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UK railway news round-up

08 Aug 2019

The Department for Transport is to provide £10m to support the construction of stations at Darlaston and Willenhall on the Walsall Wolverhampton line. Planning applications are due to be submitted this year, with a view to reopening the line to passengers by the end of 2021. Further funding will come from the region’s HS2 Connectivity Fund. The project is being led by the West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands, working with the DfT, Network Rail, West Midlands Railway, Walsall Council and Wolverhampton Council.

Hull Trains has released photos of the interiors of its five Class 802 electro-diesel multiple-units which are nearing completion at Hitachi's Pistoia plant in Italy. The first is scheduled to arrive in the UK during the first week in September and enter service in late October or early November. 'Our trains are very different to what have been produced before in terms of the colours and interiors', said Managing Director Louise Cheeseman. 'We opted for the superior quality of seat material, with no expense spared. Instead of a flat cloth we chose moquette which is a deeper pile and you can absolutely see the quality.'

Northern, Community Rail Lancashire and the National Autistic Society have developed ‘the UK’s first autism-friendly railway line’, on the route between Accrington, Burnley Manchester Road and Manchester Victoria. Specialist resources available include sunglasses and ear defenders to assist passengers who may have sensory needs, and detailed line guides covering key travel information about the stations, trains and family-friendly businesses along the line.

The West Midlands Combined Authority is seeking to appoint a design and build contractor for the modernisation of University station in Birmingham to provide a capacity of 7 200 000 passengers/year. The new station is expected to be completed and open by the end of 2021, in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games when the University hosts the hockey and squash competitions.

RAIB makes five recommendations in its report into an overspeed at Sandy South Junction in Bedfordshire on October 19 2018. The first aims to minimise the risk of drivers not being aware of speed restrictions before commencing their journeys; the second asks the Rail Delivery Group and Network Rail to look at available technologies to provide drivers with additional warnings of restrictions; the third is for Network Rail to consider the design of the emergency speed indicator to ensure it is conspicuous for as long as possible in bright sunlight and in shadow; the fourth covers driver training; and the last asks RSSB to review the processes around the removal of existing rules from the Rule Book.

Property development firm Project One London is to lease and refurbish the disused station master’s house at Ingatestone station for use as an office. The work on the Grade II listed building is being supported by a £39 500 grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.

Leasing company Porterbrook has jointly appointed Helen Simpson and Chandra Morbey to the role of Innovation & Projects Director as a job-share; they will report to Director of Engineering Services Jason Groombridge. Both have been involved with the development of Porterbrook’s Innovation Hub and the Hydro Flex fuel-cell multiple-unit demonstrator.