Writing a detailed explainer about Channel Tunnel through services was an idea I have had for a while. But that a 10000 word piece would be one of my most-read blog posts ever comes as a positive surprise!

So that then leads me to wonder: what further Analysis pieces would people like to read? Comment below this piece, contact me on Mastodon or Bluesky, or contact me (the latter is best if you would like to make an anonymous request) and let me know. And of course whatever I then write will be put on the blog. If you’d like me to write something somewhere else I am open to that as well, but then there might be other criteria.

Providing it is an issue about passenger rail or railway networks, is in a European country except UK, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan, and is a topic that has a general public debate about it, I am happy to have a go. I’d of course prefer if the topic were somehow cross border or international, but if it is not then that’s also OK – I am happy to have a go at national topics, if I think I can.

Why no UK? I am British, but there are so many people analysing UK railways and I have been away from there for too long I am not going near it. The Channel Tunnel is European enough for me to make an exception for that, and only that. And the other countries I either exclude for political reasons, or because I have too little experience reading about their railways. And I cannot begin to analyse freight or light rail / metros, as I have more than enough to handle regarding heavy passenger rail.

What sort of ideas might work? Perhaps you have read something somewhere in the news and wonder if it is correct or not. Or a railway company says it will launch a new service, and you want an assessment of whether it will happen or not. Or there has been some rail issue that has been nagging at you for some time, and you never got an answer.

What’s the worst that can happen? I will simply say no – I can’t do it. Most likely because I don’t know how. And if I cannot do it, I will also explain why. But there’s no harm in asking! 🙂

Ideas so far
– what would each EU country need to do to make its train services as good as the Swiss? (from this toot)
– why are train services between France and Spain so terrible? (from this discussion on Mastodon)
– why is booking international tickets, and cheaply, such a mess? (from this toot – and partially answered here, but I agree a more systematic answer would be good)


  1. Chris LT

    Affordability. I’m in Switzerland and I’d like to take the train in France, for example to Paris, but often the prices are prohibitive, especially on the TGV network. Alternatives be it coach travel, the car or even flying are compellingly more economical, and this is often when looking at a journey weeks or months in advance. Who is able to take the trains city to city, is it implicitly reserved for some or do locals manage thanks to reductions or know-how?

    Also why can’t anyone do trains like the Japanese with seats that rotate to always face the direction of travel?

  2. I definitely would love to see more in-depth articles on SNCF similar to your previous one about how you’d fix French railways.

  3. Moritz Mühlenhoff

    You frequently mention that rolling stock is hard to get for potential new operators. It would be awesome if you could write up an overview of the railway companies that sell trains to European operators: How big they are, do they specialise on a certain market only for certifications, are they affiliated with railway operators (e.g. former subsisidy of a state-owned railway or similar), what are the growth bottlenecks, how did they fare in the past (like a history of delays and botched models).

  4. Czech-German international rail.

    Why is there no ICE on the Bad Schandau line? (the other lines aren’t electrified across the border) which existing lines should be electrified? where should an entirely new line be built? Would it make sense to build a high speed line south of the Ore Mountains as an alternative to the Hof-Dresden line?

    Is purely domestic Czech hsr meaningful, given there are no domestic flights? or should a Czech hsr network be developed with a view to international convections (Dresden/Berlin, Nuremberg/Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Poland, Slovakia) which international connections are the most important?

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