Sunday 23 December 2018

The Last Post for 2018

The link to the Focus Flickr site can be accessed by clicking   here

However, one of the editors will be ............

 ........... for a while, as undergoing repairs to the offside between Christmas and the New Year. The Eve should be interesting with a Morphine & Horlicks mix plus an Ovaltine chaser.

With that...........................................

Saturday 22 December 2018

Latest London Bus contract awards

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

8/N8 (Bow Church & Tottenham Court Road / Oxford Circus & Hainault) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach East London using the existing fleet 2014 Euro-V New Routemaster, peak vehicle requirement (pvr) 28 (Contact start date29th June 2019)

81 (Hounslow & Slough) LBSL contract awarded to Metroline Travel with 2011/12 Euro-V diesel double-decks, pvr 16. Currently operated by RATP London United with ADL E40D double-decks from Hounslow (AV) Garage (27th July 2019)

100 (Shadwell Station & Barbican) LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead London Central with new electric single-decks, pvr 9. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Docklands Buses with ADL E20D single-decks from Silvertown (SI) Garage (21st September 2019)

205/N205 (Paddington & Bow Church/Leyton) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach East London using the existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI hybrid double-decks, pvr 23 (31st August 2019)

209/609 (Mortlake & Hammersmith) LBSL contracts awarded to Go-Ahead London General with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks, pvr 10. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with ADL E20D single-decks from Brentford (AH) Garage (17th August 2019)

232 (Neasden & Turnpike Lane Station) LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead London General with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks, pvr 16. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with ADL E20D single-decks from Cricklewood (W) Garage (3rd August 2019)

395 (Greenford & Harrow-on-the-Hill Station) LBSL contract awarded to RATP London Sovereign with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks, pvr 6. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with ADL E20D single-decks from West Perivale (PA) Garage (7th September 2019)

490 (Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 & Richmond) LBSL contract re-awarded to Abellio West London using existing fleet 2012/16 Euro-V & VI diesel single-decks, pvr 16 (24th August 2019)

497 (Harold Wood & Hilldene Avenue) New route. LBSL contract awarded to Stagecoach East London with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks, pvr 2 ( 24th August 2019)

H13 (Ruislip Lido & St.Vincent’s Hospital) LBSL contract awarded to Metroline West using existing fleet 2011/12 Euro-V diesel single-decks, pvr 6. Currently operated by RATP London Sovereign with ADL E20D single-decks from Harrow (SO) Garage (7th September 2019)

All Euro-V vehicles will be upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards


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 December 2018

Stagecoach to Sell North American Division for US$271m

Stagecoach Group plc has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its North America Division to an affiliate of Variant Equity Advisors, LLC for an estimated enterprise valuation of US$271.4m.
The cash proceeds will be used to reduce Stagecoach's consolidated net debt.
The Disposal is expected to complete by the end of the current financial year to 27 April 2019.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Chief Executive, commented:

"During our two decades in the North American transportation market, our success included reinvigorating the inter-city coach sector and delivering growth with our innovative brand. We have a great team of people who have ensured we have played a leading role in the development of public transportation in the United States and Canada.

"The sale of our North American operations will allow management to focus more closely on the significant opportunities for growth in the UK. We have strong bus and rail operations in the UK where public transport has good prospects as the clear solution to the challenges of increasing road congestion and poor air quality."

Information regarding Stagecoach's North America Division

Stagecoach's North America Division operates bus and coach services. It provides inter-city coach services, commuter services, airport transportation, sightseeing tours, charters and contract services across North America. It is one of the largest ground transportation operators in North America with around 4,500 employees and more than 2,000 buses and coaches.

For the year to 27 October 2018, Stagecoach reported revenue of US$619.4m (£460.3m) and operating profit* of US$21.7m (£15.9m) for the North America Division.

For the last full Stagecoach financial year to 28 April 2018, revenue for the North America Division was US$630.0m (£470.9m), operating profit was US$28.1m (£21.0m) and profit before tax was US$23.8m (£17.8m).

The gross assets of the North America Division as at 27 October 2018 were US$478.6m (£373.3m).

Background to and reasons for the Disposal

The Stagecoach Board believes that the Disposal represents an opportunity to realise an attractive valuation for the business whilst refocusing Stagecoach's portfolio on the UK.

The management of the North America Division are expected to remain with that business following the Disposal, while Stagecoach Group's management will principally focus on its UK bus and rail operations, and growth opportunities in the UK.

Terms of the Disposal and use of proceeds

The North America Division is headed by Coach USA, Administration, Inc. Stagecoach subsidiary, Scusi Limited ("Scusi"), has agreed to sell 100% of the equity of Coach USA, Administration, Inc. to Project Kenwood Acquisition, LLC. Project Kenwood Acquisition, LLC. is an entity managed by Variant. Variant is a private equity firm that focuses on pursuing corporate divestitures and other operationally-intensive transactions.

The consideration for the Disposal has been agreed at US$207.0m, subject to a "Locked Box" arrangement. Based on the net debt of the North America Division as at 27 October 2018 of US$64.4m (after adjusting for US$20.0m of dividends paid in November 2018 and reflected in the agreed price), that represents an enterprise value for the business of US$271.4m.

The consideration includes a Deferred Payment Instrument of US$65.0m, with the balance of the consideration being payable in cash on completion of the Disposal. The amounts that Scusi receives under the Deferred Payment Instrument might be affected by the future performance or subsequent sale of the North America business.

Under the agreed "Locked Box" arrangement, the cash consideration may be adjusted for certain "leakage" transactions, such as further dividends, prior to the completion of the Disposal. For a transitional period following the Disposal, Stagecoach will continue to support collateral arrangements for the ongoing operation of the North America Division, principally in relation to insurance.

The cash proceeds will be applied to reduce Stagecoach's consolidated net debt.

Completion of the Disposal is subject to certain conditions, principally relating to the approval of the Surface Transportation Board, the removal of certain Stagecoach parent company guarantees, change of control consents and no material adverse events. Stagecoach expects the Disposal to complete by the end of its current financial year to 27 April 2019.

Thursday 20 December 2018

Transport for London spending a penny

March of the 'Turdis': Forty stainless steel lavatories for bus drivers planned on London's streets

One appeared in an conservation area of special historic interest . Another was dubbed the Turdis by furious residents when it popped up in their quiet street. Now the full scale of the “Turdis invasion” across suburban London can be revealed. More than 40 of the stainless steel lavatories for bus drivers are set to be installed on routes in the coming months, at cost of £6 million to Transport for London.

The first wave has seen 10 appear across the capital, at the beginning or end of major bus routes. Some are only temporary and will be replaced with the sturdier steel kiosks with porthole windows in the new year. At least 30 more are expected under TfL’s plan to ensure round-the-clock facilities are available to drivers. The specific locations are either yet to be identified or remain confidential.

Editor's note: However there appears to be no provision yet for any on the prefixed P-routes nor the number 2

Due to their classification as infrastructure facilities, the lavatories can bypass planning laws. TfL says it has sent out letters to residents, but it is under no obligation to do so.

Melissa Reynolds, 32, a mother-of-two who lives near a new lavatory at Kew Retail Park, in Richmond, said it was like “an invasion”. She added: “Why do we have to have it on our doorstep? Only one bus uses this route.” Anthony Purvis, 52, a quantity surveyor from Kew, said: “Drivers won’t use it. They stop for ten minutes at the start or end of the shift and go for a coffee in Costa in the retail park. There, they have a lovely warm toilet and not a cold metal tin.”

Other routes where lavatories have been installed include Harold Hill, north-east London; Staines bus station; Harts Lane estate in Barking; Minstead Gardens in Roehampton; Vulcan Way in New Addington; and Folly Lane in Waltham Forest.

Emma Francis, 32, a mother-of-two from Waltham Forest, said: “I don’t think anyone is happy to have a toilet at the end of their road. It will just get vandalised and we’ll be stuck with something the drivers can’t even use.” But Francis Laca, 60, whose home overlooks facilities near Staines bus station, said: “I’ve seen the drivers going in the bushes and you can’t really blame them. This actually looks quite unique.”

The lavatories were announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan in February after pressure from the unions. They are accessible only to drivers with keys. One bus driver, who did not wish to be named, said the lavatory in Minstead Gardens was a “godsend”. “It was long overdue,” he added. “If there are no facilities, then we do have to relieve ourselves wherever we can. If you go to a cafe or shop you have to buy something, so this is a huge benefit to us.”
Residents in a garden square on the number 88 route through Clapham caught wind of a planned lavatory, and launched a fierce campaign. The toilet was due to be installed last week but its site is now being reviewed.

Gary Youssef, co-chairman of the Friends of Grafton Square, said: “We were not arguing the fact that the drivers needed loos — it’s the slapdash way that TfL went about this. This is in a conservation area. In order to do any other sort of building work you need to jump through so many hoops.” Nick Fairholme, director of project and programme delivery at TfL, said: “We aim to contact local stakeholders and residents to inform them of our intentions and allow them to feedback comments.”

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Full Christmas Bus Service for Isle of Wight

Planes, trains and automobiles may all slow down on Christmas Day, but there is one part of the UK where a comprehensive bus service will be in operation.
Southern Vectis, part of The Go-Ahead Group, will run a comprehensive bus service across the Isle of Wight on December 25.

The island is one of the only parts of the UK to see normal transport run throughout the festive season, allowing residents to visit friends and family, get to work and those full of festive spirit to travel home safely.

The operator began running a few Christmas Day buses in 2008 and has gradually increased its services. Drivers sign-up for the festive shifts, and this year Southern Vectis was over-subscribed with drivers eager to don their Santa hats and festive jumpers before getting behind the wheel.

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Southern Vectis, said: “People on the Isle of Wight appreciate being able to get around on Christmas Day whether it’s to visit family, see friends or simply get out of the house for some fresh air. Passengers really appreciate the service, with many bringing sweet treats on board for our hard-working drivers.”

“Our services demonstrate the benefits of locally managed, commercial bus services which are able to react to meet the needs of local people. I pay tribute to my colleagues who work on Christmas Day to provide this essential service.”

Go-Ahead’s south coast operation will also run services in Southampton and across the region. Key routes - such as Southampton’s flagship Bluestar 1 – will be diverted to travel through smaller towns and villages. The popular Bluestar 18 will be extended to encompass local hospitals on their routes, ensuring that people with mobility issues, or lack of access to other vehicles, are able to visit friends and family in hospital, or farther afield on the big day. This same initiative will run on the M1 and M2 Morebus operations in Bournemouth and Poole, which will be extended to cover The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Christchurch.


DATE FOR THE DIARY - Friday 21st December - Warrington

Vintage Christmas Buses for Warrington

The town’s bus company will have its vintage Leyland PD2 & Volvo Olympian open top buses out and about for Christmas. During the day on Friday 21st December, the vintage and open top buses will operate journeys on The Cheshire Cat, The Pops & 16/16A.

The Leadership of the bus company will be on board, with Santa Claus, to welcome customers with a chocolate and the fares from those journeys will be given to St Roccos.

Chair of the company Cathy Mitchell said: “For a second year running, we will have our special buses out to spread some festive cheer. We’ve done a lot in the past 12 months to reduce fares and improve services and we have more to come in 2019. It is also fitting to make a donation to St Rocco’s Hospice as it is such a worthwhile charity”.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Councils Should Re-invest Car Parking Profits in Backing Buses

Stagecoach, one of Britain's biggest bus operator has called on councils across Britain to reinvest their hundreds of millions of pounds of profits from car parking in measures to back the country's bus networks.

 A Stagecoach Enviro 200 makes its way through a section of Glasgow city
centre where cars are banned

Stagecoach said the £925m annual surplus from car parking fees and enforcement shared by local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales could help bus passengers and tackle the growing congestion and air quality crisis in towns and cities across the UK.

Data published by the RAC Foundation shows that council profits from on-street and off-street parking car parking in England has risen by almost a third (32%) over the past four years and in 2017-18 stood at £867m.

In Wales, the surplus for 2017-18 was £14.4m, up 3% on 2016-17 and the fifth consecutive annual increase.

Statistics for 2017-18 covering councils in Scotland has not yet been published, but the equivalent figure for 2016-17 was £42.6m, an increase of 6% on 2015-16.

The increasing council profits from car parking is in stark contrast with the significant cuts to local authority spending on buses in recent years - despite the bus being Britain's most important and heaviest used mode of public transport.

Data published earlier this year by the Campaign for Better Transport shows that local authority bus budgets in England and Wales were cut by £20.5 million in 2017-18 - the eighth year in a row investment has been reduced.

Since 2010-11, 3,347 council funded bus services in England and Wales have been reduced, altered or withdrawn, with spending down 46% in England and 39% in Wales between 2010-11 and 2017-18.

 A Stagecoach Enviro 400 on a service to Newcastle city centre where it will share road space with private cars heading to city centre car parks

Mark Threapleton. Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus said: "Towns and cities across Britain are facing a congestion and air quality crisis, which is damaging the health of our bus networks, the health of our economy and the health of individuals.

"These figures show that councils are making huge profits from car parking every year, but instead of that money being reinvested in measures to help bus passengers and encourage modal shift to sustainable bus travel, bus budgets are being slashed.

"With around 30% of high street spending coming from bus users, these investment cuts are not just bad news for public transport, but bad news for local businesses.

"If local authorities are serious about addressing air quality, backing the high street and supporting local communities, we believe car parking profits should be ring-fenced to protect and improve Britain's buses. This is absolutely not about subsidies for bus companies, it is about targeted measures to help bus passengers.

"We could see a massive positive impact if that level of funding was used to promote sustainable bus travel, deliver better bus priority for passengers, and introduce traffic management measures to address congestion."

The car parking profits equate to more than four times the combined £204.5m budgeted spend by councils in England and Wales in 2018-19. Total budgeted spend for buses in England in 2018-19 is £189.7m and for Wales is £14.8m.

Buses account for around 60% of all public transport journeys, with around 5 billion journeys by bus in Britain every year.

Monday 17 December 2018

A Classic Cumbrian Rally

21st Cumbria Easter Rally –
Kirkby Stephen & Brough – 20th & 21st April 2019

From the Cumbria Easter Rally group
We’re delighted to say that applications for 2019 are now open. Please visit to download application forms for next year’s Cumbria Easter Rally. Each exhibit requires a separate form.

Confirmations and full entry instructions will be issued close to the Rally date. Unfortunately, as in previous years, due to the Rally’s popularity, we may have to restrict the number and type of entries in categories, both as static and running vehicles, so pre 1980 and rarer models will have priority. As always, we ask please that you enclose an A5 s.a.e so that we can return your entry number.

Please feel free to download the flyer on the site for your social media pages or to share with your database.  This poster is for applications, we shall send out an event poster next year for spectators.

The Saturday evening road run last year, was again, very enjoyable and we look forward to the 2019 road run.  Please indicate if you want to join this.

PSV owners will be contacted separately when they enter vehicles to ascertain their suitability and eligibility for the Rally bus service. Please indicate on the entry form if you would like to join the bus service.

Also tell us if you need us to send you an HGV over-weight permit.

DATE FOR THE DIARY - 20th to 24th December - Norwich

Sunday 16 December 2018

P2 New Build Update

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company has announced that their Motion Club has reached 100 members since it opened in April 2018.

The Motion Club aims to raise £210,000 to manufacture the motion for P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

In order to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales by the end of 2021, the project needed to order the heavy motion in 2018.

The Mikados’2-8-2's were the most powerful express locomotive in the UK. Designed in the 1930s by Sir Nigel Gresley, they were designed to haul 600-ton trains. The build has an estimated cost of £5 million and will use modern construction techniques, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Members of the Motion Club receive the following special benefits:
Opportunity to buy a ticket (seat already reserved) on one of the first trains hauled by No. 2007 Prince of Wales
Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
Opportunity to buy exclusive Motion Club badge
Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
First choice of other components to sponsor
Special Motion Club day with Tornado
Special limited-edition version (signed/numbered) of Stuart Black’s drawing of No. 2007 Prince of Wales
What did the officials say?

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, well over £3m has now been donated or pledged with half of the required £5m already received.

“We now want to turn our attention to the motion which is our next major manufacturing challenge. Given the level of support The Motion Club has received, we are confident we can raise the additional £85,000 needed to pay for the heavy motion and remain on-track for completion of new Gresley class P2 locomotive – No. 2007 Prince of Wales – in 2021.

“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a member of The Motion Club or a monthly ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ 

It’s time to get on board! Next year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”

Saturday 15 December 2018

New VDL Electric Bus

Dutch manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach is introducing its new Low Entry variant of electric Citea bus in Europe. 

The new VDL Citea SLE-129 Electric already attracted first order from Finnish public transport company Tammelundin Liikenne Oy, which purchased two for routes 90 and 96 in the Vuosaari region of Helsinki.

According to the press release, the right size battery capacity (216 kWh) combined with charging at bus stops during operation (using roof-mounted pantograph with a power transfer capacity of 300 kW), enables it to stay in operation for 22 hours a day. The other two hours are needed to check and clean the bus (as well as charge at 50 kW to full), which proves that electric buses can replace the diesel equivalent without much hassle.

The major focus needs to be now on how to make the EV buses more affordable (higher upfront costs) and implement at scale to lower charging infrastructure costs per bus.
VDL Citeas SLE-129 Electric spec:
  • length of 12.9 metres
  • 40+3 seating configuration and a large passenger capacity of approximately 80 passengers
  • 216 kWh battery pack
  • 300 kW fast charging capability
More about the project:

In August 2019 the buses will be put in service on lines 90 and 96 in the Vuosaari region of Helsinki, as direct replacements for the current diesel buses on these lines. During the evening and night the buses will run to Helsinki Central Station.

VDL Citea SLE-129 Electric
The Citea Electric built as a Low Entry vehicle with a length of 12.9 metres, a 40+3 seating configuration and a large passenger capacity of approximately 80 passengers is very suitable for the Finnish market. The Citeas SLE-129 Electric for Tammelundin Liikenne are equipped with the new 216 kWh battery pack. During the day the buses are used for short distances of 2 and 5 kilometres and recharged at the metro station in Vuosaari. In the evening and at night the buses travel distances of 17 and 19 kilometres and are recharged at Helsinki Central Station. The buses are topped up during operation by means of a roof-mounted pantograph with a power transfer capacity of 300 kW. When out of service, the vehicles are also slow charged with 50 kW depot chargers using the CCS plug at the Tammelundin Liikenne depot. In total, the two VDL Citeas SLE-129 Electric for Tammelundin Liikenne are in operation 22 hours a day.

Launo Elers, Managing Director Tammelundin Liikenne Oy said:

“Making public transport more sustainable plays a major role in the transition to a healthier living environment. As a public transport company we believe it is important that we do our part to make Helsinki a sustainable city. It makes us proud to be the first public transport company in Finland to purchase electric buses on a commercial basis and to do so in collaboration with VDL Bus & Coach,”

Henrik Mikkola, Managing Director VDL Bus & Coach Finland Oy said:

“With this first order for the Citea SLE-129 Electric, Tammelundin Liikenne demonstrates its confidence in VDL Bus & Coach as a transition partner and market leader in the field of electric public transport. We are proud that in addition to the 22 VDL Citeas LLE the customer already has in operation we are now able to supply the first VDL Citeas SLE Electric, and look forward to further cooperation in the future to boost Helsinki’s sustainability,”.


Something for the weekend in the shape of a selection of buses and coaches, which span the period from the 1970s to the 2000s. Placed into an album, these can now be viewed by clicking  here 

Friday 14 December 2018

Stagecoach Santa Buses

Stagecoach West’s specially-decorated Routemaster will bring Father Christmas and his elves to various locations in  Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon,
Visit Santa and his elves at the following locations from 11am - 3pm:
Monday 17th December - Cheltenham High Street
Tuesday 18th December - Cheltenham High Street

Wednesday 19th December - Gloucester Kings Square
Thursday 20th December - Swindon Wharf Green**
Friday 21st December - Gloucester Kings Square
**The vintage RM will stay in Swindon all day, greeting excited children and offering presents to them from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Rachael Youd, business development manager at inSwindon BID Company, said: “This is a great initiative by Stagecoach, who are one of our BID members.
“We would encourage shoppers to take their children along to visit Santa and his mischievous elves and make a donation to support the charities that provide much needed support in our communities.”
He’ll also be visiting Cheltenham and Gloucester twice, but only from 11am to 3pm each time.
The Santa bus attracted quite a crowd when Father Christmas arrived in town last year at the Orbital and his much-anticipated return is expected to be just as popular.
All the money raised during the trips will go to Friends of Swindon Young Carers and Gloucestershire Young Carers.
Stagecoach West’s managing director Rupert Cox said: “We are delighted to enter into the spirit of Christmas and help spread a little magic with our Stagecoach Santa Bus.
“Many young people do a fantastic job in support of ill or disabled family members and we hope the Santa Bus will raise lots of money to support the vital work of these two Young Carers organisations in our region.”
Parents and guardians who want their little ones to meet Santa will be asked for a minimum donation of £2.50 per child.
Swindon Young Carers provides a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member in the Swindon borough, where there are approximately 21,000 unpaid carers of all ages, including children and young people.
Swindon Carers Centre provides them with much-needed support.
Gloucestershire Young Carers is a local charity who provide a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member.
They currently support more than 1000 young people by providing a network of support, opportunities for young carers to enjoy their childhood and meet with peers in similar situations to themselves.
They enable young carers and their families to access support that minimises the physical and emotional impact of caring and that promotes health, well-being and resilience.
Illness has no boundaries and any one of us might find our family facing a health crisis. That's why it's so important to support Gloucestershire Young Carers and keep their support services going.

HE'S ALSO UP NORTH......................

Thursday 13 December 2018

Transport for London

Major London Transport upgrades shelved amid TfL financial crisis

Sadiq Khan’s proposed pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has been abandoned - while a likely end to his fares freeze emerged as the biggest consequence of the financial crisis at Transport for London.

Long-awaited upgrades to Camden Town station and the “deep level” Tube lines such as the Piccadilly line have also been shelved as passengers were warned of an above-inflation hike in fares. TfL confirmed on the 12 December, that the £43m earmarked to pedestrianise the western end of Oxford Street had been reallocated to other “healthy streets” projects, such as the CS9 cycle superhighway in Chiswick, the CS4 superhighway in Greenwich and the CS1 in Hackney.

Pedestrianising Oxford Street was one of Sadiq Khan’s mayoral manifesto promises in 2016 but Westminster council blocked his plans in April. The Tory-run council has brought forward alternative plans to keep the street open to vehicles but “significantly reduce” the number of buses and potentially ban taxis and cars at peak times.

A TfL spokesman said: “Following Westminster City Council’s sudden, unexpected and unilateral decision to abandon our joint plans to transform Oxford Street and its district, we have now re-allocated funding which was allocated to the scheme to help accelerate a number of schemes across London designed to create safer, healthier and less polluted streets. These include new high-quality cycle routes in Greenwich, Hackney and Hounslow.”

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, said: “It is bitterly disappointing to have formal confirmation that the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has now been kicked into the long grass. Oxford Street will only prosper and remain a globally attractive shopping centre if it becomes a safe and attractive place to walk - and that means pedestrianising it.”

The changes emerge in TfL’s new five-year budget, which “assumes” there will be a fares hike equivalent to the RPI rate of inflation plus one per cent from 2021. RPI is currently 3.3 per cent. This could add at least 15p onto every Tube journey.

Mr Khan’s spokesman said any change in fares, most of which have been frozen since 2016, would be announced at a later date.

TfL commissioner Mike Brown said there were “three big external factors” behind the anticipated fares hike - the loss of the £700m a year Government subsidy, “macroeconomic conditions” that have reduced journeys, particularly off-peak bus travel, and the £600m black hole in TfL income caused by a delay of up to two years in opening Crossrail. About 2,000 jobs at TfL could be at risk as it seeks to cut running costs by 30 per cent.

Upgrades at Bank, Holborn and Elephant and Castle will proceed, as will step-free access at Finsbury Park, Hanger Lane and Wimbledon Park. Junctions such as Old Street, Vauxhall Gyratory and Highbury Corner will be made safer.

Referring to fares, Mr Brown said: “There is no question of changing anything until the next mayoralty. Clearly any new mayor, whether it’s the current one or another, would look at the overall conditions.”

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Network Rail in London at Christmas

One of London’s biggest ever Christmas rail shutdowns will see many stations and lines - including direct links to Heathrow and Gatwick - closed throughout the holiday season for much-needed upgrade work. Virtually all routes into Paddington, including TfL’s Heathrow Rail and potentially Heathrow Express services, will be cancelled or heavily reduced from midnight on December 23 until New Year’s Day.

Major works to replace worn track south of Victoria will disrupt Southern rail routes from December 22 to January 2, with buses replacing the local link to a “very busy” Clapham Junction. Gatwick Express services to and from Victoria will not run at all, with passengers diverted onto regular services from London Bridge and Blackfriars.Large-scale engineering improvements between Liverpool Street and Stratford means major timetable changes for Greater Anglia, Stansted Express, c2c and TfL Rail services.

Services will also be reduced at Euston including the Caledonian Sleeper, London Overground’s Watford line and Virgin Trains to Scotland and the Midlands.The last “Night Riviera” Sleeper service from Paddington to Penzance will run on December 21, and will then not restart until New Year’s Day.

On Christmas Eve there will be early shutdown - around 9pm - of many services leaving London. There are no rail services across the UK on Christmas Day and very few on Boxing Day.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chairman, welcomed the investment but demanded passengers are given at least 12 weeks to make alternative travel arrangements. He said: “Engineering work, the result of investment, is important, needs to be done and is good for the railway. Passengers must be given as much advance warning as possible and it must be as accurate and useful as possible so that people have a choice of how they can travel on alternative routes. Six weeks’ notice for some routes is totally unacceptable. We want to get back to 12 weeks as soon as we can. We also want to see lots of staff about on the stations over Christmas and the New Year to help passengers when they need it.”

Industry chiefs at National Rail Enquiries say fewer people than usual travel over the Christmas and New Year period making it the best time to close lines for much needed engineering work. They say: “Many train companies will also be making changes to their timetable to match services to the number of customers travelling and some train times may change. It is important to plan ahead and check if your journey is affected as some services will be added, some will be restricted and some will not be running during this period,

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) - more delay

£1.4bn bailout as autumn 2019 launch delayed

A £1.4bn bailout has been announced for Crossrail, as Europe's biggest infrastructure project is pushed back beyond its launch date of autumn 2019.

London’s £15bn route, to be known as the Elizabeth line, had originally been due to open this month. The rescue plan - the third this year - will be used to plug a predicted £2bn hole in the project's finances. The scheme will connect major landmarks such as Heathrow Airport and the Canary Wharf business district.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the deal means "Crossrail's new leadership can get the job done".

Transport for London (TfL) estimates it will miss out on at least £20m in revenue due to the delay. Between £1.6bn and £2bn is needed to complete the project, a review by accountancy firm KPMG indicate found. The scheme is currently running almost £600m over budget, and the previous bailouts have not come without criticism. The project received a £590m cash injection in July, followed by an "interim" £350m loan announced in October.

It was announced in August that the route was to open nine months after the original scheduled launch of December 2018 to allow more time for testing. TfL announced on Monday that the launch had once again been pushed back, and a new "robust and deliverable schedule" would be announced later.

When open, the project will help ease London's chronic congestion. Trains will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west through 13 miles of new tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, when fully operational. Crossrail says the new line will connect Paddington to Canary Wharf in 17 minutes and described the 10-year project as "hugely complex". An estimated 200m passengers will use the new underground line annually, increasing central London rail capacity by 10% - the largest increase since World War Two.

Under the new deal the Greater London Authority (GLA) will borrow up to £1.3bn from the Department for Transport, and provide an extra £100m itself.

The GLA will repay this loan from increased business rates.

Monday 10 December 2018

Christmas Day bus service


On Christmas Day 2018 a free bus service will again run on route 430 between Roehampton and Putney Bridge. It will be staffed by volunteers using a 1950s vintage bus. It is run for fun and goodwill by the Vintage Bus Hire company.

The service will run hourly, leaving Roehampton from 09:30 until 15:30, and Putney Bridge from 10:07 until 16:07. It will stop at any normal route 430 bus stop along the way.

So if you’re visiting a pub on Christmas Day, going to church, visiting friends and family, or just want to take the children out for a ride, check their timetable. For Roehampton Hospital the route stops a short walk along Crestway to Dover House Road.
This is not a Transport for London or London General service. However the bus is run professionally under an operator’s licence, meeting current safety regulations. The bus is not fully accessible, but there will be a conductor to help passengers.

If you have any questions about this Christmas Day service, please email