Should We Renationalise the Railways?

#1
Now normally I'm completely against government run industries and think that capitalism is usually the bestway to go, but should we be seriously looking at renationalising the railways? Run it as a proper commercial business that just happens to be owned by the government and I think it could be a very good idea. What do people think about it, anyone have any good arguments for or against it?
 
#2
Strangely, as a member of the Attila Wing of the Tory Party, I believe that the UK railway system is too important to be handed over to private companies whose prime motive is profit. The Rail network is a National asset, and should be under central control. [I find it hard to believe I'm saying this, but I believe it].

The biggest problems associated with that are, as we have seen in the past:
1. Union Control of a National Asset.
2. An additional fiscal burden on the State.
3. More Civil Servants.

BTW, I'd nationalise BT and BA and BAA as well ... along with a few others, and put the objectors and Union leaders against a wall and offer them a "meaningful debate" during their last few minutes. :roll:

That's enough of me being moderate for today ....
 
#3
The last few years of BR, it was actually turning a profit. Plus the railways actually take more subsidies now than they did pre-1995, partly thanks to the byzantine structure of the privatised network. I'm with blue-sophist: It's good to have commercial competition but some national assets should be under the government's control.
 
#4
Hear Hear!, the railways are too valuable to be run for the whim of shareholders with short term profit in mind.
 
#5
Before we think about nationalising the railways let's look at what they actually contribute to national life. A few questions spring to mind .
1. How much will it cost to nationalise.?
2. What percentage of the population actually use them. (When did you last travel by train)?
3. Is the railway system capable of carrying the amount of freight that is now moved by road?
4. What is the basis for saying the railways were in profit (How much dedt was written off to give those figures)?
5.What will be the profit motive to drive the railways? 6. Is there any reason to think that they will be any more efficient than the private companies? ( was amazingly inefficient as BR as any traveller will tell you)
6. Who will run it, railway men or politicians?
 
#6
Nationalise everything. Give resources back to the country, rather than in the hands of greedy billionaires.
 
#7
Certain aspects of national life are vital to create the conditions under which businesss can thrive and ordinary people make a living. I reckon railways are one of these.

If we can't move goods around in bulk cheaply, rapidly and efficiently our manufacturing industries will never be able to compete and I for one have never bought into the 'knowledge economy' malarky. Man cannot live by bread alone, but ideas butter no parsnips by themselves.

Additionally, if you remove the comparatively enormous costs of owning and maintaining a car or two from the family budget, people will feel better off. I'm pretty sure there're more than a few who'd like the train to take the strain if it were reliable, efficient and not f*cking extortionate.

So, with the proviso that it's run by independantly by professional railway experts free from political intervention and with the brief to provide transport links across the nation, I would say, on the whole and with a fair wind, nationalise. Reluctantly.

Let it never be said I'll let dogma get in the way of common sense!
 
#8
PoisonDwarf said:
Nationalise everything. Give resources back to the country, rather than in the hands of greedy billionaires.
Awa' wi' ye, ye Leftie!
Many a millionaire gave Britain Town halls, Libraries, Hospitals, Children's Homes, Churches etc. etc. etc.
How many "Noble Sons Of Toil" managed that?
 
#9
Well, as long as they run on time, I'm happy
Since they don't, I'm not. Nationalise them!!
 
#10
My bolds below ....

craftsmanx said:
Before we think about nationalising the railways let's look at what they actually contribute to national life. A few questions spring to mind .
1. How much will it cost to nationalise.?
A bomb. But, probably a better investment than Millenium Dome, Olympic Games and other money-draining exercises.
2. What percentage of the population actually use them. (When did you last travel by train)?
I spent years commuting, but long-haul was a not-needed. Clearly it is needed for some, and if "The Price Is Right" people will choose that option instead of road or air.
3. Is the railway system capable of carrying the amount of freight that is now moved by road?
It possibly could ... I don't have a degree in that subject.
4. What is the basis for saying the railways were in profit (How much debt was written off to give those figures)?
Like the NHS, the railways are a service to the Nation. Fork the profit, just make it work properly ... within budget.
5.What will be the profit motive to drive the railways?
What is the profit motive for the NHS? Or DVLA? Or the Police?
6. Is there any reason to think that they will be any more efficient than the private companies? ( was amazingly inefficient as BR as any traveller will tell you)
Efficiency is an issue. Just make it work properly, within budget. How about "kick arse time"? A job for a former CGS, backed up with a few ex-RSMs? And, BTW, Union action = Treason.
6. Who will run it, railway men or politicians?
Ah .... sadly, almost inevitably, politicians and civil servants ... like MoD, actually!
 
#11
jarrod248 said:
I travel monthly from Yorkshire to London and at peak times it costs about £180 to sit in a dirty GNER train. Last year in the summer the fridge in the bar was reading the temp. as 30C as no doors on the fridges, the beer was lovely and cooked.
Sh1t ... I occasionally have to fly from Jersey to Yorkshire [my son decided to marry some foreign woman]. The last trip cost us each around £40 per person [return]. Even the hire car for a few days to get us from wherever the "Regional Airlines" deign to allow us to go makes our trip cheaper than that!! And we got a nice Mondeo 2.3 from Hertz as they'd run out of the cheaper ones at Manchester!
 
#12
jarrod248 said:
Flying would be cheaper for me but take much longer. Shefield airport don't fly anywhere anymore and by the time I'd got to Manchester I'd be half way to London. For the £180 I often have no seat on the wa home or I can sit next to some t**t so I stand in the bar. If you book well in advance and seems any meetings I go to aren't, you can go really cheaply.
Nowhere to park at Wakefield, Doncaster or Sheffield so I also have to go by taxi, great isn't it public transport.
Understood in part ... here we only have a few airports in UK we can fly to. Book early or forget it, and if you're linking to international, add the cost of an hotel. Best [worst] was flying to USA via Stansted ... it cost £850 in ferry and car park and hotels just to get on the aircraft!

However ... Yorkshire [if allowed the time to plan] is fairly cheap [via Manchester, Doncaster, Durham or wherever we are allowed a connection] and then hire a car. If you have a meeting to go to ... at short notice ... aaarrrrgggghhh.
 
#13
The trouble with most of the moans (justified) posted above is that a fat, jobs for life, unaccountable, inauditable, State run system would not ameliorate any of them.

Sadly, the 'unions' brought about the death of nationalized industries by their Marxist inspired policy of maximum 'embuggerance', and b*gger the consequences to the bill payers. (Brown's perfect world).

Unless the military are to be allowed to run transport, utilities and other 'rip-off' outfits, then I see no answer to the malaise.

This country is buggered.

This process started in late 1990 when a gang of disaffected and third rate Tories contrived to bring about the fall of Mrs Thatcher. It continued with the same third rate performances, politically and personally, under Mr. Major. Then came the devastating blow of Bliar's reign of incompetence.
 
#14
The trouble with most of the moans (justified) posted above is that a fat, jobs for life, unaccountable, inauditable, State run system would not ameliorate any of them.

Sadly, the 'unions' brought about the death of nationalized industries by their Marxist inspired policy of maximum 'embuggerance', and b*gger the consequences to the bill payers. (Brown's perfect world).

Unless the military are to be allowed to run transport, utilities and other 'rip-off' outfits, then I see no answer to the malaise.

This country is buggered.

This process started in late 1990 when a gang of disaffected and third rate Tories contrived to bring about the fall of Mrs Thatcher. It continued with the same third rate performances, politically and personally, under Mr. Major. Then came the devastating blow of Bliar's reign of incompetence.
 
#15
lsquared said:
The trouble with most of the moans (justified) posted above is that a fat, jobs for life, unaccountable, inauditable, State run system would not ameliorate any of them.
Sadly, the 'unions' brought about the death of nationalized industries by their Marxist inspired policy of maximum 'embuggerance', and b*gger the consequences to the bill payers. (Brown's perfect world).
Unless the military are to be allowed to run transport, utilities and other 'rip-off' outfits, then I see no answer to the malaise.
This country is buggered.
This process started in late 1990 when a gang of disaffected and third rate Tories contrived to bring about the fall of Mrs Thatcher. It continued with the same third rate performances, politically and personally, under Mr. Major. Then came the devastating blow of Bliar's reign of incompetence.
I'll reply to this one ... briefly, as I'm both tired and lightly pi66ed. :oops:

The Military have a State-run system ... which sort of works, much of the time, actually.
I think there is an argument for a quasi-military [i.e. disciplined] structure in the NHS and other "key areas".
I am NOT, BTW, a Nazi ... I just believe sincerely that the military are about the only people left in UK who can get their sh1t together and achieve the objective. The rest rely on spin, management consultants, media presentation and gobbledygook ["Good word, Darling, write that down"].
FFS, why is it that the military seem to be the only people who can see things with clarity and without prejudice?
 
#16
lsquared said:
The trouble with most of the moans (justified) posted above is that a fat, jobs for life, unaccountable, inauditable, State run system would not ameliorate any of them.
Well, we learn from the mistakes of the past and make nationalised industries not:
fat, jobs for life, unaccountable, inauditable, State run system
We make it like the Armed Forces or Police Service, so that you can't strike but in return for giving up certain rights you are looked after during your service and provided for afterwards.

Ah. I see the flaw in that plan, right about the 'looked after' bit. Perhaps we should arrange some sort of 'Covenant'?...
 
#17
As I see it, the whole point of privatising industries is that there is a competition incentive. Now, each train company essentially has a monopoly in its own region or business area. For example, if I want to go from Harrogate to Leeds or York then I have to take Northern Rail. If I want to go from York to London then I'm basically restricted to GNER. So why do these companies have any incentive to run efficiently when a; they have no competition and b; they can rely on the government to bail them out (in the manner of BAE) when the shit hits the fan? God knows BR were rubbish, but if we're going to have an inefficient system then why not cut the bullshit and have an inefficient centralised system? Then at least we don't have to spent the money co-ordinating 25 different "franchises", Network Rail, the DfT, the various subcontarctors etc.
 
#18
Nationalise it. Upon looking at the title I thought it meant rationalise, which is probably the same thing.

Run it along the German or French lines, on time an clean.

If the railways were cheaper and better serviced then people would use them more.

Make the Railways another service like the NHS, Police or Armed Forces. Pension plan, etc. Unions would have to be dealt with though, we have seen what the unions still can do... fire service for example.
 
#19
My ex hubby is ex army and now a train driver and since the railways was privatised the drivers especially came off better off.....£35k a year plus sundays at time and a third which are rostered.....( and he works for the poorer company!)
I'm sure he would not want it to go back to what it was before...but personally think ...well I'll say nowt !!
 
#20
blue_sophist said:
craftsmanx said:
3. Is the railway system capable of carrying the amount of freight that is now moved by road?
It possibly could ... I don't have a degree in that subject.
I'll try and dig out the articles but I can remember reading somewhere that if managed properly, that being the tricky part, rail is eight or nine times out of ten cheaper than road haulage over mid-to long distances supposedly.

The main problem is always going to be getting the Treasury or someone else to stump up the cash for it all. One idea that I saw floated was that either the Government or company itself could make some sort of bond offering - you get a large whack of cash up front so you can start work straight away and then only have to pay it off over so many years. Provided you didn't piss it away but managed it responsibly and targeted it at construction programs that would increase passengers/freight and revenues, could be a good way to kick start things.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads