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Focus NEWS 1
from 21 July to 22 September 2010

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Information found by Tony Wilson. First published on website 17 September 2010

Further details of the proposed new London double decker on the Evening Standard website HERE.

Steam trains to run into Matlock Station

Information found by David Gambles. First published on website 13 September 2010

More information on the BBC website (with video added 14 September 2010) HERE.

More information on the Peak Rail website HERE.

Tony Wilson adds (14 September 2010):

In response to David Gambles recent posting below are a couple of recent images of Matlock Station. An EMT 158 arrives from beneath the road bridge adjacent to the station and is then seen serving Platform 1. In the second image one can observe the line heading west towards where the Peak Rail development is proposed to take place. However, I and probably others, are unsure as to whether the railway lines will be re-aligned on Platform 2, or just joined up to allow the preservation pieces to run in and serve Paltform 1. Hopefully it will be the former and then linked in to the Network Rail line to and from Derby.

I also understand from other reports that the Derby-Matlock line has been a massive success since the new timetable was introduced, providing better opportunities for travel.

For once, a 'good news' story about the rail network.

Also the endless possibilities for some interesting steam and diesel traction along the Derwent Valley.

Matlock Station

Matlock Station

Olympic cable car

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 13 September 2010

A cable car is proposed which will cut journey times between the 02 Arena and the ExCel exhibition centre - both of which are Olympic locations. A planning application for a privately funded £25m cable car across the Thames is about to be submitted

More information on the BBC website HERE.

Access for the disabled at Derby Bus Station

Link found by David Gambles. Comment by Oliver Foreman. First published on website 9 September 2010

The new Derby Bus Station is now the target of a disabled group who have drawn up 43 points for improvement.

It seems that the disabled means of access to the new Red Arrow coaches does not work well in Derby Bus Station bus bays, but may be better in the coach bays at the end.

Read the report on the BBC website HERE.

Airbus A380 lands at Manchester Airport for the first time

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 3 September 2010

The world's largest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380, has landed at Manchester Airport for the first time. The 517-seat double-decker plane, Emirates flight EK017, arrived from Dubai at 1225 BST.

Manchester is the first regional airport in the world to have a daily A380 service and the airport has invested more than £10m in the past 18 months to accommodate the plane. Thousands of people were at the airport to see the plane touch down and special arrangements were in place to give them a tremendous view of the new plane.

Pendolino to be commissioned on the East Coast main line?

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 30 August 2010

One of the the new 11-car Pendolino Class 390's being built by Alstom at its facility in Savigliano, Italy, could be commissioned on the UK East Coast main line.

Under the plan, East Coast Main Line Company Limited (East Coast), the publicly-owned company which operates Anglo-Scottish services on Britain’s premier long-distance rail route, would take delivery of the new train in July next year. East Coast would operate the Pendolino in daily passenger service, principally between London and Edinburgh, for a period currently estimated to be nine months.

Four such train-sets which will be very similar to the 9 car Pendolino Class 390s, currently in service on the West Coast Main Line are being built by Alstom and are capable of speeds of up to 140 miles per hour although limited to 125mph due to infrastructure constraints.

More information on the East Coast Main Line website HERE.

Transport for Papal visit

Found by Colin Sellers. First published on website 22 August 2010

Stagecoach, the Perth-based bus and rail giant, has struck a lucrative deal with the Catholic Church over transport for the Papal visit to Glasgow next month.

Stagecoach expect to transport about 65,000 people in total to and from Bellahouston Park – around 50,000 by bus and the remaining 15,000 by rail. Stagecoach will seek the help of other companies as it is thought between 600 and 700 buses will be needed.

Read the full report in the Herald Scotland HERE.

Crashes in Derby Bus Station. A problem or not?

Found by Richard Lomas with comment by Oliver Foreman. First published on website 20 August 2010

On 18th August the BBC was reporting that there have been 8 crashes in 5 months (nobody hurt) in the new Derby bus station.

Alex Hornby of Trentbarton was interviewed on Radio Derby and said that, though regrettable, it is not an excessive number for such a busy bus station. To hear what he said click HERE and move the slider across to 1:18.27.

The question is whether there is a problem or whether the BBC have little to report in the current 'silly season'.

It would be interesting to hear the views of others (especially bus drivers) on the design of bus stations. Derby is one where buses have to back off the stands in the path of other buses coming in. As a driver for some years at Mansfield (with a similar set up) I remember how terrifying it was the first time as you can only see directly behind you and are dependent on other drivers giving way to reversing vehicles. Yet I do not recall many accidents (except on one occasion a young Stagecoach driver backed at full revs across the bus station into what he thought was an empty bay . . . but it contained a Trent bus! C R A S H!).

Every design of bus station has its good and bad points. What do you think?

Stagecoach interim management statement

Stagecoach has issued an Interim Management Statement saying that it has performed well since 30 April 2010, and remains on course to meet its expectations of profitability for the year ending 30 April 2011.

Like-for-like revenue growth in each of the Group's main businesses is provided below.
UK Bus - twelve weeks ended 25 July 2010 2.0%
UK Rail (excluding tram businesses) - twelve weeks ended 25 July 2010 7.0%
North America - three months ended 31 July 2010 6.9%
Virgin Rail Group - twelve weeks ended 25 July 2010 18.7%

Trading conditions have improved across the Group, with improving revenue trends in both the UK and North America.

Whilst the effect of the change in the UK Government and the sustainability and pace of economic recovery remain uncertain, it is believed that on balance the outlook for the Group is positive.

More information on the Stagecoachgroup website HERE.

Trent bus on Ebay?

By an Moorcroft. First published on website 19 August 2010

Is this an ex Trent Tiger Cub, the fleetnumber would indicate it's YRC 195 ?

Take a look on Ebay HERE.

Mickleover, Derby bus station, Trentbarton, Facebook, opinions

Oliver Foreman writes (18 August 2010; added to website 19 August)

I did not mean to, but somehow I have managed to sign up to two Facebook accounts. This is all the more odd becuase I seem to be the only person with a computer who detests Facebook. If I had the patience to work out how to, I would delete them both.

I have observed carefully those younger than me whose very life appears to depend on constant communication with others via Facebook. Yet to my way of thinking these continual exchanges lead to bickering and falling out which would not have happened if Facebook did not exist.

Enough of this rambling! I wonder if this, reported on the This is Derbyshire website, would have happened before the days of Facebook. CLICK.

Laying train track . . . the fast way!

By David Gambles. First published on website 17 August 2010

This seems a very clever and efficient way of laying track. I wonder whether it all works when laying track around bends and curves!

Farewell to Volvo Olympians in Chesterfield

By Oliver Foreman. First published on website 15 August 2010

With low floor Scania double deckers due to arrive in Chesterfield any day, the days of the trusty Stagecoach Volvo Oympians are numbered.

Saturday 28 August is to be a special day for Volvo Olympians in Chesterfield. Please note if you wish to join the evening tour you MUST book in advance.

Full details on the TRANSPIRE website HERE.

Timetable changes in East Midlands

By Richard Lomas & Oliver Foreman. First published on website 15 August 2010

Nottingham City Transport are introducing significant service changes from 5th September with increased frequencies on several routes. The biggest change is that the circular Red Line services 44 and 45 (Colwick - Gedling - Mapperley) will be split into two separate services: Red Line 44 (Gedling via Colwick) and Sky Blue Line 45 (Gedling via Mapperely). This adds one more colour to NCT's rainbow. Full details can be found on NCT's web site HERE.

At the same time Premiere are introducing a new service Red2 to Cropwell Bishop and Cotgrave. More evening and Sunday buses are being added to Red1 to Bingham and the X9 Loughborough service is being extended to Old Market Square. See the Premier website HERE.

Also at the beginning of September there are varius changes, mainly minor, in Derbyshire, although a significant one is Stagecoach 17 & 727 being replaced by the X17 (Matlock - Chesterfield - Sheffield) hopefully with brand new Scania double deckers. Summary of forthcoming changes may be found on the Derbyshire County Council website HERE and timetables HERE.

There are also changes in Nottinghamshire, including to the recently introduced X3 from Newark to Lincoln with connections beyond. Changes summarised on the Nottinghamshire County Council website HERE with timetable information (though at the time of writing new timetables not published) HERE.

Stagecoach confirms £50m orders for new vehicles

Drawn to our attention by Phil G & David Gambles. First published on website 12 August 2010

A press release from Stagecoach Group on 9 August 2010 includes the following:

•Transport group buys around 340 state-of-the-art buses and coaches
•Orders follow Britain’s biggest single investment in green hybrid buses
•Passengers across the UK to benefit from latest cleaner vehicles
•More than £260m invested in new vehicles in past four years

The latest orders announced today will go into operation on Stagecoach’s provincial bus routes across the UK, further improving the standard of travel for passengers in Scotland, England and Wales. The new buses and coaches, which will be introduced throughout 2010-11, meet Euro 5 emissions standards introduced last year.

It takes Stagecoach’s investment in new vehicles to more than £260million over the past four years, providing passengers with higher quality travel and better accessibility. Stagecoach is also officially Britain’s best value major bus operator, with fares up to 30% cheaper than the UK’s other major transport groups.

Vehicle manufacturers Alexander Dennis, Scania, Plaxton, Optare and Volvo will supply a total of 163 double-deckers, 70 single-deckers, 79 midi-buses, 17 coaches and 9 mini-buses.

Details of the new orders are:

•100 Scania Enviro 400 double-deckers
•63 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double-deckers
•70 Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 single-deckers
•76 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 midi-buses
•16 Volvo Plaxton Elite coaches
•3 Optare Versa midi-buses
•9 Optare Solo mini-buses
•1 Volvo Plaxton Panther coach

To read the full press release on the Stagecoach Group website CLICK.

Trentbarton pulls a route from Derby Bus Station

Drawn to our attention by Richad Lomas. First published on website 7 August 2010

This link is to a news article about the Mickleover service and the new bus station. Please note that there are lots of comments at the bottom.

Find out more on the This is Derbyshire website HERE.

Travelling between Olympic Games sites in 2012

Drawn to our attention by Tony Wilson. First published on website 7 August 2010

See how central London will cope (or not?) in the summer of 2012

More on London 2012 website HERE.

Solution to traffic congestion: bus straddles the road

Drawn to our attention by Tony Wilson. First published on website 7 August 2010

An interesting idea dreamt up by the Chinese. The wheels of the bus are each side of the road and the traffic passes UNDERNEATH the bus!

More on Chinahush website HERE.

New Scania double deckers for Chesterfield

I am led to believe that the new Scania deckers due to come to Chesterfield are fleet numbers 15688-15696. Note nine in total. Obviously this needs confirmation, but has come from a reliable source.

See also archived news on TRANSPIRE website HERE.

First air conditioned tube trains

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 4 August 2010

Transport for London introduced their first air conditioned trains yesterday 2nd August on the Wembley Park to Watford section of the Metropolitan line.

The new sub-surface fleet is being built by Bombardier Transportation in Derby who will deliver a total of 191 of the new S class trains that have been ordered for use on the Metropolitan. Initially they will run only as far as Wembley Park until signalling at Baker Street and Aldgate has been modified to cope with the new trains which are longer than the current stock. When the signalling is complete they will then be able to run through central London on the true underground sections, where summer temperatures can reach unpleasant levels.

The 'Met' line as it is called, is however, very heavily used and passengers will welcome the luxury of air-conditioning.

Passenger groups are confused as to why the sub surface section of the Metropolitan line has been chosen to have the air con equipped trains but Transport for London have explained that this section of line had the oldest trains which urgently needed replacing and that all future trains will be so equipped.

Peter Hendy, Transport for London Commissioner, said: 'This is great news for Tube passengers, not only will their journeys be cooler, the new trains are more spacious, more accessible and boast the latest CCTV systems'.

The Circle and Hammersmith & City lines are due next for new trains 2012 followed by the District line in 2013.

More on Transport for London website HERE.

Drought closes canal

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 3 August 2010

British Waterways has announced the closure of almost half of Britain’s longest man-made waterway – the 127-mile long Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Monday 2 August. It will close for boating for 60 miles from Wigan in Lancashire to Gargrave in North Yorkshire. There will be a restricted lock schedule on the remainder of the canal to minimise impact on neighbouring waterways.

The closure is due to some of the worst drought conditions for 100 years and the Waterways board are are contacting all affected customers, including boaters, boat hire companies and angling clubs to inform them of the situation. Seven reservoirs that feed water supplies into the 127-mile long thoroughfare will be cut off during the closure. The canal is a popular holiday pastime for visitors to the region and many potential customers who have booked canal holidays will be unable to take their holidays in the region affected, causing general hardship to businesses that depend on them.

More on Britsh Waterways website HERE.

Optare Sells 26% of Company

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 1 August 2010

Ashok Leyland Ltd, the flagship company of the London-based Hinduja Group, announced today that it had reached agreement with Optare plc, to acquire a 26 percent stake in Optare as a part of long-term strategic co-operation. The investment is estimated at about USD 7.5 million.

Optare which was founded in 1985, has a turnover of about £80 million and known for its innovative, weight optimised ‘Low Carbon’ range of low-floor, mid-size buses as well as a modern range of city buses.

Ashok Leyland, a recognised market leader in buses in India with manufacturing facilities in Alwar in India and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, producing city buses and inter-city coaches.

The deal will help Optare to increase exports, reduce costs and provide it with an immediate cash injection of around £5.6million. It will give Ashok access to Optare’s technology including a modern range of mid-size and full-size city buses which will appeal to several global markets.

John Fickling, Optare’s Non-Executive Chairman commented “This new venture will deliver direct benefits to UK bus customers while propelling Optare on to the global stage. We will benefit from the tremendous opportunities offered by Ashok Leyland not only as an industry giant but as a leader in advanced technology”.

The agreement between Ashok Leyland and Optare will be the subject of a General Meeting of Optare’s shareholders to be held in Leeds on Monday 16th August, 2010.

More on Optare website HERE.

More on Ashok Leyland website HERE.

Optare bus
Optare vehicles are popular throughout the whole of the UK.
Here, an Optare Versa owned by Go North East is seen at Gateshead Interchange
serving the Saltwell Park route. © D Gambles

DB Test train to run through Channel Tunnel

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 31 July 2010

Deutsche Bahn Chairman & CEO Dr Rüdiger Grube presented the German national rail company's half-year results on July 28. and announced that they would be sending an ICE3 test train through the Channel Tunnel as part of their preparations for a train service to London.

ICE3 trains are not approved for passenger carrying use in the tunnel but deliveries of the new Siemens Class 407, the Velaro D which have been built to comply with current regulations governing use in the tunnel will allow services to be introduced.

More information on the Siemens website HERE.

Swiss Railways Glacier Express

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 27 July 2010

The excellent safety record of Swiss Railways Glacier Express has been spoilt following the derailment of the train last week resulting in one death and many injured. Rear vehicles of the train were derailed and an investigation is under way to find the cause of the incident. Speculation is centred around the fact that the high temperatures in mainland Europe could have been responsible.

The Glacier Express, which links Zermatt with St Moritz climbs on a single track, through stunning mountain scenery and is dubbed the "slowest express train in the world", being famous for its average pedestrian speed of 30km/h.

Carriages have special large windows that curve onto the roof so tourists get better views of the mountains and some of those windows shattered during the accident causing many injuries.

More information on Swiss News website HERE and HERE.

A1 Tornado problems

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 27 July 2010

A1 Tornado which has travelled more than 10,000 miles since it was first used on the mainline in 2008 is receiving repairs to a leaking boiler stay in Hither Green Depot, London.

More information on Tornado website HERE.

It is anticipated that Tornado will return to active service on Saturday 14th August with 'The Cathedrals Express' from London King's Cross to York

Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:
"Although the recent problems with Tornado’s boiler are part of learning about the locomotive in today’s operational environment, they are a source of great disappointment to all of Tornado's supporters and customers and our customers' passengers. We will continue to investigate these matters and implement any results of that learning. We are working as hard as we can to bring Tornado back to full health as soon as possible and back onto the main line where she belongs."

Latest information on progress on Tornado website HERE.

Quaylink Services Transfer to Go North East

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 27 July 2010

Hybrid Vehicles Out - Euro 5 Versa's In!

The Newcastle - Gateshead Quaylink contract transferred from Stagecoach to Go North East operation on Sunday 18th July and as a result the low emission electric / high speed turbine Designline vehicles have been replaced by a temporary fleet of nine Caetano Nimbus Dennis Darts, pending the arrival of a new fleet of Euro 5 Optare Versa's.

The Designline vehicles operated by Stagecoach for the past five years have had a reputation for poor reliability and as a result Stagecoach painted a small number of elderly step entrance Dennis Darts into Quaylink colours so they could act as reserve vehicles in case of non availability of the electric vehicles.

The new Euro 5 Versa's are expected to enter service sometime in August. Watch this space!

Quaylink buses

Quaylink buses

Launch of Focus TRANSPORT

Comment by Oliver Foreman. First published on website 21 July 2010

Although possibly not to the rest of mankind, the most important event to those of us involved with Focus TRANSPORT is its launch this week! Branching out from the highly successful TRANSPIRE website, Focus TRANSPORT embraces those forms of public transport which people (you?) care to send us information about. We hope you like what is here so far. If you feel you have a comment to make or a photograph (or more) to send please CONTACT us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Through tickets on TM Travel 33 valid on Red Arrow

Comment by Oliver Foreman. First published on website 21 July 2010

TM Travel was a successful private bus company which was bought by the Wellglade Group (owners of Trentbarton) in January 2010.

Since then, TM Travel (still keeping its distinct identity) has taken buses into its fleet from other Wellglade companies and has begun housing some of its vehicles in Trentbarton depots. Its legal lettering now uses the address of Trentbarton's Heanor headquarters.

Starting on 26th July, another step forward is taking place. TM Travel 33 Chesterfield orbital (on most journeys a Derbyshire County Council tendered service) is selling £4.60 through tickets for travel on Trentbarton Red Arrow (to be doubled in frequency from Chesterfield to every 30 minutes) to Alfreton, Ripley, Derby and Nottingham.

TM Travel 33

Photograph by Colin sellers

Dreamliner lands in UK

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 21 July 2010

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has made its first overseas flight and has landed at Farnborough in readiness for the forthcoming airshow.

The aircraft promises greater fuel efficiency due to its lightweight materials and has innovative design features such as bigger windows and more personal space and is said to have an environment designed to help passengers arrive at their destinations feeling refreshed due to the carbon fibre body being able to withstand higher oxygen pressures within the plane. It was first flown last December, two years later than originally planned. All Nippon Airways are scheduled to take delivery later this year, though this deadline could slip into early 2011.

"It's an honour to showcase the 787 here at the Farnborough Airshow," said Scott Fancher, Vice President and General Manager of the 787 programme, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "I can't think of a finer stage on which to present this highly anticipated airplane." This is the first international trip made by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The airplane came via nonstop flight to Farnborough, U.K., from Seattle. "We took advantage of the flying time to conduct some flight testing on the way," Fancher said. "We're taking every opportunity to complete our testing requirements when we fly."

For more on Boeing website CLICK

Dreamliner flies over Derby to say THANK YOU

To read more on THIS IS DERBYSHIRE website CLICK.

Temsa Avenue

Temsa Avenue

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 21 July 2010

Arriva brought this interesting relative newcomer to the Whitley Bay Rally.

For more information on this website CLICK

Wrightbus Streetlite

Wrightbus Streetlite

Report by Oliver Foreman. First published on website 21 July 2010

The Streetlite is a competitor for the ubiquitous Optare Solo.

For the report on this website CLICK

Safety on the railways

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 21 July 2010

For the fourth time in the past five years there were no fatalities to passengers or rail workers as a result of train accidents says the RSSB in its Annual safety Performance report for 2009/10.

On the basis of fatality risk per passenger kilometre, rail travel is nearly 1,500 times safer than travelling by motorcycle, more than 500 times safer than walking, more than 30 times safer than travelling by car and around three times safer than using a bus or coach.

Commenting on the publication of RSSB's Annual Safety Report for the financial year 2009/10 Ian Prosser, the Office of Rail Regulation's director of rail safety said:

"RSSB's Annual Safety Performance Report shows another year of sustained improvements in safety - this is to the credit of the entire rail industry.

"However, we all need to remain vigilant. These figures also indicate an increasing trend in passenger and track worker harm. There can be no complacency.

"Excellence in health and safety culture and risk control must become the goal for the industry so that our railways can maintain continuous improvements in safety, alongside greater efficiency and value for money, through world class systems, processes and leadership.

"This summer ORR will publish its first Health and Safety Review which will set out our views on the state of health and safety across the whole rail industry."

To visit the RSSB website CLICK.

Preston Bus

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 21 July 2010

Stagecoach have reached a satisfactory resolution of the future of Preston Bus, this follows an appeal about the Competition Commission's decision and a hearing by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Details on Stagecoach website HERE.

Deutsche Bahn Air con Problems. Buying Arriva to blame??

Report by David Gambles. First published on website 21 July 2010

A 30 degree C heatwave across much of Europe is causing crops to wither, forest fires to ignite and roads to melt. The air-conditioning systems on board the ICE high-speed trains of Germany's national rail operator Deutsche Bahn have broken down several times, with passengers suffering heat exhaustion after spending hours trapped in temperatures of up to 50C. Several people were hospitalized in the western German town of Bielefeld.

After initial claims that the air-conditioning breakdowns had only affected a small number of trains, reports have since emerged that Germany's current heat wave has disabled the air conditioning on as many as 50 trains last week. Deutsche Bahn chief Ruediger Grube was quick to apologize for the mess, but pointed the finger at climate change.

Winfried Wolf, a transport industry expert and long-time critic of Deutsche Bahn, said he believes the problem is part of an endemic drive to cut maintenance corners. "A week ago, Grube made the decision to buy European bus and rail operator Arriva, for nearly 3 billion euros and not to invest this money in the improvement of the domestic rail service."

More information on DW-WORLD website HERE and HERE.

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