Posted 5th July 2019 | 1 Comment

5 July: news in brief

RMT announces strikes on East Midlands Trains

THE RMT has named three strike days on East Midlands Trains, in a dispute over pay and contracts. Senior conductors are set to walk out on three successive Saturdays – 20 and 27 July, and 3 August.

Chris Grayling in ‘misunderstanding’ row

TRANSPORT secretary Chris Grayling has triggered a new wave of criticism, after he suggested that protests in the north of England about levels of transport spending were a ‘bit of a misunderstanding’. He conceded that the region still has some catching-up to do, while on a visit to Tyneside, but maintained that spending on transport in the north of England was now higher than in the south. He continued: ‘What distorts the figures around London is that London raises a whole lot of taxation money itself to pay for Crossrail, which people in the North aren’t doing.’ His words have angered MPs in the region. Labour MP Grahame Morris, who represents Easington and is also a member of the Commons Transport Committee, said: ‘Chris Grayling has wrought havoc in every department he has been put in charge of and sadly has a track record of failure and incompetence. The long awaited replacement of our ageing Pacer trains is apparently to be with refurbished second hand Sprinter trains from Scotland that are as old as the Pacers they are replacing. The disparities in transport infrastructure spending are confirmed by the independent thank tank IPPR North and are nothing short of a national scandal.’

Tests underway on first Bombardier train for Great Anglia

High-speed testing has started on Greater Anglia’s new Derby-built commuter trains. Bombardier is building 111 trains for suburban and outer suburban lines to London Liverpool Street from Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. Testing has begun with the first of the newly built trains being put through its paces at 177km/h (110mph) at the Railway Innovation and Development Centre test track at Old Dalby. The normal maximum speed in service will be 160km/h (100mph). The acceleration and braking systems of the train are being tested as well as the safety systems. Other tests include an extreme sway test, which checks physically how much a train may sway when travelling around curves to check that no infrastructure or part of the train is damaged, and that it stays within the kinetic envelope. Greater Anglia franchise and programme director Ian McConnell said: It’s good to see one of our new trains running at full speed on the test track. I can’t wait to see it doing 100mph in East Anglia.

Land for Crossrail 2 ‘should be safeguarded’

The London Assembly has confirmed its support for Crossrail 2 project, and has called for all land which would be needed for the proposed route to be protected. The line will connect places in south east Hertfordshire with south west London, and Crossrail 2 trains could continue as far as Woking and Guildford. AM Caroline Pidgeon said: ‘Without Crossrail 2 a large number of tube stations on the Northern Line will face such severe overcrowding that they will have to regularly close to passengers to control crowds. Even more pressure will also be put upon Clapham Junction and Waterloo. Safeguarding the Crossrail 2 route in planning terms is an immediate priority to stop other developments taking up land that will be needed for this vital line. The failure to take these steps will just build up huge problems for the future, adding further to costs and delays.’

Only First Class will do

A POLICE and Crime Commissioner has asked to be allowed to travel First Class on official journeys, so that he can get on with some work. PCCs, like MPs, are only reimbursed for Standard rail fares. However Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones says he needs to travel in First so that he has the space to work on confidential documents without other passengers being able to see them. He told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: ‘There are, quite reasonably, rules about how we spend public money and I’m always very conscious that we spend it wisely, but sometimes the cheapest isn't better value for money. Occasionally there are times when me losing three hours of work [in] which I could be productive is less helpful than an extra twenty pounds on a train ticket.’

Reader Comments:

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  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    It seems those 'up north' don't realise that much of the funding for Crossrail (1) was raised via Section 60 funding from development in London. I remember the major development at Victoria had to contribute towards Crossrail and they complained as it doesn't serve Victoria.

    While former TFL Sir Peter Hendy agreed that it was fair for TFL to raise 50% towards Crossrail 2 !

    So imagine attitude in the north if say Sheffield has to pay section 60 funding for a route that doesn't go anywhere near Sheffield but is part of ail network upgrade.