The Railway Industry Association published its submission to the Transport Select Committee's Trains Fit for the Future inquiry on May 28. 'The rail industry needs the right policy environment to replace diesel passenger trains with those that use electricity, hydrogen or batteries', said RIA Technical Director David Clarke. 'To do so, the government need to understand that different parts of our rail network will need different solutions. So, for intensively used lines, electrification is the optimal solution, whilst for routes with lower traffic levels, new technologies like hydrogen and batteries have a role to play.'

VolkerRail has taken delivery of a Matisa B66UC universal continuous action tamper, which it expected to provide a faster and more efficient tamping cycle when it enters service in June. The Caterpillar C18 engine reduces CO2 emissions and noise compared to older designs. The contractor spent 18 months working with Matisa to develop the tamper’s technical specifications, and staff were trained in Switzerland. A second tamper is under construction for delivery in 2020.

Network Rail has launched the third procurement under its East Coast Main Line digital railway programme, seeking a traffic management partner to work with its London North Eastern & East Midlands route. This follows the tenders launched last year covering the appointments of a train control partner and a railway systems integration partner. There is provision for the work to include the trans-Pennine corridor.

Chesterfield Borough Council has appointed Focus Consultants and Maber Architects to explore the feasibility of establishing a Derbyshire Rail Industry Innovation Vehicle research, development and training centre at the Barrow Hill site near Chesterfield. This follows Talgo's announcement last year that it intends to develop an Innovation Centre in the town.

HS2 Ltd has begun a series of 14 ‘Communities, Conversations & Connections’ engagement roadshow events to highlight job and skills opportunities and explain how to apply for £40m of community and business projects funding. 'HS2 is more than a railway and there are many opportunities for those who live along the line of route and beyond', said CEO Mark Thurston. 'As a transformative project for the country, we aim to be creative in our approach to engagement and want to interact with as many different communities as possible.'

Work has officially begun to build a £10·6m station at Horden near Peterlee, with funding from Durham County Council, £4·4m from the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund and a £3·34m grant from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Opening is planned for spring 2020.

Virgin Trains has completed the roll-out of free wi-fi and an upgraded BEAM entertainment portal on its Alstom Pendolino fleet. Hardware and software for the wi-fi upgrade was supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies.

ScotRail has installed upgraded control emission toilet discharge facilities at Yoker and Eastfield stabling depots, and further investment is planned at Fort William. 'The installation of the new equipment at these depots means more trains can now be serviced at the same time', said Project Manager Alisdair Tennant. 'This will allow the depot teams to get trains back in passenger service faster and with the high level of cleanliness our customers expect.'