Delayed rail plan set to axe HS2 eastern leg
Reports are claiming that the Department of Transport's long-delayed Integrated Rail Plan is set to be published this week, and it is said to confirm speculation that the government will abandon the eastern leg of HS2 to the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds in favour of other rail upgrade schemes. The cost of these schemes has been put at £100 billion, and they will apparently include more electrification, some reopenings and the building of a tram system in Leeds.
Tram cracks halt services
All West Midlands Metro services have been withdrawn until further notice, after cracks were found in some of the 21-strong fleet of trams. The second-generation fleet of CAF 'Urbos' trams is relatively new and the discovery follows an earlier alert in June when some cracks were found, but temporary repairs have not worked. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said it was 'incredibly disappointing and frustrating for customers – but safety must come first. It is now critical that Midland Metro Ltd get the repairs done and restore a safe service ASAP. I am seeking urgent answers from them and the manufacturer as to what has gone so wrong.'
West Coast Main Line services disrupted
A derailed engineering train blocked the West Coast Main Line north of Wolverhampton station yesterday, disrupting many train services. The effects were felt over a wide area, because the train blocked the entrance to Oxley depot, and about ten Avanti West Coast Trains were trapped as a result. Some services running on the London to Glasgow route had to be diverted or terminated at Preston, while many trains could not call at Sandwell & Dudley as well as Wolverhampton. London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway services could not serve Wolverhampton, and trains operated by CrossCountry and Transport for Wales were also affected.
Salisbury trains restored
It is hoped that trains running east of Salisbury to Portsmouth and London will be restored tomorrow, after the collision two Sundays ago at Salisbury Tunnel Junction. A South Western Railway train slid past a red signal and collided with a Great Western Railway train, injuring a number of passengers. The driver of the SWR train was seriously hurt, but SWR praised him for staying in the cab and doing everything he could. Track at the junction was also damaged. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said low rail adhesion was the cause.