Today's Railways UK 250: December 2022

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Today’s Railways UK reaches the significant landmark of 250 issues with the December 2022 issue. As well as our usual mixture of interesting articles and features covering all aspects of Britain’s railways, this month we take an in-depth look at the new Class 196 DMUs that have just entered service with West Midlands Trains. We also have all the very latest news from across Britain’s railway network and our regular monthly sections covering light rail, heritage railways, preservation, railtours, readers’ letters and our grumpy old man.

Feature articles this month include:

Enter the Class 196 – New West Midlands DMUs finally enter service: They may be more than two years late, but the new West Midlands CAF Class 196 DMUs are one of the best new units to enter service in recent years and very much worth the wait for passengers on the Birmingham–Shrewsbury line. Robert Pritchard reports.

The Rails to the Isles: Scotland’s West Highlands are home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, and provide some of the most scenic railway journeys. David Bosher takes a trip on the West Highland Line and on the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig.

Endangered Species: The Class 321s: Out of 117 examples of the original Class 321 EMUs built, just 30 remain in passenger service, and these are due to be withdrawn by next summer. In the latest of our Endangered Species profiles, Mark Lee Inman and Robert Pritchard pay tribute to these suburban workhorses, first introduced by British Rail 34 years ago.

An afternoon at... Colchester: In the first in a new occasional series, Mike Reynolds provides some ideas for an afternoon out at busy railway locations across the country – first up is Colchester on the Great Eastern Main Line, where both freight and passenger services are very much in evidence.

The Beaten Track: To coincide with the recent publication of his highly anticipated second volume of The Beaten Track, Author Andy Chard presents a selection of images from the new book. Features colour photographs from the 1970–1985 era, showcasing the traction of the day and some isolated extremities of the rail network, most of which are now long-gone.

News stories this month include:

  • Third different Transport Secretary in two months
  • Avanti West Coast given six months to improve
  • Ministers under pressure to economise further on HS2
  • HS2 tunneling in London begins
  • Stage set for full Elizabeth Line after Bond Street opens
  • Serco's tenure of Sleeper contract to finish in June 2023
  • Test train role for former Heathrow 360/2s
  • Major incident as cement train derails in Carlisle
  • Strikes rumble on with more disruption in November
  • Varamis Freight operates first trains
  • RTT adds another three operators to Know Your Train
  • Cottam Parkway plans go in
  • Opposition grows to Network Rail's "grotesque" Liverpool Street development
  • Supertram to come back under public control
  • Work nearing completion on West Mids Wolves extension
  • Edinburgh's Newhaven extension almost ready to go live
  • Class 20s on 'super shunter' duties at Peak Forest
  • Four former French 66s back in service
  • More 170s for EMR
  • 387 101 taken to Worksop for ETCS fitting
  • Hull Trains names 802s
  • NRM reveals plans for Flying Scotsman centenary celebrations
  • NER K Class replica under construction for Beamish Museum

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