Tuesday 31 March 2020

Northern Rail Announce New Measures to Deal with Corona Virus

NORTHERN rail has introduced a raft of new measures to combat the Coronavirus crisis.
All waiting rooms at its railway stations have been shut until further notice.

A spokesman however said they may be reopened in bad weather.

All ticket barriers have also been opened, meaning passengers do not have to pass paper tickets through the barriers or present them to staff.

It's furthermore suspended the issuing of penalty fares until further notice.

Customers will still need a ticket to travel and should buy before they board trains at stations or online.

The company is only accepting card payments at the moment but cash payments can only be made at a small number of ticket machines.

Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “Our trains and stations remain open for business to help key workers get where they need to be across the north of England.

“For those who have to make essential journeys, and for our staff who continue to work across the network, we want to make the railway as safe as possible.

“The measures we have introduced further limit person to person contact and help staff and passengers follow the advice from government on social distancing.

“Our ticket offices remain open to provide help and advice to passengers.

"Customers who want to pay by cash will be asked to use ticket machines if they are available.

“These are unprecedented times for the rail industry and everyone at Northern would like to thank our customers for understanding.”

Monday 30 March 2020

All North East Operators to Share Tickets

By Monday 30th March all the region’s main bus operators will be running to emergency timetables in the face of the current Coronavirus crisis resulting in a 80-90% reduction in the demand for bus services as people follow the Government’s stay at home advice, balanced with the need to keep services running for key workers and access to essential shopping and healthcare.
All routes will continue to operate, but at reduced frequencies. Bus operators’ websites and social media channels should be checked for full details.

To help those still needing to get around for essential journeys and to maximise the use of the combined frequencies of the emergency timetables, as well as providing a safety net for any unforeseen issues, the North East’s bus operators and the Local Authorities and Transport bodies who commission supported services, have all agreed an emergency arrangement through the NEBus partnership for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis and bus operators’ emergency timetables.

This will mean that valid bus tickets from all operators in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, County Durham and the Tees Valley, including Arriva, Go North East, Stagecoach, Stanley Travel and other smaller operators operating Local Authority contracts, can be used across any bus operator on the routes or fare zone that the original ticket is issued for. This includes return, day and season tickets.
Martijn Gilbert, Chair of NEBus, said “Since the launch of NEBus last August, bus operators and Local Transport bodies have increasingly been working together in a growing partnership on ways to make bus travel even better and for more people. The current stay at home advice means demand for bus services is down by nearly 90%, but keeping services running for all communities is critical for the travel needs of many key workers and those needing to access essential shopping and healthcare. Service levels are being reduced in line with demand and a need to manage resources and minimise people movements in line with Government advice to help us all beat the Coronavirus.

The remaining bus journeys are more reliable than ever because there is virtually no traffic on the roads, so this helps customers depend on specific journeys when they are running at reduced times, but all the bus operators and Local Authorities working together are now enabling any valid bus ticket to be accepted on any other bus operator for the duration of these emergency timetables to help maximise the coverage of the local bus network for essential users, and provide a contingency for any unforeseen issues with customers journeys.
Bus operators, Local Authorities and their teams are doing all they can in some very trying and unsettling circumstances, with a fantastic job being done by bus drivers, engineers, cleaners and those behind the scenes in planning, support and management roles, and we want to assure everyone that we are still here and that buses are still running for essential journeys across the region”.

Customers are reminded of the social distancing public health advice and are requested to pay for their fares, wherever possible, with a contactless bankcard or buy their tickets in advance on operators smartphone apps (which all the main operators now accept and have available).

Sunday 29 March 2020

Closures & Appeals from Heritage Railways

The Measures to deal with the Corona Virus have closed down the country, hitting heritage railways hard. They depend on income from visitors and now face difficult times. Below are statements from two of the well known northern based railways. 

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Government advice is being strictly adhered to, and the wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our absolute priority and matters of health and safety have our complete attention.

Please rest assured that we’re closely monitoring the situation and will of course post any updates or changes to these plans across our social channels, and here on the website.

Due to this WE NEED YOUR HELP. The NYMR is a registered charity (501388) and without operating this would have a substantial impact on its future. Please help by donating to give the railway a fighting chance to be able to ‘steam on’ in its current form once the pandemic is over.

­čĹë The NYMR can’t claim insurance compensation for business interruption.

­čĹë The government has not offered monetary aid to charities yet.

­čĹë The only government help currently available would put the railway into significant debt, which may take years to pay off.

We could potentially lose up to £1 million over the upcoming weeks. Figures of this magnitude could threaten the very existence of the railway. Please help now and support the NYMR to ensure we survive.

To donate, text 'NYMR' to 70085 to donate £10. This costs £10 plus a std rate message. Alternatively, you can opt to give any whole amount up to £20. E.g. If you text 'NYMR 1' = £1, 'NYMR 4' = £4. Thanks! If you would like to donate via cheque or BACS please complete this Donation Form or click 
here to donate on line.

Keighly & Worth Valley Railway  

As a result of the continued situation with COVID-19 the KWVR is now closed until further notice. No passenger services will be operating for the foreseeable and all work on the Railway has now ceased.

We’ve tried really hard to keep things as normal as possible and had hoped to continue running our advertised passenger trains to the published timetable. 

We’ve been closely monitoring the situation and as the health and well-being of our passengers, volunteers and staff is our top priority, we’ve made the decision to close the railway.

This means that there will be no passenger trains, shop or caf├ę facilities until further notice.

2020 has been a challenging year so far. We’ve had to replace a 115 year old bridge at the cost of £150,000, have been hit by the worst flooding in years leaving us with a heavy repair bill, and now we are expecting further financial loss due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

On 19 March, increased measures put into place by the government meant that we had to close the railway. Our volunteers are at the heart of our railway and their health and well-being as well as that of our passengers and staff is our top priority.

We are unsure how long the railway will be closed, but as a registered charity the cancellation of our passenger trains, events and the closure of our commercial outlets will hit us hard.

This appeal is the first in a possible series of fundraising initiatives we will be delivering. Please help support us through this difficult time by donating whatever you can. We will share more information on our other fundraising plans through our website and social media and directly to our members through the Push and Pull magazine.

Your donation will go towards keeping the railway afloat, and with your help we’ll be able to continue doing what we do best.

Thank you for all your support and donations.  
Click here to donate.

The events below have also been cancelled, please keep up to date on developments with future events via this website and social media:

Sparkle & Steam: 11 April & 8-9, 23 May
Haworth Haddock: 25 April & 30 May

If you have pre-booked any of the above events you should have received an email from us outlining your options. If you haven’t received this please email: bookings@kwvr.co.uk, but please bear with us for a reply as it’s a very busy time for the admin team.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any further changes.

As a registered charity you can imagine that these cancellations have hit us hard, and we really appreciate all your support at this difficult time.

Saturday 28 March 2020

SNCF Hospital TGV Train

SNCF has started transporting Covid-19 patients using a TGV train that has been has adapted as a mobile hospital unit. It is being used to evacuate recuperating patients from hot spot areas where the hospitals are saturated to regions which have spare capacity in their intensive care facilities.

Described by Minister of Health Olivier V├ęran as ‘a first for Europe’, the train was first deployed on March 26 to move 20 patients from the Grand Est region to Pays de Loire, the French region least affected by the pandemic. 
The patients were collected by ambulance from hospitals in Strasbourg and Mulhouse, and will be taken to teaching hospitals in Angers, Nantes, Le Mans and La Roche-sur-Yon.

According to SNCF President Jean-Pierre Farandou, the double-deck train can carry up to 25 patients. There is provision for four people in each trailer car, where the stretchers are supported above the seats, which have not been removed. Each vehicle has a six-strong medical team, comprising an anesthetist, a junior doctor, a nurse anesthetist and three nurses. The buffet car has been adapted as a ‘medical space’ in case the condition of a patient deteriorates en route.

The onboard medical teams have been drawn from the Paris hospitals public assistance service and regional hospitals in Nantes and Angers, under the co-ordination of the Paris-based Service d’Aide M├ędicale Urgente, which has an established co-operation arrangement with SNCF. 
The TGV carries a double strength crew, with two drivers and additional onboard staff.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptise Djebarri said SNCF would also be making available overnight train stock for use by the medical services if required.

Last year, SNCF and the Paris SAMU undertook a joint exercise to test the concept of a mobile rail hospital in the event of a pandemic or terrorist attack. On May 21-22 2019, 400 people took part in Exercise Chardon, which simulated the transfer to Paris of seriously injured victims from a supposed terrorist attack in Metz. 
‘We took the example of a terrorist attack but the same approach could be used for pandemics or technological disasters’, the head of SAMU Paris Professor Pierre Carli told local media at the time.

Friday 27 March 2020

East Coast Signaling Scheme Announced

Network Rail has confirmed Siemens and Atkins as its partners in a major programme to introduce in-cab signalling on the southern section of the East Coast Main Line – a scheme that will reduce passenger delays by thousands of hours.


The partners will play a critical role in delivering the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP). The first £350 million investment in the ECDP by the government is already being used to begin the introduction of real-time digital signalling on the route, and lay the foundations for wider national roll-out.

The ECDP will be the first intercity digital railway in the UK, trains being fitted with the latest in-cab signalling technology and removal of the old lineside signals. It will mean that signallers will be able to talk to trains continuously rather than only at fixed points, instructing and responding in real time and reducing delays and significantly improving performance.

Network Rail launched a procurement process to find private sector partners to help deliver the programme back in September 2018. It was an entirely new way of working, to team up with suppliers from the start to design, develop and deploy the European Train Control System (ETCS) technology. The procurement has concluded with Siemens confirmed as the programme’s train control partner (TCP) and traffic management partner (TMP), and Atkins as rail systems integration partner (RSIP).

Toufic Machnouk, programme director of the East Coast Digital Programme, said: “This is a major step forward in transforming the network for the millions of passengers that use the East Coast Main Line.

“We have adopted a partnership approach across the rail industry to deliver Britain’s first inter-city digital railway, moving away from traditional procurement and bringing together technology providers to set a standard for how digital railway is deployed.

“This is just the beginning of a truly exciting journey that will eventually see digital signalling improving the railway right across the country.”

Rob Morris, Managing Director of Rail Infrastructure for Siemens Mobility in the UK, said: “We’re thrilled to be appointed both Train Control Partner and Traffic Management Partner for the East Coast Digital Programme. This is a significant step forward for the UK rail industry as we move towards a fully digital railway, and we are delighted to work in partnership with Network Rail to deliver this ground-breaking programme.”

Scott Kelley, Strategic Rail Director, Atkins said: “This is a genuinely game changing transformation programme at the leading edge of rail industry integration. Our team will bring together unique skills and experience to enable the industry collaboration to deliver the East Coast Digital Programme, establishing the gold standard for future delivery programmes.”

The section of the East Coast Main Line, which covers from King’s Cross to just north of Peterborough, currently operates with 1970s signalling that is reaching the end of its life and due to be renewed over the next few years. Staged migration to ETCS level 2 with no lineside signals will now take place, with 300 passenger and freight trains to be installed with the new technology.

The East Coast Main Line is one of the network’s busiest and most important economic routes.

A third of the population lives within 20 minutes’ reach of an ECML station, and together produce 41% of the total UK’s GDP. The line carries in excess of 80 million passenger journeys, and tens of millions of freight tonnes worth £30bn, every year.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Swindon Bid for £50m Fleet of Electric Buses

Swindon borough council has teamed up with Stagecoach West and Swindon’s Bus Company in a bid for £50m to transform public transport in the borough.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a competition for one local authority to be given the cash to set the ‘gold standard’ for greener bus travel.

Couns Keith Williams, Maureen Penny and Cathy Martyn check out one of Salisbury's electric buses 

If Swindon wins, its two main bus companies will be able to buy a new fleet of electric buses. This could be as many as 200 of them, removing 7,400 tonnes of CO2 from the town’s air – the equivalent of 3,700 fewer diesel cars on the road.

Cabinet member for transport and the environment Maureen Penny said: “I am determined with the help of my cabinet colleagues that we do all we can to improve air quality in Swindon. It is one of the reasons why we have set up a climate change working group.

“So when the government presented the Electric Bus Town scheme, it ticked a lot of boxes. I was extremely impressed to see one of Salisbury Reds’ electric buses in action and to find out about all their environmental benefits.

“We will be putting everything we can into this bid with the help of Swindon’s Bus Company and Stagecoach West to give us the best chance of obtaining the £50m in funding.”

Swindon’s Bus Company managing director Andrew Wickham added: “We are working closely with Swindon Borough Council to gain government support for this very important initiative.

“We have received an excellent response from those travelling on our electric buses in Salisbury, with our customers appreciating our efforts to help lower emissions across the region.

"Buses – especially electric buses – are the perfect solution for this, and they have the potential to significantly improve air quality in our towns and cities. I’m looking forward to working with the council to help make the Electric Bus Town proposal a reality here in Swindon.”

Stagecoach West managing director Rupert Cox said: “Buses are key to helping to improve our local environment and reduce the effects of congestion. An investment in electric buses could transform bus services in Swindon by enabling zero pollution at the point of use.

“This could further encourage people to leave their car at home so that they could travel in a far more environmentally friendly way.”

The council and bus operators will first submit an expression of interest to the government by the end of April and the shortlisted bids will be announced the following month.

Business cases will then be submitted between the summer and autumn.

Bus operator Salisbury Reds, owned by the Swindon company’s parent firm Go South Coast, is already running three electric buses which serve the city’s two park and ride schemes.See 

The bus company recently showed off one of them to Coun Penny and her cabinet colleagues Keith Williams and Cathy Martyn.

Each electric bus can travel approximately 160 miles on one full charge and it takes four hours to charge the batteries. One electric bus will save 15.5 tonnes of Nitrogen Oxide and 32.2 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Go Ahead Offers Un-used Buses to Assist in Virus Problems

Transport group Go-Ahead is offering buses that are standing idle, to help the national effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The company has said that it had suspended a planned dividend pay-out as it reacts to the suspension of UK rail franchises and other disruption linked to the virus outbreak.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that rail franchise agreements were to be suspended to avoid train companies collapsing after a massive drop in passenger numbers and huge disruption to timetables.

The emergency measures - which will be in place for an initial period of six months – have been “strongly welcomed” by the industry body, the Rail Delivery Group, and Go-Ahead said it would also be taking its own actions to cope with the virus.

Go-Ahead runs a number of rail franchises in the south and said it was in discussions with the DfT on running a Direct Award Contract on the Southeastern service.

CEO David Brown said: “Go-Ahead provides vital services, moving and connecting people to their communities across our networks. These services have become increasingly important to those working in essential roles such as NHS workers, emergency services and those in the food supply chain.

“Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and our customers, and we are taking all measures necessary to safeguard people, including additional cleaning. I would like to thank our colleagues who have been working tirelessly to ensure our services continue in these challenging times.

“Once this crisis is over, strong bus and rail connections will be needed to rebuild our economy and support our communities; providing links to education, employment, retail and leisure facilities, and between friends and families.

In our regional bus businesses, this means we need support from national government in the short term to maintain these vital lifelines for the long term.

“In the meantime, we aim to support the UK’s efforts in tackling the crisis by providing unutilised buses to transport NHS workers, supporting supermarkets with food deliveries and delivering essential goods to cut off and self-isolating communities.”

Go-Ahead said it was assessing the Government’s pledge to support 80% of employees’ wages who are furloughed, but that it was also reducing and removing costs “where possible”.

The company’s statement added that it had a strong balance sheet and was well placed to withstand the current crisis.

But it added that it was “too early” to provide earnings guidance for the rest of its financial year during to the evolving nature of the Covid-19 outbreak.

 Focus Comment Below 


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Stadler Win Berlin Three Billion Euro Contract

Stadler has emerged as the winner of a tender issued by the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe for the delivery of up to 1,500 cars for use on the underground network in the German capital. The framework agreement, whose total volume represents up to three billion euros, also covers the supply of spare parts for a period of 32 years. 

One of the unsuccessful bidders had initiated a review procedure, but the request has now been rejected by the Berlin Court of Appeal in the last instance of appeal. This clears the way for the contract to be formally awarded and the binding order to be placed. 

The framework agreement with an approximate value of three billion euros, includes a fixed minimum order quantity of 606 cars. Stadler will therefore supply 376 cars for two- to four-car vehicle units for the small and large profile sections of the network in a first call-off order from 2022 onwards. 
A further 230 cars have been ordered on a firm basis, but the corresponding call-off order will be placed at a later date. 
The agreement also provides for another optional call-off order for 894 additional cars. The volume of the firm order amounts to around 1.2 billion euros and includes the supply of spare parts. 

 Stadler have recently won the contract to build the next
generation of Tyne & Wear Metro vehicles

This contract to renew the fleet for the Berlin underground network is a new opportunity for Stadler and BVG to work together. The Swiss rail vehicle manufacturer is already ensuring environmentally friendly mobility in the German capital thanks to its IK series, with Stadler trains in use for BVG on underground lines U1, U2 and U5. 
The new series, which is referred to as J/JK by BVG, is based on the familiar Stadler-METRO vehicles. The energy-efficient vehicles with noise reduction have been optimised in many ways.
 “We are delighted that BVG has decided to continue its successful cooperation with our company. We are very proud to have won one of the largest delivery contracts ever awarded in Europe and to be able to complete the order in Berlin for Berlin. We have decided to bring forward our planned investments in the Stadler location in the German capital in order to create an optimal basis for the implementation of this major project”, explains Jure Mikol─Źi─ç, CEO of Stadler in Germany. 

Stadler had already announced that it would invest up to 70 million euros in the Berlin-Pankow site. The new operating concept not only includes the construction of a new production hall, but also the creation of new, optimised space for logistics and commissioning. 
The investment is a clear commitment to the location in Berlin: besides building a new production and commissioning hall, the first step of the project will involve creating additional office space and a modern canteen for employees.

Monday 23 March 2020

Greater Anglia Commuter Class 720 First Test Run to Southend

Greater Anglia has now started testing the first of its brand-new class 720 electric commuter trains which will provide thousands of extra seats for commuters on their journeys to London.

British company Bombardier is manufacturing 111 electric trains for Greater Anglia, which will replace all of the company’s existing electric trains on all services except for the Norwich-London intercity and Stansted Express services.

The trains are all longer and offer hundreds more seats that the existing trains on all of those routes.

In the early hours of Tuesday 17 March, the first train was taken for a test run on the Southend Victoria line in another significant milestone in the progress towards getting the trains into passenger service.

New trains have to undergo a series of performance and safety tests before they can come into passenger service.

Tests include checking they interact properly with the network such as points and signals, testing performance at different speeds and checking in at every station and platform to see if any signs or platform furniture needs to be relocated.

Greater Anglia staff including drivers and station staff also need to be trained to work with the new trains.

The new electric trains are all five or ten carriages – with each carriage longer than carriages on existing trains. The five carriage trains have 544 seats and the ten-carriage trains have 1,145 seats.

They all have plug and USB sockets, air conditioning, under floor heating in addition to air conditioning and improved passenger information screens.

The new trains are powered by electricity, 40% lighter than previous trains and feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network rather than waste the energy, through heat, as in conventional systems.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: “We can’t wait to get these trains into service because they’re going to make such a positive difference to customers journeys, so it’s fantastic that this testing has begun.

“Once we are fully satisfied the trains are performing as we want them to, we will put them into passenger service which will be later this year.”

“As well as providing extra seats, they will also give our customers a much more comfortable journey as these brand-new trains have all the mod cons that 21st century rail passengers now expect.”

Will Tanner, Bombardier Transportation Communications Director said: “We are committed to getting these state-of-the-art Aventra trains into service with Greater Anglia as soon as we possibly can.

“We have two of our six production lines at our Derby factory dedicated to the project, and have recruited 400 extra staff since December to help reduce the delay to the project which has been caused by a range of factors. We have now built more than 230 of the 665 cars on order.”


Sunday 22 March 2020

First Order for Mireo Plus B Battery EMUs

The German Baden-W├╝rttemberg’s rolling stock body SFBW has ordered 20 battery-equipped Mireo Plus B electric multiple-units from Siemens Mobility, which will then be responsible for their availability over a 29½-year operating life.

The two-car EMUs with 120 seats are to be deployed on Netz 8 Ortenau services, running on 15 kV 16·7 Hz electrification where available and using battery power on non-electrified routes.

‘This marks the first time battery-powered trains will be used in the Land’, said Baden-W├╝rttemberg’s Minister for Transport Winfried Hermann when the order was announced on March 17. ‘With this innovative technology, the electrification of rail routes without continuous overhead power lines will also be possible.’

The lithium-ion batteries will be mounted in two underfloor containers. They will be used to capture regenerated braking energy and topped up from the overhead line while the trains are operating on electrified sections. The batteries are expected provide a range of around 80 km under real-world conditions.

‘Baden-W├╝rttemberg is investing in the future of mobility’, said Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility. ‘Our battery-powered train Mireo Plus B makes climate-friendly, locally emission-free passenger transport possible, thus offering a sustainable alternative to the use of diesel-powered trains on non-electrified routes.’

The Netz 8 Ortenau operating contract covers the electrified route from Offenburg to Freudenstadt/Hornberg, and the non-electrified branches from Appenweier to Bad Griesbach, Achern to Ottenh├Âfen and Biberach to Oberharmersbach-Riersbach. This contract will run for 13 years from December 2022, covering the operation of 2·1 million train-km/year.

The EMUs are scheduled to be delivered from Siemens Mobility’s Krefeld factory by December 2023.

The EMUs are being procured through what the Land has branded the ‘Netz Ortenau model’. Under this approach, SFBW directly orders the rolling stock required to operate tendered regional passenger services, financing the purchase through loans backed by a Land guarantee. It will own the vehicles and make them available to the selected operator for the duration of its contract.

This is a change from the ‘Baden-W├╝rttemberg model’ where the rolling stock is procured by the operator, but on delivery ownership is transferred to SFBW which then leases the vehicles back to the operator for the duration of its contract.

KfW IPEX Bank is financing the initial order under a deal worth €77m over 28 years. ‘The financing not only contributes to an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions, but also promotes innovative and climate-friendly technologies in rail transport’, said Andreas Ufer, Managing Director of KfW IPEX Bank. The bank was ‘underscoring its commitment to using such technologies in Germany and Europe’, he added.

As well as supplying the vehicles, the manufacturer will be responsible for their availability.

‘In the interest of sustainability, we’ve deliberately opted for a life-cycle model’, explained Hermann. ‘We’re breaking new ground in converting to climate-friendly propulsion systems in local transport by introducing this new technology and want to commit the company to this technology through contractual arrangements. Siemens is also responsible for energy consumption and energy costs over the entire contract period of 29½ years. In this respect, we are entering new territory regarding public transport tenders in the state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg.’

Saturday 21 March 2020

Tram Route Selected

Transport for London has announced its preferred route option for the proposed extension of the London Trams network to serve Sutton, along with the use of light rail rather than bus rapid transit.

Public feedback had been invited on three possible routes and the use of trams or BRT.

Two tram or BRT route options follow the same mainly on-street alignment from Sutton to the Morden area, and then split to terminate at either South Wimbledon or Colliers Wood.

A third option would involve conversion to light rail of the Sutton – Wimbledon suburban railway which is currently used by Thameslink commuter services, with trams continuing on-street to Sutton town centre.

Following the public consultation, TfL has opted for Route 2 from Sutton to Colliers Wood, and for it to be a tramway.

While responses showed higher support for the South Wimbledon option, TfL said Colliers Wood offered the greatest transport benefits, would be the most effective for supporting regeneration and new homes, and would be easier to build.

A tramway would be more expensive than BRT, but attracted much greater support. It would also offer greater transport benefits, enable more new homes and have greater potential for attracting funding.

 Trams have proved popular in other London areas but suffer from initial high cost and disruption .
Many foreign cities are favouring BRT methods and if there were delays to this project
TfL might need to reconsider the tram option
A funding package now needs to be developed before further planning is undertaken. TfL is continuing to work with the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton to explore options, and is also considering how to access national funding.

It cautioned that if there were a ‘substantial delay’ in securing funding then the decision to opt for a tram would need to be reviewed in case any factors had changed.

Friday 20 March 2020

West Midlands Camp Hill Line to Re-open

Local passenger trains have not run along the Camp Hill line since 1941 but plans, orchestrated by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, are in place to open the line again with new stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell.
For the first time in 80 years, a former railway line in south Birmingham has moved closer to reopening for commuter trains.

On Monday 16th March a train carrying the Mayor, West Midlands Railway’s customer experience director Jonny Wiseman and other representatives from across the rail industry, travelled along the line.

The train followed the route of what would be the re-opened commuter line, stopping at the Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell sites before arriving into Kings Norton, and later returning to Birmingham New Street.

The test run of the train was to see how the new passenger services on the Camp Hill line would operate.

Regular Manchester Bristol Exeter Cross Country Trains use the line, but no facilities currently exist for use by commuter trains.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: ““I am delighted we are pressing ahead with plans to reopen the Camp Hill line to local passengers, and it was great to be on the first commuter type passenger train to travel on the line in nearly 80 years.

“This line, which also represents another step forward in the 20-year transport plan for the West Midlands, will provide residents in South Birmingham with easier and faster connections to get to the places they need to go, whilst also offering people a real alternative to the car – helping to ease congestion and improve the air we breathe.”

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for WMR, who will be responsible for running services on the Camp Hill line, said: “This is an exciting and visionary plan to transform local train services for our customers in the south of Birmingham. We are working closely with WMRE, Network Rail and the Mayor in order to turn this vision into reality.

“Passengers set to benefit from the quicker route along the Camp Hill line can also look forward to travelling on the brand-new train fleet we are introducing as part of our £1billion investment into the rail network.”


The West Midlands Trains franchise started on 10 December 2017 and will run until 2025/26.

West Midlands Trains operates 1,300 services a day, manages 150 stations and provides over 80 million passenger journeys a year. Over the course of the franchise, West Midlands Trains will be investing £1 billion into the rail network to deliver new trains, improved routes and station upgrades. This will include 400 new train carriages across the network and space for an extra 85,000 passengers into Birmingham and London at peak times.

The franchise is a joint venture between Abellio (70.1% share) and East Japan Railway Company / Mitsui & Co., Ltd (29.9% share in a 50:50 split). Abellio is the international passenger transport subsidiary of the Dutch national railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen. In the UK, Abelllio operates ScotRail and Greater Anglia train services, Merseyrail services in a joint venture with Serco and buses through Abellio London. For more information visit www.abellio.com

All material published on this website is subject to copyright. Copying of any text or pictures is not allowed and those doing so are committing serious legal and ethical offences.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Hybrid Locomotives for Sellafield

CLAYTON Equipment, Britain, has won a contract from Sellafield, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to supply two CBD80 diesel-hybrid locomotives.

The CBD80 is an 80-tonne Bo-Bo Hybrid+ locomotive, which features both onboard batteries that use a three-phase supply for emission-free operation as well as a diesel engine, which is compliant with EU Stage V emissions standards.
Clayton says the new locomotives will help to reduce Sellafield’s operation and maintenance costs. 
The Sellafield nuclear power plant was decommissioned in 2003 but remains Europe’s largest nuclear site with around 13,000 employees working on decommissioning of historic plants and reprocessing fuel from British and international reactors.
More information about Clayton Equipment here

All material published on this website is subject to copyright. Copying of any text or pictures is not allowed and those doing so are committing serious legal and ethical offences.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Museums Close Including National Railway Museum

Sir Ian Blatchford - Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group has issued the following statement

“Our mission is to inspire futures. But right now we need to focus on today and on the health and welfare of our visitors and colleagues as the nation comes together to deal with the threat of coronavirus.

Following discussions with Government this afternoon, and guided by the science, we have decided that from this evening, 17 March and until further notice, we will close all of our sites to the public. 

This includes our five museums: the Science Museum in London; National Railway Museum in York; Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham.

“While our doors will be closed for a while, our collection - and the inspirational stories it contains - will remain open to you online. Our talented teams, who have dealt so professionally with the challenges of the past few weeks, will find new ways to ignite your curiosity and lift your spirits during some difficult days ahead.

“Thank you for support for our museums and thank you for pulling together at this concerning time. We know you’ll bear with us; if you have tickets to upcoming events, we will be in touch soon.

“Given the uncertainty we are all facing together, it is not possible to say when our museums will be able to reopen to visitors. But we look forward to welcoming back old friends and igniting the curiosity of many more people who haven’t yet had the chance to visit us. 

“For the time being, please stay safe and keep in touch with us through our social media channels.

“Best wishes.”

Sir Ian Blatchford

Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group

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Tuesday 17 March 2020

Trains Evacuated Due to COVID-19 Virus

A result of the COVID-19-crisis is shown in the picture below. When the Czech Republic announced that it was closing its borders, several companies with new rolling stock at the VUZ Velim test center decided to ‘evacuate’ their trains and take them to Germany.

RailAdventure 183 500 with Siemens 193 901, 193 970, and 193 819. At the rear, can be seen a CAF DMU for the UK, for the West Midlands franchise. The train was seen on 13.03.2020 in Praha-Kyje on its way to Bad Schandau:

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Monday 16 March 2020

LNER Announce New London Services from Bradford and Huddersfield

New Bradford Services

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has confirmed that it will be doubling the number of Azuma weekday services between Bradford Forster Square and London King’s Cross from Monday 18 May 2020.

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “We are excited to be doubling our weekday services between Bradford and London thanks to the continued introduction of our state-of-the-art Azuma fleet.

“Home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, beautiful countryside and a rich mix of cultures, Bradford is a fantastic destination and we are delighted that these new services will make it even easier for people to come and enjoy everything the region has to offer.

“Our extra Azuma services will give businesses in Bradford a boost to connectivity both with the capital and destinations along our East Coast route.”

The arrival of the new services will coincide with the first anniversary of LNER’s introduction of its world-class Azuma trains, which are revolutionising the customer experience between London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. They offer more reliable, comfortable and accessible journeys, with fast WiFi and first-class onboard catering.

LNER is growing its fleet with the continued introduction of 65 Azuma trains and working with Network Rail to deliver the East Coast Upgrade which, together, will mean further increases in services in the coming years.

Tickets for the new weekday services are on sale now.

Huddersfield Services

LNER has also announced that new Azuma services will be introduced between Huddersfield and London King’s Cross from Monday 18 May 2020.

The daily weekday service in each direction will be LNER’s first direct link between the West Yorkshire market town and the capital. They will also connect nearby Dewsbury directly with London King’s Cross, after more than a generation of no direct services between Huddersfield and London.

The arrival of the services will coincide with the first anniversary of LNER’s introduction of the state-of-the-art Azuma trains on the East Coast route.

The new five-car southbound service will depart from Huddersfield at 05:50 and Dewsbury at 06:01 and then arriving in Leeds at 06:16, where it will couple to another five-car Azuma to form the 06:40 Leeds to London King’s Cross service, which will arrive in the capital at 08:51 on weekdays.

The evening northbound service will depart from London King’s Cross at 18:03 formed of two five-car Azuma trains, which will split at Leeds, with one train continuing to Skipton and the other to Dewsbury, arriving at 20:45 and then Huddersfield at 20:58.

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “The services will open up economic benefits for Huddersfield and the surrounding area. Better transport links for Huddersfield will create more opportunities for business travel and people wishing to make direct journeys between the capital and the West Yorkshire town, famous for its industrial past and proud textiles heritage.

“Our Azuma trains are revolutionising the customer experience for our passengers. They offer greater reliability, levels of comfort and accessibility, as well as more seats, improved WiFi, with first class onboard catering.”

Colne Valley Conservative MP, Jason McCartney and  David Horne, Managing Director at LNER

Colne Valley Conservative MP, Jason McCartney, said: “I’m delighted that LNER is delivering the first direct rail service between Huddersfield and London since the 1960s. This is a major boost for businesses, schools, colleges and all local residents in Huddersfield and the Colne Valley who’ll now be able to use this direct service and continue the growth of the Northern Powerhouse.”

The Azuma fleet brings significant environmental benefits. The new trains will run using overhead electric wires between London and Leeds. The bi-mode Azuma fleet will then operate under diesel power for the remaining 17 miles to and from Huddersfield.

After departing southbound from Huddersfield, the trains will call at Dewsbury, Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, Doncaster, Newark Northgate and London King’s Cross.

LNER is growing its fleet with the introduction of 65 Azuma trains and working with Network Rail to deliver the East Coast Upgrade which, together, will mean further increases in services in the coming years.

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Sunday 15 March 2020

ScotRail is First Operator to Provide Real-Time Data

ScotRail is now Britain’s first train operating company to publish data on its trains’ type and carriage length in real time.

The operator has partnered with rail information provider realtimetrains.co.uk to share live information on the use of carriages and allocation of trains.

In addition to visiting Realtime Trains, customers can still use the free app to check how many carriages their train, and how busy the service will be.

Rail enthusiasts will also be able to log on to the website to find out the unique number of the train in use.

Anne Gray , ScotRail’s Customer Information Strategy Manager, said:

“Keeping our customers informed in real time is key to improving their experience travelling with ScotRail.

“We are committed to finding new ways to provide even more information and this partnership will give unprecedented access to real time data.”

Tom Cairns, Owner of Realtime Trains, said:

“I’m delighted that ScotRail have agreed to be the first passenger operator to publish this data.

“This has long been one of the most commonly requested pieces of information, from both commuters and enthusiasts alike, so it is great to be able to make this available online, on demand.”

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