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17 September 2005
No to state railways

Norm Geras quotes Guardianista Phillip Pullman:

The more I travel on the squalid, run-down, gimcrack, unreliable, privately owned [sic] trains we have now, with their filthy toilets and windows you can’t open in the heat and penny-pinching knee-room, the more I look back with admiration at the nationalised days of British Railways, which seem a haven of democratic comfort, dignity and respect for the passenger.

Oh dear.  He is, of course,  right that the trains are privately owned. He is also right that privatisation has been a failure.  However, he also, presumably wants us to believe that the private ownership was the source of the failure (it wasn’t), that things were so much better before (they weren’t) and that therefore the state should run the railway (it shouldn’t).

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  1. Of course the railways are not privatly owned - they are owned by Network Rail (which is a government enity - for all Mr Brown’s off budget accounting tricks).

    As for the trains themselves - they do not tend to be owned by the train operating companies (which themselves do not own a train service - they have a franchise from the government) they lease them via financial institutions.

    The regulations make all this “sensible”

    Posted by Paul Marks on 28 September 2005 at 08:15pm

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