The route from Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High reopened on September 21, after repairs to a 300 m section of the route near Polmont which was washed away when the Union Canal burst its banks on August 12. Network Rail has completely rebuilt the foundations of the line, replacing over 15 000 tonnes of soil and stone and laid 4 500 m of new rails, 4 424 concrete sleepers and 10 000 tonnes of ballast.
Network Rail and regional transport body Transport for the South East have signed a memorandum setting out a range of common goals including better cross-regional train services, schemes to increase network capacity and provide new journey opportunities such as Gatwick Airport – Ashford, improved journey times between Brighton and Southampton, the extension of high speed services from Ashford to the East Sussex coast, shifting freight from road to rail, wider use of multimodal smart ticketing and an end to the use of diesel trains on the in southeast England.
Network Rail and environmental charity Hubbub have installed 32 coffee cup recycling bins at Leeds and London’s King’s Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations. Cup recycling facilities will be available at all 20 Network Rail managed stations by the end of October.
Grand Central, CrossCountry and Chiltern Railways have gained accreditation under Visit Britain’s ‘Good To Go’ Covid-19 initiative. ‘Rebuilding confidence in rail travel is essential’, said Lorna Thornton, Head of Business Sales at Arriva’s rail division. ‘Business travellers are now looking to train companies for reassurance over things like onboard cleaning and social distancing, as well as the usual requirements such as wi-fi and reliability. This is why at Arriva we’re working really hard to show people we’re doing everything to ensure they can travel with confidence and feel safe.’
The Conwy Valley Line from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno is scheduled to reopen on September 28 following the completion of a £2·2m project to provide better protection from extreme weather and flooding. The line had been washed out by flooding twice in two years, with lengthy closures for repairs. Measures designed and built by Network Rail include the installation of 16 000 tonnes of rock armour alongside almost 2 km of railway between Tal y Cafn and Llanrwst.
Backed by DfT’s Cycle-Rail fund, TransPennine Express has opened a secure cycle hub at Hull Paragon Interchange. This has 160 bicycle spaces in a two-tier rack, including six with electric bikes charging points, and there is also provision for 30 spaces in a separate area for people who work at the station. TPE is developing additional Cycle-Rail funded bike parking schemes in Grimsby, Huddersfield and Thornaby.
Following the award of a five-year framework contract for geotechnical work on the London North Eastern route, Story Contracting’s Rail division has launched a recruitment drive with vacancies including project management, commercial and site supervisor roles. Contracts Manager Daniel Jones said ‘there’s never been a more exciting time to join Story’s Eastern team; you’ll play a crucial role in transforming one of England’s main rail routes on behalf of Network Rail. Over the past 12 months, we have seen significant growth within the region, and this presents us with an opportunity to expand our dynamic and ambitious team.’
Transport for Wales has announced that a temporary footbridge will be installed at Llanbradach for 12-16 months to replace the Ty’n-y-Graig footbridge which was removed in May after being damaged beyond repair when it was struck by a road vehicle. A permanent replacement is planned.