Today's Railways UK 231: May 2021

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The May 2021 issue of Today's Railways UK contains all our regular features and interesting articles, plus all the very latest railway news from across the railway network. As usual, this issue also contains all our regular monthly sections looking at light rail, heritage railways, preservation, railtours, readers’ letters, our grumpy old man and much, much more!

Feature articles this month include:

Exciting Times for Rail Operations Group: Describing itself as “Britain’s most innovative train operating company”, Rail Operations Group has grown from being a niche operator to a significant player in today’s railway, with 100 staff and plans to launch a pioneering new high-speed logistics service this spring. Robert Pritchard examines how the company has grown and looks at its varied and exciting future prospects.

New Trains for London Undergound’s Piccadilly Line: In November 2018 Siemens was awarded a £1.5 billion contract to build and maintain 94 new “Inspiro London” trains for London Underground’s Piccadilly Line, which it has now been revealed will be called “2024 Stock”. Siemens and Transport for London recently unveiled more details of their new trains, as Robert Pritchard reports.

North Wales Coast Loco-Haulage: The North Wales Coast Railway has been one of the few main lines in the UK with an almost unbroken history of locomotive-hauled passenger services. A wide variety of locos and services have operated over the line during its 170-years. Andy Flowers gives a flavour of the line’s history, and the fascinating variety of motive power that has graced this historic route.

Lessons from the South Yorkshire Tram-Train Pilot Scheme: Following the conclusion of two years of tram-train operation, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, South Yorkshire PTE and Stagecoach Supertram have accumulated an extensive collection of data concerning how their intentions have worked out on the ground. From this data, the South Yorkshire Tram Train Pilot Learning Hub has been created. Paul Abell reports.

Taking a Different Angle – In Black & White! The vast majority of published railway photography is used to record or illustrate an article or news story, often featuring colour pictures of a nice location on a sunny day. However, there is another branch of railway photography which uses the light to create shapes and patterns around the railway, irrespective of the subject or location. Dafydd Whyles explores this branch of photography using black & white film, with some striking results.

Raising the Standards: The Clan Project: Numbering only ten examples, 72000–72009, the Class 6MT “Clans” were one of the least distinguished of BR’s Standard steam locomotive designs. All were scrapped in the 1960s, but the Standard Steam Locomotive Company is seeking to address this omission from the ranks of preservation. Ian Beardsley discovers the project to build the 11th member of the class, 72010 “Hengist”.

News stories this month include:

  • Train Operating Companies begin to restore service levels
  • ScotRail to be nationalised
  • Buffer stop collision at Kirkby
  • Sheffield’s semaphore signalling wiped out
  • Regular service planned for Okehampton once again
  • £33M of additional emergency funding for light rail operators
  • Gosforth Tyne & Wear Metro depot demolition starts
  • Work continues on Edinburgh’s Trams to Newhaven extension
  • Rail fares rise by 2.6%
  • Department for Transport launches consultation on Penalty Fare changes
  • Flexible season tickets to be introduced by June
  • Another new Class 66 for GB Railfreight
  • All 26 ScotRail High Speed Trains now delivered
  • Class 720s break new ground
  • Llangollen Railway enters receivership
  • Photo charters banned from Severn Valley Railway
  • Pioneer “Locomotion” moves to Shildon
  • 5-car HST set for Staycation Express
  • Retention toilets for SRPS coaches

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