Letter to The Times: BR offers the right model

A small correction to Emma Duncan’s apposite and timely piece on the railways (Comment, December 2). British Rail was not a failed organisation. Quite the opposite. By the 1980s, under the astute leadership of Sir Bob Reid, it had become a successful, commercially driven but socially concerned company that boasted a world famous brand, InterCity which ran some of the fastest services in the world. British Rail’s  commuter services under the Network SouthEast brand were run without support from the taxpayer and the East Coast Line was electrified at a fraction of the cost that its privatised successors spent recently on the semi-completed Great Western Railway electrification.

Ms Duncan is right. We need a similar organisation run at arms length from ministers and given a similar level of commercial freedom to determine how the railways should be run. Let’s hope the next government creates it.

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