21 May 2006


Saturday saw the annual Lord Mayors Day Parade which although long past its hayday when it seemed everyone came to town to see the show, is still a pretty good show if the weather is ok. Well, the weather did hold up reasonably well so I took my wife and my three year old son Zak to see the show. I will be posting several photos of vehicles in the parade over the next week or so but have to satr with this one: The Taxifast Landtrain.

A few news posting from the past year or so...

TONY RICHARDSON ©This is Plymouth 02 May 2005
Plymouth's business community has given its backing to a pioneering scheme to bring a futuristic 'land train' to the city. City taxi boss John Preece last week announced his ambitious plans to improve the city's transport system with a £200,000 train which could serve shoppers, clubbers and tourists. Subject to council approval Mr Preece, who runs Taxifast, says Plymouth could have its first train within two months. Now Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is supporting Mr Preece's initiative having read about it in last Tuesday's Evening Herald. Members believe the gas-powered land train, which runs on LPG, would bring huge benefits to the city, providing convenient transport for local people as well as visitors. The land train, which can carry up to 56 passengers in three enclosed carriages, would be fitted with CCTV cameras, sound equipment and a DVD system. The Italian-manufactured train would be equipped with self-levelling pneumatic suspension, and one of the carriages would have wheelchair access. It would be operated by a licensed public service vehicle driver, and a competent guard would double as a conductor.

17th May 2005:
Mr Preece said: "We were down to our last day of the option to buy the vehicle. The council is very positive in its support for the Taxifast land train project and I'm appreciative of their assistance so we can make an early start to run our pilot schemes and trials." He added that five land trains could eventually run through the city's pedestrian precincts. Fares should be about £1. Mr Preece said: "These services will require tests and appraisals. We also want to provide a service to tourists that will be attractive and practical. "The obvious routes will be around the Barbican and Hoe so we may portray the history and future of Plymouth." A city council spokeswoman said that there was no objection 'in principle' to the scheme. But she added: "We have not yet received any details on how the scheme would work, such as the routes proposed and the methods of operation. There is a lot of work to be done before this can be properly considered." The council is to look at the impact on traffic and consult with other road users. The spokeswoman said: "The land train would require approval from the Secretary of State, which would only be given once these matters have been resolved."

17 July 2005
Plymouth's first land train has now arrived in the city and is being fitted out at a secret location. The £197,000 train has been bought by Taxifast boss John Preece, who plans to ferry passengers around the city in high-tech style. The train has yet to be granted permission to operate in the city, but Mr Preece says he is confident the Government will give him a licence and that both Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police will approve the routes he has in mind.

8 August 2005
Taxi boss John Preece is set to test drive his revolutionary 'land train' around the city centre one night this week. Mr Preece, boss of Taxifast, is planning to take the wheel of the 22-yard long, liquid petroleum gas-driven vehicle himself and give it a spin, at a top speed of 14mph, around the shopping precinct. The businessman is keen to test the manoeuvrability of the £197,000 train and work out a route for when it is in operation, possibly as early as next month, subject to Plymouth City Council approval. He will be in negotiations with police and the council about a time for the trial, but is aiming for a 4am or 5am start, and said: "I'm looking at where we can go, and can we get it up alleyways. It's a very manoeuvrable piece of equipment." He also plans to put the vehicle on display in the city centre, again subject to council approval, so people can have a good look at it before it goes into service

This gives an idea of the planned operation of this unusual vehicle. Lets wait and see what happens next!

1 comment:

  1. I don't like taxifast at all. The past 4 times I've used them, I've had to *guide* the driver to my destination. What's the use of a taxi company that can't even get around in Plymouth? Interesting concept, and I saw it coming down Royal Parade on saturday (works at Peter Briggs), but Taxifast's incompetance as a company put me off a while ago.


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