Friday, 30 April 2021

Llangollen Railway's Future 'Secured' as Administrators Strike Deal With Trust

Administrators have said that the future of Llangollen Railway has been secured again two months after the historic attraction's operators went bust.

The joint administrators of Llangollen Railway PLC, which had the right to run the railway but went bust in March, have sold the business and some of its assets to Llangollen Railway Trust Limited for an undisclosed amount.

The Railway Trust had been putting together plans to buy the business from administrators after the PLC was forced to go into liquidation with the company insolvent to the extent of £350,000. Of this £250,000 was related to engineering contract disputes.

Llangollen Railway – GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. Photo: Gareth Evans

Administrators announced on Wednesday that a deal had been reached that ensured the future of the Llangollen to Corwen railway.

The deal does not include any of the PLC's rolling stock, like the railway's famous coaches which are being auctioned off with starting prices of £12,000. But the Railway Trust said that obtaining the right to use the railway line was the first key step towards recovery.

"We can now turn, fully to the task of preparing for reopening as we continue on our journey to protect and preserve this beautiful part of our heritage," a spokesman said.

Alan Coleman, one of the joint administrators together with Jason Elliot at Cowgills Holloway Business Recovery, said: “The sale has secured the future of this superb heritage railway which is a key attraction to the local area and has provided the best outcome for creditors.

"We always try and achieve the best outcome financially for the business and to preserve as many jobs as possible and we are extremely pleased to be able to ensure the future of this much-loved local attraction."

Meanwhile the Railway Trust is continuing to raise funds to buy the coaches, plant and machinery which are due to be auctioned by Lambert Smith Hampton in May and volunteers are continuing to help get the site ready for when it can reopen.

The trust already owns the locomotives and some rolling stock, while the land and trackbed are owned by the local council.

Talks are also taking place between the trust and Welsh Government, Business Wales, Denbighshire County Council and the National Heritage Lottery Fund over the railway's funding.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

LNER Releases Collector Series of Azuma Launch Posters

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has launched a collection of iconic poster prints to give those who want a piece of railway history the chance to celebrate the new LNER Azuma fleet.

The official LNER Azuma poster collection features seven original illustrated posters of Azuma trains on the LNER route, in stations and at landmark locations from the historic launch dates.

The A3 poster collection features iconic locations such as Leeds, York, Harrogate, Edinburgh Waverley and Lincoln. The collection celebrates the introduction of Azuma services to these destinations as part of LNER’s mission to transform communities with their innovative fleet.

Kate McFerran, LNER Director of Communications, said: “The LNER Azuma poster collection gives those in our communities and who are enthusiastic about the iconic LNER fleet a chance to own a piece of railway history.

“These commemorative posters were hugely popular and much requested when we launched our Azuma services and we’re excited to give enthusiasts the chance to add them to their collection

“The original LNER was well known for its evocative posters and great publicity, so it is wonderful that we can continue this tradition with the release of the Azuma launch collection of posters.”

The seven poster collection can be purchased as a full set, or as individuals and includes the following locations:

London King’s Cross to Leeds first Azuma passenger service, 15 May 2019

York launch, commemorated with Azuma and Mallard together at York station, 30 July 2019

Edinburgh Waverley launch, 1 August 2019

Lincoln launch, 21 October 2019

Aberdeen launch, 26 November 2019

Inverness launch, 10 December 2019

Harrogate launch, 15 December 2019

The posters were designed for the launch of Azuma around the LNER route throughout 2019, and have now been printed for rail fans to enjoy for generations to come.

Anyone who would like to get their hands on the LNER Azuma Launch Poster Collection can now do so by ordering from the online LNER Shop, which also sells the LNER regionally-inspired face coverings and LNER Cooking for CALM cookbook.

The posters make ideal gifts for those local to the area or interested in rail memorabilia priced at just £9.99, including postage per poster, or the full collection of seven for £49.99 including postage.

Customers can visit for more information and to make a purchase.

Anyone wishing to purchase the posters from outside of the UK should contact

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Third Kings Cross Tunnel Reopened

A tunnel at King’s Cross station that was closed in the 1970s has been reopened, with the first trains passing through at 5am on 26th April.

The final approach to King’s Cross station was originally through three tunnels, three double-track tunnels were built, but in 1977, the station was redesigned with a new layout between the tunnels and the platforms and the introduction of bi-directional working in the tunnels, so they closed one of the three tunnels as surplus to requirements.

The first two trains arrive through the reopened tunnel on 26th April

However, with passenger numbers rising — in pre-pandemic times — and likely to eventually return to their pre-pandemic numbers, the station needs more capacity. 
Not so much in the station itself, but in the approach tunnels, which are a capacity bottleneck.

A major project to reopen the closed tunnel has been carried out, along with a simplification of the track layout to improve reliability.

That work has been going on now for over a year, with new track layouts, signalling and preparing the tunnel for reopening. At the weekend, the signalling upgrade was completed with the handover from the old signal box to the York-based rail operating centre.

The third tunnel has been out of use for many years but has now been reopened

On 26th April the old tunnel reopened, and trains from LNER and Great Northern made a synchronised arrival at King’s Cross.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Glasgow Bus Operators in Manifesto Pledge to Improve City Transport

 A FIVE-YEAR plan to improve bus travel in and around the city has been unveiled by a newly-formed alliance of operators in Glasgow.

The Glas-Go Bus Alliance’s manifesto outlines a plan they say will deliver more “sustainable, reliable and customer-focused bus travel” for passengers.

So far, Stagecoach, First Bus, JMB Travel, McGill’s, Whitelaws and West Coast Motors, operators of Glasgow Citybus and Glasgow City Sightseeing have signed up to the pledge.

The companies have committed to invest in greener vehicles as well as taking steps to link-up Glasgow’s bus routes with other forms of public transport in the city.

Fiona Doherty, the managing director of Stagecoach and chair of the alliance, said: “No one organisation has all the solutions, so if buses are truly to be successful and provide what customers need, then they need greater support from stakeholders, particularly with critical matters such as tackling congestion which undermines the delivery of reliable services, results in inefficient running and adds to the cost of travel.”

To tackle issues outwith the control of bus operators, such as congestion and road infrastructure, the alliance will work with local authorities and SPT.

Joan Aitken, the chair of the Glasgow Bus Partnership Steering Group hailed the plan as “great for the people of Glasgow”.

It is anticipated that demand for bus travel will rise after the introduction of free bus travel for people under the age of 22 early next year.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Harrier HydroShunter Project - Hydrogen Powered 08 Locomotive

The Severn Valley Railway has teamed up with the University of Birmingham and local start-up company, Vanguard Sustainable Transport Solutions, to work on a ground-breaking scheme. The Harrier HydroShunter project will see the UK’s first-ever conversion of a diesel locomotive to run on hydrogen power.

Work is already underway at the heritage railway’s diesel depot at Kidderminster, where a team of young volunteers are stripping down the donor vehicle. They’re removing the existing diesel engine and generators and overhauling other components, as they prepare Class 08 shunter No 08635 to receive its new power system.

Vanguard Sustainable Transport Solutions is designing the hydrogen-battery hybrid traction system. This will be made up of hydrogen cylinders, a hydrogen fuel cell stack and a hybrid battery.

The cylinders will store hydrogen as a pressurised gas, which will be fed to the fuel cell stack via a regulator. In the fuel cell stack, hydrogen will be combined with oxygen from the air, to produce electricity to power the locomotive. Meanwhile, the battery will store energy to provide additional power for when it’s needed.

The equipment will be mounted on a sub-frame, fitted to the existing engine mountings. It will supply the existing traction motors of the Class 08, which will keep its existing controls.

Mike Ball, the Severn Valley Railway’s vice chairman, has been closely involved with the project from its inception:

“We were delighted when the University of Birmingham asked us to get involved in this project. As a heritage railway, we’re actively looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and having a hydrogen-powered shunter will play a key part in that plan.

“The current preparation stage for the Harrier shunter is providing an excellent opportunity for some of our younger volunteers to put their skills to good use. 

The group working on the 08 are all still in their teens, and their ability to plan and implement this task has been nothing short of amazing. They’re the volunteers of the future, working on a locomotive for the future.”

Alexander Burrows, director at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), added:

“Our team at the University of Birmingham are pioneering the designs and opportunities to bring hydrogen technology to the UK railway. Following the success of our HydroFLEX project with Porterbrook that delivered the UK’s first mainline approved hydrogen train, we are thrilled to be working with the Severn Valley Railway and Vanguard to roll out the Harrier HydroShunter.

“This is another fantastic project where BCRRE has partnered with a leading heritage railway and an innovative local start-up business to pioneer our research in a real world industrial application.”

Charles Calvert, chief engineer at Vanguard Sustainable Transport Systems, said:

”Vanguard has developed the HydroShunter to enable cost-effective retrofitting of diesel locomotives with clean, modern hydrogen-battery traction systems. The Harrier HydroShunter will provide the Severn Valley Railway with an emissions-free shunting locomotive for their operations.

“Using hydrogen produced from renewable electricity, the Harrier will be a clean and quiet loco that just happens to also be an innovation superstar at work on one of the UK’s leading heritage railways.”

Vanguard’s engineers are developing the power pack design at the University of Birmingham and will install this into the Class 08 in the coming months. Testing of the hydrogen-power shunter locomotive will take place at the Severn Valley Railway later this year. The development of such technology is predicted to have a global significance, and the teams are working towards translating this to heavy-haul applications.

The Severn Valley Railway has produced a short film, featuring some of the young volunteers preparing the Class 08 shunter, along with the railway’s general manager and Vanguard’s project engineer. This can be viewed from 5.30pm on Friday 23rd April on the SVR’s official YouTube channel.
About the Severn Valley Railway

Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015, the Severn Valley Railway welcomes more than 250,000 visitors per year, and is among the UK’s most popular and much-loved historical attractions. 
Run largely by a dedicated body of more than 1,600 volunteers, the full-size, standard-gauge railway line runs regular steam- and diesel-hauled passenger trains along a scenic 16-mile route between Kidderminster in Worcestershire and Bridgnorth in Shropshire for visitors and enthusiasts alike to enjoy. 
There are six attractive, beautifully-maintained stations along the route as well as The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley. Here, visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits including up to eight steam locomotives, a magnificent royal carriage and a ‘how the SVR works’ exhibition and café.

There’s a wealth of background on the railway, and the chance to go behind the scenes at the SVR’s YouTube channel.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

36 Yutong E12 Zero Emission Buses Ordered by Cardiff Bus

Cardiff Bus has confirmed it has placed an order for 36 of the latest battery-electric buses, believed to be the biggest single order placed outside of London to date.

The 36 Yutong E12 zero-emission buses will be on the roads in the city from the end of 2021 and will lead to a transformation of how Cardiff’s bus network is delivered.

The investment is a collaboration between the bus company and its shareholder, Cardiff Council, after a successful bid for funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Ultra-Low Emissions Bus Scheme 1.

Following the successful bid, work commenced on an extensive evaluation exercise of the different vehicles available, alongside evaluating the supporting charging infrastructure.

Paul Dyer, Managing Director of Cardiff Bus, commented.

“It’s fantastic news for both the Company and the city as whole. This further enshrines the fact that we are the city’s main bus operator, and a real cog in the wheel of city-life.

“There is a strong relationship between us and our customers, the residents of Cardiff, and we are recognised as one of the city’s critical assets, which we take extremely seriously in our goal to reach zero emissions. The city is rightly proud of its bus company, and the continued part it plays in city life. This has been further underscored in the last 12 months during the Coronavirus pandemic where we have helped the city keep moving in unprecedented times.

“This fantastic news really is a game-changer for the city, and when we look ahead this investment will play a huge role in not just keeping our city moving, but doing so in a green, and environmentally sustainable way. As well as the environmental credentials of the buses, they will also raise the standards of the onboard environment for our customers. This investment also fully supports the actions of both Cardiff Council and Welsh Government to improve air quality and make sustainable transport the future for mobility in the city.

“This is the start of our fleet modernisation plans and investment plans for the future, to make the company the most admired bus company in Wales and an asset to the City.

“Furthermore, it also shows that our stakeholders see us as a critical part of the future, and we have their support. This gives a huge boost to our dedicated team working hard at Cardiff Bus to keep the city moving. I pay tribute to all their efforts over the last 14 months since I joined the company. I know, that like myself, they are immensely proud of the job they do and to work for Cardiff Bus”

Ian Downie, Head of Yutong Bus at Pelican Engineering, said:.

“We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have received this award from Cardiff Bus. These state of the art, zero emission vehicles will make a significant impact on transporting the citizens of Cardiff in enhanced comfort whilst improving air quality. We are looking forward to our partnership with Cardiff Bus to assist in generating a clean and sustainable transport system in Cardiff.

Recently 55 Yutong E12 buses were exported to Denmark. The vehicles were purchased by the Danish subsidiary of Keolis.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

History Made as Pacer Makes First Run in East Anglia at the Mid Norfolk Railway

A small piece of Railway history has been made at the Mid-Norfolk Railway as a Pacer Class 142 conducted a test run at the railway as part of the preparation for the reopening this year.

The run by the Class 142 unit, 142061 is believed to be the first ever running of a Class 142 in East Anglia, as the class did not see service on the mainline in the region. 142061 is one of the two members of the class that were acquired by the MNR last year for future service on the line.

Running from Dereham to Wymondham Abbey halt and back was both a test of the unit’s systems following routine maintenance and servicing and also the opportunity for MNR Drivers and Guards to become qualified to operate this new class of unit on the railway.

The test run was carried out on Friday 16 April and the call for working members to support the test run by 142061 was met with an enthusiastic response, with the required slots to operate the signalling and level crossings being filled very quickly.

George Saville, MNR General Manger, said: “This was an important day for the railway as we work towards reopening and I would like to thank all our working members who made the day possible. The Pacer performed extremely well, and our staff passed their assessments with flying colours. These Pacer units are a valuable addition to the railway’s fleet as they provide us with units that are renowned for their low operating costs which is ideal for our mid-week low season timetable.”

Both the Class 142 and the Class 144 Pacer that the MNR also owns have very large windows that provide excellent panoramic views of the Norfolk countryside and make for a light airy interior for passengers.

The MNR will be making a full announcement of the planned reopening for public passenger service soon. This will include ticketing arrangements and the programme of this year’s special events, including the visit of Flying Scotsman. The announcement will be published following further test running, training and the completion of some routine track maintenance work.


Friday, 23 April 2021

SNCF orders first hydrogen trains in France

Four French regions have placed the order in a historic effort to reduce carbon emissions

The French public railways company has made the first purchase of hydrogen trains in France. 
SNCF on behalf of four regions has ordered 12 dual-mode electric-hydrogen trains from Alstom, for a total of almost 190 million euros.

The purchase marks a historic step in railway development in France and serves the goals of reducing carbon and noise emissions, as outlined in the national hydrogen plan from 2018. 
Several other regions have already shown interest in investing in this technology for their railway networks, the company explained.

The regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie through the public railway operator SNCF have signed the first order of dual mode electric-hydrogen trains in France. Together they have ordered 12 vehicles (plus two optional trainsets) from the Coradia Polyvalent series for Régiolis.

The trains have a range of up to 600 km on sections of non-electrified railway. Each of them has four cars, 72 metres of length with a total capacity of 218 seats and the same dynamic performance and level of comfort as the dual mode electric-diesel version.

Coradia Polyvalent has made itself a name in France over the last decade. Before the first purchase of hydrogen trains, Alstom has provided over 400 dual mode electric-thermal and full-electric Coradia Polyvalent trains to the French regional train networks.

Apart from sustainability in travel, this cooperation creates employment. According to Alstom, their development and manufacture have ensured 2000 jobs at a total of 6 sites in France.

Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom France commented that they were the first rail company in the world to launch a hydrogen train onto the market and that the latest purchase by French region serves their objectives to become number one in the green and smart mobility market.

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate for Transport, French Ministry of the Ecological Transition, as quoted in a press release, commented that “France has everything it needs to become a hydrogen champion: the French government is fully committed to turning this ambition into reality. 
We will be covering 47 million euros of development costs for France’s first regional hydrogen-powered train. I am delighted that this support has enabled the four partner regions to confirm their order for the first 14 trains.”

The Alstom Coradia iLint trial has been a success in Germany

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Mellor Receives £2.4m Order for Fleet of Transdev Buses

Rochdale-based bus manufacturer Mellor has received a £2.4 million order from Transdev for an all-new fleet of 23 Strata Ultra buses.

Local bus operator Transdev has chosen Mellor’s Strata Ultra bus for its new East Lancashire routes, as it offers a fully accessible vehicle which can comfortably carry 30 customers in levels of comfort which match a full-size bus – yet can also navigate rural routes and busy town streets with ease.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby (left) and Operations Director Vitto Pizzuti
with one of the operator’s new Mellor Strata Ultra buses

Eighteen of the new buses enter service on Transdev’s new ‘Ribble Country’ branded bus network in Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley on Sunday 2 May.

The remaining five new buses will be used from the same date on another new Transdev service between Preston, Higher Walton, Bamber Bridge and Leyland, also to be operated in partnership with Lancashire County Council.

Mellor Bus Division Managing Director Mark Clissett said: “This is a significant fleet delivery for us and an important new service for the people of east Lancashire.

“Our Strata Ultra bus offers the ideal solution for regional transport operations where larger buses are simply not viable. Transdev’s new Mellor fleet will provide essential public transport across dozens of local towns and villages, linking communities and performing a vital daily service for thousands of people, while still delivering consistent productivity for Transdev.”

CEO at Transdev Alex Hornby said: “We’re delighted to have chosen Mellor, a proudly local North West company, with our order for its class-leading Strata Ultra product which offers us the quality, reliability and flexible performance we need.

“These impressive new buses will deliver an ideal blend of capacity with excellent fuel economy and combines Mellor’s rigorously tested coach-built bodywork with the proven Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and drivetrain, which is fully compliant with tough Euro 6 low emission standards.

“It’s an environmentally friendly, customer friendly design which will help us deliver on our mission to create buses people are proud to be seen on – and we can’t wait to welcome our Lancashire customers on board these amazing new buses next month.”

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Wrightbus wins £8m deal to build 45 buses For Hong Kong and Japan

Wrightbus has won deals totalling £8m to build 45 buses for Hong Kong and Japan as hopes also build for new orders in Australia .

The low-emission vehicles will be built at Wrightbus' Malaysia factory, which has around 380 staff.

Its Ballymena headquarters now employ 630 people, around 18 months after it was sold while in administration to Bamford Bus Company.

The company said it was a "significant" milestone for the company and would boost the profile of the brand overseas.

Chief executive Buta Atwal said Wrightbus was now leading the way in bus technology.

"Whether it's our world-first hydrogen bus, our near-zero emission diesel or our single-deck electric, the Wrightbus name stands for excellence in the bus world.

"Although we have endured a complicated year like so many manufacturers across the world, these orders will help us emerge from the pandemic with confidence."

Wrightbus has also launched the world's first zero-emission hydrogen double decker bus.

It recently announced 40 new jobs for Ballymena as it aims to capitalise from a pledge by the Prime Minister to build at least 4,000 new zero-emission buses.

The business is hiring production and office staff, including coachbuilders, spray painters, welders, electrical engineers, technicians, accountants, sales staff and a project manager.

There will also be 19 apprenticeships among the 40 roles, as well as a position for an international project engineer.

Nathan Hodge, head of the Wrightbus international division, said: "While it hasn't got to the tender stage yet, we are having some really good discussions in Australia about hydrogen buses," he said.

A Wrightbus Hydrogen Chassis

"While Australia is seen by many to be among the leaders of hydrogen technology, there is only one hydrogen bus in the country so there's a huge amount of potential.

"Countries like Malaysia, which exports oil, will always find the cost of hydrogen or electric buses prohibitive, yet that's where our near-zero diesel comes in."

Mr Hodge said a free-trade agreement signed last year by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would ensure tariff-free movement of goods from the Wrightbus factory in Malaysia.

He added: "Naturally having a factory in the Far East enables us to be part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which provides tariff-free trade to the Southeast Asian Nations as well as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea."

Last month, the UK government announced funding for green projects to produce electric trucks and hyrodrogen-powered buses.

Wrightbus was allocated £11.2m to develop and manufacture low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses and create a hydrogen centre of excellence. The acquisition of Wrightbus by Bamford Bus Company in 2019 marked the end of 73 years of ownership by the Wright family, including surviving founder Sir William Wright. Its former premises at Galgorm Industrial Estate are on the market for £6m.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Photos from Severn Valley Railway Event 16th April 2021

Ken Jones has sent us pictures from the very recent SVR steam event.

It was possible to do three round trips pulled by every one of the seven locos in steam, but due to Covid rules each seat or compartment had to be booked for the day. 
Some of the locos had wreaths on in memory of HRH Duke of Edinburgh

On 16th April, Ken made his first trip out since lockdown and travelled to Hampton Load to photograph the scene from there.

More news about SVR here

Monday, 19 April 2021

£25m Contract to Upgrade SWR Class 458 Fleet

Porterbrook awards Alstom £25m fleet upgrade contract

Porterbrook, the rolling stock owner and asset manager, today announced that it had signed a £25m contract with Alstom to upgrade one of its most versatile electric train fleets.

The announcement follows the decision by South Western Railway (SWR) to extend the leases on Porterbrook’s award-winning Class 458 fleet until 2027.

Porterbrook’s contract with Alstom will see the trains uprated to a top speed of 100mph, a complete upgrade of the passenger saloon to meet the needs of long-distance customers, and reconfiguration of the trains to enable the faster acceleration required to meet established journey times on key routes.

Alstom will undertake this work at the company’s Widnes facility in Cheshire, securing jobs and protecting key skills. The enhanced Class 458 fleet will be based at SWR’s Bournemouth depot.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: “I am delighted that our customer South Western Railway has decided to retain our Class 458 fleet. Partnership is at the heart of our business. To demonstrate this, we will be taking responsibility for the performance of these trains and supporting SWR as they transform South Coast and long-distance services.

“I am also pleased that our partner Alstom will continue to play an active role in their future. Not only is this good news for SWR passengers, it is also great news for Widnes and Bournemouth, where the railway family at both locations help keep Britain moving every day.”

Neil Drury, Engineering Director at SWR, said: “This fully refurbished fleet of 458s will provide an even better experience for our customers, while delivering efficient and flexible capacity on our medium range services.”

Peter Broadley MD Services, UK & Ireland, Alstom said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this important contract, a reflection of our excellent relationships with Porterbrook and SWR, as well as the skills and professionalism of our team at Widnes. Passengers can now look forward to the upgrade of the very reliable Alstom-built Class 458.”

Porterbrook’s Class 458 fleet of electric trains achieved a record breaking run of Modern Railway’s ‘Golden Spanner awards’, based on independent industry performance data, in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The awards celebrate the efforts of train maintenance teams, depots and rolling stock leasing companies for train reliability.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Land Rover Defender TD5 130 Used for Funeral of Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh

Windsor Castle was the scene of a spectacular display of pomp and pageantry yesterday, as the Queen laid her husband to rest after 73 years of 'unwavering loyalty'.

Inside the castle bailey, the Duke of Edinburgh's casket was covered in his personal standard and carried his sword, naval cap and a wreath of flowers as pallbearers lowered him on to his extraordinary self-designed Land Rover hearse.

The Duke, who died at the age of 99 last week, worked on creating the bespoke hearse for 16 years, starting in 2003.

His modifications included the open top rear section, where his coffin rested, and the military green colour.

Yesterday the Land Rover Defender was used to carry his coffin to St George's Chapel Windsor. 
The driver of Prince Philip's custom-built Land Rover hearse spent a week practising the right speed before the 4x4 took centre stage transporting the duke's coffin to St George's Chapel.
Soldiers from The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) had responsibility for ensuring the vehicle stuck to its precise route and timings, after several days of intense rehearsals.

The Duke's four children - the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex - as well as grandsons the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, walked behind the vehicle in procession.

The Duke of Edinburgh began creating his own hearse in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003, the year he turned 82.

The Duke, who served in the Royal Navy in World War Two, requested that the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

He also designed the open top rear section on the chassis cab vehicle, where his coffin was placed, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the "stops" or "stoppers" which prevent the coffin from moving.

The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy-duty wheels and angular structure, stands as a showcase for the duke’s practical nature, and his passion for functional design and engineering.

The vehicle also has matching green wheel hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

The Defender was made at Land Rover's factory in Solihull and the duke oversaw the modifications for several years, making the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98.


Saturday, 17 April 2021

Transdev Buys Yorkshire Tiger From Arriva

TRANSDEV has signed an agreement to buy the Yorkshire Tiger bus services in Halifax and Huddersfield from Arriva, with the deal including two depots, more than 50 buses and over 150 employees.

The announcement does not affect its bus services in West Yorkshire and Arriva employees are expected to move over to Transdev as part of the sale.

Once complete, the sale is set to include Arriva’s two depots at Elland and Huddersfield, as well as 61 buses. The agreement will also see Arriva’s 163 drivers, engineers, cleaning and support staff based at these two depots join Transdev’s family of over 1,200 people at eight operating centres across the region.

The only exceptions are the 231 and 232 Huddersfield to Wakefield routes, which will remain within Arriva as part of its Yorkshire business.

Yorkshire Tiger’s current day and season passes are expected to be integrated into Transdev’s range of unlimited travel tickets, while West Yorkshire Metro’s range of multi-operator tickets will continue to be valid on all its services.

At this stage it is not known whether the Yorkshire Tiger brand with its distinctive orange buses will be lost to the streets of West Yorkshire.

Transdev is to begin one-to-one meetings with the affected employees in order to transfer staff over to its operation.

Transdev Blazefield CEO Alex Hornby said: “We are thrilled to be growing our team and our company, and are really looking forward to serving this part of West Yorkshire for the first time. This demonstrates Transdev’s long-term commitment to develop our business here in the north of England, building on a clear track record of success. At this critical time for the bus, we believe it can play a key role in enabling our economic recovery, both locally and nationally.

“We’re looking forward to meeting all our new colleagues and new customers, as well as strengthening relationships with our local authority partners further. This presents a hugely exciting opportunity to all work together and improve the quality of bus travel further across Halifax and Huddersfield.”

Arriva area managing director Patrick Sibley said: “Although we will be sad to hand over operations of our Tiger business, we are delighted that it will be in the hands of Transdev, a well-known local bus company, who will take good care of the depots, customers and all employees.”

Both companies paid tribute to the hard work of driving and support teams at its Halifax and Huddersfield depots throughout the pandemic as an important factor in securing the company’s future.

Both Transdev and Arriva are committed to working together to ensure a smooth and effective transition for customers and colleagues.

Transdev in Yorkshire has operating centres in Keighley, Bradford, Harrogate, York and Malton. Parent company Transdev is one of the largest public transport operators in Europe.