This paper argues that the UK Government's plans for rail privatisation offer scope for more competition and experimentation, and a progressive movement towards freeing the rail system, thereby minimising the likely disruption of British Rail (BR). In theory at least, the advantages of privatisation include: (1) increased efficiency; (2) the encouragement of more investment; and (3) more innovation, especially in customer services. The Government is adopting a gradualist approach to privatisation, intending to achieve by 1997 the following objectives: (1) selling BR's freight and parcels operation; (2) establishing an authority for franchising passenger trains; (3) creating separate track and train operations; (4) providing opportunities to sell or lease stations; and (5) establishing an independent Regulator. Privatisation took this radical, complicated form, because of BR's heavy losses and because the Government did not wish to replace BR by a private monopoly or oligopoly. Objectives (1) and (2) aroused special controversy, but answers are beginning to emerge. Several dynamic transport companies have already expressed an interest in operating services. The Government's rail scheme has the great advantages of adopting a gradual and flexible approach, while encouraging radical change.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Economic Affairs

    2 Lord North Street, Westminster
    London SW1,   England 
  • Authors:
    • ASTERIS, M
  • Publication Date: 1994-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 19-23
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 14
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: Institute of Economic Affairs
    • ISSN: 0265-0665

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00668152
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Nov 2 1994 12:00AM