Andy Byford

Transport for London Commissioner Andy Byford to speak at AusRAIL Live & On Demand

When Transport for London (TfL) Commissioner Andy Byford delivers his international keynote at AusRAIL Live & On Demand next month, it will be in the midst of a pivotal time for the organisation he leads.

Just two years into the delivery of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which sets the ambitious goal to see 80 per cent of all trips in London to be made on foot, by cycle or on public transport by 2041, COVID-19 has changed the game again.

Transport for London has this week secured additional funding as it continues to deliver safe and efficient public transport services while facing significantly lower patronage levels as a result of the pandemic.

When Byford addresses AusRAIL in December, the UK will be reaching the end of its current lockdown.

This will be a unique chance to hear from an international leader as they respond to COVID-19 in a country that has been particularly hard hit.

While the challenges of this year have been unprecedented, Byford has a significant agenda ahead beyond the pandemic.

With the transport strategy highlighting a good public transport experience as one of its three pillars, the long term focus is for public transport to provide the most efficient way for people to travel distances that are too long to walk or cycle.

TfL has already identified a range of actions that will be required to get people out of their cars and onto the public transport network.

The organisation has noted the need to prepare for new technology and unpredictable changes to the way we live – a particularly prescient goal in light of this year’s events.

TfL is also looking at a more efficient and fair way to pay for transport projects in London.

Before the pandemic hit, the organisation was on the path to achieving self sufficiency as it progressed towards this goal.

TfL continues to work with partners across London and beyond to enact the transport strategy as it seeks to meet its goals and support a more liveable, vibrant city.

With so much on the agenda, there could not be a better time to hear from Byford, who joined TfL earlier this year.

His insights on 2020, and reflections on his experience working in leadership roles globally, will be valuable to many in the industry.

Byford is just one of many international keynotes to take part in this year’s AusRAIL, with the online format providing rare access to some of the world’s most prominent rail industry executives.

MTR Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Australian Business Terry Wong will also present at the event.

As part of the team behind metro operations in Melbourne and Sydney, his insights into the changing face of passenger rail in Australia will be worth hearing.

Mr Byford and Mr Wong will also be joined by Crossrail CEO Mark Wild, LA Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank and SYSTRA Grand Paris Express Project Director Nicholas Massart at AusRAIL.

With up to six months of continuing access to presentations after the event, AusRAIL Live & On Demand provides a rare chance to connect with these industry heavyweights, from the comfort of your home or office.

To be part of AusRAIL Live & On Demand, register today.


Partnership to produce hydrogen-powered trains in UK

UK rollingstock owner Eversholt Rail will join forces with Alstom to produce a new class of hydrogen-powered trains to decarbonise the UK rail sector.

With a combined investment of £1 million ($1.78m), the new trains nicknamed Breeze will be re-engineered versions of Eversholt’s Class 321 fleet, which have been in use on the UK rail network since 1988.

The hydrogen powered trains will be built at Alstom’s Widnes Transport Technology Centre near Liverpool and are expected to create 200 jobs in the North West region of England. Alstom will use its hydrogen train technology that has been in service in the Coradia iLint trains.

Nick Crossfield, managing director of Alstom UK and Ireland, said that the new trains would support the UK government’s initiatives in hydrogen power.

“It’s time to jump-start the UK hydrogen revolution. With the government looking to invest in green technologies, Alstom and Eversholt Rail have deepened our already extensive commitment to this job-creating technology with a further million-pound investment.”

The partnership expects the trains to fill the gap in zero-emission services where electrification of lines is not possible. This would be particularly the case on regional rail services.

Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint trains have run trial passenger services in Germany and the Netherlands, and Alstom recently signed a deal to prepare for the introduction of hydrogen trains in Italy.

CEO of Eversholt Rail Mary Kenny said the hydrogen trains extended a commitment to innovation.

“Eversholt Rail has a proud record of innovation in key rolling stock technologies and this further investment in the Breeze programme demonstrates our commitment to providing timely, cost-effective solutions to the identified need for hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of the UK railway.”

The UK government aims to phase out diesel-only trains by 2040 and Alstom and Eversholt rail expect to have the first Breeze trains in service by 2024.

Notice to proceed issued for HS2

The UK government has issued a ‘notice to proceed’ for companies to begin work on High Speed 2 (HS2).

The decision ensures that construction will go ahead on the controversial project, and confirms that work will progress while the country grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and associated lockdown measures.

The ‘notice to proceed’ is the formal approval for the construction of stage one of the project, from London to the West Midlands. This stage project is split into four work packages awarded to four separate joint ventures. Awarded in 2017, the joint ventures are:

  • SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG);
  • Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels UK);
  • EKBF JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman); and
  • BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement).

HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson, said that the decision is an assurance to the rail industry.

“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.”

HS2 Ltd, the public company overseeing HS2, estimates that 400,000 supply chain contracts will be created in phase one of HS2.

“In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports – and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation,” said Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd.

The UK government has also published the full business case for the project.