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Print newsletter Rail Business Intelligence closes after 23 years as subscriptions fall in face of digital disruption

Print newsletter Rail Business Intelligence, owned by Railway Gazette Group, has stopped publishing after 23 years and 554 issues.

The fortnightly missive for people in the railway industry was first published as Rail Privatisation News in 1995 at a time when British Rail was first changing into private hands.

Its aim at launch was “to provide those involved in the privatisation of British Rail with timely inside information” on what was then a new sector by drawing on knowledge from Railway Gazette staff and contributors, according to founding editor Roger Ford.

The newsletter was renamed Rail Business Intelligence in 1998. It closed on 24 March this year. Ford said falling subscriptions, which cost £700 a year each, had been behind the decision to stop publishing.

In a final comment piece, he said: “While the demand for timely information remains as strong as ever, the growth of digital information services and social media have radically changed the way in which people now ‘consume’ news.”

“With subscriptions falling, the decision has been taken with great regret to suspend publication of RBI.”

RBI’s news and analysis on developments in the rail industry will now be covered by Railway Gazette Group’s portfolio of print and digital titles. Readers have been asked to give feedback on which elements of the newsletter they would like to continue.

Chris Jackson, managing editor of Railway Gazette, told Press Gazette: “I have been closely involved with RBI from its launch it has been very sad to see it go.

“While it remained very popular with a declining number of loyal readers, we had to recognise that the newsletter was no longer viable in its traditional format.”

He added: “In an era when people expect to get ‘free’ news on the internet, it is not so easy to persuade them to pay for the deeper analysis and insider information, which doesn’t come cheap.”

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