Dr Michael Bailey and Peter Davidson with the Hetton locomotive

UK railway news roundup

This week, researchers announce they have solved an early railway mystery regarding the Hetton locomotive, plus heritage railways begin to reopen their doors!

Researchers solve long-standing myth of the Hetton locomotive

Dr Michael Bailey and Peter Davidson with the Hetton locomotive
Dr Michael Bailey and Peter Davidson with the Hetton locomotive. Photo: Ian Richardson

Researchers in County Durham have solved one of the longest standing early railway mysteries that disproves claims linking a Hetton Colliery locomotive to George Stephenson.

Dr Michael Bailey and Peter Davidson have proved that the locomotive was not built by George Stephenson, as previously claimed, and therefore not one of the UK’s oldest surviving engines, said to predate famous locomotives such as Rocket and Locomotion No. 1. 

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The findings follow a seven-month investigation into the engine, based at Locomotion in County Durham. See the full report here.

Two hybrid locomotives unveiled as Snowdon Mountain Railway reopens

Snowdon Mountain Railway

The world’s first rack and pinion hybrid locomotives join the fleet at Snowdon Mountain Railway as the attraction reopens following COVID-19 lockdown.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway will begin welcoming visitors back this week (July 9) as the mountain and the railway opens to the public following the three-month lockdown. Trains will begin running again this Friday (July 10) with significant new COVID-19 measures in place.

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The 2020 season sees the world’s first rack and pinion hybrid locomotives joining the existing fleet. The railway took delivery of two new hybrid locomotives last month as replacements for two of the existing Hunslet diesel locomotives. Here’s the full story.

Railways returning to action after COVID-19 lockdown

The North Norfolk Railway is among the lines returning to action in July. LNER B12 No. 8572, BR 9F No. 92203 Black Prince and WD 2-10-0 No. 90775 are seen outside Weybourne shed on September 28, 2019: GARETH EVANS
The North Norfolk Railway is among the lines returning to action in July. LNER B12 No. 8572, BR 9F No. 92203 Black Prince and WD 2-10-0 No. 90775 are seen outside Weybourne shed on September 28, 2019: Photo: Gareth Evans

It’s been a long time coming, but the main 2020 season for a number of Britain’s heritage railways and attractions is springing into action following the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Therefore, we thought we’d bring you a list in alphabetical order of which venues are operating and when they’re set to recommence. See the full list here.

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Avanti West Coast release Tales from the Track film

Avanti West Coast release Tales from the Track film series

Avanti West Coast has released a new video giving people an insider-look from the unique viewpoint of a train driver.

In an eight-part video series, Tales from the Track, Avanti showcase the West Coast Main Line from inside the driver’s cab of an iconic Pendolino – filmed during lockdown. Watch the full film here.

Churnet Valley Railway announces planned reopening

Churnet Valley Railway

The Churnet Valley Railway has announced it will be operating services again from the August 1, in line with Government guidance. 

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The railway went into an enforced closure from the March 24, with offices and workshops being closed for three weeks. Here’s the full story with what measures will be in place.

Exbury Gardens has its steam railway back on track for passengers

The popular Rhododendron Line steam railway at Exbury Gardens is now open to visitors. 

Passengers are once again able to enjoy a ride through one of the south’s most famous gardens on the 1 ½ mile narrow-gauge railway, after changes in Government guidance for visitor attractions. See the full story here.

Latest service updates

Latest National Rail service updates

Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services suspended until further notice.
Grand Central – Grand Central services restart from Sunday 26 July.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains service temporarily suspended until further notice.
ScotRail – No trains between Fort William and Mallaig until start of service on Monday 13 July.
Transport for Wales – Buses replace trains between Llanelli and Llandrindod until approximately Monday 3 August.

Transport For London Status

We are using hospital-grade anti-viral cleaning products in all public areas across the network.

Key interchanges are being cleaned throughout the day, and there is an enhanced regime across our entire fleet of Tubes, trains, trams and buses to ensure surfaces, such as poles, handles and doors that are regularly touched, are clean.

Check our guidance on safer travel before your journey.

To ensure the safety of all travellers, when using public transport you must wear a face covering over your mouth and nose for your entire journey, unless you are exempt.

When planning your journey try travelling during our quieter times, avoiding our busy periods on weekdays between 05:45-08:15 and 16:00-17:30. Follow the social distancing signage in place across the network, keeping your distance from other passengers wherever possible.  

In line with government advice, please continue to work from home where possible. If you can, try walking or cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop or two early to reduce the numbers of people travelling on Tubes and buses. We have lots of online tools to help you plan your cycling journey and  walking journey, plus walking times between Tube stations.

There are currently no Night Tube or London Overground Night Service and limited Night Bus services running. Please plan your return journey ahead of time. 

London Underground Status

District line

Due to engineering work on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July, there will be no service between Tower Hill and West Ham. Rail replacement bus service DL6 will run. West Ham station is expected to be particularly busy. Please avoid changing between services there, especially between 06:00 and 10:00. For travel to/from central London please use National Rail services to/from Barking or Upminster.

Hammersmith & City line

Due to engineering work on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July, there will be no service between Hammersmith and Barking. Use alternative Tube and local or replacement bus services.

If you can, try walking or cycling part of your journey. Consider walking between stations using our walking map. Plan your journey ahead of time.

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

London Overground

Due to engineering work, the following London Overground services will be affected.

On Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July, there will be no service between:

  • Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate. Rail replacement bus service X will run between Dalston Kingsland and New Cross Gate. Or use local bus services 
  • New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace or West Croydon. Use alternative Southern Rail services
  • Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction. Rail replacement bus service M will run
  • Liverpool Street and Enfield Town. Use local bus or Tube services. Rail replacement bus service L1 will run between Seven Sisters and Enfield Town
  • Liverpool Street and Chingford. Rail replacement bus service L3 will run from Hackney Downs
  • Liverpool Street and Cheshunt. Rail replacement bus service L2 will run between Seven Sisters and Cheshunt. Or use Greater Anglia services

On Sunday 12 July, there will be no service between South Tottenham and Barking until 12:00. Use local bus or Tube services. Rail replacement bus service T will run between Walthamstow Central and Barking.

From Monday 13 July to Thursday 16 July, there will be no service between:

  • Wandsworth Road and Clapham Junction after 23:45. Southbound services will divert to and terminate at Battersea Park. Use local buses
  • Hackney Downs and Chingford after 22:45. The last train northbound from Liverpool Street will be at 22:33, and southbound from Chingford at 22:40. Rail replacement bus service L3 will run from Hackney Downs, and from Liverpool Street after 00:00

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

Check website for status.

Rivers

Check website for status.

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 in the coming weeks.

On buses we have installed a protective film and sealed gaps around the driver’s cab screen to protect our staff and customers. Because of this, our bus drivers are not required to wear face coverings when inside the driver’s cab.

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 you travel and make sure you’re aware of any new boarding procedures on your route. Once on board please follow the signs.

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

A10 Bishopgate corridor – From mid-July, as part of our Streetspace for London programme, there will be changes made to the streets surrounding Liverpool Street Station, along the A10 Bishopsgate corridor and all the way up to Shoreditch Highstreet Station. These changes include introducing bus and cycle only access to some streets from Monday to Friday 7am-7pm and will enable travellers to walk, cycle and use public transport while maintaining a safe social distance. 

If you are driving through the area, but not stopping locally, please consider an alternative route to avoid delays to your journey. If you cannot avoid the area, please stay on the Inner Ring Road, rather than local streets, if possible. Please also drive carefully around these busy spaces, while pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic get used the layout changes. 

Brent Cross A406 – Currently the A406 is reduced to one lane westbound at Staples Corner due to urgent repair work carried out by Thames Water on a nearby water main. Delays are expected, please plan ahead, check before you travel.

Kingston – From 6 July until 14 August there will be a series of overnight lane restrictions on the A3 between Hook Underpass and the Kingston Bypass. Works will take place Monday to Friday from 22:00 until 05:00. This is due to essential maintenance work. Please plan ahead and check before you travel, for the latest information please visit status updates.

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. Please visit our London Bridge works page for more information.

Check whether your bus is affected.

See the latest status updates on road travel.

Santander Cycles

The following docking stations will be out of service this weekend:

  • Gloucester Terrace, Bayswater
  • Rossmore Road, Marylebone
  • Northumberland Avenue, Strand
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington
  • Nevern Place, Earls Court 

Metros Around The Country

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

Trains are running to all destinations; however, a number of services have been cancelled due to staff availability and the pandemic.

When we are running a good service the status will show as ‘No Metro disruptions’. Any delays (less than 15 minutes) to service will be announced via the station PA system and passenger information boards. If delays occur resulting in trains running more than 15 minutes later than advertised the status will be updated by an automatic travel alert system.

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

For more information visit nexus.org.uk

Manchester Metrolink

Help keep yourself and everyone safe when you’re outside the home by thinking about how and when you travel and following safety guidance.

Consider all other travel options before using public transport, including cycling and walking.

Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and be patient when travelling.

If you are travelling, avoid the busiest times and routes.

On public transport, you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt. Keep your distance from others, clean your hands frequently and use contactless payment.

You can sign up for TfGM travel updates  here.

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

Should further timetable changes become necessary we will provide notice to all passengers via our website, newsletters and social media channels.

Merseyrail

From Sunday 5 July timetable changes will be made and additional services will run across our network. These changes to services are being put in place to support the expected increase in passenger numbers, as more people begin to make necessary journeys across the City Region. A summary of changes can be found below:

Monday to Saturday Services

  • Southport line – services will return to running every 15 minutes throughout the day.
  • Hunts Cross line – services will return to running every 15 minutes throughout the day.
  • Kirkby line – a 30 minute service will run all day.
  • Ormskirk line – a 30 minute service will run all day.
  • Chester & Ellesmere Port line – a 30 minute service will run on both lines with a 15 minute service running between Hooton and Liverpool city centre stations.
  • New Brighton line – a 30 minute service will run all day.
  • West Kirby line – a 30 minute service will run all day.

Sunday Services

  • Southport line – a 15 minute service will run between 10:00 and 19:00 and every 30 minutes in the morning and evening.
  • Hunts Cross line – an hourly service will run all day.
  • Kirkby line – an hourly service will run all day.
  • Ormskirk line – an hourly service will run all day.
  • Chester & Ellesmere Port line – an hourly service will run all day on both lines with an additional hourly shuttle service between Ellesmere Port and Hooton stations which provides connections to and from Liverpool city centre.
  • New Brighton line – a 45 minute service will run all day.
  • West Kirby line – a 45 minute service will run all day.

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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