My Recent Writing
It’s fantasy time in the rail industry. Keith Williams made the mistake of asking for submissions from all and sundry for his review to allow, as Mao once suggested, ‘to let a hundred flowers bloom’. Mao’s call was for intellectuals to put forward ideas about how best to improve the Communist Party from whom they had become disillusioned. That was a story that did not end well. There are...
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...
With the franchising system already reeling from a series of setbacks, somehow the Department for Transport and a couple of train operators, Stagecoach and Arriva, have apparently given it a fatal knock out blow over the complex and obscure issue of pension payments. Determining who exactly is to blame for this debacle is not easy and both parties are, as is usual in this type of dispute, blaming each...
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...
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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