Don’t price people off the railways

August 19th, 2014 Evening Standard 6 comments
  Rail fare rises have become almost as toxic to politicians as fuel tax increases. So today’s July inflation figures, which mean that rail fares will rise by up to 5.5 per cent next January at a time when wages are only creeping up, are likely to lead to backtracking by ministers in the months ahead. The July inflation figure is crucial because it is the benchmark for rises in season tickets ...

Rail 714 extra: Tube 150, the Underground pioneers

January 15th, 2013 Rail Magazine 2 comments
The London Underground is unique. That is not just because it was the world’s first subterranean railway, built more than 30 years ahead of any other. Nor is it because the system is the largest or the most heavily used, which actually is no longer the case. No, the reason that the London Underground is different from any other subway system is that it has become the very emblem of ...

At 150 years old, the Tube needs growth

January 10th, 2013 Times 6 comments
The Underground is the least loved of British inventions, especially by its passengers at rush hour. It is used as an excuse for being late at work more often than it is praised. Nevertheless, when the first underground train, operated by the Metropolitan Railway, puffed and wheezed down the track between Paddington and Farringdon 150 years ago, it did not just mark the invention of a new form of transport ...

Oh, daddy, when did the London Underground open?

January 4th, 2013 Christian Says 10 comments
On Thursday, January 10, the London Underground is 150 years old. It is a fantastic milestone, the anniversary of the world's first underground railway and the only one ever to have been operated by steam. The first line, between Praed Street and Farringdon was operated by the Metropolitan Railway, which has given its name to this wonderfully effective mode of transport that has ensured, in many ways, that cities retain ...

Boris driverless trains are no such thing

March 30th, 2012 Evening Standard 16 comments
This week has seen the Mayor once again pushing one of his big ideas for re-election: driverless Tubes, bringing with them not just a more high-tech underground but an almighty confrontation with the Tube unions. In the midst of endless wrangles with the unions over Olympic bonuses, Boris Johnson might imagine that’s a popular gesture with voters. Yet he is both dead right and completely wrong about “driverless” trains. Driverless is ...

The PPP is the scandal no one noticed

May 8th, 2010 Christian Says 4 comments
One could hardly write the script as fiction. On the very day that Gordon Brown is teetering on the edge of oblivion and the House of Lords, one of his cherished projects, the London Underground PPP is breathing its last. The news that Transport for London is going to be taking over Tube Lines and running the contracts to maintain the Tube leaked out on the very day that voters ...

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