A History of Britain's Railways
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07/12/2016 National Railway Heritage Awards
Network Rail Property and CPMS today won the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the conversion of Corrour signal box to holiday accommodation. Platform 1864 Restaurant at Tain Station was a runner-up in the same category. The other Scottish runner-up was Keith Town for the Taylor Woodrow Partnership Award, where the winner was Dover Marine.

The interior of the Platform 1864 restaurant at Tain station (not Frant!).
[John Yellowlees 17/06/2016]

The early afternoon service to Dufftown awaits its departure time at Keith Town on 20 May 2012.
Keith Town
[John Furnevel 20/05/2012]

Class 37 hauled sleeper train heading south at Corrour at night. Lit by studio flashes.
[Ewan Crawford //]
National Railway Heritage Awards

06/12/2016 Chris Grayling unveils plans for fully privatised rail line [Guardian]
The government has unveiled plans for a fully privatised railway line, with track and trains operated by the same company. A new line linking Oxford and Cambridge will not be developed by Network Rail, the owner of Britain’s rail infrastructure. Instead, a new entity will be responsible for track and infrastructure, as well as operating train services, under proposals drawn up by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling.

Services for Bletchley (left) and Bedford (right) cross at this lonely stop on the remnant of the Oxford - Cambridge ^Varsity line^ in February 2012. [see image 37613]
[Ken Strachan 10/02/2012]

168 312 standing under the new footbridge and lifts waiting to head for London. [See image 25588] for a similar view 7 years previously.
Bicester Town
[Peter Todd 09/01/2016]

Brick City. Stewartby (originally Wootton Pillinge), Bedfordshire, on the Oxford - Bedford line in 1974, Built to house workers of the London Brick Co, with kilns and chimneys surrounding the station and dominating the landscape. At its peak, this enormous site boasted 167 chimneys and produced 16 million bricks per day. [Editor^s note: The last bricks were made here on 29 Feb 2008 following a rundown by owners Hanson, due to failure to meet limits for sulphur dioxide emissions. The 4 remaining chimneys on the site are now listed structures.]
[Ian Dinmore 16/02/1974]
BBC News

06/12/2016 Bad Aibling train crash: German controller jailed [BBC News]
A German court has sentenced a train controller to three and a half years in jail over a rail disaster in Bavaria which killed 12 people and injured 89. The 40-year-old defendant, named as Michael P, admitted making a signalling error and dialling the wrong emergency number. Two commuter trains collided near Bad Aibling in February. The controller also admitted having played a computer game on his mobile phone just before the crash. [From Richard Buckby]
BBC News

06/12/2016 Britain's most and least used train stations revealed, with one getting just 12 passengers a year [Telegraph]
An East Cambridgeshire rail station has been named the least used in the country for the second year in a row, with just 12 people using it throughout the whole of last year. Estimates from the Office for Rail and Road show that a dozen passengers boarded or exited a train at Shippea Hill station throughout 2015/16 - one a month. This was the smallest number of passengers for any station in the country last year with the number of people arriving at or departing from the station decreasing compared to 2014/15, down from 22. [From Mark Bartlett]

First station after leaving the Severn Tunnel on the Cardiff - Bristol route is Pilning, seen here with a PW squad giving way to a 158 on 17 August 2007.
[Peter Todd 17/08/2007]

An exceptionally hot day at Barry Links looking south in August 2006 with an Aberdeen bound express service on the level crossing. The up platform was part of an island with the south side once used by troop trains serving the nearby MoD Barry Buddon training camp [see image 49155].
Barry Links
[John Furnevel 13/08/2006]

^Your continued support is much appreciated...^ The heavily buttressed signal box at Shippea Hill, between Ely and Norwich, about to be passed by a westbound HST in the summer of 1997. Shippea Hill stands in a totally flat Fen landscape a considerable distance from any substantial settlement and sees very low passenger numbers. There is nothing remotely resembling a hill anywhere near here.
Shippea Hill
[Ian Dinmore 23/06/1997]

06/12/2016 Plans for three new Leeds railway stations unveiled [RTM]
Leeds is set to get three new railway stations as part of a £270m transport strategy set to be unveiled tomorrow. A new parkway station will be built on the existing Leeds to Harrogate line at Leeds Airport, while new stations will also be built at Thorpe Park and White Rose Shopping Centre & Office Park. The scheme was designed after Patrick McLoughlin, then transport secretary, blocked plans for a Leeds trolleybus scheme, meaning that the council had to decide how to reinvest £173.5m of DfT money by 2021. If the plans are approved, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and private partners will provide the rest of the funding, bringing the total budget to over £270m. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail Technology Magazine

05/12/2016 Trains and track come together in rail management revamp [BBC News]
The way that England's railway network is run is set to be overhauled under plans outlined by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He wants each rail franchise to be run by joint management teams, including representatives from both the train operating company and Network Rail. Mr Grayling said: 'I intend to start bringing back together the operation of track and train on our railways.' The changes will start when each franchise is renewed in the future. The minister stressed that he wanted his proposed changes to lead to a big improvement in service for passengers, who are travelling on an increasingly crowded and expensive network.
BBC News

05/12/2016 London Underground drivers call off planned strike action [BBC News]
A 24-hour strike due to take place on two London Underground lines from Tuesday evening has been suspended. Drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City lines were going to walk out over a breakdown in industrial relations. But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) said the action had been called off after talks at conciliation service Acas. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said 'significant progress' had been made. The union said 'all objectives' had been achieved in the dispute on the Piccadilly line, while further talks would take place 'aimed at a long-term agreement on the Hammersmith & City line'. The strike would have caused major disruption on both lines, with no trains running on the Piccadilly line and a significantly reduced service on the Hammersmith & City line. London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the suspension saying that 'negotiations can now continue without unnecessary disruption for commuters'.
BBC News

05/12/2016 Metrolink tram driver sacked for speeding on Oldham line [BBC News]
A tram driver was sacked for speeding on a bend on the Oldham line in Greater Manchester in June. The Metrolink driver took a corner at nearly three times the speed limit causing passengers to be hurled from their seats, the Manchester Evening News reported. Three passengers suffered 'very minor' injuries, operator Metrolink said. It was therefore 'not reportable' under the Rail Accident and Investigation Branch (RAIB) guidelines, it said. [From Mark Bartlett]
BBC News

05/12/2016 ScotRail to draft in more trains to cut overcrowding [Scotsman]
ScotRail is hoping to ease its acute overcrowding by drafting in more trains from south of the border. The operator also plans to switch more trains to its busiest routes, including Edinburgh-North Berwick, to help reduce the commuter crush. News of the changes come days after ScotRail announced that two daily rush hour services on the Borders Railway would be doubled in length from next week to help cope with passenger demand. Abellio, which runs ScotRail, ordered 70 new trains when it won the franchise two years ago, but the first of its two fleets will not start arriving until next autumn, and the second is now delayed until the second half of 2018.

A Class 321 EMU slows for the stop at Hythe station on 7th January 2012. It will call after at Colchester Town, reverse and terminate at Colchester. Private housing, a large DIY store and student flats have replaced the industrial sites that used to feature in this view.
[Mark Dufton 07/01/2012]

Waiting for work. A pair of Class 320 EMUs in ScotRail blue, stabled in platform 3 (onetime platform 4) at Helensburgh Central on 23 September 2012.
Helensburgh Central
[John McIntyre 23/09/2012]

05/12/2016 Electrification of London Overground’s Gospel Oak-Barking line 80% complete [GRN]
Network Rail and its main contractor, J Murphy & Sons, are close to completing the £133 million electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line. Work on the London Overground line is 80 per cent complete and on schedule to reopen in February 2017 following a lengthy closure. From 2018, the two-car Class 172 diesel units currently in use will be replaced by four-car Bombardier Aventra EMUs. Over 100 kilometres of overhead catenary and more than 600 structures are being installed along the line. [From Richard Buckby]
Global Rail News

04/12/2016 ScotRail's 'new' fleet of trains are so old the engines have already appeared in railway museum [Daily Record]
ScotRail are about to introduce trains that are so old, the engine has been on display in a museum. A fleet of 40-year-old diesel high-speed engines are due to start operating in 2018 in a bid to increase passenger capacity. They will be the oldest trains in ScotRail’s stock . The InterCity 125 is used by Great Western Railway in England but is being replaced with electric stock. One of the first made went on display at the National Railway Museum in York in October to mark its 40th anniversary.
Daily Record

04/12/2016 The future of Scotrail? A co-op run by workers and passengers [Sunday Herald]
THE SNP Government is looking at putting Scotland’s railways into a co-operative, with workers and passengers taking charge of the service as part of a possible plan for a publicly owned train network. A source close to Scotland's Transport Minister Humza Yousaf revealed the option for the future of rail after the government staged a summit with trade unions, officials, pressure groups and politicians. The Sunday Herald previously reported that a model ministers are understood to have in mind for rail renationalisation is based on CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL), which describes itself as a “wholly-owned subsidiary of David MacBrayne Ltd, which is wholly owned by Scottish ministers”.
Sunday Herald

04/12/2016 Car crashes into Virgin train at level crossing in Lanarkshire [STV News]
A Virgin Voyager train has hit a car at a level crossing in South Lanarkshire. It is thought the train dragged the vehicle 80 yards during the incident at the Cleghorn level crossing, shortly before 7pm on Saturday. Services in the area have seen major disruption, with trains through Carluke and Carstairs cancelled or delayed. Eyewitnesses said the car turned on to the railway by accident, and the occupants were able to get out before it was hit. There are no casualties and the train, which was bound for Glasgow from Preston, did not derail.

Don^t even think about it! A southbound Pendolino speeds south over Cleghorn level crossing near Lanark on 24 May 2007.
[John Furnevel 24/05/2007]

Looking north over the level crossing at Cleghorn station on the WCML towards Glasgow around 1944. The station closed to passengers in January 1965.
[Ian Steele Collection //1944]
STV News

03/12/2016 Borders Railway fails to meet expected first-year growth [Scotsman]
The initial surge in passengers on the Borders Railway was reversed in the second half of its first year, official figures showed today. They reveal the 22 per cent more journeys than expected in the new line's first six months was cancelled out by its first anniversary in September.

Until housing development gets going in this planned new town we are going to have to get used to Shawfair station being not much of a draw. Here on opening week there are only 7 cars in the car park and one customer on the Edinburgh platform. Nobody at all is awaiting the 1608 to Tweedbank, just pulling in.
[David Panton 08/09/2015]

The first service train on the Borders Railway accelerates away from the stop at Stow towards Galabank Junction. This was the 0845 from Tweedbank, formed by 3x2 car 158 units, on 6th September 2015. Cribbilaw Hill (350m) dominates the background scenery.
[Bill Jamieson 06/09/2015]

^Tornado^ receives attention having arrived at Tweedbank. Poor 158, until recently its kind were the centre of attention here.
[John Yellowlees 13/09/2015]

03/12/2016 Exclusive: Network Rail to be stripped of control over Britain’s train tracks as operators will win power to improve services [Telegraph]
Network Rail will be stripped of its control over Britain’s train tracks and power will be handed to operators in the biggest shake-up of the railways for decades, the Government is to announce. In an attempt to end delays and to lower fares for consumers, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, will say he wants the state-owned Network Rail to share responsibility for running the tracks with private train operators. It means that rail companies such as Virgin and Southern would become responsible for repairs and maintenance for the first time, ending Network Rail's monopoly. The Government hopes the change will incentivise train companies to complete repairs more quickly and possibly herald cheaper fares.

02/12/2016 Trains run on Post Office's 'mail rail' underground line for first time in a decade [Evening Standard]
Trains have run on the Post Office's underground rail lines in London for the first time since the service was abandoned more than a decade ago. A test drive was carried out through a section of the 'mail rail' track, which has not been used since 2003, ahead of its public opening next summer. The network was established in 1927 and stretched for 6.5 miles from Whitechapel in the east to Paddington in the west, 70 feet below street level.
Evening Standard

02/12/2016 ScotRail fares decision 'before year-end' [BBC News]
The Scottish government has promised a decision on rail fares before the end of the year. Across the UK, train fares will go up by an average of 2.3% from 2 January. Regulated ScotRail fares are currently capped at the level of the Retail Price Index (RPI). Off-peak regulated fares are capped at 1% below RPI. Scottish Labour has called for ScotRail fares to be frozen, an idea First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said could be considered. A Scottish government spokeswoman said: 'No final decision has been taken on next year's fares in Scotland and we are looking at options before the end of the year.
BBC News

02/12/2016 Train fares to rise by average of 2.3% [BBC News]
Train fares in Britain will go up by an average of 2.3% from 2 January, the rail industry has announced. The increase covers both regulated fares, which includes season tickets, and unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets. The rise in regulated fares had already been capped at July's Retail Prices Index inflation rate of 1.9%. Unregulated fares face no cap. Campaigners said passengers would be disappointed by the increase. 'Passengers will now want to see the industry's investment deliver a more reliable day-to-day railway,' said Anthony Smith, chief executive of the watchdog Transport Focus.
BBC News

02/12/2016 Vivarail trial start date delayed from October to February [RTM]
The Vivarail Class 230 train will now not begin its trial runs on the Coventry to Nuneaton (NUCKLE) line until next February because of problems with the approval process. The innovative three-car D Train is built from upcycled bodyshells and bogies from London Underground rolling stock, and seats 300 passengers. The train is due to be operated by London Midland on the NUCKLE line, replacing a single car Class 153 train. [From Richard Buckby]

An unusually green view of Bedworth in July 2012, as the 18.53 Coventry - Nuneaton continues its journey north. The hourly passenger service on this line is supplemented by lots of heavy freight [see image 35643], which doesn^t take kindly to frequent stops - hence the failure of proposals to provide a tram service on the line. Despite the empty appearance of the station in this shot, ORR statistics show a 45% increase in usage in the last year - up to 1,000 passengers per week.
[Ken Strachan 05/07/2012]

Vivarail D-Train in the short platform at Long Marston on 17 August 2015. The D-Train, rebuilt around former LU D78 stock, is currently undergoing testing here [see recent news item].
Long Marston
[Ian Dinmore 17/08/2015]

Ex-LU D78 car with ^modified front end^ in the yard at Long Marston on 17 August 2015. The ^modification^ resulted from a controlled crash into a 3 tonne tank of water during testing of the bodyshells, which are being converted to low cost ^D-Train^ DMUs by Vivarail.
Long Marston
[Ian Dinmore 17/08/2015]
Rail Technology Magazine

01/12/2016 Transport Minister holds talks on public bid to run ScotRail services [Herald]
The Transport Minister has met with passenger groups, unions and political parties to discuss options for bringing Scotland's railways into public ownership. Humza Yousaf said formal engagement would begin in the new year to look at creating a public sector bid for future ScotRail franchises amid ongoing criticism of performance under current operator Abellio. Mr Yousaf has said such a bid could be ready for 2020 when a clause in the contract with Abellio would allow it to be broken.

30/11/2016 Aberdeenshire railway station requires £3m to reopen [Scotsman]
AN ABERDEENSHIRE railway station which closed over 50 years ago will be revived - if authorities can plug a £2.9m funding gap. Kintore railway station in Aberdeenshire will be brought back into use 52 years after it was closed if bosses at Nestrans, the region’s transport partnership, can agree how to source nearly £3 million of funding. Opening a new station at Kintore will cost £12.2 million, with 50% of that total already secured via contributions from Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Stations Fund (SSF), administered by Transport Scotland. Nestrans transport chiefs will meet soon to decide how to plug the funding gap of £2.97 million required to complete the project, and will push for SSF to increase their contribution by 10%.

30/11/2016 First test tram runs along Metrolink’s new Second City Crossing [TGM]
Metrolink began testing trams on the new section of the route between the new-look St Peter’s Square tram stop and Exchange Square stop in the early hours of Thursday morning (1 December). The transformational Second City Crossing, due to open to passengers early next year, will allow Metrolink to run more frequent tram services through the city centre and across the 93-stop network. The new line – which connects the expanded St Peter’s Square stop via Princess Street and Cross Street with Exchange Square and Victoria Station – will also allow greater operational flexibility and improve service reliability. [From Mark Bartlett]
Transport for Greater Manchester

29/11/2016 ScotRail publishes 249-point improvement plan [Rail Technology Magazine]
Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf has called for “immediate improvement” in Scotland’s rail services as ScotRail’s performance improvement plan was published in full. The Scottish government had come under pressure from opposition parties, including Scottish Labour, to reveal the details of the improvement plan due to a plague of recent problems affecting Abellio ScotRail services, including a train breakdown near Edinburgh and overhead wiring issues near Glasgow. ScotRail’s 249-point plan includes measures to improve punctuality and reliability through various local and national initiatives such as numerous infrastructure developments, better communication with customers and the launch of an ‘On Time Every Second Counts’ campaign. Yousaf, who visited Edinburgh Waverley Station before speaking at a rail conference, said that he was “delighted” that the plan was being published, hoping that the publication will spur “immediate improvement” in ScotRail’s performance. [From Richard Buckby]

29/11/2016 Calls for devolved Network Rail backed [BBC News]
Calls for the Scottish Parliament to be given full responsibility over Network Rail have been backed by a think tank. Reform Scotland said its research suggested more than half of delays to trains in Scotland were due to Network Rail faults rather than ScotRail. It said devolving the organisation would allow a 'clear line of accountability' when things go wrong. Network Rail is funded by Transport Scotland but is ultimately accountable to Westminster, not Holyrood. A spokesman for Network Rail said: 'We work closely with the Scottish and UK governments to continually enhance and improve our railways. Any discussions over further devolution of Network Rail in Scotland would be a matter for those governments'. The full devolution of Network Rail - which is responsible for maintaining rail infrastructure - has been a long-standing ambition of the Scottish government.
BBC News

28/11/2016 Southern Railway drivers vote to strike over driver-only trains [Sky News]
Drivers on Southern Railway have overwhelmingly voted to strike in a dispute over driver-only trains. The move raises the prospect of further travel disruption on Southern over the holiday period. Members of the ASLEF union backed walkouts by 87% and other forms of action by 95%, with a turnout of 77%. The union's executive is now deciding its next move and will have to give seven days' notice of any industrial action. ASLEF accuses Southern Railway of seeking to impose changes rather than trying to find common ground, while the company's owners branded the ballot 'wholly unnecessary and unjustified'.
Sky News

28/11/2016 Piccadilly line delays: Commuters face fresh Tube chaos as 'shortage of trains' continues [Evening Standard]
Commuters on the Piccadilly Line look set to fresh rush hour chaos because of an ongoing “shortage of trains”. Around half the line’s trains were taken out of service on Friday due to “wet leaves on the track” and the situation has continued over the weekend. Transport bosses said the slippery rails were causing wheels on the Tube trains to lock, leading to excessive wear and rendering them unsafe. Transport for London had warned the problems on the Underground’s fourth busiest line could last for days with no estimate of when the issue will be resolved, while the wheels are replaced.

Platform scene at South Ealing station on the Piccadilly Line in September 2015. [Ref query 1579]
South Ealing
[Michael Gibb /09/2015]

Eastbound Piccadilly line tube trains from Heathrow (left) and Rayners Lane meet just west of Acton Town station on 21 July 2005.
Acton Town
[John Furnevel 21/07/2005]

King^s Cross St Pancras westbound Piccadilly line platform on 14 July 1994. The poster in Spanish reads ^There^ll be someone at home waiting to hear your voice^. It goes on to compare the cost of a call to Spain with that of a hot chocolate and pastry, and reminds us ^It^s good to talk^. You^ll have to imagine a Spanish Bob Hoskins.
Kings Cross St Pancras
[David Panton 14/07/1994]
Evening Standard

28/11/2016 Train derailment causes delays to rail passengers in North West [BBC News]
A derailed engineering train has caused huge disruption to rail travellers in the North West. The train's wheels came off the tracks at Ordsall Lane junction in Eccles, Salford, just after 01:00 GMT. Trains to and from Manchester Airport were cancelled while services to Scotland via Preston were also hit. The line was re-opened at 08:00 GMT but Network Rail said that 'widespread' problems would continue until 13:00 GMT. Replacement buses had to be used as the problems affected Arriva Trains Wales, Northern and Transpennine services. [From Mark Bartlett]
BBC News

28/11/2016 FirstGroup “keen” to bid for ScotRail franchise [Press and Journal]
Aberdeen-based FirstGroup has revealed it is keen to make a bid for the ScotRail franchise as pressure mounts on Dutch operator Abellio. The company reaffirmed its interest in regaining the contract it lost in 2014 after Scottish Labour released figures showing nearly 50 trains a day were either being cancelled or significantly delayed on Scotland’s railway network. Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the Scottish Government to strip Abellio of the 10-year contract, worth up to £6billion, unless services improve. FirstGroup ran the majority of Scottish train services for 10 years until they were taken over in April last year by Abellio, a subsidiary of Dutch national rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen.
Press and Journal

27/11/2016 Top official resigns, three arrested in Iran’s train crash [Daily Times]
TEHRAN: The head of Iranian Railways resigned on Saturday after three of his employees were arrested over a collision between two trains that left at least 44 people dead. Mohsen Poor-Seyed Aghaie, a deputy minister in the transport ministry and head of the state-owned railway company, appeared on state television late Saturday and announced his resignation “as a social responsibility and out of sympathy for the survivors of this accident”. Two trains collided and one caught fire in the northern province of Semnan on Friday, killing 44 people and injuring dozens more, in one of the country’s worst ever rail disasters.
Daily Times

25/11/2016 Transport watchdogs threaten to take action if Scotrail’s poor track statistics doesn’t work [Sun]
TROUBLESHOOTERS will be sent in to rescue Scotland’s failing rail service if a new shake-up hits the buffers, a scathing report warns. Transport watchdogs say they’ll take action if the latest plan to improve ScotRail’s poor track statistics doesn’t work. The Office of Rail and Road also claimed the nation’s creaking rail system could collapse completely if there’s a harsh winter.

KML version