The return of the Routemaster: a new version of classic double-decker bus

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled the modern day equivalent of London’s famous double-decker bus which will be built in Ballymena.

The new bus, which will be manufactured by Wrightbus, will go into service in London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

A life-size mock-up of the double-decker was unveiled at the London Transport Museum’s depot at Acton on Thursday.

Wrightbus was awarded the tender in December.

The Mayor has been a long time champion of London’s famous Routemaster bus which is the inspiration for the design.

“Standing on the rear platform of this delectable bus brings back a sense of nostalgia but conversely also demonstrates the quintessence of the latest technology and design, making this bus fit for 21st century London,” he said.

“It is wonderful to see how those two-dimensional designs we unveiled in May have been forged into this amazing bus and I for one cannot wait to be launching the buses when they first enter passenger service in 2012.”

The new bus will have an open platform similar to the old Routemaster buses and will see the return of the traditional hop-on-hop-off service.

Mark Nodder, group managing director of Wright Group, said: “Finally seeing the design for this revolutionary new bus come to life is a real thrill for all of us.

“We’re excited to hear the reactions of stakeholders and future passengers as we complete this milestone in development and move nearer to production.”

A prototype will be delivered late next year with the first five buses due to enter passenger service in early 2012.

From BBC

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FLOODING IN THAILAND: SITUATION UPDATE

(27/10/2011)

The flooding in Thailand is mainly affecting the central provinces along the Chao Phraya River including Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Other popular tourist destinations in the central region including Pattaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, and Koh Chang have not been affected by the floods. Flood waters in several provinces in northern Thailand have begun to subside. Provinces in the south of Thailand have not been affected by the floods.

Most areas of central Bangkok where tourists normally go are not flooded. The Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok, is at a higher-than-normal level. This is causing some flooding at tourist attractions that are close to the river.

In the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Area, several suburbs and areas adjacent to the Chao Phraya River are experiencing flooding. As these areas are largely residential and industrial zones, they are not normally visited by tourists.

The TAT advises visitors to contact the TAT Information Line at 1672; check the latest reports in the local media; or get an update from the staff of the accommodations where they are staying if they are planning to visit tourist attractions that are located close to the Chao Phraya River.

Transportation:
Tourist destinations in the north, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai, are best accessed by air as some roads and railways in the central provinces are closed due to the floods. Provinces in southern and eastern Thailand remain fully accessible by road and train.

Tourists planning to travel to areas affected by the floods are advised to check the latest weather forecasts for their destination and confirm arrangements with the transportation providers with which they will be travelling. Tourists can call the TAT Information Line at 1672 to check local conditions, or visit the Thailand Meteorological Department web site at http://www.tmd.go.th/en for updated weather forecasts.

In & Around Bangkok: 
–Transportation from Suvarnabhumi Airport into central Bangkok including taxis, buses and the Airport Link have not been affected by the floods and are operating normally.
— Transportation in most areas within central Bangkok including taxis, tuk-tuks, the BTS and the MRT are also operating normally.
— In the areas affected by flooding, public transportation is being rerouted in some areas and the availability of taxis is limited.

Airports:
— Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok has not been affected by the floods and is operating as per usual. The airport has considerable flood protection measures in place and officials are monitoring the situation closely.
— Don Mueang Airport, which is located in a northern suburb of Bangkok and handles domestic airlines serving a small number of provinces, has been closed until November 1st due to flooding.
— All other airports in Thailand are open and operating normally.

Roads:
–Highway 32, also known as The Asian Highway (AH-2), in central Thailand is partly affected by the floods. Inter-provincial buses between Bangkok and the north and northeast of Thailand are operating, but subject to detours and extended travel times.
— Inter-provincial buses to eastern, western, and southern Thailand are operating as per normal.

Train services:
–Train services from Bangkok to northern destinations are suspended due to the tracks being flooded. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is offering full refunds on tickets for travelers who want to cancel their trips to destinations where train service is suspended.
–Train services to other parts of Thailand are operating as per normal.

Useful Contact Numbers: 
TAT Call Center: 1672
Thai Airways: +66 (0) 2356 1111
Bangkok Airways: +66 (0) 2265 8777
AirAsia: +66 (0) 2515 9999
Nok Air: 1318 or +66 (0) 2900 9955
Orient Thai Airlines: 1126
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Call Center: 1690
Transport Co.,Ltd. Hotline:(Inter-provincial bus service) 1490

Major tourist destinations not affected by the floods include:

North:
Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Lampang
Sukhothai

Northeast:
Loei
Ubon Ratchathani
Nakhon Ratchasima
Udon Thani

Central:
Hua-Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
Pattaya, Chonburi
Kanchanaburi
Ratchaburi
Ko Chang, Trat
Rayong

South:
Chumphon
Phuket
Krabi
Ranong
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Songkhla
Narathiwat
Satun
Pattani
Surat Thani
Phang Nga
Trang
Phatthalung
Yala

English-language sources:
The Government Public Relations Department
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)

Thai- language sources:
Flood Relief Operations Center 
BMA Flood Control Center 
Airports of Thailand
State Railway of Thailand

English-language newspapers offering continuous updates on the flooding situation:
Bangkok Post
The Nation

Source: Tourism Authorithy of Thailand (TAT)