Renationalisation not the way to get railways back on track

Prof. Len Shackleton writes for CapX

IEA Transport Expert Professor Len Shackleton has written for CapX arguing that when it comes to rail chaos, state intervention is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Len wrote:

“The unions and the Labour Party – and now increasingly it seems the Conservatives – want to return to a fully nationalised railway. Those of us with long memories don’t see this as likely to improve the service for a travelling public increasingly disenchanted with government’s ability to run anything at all.

“There are less heralded areas of private rail operation which are successful without government subsidy and micro-management.

“One is freight: freight companies are privately-owned, for-profit companies – four large ones and three smaller ones now handle a growing quantity of heavy goods. They rent track slots (‘diagrams’) from Network Rail and own or lease their own locomotives and (usually containerised) wagons.

“Another example of successful private rail operation is ‘open access’ passenger trains.

“Open access operators, like freight companies, hire slots from Network Rail. There would be more of them, but the DfT would only allow them to run services if they could demonstrate that they would expand the market rather than simply take market share and revenue away from the franchises.”

You can read Len’s full article here.