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  • Rail companies need stiffer penalties

    The cattle have started mooing. The least surprising statistic of the year is the revelation by Transport Focus yesterday that rail passenger satisfaction has been falling faster than the pound after Brexit. To be fair to the railways, there have been some extenuating circumstances. In particular, the chaos on the biggest franchise –  Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern – has been going on for weeks with management incompetence exacerbated...

  • Small can be beautiful for the railways

    Railways are all the rage. Passenger numbers are at their highest level since the 1920s and there is no sign that recent growth, which has seen total annual number of journeys double over the past 20 years, is slowing. There is a real commitment among politicians to rail, as demonstrated by the all-party support for the new high-speed line linking London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. But it is...

  • Rail 802: What the EU has done for us

    A couple of issues ago,  I speculated about the possible impact of Brexit on HS2, suggesting it was probably the only way that the scheme could end up being shelved or scrapped.  That did not, as I stressed, turn me into an Outer as I firmly believe that the European Union is more of a good thing than a bad one, crucially in the area of keeping peace in...

  • Rail 801: The contradictions of competition

    Competition is the cuckoo in the franchising nest. One of the key drivers behind rail privatisation was the desire to encourage competition between rail companies. One minister in the Major government in the mid nineties, Roger (now Lord) Freeman, spoke airily of trains for secretaries rattling slowly behind the faster version occupied by their bosses.  There would be red trains and green trains racing from London to Scotland, just...

  • Rail 800: HS2 at risk from Brexit

    The government’s top civil servant has been quietly looking at the costs of HS2 but there is actually a more tangible threat to the future of the project. While it is pretty certain that the first stage of HS2 will get through the House of Lords after sailing through its Commons vote, there is still a possible scenario where the now £55bn project could get into trouble. While on...


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End of a 60 mile cycle ride at top of Box Hill with @deborahmaby and @RobWilliams100 pic.twitter.com/Kb5Hd3slOm

About 2 hours ago

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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Wolmar's Railway Library

This is a collection of classic railway history books which I have selected for reprint and which you can buy in either e-form or as special editions.