A festive feast of historic railway significance

SUNDAY 23 December 2012 marks the 175th anniversary of a unique railway event — an ‘orgy’ of food and drink involving the leading engineers of the London & Birmingham Railway, celebrating the success of their chief engineer Robert Stephenson and the fact that, after more than three long years of battling against almost overwhelming odds, the 2,224 metre Kilsby Tunnel, on the Warwickshire/Northamptonshire border, was finally nearing completion ahead of the full opening of the first trunk railway line ever to reach London.  Continue reading

West Coast ‘needs HS1 fencing to prevent delays’

FENCING ALONGSIDE the West Coast Main Line between London and Rugby — the busiest mixed-traffic main line in Europe — should be upgraded to High Speed Rail standards to stop trespassers, cable thieves, suicidal people and animals gaining access and causing huge delays to train services.

This is one of the key proposals contained in a report into the continuing poor reliability of train services on the WCML where Virgin Trains’ services are regularly at the bottom of the long-distance performance league — even after completion four years ago of the £9 billion West Coast Route Modernisation Programme. Continue reading

No go slow for High Speed Two

ON the day before a series of judicial reviews were due to begin in the High Court  ‘The Independent on Sunday’ newspaper ran a report that the Government “is looking to slice around 100km per hour off the top speed of the controversial High Speed Two rail connection proposed between London and Birmingham. Officials at the Department for Transport are understood to have asked the state-owned body overseeing HS2 if it agrees with criticisms that Government had focused too much on the need for speed.”

Only at the end of its report did the newspaper add that a Transport Department spokesman had said there were no plans to reduce HS2’s maximum design speed of 400km/h.  Continue reading