Thursday 30 November 2023

Stagecoach West Celebrates 30 Years in Operation

Bus operator Stagecoach West has celebrated 30 years in operation with company-wide celebratory events.

To commemorate the 30-year milestone, staff members enjoyed quizzes, gifts, cupcakes and cake at each depot.

Formed in November 1993, Stagecoach West resulted from the merger of Western Travel, which included Cheltenham, Gloucester Omnibus Company, and the National Bus Company’s Swindon and District operation.

Over the years, the company has expanded its operations, acquiring the Bristol Depot in 2019 and merging with Stagecoach Oxfordshire in 2021.

The company reached its 30 year anniversary on November 25, and the company plays a crucial role, connecting people to their jobs, schools, and various other activities.

Managing director of Stagecoach West, Rachel Geliamassi said: "I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful teams and customers for making Stagecoach West the success it is today.

"We play a vital role in thousands of people’s lives every day, taking them to work or school, to appointments or holidays and days out – a role we value and care about."

She added: "So, here’s to the next 30 years and all the exciting challenges ahead - a time of change with the introduction of more electric vehicles to our fleet, adopting new technologies and continuing to put our customers at the heart of everything we do."

Wednesday 29 November 2023

ScotRail Class 380 Trains To Run Between Barrhead and Glasgow Central Following Electrification of The Route

ScotRail customers along the route between Barrhead and Glasgow Central will see the introduction of electric trains as part of the train operator’s upcoming timetable change. 

From Sunday, 10 December, ScotRail will operate modern Class 380 trains on its local services between Barrhead and Glasgow Central. The recent electrification of the route has paved the way for more sustainable, eco-friendly journeys, ensuring that customers benefit from a more comfortable and reliable service. 

The timetable change will also see an hourly service operate on the Cathcart Circle throughout the day Monday to Saturday. This improvement will nearly double the number of services calling at Langside, Pollokshaws East, Shawlands, Maxwell Park, and Pollokshields West. It will provide passengers at other stations in south Glasgow with more options and flexibility, making it easier to plan their daily journeys and leisure trips. 

Eighteen additional limited stop services will be introduced on the route between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Shotts each day, Monday to Saturday. This will provide customers at Livingston South, West Calder, and Shotts with fast journey opportunities and more convenient connections to both Edinburgh and Glasgow.  

Sundays will also become even more accessible and convenient for customers traveling between Gourock and Glasgow with the introduction of additional trains. Recognising the demand for weekend travel, a new half-hourly service will operate between Gourock and Glasgow Central on Sundays. 

The new timetable will see changes between Dundee and Inverurie, delivering improvements to service reliability, particularly at local stations between Dundee and Aberdeen.  

Additional stops are being added to services between Glasgow Queen Street and Aberdeen, and between Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen, creating new direct journey opportunities between communities in Angus and Aberdeenshire.  

The change will see a reduction in local services for customers in the northeast, however, the timetable introduced in December will better connect them with Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, and Glasgow whilst maintaining the overall number of journey opportunities. 

Customers in East Lothian will benefit from ScotRail’s Dunbar to Edinburgh services calling additionally at Wallyford to access the mobility hub there, as well as East Linton when the new station opens.  

A later service will operate between Inverness and Elgin on a trial basis to benefit customers in Moray. This will depart Inverness at 22:12. The 21:34 Inverness to Aberdeen service will continue to operate as at present.  

The new timetable is introduced during the train operator’s off-peak all day fares trial which started on 2 October and will run for six months.

With the new timetable coming into place, customers are encouraged to check their journey on the ScotRail website, mobile app, and through social media channels as train times may have changed. 

Customers can check train times at and on the ScotRail app. Timetables will also be available to download from the ScotRail website.  

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said: 

"Our December timetable change represents another step in our ongoing commitment to deliver the best service we can, and encourage more people to choose rail travel instead of using the car, particularly during our off-peak all day fares trial. 

“From the introduction of electric trains to increased frequency on key routes and enhanced service reliability, we are dedicated to making Scotland’s Railway more accessible and efficient. 

Platform 3 bay platform was extended to accommodate the longer four-carriage electric trains.
This involved moving the current buffers and rebuilding the access paths

“There is a lot of ongoing investment in our network with decarbonisation continuing, and improvements across the network. This new timetable is an important part of that.” 

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Apple Travel Adds Two New Plaxton Panthers and Confirms Leopard Order

Alexander Dennis has announced that it has handed over two new Plaxton Panther coaches to Berkshire operator Apple Travel.

The new coaches are built on the dependable Volvo B8R chassis with I-Shift transmission. One has 59 comfortable seats, the other 61. They are prepared to later be fitted with wheelchair lifts as well as side and rear displays to comply with PSV Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR), ensuring that they can easily be adapted to changing operational requirements throughout long working lives.

They join two similar Plaxton Panther coaches purchased in 2021 and 2022 as well as several Plaxton Leopard in a fleet dominated by Scarborough-built vehicles. An order has already been confirmed for a further 72-seat Plaxton Leopard to be delivered next year.

Directors Sam and Joel Sweeney were joined by their daughter Millie when inspecting the new coaches at the Plaxton factory and said: “We’re delighted to continue to invest for our customers by further upgrading our fleet. Plaxton coaches are the backbone of our operation thanks to specifications that are exactly matched to our requirements for a variety of work and the excellent support we get from Mark and the whole Alexander Dennis and Plaxton team.”

Mark Taylor, Regional Sales Manager at Alexander Dennis, commented: “It is a joy working with family businesses like Apple Travel and it’s great to see the next generation of Sweeneys already taking an interest with Millie joining us in Scarborough. These new Panthers will be a real boost for the Apple Travel fleet and I look forward to building on that next year with another Plaxton Leopard.”

Alexander Dennis Regional Sales Manager Mark Taylor (left) with Millie Sweeney, daughter of Apple Travel directors Sam and Joel Sweeney, at the Scarborough factory.

Apple travel Fleet details here

Plaxton coaches are regarded by the company as the backbone of their operation

Monday 27 November 2023

New Piccadilly Line Train Test Report.

Siemens Mobility are building 94 new trains for Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Piccadilly line. The first train is under test at the Test and Validation Centre in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany.

The line's existing trains have been in use since 1975 and are set to be replaced with the new models in 2025.

The first nine-carriage train came off the production line in Vienna at the end of July before being transported to the Test and Validation Centre. Meanwhile, work to complete Siemens Mobility's new site in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where around half the trains will be assembled, is nearing completion.

Geoff Marshall visited the test track in Germany to see one of the first trains being tested,
view his detailed report here

Sunday 26 November 2023

Oxford Launch 21 Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliners

Oxford continues charge to net zero with launch of Wrightbus fully electric buses

Zero-emission electric buses manufactured by Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus have been launched in Oxford.

The first of a fleet of 21 StreetDeck Electroliners - the world's most efficient double deck battery-electric bus - has been launched as part of the city’s ambitious drive to achieve net zero by 2040.

The vehicles have been branded in partnership with Oxford Brookes University and were unveiled at the University’s Headington Campus.

The new BROOKESbus fleet, which is owned and run by Oxford Bus Company, will replace the existing fleet of diesel buses and will prevent up to an estimated 850 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into Oxford per year. On a full charge of power, they can travel up to 300 miles.

It’s Oxford’s first ever electric bus service and all the vehicles are expected to be in service by the end of the year. They will benefit not only students and staff, but the local community and visitors to the city.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be working with Oxford Brookes and the Oxford Bus Company in their commitment to offering zero-emission public transport in the city and can’t wait to see even more of our buses in operation.

“Wrightbus’s ambition is to reduce the environmental impact of public transport ​​and we continue to invest in ground-breaking technology as a driver to developing cleaner, more efficient transport solutions.

“We are the only manufacturer in Europe to offer a complete suite of zero-emission buses, with both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell single and double decks.

“These have a vital role to play in decarbonising public transport and in enabling operators, local authorities and governments to meet their carbon reduction targets.”

All of the energy used to charge the buses will be from renewable sources, and a full charge of a bus will take approximately three and a half hours. As electric buses are much quieter than diesel buses, the new buses will emit an artificial sound while travelling at low speeds for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Speaking at the launch event, Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said: “The launch of these new, fully electric BROOKESbuses is an important step towards our ambition of delivering net zero by 2040, something we know is very important to our students, staff and wider community. We are also very proud that these new buses will be charged from renewable sources.

“We recognise the critical role that the BROOKESbus service plays for students, staff and the city’s community and visitors. In 2022, for instance, we amalgamated the service with some of Oxford’s local Park and Ride Services and provided a much-needed bus route from Blackbird Leys to the University.

“We know the impact of the cost of living on students’ lives. That is why I am particularly excited that this new cleaner bus service offers free journeys for the vast majority of our students.”

Luke Marion, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first BROOKESbus branded electric vehicles arrive as part of our exciting journey towards delivering an all-electric fleet of city buses.

“Oxford Brookes University is equally committed to using innovation to enhance sustainability and we’re proud to deliver this milestone for our community via our long-standing partnership.

“Our investment in net zero vehicles and the associated infrastructure will further help improve air quality and make bus travel an even more sustainable option for Brookes students, staff, and the wider public to travel around Oxford.”

Saturday 25 November 2023

Abellio’s New single deck EV Fleet Hits The London Roads On Route 433

Abellio continues its rollout in London as it celebrates the official rollout of a new fleet of single-deck Caetano e.City Gold buses on Route 433.

Route 433 operates on behalf of Transport for London from Abellio’s Beddington depot near Croydon, it runs between Addington Village interchange and East Croydon, providing a vital service for Londoners.

The Caetano e.City Gold buses are state-of-the-art, fully EV, no emission, low-body buses. Designed and fitted in partnership with Abellio, they continue our vision to provide a high-quality bus interior that ensures sustainable and comfortable journeys for our customers.

Comfort and accessibility for customers are at the heart of Abellio's vision for bus in London. Priority seats are clearly highlighted, and digital signage on board shares a range of real-time information, including the time to the next stop, disruptions, space on the next bus, and service updates for Tube, Overground, and DLR services. There is dedicated signage for the wheelchair area, making it easier for customers in this space to access the information they need.

Abellio is proud to support the Mayor of London’s vision to reduce carbon emissions in London. The growth of our EV fleet and continued investment in infrastructure across our depots will make London’s streets cleaner and greener.

Alastair Willis, Head of Commercial, Abellio London, said:

‘’Abellio is at the forefront of providing customers with cleaner, zero-emission journeys. We are absolutely delighted to bring another fully EV route to London as the 433 rolls out with these innovative new Caetano buses.”

One of the original batch of Caetano vehicles seen in operation at Victoria in November 2021

Friday 24 November 2023

Enviro200AV wins Vehicle of the Year as Alexander Dennis and Partners Gain Top Honour at Self-Driving Industry Awards

Alexander Dennis, has announced that its Enviro200AV autonomous bus for the CAVForth project has been recognised as Vehicle of the Year at the UK’s first dedicated awards for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Winners of the Self-Driving Industry Awards 2023 were announced by Cars of the Future at a ceremony at the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate on 17th November 2023.

In a collaborative achievement, bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, autonomous system provider Fusion Processing, and public transport operator Stagecoach clinched the prestigious Vehicle of the Year award. 

The recognition highlights the importance of public transport when considering what the future of mobility could look like and honours the partners’ effort in launching the UK’s first full-size autonomous bus service.

The award-winning bus is a standard Alexander Dennis single decker that has been fitted with cutting-edge technology and an eye-catching livery. Five of these autonomous buses have been in service in Scotland since May 2023 as part of the CAVForth project, carrying thousands of passengers and covering over 70,000 miles in autonomous mode.

Matthew Lawrence, Fleet Sales Director at Alexander Dennis, accepted the award on behalf of the engineering team and said: “We are honoured to receive the Vehicle of the Year award at the inaugural Self-Driving Industry Awards for our first fleet of Enviro200AV. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our engineering team and partners. Together, we are driving the future of autonomous transportation, setting new benchmarks for passenger experience, safety, efficiency, and sustainability.”

Peter Stephens, Policy and External Affairs Director for Stagecoach, said: “We are proud to have provided the first autonomous bus fleet to the UK and the first service to our local communities in East Scotland. This Self-Driving Industry Award stands as a testament to the belief of our partners, our staff, and our customers, who have all put their trust in our vision. The service is live, and we invite anyone to come experience AB1, autonomous bus no.1, for themselves!”

The Self-Driving Industry Awards are presented by Cars of the Future ( They recognise outstanding contributions to developing and implementing self-driving technology across various sectors. The partners’ success shows their leadership in driving innovation and fostering a future where autonomous transportation is a reality.

CAVForth is a collaborative project part-funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Led by Fusion Processing Ltd, it involves Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University, Bristol Robotics Lab, and the University of the West of England.

The 14-mile CAVForth service from Fife into Edinburgh across the Forth Road Bridge was launched to the public in May 2023. It will continue to be developed with the follow-up CAVForth2 project, which will extend the route into Dunfermline city centre and add an electric Alexander Dennis Enviro100AEV small bus to the fleet.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Magtec to Repower 15 Open Top Tourist Buses in London

Tootbus has engaged Rotherham based drive systems specialist Magtec to repower a fleet of 15 open top double-decker buses for its sightseeing services in central London. 
Tootbus (RATP Group) aims to have a fully electric fleet by 2030 in line with the Mayor of London’s net zero ambitions for the capital.

 Magtec will equip the 23-tonne tri-axle buses with high-tech electric drive trains including 280 kWh battery system.
Each vehicle will be operating hop-on, hop-off routes past world-famous landmarks and covering more than 70 miles per day in and around Westminster.

Magtec highlights that it has previously supplied an electric drive system for one of Tootbus’ smaller vehicles, an 18-tonne dual axle bus.

Andrew Gilligan, managing director of Magtec, said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our partnership with Tootbus to support its drive to green services and provide an even bigger ‘wow factor’ for its customers. As a UK company, we are proud to be flying the flag for UK manufacturing and helping to improve air quality in the heart of our capital city.

Gavin Brooking, managing director of Tootbus UK, said: “This agreement enables us to continue to deliver on our commitment to a truly sustainable service. We are the first clean energy sightseeing bus company, and remain driven to push the boundaries of green tourism at an accelerated rate – indeed our recent Sustainable Tourism Barometer showed that operators need to make it easier for consumers to adopt greener options. Magtec’s market-leading battery technology will underpin these efforts.”

Tootbus website here

Also see the posting from 5th October here covering Big Bus Tours vehicles being re-powered

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Design Team Required for Major Upgrade of Crewe Heritage Centre

Crewe Town Council is seeking a design team for a major upgrade of the Crewe Heritage Centre railway museum [Deadline: 7 December 2023]

The winner of the estimated £45,000 contract will carry out a feasibility study looking at options to transform the former railway works which is now a visitor attraction featuring several open signal boxes, a miniature railway and British Rail’s only surviving experimental APT-P train.

The project aims to deliver a new ‘modern heritage leisure attraction’ on the site next to Crewe Station' which currently receives around 30,000 visitors a year – celebrating local railway heritage and social history.

The search for a design team comes just three months after Crewe Town Council announced it was seeking a consultant for a conservation area review of Crewe, focussing on understanding the Cheshire town’s ‘built heritage, its context, impact and value.

According to the brief: ‘The council has been working with Crewe Heritage Trust and progressing work seeking to achieve museum status for the site as well as supporting their operational transition as they adopt new working practices'.

‘The project is to develop a feasibility study and business case for the provision of a modern heritage leisure attraction in Crewe, leading to the capital investment and redevelopment of the site'.

‘The feasibility study and business case end product will be the engagement of large-scale external funding agencies with the aim of securing the necessary funding for the final delivery of a destination attraction that reflects Crewe’s position in national rail and engineering heritage as well as the local social heritage context.’

Crewe is a large town of around 76,000 inhabitants located 237km north of London. The settlement was historically a major centre of railway manufacturing and is currently earmarked for a new Grimshaw-designed hub station connecting existing rail services with the north-western spur of HS2.

 Bids to deliver the latest contract will be evaluated 60 per cent on quality and 40 per cent on cost. Applicants must hold employer’s liability insurance of £10 million, public liability insurance of £10 million and professional indemnity insurance of £1 million.

The APT is displayed at Crewe Heritage Centre, more details and photos on the Crewe Heritage Supporters site here

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Abellio London Orders GB Kite Electroliners and Streetdeck Electroliners from Wrightbus

 Wrightbus has secured further orders with transport operator Abellio.
Abellio, part of the Transport UK Group, has placed new orders for 80 electric buses with the Northern Ireland-based firm.

The orders consist of 24 single-deck GB Kite Electroliners and 56 StreetDeck Electroliners - the world’s most efficient battery electric double-deck bus.

The new-look 2024 Kite single deckers come with a number of safety features to make them compliant with Transport for London’s bus safety standards, including front and nearside blindspot warnings, tyre pressure monitoring system, automated emergency braking system, and dynamic stability test.

These state-of-the-art, fully EV buses will be rolled out across the Capital in 2024 and will be operated by Abellio on behalf of Transport for London, enabling Londoners to enjoy greener, cleaner journeys.

The deal also takes Abellio’s total order of StreetDeck Electroliners with Wrightbus to over 100 - a significant landmark in the operator's investment into an EV fleet and infrastructure that has placed it at the forefront of EV in London.

The bus interiors have been designed in partnership with Abellio to provide increased comfort for customers.

They are fitted with Lazzerini high back seats throughout, and a wood-effect floor adds to the cutting-edge design. USB chargers and mobile phone holders in the seats mean passengers can work or relax more easily. Priority seats feature a contrasting colour scheme, and the vehicles also have a larger wheelchair and buggy area, improving accessibility.

The buses are being manufactured at the Wrightbus headquarters and manufacturing plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, supporting hundreds of high-skilled jobs to help level up and grow the economy.

Jon Eardley, Managing Director of Abellio, said:

“Abellio sits at the forefront of EV bus technology in London, leading the way with the introduction of zero-emission buses across our six London depots.

“We are proud to support Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s goals to decarbonise London’s streets.

“Abellio’s investment in state-of-the-art EV fleet and comprehensive infrastructure has already provided millions of customers with comfortable, cleaner, and greener journeys.

“We are very excited about the future as we energise all six of our London depots and work in partnership with Wrightbus to serve our customers with innovative zero-emission journeys.”

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said:

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Abellio to further demonstrate their commitment to offering even more zero-emission public transport in London.

“It has been a real team effort between Wrightbus and Abellio to deliver these orders, which will help customers enjoy cleaner transport.

“We’re immensely proud of the reputation we have forged in the zero-emission transport sector and the important role we are playing in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

“All of the buses will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”

The StreetDeck Electroliner is the perfect combination of range and efficiency, maximising power and offering class-leading recharge times.

Official assessments undertaken at UTAC using the ZEMO-accredited Ultra Low Emission Bus (ULEB) test showed that the Electronlier achieved a result of 0.69 kWh/km - around half the energy consumed by its closest BEV double deck UK rival and significantly better than all other BEV single deck bus results published on the ZEMO website.

Wrightbus has been at the forefront of the movement to decarbonise public transport across the UK and Ireland with the Electroliner alongside its world-first hydrogen double deck, the StreetDeck Hydroliner.

Monday 20 November 2023

New Look Gatwick Airport

 Network Rail has been delivering a massive vital upgrade to Gatwick Airport Railway Station to relieve crowding, improve accessibility and reduce delays for commuters and leisure travellers across the South East.

The new look Gatwick Airport station is set to open to passengers on Tuesday 21 November, transforming the journey from train to plane and giving passengers easier, faster and more reliable train journeys.

With the number of customers visiting the station set to grow, this important investment will upgrade the railway station and help the airport to play an even bigger role in the local economy’s growth as a hub for international visitors.

The upgrade has:

  1. Doubled the size of the station concourse through the construction of a new concourse above platforms 5, 6 and 7, the refit of the existing station concourse and the construction of a new separate staff building to create more space for customers
  2. Improved customer access, especially for wheelchair users and those with luggage by building five new lifts, eight new escalators, new staircases and improved wayfinding throughout the station buildings
  3. Reduced platform overcrowding and reduce train delays across the network by widening platforms 5 and 6, through adding a new lift and set of stairs on platforms 3 & 4 and new lifts, escalators and stairs on platforms 5, 6 and 7. 
  4. This will make it much faster for passengers to board and alight trains and clear platforms, helping our team to dispatch trains quickly and keep services running on time

To enable the work, the station will need to be managed differently. A change in walking routes has been adopted at the station, to ensure that every customer is supported during this exciting time at the airport. This includes ensuring that step-free access to and from the platforms is available at all times.

Read the Network Rail report here


Sunday 19 November 2023

£356 Million Being Spent on Central Line London Tube

Significant improvements to the Central line that will improve the quality and reliability of services are taking place.

TfL is investing £356 million as part of the Central Line Improvement Programme that includes the replacement of old traction motors on the fleet, to help reduce delays on the line, the trains being increasingly unreliable due to the deteriorating condition of the rolling stock.

All 85 trains on the line – the longest on the London Underground at 46 miles – will undergo a comprehensive 10-week makeover that will include the long-awaited introduction of CCTV cameras and new “moquette” seating.

The five identical trains that run on the Waterloo and City Line are also being refurbished.

The Central line trains first entered service in 1992. The upgrade will extend their lives by “15 to 20 years”, with the first refurbished train entering service by the end of November. .

The programme also includes accessibility enhancements for passengers, including more space for wheelchair users, audio and visual passenger information, and colour-contrasting features.

These improvements will be complete by 2024. In the longer term, TfL will replace the current 92' Stock train fleet with the next generation of trains as part of the Deep Tube Upgrade Programme.

TfL will of course continue to seek opportunities to maximise the frequency of services within the capability of the current fleet size.

Read more on the Ian Visits website here

Saturday 18 November 2023

Go South Coast Upgrades Morebus and Southern Vectis fleets With 35 New Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Low-Emission Buses

Alexander Dennis has announced that it is in the process of delivering a fleet of 35 new Enviro400 double deckers to Go South Coast.

The Go-Ahead Group company, which operates a fleet of over 850 vehicles on over 140 local and long-distance routes across Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, has allocated the new low-emission buses to its morebus and Southern Vectis operating units.

28 buses at morebus have recently upgraded the frequent m1 and m2 routes in Bournemouth and Poole to double deck operation, offering additional seats to passengers on the conurbation’s busiest bus service.

Another seven new Enviro400's will shortly join Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight.

Each of the 35 buses seats up to 75 passengers and provides a comfortable journey experience for passengers with Alexander Dennis SmartSeats, mobile device charging and free wi-fi. Drivers benefit from cameras instead of traditional external mirrors, improving visibility in low light.

Go South Coast Managing Director, Andrew Wickham, said: “Our aim is to help reduce congestion across the region – and we believe making sustainable transport even more attractive is key to that. Just one fully-loaded double decker has the potential to take up to 75 cars off our roads, so we believe we have made the right decision, adding these impressive new buses to our fleet.”

Matthew Lawrence, Fleet Sales Director at Alexander Dennis, said: “Go South Coast’s investment in 35 new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double deckers is great news for passengers in Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Air quality will benefit, too, with the buses fitted with our SmartPack efficiency technology and certified as low-emission buses. We’re looking forward to continuing the partnership with Go South Coast not just through our AD24 aftermarket but also with another 44 Enviro400 already on order for next year.”

At a launch event in Newport, Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Southern Vectis, told the County Press: "We're really pleased with them. They're state of the art.Read the Isle of Wight County Press report here

Friday 17 November 2023

BusAndTrainUser Verify - Barry Bus Station

Roger French has launched BusAndTrainUser Verify a new occasional media monitoring service which aims to fact check the veracity of headline grabbing negative claims about buses and trains so beloved of modern main stream and social media channels.

He has investigated the headlines about the new bus station at Barry that has no buses

Read the posting here

Thursday 16 November 2023

Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation Orders 35 Electric Alexander Dennis Enviro500EV's

Alexander Dennis, has announced that it has been chosen in a competitive tender by Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation to supply 35 battery-electric Enviro500EV double deck buses.

MTR Corporation provides Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway urban rail system including a network of feeder bus services, for which it operates a fleet of 172 buses. Most of them have been supplied by Alexander Dennis from its Enviro200, Enviro400 and Enviro500 vehicle ranges.

MTR Corporation’s new fleet of zero-emission buses will be delivered throughout 2025 and 2026.

The Enviro500EV has been fully designed in-house by Alexander Dennis’s engineering team as part of the manufacturer’s next generation of zero-emission buses. The new fleet can substantially reduce the carbon footprint compared with traditional diesel buses, contributing to a greener environment.

Its 472kWh batteries are supplied by Impact Clean Power Technology to a future-proof design that allows for upgrades to benefit from advances in battery technology without structural modifications. Power is transmitted through the heavy-duty Voith Electrical Drive System, which at 410kW peak and 310kW continuous output has ample reserves to cope with Hong Kong’s topography.

Andy Boulton, Managing Director Asia Pacific for Alexander Dennis, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the MTR Corporation as partner for the transition to zero-emission bus services. 
Our Enviro500EV has been designed from the ground up for the demands of Hong Kong’s world class transport system, ensuring that this transformational investment in cleaner transport will deliver for the MTR Corporation.”

Wednesday 15 November 2023

French City That Pioneered Hydrogen Buses Will Now Opt for Battery-Electric Due to Problems And High Costs

In 2019 SNCF with technical assistance from their Keolis subsidiary, the hydrogen-powered F├ębus bus rapid transit (BRT) network was launched in south-western French city of Pau.

Now the city has become the second French city to abandon its hydrogen bus project and opt for battery electric buses.
The buses transport 5 million passengers over a million kilometers and avoid more than 1,000 tons of CO2. But the development of electric buses and lack of subsidies mean that future vehicle purchases will be for battery powered vehicles.

Frequent breakdowns of the Van Hool Exqui.City FC 18m hydrogen buses and the fact that the hydrogen fuel bill is now almost double to what was planned result in the project no longer being viable.

The decision by Pau follows Montpellier, which last year canceled the plan to buy more than 50 hydrogen buses after officials determined that operating the same number of electric buses would cost only one-sixth of the original project, a savings of 2.5 million euros.

Read the full Nation World article here

Details of the 2019 launch  here

Pau is located in southern France, close to the Spanish border.


Tuesday 14 November 2023

London Northwestern Railway Welcomes Class 730 Fleet Into Passenger Service

London Northwestern Railway (LNR) has introduced the first of its Class 730 electric train fleet into passenger service on the West Coast Main Line.

The first service on 13h November was the morning’s 6.04am departure from Bletchley to London Euston, followed by the 7.24am return from Euston to Tring. Initially Class 730s will run six passenger services every weekday but this will be stepped up in coming weeks as more units are brought into service.

The first trains in service are from the three-carriage Class 730/0 sub-class, typically running with two units coupled together as six-carriage trains. The Class 730/0s – which are ultimately destined for routes in the West Midlands - have been introduced on the West Coast Main Line as a temporary measure until five-carriage Class 730/2s are brought into service next year.

Due to their spacious interiors, a six-carriage Class 730/0s has a higher total capacity than the eight-carriage trains they are replacing.

The next route where Class 730/0s will be deployed will be between Walsall and Wolverhampton early next year, followed by the Cross City Line through Birmingham. Once fully rolled out, the Class 730 fleet will consist of 324 new carriages across 82 trains in a mixture of three/six-carriage and five/10-carriage formations.

John Doughty, LNR Engineering Director, said:

“These state-of-the-art electric trains will make a real difference for customers across our network.

“The carriages of our Class 730s are longer and more spacious than our existing fleet, allowing us to carry more passengers and improve accessibility amongst a range of passenger benefits.

“We are pleased we are able to utilise the Class 730s to increase overall capacity on our routes to and from London Euston before we bring the fleet to the West Midlands next year.”

Passenger benefits of the Class 730s include:
Increased passenger capacity
Improved accessibility with spacious interiors
More bicycle storage, enabling up to three bikes to be carried
Clear luggage racks to avoid passengers leaving items behind
Smart new digital screens with useful information, such as tools to help passengers find quieter carriages
Plug and USB sockets accessible at every seat
Intelligent lighting which saves energy by optimising ambient light
Free WiFi

The introduction of the Class 730s into passenger service on the West Coast Main Line will allow the withdrawal of LNR’s five remaining Class 319 units by the end of 2023. 
The introduction of the Class 730s onto the Cross City Line next year will see the Class 323 trains currently in use on the route cascade to Northern.

Coming on the back of the introduction of the Class 196 fleet on routes operated by LNR’s sister company West Midlands Railway last year, the Class 730 fleet is part of parent company West Midlands Trains’ £690m investment in new trains and infrastructure.

Monday 13 November 2023

Collectors Offered Parts of BA 747-400 Which Carried BOAC Heritage Livery

The Boeing 747 aircraft (G-BYGC) which, in 2019 was painted in BOAC heritage livery is being dismantled and its parts offered to collectors. It was withdrawn from service in 2020.

Read the article here  
Background information here

Sunday 12 November 2023

2023 Remembrance Weekend News

Go-Ahead London

In preparation for Remembrance Day, one of Go-Ahead London buses has been specially wrapped to become a "Poppy bus".

The Ee200 bus, shown in the images, is a brand new BYD ADL electric bus. Working in partnership with Transport for London, the unique wrap is designed to support the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal. 

The livery will remain in place for around one month. The Poppy bus can be seen in service on Route 40. This route operates from Camberwell Garage and serves between Dulwich and Clerkenwell.

Ee200 is Go-Ahead London's 445th electric bus, with more being introduced into the Go-Ahead fleet, providing passengers with green and reliable public transport. 
Ee172, the uniquely wrapped bus honouring the contribution made by Windrush pioneers and descendants, is also on this route. 

David Cutts, Managing Director, said: "We are proud to have our brand new bus wrapped in support of the Poppy Appeal. Go-Ahead London support the Royal British Legion and remember the sacrifices made."


Stagecoach West has unveiled a Plaxton Panorama coach in its Oxford Tube fleet that has been treated to a poppy-themed livery ahead of Remembrance Sunday. It complements a number of buses elsewhere in the group that already carry poppy-themed designs.

The design on the Panorama was created with support from the Armed Forces Covenant and the Ministry of Defence. It is what Stagecoach West Managing Director Rachel Geliamassi says is “a longer-term gesture of appreciation and gratitude” for the service and sacrifice of armed forces members.

 Defence Relationship Management National Account Manager Sam Berkson has thanked Stagecoach for its backing. “It is clear that Stagecoach recognises the benefits of being a Forces-friendly employer and I look forward to its continued support for defence and advocacy for its people.”

Stagecoach Chief Operating Officer Sam Greer said: “Stagecoach is proud to have thousands of veterans in our employment, so recognising the significance of remembrance weekend with free travel is vital.

“Remembrance Day and the Poppy Appeal are causes close to the hearts of many of our employees and customers, and we are very pleased to be making this commitment that will hopefully help people to attend memorials across the UK.”

The ongoing free travel commitment, which includes Armed Forces Day in the summer, underlines Stagecoach’s commitment to its employee-led, UK-wide Veterans’ Network.

That was established to allow those working for Stagecoach and who have served in the military to come together as a single voice to make changes, raise awareness, help to influence decisions within the business, and introduce new ways of working.

The group’s work with the armed forces saw it claim a silver award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in July. That scheme acknowledges organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support for the armed forces community and which align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant. Stagecoach has been a member of the latter since 2015.

Free travel will be available on all Stagecoach bus and tram services across the UK for military, cadets, and ex-military personnel November 11 and 12, 2023 for Remembrance Weekend.

The operator is offering free travel to any serving personnel in uniform, or with proof of a military ID card, veterans wearing medals or veterans' badge, and cadets in uniform attending remembrance services. This is also offered by the operator during Armed Forces weekend each year.

Stagecoach South has pledged a £10 donation for each bus running in our region to this year’s Royal British Legion Poppy appeal.

For many years the company, which operates bus services across Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, has supported the appeal by branding all its vehicles with poppies.

Managing Director Marc Reddy said, “We’re thrilled to continue supporting the poppy appeal. This year, in our efforts to drive net zero and reduce waste, we’ve chosen not to decorate buses with temporary stickers but will instead donate our money directly to the Royal British Legion.

“We employ a large number of former service personnel at our local bus depots and we’re extremely proud to help the charity continue its vital support and care for our veterans. With 387 Stagecoach buses running every weekday across our region, we’re pleased to offer a matching £3,870 for this year’s fundraising campaign. You’ll also see our popular full-livery poppy buses running around north Hampshire and the Blackwater Valley, as our permanent tribute to the charity.”

Clare Peppiatt, Regional Poppy Appeal Manager for the South-West at the Royal British Legion said: “For the first time during the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, you can wear a plastic-free poppy that is entirely made from paper. In line with the charity’s commitment to sustainability and reducing its impact on the environment, Stagecoach will also be taking an eco-friendlier approach to their donating. We are hugely grateful for the support of Stagecoach, who contribute vital funds that go towards helping veterans, current serving personnel, and their families.”

As mentioned above, Stagecoach has confirmed free bus travel to military personnel past, present and cadets across the 11th and 12th of November. 
Bus drivers have been invited to observe the national 2 minutes silence on both days, where safe and appropriate to do so.

On either day, Armed Forces personnel in Uniform or proof of military ID and veterans (wearing medals or a Veterans badge) will be able to travel free on any Stagecoach Bus across Brighton, Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

More Poppy Bus news, 

herehereherehere & here