My Trip
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Reid’s career offers us lessons for today

Reid’s career offers us lessons for today

  With our industry transitioning back to a more centralised set-up, George Muir’s book on Sir Robert Reid is essential reading   Sir Robert Reid   ‘There’s just not the characters left in the game anymore’ is a phrase oft-used to describe a less interesting sporting landscape and it’s a comment that could be levied...
How Boris scored a £96bn own goal

How Boris scored a £96bn own goal

  Unveiled last week, ‘the biggest ever public investment in Britain’s rail network’ was almost universally slated. So what went wrong?   Boris Johnson toured the North of England to coincide with the announcement of the Integrated Rail Plan   The most striking element of last week’s Integrated Rail Plan was the reception it received....
Funding and a finely balanced future

Funding and a finely balanced future

  The Comprehensive Spending Review heralded good news and not-so-good news for public transport. Tough decisions are needed   Boris Johnson at the launch of the National Bus Strategy for England in March   Now that the dust has settled from Comprehensive Spending Review, it’s becoming easier to see through the smoke and mirrors and...
My 10-point plan for rail replacement

My 10-point plan for rail replacement

  During the transition to GBR, it’s important that the age-old challenge of rail replacement provision doesn’t get forgotten   This is how many people feel about rail replacement services – and something must be done to change it   The Department for Transport’s excellent market engagement day to start the process towards the procurement...
Travel by train? The price isn’t right

Travel by train? The price isn’t right

  Rail travel is becoming optional. There is no longer a captive commuter market and the case for fares reform must be heard   We’ve taken the message to No 10 and 11. Will they listen?   Last weekend, the media was given the good news that £7bn was going to be spent on green...
Party conferences and a crunch-point

Party conferences and a crunch-point

  The big issues were debated at this year’s lively party conferences, but there are huge questions to be answered on transport policy   A vision of Greater Manchester’s fully integrated network, championed by mayor Andy Burnham   It felt like the fallow Covid period has reinvigorated party conferences as institutions that previously felt like...
The final nail in the franchising coffin?

The final nail in the franchising coffin?

  Govia being stripped of Southeastern should bring the curtain down on franchising and hasten the introduction of concessions   A Southeastern 465 Unit at Gravesend   Shall we just knock it on the head now? I mean, franchising. With the demise of Southeastern, it’s tempting just to expedite the move towards National Rail Concessions...
We need radical actions, not hot air

We need radical actions, not hot air

  Lurid warnings and distant targets won’t avert climate change. Transport is a key battleground and we desperately need a plan   Boris Johnson last week told the assembly of world leaders at the United Nations in New York that COP26 had to be a “turning point for humanity”   I don’t know about you,...
Branding must not suffer during hiatus

Branding must not suffer during hiatus

  GB Railways may be two or three years away but it’s coming so many TOCs have given up on their brand. This should worry us all   The BR logo would appear to resonate with Joe and Joanna Public   I’ve been living the dream this last month and have travelled on every TOC...
We must get better to lure motorists

We must get better to lure motorists

  The sad truth is that too many bus services are at best tolerable. We need to make them desirable if we are to achieve modal shift   A welcoming sight?   Travelling on a number of local bus services in the south of England with some industry friends recently, I was, quite frankly, very...
Barbara Castle showed how to get things done

Barbara Castle showed how to get things done

  Harold Wilson said he wanted a ‘tiger in the tank’ of his transport policy when he appointed Barbara Castle – and that’s what he got   Barbara Castle showed us that you need to go out there and relentlessly sell radical change   On September 8th more than 350 people took part in the first...
Don’t get complacent about punctuality

Don’t get complacent about punctuality

  Punctuality and reliability soared when lockdown took rail users away. We must not now regard the return of delays as inevitable   Unless we’re all over the detail, a trend of worsening punctuality could become a crisis in a few months’ time   “The problem with you is that you are always looking for...