Rail roundup

St Pancras station in London and Grand Central Terminal in New York – two of the world’s most iconic railway stations – have signed a formal partnership designed to help share best practice.

Jut a couple of days into his new career at HS2 as construction chief executive, ex-Network Rail infrastructure projects boss Simon Kirby has announced the appointment of Network Rail’s Thameslink director Jim Crawford as HS2’s programme director for phase one. Kirby and his chairman, former Network Rail chief executive David Higgins are two of five recipients of Network Rail year end bonuses of 12.5% of salary (around £50,000). Awards have been cut because of mixed results during the year – maximum possible was 60% of salary. Group finance director Patrick Butcher, managing director network operations Robin Gisby and group strategy director Paul Plummer also received the bonus awards.

Department for Transport has announced its intention to award the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd. The seven year franchise – the largest ever let in terms of passenger numbers – will open up new routes across London and improve services to many destinations.

Crossrail 2 could be opened four years earlier than initially proposed in 2029 according to revised plans for the link published by the London Mayor. Changes to the line between south west and north east London include extending the northern branch to New Southgate.

A judge-led public inquiry is to be held into the Edinburgh trams project to investigate delivery of the over budget route.

The High Speed Rail Bill select committee has published timetable for hearing petitions from parties affected by HS2 during July. The first hearing will be on 1st July and is an open address from the Promoter. Petitioners will be heard by geographic area starting in Birmingham and moving south. Timetable is here

Twelve MPs have lodged petitions against HS2 including four Conservative Ministers as the number of petitions against the project reaches almost 2000.

Fracking planning application and environmental permit documents open to scrutiny as regulators invite comment on  four test wells planned by energy firm Cuadrilla. Views are invited by Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency. The EIA was prepared by Arup and the wells are planned at Little Plumpton near Preston. Comment and view here

      Six of the 10 Crossrail tunnels are now complete  with TBM Ellie breaking through into the Stepney Green cavern this week after a 2.7km bore. The rail tunnels are now 80% complete.