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  • Rail 887: HS2 in danger

    It had to happen. The biggest infrastructure project the UK has ever seen was never going to be nodded through without a reappraisal given all the leaks about increased costs and the solid phalanx of opposition within the country’s (just) ruling party. Steering clear for the moment of consideration of whether HS2 is a railway worth building, the way the scheme was created and its subsequent development have been...

  • Rail 886: Franchising is still with us – just

    Franchising is dead. Long live franchising! That seems to be the message from the unexpected announcement of the new deal on the West Coast which came days after the abandonment of the franchise process for Southeastern. This one of those times where writing a column like this is just sheer pleasure. Trying to find out from my various sources what an earth is going on in the Department for...

  • Letter to The Times: HS2 review must look at fundamental questions

    It is excellent news that the HS2 scheme is finally being subjected to a thorough analysis, including an examination of alternatives. However, the review must consider the scheme in the widest possible context rather than just rehearsing narrow arguments about cost. In particular, the only environmental appraisal, setting out the effect of HS2  on greenhouse gas emissions, was produced nearly  a decade ago and was inconclusive. Surely, given the...

  • Rail 885: Leaked memo to Grant Shapps

    The new transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has asked officials to ensure their briefings to him are no longer than two sides of A4. His permanent secretary has duly followed his instructions and produced a short summary of the state of the railways which been sent to Rail magazine in error. We thought it was our duty to share it with our readers. From: Bernadette Kelly, CB, permanent secretary, Department...

  • Rail 884: Williams is wrong to shun Network Rail

    Now comes the hard bit. Does Keith Williams know what he is doing? I am not asking that in a critical way but rather as a genuine question expressed in a supportive context. After all, the poor man has been set an impossible task and he must feel that he is in one of those Escher drawings that seem to suggest a set of stairs that has no beginning...

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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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