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UK railway news round-up

22 Jun 2017

The first of 22 five-car and 14 nine-car Hitachi AT300 Class 802 electro-diesel trainsets ordered by leasing company Eversholt Rail for Great Western Railway services from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall arrived at the port of Southampton from Japan on June 17. The Intercity Express Train is designed to withstand the region's variable weather conditions, including operation along the Dawlish sea wall, and an initial three trainsets are to undergo extensive testing ahead of the planned entry into service in summer 2018.

Co-ordinated by Young Rail Professionals, the second industry-wide Rail Week will take place from October 9 to 15 2017. The inaugural programme held in July 2016 saw more than 70 companies host 150 events to promote careers in the rail sector. Rail Week also targets the education sector, teachers and parents to showcase the opportunities available to young people.

On June 16 the Office of Road & Rail and the Health & Safety Laboratory relaunched the Risk Management Maturity Model, which has been refreshed in order to make it more accessible and user-friendly.

WSP is developing options to improve capacity at Coventry station through the construction of a second station building and supporting infrastructure. WSP said the 1960s Grade II listed station has experienced the highest growth in passengers in the last five years outside of London, and further growth of 100% is anticipated by 2043. Coventry City Council is the lead promoter for the project, which is being funded through external grant funding from DfT and the Local Growth Deal.

Transport for Greater Manchester has awarded WS Atkins a further four-year multi-disciplinary framework contract covering transport systems, strategy, engineering, asset management, consultancy and multi-disciplinary work packages.

A 12-week consultation on the future of Breich station opens on July 10. The unmanned station is currently served by one train per day in each direction, with an official usage figure of 138 passengers in 2015-16. The Shotts route is currently undergoing modernisation and electrification, and Network Rail estimates that £1∙4m could be saved if the Scottish government opted to close the station rather than modernise it.

Network Rail has appointed Royal British Legion Industries‘ manufacturing division BBMC as its sole signage provider. Not-for-profit enterprise BBMC employs 120 people, more than 70% of whom are ex-service personnel or have a physical or mental disability.

On June 19 Transport for the North published a position statement and an initial integrated rail report which will inform the Strategic Transport Plan it is developing. ‘The publication of this evidence is a precursor to our multimodal Strategic Transport Plan, which will be published for consultation later this year’, said CEO David Brown. ‘The work presents a compelling case for change, underlining the economic and strategic benefits of improving freight and passenger transport across the whole of the north to drive economic growth.’

Following a trial by guards at South West Trains, a Rule Book app developed by industry body RSSB has been fully-developed for iPhones and iPads, with Android and Windows scheduled to follow. ‘The trials with SWT guards were immensely successful, demonstrating that the app is easy to use’, said RSSB’s Human Factors Specialist Jordan Smith. ‘The app enables users to access Rule Book content offline, makes it easier to search for content and has the benefit of automatic updates once new documents have been published.’

Network Rail has awarded Nomad Digital a 12-month extension of its contract to provide data connectivity for the infrastructure manager's measurement fleet.