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I’m no “nationalize everything” person. Many things are better being privatized. But the railways simply isn’t one of them. The structure of the railways now is simply Chaotic at best. Bringing into 1 structure as British Rail would make things massively better – bringing Engineering In House rather than having to use outsourced companies – would make things much cheaper and easier to manage. On the timetabling side of things being 1 company could see massive timetable improvements so we don’t get local connections leaving 2 minutes before an Intercity arrives because it is 2 different companies. It would also reduce pathing conflictions between operators and a common sense approach to services taken with a better all round experience.
But nationalising the railways as franchises come expire (as Labour propose) won’t add any extra expense at all – so that is a class British Media lie about Corbyn’s plans. If it goes like the old ECML under Government hands would be better off – and the savings can be used to pay down debt or invest in extra rolling stock / rail infrastructure. So win-win.
Yes railways use has gone right up – but generally that is not because of the TOC’s being massively better. Many extra services are prescribed by the government in the franchise agreements. Sure Chiltern Railways is a massive success as a privatized TOC (ironically the only MBO by the BR management team in the initial years of privatization – just what happens when you get proper Railway people in charge – and luckily maintained that ethos up to now).
Yes PFI started under the Tories pre- Blair – but Brown & Blair took it to a whole new level and still no one has stopped. Horrendous but very much part of the culture and problem we have debt – we don’t have to worry until tomorrow. Problem is Tomorrow will one day be Today. Emblematic of GBR approach to money as a whole.