On July 25 TransPennine Express accepted the first of the Nova 2 branded Civity EMUs which are being supplied by CAF and Eversholt Rail. The five-car Class 397 units will enter service later this year on TPE’s services from Manchester and Liverpool to Edinburgh and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line.

Conservative MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Paul Maynard was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport on July 26, returning to the post of rail minister he held from July 2016 to January 2018.

Speaking in Manchester on July 26, Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposals to develop a new east-west rail link. Explaining that ‘It will be up to local people and us to come to an agreement on the exact proposal they want’, Johnson said ‘I have tasked officials to accelerate work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn. And today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route.’

GoMedia has won a further three-year contract from Eurostar, to manage all entertainment and information services accessible on the operator’s onboard infotainment platform; this has triggered a comprehensive content overhaul with effect from August 1.

Inter-city operator LNER has launched a new ‘LNER Assistant’ providing personalised alerts to passengers who have booked their travel through the operator’s website. Based on the Connect platform developed by digital technology company Zipabout, the system provides platform notifications and live disruption information, through personalised direct messages sent via Messenger, text message and LNER’s own Travel Buddy mobile app.

Network Rail Wales & Borders has completed repairs to the Conwy Valley Line, which was severeley damaged by floods during Storm Gareth on March 16. The lower section between Llandudno Junction and Llanwrst was reopened on July 18, and the remaining section to Blaenau Ffestiniog section on July 24, ahead of the National Eisteddfod in Llanwrst on August 2.

A groundbreaking ceremony on July 26 marked the start of work on a £2·5m scheme to transform the entrance to Bridlington station as part of the town’s ongoing regeneration plans. The Bridlington Station Plaza Scheme includes the construction of a new car park and link road, allowing pedestrianisation of the area in front of the station entrance.

Currently Managing Director of Arriva Rail London, Will Rogers is to become Managing Director of the Abellio-led East Midlands Railway franchise from January 2020. Abellio UK Deputy Managing Director Julian Edwards will act as interim MD from the start of the franchise on August 18, when the current East Midlands Trains MD Jake Kelly will leave the business.

Siemens Mobility has received approval from East Riding of Yorkshire Council for its outline planning application to develop a rolling stock manufacturing facility in Goole. Welcoming the news, CEO Will Wilson said ‘this consent will enable us to develop detailed plans which we will submit to the council later this year. Pending approval for those plans, we anticipate beginning construction on site in spring next year.’

Great Western Railway has invited applications for a further round of grants from its Customer & Communities Improvement Fund, covering 2020-21. The funding will be dependent on the Department for Transport finalising a further franchise contract with GWR, which is expected to start on April 1 2020.

West Coast operator Virgin Trains has added digital versions of its monthly and annual season tickets, making it the first UK train operator to offer 100% of its ticket types in a digital format. Customers can purchase their season tickets online and have them delivered to a mobile device in a few seconds.