UK railway news roundup

HS2 should be scrapped according to a free market think tank.

Heritage railways are at risk of closure, plus HS2 is back in the headlines as the high speed rail project is given the go-ahead to enter its construction phase. Here’s this week’s roundup:

Get your latest service updates.

HS2 given the go-ahead to enter construction phase

HS2 should be scrapped according to a free market think tank.

Companies in the UK have been given the green light by the Government to begin construction works for HS2.

Following the decision to proceed with the high speed rail project earlier this year, HS2 Ltd has today issued a ‘Notice to proceed’ to the companies that will undertake construction on the new line.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “While the Government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.” Read the full statement and story here.

Rail workers avoided 125mph train ‘by less than a second’

Forward-facing CCTV image from front of train approximately one second before it passed the inspection team (Virgin Trains). This image is affected by bright sunlight and has been enhanced to improve its clarity.
Forward-facing CCTV image from front of train approximately one second before it passed the inspection team. This image is affected by bright sunlight and has been enhanced to improve its clarity. Photo: GOV.UK

A train travelling at 125mph almost struck three track workers after a breakdown in communications, a Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report concludes.

The Network Rail workers jumped clear less than one second before the train passed them on the West Coast main line back in November. The RAIB report said one of the lookouts had not known he was meant to raise the alarm.

It said the lookout team had used “informal language” rather than following the proper protocols. Read what happened here.

Railway landmarks lit up in support for NHS workers

Some of the best known railway landmarks across the UK were lit up in blue to show support for NHS and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo: Network Rail

Some of the best known railway landmarks across the UK were lit up in blue to show support for NHS and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The historic Royal Albert Bridge which spans between Plymouth, Devon, and Saltash, Cornwall, was lit up in blue as a show of support to the NHS amongst others. See more here.

South Devon Railway ‘encouraged’ by initial emergency appeal response

Nearly two weeks after the appeal launched, the latest updated figure for the South Devon Railway’s ‘SOS – Save Our Steam’ – £500,000 funding appeal shows that over £31,000 has been raised so far, which the railway says is “a very encouraging result.”

The charming GWR branch line reckons the current closure until half way through its main season will lead to a “massive and unsustainable financial hit.”

“This couldn’t have come at a worse time for the charity, with services stopping only a few days after they began following the closed winter maintenance period,” it said. Read more about the appeal here.

Llangollen Railway warns it’s at risk of closure

Llangollen Railway - GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. GARETH EVANS
Llangollen Railway – GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 is seen at Llangollen station. Photo: Gareth Evans

The Llangollen Railway (LR) has warned it is at risk of closure due to the coronavirus crisis – unless it urgently receives donations from its supporters.

Appealing to well-wishers, LR general manager Liz McGuinness said: “Forty-five years of endeavour in rebuilding the railway as a tourist attraction is under threat. Yes, the railway is closed and may never reopen its doors if we don’t receive enough donations or grant funding. We are extremely grateful for the donations we have received so far and they are helping to keep us alive for now.” Read the full appeal here.

Helston Railway appeals for donations to preserve Cornwall’s heritage

Helston Railway appeal for donations to preserve Cornwall's heritage

The Helston Railway is appealing to volunteers, members and friends of the railway to help preserve Cornwall’s heritage and donate to their emergency appeal.

In a statement by James Packman, chairman of the Helston Railway, he urges: “At the very moment when we were looking to reopen with a renewed energy of our volunteers and some exciting changes to show our visitors, we have been hit hard.” Read his full statement here.

Latest National Rail service updates

Check all services for reduced timetables.

Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services suspended until further notice

Grand Central – Grand Central service suspended until further notice

Hull Trains – Hull Trains service temporarily suspended until further notice

Transport For London Status

Thank you to everyone who is saving lives by staying at home and not travelling.

Our services are for journeys by NHS staff and other essential workers only. Our message to everyone else is simple: stay at home, don’t travel, save lives.

The vast majority of people have followed the instructions of the Mayor and Government and have stopped travelling. The number of people using Tube and rail services has plummeted by around 95% and the number of people using buses by around 85%. This is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It is essential that everyone continues not to travel and does not return to the transport network.

Our staff are working hard to support the NHS and protect all Londoners. Please help them and continue to follow the instructions not to travel for as long as it takes to defeat coronavirus.

Stay at home. Don’t travel. Save lives.

London Underground Status

There are no planned track closures this weekend, but some stations are temporarily closed.

London Overground Status

On Saturday 18 April, there will be no service between Kilburn High Road and Euston after 20:30. This is due to track work and HS2 works. Use alternative Tube and local bus routes.

Network Rail is carrying out works over the weekend which will affect the following London Overground services:

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 April, there will be no service between Romford and Upminster. Use local bus routes 165, 248 or 370.

On Sunday 19 April, there will be no service between:

• Richmond and Gospel Oak. Use District line services between Richmond and Gunnersbury. Rail replacement buses will run between Gunnersbury and Gospel Oak

• Willesden Junction and Shepherd’s Bush. Use local bus routes 220 or 228

From Sunday 19 until Thursday 23 April, there will be no service between Hackney Downs and Chingford after 22:45. Use alternative Tube or local bus routes. Rail replacement buses will run.

TfL Rail Status

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 April, there will be no service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. This is due to track work, overhead line enhancements and Crossrail station works. Rail replacement buses will run between Stratford and Romford, and between Newbury Park and Shenfield.

Buses and roads

We are running a reduced service on all bus routes. Due to the following works, some buses may be diverted or stop short of their normal destination. Make sure you check before you travel.

Shoreditch – Until 30 September 2020, Shoreditch High Street will have a contra-flow reducing the width of the carriageway in both directions between Holywell Lane and New Yards Inn. This is due to Shoreditch Village development works.

London Bridge – Until 31 October 2020, London Bridge is closed to general traffic (except buses, licensed taxis, motorcyclists and cyclists). Diversions are in place and there are changes to the junction either side of the bridge. Please take extra care when driving while all users, including pedestrians, get used to the new layout.

Drivers using Blackfriars Bridge or Tower Bridge should expect queues while crossing the river. Travel outside of peak times and use alternative river crossings including Vauxhall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges where possible for an easier journey. This is for essential maintenance works being carried out by the City of London Corporation.

Santander Cycles

The following docking stations will be out of service this weekend:

• Queen’s Gate, Kensington Gardens
• London Zoo, The Regent’s Park
• Albert Gate, Hyde Park
• Hyde Park Corner, Hyde Park
• Triangle Car Park, Hyde Park
• Serpentine Car Park, Hyde Park
• Palace Gate, Kensington Gardens
• Black Lion Gate, Kensington Gardens
• London Zoo Car Park, The Regent’s Park
• The Tennis Courts, The Regent’s Park
• Hoxton Station, Hoxton – due to a power outage
• Kensington Gore, Kensington – due to a power outage
• Nesham Street, Wapping – due to a power outage
• Eaton Square, Belgravia – due to a power outage
• Paddington Green Police Station, Paddington – due to a power outage

West Midlands Metro

Key changes to timetable:

Sunday:
• Trams will be every 15 minutes from the start of service on Sundays
• The first trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 07:55 and Library at 08:00
• The last trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 22:55 and Library at 23:00

From Monday to Saturday, trams will continue to operate as follows:
• Start of service until 06:30 – Trams every 15 minutes
• Between 06:30 and 20:00 – Trams every 12 minutes
• From 20:00 until the end of service – Trams every 15 minutes
• The first trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 05:15 and Library at 05:07
• The last trams travelling the full route will leave Wolverhampton St George’s at 23:27 and Library at 23:34

Tyne & Wear Metro

Travel only if absolutely essential.

Trains are running to a reduced frequency. A train every 24 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes on an evening. Please leave extra time for your journey.

Four day line closure Hebburn – South Shields 16-19 April

No trains are running between Hebburn and South Shields until Monday 20 April, to allow for track renewal work. A replacement bus service, the number 900 is calling at or near to all stations in the affected area. Replacement bus stop location maps and timetables are available at nexus.org.uk/metro.

Manchester Metrolink

Do not travel unless it is absolutely essential – stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Train, tram and bus services have been reduced, but services are still running for key workers.

NHS staff and social care workers are being offered free Metrolink travel for essential work journeys when they are unable to drive, cycle or walk to work. This will be introduced from Saturday 11 April.

If you have to make an essential journey, check timetables before you travel.

A small number of TfGM school bus services are running to schools which remain open, and are free for the children of key workers to use.

Nottingham Express Transit

The number of people travelling has reduced as people follow government advice and avoid non-essential use of public transport. We recognise however that some people still need to travel and you need certainty from us on what services we can provide. As of Tuesday 24 March 2020, a Sunday timetable will operate throughout the week:

6AM – 7AM: every 15 minutes
7AM – 7PM: every 10 minutes
7PM – 11PM: every 15 minutes

Merseyrail

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are now operating a reduced timetable. Trains will now operate a 30-minute service on all lines between 07:00 -19:00 Monday to Saturday, with a limited additional service from 19:00 to 22:00 on some lines. Trains will operate between 08:00 – 20:00 on Sundays. Please remember our services are for key workers and essential journeys only. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Blackpool Transport

Tram services are currently suspended until further notice with service 1 and other bus routes alternatives to the tramway.

Sheffield Supertram

From Wednesday 01 April 2020

Monday – Friday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – up to every 30 mins between 06:00 and 09:00, then an hourly service between 09:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – up to every 30 mins between 06:00 and 09:00, then an hourly service between 09:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 06:30 and 18:30

Saturday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 06:30 and 18:30

Sunday summary of service:
• Yellow Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Blue Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Purple Route – hourly service between 08:00 and 22:00
• Tram Train – hourly service between 08:30 and 18:30

Edinburgh Trams

The first tram and last tram will run at their usual time, but customers should expect trams to operate every 15 minutes during the day with this being kept under constant review.

Glasgow Subway

The Subway is running as normal.

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