TONY CAVE: It’s the end of the line for railway franchising

 TONY CAVE: It’s the end of the line for railway franchising

Carlton Station news

I feel as though I have been in a ‘siding’ recently – only able to make it down to the stations about one visit a week, mostly Saturday mornings, although I did manage one early morning. I cannot see things changing in the immediate future and not only because of coronavirus. However, we have monthly updates from EMR and a dedicated team for Station Adopters, which is a big improvement on a few years ago.

On Tuesday, September 8 I saw the 08.02am to Newark (no-one on or off), 08.08am to Matlock with only five joining and the 08.19am to Lincoln with four on and three off. This was the day after full train services were re-instated.

Off-peak services seem to be doing better: for instance, on Tuesday, October 13 I set the autumn plants in the garden and managed to see the 15.08 to Matlock had 8 joining and 2 alighting. On Saturday, September 19, 12 adults and 2 children joined the 10.07 to Matlock.

Unfortunately, we have gone back to a second wave of coronavirus and from October 26, some local services have been suspended again, as many train crews are having to self isolate. This has been done to try and avoid last minute cancellations, so you can check if the train you wish to catch is still running. This reduction is due to be reviewed in January, and should only affect the lightly-used trains.

The plan to change the train service at Carlton this December will not now take place and trains will still run to Matlock and not Crewe. There should not be any changes to train times at Carlton, other than the odd minute, as I have checked some of the morning trains and they are still the same times

Sponsors for the flower garden and planters this Autumn and Spring 2021 are Dawn Christadelphian Publications, 5 Station Road, Carlton. They are a registered charity. We distribute Bible based literature, much of it to countries which cannot afford books, and also have a large selection of second-hand books and more on religion and general subjects (especially railways!). Open Mondays and Fridays only from 10am to 4pm. Other times by arrangement. [email protected]o.uk

Netherfield Station news

On Tuesday, September 8 and 3 joined the 08.33am to Liverpool.

A site meeting has been arranged by EMR for November 4 at both stations to see what improvements can be made to the surroundings. The planned meeting in September did not come off.

Norwich to Liverpool: There has been a lot of discussion about the future of this service, with the favoured outcome being that these trains would be split into two sections with EMR retaining Norwich to Nottingham and also extending this service to Derby and even Matlock and Trans Pennine Express (TPE) running the Nottingham to Liverpool section. Now however all that has been scrapped for the time being and EMR will continue to run the full route beyond December 2021 when the changes were due to take place. In fact TPE had gone as far as to recruit new trainee drivers at Sheffield to operate this service, but all that has now had to be cancelled.

East Midlands Regional

Emergency Measures Agreement (EMA)

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The Government has announced an extension to the EMA introduced on March 23, whereby train operators bear no financial risk, this being shifted to Government whilst passenger numbers remain low. The Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements will last until March 2022.

Railway Franchising has now finished and EMR and other companies are currently working with the Department for Transport in terms of the future of their franchises. Even before the pandemic the Williams Rail Review, yet to be published, was expected to recommend moving from franchise to concessions, which should benefit us, the customers.

You can read more here: https://www.gov.uk;government/speeches/rail­update-emergency-recovery-measures-agreements

Engineering works

A lot of upgrade work is taking place on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) including to the track layout at Kings Cross, and a new flyover at Werrington (Peterborough).

Target date for completion of these works is June 2021, but it means there will be some disruption to train services, mostly at weekends, but including a 9-day partial closure from 16-24th January. This will impact on Liverpool to Norwich services, especially affecting Grantham, as on occasions these services will be diverted and miss out Grantham, so Skegness services will be the alternative for Grantham. So it is best to check if you are thinking of using these services.

Also electrification work continues on the St. Pancras line, mostly affecting week­end services. eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk or call National Rail Enquiries 03457 48 49 50.

Local railway heritage news

The planned Open Day at Gedling station in September had to be cancelled. Meanwhile, initial work has been carried out to see if the old railway line from Netherfield station through to Gedling Country Park, via Gedling station, could be re-opened as a potential walking and cycling route. This would connect 6 existing parks and is 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) in length. Long term plans are for the line to be used as a tram route.

Lowdham signal box moved

Over the weekend of 24/25th October the old signal box which closed in 2016, was lifted over the line and placed in the ‘garden’ of the Station House.

The plan is to turn it into a working museum so you can see how traditional signal­ling on the railway worked.

There are still lines using this system, but the plan is to gradually replace them with control of trains transferred to signalling centres.

Our local area is controlled from Derby.

Modernisation update

­Midland Main Line electrification is apparently ‘back on the table’ with Midlands Connect director calling the news a “massive boost for the region” and a key step towards a ‘Midlands rail revolution”.

It is currently at an early stage, but being examined by Network Rail.

Electrification would continue from Market Harborough to Sheffield via Derby and Nottingham.

In-cab digital signalling

Preparatory works have been authorised for this European Train Control System to be installed on the ECML from London Kings Cross to Stoke Tunnel (between Peterborough and Grantham), a distance of just over 100 miles.

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