Programme notes for Underground (1928)

May 31st, 2013 A-D no comments
The Underground was already 65 years old when the film was made and the busy scenes confirm it had become established as a key part of London’s transport system. Britain was a pioneer and the world’s first Underground line was completed in 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon, and became an instant success. It was a bold step as there had been doubts about whether people would venture below the city ...

Here’s to the next 150 years on the Tube

January 10th, 2013 Evening Standard no comments
On January 10, 1863 the first section of the London Underground opened, between Farringdon and Paddington - the first subterranean railway in the world. It was an instant success, copied widely across the globe and giving its name to an entire system. And despite some under-funded and unloved years, it is now enjoying a renaissance. My first memory of the London ...

A strike too far?

September 7th, 2010 Times 5 comments
Watching Bob Crow in action is an instant history lesson. His way of conducting industrial disputes has more in common with the Everybody Out style of Miriam Karlin in the 1960s sitcom The Rag Trade than with modern-day trade unionism. His latest efforts to stop London moving may, however, prove to be one strike call too many for Britain’s last diehard militant trade union leader. Crow is an unapologetic political ...

Rail 644: Why the PPP was doomed from the start

May 22nd, 2010 Rail Magazine no comments
  This column was going to be an analysis of the new government’s likely position on rail policy and the prospects for the next few years. Fat chance. The voters having delivered the verdict which Mystic Wolmar predicted, the politicians at the time of writing are still in smoke-free rooms from which very little is emerging. Mystic is convinced, however, that the Libdems will hold their noses and throw their lot ...

Strange date to publish report

June 4th, 2009 Christian Says 5 comments
I am not usually a conspiracy theorist, but the decision of the National Audit Office to publish its long-awaited report on the Underground PPP and the collapse of Metronet tomorrow does suggest that it has been lent on from on high. The report is expected to be critical of all sides - government, TfL and the private companies involved - but much of the blame for the whole debacle, as outlined ...

Rail extra: Tim O’Toole, the Underground’s unlikely hero

May 7th, 2009 Rail Magazine 1 comment
Tim O'Toole was by no means an obvious choice for the job of running London Underground but he proved to be an inspired one. His experience as an American freight railman, at one point running the huge Conrail which ran most of the freight operations in the lucrative north east of the United States, seemed to suggest he would know about trains but not the people who used them. That proved ...

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