- More buses on service 36. Transport for London is increasing frequencies on service 36 from 9 February following a review of the existing service. From this date service 36 will become a 24-hour service. The route runs between Queen's Park-New Cross Bus Garage (via Paddington, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Vauxhall, Camberwell and Peckham). From Monday to Saturday, the 36 will operate every six minutes during the day (currently it is every 7.5 minutes) and every 12 minutes in the evening. Sunday frequencies remain unchanged. A new night route, the N136, will be introduced between Oxford Circus-Chislehurst War Memorial (via Oxford Circus, Victoria, Vauxhall, Camberwell, Peckham, New Cross, Lewisham, Catford, Downham Way, Grove Park, Chinbrook Road, Marvels Lane, Dunkery Road, Mottingham Road, White Horse Hill, Red Hill, Chislehurst High Street and Centre Common Road), replacing the current N36. Buses on route N136 will operate every 30 minutes on Sunday to Thursday and every 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday.
- Cummins are record output. Production of engines at the Cummins plant at Darlington was up 35% to 79,000 units during 2007, averaging 360 engines per day! A total of 226 customers were supplied engines from this factory, in 40 countries.
- Metrolink upgrade confirmed today. An upgrade of Manchester's Metrolink tram network has secured final finding after the government agreed to provide £25.7m to complete a £102m improvements package. Transport minister Tom Harris confirmed on today that the DfT will supplement the £32.3m contribution agreed in July 2006 to create a total government grant of £58m. GMPTE is responsible for finding the remaining £44m. The money will pay for renovation works along the existing Metrolink system, including the upgrading of bridges, cabling and overhead lines as well as junction improvements on the Eccles line.
- Inverness bus priorities to improve. A new bus priority scheme in the Inverness area is currently being built, which will see traffic islands re-engineered and a bus-only lane installed heading into the city centre. It forms part of a £250,000 scheme being constructed by Highland Council.
- Former Abbot Travel proprietor has died. The former proprietor of Abbot Travel, Loanhead, John Gannon, has died aged 73.
- New train order for TfL's Overground network received. Rolling stock manufacturer Bombardier Transportation has announced that it has received a formal order to supply new trains for the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking Line. The £33m order is for 12 2-car diesel multiple units. Unlike the recent London Overground electric train orders for the North and East London Railway, which will see Transport for London own the new trains rolling stock leasing company Angel Trains will buy this latest batch of trains. The RoSCo is expected to lease eight to London Overground Rail Operations Ltd, which runs Overground trains for TfL, with the remainder being made available to Chiltern Railways. Laing Rail, which owns Chiltern and was recently sold to German state rail operator Deutsche Bahn, owns 50% of LOROL.
- Concessionary free travel not to extend to other areas of the UK. The Government has ruled out the possibility of extending the forthcoming England-wide free concessionary travel scheme to include Wales and Scotland, despite calls from bus and coach operators located near to England/Wales and England/Scotland borders that confusion will ensue. The Government responded by stating that around £1 billion a year was currently being spent on free local concessionary bus travel throughout the UK and said that cross-boundary travel would severely hamper the additional £212 million they were making available for the extended scheme in England from 1 April 2008.
- Ausden Clark move depots. Leicestershire-based coach firm Ausden Clark has opened a new depot in Market Harborough, following the purchase of Alan Smith & Son Coaches in January. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2007, Ausden Clark continues to operate from three other depots to the north, west and south of Leicester.
- Two additional stations may be added to Crossrail 2. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has claimed a victory in its campaign to have two new stations built in the borough. Plans for Crossrail 2, also known as the Chelsea-Hackney Line, have historically included proposals for new stations at Sloane Square and King's Road, Chelsea. However, in a government consultation on plans to safeguard the route against future building work, the DfT said it was not including proposals to build the Sloane Square station. Now, following discussions between the local authority and the DfT, the government has said it will keep all options open for the station.
- NEG signs deal with Jobcentre Plus. National Express Group has signed a deal with Jobcentre Plus that will open up opportunities for those who have been unemployed long-term. NEG managers will tailor interviews to prospective Jobcentre Plus candidates and one of their subsidiaries, Travel West Midlands, has been working with Jobcentre Plus in recruiting new bus drivers for some time.
- A Levels to be awarded by Network Rail. Network Rail has been granted permission to award A-Level equivalent qualifications as part of a government initiative to provide training which better mirrors the needs of employers. The initial qualification to be piloted by Network Rail will be Track Engineering, focusing on technical competences in track engineering but also covering other areas such as Health and Safety. All the Network Rail workforce of 33,000 will eventually be able to benefit from NR qualifications, as will contractors and other stakeholders within the rail sector. As an awarding body Network Rail will retain control over its training needs and will ensure it has the best skilled work force for its core business.
- Up to 18 redundancies by Veolia. It is understood that French-owned Veolia Transport based in Wales are looking for 18 redundancies following expansion in that area since 2005. The firm's Veolia Transport Cymru operating company said that since its first acquisition in Wales, the firm now operates from seven different bases and plans to centralise all operations under the one Veolia Transport Cymru brand is ongoing.
- Blackpool tramway upgrade announced today. The Government has agreed to provide £60.3m to guarantee the survival of Blackpool's historic tram system, transport minister Tom Harris announced today. Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council will contribute an additional £25m, creating a total funding pot of £85.3m which will be used to bring the line up to 21st century standards and boost regeneration of the area. The investment forms the centrepiece of the government's forthcoming response to the Blackpool Task Force report, which recommended ways to regenerate the area. Improvements will include refurbishment of the track and tram stops out to Fleetwood, as well as 16 new fully accessible trams to supplement the current historic trams that serve Blackpool's famous seafront promenade. The decision means Blackpool Council can now start detailed planning for the work, which could start in late 2009.
- Record-breaking vehicle order announced by First today. First has this morning announced a £100 million investment in “more than 700” vehicles, as the bulk of its 2008-2009 UK fleet replacement programme - it is the biggest annual investment in the Group’s coach and bus fleet to date. The details of the manufacturers, models and operating companies likely to benefit will be made public on 12 February at a press briefing. The portfolio of vehicles is likely to include double and single deckers, coaches and articulated buses. The first buses will be delivered in April in Leeds with new vehicles arriving into South Yorkshire and Aberdeen quickly following this.
- Ebbsfleet International opened by UK Olympic champion. Dame Kelly Holmes, winner of two Olympic gold medals, officially opened Ebbsfleet International on 29 January as efforts are stepped up to highlight the location and raise the profile of the new High Speed 1 station. The double Olympic champion - the fastest woman over 800m and 1,500m at the 2004 Olympic Games – said Ebbsfleet International was now the natural starting point for a 'high-speed sprint' to the Continent for millions of people living across Essex, Surrey, Sussex and Kent. High speed train operator Eurostar, Channel Tunnel Rail Link consortium London & Continental Railways and property developer Land Securities used the event to announce a shortlist of internationally-known artists who are competing to design the £2m Ebbsfleet Landmark, which will stand more than 40 metres high and be taller than Nelson's Column.
- Pioneering partnership in the north east. Nexus, Go North East and Gateshead Council have recently signed what they claim to be the first formal partnership of its kind in the UK, which will see all three partners "working very closely together to provide unrivalled bus services" for the people of Newcastle and the eastern area of Gateshead. Bus priority measures, new, environmentally friendly and easy-access buses will be introduced and a pledge has been made to keep bus routes and frequencies stable. All vehicles will be fitted with cctv and be buggy-friendly. Just over 20 routes are covered by the partnership which commended on 27 January and will run for initially 2 years.
- New airport link from Ipswich. BAA Stansted is to start a new coach link between Stansted Airport-Ipswich from 1 May 2008, running to an hourly schedule and operated on BAA's behalf by Excel Passenger Logistics. A single fare between the two points will be £15, a return will be £20. Stanstead Airport claims that more than 40% of its customers travel to the airport by public transport and see this new service as a very attractive alternative for passengers in the Ipswich area.
- New carriages for rail operators, but who gets what? Train operators running commuter routes out of London are set to receive the lion's share of 1,300 extra carriages funded by the government to relieve overcrowding. The London Midland, South Western, Southern and South Eastern franchises are expected to each gain approximately 100 extra carriages while National Express East Anglia has been earmarked for 188. Northern Rail can expect to get 182 additional carriages, benefiting passengers travelling to and from Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle, while the long-awaited Inter-city West Coast Pendolino lengthening programme is set to go ahead with 106 extra cars pencilled in. Altogether, the 1,300 carriages are expected to increase the capacity of Britain's train fleet by approximately 10% and provide around 100,000 extra seats per day on the busiest parts of the network.
- Final appeal outcomes over concessionary reimbursement rates due soon. Due anytime now are the decisions of the final concessionary fare reimbursements that have been ongoing since 2006 in some cases. Lord Bassam of Brighton said that there were 102 appeals by bus operators about reimbursement arrangements during 2007/8, of which 21 were later withdrawn. Of the 81 appeals remaining, not all contained sufficient information for a decision to be taken. As of 17 January a further 29 appeals had been determined and the final 52 were now underway.
- VOSA to stop using laptops after security fears. Following numerous high-profile news reports of laptops and cds that contain sensitive information belonging to government departments being stolen or having gone missing, the Vehicle & Operator Standards Agency (VOSA) has announced it will no longer carry laptops as part of its roadside checks until further notice. Instead, VOSA officials now issue hand-written documents to drivers.
- Under 40s most likely to alter the way they travel as a result of climate change. GMPTE claim that, following their interviewing more than 1,000 local residents, nearly one fifth of people have altered how they made journeys last year because of fears about climate change. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive also claim that of the 25-39 year olds it interviewed, they are the group most affected, with 21% altering their travel behaviour, unlike the over 60s where only 12% were affected.
- Cable car proposed for Bristol. A proposal to create a cable car transit system for Bristol has been drawn up by engineering and transport consultancy Atkins. The idea would see cable cars carrying passengers across the city from Temple Meads and up to Clifton, giving an aerial view of the historic docks and Clifton Suspension Bridge. It would be similar to the Harbour Cable Car in Barcelona, Spain, known as the Transbordador Aeri, which carries 400,000 people a year and operates on 315 feet high steel lattice masts that take passengers to Montjuc.
- Train collides with bridge at Barrow-upon-Soar this morning. A train has collided with the remains of a collapsed footbridge that was destroyed this morning by a truck carrying rail ballast. At 0630 a lorry crashed into a pedestrian footbridge near Barrow-upon-Soar station, just north of Leicester, causing the footbridge to fall on to railway tracks. An emergency stop message was sent to all trains in the area but the 0613 Nottingham to Norwich service, with six passengers on board, was unable to stop and struck the footbridge. Passengers continued their journey by road with one reported as suffering minor injuries. The train driver has been released from the train and has been taken to hospital where he is said to be comfortable and stable.
01 February 2008
Recent Transport Developments
Posted by LEYTR