Monday, 20 January 2020

West Midlands Trains Shows Class 196 DMU

West Midlands Trains has revealed the first of its CAF Civity Class 196 diesel multiple-units, which is now on test at the Velim circuit in the Czech Republic.

The 12 two-car and 14 four-car DMUs were ordered in October 2017 at cost of around €200m, with financing led by Infracapital and Deutsche Asset Management.

Deliveries are expected to begin in spring. The initial vehicles are being produced in Spain, with later vehicles to come from CAF’s factory at Newport in South Wales.

The DMUs are expected to enter passenger service from the second half of 2020, and will be used to increase capacity on the franchisee’s West Midlands Railway branded services between Hereford and Birmingham.

Passenger facilities will include free wi-fi, air-conditioning and at-seat power sockets.

‘It is exciting to see that this investment is starting to come to fruition with our new Class 196 trains entering the track testing stage before they begin arriving in the UK next year’, said Jane Fisher, WMR Transition & Projects Director, on December 18. ‘These smart, modern trains will boost capacity on our network and come with features such as under-floor heating and extra luggage space which I am certain will prove popular with passengers.’

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Vivarail Class 230 Battery Train Approved and Ready for Service

The Class 230 battery train is fully approved and ready for passenger service. It is able to replace ageing diesel stock on a variety of lines – providing an enhanced service due to superior acceleration.

Vivarail’s Class 230 battery train has achieved a UK first by travelling 40 miles on battery power alone. In testing runs through the autumn the train reliably ran this distance many times.

During testing runs in the autumn of last year, the train made this distance many times, making it fully approved and ready for passenger service.

The Class 230 train is able to replace ageing diesel stock on a number of lines, not only reducing carbon emissions but also providing an enhanced service due to superior acceleration.

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said, “We began our work on battery power a couple of years ago and since then we have tested the train in passenger service at Bo’ness, built the fast charge system and proved the range the train can operate.

“With a new type of battery which we will use in our upcoming production trains we are confidently predicting a range of 60 miles between charges with only a 10 minute charge time. We look forward to providing emission-free trains and playing a significant part in decarbonising the UK’s rail network.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Looking Back to The Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Open Day 2019

The Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society, formed in 1959, is based at the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum, Whisby Road, North Hykeham, Lincoln where the museum houses a collection of over 65 vintage cars, buses and commercial vehicles spanning over 80 years of road transport history. 

Here's a selection of pictures taken by Ken Jones at the November Open Day.

The 'bus services' for this event have grown in recent years - many visiting buses and coaches from around the country join with the local 'fleet' to provide free services for visitors. The November event usually sees around 30 buses 'in service', and offers a rare chance to see buses out and about after dark.

More pictures from this event will be shown in due course.  Museum Website ...

Friday, 17 January 2020

New Tram Stop for Seaton Tramway

Seaton Tramway in Devon, have had their master-plan approved to create a new tram stop which will give a direct link to the Wetlands.

The blueprint, which aims to create a new circular walking/cycle route around three of Seaton's most popular attractions has gained the thumbs up from East Devon District Council's (EDDC) cabinet.

 The tram route runs alongside the Wetlands area. The new station will give direct access

The Wetlands, Seaton Jurassic and the tramway are run by different organisations, but collectively offer a combined environmental, heritage and educational experience, and the aim of the masterplan project is to make it easy for visitors to combine visits to all three attractions in one day from one starting point.

Asking for the cabinet to back the plans, the service lead for countryside and leisure, Charlie Plowden, said it was a good news story and that the masterplan would present an almost unique offer, including transport, education, natural history, wildlife watching and refreshment.

He added: "The Seaton Wetlands Link project offers the opportunity to create a comprehensive tourism offer for Seaton that links the council's tourism assets in the town and will offer visitors a day long experience on foot, by bike or in part using Seaton Tramway.

"It will enhance the Seaton Jurassic offer enabling the visitor centre to maximise its potential as a key attraction along the Jurassic coast.

"Creating a master-plan of projects and an officer group focussed on delivery will ensure that momentum is maintained in creating this important circular link for Seaton promoting its natural and cultural environment."

Backing the plans, Seaton Cllr Marcus Hartnell, said: "These are extremely exciting initiatives and I look forward to seeing the link between Seaton Jurassic, the Wetlands and the Tramway."

Cllr Paul Arnott, whose Coly Valley ward covers part of the Wetlands and borders the new tramstop, added: "I am delighted to hear about this. This is an easy win and something fantastic that should be backed. Seaton Wetlands has been a great success."

One of the masterplan interventions includes a new Seaton Wetlands halt on the Seaton Tramway at the existing Swan's Nest 'passing loop', and a planning application for the new station has now been submitted to EDDC.

Recommendations for taking the projects forward, and on securing funding, where this is not already in place, will come back to the cabinet at a later date.

Seaton Tramway is a 2 ft 9 in (838 mmnarrow gauge electric tramway. The 3-mile (4.8 km) route runs through East Devon's Axe Valley, between the coastal resort of Seaton, the village of Colyford, and the ancient town of Colyton.

It operates over part of the former Seaton Branch Line, which closed in March 1966. The tramway was established in 1970 by Claude Lane, founder of Modern Electric Tramways Ltd, which had previously operated in Eastbourne between 1954 and 1969.
The tramcars are based on classic British designs, and vary in size between half-scale (1:2) and two thirds-scale (2:3). Most were built from scratch by Claude Lane and/or his successor Allan Gardner, but three were rebuilt from full-size cars which originally ran in London, Bournemouth and Exeter.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Brighton & Hove Bus Prices To Rise Due to Traffic Delays

The cost of tickets for many Brighton and Hove Buses’ services are set to rise due to a “sizeable growth in traffic and congestion in the city centre”.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “The sizeable growth in traffic and congestion, particularly in the city centre, had also meant extra cost pressures which had outpaced bus lanes and other bus priority measures.

“For example, it takes a route seven bus 31 per cent longer to get from Hove to Brighton Marina than it did ten years ago.

“Maintaining the same high level of frequency on this route alone costs more than £1 million each year for extra buses and drivers.

Brighton and Hove Buses’ managing
director Martin Harris

Brighton and Hove Buses’ managing director Martin Harris said: 
“We’ve brought in cheaper short hop fares in response to feedback from passengers and we’ve done our best to keep other ticket prices frozen or to make only minimal increases to cover the costs of the business 

“The company runs 24 other bus routes in Brighton and Hove.”

Longer adult single journeys, which can currently be bought for £2.20, will soon cost 10p more.

The price of a one-day citySAVER tickets, which gives the holder unlimited travel within the city for 24 hours, will rise to £5.20, a 20p increase.

The annual citySAVER will also see a price hike of more than £30, now costing £669.

Meanwhile, the annual networkSAVER ticket, which gives holders unlimited travel on routes stretching to Shoreham, Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells, has risen by more than £35.

Its new price is £730.

However, the bus company is dropping some of its prices.

Short journeys on many routes, including journeys between Brighton Station, Churchill Square, the Clock Tower, North Street, Old Steine and St James’s Street, will fall from £2.20 to £1.90.

Short journeys outside the city centre, including trips from Mile Oak to Portslade Health Centre and Whitehawk to Lidl, will also go down.

Brighton and Hove Buses’ managing director Martin Harris said: “We’ve brought in cheaper short hop fares in response to feedback from passengers and we’ve done our best to keep other ticket prices frozen or to make only minimal increases to cover the costs of the business.

“We spent £11.5 million in 2019 on ultra-low emissions buses.

“Much of this went on 30 new extended-range electric buses, which run zero emissions in the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

“It’s part of our ongoing commitment to creating a clean air city centre for everyone by 2030 and we won’t shy away from this commitment. We’ll keep refreshing our fleet to the highest environmental standards.”

Other fares will stay frozen including the £2.20 cash and contactless Centrefare, cash and contactless networkSAVERs, familySAVERs and the Duo and Quattro tickets for two or four adults travelling together.

Return tickets from Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven to Brighton are also frozen at £5.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020


Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered 18 Plaxton Panorama double deck coaches to Scottish Citylink and its contracted operators. The coaches upgrade the Citylink 900 route between Glasgow and Edinburgh, one of Europe’s most frequent express coach services.

Following 12% passenger growth over the last two years, Scottish Citylink increases the capacity of its flagship service between Scotland’s two biggest cities with a new fleet of double deck coaches.

Replacing single deckers, the new Plaxton Panoramas have 79 seats with generous legroom and greater comfort levels than ever before. On-board amenities include fold-down tables, reading lights, mobile device holders and USB and wireless chargers at every seat. On the lower deck, seating is provided around two tables with integrated wireless device charging.

The 18 coaches are operated on behalf of Scottish Citylink by Stagecoach West Scotland and Park's of Hamilton. At £7million, they represent Scotland’s largest ever investment in one single coach fleet replacement.

With more than 140 journeys directly connecting the centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow in little over an hour every day, Citylink’s 900 route is one of Europe’s most frequent express coach services. Coaches depart every 15 minutes during the day and hourly throughout the night.

Robert Andrew, Stagecoach Regional Director for Scotland, said: “The 900 service has been one of our flagship routes for over 30 years and it continues to go from strength to strength, providing a reliable, affordable and high quality service for millions of people every year travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This investment is further evidence of our belief in the future of coach travel in Scotland. Our coaches on this route cover over 2.5 million miles each year, and we are proud to be introducing these luxury high-specification coaches for our customers.”

Colin Robertson, Alexander Dennis Chief Executive, said: “The 900 service keeps Edinburgh and Glasgow connected and we’re proud to support its growth trajectory with this fleet of 18 new double deck coaches. With flexibility integral to the design of the Plaxton Panorama, our team has collaborated with Scottish Citylink, Stagecoach and Park's of Hamilton to deliver a fantastic travel experience that will set new standards.”

Scottish Citylink run a range of services throughout Scotland. Above is a Stagecoach vehicle leaving Edinburgh, heading for Aberdeen on the M92 service.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Electric Buses for Glasgow City Routes

Electric buses are being launched in Glasgow on a commercial route for the first time since the 1960s.

Bus company First Glasgow said the introduction of the two vehicles was a "statement of intent" as Glasgow aims to become a "net zero" city.

22 electric vehicle charging points have also been added to First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot through the funding deal, allowing more electric vehicles to be introduced in the future.

Electric trolley buses previously operated in the city until they were decommissioned in 1967.

The new buses will run on the M3 route, connecting Milton and Springburn with Stobhill Hospital and the city centre.

The BYD ADL Enviro200EVs were built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis and they were bought for First Glasgow with funding from electricity distributor SP Energy Networks.

Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, added: “Glasgow has ambitious plans to be the UK’s first net-zero carbon city by 2030, but for that to happen, there will be big changes across the city.

Described as "state of the art", the buses have "mirrorless smartvision technology" - high definition digital cameras and an interior screen.

The bus firm says it removes the need for wing mirrors, helps reduce blind spots and the effects of bad weather on their vision.

They also have USB charging points, on-board audio-visual next stop announcements and free wi-fi.

Their introduction comes after Glasgow became the first Scottish city to have a low emissions zone, where emissions standards must be met by 20% of buses which pass through the city centre.

All vehicles entering the zone from December 2022 will have to meet the standards.

Operator First said it was already 40% compliant with the regulations and it has promised to introduce more low-emissions buses.

Managing director Andrew Jarvis said the business wanted to make buses "part of the solution" to improve air quality in the city.

The new buses will make bus travel easier and more convenient for travellers as well as being better for the environment, he said.

"Every customer journey on the route will save around 2kg of CO2 compared with driving on your own in an average car, making bus the best choice in reducing the impact on the planet," he added.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Greater Anglia Electrics Run from Norwich

The first of Greater Anglia's new Inter City electric trains between Norwich and London has made its inaugural journey with passengers.

The 7.40am service from Norwich to Liverpool Street on Wednesday, January 8th was the first time commuters have got to travel on a new class 745.

Following a number of test trips, the 12-carriage 745007 train set off on time from Norwich Railway Station - one of a fleet of 10 new Inter City trains from Swiss manufacturer Stadler.

Greater Anglia said the new trains had 752 seats compared to 614 on the train which had been used up to now.

The rail operator hopes to introduce the new trains at a rate of about one a week, ensuring they are all in service by the time the new deadline for compliance with the government's Disability Discrimination Act is reached on March 31.

The arrival of the new trains should allow the company to strengthen its current fleet of older trains - ensuring there are no more main line services cancelled because of train faults and that they are all eight or nine carriages long.

The train, which stopped at Diss and Ipswich, arrived in London on time.

Greater Anglia is replacing its existing fleet with 169 new trains as part of a £600m investment.

There have been problems with signalling, particularly on the Norwich to Sheringham lines, which caused cancellations and delays.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: "We're very pleased to have brought one of our new intercity trains into passenger service.

"Last month was difficult for our customers, as signalling issues on our rural branch lines caused a great deal of disruption and also set back our new trains roll-out.

"We are making every effort to improve our service - and the first longer intercity electric train in service with all the facilities customers expected will start to make a difference to our intercity customers."

The rail company hired an expert seat designer, while there are USB and plug points for each pair of seats and a mix of tables and seatback tables.

Each train also has air conditioning and free wifi.

There is also a café bar area and space for six bicycles.

Just as on Greater Anglia’s new bi-mode trains which are replacing all of the company’s diesel trains, the new intercity trains have gold standard accessibility features including a lower floor and a retractable step at every door to bridge the gap between the train and platform.

They have electric push-button doors – double width in the middle of each carriage - which are easier for customers to open once they have been unlocked and speed up the train’s departure from stations as they driver can close them all automatically.

Martino Celeghini, technical project manager at Stadler, said: “The roll-out of the intercitys represents a key moment in the overall introduction of the two new Stadler fleets. These trains, which will run into London are built to exceptionally high standards.

“They will vastly improve rail travel in East Anglia, supporting business and helping boost economic growth. They will be transformational for the travelling public in the region.”

The intercity 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.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Passengers to Plan Journeys Down to The Minute as Big Data Revitalises Country’s Use

Bus passengers across England will soon be able to plan their journeys down to the minute thanks to a pioneering project to collate and share bus location data.

Buses Minister Baroness Vere has announced a ground-breaking project to standardise and publish information from operators, which will enable bus users to plan routes, estimate journey times and understand costs in advance. It will also provide real-time bus location data so that passengers can travel with confidence. 

Information on routes and timetables will be available from early 2020, followed by location and fares data by 2021, encouraging more people to choose buses by making them easier to use than ever.

Developers will be able to add the information into existing apps or develop new products to improve connectivity for communities and encourage more people turn to public transport.

Buses Minister, Baroness Vere, said: "Buses are the most frequently used form of public transport – to get to work, to the library, to the doctors or to see family and friends.

"By harnessing the transforming power of data and technology we could be on the threshold of a golden age for buses. Sharing data on routes, bus locations and fares will give passengers even more confidence to ride."

Only half of bus users think that it is easy to stay up to date with timetables and fares, impacting the number of journeys taken and the user experience, according to Transport Focus.

The Bus Open Data Service will be underpinned by new regulations which will mean bus operators are legally required to provide route and timetable data by the end of 2020 and fare, ticket and location data by 2021.

The new regulations will make it easier for people to use the bus to visit friends, commute to work or get out and about in their local community by providing live information on location, and helping to keep fares down by providing greater transparency across different operators.

David Sidebottom, director, Transport Focus, said: "Making it easier for passengers to find bus times and fares is good news. Ensuring that information is accurate and timely will be crucial to the success of the open data service."

The government will work with technology companies, app developers and information providers to ensure a range of innovative products are designed to make the most of the data and help all bus users make informed choices.

Full data on fares and locations will be available from January 2021, by which point it is expected that a range of apps will be on the market, allowing passengers to manage their journeys from start to finish from their smartphones.

David Beardmore, commercial director, Open Data Institute, said: "Having been involved in the bus open data programme from the start, we’re delighted to see this significant step forward with the launch of the bus open data service in early 2020 as planned.

"This marks the start of a digital transformation for the delivery of bus services across England and will benefit both the tech industry who will use the data to innovate and develop new products and services, but fundamentally consumers are the ultimate winners; armed with better information they can plan their journeys more easily and make better choices about tickets."

This follows the government’s recent announcement of new low-fare, high-frequency ‘Superbus’ networks, Britain’s first all-electric bus town and contactless payments on every city bus.

The package is worth £220 million in the first year, and will create ‘express lanes’ for buses in the West Midlands and elsewhere, and will invest in new ways of providing more frequent public transport in the countryside and other places where conventional buses have dwindled or disappeared.

The government has also committed to the UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy and funding settlement, including support for councils who want to create London-style franchised services in their areas.


Saturday, 11 January 2020

New Supported Services for Cornwall

Bus services in Cornwall are set to further improve from April 2020 when a new package of supported services is introduced with improved frequencies and routes, reduced fares for passengers, better links with rail, integrated school transport services and more environmentally friendly buses. 

 Go-Ahead run Plymouth City Bus Services in the neighbouring county of Devon

A new eight year contract has been awarded to Go Cornwall Bus, a subsidiary of national company Go-Ahead, to deliver a network of Council subsided local bus routes which are essential to local residents but are not commercially viable. There will be new services and improvements to existing routes including:

Direct links to Derriford Hospital

Launceston to Bodmin Town Centre and Parkway station

Newquay to Redruth direct

St Austell to Lostwithiel via Tywardreath Highway

Truro to Bodmin via Summercourt and Indian Queens

Increased number of journeys between Hartland, Bude and Marhamchurch

Additional journeys on services between Bude and Launceston and Bude to Truro

Truro to St Mawes to operate hourly on Mondays to Saturdays connecting at Tregony with two hourly Veryan to St Austell services

Cornwall Airport Newquay to Truro Railway Station 

 Go-Ahead will need to source staff & vehicles
 quickly in order to meet the April start date.
Shown here is one of the Go-Ahead Citybus
vehicles that operate in neighbouring Devon.

Improvements to public transport in Cornwall over the past 3 years has seen passenger satisfaction increase from 85% to 95% and passenger numbers increase by 5% year on year, bucking the national trend which has seen a reduction in bus travel.

Rail passenger numbers continue to grow with regular half-hourly local stopping trains, doubling the frequency of off-peak services in each direction between Penzance and Plymouth, providing over 7,000 extra seats each weekday.

Infrastructure improvements already in place include -

New rail signalling allowing more trains to run supported by the recently expanded depot at Penzance

Upgraded bus stops and shelters including real time digital information

New buses and trains

Bus station improvements at Truro, Newquay and Penzance

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown said:

“Improving Cornwall’s public transport system is one of the key priorities for the Council because we know it is important to our residents.”

“We are concentrating on making public transport easier to use and good value so that residents move away from using the car. This new contract will deliver wider network coverage and more frequent buses with timetables that will dovetail with half hourly train services.”

“These improvements will ensure the trend of increased use continues as we build a completely integrated public transport system which is focussed on the needs of the passenger.”

The Council subsidises over 50% of bus routes across Cornwall to connect communities and offer a viable alternative to the car. These routes would otherwise not be provided by bus operators as they are not commercially viable but are a lifeline for our residents to access employment and education as well as shopping and leisure.

Awarding the contract is the next stage in the One Public Transport System for Cornwall project which is delivering upon its objectives to improve public transport and provide a seamless integrated public transport network.

Geoff Brown continued: “We know that good public transport is important to our residents. Our priority is to make sure that these routes are safeguarded and that passengers who use the bus routes subsidised by the Council get the best possible service. Many people rely on these bus routes for work, for getting to hospital appointments and to go out to see friends and family. Rest assured that they will continue and improve under this new contract.”

“When awarding the new contract we took into account how we can increase the use of lower emission vehicles and encourage more people to use public transport in line with our commitment to tackle the climate emergency. We also looked at ticket pricing, the possibilities around increasing the frequency of buses and the quality of the vehicles – all of which will play a part in encouraging residents to use public transport and move away from using cars.”

Richard Stevens, Managing Director of Go Cornwall Bus said "We are delighted and privileged to be awarded this significant contract by Cornwall Council. We believe that working in partnership we will enhance customer experience, improve opportunity to travel and improve air quality across the Duchy.

Go Cornwall Bus prides itself on being a good community partner, through this expansion we are looking forward to working with people across the length and breadth of Cornwall".

Geoff adds: “We’re also planning to introduce a 4 year pilot scheme to reduce fares to encourage more people to use buses.

Last year, the government awarded Cornwall a £23.5m funding package for a “Reduced Bus Fares” pilot to support the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving bus travel for residents. We’re planning to introduce a scheme in May 2020 which will significantly reduce the cost of bus travel by establishing town zones and capping the cost for making multiple journeys within these zones. Ultimately, we want to deliver an integrated SMART ticketing system for bus, rail and ferry to make it as easy and convenient as possible for residents and visitors to use all forms of public transport.”

 First Kernow will operate the Truro Park & Ride

The contract to operate the Truro Park and Ride for the next eight years from April 2020 has been awarded to First Kernow who are the established operator in Cornwall. The new contract will see the Truro Park and Ride running later into the evenings from Monday to Saturday which will benefit residents working in or visiting Truro, especially those who work at or visit Treliske Hospital.

The award of the forthcoming contract to Go-Ahead could inevitably affect the viability of First’s commercial network in Cornwall.

A further tender exercise will take place to determine the contracts for the delivery of School Bus Services – these awards will be made at the end of January 2020.

Friday, 10 January 2020

£2m Bid Towards Making Fylde Coast Tram Loop a Reality

The Fylde coast's three local authorities are being urged to support ambitious plans for a tram loop by joining forces to create a £2m development fund.

It is proposed Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils each include a bid for cash towards the scheme as part of their submissions to the government for a share of the Future High Street Fund.

It is estimated a comprehensive business case study would cost around £2m, which would be split equally between the councils.

This would be used to recommend how the scheme could be implemented if funding became available in the future.

The loop proposes to use the mothballed rail track between Fleetwood and Poulton for trams, while the Kirkham to Blackpool South line would be converted from trains to trams.

The line would then connect to the existing Blackpool to Fleetwood tramway.

It already has the support of Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to re-open the Poulton to Fleetwood line as part of a £500m national campaign to restore closed down track.

A report to the next meeting of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Prosperity Board on Tuesday January 7 says the aim is to create "a more cohesive Fylde Coast public transport system".

Blackpool Council, in conjunction with Lancashire County Council as transport authority for Fylde and Wyre, would undertake the feasibility study.

The report adds: "It is important that this opportunity is pursued to prepare the way to develop the tramway network further to enhance the sub-region in terms of accessibility, regeneration and environmental sustainability and support important economic sectors such as tourism.

"A more efficient and effective, modern and reliable, public transport system could be created by operating continuous tram lines between Kirkham and Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde via Lytham, St Annes, Blackpool, Cleveleys, Fleetwood and Thornton.

"A tramway loop would also serve Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Hillhouse International Enterprise Zone."

For the scheme to go ahead, it would also need the backing of rail operators and Network Rail.

The committee is being recommended to accept the proposals and approach the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Lancashire County Council to ensure they are on board.

Bodies including Blackpool Transport, Network Rail, Community Rail Lancashire, Transport for the North, the DfT and the Poulton and
Wyre Railway Society would also be consulted.

The tramway is already being extended up Talbot Road to connect with Blackpool North railway station.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Germany Cuts Fares for Long-distance Rail Travel in Response to Climate Crisis

Fares for long-distance rail travel in Germany have dropped for the first time in 17 years, as climate protection measures aimed at making train travel more attractive came into effect with the new year.

Travellers taking trips of more than 50km (31 miles) on Deutsche Bahn’s Intercity Express trains can look forward to fare decreases of 10%.

The company is also cutting prices on special offers and additional services, such as transporting bicycles.

The trend in Germany stands in contrast to the situation in the UK, where millions of commuters face a 2.7% rise in ticket prices from 2 January.

The cheaper tickets are a result of Deutsche Bahn passing on to customers the government’s cut in value-added tax on rail travel, from 19% to 7%. The UK does not charge VAT on rail fares.

The company said it believed the price drop would bring in another 5 million passengers per year.

Germany’s main provider of rail services is 
Deutsche Bahn AG (DB), a private company in which the state is the single shareholder. Plans to sell off up to 49.9% of the company to private providers were abandoned with the onset of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Not all commuters in Germany will get cheaper fares in 2020. Fares for short-distance travel and public transport in regions such as Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg and the Rhineland are set to increase, the news agency dpa reported this week.

Fares for regional trains in the Bonn area are due to rise by 2.5%, while people in Berlin and Brandenburg face a 3.3% increase in the cost of tickets for bus, tram and subway travel. Public transport providers say the fare increases are due to rising wages and higher prices of diesel and electricity and were agreed before the government passed its climate protection measures.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020


Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), confirmed a programme of building wheelchair-accessible Plaxton Leopard coaches complying with the United Kingdom’s PSV Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR), built as stock to meet customers’ requirements. 

This is in addition to PSVAR-compliant versions of all Plaxton coach models when built to order, including a new side lift option on the Plaxton Panther.

 Plaxton Leopard Coached are now offered with side-mounted lifts

Responding to the increase in demand for accessible coaches, Plaxton Leopard coaches with side-mounted lifts ensure that the market’s favourite school hire coach remains top of its class by seating 57 in 2+2 configuration or 70 when built to high-capacity 2+3 layout.

PSVAR-compliant Leopard stock will be ready from the spring, and while the first 18 examples have already been sold, strong availability remains from May onwards with vehicles completed throughout the year.

When built to order, all models in the Plaxton coach range continue to be available in versions meeting PSVAR standards. Choice is further improved with the new option of a side-mounted lift on the 12.8m Plaxton Panther. The first five have been sold for delivery in the autumn and orders are being taken for configurations of 53 seats plus toilet or a fully seated version for 59 passengers.

An early champion of accessible coaches, Plaxton now offers no fewer than 11 versions across its entire model range:
Plaxton Leopard, 12.8m B8R – side lift, 57 or 70 seats
Plaxton Leopard, 12.8m B8R – twin exit doors with staircase lift, 49 seats
Plaxton Panther, 12.6m B11R – staircase lift, 49 (with toilet) or 53 seats
Plaxton Panther, 12.8m B8R – side lift, 53 (with toilet) or 59 seats
Plaxton Panther LE, 14.6m B8RLE – manual ramp, 53 seats
Plaxton Elite, 12.6m B11R – staircase lift, 49 (with toilet) or 53 seats
Plaxton Elite, 14m B11R – staircase lift, 57 seats (with toilet)
Plaxton Elite, 15m B11R – staircase lift, 61 seats (with toilet)
Plaxton Elitei, 13.8m B11R – manual ramp, 63 seats (with toilet)
Plaxton Elitei, 15m B11R – manual ramp, 75 seats (with toilet)
Plaxton Panorama, 14.5m B11RLE – manual ramp at entrance or exit door, 87 (with toilet) or 90 seats

 A Plaxtion Panther operated by Lothian

Plaxton’s General Manager Coach Sales, Simon Wood, comments: “Building our coaches right here in Britain gives us the flexibility to respond quickly to market demands and tailor specifications to our customers’ requirements. 
We offer PSVAR-compliant versions of all of our coach models when built to order, as well as a strong programme of accessible Plaxton Leopard stock ready to go straight into service from the spring.”

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Free Sunday Travel in Nottinghamshire

People in Nottinghamshire are being encouraged to make the most of their January Sundays by getting out and about with free trentbarton bus journeys.

Every Sunday in January all trentbarton buses across the East Midlands will be free for passengers for an hour between 10am and 11am.

The offer will run every Sunday throughout January, and anyone who boards any trentbarton bus on Freeride Sunday between 10am and 11am will not have to pay a penny for their journey.

“The offer applies across the trentbarton network and there are plenty of things to do on a Sunday in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and beyond.

“In recent years Sunday has also become an increasingly important shopping day, and by taking up the offer customers can also enjoy a little extra money in their pocket to spend in the January sales!”

By giving away free bus travel, the company hope to encourage more motorists to try public transport as an alternative to taking the car.

Hop on any trentbarton bus between 10am and 11am on January 5, 12, 19 and 26 and there is no fare to pay whatsoever (excluding pronto and Arriva X38 buses).

Scarlet McCourt, trentbarton’s marketing and communications assistant, said: “Free Ride Sunday provides the perfect way to kickstart the year.

"All the fun and expense of Christmas is behind us and there’s a world of possible places to visit.

“Our network covers the East Midlands, so if you want to catch up with friends and family, eat somewhere new, hunt for some sales bargains or just fancy a peaceful stroll in the countryside, we’ll take you there for free.”

The initiative has been praised by a number of business leaders in the two main trentbarton land cities of Derby and Nottingham, including Martin Langsdale, chair of the Cathedral Quarter Management Group in Derby, which drives forward initiatives under the area’s Business Improvement District status. He said: “The Cathedral Quarter is well served by the trentbarton bus network and therefore this initiative to encourage more people to use public transport is a welcome move. “With an increasing number of our independent retailers opening on Sundays and of course the area’s diverse leisure and cultural offer - from cinema screenings to fine dining restaurants - we hope that this initiative will draw more people into Derby’s Cathedral Quarter.”

The Nottingham Business Improvement District said

"We support any initiative that encourages more people to come into Nottingham as it will ultimately benefit our members - the retail and leisure businesses in the city centre. Free public transport is a great idea and I am sure that the happy hour on Sunday mornings on trentbarton buses will prove to be very attractive to shoppers and visitors, encouraging them to come into Nottingham to enjoy the great shops that we have as well as all the great food and drink offerings that we have "