Tag Archives: Mobilities

Junction JD Wetherspoon: The Changing Space of Britain’s Motorways

by Jen Turner

By Alexj2002 (Own Work based on work by User:Erath) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The BBC announced today that JD Wetherspoon will open its first motorway pub at Extra services on the M40 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. After a successful application to the local council, the company has said the bar and restaurant will be licensed to serve alcohol between 08:00 and 01:00. The firm met with Thames Valley Police and South Bucks District Council to outline its plans and Wetherspoon said the application received “no representations”. It is anticipated the £2m development will create 50 jobs. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “The company has always been innovative and this is an exciting new development for us. Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoon’s on the motorway.” The pub is expected to be open by Christmas.

However, road safety charity Brake said as the firm was “putting temptation in front of drivers”, it should make its drink-drive warnings “extra clear”. A spokeswoman for Brake said: “The opening of a pub on the motorway could be of real concern unless safeguards are put in place with strong messages to warn about the dangers of drink-driving … it is putting temptation there in front of drivers. The charity says each month in Great Britain 23 people are killed and 108 people are seriously injured by drivers over the drink-drive limit.

Whether these actions are endorsed by the road safety charity or not, the opening of a public house at a motorway service station will no doubt change the way the space is utilised – perhaps becoming a destination for coach trips or those seeking a particular type of meal. This may not be disimilar to the appeal of the service station as a tourist space, when the first motorways (and their rest areas) opened in Britain.

A 2009 Geography Compass paper by Peter Merriman outlines some of the research which has been undertaken on the geographies and sociologies of the spaces and practices of driving, focusing in particular on the UK. Merriman notes that the motor car or automobile has had a profound impact on global mobility, settlement patterns, the global economy, and the environment. In this article, he examines how motor roads have shaped our experience of space and place, and outlines studies of their design, inhabitation, and regulation. Second, this article discusses embodied inhabitations of the spaces of the car: how motor cars have been consumed; how they have shaped our embodied apprehensions of our surroundings; and how they facilitate social and cultural relations. Finally, this article concludes by examining the innovative methods which are increasingly being utilised and developed by social scientists to explore the socialities of automotive spaces. The opening of JD Wetherspoon at a motorway service station is just one such example of how the motorcar and driving practices have become a concern to geographers and those studying the resonance of driving spaces.

books_iconPeter Merriman (2009) Automobility and the Geographies of the CarGeography Compass 3(2) 586-599.

60-world2JD Wetherspoon to open first motorway pub on M40, BBC News (online) 3 June 2013.

Content Alert: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 37, Issue 4 (October 2012) is Available Online Now

Cover image for Vol. 37 Issue 4

Volume 37, Issue 4 Pages 477– 657, October 2012

The latest issue of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers is available on Wiley Online Library.

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Trainspaces: Shaping Transnational Spaces

by Fiona Ferbrache

High speed train Cisalpino (Source: Eurail Group G.I.E.)

This week I write from Germany and a media event to mark the 40th anniversary of the InterRail pass: a rail ticket allowing passengers to travel (up to one month) on roughly 250,000km of rail track across 30 European countries.

Launched in 1972, the InterRail pass enabled young people (aged 21 and under) to explore Europe. Forty years later and the pass is available for all ages. During this time the European map (its territories and borders) has changed: the fall of the Berlin Wall, dismemberment of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia, and the expansion of the European Union and Schengen zone, which have created a borderless space for mobility. As I am learning here in Leipzig, InterRail enables a unique cross-border perspective on the changing nature of Europe – a trainspace, perhaps.

Trainspace is an analytic concept proposed by Cidell (2012:3) to evoke “the space(s) constructed or maintained by the (im)mobility of trains, in both discursive and material forms”. The concept is introduced through Cidell’s exploration of freight transportation in Chicago’s suburbs. The case study explores the proposed purchase of a beltline railroad around Chicago by Canadian National Railroad, and the opposition raised by local American communities. While concerns over safety and risk were significant, Cidell shows how these were expressed in terms of disruption caused by a foreign railroad. This conflict, Cidell argues, revealed underlying fears of national control being eroded by a new transnational space (in terms of railroad ownership and the global flows of goods it could engender in Chicago’s suburbs).

Cidell’s trainspace encourages us to think about the effects of transport infrastructure beyond the site of the infrastructure itself. Applying this to InterRail, I am led to think in terms of the connected (rail)routes through which people flow and come to know a Europe: a significant component of transnational processes in a changing world.

  Cidell, J. (2012) Fear of a foreign railroad: transnationalism, trainspace, (im)mobility in the Chicago suburbs. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00491.x

  InterRail Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

Area Content Alert: Volume 44, Issue 1 (March 2012)

The latest issue of Area is available on Wiley Online Library.

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Content Alert: New Articles (13th January 2012)

These Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.

Original Articles

Anthropogenic controls on large wood input, removal and mobility: examples from rivers in the Czech Republic
Lukáš Krejčí and Zdeněk Máčka
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01071.x

Special Section: Exploring the Great Outdoors

‘My magic cam’: a more-than-representational account of the climbing assemblage
Paul Barratt
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01069.

Special Section: Emerging Subjects, Registers and Spatialities of Migration Methodologies in Asia

Methodological dilemmas in migration research in Asia: research design, omissions and strategic erasures
Rebecca Elmhirst
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01070.x

Commentary

The aviation sagas: geographies of volcanic risk
Amy R Donovan and Clive Oppenheimer
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00458.x

Original Articles

Diverging pathways: young female employment and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa
Thilde Langevang and Katherine V Gough
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00457.x

Original Articles

Rethinking urban public space: accounts from a junction in West London
Regan Koch and Alan Latham
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00489.x

The social and economic consequences of housing in multiple occupation (HMO) in UK coastal towns: geographies of segregation
Darren P Smith
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00487.x

The reputational ghetto: territorial stigmatisation in St Paul’s, Bristol
Tom Slater and Ntsiki Anderson
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00490.x

Fear of a foreign railroad: transnationalism, trainspace, and (im)mobility in the Chicago suburbs
Julie Cidell
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00491.x

Participation in evolution and sustainability
Thomas L Clark and Eric Clark
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00492.x

Boundary Crossings

Progressive localism and the construction of political alternatives
David Featherstone, Anthony Ince, Danny Mackinnon, Kendra Strauss and Andrew Cumbers
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00493.x

The disciplining effects of impact evaluation practices: negotiating the pressures of impact within an ESRC–DFID project
Glyn Williams
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00494.x