Marcus' Model Railway Journey

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D2152 at Hayes Knoll shed

Also in in 1974, its cab was cut-down and reduced in height so that it could pass under low bridges on the Gwendraeth Valley Line in South Wales, where it was used to pull coal trains.

At that time it was allocated to Landore shed in Swansea, and withdrawn from there in October 1983,

The Swindon and Cricklade Railway is always on the lookout for new members who wish to volunteer for work in its diesel department, or even looking to become a future locomotive driver.

Further details about the opportunities are on the railway's website here.
16th November 2023

Amtrak awarded nearly $10 billion for Northeast Corridor improvements​


President Joe Biden makes his remarks on funding for passenger rail projects in the Northeast Corridor

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded nearly $10 billion funding to enable Amtrak to modernise critical infrastructure and improve stations on the Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore. and Washington.

The funding was announced by President Biden yesterday, Wednesday, 16 November at Amtrak's Bear Maintenance Facility in Delaware, where its trains are maintained, overhauled. and repaired, and will also support future ridership growth.

Among those present at the Presidential announcement was Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia and CEO Stephen Gardner.

Susquehanna River Rail Bridge

In total, $16.4 billion in grant funding was announced that will support 12 Amtrak-led projects and 13 partner-led projects through the FRA's Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Fed-State NEC).

These new awards will provide a major contribution towards delivering the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's (IIJA) vision for expanded and improved passenger rail, and follow the nearly $200 million that the FRA awarded Amtrak in September 2023.

Connecticut River Rail Bridge

Amtrak-led projects that will benefit from yesterday's announcement through the FRA's Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Fed-State NEC): range in value from under $4 million to up to $4.7 billion, and include:
  • Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program;
  • Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project;
  • East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project;
  • Connecticut River Bridge Replacement Project;
  • Dock Bridge Rehabilitation Project;
  • Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project;
  • Baltimore Penn Station Redevelopment;
  • Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement Project;
  • Gunpowder River Bridge Replacement Program;
  • NEC South End Infrastructure Renewal and Speed Improvement Planning Study;
  • Bush River Bridge Replacement Program;
  • New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study.
Another 13 projects led by Amtrak's partners also received funding, and range in value from under $15 million to up to $1.64 billion, and include:
  • Hudson Tunnel Project – Gateway Development Commission;
  • Penn Station Access – MTA;
  • Walk Bridge Replacement Project – CTDOT;
  • Devon Bridge Replacement Project – CTDOT;
  • Delco Lead – NJ TRANSIT;
  • New Haven Line Power Improvement Program – CTDOT;
  • Devon Bridge Interim Repairs – CTDOT;
  • Hartford Line Rail Program Double Track (Phase 3B) Project – CTDOT;
  • New Haven Line Track Improvement and Mobility Enhancement Part 1 and 3 – CTDOT;
  • Newark Penn Station Vertical Circulation Improvements – NJ TRANSIT;
  • Reconstruction of Cornwells Heights Station – SEPTA;
  • Saugatuck River Bridge Replacement – CTDOT;
  • New Haven Line Network Infrastructure Upgrade Project – CTDOT.

Baltimore Penn station

Further information about projects that will benefit from the grant funding can be found here.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said: “These grants will help advance Amtrak's plans to modernize the Northeast Corridor and unlock major bottlenecks on the busiest passenger rail corridor in America.

“I want to thank President Biden, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FRA Administrator Amit Bose for their continued support as Amtrak and our partners rebuild this critical infrastructure asset.”
17th November 2023

Flying Scotsman to visit Locomotion museum this Christmas​


Flying Scotsman at Irwell Vale

World-famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman will continue its centenary celebrations at Christmas by visiting Locomotion museum in Shildon, County Durham.

Flying Scotsman will visit the museum between 16 December 2023 and 7 January 2024.

The occasion will be the last chance for people to see the loco in light steam for free in its centenary year.

There will be free family events and activities, including make-and-take craft sessions.

The Locomotion railway museum opened in 2004, with local MP and then Prime Minister Tony Blair attending the opening.

Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster in 1923 for the newly-formed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), and was saved from scrap and toured overseas before becoming part of the National Railway Museum's collection.

The short film 'Flying Scotsman: 100 Years, 100 Voices' will be screened as part of the event.

It features stories from people with a strong connection to the locomotive.

Visitors will also be able to access Flying Scotsman's footplate, where generations of drivers and firemen worked.

They will be able to look down the tender corridor, which was introduced by LNER in 1928 to enable new crew to travel between the support coach and the footplate without the need to stop.

Visitors will also be able to see the more than seventy rail vehicles in Locomotion's main hall and use the indoor and outdoor play areas.

Flying Scotsman at speed

CrossCountry is sponsoring Flying Scotsman's visit to Locomotion.

The Flying Scotsman centenary programme has been supported by Hornby Hobbies (Lead Sponsor), the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the People's Postcode Lottery.

The event is free to attend but visitors must book in advance. For more information, visit the Locomotion website.

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said:
“We know from previous visits that Flying Scotsman has a unique appeal and I hope that families and railway enthusiasts from across the region will join us this Christmas to help celebrate Flying Scotsman's very special birthday.”
17th November 2023

Alstom completes order of 40 Flexity trams for Gothenburg in Sweden​


Flexity tram Gothenburg, Sweden

Alstom has just delivered its 40th Flexity tram to Gothenburg's Transit Authority, Göteborgs Spårvägar and Västtrafik in Sweden.

This completes an order that was signed in 2016 with the first Flexity vehicle, known locally as M33, being delivered in 2019 and the fleet having completed 4.5 million kilometres in operation.

Gothenburg has Sweden's largest tram network extending to a network of over 160 km of tracks.

Construction took place at Alstom's site at Bautzen in Germany and were built with consortium partner Kiepe-Electric as a replacement for part of Gothenburg's current fleet.

Since the delivery of the first tram, Flexity has since become a part of Gothenburg's iconic cityscape.

The modern and contemporary design has received praise from both passengers and operators, who appreciate their reliability as well as the enhanced comfort and the full low floor providing high accessibility.

Interior of a Flexity Tram

As well as these M33 trams, Alstom is in the process of delivering a further 60 units known as Flexity tram M33 Type C, also known as the M34, which is a longer 45-metre version of the M33 tram and increases passenger capacity by 50 percent.

The Flexity trams combine a full low floor to improve accessibility with conventional wheel-set bogies, and are designed to meet the city's tracks and weather conditions.

They also meet Gothenburg's requirements for environmentally friendly public transport, and have an obstacle detection assistance system for increased safety.

Flexity M34 tram

Alstom has supplied its Flexity trams to customers around the world, with 5,000 Flexity either on order or in service in 70 cities including Brussels, Berlin, Magdeburg, Vienna, Gothenburg, Toronto, Melbourne and Gold Coast.

As well as supplying the Flexity trams to Gothernburg, Alstom is the largest manufacturer of trains for the Swedish market and to date has delivered over 1000 trains delivered, as well as having maintenance contracts at 19 local depots and at a depot in Motala that specialises in heavy maintenance and refurbishment.

Alstom is also leading the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) rollout in Sweden of both onboard and trackside equipment, and is supplying the new standard national traffic management system for Trafikverket.

Maria Signal Martebo, MD Alstom in Sweden, said “We are delighted and proud to see the final delivery of the Flexity M33 tram, serving the local population through a modern, reliable light rail fleet with increased comfort for passengers.”
18th November 2023

Flying Scotsman steam locomotive to visit Carlisle this Sunday​


Flying Scotsman at Townsend Fold

World famous locomotive, Flying Scotsman, will be travelling to Carlisle this Sunday (19th November) as it hauls The Waverley.

Departing York at 08:38, the locomotive will pass through Micklefield (08:57), Leeds (09:18), Shipley (09:42), Keighley (09:52), Skipton (10:09), Hellifield (10:24), Ribblehead (11:38), Kirkby Stephen (12:06), Langwathby (12:32) and Carlisle at 13:09.

After time in Carlisle, the train will depart at 15:30 and will pass through Appleby (16:15), Garsdale (16:58), Hellifield (17:33), Skipton (18:22), Keighley (18:38), Leeds (19:11), Church Fenton (19:42) and York at 19:57.
18th November 2023

‘Once in a generation’ investment to Amtrak long-distance routes​


Amtrak Airo Intercity Train Concept

United States train operator Amtrak has announced that it is making a major investment into its long-distance passenger experience.

The company plans to buy new trains and locomotives, refurbish existing carriage interiors, bring mothballed stock back into service.

They are also planning to improve stations and on-board amenities as well as enhancing sales and support channels.

California Zephyr Line

In what they say is a ‘once in a generation' investment, 14 overnight routes which stretch from coast to coast will be modernised and upgraded, with a formal procurement request to be issued before the end of the year.

The delivery of ALC-25 long-distance locomotives will continue.

Amtrak already has 36 of the locomotives out of a planned total of 125.

The locomotive is claimed to be the most energy efficient in the industry, consuming less fuel along with reduced emissions and running at speeds of up to 125mph.

Carriages will be improved on the back of a $28m (£23m) investment to upgrade Superliner and Viewliner fleet.

Already, 100 carriages are in service and that will rise to 400.

Starting next year, Viewliner 1 sleeping cars will receive new seat cushions and upholstery along with new carpeting, curtains, LED lighting and tables.

Newly-designed accessible toilets are being added to 23 Superliner 1 carriages which will accommodate larger wheelchairs and include a changing room.

Amtrak dining

The updated traditional dining menu which was introduced on western routes in 2021 has now been extended to eight long-distance services, while the on-board café menu has been enhanced with a range of new products.

Private rooms on trains now have new bedding, pillows and towels.

An initial investment of $800m (£65om) has brought 119 Amtrak station up to full ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance with all stations on the network expected to be compliant by 2029.

Metropolitan Lounges at seven stations have received upgraded seating and refreshments while the forthcoming Chicago Hub Improvement Programme (CHIP) will redevelop Chicago Union Station and increase capacity through infrastructure updates and a new boarding area.

If services are disrupted, Amtrak customer service teams will provide service updates, re-accommodation options and ‘service recovery measures', which may include travel vouchers or loyalty points.

An improved delay notification service was launched in spring of this year while the Bid Up auction programme allows passengers to make a no-risk bid on accommodation upgrades.

There are also 200 new ADA-compliant ticketing kiosks available in more than 150 stations.
19th November 2023

New Collaboration Aims to Teach Children the Dangers of Rail Trespass​


Rail Safety Friendly

In a bid to prevent injuries and fatalities, the dangers of trespassing on railway lines are being taught to school pupils in Wales via a new collaboration between Cambrian Railway Partnership and Rail Safe Friendly.

The scheme aims to teach around 100 primary and secondary children from schools within the catchment area of a three-kilometre stretch of line about the perils surrounding level crossings and trespassing on tracks.

Delivered directly into schools via digital learning channel Learn Live, which was set up in March this year, the Rail Safe Friendly Programme is sponsored by industry partners from across the rail sectors and has three levels schools can work towards: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

At each level schools must ensure they have registered their attendance and the rail safety broadcasts have been viewed by all pupils and teachers, either live or on-demand.

They are also required to sign up to the Switch-On Rail Safety website so they can receive safety updates from Network Rail.

In order to achieve Gold, the other 2 tiers must have been satisfactorily completed, with silver level including the promotion of the Switched-On website and details of the programme to parents and carers via various communication methods, including assemblies, newsletters and using a brief provided by Learn Live, the creation of a rail safety video, podcast or poster which can be promoted in school and on social media channels.

The Partnership aim to deliver this important initiative to other children and young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in education, employment and training (NEET) and would like to hear from organisations working in these sectors.

See for further details.

Claire Williams, Cambrian Railway Partnership Development Officer, said: “The Cambrian Railway Partnership sees this as a significant priority as it has the most level crossings than any other line in Wales and, as a result, has invested in educating children and young people in how to be safe around the railways. We are delighted to be working with Rail Safe Friendly to deliver this programme to thousands of school pupils, including youth groups such as Scouts.

“Rail is one of the safest forms of travel, however, safety incidents involving children still occur. This is why promoting safety on the railway is our top priority. We believe that the early engagement with young people will help prevent them taking unnecessary risks. They will be able to make smarter, more educated choices, when it comes to their safety and behaviour around level crossings and on trains.”

Stuart Heaton, Founder and Managing Director of Learn Live and Rail Safe Friendly, added: “We're delighted to welcome the Cambrian Railway Partnership to the Rail Safe Friendly programme. Thanks to their support vital rail safety education will be delivered directly to hundreds of children living close to the Cambrian Line. It is a great testament to the Cambrian Railway Partnership's investment in the communities that it serves that it is supporting Rail Safe Friendly to ensure young people are educated about the dangers of trespassing on the railway.”
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19th November 2023

Greater Anglia offers encouragement to female train drivers​


The cab simulator of the Stadler train used on London-Norwich, Stansted Express and regional routes

There as a time when boys – but rarely girls – wanted to be engine drivers when they grew up.

Now Greater Anglia is trying to change the balance by enticing more women to become train drivers.

The train operating company (TOC), which runs services from London Liverpool Street to destinations in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, aims to break down the myths around the role of the driver, which remains heavily male-dominated.

While a quarter of the TOC's workforce comprises women, only 8% of its 805 mainline drivers are women.

The new initiative forms part of Greater Anglia's diversity and inclusion strategy.

A recent event at the company's training academy in Stratford saw 25 women employees, who presently work in various roles, learn about the tests and skills which are needed to become a train driver.

The ‘taster' day allowed those attending to find out about what happens both inside the cab and at the depot.

Existing female train drivers were on hand to answer questions from potential new recruits.

Those expressing an interest were also able to ‘drive' a train, using a cab simulator.

Anyone who decides to apply to become a driver faces a rigorous selection process.

They will need to attend initial assessments at Greater Anglia's Academy at Stratford, followed by interviews.

If successful, a trainee driver will spend time in the classroom to learn about rules and regulations, as well as all the intimate details about each train they will be driving.

Practical lessons follow as well as learning the routes that will be driven.

That takes place under the eagle eye of an experienced mentor who will train the new driver for six months before a final assessment takes place.

There is a number of driver depots across the Greater Anglia network, at London Liverpool Street, Bishop's Stortford, Cambridge, Ilford, Southend Victoria, Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea, Ipswich and Norwich.

Katy Bucknell, HR Director at Greater Anglia, said: “Historically, the role of the train driver has always been correlated with a male person – but you can be any gender to undertake that role and it is important that we break down that stereotype.
“Days like this give our female colleagues a chance to look at the recruitment and training process and we hope that it will increase our applications for female train drivers in the company.”

Lottie Hart, a Greater Anglia Depot Driver at the Southend Victoria depot, added: “It doesn't matter what gender you are – on the railway, you do your training and if you are able to fulfil the role and concentrate, you are suitable.

“Everyone has been welcoming. There are so many avenues within Greater Anglia that you can go on and do regardless of who you are. I am very proud to be where I am. I have got daughters so when I said that I am going to go on and be an actual train driver, I feel like they are proud of me too.”
19th November 2023

New generation train launches on Paris Île-de-France commuter line​


RER NG Haussmann-StLazare

The Réseau Express Régional (RER) D and E lines in Paris are welcoming the introduction of new New Generation RER (RER NG) commuter trains.

RER D and E are two of the five lines in the RER (Regional Express Network in English), which is a hybrid commuter rail and rapid transit system serving Paris and its suburbs.

The gradual introduction of the RER NG on the E line will ensure that engineers can make the train as reliable as possible before being deployed on the whole line, including the new extension to Nanterre.

The train will then start running on the D line at the end of 2024.

Alstom describes the trains as being more spacious, brighter, more accessible and more efficient, and points out that it has been specifically designed for dense areas.

As such, the company is confident that the train will bring lasting improvements to travel conditions for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the RER D and RER E lines each day.

Alstom designed and built the new trains at its Valenciennes-Petite Forêt and Crespin sites in Hauts-de-France, with contributions to the project from nine of the company's sixteen sites in France.

On Monday 13 November 2023, Ile-de-France Mobilités, SNCF Voyageurs and Alstom, which have worked closely with each other on the project, launched the train at Haussmann Saint-Lazare station in Paris, with elected representatives and passengers present.

RER NG X'trapolis commuter train in the Centre d'Essais Ferroviaires (CEF), in Petite-Forêt near Valenciennes – France (16 July 2021)

Île-de-France Mobilités is the brand name of the Syndicat des transports d'Île-de-France, the authority that coordinates the different transport companies which operate in the Paris-area public transport network and the rest of the Île-de-France region.

It has been pursuing a policy of upgrading all rolling stock on its railway network, and sees the arrival of the RER NG commuter train as an important milestone.

It commissioned Alstom to design the train specifically for the Île-de-France region and its nine million daily commuters.

The design incorporates the following features:
  • optimum capacity and passenger flows: Fully open architecture and wide doors allow passengers to enter and leave with ease and offers distinct travel areas.
  • high level of comfort: Air conditioning, ergonomic seats, LED lighting adapted to the time of travel (day/night/station stops), USB sockets and information screens help to enhance passengers' experience.
  • accessibility: Each end car contains a platform offering direct and rapid access for passengers in wheelchairs to adapted areas.
  • reliability and efficiency: Acceleration and braking performance optimise station stopping times, train frequency, and therefore the line's capacity and regularity.
  • automation: The trains incorporate the new NExTEO train automation, control and supervision system, helps to which will increase train frequency.
Nine hundred Alstom staff have been working on the project on a daily, with two thousand involved at the start.

Alstom believes that the launch of the train demonstrates the expertise of its workforce.
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Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom, said, “It is with immense pride that we are today celebrating the commissioning of the RER NG commuter train on Line E. It is a very special moment in the life of a project when a train meets its first passengers. It is also a source of pride for all Alstom employees, as this is the pinpoint of a great deal of hard work from each and every one of them, serving a major project for the Île-de-France region and its inhabitants”
20th November 2023



TfW awarded Gold membership by The 5% Club

Transport for Wales has been awarded Gold accredited membership via The 5% Club’s 2023-24 Employer Audit Scheme.


Engineering apprentice

Transport for Wales has been awarded Gold accredited membership via The 5% Club’s 2023-24 Employer Audit Scheme.

This award recognises TfW's significant contribution to the continued development of all our colleagues through “earn & learn” schemes such as Apprenticeships, Graduate Schemes and Sponsored Students Course Placements.

We’re proud of our investment in our colleagues, which is why we joined The 5% Club.

The 5% Club is a dynamic movement of Employers who are all inspired to take positive action for increased, inclusive, and accessible workplace training for all.

Launched in 2013, the goal of The 5% Club is to increase the employment and career prospects of today’s youth and equip the UK with the skilled workforce it needs to safeguard Britain’s economy.

With a membership which now has more than 900 companies, the 5% Club represents over 1.6 Million Employees, including 101,000 who are in “earn and learn” schemes.

The Employer Audit is a unique scheme which validates the employers’ activities, explores their future plans and commitments, as well as examining their approaches to quality, social mobility, diversity and inclusion.

From an impressive list of 180 members, TfW was one of the 120 Employers who met the Gold Standard.


5 per cent club

Bethan Jelfs, TfW People Director said: “In February this year we announced that TfW had become members of the 5% club, making a pledge to achieve 5% of our workforce in “earn and learn” schemes in the next five years.

“This summer we took part in our very first audit, in the hope of achieving a gold, silver or bronze accreditation. We are so proud to learn that we have achieved a gold standard and are already hitting our 5% target.

“This is a fantastic achievement, and we look forward to developing our work in this area even further.”

Gill Cronin, Director of Operations at The 5% Club added: “Having seen The Club grow to more than 900 members, I am always impressed at the commitment, drive and energy our members channel into offering “earn and learn” skills opportunities.

"To now see 20 percent of these members gain Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum accredited membership of The Club is inspiring and demonstrates how these companies are all contributing to the future of skills in our economy.”

We would encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about TfW and the wide range of opportunities we have available to visit our website Our Vacancies | Careers | Transport for Wales (

For more information about The 5% Club visit TfW is awarded Gold membership by The 5% Club
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20th November 2023



Local school receives a piece of history from engineers working on the restoration of the Barmouth viaduct​

Region & Route: Wales & Western: Wales & Borders


The replica was presented to the headteacher of Ysgol y Traeth

Students at Ysgol y Traeth, Barmouth, were visited recently by engineers from Network Rail and representatives from contractors Alun Griffiths and Penny's Group for a school assembly on the ongoing restoration of the iconic Barmouth viaduct.

The visit was an opportunity for students to learn about the complexities of the £30m project and ask questions of the teams that are carrying it out.

On the day, the school was presented with a model replica of the original viaduct, crafted by a worker from Penny's Group using a section of the old viaduct’s steelwork.

The headteacher of Ysgol y Traeth, Sian Humphreys, accepted the gift on behalf of the school.

Throughout the visit, the students proved to be enthusiastic and inquisitive, posing numerous questions that showcased their curiosity and eagerness to learn.

The visit was a testament to the power of education, community engagement, and the significance of preserving the past while forging a brighter future.

Gareth Yates, Network Rail project manager, said: “We were very happy to support the visit to Ysgol y Traeth and talk with the students about the restoration of such an iconic local landmark.

“The students were enthusiastic and keen to learn more, and we hope that they were inspired by hearing from the engineers. It’s important to us to meet with the communities we work in and highlight the social value of the railway, so it was fantastic to be able to make the most of this opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with the engineers of tomorrow.”

The replica of Barmouth viaduct was made from steel from the original structure

Mike Turnbull, site agent at Alun Griffiths, said: “It was great to give a piece of the bridge back to the community, seeing the children and teachers all excited made my day. I also took great pleasure alongside Mike Stevens from Penny’s in answering all the curious questions the children had prepared for us.”

Engineers visited Ysgol y Traeth

Mike Stevens, senior demolition estimator at Penny's Group, quote: “During our time working on this project we soon became aware that the bridge was an iconic landmark and the reconstruction of the metallic structure was generating immense interest within the community.

“We were constantly being asked by members of the community if they could have a piece of the old bridge as a souvenir. Pennys thought it would be an ideal opportunity to cut a replica out of the old bridge edge beam and with the help of Daniel Cartwright the harbour master, present it to the local primary school as a souvenir.

“We were always welcomed in the community whilst on site and it was a pleasure to be able to visit the school and give back to them part of the history of Barmouth. “

Students holding the replica of Barmouth viaduct

Sian Humphreys, Headteacher of Ysgol y Traeth, said: “As a school, we are extremely grateful to receive a very special gift, a piece of history for us to treasure here at Ysgol y Traeth.

“The heritage of our town is important to us and something we celebrate regularly at the school. The piece of the old bridge will receive special attention here as we will display it and make use of it in our lessons."

The restoration is progressing well with the teams now in the final stages of installing the new bridge components. This has included moving two new 160-tonne metallic spans into place on the viaduct and removing the existing metal elements using pontoons to take them across the water and away from the structure. The railway is on track to be reopen on the weekend of 2-3 December.
21st November 2023

West Coast Railways: Business would be unviable if exemption is revoked​


West Coast Railways is at The High Court of Justice aiming to overturn the Office of Rail and Road's decision to revoke their exemption to operate heritage steam locomotives and carriages on the mainline.

The regulator has insisted that WCR install all trains with Central Door Locking, but WCR says that it has operated without CDL since 2003, and has instead used an alternative method.

This system is on all WCR carriages, which are then operated behind famous locomotives, such as the Flying Scotsman, and on the ever popular Jacobite summer steam services.

At WCR, trained stewards are responsible for the four doors on each carriage, they bolt the doors through Secondary Door Locks and monitor them on the journey.

Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross

On each passenger service there is:
  • At least one steward per carriage to operate doors and monitor droplight windows.
  • A train manager, who delivers a safety briefing for stewards before dispatch of every service.
  • A guard, who delivers a safety briefing for passengers at the start of each journey, and monitors procedures through the rest of the trip.
WCR's case is that they have had an exemption since 2005 and yet says that the same regulations, Rail Safety Regulations 1999, that are being used to force the operator to install Central Door Locking.

West Coast says that installing Central Door Locking would cost around £7m, which, according to the operator, would wipe out any profits for close to a decade – and would deem it unviable for business.

WCR also says that should the exemption be revoked, it would lead to a £50m loss in economic value.

45407 “The Lancashire Fusilier” crossing the River Lochy with the morning Jacobite

James Shuttleworth, Commercial Manager, WCR, said:

“This country was the birthplace of railways and I very much hope it won't be the death of our steam power on the main line. Specialist railways are one thing, but to truly experience the beauty and power of steam we still need our most famous trains to run on the real railway.

“Safety is, of course, WCR's priority and WCR supports the ORR's desire to continue to drive safety improvements. The challenge we have is the cost of installing a modern safety system on carriages from a different era. Our decades of operational experience suggest to us that a steward to four doors, with secondary locks and monitoring, a train manager and a guard is enough to ensure the safety of our passengers and colleagues.

“We continue to go to great lengths to preserve our historic vehicles and maintain customer safety through ever-evolving safety procedures.”

James Shuttleworth, Commercial Manager, WCR continued: “Our services, particularly The Jacobite, have become an intrinsic part of Scottish tourism, they're lynchpins. They have helped build up local economies, which we're extremely proud of. When we first started operating the Jacobite from Fort William to Mallaig in 1995, I don't think we could have predicted how popular an attraction it would become. We believe in our services, and we see them as part of preserving the UK's railway heritage for future generations. We will continue to push to operate on the main line.'
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21st November 2023

Steam locomotive 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley set to pass through Middlesbrough this Wednesday​


60007 Heading south at Wrexham General on her way to Bishops Lydeard 9 May 2023

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is to pass through Middlesbrough this Wednesday (22nd November 2023) as it moves to the National Railway Museum in York.

Departing the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at 10:52, the locomotive will pass through Glaisdale (11:11), Battersby (11:56), Nunthorpe (12:35), Middlesbrough (12:54), Thornaby (13:11), Eaglescliffe (13:24), Yarm (15:47), Thirsk (16:14) and York at 19:23 before going to the NRM.
21st November 2023

Yorkshire heritage railway to get upgraded signalling and new depot thanks to funding​


Bradford Council has been awarded £19,814,140 to deliver schemes in Keighley, which include upgrades to the Keighley and Worth valley Railway, as part of the Government's Levelling Up Fund.

The bid was submitted back in 2021 and as part of the package will see a number of upgrades to the five mile long heritage line.

Upgrades to the signalling will be made to allow more services to run on the line, and the diesel multiple unit fleet will be upgraded.

A dedicated storage and maintenance facility will also be created to store the fleet.

Upgrades are set to be delivered in 2026 after a validation check by the government to ensure the funding will still be of benefit.

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said that the funding would make Keighley a major transport hub, but gave no further details on what this meant / how it would be implemented.

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchliffe said: “This is excellent news for Keighley and the wider district in so many ways. The town has a proud engineering and manufacturing tradition. This is such an exciting project which will enhance Keighley's engineering, manufacturing and economic role in the region, putting it at the forefront of UK innovation.

“The funding we've secured with our bid will enhance skills and create more economic opportunities for Keighley and the wider area. I am delighted that the quality of the bid we submitted after working closely with our partners, has been recognised by the Government, as ‘impressive', ‘high-quality' and ‘ready-to- deliver.'

“It has been two years since the bid was initially submitted so we'll now look at how we will deliver this project, given the changing context of time, and we will continue to work hard to maximise all investment to the district.”
22nd November 2023

Steam locomotive 45596 Bahamas set to pass through Northamptonshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire this Thursday​


LMS Jubilee 45596 Bahamas will be making her way back to base this Thursday as it heads to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway this Thursday (23rd November 2023).

Departing Southall at 10:19, the locomotive and its support coach will pass through Southall (10:29), Acton Main Line (11:09), Wembley Central (11:38), Watford Junction (11:49), Hemel Hempstead (11:56), Leighton Buzzard (12:15), Northampton (12:45), Rugby (13:10), Nuneaton (14:20), Stafford (15:13), Crewe (15:41), Wigan North Western (17:00), Preston (17:21), Lancaster (17:46), Carnforth (18:34 and 19:52), Giggleswick (20:35), Hellifield (20:42), Skipton (22:55) and Keighley at 23:09.
23rd November 2023

35011 General Steam Navigation project receives new patron​


Alice Bunn with Jon Gerry

A new patron has committed to help funding the long-running project to restore the 35011 General Steam Navigation.

The project, the work of the General Steam Navigation Locomotive CIC (GSNCIC), has been underway for several years, as experts attempt to restore the aging Southern Railway Bulleid Merchant Navy class locomotive 21c11 / 35011 General Steam Navigation.

The new patron is Dr Alice Bunn OBE (FIMechE FRAeS CEng), the Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Dr Bunn has a PhD in Metallurgy from Darwin College, University of Cambridge, and an exhaustive resume.

Among her many roles, she is a member of the Board of EngineeringUK, and chairs the Professional Engineering Committee.

Dr Alice Bunn becomes a patron of the 35011 General Steam Navigation restoration project

Dr Bunn is also heavily involved in the UK's space exploration community. She is the president of the UKSpace trade association, is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, is a member of the World Economic Forum Future Council, and advises Orbitfab.

In 2022 Dr Bunn was recognised on Queen Elizabeth II's birthday honours list for her contributions to the UK space sector and to charity, and she received an OBE.

Dr Bunn also serves as Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, providing her with a link to Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, for whom the 35011 General Steam Navigation was named, served as President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1946.

Restoration efforts on the 35011 General Steam Navigation have been slow and complicated.

A year ago, an update was provided on work to restore the train's trailing truck, but every step of the process has been a costly endeavour.

35011 shortly after its arrival at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway

While the GSNCIC has undertaken a Heritage Fund Lottery Grant application, the project is made possible as a result of contributions from donors and a host of volunteers who put their time and effort into rebuilding and restoring the aging steam train.

Dr Bunn said of her decision to help fund the project:

“Whilst engineering technology is more important than ever for our future, we can always learn lessons from the past which is why I am delighted to take up the role of patron for this project.”
23rd November 2023

Siemens Mobility rolls out the new Mireo Smart train​


Mireo Smart train

Siemens Mobility has official rolled out its new Mireo Smart train, which aims to provide a greater level of efficiency for rail operators.

At an event at the company's Krefeld plant, Siemens Mobility's latest creation took to the tracks, in the latest expansion for a train manufacturer that is aiming to capture a slice of the environmentally friendly rail market.

Several trains from Siemens Mobility – and from the Mireo range in particular – have already been making headlines.

In September, the Mireo Plus H, a hydrogen-powered train, completed a test run with Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB) in Germany.

Mireo Smart is an electric version of the Mireo train which is being sold primarily as an efficient vehicle – both easy to order for rail operators looking to expand their fleet, and easy to maintain to ensure a greater longevity once the trains have been delivered.

For this reason, Siemens is promoting the Mireo Smart as a “standardised” train with a simple ordering process both for the initial trains and for spare parts that are required for maintenance.

Where some other Mireo offerings come with additional features (not to mention the ongoing hydrogen-powered tests), the Smart is being introduced to the market as an alternative to refurbishing older train stock, with a relatively budget-friendly price aimed to make the train more attractive to prospective buyers.

The new trains, which are being manufactured at the plant in Krefeld, have a seating capacity of 214, with two wheelchair-friendly spaces, and additional storage capacity for 21 bicycles.

Despite lacking some of the features from more advanced Mireo trains, the Smart comes with a state-of-the-art security system, air conditioning, internet wi-fi systems, and large TFT display screens.

Mireo trains are already proving popular in several countries – in August, Digital Rain Germany ordered twenty-eight Mireo trains in a purchase worth around €300 million.

Speaking of the new Mireo Smart trains, Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility said:

“The Mireo Smart is a response to the challenges of a constantly changing transportation landscape and the growing popularity of mobility by rail. We offer rail operators a preconfigured train that can be delivered within very short time and that guarantees high reliability and availability.

“What's new is that we are now also offering the Mireo Smart with alternative drive systems. By providing this environmentally friendly option, we are giving our customers even greater flexibility in adapting to the different requirements of their rail networks.”
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