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  • Rail 778: Network Rail debacle could be tragic for railways

    It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which the Network Rail fiasco is a setback for the rail industry. All the ducks were in perfect alignment with the industry getting support from all the main political parties and blessed with more money than Croesus. But somehow the gun misfired and the ducks are now wandering off with desperate Network Rail managers trying to catch them. Everyone in the...

  • Rail 777: SWT alliance ‘reshaping’ is really a divorce

    The latest press release from Network Rail reads like something produced by the Ministry of Information in George Orwell’s 1984 which, by happy coincidence, has just opened as a play in the West End. The release opens breezily with the statement that ‘the ground breaking South West Trains – Network Rail alliance is being reshaped’. ‘Reshaped’ is certainly the kind of doublespeak which was the way Orwell’s Ministry communicated...

  • Rail 776: Climate change is the big risk for railways

    I’ve been rereading that Red for Danger, the classic book on rail accidents written by the LTC Rolt as I was reminded of it by attending the memorial for his wife, Sonia, who died recently. It is one of the great classic railway books written in 1955 when the world was a very different place as testified by his statement in the preface, that he confined his choice of...

  • Rail 775: How London Overground is changing the face of the capital

    As a Labour supporting QPR fan, it has not been a great couple of weeks for me. However, as an inveterate optimistic, instead of dwelling on grief, I want to focus on a positive, which is what is happening to rail travel in the capital and in particular the need to ensure that the investment does not stop once Crossrail and Thameslink are completed. While out canvassing in parts...

  • Rail 774: letter to Sec of State

    Dear new Secretary of State for Transport   I do not know who you are and you may not even exist yet by the time this is published, but no matter. Whoever you are you will face the same big questions over the railways, made all the more difficult that you are part of a coalition or minority government that will be even more cautious than usual to arise...

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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. 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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