29 September 2007

Weekly Transport Update 10

  • Enthusiast crashes bus. A drunken bus enthusiast wearing the old style Stagecoach bus driver's uniform, climbed into a Stagecoach bus in Exeter's main bus station and drove the bus into a pillar with 3 passengers on board. When arrested Gary Millgate, 56, was 2.5 times over the legal alcohol limit. He's been banned from driving for 2 years, made to carry out 150 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £400 compensation and £60 costs.
  • First of TfL's Overground trains produced. Bombardier has begun production of new rolling stock for the London Overground network - the first Electrostar 378 carriage body shell. A total of 44 new units with 36 extra carriages have been ordered by TfL in a £259m contract. The first new trains will enter service in 2009. TfL is to take over the concession for the North London Railway on 11 November when the first London Overground services start operating. The existing rolling stock will be deep cleaned and repaired for use until the new carriages are ready to be commissioned.
  • Dot 2 Dot for NX. National Express are to launch an airport transfer service named 'dot2dot' from early November, linking central London hotels with Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. The 32 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters plus 4 Volkswagen Crafters will all feature state-of-the-art satelite navigation equipment, congestion-tracking systems and fully trained and experienced drivers. Fares are priced at £22 one-way from Heathrow and £24 from Gatwick, half the fare you're likely to pay in a taxi.
  • ASBO for graffiti artist. Transport for London has been granted its first Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) against a persistent graffiti vandal. Billy Murrell, a 17-year-old from Plumstead in south east London, is now banned from the top deck of any public transport bus in England and Wales. The ASBO also prohibits him from carrying any permanent marker pens or any glass cutting equipment on London Underground, railway or any other transport provider's property. Murrell has a history of convictions for criminal damage on public transport including vandalising a Tube carriage in Brixton station and convictions for damaging buses and other public property using marker pens.
  • Dublin bus crash. Two passengers and the driver of Dublin Bus service 121 were taken to hospital after it crashed into the garden of a house in Crumlin on 19 September. The female driver was taken ill and a passenger grabbed the steering wheel.
  • Partner firm needed to complete New Street. Network Rail is seeking a delivery partner for the £555m Birmingham New Street Gateway scheme. The delivery partner contract is expected to start in March 2008 and run until completion of the project in July 2014. Network Rail's Birmingham New Street Gateway proposals seek to facilitate the major refurbishment and associated redevelopment of New Street Station and adjoining land, alteration and reconfiguration of station facilities, changes to the Pallasades Shopping Centre and the demolition and replacement of Stephenson Tower.
  • Go Ahead buys Stanley Buses. Go North East, the Go Ahead subsidiary, has purchased Stanley Buses, the local bus operation of Stanley Taxis, with 11 routes for an undisclosed sum. The Company was founded in 1961 with two vehicles and sold its bus business to concentrate on its taxi operation. 14 vehicles and 22 staff are involved in the sale.
  • Volunteers help try-out T5. More than 15,000 volunteers will help test out facilities at Heathrow Airport's new Terminal 5 from 24 September. The six-month trial period comes after construction workers handed over the completed main building to owner BAA last week. A free lunch and goodie bag are on offer to those who take part in the six-and-a-half-hour dress rehearsals. BAA said the trials had been designed using lessons the company had learned from the security and baggage delays faced by passengers at other terminals over the past few months.
  • EYMS to close Whitte's Ludlow depot. The EYMS Group announced last week that, due to ongoing losses and driver recruitment problems, it plans to close the Whittle depot at Ludlow by mid-November. Whittle HQ are nearby Kidderminster is unaffected and EYMS Group Chairman, Peter Shipp, even suggested it may be enlarged. Ludlow's workforce (11 drivers, one fitter and two cleaners) are being offered work at Kidderminster depot.
  • Another Eurostar record set. High speed train operator Eurostar has set another record for train travel with its inaugural service between Brussels and the new London St Pancras International station. The 232-mile journey from Brussels Midi station to St Pancras took one hour, 43 minutes, cutting 20 minutes off the time it currently takes to Waterloo. On 4 September Eurostar set a new journey time record for the Paris to London St Pancras route. That trip, which also used the new £5.8bn dedicated high-speed route from the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone, took two hours, three minutes and 39 seconds.
  • Hamiltons Coaches authorisation cut. Michael Hamilton {Hamiltons Coaches} has received an authorisation cut in its business by 20% from 5 vehicles to 4 for six weeks. Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken, also banned Mr. Hamilton from registering any new local bus services for the same period of time. Maintenance problems resulted in the Traffic Commissioner getting involved.
  • New stations and re-opened train lines. West Midlands PTA is to investigate proposals to reopen freight railway lines to passenger services, including the possibility of building new stations. Last week the PTA agreed to explore the feasibility of opening the Sutton Park line to passenger trains and members believe opening new stations in Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and inner-city Birmingham could help unlock regeneration opportunities. New stations being considered include Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich, which would be linked to Birmingham's emerging Eastside district. The stations - situated on the Water Orton corridor - would also be connected to the new Sutton Park line, which is being investigated by local councillors.