5 minute reads – Work ramps up as Network Rail upgrades track and signalling over August Bank Holiday ready to connect Midland Main Line with new Brent Cross West station

©Network Rail
  • Essential railway upgrades are taking place over August Bank Holiday weekend – ready to connect services to Brent Cross West station when it opens next year
  • Network Rail will also continue with Kentish Town track upgrades and replace points between Kentish Town and West Hampstead
  • Work planned to minimise disruption as much as possible as railway welcomes passengers back
  • Changes to East Midlands Railway and Thameslink services – passengers advised to plan ahead

Network Rail is continuing to make progress on essential railway upgrades over the August Bank Holiday to improve journeys for passengers and prepare for services to call at the new Brent Cross West station.

©Network Rail

Between Saturday 28 August and the first service on Tuesday 31 August, teams will continue with vital work to reconfigure the track layout and improve the signalling system. This work will allow trains to call at the new station when it opens next year, linking people in the community to Central London and the Midland Main Line.

For this work to take place safely, no East Midlands Railway trains will run between Luton and London St Pancras International over the Bank Holiday weekend, and Thameslink services will terminate at Mill Hill Broadway. Replacement bus services will be in place to keep people moving.

During this time, additional improvements will take place as part of a complex project to upgrade the track at Kentish Town. The slab track in the area – which is supported by concrete rather than ballast – was laid in the 1970s. The work to upgrade it will improve journeys and reduce the amount of maintenance required.

Work will also be carried out to replace the points – movable sections of track which allow trains to safely move from one line to another – at Carlton Road junction, between Kentish Town and West Hampstead.

These upgrades will make sure passenger and freight services can continue running safely and reliably for years to come.

Network Rail has carefully planned the work which is taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend and carrying it out when the line is closed reduces the amount of future disruption for passengers.  

The following changes will be in place on Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and Monday 30 August:

  • No East Midlands Railway services will run between Luton and London St Pancras International. Passengers will be able to use replacement buses to connect to London Underground services.
  • A reduced Thameslink service will run between Bedford and Mill Hill Broadway all weekend. Buses will replace trains between Mill Hill Broadway and London St Pancras International.
  • Buses will also run between Harpenden (calling at St Albans) and Potters Bar, and between Luton Airport Parkway (calling at Luton) and Hitchin, where passengers can connect to alternative services into London.

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

©Network Rail

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This vital work over the August Bank Holiday will be a major step towards linking the new Brent Cross West station to the Midland Main Line.

“We’re carrying out additional improvements whilst this section of the line is closed to reduce future disruption to services. The slab track at Kentish Town has served the line well and the upgrade is vital so services can continue running reliably.

“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, we’ve worked hard to minimise disruption and keep services moving as much as possible. I’d encourage anyone travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend to check their journey and plan ahead.”

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR, said: “For any customers who are planning on travelling over the August Bank Holiday weekend, please allow extra time for your journey. There are no EMR train services operating between Luton and London St Pancras International and a replacement bus service will be in place.

“We would like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this crucial engineering work takes place between Saturday 28th and Monday 30th August.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink, said: “It’s good news that Network Rail are taking the opportunity to make these essential track improvements at Kentish Town while preparing for Brent Cross West further north. The new station will be a vital addition to the Thameslink network. If you do need to travel between Bedford and London during the Bank Holiday weekend, thank you for your patience. Please check a journey planner for details of the service changes and replacement bus options, and allow plenty of extra time. Be aware there may be further changes at short notice because of the coronavirus outbreak.”

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 – Ely to Peterborough rail line reopens following incident at Cambridgeshire level crossing

©Network Rail

The Ely to Peterborough rail line reopened this morning (Tuesday 24 August) following completion of works to repair damage caused by a collision between a freight train and a tractor last week.

The collision caused extensive damage after the freight train derailed. Since the incident, Network Rail’s engineers have been working non-stop to complete over a mile of track renewal, repairs to the signalling equipment and level crossing infrastructure. 

Network Rail’s infrastructure director for Anglia, Simon Milburn, said: “We’ve worked around the clock on extensive repairs in order to safely reopen the line as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we completed these works and we are sorry for the disruption it has caused.”

Just after 9am on Thursday 19 August, a freight train collided with a tractor at Kisbeys user worked level crossing in March, Cambridgeshire between March and Whittlesea stations. Network Rail is assisting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) with their investigation to fully understand the circumstance of the incident.

The crash caused three freight wagons to derail and has caused significant damage to the track, signalling equipment and the level crossing. The train driver and the tractor driver sustained minor injuries.

5 minute read – UPDATE: Repair works underway following Cambridgeshire level crossing incident

©Network Rail

Repair works are underway on the line between Ely and Peterborough following a collision between a freight train and a tractor yesterday morning (19 August).

As of Friday (20 August) the freight train and wagons had been removed and Network Rail’s engineers had completed half a mile of track repairs, with the remaining half a mile planned in over the weekend. Repairs are also being carried out to the signalling equipment and level crossing infrastructure.

The work is expected to be completed early next week. The line will remain closed on Monday and a further update will be provided regarding its reopening. We aim to reopen the line as early as possible next week.

Network Rail’s infrastructure director for Anglia, Simon Milburn, said:

“We’ve been working around the clock to carry out repairs as quickly as possible and have completed half of the track repairs so far with further works planned this weekend. We aim to reopen the line as soon as we can next week but it will remain closed on Monday. I’d like to thank passengers for their continued patience while we complete this work.

“Passengers travelling between Ely and Peterborough are advised to check with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries for the latest information.”

Just after 9am a freight train collided with a tractor at Kisbeys user worked level crossing in March, Cambridgeshire between March and Whittlesea stations. Network Rail is assisting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) with their investigation to fully understand the circumstance of the incident.

The crash caused three freight wagons to derail and has caused significant damage to the track, signalling equipment and the level crossing. The train driver and the tractor driver sustained minor injuries.

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 – ‘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 – 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. 

AV301104
©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. 

AV107459
© 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 – EMR opens Assisted Travel Lounge at Nottingham station

©East Midlands Railway
  • Lounge provides focal point for customers who require assistance
  • Designed to be spacious and relaxing
  • New tactile paving also fitted to station platforms

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has created a new area at Nottingham station designed to provide a welcoming space for passengers who require assistance or need a calm place to wait for their train.

The Assisted Travel Lounge, which has been installed on the dispersal bridge at the station, provides customers who have booked passenger assistance a designated waiting area and a clear meeting point.

A member of staff will be on hand at the lounge to provide support for customers, with special consideration given to passengers with developmental, physical or impairment disabilities. 

Seating of various heights has been chosen to meet the needs of different customers, while the lounge has also been designed to be spacious – providing easy access for wheelchair users, mobility scooters and those with walking frames or visual impairments. Indeed, the lounge was created working in a collaborative way with EMR’s Accessibility and Inclusion panel –  listening and acting on its advice.

The station team has also worked hard to make the aesthetic of the lounge as calm as possible – choosing relaxing vinyls, contrasting colours and plants.

The new lounge accompanies other work at the station to improve accessibility for disabled passengers, including tactile paving being fitted so all platforms now include it.

The paving is designed to help visually impaired people to travel safely and independently, while ensuring that important safety information, such as proximity to the platform edge, is conveyed in a non-visual way.

©East Midlands Railway

Liz Silver, from Nottinghamshire Disabled People’s Movement, has a visual impairment and uses a long cane to help her get around. Along with other members of the group, she was invited to tour the new lounge and provide her feedback to the station team.

She said: “It is great that access issues are being addressed and that disabled people are being consulted and action taken as a result. I was particularly pleased with the range of seating in the new lounge. Some of it was higher than standard and this means that the seating can accommodate a range of access needs for different people.

“It’s also really positive that all the platforms at the station now have tactile paving along the platform edge, it will really reduce my stress levels when catching a train.”

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for East Midlands Railway, said: “We are delighted to open this lounge and provide our customers who require assistance a clearer way to get support. 

“We understand that for some customers a station can be a very difficult place to navigate or visit. That’s why we have made sure to design the lounge so it provides a calm and reflective space, away from the hustle and bustle of the main booking hall.”

EMR celebrates the iconic HSTs with farewell documentary

  • EMR have collaborated with AV IT Media to share the HST story
  • Documentary features archive footage, stunning new imagery and interviews with numerous EMR colleagues who have worked on and with these iconic machines
  • HSTs will remain an iconic piece of British engineering and a much-loved part of the railway
  • One-off bespoke items to commemorate the HST will also shortly be available to purchase

For many people, HSTs are so much more than just trains – they’re part of the railway family, that’s why EMR have teamed up with AV IT Media to produce a one-off documentary, featuring a range of colleagues who have worked with these trains as well as telling the story of how they have changed over their decades of service.

These much-loved trains retired on Saturday 15th May after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line. EMR was determined to recognise this historic moment and provide the opportunity for people to speak about what the HSTs mean to them, and how they impacted on their career and lives on the railway.

Click below to view the full documentary ‘End of the line – A HST story’ (approx. 24 minutes). It can also be viewed through the EMR YouTube channel from today (Monday 24th May).

Will Rogers, Managing Director for EMR, said: “To this day, the HST remains an iconic piece of British engineering and a much-loved part of the railway. We wanted to celebrate the HSTs, in tribute to the people who have worked on them and loved them throughout their career. A documentary is the perfect way for us at EMR to say goodbye and wish the trains a happy retirement, we hope our customers enjoy watching it too.”

Neil Bamford, Fleet Director for EMR, said: “We were incredibly sad to see the HSTs go, we know this is the “end of an era” not just for our colleagues, but for enthusiasts who have followed the journey of our HSTs through the years. For many, they are much more than just a train. They’ve become a fundamental part of people’s lives.”

The documentary will remain a permanent tribute to the HST and will be freely available online for everyone to view in their own time

EMR is also going further and producing a range of bespoke items for anyone to purchase over the coming weeks and months.

EMR have also teamed up with ‘Brixes’ to create a limited edition ‘build your own HST,’ exclusively EMR purple livery. These will be available to purchase by the general public from July 2021. There is a limited quantity of these items available so any HST fans will need to be quick to purchase.

EMR have also created limited-edition farewell pin badges that will also be available to purchase on the website soon https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/

The people who were unable to be part of the documentary shared their memories as part of a memorabilia book, which has been issued to EMR staff as a lasting memento of these iconic trains.

To view a copy of our memorabilia book in electronic form, please click here: https://issuu.com/emr_ic/docs/emr_hst_memorabilia_book_e-version

Introducing EMR Connect – more seats and a simpler timetable on our greenest ever fleet

©East Midlans Railway
  • EMR Connect – the new electric train service between Corby and London St Pancras
  • Provides more seats and services every 30 minutes
  • Electric trains are quieter and kinder to the environment
  • Launches Sunday, 16 May

East Midlands Railway (EMR) will launch its new all-electric service between Corby and London St Pancras later this month.

EMR Connect, is the company’s first electric route, reducing carbon emissions by 77% and lowering noise levels for lineside neighbours. It also provides EMR’s sixth train to and from London every hour, up from the current five.

The new timetable is made possible by the successful delivery of the £1.5 billion Midland Main Line Upgrade by Network Rail, which includes new overhead line equipment between Bedford and Corby, as well as an additional track between Kettering and Corby.  

EMR Connect will be comprised of eight carriage electric trains serving Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton & Luton Airport Parkway every 30 minutes on weekdays from 06:00.

Services on Sunday afternoon will also be significantly improved, with a full weekday timetable running after 14:00 – providing better access to and from London and the East Midlands.

It will provide more seats for passengers across the region – with further late night and early morning services – and will allow the reintroduction of peak services between Wellingborough and Bedford, meaning passengers will not need to use the replacement coach service.

The trains which will operate EMR Connect are known as Class 360’s. EMR had hoped to refurbish a number of these trains before they entered service. However, as a result of delays caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, that has unfortunately not been possible. EMR is fully committed to refurbish these trains as swiftly as possible and will share more information on this programme soon.

Passengers wanting to use EMR’s Intercity service north of Kettering will be able to make a northbound connection, twice an hour at the same times, every hour, and with coordinated interchange times, the total journey time to Leicester and Nottingham remain the same as today.

©East Midlands Railway

Will Rogers, Managing Director of East Midlands Railway, said: “We are delighted to be able to introduce our new all-electric EMR Connect service for our passengers travelling between Corby and London St Pancras.

“Not only will EMR Connect enable a significant reduction in carbon emissions and noise levels, it will also provide more seats, later services and more frequent journeys helping to support the communities and businesses of the region.”

EMR Connect will transform the services in the region including the following changes:

Corby

  • More than doubles the current number of services to and from London
  • Providing thousands of additional seats every day and increases the number of trains arriving into London before 9am from one to six
  • Last direct service back from London is now four hours later – making it easier to visit London or meet friends

Wellingborough

  • Average journey time remains comfortably under 60 minutes with a more consistent timetable with services in both directions every 30 minutes
  • First train arrives into London approximately 20 minutes earlier than today
  • A limited EMR Intercity service will operate in the morning and evening to provide direct journeys to and from Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield
  • Wellingborough passengers travelling to/from Nottingham at other times of the day will need to change at Kettering, however connection times are generally under 10 minutes, retaining current journey times in the vast majority of instances

Bedford

  • Reintroduced EMR peak time services and a consistent timetable with services in both directions every 30 minutes
  • Journeys to and from London will take approximately 41 minutes
  • Peak time bus between Wellingborough and Bedford replaced by train services every 30 minutes
  • A limited EMR Intercity service will operate in the morning and evening to provide direct journeys to Nottingham and Leicester
  • Bedford passengers travelling to/from Nottingham at other times of the day will need to change at Kettering, however connection times are generally under 10 minutes, retaining current journey times in the vast majority of instances

Luton

  • Reintroduction of EMR peak time services for Luton with services in both directions every 30 minutes
  • Journeys to and from London St Pancras will take approximately 25 minutes
  • Bedford passengers travelling to/from Nottingham will need to change at Kettering, however connection times are generally under 10 minutes, retaining current journey times in the vast majority of instances

Luton Airport Parkway

  • Non-stop services form London St Pancras International, every 30 minutes
  • A consistent timetable with services in both directions from 06:00 with journeys to and from London taking just over 20 minutes.
  • When complete, the new DART service will provide a rail link from Luton Airport Parkway to the airport terminal

Look out for the East Midlands Railway Class 360 on our Bedford and Flitwick cameras, let’s see your screen captures #SawItOnRailcam