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  • 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 873: A small step towards sorting out the fares

    It is one of the great ironies of rail privatisation that it was supposed to free up the private sector to be innovative and groundbreaking and yet the train operators have often proved to be more conservative than British Rail. This is not in fact always their fault but is a result of creating a fragmented structure that is also highly regulated and their need to satisfy the short...

  • Book review: Monisha Rajesh, Around the world in 80 trains

    Monisha Rajesh wrote lovingly about the Indian railways in her previous book but this set her wondering whether the train journey had lost its allure elsewhere — for which there is a strong case to be made in Britain, at least. The constant outpouring of anger in the media about the horrors of modern travel seems to have captured the public mood: the delays, the cancellations, the overcrowding, the...

  • Rail 872: The North needs rail investment

    One of the few (only?) good ideas from George Osborne when he was Chancellor was the concept of a Northern Powerhouse. Gone would be the inadequate connections between the various towns and cities of the north and instead of the ghastly Pacer trains and snail pace services, there would be HS3, linking Leeds and Manchester, but also possibly Liverpool, Hull, Newcastle and any other place that seemed politically expedient....


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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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