PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bring Back British Rail to launch report in Parliament this Thursday
On Thursday 13th October, the 150,000 strong, passenger-funded campaign will be launching its landmark first report - A Better Railway for Britain - in Parliament. The report is the result of ten years' research on rail privatisation, explaining why British Rail was not the disaster Ministers claim and appealing for a new Act of Parliament to terminate the failed rail franchising experiment with immediate effect.
With rail crises in the news on a daily basis, this has been the biggest year in rail campaigning yet, and the report could not be launched with better timing. The Association for British Commuters (ABC), with whom Bring Back British Rail works closely, has recently raised over £25,000 to take the Department for Transport to court. The Southern franchise continues to fail its customers, but rail services across Britain remain incredibly expensive, while providing low standards of carriage, compared to rail services in France, Germany or the Netherlands.
The report argues that:
A Better Railway for Britain explains why rail privatisation has failed fare payers and tax payers alike, leading to an economic cost to the country approaching £100 billion since 1993. With the industry insolvent, and delivering poor outcomes for passengers, the renationalisation and restructuring of the industry is the only realistic solution at Ministers' disposal.
- The industry's woes and those of passengers will not end until the railways are reintegrated and operated by one company, an arms-length public national railway authority;
- Having privatised the railways in order to achieve a subsidy-free railway, HM Treasury will be manifestly disappointed by the outcome: not only the highest walk-on fares in Europe, but a subsidy-hungry industry saddled with £40 billion of debt;
- BR's structural model in the 1980s - 'sectorisation', which included use of the INTERCITY brand for high-speed services - was demonstrably successful, and a model to which the railway must return.
The campaign calls on the Government and the leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP to respond to the unequivocal public desire to see the railway put back together in one piece. Polling consistently shows between 70 and 80% of the UK public back a return to British Rail, including a majority of Conservative supporters.
Oliver Lewis, economic historian and author of the report, commented: "We are not suggesting taking Britain back to 1990. The railways are better now than then, but then again so is coffee, mobile phones and almost anything else one can care to imagine. The new national owner and operator will build on the limited successes of privatisation, reversing a flawed experiment and providing a 'railway that works for everyone'."
The Glasgow-based founder of the campaign, Ellie Harrison, added: "We need to cut our losses and end the farce of rail franchising without delay. All the evidence uncovered for our report, including the recent success of the publicly-run East Coast (2009-2015), shows that public ownership is the most efficient and affordable way to run an essential service - a 'natural monopoly' - like the railways. Every single franchising 'competition' wastes £45 million on needless paperwork, which could have been re-invested expanding and improving the rail network for passengers."
TO JOIN the launch event email firstname.lastname@example.org or arrive to Committee Room 5 in the House of Commons at 9.30am next Thursday (leave sufficient time to clear security).
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR SOUND BITES email email@example.com or phone: 07507 936000