Category Railways

CORNWALL AND PLYMOUTH DESERVE TWO MAIN LINES TO THE REST OF BRITAIN

The latest interruption to rail services through Dawlish reminds us how absurd it is that only one railway links Cornwall and Plymouth with the rest of Britain, and how over-confident the South Devon Railway was to build its line along a storm-prone beach. After the 2014 storm, Network Rail heroically rebuilt Dawlish’s seawall and track […]

IAIN MARTIN: SMEARING BRITISH RAIL FOR A TORY BREXIT

For decades there have been concerns that BBC news and current affairs programmes are politically biased. In the 1980s Conservatives accused the BBC of opposing Thatcher, while trade unions accused it of pro-management bias in the 1984–85 miners’ strike and 1986 News International dispute. The BBC contented itself with the blandishment that “if we are […]

CROSSCOUNTRY TRAINS: SUPPRESSING DEMAND

Overcrowding has been endemic on Britain’s railways since time out of mind. And this is not due to who owns our railways. Britain’s railways have never provided enough coaches with enough seats on all routes to meet demand. This is true of not only the two decades since privatisation in 1995 but also the five […]

ANOTHER RAIL INVESTMENT SACRIFICED TO FUND HS2

The Department for Transport today announced that it is “deferring” Great Western main line electrification to Bristol, Oxford, Henley and Windsor. It aims to reach Cardiff in 2019, Swansea in 2024 and presumably Newbury in 2017, but the rest of the project is shelved. Rail minister Paul Maynard has given no dates for resuming the […]

THE EAST MIDLANDS NEED ANOTHER MAIN LINE, BUT NOT HS2

On 2 August several square metres of brickwork fell off one side of a road bridge over the Midland Main Line at Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire. Tons of rubble landed on the railway and all trains were stopped. There are no trains between Leicester and Loughborough, and hence no trains from Sheffield, Derby or Nottingham to St Pancras. On 2 […]

PETER WILKINSON HAS NO PLACE IN THE RAIL INDUSTRY

A Department for Transport civil servant has made a provocative and untruthful attack on train drivers. Peter Wilkinson is the DfT’s Director of Rail Franchising. His curriculum vitae presents him as a railway manager whose career has passed to and fro via a revolving door between railway companies and the DfT. On 18 February at […]

TO CUT TRAIN FARES, MAKE HOMES AFFORDABLE

Some types of rail fare are far higher in Britain than anywhere else in Europe. It is hard for comparisons to be exact, as UK rail fares are not determined by a rigid formula of so many pence per mile. But season tickets, and ordinary single or return tickets bought for travel the same day, are about 70% […]