Strikes are derailing UK trains, not private companies
Andy Mayer quoted in The Sunday Express
Christopher Snowdon quoted in The Express
Len Shackleton writes for CapX
“To pretend that full-scale renationalisation will be costless ignores the fact that the TOCs do not own the 15,000 passenger vehicles in use on our railways. Between 80 and 90% of these are owned by ten or so Rolling Stock Operating Companies (ROSCOs), which lease them to the TOCs…To buy out the ROSCOs could cost upward of £50bn, so it ain’t going to happen.
“Privatisation led to a huge increase in passenger numbers, a remarkable achievement for an old industry which had seemed in permanent decline. But changes in travel habits since lockdown, with a collapse of commuting and a big drop in business travel, mean that the task of recovery requires a flexibility and entrepreneurial drive which few government-owned businesses have demonstrated in the past. Labour needs to spell out just how their plans will ensure that this happens.
“So a fundamental issue will be how to deal with the unions. Industrial action on the railways has a long history; the first recorded rail strike was in 1842, the first national strike in 1911, and unions have been traditionally militant ever since. The Conservatives have failed to crack this: their long-promised Minimum Service Levels legislation is being ignored as too difficult to use, a result predicted here over a year ago.”
Read Len’s full piece here.