HS2 Birmingham Interchange station aerial impression

HS2 Ltd has formally awarded preferred bidder Laing O’Rourke the £370m contract for detailed design and construction of the Interchange station in Solihull. After an initial 12 month planning stage, Laing O’Rourke will start detailed design in 2023. HS2’s main works contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci is currently preparing the site ready for construction to start in 2024, with completion of the station planned for 2027 in advance of the line opening between 2029 and 2033. AECOM has been appointed as Laing O’Rourke’s multidisciplinary design services partner.


Following a six-month trial, Whoosh has announced a ‘significant’ new contract to provide Northern passengers with a Digital Dashboard accessed by scanning QR codes at stations and on trains with a mobile device. This will provide personalised information and communication tools, including ‘seamless, bespoke’ real-time journey information and planning, and direct two-way communication with the operator.

Jacksons Fencing

More than 380 m of Jacksons Fencing’s 1·8 m and 2·5 m high Barbican Imperial fencing has been installed at South Western Railway stations including Aldershot, Branksome, Fratton, Godalming, Havant and Tolworth, with 12 m of Barbican Defender Xtreme installed where a cantilever sliding gate provides a wheelchair accessible route from a car park to a platform.

TfL Image - TfL Roundel at Heathrow

As part of Transport for London’s government funding agreement, London Underground and Elizabeth Line journeys that go through Zone 1 and start or end at Heathrow Airport are being charged at peak rates from September 4. The cost of a new Oyster card has also increased from £5 to £7. Journeys to the airport which avoid Zone 1 continue to have an off-peak fare. The changes are expected to generate additional income of up to £27m per year to 2027-28 and support TfL’s target to achieve financially sustainable operations by April 2023.

Rob Taylor Porterbrook CFO

Porterbrook has appointed Rob Taylor as Chief Financial Officer with effect from October 31 when Peter Coates retires. He joins Porterbrook from Trenitalia UK, where he is currently Finance & Corporate Director, and he previously held senior finance roles at c2c, National Express and EY’s infrastructure advisory team.

Law firm Hugh James has been appointed to deliver Rail Law services via the Crown Commercial Service’s Public Sector Legal Services framework. The four-year contract will enable the firm to deliver services to transport and rail clients in the wider UK public sector in areas including rail transport law, rolling stock, planning and authorisation, and projects and infrastructure.

Eurostar advertising

Advertising agency House 337 has developed a television, cinema, digital media and out of home marketing campaign for Eurostar, the operator’s first since the pandemic.

Colette Carroll joined Atkins as Market Director for Strategic Rail in the UK on September 1. She has 20 years of experience in major programmes and contracts, and joined Atkins from HS2 Ltd where she held roles including Land & Property Director and Delivery Director for Phase 2a.

Network Rail is to award manufacturer Plasser UK a £7·5m contract to retrofit its Ballast Cleaning Systems with automation technology and digitalised safety enhancements.

Former Network Rail Operations Director Paul Sutherland has joined the board of competence management technology and training company AssessTech as a non-executive director.

Ramsden Bellhouse

RAIB makes three recommendations in its report into a collision between road-rail vehicles near Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex, on May 2 2021. Two addressed to Network Rail include the need to clarify the role of a machine controller when they are travelling with their vehicle, and to continue the development of obstacle detection for road-rail vehicles. A recommendation to SPL Powerlines UK and Readypower Rail Services relates to the application of learning from previous incidents. Four learning points alert operators to the need for bringing vehicles to a stand when forward vision is lost, and the importance of observing the correct safe distance between moving vehicles. It is also important that staff are fit and appropriately prepared and comply with operating instructions.