Electric transformation of Oldham bus depot completed

Electric transformation of Oldham bus depot completed

Work to electrify Oldham bus depot and enable charging for a new fleet of modern zero emission buses for the Bee Network has been completed.

As part of the Bee Network, buses in Greater Manchester are being brought back under local control for the first time in almost 40 years, with the next phase of franchising launching in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, parts of Salford and north Manchester on 24 March 2024.

The completion of the electrification project, that started in November, is the latest step in upgrading depots and transitioning to an electric bus fleet and follows successful electrification at Bolton ahead of the launch of the Bee Network there last September.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) entered into an agreement with First Bus Manchester, as the existing operator of Oldham depot, to carry out the works, ahead of a handover to Stagecoach, who will operate Bee Network services.

A total of 51 charging points have been installed to enable the new fleet of electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously. A full charge – which gives a range of up to 160 miles – will take 3 hours. A new substation along with other high-voltage equipment supply the power required, which is cabled to the charging points via overhead gantries, along with safety bollards, lining and signing to provide designated charging bays.

Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Vernon Everitt – who visited the depot to mark the electrification completion, alongside representatives from First Bus– said:

“In less than a week, the second phase of the Bee Network will be coming to Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, parts of Salford and north Manchester, and with it the first batch of new zero emission buses serving these areas. These state of the art vehicles feature two spaces for wheelchair users and many other enhanced accessibility features and will provide better and cleaner journeys for all bus passengers.

“Our ambitions for a fully electric bus fleet will help make Greater Manchester a greener and healthier place for everyone, and the infrastructure installed by First Bus to electrify Oldham bus depot is another significant milestone in enabling that.”

First Bus worked with its decarbonisation partners, Magnus Construction to carry out the installation and Heliox to supply the charging equipment.

The new electric buses will operate on three routes when Oldham joins the Bee Network on 24 March 2024 and replace previous older diesel buses, helping to reduce emissions and improve air quality on these routes.

Anne Marie Purcell, Chief Transformation Officer said: “I am immensely proud of the work we have done with First Bus to upgrade this depot ahead of the launch of Bee Network services in tranche two.  

“Completing the works in time for the commencement of the next phase of bus franchising was an ambitious timescale, managing a number of key challenges such as working in a live operational environment and required excellent coordination between our construction team and depot staff.

“I would like to thank everyone involvement, for ensuring everything was completed on time in readiness for service to start on 24th March.”

Zoe Hands, Managing Director of First Bus in Manchester, said: “We’re delighted to have supported Transport for Greater Manchester in preparing this Oldham depot with electrification in readiness for the Bee Network and the expansion of new vehicle technologies into the fleet. Working closely with our partners in construction and charging infrastructure, the transformation has been completed on schedule and the depot is now ready for when the first electric buses arrive.

“First Bus has extensive experience in the transformation of depots to electric from our programme at sites across the UK. We have brought this knowledge and expertise to Oldham to manage the conversion alongside the continued operation of the depot to serve local communities and the wider region of Greater Manchester.”

Transport & Logistics – Driving the Industry Forward

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