On March 3 the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published its 'Modernising the Great Western Railway' report into the significant delays and 'staggering and unacceptable' cost overruns on electrification of the route between London, Bristol and South Wales. The PAC concludes it is still unclear whether the revised target of December 2018 and budget of £2·8bn can be met, and says the Department for Transport should 'reassess the case for electrification section-by-section and fund schemes only where worthwhile benefits for passengers could not be achieved otherwise at lower cost'.
The European Commission announced on March 2 that it had approved Mitsui & Co’s acquisition of a 40% stake in Abellio’s Greater Anglia business.
The Welsh Government has published ‘Moving North Wales Forward - Our Vision for North Wales & the North East Wales Metro’, setting out a vision for improved transport links with the region and to northwest England. Proposals include electrification of the North Wales coast line and identifying opportunities to develop rail freight facilities at the port of Holyhead.
Network Rail and contractors Dyer & Butler and Tony Gee Engineers have completed a £3·5m project to strengthen the 1867 Cynghordy Viaduct and reduce long-term maintenance costs. Stainless steel bars were bonded into slots cut at predetermined levels in the masonry and then covered in mortar to provide greater structural integrity while not being visible.
The first of 12 Class 170 DMUs which are being refurbished at Arriva Traincare’s Crewe facility under a £5m contract awarded by Porterbrook Leasing has returned to service with Greater Anglia. The overhaul includes refurbishing of the seats, installing six additional seats, fitting new wall panels, carpets and toilet flooring, providing power sockets and refurbishing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. The project is expected to be completed in early 2018.
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