Tuesday 31 August 2021

Danish Carrier AarBus Have Signed an Agreement With Solaris For 29 Electric Buses

Located on the Jutland peninsula, the city of Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and the first to put electric Solaris buses into service. 
Carrier AarBus (previously named: Busselskabet Aarhus Sporveje) has ordered 6 12-metre Urbino 12 electric and 23 articulated Urbino 18 electric vehicles.

Petros Spinaris, Deputy CEO of Solaris for Sales, Marketing and After Sales said
“We were very glad to receive news of Denmark joining the group of countries with zero-emission Solaris buses on their streets. I feel honoured that the first electric buses of our brand will make their way to the city of Aarhus, with which we have been collaborating for years.
The vehicles will offer more travel comfort to passengers and will contribute to cleaner air and lower noise levels throughout the city. It is wonderful to observe the dynamic development of an electric transportation network in Europe, and to be part of that green revolution at the same time”

The Urbino electrics will be fitted with Solaris High Energy batteries. The batteries, with a total capacity of 440 kWh, will be installed in the articulated vehicles, whereas in the shorter buses energy will be stored in batteries with a total capacity of over 260 kWh. 
Both Urbino models will be recharged by means of a conventional charging socket in the depot as well as an inverted pantograph. 
In the 12m buses a central motor will ensure a smooth ride and in the articulated buses an electric axle with two integrated electric motors will do the same.

The appropriate travel comfort will be provided by high and comfortable seats, adapted to suburban routes, to be mounted in all ordered vehicles. The Urbino 12 electric bus will offer 35 seats on board, while the Urbino 18 electric, on the other hand, will have 55 seats available to passengers.

The very first Solaris buses entered service in Aarhus back in 2006. Since then Solaris has supplied almost 200 buses in total to the Danish city, of which approx. 140 are still in operation. 
In the past months an increasing number of European clients have opted to purchase solaris electric vehicles that help enhance the quality of life in towns and cities. 

Solaris is a European leader in the transformation of public transport and so far, the company has delivered over 1000 electric buses to its customers.

Monday 30 August 2021

National Express Plans to Enter UK Leisure Market

National Express has announced the creation of a new business focusing on the UK holiday and leisure travel market.

The leading transport provider will bring together a number of existing businesses and brands, including Fareham based Lucketts and Woods Coaches of Leicester, under the single banner of ‘National Express Leisure’ with effect from this month.

The new entity aims to become the number one place to go for holidays and leisure travel by coach with a full range of great value options of ready-made or build-your-own packages.

National Express Leisure will consolidate the skills and experience of different teams from across the business with operations in both Fareham and Birmingham. As part of the plan, new roles are being recruited for in marketing, sales; and product development, management and distribution. Investment is also being committed to public-facing marketing and digital capabilities.

Tom Stables, CEO National Express, UK and Germany said: “We already have significant experience in offering travel in the UK, whether it’s a build your own package with Holidays by National Express, a coach holiday or day trip

“There is a lot more opportunity in this market which we believe we can best tap into by building on our work with existing partners as one business being managed by a single expert team.”

John Boughton, Commercial Director at National Express added: “This is a very exciting move at a time when more people than ever are looking to take a break in the UK.

“National Express Leisure will offer the best in convenience and choice along with the great value and high standards of customer service and safety we’re already well known for.”

Sunday 29 August 2021

Groundbreaking Solar-Powered Digital Bus Information Arrives in Newcastle

Go North East, the region's largest bus operator, working in partnership with Newcastle City Council and UK supplier McKenna Brothers, has installed the first of three state of the art ‘e ink’ and live talking bus stop information displays in the City.

Funded by Go North East as part of its game changing Voltra electric bus service that has set out to deliver a bus of the future experience on routes 53 and 54 between Newcastle, Gateshead and Saltwell Park, the solar-powered screens provide both full timetable and live times information on a giant Kindle type screen that is solar powered and GPS linked to the operator's central computer system.

The innovative new system avoids the needs for paper displays at bus stops and takes a real time feed from the buses to provide waiting passengers with highly accurate live times of bus arrivals and departures. The system can also display information on other nearby bus services through the new nationwide Bus Open Data (BODS) database. 

The system additionally provides a ‘text to speech’ audible facility, helping further improve the accessibility of bus services. The first system is installed on a bus shelter outside Newcastle Central Station for Saltwell Park bound passengers, with a second to follow on Westgate Road for Quayside and Gateshead bound passengers, whilst a third system outside the Quayside’s Guildhall will provide the next level of technology to Quayside visitors travelling back to the City Centre and Railway Station. 

The bus stop systems are part of a wider customer information revolution linked to the new Voltra electric buses which include on-board audio and visual next stop customer information and display live onward bus connections and Metro and National Rail times and Platform information upon approach to key interchanges and transport hubs. 

Go North East’s Voltra buses also have the regions first deployment of London style’ tap on, tap off’ contactless bankcard ticketing which automatically caps fares at day and weekly ticket prices. 

Commenting on the new system, Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Go North East said “We are extremely proud to be deploying this new system here in Newcastle which harnesses the very latest technology for bus users. This is one of just a handful of such installations across the UK and we hope that, working with Local Authority stakeholders, more can be installed in the future. 

Our work with McKenna brothers on these installations builds on our investment in a new smartphone app with Uber style live buses on a moving map, live bus times and mobile tickets. 
Using the latest digital tools helps us improve the experience for our users and, we hope, give more people the confidence to get onboard our clean, safe and affordable buses to help play their part in reducing congestion and improving air quality”.

Saturday 28 August 2021

Liverpool City Region Is First To Select ADL’S H2.0 Second-Generation Hydrogen Bus With Order For 20 Double Deckers

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”) has announced that it has been selected by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as supplier for 20 zero-emission hydrogen double deck buses following a competitive tendering process. 
This is the first order for ADL’s H2.0 second-generation hydrogen platform, which has been designed to be more energy efficient to cover greater distances between refuelling.

The 20 ADL Enviro400FCEV buses are being directly purchased through the Liverpool City Region’s Transforming Cities Fund and will be owned by the people of the City Region. 
The buses will initially serve the City Region's busiest route, the 10A between St Helens and Liverpool city centre.

The Enviro400FCEV has been developed on ADL’s next-generation H2.0 platform and will be powered by a Ballard fuel cell power module through the efficient Voith Electrical Drive System. 
With hydrogen tanks and key components intelligently packaged by the engineers that developed the market’s widest range of clean buses, the integral vehicle perfectly balances weight and maximises saloon space.

The hydrogen bus project is a key part of Liverpool City Region 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 City Region. 
Broader plans also include the building of hydrogen refuelling facilities, which will be the first of their kind in the North West, due 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 at the latest – at least a decade before national targets – the hydrogen buses will be an important addition to the region’s existing fleet, which is already more than 70% low emissions.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “82% of all journeys on public transport in our region are taken by bus and this new fleet will give people a clean, green and comfortable way to get about. 
Reforming our bus network is a massive part of plans for an integrated London-style transport network that makes traveling around our region quick, cheap and reliable.

“We want to be doing our bit to tackle climate change and improve air quality across the region too. These buses will be a really important part of making that happen. 
Alongside the hydrogen refuelling facilities we’re building and some of the other exciting green projects we’re investing in, our region is leading the Green Industrial Revolution.”

ADL President & Managing Director Paul Davies said: “With its investment in this new fleet of hydrogen buses, the Combined Authority has chosen the latest in clean technology for the Liverpool City Region. 
We are delighted they have put their confidence in ADL to deliver their green agenda.

“Our next generation H2.0 platform builds on 25 years of experience in hydrogen fuel cell technology. Designed and built in Britain, these buses will help to secure skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the bus manufacturing industry which is hugely important as we continue the decarbonisation journey.”

Friday 27 August 2021

Moscow Welcomes its 700th e-bus

During August the 700th electric bus entered service in Moscow. The vehicle was assembled in Moscow by KAMAZ.

“In three years, the fleet of Russian electric buses has increased from zero to 700 in that time 
carrying more than 100 million passengers and travelling almost 44 million kilometers.
By the end of the year, another 300 electric #buses will be delivered to Moscow, 2/3 of newcomers will be assembled at the innovative SVARZ eco-plant”, said Maksm Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.

The Russian capital plans to launch a new generation of electric buses on 30 more bus routes, increasing the fleet to 2,200 units by 2024. 
The use of electric buses reduced the emissions of pollutants into the air of Moscow by 40 thousand tons in 2020.

The main problem when deploying an electric bus is finding enough resources for both operational and capital costs. While the operators ' own resources are a key component of the cost of financing, the city also uses a combination of various external financing tools.

All eco-transport is bought at the expense of Green Bonds — debt securities, the funds from which the Moscow Government directs to the development of eco-projects of the city, thus, improving the ecosystem of the metropolis.

Electric buses require a completely new approach from the industry, so Eco-friendly infrastructure is developing, ultra-fast charging stations are being installed especially for electric buses. Charging stations are unified, they can be used by electric buses of different manufacturers.

In the next 10 years, electric buses will be the predominant choice for clean fleets, although natural gas and hybrid buses are also still considered viable technologies, and fuel cells are attracting increasing interest.

"Today we are working on the creation of a hydrogen bus – the most modern urban land transport in the world. It will be developed on the basis of the SVARZ plant for the production of electric buses. This will be a Russian development for Moscow and the residents of the city. The new hydrogen buses will become the most environmentally friendly, innovative and safe transport for passengers of our city, " - Maksim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport

The official history of the Moscow bus began on August 8, 1924, when the first regular route was opened. The length of the route was 8,5 kilometers and the travel time was about 30 minutes. The first 8 vehicles were made by English company Leyland; they could reach a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour. 

By 80s, the fleet of these buses had grown in Moscow to almost 7000 units. At that time, the vehicles were comfortable city buses with air suspension and wide doors. This bus was fundamentally new not only for passengers, but also for drivers — for the first time a hydro-mechanical automatic transmission was used. Automatic transmissions were only installed on government limousines. 

After that, the time of the decline of the domestic automobile industry came, the first Hungarian Icaruses conquered the streets of Moscow. Passengers immediately began to call them "accordion". Accordions were replaced by Ikarus-280 -one of the most popular and mass-produced buses in the world.

Thursday 26 August 2021

ADL Delivers Two High Specification Enviro400's to Westway Coach Services

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered two low-emission Enviro400's to South of England operator Westway Coaches.

The two new double deck buses are 11.5m long and have 85 seats. The exterior is painted in a bronze metallic paint in line with Westway branding, whilst the vehicles’ interiors are built to a bespoke, high specification.

Customer features include seat-belted high-back seats finished in automotive grade quilted leather along with wood effect flooring, USB charger points and radio/PA system.

Westway Coach Services was established in 1984 and provides luxury coach hire in London and the South East of England.

The company have more than three decades of local, regional and European coach hire experience and is well known for their exceptional standards of customer service and for running a modern luxury fleet. They operate a diverse range of luxury vehicles, from an 18 seat midi coach to a 91 seat double decker.

David West, Managing Director of Westway Coach Services, said: “We pride ourselves on delivering luxury travel while at the same time minimising the impact of our operations on the environment. These will likely be the last diesel vehicles we will buy. These buses are a great addition to our fleet and we look forward to helping even more people enjoy our high-quality travel in the future”

Mark Taylor, ADL Sales Account Manager, said: “We’re delighted to have supplied these two high spec vehicles to Westway, David and his team are always a pleasure to work with. These vehicles look fantastic and will complement the company’s existing fleet perfectly.”

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Remembering Devon General Event

Following the success of the DG100 Centenary celebrations in 2019, The Devon General Society will be holding a ‘Remembering Devon General’ event based at Tiverton Bus Station on Sunday, 5th September 2021 between 10:00 and 16:00.

It will be a running day using appropriately liveried vehicles on free bus services over some of the local routes operated in the 1960s.

Vehicle entry is by invitation only due to the limited space at Tiverton Bus Station. Currently approximately 12 vehicles are expected to be in attendance.

As well as running routes around the town, the buses will take in villages such as Bampton, Sampford Peverell, Thorverton and Witheridge.
Local open-top bus trips will also be available. Feeder buses will run from Exeter and Tiverton Parkway Station at the start and end of the day:

If you are attending this event why not send photos to focustransport2011@gmail.com We would be pleased to consider them for publication.

The Society itself does not own any vehicles but keeps records of all ex-Devon General buses and coaches that are known to survive. Visit the Devon General website to see the extensive list.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

ScotRail Reintroduces First Class On Board its Trains

ScotRail has confirmed it has reintroduced its First Class offering on board its trains.

Following the easement of physical distancing restrictions on Monday, 9 August, ScotRail has reintroduced First Class on its Inter7City high-speed trains and Class 385 Express services from today, Monday 23 August.

The train operator had removed First Class during the height of the pandemic to allow any passenger to sit in the carriages and help customers keep a safe distance from each other.

As part of the reintroduction, customers travelling with a standard class Inter7City and Express ticket can take advantage of a First Class upgrade while on board the train, and travel in the comfort of a dedicated First-Class carriage with premium leather seats, more luggage storage, and plug sockets at every seat. All for £3, any day of the week until 30 September 2021.

ScotRail’s food & drink hospitality service is currently unavailable on Inter7City and Express trains, meaning the First Class upgrades do not include a complimentary food and drink service. The train operator is working towards reintroducing hospitality on these Inter7City and Express services.

Lesley Kane, ScotRail Commercial Director, said:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to reintroduce our First Class offering on board our trains. It is a big step on the road to recovery as we continue to welcome more customers back to the railway.

“However, the way customers travel is changing, and we need to adapt in order to best support them. That’s why we’re running a promotion, until the end of September, which allows customers to take advantage of a First Class upgrade for just £3 on all our Inter7City and Express services.”

Monday 23 August 2021

Solaris Begins Deliveries of Urbino Hydrogen Buses to The Cologne Area of Germany

Following a tender in March 2020, launched by German operator Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), Solaris Bus & Coach was selected to supply 15 state-of-the-art Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses. 
The first of the hydrogen vehicles has now been delivered and is being tested in the RVK branch in Wermelskirchen in the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis district. 
The remaining 14 hydrogen buses will make their way to Germany by the end of the year.

Currently, RVK’s drivers are undergoing training in refuelling processes, the specifics of the hydrogen drive, and the technology used in the hydrogen bus.

The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen is the first hydrogen-powered vehicle delivered by the manufacturer to this region. Eventually, all of the ordered buses will be deployed to three locations where RVK operates. 
Five of them will be put into service in the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis district, another five will go to the Rhein-Sieg district on the left bank of the Rhine, and the remaining five will ply their trade in the city of Hürth, 6 Km to the south west of Cologne.

The hydrogen-powered Solaris buses have been purchased as part of an EU project called JIVE 2, with the support of “The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking”, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and thanks to the NIP2 programme (National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) and the support of the Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia.

These vehicles use a set of 70 kW fuel cells and due to the advanced technology featured, the buses are capable of covering up to 350 km on a single refill. 
Apart from densely populated city districts, the vehicles will also service vast rural areas. The hydrogen vehicles have been equipped with a Solaris High Power traction battery that boosts the fuel cell in moments of increased demand for electric power. 

The battery is recharged using energy derived from hydrogen and energy recovered during braking. In turn, electric power produced via electrolysis propels an axle with integrated electric motors. The hydrogen needed to propel the bus is stored in gaseous form in tanks placed above the first axle.

The buses offer seating for over 30 passengers and feature a door layout of 2-2-0. Passengers and drivers will benefit from a comfortable and safe ride due to air-conditioning throughout the vehicle with a heat pump, modern CCTV and passenger information systems, as well as USB ports for charging mobile devices. 
Drivers will benefit from a series of innovative solutions facilitating their work and improving the safety of passengers and other road users. The MobilEye Shield+ system installed in the vehicle helps to detect possible collision risks. 
Using cameras placed outside of the vehicle, the device will alert the driver to other road users near or moving closer to the bus, which is particularly important when turning a vehicle of this size.

The order, which has already seen the first Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen bus make its way to Cologne, is not the first contract that Solaris has signed for hydrogen powered buses. 

At around the same time German operator WSW Mobil GmbH from Wuppertal placed an order for 10 vehicles of the same type. 
Other current Solaris orders include 12 hydrogen buses to Italian operator SASA Bolzano and 20 such units to Dutch operator Connexxion, providing transport services for the province of South Holland, by the end of 2021.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Revolution VLR Consortium Vehicle for Britain Ready for Testing

The Revolution VLR Consortium has announced that the build and integration of the Revolution VLR Demonstrator vehicle is now complete.

The project has involved 7 consortium companies working in partnership and bringing a wide range of expertise to create a first-of-a-kind Demonstrator vehicle to support improved services on branch lines, the reopening of disused railway lines, and network extensions.

The vehicle bodyshell is constructed from recycled carbon fibre and uses a modular design. It is powered by an efficient hybrid diesel-electric powertrain, adapted from automotive engine technology, which allows a maximum speed of 65mph. 
A lithium titanate battery pack provides zero-emissions operation in stations and built-up areas and when at speeds of up to 20 mph. The Demonstrator vehicle interior is configured to provide capacity for 56 seated passengers.

The Demonstrator will now undergo a series of validation tests at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre in Long Marston, after which it will be moved to a rail-connected site in Ironbridge ready for launch. Demonstrations to potential sponsors and operators will start in October 2021.

Tim Burleigh, Head of External Relations Eversholt Rail said:

“This marks a major milestone for us and is the result of excellent teamwork by everyone involved. Revolution VLR’s design and performance characteristics make it an attractive and sustainable rolling stock solution for many of the line reopenings being proposed through the ‘Restoring Your Railway’ programme. It is highly cost-effective, which will assist scheme sponsors in developing compelling business cases against the backdrop of an increasingly challenging economic environment.”

Darren Smith, Head of Transport Design International (TDI) said:

”Revolution VLR is the culmination of significant hard work and commitment for all involved and TDI are immensely proud to have led the consortium which has delivered this ground-breaking vehicle. TDI is at the forefront of developments in Very Light Rail and specialists in utilising light weighting technologies within the rail industry. Our team of designers and engineers have combined the latest developments from the automotive and rail sectors to produce this first of a kind demonstrator vehicle, and we are hugely excited about the future of Revolution VLR as a genuine game-changer within the rail industry. Congratulations must go to everyone who has been involved in bringing this project to life”.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“This Government has invested £3.25 million in innovative designs like this one, underlining our commitment to modernising trains and expanding our rail network, offering left-behind communities the chance to restore their railway connections.

“Our railways also have a vital part to play in achieving our net zero ambitions, and these zero emission carriages have the potential to make our network cleaner and greener.”

Luisa Moisio, Head of Research and Development RSSB said:

“RSSB is proud to be part of the consortium which initiated the development of the Revolution VLR to combine the best of state-of-the-art technology from both rail and automotive sectors to offer a significantly cheaper and lower emission solution for branch lines. 
We are excited about the Revolution VLR demonstrator vehicle’s fast progress toward launch later this year. This is proof of the great innovation that can and will take place when boundaries are pushed, radical ideas are encouraged and adequately supported, and strong collaborations across transport sector are established and fostered.”

See also our previous coverage of the VLR test track project, involving Coventry City Council and the University of Warwick  here

Saturday 21 August 2021

Ricardo & Stagecoach to Develop Retrofit Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus By February 2022

As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors, Ricardo, a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, has announced that it has received Government funding to create a retrofit hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstrator for the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub in the north-east of England.

To demonstrate progress with its national hydrogen strategy, the UK Government launched the Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub, and initiated the Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition to showcase real-world hydrogen transport technology solutions.

Ricardo submitted a bid with Stagecoach, one of the UK’s main public transport operators, to demonstrate a retrofit hydrogen fuel cell bus. The UK Government’s Department for Transport has named the Ricardo and Stagecoach bid as one of the competition winners and has awarded funding to build a one-off vehicle which will be available for demonstration in the Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub from February 2022.

There are 38,000 buses in service in the UK: 98% are diesel powered; and 50% are less than eight years old. Given the need to find a long-term, sustainable technology solution to meet Government net zero targets for transport, leading UK bus operators have already been seeking advice from Ricardo around hydrogen fuel cell retrofitting.

Teri Hawksworth, Managing Director for Ricardo Automotive and Industrial (EMEA) Division said: “National and Local Government Authorities across the UK are bringing forward their zero emissions targets to 2030. This creates challenges for bus operators who, while still grappling with the financial challenges of the global pandemic, are committed to transitioning to zero emission vehicles. Winning the Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition will enable us to promote hydrogen fuel cell capabilities for buses in the UK and mainland Europe, and demonstrate the environmental, societal and economic benefits of the circular economy: affordably achieving zero emissions, while extending vehicle lives through retrofitting rather than scrapping vehicles.”

Steve Walker, Stagecoach North East Managing Director, said: “Introducing new low emission technologies to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions is key to achieving our environmental goals. We are delighted to be working with Ricardo to bring this exciting advancement to the UK’s first hydrogen hub, which represents a huge step forward for the Tees Valley. 

Stagecoach has invested more than £1billion in greener buses in the past decade and is fully committed to reducing its environmental impact. Our collaboration to help with technical knowledge and extensive driver testing for the inception of this new technology is a further demonstration of our desire to help climate change."

Ricardo will develop a scalable, modular solution, enabling it to be installed, with minimal adaption, to multiple single and double decker platforms. The modular concept may also be saleable as a ‘new fuel cell’ module to coach builders across the European Union enabling them to develop new fuel cell buses by taking a rolling chassis and applying their coach build body alongside the fuel cell module solution.

Friday 20 August 2021

Upper Austria Tests The Solaris Hydrogen Bus

As part of an initiative conducted by the government of Upper Austria (LINZ), a Solaris hydrogen bus is undergoing trials on routes in Wels. The trials of the hydrogen Urbino will last until 20 August 2021.

The hand over event was attended by all project participants. They included representatives of Solaris Bus & Coach, who are responsible for the hand-over of the hydrogen bus and technical support during the tests. 

Also present were representatives of Fronius International, which provides access to a refuelling station in Thalheim near Wels. Operator Wels-Linien, in charge of servicing the line on which the hydrogen-powered Solaris will run over the next 10 days, also attended the press conference. 
Sabtours-Autobetrieb has provided drivers and the required licence as part of the project. The event, which was also attended by international media outlets, constitutes an important building block for the state of Upper Austria’s further pursuit of its strategy “E-motion” to develop alternative drives.

Anna Mejer, General Manager of Solaris Austria commented
“I am extremely pleased that Solaris hydrogen buses are increasingly enjoying interest from Austrian transport operators. Once again we have received an opportunity to demonstrate our hydrogen bus in Austria. The future of mobility is emission-free, and hydrogen technology allows us to achieve excellent operational performance. This commitment by the state of Upper Austria, responsible for the presentation of the demonstration model to local inhabitants, is an outstanding example of how to actively raise awareness regarding alternative drives in municipal transport,” 

The press conference provided an excellent opportunity to present the Solaris hydrogen vehicle and to learn more about the state-of-the-art technology applied in it. The test rides will allow authorities to assess the performance parameters of the bus and its potential if applied in regular use. 
So far, it has been demonstrated that a fully refuelled Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen can cover a distance of about 400 km.

Hydrogen technology is not only a solution for the future. More and more operators are deciding now to introduce Urbino hydrogen buses into their fleets. Solaris is Europe's leading provider of emission-free solutions for city transport vehicles. 
Since 2019, when the Solaris hydrogen bus was launched, the company has secured orders for the model from operators in Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Recently, in particular, the state-of-the-art and emission-free vehicle is gaining increasing recognition from Austrian operators. 

At the end of May, a conference held in Villach inaugurated trials of the vehicle in the region of Carynthia. According to market forecasts, by 2030 hydrogen-fuelled buses will constitute a substantial percentage of the bus fleet around Europe.

Thursday 19 August 2021

ADL Delivers the First Three-axle BYD ADL Enviro200EV XLB's to New Zealand

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”), has announced that it has delivered the first three-axle BYD ADL Enviro200EV XLB for New Zealand to launch customer Auckland Transport.

The BYD ADL Enviro200EV XLB is a further evolution of the successful combination of ADL’s expertise in tailoring buses to transport authorities and operators’ requirements with BYD’s battery technology. 
The 12.6m long vehicle has three axles, allowing it to qualify for reduced Road User Charges in New Zealand thanks to lower axle loads.

Joining the Auckland Transport fleet, the zero emission bus with a total passenger capacity of 78 will be evaluated on different services in New Zealand’s largest city in trials supported by energy supplier Mercury. Up to 36 passengers can be seated, and two wheelchair spaces are provided which are accessed via a manual ramp at the front door.

The bus will be fully supported by ADL's local aftermarket team providing highly skilled labour and genuine parts to ensure optimum vehicle performance.

ADL’s electric buses in New Zealand have already completed more than one million zero emission kilometres in service. Like its two-axle siblings, the BYD ADL Enviro200EV XLB will be built locally by ADL’s partner Kiwi Bus Builders on BYD chassis, supporting New Zealand’s transition to a decarbonised bus fleet by 2035.

ADL’s General Manager in New Zealand, Tony Moore, said: “The launch of our extra-large electric bus marks an exciting new chapter in our partnership with Auckland Transport. After bringing the first electric buses to the city in 2018, we now have a zero emission bus that is fully designed to New Zealand requirements – and is made locally, boosting the economy and supporting skilled jobs.”

Auckland Transport Metro Decarbonisation Manager, Darek Koper, said the introduction of this new three-axle electric bus completes the procurement of the zero emissions trial bus fleet: “This trial fleet provides a range of options for New Zealand bus operators and it will build operator confidence in new technology. 
It will also allow them to understand operational requirements and costs to inform future procurement decisions, while supporting the accelerated transition to zero emission buses in Auckland. We are pleased to team up with Mercury and our initial operator, Ritchies, in joining the electric revolution.”

Mercury’s Energy Futures Manager, Buddhika Rajapakse, said it was exciting to see cleaner, renewable energy powering Auckland Transport’s fleet: “This is a great way to help Aucklanders to kiss oil goodbye. 
Auckland Transport’s bus fleet accounts for 93,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per annum, the largest operational carbon footprint in Auckland’s public transport network. By running on 80% renewable electricity, electric buses will provide Aucklanders with more choice in low emissions transport.

 left to right: Tony Moore (General Manager New Zealand, Alexander Dennis), Steve Zahorodny (Bus Fleet Transition Specialist, Auckland Transport) and Darek Koper (Metro Decarbonisation Manager, Auckland Transport)

“If New Zealand is to take timely action to decarbonise its transport system, we cannot rely on the electrification of private vehicles alone. We must also shift our mindset towards reducing or avoiding travel, active modes such as walking and cycling, and of course public transport.

“This is a wonderful next step Auckland Transport is taking to decarbonise our public transport system, and we’re excited to see how the team continue to further their ambitions of a cleaner transport future.”

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Cholsey & Wallingford Railway

Ken Jones visited the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway recently and has sent the following photos from his visit.

This GWR branch line that was first opened in 1866. A round trip takes around 45 mins from the historic market town of Wallingford to Cholsey main line station and back. 
The line runs through the beautiful countryside of South Oxfordshire using MK1 1950s coaches, normally hauled by an 08 diesels locomotive. 
Sometimes they have a visiting steam engines. They also have sentinel steam engines to be restored.

Known locally as "The Bunk", passenger services ceased in 1959. Having secured the line in 1981, the CWR Preservation Society now aims to enhance the facilities that the railway offers and to improve the Wallingford site including the excellent station canopy which came from Maidenhead.

Two of the 08 shunters are early examples from the Guinness factory at Park Royal and are seen in that livery complete with their nameplates of Unicorn and Lion.

During the journey, passengers can look out for Cholsey Church, where Agatha Christie is buried.

Thanks yet 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 focustransport2011@gmail.com 

Your contributions would be greatly appreciated

Tuesday 17 August 2021

1,000 Supporters for P2 New Build Project

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust who are building a new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales at its base in Darlington, 
are celebrating after getting their 1,000th financial backer to come on board.

The donor scheme allows people to support the £6m project, expected to take 10 years, by donating the price of a beer per week. It has said 1,000 are now supporting it, and is on trace to raise more than £250,000 a year.

Trustee Mark Allatt said: “Having already built one steam locomotive - No. 60163 Tornado - from scratch, the levels of support and interest that have been generated towards our new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales have been nothing short of sensational.

"Over the past eight years, the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has spent more than £4m on design and construction and raised over £4m of the estimated £6m required to complete No. 2007 within the next two years – and, in spite of the impact of Covid-19, completion is now within sight."

The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly 4-6-2s in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961.

As the builders of new main line steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has therefore decided to set itself a new challenge: to develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.

The latest computer aided design and modelling techniques will be used to realise the potential of the original design.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, progress on the construction of the new Gresley class P2 ‘Mikado’ is moving forward rapidly, the trust said.

The engine has reached the condition where it is recognisably a class P2 and the structurally complete tender tank and tender wheelsets are now at Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW).

Construction and assembly work continues on all fronts, including boiler, wheelsets, tender, heavy motion, pipework and electricals.

Supporters can become a P2 Covenantor (regular donor) from as little as £2.50 per week by going to the trust’s new online donations pages at www.p2steam.com/support/regular-donations, emailing enquiries@p2steam.com or calling 01325 460163.

In 2015 the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust announced that it would follow its Peppercorn class A1 4-6-2 No. 60163 Tornado and Gresley class P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales with the construction of further extinct LNER steam locomotives – a Gresley class V4 2-6-2, a Gresley class V3 2-6-2T and a Gresley class K3 2-6-0.

At an Annual Convention, the Trust confirmed that it had started work identifying and scanning the original drawings for the Gresley class V4 at the National Railway Museum in York in order that the design book for new locomotive could be created within 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD).

A Gresley class V4 2-6-2 – The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s next project

More details here