Friday is here, and it is time for this week’s International Rail News Roundup! This week in the headlines we have seen the announcement of the Netherland’s Railway NS new ‘better at full speed’ strategy, Network Rail’s plans to spend four days over Easter embarking on £60 million worth of upgrades and hear more about California High Speed Rail Authority’s work on connecting their state with high speed rail. In other news we hear of the innovative way that the London Fire Brigade and other European authorities have come together for disaster training and see c2c become the first UK operator to compensate its passengers automatically. In this week’s Rail Video of the Week, we see the glorious return of the Flying Scotsman.
High Speed Rail: High Speed Rail Turns Toward the Bay Area (Mass Transit)
Early this week California High Speed Rail Authority released their revised plans to connect Los Angeles to the Bay Area, instead deciding to link the Central Valley to the Bay Area's Silicon Valley via a new line. Over 100 miles of work have already begun in this next phase of the authorities plans to extend their operations. It is hoped that passenger services can begin on the line by 2025, connecting the states cities by speeds of over 200 miles per hour.
Rail Safety: European disaster exercise simulates Underground station collapse (Railway Gazette)
On Monday, the London Fire Brigade began a revolutionary disaster training exercise, which has been described as the biggest to be carried out in Europe. The simulation created a scenario in which a building had collapsed onto a London Underground station. London emergency services were joined by their Hungarian, Cypriot and Italian counterparts to embark on this four day practice. London’s Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson. ‘You can't get this sort of experience from a text book, we need to play it like it's real and ensure that should the worst happen, our response is effective and well co-ordinated’.
Rail Maintenance: Network Rail to deliver £60m upgrade work over Easter weekend (Railway Technology)
This week Network Rail announced that over the Easter bank holiday, over 15,000 of their employees will be working for the four days on construction projects worth £60m. Across Britain contractors will be working on 450 projects, as part of Network Rail’s £40bn railway upgrade plan to provide a larger, more reliable railway for passengers and businesses. Projects include platform extensions, new tracks and junctions, equipment upgrades and the installation of new station facilities.
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Rail Ticketing: 3p a minute rail auto-compensation scheme comes online in the UK (SmartRail World)
How much is your time worth? Well for UK train operator c2c, the answer is simple. It’s exactly 3p a minute (that’s a little under 4 cents in Euro or just over 4 cents in the USA). For this is how much you’d receive if delayed on the Essex to London franchise as part of their new automatic compensation scheme. By using their c2c smartcard – compensation is automatically awarded even if their train is delayed by more than two minutes. The new scheme eliminates the need to fill out any forms or make a claim. In order to receive the compensation, passengers need to have a c2c smartcard linked to an online account, and they simply need to tap in and out at the start and end of their journey.
Rail Business: New strategy refocuses NS’ activities (Rail Journal)
A new company strategy has been announced by Netherland’s Railway (NS) has been announced. The plan entitled, ‘Better at full speed’ will be carried out until 2019 in the hopes of rebuilding the relationship between the operator and the passenger and securing their position in the rail market. €3bn will be invested by NS to improve stations and passenger experience and to improve their core network operations and international services.
Rail video of the week: Flying Scotsman Returns
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