It got picked up by the Evening Standard who in turn asked little ‘ol me to respond. This is what I wrote:
I see in your report (Rail chiefs in talks over renationalising train services, Jason Beattie, News, 12 April) one interviewee talked of: “...the damaging fragmentation caused by privatisation.”
Well, he’s right about the fragmentation. Splitting wheel from rail has been shown time and again to lead to delays, spiralling costs and organisation chaos.
But privatisation? Are the great private railways of Japan fragmented? No. Are the great private freight railways of America fragmented? Again, no. Did our great private operators who invented, built and developed our railways over the course of 100 years, open up their permanent ways for all-comers? Like hell did they.
Sorry, I’m wrong. Actually there was a case. The Stockton and Darlington, the world’s first passenger railway experimented with it for about three months in 1825. They learnt their lesson very quickly.
So, if private enterprise doesn’t cause fragmentation, what does? Government, of course. By law. European law, as it happens. So, how Network Rail and their Scottish politician chums think they can re-integrate the railway is anyone’s guess.
Are they planning to leave the EU?