Wednesday, 31 July 2013


On any railway, the locomotives attract most attention especially when those locomotives are steam powered.


No.’s 822 & 823 ‘The Earl’ and ‘Countess’ respectively are the original 0-6-0 tank loco’s built for the line in 1902 by Beyer Peacock.


The liveries and the number plates reflect Great Western Railway influence. Needless to say, the paint job on both loco’s is excellent. 





The line came into GWR ownership with the takeover of Cambrian Railways in 1923 and passed to British Railways in 1948 at nationalization. 





It is 25 years since I last visited the WLLR. On that visit I was accompanied by sons Andrew and Robert. This time, I only had Andrew for company because Robert has moved onto other interests (like beer, women and Sunderland AFC).


Authorized by the Light Railways Act of 1896, it opened in April 1904 as a ‘Common Carrier’ line, it was intended to improve communications in the area. 


Never having turned a profit it closed in November 1956.


Taken over by enthusiasts, it was re-opened progressively from West to East in 1963. Unable to use the original terminus in Welshpool, the railway now terminates at 

Raven Square on the outskirts of the town. 


The track gauge is 2 feet 6 inches and the distance between the termini is 8 and a half miles.


The image above shows the platform and station buildings at Llanfair Caereinion. The two coaches are dealt with in detail elsewhere in this piece.

Monday, 29 July 2013

'Scene' in Nottingham July 29th. 2013

‘Scene’ in Nottingham 29th. July 2013


It is not often that Nottingham City Transport buys second hand buses but here we see two such on Rail Replacement work while Nottingham railway station is closed for five weeks of major track re-modeling and building work.


Six Transbus Trident’s with Plaxton President have been acquired from Go-Ahead London. They were new to First London.


Two of them LT52 WXJ, NCT’s No. 767 and LN51 GOK, NCT’s No. 766 are seen  in plain silver/grey livery with white fleet name. 

Further images of 'Rail replacement' in Nottingham see  Flickr


Saturday, 27 July 2013

'Scene' in Derby July 26th. 2013

Whilst many enthusiasts and passengers do not like ‘Contravision’ decorated buses. There must be some money in it somewhere because their numbers are on the increase!

Further images can be found on Flickr 


FK 58 KXP   Volvo B9TL Wright EclipseGemini


 YJ61 CFM   Optare Versa V1100


YT09 ZBU   Scania N230UB Omnilink

Further images can be found on Flickr 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Y5, Y not ?

Sunday the 14th. of July saw ‘yourbus’ of Heanor launch its latest route, the Y5. Running from Derby via Spondon, Borrowash, Draycott and Long Eaton to Beeston. 


The Mercedes-Benz Citaro’s that I saw were branded for the route and it runs every 20 minutes during the busier part of the day.



A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 7

YAZ 8645 

A Dennis Dart SLF with Wright’s Crusader bodywork has an interesting background. New in 1999, it had a spell in Northern Ireland where it worked on a Park and Ride service in Belfast followed by a spell in South Wales with Edwards coaches of Pontypridd. It now works for West Midlands Special Needs Transport.



 SN04 EFP 

A Transbus Enviro 300 SLF, although lettered for ‘County Links’ works for ‘Central Buses’ of Birmingham.

It was new to Warwickshire County Council before having spells with ‘Pete’s Travel’, ‘Guide Friday’, ‘Stagecoach Midland Red’, and ‘Johnsons’  of Henley in Arden.




A Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton’s Pointer 2 bodywork.

A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 6

‘Blue Diamond (BD) who are part of the Rotala group operate extensively in the West Midlands.

Y274 FJN

A Dennis Dart SLF with Alexander ALX 300 body at one time appeared in a mainly red livery when it worked for ‘Central Connect’ who are part of the Rotala group. Blue Diamond was forged from an amalgamation of ‘Zak’s, ‘North Birmingham Busways’ and ‘Birmingham Motor Traction’.



YJ56 AUH an Optare Solo.

(The final) part 7 to follow shortly

A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 5

Arriva’s contribution to the day included,



A Volvo B9TL with Wright Gemini bodywork that was new to Tamworth depot. Close inspection below the ‘City Linx’ wording shows that it is discreetly branded for the Tamworth-Birmingham service.



A Plaxton Mini Pointer bodied Dennis Dart at one time was local to me when it operated in an older livery for Arriva in Derby.

Part 6 to follow shortly.

A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 4

NXWM operate a number of high frequency routes (usually six buses per hour) for which the allocated buses are route branded. Each route gets a different colour superimposed over the fleet livery. The West Bromwich route 5 being in yellow.


W114 DOP 

Another Volvo B7TL  with Plaxton President  body again allocated to WB illustrates the point.

Single deck members of the NXWM on ‘parade’ on the day started with.


A Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse Urban 2 bodywork. An AG garaged vehicle seen working route 71 which comes in from Solihull to terminate at SC railway station.


S669 VOA 

A much older Volvo B6LA with Wrights Crusader bodywork. A WA bus working in from its home town. When delivered this bus was part of a batch of 60 or so buses, many of which have now been withdrawn.

Part 5 to follow shortly


A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 3



A Volvo B7TL-57 with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork seating 74 works out of NXWM’s PB depot and is seen on layover in SC.




Another PB bus. This time a 76 seat Scania Omnicity 230UD working the 914 from SC to Birmingham which is a fast journey via Kingsbury Road, Good Hope Hospital and the Aston Expressway.




Wright’s Eclipse Gemini body with 73 seats on a  Volvo B7TL-57 chassis again from PB depot which once more goes to Birmingham via the Aston Expressway. This time being routed via Erdington, Gravelly Hill and again Good Hope Hospital. 


Part 4 to follow shortly

A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 2


A modern electronic departures board keeps intending passengers up to date. 

The identification of the operator requires a bit of explaining. ARR is obviously Arriva, CEB is Central Buses whilst the two letter codes refer to the NXWM garage that operates this particular route. The list of all NXWM garage codes are,  AG Acocks Green, BC Birmingham Central, BY Bordesley Green, CV Coventry, PB Perry Barr, PE Pensnett, WA Walsall, WB West Bromwich, WN Wolverhampton, YW Yardley Wood and XS which is for buses that are stored.



I always tend to think of the big fleets (such as NXWM) as being highly standardised but within a very short space of time, I was presented with 5 different double decker types to photograph. As will also be seen, they come in a wide variety of colour schemes which are variations on the red, white and blue theme.


W113 DOP A WB based Volvo B7TL with a 74 seat Plaxton President body looking immaculate for a fourteen year old bus, about to depart for its home town.


BU07 LGX a PB based bus is an Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) Trident 2 fitted with ADL’s Enviro 400 bodywork seating 77.


Part 3 follows shortly…


A short visit to Sutton Coldfield part 1

When I was researching an article I wrote about a visit to Midland Classic (MC) for this website a few weeks ago. I discovered from MC’s website that they were about to start services to Sutton Coldfield (SC) by extending their X12 service from Burton On Trent to Lichfield. So, say no more and here I am !!


The town lies about 8 miles to  the Northeast of Birmingham. It looks to be an attractive, well to do town with particularly good transport connections into Birmingham.


There is no bus station as such and all the bus stands are closely grouped together in the centre of town on the main street.


National Express West Midlands (NXWM) are the major operator but Arriva and others put in an appearance.


S24 SLT is a Scania 94UB with Wright bodywork and is one of four that joined MC from South Lancs travel of Atherton. As can be seen, this vehicle (and S25 SLT which took me back to Burton) are suitably route branded. 



In the centre of SC, the road we see turns sharp left just beyond the NXWM decker whilst the pedestrianised shopping centre carries straight on. 


Right FJ08 LVO a Wright Gemini bodied DAF SB250 stands in the leafy town centre waiting to depart for Tamworth on service 110 which links Tamworth to Birmingham. This bus put in an appearance at Showbus at Duxford in 2010.


Part 2 follows shortly…

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Simply Solos part 1

Optare Solos are in use with a huge number of bus companies in the UK and have been since the 1990s, As a result of this longevity they've carried many different liveries. 'Simply Solos' hopes to illustrate this as and when they cross my path…


YJ57 EHB Optare Solo of TM Travel Wellglade groups fleet No. 1193 bought new in 2007 carries the white/blue Travel South Yorkshire livery at Crystal Peaks on July 1 2013 with a Sheffield City Centre service.

Crystal Peaks 01/07/2013


YJ55 BKZ Optare Solo. Stagecoach fleet number 47297 seen at Crystal Peaks shopping centre working the Sheffield Super Tram link service to Killamarsh