Friday, 31 August 2018

Great Western Franchise Will Not Be Split

 A consultation has revealed that there has been little public and organisational support for the idea of splitting the Great Western franchise and creating a separate operation for the West of England, so the government has announced it will not be pressing ahead with the plans.

In the outcome of the consultation, which ran from November last year to late February this year, the DfT said that almost 80% of respondents did not agree with the proposal as set out.

Consultees had been asked whether they agreed with the options of splitting the franchise into two smaller arms, one comprising services in the Thames Valley and high-speed service groups, and the other comprising services in the West service group, but including long-distance services from Paddington to the South West peninsula.

There was also virtually no support for the idea amongst organisational respondents such as passenger groups, local authorities, LEPs and community rail partnerships.

“Many respondents identified the positive benefits they felt had resulted from the creation of a single, integrated Great Western franchise,” the consultation document said. “Conversely, the most common reasons cited for opposing the proposed split were that it would lead to poorer timetabling, particularly connectivity between services and poorer organisation of the franchise; that the franchise doesn’t need to be changed; and that it would lead to wasteful duplication.”

Despite this, there was support for “some form of decentralised decision-making within the franchise,” which respondents believed could help improve cooperation with some councils and other local groups.

Because of this, while the DfT has ruled out splitting up the franchise, it will require operator FirstGroup to demonstrate how it will achieve more decentralised decision-making within the franchise, helping ensure that “decisions reflect the needs of passengers in the different geographical areas and markets which the franchise serves.”

The minority who did agree with breaking up the current franchise argued it would improve services, deliver better customer focus, increase competition, and lead to better integration.

The franchise is due for renewal at the end of March 2020.
Greater reliability and simpler ticketing
Elsewhere, greater reliability and punctuality were amongst the most prominent demands of the public who responded to the consultation.

As well as the idea of breaking up the franchise, the public were invited to give their views on the most pressing issues for potential bidders to cover, as well as any other priorities they would wish to see addressed by the new TOC when the next contract is awarded in December next year.

The key themes to emerge from the comments related to reliability, economic growth, and environmental performance. Some 95 comments asked for a focus on advancing the regional economy, whilst 40 asked bidders to focus on passengers.

Proposed additions to priorities for the future tender include cheap fares and simpler pricing, more services, and better connectivity.

Respondents also called on the future TOC to focus on the needs of the travelling public. The report wrote: “Comments focused on reducing fares and the need for a simpler pricing system. Improved refund processes were mentioned and e-ticketing services were suggested. There were requests for more trains, services with more carriages and a focus on passenger comfort.

“Accessibility was a key theme with respondents commenting on disabled access and bicycle provision at stations. Some responses suggested introduction of an objective on wi-fi provision, noting that on-board wi-fi currently sporadic.”

Last year Great Western Rail was criticised for its poor record of responding to complaints from customers by Transport Focus.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

More New Vehicles for Lothian East Coast Services

Following the recent launch of new West Lothian services hereEastCoastBuses has launched a fleet of 8 brand new, low emission vehicles for its East Lothian and Edinburgh operations, at an investment of nearly £2m. 

The 8 bespoke Euro 6 Volvo B5’s with Wright bodywork have been designed to high standards. The new buses will be allocated to Service 124, which operates between North Berwick and Edinburgh, improving capacity on this popular, fast growing route. Following an investment of just over £3m fifteen months ago into new single deck buses, customer growth has now outstripped capacity.

The custom built specification for EastCoastBuses features USB charging points at all seats, a new design of luxury high-back seating, increased glazing for improved visibility and media screens with next stop audio and visual announcements, which have all been designed to enhance and improve the customer experience.

Mark Heritage, EastCoastBuses General Manager said: “We are delighted that year on year we can continue to invest in our fleet for the benefit of our customers and driving team. These bespoke, high quality vehicles have been designed with comfort and safety in mind and will enhance the customer experience while travelling across the county.

This level of investment highlights our continued commitment to the local community and builds on our promise to provide a first class service for the area. Since starting operations in the area where bus usage had seen year on year decline, we have in the last two years seen customer growth of over 52% which is a real testament to our dedicated workforce who deliver a fantastic customer experience every day. This proves undoubtedly that by designing routes and services based on what our customers want, coupled with investment and high standards of service delivery, we can reverse much of the decline that is being seen in bus usage across the country."

EastCoastBuses are now a regular sight on the roads of East Lothian and are integral to the local economy and attractions throughout the county as well as providing vital transport links for the whole community.

Since operations began in August 2016 the business has steadily built on its portfolio of routes and services including a Night bus service at weekends. This combination of development measures and dedication to delivering the best possible customer service has resulted in significant growth in customers and ongoing expansion of the business which now employees 130 people.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Stagecoach Pledge to Invest £56m in Electric Buses for Greater Manchester

Stagecoach has announced ambitious £56m plans to deliver Europe's largest single investment in fully electric buses.

The first of the planned 105 new zero emissions double-decker buses and associated infrastructure is hoped to go live in Manchester from summer 2019, delivering a massive boost to local air quality and UK manufacturing, with the new fleet fully in place by early 2020.

Stagecoach has pledged to invest £34.6m in the ground-breaking project, which is backed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Transport for Greater Manchester and other key organisations

The plans are dependent on a bid for £21.5m in support from the Government's recently announced Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, which is aimed at cutting emissions and ensuring cleaner and greener journeys.

New Enviro400EV City vehicles, each with a battery range of up to 190 miles and capacity to carry around 80 passengers, will be built by the UK electric bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis using battery and power electronics expertise from automotive company BYD.  

Orders for thirty seven BYD ADL Enviro400EV buses have already been placed. 
They will enter service with Transport for London (TfL) operator Metroline in 
the second quarter of 2019.

Multi-million-pound Investment will also need to be made in delivering infrastructure and power requirements at depot level. Intelligent chargers will be used to limit loadings on the electricity supply and maximise vehicle availability.

Stagecoach is already the UK's biggest investor in hybrid-electric bus technology and has invested more than £1billion in new greener buses over the past decade. The new e-bus fleet for Manchester would significantly outstrip plans recently announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for 68 new electric double-decker buses in the capital.

Transforming the air quality in Greater Manchester is one part of a wider multi-million-pound partnership blueprint developed by bus operators to deliver a step-change in the region's bus network. Working with the Mayor and local authorities, it would deliver more comprehensive services, better value fares, simpler ticketing, an improved customer experience, as well as addressing issues around damaging car congestion which impacts bus punctuality.

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "This game-changing initiative will be the biggest single investment in e-bus technology anywhere in Europe. It is a clear sign of our bold ambition to transform Greater Manchester's bus network

"Our plans will put Greater Manchester at the forefront of the drive to improve local air quality, and help cement Britain's position as global leader in manufacturing low-emission vehicles. It is also part of our wider partnership proposals to maximise the potential of the bus network to drive the region's economy and better connect its communities.

"By working together, bus operators , the Mayor and the region's local authorities can deliver the quick and sustained improvements we all want to see in Greater Manchester's bus network, building on the major progress we've already made and avoiding unnecessary extra costs to local taxpayers."

Stagecoach's plans would see the new e-buses - which would replace conventional Euro 3 and Euro 4 vehicles - based at its depots in Hyde Road and Sharston. Major charging infrastructure would allow buses to be charged simultaneously, enabling a 24 hour-a-day operation. The buses run totally on battery power and are not hybrids.

The e-bus fleet would operate four key high frequency services connecting Manchester city centre, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly railway station, six hospitals and two universities. It would also complement recent public investment in bus priority measures in the south of the city.

Two further high frequency services would be operated predominantly by electric vehicles, supported by existing low carbon certified hybrid vehicles at peak times, meaning 36 buses per hour in each direction would be operated by the new e-bus fleet. The introduction of new electric buses will also enable the cascade of existing low-carbon emissions vehicles onto two routes serving Trafford and Salford.

Around 15-20 buses would be introduced a month from summer 2019, with full roll out achieved by early 2020. Infrastructure works would begin in the autumn of 2018 and be fully completed by spring 2019.

The new e-bus fleet for Greater Manchester offers a 62% improvement in CO2 emissions over the latest low-carbon emission buses and supports the region's Air Quality Action Plan. Overall, the initiative would save 2.6 million litres of diesel a year, reduce annual CO2 by 6,800 tonnes and cut NOx emissions by 24% and particulates by 20% across the fleet.

Poor air quality is estimated to contribute to more than 40,000 premature deaths across the UK each year, with emissions from cars and vans estimated to cost £6bn annually to the NHS and society.

Stagecoach's ground-breaking initiative would also help accelerate the introduction of e-buses across Europe. There are currently around 725,000 buses in operation across Europe, but only an estimated 2,500 of those are fully electric.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Severe Cuts to London's Bus Routes

At a time when the London Bus franchising system is being regarded as the holy grail of bus operations, Transport for London is planning to make a huge swathe of cuts to bus routes in the centre of the capital – including stopping three of south-east London’s most important bus routes short of their current terminals.

Route 53, which runs from Plumstead, Woolwich, Charlton and Blackheath through Deptford, the Old Kent Road and Elephant & Castle to Whitehall will be cut back to County Hall from March 2019 under proposals to “reduce bus flows” across Westminster Bridge and along Whitehall, if the plans go ahead.

A worse fate is set to befall route 171 from Catford Bus Garage and Brockley to Holborn. This would be cut back from Holborn to Elephant and Castle under the scheme.
A third route, the 172 from Brockley Rise, faces being trimmed back from Clerkenwell to Aldwych.

The scheme affects routes from across London, and also brings a permanent end for Routemaster services a step closer, proposing reducing the “heritage” services on route 15 along Fleet Street using the vintage vehicles to summer weekends and bank holidays only.

Campaign group Save Our Buses (SOB) claims it has seen leaked documents saying the number 48 which runs between Walthamstow bus station and London Bridge is set to go out to consultation.

Transport for London’s proposals come as it battles financial worries after a complete cut in day-to-day government funding instituted by George Osborne when he was chancellor. It is also having to deal with a four-year fare freeze from mayor Sadiq Khan, and a fall in bus passenger numbers.

It has already planned to cut bus services between Greenwich and Woolwich by re-routing route 180 to North Greenwich station instead of Lewisham. There have also been a series of cuts to bus frequencies, especially on night services.

Monday, 27 August 2018

New Marston Vale Livery for Class 230's

As the contract for the supply of the Class 230 units from Vivarail is officially signed the new Marston Vale livery was revealed.

The units will start running on the line in December 2018, following production at Vivarail’s Long Marston depot in Warwickshire.

The first of the new trains (230003), will begin testing over the next few weeks. Units 230004 and 230005 will be following shortly.

The contract for the supply of the trains has now been signed. This is a significant stage of the project, showing commitment from both between West Midlands Trains and Vivarail.

Jan Chaudry-van-de-Velde, managing director of West Midlands Trains said, “I remember these trains from when they were on London Underground, but looking around the units there’s so much new equipment on board that they look and feel like brand new trains. Vivarail has done a great job and these trains are an ideal match for this important local service.

“Our new London Northwestern Railway livery is appearing more and more prominently across the network, and we are proud to be able to share this bespoke version of design for the Marston Vale route.”

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail said, “Both Vivarail and West Midlands Trains have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition and I am delighted to show what we have achieved. Everyone is pleased with the look and build quality and I’m very proud of the work my team has done. I am particularly impressed with the London Northwestern Railway livery and their interior designs – they certainly showcase the Class 230 and I think will be well received by Marston Vale’s passengers.

“It is a proud day for me to see this first train roll out of our workshops and I am looking forward to seeing it at Bletchley depot in the near future.”

Vivarail will be supplying three two car trains to operate between Bedford and Bletchley. The trains will include universal access toilets, USB sockets and modern ‘airline’ seating. The trains will be supplied as diesel units, with the capability to convert to battery units in the future.

Vivarail has designed the Class 230s to be quiet, green and clean, using automotive standards to reduce emissions and noise. The train’s engines will automatically cut-out in stations to ensure a comfortable passenger environment and further cut emissions. The lightweight aluminium bodyshell also means the train uses less fuel and the superior acceleration will ensure swift and comfortable journeys.

The trains will be maintained at the Bletchley depot, creating new jobs in the local area.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

IEP's Reach Cornwall

Following our recent posting here about the arrival in Devon of the new Class 800 Intercity Express Trains the Class 802's have now entered service in Cornwall.

The Class 802 Intercity Express Train (802003 and 005) ran for the very first time on Monday 20th August with passengers on board, forming the 0553 Plymouth to London Paddington service. A second train (802 006 and 007) formed the 0730 London Paddington to Penzance service.

Great Western Railway Manging Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West and I am delighted to see this first new train for Devon and Cornwall services carry passengers.

“Already delivering significant improvements elsewhere on the GWR network these new trains will, with an improved timetable, enable us to offer a step change in passenger transport.

“The trains will help us provide faster, more frequent services into the South West, each offering up to 24% more seats per train, in greater comfort and with improved on board facilities.”

Last year, the first wave of Intercity Express Trains began running on the historic Great Western main line, connecting London to key UK cities including Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Production of these trains is continuing in the UK at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

From today a second wave of 36 modern Intercity Express Trains began running between London Paddington, via Reading, Wiltshire, Somerset, along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall and as far south as Penzance.

The Intercity Express Train harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability. It has also been designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.

Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times, saving as much as 14 minutes between London Paddington and Penzance once the new timetables are introduced in 2019.

The entire fleet is fitted with hybrid technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, meaning passengers can enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible.
Parts supplied from South West businesses

The new trains are seen as a boost for regional economies along the route, providing greater connectivity for businesses and tourist destinations.

GWR’s order for the new fleet has also had a direct impact on firms in the region. Businesses located along the Great Western route were chosen by Hitachi to supply parts for the new Intercity Express Trains include:
Floors from Cornwall (TiFlex)
Pantographs from Somerset (Brecknell Willis)
Braking systems from Wiltshire (Knorr-Bremse)

Watch a GWR video here

GWR has 22 five-car (802001-802022) and 14 nine-car sets on order (802101-802114).
The 802's are based on Hitachi’s AT300 product platform and are similar to the class 800s already in operation with GWR on services from London to Bristol and South Wales. 
They will utilise higher engine operating power – 700 kW (940 hp) per engine as opposed to 560 kW (750 hp) on standard IEP's– and be fitted with larger fuel tanks to cope with the gradients and extended running in diesel mode expected on the long none electrified stretches they will operate on.
The class 802 features a revised galley layout and a redesigned brake resistor mounting on the roof to ensure reliable operation on the coastal section of the Exeter - Plymouth line through Dawlish, where waves frequently wash over the line.

Interior of a standard class carriage
The class 802 fleet comprises 22 five-car and 14 nine-car trains. Each five-car set will seat 290 passengers in standard class and 36 in first class, while the nine-car variant will seat 576 in standard class and 71 in first. There are two wheelchair spaces on the five-car train and four on the nine-car. Two five-car trains operating in multiple will offer 24% more seats than an eight-car HST.

GWR says the introduction of the fleet will reduce the fastest Penzance - London journey times from 5h 19min to 5h 5min.

Trans Pennine Express and Hull Trains also have class 802's on order.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Hinton Manor Returns to Severn Valley

The Severn Valley Railway has announced that steam locomotive No.7819 Hinton Manor has returned home.

It is a long-awaited return for the locomotive, which has been on display at 
the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet in Swindon, which was built on the former Great Western Railway works.

The locomotive wias removed from the building by the SVR and taken back by road to Kidderminster thanks to Allelys Group.

The locomotive is on public display at Kidderminster Station from Thursday 23rd August right through the Bank Holiday weekend.

7800 Class No. 7821 Ditcheat Manor, was moved out of the Steam Museum and exchanged for Hinton Manor at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet. This engine is now open to the public for viewing.


Friday, 24 August 2018

New Enviro200 for Shiel Buses

Shiel Buses has introduced a new Enviro200 on the N44 service between Fort William and Kinlochleven.
The new addition is a 10.8m, 41 seat model with three-point safety belts and is also operating on the Roy Bridge route and the Fort William evening service. It is powered by a Cummins ISBe 180PS Euro6 engine and an Allison 2100 gearbox.

Shiel Buses is a family-owned business based at Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands and has been running local bus and coach services for over four decades.
It operates from Glen Nevis Business Park, which is located at the foot of the famous Ben Nevis mountain and sits at the heart of a tourist area that attracts thousands of walkers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts every year.
Shiel’s 45-strong fleet ranges in size from 16-seat vehicles to luxury coaches and state-of-the-art service buses, such as the new Enviro200.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Latest London Bus Contract Awards

The latest awards recently announced by Transport for London as follows

20    (Walthamstow Central Station & Debden Station) LBSL contract awarded to CT Plus with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London General with Volvo B7TL double-decks from Northumberland Park (NP) Garage (contract start date 23rd March 2019)

54    (Woolwich & Elmers End Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (4th May 2019)

75     (Lewisham & Croydon) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (27th April 2019)

96     (Woolwich & Dartford) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach Selkent using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI hybrid double-decks (26th January 2019)

123(24-hours at weekends)(Ilford High Street & Wood Green) Re-awarded to Arriva London using existing fleet 2010/11 Euro-V diesel double-decks (2nd March 2019)

158(24-hours at weekends)(Stratford & Chingford Mount) LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London with double-decks as yet to be determined. Currently operated by Stagecoach East London with Dennis Tridents from West Ham (WH) Garage (2nd March 2019)

178    (Woolwich & Lewisham) LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel double-decks. Currently operated by Stagecoach Selkent with ADL E20D diesel single-decks from Catford (TL) Garage (8th December 2018)

244    (Woolwich Common & Abbey Wood) LBSL contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2010 Euro-V diesel single-decks (8th December 2018)

275    (St.James's Street Station & Barkingside) LBSL contract re-awarded to Stagecoach East London using existing fleet Euro-V diesel double-decks (2nd March 2019)

291    (Woolwich Common & Woodlands Estate) LBSL contract awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel double-decks (8th December 2012)

301    (Bexleyheath & Woolwich) New route and LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London using existing fleet 2010/11 Euro-V diesel double-decks (26th January 2019)

428    (Erith & Bluewater) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London using existing fleet 2010/11 Euro-V diesel double-decks (26th January 2019)

689    (West Croydon & The Glades, schooldays-only) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London using existing fleet 2010 Euro-V diesel double-decks (20th April 2019)

B11    (Bexleyheath Garage & Thamesmead) LBSL contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead London Central using existing fleet 2010 Euro-V diesel single-decks (26th January 2019)

B15    (Horn Park & Bexleyheath) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London using existing fleet 2009 Euro-VI diesel single-decks (26th January 2019)

 All routes are a Daily operation unless otherwise stated and 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

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Ultra Long Range Airbus A350 XWB

The first Ultra Long Range Airbus A350 XWB to be delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines has rolled out of the paintshop in the carrier’s distinctive livery. Now at an advanced stage of production, the aircraft will undergo further testing before being delivered to the airline in the coming months.

Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, and all of them are in various stages of assembly. The first aircraft to have flown has successfully completed its flight test programme, which focused on the redesigned fuel system. It is now being fitted with its cabin.

The airline will operate the aircraft on non-stop services from Singapore to the U.S. This includes flights between Singapore and New York, which will be the world’s longest commercial service, as well as on routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Ultra Long Range A350-900 is the latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family, and will have an extended range of up to 9,700 nautical miles. This has been achieved by a modified fuel system, which increases the aircraft’s fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres without the need for additional fuel tanks.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin, offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.

At the end of June 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 882 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 46 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

First Upgraded HST Arrives in Scotland

ScotRail has announced that its first fully upgraded InterCity train has arrived in Scotland.
The high-speed train travelled from Doncaster and crossed the border, ahead of its arrival at Haymarket depot in Edinburgh.

It will enter service between Aberdeen and Edinburgh "in the coming weeks", once crew training is complete.
A total of 17 five-carriage and nine four-carriage trains will be used on lines linking Scotland's seven cities.
ScotRail said the upgraded trains offered more seats and increased luggage space than its current fleet.
Each train also has a new cafe area on board in addition to the usual trolley service.
The upgrade is part of ScotRail's planned £475m investment in rolling stock over seven years.

Chris Tait, ScotRail's high-speed trains project manager, said: "I'm delighted that the first of our iconic trains has arrived in Scotland.
"They will transform rail travel in Scotland by providing more seats and a much-improved on-board environment.
"It's all part of our work to build the best railway Scotland's ever had."
Transport Scotland's rolling stock manager, George Davidson, said: "This is an important milestone in our efforts to improve capacity on our rail services, alongside an enhanced passenger experience."

Monday, 20 August 2018

Indcar and EVM Join Forces in Ireland

Spanish minibus bodybuilder Indcar joins forces with EVM Limited as it seeks to build on its presence in Ireland. The joint venture will operate under the name of INDCAR Ireland. The new partnership is part of Indcar's company growth strategy into the European market. The cooperation with EVM Indcar will be a great opportunity to expand the dealer network.

The agreement gives EVM exclusive rights to the distribution of Indcar models in Ireland which consist of the following three models; Next L8 and Next L9, which are both built on Mercedes-Benz chassis, and the Wing Iveco model, which has more than 3,000 units already operating on the roads throughout Europe.
Since 2001, Indcar has sold more than 300 vehicles in the Irish market. Together with EVM it will support its customers nationwide with a strong and experienced network of aftersales agents.
“We are very excited to re-establish in Ireland and start this collaboration with EVM. We have a shared objective to provide both high-quality minibus solutions to operators and a reliable customers’ service net. We are sure customers will benefit from this alliance”, says Gaël Queralt, CEO of Indcar.

For Danny Mc Gee, EVM, joining forces with Indcar was an easy decision. “Our relationship with Indcar stretches back many years. Our strong presence in the Irish market uniquely positions us to market, sell and support the product.” Indcar and EVM will be celebrating their partnership with a soon to be announced roadshow.
Indcar is a family business founded in Arbúcies (Spain) in 1888, which is nowadays run by the fifth generation and has more than 300 employees. It has a second production facility in Romania and commercial offices in Italy and France. The annual turnover is 32 million euro. Indcar builds 450 minibuses per year. EVM is established in 2009 and is specialised in manufacturing bespoke Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus and minicoach from 8 to 22 seats in low and high floor variants and accessible options.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Phase Two of New Lothian Services


Two days prior to commencing their operations in West Lothian, Lothiancountry have announced that customers in West Lothian are to receive a further two new routes from Sunday 30th September.

Service 280 will connect Blackridge and Armadale with Bathgate, Livingston North, Eliburn, St John’s Hospital, West Lothian College and Livingston Centre, 7 days a week. While Service 287 will connect Bathgate, Blackburn, Seafield, Eliburn, St John’s Hospital, Howden and Livingston Centre, also 7 days a week.

As a result of these new services, a further 21 new jobs will be created, further boosting the local economy and cementing the company’s long term commitment to the local community of West Lothian.

Nigel Serafini, Commercial Director, Lothiancountry said: “As a socially responsible operator, we know that providing lifeline connections for residents and commuters is vital. We are excited to already be able to further enhance our operations in the West Lothian area and are delighted to introduce these new services further expanding our network. We look forward to welcoming our first customers on-board this Sunday.”

Vice chair of West Lothian Council’s Development and Transport Policy and Development Scrutiny Panel, Councillor David Dodds, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lothian Country to West Lothian, and look forward to their services starting on 19 August.

“It’s great to see a new operator enter the commercial bus network in West Lothian, offering increasing choice for local bus users in one of the fastest growing areas in Scotland.”

Lothiancountry begins operation in West Lothian this Sunday, 19th August, and will operate a fare structure based on a simple and customer friendly zonal system. Along with great value single fares the company will be offering three Dayticket options for customers.

- The countryWEST Day Ticket provides customers with unlimited travel across West Lothian for £5 per day.

- The lothianWEST Day Ticket will allow unlimited access and unrivalled value across all Lothian Country services and Lothian city services for just £7.50 per day.

- The NETWORK Day Ticket, which will allow Lothian Country customers access to all Lothian day services, Airlink and East Coast Buses services at just £9 for a whole day.

For regular customers and users, discounted m-ticket bundles will also be available to purchase for Lothiancountry services via the Lothian app at special introductory offer prices.

A bespoke fleet of double deck vehicles in Lothiancountry’s distinctive green and cream livery fitted with USB charging points and Wi-Fi have been sourced for use on these services, offering customers high levels of comfort and quality for their journeys.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Now Glasgow Considering Pedestrianisation

Following our posting on 13th August announcing that Key roads across Edinburgh will be closed to traffic once a month, it has now been announced that Glasgow City Council is looking at permanently pedestrianising George Square.

The square was closed off to traffic during the recent European Championships sporting event and the council is now looking at whether or not to make the move permanent.

It is conducting a consultation to seek views on the issue.

The council stressed it was not currently conducting a statutory consultation on a traffic order.

A number of bus services pass through the Square. Here a 398 circular service travels on West George Street towards George Square

Pedestrianising the square could have a significant effect on businesses and the surrounding streets as well as disturbing bus transport routes which pass through the area.

George Square is one of the most prominent public spaces in Scotland. It is at the heart of Glasgow city centre and includes both the City Chambers and Queen Street railway station.
'World-class culture'

The consultation on the council's website says: "The European Championships have now finished. Alongside the sport we had two weeks of world-class culture in George Square which we temporarily closed to traffic.

"We're considering permanently closing the square and we'd like to know what you think about that."

The Federation of Small Businesses said permanent pedestrianisation could have pros and cons.

 Above, Buses that currently pass through the Square
It is also the main operating centre for City Sightseeing

Martin Little, the FSB's area leader for the West of Scotland, said: "On one hand, this move could help make our city centre more attractive to visitors and open up the space for a range of activities. On the other, it could create difficulty for businesses that need vehicle access to their premises in the vicinity of George Square.

"While we'll ask our members what they think of the proposals, we'd urge the council to be open to any concerns raised by local firms."

Were the square to be pedestrianised, arrangements would be put in place to allow access for delivery vehicles and the emergency services - as happens in other pedestrianised areas.

Although some nearby streets would not actually be closed to traffic, inevitably closing off the square could have implications for how busy they were.

Glasgow's former Labour leader Gordon Matheson previously called for George Square to be revamped completely but faced intense opposition from critics.

The plan was dropped following an international design competition.

The council's online questionnaire runs until September. It can be found 

Friday, 17 August 2018

Major East Coast Main Line Improvements Approved

A Network Rail proposal to construct a new section of railway underneath the East Coast Main Line has been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport.

The improvement is part of the Railway Upgrade Plan and will see a new rail line running underneath the East Coast Main Line, linking the Stamford lines and the Great Northern Great Eastern lines at Werrington Junction near Peterborough, removing the need for freight trains to cross over the East Coast Main Line.

Currently, slow moving freight trains need to cross over three lines of the East Coast Main Line, causing high speed passenger trains to have to slow down on the approach to Werrington Junction. This multimillion pound investment will mean freight trains no longer need to do this and can dive under the East Coast Main Line.

Capacity on many stretches of the East Coast Mainline is restricted to two tracks. The differing speeds between freight and passenger traffic creates delays.

The project, when combined with upgrades elsewhere along the route, will mean greater capacity for passenger services on the line, as they will no longer need to slow down on the approach to Werrington Junction, meaning it would be possible to run additional passenger services.

Network Rail submitted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) in 2016 to begin work on the project, which is one of the crucial pieces of work to improve travel on the line. Network Rail has worked closely with members of the public and key stakeholders on the project, and the dive under was selected as the preferred option for the scheme based on their feedback.

This investment, combined with the introduction of new trains, other schemes on the route and revised timetables will not only create space for additional train services between London and the North, but will also help ease congestion and reduce journey times.

Work on the project will begin later this summer and the dive under is expected to be completed by early 2021.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, said: “We’re delighted that these plans to improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line have been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport.

“This is a significant investment into the railway in this area which, when coupled with other upgrades on this route, will have widespread benefits for those travelling between London and the North through an increased capacity of 33 per cent.

“This vital upgrade will ensure we can provide an improved service for passengers and will create a more modern, reliable and resilient railway suitable to meet the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”

Network Rail continues to work closely with residents and businesses and is holding regular community information events for them to find out more about the scheme. The next drop-in session takes place on Friday, 17 August at The Loxley Community Centre, Davids Lane, Werrington, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE4 5BW between 14:00 and 18:00.

For more information, and to watch a 3D video of the dive under, visit

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Massive BYD Order

The Chinese Bus Market is booming, with production of around 300.000 buses per year. 
The city of Guangzhou the Guangdong Machinery & Electric Equipment Tendering Center Co., Ltd. and Guangzhou Guoke Bidding Agent Co., Ltd., have issued tenders for a total 4,810 electric buses. 
BYD has now received confirmation to build 4,473 of these buses.

BYD, Build Your Dreams, entered with two bids by its Guangzhou BYD Auto Sales Company Limited subsidiary. It announced that it recently received successful bid confirmation notices for two bidding projects, worth RMB 3,707,841,600 and RMB 1,813,619,600 respectively (700 million euro in total). 

BYD is to deliver 4,473 electric buses (889 of their new 8 metre model, 2,419 of the 10 metre model and 1,165 12 metres) to several public transport operators in the city of Guangzhou for which BYD will sign individual agreements with the customers. 

China is market leader when it comes to the use of electric buses. Last year over 106.000 electric and hybrid plug-in buses were registered.

Above & below, BYD have had success in the UK with single and
double deck vehicles being used in the London fleets.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

200 Scottish Rail Jobs on Offer

Network Rail Scotland will be creating around 200 jobs this summer in one of the biggest recruitment drives in its history.

The jobs will be based across Scotland, including in the North East, Highlands, Perthshire and the South West as well as across the Central Belt.

The roles are now being advertised as Network Rail prepares to invest billions in Scotland’s railway over the next five years.

Posts on offer include administrative, logistics and planning jobs, technician and team leader roles as well as construction and project management posts and rail operative jobs.

Scotland’s railway is currently undergoing a period of enhancement unmatched since the Victorian era and across the country Network Rail is working on projects to expand the railway, improve passenger facilities and introduce greener, faster electric trains.

Between 2019 and 2024 more than £4bn will be spent on running and maintaining the country’s rail infrastructure and the company needs to add to its highly-skilled workforce to help deliver a rail network fit for 21st century Scotland.

Nick Pascazio, Network Rail Scotland’s head of human resources, said: “We’re currently building the best railway Scotland has ever had and to do that we need to recruit and retain the best people.

“The railway is an exciting and fast-growing industry and Network Rail can offer you a rewarding career whether you are returning to work after a career break, a school leaver, a graduate, or looking for a change of career or industry.

“Rail travel is more popular now than ever before, with more than 96m passengers travelling in Scotland each year, and our industry makes an important contribution to keeping the country and its economy moving.”

With nearly 3,000 staff at locations across Scotland, and around 40,000 UK-wide, Network Rail can offer a wide range of career-development and professional learning opportunities as well as excellent staff benefits which include flexible working and a defined benefit pension scheme to those joining the company.

In additional to its general recruitment activities, Network Rail also runs highly-successful apprenticeship and graduate training schemes.

In Scotland, as part of the ScotRail Alliance, Network Rail maintains more than 2,800 miles of track, 359 stations and over 14,000 structures – including the world-famous Forth Bridge and Glenfinnan Viaduct – on a network which carries over 2,500 trains a day.

More information about the company and the careers it can offer can be found at:

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ADL Careers Roadshow


Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), is to hold a series of four Careers Roadshow events at key UK locations this September to highlight available job opportunities. Openings include engineering roles at all levels to support the manufacturer’s growing development of passenger-friendly low and zero emission buses for domestic and international markets.

The Enviro 400 double decker is a hugely popular vehicle in UK fleets

ADL is looking for Design Engineers, Lead Engineers and Principal Engineers across all its disciplines of chassis, body, electrical, test & development and homologation engineering. Candidates could be based at any of the company’s UK locations in Scotland, the North of England and Surrey.

ADL also hopes to attract graduate talent as well as looking for qualified Project Managers, Procurement Engineers and Commodity Buyers/Commodity Managers.

 ADL have partnered with Chinese manufacturer BYD to produce the
electrically powered Enviro200EV
The events will take place in Manchester, York, Guildford and Glasgow on dates between 10th and 25th September 2018, each running from 12pm to 8pm to give interested people the opportunity to visit in their lunchbreak or after finishing work in the evening. Senior engineers and other members of the ADL team will be on hand to talk about the roles the company is seeking to fill, and to kick-start the application process.

 ADL are building a successful export market in
the USA, Asia Pacific and in mainland Europe
(See below)
More information about the Careers Roadshow events is available on the ADL website at