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 – 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. 

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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 – 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

Midland Mainline Memories – Railcam salutes the iconic HST

The final mainline HST service into London is coming to an end with the launch of the May timetable changes, and we couldn’t let this pass without covering social media with your #MMLMemories.

©Jamie Rowley

The HST has been a mainstay on the Midland Mainline for years, operating to/from St Pancras to the East Midlands, and with the May timetable changes we will be waving goodbye to this icon of high speed train travel in the UK from the Midland Mainline.

©Jamie Rowley

Saturday May 15th will be the final day of HST running on the Midland Mainline, and from now until then we want to see your memories of the mighty Midland Mainline HSTs. There have been some wonderful liveries over the years, perhaps some of the best the HST has ever carried, and we would love to see those over the next couple of weeks…..

©Jamie Rowley

Simply share your photos on social media platforms, (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtags #MMLMemories and #HSTonMML, whilst tagging Railcam in your posts (Hey, why not tag East Midlands Railway, WeareEMR and the 125 Group while you’re at it) and lets see as much HST as we can!

©Jamie Rowley

EMR and Porterbrook salute iconic HSTs

©East Midlands Railway
  • HSTs will be retiring in May 2021, after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line
  • Record breaking Power car repainted in its legacy colours 
  • The Power Car will be preserved by the National Railway Museum in York

East Midlands Railway and Porterbrook are paying tribute to the iconic HSTs by painting power car 43302 into the Intercity Swallow livery and reinstating its original number 43102. 

©East Midlands Railway

Operated by East Midlands Railway (EMR) and owned by Porterbrook these much-loved trains will be retiring after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line, making way for newer fleets to join EMR in time for the May 2021 timetable change.

©East Midlands Railway

Power Car 43102 famously broke the Intercity World Speed Record in November 1987 when it reached 148.5mph between Northallerton and York during a test a run. Although it was formally renumbered to 43302 by its previous operator, today it regains its original number 43102 and the livery it carried when it broke the record.

©East Midlands Railway

To this day the HST remains an iconic piece of British engineering and a much-loved part of the railway while continuing to serve passengers on the Midland Main Line. It remains a true testament to TCB Miller and his design team at the BR Railway Technical Centre in Derby, who took the train from concept to working prototype in 2 years.

©East Midlands Railway

Upon its retirement in May, after 43 years’ service, this Power Car will be donated by Porterbrook to the National Railway Museum in York, joining power car 43002 which carries the name ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’.

©East Midlands Railway

Neil Bamford, Fleet Director for EMR said: “The team at our Neville Hill depot in Leeds have been working hard behind the scenes to strip unit 43302 of its current livery, repaint it in its legacy colours and reinstate its original number in homage to the ‘end of the HST’ era.”

“What an incredible way to pay tribute to the HSTs and the magnificent efforts from all our staff, who have operated and maintained the fleet over the years.

“I personally remember as a 19-year-old, way back in 1980, going on HST commissioning runs from Derby to Darlington, putting the trains through their paces and doing various tests before they entered into service, such happy memories.

“This is a fitting way to recognise the end for this iconic machine; a massive slice of railway heritage and history.”

Neil Foster, Fleet Services Director for Porterbrook said: “EMR and Porterbrook have worked closely together for many years to collaboratively manage the iconic HST fleet, these trains are much loved by the millions of passengers they have carried over the decades.

“Today’s event was a great way to mark the role played by HSTs in transforming the Midland Main Line into one of Britain’s premier rail routes. With their reputation for comfort and speed these icons of British engineering re-invigorated rail travel between Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London.

“Celebrity power-car 43102 will proudly display its original livery whilst it continues to serve EMR passengers, before undertaking its next journey to a new home at the National Railway Museum to be reunited with Sir Kenneth Grange.”

Railcam Sheffield is LIVE!

We are delighted to reveal our latest installation, Railcam Sheffield.

For the last 10 months Covid-19 has limited us to very few installs and upgrades, dodging between lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have struggled to keep up with the mountain of locations we have to install with brand new cameras, or upgrade existing equipment.

One shining light has been the small number of hosts who are able to self install pre-configured equipment, and our host at Sheffield is one of those.

Shipped just last week, our host has got the equipment set up in his office window in no time, and we now have a stunning overview of the north end of Sheffield station, which has the added bonus of the Sheffield SuperTram thrown in for good measure.

Due to the camera being inside, we unfortunately can’t offer audio, but the PTZ (Pan, Tilt & Zoom) functionality of the camera gives us the option of the stunning images displayed below,

Railcam Sheffield will be available to Railcam Supporters from 10am on Friday 29th January.

Fancy becoming a Railcam Supporter?

For £4 a month or as little as £23 for the entire year, you can take advantage of many addition features, including Live Signalling Diagrams, addition Premium Cameras, Schedule information and much more…..

Find out more at https://railcam.uk/whatyouget.php

East Midlands Railways unveils newly designed seats for state-of-the-art Aurora fleet

  • Completely unique seats offering enhanced comfort 
  • Seats easier to clean, maintain and more durable 
  • Every passenger has access to power and USB point

Passengers travelling on East Midlands Railway’s (EMR) Aurora trains will be able to sit back and relax thanks to unique seats specifically designed for the company’s new fleet.

Working closely with Derby-based design firm DGDESIGN, EMR has taken the proven product of a FISA Lean seat and refined it to offer enhanced comfort and support. It has also improved the appearance to match what they believe customers expect from an InterCity service seat.

The seat rework has included increasing the size of cushions, headrests and armrests and making sure that high quality durable materials are used throughout, such as a wool-rich moquette and leather.

At the same time, EMR has also ensured the seats include all the practical and technological features that customers require, such as power and USB points, generous legroom, coat hooks , well-sized seat-back tables for all airline seats and space to stow a cabin-bag under each seat.

Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains at East Midlands Railway, said: “We know the FISA seat has a good level of comfort, but we wanted to further enhance this by providing additional support in key areas, developing something that looks comfortable, inviting, and unique to EMR. All this has been done whilst ensuring we still meet the latest seat safety standards.

“Our customers are used to large comfortable seats, as found in our Meridian trains, so we wanted to maintain this character but go even further.

“It has taken a lot of work but we are delighted with the final product, not only are they comfortable to sit in and look refined, but they are also easy to keep clean and include all the features passengers should expect from a new generation of trains.”

David Gordon, Director at DGDESIGN, said: “After safety and punctuality, seat comfort is probably the most important customer requirement and therefore a key focus for our interior design work, with every effort being made to optimise the at-seat experience by further enhancing an already proven seat system.

“Headrests have improved lateral support for added comfort and privacy, cushions have been widened, armrests are softer and deeper, additional privacy screening has been introduced and upholstery detailing has been refined to improve aesthetics and cleanability.”  

EMR’s new InterCity fleet, which will be able to run on electricity and diesel, will be built by Hitachi Rail in County Durham and financed by Rock Rail East Midlands.

Mike Kean, Chief Originations Officer at Rock Rail, said “Comfortable seating plays a key part in delivering great passenger travelling experiences. We are delighted that the new Aurora seats will help transform passenger journeys together with the many other improved passenger, operational and environmental features of this state-of-the-art fleet.”

Amy Webb, Head of Programmes – Commuter, Hitachi Rail, said: “Hitachi is excited to be working with EMR to deliver the new Aurora Fleet for its passengers. As today’s announcement underlines, Aurora passengers can expect to benefit from a comfortable journey, with more capacity and a new, modern interior.

“The manufacturing of the trains is also benefiting over 75 suppliers across the UK – a number that will continue to rise – and will also support hundreds of jobs at Hitachi Rail’s factory in County Durham.”

When it enters service in 2023, Aurora will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors.

The trains will also include features that passengers have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free WiFi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.

EMR pioneer unique driver training techniques to introduce new trains

East Midlands Railway has successfully delivered unique driver training programmes to allow the introduction of 2 new trains into the EMR fleet.

EMR resumed their driver training programme in August after being forced to stop due to Covid-19 earlier in the year. Since the training resumed, EMR have aimed to train 4 drivers per week on Class 170’s at both Derby and Nottingham, with an additional 4 drivers on Class 180’s at Derby. The latter allowing the first of the Class 180s to enter service, as planned, on Monday 14th December.

Due to the impact Covid-19 had upon training, new agreements were forged in collaboration with EMR union colleagues to ensure training could be delivered safely.

As a business, EMR had never attempted to train so many drivers on different fleets, across multiple locations simultaneously, yet they have done so, whilst also adapting to the restrictions put in place by Covid-19. Typically, driver training involves more than one person in a confined drivers cab for extended periods of time. This had to be adapted due to Covid-19.

To keep the teams safe during the pandemic, all of the ‘close contact’ training requires Drivers to enter into Covid-secure training bubbles. Every Instructor and Trainee takes a Covid-19 test every week, prior to training. This, alongside daily safety declarations and temperature checks, are proving vital to ensuring the teams can continue to train safely.

EMR Driver Instructors, Driver Managers and the Learning & Development team created training materials based on information gathered from other train operating companies. This involved bringing in an instructor from Hull Trains for training on the Class 180 trains and for the Class 170 units, EMR looked to its sister train operator, Scotrail for support with the training programme.

EMR’s Driver Instructor teams are going above and beyond to provide high quality, consistent training for all of the Drivers. They have moved the training around the network to suit the availability of the new fleet, developing a full catalogue of training materials and even learning sections of new route so that they can train using the paths allocated for each course.

The courses deliver two new traction types across four locations simultaneously to recover time lost due to Covid-19. EMR Mainline drivers at Nottingham, alongside Depot drivers from Eastcroft, have learned Class 170 units, whilst Mainline drivers at Derby and Depot drivers at Etches Park have learned both Class 170 and Class 180’s. 

The Class 170 project saw 3 trains enter passenger service yesterday (December 14th), alongside the timetable change, serving the Robin Hood Line. The training programme will continue until August 2021, when EMR will have trained over 265 Drivers on the new fleet across four locations.

The Class 180’s also entered into service yesterday on the Midland Mainline and are operating on EMR’s Intercity route. The 180’s will be in service until EMR’s new Aurora fleet will be introduced in 2023.

Chris Fairclough, Driver Depot Manager for Nottingham, Boston, Lincoln and Norwich EMR, said: “The Driver Training Programme had to be adapted quickly due to Covid-19. With social distancing measures in place, we have worked harder than ever to ensure we could train as many drivers in the safest and quickest way possible. 

“Safety is always kept at the forefront of our operations and everyone has worked tirelessly to ensure that is the case.  

“With new style trains coming into use, which requires our drivers to re-train on the new models, the pressure has been on to learn everything about how the new fleet operates; from rules and regulations to fire safety, it has not been easy, but I am incredibly proud of all the work that has gone into the Driver Training Programme.