Today's Railways UK 234: August 2021

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The August 2021 issue of Today's Railways UK contains a bumper crop of interesting articles covering all aspects of Britain’s railways, plus all the very latest news from across the railway network. Our regular monthly sections take an in-depth look at light rail, heritage railways, preservation and railtours, with readers’ letters and our grumpy old man also in attendance.

Feature articles this month include:

The May 2022 East Coast Main Line Timetable: The train operators running services on the East Coast Main Line have revealed the new timetable proposed for implementation from May 2022. The proposals bring substantial service changes for many, with winners and losers all along the route. Robert Pritchard reports.

Lost (and Found) Locations: Birmingham’s Closed Stations: Birmingham has a rich and interesting railway history. Most rail users will be familiar with New Street and Snow Hill stations, but few will realise the nearby stations they are passing which are long closed – some having disappeared without trace. John Binch offers an insight into the history of several such stations located within five miles of New Street or Snow Hill.

20 Years of the Voyager DEMUs: Love them or loathe them, it is now 20 years since the first Voyager DEMUs entered service. First introduced by Virgin Trains to replace loco-hauled coaching stock, they revolutionised services on CrossCountry routes, despite criticism by many for their shorter formations and lack of internal space compared to their predecessors. Chris Booth takes a look at the Class 220 and 221 Voyagers.

Greater Anglia: Delivering Outstanding Performance During a Pandemic: Greater Anglia’s Engineering Director Martin Beable and Train Service Delivery Director Jay Thompson spoke to the Institute of Railway Operators about how they have tried to deliver outstanding operational performance and best practice over a very challenging last 18 months, whilst still introducing a large fleets of new trains. Robert Pritchard reports.

From Railways to Politics: Conservative MP for West Dorset Chris Loder has now been a Member of Parliament for more than a year and a half and is also a member of the House of Commons Transport Committee. However, until 2019 he had worked on the railways in a number of roles for 20 years. Robert Pritchard finds out why he decided to change his career in railway management for one in politics.

Riding the Sunshine Coast: Now marketed as the Sunshine Coast Line, the branch from Colchester to Clacton-On-Sea with its offshoots to Colchester Town and Walton-on-the-Naze (the latter branch actually opened before the “main” line to Clacton) provides a very enjoyable ride through the Essex countryside to the North Sea, as David Bosher explains.

Peat Railway Renaissance: Two recent Open Days enabled the 3 ft-gauge Crowle Peatland Railway in North Lincolnshire to demonstrate its varied fleet of peat railway diesel locomotives to the public. Paul Abell reports on proceedings.

News stories this month include:

  • Hydrogen train service planned for Far North Line by 2026
  • Work starts on HS2 Old Oak Common station
  • Grand Union pulls out of plan to use Class 91s on services to Stirling
  • Loco-hauled trains return to Transport for Wales
  • Changes demanded to route of East-West Railway
  • East Midlands Railway cuts regional services
  • More financial support for light rail in England
  • Cracks close West Midlands Metro for four days
  • Manchester’s Heaton Park Tramway reopens
  • Class 91s return to regular service on the East Coast Main Line
  • 69001 “Mayflower” released from Eastleigh Works
  • First look at Transport for Wales Class 230s
  • Modification to resolve cracking on Northern 195s and 331s
  • Extra Merseyrail Class 777 ordered but service introduction pushed back to 2022
  • First Class 465s moved into storage
  • Bridge infilling threatens plans to unite Eden Valley and Stainmore railways
  • Porterbrook donates 43044 to 125 Group
  • West Somerset Railway launches £1M emergency appeal
  • W14 “Bembridge” returns to Isle of Wight
  • East Lancashire Railway plans farewell runs for “Union of South Africa”
  • Branch Line Society raises over £23, 000 for Railway Children charity
  • Class 40 D213 returns to the main line

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