This week’s roundup of news from the UK railway industry.
Government does not realise scale of challenge for England’s railways
The Department for Transport (DfT) fails to appreciate “the scale of the challenge ahead” for England’s rail network, MPs have warned.
Ministers must make “tough choices” about the future of rail due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the commitment to reach net zero for carbon emissions, according to a report from the Public Accounts Committee.
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Rail companies will support passengers voluntarily wearing masks
Rail operators have pledged to support passengers who continue wearing face coverings if they become voluntary.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said “wearing a mask helps protect others”, but demand that any relaxation of the rules around their use indoors must apply to trains.
‘No doubt’ HS2 should continue despite drop in travel
There is “no doubt whatsoever” that HS2 should continue despite the reduction in travel caused by the pandemic, Grant Shapps has said.
The Cabinet minister told MPs that “people will need to meet” and increased transport capacity will be required by future generations.
Department for Transport (DfT) figures show demand for Britain’s mainline rail services is at around 50% of pre-pandemic levels.
This has led anti-HS2 campaigners to call for work on the high-speed railway to be paused.
Bid to fill in or demolish old railway bridges ‘by back door’
Attempts are being made to fill in or demolish disused railway bridges using fast-track planning powers to avoid objections, Parliament has been told.
Concerns were raised at Westminster over the use of permitted development by Highways England, which allows work to be carried out without a formal planning application.
The Government-owned company has been accused of “cultural vandalism” in blocking off or removing some of the 3,200 historical structures for which it is responsible.
Watercress Line set to celebrate the fantastic 1950s
Visitors to the Watercress Line will be able to celebrate the fabulous 1950s when it turns back time for a nostalgic August Bank Holiday weekend.
Jive dancing and live music, traditional fete fun and games and special vintage vehicle displays will bring a 1950s’ vibe to the well-loved railway attraction, from Saturday 28 August to Bank Holiday Monday on 30 August.
West Somerset Railway plans two galas when restrictions ease
The West Somerset Railway (WSR) has announced plans for two small galas to take place in autumn as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
The events will be the first enthusiast galas held at the West Somerset Railway in almost two years since the winter steam event in December 2019.
The first gala will be held on September 17-19 which will be a “mixed traffic” weekend complete with diesel-only haulage on the Friday, plus a mix of steam and diesel on the Saturday and steam-only service operating on the Sunday.
Latest service updates
Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains 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 the coronavirus, the following service changes will be in place until further notice. Please plan ahead and check before you travel.
Check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.
Metros around the country
Tyne & Wear Metro
For more timetable information visit nexus.org.uk
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.
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.
The Subway is running as normal.
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