Wednesday 31 January 2018

Electric Van Hool CX Coach

Development of an all-electric version of the Van Hool CX series coaches in partnership with Proterra, a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles is underway. 

The new Van Hool CX45E and CX35E models utilize the CX platform and will feature Proterra E2 battery technology along with a fully-electric drivetrain designed to deliver exceptional operational, environmental and passenger benefits. The CX Electric Vehicle partnership will bring together the resources of — ABC Companies, Van Hool, and Proterra — each committed to technology innovation.
The vehicle will be designed and developed at Van Hool’s Belgium-based operation, and the first prototypes will be built there as well. Currently the diesel-powered CX45 and 35 models are fabricated in Skopje, Macedonia, and in the near term the production of the CX45E will take place at that site. Ultimately, upon completion of Van Hool’s U.S.-based production facility, orders for the electric model will be fulfilled on U.S. soil to meet Buy America compliance.
The partners are responding to the demand for a truly zero-emission solution that can improve environmental quality and reduce operating costs, while continuing to deliver all the performance, reliability and safety the Van Hool CX Series product line is known. The decision to offer a fully-electric product is a direct reflection of changing market needs driven by clean-energy initiatives, sustainable transportation solutions and green-technology consumer preferences and desires nationwide.
Both CX Series models will be offered with Proterra E2 battery technology. Operators nationwide utilize the CX45 and CX35 models in a variety of applications including large Silicon-valley employee-sponsored shuttles and commuter operations in major metro regions throughout the country.
Featuring Proterra’s advanced electric vehicle technology, the Van Hool CX45E is designed to be the most efficient and highest performing long-range eCoach offered in the U.S. market, which eliminates hundreds of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Outside dimensions are the same as current CX diesel models.
Operators will be able to test drive an electric CX45E coach at the Van Hool factory in late 2018, with deliveries beginning in 2019. The CX35E coach model will be introduced shortly thereafter.  All of the partners anticipate strong demand for the new product, according to the company. ABC will begin taking orders in 2018.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

HS2 Shows Pictures of Major Colne Valley Viaduct including "noise-reduction barriers"

HS2 Ltd recently revealed an outline concept for the Colne Valley viaduct, which will help inform development of its final design and form the basis for wider discussions with local communities.

The concept was developed by independent specialists Knight Architects, working with Atkins, in consultation with the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel, and the HS2 Independent Design Panel, consisting of architects, designers and experts in sustainability.

The viaduct concept document explores a range of options and ideas for how it can be sensitively and aesthetically sited within the Colne Valley, whilst addressing the technical demands of the project. It will help to inform further design work and technical development by Align, the main civil engineering contractor for HS2 between the Colne Valley viaduct and the northern portal of the Chilterns Tunnel.
Align will engage the local community on these designs in spring 2018.

Concept of the Colne Valley viaduct
(image by Hayes Davidson / Knight Architects)

The concept has been developed around 14 key criteria, which were set by HS2 in consultation with the HS2 Independent Design Panel. These include whether the design fits the landscape, maintains views and landscape ‘flow’, is well proportioned and elegant.
The area of the Colne Valley through which HS2’s route passes features a series of woods and lakes that developed when farming and quarrying ended, and sits alongside the Chiltern railway.
Chair of the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel, Jim Barclay, said:
The construction of the Colne Valley HS2 viaduct will have a significant impact on the Colne Valley area. The Colne Valley Panel which is drawn from local stakeholders, is very pleased to have been consulted and through a series of workshops, Panel Members have been able to understand the design principles for the viaduct. The Colne Valley Regional Park Panel looks forward to further engagement with HS2 and Align over the actual viaduct design.

Concept of the Colne Valley viaduct
(image by Hayes Davidson / Knight Architects)

As well as the viaduct itself, the concept document also explores innovative ideas for additional elements such as transparent noise-reduction barriers with vertical lines which are visible to bats and wildfowl to reduce possible impacts, whilst creating a slimmer side profile of the viaduct.
Sadie Morgan, chair of the Independent Design Panel, said:
We are delighted that this imaginative and carefully-considered concept has been published, and can form the basis for wider discussions with the communities around the Colne Valley and all those who value and use the spaces and amenities within it.
The Independent Design Panel will continue to work hard to ensure that the viaduct’s final design respects its location and communities, whilst being a shining example of great design that Britain can be proud of.
Construction partner Align will be responsible for developing the final design and constructing the viaduct according to technical specifications and within an agreed cost envelope.

Concept of the Colne Valley viaduct
(image by Hayes Davidson / Knight Architects)

HS2 programme director, Mike Hickson, said:
The Colne Valley viaduct will be one of the longest viaducts in the UK, and one of HS2’s best-known structures. We are pleased and grateful for the work done by Knight Architects, the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel and the HS2 Independent Design Panel to produce this potential scheme design. We have every confidence that our contractor, Align, will continue this collaborative approach and engagement, as they now develop their own scheme and then detailed design of this significant structure.


In complete contrast..........

Saturday 27th January 2018, saw the first running of the 2018 season for the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express'. Simon Kerry made a great effort in appalling conditions to witness and photograph the event, and has kindly supplied a small set of pictures.
And in his words "Well what a day, I know it rains up in Lancashire and Cumbria, but two coats soaked through, and still trying to dry my poor hat!!! A 350 mile round trip to witness and record the first 'Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express' of the 2018 season. 45699 Galatea in charge and captured at Bay Horse, Woodhouse, Shap, Armathwaite and Ribblehead".
His efforts can now be viewed by clicking  here

Monday 29 January 2018

Order for 41 Solaris Trolley Buses

Polish bus manufacturer Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. has signed a contract to deliver 41 trolleybuses to the Vilnius bus operator UAB „Vilniaus viešasis transportas" (VVT).
It is only few weeks ago that Solaris won an order for a delivery of 150 buses to the same operator.

All 41 trolleybuses will be delivered to Vilnius in 2018. The Solaris Trollino 12 vehicles will be equipped, among others, with an energy recuperation system, air-conditioned passenger compartment, Wi-Fi Internet, USB charging sockets for the passengers and a CCTV monitoring system. One of the additional safety features on board will be a breathalyser, installed in the driver’s cabin and checking the driver’s sobriety before starting the vehicle.
Solaris trolleybuses are familiar to the citizens of Vilnius. The Polish manufacturer delivered its first vehicles of this type to the capital of Lithuania in 2004. Together with the new buses, there are nearly 200 Solaris vehicles in the cities of Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevezys. 
Owing to the agreement signed with VVT in November 2017 for a delivery of 150 buses (100 new Urbino 12 and 50 new Urbino 18), and the new contract including 41 trolleybuses, this number will be doubled in 2018.

Sunday 28 January 2018

Norwegian Dreamliner Breaks Atlantic Subsonic Crossing Record

THE RECORD for the fastest transatlantic flight by a conventional airline has been broken by a low-cost carrier.
A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operated by Norwegian Airlines flew from New York to Gatwick in just five hours and 13 minutes.

The flight, carrying 284 passengers, arrived in London 53 minutes early at 9.57pm on Monday 15th January.
Strong tailwinds over the Atlantic pushed the aircraft to a top speed of 776mph during the 3,500-mile flight.
The subsonic record is believed to have previously been held by a British Airways Boeing 777-200 jet which flew from New York to London in five hours and 16 minutes in 2015.
Norwegian Airlines captain Harold van Dam said: “The 787 Dreamliner is a pleasure to fly and it’s a great feeling to know that we have set a new record in this aircraft.
“We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster.”
The tail fin of the aircraft features a portrait of aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, who was the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.
The quickest transatlantic passenger flight was set by Concorde - which flew at more than twice the speed of sound - at two hours and 52 minutes in 1996.


And on the subject of flying, the latest album on the Focus Flickr site focuses on bus and coach services to and from UK airports. This can now be viewed by clicking  here

Saturday 27 January 2018

Great Northern v the Northern Line

TfL accused of failing to tell passengers about 'second Northern line' run by rival firm

Transport for London is accused of failing to inform passengers about a “second Northern line” through central London because it will be operated by a rival firm.
Thameslink services are to expand in May when trains from Cambridge and Peterborough, currently part of its sister Great Northern franchise, will continue south of King’s Cross and across the Thames to Brighton or Horsham via Gatwick for the first time.

This is part of a £7 billion taxpayer-funded modernisation of a north-south line that is said to be as important as Crossrail.
It includes a key section — Finsbury Park, St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars — where services will run at “metro” frequencies of eight trains an hour, creating an alternative to the overcrowded Northern line to and from London Bridge.
Thameslink services, which run between Bedford and Brighton, will also be expanded, including a new route linking Luton and the Medway towns via Greenwich and Abbey Wood. An extra 80 stations will join the Thameslink network. The Standard has learned that TfL had refused to add the new Thameslink services in central London to its Tube map — despite reprinting it to include its own Crossrail, or Elizabeth line, services which start in December.
One rail source told the Standard: “It’s a high-frequency service that is meant to complement the Tube but nobody is going to know about it.”

Rail expert Barry Doe said the decision was probably because TfL, which saw Tube passenger numbers drop by 13 million last year, “fears an income loss”  if passengers switched to Thameslink. London Travelwatch said: “We think that clarity for passengers about the services available is really important. We are in active discussions with TfL to find out how this information can be best made available to passengers and whether the new services could be added to their map.”
The Thameslink expansion has been made possible by a new tunnel linking King’s Cross and St Pancras, and Network Rail’s rebuilding of London Bridge station. New 100mph, 12-carriage, German-built trains, will be introduced. Unlike Crossrail trains, they will have toilets. The improvements will add capacity to a franchise found by the National Audit Office last week to have suffered the most delays and cancellations in the country for the last three years.
TfL said Thameslink services were shown on the London Tube and rail map, which can be seen at most Tube stations, and on the TfL website and app. However, copies are not available for passengers at TfL stations to take away — unlike the pocket Tube map.
A TfL spokesman said: “We review leaflets available in our station on a regular basis and are happy to consider the possibility of stocking these in central London in the future.”

Thameslink services will connect Kings Cross St Pancras with Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle and stations beyond. Download the full route map here and then follow the link to see a PDF map.

Friday 26 January 2018

Latest London Bus Contract awards

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

60    (Streatham Station & Old Coulsdon) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2010 Euro-VI diesel double-decks (contract start date 1st September 2018)

73    (Oxford Circus & Stoke Newington) and
N73 (Oxford Circus & Walthamstow Central Station Nightly) Renewal of LBSL contracts to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2015 Euro-VI New Routemaster double-decks (1st September 2018)

144   (Edmonton Green & Muswell Hill Broadway) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks (13th October 2018)

166   (West Croydon & Epsom General Hospital) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2011 diesel single-decks (1st September)

293   (Morden Station & Epsom General Hospital) New LBSL contract awarded to Quality Line (Epsom) with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead Metrobus with Scania single-decks from Croydon (C) Garage (1st September)

356   (Shirley & Sydenham Hill) Renewal of LBSL contract to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks (15th September)

404   (Coulsdon & Caterham-on-the-Hill) Renewal of LBSL contract to Quality Line with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks (29th September)

412   (Purley & West Croydon) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2013 Euro-V diesel double-decks (1st September)

434   (Whyteleafe South & Rickman Hill) Renewal of LBSL contract to Go-Ahead Metrobus using existing fleet 2013 Euro-V diesel single-decks (1st September)

612   (Wallington & Selsdon schooldays-only) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2008 Euro-V diesel double-decks (1st September)

626   (Finchley Central Station & Dame Alice Owen's School, schooldays-only) Renewal of LBSL contract to Sullivan Buses using existing fleet 2009/10 Euro-V diesel double-decks (1st September)

634   (Barnet & Muswell Hill Broadway schooldays-only) Renewal of LBSL contract to Metroline Travel using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel double-decks (1st September)

685   (Hamsey Green & Selsdon schooldays-only) Renewal of LBSL contract to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2013 Euro-V diesel double-decks (1st September)

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 25 January 2018

Newton Abbot Line to re-open

Passenger trains could soon be running on a disused rail line from Newton Abbot to Heathfield, Devon for the first time in 60 years.
The four mile stretch of line was closed in 1959, and in recent years, use of the line has dwindled to just the occasional freight train.
But the Heath Rail Link have been given permission by Network Rail to lease the line and trains could resume running by 2020.
Network Rail have told the group that providing they can find the funding for the rolling stock and for a park and ride station in Heathfield, they will ensure that the line is in working order for the group.

Left to right Mark Hobbs, James Hartley, Michael Cooke, Rob Pym from N/R & Steve Warren some of us from the group
Left to right Mark Hobbs, James Hartley, Michael Cooke, Rob Pym from N/R  from the group

Michael Cooke, chairman of Heath Rail Link said: “Network Rail have given us permission to open the line and have granted us a long term lease. This is fantastic news for us and everyone who has supported us.
“They will carry on maintaining the line, with some help from us, for the foreseeable future, and with the added option also to buy the line off of Network Rail when everything at our discretion has taken off.
“We are absolutely gobsmacked for words. Now though is the next hard battle to start funding it, running it, and getting business investment.

“The line is still in place and it is realistic that services could resume by 2020, providing that we get the funding.”
The group was recently invited to walk the old railway line to see from themselves its condition, and Mr Cooke said there is nothing about the line that would not be repairable.
He added: “We are unsure as to how much money will be needed, and we will need to purchase the stock, and we are still putting together a business plan, but we think that there is hope that by 2020 passenger trains could be running on the line.”

Heathfield line

The group wants to see the line reopened as a way of easing transport pressures in the region as a commuter line, as well as giving the tourist industry a boost.
Mr Cooke added that they are also looking to open up a park and ride system on a field in Heathfield that would mean that commuters could park there and then get the train into Newton Abbot and beyond.
The campaign has gathered support with almost 3,000 people signing a petition backing the proposals – and has also drawn support from South West MEP William Dartmouth, and Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris also supported the plans and said that if a good business case can be made to reopen this line as a tourist attraction, then so much the better.

Heathfield Line

Cllr Gordon Hook also threw his support behind the plans and said: “I have supported the re-opening to passenger traffic of the Heathfield line since forever.We live in an entirely different world to the 1950s when passenger traffic ceased on this line, and we need to adapt our transport thinking accordingly.
“This line would be a big help towards reducing traffic congestion in and around Newton Abbot if visitors and commuters can be encouraged out of their cars and onto alternative methods of transport.
“It would be a big help in reducing air pollution in Newton Abbot, which is a large and growing problem, responsible for much ill health. It could be used as a park and ride facility for Heathfield, Bovey Tracey and Moorland residents attracted to Newton for work, shopping or leisure activities. Newton Abbot has an ever-increasing ‘offer’ and yet traffic and parking remain a problem. Let’s give people the opportunity to arrive in town without all the hastle associated with car use. I am totally committed to doing all I can to bring passenger trains back to Heathfield.”

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Getting ready for summer

Midst the gloom and inclement winter weather (well it certainly is in S40), some things with which to look forward and brighten a dismal January day.

From David Mulpeter of Seaford & District.

Only 10 Weeks to go until the new all year round Eastbourne Sightseeing Tour commences. The tour now takes in the Old Town and Town Centre to provide a link to the Railway Station running every 30 minutes 7 days a week April to October, then hourly Oct to March.

Our great value 24 hr Hop on Hop off tickets with full commentary offer great value and All our tour buses are Wheelchair friendly too !!. Group booking discounts are now available on the day too !!
Come down to Eastbourne and enjoy the great scenery!!!

Also returning this year after a promising first year last year is our East Sussex Vintage Bus Heritage Tour service 124 with an increased frequency this year beIng every 90 minutes.
This will run from the early May Bank Holiday through to the August Bank Holiday which will end as last year with a vintage bus running day with an enhanced 124 service and additonal 123 service to Seaford on the Bank Holiday Monday with all money being donated to Macmillan Cancer.
The route is also extended to take in the Eastbourne Town Centre and provide a link with the Railway Station.


Buses, coach and railway subjects are all included with the odd boat and plane thrown in for good measure. Old and new, ancient and modern are covered, so why not indulge yourselves for a while. The site has just passed the 3-million viewer stage, with more to come. These albums can now be viewed by clicking  here

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Local bus services

Local buses could be replaced by Uber-style services, says Grayling

Local buses could be replaced by “Uber-style” rides, the transport secretary has said, sparking a backlash from Labour, trade unions and campaigners.
Chris Grayling told local government leaders that the future of local buses was a more bespoke service, suggesting on-demand models similar to the ride-hailing app could be used more widely to bridge funding gaps.

The transport secretary made his comments in a meeting with the chairman of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, and the chair of its transport board, Martin Tett, in October. The minutes were published this week.
Funding for buses across England and Wales has been cut by 33% since 2010, while passenger numbers have fallen to a 10-year low and fares have soared above inflation.
Asked how to address the funding gap, Grayling “suggested that the nature of bus provision is likely to change over the coming years, with more Uber-style, demand-led services replacing traditional services”.
Labour said the comments were the equivalent of telling people “let them take taxis” and that it was not the right way to address the chronic underfunding of bus services.According to the minutes of the meeting, Tett said switching to an Uber-style model made sense up to a point and had been trialled, but that such services needed to be accessible for all people.
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “For many people, especially the young and the elderly, those living in rural areas and those who do not own a car, bus services are a lifeline. But rather than addressing the buses crisis, Chris Grayling’s solution is to say ‘let them take taxis’. Nobody wants to see Uber replacing local bus services except Chris Grayling.”
The Unite trade union also expressed concern. Its national officer for passenger transport, Bobby Morton, said: “In Grayling’s warped view of the UK’s transport needs, he now sees an unregulated and expensive bus service, probably only operating at peak times, as the transport holy grail. He is completely out of touch with ordinary people and their daily transport needs.”

Research in the Campaign for Better Transport’s Buses in Crisis report found that 63% of local authorities had cut funding for buses since 2010, and almost half had withdraw some services.
The report said local authorities in England and Wales had cut £78m in funding for bus services and reduced or withdrawn more than 2,400 routes since the Conservatives came power.
The campaign has, however, previously suggested there could be some value in demand-responsive services, It cited Bwcabus, a pre-bookable bus service operating in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion in rural west Wales, and Arriva launched ArrivaClick, an on-demand service for Sittingbourne, in March.
Companies such as Uber and Lyft have trialled services that closely resemble buses. Lyft runs a regular service called Shuttle in San Francisco and Chicago, offering passengers a fixed-fare route in a shared vehicle, much like a public bus.
Uber trialled UberHop in North American cities including Toronto and Seattle, but the services have ceased. It still runs in the Philippines capital of Manila.
Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, Stephen Joseph, said: “Uber and Lyft will not be interested in providing services in some of the rural areas where even taxis are disappearing. Mr Grayling is right to say that technology can transform bus services in the future, but he needs to focus on and tackle the decline happening now in local transport services of all kinds, in part due to funding cuts.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Like all modes of transport, technology is changing how we travel and can offer better and more flexible journeys for all commuters.
“Buses are vital for communities, connecting people, homes and businesses and we have given councils extra powers to work in partnership with bus companies to improve the service passengers expect and deserve.”


Attention for the latest album on the site is the long serving Dart out in the Provinces, with examples from Alexander, Dennis and TransBus. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Monday 22 January 2018

Stephenson's of Easingwold Cease Operations

Stephenson's of Easingwold have ceased trading. 
North Yorkshire County Council have listed heredetails of which companies will be taking over the services. Transdev will be running the local Easingwold to York services from today, Monday 22nd January.

According to the Transdev website they will take over some of the local bus routes

There was no information available about the problems on the company website on Sunday 21st January.

The company lists Moor Lane Industrial Estate, Easingwold as the head office with the depot listed as Dove Way, Kirkby Mills Industrial Estate, Kirkbymoorside.

 On 21st January no mention on the website of ceasing trading

The company have run local and school bus services between Helmsley, Hovingham, Castle Howard and Malton, Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, Easingwold and York, Helperby, Tholthorpe, Linton-on-Ouse and York and Malton to York.
They also operated a smart fleet of coaches for private hire and holiday work.

Stephensons are based north of York, the depot and head office being 24 miles apart.


Sunday 21 January 2018

Trans Pennine rail news

Fast rail link to Sheffield 'scrapped by ministers': Backlash after plan to provide a faster service appear to have been dropped because they cost too much

  • Quicker services  will be introduced in the North as part of the rail project
  • A new fast train line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford is part of it
  • But plans for trans-Pennine line from Manchester to Sheffield looks like its axed 

Ministers are facing a backlash from leaders in Sheffield after dropping plans to provide the city with a faster train service.
Quicker services will be introduced in the North as part of the government’s multi-billion pound Northern Powerhouse rail project.
A new fast train line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford will be built as part of the scheme which was previously known as HS3.
But plans for a new trans-Pennine line connecting Manchester to Sheffield, and Leeds via HS2 appear to have been scrapped by the Department of Transport because it would be too expensive.

This is likely to be met with fierce resistance in Sheffield, where residents have to put up with a 48 minute train journey just to get to Manchester.
This is about the same time HS2 is set to take to get from London to Birmingham. The first phase of the high speed line is due to open in 2026.
Angela Smith, the Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge told The Sunday Times: ‘Our Victorian ancestors understood the importance of building major rail links between Sheffield and Manchester, and yet we now struggle to get a commitment to rebuilding these links from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.’
Many critics of HS2 have claimed the money would be much better spend on improving cross Pennines rail links in the north.
Northern leaders – including Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham – have complained that the south is being given too much priority.
This resentment was fuelled by the government’s announcement earlier this year of a £30billion Crossrail 2 project for London.
But leaked plans show commuters in the North - including those in Bradford – are in line for faster trains.
Despite being Britain’s fifth largest city with more than half a million residents, Bradford has dire rail links.
The 30 mile trip to Manchester takes 58 minutes, while it takes 19 minutes to travel the eight miles to Leeds.
It takes one hour and 22 minutes to travel from Manchester to Leeds via Bradford on the Calder Valley line.
According to leaked details the faster trans-Pennine route between Manchester and Leeds via Huddersfield will also be upgraded.
The aim is to cut the fastest journey between the two cities from 49 minutes to half an hour. 

Saturday 20 January 2018

Stagecoach Making Waves Along The Coast

Stagecoach customers along the East Sussex coast can now enjoy an even more comfortable bus ride as the company launch a brand new fleet of buses.
Wave 99 buses
£2.5 million worth of ultramodern Enviro 400 double deck buses are now out on the roads. The new buses operate on the popular coastal route 99, branded the ‘Wave’, between Hastings and Eastbourne. The 12 new state-of-the-art vehicles are designed to accommodate passengers in comfort and convenience. As well as being more environmentally friendly, the buses feature free WiFi and USB charging points for customers to keep connected and fully charged whilst on the move.

The company’s managing director, Philip Norwell, said: “This is exciting news for our customers and for people thinking of choosing to use the bus. The route maintains important links between coastal towns and with these new buses we hope to tempt even more people to try the service.”

Stagecoach says that the 99 route carried more than 1.3 million passengers in 2017, saving vast numbers of car journeys.

Mr Norwell added “These buses aren’t just about providing comfortable seats. People want to use their travel time to catch-up and stay connected. Our free WiFi and USB charging will allow them to do this, contributing to our customers’ overall journey experience whilst reducing our impact on the environment.”

The British built Alexander Dennis buses are ‘Euro 6’ compliant, meaning that the engines meet the latest European emissions standards which are recognised as among the most stringent in the developed world. The new buses, along with all other Stagecoach buses in the south east, run on a greener fuel blend which contains at least 20% biofuel derived from a range of waste products.

For comfort the buses come with high-back faux-leather seats and on the outside the buses sport a new and refreshed ‘Wave’ livery featuring a montage inspired by the seaside route.

The new buses coincide with the company’s investment in digital technology which is transforming the journey experience for its customers. Contactless payment went live on all Stagecoach services in Kent and East Sussex last year, pioneering the use of this technology on buses outside of London. Stagecoach also launched a mobile App offering customers the facility to instantly buy and download day and week tickets to their smartphone. The Stagecoach Bus App is available free from the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android). The App offers a simple journey planning tool and users can access live running times to check the status of their journey with live tracking information before catching the bus.
Wave 99 bus launch
To promote the introduction of the new vehicles, the company held events in Eastbourne and Hastings town centre last week, giving the public a chance to see the new buses first hand. Local entertainer ‘Uncle Bumble’ did some balloon modelling and Stagecoach staff handed out over 2,000 free ‘Wave’ promotional bags. The bags were packed with goodies including a ‘Wave’ branded USB cable that can be used with the USB charging points on the new buses. A private launch event was held at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill for local partners and investors, attendees included the MP for Bexhill, Huw Merriman and local celebrity Sandra Martin, best known for her role on the Gogglebox television show.

On Mondays to Saturdays Wave route 99 buses run every 20 minutes serving Silverhill, Hastings town centre, St Leonards, Bexhill and Eastbourne. On Sundays the route operates hourly. More information is available here.

Friday 19 January 2018

New Caledonian Sleeper Trains Delayed Until October

A new £100 million fleet of Caledonian Sleeper carriages with en suite showers and double beds will be introduced six months late, operator Serco announced today.

The news came as the first of the 75 coaches arrived in Glasgow from Spain.
Double room accessible to wheelchair users with lower basin.

Double room accessible to wheelchair users with lower basin.

Passengers were due to start using the new trains in April, but Serco said there had been production delays.
The firm also revealed the ensuite double rooms will cost from £200 per passenger, with single ensuite "Club" rooms from £125 per person.
"Classic" rooms, with no ensuite, will be priced from £85 per person, and seats from £45.
Passengers travelling alone will no longer be permitted to share with a stranger, with the change being implemented on the current trains from 26 February.
"Club Room" with ensuite.

"Club Room" with ensuite.

The new carriages are being built by CAF in northern Spain, which also produced Edinburgh's trams.
The carriages will replace ones that have been used on the overnight routes between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness which are up to 40 years old.
The first new trains will operate on the Edinburgh and Glasgow routes.
Tickets go on sale next month.
"Classic" single room - strangers will no longer share.

"Classic" single room - strangers will no longer share.

New features include a hotel-style door card entry system, charging points and wi-fi.
The first five carriages to have arrived at the Polmadie rail works on the southside of Glasgow will be used for testing and have not been fitted out internally.
They travelled via the Channel Tunnel from a test track in the Czech Republic.
Club car for food and drink, served by a full kitchen, replacing the current ones which just have microwaves.

Club car for food and drink, served by a full kitchen, replacing the current ones which just have microwaves.

A Caledonian Sleeper spokesman said: "There has been slippage in the manufacturer's programme.
“We now anticipate we will begin a phased introduction of the new Caledonian Sleeper trains in October 2018.
"With trains currently in testing, we have discovered further improvements could be made to the trains to enhance the guest experience.
"This is often the case with entirely new designs.
"We are disappointed by the delay but we are determined to ensure the best possible service for our guests.
"These trains will be in service long beyond the lifetime of the franchise, and by taking a little extra time now we can ensure they will remain among the best in class for decades to come.”
"Comfort Seats" have charging points, reading light and locker for valuables.

"Comfort Seats" have charging points, reading light and locker for valuables.

Serco Caledonian Sleeper chairman Peter Strachan said: “We believe the new Caledonian Sleeper trains will truly set a new standard in overnight travel.
“The Sleeper is known throughout the UK as a great way to travel and it is our intention to improve on every aspect of that journey, while offering great value of money for our guests."
Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Caledonian Sleeper is an iconic rail service, recognised in Scotland and across the world.
"The introduction of new rolling stock, with features new to UK railways, can only enhance its reputation.
"The arrival of the first trains to Scotland for testing is a major milestone and one that brings us closer to their introduction from October of this year.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “These new trains, the first UK Sleeper build for 35 years, will be a unique asset to Scotland for the long term and have very real potential to play a pivotal role in continuing and increasing inbound tourism for decades to come.
“The vehicles are a complicated build with tightly specified requirements for passenger comfort, safety and amenity; given their intended use, they need to be tested rigorously.
"In doing so we can ensure the benefits of a solid introduction and passenger confidence in the new trains.”


First Group's 'Barbie' and subsequent corporate liveries have been around for a while, but in the earlier days, companies taken over, retained or produced their own identities. The latest album on the flickr site illustrates the time before 'Barbie' appeared on the scene. This can now be viewed by clicking  here