UK railway news roundup


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

ScotRail franchise to be nationalised from 2022

ScotRail train

The ScotRail rail franchise will be nationalised from 2022, the Scottish Government has announced.

Train services will be run by the Government as an “operator of last resort” when the current contract with Abellio ends next March.

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The Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, told the Scottish Parliament he had ruled out extending the existing contract with the Dutch rail operator because “the current franchising system is no longer fit for purpose”.

Plea to save Llangollen Railway

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 Trust Ltd directors have provided an update on their position following news this month that the Railway invited the bank to appoint receivers.

The Llangollen Railway PLC said it was insolvent to the extent of £350,000 and could no longer continue to trade legally.

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In a bid to help the Llangollen Railway survive, the PLC has received support from local MP, Simon Baynes and AM, Mark Isherwood, Denbighshire County Council and Llangollen Town Council. The assets of the PLC are now available for sale to the highest bidder. How could you help the Llangollen Railway?

Stonehaven: Report calls for more drones to inspect rail lines

Stonehaven derailment scene. Photo: Network Rail

Network Rail should make more use of drones and helicopters to inspect the railway, an investigation launched after the Stonehaven crash has found.

This was one of the conclusions reached by a task force led by Lord Robert Mair, emeritus professor of civil engineering at the University of Cambridge, to examine the management of railway cuttings and embankments.

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The report was published alongside a study into the impact of heavy rainfall on the railway.

Go-Ahead defends £6.5m rail profit despite £10bn bailout

Go-Ahead Group's Thameslink train
Photo: PA Media

Transport firm Go-Ahead Group has defended its multimillion-pound rail profits despite the Government’s £10 billion bailout of the industry.

Chief executive David Brown said its services are “an absolute bargain” for taxpayers, insisting “you will not get that cheaper through a nationalised industry”.

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The company, which runs Govia Thameslink Railway and Southeastern, recorded a rail operating profit for the six months to January 2 of £6.5 million, before exceptional charges relating to its operations in Germany.

Network Rail & Chasing The Stigma launch mental health campaign

Network Rail has partnered with mental health charity Chasing The Stigma to launch a suicide prevention campaign.

The charity has released a film which touches on the distressed and depressed life of a young man who experiences positive moments in a train station.

New HQ for Department for Transport in Birmingham and hub in Leeds

The Department for Transport (DfT) is to open a second headquarters in Birmingham and a northern hub in Leeds by 2025.

A total of 650 jobs will be created across the two cities by that date as part of the plan, the DfT said. The department’s existing headquarters in Westminster will be maintained.

Latest National Rail service updates

CrossCountry – Train services are now able to run normally between Bristol Parkway and Newport.
Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice. Southern and Thameslink are still running to and from Gatwick Airport, and will provide journey options to both London and Brighton.
Grand Central – Following the Government decision to impose a national lockdown on 4 January 2021 and a national “Do Not Travel” recommendation, Grand Central have taken the decision to suspend their services until the end of Friday 26 March. You can find more information here.

Great Western Railway – The railway line has now reopened between Bristol Parkway and Newport following an engineering problem that occurred earlier this month on a bridge near Patchway.
Hull Trains – The latest timetable can be downloaded here

Transport For London Status

To help stop the potential spread of coronavirus, the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments have decided that the wearing of face coverings when travelling by train or other public transport is compulsory in all parts of Britain. So, if you travel by train, make sure you bring a face covering to wear.

We will continue to run as much of the network as possible and will update our website with any service changes. Please check before you travel.

We’re doing all we can to make sure those who need to travel can continue to use public transport safely and everyone must continue to take the simple steps of good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering in stations and for your whole journey, and social distancing wherever possible.

London Underground Status

Due to Crossrail works the following services will be affected. Please check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.

Central Line: Minor delays to all destinations due an earlier signal failure at North Acton. Tickets will be accepted on London Buses.

Circle Line
: Severe Delays on entire line due to an earlier signal failure at Aldgate. Tickets will be accepted on local bus services.

Hammersmith and City Line: Severe Delays on entire line while we fix a signal failure at Aldgate. Tickets will be accepted on local bus services.

Metropolitan Line: Minor delays between Harrow – on – the Hill and Aldgate due to an earlier signal failure at Aldgate. GOOD SERVICE on the rest of the line.

Waterloo & City Line: No service until further notice.

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

London Overground

No service between Romford and Upminster while we fix a faulty train at Romford. London Overground tickets are being accepted on London Underground via any reasonable route.

Until Tuesday 6 April, late evening weekday trains at 2303 2333 and 0048 from Liverpool Street to Chingford will not run due to staff shortage.

Until Friday 14 May, we will temporarily be running 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 Friday 14 May, a reduced weekday service operates between Richmond and Stratford. 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

Stay at home and avoid travel, except for work, education, or other legally permitted reasons.

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.


We are currently working towards reintroducing passenger services on a line-by-line basis this morning with the aim of running our timetabled service from approximately midday. Services may be subject to delay and passengers are advised to continue checking @merseyrail on Twitter and the website before they travel.

Sheffield Super Tram

Due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic we are having to make short notice changes to our services.

All routes will operate to the current timetables but services will end at around 8pm every day. There will be no service on any routes after around 8pm.

The current frequencies of service are unchanged;

YELLOW & BLUE: Up to every 15 minutes during the day, every 20 minutes at other times and on Sunday

PURPLE: Every 30 minutes

TRAM TRAIN: Every hour

Please be aware that due to the short notice of these changes, timetables on tram stops may be incorrect until updated information can be posted. Additionally, some journey planning tools and websites may also offer incorrect journey information.

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.

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