Structures ++ The Office of Rail and Road has voiced concern over a backlog of structure checks at Network Rail. The regulator said: ‘If Network Rail does not complete the overall examination process at the required intervals, faults could be undetected (or detected but not assessed).’ ORR has been concerned about progress since 2021, and its warning comes as work continues on restoring Nuneham Viaduct, where the deteriorating structure has forced the closure of the railway between Oxford and Didcot Parkway.
Sinkhole ++ The Environment Agency has been notified about a sink hole which has opened above the new HS2 Chiltern Tunnel, which is being built in Buckinghamshire. The hole, near Little Missenden, is reported to be about 6m in diameter and 5m deep. HS2 is in discussions with the landowner and has said it is investigating, but that the subsidence is probably connected with ground conditions at the site which existed before the tunnelling began.
Testing ++ Railnews understands that Avanti West Coast was planning to have a new Hitachi Class 807 unit hauled to Darlington last night, before test runs start today. The 10 seven-car electric trains have been ordered as partial replacements for the Class 221 diesel units which were built by Bombardier more than 20 years ago and dubbed ‘Super Voyagers’ by their first operator Virgin Trains.
Timetables ++ Passengers are being advised to check any journeys they are planning by rail from this Sunday, 21 May, when the summer timetables begin. Not all operators are making significant changes, but some like East Midlands Railway and GWR will be running additional services to holiday resorts such as Skegness, Paignton and Newquay. Some operators’ journeys may be slightly retimed.
Naming ++ LNER has named an Azuma unit at York to commemorate the start of the first LNER in January 1923. The original company was a result of the ‘Grouping’ of many smaller companies, and the London and North Eastern Railway continued running trains on the East Coast Main Line and its branches until nationalisation in January 1948. The name LNER was revived in June 2018, when a new company owned by the Department for Transport took over from the failed Virgin Trains East Coast franchise.