A History of Britain's Railways
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22/05/2015 Great Central Railway train ran unmanned for more than a mile [BBC News]
An unmanned train ran for more than a mile before crashing into coaches on a heritage railway in Leicestershire, rail accident investigators have said. The report said no one was injured but damage was sustained by the vehicles during the collision on the Great Central Railway, in Quorn, in May 2014. The engine's handbrakes were not applied and the coach was not secured with brakes, the investigation found. The Great Central Railway (GCR) said it had since reinforced its procedures.
BBC News

22/05/2015 Quintinshill rail disaster remembered 100 years on [BBC News]
A memorial service has been held at Gretna Green for the victims of Britain's worst rail disaster. More than 200 people died when three trains crashed at Quintinshill in Dumfries and Galloway on 22 May 1915. One of the trains was a World War One troop transport carrying hundreds of Scottish soldiers who were bound for Gallipoli.

Gretna station...and the spot where, one fateful May morning in 1915, signalman James Tinsley boarded the local to ride up to Quintinshill to start his shift.
[John Furnevel 3/08/2007]

Bridge 32 overlooks the site of the Quintinshill disaster. A memorial was unveiled at 3pm this afternoon by the late Denis Muir^s daughter.  A hymn, a prayer and a minute^s silence were followed by a lament - the Flowers of the Forest. A moving ceremony.
[Bruce McCartney 26/09/2010]

Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 no 92233 powers a freight north past the loops at Quintinshill in November 1964 as the signalman looks out from the open window of Quintinshill signal box.
[Robin Barbour Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) 28/11/1964]
BBC News

22/05/2015 Historic royal railway station destroyed in fire will be rebuilt [STV News]
Aberdeenshire Council will rebuild a historic royal railway station destroyed in a fire. The emergency services were called to the Old Royal Station in Ballater in the early hours of May 12. The blaze destroyed three quarters of the building, which included shops, a museum and a restaurant. An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way. [From Drew McLelland]

Restored main entrance to the former Ballater Station, June 2009.
[David Pesterfield 26/06/2009]

General view of Ballater station on the Royal Deeside line in July 1962. The line closed in 1966 and the refurbished station building has since become a visitor centre and museum [see image 5779]. The next train for Aberdeen stands at the platform.
[R Sillitto/A Renfrew Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) /07/1962]

Approach to the boarded up Ballater station in 1974.
[Colin Miller //1974]

21/05/2015 Rail unions call off national bank holiday strike [BBC News]
Rail unions have called off a national bank holiday strike after receiving a 'revised offer' in their pay dispute with Network Rail. Members of the RMT and TSSA unions had been due to walk out for 24 hours from 17:00 BST on Monday in a row over pay. The RMT said the union's executive had decided to suspend the strike, after the TSSA earlier called off its action. Many train services will now run as planned on Monday and Tuesday but some will be affected by engineering work. Virgin trains, which runs services on the East and West Coast mainlines, tweeted: 'As a result of planned industrial action being cancelled, the original timetabled services have been reinstated for 25th & 26th May.'
BBC News

20/05/2015 Train companies publish national strike plans [Rail News]
TRAIN operators have started to warn passengers that their services would be very restricted at best on Monday and Tuesday next week, as the prospect of a Network Rail strike comes closer. Talks in the pay dispute between the RMT, TSSA and Network Rail are understood to be have been continuing at the conciliation service Acas, but there has been no sign of any breakthrough. Train operators have been replanning their services to take account of the threatened 24–hour walkout, which is due to start at 17.00 on Bank Holiday Monday. However, if the strike goes ahead train services would inevitably be affected from earlier in the day, as operators wind down and return trains to their depots before signallers go off duty at 17.00. On many lines there would be no service at all on Monday or Tuesday. Network Rail employs more than 4,000 signallers and most are believed to be RMT members. Maintenance and engineering staff are also likely to strike, which would cast doubt on engineering work which had been planned for the Bank Holiday weekend. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

20/05/2015 Southern Railway drivers vote for strike action [BBC News]
Train drivers at Southern Railway have voted to go on strike in a row over pay. The drivers union Aslef said hundreds of its members had decided 'overwhelmingly' to take industrial action after rejecting a pay offer from the rail operator. Southern said it would continue discussions to find a resolution. A joint meeting is planned for Thursday. [From Richard Buckby]

20/05/2015 Rail strike threatens major train and road chaos on bank holiday [Telegraph]
A major strike by railway workers threatens to bring the entire train network almost to a standstill over the bank holiday weekend, hitting millions of families, holidaymakers and football fans.

19/05/2015 Ballater station fire - update [Railscot]
Ballater’s former station was badly damaged by fire in the early hours of Tuesday 12th May. The fire is thought to have started in the restaurant area. [See earlier BBC News item]. Investigations are ongoing. Meantime Drew McLelland has kindly provided Railscot with a photo-update on the situation following a visit there on 18 May.

Ballater station fire May 2015 - main station entrance.
[Drew McLelland 18/05/2015]

Ballater station fire May 2015 - restaurant entrance.
[Drew McLelland 18/05/2015]

Ballater station fire May 2015 - station frontage.
[Drew McLelland 18/05/2015]

18/05/2015 Kinghorn named best kept station [BBC News]
Kinghorn train station has been named the best in the country by Keep Scotland Beautiful. The Fife station has been transformed after being 'adopted' by two local artists who tend the gardens and run an art gallery in the station buildings. BBC Scotland transport correspondent David Miller took a trip on the Fife Circle to find out more.

158735 runs into Kinghorn station on 15 April with a service to Glenrothes.
[John Steven 15/04/2010]

A view over Kinghorn Station - looking north in May 2005.
[John Furnevel /05/2005]

Looking across the platforms at Kinghorn station in September 2012 - see news item.
[John Yellowlees 09/09/2012]
BBC News

18/05/2015 SNCF cleared for Eurostar takeover [Rail News]
SNCF has been given permission to take sole control of Channel Tunnel operator Eurostar under the condition that it doesn’t try and block competitors. The new agreement will require SNCF to allow rivals to introduce new services between London and Paris. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

17/05/2015 First train to arrive at new station in Ebbw Vale [BBC News]
The first train is pulling into the newly reopened Ebbw Vale town train station on Sunday. The station, which will serve the town centre, is part of an £11.5m project funded by the Welsh government. Delivered by Network Rail, it features a new station building, 150m platform to fit up to six carriages, a car park, a waiting shelter and bicycle storage. The 07:38 BST Cardiff Central to Ebbw Vale Town was the first train to arrive at 08:41 BST. [From John Thorn]
BBC News

17/05/2015 Todmorden Curve: Rail link reopens from Manchester to Burnley [BBC News]
Direct rail services between Manchester and Burnley have been reinstated. It follows the reopening of the 500m stretch known as the Todmorden Curve, which has been delayed by a year. The route was initially axed in 1972. Passengers no longer have to change at Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire on journeys between Burnley and Manchester. Burnley Council said £10m had been invested in the link, which will halve travel times to about 50 minutes between the two stations.
BBC News

16/05/2015 Quintinshill: train disaster mercy killings 'probable' [BBC News
A senior retired army officer has said some soldiers were 'probably' shot in mercy killings after Britain's deadliest rail disaster, 100 years ago during World War One. The crash, at Quintinshill near Gretna, involved a military train filled with troops - most of them from Leith - two passenger trains and two goods trains. It claimed an estimated 228 lives and left hundreds more injured. There are no official army accounts of the alleged shootings on 22 May 1915.

Plaque at Larbert station commemorating those who left on the troop train for Liverpool docks bound for Gallipoli in the early hours of 22nd May 1915 only to perish later that morning at Quintinshill. [See image 4099]
[John Furnevel 22/05/2005]

The signal box at Quintinshill in 1970, seen from a passing southbound train.
[John McIntyre 19/05/1970]

Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 no 92233 powers a freight north past the loops at Quintinshill in November 1964 as the signalman looks out from the open window of Quintinshill signal box.
[Robin Barbour Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) 28/11/1964]
BBC News
Railscot article

16/05/2015 2 Dead, at Least 20 Injured in Germany Train Crash [ABC News]
A train hit the trailer of a tractor Saturday at a road crossing in western Germany, killing the train driver and one passenger and injuring at least 20 others, police said. Police spokesman Jochen Laschke said a regional train heading to the small town of Ibbenbueren from the city of Osnabrueck collided with the trailer of a farmer's tractor that was loaded with a tank full of manure. Laschke said the accident took place in a rural area near Ibbenbueren, 440 kilometers (275 miles) west of Berlin. Three of those injured were in severe condition, police said.
ABC News

15/05/2015 Rail workers to strike on bank holiday Monday [BBC News]
Network Rail workers are to stage a 24-hour strike from 5pm on bank holiday Monday in a row over pay. The UK-wide action will see signallers, maintenance staff and station workers, walk out from 25 May on the busy holiday weekend. It follows a decisive vote for action from RMT union members and will be the first UK-wide rail strike in 20 years. Network Rail have previously said they would do anything possible to keep services going if strikes go ahead.
BBC News

14/05/2015 Glasgow Central Station commuters face disruption [Scotsman]
PASSENGERS using Glasgow Central Station - Scotland’s busiest - face potential disruption after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) today announced an overtime ban over the sacking of a member by ScotRail. News of the action from next Wednesday comes as the union prepares to decide whether to order a Britain-wide strike in a separate pay dispute with Network Rail.

14/05/2015 Sydney Trains takes unusual step to tackle vandalism [Rail News]
Sydney Trains has begun trialling a new security device designed to catch vandals in the act. The electronic chemical sensor, known as the Mousetrap, detects vapour given off by spray paint and alerts Police Transport Command (PTC). A number of trains have already been equipped with the sensors, leading to the arrest of more than 30 offenders to date. Mousetrap, which can even detect vandals using marker pens, works alongside traditional CCTV to record and catch offenders. [From Richard Buckby]

A Milan bound train complete with graffiti arrives at Domodossola.
[Michael Gibb 22/11/2007]

A Double decker Coradia Duplex emu, built by Alstom in 2004-05 and designated Class Z 26500 by SNCF, awaits its next Transport Express Régional (TER) turn at Grenoble, having received attention from the local neds... sorry graffiti artists.
[Andrew Wilson 02/05/2012]

A touch of graffiti. The down platform at Clapham High Street station in July 2005.
[John Furnevel /07/2005]
Rail News

13/05/2015 US Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia, five killed [BBC News]
A passenger train has derailed in Philadelphia, killing at least five people and injuring dozens of others, officials in the US city say. Up to 10 carriages of the Washington-New York Amtrak service went off the track on Tuesday evening. Emergency officials and fire-fighters are at the scene looking for passengers who may be trapped in the wreckage. More than 240 people were on board Train 188, the officials say. It is not known what caused the derailment. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was dispatching a team of investigators to the crash site.
BBC News

13/05/2015 Siemens reveals 125mph EMU for UK [Rail News]
The 125 mph electric multiple unit (EMU), which received an understated unveiling at the Railtex exhibition in Birmingham on May 12, is an intercity variation of Siemens’ Desiro platform targeted at the UK market. This summer, Siemens will deliver the first of 115 12-car Desiro City trains to Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). The new ‘high capacity’ commuter trainsets will operate between Bedford and Brighton from 2016. The Verve features a more aerodynamic exterior design than the Class 700 and an interior more suited to intercity travel. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail News

13/05/2015 The Fyra high-speed train debacle cost the Dutch state €11bn [Dutch News]
The parliamentary committee looking into the Fyra high-speed train debacle estimates the cost to the Dutch state to be just over €10.8bn so far, broadcaster Nos said on Wednesday. In addition, travellers did not get what they were promised, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who is heading the inquiry, told a news conference. Fyra trains were supposed to travel between Amsterdam and Brussels at speeds of up to 250 kph from the end of 2012 but were quickly withdrawn from service after a string of failures. Dutch railway company NS and the train’s Italian maker AnsaldoBreda came to an agreement on the financial aspects of the cancellation but no blame has ever been formally apportioned. [From Richard Buckby]
Dutch News

13/05/2015 Full steam ahead: first test train on Borders Railway [ITV News]
The first train has been tested on the new Borders Railway. The £350 million project was completed in February, and for the first time a train has travelled along the line. Our exclusive footage of the test train shows it passing through locations including Falahill, Gore Glen, Bowshank Tunnel and Galashiels Railway Station, at around 20mph: Testing will continue throughout May, and driver training will begin in June. The railway will open to passengers on 6 September.
ITV News

12/05/2015 Royal station in Ballater destroyed by fire [BBC News]
A historic building on Royal Deeside has been destroyed by fire. About 50 firefighters were called to the Old Royal Station in Ballater just before 02:00. The fire is now under control, but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said 90% of the building, which includes a shop, restaurant and a museum has been destroyed. No-one was injured. The A93 between Ballater and Braemar has been closed and drivers are being asked to use the Pass of Ballater. The station was opened in October 1866 by the Great North of Scotland Railway and was the nearest station to Balmoral Castle so contained Queen Victoria's waiting room. It closed in February 1966. [From Colin McDonald]

The next train to Aberdeen via the Deeside line stands at the platform at Ballater in July 1962. Closure of the line came 4 years later.
[R Sillitto/A Renfrew Collection (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) /07/1962]

The main entrance to the former Ballater station on 18 November 2005 [see image 5779].
[John Furnevel 18/11/2005]

The photographer’s son looks back anxiously at Ballater in the summer of 1965, wondering whether they are just going to catch the train by the skin of their teeth... again!
[Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) //1965]
BBC News

12/05/2015 Network Rail workers vote to strike over pay [BBC News]
Network Rail workers have voted in favour of a UK-wide strike in a row over pay, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has said. Its members voted 4-1 for action after rejecting pay offers from Network Rail, which owns and maintains most of Britain's railway infrastructure. Union bosses rejected the offer of a one-off £500 payment to staff and three years of rises in line with inflation. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the result showed 'the anger' of staff. The result will now be considered by the union's executive.
BBC News

12/05/2015 Minute from disaster: What caused near catastrophe on the railway? [BBC News]
There has not been much about it in the media, but at the beginning of March Britain was less than a minute away from what might have been one of the country's worst train crashes. In euphemistic railway speak, it was ranked as a 25 SPAD at SN45. To you and me, a charter steam train carrying hundreds of leisure passengers ran through a red light approaching a junction on a main line, about a minute after an express train had gone through at about 70mph.

Heading west and with the evening sun illuminating the smokebox, ex Southern Railway Bulleid ^Battle of Britain^ class pacific No. 34067 Tangmere makes a fine sight passing through Pleasington station at speed on 12 April 2012 on the return leg of the ^Cumbrian Mountain Express^.
[John McIntyre 12/04/2012]

Bulleid unrebuilt ^Battle of Britain^ Pacific no 34067 ^Tangmere^ passing Avoncliff Station on the Bath to Westbury line on 19 August 2012 with ^The Weymouth Seaside Express^.
[Peter Todd 19/08/2012]

Bulleid Battle of Britain Pacific no 34067 Tangmere waits to depart from Gloucester for Cardiff on 21 April 2013 - day 2 of the Great Britain VI 9 day mega tour.
[Michael Gibb 21/04/2013]
BBC News

11/05/2015 Scots railway chief unveils improvement plans [Scotsman]
A CHARM offensive to woo passengers and a significant cut in delays will be at the heart of a major shake-up of Scotland’s railways from today, The Scotsman can reveal. Improvements from better wi-fi to reduced station congestion are also pledged by Phil Verster, managing director of a new “alliance” between train operator ScotRail and track firm Network Rail.

10/05/2015 Infrared beams ‘to help ScotRail ease congestion’ [Scotland on Sunday]
INFRARED beams are to be used by ScotRail in an attempt to reduce overcrowding on trains. The technology will be fitted to carriages to detect how full they are, so passengers can be diverted to empty seats elsewhere on the train. It will also enable the firm to add extra coaches to services when there is sudden high demand.
Scotland on Sunday

08/05/2015 Network Rail revokes West Coast Railways suspension [Rail]
Network Rail has revoked the network-wide suspension of West Coast Railways’ track access contract. But the Office of Rail and Road continues to investigate the operator’s safety, and consultation to revoke its safety certificate continues. Network Rail’s statement today (May 8) said: “Network Rail is now satisfied that West Coast Railways have addressed all of the actions set out in the suspension notice issued on Friday April 3. “As a result, Network Rail has revoked the suspension as of 1201 on May 8.” [From Mark Bartlett]

07/05/2015 Harry Potter line steam train service hits buffers [Scotsman]
THE operator of the Jacobite steam train on the Fort William-Mallaig line admitted today it was unlikely to launch services next week as planned after being banned from the rail network. West Coast Railways (WCR), which carries 85,000 tourists a year on the route, was barred by Network Rail last month from operating across Britain after causing the worst case of running through a red light this year.

K1 no 62005 climbs the gradient west of Glenfinnan with The Jacobite on the 6th July 2012.
[John Gray 06/07/2012]

The returning ^Jacobite^ pulls away from Mallaig on 28 July with 45231 in charge. Taken from my luxury yacht - well, MV ^Lochnevis^ of Calmac returning from Eigg.
[Colin Miller 28/07/2011]

The Jacobite steam excursion to Mallaig approaching Fort William Junction past the West Highland Oil terminal in September 2005 behind Black 5 4-6-0 no 45407.
[John Furnevel 30/09/2005]

07/05/2015 Thameslink testing and stabling [Rail Engineer]
The Thameslink programme is going well. A complex project to upgrade the existing route through the centre of London while also adding new London Bridge, disruption was always bound to occur but, by 2018, it will be complete and a staggering 24 trains per hour each way will be running on a twin-track railway through the centre of London. The £6.5 billion project will see the original destinations of Bedford and Brighton augmented by Peterborough and Cambridge, from whence trains will run through the Canal Tunnels, joining the ‘traditional’ Thameslink route just north of the St Pancras platforms. At the southern end of the route, trains will terminate at Tattenham Corner, Horsham, Caterham, East Grinstead Sevenoaks and Maidstone in addition to Brighton. All trains will call at St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars. The latter station has already been completely rebuilt to span the Thames. Many services will also stop at London Bridge, which is currently getting a makeover. The work required is extensive and long-suffering commuters are having to cope with an ever-changing situation. However, once complete, Thameslink’s services will have a dedicated path through the busy station for the first time ever. [From Richard Buckby]
Rail Engineer

07/05/2015 Borders Railway could set example [Scotsman]
IT HAS been hailed for its major tourist potential and will be the longest new line in Scotland for a century, but the Borders Railway also threatens to become a classic example of how not to build a railway. The re-opening of a 30-mile section of the historic Waverley route between Edinburgh and Carlisle was a leap of faith when conceived more than a decade ago – as it will serve a relatively sparsely populated area. [From David Spaven]

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