Wednesday, 1 July 2009

British Rail

Another title for this article could be Re-Nationalize British Rail.

If there is one thing most of us agree about, it is the deplorable demise of British Rail - as a single network - fifteen years ago. I believe it was a mistake, albeit with right and proper intentions, because British Rail - operating at a considerable loss - was being subsidized by the taxpayer hugely.

Contrary to popular belief, Lady Thatcher had retired as Prime Minister by the time the process began; Sir John Major made the decisions. But we are still supporting the private railway companies heavily, in a financial sense, to this very day, aren't we?

It was predictably inevitable that the railway network would become disjointed with synchronization of time-tables and other things impossible and confusing, let alone tariffs. Personally I'd like to see the whole of the United Kingdom run within a revived British Rail network. That vision remains highly unlikely, especially since Northern Ireland is practically detached from the rail infrastructure; and now that devolution has been restored to the Province. That debate is for another day!

The Government is taking the East Coast Route, run by National Express Group PLC, back into public ownership. Surely this is a golden opportunity for the Prime Minister and his government to begin the process of re-nationalization?

More to the point, has Mr Brown the courage and determination to take such a bold step?

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