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RMT stages first of four TransPennine strikes

Conductors on TransPennine Express have staged their first Sunday strike, in a dispute over pay. Unless there is a breakthrough in the meantime, strikes have also been called for the next three Sundays. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Our members refuse to be treated unfairly and will be continuing with industrial action until the pay discrimination is dealt with. The company need to wake up to that fact and we hope today’s action will shake them out of their slumber. The union remains available for talks.’ 

TPE customer experience director Kathryn O’Brien said: ‘We are disappointed that RMT has chosen to disrupt people’s journeys at a time when the rail industry – alongside much of the nation – continues to feel the impact of the pandemic. We are doing all we can to keep our customers moving under difficult circumstances, but we simply will not be able to operate a timetable that provides a regular service.’

West Midlands budget includes Metro extensions and more trains

A budget of £379 million has been announced for new transport schemes by the West Midlands Combined Authority, as part of a £879.2 million spending plan for 2022-23. The transport investment will provide tramway extensions from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill and to Birmingham Eastside, and new train services on the Camp Hill line and between Walsall and Wolverhampton. Meanwhile, trams are now running again from Bull Street to Birmingham Library, as work to repair cracks on several of the CAF Urbos trams continues.

Bids invited for £500 million HS2 contracts at Euston

More contracts at London Euston to prepare for HS2 have been announced. The work is being co-ordinated by HS2’s Station Construction Partner, a joint venture between Mace and Dragados. The contracts include construction of the main substructure, which will involve pilling, earthworks and reinforced concrete. A subcontractor is also being sought to provide the main systems as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing work. HS2 said the new contracts will mean opportunities for many companies in the supply chain. 

New hydrogen partnership between Porterbrook and Rolls Royce

Porterbrook and Rolls Royce have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop carbon-free engines, including those using hydrogen. The companies said they will ‘investigate the potential for the use of synthetic and net zero fuels, including hydrogen, both in fuel cells and internal combustion engines’, as well as ‘the potential for advanced hybridisation’. They have just introduced a battery-diesel hybrid unit for Chiltern Railways, which started carrying passengers at the end of last week.

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