Today's Railways UK 262: December 2023

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The December 2023 issue of Today's Railways UK is full of interesting articles and features covering all aspects of Britain’s railways, plus all the very latest news from across Britain’s railway network. This month we look in depth at new trains on Britain’s railways, but we also include all our regular monthly sections covering light rail, heritage railways, preservation and railtours, with readers’ letters and our grumpy old man also in attendance.

Feature articles this month include:

Heavy Haulers at Port Talbot: The huge Tata Steel plant at Port Talbot in South Wales has an extensive internal rail network with a varied, and seldom reported, locomotive fleet which includes some new Clayton battery-diesel hybrid locomotives. Robert Pritchard was lucky to be given a rare guided tour of the loco depot and some other parts of the site.

The 08-e: The Future of Shunting in the UK?: Although changes in operating practices mean that demand for them is much reduced from what it once was, the humble Class 08 remains a common sight across the rail network of Great Britain. With some more than 70 years old, they can't go on forever, with replacement parts becoming hard to come by. With the push towards Net Zero, diesel locomotives are fast falling out of favour. Positive Traction has therefore rebuilt 08308 as a prototype plug-in battery-electric loco, dubbed the 08-e. Ian Beardsley attended its launch to find out more.

The Reconstruction of Barmouth Bridge: The final stages of Network Rail's £30million refurbishment of the iconic Barmouth viaduct on the Cambrian Line are currently underway, and scheduled to finish in early December. The current works are the most challenging of the project to date, replacing the 150 year old steel spans at the Barmouth town end of the structure, as Gary Essex reports.

North Trans-Pennine Traction: In his latest line profile, Andy Flowers looks at the long history of loco-hauled services over the North Trans-Pennine route between Leeds and Manchester via Standedge.

Batteries Included for West Ealing to Greenford: Great Western Railway is preparing to start using its fast-charge battery Class 230 unit on the West Ealing to Greenford branch from spring next year. David Horton, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the project for GWR provided an update on this exciting project to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in October.

News stories this month include:

  • Government scraps HS2 to Manchester
  • Tube strikes cancelled
  • Ticket office closure plans scrapped
  • One Day Travelcard saved after TfL reaches deal with operators
  • Headbolt Lane station opens as battery Class 777/1s enter service
  • Low adhesion and driver error led to Salisbury crash
  • Storm Babet disrupts rail network
  • Problems on Dawlish sea wall
  • ORR calls for crowd management improvements at Euston
  • TransPennine Express sets out its plans for a positive future
  • Eurostar increases capacity at St Pancras
  • RHTT season under way again
  • Freightliner 90 on display at Crewe Heritage Centre
  • Former XC stock leaves Laira as more HSTs prepared for export
  • Final TfW Class 175s withdrawn
  • More Class 508s for disposal
  • First 323 moves from WMT to Northern
  • Vale of Rheidol Railway set to take over Brecon Mountain Railway
  • Biggest hurdle to Bala Lake Railway extension plans resolved
  • Class 142 tour turns back the clock

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