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UK railway news round-up

25 Jan 2018

Hochtief has been appointed to build Great Western Railway's £40m Exeter Olds View Depot rolling stock maintenance depot. Construction is scheduled to start this spring for completion by early summer 2019.

HS2 Ltd has published an outline concept for how the Colne Valley viaduct can be 'sensitively and aesthetically' sited. Intended to inform development of the final design by main civil engineering contractor Align, the concept was developed by Knight Architects, working with Atkins, in consultation with the Colne Valley Regional Park Panel and the HS2 Independent Design Panel.

Planning approval has been granted for a £150m regeneration of the area around Guildford station which is to be undertaken by the Solum partnership of Network Rail and Kier Property. This includes £25m of station improvements including a larger building and a multi-storey car park, to be funded through the development of 438 homes and commercial office space.

As of January 1 2018 all new rolling stock as well as existing vehicles which operate across European borders are required to display their allocated European Vehicle Number. Existing vehicles are allocated an EVN, but are not required to display it unless used on international services. RSSB said that for many UK vehicles the EVN would incorporate their TOPS number, which can be underlined or emboldened.

Work is to begin in July to install a ramp and lifts at Mills Hill station as part of the Great North Rail Project and the Access for All programme. New ticketing machines will also be installed under Northern’s station improvement programme.

Tony Berkeley has announced his intention to retire as Chairman of the Rail Freight Group at the annual general meeting in November. The board is to ‘consider the role of the chair going forward and the basis of the appointment of a replacement’.

The Anna Kennedy Online charity has provided Great Western Railway with bespoke autism awareness training for 3500 front line staff. 'Whistles blowing, crowded and noisy stations, doors banging can be a bit full-on and cause anxiety', said founder Anna Kennedy. 'By sharing information with all staff this will hopefully help create a less stressful journey.'

Greater Anglia has formed a Customer Action Team of more than 170 staff who can be called on from 07.00 to 19.00 on weekdays to help passengers during disruption. The teams cover Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Liverpool Street, Norwich Stratford and Tottenham Hale, the operator's busiest stations.

A ceremony on January 19 marked the completion of a £2·5m refurbishment of Bognor Regis station. This included a regenerated square and refurbished canopy, improvements to the Grade II listed building, a new concourse floor and brickwork, a new ticket office, café, taxi office, newsagents and waiting room, a refurbished toilet, new information screens and signage, better lighting and upgraded CCTV. New business areas will be leased by West Sussex County Council for use as a creative digital hub.

Hitachi has appointed TBM Rail to undertake the regular maintenance of seats and toilet systems on Class 800 trainsets being supplied to Great Western Railway. Crewe-based TBM Rail takes delivery of forty seat bases every night, returning them Hitachi maintenance depots within 48 h to ensure regular rotation of seating stock. The toilet tanks are stripped down, flushed through with acid and then steam cleaned.

Sir John Armitt has been appointed as Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, taking over from Andrew Adonis, who resigned at the end of 2017. Armitt was formerly Deputy Chairman and has been a member of the Commission since it was formed in 2015.