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Guardian UK: Don't blame the staff - it's privatisation that has failed our railways

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-11 07:29 PM
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Guardian UK: Don't blame the staff - it's privatisation that has failed our railways
Don't blame the staff - it's privatisation that has failed our railways
The rail network has become a cash cow for businesses interested solely in risk-free profits

Bob Crow
The Guardian, Thursday 19 May 2011


Julian Glover says that Sir Roy McNulty's report on the railways, to be published today, "is unlikely to do much to dismantle the crazy structure created by privatisation"; but if he is prepared "to die in a ditch" to save them, he should start by identifying the enemy (I'd die in a ditch to save our hopelessly indebted railways, 16 May).

Glover rightly points to the massive bureaucracy spawned by the fragmentation of the network imposed by privatisation, and at the 5bn subsidy going into the railways, but fails to spot that costs have more than tripled in real terms since privatisation. He says that privatisation "hasn't failed in every regard", citing increased passenger numbers yet, as the government accepts, this increase mirrored the state of the economy as did the folding of franchises like East Coast and the ditching of Great Western when the wild projections of ever-increasing profits fell off the same cliff as the banking system.

Far from the efficient and competitive model the Tories promised when they privatised our railways in the 1990s, they have become a cash cow for businesses interested only in guaranteed, risk-free profits.

The railway staff left to pick up the pieces are being set up as scapegoats with ludicrous claims about Spanish practices and out-of-control pay, but our members have already been paying with their jobs as the privateers ditch frontline staff to maintain profits. Further staff cuts would be a false economy and a blow to already declining safety standards. The charge that "rail unions have kept their members in a fine old style" might play well to the anti-union gallery, but it is a blind, because productivity in the industry has increased faster than pay, and rail workers continue, in the main, to be paid below median earnings. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/19/transpor...



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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-11 06:28 PM
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1. The British train system is pathetic by Japanese standards...
but marvelous by American standards.

My first trip to the UK as an adult was to join a group attending the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford. I was booked onto a plane that would arrive at Heathrow at 11:00AM, and so I asked on a travel website whether it was feasible to get to Hereford by dinnertime.

The respondents assured me that there were trains EVERY HOUR from Paddington.

However, the Heathrow Express, which takes 15 minutes to run the 15 miles from Heathrow to Paddington, costs as much as the Narita Express, which takes 70 minutes to run the 40 miles from central Tokyo to Narita Airport.
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