UK railway news roundup



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8 minutes

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

HS2: Phase 2a of high-speed project gets green light

HS2 train
Photo: PA

The next phase of the controversial HS2 high-speed rail project has been given the go-ahead.

Legislation for Phase 2a of HS2 has passed its final hurdle, opening the way for construction works to start. The parliamentary Bill to build the high-speed rail line between Birmingham and Crewe received royal assent on February 11.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as a “landmark moment”. Construction of Phase 2a is expected to begin by 2024. Click/tap here to read more.

Railway worker who died after being hit by a train named

A railway worker who died after being hit by a train in south-west London has been named as Tyler Byrne from Hampshire.

Mr Byrne, 30, from Aldershot, in Hampshire, was working on the tracks between Surbiton and Weybridge on Tuesday when he was killed.

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A railway worker who died after being hit by a train in south-west London has been named as Tyler Byrne from Hampshire.

Emergency services were called to Surbiton railway station at about midday on Tuesday following reports of a casualty on the tracks, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “My thoughts are with the friends, family and colleagues of Tyler Byrne, who tragically lost his life while working near Surbiton on Tuesday.

“I know these words will do little to relieve the immense hurt and pain they are feeling.

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“The last two days have been incredibly difficult for the railway family.

“While it is too soon to know exactly what went wrong on Tuesday morning, in the days and weeks ahead we will be conducting our own investigation into the incident and supporting those carried out by the British Transport Police and Rail Accident Investigation Branch.” Click/tap here to see more.

Anti-HS2 protesters vandalise Department for Transport offices

Anti-HS2 protesters vandalise Department for Transport offices

A group of protesters against the HS2 rail project have daubed the front of the Department of Transport offices with paint.

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Activists group Burning Pink claimed on social media that two of its members had “sent a message of love for our world and disdain at the corporate killing machine”.

Police were stationed near the building on February 11, where paint had been thrown over the door, windows, walls and pavement. Click/tap here to see more.

First train in GTR’s fleet modernisation programme back in service

The first of 270 trains in Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR’s) new £55 million fleet modernisation programme has returned to service with a host of new features.

The first of 270 trains in Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR’s) new £55 million fleet modernisation programme has returned to service with a host of new features.

The trains form the UK’s biggest fleet of ‘Electrostars’, the most common type of electric-powered train built since rail privatisation in the 1990s.

The Derby-built, air-conditioned trains have been very successful and GTR’s Electrostars have been in service for up to 20 years. Click/tap here to see more.

East Midlands Railway on lookout for fleet engineers of the future

East Midlands Railway (EMR) is offering opportunities for people from across the East Midlands to ‘learn on the job’ while also expanding the rail industry’s skills base.

The East Midlands based rail operator is looking for apprentices to join its busy Fleet Engineering Team, working at its maintenance depots in Derby and Nottingham. Click/tap here to see more.

Rail innovators invited to bid on £9m First Of A Kind fund

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has launched the fifth round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, inviting cutting-edge ideas that will improve passenger experience and decarbonise the rail network.

The new £9 million competition this year is focusing on supporting innovations that make the network cleaner, greener and more passenger-friendly. Click/tap here to see more.

East Coast Upgrade works at King’s Cross fast approaching

East Coast Main Line works

Network Rail teams are preparing to carry out a major stage of the £1.2bn upgrade to the East Coast Main Line, the largest investment into the historic route in a generation.

Over a three-month window, rail workers will simplify the track layout outside of King’s Cross station, as well as reopen a railway tunnel which closed in the 1970s, creating two extra tracks in and out of the transport hub. Click/tap here to see more.

Latest service updates

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 – From Saturday 9 January until Sunday 28 February, Grand Central service will be suspended, as a result of the national restrictions that are in place. 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.

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 Friday 26 February, late evening weekday trains at 2303 2333 and 0048 from Liverpool Street to Chingford will not run due to staff shortage.

Until Friday 26 February, 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 26 February, 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

West Midlands Metro

As part of our ongoing investment to upgrade existing infrastructure, essential works will be taking place from 20:30 on Saturday 20 February until the end of service on Sunday 21 February.

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

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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