Click here to listen to the latest rail news on Wednesday, 16th June 2021
The latest rail news on Wednesday, 16th June 2021
Train operators, Network Rail and unions have agreed to talks over cutting rail services and axing thousands of jobs to save the industry up to £2 billion a year as it plans for a post-COVID future of fewer passengers.
That’s according to an article in The Guardian that says under a framework agreement signed by the four main transport unions and rail employers, voluntary redundancies will be sought throughout the railway to close the funding gap from an 80 per cent decline in passenger revenue since the start of the pandemic.
Unions have said they will not accept compulsory redundancies or changes to pension rights. However, a generous voluntary redundancy scheme could entice thousands to leave the industry, which has a high proportion of staff aged over 55, predominantly men.
The return of rail services to Levenmouth in Scotland moved a step closer today with confirmation by Transport Minister Graeme Dey that the line would be double tracked and electrified.
Mr Dey was speaking during a visit to Leven where he also announced the options being taken forward for the locations for Leven and Cameron Bridge Stations.
The Leven Station is to be located behind the Leisure Centre and Cameron Bridge Station will be to the east of the A915. The options were confirmed following detailed development work as well as stakeholder consultation for the new rail link.
Figures released by transport body Midlands Connect suggest that over 3,500 jobs could be created and safeguarded by the full delivery of Midlands Engine Rail, an infrastructure programme aimed at increasing rail capacity and securing faster and more regular journeys for passengers across the Midlands region.
The analysis, completed by NSA research, shows that 2,880 jobs will be safeguarded by the delivery of this nationally-significant project, with 720 new roles created.
The findings will be outlined at a Midlands COP online event taking place today.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has warned that a cut in taxes on domestic flights would see thousands of passengers shift from rail to air and undermine Britain’s carbon reduction targets.
In its response to the government’s consultation on aviation tax reform, which proposes reducing the levy passengers pay on domestic flights, the RDG says that its research shows that a 50 per cent cut in APD could result in 222,000 fewer rail journeys a year as people shift to flying with air fares becoming cheaper.
Train companies say that while aviation has an important role to play in connecting places where rail or other types of transport aren’t a realistic option, rail is the greenest way to get large numbers of people from A to B.
Photo credit: Transport Scotland/ Chris Watt Photography