UK railway news roundup

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

UK Rail services to unify under state-owned body, Great British Railways

The creation of a new public sector body to oversee Britain’s railways will simplify a system that is “too complicated”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Great British Railways (GBR) will own and manage rail infrastructure, issue contracts to private firms to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets.

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It will absorb Network Rail in a bid to end what the Department for Transport (DfT) branded a “blame-game system” between train and track operations when disruption occurs.

Eurostar secures £250m bailout after collapse in demand

Eurostar train

Eurostar has secured a £250 million rescue package after warning it was “fighting for its survival” due to the coronavirus crisis.

The cross-Channel rail operator said it has reached a financing agreement with its shareholders and banks.

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This includes French state rail company SNCF, which is the company’s majority shareholder.

National Railway Museum & Locomotion welcome first visitors of the year

The National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon have reopened for the first time this year.

Since tickets were released two weeks ago, 10,219 people have booked their free tickets to visit the National Railway Museum, with another 5,441 people booking to visit Locomotion in Shildon.

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The railway museums are part of the Science Museum Group which temporarily closed its five sites across the UK at the end of 2020, as a result of the pandemic.

2,500 more services in largest boost to rail timetables this year

Rail timetables boost

Rail companies have added more than 2,500 daily services to timetables as the next easing of lockdown restrictions go ahead.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said this is the largest increase in capacity this year.

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Department for Transport data shows rail travel across Britain was at 38% of pre-pandemic levels on May 3, which is the latest date with confirmed figures.

HS2 boss hopes UK ‘gets behind’ project after launch of tunnelling machines

The boss of HS2 has said he hopes the UK “gets behind” the high speed rail project following the launch of its first giant tunnelling machine.

Chief executive Mark Thurston described the start of work to dig a 10-mile tunnel under the Chiltern Hills as “a major step forward”.

It will work non-stop for three years and is one of 10 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) being deployed between London and the West Midlands for Phase 1 of the high-speed railway.

Latest service updates

Gatwick Express – Gatwick Express services remain suspended until further notice.
Hull Trains – Hull Trains services have resumed operation and 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:

Waterloo & City Line: No service until further notice.

Night Tube or Night Overground service: Until further notice, there will be no Night Tube or Night Overground service, and limited Night Bus services.

Please plan ahead and check before you travel.

London Overground

Sunday 23 May, until 10:15, no service between Liverpool Street and Chingford. Please use London Underground connections between Liverpool Street and Walthamstow Central. Replacement bus service L3 operates between Hackney Downs and Chingford calling at Clapton, St James Street, Walthamstow Central, Wood Street and Highams Park.

Sunday 23 May, until 10:15, no service between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town / Cheshunt. Use London Underground or London Buses connections between Liverpool Street and Seven Sisters. Replacement buses operate between Seven Sisters and Enfield Town / Cheshunt.

Changes to Stratford to Richmond / Clapham Junction train times on Friday 21 May: The 20:24 train from Stratford to Clapham Junction and 21:59 train from Stratford to Richmond will only operate between Stratford and Camden Road. The 21:34 train from Clapham Junction to Stratford and 23:17 train from Richmond to Willesden Junction will not operate.

Changes to Stratford to Clapham Junction train times on Saturday 22 May: No northbound service from Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction until 06:15. The 06:04 Clapham Junction to Stratford train will start at Gospel Oak at 06:42. The 06:21 Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction train will start at Shepherds Bush at 06:28. The 21:04 and 22:34 Clapham Junction to Stratford and 23:19 Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction trains will not operate.

Changes to Stratford to Richmond / Willesden Junction services on Sunday 23 May: The 08:48 train from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction will start from Shepherd’s Bush at 08:55. The 09:38 train from Stratford to Clapham Junction will not run. The 09:46 train from Stratford to Richmond starts from Willesden Junction at 10:27. The 18:16 train from Stratford to Richmond will terminate at Camden Road at 18:36. The 18:38 train from Stratford to Clapham Junction will terminate at Camden Road at 18:57. The 19:26 and 21:40 trains from Richmond to Stratford will not run. The 19:44 and 21:59 trains from Clapham Junction to Stratford will not run. The 20:31 train from Stratford to Richmond, 20:52 train from Stratford to Willesden Junction will not run and 22:46 train from Stratford to Camden Road will not run.

Changes to Stratford to Richmond services on Mondays to Fridays from Monday 17 May until Friday 18 June: The following trains from Stratford to Richmond will not run: 06:05, 07:18, 08:30, 09:40, 10:59, 12:14, 13:29, 14:43, 15:52, 17:05, 18:16, 19:29, 20:44, 21:59 and 23:14. The 22:59 is now the last train from Stratford for stations from Willesden Junction to Richmond and Clapham Junction – later trains will run from Stratford as far as Willesden Junction only. The following trains from Richmond to Stratford will not run: 06:08. 07:21, 08:34, 09:47, 11:01, 12:17, 13:31, 14:45, 15:56, 17:08, 18:20, 19:32, 20:47, 22:01 and 23:17

Sunday 23 May, until 12:00 and after 20:15, no service between Kilburn High Road and Euston, please use local London Underground and London Buses connections. A reduced service operates on the rest of the line.

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

Metros around the country

Tyne & Wear Metro

All day Saturday 22 and 23 May no trains will run in either direction between Airport and Regent Centre, to allow for over head power line work. A replacement bus service, number 900 will be calling at or close to all of the affected stations. Bank Foot level crossing will be closed all day to pedestrians and road vehicles. A shuttle bus will be in operation from about 5:20am until 12:25am, to take you to the opposite side of the tracks. At Bank Foot the ticket area on platform 2 (towards Airport) will be closed all day and the car park will also be closed (from midnight on Thursday 20 May until 5:00am on Tuesday 25 May).  The ticket area on platform 1 will remain open. Your journey will take longer, so please leave extra travel time.

For more timetable information visit

Manchester Metrolink

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.

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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About the Author

Shannon Butcher