Cost of na­tion­al­i­sa­tion

Rail (UK) - - Letters -

Jeremy Cor­byn says it will cost Labour noth­ing to na­tion­alise the rail­way. Wrong, if he was to do it as per BR, then I es­ti­mate it would cost the gov­ern­ment close to £70 bil­lion.

Where do I get this fig­ure? We start with Nigel Har­ris’s fig­ure of £10 bil­lion for pas­sen­ger stock ( Com­ment, RAIL xxx), plus an ex­tra cou­ple of bil­lion or so for the stock on or­der - un­less Cor­byn wishes to con­tinue leas­ing the stock from those ‘naughty cap­i­tal­ists’. Plus, of course, the hefty bill for buy­ing out Hi­tachi, Bom­bardier and so on from their main­te­nance con­tracts, and the unions and the equal­is­ing of the pay. Roll on the strikes!

You would also have to buy out the freight op­er­a­tors, as they would not be happy at their trains be­ing at the mercy of the na­tion­alised con­trollers and sig­nal­men. The lat­ter couldn’t be im­par­tial at (say) junc­tions, when the freight train is on time but is held to await a late-run­ning pas­sen­ger train.

The re­main­der of the £70bn would come from writ­ing off Net­work Rail’s debt, as per the set­ting-up of BR in 1968 and hav­ing to put a Trans­port Act through Par­lia­ment.

As for Sec­re­tary of State for Trans­port Chris Grayling and the stop­ping of the Great Western Main Line elec­tri­fi­ca­tion at Thin­g­ley Junc­tion, that beg­gars be­lief.

He can’t use the ex­cuse of the wires go­ing through Syd­ney Gar­dens in Bath, as Brunel put dirty steam en­gines through. At least the electrics are clean.

Also, you wouldn’t be elec­tri­fy­ing to Swansea to save ‘x’ min­utes, you would be do­ing it to get rid of diesel power. Like­wise, the branches around the Thames Val­ley, and Bris­tol Park­way to Tem­ple Meads. The elec­tri­fi­ca­tion could have been done at the same time as for Read­ing.

So, come on you plan­ners of the fu­ture: do so for the next 20 years, and not just the five you ex­pect to be gov­ern­ment. Bill O’Don­nell, Cam­bridge

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