As more businesses across the country re-open this week, light rail networks in key cities are continuing to adapt to the new ‘normal’.
While colleagues in operational roles continue to experience a very different working environment, light rail engineers have reported that general maintenance and even major projects have continued with far fewer complications.
Through the coronavirus pandemic, the UKTram Light Rail Engineering Group (LREG) has been meeting online every two weeks to discuss resilience and the ability of network engineers to adapt to an unprecedented working environment.
Last week members heard that there had been a return to ‘business as usual’ for the sector’s engineers and you can read the full story here.
In other news from across the sector:
Essential work to replace tram track between the Royal Centre and Old Market Square in Nottingham has finished almost a week ahead of schedule.
The replacement work was due to be completed on Sunday, July 19, but the network will now be ready to reopen today (Tuesday, July 14).
Contractors VolkerRail have worked closely with the City Council’s highways team to minimise the impact of the works while observing Government rules around Covid-19 and the network’s head of operations, Mike Mabey, said carrying this work out while restrictions were in place has helped to minimise disruption.
You can read the full story here.
West Midlands Metro
A clampdown on passengers who refuse to wear face coverings when travelling on public transport has been launched in the West Midlands.
The operation by Safer Travel involves transport-based policing teams, who have been using the four E’s approach when talking to passengers: engage, explain, educate and enforce.
However, after an initial adjustment period which focused on passenger education, Safer Travel has decided to adopt a stricter approach. Passengers that refuse to wear a face covering after being asked are now being directed to leave the transport and face receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice.
You can read more on the story here.
The tramway has received the ‘Good To Go’ kitemark, in recognition of the way it’s followed and adapted to Government Covid-19 guidelines in preparation for Edinburgh reopening to tourism.
The ‘Good To Go’ standard was developed by VisitBritian in partnership with VisitScotland, Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitEngland and VisitWales.
It’s awarded to organisations that can demonstrate that they’re adhering to current public health guidance, have produced a COVID-19 risk assessment and have adapted to implement the necessary protocols in line with Government advice.
For the full story, click here.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, says more needs to be done to encourage Metrolink passengers to wear face coverings.
He’s told the Manchester Evening News that the move was needed to allay ‘nervousness’ around returning to public transport as the number of people using trams crept up to around 20,000 in June as lockdown restrictions began to ease.
However, the network is still a long way off returning to the pre-coronavirus levels of the 120,000-plus passengers reported in early March and during lockdown numbers fell by as much as 95 per cent.
Wearing a face covering has now become mandatory on Luas and other public transport in Ireland.
The rule was introduced this week and, like similar measures in England and Scotland, it’s aimed at helping prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
You can read more on the tramways response to the new rules here.
Tyne & Wear Metro
More services may be cancelled on the system later this year as a result of driver shortages.
Due to Covid-19, two driver training programmes have been cancelled and the local media https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/metro-driver-shortage-training-covid-18572910 has reported that 16 new recruits who could have started work towards the end of 2020 may have lost the chance to join the Metro workforce.
Nexus chief operating officer Martin Kearney is reported as saying that the six-month courses could not be rescheduled for a later date and that there could be a knock-on effect for train cancellations.
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