Travelling Tales


From the fiasco that beset Edinburgh's tram system to the franchising crisis currently engulfing the UK railways, transport continues to generate extraordinary arguments and fascinating stories. In this blog, I'll be exploring issues that matter to public transport users, drivers, cyclists, holidaymakers or anyone who steps outside their house to get from A to B. As well as investigating how effective our transport networks are, I'll be discussing the impact of travel on the environment and society and how effectively taxpayers' money is used to keep us moving.

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  • Such a transport link could wipe out domestic aviation between London and the central belt, relieve the relative geographical isolation of Scotland's two biggest cities and boost its economy by an estimated £24 billion, according to the Scottish Government.

  • Announced with great aplomb on Monday by Nicola Sturgeon in her relatively new role as Infrastructure Secretary, the proposed route will, she says, be complete by 2024 – ahead of the first phase of the high speed railway planned to open between London and Birmingham by 2026.

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    For a start, it is not yet clear who will carry out the routine maintenance of more than 1250 miles of trunk roads and motorways in the west of Scotland on April 1 next year.

    Contractors are normally allowed a six-month mobilisation period to prepare for the handover of duties but, with a legal challenge by losing bidder Amey not likely to be heard before December, we are already well into that period.

  • Best viewed during the evening rush-hour, it features dozens of passengers scrambling down station steps towards the platform, frantically flailing their arms around in the hope of persuading the driver to hang on a few seconds while they get on the train.

    It's not particularly dignified but perhaps better than watching the doors slide shut and the train depart without you.

    So there is an understandable worry among train timetable planners that the Scottish Government may have inadvertently consigned this particular game show to history.

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Travelling Tales

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Damien Henderson
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