Wednesday, 31 August 2022

1938 Tube Train Back in Service

A 1930's Art Deco train will be back from retirement for a rare journey through Buckinghamshire.

People have a chance to see the historical train as it journeys from Amersham to London on the Metropolitan Tube line in September.

The striking red train looks exactly as it did when new, back in 1938 after its beautiful restoration, and now London Transport Museum is bringing it back for eight departures from Amersham to Watford and Harrow.

Sam Mullins OBE, Director for London Transport Museum, said: “I’m thrilled to have our much-loved 1938 Art Deco train back out on the Metropolitan line once more. We know families, transport enthusiasts and vintage fans really enjoy a day out on the moquette seats.”

Made up of four cars complete with green and red moquette seating, grab handles and Art Deco light fittings, it was also the first ever Tube train to have all the electrical equipment underneath the floor.

The special train combining latest technology at the time and the classic 1930s style served millions of London passengers on several deep-level underground lines for half a century before their retirement.

While the tickets for the sought-after journey are sold out, on September 3rd and 4th people along the way can spot the train leaving from Amersham station for a 1 hour 2 minutes long return journey to Watford at 10.46am, 12.46pm, 2.46pm, and for a single journey to Harrow at 3.56pm.

Because of the Covid pandemic, the train hasn’t been out on the London Underground system with passengers since spring 2019.

The sold-out trips on Sunday coincide with the Amersham Old Town Heritage Day on September 4 with fun and entertainment for children, a classic car display, vintage farmers’ market and heritage bus journeys.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Sky Staff Shuttles Go Electric With BYD ADL Partnership, Dawsongroup and Cobra

Alexander Dennis (Alexander Dennis Limited, ADL) and BYD UK jointly announced that their electric vehicle partnership, the UK’s leading electric bus producer, is working with Dawsongroup bus and coach (DGBC) and Cobra Corporate Services Limited (Cobra) to provide zero-emission transportation services for broadcasting and telecommunications group Sky.

Alexander Dennis is a subsidiary of leading independent global bus manufacturer NFI Group Inc. (NFI), while BYD is a global leader in batteries, energy management and electric mobility. DGBC is part of Dawsongroup – a group of companies specialising in the supply of commercial assets.

Sky provides its staff and visitors with free shuttle bus services from various public transport hubs to its Livingston Campus near Edinburgh and its Osterley Campus in London.

Cobra operates the shuttle bus service on behalf of Sky and has chosen DGBC’s fully supported vehicle contract hire solution, enabling it to concentrate on providing a high-quality service. The eight new British-built BYD ADL Enviro200EV electric single deck buses will be added to the Cobra fleet over the coming weeks. The first two buses have gone live at the Livingston Campus on 2nd August and another six will launch on 15th August at the Osterley Campus.

The all-electric, zero-emission buses will replace conventional vehicles currently used for the shuttle bus service. They will assist Sky in reducing its carbon footprint and achieving its goal of becoming net-zero by 2030.

The BYD ADL Enviro200EV is equipped with world-class BYD Iron-Phosphate Battery technology, providing a longer driving range, optimised battery life and ultra-safe performance. This will enable Cobra to run a full day’s shuttle bus service on one charge, help improve the air quality while providing a comfortable and sustainable journey for passengers.

Mark Taylor (Regional Sales Manager, Alexander Dennis) and Steve Dowling (Director, Cobra Corporate Services Limited) at the handover of the first two vehicles in Livingston 

Steve Dowling, Director at Cobra Corporate Services Limited, said: “After many months of research, discussions and preparation to ensure the correct products were used, BYD ADL are the right choice of electric bus for us to integrate into the Sky Zero strategy. The decision to continue the relationship with Dawsongroup and our chosen infrastructure suppliers made all the hard work that much easier. Pooling in knowledge from the industry leaders in bus and charger manufacturing has enabled a confident launch of service delivery as we enter our operations into the world of electrically propelled passenger transportation.”

Mark Taylor, Regional Sales Manager at Alexander Dennis, said: “We are delighted to show the benefits of electric buses on staff shuttle services with this project being the largest of its kind in the country. Our British-built BYD ADL Enviro200EV is a great fit and incorporates unrivalled experience from over 1,000 electric buses on the road nationally, ensuring reliability and peace of mind for Cobra as the operator, as well as Dawsongroup as owner and provider of the vehicles.”

Fraser Innes, Sales Director at Dawsongroup bus and coach, said: “This has been a fantastic project to be part of, from the early planning to the roll out of the product. We are delighted to have partnered with Cobra Corporate Services in providing this innovative solution for their client and supporting them with the premium service levels required over the years to come.”

Frank Thorpe, Managing Director of BYD UK, said: “It is our pleasure to support Cobra and Dawsongroup with our advanced technology and products to implement electric, emissions-free transport for these shuttle bus services. Through our established electric bus partnership with Alexander Dennis, BYD has over 1400 units of eBuses in service or on order across the UK. We are proud to bring our eMobility solution to cities and suburbs, providing local people with a cleaner transport service while accelerating net-zero progress in the UK.”

Monday, 29 August 2022

HCT To Sell London Bus Operations to Stagecoach

HCT Group is a social enterprise operation and is a registered charity. The company has agreed the sale of its London bus business to Stagecoach following significant financial difficulties resulting in the recent closure of Powells, the Group’s business in South Yorkshire, and CT Plus in West Yorkshire. The London operations involves around 160 vehicles from two depots.

HCT was originally founded in 1982 as Hackney Community Transport in the London Borough of Hackney to provide transport services for local voluntary organisations, charities, and community groups. HCT Group is registered as a company limited by guarantee (and has therefore no shareholders). The company is also a registered charity.

In a notice to staff, Operations and Engineering Director Mark Owen says that sale of the Transport for London contracted work to another operator is “the best way to protect the jobs of our front-line staff.” Now the deal with Stagecoach has been agreed further details will be announced shortly.

The memo notes that HCT Group suffered difficult trading conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic, which have since been followed by the impact of that period and increased fuel and labour costs.

“We believe that our red bus team will continue to prosper under Stagecoach’s potential ownership and we would like to thank all our team for their commitment and hard work,” Mr Owen continues, adding that staff will now be advised further following confirmation of the sale. HCT began running buses in London in 2001.

Identical reasons to those cited by Mr Owen were given when the Group took the short-notice decision to close its Yorkshire operations earlier in August.

Stagecoach has said ” The purchase will represent further growth in London for Stagecoach, which took over the former Tower Transit Lea Interchange operation in late June".

Meanwhile, as discussions with Stagecoach came to light, speculation about the future of HCT subsidiary Bristol Community Transport (BCT) arose after that organisation said it would no longer deliver group transport services, include dial-a-ride, after 26 August.

HCT Group has also announced that its minibus service 812 in London will cease operation after 26 August. Islington Council provides funding for that route and HCT says the local authority “will review how it can best help and support users now and in the future.”

Read the latest article on HCT and its problems by Roger French here

Sunday, 28 August 2022

2022 Hooton Hangers Event

Ken Jones visited Hooton Hangers in Cheshire and has sent photos of the 2022 bus event.
Buses are stored at the site and are displayed together with visiting buses. This was the first event following Covid.
The Hooton Park Trust was formed in 2000 to oversee and manage the restoration of the remaining WW1 hangars on the former RAF airfield at Hooton Park, Cheshire. 

Many thanks to Ken for sending these excellent photos.

The Hooton Park Trust website here

Saturday, 27 August 2022

14 Coradia iLint Trains to Commence Passenger Service on First 100% Hydrogen Operated Route

Following a successful trial run of almost two years with two pre-series trains,.Alstom has announced that the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, has reached another historical milestone in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, Germany. Fourteen vehicles are now used on the world premiere 100% hydrogen train route, in passenger operation. 

The train only emits steam and condensed water while operating with a low level of noise. The 14 vehicles with fuel cell propulsion belong to Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG). 

LNVG had already started looking for alternatives to diesel trains in 2012 and thus provided momentum for the development of the trains in Germany.  

“The world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, demonstrates our clear commitment to green mobility combined with state-of-the-art technology. We are very proud to bring this technology into series operation as part of a world premiere, together with our great partners,” says Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Alstom.

On the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, 14 hydrogen-powered Alstom regional trains will be operated by evb on behalf of LNVG, gradually replacing 15 diesel trains. They will be fuelled daily and around the clock at the Linde hydrogen filling station. 

Thanks to a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), the Alstom Coradia iLint multiple units can run all day on just one tank of hydrogen on the evb network. 
Since September 2018, there had been a successful trial run with two pre-series trains.

Friday, 26 August 2022

Management Buyout Will Turn Abellio Into a UK Based Company

Dutch national railway company Nederlandse Spoorwegen is exiting the UK public transport sector after 20 years. A management buyout will pave the way for a new UK-based company to take over all Abellio UK’s existing services. The new company will be called Transport UK Group Limited.

The buyout is led by managing director Dominic Booth, who has decades of experience running public transport services in the UK. He expects the business to transfer by the end of the year, subject to approval by the Department for Transport, Transport for London and the Liverpool City Region as well as the Office of Rail and Road.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen has been active in the UK market since 2002 but now wants to focus on international railway services to and from, the Netherlands. The Abellio UK business employs more than 15,000 people. It operates four rail companies – East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and West Midlands Trains – and has around 9% of the London bus market.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Stagecoach to Deliver UK's First All-Electric City Bus Fleets

Stagecoach has announced that it will be introducing the UK’s first all-electric city bus networks as part of its drive to deliver a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035

  • Company’s city bus networks in Inverness and Perth to go all-electric
  • £13.9m investment in 38 new e-buses being introduced across the two key cities
  • Investment part of Stagecoach’s strategy to deliver net zero UK bus fleet by 2035
  • Plans supported by funding from Scottish Government

Plans are well underway to see Britain’s biggest bus operator make its city bus networks in Inverness and Perth all electric from the end of 2022 and early 2023 respectively. New e-buses will run across routes that have previously operated with largely diesel fleets, helping to drive cleaner air in these two major cities.

Stagecoach is introducing the £13.9m fleet of 38 new e-buses, partly funded by the Scottish Government, across Inverness and Perth through the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB), designed to support the transition to zero-emission technologies as part of Scotland’s overall target to achieve net zero by 2045.

The new electric buses in Perth, which will be introduced in early 2023, will be made up of a £4.8m fleet of 13 buses, including seven single deck, five midibuses and one double-decker. They will add to the fleet of nine zero emission buses (ZEBs) introduced in the city last December.

The £9.1m investment in Inverness will see a fleet of 25 new electric midibuses introduced from late 2022 across routes 1-9, replacing the city’s diesel bus fleet.

New zero emission buses (ZEBs) are also being introduced over the coming months on Stagecoach networks across other areas in Scotland including Aberdeen, Ayr, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock as part of the ScotZEB plans.

Over the past 14 months, Stagecoach has rolled out 52 new electric buses across its networks in Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS), with a further six electric buses introduced across the west of Scotland in partnership with SP Energy Networks.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “I’m pleased that Scottish Government investment continues to rapidly transform bus fleets across the country.

“This latest announcement from Stagecoach is welcome, and is fantastic news for everyone who lives in, works and visits Inverness and Perth. Not only will these new buses help reduce transport emissions and respond to the climate emergency, they will improve local air quality too.

“Stagecoach have been a valued partner in our Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce. They understand that to respond to the climate emergency, we all need to accelerate the transition to a zero emission bus fleet as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing these latest electric buses soon, which I know continue to be welcomed by customers across Scotland.”

Sam Greer, Stagecoach Regional Director for Scotland, said: “As part of our drive to target a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035, we are excited to be announcing our plans to deliver the UK’s first all-electric city bus networks, building further on the investment made in new zero emission buses in a number of places in the UK.

“An investment of almost £14m, supported by the ScotZEB fund, will see new state-of-the-art electric buses introduced across Inverness and Perth that will help deliver significantly reduced emissions in these major cities.

“One of the quickest ways local people can help deliver net zero is by switching from cars to buses, as well as walking and cycling more. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Government and local transport authorities on measures to deliver more priority for bus passengers, more reliable services, simpler ticketing and the best value fares.”

The funding announced earlier this year as part of the ScotZEB initiative follows two rounds of funding under the predecessor Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme in September 2020 and March 2021. The funding stream is designed to encourage the market to agree and implement new and innovative ways to finance zero emission buses.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

£130 Million to Protect Bus Services in England

Funding will ensure that vital bus services can continue to run.

Buses across England will benefit from up to £130 million of government support, ensuring services keep running and millions of passengers can continue using affordable transport.

The funding package will cover 6 months from October 2022 to March 2023, and builds on almost 2 years’ worth of unprecedented government support to keep bus networks running. Today’s funding means almost £2 billion has been made available to over 160 bus operators during the pandemic.

The additional funding will help to protect bus services and routes, which are particularly important to people facing pressures due to the rising cost of living. The government is using every tool at its disposal to help people, from ensuring they can access affordable travel, to providing £37 billion of support for the most vulnerable households.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

"This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion.

At a time when people are worried about rising costs, it’s more important than ever we save these bus routes for the millions who rely on them for work, school and shopping.

The government is also investing £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and a further £525 million for zero emission buses"

Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said:

"We welcome the government’s announcement of recovery funding to support bus services in local communities for a further 6 months.

Today’s announcement will help bus operators and local authority partners to balance a network of reliable and affordable services in the short-term as bus networks adapt to new travel patterns.

For the longer-term, we will continue to work closely with central government and local authorities to encourage existing and new passengers to get on board the country’s buses, ensuring they are provided the best possible services"

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

'Sky Train' LEVITATES On A Magnetic Track 33 Feet High and Can Glide Along Silently at Speeds of up to 50mph Without Electricity

 China has unveiled its first suspended maglev line built with permanent magnets, which engineers claim can keep a 'sky train' afloat even without a power supply.

The 2,600ft experimental track, known as the Red Rail, is located in Xingguo county, Jiangxi province, in southern China.

It uses powerful magnets to produce a constantly repelling force strong enough to lift a train with 88 passengers into the air, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Unlike most existing maglev lines, the suspended rail operates about 33 feet above the ground. There is no physical contact with the rail as the train moves beneath it silently at speeds of up to 50mph.

More information here

Monday, 22 August 2022

August Link 5 -- Elizabeth Line Paddington to Abbey Wood Journey (full length)

 Focus transport is taking a short break, so today's posting is a link

Following the opening of the Elizabeth Line Click here to see the journey from the driver's cab.

Sunday, 21 August 2022

August Link 4 -- Steam Trains at Speed On The Mainline

Focus transport is taking a short break, so today's posting is a link

Click here to see this impressive collection of main line steam.

Turn up your speakers!

Saturday, 20 August 2022

August Link 3 -- Bus Photos From Days Gone By

Focus transport is taking a short break, so today's posting is a link

An interesting and extensive collection of bus photos from the 1960'2 and 70's. The sound eventually improves, stay with it! 

click here

Friday, 19 August 2022

August Link 2 -- RT and RF Buses Travelling Through The Streets of Barking (RT80 Anniversary)

Focus transport is taking a short break, so today's posting is a link of a video taken at the RT80 Anniversary.  Click here

Thursday, 18 August 2022

August Link 1 -- Deltic: Step Inside The Diesel BEAST

Focus transport is taking a short break, so today's posting is a link to a full tour of King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI), a superb example of a Deltic diesel locomotive.Click here  

and more sights and sounds of the Deltic. here

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Back to School With The Plaxton Leopard: Versatile Coaches in Stock for Immediate Delivery

Alexander Dennis Limited has announced that it has new Plaxton Leopard coaches in stock for immediate delivery, meeting operators’ requirements for versatile vehicles that are ideally suited to school services as well as contract and private hire.

The new stock includes vehicles at lengths of 12.2m and 12.8m and gives operators a choice of 2+2 seating or high-density 3+2 seating for a total capacity of up to 72 belted seats. 

Built on the reliable and efficient Volvo B8R chassis, a choice of I-Shift automated manual and ZF EcoLife fully automatic transmissions is available.

All newly-built Plaxton Leopard coaches are fitted with wheelchair lifts and destination displays, making them fully compliant with PSV Accessibility Regulations and ensuring they can be used on a wide range of work. 

This is combined with the Leopard’s established benefits, including class-leading locker space, an inswing door that makes it easy to load passengers anywhere, and dual tracking for easy interior conversion which ensures outstanding residual value.

Simon Wood, General Manager New; Used Coach Sales at Alexander Dennis, comments:

“The Plaxton Leopard is Britain’s best value coach with its extremely versatile specification

that makes it ideal for school work and contract hires. The new stock we have coming off the

line is ready to join your fleet and start earning money straight away – just speak to your

sales manager to see how we can help you!”


Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Enterprise Rail Link Between Belfast and Dublin Marks 75 years

It is 75 years since the Belfast to Dublin rail service was started. 
it is run by Translink NI Railways in Northern Ireland and Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) in the Republic of Ireland.

Read the BBC report here 

Monday, 15 August 2022

McGill's Partners With Flix for New Scottish Route

FlixBus will work in partnership with McGill’s to provide daily service to and from Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Aberdeen four times a day.

The green coach operator, who provides passengers with journeys to 2,400 destinations in 40 countries, has revealed it will begin its new network serving Scottish cities four times a day. FlixBus’ new venture will provide daily connections to and from Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Aberdeen.

Andreas Schorling, Managing Director of FlixBus UK said: “We have made no secret that we want to be the biggest coach brand in the whole of the UK, and our launch in Scotland is a cornerstone of our growth strategy. We know from our experience of cross-border routes that our service is a natural fit with the Scottish market.”

The eco-friendly transport network will be operated by Scotland’s largest independent bus company, McGill’s, as part of its partnership with FlixBus, which began in 2021.

McGill’s operates several cross-border FlixBus routes to and from cities including Sheffield and Manchester, and recently launched a daily summer service between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill's Buses said: “Our established partnership with FlixBus has gone from strength to strength, and we are delighted to be working together with the global brand to deliver this ambitious project and offer high quality transport connections to the people of Scotland.”

Recently delivered new coaches at McGills

“McGill’s has always been the obvious choice of partner to ensure the service is a success, and we’re proud to be launching our affordable, reliable and sustainable coach network in Scotland with their team,” Schorling added.

Flix booking site here