Christian Wolmar

Name: Christian Wolmar

Title: Writer and broadcaster specialising in transport

Christian Wolmar is an award winning writer and broadcaster specialising in transport and is the author of a series of books on railway history.   He is a frequent speaker at conferences and railway events and regularly appears on TV and radio.

Christian has spent nearly all his working life as a journalist and his interest in transport began at The Independent when he was appointed transport correspondent in 1992.  Although he mainly concentrates on transport matters, Christian has covered many other social policy issues and has written on a wide range of subjects, from cricket to the Private Finance Initiative.

After graduating from Warwick University in 1971, Christian worked on various publications including the Retail Newsagent, Marketing and Hampstead and Highgate Express.  He later moved to the New Statesman and the London Daily News and spent a year working for Camden Council editing its magazine.

Christian now divides his time between journalism, media appearances, writing books and political campaigning.  He writes regularly for a wide variety of publications including newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian and numerous magazines, such as The Oldie and Public Finance.  He has had a fortnightly column in Rail since 1994 and for a time had regular features in Surveyor, Transport Times and TSSA Journal.

Christian is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading commentators on transport matters.  He broadcasts frequently on radio and TV and is a regular pundit on the national news bulletins of terrestrial channels and Sky.  Among his numerous feature TV appearances, he has been on Coast, Julia Bradbury’s Railway Walks and railway programmes presented by Ian Hislop and Michael Portillo, and more recently, a series on BBC4 about how the railways made modern Britain.

On radio, he has frequently appeared on Today as well as other news programmes such World at One and World Tonight.  He features regularly on Jeremy Vine, LBC and Talk Radio. He has also appeared on a wide range of feature programmes and has made several radio documentaries, including a Radio 4 special on the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham, 20 years after the riot.  He appears frequently on Talk Radio’s breakfast show.

Graduated from Warwick University in 1971.

Christian undertakes consultancy and advisory work for organisations seeking to understand the workings of the rail industry.  Christian speaks at both conferences and seminars, as well as chairing them.  He frequently gives talks to railway societies and is also available for after dinner speaking on his favourite topics, the London Underground and the railways.  He speaks regularly at conferences in Europe and has twice travelled to Australia to address conferences.  He was a Board member of Cycling England and is currently on the London Cycling Campaign Board.

Christian was on the Board of Trustees of the Railway Children from its creation in 1995 ( until 2013.  It is a charity which helps homeless and destitute children at stations home and abroad.  He is on the Board of the London Cycling Campaign.

Christian’s books include Stagecoach (1999), an account of the firm which rose from nothing to the FTSE 100 in 20 years; The Great British Railway Disaster (1997), a humorous series of anecdotes about rail privatisation; and On the Wrong Line, which is the definitive story of rail privatisation first published as Broken Rails in October 2001 and updated in 2005.

He has written two books on the London Underground, Down the Tube, an account of the Public Private Partnership, published in 2002 and The Subterranean Railway, published in 2004.

His history of Britain’s Railways, Fire and Steam, was also widely praised and in 2009 he published Blood, Iron and Gold, how railways transformed the world.

His book on the role of railways in war, Engines of War, was published in September 2010 and his book on the history of American railroads was published in May 2012.

His latest history books are To the Edge of the World, the history of the Trans-Siberian railway, published in 2013; Are Trams Socialist, why Britain has never had a transport policy, published in May 2016; and a book on the history of Indian railways published in September 2017.

He also wrote Forgotten Children, a ground breaking study of the children’s homes scandals in the 1970s and 1980s, and several books aimed at schoolchildren.