UK railway news round-up
The government should undertake consultation on the possibility of establishing a UK infrastructure bank, the House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee said in its Brexit: the European Investment Bank report published on January 31. ‘For the last 45 years the UK has relied on the European Investment Bank to invest in all manner of vital infrastructure projects’, said Chair Baroness Falkner, citing Crossrail and Manchester’s tram network. ‘The UK’s infrastructure, and the industries that depend on infrastructure spending, will be hurt if the government does not quickly find a way of plugging the funding gap that will be created if access to the EIB is lost after Brexit.’
The first electric services on the Gospel Oak – Barking line began on January 28, operated using one of three London Overground Class 378 EMUs which are being reduced from five to four cars for use on the route as a temporary measure. The new Bombardier Transportation Class 710 EMUs ordered for the route are still not ready for service, and the manufacturer has agreed to fund a month of free travel for passengers once they are fully introduced.
Richard Turner has been appointed as Network Rail’s first dedicated Head of Apprenticeship Delivery, with responsibility for creating new routes into the rail industry and using apprenticeships to improve talent movement and diversity. ‘Network Rail has a long history of running great apprenticeship and graduate programmes, and our early careers offering is only going to increase over the next few years‘, he said. ‘My role will be about giving some of that growth direction, to work with business areas and industry partners to create exciting career paths for future railway professionals, and to make sure our apprentices get the best possible experience they can have.‘
The Rail Delivery Group has awarded DB Cargo UK a new contract to continue running the National Rail Communication Centre in Doncaster, where a team of 25 people gather all timetable change, service disruption and ticket information data for distribution by National Rail Enquiries via its website, texts, e-mail alerts and social media. The latest contract runs to October 2020.
Network Rail, Northern and TransPennine Express have announced a £1m package of enhancements to Bolton station. This will include new seating and signage, refurbished toilets and waiting rooms, installing pigeon netting and refurbishing the building on platforms four and five for potential retail and community use.
Transport Scotland has appointed Jacobs and AECOM to lead its second Strategic Transport Projects Review, which will provide recommendations on future investment focused on themes of economic prosperity, equality, health and wellbeing, and climate action. This will be assisted by Big Partnership and the University of Leeds Institute of Transport Studies.
Transport for London has awarded Railway Wheelset & Brake Ltd a £600 000 to supply wheelset components for the overhaul of wagons.
Between February and April Network Rail is to clear railway equipment and vegetation from the alignment of the closed Folkestone Harbour branch, and begin discussions with local stakeholders on potential community uses with a decision to be made in the summer.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has announced a class investigation into factors affecting safety-critical human performance in signalling operations on the national network.
Work has begun on a £2·2m project to install lifts to provide step-free access at Meols station on the Merseyrail network
Arriva Group rail operator CrossCountry and bus operator Yorkshire Tiger have introduced through m-ticketing from rail services to Leeds Bradford Airport, using bus service 757 from Leeds station.