UK railway news round-up

A new RAIB investigation has found that a driver struggling to use onboard software was the reason behind a crash involving an Azuma in November last year.

Here’s this week’s news round-up:

Azuma driver’s struggle to use onboard software led to crash

Azuma driver’s struggle to use onboard software led to crash

A crash involving two LNER trains happened due to a driver struggling to use onboard software, an investigation has found.

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An Azuma train was travelling at 15mph on the depot arrival line when it ran into the back of another train moving at 5mph near Neville Hill, Leeds, on November 13 last year, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

The driver of the speeding train had 39 years of experience working on the railway but it was only the third time he had operated an Azuma unaccompanied. Click here to see the full report.

Rail travel demand to return to 75% of normal levels, firm predicts

Demand for rail travel will only return to 75% of normal levels following the coronavirus pandemic, transport company Abellio Group has predicted.

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Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio Group, told MPs he is “very confident about winning the majority of passengers back”.

Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee, he said: “We expect to be able to win back around 75% on a like-for-like basis of passenger journeys.” Click here to see more.

Rail firms report 91% compliance with face covering rule

Railway news

More than nine out of 10 train passengers in London are complying with face covering rules, according to new figures.

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Joint patrols by rail staff and British Transport Police (BTP) officers indicated that 90.8% of travellers are complying with the regulations, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said.

This rises to 98.4% after people not wearing face coverings were spoken to, while 0.2% who refuse to comply are either removed from a train or station, or issued with a fine. Click here to see more.

Network Rail safety failings contributed to track worker deaths

Photo: Adam Hale/PA Wire

Network Rail’s long-term failure to improve safety was an underlying factor in the deaths of two track workers in South Wales, an investigation has found.

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The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said that, over “many years”, the Government-owned company “had not adequately addressed the protection of track workers from moving trains”.

Michael “Spike” Lewis, 58, and Gareth Delbridge, 64, were struck and killed by a Great Western Railway train while working for Network Rail near Port Talbot on July 3 last year. Click here to see more.

COVID-19 tests on trains find no evidence of virus

No evidence of COVID-19 was found in tests on trains used by Britain’s largest rail franchise.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said checks it commissioned on a random selection of carriages used by its Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern brands all returned negative results.

The tests were carried out up to 23 days after surfaces frequently touched by passengers and staff were treated with an anti-viral disinfectant. Click here to see more.

Ministers consider ‘incentives’ to win back rail travellers after lockdown

Rail travellers may be offered “incentives” to get back on trains once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, peers have been told.

Transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said there were many things being considered by ministers to attract passengers back to the railways.

Her comments at question time in the Lords came after Labour’s Lord Rosser suggested discount fares could help play a part. Click here to see more.

Avanti West Coast signs up for Rail Aid

Avanti West Coast crew hold signs up for Rail Aid

Avanti West Coast is offering enthusiasts the chance to get their hands on some eagerly sought after railway artefacts to help raise money for Rail Aid.

A number of signs from Crewe station are up for grabs, the proceeds of the auction going to Rail Aid, the Railway Children’s week long fundraising initiative taking place later this month.

The large station signs, measuring 1.98m x 56cm, come in two designs and were taken down earlier in 2020 after many years use at a station familiar to so many rail travellers. Click here to see more.

Digital signalling roll-out set to bring more reliable journeys

Digital signalling

The roll-out of digital signalling – set to improve safety and slash delays – has been accelerated through £1.2 million of new government funding announced by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

Feasibility work for digital signalling will be accelerated on vital sections of the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and East Anglia route, including Peterborough to Kings Lynn on the Anglia route, and in the Warrington and Wigan area on the West Coast Mainline North.

This work will identify the most effective way to apply this type of technology to the railway and new way of working, capitalising on early engagement with the supply chain, and creating further opportunities to encourage innovation and drive efficiencies across regions. Click here to see more.

Publisher launches bumper railway gift guide for Christmas

Railway gift guide

Stuck for what to buy the rail enthusiast in your life… or keen to indulge yourself this Yuletide? Fear not, as Britain’s leading railway publisher may just have the answer, with the launch of our ultimate Christmas catalogue.

Mortons Media Group, publisher of five top railway magazines, including The Railway Magazine and Heritage Railway, has taken the liberty of bringing together the very best railway gift ideas to fill the stockings of every railway enthusiast this Christmas.

In this new catalogue there are books, magazines, binders, subscriptions and bookazines, with subjects ranging from the dawn of the steam age and the halcyon days of the Sixties; to modern day traction and railway preservation. Click here to see more.

Latest service updates

Latest National Rail service updates

CrossCountry – Buses replace trains between Newport and Bristol Parkway due to ongoing engineering work.
Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services suspended until further notice.
Grand Central – Grand Central service suspended until the end of Wednesday 2 December.
Great Western Railway – Buses replace trains between Newport and Bristol Parkway due to ongoing engineering work.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains service suspended until Wednesday 2 December.

Transport For London Status

The Government is asking everyone to help control the spread of coronavirus by trying to reduce journeys during this new period of national restrictions. If you need to travel, for example to work, for education or other legally permitted reasons, then you can, but you should walk or cycle where possible. Please plan ahead and if possible travel during quiet times.

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.

District Line – From Saturday 21 until Sunday 22 November, there will be no service between Tower Hill and Upminster. Use local bus or replacement bus services.

Rail replacement bus DL6 will run between Tower Hill and Barking, DL7 between Canning Town and Dagenham East and DL8 between Barking and Upminster.

Hammersmith & City line – From Saturday 21 until Sunday 22 November, there will be no service between Hammersmith and Barking. Use alternative Tube, local or replacement bus services. 

Northern line – From Saturday 21 until Sunday 22 November, there will be no service between Charing Cross and Kennington, and no Northern line services will stop at Kennington. Use alternative Tube or local bus services. 

No Night Tube or London Overground Night Service and limited Night Bus services are running.

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

London Overground

Due to engineering work the following services will be affected.

From Saturday 21 until Sunday 22 November, there will be no service between: Highbury & Islington and Shadwell. Rail replacement bus service X will run between Dalston Kingsland and Shadwell Surrey Quays and New Cross. Use London Overground services to New Cross Gate and then walk or use local bus routes 53, 177 or 453

On Sunday 22 November, there will be no service between Romford and Upminster. Use local bus routes 165, 248 or 370.

No Night Tube or London Overground Night Service and limited Night Bus services are running. Check before you travel and plan your journey ahead of time.

DLR

On Sunday 22 November, there will be no service on DLR until 08:30. Use the Jubilee line, London Overground, Southeastern services or local buses via any reasonable route.

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

Rivers

Until Wednesday 2 December, all London River Services will be suspended including the closure of all TfL pier locations. Please check for alternative routes.

The Woolwich Ferry services will continue to run, please plan ahead and check before you travel.

Emirates Air Line

The Emirates Air Line remains open with the following operating hours:

  • 07:00-21:00 Monday to Thursday
  • 07:00-22:00 Friday
  • 08:00-22:00 Saturday
  • 09:00-21:00 Sunday

Additional measures are in place to keep everyone safe, including a cashless operation (only contactless or Oyster accepted for travel), enhanced cleaning regime and social distancing, with only one passenger allowed per cabin, unless from the same household.

Please plan ahead and check before you travel.

TfL Rail

From Saturday 21 until Sunday 22 November, the following services will be affected: There will be a reduced service between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington after 22:15 on Saturday 21 November, and from 09:20 until 23:00 on Sunday 22 November

On Saturday no service will stop at Acton Main Line after 22:15. Use local bus services On Sunday no service will stop at Acton Main Line, West Ealing and Hanwell. Use local bus services

On Sunday 22 November there will be no service between: Paddington and Slough until 08:50. Use local bus services. Liverpool Street and Shenfield. Use local and replacement bus services.

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

Buses and roads

Our dedicated school travel only bus services are running across various routes during term time on weekdays from 07:30-09:30 and 14:30-16:30. These buses have clear signs to differentiate them from regular bus services and information is posted at bus stops. Find out which routes have extra services.

Please plan and allow more time for your journeys if you are travelling by bus during school travel times as you may have to wait longer. Please travel during quieter times where possible. Check to see if your route is affected.

Limited Night Bus services are running and due to the following works, some buses may be diverted or stop short of their normal destination. Make sure you check before you travel.

Old Street – From Monday 2 November 2020 a new road layout at the junction of Old Street and City Road was installed. Roads in the surrounding area are expected to be a lot busier. Please allow more time for your journey.

Alternatively, if you can, try cycling or walking part of journey. We have signed cycle routes in place to help guide you through the area. Find out more information

Bexley – Until mid-February 2021 the A2 Danson Road has been reduced to two lanes in each direction for traffic whilst we carry out essential maintenance to the underpass. Some works will require us to close two lanes in each direction but we will carry out these works at night to minimise the impacts especially during peak hours.  

Wandsworth Bridge – Until summer 2021 there will be a series of lane restrictions on Wandsworth Bridge whilst the borough carries out essential maintenance works. From Mid-November there will be one lane northbound over the bridge for all traffic including buses. A bus lane will be maintained in the southbound direction which will be wide enough to accommodate cyclists. Footways will be narrower on both sides for those walking across the bridge. 

Hammersmith Bridge – Following expert technical advice, Hammersmith & Fulham Council has closed the bridge to all traffic, including people walking and cycling – until we can be assured it’s safe.  We have made changes to public transport to help you make your journey across the river, including to bus route 533 which is providing much needed support for local trips. Please be aware this route can experience some delays and crowding during busy periods. For more information on alternative forms of travel and where to change services, please visit our travel advice page.

Knightsbridge – Until early November there will be lane restrictions and temporary lights on the A4, Knightsbridge at the junctions with Sloane Street and Brompton Road. These are for essential works carried out by Cadent Gas to replace a main.

Vauxhall Bridge – From 09:00 on Saturday 31 October, southbound lanes on Vauxhall Bridge reopened. Until late November 2020, Vauxhall Bridge will be closed to northbound traffic, this is due to safety critical repair works. Northbound towards Victoria will remain on the signed diversion via Albert Embankment, Lambeth Bridge and Millbank. If you are using the signed diversion route you will be exempt from the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone charges.

If your journey is through the area but not stopping locally, please consider re-routing. Chelsea Bridge, Lambeth Bridge and surrounding roads are also expected to be very busy. Find out more.

Delays are expected, plan ahead and check before you travel, for the latest information please visit status updates.

Check whether your bus is affected

See the latest status updates on road travel.

Santander Cycles

There will be no docking stations out of service this weekend.

Find out how to hire a Santander Cycle.

Find your nearest Santander Cycles docking stations.

Metros around the country

West Midlands Metro

There are no new service information updates.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Some services are cancelled due to driver availability. Please leave extra time for your journey. Sorry for the inconvenience caused. Details of affected journeys can be found here.

To keep safe, plan your journey in advance, avoid travelling at busier times if you can, wear a face covering unless exempt, stay apart from others and wash your hands frequently.

For more timetable information visit nexus.org.uk

Manchester Metrolink

National coronavirus restrictions, 5 November–2 December: 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.

Merseyrail

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, services are now operating between 07:00 and 19:00 Monday to Saturday.

This was based on staff availability to provide a reliable service to key workers and those making essential journeys.

Sunday services will still operate between 08:00 and 20:00.

Sheffield Super Tram

Due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic we are having to make short notice changes to our services, with effect from Saturday 7 November.

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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About the Author

Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...