A Vision for Scotland’s Railways
28th October 2021 | Evidence
In advance of COP26 – the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland’s Rail Unions came together to release their new report A Vision for Scotland’s Railways.
The report highlights the vital role that rail plays in addressing the climate emergency, and lays out a long-term vision for a “world-class rail service that is fully staffed, with affordable fares, stations that are accessible and trains that are clean, green and attractive.” Well worth a read!
GB Rail Report
17th March 2020 | Evidence
The GB Rail Report – researched and written by our friends at Transport for Quality of Life and published as a Labour opposition whitepaper on 17 March 2020 – offers the most detailed plan we have seen so far for re-unifying our railways under public ownership.
The report defines a new governance structure for our national rail network, which is able to achieve both a central ‘guiding mind’ and long-term strategy (40 years), as well as devolved planning, delivery and control for all devolved regions and nations of Great Britain.
It manages to overcome many of the flaws of the old British Rail – its over-centralisation and lack of passenger representation at a strategic level (not to mention its chronic underfunding!) – and maps out how we can transition from our current privatised structure to a new wholly publicly-owned railway, which can be run in the interests of the British people in the most cost effective way. Well worth a read!
Why we need publicly-owned railways to address the climate emergency
3rd December 2019 | Evidence
Below is an extract from A Radical Transport Response to the Climate Emergency – the excellent new report by our friends at Transport for Quality of Life, which explains why taking our railways back into public ownership is an urgent climate issue.
It is worth explaining why we believe that changing the structure of the railway so that it is a single entity operating under public control is necessary in the context of a climate emergency, as the very live debate about the structure of the railways has not been framed in the context of action on climate change. There are four reasons why we believe that the current poor governance of the railway is a climate issue.
First, under the present system, Network Rail receives bids for train paths from train operators and has to try its best to fit them together. This is rather like trying to form a coherent picture from random pieces of different jigsaw puzzles. Network Rail has no power to design the most operationally-efficient timetable, or to create the most attractive offer to travellers. Were it to try to do this, it might receive legal challenges about access rights from the train operating companies or the Office of Rail and Road. Exacerbating this, the specification for each franchise is made in isolation and with little or no consultation with Network Rail, precluding a system-wide approach to timetabling. This means that it is next-to-impossible under the current structure of the railways to create a Swiss-style integrated clock-face timetable, which is essential as part of a universal, comprehensive public transport network.
Second, under the current structure of the railways, ticket purchase for anything but a straightforward journey with a single train operating company is excessively complex, and this, together with the high cost of rail travel, deters many people from travelling by train.
Third, fragmentation of the railway between multiple competing train operating companies means that when things go wrong, the passenger is often stuck in the middle: trains are not held to meet delayed services run by other operators (even if the delay is of a few minutes), and a ticket for one operator’s trains may not be accepted by another. Again, this means that people feel that they cannot trust public transport, and so they travel by car.
Finally, there is no objective for the railway to be run in a way that reduces carbon emissions – and nor can there be, because ‘the railway’, as a single entity, does not exist. These problems are structural, and it is only by changing the structure of the railway so that it is a single entity operating under public control, in the public interest, and with an objective to act in such a way as to reduce carbon emissions from transport to the greatest extent possible, that they can be resolved.
Transport for Quality of Life has carried out research in this area and is of the view that public ownership is necessary to achieve this. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have not carried out research in this area so do not have a position on public ownership, but do believe that the structure of the railway needs to change to be managed as a single entity and under public control.
Extract from A Radical Transport Response to the Climate Emergency (p.14) by Lynn Sloman and Lisa Hopkinson, Transport for Quality of Life
People’s Public Transport Policy
5th June 2019 | Evidence
This great new report on the Public Ownership of Public Transport by our friends at We Own It is the first chapter in a six part People’s Public Transport Policy being developed by the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
A Public Future for Scotland’s Railways
28th November 2017 | Evidence
As part of the campaign for the Public Ownership of Scotland’s Railway, this report by our friends at Common Weal & TSSA highlights the failures of ScotRail’s private train operator Abellio and the opportunities for passengers for taking it back into public ownership.
A Better Railway for Britain: A Report by Bring Back British Rail
1st October 2016 | Evidence
Bring Back British Rail’s first report A Better Railway for Britain: Re-unifying our railways under public ownership was launched in the Houses of Parliament in London on 13 October 2016.
Print copies are available to order in advance for just £5 (including free delivery in the UK), with all proceeds supporting campaign materials and activities.
The Four Big Myths of Rail Privatisation
1st June 2015 | Evidence / News
Read this report from our friends at Action for Rail! It’s all the evidence you need that rail privatisation has failed to deliver what they promised it would in the ’90s:
- • reduction in government subsidies (we now subsidise rail by nearly three times more than we did as British Rail)
- • cheaper tickets (rail fares have risen by 24% in real terms since privatisation)
- • innovation and investment (90% of the investment in the railways has come from public money)
Rail Privatisation: A Timeline of Failures
1st April 2015 | Evidence / News
A special edited and updated version of Rail Privatisation: A Timeline of Failures (below) – based on the design of British Rail’s 1979 ‘Go Direct by Inter-City‘ poster – features in A Better Railway for Britain: Bring Back British Rail’s first report, launched in October 2016.
Today marks 21 years since the enactment of the Railways Act (1993), on 1 April 1994, which unleashed rail privatisation on the poor unfortunate public. Since then, Britain’s privatised railways have been beset by a series of failures, scandals and fatal crashes, each at great expense to taxpayers.
19 September 1997 – A collision between two trains at Southall kills seven people and injures 139. A passenger train running at high speed with defective Automatic Warning System equipment, a fundamentally important safety system, passed a signal at ‘danger’ and collided with a freight train crossing its path. Great Western Trains was fined £1.5 million for violations of health and safety law relating to this accident.
1 December 1998 – A report by the National Audit Office into the flotation of the national railway infrastructure company, Railtrack, found that taxpayers lost £1.5 billion because of the government’s decision to ignore the Public Accounts Committee’s recommendation to sell its shares in stages, opting instead to sell them all at once.
5 October 1999 – A near head-on collision between two passenger trains at Ladbroke Grove, outside London Paddington station, kills 31 people and injures more than 52. A signal with a bad safety record was passed at ‘danger’. A poor standard of driver training by Thames Trains was cited as a major contributory factor.
17 October 2000 – A train running at high speed derails at Hatfield when a rail affected by rolling contact fatigue fractures under its wheels. Four passengers were killed and 70 were injured. The crash exposed the major stewardship shortcomings of the privatised Railtrack plc and the failings of the regulatory oversight of the company (principally, failure to ensure that it had a good knowledge of the condition of its assets) which ultimately triggered its partial renationalisation. Following the crash, Railtrack imposed more than 1,200 emergency speed restrictions across its network, since it did not have the knowledge to predict where rolling contact fatigue might hit next.
24 October 2000 – Connex loses its South Central franchise after a decision by the Strategic Rail Authority to re-let the franchise following criticism of Connex’s poor customer service and poor financial management.
7 October 2001 – In the face of severe financial difficulties, Railtrack plc is placed into railway administration by the Labour government’s Transport Secretary, Stephen Byers. This leads to an explosion of costs and a severe drop in performance. Railtrack was subsequently replaced by Network Rail.
10 May 2002 – A train derails at Potters Bar, killing seven people and injuring 76. A poorly maintained set of points was to blame, the maintenance of which was the responsibility of the private sector railway maintenance contractor Jarvis (who had tried to blame the accident on ‘sabotage’). Eight years later, Jarvis and Network Rail (having taken on Railtrack’s liabilities) were both charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Network Rail subsequently took track maintenance back in-house.
27 June 2003 – The Connex South Eastern franchise is terminated by the Strategic Rail Authority, citing the company’s poor performance and financial management.
15 December 2006 – GNER is stripped of its East Coast franchise by the Department for Transport, having fallen into financial difficulties and unable to meet the terms of its franchise.
13 November 2009 – National Express gives up the East Coast franchise (which it had taken over from GNER) owing to financial difficulties, having accumulated more than £1 billion of debt. The failure of this franchise deprived the Department for Transport of between £330 million and £380 million of revenue.
15 August 2012 – The Department for Transport announces FirstGroup plc as the winner of the InterCity West Coast franchise, prompting the incumbent franchise holder, Virgin, to seek a judicial review of the franchise decision.
3 October 2012 – The government announces the cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition after finding significant technical flaws in the bidding process, rescinding its decision to award the franchise to FirstGroup. The Public Accounts Committee found that civil servants had made “fundamental errors” in the way that the risks for each bid had been calculated, leading to the default surety required of bidders being too low. The government reimbursed the four bidders for all costs incurred; this amounted to £39.7 million, with a further £4.9 million paid to FirstGroup as reimbursement of their mobilisation costs. In the ensuing shambles, numerous incumbent franchise holders were directly awarded extensions to their franchises instead of opening them up to tender. So much for competition!
17 December 2014 – A report from the Public Accounts Committee is severely critical of the Department for Transport’s inept handling of the procurement of new trains for the Intercity Express Programme and Thameslink. The DfT had chosen to break away from previous procurement arrangements and carry out the procurement by itself, despite having no previous experience in this area.
3 April 2015 – The private train operator West Coast Railways has its operator’s licence suspended by Network Rail amid concerns over the company’s ability to perform its safety obligations. This action followed an incident on 7 March 2015, when a steam-hauled train operated by West Coast Railways passed a signal at ‘danger’ after the driver had switched off vital train protection systems, narrowly avoiding a collision with a passenger train running at 100 mph.
Is it anyone wonder we’re all shouting Bring Back British Rail?
Spread the word! Link to this post using www.bringbackbritishrail.org/timeline and read more compelling evidence for Public Ownership here: www.bringbackbritishrail.org/evidence
Towards Public Ownership
31st March 2015 | Evidence / News
This TUC Report summarises research by Transport for Quality of Life, to show the high costs of running rail franchise “competitions” – estimated at £45million for every single one!
Given that there are 11 of these unnecessary “competitions” scheduled to take place before the next parliament ends in 2020, the Report shows how much we could save by then if we chose to run these franchises under a single publicly-owned railway company instead. It’s more than £600million!
The Arguments for Public Ownership are Overwhelming
1st January 2015 | Evidence / News
There are so many reasons why privatised rail is failing us and the environment. Check out this brilliant leaflet, supported by Bring Back British Rail, which will be handed out at the nationwide Protests for Public Ownership on Monday 5 January 2015.
This morning the Department for Transport announced they were awarding FirstGroup's failing company Avanti West Coast a 6-month contract extension🚆😤 We held our Kick First Out! Avanti & TransPennine Passenger Rally at the DfT and submitted our petition signed by nearly 14,000 people to Transport Secretary Mark Harper. No more new contracts. It's time to #KickFirstOut ✊ ... See MoreSee Less
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Obviously if you run a rubbish service you will get rewarded
What do you expect with a Tory government
The surprising thing is that the government subsidies train companies-shareholders are the only winners here.
These extensions will be so they can award the next franchise right before the general election and for significant terms to make it harder for them to be re-nationalised.
And please take Stagecoach with you when you go !
It is not just a First Group company though as it is part owned by the Italian State Railways/FS.
How much more of our money will they get as well. Shareholders must be laughing all the way to their offshore accounts.😡😠🤬
PATHETIC!! SHAMEFUL, TYPICAL!!!
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Are you a long-suffering Avanti passenger?🚆 Don’t miss your chance to sign our #MakeWestCoastPublic petition! We will be handing it to Mark Harper this Monday 20 March, 10am as part of our Kick First Out! Avanti & TransPennine Passenger Rally at the DfT ✊ Please add your name & come join us! 👇
📝 you.38degrees.org.uk/p/westcoast ... See MoreSee Less
Bring our West Coast rail services back into public ownership
you.38degrees.org.ukI've just signed the petition to bring West Coast rail services back into public ownership. Join me here: you.38degrees.org.uk/org/petitions/bring-our-west-coast-rail-services-back-into-public...
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Actually no, I'm not! But sympathy to those who are. Indeed, in the spring I'm going to Ireland for a short break and, from here in Scotland, I'll be going down the ECML to York, then across country on Northern Trains (state-owned) to Chester, then by Trafnidiaeth Cymru to the ferry port.
They seem to spending lots of money in refurbishment of these things while others are introducing the 800 series unit replacements for the 220/221s.
Just look Avanti West Coast performance levels, cancellations, staff shortages is all the evidence required for rail network to be taken back public ownership. Considering there is already parts of the network already in but in name in public ownership Northern, LNER and Transport for Wales 🏴, Scotrail 🏴and the North next franchise to be brought in house so to speak is Caledonian Sleeper by the Scottish Government. This is on top of Network Rail being for at the failure of Railtrack which was in the private sector. If BR had cash ingestion that the franchise holders have had pumped into the since privatisation by John Major's Tory Government things would of maybe been different. Instead the road lobby had influenced Government policy to spend cash on road building programmes. They clearer didn't see climate change coming where rail would through correct Government policies get freight onto the railway. This needs improvements in the rail infrastructure to give more paths on the network for freight trains espically on the ECML AND WCML plus other routes such as Highland Main line.
What this government ought to do is grow a pair and renationalise the whole of the UK's railways, but they won't do that because some MP's are on boards of some of the TOC companies.
Explain how the main man on DFT been on the board for Avanti no impartiality their
Yes bring back British rail
Won't let me sign Oh well
Tory scum have given them another 6 month contract are they for real
I'm not even a train passenger any more for the simple reason that the fares are exorbitant and unaffordable. Add to that the fact that I am disabled and need to use a mobility scooter, though I can still drive, trains on the national network are inaccessible. Also there is the fact that the fares are daylight robbery and you have the facts in a nutshell. We need to take ALL public services back into public ownership and then run a PUBLIC SERVICE with them instead of as a cash cow for the tories greedy cronies. A typical example of the stupidity and inefficiency of privatisation is that of a friend who lives here in Watchet and has a brother who lives in Ilfracombe. If he visits by public transport (bus & train) he cannot get there and back in a day and has to stop over by sleeping on a sofa. That is also apart from the fact that the fare is outrageously expensive on the train and is unaffordable even taking into consideration that he has his 'old gits' free travel bus pass. I can do Ilfracombe in about 90 minutes in the car and at a fraction of the cost and this at a time when we hear all the double speak from this government about global warming, mostly hot air, of course, as they are not to be trusted to do anything about these porblems.
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Are you an angry Avanti West Coast or TransPennine Express Trains passenger? 🚆😡 Join our Kick First Out! Avanti & TransPennine Passenger Rally at the DfT to tell Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP enough is enough.
📅 Monday 20 March 2023, 10am
📍 Department for Transport, London, SW1P 4DR
👉 kickfirstout.eventbrite.com ... See MoreSee Less
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We will be submitting our #MakeWestCoastPublic petition - now signed by more than 12,000 people - to Transport Secretary Mark Harper, so please make sure you sign the petition before 20 March 👇 you.38degrees.org.uk/p/westcoast
Bring Back all the passenger operations into Public ownership. It's the only way Forward.
I avoid all train journeys if possible these days - there is no evidence of organisational abilities anywhere.
Let’s kick out Failing FirstGroup.
It seems to be the same with their bus service. Busses don’t turn up without any notification.
As usual its rich friends over providing efficient public services - why?? We dont want Avanti running our trains on the West coast!!😡😟
We use the First buses everyday and find that they provide a good service. Unlike some other towns we have a good regular bus service in Portsmouth.
Trans pennine are so bad I won't book tickets using them at all. In my experience they almost never run on the Manchester to Hull axis. Better Leeds to Manchester but at 15 min frequency lots of alternatives
LNER are no better and they're public owned.
Enough is enough
How about disgruntled Southeastern customers?
Let's pretend Labour is socialist party.
First group are along with all the other companies are failing with buses as well.
About time First got the boot, worst transport company ever
I saw the big FIRST logo and all the corporate pink and was about to rip into the f88kers, then realised it was you, so; Keep Up The Good Work!
Bring back British Rail and not bus companies to run our railways
Usual rubbish then. I've not had any problems with Avanti West Coast lately nor have a lot of my colleagues.
The railways shoul NEVER have been privatised in the first place nor should the buses as they have ALL been an absolute disaster ever since. Along with re-nationalisation, we also need to re-instate as much as possible of the network that Marples and his crony Beeching closed down in the 1960s. There are no longer any execuses for NOT doing so as the climate emergency demands a reliable, affordable and available PUBLIC transport system whereby we can remove lots of cars from our roads. That means that privatisation is a DEAD DUCK as it is UNAFFORDABLE both in the short term and the long term. Kick the privateers out - they wouldn't stand for this rubbish anywhere else in Europe !
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Great news from Scotland today! 🥳 Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth MSP has announced that the Caledonian Sleeper service will be brought back into #PublicOwnership from 25 June 2023 🚆 That will make 6 of Britain's 20 rail franchises back in public hands 👇 bringbackbritishrail.org/franchises ... See MoreSee Less
Ministers nationalise 'world class' cross-border train service - but why?
www.heraldscotland.comMINISTERS have confirmed they are to nationalise the key Caledonian Sleeper service which operates overnight rail passenger services between…
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Still paying out money to the private owned leasing companies & to GBRf for the locomotives & crew. Until that is dealt with it will never be fully back in public hand.
It was run by Serco says it all really
I am all for public ownership, I am also old enough to remember the experience of using British Rail
As someone that uses the Sleeper on a regular basis, we will see what changes if any. To be fair the Mk3s where looking shabby, I do miss the Mk2 brake vans, as it was good to get large luggage out of the cabin. I have used the Mk5s the ride was fine both in the standard two berth cabin and the double bed version. I think the Mk5s traditional berth is slightly smaller that the Mk3. The Sleeper service is brilliant, no need to worry about the cost of luggage in the hold of a plane. I have been told just to have a small holdal on a plane costs £8 each way. The class 73s has not worked as well as planned as every time I am travelling from Inverness the train is double headed with a class 66 & the class 73.
The damage has been done
Good news hope return bargain berths senceable ticket prices
That's one how long before the rest go the same way .
Hurray, bring them all back
Might be because the Scottish MP’s use it to travel to and from Westminster.
Too little to late sadly
And only temporarily.
Cross border ffs
Remember, the same lunatics will be running the asylum!
Great news .
It's good to see some people actually waking up from this mad privatisation
Still won't stop the new stock riding awfully lol
Hope it’s cheaper
About time !! Now for the rest !!
Serco as usual being greedy and trying to extract more taxpayers to swell their greedy coffers. No wonder the scottish tories are winging winning and belly aching about the move to make it publicly owned again.
I'd draw the line at calling it world beating. The seats on the VSOE don't make yr bum mumb.
Still a terrible ride
6 down, 20 to go.
Typical rubbish then. Scotrail is falling to pieces thanks to the SNP Government, now the overnight sleeper to Scotland will go to pot. Bring back the big 4.
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Did you know that FirstGroup Plc runs four of our failing train companies: Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express Trains, South Western Railway and GWR? 🚆💰💸 Three of these contracts are up for renewal this year. We cannot allow the Department for Transport to renew them! It’s time to #KickFirstOut ✊ ... See MoreSee Less
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Please sign our petition to #MakeWestCoastPublic 👇 you.38degrees.org.uk/p/westcoast
Whoever thought a bus company that struggled to run buses properly would make a good train operator needs their head examined
Their buses are rubbish too. They've just pulled out of Southampton today, and their remaining service in the area, Portsmouth/Fareham/Gosport, is skeletal and evaporating. When I lived in Plymouth they tried to further break into the city from a couple of country routes they had, and that ended in ignominious failure. I hate them.
Tory-Mates though... Hard to provide decent service levels and pay yourselves huge dividends at the same time. Public ownership is not the Conservative way. They prefer selling assets for a one time financial gain and then squandering them.
Avanti and TPE are clearly rubbish, but SWR and GWR aren't exactly failing surely?
Anyone else remember First's original strapline? "Transforming travel". Well they've certainly done that alright. Shysters, scammers and downright crooks in cahoots with a government of the very same mindset, this is how and why they survive and prosper.
I suspect First view trains as buses on rails, hence their enthusiasm to strip the trains of buffets, shops, first class and anything else that diffentiates the train from a bus! Avanti's franchise also expires in less than 6 weeks time and no announcement yet by the DfT, sadly I think it's almost a certainty now they're getting an extension. Could have been an ideal opportunity for the Government to fire a warning shot across the bows of First Group by taking Avanti off them, but more chance of Lord Lucan heading up the franchise than that happening!
Is there any franchises that actually work? Although not related to First, Northern rail is pretty appalling.
Why did the idiotic goverbment sell our railways to european countries, so they make profirs to runtheir own railways cheaper than ours????
I would like BR back - the franchise system makes no sense, having all the bad parts of a commercial operation and none of the good bits - but to be fair, I use GWR regularly and I haven't had a problem with them.
No one who actually remembers BR could want it back surely? Filthy trains, vile food, staff in old clothes, ghastly stations, services withdrawn if popular………..
Sadly the Tories won't let them fail because that would mean placing them in the hands of OLR on a COST NEUTRAL BASIS. Actually saving the tax payers money.
They got kicked out of London for the crap bus services they provided so it’s no wonder they screwed up the trains.
If OLR is brought in for those companies there will be so few in private operation that it makes no sense anymore to continue the pretence that private operation is good. May as well go the whol hog. LNER, Northern, Southeastern. If joined by TPE, Avanti and SWR then really the rest should join them.
Yep take off these money grabbing Companies who care more about their shareholders than passengers
As far as I know, the only issues with SWR are their current lack of trains. The delays with the 701s aren't their fault, although their decisions to reform the 458s and scrap the 442s is questionable. And of course the landslide at Hook, and the ongoing resignalling thats going on.
Unfortunately there would probably be no change to the services provided by these TOCs by jettisoning First Group; the problems are largely not of their making.
Take care the dying government doesn’t put a long franchise in place just to spite the incoming government.
I thought avanti nw was trenitalia, Italian state run railway?. Either way, they should never of been sold off to anyone, they are a public asset.
GWR is fairly good , the others are a joke however SER and GTR also a total joke run by go ahead cowboys
Yet First own Hull Trains which is one of the best, albeit an open access operator rather than a franchise.
First Bus has also sliced our local services here in worcester. Pretty much no buses after 1800.
I expect they have already re won them franchise by now.
Can't believe you missed out on the slogan "First to go"
The shareholders reap the benefits, and the taxpayer gets lumbered with the debt.
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