West Coast’s crucial countdown

THE continuing crisis over the collapse of the West Coast franchise competition is now sweeping through the Department for Transport like an administrative version of Hurricane Sandy.

Ministers have grovelled and civil servants have been suspended, but with just one month left of the present West Coast contract there is still no confirmation that Virgin Trains will be running services on West Coast after 8 December. Continue reading

Road and rail – what does the future have in store?

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

The curse of Nightmare Manor

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