May 01, 2002

May News Stories

Patrick Crozier | Transport General

Byers 'knifed in back' says Prescott - sour grapes.
Darling warned of Railtrack rough ride - is this the shortest honeymoon period in history? The Railtrack scandal has not gone away.
Sixsmith tries to sell story that will 'finish' Byers
Fewer flights lift punctuality
'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?"
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.
What are the challenges facing the new transport secretary?
Transport challenge 'will take time' - you bet it will.
Darling faces daunting in-tray
Byers 'still a key witness' in potential Railtrack trial
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.
A word in your ear about the road ahead, minister
Now can Blair make Mandy chancellor? - BoBo stirs it."Byers incarnated all the vacuity, the spin-driven vanilla-flavoured candyfloss nothingness of this Government."
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.
Replacement takes time and money - no direct link, it's a pop-up. Author makes much the same points that I usually make about vertical integration. Not sure about the role of the EU though.
Forget Byers, Brown should take the blame - Anatole Kaletsky
'Timeshare' private jets take off - meanwhile the private sector just gets on with it.
This resignation is Blair's Major moment - excellent analysis by Daniel Johnson. Rather overstates the role of the Telegraph and IDS.
Byers had passed too many signals at danger
Critics say problems won't vanish with new minister
The truth about Byers - Telegraph editorial
Commuters will still be waiting no matter who takes charge
Resigned to fate
Wanted: transport minister - must have brains, courage and cast-iron political clout - excellent article from the ever excellent Neil Collins.
Cycling tsar mocks 'martian' helmets - for once Norris is right.
Labour spends less on transport than the Tories - and gets less for it one might add.
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.
Road tolls seen as tax on business
Utilities fight hole-in-road charges
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.
The issue New Labour can no longer duck - Christian Wolmar (see posts passim) makes some good points along with a few bad ones.
Byers will back motorists - the transport plan gets changed
Critical MPs just don't understand, says Byers - same sort of thing from the Telegraph
Transport plan needs early service - same again from the Times. Only the spin has changed.
The promises made by Prescott
Train overcrowding is 'breaching rules'
Potters Bar points were 'badly adjusted'
MPs condemn transport plan - and boy, do they do it. But one thing bugs me. Why is this news today, a Sunday?
Railtrack says faulty installation was cause of Potters Bar crash - if true this is really bad news for Jarvis
Gridlock: Head to Head - statists clash on the state of the roads
Rail line 'not safe', says commuter - well, actually, he's not sure.
Anyone have a good word for Stephen Byers? - some, but by and large those who have reason to fear him.
Cramped airline seats are 'safer' - bizzarely they are easier to get out of in an emergency.
High cost of access on common land - follow up to the story from earlier this week
Byers faces new charge on Railtrack - actually it's an old one
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.
Car charge could backfire - but Ken says he doesn't care. A muted cheer I think. Graphic
Afghan gangs taking over stowaway routes, rail firm says - tales from the frontline in Northern France
Rail union calls fresh strikes - at Arriva NOT at Virgin who operate the train in the accompanying picture.
Charges possible over Paddington - one of these days I really must get round to deciding what I think about corporate manslaughter.
Transport plans under fire
The first year: how the 2010 plan is missing its targets - priceless
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.
Hi-tech bolt may have stopped crash
Screens blamed for 'air blunders'
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.
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.
Firms want to keep slam-door trains
Safety fears close 50 escalators - "The JLE, which cost double the original budget and opened 18 months late..."
Tube strike looms over PPP safety - I don't think this has anything to do with safety. Maybe, we'll find out one day.
Dossier of train danger
For whom the road tolls? - £750bn for Birt's super-highways - come off it.
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.
'Railtrack has cash for safety' - according to the Regulator
Funding levels 'not to blame for Potters Bar crash'
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.
Dossier of train danger
Six days of despair - interesting insight into daily disruption and its causes.
Byers blamed for Labour poll plunge
Congestion battle gets in gear - for once Ken is the defendant
Super motorway plans are 'barmy', say Green groups
- it's wonderful to see them fighting each other
Charging by satellite - or how the Government is slowing moving towards road tolls.
BA touches down with £200m loss
Pilot Eddington ejects the dividend as British Airways goes into a spin
Byers says Railtrack's successor will be safer
Travellers return in sadness to disaster scene
Student's rail death 'unlawful'
The 'world's favourite airline' hits turbulence in tough times for national carriers - bring back the "ethnic" tailfins.
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.
Potters Bar reopens after crash
Forget the jetpack - the future of motoring according to the RAC Foundation
EasyJet set to spread its wings - now that it's bought Go
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.
Road tolls in ten years as Byers is overruled by Blair - it seems that the Government is sold. Good.
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.
Falling to pieces - the Mirror reports on Britain's crumbling rail network
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.
Congestion charges explained
More councils back road tolls
'My flight delay hell' - A BBC reporter gets delayed - this is serious
Crash firm defends sabotage theory - this is a high-risk strategy playing for high stakes
Potters Bar crash not sabotage, say inspectors
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."'
Criminal linked to £1m Railtrack share probe
Railway warning - insight into what it is like to run trains over Railtrack's infrastructure
Sabotage 'may have caused' rail crash - the mystery deepens. Report contains the suggestion that the points were photographed - that could help clear things up.
Crash was sabotage, says rail contractor - good graphic
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.
Jarvis in the spotlight
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.
Flights misery as new air traffic system fails again
Pressure on Byers over flights chaos
Third failure in two months confirms privatisation fears
Euro gaffe Byers under axe - or should that be "Byers tells truth - shock!"
Easyjet buys Go for £374m
Q&A: Budget airline takeover
Fares may rise after airline takeover
'Near miss' as runaway train is derailed
Rail travel safer than car travel - pop-up in Letters section. From Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College - good.
80mph train narrowly misses children
Inquiry after Tube death
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?
Will we ever see train seatbelts? - some sense on this issue
'I spotted track fault'
Tube doors open on wrong side
Market Report: Potters Bar disaster takes toll on maintenance companies
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.
Points 'badly repaired' 9 days before crash
Track team spotted flaw but failed to report it
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.
Vandals try to derail train
Heathrow car charge shock - Ken's congestion charging scheme goes West.
David Farrer reports on Scottish Airports
£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.
Statement due on rail crash
Rail crash 'unique incident'
Why were the points faulty?
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.
Killed by rail neglect - if the allegations in this story are true then either someone is lying or someone is grossly incompetent.
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.
Look no further than Byers for the railway saboteur
Rail firms still failing to scrutinise contractors
Rail chief had safety fear over casual labour
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.
Chain of command
Graphic of the points - very useful.
Byers: wrong, foolish and running out of time
Death on the railways - safety statistics in recent decades.
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.
EasyJet keeps Go deal alive
Budget airlines are not always the cheapest
'Faulty track' focus of crash inquiry- looks like it's the points
Papers press Byers on train crash
Crash track had 'jolt' say travellers
Faulty points are the prime suspect
40 minutes later, a car crash - the Times takes the time to remind us that generally-speaking trains are very safe
Railtrack faces questions over maintenance - again
Investigators examine damaged set of points
Track tragedy
'Job offer' row clouds easyJet talks with Go
Byers 'to speak out' on spin row
Air of resignation over transport
Easyjet to swoop for BA arm in Germany
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
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.
Congestion charge review
Ken's traffic plan "will work"
Livingstone in Tube fare worry
Tube row grows as PPP contracts are signed
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.
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.
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
'Children writing on walls is better than robbing old ladies' - yes, but it's still wrong.
Well-off motorists face extra road tax by 2007 - looks like Tim Evans was right.
Traffic wardens in city 'outnumber the police' - maybe, but they are actually useful.
There is nothing easy about defending our name - Stelios on brand protection
Flying fear man dies in Spain
Citigroup drawn into Railtrack inquiry
Rail Regulator in court battle - yet another turf war
Long and short of rail inquiries - computers can be wrong
Flair on the rails - short diary item on the late Peter Parker
All systems Go? - why EasyJet is buying Go
Cherie Blair runs transport seminar at No 10 - more about the constitution than transport
Byers team in £1m share deal probe - shady dealings at the Department
The coal was painted white so as not to offend Victoria
Royal Train more B&Q than Orient Express
Go Easy on Eddington, he's heard all the jokes
Easy come ... EasyGo
Easyjet in talks to buy rival Go
No wonder voters have lost faith when politicians behave like Mr Byers
New chaos for rail travellers
Crew from the first passenger jet celebrate its fiftieth anniversary
May madness expected on all routes to West Country
Insurance fight for GB Railways
Leave London by train after work on Thursday and be in Barcelona for coffee the next morning
Cellphone 'hazard on trains'
Two-thirds of rail advice 'wrong'

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 IN BRIEF

November 23, 2004

'Captain commuter' wins Sydney a free day on the trains ...link
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Darling's saver ticket for slow-train Britain - he's going to do everything but close them ...link
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November 21, 2004

Tollroads Jamaican style - worth it if only for the pic of the toll plaza ...link
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November 20, 2004

Postive externalities come to DC - sort of ...link
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Railways safer than ever - says Christian Wolmar ...link
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Is graffiti art? - LFTTR think the question misses the point. FWIW I think many artists clearly have a lot of talent and it's a shame they don't have an appropriate, nay, legal outlet. ...link
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Book review - Subterranean Railway by Christian Wolmar ...link
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One airline, 4 crashes, 8 dead: the real price of sugar snap peas in November ...link
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November 17, 2004

British Transport Films Collection DVD Volume One - Surely a must for any transport afficionado. It will be released just in time for Christmas. ...link
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November 15, 2004

Crossrail website ...link
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November 11, 2004

Brake fault forces Virgin to cut speed on flagship tilting trains - you know, just for once it sounds as if the HSE could be right ...link
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November 08, 2004

TV Alert "When trains crash", 1930 Channel 5 tonight. Talk about timing ...link
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November 07, 2004

Ufton Nervet crash - 6 now confirmed dead ...link
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November 06, 2004

One person dead as train derails ...link
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November 04, 2004

FirstGroup wants to add the tracks to its trains - that's brave ...link
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November 02, 2004

Car charge to rise to £6 ...link
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October 30, 2004

Psst wanna buy a railway station? ...link
MH | Comments (0)
October 26, 2004

'Kart Vader' - He tears around Quebec City at 100mph. In a go kart. At night. Wearing black. And he films it. Spotted by Jay Jardine. ...link
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October 24, 2004

The downside of auto-mobile bans - drivers text instead ...link
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Councils ban shrines to road crash victims - a story that neatly combines both transport and the issue of the day: mawkish sentimentality ...link
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October 20, 2004

The air hostess, the long hair and the sun roof - one of the more imaginative ways of staying awake at the wheel. ...link
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Wheelchair-using MP travelled in 'cattle truck' - so, that's just the same as the rest of us then ...link
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23 escape from burning train ...link
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Wikipedia accuracy under fire - so, it's back on with the Glossary? ...link
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October 19, 2004

Rail chief quits after four months - walking away from £130,000. Golly ...link
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October 14, 2004

New comment on old posting - Tim Hall explains the story of the Highland Railway, its new locos and its soon-to-be-ex-Chief Mechanical engineer ...link
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Out now: DVD version of leaves on the line ...link
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October 13, 2004

New link - Transport Watch UK. Lots of facts, lot of comparisons. Doesn't look good for rail ...link
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October 11, 2004

Take the car and save the planet - walking kills, apparently ...link
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Hybrids better than the real thing - golly ...link
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Don't invest in mega-projects - says Peter Gordon ...link
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October 05, 2004

Prescott backs plan to reopen branch rail lines - well, he says he does ...link
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October 04, 2004

New Glossary Entry - the Advanced Passenger Train ...link
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October 03, 2004

People are building their own speed cameras - One fellow is even selling fully functioning ones ...link
MH | Comments (0)

Pendolinos and Voyagers may prove to be one of privatisation's disasters - says Christian Wolmar ...link
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Omedetō gozaimasu! - Tech Central Station on the 40th anniversary of the Shinkansen ...link
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October 02, 2004

Compulsory purchase to go - in US? Johnathan Pearce has some musings ...link
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October 01, 2004

Indian railway runs out of wheels - because it refuses to import ...link
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All for sprawl - Tyler Cowen links to a couple of articles including one from the NY Times magazine which is attracting a lot of attention ...link
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Underground maps as art - according to Brian ...link
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September 30, 2004

Recent comment - Uncle Roger on the difficulty in working out accurate subsidy figures ...link
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Europe by train - Tim Hall on Stephen Karlson's adventures ...link
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Carpool lanes = communist gulags - Tim Hall is beginning to get it, possibly ...link
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September 29, 2004

P&O axes 1,200 jobs as ferry travel sails into past ...link
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September 27, 2004

Hurtling towards a £7.6bn bill at full tilt - Alistair Osborne on the WCRM fiasco. Actually, I thought £7.6bn was on the low side ...link
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September 26, 2004

A double-decked shame - RJ3 laments the passing of the Routemaster. It's those EU bastards, I tell you ...link
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Tilting trains are rubbish - according to Ross Clark. Now he tells us ...link
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Delays plummet by 28% - says Network Rail ...link
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September 25, 2004

New glossary item - the Health and Safety Executive - in which I demonstrate my almost complete ignorance of this institution ...link
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Scant improvement in train times - according to latest figures ...link
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September 22, 2004

EU plan will hit safe women drivers - and it's all in the name of sex equality ...link
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Unions gang up to demand railway renationalisation - they mean it isn't already? ...link
PCCC | Comments (1)
September 21, 2004

Top car makers support road-jam charging - Ford, GM, Honda, Daimler ...link
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Journey times cut as 125mph tilting train sets record - after £8bn and the odd bankruptcy tilting trains that actually tilt are finally here ...link
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September 18, 2004

ABD calls for environmental audit of public transport - all those particulates ...link
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Camera Partnerships must come clean on real causes of accidents - says ABD ...link
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September 16, 2004

The Green Quadratic - ASI paper on planning from 1988. Now available on-line ...link
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September 14, 2004

Up with conductors - they're really good, you know ...link
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Speeding Britons fined in car race to Spain - "Among the cars were Ferraris, Porsches and Rolls-Royces." ...link
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MPs to lose free airport parking - oh, how my heart bleeds ...link
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The case against driving licences - Paul Clark in Lew Rockwell ...link
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September 10, 2004

Drivers trade privacy for insurance discounts ...link
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September 08, 2004

Free mints infuriate delayed commuters - some even threw them away, ingrates ...link
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Privatize the roads! Liberate the streets! All we have to lose are our parking tickets! - Anthony Gregory in Lew Rockwell ...link
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M6 Toll hits 10m journey mark - er, about a month ago ...link
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September 07, 2004

California high-speed rail plan - all sorts of claims being made but Peter Gordon doesn't like the precedents ...link
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September 06, 2004

Swedish farmer fined 1,211 kronor for illegally parking a snowmobile in Warwick - Krister Nylander lives 205 north of Stockholm and has never been to Warwick. "They can wait till Hell freezes over and I can get to Britain on my snowmobile to pay the fine.” ...link
MH | Comments (0)
September 05, 2004

"Obsession is not too strong a word to describe how railway enthusiasts feel about railways" - Matthew Parris goes to Peru and meets some trainspotters ...link
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September 03, 2004

Hidden costs do not justify the level of tax on petrol in Britain - says Graham Seargeant ...link
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Shovelling cash - utilities to pay for digging up roads ...link
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Alistair Morton, builder of the Channel Tunnel, is dead ...link
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Government 'willed' Railtrack to fail - says Corbett ...link
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Cyclists saddled with seafront speed trap - in Bournemouth ...link
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Historic Amsterdam tram photos Aaaah. Where's amg going to pitch up next? ...link
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Why so little US electrification? - Tim Hall ponders the answer ...link
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September 02, 2004

London Underground Map - as it really is. ...link
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Electric v steam - in 1923. But who won ...link
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Freight or passenger in the US? - they're in conflict. Stephen Karlson considers the options ...link
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September 01, 2004

Fares and charge up in London - says Livingstone ...link
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'Fair fines' planned for speeding drivers ...link
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Railtrack is cleared over Hatfield crash ...link
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August 31, 2004

Thousands 'ready to quit Aslef' - where would we be without brotherly love ...link
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August 30, 2004

Rural watchdog attacks road sign blight - See it's not just me who can't abide the avalanche of street furniture. ...link
MH | Comments (0)

What the traffic will bear - Bob Poole discusses the merits of tolling ...link
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Prague trams - photos. Aaah ...link
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August 24, 2004

What if you can't drive? - Catallarchy's Sean Lynch considers the options ...link
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97% of accidents within speed limit - according to the ABD ...link
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August 22, 2004

Prosecute motorway lane hogs - says RAC ...link
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August 20, 2004

Radio tags for congestion charge? ...link
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World's longest road opens - in Russia ...link
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Sprawl is cheap - says Iain Murray ...link
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August 19, 2004

Strike threat to BA and Eurostar ...link
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Toll roads are safer - at least according to my reading of this Marginal Revolution post ...link
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Peking metro to hit 1000km mark - I'm not sure even London's is that long ...link
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August 15, 2004

Squander Two calmly talks about speed cameras ...link
MH | Comments (1)

Parking anarchy in St Albans - Police withdraw traffic wardens, Herts council won't have any until October, it's bedlam! ...link
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The future of transport - as seen from the past ...link
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Trains less efficient than cars - yes, I know, it's old news ...link
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Ferry solution, please - Eamonn Butler wonders how you could introduce competition to a subsidised ferry service in the Western Isles ...link
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August 14, 2004

Drink less, speed less, save on insurance - Marginal Revolution has the story ...link
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