UK railway news round-up
Contractor McCulloch Rail has taken delivery of a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U427 vehicle adapted for road-rail use by Zagro and supplied by specialist dealer South Cave Tractors. It has a drop-side body, and can haul a trailer and is equipped for off-road use so it can reach a worksite without needing a level crossing or road-rail access point.
Calderdale Council has appointed engineering consultancy WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, architects BDP and engineering company C Spencer Ltd to conduct studies for the regeneration of Halifax station and the surrounding public realm. The study is supported by the Halifax Station Gateway Steering Group, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Network Rail.
The latest Greater Anglia Class 170 DMU to be refurbished has re-entered service, the first of eight three-car units to be fitted with six extra seats in place of a redundant storage area. The overhaul also includes power sockets, refurbished seats, new carpets and toilet floors, refurbished HVAC, new wall panels, repainted vestibules, grab handles and grab rails, a deep clean and a new livery. The work was carried out by Arriva Traincare on behalf of Porterbrook Leasing under a £5m programme covering eight three-car and four two-car units.
On April 25 London Midland launched Motion, a free entertainment system from Whoosh Media which provides films, TV programmes, e-books and magazines from an onboard server to passengers’ mobile devices. This frees bandwith for passenger internet access. It is expected that the roll-out will cover passengers on more than 70% of London Midland journeys by October.
Greater Anglia aims to provide more comfortable temperatures for staff working in the seven buffet cars used on the Norwich – London route by installing extractor fans to remove heat from the onboard water boiler. Tests demonstrated a reduction in temperatures of 6ºC over 30 min.
Great Northern and the Railway Heritage Trust have completed a £64 000 ‘heritage makeover‘ of Grade II listed Downham Market station, which has been restored to the colour scheme of the former Network Southeast brand launched in 1986. ‘The improvement works have blended its Victoria heritage with modern waiting rooms and toilets, and a touch of its colourful Network Southeast heritage‘, said Chris Green of the Railway Heritage Trust. This follows a 1950s-inspired makeover of King’s Lynn station in 2014.
Virgin Trains East Coast has reduced the cut-off time for booking advance tickets and seat reservations from 23.59 on the day before travel until 2 h before the train leaves its origin station.
Greater Anglia has completed a £2·4m upgrade of Ingatestone station. This included repairs to buildings and platform canopies, creation of a new waiting room, electrical modernisation more energy efficient lighting and provision of an accessible toilet. The project was supported by a £151 000 contribution from the Railway Heritage Trust towards restoring the footbridge and bringing buildings back into use as a coffee shop, waiting room and toilets.