Ember glows in Glasgow

Tuesday 28th March 2023 A small variation on one of the latest coaches in the ember fleet with a turquoise circle at the rear. Ember, the Scottish coach company with expansionist plans introduced a Dundee to Glasgow service last August to compliment its Dundee to Edinburgh service introduced at the height of the pandemic when... Continue Reading →

10 years of retirement: Part 2

Sunday 26th March 2023 One of the best journeys is Britain's longest bus route - Scottish Citylink's 915/916 Glasgow to Uig where this photo was taken. I had the best of times working in the bus industry throughout my career as I hope I conveyed in yesterday's blog, but it's also been a wonderful first... Continue Reading →

10 years of retirement: Part 1

Saturday 25th March 2023 The Mayors of Hove and Brighton launch the new look Brighton & Hove in late 1985 (they were two independent towns). I can hardly believe it’s ten years ago this weekend I walked out of Brighton & Hove’s Conway Street, Hove head office for the very last time and entered the... Continue Reading →

F is for Faresaver

Thursday 23rd March 2023 After D for Delainie and E for Ensignbus I'm staying with the independent family owned bus company theme for my next visit in this year's A to Z series of bus and train companies and headed over to Chippenham on Tuesday for a look at the respected bus company based in... Continue Reading →

A community bus success story

Tuesday 21st March 2023 It’s not often a locally based community led climate action campaigning group puts its money where its mouth is and starts up a brand new route to encourage motorists to leave their cars at home and catch a bus instead. Even more rare it turns into a rip roaring success within... Continue Reading →

Newcastle to Edinburgh by bus: Part 3

Sunday 19th Match 2023 And so to the final leg of last month’s bus journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh. Having enjoyed a leisurely ride on Arriva's scenic route X18 to Berwick-upon-Tweed where I had a stopover to savour Borders Buses route 477 to Holy Island it's now time to cross the border appropriately enough with... Continue Reading →

Pointless blog about bus names

Saturday 8th March 2023 It was 24 years ago my then Operations Director colleague at the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, Paul Williams, came up with the idea of adding the names of some of the area’s iconic landmarks to the new fleet of 20 Dennis Trident double deck buses we were about... Continue Reading →

Newcastle to Edinburgh by bus: Part 2

Tuesday 14th March 2023 The bus had recently transferred in to Berwick-upon-Tweed from Borders Buses' parent company West Coast Motors I left you on my journey by bus from Newcastle to Edinburgh in the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed having travelled there on Arriva's scenic route X18. Before continuing on my way to Edinburgh I wanted... Continue Reading →

More DRT riding

Sunday 12th March 2023 You’re never far away from a DRT experience these days. Those living in the West of England region will soon be subjected to multiple schemes by the Combined Authority so I thought I’d relate my latest experiences on the off chance someone responsible at that Authority might come across this blog... Continue Reading →

Luton Airport’s DART is finally open

Saturday 11th March 2023 Whenever anyone mentions Luton Airport readers of a certain age will almost certainly be imaging the iconic TV advert from the late 1970s for Campari shot in an exotic location featuring suave, elegantly dressed, sophisticated, smooth talking Jeremy Clyde asking Lorraine Chase “were you truly wafted here from Paradise?" to which... Continue Reading →

E was for Ensignbus

Thursday 9th March 2023 Sorry, East Midlands Railway you were going to be my E, but as today is a rather special occasion, being the very last day of an independently owned Ensignbus before midnight’s takeover by First Bus, I thought it only appropriate to mark this historic occasion with a special feature. I blogged... Continue Reading →

TfL’s counter to the expanded ULEZ

Tuesday 7th March 2023 TfL's Press Office was busy yesterday proclaiming"further new proposals for more than 400,000km increase in buses services in outer London to strengthen alternatives to private cars and maximise benefits of ULEZ". And if you think the grammar doesn't quite sound right in that sentence, don't blame my usual sloppy fat finger... Continue Reading →

Bank’s complete upgrade complete

Thursday 2nd March 2023 I blogged about the £655 million capacity upgrade to Bank Underground station in January 2022 when the Northern Line Bank branch closed for five months to enable the new southbound tunnel and platform to be completed and opened. Since then contractors have been beavering away on all the other enhancements including... Continue Reading →

Seen around

Tuesday 28th February 2023 Welcome to February's compote of miscellany I've encountered on recent travels but first a couple of plugs for two recent publications. UK National Rail Map Alex Nelson and his nationalrail.com website has updated his brilliant map showing every railway station in the UK (yes, it includes Northern Ireland too). If you... Continue Reading →

D is for Delaine Buses

Saturday 25th February It’s the archetypal family owned business. Delaine Buses is one of the very few left in the bus industry. Fiercely independent and hugely proud of its heritage which can be traced back to 1890 when the family’s carpentry and general contracting business began carrying people to local fairs and markets using their... Continue Reading →

New Bus Route Week Day 4: Route T8

Thursday 23rd February 2023 After visiting Telford, Skelmersdale and Bicester it's time to take a journey on another new bus route and this time one linking England and Wales. Last week I went to Chester to take a ride on the new TrawsCymru route T8 which passes through Flintshire and Denbighshire to terminate at what's... Continue Reading →

New Bus Route Week Day 3: Routes 24 and 25

Wednesday 22nd February 2023 After Telford and Skelmersdale today's New Bus Route Week blog features new bus routes 24 and 25 in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Readers may recall I blogged about route 250 running between Bicester and Oxford via the huge new residential development at Heyford Park last August. The original plan had been to replace... Continue Reading →

New Bus Route Week Day 2: Route 319

Tuesday 21st February 2023 All this week I'm describing travel experiences on brand new bus routes. It certainly makes a change from cataloguing routes about to be withdrawn and with Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding now starting to flow, we can expect to see many more forlorn initiatives like the ones I'm featuring in... Continue Reading →

New Bus Route Week Day 1: Route 100

Monday 20th February 2023 This week is New Bus Route Week on the BusAndTrainUser blog. In contrast to all the negative news about bus routes being withdrawn or threatened with cuts due to lack of funding I’ve been out and about sampling recently introduced bus routes and will celebrate their arrival with a post every... Continue Reading →

First last day

Saturday 18th February 2023 It's the end of an era for buses in Southampton today as First Bus closes its bus garage doors for good bringing to an end 143 years of bus operation that can be traced back to 1879 when horse bus operation began and in due course Southampton Corporation Transport took over... Continue Reading →

Newcastle to Edinburgh by bus: Part 1

Thursday 16th February 2023 The train journey along the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle and Edinburgh is always a treat with some wonderful coastal views to savour. Although taking the bus for the 100 mile journey obviously takes much longer it offers equally fantastic scenery including castles and market towns. It's been many years... Continue Reading →

4 mini blogs from Inverness updated

Tuesday 14th February 2023 Inverness Airport railway station had an official opening on 2nd February Back in December I reported on four bus and train developments in and around Inverness: the introduction of Request To Stop facilities at Scotscalder on the Far North Line; new electric buses in Inverness; the about to open Inverness Airport... Continue Reading →

C is for Chiltern Railways

Saturday 11th February 2023 Chiltern Railways is how rail franchising was always meant to be. Commencing operations in July 1996 it was crucially awarded a lengthy 20 year franchise in 2000 enabling the late and much missed Adrian Shooter and his team to invest significantly in infrastructure improvements over that substantial timeline during which they... Continue Reading →

‘Bus cuts’ back in the news

Thursday 9th February 2023 Tuesday's newspapers gave a strong sense of déjà-vu with reports of yet another impending bus cuts cliff edge as post Covid funding for bus services comes to an end on 31st March with registrations for any service withdrawals/amendments from that date due within the next week. We’ve been here twice before,... Continue Reading →

More new trains for Wales

Tuesday 7th February 2023 The transformation of Transport for Wales' train fleet continues with new Stadler built diesel powered Class 231 trains now running on the Rhmney to Penarth line in the Cardiff Valleys. It follows November's launch of the first CAF built Class 197s in North Wales. The 11 trains which make up this... Continue Reading →

40 years ago

Saturday 4th February 2023 Welcome to another quarterly dose of nostalgia going back 40 years recalling what I got up to as the recently arrived Assistant Traffic Manager (ATM) at Southdown Motor Services Ltd, one of the National Bus Company’s prestigious subsidiaries based in Brighton with an operating area stretching along the south coast from... Continue Reading →

B is for Blackpool Transport

Saturday 28th January 2023 Blackpool Transport's history can be traced back 138 years to the Town Council's introduction of trams in September 1885. However, my 2023 fortnightly A-to-Z wander through selected bus and train operators is meant to be a contemporary commentary rather than a history lesson, so let's fast forward and see what the... Continue Reading →

Seventh heaven on the 777s

Thursday 26th January 2023 The first of Merseyrail's new fleet of 53 trains finally entered service on Monday morning. Ordered back in 2016 to replace the ageing Class 507/508, the new Class 777 trains were originally due into service in 2019/20, but as is the way with these things manufacturing delays, delivery delays, handover delays... Continue Reading →

The m4 goes to Bristol

Tuesday 24th January 2023 No; not the motorway although obviously the M4 does go to Bristol. The clue is in the lower case 'm'. This is all about Bristol's latest new bus route as part of the city's metrobus branded network which began on Sunday. The new route m4 runs from Cribbs Causeway to the... Continue Reading →

Arriva quits route 685

Saturday 21st January 2023 Tomorrow sees one of England’s seven jointly operated inter-urban bus routes change to be operated by just one company. After today Arriva are quitting the long established route 685 between Newcastle and Carlisle with fellow operator Stagecoach taking over Arriva’s three bus workings increasing their commitment from two buses up to... Continue Reading →

Seen around

Thursday 18th January 2023 This month’s miscellany I spotted on recent travels. Coalville information I was in Coalville on Tuesday. It has two locations in the town centre where buses congregate - one called Marlborough Square and the other Memorial Square. It can be confusing for visitors but credit to Leicestershire County Council which has... Continue Reading →

Seven new stations MAY open in MAY

Tuesday 17th January 2023 2023 will see another impressive number of new railway stations added to the network. This follows a busy 2022 when five new Crossrail stations opened (Canary Wharf, Custom House, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich, and Bond Street) as well as two others (Reston and Barking Riverside). This follows only two openings in... Continue Reading →

A is for Avanti West Coast

Saturday 14th January 2023 Welcome to another year of A to Z fortnightly blogposts which for 2023 are featuring bus and train companies. I’m beginning with the ironically named Avanti West Coast .... bearing in mind recent history, ‘Avanti’ is Italian for ‘Forward’ “reflecting a mission to deliver an innovative railway service that is ready... Continue Reading →

The quirky train that’s now a quirky bus

Thursday 12th January 2023 The Chiltern Railways ‘ghost bus’ ran for the first time yesterday demonstrating our railway at its most bizarre. It was a whacky Wednesday welcome to a superfluous one-journey-a-week outing between West Ealing and West Ruislip stations which no passengers in their right minds will ever use other than for the enjoyment... Continue Reading →

Who’s running the railway?

Saturday 7th January 2023 Listening to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport and Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the RMT doing the media rounds during this week’s strikes brought home the dysfunctional state of Britain’s railways. There seems no hope of an early resolution to the current industrial disputes while a state of paralysis... Continue Reading →

Bus riding along the Atlantic coast

Thursday 5th January 2023 There are some great bus routes along the northern coastlines of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall especially since Cornwall Council won the bus support funding lottery and First Bus found they could prosper by attracting the leisure travel market. I’ve ridden the complete coastline a few times over the last few years... Continue Reading →

Devon developments

Tuesday 3rd January 2023 I visited Devon at the end of last week and after all the negative media coverage of Stagecoach’s driver shortage last summer it was heartening to see some positive developments, particularly in Exeter. I hadn’t been back to the city’s new bus station since it opened in July 2021 so it... Continue Reading →

Will Hythe Ferry keep afloat?

Saturday 31st December 2022 Today was going to be the last day of operation for the Hythe Ferry. The hourly service links the town, on the west side of Southampton Water, with Southampton. Blue Funnel Ferries have been running the service since taking it over from previous owners White Horse Ferries in April 2017. Rising... Continue Reading →

Seen around

Tuesday 27th December 2022 Another month; another potpourri of miscellany. Another great Ensignbus running day A big shout out to the Newman family (Peter, Steve and Ross) for organising another great running day based on Lakeside at the beginning of the month. It's proving to be one of the most popular events of its kind... Continue Reading →

Four new London bus routes

Thursday 22nd December 2022 Four new unusual bus routes started running in north London this week. That’s the introductory paragraph I optimistically wrote as I left home yesterday morning to try them out. Spoiler alert: one never ran; one had such a long gap in service I gave up waiting; one was extensively disrupted by... Continue Reading →

A dozen DRT developments

Tuesday 20th December 2022 It's one of those weeks for end of year reviews and news round ups so I thought a few updates on how Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is going would be in order particularly as the DfT and so many local authorities have such high hopes for it. 2022 has seen nine... Continue Reading →

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