UK railway news round-up


It’s been a busy week for railway news. HS2 has been confirmed, Storm Ciara has been and gone, Storm Dennis is just around the corner and Transpennine Express is setting a new improvement target. Here’s this week’s round-up:

Passengers warned of rail disruptions as Storm Dennis approaches

Photo: Network Rail

Following Storm Ciara last weekend, Storm Dennis is forecast to hit Britain this Saturday and Sunday.

Dennis is likely to disrupt some rail journeys between London Euston, the West Midlands and Chilterns, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and Cumbria.

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With river levels high, the ground saturated and many trackside trees weakened, particularly in the North West, passengers were advised to allow more time – and to check before travelling at or with their train operator.

Storm Ciara travel disruptions set to continue

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Parts of the UK continue to brace for blizzards and up to 20cm of snow in the wake of Storm Ciara, with travel disruptions set to continue.

Trains, flights and ferries all saw cancellations and delays on Sunday, while drivers faced treacherous conditions with floodwater, fallen trees and other debris closing roads.

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Some areas saw a month and a half’s rainfall in just 24 hours and gusts of more than 90mph swept across the country on Sunday. Full story.

Government gives HS2 green light despite costs and ‘poor management’

Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has given HS2 the go-ahead, claiming his Government had the “guts to take the decision” to deliver prosperity across the country.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that “cost forecasts have exploded” and criticised the company responsible for developing the high-speed railway.

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“I cannot say that HS2 Ltd has distinguished itself in the handling of local communities,” he told the Commons. But he insisted that “poor management to date has not detracted from the fundamental value of the project”.

Scrap dealers targeted as railway metal thefts cost taxpayers £1.4m

Photo: Network Rail

Scrap yards in Greater Manchester are being visited by Network Rail and the British Transport Police to ensure dealers are not trading stolen metal.

Latest figures reveal more than 400 incidents of metal theft on the railway between London Euston and Carlisle in the 12 months to January 2020.

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This caused significant delays to passengers and cost the taxpayer an estimated £1.4m in Network Rail’s North West & Central Region. Full story.

TransPennine Express set target for major improvement by Northern leaders

Transport for the North has set struggling train operator TransPennine Express a public target to significantly improve its performance.
Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Transport for the North has set struggling train operator TransPennine Express a public target to significantly improve its performance.

Following months of disruption, TransPennine Express has been told to return its punctuality to early 2019 levels by next month. The move has been agreed by leaders in the North after the rail operator returned the “worst performance figures in the country” at the end of 2019.

The target was set by Transport for the North, a body that advises the Government on northern England’s transport needs. It will use the Public Performance Measure (PPM) of punctuality to assess the operator.

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Photo: IStock

Why does snow stop trains running?

In years gone by the UK has faced some heavy snow. Less than two years ago the ‘Beast from the East’ brought parts of the country to a snowy standstill.

Despite this, many rail commuters and travellers often ask the question: Why does snow stop trains running?

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