Network Rail sets out new strategic targets
Network Rail has launched the second phase of its ten-year Network Operating Strategy, aimed at improving railway operations. Also known as Net Ops 2, the strategy has been developed in partnership with colleagues from around the industry. It sets out a series of recommendations on how operational teams can run improved services. The document brings together operational views from the industry as a set of clear improvement targets. The consultation process has been created with input from senior leaders in train operating companies as well as from organisations such as the Rail Safety and Standards Board, the Rail Delivery Group and the Institution of Railway Operators. It focuses on three core areas for improvements; people, change and technology, and process. In addition to those three priorities are a series of goals and actions that operational teams can take. The strategy is a part of Network Rail's Train Service Delivery strategic theme, which aims to improve how operational professions are developed while providing a highly performing railway.
ORR praises industry reaction to Hitachi train cracks
The Office of Rail and Road has commended the way the industry responded to the discovery in May of cracks in two classes of trains built by Hitachi. In a newly-published interim report, the ORR confirms that Classes 385 and 800 were affected by stress corrosion and fatigue cracks. Specifically, cracks found in the area of the bolster close to the yaw damper bracket and anti-roll bar fixing points were a result of fatigue, while cracks found in the area where the lifting plates (equivalent to the jacking points on a car) are attached to the body were the result of stress corrosion cracking. The report says that once the cracks were identified, the industry collaborated to withdraw the trains quickly and then assess which trains were able to return to service. The report also that since they returned to service the trains have performed as specified, with no unsafe conditions or harm arising from the cracking. Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser said: 'I welcome the good collaboration that has taken place since this issue arose. We are continuing to work with all parties to determine the root cause and will publish our final report in December.'
RMT condemns 'anti-vax' campaigners for hiding razors in posters
The RMT has called for the 'strongest possible action against anti-vaxers and COVID conspiracy theorists' who have been concealing razor blades in their fly-posters on transport networks which could injure anyone trying to remove them. The union said it has raised the issue with Transport for London, and warning bulletins have been issued to TfL staff. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'Any anti-vax conspiracy theorist resorting to this disgusting practice of lacing their propaganda with razor blades needs to know that they will face criminal prosecution and the highest possible sentences. As far as RMT is concerned they should be locked up for a long time. We would expect the police and the courts to take the hardest possible line.'
HS2 announces shortlist of bidders to build Birmingham depot
HS2 Ltd has published the shortlist of bidders for the £275 million contract to build the network control centre and main rolling stock depot for the high speed line, which will create around 500 jobs in Birmingham. The 30-hectare (74 acres) site at Washwood Heath was used for train building for many years by Metro-Cammell. It was last occupied by Alstom before the works were closed in 2005. The shortlisted companies are Gülermak Ağır Sanayi İnşaat ve Taahhüt A.Ş. of Turkey with Gulermak Sp z o.o. of Poland, VINCI Construction UK Limited (trading as Taylor Woodrow) with Keltbray Limited, and VolkerFitzpatrick Ltd with VolkerRail Ltd. The depot will include a rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 stabling sidings. These will share the site with HS2's control centre.
SWR marks National Teddy Bear Day with special appeal
Finally, it is National Teddy Bear Day, and South Western Railway is making its contribution by trying to reunite some lost bears with their owners. The bears and other toy animals were found on train seats and station floors, and so far this year SWR has received 19 (and counting) stranded cuddly toys at its lost property office in London Waterloo. As children return to school and need their bears by their sides, images of the lost toys are being shared on social media. SWR managing director Claire Mann said: 'We know that the teddies and toys left on our trains have a loving owner out there but have been sadly left behind on a train seat or dropped on the floor in the hurry of boarding or departing. We hope that the teddies featured in our campaign will be reunited with their owners, fixing broken hearts, and providing the perfect companion on their next adventure together.'