Sunday, 30 March 2014

From Halfway to Middlewood

Not exactly  ‘24 hours from Tulsa’ but to anyone who knows, Halfway and Middlewood are two of the termini on Sheffield’s Supertram or as ‘Stagecoach’ would put it,





Built in the early 1990’s and fully opened in 1995. The infrastructure is owned by South Yorkshire PTE whilst the system is operated by ‘Stagecoach’.


The system was originally operated by a subsidiary of the PTE but due to its perceived lack of popularity was sold to ‘Stagecoach’ in 1997.


‘Stagecoach’ instituted changes which have improved the system and at the time of writing, approximately 15 million passengers per year are carried.


The trams built by Siemans Duewag are three car, double articulated units and are currently painted in a livery derived from ‘Stagecoach’s  railway livery used in and around the South of England.


As the tram stop says, Halfway serves a large car park which is also served by buses of ‘Stagecoach Yorkshire’ (SY).



 One of its Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) hybrid double deckers  painted in the green livery of the normal ‘Stagecoach’ livery starting to move off.



The trams themselves are warm and comfortable and have both a driver and a conductor. These days I find the provision of conductors to be unusual but being of a generation that grew up knowing the value of conductors to the traveling public, I applaud the move. 


I feel that they would be a worthwhile introduction on some very busy bus routes where fare collection by the driver can slow down the boarding process with obvious knock on effects on running time.


The driver is presented with a large airy ‘cabin’ with excellent all round vision.





Four stops towards the city from Halfway, the large shopping complex at Crystal Peaks (CP) is served. In this image tram No.122 is approaching the CP stop. The shops can be seen behind the tram.



Also behind the tram and the trees to the left is a small bus station of 8 stands from which services connect into Sheffield and also into many smaller communities locally.


An Optare Solo of ‘Stagecoach’ providing one such service to Killamarsh as route SL3.



In Sheffield city centre, tram No.110 is seen coming off the bridge that crosses Park Square. 


At the other side of the bridge is a ‘T’ junction. Turn left for Meadowhall and right for the railway station and eventually Halfway or to the other terminus on this side of Sheffield at Herdings Park.



Middlewood is one of two termini on this side of the city. The other one being at Malin Bridge.




Tram 110 again. This time standing at Middlewood terminus awaiting departure time on its next trip to Meadowhall.



An ADL Enviro 200 on the dedicated ‘SUPERTRAMLINK’ service that serves Stocksbridge further up the Don valley.

The position of the pantograph above the bus implies that the bus is mains powered. Fret not, it’s just that the bus is parked in front of the tram !




This image appeared in ‘Buses’ magazine for March 2014 on page 58.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

‘Scene’ on trentbarton (tb) ‘the sixes’

Passengers on ‘the sixes’ service serving a broad corridor from Derby to Bakewell along and adjacent to the A6 in Derbyshire have been well served by the faithful Scania L94UB’s with Wright Solar Urban bodies.


For 10 years or so the livery pictured below has been part of every day life.


However for many months now we have become used to ever increasing numbers of these same buses painted in a much brighter shade of yellow ‘advertising‘ the fact that something better in appearance and comfort  was to come. These buses so the window stickers told us were the ‘secret sixes’.



Although fully liveried buses had been in service for about 10 days. The official re launch of the ‘the sixes’ took place in Derby’s market place on the morning of Thursday the 27th. of March. 





Complete with balloons, banners, stickers, key rings, Mr Mango and all the razzamatazz that accompanies such events was the launch bus.




An Optare Solo was also in attendance suitably attired and branded as ‘little sixes’. The Solo is used for a short working on ‘the sixes’ that only operates between Wirksworth and Matlock.




A view of the interior of the Scania showing ‘the more comfy seats’ (and they really are). The coving panels carry suitable publicity material.



The welcome on the drivers door.



and the engine bay door on the Solo.



Anticipating that things might get a bit busy on launch day. A few days before, I took myself of to Matlock to get my images of the buses in service.









It was pleasing to see ‘tb’ bring out their heritage Leyland PD3 with Willowbrook body LRC 454 which dates from 1958.

56 years old and still the lines are classical. The livery simple yet elegant.



Meanwhile, back at Derby bus station the rest of ‘the sixes’ Scania’s were going about their business up and down the Derwent Valley. As usual.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

‘Scene’ in Nottingham yesterday the 24th. of March 2014

We are now officially in spring although the temperature seemed to suggest otherwise. The sun was shining and I had an hour to kill so I thought I would pay a visit with camera in hand.



My first ’14’ plate. A Scania N230UD with Alexander Dennis Enviro (ADL) 400 bodywork.


I had seen the ‘spare’ and ‘red line’ liveried buses a couple of weeks ago but this was my first ‘lime line’ liveried bus. Very smart.




A Dennis Trident with Plaxton’s President bodywork. One of a number that came last year from Go-Ahead London to help with rail replacement work when Nottingham railway station was closed.


The style of lettering in white is changed from the ‘nottingham network’ titling.


I include this image for no other reason that I like it.




Another Scania, this time a 270UD with Optare bodywork built after the style of other East Lancs built bodies in the fleet.


This turned up a couple of minutes after the Trident and it too was carrying the revised style of fleetname.




An Optare SoloSR from ‘trentbarton’ seen on Friar Lane with a livery that was new to me. ‘the rushcliffe greens’ which links Nottingham with Bingham and Radcliffe. 


I caught a glimpse of an Optare Tempo in the same livery. It would seem to be a variation of the Bingham ‘xprss’.



I always have time for an old timer, (my son Andrew says that is because I am one myself).



I have seen this former ‘London United’ Alexander ALX400 bodied ‘decker a number of times but it was the first time I have caught it on camera.


Now part of ‘Skills Coaches’ contract fleet.



W752 DOE

Another from ‘Skills Coaches’ contract fleet although this time in fleet livery is this East Lancs bodied Volvo.



R934 RAU

A Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork doing a stint on the ‘centrelink’. service.


It carries the ‘notts & derby’ livery but previously wore ‘trentbarton’ colours and I think its legal titling quotes ‘ Barton Buses’ all ‘Wellglade’ group companies.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

A 'Day out with Dennis' to Derby

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 Derby


 The major local bus operator is ‘trentbarton’ (tb) which covers a large area of the East Midlands. Here we see a Swedish built Scania chassis carrying a Spanish built body by Irizar operating a ‘red arrow’ service in  Derby bus station.




Another Scania chassis this time with a Wright built body again in 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.




Thursday, 20 March 2014

The image’s of Phil Webb

From time to time I have published material be it written or photographic recorded by someone other than myself.


This small selection taken in recent days is typical of Phil’s quality and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

I have not added any comment, I think the images speak for themselves. 











57 601


60 044






GWR Railmotor




Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Railway ‘Scene’ at Keighley

Over the weekend of 7th. 8th. and 9th. of March 2014. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (K&WVR) put on a steam gala.


My son Andrew and I had the Friday there and as befitted the occasion we travelled by train.


From our home station we travelled to Leeds by ‘Northern Rail’ (NR) class 158872 and from Leeds to Keighley by ‘NR’

class 333.


While the ‘158’ wears ‘NR’s standard livery the ‘333’ wears the hybrid ‘NR’/West Yorkshire PTE ‘Metro’ livery.





The star of the day for me was this former USATC 2-8-0 freight locomotive one of many supplied to Britain during the Second World War.

Sent initially to France and then on to Poland where it worked until repatriated to the 'K&WVR' in 1977. Withdrawn for overhaul in 1992, it returned to service early in 2014 and this gala was its service debut.


The loco carries a fictional livery that has caused some comment in preservation circles.


Personally, I like it as it is in keeping with the type of loco and set in the style of the times.


The two additional images show the information plates set high on the boiler.









No. 61994 The Great Marquess

Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built as a K4 class loco in 1938 by the LNER and numbered 3442 in service. The class was 6 loco’s strong.


The K4’s were designed specifically for the West Highland Line to Mallaig and Fort William.


Withdrawn in 1961 and sold into preservation it was stored on the Severn Valley Railway from 1972 until 1980 when it was overhauled.

Sold in the mid 2000 it was then overhauled at Crewe. It has since moved back to Scotland where it operates trains on the national rail network.





No. 43942

An 0-6-0 freight locomotive built by the Midland Railway in Derby. It was withdrawn in 1965 and sent to Woodhams Brothers scrapyard at Barry. 


In 1968 it became the first loco ever to be rescued from a scrapyard. After a major overhaul it re entered service in 2011.



No. 1704 ‘Nunlow’

An 0-6-0T industrial tank loco. Built in 1938 by Hudswell Clark & Co. of Leeds it worked for Earle’s Cement at their factory at Hope in Derbyshire. 


Sold in 1968, it is now owned by the Bahamas Loco Society and is based at the ‘K&WVR’.



No. 1054

An 0-6-2T Webb Coal tank originally of the ‘London & North Western Railway’ (L&NWR).

Designed in 1881 and built at Crewe in 1888. There were a total of 300 produced between 1881 and 1897.


At the grouping in 1923 it became the No. 7799 and then became No. 58926 on the formation of British Railways in 1948.


After a total of 70 years in service it was withdrawn in 1958 and was eventually sold into preservation at the price of £500. This was the first time a loco had been bought for preservation by public subscription.


Recently overhauled on the K&WVR the loco is owned by the National Trust and is looked after by the ‘Bahamas Locomotive Society’ (BLS).


I have ridden behind it and it is hard to believe that it is now 126 years old.







Another loco with the ‘BLS’ is No. 2258 ‘Tiny’. Currently non-operational, the loco is stored at the loco Museum at Ingrow.


Built by Andrew Barclay and Sons of Kilmarnock in 1947, this 0-4-0ST was for use at Manchester Corporation’s Gas Works. 


It came into preservation with the ‘BLS’ in 1970 and moved to Keighley in the early 1990’s when the ‘BLS’ re-located. 


No. 9073

A 2-8-0 Austerity which was a wartime design based on the LMS class 8F. Built by the Vulcan Foundry in 1945.

The loco worked in Holland for the Dutch State Railways before being sold in Sweden. Working for Swedish Railways (SJ) as its No. 1931 it was withdrawn in 1958.


Found in 1973 by a group from the ‘K&WVR’, the loco was repatriated to the UK in 1973 and finally entered service in 2007.


Seen ‘squealing’ its way round the curve just outside Keighley station, this image is the work of my son Andrew Basford to whom thanks are offered for its use.