The Elizabeth Line has been given its final clearance by the Railway Inspectorate for opening on 24 May. The Office of Rail and Road has issued full approvals for all the stations with the exception of Bond Street, which will not open until later this year. In the meantime Bond Street has been approved only for emergency evacuations. The ORR has also authorised the route in general, including the track and tunnels. It had already cleared the line’s Class 345 fleet in 2020, which has been providing interim TfL Rail services on the suburban sections, and more recently it has authorised the use of GSM-R for communications between drivers and signallers.
HS2 unveils first diesel-free site
HS2 Ltd has announced that one of its construction sites is the first to have become diesel-free. The site is the Canterbury Road Vent Shaft in South Kilburn, where HS2’s civils contractor Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture has introduced diesel-free technologies and greener equipment. HS2 Ltd had already said that the high speed project aims to be net-zero carbon from 2035, while all its construction sites should be diesel-free by 2029.
Network Rail to close line for nine days
The railway between Eastleigh and Fareham will be closed from 25 June to 4 July, so that engineers can reinforce a steep cutting alongside Fareham Tunnel, which was built in 1841 and now needs ‘major work’ to stabilise it. Buses and rail diversions will be introduced while the line is closed. A previous landslip on the line at Botley in 2014 meant that train services had to be suspended for over a month.
Derby-based Loram joins forces with rail consultant
Derby-based Loram and AEGIS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding so that the businesses can work together to meet the needs of a growing number of rolling stock owners. Loram specialises in rolling stock and track maintenance and will now be working with AEGIS, which is a rail consultancy and certification body. The announcement follows increasing collaboration between AEGIS and Loram on ETCS retrofits, as well as joint work to secure approvals and certify rebuilt vehicles.