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Search begins for company to build HS2 trains

Credit: HS2

A search is underway for a company to design, build and maintain a fleet of new high speed trains.

Up to 60 trains would transport passengers at around 225 miles per hour on the new rail service HS2.

The £2.75 billion contract is said to create hundreds of jobs.

Building work is due to start in the spring on the Birmingham to London section of HS2, taking the project from planning to construction.

The winner of the bid will be announced at the end of 2019.

  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, January 2017

Clean. Soft. Hard. Red, white and blue. We're getting a better idea of what sort of Brexit we're heading to.
And we may be getting an idea of what destination the long-running Southern Trains dispute is heading to, as well. And Donald Trump - does he know where he's heading? The Dorchester ... in Southampton?

To discuss all this -

  • Conservative Ed Vaizey MP, from Wantage in Oxfordshire;
  • Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb in Brighton from the Greens;
  • Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove in Sussex

join Phil Hornby, our Political Correspondent

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The latest on the Southern Rail talks

Southern Rail says it will resume a normal service from Tuesday next week.

The company has been locked in talks with the drivers union ASLEF all day today as the two sides try to come to a deal.

With the latest is our transport correspondent Mike Pearse.

Mike spoke to the General Secretary of ASLEF Mick Whelan.

Southern services delayed after signal problem

Arrivals page for Victoria station Credit: Mike Pearse

Many services have been delayed on Southern Rail this morning due to a signalling problem between Clapham Junction and Victoria.

Although the industrial action scheduled for next week by the ASLEF union has been suspended, passengers still faced disruption.

The arrivals page for Victoria, on the companies website, shows almost every train running late.

Action by drivers has led to one in four trains being cancelled on most days.

Southern's website is warning passengers of a reduced train service in operation today.

Southern to restore full rail service from Tuesday

Credit: PA

Southern Rail has announced it is to restore its full train service from next Tuesday after the drivers' union ASLEF has suspended its industrial action.

The train operator has said it is not possible to reintroduce the normal timetable until then as work rosters for this week have already been issued.

Southern have said that the RMT's conductors' strike on Monday 23rd January also restricts its capability to return the service to normal before then.

Credit: PA

Over 70% of its trains will be able to run during Monday's strike by the RMT union, which is 10% more than previous days of industrial action.

The long-running dispute is regarding Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains which means drivers are in sole control of the train's operation.

Gatwick Express will run again every 15 minutes from Tuesday and be extended every half an hour to Brighton until 10pm when it will run half hourly until midnight and then restart at 5am.

This will allow engineering work to continue to improve route reliability.

However, Thameslink does run an overnight service to and from Gatwick.

Credit: PA

The following routes, which were previously suspended on RMT strike days, will now operate on Monday:

  • Eastbourne – Hastings
  • Chichester – Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Lewes – Haywards Heath
  • Coastway stations (including Bognor, Littlehampton, Eastbourne, Worthing and Hastings) will regain a direct service to London

Routes which previously finished early in the evening will now run much later.

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Talks aimed at ending Southern dispute begin

Credit: PA

Talks aimed at ending the long-running dispute over driver-only trains will begin today between the ASLEF union and Southern Rail.

The train drivers' union ASLEF has agreed to suspend all industrial action on Southern Rail scheduled for next week.

The walkout was planned for 24th, 25th and 27th January.

However, industrial action by the RMT union over the role of guards, set for Monday 23rd January, will still go ahead.

The talks are to be held at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) House from today.

We are committed to finding a fair solution to this dispute. We are pleased that all parties have agreed to meet for meaningful talks.”

– TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady & Abellio UK HR Director, Andy Meadows

NHS asks public about changes to healthcare

Credit: PA

The NHS in Oxfordshire has this week begun asking the public, patients and clinicians their thoughts on possible changes to healthcare services.

The first phase of the 'Big Health and Care Consultation' will last for three months and is specifically looking at changing the way we use hospital beds, planned care at the Horton General in Banbur and acute stroke services.

It will also look at critical care at the Horton General, maternity services and emergency gynaecology surgery in North Oxfordshire.

It is part of a five year plan, across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West about how the NHS plans to bring about the 'changes we all need to make'.

It aims to tackle the challenges the NHS is facing as 'demand grows and budgets are limited'.

The second phase of the consultation, set to begin from May this year, will focus on community and primary care services.

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