This editorial discusses the implications of the passing of the British Government's bill to 'privatise' British Rail (BR). The Government has handled the bill badly, as proposals have been dropped, amended or radically changed so often that it is difficult to be clear about the situation. The Government has positively addressed some legitimate concerns, but some serious doubts remain about the following issues: (1) costs, because of re-regulation, financial and legal complexities, and additional bureaucracy; (2) whether there will be enough genuine competition to encourage service improvement; (3) the results of network fragmentation; (4) the levels of subsidy that must be offered to potential franchisees, to ensure that they can make reasonable profits; (5) the actual level of interest among private sector operators; and (6) whether there can be enough private financial investment in infrastructure and rolling stock. On the positive side, the new regime will be able to remove the weaker parts of BR management and the 'monolithic' rail unions. The Government now needs to make its rail privatisation plans work, despite their high initial cost, and this will require effective monitoring.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

    345 Hudson Street
    New York, NY  United States  10014
  • Authors:
    • KNUTTON, M
  • Publication Date: 1993-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 1
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00663440
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 24 1994 12:00AM