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24/09/2016 Ambitious plans for new £70million train line to Aberdeen Airport and AECC [Press and Journal]
City council chiefs have unveiled ambitious £70million plans for a rail link to the airport and new exhibition and conference centre. This artist’s impression shows the route the new line would take and potential locations for stations. The heart of the city could be connected to Aberdeen International Airport by a light or heavy railway. And passengers would also be able to head straight to the new £333million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre – which is due for completion in 2019 – for concerts and shows.
Press and Journal

23/09/2016 Video: ScotRail's new Japanese trains put through their paces [Scotsman]
The Class 385 electric trains are due to arrive in Scotland next month for testing and go into service on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Falkirk in a year's time. One has been tested at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic since last month, where it has reached its 100mph top operating speed. Another train - without interiors - has arrived at Teesport after being shipped by sea from Japan. Most of the 70-strong fleet will be assembled at Hitachi’s nearby factory at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. Driver training is due to start in Scotland in the spring.

22/09/2016 Tracklaying completed for Chiltern to Oxford [Railway Gazette]
UK: Network Rail announced on September 21 that tracklaying had been completed to enable Chiltern Railways services to run to Oxford. Chiltern had begun operating between London Marylebone and a parkway station on the northern outskirts of the city last year; its trains are due to serve Oxford station, closer to the centre, from December 12. [From Richard Buckby]

The late running 18.13 to Marylebone arrives at a soaking wet Haddenham and Thame Parkway on 6 November. I had arrived via the new curve at Bicester [see image 47183].
Haddenham and Thame Parkway
[Ken Strachan 06/11/2015]

East side of Marylebone station from the concourse on 12 January 2013.
[Peter Todd 12/01/2013]

Busy period at Oxford on 22 September 2011. On the left is an Arriva Cross Country service heading for Manchester and on the right the driver of a First Great Western HST looks back along his train which will shortly depart for Paddington. In the middle is DBS 66001 waiting to follow in the path of the HST towards Didcot.
[John McIntyre 22/09/2011]
Railway Gazette

22/09/2016 Southern Railway facing more strikes [BBC News]
Southern Railway workers in England are to stage 14 days of strike action in five blocks in the long-running dispute over the role of conductors on trains. The RMT union said the latest strikes would begin next month. It said it had no alternative but to take action over what it called Southern's 'blatant disregard for the safety and security of passengers and staff alike.'
BBC News

22/09/2016 Scotland's most northerly railway line 'facing closure' [Scotsman]
The “shambolic” performance of Scotland’s most northerly railway could lead to its eventual closure, a book published today claims. Passenger numbers are falling on the route between Inverness, Wick and Thurso, which has been plagued by chronic unreliability and frequent cancellations. In Highland Survivor: the story of the Far North Line, rail consultant David Spaven argues for urgent action to reverse its fortunes. The 168-mile route was the biggest reprieve among those earmarked for closure by the Beeching report 50 years ago. However, unlike most Scottish lines which have enjoyed booming traffic, Britain’s longest rural route is declining and many journeys are far quicker by road.

North of Brora, The Far North Line runs along the east coast until it reaches Helmsdale then turns inland to follow the Strath of Kildonan. Black 5 No. 44871 is pictured near Loth, between Brora and Helmsdale, with The Great Britain IX.
[John Gray 01/05/2016]

About to board the 1307 service to Inverness at Thurso on 1 September 2015.
[Brian Smith 01/09/2015]

No rural idyll these days. Georgemas Junction now features a mighty 110-tonne gantry crane for road-rail transfer of contaminated materials from the decommissioned Dounreay nuclear site. As seen here on 26th August 2015, the redundant former up platform has been lost to the new facility.
Georgemas Junction
[David Spaven 26/08/2015]

21/09/2016 Hitachi signs long-term Class 800 engine contract with MTU [RTM]
MTU, a division of Rolls-Royce, will continue supplying PowerPacks for the Hitachi trains used on the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) after a new long-term contract was announced today. The company will provide additional MTU Series 1600 PowerPacks on top of 250 packs it was originally contracted to deliver for the Class 800 and 801 trains in 2012. It will also assume responsibility for their maintenance – both preventative and any repairs or major overhauls – from 2017, under a contract set to last the 27.5 years of Hitachi’s service and maintenance contract for the IEP. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail Technology Magazine

21/09/2016 Network Rail fined £4m over level crossing death of actress [BBC News]
Network Rail has been fined £4m over the death of a former film actress at a level crossing. Brenda McFarland, known as Olive, was killed in August 2011 when she was hit by a train at the Gipsy Lane crossing in Needham Market, Suffolk. The 82-year-old appeared alongside Sean Connery in The Frightened City in 1961, and in The Sweeney and BBC dramas. The rail firm was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court having admitted breaches in health and safety regulations.
BBC News

21/09/2016 Conductors to stay on ScotRail routes [Rail News]
RMT and ASLEF are recommending that their members accept a staffing agreement on ScotRail trains in the central belt which keeps conductors in their traditional 'safety critical' role. The RMT said new Hitachi trains for the Edinburgh-Glasgow electrification are to be modified with the installation of conductors' door control panels.
Rail News

21/09/2016 Blaenau Ffestiniog steam railway line plans revealed [Daily Post]
A seven mile stretch of abandoned railway in North Wales could soon be back in service under ambitious plans to reopen the line. Volunteers are set to start work this weekend on clearing vegetation from the trackbed to Trawfynydd. At present Arriva Trains services running from Llandudno Junction along the Conwy Valley line terminate at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Under the proposals a new full-sized steam railway will run to Trawfynydd, along the line last used to ferry nuclear flasks to be carried to the now de-commissioned power station. A train last used the track in October 1998.

Looking south from the site of Festiniog station at Llan Ffestiniog towards Trawsfynydd in March 2015. The line closed in 1961 but reopened for traffic to the nuclear power station in 1964. The last flask train ran in 1998 when Trawsfynydd closed but the disused tracks remain. [Ref queries 2931 / 4434]
[Mark Bartlett 15/03/2015]

Looking south over Maentwrog Road station in 2002 towards the twin Magnox reactors of Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. Closed to passengers in 1960 and to all traffic a year later, the line was reopened from Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1964 to serve the new power station a mile to the south. It finally closed in 1998 following the decommissioning of Trawsfynydd. The station building at Maentwrog Road is now part of a private residence.
Maentwrog Road
[Ewan Crawford //2002]
Daily Post

20/09/2016 Eurostar prepares to scrap 186mph Class 373s [Rail]
Eurostar is to send the first of its 186mph Class 373 trains for scrap after just 22 years in service. The 18-car trains will be scrapped by European Metal Recycling (EMR) at Kingsbury. The first train was due to move to EMR’s Midlands site as RAIL went to press. [From Richard Buckby]

A Paris - London eurostar snakes along the urban viaducts through Battersea in July 2005 using the ^old route^ to Waterloo International. Photographed using a long lens from the footbridge at Wandsworth Road station.
Wandsworth Road
[John Furnevel 21/07/2005]

Eurostars at Waterloo International in September 1995. [See image 39124]
[Ian Dinmore /09/1995]

A near full house at the St Pancras Eurostar terminal with one set just arriving at the blocks at 19.15 and the set to the right having preceded it in by only a few minutes.
St Pancras
[David Pesterfield 19/09/2013]

20/09/2016 ScotRail 'fudge' over driver-only dispute will see conductors closing doors - and drivers opening them [Herald]
A BITTER dispute over who operates the doors on Scotland's trains has ended 'in a fudge', according to critics, after ScotRail promised to retain conductors on its new trains to close the doors - while making drivers responsible for opening them. The operator was accused of 'chickening out' of the fight with trade union, RMT, while rail industry professionals warned that the decision is likely to ramp up the cost of delivering ScotRail's new electric trains while jeopardising punctuality and journey time targets.

19/09/2016 Services on landslip line return to normal [Rail News]
TRAIN services to London Euston have returned to normal after a landslip which damaged two trains and blocked the slow lines just north of Watford Junction. A London Midland service bound for Euston ran into debris at the northern portal of Watford Tunnel early on Friday morning. It was partly derailed and gave an approaching London Midland service bound for Birmingham a glancing blow. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

18/09/2016 Costs soar on another two Scots rail projects [Sunday Post]
THE costs of two more flagship rail projects in Scotland have soared. A Sunday Post investigation earlier this month revealed works on lines between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Aberdeen to Inverness, were tens of millions of pounds over budget. Now it’s been confirmed that electrification work on the Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane lines, as well as a 46-mile section of the Shotts line, is currently 50% over budget. The Office of Rail and Road confirmed it had launched an investigation into the budget overruns, blamed on poor design and extra costs of meeting safety legislation.
Sunday Post

18/09/2016 First Hitachi EMU for ScotRail on test [IRJ]
TESTING has started at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic of the first of 70 class 385 EMUs being built by Hitachi Rail Europe for the ScotRail franchise operated by Abellio. This is the first of six four-car trains being built by Hitachi at its Kasado factory in Japan. The remainder of the order for 24 four-car and 46 three-car EMUs will be produced at Hitachi’s new factory in Newton Aycliffe, Britain.
International Railway Journal

16/09/2016 Train driver was nine times alcohol limit at Waverley Station [Scotsman]
A TRAIN driver has pleaded guilty to being almost nine times the alcohol limit as he prepared to take a service from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Colin Chapman, 54, was said to have been caught at Waverley Station before the late night service departed on May 25. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday that he provided a blood sample of 174 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Railway regulations stipulate a maximum reading of 20mg per 100ml. The court heard that Chapman, of Milngavie, had resigned as a train driver following his arrest.

16/09/2016 Train derailed in 'landslide' near Watford Junction [BBC News]
A train has derailed near Watford Junction, operator London Midland has confirmed. No-one was injured when the 06:19 BST service from Milton Keynes to Euston left the track. The accident was caused by a reported landslide, believed to have happened after flooding in the area. A spokesman said London Midland and Virgin services would be 'severely disrupted' from the north-west of England, Scotland, and the Midlands.
BBC News

14/09/2016 Derelict railway building on top 10 at-risk buildings [BBC News]
A Grade II*-listed railway station building in Cardiff is among this year's top 10 most endangered buildings. The Victorian Society has published its annual list of the most at-risk Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales. The old Bute Road Station, in Cardiff Bay, is the only Welsh building on it. Actor and Victorian Society vice-resident Griff Rhys Jones called for locals to campaign to save them. The building is thought to have been designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was built as the headquarters of the Taff Vale Railway in 1842-43.

153353 stands at Cardiff Bay with the 12 minute interval shuttle to Queen Street on 18 October. Beyond is the former Taff Vale Railway^s Cardiff Dock, later Bute Road station building.
Cardiff Bay
[Bill Roberton 18/10/2015]

The original 1840 Brunel terminus of the Taff Vale Railway is a Grade II listed building that housed a museum for a period but is currently empty. It opened as Cardiff Docks, later Cardiff Bute Rd and became Cardiff Bay in 1994. Trains depart from a platform just to the right of this picture.
Cardiff Bay
[Mark Bartlett 18/09/2009]

Originally opened in 1840 as Cardiff Docks, the station was renamed Cardiff Bute Road in 1924 before eventually settling for its current name, Cardiff Bay, in 1994. The disused original station building and large canopy are seen looking north over Hemingway Road on 19 April 2011. The present day single bay platform is located beyond the north end of the building running parallel with Bute Street [see image 33846].
Cardiff Bay
[David Pesterfield 19/04/2011]
BBC News

13/09/2016 Time called on old Arbroath station clocks [Courier]
ScotRail has called time on an Angus rail station’s historic clocks. The timepieces have been decommissioned after decades spent hanging from the roof in Arbroath. The old station clocks hung above each of the platforms but were struggling to keep accurate time due to their age. They will remain in place as part of the 168-year-old Keptie Street station’s heritage with both hands turned to 12.

A mid-afternoon Aberdeen - Glasgow Queen Street 158 service arrives at Arbroath station in August 2006.
[John Furnevel 09/08/2006]

The 1220 Grangemouth - Aberdeen containers northbound through Arbroath on 7 October 2014 behind DRS 68005.
[Sandy Steele 07/10/2014]

Local service DMU at Arbroath in 1989 about to leave for Dundee.
[Ewan Crawford //1989]

12/09/2016 Full steam ahead for plan to blast leaves off the line with train-mounted microwaves [Telegraph]
Trains on Britain's beleaguered railways could be fitted with powerful microwaves to blast leaves off the line. Rail bosses are considering tackling the perennial problem by zapping tracks with a device at least 100 times more powerful than a kitchen microwave ovens The technology, designed to dry the tracks instantly in the autumn, is among a series of solutions being investigated by the Rail Safety and Standards Board. The project is part of a £4 million programme to ease delays caused by falling leaves and, if adopted, could be introduced within two years. [From Mark Bartlett]

MPVs DR98955 and DR98905 on RHTT duties from Girvan to Mossend through Barassie station on 12 September 2015.
Barassie Junction
[Ken Browne 12/09/2015]

The RHTT from Carlisle Kingmoor to Carlisle Kingmoor via the S&C and WCML waits in platform 5 at Preston station on 15 October 2011 with DRS 57009 on the tail and 57008 in the distance at the front. The train is waiting for a path north following the departure of the Highland Sleeper for Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness via Edinburgh a few minutes earlier.
[John McIntyre 15/10/2011]

^The Leaf Train^ passing Cardross in October 2011 - back for another glorious year of leaf disposal!
[Beth Crawford 13/10/2011]

12/09/2016 Network Rail: EGIP overhead lines won’t have to be restrung [Rail News]
Overhead catenary installed on the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow won’t have to be taken down and replaced, says Network Rail, as some press reports have claimed. A report by Glasgow Live stated that parts of the newly fitted OLE would have to be “ripped up and started again” as they had been strung too low. Similar stories were run by the Sunday Post and the Edinburgh Evening News. Responding to the coverage, Network Rail said the wires had been installed at the correct height and that it was only at some stations and bridges where it was having to review clearances. The issue which has arisen because of a change in the European OLE TSI standards introduced in 2014 – two years after work began on the project. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

10/09/2016 Five hurt as Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch steam train hits tractor [BBC News]
Five people have been injured after a miniature steam train collided with a tractor at a crossing in Kent. Emergency services were called to the tracks near Hythe Road, in Dymchurch, at about 14:30 BST. Fifty passengers were evacuated from the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway train after the engine and a carriage came off the tracks, onto their side.

NG Pacific No 7 Typhoon stands at New Romney on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in August 1990.
New Romney
[Peter Todd 04/08/1990]

RHDR Pacific no 10, built by the Yorkshire Engine Company in 1931, waits with a train at Dungeness in 1967.
[K A Gray //1967]

Shed scene at New Romney on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in the summer of 1967. The locomotive is Pacific No 9 Winston Churchill. [Yorkshire Engine Co 2294/1931]
New Romney
[Robin Barbour Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) //1967]
BBC News

09/09/2016 Minister orders improvements to fix Borders Railway's 'unacceptable' performance [Scotsman]
An improvement plan to address the Borders Railway's 'unacceptable' performance has been ordered by transport minister Humza Yousaf, it was revealed today. The move came as the first-year passenger journey total for the Edinburgh-Tweedbank route was expected to top 1.4 million - around 20 per cent above target. ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster and transport minister Humza Yousaf cut a cake to celebrate Borders Railway's first birthday Mr Yousaf told The Scotsman said: 'Performance on this line in my view has not been acceptable. 'I am pleased the ScotRail Alliance has put together an improvement plan. 'I will push them to do that as quickly as possible, and expect reliability to be significantly improved.' Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that train performance on the £350 million railway hit a new low at the beginning of August. ScotRail figures showed only about one in four trains - 28.4 per cent - arrived on time. Campaigners said their figures showed the situation was even worse and said the 'shocking' number of delays and cancellations had reached 'epidemic' proportions.

09/09/2016 London to Manchester in 18 minutes? All aboard the new speed-of-sound train [Telegraph]
The British government has expressed an interest in Hyperloop, a new travel technology that could reach the speed of sound – and reduce the commute time from Manchester to London to just 18 minutes. Hyperloop, which is currently being developed in the US, will use magnetic train-like pods to shuttle passengers and freight in a vacuum network of tubes, above or below ground. Early tests indicate maximum speeds of 1,220 km/h, although the idea – which was conceived by Tesla billionaire and head of SpaceX, Elon Musk – is still at concept stage. [From Mark Bartlett]

08/09/2016 Cattle-class: are Thameslink's new 'tube-style' trains the future of commuting? [Guardian]
Somewhere amid the strikes, cancellations and fury over Southern rail owners’ staggering profits, a new kind of train slipped quietly onto the lines in the south-east of England this summer. It has been talked up as the “future of commuting”; a way of easing the overcrowding woes of all those unhappy souls crammed into London-bound carriages each day. But this future still involves the struggle to find a seat – let alone a table. [From Richard Buckby]

07/09/2016 David Spaven: We need to save one of Scotland’s heritage routes [Scotsman]
The Far North Line is one of the great rail survivors, but action is needed to ensure it stays on the transport map, says David Spaven Britain’s longest rural railway – the 168-mile Far North Line from Inverness to Wick and Thurso – is one of the country’s most remarkable rail survivors.

07/09/2016 Historic Aberdeen turntable on track for new lease of life [Press and Journal]
An A-listed railway turntable in Aberdeen is on track for a major refurbishment to bring it steaming back to life. Last August, Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust was awarded £298,158 by Historic Scotland for the purpose of renovating the former Ferryhill Locomotive Depot. [From Charlie Niven]

4472 Flying Scotsman on the turntable at Ferryhill during its 4 hour stopover in Aberdeen on 16 May 1964. The A3 had arrived in the city from Edinburgh with the Queens College RTS ^Flying Scotsman Railtour^.
[John Robin 16/05/1964]

View across the turntable pit at Ferryhill shed in 1974.
Ferryhill MPD
[Bill Roberton //1974]

Austerity 2-8-0 90020 of 62A Thornton Junction backs off the turntable at Ferryhill shed in July 1963.
Ferryhill MPD
[Colin Miller 12/07/1963]
Press and Journal

06/09/2016 Delays hit Borders Railway's first birthday [BBC News]
Signalling problems have caused delays and cancellations on the Borders Railway on the day it reached the first anniversary of its opening. ScotRail said disruption on the route between Tweedbank and Edinburgh was expected until about 19:00. A train shuttle service was running between Newcraighall and Tweedbank with a bus replacement between Newcraighall and Edinburgh.
BBC News

06/09/2016 David Spaven: Quango manages to derail Borders success story [Scotsman]
This day last year marked one of the most remarkable achievements in British railway history. The opening of the line to Tweedbank ended the Scottish Borders’ unwanted 46-year status as the only region of Britain without a train service – with the 30½ miles of new Borders Railway constituting the longest line ever re-opened in the country.

06/09/2016 Borders Railway marks first anniversary of opening [BBC News]
The Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank has reached the first anniversary of its opening. The first services ran on the multi-million pound route on 6 September 2015 with the official opening by the Queen three days later. It exceeded forecast usage figures of 650,000 passengers a year within its first six months. However, there have been some problems with overcrowding and cancellations which ScotRail has pledged to tackle.

Crowds pour off the (bang-on-time) 09.40 arrival of the first ScotRail train from Tweedbank at Waverley on Sunday 6th September.
Edinburgh Waverley
[David Spaven 06/09/2015]

^Hello! It^s good to be back!^ The first scheduled passenger train on the Borders Railway calls at Newtongrange on 6 September 2015 on its way from Tweedbank to Edinburgh.
[John Furnevel 06/09/2015]

The crowds continue to enjoy the Borders Railway throughout the brilliantly sunny opening day as the 1404 from Edinburgh arrives at Galashiels on 6th September 2015.
[Colin McDonald 06/09/2015]
BBC News

05/09/2016 Electric GWR services launched from Paddington [Rail News]
ELECTRIC GWR trains have started running for the first time. GWR said four Bombardier Electrostar sets running as two eight-car formations launched the service between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington today, with the first train leaving Paddington at 07.15. The inaugural up service left Hayes three minutes later. The launch marks a notable landmark in the often controversial project to electrify the Great Western Main Line, although the first electric trains are relying on overhead equipment which was installed almost 20 years ago for Heathrow Express. There are hopes that the new electric services can be extended to Maidenhead and then on to Reading by 2017, which is also set to become the western terminus of the Elizabeth line the following year. [From Richard Buckby]

View over Paddington station in April 2011 with a First Great Western HST about to depart.
[Ian Dinmore 15/04/2011]

Castle class 4-6-0 no 5079 Lysander getting ready to leave Paddington in 1959 with the ^Torbay Express^.
[K A Gray //1959]

Looking back towards the station concourse from the footbridge at Paddington in July 2005.
[John Furnevel 20/07/2005]
Rail News

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