Today saw the press launch of the new Greenwave brand and ten new Alexander Dennis Enviro300SG vehicles that will replace the South Reading FastTrack services from Tuesday. The event was held at Green Park.
405 posed at Lime Square, Green Park. Thanks to Steve Wise for this photo.
405 posed outside the Regus building in Green Park. Thanks to Steve Wise for this photo.
In addition to their compressed natural gas powered engines and carbon neutral fuel source, the buses feature improved seating and "coffee shop" wood effect floors.
7 Series Hybrids Enter Service
First Berkshire's new fleet of Volvo 7900 hybrid single deckers were officially launched by Transport Minister Norman Baker on 18th April, with the first bus entering service on Saturday 20th. Two or three were then intended to be in service each day last week before replacing the ten oldest 7-series Mercedes Citaros for cascade to Bracknell. The hybrids will primarily run on routes 75 and 76.
69924 was exhibited at the London Bus Museum annual spring gathering at Brooklands on 21st.
69921 is seen here in Wellington Street operating the first ever Volvo hybrid journey - the 0955 76 from Cippenham. Thanks to David Fuller for this photo.
Scania / ADL Enviro 300SG Preview
The first of the new gas powered Scania single deckers arrived in Reading towards the end of this week, ahead of a formal handover on Monday and work to prepare them for service. They are from the first ten which will enter service on 7th May on the South Reading FastTrack contract.
The buses also have some lighter green waves on the side, but branding has yet to be applied. Thanks to James Cusworth for this photo.
Driver familiarisation and technical testing will now commence. Modifications are currently being made to the fuelling islands at Great Knollys Street to accommodate the need to refuel the gas buses alongside the diesels. Mains gas and power connections are also being put in for the installation of a compressor in July (gas supplies will be delivered by tanker until August). In the workshops a new extractor system is being fitted over some of the pits to funnel any escaping gas out through the roof, and a new gantry is being installed to allow safe access to the roofs.
The Reading Blockade 2
Major rail replacement operations kicked into place on Good Friday (29 March) as the majority of Reading Station was closed for the second phase of redevelopment work following the completion of the new North and South entrances, footbridge, subway and extra platforms that have been in build since 2010. With all of these now available for use, the main purpose of closure was to allow the demolition of the previous bridge (which was opened in the 1980s to link the platforms to the Brunel Arcade) and to connect the new lines.
The scene on 30 March as viewed from the long stay car park. Much of the old bridge has already gone.
The new South Entrance and subway on Station Hill on 29/30 March. In the second photo it is also possible to see the stilts on which the entire area is built.
The new North Entrance on 29 March. The subway actually opened on 1 March as the section of the bridge to the long stay car park was closed for removal before the rest.
Compared to the previous closure, services to Waterloo and Gatwick were able to continue running along with reduced services to Newbury and Basingstoke, reducing the number of replacement services required. With Station Hill now closed, and the new North and South bus interchanges still under construction (the North interchange being due to open on 1 July), the space for replacement services to operate from was also reduced with all services running from the old bus station.
Reading & Wokingham Coaches X7 FFC on 30 March.
Horseman making a relatively rare appearance on rail replacement work, here with RX06 WVE on 30 March.
The old bus station saw some renovation last year when it was temporarily reopened following the closure of Station Hill, with the original saw-tooth bays filled in to create three bus stops. To create the necessary space temporary white lines have been put down to restore diagonal bays, with temporary posts and bollards marking off 8 diagonal “bus stops” plus two spare bays nearest the entrance. In addition, the metal barriers separating the taxi area from the bus area haven’t been removed this time, which combined with the filled in bays left a lot less manoeuvring space.
Extra capacity was provided between Reading, Twyford and Maidenhead using generic double deckers like 1113 seen on 30 March.
Mortons MT11 LOU on 29 March. Andrew James AJ10 BUS is behind.
Around 25 Reading Transport buses were used on services between Didcot, Reading and Maidenhead. With it being a bank holiday weekend, a number of vehicles from the Newbury Vodafone fleet were deployed along with South Reading FastTrack vehicles and vehicles from routes 9 and 11 where double deckers were substituted.
4 leaving the bus station on 29 March.
1027 at the bottom of Station Hill on 30 March.
1021 entering the old bus station on 30 March on a service from Maidenhead and Twyford.
A reduced rail service is scheduled to resume tomorrow, before a total closure next weekend (6/7 April) and a full reopening on 8 April.
The last phase of work will see the new rail flyover and avoiding lines constructed to the west of the Station. This will probably mean a final blockade west of Reading at Christmas 2014 or Easter 2015, with the work scheduled for final completion in Summer 2015.
To read about the first Reading Blockade, see the December 2010 news page.