Today's Railways UK 233: July 2021

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The July 2021 issue of Today's Railways UK is a bumper issue for articles with no fewer than eight separate features included. You’re sure to find something of interest this month! As usual, this issue also contains all the very latest news from across the railway network and all our regular monthly sections including light rail news, heritage news, preservation, railtours, readers’ letters, and our grumpy old man!

Feature articles this month include:

Heavy Haulage on the Berks & Hants: When travelling on a GWR express from London to the West Country, the picturesque 10-mile section from Hungerford to Savernake summit can pass all too quickly. This stretch of line, largely running parallel with the Kennet & Avon Canal, abounds in great photographic locations that are easily accessible from either Hungerford or Bedwyn stations. Tony Bartlett reveals the possibilities and showcases some of the line’s varied freight and passenger traffic.

Coping with Covid on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway: As our heritage railways once again prepare to welcome back passengers, Ian Beardsley visits the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to see how it has adapted to the Coronavirus crisis. Ian reveals what visitors can expect to find following the huge effort to get the NYMR open for business again.

Ayrshire – A Key Diversionary Region: The former Glasgow & South Western Railway route between Carlisle and Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock has long offered trains which ordinarily would be routed via the West Coast Main Line, an alternative diversionary route between Scotland and England. Over the years, owing largely to engineering works, a huge variety of traffic has used this route through Ayrshire. Stuart Fowler looks back at some of the highlights.

East Midlands Railway HSTs Bow Out: On 15 May, after 39 years of continuous operation on the Midland Main Line, East Midlands Railway bid farewell to its HSTs. We report on the final weekend of HST operation and present a selection of photos from the final weeks.

South Wales Pacer Finale: Pacers: the train that everyone loves to hate! Although the first Pacer was withdrawn back in summer 2019, it has taken almost two years to fully replace all of the Class 142s, 143s and 144s. The Transport for Wales Class 143s were the very last to bow out in May and Anders Beavis Berry took one last trip before they finished.

Introducing the 225 Group: As the Class 91s and Mark 4 coaching stock sets re-enter regular service with LNER after an almost six-month stoppage, Ian Beardsley talks to the 225 Group to learn more about its efforts to celebrate and record the history of the trains – the erstwhile InterCity 225s. The group reveals its plans to promote ongoing operation and to support the longevity of the fleet beyond main line service and into preservation.

The Class 315 EMU Story: After more than 40 years of continuous service, the Class 315 EMUs will be entering retirement later this year. Mark Lee Inman and Robert Pritchard pay tribute to these stalwarts of the Great Eastern that have been such a familiar sight since 1980.

A day return to Kyle of Lochalsh: Eager to get back out and about after more than a year of travel restrictions, Ron Smith takes a trip from Keith to Kyle of Lochalsh, both to sample a refurbished ScotRail HST and to take in some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland.

News stories this month include:

  • Enter Great British Railways: Williams-Shapps White Paper finally published
  • Hitachi IETs withdrawn from traffic after cracks found in body frames
  • Shapps confirms government commitment to build HS2 in full
  • Newell & Wright opens new container terminal at Tinsley
  • EMUs take over Corby services as new East Midlands Railway timetable begins
  • More loco-hauled trains for Transport for Wales
  • First Group signs National Rail Contracts for continued operation of South Western Railway and TransPennine Express
  • Northwich station building collapses
  • First of 21 new trams delivered to West Midlands Metro
  • Andy Burnham moots Metrolink extension to Middleton
  • Transport for Wales Class 170s destined for East Midlands Railway
  • More Class 91s go for scrap
  • BR revised blue livery for GB Railfreight Class 69
  • Northern Class 769s enter traffic at last
  • HydroFLEX Class 168 on test at Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
  • Llangollen Railway set to reopen in July
  • Titanic boat train coaching stock to be restored
  • Heritage Railway Association award for the Class 50 Alliance
  • Welshpool & Llanfair Railway plans first narrow gauge dining train in mainland Britain
  • UK Railtours to run John Farrow tribute charter
  • Belmond extends Royal Scotsman contract with GB Railfreight

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