Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Elizabeth Line Opens Today

 At 06:30 BST on Tuesday 24 May, the first Elizabeth Line train will leave Abbey Wood, destined for Paddington.

The Elizabeth line is a 73-mile (118km) railway line running from Essex in the east to Berkshire in the west, cutting underground through central London.

There are two western branches, which terminate at Reading and Heathrow Airport, and two eastern branches, ending at Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London.

Ten new stations have been built for the central London section, which connects Paddington, Bond Street, Liverpool St and Canary Wharf.

The line is expected to increase London's train capacity by 10%.
The new railway built by Crossrail Ltd will stop at 41 accessible stations - 10 of them new - and is expected to serve around 200 million people each year.

The line was first conceived of in the 1980s, cancelled in the 1990s and approved in the 2000s. Work started in 2009 and 10,000 workers have been employed on the 13-year project.

Each train can carry up to 1,500 passengers - significantly more than existing London Underground trains.

The line travels across the overground rail network, while the central section runs through tunnels and connects with Tube and other rail services. 
Large numbers of transport enthusiasts are expected to be on the first departures.

A full service will not be immediately available.

Initially, trains will run six days a week, every five minutes from 06:30 to 23:00 with no Sunday service. 
Although a special service will operate on Sunday 5 June for the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Services will run from approximately 08:00 - 22:00

At first the line will operate in three parts - from Abbey Wood to Paddington, from Heathrow and Reading to Paddington, and Shenfield to Liverpool Street.

Bond Street station in central London will not open until later this year due to problems during construction.

In the autumn, trains from Heathrow will no longer terminate at Paddington and continue on through the central section of the line.

However, it will not be until May 2023 that passengers will be able to travel directly from one end of the line to the other.

Journey times
The new line will slash journey times for many travellers.
Abbey Wood to Paddington will be cut by almost half to 28 minutes
Liverpool Street to Woolwich will be halved to 15 minutes
Farringdon to Canary Wharf will drop from 24 minutes to 10 minutes
Liverpool St to Paddington - cut from 18 to 10 minutes

How much will fares cost?

Elizabeth line fares will be identical to those on London Underground. Services currently operating as TfL rail will remain unchanged although there will be a £7.20 premium on journeys to and from Heathrow.

Peak single journeys to Heathrow airport from central London (weekdays between 06:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00) will cost £12.70 and be £2 cheaper at other times (peak and off-peak Tube fares currently cost £5.50 and £3.50 respectively, while the Heathrow Express costs £25).
Contactless pay-as-you-go payments are accepted across the line while daily and weekly capping will also apply.

Freedom passes allowing free travel, including to Heathrow and Reading, will be accepted after 09:00 on weekdays and at weekends.

Railcards attached to Oyster cards will also receive one-third off fares.

As with London Overground, folding bicycles are allowed at all times. Non-folding bikes are only allowed off-peak.

More information here

Monday, 23 May 2022

'Try A Train’ Event at Clacton Aims to Increase Confidence to Travel

People in and around Clacton are invited to board a brand-new Greater Anglia train on Monday 23rd May to have a look round it and see the new layout and features during a special event to help people travel with confidence.

The event has been organised by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Greater Anglia as part of a national ‘Community Rail Week’ with the theme ‘Give the train a try.’

One of Greater Anglia’s new 5 Car Bombardier electric commuter trains will stand in platform 4 today from 10.15am until 2pm.

Local schoolchildren will visit until 11am, after which, the public is invited to come along and experience the train and its improved features – such as more seats, dedicated cycle areas and spacious wheelchair spaces which are clearly signposted on the outside of the train as well as accessible toilets and an accessible seating area with room for friends and family.

The trains are better for the environment too with an energy-efficient, aerodynamic design and regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network rather than waste the energy, through heat, as conventional brake systems do.

Greater Anglia and Community Rail Partnership staff will be on hand to answer questions and receive feedback.

Community Rail Week, organised by the Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, runs from 23-29 May.

Driver Jim Smith with a 5 Car Bombardier class 720 train  

The ‘Give the train a try’ theme is aimed at encouraging people to try train travel, to increase travel confidence and support a shift to greener journeys that don’t add to traffic and pollution, as the country begins to recover from the pandemic.

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “We’re delighted to work with Greater Anglia to have one of their brand-new trains standing at Clacton for people to come and see the transformation in terms of comfort and accessibility.

“We hope that people who have not used the train before, have not yet seen one of the new trains, or people with accessibility needs will come along and have a look round the train to see how its improved features might help them to use rail safely and confidently.”

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Community rail partnerships and station volunteer groups across Britain – including the many in the Anglian region – have long played a vital role engaging local groups, young people and families to boost rail travel awareness and confidence, increase access to opportunity, and break down barriers. It’s increasingly important for environmental reasons too, to reduce local traffic and pollution and help tackle the climate emergency.

“Community Rail Week aims to shine a light on our growing grassroots movement working tirelessly alongside our railway partners, and get the message out to more people about the benefits of rail travel. More than 70 activities are taking place nationwide, and it’s fantastic to see this important initiative coming to Clacton’s sunny shores – raising awareness and exploring how we can enable and empower more people to feel confident and able to travel by train.”

Sunday, 22 May 2022

East Yorkshire Bus Company Introduce Five New App Zones

East Yorkshire Bus Company are set to bring in new tickets and fares.

In their first review of fares and tickets since September 2019, East Yorkshire Bus Company has said that the changes, which are due to come into effect on Sunday, May 22, will make travelling across the region simpler for customers.

The changes will introduce five new app only zones: Beverley, York City, Driffield, York Country and Bridlington Country as well as changes to the existing York Zone.

East Yorkshire’s Area Director, Ben Gilligan, has said: “We’re introducing new ticket zones to help our customers enjoy a simpler journey. We’ve improved our range of tickets available online and via our app to give customers more choice and flexibility and reduce the need to pay on the bus.

“We recognise that costs for many people are going up at the moment and we are not insulated from this, so we’re keen to help our customers get the tickets that are most suitable for them. Bus travel is still excellent value with costs from as little as £2 per day which is far cheaper than owning and running a car.”

These zones will replace point-to-point weekly tickets, which will no longer be available to buy on the bus.

Additionally, those who travel within the City of Hull can take advantage of the new and improved Hull Zone which combines the previous Hull & Hull Plus zone areas. This builds on the introduction of our Flexi5 and Flexi20 tickets in 2020 which provides additional flexibility for customers who no longer need to travel every day.

Tickets for the new zones will be available on the East Yorkshire Buses app only, and customers can purchase them in advance to allow for a quicker, more convenient commute. Those who frequently travel around Hull can also take advantage of cheaper weekly tickets on app rather than in person.

The firm says that customers who already have tickets in their app wallets will still be able to use them as normal until their expiry date, at which point they’ll be able to choose from a new, simplified range.

Another change is that dogs now travel for free on any East Yorkshire bus, although customers are encouraged to seat their pets on the floor and not on the seats.

The company operates as a stand-alone company within Go North East and has a long history of serving the area. The roots of East Yorkshire go back to December 1919, when Ernest John Lee purchased a 14-seat Ford Model T bus for a service between Elloughton and Hull. In 1922 a Mr Beaulah was taken into partnership with Mr Lee and formed Lee & Beaulah.

A couple of years later Hull & District Motor Services was set up by H. A. Harvey to run a service between Kirk Ella and Hull. Finally, on 5 October 1926 the British Automobile Traction Company registered the name East Yorkshire Motor Services Ltd. to take over Lee & Beaulah and Hull & District Motor Services.

After nationalisation, the company was privatised again in February 1987, becoming a subsidiary of EYMS Group Limited which had been formed by its management team. It went from strength to strength, acquiring many small bus businesses in and around Hull.

Up until 2018, the company was owned by Peter Shipp, who had been with the business since 1980. In June 2018, Peter Shipp handed over the company to the Go-Ahead Group, a leading UK public transport operator.

Go-Ahead is an international business with operations in the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Germany and more, with people taking over one billion journeys on the group's buses and rail services each year. East Yorkshire and Go-Ahead share the values of excellent customer service and strong employee engagement, being well established in the local communities they serve.

Now known as East Yorkshire, rather than EYMS, the company operates as a stand-alone company within Go North East, overseen by the Go North East executive director team but with a Hull-based senior management team.

The Head Office and main depot are located on Anlaby Road in Hull, where we have been based since 1929. There are also depots in Bridlington, Elloughton, Pocklington, Scarborough and Withernsea. All these depots have an active role to play in the continued success of East Yorkshire.

East Yorkshire say that they are strongly committed to providing passengers with quality transport and is determined to invest in new and refurbished buses, continually improving standards. The fleet is now made up of over 270 vehicles, including double decks, single decks, minibuses, coaches, open top buses and two vintage vehicles.

East Yorkshire recognises that it has a major effect on the community it serves, and has a policy of involvement in that community. It has close links with universities, colleges, attractions and local authorities in the region, and runs an annual Big Bus Day event in Hull in partnership with the Streetlife Museum of Transport and Hull City Council. The company also works with local businesses in order to help reduce traffic and parking problems in the region.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Bluebell Railway - Ken Jones

 Ken Jones visited the Bluebell Railway and has sent the photos below.

Bluebell Railway website here

Thanks as usual to Ken. If you visit a transport event please send your photos to focustransport2011@gmail.com

Friday, 20 May 2022

TransPennine Express (TPE) New Rail Link Between Saltburn and Manchester Airport

Customers in the North East can now benefit from a new rail link between Saltburn and Manchester Airport, providing direct travel between cities including York, Leeds and Manchester.

Sharon Wilson, Saltburn Town Crier & Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council celebrate new TPE rail link

Rail operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has now extended a number of its services on this route to Saltburn in a boost to connectivity for communities across the region.

Those travelling to or from Saltburn will now be able to make their journeys onboard TPE’s modern trains featuring spacious interiors, free Wi-Fi in Standard and First Class and access to free entertainment system, Exstream.

Representatives from the local community, including Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor Philip Thomson and Sharon Wilson, Saltburn Town Crier were on hand to formally welcome the first TPE passenger train out of Saltburn earlier this week.

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express said: “We are thrilled to have been able to extend our Manchester Airport to Redcar Central service to Saltburn in a boost to connectivity for those travelling to York, Leeds and Manchester.

“While we have been able to extend some of our services through to Saltburn, we have plans to make further improvements to this, later this year.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a fantastic result and one I’ve been campaigning on for years. It’s great to hear that this work is paying off and the first train is finally pulling out of the station. 
This service will help give the people of Saltburn and East Cleveland the direct, reliable connections that they deserve, linking them with York, Leeds and Manchester. It’s a welcome move now coronavirus restrictions are entirely lifted and people are starting to have the confidence to travel once more. 
It will help businesses forge new connections, people to easily meet friends and family and drive tourism to our coast.”

Councillor Cliff Foggo, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is excellent news. Better public transport is crucial not only for the convenience of our residents and visitors but also for our economy as it helps us attract further investment. It also helps the environment as it encourages more people to leave the car behind more often. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: Visitors and residents will be able to take advantage of TransPennine Express new services connecting Saltburn to Yarm, Northallerton, Thirsk, York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester. 
And by December that timetable is planned to be boosted to provide an hourly service to and from Saltburn and Manchester. This is great news for Saltburn's tourism sector allowing visitors to come to our region and giving residents direct access to these major towns and cities across the North of England. 
This is the kind of progress we should all welcome. The better our connections to the rest of the UK, the better the opportunities for our part of the world."

The following TPE services now run to/from Saltburn on weekdays:0554 Saltburn – Manchester Airport
2008 Saltburn – York
2310 Saltburn – York
1640 Manchester Airport – Saltburn
1938 Manchester Airport – Saltburn

Customers travelling to Saltburn in Standard Class can travel for as little as £12.00 from York, £14.60 from Leeds or from Manchester Airport, £20.40.

Tickets can be purchased online via our website or using the TPExpress App where people can pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal. E-tickets are also available allowing customers to use their phone instead of a paper ticket.

Enhanced cleaning remains in place on TPE trains and at stations so that customers can travel with confidence.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Zenobē Announces Partnership with Airsym for Yutong TCe12 Electric Coach.

Zenobē announces a partnership with Airsym to launch into service a brand-new Yutong TCe12 electric coach.

Zenobē, an EV fleet and battery storage specialist, has announced a partnership with Airsym, a transport provider for airlines, airports and ground handling companies, to launch into service a brand-new Yutong TCe12 electric coach.

The coach will be used as part of a shuttle service for McClaren Automotive, transporting staff from Woking train station to the company’s headquarters during the working week. On the weekends, it will be the first electric coach to operate airside at London Heathrow airport, shuttling airline crew to local hotels.

In its first step into the coach sector, Zenobē will be providing the financing and a managed service for the on-coach battery over the course of eight years.

With the coach sector only at the beginning of its electrification journey, despite ambitious commitments from the industry and government to reach net zero by 2050, this project marks an important step towards greener, cleaner transport.

The decarbonisation of the coach industry will play a crucial role in the UK’s journey to net zero and in cleaning the air of the nation. Coaches already provide a sustainable travel option, taking personal vehicles off roads. Transitioning coach fleets to zero emission alternatives will save around 56,000 tonnes of carbon over the next decade and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides equivalent to £225m in public health damage cost savings[1].


Steven Meersman, Co-Founder and Director of Zenobē, said:

“We’re thrilled to be expanding into the coach sector and embarking on this journey together with Airsym. The coach industry faces several unique challenges to decarbonisation but through the right partnerships, it can today make the first step on this journey.

 Allen Jey, Managing Director of Airsym, said:

“We’re delighted to add this new electric coach to our fleet and offer our customers a cleaner way to travel. Electrification is clearly the direction the industry is moving in, and we look forward to working with Zenobē, drawing on its expertise and extensive experience, to make a step on this journey.”

Phil Hodgson, Area Sales Manager at Pelican Bus and Coach, said:

“Pelican is delighted that Zenobē has provided vehicle financing on a new asset class of vehicles in the UK by financing a Yutong zero emission electric coach to Airsym. We see this as a fantastic enabler to begin to transition the coach industry to net zero. Yutong has over 133,000 zero emission vehicles in service, operating over 29.3 billion kms. Our vehicles are tried, tested and proven.”

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Vivarail Sends Second Class 230 Battery Train to The US

Vivarail has sent a second set of battery train stock across the Atlantic, as the US looks set to break new ground with the “Pop-Up Metro” concept.

Two cars were shipped to Baltimore to join their sisters in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, later this month for testing and demonstrations.

The intention is to lease the trains for use in underutilised lines across the US to pursue “Pop-Up Metro” routes, offering lower cost, lower risk, faster starts of rail-based transit services in the Americas.

Henry Posner III, Chairman of Vivarail shareholder Railroad Development Corporation said:

“There’s a lot of excitement about the possibilities that our Pop-Up Metro proposition brings to the Americas.

“With two trains we are now positioned to act on multiple opportunities at the same time. This is critical in positioning Pop-Up Metro as an alternative for the industry at a time when both rail access and decarbonisation have become national priorities. It also helps that the trains are stylish and comfortable.”

The class 230 wrapped and ready for shipment to the USA

Steve McBride, Managing Director of Vivarail said:

“We’re incredibly proud that the technology we created in the UK is leading the way for battery-powered train operations in the Americas. “This opens up a new market for Vivarail’s technology and shows that battery-power is a viable and efficient solution to decarbonise the railway. Vivarail’s train is believed to be the first lithium iron phosphate powered train to run in the US. ”

Vivarail, was founded in 2012 by UK entrepreneur Adrian Shooter and US railway investment and management company Railroad Development Corp. UK Based in Southam, the company aims to become a world-class innovator and provider of zero-emission mobility solutions for the benefit of future generations across the globe. 

The trains use the bodyshell and bogies of the London Transport D78 Tube stock as part of Vivarail’s commitment to useful life extension and saving waste, energy and materials.

The trains are essentially brand new with everything replaced or upgraded, depending on customer requirements.

 In 2021, the company provided a demonstration train at COP26 and its train became the first emission-free train to go over the Forth Bridge. 

 Vivarail is working with Great Western Railways to deliver the first UK battery train in regular passenger service on the Greenford West Ealing route later this year. It will include another ‘first’ which will be the installation of an automatic fast charging facility.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Winchester King Alfred Buses Running Day 2022

Winchester-based Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) held their Original King Alfred Buses Running Day which took place in and around the city on Monday 2nd May 2022.

Up to 12 traditional King Alfred buses ranging in age from 91- to 52-years-old were in attendance on 2 May 2022, in company with several heritage buses and coaches originating from other local operators.

Free bus services operated, based on Winchester Broadway and the St Catherine’s Park & Ride car park, covering most of the traditional King Alfred routes, plus those of neighbouring historic companies such as Aldershot & District and Hants & Dorset.

The King Alfred sales stand was open in the Broadway near to Winchester Guildhall, whilst at St Catherine’s there was a static display of historic vehicles with a frequent free bus service to/from central Winchester.

Thanks to Ken Jones for the photos below.

If you attend an event please feel free to send your photos to focustransport2011@gmail.com