Tuesday, 30 April 2019

50 ADL Enviro500's for Singapore in New Three Door, Two Staircase Layout

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded Alexander Dennis an order

for 50 new Enviro500 double deck buses built to a new three door, two staircase

layout that will help with smoother and quicker boarding and alighting. The first of the

new buses will be delivered next year.

Building on its global expertise in adapting double deck buses to market requirements,

Alexander Dennis has developed an innovative new concept for Singapore. These

Enviro500 buses will feature a full-flat floor design along with three passenger doors and two

staircases, one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle, allowing commuters to move

through the vehicle quickly and safely.

The design builds upon the concept bus that Alexander Dennis developed for the LTA in

2016, adding further innovation including the use of the latest aluminium composite body

technology and a host of new safety and energy-saving features.

The 50 new buses will join 216 earlier Alexander Dennis Enviro500’s already in operation in

Singapore. All will be supported locally from the manufacturer’s 25,000 square foot facility in

the north of Singapore which was opened last year.

Paul Davies, Managing Director for Alexander Dennis Asia Pacific, says: “This new order is

a resounding confirmation of Alexander Dennis’s strategy in Singapore, where we have

invested significantly to support the Land Transport Authority and its operating partners.

Applying our global expertise and experience in double deck bus engineering, we are delighted to be supplying these new three door two staircase buses which have been

designed to further improve the journey experience of Singapore’s commuters.”


Monday, 29 April 2019

Date Set for Azuma's in Service

Brand-new Azuma trains will be ready for passenger journeys from London King's Cross to Leeds from Wednesday 15 May 2019.

According to the LNER website "The trains have been through rigorous testing with engineers and technical staff from Hitachi Rail, Network Rail and the Department for Transport to ensure they will meet the high standards set for outstanding customer service. The first Azuma train will run from London King’s Cross to Leeds, with more trains being phased into service to all other LNER Destinations over the coming months."

What is the first Azuma destination?
“The first Azuma train (will run) on the service between London and Leeds. This is what customers up and down the country have been waiting for and represents a monumental milestone for rail travel. LNER have worked very hard alongside their partners and suppliers to reach this point and the company look forward to giving all customers an excellent experience every time they travel.” said LNER Managing Director David Horne.

How many Azuma trains will there be?
LNER customers will see more seats and more trains as Azuma is rolled out across the route, with the total fleet increasing from 45 to 65 trains.

Where was Azuma built?
The Azuma trains are being manufactured in Britain by Hitachi Rail, at its purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

“Passengers on the East Coast mainline will soon be able to enjoy a fleet built in the North East of England harnessing Japanese bullet train technology. Our British train factory has sourced parts from across the country to build the Azuma trains, which herald a new era for this famous route.” said Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that passengers will soon be able to travel on the new Azuma trains and we look forward to them reaping the benefits. A huge amount of work has gone into reaching this significant step and we have worked extremely closely with both LNER and Hitachi on this.”

We'll be announcing dates for further rollouts throughout next year, so keep checking our website for more news on Azuma.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Not a nice subject but......................

London's Tube and bus system 'soiled thousands of times'

London's transport system was strewn with vomit, urine, blood and faecal matter thousands of times last year, according to new figures.

Transport for London (TfL) buses were reported as "soiled" a total of 14,632 times in 2018, with some affected more than twice per week. Tube trains were delayed due to "soiled cars" on 801 separate occasions.

The five lines with Night Tube services were the Underground lines that were soiled most often.

"It is very disgusting, especially on weekends and nights," an anonymous cleaner told the Press Association.

October was the worst month for soiling on the bus network with 1,351 incidents.

During July, when the heatwave and the England men's football team's run to the World Cup semi-finals brought revellers out, there were 1,291 incidents.

The worst route was the number 25 bus between Ilford in east London and Holborn in the centre of the city.

TfL classes a carriage as having been soiled when passengers have left vomit, urine, blood or smashed glass behind.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, said: "These shocking statistics show just what a dirty and disgusting job our cleaner members have to do. There is no question that the introduction of the Night Tube has seen an increase in this sort of behaviour, which has appalling consequences for staff and passengers alike."

Cleaners on the London Underground are a "hidden army" with "mops and buckets cleaning up the filth and mess to keep London moving", he added.

A spokesperson for TfL said: "We aim to deal with any incidents of this nature on our network as soon as possible once they are reported, with specialist staff available to undertake cleaning as required. We ask all customers to consider their fellow passengers and to help us to keep the network running safely and smoothly."

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday 11th May - Theydon Bois

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday & Sunday 11/12th May - Carlton Colville

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 12th May - London to Brighton

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains calls for compulsory seat reservations

Virgin Trains has proposed making seat reservations compulsory on long-distance trains, saying it would cut overcrowding and guarantee every passenger a seat.

The firm wants a 'reservation-only' system, meaning all ticket holders will be guaranteed a seat. Season ticket holders and those with flexible tickets, such as an open return, would need to book a seat before travelling. 

It also says the current array of ticket options, including advance, off-peak and anytime tickets, is confusing. Virgin Trains is instead calling for a move to 'airline-style' ticketing, meaning there would be a single fare for each service available at any given time.

The price would be based on demand, meaning the ticket cost would go up as the train filled up. Passengers would still be able to buy tickets on the day at the station, but only if there were still available seats on their chosen train.

These are some of the proposals it has put forward as part of its contribution to the Williams Rail Review, which was established by the Government in September 2018 to reform the rail industry.

Virgin Trains runs the West Coast network connecting cities such as Glasgow, Manchester and London.

What does the watchdog say?

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent travel watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Do passengers really want compulsory reservations? They certainly want smarter ticketing that is simple to use, easy to trust, better value for money and flexible enough to suit the way we travel now.

"Some people will always need to just turn up and catch the next service. Others rely on long-distance trains to commute to work over parts of a route. Whether what Virgin is proposing could accommodate this is something the Rail Review must consider carefully."

Friday, 26 April 2019

London bus disruption

April has not been a particularly good time for bus travel in Central London along with some disruption to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Things started to go downhill during the afternoon of Wednesday the 10th April, when Hammersmith Bridge over the River Thames was immediately closed to all traffic, due to the discovery of serious defects. Buses on routes 33, 72, 209, 419 and 485, that cross the bridge were affected drastically and curtailed from either side until further notice. Alternative routeings are of quite some length via either Putney or Richmond bridges. The deviations and disruption is liable to last for quite some time.

Five days later on Monday the 15th a vast number of bus routes in Zone 1 were then severely disrupted when the newly formed climate change protest group named ‘Extinction Rebellion’, amassed at various locations such as Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge. All traffic once again was prevented from passing through these areas and effectively caused diversion or curtailment to 53 daytime and 62 nighttime routes. Disruption continued throughout the next week or so when the protesters re-focussed their attention to the City of London’s financial district from the morning of the 25th April.

And finally (for the time being), the one-way operation of Tottenham Court Road was altered to become two-way from the middle of the day on Saturday the 20th. Possibly some unintended consequences with traffic congestion has arisen, which in turn has detrimental effects on bus routes in the area.

Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at http://www.lots.org.uk/
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Class 230 trains


John Parkin has kindly provided Focus Transport with a set of pictures of the Vivarail D-Trains from the Marston Vale Line. These feature operation by the former London Underground D-stock. Numbered into the 230 class, 230004 made its first appearance on the line on the 24th April between Bletchley and Bedford.

One final picture illustrates the type when in service with London Underground during the 1990s.

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Sunday 28th April - Teesside

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

BYD Unveils 27m Bi-articulated Bus

BYD has unveiled the world's first 27-m pure electric bi-articulated bus. BYD says it is the longest pure electric bus in the world and can travel at a maximum speed of 70 km/h. (43.5mph)

This BYD K12A is equipped with a distributed 4WD system, which can switch between 2WD and 4WD to meet the demands of different terrains, while also lowering the vehicle’s overall energy consumption. The BYD K12A features an all-aluminium alloy body and BYD’s core technologies of batteries, electric motors and electronic controls. 
At the presentation of the BYD K12A, Stella Li, Senior Vice President of BYD said: “The K12A will bring zero emissions to BRT systems, allowing passengers to enjoy quiet, pollution-free travel, while at the same time saving significant maintenance costs for operators.”

The K12A follows more of BYD's "fine traditions", including its battery heat management system, energy regenerative system and smart integrated design. The bus is equipped with DC and AC charging ports that can be switched freely to meet customers' need. One charge can last almost 300kms, and can therefore respond to the demands of a full day’s operation.

BYD first unveiled its public transportation electrification solution in 2010, soon taking the lead in the field of pure electric buses across China. To date, BYD has delivered a total of more than 50,000 pure electric buses to its global partners. BYD holds a dominant share in the pure electric bus market in the US, Latin America and Europe.

To respond to a great surge in orders across the globe, BYD is building a more complete R&D and production presence, and has set up factories for pure electric commercial vehicles in China, the US, Brazil, Hungary, and France.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Nottingham City Transport

NCT will be running the Queens Drive Park and Ride service from 23rd June 2019 with their Navy 49 buses, Scania N280UB CBG with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 City double-decks.

Alongside a £1.6m investment in brand new bio-gas buses for the route, buses will serve more stops in the City Centre and all NCT tickets will be valid from the Park and Ride site.

The 49 will continue to serve all other stops along Queen's Drive, Electric Avenue and through to the Boots Site.

More info and to preview the new timetable: https://www.nctx.co.uk/parkandride

The new buses will replace older Scania N270UD with East Lancs Omnidekka as illustrated below

As an aside, the latest route to be operated by the bio-gas buses is the Brown Line 17 (City Centre & Bulwell).

Saturday, 20 April 2019

British Airways Retro Liveries Brought Together

Further to our
previous posting about the BEA heritage livery, British Airways has brought together all four heritage liveried aircraft for the first time.

The airline is marking it's centenary this year with a series of events.

To capture the photo at London's Heathrow Airport, the four heritage aircraft were lined up alongside an A319 with the current Chatham Dockyard design.

Alex Cruz, British Airways' Chairman and CEO, said the airline has been delighted with the response to the retro designs.

"The excitement and pride that we've witnessed from customers and colleagues as these heritage liveries, which we painted to mark our centenary, have flown around the globe has been unparalleled," said Cruz.

"Social media has been fired up with images from travellers all over the world when they've spotted the aircraft and as some 50,000 people have now flown on them since they arrived back in the fleet we wanted to capture a special photo to share with them."

A potted history of BA:

* On August 25, 1919, British Airways' forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world's first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris.

* In 1924, Britain's four main fledgling airlines, which had by then evolved into Instone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways (a successor to AT&T), and British Air Marine Navigation Company Limited, merged to form Imperial Airways Limited.

* By 1925, Imperial Airways was providing services to Paris, Brussels, Basle, Cologne and Zurich. Meanwhile, a number of smaller UK air transport companies had started flights and in 1935, they merged to form the original privately-owned British Airways Limited, which became Imperial Airways' principal UK competitor on European routes.

* Following a Government review, Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Continental European and domestic flights were flown by a new airline, British European Airways (BEA) from 1946. BOAC introduced services to New York in 1946, Japan in 1948, Chicago in 1954 and the west coast of the United States in 1957. BEA developed a domestic network to various points in the United Kingdom, including Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

* From 1946 until 1960, BOAC and BEA were the principal British operators of scheduled international passenger and cargo services - and they preserved Britain's pioneering role in the industry. The 1950s saw the world enter the passenger jet era - led by BOAC, with the Comet flying to Johannesburg in 1952, halving the previous flight time.

* Additional airlines began to pass into BEA's ownership and in 1967, the Government recommended a holding board be responsible for BOAC and BEA, with the establishment of a second force airline, resulting in British Caledonian being born in 1970.
Two years later, the businesses of BOAC and BEA were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board, with the separate airlines coming together as British Airways in 1974.

* In July 1979, the Government announced its intention to sell shares in British Airways and in February 1987 British Airways was privatised.

* In January 2011 the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was formed when British Airways and Iberia merged. IAG has since also become the parent company of Aer Lingus, and Vueling and in 2017, IAG launched LEVEL a new low-cost airline brand that operates from Barcelona, Paris and Vienna.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Borders Buses

The company has acquired brand new bike friendly double-deck buses in the shape of three Alexander Dennis E40D Enviro400 MMC registered SK19 ELV/W/X. These custom built vehicles were designed with cyclists in mind and will operate on the route X62 between Edinburgh and Melrose.

Onboard features include free WiFi, contactless payment, comfortable seating and tables, wireless and USB charging points and device friendly seat backs.

The company are working with our app people so cyclist/passengers are able to track the respective bike friendly bus. In the meantime, the company intend to post on social media which journeys will be bike friendly. Their intentions were to have two bikes per vehicle, however based on passenger feedback they are expanding this to four by the end of May. If successful, they may add more bike friendly buses on this route.

The leader of Scottish Borders Council Shona Haslam and local cycling enthusiasts were delighted to see the new vehicles.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Latest London Bus contract awards

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

29 (Trafalgar Square & Wood Green Station) and
N29 (Trafalgar Square & Enfield Town) LBSL contracts re-awarded to Arriva London North using existing fleet 2013 Euro V hybrid double-decks (contracts start date 11th January 2020)

34 (Barnet Church & Walthamstow Central Station) LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London North using hybrid double-decks details to be confirmed. Currently operated by Metroline with double-decks from Potters Bar (PB) Garage (9th November)
52 24-hours (Willesden Garage & Victoria Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Metroline using existing fleet 2014 Euro VI hybrid double-decks (7th December)

102 24-hours (Brent Cross/Golders Green & Edmonton Green Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London North using hybrid double-decks details to be confirmed (9th November)

109 (Brixton Station & Croydon) and
N109 (Oxford Circus & Croydon) LBSL contracts re-awarded to Abellio London using existing fleet 2015 Euro VI hybrid double-decks (1st February)

192 (Enfield Town & Tottenham Hale Station) LBSL contract awarded to Arriva London North with new Euro VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Go-Ahead London General with diesel single-decks from Northumberland Park (NP) Garage (9th November)

Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at http://www.lots.org.uk/
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

First Glasgow Launches New Enviro400's on Airport Service

First Glasgow have launched 10 new ultra-low emission vehicles for their premium Glasgow Airport Express service as part of the on-going investment plans, which provides a 24/7 fast and frequent link from the city centre to the airport.

The 10 new Enviro400 City double decker buses built by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk will double the capacity on these popular services. The new vehicles have been in operation on the 500 service from Sunday, April 14th serving one of the busiest airports in the UK.

The buses come with luxury double padded seating, free 4G WIFI, USB charging points as well as new state-of-the-art wireless charging facilities on both the tables and seatbacks, luggage racks and most important of all, ultra-low emission Euro VI diesel engines.

All 10 vehicles have also been fitted with the state-of-the-art SmartVision system, which replaces the traditional wing mirrors with a CCTV system fitted within the Driver’s cab to provide extra vision and safety. This system was originally trialled on the 75 services when the new vehicles were originally launched last October and now First Glasgow has extended the trial to all 10 of its Glasgow Airport Express service vehicles.

The 500 service runs from Glasgow City Centre to the airport in as little as 15 minutes. This is one of the Glasgow operator’s most popular services carrying over 1.9 million passengers annually and an open return ticket on this frequent service is just £13.50, available on the First Bus App, when you plan your journey in advance.

The new buses went on display to the public at a special launch event with Capital FM presenter Garry Spence entertaining the crowd at George Square in Glasgow city centre on Saturday, April 13th prior to the 10 new vehicles going into active service.

The event saw First Glasgow bring summer to the city centre early with giant deck chairs, prize giveaways and exclusive offers to celebrate their launch.

Glasgow Airport staff were in attendance to mark the launch of these new premium vehicles as part of their on-going partnership with First Glasgow, along with Visit Scotland and Alexander Dennis.

Mark Johnston, Managing Director at Glasgow Airport, said: “We are proud to welcome this latest First Bus fleet into operation and I’m really impressed with the new ADL Enviro400 City model.

“As well as vastly improving capacity, the double-deckers offer a number of fantastic customer experience enhancements. I’m sure our passengers who choose to sit in the upper deck level will also appreciate the elevated views these new models bring.

“The First 500 Service provides vital connectivity between the airport and the city centre to millions of passengers each year and First Bus is to be congratulated for the significant investment made to introduce this new fleet.”

Marie Connell, Business Development Manager at Alexander Dennis Limited, stated: “I supported the launch of the initial Enviro200 fleet on the Glasgow Airport Express route in 2015 and am delighted that we are taking our collaboration with First Glasgow on this popular route to a whole new level with these 10 new Enviro400 City.

“First Glasgow gave us a challenging brief – low emission double decks, which meet the weight restrictions demanded of LEB compliant vehicles without compromising on passenger comfort. The premium interior specification of these low emission Enviro400 City buses ensures that all passengers will enjoy a first-class passenger experience travelling to and from the airport.”

Glasgow’s largest operator has now invested over £30 million in a total of 150 new ultra-low emission vehicles for Glasgow since October 2018. This highlights First Glasgow’s continuing commitment to improving the quality of offering to its customers while at the same time playing its role in improving air quality in the city.

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Glasgow, said: “It is exciting times for everyone at First Glasgow in being able to share these vehicles with the people of Glasgow and the rest of the world via our friends at Glasgow Airport. We have a great working relationship with the airport team and with these new state-of-the-art vehicles, we are providing their customers with a first-class experience on their journeys to and from the airport.

“This investment marks the end of our second phase of new bus launches linked with the Glasgow Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and takes us a long way toward compliance for phase 2. We are delighted to have delivered such a vast range of service improvements to our customers since October last year and these latest buses are the next level for our premium express airport service.”

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Flying Banana by GWR

Great Western Railway has announced ticket details for the upcoming Class 43 HST (full set) farewell tour.

The tour is to be divided up into several stages. Stage one will be Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington via Bath Spa, Chippenham, Swindon, Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.

The Second stage will be London Paddington to London Paddington via Carmarthen calling at Reading, Didcot Parkway, Oxford, Moreton-In-Marsh, Worcester Shrub Hill, Hereford, Newport South Wales, Port Talbot Parkway, CARMARTHEN, Swansea, Cardiff Central, Gloucester, Swindon, Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.

Then the final leg will be from London Paddington to Plymouth non-stop.

Provisional timings are below:


1Z22 (Leg 1)

Bristol TM dep 0524

Bath Spa dep 0537

Chippenham dep 0550

Swindon dep 0606

Didcot Parkway dep 0624

Reading dep 0640

Paddington arr 0706


1Z23 (Leg 2)

Paddington dep 0737

Didcot Parkway dep 0828

Oxford dep 0844

Charlbury dep 0906

Moreton-in-Marsh dep 0924

Worcester Shrub Hill dep 1004

Hereford dep 1053

Newport dep 1142

Cardiff Central dep 1200

Port Talbot Parkway dep 1231

Llanelli dep 1303

Carmarthen arr 1331


1Z24 (Leg 3)

Carmarthen dep 1349

Swansea arr 1428 dep 1443

Cardiff Central arr 1529 dep 1539

Gloucester dep 1637

Swindon arr 1715 dep 1718

Didcot Parkway arr 1734 dep 1736

Reading arr 1755 dep 1806

Paddington arr 1836


1Z25 (Leg 4)

Paddington dep 1857

Plymouth arr 2203

Tickets will be available for both individual legs or the entire trip. All of which will be non-refundable. There will be no part fares available for any of the stages.

Full inclusive tour STD ADULT £148 CHILD £74

Leg 1: Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington leg ONLY STD ADULT £85

Leg 2: London Paddington to London Paddington leg ONLY STD ADULT £125

Leg 3 London Paddington to Plymouth (NON STOP) leg ONLY STD ADULT £100

This is a charity charter and as such there will be NO railcard discounts and only tickets issued from this website along with supported photographic ID will be accepted on the entirety of this charter  by clicking  here

The tickets for the charter train will also be valid for journeys connecting in and out of the charter on Saturday 1st June and also travelling to Bristol Temple Meads on Friday 31st May and from Plymouth on Sunday 2nd June to ensure attendees can travel to and from the charter at no additional cost. These connecting journeys are only valid on GWR services.

Please note as of 1745 on Saturday 13th April 1st Class has sold out in its entirety.