Dick Fearn, In­de­pen­dent Chair­man, Western Route Su­per­vi­sory Board

Rail (UK) - - Fea­ture Na­tion­al­i­sa­tion -

High-qual­ity rail ser­vices for pas­sen­gers and freight cus­tomers are, in my view, best achieved on sys­tems where rail in­fra­struc­ture pro­vi­sion and train oper­a­tion is well co-or­di­nated and where train ser­vices are well-con­nected.

How­ever, hav­ing worked for over four decades in the rail in­dus­try in Great Bri­tain and the Repub­lic of Ire­land, in both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies, I do not subscribe to the view that pub­lic own­er­ship is nec­es­sary for de­liv­ery of the high-qual­ity ser­vices that pas­sen­gers and freight cus­tomers re­quire.

It is an un­de­ni­able fact that over the last 20 years since the in­tro­duc­tion of pas­sen­ger rail fran­chis­ing in Bri­tain, in­no­va­tive fran­chise bid plans and com­mit­ments have brought about sub­stan­tial in­creases in train ser­vice fre­quency through­out the net­work, not only on main line in­ter-city and in­ten­sive sub­ur­ban com­muter routes, but also on many provin­cial in­ter-ur­ban and ru­ral lines.

This has, in turn, driven un­prece­dented rail pas­sen­ger vol­ume growth in Bri­tain that is the envy of many state-owned rail­ways through­out Europe.

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