This week’s roundup of news from the UK railway industry.
Government announces £401m rail funding boost
A £401 million government funding boost promises rail services in the North of England and the Midlands with new stations, faster journeys and more reliable services.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said £317 million would be invested in the Transpennine Route Upgrade to improve “punctuality, reliability and connectivity” for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.
A further £69 million of funding would go towards increasing freight capacity between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands.
Rail reforms ‘will make train journeys cheaper and more punctual’
Reforms to Britain’s railways will make train services cheaper and more punctual, MPs have heard.
Flexible tickets, which will offer savings on certain routes for people who travel to work two or three times a week, will be at least “20% cheaper” than current monthly tickets, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told a House of Commons committee.
Mr Shapps told the Transport Committee that public body Great British Railways (GBR) will “make the railway operate through a single vision” from 2023 and will be “something completely new” from Network Rail, which it is absorbing.
Progress made on improving rail performance but ‘final push’ needed
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said an extended focus was now required in the coming months to ensure improvements are fully delivered for passengers and freight.
In May 2020, the ORR found Network Rail had identified the main causes of poor performance and had started to develop remedial action plans but lacked delivery timescales.
HS2 will go all the way to Leeds despite ‘mounting costs’
Construction work on phase one of the high-speed rail project from London to Birmingham is ongoing.
While phase 2a is planned to run from Birmingham to Crewe, and phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and from Birmingham to Leeds.
Balfour Beatty rail workers urged to accept improved pay offer
Rail workers are voting on an improved pay offer aimed at averting the threat of industrial action.
Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) at Balfour Beatty are being recommended to accept the offer. The union members, who work on track renewals, maintenance and upgrades, had voted in favour of industrial action.
Heritage Railway magazine strengthens editorial team
Heritage Railway magazine, the trackside companion for preservationists and all-round rail enthusiasts has a new deputy editor.
Toby Jennings steps onto the footplate with over a decade of experience of news-focused writing and will be complementing the strengths and hard work of editor Robin Jones.
A newshound by nature, Toby has already been writing for some of the biggest magazines in the UK and will help develop Heritage Railway maintaining its position as thenumber one news magazine for the preservation scene. He takes over from Gareth Evans who has moved to sister title The Railway Magazine.
Latest service updates
Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice.
Hull Trains – Please note, there is major engineering work taking place at London Kings Cross from Friday 4 until Sunday 6 June. From Monday 7 June, Hull Trains will be introducing a more frequent service on Monday to Saturday.
If you need to travel this weekend, here are planned works that may affect your journey.
Our transport network has never been cleaner. Since September, Imperial College London has run monthly tests for coronavirus on the transport network and found no trace. You can read their recently published report.
Air continuously flows through all our trains, trams and buses. For example, on average, air in a Tube train changes every few minutes. Buses are fitted with air extraction and ventilation systems and we also leave windows open throughout the passenger area to keep a flow of fresh air.
Please continue to walk or cycle part of your journey where possible. If using public transport, travel during quieter times if you can. This will make social distancing easier. The quieter times to travel are:
- Between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays
- Before noon and after 18:00 on weekends
Our TfL Go app can help you plan your journey and show the quieter times to travel.
You must continue to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth at all times when on the transport network, unless exempt. The overwhelming majority of people are complying with this requirement, and the British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police and our own officers are on the network to check compliance. Fines of up to £6,400 exist for anyone who does not comply.
Please also wash or sanitise hands before and after travel.
Due to the coronavirus, the following service changes will be in place until further notice:
Waterloo & City Line: No service until further notice.
Hammersmith and City Line: Severe delays due to train cancellations. Tickets are being accepted on London Buses.
Circle Line: Minor Delays due to train cancellations.
Changes to Stratford to Richmond services on Mondays to Fridays from Monday 17 May until Friday 18 June: The following trains from Stratford to Richmond will not run: 06:05, 07:18, 08:30, 09:40, 10:59, 12:14, 13:29, 14:43, 15:52, 17:05, 18:16, 19:29, 20:44, 21:59 and 23:14. The 22:59 is now the last train from Stratford for stations from Willesden Junction to Richmond and Clapham Junction – later trains will run from Stratford as far as Willesden Junction only. The following trains from Richmond to Stratford will not run: 06:08. 07:21, 08:34, 09:47, 11:01, 12:17, 13:31, 14:45, 15:56, 17:08, 18:20, 19:32, 20:47, 22:01 and 23:17
Check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.
Metros around the country
All day on Saturday 12 June no trains will run in either direction between Airport and Regent Centre, to allow for over head power line work. A replacement bus service, number 900 will be calling at or close to all of the affected stations. Kingston Park level crossing will be closed all day to pedestrians and road vehicles. A shuttle bus will be in operation from about 5.20am until 12.20am, to take you to the opposite side of the tracks. Your journey will take longer, so please leave extra travel time.
For more timetable information visit nexus.org.uk
England has now moved to the next step of the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown. The main change from Monday 29 March is that ‘Stay at home’ regulations have been lifted. Further details can be found on the Government’s COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 page.
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.
There are no incidents reported.
As restrictions ease, we’re increasing some of our services from Monday 12 April. Yellow route services will go back to the normal timetable and evening and Sunday services will increase on the Blue route.
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.
The Subway is running as normal.Enjoy more Rail Express reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.