Saturday, 19 June 2021

195 Electric Bus Order For BYD ADL Vehicles Sees RATP Dev London Make Strides Towards Emission Free Transport By 2037

BYD UK and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) have jointly confirmed that their electric vehicle partnership will deliver the UK’s largest ever electric bus order. 
The order has been placed by RATP Dev London, one of Transport for London (TfL)’s principal bus operators, for a total of 195 single and double deck vehicles.

With this order, RATP Dev London confirms its commitment to supporting TfL’s electrification plan for London’s bus network, a key objective of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for 2018, under which all TfL buses will be zero emissions by 2037, with all of London’s transport becoming emissions free by 2037.

68 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single decks are on order – including
21 compact 10.2-metre models

The record order comes as the BYD ADL partnership continues to go from strength to strength, just five years after it was launched, thanks to its proven combination of BYD’s world-class battery electric driveline technology and ADL’s British-built bodies, which can be fully customised to reflect operating requirements. 

In London alone, over 400 BYD ADL electric buses have cumulatively covered over 20 million zero-emission miles, with close to another 300 vehicles on order including this latest intake for RATP Dev London. RATP Dev London will be the largest operator of electric buses in London by the beginning of 2022, with close to 25% of its London United and London Sovereign fleet fully electric.

Deliveries of RATP Dev London’s latest BYD ADL fleet will begin in the summer. 68 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single decks – including 21 compact 10.2-metre models – and 127 BYD ADL Enviro400EV double decks will be based at RATP Dev London’s Fulwell, Harrow and Shepherd’s Bush depots to serve routes in the west of the capital. 
The buses will join 36 existing BYD ADL single decks in service since 2018 and 29 BYD ADL double decks delivered last year. 
Feedback from RATP Dev London on these in-service vehicles has been very positive, with the double deck BYD ADL Enviro400EV in particular delivering exceptional reliability on 24-hour route operations.

Catherine Chardon, Managing Director of RATP Dev London, said, “Electrification is a critical part of our business and partnership with Transport for London (TfL). We launched our two first 100% electric routes less than two years ago, as well as London’s first fully electric 24-hour double-decker bus route last year. By the beginning of 2022, we will operate 15 zero emission routes and have five of our garages converted to electric. This agreement will help RATP Dev London position itself as the leading electric bus services provider in the city. We are proud to work hand in hand with TfL to help London achieve its sustainability goals.”

BYD UK Managing Director, Frank Thorpe, said, “Naturally, this is a hugely significant moment in the development of the BYD brand in the UK. Public transport in the capital often provides the blueprint for other towns and cities and the fact that a major operator like RATP Dev is making such a substantial commitment to eMobility will, I believe, resonate with Local Authorities across the UK. 
The increasing electrification of routes by TfL operators is delivering long-term productivity to their fleets and real environmental benefits for Londoners.”

Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, said: “RATP Dev London’s record order is a resounding vote of confidence in our British-built electric buses and ADL’s proven ability to tailor these to authorities and operators’ requirements. These buses will build on our pioneering work in support of Transport for London’s Bus Safety Standard with a focus on safety for drivers, passengers and other road users.”

Friday, 18 June 2021

Royal Scot Pendolino Attempts London to Glasgow Record

Record was missed by just 21 seconds following the collaborative efforts of Avanti West Coast and Network Rail

Avanti West Coast has named one of its Pendolino trains ‘Royal Scot’ to mark a record attempt with Network Rail for the fastest journey between London and Glasgow.

Royal Scot at Euston

The 390044 Pendolino carries the name of what was once the flagship train in the West Coast Main Line Timetable and which provided the fastest passenger services from London to Glasgow for many years.

Royal Scot made its inaugural journey yesterday (17 June) with a non-stop run from London Euston to Glasgow Central that aimed to beat a record of 3 hours 52 minutes and 40 seconds that was set in 1984 by an Advanced Passenger Train (APT) – the tilting high speed train developed by British Rail for the West Coast Main Line.

While the record was missed by just 21 seconds the collaborative efforts of Avanti West Coast and Network Rail enabled the nine-carriage Pendolino to travel at an average speed of 103 mph during the journey. The final time was clocked at 3 hours, 53 minutes and one second.

Today's run was the fastest ever by a Pendolino between London and Glasgow , breaking the previous record of 3 hours 55 minutes 27 seconds in 2006.

Britain’s biggest-selling rail title, The Railway Magazine, also offered its readers an exclusive seat onboard – with proceeds from ticket sales going to Avanti West Coast’s charity partner, Action for Children, and Railway Benefit Fund.

The charity event champions the ease of travelling between the home nations by train and the potential to boost connectivity between them in the future, as well as the environmental benefits of rail travel – the ordinary journey time (4 hours 30 minutes) for the 401.25-mile journey by train emits 24kg of carbon dioxide per passenger km compared with a plane journey of the same distance that emits 158kg per passenger km – saving 134kg of CO2 per passenger km.

A drone shot of the train at Gretna

The record run is the latest project to be carried out by Avanti West Coast and Network Rail. It follows the delivery of additional upgrade works while the rail network was quieter with fewer trains. These upgrades aim to make journeys more reliable as the industry welcomes back passengers.

Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, said: “Today marked a brilliant collaboration across the railway industry! This this event shows how the clean, green railway of today can cement economic growth, jobs, housing and social cohesion through better connectivity across the United Kingdom. There will be more on better connectivity by rail and faster journey times between England and Scotland when I publish my final Union Connectivity Report for the Prime Minister in the summer.”

Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director, said: “As we begin to build back better from the pandemic, the essential role of rail services in connecting our major cities and driving economic growth whilst combating climate change, has never been clearer. This record attempt shows how effectively rail can deliver cross-border connectivity.

Royal Scot arrives at Glasgow.
Driver Neil Barker at the controls

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast said: “While we’re disappointed we’ve not broken the record today, we are proud to have worked with industry partners to showcase the vital role rail can play in enabling cleaner, greener travel and connectivity across the United Kingdom.

“We want to connect people and places to opportunity, so we’re pleased to champion the railway’s part in this with our record attempt, while supporting Action for Children and Railway Benefit Fund whose work supports families and individuals along our route. The addition of Royal Scot to our Pendolino fleet highlights our commitment to connecting the nations we serve on the West Coast Main Line and we look forward to helping to deliver better Union Connectivity.”

Locks Farmer, Director of Fundraising & Marketing, Action for Children, said: “We are so grateful Avanti West Coast has supported Action for Children through this exciting record attempt. The money raised will help ensure we can continue providing essential support to children who desperately need our help. Thanks to Avanti West Coast, Action for Children can be a lifeline to children and young people, giving them the tools they need to have a safe and happy childhood.”

Pete Waterman, President of the Railway Benefit Fund, said: “It’s a real privilege for the Railway Benefit Fund to be involved in this Record Run attempt. Time is of the essence for us all and every seven minutes somebody in our railway family reaches out to the RBF for help and advice. We are so thankful for the support of Avanti West Coast and Railway Magazine, which ensures we can continue to meet the increase in demand for our services and help the Railway family through tough times.”

Thanks to Avanti West Coast for information and photos

Thursday, 17 June 2021

'Dive Under' Proposed to Allow Coventry to Leicester Trains to Run Again

Plans for an ambitious feat of civil engineering close to the Leicestershire border have been proposed, to connect up Leicester and Coventry by rail once again. Currently, the train journey from Coventry to Leicester takes close to an hour despite the cities being so close.

A new 'dive under' has been proposed at Nuneaton in order to run trains from Coventry to Leicester and on to Loughborough and Nottingham.

The link would significantly reduce travel time - but is not without difficulties, not least the existing railway lines to Nuneaton, which stand in the way. 
Direct services ceased to stop in 2004, as an increased number of services started running from the West Midlands to London via Nuneaton, leaving no room for the East-West Coventry to Leicester trains to continue running."

So one set of rail lines will need to be tunnelled under the other track.

Midland's Connect have put forward the plans which have been supported by Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council and City Mayor, Peter Soulsby.

Currently there is no space for services to run through the station, which means travellers have to change platforms and trains at Nuneaton.
Mayor Peter Soulsby said the current setup is "appallingly connected."

Midland's Connect has determined that a dive under is the best way to tackle the problem, but the scheme overall will cost in the region of £100m.

It added: "In this business case, a dive under is the best way to alleviate this congestion and run direct services once more.

"We still need to work up the detail to understand how long it will take to implement."

The firm are eager for the scheme to get underway as soon as possible but are currently waiting on 'positive funding decisions.'

If the scheme is approved, direct trains from Leicester to Coventry and Nottingham could run again as soon as 2025.

When and if work begins, the West Coast Main Line would be temporarily closed but it is expected to take only a couple of weeks. A number of closures are already planned by HS2, so it is hoped that any work could tie in with this to avoid causing further disruption.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Bid to Double the Number of Hydrogen Buses Coming to Liverpool City Region

Liverpool City Region’s planned hydrogen bus fleet could double in size – before the first vehicle even hits the road.

Funding is already in place to buy 20 double-decker hydrogen buses to initially serve the city region’s busiest route – the 10A between St Helens and Liverpool city centre.

A proposed bid for extra funding was discussed and agreed at the Combined Authority (CA) meeting on Friday 4th June, that could see the hydrogen bus fleet increased to 40 vehicles – enough to fully service the route.

The roll out of new zero-emission hydrogen buses is a key part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s plans to deliver an integrated London-style transport system.

Funding towards the additional hydrogen buses would come via a bid to the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme (ZEBRA). If successful, the funding would cover up to 75% of the cost difference between the highly efficient hydrogen vehicles and a standard bus.

This would mean the £12.5m committed through the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) already committed to the project could be spread over the cost of more vehicles, hugely increasing the size of the new fleet for the City Region.

The new buses will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, a safe and reliable technology that lends itself well to heavy duty vehicles such as buses.

Procurement has started for the city region’s hydrogen buses that are due to go into service next year.

The fleet is an important element of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ‘Vision for Bus’, which commits to using the powers available through devolution to build a better, more reliable and affordable bus network for the Liverpool City Region.

Broader plans for the project also include the building of hydrogen refuelling facilities, which will be the first of their kind in the North West. Construction of the refuelling facilities is planned to begin later in the year.

With the Metro Mayor having set a target for the Liverpool City Region to become net zero carbon by 2040, hydrogen buses will join the existing fleet in the city region which is already more than 70% low emissions. That’s been achieved through the use of cleaner engines, hybrid and electric power and biomethane gas.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“My plans to deliver a London-style transport system that is quick, cheap and reliable, and a Green Industrial Revolution that tackles the climate crisis while doubling the number of green jobs in the region were overwhelmingly endorsed by people in every part of our area. I’m wasting no time in getting down to work and delivering them.

“82% of all public transport journeys in our region are taken by bus and this new fleet will give people a clean, green and comfortable way to get about. I’m already working to double the size of the fleet so more people can enjoy these buses and the improved air quality we’ll get as a result.”

See previous posting here

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

West Somerset Railway Level Crossing Works Mean No Trains Between Dunster and Minehead

Although the West Somerset Railway is back in operation again, passengers will  be unable to travel through to Minehead station, due to delays to work on the level crossing at Seward Way, Minehead.  Passengers will travel by bus between Minehead and Dunster, until the crossing is operational later in the year.

A joint statement by West Somerset Railway and Somerset County Council on the situation with the upgrade of the level crossing at Seaward Way, Minehead.

Following resumption of services in May, we're delighted that visitors are once again enjoying the very special experience offered by the West Somerset Railway.

Though it is disappointing that installation of the Seaward Way Crossing could not be completed in time for the summer as hoped, due mainly to the impact of the Covid emergency, WSR is ensuring there will still be a service the full length of the journey from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard. 

Seaward Way Level Crossing Minehead

Passengers will travel by bus between Minehead and Dunster, until the crossing is operational later in the year. In keeping with the unique traveller experience offered by the WSR the journey will be by vintage bus at weekends.

We are keenly aware of the importance of this service to local businesses in Minehead which is why the WSR is providing this bus service.

MDJ 918E is an AEC Regent V with MCW bodywork is seen opposite the station at Minehead seafront in May 2008, whilst operating a service from Minehead station. It is planned to use vintage buses at weekends on replacement bus services

This is a complex project involving a number of agencies and equipment suppliers and it has unfortunately been hit hard by the Covid crisis. There have been supply chain issues for some key parts and most of the specialist rail contractors needed for this work are also currently required by Network Rail for vital works across the main UK network. Initial planning started in 2018 and the design was completed in 2020. It was finally approved by the Office of Rail and Road, the regulator, in February.

A great deal of preparatory work has already taken place, including a significant amount of work off site. Despite the difficulties, it's anticipated the crossing will be operational in time for the festive season.

West Somerset website here

Monday, 14 June 2021

Passenger Rolls Out Free Watch Apps to Help Boost UK Public Transport Uptake

Passenger, creators of the highest-rated transport software in the UK is enhancing its support for bus operators as lockdown eases by offering its Premium customers free watch apps.

The UK technology company is rolling out Android and iOS watch apps as part of its existing Premium packages – offering an average saving of £2,000 per year.

Tom Quay, CEO at Passenger commented: “Many bus operators have had to fast-track their digital strategies over the past year to keep up with changing customer needs. Now more than ever, people want a quick, efficient, and safe travel option to get them from A to B – and unfortunately, many believe their car is the best option.

“We want to help bus operators inspire more people to opt for public transport, and a huge part of this is giving people quick and easy options for journey planning. That’s why we’re extending our Premium apps package license to include free watch apps, making it easy for users to plan their journeys on the move.”

Passenger’s free watch apps offer comes as the government’s National Bus Strategy powers through its first stage. By the end of this month, local transport authorities (LTAs) will need to commit to establishing Enhanced Partnerships across all areas, working with operators to create and deliver Bus Service Improvement plans unique to each area.

Tom Quay continued: “The National Bus Strategy is crucial for rebuilding confidence and increasing ridership in bus travel, presenting an opportunity to universally reform provisions and reclaim the roads. As an industry, as we drive this forwards, we’re continuing to work closely with bus operators to understand what they need to get customers back on board, and our latest watch app offer is one of various initiatives we’ve launched in response.”

Passenger’s Premium watch apps for Android and iOS allow users to:
Find their closest stops
Look up departures from ‘favourite’ stops.
Send departure boards to the watch from the app.
View a step count/distance to bus stops
Receive notifications when they approach their stop (currently iOS only)

Bus operators can visit to find out more about Passenger’s Premium package offering.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Solaris Package Deal for Eight Electric Solaris buses and Charging Infrastructure in Gorzów

Solaris Bus & Coach has signed a deal for the supply of eight zero-emission Urbino 12 electric buses with the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski and the operator Miejski Zakład Komunikacji in Gorzów Wielkopolski. 
The contract covers also an investment part for the design and building of the vehicle charging infrastructure, demonstrating how Solaris can offer a full package of turnkey electromobility solutions. The total net value of the contract amounts to over £4.8m.

The electric vehicles will be fitted with Solaris High Power batteries with a total capacity of ca. 120 kWh. The batteries will be used to store the energy needed to feed the electric drive axle of the vehicle. Two charging modes will be available, conventional plug-in as well as pantograph charging. 

In this particular case the municipal carrier opted for an inverted pantograph which is mounted on a mast and not on the roof of the bus. The 12-metre electric bus will provide space for at least 80 passengers. The driver’s cabin in the commissioned model will be completely shut off.

Petros Spinaris, Deputy CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach commented
“As the popularity of electromobility is rising, and it is becoming an option that is readily available to public transport operators, so are the 
expectations of municipal carriers. Hence, among others, the bigger number of turnkey tenders, encompassing not only the purchase of vehicles but also of infrastructure needed to recharge electric buses. We are ready for this challenge. Our experience and technological know-how allow us to be a competent partner for operators at every stage of the implementation of e-mobility solutions. We are happy that Gorzów will join the ranks of cities with zero-emission fleets,” said 

In the case of the contract with Gorzów Wielkopolski, Solaris has committed to expand the bus terminus, to design and build three pantograph chargers, with a massive 400 kW in charging power, which will be deployed at the termini in strategic city areas. 
These chargers will allow the operator to maximise the daily operability of electric buses. Also, the producer is also due to deliver four depot charging stations, each coming with two charging points, boasting a power of 2 x 60 kW; allowing standard overnight charging of vehicles.

In the photo (from the left): Mateusz Nalewajski (Commercial Operations Deputy Director, Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o.), Petros Spinaris (Deputy CEO, Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o.), Jacek Wójcicki (Mayor of the City of Gorzów Wielkopolski), Roman Maksymiak (CEO, MZK Gorzów Wielkopolski).


Saturday, 12 June 2021

Alexander Dennis Unveils its First Zero-emission, Three-axle Double Deck Bus, the Enviro500EV CHARGE for North America

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has unveiled its first zero-emission, three-axle double deck bus through a Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”) virtual event. The Enviro500EV CHARGE is the North American all-electric version of the world’s best-selling double decker.

The Enviro500EV CHARGE includes all the usual benefits that come with Alexander Dennis’s double deck buses, including panoramic views and low floor entry. It also features several industry firsts including full independent front suspension for a smoother and more comfortable ride, as well as an integrated electric drive system tailored to the requirements of North American transit agencies.

An electric portal axle with hub motors provides fast and efficient propulsion for the Enviro500EV CHARGE with 2×125kW peak power output. The drive and auxiliary axles have been switched with power supplied at the third axle, ensuring optimum weight distribution and high passenger capacity.

A class-leading 648kWh of energy storage is provided by batteries that are integrated in the chassis and the rear of the vehicle for a low centre of gravity and great stability. These are fed through industry standard CCS1 charging points available on the left or the right side of the bus. Gantry charging is an option.

The system includes an electric heat pump to provide both heating and cooling, which minimizes the amount of energy required and increases range capability of the fully air-conditioned Enviro500EV CHARGE. A stylish new dashboard features an economy gauge and halo color to immediately give drivers prominent feedback on how economically they are operating the bus.

Like all Alexander Dennis double deckers for North America, the 45-foot Enviro500EV CHARGE offers an amazing passenger experience with reclined seating, overhead reading lights and air vents, USB ports, and Wi-Fi and multimedia capability – but its main feature is the high passenger capacity with up to 82 seats, including 53 on the upper deck. 
A well-lit staircase with conveniently positioned handrails, wide entrance and wide exit doors, a 1-in-6 mobility ramp, unobstructed isles with sculpted handrails, mobility devices, and fully flat floor through to the rear seating ensure outstanding accessibility.

The Enviro500EV CHARGE forms part of NFI’s market-leading range of zero emission buses and coaches alongside New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE NG™ and Xcelsior CHARGE H2™, MCI’s J4500 CHARGE™ and D45 CRT LE CHARGE™, and the ARBOC Equess CHARGE™. 
It is Buy America compliant and Altoona testing is scheduled to start later this year.

Paul Soubry, NFI President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are excited to have Alexander Dennis join in on producing zero emission bus solutions for North America as this is the very first launch of an Alexander Dennis vehicle at our Vehicle Innovation Center. 
When acquiring ADL and welcoming the company into NFI Group in May 2019, their strong international growth agenda and double deck platform were extremely interesting to us and today’s launch brings together both of these elements. 
As NFI Group, we are leading the evolution to zero-emission mobility – Leading the ZEvolution as we like to call it – and Alexander Dennis is a central part of this.”

Paul Davies, ADL President and Managing Director, said: “The Alexander Dennis Enviro family is the world’s best-selling double deck bus of which over 18,000 have been sold around the globe. Today we add a milestone as we unveil our first ever battery electric, three-axle, high-capacity double deck bus. 
We are very excited by the positive feedback already received from transit agencies who have trialled this vehicle and look forward to delivering zero-emission service with our double decks across North America.”

Steve Walsh, Vice President of Alexander Dennis Inc., said: “There is no better or more sustainable way to move large numbers of passengers than the Enviro500EV CHARGE. 
45 feet long, 2 decks, up to 82 seats, 648kWh of energy storage, and equally at home cruising at highways or in downtown city streets, it takes zero-emission mobility to an entirely new level.”

Friday, 11 June 2021

Scotland’s Railway on Track For Net Zero Emissions by 2035

On World Environment Day (Saturday, 5 June), the United Nations encouraged countries to take action to protect our environment.
This worldwide awareness includes rail networks, with Scotland’s Railway having a big part to play in reducing the industry’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2035.

ScotRail and its partners are already making rail healthier by assisting in the fight against climate change and, the numbers from the train operator are impressive.

Between 2014 and 2019 Scotland’s Railway electrified 325km of the country’s central railway network. This investment supported the introduction of a new £370million fleet of 70 faster, greener, modern electric trains, the class 385 built by Hitachi, with 44 per cent more capacity for customers.

These trains are cutting carbon emissions by over 10,000 tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of taking 2,238 cars off the road every year, or planting 5,138,151 trees across the fleet’s expected 30 year lifetime.

More than 76 per cent of passenger and 45 per cent of freight journeys are already electrified on Scotland’s Railway, and rail is the most sustainable mode of public transport, contributing only one per cent of Scotland’s overall transport carbon emissions.

The difficulties posed in the route clearance of structures to ensure there is sufficient headroom to run the electric wires under bridges and through tunnels is a major challenge.

Around 90 structures needed to be rebuilt or significantly altered to support electrification works across Scotland, including bespoke systems introduced through Winchburgh and Queen Street tunnels.

There are a number of other ways Scotland’s Railway will play a leading role towards net zero.

· All diesel trains will be taken out of service over the next 15 years through the decarbonisation of the rail infrastructure.
· There are projects currently underway to do this on lines around Glasgow such as East Kilbride and Barrhead, creating more sustainable journeys and stations.
· ScotRail has introduced a fuel additive that is projected to deliver a three per cent reduction in fleet diesel usage with further associated savings in carbon and nitrous oxides.
· A plan to deliver Scotland’s first net zero carbon station at Falkirk High.
· Encourage a shift from road to rail freight; one freight train carrying 560 tonnes of goods is the equivalent of almost 70 HGV road trips.
· Introduction of hydrogen and battery trains over the next 14 years.
· Investing in biodiversity schemes which have resulted in ScotRail-owned land being developed to include native wildflower meadows, orchards, ponds and bird and bug houses. Field voles and hedgehogs have now been found at one depot.

David Lister, ScotRail Safety, Sustainability & Asset Director, said:

“Rail is already the most sustainable mode of public transport, but, there’s no doubt a cleaner and greener network is something we should all be working towards.

“Our Decarbonisation Action Plan aims to eliminate carbon emissions completely by 2035 and we are well on track to achieving that ambitious target.”

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland Director of Rail, said:

"We have made real strides in recent years towards electrifying Scotland's Railway, which is making a genuine contribution towards reaching our decarbonisation targets.

"World Environment Day offers us a real opportunity to reflect on the progress made to date, as we look to build a green recovery moving forward through and beyond the challenges of the global pandemic."

Thursday, 10 June 2021

ADL Delivers Two More Plaxton Panther Coaches to Suffolk Operator Beestons

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”),  has announced that it has delivered a further two Plaxton Panther coaches to long-standing Suffolk operator Beestons. Both meet PSV Accessibility Regulations.

The new 59-seat vehicles are built on a Volvo B8R chassis and will become part of Beestons’ coach fleet for private hire.

The PSVAR compliant coaches are fitted with a side-mounted wheelchair lift and have three dual tip-up seats which do not have to be removed from the vehicle to accommodate a passenger with a wheelchair.

The vehicles are also equipped with CCTV and screens fitted around the driver area as part of the company’s COVID-19 safety measures.

Beestons is Suffolk's longest running and the UK's third oldest privately owned and family-run coach and bus operator. This is the company’s second coach order with ADL in the last two years, with delivery postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new coaches replace earlier vehicles of the same type.

Beestons Operations Director Tom Munson said: “We’re delighted to be adding these two new coaches to our fleet – they are accessible, comfortable and reliable vehicles that will serve our customers very well.”

ADL Sales Account Manager Martin Dunleavy added: “It’s always a pleasure working with the team at Beestons and these vehicles will fit perfectly into their fleet. We look forward to delivering even more quality vehicles to them in the future.”

Beestons website

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Go-Ahead Named a ‘European Climate Leader’ For Progress in Cutting Carbon Emissions

The Go-Ahead Group has been named a ‘European Climate Leader’ by the Financial Times for its carbon cutting initiatives.

The FT gathered data on more than 4,000 European companies. The top 300 ‘Climate Leaders’ achieved the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity between 2014-2019, measured according to tonnes of carbon emissions per €1 million of revenue.

The figures show that Go-Ahead cut its emissions intensity by 7.5% every year from 2014-2019. This has also over a period of significant international growth, with the company beginning operations in Germany, Ireland and Norway, as well as expanding in the UK. The group is one of only two bus and rail operators in Europe to make the list.

Go-Ahead is the largest electric bus provider in the UK and has committed to run a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.

In addition, all Go-Ahead’s UK premises – including rail stations and bus depots – are powered by renewable electricity such as solar, wind and hydro power.

All companies on the shortlist had to have a CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) rating of at least ‘B minus’. Go-Ahead received ‘A minus’ rating in 2021, its highest ever accreditation, and the highest score of any transport operator in the UK.

The Group has pioneered other innovative technology, such as air filtering buses, which clean particulate matter from the air, and geo-fenced buses that automatically switch to zero-emission in city centre areas with poor air quality.

Katy Taylor, Go-Ahead’s Chief Customer & Strategy Officer said: "We're pleased that Go-Ahead has been recognised for cutting carbon emissions. We will continue to ensure our buses, trains, depots and assets are as sustainable as possible – for the good of the planet and our passengers.”

"However, we can all play our part in helping reduce emissions further. We need people to switch their journeys away from the car and to choose walking, cycling and public transport instead. That will have the biggest impact on reducing the UK's overall carbon emissions."

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Mk4 Trains Introduced by Transport for Wales and Ex-Grand Central Coaches Acquired For Further Services

Transport for Wales has introduced an improved rail service between Cardiff and Holyhead with greater capacity and fully refurbished intercity carriages.

The first intercity train left Holyhead at 5.34am on 7 June, and arrived in Cardiff at 9.58am, providing an essential link between north and south Wales.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for North Wales, travelled on the first service south and said: “The introduction of these high-quality trains is another positive step towards encouraging more people back on the train on this popular route by providing them with a more enjoyable experience.”

Transport of Wales also announced that they have successfully purchased a further 30 Mark 4 intercity carriages that are fully refurbished to a high standard. This will include four trains of five carriages which will enter service on the Swansea to Manchester route from December 2022.

A class 82 DVT on one of the trains originally intended for Grand Central operations between London and Blackpool

The new trains will include First Class carriages, free Wi-Fi throughout, an enhanced food and drink offer including a buffet car, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available. The carriages were purchased thanks to funding from the Welsh Government.

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said: “We’re continuing with our plans to transform transport across our network and improve the customer experience. Today, we’ve introduced additional Mark 4 carriages on our north-south Wales route that will improve the service.

“I’m also delighted to announce our plans to introduce premium intercity carriages to our network within the next two years. The Swansea-Manchester route is one of our most popular, providing key links between the cities of south Wales and north-west England. By introducing these high-quality trains, we’re recognising its importance as an intercity route and providing a more attractive alternative to travelling by car.

 DB Cargo UK Class 67's provide motive power, with a DVT (Driving Van Trailer)
 at the opposite end of the train. The Class 67 either pushes or pulls the train.

“The investment in high-quality trains demonstrates we’re going above and beyond our original commitment to transform the Wales and Borders rail service and deliver a world-class service for our customers throughout our network, including on the Heart of Wales and west Wales where we’re upgrading our original plans.”

Mk 4 First Class Interior

Mk 4 Standard Class Interior


Monday, 7 June 2021

Cambridge Launches Electric Autonomous Shuttles

Cambridge has become one of the first smart cities in the UK to trial autonomous vehicles – investigating the feasibility of the technology being used as part of a public transport service in the future. The vehicles are operating on public roads and mixing with normal traffic.

Self-driving shuttles are transforming the way people travel and are operating in Cambridge at the Madingley Road Park & Ride site.

In April 2021, the team were able to return to the site after lockdown and the first shuttle started its engineering trial – mapping a route from the Park & Ride around the University of Cambridge’s West Cambridge campus.

The vehicles, known as ‘Auto-Shuttles’, can travel at 20mph (32km/h) with a range of 100 miles (161km) between charges.
Although the shuttles are automated, a safety operator will currently  be in the vehicle at all times.

The trial – part of a project led by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Smart Cambridge and engineering firm Aurrigo – will examine how autonomous technology can be used on the public transport network.

Claire Ruskin, Director of Cambridge Network and the business representative on the GCP Executive Board, said: “It is very exciting to see these vehicles working on real roads here as another first in Cambridge.  These shuttles can be used on demand all day and night, every day of the year – which is unaffordable with our existing public transport.

“They are flexible and make good use of resources without needing much infrastructure.  As employment around Cambridge is 24/7 for many organisations – including our hospitals, emergency services, and many of our labs – we have been anticipating this new technology to see how real operation will help people get around.”

The GCP and Smart Cambridge secured funding from the UK government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) in 2018 to launch the project.

It is anticipated that passengers recruited for the project will be able to use an Aurrigo App that will allow them to be picked-up at a number of locations across the two-mile route, but details about the costs for passengers have yet to be announced.

“This is another major milestone in the journey towards making autonomous vehicles a reality on our roads,” explained David Keene, Chief Executive Officer of Aurrigo.

“We’ve completed successful trials in city centres, in retirement complexes and at major golf tournaments, but this is the first time these vehicles are sharing the route with everyday traffic.

“The shuttles will operate the 20-minute journey around the West Cambridge route [and] will run autonomously for the majority of the route using our in-house developed Auto-Stack driving software and the latest LIDAR and camera technology to identify potential hazards as they move around.”

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