In The News | 19th November 2020 | Latest Rail News

Click here to listen to the latest rail news on Thursday, 19th November 2020

The latest rail news on Thursday, 19th November 2020

The taxpayer bill to keep largely empty trains running during the pandemic has increased by a third to more than £4 billion, it emerged yesterday.

An article in The Times says Chris Heaton-Harris, the transport minister, said the government was spending up to £600 million a month to prop up loss-making operations.

The admission was made as figures from the Department for Transport showed that passenger numbers had fallen to less than a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.

Addressing the transport select committee, rail bosses said yesterday that demand for train travel was likely to return only to 75 per cent of normal levels even when the pandemic eased.

Network Rail has announced major upgrades on the West Coast main line and at London Euston in spring/summer 2021.

The work, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan and HS2 Phase one, will make passengers’ journeys more reliable and ease pressure on the West Coast main line by adding more railway capacity.

Though passenger demand is reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rail industry is planning for an increase in passenger numbers next year.

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Building work has started on Gatwick Airport’s huge new railway station concourse as the first train pulled into a temporary platform, delivered ahead of schedule by Costain.

The £150 million project has seen many changes at the station since it began in May, including the closure of platform 7 and the installation of a temporary replacement.

By project end it is anticipated there will be a bigger, brighter and better station, with much improved accessibility for passengers.

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Finally, and the third edition of RailDirector is heading to 2,000 rail industry leaders and subscribers this week, featuring stories of resilience and optimism as the rail industry faces up to the challenges of COVID-19.

Building on the success of the first two editions, November’s magazine once again brings industry influencers, decision-makers and supply chain partners closer together, covering everything from track to train.

Among those to feature includes Hull Trains’ Louise Cheeseman, Transport for the North’s Jeremy Acklam and CrossCountry’s Tom Joyner.

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Photo credit: Costain

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