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Nationalisation of Rail companies

Community Veteran
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Nationalisation of Rail companies

According to recent news reports one Labour MP has suggested that the railways should be Nationalised.
Would this be a good or bad thing in terms of cost to passengers and taxpayers ?
14 REPLIES
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Re: Nationalisation of BT

What has this got to do with BT - perhaps a title change is in order
Moderator
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Re: Nationalisation of BT

Thankfully I have no reason to be interested in the rail system as I never use it.
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Re: Nationalisation of BT

Sorry I should have said British Rail Smiley
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

I don't think I need to make my views known really however I'm all in favour of saving British Rail from being scrapped at the end of March.
Yes, they still (just about) exist in their back office role having been stripped of all of their railway operating duties in 1993. Thats a whopping 20 years that they managed to survive after the tories did their best to destroy them.
Although their hands were tied behind their backs financially and there was little they could do to improve the railway service, British Rail did incredible things in its past. They even played a major role in the channel tunnel too. Had their budget been increased, they could have done a lot more with our railways - better trains, new / reopened lines, better signalling etc.
BR were really the last great icon of this once great country IMO. They used the union jack colours all over their trains and they were very patriotic. Since being canned, we've got anyone with a big wallet running our railways in order to squeeze more cash out of the public. It's not right, it's immoral and it can't continue.
BR owned its trains. Did you know that most of the countrys rolling stock is now owned by the banks? - HSBC own a lot of the rolling stock on our lines (Thats the Hong kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation btw - yes another non patriotic railway meddler).
Yes, our railways should be renationalised. BR should have its railway operating duties restored to them and we should get the greedy, self obsessed, money laundering sharks out of our transport system.
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Quote from: gleneagles
Would this be a good or bad thing in terms of cost to passengers and taxpayers ?

Certainly not a good idea for the taxpayer Sad
Community Veteran
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

But why should the tax payer foot the bill anyway? - BR had a fraction of the government funding that todays railsways have (they now cost 5 times more than BR) and BR relied soley on its own income for everything else - a thought that would fill the current operators with fright.
Simple cure for the railways: Cut the private operators, cut the operating budget in half and British Rail would still do a better job than the current fools and themselves years ago.
Oh and maybe we'll get some patriotic colours back on our trains again instead of lime yellow and green  Embarrassed
jim:quote
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Quote from: Sprite
[Moderator's note by Jim (Oldjim):  Full quote of preceding post removed, as per Forum Rules ]

So hang on, if I write a long reply in reply to the last post and 2 or 3 other peoples reply before me, then my post will look stupid and not make sense. So instead it's easier to quote the last reply and be done with it.
Oh.. do I get in trouble for quoting your moderators note too?  Grin
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Community Veteran
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Very simple - if you write a long winded post and someone else gets in before you you will be notified when trying to post - you can then add the quote if you want to
Razer
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Why stop at the railway? None of our assets should have been sold off to the few in the first place.
tinto
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

It's difficult to argue against renationalising the Railways given their history since privatisation.  The original privatisation by the Major government was shambolic, as many of their own MPs queued up to tell them all the way through the process.  Then we had the fiasco of the East Coast line where two separate companies, GNR and National Express, had to give up the franchise between 2005 and 2009.  More recently we've had another monumental b***sup with the botched attempt to sell a new franchise on the West Coast line.  Each of these disasters has cost us taxpayers £millions, on top of the £millions in subsidies we're already paying private companies for at best shoddy service.
The current ticketing system is a case in point.  If you're travelling long distance you have to be prepared to spend a t least half an hour working out a route, and unless you can book up weeks ahead, and travel at absurd times of day, your trip will cost an arm and a leg, in fact for the first time ever, you can now make most such trips more cheaply by air. .
There's a ideal opportunity to take the West Coast line back into public ownership at minimal cost in less than two years time when Virgin's extended franchise comes to an end, and the other routes can follow as their franchises expire.
It's not ideal but the experience is that no single company can take on the entire network, yet neither can any of them properly manage parts of it.  It's time for the government to bite the bullet. 
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Quote from: tinto
There's a ideal opportunity to take the West Coast line back into public ownership at minimal cost in less than two years time when Virgin's extended franchise comes to an end, and the other routes can follow as their franchises expire.

I've been thinking along similar lines for a while. Seeing as the whole system is crumbling, we might as well just not renew operating contracts and let BR gradually make a comeback. If they're not keen on that idea then perhaps BR should be used as an emergency operator when a company makes a mess of it all on their line.
Either way, BR should not be scrapped. They ran our countrys railways on peanuts for many years and kept our country moving. Sure, they weren't popular, no-one liked the state of many of the trains etc but had they had a better investment from the government, these things wouldn't have happened. At the time, they had the lowest government subsidy in europe and now our railways probably have the highest which only proves the point.
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Just out of interest are train services in most other parts of Europe in private hands ?
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

Not that I'm aware of no.
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gswindale
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Re: Nationalisation of Rail companies

The majority of European TOCs are not in private hands; but neither are their railways fully nationalised in the way that we are used to.
For instance SNCF (wholly owned by the French Government) run the trains in France; however the tracks and signalling belong to a different wholly owned company.
The idea of the EU directive that resulted in us selling off the various bits of British Rail was to open up competition and to introduce "independant" Train Companies onto our network.
Thus if we were to renationalise; you should certainly end up with
Network Rail operating the infrastructure
DOR (East Coast Mainline operator at present) operating the bulk of the passenger/freight services
Grand Central operating as an open access operator
Various charter companies operating as such.
You could then conceivably see new companies coming on the scene to build new railways & charging the TOCs to use those lines instead (sort of similar to the M6 Toll I guess) - and in fact this does happen a bit at present as HS1 is not part of Network Rail's infrastructure as far as I am aware.
I do agree that the present system is not really working; but I'm not convinced that a return back to the 1980s British Rail setup is definitely the way forward either.
The tax-payer subsidy does need to come down; however it is my understanding that TOCS do not make much, if any, money from their operations - those that do make money have to pay more in premiums whilst those that operate the "unprofitable" routes do receive subsidies to keep these "social lifelines" open.
If the system was fully privatised with TOCS only being out to make money; then we'd have seen lines such as the West Highland or the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch closed years ago.