Sunday, August 18, 2002

Cuttings - Potters Bar Crash

Track tragedy
Investigators examine damaged set of points
Railtrack faces questions over maintenance - again
40 minutes later, a car crash - the Times takes the time to remind us that generally-speaking trains are very safe
Faulty points are the prime suspect
Crash track had 'jolt' say travellers
Papers press Byers on train crash
'Faulty track' focus of crash inquiry- looks like it's the points
Graphic of the points - very useful.
Chain of command
Rail chief had safety fear over casual labour
Rail firms still failing to scrutinise contractors
Police to quiz engineer
Commuter warned of crash line problems - this has come up before - commuters complaining of jolts on the line near Potters Bar. But were the jolts caused by the points? If they were, then that suggests that there was a problem with the points going back several months. If they weren't then I would like to hear some assessment as to whether such jolts pose a threat to safety as opposed to merely a threat to passenger comfort.
Killed by rail neglect - if the allegations in this story are true then either someone is lying or someone is grossly incompetent.
Points were checked the day before rail disaster - an unusually good piece of reporting. Not only does it raise questions but it tells us what they are.
Why were the points faulty?
Rail crash 'unique incident'
Statement due on rail crash
Vandals try to derail train
Solicitor's widow tells of her loss - this is just an observation but isn't it odd that three of the victims of the Potters Bar crash were in the public eye? One was a former head of the World Service, one a well-known Hong Kong journalist and another a potential Nigerian king.
Track team spotted flaw but failed to report it
Points 'badly repaired' 9 days before crash
Market Report: Potters Bar disaster takes toll on maintenance companies
'I spotted track fault'
What price talk when silence isn't golden? - Jarvis's decision to go with the sabotage story is a brave one. Not the sort of thing that lawyers would normally countenance.
Jarvis in the spotlight
Rail sabotage blamed for fatal accident - same thing in the Times - just better. The Times really has been very good on this. The article also (to some extent) clears up something that had been bugging me. How did the set of points come to move? It always struck me that the train would be forcing the points to stay in place. This may explain why they didn't.
Crash was sabotage, says rail contractor - good graphic
Sabotage 'may have caused' rail crash - the mystery deepens. Report contains the suggestion that the points were photographed - that could help clear things up.
Potters Bar crash not sabotage, say inspectors
Crash firm defends sabotage theory - this is a high-risk strategy playing for high stakes
Potters Bar reopens after crash
Travellers return in sadness to disaster scene
Funding levels 'not to blame for Potters Bar crash'
Hi-tech bolt may have stopped crash
Rail line 'not safe', says commuter - well, actually, he's not sure.
Railtrack says faulty installation was cause of Potters Bar crash - if true this is really bad news for Jarvis
Potters Bar points were 'badly adjusted'
Big profits rise for Jarvis
Potters Bar victim demands full inquiry
Potters Bar police hunt rail workers
Jarvis defends work record as profit soars
Potters Bar crash report due
Potters Bar fears over 1,700 rail points
Potters Bar track 'appalling'
Several Potters Bar points 'were faulty'
Potters Bar crash report: At a glance
Rail workers 'checked wrong line'
Rail crash victims scorn Jarvis pledge
Railtrack offers £12m payout to Potters Bar crash victims
£12m offer to rail crash families 'is meaningless'

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Cuttings - The Byers Affair

No wonder voters have lost faith when politicians behave like Mr Byers
Air of resignation over transport - Times readers get their teeth into Byers
Byers 'to speak out' on spin row
Byers: wrong, foolish and running out of time
Euro gaffe Byers under axe - or should that be "Byers tells truth - shock!"
Byers blamed for Labour poll plunge
Look no further than Byers for the railway saboteur
Byers is 'hung out to dry' by Blair - there is a consensus that Byers is finished. There is, however, a counter argument. It is just possible that the rail network could look a whole lot better in time for the next general election. The new Pendolinos will be in service this year with their top speed gradually increasing from 110 to 125mph. The first phase of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link will open in October 2003. That will certainly lead to a "feel good" factor. The Train Protection and Warning System is beginning to roll out across the country. This will dramatically reduce Signals Passed at Danger (SPADs). The power supply problem on Southern Region looks like it is going to be sorted out so we'll be able to say goodbye to slam door stock and hello to air-conditioned luxury. In that time the Government might even get round to approving the Central Railway and a new North-South rail link. It could just happen.
No 10 backs Byers on 'Railtrack lie' - shameless
Disbelief on the line - the Times points out that the latest "lie" may have implications in the courts.
Crash survivor accuses Byers - now tell me if I am wrong but the accusation that Byers was planning to wind up Railtrack well before October strikes me as a real scandal. Yet, I have not a heard a word of this on BBC TV and it is not as if there is a great deal of other news about at the moment.
Byers faces new charge on Railtrack - actually it's an old one
Anyone have a good word for Stephen Byers? - some, but by and large those who have reason to fear him.
Resigned to fate
Forget Byers, Brown should take the blame - Anatole Kaletsky
Sixsmith tries to sell story that will 'finish' Byers
Byers 'knifed in back' says Prescott - sour grapes.
Byers had passed too many signals at danger
This resignation is Blair's Major moment - excellent analysis by Daniel Johnson. Rather overstates the role of the Telegraph and IDS.
Now can Blair make Mandy chancellor? - BoBo stirs it."Byers incarnated all the vacuity, the spin-driven vanilla-flavoured candyfloss nothingness of this Government."
The truth about Byers - Telegraph editorial
Byers deserves an award for Farce of the Year
Dirty tricks
Byers apologises for 'smear' e-mail
Byers apologises to crash survivors - yet more stories of dirty tricks. Unbelievable. Is it pathological I wonder to myself?
Survivors group demands Blair apology
The smearing of victims
Formerly canny Danny Corry
Labour is forced to apologise over new e-mail controversy
Outrage over Labour dirty tricks email
'Smear' row adviser apologises
Sixsmith in Whitehall TV show row - the dying embers
The awful truth about Mr Byers - Peter Oborne in the Spectator
Sixsmith in Whitehall TV show row - the dying embers
Now Cook is set to quit RMT
RMT boss wants to force Prescott out of his home
RMT has history on its side - Anthony Howard tries to turn back the clock

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Cuttings - Road

North Circular roars into first place
The biggest hole in the road yet
'A tidal wave' of road restrictions
Blackwall Tunnel safety slammed
Traffic wardens in city 'outnumber the police' - maybe, but they are actually useful.
Well-off motorists face extra road tax by 2007 - looks like Tim Evans was right.
More councils back road tolls
Toll road network 'planned for UK' - don't get excited; it sounds better than it actually is. This is the product of ex-BBC Managing Director, John Birt's "Blue Skies" unit and is all a bit dreamy. It won't happen.
Road tolls in ten years as Byers is overruled by Blair - it seems that the Government is sold. Good.
Byers engulfed in row over M-way tolls leak - what amazes me is how members of this Government can get so worked up over such trifles. I can never work out if ministers being distracted from their jobs in this way is something we should fear or welcome.
Forget the jetpack - the future of motoring according to the RAC Foundation
Charging by satellite - or how the Government is slowing moving towards road tolls.
Super motorway plans are 'barmy', say Green groups - it's wonderful to see them fighting each other
For whom the road tolls? - £750bn for Birt's super-highways - come off it.
Driving a company car 'one of the most hazardous of occupations' - Research shows that construction workers have a one in 10,000 risk of being killed or seriously injured at work, while high-mileage company car drivers have a one in 8,000 risk and coal miners a one in 7,100 risk. Well, I never.
Gridlock: Head to Head - statists clash on the state of the roads
Byers will back motorists - the transport plan gets changed
Utilities fight hole-in-road charges
Road tolls seen as tax on business
'Our roads are Third World standard' - no they aren't.But John Dawson, AA's director of policy, said: "There's a serious underlying problem here. Can the local authorities, elected on a short-term basis at a political level, actually be trusted to understand the long-term infrastructure problems?"
Oxford's prize jam
Mobiles 'worse than drink-driving'
Minister attacks mobile phone danger link
We should accept that the end of the road is nigh for driving without prices - Andrew Oswald
A transport policy that leaves me at the wheel - Simon Jenkins
Revealed: tricks of the traffic wardens
Drivers without passengers may face M-way delays
Tolls to tackle M25 jams - report
Labour's jammed-up thinking - another Telegraph editorial
Parking law makes criminals of us all - Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard
Power to the car poolers
Jambusters eye cellphones
Rural lane limit should be 40mph, say MPs
Drivers face new onslaught of road bumps and speed cameras
M25 'needs tolls to stop jams'
MPs call for 20mph speed limit
Speed camera rules 'will cause deaths'
Outrage as drink driver's sentence cut
Most drivers break speed limits
'Ton-up' court puts brakes on by-pass speedsters
Darling ditches Birt's motorway plan
Darling rules out toll motorways - because there is no room. Now, I seem to remember (way back in my parliamentary researcher days) Chris Chope, then a Transport minister answering a written question about this. If I recall correctly roads cover about 1% of Britain's land mass. Room is not the problem.
Darling to swap toll motorways for city charges
Traffic congestion - I hope I get round to posting about this. This is truly awful.
Removing signals 'would make roads safer'
Police bus patrols launched
Blame it on the driver - a very silly proposal from Brussels
Drink/Drive Plan Mooted
Hooray! Traffic wardens to strike
Dozens injured in motorway crash
Ways of reducing traffic congestion - Times letters
Driver jailed for killing cyclist
Darling's threat to spy on every car
Tougher penalties for killer drivers
Gridlock as 800 traffic lights seize
'I could have ticketed whole streets'
Anti-cars campaigns fail to turn off drivers
Police want roadside eye tests
Heavy metal - the Times gets philosophical about jams
John Humphrys: They’re too frightened to pass the laws we need - he wants to ban droning and driving.
Toll could end nine-to-five day
To the lady who berated me, I say: on your bike - Boris Johnson makes the implausible claim that he can ride a bike. Stertorously, by the way, means marked by heavy snoring - not that that adds a lot to the meaning
Drug driving figures 'shocking'
Paying for parking by text
Cities follow London on congestion charge
Letters to the Editor: Give way to Lycra louts
'Bollocks' Johnson, mobile cycle path - Boris Johnsongate - more revelations
EU to make drivers pay for cyclists' accidents
Russian answer to road congestion - priceless!
Hats off to driver's fine challenge - you don't have to pay if the warden isn't wearing a hat. That's just the sort of pettyfogging rule this country needs more of.
Car drivers warned of DVT risk
'Fine companies for road chaos' - this does seem to come up an awful lot.
Who is at fault in bicycle crashes? - Times Letters
Tailback of votes puts M25 at top of public hate list
Travelling on a road to ruin
M-way drivers ignoring fatigue
Move to ban 'mobile drivers' criticised
First our guns. Cars soon?
Danger roads 'have fewest cameras'
Passengers stranded as bus firm folds
Traffic jams are 'biggest cause of stress'
Drivers vandalise speed cams
Rethink for hated chicane
Getting there faster

Monday, August 12, 2002

Cuttings - Air

BA in new cuts as bmi suffers
Heathrow pollution extends 17 miles
Flights to London to double
Challenge of 'fly-by-nights' that fly all over
Crew from the first passenger jet celebrate its fiftieth anniversary
Flying fear man dies in Spain
Airlines sell economy to the business class - what interests me is the vast difference in price between el Cheapo Economy and slightly less el Cheapo Economy with 7 extra inches. Who said size doesn't matter.
Budget airlines are not always the cheapest
£60m for a Jumbo Jet! - I did not know that. David Farrer is in fact making an entirely different point but I am interested to know how much aircraft cost. You see I have this theory that the safety of a particular mode of transportation is in proportion to the cost per seat. Planes (£100,000/seat) are safer than trains (£10,000/seat) are safer than push bikes (£250/seat). It all starts to break down with cars and motorbikes - and depends on how many seats a motorbike is deemed to have. It has two "seats" but how often is the second one used? Mind you, you could say much the same for the family car. The general point is that the more something costs the more people take care of it.
David Farrer reports on Scottish Airports
Third failure in two months confirms privatisation fears
Pressure on Byers over flights chaos
Flights misery as new air traffic system fails again
'My flight delay hell' - A BBC reporter gets delayed - this is serious
EasyJet set to spread its wings - now that it's bought Go
The 'world's favourite airline' hits turbulence in tough times for national carriers - bring back the "ethnic" tailfins.
Pilot Eddington ejects the dividend as British Airways goes into a spin
BA touches down with £200m loss
Screens blamed for 'air blunders'
Cramped airline seats are 'safer' - bizzarely they are easier to get out of in an emergency.
'Timeshare' private jets take off - meanwhile the private sector just gets on with it.
Fewer flights lift punctuality
BA targets budget flights market
BAA offers £65m rescue plan for Nats
Regulators leave BAA in the air
Airports Authority stuck on the runway
BAA in talks about £65m backing for air traffic control
Ryanair profits to hit record after passenger numbers soar by 45%
Gray paves way for airport and Borders rail links - new services in Scotland
Record profits for Ryanair
DVT campaigner urges airline action
Ryanair 'will be biggest in Europe'
Stansted 'to get new runway'
Summer strikes spell chaos for airline passengers
Air traffic workload 'threatening safety'
Another air traffic alarm
Air control safety complaints soar
'No Heathrow in Essex'
Serious flying incidents over Britain have doubled
Budget airlines pilots 'cut corners'
Ryanair accused of putting pressure on pilots
Complaint on safety is loony, says Ryanair
Irish aviation authority satisfied with record of airline
How Ryanair puts its passengers in their place
BA slashes fares in low-cost battle
Travellers' tales
Cheap fare tips
Cheapest tickets are a rare find
Air controller's safety row with budget airlines
Air travel hit by strike chaos
Jets miss by seconds as air traffic system fails
Europe's troubled skies
Airport staff strike threat 'receding' after union talks
The Comet still provides good service
Rum and Ribena woman jailed for jet uproar
Airlines battle for control of German skies - Lufthansa first-class passengers get a complimentary chocky bar. So, that's why they're losing money.
Prestwick could get Ryanair base - it'll be interesting to see what Freedom and Whisky have to say about this.
The Queen and Becks put BA figures in spin
Third Heathrow runway back on agenda
Easyjet shares streak upward with rise in traffic
Does my bum look big in this Boeing? - airline seat economics
Swiss tighten air traffic control rules
Weather delays supersonic test
Air traffic overload 'increasing'
Panic on plane's emergency descent
Air rage man 'storms cockpit'
Supersonic jet crashes in test - whoops
Airline bars 'too fat' couple
Concorde turns back after 'fault'
Five dead after helicopter crash
Marshall gets rough ride over BA losses
Air travel forecasts "out of control"
Greens warn ministers on air policy
Labour to give Heathrow green light for new runway
Airport expansion plans unveiled
Privatisation of air traffic 'flawed'
Living in Heathrow's shadow
Super-airports plan for South-East
Passenger planes in near miss
£733m debt hits air control service
Going nowhere - Air traffic control crisis
Darling knows which airport plan will take off - Simon Jenkins
The new airport nightmare - Christian Wolmar
Batwings and dragonflies - the future of aircraft
Easyjet passengers stage sit-in
Nats deal in further scrutiny
'I lost my leg to DVT'
The passengers are revolting
Alternatives to expansion of airports - from some nimbyist LibDem
Boeing tries to defy gravity - there's no harm in dreaming
Hypersonic jet launch raises hopes - alas, it's being developed by some university scientists and as we all know universities are where old ideas go to die
Heathrow pilot 'refused to land'
Flight delays 'risk air traffic reputation'
Hurrah for easyJet heroes - Melanie McDonagh
Cost cuts drive BA profit
Heathrow plan 'threatens homes'
Is flying really more risky now? - Christian Wolmar
'Real risk' to air safety warns union
Ryanair profits take off
Ryanair chief blasts 'Nimby' Brits
Chilled-out Ryanair surfing ahead - no corporate exec who can describe Newquay (or anywhere else) as the "the surf and dope capital of England" can be all bad
Consequences of proposed airport expansion in South East
Planes' vapour trails affect weather
Tour firm starts budget airline - surely they've missed the (Air)bus?
EasyJet: Our staff can't cope with demand
Bidding war could raise flight prices - the IPPR want the government to auction off slots rather than build new aiports. You can, of course, do both.
Easyjet cancels flights as rota fails
Science fiction edges towards fact - including updates on what happened to the jet pack and the future of the personal helicopter
US Airways falls prey to September 11
Legal threat over easyJet flight
United Airlines warns of bankruptcy
Experimental jet 'a success'
10,000 flights changed as services are cut
High ho, it's off to work I go
Britain moves to end 'open skies' deadlock - good background article on why there are only 4 carriers on the Heathrow-US route
Airlines nosedive as passengers put price first - interesting article by Irwin Stelzer. Seems that a minor revolution is going on in the airline business.
Failure to detect Comet's fatal flaw
Bid to halt night flights
BAA trying to build third runway
For TV this compulsive, you need a private jet - Jeremy Clarkson, 17, likes 24, dislikes queues at airports
Airlines attacked over 'poor standards'
Ryanair demands pilots work past limit
Ryanair's ascent
Ryanair safety graphic
Airline upturn on the radar

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Rail - General

Rail chaos: the voters blame Blair
Is there light at the end of the tunnel? - the prognosis
Rail rage
Germans recreate little bit of England
Crossrail back on track
US groups plot £20bn rail deal
Commuters: Don't ever expect a seat
Effect of a new North-South railway
Cash plea to boost West Country rail
200mph dream of North-South railway to end roads gridlock
Commuters 'expect lasting chaos'
Christian Wolmar: £300m is worth it to get railways heading for the right destination
Glass graffiti craze could halt trains
Rail link slammed over advert claims
Two-thirds of rail advice 'wrong'
Long and short of rail inquiries - computers can be wrong
Insurance fight for GB Railways
Royal Train more B&Q than Orient Express
The coal was painted white so as not to offend Victoria
Flair on the rails - short diary item on the late Peter Parker
'Children writing on walls is better than robbing old ladies' - yes, but it's still wrong.
The state must step in to save our railways - Anthony Hilton calls for re-nationalisation. Utter drivel of course. I only hope I get the time to do a proper takedown one of these days.
3000 miles of line 'should be closed ' - Institute of Directors calls for a Beeching Mk2. Quite right too. Unfortunately, they are quite wrong about the relative sizes of the British and French networks. The French is almost twice the size of our own.
Railway warning - insight into what it is like to run trains over Railtrack's infrastructure
Virgin's 'captive audience' gets Branson sales pitch - 'A Virgin employee at Euston station found it hard to believe. She said: "You must be joking. These are our passengers they're going to be harassing."'
Falling to pieces - the Mirror reports on Britain's crumbling rail network
Waterloo commuters' daily worry - the Evening Standard reports that the tracks used by South West Trains are the worst around London. It is certainly true that they look bad. I can't find the exact quote but I seem to remember that although SWT hands over £260m to Railtrack in access charges Railtrack spends a mere £60m on the infrastructure.
Six days of despair - interesting insight into daily disruption and its causes.
Firms want to keep slam-door trains
Scot Rail adopts no-frills approach - well, actually, they are simply offering bargain fares which is what everyone else does. In fact, bargain fare offers are one of the few real plusses from rail privatisation.
Afghan gangs taking over stowaway routes, rail firm says - tales from the frontline in Northern France
Train overcrowding is 'breaching rules'
The issue New Labour can no longer duck - Christian Wolmar (see posts passim) makes some good points along with a few bad ones.
Eurostar trains join East Coast line - I am not entirely sure I believe this. There are already some Eurostar sets on the line and have been for some time. They're hardly the sort of thing you keep in storage for a rainy day.
Commuters will still be waiting no matter who takes charge
What Darling must do to get the railways working again - written by Phillip Beck, former Chairman of Railtrack, known as the Invisible Man. Some useful insights and quite a lot of special pleading for engineering.
Threat of huge rise in rail fares
No end to train driver shortage
Trains run later since change in Railtrack status
It's worth boarding National Express - scroll down to end
'Taxpayer carried all Chunnel link risks'
Tunnel offer adds to Railtrack bail-out
Rail fare discounts - whingeing
Record £12.5m fine for SWT
Rail punctuality still poses problems
Still room for train improvements
Rail network 'still unreliable'
Trains late but fares still rise above inflation
Trains worse than before Hatfield
Gray paves way for airport and Borders rail links - new services in Scotland
EU will enforce late-train refunds
Big profits rise for Jarvis
Chain of contracting out on railways
Why a return to state ownership would not deliver a golden age of rail - Telegraph editorial
Jarvis defends work record as profit soars
Rail industry raps 10-year transport plan
Eurostar's symbol of a distant dream suggests railways are on the wrong track
Railways may need extra £10bn
Muggers jailed for rail raids 'orgy'
New bid to police trains
Rail crisis turned into BBC drama
On old sleepers - Times Editorial
Government vetoes railway pay offer
Rail firms criticised for big fare rises
Rail fares under fire as discount is withdrawn - see High fares are good for you
Jail for railway pickpocket who stole £30,000
Accounts key to winning rail supremacy battle Amey v Jarvis
Rail trip takes longer than in 1909
Eurotunnel in line to make a profit - Graphic
Tunnelling starts for Channel link
Rail costs review Byers tried to block goes ahead
Rail commuters face huge fare rise
Death sparks surge in train graffiti
Rail fares could rise
Rail fares to increase as price caps scrapped - interesting graphic. Not sure about the claim that fares account for 50% of railway spending. I am sure the real figure is nearer 75%.
BA links up for bullfight on Spanish routes
Railways see sharp rise in crime
Extra £100m handout for Virgin Trains
A compensation that tests logic
Aboard the tilting train that can't tilt... yet
Taxpayers could face rail bill of £556m
Commuters revolt over rail failures
Fewer seats, 'more comfort' - Connex
Planning blow to Thameslink scheme
Connex looking to be loved
Crippling rail delays on West Coast - Excellent article in the Telegraph on how the disaster unfolded
Special trains for Labour conference - the uplifting news that while everyone else will have to get off and take a coach, politicos will travel non-stop.
Insurance threat to rail work
Railtrack in 'consultancy spending spree' - I must have missed this first time round
Soon all this could be railway (again) - plans to re-open the Great Central Railway
Connex warning over new trains
Rail venture sets off on the track to better service
Insurance snag threatens 'new Railtrack'
Wheels within uninsured wheels - rail's insurance crisis
Skellett likely to step down at Jarvis
Rail repairs to stay with contractors
CPS given Hatfield dossier

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

The Index

Up to and including 10 August 2002

General Transport

Can You Build A Railway (Or Road) Without Compulsory Purchase?
Compulsory Purchase - an update
Compulsory Purchase - a justified grumble
Compulsory Purchase - oh no, not again
Abolish the Ministry of Transport
The dynamics of the relationship between the state and free enterprise - the bigger the state the worse it gets.
That Transport Plan - MPs savage the Government's Transport "Plan"
Abolish the Department of Transport
Public and private transport (generally speaking) do not compete
A Libertarian Transport Manifesto - not finished yet
Now here's a challenge... - one person wonders what all the fuss is about
Dublin metro - actually more about infrastructure and land values.
Book Review: Don Riley Taken for a Ride
Is your journey really necessary?
Stuff from the Ludwig von Mises Institute and elsewhere
The Evil of Subsidy
Pollution Control - libertarian style
The "No shareholders means more being spent" fallacy
Misuses of the English Language #1: Privatisation
Misuses of the English Language #2: the Environment


A brief history of UK railways
A Short Note On The Structure Of The UK Railway
Nationalisation is NOT the Answer - letter to the Evening Standard.
It's not all Doom and Gloom
Train Driver Shortage
Fare Hike Threatened
High Fares are Good for you - ultimately
The Crisis at Connex
Apologies Connex
How much Money is Railtrack Getting from the Government?
Rail Delays
Just How Bad is a Monopoly?
Book Review: Christian Wolmar Broken Rails
Oh, to be proved wrong
But Passenger Numbers Have Gone Up!
The Sale of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link
The Media: Accentuate the Negative, Disregard the Positive
Graffiti and Vandalism
The Central Railway
Some More On Vertical Integration
Some Meanderings on the Royal Train
Anglia Railways in Financial Trouble
Fight! - personal experience of violence on public transport
What the Victorians did for us - a profile of Edward Watkin
Bullshit Alert - a review of the sort of nonsense people come out with when there's a train crash
Dutch Railways and the Nature of Private Enterprise - a letter to Christian Wolmar
Wolmar Replies
Reply to Wolmar - or why subsidy is bad news
The IoD gets it right - and wrong
Rail smash has buried bad news - Railtrack needs a lot more money. The Government has been operating a double standard.
Rail Crash Update - and why it is unwise to jump to conclusions
More thoughts on vertical integration
Bad railways? Blame it on the 1950s - the Modernisation Plan
UK railways reclassified as "weapons of mass destruction" - harsh and totally unfair humour.
More (potential) double standards - how the State treats the state and private sectors differently.
Is it the EU's fault? - that our railways are in a mess? Er, no. Not this time.
It's all the EU's fault (again) - the debate continues
The Taff Vale Judgement
Long distance trains don't make sense
Of smoke and mirrors - the sums involved in the setting up of Network Rail are staggering - and confusing
Signs of improvement - Brian Micklethwait points out that it's not all bad news
A curate's egg - why some things get better and others worse under pseudo-privatisation
Network Rail - review of article from BBC on the birth of the latest wheeze
The public control fallacy
Government vetoes pay offer
The Evil of Subsidy
Eurotunnel debt refinancing
Eurotunnel - an addendum
High fares are good for you
Told you so - state and private are not treated the same
Misuses of the English Language #1: Privatisation
Have rail fares gone up since privatisation?
Higher fares are good for you - an update

Railways Abroad

More Guardian Lunacy (on Amtrak)
Amtrak - in deep trouble
More on Amtrak and how the state deceived the US public in the early 1970s
More on Amtrak (Part II)
The Japanese System
Japanese Railway Conference
On Being Stunned By The Central Japan Railway Company Data Book 2001
The Royal Train - a follow up - how the Japanese royals get around.
The Plane to Spain is faster than the Train - catch the last train to Mudville
High-Speed Rail in Spain
The Octupus Card - Hong Kong's newish non-ticket ticket system.

Railway Safety

On Corporate Manslaughter
Corporate Manslaughter - An Addendum
A Question of Safety
Safety Costs Soar
Safety is Dangerous
More safety nonsense - or how the Government would like to destroy hundreds of perfectly good trains but can't.
"New" rail crash investigator, eh?


Will Self in the Standard - link to takedown


Pile-up on the ranting super-highway - private roads also have rules.
Brian Micklethwait on Road Pricing in the UK
Our nuthead safety fascists...anti-car stupidity is not confined to the UK.
More on the rules of the private road - James Haney on how bad things are in Texas
Utilities fight hole-in-road charges
Road tolls seen as tax on business - why tolls are good for you.
On helmets for cyclists
The car share to nowhere - why they won't work and what the alternative is
Rules, rules and less rules - fewer rules just might lead to greater safety
Walter Block on road pricing
Are buses and cars compatible?
Coming to a main road near you...
Road tolling by satellite
Eh? - a very odd suggestion
Road pricing and job flexibility
Do you feel lucky? - or would I really privatise the road network? You bet!

Congestion Charging in London

My Views
Andrew Oswald in the Times
Ken's Cunning Car Plan
Tim Evans on Road Pricing in the UK
Congestion Charging: some real losers
Congestion Charging: Good for the rich and bad for the poor?
Road pricing and job flexibility
Congestion charging - just do it!
Does congestion charging work?


British Airways Goes Budget
Flights to London to double
Airport Landing Rights
Air Traffic Control - delays across the UK
Should we fear the EasyJet/Go Merger?
Somes thoughts on the Comet disaster
Stelios on Radio 4
Airline Seats
Some Stelios quotes
The NATS crisis - the difference between privatisation and real privatisation
Compulsory Purchase - a justified grumble
In defence of low-cost airlines
How not to control pollution


Prior Planning and Preparation Produces Piss-Poor Performance
L'affaire Byers - or why I am not going to spend my time fretting about it
Transports of Delight - the origin of the phrase
L'affaire Sixsmith - or why spin no longer works
Not satisfied with buggering up the railway... - statistics become collateral damage
Lycra louts
UK Transport Extra

Monday, July 15, 2002

Cuttings File

Up to and including 31 August 2002

Transport General

Transport delays cost £1.9bn a year
May madness expected on all routes to West Country
Cherie Blair runs transport seminar at No 10 - more about the constitution than transport
The housing shortage in the South - I link to this letter from the House Builders Federation because transport issues are inextricably linked to those of general development. By the way, most of London's transport boom took place at a time when there were no planning laws.
Britain facing gridlock over transport failures - now get this. The Government's own commission is publishing a report saying how the 10-year transport plan is getting nowhere.
Labour spends less on transport than the Tories - and gets less for it one might add.
Wanted: transport minister - must have brains, courage and cast-iron political clout - excellent article from the ever excellent Neil Collins.
Commuters will still be waiting no matter who takes charge
Critics say problems won't vanish with new minister
Victims of the worst post in Whitehall - history of the Ministry of Transport. By the way, Barbara Castle did not introduce the compulsory wearing of seat belts. That was done under Margaret Thatcher.
A word in your ear about the road ahead, minister
Transport challenge 'will take time' - you bet it will.
What are the challenges facing the new transport secretary?
Blair urged to clarify who runs transport
A transport policy that leaves me at the wheel - Simon Jenkins
Labour's jammed-up thinking - another Telegraph editorial
Moving forward on transport - some special pleading from Beardie.
Trains "cannot solve roads crisis" - Christopher Foster of the RAC Foundation
Delayed report shows Byers is failing to fulfil transport goals
Jeremy Clarkson: To stay alive, you’re better sorry than safe - very good, very funny
Working from home

Alistair Darling

Darling faces daunting in-tray
Darling has at least set off on the right track - Libby Purves in the Times
Are you listening, Mr Darling?
Focus: And for his next trick... - Times analyses Darling's prospects of success.
Travelling hopefully: can Darling's solutions work?
'I'm ready for slings and arrows' - interview with Alistair Darling
Darling had to move over before the disaster - he's got previous form
No 10 corrects Darling over Birt criticism

The Transport Plan

The first year: how the 2010 plan is missing its targets - priceless
Transport plans under fire
MPs condemn transport plan - and boy, do they do it. But one thing bugs me. Why is this news today, a Sunday?
The promises made by Prescott
Transport plan needs early service - same again from the Times. Only the spin has changed.
Critical MPs just don't understand, says Byers - same sort of thing from the Telegraph
Prescott fails his own test
Prescott in a jam over failure to meet promise on car journeys
Rail industry raps 10-year transport plan
UK transport plan has '£15bn hole'

Transport and Politics

Don't shoot the messenger, says defiant Dunwoody - goodness, this story has introduced me to an entirely new experience - agreeing with Gwynneth Dunwoody
Whips attempt to 'silence' key critic Dunwoody
The blossoming of Theresa May - ugh.
No 10 corrects Darling over Birt criticism

The Byers Affair - follow link


General - follow link

Strikes and Unions

New threat to ScotRail services
Rail staff vote on pay dealsMiddle classes add to £100m bill for graffiti - it's times like this that I warm to Christian Michel's ideas on restitutional justice
Rail union calls fresh strikes - at Arriva NOT at Virgin who operate the train in the accompanying picture.
Passengers face 13th rail strike
Rail union 'to cut cash to Labour'
Prescott quits rail union
Rail firm crippled by strike
Now Cook is set to quit RMT
RMT boss wants to force Prescott out of his home
Rail passengers face fresh strike
Why Mr Crow is crowing - Evening Standard Editorial
Tube chiefs hope for strike reprieve
Unions threaten Labour with more strikes on Tube
New Tube pay strike threat
Two-day rail strike under way

Potters Bar Crash - follow link


Blaze cripples Liverpool St
100 left on tracks as train splits in middle
80mph train narrowly misses children
'Near miss' as runaway train is derailed
Eurostar goes on wrong line - but read the last paragraph: A Railtrack spokesman said today: "There was absolutely no safety issue involved here. An error by a signalman sent the train on to the wrong track." The thing that impresses me is that the train was only 25 minutes late.
Train evacuated in fire alert
Several injured as train derails
Nuclear fuel train hits lorry on level crossing
Driver forgets half his train
'Excessive' heat brings rail chaos
Disruption as freight train derails
Rail services face disruption
Teenager loses limbs in train accident
'Crisis over' for Virgin train services
Bid to derail Flying Scotsman - one of these days someone is going to get killed
Engineers start train salvage
Crash driver escapes as freight train hits lorry cab
87-mile train trip is 10 hours late
Train collides with car
Train evacuated in fire alert
Rail worker killed by train
Vandals' bid to kill train driver
Bid to derail Flying Scotsman - one of these days someone is going to get killed
Liverpool Street thrown into chaos
Children filmed blocking rail line
Woman pushed from station platform
Stalled train causes travel chaos
Travel agony after London 'monsoon'
District line hit by body on line

Rail Safety

Rail safety options announced
'Paddington trauma made me kill'
Rail safety system under fire
New £3.5bn rail safety system 'will cost lives'
Rail safety system costs 'soar'
Cellphone 'hazard on trains'
Death on the railways - safety statistics in recent decades.
Will we ever see train seatbelts? - some sense on this issue
UK rail safety 'is improving' - now isn't that strange. Safety has been improving for decades but no minister sought to point that out before Ladbroke Grove or Hatfield. So, what has brought about this sudden change? Couldn't be because the Goverment is now paying the bills, could it?
Rail travel safer than car travel - pop-up in Letters section. From Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College - good.
Student's rail death 'unlawful'
Dossier of train danger
'Railtrack has cash for safety' - according to the Regulator
Charges possible over Paddington - one of these days I really must get round to deciding what I think about corporate manslaughter.
Rail crash firms to face charges
Cost of making railways safe soars to £6bn
'Smear' row adviser apologises
Still no apology from Blair over dirty tricks email
Paddington survivor: I want my files
How to get a job on our railways
Exclusive: railway workers scandal
Rail safety trainer is suspended
Darling to meet Paddington survivors
The true cost of railway safety - actually these are both rather old stories which I encountered while surfing the net.
'Spads' not the only railway danger
Crash overshadows gains in rail safety
New rail crash investigator
Lives 'at risk' on railways

Railtrack in Administration

NAPF urges swift Railtrack redress
Worried banks put bid for Railtrack at risk
Why rail legal ticket's a sticky wicket (scroll down to end)
WestLB 'set to drop Railtrack bid'
Railtrack investors to reject compensation and sue Byers
Wrong Track - The Spectator
Railtrack payout
The track controller - Interview with Chairman of Network Rail
Byers team in £1m share deal probe - shady dealings at the Department
Citigroup drawn into Railtrack inquiry
Criminal linked to £1m Railtrack share probe
Byers says Railtrack's successor will be safer
Byers 'lied over Railtrack axe' - so he didn't make up his mind 2 days before forcing Railtrack into administration: he'd done it a least a month beforehand.
Byers faces new charge on Railtrack - actually it's an old one
Byers 'still a key witness' in potential Railtrack trial
Darling warned of Railtrack rough ride - is this the shortest honeymoon period in history? The Railtrack scandal has not gone away.
James attacks 'disaster' of Labour's rail rescue
Tunnel offer adds to Railtrack bail-out
Brussels to rule on £9bn Railtrack bid - EU to rule out Network Rail? I think not.
Railtrack set for takeover deal
Railtrack tax deal to cost a further £150m
The reluctant middle-class militant - a Railtrack shareholder sues
Shareholders face further delay in Railtrack payout
Network Rail to get access to billions
Railtrack deal delayed
Railtrack reinvents itself
Q&A: What future for New Railtrack?
How do you relaunch the railways?On old sleepers - Times Editorial
Rail debt is not stopping here - Patience Wheatcroft
Fiasco over Railtrack costs £21bn
Will rail passengers benefit?
State bodies go to war over funding for Network Rail plus Graphic
Confusion reigns on status of Network Rail
Stoking up the great Railtrack engine to the tune of £21 billion - points out that the solution is worse than the problem
Stoking up the great Railtrack engine to the tune of £21 billion - points out that the solution is worse than the problem
Network Rail will take over legal bills
£21bn for rail 'not public debt' - Graphic
Notional route to Andersen-land
Network Rail puffs its way adroitly around Debt Mountain - Telegraph Comment
Investors to vote through rail deal
Shareholders vote on new Railtrack deal
Railtrack investors' cash train nears station
Railtrack rides storm as rescue gets the nod
The bright side of the Byers' bung
Railtrack investors prepare for court
Railtrack bosses set for huge bonuses
New Rail team's salaries kept secret - also has info on the new board and confirmation that Network Rail will be kept out of the state's books.
Poor signal from Network Rail - commentary on non-disclosure of executive salaries

Railways Abroad

Two killed in California train crash
Analysis: Safety issue adds to Amtrak woes
US train crash kills three
Fast train to Provence puts Britain to shame
Leave London by train after work on Thursday and be in Barcelona for coffee the next morning
America's Amtrak railway hits the buffers
Amtrak faces Wednesday shutdown
Politicians hold key to Amtrak rescue
The cost of catching up
Travelling on a bullet (train, that is)

The Regulator

Regulatory buffer
NHS 'doctor' could be a sick joke [includes section about the treatment of the Rail Regulator]
Rail firm writes Winsor fears into contract
Rail Regulator in court battle - yet another turf war
Watchdog wins ruling on Railtrack
Rail regulation plan scrapped
Rail costs review Byers tried to block goes ahead

The Tube

Tories turn on Tube buskers
Tube row grows as PPP contracts are signed
Livingstone in Tube fare worry
Tube doors open on wrong side
Inquiry after Tube death
Tube strike looms over PPP safety - I don't think this has anything to do with safety. Maybe, we'll find out one day.
Safety fears close 50 escalators - "The JLE, which cost double the original budget and opened 18 months late..."
PPP 'will cost more than estimated' - just for comparative purposes. The government will be spending £1bn a year. LU's average annual loss is between £150m and £200m.
Tube firms to make billions from PPP
Byers turns PPP on its head
Repairs could shut the Tube for months
Rush-hour chaos as Circle line is shut
Tube rises to the occasion
Women make the Tube run on time
Mayor seeks Tube funding review
Women 'save the Tube'
Livingstone waits for results of Tube hearing
Delays after closure on District line
Tube drivers pass red signals
PPP plan for Tube 'would risk repeat of Railtrack'
No Minister, PPP won't save the Tube - Christian Wolmar on just how expensive this is going to be
Amey shares fall 16% on Tube delays warning
Tube workers vote to strike
Watchdog accepts tube safety plan
Tube union condemns RMT strike
Last-ditch talks to halt Tube strike
Would you feel safe riding the new Tube? - Will Self
Tube line closures to last 7 years
Tube strike set to escalate
Public 'misled' over Tube adverts
Tube chiefs hope for strike reprieve
Commuters battle with Tube strike
No taxi for Ken on his 2-hour trek
Tube 'back to normal' after strike
Unions threaten Labour with more strikes on Tube
Commuters pray for normal service
Tube fight back in court
Woman pushed from station platform
New strike threat for Tube travellers
New record set on the Tube
Tube challenge to cost mayor millions
Failed Tube legal case to be investigated
New Tube pay strike threat
The Tube makes Iain Murray smile
The man who likes London too much - profile of Bob Kiley
Tube chief hails privatisation
London Underground: Comparison with New York Subway - interesting piece if you like that sort of thing - which I do!
Tube hit by flooding
Passengers choke on the Tube
District line hit by body on line

Roads - follow link

London Congestion Charging

Ken's traffic plan "will work"
Congestion charge review
Legal challenge could delay London car toll - Flip. The legal challenge is all about the environmental effects of rat runs. For heaven's sake, if a rat run is bugging you put a toll on it.
Heathrow car charge shock - Ken's congestion charging scheme goes West.
More councils back road tolls
Congestion charges explained
Congestion battle gets in gear - for once Ken is the defendant
Car charge could backfire - but Ken says he doesn't care. A muted cheer I think. Graphic
'Secret plan' to keep out cars
London shows what can be done - Ken Livingstone
Capital's motorists suspect a red plot
Congestion charges in the South East - letters in the Times
Court bid to jam traffic scheme
The Mayor's big gamble - Congestion Charging
Blunkett and Livingstone are planning to run our lives
'Gaping hole' in car charging profits
Congestion charges face legal challenge
Congestion charge "unlawful"
Roadworks threaten to halt capital
London road tolls come step nearer
Congestion charging: For and against
Livingstone will stand or fall by gamble - Tony Travers
Road circles are warning of road toll
Cities follow London on congestion charge
Ken: I'll scrap car tax if it doesn't work

Air - follow link

EasyJet-Go Merger

In the Easyjet stream of a serial entrepreneur
Easyjet in talks to buy rival Go
Easy come ... EasyGo
Go Easy on Eddington, he's heard all the jokes
All systems Go? - why EasyJet is buying Go
There is nothing easy about defending our name - Stelios on brand protection
Easyjet flies close to the wind - the ink is hardly dry on Stelios's resignation as Chief Executive and EasyJet has transformed itself from corporate upstart to corporate raider
Easyjet to swoop for BA arm in Germany
'Job offer' row clouds easyJet talks with Go
EasyJet keeps Go deal alive
Fares may rise after airline takeover
Q&A: Budget airline takeover
Easyjet buys Go for £374m


Docklands rail staff vote to strike
Owners must pay for common land access - I had always thought that Common Land was owned by the State or in common. It isn't.
High cost of access on common land - follow up to the story from earlier this week
Cycling tsar mocks 'martian' helmets - for once Norris is right.
Whitehall has no right to decide where we should live
Build castles in the sky
Walk the walk - the Times advocates walking. It'll never catch on.
The night of a thousand wheels
Blair in new Formula One row - well, that's one in the eye to all those who say that this government is anti-car. Hell, our road system is so good we even have some money left over to spend on a highway just for one man - Bernie Ecclestone.