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DB Schenker trial paves way for freight traffic on HS1

Freight operator DB Schenker has trialled a European-sized freight train on High Speed One, with a view to carrying full-sized European freight wagons and intermodal units directly from France into the UK. The Class 92 travelled from Dollands Moor near Folkestone and along the High Speed One route, currently only used for passenger trains, to Singlewell at Gravesend to test signalling systems that had been installed inside the locomotive. European freight wagons will not usually fit onto most of the UK rail’s network, except the most popular freight routes, which have been gauge enhanced. European rolling stock is a different loading gauge – too wide and high for the UK – which would cause it to conflict with platform edges and bridges. But HS1 was built to a different gauge. Alain Thauvette, chief executive

of DB Schenker Rail UK, said: ‘This is a very significant milestone. The success of this trial opens up the reality of these larger freight trains travelling from anywhere across Europe, on the DB Schenker Rail pan-European network, direct into London for the first time. ‘This is the significant key that will unlock modal shift between road and rail on cross Channel operations.’

Tube safety incidents raise concerns about cuts

by Peter Brown

London Underground has been criticised on safety grounds, following both an accident report and an incident that closed part of the tube network, when water from the fountains of Trafalgar Square seeped into tunnels and flooded a station. Following a RAIB report into

the derailment of an engineering train between Gloucester Road and Earl’s Court on the Piccadilly

Line at 05:30 on Wednesday 12 May 2010, the RMT has blamed the incident on financial cuts. General secretary Bob Crow

said: ‘This report is a wake-up call to mayor Boris Johnson and London Underground. If they carry on with their cuts, in light of this warning they are truly gambling with the lives of millions of Londoners.’ The RAIB investigation found

that the cause of derailment was the track being unable to maintain the correct gauge as the train passed

over it. Important track information had not been seen by those responsible for its maintenance, said the report.

And on Thursday 24 March

this year, the Bakerloo Line was suspended for eight hours when Charing Cross station was flooded. Crow has claimed power was nearly turned back on when staff were still on the tracks. At the time of going to press,

TFL said a full review of the incident was ongoing.

Cardiff area to get capacity enhancement n

A plan to remove a bottleneck outside Cardiff has been

agreed by Network Rail. The scheme will allow an extra four passenger trains an hour to run through the Cardiff area, as well as creating more freight paths. Passenger demand is increasing

at eight per cent each year, on average, in the area.

Mike Gallop, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail said: ‘This scheme will take the railway in Cardiff and South Wales Valleys into the next frontier. ‘The benefits of this scheme

are huge, as it lays the fundamental building blocks to unlock the untapped potential of this area, whilst paving the way for

electrification and meeting a growing demand. Wales relies on rail – a reliable and robust railway forms a key pillar for a healthy economy, and this scheme will help Wales continue to thrive.’ The scheme includes new signalling, which will be European Railway Train Management System (ERTMS) compatible. Extra tracks will be laid in several locations and a new track layout implemented at Cardiff East Junction. New platforms will also be built at Cardiff Centre, Cardiff Queen Street, Barry, Tir-phil, Caerphilly and Pontypridd. The work, which will begin in the autumn, will be completed by 2018.

Kensington and Chelsea proposes extra Crossrail station


A London borough is offering to fund an additional Crossrail station, as part of a regeneration project.

The Royal Borough of

Kensington and Chelsea has put up the £33m construction costs for a new station in Kensal, which would be the centre of a 67-acre site due to be redeveloped for housing and businesses.

The site, which lies in a deprived area of west London, houses an old gas works and a former Eurostar depot. ‘This is a big decision,’ said council leader, Sir Merrick Cockell

PAGE 10 MAY 2011

of the council’s decision to find the £33m. ‘And we hope that a major new development, connected to the rest of London via Crossrail – just five minutes from Highspeed 2 at Old Oak Common and, therefore, just an hour away from the Midlands – could be a game changer for this area.’ London Mayor Boris Johnson

visited the site in 2009 and said if the station was to be viable, it must not delay construction, compromise rail performance or add costs. The council is now confident it satisfies all the criteria.

Network Rail has erected a plaque on Platforms 1 and 2 at Manchester Victoria station to mark the former location of Walker’s Croft cemetary. Bones discovered during a recent refurbishment of the station were reinterred at a local cemetery.

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