Further timetable enhancement will be introduced on Monday 6th July
Part of national efforts to provide more capacity as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased
Customers are still required to wear a face-covering while travelling
East Midlands Railway will be reintroducing a number of train services and providing additional seats on existing services from Monday 6th July.
This is part of a step up in rail services across the country as more people are able to return to work alongside the easement of restrictions for numerous industries and businesses.
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, EMR has been carefully monitoring the number of customers travelling across the network in order to provide the best possible service. In May, EMR stepped up its timetable by 20% – to provide over 80% of the normal daily timetable.
This further step-up is a targeted increase to provide additional services and capacity where it is required and possible to do so. EMR will continue to monitor customer numbers and keep this new timetable under review.
The new timetable does not mean any changes to the requirement for customers to wear face coverings while travelling. Face coverings continue to be mandatory for customers and must be worn. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or illness which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt.
EMR will continue to offer additional support and guidance to customers before and during their journey to support social distancing in line with official Government advice. This includes additional signage, online support and wayfinding in stations and on trains. Customers are also reminded to continue to follow Government advice and avoid public transport where possible and to only travel by train if you need to do so.
Will Rogers, Managing Director, East Midlands Railway, said:
“We are pleased we can reintroduce more of our services from Monday 6th July.
“With the further easement of social restrictions and the reopening of more leisure and retail businesses we expect customers number to continue to slowly rise. Therefore, it makes sense to introduce more services and more seats ahead of the expected increase in customers.
“We simply ask customers to ensure they bring a face covering with them as they will remain mandatory on public transport alongside this increase in services and follow Government on the use of public transport.”
Intercity The following services will be added: – 0600 Sheffield to London St Pancras (arriving 0827) – 2105 London St Pancras to Nottingham (arriving 2254)
The addition of this morning service means that EMR will be operating 13 out of 14 of its morning peak time arrivals into London St Pancras.
EMR Regional The 6th July plan will broadly be a continuation of the current timetable with an hourly service running on all routes, or the normal frequency where this is less than hourly. However, there will be a small number of exceptions to this where this is not possible.
The following services will be reintroduced: – 0635 Nottingham to Liverpool Lime Street (arriving 0928) – 0951 Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham (arriving 1229) – 0752 Nottingham to Norwich will start back from Mansfield Woodhouse at 0707, restoring a missing peak time service on the Robin Hood Line – 0738 & 0838 Worksop to Nottingham (arriving 0844 & 0944 respectively) will each have an additional carriage (taking them to 3-car) – All off-peak Robin Hood Line services strengthened to 3-carriages
£350m new investment to deliver real-time digital signalling on part of East Coast Main Line
Passengers to benefit from fewer delays and missed connections as conventional signalling system is replaced and brought into 21st century
Major boost for the supply chain will support jobs and economic growth, ahead of national roll-out of the technology
The East Coast Main Line is set to become Britain’s first mainline digital rail link with £350 million of new investment to install state-of-the art electronic signalling designed to cut journey times and slash delays.
This huge cash injection – on top of £1.2 billion already earmarked to upgrade one of the country’s most important rail arteries – will fund the replacement of conventional signalling with a digital system that allows trains to talk to the track. This will smooth the flow of trains, make journeys safer and reduce signal failures that every year result in thousands of hours of delays.
The upgrading of the line is just one element of the Government’s plan for a 21st Century rail network that will help spread prosperity to all parts of the country. A third of the United Kingdom’s population lives within 20 minutes’ reach of an East Coast Mainline station and together they produce 41% of GDP.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accelerated the roll-out of digital signalling to speed up Britain’s economic recovery as we climb out of the Covid 19 crisis. It’s part of a wider national plan aimed at introducing digital signalling on to the entire rail network in Great Britain.
The new technology allows signallers to know exactly where each train is at every minute of every journey. The East Coast Main Line is a mixed-use railway, with trains of different sizes and speeds, both passenger and freight, all using the same tracks. This smart signalling recognises these different trains, allowing train and track to talk to each other continuously in real-time. This ‘in-cab’ system will mean an end to conventional signalling at the side of tracks – first used in the Victorian era.
The introduction of digital signalling is also set to create high-skilled jobs across the supply chain, helping boost the economy as the country builds out of Covid-19.
More than 80 million journeys are made each year on the East Coast Main Line, linking London with Edinburgh, with congestion on the route compounded by signalling nearing the end of its useful life. The upgrade, between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, will ensure that more travellers reach their destinations on time. Delays in the south of the route have a knock-on effect further north, so the modernisation work will make life easier for people along the entire length of this vital national asset.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“As the country recovers from Covid-19 we want to speed up our economy and reap the benefits of new transport technology. The Victorians gave us the world’s first great rail network and now it’s our turn to be modern transport pioneers and build on that great tradition.
“Upgrading this country’s conventional signalling system, and giving drivers technology fit for the 21st century, will boost train performance, cut delays, improve safety and support the supply chain.
“This is just the beginning. In time, we will digitise signalling right across the country to make good on our promise of better reliability and punctuality for passengers.
“Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about missing connections or being late home to see their children, and I’ve been clear that getting the trains to run on time is a personal priority.”
Today’s funding comes on top of the Government’s investment of £1.2bn between 2014 and 2024 to improve passenger journeys on the East Coast Main Line, creating capacity for up to 10,000 extra seats a day on long-distance services, speeding up journeys and improving reliability for passengers.
Development work is already underway with Network Rail to roll out digital signalling on further routes including sections of the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and Anglia from 2026, leading to safer, more reliable, more resilient railways. The Government also announced today that £12m is being invested in fitting out 33 new trains for the Midland Main Line with digital signalling equipment.
Toufic Machnouk, Programme Director of the East Coast Digital Programme, said:
“Today’s announcement is a big step towards transforming the network for the millions of passengers that use the east coast main line and a welcome endorsement of the partnership approach that the rail industry has adopted to deliver Britain’s first inter-city digital railway. The funding detailed by the Secretary of State is very significant and will enable the vital building blocks needed to build a modern, right time railway”
David Horne, LNER Managing Director and Chair of the East Coast Digital Programme’s Industry Steering Board said:
“After LNER and other operators on the East Coast successfully introduced brand new fleets, in-cab signalling will be the next exciting step we take to maximise the benefits of the technology that Azuma and all the trains on this route offer. This investment is good news for all customers, who will see even more improvements in services, reliability and sustainability.”
Online concert created by Railway key workers for all key workers
Cut & Run reunite to perform on Saturday 9th May
Money raised goes to Hospice UK, supporting the NHS
Staff at EMR are performing a socially distanced concert to raise money and awareness for Hospice UK. The online concert, ‘Grifftonbury’, will take place on Saturday 9th May.
The idea for ‘Grifftonbury’ was put together back in 2017 by East Midlands Railway (previously East Midlands Trains) and Samaritans staff as a way to raise money for charity.
As a lifelong Glastonbury fan, Paul Griffin (Griff), Head of Drivers for EMR and a keen Bass player, decided to put a band together.
Just over a year later, ‘Cut & Run’ were formed, consisting of Pete Eddy (Driver, Nottingham), Simon Thorpe (Driver, Nottingham) Paul Griffin (Head of Drivers), Jason Ochello (Driver Depot Manager St Pancras & Kettering), Duane Firth (Driver Manager, Nottingham) and Ashley Wynder (Trainee Train Driver).
After months of rehearsals, marketing, planning and even commemorative t-shirts, Cut & Run performed for the first time back in 2018. Encompassing classic tracks covering four decades; from ballads to ‘Pop’ to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Cut & Run performed for their audience who were all on the dance floor ‘strutting their stuff’ and enjoying the party.
Cut & Run have since organised and performed several other charity events and raised thousands of pounds.
After the Covid-19 pandemic sent the UK in to lockdown in March, key workers across the railway and other sectors have been working hard to keep the country moving and what better way for them to enjoy some down time then to tune in to an online concert performed by Cut & Run.
Cut & Run will perform online at 20:00 on Saturday 9th May, if you would like to listen and donate, follow Grifftonbury on Facebook or Twitter for all the details.
Paul Griffin, Head of Drivers for EMRsaid “With Coronavirus meaning a lockdown in the UK, we wanted to celebrate all the wonderful key workers who are continuing to work every day during this pandemic.
“Cut & Run are going to perform a one off concert, whilst socially distancing of course, to cheer everybody up hopefully raise funds for Hospice UK, who are doing wonderful work in very difficult circumstances.
“We are looking forward to performing again and hope everyone enjoys it”.
With the current COVID-19 crisis, the opportunity to get out and enjoy our hobby has been drastically cut, so with that in mind we are asking everyone to take advantage of our live cameras and do a bit of #SpottingFromHome.
Simply screen grab any interesting train movements you see on our cameras as you are watching, post them to Twitter and tag us, @railcamlive and we will give our favourites a like/retweet throughout the day.
All we ask is that you don’t crop the images. You can also tag the train operating companies involved if you like, and please do include the hashtag #SpottingFromHome
We have recently had a number of rail staff taking part whilst they are out keeping the railways running, so also look out for #SpottingFromWork. A huge thank you to all those #keyworkers and #FrontLineHeros across the rail industry.
CrossCountry, part of the Arriva Group, has welcomed the opening of Worcestershire’s first new railway station for over 100 years.
On Sunday 23 February, Worcestershire Parkway station joins 118 stations already served by CrossCountry across Great Britain. With its large, secure car park, modern facilities and accessible platforms, the new station makes a fantastic gateway to the region.
With an hourly CrossCountry service throughout the day, southbound to Gloucester and Cardiff and northwards to Birmingham and Nottingham, onward connections will link the county to almost every part of the country. As well as CrossCountry, GWR services to the Cotswolds and London will extend the county’s reach. This enhanced connectivity to the rest of Britain will enable Worcestershire to continue growing its business and tourism links as the country becomes an even easier place to visit.
Tom Joyner, CrossCountry’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that Worcestershire Parkway is now open for business. This new station and its excellent connections will benefit the regions’ rail users, and we look forward to working with the council and other stakeholders to promote its use.”
A Suffolk organisation aims to get more people walking this Spring with a series of free guided walks.
The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership will run a guided walk over five Saturdays from 29 February until 4 April with each one starting and ending at a Greater Anglia rail station on the Ipswich – Lowestoft and Felixstowe rail lines.
The Partnership’s Chairman, Aaron Taffera, says he hopes that because the walks start and end at the train station people will come from far and wide to enjoy them – and be able to leave the car at home.
He commented: “It means that people can discover our beautiful Suffolk countryside without the pollution of additional cars entering the county.”
The first walk, on Saturday 29 February, is a 5-mile circular walk from Westerfield station. More details about other walks in the programme can be found at www.eastsuffolkline.org.
They all start and end at a rail station, connecting in with train times.
Chairman of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Aaron Taffera, adds, “Studies have shown that walking is great for your health and the beautiful scenery of our part of Suffolk is positively good for the soul, so we encourage everyone to come and try one of our walks.
“With the added benefit of being able to travel on one of Greater Anglia’s brand new, more environmentally friendly trains, people can get out and about whilst reducing their carbon footprint.”
The Partnership has also produced a book of self-guided walks from rail stations which is free and available from most public buildings in Suffolk such as tourist information centres and libraries or online at http://www.eastsuffolkline.com/walks.
The booklet contains detailed maps and diagrams, duration of each walk, landmarks, details of the scenery along the way and places to stop for refreshments. All the walks are way-marked with the East Suffolk Line Walks logo.
The book of 22 walks – covering more than 160 miles – saw the Partnership nominated for an ‘Influencing Positive Change’ Award at last year’s Community Rail Awards.
Grand Central is investing more than £21 million in trains to operate on its new North West to London route, with the refurbishment of the first locomotive complete with its iconic livery.
The open access rail operator today revealed it has leased 24 coaches and 5 locomotives, to run daily direct services between Blackpool North and London Euston starting later this year.
Four sets of MK4 coaches in six-car formation have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026. The coaches will be maintained at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Arriva North’s Blackpool depot.
The coaches are currently undergoing a £1.5 million refurbishment at Alstom in Widnes, which will include Grand Central livery and a full interior refresh designed with the comfort of leisure and business passengers in mind.
Each of the trains running along the North West to London route will include First Class carriages, free Wi-Fi throughout, buffet, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available.
From next month (March), people living in the vicinity of stations along the new North West to London Euston route may spot three sets of coaches (MK4s), as driver training gets underway. These coaches have been secured under short-term lease from Eversholt Rail.
Grand Central has also hired a pool of five locomotives (Class 90s) from DB Cargo UK (pictured). Four of these will be in service at any one time, with one locomotive spare for maintenance purposes.
These electric, non-tilting trains, will run along the North West – London Euston route, as well as other cleared routes between Blackpool, Preston, Nuneaton, Milton Keynes and London when diversions are needed. The trains will be maintained by DB Cargo UK at Crewe Electric Maintenance Depot. Grand Central’s North West fleet is compliant with disability and accessibility standards (PRM).
Paul Batty, Fleet Project Manager for Grand Central, said: “We are incredibly proud of the work that has been done to bring our new fleet of rolling stock to fruition, starting with our first locomotive ready to begin driver training in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s taken a lot of planning and a considerable team effort to get to this stage and it’s fantastic that our customers will soon be able to see our refurbished Grand Central trains in operation.”
Dave Hatfield, Grand Central’s Fleet Director, said: “We’re delighted to reveal our rolling stock for our new North West to London route. These trains have been chosen because of their proven track record and suitability for the service that we will be operating.
“It’s exciting times ahead and we’re thrilled to be bringing our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route. We can’t wait to welcome our first passengers on board to experience travelling with Grand Central and look forward to offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train.”
Steve Timothy, Stakeholder Director at Eversholt Rail said: “Eversholt Rail are delighted that Grand Central has chosen our MK4 coaches for its new North West to London rail service. We look forward to working with Grand Central and extending our successful working relationship with the Arriva Group.”
A spokesman for DB Cargo said: “We’re delighted to be working with our colleagues at Grand Central to provide such a range of valuable services for passengers in the North West.”
Grand Central’s North West to London services were approved in June 2018 by the Rail Regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.
Grand Central currently operates direct trains between towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East of England and London. The company has an industry-leading reputation for customer service and value for money and a track record of supporting and investing in local communities around its networks.
In a move which is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the North West, including a boost to tourism, Grand Central will operate up to five new direct train services between Blackpool North and London Euston every day of the week.
Blackpool will gain direct services to London on Sundays, as well as later trains to and from the capital on Mondays to Saturdays. Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham will each have new direct London services throughout the day, seven days a week.
All trains will also call at Preston and Nuneaton, with most stopping additionally at Milton Keynes, connecting leisure and business travellers to the capital and offering a choice of operator along with great value fares.
Grand Central has successfully recruited train drivers and is in the final stages of recruiting the onboard staff it needs for its Blackpool traincrew hub. More information can be found at www.grandcentralrail.com/careers
VTG Rail UK has agreed to supply the Cappagh Group of Companies with 100 new box wagons for the movement of construction materials. DCRail, the Cappagh Group’s rail freight operating company, is already using the first batch of wagons to convey recycled aggregates.
The new wagons have been designed specifically to optimise the movement of aggregates and construction spoil, with a design that maximises durability with a minimum tare weight. The design allows more material to be carried by each train and further improves the environmental performance of rail transport. Design features in the new wagons include a high impact floor that will reduce the risk of unloading damage and an integrated compact bogie braking system that minimises maintenance down time.
The wagons are key to providing efficient rail services for DCRail customers including those that will use a new freight hub being developed near Wembley in North London. With the capability to handle trains conveying over 2,200 tonnes of material, the new hub is set to become one of the most efficient rail terminals in the Capital. The use of rail will reduce the environmental impact of construction supply chains with each train carrying the equivalent of 110 lorry loads and saving significant CO2 emissions per tonne.
Ian Shaw, Sales & Marketing Director, VTG Rail UK, said: “We are delighted to be working on this project and look forward to seeing all the new wagons in operation. The construction sector is seeing significant activity right now and we anticipate 2020 to be a positive year for rail freight as more companies look to shift material away from the roads and onto rail.”
He went on to say: “These brand new, high-specification box wagons are optimised for the construction sector and are fitted with integrated brakes and track-friendly bogies. This means there is no vulnerable, and often less efficient, frame-mounted brake cylinders or rigging. This also helps us to implement our ‘bogie exchange’ maintenance regime which, using our float of spare bogies, minimises wagon downtime and maximises availability for our customers. As with all new VTG wagons, this fleet is fitted with our Connect GPS tracking system, allowing their location and condition to be monitored in real time. This purpose-designed system gives VTG and its customers a number of significant advantages in areas such as maintenance planning and resource utilisation.”
David Fletcher, Director – Rail, Cappagh Group, added: “This is a hugely exciting time for DCRail. In 2020 we will complete the delivery of our fleet of Class 60 locomotives and construction work at the new North London freight hub is now underway. The Cappagh aquamarine blue livery is being seen across the country and we are very pleased with the support provided by VTG on this project. The innovations in wagon design and expected high availability will allow DCRail to meet the demand for efficient rail solutions for the construction industry. Since the introduction of the first batch of wagons payload on DCRail services has already been increased by 15% and we look forward to further increasing the amount of freight moved by rail.”
ScotRail has been officially recognised by the Top Employers Institute as a Top Employer 2020 in the United Kingdom.
Organisations certified as Top Employers dedicate themselves to providing the very best working environment for employees through their progressive ‘people-first’ HR practices.
Independent research from the Top Employers Institute found that ScotRail provides exceptional employee conditions, nurtures and develops talent throughout all levels of the organisation and has demonstrated its leadership status in the HR environment.
ScotRail is committed to developing a workforce as diverse as the communities it serves.
Throughout 2020, the train operator will run a number of dedicated recruitment programmes to encourage more women and people from ethnic minorities to consider a career in the railway.
Gerry Skelton, ScotRail HR Director, said:
“We’re thrilled to be recognised as a Top Employer 2020 in the United Kingdom.
“As one of the largest companies in Scotland, ScotRail prides itself on supporting equality and diversity in the workforce.
“Over the course of this year, we’re going to do even more to attract more women and ethnic minorities into our driver, engineering and technical roles across Scotland.
“The people we employee will help connect communities, support business, boost tourism, and deliver a railway Scotland can be proud of.”
David Plink, Top Employers Institute Chief Executive Officer, said:
“To become recognised as a Top Employer, an organisation had to prove that the implementation of their people strategies enriches the world of work of their employees.
“ScotRail is a shining example of dedication to people practices as they continuously commit to empowering their employees for a better world of work.”