Rail capacity

The modern railway is based on a cruel paradox. Some of its routes into the main cities are too popular at peak times, with overcrowding.  The commuters are made to pay premium prices for what can be an inferior service. Many other routes have too few passengers, and those who do travel often benefit from heavily discounted or off peak prices well below the costs of running those trains.

We need to solve the problem of too little capacity for some, and too much capacity and too little revenue from others. What should  be done? Commuters naturally think it unfair that they have to provide a disproportionate part of the fare revenue in what remains overall a heavily loss making or subsidised business. Other travellers often do  not appreciate just how large a gap there is between what they pay to travel and the costs of providing the train they use.

The problem of capacity may be easier to solve than many think. According to the railway management they can typically only run 20 mainline trains an hour on any given line. At peaks there are still large gaps between trains on uni direction track. Poor signals, poor brakes and heavy trains mean the safety margin required to stop a train in time leaves much of the track empty. Modern digital signalling could alter that. If a train is equipped with on board signals and sensors, and automatic braking where needed, it is possible according to railway experts to run 30 trains a hour safely. That is a massive increase of 50% in capacity. It also means a service which at best is one train every three minutes becomes one train every two minutes, more like the tube. If new trains are built out of lighter though strong materials, and equipped with better brakes, there could be further improvements.

I have been urging the government and railway to get on with digital signal investment. They have now established a larger fund to tackle the five most overcrowded routes into London. I am asking them to do more, as so many commuter routes into major cities are afflicted.

Getting more people to use the trains off peak and on longer routes does not have such an easy fix. There needs to be more analysis of why people travel and what they want to get out of it. We need timetables that offer good services more geared to the pattern of passenger needs, and sensible pricing which offers a discount for off peak but does not simply dump seats at prices well below marginal costs.




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  1. Caterpillar
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    A nice pairing over two days. How to smooth demand for rail journeys c.f. law stopping the soothing of demand for kids’ holidays. Nice contrast.

    • Hope
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Why is your govt still pursuing the financially stupid idea of HS2? How many reports need to be hidden by the govt, how many conflicts of interest, who agrees these stupid salaries? Come on, get a grip if you are serious about railways. The money already wasted by your govt on HS2 is breathtakingly stupid. Perhaps another pasty tax by Osborne or a tax increase for the self employed? Perhaps these people need to cut down he number of jobs they have and concentrate on being an MP or the exception a minister. No other jobs because the record reflects to date these two chancellors are and were not up for the job. It is scary to think our country’s finances are over seen by people like this. Osborne failed every target and prediction and his incompetence is still costing us a fortune in taxes for interest on the deficit and debt. Remember balanced structural deficit by 2015, no reference to GDP or any other excuse. Now Hammond’s plan is finger in the air and never never land! Railways, NHS or anything else requires prudent management of our finances. When can we expect thus?

  2. formula57
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Well said! And how many sets of digital signals could we see installed and how soon for the same price as the exhorbitant cost of HS2?

    • 37/6
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear

      Plus the traincrew shortages (union power) that HS2 is going to cause in surrounding regions.

      Not one new railway system has been created without the need to poach existing crews from other areas. Eurostar couldn’t do it. Heathrow Express couldn’t do it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        And the need for endless tax payer subsidies.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    More people may use the trains if the fares were cheaper and more simple to work out.

    The simple fact 0f life is that attempting to see if a train journey is cost effective takes so much time, has so many constraints on hours of use, do I don’t I use split ticketing, if so what should be the split, how many days or weeks in advance do I need to book, is the return open or closed, how much does the nearest car park cost in fees, how much is a bus or taxi at the other end.

    I just do not bother anymore and get in the car.

    The only time I know I am going to use the train is when four of us travel to Gatwick to go on holiday.

    A group return for four people from Wokingham is £40, thus £10 each return. so as long as your aircraft lands before 23.00 hours then its a no brainer.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      The reasons the fares are not cheaper is because train are an inefficient mode of transport in general and they are run very inefficiently too. Despite huge tax breaks and subsidy for trains and over taxation of road vehicles trains still cost a fortune.

      Simpler would certainly be welcome.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        @LL; As mass-transit methods go (that includes private care) rail is the most efficient, tell me another that can have close to 1000 people arrive at the same place at the same time in a mere 900 feet or so. The private car is the most inefficient mode of transport, especially if the only occupant is the driver. Stop trying to compare apples and pears!

        • Edward2
          Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Door to door I find the car does the job.
          Trains are OK for say a trip from London to Edinburgh where you arrive in the city centre.
          But very expensive.

          • Hope
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            Planes are cheaper than rail journeys! Yet our govt is spending over £80 billion on one railway journey that will save 30 minutes in time! No one in their right mind would entertain it. Look at all the infrastructure projects to could be spent on instead, roads, railways, health care social care. It is in the same leavue as the stupidity of overseas aid. Oh, for a sensible chancellor and govt looking after the national interest.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          Nonsense, a train can only do this if 1000 people what to travel from A to B at exactly the same time. Most want to go from C to E and at different and flexible times, carrying goods and tools and perhaps calling at F and G on route to pick up grandma or Johny. If you look at the energy use of the staff, ticketing, stations, track maintenance, taxi, bus and car connections at each end …. they are rarely that efficient nor are they green.

          If you do not believe me just look at train (and bus) average occupation figures they are no where near full in general. People think they are because by definition people tend to catch the full ones at peak times. That is why they are full!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

            Planes can also be rather more efficient than trains where mass transit is needed (above a certain distance that is or of over water). This as they need no track and are rather faster so the vehicle can make more trips per hour.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

            @LL; As I said, you are trying to compare Apples and Pears. Sorry but you really do not have a first clue about mass-transit methods.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            “mass transit methods” well fine if you have 1000 people who want to go from exactly A to exactly B with little luggage and at exactly 11.30 am, but in the real world how often is this?

          • Jerry
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            @LL; “but in the real world how often is this?”

            For goodness sake, are you for real?! How often you ask, how about ever day Monday to Friday, into and out of most major UK Cities and centres of employment. When, you ask, how about between 6am and 10am, then 4pm till late – hence the terms “peak period” and “off-peak”…

        • libertarian
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink


          Total nonsense

          Trains are highly inefficient only travel at set times between fixed points. From a productivity point of view they are a disaster too. They cause parking and traffic bottlenecks around stations. They take vastly longer than car journeys on overall door to door time

          • Jerry
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            @ libertarian; “Total nonsense”

            Indeed those who think rail is highly inefficient are talking total nonsense.

            They cause parking and traffic bottlenecks around stations

            That is an argument for a plentiful and cheap local integrated omnibus services, not the scrapping of rail services!

            They take vastly longer than car journeys on overall door to door time

            Funny, on weekdays days when there are no train services (due to a rail incident, emergency engineering works or strike for example) the roads in such areas tend to be grid locked.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            Indeed and they are not green or energy efficient either all considered.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

            @LL; Indeed private cars are not green or energy efficient either all considered, but is that really the issue here.

            Strange though how you try and bring “green crap” issues into your rants when it suits…

            Reading many of the anti railway comments it seems to me that when most people object to such forms of public transport on our hosts site it is not because of any rational argument, just a dislike (bordering on a hatred with some) of the fact that with public transport one has to mix with other people!

          • libertarian
            Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink


            Keep trying son, you’re deluded .It was YOU who said dont compare apples and pears. Yes cars get gridlocked in London and major large towns , lack of investment in roads over investment in rail.

            Ha ha ha join the reality community. In rural areas there are no buses anywhere most of the time and you do realise busses suffer from the same syndrome, you go at a time that suits the bus not you. When we had a bus service 10 years ago there were 4 per day and they did NOT synchronise with train departures .

            You think that in my rural area that the roads around stations get gridlocked when the trains aren’t running….. ha ha ha

            I drove my son to the nearest station ( 18 mile away) on Sunday only to find that trains weren’t running due to engineering works, not only weren’t the roads gridlocked, we didn’t see another car.

            Commuter trains to London maybe any other journey or time definitely not

          • Jerry
            Posted April 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; Nice try bowling that curved ball, but your sudden wish to start trying to talk about Sundays and then inner cities fools only those without a first clue.

            As for road investment and congestion, that would be why (for example – just to give one example) the M25 gets grid-locked, compared to the old A25 in the good old bad old days of the 1960s and ’70s, because of a lack of continual investment.

            Or could it be that such past and current investment in the M25 just causes ever more car use, meaning that nowadays both the A25 and M25 are grid locked, as are the neighbouring rat-runs – assuming that they have not had to have restrictions on their use made in some way or another.

            As for buses, correct, rural buses are far and few if at all but they used to exist until privatisation and more damaging the deregulation of buses, never mind cuts in support grants etc.

            Regarding efficiency, No one has yet told be of another form of transport, other than railways, that can deliver 1,000 people to the same place at the same time in 900 feet in length, if we take the typical private car with its single occupant -allowing 15ft per car- it needs 15,000ft (literally bumper to bumper) of road space and probably over 20,000 once larger cars and minimum low speed safety gap are considered.

            Then you went on;
            “I drove my son to the nearest station ( 18 mile away) on Sunday only to find that trains weren’t running due to engineering works, not only weren’t the roads gridlocked, we didn’t see another car.”

            Try doing that any day, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays…. Oh and for someone who wants us to thinks you are the IT expert, funny how you never used the TOCs or NR websites to check you were wasting your time driving to a station tha5t had no service!

          • libertarian
            Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            No Jerry

            Its you that wanted to narrow the argument to “peak times” commuting into London

            No one wants or needs a form of transport to deliver 1000 people to the same destination at the same time. Railways FORCE you to do that. Its crazy

            “Try doing that any day, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays…. Oh and for someone who wants us to thinks you are the IT expert, funny how you never used the TOCs or NR websites to check you were wasting your time driving to a station tha5t had no service”

            You need to be an IT expert to work a smartphone?….Who knew?

            Oh dear, I do that every day. I drive past the station in peak times on my way to work. Nope no congestion its RURAL Jerry have you never been in the countryside?

            And thats the other problem we have because of wasting money on railways theres no 3G signal here so I was unable to check train times. In fact where the station is there is no mobile signal at all on Vodafone as well as no buses, there is a taxi firm though because of course as anyone with a brain knows cars work. So I just carried on driving and ended up driving him direct to his desired end destination in East London. Total time in the car there 1.5 hours. IF the trains had been running AND we managed to make all the connections without too much delay, Total time 2.5 hours by train.

            You see Jerry the problem with trains is they dont go where you want them too. He was going to Wapping the train was going to Charing Cross ( or rather it wasn’t, because there wasn’t one )

            Join us in the 21st century Jerry

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the daftest comment on the “thou shall not take your children out of state school for so much as a minute” debate is the common suggestion (very much in evidence on any answers, the BBC and the likes) that the government should ban or fine the holiday companies from charging the market rate for their peak time holidays.

        This would of course produce even fewer holiday at these times and they would have to be rationed in some other way by lottery or something. More likely given to state bureaucrats, politicians, daft elderly judges and the likes.

        Just how thick is the output of our state schools? The trouble is that this absurd approach is just the sort of thing May and Hammond would fall for. Just like gender pay reporting, forcing workers on to company boards, compulsory pensions and central wage controls.

        • hefner
          Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          What about staggering more the dates of holidays for different parts of the country. As has already been pointed out, it is done in Germany, but also in France. So for example, the two-week “Easter” holidays started on 30 March for some areas, the 7th or the 14th April for others.
          I guess it should not be that difficult for “state bureaucrats, politicians, daft elderly” civil servants “and the likes” to organize in the UK.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            What if your children’s holiday they do not match?

          • Hope
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            The trouble with your oh so clever plan is that Easter is set by the equinox. Christmas is fixed as a symbol of the birth of Christ. I want our Christian heritage maintained and given prominence in society while tolerant of others. It is accepted your idea could work with summer holidays and half terms.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


            So the spread is over 4 weeks , and you dont think that peak holiday costs would reflect that ?

            Wanna buy a bridge?

    • Simon Platt
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      How do you get a “group return”?

      • hefner
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Group return ticket, available from any train station for 3 or more persons travelling together. It might even be available from the website of the relevant train operator.
        And for travel between the Reading area and LGW, cheaper than paying a long-term parking, and can even be faster than taking the car as the train stops under LGW South Terminal.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink


        “How do you get a group return”

        Simply ask for one at the desk !

        I always purchase the day before use.

  4. Jerry
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Higher speed = less capacity, the problem is not the signalling, trains like motor vehicles still need safety margins headways, even if fully automated. The only reason why some high capacity transit systems can reduce those headways is because all the stock is of one type and thus have very similar acceleration and braking characteristics but even then we do not see ‘tailgating’. As for tube train like acceleration/braking (which is what you imply), sure its possible, but would passengers accept tube train style comforts for an hour or more where for every action there is a reaction. Ask your NR or TOC contacts to demonstrate the sort of acceleration/retardation they envisage being inflict on the fare paying passenger (both sitting, standing and walking through a carriage), whilst you try drinking a cup of cold water (but remember that in the real world it would likely be hot coffee)….

    Do not mistake the theoretical with the practical, just because those charged with cutting costs or increasing foot-fall say something is possible.

    Reply I want everyone to have a seat with a seat belt on an express train, just as they have to have in a coach or car on a motorway or on a plane.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; Even so people still want to move about, to find their seat on joining, to go to the toilet, to get refreshments from the buffet car [1], to move closer to a door shortly before their destination (not everyone travels to the end of the line like I suspect you do when travelling into London). If trains have to wait until passengers are seated before moving off, or waiting for every passenger to make their way from their seat to the exit door once the train has stopped, station stops would be longer than they are now, mitigating any savings. If passenger have to be strapped in many could well consider not using trains. – oh and does any of that have to do with a hot cup of coffee, unless you are going to force passengers to drink from the adult version of those non-spill infant training beakers marketed as “travel cups”?!

      Why do I get the impression that the appeal of these in-cab signalling systems is not higher speeds but eventual full automation. Those who support driver-less, never mind guard-less, trains should read up on some Railway Inspectorate (now RAIB) reports into the causes and effects of railway accidents that were not caused by human error to understand how passengers would be placed in even more danger is left to their own devices in such situations.

      [1] and if you think those (money saving) airline style refreshment carts are safe, being wheeled back and forth in train carriages, you need to check out some of the NR or TOCs own training safety videos that deal affects of making avoidable emergency brake applications.

      • 37/6
        Posted April 10, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Effectively the Eurostar could be driverless but isn’t. It has in-cab signalling.

        An intercity train cannot (and never will) be driverless.

        The cost of a train stranded between cities, blocking an arterial route, with a thousand passengers on it and goodness knows how many stuck on trains fore and aft, for the sake of a crew member qualified to override faults and failures (to train or infrastructure) is a false economy.

        Let’s suppose it could be done – to disempower unions. That power will simply go from one trade to another, the mobile technicians instead of drivers (goodness knows how they’ll get about a blocked line to a stranded train.)

        There will still be strikes and industrial disputes so long as humans are involved.

        Better to oversupply the labour market in fact. It’ll look like the government is job generating too.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Dr Redwood appears to be describing a sprinter type train for the intercity network.

      The nearest electric mainline example of this is the Heathrow Express 332 which has starting acceleration similar to a tube train. It can be done in comfort so long as the stops are infrequent. Could it manage long distance work though ?

      • Know-dice
        Posted April 10, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        That’s what they do in the Netherlands and it seems to work there.

        Interlace local Sprinter service with the higher speed intercity…

        PvL where are you?

  5. David Murfin
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Don’t railways make money from carrying goods? Have they ever made much from carrying passengers long distances?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      They do not make money at all, overall they get massive subsidy and get unfair tax breaks.

      • 37/6
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic – Take railways away and you will see towns and cities wither.

        You always fail to recognise the redistributive effect on wealth the railways have by making towns and cities commuter-able, and the importance of a useful local railway station to the home-owning (Conservative voting) public.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          Fine but let them compete on a fair basis with other transport systems. If they are so good why do they need such huge subsidies and tax breaks over cars? Perhaps people should work closer to home instead?

          • 37/6
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Because they return such unquantifiable benefits. They make a town commuter-able. They bring rich people to live in a town who then spend their money in pubs and restaurants, nursery care…

            Railways ease the pressure on housing in London.

            Let an MP who proposes closing the local station put that in his manifesto – see how far he gets.

            A train makes a town commuter-able over a 125 mile distance (1hr) A car takes 1hr 46 to do the same – and then has to be parked in an area of prime real estate.

  6. Simon
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    IMHO one of the big drivers in the use of private as opposed to public transport is an instinctive but well founded fear of being in a confined space with total strangers with all the potential for disaster that can bring. The standards of conduct in public places whether drunkeness and hooliganism, theft, sexual assaults, insanity or terrorism are now such that many people structure their lives so that it can be avoided completely – at least for families, single women and elderly people. Commuters just have to take their chances. No change in cost will alter that equation.

    • Simon Platt
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I’ve been on some trains recently where there was no guard, or at least no sign of one. That doesn’t help.

  7. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    This is a bit muddled, to be honest.
    You have to decide as politicians whether railways are a service rationed at the point of use i.e. a quasi-NHS, or a business.
    If the rail system is to be seen as a business, then it might well be in the business’s interests not to invest in signalling, light trains etc. because the return from the extra few passengers in peak time in major cities might not justify it. So let’s see the business case please.
    If it’s a publicly funded service where pricing is a side issue and generating capacity is the main consideration, then by all means yes, invest in signalling, light trains etc., although the competition for funding with that for new schools and hospitals will be intense.
    Either way, your post deserves space for a reply from the rail industry to put its case.

    Reply They are welcome to contribute. I think you will find they agree with the case to expand capacity by applying modern technology

    • acorn
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Railways are a natural monopoly; conservative party ideology refuses to understand such. Hence, the mess we now have caused by privatising the nuts separately from the corresponding bolts.

      Anyway, the engineers are way ahead of you JR. Have a look at https://www.sparkrail.org/Pages/SolutionsCatalogue.aspx

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink


        “Railways are a natural monopoly”

        Oh so you missed the invention, start up and first 50 years of the railway system then? Read a history book

        Theres no such thing as a “natural monopoly”

        • acorn
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          This may be a little difficult for you libby but have a read of, http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/natural-monopoly/

          Then think about the reason we only have one set of railway tracks; one set of wires bringing the electric; one set of pipes bringing the water and the gas. This is the level at which the natural infrastructure monopoly is defined.

          Compare that to having multiple Cellular Telephone Transmitter / Receivers from different companies, in the same geographic area, when one network infrastructure would have been far more cost effective.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            The thing is Corny that you dont understand free trade. The thing is that you dont understand that when the railways were invented there were lots of different owners of track. The thing is that you dont understand that multiple cells 1) Meant that the same argument you made was also used about phone lines until a competitor ( i.e. non monopoly ) came along and invented an alternative, cell phones. Same for electric wires because increasingly there ISNT one set of wires. The electrical grid is expected to evolve to a new grid paradigm: the smart grid, an enhancement of the 20th century electrical grid. The traditional electrical grids are generally used to carry power from a few central generators to a large number of users or customers. In contrast, the new emerging smart grid uses two-way flows of electricity and information to create an automated and distributed advanced energy delivery network and local generation and distribution

            Monopolies are fatal they die through lack of innovation and competition

            No I can’t see why the ownership of ALL the sets of wires, pipes, rails etc should be in the hands of one organisation .
            Think about the internet , which monopoly owns that?

            Please never ever cite economics theory as an explanation of anything. Economists are the biggest charlatans on the planet.

  8. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Is some revenue better than no revenue? I would say it is. Only yesterday I checked the cost of a single fare and found it 50 pence cheaper than the return and off peak – I only travel off peak. I don’t want a return so I’ll use my “free” bus pass instead – takes much longer and is tedious.

    Off peak five carriage trains travelling through my area may have 20 – 30 people in total on board at any given time. With one person travelling a very generous calculation can equate the fare to car cost, obviously two or more makes rail hopelessly uneconomic. Then there is the door to door aspect.

    The so called discount cards – give us £30 p.a. and we will give you a 30% discount – dream on. Most retired people I know bypass rail for coach or air on longer UK journeys.

    Reply If the additional revenue of a given near empty train is below the fuel and staff costs of running that train it would be a good idea to ask could they run a more popular train.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. There will always be waste and over-capacity in transport. Every form of transport has to run empty or light loaded unless it is to be stabled at a peak departure point awaiting a peak load. That location will invariably have the highest land values.

      This includes the private motor car which probably spends more of its life stabled and unused than any other vehicle.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      The line in question is a major route into Waterloo and the option would be to truncate the service, in effect do a Beeching, which policy many now regard as a massive over reaction and mistake.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Capacity issues could also be challenged by increasing train and platform lengths. An 8 carriage intercity (typical of today) is a short train compared to the 15 carriage trains which used to be run.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      @Anonymous; “Capacity issues could also be challenged by increasing train and platform lengths.”

      Always assuming that there is available land to extend platforms, at every station the train is to stop at, not just the terminus’s, otherwise station stop times actually increase because the train has to pull forward, wait longer as passenger in the wrong part of the train make their way through the train to a platform accessible door (or of course passenger get transported beyond their destination, not good PR, there is a song about such issues!…)

      “An 8 carriage intercity (typical of today) is a short train compared to the 15 carriage trains which used to be run.”

      You sure about that? In the past the standard inter-war era commuter railway carriage was around 57ft in length, that was increased to around 64ft in the 1950s, today it is around 70ft, with mostly open seating configurations, less doors and fewer toilets. The number of carriage is no measure of train capacity.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 8, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Selective door opening is already available on our networks on short platforms with long trains.

        • Jerry
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          @Anonymous; “Selective door opening”

          …and Haddock is £10 lb! What do you not understand, longer trains that need to wait for passengers to find a platform accessible door, or were the train has to pull forward both increase station stop times, thus reducing over all line capacity?

          I think I’m correct in saying that a standard station stop is something like 120 seconds from door opening to doors closing, were trains have to pull forward due to short platforms that time is more than doubled.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            I’ve seen trains in Europe where the doors only open at station stops where the train is adjacent to the platform.

            I think this is what anonymous was referring to.
            It seems to work well at shorter platforms on the route.

          • libertarian
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink


            When I commuted my rural station had a short platform, the train announcements told people which carriages to travel in if they wished to alight at that station. At no time did the train shuffle in order to accommodate the longer commuter trains .

            I just checked and the same commuter line I travelled on still has 6 short platform stations one of which only accommodates 4 carriages when the commuter trains are between 8 and 12 carriages

            Maybe reality works better than opinion and cod is cheaper than haddock

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink


            This is not what happens now. (Pulling forward.)

            ‘Selective door opening’ is the key phrase here. It is used on the railway now and is used to good effect.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; libertarian; Anonymous; So basically you approve of the TOCs carrying the mistaken, witless or perhaps deaf, mentally or physical disabled passenger on to the next station (and perhaps much further) than simply running the railways in a way that was possible and efficient 50 years ago?

          • libertarian
            Posted April 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


            I’m telling you what actually happens on actual trains actually now in reality , you can sneer all you like but that is what happens on the trains in my area .

            Oh and as I am deaf ( as are all my family) I think we know a bit more about that than you too. Surprise we aren’t witless we can read the boards

            Here Mr expert on mass transit read about selective door opening https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_door_operation

          • Jerry
            Posted April 11, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; That Wikipedia article is irrelevant to the points I made. Unlike you, Mr Perfect, 99% of the population tend to make errors, more so as they get older, infirm or what ever. I want the railways to be operated properly, for the benefits of the paying customer, if a TOC can not do that they have no business being a TOC.

            A company can take years and spend millions on advertising etc. to build up their reputation, but as we have seen in the last 48 hours, it takes seconds and zero cost for that reputation to be utterly trashed via social media these days.

            ‘Old lady left frantic and in deep distress by useless TOC , she could not hear announcement about correct carriage, wanted to get off at ‘Birmingham’ but got carried on to ‘Crewe’, +her family left waiting & wondering. #useless [name of TOC]

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I read this morning that:

    “… the Government has failed to denounce the 1964 London Convention on fishing. They needed to do this around the same time as Article 50 was triggered because both have a two-year deadline.

    As it stands, even if we do pull out of the Common Fisheries Policy in two year’s time, foreign fishing vessels will retain rights to the strip of British waters six to twelve nautical miles from the coast.”

    Is this true?

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Also off-topic, there is a fairly interesting article here:


    “On Brexit, Theresa May is giving the public what they want”

    “This wish on the part of many voters in Britain to retain free trade while rejecting freedom of movement is often portrayed as evidence that they wish to have their EU cake and eat it. This, however, is not the only way of characterising the position. Instead, it can be seen as a rejection of the recipe the EU uses to make its cake.”

    Well, that’s because one of their “four freedoms” should not be in the mix; it’s true that for them all four are primarily political, rather than economic, in purpose, but the unfettered freedom of movement of persons takes that to the extreme.


    “As a political project the single market consists of all four freedoms. Arguably, freedom of movement of workers … constitutes the element that makes the single-market part of the EU into a political project.”


    “In any case, from an economic standpoint there is no compelling link between free access to the labour market and the rest of the single market.”

  12. LondonBob
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The cost of immigration calculations rarely include the enormous cost of having to continually increase and upgrade our infrastructure necessary for a rapidly increasing population. Of course there is also a productivity hit from disrupted and delayed journeys. Good suggestions but I feel there are bigger underlying issues that need addressing at the same time.

  13. Richard1
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It is very difficult to see which of the problems with the rail industry the Government thinks HS2 will solve. It is also increasingly apparent – looking at developments in rail technology in Japan and the US – that by the time HS2 is up and running it will be comically out of date. Another example, if we needed it, of why we should be very sceptical of politicians’ grands projets which are not capable of being funded to any extent in private capital markets.

  14. Terry
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Has no one made a study of the world renowned Japanese Railway system? It is famed for its efficiency so why can’t we adopt some, if not all, of their MO? Or is digital signalling the secret? Maybe some of it, I suspect.
    Instead of wasting OUR money on HS2 why isn’t the Government updating and upgrading the existing lines? I’m sure the horrendous £32 Billions estimate would go a very long way to solving the existing problems outlined by John above.

    • acorn
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Frankly, it would be much easier to just subcontract the whole system to SNCF and/or Deutsche Bahn. Two governments who know how to use their private sector to deliver public sector​ goods, at the prices the public sector is prepared to pay. Sadly, a capability not present in UK governments since the late seventies and the advent of neo-liberalism.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink


        Hold on a minute you were just telling us how railways were and I quote you ‘a natural monopoly” You’re a hypocrite

        As well as Deutsche Bahn there around 1,500 smaller private railway companies in operation in Germany

        Make you’re mind up !!!

        • acorn
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Since the Germans changed the law that gave these private railways, a 60% subsidy from the Local Governments that licence them, they will be gradually replaced by much cheaper buses.

  15. Antisthenes
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Advances in technology nearly always increase efficiency but if not accompanied with enterprise and innovation the full benefits are not realised. Frequently this is the case when free exchange and interaction are opposed by self interest groups. Self interest groups such as the public sector, bureaucrats, organised labour, left wing politicians and an economically ill informed public. Each one wanting provide a product or service that suits the needs not of the consumer but their own.

    Our train service suffers under these conditions even though some effort has been made to inject the spirit of enterprise and innovation by franchising parts of it out to the private sector. Doing so brought to it much needed improvements but those self interest elements coupled with Networks rail still hold too much influence for the service to ever reach the efficiency and reliability that it is capable of.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Cancel the absurd HS2 and spend the money on lots of sensible small improvements such as the ones you suggest. It can often take 20 minutes just to queue for a ticket, so poor and complex is the fare/railcard etc. system. This together with the lack of ticket machines and staff. People should all just buy and hold their ticket on mobile phones for example or use an wireless debit/Oyster card for example.

    But alas we have socialists May and Hammond who just love pissing money down the drain on HS2 while trying to mug pension pot, probate seekers, house buyers, insurance buyers.

    Of course there is little justification for subsidising rail so much anyway and taxing cars and truck so much. It the roads had the investment the users pay for and trains had to pay their own way the demand would be rather. Driver less cars will come and the trains will be even less competitive then. People mainly want to go door to door perhaps with heavy items and stop off on route and trains do not do this very often.

    Flexible working hours and better roads, bridges and underpasses would help too.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    As a third and final off-topic comment, I wonder if anyone can help with this puzzle?

    The Guardian commissioned an ICM poll, and among other results it found that …


    “… 54% of the UK public think that it would be acceptable to see “the continued free movement of people for a few years after Brexit, as part of a transitional deal that eases the impact of the UK leaving the single market.””

    So what practical or legal obstacles to leaving the single market could be mitigated if we just let the EU dictate our immigration policy for a few more years after Brexit?

    I’m talking about easing the impact of real practical or legal obstacles here, not avoiding political obstacles such as the EU trying to blackmail us with:

    “Unless you agree that every one of our citizens can still migrate to the UK over the next two years we will not co-operate with you to streamline the customs system.”

  18. Nig l
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    South west trains have recently lost their franchise and we have had the usual ‘puff’ from politicians about how the new outfit will increase capacity, speeds etc. I hope you get on and stay on their case to ensure these improvements really happen. I trust you ensure the DOT make certain the new trains have the latest spec, indeed, are in front re technology rather than playing catch up.

    Universal toilets that work would also be welcome.

    • 37/6
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Double tracking that route would be a boon but it won’t happen. HS2 taking all the money.

  19. libertarian
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    How about tackling the problem in a totally different way?

    How about reducing the need to commute, why do we continue to put all our eggs in one basket ( primarily London)

    How about NOT squandering tax payers money on Hs2 and actually rolling out ultra high speed broadband in smaller towns and more rural locations as well as 4g/5g Then via the business tax system encourage more work from home and local working ?

    As the owner of a regional community work space we see more ” corporate home workers” using our facilities, its vastly cheaper than commuter rail fares, and the effect on productivity is enormous gaining up to 4/5 hours of extra time per day.

    Oh and why on earth are big stodgy old corporate dinosaurs STILL messing around with the very unproductive 9-5 routine ? Digital technology keeps us in touch 24/7 there is absolutely no need for the vast majority of commuters to all be at their desks in a far away city at the same time. They have no problem outsourcing to India but apparently Wokingham etc is not possible !!!!

    The central hub/rail commute model is very old and dated now

  20. Juliet
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Rail capacity issues:
    – failing to factor increased population causes conjestion,
    – rail carriers sell more tickets than seats available

  21. J H Garrod
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Part of the capacity problem is running fast services, with limited stops and slow, stopping services on two track lines. Also limited numbers of platforms at termini.

  22. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Increasing capacity is an ongoing task surely – we need to design the railways so they are fit for purpose.

    To my knowledge there has never been an effective survey of journeys :
    – which journeys do people need to make
    – why
    – frequency
    – etc

    My point being that people often make a trip via somewhere to get to somewhere else – This is particularly true of our limited network of motorways.

    Let’s address this problem properly – Find out what jorneys people need to make, – look at what alternatives could be made available. Persuade more people to work from home – and then design a transport system that matched the requirements, Plus 20%. capacity.

    It’s all very well trains going north or south, but what about making Wales available with a decent cross country motorway to North Wales….. That could link up with the East of our country that is also poorly served.

  23. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    There are two problems:
    The EU and HS2 is one. All the money is being sucked out into a useless waste. Rail chiefs now sit in Brussels laying down their laws for Europe.
    Secondly it is the attitude of Network Rail. In our town (not on the railway) the centre is composed almost entirely of charity shops, coffee houses and Poundland. It is literally falling down and getting dangerous as unsupported brickwork stands over unsafe shops.
    In nearby Downham Market (on railway to Cambridge and London) people arrive for the day out, they shop in boutique butchers, art shops and fashion houses. There is even a Police Station! It is a dormitory town, yes. But it works.
    Our (excellent) MP, Steve Barclay, has managed to raise several millions of pounds so far to reopen the railway to our town of Wisbech. The whole lot has gone on “feasibility projects” to Network rail.
    In 1845-6 rail was laid from March, Cambs, to Wisbech and all that track is still there. All it needs is to re-open the line and do a couple of level crossings.
    Network rail is onto a nice little earner, don’t you think? Your little plans will no doubt all go the same way. Why not?

  24. BobE
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Convert rail lines to high speed roads. Build underground parking under cities. Individual transport is the only way forward.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      @BobE; Didn’t take long for someone to bring up the like of the Serpell Report from the early 1980s…

      It would probably be cheaper to just provide a free ultra fast fibre IP service to each and every house and business in the UK, that way the majority of office workers and the like would no longer have to commute on a daily basis.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink


        Absolutely !!! ultra fast fibre is a far better investment than rail.

        I would also predict that within 50 years it will be a no brainer to pave the railways . Used by driverless cars the fixed, uniform size of the converted rail would make programming cars on those routes easy.

        As with everything innovation is the key

        • Jerry
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; “As with everything innovation is the key”

          Indeed but at times it is utterly pointless to try and reinvent the wheel just because you do not like its current shape!…

    • 37/6
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Bob E – Look at the width of the average high speed intercity line. It is the same as a ‘B’ road.

      So that will make a 125mph route for cars in opposing directions ?

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink


        You’ve not heard of the coming innovation of programmable driver less cars then ?

        • Jerry
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; You’re not very good at spatial awareness are you?

        • 37/6
          Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          125 mph cars are not being proposed. If anything automated cars are going to be slower than manually operated ones.

  25. Jack
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Government doesn’t need tax revenue, it literally creates the tax revenue by spending the currency into existence.

    Just invest massively, please!! Economy on verge of total collapse (if credit creation from banks collapses), or on verge of just decades of stagnation. The government’s deficit is painfully small.

    Does the government want 10%+ GDP growth after Brexit or not? Chancellor clearly wants to stagnate the economy for some reason with tax rises and spending cuts.

    • Jack
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      This is how you grow an economy!! Force banks to create more credit through direct government orders. Note how they already had high loan growth to begin with, too!

      Chart: http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/charts/china-loan-growth.png?s=chinaloagro&v=201704031225t&d1=20070101&d2=20171231&type=splinearea

      (Obviously direct government deficit spending is even more superior to more bank lending, though they both do the job)

    • APL
      Posted April 10, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Jack: “Government doesn’t need tax revenue, it literally creates the tax revenue by spending the currency into existence.”

      The UK economy is measured in GDP. If you “spend the currency into existance” you reduce the value ( shorten the yardstick you measure the economy by ) in proportion to the extra money you’ve just created.

      What you are in effect doing is lopping three inches off your measure, then claiming the thing you’re measuring today is now so much bigger because your ( smaller ) rule measured twelve feet instead of the nine feet it measured last year.

      It’s patent nonsense.

  26. Stephen Berry
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I have nothing against investment in better signalling. But does this country have something against double-decker trains? I have used them in Holland, Belgium and most recently in Bavaria. They seem to work well enough and provide a nice view from upstairs.

    These countries were able to make the changes to tunnels and bridges which made double-decker trains possible. Would this be beyond Network Rail? I know that this sort of rail improvement does not carry quite the same political clout as something like HS2, but it would be much easier to carry out. For instance, it would not require planning permission and could be done on a piecemeal basis i.e. for some lines but not others.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      @Stephen Berry; “I have nothing against investment in better signalling. But does this country have something against double-decker trains?

      Yes, we stopped chopping peoples heads off many years ago, even more so those totally innocent of any crime!

      “These countries were able to make the changes to tunnels and bridges which made double-decker trains possible.”

      No they did not, European and North American railways were (mostly) built to a larger loading gauge. Google “Loading Gauge and compare the differences between British, Berne, and North American gauges.

      The UK would have to rebuild almost every bridge that goes over a railway, and just about every tunnel would need to be bored out to a larger size. It would be cheaper, quicker and less disruptive to the existing railway network and passenger to just build brand new railways using new routes, hence HS1 and HS2. You can’t carry on running trains through a tunnel that is having major structural work carried out.

      Having said that, the (pre nationalisation) Southern Railway company did build two experimental double deck trains in 1947 for use on south east London commuter lines into Kent, apart from all the technical issues the trains had it was found that station stop times were far longer for these DD trains than the equivalent number of passengers boarding or alighting from standard trains.

  27. anon
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The Future:
    The car picking you up and then delivering you at your destination. Autonomous/Hire car companies, will take the strain, except on the most congested routes & times.

    It will likely be cheaper, quicker and a better service allround. Intercity express may have a slight time advantage in city to city but loses that shortly after arrival.

    Why do we need more capacity? Too many people?

    • Jerry
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      @anon; “Why do we need more capacity? Too many people?”

      Almost, to many people all wanting to work (or play) in the same location at the same time of day. The solution for that, these days, is not transport but IP based surely?

  28. Bowis
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Boris , it is said is not going to visit Moscow. So, he cannot talk to the Leader of the Unfree World which is a pity because his recent insult in Parliament against Trump means he cannot talk to the Leader of the Free World either.
    Mrs May should get him a mirror so at least he can talk to someone of position in the political world.

  29. Raymond
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    The railway is a natural monopoly. I think the whole thing (track and services) would, in terms of social benefit, be best run by one public service organisation. There are enormous inefficiencies, social and financial, of the current hotchpotch arrangement of managing a national railway. You mention that some fares don’t cover marginal cost. These occur, I believe, mostly with the peak services. For example additional units are required to meet demand in the peak morning and evening period but are surplus the rest of the day (though I believe there is some dispute as to how to measure marginal costs in the railway industry).

    • libertarian
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink


      Read a history book The railway is not and never has been a “natural monopoly”

      The highly efficient German rail network has more than 1500 private rail companies

      • Raymond
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        there is one main rail service provider in Germany: Deutsche Bahn. I would prefer a public service to be managed efficiently for the public good.

  30. JJE
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    The last time I took the train to Waterloo a few weeks ago I found that South West trains had installed a new ticket machine at Winnersh Triangle station that was unable to sell an off peak day return ticket to London! The lady in the ticket office seemed surprised that I had expected the new machine to work.
    I’ll see on Tuesday what further “improvements” they have made.

    The Government seems only to care about removing guards from trains – most passengers would far rather retain them. Introduce a sane ticketing and fares regime, make passengers feel secure, and get more travellers in the off peak hours.

    • JJE
      Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I have visited a factory in Dongguang in China, taking the excellent high speed train service to get there. Guess what was the first question my host asked over lunch?
      “Can you explain how the rail fares and ticketing work in the U.K.?”
      The factory owner was trying to plan a family trip to this country and was bewildered. His mistake was to think there was some logic buried deep in the system that he was unable to discern.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      @JJE; Indeed, most passenger, with even just a slight grasp of the issues, want Guards retained/reinstated (even most passenger being hit by the current wave of strikes), next they want Ticket Offices retained/reinstated.

  31. Christopher Hudson
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    How do other country’s solve it

  32. simple soul
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I am descended from the Chief Truancy Officer of Sheffield School Board. Day in, day out, he scoured the city streets for any children of school age not in school, a fairly serious matter then. This was in late Victorian times when Sheffield led the way, among English cities, in its go-ahead schools policy. A sound education was regarded by one and all as the only real way up for deprived and working class people. Virtually all working class leaders held this view.

  33. margaret
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Big smile for pointing out double standards . This is simply the market

  34. Bob2
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Trains are for communists, lets have cheap electric cars.

  35. Caterpillar
    Posted April 9, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I think many inefficiencies arose from separating track and TOCs at privatisation, as required by EU. Giving TOCs some responsibility only began in 2016, hopefully there will be improvement.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      @Caterpillar; “I think many inefficiencies arose from separating track and TOCs at privatisation, as required by EU.”

      Best tell those European railway companies such as DB (Germany), SNCF (France) and Renfe (Spain) that they are inefficient…

      Of course, perhaps, the real issue is just privatisation, after all the above EU27 railway companies are still state owned (along with the track/station infrastructure companies), even if at arms length. No, our railway problems are not due to the EU, it is a wholly owned UK mess created by party-political dogma.

  36. APL
    Posted April 9, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    You seem to be avoiding a discussion of the latest events in Syria.

    Reply There’s plenty of that in the papers. I am not currently active over our policy towards Syria and wish to see what the US says and does next.

    • APL
      Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      JR: ” I am not currently active over our policy towards Syria and wish to see what the US says and does next.”

      But the administration you support is, and the foreign secretary seems to be quite vocal about the matter.

      As a secondary issue, given that dead children were a pretext for an attack on Syria by our ally and given that Boris Johnson applauds the retaliatory strike against military targets in Syria.

      Where in your opinion should the retaliation strike land for the death of a Swedish child butchered and dismembered by a heavy goods vehicle on the streets of Stockholm?

      And how is it, that we find out after the fact that the perpetrator of this type of attack, quote “was known to the security services”?

      The murderer in Stockholm, was known to the security services.
      The guy ( that shut down central London causing unknown economic disruption ) turns out to have – ” been known to our security services”.

      How is it possible that these people are known to the security services, are considered no threat ( because they are allowed to roam free among the population ) then go on to perpetrate mass murder?

      How useful are the security services?

      • Russ
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        How is it possible that these people are known to the security services, are considered no threat ( because they are allowed to roam free among the population ) then go on to perpetrate mass murder?


        Its all about big government, the idea is we employ more spooks and get military style Police.

      • rose
        Posted April 9, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        Because the policy of mass, indiscriminate immigration during our lifetime has resulted, already, in so many suspects that they cannot all be observed at once.

        • APL
          Posted April 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          rose: “Because the policy of mass, indiscriminate immigration during our lifetime has resulted …”

          That can’t possibly be!! Mass immigration is a unalloyed good, all the political parties tell us so.

          Just one other question. The current Mayor of London has said that these type of terrorist outrages are just an everyday** part of living in a big modern city.

          Perhaps he could let us know when the last attack by a radical, it was determined that it was a radical Hindu that did it?

          ** Quite a courageous thing to say, from behind your special branch protection officers.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 10, 2017 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    Do we really need so many Civil Service jobs to be based in London? Do we need so many Civil Service jobs anyway? Perhaps we are over governed.

  38. Obvious Really
    Posted April 10, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Driverless trains?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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