The Speaker
Sunday, 19 May 2024 – 17:38

The Fate of the British Railway

In the upcoming week, the government will continue to discuss the amendments and revival of the British railway system, long overdue from the summer fiasco that is still in the recent memory of thousands of the British public. 

The review has come after rail staff are to stage a protest this weekend in the form of 24-hour walkouts which will once again disrupt service availability and timings, trains affected are in use by Northern Rail and South Western Railway services, which has followed the near collapse of East Coast Mainline earlier in the year, the third time in 10 years.

However, the government remain strong on the stance that privatisation has ‘transformed’ the rail industry, which to some extent can be seen. Without bureaucratic processes of government, private firms can invest more capital into expansion and development, in a correlative pattern to technological advancement, but we haven’t seen this happen. The staggering economic and environmental costs of such plans would not only cost the company but also years and millions of pounds of taxpayers money, just to get planning approval. 

Can the British rail sector ever thrive in a private market?

In preparation for his announcement on ways in which the government will address and tackle the aforementioned issues raised, Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary has received feedback from the transport select committee, warning his teams ‘naive’ strategy to transfer responsibility for the management for transport services to Stagecoach and Virgin Trains was gravely ‘naive’ and the Department of Transport must take responsibility. 

The Transport Secretary has also faced a backsplash from his handling of rail disruption faced by passengers as services were cut due to the implementation of new timetables last May. An investigation has been launched into the issue.

The Department of Transport follows by stating “Privatisation has helped transform our railway, doubling passenger numbers and delivering more services, extra investment and new trains. We are absolutely committed to improving journeys and are always examining ways to improve how the railway serves passengers.”Contrary to Labour’s belief’s as stated by shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald, who reiterates Labour’s message that “Long-suffering rail passengers don’t need a review to explain to them that the franchising system is broken beyond repair… No amount of tinkering will change the fact that rail franchising has failed, does not deliver and never will.”






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