Northern takes control of Leeds’ Neville Hill engineering depot

The future of rail engineering in Leeds is in safe hands after Northern confirmed it now has full control of the city’s Neville Hill depot.

The depot, which currently employs around 550 engineers, technicians and train presentation operatives, is a critical element for rail services in the North and had previously been jointly managed by Northern and East Midlands Railway (EMR).

All former EMR employees have transferred to Northern as part of the deal and join the more than 6,000 colleagues already working for the publicly owned operator.

Jack Commandeur, Engineering Director at Northern, said: “We are delighted to welcome our former East Midlands colleagues into the Northern fold and will continue to provide maintenance support for Northern, LNER and Cross Country trains.

“This is a positive step for rail in the North that will help to deliver more consistent and reliable services for customers, strengthen critical engineering processes and open up future opportunities to develop the depot into a state-of-the-art facility.

“We have ambitious long-term plans for the site and are exploring long term opportunities that we hope will, in time, see the depot transform into an engineering centre of excellence with educational partnerships and development programmes.”

5 minute read – Major 16-day railway overhaul completed in Manchester as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade

©Network Rail
  • Work to reconstruct/strengthen railway bridges and upgrade track in central Manchester was completed by Network Rail this morning (16 August)
  • Railway lines between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale and Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge have fully reopened following successful completion of the work with final finishing touches being made on Sunday 22 August, Sundays throughout September and the weekend of 2/3 October
  • This forms 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
©Network Rail

Railway passengers in Greater Manchester move one step closer to faster, more frequent, more reliable trains after major railway upgrades were completed on time between Manchester Victoria, Rochdale and Stalybridge.

Work took place from Saturday 31 July until Sunday 15 August to completely reconstruct railway bridges on Dantzic Street and Queens Road and strengthen and waterproof Bromley Street and Oldham Road bridges.

Over 3000m of track was upgraded and track remodelled between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. 17 new signals were also installed.

©Network Rail

Further work takes place as planned on Sunday 22 August, Sundays throughout September and the weekend of 2 and 3 October, to make the final changes with less disruption to passengers. All TransPennine Express (TPE) services will again be diverted into Manchester Piccadilly, with TPE services between Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool being operated by rail replacement buses on Sundays. Buses will also replace Northern services between Stalybridge and Manchester Victoria calling at Ashton-under-Lyne.

This work is essential to enable more trains and faster trains to run in future. The newly renovated bridges now allow increased weight loading of more trains and the new and remodelled track will allow trains to run at faster speeds.

This milestone is a crucial part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade. This major railway upgrade programme will improve connectivity in the North of England by providing faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

©Network Rail

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director for Network Rail, said: “We’ve made major progress across Greater Manchester on this key part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade. Our teams have worked around the clock over the past 16 days to improve journeys for passengers.

“As well as bringing more reliable services, this complex upgrade will eventually allow more trains and faster trains to run on the busy route between Manchester and York.

“We carefully planned the work to keep passengers moving during the upgrade. I want to say a big thank you to passengers for their patience while the improvements took place.”

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express added: “These works completed as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade are the first step to improving capacity and journey times across the Pennines. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the engineering works that have taken place across the last 16 days, helping to create a more reliant and resilient railway for our customers to travel on. We’d also like to thank our customers for their patience throughout the works.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The Transpennine Route Upgrade is a vital part of the future of rail in the North and it’s great to see this first phase completed – paving the way for further enhancement work on this crucial business and leisure corridor.

“As an industry we have worked closely to keep disruption to a minimum, and our customers on the move, and we are all grateful for the understanding shown by those who rely on our services to get them where they need to be.”

©Network Rail

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 – 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 – 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.”

5 minute read – Station volunteers celebrate success at prestigious flower show

©Northern

Volunteers at one of Northern’s stations are celebrating success at a prestigious flower show.

Friends of Todmorden Station won a bronze medal at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park this weekend (21st-25th July) in the Community Borders category.

The garden, named Lovers Walk, was sponsored by the train operator, and was inspired by walks to the town’s local landmark Stoodley Pike, a monument where couples would graffiti dedications to each other.

Visitors to the show could see a replica of the monument alongside flowers that symbolise romance such as Larkspur, Dahlias, Geraniums and Nigella (Love in a Mist)

The garden will be dismantled and recreated at Todmorden stations for Northern customers to enjoy.

Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern said: “This is an amazing achievement by Friends of Todmorden Stations

“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.”

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

Apperley Bridge comes to Railcam

We are delighted to welcome Apperley Bridge to Railcam, courtesy of site host Dan. Dan has recently moved to the property and noticed the wonderful view he has of Apperley Bridge and wasted no time in getting a camera set up and contacting Railcam, providing the stream to us at no cost. Thanks Dan.

It’s hard to believe the camera is situated around 2km from Apperley Bridge, but the zoom capabilities of the camera has given us a lovely scenic view of the line which runs between Leeds and Bradford/Skipton and on to the Settle & Carlisle Line.

Expect to see regular service from Northern, as well as LNER working to/from Bradford Forster Square, plus the odd charter, freight and test train thrown in for good measure.

This camera will be silent due to the distance from the camera to location and will be available free to view to all Railcam members.