saturdays between New Cross Gate and Dalston Junction, then extended to Highbury & Islington next year.
It means thousands of passengers will be able to travel across even wider swathes of the capital 24-hours a day as it will also connect with Canada Water station on the Jubilee Line.
But Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport, said City Hall were looking to expand other lines, including the Circle and District "when they've finished their upgrades in the 2020s.

Saturday 26 August 2017

Seasonal send-off in Southend

Next weekend a kind of special mini-run of the last day of 2017's Southend's seaside route 68 operation has been organised. Go-Ahead London General's open top Routemaster RML 2318 is planned to perform a duty on the route between Southend and Leigh on Saturday 2nd September.
The usual bus an open top Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL PVL 224, will act as duplicate during the day. If or when not required this bus will stand at Adventure Island.

Current planned itinerary of allocations for the departures from Southend (TBC):
- 10:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 11:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 12:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 13:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 14:00 with PVL224 ONLY
- 15:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 16:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224
- 17:00 with RML2318 & duplicate PVL224

It will also be the last day of the 575 to Southend for 2017. Only on Saturdays does the bus run through direct from Harlow to Southend (whereas on the Tuesday and Thursday, a change of bus is required with guaranteed connection at Romford, The Brewery). This route gives you easy access to Southend from Harlow, Epping, Debden and Romford...return fares for the 575 are £12 adult and £6 concession/child.

And finally 'read all about it'. A rather well written article by John D. Lidstone about this operation, was published in the current issue of Coach & Bus Week and is still available at all good magazine stalls

Friday 25 August 2017

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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

31    (Camden Town & White City Bus Station) Awarded to Metroline West with double-decks type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Tower Transit with VNW-class Volvo B7TL double-decks from Westbourne Park (X) Garage (Contract start date 28th April 2018)

95     (Southall & Shepherd's Bush Green) Re-awarded to Metroline West using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V ADL E20D diesel single-decks currently on route 274 (28th April)

169   (Clayhall & Barking) Re-awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (24th March)

196   (Elephant & Castle & Norwood Junction) Awarded to Abellio with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London General with E-class ADL E40D double-decks from Stockwell (SW) Garage (5th May)

241   (Stratford City & Canning Town) Re-awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (5th May)

247   (Barkingside Station & Romford Station) Re-awarded to Stagecoach East London using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V ADL E40D diesel double-decks currently on route 169 (5th May)

287   (Rainham & Barking Station) Re-awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (24th March)

330   (Wanstead Park Station & Canning Town) Re-awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (5th May)

474(24-hour) (Canning Town & Manor Park Station) Awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Blue Triangle with Volvo B7TL diesel double-decks from River Road Barking (RR) Garage (5th May)

N31  (Camden Town & Clapham Junction) Awarded to Metroline West with double-decks type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Tower Transit with VNW-class Volvo B7TL double-decks from Westbourne Park (X) Garage (28th April)

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

Thursday 24 August 2017

Alexander Dennis Enviro500 news

Buses bound for Mexico in £44m double-decker deal

Scottish bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd will build 90 low-emission double-deckers to run on one of Mexico's most famous avenues.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a £44m finance deal that will see the vehicles shipped to Mexico City.
The Enviro500 buses are being made at Alexander Dennis's sites in Falkirk and Guildford.
They are expected to begin transporting passengers on the Paseo de la Reforma by the end of the year.
The manufacturer employs more than 1,000 staff at its base in Camelon, Falkirk.
The contract was secured with a 1bn Mexican pesos (£44m) agreement by UK Export Finance, part of the government's Department for International Trade.
Mrs May said: "These iconic double-deckers being made in Falkirk to transport commuters around Mexico City are a great symbol of how the UK government is using its muscle to help Scottish companies reach markets across the globe and win multi-million-pound contracts to support jobs in Scotland."
Alexander Dennis Ltd chief executive Colin Robertson, said: "As a global double-decker leader with fleets of our vehicles across the world, we see the positive impact these vehicles can have in improving the transport infrastructure, congestion and air quality in the world's busiest cities.
"Our ability to offer finance from UK Export Finance in Mexican pesos was a significant benefit to our buyer, helping us win this major contract."

Wednesday 23 August 2017

High Speed Rail College

A rare sight greeted residents in Doncaster as a refurbished Eurostar power car – previously used to carry more than 160 million passengers between the UK and mainland Europe – became the latest arrival at the town’s new world-class further education institution, the National College for High Speed Rail.

The 25-tonne power car, which used to whisk passengers from London to Paris and Brussels at speeds of more than 180 miles per hour, has been donated to the college by Alstom and Eurostar after it had been retired from service.

Chief executive Clair Mowbray with a Eurostar power car engine delivered to the High Speed Rail College in Doncaster today

Chief executive Clair Mowbray with a Eurostar power car engine delivered to the High Speed Rail College in Doncaster recently

The train will now have a new lease of life in Doncaster by playing a critical role in educating Britain’s next generation of engineers.
The power car - the classic original e300/ Class 373, or Trans Manche Super Train - arrived in Doncaster on the back of a low loader truck and was winched into place on a 700-metre length of rail track which has been donated to the college by British Steel.
To prepare for its arrival at the college, the power car has undergone extensive refurbishment by Alstom which has included an overhaul to its original livery to incorporate the colourful branding of the new National College for High Speed Rail – the largest of five new national colleges that has been created by the Government to ensure British workers can learn world-class skills.
As an employer-led college, the National College for High Speed Rail is dedicated to solving the engineering, design, planning, manufacturing and construction skills gap that Britain faces as it looks to invest billions of pounds in modernising Britain’s rail network and wider transport infrastructure. The college will play a key role in generating the workforce of the future who will design and build the UK’s new high-speed rail network and future infrastructure projects and has already created the UK’s first Certificate of Higher Education (CHE) in High Speed Rail and Infrastructure, which people in Doncaster can now apply for.
The newly refurbished power car will be used as part of the college’s wider education programme as leaners get to grips with a range of engineering specialisms from rolling stock, to track systems and power.
Clair Mowbray, chief executive for the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “At the college we are passionate that our students and apprentices will learn world-class skills from the most experienced employers in the business, using industry-leading equipment.
“The best way to educate Britain’s future engineers and help reduce the national skills shortage, is to grant learners access to the kind of apparatus they will become familiar with when they go out to work for businesses in the field."Doncaster mayor, Ros Jones, said: “It is great to see that the Eurostar engine has been delivered, this is a great addition to the college.
"It is beneficial for all those who will be attending the college to learn their skills and train on engines that they will be working on in the future."

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Safety measures for London's bus fleet

New technology trials to transform bus safety in London

Transport for London has announced plans to test new safety technology on London buses. Automatic braking and audible warning systems will be trialled alongside measures including new mirrors to improve the driver's vision.

Earlier this year the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, set out a 'Vision Zero' approach to road danger in his draft transport strategy. It aims for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London's streets by 2041.
All of the new technology will receive a completely independent trial at the Transport Research Laboratory. Their leading engineers and technical specialists have been appointed to work with TfL, bus manufacturers and operators to trial a range of innovative safety measures including:
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems that allow the vehicle to detect its surroundings and automatically apply the brakes
  • Features to alert pedestrians and other road users of the presence of buses, such as lights or audible warnings
  • A re-design of the front of buses, which could reduce the impact of a collision
  • Changes to bus interiors to improve passenger safety, such as higher-grip flooring and softening sharp corners
  • Improvements to vision for drivers, including improved mirror design
The results of the trials will feed into a new Bus Safety Standard that will be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018. Transport for London has also published a report on Intelligent Speed Assistance on the 16th August, following a successful trial in 2016. Bus operators are required to fit the technology, which limits the speed at which buses are able to travel, from later this year.

London's Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, said: `Nothing is more important to the Mayor than the safety of Londoners. We are doing our utmost to make the streets of the capital safer and these measures can potentially make big improvements to bus safety.'
Sarah Hope, victim of a collision in 2007 in which her mother died and she and her daughter were seriously injured, said: `I am delighted about the announcement from TfL regarding the new safety technology which is part of the Bus Safety Programme. It is vital that TfL remain committed to reducing the number of collisions and incidents caused by buses in London that result in serious injury and death. I hope the new safety technology will help TfL achieve this.'
Cynthia Barlow, Chair of RoadPeace, said: `RoadPeace welcomes the news that an independent contractor has been engaged to lead on the bus safety trials. Safer buses, including redesign and additional safety features, are key to delivering the Mayor's stated aim of eliminating death and serious injury involving a bus in London by 2030. TfL's bus safety programme is a good example of tackling danger at source.'
Tim Bellenger, London TravelWatch's Director of Policy and Investigation, said: `We welcome the appointment of a lead contractor to trial new safety initiatives for buses in London. Anything that improves safety for passengers and other road users is a welcome step forward and we look forward to hearing the results once this work has been carried out.'

TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said: "We are determined to drive down the unacceptable number of people injured or killed on London's roads and make streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Not a day is being wasted in working towards Vision Zero, and this trial is part of our comprehensive programme to make road deaths caused by London buses a thing of the past."

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

Monday 21 August 2017

Busiest commuter train routes revealed

Eight in 10 busiest train routes are London commuter lines

The 7.16am East Grinstead to London Bridge was today named Britain’s most overcrowded commuter train.
Eight of the 10 most packed routes are on London commuter lines, according to official figures, with all carrying virtually double the number of passengers they are designed to take.
London’s business leaders said the figures were proof of the need for Crossrail 2. A total of 1,366 passengers cram on the East Grinstead train, run by Southern, from Monday to Friday, more than double its 640 “capacity”.
Second most packed is Great Northern’s 7.55am four-carriage Cambridge to King’s Cross service. It is designed to take 202 but on average 426 are on board.
At three is the Thameslink four-carriage 5.08pm Sutton to St Albans City service, which has capacity for 391 but carries 758.
The figures from the Department of Transport come after a nationwide survey revealed commuters in London and the South-East suffer the worst service.

Also in the top 10 are the

  • 6.57am Brighton to Bedford (Thameslink);
  • 7.27am Reigate to London Bridge (Southern);
  • 5.18pm Paddington to Oxford (Great Western);
  • 4.26pm  Bedford to Brighton (Thameslink); and
  • 6.13pm Euston to Birmingham New Street (London Midland).

The other two are in the Manchester region. Figures relate to autumn last year.
David Leam, of business group London First, said: “There is simply not enough room. Next month’s engineering works at Waterloo will provide a short-term fix but it risks being only a sticking plaster. The Government must deliver on projects like Crossrail 2.”
Demand on rail services into London has risen 12 per cent over six years compared with a rise in capacity of six per cent.
It is forecast that by the early 2030s overcrowding on Waterloo trains in peak hours could be equivalent to up to 5.4 passengers cramming into a space the size of a phone box.
A DfT spokeswoman said: “Rail passenger journeys have more than doubled in the last 20 years. We are committed to improving journeys and we are delivering more trains, more seats and quicker journeys to meet this record demand.
"We are investing £40billion in our railways and by the end of 2019 we will have more than 3,700 new carriages on the network.
“We know some passengers have not received the service they deserve, and we continue to work with the industry to cut journey times and crowding, improve reliability and deliver more frequent services.”


Keeping on the subject of diesels the latest album on the site contains images of Diesels in Derbyshire over the past few years. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday 20 August 2017

Feather in the cap for the Bittern Line

Passenger numbers treble on seaside rail line

The number of travellers using a rail line that links Norwich with the Norfolk Broads and the seaside and was once threatened with closure have tripled in the past 20 years.

Passengers numbers on the Bittern Line between Norwich and Sheringham have risen from 200,000 to 600,000 per year.
The Bittern Line is considered to be one of the most scenic railways in Great Britain connecting towns and villages along the route to Wroxham in the Norfolk Broads and the historic seaside resort of Cromer.
It ends at Sheringham where it links to steam services on the restored North Norfolk Railway which runs trains to Holt.

The line is marking 20 years since the launch of the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership which helps to promote rail usage.
It works closely with volunteers, local authorities and train operator Greater Anglia to enhance stations and support events and businesses along the route. In celebration, stations across the Bittern Line are set to host a series of special events including acoustic music at Wroxham & Hoveton, an opportunity to view the former Wroxham Signal Box, special guided walks from Salhouse and West Runton, and a community art board at Norwich.

In addition, volunteers from the Community Rail Partnership will be distributing commemorative birthday cards and cakes on selected services.
Jonathan Denby from Greater Anglia said: "The line is really thriving and helping communities along it and has really brighter prospects because we are going to have brand new trains in the next couple of years."
The line which was once threatened with closure under the Beeching cuts in the 1960s now has an hourly service seven days per week.

Saturday 19 August 2017

London Overground Extension

London Overground extension to Barking Riverside given green light

An extension of the London Overground which is set to give thousands of commuters easier access to jobs has been approved by the Government.

The 5km stretch of track will extend the existing Gospel Oak to Barking line through to Barking Riverside, where 11,000 new homes are planned.
Sadiq Khan said the area has “huge potential” to deliver much-needed affordable homes, and the Overground link “will ensure residents have the high-quality transport links they need”. The Mayor added: “This is wonderful news for east London.”
The £263 million project, part-funded by the Barking Riverside developer, was approved by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Work will begin next year, and the first trains are expected to run in late 2021 from a purpose-built station.

Four services an hour will link residents to the city via connections at Barking station for the District and Hammersmith & City lines and c2c services to London Fenchurch Street and Essex.
Journeys to Canary Wharf will take 30 minutes. Barking, dubbed “Barcelona on Thames” by the local authority for its 2km of waterfront, is also set to benefit from a new pier for riverboat services.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is fantastic news and shows Barking Riverside is on track to become Barcelona on Thames! It’s also yet another sign that Barking and Dagenham is at the epicentre of London’s eastward shift.”

Friday 18 August 2017

Will modern bus history be repeated in London?

Bendibuses should be brought back into use to improve journey times in London, Sadiq Khan told

Experts have called for bendibuses to be reintroduced in London to cut journey times and improve disabled access on certain routes. The buses were taken off the streets by former Mayor Boris Johnson over concerns they were dangerous and encouraged fare-dodging. But a transport committee has now recommended they should be reintroduced throughout the capital to improve the efficiency and popularity of the bus service.

London Assembly’s transport committee suggested they would be better for “express routes” because more people can travel on them and they have improved access for disabled passengers. It acknowledged that the express routes, which have limited stops so buses can travel faster, could be the answer to halting the decline in passengers using the capital’s bus service. Passenger numbers fell by six per cent between 2014/15 and 2016/17, due to increased road congestion and waiting times for customers. In the report published on Thursday, the committee said: “The Mayor has said in his draft Transport Strategy that more express routes may be needed, but stopped short of including any specific proposal to introduce more of them.”

The report adds that bendibuses “might be the best option” because they provide “both a higher capacity and faster loading/unloading than standard double decker vehicles”. The committee pointed out that they also “offer passenger benefits, including more space, faster journeys, and enhanced accessibility for disabled passengers”. The buses were used in London between 2001 and 2011 but were scrapped by Mr Johnson after he labelled them “cumbersome vehicles”. A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “There are absolutely no plans to re-introduce bendibuses back to the streets of London.”

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

Thursday 17 August 2017

Rail fares increase again from January 2018

Rail fares face biggest rise for five years

Millions of rail users in the UK will see the price of regulated rail fares rise by up to 3.6% in January.
The permitted increase - which is taken from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July - will be the highest since January 2013.
Passenger groups said commuters would be worst-hit, and suggested that the RPI measure should be scrapped.
The most widely watched and used measure, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), was unchanged at 2.6%.
The fare rises will affect "anytime" and some off-peak fares as well as season tickets in England and Wales.
In Scotland, it is mainly commuters who will be affected, with off-peak fares rising by a smaller amount. The Scottish government currently limits rises in off-peak fares to RPI minus 1%.
There are no plans for increases in Northern Ireland.
Unregulated fares, which include super off-peak travel and advance tickets, will be set in December.
Transport Focus, which represents the interests of passengers, said rail users were already fed up with getting poor value for money.

David Sidebottom, director of Transport Focus, said: "Yet again, passengers, now majority funders of the railway, face fare rises next January. Commuters do not give value for money on their railways a high satisfaction score - just one third according to our latest survey.
Transport Focus also queried the use of the RPI measure to determine fare increases: "Why is the Government not using its preferred measure of inflation: the one that is used to determine wages and pension increases, and one which is often lower than RPI? Why not use the Consumer Prices Index for rail fares too?"

Justified rises

The CPI measure has gradually replaced the RPI over the past few years as the benchmark for changes to most government-controlled funding.

James Tucker from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was not in favour of using RPI as a benchmark: "We know there will be a focus on the RPI this month, but the National Statistician has been clear it is not a good measure and we do not recommend its use."
The Department for Transport rejected the idea of using CPI, saying RPI was used across the rail industry - for example in calculating the cost of running train services.
The government said fare increases were justified by improvements to the network.
"We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century to improve services for passengers - providing faster and better trains with more seats," a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said.
"We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger."

Sample season ticket increases - if implemented fully in line with RPI

  • Reading-London currently £4,308 would rise to £4,464
  • Bournemouth-London currently £6,500 would rise to £6,736
  • Gloucester-Birmingham currently £3,968 would rise to £4,112
  • Loughborough-Leicester currently £1,084 would rise to £1,124
Source: Transport Focus

'Increasing proportion'

Since 2007 it has been explicit government policy for passengers to pay more of the overall cost of running the country's rail system, and for taxpayers as a whole to pay less via subsidies.
The coalition government continued the policy of shifting the financial burden to the wallets of passengers, though with less aggressive price increases than before.
A research paper, published earlier this year by the House of Commons Library, cited earlier figures from the rail regulator in March 2016 showing that "passengers have contributed an increasing proportion of the rail industry's income relative to taxpayers over the past four years - up from 55.6% in 2010-11 to 65% in 2014-15."

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Concerns over slowdown in travel by bus in London

Urgent action needed to make buses in London quicker and more reliable

From London TravelWatch

London’s independent passenger watchdog has written to the Mayor of London asking for urgent action to make buses in London quicker and more reliable.

The performance of London’s bus service has deteriorated over the last few years. Buses have got slower and less reliable and a number of performance statistics show that many bus routes are falling below their contracted minimum reliability standard. In 2012/13 and 2013/14 relatively few high frequency bus routes performed below standard - about 60 out of the 380 high frequency routes. But in the last couple of years, 2015/16 & 2016/17, this figure has risen to around 120 routes. We also know buses have got slower with average speeds down from 9.6mph three years ago to 9.2 mph today.
Stephen Locke, Chair of London TravelWatch commented: 'This is extremely concerning. Passengers arrange their lives around having a quick and reliable bus service, but by any measure, London’s bus services are getting slower and more unreliable.'

Stephen continued: 'Our monitoring shows that the deterioration in bus performance has happened over the last few years. We can see some stabilisation in performance, but this is not good enough - performance must return to its contractual levels. Running London’s bus services reliably has to be one of the most important things TfL does because millions of passengers rely on them every day. So I have written to the Mayor today to ask that he takes personal responsibility for driving up bus performance. We will, of course do everything we can to assist in this and have suggested some short term actions.'
Suggestions made by London TravelWatch include:
  • Buses should have priority on all the roads that they use – waiting restrictions should be reviewed
  • Operational hours of existing bus priority should be extended
  • Considering congestion charging for Private Hire Vehicles as this would improve the performance of bus services in central and inner London
  • Bus services in central and inner London could also benefit in the evening and on Saturday and Sunday if congestion charging was applied for longer hours.
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

Tuesday 15 August 2017

And now for something completely different - Veni vidi vici !

The Roman Empire’s 250,000 Miles of Roadways Imagined as a Subway Transit Map

University of Chicago sophomore Sasha Trubetskoy spent a few weeks designing this amazing subway-style transit map of all the roads in the Roman Empire circa 125 AD. As Kottke notes, Rome constructed 250,000 miles of roads starting in 300 BC—over 50,000 miles of which were paved with stone—linking a total of 113 provinces from Spain to modern day Britain to the northern tip of Africa.
Trubetskoy pulled data from numerous sources, but took liberties where the history is fuzzy. “The biggest creative element was choosing which roads and cities to include, and which to exclude,” he shares. “There is no way I could include every Roman road, these are only the main ones. I tried to include cities with larger populations, or cities that were provincial capitals around the 2nd century.”

Monday 14 August 2017

A Phoenix rises from the ashes

Africa bus destroyed in A11 Cambridge blaze replaced

A double-decker bus has been donated to a pub to replace its vehicle that was destroyed in a fire.
The original bus was on its way to Norfolk when it was engulfed in flames on the A11 near Cambridge in July.
Eunice Jokrassett, landlady of The Crown, and other villagers in Smallburgh, Norfolk, had been fundraising for the bus since February.
It was to be turned into a library, and taken to Ms Jokrassett's home country, the Ivory Coast.
An anonymous businessman, who heard the £6,000 bus had gone up in flames, stepped in and donated a replacement vehicle.

The bus will be packed up with books and school equipment that had been collected by local people.
In September, it will begin its two-week journey to the Ivory Coast.
Once there, it will travel to schools in and around Abidjan.
"It's like an English resource centre, and will allow the children to learn about England, there are loads of books on board for children to learn the English language", said Ms Jokrassett.
In November, she and 20 people from Smallburgh will fly to the Ivory Coast to see the bus in use.
The original bus was destroyed after a blaze started in the engine compartment, the fire service said.

The bus back in June 2004 at the Elephant & Castle, when in service with Arriva London

Sunday 13 August 2017

Steam back on the London Underground

Vintage steam trains to make grand return to Metropolitan line

Vintage steam trains are to return to London’s Metropolitan line next month.
A host of steam locomotives will run on the line between Amersham and Harrow-on-the-Hill for one day only on 9th September
Train enthusiasts will have the chance to ride the Metropolitan No.1 steam locomotive, Steam Locomotive No. 9466, two class 20 diesel locomotives and the 1950s ex-British Rail coaches resplendent in their red livery.

Tea and cakes will be served from vintage crockery to day-trippers during some of the journeys.
London was the first city in the world to have an underground railway and the initial section built by the Metropolitan Railway ran between Paddington and Farringdon.
The idea was put forward by Charles Pearson, the Solicitor for the City of London, who saw it as a way of reducing traffic on the capital’s congested roads and enable people to live in suburbs.
Now part of the Circle line, the first section opened in 1863 with the trains hauled by steam engines.

For nearly 40-years the Circle, Metropolitan and District lines were operated by steam locomotives, the only underground railway in the world to ever use them.
The locomotives were replaced by electric trains in the early 1900s, but steam engines were still used to haul freight and works units until 1971.
The ‘Vintage Summer Steam’ event has been organised by the London Transport Museum.
The first train will depart from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Amersham at 10.20am, while the last will leave Amersham at 3.27pm and arrive in Ruislip at 4.11pm.
Ticket prices range between £5 and £25 and can be bought here.
On Sunday, passengers can take a free heritage bus ride from Amersham Station to Amersham Old Town for the town’s annual Heritage Day.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Dublin bus routes award

NTA Announces Go-Ahead as preferred bidder for bus routes in Dublin

Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham said:
“This is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin and NTA is confident that passengers will benefit from this decision.  We believe that a new operator in the market will bring a fresh dimension to the way that services are offered. Introducing new providers encourages everybody to focus on their customers’ needs and it encourages innovation and improvements to service quality.

“It has also been the experience internationally that introducing some level of competitive tendering into PSO services like this, usually results in a better deal for passengers and for the public in general.
“Under the provisions of the tender, not only will service levels on the routes in question be maintained, they will actually be increased by about 35%. So passengers in areas served by these routes have absolutely no reason to worry about this change. Matters such as fares, frequency and scheduling for the service will all be set by the NTA, and not the operator.
“The contracting model that we are putting in place is the same as the arrangement that we have had in place for years for Luas. Luas is owned by the state and run by Transdev. These routes will be owned by the state and run by Go-Ahead.
“It is also important to note that there is no threat to the Dublin Bus company, or to its workers arising from this decision. There will be no redundancies in Dublin Bus associated with the result of this tender competition.

“As Go-Ahead begins to operate these routes and as Dublin Bus withdraws, the NTA will be building on the frequency of the remaining Dublin Bus routes, something that is needed to meet growing demand. The details, timing and sequencing of these improvements will be a matter for discussion between Dublin Bus and NTA, but there’s absolutely no reason why these changes could not take place in parallel with the transfer of routes to Go-Ahead.
“So ultimately, over the next two years, bus customers in Dublin are going to see a large increase in the number and range of services.”
Go-Ahead were selected as preferred bidder under a competitive public procurement process. Under this process the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (the “MEAT” tender) is identified through detailed assessment which includes a weighted score for price and quality. The weighting ratio between quality considerations and price considerations was 35:65. This was considered by the NTA as the best fit for this competition.
Go-Ahead is an experienced transport operator with operations primarily in the UK. The company is one of the largest bus operators in London and is recognised as one of the most successful consistently achieving high scores in customer service surveys by TfL.
Go-Ahead was established in the late 1980s in North East England with the privatisation of the National Bus Company. It grew through the acquisition of a number of bus companies and expanded into the rail market in the 1990s.
The company’s three core divisions are: Regional UK bus services, accounting for 7% of the UK market; Go-Ahead London services operated on behalf of Transport for London; and Rail.