UK railway news round-up


This week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured Britain on the royal train, plus HS2 security guards are accused of “excessive force” with protesters.

Duke and Duchess’ royal train tour to thank key workers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge set off across the country by royal train to thank communities, outstanding individuals and key workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The duke and duchess, who wore face masks, set off on Sunday evening from London’s Euston station on a 1,250-mile, three-day tour, which will see them thank communities, outstanding individuals and key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

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During the event, William told Orson Parris, a network traffic controller for Transport for London: “Fingers crossed 2021 gets things back to normal.” Click here to see more.

HS2 security guards accused of using ‘excessive force’ against protesters

Photo: PA News

Accusations of “excessive force” being used by security guards on the HS2 rail project against protesters have been raised at Westminster.

Parliament heard there were some staff who were “overstepping the mark” in dealing with demonstrators opposed to the controversial scheme.

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Conservative Party peer Lord Randall of Uxbridge, who served as Theresa May’s special adviser on the environment, referred to cases which he argued were “very close to assault” and warned there were some who, given a uniform, “feel that they are above the law”. Click here to see more.

HS2’s first giant tunnelling machines arrive in the UK

HS2 giant tunnelling machines

HS2’s first giant tunnelling machines have arrived in the UK.

The two 170-metre-long contraptions were transported from Germany to a construction site in Hertfordshire near the M25 in more than 1,000 parts.

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They will be assembled over the coming months before they start digging the high-speed railway’s Chiltern tunnels in spring next year. Click here to see more.

FirstGroup and Government agree deal to end two rail franchises

FirstGroup has reached an agreement with the Government over the termination of two rail franchises, the transport giant said.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has accepted that no payment is required in return for scrapping Avanti West Coast’s contract as the brand was “performing well prior to the pandemic”, according to the Aberdeen-based company.

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But a contribution of £33.2 million is required by FirstGroup to end South Western Railway’s (SWR) deal. Click here to see more.

Crossrail doubles test trains in ‘important milestone’

Crossrail has announced it is entering a “crucial” development phase as it doubles the number of test trains.

The process involves “simulating a timetabled service” on the railway by running eight trains through its central tunnels.

The project was initially due to be completed in December 2018 but has been delayed and is over budget. Click here to see more.

TSSA union calls for Government support for Eurostar

Eurostar train
Photo: Eurostar

Union leaders are urging the Government to offer more support to Eurostar after revealing that workers are suffering from the stress of dealing with the impact of the virus crisis.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) voiced concerns about the state of the cross-channel rail service, urging the Government to step in with financial help. Click here to see more.

Birmingham New Street’s Christmas Eve meal returns as takeaway

Birmingham New Street’s highly successful Christmas Eve meal for the city’s homeless is returning this year – but with a difference.

For the third year running Network Rail is teaming up with award-winning charity Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to provide hot food and festive cheer for those who are struggling in the city centre this Christmas.

Since 2018, 550 people have enjoyed a three-course sit down meal and party on Birmingham New Street’s concourse. Click here to see more.

Last chance to win £330 worth of stunning railway prints!

We’ve teamed up with one of the UK’s leading railway artist James Green GRA to offer you an outstanding prize worth £330!

The winner will receive a collection of SIX mounted limited edition prints of their choice from the artist. Click here to enter!

Latest service updates

Latest National Rail service updates

CrossCountry – Train services are now able to run normally between Bristol Parkway and Newport.
Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice. Southern and Thameslink are still running to and from Gatwick Airport, and will provide journey options to both London and Brighton.
Grand Central – Grand Central services have now resumed with a reduced timetable following the suspension of services during the national lockdown.
Great Western Railway – The railway line has now reopened between Bristol Parkway and Newport following an engineering problem that occurred earlier this month on a bridge near Patchway.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains services have now resumed with a revised timetable following the suspension of services during the national lockdown. The latest timetable can be downloaded here

Transport For London Status

The Government is asking everyone to help control the spread of coronavirus by trying to reduce journeys during this new period of national restrictions. If you need to travel, for example to work, for education or other legally permitted reasons, then you can, but you should walk or cycle where possible. Please plan ahead and if possible travel during quiet times.

We will continue to run as much of the network as possible and will update our website with any service changes. Please check before you travel.

We’re doing all we can to make sure those who need to travel can continue to use public transport safely and everyone must continue to take the simple steps of good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering in stations and for your whole journey, and social distancing wherever possible.

London Underground Status

Due to Crossrail works the following services will be affected. Please check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.

Until further notice there will be no Waterloo & City line, no Night Tube or London Overground Night Service and limited Night Bus services. 

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

London Overground

Due to engineering work, on Sunday 13 December, there will be no service between:

  • South Tottenham and Barking until 14:45. Use alternative Tube, local bus or replacement bus service T between Walthamstow Central and Barking. 
  • Hackney Downs and Chingford after 22:45. Use alternative Tube or rail replacement bus service L3 between Liverpool Street and Chingford.
  • Edmonton Green and Enfield Town northbound only after 23:00, and Hackney Downs and Enfield Town northbound only after 23:30. Use alternative London Overground or local bus services. From Monday 14 until Wednesday 16 December, there will be no service eastbound between Gospel Oak and Barking after 23:15. Use local bus services.

Check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.


River bus services for Thames Clippers, City Cruises and Thames River Sightseeing, have returned to operating passenger service. Please plan ahead and check before you travel.  

Metros around the country

West Midlands Metro

There are no new service information updates.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Some services are cancelled due to driver availability. Please leave extra time for your journey. Sorry for the inconvenience caused. Details of affected journeys can be found here.

To keep safe, plan your journey in advance, avoid travelling at busier times if you can, wear a face covering unless exempt, stay apart from others and wash your hands frequently.

For more timetable information visit

Manchester Metrolink

National coronavirus restrictions, 5 November–2 December: Stay at home and avoid travel, except for work, education, or other legally permitted reasons.

Nottingham Express Transit

Following the latest government announcement, we want to reassure customers that still need to travel with us during lockdown that we will be operating a full service during this time.


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, services are now operating between 07:00 and 19:00 Monday to Saturday.

This was based on staff availability to provide a reliable service to key workers and those making essential journeys.

Sunday services will still operate between 08:00 and 20:00.

Sheffield Super Tram

Due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic we are having to make short notice changes to our services, with effect from Saturday 7 November.

All routes will operate to the current timetables but services will end at around 8pm every day. There will be no service on any routes after around 8pm.

The current frequencies of service are unchanged;

YELLOW & BLUE: Up to every 15 minutes during the day, every 20 minutes at other times and on Sunday

PURPLE: Every 30 minutes

TRAM TRAIN: Every hour

Please be aware that due to the short notice of these changes, timetables on tram stops may be incorrect until updated information can be posted. Additionally, some journey planning tools and websites may also offer incorrect journey information.

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.

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