UK railway news roundup

The easing of lockdown measures across the country comes at a good time for Rail Charter Services, and HS2 is back in the news as the project’s minister responds to criticisms.

New Settle & Carlisle luxury charter train announced

New Settle & Carlisle luxury charter train announced
Two of LSL’s Class 47s, Nos. 47593 Galloway Princess and 47810 Crewe Diesel Depot near their base at Crewe on March 16. Photo: Brad Joyce

The timing of an announcement for a reduction in lockdown and social distancing by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with a further easing of restrictions has come at a perfect time for the launch of a new thrice daily luxury charter train, which will operate over the scenic Settle & Carlisle line this summer.

For eight weeks, new entrant to the market, Rail Charter Services, will run trains between Skipton and Appleby from July 12 to September 20.

Running under the safety case of Locomotive Services TOC Ltd, these trains are a separate product to the Statesman trains or the tours run by Saphos Trains. Read the full story.

HS2 Minister responds to Transport Select Committee

HS2 Minister responds to Transport Select Committee
Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson has responded to a letter from the Transport Select Committee from last month in his own letter about the next steps for HS2.

Mr Stephenson began his letter to reiterate his commitment to transparency, and confirmed that HS2’s six-monthly reports from the Department for Transport will update Parliament on the programme delivery for all phases, including on cost, schedule and risks. The data in the reports will be provided by HS2 Ltd. Read Andrew Stephenson’s full response here.

LNER joins ‘Know Your Train’ on Real Time Trains website

LNER Class 91 No. 91102 passes Frinkley Lane. Grantham with a King's Cross-Leeds train on May 23, 2019. CHRIS MILNER
LNER Class 91 No. 91102 passes Frinkley Lane. Grantham with a King’s Cross-Leeds train on May 23, 2019. Photo: Chris Milner

Long distance operator LNER is the latest train operator to participate in the ‘Know Your Train’ service feature of the website Real Time Trains.

‘Know Your Train’ gives you more information about the rolling stock actually operating on each service, such as what it will look like and what the facilities are onboard. Using information from the operator, RTT is also able to tell you what orientation the train is in and where each coach is on the service. Read the full story here.

Face coverings compulsory on public transport in Scotland

Face coverings are now compulsory on public transport in Scotland as the country eases lockdown measures.

Children under five and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from the new rule which comes into force today. It comes one week after England adopted similar rules regarding face coverings on public transport.

Newcastle Central Station revamp plans approved

Newcastle Central Station revamp plans approved

Multi-million-pound improvements that will change the face of Newcastle’s historic Central Station have taken a major step forward.

Last year Newcastle City Council and partners announced plans to open-up access to the Victorian station, improve traffic flows in front, accommodate more passengers and change taxi pick-up points and short stay parking. Residents, taxi drivers and Historic England were consulted.

Now planners have given the green light for the works to begin after granting Listed Building Consent in this, the station’s, 170th year. Take a look at the plans here.

Latest service updates

Latest National Rail service updates

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

Everyone travelling on public transport must wear a face covering unless you are exempt from wearing one.

In line with Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. As London begins to reopen, please continue to avoid public transport, where possible, to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.

Consider including walking or cycling as part of your journey or getting off a stop or two early to reduce the numbers of people travelling on Tubes and buses, where possible. We have a host of online resources to help you plan your cycling journey or  your walking journey.

We continue to take measures to ensure the safety of all our passengers and staff, including:   

  • Social distancing at stations and bus stops
  • Queuing at stations and bus stops. Due to social distancing you might have to queue to enter busy stations or stops.
  • Avoid busiest times between 05:45 and 08:15 and between 16:00 and 17:30 on weekdays, if you can.
  • Rigorous cleaning procedures of carriages, buses and busy stations
  • Most of our stations have shifted to only accepting contactless or Oyster to pay for travel.
  • Improvements to London’s streets to expand footpaths and cycle ways

London Underground Status

District Line – On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June, there will be no service between Turnham Green and Richmond. Rail replacement bus service DL3 will run.

Most of our stations have shifted to only accepting contactless or Oyster to pay for travel. Find out which stations are still accepting cash.

See the latest status updates on London Underground, including a map of closures.

London Overground

Due to engineering work on the network, on Saturday 27 June and Sunday 28 June, there will be no service between South Acton and Richmond. Rail replacement bus service DL3 will run between Richmond and Acton Central, calling at South Acton. 

See an overview of planned track closures for the next six months.

See the latest status updates on London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail and Trams, including a map of closures and information about rail replacement buses.

DLR

As of Friday 12 June, the first and last sets of doors will be out of use on DLR trains to further protect Passenger Service Agents. These will be for staff use only. Please move along the platform to use another set of doors, this will help enable social distancing. Staff will ensure that customers have time to board at another set of doors, with particular attention paid to visually and mobility impaired passengers.

Rivers

From Monday 15 June, Thames Clipper services started running on a revised timetable. Services will run between 06:00-21:00 weekdays and 09:30-19:30 weekends. Before travelling please check the new boarding processes and procedures that ensure the safety of all customers and staff. Please check before you travel.

Buses and roads

London’s buses are returning to front-door boarding, with customers required to touch in with Oyster, contactless and concessionary cards on certain routes. We hope to have all London buses equipped with the necessary safety measures and ready for front-door boarding by the end of June.

While we put these safety measures in place our buses will have varying boarding procedures depending on the route. If your bus only has a front set of doors, please continue to board and touch in via the front doors. Buses with middle doors will vary depending on the route. Please check before your journey and make sure you’re aware of any new boarding procedures on your route. Once on board please follow the signs.

To further ensure the safety of our customers and bus drivers, we will be introducing new limits to the number of passengers allowed on board at any one time. This will make it easier for customers to observe the national requirement of maintaining a 2 metre distance between them and people outside of their own household.

Shops reopening – As non-essential retail shops reopen, the roads surrounding shopping destinations may be busier than usual. Currently the busiest times on our roads are between 06:00-09:00 and 16:00-19:00, and these times are likely to extend with the reopening of shopping destinations. Journeys may take longer.

If you can, take an alternative route to avoid areas immediately around shopping destinations. If you must drive near shopping destinations, please take extra care, as there are likely to be more people walking and cycling. Queuing systems for entry to shops may also mean that people use the road to maintain social distancing. 

Congestion charges – We are making a number of temporary changes to the central London Congestion Charge to help us get London moving safely and sustainably.

The temporary changes are designed to reduce traffic in central London and enable more journeys to be made safely by foot or cycle, while keeping the bus network reliable for those making essential journeys. The temporary changes will apply from Monday 22 June.

These include increasing the Congestion Charge to £15 per day, removing the £1 Auto Pay and Fleet discounts, and extending the hours of operation to between 07:00 and 22:00 seven days a week (excluding Christmas Day). The Residents’ Discount will also be closed to new applicants from 1 August.

These temporary changes to the Congestion Charge will be kept under review.

Due to the following works, some buses may be diverted or stop short of their normal destination. Make sure you check before you travel.

A40 Westway – As of Sunday 14 June the speed limit on the elevated section of the A40 Westway was lowered from 40 to 30mph. This is to protect the flyover and reduce the likelihood of unplanned work and restrictions ahead of major maintenance work planned here for summer 2021.

Greenwich and Bexley – Until Saturday 27 June there will be various closures of the A102 and A2 each week night from 22:00 – 05:00. No works will take place at weekends and the Blackwall Tunnel will remain open. These are TfL works for essential maintenance. Please leave more time for your journey.

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:

  • Hoxton Station, Hoxton
  • Kensington Gore, Westminster

West Midlands Metro

While government advice is to only use public transport where alternative travel options such as walking, cycling or driving are not available, we remain committed to providing a regular, robust, and above all safe service for those who need it.

The following frequency is in operation:

  • The frequency of service Monday to Saturday will be:
  • 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.
  • Trams are every 15 minutes on Sundays

You can view the full timetables here:

Monday to Saturday temporary timetable
Sunday temporary timetable

Tyne & Wear Metro

If you need to travel on Metro wear a face covering this is now mandatory, stay 2 metres (6ft) apart where possible and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

A full weekday timetable is in operation to maximise room for social distancing between St James and South Shields and Airport and South Hylton until about 8.00pm when the frequency reduces to a train every 30 minutes, 15 minutes through Newcastle city centre.

For more timetable information visit nexus.org.uk

Manchester Metrolink

Stay at home as much as possible.

Only travel if necessary – work from home and stay local if you can.

Protect public transport for those with no alternative – do not use it unless you have to.

If you need to travel, walk, cycle or drive if you can.

If you have to use public transport wear a face covering, keep your distance from other passengers, You must now wear a face covering when travelling on public transport. It will be your responsibility to provide this, and it can be a simple scarf or bandana. We expect everyone to wear a face covering if they can, but exemptions include children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, transport staff and emergency services.

Nottingham Express Transit

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport. This could be a mask, a scarf or a bandana– the important thing is the covering fits well and covers your mouth and nose.

While national guidance is to use public transport only if you have no other option, we recognise that some people still need to travel. We are currently operating a Sunday timetable seven days a week, and are reviewing our service levels daily as restrictions ease.

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

From Monday 15 June, only Nottingham City residents with mobility passes will be able to travel for free after 11pm and before 9.30am on weekdays, and only within the Nottingham area.

Merseyrail

Due to COVID–19 a reduced timetable is in place to support necessary journeys only. Passengers are advised that from Monday 15 June, face coverings must be worn on the Merseyrail network at all times.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, services are now operating between 07:00 and 19:00 Monday to Saturday. Sunday services will still operate between 08:00 and 20:00.

Blackpool Transport

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

Sheffield Super Tram

The safety of customers and employees is priority, so in line with government guidance, we’ve put further measures in place to help our customers practise social distancing and travel safely on our services.

Check our latest timetables before you travel. Don’t forget that revised timetables are in operation and that Rail Replacement works are taking place.

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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