Dear Grant and Sadiq

Saturday 25th June 2022 Extract from Grant Shapps' letter of 23rd June to Sadiq Khan. Dear Grant and Sadiq I was intrigued to be quoted in Thursday’s letter (from you Grant to you Sadiq) so wondered if I could help by acting as a bit of an ‘honest broker’ between the two of you as... Continue Reading →

Restoring Your Railway update

Thursday 23rd June 2022 Last Saturday Minister of State for Transport Wendy Morton announced “a further £15 million in funding to develop nine Restoring Your Railway schemes across England to reopen disused railway lines, services and stations, including some that were axed in the 1950s and 60s – with one station taken out of use... Continue Reading →

Discover Dundee with Discover Dundee

Tuesday 21st June 2022 McGills owned Xplore Dundee began a new open top bus tour of the city at the end of April. I had a ride while visiting Dundee one Sunday last month and am pleased I did. It’s a great ride with friendly drivers, a great commentary containing fascinating information about the city... Continue Reading →

My verdict on TfL’s bus cuts (Part 2)

Sunday 19th June 2022 Following yesterday's blog here are some more thoughts on TfL’s proposed central London bus cuts based on my recent travels and observations on the ground. First up let's take a look at a couple more “over capacity” corridors into central London from the north. Firstly Edgware Road which will see the... Continue Reading →

My verdict on TfL’s bus cuts (Part 1)

Saturday 19th June 2022 Next week isn't going to be a good week for public transport. As well as strikes on the National Rail network on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with knock on impacts on other days there’s a strike on the London Underground on Tuesday continuing into Wednesday morning and by Friday TfL’s current... Continue Reading →

Chelmsford contrasts

Thursday 16th June 2022 Readers may recall when I tried the DigiGo DRT operation from Chelmsford’s Chelmer Valley Park & Ride site at Easter I spotted the temporary 'dealer stock' buses being used by Vectare on that route into the city pending delivery of a new fleet of buses as part of the company winning... Continue Reading →

Stockwell garage celebrates its 70th

Tuesday 14th June 2022 There’s nothing better than a well organised bus garage open day to attract a curious local community to come and take a look behind the scenes as well as generate huge goodwill among bus industry supporters and passionate enthusiasts. And last Saturday there was nothing better than the well organised open... Continue Reading →

K is for King’s Lynn

Sunday 12th May 2022 King's Lynn lies south east of The Wash in the Fenland area that connects East Anglia with Lincolnshire. It's the western most sizeable town in Norfolk with a population of 43,000 falling within the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk. Nearest large towns include Spalding around 25 miles west,... Continue Reading →

The next TfL financial crunch will be wrapped in a purple ribbon, and labelled “Crossrail”.

Saturday 11th June 2022  Guest Blog - David Leeder, Managing Partner, Transport Investments Ltd. The much-delayed opening of Crossrail / Elizabeth Line once again raises questions about the corporate culture of TfL and the medium-term financing of the transport behemoth.  The vast, clinical stations are now open, the shiny Bombardier trains are running, smiling families... Continue Reading →

Barking Riverside’s new service

Thursday 9th June 2022 Now in its seventh week after a low profile ‘soft’ launch the expanding area known as Barking Riverside in east London is enjoying a brand new direct service to the City and Westminster. No, I'm not talking the substantial new railway station. That's due to open later this autumn as the... Continue Reading →

Route 84 lives on

Tuesday 7th June 2022 Back in February when Metroline announced it was throwing in the towel on route 84 between St Albans and New Barnet station there was much speculation what the future would hold for this much loved long standing iconic bus route. Famous for its heritage as a former London Transport red bus... Continue Reading →

Catering for train travel

Sunday 5th June 2022 Over the last few weeks I’ve been keeping notes of the state of catering for passengers travelling first class on trains. Here’s my report complete with a complimentary coffee, biscuits and packet of sea salt flavoured crisps. It’s only long distance ‘inter-city’ train operators who get involved in on board catering... Continue Reading →

Fifteen random Rail Rover reflections

Saturday 4th June 2022 It's a week since I completed my spring time seven-day All Line Rover. Here are a few random reflections on my week long travels around the country with apologies to Twitter followers who may already have read much of the following from last week. 1. Checks on first class abusers on... Continue Reading →

ScotRail’s woes are ember’s gains

Thursday 2nd June 2022 Monday last week saw Scotland’s rail timetables slashed by a third with many last journeys brought forward to early/mid evening to better match reduced driver availability due to staff shortages (post Covid training backlog) and ASLEF’s continuing overtime ban in pursuit of a pay claim. Prior to the reduced timetables services... Continue Reading →

Carnage on the buses (in central London)

Wednesday 1st June 2022 A blog post extra. Route 14 will be axed TfL’s much anticipated six week consultation about its "central London's bus review" began today. It’s going to take that long to work out what’s planned if you rely on TfL's website. TfL's consultation portal - and there's more - Equality Impact Assessments... Continue Reading →

Riding routes 11 and 24; while I can.

Tuesday 31st May 2022 TfL are set to announce further major cuts to its central London bus network today with speculation mounting they'll include the withdrawal of some iconic routes including low numbered jewels 11, 12, 14, 16 and 24. Of course these may just be scurrilous rumours as the Mayor and TfL negotiate future... Continue Reading →

J is for Jarrow

Sunday 29th May 2022 I know it’s not a mid-size town with a distinct geographic hinterland but I struggled to find a J to match my normal AtoZ criteria; so Jarrow it is. Famous of course for the 1936 Jarrow Crusade which saw 200 men march to Westminster protesting at high levels of unemployment and... Continue Reading →

Another DRT for Warwickshire

Saturday 28th May 2022 As well as a new station opening in Reston, Monday also saw another DRT scheme take to the road; this time in Warwickshire thanks to £1.02 million from the DfT’s magic money rural mobility funding tree. And if you’re thinking ‘haven’t I read one of your blogs about a DRT bus... Continue Reading →

It’s here

Thursday 26th May 2022 Four things struck me when riding the new Elizabeth Line alongside thousands of excited passengers on Tuesday's grand opening day. First the sheer scale of the cavernous station structures particularly underground. Liverpool Street I remember the exciting new Victoria line in the late 1960s bringing noteworthy improvements to the London Underground... Continue Reading →

Reston is Britain’s luckiest village

Tuesday 24th May 2022 TPE staff with an original station sign There will undoubtedly be early morning shenanigans today with thousands out celebrating London’s new railway opening its central core gate lines for the first time, but today I’m bringing you news of a comparatively minor development - yesterday's opening of another railway station closed... Continue Reading →

First And Last Mile in Oxfordshire

Saturday 21st May 2022 There’s been talk about how to solve the 'first and last mile' conundrum in transport circles for ages. Pre Covid, whole conferences were even devoted to pontificating on the best ways passengers could ‘transit’ from their rural/suburban based homes to reach trunk bus routes or railway lines for longer commutes and... Continue Reading →

New trains have a-pier-ed in Southend

Tuesday 17th May 2022 Southend-on-Sea’s famous pier has recently seen the arrival of two new eco-friendly trains for its iconic three-foot narrow gauge railway so I popped over yesterday to take a look. Sadly, neither were in service. One train has yet to be made ready for service and the second had some ‘teething troubles’... Continue Reading →

Seen around

Sunday 15th May 2022 I couldn't help but notice a few other things as I wandered around south east London and south Newham on my recent travels. Here's a few for your edification. Liverpool Street bus station You'd think the bus station alongside Liverpool Street station would be a prime spot to reach out to... Continue Reading →

A long time coming

Saturday 14th May 2022 Running almost four years late and over budget by £4 billion but all the trials and tribulations of this unduly long gestation period will soon be forgotten as today's the day TfL finally launches its programme of bus service changes in south east London centred on Abbey Wood, Greenwich and Lewisham... Continue Reading →

Reading’s Tiger returned

Thursday 12th May 2022 Back in January I blogged about the decision by Reading Buses to suspend its Tiger branded route 7 between Reading and Fleet from 17th January. Problems with long term roadworks necessitating a lengthy diversion and few passengers travelling were cited as reasons as well as every bus company being desperately short... Continue Reading →

Moorlands Connect gets an upgrade

Tuesday 10th May 2022 Photo courtesy Ashbourne Community Transport. My latest DRT expedition was last Tuesday when I took a ride on Staffordshire County Council’s Moorlands Connect. It’s been around for a few years but until last month only as a phone based community bus dial-a-ride type operation. From April, thanks to that DfT pot... Continue Reading →

I is for Inverness

Saturday 7th May 2022 To Scotland for the first time in my fortnightly A-to-Z wanderings and the wonderful city of Inverness. The administrative centre of Highlands Council, it's a fast growing city - some say it's the fastest growing city across Europe - with a population of around 65,000. Everywhere I went as I travelled... Continue Reading →

Blooming bluebells at the Bluebell

Thursday 5th May 2022 I took a ride on the wonderful Bluebell Railway on (Bank Holiday) Monday. I almost left it too late this year with peak bluebell season nearly over but I wasn’t disappointed. Unlike many heritage railways the Bluebell wasn’t a victim of the Beeching axe. British Railways actually closed the line as... Continue Reading →

A ride around the Forest of Dean

Tuesday 3rd May 2022 It's a lovely train ride over to Gloucester particularly the scenic section through the Cotswolds between Swindon, Kemble, Stroud and Stonehouse. Gloucester railway station is perhaps not quite so scenic but its renowned claim to fame is having Britain’s longest continuous unbroken platform measuring 659 yards - that’s over a third... Continue Reading →

GWR quits Brighton. What a shame.

30th April 2022 If you fancy taking a direct train from Brighton station to somewhere beyond the normal Southern/ Thameslink outposts of Southampton, London Victoria, Bedford, Cambridge or Hastings/Ore then you’ve got just ten working days left. After Friday 13th May those destinations will be the limit of your rail travel experience without a change... Continue Reading →

Printed matters

Thursday 28th April 2022 I had an enjoyable evening last Saturday at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley (Tony Blackburn's Radio 2 Sounds of the Sixties Tour since you asked - highly recommended for those of us of a certain age). Whilst there I couldn't help but notice in the foyer and throughout the theatre were... Continue Reading →

H is for Harrogate

Saturday 23rd April 2022 And so to H. I thought about Harlow, just fleetingly, but couldn’t face the negativity. Hemel Hempstead came to mind - I sort of lived there with my parents for a time in the early 1970s while at university in Reading and it’s always interesting to go back - but in... Continue Reading →

Birmingham loses the Salt Road connection

Thursday 21st April 2022 The bus route between Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester and Great Malvern was first introduced by Midland Red in 1914 and although extended to Malvern Wells two years later and given route number 144 in 1928, it's pretty much continued unchanged for the past hundred years or so, save for the... Continue Reading →

Long bus rides: 700

Tuesday 19th April 2022 It's been six months since I've done a marathon bus journey (Stagecoach's route 35 in Aberdeenshire) so decided it was opportune to take another extended ride over the Easter weekend. Stagecoach’s long established route 700 takes a lengthy 4 hours and 40 minutes to travel all the way from Portsmouth to... Continue Reading →

DRT riding in rural Norfolk

Tuesday 12th April 2022 It's been a while since I tried out a new DRT service so I was pleased to put that right yesterday by giving the recently introduced new scheme in rural Norfolk the once over. It’s been included as part of Norfolk County Council’s well established 'Flexibus' brand which has been running... Continue Reading →

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