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UK railway news round-up

14 Mar 2019

The Department for Transport has invited stakeholder views on the interoperability of the draft Control Command & Signalling, Energy, Noise, Operations & Traffic Management, Safety in Railway Tunnels and Rolling Stock - Wagons National Technical Specification Notices, which would replace the EU’s Technical Specifications for Interoperability in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The NTSNs are intended to replace existing requirements, and the consultation does not consider future alignment or divergence.

On March 11 HS2 Ltd signed the contract appointing a joint venture of Mace and Dragados as its London Euston station construction partner. ‘Today’s contract signing marks the start of a close partnership that will last over a decade and transform one of the capital’s most important stations beyond recognition’, said Jason Millett, COO for Consultancy at Mace.

As part of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, on March 13 the European Parliament approved a nine-month extension of the validity of rail safety authorisations under Article 11 of Directive 2004/49/EC. The move now needs to be formally approved by the Council of the EU. The EU emphasised that its contingency measures ‘do not replicate the benefits of membership or of a transition period’, and are ‘are limited in time and adopted unilaterally by the EU under the condition that the UK adopts similar measures’.

Story Contracting has completed work to extend two terminal platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station to accommodate LNER’s Hitachi-built Azuma trains.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram has formed a Station Commission to develop plans for a new station in Liverpool ‘capable of accommodating HS2 trains, Northern Powerhouse Rail trains and linking in with our local transport infrastructure'. Suggesting that the existing terminus at Lime Street would 'simply not be able to cope', Rotheram explained 'what we envisage is more than just a station and a world-class transport hub, it has the potential to be a destination in its own right, architecturally stunning and featuring leisure and recreation facilities, commercial, retail, high-quality office accommodation, residential facilities and much more.'

Project promoter East West Railway Co has completed its initial non-statutory consultation on five route options for the proposed Bedford – Cambridge line. It plans to publish a feedback report and announce a preferred route option later this year.

On March 13 the Railway Industry Association published a letter to Rail Minister Andrew Jones calling for changes to the decision-making process for infrastructure enhancements to ensure greater transparency.‘RIA and its members are concerned that the government's new Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline process will reduce the rail industry’s ability to plan for and deliver enhancement projects’, said Chief Executive Darren Caplan. ‘Whilst this RNEP process may bring openness in terms of how future enhancement projects may be assessed, we now have reduced visibility of the actual upcoming work required on the network. This makes planning and efficient delivery of enhancements work for rail businesses more difficult’.

Delay Repay 15 is to be introduced at Great Western Railway and Greater Anglia from April 1, with passengers able to claim back 25% of the single fare for delays of between 15 and 30 min.

Network Rail has bought two road-rail excavators and attachments from French company Neotec Development.

Following successful use in Northern Ireland, Virgin Trains passengers can now use NOW Group's 'Just A Minute' cards to alert staff to invisible communication barriers such as learning difficulties, autism and dementia.

Hull Trains has launched a more mobile friendly website, designed by Twentysix.