MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Birmingham Double (1981)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to March 1981, and a pair of shots taken in the centre of Birmingham.

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Our two photos today date from mid-March 1981, and are taken in Birmingham, close to the city centre.

The first shows Park Royal bodied Fleetline NOV806G, new to Birmingham in December 1968, and still in the older Blue & cream with kakhi roof, which served as inspiration for the CIE double-deck livery of the 1960s. The destination display is not the most effective in an area where “City” could refer to any one of the three major parts of the conurbation of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Voventary – especially as the secondary display reads “from City” !!

This bus was, at the time, one of the older vehicles in the fleet, and had been withdrawn by the end of 1983.

The second photo, taken on the same day, shows the new order, with  then fairly new Leyland National AOL17T on the 101 Centrebus service. This National had a long life, being converted to dual-door and used for shuttle work at the International Convention Centre and eventually passing on to a fringe London operator, where it was still active in 2001.

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MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC (UK, 1990s) – Luton VRT [29July2013]

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we travel back to the mid 1990s, and a classic British bus of NBC era,  ending its life in the bright colours of a deregulated operator.

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The Bristol VRT really was the classic double-deck bus of the National Bus Company throughout the 1970s and 80s, and many lived on for the first decade or so of post-NBC private and deregulated operation.

Seen here in Luton, no. 5035 (ONH925V) in the Luton & Dunstable fleet would have started life with NBC United Counties, part of which was split off into Luton & District at privatisation. The name and the livery shown here is long gone, the operation having been swallowed up by Arriva and now forming part of Arriva The Shires.  The VRT, which was still working normal service despite the school branding on the front, lasted until at least the end of the 1990s.

(UK, News) Bus Users Share AgeUK Concerns On Rural Travel [23July2013]

 

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Bus Users UK, an independent group which champions the interests of bus and coach users and campaigns for better bus and coach services, says it is concerned by the findings of an Age UK report into the effects of cuts to rural bus services on older people.

Despite having free bus travel, the report points to growing isolation among older people as services are reduced and in some cases cut completely. Many older people in rural areas rely entirely on bus services to access healthcare, social activities, community events and shops, as well as visiting friends and family.

The report also concludes that reduced services mean that many people now face a fairly long walk to their nearest bus stop. Delays, cancellations, long waiting times and cold bus shelters add to the problem and make bus travel for older people even more challenging.

Gillian Merron, Chair of Bus Users UK said: “Older people in rural areas face the double challenge of having many services and amenities centralised in towns and cities that they now can’t access because they simply can’t get to them. It undermines the whole idea of providing free bus travel when there’s no bus to travel on.”

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The AgeUK report calls for greater consultation on local services to ensure they meet local need.

Gillian added: “Free bus travel for older people has been a great success and has enabled the millions who use the concession to lead active lives. Older and retired people make a huge contribution to society, undertaking volunteering and providing vital childcare support to family members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to return to work.

“What this report proves is that when bus services are cut it isn’t just older people who suffer – we all suffer.”

Bus Users UK,which describes itself as ” the voice of bus passengers”, is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve bus services across the UK and get more people on board.

 

(NEWS, UK) CILT Welcomes London 2012 Transport Legacy Report [21July2013]

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News Release: 19/07/2013

 

CILT WELCOMES NEW LONDON 2012 GAMES TRANSPORT LEGACY REPORT

 

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has welcomed the publication of Transport for London’s (TfL) ‘transport legacy – one year on’ report.

 

The TfL report looks at the transport legacy of the Olympics and builds on CILT’s own report on the summer 2012 logistics legacy, Maintaining Momentum, released earlier this year.

TfL’s report reveals the most visible Games legacy is the £6.5bn invested in new and improved infrastructure, providing greater capacity and reliability across the transport network, including to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Mayor and TfL are now working to build upon this legacy through further investment in new, upgraded and extended transport links and road networks, with unprecedented levels of collaboration between transport operators being maintained.

CILT’s Maintaining Momentum report, extensively referenced in the Mayor’s Road Task Force report issued last week, calls for greater use of night time Quiet Deliveries and increased communication and collaboration between TfL and freight operators. CILT is pleased that these recommendations have been adopted in TfL’s legacy report.

Following the success of the Freight Demand Management programme for the London 2012 Games, TfL has set up a Freight Delivery Unit and will continue the Freight Forum, which brings together those making, receiving and managing freight and logistics in London, to build on the lessons from the Games.

TfL issued a Code of Practice, encouraging the use of ‘Quiet Deliveries’ of goods during non-standard delivery hours, the success of which has led TfL to develop permanent guidance.  This is expected to be published in early 2014.  The Department for Transport already has a commitment, from the Logistics Growth Review in 2011, to re-write its existing guidance on Quiet Deliveries.  This is expected to be published this summer, and it, too, will incorporate lessons learned from the Games.

1.     The full TfL ‘transport legacy –one year on’ report is available to download at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/corporate/london-2012-transport-legacy-one-year-on-report.pdf

2.     CILT’s Maintaining Momentum: Summer 2012 Logistics Legacy Report is available at: http://ciltuk.org.uk/maintaining.aspx

3.     TfL’s ‘Olympic Legacy Monitoring: Personal travel during the Games’ and ‘Olympic Legacy Monitoring: Adaptations to deliveries by businesses and freight operators during the Games’ are available to download at www.tfl.gov.uk/travelinlondon;

4.     The Mayor’s “Leaving a Transport Legacy – Olympic and Paralympic Transport Legacy Action Plan” published in March 2012 is available at http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/leaving-a-transport-legacy.pdf

QUICK-PIC (UK) – Metrobus Scania at Redhill, Surrey [13July2013]

Metrobus operate both inside and outside the TFL area, and so their fleet contains both standard London red and their own blue grey livery.

East Lancs bodied Scania 471 is seen at Redhill, Surrey, on service 460 to Gatwick Airport. Metrobus also operate red Scanias on TFL route 405 from the same location.

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Ballinteer to Ilfracombe (via Palmerston Park)

Earlier this month I needed to travel to the North Devon town of Ilfracombe for a part-business part-pleasure weekend, and as is my normal preference, I elected to do this entirely by public transport, including the airport leg in Dublin.

For the first part of the journey I would be accompanied by “Donnybrook Observer” who was also flying that morning, while for the final leg of the tip I would be guided by an old friend and former Ensignbus colleague, John Burch, now Deputy Director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport in the UK, who had invited me to stay in his charming Ilfracome property, itself the former station master’s house of the long abandoned Ilfracombe branch line.

Taking the absolute minimum of baggage with me, and using only a Nokia camera-phone, I aimed to record as much of the trip and the various modes of transport seen and used as possible.

All these photos are available in fullsize mode – just click on the picture for the bigger view!

Setting off from Ballinteer on the 0900 14A

Setting off from Ballinteer on the 0900 14A

With our flights due to depart Dublin around midday, Donnybrook Observer and I decided to leave Ballinteer at around 9am, choosing the 0900 14A departure, so that we could get to sample the “via Palmerston Park” special working.

This diversion is less needed now that the 128 provides a regular service in the area, but when we arrived at Palmerston Park, the 128 at the stop was not yet loading, and so we took on around 15 of its potential passengers. Our bus was Volvo Olympian RV483, and was quite full by the time it reached Rathmines.

The diversion via Palmerston Park allowed us to steal some customers from a waiting 128.

The diversion via Palmerston Park allowed us to steal some customers from a waiting 128

RV483 drops off at O'Connell Street, stage 1 of the journey over.

RV483 drops off at O'Connell Street, stage 1 of the journey over.

The early morning sun made photography of both the 14A, and the next leg of our trip on the Airlink Express difficult, as it was both bright and directly behind the buses in O’Connell Street. The shot of RV483 is interesting, in the the Spire is visible over the bus, but not through the windows, making it look as if the entire weight is being supported by the roof of the bus. This optical effect is caused by a high level of reflection on the condensation on the inside of the bus windows.

Arriving at Dublin Airport on the Airlink Express. 8 year old AV125 and its sisters will be replaced on this service by new Wright Geminis in the new year.

Arriving at Dublin Airport on the Airlink Express. 8 year old AV125 and its sisters will be replaced on this service by new Wright Geminis in the new year.

Arriving at Dublin Airport in good time, DO’s flight was without problems, but I was faced with a long wait for the FlyBe Exeter service, as the plane had been delayed for 3 hours earlier in the day due to a security alert at Paris.

The FlyBe Bombardier finally arrives at Dublin

The FlyBe Bombardier finally arrives at Dublin

The FlyBe Bombardier eventually arrived, and the flight to Exeter was uneventful. The arrival in Exeter International was in the middle of a downpour, and I sheltered in the tiny terminal building for 20 minutes until the Stagecoach service arrived to take me to the city centre. Bus waiting facilities are poor, and boarding involved a dash across windswept roadways in the pouring rain.

Arriving at Exeter International in a torrential downpour, it's time to make a dash for the Stagecoach

Arriving at Exeter International in a torrential downpour, it's time to make a dash for the Stagecoach

The Airport service seems to be worked by ALX200 bodied Dennis Darts.

Stagecoach service 55 arrives into Exeter Bus Station

Stagecoach service 56 arrives into Exeter Bus Station

In Exeter, a selection of buses in the bus station and city centre.

Stagecoach Enviro 400s can be seen working a number of Devon services

Stagecoach Enviro 400s can be seen working a number of Devon service

Olympians are also still in evidence, retrofitted with modern LED displays

Olympians are also still in evidence, retrofitted with modern LED display

Independents Western Greyhound and Dartline add variety at Exeter.

Independents Western Greyhound and Dartline add variety at Exeter

Amongst the earliest lowfloor double-deckers into service, a batch of S-reg Trident ALX400s new to East London, now working on park and ride services in Exeter. The yellow and blue livery looks attractive.

Amongst the earliest lowfloor double-deckers into service, a batch of S-reg Trident ALX400s new to East London, now working on park and ride services in Exeter. The yellow and blue livery looks attractive

In Exeter city centre, buses on local town services. Routes are lettered rather than numbered, a practice dating back many decades to the long vanished municipal operator.

In Exeter city centre, buses on local town services. Routes are lettered rather than numbered, a practice dating back many decades to the long vanished municipal operator.

The next part of the journey was by rail – a walk to Exeter Central station to meet John Burch, who was arriving in from London on a Stagecoach SouthWest Trains service, and then we would take the local “Tarka Line” First service to Barnstaple.

I was amazed to see that there were lots of Leyland-National derived class 142 units still in service – the last time I encountered one of these strange beasts was at Goole in Yorkshire, almost 14 years ago!

Exeter Central station, with a class 142 unit heading west.

Exeter Central station, with a class 142 unit heading west

142067 at Barnstaple, showing the Leyland National body styling and bus-type doors and seating.

142067 at Barnstaple, showing the Leyland National body styling and bus-type doors and seating.

Arriving in Barnstaple, we had a walk to the town centre and time for a drink before boarding the bus for the final leg to Ilfracombe. John used his local knowledge to ensure that the bus trip was interesting – instead of taking the main Ilfracombe service on route 3, we took the Fridays Only 30E service, which takes a more direct but remote routing along tiny hilly laneways eventually approaching Ilfracombe and the Bristol Channel over the crest of a dramatic hill, giving a view of the lights of Wales far across the dark waters.

Heading along dark country lanes on the 30E.

Heading along dark country lanes on the 30E.

We arrived at John’s house at 2100 – 12 hours exactly sice the 14A started my journey.

Also included below are a couple of shots taken the following day around Ilfracombe. I did try to get the local independent Filers, but they were elusive on the day! However the holiday camp buses were a real find, with thanks to John for his local knowledge!

Ilfracombe Bus Station with a Firstgroup Olympian on the main Barnstaple service.

Ilfracombe Bus Station with a Firstgroup Olympian on the main Barnstaple service

Two vanishing bus types, a Bristol VRT and a very elderly E-reg Atlantean PDR1A at the local holiday camp.

Two vanishing bus types, a Bristol VRT and a very elderly E-reg Atlantean PDR1A at the local holiday camp.