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The Railway Magazine

The Railway Magazine April 2021

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The Railway Magazine has been published since 1897 and is now the UK's best-selling general interest rail title. Every month, The RM provides enthusiasts and professionals with authoritative and informed news coverage of the following: - Network Rail and the train operating companies - Locomotives, multiple units, carriages and wagons - Steam, heritage and the preservation world, inc narrow gauge- Metro and underground systems - In addition, the magazine carries frequent items of overseas interest. The Railway Magazine is also renowned for its wide-ranging and innovative feature coverage, encompassing up-to-the-minute developments as well as historical, nostalgic and foreign subjects. The magazine is also renowned for its award-winning photographic content.

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United Kingdom
Mortons Media Group, Ltd
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
there may be trouble ahead…

WE’RE now more than 12 months into this coronavirus pandemic, and with around half the adult population having received their first vaccination, some positive signs are beginning to emerge. A number of heritage lines have confirmed reopening plans and railtour operators are working hard preparing Covid-safe operations. All very encouraging as we head to June 21 when all restrictions could be lifted, but as with everything, common sense has to prevail otherwise a resurgence of the virus will set everything back and, at its worst, result in another lockdown. On the national network, it’s an interesting conundrum. For the past 12 months, the Treasury has been supporting the rail industry to the tune of around £900 million per month – an insane amount money. Although passenger numbers have increased from 35 million…

1 min.
‘levelling up’ and ‘decarbonising’... is it simply all talk?

THE terms ‘levelling up’ and ‘decarbonising’ have been banded around quite a lot. So a decision in Rishi Sunak’s Budget to freeze fuel duty for vehicles for the seventh consecutive year, along with a proposal to cut air passenger duty for domestic flights, simply flies in the face of logic and decarbonisation goals. It’s neither levelling or decarbonising. While the plan for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway road project has been cancelled, the announcement of spending £507 million on road improvements between Bedford and Cambridge – money that could be far better used for electrification (and therefore lower emissions) – also beggars belief. Add in the recent 2.6% fare rise for rail passengers, and any encouragement to use rail as a fast, clean and efficient form of public transport is being further eroded.…

2 min.
okehampton to regain regular passenger trains after 50 years

A LARGE area of North Devon will regain regular passenger services later this year after the Department for Transport confirmed funding for the reopening of the Coleford Junction-Okehampton line. For the first time since 1972, the town and its extensive rural hinterland will have daily rail services to and from Exeter, initially running two-hourly but expected to increase to hourly in late 2022. Restoring Your Railway Summer-only weekend trains have run to Okehampton since 1997, but the new Great Western Railway (GWR) operated service will run seven days a week throughout the year thanks to a £40.5 million funding package from the Government’s Restoring Your Railway fund. The fund was launched in January 2020 to reinstate passenger services on routes that lost their trains during the nationwide line closures of the 1960s. The service is…

2 min.
scotrail follows tfw into state ownership

DOMESTIC passenger trains in Scotland will be managed by an ‘operator of last resort’ (OLR) from March 2022 after the Scottish Government decided against replacing Abellio with another franchise. The move means that ScotRail will follow Transport for Wales (TfW) in becoming a nationalised train operator managed by an arms-length organisation owned by – and reporting to – the devolved government. The Scottish Government chose not to extend Abellio’s franchise last year after it struggled to meet performance targets. The Dutch company has faced continuous criticism from the Government and passengers since it took over from First Group in 2015. However, that period has also coincided with widespread disruption caused by the electrification of several busy routes in the Central Belt, major engineering upgrades such as the rebuilding of Glasgow Queen Street, and numerous…

1 min.
gbrf wins deal to operate melton test centre

NETWORK Rail has awarded GB Railfreight a four-year contract to operate its Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC) near Melton Mowbray. In a surprise move away from its core business of operating freight trains, GBRf took over the management of the Leicestershire facility on April 1. Previously known as the Old Dalby test track of BR’s Railway Technical Centre (RTC), the facility comprises a 13-mile test track between Melton Junction and Edwalton with a maximum line speed of 125mph and 11 miles electrified at 25kV AC, and a four-mile 60mph test track from Old Dalby to Stanton Tunnel with both 25kV AC overhead and 750V DC fourth-rail capability. Covered facilities for testing and maintenance and secure stabling sidings are also provided at the Melton end of the line, occupying the site of…

3 min.
dark days ahead at llangollen railway as operating company calls in the receivers

THE long-running financial crisis facing the Llangollen Railway has finally proved unsustainable, leading to the directors of Llangollen Railway plc to invite the bank to call in the receivers. A public announcement was made on March 1, which revealed that the operating company chalked up pre-tax losses of £330,601 in 2018, £329,175 in 2019 and £258,804 in 2020, pre-audit. Much of the blame has been attributed to mismanagement of the railway’s former contract engineering business, which has resulted in what was described in the announcement as “a number of significant engineering contract disputes”. Insolvent Resultant claims against the company are in excess of £250,000 in total, and the directors said there was no prospect of meeting these liabilities. The plc’s balance sheet was insolvent to the extent of approximately £350,000, adjusting for intangible assets. As…