UK railway news round-up
On September 12 the House of Commons appointed the members of the Transport Select Committee chaired by Lilian Greenwood. The members are Ronnie Cowan (SNP, Inverclyde), Steve Double (Conservative, St Austell & Newquay), Paul Girvan (DUP, South Antrim), Huw Merriman (Conservative, Bexhill & Battle), Luke Pollard (Labour & Co-Op, Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport), Laura Smith (Labour, Crewe & Nantwich), Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South), Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley & Broughton), Martin Vickers (Conservative, Cleethorpes) and Daniel Zeichner (Labour, Cambridge).
The first of the Beacon Rail-owned Class 68 locomotives which TransPennine Express is to sublease from Direct Rail Services has received the passenger franchisee’s branding.
Network Rail is looking to enter into a pre-procurement dialogue with market specialists to explore the best way to identify, engage and develop a managed services partner that will provide flexible, multi-disciplinary capability in areas including whole life costing, software development, reliability engineering & analysis, journey time and capacity modelling & analysis and product acceptance.
The first four of 100 electric car charging points being installed at 50 ScotRail station car parks have gone live at Uphall, Bathgate, East Kilbride and Johnstone. A complete charge from the 22 kW supply will typically take around 4 h, which ScotRail says is twice as fast as plugging in a car at home. The charging points are free to use, but the normal parking fee must be paid and drivers must hold a valid ChargePlace Scotland card.
Network Rail has invited the submission by October 6 of requests to participate in a negotiated procedure with prior call for competition for the award of two contracts to operate and maintain the Rail Innovation & Development Centre Melton, previously known as the Old Dalby test track. NR expects to issue invitations to tender on October 31, and envisages that the contracts would run from April 1 2018 to March 31 2021 with two options for one-year extensions.
On September 7 Ontario’s municipal pension fund OMERS and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan completed the sale of Helix Holdings Ltd, the indirect holding company for the High Speed 1 concession, to a consortium of HICL Infrastructure Co Ltd, funds managed by Equitix Investment Management Ltd and third party funds managed by InfraRed Capital Partners Ltd.
Translink is to modernise the platforms at Bangor station by the end of October. ‘This work will improve safety for passengers and staff, remove congestion on the platforms and improve the appearance of all three platforms’, said Project Manager Kerry Breen. ‘The work being undertaken by Cleary Contracting will improve the Belfast end of all three platforms, see new tactile paving installed, yellow lines to the front of all platforms and new kerbing along the back of platform 3. The current safety barriers will also be extended on platforms 2 and 3.’
The ScotRail Alliance has leased four Nissan NV200 electric vans to replace diesel vehicles.
British Transport Police has begun rolling out 2 800 Axon body-worn cameras for use by all PCSOs and officers up to the rank of Inspector by the end of March 2018. The highly-visible cameras will not be permanently recording, members of the public will be told when they are being recorded, and any footage will be automatically uploaded to secure servers and deleted after 31 days if not retained as evidence or for a policing purpose. ‘A trial of body-worn videos over the last year showed that they helped bring about speedier justice for victims’, said Assistant Chief Constable Paul Brogden. ‘Not only do they provide vital evidence in cases, but they also can protect officers against malicious complaints and reassure the public as they travel through stations and on trains.’
Greater Anglia is spending more than £150 000 to reduce faults on its train toilets. It aims to replace the toilets on its 21 Class 360 EMUs by the end of the year, and two members of the cleaning team are based at London Liverpool Street to fix toilet faults as soon as they are able to access a train.