Spectra Summer Holiday
Five Optare Spectras from Reading have spent the last few days on loan to Southern Vectis to help run shuttle services for the Isle of Wight Festival which took place on 11th, 12th and 13th June. Like the Reading festival, shuttle services also ran on the day before the event, and until midday the day after the event (today). Southern Vectis arranged Special Festival buses run to all Island towns, villages and ferry terminals from the Festival Bus Station with times ranging between 0700 and 0200.
The buses involved from Reading were 724, 725, 728, 729 and 730, along with a number of Reading Transport staff.
724 leaving the festival's dedicated bus station. Thanks to Richard Anscombe for this photo.
728 arriving at Ryde Bus Station with two other Spectras on layover. Thanks to Dave Presdee for this photo.
Thames Travel Commence Bracknell Operations
Thames Travel took over the operation of a number of tendered services from First Berkshire in Bracknell from 29th May, extending their area of operation further East than ever before. A batch of 7 brand new Optare Solos will run routes 53, 151-4, 156 and 162 from a new sub depot in Bracknell which has fuelling and washing facilities. Buses will only return to Wallingford for maintenance. Operations from their existing outstation in nearby Finchampstead appear largely unchanged, running services in the Wokingham area with interworking onto the X39/X40 in Reading, with fuelling and washing carried out in Wallingford.
510 outside the new Bracknell sub depot on 29th May 2010. Thanks to Geoff Lovejoy for this photo.
New Solo 610 in service on route 154 at Bracknell Bus Station on 29th May 2010. Thanks to Geoff Lovejoy for this photo.
The final Solos were still in the process of being delivered as the new services commenced, so the three recently delivered Enviro 200 Darts 110, 210 and 310 joined 410, 510, 610 and 710 for the first few days.
210 at Bracknell Bus Station on 29th May 2010. Thanks to Geoff Lovejoy for this photo.
Meanwhile First's last day of operation saw their last 162 operated by 41257, the last 152 operated by 43834, and the last 53 by 42411. It is thought likely that these changes will see the end 42411/2/4-7, which were amongst the very first low floor Dennis Darts ever built.
42411 operating the last 53 on 28th May 2010. Thanks to Mat Wooll for this photo.
Former Tram Track Unearthed in Duke Street
One of the unfortunate consequences of the cold weather this winter (January News Page) was the number of pot holes that formed on roads all across the area. But, they have also brought some unexpected interest to local transport historians as one such pot hole formed at the end of Duke Street where former Corporation tram lines had been buried since the trams were replaced with trolleybuses in May 1939. Whilst most of the track around the town was removed, the track on this busy junction outside the former Mill Lane tram and trolleybus depot was simply buried under concrete some time after operation on the line out to Whitley ceased in July 1936.
The pot hole on 28th May.
The road layout in the area has changed dramatically in the intervening years, with the construction of the IDR and Oracle, and most recently the prohibition of cars from many of the surrounding roads. With the pot hole difficult to repair with the track in place the decision was made to unearth and remove approx 10 metres it to allow a thorough repair to be carried out. During the work buses from the Town Centre were diverted from Butter Market via Kings Road, IDR and Queens Road to London Street, and buses into the Town Centre via Crown Street and Bridge Street.
Work started to carefully unearth the track at 0930 on 2nd June. During the afternoon the BBC News visited the site to record the event before work to dislodge the first pieces started at around 1800.
The first piece of track being pulled out at 1830.
Some detail of what lay underneath the other piece of track.
A close up of the track.
A gas torch was used to cut the track segments off from the rest of the line as it continues underground towards the IDR and London Street.
The last of the workmen left just before 2230, leaving a hole with just two small clues as to what had lain there before.
The road was repaired on 3rd and reopened to southbound traffic by 1700, and northbound traffic early on 4th. The removed track will be displayed at the Reading Buses Open Day on 4th July before being moved to Reading Museum.