Thursday, 30 January 2014

‘Scene’ in Nottingham today 30th. January 2014

The most recent deliveries to Nottingham City Transport (NCT) are 11 Scania N230UD’s with Alexander Dennis Ltd. Enviro 400 bodies seating H47/27F.


Registered YP63 WFA/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/J/K plus YP63 WEC. They carry fleet numbers 601 to 611.


A/B/C/D &  E carry the silver based ‘spare’ bus livery while the balance are in 43 'red line' livery.








To mark the celebration of 100 years of motor bus operation in West Bridgford.



Another Scania 230UD this time with Darwen H51/35F bodywork has been painted by NCT in this maroon and cream livery. 


These were the colours of the former ‘West Bridgford Urban District Council’ who’s buses were merged with NCT in 1968. 


A beautiful job it is too.


Monday, 27 January 2014

The rise and fall of 'bmibaby'

I have from time to time invited other contributors to post some of their work on my blog. My son Andrew and his wife Joy for example contributed images of the buses in Edinburgh last year.

My former colleague and friend Mr. John Beastall has agreed to contribute this article about 'bmibaby' for which I thank him.

bmibaby was a low cost carrier (LCC) with its main operating base at East Midlands Airport (EMA) near Castle Donington, Derbyshire. It was a subsidiary company of British Midland and operated its first flight from EMA to Malaga on 22nd March 2002.

British Midland, in turn could trace its history back to Derby Airways and previously, from 1938, as Air Schools Ltd; operating from Burnaston (now the site of the Toyota factory) and Wolverhampton. When the EMA opened for business in April 1965, British Midland (the former Derby Airways) moved to the new airport, providing the majority of the passenger services available at the time with a fleet of Douglas Dakota, Canadair Argonaut and Handley Page Herald aircraft. This set the scene for a long relationship between airport and airline.

bmibaby was born in January 2002 to bring low cost air travel to the East Midlands, initially on holiday routes to the Mediterranean and Portugal. Also to compete with then British Airways owned LCC Go Fly, which, based at Stansted Airport in Essex, had decided to open a base at EMA in April 2002, using a fleet of Boeing 737-300's. Go Fly was eventually purchased by Easyjet and re-branded accordingly.

British Midland operated a large fleet of Boeing 737's, a mix of 300/400/500 series aircraft, mainly operating out of Heathrow Airport, London. The 737 was the preferred LCC aircraft at that time and three 300 series where transferred to bmibaby for start-up, G-ECAS, G-OBMP and G-OJTW.

During the first summer of bmibaby operations, British Midland, which was a full fare airline, continued to operate the domestic and international business traffic routes out of EMA. By May 2003 the bmibaby fleet stood at five series 300 and eight series 500 aircraft. This resulted in most scheduled services out of EMA being operated by bmibaby for the first time. New bases also came online at Cardiff (10/2002 - 2011), Manchester(5/2003 - 2011) and Durham – Tees Valley (10/2003 to 2006), Birmingham (1/2005 to closure) and Belfast (3/2012 to 6/2012).

British Midland had expanded into becoming the second largest operator out of London Heathrow Airport and later being known as BMI (British Midland International). BMI Regional (BMR), based at Aberdeen Airport, was formed to operate the lower density routes and feeder services using Embraer RJ-145 (49 seat) and RJ-135 (37 seat) regional Jets.

Various changes to the ownership of British Midland occurred over the years until eventually, in 2009, it became wholly owned by Lufthansa – the German Airline Group. In April 2012, Lufthansa sold British Midland to International Airlines Group (IAG), which is the parent of British Airways and Iberia Airlines of Spain. British Midlands' operations were to be merged into British Airways operations by 27th October 2012. However, bmibaby and BMR were to be sold or closed down.

BMR was purchased by Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd and continues to operate today, maintaining the route, amongst others, from EMA to Brussels. Sadly a buyer was not found for bmibaby and it was announced in May 2012 that a number of flights would cease operating on June 11th with all remaining services ceasing in September 2012.

On the 9th September 2012, bmibaby operated their final services from East Midlands and Birmingham Airports, prior to the closure of the airline. During the ten years of operation a total of 28 Boeing 737's (20 x 300, 8 x 500) were operated by bmibaby, from bases at EMA, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast and Durham – Tees Valley. Here we look at what became of the fourteen Boeing 737 aircraft that bmibaby operated at that time from EMA and Birmingham.

Two series 500 aircraft (G-BVKB, G-BVZE) and twelve series 300 aircraft (G-OBMP, G-ODSK, G-OGBD, G-TOYD, G-TOYF, G-TOYG, G-TOYH, G-TOYI, G-TOYJ, G-TOYK, G-TOYL, G-TOYM) were in the fleet.

For the final day of operations 'SK, 'YD, 'YH, 'YI where based at Birmingham with the rest of the fleet at East Midlands. 'KB was standby aircraft and 'MP operated the last flight for bmibaby (ww5330) arriving at East Midlands from Malaga at 22.48 using radio call sign 'Baby 28V'. The aircraft received a traditional water canon salute from the airport Fire Department as it taxied onto the apron. A fitting tribute to the longest serving 737 within the group and the same aircraft that operated the first flight for bmibaby to Malaga 10 years earlier, reportedly with the same flight deck crew.

Monday 10th September saw the entire fleet flown into storage at Norwich Airport, Norfolk and Lasham Airfield in Hampshire, prior to return to their lessors. 'KB, 'ZE, 'MP, 'SK, 'YD, 'YH, 'YI, 'YL where flown to Norwich, with 'BD, 'YF, 'YG, 'YJ, 'YK, 'YM being flown to Lasham. All aircraft remained in storage for the rest of 2012.

OGBD was the first to fly again when it positioned from Lasham to Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire on 14/02/2013. To date it has resided at the Cotswold airport. Registered to Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc as N4973S on 11/09/2013.

TOYM was next to find a new home when it was delivered to Jet2 on 16/05/2013 as G-GDFT.

BVKB flew out of Norwich on 23/05/2013 devoid of bmibaby titles and tail logo – destination was Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Leicestershire reportedly for scrapping. The registration was cancelled on 19/07/2013.

TOYJ was reportedly to join 'YM at Jet2 as G-GDFS, however became YR-BBA when delivered to Carpatair of Romania on 25/07/2013.

BVZE was painted all white and departed for France on 22/08/2013 to join Air Mediterranee as F-HCOB. The aircraft regularly flies between Paris CDG and airports in North Africa.

TOYL climbed away from Norwich, still in full bmibaby livery, on 09/10/2013 bound for Canada and a future life with Canadian North Airlines of Yellowknife registered as C-GKFP.

OBMP was registered to KLM UK Engineering Ltd on 22/10/2013 and remains at Norwich with some parts removed. With some 60,000 hours to its credit it is presumed that it will not fly again. 'MP had served with British Midland / BMI / bmibaby since delivered new from Boeing on 10/01/1992!

TOYF and TOYH are both pending delivery to Nigerian start up airline Azman Air. They have been registered 5N-YSM, and 5N-HAI respectively. Both where still present at Bournemouth in January 2014.
TOYK has been prepared for Discovery Air of Nigeria and was re-registered to Aergo Trading Ltd on 03/09/2013. It should become 5N-BQP on delivery.

ODSK has languished at Norwich throughout 2013 undergoing extensive maintenance. Re-registered to Aergo Capital Ltd on 23/12/2013 it is reported that 'SK will join 'YK with Discovery Airlines of Nigeria as 5N-BQN.

TOYG remains at Lasham, with TOYD and TOYI at Norwich. It remains to be seen what fate has in store for these aircraft.

Complete list of Boeing 737 registrations that bmibaby operated – all prefixed G-. Series 500 BVKA , BVKB, BVKC, BVKD, BVZE, BVZG, BVZH, BVZI.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A 'Day out with Dennis' to Buxton

For the past year or so, I have been writing articles for a community magazine based in the Derbyshire village of Kilburn. The magazine called 'all things Local' is distributed free to 9,000 homes in Belper and Ripley. Apart from advertisements it carries all manner of general interest articles and information. It is widely read and indeed, copies of it can be hard to come by if you do not live in the two towns.

My contribution is to describe a variety of days out more or less locally that can be undertaken by anybody of any age. The purpose is to get folks out and about to enjoy the beautiful part of England in which they live.

I have provided a link from the articles to illustrations of the vehicles used that can be found here on by blog. So here goes !!

A Day out with Dennis to Buxton


The major local bus operator is ‘trentbarton’ (tb) which covers a large area of the East Midlands.


'tb' is an operator that has been known by various names including the word 'Trent' and during 2013 celebrated its 100th. birthday


Here we see a Swedish built Scania chassis carrying a Spanish built body by Irizar operating a ‘red arrow’ service approaching Derby bus Station.


Another Scania chassis this time with a Wright built body again approaching Derby bus station.


The body this time coming from Wright’s factory at Ballymena in Northern Ireland.


The ‘sixes’ service another ‘tb’ route links many towns along the A6 corridor going as far North as Bakewell, East to Ripley and West to Wirksworth.



‘tb’ also operate the Derby to Ashbourne and then on to Uttoxeter service.

Called ‘swift’ by ‘tb’, this bus has another Wright body this time powered by another Swedish built chassis. This time from Volvo.



Sometimes it is necessary to substitute another bus for the regular one. The maroon bus (which is in 'standard' livery is another Scania/Wright combination doing just that.



High Peak Buses (HPB), based just outside Buxton is a joint operation being owned equally by ‘tb’ and a company called ‘Centrebus’ based in Leicestershire. ‘Centrebus’ is a privately owned company with wide bus interests stretching from the home counties up into Yorkshire.


The 442 Ashbourne to Buxton service is generally run by buses made in Yorkshire by a company called Optare. The model’s name is the ‘Solo’. The Solo has been a major successes for Optare in recent years with many hundreds in service up and down the country.



Another HPB vehicle is another type produced by Optare. This time called the ‘Excel’ it is a bigger bus than the Solo carrying more passengers.


This one is seen operating the Manchester to Derby ‘transpeak’ service which for many years was a ‘tb’ route. it was handed over to HPB when the company was formed in 2012.


Another Optare Solo in the fleet of ‘G & J Holmes’ operates the Buxton to Chesterfield route. 'Holmes’ are a small independent operator based in Clay Cross.



Finally we have another ‘tb’ red arrow. This time a newer Scania with a later style of Irizar bodywork fitted. 


This particular picture was taken on a beautiful warm summers day (do you remember them ?) in the summer of 2013.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

'Scene' on the Isle of Wight part 1

Over the years, I have visited the IOW a number of times. I recently enjoyed a five day break there and as usual, I had a look at what was on offer on the transport scene.


The main bus operator is ‘Southern Vectis’ (SV). A National Bus Company (NBC) subsidiary when I first visited the island and since 2005 part of the ‘Go Ahead’ (GA) group.


The Romans christened the IOW ‘Vectis’. The ‘Vectis Omnibus Company’ came into being in 1923 when local operator ‘Dodsons’ assumed the title.


In 1929, the Southern Railway bought this company and added the prefix ‘Southern’.


As can be expected from GA, the current fleet is equipped with modern vehicles to provide an excellent service around the island.


For what is basically a rural community, there are a surprising number of double deck buses in the fleet which no doubt reflects the islands success in attracting holiday visitors like myself.


As the map shows, the East of the Island has the biggest concentration of bus routes with services radiating out from Newport and Ryde where purpose built bus stations are found. Indeed Ryde bus station is adjacent to the railway station and the Hovercraft terminal and as such can be termed a ‘Transport interchange’. A term much loved by politicians.


Green was the basic livery in NBC days and this colour is still the most common however blue is coming more into use. More of

which anon!!





This view shows the relationship between the buses, trains and Hovercraft at Ryde. The railway line runs out to the end of the pier where it further connects with ferries to the mainland.





The oldest double deckers on display during my visit were 52 registration plate vehicles. 




A Scania N94UD with East Lancashire OmniDekka bodywork is one of a batch of 5 that came from fellow GA group member ‘Metrobus’ where it carried the red London livery.




Other 52 plate ‘deckers were from a batch of seven that were new in 1992. HW52 EPK and HW52 EPN both Volvo B7TL’s with Plaxton President bodies.






Later deliveries came in 2008 and 2009. These being Scania OmniCity CN270UD’s with Scania OmniCity bodies.







Deliveries in 2009 were of similar vehicles.








Retaining the colours of another SV subsidiary ‘Moss Motor Tours’. DW498 WGH is another Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL that came from GA London.


On all the Presidents I travelled on, the upper deck ceilings are covered in the same moquette as the seats and some retain the dual doors from their service in London.







A Ford Transit Tourneo service van stands in Newport bus station. Not all service vehicles make it into fleet livery. This one did.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

K & H Doyle Coaches. The end.

W 975 ETW

Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart





I remember 'Doyle’s starting up in the mid 1980’s with one vehicle running a contracted taxi bus service between Street Lane and Pentrich via Ripley.


Since them, I have seen them grow and seemingly prosper to the point where they had become a fixture in the area.


At one time they had an operating base in Ripley but then moved to a unit on Lydford Road on the Meadow Lane industrial estate in Alfreton which then became their base.


I remember an evening visit to ‘Doyles’ with ‘Transpire’ the Chesterfield Bus Society when Kevin Doyle personally conducted us around his premises.


A likeable man who was pleased with what he had achieved.


I knew something was amiss when I saw a ‘yourbus’ Wright Streetlite running on a ‘Doyle’ service earlier this week.


There were a number of rumours about but it seemed that ‘Doyles’ had gone out of business on Monday 13th. of January and that both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils transport units were trying to fill the gaps that had appeared in their timetables.


A visit to the Lydford Road premises found them empty apart from Optare Solo W296 EYG

in the workshop.


Today, I set out to find out what routes were being run, by whom and with what vehicles.


I was able to glean a lot of information regarding what and whom from Matthew Barker’s excellent ‘Derby Bus Depot’ web site.

The with what, was down to me.


As I write, the following appears to be the situation.


Route 4  Mansfield -Mansfield Woodhouse currently has no service.


Route 17 Oak Tree-Mansfield- Sutton-in- Ashfield is being run by ‘Stagecoach’ to a normal timetable.



A Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart


Route 18 Mansfield-Crown Farm is being run by ‘Stagecoach’ to a normal timetable.


V515 XTL

Another Dennis Dart, this time bodied by East Lancs.


Route 19 Mansfield-Berry Hill- Mansfield currently has no service.


Route 143 Ripley-Ambergate-Belper is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.



A Wright Streetlite D/F.




Route 144 Ripley-Ambergate-Crich is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.



Again, which interworks the two routes.




Route 145 Blidworth-Sutton-Kirkby is being run by ‘Stagecoach’ to a normal timetable.



A Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart.




Route 148 Codnor-Ripley- Alfreton is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.



A Wright Streetlite D/F.



Route 151 Alfreton-Outseats and Peasehill Estates is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.



A Wright Streetlite D/F.



Route 152 and 153 Alfreton-Sleetmoor Lane-Somercotes-Lower Birchwood is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.



A Wright Streetlite D/F which inter works the two routes.







Route 228 Hucknall-Bestwood Village-Bulwell is being run by ‘yourbus’ to a normal timetable.


No Image


Route 331 Selston-Moorgreen-Phoenix Park is only running between Selston Church and Phoenix Park. Operated by A & S Coaches.


No Image


Route 332 Eastwood-Moorgreen-Pinxton- Alfreton currently has no service.


It is always sad when an enterprise that started out with ambition and high hopes comes to grief.


The passengers have mostly already been found alternative transport.


The buses will move on and very soon the bright green buses of ‘K & H Doyle Coaches’ will be but a memory.


Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils have done well to keep the services running.


The management teams at ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘yourbus’ have done extremely well to juggle their resources to provide the services that they have.


Transport to me is all about people. People providing a service to enable other people to move around.


The loss of ‘Doyles’ will mean that some of those people will lose their jobs. Some will find other jobs. Possibly with 'Stagecoach' and 'yourbus' To all of Doyle's former employees I extend my very best wishes for the future.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

‘Scene’ today (15th January 2014) in Ripley, Derbyshire

‘yourbus’ (yb) Wright Streetlite D/F MX62 GXE operating on service 148 which is normally operated by ‘K & H Doyle Coaches’ of Alfreton.


Rumour in the town has it that Doyles’s have ceased trading overnight and that ‘yb’ are picking up the pieces.


Time as they say will tell. 


Saturday, 11 January 2014

A 'NEW SH1NY BUS' for Derby and Heanor




‘trentbarton’s Derby to Heanor and then Alfreton service has been well established for many years.

On Friday the  10th. and Saturday the 11th. of January 2014, brand new buses for the service were unveiled to the public in Heanor and Derby respectively.

The five Optare Versa’s are seen lined up in Derby’s Market Place quite late in the day.



Here we see a walk round view of the livery








All five buses carry different rear end messages incorporating H1 in them. No doubt to encourage other drivers who may well consider using the service.














A look at the internal appointments on these vehicles show them to light, airy, comfortable and spacious with a colour scheme to complement the eye catching exterior livery.