MTR will run the franchise with First Group for seven years from August, taking over from Stagecoach.
Southampton Sailor Breaks Record
A British sailor told today of his jubilation after he broke the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in any type of yacht.
Brian Thompson, who wrote daily blogs about his experience, said he was "quite emotional" about his achievement and is considering writing a book about his adventure. Mr Thompson was the only British crew member on board the Banque Populaire V that completed the journey after 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
The 14-strong crew of the 40-metre maxi-trimaran crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line at Brest, France, at 10.14pm on Friday, smashing the existing record of 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds by nearly three days.
Mr Thompson, 49, who is based in Southampton, chronicled the trip on an online blog on his mobile phone, attracting thousands of followers on the social networking site Twitter.
"Sometimes I think it would be cool to write a book about a trip like this and you could use the blog as a basis for it.
"There are so many more things that happened, like conversations with people, that you want to remember, " he said.
A flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock welcomed the crew home and Mr Thompson, who has sailed more than 100,000 miles with American adventurer Steve Fossett, said that he'll miss the crew after spending so much time with them.
"It was quite emotional crossing the line and realising what a bond you made with the guys and especially the three others you're on watch with because you tend to see those people the most.
"You spend two thirds of 45 days together with them so that's a lot of time. You have to rely on them for your safety," he said.
The yachtsman described his teammates, who hail from a number of countries but all share a knowledge of the French language, as "talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French''.
"To achieve my dream of finally holding the Trophee Jules Verne...feels absolutely fantastic. At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop four times is just amazing and feels very special."
The crew had already broken four speed records on this journey around the globe - one to the equator, one to the Cape of Good Hope, one to Cape Leeuwin, and one from equator to equator.
Mr Thompson cited the stretch up the South Atlantic, past Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, as his favourite of the trip due to the pleasant weather and said the whole journey allowed him to see "real wonders of the natural world."
He is a real lover of being out at sea and his blog gives readers an insight into what life was like on an isolated vessel in the middle of the world's oceans.
"I really do enjoy being at sea. Some people that go racing, they like it for the racing and see the wet and the cold as something they have to put up with, but I actually really enjoy the tranquility of it, as well as the racing," he said.
The low points of the trip came when the crew lost two days due to weather delays both in the Pacific and North Atlantic and when they missed spending Christmas and New Year ashore with family and friends. Instead, Mr Thompson had a Christmas pudding made of energy bars made for him by the team.
Mr Thompson has been racing two and three-hulled speed machines for 20 years notching up 25 sailing records, and plans to beat his personal best in this year's Vendee Globe solo race around the world in which he came 5th in 2008.
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