The past, present and future of train travel takes to the tracks in Yorkshire
Four generations of trains ran side by side through the stunning Yorkshire countryside on the East Coast main line, in an event organised by Virgin Trains, National Railway Museum, Network Rail, Welcome to Yorkshire and Hitachi.
The iconic Flying Scotsman ran alongside an HST Intercity 125 (Class 43), an Intercity 225 (Class 91) and the first new Virgin Azuma (Class 800), which will come into service in 2018.
Rob McIntosh, managing director for Network Rail on the London North Eastern and East Midlands route, said: “This was a wonderful occasion to help us celebrate our proud rail heritage as well as the ongoing success of Britain’s railways. To have achieved this once in a generation event… without causing any disruption to regular rail passengers makes me immensely proud.”
London Midland launches free on-board entertainment
London Midland has unveiled a free entertainment package of movies, TV programmes, ebooks and magazines plus Wi-Fi on its trains. The new service, called Motion, was launched on Tuesday 25 April, and operates independently of the Wi-Fi, liberating bandwidth for the Wi-Fi users.
Motion provides a range of major Hollywood movies, children’s TV favourites, popular Sky and Now TV shows, over 70 ebooks and audio books, games and digital magazines, all accessible via a web browser.
So far, the Wi-Fi and entertainment package has been installed on over half of London Midland’s long-distance fleet and Birmingham’s Cross City line between Lichfield and Redditch. By October, it will be available on over 70% of journeys.
London Midland’s managing director, Patrick Verwer, said: “Twelve months ago we pledged to install Wi-Fi on all of our long-distance trains. We have been able to include an industryleading entertainment package and cover key local routes too. This is the first time that Hollywood studios have given the green light for on-board movies and TV shows to be streamed directly to a browser, rather than through a third-party app.”
Hitachi in recruitment drive for Doncaster rail depot
Hitachi Rail Europe is recruiting the team it requires to maintain the new intercity trains which are due to start running next year. In total it plans to appoint 250 people to work at the newly constructed Doncaster depot, including a cohort of apprentices to start in September 2017.
Hitachi has invested £80m in the new depot at Doncaster, breathing new life into a site which had housed steam trains as early as 1878.
So far 60 people have joined the team, some joining from sectors such as aviation, automotive, and the military. The next wave of recruitment is focusing on hiring local engineers with experience in mechanical and/ or electrical work.
Geoff Elliott, general manager for east coast maintenance said: “Our newly built depot is a clean and modern environment which will break all stereotypes. We are offering people the opportunity to work on 21st century trains using industry leading technology and tailored training.”
Beacon Rail Leasing changes hands again
Institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management have acquired Beacon Rail Leasing from Pamplona Capital Management. Beacon Rail’s CEO Ted Gaffney will continue to lead the company, supported by the existing management team.
Headquartered in Luxembourg with additional offices in London and Boston, Beacon Rail currently leases rolling stock to operators in the UK, Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands. Its portfolio includes 225 locomotives, over 1000 freight wagons, 55 passenger train units, 67 double-decker coaches and 13 sets of five-car intercity carriages
Gaffney said: “This marks the beginning of a new chapter for Beacon Rail. We remain committed and are now extremely well positioned to continue to provide quality, state of the art rolling stock to the European and UK freight and passenger markets.”
Pamplona originally acquired Beacon Rail from BTMU Capital Corporation in May 2014 for approximately $450m, and has invested over €400m in new equipment and platform acquisitions. In May 2016 Beacon entered into an agreement to supply rolling stock to First TransPennine Express. It also acquired Ascendos Rail Leasing in June 2016.