On Our Line: The London Reconnections Podcast



The residents of LR Towers are happy to announce the launch of our new monthly podcast, “On Our Line.”

As anyone who reads this site or has attended our meetups knows, transport is a fascinating topic. Yet for some time now we’ve been frustrated in how it is under-represented in the audio medium, particularly the world of podcasts.

A little while ago we realised that rather than moaning about this we should actually do something about it ourselves. So our goal with On Our Line is to bring you an hour long once-monthly discussion involving, or interview with, some of the key figures in the world of transport.

Each episode will be hosted by either Nicole or myself, and we’re indebted to podcast producer Josh for agreeing to put these together each month. Generally speaking, our intention is to get out of the way and allow our guests to talk, although you may occasionally see an LR contributor feature as a guest on a discussion where the topic is one in which they have particular expertise.

It is also worth noting that with the podcast we have decided that discussions and topics will not just be confined to London. This does not mean that they shouldn’t be things relevant to those with a particular interest in London transport, nor that the bulk of our interviewees won’t be drawn from London’s pool of transport people. Simply that the more we looked at the paucity of other transport podcasts, at the list of topics we felt worth covering in detail, and at the readers and experts from around the world who had already enthusiastically offered their expertise on the show, the more we realised that confining our interviewee list to just London would be to the detriment of the content, not the benefit.

Thanks to the likes of the Londonist and Underground London there are also already a number of good, more general London podcasts out there (both of which we’ve occasionally guested on). So in the end, we decided simply that we should bite the bullet and make it a wider rail and transport podcast, which is why we’ve opted for “On Our Line” as a name rather than simply “The London Reconnections Podcast” or similar. Hopefully you’ll feel that the end result is better for it.

Episode 1: The Challenges For Public Transport in the US

Our first episode very much takes this principle to heart. In it, Nicole talks to former Executive Director of the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) and former board chair (and current board member) of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Mort Downey.
In addition to his experience on Metro systems, Mort was also the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation from 1993 to 2001, making him the longest-serving person to ever hold the post. He was appointed by President Obama to serve as part of his transition team in 2008 and led the review team for transportation.

In this episode, Mort talks about the political, logistical and engineering challenges currently facing public transport in the U.S. He also talks about the infamous “death spiral” of under-investment that led to the Washington Metro train collision in 2009, the deadliest accident in the network’s history, and the changes this brought about in metro (and wider railway) investment and planning in the U.S.

How to listen

You can find our main podcast stream here:


And you can subscribe on iTunes here:

On Our Line: The Rail and Transport podcast

If you do so, please remember to rate the podcast. This will help others, who are unfamiliar with London Reconnections, find it.

Please also spread the word over email or social media to those you feel would enjoy the podcast.

You can also listen directly through the internet via the embedded player below, and we will post such a player for every episode here on the site.

Suggesting topics and guests

We are very open to suggestions for both topics people would like covered or particular guests you want to hear. You can make those suggestions, and provide general feedback, by emailing us at [email protected].

As always, we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

John Bull

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.