Silver Tridents, Carousel on 79s & Weavaway Countywide Travel
Tridents 475 and 476 were repainted into generic silver quality travel livery earlier this month, and feature red Reading Buses logo instead of silver of grey ones. Both were out in service on the 63/65 today, whilst sisters 471-3 were busy elsewhere still in LowRider livery.
475 on route 63 today.
Meanwhile a new feature of the 2007-8 football season is that Carousel buses have been subcontracted to operate some of the workings on the 79 Reading Station shuttle service. Five double deckers from their fleet were in operation today, including dual door Olympian G530 VBB which seemed well suited to the heavy loadings on this service.
Dennis Trident / East Lancs T411 SMV amongst the usual melee of rowdy fans and police this afternoon, complete with a fully programmed destination display.
Lastly, another recent event has been the takeover of Countywide Travel's coaching arm by Weavaway Travel. In Weavaway's usual style, Countywide fleet names have been added to a selection of vehicles in Weavaway's electric blue livery.
Plaxton Cheetah YN06 CYX at Reading Station today.
Ethanol on the Road
Scania OmniCity double deck demonstrator YN07 LHD entered service in Reading on route 17 today. The vehicle, numbered 599 runs on ethanol, a fuel that is much cleaner than diesel. Reading currently use biodiesel in their buses, but even compared to that ethanol is much more environmentally friendly. Ethanol powered engines are said to be about 60% cleaner than biodiesel ones, and are about 95% carbon neutral. Reading will be using fuel produced from a waste product of sugar beet refining, sourced from a factory in Bury St Edmunds and stored in a special tanker at the depot.
599 loading at Cheapside having just left the depot for the evening peak.
The vehicle comes to Reading having spent a few months on loan to London Transport, and is to spend three months in service before moving on to other operators in Britain, including Travel West Midlands. It will be used exclusively on route 17 to assess how the bus performs on Reading's busiest route. With only 66 seats, it will however be limited to a specific working which avoids some of the heaviest loads. The centre doors, fitted for its time in London will not be used whilst in Reading - specially branded notices have been placed on the doors to advise customers of this. The rest of the bus has also been fitted out with special internal branding to advertise the green credentials of ethanol fuel.
An example of one of the panels inside the bus. One wonders whether some of the 100 will be in Reading? The fuel is already used to power a fleet of buses in Stockholm.
Bus & Coach Live 2007
The Bus & Coach show opened at the NEC in Birmingham today, with a couple of items of interest. At 1045 Optare unveiled a new look for their popular Optare Solo - the Optare Solo SR. It will be available with the now usual two widths, five lengths and three engine options.
Of more local interest, outside on the testing ground was a new MCV Evolution for Weavaway with Southern Railroad Company lettering, and some rather unusual window branding.
The overall star of the show was probably a new Scania / East Lancs Olympus for Cardiff Bus, similar to those that have recently entered service in Reading on the 500. It looked very smart indeed, inside and out.
New Look Meets Solo
Optare Solo 121 is the first vehicle in the Newbury fleet to be repainted into the new green and silver "Delivering Transport Excellence" livery. Additional lettering on the rear reads "Working in partnership with West Berkshire District Council to deliver cleaner, greener transport alternatives to the car."
121 at Newbury Bus Station. Thanks to Brian Coney for this photo.
The rear view of 121 next to 109 in the previous livery. Thanks to Brian Coney for this photo.