Northern officially retired the first of its Class 142 Pacer DMUs on August 12. A further six will be put into storage but remain available for use ‘if required’ for special events and during the autumn low adhesion season. ‘They will be maintained and looked after, but the intention is not to use them again unless there are some exceptional circumstances’, said Managing Director David Brown.

The 16-17 Saver railcard is to be launched on August 20, costing £30 and offering a 50% discount on ‘most’ tickets for travel in England and Wales and on services into Scotland but not on ScotRail or Caledonian Sleeper.

Tyne & Wear transport authority Nexus has appointed Mott MacDonald to undertake demand modelling studies for potential rail and metro network extensions which are to be considered under the Metro & Local Rail Strategy approved by the North East Combined Authority in July 2016. Mott MacDonald, Turner & Townsend Project Management and WSP UK have also been appointed to support the technical feasibility studies for each potential extension which Nexus is planning to undertake over the next three to five years. The routes would broadly follow existing or redundant railway alignments.

Network Rail has appointed VolkerRail as the operator and maintainer of its Kirow 1200 rail-mounted crane for a further three years, with options to extend. The contract includes provision of a rapid response service in case the crane is called upon for a breakdown recovery.

ScotRail has opened a Changing Places toilet at Dundee station. Designed to meet the needs of people with complex care needs, it is larger than a traditional accessible toilet, and features an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, a hoist and a centrally placed toilet to cater to people who often need extra equipment, space and the help of others to allow them to use a toilet safely and comfortably.

Car parking charges are being introduced at nine West Midlands Trains stations. ‘We are making significant investment in our car parks and it is only fair that those who use them pay towards their upkeep, as already happens at the majority of stations’, said Commercial Director Andy Camp. ‘Importantly, these charges will reduce the impact of railheading, where drivers travel many miles to avoid parking fees at their nearest station, squeezing out local residents.’

Northern has reached agreement with the Department for Transport for its Class 144 DMUs to remain in service until all of the TOC’s new CAF and cascaded units are carrying passengers. The Pacers are now expected to be progressively withdrawn between January and May 2020. Passengers requiring assistance during this time will be directed to services worked by PRM-compliant vehicles and additional support will be provided through the passenger assistance team.

Story Contracting has completed work to extend platforms 2 and 3 at Glasgow Queen Street by 26 m on behalf of Balfour Beatty and Network Rail.