The age of the train?

Published: 7 November, 2023 | Tags:

Train services, in particular night trains, were the subject of yesterday’s episode of The Bottom Line, a Radio 4 series fronted by journalist Evan Davis. His guests were:

  • Kurt Bauer, Head of Long Distance Passenger Services and New Rail Business, OBB/Nightjet
  • Michael Guerra, Rail Design Engineer and Co-founder, Night X
  • Monisha Rajesh, Travel journalist and Author, ‘Around the World in 80 Trains’

The programme can be found by following this link

Why night trains? Because they are generally slow trains that are more carbon-efficient than either high-speed trains or aircraft. Evan wondered whether they were making a comeback.

It’s especially worth listening to Michael Guerra, the engineer who tried and failed, twice, to start a night service from London going through the Channel Tunnel. Why did Kurt Bauer succeed in Austria where Michael Guerra failed in the UK? Bauer had political will on his side, while Guerra foundered on the twin obstacles of border controls and prohibitive costs. Well worth a listen.