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  • Rail 909: J’Accuse – the culprits wrecking the rail industry

    (With apologies to Émile Zola) A letter to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Sir Permit me to set out how a key industry is being wrecked by the cowardice and failings of a series its stakeholders. I address you, Mr Johnson, because  it is under your name (I was, like Zola going to say ‘reign’ but it is not quite appropriate), that the railways are set to be more damaged...

  • July Newsletter: The self-destruction of the rail industry

    There has been pretty much only one theme to my recent writings – in The Times, the New Statesman  and Rail, all of which are on my website – and that is the insanity of what is happening in the rail industry. While the bus industry is presenting ways of ‘welcoming people back to buses’, the railways are still putting out the messaging that suggests you are going to die...

  • Rail 908: The future is vertical…and the slavery myth

    Let’s look to the future for once, given that the present is so bleak. I will desist from pointing out, once again, the madness of the ‘don’t use the railways’ policy, except to mention it in the shorter piece accompanying this one. There is no doubt that out of the chaos, a new structure for the railways will be needed. Once the present ‘emergency measures agreements’ run out in...

  • Letter to The Times: Cut the bureaucracy, open the lines now

    Sir, The process for reopening railway lines as currently set up is cumbersome and slow. It will take at least half a decade, and probably more to see any of the schemes proposed in the ‘reopening Beeching’ programme to see the light of day. They have to have a good ‘business case’ and then go through Network Rail’s incredibly bureaucratic but aptly named GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects)....

  • The Great British Train Wreck

    Let the train take the strain”, exhorted British Rail’s famous slogan in the 1970s. More than 40 years later we are being urged to do the opposite. The railway operators and the government are united in trying to persuade people not to use the railways, suggesting “only travel by train if you have no other alternative”. This campaign has been successful in cutting usage, which, even after a slight...


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About Christian Wolmar

Christian Wolmar is an award winning writer and broadcaster specialising in transport and is the author of a series of books on railway history. He was Labour's candidate for the 2016 Richmond Park & North Kingston by-election and also ran to be Labour's candidate in the last London mayoral election. Read more >>

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RT @BBCNewsnight “Rail safety experts have been telling me for a long time that their main concern about risk on the railways is in temperate weather”

Rail transport historian @christianwolmar says other causes of rail accidents, such as technical issues “have largely been resolved”

#Newsnight pic.twitter.com/aSBn4fL3AA

About 8 hours ago