Well busy does not describe the last month or so. Of course I chose May to go on holiday after finishing writing my book on the rebuilding of the railways after the Normandy invasion and as I got to Italy, the story about TransPennine Express being taken over by the government emerged, together with a request from The Guardian to do a piece on the rather farcical situation of an anti-nationalisation government nationalising (‘temporarily’ of course ) a chunk of the rail network and turning itself into the biggest operator on the network. Lol.
Barely had I settled there, we decided to do a podcast (episode 17) on a story I had got hold of – the government were considering scrapping the provision of wi-fi on trains. We followed this up with a podcast (episode 18) covering the parliamentary debate on the issue which attracted considerable attention and, indeed, anger. The most recent podcast changes tack, looking at the Indian rail disaster and how to reduce the risk of accidents with young drivers – and a farewell to a certain notorious arch supporter of HS2.
While on the subject of the Indian catastrophe, I wrote – on the journey back from Italy – a piece for the Sunday Times trying to debunk some of the casual – and somewhat racist – tropes about railways in India.
Meanwhile, on the books front, I have sent off my manuscript on the role of the railways after the Normandy invasion to my publishers and it has been well received. Publication will be some time next year to mark the 80th anniversary of D Day. In terms of events, I will, this week, Thursday morning (Jun 15) , be on WW2TV talking about the new book.
More pertinently, the paperback of British Rail has been published with the same lovely yellow cover. I have a few copies for sale for £12 post free – just email me and you can pay through my account, RBS, 16 00 48, 14370777. And I will be giving a talk at the Owl bookshop in Kentish Town on June 26th at 18 30 to mark the publication of the paperback – tickets from here
If you have ideas of what you want covered in the podcast, or indeed in my Rail column, do drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org.