Thursday, 31 January 2019

Class 378's For Gospel Oak to Barking

Transport for London have announced that modified Class 378 electric trains are to be used temporarily on London Overground's Gospel Oak to Barking line.

 Class 378 units will be modified and shortened to four coaches to run on
 the Gospel Oak to Barking line
The Mayor for London Sadiq Khan has also secured a month's free travel from the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation for when the new trains enter service.

 Deliveries of Class 710's have been delayed

The 378's are to be put in place to accommodate for the delays, which the new 'Class 710' electric trains which are not yet ready, have caused.

TfL said that it, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for London are continuing to press Bombardier to deliver a fully operating new train as soon as possible.
The modified electric trains will be four-car vehicles and will be active until the 'Class 710' trains are ready for passenger service.

Three existing electric 'Class 378' trains are being modified to ensure services can continue running.
One has joined the line, while two more are expected by March, when the last of the existing diesel ‘Class 172’ trains is released for use elsewhere in the country.

The modified electric trains will operate alongside the current class 172 trains, which means some trains throughout the day will be diesel and some electric with two and four cars respectively.
TfL's director of rail and sponsored services Jon Fox said: "We are very sorry for the continuing delay to the introduction of the new fleet of electric trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line. We share our customers’ frustration and continue to push Bombardier to do everything they can to allow us to bring the new trains into service as soon as possible.

"We had expected the new trains to be in service well before now and are doing all we can to minimise impact on our customers who have been waiting for way too long for the trains they have been promised. Given the ongoing delays we are modifying three electric trains normally used elsewhere on the network and will put them into use on the Gospel Oak to Barking line until the new electric trains are here.
"Customers have shown great patience and to show our appreciation the Mayor has secured funding from Bombardier to support a month’s free travel on the line once the new trains are fully introduced. More detail will be available closer to the time."

 The line is shared between the TfL services and goods traffic

The diesel trains lease has been extended twice since last summer, but they will all need to be released for elsewhere in the country by the middle of March.
If by then, the new electric trains are still not ready to enter service, only the modified electric trains will be available for use.
This could mean the frequency of services would reduce, but overall capacity will remain the same or slightly increase as the trains have a larger capacity.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Latest Detailed Emission Zone Proposals for Oxford Published

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have published updated proposals for a Zero Emission Zone in the city centre.

The updated proposals follow 15 months of listening to businesses, residents, transport operators and health experts in Oxfordshire.

The proposals under consideration set a journey to zero transport emissions in the city by 2035. From 2020 onwards, a ZEZ could apply to some vehicles and journey types, with restrictions increased gradually to all vehicles in the following years to create a largely transport emissions-free city centre by 2035.

The aim of the ZEZ is to tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution and protect the health of everyone who lives in, works in and visits the city. It is also expected that the ZEZ will improve air pollution levels across Oxfordshire because the buses and taxis that serve Oxford also serve towns and villages across the county.

From 2020, under the proposals, all non-zero emission vehicles could be banned during certain hours from parking and loading on public highway in an inner zone, while in a larger zone the requirement will be Euro 6 for buses. Citywide taxi emissions standards will apply from 2020, with increasingly improving standards to 2025.

The vision towards zero emissions sees an acceleration from 2022 to 2035, when the councils are considering further possible measures for non-zero and high emission vehicles to encourage a faster conversion towards low emission and zero emission vehicles. These ideas, like the development of the first stage of ZEZ will be thoroughly researched, tested and consulted on with businesses and residents.

The first step on the journey to zero will be taken when City councillors decide on the Hackney carriage licensing changes this month (January 2019), which would see, as part of a phased approach, the introduction of zero-emission capable hackney carriage taxis in the city centre by 2022.

The two councils had announced a joint vision for a ZEZ in 2017 and have been working together to create a scheme that is both effective and deliverable.

Oxford’s ZEZ would be one of the first in the world to be introduced. Several other cities in Britain and other countries are looking at ways to improve air quality by restricting vehicle access in similar ways.

The journey to zero emissions

As originally proposed, the scheme will be phased. Following public engagement, the two councils are looking at ways to cover more vehicle types and over a larger area. This plan, if approved, will maximise benefits to air quality in a shorter time.

The proposed ZEZ, if approved, will cover two areas of the city centre (see above) and will see emission requirements on vehicles entering Oxford city centre with restrictions increased gradually between 2020 and 2035:

The purpose of setting an end goal in 2035 is to provide residents and businesses in Oxford with certainty about the future direction of travel on the city’s journey to zero, enabling them to make decisions about their vehicle purchases now.

The ZEZ restrictions will not apply to emergency vehicles and exemptions are expected to be approved for Blue Badge Holders.

Big conversation on road to zero emissions continues

This phased approach follows extensive consultation with city centre businesses, Covered Market traders, bus companies, taxi drivers and operators, University of Oxford colleges, environment groups, groups representing people with disabilities, and other stakeholders.

More than 750 residents and businesses took part in a six-week public consultation on the proposals in late 2017, with about 70% of respondents backing a phased approach to the ZEZ.

The two councils have also been talking to other local authorities who are considering or implementing clean air zones to learn from their experiences.

Over the coming months, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council will continue to consult on, and carry out further studies to develop the plans, to produce a fully-costed, effective and deliverable during 2019. Residents and businesses will then be formally consulted on the new proposals once they have been finalised.

A final decision on the introduction of the ZEZ is subject to approval by councillors at both City and County councils.

Tackling air pollution

Nitrogen dioxide is the local air pollutant of most concern in Oxford, and the only pollutant for which European limits continue to be breached in the city. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants warn there is no safe level of nitrogen dioxide.

A 2016 report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Healthfound that outside air pollution – of which about 75% comes from road traffic in Oxford – cuts short 40,000 lives a year in the UK.

In 2017, significant decreases of nitrogen dioxide levels were observed in the city centre, although several monitored locations in the city still registered levels above the legal limit.

Chris Coleman, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: “Buses have a key role to play in boosting the region’s air quality, as well as addressing damaging congestion, growing our economy and bringing communities together. The latest Euro 6 buses are cleaner than new Euro 6 diesel cars and can carry up to 20 times more people.

“Across the UK, Stagecoach has invested more than £1billion in greener buses over the past decade, many of which have been introduced in Oxfordshire. We look forward to working in partnership with the council to deliver an even better local environment and encourage more people to switch from the car to greener and smarter bus travel.”

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “I very much welcome the phased approach that the local authorities have taken to introducing the Zero Emission Zone and this makes its delivery challenging but much more realistic.

“Whilst a number of our buses already meet the Euro 6 standard and others will be upgraded in the coming months, we still need to purchase further vehicles to deliver an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in late 2020 but we are confident that we can achieve this within the time frame.

“Partnership working will be important in our journey to zero beyond that and we look forward to working with both authorities to continually improve the air that we breathe to add to the good work already done to date.”

Sajad Khan, Secretary of the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA), said: “We share the ambition of Oxford City Council to reduce air pollution across Oxfordshire. For the health of our city and our drivers, we want to modernise our full fleet to electric when possible. The transformation of Oxford's Hackney carriage fleet needs careful management so that our business can thrive. We welcome the funding which the City Council has secured to install new electric charging points and support the trade to transition to electric.

“Over the last months, COLTA and the City Council have engaged in direct, frequent, and productive discussions to make the ZEZ a practical and workable reality which Black Cab drivers of Oxford can proudly help to achieve. It's been a positive relationship with our city councillors and officers within the City Council who have approached these conversations and listened to drivers, and worked with us to make the transition to zero-emission practical and possible for our drivers.

“This phased approach is much more reasonable than the initial plan as it gives drivers certainty and direction of travel and enables our drivers to plan their future vehicle purchases now. We will continue our engagement with the City Council as the ZEZ develops, share our experiences, and work together to achieve a practical Zone for all Hackney Carriage drivers and Oxford.”


Two further albums have been added to the Flickr site, once again with focus on the Leyland National. These are one from the 1970s London Country Bus Services era, the other the deregulation companies from 1986 onwards. These can now be viewed by clicking  here   and  here

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Chariot to Cease Operations in UK & USA

Chariot has ceased operating its ride sharing UK commuter routes in the UK.

Ford bought the US start up company in 2017 and brought it to the UK, allowing passengers to check the app to find commuter routes near them, reserve a seat, and also use the app to pay with their smartphones.

The company have issued a statement saying

"Following significant consideration, we have decided to close the Chariot operation. Friday, January 25th is the last day we will offer service on commuter routes in the U.K., and Friday, February 1 will be the last day we will offer service on our commuter routes in the U.S. 

In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly. 

We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause Chariot’s riders and our enterprise customers. We are committed to ensuring our customers are aware of the decision and have time to make alternative transportation arrangements.

We are truly grateful to our commuters, enterprise customers, and partners for your support over the past five years. Chariot was built on a commitment to help reduce congestion, ease the commute and improve quality of life in cities, and since our start, we have provided our customers with more than 3 million rides. In addition, we helped Ford build their mobility business, and their experience with Chariot continues to inform their mobility efforts and design decisions for the future.

See the 2017 Focus Transport launch announcement here

Monday, 28 January 2019

London Tramlink

Automatic braking system for trams to be installed this year

System will automatically bring a moving tram to a controlled stop if exceeding speed limit.

"Awarding the contract for a new automatic braking system is a first for trams in the UK, and not only will it improve safety for customers in London, but we hope it will lead the way for other tram operators across the country" said Mark Davis General Manager of London Trams.

Automatic braking will operate alongside the driver protection system that alerts to distraction and fatigue and has been successfully in use since September 2017. The
contract to install new safety system was awarded to Engineering Support Group Limited (ESG) on 14 December 2018. This means all of the recommendations specific to Transport for London (TfL) following the Sandilands overturning tragedy are now in progress or complete.

London's tram network will be the first in the UK to have an automatic braking system after TfL awarded Engineering Support Group Limited (ESG) the contract to build and install the new safety system by the end of this year.

It will automatically apply the brakes and bring a moving tram to a controlled stop if exceeding the speed limit at designated locations. Work began on the feasibility of introducing this new safety measure, which has not been introduced on any UK trams before, shortly after the tragic overturning at Sandilands, Croydon, in November 2016. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019, including a period of training and familiarisation with tram drivers, and will operate alongside the driver protection device that has been in operation since September 2017, alerting to any signs of driver distraction and fatigue.

Automatic braking is one of the recommendations set out by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB) following the tragic tram overturning. It will initially be configured to priority high-risk locations as suggested by the RAIB but will have the flexibility to be introduced elsewhere on the tram network.

The RAIB listed 15 recommendations aimed at the UK tram industry following the overturning. Work has progressed on all of the recommendations specific to TfL with some of the most vital already complete. These include a permanent speed reduction across the tram network, speed monitoring and signage at significant bends, an enhanced customer complaints process and the installation of a driver protection device that alerts to driver distraction or fatigue.

A new emergency lighting system, which will operate independently of the tram's battery in the event of an emergency, has also been procured and will be installed over the summer, addressing recommendation seven. Extensive testing with safety experts has also progressed and a new higher specification film that is 75 per cent thicker (from 100microns to 175microns) will be fitted to all doors and windows to improve containment, as per recommendation six, by spring.

Mark Davis, TfL's General Manager of London Trams, said: 'We will never forget the tragedy at Sandilands and from day one have focused our attention on preventing this type of incident from ever happening again. Awarding the contract for a new automatic braking system is a first for trams in the UK, and not only will it improve safety for customers in London, but we hope it will lead the way for other tram operators across the country. We will work to have the new system, which will automatically apply the brakes if a tram is exceeding the speed limit, in full operation by the end of the year.'

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Plaxton Offer Euro 6 Conversion For Volvo B9R's

Plaxton, in conjunction with Eminox Limited, experts in the design and manufacture of exhaust after-treatment systems to reduce emissions for heavy-duty vehicles, has successfully concluded trials that will enable Elite coaches on Volvo B9R chassis to be converted to Euro 6 specification.

Jamie MacIntosh, Used Vehicle Sales Manager at Plaxton and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), said that extended trials have now validated a retrofit system that will enable Volvo B9R Euro 5 coaches to meet Euro 6 emissions standards and comply with London’s forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone, as well as the growing number of clean air zones throughout the UK.

He commented: “We’ve been working closely with Eminox, currently the only approved supplier of a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme certified at Euro 6 for coaches, and we now have a bespoke solution.”

 ADL’s Jamie MacIntosh (left) and 
James Thorpe, of Eminox, as the first
 retrofit Plaxton Elite comes off the line

Jamie added: “While this project has been specifically about a bespoke system for the Plaxton Elite body, Eminox’s approved B9R system has been developed to upgrade other bodies such as the Leopard and Panther.”

Martin Dunleavy, General Manager of Used Bus and Coach Sales at ADL commented: “These trials have been an overwhelming success and we look forward to taking the product further. The outcome also represents a real boost for the second hand coach market as many operators have been caught in a quandary about writing off perfectly good coaches or investing in full-price new models. Now they have a meaningful, cost-efficient option.”

James Thorpe, UK Sales Manager at Eminox, said “Our commitment to developing systems for the coach industry continues in 2019. We understand the demands from the market and can provide a cost-efficient solution for operators to meet Euro 6 emissions standards with ADL Plaxton.”

Saturday, 26 January 2019

New Caledonian Sleeper Coaches Reach London Euston

Caledonian Sleeper’s new carriages have made their first trial run to London Euston ahead of their launch later this year.

The new fleet will operate on the overnight rail service by the end of May 2019, in time for the peak summer season.

As trial operations continue to gather pace, a total of 16 carriages made the trip from Scotland to London – a significant milestone in the testing phase.

Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director at Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Caledonian Sleeper will undergo a huge transformation in 2019 and we are now entering the final stages of our testing and approvals programme.

“Bringing our new carriages into London Euston for the first time is an exciting landmark for the team, and we cannot wait until they are arriving and departing from the station six nights a week.”

The fleet, built at a cost of over £100m and part funded by a capital grant from the Scottish Ministers of £60m, has been designed to accommodate the modern-day traveller and cater to both business and leisure travel guests. A range of accommodation options will be offered, including:
Caledonian Double (double bed with en-suite)
Club Rooms (solo or twin with en-suite)
Classic Rooms (solo or twin)
Comfort Seats
Fully accessible rooms for guests with reduced mobility

Other new features will also be included, such as a hotel-style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, charging panels and WiFi throughout the train.

The trains will initially be introduced on the Lowlander route between Glasgow / Edinburgh and London before being rolled out onto the Highlander which serves Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper, visit

Friday, 25 January 2019

BOAC Livery for British Airways 747

British Airways will unveil a Boeing 747-400 "retrojet" next month adorned in the colours of its predecessor airline BOAC, as part of the airline's centenary celebrations.

The UK carrier says that one of its 747-400s – registration G-BYGC – will arrive at Heathrow from the paintshop on 18 February in the BOAC scheme, and that the livery will remain in place until it retires in 2023.

It says that the 747 will be the "first aircraft to receive [this] popular design from British Airways' past with more details of further designs to be revealed in due course".

However, BA says that all new aircraft entering the fleet, including the Airbus A350, will continue to be painted in the current "Chatham Dockyard" union flag design.

"So many British Airways customers and colleagues have fond memories of our previous liveries, regularly sharing their photos from across the globe, so it's incredibly exciting to be re-introducing this classic BOAC design," says Alex Cruz, BA chairman and chief executive.

"Our history has shaped who we are today, so our centenary is the perfect moment to revisit our heritage and the UK's aviation landscape through this iconic livery," Cruz adds.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Greater Manchester £100m Bus Partnership Announced

Greater Manchester’s bus operators have launched a ground-breaking £100m partnership blueprint to revolutionise the bus network and deliver on the region's world-class ambitions.

Plans unveiled by OneBus would deliver better connectivity for local communities, ease the cost of travel and tackle the region's growing congestion and air pollution crisis. This collaborative approach will both improve services for customers and support politicians’ aspirations for economic growth.

The bus operators' blueprint, which is consistent with the new powers in the Bus Services Act, proposes:
450 new low emissions buses over the next three years to boost the region's air quality, with the first 150 delivered by 2020
More flexible and simplified tickets, recommendation of two-year price freeze on multi-operator bus fares, and more affordable travel for people of all ages
An action plan for Transport for Greater Manchester and other agencies to tackle congestion hotspots, speed up journeys and cut gridlock
A single unified brand identity for all bus services, with individual operator buses clearly identifiable as part of a partnership
Improved integration of bus, tram and rail services
Joint bus network review to maximise connectivity for passengers, including the evaluation of the potential for off-peak, limited stop, night time or 24 hour services
Better on-board customer experience, including extension of free Wi-Fi across the bus fleet
A fully co-ordinated, central approach to traffic management, customer contact and travel information

Greater Manchester has one of the most extensive and greenest bus networks outside London, with weekly travel from around £2 per day, contactless ticketing, and live bus journey information. 

Last year, bus operators also worked with the mayor to deliver half price bus travel for 16 to 18-year-olds and are in discussions to extend the benefit to offer free travel, with the costs being met by the Combined Authority.

But concern is growing over the impact of too many cars on the region's roads. Figures from the Department for Transport show that there were more than 1.14million cars licensed in Greater Manchester at the end of 2017, some 17,600 more than in 2016 and 75,400 more than in 2012.

Congestion has negatively impacted on bus punctuality, costs and fares, while also damaging public confidence in buses. Additionally, more than a third of these vehicles are diesel cars, contributing to the growing air quality crisis.

Gary Nolan, chief executive of OneBus, said: “Buses are central to the future of Greater Manchester and this positive package of proposals can make a real difference to tackling the biggest challenges facing our communities: road congestion and air quality.

“Building on the significant investment already made by operators, there is a window of opportunity for everyone to work together to deliver a revolution in the region's bus network that puts customers first and offers excellent value for both passengers and public investment."

The Mayor and Greater Manchester Combined Authority are currently considering the future of buses and are evaluating an alternative franchising option. This would see taxpayers become responsible for the full cost of the bus network instead of the current system where the majority of costs are covered by bus operators.

The only place in the UK where a franchising system operates is in London where bus use has fallen 6% in the past three years, Transport for London is facing a £700m deficit and many bus services are having to be cut.

In Greater Manchester, the last time bus services were operated by local transport authorities, between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the bus network was decimated. Bus numbers were slashed by more than 20%, with 650 buses cut from the network. Passenger numbers plummeted by 35%, and between 1975 and 1980 alone, the cost of bus fares increased by 379%.

Mr Nolan said: "Franchising is being presented as a zero cost guaranteed route to better buses services, but this is a myth. The major investments we are proposing can be delivered far quicker through a partnership approach and without the risk and extra cost under any alternative model.

"Only by bus operators, the Mayor and the region's local authorities working together, can we give Greater Manchester, its economy and its communities the dynamic bus network to shape our world-class city region."

A copy of the OneBus partnership proposals can be accessed here.


Two albums have been added that focus attention on the Alexander Dennis E40D and E40H Enviro400 MMC. These can now be viewed by clicking here  and here

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Photographs of 91119 - Update

Following our appeal on 18th January for photographs of  91119 in Swallow livery, we are pleased to have received a wide selection of pictures showing the Class 91 in its new colours.
These can be seen on our Focus Flickr site here. A small selection can be seen below and on the original posting here here. Also Julian Davis has sent us an excellent YouTube video of the locomotive at speed.  click here to see this.
Thank you to those that responded to our request for photographs of  91119 and also thanks to all photo contributors who have helped the Focus Flickr site reach 5 million hits which happened over the Christmas holiday period. We are also pleased to report that this Focus Transport site reached the 2.2 million page view mark early in the New Year.


It is hoped that 91119 will be on display at Crewe Open Day which will be held on Saturday 8th June 2019.

The Class 91 joins steam locomotives 70000 “Britannia”, 46100 “Royal Scot”, 34046 “Braunton” and 45231 “The Sherwood Forester” at the event.

Also joining the open day are 2x Class 08s, a Class 37, 5x class 47s, 2x Class 55s, a Class 57 (Direct Rail Services), Class 66 (Freightliner), Class 67 (DB Schenker), Class 86 (Freightliner), Class 88 (Direct Rail Services), Class 92 (GBRf) Class 121 (Locomotive Services), Class 221 Super Voyager (Virgin Trains) and a Class 390 Pendolino (Virgin Trains) and a Class 142 from Northern.


A selection of pictures of 91119 have been kindly provided by a number of photographers, and are now in an album, which can be viewed by clicking  here 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Porterbrook Flex Trains for Postal Services

Porterbrook is supplying the Rail Operations Group (ROG) with bi-mode FLEX trains to support the company’s expansion into the rail postal industry. Increasing congestion on the road network, a shortage of HGV drivers and the rapid growth in on-line shopping has led many shipping firms to explore rail as a key part of their logistics chain. A lack of suitable trains has thus far delayed the move.

Working with ROG, Porterbrook will renovate two of its innovative FLEX trains for light logistics traffic. The FLEX trains are capable of operating on both electrified and non-electrified routes will help meet shippers needs for rapid movement of goods and just-in-time delivery

The Class 319 Flex concept is designed to create a bi-mode train by fitting two diesel powered alternators, one under each of the driving trailer cars. The diesel alternators provide power to the existing traction and auxiliary equipment to allow the EMU to operate without an overhead or 3rd rail supply. The systems will provide power through the train’s DC bus, avoiding any significant changes to the existing equipment and creating a unit capable of operating from a number of different power sources whilst maintaining its full capabilities on electrified routes. 

The operational flexibility of the bi-mode FLEX train complements the flexibility of ROG’s offering to light logistics shippers. The trains can be made available to single users (one customer secures all space within the train) or to multi-users depending on the shippers’ day-to-day requirements or need to meet deadlines. Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: "We are excited be breaking new ground with ROG as we both move into light parcel logistics for the first time. The UK’s light logistics sector is experiencing huge changes and we’re delighted that we can support the sustainable solution on the rail network. Porterbrook is particularly pleased that ROG have recognised the potential for non-passenger use of our innovative FLEX trains and over coming months we will be exploring further opportunities to support the successful UK railfreight sector."

Karl Watts, CEO of Rail Operations Group, said: "The time is right for a modal shift from road to rail for logistics and express parcels services. ROG are leading the industry in delivering this shift and the FLEX trains are the perfect rail-borne solution to make this happen. There is huge opportunity to re-establish a comprehensive network of express parcels trains and help reduce the number of commercial vehicles on UK roads which will, in turn, help to drive improvements in the UK economy.”

Maggie Simpson, Director General of the Rail Freight Group (RFG), said: "RFG welcomes ROG’s move into the express parcels market, this is traffic that is highly suited to the rail network. I am also very pleased to see Porterbrook’s renewed appetite for railfreight investment. The creation of dedicated FLEX trains for light logistics work is a significant vote of confidence in our sector." The new FLEX parcels trains will be delivered to ROG in early 2020.

Monday, 21 January 2019

New Tube Map

A new tube map has started appearing in London Underground stations, and there’s a lot of changes to this edition.

Most notable is what’s not on the map — a long purple line that should have marked the launch of the Elizabeth line.

But what’s been added is a clearer way of showing when tube stations on different lines are within walking distance of each other. Although a lot of Zone 1 is omitted as you’ll have dotted lines all over the place turning the map into a spiders web.

Also, the stations shown have to meet a set of criteria that includes stations less than a 700m or a 10minute walk apart, where there is an easy, well-lit, signposted walking route and where making the change opens up additional travel options.

Showing walking distances for connections only between different lines does means one of the more famous “it’s easier to walk” options, between Holborn or Leicester Square to Covent Garden is not shown, as it would double up the Piccadilly line and be even more confusing.

Julie Dixon, Head of Information & Design at TfL, said: “Customers may not always be aware of how close some stations are and we hope this new design will give customers better information to plan their journeys and use London’s transport network more easily.”

London TravelWatch says that it has been pressing TfL and rail operators for a number of years to show on their maps where passengers can make easy and useful interchanges between stations, most notably in its 2015 Interchange Matters report. The interchanges will also be appearing on the rail network maps as well – showing options such as a 6 minute walk between Putney and East Putney stations enabling journeys between Wimbledon and Richmond.

Janet Cooke, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch commented: “This is a great outcome of our work on interchanges. It will open up a whole new set of easier journeys and save passengers time and money at the same time by avoiding the need to go into central London.”

The addition of the dotted walking lines also cleans up one aspect of the map, where stations have been shown as connected, when in fact they’re a short walk from each other – such as West Croydon or Clapham High Street.

The biggest change though is around West Hampstead where the connected stations have been more accurately represented with the walks between them, but also the lines have had a kink added to make the separation clearer.

One missed opportunity is that at Canary Wharf they continue to show the DLR and Jubilee line stations of the same name as being close to each other, whereas anyone who knows the area knows to use Heron Quays DLR instead as it’s a much shorter walk.

The external interchanges shown on the current tube map are:
Archway – Upper Holloway
Bow Church – Bow Road
Canary Wharf LU – Canary Wharf DLR
Clapham High Street – Clapham North
Emirates Royal Docks – Royal Victoria
Forest Gate – Wanstead Park
Hammersmith (Circle & Hammersmith) – Hammersmith (District & Piccadilly)
North Greenwich – Emirates Greenwich Peninsular
Shadwell (London Overground) – Shadwell DLR
Shepherd’s Bush (Tube) – Shepherd’s Bush (London Overground)
Tower Gateway – Tower Hill
Walthamstow Central – Walthamstow Queen’s Road
West Croydon (London Overground) – West Croydon Tram
West Hampstead (Tube) – West Hampstead (London Overground)
White City – Wood Lane

The use of a paler grey for the zones also seems to make the map look a cleaner, and a few subtle changes have been made to the design, namely the layout of the tram lines, a curve at New Cross, and a small gap added between the Overground and Underground lines along the routes to Richmond and Watford Junction.

In addition, boat pictograms have been added at Canary Wharf, Westferry and Woolwich Arsenal to better reflect the interchange capabilities that exist with river services.

A final note — the tube map also now says in the bottom corner: “This diagram is an evolution of the original design conceived in 1931 by Harry Beck”

And that’s a reminder, that technically, it’s not a tube map, it’s a diagram, even if everyone* calls it a map.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Re-branding a Train

How easy is it to rebrand a Class 185 Transpennine Express train?

Click here here to see a video from the TransprtDesigned website showing the stripping of old graphics followed by application of new vinyls


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Stagecoach Gold Enviro200's for Wirral

Stagecoach Merseyside has expanded its luxury brand bus fleet in Wirral due to increasing demand.

From January 13, Stagecoach Gold buses will now operate on the 38 bus service between West Kirby and Eastham Ferry. 

Buses will run every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday with hourly services available Evenings and Sundays. The 38 bus service calls at popular destinations including Moreton, Birkenhead, Bromborough Croft Retail Park and New Ferry.

All Gold buses feature spacious legroom, comfortable e-leather seats and CCTV as standard. The buses also offer free Wi-Fi allowing passengers to stay connected while on the move. Contactless payment methods are available on board all Gold buses. The highly-sustainable fleet runs off bio diesel and is powered by low emission engines.

Rob Jones, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “Since launching our first Gold route in 2015, the fleet has proven increasingly popular with passengers who love the added luxury and additional benefits the service offers.

“We’re pleased to be adding service number 38 to our existing Gold routes and look forward to rolling out this affordable alternative which will offer passengers enhanced connectivity and comfort during their journey, whether they are commuting to work or seeing friends.

“With the addition of service number 38 to our existing Gold routes, we will be delivering a new level of quality for customers across the region.”

Travel across Stagecoach’s bus network in Wirral including on the Gold buses costs £14 for adults and £7 for Under 19's per week.

Friday, 18 January 2019

91119 Repainted into Original 'Swallow' Intercity Livery and an Appeal for Photographs

During December 2018 London Northeastern Railway launched a very special Class 91 into passenger service.
Class 91s first entered passenger service on the 3rd March 1989, this year LNER will begin to bid farewell to them following 30 years in service.
To bring back the memories, and to honour the class, the train operating company have unveiled Class 91 No. 91119 in its original Intercity Swallow livery, just as it would have done all them years ago.
We held back our posting in the hope that we could obtain pictures of 91119 in the Swallow livery but so far, apart from the one below, have been unable to do so.

The 91's first task in its new look was to form 1D22 1633 London Kings Cross to Leeds service, along the route, many enthusiasts were there to welcome in the new look and to take photographs.
91119 will now haul trains between London Kings Cross and Leeds, York and Scotland whilst in its shiny new livery.

If you have pictures of 91119 in the new Swallow livery please send them to 
and we will add them to this posting.

19th Janruary
Thanks to Tommy Cooling who has sent us the following pictures of 91119 taken at Kings Cross last week.

Further pictures of 91119 required please, please send to


A selection of pictures of 91119 have now been kindly provided by a number of photographers, and are now in an album, which can be viewed by clicking  here 

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Final Boeing 727 Passenger Flight

The final Boeing 727 commercial aircraft to carry passengers has made its last flight.

Operated by Iran Aseman Airlines, flight EP851 did a two-hour domestic route from Zahedan to Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport on Sunday 13 January.

The jet itself was a 38-year-old Boeing 727-200 Advanced, and was the last to be flown as a passenger plane with a commercial airline.

The 727 model has been in service for nearly 55 years, and was at one time a popular aircraft choice for a variety of airlines.

The tri-jet aircraft first came into service in 1963, able to fly more passengers than most competitor narrow-body jets, and at higher speeds with a lower operating cost per passenger.

 The 727 was flown by many airlines including Dan - Air

Most major airlines in the US had 727s as part of their fleet – more than 1,800 of the jets were purchased during its 20-year production run.

When it stopped being made in 1984, the 727 was the most widely sold commercial jet ever, a title that’s since been taken by the plane’s successor, the 737.

The 727’s use as a commercial aircraft has dwindled over the last two decades, as airlines find it much more cost-effective to fly twin-engine jets that use fuel more efficiently.

However, although Sunday marked its final commercial flight, the aircraft model is still used to transport freight, with some even used to operate charter flights or as private planes for government officials.

The news comes after British Airways announced it was retiring its final 767, Boeing’s first wide-body twin-jet, in November 2018.