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Rail delays on London to Scotland route

Rail passengers are facing long delays on a London to Scotland route after a person was hit by a train.

The incident, near Darlington in County Durham, is leading to hold-ups of up to 90 minutes.

The line between Newcastle and York is closed, with replacement buses being arranged.

Passengers facing delays are those travelling with the East Coast, First TransPennine Express and Grand Central train companies.

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Locomotive makes first journey on historic line

It's been an historic day for the Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire as the A4 steam Locomotive, Bittern, made its first journey along the heritage line.

Hundreds of delighted passengers were there to see the locomotive, the sister of the world's fastest steam locomotive, Mallard.

Its visit marks the start of this year's Swaledale Fesitval, which has celebrated music and arts in the Dales for more than 40 years.

Bittern comes to North Yorks after chance pub chat

Bittern's arrival in North Yorkshire is down to the Artistic Director of the Swaledale Festival, Malcolm Creese, who had a conversation in a pub with one of the bosses of the company that owns the locomotive.

Bittern's visit marks the start of the annual festival of music and arts across Wensleydale and Swaledale, which has been running for 42 years.

Crowds gather for Swaledale festival

Crowds at the Swaledale Festival.
Crowds at the Swaledale Festival. Credit: ITV

Crowds gathered early this morning to welcome the locomotive, Bittern, to the Wensleydale Railway.

It's the sister of the famous Mallard - which celebrated the 75th anniversary of its record breaking 126mph run on the East Coast main line last year.

The event was organised to mark the start of the Swaledale Festival.

Three generations of train enthusiasts were there to see the LNER A4 Pacific No. 4464 'Bittern', on the first day of the May Bank Holiday.

The LNER A4 Pacific No. 4464 'Bittern'.
The LNER A4 Pacific No. 4464 'Bittern'. Credit: ITV

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HS2 "should start in North at same time as South"

The head of the HS2 rail project said building work should start in the North of England at the same time as the South East, which would see high speed trains coming to Leeds by 2030, three years earlier than currently planned.

The £50 billion project will see trains travelling at 250mph, but would only go as far as West Yorkshire, leading to concerns that the North East would lose out economically.

The Northumberland MP Alan Beith said the comments were "good news" but that he would prefer improvements to the East Coast Mainline, which runs between London and Scotland via the North East.

National

HS2 'will transform existing rail service'

The introduction of HS2 will "transform" service on existing train lines, Network Rail says.

Paul Plummer, group strategy director at the rail authority, said: "HS2 will sit at the heart of Britain's transport network, allowing us to reshape the railway in a way that incremental improvements simply cannot.

"That's why we welcome the report's recommendations and its call for an integrated approach to planning and operating the railway," he said.

Mr Plummer added: "The step-change in capacity that HS2 enables across the network as a whole will transform the service on existing lines, creating the space we need to meet growing demand and deliver new and better connections."

Read: HS2 boss wants to fast-track high-speed rail project

National

North 'faces lost decade' if HS2 boss ignored

The potential HS2 train design.
The potential HS2 train design. Credit: HS2/PA Wire

The north will face a "lost decade of growth" if recommendations to extend the early phase of HS2 are not accepted by politicians, a major rail union says.

Following Sir David Higgins' call to extend phase one of the project to Crewe, TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: "Sir David is absolutely right - we cannot, as a country, take the slow line to a high-speed rail future.

"We need to make sure that the north benefits as quickly as the Midlands and the South from this huge investment.

The alternative, he said, is a "lost decade of growth while the South East powers ahead of the rest of the country with the lion's share of the budget".

"The £50 billion investment must benefit the whole country if it is to help re-balance the economy," Mr Cortes added.

Read: HS2 boss wants to fast-track high-speed rail service

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