Guided busway trials 'a huge success'

Buses have run for the first time in trials on the new Cambridgeshire Guided Busway. The exercise was hailed a "huge success" by manufacturers, operators, the contractor and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Four manufacturers provided buses for a series of trials on a 4km stretch of guided busway. The Council's contractor, Edmund Nuttall Ltd, recently completed this first section of guideway.

The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway is scheduled to open in spring 2009 and will be the longest guided busway in the world at over 26km. It will provide a congestion-free transport link into Cambridge.

The guideway consists of a pair of concrete strips bounded by 180mm kerbs, with a space in between that acts as a drainage channel and allows plants to grow. The buses run between the kerbs with the aid of small horizontal guidewheels linked to the steering mechanism.

Bob Menzies, Head of Delivery for the County Council said, "I'm delighted to say the guideway has surpassed all of our expectations. The trials were a huge success because they showed the high ride quality that can be achieved through the right construction method.

"We had buses running at speeds of up 60mph and the ride was still very smooth. Passengers will benefit from the ride quality but other elements of the scheme are important too, such as quality stops, Park & Ride sites, inter-operator ticketing and real-time information."

Local bus operators who will provide services on the guided busway attended the weeklong trials to look at the performance of different vehicles. The four manufacturers who supplied buses for the trials were: Alexander Dennis, Optare, Scania and Volvo.

Image: Trials on the first stretch of the new busway

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