The pride of Guildford

Sunday 8th August 2021 It's always a pleasure to visit one of Britain's quality smaller bus and coach companies. Safeguard Coaches has been trading for nigh on 100 years having been established in 1924. The company is still owned by the same Newman family (and that's not the famous Ensign Newmans), albeit now into their... Continue Reading →

Discover Exeter

Friday 6th August 2021 After I’d checked out Exeter’s new bus station on Monday last week it seemed a good opportunity to take a ride on First South West’s new open-top Discover Exeter tour introduced at the end of May for the summer season. It’s part of the company’s suite of initiatives under the overarching... Continue Reading →

Canterbury and Maidstone get connected

Wednesday 4th August 2021 This week has seen Stagecoach South East revamp its bus routes between Canterbury, Faversham and Sittingbourne and introduce an exciting new extension onwards to Maidstone. Southeastern trains run regularly between Faversham and Sittingbourne but services to Maidstone are not so convenient with journeys taking well over an hour and involving a... Continue Reading →

Making the Tiger better

Monday 2nd August 2021 It was a welcome makeover at the time. In September 2013 Arriva bought out its majority partner shareholders in Centrebus Holdings which had been running buses from bases in Huddersfield, Elland and Honley since 2008 under various brands. Some of the operations had originally been part of the old Yorkshire Traction... Continue Reading →

A free-for-all in Swansea

Saturday 31st July 2021 How many times have you heard local councillors or traders calling for reduced or even free car parking to encourage shoppers back to town centres? Many of us in the industry usually retort “how about making bus travel free instead?". That’s exactly what's happened in Swansea where councillors have funded completely... Continue Reading →

Book Review: A Journeys End

Friday 30th July 2021 I first met Ben Colson in 1977. He was working for Eastern Counties in Norwich and I'd been posted there for three weeks to undertake what was called 'comparative training' with the jointly managed West Riding and Yorkshire Woollen bus companies where I'd been working on the National Bus Company's two... Continue Reading →

Exeter’s new bus station

Tuesday 27th July 2021 At a reported cost of £8 million Exeter’s brand new bus station, which opened for business on Sunday, sounded like excellent value for money so I popped down yesterday to take a look around and see what’s on offer. As readers will know I never trust the hyped up world of... Continue Reading →

Dee Valley Picturesque Bus

Monday 26th July 2021 It’s not the longest bus route - extending only about five miles north and east of Llangollen at its furthest points - but it would be hard to find another route that packs in so many amazing scenic delights and heritage sites per mile. The brand new Dee Valley Picturesque Bus... Continue Reading →

BOD in WOD

Saturday 24th July 2021 “Worcestershire on Demand” is the trying-to-be snazzy overarching brand name for what Worcestershire County Council hope will be a network of DRT schemes across the county to provide "better value and a better service for essential travel". That's what their 'blurb' says with its rather strange grammar in the first sentence:... Continue Reading →

An HST on the S&C

Thursday 22nd July 2021 It’s wonderful to see the 'Staycation Express' run by Rail Charter Services back again on the Settle & Carlisle Line for the summer. And even better than last year’s trial, it’s being run by a former Great Western Railway High Speed Train in a very smart green and silver livery. This... Continue Reading →

More mixed messaging on the railway

Tuesday 20th July 2021 I made six train journeys on Saturday and experienced more mixed messaging leaving me wondering whether our Government controlled railways along with the train companies really are interested in attracting passengers back on board particularly following yesterday’s withdrawal of Covid restrictions. During the early months of the pandemic messaging was all... Continue Reading →

Electrifying Leicester

Sunday 18th July 2021 As well as open-top buses and DRT, 2021 is also proving to be the year of the electric bus with more and more entering service as various Government funding schemes enable operators and local authorities meet high introduction costs not only of the buses but also the associated charging infrastructure. The... Continue Reading →

To the Outer Hebrides, and back.

Friday 16th July 2021 There are various ways to reach the Outer Hebrides (aka the Western Isles) by public transport from the south east of England. Travelling via Inverness then the train to Kyle of Lochalsh, bus or coach to Portree and Uig on Skye and the ferry to Tarbert on Harris (or Lochmaddy on... Continue Reading →

It’s PRT not DRT

Tuesday 13th July 2021 It really was third time lucky. Readers will know it's taken two abortive visits to Scunthorpe, but after much perseverance I finally managed to experience a journey on the North Lincs JustGo DRT service at the third attempt last Tuesday. I left you in my last blog post on the East... Continue Reading →

East Yorkshire’s new EastRider X5

Sunday 11th July 2021 As January’s lockdown began at the start of 2021 the Go-Ahead owned East Yorkshire bus company revamped its bus service between Goole and Hull creating a new fast limited stop route X5 operating between the two towns to compliment the stopping service. It sounded like a great initiative to grow the... Continue Reading →

A Couple of Cornish Coasters

Friday 9th July 2021 I thought it was about time I wrote another blog about open-top bus routes - well, it’s been just over a week since the last one - so here’s a report on my recent travel experiences on First Kernow’s two prime routes in Cornwall - the Atlantic Coaster and Lands End... Continue Reading →

The Heart of Wales

Wednesday 7th July 2021 It takes around four hours to travel by train between Swansea and Shrewsbury via the Heart of Wales railway line. You can shave a good hour off that by travelling via Cardiff, Newport and Hereford on the main line but lovely and scenic though that route is, especially between Cwmbran and... Continue Reading →

Moorsbus is back

Monday 4th July 2021 It’s great to see the brilliant Moorsbus network of summer weekend bus routes across the North York Moors make a much welcome return after its enforced Covid absence last year. Running every Saturday and Sunday throughout July, August and September the routes numbered M1 to M8 as well as M31 provide... Continue Reading →

Rail Rover reflections

Saturday 3rd July 2021 My latest 7-day All Line Rover came to an end yesterday (the first I’ve taken for a couple of years due to the pandemic) so here are a few reflections on the week’s travels in these continuing Covid aware times. Normally I’d ensure I got my Rover money’s worth by making... Continue Reading →

Peak travel in the Peak is weekends

Friday 2nd July 2021 I promised myself last October when trying out Hulleys of Baslow’s then brand new Snake X57 bus route across the Peak District’s Snake Pass I’d be back for another ride if, as I dared hoped, it survived the winter and was still running this summer. Eight months later with summer arrived... Continue Reading →

Rooftop bus riding in Cardiff (not Reading)

Wednesday 30th June 2021 It might not have the scenic delight served up by the Exmoor Coaster or Dartmoor Explorer but the new open-top bus service introduced by Cardiff Bus this week has the potential to prove popular with both residents and visitors fancying a novel bus ride to Cardiff Bay and Penarth seafront. Open-top... Continue Reading →

Travelling across Wales with Gerald

Tuesday 29th June 2021 Gerald of Wales was an Archdeacon of Brecon born in 1146 in Pembrokeshire who travelled extensively in his life, not least all over Wales. He’s given his name to a "Premier Service" train that runs once a day in each direction between Holyhead (leaving in the early morning) and Cardiff (returning... Continue Reading →

More on Exmoor Coaster

Sunday 27th June 2021 You can usually pick up the vibes quite quickly whether a new bus venture will be a success when experiencing the service on the road. Despite my previous trip on First Bus’s (Buses of Somerset) Exmoor Coaster having a disappointing single decker at the beginning of the month the omens were... Continue Reading →

DRT rides again

Friday 25th June 2021 Trying out new Demand Responsive Transport services in their first week or two, as I often do, can give an unfair assessment due to initial teething problems or the fact few potential passengers know about their existence in the early days. So it's always good to make a return visit after... Continue Reading →

A Cannock update

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 Following the recent post describing my travels between Cannock and Telford with D&G Bus's new Chaserider branded route X14, I received some feedback from Centrebus/D&G Bus owner and bus industry entrepreneur, Julian Peddle, who’d leapt into action to pursue my reported lack of information at Cannock bus station and why I... Continue Reading →

Out east on the Central Line

Monday 21st June 2021 It’s not just buses and trains that offer interesting rides. The London Underground also has an intriguing history and much to explore. I recently spent a few hours at the eastern end of the Central Line. It's always an enjoyable travel experience - with each station full of fascinating individual characteristics.... Continue Reading →

My fflecsi friend

Thursday 17th June 2021 I've become a bit of a DRT connoisseur. Sittingbourne, Weymss Bay, Liverpool, Speke, Leicester, Oxford, Sutton, Ealing, Teesside, Newport, Sevenoaks, Watford, Ebbsfleet, Scunthorpe, Milton Keynes ... I've tried them all over the last couple of years. Regular readers will be all too familiar with my varied experiences so I'm delighted to... Continue Reading →

Merthyr Tydfil’s new bus station

Tuesday 15th June 2021 At last. Britain's most disgraceful bus station has been banished to history as a brand new replacement opened in Merthyr Tydfil on Sunday after a two year construction project. Funded by the Welsh Government at a cost of £12 million - not much more than a two platform railway station -... Continue Reading →

TrawsCymru dryswch*

Sunday 13th January 2021 * that's Welsh for confusion. I’ve always liked the TrawsCymru network and brand. It’s grown in size and extent over the years providing frequent links across Wales, mostly on corridors where there’s no rail option. The branding is consistently applied thanks to the Transport for Wales policy of specifying and even... Continue Reading →

Cannock to Telford with Chaserider

Wednesday 9th June 2021 It’s exactly five months since Arriva sold its Cannock based operations comprising about a dozen bus routes, 46 vehicles and the Delta Way bus garage to D&G Bus back on 9th January, so with a brand new service introduced last week, I thought it was a good time for a visit... Continue Reading →

The Jurassic Coaster

Monday 7th June 2021 It’s not just First Bus in the South West who’ve introduced new open-top and leisure bus routes this summer. Their colleagues in neighbouring First Hampshire and Dorset have also joined in the fun with some much welcome developments on the well established Jurassic Coaster service. When first introduced a good few... Continue Reading →

Electrified Corby

Saturday 5th June 2021 There was only one development of note introduced in last month's timetable change on Great British Railways (I know I'm premature but just seeing how it'll sound) and that was on the Midland Main Line where East Midlands Railways (EMR) introduced an improved service between Corby and St Pancras International using... Continue Reading →

The Exmoor Coaster

Wednesday 2nd June 2021 This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Of all First Bus in the South West’s exciting new initiatives for the summer season under the "Adventures By Bus" brand, it's been the new Exmoor Coaster open-top service between Minehead and Lynmouth I’ve been looking forward to the most. It began at... Continue Reading →

Bank Holiday weekend joyrides

Monday 31st May 2021 It was 45 years ago this month when I first made the journey from Leeds to Hawes by bus. I remember it was a Saturday on a West Yorkshire Road Car Bristol RE and with a conductor too. As a Londoner with bus and train rides until then largely confined to... Continue Reading →

Katch comes with a catch

Saturday 29th May 2021 I was back on the DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) trail again yesterday. There’s no let up in the current fad for national and local government to fund tech based ‘shared mobility’ schemes especially where they’re seen as the possible magic solution to the ‘rural transport problem’. Here’s another one hoping to... Continue Reading →

Outpaced

Friday 28th May 2021 This weekend sees the withdrawal from service of Britain’s last Pacer trains. Northern Rail did the decent thing to their Pacer fleet last November while Great Western Railway followed in December. The DfT’s derogation to use these trains with their outdated non-accessible features runs out on 31st May (having been extended... Continue Reading →

Adventures By Bus in Cornwall

Wednesday 26th May 2021 Following my hugely enjoyable ride across Dartmoor on the Dartmoor Explorer last Tuesday I made a return visit to the South West over the last couple of days to take a look at the many new bus routes aimed at the leisure market First Kernow are now running in Cornwall. There... Continue Reading →

What’s the Standard for a Premium?

Monday 24th May 2021 Avanti West Coast’s latest wheeze to squeeze a bit more money from passengers is their new “Standard Premium” Class pitched between Standard Class and First Class. I'm guessing it ticked the box marked ‘innovations to be introduced if successful’ in the franchise bid; and from last week it became a reality.... Continue Reading →

Great British Railspin

Thursday 20th May 2021 It's definitely not a return to British Railways, Grant Shapps was at pains to point out on this morning's media circuit. This is going to be very different. It's "simplification" not "re-nationalisation". Because it's called Great British Railways. Not British Railways. But it'll bring back control of tracks and operations together.... Continue Reading →

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