Thursday 9 February 2017

No News Is No News!

Man is it dead out there. Nothing to report, nothing on VOSA, no new buses, no new trains, no new anything. Nothing, zilch, zip, zero, diddly squat!

It's so dead at the moment yesterday I went to see an operator begging for something newsworthy. After a bit of head scratching the MD said "well we had a bus MOT'd this morning...." That was it! So I hope you'll understand why there hasn't been a flood of posts recently. Even the predicted snow is going to be a non event. So with nothing local to report here are a few things you may be interested in.

Steady yourselves for the shock but Cambridge have some new buses on the Park & Sit In Traffic service. I have never worked out why P&R buses have to be painted in the most gaudy liveries. Yellows, pinks, oranges, greens of course, purples - and all for what? Anyway Stagecoach East have continued the trend by painting their new P&R E400MMC's in orange - assuming that car drivers can't spot their bus as easily as regular passengers I guess. I am grateful to John Taylor for sending me a couple of pics he took of the new buses. Many thanks, John.

The new E400MMC's on Cambridge P&R
I also believe that there are new E200MMC's for Chelmsford P&R. Can't wait to see what new buses First get for Ipswich P&R! No stop laughing I'm serious!

With all the talk of the possibility of one or two light snow flurries, which will inevitably see everything grind to a halt as usual, I thought I'd share some real snow with you. A couple of days ago Railcam started streaming a camera located in Finse, a small Norwegian town on the Oslo - Bergen rail line. Now these guys have serious snow and guess what - the trains not only run but on time! It is a stunning camera and worth a watch. If you go via the Railcam site the departure times are listed  If you're not a member of railcam you can view the camera by clicking here, but it will be pot luck if you see a train! Here is the 1134 to Bergen this morning, which was 8 mins late, but imagine how late it would have been here! Incidentally the shed the train is heading into is exactly that - a shed built over the points so they don't get clogged with snow - there is one at the other end of the station too. Ingenious yet simple.

Now that's snow! The webcam at Fince station, Norway
I did a bit of research into fares on that line, which takes over 7 hours from one end to the other. A standard single is around £89, but I checked a month from now, when apparently the snow is far greater, and I found singles at £23 and £30. For a 7 hour journey that's not bad at all and worth serious consideration. Many thanks, Railcam for sharing this quite magnificent location.

Coming home again and due to some strong winds last week Dawlish put on one heck of a show. I think it's the roughest I've ever seen it and I got some cracking stills. Here is a selection, with the usual thanks to Simon and the team for allowing me to reproduce them here.

A GWR HST heads nto the train wash at Dawlish
A local train is swamped by the sea
A Pacer gets a pasting - could be a Turner!
Lord only knows what it's like being on a train in those conditions but by heck I want to find out!

On Saturday Tim and I are going to freeze our extremities off by going to observe the East Coast Main Line diverts between Ely and March so look out for a post Sunday on that, and Monday I have my eye check up at East Grinstead, and I'm thinking of training it this time as I want to get on one of Thameslink's new Class 700's among other things so again there will be a post on that if it happens.

In the meantime to all you bus enthusiasts my apologies but apart from a bus being MOT'd there's nothing happening!

Oh - if anyone knows the fuel consumption of a Volvo B9tl 2 axle let me know please! Thanks.


  1. Hello Steve. I'm still in hibernation too. Though perhaps Ipswich could get their hands on ex-Chelmsford P&Rs. (Though I'd rather they transferred them internally to replace some of the junk). I accept they're nothing to write home about. And in gaudy plain black.

    Looks like Stagecoach and Uno in the east are retrenching. Hardly surprising when it seems all the nationals are reporting stagnant or declining like for like passenger numbers and income, and increasing costs. Out in the real world rather than our fevered imaginations, how does that make the case for investment? I really can't see how more rural/interurban services reverse the decline in revenue and reduce the operating costs? Got any creative ideas with your thinking cap on, to help keep your head warm in the Cambridgeshire countryside in between the trains? I rather fear that the shot-in-the-arm from locked-in season ticket holders might prove rather short-lived once they get fed up with the reliability. We very easily get shafted once too often. Perhaps a bit more attention needs to be paid to the goose that lays the golden egg. Sorry, "free pass" holders! Not sure the politicians count either. Though here's your golden opportunity with Suffolk CC (and other county) elections coming up imminently in April!!!

    Recent A12 disasters show the best and worse. Conscientious, hardworking and creative drivers (as they always were, I think, at their best in a crisis, working with the passengers; perhaps like the rest of the country, when they can throw away the rulebook), and what too often looks like rather soporific, as well as supine and complacent, management. If the drivers get the same quality of information as the passengers, they must often be as puzzled as we are.

  2. Sorry Smurf the ex Chelmsford P&R buses are going to Hadleigh and staying black for the time being apparently!

    As for my thinking cap its far too cold to remove my woolly hat but when I do I'll probably come up with the same ideas I've had for the last 3 years as no one has tried them yet.

    But here's something - rather than buying new buses how about buying second hand and spending £25k doing them up if you aren't in an area that demands Euro6 engines. You save £200K+ on the cost of the bus and although there will be no warranty what the heck if you're saving that much. Thinking of the B9tl Gemini 1's which are still in my view the best bus around. At least from a passenger's view but I still need to know the blessed fuel consumption which I can't find anywhere!

    1. I agree with that idea, but First don't, do they, anywhere?. Nurse!

      Hadleigh makes sense: it has the same problem with a low rail bridge as Chelmsford (too low at least for modern deckers). It has more passengers that it can cope with too, unlike Chelmsford where the passengers have mostly long given up!

  3. just to let you know ,that the colour of the p+r buses in Cambridge is GINGER not yellow,NEXT IS lilac FOR THE milton service with 2 grey spares

    1. I said Orange not Yellow and it's as ginger as First Ipswich are RAF Blue and not grey!

    2. the colour ginger is as recognised by the operations manager at cowley rd