Sunday, 20 October 2019

NEW VDL CITEA SLE-129 ELECTRIC Launched at Busworld

The VDL Citea SLE-129 Electric is a full size low-entry public transport bus that will be shown for the first time during Busworld in Brussels. 

Its powertrain is based on that of the SLF and is equipped with a 288 kWh high capacity battery pack. This allows the bus to be used regionally at longer intervals between loading sessions.

Fast charging is done via a pantograph mounted on the roof. The bus as it will be shown at Busworld has a layout based on a maximum number of forward-facing seats and also has a third door.

In addition VDL will present at Busworld a Citea SLFA-180 Electric with a 288 kWh high capacity battery pack and a pantograph. VDL say the with over 260 units in operation, the Citea SLFA-180 and SLFA-181 Electric are the forerunners for busy city lines.

The delivery of approximately 420 electric buses is still on the VDL schedule for 2019. In the Netherlands alone, more than 300 electric VDL buses are in operation. They contribute to a cleaner environment by saving CO2 emissions of more than 20,000 tons per year.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Second New Speed Record for GWR

Train operator Great Western Railway has recorded its second modern speed record within a fortnight as it celebrates the release of its new timetable, which comes into effect on 15 December.

GWR’s bullet-style Intercity Express Train, which has been in service since October 2017 and now operates on all of GWR’s long-distance routes, took just 44 minutes 22 seconds to travel 77 miles from Swindon to London Paddington.

GWR Driver Bryan Duncan
GWR Driver Bryan Duncan takes the train through Swindon on its way to London. Photo by Mark Watkins/Gloucestershire Live.

It follows another modern speed record being posted on September 24, 
here when an IET took just 72 minutes to travel between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington.

The special train runs mark the new December timetable being made public for the first time. The biggest timetable change on the network since 1976 will offer faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations.

The most recent special run left Cheltenham Spa at 1020, Gloucester at 1036 and Swindon at 1121 – arriving into London Paddington at 1205.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood was accompanied on board the service by special guests and media. He said:

“Once again we have seen the capacity of these Intercity Express Trains.

“We have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since the 1970s, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing.

“In providing more frequent and quicker journeys, our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we are pleased the new timetable has now been published.”

Changes will mean typical journeys between Cheltenham Spa to London will be shortened by 10 minutes to 2 hours. The fastest journeys will come in at 1 hour 57 minutes.

The first train to Cheltenham from London will also leave earlier at 0533 compared to 0733 today, and the last departure will be at 2133, rather than 1948.

Daily services from Swindon to London will increase from 73 to 85, providing an average of 5,000 additional seats per day. Typical journey times will be cut by 5-10 minutes.

Francis McGarry, Investment Director Wales and Western, Network Rail, said:

“We’re now able to fully realise the significant benefits from our investment in the rail infrastructure. Setting this new speed record shows what is possible, and we will continue to work with GWR to deliver timetable and journey time improvements in December.”

The new December timetable is so significant, especially for those who travel regularly and are used to catching a particular service every day, that GWR has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead, and make sure customers are prepared. It is encouraging customers to find out more at

Friday, 18 October 2019

ADL Launch European Interurban Enviro500 at Busworld Brussels

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has launched the European Class II interurban version of its three-axle Enviro500 double deck bus at Busworld exhibition in Brussels. 

A vehicle for Swiss customer PostAuto is displayed at the show, one of 32 Enviro500 built for operators in Switzerland to date.

The Enviro500 is the world’s best-selling three axle double deck bus, providing efficient, comfortable, high passenger capacity transport on a compact road footprint. Alexander Dennis has used its global expertise to adapt the Enviro500 to the requirements of European operators, while maintaining benefits from common components and design structures shared with a fleet of over 17,000 double deck buses around the world.

The European Enviro500 is available in Class I specification for urban routes and now also in Class II homologation for interurban and regional services. In this configuration, it offers 74 high-back seats with seatbelts, as well as up to two wheelchair spaces and up to 40 standees. With three doors, two staircases and a fully step-free lower deck, it facilitates rapid passenger flow. The length of 13.0 metres ensures manoeuvrability, while its overall height of 4.0 metres allows it to operate flexibly in all European countries.

The Enviro500 offers 74 high-back seats with seatbelts, as well as up to two wheelchair spaces 

Six Class II specification Enviro500 are currently being delivered to PostAuto for services in Eastern Switzerland, where they join 13 similar Class I vehicles. A further batch of 13 Class I buses has also been delivered to Transports publics de la région lausannoise (tl) in the Lausanne Region, taking the total number of Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double deck buses in Switzerland to 32.

Alexander Dennis, which has been part of leading global independent bus and coach manufacturer NFI Group since May 2019, will further grow its presence in Europe from 2020, when it will begin supplying a new fleet of double deck buses to Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) of Berlin. These will be built to a bespoke specification customised to the requirements of bus operation in the German capital, and will be 13.8 metres long and 4.06m high.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Thousands Download New 'Game Changer' NET Tram App

More than 3,000 people have already downloaded a new app for tram users in Nottingham.

NETGO! created for tram operator Nottingham Express Transit (NET) aims to make travel cheaper, quicker and easier for customers.

The app officially launched on Monday, October 14th after a trial run and is said to already be proving a hit with passengers.

NETGO! is free to download from the App Store and Google Play and offers quick access to NET’s most popular travel offers, as well as up-to-date travel information.

Users can also plan tram journeys using the network map and have instant access to a history of their tram ticket purchases.

It can be used to buy single, day and group tickets while on the go and, to celebrate the launch, all tickets purchased through the app are cheaper than if customers bought them at the ticket machine.

Andrew Conroy, chief operating officer of NET concessionaire Tramlink Nottingham, explained: “Over the past couple of weeks we’ve used social media to invite customers to try out the app ahead of the official launch, and it’s been met with a fantastic response.

“The low-key trial has demonstrated that NETGO! looks set to be a game-changer when it comes to planning a tram trip, as demonstrated by the positive reviews on the App Store."

“This is the first phase of our app development and it will continue to evolve over the coming months," Andrew added.


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

£1.8 Million Investment for Go North East Green Arrow Services

Go North East, has invested £1.8 million in 11 brand-new, state of the art, environmentally friendly buses for its popular Green Arrow services.

The buses build on the operator’s existing investment, which has already seen 170 low-emission buses join the fleet in recent years, and a total of £12 million set to be invested in further better buses over the next 12 months.

The new ADL Green Arrow Enviro buses, which were built in the north at the Scarborough factory of Alexander Dennis, will be rolled out over the next fortnight onto the company’s 97 route which serves Newcastle, Gateshead, Bensham, Lobley Hill, Whickham, Swalwell and intu Metrocentre with buses running up to every 15 minutes.

With a striking green livery, the buses are packed full of creature comforts and the latest technology including comfortable luxury seating with mobile phone holders, free Wi-Fi, media 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 holding some launch events over the coming weeks so people can come and see one of the buses and talk about the services, with full details to be published soon.

Travel on the route is available from just £4.50 a day and £17 a week within the Gateshead Go Local Saver ticket zone, or for those travelling into Newcastle the purple Go Zone ticket is available for £5.30 a day or £20 a week when bought in advance on the Go North East app (£23 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.

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, said: “These buses represent the next round of major investments here at Go North East and we are delighted to be bringing these state of the art, environmentally friendly buses into service for the people of Newcastle and Gateshead.

“They will replace some of the oldest buses in our fleet to allow for cleaner, greener travel, offering the best possible service to customers. This, combined with recent changes to our fares to offer even greater value, is part of our commitment to making bus travel more attractive and encouraging more people on board, helping to keep our towns and cities moving by tackling rising congestion and improving air quality.”

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Porterbrook to donate HST Power Cars to 125 Group

This week we reported the surprising news here that the National Railway Museum are ending the loan of Class 41 Prototype HST power car to the 125 Group when the loan period runs out in November.

Now, the 125 Group has announced that 'it is absolutely delighted to confirm that two mainline power cars will be joining the group on a permanent basis, thanks to a fantastic donation by leasing company Porterbrook'

43048 will be one of the power cars to be donated to the 125 Group 

Production Inter-City 125 power cars 43048 and 43089 owned by Porterbrook and currently operated by East Midlands Railway will be handed over at the end of their front line service careers.
125 Group was founded in 1994 with the aim of preserving a working Inter-City 125 for future generations. The volunteers and trustees have given their valuable time, sweat and passionate commitment over the past 25 years, fundraising and building a sound reputation in preservation and with the railway industry, working towards their goal. The group say that they 'are extremely grateful to Porterbrook for their wonderful, generous donation!'

Monday, 14 October 2019

Kingsbridge Running Day Part 2

We continue or look at some of the vehicles that attended the Kingsbridge Running Day. All pictures kindly submitted by Ken Jones.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

NRM Re-calls Class 41 Prototype HST

The National Railway Museum has released a statement regarding the news that 41001 will be returning to themselves.

It was announced yesterday that Class 41 Prototype HST power car will be returning to the care of the NRM when the loan with the 125 Group runs out.

November is the end of its current operating agreement. Despite best efforts, the 125 Group and The Science Museum Group have been unable to reach a new agreement.

41001 was a regular sight at the Great Central Railway – Nottingham, and made appearances at other railways including the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and the Severn Valley Railway.

Mk3 carriage 44000 was recently donated to the group by Porterbrook. It joined the existing Mk3 fleet of 10202, 10206, 12087, 12092 and 12134 which have all been restored to fully working condition by team members.

The NRM’s statement:

It is with regret that the National Railway Museum will not renew the 125 Group’s operational loan agreement for HST prototype No.41001 and Valenta power unit.

The decision has not been taken lightly and follows repeated and serious breaches of conditions in the loan agreement.

These include a failure to ensure the security and safety of the power car, refusal to give museum representatives access to the vehicle when requested and unprofessional conduct.

The power car will now return to the custodianship of the National Railway Museum.

We would like to thank members of the 125 Group for their efforts over several years

The 125 Groups response to this statement:

125 Group has worked with the National Railway Museum for the past 8 years to restore 41001 to operational condition and to allow this unique vehicle to be experienced and enjoyed by many people during that time.

We regret that we have been unable to reach an agreement with the Science Museum Group to continue to look after 41001.

The relationship to date has had a positive outcome and has allowed 41001 to be displayed and operated in a variety of locations and to a wide audience, in line with the objectives 125 Group agreed with the NRM at the outset of the loan.

The Trustees of 125 Group are shocked by the recent SMG/NRM statement and do not recognise the accusations made that it has been negligent in it’s custodianship of 41001.

Nor had they been made aware prior to being advised that the agreement would not be extended, of any material breach to the terms of the existing agreement.

The Trustees were expecting to enter into a period of negotiation over a new agreement and therefore this recall to York has been something of a surprise to us all.

We have always cared for 41001 as if it was our own power car. Whilst it is regretful that this decision has been reached, 125 Group will work to redeliver the vehicle back to the NRM at York and to the SMG in accordance with the existing and soon to expire loan agreement.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

LNER Invests Over £100,000 on Defibrillators

York-based train operator LNER has invested more than £100,000 on 135 automated external defibrillators to go on its trains and in its stations in a bid to save passengers’ lives.

Over the last 12 months, LNER have overseen the installation of 135 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on-board their trains and at stations along their route. This includes both their new Azuma trains as well as the legacy fleet.

Every year around 60,000 people have a cardiac arrest outside of the confines of a hospital and fewer than two per cent of victims have an AED deployed before the ambulance arrives. Defibrillation within three to five minutes of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 50–70%. This can be achieved through giving the public better access to defibrillators, when a bystander uses a nearby AED to deliver the first shock. 

The commitment by LNER, alongside the investment in new equipment, has led to a nomination in the Workplace category at the St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes awards which took place on the 7th October 2019 in London.

Spokesman Warrick Dent said every second counted when it came to saving a life. “When a cardiac arrest occurs on a train, it can take a while to get back to a station for the ambulance service to assist,” he said. “Investing in the installation of AEDs on our trains will give casualties the best chances of survival.”

St John Ambulance gave training in using them to 50 LNER managers, who shared it with 2,000 colleagues.

Friday, 11 October 2019

First York Services Upgraded

First York passengers on bus services 11 & 12 are set to benefit this month with a bus upgrade providing improved travelling comfort together with lower engine emissions.

The service upgrade will be complete by mid-October with the introduction of eight 5-year old ‘StreetLite’ single-deck vehicles that will replace older buses operating on service 11 (Ashley Park - York - Bishopthorpe) and service 12 (Monks Cross - York - Foxwood Lane).

 The re-furbished Wright StreetLites will offer passengers superior interior 
including leather seating and more pushchair space

The upgrade represents an investment of £800,000 and will provide customers with a superior interior including leather seating and lighter environment with more space for customers with pushchairs.

The newer buses are fitted with Euro V engine technology and will be upgraded to Euro VI to meet the Clean Air Zone requirements in partnership with City of York Council & the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

 A non re-furbished vehicle in service on route 11

This investment follows the positive change for customers last month on service 10 (Stamford Bridge - York - Poppleon) with new journeys added and the evening service taken on by First York commercially.

This latest announcement comes in advance of a significant investment in York which will see 21 new electric double decker buses introduced later this year.

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director of First York, said,

“We are committed to providing safe, punctual and reliable bus travel for the people of York, so it’s important that we continue to invest in our bus services. With the support of our partners including City of York Council, this investment will also reduce bus emissions on the corridor and support the Clean Air Zone requirements. I’m sure our customers and the local community will welcome these improvements and encourage more people to switch to using bus services.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Transport, said: “We welcome this announcement from First York. Together with the introduction of 21 new electric double decker buses in York later this year, it’s another important step towards achieving our goal of creating a Clean Air Zone in the centre of York by reducing emissions and improving air quality.”

Thursday, 10 October 2019

BYD ADL Enviro200EV's for Glasgow Airport Service

Glasgow Airport introduced a fleet of zero-emission electric buses to its car park operation on October 8. The three-strong fleet of all-electric battery buses, which were built in Scotland by Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), will replace the current diesel fleet used to shuttle passengers between the terminal and the airport’s Long-Stay Car Park.

This is the first time the BYD ADL Enviro200EV model has been operated anywhere in Scotland and its introduction at Glasgow Airport was made possible thanks to a £450,000 Green Bus Fund support grant from Transport Scotland.
Mark Johnston, Glasgow Airport’s Managing Director, said: “We are proud to be the first airport in the UK to incorporate a full-electric bus fleet into our car park operation. These state-of-the-art vehicles will play an important role in supporting our continued efforts to create a more sustainable business and will contribute significantly to help further reduce carbon emissions locally at Glasgow Airport.
 Mark Johnston, Airport Managing Director (left), with Charlie Miller,
ADL’s Regional Sales Manager.(Images via Glasgow Airport)
“The environmental benefits and considerable cost reductions associated with the introduction of these electric vehicles was very attractive.
“Moving to a full-electric bus operation cuts the carbon emissions associated with passenger travel to and from our car park from 143 tonnes per year to zero, and this significant reduction is further supported by the fact that the airport’s electricity is also supplied via renewable energy.”
The launch of the airport’s new electric fleet coincides with Scotland’s Climate Week 2019. Events are being organised in schools, colleges and workplaces across the country to encourage people to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help fund these new electric buses at Glasgow Airport which will eliminate 143 tonnes of carbon emissions from passenger travel operations.
“The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is central to meeting our climate change commitments and our goal of making Scotland’s air quality the best in Europe.
“At the same time, decarbonisation and the global transition towards electric mobility provides real opportunities for sustainable economic growth. We will continue to work to position Scotland at the forefront of this movement and to maximise the economic opportunities afforded through innovation – as demonstrated in this exciting joint project between ADL and BYD Europe.”
The introduction of the new full-electric bus fleet is one of a number of projects introduced to help reduce Glasgow Airport’s carbon footprint. Earlier this year, the airport invested £200,000 to deploy eight of petrol/electric plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4×4 vehicles across its airfield operations.
Charging infrastructure for the three buses has also been installed at the airport’s Long-Stay Car Park and the fleet will be operated by NCP. At 10.8m long, each bus has both front and rear access points, 23 seats, three-tier luggage compartments and includes wheelchair provision.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Borders Line Extension News

MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, John Lamont, has commented on a Freedom of Information document released by the Scottish Government showing memos about the possible extension of the Borders Railway. 

The FOI shows that the project will need to be jointly undertaken by the UK and Scottish Governments.

The memos, dated as more than a year old, predate the £10 million feasibility study announced by the Borderlands Growth Deal, which showed the UK Government support for the extension.

John Lamont MP said: “The UK Government is getting behind the campaign to extend the Borders Railway and has already pledged £5m to look at the business case for bringing the line through Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle.”

The 30-mile Edinburgh-Tweedbank route opened in 2015 but calls for it to be extended a further 18 miles to Hawick have grown in recent years, alongside the eventual aim of extending the line to Carlisle.
Since the re-opening the line has been a fantastic success - boosting the economy, leading to new house building and supporting tourism in the region.

Complaints have been made about the fact that the new line is single line for large distances, leading to capacity restraints and overcrowding on the services. Basically it has become a victim of its own success.

Campaigners claim that Hawick drastically lost out when the original 98-mile Waverley line from Edinburgh to Carlisle was closed in 1969.

The Scottish Government have given a commitment to extending the route, having recently published the Borders Transport Corridor Study, giving two potential routes for extending the line.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Southampton Anniversaries Weekend

The Southampton & District Transport Heritage Trust recently held a weekend of events to celebrate a number of Transport related anniversaries pertaining to the City. 
The Saturday event was based in Southampton City Centre as part of the Heritage Open Days, where free buses ran to SS Shieldhall, the Tram Workshop and the Bitterne Local History Society. 
The Sunday event was based at the Bursledon Brickworks Museum, home of S&DTHT where the four remaining Southampton Guy Arabs were on display plus visiting buses of the same type. There were also a number of free bus links to local landmarks.

Kath Lomas-King visited this event and sent the following pictures.


Monday, 7 October 2019

Kingsbridge Running Day Part 1

Ken Jones recently attended the Kingsbridge Running Day, which is centred at Kingsbridge Bus Station on the Quay.

Now in its 12th year, free bus services recreated routes down narrow country lanes and out to the South Hams’ coastal villages on buses from the 1930s to the 1990s.

It was a wonderful chance to see the area with a day of nostalgia for the way things were….

Ken's pictures were taken in and around Loddiswell, Kingsbridge and Slapton Sands.

We will show pictures over two postings and here are the first eleven.