Good News Friday: Your weekly roundup of positive rail news!

Posted: 10 May 2024 | | No comments yet

This week’s ‘Good News Friday’ is jam packed, with news from Union Pacific, Amtrak, Northern, Halo Solutions and CrossCountry!

good news friday

CrossCountry comes to Cornwall to support grassroot community initiatives

cornwall community

Long-distance train operator CrossCountry has announced the grand totals of funding for local charity, the Cornwall Community Foundation, after a year-long funding period came to an end in April.

The £20,000 donation from the business’ Customer and Community Improvement Fund was matched by the Cornwall Community Foundation, enabling the group to support a wide range of grassroots organisations across Cornwall over the last year.

A total of £40,000 has been distributed to a total of nine charities across the Duchy. Since 2003, the Cornwall Community Foundation has awarded £16 million to over 7000 local projects across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Earlier in the year, CrossCountry and the Cornwall Community Foundation visited some of the nine projects benefitting from the donation – including Get Together Cornwall, providing support to families impacted by autism and Asperger’s syndrome; and MCH Wheal Prosper, a day opportunities centre supporting adults with learning and physical disabilities.

Sarah Gould, Regional Director for CrossCountry’s West & Wales region, said:”It’s been fantastic to help the Cornwall Community Foundation support such a broad range of projects and initiatives across the Duchy this year.

“As the only national train operator connecting Cornwall to the rest of the country, it’s critical that we support these the communities and economies of the South West and connect them in more ways than just trains”

The Cornwall Community Foundation, established in 2003, aims to support communities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through awarding small grants to grassroots organisations working against challenges of disadvantage, exclusion and poverty in their communities.

Tamara Sherston-Baker, Development Director at the Cornwall Community Foundation, said:“It’s been fantastic to work with CrossCountry to help even more projects and initiatives with their critical community work across Cornwall.

“We always value support from businesses and organisations working in Cornwall and we look forward to working closely with CrossCountry again in the future.”

Elsewhere in Cornwall, funding was also allocated to Crimestoppers and social enterprise Unique Voices to raise awareness amongst young people on the risks of trafficking and exploitation, particular around County Lines drug trafficking.

Detail on the Cornwall Community Foundation, including information on how to apply for grants, can be found on the charity’s website at .

More information about CrossCountry’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund can be found

British crowd and public safety tech company honoured with King’s Award for Enterprise

halo solutions

Halo Solutions, the Nottinghamshire based tech company behind the UK’s leading crowd safety and security operations software, has been honoured with a King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

Halo Solutions is one of a number of organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise. Announced today (Monday, 6th May), Halo Solutions has been acknowledged by His Majesty for excellence in Innovation.

Now employing 15 people, Halo Solutions was founded in 2019 by CEO Lloyd Major, a former national counter terrorism police officer, crowd safety and event security adviser with more than 20 years of policing experience, including police training and public order command at major sporting events. He was also the first operational police planner in the UK to obtain a Master’s degree in Emergency Planning and Management, developing a totally new process for threat assessment at public events, which became national policing policy. 

Halo software provides a unique crowd safety, security and incident response platform that streamlines all aspects of crowd safety, incident management, security and operations into one place. It is now the leading crowd safety and threat management platform in the world.  

Commenting on the King’s Award, Halo Solutions founder and CEO Lloyd Major said: Halo is in the business of protecting people and anywhere where the public gather, from train stations to football stadiums, festivals to universities and everywhere in between. It takes great communication and co-ordination of information and resources to keep the public safe at all times. The Halo system is the software that connects everything together to enhance public safety and security, which helps to protect everyone. 

Winning the King’s Award for Enterprise is a stunning recognition of the hard work we do in this space as a British tech company, bringing innovative software to the operational environments that need it most.  We have an amazing team who are dedicated and committed to public and crowd safety, enabling our clients to keep their public spaces, events and infrastructure safe and protected.  

“It was a fitting honour that Halo played a part in the safety and security aspects of the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and at the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.” 

Halo Solutions has played a hugely important role in protecting the public and keeping them safe at some of the biggest sporting, music and entertainment events across the world. 

The tragic events of the Manchester Arena bombing galvanised Lloyd Major’s personal quest and mission to ensure that Halo developed a software technology platform to help keep people safe. 

The Halo software system was designed with public safety and security at its core, including the ability to integrate all streams of information and intelligence into one place. It’s technology that would provide vital assistance to venues and public spaces, arming security and operations teams with more informed intelligence and information, and enabling faster responses to critical decision-making, ultimately protecting the public and saving lives.  

The Halo system acts as a central command-and-control function that operates from a standard laptop, tablet or smart phone, and brings together more than 10 different systems into one, with more than 75 client-led features. Halo integrates the monitoring and recording of multiple feeds of information across a venue, from security, incident management, CCTV and live drone feeds to health and safety, cleaning, medical, public reports, ticket scanning and staff accreditation – and next year, it will incorporate crowd management, crowd density, flow, sentiment, mood and capacity.

Halo software technology has been used at major events around the world, including the Eurovision Song Contest, FIFA World Cup fan zones in Qatar, the Miami F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone’s British Grand Prix and Moto GP. It has also protected fans at some of the UK’s biggest entertainment events, from Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The crowd and event safety platform has also been deployed at major entertainment and exhibition arenas such as the NEC in Birmingham, ExCeL London, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham and the ACC Liverpool to keep millions of visitors safe each year. Additionally, it played a key role in protecting the public across major rail transport infrastructure and stations across the UK, including London Euston and a number of university campuses, including Birmingham City University.

The King’s Awards for Enterprise, previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, were renamed last year to reflect His Majesty The King’s desire to continue the legacy of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s by recognising outstanding UK businesses. 

The award programme, now in its 58th year, is the most prestigious business award in the country, with successful businesses able to use the esteemed King’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

Volunteers praised for transforming two Northern train stations in West Yorkshire

northern volunteers

Volunteers have given two train stations in West Yorkshire a new lease of life.

More than 50 people pitched in to improve the appearance of Ilkley Station in April, by sweeping up the platforms, cleaning gullies and repainting fences and lighting columns.

The group included volunteers from Friends of Ilkley Rail Station, a group of local school children and Northern staff.

Another 15 volunteers transformed Burley Park Station in Leeds earlier this month, as they jet washed the steps, cut back overgrown vegetation and repainted the platform fence.

The group also upgraded waiting shelters at the train station, which is frequently used by cricket fans travelling to Headingley Stadium, by installing new vinyl covers.

They feature artwork that was created by a group of students from Calderdale College, with support from Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

It comes as Northern is running a series of volunteer days throughout the summer months, offering people the chance to make improvements that customers have been calling for.

Kerry Peters, regional director at Northern, said: “We’re hugely grateful to the volunteers who have given up their time to transform two of our stations.  

“We work with volunteers across the North of England to make sure our stations are clean and welcoming, and we know their hard work does not go unnoticed as we regularly receive positive feedback from customers.”

Ilkley Station is used by more than 1.3 million passengers a year and Burley Park Station is used by more than 680,000 a year. Both are operated by Northern.

Anyone who wants to ask Northern to make improvements to their local station should contact the operator by emailing [email protected]

Amtrak hosts PHILDANCO at Gray 30th Street Station


As part of its celebrated Art at Amtrak® program, Amtrak recently delighted customers, neighbors and visitors at William H. Gray 30th III Street Station with several free public performances by PHILADANCO! Beginning Fri. May 3 – Sun. May 5, PHILADANCO! presented three daily performances of their acclaimed piece SEASONS by choreographer Francisco Gella.

“Seasons,” is a captivating visual and musical interpretation of the human experience joined together in a collection of short dances inspired perspectives on Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each 18-minute performance took place on the mezzanine balcony overlooking the main concourse.

The official public art program of Amtrak, Art at Amtrak presents diverse, unique and memorable art projects to enhance, invigorate and humanise the travel experience at Amtrak stations. The art program reflects and celebrates each region’s creative preeminence by featuring contemporary artists through rotating exhibitions.

The program launched at New York Penn Station in June 2022, expanded to Moynihan Train Hall in Summer 2023 and then Washington Union Station and William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Fall 2023.

Since inception (1970) The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) made a significant impact on the dance world. As a cultural ambassador representing the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia, its artistic direction and renowned national and international guest choreographers have developed a reputation of producing a dance repertory with passion, power, skill and diversity. A stellar faculty (handpicked by Joan Myers Brown, Founder of PHILADANCO!) has trained over 4,500 dancers in a comprehensive program achieving the highest level of technical skills in dance and performance.

  • More information about Art at Amtrak can be found here.
  • More information on PHILADANCO! can be found here.

Big Boy No. 4014 Returns this Summer with Public Display Days in Roseville, California and Ogden, Utah

big boy steam

Union Pacific’s legendary Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest operating steam locomotive built to conquer mountains, will make 19 whistle-stops in five states this summer during its 2024 Westward Bound Tour from Wyoming to California.

In addition, this mighty steam locomotive will be on public display for two days each in Roseville, California, July 12-13, and Ogden, Utah, July 20-21.

Big Boy will leave its home base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on June 30, traveling across Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. On its return trip to Wyoming, it will travel for a short stretch across southeast Idaho.

Scheduled whistle-stops:

  • June 30 – Laramie, Wyoming
  • July 1 – Wamsutter, Wyoming
  • July 3 – Green River, Wyoming
  • July 4 – Morgan, Utah
  • July 6 – Wells, Nevada
  • July 8 – Carlin and Battle Mountain, Nevada
  • July 9 – Gerlach, Nevada
  • July 11 – Oroville, California
  • July 14 – Colfax and Truckee, California
  • July 16 – Lovelock, Nevada
  • July 17 – Carlin, Nevada
  • July 19 – Montello, Nevada
  • July 22 – Brigham City, Utah, and Soda Springs, Idaho
  • July 23 – Kemmerer, Wyoming
  • July 25 – Point of Rocks, Wyoming
  • July 26 – Medicine Bow, Wyoming

Display days offer an up-close look at the 1.1-million-pound marvel along with the “Experience the Union Pacific” rail car, a captivating walk-through exhibition that provides a unique glimpse into the rich history of railroading.

During the tour, the Union Pacific Museum will host a special passenger trip. The unique experience is the annual gala fundraiser for the nonprofit organization and provides a rare opportunity to travel on this historic heritage equipment. More information and ticket information will be posted at as the tour gets closer.

Twenty-five Big Boy locomotives were built for Union Pacific to haul freight over the steep grade of the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah during World War II. Eight were preserved after the locomotives were retired six decades ago, but only Big Boy No. 4014 is still in operation.

Union Pacific reminds all rail fans to keep safety top of mind and stay 25 feet back from the tracks when taking a picture or viewing this mammoth machine. That means never take a picture or video standing on the track or the ballast and never climb on the locomotive or equipment.