Thursday 30 June 2022

Financial Support for Bus Operators Continues for Scottish Operators

The Scottish Government has confirmed additional funding of £25.7 million is being provided to extend recovery funding for our bus sector.

The Network Support Grant (NSG) Plus, a temporary scheme intended to support the bus network as we recover from the pandemic, has been extended until October 2022.

NSG Plus aims to support services and protect fares while patronage continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth

This funding is in addition to wider support, which includes funding for bus priority infrastructure, improved data services and ticketing options, the National Concessionary Travel Scheme and free bus travel for all under 22s.

This funding is in addition to the £93.5 million allocated to support bus services this year. We had already provided up to £210 million to bus operators up to 31 March 2022 to maintain bus services over the course of the pandemic.

With patronage growing and more young people continuing to take advantage of free bus travel, support will evolve and NSG Plus will cease at the end of this extended period of support in October.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said:

“We continue to deliver on our commitment to provide additional recovery funding and we have supported bus operators through the most difficult periods of the pandemic.

“As services continue to recover, this additional £25.7 million will support our bus sector to continue to navigate their way through and out of the pandemic.

“This in in addition to the up to £210 million we have already provided that has ensured our bus operators are well positioned and at the forefront of our green recovery. Looking ahead, it’s important that the support we give transport operators continues to adapt and evolve to make sure it remains fit for purpose.

“Over 10 million journeys have been made since January through the provision of free bus travel to U22s. We continue to invest in bus priority infrastructure and have offered local authorities flexible powers to work in partnership with operators should they wish.

“For our health, our climate and our communities, we will continue to support our bus industry and encourage the shift away from cars and towards sustainable public transport.”

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Ricardo Repowers Double Decker Diesel Bus With Hydrogen Fuel Cells In Partnership with Stagecoach

Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, in partnership with Stagecoach North East, has repowered a diesel, double decker bus with a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. Delivering zero tailpipe emissions, Ricardo is now seeking to secure customers to invest in the production of a fleet of passenger vehicles fit for the future of sustainable shared mobility.

The project, part funded by the Department of Transport, through its Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition, saw Ricardo, working with Stagecoach North East to retro-fitted hydrogen fuel cell technology into an existing double decker bus. It created a zero emissions demonstrator that is now undergoing a ten-week test and demonstration programme around the Tees Valley and Brighton and Hove. Feedback and data from the trials will support the team to explore future market opportunities and applications with bus operators and other partners across the UK and beyond.

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Links 28th June 2022

Due to limited internet access news can be seen today by using the links below

TfL Warning of Cuts click here

Latest on Baby Deltic Build  click here

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Thanks to those that have sent photos of events, which will be shown in due course.



Monday 27 June 2022

Locomotion Granted Planning Permission for New Display Hall

click here

click here

Normal postings will resume as soon as possible

Sunday 26 June 2022

50th Anniversary of London Underground’s Bakerloo Line Trains

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Bakerloo line trains on the London Underground. Introduced on 26th June 1972.

The trains have a complicated history — because this is the London Underground and nothing is ever simple. And the Bakerloo line trains owe their existence to, of all things, the extension of the Piccadilly line to Heathrow Airport in the 1970s.

Read the article from Ian Visits website here

Saturday 25 June 2022

Setra News

Limited access to the internet today so here's a link to news about Setra testing the next generation of ComfortClass and TopClass coaches

or click here

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible! 


Friday 24 June 2022

ADL Supplies New Plaxton Panther Coach to Scottish Operator Hunters Executive Coaches

Alexander Dennis (Alexander Dennis Limited, “ADL”) has announced that it has delivered a brand new Plaxton Panther coach to Scottish operator Hunters Executive Coaches.

The vehicle is the first of two Plaxton Panthers to be delivered to the business, with the second vehicle due to be delivered later this year.

The coach – built on a Volvo B8R chassis – has a Euro VI engine and an I-Shift transmission. It has alloy wheels, is fitted with 53 seats and has a toilet mounted at the continental door in the centre of the vehicle.

There are also a range of on-board customer features including extendable seats, air-conditioning, a smart radio and DVD player and USB charging points.

Clackmannanshire-based Hunters Executive Coaches has been providing coach services for over twenty years and has grown to one of the largest private coach hire companies in Scotland.

Director Julie Jack, who runs the business with her father John Hunter, said: “We are delighted to add another high quality, comfortable coach to our fleet. We’re committed to providing the best possible service, and vehicles, to our customers and this new coach will further help us achieve that.”

Charlie Miller, Alexander Dennis Senior Regional Sales Manager, added: “It’s been great working with John, Julie and the team to deliver another fantastic coach for their fleet. We have a second coach to deliver to the business soon and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Hunters website here

Thursday 23 June 2022

Iveco Electrics With Pantograph Charging

Iveco Bus has delivered two 12-metre E-WAY to the public company Marprom for the city of Maribor (Slovenia). They are equipped for fast charging.

The vehicles will travel between new electric charging stations installed in the city of Maribor along the busiest line, No. 6.

The two fast charging stations operate with top-down pantographs, one at the central bus station and the other at the terminal of the route,

Read the article here

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Nine More Abandoned Rail Lines Receive Funding for Restoration

Due to limited resources, there's only a link to news today, covering the award of early-stage development funding to the following projects

  • Aldridge station and line upgrade in Walsall
  • The Barrow Hill Line between Sheffield and Chesterfield
  • The Ivanhoe Line between Leicester and Burton on Trent
  • Meir Station between Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire
  • Haxby Station on the York to Scarborough Line
  • Reinstating the Fleetwood Railway Line
  • Ferryhill Station in County Durham
  • The Mid Cornwall Metro, connecting Newquay, Truro and Falmouth
  • Devizes Station between Pewsey and Westbury in Wiltshire

click here to read the article

Normal Service will be resumed ASAP

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Neepsend Model Railway Society Video

Well Chuffed Railways have shown 'Effingham' the Neepsend Model Railway Society's massive layout on YouTube.

Don't forget to click 'Like'

For more info on the society please visit  

Monday 20 June 2022

Switch Mobility Ltd. launches All New, ‘SWITCH e1’ 12m Bus

Switch Mobility Ltd (‘Switch’), has unveiled the new, 4th generation SWITCH e1 bus. The SWITCH e1, a fully electric bus tailored to the European market.

At 12m long, the SWITCH e1 is the company’s first fully electric bus designed specifically for Europe.

Developed based on 10 years of EV bus experience in U.K. and India and over 30 million driven miles, SWITCH e1 raises the standards of quality and performance in the segment ;

Boasting a monocoque design, the SWITCH e1 is one of the lightest 12m buses in Europe at less than 10,800kg, coupled with a range of around 390km from a 389KWh battery

Advanced NMC battery technology provides a lighter weight and higher density solution than conventional LFP batteries, delivering a lower total cost of ownership

The SWITCH e1 will be manufactured at the company’s new manufacturing and technical centre in Valladolid, Spain.

Launched at the European Mobility Expo, the SWITCH e1 combines a lightweight monocoque construction with advanced NMC battery technology to create a truly market-leading product.   
Fast charging is achieved in under 3 hours and A/C charging in 7 hours. The SWITCH e1 also benefits from Switch’s market-leading technology including iAlert, enabling remote, real-time diagnostics and monitoring services, as well as world-class digital battery management tools.

Designed with a focus on passenger comfort, the vehicle is adaptable and boasts a flexible seating layout which has been engineered to enable easy ingress and egress. With capacity for up to 93 passengers – including up to 30 seated, passengers will ride in comfort with a contemporary and open interior design, reading lights, under seat lights, USB ports and a wide-screen monitor including a “next five stops” feature and information on nearby local public transport. 

The interior layout and ultra-low floor throughout improves wheelchair access which is available through both the front and middle doors, a unique feature within this segment. Passengers and drivers benefit from double skin heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, directing airflow towards the occupants, reducing wastage, and increasing efficiency.

Developing the SWITCH e1 as a completely new product has also enabled the latest driver aids and safety features to be integrated. Electronic Stability Control and the Electronic Braking System provide a confident driving experience whilst blind spot monitoring, collision detection and lane departure warning will maximise safety for drivers and passengers alike.

Speaking on the occasion, Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of Switch Mobility, said: The Hinduja Group and Ashok Leyland are committed to providing zero carbon mobility through Switch. Today is a significant milestone for us, with the launch of our first European Bus. Switch is dedicated to the development of new electric buses and light vehicles for multiple geographies and price points including, Europe, UK, India and elsewhere that will be launched over the next few months.”

Andy Palmer, Vice Chairman and CEO of Switch Mobility Ltd, said:“We are proud to continue innovating the sector with not only one of the lightest widely available buses in Europe, but our first fully electric bus designed specifically for the European market. 
The SWITCH e1 is the result of learning from the 30 million electric miles our buses have covered, delivering a state-of-the-art transport solution designed with a customer first mindset. Switch continues to enable cities to meet net zero targets, allow operators to maximise efficiency whilst minimising costs and ensure drivers and passengers experience unrivalled comfort."

Creating a zero-carbon future with the next generation of buses

As a sustainable carbon neutral certified manufacturer, the first global bus and light commercial vehicle manufacturer to achieve this accolade, Switch assists cities in reaching true net zero emissions. Switch has saved over 5 million tonnes of CO2 from its Metrodecker buses and its Metrocity, the first British built, pure electric bus to enter service in London continues to be one of the most efficient products on the market.

The SWITCH e1 is the next step in zero-emission buses and builds on Switch’s ambition for a next-generation fleet. The SWITCH e1 is adaptable to any city to ensure fleets can be decarbonised, with customisable batteries to fit the desired range and modular roof-mounting for future expansion needs.

Sunday 19 June 2022

New South of England home for Alexander Dennis as new Trident House facility opens in Farnborough

Alexander Dennis (Alexander Dennis Limited, “ADL”), has announced that the company has officially opened its new Trident House facility in Farnborough.

Trident House is the latest state-of-the-art facility from Alexander Dennis, the UK’s largest
bus and coach manufacturer.

The new facility will be critical to taking forward the company’s new product development

agenda and zero emission mobility ambitions, with the innovative hub housing experts from

across the business in engineering and test and development, as well as other key business

teams who will underpin future success for the company.

Trident House takes its name from the iconic Dennis Trident low floor chassis, which

revolutionised accessible double deck buses in the UK and across the globe in the 1990s.

Legacy preservation was a key consideration in the design of the facility, which will

additionally have a museum honouring the heritage of the Dennis brand and the people,

knowledge, passion and expertise it encompasses.

To mark the start of a new era for Alexander Dennis, Trident House was officially opened by

Paul Soubry, NFI President and CEO at a company-wide ribbon cutting ceremony.

Alexander Dennis President and Managing Director Paul Davies said: “Our people are our

most precious resource and even in these very challenging times, we have invested in

creating a modern, bright working environment to benefit our valued team members, providing them with the space, support and services they require to be able to do their jobs

to the very best of their abilities.

“Trident House underlines our commitment to the UK market and to the recruitment and

retention of the essential highly skilled jobs that will underpin the transition to zero emission


“We are incredibly proud of our history with Dennis having been established in 1895. Trident

House is a positive reinvigoration of the Dennis brand which always has been synonymous

with chassis innovation and engineering expertise. Our heritage and proven track record will

play an important part in continued our business growth, both domestically and

internationally, as well as providing a strong differentiator for Alexander Dennis compared to

new market entrants.”

Saturday 18 June 2022

First Group Signs National Rail Contract for GWR

FirstGroup plc has signed a Direct Award with the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) to continue operating Great Western Railway (‘GWR’) services from when the Direct Award under which services are currently being operated comes to an end.

The agreement runs until 31 March 2023, with a possible extension of up to one further year at the DfT’s discretion. The agreement ensures continuity of operation and will run concurrently with the DfT’s previously announced Emergency Measures Agreement (‘EMA’) for at least the first six months. 

FirstGroup’s experience of managing the route over many years will be crucial to restoring the service to full operation once the immediate crisis has abated, and will facilitate the ongoing transformation of GWR, through the biggest changes to the network in a generation.

The announcement provides continuity for customers, employees and other stakeholders beyond the period of emergency measures currently proposed, as well as an appropriate balance of risk and reward between FirstGroup and the Government, supported by a contractual Forecast Revenue Mechanism (‘FRM’) which eliminates the majority of the revenue risk. 
GWR will build on the improvements it has delivered to services over the past five years, with a focus on connecting people and local communities looking to restore normality when the present restrictions on travel due to the coronavirus pandemic are over.

The agreement has a strong emphasis on improving regional connectivity, helping customers return to the railway by making rail a more convenient and environmentally-friendly way to travel. As part of this, GWR will bring additional trains into service to provide thousands of extra seats on regional routes across the network.

There will also be increased funding to improve services for local communities and at stations, and the introduction of a combination of new flexible ticket products for customers who do not commute to work every day, such as discounted part-time season tickets and the extension of paperless pay-as-you-go schemes.

Since 2015, GWR has successfully delivered new fleets of modern intercity and local trains comprising 785 new carriages, and introduced faster, more frequent services for customers across the network through the successful introduction of the largest timetable change in decades last December. 
GWR recently posted some of its highest ever passenger satisfaction scores and delivered the most improved punctuality scores in the UK last year.

Commenting, Matthew Gregory, FirstGroup Chief Executive, said:

“Whilst the immediate focus of GWR is to ensure that key workers, vital to the country’s response to coronavirus, can get to where they need to go, continuity of rail services will also be critical to a restoration of normal life when the present uncertain and difficult situation is overcome. In the longer term this new agreement will mean that customers can return to rail as their preferred choice of travel; with more seats, more services, better stations and more flexible ticketing to help reconnect the people and communities we serve.

“When the present emergency measures agreed with Government come to an end, today’s agreement will ensure that GWR will continue to deliver sustainable benefits for customers and an appropriate balance of risk and reward for our shareholders and the Government. 

We are proud of GWR’s achievements over the last few years, working with industry partners to transform the experience for passengers with new, faster and more environmentally friendly trains and a timetable offering record fast journey times to the major towns and cities on the route.”

The new agreement for GWR begins when the previous Direct Award contractual arrangements end on 1 April 2020 and has a three year duration to 31 March 2023 with a possible extension of up to one year at the DfT’s discretion.

As previously announced on Monday 23 March, FirstGroup welcomes and has accepted the comprehensive response of the UK Government to provide emergency support for the country’s vital rail networks during the coronavirus pandemic. These measures will provide continuity and certainty for all DfT-let rail franchises through EMAs which will last six months or longer if required. For the duration of the EMAs, the Government will take revenue and cost risk, and franchise operators will be paid a fixed management fee with the potential for a small performance-based fee.

At the conclusion of the EMA period, GWR will operate services as a franchise with revenue risk shared with the DfT through a Forecast Revenue Mechanism (‘FRM’) governed by today’s agreement, which also makes provision for a revenue rebasing exercise as required. The FRM will apply if revenue variances differ from target in the bid assumptions, outside of a nil rate band, and is available from the start of the agreement. 
Payments or receipts occur when actual revenue is 1.5% higher or lower than the expected FRM revenue, at 90% of the revenue difference.

FirstGroup, as parent company to GWR, will provide subordinated contingent loan facilities of £10m (£5m of which is bonded) and a performance bond of £10m to GWR, as well as a cash-collateralised season ticket bond of c.£35m. A wide range of scenarios were considered as part of the modelling to assess the award, including with respect to pensions, passenger demand and to the risk sharing mechanisms provided by DfT, and the Board of FirstGroup is of the view that there is an appropriate balance of risks and rewards in the agreement.

Friday 17 June 2022

The First Airbus A321XLR Flight Could Take Place Within a Week

The A321XLR is designed to give more value for the airlines by bringing 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft.

The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with the same unbeatable fuel efficiency.

The very first flight of the A321XLR is set to take place on Wednesday, June 15th. With the initial launch and announcement of this A320 family derivative taking place back in June 2019, the first aircraft of its kind is scheduled to take to the skies almost exactly three years from its launch.

With the added range, airlines will be able to operate a lower-cost single-aisle aircraft on longer and less heavily travelled routes – many of which can now only be served by larger and less efficient wide-body aircraft. 
This will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas. 
For passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on long-haul widebody aircraft.

Thursday 16 June 2022

National Express Celebrates 50 Years On The Road

National Express has good reason to celebrate 50 years on the road this year as it reports clocking up over 70% of its pre-pandemic mileage last month.

The UK’s largest coach operator has been building back its unrivalled network of intercity coach travel and is anticipating a busy summer season as demand for affordable and reliable travel grows.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said: “The rising cost of living is hitting everyone’s pockets. We’re seeing more and more people look to us to help them be able to afford to get where they want to be - whether that's to see friends and family, go on holiday, attend events, visit attractions or get to University.

“In 1972 a ticket from London to Birmingham cost £1.20. In today’s money that would be £13.89 but the actual average 2022 price for the same journey is only £8.15, demonstrating what great value we have always offered.”

In the last two months, an increase in frequency and new routes has seen over new 2,000 services per week added to the network with further growth planned. Recent developments include services from Plymouth and Great Yarmouth to London and a new route from Canterbury to Stansted Airport launches on 10 June.
The average age of a National Express coach is three years old and every one meets the highest possible engine emission standard (Euro VI)

Hardy adds: “Coach travel has moved on immeasurably in the last fifty years. Today, journeys are quicker and more reliable and our coaches are safer and more comfortable than ever.

“Plus we’ve set ourselves a target of a zero carbon fleet by 2035 whilst continuously investing to ensure we have the newest and greenest vehicles currently available on the road, so choosing to travel by coach is good for the environment as well as the pocket.”

One full coach will take 1 mile of cars off the road, reducing congestion and carbon emissions, alongside improving air quality. The Levante III Euro VI coach is bespoke to National Express and produces an average 21.7 grams of greenhouse gas emission per passenger km, lower than both rail and car.

In the last five decades the iconic white coaches have clocked 3.8 billion miles travelling the length and breadth of the UK, connecting people and making memories.

Chris Hardy added: “We’ve have been a part of people’s lives for half a century and it’s been great hearing stories from our customers and staff, past and present - from couples who met on the coach and are now married, recollections from our long-serving drivers and coach station staff, to tales from our former jolly hostesses. I’m incredibly proud of our achievements and look forward to continuing our journey as the nation’s number one coach operator.”

The average age of a National Express coach is three years old and every one meets the highest possible engine emission standard (Euro VI)

This summer National Express is planning a number of activities in celebration of its 50th anniversary including a 50-day giveaway, the publication of a commemorative book, 'National Express: The Journey of an Iconic Brand', and events across the UK to celebrate its history and showcase the modern coach travel of today. Look out for details on the website and social media channels.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Latest Version of London Tube Map Criticised

The most recent new Tube map features 18 lines, including Thameslink, Croydon Trams, the Overground, the new Elizabeth Line and the Emirates cable car and is now being criticised as being unreadable by Dr Max Roberts, a psychology lecturer and map designer, who says TfL’s ‘just keep adding’ approach to the Tube map design' is “careless and lazy”
Read the article published on the MY LONDON website here

Thameslink, added to the TfL map in 2020, was the “final thing that broke it.”

Now the Elizabeth Line has also been added further adding to the confusion.


Tuesday 14 June 2022

Go-Ahead Recommend Acceptance of Offer from BIDCO

Rail and Bus operator Go-Ahead have announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition whereby Bidco will acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Go-Ahead.

The Acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Go-Ahead at approximately £647.7 million.

Under the terms of the Acquisition, Go-Ahead Shareholders will be entitled to receive 1,500 pence for each Go-Ahead Share, comprising, for each Go-Ahead Share:

1,450 pence in cash (the "Acquisition Price")

and a special dividend of 50 pence per Go-Ahead Share, in lieu of a final dividend for the year ending 2 July 2022.

According to the latest announcement on the Go-Ahead website, BIDCO (GERRARD INVESTMENT BIDCO LIMITED) is a newly formed company indirectly owned by Kinetic TCo Pty Ltd ("Kinetic") and Globalvia Inversiones S.A.U. ("Globalvia") (each a "Consortium Member" and together, the "Consortium")

Since 26th May 2022 the share price of Go-Ahead has risen by 19.8 per cent.

Information on Bidco and the Consortium

· Bidco is a limited company registered in England and Wales and incorporated on 24 May 2022. Bidco was formed for the purposes of the Acquisition and has not traded since its date of incorporation, nor has it entered into any obligations other than in connection with the Acquisition. Further details in relation to Bidco will be contained in the Scheme Document.

· Founded over 44 years ago, Kinetic is the largest and fastest growing bus operator in Australia and New Zealand, with close to 4,000 buses and 6,000 employees. By the end of 2022, Kinetic is expected to be the region's largest operator of electric buses, with over 200 electric buses in operation. Having led growth and consolidation in the region over the last five years, Kinetic has established an Australasian platform across 70 depots, which now includes 35% of Melbourne's bus network, over 40% of all bus operations throughout Queensland, the largest privately owned and government contractor in Tasmania and urban services in all major New Zealand cities (including Auckland, Christchurch, and, upon completion of the acquisition of NZ Bus, Wellington).

· The Kinetic platform also includes significant long-term government contracted school services throughout New Zealand operated under the Go Bus brand, Skybus (which Kinetic considers to be Australasia's best known airport transit business) and Greyhound Resources (Australia's largest resources bus operator). Kinetic holds over 90 long-term contracts with state governments in Australia, including Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, and with all major councils in New Zealand and the New Zealand government. Over 82% of Kinetic's revenue is aligned to long-term government availability-based contracts. Kinetic's executive leadership team management has over 90 years of experience in the mass transit industry. Kinetic was also recently awarded the largest urban bus contract in the region, the A$2.3 billion (c. £1.2 billion) Melbourne Bus Franchise, further demonstrating the strength and scale of its platform.

· Globalvia is a worldwide leader in the mobility industry that manages transport infrastructure concessions, specializing in highways and railways. Globalvia is committed to developing the best transport systems promoting sustainable mobility and contributing to the development of society, as well as generating a positive impact for its users and communities close to the areas where its projects are located: Spain, the U.S., Ireland, Portugal, Costa Rica, and Chile. With over 2,000 employees, Globalvia operates and maintains 26 projects, including 1,800 km of highways and 80 km of rails and metro lines. Through its technology and innovation platform Openvia, Globalvia not only invests in long-term infrastructure projects, but also develops mobility solutions.

· With international experience in infrastructure management, Globalvia is aiming to intensify its international growth strategy for the medium and long term. Globalvia seeks to proactively reinforce its diversification and international presence through being a reliable strategic partner for local administrators in promoting sustainable mobility. Globalvia is committed to creating a digital and sustainable people-centred world in collaboration with all stakeholders, offering travellers innovative solutions as 'Mobility as a Service' models integrated with railways (such as Metro de Sevilla in Spain), mobile applications to improve the experience of road users (such as the Slora app in the US, Costa Rica and Portugal) and digital corridors to enable the future of connected and autonomous vehicles in the US, Portugal and Spain.

Information on Go-Ahead

· Go-Ahead is an international transport group, connecting local communities through bus and rail services. With over 27,000 global colleagues, Go-Ahead serves bus and rail markets in the UK, Singapore, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Germany.

· Go-Ahead operates a fleet of more than 6,000 buses across England and is responsible for a quarter of London's buses for Transport for London. Regionally, Go-Ahead serves high-density commuter markets in the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, East Anglia and both the South East & West of England. International bus operations include Singapore, Ireland and Sweden.

· Go-Ahead operates rail franchises in the UK, Germany and Norway. Within the United Kingdom, Go-Ahead operates Govia Thameslink Railway ("GTR"), which comprises Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink. GTR is managed by Go-Ahead's 65 per cent. owned subsidiary Govia (which is 35 per cent. owned by Keolis (UK) Limited). Internationally, Go-Ahead operates rail services in Germany and Norway.

Monday 13 June 2022

Train Fault Identified on Elizabeth Line Trains

TfL chief Andy Byford admits a fault on the new Elizabeth Line trains, but says ‘no risk’ to public.
The door of a metal box fitted on the underside of an Elizabeth Line train had blown off its hinges during testing.

London’s transport chief has confirmed reports of a fault on some Elizabeth Line trains but has said there is “no risk presented to customers or workers”.

Reports began to circulate on Wednesday that a fault had been identified on as many as 70 trains in the Elizabeth Line fleet that a whistleblower claimed could “wipe someone out”.
The issue is said to be caused when a build up of gas causes the bolts holding an equipment cover in place under the train to “explode”, blowing open the small metal door.

The issue was raised in a meeting of the London Assembly on Thursday by Assembly Member Shaun Bailey, who asked TfL Commissioner Andy Byford whether he was aware of the reports.

Mr Byford confirmed that the fault had been identified but said that the risk of injury to customers is “practically zero”.

He said: “Under very unusual circumstances - rare circumstances - this door can become detached but it is held under the train so the potential for injury to customers is practically zero because the trains run… through the central section with platform screen doors and the platform would protect customers.

“The whole fleet has been checked, there are no other deficiencies found. We are fitting secondary bolts to those doors to stop that happening again.”

Mr Byford said there is a “planned fix” which should be completed “by the end of this month”.

The equipment cover is below platform level so should not endanger
passengers if the fault occurs

The TfL Commissioner told the London Assembly on Thursday that independent engineers assessed the issue and determined that the risk was “as low as reasonably possible” and that there is “no risk presented to customers or workers”.

Reports suggested that a memo had been circulated among staff of Alstom – the company responsible for making Elizabeth Line trains – warning them to stay “as far away… as possible” from the boxes and to take no longer than four seconds to pass while working on trains.

Mr Byford said that Alstom and MTR Elizabeth Line – the contractor responsible for operating the trains – have been “extremely transparent” and that workers were “immediately” informed of the issue.

Watch BBC 2 TV for 'The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway - Inside the Elizabeth Line'. Episode 1 was shown yesterday evening, so can now be watched on BBC I Player. 
A very informative programme.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Another New 'Coal' on Test - Talyllyn Railway

The Talyllyn Railway has carried out a trial on rape seed nuggets. This is explained by Stuart Williams, General Manager of the Talyllyn in the following video here.

The shortage of traditional coal is making life difficult for heritage railways leading to alternative fuel products being developed and tested on steam lines.

See our previous postings on this subject here and here

Saturday 11 June 2022

Infilling of Great Musgrave Bridge Set to be Refused

Local planning officials have urged Eden District Council to refuse National Highways’ application to retain the controversial infill at Great Musgrave bridge.

It submerged a 1862 bridge arch at Great Musgrave, near Kirby Stephen, in 1,644 tonnes of gravel and concrete. It was accused of “cultural vandalism” in the House of Lords, and the outcry prompted the government to pause NH’s plans to infill dozens of other Victorian bridges across England.

The infilling of the 8.4m single span masonry arch bridge was carried out by Amco Giffen on behalf of National Highways between May and June last year. It has since sparked controversy, with local campaign groups calling for the work to be reversed and engineers expressing “shame” in their profession after images of the infilling were published in national media outlets.

The agency’s application for retrospective planning permission from Eden district council for Great Musgrave work received 911 letters of objection and only two letters in support.

In his formal report, the council’s assistant development director Fergus McMorrow concludes the “the retrospective proposal results in considerable harm to the visual appearance of the bridge as a single span arch structure and fails to complement or enhance the area or protect features or characteristics of local importance, as such the works cause less than substantial harm to a non designated heritage asset”.

The following points outline the basis of the objections received:The bridge is structurally sound and there is no benefit to infilling it
The surveys of the bridge structure fail to demonstrate a valid case for the infilling works
The total infill of the bridge is an extreme and unjustifiable approach to manage a historic structure by a public organisation who is entrusted with being custodians of the nation’s Historic Railways Estate
National Highways have been dishonest in over stating the issues to indicate an emergency existed, and the powers of permitted development in such an emergency situation has been used to circumvent the planning process
Loss of a local industrial heritage structure/asset which demonstrates unique railway architecture specific to the area
The development affects the two preserved heritage railways (Eden Valley and Stainmore) preventing them reuniting, which will lead to a negative impact on local tourism and the local economy

The infill prevents the future use of the bridge for sustainable travel means ie footpaths, cycle routes
Loss of wildlife corridor
The infill is not in-keeping with the area and therefore, appears as an incongruous addition adversely affecting the visual aesthetics of the area
The materials used for the infilling are disproportionate and entirely inappropriate and has resulted in an eyesore which does not enhance the significance of a nondesignated heritage Victorian bridge or its setting
The works are considered as an act of vandalism
To allow the infill to stay would set a dangerous precedent for future similar developments
The proposal is contrary to National and Local Policies
The cost of maintaining the bridge is trivial compared to the cost of reopening it once it has been infilled

A report by masonry bridge specialists Bill Harvey Associates concluded that the bridge was not weak at the time of infill, presented no threat to public safety and to suggest that it was at risk of collapse was “preposterous”.

The planning report said NH had submitted no evidence to justify the project or the costs involved.

The report said: “It would ultimately have been more cost-effective to directly repair and strengthen the bridge compared to the cost of infilling, removing the infill, then repair and strengthen.”

The report noted that infilling the bridge, over a disused railway line, had “seriously compromised” plans to reopen the railway and link vintage lines between Warcop and Kirkby Stephen in the Eden valley.

Despite widespread criticism, National Highways has always stood by its decision to infill the bridge. An internal review of the Great Musgrave bridge infilling carried out at the end of last year ruled that the work was “necessary”.

Last month, National Highways head of Historical Railways Estate programme Hélène Rossiter claimed that the “infill was crucial to the safety of the public, and making future use of the structure viable".

Should National Highways be ordered to remove the infill, it has drawn up a list of five potential strengthening options.

The bridge is part of the Historical Railways Estate managed by National Highways on behalf of the DfT and comprises 3,100 bridges, tunnels and viaducts, including 77 listed structures.

Jacobs acts as the “sole provider” (designer) for the Historical Railways Estate and has recently been reappointed for another seven years. Six contractors support Jacobs in carrying out any work, including Dyer & Butler and Balfour Beatty.

Graeme Bickerdike, a member of The HRE Group which is campaigning against National Highways’ programme of bridge infilling and demolition, said: “£124K of taxpayers’ money was effectively flushed down the toilet whilst the bridge was needlessly buried in 1,600t of stone and concrete, with obvious environmental impacts.”

He added: “We urge Eden District Council’s planning committee to accept the officer’s recommendation and instruct National Highways to restore the bridge to its previous good state. A line has to be drawn under the loss of these historic structures, the value of which is becoming ever greater as we recognise the social and economic benefits of developing new sustainable transport routes.”

Following the Great Musgrave fallout, National Highways has drawn up a new way of assessing abandoned rail bridges and tunnels within its control. The new way of working will see decisions on major works planned for the Historical Railways Estate reviewed in collaboration with experts from across the heritage, environmental and active travel sector who have been selected to form a stakeholder advisory forum.

The forum includes the Department for Transport (DfT), Sustrans, Railway Paths Ltd, Railway Heritage Trust, The HRE Group, Heritage Railway Association, Natural England, Historic England (also representing Cadw), Historic Scotland and ADEPT.

Friday 10 June 2022

Centrebus Chooses ADL Enviro200's For High Peak Fleet

Alexander Dennis Limited (“ADL”) has announced that it has supplied three Enviro200 single deck buses to High Peak Buses. The new buses provide essential services in the Peak District National Park.

High Peak Buses is a jointly owned subsidiary of The Wellglade Group and Centrebus, and is managed on a day-to-day basis by Centrebus. In addition to core commercial services running from Derby to Manchester Airport, it operates a network of contracted bus services for local authorities, schools, universities, businesses and the NHS.

The fleet has now been boosted with two brand new, 8.9m long Enviro200 as well as a similar, but larger Enviro200 coming in at 10.8m length. The seating layout of the shorter buses was modified by ADL to provide additional forward-facing, fixed ADL SmartSeats instead of tip-up seats, while the third vehicle – a former demonstrator – was converted to single door layout and upseated by ADL’s service workshops. All three were painted in Centrebus’s fleet livery ahead of delivery.

Lee Salt, ADL Regional Sales Manager, said: “Our Enviro200 remains the country’s favourite single deck bus thanks to its fuel economy and unrivalled versatility. These ever-popular vehicles will be a valuable addition to the High Peak Buses fleet, who provide essential bus services throughout one the UK’s best known national parks. We look forward to continuing to support Keith Hayward and the team at Centrebus for their future vehicle needs.”

Centrebus Director Keith Hayward said: “As we continue to invest in our modern fleet, ADL met our requirements for additional single deckers with a combination of two brand new vehicles and a former demonstrator that the team at the manufacturer converted to our needs and finished to the same high standard as a factory-fresh bus. All three will fit well into our High Peak Buses fleet and underline our commitment to the commercial and contracted services we operate in the Peak District.”

Thursday 9 June 2022

McGill’s Inspires Local Public Transport Uptake With New Tech

Scotland’s largest independent bus company, McGill’s, has launched the second stage of its ongoing digital transformation to inspire more people to use local bus services in partnership with UK public transport app and website provider, Passenger.

The new website builds on the success of the McGill’s app, which was launched in collaboration with Passenger in October 2018. The app has seen over 32,000 active app users this month.

McGill’s enhanced website will help travellers make informed journey choices, bringing public transport data to desktop and mobile browsers and introducing a new web-to-mobile eCommerce feature to purchase tickets via the website to access in-app. The website also provides up-to-date information to help plan their journeys, including live bus tracking and disruption alerts. Travellers can also view individual vehicle features ahead of time, such as WiFi and phone charging capabilities.

Both the app and website are managed from one system - Passenger Cloud - so operator staff can work efficiently and save time when processing updates for both platforms, making sure that important information is shared with customers in the most timely manner.

Colin Napier, Group Operations Director at McGill’s commented: “Our new website forms a vital part of our mission to inspire more people in Scotland to use their local bus services in favour of their cars. Not only will increased bus travel uptake help reduce congestion on the roads, but it also brings long-term environmental benefits. Sustainability is a core focus for our business as we’re on our way to having a fleet of over 100 battery-powered electric buses, so our new website launch complements our efforts to make public transport more appealing as a convenient, eco-friendly travel option for all.”

The new website launch comes after McGill’s chose to renew its contract with Passenger for an additional three years, since first announcing their partnership in 2018.

Tom Quay, CEO at Passenger added: “We’re delighted to continue supporting McGill’s by providing easy-to-use technology to help their customers feel confident and in control of their journey. McGill’s shares our vision of building a greener future through making more sustainable transport options more accessible, and our combined efforts will help drive the overarching aims of the National Bus Strategy.”

The new McGill’s website and existing app, like all Passenger products, will continue to be improved through an ongoing programme of development and updates. Visit the new website at

Wednesday 8 June 2022

YouTube LNER Durham Coast Diversion

LNER services were temporarily diverted via Teesside and the Durham coastline for three weekends due to engineering works.

LNER have produced a video of a southbound journey along the Durham coast, narrated by driver Dylan Leonard. The interesting journey between Tyneside and Yarm is covered by in-cab and drone footage and forms part of LNER's Driver Seat series of videos.

The northern section of the route sees LNER Azumas sharing tracks with Tyne & Wear Metro trains

Click here to see the video

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Bus Event

Ken Jones visited the Buckingham Railway Centre at Quainton Road and has sent the following photos

Many thanks to Ken for these photos, if you are attending a transport event please feel free to send photos to

Buckingham Railway Centre History here