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UK railway news roundup


This week’s roundup of news from the UK railway industry.

Trains with cracks to return to service after ‘rigorous tests’

Hitachi 800 class train
Photo: PA Media

Trains with cracks are to re-enter service after the rail industry assessed that the fault does not pose a safety risk.

Services on large parts of the network have been disrupted since Saturday after cracks were discovered in part of the chassis of several trains.

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Hitachi 800 trains were pulled from lines on Saturday as a “precautionary measure” after the fault was found in some Hitachi 800 trains, and Great Western Railway (GWR) and LNER advised people not to travel throughout last weekend and this week.

Manufacturer Hitachi, train operators and the Government have now agreed a plan to reintroduce more Class 800 and 385 trains.

Delayed review into Britain’s railways to be published

The Government has pledged to publish a long-delayed major review of Britain’s railways.

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A White Paper will be released containing proposals that will “transform the railways and deliver for passengers”, according to a document produced for the Queen’s Speech. The franchising model will be replaced by a “simpler, more effective system” involving contracts that “get trains running on time”.

Other measures to improve rail travel include “modern ways to pay”, making it “accessible and inclusive”, and forming closer links with local communities.

HS2 launches first giant tunnelling machine

HS2 giant tunnelling machines

HS2 has launched its first giant tunnelling machine.

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The 558ft long contraption will dig a 10-mile tunnel under the Chiltern Hills, starting from a site in Buckinghamshire near the M25 motorway.

It will work non-stop for three years and is one of 10 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) being deployed between London and the West Midlands for Phase 1 of the high-speed railway. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the launch of the first TBM is “a landmark moment for the project”.

Train firm slammed for ‘cynical’ fake bonus email in cybersecurity exercise

A trade union has slammed a train company’s “cynical and shocking stunt” after it promised employees a bonus in what was actually a cybersecurity test.

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West Midlands Trains (WMT) emailed staff informing them they would receive a financial reward due to their “hard work” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients were invited to click on a link for “information of your one-off payment”. But the company sent a further email to those who opened the link, explaining that “this was a test designed by our IT team”.

Rail passengers to get last mile journey options on WhatsApp

Photo: PA Media

Rail passengers will soon be able to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to receive details of transport options for completing journeys after travelling by train.

The new system will feature customised information on all modes of travel including walking, cycling, buses, trams and taxis, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said.

Latest service updates

Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains services have resumed operation and are currently running a reduced service in line with passenger demand and current government advice.

Transport For London Status

If you need to travel this weekend, here are planned works that may affect your journey.

Our transport network has never been cleaner. Since September, Imperial College London has run monthly tests for coronavirus on the transport network and found no trace. You can read their recently published report.

Air continuously flows through all our trains, trams and buses. For example, on average, air in a Tube train changes every few minutes. Buses are fitted with air extraction and ventilation systems and we also leave windows open throughout the passenger area to keep a flow of fresh air.

Please continue to walk or cycle part of your journey where possible. If using public transport, travel during quieter times if you can. This will make social distancing easier. The quieter times to travel are:

  • Between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays
  • Before noon and after 18:00 on weekends

Our TfL Go app can help you plan your journey and show the quieter times to travel. 

You must continue to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth at all times when on the transport network, unless exempt. The overwhelming majority of people are complying with this requirement, and the British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police and our own officers are on the network to check compliance. Fines of up to £6,400 exist for anyone who does not comply. 

Please also wash or sanitise hands before and after travel.

London Underground Status

Due to staff shortages in our Control Room, there could be disruption to services on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, as well as the District line between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road, and the Piccadilly line between Uxbridge and Rayners Lane. This could also affect Chiltern Railways services at times.

This could mean a reduced service, or no service at other times. Because of this, please plan ahead and check before you travel.

Circle Line: Severe delays due to train cancellations. Valid tickets are being accepted on London Buses.

Waterloo & City Line: No service until further notice.

Until further notice, there will be no Night Tube or Night Overground service, and limited Night Bus services.

Please check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.

London Overground

No service between Romford and Upminster
Use local bus routes.

Until further notice, there will be a reduced service during peak times on weekday London Overground services to and from Bush Hill Park and Enfield Town. There will now be two trains per hour throughout the day in place of the standard four trains per hour peak service. The following trains will not run: Liverpool Street to Enfield Town at 06:45, 07:15, 07:45, 08:07, 08:45, 16:15, 16:45, 17:15, 17:45, 18:15 and 19:22. Enfield Town to Liverpool Street at 06:54. 07:24, 07:54, 08:24, 08:54, 09:24, 17:07, 17:37, 18:07, 18:37 and 19:07. In addition, trains at 08:00 from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt and at 08:43 from Cheshunt to Liverpool Street will not run. This is due to a shortage of staff.

Until further notice, a reduced service operates. Two trains operate per hour between Richmond and Willesden Junction, continuing to Stratford. Six trains operate per hour between Willesden Junction and Stratford, with four of these trains an hour operating to/from Clapham Junction.

Check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.

Metros around the country

Tyne & Wear Metro

National lockdown: Stay at home. Only use public transport for essential purposes. Avoid travelling at busier times if you can, wear a face covering (unless exempt), open train windows to help with ventilation, stay apart from others and wash or sanitise your hands frequently.

For more timetable information visit nexus.org.uk

Manchester Metrolink

England has now moved to the next step of the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown. The main change from Monday 29 March is that ‘Stay at home’ regulations have been lifted. Further details can be found on the Government’s COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 page.

Nottingham Express Transit

Following the latest government announcement, we want to reassure customers that still need to travel with us during lockdown that we will be operating a full service during this time.


There are no incidents reported.

Sheffield Super Tram

As restrictions ease, we’re increasing some of our services from Monday 12 April. Yellow route services will go back to the normal timetable and evening and Sunday services will increase on the Blue route.

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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