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6 June: news in brief

HS2 under spotlight
HS2 is under review to ensure that it can be delivered, the transport secretary has revealed. Chris Grayling said HS2 chairman Allan Cook was analysing whether the high speed lines connecting London, Birmingham and eventually Leeds and Manchester could be built within the existing budget of £56 billion. Mr Grayling has signalled that the scheme could be scaled back after the Crossrail overruns. Crossrail may not now open until 2021 and will cost £2.8 billion more than planned. Mr Grayling told New Civil Engineer that the review of HS2 was to make sure the costs and budget are right and that it is deliverable’.

Crossing dangers
Network Rail has found that almost one in four professional drivers ignore warnings at level crossings, deciding instead whether to wait by relying on the train timetable. The figure was revealed in a survey commissioned by Network Rail for ILCAD – International Level Crossing Day – which is being held today. It’s a global initiative supported by more than 40 countries to raise public awareness on the safety factors and dangers posed by misuse of level crossings. Allan Spence, head of passenger and public safety at Network Rail, said: We know that professional drivers have a number of time pressures, but it is  important to always act safely at level crossings to keep both themselves and others from harm. It’s really simple: every driver must wait for the flashing lights to stop before going across.’

Time to go?
The RMT says Govia Thameslink Railway should be stripped of its franchise and the services taken into public ownership after it emerged that GTR division Southern has scored the worst levels of public trust out of all rail companies over the past two years. The GTR Great Northern and Thameslink operations were also scored poorly. Analysis by Transport Focus showed Southern was given ‘notably low scores for trust’ in the last four passenger surveys, ranging from 17 per cent in spring and autumn 2017 to 22 per cent in the most recent survey, which was carried out in the autumn last year. These were the lowest scores of operators.

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