Yesterday, DRS released the first images of the livery carried by its new Class 88 electric and diesel electric locomotives.
DRS says the Class 88 is “another technical innovation from DRS for the provision of superior traction equipment for UK operation, which will result in a step change for delivery of freight and passenger services.
A further development of the Class 68 platform, the Class 88 is a true “Dual Mode” locomotive combining both 25kv Electric and Diesel Electric operating modes”.
Testing of 88001 in Velim has now been concluded, The testing was completed ahead of schedule with the locomotive performing extremely well.
The third locomotive 88003 will be appearing at the leading international trade fair for transport technology, Innotrans from 20th to 23rd September 2016 in Berlin.
Direct Rail Services will take delivery of ten new state of the art Class 88 dual powered locomotives from Stadler Rail, in partnership deal with Beacon Rail Leasing Limited.
After months of development and testing and speculation on its potential use in service, SKM can reveal that the prototype Vivarail Class 230 diesel train will enter service later this year on the Nuneaton to Coventry line.
The 3-car train, converted from redundant London Underground stock, will be leased to a consortium led by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). It will operate on the Nuneaton-Coventry line for a 12 month period.
Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, told SKM “I’m delighted that the Class 230 will soon be running on the mainline carrying passengers. We will be supplying a train of the highest quality with three carriages fitted out in a range of designs which will allow us to get valuable feedback on what passengers actually want. The two driving cars will retain their original ‘crowd-busting’ layout whilst the middle car will showcase different seating and table arrangements. Our aim is to gain direct thoughts from the public about what suits their needs which we will be important in discussions with future operators.
“Throughout this lease period the Vivarail team will be maintaining and analysing the train, which will provide data for us to use to develop our technical expertise as we move into full production.
“Working with the team led by WMCA is an added bonus for us; we are proud to be based in the West Midlands and to see our train running on a ‘local’ route is exceptionally pleasing. We look forward to serving the people of Coventry and Warwickshire throughout this trial period!”
Cllr Roger Lawrence, transport lead on WMCA, said: “The use of the D Train is an innovative proposition which could help us get around the UK shortage of suitable diesel trains to run on this line.
“It should enable more carriages to be provided sooner than would otherwise have been the case and we would encourage passengers to give their feedback once the pilot scheme is up and running.”
Talking about the possibility of the prototype train being used to serve the Ricoh, Councillor David Welsh, Deputy Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said, “I’m delighted that we have been able to work with local partners to trial this new train. Anything we can do to boost the number of people that can travel to the Ricoh by train has got to be good news.
“The trains are a really innovative solution to the shortage of diesel trains across the UK and this is a really good example of local people feeling the benefits of the city being part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). I’m also delighted that we have been able to work with a local company to find what looks like a very smart solution to the lack of rolling stock.”
The Class 230 has been designed as a cost-effective solution to over-crowding on the rail network. The train costs considerably less to acquire and run, about a third less than a comparable unit, and uses about a third less fuel. The ground-breaking engine modules allow the train to be maintained trackside, rather than needing to return to a depot. Each driving car is powered by two independent Gensets which ensure the train can operate at near full power even if one engine should fail. Additionally the train is subject to 24/7 remote monitoring to ensure smooth and continuous service throughout its operating hours.
Robin Hood leads the way as character buses take over Stagecoach East Midlands Sherwood Arrow service
Stagecoach East Midlands has led the way in turning buses in two key seaside areas into attractions in their own right. By giving the Seasider fleets in both Skegness and Cleethorpes individual identities and colourful paint schemes the buses have become as much a part of the holiday as amusements, beaches and fish and chips.
What Managing Director Michelle Hargreaves and her team have achieved is making the bus part of the holiday experience rather than just a means of travel from A to B.
Stagecoach East Midlands also has a strong track record of engagement with the local community with its support for charities through branded buses, as well as recognising significant local events, such as Lincolnshire Day with its Lincolnshire Flag bus.
The character idea has now been extended to the buses which operate the Sherwood Arrow service which links Nottingham with Ollerton and Worksop. For many years the buses used on the route have been painted in bright yellow and green colours.
Now characters from the legendary tales of Robin Hood each have their own bus.
Stagecoach East Midlands has re-branded the Sherwood Arrow service by introducing four character buses onto the route: Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Maid Marian and Friar Tuck.
Stagecoach East Midlands hopes that the buses will encourage families to leave the car at home and take a trip on a Robin Hood character bus.
Four Enviro 200 buses, 36001/05/06/07 carry the names, although we await confirmation of which character is on each individual vehicle.
Like the Skegness and Cleethorpes Seasider buses, children will also have the chance to complete a Robin Hood collection of badges. With one for each bus character, they will be available on the matching character bus when a child has paid a child fare or is accompanied with a fare-paying adult. Bus drivers will also have badge collection cards for each child, for them to record their collection. Sending in photos of completed collections via Twitter and email, children will have the chance to win a £100 toy voucher.
The Sherwood Arrow service, which is partly funded by Nottinghamshire County Council, serves the rural areas between Nottingham, Ollerton, Worksop and Retford. Attractions such as Sherwood Forest and Rufford Park can be reached by using one of the character buses as well as Wheelgate Park and White Post Farm.
Stagecoach East Midlands has advised that a launch event in Ollerton will be taking place on 26 July 2016 between 10am and 3pm on Forest Road outside the Spar shop. One of the Sherwood Arrow buses will be there for people to come and admire. The Stagecoach team will be on hand to answer any questions that customers may have and there will be entertainment including a stilt walking Jester, face painting and a storyteller at the event.
Michelle Hargreaves, Stagecoach East Midlands Managing Director, told SKM: “We are thrilled to announce that new character buses are now in service on the Sherwood Arrow. With the area’s strong links to the legendary tale, it seemed fitting to incorporate this into the rural service we offer.
“Sherwood Arrow is a great service for families to use as you can get out to explore and visit the countryside where there are many attractions just waiting to be enjoyed this summer. We hope that the characters will be well received by children and adults alike!”
Several hundreds of people attended the Peterborough Bus Rally on July 10th 2016 with many travelling to the event on a free service provided by Stagecoach.
Three Stagecoach buses, all carrying branding for charities, provided a shuttle service between central Peterborough and the rally site at Sacrewell, where around 60 buses and commercial vehicles were on display.
Stagecoach East provided two buses (an Enviro 200 and an Enviro 400) carrying Cancer Research (UK) liveries from its Peterborough and Cambridge depots, whilst Stagecoach East Midlands provided an Enviro 300 carrying its Lincoln Poppy Livery from its depot at Lincoln. The Lincoln bus also did one of the shuttle services to the nearby Nene Valley Railway which was running a ‘Thomas’ weekend.
Also on show was a new Coasthopper Enviro 200MMC from Stagecoach in Norfolk.
The event organisers also made a donation of £50 to Cancer Research (UK) and £50 to the Lincoln Poppy Appeal.
Event Organiser Chris Dobbing said: “We are grateful to Stagecoach for sponsoring the shuttle service to the event, which was used by a large number of families visiting the event, many of whom were not regular bus users so hopefully we may have persuaded then to use the bus for their travel in the future. We would also like to thank all the vehicle owners and operators who brought vehicles to the event.”
The event also attracted a selection of vintage buses, including many former London Routemaster double desks and was also supported by Delaine Buses, First Leicester, First Yarmouth & Lowestoft, First Essex, Fowlers Coaches, Dews Coaches, A1 Bus and Diamond Coaches.
This was the tenth rally and there is no doubt that it was the most successful yet in terms of visitor numbers. We hope you enjoy looking at our selection of images from the day.
Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire produces a top class Press Release as it launches new buses in the Lake District
Over my career, which spans more than 40 years, I have received and read many thousands of Press Releases. In that time I have also originated many hundreds. Some are memorable, others are downright abysmal. Then there are the Press Releases that cover several square feet of paper - far too detailed and unlikely to be read!
The best Press Releases are those that are concise and which also include great photography. Let’s remember that in publishing ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.
I was, therefore, really impressed with a Press Release I received recently from Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire, who this weekend introduce a brand new fleet of 12 buses on the 555 route between Keswick and Lancaster next month. The wording of the Press Release was concise and the images were stunning (as was the livery, which came from Ray Stenning’s Best Impressions stable).
The introduction of the new buses coincides with an increased timetable with more frequent services from 3rd July 2016.
Stagecoach says its investment in the new buses is worth £2.5 million and continues its aim of providing sustainable travel throughout the region.
The new fleet of buses will operate on the A591, one of the county’s most vital roads providing a cost-effective way of keeping local residents well connected between Keswick and Lancaster, which is essential for their daily commute.
The buses are designed to provide passengers with a first class experience whilst traveling on one of the most scenic bus journey through the Lake District.,
Each bus comes complete with a striking new livery to promote the best of the Lakes. Italian designed luxury seating, free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, specially designed to be wheelchair and buggy accessible and includes a cleaner, greener engine to help reduce carbon emissions.
Matthew Cranwell, Managing Director at Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire has the last word: “We are really excited about launching our new and enhanced vehicles which will continue to serve the local community who rely on bus services as part of their everyday commute. During the recent closure of the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick we have seen how vital the 555 route really is and the investment in12 brand new buses demonstrate Stagecoach’s continued commitment to the Lakes”.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.