UK Railway News (w/e 12/07/2020)

Some news from the UK railway industry this week, some articles may frequire a free subscription.

An agreement has finally Been signed to allow direct trains from London to Amsterdam. In the past, coming back from Amsterdam meant catching a local Thalys service to Brussels, dis-embarking through border checks and then joining the Eurostar. These checks will now be done at Amsterdam, enabling passengers to bard the Eurostar directly. However the new services will not come into effect until later in 2020. Read more here : Agreements signed to allow direct Amsterdam – London trains

Blackpool’s trams will begin operating again on July 19th 2020. Due to Covid-19, the services had been suspended since 29th March 2020. The services will be every 20 minutes with social distancing measures in place. More can be read here : Blackpool trams to resume as UK light rail operators reflect government guidance

Snowdon mountain railway has taken delivery of two hybrid locomotives. The engines are highly efficient, with regenerated braking being used to charge the batteries on the downhill run. The railway is also expected to open on July 10th 2020, with the relevant social distancing measures in place. More here : Two hybrid locomotives unveiled as Snowdon Mountain Railway reopens

Not much else of note this week. As always, many thanks for reading and i’ll blog again next week.

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UK Railway News (w/e 05/07/2020)

Some news from the UK railway industry this week, some articles require a free subscription.

Grand Central railway has announce it is to resume it service on 26th July 2020, albeit with a reduced number of trains. Two trains per day between Bradford and London King’s Cross are envisioned, and hopefully more as the demand increases. Obviously enhanced cleaning and social distancing will be in effect. Additionally, the company has expressed its continued support for a London Euston to Blackpool service, something which had involved some driver training before lockdown in late March 2020. These would use class 90 locomotives, with Mk 4 coaching stock. More can be read here : ‘Now is the right moment to act’ Grand Central says as it announces restart date .

Some operators are expressing that a service structure similar to that of pre-Covid-19 times could take up to two years to implement. The companies point to the fact that the lack of clarification of the new “1m plus” rule applies to transport or not. Obviously this is all down to how well the public do adapt to the new rules, and indeed if many return to a place of work, especially as many have found working from home to be just as productive. More can be read here: Restoring pre-Covid-19s service ‘could take two years’ as TOCs face logistical hurdles

LNER has been told that it will operate the East Coast Mainline for another three years. The government backed TOC, could also see this extended if the service quality is maintained or improved. More rolling stock, presumably based on the class 800 is hopefully expected as well, but of course this is all subject to passenger numbers increasing in the wake of Covid-19. More can be read here : LNER to operate InterCity East Coast services for a further three years

Newcastle central station is poised to get a makeover as plans were passed this week by Network Rail. The station would be ‘opened up’ to facilitate transport for all, with a new entrance at the west end of the station. More Here : Newcastle Central Station new entrances get go-ahead

Finally this week, Horden station on the Durham coast line has now opened. The 10 million pound investment was supported by the county council. It is hoped that around 70,000 people in the area will benefit from the enhanced transport link. The station is fully accessible, and will help the local area. Read more here : Passengers board train at Horden station for first time in 56 years as it opens it platforms

That is it for this week, many thanks for reading and I will blog more news next week.

If you enjoyed this, please search for Rainham Rail Enthusiast on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Rail Siding.

UK Railway News (w/e 21/06/2020)

A look at some news in the UK railway industry this past week. Some links may require a free subscription.

East coast trains have their class 803 trains now in production at Hitachi Rail in Newton Aycliffe. The trains will be eventually used on the open access route from London to Edinburgh. These are 5 car AT300 trainsets, and only contain standard class accommodation. Read more here : East Coast Trains class 803 production begins.

In other rolling stock news, South Western Trains have had their first delivery of their Class 701’s to Eastleigh for testing. The full order will be for 60 10 -car and 30 5-car EMU sets, and will run on commuter routes in and out of London Waterloo. More on this here : South Western Railway’s first Class 701 delivered.

A depot is to be rebuilt for the new Tyne and Wear metro trains. The swiss company ‘VolkerFitzpatrick’ will undertake the work to look after the rolling stock they are providing for the local metro system. These are due into service in 2023, but the depot is not schedules to be fully operational until 2025. Read more here : Tyne & Wear Metro depot rebuilding contract awarded.

Finally, Transport for London announced that a phased restart of its improvement and construction projects had started. These include the Bank capacity upgrade and the Northern line Extension. Work will initially be done using split shifts, with social distancing, dedicated walking routes and more staff welfare areas to name but a few. More about this can be read here: TfL’s construction projects to commence phased restart

Thats it for this week. Thanks for reading and more news next Sunday

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UK Railway News (w/e/ 14/06/20)

A round up of UK railway news this week. Some links may require a free subscription.

As a reminder, face coverings are required when travelling on all forms of public transport in England from Monday 15th June. Fines can be issued for anyone not wearing a covering, and also you will be prevented from boarding if you do not have one on. further clarification can be found here : Face coverings to become mandatory on public transport

The new Kidderminster station opened on 7th June, unfortunately with no ceremony due to Covid-19. The glass fronted structure is twice the size of the original, and contains many features which make it a more roomy and pleasant environment for passengers. Read more here : New-look Kidderminster Station opens to West Midlands Railway passengers

A major bottle neck in south London could be eased if plans get through another round of public consultation. The Selhurst triangle which is north Croydon is heavily used, and can cause substantial delays, much like the tangled web of lines that used to go into London Bridge. Proposals include dive-unders and flyovers to relieve this congestion. More of the proposals can be read here : Consultation underway on revised Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme plan

Not much else of note this week. Many thanks for reading this blog, more news next Sunday.

If you enjoyed this, please search for Rainham Rail Enthusiast on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Rail Siding, thank you.

Railway News (w/e 31/05/2020)

Some news that has been noted from the UK railway industry this week (railway gazette articles will require a free subscription):

Govia Thameslink are using a 30-day ‘Coronavirus killer’ on trains and stations on their network. The viruscide sticks to surfaces and will be applied once every 21 days. An app had been introduced to track which areas and rolling stock have been sprayed, so that the visuside can be re-applied when necessary. Full story can be read here : Govia Thameslink Railway uses 30-day ‘coronavirus killer’

Business cases will be allowed on the following projects, reports ‘Rail Business UK’ . These are :

Reopening Meir station near Longton on the Stoke-on-Trent – Derby line;

Providing regular passenger services on the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield via Beighton;

Reintroducing passenger services on the Leicester – Coalville – Burton upon Trent ‘Ivanhoe’ line;

Provision of a passing loop to enable a more frequent service to be provided on the St Albans Abbey – Watford Junction ‘Abbey’ line;

Reopening stations at Wellington in Somerset and Cullompton in Devon on the Taunton – Exeter main line;

Introducing passenger services on the Bury – Heywood – Rochdale line, most of which is operated as the heritage East Lancashire Railway. This route had also been identified by Transport for Greater Manchester in 2019 for a possible tram-train trial;

Extending the Blackburn – Clitheroe passenger service from Clitheroe to Hellifield to link with the Leeds – Carlisle route;

Building a new parkway station at Lydeway to serve Devizes;

Reinstating passenger services on the Totton – Fawley branch in Hampshire, branded the Waterside Line;

Extension of the Island Line south from Shanklin to Wroxall and Ventnor; and integration with the existing Isle of Wight Steam Railway to provide passenger services from Ryde to Newport.

Remember these are only Business cases. They are not a green light for the projects, and many will fall at the wayside.

The one which most interests me is the ‘possible’ extension of the Island line on the Isle of Wight. Would be great to see trains run back to Ventnor through the tunnel, an experience many have not seen. The information here was taken from this article in Rail Business UK : 10 rail schemes awarded business case development funding

Practices that have been implemented by West Midlands Trains due to the covid-19 epidemic, could be used by other operators. Factors such as social distancing in stations and loading indications on trains are being used, so that other stations down the line can monitor how full an oncoming train is. This colour coded system could be applied and enable dynamic station skips or closures. The full story can be read here : West Midlands Trains leads on social distancing approach as rail services ramp up

Another plan for a HS2 station was unveiled this week. The East Midlands could get a transport hub when (or if) the spur from Birmingham up to Leeds is built. The hub would be built at Toton, giving many communities the ability to use the new High Speed network. Full story on this exciting project can be read here : HS2: Plans for East Midlands transport hub link unveiled

That’s all for this week, thank you for reading and there will be another update next Sunday.

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Railway News (w/e 24/05/2020)

Some news that has been noted from the UK railway industry this week (railway gazette articles will require a free subscription):

The BBC reported that the Cairngorm funicular railway had at last gained funding for its repair. The railway has been out of action since September 2018, and repairs are suggested to cost in the region of £10 million. Read more here : Cairngorm funicular repairs approved by park authority

A rail passenger group in Wales has urged a re-think on the number of toilets to be provided on the new trains expected for the region in 2022. Railfuture Wales says the new class 197 two carriage trains would benefit from an extra toilet, as up to 116 seated people can be carried, but obviously more standing. Read more here : ‘Inadequate’ toilet provision on new TfW trains

Six new stations are due to be served if an old Northumberland freight line gets opened up for passenger traffic. The former Blyth & Tyne network, which branches out from the East Coast Mainline, would support new housing developments, and help move passengers from road to rail. Read More Here : Northumberland Line reopening plan advances

The Old Oak Common HS2 station was approved this week. Hailed as ‘the largest new railway station ever built in the UK’, it will enable passengers not only access to HS2, but also the Elizabeth line, Great Western Railway and the Heathrow Express. It is located on the former railway works at the site. Read more here : Old Oak Common HS2 station approved

That’s all for now, thanks for reading, more news next Sunday.

Don’t forget to search out rainhamrailenthusiast on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Train Siding.

Rail Press News (April/May 2020)

Some stories from the rail press in the past month:

(all links may require signing up to rail gazette – which is free and provides newsletters when appropriate direct to your inbox)

The Manchester Metrolink and Mersey rail are facing a financial situation due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said that services could be cut unless the UK government supplied some means of support. The same was said by the Liverpool City counterpart Steve Rotherham. Full story can be read here : Manchester Metrolink faces financial crisis and Merseyrail struggling to survive, mayors warn

The UK’s Network Rail has converted some signalling testing workshops which were out of use for training signallers to keep trains moving in the Wales and West region during the Coronavirus pandemic. The entire refurb took only four weeks, a huge achievement. Full story can be read here : Signaller training centre to keep trains moving through the pandemic

Various trains have had new ‘skins’ to celebrate the hard work of the UK’s NHS during the current crisis. In this article, Thameslink operator Govia shows how it transformed three of its 700 series EMU’s to say thank you to Keyline health workers. Full story can be read here : Trains branded in tribute to the NHS

The Curzon Street HS2 station was approved by Birmingham City Council in April. The station aims to be carbon Neutral with an extensive solar panels on platform canopies and a rainwater recycling system. Full story can be read here : ‘Confident and contemporary’ Curzon Street HS2 station approved

LNER has put online drivers eye view of many of its routes. Other routes are due to be added in the next few weeks, including London to Leeds. The Videos can be viewed here : LNER cab rides

That’s all for now, but I hope to expand on this news service a little more by putting up a key bulletin every Sunday from now on.

Many thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this Blog, please search for rainhamrailenthusiast across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and now Trainsiding.

Rail Press News (March/April)….

What has been in the press about UK Railways in the last month (16 March 2020 to 16 April 2020) :

Railway Business UK reported on the 7th April that improved performance figures have occurred since the Lockdown in the UK; not much of a surprise really!! But the real point of the article is that this is due to the reduced services and amounts to an experiment which would not ordinarily been able to happen. You can read the full article here : Railway Business UK performance article

Meanwhile, a ‘Metro Report’ article highlighted the fact the Manchester Metrolink to Old Trafford Park opened on the 22nd march 2020. This is an important extension to the Metrolink and attaches the Metro to the rest of the network at Poroma. More information can be had within the full article: Metro Report Trafford Park Article.

Rail Business UK reports on the testing of the new class 720 fleet for Greater Anglia. It reports the first train completed its first test into London Liverpool Street in early April. The full report can be viewed here : Rail Business UK report on Class 720

Also in Rail Business UK, on 15th April the UK Government asked the promoter of HS2 to give its main contractors a ‘Notice to proceed’. This allows contractors to plan to get the right workers in the right place ready for the construction of the new line, and is a welcome step in this current uncertain economic climate. You can read the full article here : Rail Business UK report on HS2.

In other UK news from ‘Rail Business UK’, mini reports on HS2 growth stratagies, Scotrails decision to withdraw on board catering facilities, and an RAIB report on a near miss at Kirtlebridge, Dumfries and Galloway, can all be viewed via this link : Rail Business UK roundup

Many thanks, I hope these are of interest.

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Covid-19 – changes and support your local heritage railway

Well, all my best laid plans are in tatters, as least for now!! But on a serious note we should all as rail enthusiasts be observing the nations ‘lockdown’ and not going out enjoying our hobby. It will pass, and we will soon be able to once again photograph and video to our hearts content.

In the meantime, two things. Firstly, I am working on my London Transport Museum video. I shot this in November last year, but wasn’t happy with it and was going to re shoot. This however is now not possible at the mo, and so I will do an edit with the best footage I got. The reason for wanting a reshoot? Well basically I have a new camera, which enables me to get cleaner, less jerky footage. But I will put this together for now and hopefully later in the year update it with new video.

Secondly, and more importantly, as railway enthusiasts we all like the modern, but many value the past as well. Many of us visit our heritage railways during the year and sort of take them for granted. But this situation we find ourselves in couldn’t happen at a worst time of year for these attractions. Many would have been working towards a profitable Easter and summer period, but now just lie dormant, with only a handful of volunteers able to tend to and maintain both stock and building infrastructure.

This is where we can still help. If you are able, why not donate a small amount to your local or favourite (or both) heritage railway. It doesn’t need to be much, but if we can all pull together, we can help save rolling stock and these attractions for others to enjoy in the years to come. I myself have applied to become a member of the East Kent Railway Trust, where unique rolling stock is situated. It may only be a small line, but it’s importance in keeping the memeories of the Kent coalfields alive is invaluable. I am sure there are many more heritage railways around the country with similar ties to long gone industry which now more than ever need our help.

So please if you can, give a little to help keep these running. Lets hope that by at least mid summer we can get out and about again, and hopefully get back to video and photography.

Many thanks for reading.

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London Termini – Liverpool Street

Liverpool street, from the Bishopsgate end

Once one of the busiest stations in London, Liverpool street has a very ornate interior much overlooked by its passengers. Having undergone many refurbishments in the years, the concourse now fills with natural light from the vast roof which spans it. Although now not as busy, the soon addition of the Elizabeth line may make this station a true hive of activity again.

A Brief History

London Liverpool Street was built to be the London terminus of the Eastern Counties Railway. Opened in 1874 with 10 platforms, two of which extended under the station forming a junction with the Metropolitan Railway.

Originally the buildings were 90ft high, with a spired clock tower. A hotel named “The Great Eastern” was built down the entire length of the new frontage. Many expansions came in the early years, which unfortunately created a myriad of entrance and exits. As well as this, the bridge used across the station was not wide enough and on two levels, which caused congestion and confusion for passengers wondering which part of the bridge they should be on.

The station is probably most famous for its role in welcoming children of the “Kindertransport”, an operation started in 1938 to bring children from the ever expanding Nazi Germany. The first children arrived on December 2nd 1938, and by September of the following year, almost 10,000 children would arrive into Liverpool Street, many of which landed at Harwich.

After being damaged in the Second World War, the station remained in a poor state until the 1960’s, when British Rail rebuilt and refurbished the station, giving it a new clock tower.

It was therefore a surprise that in 1974, British Rail would earmark the Liverpool Street station building to be demolished, and an underground terminus put in it’s place. Many campaigns were launched by eminent figures of the day, including the comedian Spike Milligan, to stop the bulldozers from destroying such a beautiful example of a London Terminus. Eventually after a few years, the tireless campaigning worked and Liverpool Street was saved.

A full refurbishment was again undertaken in the 1980s, with the train shed roof being fully repaired and restored. The main roof would follow in 1987. At this time a link would be established to the Cambridge line, enabling trains to terminate at Liverpool Street instead of Broad street. The entire work was finished in 1991, and the station was officially re-opened by the Queen.

Since 2013, the site has had many excavations in preparation for the Elizabeth Line. During one of these, a mass grave was found on the site of the “Bedlam” burial ground, dating back to the 17th Century. This lead to a full excavation of the area, recovering what is believed to be 3,000 bodies.

A quick view of the station today

Due to its complex nature, you could start anywhere at Liverpool street and still get great views. Howver for the sake of this quick walkthrough, we will start at the entrance at Hope Square in Liverpool Street.

Going through the gates, you will be greeted by the ‘Kindertransport’ statue in front of the glass fronted entrance. Take time at this statue to read the plaques and appreciate this significant event in history.

The ‘New’ Kindertransport Statue in Hope Square

If we now go through the entrance, you will gain the first look at the roof, with the concourse opening out below you. You are on the mezzanine level at this point, so take some time to look around you, admiring the columns which hold up the glass roof which is allowing natural light to flood in.

Looking left, you will see some arched windows, move toward these and then turn towards the concourse, so that you are looking straight down it. It is one of the best views of any London Terminus in my opinion, and a great photo if you can get it.

Move back along the mezzanine, a row of retail is ahead and to your right, but if you carry on down into a corridor, the exit to the bus station will eventally be on your left. Keep going down here for a very good view across the platforms.

A view across the platforms, note the abundance of highly decorated columns.

Once, you have seen the the platforms, with the fantastic train shed above, head back to the mezzanine level and turn left, so that you can see the arrival and departure board ahead of you, hanging above the concourse.

Once you get to the board, turn right and go underneath it, good views can be had of the concourse left and right here. At the other side, turn right and then left, you should see a rather large marble mural which reaches up toward the roof. This great marble structure is one of the best dedications to those who lost their lives during the First World War at any railway station. Below it are dedications to Captain Charles Fryatt and Sir Henry Wilson, both of whom were decorated in the Great War. Many other dedications and wreaths are normally to be found under these.

The First World War Memorial

Go back past the memorial and then past the departure board, and you should find on your right three brick reliefs. These depict a steam train, a ship and a scene involving coal being put into a firebox.

You will now see an exit which takes you out onto Bishopsgate. The former Great Eastern Hotel is to your left, and the original ballroom ceiling can be seen if you enter this building (which is now a major chain pub). Looking back towards the station you will see a glass canopy with escalators down to concourse level. This is framed with two brick columns, one with a clock tower. Also to be found here to your right is a very unusual metal totem with a London Underground roundel and the Liverpool Street name underneath.

Totem in Bishopsgate

Take the escalators down to the main concourse. Walk forward here and again admire the roof structure. Keep to your left here as you walk along. There are lots of places to sit here, and a set of escalators will take you down to the toilets. Go past these, keeping left until you almost reach the entrance to the Underground station.

You will then see another statue dedicated to the Kindertransport. This was the original one dedicated in 2003, and used to sit in Hope Square. When it was there it contained a glass box with actual artifacts from some of the children, with the standing girl only. When it was relocated however, a sitting boy was added and the glass box removed.

Kindertransport statue near Underground entrance

Moving past the Underground entrance, there is another exit ahead of you which takes you to an area with a low veiling and retail outlets. Eventually it leads to the Bus station.

London Liverpool Street is not the largest London Terminus, but this and Marylebone do keep the charm of the old railway, and although I have detailed a few hidden gems, but there are more (but that’s for another time…)

A view from the Liverpool Street end

You can see a short video of the trains at Liverpool Street on my YouTube channel below:


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Many thanks for reading, I’ll blog again soon