A simple question in Parliament about the possibility of reintroducing ‘third class’ train travel has had a curious effect in the highest traditions of the silly season — which is not usually thought to include November.
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
THE revelation in this month’s print edition of Railnews of the full extent of Dr Richard Beeching’s proposals, nearly half a century ago, to reduce the size of the rail network is a real shocker. Continue reading
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