Monday, 21 March 2016

Roundup of London Transport news for 21st March

Instead of reporting the news in separate articles I've decided to group them together where possible, so there will be various news items and transport stories in a larger article from now on. Your feedback on this will be greatly appreciated in the comment section.

Crossrail 2 received a huge boost today, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced funding in the Budget allowing Transport for London (TfL) and Network Rail to forge ahead with full scale technical development of the railway. This will enable construction to start in the early 2020s, which would allow the railway to be operational by 2033.

The announcement follows the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) report last week that said Crossrail 2 `should be taken forward as a priority', backing the railway as the only infrastructure project capable of meeting the demands of London's future growth. The report recommended submitting a hybrid bill by autumn 2019 and today's Budget announcement provides funding which, together with TfL funds, will enable the scheme to move forward on that schedule immediately.

Crossrail 2 would serve central London through an underground tunneled section between Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale and New Southgate, connecting to existing National Rail routes in Surrey and Hertfordshire.

Even with the successful construction of Crossrail, and continued improvements to London Underground and the National Rail network, further large-scale infrastructure projects are vital to support the Capital's unprecedented population increase.

The Mayor of London has signalled his support for a vital rail extension to serve east London's largest housing development site, by asking Transport for London (TfL) to apply for powers to start construction.

Following the Mayor's instruction, TfL will now apply to Government for a Transport and Works Act Order to start construction of the 4.5km extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line. This extension would deliver London Overground services to a new station at the heart of the Barking Riverside community, with construction beginning in late 2017 and train services commencing in 2021.

The extension will deliver a sustainable public transport alternative to car travel and link Barking Riverside into London's public transport network through connections at Barking, with District and Hammersmith & City Tube services and c2c services to London Fenchurch Street and Essex.

The extension is fully funded, with the majority of the £263m cost of the scheme being met by the developers, Barking Riverside Limited, a newly reformed joint venture between the GLA and London & Quadrant, who are providing £172m of funding. The remainder is being provided by TfL.

A Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport and if approved could mean construction beginning in late 2017 with train services commencing in 2021.

The Gospel Oak to Barking route, which is already part of London Overground, is being electrified by Network Rail and due to be completed in 2017. The new four-carriage electric trains will run on the route from 2018 replacing the current two-carriage diesel trains, and will provide improved journey times and more capacity.

Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that it intends to award the new London Overground operator contract to Arriva Rail London Limited. The £1.5 billion contract will cover seven and a half years with an option to extend for up to two additional years.

Arriva will take over from existing operator LOROL in November 2016, and will support TfL in delivering further improvements for customers on the already hugely popular network. These will include modernised stations and more frequent services, the first of which will be on the North London line. New trains will also be introduced in 2018, transforming journeys on London Overground routes out of Liverpool Street and on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.

Under the new concession, customers on some routes will benefit from extended operating hours, and new services will be introduced on some routes on Boxing Day. Arriva will also be expected to deliver sustained improvements in performance levels, which have improved hugely since TfL took responsibility for London Overground routes in 2007.

To support this, new incentives have been incorporated into the new contract including financially penalising Arriva should incidents caused by Network Rail, train and freight operators impact on London Overground services. Along with the tightening of the rail industry standard measurement for punctuality for commuter services to three minutes within the scheduled arrival time. These measures are being implemented to encourage closer working with Network Rail and Bombardier to continue to improve reliability and provide high quality services for customers.

The contract award is subject to a 10 day standstill period.

The rail industry punctuality measure is trains arriving at their terminating destination within five minutes of their scheduled time. TfL believes that trains on the London Overground network should arrive within three minutes.
The shortlisted bidders were:
·         Arriva Rail London Limited
·         LoKeGo Limited (a joint venture between Keolis (UK) Limited and Go-Ahead Holding Limited)
·         Metroline Rail Limited
·         MTR Corporation

Current operator LOROL (London Overground Rail Operations Ltd) is a joint venture between MTR and Arriva.

LOROL currently operate London Overground services and will continue to do so until their concession ends on 13 November 2016.

Arriva UK Trains also operates Wales and Border franchise under Arriva Trains Wales brand, Chiltern Railways, New Cross Country franchise, Tyne and Wear Metro and the Grand Central Line which is an open access route. Arriva UK Trains are expecting to start the Northern Franchise on April 1st under the Northern brand. Arriva is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn which is owned by the German government.

Transport for London (TfL) has completed trials of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology fitted to buses, proving that the technology can be used to control speeds on London's bus network.

The trials, the first in the UK, form part of the Mayor and TfL's commitment to halve the number of people killed and seriously injured on London's roads by 2020. They saw the technology, which prevents vehicles from accelerating over speed limits, fully tested on two bus routes that included a variety of road environments and differing speed limits.

All buses fitted with ISA remained within the speed limit 97-99 per cent of the time, proving the effectiveness of ISA. The extremely rare incidents of excess speeds were seen on downhill sections of road.

The trials were particularly effective when travelling through 20mph zones - which are being widely introduced and cover around a quarter of London's roads - helping to ensure other vehicles in the area adhered to the limit.

As part of the Mayor's world leading bus safety standard for London, that he announced last month, TfL intends to require all new buses from 2017 to have this technology fitted.

Let's take a quick look at one of the TFL board papers from their board meeting on 17th March.

Authority Approval:
To approve budgeted project authority to a total of £154.1m for the New Tube for London programme inclusive of £95m to commence the procurement of new rolling stock and signalling systems for the Piccadilly line modernisation, deliver enabling works and to continue design development for the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City line upgrades by 31 March 2018.

Outputs and Schedule:
This request covers the initial preparatory works for the modernisation of the Piccadilly line and further development of the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City line upgrades, as follows:
        Commencement of procurement for a new Signalling and Train Control system including preparation and issue of an Invitation to Tender (ITT);
        Completion of competitive tendering and supplier negotiations for new Piccadilly line trains;
        Commencement of designs and specifications for the procurement of infrastructure and railway systems upgrades on the Piccadilly line; and
        Commencement of HV power supply upgrades and signalling immunisation works.

These preparatory works will contribute towards the following strategic outputs:
        Delivery of line modernisation, asset renewals and capacity upgrades on the Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines by 2026; and
        Subsequent modernisation of the Bakerloo line by 2028 and the Central line by 2033;

The Board is asked to approve additional budgeted Project Authority of £353.2m to December 2022 to allow full implementation of the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade (SCU)

The Bank SCU will provide additional capacity at Bank Station to meet forecast growth in passenger demand; step-free access to the Northern line platforms and improved fire and evacuation measures. Works commenced in 2015. The new capacity will be available below ground from 2020 with a new entrance open in 2021.

The Board is requested to approve additional budgeted authority of £69m increasing total Project Authority to £104.6m.

The project will deliver all workstreams to support introduction of a 36tph peak service from April 2020, except for 10 additional trains which are provided via the separate Jubilee and Northern Line Additional Trains project. This project includes implementation of power, cooling, track, depot enabling and signalling works. The overall JLU2 business case is assessed as giving an 8.6 to 1 benefit to cost ratio.

Over in Egypt, the manufacturing industry MCV (Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles) will be exporting 60 of the Volvo B5LH MCV EvoSeti Hybrid buses to Go Ahead London.

From Step Feed

The launch marks the first time for Egypt to export the world-famous red double-decker bus, a historic transportation vehicle in London which has become one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city.

The buses will be manufactured and exported by Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles, a multinational Egyptian company that mainly produces commercial trucks and buses.

During his Sunday visit to MCV’s factory in New Salheya city near Cairo, Egyptian trade and industry minister Tarek Kabil said that the launch is a testament from foreign markets to the quality of the Egyptian product.

“Launching a direct manufacturing line for the export of 60 double-decker buses for the first time to Britain. Egyptian manufacturing.”

He added that it is also a testament to the Egyptian product’s adherence to the highest local and international standards and specification requirements, as well as its ability to compete with its imported counterpart.

In addition, Kabil said that the investments of MCV’s New Salheya factory complex are 100 percent Egyptian, adding that they reach 500 million Egyptian pounds.

“Finally, after seven months of uphill working, we released the first Hybrid Double Decker vehicle in the Middle East. Proud of being one of the engineers who built this Egyptian monster,” Egyptian engineer Hesham Muhammed Ali said, who worked on the new product, in an Instagram post.

According to London Bus Routes Service Changes page, these Egyptian built buses are expected to enter service on route 40 by 30th April 2016, operating from Camberwell (Q) garage by Go Ahead London.

The diesel-electric hybrid buses are increasing and with information taken from London Bus Routes service changes page I have compiled the routes which are expected to have new hybrid buses. This also includes New Routemaster conversions.

Hybrid bus type
Date expected
Go Ahead London
8th October 2016
Enviro400H City
CT Plus
25th June 2016
Enviro400H MMC
Go Ahead London
30th April 2016
Volvo B5LH MCV EvoSeti
Go Ahead London
30th April 2016
Enviro400H MMC
23rd July 2016
New Routemaster
Arriva London
April 2016
Go Ahead London
12th November 2016
London United
3rd September 2016
Volvo B5LH Gemini 3
London United
2nd July 2016
New Routemaster
April 2016
3rd September 2016
3rd September 2016
3rd September 2016
New Routemaster
July 2016
New Routemaster
June 2016
Volvo B5LH Gemini 3
Tower Transit
30th April 2016
Go Ahead London
12th November 2016

Yes, that is 17 routes that will be getting diesel-electric hybrid buses!

Lastly some news from LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society)

Last Tuesday 15th one of Metroline’s BYD electric double-decks was formally handed over at City Hall.  BYD1472 was decorated in the ‘green leaf’ design and already had its AC garage code applied. The batch of five is due to enter service on route 98 during April.   On the next day 16th the first Volvo B5LH with Wrightbus SRM body was present for a press preview outside the LT Museum Covent Garden.  With registration LJ16 EXD the body was to the New Routemaster design but with two doors, one staircase and 66 seats (rather than three, two and 62 of the NRM itself).  RATP-DEV has ordered six of these, due to go on London Sovereign route 13 later this summer.

The first 16-plate buses for London have gone into service.  The very first were GoAhead 8.9m E20Ds (SE288-290) on Thursday 17th on route 138 – these three were actually ordered against the pvr increase on route 162.   The next out on Saturday 19th were the Abellio 9.0m E20Ds (batch 8210-8219) when they took over route 367.   However the new 10.9m E20Ds for Abellio route C10 did not enter service on the 19 (the contract date) as might have been expected.

I have also written about the BYD double deck battery electric bus and the Volvo B5LH with SRM body  in case you missed them.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus - @CLondoner92

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