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Tuesday, 3rd July 2012

UK: Rebuilding Rail

Source: Transport for Quality of Life

The UK’s privatised railway is failing society, the economy and the environment, whilst draining taxpayers’ money into the pockets of private shareholders. Common sense and expert railway knowledge have ceded to a misguided private-must-be- best ethos, leaving Britain with a fragmented dysfunctional railway system that other countries view with disbelief.

Excessive costs in the UK rail industry have recently been highlighted by the McNulty Review. This study criticised waste from fragmentation and complexity in our railways, but ignored the obvious solution: simplify the system. Instead, the Review proposes more fragmentation. Analysts have predicted the McNulty approach would lead to older trains, higher fares, fewer services off-peak and at weekends, and more freight going by road. Large sums of money would still be lost to inefficiencies of complex contractual agreements between dozens of companies.

This paper outlines a different recipe for reform. It shows that over one billion pounds of taxpayers’ money could be saved every year by reuniting the railways under public ownership. All the public money invested in the railway could then be put to good use, delivering a better service for passengers while also achieving wider environmental and social goals.

+ Direct link to report (PDF; 1.7 MB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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