5 minute read – Network Rail brightens up Nottinghamshire bridge to help tackle graffiti

©Network Rail

Network Rail has joined forces with an artist, East Midlands Railway and the Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership to brighten up the road bridge at Netherfield station and help tackle graffiti near the railway.

Netherfield bridge – which carries Chaworth Road over the railway at Netherfield station – has been regularly targeted with graffiti.

Graffiti is illegal, often offensive and unpleasant for people in the community. Cleaning it costs millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and uses valuable time, which could be used making improvements to the railway.

After spending time covering and cleaning it, only to have to return to the site to do it all again, Network Rail teams worked with the Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership, East Midlands Railway and Lincolnshire County Council to commission street artist, Lionel Stanhope, to brighten up the bridge.

The design is based on artwork by children from Netherfield Primary School and St John the Baptist Primary School.  

Bronnie Clarke, Programme Manager for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “The artwork on the bridge at Netherfield station looks fantastic. It has brightened up the area for passengers and people in the community – and welcomes visitors to the town.

“Network Rail is determined to tackle graffiti on and near the railway. We hope this work makes people think twice about targeting the area again.”

©Network Rail

Lionel Stanhope, artist, said: “It’s been a pleasure painting the walls at Netherfield Station this week. I think the design we all agreed on is a great mix of a strong Typography piece on one side ‘WELCOME TO NETHERFIELD’  and the local school children’s designs bringing vibrant colours and positive messages on the other side.”

Jo Andrews, Community Rail Officer, Poacher Line, said: “We were delighted to work with Network Rail and East Midlands Railway to improve the appearance of Netherfield station bridge. We engaged with the local community to create a vibrant mural which will enhance the station entrance and hopefully deter further instances of graffiti. This has been a lovely project to be involved with and a huge thank you to those who contributed to the design which included the children of Netherfield Primary School and St John the Baptist Primary School, Colwick.”

©Network Rail

Donna Adams, Community Engagement Manager for EMR said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Network Rail and the Poacher Line CRP to tackle the graffiti issues on Netherfield Station bridge. 

“The artwork from Lionel adds real flare and colour to a frequently tagged area and will be welcomed by the local community, it makes the entrance to the station much more pleasant.”

©Network Rail

Cllr Meredith Lawrence, Mayor of Gedling, said: “I’m delighted to see this project completed, as the bridge has suffered many unofficial graffiti over the years. It is good that local children can feel ownership in that they contributed to the design, and I am sure that they will be proud to see their work incorporated.

“The bridge spans the meeting of the Netherfield and Colwick wards, and as the local councillor for Colwick I am doubly delighted!”

If you see someone graffitiing on the railway, please report it to the British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016. You can also call Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

5 minute read – Network Rail upgrades track in Grantham over August Bank Holiday weekend

©Network Rail

Network Rail upgrades track in Grantham over August Bank Holiday weekend – vast majority of services continue as railway welcomes passengers back

  • Essential work in Grantham will bring smoother, more reliable journeys
  • Work planned to minimise disruption as much as possible with some changes to LNER services on Saturday 28 August
  • Over 95% of Britain’s rail network will be open for business over August Bank Holiday weekend as railway welcomes back passengers

Network Rail is upgrading the track in Grantham over the August Bank Holiday weekend to bring smoother journeys for passengers travelling on the East Coast Main Line.

Overnight on Saturday 28 August, teams will be lifting and replacing the track on a section of the line between the north of Grantham and Claypole level crossing, near Newark-on-Trent. The ballast – stones which support the track – and the wooden sleepers will also be replaced.  

As well as bringing smoother, more reliable journeys for passengers, this work will also reduce the amount of maintenance which is required in future.

Network Rail has carefully planned the work which is taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend. Over 95% of Britain’s rail network will be open for business as usual, meaning passengers can reconnect with family, friends, and their favourite holiday destinations.

Most of the work in Grantham will be carried out overnight when there are no trains running on the line. There will be some changes to LNER services on Saturday 28 August:

  • The 19:45 Leeds to London King’s Cross and the 20:30 London King’s Cross to Leeds services will not run.
  • The 21:00 London King’s Cross to Newcastle service will depart earlier than usual. It will also be diverted, extending journey times.
  • The 22:00 service from London King’s Cross to Leeds will also set off earlier than usual and journey times will be extended.

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast route, said: “This vital work to upgrade the track in Grantham will bring smoother, more reliable services for passengers. We’re carrying out these improvements now to reduce the amount of maintenance and repair work required in future, helping to prevent disruption to services.  

“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, the vast majority of services are running as normal. We’re advising people to check their journey and allow plenty of time.”

People are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings, unless they are exempt. With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.

5 minute read – Railway fly-tipper fined thousands after home address found in waste

A fly-tipper has been convicted and ordered to pay £3000 after his home address was found in illegally dumped waste on railway land in Lancashire.

Piles of rubbish from a home improvement project were dumped at a track access point at Burnley earlier this year.

Railway access points are needed 24 hours a day so engineers can carry out essential maintenance. They also provide emergency access so blocking them risks lives.

The culprit was caught when an invoice for building materials, displaying their name and address, was found amongst the mess.

The matter was handed to the British Transport Police, and court proceedings began.

After pleading not guilty at Burnley Magistrates in May, a judge found the DIY delinquent guilty after a trial at the same court on July 14.

He was fined £1000 and ordered to pay court costs and compensation to Network Rail – totalling £3000 – for illegally dumping floor tiles, planks of wood, and a bed frame on Network Rail property.

Ian Croucher, maintenance protection coordinator, said: “I hope this case shows a strong message that Network Rail will do everything it can to track down illegal fly-tippers and work with the British Transport Police to bring them to justice.

“Not only is illegally dumping waste like this hazardous to our staff who have to clear it up and a risk to railway passengers, it’s also a blight on the environment. It costs millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to clear waste like this every year – money which should be spent improving journeys for passengers.”

Chief Inspector Dave Rams, from British Transport Police, said: “Fly-tipping costs the railway millions of pounds each year which could be invested in the railway network. This offender’s actions have cost him dearly and we hope this acts as a deterrent to others who are thinking of doing the same thing.”

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and carries a fine of up to £1,000.

Network Rail uses covert tactics and works closely with the British Transport Police to catch criminal fly-tippers.

Hidden cameras are installed in known ‘grot spots’ to gather evidence so those responsible can be taken to court.

For more information on how Network Rail tackles fly-tipping visit https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/living-by-the-railway/litter-and-fly-tipping/

Incidents of fly-tipping can be reported to Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

If you have information or see anyone fly-tipping contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

5 minute read – Work progressing well at Bristol East Junction as major track upgrade reaches half-way point

Passengers are set to benefit from brand-new track and better journeys when travelling to and from Bristol Temple Meads station. 

The Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, is visiting Bristol today (Thursday 12 August) to see the progress Network Rail is making on completing the £132m Department for Transport-funded project. 

Network Rail engineers have been working around the clock to complete the track upgrade which involves removing a bottleneck into Bristol Temple Meads and installing a clever new track layout just north of the station. This will allow more trains to enter and exit the station, increase capacity, reduce congestion and help make journeys more reliable. 

The eight-week project started on Saturday 10 July and is scheduled to finish on Friday 3 September. In addition to replacing the 1960s track and components, work is also ongoing to install state of the art signalling equipment. 

Engineers have already replaced over 2.1km of track, laid around 7,000 tonnes of ballast (stones that support the track), completed over 400 welds and realigned 200m of copers to suit the new track alignment design on platforms 1, 3 and 5 to ensure the safe and smooth running of the railway.  

Last weekend (7-8 August) work continued to remove the old signalling gantry and upload the data onto the new signalling gantry, which was installed over the Christmas period last year (2020). 

Attention now turns to the London side of the junction whereby engineers will repeat the similar process of digging out and replacing the old track and stone, focusing on the railway lines towards Bath Spa and London Paddington.  

As part of the upgrade of Bristol East Junction, an extra line is also being introduced which will support new suburban services in the future as part of the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) MetroWest scheme. Once complete, this scheme will provide over 4,000 additional seats on trains every day in the area. 

This track upgrade work is part of the wider Bristol Rail Regeneration programme that will see a number of improvements to the iconic Bristol Temple Meads station over the next three years, representing a major investment in sustainable transport in the region and creating a major transport hub that will serve millions of passengers each year and support business right across the region. 

Changes to train services

While this work is ongoing, there will continue to be a number of timetable changes to train services, including bus replacement services at times. Passengers are reminded to check before travelling and where possible plan ahead of their journeys. For more information and for the latest timetable changes, please visit GWR.com/Bristol or crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Bristol

©Network Rail

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This £132 million investment will mean more regular and more reliable trains with more seats coming through the station as we increase access to opportunities and better connect communities across the region.  

“Alongside this we are doing an extensive refurbishment of Bristol Temple Meads, providing better passenger facilities and improved accessibility.  

“This is another great example of how we are building back better in Bristol and levelling up the South West.” 

Michelle Handforth, Network Rail’s Wales & Western managing director, said: “I’d like to thank for all passengers for their continued patience as we do this huge piece of work in Bristol.  

“This is a highly complex piece of engineering and once finished, will bring huge benefits in the future such as more trains, more seats and more reliable journeys. The improvements at Bristol Temple Meads will also help transform the station and improve journeys. 

“Work will now continue and in the meantime, I urge passengers to keep planning ahead and checking before they travel, particularly during this period.” 

Richard Rowland, GWR customer service and operations director, said: “This work will in time help us to deliver 4,000 more train seats a day into the city, on more services through Bristol and help to reduce the conflict between long-distance and local stopping services, helping to maintain the reliability of our trains.  

“We continue to operate trains through Bristol for the vast majority of the period, but there continues to be some alterations to timetables and journey frequency, so please do check what is best for you if you’re travelling.” 

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry’s managing director, said: “When finished these important improvements will make rail travel to and from Bristol a better experience with more trains able to arrive and depart on time. 

“Until then we’d like to thank our customers for their patience while the work takes place, and ask them to check their journeys carefully to see if there are any changes.” 

For more information about the Bristol Rail Regeneration programme please visit  networkrail.co.uk/bristolrailregen 

5 minute read – ‘Look before you book’ this August bank holiday in North West

  • Railway improvements In Manchester and Cheshire are taking place between 28-30 August
  • Future passenger and freight journeys will benefit from a multi-million-pound investment
  • Passengers are advised to ‘look before they book’, travel at quieter times and out of respect for others, wear a face covering in busy indoor settings

Rail passengers are being urged ‘look before they book’ as major improvements are made to key North West rail routes this August bank holiday.

Millions of pounds is being invested to improve future journeys for passengers and freight.

On the days between Saturday 28 and Monday 30 August:

  • Signalling – the traffic lights of the railway – will be upgraded as part of a £36m investment at Trafford Park in Manchester*
  • Railway track will be upgraded between Macclesfield and Adlington**
  • £5m will be invested replacing two railway bridges by Warrington Central station***

On the routes affected passengers will have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.

The advice to those planning to travel during the railway improvements is to ‘look before you book’ by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “The essential improvements taking place over the August bank holiday will improve future journeys for passengers so they can use the railway to get to work and increasingly for leisure to visit friends and family or take a holiday.

“While much of the network will be open as usual, some journeys in the North West will be different with train diversions, slightly longer journey times or bus replacements between certain locations. I’d urge people planning on travelling over the August bank holiday to ‘look before you book’ using National Rail Enquiries so you know exactly what to expect from your journey.”

With domestic tourism in high demand this summer across the country, Network Rail’s bank holiday engineering work has been planned to minimise disruption to passengers with very few lines, stations and destinations impacted by the national £90m investment programme.

Passengers are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings unless they are exempt.

With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.

People can find out how their journeys will be affected by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk, contacting their train operators, National Rail Enquiries, or following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

5 minute read – South Western Railway commits a further £265,000 to community rail, as the Reading to Ashford, Windsor & Eton partnership joins the club

South Western Railway (SWR) has announced that it is committing a further £265,000 to Community Rail Partnerships across its network, with a new alliance on the Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside lines just launched. It brings the total number of community rail partnerships across SWR’s network to 12.

Community Rail Partnerships – or CRPs – are not-for-profit organisations that help connect SWR with the communities it serves. Connecting people and communities is at the heart of SWR, and CRPs focus on a wide range of projects which aim to:

  • promote sustainable and healthy travel
  • bring communities together
  • support social and economic development

The new CRP will stretch from Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside, and work with local schools and community groups, with a focus on supporting people who face barriers to travel. Seven stations in the area have already been “adopted” by local arts societies and organisations that support those in the community who have mental health needs and disabilities, and the CRP will be partnering with these groups to provide further support.

The funding from SWR is invested in both projects and employing an officer for each CRP, who delivers  the community activity. SWR is actively involved with each CRP, working in partnership with them to deliver outcomes that benefit as many people as possible.

Tim Barkley, Chair of Southeast Communities Rail Partnership CIC said:

“We are very grateful for the support from South Western Railway in creating our new Community Rail Partnership. Communities and railways work hand in hand together to promote social inclusion, support local businesses, involve local communities, and encourage travel by rail.

“We are looking forward to welcoming passengers safely back on board to take them on a journey of discovery to experience the best that that our region has to offer – whether that be culture, countryside, water sports, leisure activities or outstanding food and drink.

“What better way is there to have a relaxing and stress-free day out than taking the train to enjoy all that our beautiful part of the Thames Valley has to offer?”

Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager, South Western Railway commented: 

“Despite the challenges of 2020 and 2021, community rail has continued to grow across our network.

“South Western Railway is delighted to have supported so many vibrant Community Rail Partnerships, and we look forward to continuing our work with these organisations, and others, in 2021 and beyond.”

5 minute read – EMR celebrates 175th anniversary of Castle Line

©East Midland Railway
  • Events held to mark milestone for route 
  • Entertainment on board trains and stations 
  • Restored Lowdham signal box opens to public 

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has marked the 175th anniversary of the Castle Line by holding a series of events up and down the route. 

The line, which runs between Nottingham and Lincoln through towns and villages alongside the River Trent, opened on the 4th August 1846 as a 33 mile extension to the Derby to Nottingham route. George Stephenson surveyed the area and avoided engineering difficulties simply by following the route of the river. 

To mark the anniversary, EMR held a week of celebrations on the line, including entertainment on board trains, and at stations, with singer Jayne Darling, and a group of reenactors, dancing for passengers. 

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©East Midlands Railway

The official reopening of Lowdham signal box, which has been lovingly restored by David Moore, was also held. The signal box is a fascinating piece of history and provides an educational hands-on trip down memory lane, with people able to try out the signal box for themselves.

Station adopters were also part of the fun, working hard to spruce up their stations so they were ready for the anniversary. This work included installing a brand new train planter at Burton Joyce, which was named by the local primary school children. 

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© East Midlands Railway

Kaye Robinson, Community Rail Ambassador for East Midlands Railway, said: “We were delighted to mark this anniversary and highlight the history of the Castle Line, as well as promote all the hidden gems that the route connects. 

“I would like to thank everyone who helped us organise all the events, especially our station adopters who gave up many hours to make the week possible. I would also like to say a special thanks to Friends of Burton Joyce & Lowdham, as they were very much the catalyst for the celebrations and also thank you to David Moore who lovingly restored the signal box.”

5 minute read – New artwork at Northern station spreads messages of hope

New artwork created by students at one of Northern’s stations in County Durham is raising awareness for mental health and spreading messages of hope.  

Students aged 11-18 from nearby Park View School painted messages and images focusing on mental health awareness on boards which are now on display at Chester-le-Street station for visitors to enjoy.  

With the support of Chester-le-Street AAP (Area Action Partnership) Support and Task Group, the Friends of Chester-le-Street tasked students from Park View School to create pieces of artwork depicting mental health awareness and what it means to them.  

Kerry Peters, Regional Director at Northern said: “We’re always delighted to work on community projects and this artwork has an important message for everyone visiting our station.   

“Our community partners are the heartbeat of the railway and we’re extremely proud to work closely with them to deliver such a wide-ranging positive impact for the North of England.”  

Wendy Collingwood at Park View School said: “We were approached by Friends of Chester-le-Street Railway Station and Durham County Council to create a mural focusing on mental health.  

“The Park View students have worked extremely hard, demonstrated resilience and creativity in producing an eye-catching, inspirational and informative piece of art.”   

Derek Briggs, of the Friends of Chester-le-Street said: “We thought if the students could paint bright pictures and include simple messages, it could help everyone passing through the station. The artwork itself was all the students’ ideas and looks great.”  

Allyson Rose, from Durham County Council, who initially set up Friends of Chester-le-Street added: “The project stemmed from the work of the AAP Supporting Task Group around mental health awareness and has been a great example of partnership working. These pieces are absolutely stunning with very poignant messages.” 

5 minute read – Majority of rail network open for business as usual over August Bank Holiday as railway continues to welcome back passengers

  • Vast majority of the rail network – over 95% – will be open for business as usual over the August Bank Holiday
  • Some routes will be affected by the upgrade works taking place, so passengers should plan ahead
  • The railway expects people to follow government guidance and out of respect for others, wear a face covering in busy indoor settings unless they are exempt

The vast majority of Britain’s rail network (over 95%) will be open for business as usual this coming Bank Holiday as it looks to welcome passengers back and reconnect them with family, friends and their favourite holiday destinations.

With domestic tourism in high demand this summer, Network Rail’s bank holiday engineering work has been planned to minimise disruption to passengers with very few lines, stations and destinations impacted by the £90m investment programme.

Passengers are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings unless they are exempt. With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “The railway will be open for business over the August Bank Holiday, so people can reconnect, visit friends and family or take a holiday.

“While some works are taking place, we’ve worked hard to reduce the impact on passengers as far as possible so that they can enjoy and rely on our railway.”

The engineering works that are taking place have been planned months, and in some cases years in advance, and will help us deliver a better and more reliable train service for passengers in future.

Among the major pieces of work being delivered over the August Bank Holiday are:

  • HS2 preparatory works at London Euston to help deliver the enhanced high-speed railway for passengers and boost capacity. An amended timetable will be in place to/from London Euston all weekend, with platforms 12-16 out of use.
  • Track renewals and HS2 works between Water Orton and Nuneaton, and track renewals between Birmingham International and Long Lawford to improve track reliability. This work will impact services in the Birmingham, Nuneaton, Coleshill Parkway and Coventry areas.
  • From London St Pancras to Mill Hill Broadway there will be switches and crossings renewals at Carlton Road Junction, while work will also be under way to help construct the new station at Brent Cross. As a result, there will be no trains running between Luton and London St Pancras over the course of the weekend, and an amended and reduced service will be in operation between Bedford and Mill Hill Broadway.
  • Remodelling works at Bristol East to improve reliability for passengers. Platforms 7 and 9-15 will be out of use at Bristol Temple Meads, with buses replacing trains between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath, Keynsham and Oldfield Park.
  • Maintenance and enhancement works between Moorgate/Canonbury West and Finsbury Park to improve passenger safety. Moorgate services will be diverted to London King’s Cross between 28-31 August.

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

5 minute read – Major bridge reconstruction work starts in Manchester – passengers reminded to check journeys

  • Work to reconstruct and strengthen railway bridges in central Manchester has started and will continue until Sunday 15 August
  • Passengers travelling through Manchester Victoria are being urged to check their journeys at nationalrail.co.uk
  • This work is part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) which will bring faster, more reliable services to passengers travelling between Manchester and York, via Huddersfield and Leeds

Railway engineers have started major upgrade work to completely reconstruct railway bridges on Dantzic Street and Queens Road and strengthen and waterproof Bromley Street and Oldham Road bridges in Manchester.

During the 16-day upgrade programme (31 July – 15 August) there are changes to services between Yorkshire and Manchester. Network Rail, Northern and Transpennine Express have built a plan to keep passengers moving on trains across the Pennines as much as possible.

Some journeys may need to be completed partly by bus, primarily between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria. The latest, state-of-the-art buses will be available to passengers so they can travel in comfort throughout.

Passengers looking to travel over this period are being urged to check nationalrail.co.uk.

Timelapse footage showing steel beams being lifted into place, with the help of a 650-tonne crane at Dantzic Street, has been released by Network Rail. Over 3000m of track is also being upgraded to bring smoother, more reliable journeys.

This work forms part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), a multi-billion pound, transformative, long-term railway infrastructure programme between York, Leeds and Manchester which will improve connectivity in the North.

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director for Network Rail, said: “Our improvement work in Greater Manchester is a key part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), which will enable more trains and faster trains to run between Manchester and York in future.

“This major upgrade includes demolishing ageing railway bridges to install new ones, upgrading track and installing new signals. Though we can’t keep these railway lines open through Manchester Victoria while we do this, we’ve created diversionary routes so passengers can still get in and out of Manchester by train as much as possible.

“Thank you to passengers travelling this summer for your understanding while we deliver these much-needed improvements.”

Tricia Williams, Northern’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “It is welcome news that the railway continues to be invested in and the infrastructure improved upon.

“To complete these initial works there will be some planned changes to our services and our message to customers is very simple – please plan ahead and check your journey before travelling.

“To minimise disruption we will be running state-of-the-art replacement buses, offering clear customer information, including via digital and social channels, and will have more colleagues at stations to provide assistance both before and during the engineering works.”

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express commented: “We’re delighted to see continued investment in the North of England’s railway as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade. And with these works this summer, we will see a better, more reliable railway for our customers.

“To complete these engineering works, some of our services will be diverted and customers may have to change trains in Manchester, so we would advise those travelling to check before they travel. To help with those affected, there will be more railway colleagues at stations to help people get to where they need to be.”