Korea heading for same privatisation mistakes

October 1st, 2013 Tribune 1 comment
  South Korea has an excellent railway system that has benefitted from expansion and considerable investment over the past thirty years. Usage is high, fares are low and it has had a high speed line linking the two biggest cities, Seoul and Busan, since 2004 and more sections are being built. So, inevitably, it has become a target for privatisation and fragmentation. Korea also has a strong trade union movement which is ...

Britain’s love hate relationship with the railways

February 11th, 2013 Chatham House 2 comments
There is a paradox in the British attitude towards the railways. On the one hand, trains are the great Aunt Sally, a reposi-tory of complaints ranging from ageing carriages to overcrowding. Indeed, no boss would question an employee who gives train delay as an excuse for turning up late. On the other, people just keep flocking on to the lines. Despite ticket prices going up by one per cent above inflation ...

The rise of railway nostalgia

October 28th, 2012 Sunday Telegraph 5 comments
In this era of leaves on the line, protests over High Speed 2 and malfunctioning franchises, it is hardly surprising that rail passengers hark back to a golden age. With Michael Portillo, Bradshaw guide in hand, taking to the European rails, railway nostalgia – once the province of spotty boys with notebooks on windy platforms at Clapham Junction – has become all the rage. Indeed, earlier this year the reissued ...

Railways have cause to celebrate over investment plans and Olympics

September 1st, 2012 TSSA Journal 1 comment
There is much cause to celebrate in the rail industry. The Olympics were an amazing triumph for public transport and the rail industry in particular. They were advertised as the public transport games and that is exactly what they turned out to be. Fears about transport chaos, got up by the media, proved to be groundless (as I had predicted). There is a wider message to be drawn from this. Public ...

Rail 704: rail industry’s annual report card

August 31st, 2012 Rail Magazine no comments
This is fun. Really fun. It’s time for the annual assessment of how the railway school has performed over the past year and to look at new arrivals and old departures, and boy oh boy, have we had an eventful time. There was a period in the middle of the school year when the railways never seemed out of the news with fares rises, franchise hiccups, HS2, investment plans, electrification ...

Branson battle highlights inadequacies of franchise system

August 16th, 2012 Times no comments
I almost feel sorry for Sir Richard Branson. Almost. Railways are an industry in which enterprise is constrained, from the limits on the number of trains to the regulation of fares. It’s not really the dry ice and pretty women business he favours. Yet Branson plunged in to introduce some pizzazz and energy. There were new trains, faster and more frequent services, on-board shops. Some of it worked, some of ...

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