Posted 13th August 2019 | 4 Comments

13 August: news in brief

Drug user jailed after setting fire to station

A NOTTINGHAM woman who started the fire which badly damaged the city’s main station in January last year has been jailed for 25 months. Nottingham Crown Court heard Gemma Peat, 34, admit starting the blaze in a sanitary bin on 12 January. The flames spread to the footbridge, because there had been defects in the construction of the building. She had gone into the toilets to take heroin and crack cocaine. Peat, of Wilford Crescent in Nottingham, told police that other drug users had been in the station, which was described as ‘attempts to deflect blame’. The blaze needed 100 firefighters to bring it under control, and cost £5.6 million. Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told Peat – who had committed 108 previous offences, including shoplifting, possession of knives and assaulting emergency workers – that the fire ‘must have been smouldering as you left’. A cleaner who was changing the bins in the toilets raised the alarm at 06.18.

Union calls for action after Caledonian Sleeper overran at Edinburgh

THE TSSA union is calling for ‘speedy action’ following the overrun of a Caledonian Sleeper train at Edinburgh almost two weeks ago. The train ran 650m past its intended stopping point before it could be brought to a stand, on 1 August, and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch has now reported that a closed brake valve was the cause. TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘Only sheer good luck and the quick thinking of the Train Manager saved the passengers on the morning of August 1st. We cannot rely on luck to keep passengers safe. The failure of the brakes could have led to a catastrophic accident. We need to find out as soon as possible what led to the brakes valve not being opened and then act to put in place whatever is needed for this not to happen again.’ The call for action to be taken comes only days after another fault on a Caledonian Sleeper led to passengers on the southbound Lowlander being forced to leave the train at Preston and find their own way onward to London. Caledonian Sleeper has apologised, and says passengers’ expenses will be reimbursed.

New Merseyrail trains will be ‘too long’ for some stations

NEW Merseyrail trains are ‘too long’ for the layout at some stations, and their full introduction could be delayed. The problems occur when the trains are formed as eight-car sets, although the position of points at certain stations, including Liverpool Central and Southport, assumes only six-car sets. The choice now facing Merseyrail is to keep some of the older trains for now, or bring forward an infrastructure upgrade, although councillors are said to be reluctant to keep any of the present fleet in service up to two years longer than originally promised. The platforms at around 100 stations have already been adjusted to reduce the gap between the platforms and the new Stadler trains. Merseytravel said: ‘As part of the planned infrastructure works required in advance of the new Merseyrail trains being phased in from 2020, we will be undertaking platform lengthening and signal works at some stations. We’re working with Network Rail on the plans for these works right now and will be providing further information once these are finalised.’

HS2 ‘should be built more quickly in north’

THE chief executive of Manchester Airport is urging HS2 Ltd to bring forward work on the northern sections of the high speed line. Charlie Cornish made the plea during a meeting at the airport with HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston. The airport management would like to see the northern phases brought forward to bring in better connectivity in the north that much sooner.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Timothy Simons, Nottingham

    The toilets on the station platforms are free, but you need a ticket to access them. The replacement toilets for those destroyed in the fire are located between the station concourse and the car park/tram stop. There is a charge of 20p to use them. I suspect they are still being used for drug taking.

  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    £5.6 million damage (and she had 108 previous offences, including assaulting emergency workers) and a pathetically inadequate 25 months in jail, which will probably mean she'll be out in a year. Another pathetic sentence from an out of touch judiciary.

  • king arthur, buckley

    People using station toilets should require a platform ticket. Given how much people are paying for rail fares these days you'd at least expect that the railway stations they use shouldn't also be the local crack den.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Construction of HS2 in the north can't happen until necessary legislation has been passed by Parliament and that's likely to be another few years given full route is still being assessed.

    Time to get on with stage 1 with legislation for extension to Crewe ( phase 2a) currently going through Parliament allowing work to begin next year ?

    One way to speed construction in the north would be a seperate bill for tunnels under the Penines allowing existing trains to operate until HS2 is built