New Nottingham tram services start
Trams are now running in public service on Nottingham's two new lines, which extend to the south of the city. Today's opening, which took place with very little advance notice, has come some eight months later than originally hoped, although contractor Alstom had always privately described the city council's aspirations for a new year launch for the £570 million project as 'challenging'. The new routes serve Beeston town centre, Clifton and Toton Parkway, which could be the stepping-off point in the future for a further extension to the planned HS2 hub station, less than 2km further on.
Underground strikes called off but dispute goes on
Walkouts which were set to disrupt London Underground tomorrow and on Friday have been cancelled after two weeks of 'constructive talks' between Underground negotiators and the rail unions. This week's strikes, which would have started at 18.30 this evening, had been called by the RMT, TSSA and UNITE in the continuing dispute over plans for 'Night Tube' services next month. However, in spite of the truce new strike dates of 8 and 10 September have also been announced.
Blow for Northern Powerhouse with new electrification delay
Plans for a Northern Powerhouse have received a further setback, with the announcement that the contractor responsible for electrifying the Preston to Blackpool North line is to be replaced, after fears that the budget and project timetable were likely to overrun. The time needed to appoint another firm to take over from Balfour Beatty will delay the work, and one of Blackpool's MPs has described the news as a 'blow' -- not just for the resort but for Lancashire as a whole.
Rail crime falls, but more sexual offences are recorded
British Transport Police has reported that the general level of offences reported on the rail network has fallen, but that the proportion of sex-related incidents has risen by 25 per cent. The sharp rise in reports of sex-related incidents is probably due to a campaign launched two years ago which was intended to encourage such reports, the force said. Incidents of criminal damage also rose slightly, but there were fewer frauds, robberies and thefts.
July RPI means 1% rise for regulated fares
A rise of 1 per cent in the Retail Price Index last month means that regulated rail fares will be increased by the same amount in January. Rail minister Claire Perry said: "For the first time since 2002 wages are increasing by more than fares, which is real progress," but unions and other transport campaigners have renewed their call for passenger operators to be nationalised.
Government launches sale of King's Cross stake
The Government has started the sale of its one-third stake in the former railway lands around King's Cross station in London. The 27-hectare site is being used for a number of high-profile redevelopments, which include a controversial and currently delayed headquarters building for the internet services provider Google. The Government said the transaction would be a 'multi-million pound deal'. The land was once used for a locomotive depot and a maze of sidings, but it has not been needed for railway purposes for many years.