Rail roundup

Britain’s first battery-powered train is undergoing on-track trials – a move which could ultimately lead to a fleet of battery-powered trains running on Britain’s rail network. Network Rail has successfully completed the retrofitting of its first battery-powered train and has now embarked upon a programme of trials at a test track in Derby, which will culminate with a series of high-speed tests at the Rail Innovation and Development Centre in Nottinghamshire later this year.

Network Rail became a public sector arm’s-length body of the Department for Transport on 1 September. DfT says it plans to allow Network Rail to continue to manage its business “with appropriate commercial freedom, within effective regulatory and control frameworks”. The framework agreement is here. DfT will appoint future chairs and approve remuneration policy and pay for executive directors

Network Rail opened two new platforms at London Bridge station on time on Monday after a nine-day part closure of the railway for the Thameslink programme was successfully completed. 1200 engineers layed new track and installed a complex, state-of-the-art signalling system. At the same time a triple-track Victorian bridge on the approach to the station was rebuilt, and a new connection to the east coast mainline to the north of Kings Cross  brought a step closer. For timelapse video go here 

Liverpool City Region has revealed more about its 30 year rail plan with with Network Rail to improve passenger and freight rail links.The Long Term Rail Strategy outlines 12 high-priority rail projects for the city and surrounding area designed to improve both suburban and intercity rail services. Schemes include replacing Merseyrail’s fleet for higher capacity vehicles, increasing the frequency of services between Liverpool and London, introducing new direct services to Scotland and South Wales, and upgrading the North Mersey and Bootle branch lines for passenger service.

Balfour Beatty has won the £70M Crossrail Woolwich station fit out contract. Work also includes finishing works at the two portals where the Crossrail trains will surface from either end of the Thames Tunnel at North Woolwich and Plumstead.

Protests have taken place at railway stations in the north of England after the introduction of new peak evening fares on Northern Rail Services where some weekday tickets have gone up 117% as trains between 16.01 and 18.29 were no longer classed as “off peak”. Cost of a ticket from Wigan to Manchester Piccadilly has risen from £4.20 to £9.10 and from Bradford to Leeds from £4.60 to £6.50.