An accessible, reliable public transport network plays a huge part in every community, and last year, the UK’s Department for Transport recognised the crucial role rail can play to ease isolation for many, and released a comprehensive Community Rail Strategy to find out how rail services can be improved to tackle loneliness.

This month also marks the start of a network-wide ban on junk food advertising across all Transport for London services, which prompted us to ask: what’s the relationship between the transport operator and advertising?

We also look at recycling and upcycling efforts from across the industry, inspired by initiatives such as Amtrak’s line of tote bags produced from upcycled seat covers.

Finally, we round up the last remaining signalling boxes in the UK, and profile Italy’s first high-speed rail freight service.

Read the edition in full here.

In this issue

Connecting communities: the role of rail in tackling loneliness
The Department for Transport has recently recognised the role railways play in tackling social isolation and has rolled out a Community Rail Strategy that aims to improve the UK rail network to better serve communities. Adele Berti reports.
Read the article here.

Blue-sky thinking: could autonomous drones help save the HS2 project?
SenSat has used drone-captured data to map out Phase One of the UK’s High Speed 2 route. Joe Baker asks how this milestone was achieved, and what it could mean for the future of one of the world’s most controversial high-speed rail projects.
Read the article here.

Is HS2 worth the estimated £106 billion price tag?

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Mercitalia Fast: the world’s first high-speed rail freight service
In November, Italian state-owned railway operator Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane inaugurated the world’s first high-speed rail service dedicated to freight, which will run between the southern city of Caserta and Bologna. But despite initial appraisal, some are questioning its limits. Adele Berti finds out more.
Read the article here.

Bringing home the bacon: the relationship between TfL and the advertising industry
As recently announced, junk food advertising is to be banned on all Transport for London services, as of February. Should the move be commended in its aims to tackle childhood obesity in the capital, or might it create a revenue gap for an operator that’s already struggling to balance the books? Ross Davies reports.
Read the article here.

From seat cover to tote bag: upcycling initiatives in the rail industry
Over the past few months, a number of rail companies have launched upcycling and recycling initiatives aimed at tackling climate change and preserving the environment. With their minds set on preventing waste from ending up in landfill, they are saving used materials and re-purposing them in creative ways. Adele Berti rounds up the best initiatives.
Read the article here.

Steam-age signalling: paying homage to rail signal boxes in the UK
As the UK rail industry modernises its signalling systems, the Victorian-era signal boxes scattered across its landscape are gradually being removed from operation. Exploring history highlights the key role that mechanical signal boxes have played through the years, but what does their future hold? Joe Baker finds out.
Read the article here.

Next issue |  March 2019

In anticipation of a new report assessing the benefits of greater devolution to local authorities for the country’s railway stations, Future Rail spoke to the Urban Transport Group to hear its arguments on the benefits of locally-run stations, and its wider reasoning on the advantages of rail devolution.

In the next issue we also take stock of the world’s most complex metro maps, from Tokyo to London and Paris, and review the most exquisite views Canada has to offer from the carriage windows of the Rocky Mountaineer in a special photo feature.

Finally, as environmental and financial pressures have forced the rail industry to find new solutions, we round up the best efforts to make train engines more efficient, cost-effective and quieter, and ask whether 3D printing technologies are currently effective enough to support the railway sector.