Cambs Guided Buses on Track

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 25 May 2010

HUNTINGDONSHIRE will get its guided buses this month after all – even though passengers still have to wait for the guided busway. Rather than wait until the new route opens in late summer, bus operator Stagecoach has decided to deploy its £3million fleet

HUNTINGDONSHIRE will get its guided buses this month after all - even though passengers still have to wait for the guided busway.

Rather than wait until the new route opens in late summer, bus operator Stagecoach has decided to deploy its £3million fleet of 20 environmentally-friendly vehicles on existing route from April 14.

Managing director Andy Campbell told The Hunts Post that the buses would operate the company's 15, 45 and 55 services between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge.

Mr Campbell also revealed that the company, with a total Huntingdonshire fleet of 50 buses, will be taking over the Whippet Coaches depot beside the A14 in Fenstanton from August 1. The lease on its present premises in Stukeley Road, Huntingdon, is due to expire in June.

Whippet is set to move to a new depot near the A14 in Swavesey.

Stagecoach's air-conditioned guided buses - 10 single-deckers and 10 double-deckers - will run on 100 per cent bio-fuel. Early deployment means passengers will have a chance to experience the latest high-specification bus technology, including leather seats, wi-fi and real time information.

The buses are designed to produce up to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than vehicles using conventional diesel. Single-decker vehicles will meet Euro 5 emissions standards, while the double-deckers will feature Euro 4 engines.

Meanwhile, the last beam needed to complete the St Ives end of the busway, including the new viaduct across the Great Ouse, has been lifted from its mould at contractor BAM Nuttall's Longstanton factory.

Just over 5,700 of the 15-metre beams have been made, each weighing 15 tonnes. When bolted together, they will make up the 16-mile track on the route of the former St Ives-Cambridge railway line, which last carried passengers in 1970.

Cambridgeshire County Council believes this method of construction will give passengers a much smoother ride than pouring concrete along the route.

Councillor Matt Bradney, cabinet member for transport, said: "I have ridden a short section during trials last year and I know that everyone who catches a guided bus will be very impressed with the quality and speed of the service."

They might be less impressed by the speed of construction. The £116million guideway was originally due to have opened later this month.

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