Friday 31 January 2020

Launch of New Stagecoach Livery

Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator, has unveiled a brand new look for its iconic buses, shaped by the needs of customers it proudly serves across the UK, every day.

The new bus design is part of a wider commitment from Stagecoach to simplify, modernise and enhance its customer experience, whilst reaffirming the customer-first approach that runs through everything it does – from its drivers and buses, to its customer service and technology solutions.

When conceiving the new bus design, Stagecoach asked thousands of customers to share their thoughts on how the new design could serve them best, and what would encourage them to use public transport more regularly.

The findings highlighted that 69% of customers often found it confusing to find the bus they wanted, with a further 37% stating they would use the bus more often if it was simpler and more modern.

Taking on board feedback from customers, the bus operator created a new simplified and clearly colour coded design for its various bus services to make it easier and instantly recognisable for passengers to identify their required service, representing the three different types of journey; Azure blue for its Local service, Amber yellow for Longer, and Ocean green for Specialist.

Stagecoach has also restructured the way its services are classified to make it easier and more clearly differentiated for customers to identify which service they require. 
The new changes across Stagecoach services embody the company’s commitment to being proud to serve all of its current and new customers, representing the important role it plays in connecting people to the people and places that matter most.

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive, Stagecoach: “We are proud to serve our customers and connect communities across Britain, and our research shows more people will get on board the bus if it’s simpler to use. 
Our new look design and the multi-million-pound investments we are making in greener buses, smart technology, and better journeys is designed to give our customers exactly what they want.”

To celebrate the arrival of the new look bus design, Stagecoach created a special one-of-a-kind mosaic bus livery, featuring the faces of customers, drivers and communities from across the 11 regions of the country served by Stagecoach.

The images featured on the special one-off bus were selected from a year-long photography project commissioned by Stagecoach, with photographer Stuart Roy Clarke travelling across the UK to capture the spirit, individuality and personalities of the people and communities that the iconic bus serves every day.

Aislin Smith, 17, Student, from Glasgow, who features on the special bus livery said, “I have always found Stagecoach buses easy to use, especially for someone who has a less visible disability like myself. I think it’s great that there is a continued commitment to making the buses easy to use for customers, it’s something that has helped me have more freedom and flexibility in my life. It’s pretty cool to be featured on the very first of the new buses.”

With a further commitment to modernising and simplifying its customer experience, Stagecoach has kickstarted the biggest roll-out of the technology by any bus operator in Britain. 
This includes the introduction of the Stagecoach bus app, featuring a new online travel-planning tool that provides customers with real-time tracking of their bus service on an interactive map, and contactless payment facilities cover all of Stagecoach's vehicle fleet.

Stagecoach is investing more than £13m in one of the biggest orders of new electric buses in Europe, as part of a drive to provide a more sustainable transport solution to the people and communities it serves. By the end of 2020, it will have more electric vehicles than any other major UK bus operator.

Martin Griffiths added, “We are modernising and simplifying our products and services to make bus travel the smarter, easier choice. Over the next year, our customers across the country will start to see new innovations and intuitive changes to their Stagecoach services, which we hope will bring greater ease of use to all journeys.”

Stagecoach’s instantly recognisable ‘roundel’ icon, a familiar sight on the British road for two decades, has been rejuvenated, modernised and simplified and will be universally adopted across everything that the bus operator offers, representing the three different types of journey. 

These include:
Local buses – these are everyday community buses with strong local connections that take people to work, education, hospitals, leisure activities with friends and family and life’s important moments.

Longer distance – buses with added comfort and value for customers that need to take a bus beyond the place they live.

Specialist – these are specialist services built for purpose – for drivers who need to park their car outside of town and use park and ride services, university students who need a lift to class and tourists who want to go sightseeing around the country

This year marks 40 years since the birth of Stagecoach. It has come a long way since 1980, from humble beginnings, starting with just two buses in Perth, Scotland, and growing dramatically to become the UK’s largest bus and coach operator. Today, Stagecoach serves over 2.5 million passengers a day, playing a vital role in keeping people and communities connected across the country.

The new bus design will be rolled out across the fleet of 8,400 buses over a three-year period, with customers seeing the first buses on the road from February. The one-off special bus of the people livery will go into service in the North East from today.

Focus Comment
Congratulations to Stagecoach on the launch of their new livery and their desire "to simplify, modernise and enhance its customer experience"
They hope to "make it easier and instantly recognisable for passengers to identify their required service"

 Will the local liveries survive, as shown above and below.
Buses in the Lake District have a very different green livery

How the new livery, which uses a lot of white, will look after a few hours out on the road will look, we don't yet know, but we're hoping that all the Stagecoach bus washes are in good working order!

Good news about their investment of more than £13m in "one of the biggest orders of new electric buses in Europe, as part of a drive to provide a more sustainable transport solution to the people and communities it serves"

Stagecoach have always been innovators and leaders in the bus industry during the 40 years they have been in existence and we are impressed to hear that "by the end of 2020, it will have more electric vehicles than any other major UK bus operator."
Electric and hydrogen are the way forward in public transport and the Focus website will continue to bring you the latest developments on these features as they develop.

Indeed, we have heard that Transbus in Northern Ireland have just purchased three Hydrogen powered vehicles for their fleet, details of which will be shown on this website tomorrow.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Grand Central Prepares for Service Between Blackpool & Euston

Plans for new direct rail services between Blackpool and London are on schedule this year after Grand Central revealed it was starting to train drivers.
Class 90's and Mk 4's will be used on the service.

Grand Central, part of the Arriva group, which is itself part of Deutsche Bahn, is planning to run five direct trains in each direction to the capital every weekday and Saturday and four on Sundays.

Four sets of MK4 coaches in six-car formation have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026. The coaches will be maintained at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Arriva North’s Blackpool depot.

The coaches are currently undergoing a £1.5 million refurbishment at Alstom in Widnes, which will include Grand Central livery and a full interior refresh designed with the comfort of leisure and business passengers in mind.

Each of the trains running along the North West to London route will include First Class carriages, free Wi-Fi throughout, buffet, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available.

From next month (March), people living in the vicinity of stations along the new North West to London Euston route may spot three sets of coaches (MK4s), as driver training gets underway. These coaches have been secured under short-term lease from Eversholt Rail.

Grand Central has also hired a pool of five locomotives (Class 90s) from DB Cargo UK (pictured). Four of these will be in service at any one time, with one locomotive spare for maintenance purposes.

A provisional timetable shows trains running from Blackpool via Kirkham and Wesham, Preston, Nuneaton, Milton Keynes and London Euston after the May timetable changes.

A Grand Central spokesman said: “We’re very much looking forward to launching services on our new route from Blackpool to London Euston in Spring 2020.
Grand Central Railway Company already provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.
It said its customer satisfaction levels were consistently high and it was named Britain’s best value rail operator for the eighth time in the Spring QE$2019 National Rail Passenger Survey.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

11 More BYD ADL Enviro's for London

BYD Europe and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has delivered 11 new 100% emissions-free, pure electric BYD ADL Enviro200EV electric buses to Go-Ahead London. 

BYD is a global leader in batteries, energy management and electric mobility, while ADL is a subsidiary of leading independent global bus manufacturer NFI Group Inc. (NFI).

The delivery also signals the introduction of the partnership’s latest single deck 9.6-metre model – a shorter wheelbase chassis to suit narrow, complex road network such as those on Go-Ahead’s Route 100. 
Go-Ahead continues to electrify key routes in the capital and is increasingly looking to the BYD ADL partnership to provide exacting solutions to meet specific route requirements.

With 24 seats and an overall 66 passenger capacity, the 9.6-metre BYD ADL Enviro200EV achieves 150 miles on a single charge. Power is delivered through its pure-electric drivetrain comprising 330 kWh electric motor and BYD Iron-Phosphate batteries.

The delivery also brings up the 100th BYD ADL Enviro200EV for Go-Ahead London, with the company having to date completed over 6.3 million kilometres and saving over 5,500 tons of CO2 courtesy of the BYD ADL single deck model. 
A further 13 10.9-metre BYD ADL Enviro200EVs are scheduled to go into service with Go-Ahead London in March 2020. Since the introduction of the BYD ADL Enviro200EV electric bus in only 2016, over 200 units are now either delivered or on order with operators across the UK.

Richard Harrington, Engineering Director at Go-Ahead London, said: "Go-Ahead London has once again shown that close working partnerships, coupled with meticulous planning, results in us leading the way with zero emission travel for our customers."

"We continue to foster a forward-thinking relationship with Go-Ahead," said Isbrand Ho, Managing Director at BYD Europe, "here is an operator that has clearly identified electric mobility as viable, long-term solution to the demands of public transport in London. 
With its long-range appeal and class-leading environmental credentials, our BYD ADL Enviro200EV is well suited to a wide range of public transport operations and is becoming the battery-powered single decker of choice for a number of UK customers."

Colin Robertson, Chief Executive at ADL, said: "ADL is well versed in tailoring its buses to the needs of our customers, and this new length option further confirms that the zero-emission buses we build with BYD, our electric bus partner in the UK, are a whole-range solution for all operating requirements."

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Springburn Works to Re-open?

A steam locomotive collector and City financier has submitted an offer to buy the historic Springburn rail works in Glasgow which closed last July after 166 years.

Jeremy Hosking, best known for funding the Brexit cause, wants to use the site for expanding his heritage train operations in Scotland.

Mr Hosking’s rail group, Locomotive Services, includes Icons of Steam, which owns 13 locomotives via a trust

The Royal Scot Trust aims to preserve and maintain steam locomotives for the enjoyment and education of the general public and is responsible for six former mainline heritage steam locomotives from the 'Big Four' railway companies and British Railways.

Royal Scot
King Edward I
Blue Peter
Port Line
Holland America Line

The group also includes Saphos Trains and Statesman Rail, which run steam and other heritage excursions, including to Scotland. Mr Hosking also owns model train maker Hornby’s head office building at Margate in Kent.

Current tenant Gemini Rail Services’ lease ends in March and owner Hansteen said it would be pleased to sell to Mr Hosking “at the right price”.

Mr Hosking said he was expanding operations by buying more trains, with his Crewe diesel depot filling up.
He has bought diesel locomotives and carriages, including some phased out last year by Caledonian Sleeper.

Springburn could be used for maintaining and storing the fleet as well as providing water for steam engines during cross-Border excursions.

The site was opened in 1854 by the Caledonian Railway as the St Rollox, later Caley works, and once employed up to 3,500 people.

 A Statesman Rail Excursion

Mr Hosking said: “A multi-million pound offer has been made, which is good news for rail and for Scotland. We are taking advantage of the turnover of rolling stock among train operators to increase our assets.

“We are excited about Springburn. If it comes off, it would be a shift to the north.”

On jobs, he said: “Employment to ramp up slowly”.

Nigel Harris, managing editor of leading industry magazine RAIL, said: “Jeremy has a long pedigree in really doing the job on the railway, and does nothing by halves. His Crewe depot is fabulous and one of the best anywhere for heritage rolling stock.”

Locomotive services managing director Tony Bush said: “Springburn would serve as a Scottish operational hub and provide resilience for our services. Scottish operations could originate there rather than the 400-plus mile round trip carrying empty stock [from Crewe].”“We mean business – slow and steady development, but long-term commitment.”

Mr Bush said this would mean the site moving away from Gemini’s focus on refitting work for other operators.

He said there would be “no reliance on the volatile vehicle refurbishment business, which, with the [operators’] massive investment in brand new rolling stock, has sunk without trace”.

A spokesman for Hansteen said: “We are in early discussions. Hansteen will be very pleased to sell them the site at the right price.”

Monday 27 January 2020

Halton Transport Ceases Trading

Council-run Halton Transport has gone into liquidation after seeing losses rise by more than 1100% in two years.
The company, which ran more than a third of services across the Cheshire borough, lost almost £620,000 in 2019, up from £50,500 in 2017.

Halton Borough Council said it tried to give the firm a "stronger, more sustainable footing" but had failed.
It said the "simple advice" to people who rely on Halton Transport services was to "make alternative arrangements".
The move, which has put 150 jobs at risk, came after the company had to be bailed out with a £750,000 loan from the council in 2019.
A council spokeswoman said the authority was working with other bus providers to ensure essential services are maintained but added that there would be "inevitably be disruption".
Passenger watchdog Transport Focus said it was "vital" local authorities and bus operators reduced the immediate impact on passengers.

Arriva North West announced on its website that it would take over some of the firm's routes, while Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said all Merseytravel-funded school routes would continue to run.

The firm has been run as an "arm's length" company by the council since 1986, when the introduction of the Transport Act made it illegal for councils to directly run bus companies.
Halton Council, which faced a £6m funding gap in 2020, said a "difficult" trading environment and council budget cuts had led to the firm's demise.
"As the major shareholder, the council has been supporting the company in an attempt to place it on a stronger, more sustainable footing [but] unfortunately that has not been possible," the spokeswoman said.
She said the council had had "significant reductions in its budget" and had to make "difficult choices" going forward, meaning that its "ability to support a commercial operation like Halton Transport is limited".
She added that the "simple advice to members of the public is that if you rely on a Halton Transport bus, you should make alternative arrangements".
"The council would like to apologise to bus users for any inconvenience caused and will continue to try to arrange alternative services."

Mr Rotheram said he had "taken immediate action" to ensure the school services would continue to run from Monday morning, using Arriva North West and Stagecoach buses.

He added that while the Transport Act had "legally prevented" the combined authority from buying Halton Transport, his aim was to "minimise the impact for local people as much as possible".
 "Other bus operators will be taking over services and we understand that they are actively recruiting drivers previously employed by Halton Transport," he added.
Transport Focus director David Sidebottom said buses were the "only real means of transport available to many people", so it was important that authorities and bus operators worked out "a longer term plan to provide services that local residents demand".

Sunday 26 January 2020

BYD Launches 45 ft Double Deck Electric Coach With 230 mile Range

BYD have launched the largest double-deck coach, which can travel up to 230 miles on a single charge.

Three of BYD's electric coaches are now being shown at the United Motorcoach Association’s annual expo in Nashville, Tennessee (Jan. 19-23).

The 45-foot (13.7 m) double-deck C10MS model (shown above), which is called the largest battery-electric motorcoach in North America.

It can seat up to 77 people and travel up to 230 miles (370 km).

45-foot double-deck
can seat up to 77 people
range of up to 230 miles (370 km)

The other two models are the smaller C8MS 35-foot double-deck motorcoach and C9M 40-foot motorcoach.

The range of the C8MS and C9M two is noticeably lower - 170 miles and 200 miles respectively.

35-foot double-deck
51 seats
range of up to 170 miles (274 km)

49 seats
range of up to 200 miles (322 km)

BYD is a high-tech company devoted to technological innovations. BYD was founded in February 1995, and after more than 20 years of fast growth, the company has established over 30 industrial parks worldwide and has played a significant role in industries related to electronics, automobiles, new energy and rail transit. 
From energy generation and storage to its applications, BYD is dedicated to providing zero-emission energy solutions. BYD is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, with revenue and market capitalization each exceeding RMB 100 billion.

More BYD News here

Saturday 25 January 2020

Public Bus Ownership Plans 'off the table' After First Group Decide Not to Sell

TAKING Glasgow's bus services into public ownership is no longer being explored by the city council after First Group pulled plans to sell its UK operations.
Council leader Susan Aitken revealed the operator had confirmed "the sale is now off the table" following enquiries by officers from the city authority.
She said the focus would now be on "securing Glasgow's share of the £500m allocation by the Scottish Government for bus priority measures".

Councillors had agreed the authority should look at taking bus services in the city into public ownership at a meeting in June, following First Group's decision to put its UK operations up for sale.

Ms Aitken said: "We formally lodged an expression of interest with First Group and made a number of enquiries to determine when the sale process was likely to commence.
"Exploratory conversations also took place with potential partners and with the unions representing First's staff.

"Following recent speculation that the sale might be in question, councillor officers have sought clarification from First on their position. It was only yesterday afternoon the operator confirmed that the sale is now off the table.
"The group will make further announcements in due course about its long-term intentions. We maintained dialogue with First but that option is now closed to us."
First Group is currently focusing on whether to sell its North American divisions, the council leader said.
A spokesman for the company confirmed it wasn't currently looking to sell its UK division.
"Our bus companies are attractive businesses and we are confident that greater value can be created from more efficient operations," he said.

"We are delivering on plans that will improve operational performance in First Bus and the results of this will be visible in the coming months, and beyond.
"Therefore, we intend to deliver these improvements before launching any sale process.
"In the meantime, we continue to improve the experience for customers across our networks by investing in enhancements such as our recently launched electric vehicles, which are the first to operate in the city on a commercial bus route since 1967."
However, campaigners at Get Glasgow Moving have said "the status quo can’t go on". They said over 6000 Glaswegians had signed a petition calling for public ownership.
"The council and SPT should utilise the new powers in the transport bill to create a publicly-owned bus company for Glasgow to integrate with other modes of transport.
"Private operators and partnerships have failed passengers. We need action now to address the climate crisis and reduce inequality."
Campaigners will hand their petition to the council leader next Wednesday.

The Scottish Government plans to invest over £500 million in improved bus priority infrastructure to tackle the impacts of congestion on bus services and raise bus usage.
"It requires us to establish a formal bus service improvement partnership," Ms Aitken said. "Much of the ground work for that has already been undertaken here in Glasgow via the Glasgow bus partnership instigated under this administration.
"We're in discussion with officials at Transport Scotland as we do need to find a way to resource this properly to develop the individual business cases where council policies of accessiblity to employment, health and educational facilities, retail and leisure are currently not being met by existing bus provision."
Ms Aitken also revealed the council is looking at the "opportunity" of the COP26 climate conference to "look at how we can move forward on integrated ticketing on all forms of public transport in the city".

Friday 24 January 2020

New Multi-million Pound Windermere Vessel Nears Completion

Windermere Lake Cruises’ brand-new 300-seat passenger boat MV ‘Swift’ has  taken to the water for the first time. The vessel will now be fitted out before being handed over after Easter 2020 for crew training to commence.

The multi-million pound vessel is expected to be in service from the mid 2020 season, after this week becoming the largest craft to be ‘launched’ onto Windermere for more than 80 years.

The size of the vessel meant it was necessary to build smaller sections off-site first, before being transported to Lakeside for final assembly over the last six months. 

‘Swift’ was carefully lowered onto the lake for the first time in the presence of special guests and members of the press who were able to witness the historic moment from The Lakeside Hotel & Spa, many of whom travelled to the launch site on a complimentary train thanks to the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.

Like Windermere Lake Cruises’ existing flagship ‘steamers’ MV Swan and MV Teal, the new vessel boasts three decks but is slightly shorter in length to enable it to access smaller jetties to help support other businesses in the area.


Windermere Lake Cruises operates a fleet of 17 vessels that sail throughout the year. The boats are used for regular scheduled cruises on a number of different routes (or cruises), private charters and special events.

Teal (above) and Tern (below) are the two largest 'steamers' in the fleet. Originally powered by steam but both converted to diesel.

Teal has three decks and at full capacity can hold 533 passengers.
It was built in 1936 by Vickers of Barrow. The sections of boat were transported by rail to Lakeside and assembled. The M.V. Teal is 142ft long weighing 251 Tonnes. On board it is manned by a crew of seven and can reach a speed of 10 knots with its 2 x 6 cylinder Kelvin diesel engines and 2 x auxiliary generators.


Tern has two levels and at full capacity can hold 350 passengers.

The M.V Tern was built by Forrest & Son, Wyvenhoe, Essex in 1891, as a steam-powered yacht. This was converted to diesel power In 1956. The Tern is 145ft in length and weighs 121 tonnes. On board, it is manned by a crew of 4 and can reach a speed of 10 knots with its 2 x 6 cylinder Cummins diesel engines, 2 x auxiliary generators and bow thruster.

 Lakeside Station, terminus of the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway is the connecting point with the steamer service on Lake Windermere. Parking is available at Haverthwaite for travel to Lakeside where passengers can travel the length of Windermere (10 miles) by boat to Ambleside.


Thursday 23 January 2020

Class 442's Re-introduced by South West Trains

South Western Railway (SWR) customers are now benefiting from the re-introduction of refurbished ‘Class 442’ trains.

Four 10-car Class 442s have been running on the London to Portsmouth & London to Poole routes since the new year, with customers benefiting from more spacious ‘2+2 seating’ and modern facilities.

The trains have refurbished interiors including quality Axminster carpets, at-seat power for mobile devices and real-time passenger information displays. Additional benefits for First Class customers include new leather seats and tables.

The environmental benefits also extend to the vehicle interiors with the installation of LED lighting. Wi-Fi is provided throughout and there are universal accessible toilets and seating facilities for disabled passengers. 

The trains were re-furbished and introduced into service but had to be withdrawn again due to safety issues. Initially there were problems with the door locking system and then they were found to interfere with signals at Earlsfield (north of Wimbledon). The trains caused the track circuits to break which changed signals to red, requiring the driver to stop.

Neil Drury, Engineering Director for SWR, said:

“We’re really pleased that these refurbished trains are now in passenger service. We’ve already had positive feedback about the extra space provided with the 2+2 seating configuration and other benefits such as Wi-Fi, LED lighting and real-time passenger info systems.

“Passengers will also notice the high quality of the refurbished interiors, including Axminster carpets and reupholstered seats.

“We’re proud of the fact the works have been undertaken at Eastleigh and Bournemouth depots. This has meant investment in local facilities across the South Western network, helping to boost the economy and secures jobs for people living in the communities we serve.

“We will look to introduce all of the Class 442s in the fleet back in to service as soon as possible.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Alstom and Avanti Deal

West Coast Mainline operator, Avanti West Coast, have secured a seven-year deal worth precisely £642 million with Alstom, who will refurbish and maintain the routes 56 electric Pendolino trains.

As well as covering a £127 million upgrade programme of the Pendolinos, which is believed to be the biggest train upgrade programme ever in the UK, the deal will see Alstom maintain them until 2026 alongside a new train fleet recently ordered from Hitachi.

The renovation will focus on onboard facilities, with passengers benefitting from more comfortable seating, enhancements to the onboard shop, better lighting, improved toilets, new interiors, and the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi throughout.

Performance will also be improved through new maintenance programmes.

The deal will also mean 100 high-skill jobs will be created, mainly based at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes, with hundreds more existing engineering jobs secured at key depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.

Managing director of Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, said: “The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life. This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead.”

Nick Crossfield, managing director, Alstom UK & Ireland added: “Alstom are proud to have been trusted by First Trenitalia to maintain the Avanti West Coast fleet and upgrade the Pendolino trains. Over the last 15 years these trains have revolutionised travel for passengers, with faster and more frequent services.

“Passengers can now look forward to a new chapter in this story with Avanti West Coast, and with this contract in place, Alstom can look forward to investing even more in high quality jobs and apprenticeships as we deliver these improvements.”

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Volvo 7900e for Irish Hotel Shuttle

A Volvo 7900e single deck, fully electric bus has entered service at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport Hotel. The first of its type for the Irish market, the bus is set to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly shuttle service for passenger transfers at Dublin Airport.

Operating every 30 minutes between the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Holiday Inn Express and then out to terminals 1 and 2 at Dublin Airport, the project has been brought about by a three way partnership between Volvo Bus, Crowne Plaza Hotel (part of the Tifco Hotel Group) and ESB – Ireland’s leading energy supplier, to replace the previous diesel fuelled bus service.

The vehicle is a Generation 2 Volvo 7900e and will be the first commercial electric bus to enter service in Ireland with charging being provided outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel by a high power CCS combo 2 150kW charger showing the flexibility of the Generation 2 product.

Nick Page, Managing Director for Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “We are excited to see the 7900e entering service in and around Dublin Airport. This is the culmination of 24 months of planning and eventual installation of the required infrastructure for this first of its type electric bus to enter operation anywhere in Ireland.

“The 7900e is a proven vehicle having been tried and tested in countries across Europe and we know the significant contribution it can make to improving air quality. Specifically it met with the requirements, vision and commitment of Tifco to provide a sustainable, quiet and comfortable shuttle service for their passengers.

“More than 150 7900e buses have already been sold and are now in service throughout Europe. In the UK we have recently had six 7900e electric buses commence a similar shuttle provision at Birmingham Airport, with a further eight being adopted for town service use in Harrogate.

“For a considerable time now it has been our vision to develop a range of vehicles to deliver improved air quality for those who live and work in towns and cities. Along with the 7900e, these solutions include hybrids, full electric and flexible charging options.

“The 7900e delivers well to wheel greenhouse gas emission benefits as well as zero tailpipe emissions in and around the airport for travellers and those who work there.”

Garret O’Neill, General Manager for the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport & Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport, said: “As a company we are always looking to the future and adopting facilities and services that will improve our guests’ experiences and benefit our local community and environment. Over the past number of years, we have taken a number of significant measures to reduce the hotels’ carbon footprint. While the purchase of the new Volvo 7900e electric bus is a significant financial investment for the hotel, we believe it will deliver long term benefits for both the customer and the local environment.”

Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive of ESB, said: “ESB is committed to a low carbon energy future, powered by clean electricity, so we are delighted to be involved in this initiative to put the first fully-electric bus onto Irish roads. Working closely with the Tifco Hotel Group, our Smart Energy Services team installed an advanced charge point system that integrates with the airport shuttle schedule to allow the bus to operate seamlessly throughout the day.”

Owned by Irish Hotel Group Tifco, the four star Crowne Plaza Hotel sits in 85 acres of parkland close to its sister hotel the three star Holiday Inn Express and Dublin Airport.

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 ...