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UK railway news round-up

29 Jun 2017

RSSB has published two pieces of research into future traffic management systems. Developing & Evaluating Dynamic Optimisation for Train Control Systems is the result of collaboration between University College London and the University of Birmingham, and looks at increasing capacity using dynamic algorithms to control train paths. SafeCap+ led by the University of Newcastle has created a selection of tools to evaluate energy consumption at junctions, and proposes a framework for developing a signalling and dispatching advisory system based on artificial intelligence and the real-time state of the network.

Govia Thameslink Railway has begun the second phase of public consultation on timetable changes to be introduced incrementally from May 2018. This will include an expansion of Thameslink-branded services, with 80% more peak seats between London Blackfriars and St Pancras International and direct services between Cambridge and Brighton/Maidstone East, Horsham and Peterborough, Luton and the Medway towns, and between Bedford and Littlehampton/East Grinstead. Consultation runs to July 27.

The Scottish Parliament has passed the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill which will see the 224 British Transport Police officers and staff in Scotland transferred to Police Scotland in 2019, with a statutory guarantee that they can stay within railway policing under the new arrangements. ‘With this move we are ensuring that policing on Scotland’s 93 million annual rail journeys is fully accountable to the people of Scotland and our parliament’, said Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, adding that Police Scotland would ‘maintain a specialist railway policing function within the wider service.’

Network Rail has issued a prior information notice for the possible implementation of one or more framework contracts to support its IT projects. The aim is to enhance current capabilities and procure new IT goods and services.

The first of 66 Bombardier Class 345 electric multiple-units for London’s future Elizabeth Line entered passenger service on June 22. TfL Rail is initially operating one off-peak return trip per day between Liverpool Street and Shenfield with a Class 345. Transport for London expects a further 10 to be in service by the autumn.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch reports that it published 24 investigation reports and 10 safety digests making 73 recommendations in 2016, and started a further 19 investigations, one class investigation and six safety digests.

Bognor Regis Model Railway Club has built a layout including level crossings, fencing, safe access points and the third rail power supply which Network Rail will take to schools for safety education. Schools in southeast England can contact NR to discuss a possible visit.

On June 15 Transnet applied for planning permission for the proposed Belfast Transport Hub, intended as the main public transport gateway for the city and offering rail and bus connections across Northern Ireland and to Dublin. 'This impressive facility will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the local area and will play a pivotal role in making public transport "your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland", connecting people and opportunities', said CEO Chris Conway.

Quattro Plant has been awarded a £1·2m framework contract covering the ‘removal of spilt ballast from the track in Network Rail depots quickly, efficiently and safely down to sleeper level.’