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  • Letter to The Times: Extinction Rebellion demonstrates the benefits of pedestrianisation

    There has been much debate about the rights and wrongs of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations but Londoners seem united on one aspect: life without cars has made central London a far more pleasant place. As anyone who has been in Oxford Street or Whitehall over Easter has seen, the takeover of the streets has created a joyful atmosphere. Suggestions that this has meant lost business for local stores are...

  • My (short) letter to The Times on franchising

    The row over pension funding highlights the impossibility of transferring real risks to the private sector. For its shareholders’ benefit, Stagecoach was right to refuse to accede to Chris Grayling’s demands. However, rather than continuing to hand over contracts to foreign state-owned enterprises (the only ones prepared to take on these risks), the Department for Transport should abandon the whole structure and reintegrate the railways. Christian Wolmar, rail analyst...

  • Rail 876: The long slow death of franchises

    The death throes of franchising are not a pretty sight. That the present model is dead was effectively confirmed by Keith Williams, who is undertaking the rail review, in his Bradshaw address when he said: ‘Put bluntly franchising cannot continue in the way that it is today. It is no longer delivering clear benefits for either taxpayers or farepayers’. The main problem is what to do with those coming...

  • Rail 875: Electric is the buzz word

    Of all the stupid decisions that successive governments have made about the railways over the past quarter of a century, few will have as long an impact as the decision to rein back on the electrification programme. This is daft in so many respects. Electric trains are cheaper to run, use less energy, have better acceleration, are popular with passengers, can be run on a zero carbon basis provided...

  • Rail 874: Goblin gobbled up

    It seemed such a simple job. The Barking – Gospel Oak line was becoming so heavily used both by passengers and freight that upgrading and electrification was clearly needed. After much prevarication and pressure from the local user group, the need for major improvement was finally recognised in 2013 but now, six years later, the passengers are still waiting for their shiny new electric trains, hundreds of millions of...

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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. He was Labour's candidate for the 2016 Richmond Park & North Kingston by-election and also ran to be Labour's candidate in the last London mayoral election. Read more >>

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RT @LabourCycles Across Britain, our streets actively discrimate against vulnerable road users. The young, the old, women and the disabled are threatened and excluded from the using a bike on our streets. Protected tracks on main roads & low traffic neighbourhoods right this injustice.

About 3 hours ago

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