SO, technically, one of Britain’s worst double-dip recessions has come to an end. But that shouldn’t be a surprise to rail managers and rail economists, as the evidence was clearly presented by the Office of Rail Regulation in its last quarterly passenger journey statistics published on 13 September. Continue reading
In our last, we had left brave Patrick McLoughlin trapped in a room at Nightmare Manor. How did he escape? Continue reading
THE Confederation of British Industry has proposed that road charging should be introduced on England’s motorways and trunk roads, now operated by the Highways Agency.
As the Strategic Road Network — amounting to some 6,500 miles (10,460km) — and the rail network in England are very similar in size, as is the geography they serve, the CBI’s call for road charging could put the two networks on a broadly similar — and competitive — basis for the first time for longer distance journeys. Continue reading
DESPITE Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s pledge to “fast track” legislation to get HS2 built, the project is facing massive challenges to meet Parliamentary requirements.
THERE were two announcements last week that may not have seemed much associated with each other but which actually could point to a significant transformation in transport policy in Britain – and to the railways’ competitive position, in particular. Continue reading
A small update on the West Coast fairytale. Rumours are now circulating that Virgin may have reached agreement with the DfT to run West Coast from 9 December on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis. Continue reading
INTO the Railnews inbox comes a helpful message entitled ‘Virgin Trains Press Release: Book early for Christmas train travel’.
The body of this release concedes that there ‘remains some uncertainty’ about who will be running West Coast trains by then, and we are pleased to announce that this phrase has won the Railnews Blog Award for Greatest Understatement of the Month. Continue reading
IF YOU could find a time machine and set its dial for spring 1997, you would arrive at a time when the first round of rail franchising had just been completed.
The Conservatives were determined to complete railway privatisation before the General Election (because they had a gloomy presentiment that Labour would win, as indeed it did), but it was a close-run thing. The last franchise (ScotRail) began on 31 March 1997, even as the election was already under way. When the vote was held on 1 May, Tony Blair’s Labour Party romped home. Continue reading