Saturday, 30 November 2019

New Trains Enter service on Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge Line

Brand new longer trains with more seats have entered passenger service on Tuesday 26th November on Greater Anglia’s busiest regional route.

One of the company’s new state-of-the-art Class 755 Swiss-built trains is now in service on the line between Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, which is used for over 1 million passenger journeys a year.

New three and four carriage trains are replacing the existing one, two and three carriage trains which currently run on the route.

Over the coming weeks more new trains will be introduced on the route replacing all the existing old trains. Last week new trains came into passenger service on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line

The new trains have more seats, plug and USB sockets, free fast wifi, air conditioning, better passenger information screens and improved accessibility features.

They are powered by diesel and electricity, and are much greener than the existing diesel trains, with lower emissions, and modern brakes which release less brake dust into the environment.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “The Ipswich to Cambridge route is our busiest regional route.

“We were really keen to introduce longer trains on the route as soon as we could to improve our customers’ journeys.

“We are now offering intercity quality on a regional service – ideal for people travelling to work, school, university and for leisure.

Martino Celeghini, technical project manager at Stadler, said: “These new trains, with their ability to switch seamlessly between electricity and diesel, are highly suited for routes such as this one.

“As it becomes ever more important for business and government to help combat climate change, I am pleased that the trains we are producing for the Greater Anglia network offer an environmentally sustainable solution for travel.”

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train on its network with brand new trains. The roll-out started in July this year on regional routes.

New trains are now in service on the Norwich to Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Sheringham and Ipswich to Felixstowe lines.

The train company is getting 58 trains from Stadler, including 38 bi-mode trains and 20 electric trains – ten for the intercity route between Norwich and London and ten for the Stansted Express route.

Safety and performance tests are being carried out on the Stadler electric trains on both the Norwich - London and Stansted Airport - London routes.

A total of 111 trains are being made by UK train manufacturer Bombardier, who have now made over 20 of Greater Anglia’s new electric commuter trains which will run on routes between Liverpool Street and Essex, Ipswich, Cambridge and Hertfordshire.

The bi-mode trains are part of a £600m investment in new Stadler trains for the region which have been financed by Rock Rail East Anglia and will be leased to Greater Anglia for the life of the franchise.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Bristol Clean Air Zone to Ban All Diesels in the Centre

Bristol could be the first city in the country to introduce a Clean Air Zone which bans all diesel vehicles in the centre and sees a wider charge zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles.

The delayed plans have been published by Bristol City Council following threat of legal action by the Government after the council missed deadlines to tackle air pollution.

The council cabinet is being asked to approve the plans which would come into force in March 2021.

The plans revealed radical proposals to introduce a zone which bans all diesel cars from 7am to 3pm.

The wider zone will also see a high charge for non-compliant commercial vehicles like HGVs, Buses and Coaches.

Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees says the plans would give the 'fastest possible improvement to the city's air pollution problem'.

The radical proposals to cut air pollution include charging the most polluting vehicles like buses and lorries £100 a day to enter the city centre.

During the consultation period, there were two proposals, a Clean Air Zone (referred to as Option 1) with charges for non-compliant commercial vehicles (private cars not charged) and a part-time diesel car ban (referred to as Option 2).

The new proposals would combine both options.

Private diesel cars would be included in the small area ban but would escape the wider congestion charge zone.

The radical proposals to cut air pollution include charging the most polluting vehicles like buses and lorries £100 a day to enter the city centre.

During the consultation period, there were two proposals, a Clean Air Zone (referred to as Option 1) with charges for non-compliant commercial vehicles (private cars not charged) and a part-time diesel car ban (referred to as Option 2).

The new proposals would combine both options.

Private diesel cars would be included in the small area ban but would escape the wider congestion charge zone.

A six week consultation was held over summer which laid out the two options.

There were in excess of 5,000 responses from those asked their views about the impact of air pollution on our health.

66% of Bristol respondents said they were 'very concerned' about the health impacts of poor air quality.

However, The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders has said that a blanket ban on Diesel vehicles will be counter-productive and other options should be taken into consideration.

Industry wants to see all cities, including Bristol, meet their targets and continues to invest in ever more advanced technology to help improve our environment. 

However, this proposed blanket ban, which goes against government’s guidelines, fails to distinguish between modern vehicles and decades-old technologies and will only cause confusion for drivers while also undermining efforts to boost air quality. 

Instead, a clear and consistent national approach is required to clean air zones that encourages uptake of the latest, low emission vehicles, including new Euro 6 diesels, which are the cleanest ever produced, alongside improvements to traffic flow and investment in charging infrastructure.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Hull Trains Welcome New 802 Bi-mode Trains

Hull Trains have welcomed the arrival of the first of the brand-new Hitachi Rail Paragon trains.

It comes as part of a £60m investment into five state-of-the-art, bi-mode intercity trains, known as Class 802s, bringing a transformed service from Hull to London.

Hull trains, which currently operates 92 services and employs 127 people, recently appointed a new customer experience director.

  L-R Steve Montgomery MD First Rail Louise Cheeseman MD Hull Trains Richard Vernon Fleet Project Engineer Hull Trains Jim Brewin Project Director Hitachi Susan

Built using Japanese bullet train technology, the new fleet will provide more space and seating from longer carriages, a sleek, modern design and faster acceleration.

The trains will offer 5,500 additional seats per week, a quieter and smoother rise and better reliability for passengers.

The full roll out will be staggered, with the full fleet expected to be in service by early 2020.

Managing director, Louise Cheeseman, said:

“We have made a significant investment in these hi-tech trains which will completely overhaul the current service as our customers know it”

“Not only will these trains give a smoother ride, they will be a lot more reliable than our existing trains, they will include complimentary Wi-Fi, plug and USB sockets throughout, a brand new at-seat trolley service and an even greater choice and improved quality of hot and cold food. We are increasing capacity on our trains by 22% which means more people are able to travel too.”

The Paragon fleet have the ability to switch between electric and diesel power, with more than two thirds of the journey from Hull to the capital using electric power, providing a more environmentally friendly service.

In the part of the journey that uses diesel power, the modern engines reduce harmful emissions (PM10 and NOx) by up to 90% compared to existing trains.

Andy Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail said:

“These new trains designed using advanced bullet train technology have proven extremely popular, becoming the intercity train of choice on Britain’s rail network. The trains' many benefits include no more diesel emissions when running on electric power, fast and free Wi-Fi, and greater comfort for passengers. With over 25,000 smart sensors on board each train allowing real-time monitoring, our maintenance team can ensure a reliable and efficient service for people travelling to and from Hull and beyond.”


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Norway Orders 55 BYD eBuses

BYD, has received one of its largest single orders from a European public transport authority; a total of 55 pure electric, 100% emissions-free eBuses for Norway’s government-owned national rail and bus transport provider, Vy Buss. 

 left Javier Contijoch, Vice President of Sales at BYD Europe with
Ole Engebret Haugen, CEO at Vy Buss at the signing of the order

This major order – comprising models from across the BYD product range – will be delivered next year, and is the first time that Vy Buss has invested in such a major fleet replacement for electric buses. Vy Buss, which operates in Norway and Sweden, also becomes the first customer worldwide to order BYD new ‘Class II’ 13 meter eBus. The Class II eBus which is equipped with new upgraded battery technology provides extended range and ‘city-to-city’ capability. The new Class II 13 metre eBus has 45 seats with high passenger capacity. The new model will benefit from BYD’s new and highly efficient air conditioning system to further reduce CO2 emissions.

The 55 BYD eBus fleet order comprises various models from the BYD range including 28 new Class II 13 metre variant. Other models in the order include 20 standard 12 metre eBuses and seven 18 metre articulated eBuses. All vehicles will be delivered in the second quarter of 2020 and will go into service on routes in the municipalities of Oslo, Hamar and Haugesund. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Emirates Places Order for 50 Airbus A350 - 900 XWB's

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, has announced a firm order for 50 A350-900 XWB aircraft worth US$ 16 billion (AED 58.7 billion) at list prices at the Dubai Airshow 2019. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, delivery of the first Emirates A350 XWB is expected in May 2023, and will continue until 2028.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive, signed the deal with Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer from Airbus.
This purchase agreement replaces the heads of agreement signed in February where Emirates announced its intent to purchase 30 A350s and 40 A330Neos.
HH Sheikh Ahmed said: “Today, we are pleased to sign a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This follows a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans. It is Emirates’ long-standing strategy to invest in modern and efficient aircraft, and we are confident in the performance of the A350 XWB.
The Trent XWB, the world’s most efficient large aero engine, has now achieved more than five million flying hours in service with 29 operators. Rolls-Royce’s relationship with Emirates began in 1996 with selection of Trent power and this Trent XWB will be the fifth member of the Trent family to operate in their fleet.
“The A350s will compliment our existing A380's and 777's and give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. In effect, we are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to, and through, our Dubai hub.”
Sheikh Ahmed added: “This US$ 16 billion deal reflects our confidence in the future of the UAE’s aviation sector, and is a strong affirmation of Dubai’s strategy to be a global nexus connected to cities, communities and economies via a world-class and modern aviation sector.”
“We are honoured by Emirates’ strong vote of confidence in our newest wide body aircraft, taking our partnership to the next level. The A350 will bring unbeatable economics and environmental benefits to their fleet,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to seeing the A350 flying in Emirates colours!"
The A350 will enable Emirates to serve a range of new markets, not only in region but also on long-haul missions of up to 15 hours of flying time from Dubai. Emirates intends to equip its A350s with its latest products, and offer different cabin configurations including Premium Economy.
Emirates currently operates an all wide-body fleet of efficient and modern aircraft, comprising the iconic Airbus A380 and the popular Boeing 777. From its hub in Dubai, the airline serves over 150 cities on six continents, offering award-winning inflight and on ground services.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Investigation into Azuma - HST Crash in Leeds

On November 13th two LNER trains crashed into each other whilst approaching Neville Hill depot in Leeds resulting in significant delays to services for almost 24 hours

An investigation into a train collision in Leeds has revealed more details about the major incident that cancelled services and caused travel disruption for thousands of passengers.

Services were disrupted between Leeds and London Kings Cross after two London North Eastern Railway (LNER) trains collided in east Leeds on Wednesday, November 13.

No passengers were travelling on either of the trains at the time of the crash, which "shook houses" near the tracks .

The government's Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has conducted an extensive investigation into the crash, which caused significant damage to two trains.

Worryingly, as a result of the low speed collision, the trailing bogie of the second and third coaches and the trailing axle of the fourth coach on the class 800 train derailed to 
the right in the direction of travel.

At roughly 9.40pm on Wednesday, November 13, an empty Azuma passenger train approached the maintenance depot at Neville Hill in Leeds and caught up with another empty HST train moving in the same direction on the same track.

The HST train in front was travelling at around five mph, but the Azuma second train was travelling at around 14mph, causing the two vehicles to collide.

Investigators also pointed out that while two trains are allowed to travel close together along the same track at low speeds in the depot, measures are in place to prevent crashes. 
One of LNER's new Azuma trains that was said to be travelling at 14mph was a nine-coach class 800 vehicle. Its leading end suffered significant damage during the collision, as shown in the photo above.

The second train was an older High Speed Train (HST) set, also comprising of nine coaches and a class 43 locomotive at each end. The trailing class 43 locomotive on this train also suffered significant damage but the coaches remained upright and in place on the tracks.

Worryingly as a result of the collision, the trailing bogie of the second and third coaches and the trailing axle of the fourth coach on the class 800 train derailed to the right in the direction of travel.

Further investigations are due to take place to fully understand the chain of events the led to the accident.

Experts will analyse the actions, training and competence of the staff involved, the designs of both trains, how the power cars react in crash scenarios and any underlying factors.

A full report is due in the coming months.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Nova Trains Launched by TransPennine

Three new fleets of trains said to be the "most advanced anywhere on the UK network" have been unveiled by TransPennine Express.

The new 'Nova' fleets will provide almost double the number of seats than previously, as a result the result of a £500m investment by the northern rail firm.

Leo Goodwin, managing director of TransPennine Express, said: “Our vision was for Nova to represent the brightest future for rail in the north and we are so pleased to today make this vision a reality for customers, colleagues and businesses who make the TransPennine Express network such a crucial part of our infrastructure here in Liverpool and across the north.”

Built by Hitachi and CAF, they will operate between Liverpool , Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh, Scarborough and Middlesbrough and boast plug sockets and USB points at every seat.

 A Nova 3 Train approaching York on a service from Scarborough 

 Nova 3 Trains are powered by Class 68's seen here at York alongside a Class144 DMU

The firm said the new fleets consisting of 44 trains have been named Nova to give it a name that "reflects the positive changes and explosion of energy that will truly transform rail travel for customers".

Each train offers between 286-342 seats and five carriages.

Nova 1 serves Liverpool to Newcastle and Edinburgh to Manchester Airport and Newcastle, Nova 2 travels between Manchester and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston, and Nova 3 moves between Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

 Class185 DMU's will be replaced by Nova 1's, almost doubling
the number of available seats

A start date for the new direct service from Liverpool to Glasgow is also to be announced by the firm over the coming weeks.

The firm said the new fleet features high quality seating and interiors with more luggage space, free on-board wi-fi in both standard and first class and the entertainment system Exstream featuring TV shows, news and films.

Andrew Barr, Hitachi Rail’s Group CEO, said: “The new Nova 1 fleet will nearly double the number of seats available to passengers – up to a whopping 161 extra per train.

"These modern intercity trains – built incorporating bullet train technology – will make journeys across the North smoother and more reliable.

“Delivering the Hitachi fleet on time will allow passengers to have an early Christmas present, with trains that are proven to boost passenger satisfaction.”

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Plaxton Panorama Coaches to West Coast Motors, for Scottish Citylink AIR Service

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered five Plaxton Panorama double deck coaches to West Coast Motors, who will run them for Scottish Citylink on the AIR service from Glasgow to Edinburgh Airport. With a highly specified interior that has been adapted to the needs of airport travellers, they will set new standards for comfort and connectivity.

Passengers will enjoy 75 comfortable seats deeply upholstered in a Scottish Saltire-inspired moquette that complements the exterior colours of the new coaches. Amenities fitted to the seat backs include fold-down tables, reading lights, mobile device holders and USB chargers. 

On the lower deck, vis-à-vis seating is provided around two tables with integrated wireless device charging. In addition to the luggage hold, passengers can place their suitcases on a dedicated rack on the lower deck as well as smaller items in the overhead luggage racks provided above all seats.

The new Plaxton Panorama coaches upgrade the popular AIR service, which connects Glasgow’s Buchanan Bus Station with Edinburgh Airport up to every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Provided in partnership with the airport and operated by West Coast Motors on behalf of Citylink, it is the only direct service between Scotland’s largest city and the country’s busiest airport.

Peter Knight, Operations Director for Scottish Citylink, said: “AIR continues to grow in popularity and this investment ensures that we are continuing to deliver further improvements for the many customers who travel on the route. These vehicles deliver extra capacity and game-changing amenities that we believe will lead to an even more enjoyable travel experience for our customers. By providing greater convenience, a more comfortable journey and improved on-board technology, we also look forward to attracting even more people on to our services. This investment by ourselves and our partners shows the future of coach travel is very bright.”

Charlie Miller, Regional Sales Manager at Alexander Dennis, adds: “Our Plaxton coach engineering team has pulled out all the stops to combine comfort and capacity with easy access and luggage storage on these Plaxton Panorama coaches, allowing them to provide an upgrade over the single deckers they replace. With our best-in-class Aftermarket support to back them up, West Coast Motors will enjoy operating these stunning coaches.”

Friday, 22 November 2019

The ADL ‘BooBee’ Bus Arrives in the North East

Go North East has partnered with UK bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis and the Prevent Breast Cancer charity to raise awareness of breast cancer across the region.
A bright pink ‘BooBee’ bus, which started operating in Manchester throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, has now arrived in the North East to further highlight the great work of the UK charity who are committed to the prevention of the disease.

The bus will be operating across the region until 2 December, primarily running on Go North East’s high-profile X9 and X10 express services which serve Newcastle, Gateshead, Heworth, Dalton Park, Peterlee, Billingham, Norton, Stockton and Middlesbrough. 
As well as helping to communicate a serious message and support a great cause, the type of bus underneath its pink exterior is being trialled by the company with the view of buying new buses for these routes in the future.
Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with Alexander Dennis and Prevent Breast Cancer for this innovative campaign.
“With 1 in 9 women developing breast cancer in their lifetimes, most of us know someone who has been affected by the disease.
“We hope that by bringing the campaign to the North East we can raise awareness of the early signs of breast cancer, which can help predict and prevent the disease.”

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Farewell Livery for LNER HST

London North Eastern Railway will be putting one of their Intercity 125 High-Speed Trains into a very special livery for a series of farewell trips prior the HST's being taken out of service.

 Record holder 43302 at Edinburgh Waverley

Class 43 locomotive No. 43302 along with its relevant power car and its 7 Mk3 coaches will be painted into the British Rail blue/yellow and white livery.

43302 is the world record holder for a diesel locomotive.

The repaint is all part of a special charity farewell tour of the LNER network running from the 18th to the 21st December.

The livery will be the same that is found on the National Railway Museum’s 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’. shown above and below now 253 001. The power car recently arrived at York museum.

The current farewell journey plan is as follows but could still be subject to change:

18 Dec: Edinburgh to Aberdeen

19 Dec: Aberdeen to Newcastle via Inverness

20 Dec: Newcastle to Leeds via York

21 Dec: Leeds to KGX

The charities that will be benefiting from this railtour are the 
Samaritans and The CALM Zone

LNER is working closely with the National Railway Museum to ensure accuracy is maintained with the train.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

South Western Railway Class 701 Aventra Suburban EMU Unveiled

Derby’s Bombardier has finally unveiled the new train it is building for South Western Railway as part of a deal worth almost £900 million.

The firm has launched the Class 701 Aventra, a train designed, developed and now built at its Litchurch Lane factory.

South Western Railway placed the £895 million order with Bombardier two years ago.

The deal will see the manufacturer deliver a total of 750 carriages, which will make up 90 trains. Sixty of the trains will have 10 carriages, while 30 will have five carriages.

The first trains are due to enter service by the middle of next year. It had been hoped that the Class 701 trains would have started on passenger routes this year - but Bombardier needed more time to complete software development.

 Pictures of the new 701 trains above and under construction below kindly provided
by South Western Railway

‘The new Bombardier Class 701 trains will transform journeys for our customers with benefits including on-board wi-fi, at-seat charging points, real-time information screens, air-conditioning, wide gangways and wide doors to improve the ease of boarding and alighting’, said SWR Engineering Director Neil Drury.

The 90 new trains (750 new carriages, in five and 10-car formations) will come into service operating on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes and will replace Class 455, class 456, class 458 and the recently introduced class 707 trains.

SWR are planning to take out of service £200m worth of new Class 707 Desiro City trains currently being built by Siemens. The first of these arrived in the UK in December last year. 
However, the company said that they will continue to roll-out the new rolling stock, but once the Aventras are fully in place by December 2020 it will look to cascade the 707s to other parts of the network. 
He added that this falls under First MTR’s plans for a “homogenous” fleet of trains.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

First Deliveries from Bamford Owned Wrightbus

Wrightbus has completed its first delivery of new buses following the company's acquisition last month by new owners Bamford Bus Company.

The first 36 units of a 55 bus order were delivered to First Group for use in Leeds, in a deal worth about £13m.

The new owners expect a full production line to be back up and running in 2020.

Wrightbus chief executive Buta Atwal said it is "a clear signal of our intent to drive forward the Wrightbus business and grow the company".

In September, the Ballymena-based bus manufacturer was placed into administration and put up for sale, with about 1,200 people losing their jobs.

The delivery of buses from the Ballymena factory is something staff had feared was a thing of the past.

The business was placed into administration in September, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

This delivery is a sign that at least some staff are getting back to work, but there is still a question mark over how many will be retained by the new owner, Jo Bamford.

The company is currently recruiting for roles like engineers, technicians and project managers.

But it's not yet clear what size and composition of workforce Mr Bamford requires for his future plans.

The company had suffered cash flow problems and had sought investment or a new owner.

Sixty staff retained by administrators Deloitte have transferred to Bamford and unions hope many more will return when full production starts.

Jo Bamford, the son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, will serve as Wrightbus' executive chairman.

"With the government's recent announcement of a new national bus strategy in 2020, in which decarbonisation will play a key role, we enter an exciting period," said Mr Atwal, who is a former senior JCB executive.

"Wrightbus has the opportunity to lead the way given our track record in manufacturing state of the art zero emission hydrogen buses as well as electric and hybrid models."

Aberdeen City Council had ordered 15 double-decker buses from Wrightbus earlier this year at a cost of £7.5 million.

However, in September when the company went into administration, this put the vehicles which were due to hit city streets early next year into jeopardy.

The firm was due to deliver 15 of the green machines at £500,000 a vehicle, so now the company is up and running again it is hoped that the vehicles can be delivered on schedule.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Vivarail Moving to Southam

Warwickshire-based Vivarail is moving to a new facility in Southam (near Leamington Spa) to underpin its growing order book, as it develops a range of emission-free trains.

Crucially, the relocation from its present site at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC) 26 miles away will enable its core team of skilled workers to remain with the company.

Vivarail ( began operations five years ago at the QRTC, where it designed, built and tested its prototype DEMU (diesel-electric multiple unit), using the 3km circular test track.

The company then went on to build the UK’s first modern battery train and launched unit 230002 in Scotland in 2018, proving that emission-free battery-powered trains are viable.

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said: “I find it hard to believe all we have achieved in such a short space of time. We have grown from start-up to fully fledged manufacturer, and it is with a touch of sadness that we will have to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues at QRTC.

"However, we need to consolidate all our operations under one roof, and our new facility at Southam will ensure a seamless method of working with stores, design, engineering and production.

"It means we can continue to refine our build and delivery processes and to deliver high-quality trains to our customers.”

As well as moving production to Southam, Vivarail will also have a new test track at Barry in South Wales. A contract has been signed with Cambrian Transport to use its 1.5-mile track for testing and mileage accumulation.

John Buxton, managing director of Cambrian Transport, said: “We are excited that Vivarail has chosen to use our railway to test its trains. Our operations at Barry continue to expand, providing training and employment opportunities for local people.”

Vivarail trains are created from ex London Transport D stock trains. The Warwickshire company acquired almost the entire fleet of the D stock which were originally earmarked for scrap. The D stock trains are stripped down to basic body shells, bogies and traction motors; fitted with underfloor diesel-electric power units; and re-engineered to form self-powered 2- and 3-car trains for the national rail network. Other power units such as electric and hydrogen are now being offered.

 Vivarail are moving to Southam near Leamington  Spa

Sunday, 17 November 2019

New Volvo Double Decker

In early 2020 Volvo Buses will launch a new express coach to supplement its latest 9000 range. The new arrival is a double-decker with a body by Carrus Delta OY of Finland.

The 4.25m tall double-decker will be called the 9700 DD and it is designed primarily for the Nordic market.

When the new 9700 DD is launched, it will be part of Volvo’s product range for express coaches along with the Volvo 9700 and the award-winning Volvo 9900.

“With the launch of the 9700 DD we are taking things to yet another level and will offer a comprehensive range of express coaches with several different versions for customers to choose between. 

Even now, ahead of the launch, there is already notable demand for the 9700 DD from our customers, which goes to prove that the new model is highly attractive on the market,” says Niklas Orre, Vice President Coach Sales, Business Region Europe at Volvo Buses.

The Volvo 9700 DD is powered by the Volvo D11K460, Volvo’s 11-litre 460 hp engine that is certified to run on diesel, HVO and B100 biodiesel. 
Further information about the new vehicle will be supplied at its launch in early 2020.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

High Spec Enviro200 for Grant Palmer

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”), has announced that it has delivered an Enviro200 midibus to independent operator Grant Palmer. The bus was converted from the manufacturer’s immediately available stock to the bus company’s high specification.

Grant Palmer, a family owned business established in 1999, runs a fleet of 35 buses on a network of local bus services and bespoke contracts, serving the communities of Bedfordshire from a modern depot in Flitwick.

The new Enviro200 is allocated to the operator’s route 34 from Ampthill and Flitwick to Milton Keynes, which has been further upgraded with an improved timetable. Alexander Dennis adapted the manoeuvrable, 8.9m long bus from its stock, applying Grant Palmer livery and changing its 30 seats to match the operator’s signature red colour.

The operator’s Managing Director, Grant Palmer, comments: “Once again I’m pleased to be purchasing from ADL. Their British-built products and the after sales back up are class leading. The recent purchase is receiving great feedback from our customers as well as positive comments from our drivers”.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Amsterdam & Haarlem Order for 156 Electric Ebusco Vehicles

Ebusco, based in the Dutch city of Deurne, has received an order from Transdev Netherlands for 156 electric city and regional buses. They will be delivered from November 2020 in the cities of Amsterdam and Haarlem and the surrounding regions. The new electric buses will replace current diesel and gas buses.

The order is worth 130 million euros. Transdev has chosen Ebusco vehicles because of the potential range of 350 kilometres on a single charge. At Busworld, Ebusco showed a citybus made or composite material. click 
The Ebusco 3.0 - which will weigh only 8500 kilograms - is expected to enter the market in 2022. 
The large Transdev order for 156 of its Ebusco 2.2's is the biggest order for Ebusco so far in the seven years they have been manufacturing electric buses.  
The Ebusco's are being built in China. The electric buses emit no CO₂ (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen) and particulate matter. This results in 1 kilogram of CO₂ reduction per bus per kilometre driven. Based on this order for 156 vehicles, this results in a reduction of 15 million kilograms of CO₂ reduction over the entire contract period.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

£2 million To Small Bus Operators for Audible and Visible on-board Information.

..Buses around Great Britain should become more accessible for disabled passengers thanks to a new partnership with the Real Time Information Group (RTIG), announced at the end of October.

The group, which supports good practice in the use of communications technology on public transport, will work with the Department for Transport to allocate £2 million of funding to small bus operators for audible and visible on-board information.

With around 50% of public transport journeys made on buses, this funding will help to ensure that passengers can board more buses with greater confidence, knowing where they are and when to get off.
 Small bus operators will benefit from the £2m fund
It coincides with the launch of the It’s everyone’s journey campaign, the first stage of a new government-backed initiative to highlight the part we can all play in improving disabled people’s experiences when using public transport.

The department is now calling on charities, transport operators, and commercial organisations to join the campaign, helping to raise awareness of the needs of disabled travellers and share some of the improvements being made to make travel easier for the one in 5 disabled people in the UK.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Virgin Trains More Popular than Scottish Flights

The number of people opting to travel on Virgin Trains’ Anglo-Scottish services instead of flying has reached record levels, contributing to a drop in carbon emissions.

In the 12 months to July 2019, 29% of passengers chose to travel with Virgin Trains as opposed to flying between Glasgow and London, the UK’s second-busiest domestic air route.

This is nearly two percentage points higher than a previous record set in 2014, when visitor numbers were boosted by the Commonwealth Games, and comes as the number of passengers travelling between England and Scotland’s biggest cities grew over the year by 6% to a new record of 717,592.

The operator’s success in convincing people to choose train over plane has pushed up rail’s overall market share relative to airlines on total journeys between Glasgow/Edinburgh and London, which increased from 34% to a new record of 35% in the 12 months to July 2019.

New analysis by sustainable transport charity Transform Scotland has shown that rail’s increased market share and a reduction in flights has helped drive down carbon emissions between Glasgow and London over this period.**

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said: “The current level of air travel is incompatible with the Climate Emergency so it’s heartening to hear that rail is growing its market share over air for travel between between Central Scotland and London. Comparable distances across Europe use rail rather than air as the dominant mode of transport, so it is overdue for Scotland to take action to cut the excessive volume of flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London. Rail produces a fifth of the climate emissions that comes from air travel. It’s definitely the greenest option for Anglo-Scottish travel.”

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Virgin Trains, said: “The number of people choosing train over plane is testament to the investment and improvement Virgin Trains has made in Anglo-Scottish services over the last two decades. This growth is critical in supporting Scotland’s economy and helping achieve government targets to de-carbonise transport and achieve net zero emissions.”

The new benchmark comes after 22 years of investment and improvement in Anglo-Scottish services by Virgin Trains, and as the franchise to operate West Coast passenger services is due to be handed over to First Trenitalia on December 8.

Virgin’s tenure has seen the introduction of tilting Pendolino trains, a new focus on customer service and the launch of the revolutionary Virgin High Frequency timetable a decade ago which delivered faster, more frequent services to Scotland.

The latest surge in passenger numbers comes two years after Virgin introduced its industry-leading on-board entertainment service, BEAM, and became the first operator to deliver automatic repayment for delays.

In 2017, Virgin Trains commissioned research by sustainable transport charity Transform Scotland which showed the carbon savings delivered by modal shift from air to rail between Glasgow and London between 2005 and 2015 amounted the equivalent of taking 145,000 cars off the road for a year.


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."