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05/05/2016 Vauxhall station fire disrupts London rail services [Guardian]
A fire on the tracks at Vauxhall railway station in south London has caused severe disruption to travel. Trains in and out of Vauxhall and Waterloo stations were affected as firefighters tackled the blaze, which broke out shortly after 2.30am. South West Trains (SWT) urged passengers to travel only if absolutely necessary. Passengers were left stranded at stations across the network, with those who did manage to get on a train saying services were dangerously full. The blaze affected electrical cabling and the power to the tracks has been switched off.

Shortly after leaving Waterloo, one of the initially troublesome SWT 458 units calls at Vauxhall station with a service to Reading. View west along platform 3 on 24 July 2005.
[John Furnevel 24/07/2005]

A South West Trains service for Waterloo standing at Vauxhall station in July 2005 in front of a ...well... a certain government building ...errr ...^nuff said...
[John Furnevel 23/07/2005]

04/05/2016 Lorry hits Lambeth bridge despite huge warning signs [BBC News]
A lorry has crashed into a railway bridge emblazoned with 'low bridge' warning signs in London. The crash happened on the A205 South Circular in Tulse Hill, Lambeth, on Wednesday morning. The driver was treated by paramedics after suffering a hand injury, police said. Southern Railway said lorries hit the bridge roughly twice every month, causing cancellations and severe delays.

It is often said that the road loading gauge benefits road hauliers over rail but this is not the case a short distance south of Port Vendres, on the road to Banyuls sur Mer, as signified by the tight clearance for the standard height road tractor and trailer unit seen heading south through the single track underbridge below the SNCF coast line from Perpignan to Cerbere; which then crosses the border to Portbou in Spain, and continues to Barcelona under Renfe.
Port Vendre
[David Pesterfield 07/08/2015]

Mind your Heads! NBR Glasgow Dumbarton & Helensburgh line. Low bridge over Castlegreen Street, Dumbarton.
Castlegreen Street Dumbarton
[Alistair MacKenzie 18/08/2007]

Badger Bridge was a well known WCML spotting location in steam days as it overlooked Brock water troughs. The badger is the emblem of the Fitzherbert-Brockholes family from nearby Claughton Hall. Less well known is this low bridge carrying the main line over Stubbins Lane, a little further north, but which also has four badger emblems on each side.
[Mark Bartlett 09/09/2010]
BBC News

04/05/2016 ScotRail fare dodgers to pay £30 penalty [Scotsman]
Passengers who falsely claim they have travelled from a closer station than where they boarded will be hit by a penalty fee in the latest ScotRail drive to tackle fare dodging. A new £30 “administration charge” will be levied on such people when attempting to buy a ticket at their destination station, The Scotsman has learned. The move will be accompanied by a campaign to encourage passengers to buy tickets before they board trains. [From Colin McDonald]

03/05/2016 Eurostar Velaro on test in the Netherlands [IRJ]
TESTING of Eurostar's Siemens e320 Velaro (class 374) high-speed trains on the Dutch national network began on April 28 as the international operator prepares for the launch London - Amsterdam services. Preliminary trial runs took place over the weekend of April 30/May 1, with the train operating over both the conventional network and HSL South. Netherlands Railways (NS) is providing drivers for the test runs, which are being carried out on behalf of Siemens. Eurostar confirmed on April 25 that it is planning to launch direct services between London St Pancras and Amsterdam Central next December. [From Richard Buckby]
International Railway Journal

03/05/2016 The High Speed Train, or Intercity 125, is celebrating its 40th year of operation. [BBC News]
The High Speed Train, or Intercity 125, is celebrating its 40th year of operation. As part of the celebrations, six engines were on display in Bristol, and the very first HST was renamed Sir Kenneth Grange, after the man who designed it. Nearly 5,000 people turned up to take a look.

Power car 43320 leads an Aberdeen-London Kings Cross HST service through Kinghorn on 4 June.
[Bill Roberton 04/06/2009]

A wintry dawn has just broken over the Castle as an early morning GNER HST heads south west out of Edinburgh on the ex-Caledonian route through Slateford on Christmas Eve 2004.
[John Furnevel 24/12/2004]

A British Rail InterCity 125, about to leave Bristol Temple Meads station in 1985 with a service to London Paddington.
Bristol Temple Meads
[John McIntyre //1985]
BBC News

03/05/2016 Network Rail celebrates May Day successes [Rail News]
NETWORK RAIL is celebrating the fact that railway upgrades over the May Day bank holiday weekend were less disruptive than the work carried out at Easter this year, even though 11,000 people were involved in possessions between Scotland and the south of England. One project saw the transfer of signalling control on part of the Midland Main Line from South Yorkshire to the new Rail Operating Centre at York, while track was renewed on the West Coast Main Line through Oxenholme. In other projects, work continued to upgrade lines on either side of London for Crossrail. There were also track renewals at Weybridge and Axminster, and improvement works to a number of bridges in the Stour and Avon area, while the replacement of track in the tunnels approaching Glasgow Queen Street continues in preparation for electrification.
Rail News

02/05/2016 40th anniversary of Alston closure marked
A SERIES of events is being planned to mark the 40th anniversary of the last train running between Alston and Haltwhistle. [From Mark Bartlett]

Taken as a direct Then and Now comparison to a photograph I took at Alston in 1976 [see image 19590] this picture shows resident 0-4-0T Thomas Edmondson. The steam loco is running round prior to taking a South Tynedale Railway train northwards along the old branch.
[Mark Bartlett 08/06/2013]

A DMU from Halwhistle stands at the Alston terminus on 27 March 1976. Two cars would normally have sufficed for the traffic to and from Alston but, so close to closure of the branch, the authorities were presumably expecting increased loadings due to enthusiasts paying their last respects.
[Bill Jamieson 27/03/1976]
Cumberland and Westmorland Herald

02/05/2016 ScotRail pledges to act on ‘unacceptable’ delays [Times]
The head of ScotRail has pledged to improve the performance of train services after admitting to “unacceptable” delays for thousands of passengers. Figures obtained by a Sunday newspaper show that the franchise, operated by the Dutch company Abellio since last April, has failed to meet punctuality targets for ten consecutive months. More than 40 per cent of trains were delayed at the country’s three busiest stations over the past year, the figures show. At one station, 90 per cent of trains were late in the same period.

28/04/2016 Full steam ahead for £600,000 heritage railway train [BBC News]
Two heritage rail lines in north Wales have been celebrating the first outing of their new £600,000 train. The new carriages will run along the world's oldest narrow-gauge track on the Ffestiniog Railway in Gwynedd, and also on its sister line, the Welsh Highland Railway. Pride of place is a new £250,000 Pullman curved glass observation car. Eventually ten new carriages will run on the lines between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon.
BBC News

28/04/2016 Passengers fuming after faults plague Borders Railway [Scotsman]
Passengers are suffering “substantial inconvenience” from a series of faults plaguing Scotland’s newest railway, with disruption nearly every day so far this month. A log of incidents passed to The Scotsman shows more than 80 trains have been cancelled or delayed on the Borders line since 31 March. They include a range of faults to the signalling system, which was installed during construction of the £350 million Edinburgh-Tweedbank line, which opened last September.

158721, on a Borders Railway service heading towards Edinburgh, slows for the Eskbank stop on the late afternoon of Sunday 28th February 2016.
[John Yellowlees 28/02/2016]

Ahh, the novelty of boarding a train at Newcraighall - and going south. I^m just about to do so as a 4-car 158 pulls in heading for Tweedbank on 8 September 2015, the third day of Borders rail services.
[David Panton 08/09/2015]

The 1745 Tweedbank-Edinburgh heads north in increasing snow from Bowshank Tunnel. Nice to finally see this location open - walking through the tunnel during the closed period would often find farm machinery sheltering from the weather. [See image 46543] for a similar earlier view.
Bowshank Tunnel
[Ewan Crawford 06/03/2016]

26/04/2016 Eurostar confirms plans for new routes [IRJ]
EUROSTAR confirmed at the launch of its Community and Environment Programme in London on April 25 that it intends to launch London - Amsterdam services at the end of next year, and is also looking to take advantage of the opening of new high-speed lines in France to expand its network. Eurostar plans to introduce services to the Netherlands in December 2017, subject to the necessary approvals being obtained for operation of the new Siemens Velaro e320 (class 374) trains on the Belgian and Dutch networks. Testing on the Dutch network is due to begin next month. [From Richard Buckby]
International Railway Journal

26/04/2016 Birmingham New Street tram extension to open in May[Rail News]
An extension of the Midland Metro to Birmingham New Street station will open next month, Centro has announced. The full length of the extension from Snow Hill Station to New Street, via Bull Street and Corporation Street, will go into service on May 22 following a succesful period of testing. “This was the last big hurdle to overcome,” said Centro’s Midland Metro programme director Phil Hewitt. A series of late night tests were completed between April 23 and 24, including a low-speed test run between Bull Street and Stephenson Street. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

25/04/2016 Bournemouth Cliff Lift damaged in landslip [BBC News]
A huge landslip in Bournemouth has damaged a cliff lift and crushed a toilet block. A stretch of the cliff in East Cliff fell away at 05:00 BST taking with it an array of fencing and benches. Luke Watkins, assistant senior ranger for Bournemouth Borough Council, said: 'It's one of the largest slips I've seen.' No-one was injured but the area has been cordoned off by the authority. More movement is expected at the site over the next two days. [From Mark Bartlett]

Eastcliff is the oldest of Bournemouth^s three cliff railways, but only by three months, having opened in April 1908. It is also the tallest, rising to 170^ above the East Promenade on a gradient of almost 1:1. Seen here in May 2014, the Routemaster bus was in town for the annual Wheels Festival.
Bournemouth Cliff Lifts
[Mark Bartlett 23/05/2014]
BBC South News
Daily Echo

25/04/2016 Glasgow Subway to close for four weeks [BBC News]
The Glasgow Subway is to close for about four weeks in the summer while modernisation work is carried out. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) said all services would be suspended from 2 July. They are due to resume on 1 August. A replacement bus service will be provided for subway passengers during the closure. It will follow the subway route, with additional direct services to the city centre from key stations.
BBC News

23/04/2016 West Coast Railways probed over 'doors open' train movement [BBC News]
A steam train operator is being investigated after one of its trains was moved along a platform while its doors were open. Passengers had started to board the West Coast Railways (WCR) service at Bath Spa station on 13 April, according to rail records leaked online. WCR has only recently begun using the UK's mainline railway again after a month-long ban over safety concerns. The firm said it took safety incidents 'very seriously' and was investigating.

With West Coast Railway^s troubles hopefully behind them an extended Fellsman season got underway on 27th May with 45699 Galatea taking the first train of the 2015 season out of Lancaster. Fellsman trains are scheduled to run every Wednesday until 26th August.
[Mark Bartlett 27/05/2015]

West Coast Railways Class 57 no 57601 in the sidings at Glenfinnan Station on 23 July with a private charter.
[John Gray 23/07/2013]

This year^s ^Jacobite^ season, the 18th under the operation of the West Coast Railway Company, was launched at Fort William on 14 May 2012 by Modern Railways columnist Alan Williams.
Fort William
[John Yellowlees 14/05/2012]
BBC News

21/04/2016 Industrial steam locomotive rediscovered in convent shed [BBC News]
An industrial steam engine last used to haul coal in the 1970s has been 'rediscovered' at a convent in the east of England. It was thought the 1929 locomotive, called 'Newstead', had been scrapped. However, it had been saved by an enthusiast who had it restored and then built a small track and shed at a convent near his home, where it remained for almost 30 years. It will be displayed at the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough this weekend. [From John Pease]
BBC News

20/04/2016 Travel misery ahead as France set for new mass rail strike [The Local]
France is set for another day of disruption and delays on the trains as French trade unions representing rail workers have issued a joint call to observe a one-day strike on Tuesday, April 26th. The call to strike on April 26th is the first since 2013 that is supported by all of France’s trade unions (the CGT, Unsa, Sud and CFDT) and will likely cause huge disruption to rail services around the country. The strike is a move by unions to flex their muscles as they continue to negotiate with rail operator SNCF over working conditions and wages. [From Richard Buckby]
The Local

20/04/2016 Southern rail conductors to stage three strikes over supervisor row [BBC News]
Conductors on Southern railway are to stage three 24-hour strikes in a dispute over changes to their role and the introduction of driver-only trains. Members of the RMT union will walk out at 11:00 BST on 26 April and at the same time on 10 and 12 May. The union is against plans for a new grade of on-board supervisor and proposals for drivers to operate doors.
BBC News

19/04/2016 Scottish rail franchises will be open to bids from public sector – Sturgeon [Guardian]
Public sector bodies will be able to bid to run Scotland’s railway next time the franchises come up for renewal, the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said. Before next month’s Holyrood elections, the SNP leader announced that her party would enact legislation, under new devolved powers of the Scotland Act 2016, to alter the “absurd” franchise rules that excluded the public sector in the UK from running trains but allowed a Dutch state firm to operate ScotRail instead. Sturgeon announced the policy, which echoes a promise in Labour’s general election manifesto last year, in a speech to the Scottish Trade Union Congress conference on Tuesday.

A piper welcomes First ScotRail^s inaugural service - a train for Gourock about to leave Glasgow Central on 17 October 2004.
Glasgow Central
[Ewan Crawford 17/10/2004]

When National Express first had the ScotRail franchise after privatisation its colours were red blue and gold. It was never adopted as a livery though there was a trial on one ageing unit, 101 692 [see image 18845]. The colours were later changed to purple, dark green and sienna (or was it ochre?) which this time was taken up as a livery. Around 2002, unit 150 262 pulls into the up platform at Markinch after reversing at the north crossover for its return to Edinburgh.
[David Panton //2002]

The 0833 Edinburgh - Dunblane runs into Stirling platform 2 on the morning of 1 April 2015. The red carpet beyond the train is part of an Abellio launch event to mark their takeover of the ScotRail franchise. At the top left of the picture Stirling Castle looks on impassively, having seen it all before.
[John Furnevel 01/04/2015]

19/04/2016 'Signaller's error' caused Plymouth accident [Rail News]
A MISTAKE by a signaller is thought to be the cause of a collision between two trains in a platform at Plymouth earlier this month in which around 35 people were hurt. The accident, on 3 April, occurred when a four-car unit arriving from Penzance at 15.30 collided at about 15mph (24km/h) with a stationary London-bound intercity train which was already partly occupying the same platform.
Rail News

18/04/2016 Govia Thameslink takes Aslef union to court over longer trains dispute [Guardian]
The operator of the Gatwick Express train service is taking the Aslef union to the high court after its drivers refused to carry passengers on new longer trains. Govia Thameslink Railway has launched legal action over what it described as the “baffling” refusal of drivers to run the 12-carriage trains without guards. Aslef says GTR has breached an agreement concerning driver-only trains, which it accepts on trains of up to 10 carriages. Aslef and the RMT have raised concerns over the safe operation of longer trains without guards. Gatwick Express services had previously operated with either five or 10 carriages, but this will rise to eight or 12 across the fleet in coming months.

18/04/2016 Borders Railway investment costs outlined [BBC News]
A council report has outlined details of the financial commitment given in order to 'maximise the economic benefits' of the Borders Railway. A blueprint to 'stimulate business growth, generate employment and boost visitor numbers' was launched in November 2014. The current cost of projects associated with it is more than £17m. Scottish Borders Council has committed more than £7m of capital and revenue funding to the schemes. The multi-million pound line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank in the Borders opened to passengers last year.
BBC News

18/04/2016 Upgrading West Coast line 'not an alternative to HS2' [Rail News]
THE project to build HS2 had 'withstood fierce debate and cross-examination', former transport secretary Andrew Adonis has told the House of Lords. Lord Adonis, who now chairs the National Infrastructure Commission, was speaking during the second reading debate of the Hybrid Bill which authorises Phase 1 of the project, which was approved by the House of Commons earlier this month. He was transport secretary in 2008 when the HS2 project began to be planned. He conceded that challenges exist, but warned the Lords that the often-touted alternative, that of upgrading the West Coast Main Line, would not meet future demands for transport. He explained: 'Upgrading a busy main line railway is like conducting open heart surgery on a moving patient. It’s hardly a compelling alternative to HS2 let alone a cheap one.”
Rail News

16/04/2016 First DRS class 88 electro-diesel ready for testing [IRJ]
THE first of 10 Stadler Rail Valencia (formerly Vossloh Rail Vehicles) class 88 EuroDual electro-diesel locomotives for British open-access operator Direct Rail Services (DRS) was delivered by rail to the VUZ Velim test centre in the Czech Republic on April 15 for dynamic testing. DRS ordered the locomotives in 2013 through Beacon Rail Leasing, with assembly being carried out at Stadler Rail Valencia's plant in Albuixech, Spain. [From Richard Buckby]
International Railway Journal

15/04/2016 Luton airport to replace bus transfers with £200m light rail link [Guardian]
Luton airport plans to park its much-maligned bus transfer service once and for all and build a £200m light rail link to the nearest railway station. The fast-track service would make journey times between the capital and Luton airport faster than for those flying via Gatwick, the airport claimed. The 24-hour, automated light-rail link would replace the buses currently used to transfer travellers between the station and the terminal, making the fastest complete journey from Luton airport to London St Pancras less than 30 minutes. The 1.3-mile link will be funded by Luton borough council, which owns the airport freehold. While the station is almost adjacent to the airport perimeter, it is around 40 metres downhill from it, making a fixed rail link difficult to build. [From Richard Buckby]

15/04/2016 Banbury residents fight to save historic railway signal box [Oxford Mail]
CAMPAIGNERS in Banbury are battling to save an historic signal box from demolition. Network Rail announced plans to tear down both the north and south boxes near Banbury station, as part of £76m of upgrades to the rail network. But nearly 300 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the north box, which was built in 1901, to be turned into an education centre for railway enthusiasts. The two boxes, by Bridge Street, are scheduled to be removed when the area's signalling system is upgraded in August and is moved from Banbury to the West Midlands.

Chiltern Railways 168214 arrives at Banbury on 6 March 2014 with the 14.05 London Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street. Banbury South signal box is on the right framed by a pair of 21st Century semaphore signals.
[John McIntyre 06/03/2014]

The 11.46 Southampton Central - Newcastle Central CrossCountry Voyager heads north from Banbury on 6 March 2014. Banbury North signal box stands on the left.
[John McIntyre 06/03/2014]
Oxford Mail

15/04/2016 ScotRail strike ballot triggered by row over downgrading of staff [Scotsman]
A strike ballot has been called at ScotRail over plans to downgrade conductors on a new electric train fleet, The Scotsman has learned. Hundreds of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will take part after officials failed to get the “necessary assurances” that the proposals would not go ahead.

14/04/2016 Peek inside the Queen Street tunnel revamp [BBC News]
Take a peek inside the major revamp of Glasgow's Queen Street station tunnel. The £60m upgrade will allow faster, longer trains to operate from the station.
BBC News

14/04/2016 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway raises £250k for 'last mile' [BBC News]
An appeal for £1.25m to complete the 'last mile' of a heritage railway line has raised £250,000 in one week. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) currently runs between Cheltenham and Laverton but wants to extend to Broadway in Worcestershire. A public share scheme raised more than £500,000 in 2014 and GWSR said 'over £35,000 per day' was coming in. It is hoped funding will enable the opening of a station in Broadway in 2018.

BR 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince on a visit from the East Somerset Railway to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in August 2009, seen here taking on water at the end of the platfom at Cheltenham Racecourse station.
Cheltenham Racecourse
[Ian Dinmore 30/08/2009]

Spotless Stanier 8F no 8274 arrives at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 8 March 2014, the first day of the 2014 season.
[John McIntyre 08/03/2014]

Scene on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 26 May as 7903 Foremarke Hall, departing from Toddington for Cheltenham, is seen passing close to Hailes Abbey.
[Peter Todd 26/05/2013]
BBC News

14/04/2016 New railfreight hub proposed for West Midlands [Rail News]
PLANS have been published for a major rail interchange in the West Midlands, which its promoters say will boost the regional economy and could create between 6,500 and 8,500 jobs. The developer, Four Ashes, has already won the support of Network Rail. Early proposals outline a freight interchange with warehousing and other associated development on land west of Junction 12 of the M6 in southern Staffordshire.[From Richard Buckby]
Rail News
BBC News

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