Alan Williams - October 2020


Here we go again! Persistent rumours and kite-flying in the media suggest the Treasury, increasingly concerned at the inability of the Department for Transport to get its act together, really is considering options for reducing and even closing rail services.

When I suggested this possible scenario earlier this year, some accused me of scaremongering. But not all. From the outset, many senior rail managers recognised the danger in reducing train services so dramatically, particularly on rural lines, and the message that would inevitably send.

They were right to be concerned. Having frightened the life out of people with constant ‘do not travel’ messages, rail travel has not recovered nearly as quickly as many predicted and the Government hoped. Certainly significantly less than on buses. On some roads car use has increased to more than pre-Covid levels, accompanied by similar levels of pollution, no doubt encouraged by the more than 20p a litre drop in petrol and diesel prices.

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