Northern’s new slogan: DO NOT TRAVEL

Sunday 25th September 2022 Weekend rail travel is booming. Fortunately for the rail industry the post pandemic reduction in five day week commuting has been offset by huge growth in leisure travel especially at weekends. In my experience trains at the weekends are now the busiest of the week. I recall Sir Peter Hendy opining... Continue Reading →

A rival for troubled Avanti

Saturday 27th August 2022 Yesterday afternoon saw the second outing of an interloper’s new weekly appearance competing on the West Coast Main Line. The rail tour company Locomotive Services Ltd (trading as InterCity) has started running a southbound journey between Crewe and Euston followed by a return back to Manchester leaving London in the busy... Continue Reading →

Transport turmoil

Saturday 13th August 2022 Let’s take stock. The battle for TfL is ominously sliding towards a possible nuclear option of bankruptcy and Government "taking back control"…… Rail strikes are continuing with more trains in the sidings than on the tracks today with ASLEF drivers’ turn to stop work and RMT and TSSA members out again... Continue Reading →

Not another extension

Thursday 14th July 2022 There have now been 11 deadlines for Government funding support for TfL since the pandemic began in late March 2020. That’s an average of one deadline every 78 days. Or one very two and a half months. Bearing in mind the first funding settlement lasted for six and a half months... Continue Reading →

To cap it all … a £2 limit

Sunday 3rd July 2022 Speculation is growing of an imminent announcement of a £2 cap on all bus fares throughout England to apply for six months from October as part of Government plans to help with the cost of living. Such a plan has already been announced by West Yorkshire Combined Authority Mayor Tracey Brabin... Continue Reading →

Dear Grant and Sadiq

Saturday 25th June 2022 Extract from Grant Shapps' letter of 23rd June to Sadiq Khan. Dear Grant and Sadiq I was intrigued to be quoted in Thursday’s letter (from you Grant to you Sadiq) so wondered if I could help by acting as a bit of an ‘honest broker’ between the two of you as... Continue Reading →

Restoring Your Railway update

Thursday 23rd June 2022 Last Saturday Minister of State for Transport Wendy Morton announced “a further £15 million in funding to develop nine Restoring Your Railway schemes across England to reopen disused railway lines, services and stations, including some that were axed in the 1950s and 60s – with one station taken out of use... Continue Reading →

The cost of a rail ticket refund

Tuesday 15th March 2022 I’ve been ‘off the road’ for operational reasons since last Monday (otherwise known as testing positive for Covid) which has given me an opportunity to reflect on the rail industry’s policy on ticket refunds. It’s all very simple if you’re a Marks & Spencer customer. Famous for its no quibble policy,... Continue Reading →

A few updates

Thursday 3rd March 2022 Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Looking south I was in Cambridge briefly over the weekend so took the opportunity to take a look at the interim safety measures now installed between the public footpath/bridleway and the northbound guided busway on the one-and-a-quarter mile stretch between Addenbrooke's Hospital and Cambridge railway station. It had... Continue Reading →

London matters

Saturday 19th February 2022 I'd planned to use this blog to write about the fourth funding settlement agreed between DfT and TfL yesterday including the controversial stuff like Travelcards ending. But I guessed a settlement wouldn't be agreed. And instead there'd be a further extension from last night's midnight expiry of the already twice extended... Continue Reading →

Travelcard under threat

Saturday 22nd January 2022 One of the proposals London Mayor Sadiq Khan has put forward to help shore up TfL’s finances in ongoing funding negotiations with Government to replace the current arrangements ending on 4th February is the end of the Travelcard. If this goes ahead it will confirm without doubt the wheels have well... Continue Reading →

Crisis cuts at Southern Rail

Sunday 2nd January 2022 What on earth is going on at Southern Rail? There we all were making alternative arrangements for travel between Christmas and New Year while Network Rail carried out resignalling work closing all lines between East Croydon and Victoria for nine days .... .... when on Thursday it was announced these arrangements... Continue Reading →

I’m a Bus Manager, Get Me Out of Here!

Sunday 28th November 2021 Life is tough at the top, they say, and it’s never more true for bus company managers wrestling with continuing pandemic pressures of running a bus company. Not enough passengers; not enough bus drivers; not enough financial support; no certainty of future Government funding; poor reimbursement for concessionary travel on the... Continue Reading →

Great British Railspin

Thursday 20th May 2021 It's definitely not a return to British Railways, Grant Shapps was at pains to point out on this morning's media circuit. This is going to be very different. It's "simplification" not "re-nationalisation". Because it's called Great British Railways. Not British Railways. But it'll bring back control of tracks and operations together.... Continue Reading →

15 more rail restorations reviewed

Friday 4th December 2020 I've had a look in a bit more detail at the fifteen ideas for Restoring Your Railways recently awarded up to £50,000 each to investigate whether they have a realistic business case. I can only offer a ‘back of the envelope' view but I reckon I won't be far out, especially... Continue Reading →

Week 3: Reset

Saturday 21st November 2020 One big upside of this week’s so called Government ‘reset’ after Dom's Downing Street departure was Monday's welcome return of the Morgan-v-Hancock...Jenrick...Sharma...(et al) head-to-head on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. No-one does a Cabinet grilling quite like Piers Morgan and it's proving a ratings beating TV fest, but all the while the... Continue Reading →

Rail rhetoric -v- rail reality

Monday 5th October 2020 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rolled out the usual sound bites when launching the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (replacing Emergency Measures Agreements) on the breakfast media round a couple of weeks ago. This is what he said on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme: "Today we've ended the franchise system after a... Continue Reading →

Oxfordshire’s back funding buses

Friday 11th September 2020 The last time Oxfordshire funded a bus service was July 2016. That month the County Council scrapped its circa £4 million annual bus subsidy budget abandoning 118 tendered bus contracts to the fate of the commercial market - and turned 34 years of deregulation on its head. Deregulation, you my recall,... Continue Reading →

Ten ideas for restoring railways

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 The Government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund is a £500 million pot to “kickstart the restoration of lines closed more than 50 years ago”. It’s had a few launches. Boris Johnson promoted the commitment during the election campaign last November on a visit to Fleetwood then at the end of January Grant... Continue Reading →

Another Gatwick Express rip-off

Friday 25th October 2019 Spoiler alert: the postman delivered a National Rail Voucher for £6.70 this morning. I wrote about the outrageous rip-off fares policy on the Gatwick Express back in May, but the other day I came across another pricing scandal from this past-its-sell-by-date train brand. I was buying a ticket in the Gatwick... Continue Reading →

End the 35 year GatEx rip off

Tuesday 14th May 2019 Exactly thirty-five years ago today British Rail began the first non-stop train service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport marketed as Gatwick Express. Class 73 locomotives hauled Mark 2 carriages providing a 30 minute journey time. Since 1984 GX's history has been in three almost equal parts: the British Rail era... Continue Reading →

Farewell Norton Bridge

Friday 29th March 2019 The rail replacement bus service which has been running between Stafford and Stone to serve the abandoned Norton Bridge station since May 2004 comes to an end tomorrow. I couldn’t resist taking a trip up there to check it out on its penultimate day. Trains stopped calling at Norton Bridge fifteen... Continue Reading →

All Change for Cross Country

Today is the last day to make your views known to the DfT if you’d like to see changes made for the next Cross Country franchise due to begin in December 2019. Although as befits things on rails it might be put back into 2020. The current franchise has been operated by Arriva Trains UK... Continue Reading →

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