A weekly round-up of London’s rail transport news…

The image above is from August 2020: Impulsoria – the Victorian horse powered railway

London Underground

Angel station closures on one in five days due to staff shortages Islington Gazette

‘He called Euston ‘Whitney Houston!’ – Tube driver goes rogue whilst announcing stops Standard

Staff shortages repeatedly shut down step-free access at tube stations Disability News

London Underground is taking action to reduce the noise in tube tunnels by testing new rail track fastenings that should reduce the amount of track noise being heard inside the tube trains. ianVisits

Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan rides London Underground The News

Elizabeth line / Crossrail

Residents of a South London town are split over the newly-arrived Elizabeth Line as some said it was pricing them out of the area. South London Press

A sponsored walk along the length of the Elizabeth line is taking place in October, raising money for the Railway Children charity. ianVisits

Mainline / Overground

London contactless pay-as-you-go rail travel coming to c2c Echo News

Fire under railway arches near London Bridge ‘severely disrupts’ train services Standard

HS2: The case for and against Britain’s biggest infrastructure project Big Issue


Tube stations were shut and roads became impassable after heavy rain flooded parts of London. BBC News

Could New York’s transport funding system hold the answer to TfL’s financial woes? Centre for Cities

The Transport for London chief left the equivalent role in New York because politicians made his job impossible. Sound familiar? OnLondon

Addison Lee are to continue their £5 increase in fares during planned tube and bus strikes in London in a bid to encourage more drivers out onto the roads. Taxi Point

In praise of British Rail Prospect

How Transport for London plans to build 20,000 new homes The Guardian

And finally: A father and son from St Neots are preparing to embark on a London Underground tube marathon to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Hunts Post

The image above is from August 2020: Impulsoria – the Victorian horse powered railway


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  1. JP says:

    Anniversary of electric London taxis:

    I wonder if today’s 125th anniversary of the first battery powered London taxis ought not to go unmentioned in the pages of your august œuvre.

    A fleet of 19 was unleashed on an unsuspecting capital all the way back on 19th August 1897. Self-propelled vehicles were obviously a rarity and indeed it was less than a year since the repeal of the Red flag Act. The sound that they made led to the nickname ‘The Hummingbird’ and apparently reliability problems led to their demise by the turn of the century.

    • Jason Leahy says:

      The London Electrical Cab Company electric Bersey cabs named after designer Walter C Bersey failed due to excess vibrations caused by the 2 ton weight that damaged the batteries and thin wooden wheels and tyres which had to be replaced every 6 months resulting in the firm going bankrupt in 1899, the batteries were swapped using hydraulic lifts in only 2-3 mins, NIO electric car manufacturer takes 5 mins in China and soon in Norway to swap batteries. https://www.theengineer.co.uk/content/archive/august-1897-the-london-electrical-cab/
      Apparently the science museum has a yellow and black Bersey cab. The Electric Carriage and Wagon Company which became the Electric Vehicle Company introduced electric taxi cabs in New York City also in 1897 which had swappable batteries which was replaced according to some articles like The long history of the electric car by The Guardian in seconds, I believe the batteries were pulled out using a tray. I have also read there were ev taxi cabs in Paris 1900.

  2. ChrisC says:

    I’m not sure the US / NY model of funding transport is a starter in the UK with lots of separate taxes and rules for a company to implement to calculate and pay them over. And they are very economically sensitive in a down turn.

    They also have numerous bond issues to provide capital funds but which of course also add to borrowing costs and the MTAs borrowing debt is currently somwhere between $40 and $50 billion and growing with servicing costing approx $3bn a year – which is between 15 and 20% of yearly operating expenses.

    The political interfererance is a major issue there. At one point a few years ago Cuomo denied the MTA was a state agency because it wasn’t based in Albany so it was nothing to do with him!

    He usually left it alone unless he thought ‘doing something’ would get him votes and / or kudos / photo ops.

    He personally appointed Andy Byford on one set of conditions but once Andy started generating media interest because he was actually making improvements that’s when Cuomo took against him and changed the nature of Andy’s job by removing a rather major section of his responsibilities.

    At which point Andy decided to leave.

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