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8 October: news in brief

Protests following HS2 ‘scrapping’ reports

A REPORT suggesting that the eastern spur of HS2 to the East Midlands and Yorkshire could be scrapped to reduce the costs of the whole scheme has been met by protests in the north of England. Transport secretary Grant Shapps admitted last month that the £55.7 billion budget for HS2 will not be enough, and that the complete scheme is now expected to cost in the region of £80 billion.Transport for the North said: ‘There is spare capacity on both the Western and Eastern legs of HS2 that could be used to deliver wider regional connectivity. It would therefore be a huge missed opportunity if the current ambition for HS2 and the benefits it could deliver for the North East of England are scaled back; and such a decision would be seen as out of touch with what northern leaders would expect as part of a truly 21st century pan-northern rail network.’

New Merseyrail train under test in Germany

THE first example of the new trains for Merseyrail has completed its static testing at Stadler’s factory in Switzerland, and is being sent to a German test circuit so that dynamic testing can start. A fleet of 52 four-car trains has been ordered, and it is hoped that the first train will arrive at Kirkdale depot in December. The new trains should start to enter service next year.

Thomas Cook employees could transfer to railway

EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY is offering former Thomas Cook employees the opportunity to come along to an open day at the EMR Customer Service Academy in Derby on Monday 21 October, to learn about a career in the railway. Potential candidates can sign up to attend during one of two time slots,16.30-17.30 or 17.30-18.30. HR director at EMR Kirsty Derry said: ‘We were truly saddened to hear the news about Thomas Cook and would like to send our support to all of the employees who suddenly lost their jobs at the end of September. We have planned an open day to give former employees the chance to come along to gain an insight in to the railway, with hints and tips about our recruitment process. These people have the skills and expertise we are looking for at EMR.’

More trams for West Midlands Metro

NEW battery trams have been ordered by West Midlands Metro from CAF in an £83.5 million deal. The trams will not need overhead power lines and are intended for the ‘wireless’ extension now being built between Grand Central and Hagley Road. The first of 21 new trams is expected to enter service in 2021. The contract includes the vehicles themselves, technical support and battery management services over 30 years. There is also an option to purchase another 29 trams.

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