A majority of the travelling public (about 64%) would like to see the railways brought back under national control. The East Coast has been handed back by private enterprise three times. Directly Operated Railways, has shown that a nationalised railway company can not only provide an effective service, but can also contribute to the exchequer. Yet currently the Tory government are considering yet again handing out this franchise to private operating companies. Of course, our railways are already run by nationalised entities, not us but the French, German, Dutch and others. Why it is OK for them, but not for the UK to run our railways, only the Tories could believe that.
Twenty five years of pain for Rail Travellers
There is another way
That a nationalised rail industry can and does work in 21st century Britain is born out by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) which has invested in new trains, 21 new carriages to meet capacity for the doubling of its passenger numbers in a decade, and track upgrades. All this without raising prices in January even after freezing its prices for several years. Unlike English railway franchises (which are mostly foreign-owned) NIR was never privatised. It is therefore exempt from the above-inflation fare increases contained in our rail franchise deals.
Meanwhile in Eire many fares were cut - by 6% in the Dublin area.
In 2018 Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, insisted that nationalisation would curtail modernisation of railways by making them compete for funds with hospitals and schools (which they do now anyway), and that a lack of private investment would mean no new trains. He ignores the fact that in January in the Isle of Wight, for example, the South Western Railway franchise raised rail fares despite not having commissioned any new trains since the 1930’s. An Official Review of Britain’s railways recently undertaken by this government has not fairly assessed or taken evidence from, for example the NIR model. Instead it sticks with the same old policy it has held for 25 years, relieving the Government of responsibility for rail travel and actively ignoring anything which isn't rank commercial profit-based capitalism.