Vivarail’s Class 230 achieves UK first with 40-mile battery-powered trip

Vivarail achieved a UK first yesterday (Jan 15) as their Class 230 train travelled 40 miles on battery power alone.

It comes during a time of desperate need for a cleaner, greener train network as the UK strives for net zero carbon by 2050.

During testing runs in the autumn of last year, the train made this distance many times, making it fully approved and ready for passenger service.

The Class 230 train is able to replace ageing diesel stock on a number of lines, not only reducing carbon emissions but also providing an enhanced service due to superior acceleration.

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said, “We began our work on battery power a couple of years ago and since then we have tested the train in passenger service at Bo’ness, built the fast charge system and proved the range the train can operate.”

“With a new type of battery which we will use in our upcoming production trains we are confidently predicting a range of 60 miles between charges with only a 10-minute charge time. We look forward to providing emission-free trains and playing a significant part in decarbonising the UK’s rail network.”

Work began on the fast-charging trains in November 2017, following a grant from Innovate UK to develop battery technology.

More to follow.

Photo: Vivarail

Safety concerns prevent AA crews stopping on smart motorways

Smart motorway networks are considered so dangerous AA breakdown crews are not allowed to stop on the roads to help stricken motorists.
AA crews are instructed to drive to a safer location and wait for a car to be towed by Highways England crews according to a former staff member. The revelation comes after data revealed nine people were killed in accidents across the smart motorway network last year.

Speaking to the BBC, former AA patrolman of the year Tony Rich revealed how several road users are forced to wait up to 17 minutes for help.

He said: “We’ll contact the customer to say ‘we can’t stop where you are’.

“We will contact Highways England, go to a safe area and wait for the vehicle to be delivered.”

An AA spokesperson told several recovery groups have signed up to a safety group Survive who has issued advice against recovering cars on smart motorway networks.

Recovery teams are told to not attempt to stop or provide assistance on smart motorways if a traffic officer is not in attendance or a safe area has not been created.

Edmund King, AA President said: “Being stuck in a live lane is incredibly dangerous. The official advice is keep your seat belt and hazard lights on and dial 999.

“It is not safe for breakdown organisations to recover vehicles unless the lane is closed and has a physical presence sat behind the casualty vehicle. This is either the Police with blue flashing lights or Highways England Traffic Officers with red flashing lights.

“This highlights the severity of breaking down in a live lane and further emphasises our calls for double the number of Emergency Refuge Areas. Providing drivers with more places of relative safety would reduce the risk of vehicles being stuck in a lane of fast moving traffic.”

Mr Rich also said many cars often breakdown out of sight of sophisticated cameras used to monitor the road for issues which can lead to delays.

He even revealed many of the smart motorway cameras were not working at all.

The revelation comes a day after document published by The Sunday Times confirmed camera technology used to detect broken down vehicles could stop working in moderate to heavy traffic.

In leaked documents, the system’s chief engineer, Mike Wilson, said the dense traffic can make it difficult to detect stopped vehicles.

The revelation means motorists could be stuck on the side of live motorway lanes in a major safety hazard.

Eight-year old schoolboy Dev Naran was killed when a lorry hit his family members vehicle after breaking down on a live smart motorway lane.

The danger saw four people killed on a stretch of smart motorway on the M1 in just ten months.

In a letter leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, police and crime commissioner Alan Billings said officers repeatedly warned how the M1 smart motorway plans would put lives at risk.

Mr Billings said his team had raised serious concerns about losing the hard shoulder on the road and said he was not convinced the plans would make the road any safer.

The roads have no hard shoulder and motorists with car issues are forced to drive to an Emergency Refuge Area which can be spaced over one mile apart.

Data from Highways England has shown over 19,000 cars have stopped on a live lane over the past two years alone.

The statistics equate to an average of 26 breakdowns on the roads each day in a major concern for road users.

The risks pushed Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to admit people were dying on the roads and announce a Department for Transport review into the roads.

The conclusions into the review is expected in the coming weeks although Highways England boss Jim O’Sullivan has already announced some changes to the networks.

Just months ago, Mr O’Sullivan confirmed Highways England would not be building any more all-lane active running schemes after branding the road too confusing.

However, Highways England have previously said evidence shows all-lane running schemes have reduced casualty rates by more than 25 percent.

In a previous statement, Highways England said all smart motorway roads have incident detection and automatic signalling systems in place.

They added detection for stopped vehicles would be incorporated in all future smart motorway schemes as part of the design.

However, they said stopped vehicle detection was just part of several safety features in the roads.

They added the road would not be deemed unsafe if the technology was not installed in the road.

Like Piccadilly Circus, but spherical: is east London ready for the MSG Sphere?

The prospect of illuminated advertising displayed on a giant globe the size of the London Eye has some Stratford residents worried –

MSG Sphere, a planned concert venue for Stratford, east London. Photograph: The Madison Square Garden Company

Between the Olympic stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit squiggle – not to mention Westfield shopping centre – the east London neighbourhood of Stratford has acquired more than its fair share of high-profile buildings in the last decade. But even as the Olympics recedes into the past, a new debate is now raging over what might be the most controversial proposal yet: the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere.

In March this year, MSG submitted a planning application for a spherical entertainment complex, 90 metres high and 120 metres wide, containing restaurants, shops, a nightclub and the centrepiece: a 21,500-capacity auditorium. The same diameter as the London Eye and almost as tall as Big Ben, the giant sphere will be covered 190,000 sq ft of LEDs, programmable to display images on the exterior.

What MSG London executive vice-president Jayne McGivern describes as “a joyous ball of magic”, Newham councillor Harvinder Singh Virdee has called a “blob”, and another local activist “unprecedentedly monstrous”.

The project has received support from the Newham Chamber of Commerce and representatives of nearby Newham College and the University of East London. Other residents are more concerned, and have formed a campaign group called Stop MSG Sphere. Their main objections regard noise and light pollution, increased traffic and the resulting rise in air pollution, anti-social behaviour, and strain on public transport and roads. There are also worries that it will block out natural light to homes, some of which are located only 50 metres away.

Then there is the advertising. In the artists’ blueprints, the “skin” of LEDs displays wholesome scenes of the night sky or planet Earth, but the planning application allows for advertising, potentially presenting the opportunity for a kind of giant spherical version of Times Square or Piccadilly Circus.

Part of a campaign poster from Stop MSG Sphere.

“The advertising has been a whitewash,” says Lindesay Mace of Stop MSG Sphere. “They show very few examples [in the blueprints], and they’re all calming, blue background, which blends in with the sky. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that the reality won’t be like that.” MSG counter that under the plans submitted, advertising will be allowed for a maximum of 50% of the time the Sphere is illuminated, and that the facade will be turned off or placed in a low luminance “stand by” mode from midnight to 6am in the summer and 7am during winter and spring.

The Sphere would be located on triangular piece of land behind Stratford station. “It’s a densely populated residential area,” says Mace, “which is something that MSG have done their very best in their images and assessments to downplay: there are thousands of residential properties nearby.” MSG claim that impacts to the surrounding area will be minimal, pointing to the fact that the site is also surrounded by live railway lines.

There have also been objections from Newham Council, which in July backed a report critical of the Sphere, and voted that it be submitted to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for consideration. But activists point out that McGivern, who has been the public face of the company locally, was a board member of the LLDC from 2012-16.

In November, campaigners also released correspondence between senior staff at the LLDC and MSG London, acquired through freedom of information requests, in which the two parties discussed the US company’s “strategy” to deal with “local resistance”. The emails also pointed to 33 unminuted meetings and apparently unrecorded hospitality for LLDC staff. MSG say there is nothing irregular or unusual in this.

Backers of the proposals point to a summer poll, commissioned by MSG Sphere, that found 85% support among local residents. They say it will bring employment to the area, in construction and in the culture sector.

Campaigners counter that only 21% of those polled had heard of the proposals, and only 11% of the MSG Sphere specifically.

Although promotional images show the MSG’s ‘skin’ displaying wholesome images, campaigners are concerned that the planning application allows for potentially invasive advertising.

McGivern nevertheless cites the poll as a major indicator of support. “The poll demonstrates overwhelming local support for MSG Sphere, including for the thousands of jobs and significant economic impact this state-of-the-art entertainment and music venue would bring,” she said.

The company is promoting the idea that London needs another music venue of that size. The planning application says the city “has an undersupply of dedicated large entertainment venues in comparison to other major world cities”, arguing that only SSE Arena in Wembley and the O2 in North Greenwich are capable of hosting the largest international touring acts. It points to New York, a similarly-sized city with seven such venues, though it does not mention London’s Alexandra Palace or its major park festivals – such as Hyde Park and Finsbury Park – which have capacities close to 100,000.

The proposed site is a triangular wedge of land behind Stratford station.

MSG also claims that a smaller venue also included in the planning application, with a capacity of 1,500, and a 450-capacity nightclub will have a positive trickle-down effect on smaller music venues and local acts in London.

Local scepticism, however, derives in part from the experience of hosting the Olympics, for which tens of thousands of jobs were promised by the LLDC that protesters pointed out this summer have still not materialised. “Obviously the Olympics left positives, like the park and the sports facilities,” Mace said. “But it has also left us with the LLDC, an unelected corporation without any real accountability, a planning authority for a lot of land that was previously under local authority control. Seven years on from the Olympics, what we’ve seen is lots of developments, with little visible benefit for local people.”

What would be visible, of course, is the sphere itself, for miles around, an issue that Mace emphasises has not been properly discussed. “The size and illumination of it will be unprecedented – we believe in the UK, and quite possibly in Europe.”

  • This article was amended on 12 December 2019 to correct references to the amount and duration of advertising proposed for the Sphere

Automated cone laying vehicle trials due to start

Highways experts are developing pioneering technology to eliminate one of the biggest risks facing England’s roadworkers.

Highways England and its partners are joining forces to create automated vehicles to lay cones on the country’s motorways and major A roads – and prevent workers having to lift an average 10 tonnes of equipment per shift.

Cones are needed to protect road users and road workers while essential improvements or maintenance is carried out on the busy routes.

But dramatic footage released today by Highways England shows how terrifying it can be for the workers who traditionally put the cones out, working in tandem from the back of a vehicle as motorway traffic thunders past just yards away.

As the workers manually lift and place each of the cones, the footage shows vans and lorries rushing by, often beeping their noisy horns.

Now Highways England is working with a group of industry experts to develop pioneering machines that will take away the need for cones to be manually placed. This will improve safety and free up two workers to carry out other tasks.

The automated cone laying machines could be in use by the end of 2020.

Highways England Group Leader Martin Bolt, who oversees innovation in the Midlands, said:

“Safety is always the priority for Highways England and we are constantly looking for ways to ensure everyone who works and travels on our road network is protected.

“By taking out the human element in the laborious task of putting out cones, we will be taking out an element of potential risk. As well as taking away this physical labour, these automated machines could also save valuable person hours and allow us to redeploy the workforce to other traffic management duties.

“We are delighted to be working with all of our partners to create an innovative vehicle that will make this possible.”

Experts from Highways England, Kier, HW Martin Traffic Management and competitors Highway Care and King Highway Products are working together in a collaborative effort to resolve this potential safety risk.

Highways England are funding the development and establishing a minimum standard while the companies themselves are developing the vehicles.

Putting out cones is still currently undertaken by two people on the rear of a vehicle working in tandem. The bulk of this work is undertaken at night and carried out in most weathers.

An average 1m high cone weighs approximately 10kgs.

A typical 4km closure involves putting down – and later removing – approximately 260-300 cones, meaning that two workers will both handle between 5-6 tonnes per shift in cones alone.

When additional equipment such as frames, signs, lamps, sand bags are factored in, it is not unreasonable for them to lift between eight and 10 tonnes per shift.

A single kilometre of coning takes approximately 15 minutes to install and remove, resulting in an exposure time to live traffic of approximately two hours per shift.

To date, ergonomics experts have struggled to identify a suitable method of placing and removing cones that doesn’t have an impact on workers due to the twisting of the body required and environmental conditions that the work is undertaken in.

Two automated cone laying vehicles are being developed with testing due to get under way next month at a centre in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. If the tests prove successful the two companies will be able to take their vehicles to the marketplace.

Highways England criteria stipulates that not only must the machines offer a safer method for highways workers, they must be safe for all road users and pose no further risk to traffic.

It is hoped both machines – if they prove themselves in testing – will be implemented in late 2020.

Highways England is committed to investing in innovation and this is the latest automated machine which has been put to use to improve safety and reduce disruption for drivers.

A quirky road-marking robot is being used to mark out new or resurfaced roads saving hours of engineers’ time on schemes across the country and avoiding hundreds of hours of disruption.

And tests began last year on the A14 of self-driving dump trucks which move huge amounts of earth and provide the potential to work around the clock so could help reduce the length of time roadworks are on the ground.

Water industry takes major step towards becoming carbon zero

Working with two international consultancies, Ricardo and Mott MacDonald, the sector will develop a comprehensive action plan detailing the measures the industry will deploy to achieve zero carbon emissions over the next decade.

The water industry is the first industrial sector in the UK, and one of the first major sectors in the world, to commit to a carbon zero future by 2030. The goal forms part of the industry’s Public Interest Commitment (PIC) released earlier this year with the carbon zero goal one of five stretching social and environmental ambitions.

As the fourth most energy intensive industry in the UK, the water sector directly contributes around five million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. As well as the immediate impact of carbon reductions, the industry intends to share its learnings to help other major energy-using industries to deliver their own plans.

The consultancies will add their expertise and lead on the production of the plan, which will be published in March 2020 followed by a detailed report in the Summer. Ricardo and Mott Macdonald, on behalf of Water UK and UKWIR, will carry out research to help define and agree a practical approach to the pledge, while also assessing what carbon reduction measures will have most impact.

Progress on the goal will be independently assessed each year, with key milestones reported publicly. Individual companies will use the action plan to inform their own detailed approaches to meeting net zero across the industry by 2030.

Water companies have already started working towards the carbon zero goal with many programmes and initiatives in place. These include:

  • The industry plans to plant 11 million trees across the country by 2030. The joint proposals, announced earlier this year, will see trees planted on around 6,000 hectares of land across England together with work to restore original woodland and improve natural habitats that themselves provide carbon capture.
  • As bottled water is around 900 times more carbon intensive than tap water, the water industry has led on a national shift towards refilling water bottles through the Refill campaign. With partners City to Sea the industry has delivered an increase in the number of free refill stations from 1,500 in 2017 to around 26,000 today – and the number continues to grow. In addition, the sector has committed to preventing the equivalent of four billion plastic bottles ending up as waste by 2030 through the PIC
  • Building on a reduction in leakage of a third since the 1990s, water companies in England have committed to triple the rate of leakage reduction to 2030 as part of the PIC and are delivering plans to reduce by a fifth the average amount of water used per person by 2050. This will significantly reduce the carbon and energy used by the sector.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water and one of the sponsors of the project on behalf of the sector, said: “This is an important first step on the sector’s journey to be net carbon zero by 2030. Climate change is an existential threat to our environment, and way of life. Business as usual is simply not an option.

“This vital project will help us find the technologies and processes we will need to help us become carbon zero. We’ve made great strides in recent years reducing both operational and embedded carbon, but we don’t have all the answers. So, bringing in outside expertise to help us reach this target is essential.

“The water industry is committed to playing a leading role in decarbonising our economy and while achieving net zero carbon for the sector by 2030 is an extremely challenging task there is huge conviction, enthusiasm and passion from across the sector to ensure we achieve it.”

Ian Behling, project director from Ricardo for the net zero strategy, said: “We’re proud to be working on this project, and both Ricardo and Mott MacDonald are able to bring a wealth of experience and technical understanding that will support the UK water industry in creating a robust and effective net zero strategy.

“This important investment not only sets the direction of the UK’s water industry, but will also influence other sectors, given the important role the water companies will play in supporting the UK’s 2050 net zero ambition.”

Maria Manidaki, water sector carbon management lead from Mott MacDonald, said: “We are delighted to be helping the water industry transition to net zero by 2030. Achieving net zero will require fundamental changes to the way we think of water infrastructure systems and their interaction with customers, other infrastructure sectors, the environment and the wider society and economy.

“Leadership, collaboration and fresh thinking will be paramount to achieving a net zero transformation and both Ricardo and Mott MacDonald are ready to drive this change with Water UK.”

The water and sewerage industry in England agreed the Public Interest Commitment (PIC) in April 2019, strengthening their ongoing commitment to work in the public interest and place wider good at the heart of everything they do. The companies agreed a series of pledges which complements their individual business plans by showing leadership at a national level.

The sector will champion measures through which water companies can enshrine what it means to operate in the public interest within their business purpose, in line with best practice among leading socially-responsible businesses. This could include steps such as amending licences or Articles of Association.

In addition, as part of the PIC, water companies have also agreed to work together towards five challenging goals:

  • Triple the rate of leakage reduction across the sector by 2030
  • Make bills affordable as a minimum for all households with water and sewerage bills more than 5% of their disposable income by 2030 and develop a strategy to end water poverty
  • Achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030
  • Prevent the equivalent of four billion plastic bottles ending up as waste by 2030
  • Be the first sector to achieve 100% commitment to the Social Mobility Pledge.

Each of the goals in the PIC is sponsored by one or more water company chief executives. The net zero carbon pledge is sponsored by Peter Simpson, Anglian Water; Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water; and Liz Barber, Yorkshire Water.

£7 million highways scheme completed to cut congestion in Birchwood

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has hailed Warrington Borough Council following the completion of a £7 million highways scheme to cut congestion in Birchwood.

The Warrington East project – a series of transport and highways improvements on Birchwood Way – has officially finished.

The completion of the third and final phase brings to an end the major programme of improvements for the area.

Phase three consisted of the dualling of the A574 Birchwood Way between the Moss Gate/Daten Avenue junction and M62 junction 11. It was opened to traffic in December.

The new carriageway has been constructed on land reserved for this purpose since the Northern Expressway was first built in the mid-1970s as part of the Warrington New Town highway network.

The council says the scheme will play a key role in supporting the economy, including the Birchwood Enterprise Zone, Birchwood Boulevard and Birchwood Shopping Centre.

Northern Powerhouse and local growth minister Mr Berry has responded to the news.

He said: “Congratulations to Warrington Borough Council and Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership on the successful completion of this important infrastructure project which will help reduce congestion, improve connections and support businesses to grow.

“This £6.9 million investment from the Government’s local growth fund into the Warrington East highway demonstrates our commitment to boosting economic growth, levelling up and connecting communities across the Northern Powerhouse.”

Cllr Hans Mundry, the council’s cabinet member for transportation, highways and public realm, says the scheme will make a ‘huge difference’ to motorists using the stretch of road.

“I’m absolutely delighted that this hugely important project – delivering major transport improvements on a key gateway into Warrington – has been completed on time and well within budget,” he said.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden was also left delighted.

“The completion of the Warrington East programme is a major success for our borough and an important part of our ongoing investment in our highways infrastructure,” he said.

Water treatment works giving energy back to the grid

Castle Moffat Water Treatment Works, just south of Garvald, abstracts water from Whiteadder Reservoir. It provides on average 21 Ml/day of clean, fresh drinking water to approximately 47,000 customers across all of East Lothian.

This self-sufficiency is a result of hydro power which is supplied by a new state of the art generator and control panel which were upgraded in a £200,000 investment last May. The original hydroturbine, which is more than 50 years old, was installed on the site in 1992 and was in need of refurbishment.

Castle Moffat WTW is the only Scottish Water asset where pumped water is used to power a site. The water is pumped from Hungry Snout Pumping Station at Whiteadder Reservoir, over Friar’s Nose Hill and then drops by gravity to the site inlet. It generates 750,000 kWh/annum – enough to power 2,416 homes.

The site uses around 80% of the electricity it generates from the turbine with the remaining 20% exported to National Grid.

Claire Chapman, renewable generation manager at Scottish Water, said: “Castle Moffat is a unique site of ours. It is our only water treatment work where we have a hydroturbine on a pumped water supply. The introduction of the Feed in Tariffs in 2010 have meant that typically, only gravity-fed hydroturbines have been promoted across Scotland, as pumped sites did not attract funding. However, because we offset nearly all the electricity generated at the Treatment Works, it is still a financially viable site for Scottish Water.

“This is a good example of how Scottish Water uses innovative technology to best adapt to  Scotland’s topography, to build sites that best serve its customers. And in this case it is not only a very clever technically built site in terms of how it pumps water but how it able to harnesses hydro power and use that energy to operate the site which is great news for the environment.

“At times Castle Moffat also gives electricity to the National Grid, showing it is possible to maximize the economic advantages that can come from Scottish Water assets.”

“Castle Moffat is really important in terms of the direction we’re moving in with our carbon footprint and trying to reduce the amount of electricity we use. Using renewable technology like hydro and getting greater value from our day-to-day practices is helping us play our part in tackling the climate change emergency.”

‘Smart’ crossings for A418 Oxford Road

Three ‘smart’ pedestrian crossings will be installed in Oxford Road, Aylesbury, during the next three months.

They will replace crossings outside the TA Centre, at Mill Way, and outside Aylesbury College. They will co-ordinate with each other, and with the Fowler Road junction lights when they are upgraded, and will be integrated into the Aylesbury traffic network to improve traffic flows across the town.

The new ‘intelligent’ crossings form part of Buckinghamshire County Council’s £2.69 million improvement plan to improve traffic flow and journey time reliability on the busy stretch of the A418 Oxford Road.

Work, which will take three weeks at each location, starts at Mill Way on Monday 27 January to replace the crossing and connect it to new control system cabinets. Installation then moves to the college crossing, starting on Monday 17 February, followed by the TA Centre crossing, beginning on Monday 9 March.

The majority of the work will be done with off-peak low speed lane closures between 9.30am and 3.30pm with some night work to complete each crossing.

While work is going on at Mill Way crossing, pedestrians will be advised to use the nearby crossing outside the TA Centre. When work starts outside the college, a temporary staggered crossing will be created opposite Bearbrook Close.

The full improvement scheme, covering the section of Oxford Road from Coldharbour Way roundabout to the roundabout at the junction with Friarage Road, includes:

  • Junction improvements
  • Pedestrian crossing upgrades
  • ‘Smart’ traffic lights that adapt to traffic flows
  • New stretches of cycleway and footway
  • Real time passenger information
  • New double-length bus shelter outside Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

Work was recently completed on new sections of shared footway and cycleway to Aylesbury’s Gemstone cycleways: Ruby Way and Pearl Way have been joined between Mill Way and Gatehouse Road, and Pearl Way and Pebble Way are linked by Pearson Close.

Widening nearly 100yds (90m) of Fowler Road, to provide a left-turn lane into Oxford Road towards the town centre, is progressing this week (w/b 13 January) with the repositioning of kerblines.

Mark Shaw, County Council Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said Oxford Road was an important route into and out of Aylesbury, which attracted a high volume of traffic, causing congestion and delay at peak times.

“We’re investing in this scheme to improve the reliability of journey times by reducing congestion and delay, and that’s got to be good for residents, businesses and commuters alike,” said Mark. “I appreciate the work will cause temporary inconvenience and I hope people will bear with us while we make these improvements.”

The scheme budget is made up of a £2.191m bid from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, and developer funding of £500,000.

Network Rail to improve Beverley railway station

Network Rail has announced today (Jan 14) a £600,000 investment into improving Beverly railway station, to improve passenger experience and enhance the station’s aesthetic and general condition.

The footbridge at the station will be fully refurbished, including strengthening the steps and the walkway on the bridge’s structure, and repairing any corrosion from weather and time.

The bridge at the station is listed, so while painting will be carried out to help protect it from future wear and tear, Network Rail will be working with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to obtain permission to upgrade and ensure the work preserves the heritage of the bridge.

The project is currently in the planning phase, with Network Rail working on finer details ready for work to begin on site in early 2022 and completed later the same year. Passengers will still be able to access both platforms via a temporary footbridge.

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North and East Route, said:

“We are delighted to announce this much needed investment at Beverley station which will greatly improve the appearance of the station and provide a more pleasant experience for users of the bridge.

“Beverley station is a listed building, so it is really important that this work is carried out in a way which will preserve the heritage for years to come.

“We look forward to beginning work and to passengers feeling the benefit once complete.”

Local councillor, Chris Matthews, has said he is delighted by the investment and hopes to encourage as many people as possible to use the trains in the area adding that he is confident this work will help to achieve that.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, said:

“Last year, I was contacted by constituents travelling from Beverley railway station regarding the condition of the footbridge. As a user of train services to and from Beverley I shared their concerns about the sad state of the station bridge.

“I contacted Network Rail who are responsible for the overall structure and repair of the bridge and was pleased to hear that complete refurbishment and maintenance are now being planned.  Together with the additional direct services to London now being run out of Beverley it is welcome news that this renewal of this grade 2 listed footbridge will make the train station an even more attractive place to start your journey.”

Find out which roads could receive a £10million upgrade

Rawtenstall’s roads could be in line for a £10million-plus upgrade.

On Thursday, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the submission of an expression of interest’ to the Department for Transport’s new Local Pinch Point Fund.

It would ask for £9.25million to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of St Mary’s Way including the gyratory system ­— a signal controlled junction system ­— which officers identify as a blackspot for traffic congestion.

The proposal has been welcomed by Cllr Andy MacNae, one of Rawtenstall’s representatives on Rossendale Borough Council.

The report to senior councillors also requests approval of a local contribution of between £1.5m and £2m towards the scheme, should the submission be successful.

The government fund has £150million available for local highways authorities to bid for spending between 2021 and 2023. They have until the end of the month to submit initial bids.

The report to cabinet says: “An exercise has been undertaken to identify locations that meet the criteria of the fund and, as a result of this exercise, St Mary’s Way including the gyratory in Rawtenstall town centre has been identified as the priority submission.

“The current configuration of the gyratory together with high traffic flows limits its effectiveness and limits connectivity across Rossendale borough and with neighbouring areas. It also results in unreliable journey times for buses.

“Investment in the gyratory will be aimed at alleviating current congestion, improving journey times and improving road safety.

“The improvements will also be aimed at reducing harmful emissions.”

Hareholme ward’s Cllr MacNae said: “We have been pushing for investment in roads in the town for a long time.

“The gyratory roundabout in the middle of Rawtenstall is very difficult for pedestrians and cyclists and suffers severe traffic congestion at peak times.

“With all the housing planned for the town, things are only going to get worse. I welcome this bid and will support it. The only question is whether it is ambitious and big enough.”