Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bus gift is one in a million for retiring driver

Chris Peregrine, South Wales Evening Post, 25 April 2014

Marketing manager for First Cymru Buses Phil Trotter, right, handing over the keys for a 1976 Bristol VRT double decker to Peter Nedin and John Adams for renovation by Swansea Bus Museum.

Marketing manager for First Cymru Buses Phil Trotter, right, handing over the keys for a 1976 Bristol VRT double decker to Peter Nedin and John Adams for renovation by Swansea Bus Museum.

IN his 45 years behind the wheel of Swansea buses, Peter Nedin clocked up well over a million miles without ever having an accident.

And as a retirement present like no other, the 68-year-old has been given a full size open top double deck bus by First Cymru.

He is not taking it home, though. Peter, from St Thomas, volunteers at Swansea Bus Museum, and his former colleagues thought restoring it would make the ideal hobby.

So Peter, and his fellow volunteers at the museum, will now restore the bus — a Bristol VRT open topper — to its former glory before putting it on display for all to see.

“People had often joked that I should be given a bus because I’d worked for the company so long, but I never actually expected it to happen,” said Peter.

“It was such a shock and a great honour to be told the old open topper would be donated to the museum in my name.

“It’s in really good condition for its age and it’s nice to be able to keep this in the area, helping to celebrate its history.

“I had a fantastic career at First, and a great sending off when I left. I’m now enjoying retirement and wondering how I ever really had the time to go to work.

“I have plenty of little jobs to do around the house and have been enjoying days out here and there, alongside my work at the museum.”

First Cymru managing director Justin Davies said: “It was a sad day for us when Peter left the business. He has been a perfect employee, he’s a brilliant driver and was great with all the customers.

“We recognise though that after 45 years of working for us, five of which have been on a part-time basis, he wanted to spend more time doing the things he loves even more — restoring old buses.

“To help him with this we donated one of our oldest vehicles — which we had recently taken out of our fleet — to the museum in his honour. We hope he gets much fun and enjoyment restoring it back to its former glory.”

‘Dalek’ pothole killer that may save British roads

The Telegraph, 17 April 2014

A new machine called the ‘Dalek’ has revolutionised the way to fix potholes, exterminating them in under two minutes

The new pot hole repair machine being tested in the village of Clifton

The new pothole repair machine being tested in the village of Clifton, Bedfordshire Photo: Geoff Robinson

By Ben Lazarus

Driving over a pothole is always a nuisance. Not only does it jolt you, but it also doesn’t exactly do your car the world of good. And yet, potholes are absolutely everywhere, ensuring our journeys are always filled with bumps and bangs. Soon, however, potholes may be exterminated.

A new invention called the ‘Dalek’ can fill potholes in less than two minutes, rather than the conventional time that it normally takes of an hour.

The ‘Dalek’ is a robotic arm that attaches to the front of a truck and fills potholes with tar and gravel at a rate 30 times faster than the standard methods normally used to fill up such holes.

The vehicle is being trialled in the UK for the first time in Bedfordshire, and if deemed successful will be used across the country.

It is currently used in America, and has been dubbed the ‘Pothole Killer’.

Like the Doctor Who Daleks, the machine has a robotic arm at the front which is controlled by the highway staff in their vehicle using a joystick.

It was reported earlier this month that it would cost £12 billion to fix Britain’s potholes.

Hard shoulder driving begins with ‘an almighty jam’

The Times, 15 April 2014

Philip Pank, Transport Correspondent

Smart technology that allows the hard shoulder to be turned into a fourth lane, flopped yesterday when a breakdown cause a jam

It was heralded as a solution to the interminable M25 jams in which drivers can be trapped for hours. Smart technology would allow the hard shoulder on one of the busiest stretches of the motorway to be turned into a fourth lane, immediately easing congestion.

Yesterday it was given the green light but almost immediately ran into trouble. The engine of a car cut out and, with the driver unable to pull over, a long tailback began to grow.

Motoring organisations had foreseen the problem, opposing the introduction of “smart” motorway technology on an eight-mile stretch of the M25 in Hertfordshire, on the grounds that drivers who break down would be more at risk without quick access to a safe area. There are emergency refuges for those in difficulty, but they are 2.5km apart.

Paul Watters, the AA’s head of roads policy, said that an “almighty tailback” developed early yesterday, just as ministers were hailing the development as the future of motorway driving.

“We are going to have to contend with it because it is going to happen again, possibly day in, day out. It reduces resilience of the road when something happens and that is the problem.”

He added: “We have concerns about people getting trapped in lane one, people who may have broken down in the dark and may not be spotted and are potentially an enormous hazard.”

David Bizley, technical director of the RAC, said that his organisation was also concerned about safety implications. He said the Highways Agency’s own risk assessment had concluded that motorists who broke down were more likely to become casualties.

Schemes similar to one between Junctions 23 and 25 of the M25 are being built between Junctions 25 and 27 and also between Junctions 5 and 6/7 on the same motorway. The hard shoulder is being turned into a continuous running lane on the M3 between Junctions 2 and 4a and there are plans to do the same between Junctions 3 and 12 on the M4. Other schemes will be introduced on the M1, M62 and other roads.

The Highways Agency said that “smart motorways” were at least as safe as conventional roads. Motorists will be subjected to variable mandatory speed limits at times of particularly heavy traffic or when a lane is blocked. Temporary restrictions are displayed on overhead gantries.

Infrared CCTV cameras relay images of breakdown or potential hazards back to a control room, while sensors buried in the road surface measure the volume of traffic. Grey speed cameras enforce the temporary speed limits. The Highways Agency declined to say whether the speed cameras were also housed in the overhead gantries or were mounted separately on the roadside.

The agency believes that the technology will reduce congestion, ease traffic flows and improve reliability of journey times. Graham Dalton,chief executive, said: “Smart motorways are quicker to build, more intuitive for drivers and more efficient to operate, while maintaining safety.”

New Rural Bus Services Piloted in Wales

From the BBC News web site, 22 April 2014.

Two councils to pilot new bus services in rural areas

Stagecoach buses
The councils will look at new ways of providing bus services in their area.

Two parts of Wales are to get £100,000 each in a bid to develop better public transport.

The Welsh government cash will be spent on year-long projects in Ceredigion and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The pilots will use council vehicles as well as coordinating existing bus and community services.

The announcement comes just days after Wales’ largest bus operator, Stagecoach, confirmed it was cutting services in five counties.

Cardiff Bus has also blamed a cut in subsidy for reducing its services.

The Welsh government says it wants the pilot projects to help find new ways of delivering public transport.

Vale of Glamorgan council’s remit will include looking at how to encourage more people to use rural bus routes, setting up an online booking system and reducing the costs of services.

New public transport routes to communities around Tregaron will form part of Ceredigion council’s scheme, as well as using its own vehicles to bolster bus services.

The work to identify best practice from local authorities will report to the Bus Policy Advisory Group.

Stagecoach buses
Stagecoach blames a cut in subsidy for the loss of or reduction in its services.


Transport Minister Edwina Hart said: “I want to ensure everyone in Wales is able to access jobs and services via reliable public transport.

“We must start looking at new and innovative ways of delivering these services, particularly in rural areas, by means of a sustainable and efficient network.”

Ms Hart announced councils will have £25m in 2014-15 toward socially-necessary bus and community transport services, the same amount as in 2013-14.

Service cuts

Bus operators, including Stagecoach and Cardiff Bus, have blamed the Welsh government slashing its three-year funding package from £213.3m to £189m for the cutbacks they have made.

Stagecoach announced last week that it was cutting 14 bus services, putting 77 jobs at risk.

Last autumn Arriva announced the closure of its Aberystwyth depot as well as a number of route losses blaming cuts in public transport funding and rising fuel costs for the decision.

In February, BBC Wales revealed nearly 100 subsidised bus routes have been scrapped by councils in Wales in the past three years, with further cuts expected as authorities make savings.

The Welsh government has said the new reimbursement rate for bus operators was set following an independent review to ensure operators were “no better and no worse off” by taking part.


Cwmbran veterans’ Green Goddess fire engine parts stolen

BBC News web site, 16 April 2014.

The hunt is on to find rare parts of an historical Green Goddess fire engine which were stolen by thieves.

The Green Goddess Cwmbran Veterans believe the culprits targeted the vehicle for metal to sell for scrap but it will cost them £1,000 to restore.

Thieves cut through a fence at the Territorial Army Centre in Cwmbran to carry out the theft last week.

Military and Gwent Police are investigating.

Army veteran Mike Saunders and friends bought the former Bedford truck three years ago. They have used the vehicle to help them to raise £15,000 for the Help For Heroes military charity.

The vehicle’s 61 year old engine and original bells and sirens still work but its hoses will remain dry unless a replacement pump intake can be found.

Thieves cut through the fence to steal the parts from the vehicle

Green Goddess fire engines were built during the Cold War in the 1950s and were designed to roll into action in the aftermath of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

They were manned by civilian volunteers from the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS).

In 1968 the AFS was disbanded and the Green Goddess fleet was put into storage and some were later sold off.

“First of all we have got to locate the bits and then we’ve got to raise money to pay for them,” said Mr Saunders.

“We are talking over £1,000 worth of parts being taken.

“It’s sad. We’ve worked hard for the last three years. We can’t do what we’d like to do with the machine.”