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  • Rail 791: Network Rail smoke and mirrors – and predictions for 2016

    I sent out a tweet the other day when it was revealed that the Scottish government’s debt was at risk of reaching £50bn by 2020. My tweet reminded my followers that this was an oddly familiar number since it also represented Network Rail’s projected debt at around the same time. I am sorry to hark on about this figure, but it does highlight the completely insane situation of the...

  • Rail 790: Northern’s new leaf

    The new Northern franchise represents a shift in thinking about the railways in the North. The old franchise was based on the premise that there was no growth but the new one, due to start in the Spring, is predicated on increased rail use and consequently includes expansion and improvement of services. The timing of the Northern franchise could not have been better for those seeking to improve the...

  • Burying mediocre news

    Among several dozen documents released just before the recess, the Department put out its ‘road safety’ strategy. It is, of course, nothing of the sort. It is a complacent statement of the bleedin’ obvious, together with a feeling of self-satisfaction that does nothing to improve the number of deaths on the road, which has started creeping up again thanks, precisely, to this kind of attitude. The roads are not as the...

  • Rail 789: Voodoo economics and driverless car myths

    Railway economics always smacks of smoke and mirrors. However, the report by Peter Hendy on the investment programme is more like deep fog and blind alleys. Commissioned to report on the prospects for Network Rail’s enhancement, Hendy has somehow contrived to salvage virtually all of it, despite the £2bn – and rising – overspend on a single project, the Great Western electrification programme. Hendy was lured earlier this year...

  • Rail 788: Shaw sets out problems, but solutions will be harder to find

    Nicola Shaw is one of those highly intelligent people who does not have to show it on every occasion. She is widely respected and liked within the industry and has an impressive CV , having  moving seamlessly from the public sector with the Strategic Rail Authority through to FirstGroup and now to the recently privatised High Speed One. She will need all those brains and all that experience in...


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RT @StevenJNorris @christianwolmar Not that either of us is in any way biased of course..

About 5 hours ago

About Christian Wolmar

Christian Wolmar is an award winning writer and broadcaster specialising in transport and is the author of a series of books on railway history. In the autumn of 2012, he announced he is seeking the Labour candidacy for the 2016 London mayoral election. Read more >>.


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Wolmar's Railway Library

This is a collection of classic railway history books which I have selected for reprint and which you can buy in either e-form or as special editions.

Online Column: Christian Says...