Bristol Temple Meads to Receive Electric Trains

The UK’s secretary of state for transport, Patrick McLoughlin, visited Bristol Temple Meads station in Bristol, UK, earlier this month, as it is to be part of an electrification project for the Great Western mainline.

Previously, the UK government had announced an investment of £9.4 billion in electrification, and £4 billion in new intercity trains.

The secretary of State said of the visit, ‘We are seeing phenomenal passenger growth in Bristol, where station usage is up 46 percent over the last 10 years, and across the country. This is why this Government is committed to a programme of continued investment in the railways. A huge amount of money is being spent on electrification. Bristol will be one of the first areas in the country where new electric trains – which are faster and more reliable – will be running.’

The work will be carried out by First Great Western, a UK based railway company, in collaboration with the Department for Transport.

Mark Hopwood, the managing director of First Great Western, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Transport to this important part of our network.

The Government’s commitment to invest in the rail network and in new trains is an essential piece of the jigsaw in improving passenger journeys across our network.

I’m convinced IEP will deliver another revolution in passenger travel with the prospect of quicker journeys from 2017.’

Recently, the company cancelled the services on part of its network due to flooding. On advice from Network Rail, the company had cancelled certain services at some locations and was running trains at reduced speeds at other locations.

Irish Rail Announces Increase in Fares from December 2012

Iarnrod Eireann, the Irish national rail company, has announced new fares from December 1, 2012.

The National Transport Authority has announced an increase in single and return fares, complimenting the earlier increase in monthly and annual season ticket fares. Iarnrod Eireann is implementing its fare increases from December 1, 2012, with the monthly season ticket fare increases to be implemented from January 1, 2013.

The single, return and season tickets for adults, children and students will rise by an average of 3 percent for intercity and long-distance journeys of 41km and more, and by 10 percent for Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and short-distance journeys.

A report published by the National Transport Authority, said, ‘Public transport fare increases have been deemed to be necessary in recent years as the operators have sought to compensate for reduced PSO payments, declining numbers of passengers due to the economic situation and reduced ancillary revenues.

Cost reduction programmes have been put in place by the operators, but these take time to design and implement, and costs have not fallen to the same extent as the revenue base. Cost reduction has also been hindered by the significant increase in fuel costs, which are largely outside the operators’ control. The result has been that increases in fares have been counter to, or in excess of, inflation and economic growth.’

Iarnrod Eireann, said in a statement, ‘Iarnrod Eireann will continue to provide a range of heavily discounted online fares through www.irishrail.ie significantly below these regulated fares, as well as student, family fare and other promotions throughout the year. Furthermore, commuters who purchase monthly or annual season tickets through their employer via the Taxsaver scheme receive tax relief of up to 52 percent on the cost of their season tickets.’

Scotland to Guernsey Flights Offered by Channel Islands Travel Group

Channel Islands Travel Group, a travel company based in the Channel Islands, which are part of the UK, will be offering a new service from Glasgow Airport, in Scotland, to the Channel Island of Guernsey.

The new route will commence from the summer of 2013. The company is offering flights every Saturday, from June 29, 2013, to September 14, 2013, using a 46 seat ATR-42 aircraft. The new route will be a first between Scotland and the Channel Islands in some years.

The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies, located in the English Channel, near the French coast of Normandy.

Robert Mackenzie, the managing director of the Channel Islands (CI) Travel Group, said, ‘We are delighted to have concluded negotiations for the launch of a new service from Glasgow Airport to Guernsey for summer 2013. Airways Holidays and GuernseyTravel.com will fly the route.

CI Travel has always had a strong presence in Scotland but it has been some years since Scottish visitors were able to travel directly to Guernsey. We believe that this new opportunity to visit the Bailiwick for a holiday and fly direct from Glasgow will prove very popular.’

Amanda McMillan, the managing director of Glasgow Airport, said, ‘Guernsey is a popular destination among Scottish travellers and it is therefore great news that they will be able to fly direct from Glasgow Airport next summer instead of taking a connecting flight.

We look forward to working closely with C.I. Travel to make their 2013 flight programme a success.’

Greengauge 21 Reports HS2 to Benefit UK Regions

Greengauge 21, a UK based non-profit company which is investigating the concepts related to HS2, a UK high speed rail network, has reported that the service will bring economic benefits to the West Midlands area of the UK.

The HS2 high-speed rail link is under construction between London, the Midlands and Northern England. The new report suggests that the service will offer improved connectivity to the main international airports and the Channel Tunnel for onward connection to the European HSR network.

The route will also provide fast rail access from the regional cities in the UK to London, as well as to other European business hubs.

Greengauge 21 director, Jim Steer, said, ‘There are good reasons to believe that the regions will benefit more than London, because the capital enjoys excellent connectivity already. While HSR will improve transport accessibility across Britain, in the key regional cities the difference will be transformational.’

Centro, a UK based organisation operating bus, rail and the Midland Metro Tram transport in the West Midlands area, has viewed Greengauge 21’s report positively. The Centro chief executive officer, Geoff Inskip, said, ‘We’ve seen rail demand soar in the last decade, and a doubling in passenger numbers in the West Midlands.

We’ve consistently spoken of the benefits HS2 brings in delivering more capacity to our crowded rail network, so it’s particularly pleasing to see Greengauge 21 has noted there will be economic benefits in cities like Coventry which will enjoy better regional connections and reduced congestion.

With new fast, direct services and the significant capacity released on our existing lines for more passenger and freight services this report makes it clear the regions can enjoy greater benefits than London.

In fact, HS2 will help us to rebalance our economy and allow us to be more competitive as regions.’