The Reading Blockade & Caversham Road Bridge Replacement
28-12-10 to 01-01-11
Click here to go to special reports about the "Reading Blockade" - rail replacement operations during the total closure of Reading Station for engineering works, and about the Caversham Road railway bridge replacement works.
Wright Streetlite Demonstrator
Wright Streetlite demonstrator BRZ 9662 visited Reading Transport last week as part of a search for new vehicles to replace the remaining fleet of Optare Solos in Reading and Newbury. The Streetlite, only recently entering the first fleets in the UK after being unveiled earlier in the year, was used in service on route 142 on the on 15th at 1400 and 16th at 0900. This model has 37 seats.
BRZ 9662 in Minster Street on the morning of 15th. Thanks to Stephen Le Bras for this photo.
An Optare Solo demonstrator is expected to visit soon for comparison.
Yellow 26 on the Road
Reading launched their new fleet of six electric hybrids into service today in the guise of yellow 26.
201, the new bearer of registration MRD 1.
The rear profile of 205.
New bolder lettering has been applied to bus stop flags.
Reading Electric-Hybrid Launch
Yesterday morning saw Reading Transport officially launch the first of six new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400H double deckers at the old Town Hall ahead of their entry into service next week. Around thirty specially invited guests attended a short presentation at 1100 followed by a ride around route 26 on which the vehicles are to be used. Guests included company officials, manufacturers Alexander Dennis and their partners BAE Systems, and the local media.
202 outside the old Town Hall yesterday.
Attendees are said to have been treated to a cup of coffee and a slice lemon cake, the lemon cake in recognition of the new yellow branding that is to replace the light pink currently applied to route 26. Bus stop flags and roadside information is also to be refreshed with the new colour scheme before the buses enter service on Monday 13th, and it is suggested that this livery style which brings back greater prominence to the 'Reading Buses' name may well be used on other routes in due course. These buses are also the first to be fitted with free WiFi for ordinary local services in Reading, following the buses used on the Thames Valley Park courtesy service. The buses are to an extended length of 11.4m providing generous legroom on the top deck, and room for buggies, a wheelchair and plenty of seats on the bottom deck.
The "yellow 26" heading out for a tour of the route. Thanks to Brian Coney for this photo.
The vehicles featured prominently in the BBC Radio Berkshire news bulletins during the morning, and on TV in feature on the local BBC evening news. During the interviews it was explained that the buses are expected to offer 25%-30% fuel savings compared to ordinary diesel buses, and that they will also offer a much smoother ride because they are electrically powered. Route 26 has been selected to receive the vehicles because of it's extensive bus priority measures and because it requires 6 buses to operate.
202 passing the bus "ramp" in Ford's Farm. Thanks to Mark Lyons for this photo.
Fourteen more vehicles are to follow for route 17 next year. The first two or three months experience from having the first six in operation in Reading will be used to refine their specification, although indications from Stagecoach in Oxfordshire where 26 similar vehicles were introduced earlier in the year are that they are fine vehicles and extremely reliable. In addition one should not forget that there are 3000 or so vehicles with similar BAE HybriDrive systems successfully operating in a wide range of scenarios in the United States.