Should Railways in the U.K be nationalised? Watch

Andrew97
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Recently we have seen in the News that many rail providers are struggling to provide a suitable service and are under threat of losing their franchises.

Northern Rail is set to be nationalised this week, with the operator ,Arriva , thought to be gearing up to hand the franchise back to the Government owned Operator of Last Resort. In 2018 the Government took Virgin Trains east coach back into Government hands, under the guise London North Eastern Railways.

Arriva, which is German owned, is belived to have poured 300m into the northern franchise but has been plagued by delays and strikes, with only 82% of trains arriving on time. Down from 91% 2 years ago.

Another franchise under threat is South Western, which lost £137m in the year to March. SW has had a number of issues, suffering a December long strike by guards from the RMT union, who have since voted for more strikes.

The issue of rail nationalisation played a part at the recent General election, with the Conservatives supporting privatisation and Labour Nationalisation. In 2016 Jeremy Corbyn instigated traingate, when he sat down on a train floor and made a video about how the raliways should be re nationalised, using the reasoning that there would be more seats and more trains. Virgin disputed the cliam Mr Corbyn was unable to get a seat.
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Miss Maddie
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TOCs should be either fully privatised and given indefinite permission to operate any route they want, or they should be fully nationalised and ran on a not-for-profit basis
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fallen_acorns
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Nationalised and subsidised.
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DSilva
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Absolutely. We have the absurd situation where other countries are allowed to own and profit from our railways but we aren't allowed to.
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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by DSilva)
Absolutely. We have the absurd situation where other countries are allowed to own and profit from our railways but we aren't allowed to.
Its crazy. It shouldn't even be a profit-making business for us, let alone for some else.
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fallen_acorns
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I do feel positive though.. even most tories that I know now recognise that the situation isn't good.. they just don't favour nationalisation, but instead re-thinking the aproach to privatisation. Either way I suspect something will be done some time after brexit, be it a tory goverment shaking up the private system or if Labour manage to win in the next 5-10 years nationalization.

I don't see anyone who actually believes that we have a great really well working system that matches up to the nations that we should be comparing ourselves to...
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QE2
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Ironic that many Tory voters/commentators vilified Labour for suggesting rail nationalisation. The gov't will be proposing free broadband next.
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It’s Jacob
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Railways are loss making without the subsidies. If the subsidies were cut most of the lines would close or would only be used during peak hours.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Recently we have seen in the News that many rail providers are struggling to provide a suitable service and are under threat of losing their franchises.

Northern Rail is set to be nationalised this week, with the operator ,Arriva , thought to be gearing up to hand the franchise back to the Government owned Operator of Last Resort. In 2018 the Government took Virgin Trains east coach back into Government hands, under the guise London North Eastern Railways.

Arriva, which is German owned, is belived to have poured 300m into the northern franchise but has been plagued by delays and strikes, with only 82% of trains arriving on time. Down from 91% 2 years ago.

Another franchise under threat is South Western, which lost £137m in the year to March. SW has had a number of issues, suffering a December long strike by guards from the RMT union, who have since voted for more strikes.

The issue of rail nationalisation played a part at the recent General election, with the Conservatives supporting privatisation and Labour Nationalisation. In 2016 Jeremy Corbyn instigated traingate, when he sat down on a train floor and made a video about how the raliways should be re nationalised, using the reasoning that there would be more seats and more trains. Virgin disputed the cliam Mr Corbyn was unable to get a seat.
The simple answer here is that the answer is complex.

With regards to the simple question of whether the current franchising structure should end (as soon as franchise agreements become void) the answer is a simple yes. Privatisation and marketisation are two very different things and the current franchising system is a state sponsored racket.

With regards to whether the railways should then be run as British Rail was, the answer is very much no.

The system i would put in its place is one which essentially separates the profit making lines and those which already require subsidy. For the network as a whole those routes which are currently in receipt of subsidy or which only have an hourly service (where no competition is obviously taking place) should be ran by the state at their current level with ticket prices continuing to rise by inflation each year to maintain the current subsidy level.

For those routes which are profitable and have multiple services i would essentially have the state remain operator of last resort with stock held should the capacity be needed but essentially free the private sector to compete in an open access model. Essentially if Virgin and First both wish to provide services on the East Coast main line we would let them, Open access operators would be charged for access serving whatever stations they wish on an annual basis (if First thinks there is more money to be made by dropping or adding stations or going via a different set of track they should be able to - Grand Central for example wanted to run a Huddersfield-London service but going via Birmingham). They would simply register for access on x route per year (paying the appropriate charge per mile and station stopping fees) and then meet requirements designed to improve service such as only operating stock less than 30 years old which they must purchase themselves (right now the state does it because it gets transferred with the franchise) and meeting the environmental regulation ect. Firms would be able to compete on routes, on stock (as a tall guy i would set off an extra 15 minutes early to catch the service ran with more leg room) and on price much more freely.

On the infrastructure side things are more complex. Firstly Network Rail despite being inefficient compared to European counterparts is already state owned and should remain so (privatising that aspect only works if the state stops dictating which railway lines it wants building and abolishes planning law to the point that firms can like the Victorian Age build their own) but there is a question of to what degree the state should subsidise Network Rail directly. Right now for example Network Rail piles up long dated debt instead of receiving as much direct subsidy from government as it otherwise would. There is an argument that you should raise fares to compensate, cut the loss making parts of the network to remove the cost of maintaining those sections or simply put the debt onto the government books and directly increase the amount of taxpayer funding. Personally i am not a massive fan of piling up what amounts debt guaranteed by the taxpayer and would rather the money currently thrown away via foreign aid was redistributed to the railways and other infrastructure. I would also probably take all rail stations into public ownership, especially since any estate development may be able to offset some of Network Rails costs.

https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf...on-2017-18.pdf

Page 16 of this report nicely illustrates which franchises are loss making and which are profitable. Essentially the problem is with Scottish Rail, Welsh Rail, MerseyRail, Northern and the West Midlands.

In this context it may be more prudent to transfer responsibility for operating at least some of those routes to regional bodies. Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire (not sure who runs in Nottinghamshire) have the bulk of those running through them. So either creating a single body or separating per county would allow more local control of the routes with a stipulation that subsidy from central government will be removed (so they'll either have to select which routes are actually important, create new ones or raise taxes locally).
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RareNebulas
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Recently we have seen in the News that many rail providers are struggling to provide a suitable service and are under threat of losing their franchises.

Northern Rail is set to be nationalised this week, with the operator ,Arriva , thought to be gearing up to hand the franchise back to the Government owned Operator of Last Resort. In 2018 the Government took Virgin Trains east coach back into Government hands, under the guise London North Eastern Railways.

Arriva, which is German owned, is belived to have poured 300m into the northern franchise but has been plagued by delays and strikes, with only 82% of trains arriving on time. Down from 91% 2 years ago.

Another franchise under threat is South Western, which lost £137m in the year to March. SW has had a number of issues, suffering a December long strike by guards from the RMT union, who have since voted for more strikes.

The issue of rail nationalisation played a part at the recent General election, with the Conservatives supporting privatisation and Labour Nationalisation. In 2016 Jeremy Corbyn instigated traingate, when he sat down on a train floor and made a video about how the raliways should be re nationalised, using the reasoning that there would be more seats and more trains. Virgin disputed the cliam Mr Corbyn was unable to get a seat.
Full privatisation to encourage competition for better prices and better service
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Guru Jason
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Nationalise the whole way. Train fares are a rip off with no real accountability or justification. Take em back into government hands.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by RareNebulas)
Full privatisation to encourage competition for better prices and better service
There is no competition on lines that only run one company, you don't get a choice of who you want to travel with. It is train or no train.

How will privatisation make the service better when most people don't have a choice of who they travel with?
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Guru Jason)
Nationalise the whole way. Train fares are a rip off with no real accountability or justification. Take em back into government hands.
I assume what you really mean is nationalise and increase subsidies from the taxpayer.

The Welsh government already sets rail fares in Wales and yet the average ticket price is higher than England or Scotland.
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Guru Jason
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(Original post by Rakas21)
I assume what you really mean is nationalise and increase subsidies from the taxpayer.

The Welsh government already sets rail fares in Wales and yet the average ticket price is higher than England or Scotland.
The Welsh government can do what the want. Tories if they cared for anything other than money would nationalise and subsidise them and make the general populations like so much easier for those who rely on them
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Guru Jason)
The Welsh government can do what the want. Tories if they cared for anything other than money would nationalise and subsidise them and make the general populations like so much easier for those who rely on them
And why should those non-rail users be burdened with taxation to subsidise your journey?
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DSilva
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(Original post by Rakas21)
And why should those non-rail users be burdened with taxation to subsidise your journey?
For the same reason people who don't drive still pay for roads...
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Smack
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(Original post by DSilva)
Absolutely. We have the absurd situation where other countries are allowed to own and profit from our railways but we aren't allowed to.
We also have the situation where other countries are subsidising our own railways too.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/d...inue-27wxwp5ql
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RareNebulas
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(Original post by DiddyDecAlt)
There is no competition on lines that only run one company, you don't get a choice of who you want to travel with. It is train or no train.

How will privatisation make the service better when most people don't have a choice of who they travel with?
exactly, that's why we need to expand privatisation to allow other companies to co-exist on the same line
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nulli tertius
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The evidence of best railway practice is there to see with Chiltern Railways. It was one of only two long term 25 year franchises (the other being Midland Maintline to the East Midlands which the Labour Government forced them to surrender). Was it was created Chiltern was a nowhere railway running into virtually derelict Marylebone and going no further north than Amersham and Aylesbury. Now, it is vastly succesful network serving Birmingham, Oxford, Stratford and as far as Kidderminster. Lines have been doubled; lines have been reopened; lines have been built from scratch.

Private companies were granted the opportunity to make money by long term investment into innovative services. It has paid off.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by RareNebulas)
exactly, that's why we need to expand privatisation to allow other companies to co-exist on the same line
That would be carnage, they can barely organise a timetable for one company.
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