Hundreds of retired signallers respond to Network Rail appeal
NETWORK RAIL has reported that hundreds of former signallers have responded to its appeal for help during the national emergency. Retired signallers were asked to return to duty while other staff needed to step down temporarily to self-isolate. The returning staff were also promised that refresher courses would be provided, and a new training centre has now been opened for them in South Wales after a four week project to convert an old depot in Newport. The centre can be used to train new recruits as well as to update returning signallers. More than 200 retired signallers have responded to Network Rail’s appeal in the Western region alone, which covers the Wales & Borders and Western routes.
Crucial freight line reopens after emergency repairs
BOTH of the tracks which form the rail link to Drax power station are open again, after one of them was damaged by floods in February. Engineers have been able to keep one line open while emergency work was arranged to repair the other track, where ballast had been washed away and there was also concern about the stability of an embankment. Deliveries of biomass fuel to Drax were maintained, and 90 freight trains continued to run each week. Network Rail said the repair operation had been ‘unprecedented’, and included the use of divers to inspect underwater structures as well as helicopters and drones to assess the full extent of the damage from above.
New rail parcels firm steps up progress
A NEW company which intends to revive the carriage of parcels by train is planning to be ready for Christmas this year, in spite of the present prpblems. Varamis, based in Doncaster, will use redundant Class 365 Networker units, which have most recently been in temporary service between Glasgow and Edinburgh until new but delayed Hitachi trains could take over. Varamis would use the 365s as dedicated parcels trains, but loading and unloading would be carried out on station platforms. The company is focusing on the East Coast Main Line at first, and is predicting travel times of London to Newcastle in three hours and London to Edinburgh in four. It will also offer real-time product tracking and produce CO2 emissions which would only be a tenth of those generated by lorries.