Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain. Network Rail is an arm's length public body of the Department for Transport with no shareholders, which reinvests its income in the railways. Network Rail's main customers are the private train operating companies, responsible for passenger transport, freight operating companies, who provide train services on the infrastructure that the company owns and maintains. Since 1 September 2014, Network Rail has been classified as a "public sector body". To cope with rising passenger numbers, Network Rail is undertaking a £38 billion programme of upgrades to the network, including Crossrail, electrification of lines, upgrading Thameslink and a new high-speed line. Britain's railway system was built by private companies, but it was nationalised by the Transport Act 1947 and run by British Railways until re-privatisation, begun in 1994 and completed in 1997. Infrastructure and freight services were separated at that time.
Between 1994 and 2002 the infrastructure was operated by Railtrack. The Hatfield train crash on 17 October 2000 was a defining moment in the collapse of Railtrack; the immediate major repairs undertaken across the whole British railway network were estimated to have cost in the order of £580 million and Railtrack had no idea how many more'Hatfields' were waiting to happen because it had lost considerable in-house engineering skill following the sale or closure of many of the engineering and maintenance functions of British Rail to external companies. The costs of modernising the West Coast Main Line were spiralling. In 2001, Railtrack announced that, despite making a pre-tax profit before exceptional expenses of £199m, the £733m of costs and compensation paid out over the Hatfield crash had plunged Railtrack from profit into a loss of £534m, it approached the government for funding, which it used to pay a £137m dividend to its shareholders in May 2001. Network Rail Ltd took over control by buying Railtrack plc, in "railway administration", from Railtrack Group plc for £500 million.
The purchase was completed on 3 October 2002. The former company had thus never ceased to exist but continued under another name: for this reason Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd was the defendant in prosecutions in respect of events which had occurred in the days of Railtrack. Following an initial period in which Network Rail established itself and demonstrated its competence in addressing the principal challenges of improving asset condition, reducing unit costs and tackling delay, the Government's Rail Review in 2004 said that Network Rail should be given responsibility for whole-industry performance reporting, timetable development, specification of small and medium network enhancements, the delivery of route-specific utilisation strategies; some of these are functions which Network Rail had. The SRA was abolished in November 2006; the company moved its headquarters to Kings Place, 90 York Way, from 40 Melton Street, Euston, in August 2008. In October 2008, Sir Ian McAllister announced that he would not stand for re-election as chairman of Network Rail.
He had held the position for six years. He noted that as Network Rail moved to a "new phase in its development" it was appropriate for a new chairman to lead it there. Many track safety initiatives have been introduced in the time Network Rail has been responsible for this area; the latest, announced in December 2008, known as "All Orange", states that all track personnel must not only wear orange hi-vis waistcoats or jackets, but must wear orange hi-vis trousers at all times when working on or near the track. This ruling came into force in January 2009 for maintenance and property workers and in April 2009 for infrastructure and investment sites. In 2009, allegations appeared in the media from the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association concerning treatment of Network Rail employees. Former chief executive Iain Coucher was accused of financial impropriety involving unspecified payments to his business partner Victoria Pender during his tenure at Network Rail. An internal investigation held by Network Rail in 2010, vetted by its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.
An independent enquiry headed by Anthony White QC in 2011 further examined the claims, but exonerated Coucher. Critical commentary appeared in the media concerning the knighthood awarded to John Armitt in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to engineering and construction. Armitt was Chief Executive of Network Rail at the time of the 2007 Grayrigg derailment and the family of a victim of the accident criticised the award, which coincidentally was conferred on the same day that Network Rail were prosecuted for the accident. In 2011 the company began the process of reorganising its operational structure into nine semi-autonomous regional entities, each with their own managing director; the reorganisation has been interpreted as a move back towards vertical integration of track and train operations. In 2016 Network Rail failed to check whether the Flying Scotsman could fit through tunnels along the Borders Route resulting in the ca
Cambrian Railways owned 230 miles of track over a large area of mid-Wales. The system was an amalgamation of a number of railways that were incorporated in 1864, 1865 and 1904; the Cambrian connected with two of the larger railways to give connections to the North West of England, via the London and North Western Railway. The Cambrian Railways amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922 as a result of the Railways Act 1921; the name is continued today in the route known as the Cambrian Line. The Cambrian Railways Company was created on 25th. July 1864; the new company was formed by amalgamating most of the existing railway companies in Mid Wales: the Oswestry and Newtown Railway, the Llanidloes and Newtown Railway, the Newtown and Machynlleth Railway and the Oswestry and Whitchurch Railway. The shareholders of these constituent companies became the shareholders in the new Cambrian Railways Company; the Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway was not included in the amalgamation because it was still under construction.
In all, the new company had lines totalling 97.25 miles in length. As well as incorporating existing railways, the new company had agreements to share traffic with the Mid-Wales Railway, the Manchester and Milford Railway and the Great Western Railway; this allowed it to control the transportation of passengers across mid Wales. The earliest section of the Cambrian was the section from Three Cocks to Talyllyn Junction; this had been opened in 1816 as part of the Hay Railway, a tram-road worked by horses connecting the town of Hay with the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal at Brecon. The western section was sold to the Merthyr Railway. In the following list the dates are: date of incorporation; until 1861 this section of the line was isolated Newtown and Machynlleth Railway 23 miles: 27 July 1857. This railway was independent of the Cambrian until 1 January 1888, when the latter took over working the line. On 1 July 1904 the two railways amalgamated; the Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway 12.75 miles. Wrexham was the largest town served by the Cambrian.
Van Railway 6.5 miles: built 1871 Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway 9 miles: 2 ft 6 in gauge: opened 4 April 1903. Tanat Valley Light Railway 15 miles: opened 5 January 1904: closed to passengers 1951 Mawddwy Railway 6.75 miles: incorporated 5 July 1865: closed to passengers 1931. Abermule - Kerry Barmouth Junction - Dolgellau Llanymynech to Llanfyllin Branch The Cambrian had connections with many independent lines, including: Corris Railway, at Machynlleth Hendre-Ddu Tramway, at Aberangell Festiniog Railway, at Minffordd Kerry Tramway, at Kerry Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway, at Llanfihangel Talyllyn Railway, at Tywyn Potteries, Shrewsbury & North Wales Railway, at Llanymynech Manchester & Milford Railway at Aberystwyth The headquarters of the Cambrian Railways was at Oswestry railway station; the building still stands today, although detached from modern network main railway lines, was in use for commercial purposes until 2004. After restoration in 2005, this building was reopened as the Cambrian Visitor Centre in June 2006.
It has since reopened and, amongst other things, is now being used as the headquarters for the newly formed Cambrian Heritage Railways restoration project. The largest station premises on the line were at Aberystwyth. On vesting its headquarters in July 1865 in Oswestry, the company built the Cambrian railways works to the north of the station on Gobowen Road, its construction hastened Oswestry's boom as a railway town, from a population of 5,500 in 1861, to nearly 10,000 40 years later. Built of local red brick and costing £28,000, the locomotive erecting shop had a central traverser, hand-moved, serving 12 roads on each side. On the far north end of the works, 11 sidings accessed a carriage and wagon works. Power to the machines was provided by a large steam engine via overhead shafting and belts; the 150 feet chimney is still a local landmark. Whilst many carriages and wagons were built in the workshops, only two locomotives were constructed at Oswestry. After the Cambrian Railways was taken over by the GWR on grouping in 1923, the GWR kept the works open as a regional carriage and wagon works, locomotive repair shop for the associated locomotive shed.
In 1911 there were one rail motor car in the Cambrian's rolling stock. At grouping in 1922, 94 standard-gauge engines and five narrow-gauge engines were transferred to the GWR, identified by type and builder at Locomotives of the Great Western Railway. After becoming part of the London Midland
Newtown railway station (Wales)
Newtown railway station is a railway station serving Newtown in Powys, Wales. Newtown was the last major station before Moat Lane Junction where the Mid-Wales Railway, to Llanidloes, Builth Road and on to Cardiff, diverged from the Cambrian Railways main line to Machynlleth and Aberystwyth; the station was the eastern terminus of the Newtown and Machynlleth Railway opened by the Countess of Londonderry at Machynlleth station on 3 January 1863. It was originally served by the Llanidloes and Newtown Railway and the Oswestry and Newtown Railway. All were subsequently subsumed into the Cambrian by 1865; the Mid-Wales line passenger service was withdrawn on 31 December 1962, though trains to and from this route latterly started and terminated at Moat Lane Junction. Services to Oswestry and Whitchurch via the former O&NR Cambrian main line ended in January 1965, when the route east of Buttington closed to passenger traffic as a consequence of the Beeching Axe; the station has two through platforms, which are used separately for trains in either direction.
The station is used as one of the passing points for trains on the Cambrian Line as it is a single track. The station has one west facing bay platform/siding, periodically used as a storage point for Network Rail's Departmental trains. There is an Transport for Wales appointed "Station Agent" with full ticket issuing facilities in the main building; this houses a Grill Restaurant and a computer training centre. Train running information is provided by digital CIS displays, automatic announcements and customer help points on both platforms. Step-free access is only available for platform 1. Trains run from here westwards to Machynlleth and either Aberystwyth or Pwllheli via Barmouth and eastwards to Shrewsbury & Birmingham International. There is a basic two-hourly service each way – on weekdays and Saturdays there are some additional Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth services during the mornings and evenings. On Sundays there is a two-hourly service on the Shrewsbury – Aberystwyth axis, but only a limited service along the coast to/from Pwllheli.
Mitchell, Vic. Brecon to Newtown. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 116–120. ISBN 9781906008062. OCLC 288983659. Mitchell, Vic. Shrewsbury to Newtown. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Pp. 113–120. ISBN 9781906008291. OCLC 228374968. Train times and station information for Newtown railway station from National Rail
Wolverhampton Low Level railway station
Wolverhampton Low Level was a railway station on Sun Street, in Springfield, England. It was built by the Great Western Railway, on their route from London Paddington to Birkenhead via Birmingham Snow Hill, it was the most northerly broad-gauge station on the GWR network. The OWWR's engineer, John Fowler, designed the frontage, while the GWR's Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed the layout; the station building is two storeys high and constructed of Staffordshire blue brick in Italianate style, an unusual combination but the blue brick was abundant in the area in the 19th century. The design of the station was similar to that of the earlier High Level station; the main building has a large pediment. Plainer wings extend to either side of the main building; the interior of the former booking hall continues the Italianate theme, with a high, coved ceiling and full-height cornices. The interior was restored in the early 2000s; the station opened in 1854, although construction was not completed until late 1855.
The station was built jointly by the Oxford and Wolverhampton Railway and the Great Western Railway. The station was called Wolverhampton Joint and was renamed to Wolverhampton Low Level in April 1856, at the same time as the nearby London and North Western Railway station was renamed from Wolverhampton Queen Street to Wolverhampton High Level; the station was converted to standard gauge in 1869, remained the same until 1922, when new booking office was built within the booking hall, a new telegraph department was added to the stationmaster's office. The platforms were extended and the passenger footbridge was replaced; the overall roof was replaced with standard GWR platform canopies. In July 1939, an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at the station, wrecking the parcels office area. Closure of the station was made by the West Coast Main Line electrification scheme in the 1960s which included the Stour Valley Line and a new High Level station. From late 1963 to March 1967 the Low Level saw a considerable increase in traffic, but this was only while the electrification work was in progress, many services were temporarily diverted away from High Level.
When the Stour Valley Line reopened, the services through Low Level were reduced. The last Paddington to Birkenhead express ran in March 1967, in 1968 Shrewsbury services switched to the High Level. By 1970, the only services left running from Low Level were local trains to Birmingham Snow Hill; this service ceased in 1972. In 1970, the station was converted to a Parcels Concentration Department. Much of the trackwork was removed, the north signal box was demolished and the platforms were modified, it opened on 6 April 1970 and was successful, handling up to 8,000 parcels each day. However, British Rail's policy on parcel handling soon changed, the station was closed on 12 June 1981; the building was listed as Grade II on 25 March 1986. It remained as the British Rail Divisional Engineer's Department until it was purchased by Wolverhampton Council in May 1986, who renovated and preserved the exterior. Meanwhile, the route of the trackbed between Bushbury and Birmingham Snow Hill was preserved in case of future reopening of the line.
During the 1980s and 1990s, there were several proposals for redevelopment of the site, including re-opening the station and converting the station into a transport museum, but none came to fruition. In 1999, the Midland Metro tramway opened, using most of the GWR route between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, but this turns towards the centre of Wolverhampton to run along the A41 Bilston Road before reaching Low Level. Redevelopment of the Low Level station site began in 2006, retaining the main station building whilst the remainder of the station, including the former main southbound platform is being demolished to make way for a'mixed use' retail and residential development; this redevelopment of the station is now complete. The station building itself was destined to become a casino; this has now fallen through. The restored station was home to an art gallery until July 2010; the station building has been transformed into the Grand Station banqueting wedding venue. Several other structures associated with the station are listed buildings.
A tall, blue-brick retaining wall and subway lead beneath the High Level tracks to the station built as a shortcut between the two stations and known as "the colonnades". The brickwork on the interior is glazed white, has decorative iron railings mounted to it The wall and subway form a grade II listed building. Mitchell, Vic. Stourbridge to Wolverhampton. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 106-120. ISBN 9781906008161. OCLC 261924375. Mitchell, Vic. Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 1-5. ISBN 9781906008444. OCLC 286385795. Subterranea Britannica Wolverhampton City Council regeneration Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands: Wolverhampton Low Level railway station Article from Disused Stations
Aberystwyth railway station
Aberystwyth railway station is a railway station in the seaside and university town of Aberystwyth, Wales. It is served by passenger trains operated by Transport for Wales: it is the terminus of the Cambrian Line 81 1⁄2 miles west of Shrewsbury, it is the terminus of the narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway. The original station was built in 1863 by the Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway for the route to Machynlleth; the neighbouring Manchester & Milford railway was to construct a two road platform adjoining this, to create a joint station and provide access south to Carmarthen. The station was extended in 1925 by the Great Western Railway: the original station building on one side of the platforms was replaced by a grand terminus building. At that time the station had five platforms: Platform 1 at the south-east end of the station and two island platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 were bay platforms, each of the same length, they were the original Milford railway platforms, used for the Carmarthen services.
The Carmarthen line was closed in 1965. The former Platform 3 is on the other side of Platform 2; the former Platform 4 is now taken up by the "Craft" freecycling shop. At that time the signal box was closed and demolished. Access to the station and the station facilities is now via the original 1864 building; the running-around line between these two, for locomotive-hauled trains, still exists. Platform 5 was an emergency platform on the other side of Platform 4; the goods yard has become the Rheidol Retail Park. With the decline of railway usage and of local tourism, the facilities were far too large for their purpose; the railway yard was lifted in the 1980s and the row of shops in front, known as Western Parade, was demolished in the 1990s to allow construction of a new retail park and bus station. The 1925 station building has seen several uses, including as a local museum, but was sold off and converted into a Wetherspoons pub; this conversion won awards. Other parts of the building have become an Indian restaurant, office space and accommodation for a local furniture recycling scheme.
The platform, used by trains via Lampeter to Carmarthen is now used by the narrow gauge steam-operated Vale of Rheidol Railway. This railway's track runs parallel to and to the south of the main line as far as Llanbadarn Fawr. Opened in 1902, it had its own terminus at "Aberystwyth Smithfield"; this was replaced by a station a short distance from the main railway station. In 1968 its track was rerouted into the former standard gauge bay Platforms 1 and 2 of the main station; as their trains unload at ground level, a new ramp and ground-level island platform were built in the space between the two original platforms. There is a runaround access to the former mainline railway shed; this was used as the storage and works area for the Vale of Rheidol Railway. From 2014, the Vale of Rheidol railway, with the help of an EU-funded grant, converted the old platform 1 of the Carmarthen branch to a reduced height; this now allows customers to board coaches from the level of the running board, as opposed to from ground level.
The access is invaluable to passengers. This does not allow wheelchairs to be wheeled onto coaches, but the company is working on a solution by adapting some existing rolling stock to this purpose. In 2011, a purpose-built railway works was built on the site of the old GWR coaling stage; this now allows the railway to carry out heavy maintenance and restorations on its stock. It allows contract work to be undertaken; the works has an apprentice school. As of 2006, the station has a single mainline platform for trains to Machynlleth and beyond, with a loop, used to reverse locomotive-hauled specials, including steam services and maintenance trains. There are proposals, by the Vale of Rheidol railway, to establish a railway museum at the station, using structures removed from London Bridge station during modernisation; the station has open six days per week. A self-service ticket machine is provided for use outside these times and for collecting pre-paid tickets. Other amenities include toilets, a coffee shop, waiting room and a customer help point.
Train running information is offered via digital information screens, automatic announcements and timetable posters. Step-free access is available between the entrance and platform. Many of these improvements came from the Welsh Government with funding from European Regional Development Fund and the UK Government's National Station Improvement Project. Transport for Wales services operate to Shrewsbury and Birmingham International every two hours; as of the May 2015 timetable change, hourly services have commenced between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, some of which continue to Birmingham International. There were proposals for reinstating a direct train to London which stopped running in 1991; the journey would have taken four hours, but the plan was rejected in 2010. Trains call at Borth, Dovey Junction, Caersws, Welshpool, Wellington, Telford Central, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International; the current service pattern (Mondays to Sat
The Cambrian Line is a railway that runs from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli, both on the west coast of Wales. The line from Dovey Junction to Pwllheli is sometimes called the Cambrian Coast Line; the railway is scenic: it runs through the Cambrian Mountains in central Wales and along the coast of Cardigan Bay. The line includes long sections of rural single track and is designated as a community rail partnership. From Shrewsbury, the line heads west through northern Powys, serving the towns of Welshpool and Newtown. At Dovey Junction, a short distance west of Machynlleth, the line splits into two branches: the southern branch goes to Aberystwyth, the longer, northern branch continues to Pwllheli via the Cambrian Coast Line, crossing the River Mawddach by Barmouth Bridge; the line is made up of: Shrewsbury and Welshpool Railway between Shrewsbury and Buttington Oswestry and Newtown Railway between Buttington Junction and Newtown Llanidloes and Newtown Railway between Newtown and Moat Lane Junction Newtown and Machynlleth Railway between Moat Lane Junction and Machynlleth Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth/PwllheliThese lines were constructed between 1855 and 1869.
From Buttington Junction west became part of the Cambrian Railways in 1864. The Cambrian Railways became part of the Great Western Railway under the Grouping Act of 1921. On nationalisation these lines were operated first by the Western Region of British Railways and by the London Midland Region. In a reorganisation, passenger services were operated by the Regional Railways Central sector. Following privatisation in the mid 1990s, passenger services were first operated by Central Trains by Wales & Borders from 2001, Arriva Trains Wales from 2003 and Transport for Wales from 2018. Although the line survived the Beeching Axe, many stations were closed from the 1960s onwards; the stations closed include the following: Shrewsbury to Dovey Junction: Hanwood Yockleton Westbury Plas-y-Court Halt Breidden Buttington Forden Montgomery Abermule Scafell Halt Moat Lane Junction Pontdolgoch Carno Talerddig Llanbrynmair Commins Coch Halt Cemmes Road Dovey Junction to Aberystwyth: Glandyfi Ynyslas Llandre Bow StreetDovey Junction to Pwllheli: Gogarth Abertafol Llangelynin Black Rock Halt Afon Wen The Ruabon bound platforms at Barmouth Junction were closed in 1965 and the station renamed Morfa Mawddach.
The Cambrian line was not directly threatened with closure in the 1963 Beeching Report. Threats to the coastal part of the route, from Dovey Junction to Pwllheli, were subsequently withdrawn, its tourism role is as a scenic route, as well as linking many coastal resorts and connecting to seven narrow-gauge tourist lines. With long sections of single line and limited passing points, minor disruptions on the Cambrian Line lead to compound delays and partial cancellations. This, combined with short turnaround times at each end of the route, led to severe unpunctuality during much of the first decade of the 21st century; the extension of the service to Birmingham International in late 2008 has helped address this by eliminating the tight turnarounds at the congested Birmingham New Street station. Maintenance changes and additional padding in public timetables has helped improve performance figures overall. In Arriva Trains Wales' performance statistics the Cambrian Line was the worst-performing service group between 2003 and 2008.
Since early 2009, recorded timekeeping has improved – a considerable achievement, considering that the route has been the testing ground for brand new signalling technology unused on the British railway network. In October 2006, it was announced that Network Rail would pilot the European Rail Traffic Management System on the Cambrian Line; the ERTMS allows headways between trains using the same track to be reduced without affecting safety, allowing a more frequent service. Should the pilot scheme be successful, the system is expected to be rolled out on other key rural routes within the UK; the upgrade was expected to cost £59 million and was to be completed by December 2008, but the system was only released, for limited testing between Pwllheli and Harlech, in February 2010. Three signallers from the Machynlleth signalling centre and seven drivers were trained to operate the new equipment. Ansaldo STS were the principal contractors for the upgrade, with Thales as sub-contractors for the Telecomms and Eldin as installation subcontractors for all elements of UK infrastructure.
Systra was in charge of testing and commissioning the ETCS and interlocking components of the signalling system. Ansaldo installed ERTMS In Cab ETCS level 2, class 1, specification V2.3.0 in 2011. As the name suggests, the driver receives the instructions for movement on the cab display; this level does not require conventional fixed signals – therefore all the existing signals and RETB boards have been removed. Additionally, the line side speed signs were made redundant – drivers are given the appropriate maximum speed on the cab display; the Cambrian ERTMS – Pwllheli to Harlech rehearsal started on 13 February 2010 and completed on 18 February 2010. The driver familiarisation and practical handling stage of the rehearsal provided an excellent opportunity to monitor the use of GSM-R voice in operation on this route; the first train departed Pwllheli at 08:53 in ERTMS Level 2 O
Borth railway station
Borth railway station is a railway station on the Cambrian Line in mid-Wales, serving the village of Borth near Aberystwyth. The station opened in 1863, it had two platforms, but is now an unmanned halt. The original station building still remains and is Grade II listed and in private / commercial use apart from one room, which provides a waiting room for passengers; the station has been adopted under the Arriva Trains Wales Station Adoption Scheme and has won a number of community awards. Volunteers started in January 2011 to convert an unused part of the waiting room and the long-closed booking office into a museum; the museum now houses various collections, including Village History, Railway & Industrial Heritage, Natural History and Environmental displays. Train running information is provided by the standard combination of digital CIS displays, timetable poster boards and customer help point installed at most TfW-managed stations. Step-free access is available from the entrance and car park to the platform The museum and station play a key role in Season 1, Episode 4 of Y Gwyll, transmitted on S4C in 2013 and BBC1 Wales in January 2014.
Trains call at least every two hours in each direction, rising to hourly at certain times of day. They run to Aberystwyth westbound and either Machynlleth, Shrewsbury or Birmingham International eastbound. A similar frequency operates on Sundays, but starting in the day. Train times and station information for Borth railway station from National Rail Borth Station Museum