Direct Rail Services has called tenders for the supply of 10 mixed traffic diesel-electric locomotives and the provision of spare parts. DRS currently operates a fleet of more than 100 locomotives, and said it was ‘seeking solutions to create benefits and efficiencies’ under a strategy of ‘moving to a more homogenous fleet of locomotives to deliver its business requirements’.

A new independent penalty fare appeal process came into force on April 6. This is designed to give greater consideration to the circumstances of how and why the penalty fare was issued, with the aim of offering a greater level of protection for passengers making what the Department for Transport called an 'honest mistake'. Transport Focus said 'this welcome safety net should help resolve the kind of cases we have been highlighting through our Ticket to Ride work, where passengers making an innocent mistake have been treated like fare-dodgers. The key thing now will be for the rail industry to empower its front-line staff to use more discretion right from the start.' The Rail Delivery Group has published best practice guidance on the new penalty fare regime.

Northern Rail Industry Leaders was launched with an event at the University of Huddersfield on April 11. The organisation aims to represent the views of the supply chain to regional decision makers and influencers, and develop the ‘skills, innovation and talent’ required to deliver Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan.

Transport for London is seeking a supplier to carry out third-party vendor inspection for 71 high capacity spoil, ballast, track panel and bulk material wagons it has ordered from Chinese company CRRC Shandong. The order announced in March 2017 was the first that CRRC has won from a European metro operator.

RSSB published its 2018-19 Business Plan on April 9. This includes introducing and updating tools to help reduce safety risks; promoting operational understanding, learning and decision making; a mental health programme and fatigue knowledge hub; sustainability tools to support action on air quality, social value and carbon emissions; improving efficiency by introducing standards and systems to support the effective management of signalling and electrical systems and the design of rolling stock depots and platforms; building relationships across the industry and making RSSB more responsive and efficient; addressing the impact of Brexit; and using big data.

Network Rail has awarded Balfour Beatty a seven-year contract worth in excess of £115m for the supply, operation and maintenance of 13 tampers in the Anglia and South East routes. Balfour Beatty is to introduce at least two new tampers for the contract, with the first to be delivered by 2021.

Air travel search platform Skyscanner has launched a UK rail tickets sales feature on its iOS app, using the booking service from Skyscanner investor Ctrip.

Greater Anglia is installing more than 1 000 information screens supplied by Black Box across its 133 stations. 'We have been focusing our efforts on improving information provision for our customers, especially during disruption', said Asset Management Director Simone Bailey. 'These new screens demonstrate our commitment to providing up-to-date information, in a clear, user-friendly format'.

ALE supplied multi-use high-level trestles and self-propelled modular transporters to replace Burnaby Road bridge in Portsmouth during a five-day blockade.

Network Rail is to implement a technology supplier qualification system covering all its IT requirements. This aims to provide a single point of supplier qualification, removing the need to demonstrate capability for each tender. RISQS would continue to operate as Network Rail’s preferred SQS for auditable and non-IT related categories.

Polypipe supplied main contractor Buckingham Group with drainage products for Northern's £23m King Street depot in Blackburn. The 750 mm diameter Ridgistorm-XL large diameter piping was engineered to specific stiffness classes to meet ground and loading conditions, and is paired with RidgistormCheck Chambers to manage the flow of water. Waste water from the cleaning and servicing of trains is discharged into the established sewer system after passing through catchpits which separate out contaminants.

MPH Construction Ltd has completed a platform renewal project at Penhelig station. The existing timber superstructure was replaced with anti-slip GRP structural decking supported on GRP beams on the existing timber trestle frames. Contracts Manager Gareth Ellis said the project was completed within a ‘tight‘ 13-week timescale. Structural GRP was specified by Network Rail to optimise lifecycle costs by reducing the maintenance requirements. Station lighting was also upgraded to comply with current standards and new public access stairs provided.

The main entrance to Middlesbrough station was formally reopened on April 9 after Network Rail undertook a £3m programme of work on the station building and roof to restore it to a safe and watertight condition and provide step-free access. A car turning circle enables passengers to be dropped off from Zetland Road.