Green Signals is a show about railways - its politics, its economics, its people and history. We turn over the issues of the day and talk to the people making the decisions that affect all our lives. We also dig into many of the amazing events in the history of an industry that spans nearly 200 years. Nigel Harris (former Managing Editor and Events Director of the leading industry and opinion forming magazine RAIL) and Richard Bowker (former Chair & CEO of the Strategic Rail Authority) steer the show to make it sometimes controversial, frequently irreverent - but always topical and relevant.
20. 'Reversing Beeching': Anything achieved?
Richard talks about his visit to Wales & Borders with Nick Millington MBE, Route Director at Network Rail and finds out about lagoons, climate models and vegetation control. In particular Richard is amazed at the complex multi-agency approach to securing ecology licences and concludes, perhaps controversially, that it's time to let Network Rail self certify. After all, they can do it with safety critical matters so why not when it comes to clearing dying or dead Ash trees?
Nigel and Richard then discuss Richard Beeching's famous report of the 1960s and in particular, the Government's proposals, announced four years ago, to reopen lines and stations closed by Beeching through the Restoring Your Railway fund. We ask whether it has achieved anything (and the conclusion is very little) but then Nigel really sets Richard's "Victor Meldrew" going by talking about the Borders Railway to Carlisle and the possible reopening of the Peak District line through Bakewell and Monsal Dale.
Along the way Nigel & Richard discuss how to decide whether something is strategic (they have a different view), what Confirmation Bias means (and why it's an issue) and how on earth anything is going to happen when the cost for a new station at Devizes alone was looking like it could hit £65m!
The Railway Explained: Weather resilience, climate change & lineside trees
Richard Bowker visits Network Rail's Wales and Western region to spend the day with Route Director Nick Millington MBE.
It's a fascinating day of learning about the challenges of weather resilience on Britain's railways, the devastating effects of climate change, the complexities of managing trees and vegetation on the lineside... and surprisingly, about dormice.
How does Network Rail manage flood risk?
How are trees on the railway managed?
What rules are there to protect habitats adjacent to the railway?
This is the first in a new series of podcasts from Green Signals where we seek to share knowledge and expertise from around the railway and, hopefully, to explain some of the things that many people don't know that much about!
19. Government scores 0/10 on HS2 & Labour eyes rail nationalisation
Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s scrapping of HS2 Phase 2A, HS2 is branded ‘very poor value for money’ by the Public Accounts Committee…
And... is Labour about to unveil its plans for its own vision of rail nationalisation, and is it back to the bad old days of curly
18. The Big Interview - Train strikes: Finding the truth behind the headlines - with ASLEF boss Mick Whelan
Train strikes have hit the headlines frequently over the past three years as an increasingly bitter dispute between train drivers’ union ASLEF and the government and train operating companies continues.
Our Big Interview guest is ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan. We find out how the rail strikes began in the first place and what has happened since… And, crucially, what it will take to end the long-running disruption to passengers.
17: When ministers can’t agree… & the simpler fares that aren’t!
Ministers seem unable to agree, either on transport decisions – or more embarrassingly – with each other at a Conservative Home conference.
What is going on with LNER fares and ticketing? It’s now clear that its Simpler Fares trial is turning out to be anything but simple…
Will HS2 now reduce capacity to Manchester? And is the wider
world and mainstream media finally waking up to the true stupidity of Rishi Sunak’s scrapping of HS2 Phase 2a?
Plus, a new Green Signals feature – positive and GOOD news
from the grass roots railway, including the UK’s very first railway station railway library!
16. More train ticket booking confusion & is new plan for HS2 sunk already?
Why train ticket booking and rail fares in the UK are so confusing. With the help of fares expert The Man in Seat 61 Mark Smith, we
LNER’s new Simpler Fares pilot
The Great British Rail Sale
Which? magazine’s report that railway ticket vending
machines are twice as expensive as booking train tickets online
How to buy the cheapest train tickets or get the best deal on train tickets
We also cover:
HS2 land safeguarding lifted north of Birmingham – has it
struck a fatal blow to the high speed rail project?
Northern Mayors Andy Burnham and Andy Street’s HS2
alternative and has Defence Secretary Grant Shapps just poured cold water on it before Mark Harper and Rishi Sunak have even heard what it is?
Rail disruption in Network Rail’s Western region on 363 days out of 365 – is it really as bad as that?
One of the best and informative podcasts out there
This podcast has given me a greater understanding of how the railway system works, the complexities of having the government involved, the ticket issuance and the rolling stock all delivered by two candid men who should be running the country.