Rail 739 Back to the past as Network Rail comes back into the fold

February 8th, 2014 Rail Magazine 3 comments
So it’s welcome back British Rail. I jest somewhat, but permit me to enjoy a few laughs at the sight of the government being forced to take Network Rail’s £30bn debt on to its books. The announcement by the Office of National Statistics that new European rules mean that the debt can no longer be considered as being in the private sector is, in fact, a long overdue adjustment to ...

Railways are back on the government’s books

December 30th, 2013 Christian Says 2 comments
      The news, slipped out just before Xmas, that Network Rail’s debt will simply be lumped in with the government’s in September 2014, is an occasion for a bit of gloating as well as of concern. This received surprisingly little attention even though my sources say that the Department for Transport was taken aback and is extremely discomfited by the decision. The arrangement by which the debt - now £30bn, soon to ...

The failings of the 1993 Railways Act still haunt us today

December 15th, 2013 House 5 comments
On the face of it, the Railways Act has been a great success. The railways are booming with record numbers of passengers, a massive investment programme and an excellent recent safety performance. However, it is over the question of whether there is any causal relationship between privatisation and the boom in passenger numbers that the argument still rages. In what way has private sector involvement contibuted to this success story. There ...

Rail 725: the bewildering world of compensation

July 23rd, 2013 Rail Magazine 1 comment
One of the key criticisms of the current structure of the railways is that it is complex and unfathomable. Not only do ordinary passengers not understand who does what, and how each organisation relates to the other, but even people inside the industry are sometimes at a loss to comprehend why things are done in certain ways. Nowhere is that truer than the arrangements that have been created to allocate compensation ...

The answer is a simpler railway

June 13th, 2013 Times 1 comment
At the root of the problem over Network Rail's profligate tendencies, is the legacy of a rapid and radical privatisation that resulted in a structure which has still not settled down two decades later.  Two events in the aftermath of privatisation still colour the behaviour of today's railway managers: the series of rail accidents, particulary the derailment of a train because of a broken rail at Hatfield in 2000 and the subsequent ...

Rail 721: Rail finances undermined by Network Rail’s £28bn debt

May 1st, 2013 Rail Magazine 3 comments
The Office of Rail Regulation has been much more dynamic under the leadership of Richard Price in shining a light on the rail industry, to both dispel myths and highlight issues of concern. It now publishes a financial analysis each year under the unexciting title of GB Rail Industry Financial Information and the second one, published in April, covers 2011/2. Don’t be put off by the title, there’s plenty of ...
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