Rail 756: No justification for rail fare rises

September 19th, 2014 Rail Magazine 1 comment
Mystic Wolmar is normally dormant at this time of the year but here is a surefire prediction: the rail fares will not go up by RPI +1 per cent in January next year. That’s because rail fare rises, as I mentioned in my article on the subject in the Evening Standard, are now as toxic for ministers as fuel tax increases. The public has, largely, cottoned on to the fact that ...

Rail 755: Scotland – what will independence mean for the railways?

August 10th, 2014 Rail Magazine 6 comments
Here’s an irony. Just as Scotland is voting to break off from England with the possibility of needing a a passport to travel between the two countries, the Scottish sleeper services between the two are about to be greatly upgraded. The prospect for the old sleeper services is indeed an exciting one. I have used them numerous times over the years and while I enjoy them enormously, there is no doubt ...

Rail 754: Safety cannot be taken as a given

July 28th, 2014 Rail Magazine no comments
On entering the reception area of the airy new offices of Network Rail in King’s Cross, one is confronted with a notice about the company being an organisation that has safety as its first consideration. Then the poor receptionist has to read a short script about how to ensure that no risks are taken while on the premises. When I suggested to Mark Carne, Network Rail’s new boss, that perhaps making ...

Rail 753: Rail in the north gets a bad deal

July 14th, 2014 Rail Magazine 1 comment
One of the great disappointments of rail privatisation is that it has never delivered the transparency of the economics of the railway that had been promised. That’s partly because of the sheer complexity but also because of a lack of will on the part of the industry to be open and transparent, despite recent efforts by the Office of Rail Regulation which have improved matters somewhat. Therefore the Passenger Transport Executive ...

Rail 752: Northern trickery

June 29th, 2014 Rail Magazine 4 comments
Ah politicians! Don’t you just love ‘em. Politics is such a fun game replete with hypocrites, tricksters and fools ( disclaimer - there are a few honourable exceptions!) . In fact, what prompted me to decry politicians is the announcement by George Osborne that he wanted to see an HS3 strung across the north of England, from Leeds to Manchester and possibly eventually Hull to Liverpool. Indeed, the proposal is not ...

Rail 751: Is open access worth the hassle?

June 15th, 2014 Rail Magazine no comments
While the Department for Transport may be relieved that it has managed to get the Thameslink etc management contract away – it is not, pace my esteemed editor’s enthusiasm, a franchise since there is no risk transfer – the issues around the East Coast franchise are even more complex and troublesome. A spanner the size of a Pendolino has been thrown in the works by the announcement in February by Alliance ...

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