The biggest chance to rethink our railways since privatisation

15 January 2019

The government has appointed Keith Williams as the chair of the biggest review of our railways since privatisation began. This is your chance to have your say over the future of our railway.

You haven't been asked your opinion on privatisation since 1994! Here's your chance:

Comment below to sign this letter and tell Keith why you want to see public ownership of the railways.

 

Dear Keith Williams, 

Our railways are clearly not currently fit for purpose.

Train travel has never been so popular. But the service passengers receive is deteriorating. We've seen repeated delays and cancellations across the network. Trains are overcrowded. Rail fares continue to spiral up and up. Train companies have failed to invest in new infrastructure. Our railways are broken. 

We believe that public ownership would help solve these problems - so we're really happy to hear that you've promised to keep public ownership on the table in your review.

By taking private companies out of the rail network, we can:

  • Remove shareholder profits from the system and reduce costs.
  • Use these savings to fund reduced fares, and a rail service run for people, not profit.

By putting the public at the heart of our railways, we can:

  • Ensure they get the investment they desperately need.
  • Use this investment to improve services, reduce delays, and upgrade the rolling stock.

76% of the public agree, and we want to see our railways in public hands.

Yours,

The public.

Comment below - Why do you want public ownership of your railways?

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Comments

David Napthine replied on

The railways are essential for economic prosperity and social cohesion. Such is their importance that they cannot be subject to the whim of individual owners and shareholders

Andrew Rudduck replied on

Public funding to enable the likes of Virgin and Stagecoach to pay every increasing dividends and bonus's simply means less investment on OUR rail system. The only way forward is for all publi8c transport to be just that, owned by the public and run for the public not an elite group of profiters

Chris Parker replied on

It's not only the profits of private rail companies that would be saved by this. There is a large industry dedicated to managing the interfaces between all the private & public players in the current set-up. These include lawyers, insurance companies, people sorting out delay attribution and compensation and much more.

All this leads to the vastly greater costs that passengers & the taxpayer are having to fund.

Mark Gretton replied on

If I am unsatisfied with my railways there is no way to do anything’s by about it. The point of democracy is to be able to vote out things that don’t work. The job of government is to run infrastructure. Public ownership means we get a say in our infrastructure is run

James Finch replied on

In my lifetime fares have gone up massively above inflation, services have been cut despite increasing usage (like the Lowestoft -> Manchester direct that I used to use to visit my family) — while the companies running our trains have reported massive profits. We have the most expensive rail system in Europe, and it's getting in the way of our lives, from work to socialising to campaigning.

Tony Graham replied on

Short-termism is encouraged under the present system. Routine elementary service failures are ignored : there is often no sign of the supposed sensitivity of the private companies to consumer satisfaction. The recently published IPCC Report refers to the significant potential contribution of mass public transport. Inadequate staffing, investment & maintenance all combine too often to produce frustration & anger. Comparative pricing of rail as against road & air adds another strong (& absurd) disincentive to improvements in our environment & the aim to minimise climate change.

Len Gale replied on

Public ownership would mean all profits ploughed back into the system, the end of a fragmented services with so may private companies involved and an over-arching policy to ensure efficient services across the country

Grahame Bligh replied on

I want railways returned to public ownership because under privatisation the price of train fares has increased by 35% in the last few. years.The service has not improved.many services have been delayed and cancelled in the last year. The service is not giving passengers value for money. In spite of increase profits for company shareholders, Rail workers and station staff are in dispute of pay increases and over the removing of a guard on trains

Many train stations and platforms have not improved in spite of Government promises to fund improvements. Many of these problems would be solved I& the railways returned to public ownership

Chris Johnson replied on

It is ludicrous that some private companies or individuals are receiving huge "dividends" from the railways when government is paying out subsidies.

Grayan Adams replied on

The time has come (and gone) for us to face the fact that privatising the railways (and other public assets) was always an ideologically-driven game. Ideology has no place in good governance; common sense, plus the goal of governing for citizens - not Busine$$ - should be the only priority.

If we are to have any chance of meeting Climate Change targets, it is of the utmost importance that public transport steps up to the mark. With ever-increasing shareholder-driven prices heading towards the heavens, this is clearly not going to happen.

The railways are already heavily subsidised by central govt, so arguments against subsidies are irrelevant. I would like to see shares held by the users of the railways themselves, rather than rent-seeking private equity firms, as is currently the case. Germany is an excellent current example of what happens when public transport is privatised - dissatisfaction is at an all-time record high.

We cannot, and do not want to, go back to the old ways; union-run railways are not the answer. We have surely learned enough over the last decades to come up with a more reasonable way of owning and running public assets.

Please, for all our sakes, have the honesty and courage to acknowledge Failing Grayling's ideological obsessions for what they are: #NotFitForPurpose.

Dr Adrian Morgan replied on

The system is too fragmented and broken because it is operated by too many players who tend to be insular in their thinking and operating. Journeys are not guaranteed to be completed on time or to be completed by rail and not by bus.

Ticket prices are far too high, especially turn up and go fares, and according to experts are a third higher than they should be entirely due to privatisation.

Government is now paying almost twice as much to Operating companies as they did to British Rail, at 2018 prices, in subsidies, our taxes.

Take back franchises as they come up for renewal.

Claire replied on

The ecological collapse facing the world must involve a radical move away from inefficient and carbon pollution car/road based transport towards a massive expansion of public transport and walking/cycling options.

This will require the system to be taken back into public hands so it can become part of an overall radically overhauled transport and energy infrastructure that puts investment in renewable forms of energy and shares it out amongst the key industries- such as public transport.

Both withstanding all that - the current train and bus operators are failing to provide a decent service and prioritise profits over public value and planetary health.

Barry Fairbrother replied on

We are shamed when we see the quality of railways in other countries.

Chris Miller replied on

I would like a public monopoly on rail, which a vital national interest. Privatisation was incompetent and has resulted in customer confusion and diffused responsibility. Shareholder dividends are taken out of the industry when profits should be reinvested so that we gain a competent and reliable service.

Tim Owen replied on

I have travelled between Newcastle and London on The East Cost mainline for decades, including prior to retirement for work. Private rail franchises have failed badly. Public ownership is better in theory and practice. Governments (of whatever colour) need to get behind effective delivery of public ally owned services.

Valerie wilkinson replied on

We have a broken railway system which does not work.it needs to be publicly owned, instead of a drain on taxpayers who have to bail it out when necessary.

Profits should be ploughed back to improve the system, not into shareholders pockets.

Ken Earney replied on

I want a single coherent structure for our railways - take Deutsche Bahn as your model, and a public ownership model - may be like Deutsche Bahn but other of good,successful examples are possible. Get good experienced railway people running it but NOT direct state control please - ministerial interference has been a disaster.

Alan Stovell replied on

It seemed a good idea to privatise the railways but it is not working as well as it was hoped for. The current franchise system is creating high costs for users and I reluctantly think the railways need to go back into public ownership. Network Rail is also failing as it contracts out far too much work and employs costly consultants, from the 'Big 4' accountancy firms, who have no idea on how a railway should operate.

Eileen Stapleton replied on

I want railways to be in public ownership so that profit will be put back into the organisation instead of the stock-holders' pockets. I've had enough of supporting the wealthy whilst the public suffer.

Michael Winterburn replied on

I would like to see an integrated public transport system across the whole country, trains, buses etc. I do not believe that this is possible without public ownership. Furthermore the private companies currently running rail services have shown that they put shareholder interests first, and passenger interests a long way down.

Joy Partridge replied on

The taxpayer should not be footing the bill to prop up the dividends of shareholders of train companies that are inefficient, run late repeatedly when they run at all and don't plough profits into improving the infrastructure. These companies should NOT be subsidized by the taxayer! Public ownership can only improve the service which is truly broken.No more privatization!

Barry replied on

Rail privatisation has been a disaster, it's time to restore the railway to public ownership as a single unified body.

Janet Baldwin replied on

Railways are a public service, and as such should not be run for profit. They should be publically owned. They are in the awful mess they are in because profit has been systematically put before the needs of the railway using public...they are a disgrace.

dale elgar replied on

Profits for the rail system not shareholders

Mel Crowther replied on

It's time to bring back our shambolic railways into public ownership. The private sector is incapable of putting their passengers first.

Perry525 replied on

Under EU law we cannot nationalize the railways. We must leave the EU first. Perhaps tomorrow?

Efan Fisher replied on

Our railways are not only a part of our heritage but a key part of our national infrastructure. By taking back control we can ensure that the service works for all British people. Improving peoples lives as they can travel with greater ease at less cost and also increasing the attractiveness of our country for foreign investment in our town and cities. These can become better connected by a reimagined, public railway. Britain should be proud of its railway heritage and continue to be proud of it today, however, this is only possible by public ownership in order to bring it back to competency!

Cordelia Thomas replied on

Public ownership would avoid the private companies taking profit out of the railways ahead of ny investment into them, and avoid the costly legal process required to draw up contracts, which appear to always result in a more favourable deal for the companies than the government. Railways should be a publicly owned utility run for the benefit of the population.

Nadia Batool replied on

I travel daily by train for work, whether to my local offices or those across the country, as well as at least weekly for leisure. The service seems to constantly be getting worse, yet prices go up.

I know people who work for the east coast main line, and they have been very able to deliver the service better whilst publicly owned. The sale of the franchise to private entities seems to bring change and cost cutting constantly for no reason but to increase profit for their shareholders.

In addition the carving up between network rail and franchises seems to allow accountability to be diluted.

I have come to the belief that essential services such as transport must be publicly owned to ensure accountability. This also avoids companies leveraging their debt and stripping assets from franchises which then results in better returns for shareholders but a poorer service for the public. It is also not a purely academic exercise, as the east coast did demonstrably run more on time, with better feedback from the public.

Pat Rowley replied on

I completely endorse the comments above. Please heed public opinion on this issue and not big business that consistently lets the public down and is bailed out at taxpayers expense.

Eleanor Thompson replied on

We are wasting resources paying for profits for private companies. Public ownership matures sense

Andrew Wood replied on

Foreign companies should not profit from operating are public transport.

Any profit should be re invested in railway improvements and reduce fares

Ben Eldridge replied on

The privatised railway isn’t working - it’s time to give public ownership a chance

David Hill replied on

It is very simple. We need to keep private profit out of an essential service which should be owned and controlled by the public permanently. If adequately funded by the tax base we should get to the point where rail fares are reduced and more in keeping with prevailing low wages and ideally become a fare free service

Rita Garlovsky replied on

Please take this seriously..... OAP Rita

peter keyton replied on

Surely state owned services are the only way to go. Plowing profits back into them rather than into corrupt ceo's purses has to be what's best for the UK public.

Emily Cornell replied on

I want to be be able to afford to visit places, I want my children to be able to go to museums and plays in London and other towns and cities.

Karin Andrews J... replied on

I am really really tired of poor services and high prices. We have engineering works almost every weekend, and young families on tight budgets cannot afford to take the children into the city which is their heritage because of the high cost of 'public' transport.

Nicholas Roslund replied on

If HS2 and CrossRail represent the most significant investment in public transport by government in at least a generation then following a similar logic, why can't our existing railway companies fall within the ambit of public finance too? Our leading competitor nations never considered full railway privatisation. Can we not evolve towards a superior publicly funded model of transport for the people.?

Peter Smithurst replied on

all 'public' services should be for the benefit of the public, not corporate shareholders

Tim Bounds replied on

Privatisation has clearly failed to improve the railways, and has led to disorganisation, confusion, increased need for subsidies and increased bureaucracy. The split of the railways into operations, infrastructure and rolling stock ownership clearly doesn't work very well, negating any idea of integrated services, or even of planning them.

I live in the North East of England (Teesside). You will obviously be aware of the ongoing farce that franchising has resulted on the East Coast Main Line services, which each new franchisee over estimating how much revenue they can rip out of the travelling public and seek more financial lifeboats from the Govt. The Govt has wisely refused to do this, but fails to notice that the service improves when taken back into public sector operation. Meanwhile, the minor lines operated by the Northern franchise visibly rot through neglect - services identical those operated 20 years ago still operate, using 40 year old trains that were inadequate when new. We are now supposed to celebrate the Pacers are being replaced by slightly better trains that are equally old but 'refurbished', and some trains that are 'only'

30 years old. Of course, we pay rapidly increasing fares that fund infrastructure improvements in the South East like Crossrail and HS2, but no investment ever reaches the North.

The state of the railways is so bad that it is obvious that something has to change. Privatisation has made things worse, so Public ownership must be re-established so that a more coherent approach can be taken.

bruce cooper replied on

I don`t want my money to pay obscene salaries and / or to fill the pockets of shareholders.

Richard MERRIMAN replied on

SICK OF TORY RIP-OFF AND LIES

Hilary Sheffield replied on

Investment is needed in the system instead of what profits there are being siphoned off. Modernised rolling stock would be a start with sufficient space for passengers

James Ross replied on

There's still no improvement on train punctuality, and still as many cancellations as ever.

Shaun Fowler replied on

Please return the railways back to public ownership. Privatisation is a disaster and just making a few shareholders rich at the expense of taxpayers and the travelling public. Thanks

Malcolm Ashton replied on

Necessary infrastructure such as railways are essential for the running of the country and should not be used to provide profit for shareholders. Vast subsidies to inefficient private companies are unjustifiable and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Ruth Strong replied on

Public ownership should be ale to regain consistency in fare structure and various customs and practices that have grown up with privatised services.

It won't be an instant cure after decades of under-investment in the latter days of British Rail and the extraction of maximum return by privateers more recently. In addition the management practices of the private companies leave a lot to be desired in the way their staff are treated. in the way that experience and knowledge counts for nothing and the growth of short-term-ism so that criticism of bad projects is discouraged by job reviews and the fear of contracts being ended if there is disagreement with higher management.

Christine Turner replied on

You cannot say that as a nation we haven't given it a good 'go'. Time to stop the fat cats eating the cream and put it back into public ownership!

David Stower replied on

At least BR knew the country, whereas the private companies that run the railways now have no idea

Geraldine Fitzgerald replied on

Can't argue with any of the above.

claire replied on

in europe trains work really well and are not privatised, we can do that are you willing?

Barry Dunnage replied on

There seems to be a view that returning to a nationalised British Rail service would only lead to the chaos that we all experienced twenty years ago. And this from the wonderful free-market experts who knew everything about what should be done to provide a world class service. Instead of course, they have done more damage than was possible under British Rail and we now have one of the worst services in the free world.

We may be stubborn, but we are not stupid. There is much that can be achieved as a nationalised service that it wasn't achievable in the past, and we have no intention of making the mistakes of the past. We are not asking that no one should own it, which is perhaps what did happen at times previously. We own it, and therein lies the responsibility and the opportunity to get it right.

Caroline White replied on

In order to reduce our carbon footprint, as a country, we MUST have a good, reliable and affordable railway service, so people can travel without resorting to their cars, as a cheaper option. A nationally owned railway service with employee and user participation will accomplish that.

STUART LAWES replied on

Despite Vicious rumours to the contrary(Mr Grayling!) the unions only want what's best for the staff and travelling public.

This will NOT be a return to the 'Bad old days of BR!' either. If suitable funding is made available like never before, we can all have a railway system which is efficient , effective and economical.

A railway run FOR the purpose of public travel.

Leighton Lewis replied on

Public Run Services profits goes back into the Public Purse,

Private Run Services profits goes to Greedy Rich Fat Cats,

It is a No Brainer!

Please Re-Nationalise now !

Robert Harper replied on

The biggest problem is fragmentation

DfT (the government) sets the goals. The DfT tells the francisees the what & how. The DfT tells the franchisees what with (ie the trains). The ORR (another part of the government) is judge & jury

No one makes it all work TOGETHER, meanwhile everyone has to make a profit!

Chaos

Anthony Western replied on

Privatisation will never be in the interests of the public

Alan Lansdowne replied on

Publicly owned railways, run in the public interest, enable the national economy and society.

In contrast, privately owned railways, run for private commercial interests create frictions which hinder both.

Bill Taylor replied on

For the sake of my grandchildren and their future we need a world where profit for the few has no part of basic public service industries including rail travel

Cherie Spalding replied on

I think the railways should be in public ownership the way they have been run at the moment is not in the interest of the public, they have been treated terrible firstly by this government and the way they have sold it on to private investors who don't care about the Railway and the public but how much shareholders get

Michael Constable replied on

At the moment rail timetables are completely uncoordinated across the country because of the separate companies. Travelling from A to C via B can take hours longer than necessary just because two or more companies are involved. Most places do not have a choice of TOC so competition is meaningless.

Daniel Brown replied on

It's nonsensical that the British public pays taxes to help maintain our railways, so that train's owned by overseas companies can profit from the sale of train tickets.

Nationalise the Railways now!

Sandra White replied on

It is vitally important that the need for shareholder dividends be removed from our public services. The railways are of central importance in combating climate change;they need to be treated as a public good, not a profit - generator for private interests.

Lesley Blanchard replied on

Public transport is a public good and should be seen as a natural monopoly with no place in it for private profit

N Stirrup replied on

The current system just does not work, and we are forced to use ancient trains barely run by failing companies for a profit that goes to foreign investors.

Tony Bond replied on

The privatisation of a network where competition is largely irrelevant was always a nonsense. The cost of administering the interface between the differing entities, leave alone the cost of disputes, is ridiculous;ly high and a gross waste of money. The East Coast line was run very successfully my a not-for-profit body by staff who understood railways. With tghe necessary internal best practice drive a public system is on every count a better bet.

Niamh Michelle ... replied on

Our railways are fractured and are in crisis. Only public ownership can sort out this mess.

David Hornsby replied on

Privatisation of the railways has been a disaster in all regards. Continuous ridiculous fare increases combined with poor, unreliable services have been the result with companies keen to maximise profits at all costs. The latest 'wheeze' where I live is Northern Rail demanding driver-only trains, with all the risks to safety that comprises. The RMT has been striking for months on Saturdays, but most of the public are 'with' those strikers who are not working to highlight the error of Northern Rail's plans.In these times of global warming and climate change people should be encouraged travel by rail, but this clearly is not happening. Rail throughout the whole of the UK should be part of a new integrated transport policy and system. And, the current incomprehensible ticket price system is a nightmare.Bring railways back under public ownership, not exactly following the model of pre-privatisation, but BETTER. Look around the world, find where it is done well and inculcate best practice. The present situation is unsustainable and untenable. DH

Keith Walton replied on

The contractual obligations of privatisation and multiple objectives of the different companies add (I estimate) 20-40% to the costs. We pay these. Not happy.

Roderick Shelton replied on

I have to suffer GTR from King's Lynn to Cambridge and London. This service certainly is not fit for purpose. Back in the 1970's and 1980's this service was an Intercity service. Now it is run using cascaded 387 suburban sets with seats like ironing boards. Despite rising patronage, only four car units can be used due to short platforms even though the aforementioned 10 or 12 coach Intercity trains managed at short platforms. Only one train an hour can run due to Ely north junction being a single track bottleneck handling trains to King's Lynn, Peterborough and Norwich. We have been promised eight car trains and a half hour service for several years now but nothing gets done. Even off peak trains are packed to standing. Toilets are frequently out of order. Journey times got longer, not shorter, with the May 2018 timetable. Trains now have to wait for each other to leave the single track sections and are frequently delayed. AND YET THE FARES WENT UP IN JANUARY!!!!! Enough is enough. It is time to renationalise the railways. Complaints to GTR do not get answered. Private companies have shown that they cannot cope and do not care.

barry burlefinger replied on

Privatisation has failed. One network for one industry to cater for one public

Michael Porrett replied on

As privatisation has been proven to be such a failure, it's certainly time for public ownership!

Peter Winfield replied on

Run by 1 body owned by the public like it used 2 be any profit reinvested

Vivien Doyle replied on

How much more misery must rail travellers endure?

Rod Hepplewhite replied on

Privatisation of the railways has proven to be an unmitigated disaster viz-a-vis the East Coast Mainline has operated far better since being taken back into public ownership and has returned monies to the public purse instead of them being taken out by the private operators.

Michael Wells replied on

The era of privatisation from the 1980s onwards is over and has shown, in many respects, that privatisation has benefitted the few to the disadvantage of the many. It is time for an ideological shift in the credo of the government. Public ownerhship can be more profitable and efficient for a greater number of people than the current private ownership arrangements. Time to change, please!

Pauline Illingworth replied on

The rail system has gone badly downhill since being split into private ownership. I would not consider travelling by train as it stands.

Roger Le Rolland replied on

Transport should be a public service and all profits should be reinvested in the service not provide an income for the few.

Stella Wood replied on

I support returning our railways to public ownership. This would mean that railways are run for the public, not for private profit. The savings created would then be reinvested in the networks, to benefit everyone.

Andrea Titterington replied on

Public ownership means that national infrastructure is owned by the people who depend upon it. Privatization is a dogma of economics that has been shown to fail the public time and time again. This is illustrated by the East Coast fiasco and the outsourcing of public services, e.g. Carillion. It is vital that the public own its own vital services and not private companies, many of which are owned by foreign governments!

Philip Parry replied on

Privatisation of railways has been a disaster, and somewhat ironic in that some of the franchises are run by other countries' state-owned railway companies

Robin Hillier replied on

I want public ownership of the railways in order to have an integrated and state supported system of public transport to meet the needs of our times. We need twice as many trains and half as many cars on the roads, and taking back what is ours would be the first step to achieving some sanity in the lives of the citizens of this country.

Chris Voisey replied on

Long journeys work much better with public ownership because of co-operation between the different lines to make connections work and to save always having to travel through London ie direct routes save adding to pressure on London Transport. This also makes life simpler for disabled people.

David Dimmock replied on

Public ownership means better services, cheaper tickets and punctual trains

Collin Deurance replied on

Our railways are clearly not currently fit for purpose.

Ann Frain replied on

Look at how much better the East Coast Mainline ran when taken away from private ownership.

Donna Dimmock replied on

Public ownership of the railways will result in a better, punctual service with lower prices

Helen Lawson replied on

Privatisation hasn't worked. We need to revert to public ownership.

Rose Elgar replied on

I like the idea of removing shareholders as I do not see why they should take profits from a service that is so essential for the public and for the economy.

John Miroslaw replied on

railways are part of the national infrastructure and should be run for the good of the country, not for the good of shareholders. This demonstrated by the fact that there has always been government support (otherwise, why does it subsidise them?)

Lorraine Baker replied on

Public ownership was a success for the East Coast Mainline, why not consider public ownership for the whole of the railway network. More privatisation will not fix the problems - privatisation has already failed rail users. The British public want public ownership of the whole railway system.

Rodney J. Sobey replied on

My wife and I do not have a car but need to travel from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle frequently for MEDICAL treatment. The East Coast Main Line has only operated RELIABLY when it was publicly owned after a private operator just walked away! When again privatised (Virgin East Coast), the East Coast Main Line again became very unreliable, to the extent that history was repeated and Virgin East Coast just walked away. The current operator LNER seems to under Westminster instructions to prove that public ownership will not work!

BRIAN E HODGKINSON replied on

When I first saw the plan's for the railway's year's ago we knew what was going to happen,and so my wife and I made the decision not to include railway travel in any travelling arrangement's we needed to make.

We realised that a government comprising of large number of incompetent member's who like the kudos of being in charge without much input from themselves would start and continue to privatise and farm out as much of our infrastructure as they could,regardless of whether it made sense or not.

They could then sit there with their cronies and pass the buck when thing's go pear shaped.

It s stated time and again that passenger number's are up but I feel sorry for the majority as they are seen as cash cow's who have less choice in the matter.

Christine Ellis replied on

Our railways are a disgrace and will only get worse they should be in public ownership

Stephen Dunkerley replied on

The public must own services where there is no choice on who delivers the service.

Mr Vincent O'Ca... replied on

We need a national state run railway that works for its users. Other European countries have successfully managed state railways. Why should the Government, ie Us, subsidise private companies to pay shareholders while they fail.

Rukshana Afia replied on

I'm old enough to remember British Rail and how we loved to complain about it . I have been shocked and appalled by how very much worse the railways have become since privatisation . Enough is enough - it is time to admit the failure of the private ideal and go back to a publicly owned system . Yes even with all the problems BR had !

karl roome replied on

current system is a complete shambles and only benefits shareholders not the passengers or public

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