Bachmann Europe acquires model bus manufacturer EFE
We received the following announcement from Bachmann Europe yesterday:
Bachmann Europe Plc is delighted to announce their acquisition of the Exclusive First Editions range of 1/76th scale die-cast vehicles including buses, coaches, lorries and London Underground tube trains.
EFE began trading as part of the ERA Group in 1989 and was originally located in Great Yarmouth before moving to Milton Keynes. In 1996 the company moved to Hemel Hempstead and in 2001, Frank Joyce, the only remaining founder member of the EFE team bought the company with his wife Brenda, relocating to Enfield the following year.
Bachmann Europe Plc began distributing EFE products to the model trade in July 2013.
David Haarhaus, Managing Director of Bachmann Europe Plc said today “We are delighted to incorporate another high quality addition to our existing model and hobby portfolio. The Exclusive First Editions range of collectable vehicles has enjoyed a good reputation for developing highly detailed and well researched models. EFE has been a corner stone of Die-Cast Model collecting for many years, while other ranges may have come and gone with varying interpretations of the original vehicles.
We are looking forward to further developing the existing items, and delivering new models to the many EFE collectors and discerning enthusiasts around the world.
Frank Joyce’s ethos was always to set out to produce the most accurate model possible. This matches the Bachmann ideals entirely, never trying to be the cheapest, but working hard to try and be the best”.
Rail industry honours Team GB and ParalympicsGB heroes
Britain’s rail industry joined forces today to transport 350 Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes from Manchester to London as part of nationwide celebrations of their Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games success.
The athletes’ journey today was made possible by Virgin Trains, Caledonian Sleeper, GB Railfreight and Network Rail, which each offered their services free of charge.
The Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes enjoyed a celebratory ‘welcome home’ parade on the streets of Manchester yesterday.
Early today they boarded their two trains from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston for celebration events at Trafalgar Square.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “It is our privilege to help honour our Team GB and ParalympicsGB heroes. They did us proud in Rio. We hope we did them proud today, too.”
Phil Whittingham, managing director of Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “Team GB and ParalympicsGB are an inspiration to us all, a great example of what can be achieved when you aim high. That’s why we had no hesitation in playing our small part in their richly deserved homecoming celebrations.”
Ryan Flaherty, guest experience director of Caledonian Sleeper, said: “These remarkable individuals are extraordinary role models for us all, so we are humbled that we are able to play a part in recognising the true appreciation we have for their efforts.”
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, whose locomotive pulled the Caledonian, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to participate in the celebrations with Team GB and Paralympics GB. Huge congratulations to our athletes for their outstanding achievements this summer.”
A red carpet was rolled out at Manchester Piccadilly station today for the Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes.
As they boarded their trains the Transpennine Express Choir sung and local school children waved them off.
On board the Caledonian Sleeper serving refreshments to the athletes was Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s West Coast route managing director, who said: “I was inspired by these Team GB and ParalympicsGB heroes over the summer. Serving them croissants and coffee today was a great honour and, frankly, the least I could do.”
Waiting beside the platforms at Euston were 10 red double-decker London buses, which took the athletes on to Trafalgar Square.
Stagecoach Midlands to celebrate 50th Anniversary of 'Stratford Blue' Routemaster and closed-top Bristol FLF on Saturday October 22nd 2016
Stagecoach Midlands will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of both its’ ‘Stratford Blue’ Routemaster (12265) and its’ closed top Bristol FLF (19953) on Saturday October 22nd 2016. Both vehicles, subject to availability, will be used as duplicates to the advertised service with the operation centred on Stratford-upon-Avon, although the Bristol FLF will also operate positioning services from Rugby to Stratford via Leamington. Normal fares will apply.
Service 50 Stratford 0910 to Chipping Norton 0957
Service 50 Chipping Norton 1005 to Stratford 1052
Service 26 Stratford 1120 to Redditch 1213
Service 26 Redditch 1220 to Stratford 1311
Service 50 Stratford 1410 to Chipping Norton 1457
Service 50 Chipping Norton 1502 to Stratford 1546
Service X17 Stratford 1618 to Warwick 1645
Service X18 Warwick 1715 to Stratford 1801
Service 63 Rugby 0843 to Leamington 0937
Service X18 Leamington Parade 0941 to Stratford 1046
Service 50 Stratford 1105 to Shipston 1132
Service 50 Shipston 1135 to Stratford 1204
Service 50 Stratford 1305 to Shipston 1332
Service 50 Shipston 1335 to Stratford 1404
Service X17 Stratford 1418 to Leamington 1518
Service 63 Leamington Parade 1540 to Rugby 1637
Neutral livery plan for first repainted Pendolinos
When repainting of the Virgin Trains West Coast Pendolino fleet starts next year the first sets to be dealt with will appear in a neutral grey colour scheme without branding. This is due to the fact that the repaint programme gets underway before the award of the new franchise for the West Coast operation.
Virgin Trains East Coast launches major driver recruitment programme
Virgin Trains has launched a major recruitment drive for drivers for its East Coast operation, which links London with Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.
The programme is the biggest single recruitment campaign for drivers on the East Coast since the 1980s.
Virgin Trains says it needs to add a further 78 drivers to its books in preparation for the introduction of the new Azumna trains from 2018.
“The initiative coincides with the arrival of its new fleet of Azuma trains that are set to revolutionise travel on the east coast, providing an extra 12,200 seats, a new and expanded timetable and increased capacity into Kings Cross by 28% during peak times. When it launches in 2018, the Azuma, built in the UK by Hitachi, will be one of the most advanced trains on the UK’s rail network and Virgin Trains needs 78 drivers to operate the 65-strong fleet.
Virgin Trains East Coast also says that it is likely that around a further 75 new drivers will be required over the coming five years to replace existing drivers who will be retiring. Before January this year, when Virgin Trains East Coast recruited 24 trainee drivers, none had been recruited for a three year period.
“Recruitment needs to begin now to allow for a year-long development programme before becoming fully-qualified trainee train drivers.
“Over the course of the year trainees will take part in a mix of classroom-based and ‘on the job’ learning at different locations on the east coast route. Modules range from track safety, understanding operational route risks and emergency situations to getting to know the traction they will be driving.”
New recruits also go through rigorous immersive practical learning including driving on one of Virgin Trains’ state of the art simulators in order to familiarise themselves with the cab and build train handling experience.
Recently upgraded, Virgin Trains East Coast has driving simulators at King’s Cross, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. They have been programmed with detailed track and station information for the section of lines between King’s Cross and Peterborough; Newcastle and Morpeth and the Craignetinny area in Edinburgh.
The simulators are based in purpose built training rooms and have a full working cab to represent either a Class 91 or High Speed Train. One of these will be replaced over the next 12 months with an Azuma cab. Currently only one train type can be used at any one time but a further upgrade will allow both to be in use simultaneously.
Besides being used for training new drivers, the simulators are also used as part of the ongoing 12-week briefing process for drivers as well as annual assessments. A variety of scenarios can be incorporated and data from the respective simulator sessions can be downloaded and retained, or used to talk drivers through their actions and encourage best practice.
Dubbed ‘Project Aura’, phase one of the East Coast simulator upgrade has seen the installation of a new instructor interface station and new track builder software. Improved observer workstations have also been provided to allow trainees who are not ‘driving’ the simulator to observe the drivers actions and reactions. The next stage is to enclose the driving desks to give a more realistic of being in a driving cab.
All track features, including gradient profiles have been modelled and so have the traction and braking curves of the Class 91 and HST.
At King’s Cross a pilot ETCS facility - the first in the UK - has been incorporated into the Class 91 simulator, which will allow training using the fixed block train control system, which does away with conventional trackside signaling. The simulator software, provided by Corys, also have the facility to easily upgrade to moving block ETCS.
The simulator will also allow Virgin Trains to fully understand the operating characteristics of the new Azuma trains in real time.
Virgin Trains has also revealed that the simulators have also been used to model the effects of engineering work in real time, including requirements for single line working. This has enabled a more realistic scheduling of train services. They have also been used to train drivers in how to coast under damaged sections of overhead line.
Clare Burles, People Director at Virgin Trains east coast, said: “We’re getting ready for some really exciting changes and as part of that we want to challenge people’s perceptions of rail and shake up just what it means to travel in the UK. The arrival of our Azuma trains is an important part of our plans and we need amazing people to join us on our journey.
“It doesn’t matter if you have never worked in rail or if you haven’t even considered a career as a train driver before, we are looking for people who are not afraid to do things a little differently and want to be part of something innovative and rewarding.
“As a train driver with us, you’ll not only get fantastic benefits and career development but also spectacular views of the iconic intercity east coast route from a very unique working environment – how many jobs can offer you that?!”
Tara Johnson, a driver for Virgin Trains east coast, said: “I started my career on the east coast route just over nine years ago as a customer service assistant before becoming a train guard. I was really interested in the operational side of the job; I enjoyed working shifts and being onboard a train. The opportunity to apply to become a driver came up and I thought it was the perfect mix of challenge and reward so I went for it.
“I haven’t looked back. I love the freedom and benefits of the role and there is never a boring day on the job!
“It’s a lot of responsibility too – the safety of our customers and getting them to where they need to be on time is top priority but the training and support we receive is brilliant.
“Some people ask what it’s like to be in the cab solo but it really doesn’t feel like that. I always feel part of a team. There’s such a strong sense of family across Virgin Trains.”
Virgin Trains also has a driving simulator for its West Coast business. A fully enclosed Pendolino simulator is based at the training centre in Crewe.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.