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News from the UK Rail Industry 13th February 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Reassurances over HS2 amidst rising price tag

New reports estimate that the cost of acquiring the land and property necessary for Phase One of HS2 could be almost five times higher than original projections. Thanks to a report by Channel 4’s Dispatches that predicted a total expense of £60bn palms are already starting to sweat with special attention being paid to the financial strain on the North of England. However, the Department of Transport hasn’t pulled any punches, hitting back at the ongoing scaremongering.

Speaking at the Transport for the North, Rail Minister Andrew Jones reiterated the numerous benefits of the initiative, first and foremost highlighting that HS2’s northern stages will continue to go ahead. “Building has started,” he commented. “And in case you have seen any recent newspaper stories claiming that the northern stages of HS2 might not be built – they are complete nonsense. HS2 was conceived, developed and is now being delivered as a national railway – but in particular to improve links for the north and midlands.” 

Jones also stressed the advantages of such an initiative on a larger scale: “Already there are 7,000 jobs supported by the programme; already over 2,000 businesses have HS2 contracts.” Full story.

£39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail investment underway

In what is being labelled as the region’s single biggest transport intervention since the industrial revolution, business proposals for up to a £39bn investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) are to be submitted to the government. NPR’s proposals would upgrade existing lines, resulting in faster and more reliable journeys between the North’s economies. New lines will result in more frequent travelling and existing travel times will also decrease with journeys from Leeds to Sheffield reducing from 43 minutes to 28 minutes.

At Navartis we have actively placed more than 50 technical professionals in positions across NPR Rail Projects so far from Commercial Managers to Project Engineers so demand and confidence is high. 

While the details are finalised in what has been called the “HS2 of the North”, Transport for the North rail director Tim Wood progresses as everything intends to move forward: “There’s no let up. While the government considers this case, we will begin the more in-depth design and feasibility work that will take us closer to a final preferred network.” So confident is Wood that the funding will be in place that he is more concerned with acquiring talent for the project. “It means jobs, it means legacy," he commented. "My biggest issue, in my mind, is not the money, it is the skills. It is about the 20,000 people I will need to build Northern Powerhouse Rail.” Full stories here & here.

If you’re looking for your next freelance or permanent role please visit our Rail jobs page or contact us here.

Network Rail’s cameras set to fix tracks in record time

Track maintenance capacity is set to double over the next five years thanks to Network Rail’s new fleet of monitoring trains. The five trains, covering more than of track, are equipped with Plain Line Pattern Recognition (PLPR) as part of Network Rail’s "predict and prevent" strategy.

The trains, fitted with under-carriage cameras, will live-stream to two PLPR facilities enabling quicker identification of track defects. Taking over 70,000 images per second the cameras will spot an array of problems such as ineffective rail clamps and missing fasteners. Network Rail’s Head of Delivery highlighted benefits to efficiency and safety: “PLPR is fundamental in helping us to be safer and more efficient. This means we can identify defects before they become a safety issue or affect performance.” Full story

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