East Coast set to remain in the public sector (sort of)

October 2nd, 2013 Christian Says 5 comments
There are some stories in the modern railway that you could not make up because they would be too far-fetched. The story of  the PPP on the London Underground was one, but now we have another great one. Eurostar is bidding  jointly for the East Coast franchise with Keolis, which normaly partners Go-Ahead. Now of course this is the franchise that is being rushed through for privatisation because currently it is ...

Cycling announcement is dishonest spin

August 12th, 2013 Christian Says 6 comments
To suggest that today's announcement of £148m over two years is the biggest cycling investment programme ever is both dishonest and laughable.  When I was on the board of Cycling England, we had a grant of £60m of new money which was matched by spending from local authorities. This £148m includes money from local councils and therefore is not even as much as we were getting. Even if all the money ...

HS2 spending plan puts project at risk

June 27th, 2013 Christian Says 24 comments
It's hardly surprising that the Spending Review announcement was seen as a good day to bury the bad news that the projected cost of HS2 has now soared to £42.6bn which amounts to £50bn if rolling stock is included. This is pretty catastrophic for the project - it effectively means that if the business case is recalibrated, it will barely come up with a benefit cost ratio of 1 -1 ...

NAO report raises all the right issues

May 16th, 2013 Christian Says 9 comments
On the scale of damning, the NAO report into HS2 is around 9 out of 10. Remember this is an organisation that pulls its punches, showing draft reports to ministers and generally avoids rocking the boat too hard, though it has improved since the disgraceful reign of Sir John Bourn who was keener on eating fat dinners with subjects of the report rather than investigating them. The report published today, ...

HS2 exposes flaws in democratic process

The confirmation that HS2 will need a paving bill in order to be able to obtain funds for continued preparatory work shows just how early in the whole process we still are. First the needs to go through, but then there is the much more complex process of the hybrid bill which will take 18 months or so to get through Parliament. It is rather odd that the government and HS2 ...

Franchise fiasco deepens

March 26th, 2013 Christian Says 8 comments
The Department for Transport bombarded me with several copies of the press release on franchising but that did not make its contents any more coherent.Essentially, apart from speeding up the process on the successful publicly owned East Coast, the whole franchise programme has been delayed, with temporary extensions to most franchises.  The most extraordinary bit about this abject failure is the statement that ' in order to roll out the programme ...
  • Five hours on Welsh Highland @festrail for 50 mile ride with glorious scenery & weather.Tks to driver Paul Ingham and pressman Andrew Thomas

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  • @philatrail @festrail shame . Heading back there now on return leg from Caernavon. Glorious day

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  • On @festrail on the footplate approaching namtmor tunnel. fab day for train geekiness

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