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  • 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 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...

  • Rail 799: Devolution OK, but how and where?

    Devolution is spreading. It has become the new shibboleth, an old concept that has been revived and now has become one of the key aspects of government policy promoted enthusiastically by the Chancellor, George Osborne.  Devolution was the cornerstone of Nicola Shaw’s report on the structure of the industry and is now the subject of negotiations and indeed considerable controversy around the country in places as far afield as...

  • Rail 798: little schemes better than big ones

    The London mayoral hustings are in full flow with the two main contenders, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith for the Tories, locked in battle and trading insults. However, in truth, their manifestos have rather more in common than they would like the electorate to realise. Both support the continuation of the Freedom Pass (no candidate could risk losing the grey vote despite the fact it is ridiculous people can...


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I feel rather emotional about the Battle of the Somme 100th anniversary not because I had relatives but just the sheer loss of life

About 46 minutes 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.