UK railway news round-up

Welcome to The Railway Hub’s weekly round-up of the latest railway news.

This week includes a damning interim report which concludes that two rail workers killed by a train in Port Talbot in July were struck while there was no official lookout in place. Also, Network Rail have released images of people risking their lives to get across a crossing in Essex, with a stark warning.

No official lookout on tracks before rail workers killed, interim report finds

Two rail workers were killed by a train in Port Talbot. Photo: Adam Hale/PA Wire

Two rail workers were killed by a train while there was no official lookout in place, a report has found.

Michael Lewis, 58, and Gareth Delbridge, 64, died while carrying out engineering work for Network Rail on the line near Port Talbot, South Wales, on July 3.

An interim report by Network Rail said one person should act as an unofficial “distant lookout” and warn of oncoming trains. But, they became involved with track work and were unable to alert their colleagues. Full story here.

Six people a month risking lives to cross tracks in Essex

People-on-the-tracks-at-Grays-level-crossing-in-Essex
Six people a month risking lives to cross tracks in Essex. Photo: Network Rail.

Over six people a month are putting their lives at risk by walking across tracks at a level crossing in Grays, according to Network Rail.

New figures show that over the last year, 74 people have been caught on camera at the crossing on Grays High Road in Essex. It is estimated hundreds more cross to take a shortcut or to avoid paying their train fare.

Network Rail say a small minority are still persistently ignoring safety measures in and around the crossing. They could face prosecution. Full story here.

Stagecoach confirms legal action against Government over franchise bid ban

The Railway Hub

Stagecoach has confirmed it will take the Department for Transport to court early next year over a Government decision to ban the firm from bidding for three rail contracts.

Bosses were blocked from bidding for the East Midlands, West Coast and South Eastern franchises over pension deficit concerns.

The cases will be heard in the High Court in the new year. The Government unlikely to be willing to settle in case it encourages others to make similar claims. Full story here.

High Speed 1 rail line ‘to cost companies £26 million a year’

Rail companies will have to pay £26 million per year to keep the High Speed 1 train line operational.

The numbers are more than quadruple the amount they were paying a decade ago, according to new figures.

Analysis from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) shows that operators should expect to pay £26.1 million between them per year for the next five years to maintain the 67 miles of track linking London and the Channel Tunnel. Full story here.

Brand New Podcast: Azuma – Train of the future

This year, LNER launched the new Hitachi-built Class 800 Azuma express trains – due to replace their entire fleet by summer 2020.

Railway Magazine Editor Chris Milner, visits the factory in County Durham where the train is being manufactured. Find out the entire process of how the ‘brain of the train’ gets wired in, how the internal fittings are installed and the thorough testing process.

Listen to our podcast about the “train of the future” here.

UK Innovation Centre to be established for the world-wide rail industry

Photo: TWI

A new UK-based Innovation Centre will transform how wheelsets and tracks are approached, developed and maintained in the rail industry.

UK-based Prometheus Connect Ltd, which is also representing Korean rail industry pioneer Asia-Tech Co and world-leading TWI Ltd, has signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the establishment of the international centre.

Two of the most challenging issues faced by rail operators are tightening budgets and increasing lifecycle costs due to the working capital required to enable the day-to-day operation and maintenance of rail services. Full story here.

Network Rail to provide station free WiFi for millions of passengers

Man on phone at railway station

Passengers will benefit from a fast, free and reliable WiFi service thanks to a ‘significant digital investment’, Network Rail announce.

To keep passengers at the heart of all rail improvements, Network Rail will offer seamless connectivity and single sign-on at all Network Rail managed stations.

The system will automatically connect passengers to WiFi across Network Rail’s 20-strong station network from Spring 2020. The service starts with London Victoria. Full story here.

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