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UK railway news round-up

26 Jul 2018

ScotRail’s 70 Hitachi Class 385 EMUs began entering passenger service on July 24, initially being deployed on the route from Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley via Falkirk High.

Sir Mark Worthington has been appointed as independent HS2 Construction Commissioner, responsible for mediating in unresolved disputes, monitoring complaints and providing advice on how to reduce them.

Testing of the first of the Class 802/2 electro-diesel multiple-units which Hitachi and Angel Trains are supplying to TransPennine Express has begun between Doncaster and Darlington. The 19 five-car units branded Nova 1 by the operator are scheduled to enter service next year between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

RSSB has produced a film to boost awareness of the causes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst rail staff who witness incidents and near misses, or who are victims of abuse. ‘Everyone will respond to a traumatic experience differently', said RSSB’s Mental Wellbeing Specialist, Michelle O’Sullivan. 'For some, returning to work shortly after the incident may feel best, for others more time and targeted support may be needed. With access to the right treatment and support, the majority will recover and be able to return to work.'

Network Rail has awarded telecoms design and build framework contracts to Alan Dick Communications, Amalgamated Construction, Amey Rail, Babcock Rail, J Murphy & Sons, Kelly Rail UK, Linbrooke Services, McNicholas Construction Services, Siemens Mobility, Telent Technology Services and Thales Ground Transportation Systems UK.

Greater Anglia, bus operator First Eastern Counties and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership have introduced through rail and bus ticketing to Leiston and Aldeburgh.

On July 25 the Department for Transport announced its Inclusive Transport strategy, which is intended to improve accessibility across all modes for people with both visible and less visible disabilities. The aim is to make public transport fully accessible for all passengers by 2030. The government is to provide up to £300m to extend the Access for All programme to make stations more accessible, and the Rail Delivery Group is to improve and simplify the Passenger Assist booking system.

Network Rail is seeking to learn what options are available in the market that meet its requirements for the supply of a rail end joint system which is easy to install and maintain and provides robust support of free rail ends vertically and laterally whilst preventing longitudinal creep.

Merseyrail has completed the refurbishment of Ainsdale station. The previous booking office was demolished and replaced by a building with solar panels, low energy LED lighting with smart controls and rainwater harvesting tanks for the toilets. 'It represents the best in being environmentally friendly and provides our passengers with better technology, facilities and an overall improved experience', said Managing Director Andy Heath.

South Western Railway has introduced a Travel Assistance Card which can be shown to staff to help with communication. It includes the name of the holder, an emergency contact number, the stations usually used and a free text field for the card holder to write or draw what assistance they may require. 'Travelling by train can be challenging for some people with learning disabilities or conditions such as autism, or who are stroke victims and find they aren't comfortable or confident with verbal communication', said SWR Accessibility & Inclusion Manager Michael Adlington. 'Our new Travel Assistance Card is designed to overcome these obstacles and make it much easier for people to ask for assistance when at our stations and on our trains.'

Transport for Wales is to open a North Wales Business Unit in Wrexham, which is expected employ 30 staff by 2019. This will play ‘an important role in building a modern transport system for the whole of Wales that is tailored to local needs', said TfW CEO James Price.

RAIB has released its report into a car colliding with an unlit and unreflective wagon forming part of a stationary freight train at Stainforth Road level crossing near Doncaster on January 11. The level crossing’s control circuits permitted it to re-open to road traffic while still occupied by the train, which was at a stand because its brakes had been applied by the locomotive’s vigilance device. RAIB recommends that Network Rail assess the risk at other crossings which could re-open to road users with a train still present, and that the current standard relating to the design of new remotely monitored crossings be revised.