Paul Salveson is a socialist campaigner and writer who has lived and worked in West Yorkshire all his life. He is a passionate advocate of community ownership of the railways and is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Transport Logistics at the University of Huddersfield. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to the railways.
On his blog he writes: ‘My life has been spent bringing some sort of social and political context to my obsession/enthusiasm for trains’.
He was a longstanding Labour Party member, and was a local councillor in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. He is co-founder of the Northern Socialist think tank the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, which campaigns for regional government in Yorkshire.
After an undergraduate degree at the University of Lancaster Paul started his career on the railways at Horwich Loco Works. He worked his way up the ranks, ending his railway career as a senior manager with Northern Rail, the UK’s largest train operating company.
Paul’s passion for railways, his understanding of the way the rail system has been structured and restructured, together with his political commitments – as a socialist, union activist, historian and campaigner – bring an intellectual authority to his writing. His article in Soundings 53, ‘Railways beyond Privatisation’ calls for the development of a national strategic body – National Rail – with the long-term aim of bringing rail back under community control. This proposal is developed more fully in his book Railpolitik: Bringing Railways Back to the Community (L&W 2013).
In 2012 L&W published his wide-ranging book Socialism with a Northern Accent. Paul describes his aim in this book as being to ‘uncover some of lost radical and socialist traditions’, and the political heritage of justice, democracy, equality and community, that can inform new forms of ethical socialism.
Before being published by Lawrence and Wishart Paul published his work through his own publishing company Little Northern Books that specialises in regional and local history.