Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ex LNER HST's to Run on East Midland's Routes

The Department for Transport has confirmed that cascaded HSTs from LNER will be the option to replace the non-compliant HST's on the East Midlands Railway. It has taken three years to decide how this problem will be solved.

 LNER HST's are about to withdrawn and sent to operate on East Midlands Services

Electrification for the East Midlands line to Sheffield was cancelled by the then Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling who said that new bi-mode trains could be used north of Wellingborough.

No new trains are in the offing however and now it has been decided to cascade the HST's from LNER to run on East Midlands tracks until new trains arrive.

The current MML’s existing HST fleet will not meet accessibility regulations that come into force from January 1 2020, so they will have to be withdrawn by the end of this year - leaving a major shortfall in the inter-city fleet.

Nine rakes of eight coach HST's owned by Porterbrook and three six coach HST's owned by Angel Trains are due to be removed from traffic.

When Abellio won the East Midlands franchise in April, the Department for Transport said that cascaded HSTs from LNER would be an option.

This has now been confirmed, with six nine-coach HSTs from Angel Trains and three eight-coach sets from Porterbrook set to temporarily join the EMR fleet, although they do not fully meet the accessibility regulations and will require heavy maintenance in the short term.

EMR Fleet Director Chris Wright said: “By December 2022, we will have replaced our entire train fleet to provide modern and accessible trains better suited to the routes they operate. That work is already well under way, but it does not happen overnight."


Monday, 11 November 2019

Scotland’s Railway Supports Scottish Poppy Appeal

Scotland’s Railway is showing its support for the Scottish Poppy Appeal with a range of fundraising and remembrance activity.

Memorial services will take place at Ayr station, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley at 11am on Armistice Day, Monday, 11 November, where ScotRail and Network Rail will invite customers to join them in a two-minute silence.

Poppyscotland volunteers and pop-up shops are in place at three of Scotland’s busiest stations - Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket – until Sunday, 10 November.

Customers can also buy poppies and donate to the Scottish Poppy Appeal through collection tins at ticket offices in staffed ScotRail stations.

ScotRail hopes that donations will surpass the record-breaking fundraising total of £127,912 set last year.

James Ledgerwood, ScotRail Head of Economic Development & Communities, said:

“I am exceptionally proud that Scotland’s Railway is supporting Poppyscotland once again this year.

“We should never fail to remember the sacrifice of those who have served, and those who continue to serve, our country.

“It’s the donations we make now that helps this excellent charity do its work all year round.”

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Remembrance Celebrations 2019

On Remembrance Sunday we show below how some of the UK bus operators have marked the 2019 event

Lothian Poppy Bus 2019

A striking new bus designed to commemorate Remembrance Day 2019 has been launched onto the streets of West Lothian.

The ‘Poppy Bus’ will be part of the 2019 Edinburgh Poppy Day event at St Andrew Square and to make the occasion extra special, Lothian Buses invited former service personnel who now work for the company to attend.

The bus will run on various routes throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians across November so keep your eye out for it hitting the roads in West Lothian.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland said: “The poppy bus is a stunning tribute and underlines Lothian’s continued support of Poppyscotland. We are incredibly grateful to them for their ongoing commitment to the charity, and in turn to the Armed Forces community. Together, we are Behind Them. Always. The poppy bus will help to remind the people of Edinburgh and the surrounding area about the importance of the Scottish Poppy Appeal and the Remembrance period. We hope it will encourage the public to dig deep so we can continue to provide our life-changing support in the year ahead.”

As well as the specially created bus the company will fund raise internally by making poppies and remembrance garden crosses available for sale to its staff. The company will also be offering a free hot drink for all current and ex-services personnel every morning in November from its CoffeeHub inside the Shandwick Place TravelHub.

Richard Hall, Lothian’s Managing Director, said: “Lothian is proud to have many employees across our business who currently serve in the reserves or are ex-armed forces personnel and the Poppyscotland appeal is particularly close to the hearts of both our staff and our customers.

“We hope that our various activities running throughout the month of November, along with this years Poppy bus, will help raise both awareness and vital funds for this great charity to allow them to continue to support the Armed Forces Community across Scotland.”

Stagecoach Poppy Buses

Stagecoach Merseyside has once again rolled out its ‘poppy bus’ onto the streets of Merseyside ahead as part of the 2019 Remembrance Activities.

Redesigned for 2019, the commemorative vehicle features two photographs of real war heroes who contributed to Britain’s victory in World War II, and highlights the male and female efforts at home and on the front throughout the World Wars.

Stagecoach Merseyside Poppy Bus

Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire’s striking remembrance bus has been an annual feature since 2017, when the company announced its partnership with The Royal British Legion.

The images were both chosen from the Imperial War Museum’s archive photo collection. Created by graphic designer, Chris Sankey, the bus design and photographs used are intended to celebrate and honour the sacrifices and bravery shown by ordinary people during war time.

The first image depicts soldiers in the trenches at The Battle of Crete, 1941 – the scene of the

largest German airborne operation of World War II. The battle was the first time the Allies had advance notice of a major German offensive due to intercepted Enigma transmissions. The Battle of Crete is also famous due to the remarkable bravery shown by the Cretan civilian resistance.

The second photograph being showcased on the Remembrance Bus features Irene Stacey from Bristol at her workbench in a UK factory. The image signifies the vital home effort led by British women who supported the front line by taking jobs in transport, engineering, mills and factories to keep the country moving throughout the war.

Rob Jones, managing director at Stagecoach MCSL said: “We are incredibly proud to be marking Remembrance Sunday and honouring the brave men and women who served at home and abroad to defend the freedoms of Britain and our allies.

“Our new bus design is a tribute of recognition and appreciation for the unparalleled sacrifices made by the men fighting on the front line and the women leading the support effort back in the UK.

“Many of our team across the region have joined us from careers in the forces and our partnership with The Royal British Legion is incredibly important to us. Their work in supporting and caring for our veterans and Serving personnel is unparalleled, and it is only right that we support them in this important endeavour.”

In 2015, Stagecoach Group signed the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in support of the Armed Forces Community.

Stagecoach South West is once again showing its support for military personnel past and present. As part of the company’s activities to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women, Stagecoach South West will be covering one of its buses in an eye-catching poppy design, while the rest of the fleet will have poppies on display. 

Stagecoach South West Poppy Bus

In addition, the bus company has also made a contribution to the Royal British Legion, giving all drivers the opportunity to wear a poppy.

On Remembrance Sunday, Stagecoach South West will be offering free travel to armed forces personnel wearing their uniform or carrying a military ID card and to veterans wearing their uniform or veterans badge.

Remembrance Sunday is a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts and to remember and honor those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. With Remembrance services planned at memorials across the county, it is hoped that personnel wishing to pay their respects will take up the offer to travel to the service of their choice.

Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, said;

“We are proud to be supporting armed forces personnel and veterans, by offering free bus travel on Remembrance Sunday. We appreciate and recognise the commitment the Armed Forces community has made to our country over the years and are delighted to be honoring our brave servicemen and women with the launch of our decorative poppy bus.”

Stagecoach Group signed the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in support of the Armed Forces Community in 2017. As a signatory of the Covenant, the company recognises the value serving personnel; regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to both the country and businesses across the country.

Below, spotted in Honiton, Devon on 7th November 2019 were Stagecoach vehicles carrying the poppy emblem.


Go North East Free Travel Offer for Remembrance Sunday 2019

Go North East is offering free travel on all of its buses across the North East for all veterans and members of the Armed Forces on Remembrance Sunday, the 10th November 2019.

The company, which has many veterans in its workforce, and operates over 600 buses across the region, is making it as easy as possible for people to travel to Remembrance events across the North East whilst showing its appreciation and recognition of the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces past and present.

Free travel is available on any Go North East bus across the North East on Remembrance Sunday to serving personnel who can produce a current ID card, veterans displaying a veterans badge and all travelling in uniform.

Stephen King, Commercial Director at Go North East, said: “We are proud to show our appreciation to those in the Armed Forces past and present by making it even easier to travel to a Remembrance Event this Sunday. We have many veterans across our team of 2,000 people as well as the many serving and veteran members of the armed forces who use our services each day."

Transdev Poppy Buses

A heartfelt tribute to the district’s war heroes will be given after North Yorkshire bus operators Coastliner, Cityzap and York and Country buses agreed to honour the fallen.

Parent company Transdev is adorning 200 of its buses across the North with large sized commemorative poppies to encourage its thousands of customers travelling each day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Serving members of the armed forces will also be able to travel free on any bus service operated by the three bus companies on Remembrance Sunday, November 10.

The poppies will be prominently displayed on the front of buses on routes across the region, from York to Leeds, Tadcaster, Malton and the Yorkshire coast.

Parent company Transdev’s CEO, Alex Hornby, said: “Our customers welcomed our decision to place poppies on several of our buses in previous years, so we felt it was right to continue our support this year for the important work of the Royal British Legion.

“We hope that by prominently showing our support for the Poppy Appeal on our buses, many of our customers will join us in contributing to this excellent cause.

“All our teams at our depots across the North are fully behind this – we want to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom, and to support those living with the impact of conflict today.”

If you can send us photos of Poppy Buses from your area please do so by sending to 

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Stagecoach Delivers Major Cuts in Carbon Emissions

  • 14% cut in carbon emissions in five years helps tackle climate change and boost air quality
  • Company initiatives cut passenger fleet emissions by 7% and buildings emissions by 21%
  • Investment of more than £1b in 7,000 greener vehicles in past decade
  • One of Europe's biggest electric bus fleet orders due to be delivered in 2020
  • Backing for industry pledge for all new buses to be ultra-low or zero emissions from 2025
  • Development of new Stagecoach sustainability strategy and targets underway

Stagecoach has cut carbon emissions from its businesses by 14% over the past five years as it continues efforts to tackle climate change and boost air quality, according to new data published today.

Between 2013-14 and 2018-19, the multi-modal transport group reduced its passenger fleet emissions by 7% and buildings emissions by 21%.

Overall, the business has slashed its annual carbon impact by more than 168,000 tonnes of CO2e a year since 2013-14. In the company's bus and coach operations alone, it has reduced its passenger fleet emissions by more than 78,100 tonnes of CO2e a year, with annual buildings emissions cut by over 7,250 tonnes of CO2e.

It follows a 30% reduction in Stagecoach’s carbon intensity in the previous five years and the achievement of stretching environmental targets 12 months ahead of schedule.

A range of multi-million-pound investments and company-wide sustainability projects have helped drive the environmental improvements.

These include the introduction of new greener buses and coaches, investment in eco-driver technology, training for bus drivers and engineering teams, measures to tackle bus idling, and use of state-of-the-art environmental management systems at the company's facilities.

Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus and coach operator, has invested more than £1billion in 7,000 new greener vehicles in the past decade, more than any other operator in the UK. In May, the company announced an £80m investment in a further 350 cleaner vehicles for 2019-20.

For several years, Stagecoach has been the biggest operator of hybrid electric vehicles in Britain. The latest Euro VI buses emit fewer emissions overall than a Euro 6 car, as well as having up to 20 times the carrying capacity.

Early next year, Stagecoach will introduce into service one of the biggest orders of new electric buses in Europe. Around 50 zero emission e-buses,-part-financed by the UK Government’s Green Bus Fund, will go into service in Manchester and Caerphilly in South Wales, supported by new charging infrastructure. It follows new electric buses introduced by Stagecoach on park and ride services in Guildford earlier this year.

Stagecoach is also working with other bus operators across the country to ensure that every new bus is an ultra-low or zero emission vehicle from 2025.

Stagecoach is progressing the development of a new sustainability strategy for 2020 and beyond in partnership with the Carbon Trust. The strategy will include plans around fleet investment, buildings measures and other initiatives, as well as stretching targets to drive further improved performance.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: "Climate change and poor local air quality are two of the biggest challenges our planet faces today. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to play their part in meeting that challenge head on.

"We welcome the stretching targets being set by government to address these environmental problems, but the reality is that are unachievable without a major switch from polluting private transport to sustainable public transport.

"Our greener and smarter public transport services are a vital part of the solution. Not only do they help support the economy and keep communities connected, they can help cut congestion and deliver cleaner air.

"We have made huge strides over the past decade in becoming a more sustainable business as well as making a positive social and economic impact for our country. But we need to do more and we look forward to finalising our sustainability strategy for 2020 and beyond."

Surface transport is the single largest producer of carbon emissions and the only sector where these are growing. In the UK, the government has introduced a “net zero” target for GHG emissions by 2050 Buses and coaches are responsible for just 6% of pollution from road transport, compared with 41% from diesel cars and 30% from diesel vans.

Research by Greener Journeys, a UK campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices, suggests that everyone switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys and would save two million tonnes of CO2 every year in the UK.

In addition to cutting its carbon impact, Stagecoach has achieved significant reductions in water consumption in the past year. Water consumption at its bus and coach operations across the UK was reduced by 22% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, with a cut of 47% at its tram operations over the same period.

Reductions have been achieved through installing urinal cistern controls at bus and rail depots, using lower flush toilets and push taps, and extending recycling at wash facilities. The introduction of automated meter readers has also help identify and address leaks from the water supply system.

More than 90% of waste handled by Stagecoach, including a significant volume generated by customers using public transport services, continues to be diverted from landfill. Stagecoach companies are working with waste management specialists to improve segregation at operational facilities and offices, and raising awareness of the issues with employees and customers.

As well as meeting and exceeding its regulatory obligations, Stagecoach is also focused on reducing business travel; developing green travel plans and incentives for our people, customers and other organisations; working with other companies and organisations to improve sustainability in the supply chain; improving the accessibility of its public transport services; and managing biodiversity issues.

Friday, 8 November 2019

New Enviro400's for Go North East X30 Route

Go North East, has invested £720k in 3 brand-new, state of the art, environmentally friendly buses for its X30 route which serves Consett, Catchgate, Annfield Plain, Stanley, Sunniside, Whickham, Dunston and Newcastle.

The high-specification, state of the art, environmentally friendly buses join the company’s premium brand ‘X-lines’, with consistent standards of high-quality buses on its express services.

The new X-lines X30 buses, which were built in the north at the Scarborough factory of Alexander Dennis, will be rolled out over the coming weeks and have all the latest mod-cons, including comfortable luxury seating with mobile phone holders, free Wi-Fi, upper-deck tables featuring wireless charging pads and at-seat USB charging points. There is also no need to worry about missing your stop, as the buses are fitted with next stop audio and visual passenger information systems.

Go North East will be launching the Enviro400 buses at Tanfield Railway on Sunday 10 November, along with giveaways, goodies and free coffee.

For those travelling from Consett or Stanley into Newcastle, the all zones Go Zones ticket is available for £7 a day or £25 a week when bought in advance on the Go North East app (£30 on the bus).

Additionally, anyone aged between 5 and 25 can get unlimited travel on Go North East buses for £4.50 a day and £17 a week, with those aged under 19 also having the option of travelling for just £1.20 per journey. ID is required for anyone aged or looking 16 or over.

Go North East also offer a family day ticket that covers all zones for just £12 a day – covering up to two adults and three children under 16, with a minimum of one adult and one child required.

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, said: “These buses represent the next round of major investments following the recent £1.8 million investment we have made for the people of Newcastle, Gateshead and Whickham on our Green Arrow service.

“We have worked hard with the manufacturer to develop these high-specification, environmentally friendly buses to improve the customer experience.

“These buses are packed full of new high-quality features that help raise the bar buses travel, especially for commuters on these faster X-lines services. We hope more people will embrace public transport as it continues to get even better and enables them to play their part in helping to tackle rising congestion and improve air quality.”

Thursday, 7 November 2019

BAE Announces Next-Generation Power System for EV's

New battery electric system will help operators decrease emissions while increasing travelling distance before a charge.

BAE Systems has more than 10,000 electric-hybrid systems in service around the globe including major cities such as Paris, London, New York, and San Francisco

The company, a world leader in electric propulsion systems, has unveiled its next-generation full battery electric power and propulsion system for transit buses. The newest system positions cities around the world to get to zero transportation emissions and improve the range and efficiency of their electric bus fleets.

The technology adds to the company's 20-plus years of experience developing and integrating electric-hybrid propulsion systems and accessories for buses. The Series-EV system builds on that core technology, but eliminates the need for a combustion engine to drive the bus. Instead, it uses electric motors, controls, and batteries to create a clean and emission-free mode of public transportation.

"Many cities are striving to get to zero emissions with their bus fleets and we are committed to supporting them with all-electric solutions that meet their needs and exceed their expectations," said Steve Trichka, vice president and general manager of Power & Propulsion Solutions at BAE Systems. "Our Series-EV system provides operators with a highly reliable and low-cost battery electric option that not only gives them more flexibility and capability, but allows them to completely eliminate emissions on their bus fleets."

The Series-EV system uses fewer, lighter, and more compact components to make it easy to install and reduce the need for future maintenance. The system's light weight and reduced number of connections help to make the most of its power and paves the way for buses to travel longer distances on a single charge. 
As part of this unique design, it also allows operators to customise based on their propulsion or accessory power requirements. Larger buses would require more traction power and the addition of air conditioning on the bus would increase the accessory power needed.

Every year its systems travel over 330 million miles and transport nearly 2 billion people. The company's electric propulsion systems are contributing to a cleaner world by saving more than 22 million gallons of fuel and eliminating 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year across the globe – the equivalent of taking 42,000 cars off the road or planting 4 million trees.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Carlyle to Purchase Arriva from DB?

American private equity firm Carlyle is the front-runner to buy Arriva in a deal worth £2.2bn.

Carlyle has entered talks with one of the UK’s largest public transport operators, which runs rail franchises including Northern and London Overground, as well as buses across Britain.

Arriva’s German parent group, Deutsche Bahn, has been exploring the possibility of selling the company or floating it on the stock market. Any takeover would not include the Northern Rail contract, however.

Northern Rail would not be included in the sale

The delay to Brexit has complicated any possible sale and a decision is not likely before the end of this year.

Carlyle is at the front of the queue should Deutsche Bahn opt to sell the subsidiary and a formal offer is expected this month, the report says.

A number of parties have been linked with an offer for Arriva, including Apollo Global Management, while transport groups such as Stagecoach and Keolis are said to be interested only in acquiring parts of the company.

Arriva employs 53,000 people and was purchased by Deutsche Bahn in 2010 for £1.5bn, but the group is looking to reduce its €20bn debt.

A spokeswoman for the Deutsche Bahn said on Friday: “We have always made it clear that we are working on a dual-track process for DB Arriva. In concrete terms, this means a sale to an investor or an IPO.”

Global investment firm Carlyle has around $222bn of assets under management.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Multi-million Pound Investment in New Luxury Double Deck meagabus Coaches

Customers travelling on megabus, are benefitting from a multi-million investment in luxury new double deck coaches, with six new Plaxton Panorama coaches introduced this week. The new coaches feature a range of improved customer facilities, with free WiFi, new comfortable seating and wireless charging, as well as a bespoke designer interior.

The coaches, which each carry 87 people, will initially be operating on the popular Anglo-Scottish services along the M11; London-Manchester-Glasgow-Aberdeen and M9; Glasgow-Perth-Dundee

Representing an investment of £2.5million, the coaches have been built by Alexander Dennis, one of the world’s largest independent coach manufacturers.
As a result of megabus recently introducing optional seat reservations on its services, customers can also reserve seats on these coaches, including the popular seats around the tables on the lower deck.

Mark Venables, Managing Director for megabus, said: “We’re really excited to be introducing these brand new luxury double deck coaches on our services between England and Scotland this week. As well as customers benefitting from improvements such as free WiFi, wireless charging and really comfortable seating, the introduction of double deck coaches also means we can now offer even more seats on our great value services.

“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our customer offer and encourage both new and existing customers to keep on travelling with megabus. We’re confident that our customers will love travelling on these new coaches.”

megabus was first launched in the UK in 2003, linking over 90 locations across the UK , carrying more than 5 million passengers a year.

Monday, 4 November 2019

New Durham Coach Park

A new coach park has opened in Durham at Belmont park and ride site, on the outskirts of Durham. There are 30 spaces for coaches on the site which is located on the A690, approximately 300m east of Junction 62 of the A1. It is about ten minutes’ drive from the city.

Coach drivers can access facilities to clean their vehicles both inside and out, toilets, on site washroom and will soon have the facilities to empty chemical toilets.

Drivers can also travel in and out of the city centre for free from this coach park on the Park and Ride service. Available 7am - 7pm Monday to Saturday (no service on Sundays).

Passenger drop-off and pick-ups are at Freeman's Place. From Freeman's Place passengers can walk up to the city centre, or catch the Durham Cathedral Bus, which operates from the bus stop at Freeman's Place. 

Major concerns were raised that moving a city centre coach park could have an impact on tourism.

The coach park has been moved from The Sands, where the council plans to build a new headquarters, though it said that the coach park proposal predated the plans.

When the plans were announced the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said it had “major concerns” about the loss of central coach parking space and that using Belmont would make visits to Durham less attractive.

Above & below, the Park & Ride  site is taken over each year on Father's Day by the 
North East Preservation Group who run the service using a collection of classic and modern vehicles

The CPC raised practical issues, including difficulties with “double running”, necessary for drop-offs and pick-ups, and the possibility of reducing visiting time because of the need to give drivers adequate rest, as well as the inconvenience to drivers.
The Park & Ride doesn't operate on Sundays - a major problem for coach drivers who will be isolated at the new coach park.

Focus Comment

Time will tell on this but one certainty is that if given any choice on where a driver can drop passengers as part of a tour, the driver will always choose a location where break-time can be maximised. Valuable driving time is lost in dropping passengers and then travelling to an out of town parking facility and then returning later to pick up passengers. Depending on traffic conditions this can sometimes add an hour to driver's working time. 

A good example of this being the closure of the K Shoes Outlet in Kendal where the on-site coach park was taken away and driver's were forced to travel to the sports centre to park.
Coach driver's voted with their feet so the steady stream of coaches dwindled to nothing, leaving the outlet with a much reduced footfall. A massive investment has been lost and the site is now being re-developed as a hotel.

Unfortunately, we've seen a number of examples of town centre bus stations and coach parks being moved to the outskirts, where passengers are just expected to walk to the centre. Land owners and planners sometimes give priority to potential development of the sites and ignore the inconvenience that passengers can be subjected to.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

First Bus Sale

THE potential sale of First Bus will be discussed by Councillors from across West Yorkshire next week.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee will receive updates on the Authority’s decision to participate in the forthcoming sale of First West Yorkshire, potential additional government funding for local bus services and the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance at a meeting next Friday.

Earlier this month the Combined Authority agreed that with First Group PLC’s planning to sell off its bus operations, it was important to protect local passengers’ interests. Legal and consultancy support was approved to explore how the Authority can respond actively to the situation and ensure the growth of bus services in West Yorkshire.

At the end of September, the Transport Secretary announced a funding package of more than £200 million for bus services for 2020/21 along with a commitment to ‘the UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy and funding settlement’. The additional funding indicated that a proportion of the £200 million would be spent to help local transport bodies such as the Combined Authority supporting the "socially necessary" but commercially unviable bus services.

The introduction of electric buses and the trial of on-demand services will also be funded, and a long-term funding package has been promised as part of the 2020 Government spending review.

The West Yorkshire Bus Alliance emerged from the successful Bus18 partnership and is made up of the Combined Authority, West Yorkshire bus operators and West Yorkshire’s councils. It is committed to putting passengers at the heart of any developments and has the main objectives of keeping buses moving and ensuring a sustainable bus network. 
Work being done through the Alliance is focusing on affordability of bus travel, customer service, highway infrastructure and air quality.

Councillor Kim Groves who chairs the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “When you consider despite falls in passenger numbers, people still make over twice as many bus journeys as train journeys in West Yorkshire, making buses vital to achieving our aims of creating economic growth that benefits everyone, while at the same time combating climate change.

“That importance of buses is the very reason why the Combined Authority initiated the 
Bus 18 initiative with bus operators and our district partners. We all recognise the need to work together to stemming the decline in passenger numbers and make buses the natural option.

“We have the clear shared goals of developing a simple fares structures which include ensuring young people’s access to opportunities through affordable travel, and a network that is understandable and easy to use for everyone. And we are investing in works to tackle congestion points on the local road network to improve the punctuality, the reliability and attractiveness of buses, and a bus fleet with the reduced emissions levels that will enable us to achieve our aim of zero-carbon city region by 2038 or sooner.”

Commenting on the Combined Authority’s decision to participate in the sale of First West Yorkshire, Cllr Groves said:

“Around 70 per cent of West Yorkshire’s bus services are run by First West Yorkshire, which equates to over 100 million journeys per year so the implications for local people of the company being sold are huge.

“Although we know the sale of the company will be a complex and competitive process, we feel it is vital that the Combined Authority takes an active role in the process to guarantee passengers’ interest are represented and taken into account whoever ends up owning the company and running services.

“It is also important that the overall economic and environmental objectives of the Bus Alliance are part of any new owner’s commitments and by participating actively in the sale process, the Combined Authority Transport Committee will have the level of control to ensure this happens.”

Last year West Yorkshire Combined Authority spent over £17 million supporting ‘socially necessary’ bus journeys which would otherwise not run because they are not profitable.

Commenting on the government’s recent £200 million funding announcement, which includes additional support for these services, Cllr Groves said: “These are the journeys that connect people to early-morning or late-night shifts, that provide a lifeline for isolated communities, that enable people to visit friends and relatives on Sundays and take advantage of local facilities and services.

“Ongoing pressure on the West Yorkshire councils’ budgets has put pressure on the funding we have available to support these journeys, without which some people may not be able to work, attend college or training opportunities while other could face isolation and loneliness.

“Extra government funding for these journeys and other initiatives is welcome but rather than one-off announcements we need to see Ministers, some of whom claim to have an interest in buses, making good on their promises of multi-year funding settlements that would provide greater stability and a National Bus Strategy that recognises the sector’s importance to our local and national economies.”

At next week’s Transport Committee meeting, members will also be asked to approve the Combined Authority’s updated Bus Information Strategy. In line with feedback from over 1,000 people in a public consultation, the Strategy takes a ‘digital first’ approach but also recognises there are people who still rely on printed information, which will continue to be provided.


Saturday, 2 November 2019

Gresley V4 Build Project Takes a Step Forward

Sir Nigel Gresley, the South Derbyshire engineer designed world famous and successful locos the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard
Now, plans to build another classic locomotive designed by the world-famous engineer is continuing to gather steam.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is continuing its scheme to build a Gresley class V4 No. 3404 , which was the final engine designed by Gresley.

The engine was designed by Sir Nigel, who is best known for designing the Flying Scotsman and Mallard steam locos. Mallard, which was the fastest steam engine in the world, recording speeds of 126mph in 1938.
It has now been announced that an order has been placed by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for the class V4 to be built at Darlington Locomotive Works.
This will be the third new steam locomotive built by the trust. It is over 25 years ago – Wednesday 13th July 1994 – that the construction of No. 60163 Tornado officially started at the then British Steel facility in Leeds. 

The Trustees have also agreed the high-level specification for the yet-to-be-named No. 3403. Although just two in number, the Gresley class V4s were very successful in traffic with no known design and development problems. The locomotive will have:
  • A P2-style electrical system which is in itself developed from that successfully implemented on the A1
  • Air plus vacuum brakes as on both A1 and P2 but with only one air pump due to the limited space available
  • An all steel, all welded boiler with no thermic syphon – the one originally fitted to No. 3402 provided no discernible benefit and was removed in 1945
  • A tender based on the LNER 4,200-gallon – as opposed to 3,500-gallon – tender with as much water capacity as possible – modifications made to the A1 and P2 tenders added around 1,200 gallons
  • Roller bearings throughout as with A1 and P2
  • The new P2 design of crank axle and pony truck
  • Its monobloc cylinder block casting redesigned as a fabrication as with the P2
Sir Nigel Gresley was the chief mechanical engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway and designed a number of successful famous steam locomotives.
There is no specific appeal open for No. 3403 yet, any donations made towards it will be ring-fenced for the project. The next steps will be to launch a website for the project and The Founder’s Club to fund the early stages of the project. More announcements will be made during 2019 as the project builds up steam.”

Friday, 1 November 2019

Ebusco 3.0 Composite Bus Launched

Ebusco has reached a new milestone in the development of emission-free driving in public transport. By applying new techniques and materials in the production of its buses and using parts made from composite materials a weight reduction of 33% achieved giving a range of up to 500 km’s from one charge. 

Ebusco 3.0

With a multifunctional team of key experts, who have earned their experience in the field of aerospace, automotive and electronics, Ebusco has developed an innovative fully electric bus, which largely consists of composite parts. Composite is a combined material made of at least two constituent materials with different physical or chemical properties. 

This makes the 3.0 bus even 33% lighter than the Ebusco 2.2. without compromising on robustness, stiffness or safety. On the contrary: by departing traditional ways of bus design, safety, applicability and comfort have increased enormously. 

With this new composite development, Ebusco say that their vehicles compare well with diesel fuelled without giving any emissions, without high fuel costs, with much higher comfort, better safety and more space for passengers.

Ebusco has broken many records and is with the Ebusco 2.2 already producing a very attractive bus that reaches a range of up to 450 km with a battery package of 423 kWh. With the new Ebusco 3.0, Ebusco continues to innovate and is applying technologies and innovations from the aviation and aerospace industry.

Ebusco only develops and produces electric buses and is therefore not limited to previous thinking by bus designers based on diesel technology and its specific limitations. In recent years, Ebusco has implemented a number of innovations, making it now the fastest growing and best-selling E-bus company in Europe. 

The design has been fully aligned with this new development, leaving even more room for innovative applications. Ebusco say 'This greatly increases comfort for both passengers and driver. “This new bus heralds the definitive end of the diesel era'. 

The Ebusco 2.2 has already improved the so called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) massively compared to the diesel fuelled buses, but with the Ebusco 3.0 nothing stands in the way anymore to make public transport more sustainable. "We now are able to make the world in which we live even cleaner, safer and healthier”, according to Peter Bijvelds, CEO Ebusco.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Gatwick Easy Jet Trial Cuts Boarding Time by 10%

The frustration of waiting for someone to put their bag in an overhead locker may soon be over if a trial to get people on planes quicker is successful.

Gatwick says it is working with EasyJet to try out new ways to board passengers at the London airport.

They include boarding people in window seats first, starting at the back, followed by middle then aisle seats.

Gatwick said different boarding methods could reduce the journey from airport gate to seat by about 10%.

The airport operator says that the window-to-aisle seat pattern of boarding is best suited for individuals and business passengers.

Groups of people who want to sit together such as families will be seated by row, again starting at the back of the plane.

Gatwick said it was experimenting with flexible boarding patterns, "depending on the passenger make up on any individual flight - number of families, individual travellers etc".

The two-month trial has already begun and Gatwick said an airline managed to board 158 passengers on one plane in 14 minutes. "This is typically 2-3 minutes better than the usual time," said a spokesman,companies are experimenting with plane seating - most notably Japan Airlines which has introduced a new booking system which helps passengers avoid sitting next to young children, thereby potentially avoiding a noisy flight.
'Bingo boarding'

Gatwick is also experimenting with better ways of telling passengers when they need to queue up at the boarding gate.

Instead of the often inaudible tannoy announcement informing which rows of passengers to line up, flyers will now learn which seat numbers are ready to board via a digital screen.

A spokesman for Gatwick said: "One challenge in any controlled boarding process is our ability to communicate the pattern to passengers and the willingness of passengers to comply. It is almost impossible to do that effectively through audio announcements."
He said that so far passengers "get it intuitively and comply with it".
"Passengers can be seated until their seat number comes up on the large screen and then board the aircraft without queuing.
"Some even appear to enjoy it and are calling it 'bingo boarding'."
The company said the trial was being run with EasyJet from just one gate at present, but other airlines are expected to become involved.
It said: "This is about improving the experience for passengers - not just in terms of making the boarding process more relaxing - but also helping to reduce delays."
Passengers who have booked priority boarding, or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families, will still board first during the trial.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Moving to Brussels is a Great Success for Busworld Europe

The biggest Bus and Coach only exhibition in the world organised its first visit to

Brussels from 18th to 23rd October 2019. The exhibitors, visitors, members of the press and

the organising teams have all agreed that it was a great success. 

Busworld was bigger and better than ever.

All numbers increased: more space (50,000 to 79,000 sqm), more exhibitors (376 to 511

of which 176 were newcomers) and more visitors (37,274 to 39,798). Overall
feedback was very positive meaning that 2019 has been a milestone in Busworld’s


International audience

511 exhibitors came from 37 countries with top attendances from Turkey, Germany and China.

Visitors came from 143 countries which is a significant difference in comparison with

118 countries in 2017.

Redgy Deschacht, President of Busworld, said " Due to the continuous growth of the Busworld show, it was decided to move to 
Brussels Expo, a bigger exhibition centre: . 

Previously Kortrijk Xpo was a very popular location, although it had been too small for some years. Today everyone is unanimous: Brussels was the right choice.

Electrification, a natural theme

Although Busworld never determines a specific theme, electrification developed itself naturally for 2019. Almost every bus, present inside and outside the Brussels Expo, was equipped with an electric driveline. It was all about batteries, autonomy, kWh, charging possibilities,… clearly electricity was in the air.

Busworld Awards, the winners

Like in previous editions, Busworld organized its own competition: the Busworld

Awards. All vehicle manufacturers were invited to take part in it with the vehicles they

presented during the show.

The Grand Award Bus went to the hydrogen-powered Van Hool Exqui.City FC Design

Pau. Thanks to its capacity of operational autonomy, which totally surpasses that of

other vehicles, the hydrogen fuel cell bus has also been awarded the Ecology Label.

The jury praised the safety features, the completely separated driver space with

centrally located controls, the excellent visibility for the driver and the multitude of

cameras covering the entire external area of the bus.

The hydrogen-powered drive converts hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy through reverse electrolysis. On the one hand the electricity is used to power the vehicle and, on the other, unused energy is stored in lithium batteries for additional power where and when needed, such as when pulling away from a stop. 
The only emission from this “zero emission” vehicle is water vapour.

The Grand Award Coach went to the Volvo 9900. It wins through good scores on design,

maintenance, driving quality, comfort and acceleration. Safety is another asset of this

coach, which yields Volvo the Safety Label once again. 

The jury was impressed by the passive ; active safety automated fire extinguishing system, black box system and on board computer, the driver passive safety (energy absorption zone) and the passenger safety (light entrance and exit).

Below is an overview of the awarded Labels of Excellence:


• Comfort Label Bus: Mercedes-Benz eCitaro

• Safety Label Bus: MAN Lion's City Hybrid

• Design Label Bus: Yutong U12

• Ecology Label Bus: Van Hool Exqui.City FC Design Pau


• Comfort Label Coach: Van Hool EX11H

• Comfort Label Coach: Setra Topclass S 531 DT

• Design Label Coach: Yutong T13

• Ecology Label Coach: Yutong ICe12

• Safety Label Coach: Volvo 9900

Pictures from the exhibition below

More pictures can be found here