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06/03/2015 Metro extension: MP takes fourth petition to Parliament [BBC News]
A petition calling for the extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington has been presented to Parliament. The 1736-signature document is the fourth the Washington and Sunderland West Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has submitted on the issue. She said she hoped it would encourage the government to act. Metro operator Nexus has proposed adding a further 20 stations by 2030, though a full-scale feasibility study is needed.

37078+37067 arriving off the Stanhope and Tyne route at Washington South Junction in the late 1970s with a train of iron ore empties from Consett. The train will reverse in Washington sidings before heading south to Redcar, which had replaced Tyne Dock as the ore import terminal from 1974 until final closure of the steelworks in 1980.
[Ewan Crawford Collection //]

V3 67636 with empty stock from Heaton CS for the Durham Rail Tour of 13 October 1962. After crossing the King Edward Bridge and run east to reach Pelaw the train has turned south under the A184 road on the ^old main line^. This will take it through Washington and Leamside to reach Durham, the starting point for the railtour.
[K A Gray 13/10/1962]

The site of Usworth station on the old main line through County Durham via Leamside thought to be in 1992. View is north towards Pelaw Junction over the former A1290 level crossing.
[John Furnevel //1992]
BBC News

06/03/2015 Twelve rail lines prioritised for electrification [BBC News]
Twelve rail lines across the north of England have been prioritised for electrification. The Calder Valley and Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central lines are seen as most in need of work. A cross-party group set up by the government to advise on rail investment has published a report recommending which routes to improve first.
BBC News

06/03/2015 Rise in East Coast services to Dunbar considered [Scotsman]
TRANSPORT Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is understood to be considering increasing the East Coast mainline rail services to Dunbar after hearing representations today. The move comes after the Stagecoach and Virgin consortium took over the running of the line which runs between Kings Cross and Edinburgh this week amid concerns that that Dunbar has not been properly recognised in the agreement.

05/03/2015 Harbury landslip line to reopen three weeks early [Rail News]
NETWORK RAIL has revealed that the Harbury Tunnel landslip between Leamington Spa and Banbury will have been stablised and cleared by 13 March, which is three weeks earlier than originally expected. The route between Birmingham and London Marylebone, the Thames Valley, the south coast and the port of Southampton is used by 130 passenger and freight trains a day. It has been closed since 31 January after a 350,000 tonne landslip threatened to block the line. The steeply-sided cutting had posed problems before. [From Richard Buckby]

An up DMU heads South-East through Harbury cutting, between Leamington Spa and Fenny Compton in September 2014. I^m afraid those apples on the left will go to waste.
[Ken Strachan 21/09/2014]
Rail News

05/03/2015 First 319s run on Northern route [Rail News]
THE first electric trains cascaded from Thameslink went into service with Northern this morning. The start was three days later than planned, because inspectors from the ORR are understood to have voiced last-minute concerns about some aspects of the overhead line equipment. However, the green light was given for the launch of public services after successful test runs. Eight electric services a day will run between Manchester and Liverpool via Newton-le-Willows. From Richard Buckby]

View south towards the Thames along platform 4 at Blackfriars station in August 1993. 319179 is standing at the platform with a Thameslink service.
[Bill Roberton 28/08/1993]

One of the original Thameslink- liveried dual voltage class 319 sets pulls into platform 1 at Kentish Town on 24 July 2005 with a Luton - Sutton service.
[John Furnevel 24/07/2005]

A terminated Thameslink 319 service from the south stands at St Albans on 19 September.
[Veronica Clibbery 19/09/2010]
Rail News

04/03/2015 UK government sells Eurostar stake for £757.1m [BBC News]
The UK government has announced that it is selling its 40% stake in the cross-Channel train operator Eurostar to an Anglo-Canadian consortium for £757.1m. Under the deal, Patina Rail LLP will acquire the UK Treasury's entire share of the high-speed rail service. The French and Belgian national railways continue to own the rest.

Despite the tail lights showing, this Eurostar has just arrived at Gare du Nord from St Pancras on 2nd August 2014 The low platform height allows a dramatic perspective.
[Ken Strachan 02/08/2014]

A near full house at the St Pancras Eurostar terminal with one set just arriving at the blocks at 19.15 and the set to the right having preceded it in by only a few minutes.
[David Pesterfield 19/09/2013]

The new Eurostar e320 which is scheduled to enter service on Channel Tunnel routes at the end of 2015. [Photo courtesy Siemens/Alamy]
[Railscot Collection 13/11/2014]
BBC News

03/03/2015 Britain anticipates major expansion of train fleet [IRJ]
BRITAIN's Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group (RSSSG) chaired by Mr Richard Brown has published its third annual update of its passenger rolling stock strategy for the next 30 years which calls for the national fleet to be expanded by between 52% and 99% to meet growing demand. The strategy says between 13,000 and 19,000 new electric coaches will be needed between now and 2045. This means that the number of new vehicles being delivered each week will need to be stepped up from four during the five years up to April 2014 to between eight and 12. [From Richard Buckby]
International Railway Journal

01/03/2015 East Coast rail back in private hands [BBC News]
The East Coast rail route between London and Scotland has returned to private hands after more than five years in the public sector. Services on the line have been operated by a Department for Transport (DfT) controlled company since November 2009. From Sunday they are being run jointly by Virgin and Stagecoach, under the name Virgin Trains East Coast.
BBC News

28/02/2015 Steam train to come out of retirement at Heatherslaw [Berwick Advertiser]
It had been thought a much-loved steam engine had reached the end of the line when it was put into retirement at the end of last year. Much to the delight of train enthusiasts young and old, however, Lady Augusta is poised to make a comeback at Heatherslaw Light Railway. [From Richard Buckby]

Looking across the River Till, Northumberland, on 20 May as a train departs from Heatherslaw Mill bound for Etal Castle on the Heatherslaw Light Railway, hauled by Alan Keef 2-6-0T Bunty.
[Peter Todd 20/05/2014]

Home-built diesel Clive recently arrived with a train at Etal on the Heatherslaw Light Railway in October 2001.
[Colin Miller 01/10/2001]

The scene at the Etal terminus and turntable of the 15 inch gauge Heatherslaw Light Railway, Northumberland, with Etal Castle behind. The roofed building houses a museum which was doing good business that day in connection with the 500th anniversary of Flodden, itself 4 miles away.
[Andrew Wilson 09/09/2013]
Berwick Advertiser

27/02/2015 Wolverton works historic railway sheds in Buckinghamshire face demolition [BBC News]
The historic railway works at Wolverton in Buckinghamshire is set to be knocked down to make way for 300 new homes. Proposals put forward by land owner St Modwen would see a mixture of housing and retail built on the 37 acre site. Rail conservationists have criticised a lack of commitment to more old railway sheds and are concerned about the future of the royal train kept there. Former railwayman Phil Marsh said the plans would 'destroy the very essence of Wolverton'.

A section of the original 1838 London and Birmingham Railway, looking north through Wolverton works. It was later bypassed by the 1881 LNWR route and is now ignominiously sandwiched between an approach road to Tesco and industrial units housed in former Works buildings. The Railcare facility now served by the line is off to the left.
[Ken Strachan 14/10/2011]
BBC News

26/02/2015 Plan to upgrade Inverness Railway Station [BBC News]
Abellio has committed to an upgrade of Inverness Railway Station which will cost between £2m and £3m. The Dutch rail operator will run ScotRail services from April after securing the franchise in October. It will take over from Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, which has run most Scottish rail services for the past 10 years. Representatives from Abellio met with members of Highlands and Islands transport body Hitrans in Inverness earlier. A feasibility study into how best to upgrade the station is to be completed by March of next year.

Looking across the concourse at Inverness on 19 November 2014. The train waiting to depart from platform 6 is the 12.17 local service to Dingwall. The 32 minute journey includes stops at Beauly, Muir of Ord and Conon Bridge.
[Andy Furnevel 19/11/2014]

Looking out from the station concourse at Inverness in September 1975. The 08.20 train to Edinburgh, headed by a Class 24 and 26, is poised to depart. With a near 4-hour journey time (via Stirling) this was for many years the fastest service on the Highland Main Line.
[Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) /09/1975]

Motive power line up under the trainshed at Inverness in March 2009 comprising (L to R) 158702, 158731 and 158741. On the far left 170403 can partly be seen having arrived from Glasgow.
[Mark Bartlett 30/03/2009]
BBC News

26/02/2015 Network Rail orders fifth ballast cleaner [IRJ]
BRITISH infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) has placed a £50m order with Plasser & Theurer for a new ballast cleaning machine, taking its total to five. Dubbed BCS5, this is the first unit to utilise third-rail operation and is designed to enable the conductor rail to remain in place during operation. [From Richard Buckby]

25/02/2015 China to Spain cargo train successful first 16,156-mile round trip [Independent]
The first train to complete a journey on the world’s longest railway line, connecting Spain and China, has returned home. The 16,156-mile round trip on the new Yixin’ou cargo line through China, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France and Spain took four months. The train arrived laden with cheap goods and returned to China with expensive olive oil. [From Mark Bartlett]

25/02/2015 Let the train take more of the strain [Scotsman]
WE need more joined-up thinking if we are to succeed in switching Scotland’s freight traffic from road to rail, writes David Spaven. Everyone wants to see more freight on rail – the potential benefits to the economy, environment, climate and road safety are substantial – but in practice how can we achieve a significant modal shift from road haulage? The terms of competition between road, rail and sea have to be fair, of course – not least in terms of providing rail-route infrastructure which is fit for modern purpose, allowing cost-effective, long trains to convey the modern generation of tall containers across the trunk rail network. However, good routes are not enough, as rail – like sea transport, but unlike road haulage – also needs a comprehensive network of terminals to provide access to the system. [From David Spaven]

25/02/2015 California train derails after collision with lorry [BBC News]
A commuter train has hit a lorry which had driven on railway tracks, causing four carriages to derail northwest of Los Angeles. The vehicle was engulfed in flames and 28 people were injured, train operator Metrolink said, four critically. The collision happened at a level crossing in Oxnard, after the lorry stopped on the tracks, officials said. The 54-year-old lorry driver was detained a mile (1.6km) away and has been charged with felony hit-and-run.
BBC News

25/02/2015 Last chance to save rail services say SAYLSA [Carrick Gazette]
There are just ten days left to save direct rail services between Carrick, Wigtownshire and Glasgow which are planned to be all but axed. Incoming ScotRail franchisee Abellio plans a major shake up of rail services in December. Under the proposals there will be only one through train in either direction via Paisley, a service leaving Stranraer after 9pm at night, and at other times passengers will need to change trains at Ayr.

The driver of the 1102 to Stranraer has collected the token from the Girvan signalman on 26 May and is ready to set off south with unit 156 514.
[Colin Miller 26/05/2010]

The immaculate interior of the waiting room at Girvan, Scotland^s only art deco station, seen on 3 June.  Even the ceiling is glossy.  The more modern seating is unfortunately not sympathetic, though probably more comfortable than the wooden benches it no doubt replaced.
[David Panton 03/06/2010]

A Sunday morning service for Glasgow Central leaving Stranraer Harbour in August 2003.
[John Furnevel 17/08/2003]
Carrick Gazette

24/02/2015 Tree damages windscreen on Inverness-Edinburgh train [BBC News]
A train travelling from Inverness to Edinburgh was struck by a tree, damaging the engine's windscreen. The driver and passengers were unhurt in the incident which happened at about 07:30 near the Slochd Summit south of Inverness. The train, Scotrail's 06:50 service, returned to Inverness and the line was closed until about 08:40.
BBC News

24/02/2015 Great Western electrification scheme 'one year behind schedule' [BBC News]
Plans to modernise railways in the Thames Valley are a year behind schedule after they proved to be 'dramatically more expensive' than first thought. The predicted cost to transform the old Great Western route has climbed from £640m to £1.74bn, the BBC has learned. Senior industry executives have said the plans to complete the work by the end of 2016 will not be met. Network Rail said work was 'progressing well' but schedules could change.
BBC News

23/02/2015 Investigation after railway worker shot with air rifle [BBC News]
British Transport Police are investigating after a railway worker was shot with an air rifle in High Bonnybridge. The 48-year-old was struck in the leg while working in the Greenhill area at about 08:00 on Sunday. He attended Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment. [From Richard Buckby]
BBC News

21/02/2015 All change as Swindon's 1960s signal box departs for museum [BBC News]
A signal box, which has kept trains in the West of England on track for the past 50 years, is to be preserved as a piece of railway history. The panel, at Swindon railway station, controls trains over more than 200 miles of track. But from the end of May, a computer in Didcot will take over and the panel will head to a transport museum.
BBC News Video

20/02/2015 Ambitious plans for £4.8m Leith Walk bridge [Evening News]
PLANS for a £4.8 million “bio” bridge have been drawn up under radical blueprints aimed at bringing a touch of New York to the streets of Leith. Proposals for the lightweight timber structure have been hatched in a bid to create an eco-friendly “icon” for Leith Walk at the site of an old viaduct demolished in the 1980s. Project leaders at Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust (ELGT), who have submitted a full feasibility study to the city council, said designs by architects Biomorphis were inspired by the New York Highline and Paris’ Viaduc des Arts – major regeneration projects which have transformed old elevated railways into urban landmarks. The bridge will also provide the “missing link” in a cycle path and pedestrian walkway between Portobello and Leith, which it is hoped will boast wild grass and woodland, as well as spaces for contemporary art. [From David Panton]

Remains of the old Caledonian Railway bridge on the west side of Leith Walk, complete with tribute pub alongside, photographed in April 2004. Leith Walk West goods depot stood beyond the bridge abutment [see image 18453].
[John Furnevel 26/04/2004]

Site of the Caledonian^s proposed Leith Walk station on the ^Leith New Lines^, photographed looking west along Manderston Street towards The Walk on 31 October 2009. One of the platforms of the partially built but never opened station is incorporated in the stretch that sticks out into Manderston Street.
[David Panton 31/10/2009]

Looking north along Leith Walk towards the Forth in September 1978. The view is dominated by the bridge built to carry the Caledonian Railway^s ^Leith New Lines^ across the Walk en route to the eastern docks.
[Bill Roberton /09/1978]
Evening News

19/02/2015 Rebuilding Farnworth Tunnel [Network Rail]
To electrify the Preston-Bolton-Manchester line we need to close one of two tunnels at Farnworth between Manchester and Bolton. The work will involve widening one of the tunnels to accommodate both railway lines and electrifying the route to provide a better, more reliable train service. [From Richard Buckby]

A Wilmslow to Blackpool North TPE service exits the smaller bore of Farnworth Tunnel on the afternoon of 5 February 2015. Major reconstruction work starts here in May 2015 to make room for overhead power lines in connection with the electrification of the Manchester - Preston via Bolton route.
[John McIntyre 05/02/2015]
Network Rail

19/02/2015 Plans for more 24-hour trains are unveiled in London [Railnews]
PLANS to extend all-night services to the subsurface lines of London Underground as well as the DLR and part of the Overground have been announced by the Chancellor and the Mayor of London. All-night services at weekends on most tube lines are already set to begin in September. Trains will now run all night on the Metropolitan, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City Lines as well once modernisation has been completed. 24-hour operation will be extended to the Highbury & Islington to New Cross Gate section of London Overground in 2017 and to the Docklands Light Railway by 2021.

18/02/2015 Serco signs GB Railfreight to run Scots sleeper services [BBC News]
Rail sleeper services between Scotland and London are to be handled by a freight specialist firm as part of the new franchise. GB Railfreight has been signed up by Serco to provide locomotives and drivers when it takes over the Caledonian Sleeper service from April. The trains run between London Euston and five Scottish destinations. The contract, to run in both directions six nights a week, is worth around £100m spread over 15 years.

92036 departs from Platform 1 for Polmadie with the empty Glasgow Central portion of the Caledonian Sleeper on 4 July 2008.
[Graham Morgan 04/07/2008]

GBRf electro-diesel no 73961 (ex-73209, 73120, E6026) converted to Class 73/9 by Brush Traction during 2014, standing in the GCR sidings at Loughborough on 2 October. The locomotive is currently undergoing a running-in test programme on the Great Central.
[Peter Todd 02/10/2014]

A Caledonian Sleeper Lounge Car emerging from the car park area at St. Rollox by road on 16 April 2013. The shiny new red springs suggest it has been receiving attention at RailCare.
[Colin McDonald 16/04/2013]
BBC News

18/02/2015 Victoria Station transformation nears completion [MEN]
ONE look at the Victoria Station building site and it’s clear to see its engineers have reached the final furlong. The sound of drilling and hammering fills the air, hard-hatted staff walk with purpose and a look to the roof reveals fitters on abseiling ropes. There are currently around 200 workers on site at any one time - on shifts spanning all day and night. After five years of industry, this is a crucial stage of the transformation, especially for Metrolink. From 5.30am on Wednesday passengers from Bury and Rochdale will be able to alight at the Victoria Metrolink stop - for the first time in a year. And from February 21 , services through Victoria to Shudehill, Market Street and beyond, are expected to resume. By Monday, it will become fully operational again. [From Mark Bartlett]

A Metrolink tram on a Bury service heads though the construction site which will re-establish Manchester Victoria as a station on the system when new island platforms are completed. To the left Platform 1 on the main network is awaiting the arrival of a train from Leeds which will terminate here.
[Malcolm Chattwood 31/10/2014]

One of the unique class 504 Bury dc electric units stands at Manchester Victoria in August 1990. The system, based on 1200v dc third rail with side contact current collection, was abandoned in 1991 when the line was closed to make way for the Manchester Metrolink light rail system. An example of the class is preserved on the East Lancs Railway.
[Ian Dinmore 18/08/1990]

48476+73069 at Manchester Victoria on 4 August 1968, ready to play their part in the RCTS ^End of Steam Commemorative Railtour^ due in from London Euston.
[K A Gray 04/08/1968]
Manchester Evening News

16/02/2015 Fiery train crash forces W Virginia towns to evacuate [BBC News]
Two West Virginia towns have been evacuated after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames. Local websites published images of large flames and a thick plume of black smoke near a partly frozen river. At least 14 cars were affected and one plunged into the Kanawha River, state officials said. [From various contibutors]
BBC News

15/02/2015 More commuters, fewer seats for squeezed ScotRail [Scotsman]
COMMUTERS face being crammed into fewer carriages because ScotRail is set to lose a number of trains. Four trains will be moved to England in April, at a time of rapid passenger growth and new lines being opened. The ScotRail fleet is likely to be further stretched from September by having to cover the new Borders Railway. The single replacement train will comprise old-style coaches hauled by a locomotive. This is also expected to be significantly more expensive to operate than the rest of the diesel fleet, whose engines are under the carriages.

14/02/2015 Mind the doors: Manchester commuters 'could soon be going to work on old London Tube trains' [MEN]
Old London Underground trains could soon be running on the tracks around Manchester. Rail bosses in the region want to replace the 30-year-old Pacer trains. Now a firm which kits out old Tube trains with new diesel engines and seat covers is offering them as a ‘cheap and comfortable’ alternative.

Penny for them... The driver of a morning District line train studies his newspaper during turnaround at Kensington Olympia on 22 July 2005, the day after the failed bombing attempts at Warren Street, Shepherds Bush and Oval stations.
[John Furnevel 22/07/2005]

View from the low-level (East London Line) platforms at Whitechapel on 27 May as an Eastbound District Line train leaves the high level station for Upminster. There were formerly four District Line tracks spanning the ELL here but the centre pair have been removed to make space for Crossrail works.
[John Thorn 27/05/2014]

The eastbound District Line platforms 1 and 2 at Earl^s Court in July 1994. Note the antiquated train departure indicators.
[David Panton 14/07/1994]
Manchester Evening News

14/02/2015 York to Seamer rail line closes for repairs to railway bridge [BBC News]
Trains between York and Seamer will not run for more than a week to allow repairs to a Victorian railway bridge in York. A replacement bus service will operate until the 23 February. The closure is to allow repairs to the Scarborough Rail Bridge, including replacing the bridge deck. Engineers will be working 24 hours a day on the bridge and parts of the River Ouse will also be closed to river traffic at certain times.

The 1347 Scarborough – Liverpool Lime Street First TransPennine Express service crosses the River Ouse on the eastern approach to York station on 21 March 2010. Part of York Minster can be seen in the right background.
[John Furnevel 21/03/2010]
BBC News

13/02/2015 Full steam ahead to lay Torrington railway tracks [North Devon Gazette]
Members of the Tarka Valley Railway Group have been busy getting ready to lay tracks in the footsteps of the old Tarka line in Torrington. In March 2013, the Gazette revealed how the group was granted planning permission to lay 267.68m of track alongside the Tarka Trail. Now, nearly two years on, volunteers have cleared the land ready, and the lease should be in their hands within weeks. The aim is to turn the station, situated at the Puffing Billy, into a tourist attraction, offering passengers rides. [From Richard Buckby]

Ivatt 2-6-2T no 41314 stands at Torrington, Devon, in August 1960. The milk tank loading facilities can be seen on the right. Torrington lost its scheduled passenger service in 1965 and the last milk tanks left in October 1978.
[K A Gray 11/08/1960]

Looking north over the former level crossing at Torrington station, Devon, on 3 July 2008. The old station building is now the Puffing Billy public house and the area under the platform canopy has been enclosed.
[John McIntyre 03/07/2008]

The end. The ^Last Train to Torrington^ railtour about to depart from Torrington station on 6 October 1982 to return to Bristol Temple Meads.
[Ian Dinmore 06/10/1982]
North Devon Gazette

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