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To think that nationalising the railways again is actually a brilliant idea?

(41 Posts)
BowieFan Thu 27-Oct-16 20:50:02

Read an interesting article today that said we are currently giving more in subsidies to private companies to run our railways each year than we ever spent when British Rail was actually owned by us.

When the East Coast franchise expired, we took it back into public ownership and it received the best scores of any rail service in all of the UK, based on customer satisfaction. Now that it's in private hands, it's going back down again. Also, we didn't even run it at a loss - we made a profit on it!

Public support for nationalising the railways again has always been high, and East Coast shows we can do it and do it well. So why are the media demonising the Lib Dems, Labour and the Greens for wanting to renationalise it all? It baffles me.

Why should we be paying sky high fares with all the profits going to shareholders?

Patapouf Thu 27-Oct-16 21:11:45

Couldn't agree more comrade wink

Rail services in this country are a farce

redexpat Thu 27-Oct-16 21:12:57


Rainydayspending Thu 27-Oct-16 21:13:47

The current set up really favours a fat wage for contractors and private companies are motivated more for profit than service - though that could be improved through the set up with responsibility (eg track AND trains being owned by the same people, more commitment to quality and also attracting custom).
The Hidden regulations (working regs on railways) should be either better enforced more and probably would be under a public sector type employer.

RatImpaledOnnaStake Thu 27-Oct-16 21:14:08

Since Southern Rail are a shower of shit and you can't tell the difference between normal service and strike days lately, I entirely agree with you.

TheNaze73 Thu 27-Oct-16 21:14:56

The current set up, is far from perfect however British Rail as it was, was an absolute cluster fuck

charlestrenet Thu 27-Oct-16 21:18:18

Yanbu. I think it's pretty clear that privatisation has led to higher costs for both state and passengers together with a decline in quality of service. Have you seen some of the old stock that virgin etc use? Doors you have to hang out of the windows to open etc. They charge a fortune to travel on them as well.

Meadows76 Thu 27-Oct-16 21:18:47

If we had a decent government I would be more inclined to agree, but with the disaster that is westminster at the moment, no way. That lot couldn't run a kids party let alone our railways.

ModreB Thu 27-Oct-16 21:21:06

De-nationalising the railways was always a bad idea. It's unfortunate that in 1992 it happened under the Thatcher Govt.

Re-nationialising makes sense on more than economic levels.

BowieFan Thu 27-Oct-16 21:28:05


We used to moan about British Rail but it was only because we thought we could do better. Clearly we can't.

Privatising public companies never works - just look at the energy prices we're paying now thanks to privatisation.

DeliciouslyHella Thu 27-Oct-16 21:29:09


Antifrank Thu 27-Oct-16 21:29:14

I remeber British rail being absolutely brilliant and no one ever saying how crap it was

camelfinger Thu 27-Oct-16 21:30:26

YANBU. East coast was good, virgin worse and more expensive. British Rail wasn't perfect but certainly much cheaper than the shambles we have now, which is still subsidised by the taxpayer anyway.

Meadows76 Thu 27-Oct-16 21:30:38

De-nationalising the railways was always a bad idea. It's unfortunate that in 1992 it happened under the Thatcher Govt.. John major was then PM.

Antifrank Thu 27-Oct-16 21:32:59

Privatising public companies never works

Really! That is a rather sweeping statement. Do you think British Airways was better run under the public sector?

BoinkAlongQuietly Thu 27-Oct-16 21:33:20


BoinkAlongQuietly Thu 27-Oct-16 21:37:08

Jesus, just look at Tube Lines - so much money for a whole layer of people doing fuck all and guaranteed their money. Which was tax payers money. All failed.

FlemCandango Thu 27-Oct-16 21:37:18

We absolutely need to ensure that rail investment is purely benefiting train services. It is insane that we are pouring millions of pounds overseas to foreign state owned rail companies. So the tax payers of the Netherlands, Germany and France are benefiting from increases in rail fares in the UK! Insane that state owned companies from the UK are not allows to bid for franchises! I have studied public transport management (more interesting than it sounds grin). It amazes me that the British government allows the situation to continue when some franchises are so badly run that they have taken franchises away from some operators. TfL should be allows to operate the commuter rail network - it would provide a properly joined up service and enable the broadening of the Oyster card network. It is frustrating.

thecapitalsunited Thu 27-Oct-16 21:38:12

At lot of the reason why it costs more now is that there are far more people travelling than ever before. That means more trains, more often so more staff etc.

East Coast is also a little bit of an anomaly as it is primarily an intercity franchise and relatively easy to run. Suburban and urban services are much harder to run because the trains are more frequent so any problems completely fuck your service and have very variable loads because everyone wants to travel at peak times. That's not to say that the government couldn't run say the South West or Southern franchises but that a company with experience running a rail service is likely to do a better job!

FlemCandango Thu 27-Oct-16 21:39:59

Yes even Thatcher was against privatising the rail network. It was a purely ideological policy, not based on sound service/ investment/ public benefit reasoning.

hopelesslycynical Thu 27-Oct-16 21:42:14

YANBU. Its funny how the government is ideologically opposed to state ownership of the railways, when in actuality many of the train operating companies are owned by foreign governments - Arriva Trains Wales, Cross Country, Northern, and Chiltern Railways are owned by the German government, Abellio Greater Anglia is owned by the Dutch Government. London Midland and Southern is owned by a company 70% owned by the French government owned SNCF. I guess the "dead hand of the state" doesn't apply to the French, Germans and Dutch!!

misson Thu 27-Oct-16 21:43:17

Yabu. Massively. Especially the comment that privatisation never works.

FlemCandango Thu 27-Oct-16 21:47:56

So how come state owned companies from NL have the proper expertise, but a uk based state owned firm couldn't possibly? It is a matter of employing people with the right expertise, the government doesn't expect the politicians to run the prisons, it is reliant on the Prison Service and employs the properly experienced trained staff to run the prisons on behalf of the state. A much healthier set up than the privately owned U.S. mega prisons that make so much profit from prison labour they influence government policy to keep a steady supply of prisoners...

State ownership simply means run for the benefit of tax payers, it doesn't have to be synonymous with incompetent.

FlemCandango Thu 27-Oct-16 21:49:37

Cross posted hopelesslygrin

ToujeoQueen Thu 27-Oct-16 21:52:26

Yanbu, it's basically public money into private hands.

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