The Anonymous Widower

An Iconic Picture Of A New Routemaster

I like this picture and report from the Wrightbus web site.

It shows a new Routemaster outside the Northern Ireland parliament building at Stormont, all decked out in pink for the visit of the Giro d’Italia.

The picture says so many things, some of which are political, but to me it shows how if you get the design of anything right, that stimulates the economy and creates jobs. But also as the report about the New Bus for West Yorkshire shows, these classic designs, look great in any colour, although black might be a bit much, as London has shown.

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A New Bus For West Yorkshire

When searching for Routemaster and wi-fi, I found this article from the Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Transport company First has revealed plans to introduce London-style buses in Bradford and the whole of West Yorkshire.

It is proposing to introduce a fleet of Routemaster buses, which would have multi-door entry and exit points including a hop-on and off platform at the rear, free wi-fi and lower emissions.

As someone who has seen the transformation of the new Routemaster-equipped route 38, over the last couple of years, I believe that these buses have three main benefits for the passengers. The buses are faster, because they load and unload quicker, but surprisingly they are much friendlier places than the older London double-deckers, as the design seems to promote conversation and politeness. But as someone, who often travels with a large shopping bag and who sometimes can be a bit unsteady, their ride is so much better, that I choose my routes home accordingly.

I don’t think Bradford though, will buy Routemasters, as after all they are a London thing, and cities of the north don’t generally follow good examples from the capital. Look at their bus maps and information from the Dark Ages for a start.

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

A Black And Dirty New Bus For London

London’s buses are normally very clean. But this one wasn’t!

The red buses always look pristine.  So does the advertising vinyl attract the dirt?

The sooner these buses are returned to the proper red colour, the better.

June 10, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

London’s Express Buses

Many cities in the UK and elsewhere have express buses to speed you on your way.

With the introduction of a substantial number of New Buses for London on route 38, it seems that London now has express buses, as they are faster than the traditional buses.

Today, I arrived at Dalston Junction station and as I do caught the first bus along the Balls Pond Road.  It was an elderly 56 and before it got to the first stop, it had been passed by a following New Bus for London on route 38. The 38 had been able to make a faster getaway at the lights, as their hybrid drive train seems to give better acceleration.

But by the time I got to my stop at Southgate Road, the new bus was on its way to Islington.  This is probably because with three doors the cargo gets on and off a lot quicker.

It also helps that only about a third of the passengers need to go past the driver to check in.

As I can get both 38s and 56s to the Angel, it’ll be interesting to see if the 56s get less crowded when route 38 has its full compliment of new buses.

It would also appear than the traditional buses are having their route displays updated for the introduction of cashless buses in July, with nudge messages suggesting you go cashless.  They are also saying you can go in and out through either door.

So will the two door buses be fitted with a touch pad at the rear door, just as the new buses do?

It would certainly speed loading and unloading of buses.

All of this shows that good design can make something as mundane as a bus better!

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Other Side Of The New Bus For London

My Internet trawl picked up this story from the BBC in Northern Ireland, which talks about the jobs being created by Wrightbus in Ballymena. This is second paragraph.

The company is making a total investment of £14m – more than £10m of which will be for research and development projects.

So will the rest of the world be seeing their own New Buses?

All of this shows the value of good design and engineering.

Incidentally, now that the route 38 is now mainly New Buses for London, everybody seems to be very pleased and talks about it on the buses.

So good design and more space puts a smile on peoples’ faces too!

Most of our trains, even the older refurbished ones, are some of the best in the world for passenger comfort, so why shouldn’t we have similar standards on buses everywhere?

May 13, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Come In Number 38, Your Time Has Come!

I saw several New Buses for London or Routemasters today, as I travelled the other way on a 38 to and through Hackney.


But they weren’t the remnants of the original Hackney Eight, but pristine ones, just off the boat from Northern Ireland.

Coming back from the Angel, I got one of the new buses and the driver said with a big beaming smile on his face, that from Monday all buses on the 38 will be New Routemasters.

So now visitors to the capital and those that live here for that matter, will be able to take their partner, boyfriend or girlfriend to romantic Clapton Pond, as I surmised here.

On a serious note, If you were thinking of opening a cafe, then Clapton Pond surely is the place!

Also if I was Hackney’s Tourism Officer, I’d be making sure everything was ready.

Rumour also has it too, that a well known estate agent has jacked up the prices of all properties near to a 38 bus stop by two percent.

May 9, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life On A 38 Bus

The 38 Bus in London, is probably the route that I use most.  I even used its sister the N38 to get to Victoria for the Gatwick Express in the middle of the night. Yesterday, I used the route twice, once to go to the Angel and the other to go to a lecture near the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. But then the Upwestbound stop is just round the corner from my house.

But I haven’t done what a Timeout journalist has and spent twenty-four hours running up and down the route from the romantic Clapton Pond to crowded Victoria. His article is here. This is a typical paragraph.

But there’s more to the London bus than keeping costs down. It’s fascinating about seeing the city from the top deck. Ever bother looking at the buildings above the shops? I’m not talking about nosing into offices and flats (though you wouldn’t believe how many people walk around naked with the curtains open) – it’s the centuries-old architecture pocked with the scars of history, with Victorian inscriptions and scraps of pre-war adverts. Glimpses of London’s former lives.

The 38 may not be one of the glamour routes, that have got a full compliment of New Buses for London, but as a working lifeline for connecting the people of Hackney to the jobs, shops and attractions of the West End, it is invaluable.

February 20, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Wireless Electric Buses In Milton Keynes

This is a very good story about how bus technology is getting better. Here’s the intro.

Electric buses which their developers say can run all day are set to begin service.

A fleet of eight new electric vehicles will operate along a busy route in Milton Keynes from late January.

The buses can run for longer by virtue of a wireless booster charge they receive at the start and end of the route from plates in the road.

Remember that a lot of hybrid buses, like the New Bus for London, are effectively electric buses, where the electric power is provided by an on-board generator coupled to a battery or other energy storage device.

So could this type of pick up be fitted to these buses, to top up the battery at each end of the route? If I look the local route I use most; the 38, at the outer end of Clapton Pond, there is a vast bus parking area, which could easily charge buses for several minutes, whilst waiting to depart. I suspect that Victoria might be a bit more difficult, as space is more limited.

Obviously, the bus would need a clever GPS-savvy on-board control-system, that would decide where to get the electricity from. But as the bus would have an on-board generator, it would never get stuck without power.

For this and other reasons, all the buses for towns and cities,  we build should be electric or hybrid. The specification of the New Bus for London, says this.

The engine is a Cummins ISBe 4.5l unit, rated at 185kW.

A typical engine like this Ford unit, used in vehicles like a Land Rover Discovery is 2.7l and is rated at about 150kW.

It’s an interesting comparison.

January 9, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

They’ve Renumbered The Hackney Eight!

Or I think it is just five at the moment according to Wikipedia, as others have other duties!

But they have been given new registration numbers.

They've Renumbered The Hackney Eight!

They’ve Renumbered The Hackney Eight!

Someone has decided that it would be tidier, if they were all in sequence. LT6 was originally registered as LT12 FHT. This picture from Flickr shows the same bus with its original number.

December 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Where Now For The New Bus for London?

This post was prompted, when I found this post on Leon Daniel’s blog.  It was this paragraph that caught my eye.

The buses have also been busy promoting British technology at home and abroad. After leaving the USA, LT1 journeyed to Bogota after which it will head to the Far East. Another vehicle is already doing similar duties in Europe and a third vehicle is likely to be added to the tour. Wherever they go they attract huge attention and continue to promote Britain and British industry.

It’s an interesting itinerary!

Couple this sort of story with the news last week about LT100 appearing in Ipswich and it does appear there is a strong move to sell the buses more widely.

Remember though that WrightBus have sold a lot of buses to the Far East in places like Hong Kong and Singapore.

The New Bus for London is also not built like most other buses and coaches, which makes it easy to assemble from a kit of parts with most of the body made locally. Hong Kong and Singapore have got their previous Wright buses this way. I speculated on a New Bus for Hong Kong in May 2012.

These buses are almost like a kit of parts, that can be assembled in many ways.

But surely, one of the biggest selling points of the bus, is that each operator can rebrand them as they want.  Will we see a New Bus for Ipswich?

And don’t forget that London’s red buses have always been fashionable and extremely cool. Were bendy buses ever that?

I do think we’ll see one big change on New Buses for London in a few years. Hybrid buses, like the New Bus for London, use a lot of batteries, that need to be changed every few years. I suspect these will be replaced by some form of mechanical energy storage device like a flywheel. There’s something about the testing of this type of technology here.

To my untrained brain, I think that the distributed nature of the power train on the New Bus for London, where the various parts are positioned around the bus, lends itself to the replacement of the batteries by a flywheel. The batteries are under the front stairs and the engine is under the back stairs, with the electric motors in the rear wheel hubs.

December 7, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment