A History of Britain's Railways
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Due to temporary absences on the editorial front the Railscot website will be operating on 'automatic pilot' for much of the next few days. Normal service will be resumed over the weekend of 25/26 April when any outstanding issues, queries, e-mails etc will be addressed. Apologies in advance and thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Railscot automatic pilot in operation. Normal service on the website will be resumed over the weekend of 25/26 April 2015.
[John Furnevel 18/04/2015]

18/04/2015 Japan's Maglev Train Breaks World Speed Record [Sky News]
A magnetic levitation (maglev) train in Japan has broken the world speed record by hitting 366mph. The Central Japan Railway Company said the seven-car train completed a test run on an experimental track in Yamanashi on Thursday. It beat the previous record of 361mph set in 2003 - but the new record could be smashed within days. Another test run is scheduled for Tuesday during which the train's speed could reach 373mph.
Sky News

16/04/2015 Timetable drawn up to help those hit by FIVE month tunnel closure on Glasgow to Edinburgh line [Evening Times]
A SPECIAL timetable is to be drawn up to help passengers hit by the five month closure of a tunnel on the Glasgow to Edinburgh railway line. ScotRail and Network Rail have launched a consultation with SPT and transport user watchdog Transport Focus in advance of work starting next year. It will also be talking to local councils, business organisations, politicians, interest groups and passengers. Following the consultation, a detailed timetable will be prepared in a bid to minimise the impact of the tunnel closure. The high level Queen Street Tunnel will be out of action from Sunday March 20 until Monday August 8 to allow more than a mile of concrete slabs which carry the rail tracks to be replaced. They were installed in the 1970s but have deteriorated as a result of continuous wear and the effect of water. Glasgow to Edinburgh trains will not be able to use the tunnel during the 20 weeks the work will take.

The station throat at Glasgow Queen St and a Class 170 is seen entering the tunnel on a service for Edinburgh. On the left another Class 170 waits to form a departure for Alloa while on the right 158718 will follow the Edinburgh train up the bank but then turn right at Eastfield for Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld.
[Mark Bartlett 08/03/2013]

A class 27 emerges from Cowlairs tunnel and brings a train into Queen Street station in March 1974
[John McIntyre /03/1974]

Queen Street Tunnel. B1 4.6.0 61197 approaching with train from Edinburgh.
[G. H. Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. 20/04/1954]
Evening Times

15/04/2015 Danger as tram surfers putting lives at risk [Evening News]
TWO children who clung to the side of a moving tram have been branded “idiots” amid fears the stunt could have proven deadly. One of the thrill-seekers, who appears to be in his early teens, was photographed by a shocked tram passenger who said the pair high-fived as they rode for at least two stops through the city centre. [From Richard Buckby]
Evening News

13/04/2015 10 spectacular rail journeys … that you’ve probably never heard of [Guardian]
Classic trains such as the Orient Express and Trans-Siberian have the name and the fame, but there are hundreds of lesser-known – and more-affordable – rail journeys that are their equal when it comes to stunning scenery

12/04/2015 East Lancashire Railway facing £18,000 loss [BBC News]
A heritage railway may have lost £18,000 after a glass firm helping with the renovation of a railway station went into administration. The East Lancashire Railway, which operates as a charity, is working to restore Bury Bolton Street Station, in Greater Manchester. The money was paid in advance to Paperlinx, which was supplying roof glazing for a Victorian-style canopy. However, the firm in now under the control of administrators Deloitte.

There is a distinct Western Region feel to Bury Bolton Street station on the heritage East Lancashire Railway in this view south from the tunnel mouth on 3 March 2012. On the left is Class 14 no D9531, recently extensively overhauled and now running as the ^new^ D9556 while on the right is Class 35 no D7076.
[John McIntyre 03/03/2012]

EMU M77172 stands at Bury Bolton Street in 1979 following its arrival with a service from Manchester Victoria.
[Ian Dinmore //1979]

Jinty 47202, with 47383 tucked in behind, standing at Bury Bolton Street (note the third rail supply alongside) on 26 November 1966 waiting to take the MRTS Three Counties Special on the next leg of its tour to Manchester Victoria and Stockport Edgeley.
[K A Gray 26/11/1966]
BBC News

11/04/2015 Lingwood train driver error caused Norfolk crossing crash [BBC News]
A mistake by a train driver has been blamed for a rail crash that demolished closed level crossing gates in a Norfolk village. A train cleaning leaves from the line between Norwich and Great Yarmouth ignored warnings and hit the gates in Lingwood on 31 October 2014. Network Rail said both gates were 'struck, damaged and removed by the impact' but no-one was injured. Direct Rail Services said it had 're-briefed and retrained' the driver.

Platform scene at Lingwood station, Norfolk, on the line between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, on a warm summer^s day in June 2010. The view is east towards the level crossing over Station Road.
[Ian Dinmore /06/2010]
BBC News

10/04/2015 Last footbridge of Borders Railway installed at Newton Village [BBC News]
The last bridge over the Borders Railway has been installed as part of the construction of the new 30 mile route. A total of 95 bridges have been refurbished and 42 new bridges constructed on the railway between Edinburgh and the Tweedbank. This footbridge at Harelaw provides a connection from Newton Village to the new station at Shawfair, south-east of Edinburgh.
BBC News

10/04/2015 London seeks new Overground network operator [IRJ]
TRANSPORT for London (TfL) has invited prospective operators to register their interest by mid-May for a new concession to run the London Overground rail network starting on November 13 2016 for a period of 7.5 years with an option to extend it by up to two years. TfL will draw up a shortlist of bidders by this summer who will then be invited to bid for the concession. TfL expects to announce the winner by summer 2016. [From Richard Buckby]
International Railway Journal

09/04/2015 First Great Western apologises for delays after driver boards wrong train [Evening Standard]
Commuters heading to London faced delays when a driver boarded the wrong train and was forced to turn back. Rail operator First Great Western has apologised for the blunder which saw a train heading for London Paddington confused with one set for Swansea in Wales. A spokesman for the rail company said a driver and crew had mistakenly boarded the Wales-bound service out of Banbury in Oxfordshire.
Evening Standard

08/04/2015 Drax picks DB Schenker for coal contract [Logistics Manager]
Drax Group which operates the giant Drax power station near Selby in Yorkshire has awarded DB Schenker Rail UK a three year contract to deliver coal. The deal covers the supply routes of Immingham and Kellingley. There is also the potential for additional North East supplementary routes. In addition to the new contract, DB Schenker Rail UK has a contract to supply up to 80 per cent of Drax’s biomass requirement.

An EWS class 66 departs from Drax power station with coal empties.
[Ewan Crawford //]

GBRf imported former Eurospec class 66 no 66747 heads north at Beningborough on 18 October 2014 with a rake of empty Drax Power biomass wagons.
[David Pesterfield 18/10/2014]

A Drax - Kirkby Thore gypsum train approaching Kirkby Stephen through the rain in November 2004, approximately 18 miles short of its destination.
[John Furnevel 06/11/2004]
Logistics Manager

07/04/2015 End of the line for India’s national railways? [BBC News]
India is a trainspotter's paradise. The rail network has more than 9,000 locomotives - 43 of which are still steam-powered. This vast fleet pulls almost half a million wagons and more than 60,000 passenger coaches over 115,000 or so kilometres (70,000 miles) of track. The railways operate more than 12,000 trains, carrying some 23 million passengers daily. This vast public enterprise is virtually a state within a state. It runs schools, hospitals, police forces and building companies and employs a total of 1.3 million people, making it the seventh biggest employer in the world. But it could soon be broken up.
BBC News

04/04/2015 Abellio to keep ScotRail’s free first class secret [Scotsman]
A SECRET perk enjoyed by passengers in the know is to be retained by new ScotRail operator Abellio – travelling first-class at no extra cost. The little-known quirk is because some trains with first-class seats run on routes where first-class tickets are not available, so anyone can sit on them.It has even led to commuter trains being crammed with passengers while their first-class compartments remain empty. ScotRail only offers first-class on its inter-city routes – the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and between Aberdeen and Inverness. However, some of those diesel-powered trains also operate on suburban routes, for which only standard-class tickets can be bought. They include between Edinburgh and Glasgow and both Dunblane and Fife. That means passengers lucky enough to find themselves on such trains can avail themselves of the “extra space and comfort for luxurious travel”, as ScotRail describes its first class.

The First Class interior of recently refurbished ScotRail unit 158722 standing in Inverness station on 20 November 2007.
[John Gray 20/11/2007]

03/04/2015 ScotRail steam train operator has permit suspended [Scotsman]
STEAM train plans by new ScotRail firm Abellio were thrown into disarray today after the intended operator was banned from the tracks. West Coast Railways (WCR) was barred from operating anywhere in Britain by track owner Network Rail until it makes a series of improvements. The operations of West Coast Railways are a threat to the safe operation of the railway. Network Rail The move came after WCR caused the most serious case this year of a train running through a red light. It also puts in doubt the launch of WCR’s flagship Jacobite steam service between Fort William and Mallaig next month, which has been running for 20 years.

With a pounding beat from its three cylinders 61994 easily lifts the heavy Fellsman up the bank to the south of Lancaster station. The K4 makes this tough start from Lancaster station seem quite easy, which is probably why West Coast Railways have employed it again for the 2013 season.
[Mark Bartlett 19/06/2013]

WCRC ran their own tour on 9 February 2013 with diesel from Cleethorpes to Preston where ex LMS 8F no. 48151 took over for a circular trip via Carnforth, Hellifield, Clitheroe and Blackburn. The 8F can (just) be seen restarting from a signal check at Whalley with the drain cocks open doing a bit of ballast cleaning as it moves off. [See image 42008]
[John McIntyre 09/02/2013]

With two weeks to go until the end of the steam excursion season, autumn colours abound as Black 5 no 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier charges onward after a slow climb out of Glenfinnan Station with The Jacobite for Mallaig.
[John Gray 21/10/2013]
BBC News

02/04/2015 ScotRail passed over to Dutch firm Abellio [Scotsman]
DUTCH firm Abellio has agreed to significantly improve train reliability at ScotRail as it took over the franchise yesterday, The Scotsman has learned. The new operator has promised to more than halve breakdowns on some of the fleet over the ten-year contract.
BBC News

02/04/2015 West Coast Railways operating licence suspended [Rail]
Network Rail has served West Coast Railways with a suspension notice effective from midnight on April 3. It follows the Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD) on March 7, when a 100mph collision between a First Great Western High Speed Train and a steam excursion operated by WCR was missed by barely a minute. The SPAD ranked as the most serious this year. [From Bill Jamieson]

01/04/2015 First Serco sleepers run overnight [Rail News]
THE first Caledonian Sleeper services to be separated from the main ScotRail franchise have run on the routes between Scotland and London. The new Serco contract began in time for the departure of the first Tuesday night service, the portion from Fort William. The contract includes a replacement fleet from 2018. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

30/03/2015 End of the line for FirstGroup, but they bow out with boasts [Evening Times]
COMMUTERS may never have heard of it but from Wednesday Dutch rail operator Abellio will be responsible for running Scotland's trains.The ScotRail franchise covers 2300 trains each weekday, more than 86.3million passenger journeys and 1.6billion passenger miles a year. FirstGroup has been running the rail network for the past decade but last year, lost the £2.5billion contract to an offshoot of Dutch national railways. It was a massive blow for a company which owes much of its success to a former apprentice mechanic. Moir Lockhead left school at 15 to work in a bus garage in Darlington.

A piper welcomes First ScotRail^s inaugural service - a train for Gourock about to leave Glasgow Central on 17 October 2004.
[Ewan Crawford 17/10/2004]

First Group CEO Moir Lockhead is serenaded aboard the FTPE special to Glasgow Central at Waverley on 4 December 2007 celebrating the launch of the First TransPennine Express services linking Edinburgh and Glasgow with Manchester Airport. [The names on the signpost refer to locations featured in a talk by travel journalist Simon Calder at the pre-launch bash in a well known local hotel.]
[John Furnevel 04/12/2007]

Transport Minister Tavish Scott unveils a commemorative plaque marking the official opening of new facilities at Haymarket depot on 13 February 2007. First ScotRail^s Managing Director Mary Dickson looks on.
[Ian Watson, Studio Scotland 13/02/2007]
Evening Times

30/03/2015 Network Rail privatisation rumour rejected by DfT [Rail News]
THE Department for Transport has denied reports that Network Rail could be returned to the private sector. The main cause for concern is said to be NR's debts, which are set to reach £40 billion by 2019 and are now on the public books after NR was reclassified as a government body in the public sector last September. Various possibilities are said to be on the table, including dividing NR into regions as well as the more extreme option of involving the private sector once again. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

29/03/2015 Irlam railway station house reopens after £2m makeover [BBC News]
A railway station house, once seen as an 'eyesore', has been officially reopened following a £2m makeover. The building in Irlam, the busiest unmanned station in Greater Manchester, has been restored after lying derelict for nearly 25 years. Salford Mayor Ian Stewart said it had been 'totally transformed from an embarrassment to somewhere the whole community can be really proud of'. More than 240,000 passengers use the station, built in 1893, each year.

Looking west at Irlam, Greater Manchester, on 10 September 2009. The strange set back position of the old station building in relation to the platforms gives away the fact that the line was re-aligned in 1893 when the Manchester Ship Canal opened.
[Ewan Crawford 10/09/2009]
BBC News

29/03/2015 Tunnel works are set to cause delays on main Edinburgh line [Linlithgow Gazette]
For commuters travelling between Scotlands two main cities, this summer is set to be a season of great discontent! As a result of the Edinburgh-Glasgow line summer electrification works the Winchburgh Tunnel is due to close for 44 days causing huge disruption to all rail traffic using the line. Passengers are being advised that from Saturday, June 13 until Monday, July 27 Winchburgh tunnel on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line will close while Network Rail carries out work to prepare the structure for electrification.
Linlithgow Gazette

29/03/2015 Colne Valley Railway forced from its site after 40 years [Halstead Gazette]
A popular heritage railway is being forced out of the village that has been its home for 40 years. The Colne Valley Railway Preservation Society (CVRPS) has announced 2015 will be its last year on the current site as the landowner has decided the railway no longer fits into his plans for the land. [From Richard Buckby]

What a glorious clutter! It truly boggles the mind to think that every structure in this view at Sible and Castle Hedingham was built or re-erected by volunteers. Prior to preservation, this was a bare trackbed in a field. View looks North-West, in the general direction of Haverhill.
[Ken Strachan 20/07/2013]

He^ll never make senior management - he^s thinking inside the box. View looks South-West - vaguely towards London.
[Ken Strachan 20/07/2013]
Halstead Gazette

27/03/2015 G&W completes Freightliner acquisition [IRJ]
GENESEE & Wyoming (G&W) confirmed on March 25 that it has completed the £492m acquisition of approximately 94% of Freightliner Group, Britain, from Arcapita and other shareholders, plus approximately £19m of net debt and capitalised leases. [From Richard Buckby]

Freightliner locomotives 70014 and 66598 bound for Southampton alongside the platform at Eastleigh on 9 July 2014.
[Peter Todd 09/07/2014]

Freightliner 66536 working the 6E06 Hunterston - Cottam power station loaded coal hoppers through West Kilbride on 8 November 2013.
[Ken Browne 08/11/2013]

Freightliner 66610 on a ballast train just north of Tynehead station on 10 November 2014. Sister locomotive 66605 is on the other end of the train.
[Ewan Crawford 10/11/2014]

27/03/2015 High Cumbria winds 'blew freight container off train' [BBC News]
High winds blew a container off a freight train travelling at 75mph (120km/h), investigators have said. The empty 30ft (9m) cargo crashed through trees and a wall on an embankment near Scout Green, Cumbria. No-one was injured but the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the potential for more serious consequences was evident. There were 62mph (99km/h) cross winds when the container fell on on 7 March, investigators said.
BBC News

27/03/2015 Abellio giving cause for concern [Scotsman]
SCOTRAIL’S new operator is in danger of a having shaky start to its tenure, writes Alastair Dalton. Alarm bells are going off in my head about the Scottish taxpayer’s biggest contractor – and it hasn’t even officially started the job yet. Dutch firm Abellio takes control of ScotRail on Wednesday, funded by the Scottish Government to the tune of £2.5 billion over the next decade.

26/03/2015 ScotRail chief Steve Montgomery to quit after all [Scotsman]
SCOTRAIL managing director Steve Montgomery is to quit - despite new Dutch operators Abellio saying last week he was staying on, the train operator confirmed to The Scotsman today. He will step down “sometime in May”, a spokeswoman for ScotRail said. The news came as it was also confirmed that senior Network Rail executive Phil Verster would lead a new ScotRail-Network Rail closer-working “alliance”, and start work shortly.

26/03/2015 Abellio tell ScotRail staff to alter old uniforms [Scotsman]
THOUSANDS of ScotRail staff have been told to snip off old logos from their uniforms when the franchise changes hands next week because new outfits won’t be ready in time. The instruction was met with derision by rail unions, who said members would refuse to take scissors to their clothes or turn hats back to front.

26/03/2015 Train line to Ellon could be re-opened as part of £3billion City Deal [Press and Journal]
Ellon’s railway line could be reopened as part of the City Region Deal, the Press and Journal can reveal today. The ambitious plans to reinstate the 14-mile track, which would run to Dyce, were first put forward earlier this month during talks on the £2.9billion deal for the north-east. [From John Yellowlees]

BR Standard 2-6-4 tank 80028 runs through Ellon station with a fish train in May 1959.
[G. H. Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. 15/05/1959]

Classic BR uniforms glimpsed at Ellon from the 12.25 Aberdeen-Fraserburgh train on Saturday 1st May 1965, with driver and secondman hanging out of the NBL Type 2 at the front (yes, a diesel locomotive). The Station Master - identified by the copious gold braid – is Alastair Farquhar, who hailed from Buckie. He had previously been based at lonely Riccarton Junction, and would face yet more change in five months’ time when passenger trains were withdrawn from the Fraserburgh and Peterhead lines. [With thanks to Bruce McCartney]
[Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) 01/05/1965]

NBL Type 2 D6148 arrives at Ellon with a northbound train in July 1963.
[Colin Miller /07/1963]
Press and Journal

25/03/2015 Edinburgh rail workers to strike on Good Friday [BBC News]
Workers at Virgin Trains East Coast in Edinburgh are to stage a one-day strike over the dismissal of an ex-colleague. Mark Doughty was sacked when the firm was operated by UK government-controlled East Coast Trains. The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has confirmed the walk-out will take place on Good Friday, April 3.
BBC News

25/03/2015 HS2: Government has no 'convincing case' for £50bn rail line [BBC News]
The government has no convincing case for spending £50bn building the HS2 rail link between London and the North, a report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee says. The government's main arguments in favour of HS2 - increasing railway capacity and rebalancing the economy - were still to be proven, peers said. There are less-expensive options than HS2, they said on Wednesday. A government spokesman said HS2 would deliver big benefits.
BBC News

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