UK Railway news (w/e 19/07/2020)

Some articles relating to the UK railway indusrty in the past week. Some articles may requite a subscription.

London Waterloo is playing host to a new passenger information screen. The high definition colour screen aims to provide concise arrival and departure information in an easy to read format. Another one is hoping to be trialled at London Victoria station, in September 2020. For such a high definition screen, its a shame that Network Rail provided such a low resolution picture in this article!! Read more here : London Waterloo trials new high-definition colour screen to provide better passenger information

The new depot at Marshgate, Doncaster was opened this week. In a brand new building, called “the mallard” it will oversee many operations over the East Coast Mainline. More can be read here : Network Rail opens £14m depot in Doncaster

A smart card type of system is being rolled out or Northern services. Initially on the Leeds and Harrogate branch, the scheme will enable passengers to buy a book of 10 tickets for unlimited daily travel, priced at the cost of 9 anytime day returns. More ticketing options are being considered for the area, including using cashless payments for journeys similar to the model used by Tfl. More on this here : Flexible ticket trial as Transport for the North plans contactless roll-out

Thats all this week, more selected news next week. Thank you for reading.

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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 28/06/2020)

Selected railway news from around the UK this past week. Some links may require a free subscription.

The most exiting news came from the north of England this week, as a new rail charter company has been established. Dedicated to the Settle and Carlisle line, services will begin this summer, and help to boost the industry whilst we tentatively come out of the Covid-19 crisis. Support from Northern Trains, Network Rail and also local support, the new company, ‘Rail Charter Services LTD’ will work with the Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company. It will utilise top and tail class 47’s, and cater for the general market, although enthusiasts are of course welcome. The main difference between this and a enthusiast journey however is that it is to be planned as a daily service , rather than a one off. The rolling stock will be ex-Greater Anglia MK 3 coaches, and as such reflect the general nature of the journeys (enthusiast experiences tend to err on the 1st class or luxury coaching stock). Much more detail on this exciting news, including sample pricing can be read both here : Daily tourist trains to serve England’s ‘most scenic’ railway and here : Class 47 locomotives to operate timetabled Skipton to Appleby trains this summer

A new station serving the Cambridge Biomedical Campus came a step closer this week with Network Rail choosing a preferred location alongside the facility. More on this can be read here : Cambridge South station preferred location selected

Facial biometrics are to be trialled at Eurostar’s St Pancras International station. This hopefully will eliminate the need for contact with people or equipment during the check in process. Using a smartphone app, the passenger would take a selfie and then the app would verify against the booking documents. Sophisticated software checks the validity of the photo as a real person, as apposed to just photo of a photo or video. It is hoped the system will go live in early 2021. Read more here : Eurostar to test facial biometrics for ‘walk-through’ check-in

That’s it for this week, many 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.

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UK Railway News (w/e 07/06/2020)

Some news from around the UK press this past week. Some links may require a free subscription to the page.

First up, if you haven’t seen it, is another ‘repaint’ of a UK class 66 in recognition of UK keyworkers. This time DB have got in on the act:

HS2 again was in the press this week, with a plan to create extensive links to the Toton HS2 hub. This would include not only road, but tram, bus and regional rail links. With over 20 villages and towns within access of the HS2 station, good links will be needed in order to facilitate demand for access. The full article can be read here : £2·7bn plan for transport links to Toton HS2 hub

The company ‘Zipabout’ has begun implementing its research technology with Network Rail to inform passengers if a train they are likely to catch will be busy. Historic usage data along with more recent data will be used to best inform customers about services likely to be busy. This will be done in form of either a red or yellow warning against that service, advising accordingly. More information about this can be read here : National Rail to offer ‘busy station’ alerts

Four brand new railway stations in Wales could become reality if plans submitted to the UK Government get approval. Carno, St Clears, Ely Mill and Deeside Parkway have all been proposed. This would be in addition to the two stations at Bow Street, Aberystwyth and Cardiff Parkway which are already at an advanced stage. Full story can be read here : Four new railway stations for Wales proposed to be built by 2024

Finally, as you may have read I have become a member of the East Kent Railway, and this weekend was a great milestone in recovery. They have opened their woodland walks and café to visitors from Saturday 6th June. I wish them well with this and a possible full re-opening in the near future (albeit with social distancing measures) and hope to get down there myself very soon. Full details on this exciting development can be read here :

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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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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.

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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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London Waterloo Station Walkthrough

On my other YouTube channel, John Explores, I take a small walk through Waterloo Station.


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London Bridge re-signalling scheme 1970’s

Before the re-imagining of London Bridge station in the 2010’s, it was the subject of a huge re-signaling scheme in the mid 1970’s. The idea was to completely redesign the approach, especially across Borough Market Junction. This was a notorious bottleneck where trains from Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as approaching traffic from Kent and Sussex would almost always grind to a halt at peak times.

The solution was to create more throughput by using crossovers from Charing Cross and Cannon Street and using a new flyover at St Johns. Some terminal platforms were also connected to the Charing Cross lines in order to facilitate more throughput.

The entire area would be controlled via a massive new signal control room at London Bridge, which would mean the demise of at least 16 smaller signal boxes nearby.

Amazingly for such a large project, it was finished on time, at a cost of £21.5 million pounds in 1978. Below are some scans from a mini booklet produced by British Rail to commemorate the achievement.

I must thank Mr David Bonnett, who very kindly donated this leaflet and other materials to myself.


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