Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

A latter day Brunel?

Posted in America, Customer service, Great Britain, High Speed by Chairman Pip on 16 November 2010

With Florida’s high speed rail line seemingly making progress, attention seems to have turned to who will run the service. Whether by design or decision, Amtrak has not been mentioned at all, suggesting that, even though it is the USA’s national inter-city operator, it is not trusted with genuine high speed operations. Two names that have recently come up are National Express and Virgin, both of whom, as we know, currently operate rail franchises in the UK. Indeed, for a brief period, they operated the two premier high speed inter-city operations, before the unpleasantness with NXEC. But it is Virgin that is the interesting bidder here – Virgin Atlantic currently serves Orlando International Airport, which is planned to be on the high speed route. It occured to me when I read the story that it looks like The Bearded One is trying to follow in the footsteps of Brunel in creating what amounts to a transatlantic rail link. Brunel’s plan for the Great Western (or “God’s Wonderful Railway”) was for the train from London to Bristol to meet the ship to New York, all on a single ticket. Does Richard Branson have the vision for this? Will we be able to travel from London to Orlando or Tampa on a single ticket on BOR (“Beady One’s Railway”)? Will we see him photographed in a stovepipe hat smoking a large cigar in front of the launch chains of the world’s largest passenger ship? I wonder.

“Virgin enters race to secure US railway”

Can you see Richard Branson in a pose like this?


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