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  • Rail 889: Renationalising the railways is a good idea, but not a panacea

    At one of the numerous Labour party conference fringe meetings on transport, a junior shadow transport minister said ‘Rail renationalisation is the centrepiece of our transport policy’. Now you might think that as a longtime opponent of the way that the railways were privatised and a critic of the subsequent structure, I would be delighted at this statement. Not so. Don’t get me wrong. I remain convinced that renationalising...

  • Rail 888: The railway journey in history, a respite from Brexit

    Well dear reader, you deserve a break. So do I. We’ve all been inundated with Brexit,  Leavers, Remainers, Boris Johnson and Operation Yellowhammer for what seems like years and in the rail industry it has been just as frenetic, with the Williams Review, collapsing franchises, declining performance, daft ministerial statements and doubts over HS2. So it is time for something different, for one column only – no mention of...

  • 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...


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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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First class on 18 52 Oxford ex Padd..time to rethink allocation @GWRHelp? pic.twitter.com/nbfH3dksIP

About 3 hours ago