33 lost years

PRODUCED under the leadership of Eurostar’s chairman Richard Brown, the ‘Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry’ is probably the most significant planning document to be published since the joint British Rail/Transport Department report on electrification 33 years ago.

For those, like me, who were around in 1980 and thought we really then had a great opportunity to complete a rolling programme of electrification, it has been a continuing disappointment that Margaret Thatcher’s economic advisers scuppered proposals that would have seen around 9o per cent of train operations worked electrically by now. Continue reading

HS2 and the Booker Prize

THERE HAVE been many works of fiction about railways. One of Sherlock Holmes’ cases involved a body found on the Underground near Aldgate, A J Cronin was able to use the Tay Bridge disaster to dispose of a character, while the adventures of E Nesbit’s Railway Children have become a much-loved legend. In more recent times railways have formed the basis of dramas or comedies on both radio and television.

The novelist Frederick Forsyth has now followed this tradition by sketching out a little effort of his own about HS2 for the Daily Express, and rollicking fun it is too. Continue reading