RMT claims solid support for weekend strikes
The RMT said its members were standing 'rock solid' over Sunday walkouts on ScotRail and East Midlands Railway. ScotRail conductors have been striking on Sundays since March in a dispute over enhanced pay for restday working, while East Midlands Railway senior conductors and train managers have been striking in two disputes. Speaking about the ScotRail walkouts, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'Our members who have stood firm for over six months in this fight for pay justice and equality in the face of continued provocation from the employer are a credit to the entire trade union movement. They have never wavered and remain absolutely rock solid and determined again today. Our campaign of action continues and it is now down to ScotRail, Transport Scotland and the senior politicians who call the shots to take these essential workers seriously, get out of the bunker and get round the table with the union to negotiate a fair and just settlement.'
Opening date announced for Northern Line extension
The Northern Line Extension will open to the public on Monday 20 September, Transport for London said. There will be two step-free, Zone 1 stations at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms. Major construction on the 3km twin-tunnel railway between Kennington and Battersea Power Station, via Nine Elms, began in 2015. Tube services will run from Kennington on the Charing Cross branch. There will be an initial peak time service of six trains an hour on the extension, increasing to 12 trains an hour by mid-2022. There will be five off-peak trains an hour, doubling to 10 trains an hour next year.
Major track upgrade completed at Bristol East Junction
Network Rail has completed its major upgrade of Bristol East Junction, removing a bottleneck into Bristol Temple Meads and replacing 1960s track and components. NR said this will increase capacity and reduce congestion, helping to make trains more reliable. The work was completed as planned on Friday evening, when all lines reopened, and trains were running normally again from Saturday morning. The £132 million Department for Transport-funded project started on 10 July. Over the past eight weeks Network Rail engineers have worked around the clock, using a total of 50 engineering trains to replace over 5km of track, install over 300 track panels and lay around 26,000 tonnes of ballast. A new running line was also laid which will be used by new suburban services as part of the West of England Combined Authority’s MetroWest scheme.
New off peak fares on South Western Railway
A new, simplified Super Off-Peak tariff was introduced by South Western Railway on Sunday. The change follows feedback from passengers, who had found the previous fares confusing. SWR previously offered two Super Off-Peak day return products – weekday and weekend, which had different time restrictions and price points. From 5 September these tickets were replaced by the Evening Out and a Sunday Out fare for journeys of up to approximately an hour, which SWR said have 'much clearer and simpler travel times'. SWR has also introduced Evening Out fares on routes which did not previously have Super Off-Peak fares, such as Woking to Southampton and Portsmouth on weekdays.
Steep bills for Greater Anglia fare dodgers
Passengers who tried to avoid paying for their journeys on Greater Anglia have been ordered to pay a total of almost £325,000 in fines and court costs. In three months, 1,032 people admitted to travelling on Greater Anglia trains without a ticket or any intention of buying a ticket. The offences took place from May to July this year. They were dealt with by Single Justice Procedure courts in Reading and Hastings. Magistrates processed 586 cases from May and June, imposing £110,901 in fines and £69,280 in costs. So far they have also processed 446 cases from June and July – with more still to come – and have set £80,553 in fines and £63,505 in costs.
Transport for Wales urges passengers to check new timetables
Transport for Wales passengers are being encouraged to check their journey details as an 8.5 per cent increase in train services comes into effect next Monday, 13 September. Two ‘Mark IV’ long distance trains will also start running, with catering services on board. TfW planning and performance director Colin Lea said: 'To introduce more services we’ve needed to make some adjustments to our timetable. This means it’s really important for customers to check their journey details ahead of travelling.'
RIA set to enjoy new Westminster base
The Rail Industry Association is starting the week in its new home in Westminster at Smith Square, having moved from its previous base for 21 years at Headfort Place in Hyde Park Corner. The new offices were opened on Thursday by rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris, HS1 Ltd chief executive Dyan Crowther and HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston. Alongside RIA chief executive Darren Caplan and chairman David Tonkin, the group welcomed some 100 RIA members and stakeholders at the new offices. Darren Caplan said: 'Our previous Headfort Place offices in Hyde Park Corner served us well for 21 years, but it is now time to move on to more modern, dynamic, premises, which are geared up for events and networking, and to better enable us to bring the rail supply industry together with policy makers and influencers, rail clients and stakeholders. Simply, it is a hub for rail suppliers to use, to connect with contacts and to enjoy.'