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1 April: news in brief

Labour publishes ‘shadow rail white paper’

THE Labour Party is reported to be calling for public ownership of the passenger railway to continue after the coronavirus crisis is over, under the title ‘GB Rail’. Its recommendations come in the form of a ‘white paper’, of the type which governments use to set out proposed legislation. More details are awaited.

RMT protests over freight terminal redundancies

THE RMT union says it has received a copy of proposals to make 15 posts redundant at the Coatbridge Freightliner terminal in Scotland. The company has invited volunteers to stand down, and the terminal’s working day is set to be reduced from 24 to 17 hours. In a letter to members, the RMT said it ‘believes that all key essential workers should be retained in the industry and the rail freight sector is key to delivering supplies during this national crisis.’ It adds that the proposals are therefore ‘wrong and totally unacceptable’. Freightliner has yet to comment.

Grand Central cuts timetable as demand falls

OPEN access operator Grand Central has reduced its timetable, but some services are continuing to run. This is in contrast with Hull Trains, which has temporarily closed down as a result of travel restrictions. Grand Central managing director Richard McClean told Business Traveller magazine: ‘We remain committed to providing services for the revised timetable agreed with fellow train operators. The decision by Hull Trains to temporarily cease running services demonstrates the tough conditions for open access operators during COVID-19 restrictions. Social distancing and the advice to travel only unless necessary means the launch of our Blackpool to London Euston service is likely to be delayed.’

New virus precautions at Manchester Piccadilly

NEW vinyl stickers have been applied to the concourse floor at Manchester Piccadilly station to make the two-metre social distancing rules easier to follow. The stickers form a grid leading towards the ticket barriers and also mark out spaces for queueing passengers.

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