Rail (magazine)

Rail is a British magazine on the subject of current rail transport in Great Britain. It is published every two weeks by Bauer Consumer Media and is available in the transport sections of many British newsagents. It is targeted primarily at the enthusiast market (those for whom railways are a hobby rather than their occupation), but also covers business issues, often in depth.

Rail 714 cover
Cover of an issue from January 2013
CategoriesRail transport
CirculationIncrease 20,063
(January–December 2015)[1]
PublisherBauer Consumer Media
First issue1981; 41 years ago (1981) (as Rail Enthusiast)
Based inPeterborough

Rail is more than three decades old, and was known as Rail Enthusiast from its launch in 1981 until 1988. It is one of only two railway magazines that increased its circulation in 2012 (the other being The Railway Magazine, published monthly, which Rail outperforms overall). It has had roughly the same cover design for at least a decade, with a capitalised italic red RAIL along the top of the front cover.

Editorial policyEdit

Rail is customarily critical of railway institutions, including the Rail Delivery Group, the Office of Rail and Road, as well as, since it assumed greater railway powers, the Department for Transport. Rail's continuing campaigns include one against advertising and media images showing celebrities and others walking between the rails (an unsafe practice), with another against weeds on railway lines.

The magazine's readership peaked in the late 1980s at around 45,000. Since then, the market for railway magazines has declined, although more titles (e.g. Rail Express, Traction, Heritage Railways, Today's Railways Europe and Today's Railways UK) have appeared. To meet the change in the market, the magazine has repositioned itself from being purely enthusiast-based to being more business-oriented. This has met with some success.

Rail also organises conferences, including the annual National Rail Conference, the National Rail Awards and the Rail 100 Breakfast Club.

Regular features and contributorsEdit

Rail publishes a mix of news, analysis and features written by its own editorial staff and freelance contributors.

The magazine takes a broadly supportive stance on High Speed 2 and began running a regular column dedicated to it in 2013.

The magazine's Managing Editor is Nigel Harris. Other staff include Deputy Editor Stefanie Foster,[2] News Editor Paul Stephen and Features Wditor Tom Allett.[3]

Other regular contributors include transport commentator Christian Wolmar, one of the most vociferous critics of the privatisation of railways in Britain; fares and ticketing expert Barry Doe (The Fare Dealer); an anonymous railway employee, the Industry Insider, as well as Steve Broadbent, Andy Coward and Chris Leigh.

Many of Rail's editorial staff frequently appear on television and radio when a rail expert is needed to comment on a story.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "RAIL – circulation". ABC. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Rail Magazine: The Team". Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  3. ^ "RAIL welcomes Tom as new features editor". www.railmagazine.com. Retrieved 2021-08-27.

External linksEdit