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  • The privatisation that never was

    Let’s stop pretending that the railways were ever really privatised. When they were broken up into two main parts, the infrastructure and the operating companies, in the mid 1990s the idea was that they would be at the cutting edge of capitalism, subject to market forces and the discipline of the private sector. In fact, within a few years Railtrack, the infrastructure company, failed as a result of the...

  • Rail 910: the campaign that the rail industry must run to save the railways

    It is impossible to exaggerate the extent of the crisis that the railways are facing. Glib optimism that people will come back because they did in the past, such as after  9/11 and the attacks on the Tube, is utterly and completely wrong. There are two components to this crisis which is why the future is so bleak. First, there is the immediate impact of the pandemic and its...

  • 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...


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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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Excellent piece on how pandemic hit aviation but I suspect too much optimism in the industry about a return to normal. theguardian.com/world/2020/se…

About 8 minutes ago