Rail Announcement November 2014

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Rail Announcement

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Announcing all the news from the rail industry

Eurostar unveils Velaro

East Coast win for Virgin November 2014


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There is a real ‘feel good’ factor on the railways at the mo-

ment. November has seen the unveiling of the first Eurostar Velaro, a Chiltern special along the Cowley branch, with a view to passenger services commencing by 2020, and the settling of the Welsh electrification row. The long awaited announcement regarding the East Coast franchise has also been made and received a mixed reaction. Rail privatisation has seen vast improvements made across the network, but has also led to incidents of rail workers going up against each other, especially when things go wrong, and the shadow of penalty payments loom on the horizon. In recent months I’ve seen TOCs try to blame signallers for delays and a TOC say that another TOC’s station staff are awful ! In the former incident a driver arrived at his train at departure time and the station staff rang it out to the signal box , which then set up the route, locking up the station approaches. The driver then says that he’s having trouble releasing the brakes and is unable to depart. This causes huge delays to arriving and departing services, with the TOC, once it realised the scale of delay, claiming that the signal box never set the route, so it isn’t liable for delay payments. December will see a DBS locomotive named after Crewe driver Jack Mills who was attacked during the 1963 Royal Mail train robbery. Such a naming has been proposed numerous times over the last 50 years, so it’s good to see it finally become reality Jonathan Webb Editor editor@railannouncement.com


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Eurostar unveils Velaro in London To mark its 20th anniversary Eurostar unveiled the first five of the 10 new e320 trains that are scheduled to enter passenger service from December next year. Coinciding with the launch at St Pancras station was an announcement that it has placed an order for an additional seven trains with Siemens , taking the total cost of the 17 strong fleet and refurbishment of the current class 373s up to £1 billion. The decision by Eurostar to award the 2010 train building contract to Siemens sparked a bitter legal challenge from rival train builder Alstom. Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic told Rail Announcement that : “ 20 years ago there was a lot of scepticism , with people asking with ferries and planes do we really need the train? “ He continued by saying : “ In the last two decades we have doubled the size of the market between the 3 cities of London, Paris and Brussels. We always had the ambition to make travelling a pleasure and for our staff to make an impression on passengers so that they always remember the smile of the staff or that lovely cup of coffee.” Nine of the initial 10 trains have already been constructed and are currently being tested across England, France and Belgium, with all 10 scheduled to enter passenger service by May 2016. Andrew Slater, Eurostar’s International Rolling Stock Director, predicted that the seven additional trains would be delivered in the latter half of 2016.

Eurostar currently has approximately 80% market share for travel between London and Paris and London and Brussels, but is keen to lure more passengers from air travel and will introduce services from London to Amsterdam, with stops at Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, from 2016 an direct trains to Provence from next May. CE Nicolas Petrovic stated that an announcement regarding whether London bound passengers on the Amsterdam services will have to detrain at Lille for British passport and security checks would be made in January. This will be the case for the inbound services between London, Lyon and Marseille that Eurostar plans to launch on May 1 next year. The new trains have three vehicles with seating for business premier or standard premier classes at each end and 10 vehicles with standard class seating. Vehicles 3 and 14 each have two VIP coupés on each side of a central gangway. Refurbishment of the current class 373 fleet has commenced at SNCF’s Hellemmes ‘technicentre, but according to Andrew Slater there has been “some issues” and the first of the refurbished trains are not now expected to be delivered until the third or fourth quarter of 2015. The current fleet does not comply with European interoperability standards and is restricted to running a service between the UK, France and Belgium.


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Eurostar CE Nicolas Petrovic


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Virgin wins East Coast Inter City Railways, a joint Stagecoach/Virgin venture, has been awarded the East Coast franchise.

and Huddersfield and reductions in journey times from Leeds and Edinburgh. From December next year a new direct service will commence from Sunderland and Stirling , with additional weekday services promised between Edinburgh and London from May 2016. Looking further ahead ICR has said that a vastly improved timetable will be introduced from May 2019 featuring faster and new direct services along with improved services at the weekend.

The TOC, which sees Stagecoach with a 90% share and Virgin 10%, beat off competition from First Group and Keolis/Eurostar to run the franchise which commences next March and runs to 2023. As part of the deal £2.3 billion in real term premium payments will be made to the government over the eight year franchise. This figure is based on 2014/15 prices and discounted using the government’s real discount rate of 3.5% a year. The new TOC will shortly commence talks with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Currently operated by the state owned DiRegulation over securing paths for these new rectly Operated Railways ,following the failservices, although it is uncertain what finanure of the two previous commercial operators cial impact the introduction of direct trains GNER and National Express, is set to return to Sunderland, Middlesborough and Hudto the private sector for the first time since dersfield will have on open access operator 2009. Grand Central’s direct services to Sunderland and Bradford. During the franchise ICR will introduce the Hitachi built Intercity Express Programme In addition over £25 million will be invested Super Express Trains that the government in enhancing stations and creating at least committed to prior to the franchise. The 500 more spaces at car parks. There will also first of these will enter service in 2018 and be a 50% increase in cycle storage facilities at by 2020 all 65 of the trains will be in passen- stations. ger service, replacing the current fleet of 39 trains. It has not yet been decided what will Passengers will also benefit from cheaper happen to the displaced class 91s, but cascad- fares, with ICR saying that it will reduce all of ing them to Greater Anglia was mooted as a its long distance anytime fares by 10%. This possibility a while back. could see the price of an Edinburgh to London ticket reduced by around £15. Inter City Railways has pledged to invest £140 million in the franchise including inNews of the franchise was not welcomed by creasing capacity by 50% with 23 new direct everyone and shadow secretary of state for services a day to London from towns and transport Michael Dugher said: “ Given the cities including Middlesbrough, Bradford, clear political nature of how this process has Harrogate, Lincoln, Dewsbury, Thornaby and been handled, and with the General Election just months away, I have written to the


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Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport to ask him to postpone the process and to get a formal, Written Direction from the Secretary of State for Transport if he insists on proceeding.� Stagecoach already runs the West Coast franchise (45% share with Virgin), East Midlands and South West Trains. This latest award will be a bitter blow for First Group which recently lost its ScotRail and Thameslink franchises and failed to win Essex Thameside. However it is thought that by awarding the East Coast franchise to a Stagecoach/Virgin joint bid it will be easier for First to compete for the new West Coast franchise, that will commence in 2017, a franchise that slipped through their hands in 2012 following a legal challenge by Virgin that saw the competition cancelled and awarded to Virgin.

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Sources at the DfT say that the winning bid had been identified some time ago but, following the huge fallout from the West Coast franchise legal challenge, the department went through the bid word for word to ensure it was achievable. The DfT was also impressed by ICR’s plans for the IEP. Virgin would probably not have chosen the IEP for the East Coast franchise but bidders had no choice but to accept the rolling stock that had been determined by the DfT. The department saying that the proposals put forward bi ICR are much more ingenious compared to the other two bidders. This also sends out the signal to future franchise bidders that more emphasis is being placed on future plans and not just on the bottom line.


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Chiltern showcases Cowley proposal On November 5 Chiltern Railways ran a special train along the Cowley branch to demonstrate to invited guests the potential for a service to the town, that lost its station in 1963. Stopping at a temporary station at Oxford Science Park, which was constructed in a matter of days, the passengers gathered to hear Chiltern MD Rob Brighouse say that the proposed service would tap “into client demand” and building two stations , one at Oxford Science Park and the other at Oxford Business Park, would see the number of jobs in the area, currently standing at around 7,500, “ rise expediently” with the coming of the railway, which could happen as soon as 2020.

The freight only branch, which sees around 5 trains a day to or from the Mini car plant, diverges from the Didcot to Oxford line at Kennington Junction. It is part of the former Wycombe Railway route which linked up with the Chiltern main line at Princes Risborough.


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Route study looks at double deck trains Network Rail’s newly published draft version Wessex Route Study , which was created with contributions from train operators, the Department for Transport and Transport for London, has put forward a proposal that the introduction, during Control Period 6, of double deck trains in peak hours between Waterloo, Woking and Basingstoke could ease overcrowding on the busiest of services. An enhanced version of the plans could see double deck trains running through to Southampton.

The report also states that the introduction of ERTMS Level 3, moving block, cab based signalling with automatic train operation would be another option for increasing capacity with, in the longer term, adding an additional track between Clapham Junction and Surbiton and constructing Crossrail 2.

The lines around London Waterloo are some of the most congested on the network with peak periods seeing over 55 trains arriving every hour.

The 90 day consultation will run until next February and a final document, including an assessment of the business case for purchasing double deck trains, will be published in the summer.

Although Network Rail has been unable to identify a suitable double deck design that is currently in use , the study has produced a design concept that would see three 26 metre vehicles which could operate either in multiples of three, or become a fixed nine car train. Such a design would increase the amount of usable floor area by around 50% , compared to class 44s and 450s currently in use in the route. In addition to looking at the possibility of double deck trains Network Rail has set out the business case for electrifying the Salisbury route, raising line speeds to 125 mph on some sections, constructing flyovers at Basingstoke and Woking along with extra platforms at Guildford and Southampton Central. Control Period 6, which runs between 2019-2024, describes these new platforms and grade separated junctions as priorities.

The implementation of these plans would result in the rail,network being able to cope with a forecast growth of 40% on main line services over the next 30 years.


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Passengers to benefit from devolution Chancellor George Osborne has announced that Manchester is to benefit from devolved powers giving the region a much greater say over transport issues. He also confirmed that a grant of £350 million will support the scheme to create a Metrolink route to Trafford.

According to Transport for Greater Manchester , devolution will create a new era of seamless travel between trains, trams and buses. It will also allow discussions to take place regarding the future management of the city’s heavy rail network, with a particular emphasis on the stations that are not fully accessible.

During a visit to the city to see the new Metrolink extension to Manchester airport Mr Osborne said that it was: “ great news that, thanks to the devolution deal I have agreed with Manchester today, there will be a further £350 million extension to Trafford which will provide significant additional benefits to the city. The Metrolink will come under the powers of the new Mayor, supporting an Oyster-style travelcard system that will make traveling on the network and all of Greater Manchester’s public transport simpler and easier “ . The chancellor went on to say: “ These are exactly the sort of transport improvements that will not only allow Manchester to prosper and thrive but also help turn our vision of a Northern Powerhouse economy into reality.”

Chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee Councillor Andrew Fender said: “Today’s historic announcement marks nothing less than a new era for commuters in Greater Manchester, one in which they can look forward to the sort of seamless travel they may have experienced in London moving from the tube to bus.”


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ORR report is bad news for Network Rail

According to the Office of Rail Regulation’s report further missed milestones. Of partictwice yearly monitor , Network Rail’s delivery ular concern to the ORR is the delay to the of enhancements has got worse. north west electrification phase two project, which will miss its December 2014 commisFollowing a period of relatively successful sioning date, and is not now likely to be comdelivery in Control Period 4 (which ended in pleted until early next year. The ORR states April) the report concludes that in the first that this delay, combined with “significant two quarters of CP5 11 out of 44 regulated schedule stress” relating to the Cumbernauld milestones were not achieved , although the and north west electrification phase one projORR does point out that the majority of these ects towards the latter part of CP4, has put a had very little or no impact on passengers. question mark over Network Rail’s ability to deliver future electrification projects on time. Of the 11 milestones four relate to missing design deadlines, but the remaining seven are Health and safety has also become an issue, late project completions: with the ORR monitor noticing that a number of serious incidents have taken place on - Strategic Freight Network - Ipswich Yard the north west electrification phase two proj- Motherwell Area Stabling - Phase 1 ect. This is now a priority and ORR inspec- Barry-Cardiff Queen Street Corridor tors are working with the Health and Safety Phase 2 Valley Lines Executive to create a safe system of work - Barry-Cardiff Queen Street Corridor when installing overhead line equipment Phase 3 Barry Lines wires under tension. - Chiltern Main Line Train Lengthening - Rolling Programme of Electrification On the same day that the ORR monitor Rutherglen and Coatbridge Electrification was published, Network Rail issued its first - South West suburban platform lengthening progress review of Control Period 5, which - Raynes Park to Dorking highlights an overspend of £40 million, on the company’s overall budget of £7 billion, The majority of these missed milestones and failure to achieve passenger train perforwill not affect passengers because the new mance targets. It is expected that this figure infrastructure was not to be used by train will rise to £112 million by next March, with operators immediately after completion. The additional investment in train performance exception is the Barry to Cardiff scheme , as and safety initiatives being blamed for a large delays to this could result in problems comportion of the unbudgeted spending. missioning the subsequent phases of this large resignalling project and has the potenPassenger rain performance is currently tial to delay the introduction of additional 1% behind its year end target of 91.1% and rail services. although Network Rail has implemented a number of strategies to tackle the issue, the The next ORR monitor is not expected to be infrastructure company says that it will take any more positive and it is thought that it will time for the improvements to be felt.


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Row over Welsh electrification settled

Prime Minister David Cameron announced on November 21 that not only will the UK government cover the full cost of electrifying the Great Western route to Swansea, but also devolve the Wales and Border rail franchise which will enable the Welsh government to specify the new franchise due to commence in 2018. The news follows a long running dispute over who would fund the Welsh electrification scheme that was featured in the government’s High Level Output Specification for Control Period 5, with the Welsh and UK governments each wanting the other to provide the necessary finance.

This new deal will see the UK government take over sponsorship and fund delivery of the Cardiff to Bridgend section of the Swansea electrification scheme, at a cost of £105 million, and contribute £125 million towards the Valley lines electrification project. In return the Welsh government has agreed to become responsible for the sponsorship and delivery of the Valley line project, including the procuring of a new fleet of electric trains. David Cameron said: “I am delighted to announce that we are going to press ahead with the electrification of the Valley lines. After years of neglect, this part of Wales will finally get the infrastructure it needs with faster, more modern, more efficient trains and the impact will be huge.”


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Report boost for Crossrail 2

A study by consultants into the viability of Crossrail 2 has concluded that half of the £27.5 billion cost of the scheme could be raised by fares , business rates and a tax on new developments.

ness groups and other key players who have a stake in getting behind Crossrail 2.”

It is envisaged that chancellor George Osborne will signal his commitment to the project , by allocating up to £20 million, in This would mean the proposed rail link his autumn statement on December 3. This would meet a key requirement that at least funding would allow for more detailed stud50% of the funding comes from sources other ies and designs and enable preparations to than central government. apply for the powers The study rejects private financing or investments from sovereign wealth, pension and other major funds as unrealistic. The main generators of funding are seen as the fare box and the business rate supplement that was introduced for Crossrail 1, along with the London Mayor’s community infrastructure levy which has the potential to be doubled. To top up the funding it is proposed that the council tax precept , that Londoners paid for the 2012 Olympic Games, is continued and selling off land and property that are surplus to requirements once construction is finished. The £27.5 billion covers not only construction costs but new rolling stock and connecting the route to the existing rail network. Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, said: “Crossrail 2 is an essential infrastructure project and this report shows the range of financing initiatives we could employ to get it moving. We will now be discussing those financing options closely with London’s boroughs, busi-


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Pye station to open next month

UK transport minister Baroness Kramer has announced that the new £3.5 million Pye Corner station near Rogerstone will open on December 14. Work started on the station in April this year and the minister said it was the fastest station construction she had ever seen: “ This station has basically been 34 weeks in the making. For a station to be built in this short time is incredible, it just shows what you can do when people work in partnership together”

The new station has been jointly funded by the Welsh Government and the Department of Transport’s New Station Fund. Comprising of a single platform , the station will be equipped with CCTV and a 60 space car park, including charging points for electric vehicles. The station will be served by the existing hourly Ebbw Vale to Cardiff service.

___________________________________________ Alliance formed to deliver Scottish upgrade Network Rail has selected Costain and Morgan Sindall to carry out the main physical works on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP)

tion works will be completed in 2016, with this phase of the scheme coinciding with the construction of an Edinburgh Gateway interchange station at Gogar.

This contract, worth £250 million, will see Network Rail and its contractors electrify the route, complete route clearance works at Winchburgh Tunnel, carry out infrastructure works at Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley and extend platforms at Croy, Falkirk High, Polmont and Linlithgow.

Piling work for the overhead line equipment foundations began earlier this month and should be completed by next summer.

Rodger Querns, Network Rail programme director for EGIP, said: “EGIP is transformational in its scope and scale and will herald a step-change in the nature of our railway inThe £742 million EGIP project is being fund- frastructure, its resilience and reliability. The ed by the Scottish Government and is deliver- alliancing structure being used to deliver the ing an ongoing programme of electrification electrification works will allow us to increase across the central belt. This will result in reefficiency within the programme and deliver duced journey times and increased capacity. best value for money for the government and taxpayer.” The main Glasgow to Edinburgh electrifica-


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Electrification for Windermere branch

Although the West Coast Main Line through Oxenholme was electrified as far back as the 1970s, the 16km branch to Windermere has remained the preserve of diesel multiple units. This is set to change following the confirmation by transport minister Baroness Kramer that funding worth £16 million is to be provided to electrify the scenic route. A detailed plan for the work will now be developed by Network Rail and this could be ready by 2017.

Strategic planner at Network Rail David Golding, said: “Confirmation of this funding is great news and will support the retention of direct services between Manchester to Windermere, as the rest of the route is electrified. Once complete, electrification will enable a faster, more reliable rail service. This is part of a wider investment by Network Rail in the electrification of key routes between towns and cities across the north of England.” The branch is currently operated by TransPennine Express.

___________________________________________ GCR puts in new bid for lottery funding Following its failure to secure funding earlier this year, the Great Central Railway has resubmitted its £10 million bid for lottery funding in order that an out station of the National Railway Museum can be created near the heritage line’s Leicester station. If successful a number of NRM locomotives, including V2 Green Arrow and Butler Henderson will be displayed there along with numerous other smaller exhibits. The total cost of the project is approximately £16 million , with the balance being sourced from match funding via grant applications and fundraising activities.


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Options set out in Anglia route study

An Anglia route study, which is currently in draft form, has been published by Network Rail setting out the enhancements that could receive funding during Control Period 6 (2019-2024) Demand for rail travel along the Great Eastern Main Line from Essex to Liverpool Street is expected to increase by 52% over the next decade, with demand from stations in Norfolk and Suffolk forecasted to grow by 32% in the same period. The next decade is also expected to see demand from stations on the West Anglia Main Line, connecting Cambridge with Liverpool Street, increase by at least 18%, with the actual figure being dependent on housing development. Options being considered for the Great Eastern Main Line identified in the study are: - To support the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce’s aspiration to reduce journey times between London and Norwich to 90 minutes, work is proposed to increase the line speed between Shenfield to Norwich to 110mph by upgrading track, signalling and overhead line equipment. Network Rail will also continue its work to close level crossings where it can to make the railway safer and increase line speeds. - Additional platforms at Liverpool Street to increase capacity - Doubling of Trowse swing bridge - this would help towards increasing capacity from Norwich to London as well as from Norwich to Cambridge

- Installing a loop (new track) at Haughley Junction and Witham to separate passenger and freight services to help achieve faster journey times between London and Norwich - Further doubling of the Felixstowe branch line to accommodate the forecast increase in freight services Options for the West Anglia main line are: - Longer trains on the West Anglia Main Line. This would require platform extensions across this part of the network - Journey time improvements on the West Anglia Main Line - Adding two extra tracks to the West Anglia Main Line south of Broxbourne - Doubling the single line tunnel to Stansted Airport The study, a consultation on which will run until 3 February next year, also examines the possibility of upgrading Fenchurch Street station, in addition to the upgrades already planned, and increasing capacity on the North London Line from Gospel Oak to Barking. This could be achieved by increasing the number of platforms and running longer trains. Final publication of the study is expected next summer, the results of which will be used to inform the Department for Transport’s funding strategy for CP6.


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LO commences five car roll out

London Overground has commenced the roll out of five car class 378s as part of a ÂŁ320 million investment programme. The additional vehicle provides room for an extra 170 passengers, increasing capacity by 25%. Construction of the Bombardier built carriages is part of the London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.

In order that the longer trains can be accommodated the maintenance depots at New Cross Gate and Willesden have undergone reconfiguration in addition to 13 platform extensions at LO stations along with associated signalling works. In September a new stabling facility at Silwood Sidings, with capacity for five car trains, was commissioned. This was completed in a record breaking 18 months of gaining project authority.


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More Thai airport rail links proposed

Thailand’s transport minister Prajin Juntong has announced that two additional airport rail links are being evaluated by the government. The proposals would see a 22 km dedicated rail route constructed from Phaya to Don Muang airport and a rail route created connecting Bangkok with a naval base at Utapao. Approval for the Don Muang scheme, for which outline environmental assessments have already been completed, is expected in the near future.

Initially, with the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport , it was thought that Don Muang would close but instead passenger numbers have risen and the airport is to be expanded in order to cater for the 30 million passengers a year that pass through. The airport is already served by a station on the metre gauge Bangkok to Rangsit line, which will be upgraded as part of the Red Line Commuter rail project. The line to Utapao cannot be built until plans have been finalised for adapting the naval air base for civilian use.

___________________________________________ Rail link relics may be left in place The Hong Kong government is proposing that most of the ancient relics, described by the government as one of the most important archaeological finds in recent history, discovered during the construction of the Shatin to Central rail link be preserved in place. Construction of the rail route is already running 11 months behind schedule and if this latest proposal is implemented it could add another 15 months to the timescale and coast an additional HK$5.4bn ( ÂŁ444 million) . Preservation options being considered for the relics, which include two stone wells near the site of To Kwa Wan station and a large build-

ing dating back to Song and Yuan dynasties, include preserving in situ or removing and reconstruction. Each month’s delay will cost around HK$250m.


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