The Airports Commission has supported proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow, in the face of rigorous opposition from environmental groups and politicians, including Boris Johnson. The Commission envisages direct railway connections from the west and south but rules out a spur from HS2 at Old Oak Common, saying there is no robust business case and that such a link would be "likely to attract only a small number of passengers". The Mayor of London and MP Boris Johnson said the plans were
'catastrophic'. He wants a new airport to be built in the Thames Estuary instead.
Majority vote for RMT strike at First Great Western
Four out of five RMT members on First Great Western have voted in favour of a strike in protest at what the union says is a lack of 'very basic assurances' about the new Intercity Express Trains, which are being manufactured by Hitachi. The RMT is now considering its next move.
Striking French ferry workers disrupt Eurostar again
The Channel Tunnel has been closed again and train and shuttle services have been badly disrupted, because striking Calais ferry workers have closed the port and started fires on the tracks approaching the tunnel. P&O Ferries claimed that security at Calais had been 'abandoned', and there are reports that some Eurostar trains bound for the Continent have been turned back to London.
TfL announces Overground shortlist
A shortlist of four bidders for the next London Overground concession from November 2016 has been announced by Transport for London. TfL said the next contract will cover all London Overground routes, including the inner suburban West Anglia routes which were taken over from Abellio Greater Anglia at the end of May. Changes during the forthcoming contract, which will last for 7.5 years with a possible two-year extension, will include the arrival of at least 45 new trains from Bombardier.
Talks continue over future of Network Rail
Discussions over the future shape, organisation and role of Network Rail are being stepped up, after last week's announcement that the government-owned company cannot complete the schemes set out for CP5 because costs are running above estimates. Fresh developments since the transport secretary's announcement on 25 June suggest that Network Rail has now become of the target of conflicting advice, as various parties in the industry jostle for position.
Dismay after Network Rail cash crisis revealed
The railway industry has been reacting to the decision by the government to tighten its control of Network Rail after the costs of major enhancement projects ballooned. Electrification has been cut back in a bid to bring Network Rail's budgets under control, while transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ordered changes to top management, placed key projects on hold indefinitely and said that there will be no bonuses for board level directors this year. The Public Members, who were intended to represent shareholders, will no longer be required. There will be an independent review of the way Network Rail plans and costs major enhancement projects, to be led by economist Dame Colette Bowe. The transport commissioner for London Sir Peter Hendy is to replace Richard Parry-Jones as chairman, while former Eurostar chief and Department for Transport franchising adviser Richard Brown is joining the Network Rail board as a special director.
Settlement in Network Rail pay dispute
Members of the RMT, TSSA and Unite unions have voted to accept the pay offer made by Network Rail on 1 June. The decision has ended the threat of strikes which were called more than once when negotiations had stalled.