Wednesday 9 July 2014

Scottish Trip Part 2

So after emerging bleary eyed from St Andrew's Bus Station in Edinburgh I was looking forward to seeing a true plethora of vehicles and colours. So naturally the first bus I saw was a First 52 reg President. After pinching myself to make sure I wasn't still on Megabus in the middle of a nightmare (bad dream not the journey) one of Edinburgh's new trams came gliding round the corner from Princes Street. My word they are smart and I love their livery. After meeting up with my Scottish correrspondent, Grace, which was a thrill in itself, we decided to spend a few hours just riding around. Of course we had to start with the trams, so a day ticket was purchased, of which more later, and we boarded the tram going the wrong way to theYork St terminus so we could bag the best seats for the trip to Gyle. Quiet, smooth, maybe a little warm but that won't be a problem often in Scotland. They also go extremely well on the non road sections. I must mention the on board staff, who were a real credit to Lothian Transport. We had a long chat on the way back with a Conductor and her trainee, and it was a real treat.

One of Lothian's trams turns off Princes Street into St Andrew's Square
Drivers cab of an Edinburgh tram
And here is a short video I took at Gyle of the tram departing. Not the best but a bit spur of the moment!

So after lunch there were a couple of things I wanted to do, and a ride on a no.1 was top of my list. So we boarded one of Lothian's Volvo B7 hybrids for the short trip to Easter Road,so I could see Hibs football ground. Now I am a fan of B7rle's - love them, but these hybrids are a bit disconcerting. The way the engine cuts out every time the bus stops just makes you think it's continually stalling. There is also a big gap between the electric motor cutting out and the diesel engine firing back up. The sudden variance in engine/motor noise makes it impossible to hold a conversation without either sounding like you're shouting when the engine cuts out, or not being able to hear what's being said when the engine is active. They do look good though!

One of Lothian's Volvo B7 hybrids taken last year by Grace
After catching another one to the other side of the City so I could see Heart's ground too, Grace said she had never been on a 10, which is operated by rather grandly liveried E400's. I too was interested to see how the E400's were like in Scotland, since they are built in Scotland. Alas it was the same old story - they look magnificent but it all goes downhill once they start moving. The usual rattles from components that just should not be rattling for at least another 10 - 15 years. A nice trip through the posher parts of the city though and a good photo opportunity at the other end.

A Lothian AD E400 at Torphin terminus
My fav pic of the day, however, was taken while waiting for the above vehicle in the City centre. Routemasters look good regardless of where they are, and this example is no exception

RM 242 on an Edinburgh tour
Finally back to the cost of all that. Lothian do a day ticket that is valid from the first "day bus" till the last "day bus", so everything except night buses. It is also available on the trams all day, except to the airport. A pic of the ticket is below and it is worth remembering that day buses operate from around 5am - 1am 7 days a week. It is also worth remembering that an Anglian day ticket is £7 and a First network ticket is £14, although that is being reduced when the X1 changes come into effect.

Now how cheap is that. Makes you want to spit at the prices in our region.
In the next post an 18 hour day trip to Skye. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Edinburgh sounds amazing! I don't think I could've done all that travelling though.
    Just so you know the B7 Hybrids you mentions are called Volvo 7900.
    Great report!