Saturday, 31 July 2021

Worthing Bus Rally

The 2021 Worthing Bus Rally took place on 25th July 2021.

 A wet day but lots of vehicles and sales stalls in spite of the poor the weather.

It is held in conjunction with Worthing Lions and is normally an annual event, but Covid prevented the running of the 2020 event, so it was back to normal for 2021. 

Ken Jones attended and sent the following photographs.

Thanks again to Ken Jones for keeping us supplied with photographs from the events now taking place after the end of lockdown.
If you are attending transport events this year please feel free to email photos to 

We would appreciate your contributions.

Friday, 30 July 2021

The Launch of UK’S First Rural Electric Bus Fleet

The UK’s first fleet of six fully electric buses serving rural communities have been launched, in partnership with transport group Stagecoach West Scotland to support reducing Scotland’s overall CO2 emissions. They will contribute to the country’s Net Zero strategy and improve air quality in our towns and villages.

Five of the six new all-electric buses were funded by £2million from the 
SP Energy Networks £20million Green Economy Fund and will operate on a Stagecoach West Scotland route connecting villages along the Irvine Valley with Kilmarnock town centre. 
Due to the length of the rural bus route, this project will be the first in Scotland to introduce opportunity charging where buses benefit from rapid and intense charges of power on route, rather than the traditional technique that sees buses charging overnight for hours at a time.

The introduction of Scotland’s first 'pantograph' charging point at Kilmarnock Bus Station will provide the on-route charging for the new electric vehicles. This fast-charging point supplies the power through special electrical connectors built into the roof of the zero-emissions electric buses. The new innovative opportunity charging point is leading the way for the roll-out of electric infrastructure in East Ayrshire allowing for charging across 24 hours and more flexibility for transport operators.

Stagecoach West Scotland’s new zero-emissions buses will save around 680 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually and will provide bus riders with a smoother and quieter experience as well as improving the air quality in Kilmarnock and those rural areas serviced by the buses.

The launch of Stagecoach West Scotland’s electric fleet will play a big role in Kilmarnock’s green transport infrastructure and the new opportunity charging buses can travel up to 100 zero-emission miles on a full charge. 
Using opportunity charging, a full day’s service with a daily distance of up to 270 miles will be covered per vehicle. The new electric buses were built by Volvo and will benefit from opportunity charging of 300KW.

Through the Green Economy Fund, SP Energy are investing in the communities that we serve to support the UK and Scottish governments’ green energy ambitions. The fund also contributes to government plans to meet climate change targets, boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for our communities.

Willie Coffey, MSP for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, who attended the official launch of the new electric fleet at Kilmarnock Football Club, said: “Launching the UK’s first fleet of fully electric buses serving rural communities around Loudoun Valley is a historic moment for East Ayrshire. Providing people with more environmentally-friendly public transport and cleaner air is paramount for Scotland and Kilmarnock is leading the way for a new era of electric bus services.

The buses will use opportunity charging via a pantograph at Kilmarnock Bus Station

“This all-electric service will help the country to develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in Scotland alongside supporting Kilmarnock bus users and the environment.

“The major funding from SP Energy Networks to launch Stagecoach’s electric fleet will significantly speed up the transition to zero-emission buses.”

Alan Brown, MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, who also attended the official launch of the new electric buses said: “This is really exciting news for Kilmarnock and a huge step towards becoming an all-electric public transport region. The funding from SP Energy Networks will ensure that more local people can contribute towards climate change by choosing to use electric public transport.

“The new charging hub at Kilmarnock bus station also means that our public transport network can get ready to go electric, reducing emissions and future-proofing East Ayrshire”.

Our CEO, Frank Mitchell, said: “As Scotland continues to restart its economy and create jobs, we want to ensure East Ayrshire remains on track to becoming one of Scotland’s cleanest, greenest and most climate-resilient regions.

“Stagecoach’s six electric buses and charging hub are key to delivering electric transport in the region. Using the innovative work taking place in Kilmarnock as a blueprint for the first zero-emissions buses serving rural communities, we can work together to build a healthier and greener Scotland, as well as enhancing public transport experience for local people.

“At SP Energy Networks, we are ensuring the roll out of electric vehicles and charging happens fairly across urban and rural areas, so that no communities are left behind in the road to Net Zero. Helping communities build their own green economy is at the heart of our Green Economy Fund and as a Principal Partner for the COP26 global climate change conference we’re proud to be leading the way with this investment.”

Fiona Doherty, Managing Director at Stagecoach West Scotland, said: “This is a great day for the team at Stagecoach West Scotland and we are very proud to have worked in partnership with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund to secure the investment needed to launch the UK’s first fleet of fully electric buses serving our rural communities in Kilmarnock. Traditionally electric buses have only ever been used on urban routes and this is a fantastic opportunity for Stagecoach and its partners to show that fully electric vehicles can be used across more challenging, non-urban routes.

“Stagecoach is the UK’s biggest investor in hybrid-electric bus technology, and we have invested more than £1billion in new greener buses over the past decade. Without Stagecoach bus services, there would be an annual increase of 190,000 tonnes of CO2 through passengers using alternative transport. Approximately £343million in potential congestion-related savings are also delivered by Stagecoach through a reduction of 1.22 billion miles of traffic, and the introduction of Kilmarnock’s first fully electric decker buses will deliver major benefits for the region and our customers.

“The introduction of the new opportunity charge buses across Kilmarnock further cements our commitment to meet the requirements of the Scottish Government and East Ayrshire Council’s climate change strategies. There is no other comparable project in the UK with other electric vehicle routes either on urban or low mileage rural routes.”

The new vehicles also have USB charging points, interior LED lights and benefit from a low noise level to provide a better overall customer experience.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Alexander Dennis Agrees Australian Electric Bus Supply Agreement with Nexport

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), announced a supply agreement to bring a range of zero emission buses to the Australian market.

Under the agreement, Nexport, an Australian owned supplier and producer of electric buses, will assemble bodies from the Alexander Dennis Enviro family on BYD chassis for the local Australian market. Nexport will also lead the customer sales and service relationship.

ADL and BYD’s electric vehicle partnership has been a great success in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, where they have delivered and taken orders for more than 1,000 battery-electric vehicles and clocked up over 30 million miles of zero emission service.

The supply agreement will bring a range of new locally-assembled electric bus products, providing bus types that are currently not available to local bus operators in Australia. The first of the range released will include a 9.7-metre electric city bus as well as 11.6-metre and 12.5-metre models. The first buses are targeted to be on the road in early 2022 with volume production to be underway by the end of that year.

Paul Soubry, President and Chief Executive Officer of NFI, said: “We continue to look for innovative ways to lead the evolution to zero-emission mobility around the world and this strategic partnership between ADL and Nexport will help further support that evolution in the southern hemisphere. Our electric buses and coaches have seen strong growth in numerous markets and through this partnership, our electric vehicles will now be available in five countries, with plans for further geographic expansion in the near future through ADL.”

Paul Davies, President and Managing Director of ADL, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Nexport in the Australian market as we believe that our globally renowned buses can help deliver the country’s decarbonisation agenda. 
This agreement with Nexport fits perfectly with our model of manufacturing close to our customers, supporting highly skilled local jobs and developing skills in green technology while adding value to local economies. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Nexport who share our unwavering focus of delivering best-in-class customer support and outstanding quality.”

Michel van Maanen, CEO of Nexport, stated: “This agreement will be another significant boost to the Australian manufacturing renaissance. We are delighted to partner with Alexander Dennis who have been extremely progressive in the zero-emission bus space globally. 

For Nexport to be able to partner with such a strong global company, further demonstrates our business objective to bring the world’s best zero-emission mobility technology to our shores and manufacturing the products locally, by Australians.”

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Testing Begins on New Transport for Wales Trains

New trains being built as part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network have reached another key milestone as testing gets underway in Europe.

The Fast Light Intercity and Regional Trains (FLIRTs) are being built by leading train manufacturer Stadler and are now being tested in Switzerland, where the company’s headquarters are located.

They will then be transferred to South Wales for further tests on the Wales and Borders network, where they will begin to enter service from the end of next year.

FLIRTs are a key part of TfW’s transformational plans and the additional 35 trains will run within the South Wales Metro network. The Class 756 tri-mode FLIRTs will operate services on the Rhymney, Coryton and Vale of Glamorgan Lines. The Class 231 diesel FLIRTs will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and Cheltenham.

The trains will have greater capacity, will be more frequent and will have improved facilities including power sockets, information screens and air conditioning throughout. There will be space for up to six bikes on each train and level-boarding to assist those with limited mobility.

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said: “From day one at TfW our main goal has been to transform transport and improve the customer experience. These brand-new trains with better facilities all round will provide a modern service for the people of Wales.

“We’ve already started testing on some of our new trains within Wales and I’m pleased our Stadler FLIRTs are now being tested in Europe and will then be sent to us for testing on our network.

“Our teams are pushing ahead building the South Wales Metro and we’re moving forward with the new trains that will provide a modern turn-up-and-go service that is greener for the environment.”

Sandro Muster, project manager at Stadler, commented: “The FLIRT is Stadler’s best-selling product for passengers. With more than 1,970 of them sold in 21 countries, it is reliable, innovative and suited to a wide range of climates and geographies, including cities and regions alike.

“Of the 35 FLIRTs for Transport for Wales, 24 units will be tri-mode, capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires, as well as battery power, underscoring Stadler’s green credentials and commitment to decarbonisation.”

This is the latest in a number of exciting fleet developments announced by TfW this year.

Last month TfW relaunched an improved rail service between Cardiff and Holyhead with greater capacity and fully refurbished intercity carriages and announced the purchase of further high-quality Mark 4 carriages to be used between South Wales in Manchester from next year.

Testing has also begun on the brand-new Class 197 trains being assembled in Newport.

Eight Class 769 trains were also introduced into service earlier in the year and this summer saw the retirement of the Pacer trains from service.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Chiltern Railways Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Launch of Greener and Quieter HybridFLEX Train

Chiltern Railways celebrated their 25th anniversary with partners with launch of the HybridFLEX train, delivering emission-free battery operation, reducing CO2 (¯25%), nitrous oxide (¯70%) and particulates (¯90%)

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP supported the launch event at Marylebone station, before key stakeholders travelled on board HybridFLEX, Britain’s first hybrid battery-diesel train.

Chiltern – the operator of train services between Birmingham, Oxford and London, celebrated 25 years of continuous service for customers

Chiltern Railways marked 25 years as a train operator with a celebration event at London Marylebone Station and the launch of HybridFLEX – Britain’s first battery-diesel train. Chiltern is currently an all-diesel operator with an average fleet age of 25 years. A key priority for the operator is to help deliver decarbonisaiton for the UK by investing in innovation.

Long-serving Chiltern colleagues joined the train to Bicester Village on its maiden journey.

Following a programme of speeches, the guest were able to take a closer look at the HybridFLEX train before it departed from the station at 1030. The train then travelled to Bicester Village where there were further activities to commemorate Chiltern’s silver anniversary.

HybridFLEX train

HybridFLEX is the product of collaboration between rolling stock owner and asset manager Porterbrook and engineering giant Rolls-Royce. As well as offering zero emissions and near silent operation at stations, the Rolls-Royce Hybrid PowerPack will also reduce fuel consumption and so CO2 emissions by up to 25%, Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions by over 70% and particulate emissions by over 90%, compared to the engines it replaces.

Chiltern is delighted to be trialling this new technology to demonstrate that it can contribute to better air quality, decarbonisation and the aim of removing traditional diesel trains from its network. The HybridFLEX aims to enter full passenger service from September this year.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said: “HybridFLEX trains will make rail travel even greener and the air in our stations cleaner.

“Chiltern Railways have connected people for a quarter of a century and now are helping to prepare for the future as we build back greener. This is a great example of how innovation and enterprise can help us reach our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Richard Allan, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways said: “Chiltern has a fantastic track record of innovating and investing in new routes, stations, depots and trains to attract and retain customers. We are proud and privileged to mark our 25th anniversary by introducing colleagues and stakeholders to the HybridFLEX train. We need to modernise Chiltern again and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity to help us decarbonise and improve our customer experience."

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: “We are delighted to be able to support Chiltern Railways’ ambitious plans for the future. Our HybridFLEX, built in partnership with Rolls-Royce, will offer improved air quality and reduced noise at stations and other sensitive locations on the Chiltern network.

“HybridFLEX is part of Porterbrook’s growing portfolio of alternative traction systems designed to help Britain’s railway accelerate the race to Net Zero.”

Warren East, Chief Executive Officer at Rolls-Royce said: “This collaboration demonstrates the pivotal role technology is already playing in the transition towards a net zero future. With 1.7bn passenger rail journeys taking place every year in the UK, the 25% reduction in CO2 emissions offered by HybridFLEX represents a meaningful step forward in the country’s journey towards its 2050 net zero target. We’re delighted to be part of this ground-breaking team with our hybrid solution alongside Chiltern Railways and Porterbrook.”

The HybridFLEX train arrived on time, silently into Bicester Village station where guests were met with a warm welcome by colleagues from the Village.

A Bicester Village spokesperson said: “We congratulate Chiltern Railways on their 25th Anniversary. We are proud to join them in celebrating our long running successful partnership and welcome the exciting opportunities which they seek to introduce, in particular towards a sustainable transport future for Bicester”.

Chiltern Railways is the only surviving, continuous train operator brand since privatisation. Customer feedback around the Chiltern Railways brand is very strong.

Over two decades, Chiltern has seen customer numbers grow from 8 million (1999) to 29 million (2019).

The company has invested over £600 million into the network over the past 25 years, including £250 million to speed up journeys between London and Birmingham.

Chiltern made a £320 million investment in partnership with Network Rail to open a new rail link between Oxford and London, the first new route connecting a city with the capital for 100 years - delivering faster and more frequent journeys.

New stations have been built at Oxford Parkway, Warwick Parkway, Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Bicester Village; restored a once-derelict Birmingham Moor Street station; and reconstructed Haddenham & Thame Parkway station.

New platforms have been constructed at Moor Street, Marylebone, Princes Risborough, Islip and Oxford.
The number of weekday services run by Chiltern increased from 240 to over 430 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Chiltern depots have been built at Wembley and Banbury to ensure reliable rail services.
Chiltern invested in a fleet of new Class 168 trains in 1996, the first order for new trains placed by any privatised train company.

Chiltern was the first operator to offer onboard Wi-Fi and first to have a presence on Twitter.

Monday, 26 July 2021


Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered four low-emission Enviro200 single deck buses to the London Borough of Havering, where they join an extensive fleet of buses and coaches available for contract hire.

The four 10.8m Enviro200 each have 39 comfortable ADL SmartSeats and are fully fitted with seatbelts and an audio system to suit their use on school contracts, sports trips and rail replacement work.

Like all of London Borough of Havering’s vehicles, the new buses run on gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel which is virtually free of impurities such as sulphur, metals, nitrogen and aromatics, making it less harmful to the environment and allowing the engine to run more smoothly and quietly.

Simon Blake from the London Borough of Havering said: “We’re very pleased to take delivery of these vehicles which have been made specifically to complement our existing fleet and offer the kind of transport options we know our customers want. 
Alongside the three PSVAR Plaxton Leopard coaches supplied in January, our move to Euro 6 compliance gathers pace.”

ADL Sales Account Manager Mark Taylor added: “The London Borough of Havering has an extensive range of vehicle options and we’re delighted to have added to that with the delivery of these four high-quality, multi-use vehicles which we know will be well received by their customers and drivers. The selection by a local authority for its contract hire fleet underlines the versatility of our British-built Enviro200.”

Three PSVAR Plaxton Leopard coaches were supplied in January

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Avanti West Coast Begins the UK’s Biggest Ever Train Fleet Upgrade

Avanti West Coast has kicked-off the UK’s biggest ever train fleet upgrade, as the first Pendolino was taken out of service for work to begin on the £117m project.

The programme will transform all 56 of Avanti West Coast’s iconic Pendolinos. The trains are
widely regarded as the UK’s hardest working train fleet, clocking up more than 270 million miles since they were launched – enough to go to the moon and back more than 500 times.

The Pendolinos have served routes between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for close to 20 years and the upgrade will return the whole Pendolino fleet to an ‘as new’ condition.

Customer improvements include:

 Replacing 25,000 Standard Class seats;

 Conversion of one First Class carriage on each of the 35 eleven-carriage Pendolinos

to provide more than 2,000 extra Standard class seats;

 The introduction of a new CafĂ© Bar for customers to meet and enjoy refreshments;

 Improved lighting and new interior carpets;

 Greater use of technology with customer-friendly passenger information screens;

 Additional luggage space;

 Power points at every seat;

 Refurbished toilets.

Watch 390 125 arriving onto the depot: here

“The Pendolino is a real workhorse which has helped to transform services on the West Coast Main Line,” explained Phil Whittingham, Managing Director for Avanti West Coast.

“This investment will take them to the next level and they’ll feel like new trains with state of the art technology and brand new seats. I can’t wait to see the reaction from our customers and people.”

Rail manufacturer Alstom will oversee the refurbishment at their new depot in Widnes in the North West securing 100 skilled jobs.

The first train, set number 390125, is due to re-enter service in late 2021. The upgrade programme will run until February 2024 when the last of the 56 strong fleet is expected to leave Widnes.

“We were delighted when our friends at Avanti West Coast entrusted our team at Widnes with the upgrade of the Alstom-built Pendolino, one of Britain’s most reliable, popular and sustainable trains” said Peter Broadley, Managing Director, Services, Alstom UK; Ireland.

“Alstom is the nation’s leading train services provider and train refurbishment is a major part of our offering, so we can’t wait to get cracking on this landmark project.”’

UK suppliers will benefit from 80% of the £117m investment, which is financed by Angel Trains, one of the UK’s leading train Asset Management companies.

“Investing in the refurbishment of rolling stock is crucial for advancing the UK rail industry and supporting the wider supply chain,” said David Jordan, Chief Operating Officer of Angel Trains. “This project is a huge milestone, and we are proud to work with our customers

 The refurbished Pendolinos are just part of the changes taking place on the West Coast. The ground-breaking Standard Premium has already been introduced, as has at-seat ordering and a brand-new fleet to replace the diesel Voyagers is coming in 2023.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Nottingham Area Bus Society Annual Summer Gathering and Running Day Ruddington July 2021

The Nottingham Area Bus Society welcomed visitors to their 2021 Annual Summer Gathering on the 18th July.

The group are based at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), at Ruddington on the outskirts of the city and obviously have a close working relationship with the locomotive side of the centre.
The aim of NABS is to restore and preserve public service vehicles to create a ‘living history’ for  visitors who visit, as well as securing the exhibits for future generations

Ken Jones visited this event and has sent the following photographs. Details of the exhibits can be found below.

Railway exhibits on view included 43159 and a class 144, further details of which can be
 found on the Great Central (Nottingham) website below.

More details about the resident vehicles can be seen here

Great Central (Nottingham) website here

Read about the efforts to join the two sections of the ex Great Central Railway here 

Thanks again to Ken Jones for keeping us supplied with photographs from the events now taking place after the end of lockdown.
If you are attending transport events this year please feel free to email photos to 

We would appreciate your contributions.