UK railway news roundup


This week sees rail operators preparing for a rise in passenger numbers as Boris Johnson eases lockdown measures from Monday, and as furloughed employees gradually return to work.

New COVID-19 virucide being used by Govia Thameslink

New virucide

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is using a powerful new virucide on trains, stations and staff areas that kills the coronavirus for up to 30 days.

The virucide is being used on all the Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express train fleet, along with the stations and staff stations – boosting an already robust cleaning regime which sees all 2,700 of GTR’s train carriages sanitised every night.

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The Government has advised the public to only travel using public transport if it is necessary, with the virucide expected to offer another level of protection to commuters and staff. Read the full story here.

TfL urges businesses to continue home working

Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

London’s businesses should continue to allow staff to work from home where possible despite travel restrictions being eased, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

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Employers can “play a part in controlling the coronavirus” by reducing the number of people who need to commute, the transport body added.

Firms have also been asked to limit the number of deliveries and servicing trips – or ensure they are carried out during off-peak periods – to cut congestion. Read the full story.


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Pacers delivered to Gobowen for Cambrian Heritage Railways

Class 144 Pacers Nos. 144006/7 were driven from Keighley, West Yorkshire to Gobowen, Shropshire on May 22. They are seen at Gobowen – the second track from the right in the distance heads off to Oswestry. PHIL BRADLEY/CHR
Class 144 Pacers Nos. 144006/7 were driven from Keighley, West Yorkshire to Gobowen, Shropshire on May 22. They are seen at Gobowen – the second track from the right in the distance heads off to Oswestry. PHIL BRADLEY/CHR

Cambrian Heritage Railways (CHR) has acquired a pair of Class 144 Pacer diesel railbuses from Porterbrook leasing. Nos. 144006/7 travelled under their own power by rail to Gobowen from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway on Friday, May 22, saving four separate lorry moves.

The entire 23-strong class has recently been stored on the popular West Yorkshire heritage line by train operator Northern. With frequencies reduced due to the Covid-19 crisis, Northern did not have the required capacity to store the number of units no longer required during lockdown at its depots and outstations. Read the full story.

Seaton Tramway announces 24 hour Tramathon Live


Seaton Tramway has announced its TRAMATHON fundraising appeal, which will see a week of live videos streamed online to help raise money to secure the future of the Tramway.

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From Monday 8 June to Friday 12 June, Seaton Tramway will host videos live on Facebook, taking viewers behind the scenes of the operation and its famous fleet of trams.

Here’s all you need to know about the event.

Appeal after rise in fly-tipping across Scotland’s Railway

Appeal after rise in fly-tipping across Scotland’s Railway

Network Rail is urging illegal dumpers to clean up their act after an increase in fly-tipping on Scotland’s Railway.

With recycling centres closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, more rubbish is now being illegally abandoned on the rail network.

Over 30 incidents have been reported across Scotland’s Railway since March, with tonnes of waste being left on railway embankments or blocking access roads and gates. Here’s the appeal in full.

Latest service updates

Latest National Rail service updates

Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services suspended until further notice
Grand Central – Grand Central service suspended until further notice
Hull Trains – Hull Trains service temporarily suspended until further notice
Transport for Wales – On Thursday, a road vehicle collided with a bridge between Llanbradach and Ystrad Mynach, causing significant damage to the structure. As a result, trains are unable to run between Caerphilly and Ystrad Mynach. Buses will operate between these stations. Disruption is expected to continue until the end of service on Friday, however may also affect services on Saturday.

Transport For London Status

In line with Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. Please continue to avoid public transport, where possible, to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.

If you must travel, consider including walking or cycling as part of your journey, or getting off a stop or two early to reduce the numbers of people travelling on Tubes and buses.

To ensure safer journeys for everyone, we continue to take measures across our network to enable social distancing of 2 metres, where possible. When using our services please follow instructions from our staff, wear a face covering and respect the space of fellow passengers to help maintain a 2 metre distance.

Do not travel if you have any symptoms of the virus.

We thank you again for all your help as we work together to keep everyone safe. 

London Underground Status

Due to the national requirement of maintaining 2 metre social distancing, passengers travelling at peak times (between 05:45 and 08:15 and between 16:00 and 17:30 on weekdays) might be expected to queue to enter stations and experience delays to their journeys. Find out if your Tube and rail stations are among the busiest. If possible try to avoid these stations during this time. 

Most of our stations have shifted to only accepting contactless or Oyster to pay for travel. Find out which stations are still accepting cash.

Waterloo & City line services will remain closed until further notice. No Night Tube until further notice.

See the latest status updates on London Underground, including a map of closures.

London Overground

Network Rail is carrying out works which will affect the following London Overground services.

On Sunday 31 May there will be no service between:

  • Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction. Rail replacement buses will run between Canada Water and Clapham Junction
  • South Tottenham and Barking until 12:00. Rail replacement buses will run between Walthamstow Central and Barking. Use alternative London Underground services between Seven Sisters and Walthamstow Central, and between East Ham and Barking. Use local buses between South Tottenham and Walthamstow Queens Road
  • The last train between Surrey Quays and Dalston Junction at 23:41 will not run 

From Monday 1 June to Thursday 4 June, there will be no service between Hackney Downs and Chingford after 22:45. The last service from Liverpool Street to Chingford is at 22:33 and the last service from Chingford to Liverpool Street is at 22:40. Use alternative London Underground services. Rail replacement buses will run every 15 minutes between Hackney Downs and Chingford from 22:55 and between Liverpool Street and Chingford from 00:05.

From Monday 1 June to Friday 5 June there will be various changes to the London Overground services between Kilburn High Road and Euston, see the changes below. During these times, please use alternative London Underground or local bus routes. 

  • Monday 1 June, there will be no service between Kilburn High Road and Euston after 22:30
  • Tuesday 2 June, the service between Kilburn High Road and Euston will start from 07:00
  • Wednesday 3 June and Thursday 4 June, the first train from Euston to Watford Junction at 05:37 will not run
  • Thursday 4 June, there will be no service between Kilburn High Road and Euston after 20:30
  • Friday 5 June, the service between Kilburn High Road and Euston will start at 08:00. The following Kilburn High Road to Watford Junction trains will start from Willseden Junction: 05:44, 07:05 and 08:05, departing at 05:51, 07:12 and 08:12 respectively

See an overview of planned track closures for the next six months.

See the latest status updates on London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail and Trams, including a map of closures and information about rail replacement buses.

Emirates Air Line

As of Monday 1 June, the Emirates Air Line service will be open from 06:00. Passengers using the service before 09:30 Monday to Friday will not be charged (introduced Tuesday 26 May). Please note, passengers do not need to tap in and out at the EAL gate-line, but need to do so as normal for other parts of their journey to ensure the correct fee is charged (ie. any interchanges at Royal Victoria or North Greenwich). Due to social distancing measures only 1 passenger is allowed per cabin, unless from the same household.

Buses and roads

London’s buses are to begin returning to front-door boarding, with customers required to touch in with Oyster, contactless and concessionary cards on certain routes listed below. We hope to have all London buses equipped with the necessary safety measures and ready for front-door boarding by mid-June.

To further ensure the safety of our customers and bus drivers, we will be introducing new limits to the number of passengers allowed on board at any one time. This will make it easier for customers to observe the national guidance of maintaining a 2 metre distance between them and people outside of their own household.

All passengers using buses that only have a front set of doors will need to touch in again when they board. Please follow the signs on the bus. These routes include: 124, 138, 146, 162, 192, 233, 273, 315, 318, 322, 336, 352, 354, 356, 367, 377, 379, 383, 385, 394, 404, 424, 434, 462, 463, 464, 481, 631, B13, B14, E5, E10, E11, G1, H2, H3, H20, H26, K1, K4, K5, R1, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8, R10, S3, S4, U9, W4, W5 and W12.

As of Saturday 30 May, all passengers using the following bus services will be need to start boarding via the front doors and touching in again when they board. Please follow the signs on the bus. These routes include: 8, 14, 25, 36, 37, 42, 45, 47, 49, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 61, 62, 75, 77, 86, 89, 96, 97, 104, 109, 115, 118, 122, 128, 130, 135, 136, 145, 147, 156, 161, 165, 167, 169, 171, 172, 174, 176, 177, 179, 181, 193, 195, 196, 197, 199, 201, 205, 207, 208, 212, 215, 238, 241, 247, 248, 252, 256, 257, 261, 275, 277, 270, 278, 284, 287, 290, 291, 294, 296, 314, 320, 323, 330, 337, 344, 345, 350, 353, 362, 363, 366, 372, 380, 381, 407, 414, 422, 427, 433, 472, 474, 482, 484, 490, 496, 497, 498, 499, 549, 969, C3, C10, D3, E1, E7, E9, H25, H28, P4, P13, R68, R70, U5, U7.​​​​​

All passengers using the following bus services, should continue to board via the middle doors and touch in at the middle doors: 3, 9, 11, 12, 15, 19, 21, 24, 27, 38, 59, 67, 68, 73, 76, 87, 137, 148, 149, 159, 211, 253, 254, 267, 415, 453, 507, 521, EL1, EL2 and EL3.

Due to the following works, some buses may be diverted or stop short of their normal destination.

On Monday 18 May 2020, the central London Congestion Charging and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), as well as the London-wide Low Emission Zone was reinstated. The London-wide Low Emission Zone discourages the use of older polluting vehicles such as lorries and vans within the zones.

Greenwich and Bexley – Between Monday 1 June and Saturday 26 June there will be various closures of the A102 and A2 each week night from 22:00 – 05:00. No works will take place at weekends and the Blackwall Tunnel will remain open. These are TfL works for essential maintenance . Please leave more time for your journey.

Ealing – from Saturday 30 May to Wednesday 3 June there will be a contraflow system in place on the A406 Gunnersbury Avenue at the junction with Corringway. This is for essential works by SSE Energy.

Shoreditch – Until 30 September 2020, Shoreditch High Street will have a contra-flow reducing the width of the carriageway in both directions between Holywell Lane and New Yards Inn. This is due to Shoreditch Village development works.

London Bridge – Until 31 October 2020, London Bridge is closed to general traffic (except buses, licensed taxis, motorcyclists and cyclists). Diversions are in place and there are changes to the junction either side of the bridge. Please take extra care when driving while all users, including pedestrians, get used to the new layout.

Drivers using Blackfriars Bridge or Tower Bridge should expect queues while crossing the river. Travel outside of peak times and use alternative river crossings including Vauxhall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges where possible for an easier journey. This is for essential maintenance works being carried out by the City of London Corporation.

Santander Cycles

The following docking stations will be out of service this weekend:

  • Hoxton Station, Hoxton
  • Kensington Gore, Westminster
  • Nesham Street, Wapping
  • Eaton Square, Belgravia

West Midlands Metro

From Friday 15th May, the following timetable will operate Monday to Saturday:

The key changes to our timetable are as follows:

  • The frequency of service Monday to Saturday will be:
    • Start of service until 06:30 – Trams every 15 minutes
    • Between 06:30 and 20:00 – Trams every 12 minutes
    • From 20:00 until the end of service – Trams every 15 minutes
  • The first trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 05:15 and Library at 05:07.
  • The last trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 23:27 and Library at 23:34.
  • There will be no change to our Sunday temporary timetable

Tyne & Wear Metro

Travel only if you are a key worker, cannot work from home or have an essential journey. When on public transport follow government advice, wear a face covering and stay 2 metres (6.6ft) apart where possible

Trains are running to the normal weekday service until about 8.00pm when the frequency reduces to a train every 30 minutes, 15 minutes through Newcastle city centre. On Saturdays a 12 minute service will run through the city centre between 10.00am and 6.00pm, and every 24 minutes outside of the city centre. On Saturday evening and all-day Sunday there will be a 30 minute service.

There are no trains operating between South Hylton and St Peter’s in either direction. This is due to emergency Network Rail overhead line repairs at Sunderland Station. A bus replacement, number 901 will continue to run in the affected area. We are operating to a 24 minute service between Airport and St Peter’s during this time. Metro apologise for the disruption to your journey.Updated at 07:40, Friday, 29 May 2020

Manchester Metrolink

Stay at home as much as possible.

Only travel if necessary – work from home and stay local if you can.

Protect public transport for those with no alternative – do not use it unless you have to.

If you need to travel, walk, cycle or drive if you can.

If you have to use public transport wear a face covering, keep your distance from other passengers, clean your hands frequently and use contactless payment. If possible, carry a hand sanitiser with you.

Nottingham Express Transit

The number of people travelling has reduced as people follow government advice and avoid non-essential use of public transport. We recognise however that some people still need to travel and you need certainty from us on what services we can provide. As of Tuesday 24 March 2020, a Sunday timetable will operate throughout the week:

6AM – 7AM: every 15 minutes
7AM – 7PM: every 10 minutes
7PM – 11PM: every 15 minutes


From Monday 18 May, Merseyrail will be increasing services on the network, including reinstating some services before 07:00 and after 19:00, Monday – Saturday. Services will continue to run between approximately 08:00 – 20:00 on Sundays.

Blackpool Transport

Tram services are currently suspended until further notice with service 1 and other bus routes alternatives to the tramway.

Sheffield Super Tram

From Wednesday 01 April 2020

Monday – Friday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – up to every 30 mins between 06:00 and 09:00, then an hourly service between 09:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – up to every 30 mins between 06:00 and 09:00, then an hourly service between 09:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 06:30 and 18:30

Saturday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 06:30 and 18:30

Sunday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 08:30 and 18:30

Edinburgh Trams

The first tram and last tram will run at their usual time, but customers should expect trams to operate every 15 minutes during the day with this being kept under constant review.

Glasgow Subway

The Subway is running as normal.

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