The EC has approved an Italian scheme to compensate rail freight companies for financial damage suffered due to the pandemic.
More people are returning to rail travel post-pandemic according to the latest figures from the UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
GTR will continue to operate the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail services, having been awarded a new contract by the DfT.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed in a statement to parliament on 9 February that ScotRail would transfer into public ownership.
In his January column, Jonn Elledge muses about how former non-entity Stratford (London) became Britain's busiest station in 2020/21.
Following ongoing financial problems, NS-subsidiary Abellio will cease operating in Germany, with concessions awarded to other operators.
The ORR has published its Rail Industry Finance report for 2020–21, showing that the sector is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Deutsche Bahn is applying new requirements for passengers to carry proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Commuting into London lags behind rest of the UK says RDG, putting the recovery of London’s shops, theatres, restaurants and bars at risk.
A new report says that protecting light rail services is key to ensuring towns and cities recover from the impact of Covid-19.
New figures from the Office of Rail and Road show that UK rail travel started to rebound between April and June 2021.
The amount of freight moved across the Uk's railway has returned to pre-pandemic levels according to new Office of Rail and Road statistics.
TfL's recent ad campaign to get passengers back using its trains and buses is a symptom of its underlying funding woes, writes Jonn Elledge.
Data from the UK rail industry shows bank holiday weekend ticket sales to seaside destinations have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
A Swiss news broadcaster has accused the FV-DOSTO trains operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) of being 'covid catapults'.
The Scottish government is to provide a further £5.6m emergency funding to Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams in response to the pandemic.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has extended GTR’s Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) until 31 March 2022.
Network Rail says that more freight is now being transported across one of its busiest business regions than before the pandemic.
Eurostar has reached a refinancing agreement with its shareholders and banks worth £250m (289.9m euros | 353.9m USD).
UK rail companies have added more than 2,500 daily services to their timetables, which come into play today.
FirstGroup, the company that owns the train operating company TransPennine Express, has agreed a termination fee with the DfT.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced 1.69 billion USD in relief funding for Amtrak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following increased demand and with the help of Congressional funding, Amtrak will restore daily services to 12 long-distance services.
The USDOT and DART have agreed a refinancing of a $908 million loan for the Silver Line that will save DART $190 million in interest payments.
Following its annoucement of this plan in October 2020 the Welsh government has now taken the Wales & Borders franchise into public ownership.
The Voice of European Railways (CER) says railways in the EU27 made losses of 26 billion euros in 2020 because of COVID-19.
Avlo, Renfe's new low-cost high-speed passenger service that will run between Madrid and Barcelona, will launch on 23 June 2021.
Amtrak's CEO has written to Congress outlining the passenger railroad's five key demands to recover from COVID and expand services.
French transport minister confirms to the National Assembly that France would make sure it supported Eurostar and was in talks with Britain.
There are renewed calls on the UK government to provide support to Eurostar to prevent Britain's only international rail link from folding.
Jure Mikolcic, CEO of Stadler Pankow GmbH, at the VDB Digital Dialog Forum "Rail Revolution 4.0: Picking up Speed after the Crisis".
Train operator Grand Central to resume services from December at a reduced level. These will be reservation-only to enable social distancing.
State aid: the European Commission has approved Austrian measures to support passenger and rail freight affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Railtex 2021, which was to be held jointly with Infrarail in May 2021, has been postponed to 7–9 September because of COVID-19.
Following the funding agreement reached between TfL and goverment, consultancy work on Crossrail 2 will end, safeguarding will continue.
Midlands Voices report by the High Speed Rail Group says the eastern leg of HS2 up to Leeds is crucial for levelling up the country.
The United States has a new president-elect, Joe Biden. But why is he called 'Amtrak Joe'? And what has he said about the importance of rail?
TfL has reached a deal with the UK government over funding for the next six months following collapsed revenues due to the coronavirus crisis.
Because of coronavirus developments, the InnoTrans organisers say they can't provide planning certainy and have postponed the 2021 event.
The Welsh Government is taking the Wales & Borders franchise under public control starting in February 2021 as a result of COVID-19.
London: TfL has agreed with the government that its funding package can be extended by 2 weeks as discussions about future funding continue.
The UK Department for Transport and Arriva CrossCountry have signed a three-year agreement to align the franchise with the ERMAs.
A private rail freight protest train made its way through Berlin to draw attention to the German government's one-sided support of DB.
The UK government is abolishing rail franchising in the wake of coronavirus and has set up Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs).
EU: The Parliament has voted for regulations allowing Member States to authorise infrastructure managers to waive track access charges.
Coronavirus has changed the way TOCs operate in Britain. Gareth Dennis believes this is and should be the nail in the coffin for franchising.
Deutsche Bahn and CRO are conducting a joint study into the risks of contracting coronavirus for conductors on trains.
France says it will waive railway track access charges for the rest of 2020 and reduce them by half for the duration of 2021.
InnoTrans says that despite having to move the event to 2021 as a result of coronavirus, exhibitor bookings are at 2018 levels.
Rail Live 2020, which was due to take place at Long Marston, UK, on 9 and 10 September has been cancelled. New dates: 16 and 17 June 2021.
The central Crossrail section will not open next summer now as previously promised because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alstom has published its financial results for Q1 of 2020/21, with total orders up compared to the same period in the previous year.
The CER has published a position paper advocating for applying the user-pays and polluter-pays principles across the transport sector.
UTLC Eurasian Rail Alliance says it has seen an increase in mail trains from China to Europe as a result of the restrictions on air freight.
Coronavirus: OEBB will resume its Nightjet sleeper trains to destinations such as Prague, Zurich, Berlin and Venice starting on 26 June.
Rail freight punctuality has increased from 60 percent to 80–90 percent during the coronavirus crisis due to greater network availability.
The German stimulus package has been welcomed by rail groups, saying it will push forward important innovations and provide much-needed funds.
Deutsche Bahn says that despite the coronavirus pandemic less than 1 percent of rail infrastructure works have been cancelled or postponed.
Coronavirus: from 15 June face coverings will become mandatory on public transport in England in line with a further easing of restrictions.
After the German government moved ahead with an ongoing exemption to the lorry toll, rail groups have asked the Bundesrat for help.
Passenger services in Switzerland can resume fully in June following an easing of restrictions put in place because of coronavirus.
Private railway undertakings in Germany want to seek assistance from the European Commission following a DB-only bailout package approval.
There is anger at the coronavirus agreement signed by Deutsche Bahn and the federal government that excludes non-state railways.
Deutsche Bahn has reached a coronavirus agreement with the German government, union, works council and employers' association.
From June Deutsche Bahn will run train services into all neighbouring countries again, following a gradual resumption in May.
2020 has its challenges to the rail sector with the coronavirus pandemic but there has been good news too: HS2 has its notice to proceed.
The Ceneri Base Tunnel opening ceremony is to go ahead as planned in September though on a smaller scale due to the coronavirus pandemic.
UNIFE takes a look at the impact of the coronavirus on the rail industry in Europe, both passenger and freight.
An interview with Dirk Flege from rail advocacy group Allianz pro Schiene about Germany's coronavirus measures for the rail sector and more.
Kilsby Tunnel on the West Coast Main Line has undergone major repair works during the coronavirus slowdown to fix track flooding issues.
Transport for London (TfL) has received coronavirus bailout – a mixture of grants and loans from the government worth 1.6 billion GBP.
HS2 says it will pay its suppliers as soon as possible rather than within the contract terms and has asked Tier 1 contractors to do the same.
Talgo publishes its financial outlook and results for the first quarter of 2020 with a solid order book despite delays due to coronavirus.
After a 6-week stop to passenger rail services between Germany and France, the first ICE train travelled from Frankfurt to Paris on 11 May.
Deutsche Bahn reduced its timetable significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. DB Regio services are now back up to 90 percent.
The first test at 275km/h has taken place in the Ceneri Base Tunnel with the ICE-S from Germany. The tunnel will go to SBB on 1 September.
The RSG is launching a survey to inform its decision-making on how the UK rail supply chain can make a full, fast recovery from coronavirus.
TMH's Ivolga EMUs, which operate in Russia, feature an HVAC system that has air-sanitising equipment to kill microorganisms.
Coronavirus: After suspending non-essential works at its manufacturing sites across Canada on 24 March, Bombardier is resuming operations.
Rail services are to return to normal timetables in Western Australia sooner than planned following the coronavirus pandemic.
After it was announced that InnoTrans 2020 had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have published new dates.
InnoTrans 2020 has been postponed due to a decision by the Berlin Senate to ban all gatherings of more than 5000 people until 24 October.
With coronavirus restrictions on public life and businesses in Switzerland being relaxed, rail services will increase again as well.
With a loosening of restrictions placed on public life in Germany because of the coronavirus pandemic, more rail services resume operations.
Network Rail's call for more signalling staff to weather the coronavirus pandemic has moved forward with the opening of a training centre.
DB has extended its policy to forego track cancellation charges by four weeks with train operators scaling back services during coronavirus.
InnoTrans 2020 and coronavirus: options about delaying the event or alternative scenarios will be presented in early May.
An easing of restrictions imposed by the Spanish government in response to coronavirus has allowed manufacturing to resume in the country.
Bombardier Transportation has resumed activities at its UK sites in Derby, Ilford and Crewe as well as at its Beglian site in Bruges.
Transfesa Logistics has launched a refrigerated train to transport food, medical and hygiene supplies from Spain to the UK.
The rail industry, associations, and unions have responded to the UK government's approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed.
The first contruction phase on the Naples-Bari high-speed line, between Naples and Cancello, is continuing with safety measures in place.
The UK government has given HS2 Ltd the approval to issue Notice to Proceed to the four main works civils contractors working on the project.
OEBB has seen an increase in demand for its international rail freight services during coronavirus due to border restrictions for lorries.
BLS Cargo says its 2019 results have been positive but it has called the outlook for 2020 'bleak' in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
RB Rail AS has awarded two contracts for the design of two sections of the Rail Baltica project in Latvia. The sections are 94km and 45km.
Deutsche Bahn is continuing its recruitment efforts despite the coronavirus pandemic but has shifted to digital interviews and training.
ERFA and UIP call for European Union state aid measures to be implemented for infrastructure mangagers in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Network Rail says it is moving to immediate payments for its suppliers to avoid cashflow issues and keep the supply chain strong.
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by Josephine Cordero Sapién
21 May 2020
Rail freight has been one of the sectors at the forefront of keeping society going during the coronavirus pandemic, supplying supermarkets, hospitals, power stations and ultimately consumers with vital goods. The passenger rail sector has helped keep key workers on the move and infrastructure managers have performed essential repairs and have staffed control centres to keep the railways working behind the scenes.
In April Lineas launched its white Heroes locomotive to say thank you to everyone, not just in rail, going the extra mile. We spoke to Lineas about their Heroes locomotive and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected operations.
Railway-News: To start, could you tell us a little bit about Lineas and where your main areas of operation are?
Lineas: Lineas is the largest private rail freight operator in Europe. Our purpose is to convince customers to modal shift their transport from road to rail, thereby improving their own supply chain and contributing to a better climate and mobility.
We run a pan-European end-to-end logistics network. Our Green Xpress Network provides daily, fast and reliable rail connections between major European hubs and is completed with first and last mile services. It combines different types of cargo (intermodal, conventional, single wagonload) into one train.
We employ over 2,100 people and own a fleet of 250 locomotives and 7,000 wagons. We have our headquarters in Belgium and sites in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
RN: The coronavirus crisis is affecting all of us, including the rail sector and here different parts of the rail sector are facing slightly different challenges. What has been most challenging for Lineas in this crisis?
L: As transport is vital to keep society going, European countries have not put limitations on rail freight within and through their territories.
Of course, many of our customers have had to decrease or stop production temporarily. This affected their transport needs and led to a drop in transport demand of 20–30 percent.
Operationally, there were some minor challenges in the beginning to cross borders and to drive in different countries that have imposed different measures. In France, for example, the network was for a large part not available. However, our teams and partners have been able to overcome these obstacles.
We’ve also had to change our ways of working within the company. Where possible, our people are working from home; we have imposed extra health measures for people on the ground, etc.
RN: Have there been positive developments too?
L: Overall, we’ve been able to drive all our or planned trains with high quality. Our Green Xpress Network is proving to be a stronghold solution that provides the necessary flexibility for many existing and new customers to keep their goods moving.
Furthermore, we see that some customers are looking for alternatives to road transport. Where trucks are often stuck at borders or cannot drive because of lack of drivers – rail continues.
RN: You recently launched a white locomotive to thank those who are helping defeat the virus and keep society going. Can you say a little bit more about that?
L: We wanted to show our appreciation for people at the forefront of this crisis. Of course the medical staff saving lives. But also people working in other sectors that continue to keep society going during the crisis, transport being one of them.
Pharmaceutical products, food, disinfectants… many essential products are transported by rail. Our own teams and those of our partners and customers are going the extra mile to keep companies, hospitals, stores and consumers supplied.
So we wanted to thank all these heroes of today for their continuous efforts. And how better than with a locomotive? This special edition white locomotive is hauling goods all over Europe. We hope it boosts the spirit of everyone who sees it, whether that’s on social media from the safety of their homes or during a shift in the stations, terminals or rail track where it passes.
RN: Earlier this year Lineas joined ERFA, the European Rail Freight Association. What are your main objectives that you want to achieve for the rail freight sector in the EU?
L: At Lineas, we believe that private rail freight players will make the difference in Europe, as they are dynamic, nimble, innovative and able to really offer what the customer needs. Private companies have a unique customer-centric mindset to deliver the products that convince companies to shift from road to rail.
In co-operation with the other ERFA members, we will have a key role to play in the creation of a truly liberalised and competitive European rail freight market.
RN: One of the things people have appreciated during the coronavirus pandemic is the cleaner air and the reduced number of vehicles on our roads. Do you think we will emerge from this with a stronger push for fighting the climate emergency and – in rail freight – to achieve a meaningful shift to rail? Can you talk about this also in the context of the Rail Freight Forward coalition?
L: The Green Deal is a major opportunity to push the modal shift to rail. We know that rail is nine times better in carbon emissions, eight times better in terms of air quality and six times more energy efficient. We have to double rail freight volumes if we want to reach the EU climate targets.
The European rail freight operators have joined forces under the Rail Freight Forward coalition to push this modal shift to rail. We have developed a plan that outlines the actions railway unions, infrastructure managers and governments in Europe should take to achieve our ambition and as such substantially contribute to our climate objectives.