Big Brother technology ‘to predict rail suicides’ SECURITY cameras will soon be so advanced that they will be able to spot people’s behaviour as well as their image, experts say. The technology could predict railway suicides as the equipment will be able to recognise if someone is acting nervously on a platform and automatically alert security guards.
DfT investigates cancellations THE Department for Transport is probing cancellation by London Midland of numerous Sunday trains during the past few weeks. Traincrew anger over the possible loss of voluntary Sunday working has led to DB Schenker drivers being drafted in temporarily.
Ex-M&GNJR boiler sold AN ex-Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway boiler found at Maldon, Essex, in 1986 has been sold by Mangapps Farm Railway and is to be exhibited at the North Norfolk Railway’s M&GN 50th anniversary gala in March.
NR names new chairman NETWORK Rail has chosen Rick Haythornthwaite as new chairman in succession to Sir Ian McAllister. He is a former chief executive of Blue Circle Industries.
York station barriers outcry NATIONAL Express East Coast is to rethink its proposals for ticket barriers at York station, following a massive public backlash. Gates at other stations will go ahead though.
PTAs become ITAs THE six Passenger Transport Authorities in England were renamed Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) on February 9. The change gives them powers similar to Transport for London (see p92).
Euston Arch blocks dredged up DREDGING of the Channelsea River, east London, has uncovered parts of Euston’s Doric Arch, which were dumped there during the arch’s demolition in 1962.
Californian high-speed link CALIFORNIA, for so long the home of the freeway and automobile, is considering the construction of an all-new highspeed line to link Los Angeles with San Francisco.
Fence could spoil Sydney Gardens IT has emerged that Network Rail intends to install a security fence in one of the classic rail photspots, Sydney Gardens, Bath.
GCR in urgent appeal The Great Central Railway has to raise £100,000 by the end of March to save the old goods office building at Loughborough Central.
Polmadie to service 221s THE ex-LMS heavy repair shed at Polmadie depot has been equipped as a maintenance centre for Virgin Class 221s and is to re-open in July.
Summit station to reopen THE new terminus building at the summit of Snowdon has been completed and an official opening is scheduled for June 12.
Southern extends to Milton Keynes SOUTHERN services from Milton Keynes to East Croydon started on February 16 with the 07.01 departure using 377212. This service partially reinstates the Connex SouthEastern service that ran from Rugby to Brighton from 1997 until 2002. A lack of paths during the West Coast upgrade led to the service being curtailed at Watford Junction. The first train created further history by being the first public service to use the new Platform 2A at Milton Keynes. The platform was provided in the Milton Keynes upgrade project in readiness for the future Oxford and Aylesbury EastWest link services, but was pressed into service due to service disruption in the area at the time.
Southern EMU No. 377212 was the first service train to use platform 2A at Milton Keynes on February 16 with the inaugural 07.01 service to East Croydon. PHIL MARSH
London Orbital by 2012 as ‘South Circular’ Line gets go-ahead
FUNDING for the second phase of the East London Line extension, from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, has been agreed following two weeks of talks between Transport for London and the Department for Transport. Construction is scheduled for completion in time for the 2012 Olympics. The London Overground’s southern link is the last part in the creation of an orbital ‘ring-road’-style route encompassing the existing East London, West London and North London lines. Described by TfL managing director Ian Brown as “the railway equivalent of the M25”, it will help take pressure off central London termini and interchanges, the London Underground and radial commuter routes. TfL will contribute £15m and the DfT £64m. Much of that will pay for the reinstatement of a disused alignment in south-east London, which, until 1911, was used by trains from Rotherhithe to Queens Road, Peckham via the erstwhile Old Kent Road station. There is also provision for a new station to be called Surrey Canal Road. The remainder of the route will utlilise existing lines in south London. There will be up to four trains an hour in each direction between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction, calling at all stations en route. As part of the deal, the Southern TOC, or its successor, will surrender to London Overground the operation of Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street stations. The ‘South London Line’ project (officially known as Phase 2 of the East London Line) will deliver significant benefits to the areas. It will also reduce disruption caused by the Thameslink rebuilding works at London Bridge by providing passengers with alternative routes to the City and Docklands. The
forthcoming £340m project to quadruple the tracks on the North London Line between Dalston West Junction and Camden Road by 2011 will help ease capacity on that section of the orbital route.
Top: Map showing how the complete circular ‘ring line’ will look once finished. Above: An extract from a 100-year-old Railway Clearing House map showing (in red between Deptford Road and Old Kent Road Junction) the line to be reinstated.
Blackfriars Tube station to shut for two years
BLACKFRIARS Tube station was due to close from March 2 until late 2011, to allow foundation work for the main line station rebuild to take place at underground level. Enhancements will include stepfree access, an enlarged Underground
ticket hall and better access. The Tube station will be rebuilt and will feature a new control room, a ‘cathedral-style’ ticket hall, plus enhanced customer information and security systems. During the closure, District and
Circle Line trains will operate without stopping at Blackfriars. Passengers who usually change for Thameslink services north of the river, should use King’s Cross/St Pancras. Passengers for the south should use London Bridge or Elephant & Castle.
10 • The Railway Magazine • April 2009 Have you got a story for us? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 020 3148 8521
Network chaos after heaviest snow for two decades THE severest winter experienced in many parts of Britain for two decades brought chaos to large areas of the railway network in early February. Although forecasters had warned of snow, the volume that fell overnight on February 1/2 was so great that Transport for London suspended its entire morning bus operation and many Underground services. The third-rail network was particularly badly hit due to the conductor rails being under thick snow. One main line operator, SouthEastern Trains, abandoned all its morning services with tracks and platforms under four to six inches of snow and many staff unable to get to stations and depots. Later in the day, SET managed to get some services running, but only on five routes. Services on the neighbouring Southern franchise were also severely disrupted, with two trains per hour between London and Brighton, and other services badly affected. Services on three lines – Brighton to Seaford, Lewes-Keymer Junction and RedhillTonbridge were suspended and stations
at Merstham, Coulsdon South, Salfords, Earlswood, Horley and on the Seaford branch were closed South West Trains cut its WaterlooSouthampton, Waterloo-Basingstoke, Alton and Reading services to two hourly and suspended all trains between Waterloo and Chessington South, Guildford via Leatherhead, Weybridge via Staines and Shepperton. The snowstorm blanketed the northern Home Counties and the Midlands too, with Chiltern Railways suspending all services between Marylebone and Amersham, and almost all trains on the West Coast Main Line being cancelled or heavily delayed. The situation did gradually improve during the day, but all impending passengers were warned not to travel unless absolutely necessary and, as a consequence, most central London offices were almost empty. On February 3 and 4, there were improvements with operators running reduced services, however a dozen stations in Surrey remained closed and other lines ran reduced services.
Mobile ski slopes? The scene at Gatwick sidings on February 2. PETER STARKS
With passengers clamouring for information, the Association of Train Operating Companies said that during the morning peak on February 2, the nationalrail.co.uk website handled 48,000 hits – 16 times more than the busiest point in a normal day (it is only
designed to cope with six times the normal peak demand). Other record figures from National Rail Enquiries that day included 387,000 telephone calls to contact centres and 109,000 calls to the TrainTracker service.
Virgin nameplate sale raises £106,000 for cancer charity VIRGIN Trains has raised £106,000 for charities after auctioning more than 100 train nameplates at London’s Waterloo station on February 14. It is thought to have been the biggest nameplate sale of its type ever. The plates, which had been removed from a variety of Virgin trains over the last decade, were sold by Sheffield Railwayana Auctions in the former Eurostar booking hall. The money raised will go to Virgin Group’s charitable arm, Virgin Unite, and the Railway Benefit Fund. The Virgin Unite contribution will benefit Virgin Trains’ chosen charity, CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity. The sale of 107 plates and nose-end badges was so successful that nothing from the catalogue was left unsold! Top bid was for the nameplate off No. 86226 Charles Rennie Mackintosh,
which attracted a bid of £4,700. Even though the names on Voyagers and ‘Super Voyagers’ have been fitted for a relatively short time, there was brisk bidding with Devon Voyager going under the hammer for £2,600 and Doctor Who being sold for £2,000. Pride of Toton, from ex-CrossCountry Class 47 diesel No. 47805 fetched £3,600. ■ Virgin has generously donated a nameplate to The Railway Magazine for sale by sealed bid as part of our ‘Money Can’t Buy’ auction to raise funds for charity at our Eastleigh Works open days on May 23-25. Items have also been promised from DB Schenker, First Great Western and Freightliner. Full details next month.
Right, upper: Part of the scene in the old Waterloo Eurostar concourse. Right, lower: The most valuable plate. VIRGIN TRAINS
Tory call for a passengers’ ‘champion’ SHADOW transport secretary Theresa Villiers has announced an eight-point plan, including making more use of existing track, creating a passengers’ champion and increasing the length of passenger franchises to up to 20 years to encourage investment. In a move designed to reopen defunct lines, Ms Villiers proposed a moratorium on building over disused tracks still in public ownership. She said “We desperately need new capacity – longer trains, longer platforms and, ultimately, additional lines.” The Tories propose strengthening the powers of rail regulators to create a passengers’ ‘champion’ – a consumerfocused watchdog able to ensure performances improve, regardless of where the fault lies. That would include tougher penalties for failure. The Conservatives are also in favour of HS2 from London to Birmingham.
Bluebell to end 48 years of steam with first diesel train
THE Bluebell Railway’s unique selling point – that it has never operated a diesel-hauled passenger train in its 48 years as a preserved railway – is to end in March when it runs a special hauled by electro-diesel No. 73136, ironically named Perseverance. Much to the anger of many of its
members, the railway is to give up on its famous 100 per cent steam stance because it needs extra income as it bids to remove the spoil tip standing in the way of its East Grinstead extension. Diesel shunting has been done on the Bluebell before, but never on a diesel-hauled passenger service.
Norfolk Orbital hopes dashed
A SPECULATOR “on a whim” has unwittingly dealt a blow to campaigners’ plans to create an orbital railway around Norfolk. Members of the Norfolk Orbital Railway company – who intend to link North Norfolk, Mid-Norfolk and Network Rail lines – had appealed to anyone interested in seeing tracks returned to Pudding Norton, near Fakenham, not to bid at an auction in Norwich in February. The group had raised £7,500 to buy the 3.5 acre site, complete with
two railway bridges, valued at £3,000-£5,000, but could afford no more. Infuriatingly for the members, a property speculator called Giles de Lotbiniere, who was unaware of the group’s plans and didn’t even know the auction was on until shortly beforehand, bid £12,000. He hadn’t even seen the site. Orbital project chairman David Rees, said: “I’m flabbergasted. The site has no access and cannot be developed.”
April 2009 • The Railway Magazine • 11