Striking rail cleaners protest outside Parliament

Train and station cleaners employed by contractors Churchill on Govia Thameslink Railway, Southeastern, Eurostar and HS1 are staging a 24-hour strike today in a dispute over pay. They will also be demonstrating by holding a rally opposite New Palace Yard in Westminster at 10.45. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The rail industry make a lot of noise about how important they think cleaning is, but the reality is that they and the government turn a blind eye to gross exploitation by outsourcing companies like Churchill. This is a company that is handing out dividends, while paying cleaners poverty wages and refusing to pay sick pay when they get ill. These unprecedented strikes show that members have had enough and won’t take it any longer.’ Meanwhile, cleaners employed by Atalian Servest Limited on Avanti West Coast are also set to stage the first of two 48-hour strikes from 19.30 tomorrow. Unless agreement is reached over pay, they are also due to walk out again for 48 hours from 19.30 on 10 March.

Trains expected to return to Rotherham as floods recede

Rotherham Central station is expected to reopen today after being flooded by the River Don. Network Rail had expected problems after river level readings had been provided by the Environmental Agency while more heavy rain had also been forecast, so the station was closed on 19 February to allow the removal of equipment at track level before the river overflowed. The rescued items were replaced last night after the water had receded, and trains and tram trains should return at about 10.00, according to Network Rail.

Alstom wins £130m Network Rail signalling contract

Network Rail has awarded a major design and delivery contract to Alstom as part of a £194 million investment in signalling in the Cambridge area. The project will see the replacement of 40-year old equipment and also pave the way for ERTMS. The work will include upgrades at seven level crossings and the closure of three signal boxes. It is the largest single contract to be awarded by Network Rail under the Major Signalling Framework Agreement during the current five-year investment cycle.