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6 March: news in brief

Flybe free rail travel offer extended nationwide

AN offer of free rail travel for passengers and airline staff stranded by the Flybe collapse has been extended to all rail operators in Britain, and will continue until 11 March. Passengers whose journeys were interrupted by the sudden ending of Flybe flights may travel by train without charge, but must produce evidence of their booking, such as a boarding card. Flybe staff need to carry identification. Some airports have lost nearly all their flights. Nine out of 10 departures at Southampton had been operated by Flybe, and the airport is currently showing no arrivals or departures on its website.

Virus threat: union demands better cleaning of Underground stations

THE RMT has written to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, demanding ‘urgent action’ over the coronavirus and calling for the privatised cleaning arrangements on London Underground to be ended and brought in-house. The union said it was calling for action following a report in the Evening Standard that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has stepped up its cleaning programme, with the result that the city’s subways are being deep cleaned every three days. The RMT added that the latest publicly available information for London Underground indicated that most lines are only deep cleaned every 21 to 23 days.

Construction begins on new HS2 station

HS2 Ltd said its preparatory work at Birmingham Interchange is almost complete, and the first structures are now being built. The 150-hectare site is close to the existing Birmingham International station, Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre, and lies within a triangle formed by the M42, A45 and A452. Modular bridges are to be built over the M42 and A446, and roads will be remodelled to allow easy access to the new HS2 station and Birmingham Business Park. Around 200 people, including graduates and apprentices, are now working on the site, and their number is set to increase by another 50 over the months ahead.

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