Category Archives: News

Congratulations to David Smith, the 2016 TGRG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Winner.

We would like to congratulate David Smith for his achievement in winning the TGRGs best undergraduate dissertation prize.  David recently earned his BA in Geography at the University of Oxford.  For the prize, David will receive books to the value of £150 from Edward Elgar.  His dissertation abstract can be found below.  Comments from the judges include: “This ethnographic study of a Welsh heritage railway is detailed and conceptually ambitious. David demonstrates familiarity with concepts in economic and cultural geography, and blends that with mobilities concepts to develop his concept of ‘working mobilities’ in the context of heritage transport. His thesis is also beautifully written, which helped David’s work to stand out above the other ten candidates, all of whom had undertaken interesting and varied work, demonstrating the breadth of interesting topics and approaches that can be used in modern transport geography.”

“Working Mobilities”: Labours, Movements and Moorings at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways

This dissertation attends to the different kinds of work that enable mobility to take place. Drawing together ideas from both economic and cultural geography as well as mobilities scholarship, the term ‘working mobilities’ is coined and developed to refer to the labours, practices, performances and personal implications of transport work. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork undertaken over nine weeks at a heritage railway in Snowdonia during the summer of 2015, the analysis is arranged around three main themes: working, moving and mooring, in order to expand on this hitherto overlooked facet of mobilities.

The first, ‘working’, applies Linda McDowell’s scholarship on ‘body work’ into a heritage railway setting, finding it to be a combination of both old and new forms of labour. Physical work is involved in facilitating mobilities on a literal level – shovelling coal and cleaning floors, for instance. Meanwhile, ‘new’ forms of labour are present too – the body itself becomes a performance through helping to produce particular atmospheres. But skills and knowledges are important too – places are comprehended multi-sensually through combinations of official and tacit knowledges, whilst specific skills are learnt, again directly enabling the smooth operation of mass mobility.

Next, ‘moving’ explores the relationship between those working mobilities and the equipment they use. A series of micro-movements by human subjects combine to form significant, meaningful movements on much larger scales, such as those gestures which signal that all is ready for a train to proceed. Meanwhile, the vehicles of mobility themselves hold complex, multi-scalar subjective meanings to those who work mobilities, and even when apparently insignificant, retain the capacity to move us emotionally. One particular example is examined in detail.

Finally, ‘moorings’ examines the importance of the relationships of fixity and movement which exist for railway workers, through three registers; spatially, socially, and temporally. Each of these can only be considered relationally, but each is important in providing structure and meaning to the people who work mobilities, and thus enabling them to carry out their duties. Examples include the importance of stationary, as opposed to mobile staff – for instance signallers – and the depth of attachment that comes about through long-lived connections to forms of mobilities – continuities through the life course.

 

For more information regarding the undergraduate prize please contact the TGRG secretary, Simon Blainey.

Call for TGRG session proposals: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017

Dear TGRG members,

The call for sessions and papers for the 2017 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference is now open and we would like to invite TGRG members to submit session proposals for next year’s conference.

The conference will take place at the Royal Geographical Society in London from 29th August- 1st September and will be chaired by Professor Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge). The conference theme is ‘Decolonising geographical knowledges: opening geography out to the world’.  We would particularly encourage sessions around this theme, but sessions relating to any aspect of transport geography will be considered.

If you would like to have your session sponsored by TGRG, please submit your session proposal to S.P.Blainey@soton.ac.uk AND K.J.Pangbourne@leeds.ac.uk by Friday 16th December. We will confirm session sponsorship as soon as possible and you will then have until Friday 17th February to send out your Call for Papers, choose your presenters and submit your full session proposal to RGS.

Please include the following in your session proposal (you do not have to use the AC2016 session proposal form at this stage):

  • A title
  • Names, affiliations and email addresses of the session convenors (we advise TWO)
  • A session abstract (about 200-300 words), and up to five keywords.

Guidance – sessions are scheduled into timeslots of 1 hour 40 minutes long. A session may not normally occupy more than two of these timeslots in the conference programme. TGRG has a ‘ration’ of timeslots, which we will bear in mind when selecting which proposals to sponsor. Please indicate how many high quality papers you think you will attract – four or five (max) ‘traditional’ papers will fit into a timeslot, or you can consider holding a debate, or a workshop, or adopt a different format such as a pecha kucha.

We welcome joint proposals with other groups (who may have a different timeline – please state what that is). For session proposals which attract many high quality submissions, we will consider allowing two timeslots – there are usually 2 or 3 sessions which have two timeslots each.

In addition to promotion of sessions and support in submitting session proposals, one of the benefits of a TGRG sponsored session is that we are given an allocation of guest passes for non-geographers and/or non UK conference participants. Session organisers may suggest names of established speakers for whom the TGRG can potentially offer a free conference pass, assuming the criteria for guest passes are met and subject to our allocation of guest passes. We also have a prize for the best paper by a postgraduate researcher presented in any TGRG sponsored session.

The following link may be useful in proposing your session:

http://www.rgs.org/WhatsOn/ConferencesAndSeminars/Annual+International+Conference/Annual+international+conference.htm

Best wishes,

Simon Blainey (TGRG Secretary)

The future of rail travel, and why it doesn’t look like Hyperloop

Senior research associate, Railway Systems Research Group at Newcastle University, explains why at the Conversation:

As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, it is estimated that the number of journeys measured in passenger-kilometres will triple by 2050. Roads simply can’t absorb this increase.

Railways, with their greater capacity for carrying more people, quickly and with greater energy efficiency, are the best bet to become our mobility backbone. Of course, engineers’ imaginations have created many alternatives to the original steel-on-steel approach to the railway. Maglev and the much-publicised but so far theoretical Hyperloop are often regarded as the ones to watch – but do they really represent the future of rail travel?

Read more: http://v.gd/4h0YPO


Mid-term review of the 2011 White Paper on transport

Consultation period: 10/03/2015 – 2/06/2015
This consultation will last for 12 weeks. Questionnaires should be returned by 2 June 2015 at the very latest.
Aim of this questionnaire
This consultation aims at collecting your views on the 2011 White Paper on Transport: “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system”.
In this context, we kindly ask you to assess the progress in implementation of the 2011 White Paper and identify key challenges for transport policy, as well as provide any suggestion for refocusing the strategy in the next year.
The questionnaire is structured in six parts:
•    Respondent’s profile
•    Analysis of the situation
•    Assessment of the approach taken
•    Expected impacts and implementation
•    Way forward
•    Other questions

The results of this consultation will feed into the stock taking of the 2011 White Paper on Transport and refocusing of the strategy.

http://v.gd/NEwkcL

‘Green’ deliveries arrive on Newcastle University campus

Expect to see more of the orange delivery van on Newcastle University campus – but many fewer conventional ones thanks to an innovative freight consolidation project.

Launched to improve the delivery of goods whilst reducing emissions and improving safety on the University campus, the contract will be serviced from Clipper Logistics’ facility at Wynyard Park, Billingham. It will use the electric vehicle (pictured) to deliver goods to the campus at the University’s designated nine drop-off zones. Until now, deliveries were made direct to campus across 226 delivery points and the new system will reduce the need for vans and lorries to enter University grounds.

Continue reading ‘Green’ deliveries arrive on Newcastle University campus