Cost of nationalisation
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