Wednesday, 27 November 2013

'Scene' at Rugby

I have been to Rugby before but on this visit, I thought it was extremely quiet.


The ‘Star’ here was Direct Rail Services (DRS) Class 57309 named ‘Pride of Crewe’.


Rebuilt from Class 47’s by Brush Traction at Loughborough.  The 57’s incorporated General Motors engines which greatly improved the loco’s performance.


57309 was originally part of Virgin Trains‘ (VT) twelve strong ‘Thunderbird’ fleet and was named ‘Brains’ in that series. 


Along with 57302 and 57305. 57309 was leased from ‘Porterbrook’ by DRS for a period of 3 years from April 2012.


From December 2012 DRS contracted to provide haulage for VT and presumably, its presence at Rugby was to be of such service if required.








Parked in a siding adjacent to the station are a small collection of vehicles.







Is one of a small collection of vans that at one time were used by the ‘Motorail’ service. These ran in passenger train formations carrying the cars of the trains passengers.


The last time I was here which is over two years ago, they were parked in the same position. 


These former ‘Great Western’ liveried vehicles ran as part of the ‘Night Riviera’ service from London to Penzance.

Introduced in 1999. The trains ran until 2005 when after considerable financial losses, they were withdrawn.




Is one of two ‘Translator’ vehicles owned by ‘Porterbrook’. ‘Also known as ‘barrier’ vehicles. 


Their purpose is to bridge the gap between loco’s, coaches, wagons etc. that have otherwise incompatible couplings. 

Originally they were Mark 1 coaching stock.

Directly opposite the railway station is the local ‘Stagecoach’ Midlands garage. Like the railway station, it was very quiet.



The only bus outside in clear view was.


P905 RYO 

A Leyland Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork. It has that forlorn look about it that old buses have just before they are sold on.



KX61 GEJ and KX61 GDU 

An image taken from Platform 1 on the railway station shows a couple of ‘’ Volvo B9R’s with Plaxton Panther 2 bodies tucked away in the garage.



Saturday, 23 November 2013

'Scene' in Hexham

Hexham lies between Carlisle and Newcastle just South of the the A69 and Hadrians Wall.


The bus station seems innocent enough. It is not much to look at and it does not have much by way of facilities but it has been branded as a ‘disgrace and a scandal’ by local politician Terry Robson while locals led by Dr Anne Pickering have tabled a 2000 signature petition to keep it where it is.


It certainly seems to generate passion. However, that aside, here it is !!




A Volvo B9TL with Wright’s Eclipse Gemini bodywork is about to depart on service 10 to Newcastle. Carrying titles for       ‘Go North East’ (GNE) a part of the ‘Go-Ahead’  (G-A) group.




Another of the same. These coach seated vehicles are superb.



GNE operate other routes in the area including the 74 which links Hexham to Newcastle via a less direct route than the 10



An elderly Dennis Dart with Plaxton Pointer bodywork waits its next turn of duty.




Same operator, chassis and body suppliers but the shorter MPD variant.




A Scania L94UB with Wright’s Solar bodywork on yet another variation of the GNE Hexham-Newcastle route.

At one time this bus appeared in the livery of ‘OK Motor Services’ (OKMS) an independent operator from 1912 to 1995 when OKMS became part of the G-A group.



An interesting vehicle is this pedal powered tricycle which sells coffee and other delights whilst at the same time carrying adverts for GNE’s Tynedale Express service.




An Alexander Dennis Ltd. Enviro 200 bodied Dennis Dart SLF of ‘Howard Snaith Coaches’ (HSC) of Otterburn.




DAZ 1560

Another HSC vehicle is this Volvo B10M with Plaxton’s Premier bodywork.



NCZ 5381

‘Nightingale Coaches’ of Stanley operate this smartly turned out veteran DAF SB3000 with Van Hool T8 body. Previously registered K95 GEV when it worked for ‘Scarlet Band Coaches’ of West Cornforth.





Is a Mercedes-Benz Riada. (Thanks to Garry at Nightingales for that snippet of information).



GIL 1792

Another Volvo B10M this time with Plaxton’s Paramount bodywork. Seen in the colours of ‘Gillinghams Coaches’ of Stanley.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

'Scene' on Derbyshire's route 149

The 28th. of October was a busy day when it comes to taking on new ventures. ‘yourbus’ of Heanor were busy with the newly acquired 109 and 113 (see my blog for 28th. of October) while ‘G & J Holmes’ of Clay Cross were busy with the 149. 

A new venture for them linking Alfreton in Derbyshire with Sutton in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire.

Both towns were already linked by ‘trentbarton’ with its ‘9’s service and by ‘Stagecoach’ with its No.1 ‘Mansfield Miller’ service.

The 149 as can be seen from the map links many villages, most of them former coal mining communities with the two termini.



This was my first outing on the 149. A very rural route with many twists and turns along narrow country roads and lanes with distant views of the Southern Pennines.








My transport turned out to be MK63 WZZ one of two of ‘G & J Holmes’ recently acquired Alexander Dennis Enviro 200’s. 

Both of these images were taken in Sutton-in-Ashfield bus station.




It was my first time on an Enviro 200 so I took the liberty of having a good look at it.


I thought it an impressive little bus which was comfortable to ride on and seemingly well able to cope with the job in hand. It is always a good sign when the driver likes his bus !!








Monday, 11 November 2013

'Scene' in Carlisle

An hour in Carlisle recently yielded the following.


Very much a ‘Stagecoach’ City albeit in ‘Cumberland Motor Services’ (CMS) guise and also very much Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer's also. Some are branded and some appear in plain livery.






The majority are registered in the PX05 E?? range including the bus painted in traditional ‘Cumberland’ livery to celebrate 100 years of CMS.









W221 DNO


Also similar but older. This bus had a previous existence with ‘Stagecoach in London’ in full London red livery. 


Other single deckers in the fleet on view were.


R960 XVM


A Volvo B10M with Alexander’s PS body which I calculate as being 16 years old.



S143 TRJ 

A former ‘Stagecoach in Manchester’ vehicle being a MAN 18.220 with Alexanders ALX 300 bodywork.


A couple of Optare Solo’s turned up 

PX07 GZZ and PE51 YHJ 

PE51 looked half naked because its front end livery was largely missing. At one time it served ‘Preston Bus’.







A MAN 18.240LF chassis with Alexander Dennis Enviro300 bodywork.



Double deckers were in short supply, these being the only two. Both were Dennis Tridents with Alexander Dennis ALX400 bodies.



Was originally with ‘Stagecoach Manchester’ and came after a spell in the Lancaster area.




Specially liveried in a green version of the standard livery for the lengthy Carlisle, Wigton Keswick service.



I was intrigued to see a ‘First’ bus in Carlisle because I did not think that ‘First’ had a presence locally.


First UK’s fleetlist shows this bus as being an ADL 30D with an ADL Enviro 300 body which currently is based at Galashiels working for ‘First Scotland East’.

It stands waiting to depart for Edinburgh which is an incredible three and a half hours away in time and almost a hundred miles in distance.



K888 SCL

I was admiring the work of UNVI at Coach & Bus live at the NEC only a few weeks ago. Indeed I did a piece about their product range which can be found elsewhere on this blog.


Despite its registration this is a relatively new vehicle working for ‘Staceys’. A Carlisle operator.


487 FHW

I do not usually include van conversions but I make an exception in this case because it is built for carrying disabled people which is a cause dear to my heart and because its owner. ‘reays’ of Wigton is a well known and respected operator of full size buses and coaches.


Further photos can be seen on my Flickr 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

London Midland Day Out

The Great Escape


For some years now, London Midland Trains (LMT) to coincide with the October half term break have offered a day ticket to anywhere on their system for just £15. A look at the map and the area it covers shows just how good an offer it is.


This  the fourth time I have taken advantage of it.



The services to and from London and Liverpool and all points in between are in the hands of Class 350 EMU’s built by Siemens AG in Germany. They are known as ‘Desiro’s.


The 350/1’s were built in 2004 for ‘Central Trains’ and ‘Silverlink’ while the 350/2’s were a later purchase by LMT in 2008/9. A further batch of 20 are currently on order. These will be split between LMT (350/3) and ‘Transpennine Express’.


They are fast, quiet and comfortable.

From where I live, the nearest LMT station is Lichfield Trent Valley (LTV). The station has two levels. 


The main, lower one is on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) terminating in London to the South and Liverpool in the Northwest. 


The  upper one goes to Birmingham and on into the West Midlands towards the the Welsh border. The two most Westerly outposts being Shrewsbury and Hereford. 


The route for today was straight down the main line to Rugby. Then North to Stafford. Liverpool was next returning to stop a while at Crewe. Finally back to LTV and home.



The WCML is famous of course for the Anglo-Scottish expresses and in some ways the LMT operation is a little overshadowed by their high speed neighbour.


Nevertheless they provide a vital and necessary service quietly, confidently and comfortably.




The services into Birmingham from LTV are in the hands of Class 323 electric units and here we see 323242 just before departure.





350 106 and 350 254 seen at Stafford.





They normally run as four coach sets but they can of course work in multiple.





350 105

Approaching LTV.





350 123

At Rugby




350 110

At Stafford




350 120

At Rugby