Government may reintegrate Rail and reverse Beeching's Rail closures

  • With Brexit all on our minds and Christmas approaching too, the Government choose this time to make what could be a significant decision about how the British railways are operated in the future:

    The whole point of separating train from track in the first place was because the tracks were (still are) used by more than one route, so when the system was privatised, the argument given by the government at that time was that you needed a centralised network operator (Railtrack at the time, Network Rail now) to run the track. What has changed? The tracks are still used by more than one train company in many parts of the country. There is also freight.

    For services such as the East Coast Main Line this does make sense. Although Branson has welcomed the decision, he'll have no more excuses if there are problems on his service, although I'll assume he'll still use sub-contractors, but he (Virgin Rail) will be responsible for delays and all problems, no more blaming Network Rail.

    The other significant part of this government announcement (full details are in the link "rail strategy" above) is the reopening of some lines closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s.

    This was before my time, but the thinking in the 60s was that with car ownership increasing, it was thought that rail use would decline and so much of Britain's railway infrastructure was closed. In fact, the opposite happened. Rail use has steadily increased, not declined with our burgeoning population.

    I will read the rail strategy document as soon as I can, but what are member's initial thoughts on this announcement? Is it wise to reverse the decisions of the past, or is simply correctly bad decisions that should never have been made in the first place?

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