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Railway Benefit Fund helps railway family through Covid-19

Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s North West and Central region, is also chairman of the Railway Benefit Fund. In that role, he has written to supporters to update them on how the RBF is supporting the railway family during these uncertain and most difficult times.

“We have seen a huge increase in the demand for our services since the Covid-19 outbreak,” he wrote. “Within our grants programme alone, there has been a 60 per cent increase in requests for financial assistance and our team are dealing with an unprecedented volume of cases, a level unseen since the charity began over 160 years ago.

“With many of our colleagues in the rail industry experiencing changes in working patterns, some are now struggling to cover the basic costs of living and families are finding themselves in extremely difficult financial situations.

“RBF is the charity they turn to – we are here for the railway family during these incredibly tough times. As more people have turned to us, we have extended our grant programme to ensure no family in the rail industry who needs our help is left unheard.

“Our funding depends on your generosity. The charity relies solely on the donations and fundraising of its loyal supporters and now, more than ever, we need your help. A gift from you will make an incredible difference to those who need us at this difficult time.

“Please donate to the Railway Benefit Fund Covid-19 Appeal – to help us continue to support the railway family through one of the toughest times we have ever experienced.”

Vandals attack West Midlands Trains, putting themselves and passengers at risk

Trains have been targeted by vandals at Coventry

Vandals that have attacked trains in the West Midlands could affect the operator’s ability to keep passengers socially distant.

That’s the warning from West Midlands Trains as two of its units were targeted by graffiti vandals, one in Coventry and the other in Wolverhampton.

The operator, which began running an increased timetable from Monday 18 May, is running longer trains on many routes to help enable passengers to practice social distancing. However, following a spate of recent vandalism incidents at sites across the West Midlands, the operator is having to divert an increasing amount of resources to time-consuming graffiti removal, with carriages taken out of action.

The most recent incident involved a carriage belonging to London Northwestern Railway, which was targeted in Coventry. The train affected serves destinations across the West Midlands including Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Walsall.

Trains have been targeted by vandals at Coventry (top) and Wolverhampton (above)

This follows a similar incident in Wolverhampton a week earlier and a number of previous instances last month during the national lockdown.

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said: “With social distancing currently reducing the capacity of our trains, it is more important than ever that we have as many carriages as possible available for use.

“At a time when our cleaning teams are working extremely hard in challenging conditions, it is soul-destroying for them to face this pointless additional workload just to get carriages back on the tracks.

“Trespassing on the railway is illegal, extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injury. We urge anyone who witnesses this behaviour to contact the British Transport Police.”

Scotrail tackles mental health

Dominic - MHFA

Dominic Quilty is one of more than 50 ScotRail employees who has received extensive mental health first aid training through NHS-accredited material. The scheme, launched exactly one year ago, has provided staff with the skills needed to be able to identify someone who is developing a mental health issue and guide them to the relevant service.

The Dalmuir-based ticket examiner has helped several colleagues since receiving his mental health first aid training and has made positive steps to break down the stigma and encourage more people to speak up about their own wellbeing.

However, while physical distancing guidelines have been in place, the train operator’s mental health first aiders have had to find new ways to ensure colleagues receive the support they need.

Another of Scotrail’s employees to go through the course, Derek Monaghan, who works in customer service at Glasgow Central station, has been making use of video conferencing calls to allow support group meetings to continue to take place.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 18 to 24 May 2020 and has adopted the theme of kindness. Colin Reed at Markinch station recently received ScotRail’s Employee of the Month Award for his kind-heartedness.

Colin reached out to his customers during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic through a thoughtful notice board message displayed at the station. He offered to keep in contact with any person requiring help by calling them weekly and even giving out his phone number to those needing it.

The kind gesture was shared on Twitter, resulting in hundreds of re-tweets, thousands of likes, and comments from others who had their own story to tell about Colin.

Dominic Quilty commented: “It’s really important for us to continue to break down the stigma that has historically been associated with mental health, and ScotRail’s mental health first aid training is pivotal in this.

“The skills I’ve learned has allowed me to help a number of colleagues who were going through difficult times, and my advice to others would be; don’t be afraid to speak to someone and strike up a conversion if you think they may be struggling.

“In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to ensure those going through a difficult time get the help they need.”

Nadya Kuhl, ScotRail’s occupational health and wellbeing manager, said: “During this unprecedented global crisis, it’s important that we continue to talk about our mental health.

“Whether that’s texting a friend, chatting to colleagues through video conferencing apps, or checking in with a vulnerable neighbour – our society really benefits from peoples’ selflessness and kind-hearted actions.”

Surge in trespass incidents bring warning to stay off the tracks

Trespass footage still Anglia

Network Rail is urging people to ‘Stay off the tracks and stay safe’ in a new digital media campaign.

Since the start of lockdown on 23 March, there have been over 1,000 reported trespass incidents across the railway network, and these have caused unnecessary delays to critical workers and freight services.

You vs Train Covid19 campaign.

Incidents that have been reported to Network Rail since the COVID-19 lockdown has been in place include a person walking their dog on the track and someone crossing the line with their shopping trolley.

Trespassing on the railway is illegal, so when Network Rail are notified of trespassers, all trains in the area are stopped to ensure that everyone is kept safe. Network Rail is urging people to ‘Stay off the tracks and stay safe’ in a new digital media campaign.

Mark Killick, route director at Network Rail Wessex, where over 70 of the incidents have been reported, said: “Trespassing on the railway is dangerous and can have tragic results as we are still seeing a worrying number of trespassers on our tracks.

Trespass Dilton Marsh.
Trespass footage of young boy on railway in Anglia.

“We need the public to stay safe, stay off the railway and never use it as a short cut. The conductor rail carries 750 volts of electricity on most of our routes and is always live; if you are struck by a train or receive an electric shock, this could result in life-changing injuries or even death.”

Inspector Andy Jackson from the British Transport Police, who is embedded on the Wessex route, said: “These incidents clearly highlight the widespread impact when someone trespasses on the railway. At this difficult time, it is imperative that people using the rail network are able to do so without causing inconvenience to other rail users, those involved also place themselves in considerable danger by their acts.

“This is a further plea to people not to trespass on the railway network for any reason as the British Transport Police will actively pursue and take positive action against those who fail to comply with this simple instruction.”

Network Rail has worked with British Transport Police on the uncompromising You vs Train campaign since 2018. Initially targeting young people and their parents, the campaign aims to educate on the devastating and wide-reaching consequences of trespass.

The campaign has proven to be a catalyst for positive behaviour change in young people, with youth trespass levels showing an encouraging decline of 30% in high priority locations. There were 153 such incidents between April last year and March this year, down from 217 the previous period.

Stuart Browne appointed as Hoppecke’s new general manager in the UK

Stuart Browne

Stuart Browne has been announced as the new general manager of Hoppecke Industrial Batteries’ UK operation.

He joined Hoppecke UK in 2015 as service director and was then promoted to operations director-sales and service in January last year. This specially created role was a significant move, tied into the company’s decision to forge closer links between its sales and service divisions to enhance customer support.

Stuart is now taking on the responsibility of running Hoppecke’s UK business at a time when its ability to deliver innovative and flexible solutions to meet changing customer needs is more important than ever. He commented: “Over the past couple of years we’ve redefined and improved our offer for the UK marketplace, which has really paid dividends. This is an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with our dedicated team in Staffordshire to maximise these achievements and drive the business forward.”

The company is continuing to build its credentials in the rail sector with dedicated lithium train batteries developed by Hoppecke group company Intilion. It is also capitalising on investment in motive power products such as ‘trak | powerpack lion’, a new modular lithium-ion energy system that makes switching forklift fleets from lead-acid batteries quick and easy.

“The decision to integrate our sales and service operations more and put customers at the heart of our business has been a resounding success,” Stuart added. “IT investment has allowed us to improve standards of service and maximise efficiencies across the board and we’ve put the entire team through skills training. All told, it has enabled us to capitalise on our industry knowledge and engineering expertise to help customers resolve issues to boost productivity.

“Coping with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge, but we’ve been able to maintain production levels in the UK and are encouraged by the growing level of demand we’re now seeing for our services.”

Hoppecke UK doubled its service business in three years due to organic growth with its existing customer base coupled with the introduction of innovative new services. In particular, its popular battery and charger rental service, launched in Spring 2018, is going from strength to strength, as logistics businesses remain cautious about capital investment.

HAKI and Enigma forge new distribution partnership

Enigma Haki Distribution.

HAKI, the manufacturer and supplier of modular scaffolding & tailored access solutions for temporary works, has entered an exclusive agreement with Enigma Industrial Services, which will  in future be the sole distributor of HAKI modular scaffolding systems within the UK.

Under this agreement, customers can collect stock from seven strategically located depots based in Erith (South East), Kenfig (South West), Derby (Midlands), Preston (North West), Newcastle (North East), Edinburgh and Glasgow (Scotland). Utilising Enigma’s existing network of locations across the UK. Increasing stock availability nationwide will simplify logistics and shorten lead times for customers.

Waterloo Station.

Existing HAKI customers will continue to order stock through the usual channels but can select a preferred Enigma depot for collection or to arrange delivery. Enigma customers will also benefit from HAKI’s expansion into the network, with access to a wider range of systems than has previously been available.

Extending beyond the provision of stock, HAKI and Enigma will also continue to collaborate on support services. Knowledge and resource sharing practices will improve technical support, training, and product development; enhancing the overall offering for all stakeholders.

Thomas Schüller, CEO of HAKI, said of the new partnership: “We have, over the last few years, built a very strong relationship with Enigma Industrial Services; leading to them being the largest user of HAKI Universal System Scaffold in the UK.

“During the past 12 months, we have continued to build stronger ties, which has resulted in the development of a joint plan for Enigma to distribute HAKI products nationally. Enigma currently operates one of the UK’s largest scaffolding asset bases with nationwide coverage and shares the joint belief that together, we can provide a better service for our customers and improve safety within the industry. This makes Enigma the natural choice to be HAKI’s UK distribution partner and we are excited about this venture.”

Temporary footbridge at Swindon.

Scott Hardie, managing director of Enigma Industrial Services, also commented: “Enigma’s relationship with HAKI has been developing over a number of years. It’s very satisfying that we can now go forward in partnership. I firmly believe that existing and new clients will benefit.

“We are partners who are focussed on delivering safe access solutions, improving availability of HAKI product for sale and hire via Enigma’s network of locations and thereby supporting improved safety and productivity on projects throughout the UK.”

Dawlish sea wall contributes £3 million to South Devon economy

The new sea wall will help protect the only railway line into Devon and Cornwall

Work to rebuild and improve the sea wall at Dawlish has resulted in £3 million being spent locally in south Devon between June 2019 and May 2020 by Network Rail and its contractors.

By the time the first section of the new sea wall is completed in summer this year Network Rail and main contractor BAM Nuttall expect to spend a further £1.56 million in south Devon on local labour, materials and accommodation bringing the total spend in the local economy to nearly £5 million.

This boost to the local economy of Dawlish and Teignbridge comes as a result of Network Rail and BAM Nuttall committing to spend as much money locally as possible whilst they build the new sea wall, which will help protect the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather for generations to come.

In addition, the team building the sea wall estimates that it will spend a further £5m locally as part of the plans to complete the second section of the new sea wall. Network Rail’s plans for this second phase, which will be 410 metres in length from Colonnade underpass towards Dawlish Warren, are expected to be submitted to Teignbridge District Council in the next month. The government has committed £80 million of funding to complete the upgrade of the Dawlish sea wall.

Network Rail’s Western route director Mike Gallop said: “I am delighted that we’ve spent nearly £5m with local suppliers and businesses in the Dawlish and Teignbridge area as a result of the first section of the new sea wall.

“We are committed to continuing to support the local economy, particularly in these difficult times. The proposed second section, which would continue the new sea wall north-eastwards adjacent to the station, is likely to bring in another £5m to be spent locally with contractors, suppliers and accommodation providers. I know how vital this will be for many businesses struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Phil Bowcock, operations manager at BAM Nuttall, added: “BAM Nuttall have a history of working at Dawlish since 2014. We are proud to continue this association with the area and help secure this vital piece of the UK railway. We have and will continue, through close collaboration, engage with local people, suppliers and stakeholders to support the local economy.

“This project is of great benefit to local people and the South West Region. BAM are really proud to be involved in such a great legacy.”

From June 2019 to May 2020 a total of £3,012,112 was spent locally. This includes a spend of £689,865 on local labour and £170,000 on accommodation, hotels, restaurants and in local shops.

Between now and first phase of the new sea wall being complete this summer, it is estimated a further £1.22 million will be spent with local businesses and suppliers. A further £250,000 will be spent on local labour and £80,000 on local accommodation, hotels, restaurants and in local shops.

This would bring the final spend locally during the first phase of the sea wall to £4.56m.

HS2 seeks tenders for signalling and traffic management systems

HS2 has begun its procurement process to determine which specialist contractor will deliver the state-of-the-art signalling and control systems that will allow the UK to run some of the world’s most frequent and reliable high-speed rail services.

The start of the formal procurement process for this second set of ‘rail systems’ contracts follows on from the recent launch of the track systems contest and the government’s go ahead for the start of civils work, including tunnels, bridges and viaducts.

The new contract will cover the design and build of the in-cab signalling systems that will control trains travelling at speeds of up to 360km/h between London, Birmingham and Crewe – where HS2 trains will join the existing West Coast main line – and up to 25 years of technical support.

HS2 procurement and commercial director David Poole said: “Our state-of-the-art Command and Control Systems and Traffic Management systems will allow HS2 to offer fast, frequent and reliable low carbon journeys for millions of people every year.

“I look forward to our team working with the suppliers who come forward and together ensuring that we deliver best quality and value for the project.”

The Control, Command, Signalling (CCS) and Traffic Management (TM) Systems contracts will require the winning bidder to deliver the work with a combined value of £540 million, including:

  • the design, manufacture, supply, installation, supervision, inspection, safety authorisation, testing, commissioning and maintenance until handover to trial operations of the Phase One and Phase 2a CCS & TM systems;
  • the potential extension of the Phase One / 2a TM system to cover Phase 2b;
  • the CCS & TM works required for the Phase 2b alterations at Euston station; and
  • the provision of technical support services for the CCS & TM systems for up to 25 years.

The CCS & TM systems provided on HS2 will utilise European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling and the latest TM technology.

Shortlists are set to be announced next year with contract award around 2022.

Swansea station pays homage to NHS

Swansea Station.

Continuing Network Rail’s recent tradition, Swansea station has been lit up blue in honour and gratitude to all NHS staff and other critical workers who continue to battle the coronavirus crisis.

The blue lighting of the station was also in recognition of railway colleagues, who themselves are classed as critical workers, as they have ensured passengers who need to travel are able to do so, whilst enabling vital freight is moved across the country.

Opened in 1850, the station was built by the South Wales Railway, which amalgamated with the Great Western Railway in 1863. It has been renovated and extended several times in its lifetime, most notably in the 1880s, when the stone-built office block facing High Street, on the west side of the station, was added, and in 1925-7 when the platforms were lengthened.

Swansea station.

The present-day frontage block, facing Ivey Place, was completed in 1934. Nothing now remains of the original wooden station with its two platforms and galvanised iron roof.

It is the fourth-busiest station in Wales, after Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Newport.

Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “Every Thursday, for the last couple of months or so, we come together as a nation to pay tribute to all our critical workers who continue to work every minute of every day to keep us safe and to keep the country going. It is an absolute honour for the Wales and Borders route of Network Rail to be part of this weekly event that gives so much love and appreciation to our wonderful NHS workforce and indeed all critical workers, including our very own railway family.

“The lighting up of our infrastructure, which we do on a weekly basis, is a simple yet effective way of showing all our critical workers that we understand, appreciate and applaud all their efforts during this difficult period.”

Southern train crew sing their support for NHS

Banding together for the NHS.

To praise key workers and raise money for the many NHS staff who travel on their services every day, two Southern Rail conductors and a train driver at Eastbourne have banded together to reinvent a classic song.

Bernie Barnaville had the idea to create a song, and was joined by fellow musicians from the team, Ricky Duggins and driver Harry McCormick.

Bernie said: “It’s a collaboration between a lot of us at Eastbourne, and we wanted to show as key workers ourselves, we support those who put themselves on the front line every day.”

Harry added: “We know it won’t be a Captain Tom but we think it will make a difference. We hope people can visit our JustGiving page to climb aboard the train and do their bit.

Eastbourne conductor manager Jamie Cleary said: “I think it’s brilliant – Bernie said he wanted to do something to support the NHS and I’m completely behind it.

“People know about the NHS workers we’re carrying to work, but they may forget about the postmen, the teachers and everyone else, who travel each day for all kinds of work – so we wanted to remember them.”

Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern all have trains bearing messages of thanks to the NHS and other key workers.

Angie Doll, Managing Director of Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “I’m so proud of everyone across the railway family who is working to keep our services running for key workers including the NHS.”

To contribute to the campaign, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harry-mccormicknhs

Government pledges £1.6 billion to support Transport for London

London Underground.

The government has pledged financial support to Transport for London (TfL) to help its finances during the coronavirus crisis. A total of £1.6 billion of financial aid will help the tube and the buses keep running as income from ticket sales has plummeted.

Despite having closed some stations and reduced train frequency, TfL has still been running 70 per cent of its peak tube timetable and 80 per cent of its buses, all with almost no ticket revenue.

To alleviate this problem, the Department for Transport has now agreed to supply additional funding, based on the assumption that the funding shortfall will be £1.6 billion for the period 1 April 2020 to 17 October 2020. This figure consists of an Extraordinary Support Grant of £1.095 billion and incremental borrowing by TfL from the Public Works Loan Board of £505 million.

However, given the uncertainties in predicting demand, if the actual funding shortfall for such period is greater or less than £1.6 billion, then the amount of the grant and the PWLB loan will increase or decrease proportionately, up to a maximum of £1.9 billion in aggregate.

Mike Brown.

London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said: “I welcome this support from government which will help us continue to get London moving and working again, safely and sustainably.

“London’s transport network is absolutely fundamental to the economic, social and environmental health of the Capital. Throughout the pandemic, transport workers have played a heroic role in the response to the virus – ensuring NHS and care staff have been able to get to work and save lives.

“We have worked closely with the Government and Mayor as part of the national effort to fight the virus, rapidly reducing passenger numbers to levels not seen for 100 years. This has meant that our fare and other revenue has fallen by 90 per cent.   

“We now need to help London recover as restrictions on movement are gradually eased, with public health and more active forms of travel at the forefront of our thinking.

“We have been operating up to 70 per cent of peak Tube services and over 80 percent of bus services with many of our staff ill, shielding or in self isolation. From next week we will further increase services beyond this as we progressively build towards restoring services to pre-covid levels. “Enormous challenges remain, including agreeing longer term sustainable funding for transport in the Capital. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything in our power to help deliver a successful recovery for our great city.”

Network Rail warns of the dangers of abusing level crossings

Shornemead.

Following two incidents on level crossings in Kent within a day of each other, Network Rail has issued a warning to the public not to take risks around the railway.

At Whitehall Lane level crossing near Canterbury, two young girls and two men walked through a gate, past a red light, and ran across in front of an oncoming train. The group actually left the railway a matter of seconds before the Southeastern Margate-St Pancras train passed them.

Shocking level crossing incidents in South East spark warning from rail crime teams.

In the second incident, a group of dirt bikers cut the padlocks off a locked and bolted level crossing at Shornemead, near Gravesend, to access private property. The crossing is kept locked, with only authorised users having keys.

Gerardo Chiariello, Network Rail Southern region’s head of security, crime and resilience, said: “I’m really shocked by the attitude of these adults in the recent incidents. I sometimes hear people talking as if trespass and misusing level crossings is something young people do, but these were people in positions of responsibility for young lives and they thought running across in front of a train was a good example to set.

“The bigger picture is that we’ve actually seen a drop in trespassing and other crime on our railway in the South East, through targeted action by us and the British Transport Police, and also the impact of COVID, but these incidents are worrying coming so close to each other.

“It’s absolutely crucial that everyone understands the dangers of the railway and how to treat it with respect.”

British Transport Police Inspector Jonathan Pine, who is embedded in Network Rail’s crime team in Kent and Sussex, said: “Trains take a long time to stop, from full speed it could even be a full kilometre, and in both of these incidents a single person falling over or off their bike could have been fatal.

“We’ve passed the video of the incident at Shornemead to our officers to investigate and I’d urge anyone who recognises the bikes and bikers to get in touch. This was one of the most blatant examples of trespassing we’ve ever seen, not to mention a risk to all the bikers themselves as they crossed the railway and breached lockdown rules.”

Railway Industry Association details its coronavirus concerns to government

Parliament’s Transport Committee is conducting an inquiry into ‘Coronavirus: implications for transport’. It is asking transport workers, stakeholders and members of the public to write to them about the transport issues they face during the coronavirus outbreak.

This will enable MPs to explore the impact felt by the industry, its workers and passengers in a rolling programme of work to monitor the impact of coronavirus on UK transport, sector by sector.

The Committee has already received submissions and verbal reports from a number of interested parties, including the Minister of State for Transport and Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Airlines Group.

Now, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has published the submission that it has made. This sets out that:

Darren Caplan.
  • Whilst there has been positive engagement between rail suppliers and Government, Network Rail and HS2 Ltd, rail suppliers would like to see stronger engagement with clients like Transport for London and also the Train Operating Companies;
  • Suppliers have welcomed the assurance that rail work should go ahead, where it is safe to do so;
  • The industry’s main concern is a hiatus or drying up of work; and
  • Continued effective communication and engagement throughout the railway industry will be essential as the UK moves to the next stage of tackling the virus.

RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “The past few months have been incredibly challenging for many in rail, and it is noticeable and welcome that the railway industry has received such strong support from the Government and clients like Network Rail and HS2 Ltd.

“As our submission to the Transport Committee’s consultation shows, the twin priorities of the Railway Industry Association and our members has been to ensure the railway network can enable key workers and resources to be able to move around the country, whilst also ensuring the work suppliers do – working of course within the safety guidelines – helps rail play its part in spearheading economic recovery.

“We now welcome the opportunity to work with the Transport Select Committee, the Government, client bodies and other rail stakeholders, to accelerate work and ensure the railway industry can build even better world-class rail at home and abroad – with rail supply being a leading sector in helping the UK bounce back from the Coronavirus lockdown – in the months ahead.”

Former railway engineer (91) walks 40km for charity

Ron Morris 91 completed 200 laps of his grounds for Christian Aid Week

A 91-year-old former railwayman has walked 40,000 metres to raise money for the world’s poorest people.

Former railway engineer Ron Morris knew that lockdown would prevent his South Beddington Church, St Michael and All Angels, from raising money through the usual door-to-door collections and church services and so pledged to walk 200 laps of 200 metres around the complex of almshouses where he lives.

Despite having fractured his femur last year, he made the marathon effort for Christian Aid Week, walking 40,000 metres and raising over £1,100.

After his mammoth effort, Ron said: “A year ago after I fractured my leg I couldn’t walk around the grounds once, let alone 200 times.

“I fell over on the 192nd lap when I bent down to pick up my pen. It gave me a bit of a shock, but I kept going and managed the 200.

“I have supported Christian Aid for years. I think it is important to care for our neighbours whether they are local or across the world.”

Christian Aid was founded after VE Day when people in churches across Britain and Ireland gave £80,000 – the equivalent of over £3 million today – to relieve the suffering of refugees across Europe.

Ron, who was 17 on VE Day and working in the drawing office at Southern Railway, said: “I actually don’t remember much about VE Day, but I can remember the day before, hoping we would have a day off work, and, on the evening of the day itself, my mother played in a dance band on the steps of Wallington Town Hall and I remember dancing.

“Before, during and after the war, communities were much more caring, they looked after each other and in recent years people haven’t even known their neighbours anymore.

“I think that post-virus might be more like post-war, people have been thrown back together because of coronavirus, even though we have had to stay apart.

“I have been fortunate and done some travelling in my life to places like South Africa and Kenya as well as Australia and New Zealand and it helps to bring home how we are all connected. That’s why Christian Aid is important to me because it does valuable work overseas helping the world’s poorest people.”

Christian Aid head of community fundraising and public engagement Chine McDonald said: “Ron’s story is an inspiration to us all. Lockdown means that Christian Aid Week cannot be a community celebration in the usual sense, where people go house to house collecting or gather for special services.

“But Ron shows us how community can still thrive and we can reach our neighbours whether they are near or far despite the circumstances.

“Covid-19 has underlined how we are all connected, all vulnerable. But in times of crisis the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalised are at the greatest risk and the pandemic threatens to push millions of people into extreme poverty, which makes support for Christian Aid even more urgent this year.”

St Michael and All Angels usually raises around £1,500 each year. To help Ron reach that target you can sponsor him via his fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ron-Morris

MTR European chief to retire in September

Jeremy Long.

Jeremy Long, CEO of the European business of MTR, is to retire on 30 September 2020 after 15 years at the helm.

Established in 1975, MTR now runs railways in Hong Kong, the UK, Sweden, Australia, China and Macao. Jeremy Long joined in May 2005 to establish a business for MTR in Europe, and has led its progressive development in UK and Sweden over this period.  During this time, MTR has become known as one of the most reliable and customer-focussed rail operators in the region.

Under Long’s leadership, MTR won a number of contracts including London Overground and the Elizabeth Line (TfL Rail) in the UK, and Tunnelbanan, Stockholm’s Metro system, and established the open access MTR Express operation in Sweden.

In the UK, MTR has been twice named London Transport Rail Operator of the Year – for MTR Elizabeth Line services.

Announcing his retirement, Jeremy Long said: “I am very proud of what we have achieved over these last 15 years, and want to say thank you to all the brilliant colleagues who have played their part in this.

“MTR has established a deserved reputation for customer service and operational focus. There is considerable potential for MTR to continue to grow its business here as the European rail markets evolve.”

Darren Leigh joins Unipart as CFO

Leading independent manufacturing, logistics and consultancy company Unipart Group has announced the appointment of Darren Leigh as group chief financial officer.

Darren’s recent experience has been in the technology sector, at both Sage and Finastra, but he previously worked in the rail industry with Freightliner and, before that, in the automotive sector with Inchcape.

Commenting on the appointment, Unipart chairman and group chief executive John Neill said: “We are very pleased to welcome Darren to our group of companies. We continue to have the benefit of a strong finance function and long-term relationships with our key customers and banks.

“Even in the best of times, we have never been complacent. We have relied on our unique company spirit, and the skills of our people, to find new and innovative approaches to meeting the real and perceived needs of our customers better than anyone else.

“Faced with perhaps the greatest challenge our generation will ever see, I am confident that Darren’s technology focus and experience will make a significant contribution as we shape the future for our company, combining our ability to implement The Unipart Way with our digital transformation. This will enable us to provide new products and services and accelerate our journey to become a technology led company.”

Leigh is looking forward to his new role. “I’m delighted to be joining the Unipart Group and strongly admire the culture it has built based on The Unipart Way and its reputation for exceptional customer service and employee engagement,” he said.

“I know Unipart has often been at the forefront of the most important corporate innovations. I look forward to playing my part as the company continues to reinvent itself as it has so successfully done in the past, and to play a strong role in supporting and driving Unipart’s digital transformation.”

Southern ticket office worker dies after man coughed over her

Belly Mujinga. Photo credit to TSSA/Belly's family.

While many people have died in the current coronavirus outbreak, transport workers amongst them, one recently revealed case is particularly shocking.

Belly Mujinga, a ticket office worker with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) Southern at London Victoria station, died of coronavirus in April after being spat at on the station concourse. She was 47 years old and leaves behind her an 11-year-old daughter.

On 22 March 2020, Belly and a colleague were on shift at London Victoria. They were out on the concourse by the ticket office when they were assaulted by a member of the public who spat at them, coughed over them and told them he had the virus.

Not surprisingly, Belly and her colleague were shaken by their experience and went into the ticket office to report the incident, asking for the police to be called.

The two women asked not to be sent back outside but instead work from inside the ticket office with a protective barrier between them and the public for the rest of that day. They were concerned for their safety, but management said they needed people working outside and sent them back out onto the concourse for the rest of their shift.

Within days of the assault, both women fell ill with the virus.

Belly had underlying respiratory problems for which she had previously had time off work. She had problems breathing and had had an operation as well as regular hospital appointments.

Belly’s condition grew worse and she was taken to Barnet Hospital by ambulance on Thursday 2 April. She was put on a ventilator but died on 5 April, 14 days after she was assaulted. The last time Belly’s husband saw her was when she was taken away in the ambulance. At her funeral on 29 April, only ten people were allowed to attend.

Belly was a member of the TSSA union, which has reported the incident to the Railways Inspectorate, the safety arm of the Office for Road and Rail (ORR), for investigation. TSSA is also taking legal advice on the situation and supporting her family and colleagues. The British Transport Police is also investigating the incident.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “We are shocked and devastated at Belly’s death. She is one of far too many front-line workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock recently announced that £60,000 would be paid to the survivors of health and care workers who die as a result of the pandemic. Our view is that this compensation should be extended to the families of all front-line workers who perish trying to keep our country and vital services going.

“Sadly, Belly’s is just one of many family tragedies where children have had their parents taken away from them. However, there are serious questions about her death, it wasn’t inevitable. As a vulnerable person in the ‘at risk’ category and her condition known to her employer, there are questions about why GTR didn’t stand her down from front line duties early on in this pandemic. The assault she suffered at work was scary and we do not think the company treated it seriously enough.

“Rather than talking about the easing the lockdown, the government must first ensure that the right precautions and protections have been taken so that more lives are not lost. Anyone who is vulnerable should remain at home and home working should be the default wherever possible. Our rail industry needs to have a very serious look at what tasks are deemed ‘essential’ and must put protections in place for all our members and our passengers.”

Angie Doll, managing director, Southern Railway and Gatwick Express, said: “We are devastated that our dedicated colleague Belly has passed away and our deepest sympathies are with her family, with whom we have been in touch through this very difficult time.

“Tragically, many people across the country have now been directly affected by Covid-19, including those in the rail industry who are doing the vital job of ensuring train services can continue.

“We take any allegations extremely seriously, and we are investigating these claims. The safety of our customers and staff, who are key workers themselves, continues to be front of mind at all times and we follow the latest Government advice. We urge people only to travel if it is absolutely essential.”

Railwayman joins international VE Day pipe tribute

Although many of the community celebrations planned for VE Day had to be cancelled due to the current coronavirus outbreak, one very special and solitary tribute was able to go ahead.

All over the nation, and the world, lone pipers chose places of special significance – from mountain tops to war memorials – to play two pieces of music at 3pm.

‘Piper Bill’ Millin alongside Brigadier Lord Lovat approaching Pegasus Bridge on D-Day.

‘When the Battle’s O’er’ was composed in the late 19th century by Pipe Major William Robb of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. It became a regular part of the piping repertoire between the Boer and First World Wars.

‘VE Day 75’ is a new piece, specially written for the occasion by Roger Bayes of the City of Norwich Pipe Band.

The musical tribute not only celebrated VE Day but also payed homage to the many pipers who have led their colleagues to war, many paying the ultimate price. Pipers such as Piper Bill, otherwise known as Private William Millin of No. 4 Commando and personal piper to Brigadier Lord Lovat, commander of the 1st Special Service Brigade on D-Day. When they landed on Sword beach, Piper Bill, the only man wearing a kilt (the same one that his father had worn in the Flanders trenches during World War One) played as his colleagues invaded France.

Pipe Major Robert Roy of the Black Watch.

Another famous war-time piper was Pipe Major Robert “Rob” Roy MBE DCM of the Black Watch. He played while his colleagues broke out of Tobruk in 1941. Shot and felled twice, he carried on playing. When he was shot a third time, and couldn’t get up, he continued playing while lying on the ground.

These are the men remembered during the VE Day tribute. One railwayman who took part was Andy McKenna, managing director of Amtrain. As the Pipers’ Association had recommended that, where possible, pipers should play in uniform, Andy proudly donned the uniform of the ‘Orange Army’ before he played.

Eave FocusLite detects and reports noise levels as well as preventing hearing damage

Good hearing protection needs to prevent hearing damage when working in noisy environments but should still allow workers to hear instructions and warnings from managers and colleagues. It a complex challenge.

Now, however, award-winning noise and hearing conservation organisation, Eave, has launched what it claims is the industry’s most advanced occupational hearing protection: the FocusLite.

Every year the UK spends hundreds of millions of pounds on occupational deafness insurance claims. Protection is available but is often abandoned due to its limitations as colleagues struggle to communicate. And in some cases, businesses just aren’t aware of the extent of the noise on their premises – Illegal, inexcusable, but also, perhaps, understandable.

Eave believes that The FocusLite is the only hearing protection available with built-in noise reporting technology. It works in conjunction with Eave’s hearing conservation platform, Peak, enabling businesses to ‘fit-test’ their working environment, reducing hearing loss for employees and avoiding industrial negligence allegations.

While providing high-quality hearing protection, the FocusLite can also record noise levels in the workplace. With microphones built into the ear guards, the FocusLite digitises the sound levels and automatically reports back to the Peak hearing conservation platform, allowing business managers to understand where on their premises harmful noise levels may be an issue and take steps to reduce noise or provide protective equipment for additional departments and team members.

At the same time, the FocusLite employs industry-leading ‘hear-through’ technology, which removes the isolation of passive ear defenders and filters through sound at a safe level, allowing users to communicate comfortably and clearly while maintaining environmental awareness.

Eave founder and chief executive officer, Dr David Greenberg, commented: “We are really excited about the FocusLite. It’s the second Peak-compatible product we’ve released, and we think that it could be a real game-changer. Not just for businesses, but for individuals worried about regular exposure to high levels of noise.

“We often undervalue our hearing – until we begin to lose it. Then we realise just how integral it is to life. Not just in terms of convenience, but in terms of community and belonging. Not being able to hear is incredibly isolating. People joke about deafness, but it’s really no laughing matter.

“Hearing loss costs the UK over £30 billion per year. Much of that hearing loss is preventable.”

Florence Nightingale and I K Brunel

Florence Nightingale, the pioneering nurse famous for her ground-breaking work in dramatically improving healthcare in Victorian times, was born on 12 May 1820 in Florence, Italy. Her work training and managing nurses during the Crimean War made her a national hero.

During her work in the Crimea, she reported horrendous conditions for injured British troops at Scutari Barracks in Turkey. A hospital at the barracks was only accessible by sea and up steep, winding slopes, and it lacked a proper water supply and drainage. Once inside, the injured faced further danger – it is reported that, for every soldier who died from his wounds, three would die from disease.

Renkioi Hospital in Turkey.

Her reports prompted the government to act. In 1855, Sir Benjamin Hawes, Permanent Under-Secretary to the War Office, who happened to be Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s brother-in-law, asked him to design and construct a better hospital for use in the Crimean War, one that could quickly be built in England and shipped to the Crimea.

Brunel come up with a design for a prefabricated hospital with 1,000 beds. Each unit would consist of two wards – each for 24 patients – and would be self-contained with its own toilets and nurses’ room. Each patient would have 1,000 cubic feet of air space and there would be one large ventilator fan and drainage system for each unit.

Brunel also designed new baths and wash basins from scratch. In addition to the wards, he designed surgery, dispensary and officers’ rooms made from wood, and a kitchen, laundry and bakery made of metal.

Brunel was asked to come up with the design in February 1855. It took him just two weeks!

23 ships carried 11,500 tonnes of material to Turkey and construction began in May. The new hospital at Renkioi began admitting patients in July 1855 and became fully functioning by that December.

Florence Nightingale’s signature on a deed from 1895 for land in Pleasley, Derby. The land, for the Leen Valley Extension, was sold to the Great Northern Railway Company. (From the Network Rail archive)

It was only running for a short time before the end of the Crimean War in February 1856, but the entire operation was an incredible achievement – it received about 1,500 patients, only 50 of whom died. The figure represents 10 times fewer deaths than the previous hospital at Scutari.

Florence Nightingale’s legacy continues.  The newly built hospitals for coronavirus patients, quickly set up in exhibition halls around the country, are known as the Nightingale hospitals.

Limited edition model of Capt Tom Moore loco raises £140,000 for NHS

Model railway manufacturer Hornby Hobbies has released a limited-edition version of its Class 66 locomotive model to represent the locomotive that GB Railfreight named after Capt. Tom Moore.

Having seen the reaction to the unveiling of the 129-tonne, Class 66 freight locomotive named in Capt. Moore’s honour to mark his 100th birthday, Hornby asked GB Railfreight if they could replicate their loco in miniature form with all profits being donated to the NHS as a thank you for the work frontline staff are doing during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Class 66 Locomotive.

The original plan was to make only 500 models. However, Hornby found it impossible to keep up with demand and, in less than 48 hours, it had sold more than 2,500. Since then, Hornby has added 1,000 more to its stocks and sales of the model have raised £140,000 for the NHS.

The full-size Captain Tom Moore locomotive has already been playing its part to help the COVID-19 recovery by hauling loads, including containers carrying PPE gloves, from Southampton to distribution centres around the country.

Simon Kohler, marketing & product development director at Hornby Hobbies, said: “Like others, we at Hornby were inspired by the achievements of the amazing Captain, now Colonel, Tom Moore and we were so pleased that GB Railfreight, Porterbrook, Procast Foundry and Railwayana Auctions teamed up to create a special livery on one of GB Railfeight’s Class 66 locomotives.

“As a special thank you to Col. Tom Moore and the NHS, Hornby will be producing as a limited edition, 3500 models of locomotive 66 731, ‘Capt. Tom Moore – A True British Inspiration’ the sales of which will generate £140,000 which will be donated to the NHS Charites with our heartfelt appreciation in what they are doing for us all.”

Bob Tiller, engineering director of GB Railfreight, said: “We are delighted that the Captain Tom Moore locomotive ably reproduced by Hornby, has been such a success and sales have helped raise more money for NHS charities supporting our wonderful NHS heroes as we deal with the ongoing pandemic.  The popularity of the model shows what an inspiration, Captain Tom Moore has been to us all.

“The speed at which the 3,500 miniature locos had been sold is testament of the whole railway community, including railway enthusiasts’, appreciation for the work of the NHS during this period.

“I hope that this locomotive will be a cherished reminder on model railways for years to come of the debt we owe to the NHS and the important role that the railway and freight services have been playing in helping the UK through this crisis.”

Greater Anglia increases services from Monday 18 May

Greater Anglia has announced how it will change its services to help maintain social distancing as more people return to work, while still ensuring that keyworkers can continue to travel safely.

From Monday 18 May, the company will run an amended Saturday timetable, giving an increased frequency on the Great Eastern main line from Colchester, Clacton and Southend to London and the West Anglia Main Line from Cambridge to Liverpool Street.

Regional lines will remain as they are currently, but the hourly Norwich to Cambridge service will now run as a direct through service to Stansted Airport again.

The Norwich-London intercity service will continue to run once an hour, but during peak periods will not call at Colchester or Chelmsford, running non-stop between Manningtree and Stratford. Instead, passengers at Colchester will be served by three trains per hour and at Chelmsford by four trains per hour on the Great Eastern main line.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director said: “Government advice is still to avoid public transport, so please only travel with us if your journey is absolutely essential.

“We are continuously monitoring passenger numbers to make sure customers can continue to follow Government and Public Health England guidelines on social distancing wherever possible.

“Our top priority is that customers and staff can travel safely while the coronavirus outbreak persists. We will continue to pay particular attention to cleaning high contact areas on our trains and stations such as push buttons, door handles and grab rails.

“We would kindly encourage customers to buy tickets online or via our app. If that’s not possible then please use contactless payment on our ticket vending machines.

“We have marked up our trains and stations with tape and markings to help customers to socially distance. A one door in and one door out system may be in operation on some trains or stations, please look or listen out for instructions from our staff.

“There are other ways that customers can help us to keep them safe – please consider starting or finishing work earlier or later so that not everyone is travelling at the same time.

“The Government is also advising people to wear a face covering when using public transport.”

Alstom financial statement shows strong market position and includes Bombardier takeover update

Alstom has released its 2019/2020 financial statement, which revealed the company received €9.9 billion of orders in the year, resulting in an order backlog of €40.9 billion. Sales were €8.2 billion, two per cent up on the previous year despite a slowdown at the end of the period due to coronavirus. Overall margin before interest and taxes was 7.7 per cent, a total of €630 million.

2019/2020 was the first year of the company’s Alstom in Motion strategy (AiM) announced by Alstom in June, which sets a clear ambition to be the leading global innovative player for sustainable and smart mobility by 2025. The group is already progressing on the AiM priorities of:

  1. Growth by offering greater value to customers;
  2. Innovation in smarter and greener mobility solutions;
  3. Efficiency powered by digital;
  4. One Alstom team, agile, inclusive and responsible.

“This fiscal year was the first of our new strategy Alstom in Motion, which was launched last June and is now being deployed throughout the Group,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and chief executive officer.

“Although considered a stabilisation year, Alstom enjoyed strong commercial momentum in a very dynamic railway market. We won major orders especially in Europe and in Asia-Pacific. In addition, we secured pioneering orders for our green mobility solutions, illustrating the potential of such technologies and the dynamism of the shift to carbon free transportation modes. The continuous improvement in our operational performance demonstrates the Group’s focus on profitable growth.”

Alstom’s planned takeover of Bombardier Transportation is still on track. On 17 February 2020, the company announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bombardier Inc. and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”) in view of the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation.

Now, Alstom’s unions have indicated they will render their opinion around summer 2020 on the proposed takeover of Bombardier Transportation, according to the “method agreement” reached with management. An EGM vote on the reserved capital increases to CDPQ and Bombardier Inc. and the rights issue should take place no later than October 31, 2020.

Subject to the EGM approval, rights issue will take place between the second semester 2020 and first semester 2021, subject to market conditions, and the reserved capital increases will take place at closing. The syndication of €2.4 billion of Bridge Facilities and a new €1.5 billion Revolving Credit Facility related to the proposed acquisition of Bombardier was completed in April 2020 as planned.

The transaction will also be subject to clearance from relevant regulatory authorities and anti-trust authorities. Closing is expected in the first half of 2021.

TfL sets out plans for safe travel in London

When the Prime Minister stated that those people who can’t successfully work from home – workers in the construction and manufacturing industries for example – should, return to work but avoid public transport so as to maintain social distancing, he didn’t fill in much detail as to the alternatives. He suggested ravelling by car, or bike, or walking, but, for some workers, their only method of transport is by bus or train.

Transport for London (TfL) has set out its initial plan to support this and help Londoners who need to travel do so safely and sustainably. This will be supplemented over the coming days following advice on travel to be issued by Government and will require significant changes to the way in which people travel in London.

During the crisis, TfL has been able to operate up to 60 per cent of Tube services and more than 80 per cent of bus services to support essential journeys. This is while managing the impact of the virus on the transport workforce with staff ill, shielding or self-isolating.

Now, in keeping with plans on the national rail network, TfL is working to safely and gradually build up service levels to where they were before the pandemic and will return the number of buses and trains running to as close to 100 per cent as soon as possible. TfL is working closely with staff and the trade unions with the intention of, by 18 May, increasing service levels to around 85 per cent on the bus network, at least 70 per cent on the Tube and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80 per cent on the DLR and a full service on TfL Rail.

Step-free access at Tfl rail station.

On the Underground. TFL aims to restore the Circle line and to re-open some of the 37 stations that have been closed for several weeks. However, some stations will stay closed for now so that staff can be deployed to help manage any congestion at busier stations. Some stations with lift-only access may need to remain closed as social distancing is not possible.

However, as is the case with national rail services, this does not mean a return to the transport network that existed before the crisis. The national requirement to maintain two metres for social distancing wherever possible means that TfL will only be able to carry around 13-15 per cent of the normal number of passengers on the Tube and bus networks, even when 100 per cent of services are operating once again over time.

The need for social distancing creates a challenge far greater even than that experienced during the 2012 Olympic games. During that period, it was necessary to reduce normal travel demand by 20 per cent to keep travel safe. Now, demand will have to be reduced by more than 85 per cent compared to normal, to enable social distancing to be maintained wherever possible.

Even with the lockdown in place, and with only five per cent of journeys currently being made on the Tube, there are certain times and locations where social distancing is already very difficult. The challenge in managing social distancing will become greater as, over time, more people who cannot work from home return to using the network.  

The government is expected to issue detailed guidance shortly that should be followed by businesses, Londoners and others as they consider whether they need to travel and, if so, how. It is already clear that this will include the message that where people can work from home they should continue to do so and that public transport should be avoided wherever possible.

Everyone is being asked to stay home as much as possible, work from home if possible, maintain social distancing of two metres where possible and ensure hands are washed regularly. Everyone is asked to consider if their journey is necessary before travelling, and to think about the times, routes and ways they travel so that everyone has more space to stay safe. This will ensure the transport network can keep running safely for those who have no alternative means of making their journey.

Reflecting these national messages, TfL has set out the following advice for Londoners:

  • If you can work from home, please continue to do so. Please avoid public transport wherever possible. Social distancing on public transport will not be possible unless we radically reduce the overall number of people travelling to work;
  • Do not expect to return to the transport network you were used to before. The number of people TfL can safely transport on buses and trains is severely constrained to enable social distancing;
  • If you need to travel, please reimagine how you do so. Walk and cycle if you can. New walking and cycling space is being created through the London Streetspace programme to further support this;
  • Please shop locally and use local leisure facilities to help keep demand on roads, buses and tubes down;
  • If using public transport, or taxi and private hire services, please travel outside of peak times and use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitizer and wash your hands before and after you travel. The latest Government advice is that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent you from getting the virus, they could help prevent you from giving it to others. Face coverings are particularly important where 2m social distancing is hard to maintain;  
  • Advice on maintaining social distancing will be given across the transport network and further measures to prevent crowding through new queuing systems will be in operation. This includes new social-distancing posters on display at bus stops, stations and in shelters, and two-metre floor markings on platforms at stations. Please respect each other’s space and try to maintain social distancing wherever possible;
  • Our hardworking staff are there to help: please act on their instructions and respect them at all times;
  • If you have to drive, please avoid peak times and obey speed limits and traffic laws at all times.

To support the higher levels of walking and cycling that will be needed and support social distancing on streets, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and TfL have begun the ‘London Streetspace’ programme. Working with London’s boroughs, this will rapidly transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Streetspace includes the rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on underground and train lines and on busy bus corridors. Work to widen footways in town centres across London and to reduce traffic on residential streets is also underway.

New London Overground trains interior.

TfL is introducing a range of further measures. Hand sanitizer points will start to be introduced across the transport network over the coming weeks, with points to be installed at every Tube and TfL rail station. They will also be installed in all bus stations and the Victoria Coach Station, and at TfL River Piers, the Woolwich Ferry, Emirates Air Line and at all London Overground and DLR stations where it’s safe and secure to do so. The rigorous cleaning regime for buses, trains and stations will continue.

All taxi and private hire companies and drivers are being asked by TfL to put protective measures in place including ensuring face coverings are worn by drivers.

As the Mayor has set out, Londoners are being asked to play their part in the national effort against the virus and will be asked to wear facial coverings whenever travelling on public transport or by taxi or private hire vehicle. This could help reduce the rate of infection. TfL front line staff, cleaners, and London’s bus drivers will also be offered face masks, should they wish to use them.

TfL introduced an enhanced cleaning regime on its network earlier this year. This includes additional hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact, new anti-viral disinfectant that protects for up to 30 days, key interchanges being cleaned more frequently including during the day and all regular ‘touch point’ areas on buses, such as poles and doors being wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Coronavirus has had a profound impact on public transport in London and will continue to do so long into the future. All public transport providers face huge challenges around social distancing – with the number of passengers TfL can safely accommodate on Tubes and buses reduced by over 85 per cent.

“We will all have to continue playing our part in reducing demand on services by working from home if we possibly can. Please avoid public transport wherever possible. I urge all Londoners to rethink the way they travel. Please avoid peak times, wear a non-medical covering over your nose and mouth and carry a hand sanitizer.

“By rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling through our London Streetspace plan we are enabling many more journeys to be made through these sustainable means which is crucial to our city’s recovery.”