Ten ideas for restoring railways

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 The Government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund is a £500 million pot to “kickstart the restoration of lines closed more than 50 years ago”. It’s had a few launches. Boris Johnson promoted the commitment during the election campaign last November on a visit to Fleetwood then at the end of January Grant... Continue Reading →

Week 10. No 10. Integrity trashed.

Saturday 30th May 2020 The DfT published details of the second tranche of Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant on Wednesday. A letter from Stephen Fidler, DfT's Director, Local Transport to bus operators in England “confirmed an additional £254 million will be provided” backdated to 12 May. It will be reviewed every four weeks and works... Continue Reading →

Not-really-Lockdown-any-more Week 9

Saturday 23rd May 2020 It’s been another week of mixed messages. On Wednesday Rees Mogg decided "work from home, but you should go to work if you can't work from home” (B. Johnson, 10th May) no longer applies to MPs (who've been successfully working from home since the 'virtual Parliament' began after the Easter recess... Continue Reading →

A trip to the Isle of Man

Tuesday 19th May 2020 The Isle of Man is a treasure trove of transport delight. An efficient bus network; an electric tramway including to a mountain top; a steam railway; and a seafront horse tram. And they’re all included on an integrated visitor ‘Go Explore’ smartcard available for 1, 3, 5 or 7 days from... Continue Reading →

Sort-of-Lockdown Week 8

Saturday 16th May 2020 So much for an orderly transition out of lockdown in England. The DfT has been discussing timetable enhancements with train companies and TfL to apply from this Monday, 18th May for a few weeks, while discussions have also continued  with CPT and bus operators about running more frequent services from the... Continue Reading →

I got my £20 penalty fare back from GTR

Tuesday 12th May 2020 Back in the carefree pre Covid-19 days of travelling around the country for pleasure, on Wednesday 5th March, I found myself on a train from my local station, Hassocks in Sussex, up to London to seek out hydrogen fuelled buses on TfL route 444 before they were withdrawn from service. I’d... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 7

Saturday 9th May 2020 Week 7's almost over as speculation grows about how the hell we’re going to get out of the lockdown travel conundrum of providing enough capacity as restrictions ease without compromising social distancing while also avoiding an exponential increase in motoring, congestion and pollution. Anticipation has built towards Johnson’s announcement on Sunday... Continue Reading →

50 new stations

Tuesday 5th May 2020 Fancy a new rail station in your neck of the woods? If so, now’s a good time to get your persuasive case ready. Post Covid-19 deep economic recession aside, the Department for Transport and Network Rail are inviting bids for the third round of their New Stations Fund (NSF) in England... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 6

Saturday 2nd May 2020 Welcome to another weekly round up of corona-bus-and-train ramblings. (Reader alert: I've rambled on a bit more than usual this week.) First up, it’s been heartening to see bus and train companies doing their bit to support local communities as the Covid-19 crisis continues. Being active in the community is a great... Continue Reading →

Focus on bus satisfaction

Tuesday 28th April 2020 Back in Lockdown Week 1 at the end of March (remember that?) Transport Focus published the results of its annual Bus Passenger Survey. The trade press was by then busy furloughing so the report didn’t receive its usual extemsive coverage. Nor was it appropriate for bus companies to give their usual... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 5

Saturday 25th April 2020 Lockdown Week 5 will soon be over and done with and there’s a definite air of the new ‘normal’ becoming normalised. I’ve become unnervingly accustomed to seeing empty buses sauntering along traffic free roads and trains gliding along the tracks carrying fresh air and not thinking it won’t be long before... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 4

Saturday 18th April 2020 And so Lockdown Week 4 is nearly at an end and we’re still very much in the ‘who’d have thought it’ phase of Covid-19's transport fallout. From free bus travel across most of London to committing billions on HS2; it’s been quite another week. This coming Monday sees TfL’s finances take... Continue Reading →

Farewell Newhaven Marine station

Thursday 16th April 2020 It was always a bit of a luxury for a town of little over 12,000 population to be blessed with three stations all within half-a-mile of each other. Back in its heyday the south coast port of Newhaven would welcome trains direct from Victoria terminating at Newhaven Marine station for what... Continue Reading →

20 post lockdown bus and train travel questions

Sunday 12th April 2020 Demand side Bus and train 1 Will companies encourage many of their employees to continue working from home thereby reducing the need for costly offices/work spaces with a consequential reduction in travel demand, particularly at peak times? 2 Will the significant increase in online shopping continue at Covid-19 levels with a... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 3

Friday 10th April 2020 As the end of week 3 of Lockdown Britain approaches, aside from the severely reduced service levels now applying across the country's bus and train networks amply catering for the approximate 5-10% of normal passenger journeys, it's sad, but inevitable, to see a number of operators and services suspended altogether. Subject... Continue Reading →

Expansion plans for Reigate station

Monday 6th April 2020 With the continued absence of travel, I thought I’d have a browse online at public consultations for various transport plans and projects. There’s one closing today which is part of Network Rail’s continuing Brighton Main Line (BML) upgrade project: a proposal to build a new 12-car ‘turn back’ platform at Reigate... Continue Reading →

go2 goes to Sevenoaks

Friday 3rd April 2020 A couple of weeks ago I suggested these unprecedented times might be a good opportunity to give Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) a really good try out to see if its unproven business model would work in the current corona circumstances. With demand for traditional bus services plummeting to around 10% (or even... Continue Reading →

Time to bring back NBC and BR

Sunday 22nd March 2020 The trouble with sitting at home instead of travelling around the country is it gives too much time to ponder; so here are a few more thoughts on the extraordinary situation we've now found ourselves in. There's no doubt bus and train companies are going to run out of cash pretty... Continue Reading →

What a week

Saturday 21st March 2020 Prime Minister Harold Wilson coined the famous phrase "a week is a long time in politics" after tumultuous events before the 1964 General Election enabling Labour to overturn an expected Conservative victory by thirteen seats. I wonder what he'd have made of the seismic developments over the last seven days as... Continue Reading →

Unprecedented

Thursday 19th March 2020 I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard 'unprecedented' used so often than in the last week. Even that's unprecedented. Unprecedented has become the new normal. In fast changing developments it’s difficult to predict what we’ll be facing at the weekend, let alone next week. Only a few days ago in... Continue Reading →

Here’s where I would have travelled…

Monday 16th March 2020 For those who enjoy trying out new bus routes and train services, as I do, there are some exciting developments planned for the next few weeks. Or are there? Not just because I’m personally ceasing travel for my own health and wellbeing during the current pandemic crisis, but my guess is... Continue Reading →

Not so integrated London: 1

Thursday 12th March 2020 London’s so called ‘integrated transport system’ with its much lauded ‘seamless ticketing’ didn’t work for me on Monday. TfL’s ticket machines at stations on the Metropolitan Line also served by Chiltern Railways (ie Harrow-on-the-Hill, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Chalfont & Latimer and Amersham) are unable to sell tickets with a Senior Railcard discount.... Continue Reading →

Place Name Pairs: Winchmore Hill

Tuesday 10th March 2020 I’ve always had a fascination with maps including discovering duplicates of place names. None more so than my north London birthplace: Winchmore Hill in London’s N21 postal district. This particular place name pair has held an obsession ever since I covered my study bedroom wall at University with Ordnance Survey maps […]

A paragon of a ride?

Tuesday 3rd March 2020 Hull Trains introduced its first Hitachi built Class 802 train three months ago and as four of the five seat sets on order are now with the Company, it seemed a good time to take a ride and see how they differ, if at all, from similar trains run by GWR,... Continue Reading →

Manchester miscellany

Monday 2nd March 2020 Stagecoach rolled out its high profile £16.5 million investment in 32 BYD ADL Enviro400EV double deckers yesterday so I popped up to Manchester today to take a look. They're zero emission electric buses and in a nice piece of purchase symmetry the Government's Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme contributed a handy £6.9... Continue Reading →

Lincs links

Saturday 29th February 2020 A long overdue overnight visit to some friends living in the delightful market town of Stamford was a great opportunity to sample a couple of Lincolnshire’s bus routes on Thursday and yesterday. The foul weather put paid to more extensive travelling; pouring rain and misted up windows are a lethal combination... Continue Reading →

Testing the flex in Tees flex

Tuesday 25th February 2020 After Friday's Tees teaser I spotted the new 'Tees flex' app became available to download over the weekend so armed with that and the zonal maps which blog readers kindly pointed out were on Stagecoach's 'Tees flex' webpage as click throughs from the zonal names, I was able to plan today's... Continue Reading →

Berney’s back in business

Monday 24th February 2020 The rail line between Reedham and Great Yarmouth, on what's known as the Wherry Lines, closed back in October 2018 to allow for upgrade work on track, level crossings and signalling. Sixteen months later it's good to see the line has reopened today and trains are once again calling at the... Continue Reading →

Worcestershire Parkway opens

Sunday 23rd February 2020 If was 100 years ago it would be called Norton Junction Station but as it's 2020 today's brand new addition to the National Rail network is christened Worcestershire Parkway. The £22 million GWR run station is located where the North Cotswold Line (from Paddington and Oxford to Worcester) crosses the main... Continue Reading →

A Tease on Tees

Friday 21st February 2020 (updaated Saturday 22nd February) The latest Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) scheme gets going on Monday so I thought I’d prepare travel plans and be ready to try it out. Except it’s proving a bit trickier than I thought. It’s in the Tees Valley Combined Authority area and comprises three separate geographic... Continue Reading →

Big Bus Busway and electri-citi 6

Wednesday 19th February 2020 I took a ride on the Cambridge Busway earlier today to look at Stagecoach's latest vehicles purchased specifically to increase capacity to meet growing demand on the popular link from St Ives to the city as well as other destinations as far away as Peterborough and Royston. Eighteen vehicles costing £5... Continue Reading →

excel excels

Monday 17th February 2020 It's 'take a ride on another high profile brand new fleet of buses' time again. Another £5.3 million spend. Another whole route conversion. This time nineteen buses for First Eastern Counties' excel branded Norwich to Peterborough 84 mile route. And all this before Johnson's promise last week of "4,000 beautiful, bouncing,... Continue Reading →

Route 459 revisited three months on

Tuesday 11th February 2020 New route 459 linking the small community of Iver in Buckinghamshire (just over the Greater London border) with Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 entered its third and final phase of introduction at the beginning of this month so I thought I'd follow up my previous visit in November with another ride around... Continue Reading →

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