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  • Railcard scam is nothing short of theft by the state

    Last week, buying a ticket for my first rail journey in six months, I said to the kindly ticket clerk, ‘I presume that my Senior Railcard will have been extended since I have been barred from using the railway since December?’  The poor woman almost blushed: ‘I’m afraid not. You will have to buy a new one. You are not the first — and you should complain.’ Indeed. There...

  • Letter to The Times: Lack of resilience of today’s railway

    Sir. The collapse of the train services out of King’s Cross and Paddington after the announcement that the Hitachi trains needed to have safety checks shows the lack of resilience in today’s railway (“Rail operators ordered to end chaos caused by train cracks”, May 10). Despite the fact that only a limited timetable is being run because of the pandemic, and a few spare train sets are available, most...

  • Let’s spell it out: cars are a menace

    By Christian Wolmar and Pearl Ahrens In terms of transport, the new post-pandemic normal is looking worse than the old normal. Without a clear strategy for how to deter people from jumping in their cars as they start travelling again, the roads will become even more congested than before, with all the accompanying environmental and social damage. Restraining car use – whether through pricing and taxation or physical measures...

  • Rail 928: It’s the passengers who count

    The future of rail has been rather a long time coming. The report on ‘Trains fit for the future’ published at the end of March by the Commons Transport Committee has been a couple of years in gestation and has lost a key part of its remit along the journey. Two years is a long time in the rail business, particularly given the way the world has changed in...

  • Rail 927: Cutting costs on the railways is not easy

    Let’s assume that ‘back to normal’ is, say, an 80 per cent railway. In other words, that the timetable will be pared back in order to match the lower level of demand that is likely to be the norm for some time to come. Even the optimists –and I am not one of them – accept that it will be a couple of years before we get back to...

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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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Online Column: Christian Says...