Omicron, or the Government’s reaction to it, has damaged the economy in many ways. One which hasn’t been much discussed is its effect on the railways. As with many businesses, self-isolation has produced staffing shortages – leading in this case to significant numbers of cancelled trains. But the more important effect has been to reverse ... Continue reading

Len Shackleton writes for CapX

Len Shackleton, IEA Editorial and Research Fellow, has written a piece for CapX on the impact of Covid on rail travel and the proposed solutions found in the Shapps-Williams Report. Len argues that the railway renationalisation that has taken place in recent years will not revitalise our railways following the damage done by Covid restrictions ... Continue reading

Dr Richard Wellings quoted in the Yorkshire Post

Plans are underway for a new tram network in West Yorkshire. Commenting on the proposals, IEA Deputy Research Director and Head of Transport argued that a tram system would be "useless" for most travellers in the area. Quoted in the Yorkshire Post, Richard noted that research shows trams provide “horrendous” value for money in places ... Continue reading

IEA spokesperson quoted by the BBC

Commenting on the issue of the HS2 rail project, an IEA spokesperson has been quoted by the BBC. They argued: "There was never a business case, but whatever justification there may have been has certainly been weakened by the pandemic" "Everyone working from home and the Zoom apocalypse has probably been exaggerated, but it nonetheless ... Continue reading
Troubles for governments rarely come alone. Another is hurtling along the track towards us like a high-speed train – what to do with Britain’s railways in the post-Covid era. Recently I’ve been travelling by train quite a lot again. You generally have plenty of room. Passenger journeys are running at only about 55-60% of pre-Covid ... Continue reading

Mark Littlewood writes for The Telegraph

In an op-ed for The Telegraph, IEA Director General Mark Littlewood called for the white elephant project, HS2, to be scrapped as Minister's consider abandoning the second phase of the project. Mark argued: "The HS2 project is on an enormous scale, difficult to sensibly amend and of minimal interest to private investors. Grant Shapps should ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
If you ever talk to a civil servant, or even an MP, who knows something about economics, they are often keen to respond to free market arguments by citing the problem of ‘market failure’. They do this with no sense of irony or any apparent awareness of the failure of governments. Governments do not have ... Continue reading

Syed Kamall writes for City AM

In an op-ed for City AM, Acting Academic & Research Director Syed Kamall wrote about the introduction of Great British Railways, a new public body which will manage the UK's railways. Syed wrote about the origins of Britain's rail infrastructure, from Victorian ingenuity to post-war nationalisation and Majors privatisation. Syed said: "The new structure proposed ... Continue reading

Dr Richard Wellings quoted in The Telegraph

The government have announced the launch of a new public body to oversee Britain's railways, harking back to the days of Great British Rail before the privatisation. Reacting to the news in The Telegraph, IEA Head of Transport Dr Richard Wellings said: "The new industry structure will retain a high degree of complexity and fragmentation, ... Continue reading

Dr Richard Wellings quoted in the Independent

Reacting to the news the government will launch a new public body to over see Britain's railways, IEA Head of Transport Dr Richard Wellings was quoted in the Independent saying: "The new industry structure will retain a high degree of complexity and fragmentation, keeping costs high for taxpayers, but at the same time undermine the ... Continue reading