Monday, 22 December 2014
"Four decades ago, something came along that many people feel helped save the railways.
A sleek, pacy, high-speed train, the InterCity 125. With its familiar sloping nose, the 125 symbolised a new era of clean lines and high technology on a network that had been underfunded and getting tatty for decades.
"Now, we are getting the first glimpses of the train the government has picked to replace it.
"The Hitachi 800 series won't be carrying passengers for at least another four years but it will finally come over from Japan for its first tests next year.
"It's not without controversy. At around the £6bn mark, the Public Accounts Committee has recently questioned whether the taxpayer will ever get value for money, especially if passenger numbers drop off in future. In fact they've questioned whether the government should be buying trains at all, normally the industry does it.
"But ministers say the new Hitachis will cut journey times for passengers and create hundreds of UK jobs.
"They will appear on the Great Western line in December 2017 and the East Coast mainline in 2018."
Sunday, 21 December 2014
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"In exactly four years' time, Europe's biggest infrastructure project will open to the public.
"Crossrail is a new railway line running from east to west across London. It sounds simple enough but this is a project on a scale that echoes the great Brunel himself.
"It includes 26 miles of tunnels and we were lucky enough to go down a few, just to see how they are getting on.
"I say lucky. You should try climbing down 50 metres of claustrophobic metal staircase in full safety gear and carrying all the camera kit."
Thursday, 18 December 2014
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"AN attempt by Labour to stop Barnet Council relocating its waste depot to a site in New Southgate has been thwarted.
"At last night’s full council meeting, Barnet mayor Hugh Rayner used his casting vote to force through plans to start negotiations for the purchase of the Lupa House site, in York Way, Borehamwood, and the Abbots Depot, in Oakleigh Road South, New Southgate.
"The council has to find an alternative site for its depot in Bittacy Hill, Mill Hill, which it has to vacate in 2016, after plans fell through to relocate to Pinkham Way, next to the North Circular Road in New Southgate."