UK railway news round-up
The Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 were laid before Parliament on February 26, and would come into effect in the event of a no-deal Brexit to maintain the regulatory status quo for obtaining authorisation to put rolling stock and infrastructure into service. DfT is consulting on a new system of UK National Technical Specification Notices which would replace TSIs while preserving their technical content.
Arriva UK Trains has announced that Andy Cooper is to step down as Managing Director of CrossCountry at the beginning of June, a role he has held since the franchise transferred to Arriva on November 11 2007. He will be succeeded by Tom Joyner, who was previously Managing Director of Arriva Trains Wales.
Network Rail has awarded Pell Frischmann Consulting Engineers a national contract to provide structures reviews to inform the design and construction of high output track renewals in CP6.
Greater Anglia has completed a £500 000 upgrade of Harwich Town station, installing a waiting shelter and LED lighting, dismantling the dilapidated platform canopy and resurfacing platforms which had subsided.
Translink has joined the Urban Transport Group as an Associate Member. ‘There is a lot to learn from Translink’s achievements in Northern Ireland, from growing bus use in Belfast, the transformation of the local rail network and the new Belfast Rapid Transit‘, said UTG Chair Stephen Edwards, adding that UTG was ‘always open to discussion with any other transport authority, with a significant urban component, which would be interested in joining our growing network'.
Lifts providing step free-access to all platforms are now available at TfL Rail’s Maryland, Manor Park, Seven Kings and Forest Gate stations, and station improvements are underway at Brentwood, Harold Wood, Gidea Park and Romford.
GWR has introduced more than 100 new Advance fares on journeys from Oxford to destinations on the Greater Anglia, Govia Thameslink and Southeastern networks. A through ticket incorporating bus and rail travel to and from the Oxford Westgate shopping centre has been introduced in conjunction with Oxford Bus Co.
Having become the first train operating company in the UK to adopt the Rail Operations Apprenticeship Standard, South Western Railway is offering more than 110 apprenticeships in 2019. It said the average age of its apprentices is 36 and the oldest so far was 58.
There were 219 malicious activations of the passenger alarms on Greater Anglia services in 2018, causing total delays of more than 4 100 min, or the equivalent of almost three days. 'Pulling the passenger alarm when there is not a genuine emergency delays the train and cause knock-on delays for other services', warned Matt Wakefield, Greater Anglia’s Head of Safety, Security & Sustainability. 'We are working with British Transport Police and will prosecute people caught doing it. Anyone prosecuted could end up with a £1 000 fine.'
Govia Thameslink Railway has launched a recruitment campaign which aims to encourage more women to apply for trainee driver roles, working towards 40% female trainee train drivers by 2021; to offer 140 apprenticeships; and to help over 40 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into full-time employment through the ‘Get Into Railways’ Scheme in partnership with The Prince’s Trust.
London Overground has begun initial driver familiarisation with the Bombardier Class 710 Aventra EMUs, however software development is continuing and they are not yet ready for passenger service. With the existing Class 172 DMUs needing to be released for use in the West Midlands, from March 18 services on the Gospel Oak – Barking line will be reduced to operate at 30 min intervals using three four-car Class 378 EMUs. Supplementary buses will also be operated while regular customers who choose to take alternative routes via Zone 1 will be automatically refunded the additional cost.
This month work is to begin on a £3·9m upgrade of West Midlands Trains' Stechford station, with the installation of lifts, ramps and a footbridge at to provide step-free access across all three platforms.