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NCE Live News Updates Monday 2 December: Probe launched into New York train crash; water regulator to analyse spending plans

National Transportation Safety Board launches investigation into fatal accident on New York metro. Meanwhile water regulator Ofwat reveals new approach to assessing investment plans.

5.30pm: Andrew Gilligan promises a “segregated (cycle) track crossing Parliament Square” in 2.5 years as part of so-called “Crossrail for cyclists”

The Commons select committee has heard from London mayor Boris Johnson’s cycliing tsar Andrew Gilligan who promises a “segregated (cycle) track crossing Parliament Square” in 2.5 years as part of so-called “Crossrail for cyclists”.

5pm: Ofwat has confirmed that water companies have submitted their business plans for the period 2015 – 2020.

Ofwat will now analyse and challenge companies’ plans – and proposed bill changes - to make sure customers get the right level of service for the right price, while ensuring companies can raise finance to continue to invest in the sector.

In April, Ofwat’s Board will announce its decision on the quality of companies’ plans, including how well they have taken account of their customers’ priorities.

Companies which deliver plans that Ofwat judges outstanding across the board will benefit from a fast-track approval process; plans requiring some intervention will go through a standard process while any company whose plan has significant shortcomings will be asked to resubmit its plans.

Final decisions on prices will be made by January 2015, with new bills coming into effect in April 2015.


4.30pm: A construction products chief is set to tell MPs this evening how contractors can help make roads safer for cyclists.

Mineral Products Association director of economics Jerry McLaughlin is due to give evidence to the Transport Committee.

The cross-party committee is holding two evidence sessions on cycling safety this week. Fourteen cyclists have died on the roads of London alone this year – nine of who were hit by heavy goods vehicles.

McLaughlin told NCE ahead of his appointment with the MPs: “I will be telling them that we have a policy for our members that involves specific driver training and fitting of additional equipment.”

Such equipment can include cameras or sensors to alleviate blind spots; bars to stop people falling between the front and back wheels; and audible warnings when vehicles are turning left.

McLaughlin added: “This policy should be taken up more widely across the industry. Contractors have to manage these issues in a sensible way.”

He said he would steer MPs away from a ban on construction vehicles at peak times, however, saying such a move would be impractical.


1.15pm: New York train crash update

Cranes and other special heavy equipment are being positioned to remove the rail carriages from the area so that repairs to the affected track can begin. Services are limited on the affected Poughkeepsie to Yonkers line and commuters are being urged to work remotely instead of heading into the city because of expected disruption.

According to the Metropolitan Transport Authority, the equipment was due to arrive on Monday evening local time following clearance from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), with work expected to continue through the night.

The accident occurred just before 7:30am local time on Sunday. A southbound, Hudson Line train with about 120 passengers on board derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. All carriages derailed.

The NTSB sent a team of investigators who arrived on Sunday and immediately began documenting the scene. Operator Metro-North said it was cooperating fully with that investigation.


10.30am: Mott MacDonald has secured work on a water supply scheme in Bangladesh.

The consultant has been appointed by the Asian Development Bank to provide technical engineering and procurement assistance on the £400M Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project in Dhaka.

Mott MacDonald project director Nigel Osmaston said: “This project is vital to Dhaka’s growing population as groundwater sources are diminishing rapidly.

“These initiatives seek to reduce groundwater extraction by 150 million litres per day and help the city water authority raise its overall surface water supplies to 1.9bn litres a day by 2021.”


10am: An investigation has been launched into yesterday’s train derailment in New York City.

The Metro North passenger train left the tracks in the Bronx at 7.20am Eastern Time on Sunday 1 December. Four people died.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had launched “a go-team” to investigate the accident.

Rail Safety Investigator Mike Flanigon was named as investigator-in-charge.

He will lead a team consisting of investigative specialists in track, signals, mechanical systems, operations, human performance, survival factors and recorders.

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