Calling All Stations with Christian Wolmar

Christian Wolmar, Mark Walker and guests keep you up to date with the most engaging news stories, policy developments and interviews across the world of transport

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Sunday Apr 14, 2024

Christian speaks at length with Steve Norris, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the UK Department for Transport between 1992 and 1996, who was the key Rail Minister serving John Major's Conservative Government in delivering the privatisation of Great Britain's railways and the creation of new industry structures.  While reflecting on the passenger growth which followed the 1993 Railways Act as well as candidly examining the shortcomings which emerged, Steve has much to say about flaws in the rail reform programme being promoted by today's Conservative Government, plus some pointed questions for Labour's alternative [2:30].  With the Labour Party having just published proposals for bus reform across England, Christian looks at what this could mean for cities and regions aspiring to enjoy bus networks more like those taken for granted in London [31:48].

Wednesday Mar 27, 2024

With further strikes scheduled in many of England's train companies, Christian speaks to Simon Weller, Assistant General Secretary of drivers' union ASLEF, about what the shape of a settlement to the long-running disputes over pay and conditions might look like [2:08 ].  Christian and co-presenter Mark Walker discuss the latest developments in Great Britain's rail reform programme [16:52].  Christian then discusses with Simon Pirani of the Fare Free London campaign the merits and challenges in making public transport in major cities free at the point of use [24:19].  His final thought is on the breaking news of the Baltimore road bridge collapse [48:50].

Friday Mar 08, 2024

A double interview edition where Christian discusses expanding active travel across the capital with Greater London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Dr Will Norman [1:39] and a new initiative to promote social mobility through railway employment with Steve White, Managing Director of Southeastern [21:27].  Christian also reflects that the big tech companies might have saved billions in wasted development costs on driverless cars if only they'd read his book on the futility of the concept [29:49].

Tuesday Feb 27, 2024

With the Draft Rail Reform Bill published by the UK Government for scrutiny by the House of Commons Transport Committee, Christian and co-presenter Mark Walker discuss just what this says about the direction of travel after six years rail reform in Great Britain and ask whether any of the proposals will ever be implemented [01:30].  The centrepiece of this episode is Christian's interview with Jason Prince, recently-appointed Director of the Urban Transport Group, who sets out his organisation's agenda for delivering major improvements in sustainable transport across the UK's cities and towns [15:44].  Finally, Christian celebrates the rebranding of London's Overground rail network with individual names for lines reflecting the history and heritage of our capital city [42:03].

Wednesday Feb 14, 2024

Christian sees for himself the hydrogen-powered bus fleet introduced through the pioneering partnership between Surrey County Council and Metrobus [01:30] before discussing with Mark Walker the findings of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on the cancellation of the northern sections of HS2 [30:47].  Listeners then receive an update on Christian's new book - 'The Liberation Line' - which reveals the exciting yet forgotten story of the Allied engineers who rebuilt the railways of Normandy and beyond after D-Day to accelerate the defeat of Nazi Germany [30:05].  Finally, Christian notes the failed promises and ultimate demise of hyperloop [39:28].

Tuesday Jan 30, 2024

In this special episode with just one item, Christian discusses with Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21, the prospects for restoration of the cancelled sections of Great Britain's new high speed railway - HS2 - and the difficult choices facing whichever party forms the next UK Government later in 2024.

Tuesday Jan 23, 2024

Christian interviews Scotland's Railway's Managing Director Alex Hynes about how having a national transport strategy and the greatest possible collaboration between trains and track is powering innovation across the business [1:25] before taking a quizzical look with co-presenter Mark Walker at LNER's radical ticket reform proposals on its Edinburgh-London route [30:25].  The podcast also reflects on the continuing proliferation of abandoned e-bikes on the streets of UK cities and asks why so little is being done to regulate the providers [32:50].  Finally, Christian asks whether the possibility of a private sector solution for HS2 north of Birmingham may breathe new life into the cancelled project [36:33].

Monday Jan 08, 2024

Christian and co-presenter Mark Walker examine a positive report on progress in jet airliner safety alongside extraordinary incidents in Tokyo and Portland [02:00].  We have an extended interview debunking myths about electric cars with Edmund King OBE, President of the AA [12:40] and explore the implications of a Daily Mirror report on the scale of bus service cuts across England [37:55].  Finally, 'Mystic Wolmar' stares into his crystal ball and makes predictions about the transport world for 2024 [43:44].

Tuesday Dec 19, 2023

Christian and co-presenter Mark Walker consider the transport news and policy highlights of their first year of podcasting [1:10].  Christian celebrates 30 years of Eurotunnel operations with John Keefe, Chief Corporate and Public Affairs Officer at Getlink Group, asking what the future holds for the conveyance of road vehicles, growth in passenger train usage and expansion of rail freight traffic [5:33].  This is followed by a frank discussion with Sir John Armitt CBE, Chair of the UK National Infrastructure Commission, who reveals his organisation was not consulted about the abandonment of HS2 north of Birmingham in October, that he considers the sale of the acquired land unwise and that Great Britain now needs a new Integrated Rail Plan [24:39].  Finally, Christian praises the work and longevity of London's Railway Modelling Club Library [42:57]. 

Saturday Dec 09, 2023

Christian interviews the Aviation Environment Federation's Tim Johnson about just how green the first trans-Atlantic commercial flight using Sustainable Aviation Fuel really was [2:40].  Mark Walker and Christian discuss the rail, road and aviation measures contained in the UK Government's response to the Union Connectivity Review [24:14].  Our co-presenters also look at what rail patronage numbers in Great Britain say about post-pandemic recovery [36:53].  Finally, Christian asks what a recent legal decision on 'defeat devices' may expose about cheating on vehicle emissions [46:15].

'Calling All Stations' is the podcast for everyone with an interest in any form of transport.

Presented by Christian Wolmar - a leading transport journalist for over 25 years and author of 20 books - alongside Mark Walker, Chief Executive of transport-focused public affairs agency Cogitamus, 'Calling All Stations' examines all aspects of this diverse sector, from road to rail and cycling to flying as well as the wide range of wonderful (and more dubious) technological innovations promised by the industry.

We keep listeners up to date with the news as well as ensuring matters are viewed through a historical perspective.

While listening to the podcast is de rigueur for transport professionals, Christian's informed and relaxed style ensures there is no technical jargon, making it suitable for anyone with an interest in the sector's issues. 


Calling All Stations - the transport podcast

Christian Wolmar, Mark Walker and guests keep you up to date with the most engaging news stories, policy developments and interviews across the world of transport.  Join the conversation via @AllStationsPod on ’X” (formerly Twitter).

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