to give up keys to
National Express will have
to surrender its
The Department for Transport announced in late November that it could have granted an extension until 2014, but it declined to do so as NatEx had defaulted on its East Coast Main Line franchise earlier this year. NatEx said: "Whilst this decision was expected...the company is disappointed given the excellent improvement in performance delivered by the group"
Less than a week earlier,
the company had laid out its vision for the
The DfT has begun the process to select a new franchise operator, ready for a handover in April 2011.
Construction of a new rail
viaduct could begin at
At present many diesel-hauled
freight trains reach the
As part of the route upgrading, the track from Soham to Ely could be doubled, and Soham station reopened after a hiatus of 44 years.
Train services between King's Lynn and London were cancelled on November 11, Remembrance Sunday, after nearly all drivers on First Capital Connect's Great Northern route declined to work more than their contracted 35 hours a week.
Although a pay dispute lay behind the drivers' move, a RMT spokesman denied that workers had been taking industrial action; they were merely exercising their right not to work on Sundays.
FCC offered free parking and ran bus and taxi replacement services."We are extremely disappointed that we were not able to operate a normal service," said an FCC spokesman. He said the company had done its best to ensure people could get to the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Sunday service.
'Betty' makes her first trip East
newest class of locomotive has appeared for the first time in
December 3 Powerhaul class 70 no. 70001 worked 4L93 from
has ordered the Powerhaul class from GE
Transportation of Erie, Pennsylvania. The first two, nos. 70001 and 70002
arrived in the
Car derails freight train on Felixstowe branch
The Felixstowe branch was closed for several hours on November 12 after a car left the road and partially derailed a Freightliner train.
driver of a Vauxhall Vectra lost control at the sharp
junction of Lindbergh and Cobham Roads in
said that a 36-year-old
Passenger and freight services on the Felixstowe branch were suspended until early the following morning, causing container trains to build up for miles around.
Stagecoach rebuffed anew over NatEx merger proposal
prospect of a single company operating nearly all
Stagecoach had previously been associated with a takeover bid for NatEx from private equity firm CVC Capital and NatEx shareholder the Cosmen family, but that bid was withdrawn on October 16. Stagecoach then suggested a merger in which NatEx shareholders would be limited to owning no more than 40% of the combined group. To Stagecoach's disappointment, this too was ditched after a NatEx board meeting on October 28.
Midlands Trains, a Stagecoach subsidiary, already operates the
The new year usually sees hefty rail fare increases, but this January, in common with most TOCs, National Express East Anglia and First Capital Connect have announced a price standstill.
NXEA's regulated fares (e.g. season tickets) are being reduced in price from January 2 by an average of 0.4%. Other fares, including advance fares and off-peak tickets, are being frozen at 2009 levels.
fares will fall by 0.4% and most unregulated fares, including off-peak returns,
will stay at current prices. Earlier this year, FCC made the Super-Off
Peak Day Return to
Bittern Line improvements
early November continuous welded rail and metal sleepers had been delivered in
preparation for track relaying between Gunton and Roughton Road, which then took place from December 7 – 11
inc. During the work, a bus replacement service operated between
FCC resumes Class 317 refurb programme
Capital Connect has resumed its programme to refurbish the interiors of the
class 317 units which run on the GN-line route from King's Cross to
a £450,000 project, the final six four-car Class 317 trains are being sent to Wabtec at
The programme was halted in March after the first six units had been completed because two Class 317s were required on the Thameslink route. Now Thameslink has enough new Electrostars, and FCC can move the last of the 317s back to the GN route.
Help promote our local railways
time to time the Bittern and Wherry Lines Rail
Partnerships have publicity stands at various locations, and volunteers are
being sought to help man them. Last year the stand appeared at
job entails describing the Partnerships' activities to visitors, unloading
display material and sometimes driving equipment between locations. A
free rail ticket is provided when events are away from
If you enjoy railways and are interested in helping the Bittern and Wherry Lines promotional groups, you're invited to contact the Community Rail Officer at Norfolk County Council (tel. 01603 224248).
NR holds out the hat for Beccles loop
Rail says that the scheme to lay a passing loop at Beccles,
and thus provide an hourly service on the
Objectors prompt footbridge rethink
Rail has withdrawn its planning applications for a footbridge at Downham Market station (NRS Newsletter Sep/Oct) Local people had commented that the large bridge
would dominate the Grade II-listed station. NR has told King’s Lynn &
John Brodribb has stepped down from his post as Chairman of the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.
lifelong rail enthusiast and campaigner, John served as a member of the Rail
Passengers Committee for
John, who is retiring to the south-west, was presented with a carriage print of Beccles by James Steward, Area Manager Rural Routes for NXEA.
Appreciation for adopters' efforts
a ceremony on October 23 hosted by NXEA Customer Service Director Andrew Goodrum, Wymondham won a
commendation in the Best Medium Station class (the top prize went to
Station Adopter Group was
New guides for railway ramblers
Rambles’ booklets with suggested walks from Bittern and Wherry
Lines stations were launched at
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
We’ve got the money to bridge the gap, announces NNR
North Norfolk Railway's scheme to reinstate the level crossing at
Tracklaying is scheduled to start in late January. In preparation for the work EDF Energy relocated underground cables at the crossing in October, leaving homes and businesses in Sheringham without electricity for an afternoon.
The NNR is planning a grand opening of the link on March 11 when Britannia class no. 70013Oliver Cromwell will be first across the road. The crossing's past present and future is celebrated in Tales of Sheringham's Level Crossing, a new book by David Madden, published at £7.99.
Grid leaves Dereham for a big lift
After two years under repair and just one in working order, 'Grid' no. 56040 has left the Mid-Norfolk Railway.
The Railfreight-grey-liveried loco needs to have two traction motors replaced, work which cannot be done at Dereham as two cranes will be required to lift the body from the bogies. No. 56040 left Dereham by road on September 15 and arrived at Shackerstone in time to appear at the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala on Sep 18-20 – and to win the Gala's 'Carry on Clagging' cup! No date has been set for its return to Dereham.
WWLR wins funding for second Garratt
Wells and Walsingham Light Railway is the first project
to receive funding under the
The WWLR's Garratt Boiler project has secured a grant of £38,300 towards the construction of a new steam locomotive. The boiler will be built by Mervyn Mayes' Yaxham workshop, and a combination of commercial and college organisations will construct the rest. Founder of the 101/4"-gauge railway, Lt Cdr Roy Francis, said that a second engine would mean the line could cater more effectively for coach parties: the present limit per train is 80 passengers, but a double-headed train could pull 110.
03 hauls scheduled service
A North Norfolk Railway passenger train had unusual haulage on December 12: Andy Harlott's class 03 0-6-0DM no. 03063. The two-coach – unheated! – train made two return trips between Sheringham (dep. 11.00 and 14.00) and Holt (dep. 11.45 and 14.45).
was built in 1959 and initially allocated to
Firebox progress on Wissington
inner firebox of Wissington, the M&GNJRS’s 0-6-0ST which used to work in west
The saddle tank has been de-scaled and undercoated. The filler cap area is receiving final repairs and the 'access hole' cut in the end is being re-sealed.
The NRS raised funds towards Wissington's restoration in 2003/04 and 2007/08.
More awards for NNR
At the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards, the Holt signalling project, completed and commissioned earlier this year, won the Invensys Rail Signalling Award, while the Volunteers Award recognised the work of the dedicated band of enthusiasts who over the past five years have realised this very complex project.
The NNR was also shortlisted in two categories of this year's EDP Tourism Awards.
Small engines at Wroxham