Wednesday, 18 September 2013

MORE new buses!

In the last few weeks , Go-Ahead owned companies Wilts & Dorset (MORE) , Bluestar and Southampton Uni-Link have taken delivery of a batch of Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's. Wilts and Dorset use theirs on the X3 Salisbury to Weymouth , Bluestar operate theirs on the 1 Southampton - Chandlers Ford - Winchester route while Southampton Unilink use theirs on, wait, yes you've guessed it!...The University - Airport - Southampton docks route, U1A & U1C.  For Uni-Link and Wilts and Dorset, this is the First batch of Enviro 400s in the fleet. Bluestar however have SN56AWX, which is a very rare Volvo B7TL/Enviro 400. It's the only E400 on a Volvo B7TL chassis in the world as the other Volvo chassis Enviro 400s with Go-Ahead London and Dublin Bus are all on the slightly newer Volvo B9TL chassis.

Thanks to Salisbury enthusiast Jim Kettle for the photos, used with this permission!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

September Shuffle!

Firstly, I do apologise for not updating for over a month, been out on the buses and rails over the summer with not much time to blog. You can view all my photos on Flickr (R.I.P16064) and videos on Youtube (Paxmanvalentaboy).

Well then, what have I been up to?  For the first week of the Summer Holidays, I stayed mainly in Devon just bashing the rural routes out of Exeter etc. Sunday 24th July was Plymouth Hoe Rally, which was quite a good turn out.  From Saturday 3rd August, I began making good use of South West Trains' "Summer Fever" weekend ticket offer by having a trip to Alton via Woking. On arrival at Alton, I caught a bus to Guildford where I had a go on an Arriva Wright Cadet on a local route and got some photos before continuing by bus to Aldershot, then Farnham where I caught a bus back to Alton. From there I caught Stagecoach Volvo Olympian R424XFC to Basingstoke before bashing Olympian P263VPN. After that it was time to board 159108 for the 124 mile haul back to Devon.

That week, I did a trip to Cornwall to hunt for more Olympians and a Devon Rail Ranger.

Tuesday 13th August saw me travel to Cardiff for a Pacer bash, I did Cardiff-Penarth-Bargoed on 142074+142077 but was dissapointed to find a 150 on the connecting train to Rhymney. I still bashed it however just to clear the line. Oh well, you cant win 'em all I guess. That afternoon I met a couple of friends and bashed some of Cardiff Bus' fine vehicles before heading back to England.

Saturday 17th August was a trip to London, mainly bashing mainline train services. Was nice to get mileage on units I've never done before.

A trip to Reading (once again utilizing South West Trains' cheap fares to Basingstoke then the short trip across from there) was in order for Saturday 24th. I was very impressed by Readings bus network, although the fleet is mainly modern buses which I usually don't like, they were very smart and the liveries used for route brandings are somewhat impressive.  Sunday 25th August saw us celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the 'Maritime Line' from Truro-Falmouth. For this, First Great Western organised a trip using 43150 and 43005 down to Falmouth and Back for free! First class tickets too!

That's the highlights of my adventures this summer.

Now to move on the latest happenings on the transport scene... 

With Stagecoach introducing Gold, theres been much speculation as to what First will do. There has been sightings of brand new buses for the Bristol-Weston Super Mare X1 service (Enviro 400s SN63JYL/M) which makes me think that the ex-Plymouth Park& Ride 56 plate Enviros will return to Plymouth to operate route X80/X81. That really will live up to Stagecoaches 'Gold' as those 56 plates are air-conditioned, combined with luxury leather seats and more powerful engine. I hope they're painted in First's new Dark Blue/Gold livery like the Wales Optare Versas.

Carrying on with brand new buses, Plymouth Citybus launched 4 of the 8 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's this week on 'Red Flash' 21/21A route which crosses Plymouth. The plan was to have all 8 out on the route, however a delay with the order for a further 4 Enviro 400s for the 'Blue Flash' Plymouth-Tavistock route meant the first half of the Red Flash batch had to be repainted and branded for the Blue Flash.

Although Plymouth Citybus are attempting to compete with First's 'Tavy Linx' , First have the advantage of a more frequent service, so it will be interesting to see what happens.