Sunday, 31 July 2022

Routemaster Repair

What does it take to keep an AEC Routemaster London double-decker bus on the road?

Especially when it has been involved in an accident. Skilled workers need to be involved, as shown on a video here

The vehicle is owned by Routemaster 4 Hire who offer iconic London Routemaster Double Decker Buses for hire on Weddings and Special Events across North Wales and the Northwest UK, adding some nostalgic novelty and a touch of class to any occasion.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

South Yorkshire Transport Trust Running Day Rotherham Sunday 24th July 2022

Geoff Wilcock visited the South Yorkshire Transport Trust Running Day at the Eastwood Trading Estate in Rotherham and has sent the following photographs.

Many thanks to Geoff for his contribution. If you attend a transport related event please feel free to send photos to

Friday, 29 July 2022

New Avanti West Coast class 805 Makes Its First Public Appearance

The first Avanti West Coast Class 805 has been seen outside of the Newton Aycliffe factory where the trains are being assembled. 
The new trains are built by Hitachi Rail and will serve the West Midlands, North Wales and Liverpool from 2022.

The set was briefly taken outside to get fuel, and was due to return to the factory to continue its static type testing. The set, like most at this part of the testing process, is minus any interior seating. This is expected to commence dynamic testing in September. Date and venue to be confirmed.

It is expected to see the train testing on the network towards the end of this year with a view to accepting the first set in the Spring of 2023.

Photos by James Garthwaite

The Class 803 and 805 shells are built at Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, before being shipped to the UK where final manufacturing takes place at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory.

When complete, the fleet of trains will include 13 Class 805 bi-mode trains and 10 Class 807 electric trains which will replace the outgoing Super Voyager trains.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

'Welsh Highland 100' Test Train Success

Preparations for the joint ‘WHR 100 : SOUTH SNOWDON’ event at the end of the month included recently running a train of Welsh Highland Heritage Railway stock to Beddgelert.

The evening run was undertaken in glorious sunny conditions, which ensured the train and landscape were seen at their very best.

Hauled by original WHR survivor Hunslet 2-6-2T ‘RUSSELL’ (Works No.901/1906), the rake of carriages used in the train were the replica Pickering Brake, Buffet Car No.10, replica Ashbury Corridor No.9 and Gladstone Car No.8.

Passengers can ride this very train during the ‘WHR 100 : SOUTH SNOWDON’ weekend on 30 & 31st July, when it will be steaming between Dinas and Rhyd Ddu (as South Snowdon is now known), alongside a train of vintage Ffestiniog Railway stock.

This will be a truly special occasion, made possible by the efforts of those at the WHHR, who have worked tirelessly restoring ‘RUSSELL’ so that it could take part in what promises to be a monumental weekend.

More information about the weekend’s activities is available here.

Information about the two railways here Map of the line here

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Rail Vehicles Clean CO2 and Help Mitigate Climate Change

Researchers from the University of Sheffield are working with US-based CO2Rail Company to design Direct Air Capture equipment which can be used within special rail cars placed within already running trains.

Modified rail cars clean air of CO2 and help mitigate climate change. New research shows rail systems around the world could be harnessed to help mitigate climate change and clean our air of CO2
Researchers from the University of Sheffield are working with US-based CO2Rail Company to design Direct Air Capture equipment which can be used within special rail cars placed with  trains.

On average, each complete train braking manoeuvre generates enough energy to power 20 homes for an entire day - until now this enormous amount of sustainable energy has been wasted
If the energy of every stop or deceleration for every train in the world could be captured it would harness 105 times more energy than the Hoover Dam produces in the same time period

Rail systems around the world could help mitigate climate change and clean the air of CO2 by capturing the sustainable energy generated when trains break and decelerate.

US-based startup, CO2Rail Company have been working with a world-renowned team of researchers, including engineers from the University of Sheffield, to design Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology that removes carbon dioxide from the air, which can be used within special rail cars placed with already running trains in regular service.

The DAC rail cars work by using large intakes of air that extend up into the slipstream of the moving train to move ambient air into the large cylindrical CO2 collection chamber and eliminate the need for energy-intensive fan systems that are necessary with stationary DAC operations.

The air then moves through a chemical process that separates the CO2 from the air and the carbon dioxide free air then travels out of the back or underside of the car and returns to the atmosphere.

After a sufficient amount has been captured, the chamber is closed and the harvested CO2 is collected, concentrated, and stored in a liquid reservoir until it can be emptied from the train at a crew change or fuelling stop into normal CO2 rail tank cars. It is then transported into the circular carbon economy as value-added feedstock for CO2 utilisation, or to nearby geological landfill sites.

Each of these processes are powered exclusively by on-board generated, sustainable energy sources that require no external energy input or off-duty charging cycles.

When a train applies the brakes, its energy braking system converts the train’s forward momentum into electrical energy in much the same way as a regenerative electric vehicle. Currently, this energy is dissipated on trains in the form of heat and discharged out of the top of the locomotive during every braking manoeuvre.

Professor Peter Styring, Director of the UK Centre for Carbon Dioxide Utilization at the University of Sheffield and co-author of the research, said: “The direct capture of carbon dioxide from the environment is increasingly becoming an urgent necessity to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

“Currently the enormous amount of sustainable energy created when a train brakes or decelerates is simply lost. This innovative technology will not only use the sustainable energy created by the braking manoeuvre to harvest significant quantities of CO2, but it will also take advantage of many synergies that integration within the global rail network would provide.

“The technology will harvest meaningful quantities of CO2 at far lower costs and has the potential to reach annual productivity of 0.45 gigatons by 2030, 2.9 gigatons by 2050, and 7.8 gigatons by 2075 with each car having an annual capacity of 3,000 tonnes of CO2 in the near term.”

Unlike stationary DAC operations, which require large areas of land to build equipment and to construct renewable sources of energy to power them, CO2Rail would be transient and would generally be unseen by the public. The potential impact of this technology was recently energised when European transport organisations announced earlier this month that they are committed to tripling high-speed rail use by 2050 to curb CO2-heavy air travel.

Eric Bachman of CO2Rail Company, said: “On average, each complete braking manoeuvre generates enough energy to power 20 average homes for an entire day so it is not a trivial amount of energy.

“Multiply this by every stop or deceleration for nearly every train in the world and you have about 105 times more energy than the Hoover Dam produces within that same period, and that was a hydro-electric construction project that took six years and cost $760 million in today’s dollars.”

He added: “Imagine stepping onto a train each morning, seeing the CO2Rail cars attached, and knowing that your commute to work each day is actually helping to mitigate climate change.

“It will work the same with freight, if there is a choice between rail and another mode of transportation, I think this technology will sway many shippers.”

The team, which includes researchers from the University of Sheffield, University of Toronto, MIT, Princeton, business, and industry, found each direct air capture car can harvest about 6,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air per year and more as the technology develops. Moreover, since trains are capable of hosting multiple CO2Rail cars, each train will harvest a corresponding multiple of CO2 tonnage.

With its sustainable power requirements exclusively supplied by train-generated sources that are without incremental cost, savings of 30 – 40 per cent per tonne of harvested CO2 can be realised from energy inputs alone.

This, along with other significant savings such as land, brings projected cost at scale down to less than $50 per tonne and makes the technology not only commercially viable but commercially attractive.

Professor Geoffrey Ozin from the University of Toronto and co-author of the study, said: “At these price points and with its tremendous capabilities, CO2Rail is likely to soon become the first megaton-scale, first gigaton-scale, and overall largest provider of direct air capture deployments in the world.

“Carbon-neutral in regular transportation and then significantly carbon-negative with ambient air DAC operations. A win-win in every respect and a ‘save humanity’ technology.”

The team is also working on a similar system that can remove the CO2 emissions from the exhaust of diesel-powered locomotives as are universally common in North America and other parts of the world. With the growth of sustainably-sourced rail electrification systems, this point-source capability on diesel lines would make rail the world’s first carbon-neutral mode of large-scale transportation.

 Website here

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Buses at Beamish July 2022

Beamish Museum and The North East Bus Preservation Trust (NEBPT) organised the recent Buses at Beamish Event and Roy Yallop has kindly sent the following photos.

The following photos of the Beamish event are from the NEBPT Facebook site

A video of the event can be seen here showing the transport scene as well as numerous other views of the museum.

Visit the NEBPT Facebook site here

Monday, 25 July 2022

Abellio London Bus Opens New Hayes Depot Set to Power EV Routes in West London

On 11 July, Abellio London Bus opened the doors on its brand new depot at Dawley Road, in Hayes. This is a purpose built operating centre that houses up to 56 buses. Routes 278, 350, 482, U5, U7 and U9 will operate from here, serving customers across West London.

Built with construction partner Boshers Master Builders, the depot sits on a completely new site and was constructed during lockdown, with planning permission granted in March 2021 and ground being broken in August 2021. 
Hayes goes into operation with full EV capacity and highlights Abellio London Bus’ continued investment into world-leading electric technology and infrastructure. The depot will be the home of new state-of-the-art EV buses operating on route U5.

The electrification of the depot was provided by Enel X, complete with the installation, maintenance, and servicing of six 300kW high powered Enel X Way charging stations for the EV buses. The charging infrastructure is both fast and smart, leveraging technology to maximise efficiency such as charging at off-peak times. Connection to the grid was supported by ESP Utilities Group, via an 11kV substation providing a 2,000kVA capacity for the bus depot.

The new depot has been designed as a dedicated operating centre, and has a living roof and nesting boxes alongside an energy efficiency rating of B. It also features a wall of historic significance that dates back to the Tudor period, which has been rebuilt using handmade Tudor bricks and a unique brick bond. The new building provides a step-change improvement in facilities for Abellio staff and is fully accessible. Maintenance, driver training and driver theory testing will take place at an additional new facility in Waterway Park 0.5 miles away.

The mobilisation of the depot and ongoing operational delivery is led by Lorna Murphy, Operations Director, Abellio London Bus and Marta Leszczynska, Operations Manager, Hayes Depot. These women leaders in transport have successfully led the route transfers to the new site from a temporary facility and the introduction of the new U5 EV fleet into operation at Hayes.

Louise Cheeseman, Director of Bus at TfL said, “The opening of Abellio’s new Hayes depot is another exciting step in London’s journey towards a zero-emission bus fleet, with the depot’s EV charging infrastructure modernising the industry, bringing fresh skills and a new generation of engineers and drivers. This will see us add to the more than 850 zero-emission buses already on our city’s roads. These cleaner, greener buses, including the state-of-the-art models now operating on route U5, are part of the Mayor's drive to clean up our air, reduce the effects of climate change by bringing down carbon emissions and cut congestion on our roads.”

Lorna Murphy, Operations Director, Abellio London Bus said: “The opening of our Hayes depot marks a leap forward for Abellio London Bus. This depot allows us to provide more accessible and comfortable electric journeys for our customers in West London, whilst working with TfL to decarbonise and support climate resilience as we lead the way toward a zero emission fleet.”

Tony Whittle, Head of Enel X UK & Ireland said: “We congratulate Abellio on the opening of their new Hayes depot, which is a symbol of our collective Net Zero future. It is an honour and a pleasure to partner with Abellio on this innovative electrification project in a long-term capacity, and we look forward to the opportunity to further their sustainability initiatives in a way that delivers value for all of West London.”

Kevin O’Connor, CEO, ESP Utilities Group said: “It is wonderful to celebrate the launch of Abellio’s new Hayes Depot and recognise the important step this takes on their journey towards a zero emission fleet. Depots that have a full EV capacity play a huge part towards realising the Mayor’s zero emission ambition for London by 2030 . As part of our partnership with Abellio, we supported the connection to the grid through the provision of technical support, value engineering, procurement support and accelerated land rights.”

In the last year Abellio London Buses have clocked up over 2 million EV miles. The opening of the Hayes depot will support the business to continue providing customers with more comfortable journeys that actively contribute to making London’s streets cleaner and greener for all.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Spa Valley Railway Summer Diesel Gala 2022

 The Spa Valley Railway Summer Diesel Gala 2022 has three visiting locomotives with class 24, 25 and 73 paying a visit to Tunbridge Wells West, an intensive train service and as many of the home-based locomotives in action as possible.

Visting Locomotives:

Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern'
Visiting from the East Lancashire Railway is Sulzer Type 2 D5054, built in 1959 at Crewe. D5054 is one of just four preserved examples from the original 151 strong fleet of locos and was amongst the first Diesel locomotives to be based at the East Lancs Railway, Bury, arriving in 1987. D5054 is visiting for the month of August and will be the first time a Class 24 has visited the Spa Valley Railway in preservation, previously classes 25, 26 and 27 have all visited Tunbridge Wells West. 

Photo of Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern' courtesy Andrew Edkins

Class 24s are no strangers to the Southern region with fifteen of the initial twenty were diverted for use on the Southern Region to cover for delays in the Kent Coast Electrification scheme. Here the heavy weight was not acceptable and the locos in question had to have their boilers removed before they were accepted. Later some locos had their boilers re-fitted and these examples could be found, often in tandem with a Class 33 to provide steam heating to the coaches, the 33s only having electric train heat (ETH).

Class 25 D7535 – Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction

Photo of Class 25 D7535 courtesy Richard Jones

Coming all the way from Devon is Sulzer Type 2 D7535, built at Derby Works in 1965. This locomotive is based at the South Devon Railway and owned by South Devon Diesel Traction and D7535's holiday follows on from other SDDT locomotives including Class 25 D7612 and Class 33/0 33002 ‘Sea King’ visiting Tunbridge Wells. SDDT has supported Spa Valley Diesel Gala's since their early days supplying the first visiting locomotive at Spa Valley. Class 20 20118 in 2006! 
D7535 is currently undergoing testing following major work to the engine, in the event the locomotive is unavailable Class 25 D7612 will substitute. 

Class 73/1 – Courtesy of GBRf

Photo of GBRf Class 73/1 courtesy Richard Jones

Making a welcome visit to Tunbridge Wells West is a GBRf Class 73/1 (number TBC). This locomotive usually sees service on the mainline around Kent and Sussex out of Tonbridge West Yard and is owned and supplied by GBRf who have previously supported the diesel gala in 2017 with the visit of Class 73/1 73136. The 73/1 will also feature at the Spa Valley 25th Anniversary Gala from 26th to 29th August.


  • Drewry 2591 'Southerham'
  • Class 10 D3489 'Colonel Tomline'
  • Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern' – Courtesy of the East Lancs Railway
  • Class 25 D7537 – Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction
  • Class 31/4 31430 'Sister Dora'
  • Class 33/0 33063 'R.J.Mitchell'
  • Class 73/1 731XX – Courtesy of GBRf (Number TBC)
  • Class 73/1 73140
  • Class 207 DEMU 1317
  • Class 421 3CIG 1497

Spa Valley History here 
Enthusiasts Page here

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Video - How do you open a lost railway?

A video exploring the rise, fall and what remains of the lost branch lines to Wisbech and examining what it takes to re-open a lost railway.

click here to see the video

Friday, 22 July 2022

List of London Bus Routes Facing The Axe in TfL Cuts

The proposed biggest cuts to London's bus network in decades will see 100 services per hour slashed.

Transport for London (TfL) is currently holding a public consultation on plans to axe up to 16 bus routes entirely and make amendments to 78 more in order to meet savings targets imposed by the government as part of an emergency funding deal.

The proposed cuts to bus services in London will only lead to savings of £35m per year for TfL.

Under the terms of a Government bailout, TfL is required to make savings of £730 million per year to achieve financial sustainability.

Approximately 78 bus routes are facing cutbacks, while 16 of the routes could be axed entirely.

TfL bus routes under threat:

4 Archway - Blackfriars AXED
11 Fulham Broadway - Liverpool Street AXED

12 Oxford Circus Station - Dulwich Library AXED

14 Russell Square - Putney Heath AXED
16 Cricklewood Bus Garage - Victoria AXED

24 Hampstead Heath - Pimlico, Grosvenor Road AXED
31 Camden Town - White City Bus Station AXED
45 Elephant & Castle, Newington Causeway - Clapham Park AXED
72 East Acton - Hammersmith Bridge North Side (temporary final terminus) AXED
74 Baker Street Station - Putney High Street AXED
78 Shoreditch High Street Station - Nunhead, St Mary's Road AXED

242 Homerton University Hospital - Aldgate AXED
349 Ponders End Bus Garage - Stamford Hill, Rookwood Road AXED
521 Waterloo Station - London Bridge Bus Station AXED
C3 Earl's Court, Tesco - Clapham Junction AXED
D7 Poplar, All Saints Church and DLR - Mile End Station AXED

Transport for London (TfL) has extended its consultation on proposed cuts and changes to bus routes due to "exceptionally high" interest.

The first routes are expected to be scrapped as soon as the end of the year and with all 16 on the chopping block gone by the end of 2023.

TfL has already removed around 300 buses via frequency reductions which do not require public consultation. It follows a service review that took place under the oversight of the Department for Transport (DfT), which in June 2021 stipulated that TfL had to review service levels on every route.

City Hall officials say that while passenger numbers are recovering they are still some way below pre-pandemic levels. They want a long term funding deal from the Government to prevent them having to cut services by as much as 20 per cent.

But a Government source criticised the Mayor, accusing him of “artificially creating” the bus cuts as a “political weapon in his battle for a long-term capital funding deal”. They said the Government will continue to support bus services through revenue funding which is separate to the capital funding package set to expire later this month.

“Thanks to our support, there is, and there will be, more than enough money to maintain services,” the Government source added.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Ember Expands Scottish Zero Emission Network with Glasgow-Dundee Coach Service Followed by Fort William

The UK's first inter-city electric coach firm is to launch a new Glasgow-Dundee route in August with plans to extend its network to the Highlands and carry more bikes.

Ember have partnered with Edinburgh Trams so that tickets can be accepted on board their network to allow seamless connections to and from the airport and Ingliston Park & Ride.

Ember’s expansion follows the operator launching its debut service between Edinburgh and Dundee in 2020 and stepping up its frequency in February from eight to 14 services a day in each direction.

It is also developing vehicle charging capacity in Fort William ahead of a planned service to and from Edinburgh and/or Glasgow, while Oban is also being considered.

Ember operates a fleet of Yutong Tce-12 battery coaches and has been expanding its services since the initial four-coach operation. Now Scottish funding a further 26 coaches will be added to its fleet.

Ember’s current fleet of four coaches can accommodate two bikes each free of charge, but it is investigating whether four new coaches acquired for the Glasgow-Dundee route will have space for up to six cycles each.

Co-founder Keith Bradbury said: “We're working on launching a new route between Glasgow and Dundee in early August.

"That will serve smaller towns and villages along the way too.

"Beyond that, we're working on launching more routes across Scotland and want to run a full zero emission network.

"Launching zero emission inter-city services requires capable charging infrastructure and this is something we're working on building in several Scottish cities.

"Once these hubs are live we'll be launching many more services.”

Mr Bradbury said Fort William was also in development, and while there was “no active progress” with Oban, it was also being looked at.

He said Ember’s wider aim was to transform attitudes to coach travel in addition to highlighting its environmental credentials.

He said: “Zero emission is not enough to change the perception and ridership of public transport.

"Doing that takes a deeper layer of technology to provide passengers with a seamless experience, from booking, to travelling, to cancellations and refunds."

Mr Bradbury said the Scottish Government’s target of reducing car kilometres by 20 per cent by 2030 “would only be possible if public transport measures are improved and if the passenger experience of public transport is elevated to something better than the car.

"That's fundamentally what we're working on by combining our technology with zero emission inter-city bus routes.

"An early example of this is our integration with Edinburgh Trams so that our tickets can be accepted onboard their network to allow seamless connections to and from the airport.

"It's a simple concept but it has driven a shift in our customer base towards multi-modal travel as a reliable norm.”

Mr Bradbury said Ember would look for further such link-ups with other zero emission “final mile” providers – Edinburgh’s trams are also electric – on other routes across Scotland.

The developments come as many of Scotland’s bus operators are expanding their electric vehicle fleets. 

Above, zero emission hydrogen-powered double deckers are being operated by First in Aberdeen, as well as, below, battery powered vehicles operated by Stagecoach.

Update -  28th July 2022 More Ember news here