The headquarters for the construction of Phase 1 of HS2 is to be based in Birmingham, it has been announced. The move is expected to mean that up to 1,500 people will be employed in the city. A spokesman for HS2 told Railnews that the move is part of a wider regeneration scheme centred on the site of the future HS2 station at Curzon Street.
Crossrail operator named by TfL
Transport for London has announced its intention to award the concession to operate Crossrail services to MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited. The £1.4 billion contract will be for eight years, with an option to extend to ten years. MTR operates the Hong Kong metro and is also a partner with DB on the present London Overground concession. Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers across the capital and marks a significant milestone in the project."
Renationalisation to be 'resisted' by Labour
Labour leader Ed Miliband is reported to be resisting pressure from trade unions to renationalise the rail industry. The Labour leadership is said to be moving towards a hybrid system, which would allow state-run bodies in Britain to bid for franchises or 'operating contracts'. Speculation has been growing ahead of a discussion of rail policy by Labour's National Policy Forum this weekend.
Royal opening for modernised Reading
Her Majesty the Queen has declared the newly modernised station at Reading open today. The work is part of an £895 million scheme which is also providing a new flyover and remodelled track layouts. These will allow the station to handle up to 30 million passengers a year, which is forecast by 2030. The station is also now to be the western terminal for Crossrail services, after the extension from Maidenhead which was announced earlier this year.
New Essex Thameside franchise confirmed
The Department for Transport has confirmed it has officially signed the contract for the new Essex Thameside franchise with National Express Essex Thameside Trains Limited. The 15-year contract will allow the company, trading as c2c, to invest £160 million in various improvements. The franchise provides commuter services between London, Barking, Basildon, Tilbury, Southend and Shoeburyness.
New transport ministers named
The Prime Minister's summer reshuffle has meant some changes at the Department for Transport. Claire Perry has replaced Stephen Hammond as Parliamentary under secretary, and John Hayes has become the new minister of state. Baroness Kramer remains as minister of state as well, representing the Department in the House of Lords.
Railfreight terminal decision greeted with dismay
Planning permission for a new railfreight terminal on the Midland Main Line near St Albans has been granted by the Government after an appeal, but the news has been greeted with dismay in the local area. Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles has allowed the appeal by developers Helioslough, who wish to build on the former Radlett airfield site. One local councillor said it was a 'terrible day for St Albans', while the city's MP has forecast a possible judicial review. However, the grant of planning permission at Radlett has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association.